Refinance while Underwater? HARP Expanded to Reach More Borrowers

A ray of hope has just been offered to some homeowners with properties that are seriously upside down, according to the California Association of Realtors.

In order to help a broader range of distressed homeowners and offer relief to the housing market, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Oct. 24 that the mortgage relief program HARP — the Home Affordable Refinance Program — has just been expanded.

Per FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped approximately 9 million families refinance into a lower cost or more sustainable mortgage product, approximately 10 percent of those via HARP. HARP is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers who owe more than their home is worth to take advantage of lower interest rates and other refinancing benefits.

One of the biggest hurdles for borrowers who are current on their home loans and are considering refinance is the fact that the equity on their house is too low to qualify for a refinance. Until now, Fannie Me and Freddie Mac would only allow fixed-rate mortgages if the borrower’s property stays under 125 percent loan-to-value.  This requirement prevented many upside-down borrowers from refinancing to take advantage of the current low interest rates that they desperately need.  The enhanced HARP guideline lifted that restriction.

Other HARP program enhancements effectively reduced certain fees associated with the refinance as well as eliminated the need for a new property appraisal if the FHFA has a reliable automated valuation model estimate.  Both allowed cash strapped borrowers the ability to refinance without the steep fees a refinance might require.  The HARP program, schedule to expire at the end of 2011 has now been extended until the end of 2013.  New federal guidelines for the HARP changes should be released to mortgage lenders and servicers by Nov. 15.

According to the California Association of Realtors, the basic eligibility requirements for an enhanced HARP loan are as follows:

  • Existing mortgage loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Borrowers can check whether they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan by going to http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-assistance/loan-look-up/Pages/default.aspx.
  • Existing mortgage loan must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009.
  • Existing mortgage loan cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously (except for Fannie Mae loans refinanced between March and May 2009).
  • Current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be more than 80%.
  • Existing mortgage loan must be current, with no late payments in the past six months, and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

Words of Caution:  Remember my previous blog about SCAMs – Too Good To be True, Then Beware? There are a lot of scammers out there to take advantage of distressed homeowners at their most vulunable stage.  Before engaging services that promise to modify your loans or save your home from being foreclosed on, make sure you check out the FTC Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule that outlaws advanced fees and false claims and requires clear disclosures from the servicers.

More Information About HARP:

More information about HARP is available from FHFA.

Other Resources for Distressed Homeowners:

Fannie Mae Offers New Buyer Incentives on Homepath Homes

Featured

New Buyer Incentive on Fannie Mae HomePath® Homes

Fannie Mae is offering buyers up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance on HomePath properties through December 31, 2010.

Buyers must meet the following qualifications to be eligible for the incentive:

  • HomePath property sale must close on or before December 31, 2010 and close within 60 days of offer acceptance
  • Only owner occupants purchasing a HomePath property as their primary residence will receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance
  • the initial offer must be submitted on or after September 23, close within 60 days of offer acceptance and close on or before December 31, 2010. No bonus will be given for investor purchases.
  • Buyers must request incentive upon submission of initial offer in order to be eligible.

Note: Offers submitted after November 15, 2010 may be difficult to close by incentive deadline of December 31, 2010.

Terms & Conditions:

  • The 3.5% seller contribution is to be used towards closing costs, including a home warranty, if desired and available.
  • Retail and public entities are eligible for the incentive however pool and auction sales, and sales to investors are not eligible.
  • Fannie Mae reserves the right to remove any property from promotion or end the promotion at any time. Any dispute over the payment of a bonus shall be resolved by Fannie Mae in its sole discretion.
  • Buyers should consult their lenders for guidance on financing. Lenders and mortgage products may impose their own limitations on the use of the 3.5% incentive. For example, the lender may consider the incentive a Seller Contribution and limit the amount to 3.0%. In those instances, the remaining 0.5% will no longer be available to the buyer.

See link to search for Fannie Mae Homepath Homes

CA State Assembly extended Anti-Deficiency Proection for Original Loan Refinances

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Unfortunately, this very logical bill, which passed both the assembly and senate was vetoed by the Governor.  But CAR (California Association of Realtor) will renew its fight next year for a similar bill – Sylvia

A relief for homeowners with deficiency on thier refinanced original mortgage loans and who are now facing foreclosure is one the way –

According to news just released by California Association of Realtors on August 19, 2010 that CA State Assembly passes SB 1178 protecting homeowners:

The bill essentially allows homeowners who defaulted on the mortgage that are part of refinance of the original purchase debt to limit their liability to the property itself; same as the treatment of the original ‘purchase money’ loan.

