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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 27

Future of Mortgage Giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Shall Be Determined Next Month

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Greetings neighbors,

According to recent reports, The Obama Administration has decided to hold a conference in August to determine the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after being criticized for not having a set plan for the mortgage giants.

As for a little background of the two, these companies were created by the U.S. government as a combination of private company and federal agency to assist with the availability of mortgages. The two companies purchase home loans from lenders, package them into bonds with a guarantee against default, and sell them to investors. Both companies combined own or guarantee approximately 31 million home loans in the U.S. that are worth more than $5 trillion. This number makes up more than half of all the country's mortgages.

Two years ago, the two companies started experiencing financial difficulty and was soon taken over by the government.

Early this week, the Obama Administration said they will hold the conference on August 17th at the Treasury Department.

Great Traditional Home at a Great Price!

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Hello neighbors,

Here we offer you a great investment at an excellent price! Located at 1813 Newman Place, this 5 bedroom, 3 full bath home is excellent for a growing family.

With features such as hardwood flooring, open floor plan, and thermal pane windows you are guaranteed to feel good about purchasing this home.

The home's kitchen will also provide satisfaction with features including: stained cabinets, pantry, view to family room, and laminated counter tops!

As for the bedrooms, you will appreciate this home's split bedroom plan with one bedroom located on the main level.

As for the exterior features, you will find a driveway and parking pad for your parking convenience.

This traditional home is practically a steal, and definitely a must see!

View pictures here!

New Home Sales Have Risen!

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Greetings neighbors,

According to recent data from the U.S. Commerce Department, the number of sales for newly built single family homes is rising nicely after hitting record lows back in May. Recent reports showed a 23.6% rise to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000 units last month.

Industry experts feel that recent numbers are very encouraging as well as a sign that sales for these homes are bouncing back from the much anticipated slow period following the expiration of the tax credit.

When comparing the country's regions, sales rose tremendously in 3 out of 4 regions with the Northeast producing the largest increase in percentage with a 46.4% gain. In addition, the South followed with a 33.1% gain and the Midwest with a 20.5% gain. The West was the only region that did not experience any improvement in new-home sales, but fell to a record low of 6.6%.

Lovely Traditional Ranch in Morningside, A Must See!

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Hello neighbors,

Check out this must see at 1866 Wildwood in lovely Morningside. You will absolutely love this traditional brick 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath with plenty of space!

This home contains features such as a lovely kitchen with breakfast area, stain cabinets, and view to the family room. The main cook of the family will certainly enjoy preparing wonderful meals with the kitchen's high end appliances.

One is sure to appreciate the home's bedrooms with hardwood flooring and the 3 full bathrooms all in which have been re-done with basin sinks, steam and panel showers, and a whirlpool tub in the master!

As for the lower level of this great home, the new owners will be delighted to learn that it was refinished only 3 years ago with the addition of a new laundry room with laundry chute. Other highlights that are sure to please you include: hardwoods, bay window, and a beautifully landscaped yard!

A few exterior features of the home worth noting include a wonderful deck, fenced yard, attached two car carport, and garden area. Another worthy highlight of the home includes a fully finished basement with 1 bath and exterior entry.

If you're looking for spacious and traditional family home, this ranch is definitely a must see!

View pictures of this home here!

HAMP and HAFA Programs

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

What if you didn’t have to fight foreclosure alone?
New alternatives are available

The government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program is here… and you need an advocate.

You may have heard it before - it’s taking effect: our federal government is actively trying to combat the millions of foreclosures happening across the country. To address this need for new options, an initiative is in effect called the Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, or HAFA. While the details of what this means to the government, lenders, services and agents are complicated, homeowners need to clearly understand the new solutions available.

This article provides a straightforward explanation of HAFA and, more importantly, what it means to homeowners.

First: What is HAMP?

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was introduced in March of 2009 to assist homeowners whose mortgage payments were too high for their income levels (more specifically, those exceeding 31% of income).

For homeowners whose mortgage payments are only slightly out of reach, HAMP can lower the payments, allowing them to stay in their homes, Unfortunately, for most homeowners facing financial hardship, HAMP can’t offer a large enough mortgage reduction, so most who enter the program don’t qualify or end up defaulting on the modified mortgages.

