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Beware of Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud

by The Zac Team

 

 
Battling a foreclosure can be tremendously stressful and at times traumatic, however a homeowner is  never left without an option, and they can start looking for available resources to help them save their home and their credit score. Foreclosure issues, including legalities and technicalities, may overwhelm a homeowner, and this may make them an easy target for people who would like to take advantage of the situation.
 
Homeowners should beware of foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams. Scammers make promises they cannot keep, such as guarantees to save your home or lower your mortgage, for a fee. You should never have to pay for foreclosure assistance. Scammers also may pretend they have direct contact with your mortgage servicer when they do not. It is best to guard yourself and your well being by being informed. Homeowners must beware of anyone who asks for a fee in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan. They also should beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately or try to convince you they can save your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
 
Never make a mortgage payment to anyone without your mortgage company’s approval. It also helps to ask departments regarding offers that you are receiving that seem too good to be true. When dealing with people it is always best to research them. Do not be ashamed to inquire about them and the company they are working with. Most professionals give their information willingly, but scammers tend to hold up on their identity and sometimes talk in an overpowering way that leads you to agree with them and not ask questions. There are a lot of departments out there who can give you information nand help you avoid being scammed, like U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which provides tips and materials to help homeowners avoid mortgage modification and foreclosure rescue scams.
 
The Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network is a national coalition of governmental and private organizations created by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, NeighborWorks America™ and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to provide resources to educate homeowners about the dangers of loan modification scams and support federal, state and local efforts to combat these scams. If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, you can report the scam through the campaign's online complaint form.
 
The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force maintains a wide list of resources and information to help find and report suspected cases of financial fraud.
 
If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
(FTC). Visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) for assistance in English or Spanish.
 

Real Estate Expected to Reach Full Recovery in 2013

by the zac team @ RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

Greetings neighbors,

 Although the real estate industry has taken a beating, there is hope for full recovery. According to economists, the industry should reach recovery in 2013.

With factors such as foreclosure, shadow inventory, negative equity, and high unemployment, chief economists' in the real estate industry believe it will take at least 3 years before the market witnesses a normal balance.

It is predicted that home prices will continue to fall this year by an additional 1 to 3 percent hitting bottom during the 3rd quarter. In addition, relatively flat prices are expected with home prices experiencing a slight decrease struggling to keep up with inflation.

In April, twice as many homes were placed on the market than sold ultimately leading to an increase in foreclosure volume which is expected to reach its peak later this year.

One sure thing in relation to the recovery of the market is, only time will tell.





New Video Tutorial Released to Shed A Little More Light on the New HAFA Program

by the zac team @ RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

Hello neighbors,

There's a new video hitting the real estate scene to help homeowners gain a better understanding of the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA). The new video tutorial recently released by The Distressed Property Institute, LLC, explains the new short sale and deed-in-lieu processes created by HAFA.

"What in the World is HAFA" will educate homeowners on time lines, benefits, incentives, and best practices outlined by the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program released earlier this month on April 5th.

The HAFA program was implemented to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure by offering incentives for completing a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

Other releases by the institute have included "HAFA Decoded", a video viewed by approximately 10,000 real estate agents and a free resource called Understanding HAFA which provided homeowners and agents with information on the new HAFA program as well as answers to common questions.

 

Greetings neighbors,

As mentioned in yesterday's post "Thinking About A Short Sale? Here Are Common Mistakes........During the Process" we mentioned three common mistakes made by both agents and distressed homeowners during the short sale process. Here are four more common mistakes to be on the lookout for.

1) Not Enough Time

It is essential that your agent comprehends the foreclosure laws in your local area. You should expect your agent to provide you with an approximate timeline from start to closing. They should also understand the importance of communication with the lender. Specific information can be provided to postpone your foreclosure to negotiate a sale.

Solution: Provide Accurate and Useful Information

You will need to be certain to provide your agent with accurate payment information in reference to your home such as missed payments and any correspondence from your lender.  This will enable your agent to have a complete understanding of your situation.

2) Your Deal Is Not Submitted Properly

If you do not follow the submission directions properly you are basically placing the fate of your deal in an already stressed, overworked, and under staffed department which is not in your best interest.

Solution: Carefully Follow Instructions

Double check everything and make sure to follow through. If you're instructed to fax over information, send the fax plus go the extra mile and mail the information as well. In addition, if you're asked to mail two copies do exactly that, mail two copies. You don't want to have your deal fall apart do to your information not being received.