The bill moves to Government Schwarzenegetter for signature and if signed, will become effective June 2011.

This Only Makes Sense!

Following is the Press Release:

For release:

Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010

California State Assembly passes SB 1178 protecting homeowners

Measure protecting consumers from overreaching lenders now goes to governor’s desk for signature

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 19) – The California State Assembly today approved SB 1178 (D-Corbett) by a 49 to 14 vote, extending anti-deficiency protection for consumers who have refinanced their original mortgage loans and now are facing foreclosure. The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) is the sponsor of the consumer-protection legislation.

Under existing law, if a homeowner defaults on a mortgage used to purchase a home-commonly referred to as a “purchase money mortgage”-the homeowner’s liability on the mortgage is limited to the property itself. However, homeowners who refinanced the original purchase debt, even if only to obtain a lower interest rate, were not extended the same protections. SB 1178 corrects this unfairness and extends the same protections to consumers who refinance their home loans.

“Cash-out” debt for home improvement or consumer expenses is not protected by SB 1178. Similarly, additional new debt secured by the home, such as a home improvement loan, is not protected-only original acquisition debt.

“Today’s vote was a victory for homeowners in California, but the fight is not yet finished,” said C.A.R. President Steve Goddard. “We are urging Gov. Schwarzenegger to swiftly sign into law this crucial piece of legislation. Passage of SB 1178 will ensure lenders underwrite refinance loans at least as carefully as purchase money mortgages and will provide much-needed consumer protection.”

SB 1178 now moves to Gov. Schwarzenegger for his signature. If signed, SB 1178 will become effective June 2011.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with nearly 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles. ###

Federal Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyer Closing Deadline Extends to 09/30/10

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Updated July 1, 2010 – US Senate Passed this Bill and it is now at President Obama’s to be signed.

June 29, 2010 – US House extends Closing Deadline for First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit to 09/30/10 if they are in contract as of 04/30/10.

The homebuyer has to be in contract before 04/30/2010 and now close by 09/30/10 (instead of 06/30/10). This bill is going to the congress and is expected to pass.

This is in part due to the slow process by the lenders and loan servicers during the loan approval and loan funding process where two months escrow might not suffice to close escrow. However, I also fee the benefits to First Time Homebuyer in contract on Short Sale properties due to the notorious slowness in lender approval of short sales.

Hopefully the ones that are in contract on short sale as of 04/30/10 will also get the up to $8,000 tax credit if they close by 09/30/10. There is also the California Tax Credit of up to $10,000 which expires 12/31/10 – unlike the federal tax credit, this tax credit has to be claimed over a three year period.

_____________________________________________________

Sylvia Barr

_____________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frank Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.   Starter Home to Luxury Property.  REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architectural Distinctive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange.

Marin County Bank Owned / REO / Foreclosed Homes as of 07/16/09

MARIN COUNTY BANK OWNED / REO / FORECLOSED HOMES

UPDATED 07/16/09 (last updated 06/06/09)

By Popular Demand … Thanks for emailing… Here is the updated report as requested!

Due to strong demand from my past and current clients and the interest from the prospective clients, I am providing you with list of current Bank Owned (REO – Real Estate Owned, and Foreclosed) homes.  The list will be updated freqeuently depending on relevant activities.  

(Word of Wisdom from your Realtor –  In addition to REO (Bank Owned) properties, there are GREAT Deals out there if you look hard enough.  I will be able to help you to find the best property for you in Marin and Sonoma county, Bank Owned or Not!  (O.K. I still have to work on the new Blog ‘Tale of a Short Sale’, but there are other priorities)  

The towns included in this list are Marin County towns South Marin, Central Marin, North Marin and West Marin (yes, we even have a few in South, Central and West Marin).  Specifically: Belvedere, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio, Novato, Marin County, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales

Single Family Homes, Farms and Ranches are in one link; and Condos/Townhomes are in another link.  Note that the link expires in 30 days (Per MLS rule).