Whether through government programs or a lender, this can be a difficult process to understand. Please contact me if you would like to find out if you qualify for a mortgage modification.

OK, so what is HAFA?

SPECIFICS

In order to qualify for the HAFA program, you first have to meet the initial HAMP criteria.

You must:

  1. Be delinquent on your mortgage or face imminent risk of default;
  2. Occupy the property as your primary residence;
  3. Have a mortgage originated on or before January 1, 2009;
  4. Have an unpaid principle balance no greater than $729,750 for a one-unit property; AND
  5. Have total monthly mortgage payments exceeding 31 percent of your gross income.
If you meet the above criteria, but a mortgage modification still leaves you with an unaffordable mortgage, HAFA becomes your primary solution to avoid foreclosure, salvage your credit score, and move on with dignity through a short sale or deed-in-lieu.

HAFA, or Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, is the government’s newest program put in place to benefit homeowners who do not qualify for HAMP assistance. Released in April 2010, this program is designed to expedite foreclosure avoidance options for homeowners in need. By promoting the swift execution of a short sale or deed-in-lieu, HAFA can potentially save millions of homeowners from the financially devastating event of foreclosure.

In a short sale,
the property is sold for less than the mortgage amount in order to avoid the foreclosure process.

In a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure,
the property is given fully to the lender because the homeowner can no longer make payments, and the property is then sold to retrieve part of the loan balance owed.

HAFA only applies to loans that are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. A HAFA short sale or deed-in-lieu only applies to first lien mortgage loans, but the program does offer lender incentives to assist homeowners who have multiple mortgages on their property.

How Can HAFA Help ME?

HAFA can potentially save you a lot of grief and heartache by crating standardized processes and setting limits on how long a lender can wait to respond to short sale requests. Currently, short sales can be lengthy transactions, making it difficult for potential buyers of your home to remain in the process.

The program requires participating lenders to determine what they are willing to accept before dealing with a short sale request – similar to other pre-approval processes. This is so the lender can’t abruptly change how much money it wants to receive from the short sale. The fewer curveballs a lender can throw the better.

HAFA also benefits homeowners by stopping a lender’s ability to pursue a deficiency judgment after a short sale or deed-in-lieu has been completed.

A deficiency judgment is an action taken against a debtor or borrower whose foreclosure sale or short sale did not cover the entire mortgage debt owed to the lender. A lender’s ability to pursue this course depends on the conditions of the original loan.

Prohibition of a deficiency judgment means a lender can’t come knocking on a homeowner’s door to collect the portion of the mortgage not covered by the transaction. Such protection allows homeowners to more quickly regain financial stability and move on with your life.

Homeowners may also receive a $3,000 incentive upon completion of a short sale.

Why Are Lenders Participating?

HAFA offers lenders an incentive of up to $6,000 for a successfully processed short sale or deed-in-lieu. The lenders are not permitted to charge homeowners any processing fees or out-of-pocket expenses, and this incentive is given to them in exchange for that limitation.

The truth is a select few lenders and mortgage servicers may not participate in the HFA program. But despite this, a lender almost always loses more money in a foreclosure than in a short sale or deed-in-lieu. If a lender is convinced that a homeowner has no way of paying the current mortgage, they will be concerned with salvaging as much of their investment as possible, so short sales are generally the best option for them as well.

What If The Agent Can’t Find a Buyer for The Home?

If a short sale is attempted under HAFA and a transaction does not close by the program deadline, the lender will receive the homeowner’s deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This will provide effectively the same result, since either way will result in a more positive solution to foreclosure, mortgage debt will be forgiven, credit scores will be salvaged, and homeowners will receive the $3,000 incentive to help with moving costs.

Which Lenders Are Currently Participating?

Generally speaking, lenders who participate in HAFA are also participating in HAMP. As a CDPE, Zac can always provide the most up-to-date list of lenders participating in HAFA. You can get the current list of participating lenders here.  

There is a lot to understand about this program and many aspects of it are likely to change. As a CDPE, Zac pays close attention to the changes as they happen, so that you can get the most relevant, current information, and the best possible service. If you would like to find out more about the HAMP or HAFA programs, or if someone you know needs assistance in avoiding foreclosure, please don’t hesitate to contact Zac at 404.564.7272. We’re here to help.

