Minnesota Real Estate Investors Association, Inc.

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Mortgage Aid for the Unemployed...


Let me start out by saying that I generally try and stay away from political comments. I prefer to stay on topic and discuss the facts, but this time I have no choice but to comment on politics. This latest round of political games has my blood boiling and I can’t hold back any longer.

Congress just passed another $1 billion dollar emergency homeowners relief fund. You can read all about it on MarketWatch, here is the link: www.marketwatch.com.

Were shall I start?

I guess I will start out with the phrase “emergency homeowners relief”. Emergency, really??? The emergency was almost two years ago when they pasted the TARP funds to help, if you remember, homeowners and bail out the banks and financial institutions, but once the TARP funds were approved by congress, they decided it would be better to just buy stocks in the companies they chose to keep solvent. It didn’t seem to be that much of an emergency to congress in 2008, otherwise they would have spent that money on what they told us was the reason in the first place to pass the TARP funds. I think the only reason it is an emergency right now, is because the midterm elections are in 4 months.

So now that we understand the congressional definition of an “Emergency” we can then start to talk about the facts. They are as follows:   Read More...

The First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit: Do you think it had an Affect?


Look at the drop starting on May 1st. This graph should be all you need to realize that the first time home buyers tax credit drove a lot of sales at the moment, but they would be sales that were pulled forward. In other words, if the tax credit wasn’t there, the sales would probably still have happened, but they would have been spread out over time rather than pushed back into April.

First of all, the banks are short staffed, so they can’t file NOD (Notice of Defaults) and complete the foreclosure process as fast as new borrowers are falling into default. The average borrower in foreclosure has been delinquent for 438 days before actually being evicted, up from 251 days in January 2008, according to LPS Applied Analytics. That is the first part to Shadow Inventory.

Graph showing the rise and fall of pending sales over the last 3 months.
Click To Enlarge

This has also created other problems. I had a closing that kept getting pushed back because fha hadn’t review the file to release the funds because they were so backed up. We finally closed last week and from talking to the buyers at the closing, they just wanted to close before they lost the credit, but it wouldn’t have stopped them from buying, they just bought now rather then this summer when they originally planned on moving.

What is the Real Estate “Shadow Inventory”?


You may have heard this term thrown around lately, but what the heck is it? Shadow Inventory is basically inventory that hasn’t made it to the market yet. There are several components to Shadow Inventory.

First of all, the banks are short staffed, so they can’t file NOD (Notice of Defaults) and complete the foreclosure process as fast as new borrowers are falling into default. The average borrower in foreclosure has been delinquent for 438 days before actually being evicted, up from 251 days in January 2008, according to LPS Applied Analytics. That is the first part to “Shadow Inventory”.

Secondly, a lot of lenders that are taking properties back through the foreclosure process are supposedly holding on to them through holding companies and not releasing them to the market. Their reasoning is actually a valid one. They are afraid that if they release too much inventory to soon, housing values could plummet. And I agree with that assumption, but I am one who prefers to rip the band aid off quickly.

I have heard and read, but never confirmed that there is an estimated 3-7 million units in Shadow Inventory just lingering out there. My question is, how long can they hold into all that inventory. Read More...

Is Real Estate Changing?


Obviously it is, but how is it changing and what direction are we headed is the question most people are asking themselves these days. Some of the old school investors/realtors will relate to this article, but for most of you, this will seem like a radical new approach to real estate. You see, the changes I am going to be talking about or nothing more that real estate cycles coming back around full swing.

Over the last ten years or so, all you needed was a pulse and a few months to build appreciation in order to make money in real estate. That has changed drastically, today not only do you need a pulse, you also need a creative thinking brain. However, just having a pulse will not get you a mortgage anymore. In fact, I think the only way to get a mortgage today is to prove that you absolutely don’t need it, and then you have at least a fighting chance to get past underwriting.

Over the past two years, the real estate market has been going through a market correction, because of the over inflation of housing prices. Most of these properties have been either short sales or foreclosed upon by the banks and put back on the market at reduced prices. In many areas, prices have begun to stabilize and the new market values have been established. The first time home buyers tax credit helped boast these sales and stabilize prices. However, access to financing is getting harder and interest rates are expected to increase over the next few years. This will help to bring down prices of the surrounding properties over the next few years.  Read More...

Have Housing Prices Stabilized?


While the government wants us to believe that the recession is over and the economy is heading back in the right direction, all the indicators show something completely different. Housing prices in particular are heading back down in many areas, as I have predicted several times in the past on our weekly training calls.

CNBC even talked about it the other day on their Power Lunch news show.

Jobs are the biggest reason in my opinion. While the Unemployment rate has dropped below 10%, the number of people unemployed is still growing, currently over 17%. The unemployment rate only counts the number of people currently collecting unemployment benefits. It does not count the number of people whose benefits have expired and are still unemployed. Read More...

Flipping is Legal Again...