Marin County Bank Owned Single Family Homes   Marin County Bank Owned Single Family Homes (Updated 07/16/09)

It has been 1 and 1/2 months since I last (06/06/09) posted Marin REO proeprties – taking care of my clients tends to get in the way of posting online.  However, never hestiate to email me if you need current info.

The Marin housing market is heating up again, as evident in the new ‘sellers’ market.  Lack of supply and increasing demand play a big role in that – Economics 101, I am sure.  This can be attributed to a few reasons:  Continuing interest in first time homebuyers taking advantage of the up to $8,000 tax credit from the government, interest rates stay historicacl low, including the new friendly Jumbo ($729,000 in Marin county), consumer believing the market has hit the bottom (as evident by many multiple offers), the lenders are required to hold of for an additional 90 days before starting the foreclosure process – allowing distressed homeowners the opportunity to work out their loans with the lenders – we have heard quite a few successful loan modifications), short sales are getting easier to approve, less stress for buyers, and much more.  

And 1 and 1/2 months later, the famous, but accurate remark of: “The Bottom of the Market is Hindsight”   Don’t be the one who missed out on the opportunity.

Changes between 06/06/09 and 07/16/09!  for Single Family Homes

66 Totals!

  • 19 Active – Rumor had it and now Luxury REOs are finally on market.  Vacation at home with Bay and Mt. Tam views in Sausalito – speaking of breathtaking views!  check out that 178 Santa Rosa Avenue.  Belvedere REO? with stunning water view, small but sure

        ~ Continue watching for outstsanding properties on REO list! ~

  • 29 Pending (Contingent, Pending) a gorgeous home in Larkspur – 5 Wittshire Avenue, inescorw just after 3 days; 1190 Cambridge (short sale at $470K, now REO at $372,900) in escrow after 2 days, probably multiple offers too!  On the other hand, a major fixer (or tear down) in San Anselmo, first priced at $1,350,000 went into escrow when it was reduced to $1M in May. 
  • 18 Sold since 06/06/09 – Remember that super hot deal on Sun Lane? Sold for  $710K (12.72% over asking) ALL Cash. One of those, no offers, but then suddenly many offers came in.  A Shea Home in Pointe Marin closed in 21 days for $855K (last sale in 06 for $1,150,000)

Changes between 06/06/09 and 07/16/09 for  Marin County Bank Owned Townhomes / Condos  

54 Total Listings – 

Questions about the current market? a specific property? The Incentive?  Ready to Buy? Ready to Learn?  Call your trusted Realtor to give you personalized updates...

_________________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

 

How does Marin REO, Bank Owned, Short Sale Affect Marin Housing Prices?

14defaults_mdHow do Foreclosures, REOs (Bank Owned), Short Sales affect the Marin Housing Market? A question often discussed on the national, regional and local newspaper, but none can be better answered by your local Realtor.

Being a Marin Realtor active on many major online forums, I have been chatting online on and off with a future Marin (I think, or at least I hope, she is finally favoring Marin county after a year’s research) buyer for the past year.

marincountyreoShe has been on the fence to buy properties in Marin for just as long; mostly because she misses SoCal with warmer beaches, for personal reasons and, I think, having difficulty adjusting to the higher housing price in the Bay Area; especially Marin – Wanting an excellent location, great house, wonderful schools, but the higher price makes her think twice, …., and changes are always hard!

So, a year later, she posted a question about Marin Housing Market… she wonders if the future of foreclosures and REOs (Bank Owned Homes) in Marin will have an impact on the overall pricing.

Here is my answer to her question on how the foreclosures and Bank Owned properties are affecting Marin Real Estate Market:
———————————————————————-
“First, as I have always said, and I stand by that statement – Marin county, due to it’s unique qualities, does hold its value compare to other areas. Marin Real Estate value, although dropped some, will go back up sooner – but you have heard my preaching on that before, so I won’t go there.

As it’s in any market, the fundamental is if there are foreclosures and REOs, the price will go down; both due to the nature of foreclosures and REOs but also due to the fact that sellers that do HAVE to sell are realizing that fact, though, very reluctantly.

Novato, the north most part of Marin county has seen the blunt of it; especially the condo/townhome market, and entry level homes, but the trend also trickles down to the higher end market – really good for home buyers like yourself.