These (HAFA) options eliminate the need for potentially lengthy and expensive foreclosure proceedings, preserve the physical condition and value of the property by reducing the time a property is vacant, and allow the homeowners to transition with dignity to more affordable housing.

- David Stevens,
Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration

Hello neighbors,

As for the weekly mortgage rates for the week ending July 22nd, Freddie Mac reported 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to be at 4.56% with an average 0.7 point for the week on their weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. This week's average was down from both last week's average of 4.57% and last year's average of 5.20%.

This week's 15-year FRM came in at an average record low of 4.03% with an average 0.7 point which also showed a decrease from last week's average of 4.06% and last year's average of 4.68%.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM dropped from last week's average of 3.85% to 3.79% this week with an average point of 0.6. Last year during this time the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM was sitting at 4.74%.

Lastly, the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM produced an average of 3.70% with an average 0.7 point this week according to Freddie's report. This number, like the others, also showed a decrease from last week's average of 3.74% and last year's average of 4.77%.

Like the previous weeks, this week's mortgage rates reached record lows for Freddie Mac's survey.

Lovely Antebellum Beauty @ 826 Saint Charles Place, A Must See!

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Greetings neighbors,

Take a look at this Antebellum beauty located at 826 Saint Charles Place in Virginia Highland! This 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath is more than enough room for the average family with an additional 1 bedroom, 1 bath carriage house located in the back of this wonderful home.

With features such as 10ft ceilings, an entrance foyer, his & her closets, fireplace, wet bar, ceiling fans, and hardwood floors, you are guaranteed to enjoy spending quality time with your friends and family in this lovely home.

In addition, a cook's dream awaits in the home's kitchen with features such as: a breakfast area, walk-in pantry, and a view to the family room!

Exterior features that are sure to please the future owners of this lovely home include but are not limited to: fenced yard, front porch, garden area, a one car garage, auto garage door, and driveway.

Other notable features include: great room, library/office, media room, recreation room, and separate living room!

This is a must see located in the heart of Virgina Highland with excellent restaurants, shops, nightlife, and etc!

Areas we serve: Decatur Georgia, Buckhead Atlanta Georgia, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Avondale Estates, Ansley Park, Virginia Highland, Poncey-Highland, Poncey Highland, Morningside, Candler Park, Grant Park, Lake Claire, Druid Hills, Emory, Inman Park, Downtown Atlanta, Midtown Atlanta, Little Five Points, Edgewood, Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, East Atlanta, Kirkwood, Oakhurst, Medlock, Fernbank, Castleberry Hill, East Lake, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Atlanta lofts, Atlanta condos, Atlanta luxury condos, Atlanta townhouses

 

The Number of Single Family Starts Barely Move During June 2010

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Greetings neighbors,

According to recent numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department, figures barely changed last month in single family housing starts. There was a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000 units last month.

On the multifamily side, there was a decrease of 21.5% producing a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 95,000 units which contributed to the 5% decrease in the overall housing production number, which produced a number of 549,000 unit-rates.

As for a regional breakdown, all four regions experienced declines in overall housing production which produced numbers such as: a decline of 11.3% in the Northeast, 6.9% decline in the Midwest, 2.4% decline in the South, and a 5.9% decline in the West.

Industry leaders state that the decrease in these numbers have had an effect on builders causing a more cautious group.

Financial Reform and its Future Impact on U.S. Homeowners and Buyers

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Hello neighbors,

It seems that financial reform may have an impact on both home buyers and owners alike in the future. With the recent passing of the massive reform law, take a look at two main components that have potential to make a major impact.

Harder to Qualify for a Mortgage:

The new law governs certain guidelines that lenders must follow when making loans. Now that these guidelines are actually written into law, lenders may find it even more difficult to loosen them once the economy and housing market gets back on track. Under the new law, lenders are required to document the borrower's income. However, this new law does not specify the terms under which the loan can be made. With that being said, lenders may be persuaded to tighten their guidelines to stay within the safe zone of the new law.