Ok, ok, I know, flipping has never been illegal, but with recent changes in the mortgage industry, the lenders are coming back around and asking for our help again. Wells Fargo was actually the first major lender to change its stance on seasoning, but because fha is a government program, this is huge. First, let me give you a little back ground so you understand what the hoopla is all about over fha temporarily suspending its 90 day title seasoning rule.

Several years ago, when all was right with the world, some investors were taking advantage of a unique situation in the mortgage industry. The federal government wanted everyone to be able to take advantage of the America dream. So they lowered interest rates and loosened up the required mortgage qualification guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed mortgages, including down payments. This actually made it cheaper and easier for people who normally would never have been able to qualify for a mortgage, get one with little or no money down.

These changes actually made it cheaper for a tenant to get a mortgage than it was to rent a property, because they could finance the entire purchase price, including their closing costs. If they were to rent a property, they would at least need the first month’s rent and a security deposit. But if they bought a house, they didn’t need any of their own money up front and their first payment wasn’t due until after they had lived in the property for one month. Plus, with a mortgage, the lender only pulled their credit report, and since most of these tenants never established credit, they didn’t have bad credit. Note that a credit report doesn’t show eviction notices or criminal history, which is where many of these tenants had records. Read More...

fha Suspends its 90 Day Seasoning Requirement for Flipping!


May 1, 2003 HUD imposed a 90 Day Title Seasoning requirement for all new fha loans. This was their big idea to help protect the consumers from the Big Bad Flippers. It only took 6 years and a housing market crash to show the elitists the errors of their ways. Now they need our help to fix their mess.

They finally came to their senses and temporarily suspended title 24 CFR §203.37a(b)(2), which is the 90 Day Title Seasoning Requirement. This is only a temporary suspension. Starting February 1, 2010 and expiring on 1/31/2011, First time Home Buyers who apply for an fha loan will not have the 90 Day Title Seasoning Requirement. However, we as investors will still need to follow a few guidelines in order to Resell (Flip) our Short Sales / REO’s and Flips to First Time Home Buyers who are applying for an fha loan. Read More...

Foreclosures Reach a New Record



As reported on MarketWatch, foreclosures and/or delinquent mortgages reach 14.41% in the third quarter. Does that surprise you? It does a lot of other people, but not the people who are out in the trenches like me.

I have been telling people for months now that we haven’t even seen the worst of it yet. What we have seen so far is that responsible Americans have been struggling to hold on to their homes and other assets and retirement accounts. Most people have been able to do so for a while, but not anymore. We have reached the breaking point, and while Congress and the White House keep telling us that the recession is over, I don’t think the average person sees it that way or even feels it.

Most sellers that I talk to these days have all been telling me pretty much the same story. They have either lost their jobs or taken severe pay cuts over the last year. Many have attempted loan modifications, but most have not been successful. Most of these people bought or refinanced their houses during the peak of the market, and since then, their incomes have been severely cut or totally lost over the last year.

These are just a few of the reasons that I believe we will keep seeing record foreclosure levels for the near future. The more people struggle to keep their homes, the more likely they will run out of resources and will be forced to lose their properties.

I could go on for a long time about why I believe this situation is happening, but I would rather spend my time focusing on how to help home owners while at the same time take advantage of all the good investment deals that will be coming down the pike over the next year.

Is fha the Next in Line for a Bailout?


Why not? Every other financial institution has received one, isn’t it about time the feds bailed out themselves. After all, it’s not their money, its ours.

Here is a report I found on Mortgage News Daily

The only reason I think that fha.com" target="_blank">fha is even talking about a bailout, is because their counterparts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac got a bailout. Now granted, there are a lot of fha.com" target="_blank">fha borrows who are also going through foreclosure, but I haven’t seen the same kind of numbers from fha.com" target="_blank">fha as I have from the other two. Partly because fha.com" target="_blank">fha never got into the no money down, cash back and no doc transactions that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did. Read More...

How to Get Your REO Offers Accepted


As an investor who has been making a lot of offers on REO’s I know the challenges that everyone is facing today getting their offers accepted. The next hurdle has become getting to the closing table. I have heard and tried a lot of different techniques lately and here are a few of my observations.

First of all, there is a lack of inventory right now in many places. For example, here in Minnesota we have a 6 month redemption period. So all those properties that didn’t get foreclosed on back in November 2008 thru March 2009 are not on the market yet. Expect a flood of REO properties hitting the market late this year or early next year.

Tip for Realtors:

While doing some research, I came across this article title “ Top 20 tips for making offers on Freddie Mac /Home Steps REO properties” and thought it was worth linking to.

Secondly, the $8,000 tax credit is due to expire on November 30, 2009. This has caused a lot of buyers who qualify for the first time home buyers tax credit to buy now.

Third thing I have noticed is that the lenders have loosened up their financing guidelines somewhat as of late, which has allowed a lot of investors who can qualify for mortgages to pick up these REO’s for long term rentals. Which is a good strategy right now if you can get the financing. Even non-owner occupied interest rates are relatively low right now which has allowed for good cash flows from rental properties that were picked up as REO’s. Read More...