3) The Buyer's Offer is Too Low

Most of the time, agents will advise you to submit any offer your receive. However, you must keep in mind that the lender is looking for an offer that's better than a foreclosure.

Solution: Proper Negotiation

If you have the right agent, he or she will work with you to negotiate any offer received to help you get the highest and the best from potential buyers. 

4) The Buyer's Contract Is Not Strong Enough

Especially in today's economy, just because a buyer make an offer doesn't mean they're qualified to purchase. Buyers who make offers still need to be pre approved for financing, closing funds must be verified, and the buyer's ability to buy needs to confirmed.

Solution: An Agent Familiar With Qualifying Buyers

Your agent needs to be fully educated on the short sale process as well as familiar with the verification needed to determine a qualified buyer to submit an offer.  If not, these offers have a great chance of falling through.

Looking for a CDPE? Contact the zac team RE/MAX Greater Atlanta. Address: 1057 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30306
Phone: (404) 564-7200

Thinking About A Short Sale? Here Are Common Mistakes Among Agents and Homeowners During the Process

by the zac team @ RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

Hello neighbors,

Despite what some may think, deciding to do a short sale on your distressed home is not such a bad idea. However, when deciding on a short sale, it's imperative for the home owner to understand the short sale process. In addition, it is also important for the agent handling your short sale to fully understand the process. The following are common mistakes prevalent among both agents and homeowners during a short sale.

1: Your Property Is Priced Incorrectly

     One of the most common mistakes during the short sale process which

     leads to a property not selling.

     Solution: Agent Providing Understanding and Transparency

     A detailed pricing list strategy will be explained to you by your agent

     which will show you the precise price your home should be listed as

     based on its current condition, your local area sales, and how much time

     you have to sell your home.

2: Your Short Sale Proposal Is Incomplete

     Due to most agents who are not certified distressed property experts not

     fully knowing the short sale process and exactly what the lender is look

     for, this is one of the most common cause of a short sale proposal being

     being rejected.

     Solution: Understand Every Aspect of the Short Sale Process

     The agent you are working with should have a detailed understanding of

     the short sale process and should be able to give you a full explanation.

     In addition, the agent should have the ability to easily communicate with

     you and other lenders and produce a strong and completed proposal.

3:  There Has Been Inadequate Follow - Up And Communication

     Your short sale can easily be jeopardized if your agent doesn't

     adequately communicate with all parties involved in the process.

      In some instances, you may not be aware of your file being

     delayed and that you may run out of time.

 

      Thinking about a short sale and need more information? Contact us,

       the zac team RE/MAX Greater Atlanta.

Experts Suggest 4 Options to End Negative Equity

by the zac team @ RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

Hello neighbors,

With the continuation of dropping home prices and families getting behind on their mortgage, experts feel that finding a solution for the underwater crisis may take some time. In addition to the Obama administration's plan to give 5 states 1.5 billion to devise programs to assist unemployed homeowners behind on their mortgages, experts feel these four options would also help.

Principal Reductions: Get rid of the negative equity. In order to do this, banks would need to modify loans as well as write down principal owed to reflect a home's value on the current market. Supporters of this solution feel that foreclosures are proving to be more costly. However, lenders will endure major losses if large portions of the loans are written down. In addition, complications may set in if there's a second mortgage or lines or credit.

Stabilize Home Prices: Some U.S. banks have started leasing foreclosed homes back to the original owners. In addition, home prices can be stabilized by controlling the release of distressed property into the current market.

Help for Unemployed Workers: The Mortgage Bankers Association is now considering a program that will give relief to home owners who have lost their jobs. The program would reduce mortgages for up to nine months to a more affordable rate which would be based on the income of the household. The National Bankers Association has requested for the government to add this tool to the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Freeze Foreclosure: Some experts feel that foreclosure freezes would give servicers the time to evaluate homeowners for loan modifications. The more people that are able to stay in their homes the closer we become to solving the problem of negative equity.

Recent Poll Shows Americans Support for Government Aid In Obtaining and Keeping Homes

by the zac team @ RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

Greetings neighbors,

In a recent survey from U.S. households, Americans feel the government should continue in their quest to help U.S. citizens obtain homes. Out of both homeowners and renters that were polled, 68% feel that the government should continue their efforts while 65% feel the U.S. government needs to do more to keep families out of the way of foreclosures.

