Refi Help is here!

Refinancing is easy with the newly released HARP 2.0!

The Program is designed to help many homeowners with…

A Simple Loan Refinance Process
An Unlimited Loan To Value
Less Restrictive Qualifying Requirements
A New Appraisal May Not Be Required
All Occupancies and Property Types

You may be eligible for HARP if you meet all of the following criteria:

The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with a good payment history in the past 12 months.
Please determine whether your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by visiting their respective Loan Lookup Tools.

http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup

1-800-7FANNIE (8am to 8pm EST)

http://www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage

1-800-FREDDIE (8am to 8pm EST)

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Timing Is Everything & Now is the Time!

Timing Is Everything!

We all know this to be true in most areas of our lives, but especially important when it comes to the real estate market. Timing really is everything. When the bubble burst it became incredibly evident that timing took a huge toll on so many of our lives. Huge profits became big losses in the blink of an eye. It seemed that we were in for a long period of a tough market.

GUESS WHAT? The resilience of our friends and family through these tough years has made for a really great situation today for buyers & sellers alike! In Folsom & El Dorado Hills we are currently experiencing a shortage of houses. Here is why this is great timing for homeowners looking to sell as well as buyers:

Homeowners: Properties in Folsom & El Dorado Hills are currently receiving multiple offers within the first few days of listing. In many cases, the houses are receiving offers before the buyer has even looked inside the property! People who had previously lost a home are now back in the market and ready to purchase. In many cases this means full priced offers!

Buyers: This is also good news for you! Yes, you must be ready to pounce when you find the house you want, but it means that the home has not been vacant for a long period of time and often is in great shape. It also indicates that sellers who were potentially waiting are ready to jump into the market!

This movement in the market will yield excellent results for you if you are positioned to take advantage of the timing. Let me help you maximize your home sale or purchase.

Myself & Melville Group Associate Mati-Rosa Morphis have the tools you need to pounce on the rebounding market and get what you need out of your real estate experience. In the coming weeks you are invited to join us in Folsom to get the answers you need. If you are in the position to sell, buy or list your house as a short sale please RSVP to one of our seminars or email anytime to info@melvillegrp.com.

Here are seminar dates:

Thursday, April 12th 6:30pm

Tuesday, April 24th 6:30pm

Thursday, May 10th 6:30pm

1024 Iron Point Road, Folsom, CA 95630

RSVP to info@melvillegrp.com or call 916.949.6509

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Job Growth = Investment Opportunity!

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

March 7, 2012

You may be wondering what job growth has to do with real estate in your town. Here is the scoop: These are great investment markets! Most of these cities still have reasonable real estate rates and could be the best place for your next property…

Top 10 metros for job growth through 2020
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report: Washington, D.C., tops the list
By Inman News
Inman News®

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Employment projections released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in February expect total U.S. employment will rise 14.3 percent in this decade. Construction jobs, however, are not expected to recover their pre-2007 levels by 2020.

Regions expected to experience the greatest job growth in the decade are spread throughout the country. Some of the hottest areas of growth include the Phoenix-Las Vegas region; California’s Central Valley; the Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo., areas; the San Antonio-Dallas corridor; and Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.; Bethesda, Md.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and New York City ranked No. 1 through No. 4, respectively, in the top 10 U.S. metros (out of the 100 largest U.S. metros) for projected job growth in the decade, according to the BLS.

The top 10 metros with the greatest BLS-projected job growth through 2020 (among the 100 largest U.S. metros) are:

1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.
2. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md.
3. Colorado Springs, Colo.
4. New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.
5. El Paso, Texas
6. Springfield, Mass.
7. Baton Rouge, La.
8. Tacoma, Wash.
9. Baltimore-Towson, Md.
10. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

Notably, Los Angeles ranks near the top of the U.S. metros BLS projects to have the slowest job growth. This dire outlook for the City of Angels stems from a BLS-expected decline in apparel manufacturing and a slight decline in movie industry employment, according to Trulia’s chief economist, Jed Kolko.