Higher Mortgage Rates:

There are a couple of sections within the new law that will increase future mortgage rates. The new law will require lenders to maintain a 5% stake in loans they originate unless those loans meet a particular criteria. With that being said, lenders will not be able to remove some of the higher risk affiliated with these loans. In addition, this will cause the interest rates on these types of loans to increase.

Despite these factors, there are positive attributes to the bill such as consumer protections relating to pre-payment penalties. In addition, with mortgage rates being at record lows, buyers should take advantage now and get qualified for a mortgage opposed to waiting and being affected by the above mentioned components of the new law in the future.

Using Facebook and Fan Pages effectively

by the zac team at Ponce Realty

Here is an email that was forwarded to us about social networking:

RISMEDIA, July 15, 2010—If we turn the clock back 30 years ago, when we started down this path as real estate agents, it was all about “Call us if you want to sell your home or find a home.” Eventually, we moved from a selling and listing focus to a marketing and then social marketing focus. In the last 2-3 years in particular, however, our industry has experienced perhaps our most significant shift—we’ve moved from being a product-based industry to an advice-based industry. This is exactly where social media comes in.

 

As real estate professionals, social media allows us to expand our reach and can help position us as what I call “knowledge leaders.” But this doesn’t happen just by posting or tweeting. Using social media effectively requires creating a specific strategy, and this strategy must revolve around providing content, because this business is no longer about us, it’s about understanding what we can provide in terms of advice. It’s no longer about who we know—it’s about who knows us and this is where social media plays a big role.

 

It’s all about understanding what’s important to the consumer not us (the agent). In today’s climate, there’s an enormous amount of confusion in terms of real estate and the public is being heavily influenced by the national media and the national statistics they put forth. But we all know that real estate is local and every region, state, city, and neighborhood has its own individual story to tell. Social media gives us the chance to get granular and deliver accurate facts and information about our local communities to our social networks.

 

Top 5 in Real Estate Member Krisstina Wise from the Good Life Team in Austin, Texas, admits that while a lot of real estate agents are paying a lot of attention to social media, they’re not getting a good rate of return on their time and investment. While social media is a great tool to amplify our reach, brand, and network, agents must be authentic as well as personal to be effective.

 

Having rich content to share is critical as is providing information on a localized level. Those real estate professionals, like Krisstina, who are leveraging social media effectively, are using a well-defined, content-oriented strategy.

 

Social media also provides us with a chance to share our sincere excitement and love for our communities and, in turn, our knowledge about those communities. As Greg Rand of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty in Westchester County, New York, so aptly states, “think of Facebook as the backyard barbeque.” A site like Facebook allows you to become the local advocate of your community and share news such as Little League scores and new restaurant reviews. But be careful not to be the person at the barbeque who everyone runs away from because all we’re doing is trying to sell homes. Instead, use the power of indirect selling.

 

You will offend people if you post a new listing or buyer story more than once a week. Instead, share something unique about the listing or the buyer's experience without actually talking about the listing or the house they bought and also use the power of pictures and videos, because people would rather watch something than read something.

 

For example, take a picture of something interesting around or near the property and post it on your Facebook page. This will draw comments from Facebook friends, but it also subtly plants a seed in people’s minds about the property being for sale OR how you helped a buyer achieve their goal.

 

Posing a question is another great way to generate. Post a question such as, “What’s a good backyard grill?” or “What’s the best Italian restaurant in town?” and you’ll generate a spirited debate. Such a tactic humanizes us and makes us more approachable while at the same time reinforces the fact that we are all about the community.

 

Agents who are simply posting that they went to the store to buy bread and milk are falling down because they are not focusing on this type of content-oriented strategy. They are losing money because they are wasting their time on social media without a clear plan.

 

Be knowledgeable and be positive in your posts, because people want to deal with people who are upbeat. Providing rich, relevant news is the way to effectively expand your sphere and gain the social media ROI you are looking for.

 

George “Gee” Dunsten, president of Gee Dunsten Seminars, Inc., has been a real estate agent and broker/owner for almost 40 years, and a senior instructor with the Council of Residential Specialist for more than 20 years.

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Photo of Zac Pasmanick  Real Estate
Zac Pasmanick
RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside
1189 S. Ponce de Leon Avenue
Atlanta GA 30306
Office: 404-564-7272

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