In addition, it's not just home owners who feel that the government needs to do more in reference to foreclosure, the survey showed 84% of renters feel that more needs to be done. Out of that percentage the issue regarding foreclosure seems to be of more importance to women with 71% requesting more foreclosure protection opposed to only 58% of men.

Another group that overwhelmingly supports more home owner protection is first-time home buyers under 30 years of age which accounted for 78% in comparison to 68% of 30-40 year old move-up buyers.

This poll was conducted for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) by RT Strategies.

Hello neighbors,

In the market to buy a home, looking for the best deal? Now and days as those of you who follow the real estate market may know, foreclosures are heavy on the market. Here's a guide on how to buy a home that may be in foreclosure.

Find a Property: You can do this by logging onto an online real estate site and search for the property most appealing to you. You will also need to decide on the status of foreclosure in which you want to search under.

Get Financing: By obtaining financing you will have your budget set and know the price range of the home you can afford. This will also show the borrower/lender or foreclosure lender that you mean business.

Contact an Agent: This is especially beneficial if you are a first time buyer and especially if you're interested in purchasing a foreclosure. Contacting an agent will be very helpful to you during this process.

Contact Owner: When buying a property in pre - foreclosure, the seller of the home will be the owner in default, trustee, or foreclosure lender. You will need to contact one of these people and present an offer to buy.

Make an Offer: The final step would be to make an offer. If this is your first time buying a foreclosed property it is probably a good idea to have an agent assist you with making the offer.

The Top 10 Real Estate Events of 2009

by the zac team @ RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

Hello neighbors,

When a new year approaches us, we have a tendency to go back and take a look at what the previous year brought. In last week's post, Farewell to 2009, and Welcome 2010, we listed 7 memorable events and deaths of 2009.

Well today, we bring you a list of the top 10 most memorable events pertaining to the real estate market in 2009 from NewsGeni.us.

#10 Houston Becomes #1 REALTOR® Association

In August 2009, the Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR) officially became the largest local Realtor® board in the United States following a recent rise in membership and a decline in membership at the Long Island (New York) Board of Realtors® (LIBOR). HAR, with a membership of 23,354 surpassed its long standing rival for the top slot by 118.These two have long been the largest local associations by far, with the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors® holding the third spot with nearly 10,000 fewer members. Congratulations to Bob Hale and his team.

#9 Metro Brokers Switches Franchise Brands

With 2,000 sales associates the brand switch Metro Brokers made in December 2009 from GMAC to Better Homes & Gardens recorded the largest move of one brokerage company from one franchise brand to another. The departure away from the #1 GMAC franchise in the world to become the #1 BH&G franchise in the world was a major move and strongly refutes the high value many franchises have attached to their brands. Many observe this move as the beginning of more swaps to come as franchisees increasingly look for more than just a name. They want visionary leadership, quality training, technology, internet and social media savvy solutions and, above all, a dependable partner.

#8 RE BarCamp Sets Event Benchmark

RE BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering of people (real estate professionals from different facets of the business) that share and learn in an open environment. It is widely referred to as an “unconvention” with no pre-determined programs or invited guest speakers delivering PowerPoint presentations from a stage. Rather the structure follows a round table of open discussion concerning topics sourced from the registrants and as a result of interaction between attendees. It may only have started in August 2008 but in 2009 it exploded to over 20 major cities across the country and is currently one of “the happening” events in real estate.

#7 RVM’s & AVM’s Become Strategic

AVM (Automated Valuation Model) is the term widely used to describe providing property valuation by using a mathematical algorithm based on the data. In real estate, AVMs calculate the value of a specific property by analyzing the value of comparable properties sold and registered. The newly announced RVM (Realtor® Valuation Model) follows the same mathematical analysis but hopes to aggregate the information available from 700+ MLS' (Multiple Listing Service) across the country. The NAR, the driver behind the RVM, hopes that this model will become the default valuation method for all financial institutions nationwide. If achieved, this will be a major industry game changer.

#6 Realtor® Credit Union Celebrates First Year of Operation

Exactly one year ago at the 2008 Realtors® Conference & Expo in Orlando the NAR announced that it had received regulatory approval and a charter for Realtors® Federal Credit Union (RFCU). The Rockville, Maryland-based Credit Union works in partnership with the NAR as a Realtor® Benefits Program Partner, but it operates totally separate from the NAR with its own board of directors and management team.  Now, one year later, RFCU has 3,000 members, $25 million in assets, $16 million in deposits and $8 million in loans, making it larger than 60% of all credit unions today; impressive. With a stated goal of being in the top 5% of all credit unions within 5 years the RFCU is definitely a sleeping giant.