The top 10 metros (No. 1 representing the slowest growth) with BLS-projected slowest job growth through 2020 (among the 100 largest U.S. metros) are:

1. Greensboro-High Point, N.C.
2. Gary, Ind.
3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.
4. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.
5. Columbia, S.C.
6. Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.
7. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Kent.-Ind.
8. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
9. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.
10. Salt Lake City, Utah

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Money Wise Tips

Everyone should check out this concise and well stated article from Tara-Nicholle Nelson. No matter where you stand on the mortgage blame game of recent years, there are some really solid ways to protect your family and your home. Let me know what you think!

5 real estate tips to guard against losing your home Mood of the Market
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson
Inman News®

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Time and time again, I hear homebuyer wannabes state that the reason they are still fence-sitting is that they don’t want to end up in the same trouble the last generation of homeowners did.

Well, I say, there’s a very slim chance of that happening, given the changes in the market climate: Homes are at rock-bottom prices (not sky-high), and mortgage guidelines are so conservative it is nearly impossible to even find one of the zero-down, quick-to-adjust, stated-income mortgages of yesteryear.

With that said, though, there is a handful of rules today’s homebuyers and homeowners can follow to dramatically minimize the chances they will ever face losing their homes:

1. Never a borrower or a lender be. OK, so maybe NEVER is strong, but you’d be surprised at how many foreclosed homeowners actually bought their homes with conservative loans and at low prices many years ago, but got into trouble taking new mortgages and pulling cash out at the top of the market (then not being able to refinance or make the adjusted payment at the bottom).

Today’s homebuyers can avoid this fate by starting out their homeowning careers with some ground rules in place around borrowing against their homes.

A good (albeit conservative) place to start is this rule: Decide not to borrow against your home equity for anything but well-planned home improvements.

Here’s another one: Whatever you do, don’t borrow against your home to lend money to someone else. I’ve seen dozens of homeowners over the years borrow to make an “investment” in a friend’s business or to lend money to a child or a parent. Borrowing against your home’s equity to make an investment in a business you know nothing about is a complete gamble with your home. Don’t do it.

2. Stop financial codependency. Related to the rule of thumb about borrowing to lend is this change of the bad habit of financial codependency.

I see this come up the most often when homeowners borrow money against their home or tap into their emergency cash cushion (leaving themselves unable to make their mortgage payments if they lose their job, etc.) to help an adult child make their own mortgage payments or bail them out of another crisis situation.

It also comes up where one spouse supports another spouse’s habit of overspending, debting, underearning, gambling or even substance abuse, and ends up going into a financial hole as a result. Over time, these cases can create the temptation or even desperation to further leverage your home, and can run through a savings account, leaving the homeowner exposed and vulnerable in the face of a temporary disability, job loss or recession.

There are a number of powerful books on the market about how to cease being codependent including the Melody Beattie classic, “Codependent No More,” but many people struggle to recognize they even have this issue until it’s too late. Here’s a hint: If you regularly use money to protect a loved one from the natural consequences of their behavior, you are engaging in codependent behavior.

3. Stay conscious. Going on money autopilot, without occasional check-ins, is the root of many financial woes. Many money experts recommend automating your monthly payments so that your recurring bills are paid on time, every time. And almost any homeowner will vouch that there are few bills that seem to come up as frequently as your mortgage!

The problem is that once you automate your payments, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of simply ignoring your actual statements — and they may contain information that flags issues before they snowball into serious problems.

A client of mine recently realized that through no fault of her own, and despite never having missed an auto-payment, her home was facing foreclosure — all because the bank had somehow erroneously started crediting her payments to someone else’s mortgage account!

Also, financial autopilot mode can support habits like overspending and overdebting; the minimum payments may always get made without much attention from you, but the overall balances will rear their ugly heads and possibly pose a threat to your ability to pay your mortgage, in the event you ever face a job loss, medical bills or other financial crisis.

4. Do your own math before you buy. Only you can know the full extent of your non-housing-related financial obligations and values. Things like catch-up retirement savings, tithing and charitable giving, private school tuition, medical costs and the like can take big chunks out of your monthly budget that your mortgage pro is not accounting for when he or she tells you how much of a mortgage you’re qualified to borrow.

So, before you ever speak with a mortgage broker, it’s up to you as a responsible buyer and adult to get a very clear understanding of your own personal income and expenses, assets and priorities, and to use that knowledge to decide how much you can afford to put down and to spend monthly for a home.

Fortunately, I see an increasing number of buyers doing this, and actually choosing to buy a home that costs much less than they are technically qualified for.

