Foreclosures & Short Sales

5 Tips for Selling a Home in a Successful Short Sale

Short sales are a last resort for home sellers trying to avoid foreclosure. For struggling borrowers, a short sale could really offer the only chance to avoid foreclosure and all of the financial repercussions that can go along with it. While short sales still ding a borrower’s credit, it can be better financially to sell a house in a short sale than to go through foreclosure.

That being said, short sales are still stressful, time-consuming and complicated. Here are five tips to help you successfully navigate the process of short selling a home.

  1. Pick your short sale...

Unemployed FHA Borrowers Get a Slight Reprieve

Homeowners that have loans received with the assistance of the Federal Housing Administration could have some relief in the case that they become unemployed. Loan servicers collecting payments on FHA-backed loans will now be required to allow qualified unemployed borrowers to miss up to 12 months of mortgage payments before beginning foreclosure proceedings.

The FHA's current three to four months of required unemployment forbearance is "inadequate for the majority of unemployed borrowers," Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan said in announcing the change.

"Today, 60 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for more than three months and 45 percent have been out of work for more than six," Donovan said. "Providing the option for a year of forbearance will give struggling homeowners a substantially greater chance of finding employment before they lose their home."

Although not all borrowers will qualify for...

Minnesota Foreclosures Continue to Drag on the Real Estate Market

The foreclosure crisis is far from over. Last year there were 25,673 foreclosure sales in Minnesota, an 11% increase over 2009 and the second-worst year on record.

According to a new report from the Minnesota Home Ownership Center, more than half of all of the foreclosure sales in the state last year happened in the Twin Cities metro area, where sheriff’s sales rose 9%. In greater Minnesota the number of sales was up 16%.

Foreclosures have been a drag down the housing market, pushing prices down and leaving an excess in available housing inventory. The situation was particularly bad in some of the communities north and northwest of the Twin Cities. Anoka and Hennepin Counties had the highest foreclosure rate statewide last year.


Impending Flood of Foreclosure Homes

A new study from the CoreLogic real estate research firm shows that the number of houses in foreclosure or soon bound for it is increasing. As of August, this "shadow inventory" of distressed homes not yet on the market has grown 10% since last year.

Analysts are keeping a close watch on the number of possible future distressed sales because of the effect they have on home prices throughout the market. Foreclosure and short sale homes often directly compete with traditional listings, dragging down the prices of homes that might surround it. Additionally, untended bank-owned listings that are boarded make nearby houses seem less desirable.

When comparing the supply of listings for houses that are 90 days or more delinquent with the current sales pace, Minnesota ranked 13th nationwide, beating out even Michigan and several other states with...

Home Affordable Refinance Program Extended

The Home Affordable Refinance Program was set to expire in June, but the Obama administration announced Monday that borrowers with little or no equity in their homes will have another year to take advantage of the refinancing program.

So far it has reached fewer than 200,000 of the up to 5 million borrowers federal regulators hoped it would help. However, market conditions have not changed significantly since the program was launched last year. So to give lenders more time to implement the plan and to support market stability, the initiative will be extended to June 2011.

The program is aimed at the millions of borrowers whose home values have been diminished by a weak housing market. It also meant for people who owe more than their houses are worth, making it impossible for them to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates....

Successful Programs Put Buyers into Foreclosed Homes

Forgivable-loan programs aimed at helping lower-income home buyers have put nearly 200 participants into foreclosed houses in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. Both cities have offered up to $10,000 for closing or down payment costs to eligible participants who buy foreclosed homes. The interest-free loans are forgiven if the buyer lives in the home for five years.

In Minneapolis, 147 participants have bought homes this year in foreclosure-ridden neighborhoods, mostly in the north, northeast and south-central parts of the city, said Cheris Shoquist, city foreclosure project coordinator.

About 50 others have bought foreclosed homes across Brooklyn Center since that city's program began in March, said Gary Eitel, community development director.

The Brooklyn Center City Council has been updated on the program and has decided to continue it. It gets its funding from $1 million in new taxes...

Wells Fargo Partnering with Twin Cities to Reduce Foreclosures

Are you late on mortgage payments, facing foreclosure and have a loan through Minnesota's largest home lender, Wells Fargo? Don't ignore your mail.

San Francisco-based bank Wells Fargo & Co. will turn to the Twin Cities  for help in reaching troubled homeowners. Early next year, Wells Fargo and the two governments of Minneapolis and St. Paul will hold joint workshops where people late on their mortgages can apply to have their loan payments reduced.

Invitations to the events will have Wells Fargo's and the city's names on the envelopes and letterheads in the hopes of getting beleaguered mortgage holders' attention.

This is the first time that Wells Fargo has joined with city governments to reach struggling homeowners facing foreclosure. The partnership comes after the Mortgage Bankers Association announced that 6.98% of nearly 900,000 mortgage holders in...

Mortgage Delinquencies Reach an All-Time High in Minnesota

92,500 Minnesota homeowners are facing or are in foreclosure. The Mortgage Bankers Association says that roughly 62,000 Minnesota mortgage holders were behind on their payments in the third quarter, a record high. Loans in the process of foreclosure rose in the state and the nation from July through September of this year.

Nationwide, there are about 4.3 million mortgages that are at least 30 days past due. That's the highest since the association started tracking data in 1972. Minnesota ranks 39th in the number of delinquencies but 15th in foreclosures started. Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada lead the nation in mortgage problems.

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center, which provides housing counseling, is seeing demand for its services grow. The group counseled 12,000 individuals last year. They expect to serve 15,000 consumers by year-end.
Of concern to the state's housing experts is the shift from the bulk of troubled loans being the subprime variety...

Some Twin Cities Real Estate News Food for Thought

The Associated Press recently came out with an article that basically said that $1 million dollars is going a lot further when it comes to buying homes these days. Even so, sales of homes over $1 million are down by more than 50% from four years ago. For people who have that kind of money and are searching in that range, now is the time to buy. Though that's interesting, most of us aren't trying to purchase or sell million dollar homes.

But the article did talk briefly about how during the housing boom, median real estate prices increased so much, so fast and homes were in such high demand that median prices skyrocketed. The article gave the example of Santa Clara, Calif. having a median price that hit $836,780 in 2007.

That does apply to the average buyer. Many potential first time home buyers, and even "move up" buyers" were priced out of the market before they even started their search for a new home. The figures inspired a search...

Tips for Selling a Vacant Home

It is hard enough to sell a home in the current real estate market.  There are special considerations which much undertaken when it comes to selling a vacant home in particular, though.  The idea a home is sitting vacant is almost an immediate turn-off for potential buyers.  Vacant houses are in the news a lot today, with reports of vandalism, thefts, and deferred maintenance.  Additionally, a home that looks comfortable when it is furnished could look bare and flawed to potential home buyers when it’s empty.  Not to worry, selling a vacant home isn't impossible.  If you absolutely have to leave a home vacant before you sell it, try to follow these tips:
  • First impressions are more important than ever. Vacant or not, a home for sale must absolutely have curb appeal.  Ensure that the exterior of the home and its surrounding grounds are being well kept.
  • If your house is...