Southern Marin has largely been unaffected, but we are seeing a slow trend to go towards that way. Since those houses were mostly purchased with more equity in the homes, most are safe, but you do have very few that are not. Those will be the ones who suffer and bring down the values.

Some effect is also due to the general economy, which, for the first time in many years, affected the high tech and financial sectors; which in turn, affect the affordability of the higher end market here and in other desirable places of the Bay Area. You will see some of those houses, not nearly the magnitude of the lower end housing, but few will also go on the distressed list and prices in those dropping slightly.

On the flip side, Marin is Marin, and people do love Marin – make sure you go to http://www.SylviaSellsMarin.com to read about Marin County!

moneysign1The buyers who could not afford before, the bargain hunters, the ones who sold their homes before the market drop and are renting now, the investors, ..,etc are taking full advantage of this market and the declin(ed,ing) interest rate.

I know, because we have weekly office meetings discussing the traffic (and Frank Howard Allen is the #1 company in Marin county) and I personally hold open houses almost weekly for my sellers (always nice to get that one more buyer in for my sellers) and in doing so, I get a pulse of the market and customers, I see them out there.

A great deal is a great deal and they jump in there. Multiple offers and even flipping on homes are back again, and people with large down payments as well as cash buyers are moving in.

My clients and I looked at many areas, tons of houses, spend lots of months, and at times, write several offers before they get the best deals on the houses they want and need. But that’s what it takes in Real Estate, before, now and in the future, to get the right house

If you have a Realtor – and you should get one who will look out for your best interest – he/she should do the same for you. .

As always, I would love to actually talk to you about this and provide you with details. So, drop me an email or give me a call, if you will.

Best wishes in 2009!
Sylvia

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange.

Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services

Novato Real Estate Market Biweekly Overview, October 22, 2008

Stafford Lake County Park, Novato, CA

Novato Real Estate Market statistics stays pretty flat overall with a small 4% increase in pending sales compare to a month ago on September 24. 

The ratio is held steady by dwindling inventory – overall inventory dropped by another 10%, from 370 to 348; again due to more pending sales and either sellers taking properties off the market or waiting for the market to move upwards before they sell.   

The highest increases in pending sales again, is the starter single family homes priced under $600K, with up to $500K at 41% and $500K to $700K at 30%; mutual to slightly sellers market – mostly fixers, REOs (bank owned), short sales, all bargains from one or two years ago. 

This is a great time to buy, with bargains abound, whether it’s in Novato, San Rafael or Southern Marin.  Bank owned homes or sellers with plenty of equity are pricing homes low to attract multiple offers. 

One house in Kentfield, priced lower than normal, generated 12 offers.  Think about the other 11 who did not get accepted that are circling for well priced (or bargain basement priced) homes, ready to pounce when they finally find one. 

Higher end homes are staying stale – many move-up buyers need to sell their homes in order to buy are relunctant until their house is sold in this market.  

Give me a call at (415) 717-0293 or email me at sylvia@SylviaSellsMarin.com for inventories on the market, whether REO, Trust Sale, start home, luxury homes.. I will be very happy to find the best house / investment property for you! 

It will be a pleasure to serve you!  

category

 

Total Units/ In Escrow

 

% Active

 

% Pending

% +/- since 09/10/08

All SFD’s and CID’s

 

348/102

 

71%

 

29% (N)

-4%

SFD’s

 

256/59

 

77%

 

23% (B)

-1%

CID’s

 

92/43

 

53%

 

47% (S)

-10%

$0 -$500K SFD

 

66/27

 

59%

 

41% (S)

-10%

$500,001-$600K

 

27/8

 

70%

 

30% (B)

+11%

$600,001 – $700K

 

27/8

 

70%

 

30% (N)

+0%

$700,001 – $800K

 

36/7

 

81%

 

19% (B)

+0%

$800,001 – $999,999

 

31/3

 

90%

 

10% (B)

-6%

$1M – $1.25M

 

24/4

 

83%

 

17% (B)

+10%

$1.25M – $1.5M

 

24/0

 

100%

 

0% (B)

-5%

$1.5M+

 

21/2

 

91%

 

9% (B)

-1%

  • Buyer’s Market  < 25%
  • Neutral                25% – 40%
  • Seller’s Market   > 40%
 Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com
MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.   Starter Home to Luxury Property.  REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange.

