Minnesota Real Estate Investors Association, Inc.

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Can You Survive Dodd-Frank?

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Over the past, the most common question I have heard is “what are you going to do about the Dodd-Frank Act”?  And my common responses have been, “not worry about it” or “understand it and work around it”.  So what is your response, and will you survive not that the dastardly bill that is now in full affect?

Many people are worried that this new law that has been in effect since January 10, 2014 will put them out of business.  There are many new regulations pertaining to lending and one segment in particular that affects investors the most, especially in the coming years with our current economic situation and that is seller financing.  People are worried that these new regulations will have a dramatic impact on our business, and I have heard several people predict that parts or all of the Dodd-Frank law will be repealed.

I don’t put a lot of faith in congress repealing anything these days.  Look at Affordable Health Care for instance; does it look like that will be repealed?  No, so why would you expect the Dodd-Frank Act to be any different?  The Dodd-Frank Act was a response to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown crisis to put the blame on a segment of the economy that was politically acceptable and to repeal it now would be an admission to that fact.  In an attempt not to offend certain political ideologies here, I will not get into the cause of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown crisis, or the political reasons for appealing the Dodd-Frank Act, but I will explain what it means to us as investors.

Here is the simple break down, as I understand it. Read More...



How Sensitive is the Market to Interest Rates?

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This spring the market was chugging along just fine.  Then a 30 year fixed rate loan increased to just under 5% and the market came to a crashing halt. During the months of August and September, one of our largest local lenders saw a 72% decline in new and refinance mortgage applications and retail, renovated properties seemed to just sit there if they were priced a little high. 

Interested rates dropped by a mere half percent and houses that were sitting there started selling again and mortgagee applications returned to the same levels as they were in June and July.

I am assuming that the Feds will keep rates low for the foreseeable future because the economy is still too fragile, as evidence by less than a 1% rate increase in the real estate market.


Meet your New Landlord… The Banks

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We knew this was coming, just a couple of weeks ago, BoA (Bank of America) sent out a letter to 1,000 customers who are currently in default offering them the option to rent the property back from BoA at fair market rent if they simply deed the property back to BoA in lieu of a foreclosure. This will only add to the currently unknown number of properties in the Shadow Inventory.

On Thursday April 5, 2012 the Federal Reserve issued a policy statement on the rental of REO’s.

  Quotaion Mark The general policy of the Federal Reserve is that banking organizations should make good-faith efforts to dispose of OREO properties at the earliest practicable date. Consistent with this policy, in light of the extraordinary market conditions that currently prevail, banking organizations may rent residential OREO properties (within statutory and regulatory holding period limits) without having to demonstrate continuous active marketing of the property, provided that suitable policies and procedures are followed. Under these conditions and circumstances, banking organizations would not contravene supervisory expectations that they show “good-faith efforts” to dispose of OREO by renting the property within the applicable holding period. Moreover, to the extent that OREO rental properties meet the definition of community development under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations, they would receive favorable CRA consideration. In all respects, banking organizations that rent OREO properties are expected to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local statutes and regulations.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/bcreg20120405a1.pdf Read More...


Should there be a Moratorium on Foreclosures?

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The new headlines catch phase is “Robo Signer”. These robo signers have been signing foreclosure documents at a rate of up to 1 document per minute. That’s 5,000 – 10,000 per month. Everyone knows that it is not physically possible for these robo signers to have read every document. That is the reason everyone is calling for a moratorium on foreclosures. Or is it?

If everyone was upset with the fact that these robo signers were not reading all the documents, then why wasn’t everyone upset that congress has passed health care and over a trillion dollars in stimulus programs while all along admitting that no one could possible read all of it before voting on it. So ask yourself, are they really upset that the robo signers didn’t read the documents. If you are honest with yourself, then the answer would have to be no.

So what is the real reason everyone wants a moratorium on foreclosures. Politics… In 3 weeks there is a major midterm election and this could be one of the most historic elections in our country. The politicians on both sides of the isle are looking for something to blame and point fingers at to make themselves look like they care and that all our problems are the banks.  Read More...


A record number of US homeowners lost houses to their banks in August...

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Over the last few years we’ve been predicting records were going to be broken for years to come and that it would be a uniquely incredible environment for real estate investors. Today RealtyTrac issued a press release for the month of August that illustrates the fulfillment of this prediction in no uncertain terms.

Here are the key numbers to note:

  • In August, 1 in 381 housing units received a foreclosure filing.
  • RealtyTrac has seen 1.2 million repossessions so far in 2010.
  • Before the housing bubble burst, in 2005 only 100,000 houses became REO’s.
  • 95,364 property foreclosures in August, a historic record.
  • An increase of 25% since the start of the 2010.
  • In August, 96,469 homeowners receive a notice of default.
  • 1% decline in the number of NOD’s filed in July.
  • A 30% decline since August 2009 after a peak of 142,064 NOD’s issued in April 2009.

For a complete list of notable numbers you’ll find them all just above the comment section. Our initial prediction was that with the drastic turn in the economy. This would create a flood of opportunity for real estate investors based on the sheer volume of properties vulnerable to a declining economy.  Read More...


Mortgage Aid for the Unemployed...

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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...



First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit was Extended!!!

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In the 11th inning, the House of Representatives finally passed the closing date extension to September 30th for the first time homebuyer’s $8,000 tax credit. This is good news as an expected 180,000 transaction that were successfully signed and finalized by the April 30th deadline that supposed to close by June 30th, didn’t close.

There are many reasons why these transactions are taking so long, but the primary reason is because the most of those transactions are short sales and getting to the closing table with short sales can be a headache to say the least. But now they have an additional 90 days to rap them up and close by September 30th.  Read More...


What is the Real Estate “Shadow Inventory”?

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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...


Dow Drops 1,000: Market Volatility Gives One More Reason to Encourage Private Money

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Only mere hours ago we all saw live the Dow drop near 1,000 points in a startling amount of time. As I’m writing this the market has “recovered” but such volatility will not leave the minds of those who have their savings and IRAs in a stock portfolio that is certainly showing more red than they are accustomed to. To think that such a small country like Greece can trigger such waves because of the liquidity has compromised the integrity of the stock market and the following stories, finger pointing and possible domino effect that may be looming will leave these investors looking for a safe haven.

Suddenly the idea of investing into private money secured by real estate is looking a lot better Read More...


Have Housing Prices Stabilized?

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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...