#5 Keller Williams Climbs to Third Largest Real Estate Franchise

In March, Keller Williams Realty Inc. announced at its 2009 annual convention that it had moved ahead of RE/MAX International to now claim the third-largest real estate franchise in the U.S with 72,794 associates at the end of 2008. This was according to a study by Steve Murray of REAL Trends. According to Keller Williams the growth gained momentum during the last three years of the down turn where it outpaced most other real estate franchises that had lost agents. During the period from 2006 to 2008 KW increased its associate count by an astonishing 52%. Watch out Century 21 and Coldwell Banker. You have someone coming up fast in your rear view mirror.

#4 Short Sales & Foreclosures Maintain High Visibility

After increasing more than 30% per year for the last four years, some estimate that foreclosures will drop to about 1.75 million in 2010/11. The Treasury Department continues to place pressure on mortgage lenders to make trial loan modifications permanent. Furthermore in December the Treasury set long-awaited guidelines designed to simplify and speed up the short sale process through its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program. Until now the short sale process has been cumbersome for all involved; taking as long as eight to ten months to get a transaction to close. The program goes into effect April 5, 2010.

#3 Brookfield RPS Acquires a Great Solution

Announcing their second largest acquisition in November 2009 Brookfield RPS became the owner of Real Living Network Services. Combining all the residential real estate brokerage companies Brookfield now owns in Canada and the U.S., they are one of North America’s Top 10 leading residential real estate franchises with more than $20 billion in annual home sales and an estimated 30,000 agents. The reason the Ohio-based Real Living acquisition is such a great solution for Brookfield is that the GMAC franchise they acquired last year was lacking momentum, a CEO and contractually had to replace the name. This acquisition provided them a solution for all three challenges with very little duplication.

#2 RPR Becomes the NAR Convention Buzz

Squeezing in a botched (who was invited and who wasn’t) and a confusing (intermingling a B2B and B2C initiative) talking head video press announcement a week before the NAR convention was surprising. However, the timing was great as the buzz propelled the Realtors® Property Resource (RPR) into the most discussed and debated topic at the convention. Billed as the largest single source of real estate information in the world and the “ultimate” member benefit it is also ridiculed as a threat to MLS' across the country.  One thing is certain, it is the most significant project undertaken by the NAR in years.

#1 Extended Tax Credit Helps Boost Housing Market

In the hopes of sustaining the real estate market's recent momentum, President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 in November, extending the FTHBC until April 2010. The legislation includes language that significantly expands the popular first-time homebuyer tax credit to more than two-thirds of current homeowners and nearly all first-time buyers. This, in its own, will not save the housing market but it sparked a rush to buy homes before the extension was approved in November. This resulted in an increase of 7.4% over October for a record 545,000 housing units sold. With rising unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery, let's hope that the incentive created by the Tax Credit carries the housing market through to the summer of 2010.

Homeowners in Foreclosure Do Have Options Part 2

by the zac team @ RE/MAX Greater Atlanta

Greetings Neighbors,

As discussed in yesterday's post, 'Homeowners in Foreclosure Do Have Options', we revealed five options for those who may be facing the situation of their home's possibly going into foreclosure. Well here are the other five options that owners may have.

Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy is often times seen as a quick fix to foreclosure which can be, depending on the situation. If a homeowner have debts that are not related to their mortgage but is causing them to be late with their mortgage payments and filing bankruptcy will alleviate these debts then bankruptcy may be a solution.

Refinance: This option is available if the homeowner's credit is still in good standing and if there is a sufficient amount of equity on in the property.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (Military Personnel Only): If the homeowner is an active member of the military and experience financial difficulty due to being deployed and can prove that is the reason for the debt he or she may qualify under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Sell The Property: If there's an adequate amount of equity in a property, a homeowner can list their property with an agent that comprehends the foreclosure process and sell the property.

Short Sale: This option is available when an homeowner owes more on a mortgage than what it's worth. When this is the case, he or she may hire a qualified real estate agent to sale the property through a short sale negotiation. To qualify, the homeowner must have some type of financial hardship and able to provide proof. Some hardships that will qualify include but are not limited to: Job loss, divorce, or excessive debt.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

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Photo of Zac Pasmanick  Real Estate
Zac Pasmanick
RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside
600 Virginia Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30306
Office: 404-564-7272

 

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