Novato Real Estate Market Overview, June 25, 2008

                               Novato Landmark - Old City Hall                                   

Novato Real Estate Market Trend, June 25, 2008

As can see from the list below, the entry level Novato homes are enjoying a high percentage of pending sale than two weeks.  With the starting home price drops in Novato, and the avaiability of Short Sales and Bank Owned (REO) properties on the market, the first time homeowners and investors are out looking and actually buying. 

Several nicely priced mid range and higher end homes ($800K and up) are quickly claimed by ready buyers at the beginning of the summer housing season; a great time to shop and move. 

One reason of seeing increasing inventory, higher DOM (Days on Market) and higher pending rate is houses take longer to get out of pending status due to the much longer time required for lender to approve or disapprove the purchase. 

With proper guidance and patience, a savvy homebuyer will be able to get a fabulous buy. Make sure you do your research and your financing arrangement is ready when a great deal shows up.  With proper guidance from your Realtor and patience, a savvy homebuyer will be able to get a fabulous buy now!    

category

 

Total Units/ In Escrow

 

% Active

 

% Pending

% +/- since 5/28

All SFD’s and CID’s

 

457/117

 

74%

 

26%

+2%

SFD’s

 

333/74

 

78%

 

22%

+1%

CID’s

 

124/43

 

65%

 

35%

+3.5%

$0 -$500K SFD

 

50/26

 

48%

 

52%

+4%

$500,001-$600K

 

41/9

 

78%

 

22%

-2%

$600,001 – $700K

 

52/9

 

83%

 

17%

-4%

$700,001 – $800K

 

42/6

 

86%

 

14%

-9.5%

$800,001 – $999,999

 

52/10

 

81%

 

19%

+8%

$1M – $1.25M

 

38/8

 

79%

 

21%

+8%

$1.25M – $1.5M

 

24/3

 

87.5%

 

12.5%

+8.5%

$1.5M+

 

34/3

 

88%

 

12%

-4%

  • Buyer’s Market  < 25%
  • Neutral                25% – 40%
  • Seller’s Market   > 40%

Novato Real Estate Market Overview as of May 28, 2008

Interesting Novato Real Estate Market Trend, May 28, 2008

As there are more Short Sales and Bank Owned (REO) properties on the market, the trend is driving prices for short sales and REO properties downwards; attracting bargain hunters while higher end properties move slower and more cautiously.   

Coupled with the new programs since the announcement of the new Jumbo Loan limits, the consumers are out shopping again and will not wait when the right property comes along.  Instead of two loan threasholds, conforming (up to $417,000) and Jumbo (over $417,000); there are now three brackets – Conforming (up to $417,000), Super Conforming (between $417,000 and $729,250) and Jumbo ($729,250 and up).  The consumers are certainly taking advantage of that! 

For the lower end properties, some borrowers are checking into certain low income financing plan as well as the revived FHA loans (Check out FHA loans in another post). 

Many first time home buyers and people relocating from out of state or other california housing markets are quite excited about the prospect of finally being able to own a home in Marin county.  

Keep a close eye on the market. Make sure you get all your ducks in a row and jump in when a great deal comes along! you informed!   

category

 

Total Units/ In Escrow

 

% Active

 

% Pending

% +/- since 4/30

All SFD’s and CID’s

 

459/112

 

76%

 

24%

+3%

SFD’s

 

326/70

 

79%

 

21%

+3%

CID’s

 

133/42

 

68.5&

 

31.5%

+4.5%

$0 -$500K SFD

 

48/23

 

52%

 

48%

+24%

$500,001-$600K

 

41/10

 

76%

 

24%

-3%

$600,001 – $700K

 

43/9

 

79%

 

21%

-3%

$700,001 – $800K

 

51/12

 

76.5%

 

23.5%

+3.5%

$800,001 – $999,999

 

56/6

 

89%

 

11%

+6%

$1M – $1.25M

 

39/5

 

87%

 

13%

-7%

$1.25M – $1.5M

 

13/1

 

96%

 

4%

-12%

$1.5M+

 

25/4

 

84%

 

16%

+12%

  • Buyer’s Market  < 25%
  • Neutral                25% – 40%
  • Seller’s Market   > 40%