5. Don’t buy a house to fix a family or psychological problem. In Alcoholics Anonymous, they admonish addicts to avoid what they call “pulling a geographic” — moving to a new neighborhood or town to try to run from your problems and bad habits.

They caution against expecting the move to solve the problem on the grounds that, in the words of mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn, “wherever you go, there you are.” If you have bad habits in Chicago, moving to L.A. doesn’t purge the bad habits — only working on the actual dysfunction itself will do that.

I submit that there’s a real estate-specfic version of pulling a geographic, which we’ll call “pulling a residential.” This is where people buy a home or buy a new home in an effort to cure a deeper family or psychological issue; sort of like that old (and equally bad) idea of having a baby to try to save your marriage.

If your children are fighting because they lack personal space, that’s one thing. But if there are deeper issues going on with your children, your family or your relationship (even your relationship with yourself), do not fantasize that owning a home or moving up is going to automatically solve them.

In fact, the opposite is often true: The larger the financial and maintenance obligations that come with a home, the more a mortgage and property taxes can add strain to already troubled relationships.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions.” Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, http://www.rethinkrealestate.com.

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Tips for Bank of America Loan Mod!

If you are tired of feeling like you are getting nowhere with contacting B of A to work with your loan check out this article. Let me know if you have questions or need help getting in contact with the bank!

THERE MAY BE HOPE FOR LOAN MODIFICATIONS AT BANK OF AMERICA

Borrowers seeking loan modification from Bank of America have been extremely frustrated at a system that seems broken. Federal regulators require BofA to designate a “single point of contact” to be the contact person for all of a borrower’s questions and inquiries. BofA promotes this contact as being accessed by phone or internet. But again and again we receive reports of lack of response, lack of anyone to talk to, and regular loss of documents that the borrower submitted. This break-down is leading to more foreclosures. There may now be a better way to proceed.

One of our clients was two days away from foreclosure a week ago. All of his efforts to work through BofA’s phone and internet system were complete failures as the BofA representative couldn’t find his documents and refused to help. Foreclosure was inevitable. Then my client discovered a little-known “back door” method to get BofA help: the “Customer Assistance Centers”.

He was able to get a face-to-face appointment immediately with a BofA representative, the foreclosure was put off for 2 months, and the BofA representative promised to work directly with him to assemble and process all of the documents for a loan modification. Of course, it is not guaranteed that he’ll actually get the modification. But he is for the first time getting direct help from someone that apparently cares.

If this sounds like it would assist you or your clients, go to BofA’s Home Loan Assistance webpage at: http://homeloanhelp.bankofamerica.com/en/customer-assistance-centers.html

There you will find a simple 2 Step process: 1) to locate the Customer Assistance Center closest to you; and 2) to call and schedule an appointment. There are 11 such Centers in California. The Center for Sacramento is located in Elk Grove.

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New relief for struggling home owners!

This is an excellent article passed on to me by Business & Estate Attorney Steve Beede. Check out this great loan modification news! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

 

TREASURY ANNOUNCES REVISED HAMP PROGRAM
 

HAMPAs reported in DSNews.com, government officials have announced changes to the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) which are expected to extend relief to a larger share of struggling homeowners as well as renters, according to federal officials. One of the key adjustments to the program centers around principal reductions. HAMP currently includes an option for servicers to provide underwater homeowners who are struggling with their payments with a modification that includes a principal writedown. To encourage investors to agree to principal reduction modifications, Treasury is tripling the incentives for such restructurings, paying from 18 to 63 cents on the dollar, depending on the degree of change in the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.

 

As we’ve often seen in the market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain obstacles to both loan modifications and short sales by refusing principal reduction in loan modifications and restricting short sale contrbutions to junior lenders.  Since these two GSE’s own or guarantee up to 80% of all residential loans, they have a significant effect on market recovery.

 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has prohibited Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from employing HAMP’s principal reducing option for their borrowers. Treasury has notified FHFA that it will pay these same principal reduction incentives to Fannie and Freddie if they allow servicers to forgive principal in conjunction with a HAMP modification. FHFA issued a statement in response noting that it recently released analysis concluding principal forgiveness does not offer any greater benefits than principal forbearance as a loss mitigation tool. But the agency says it will reassess the investor incentives now being offered, taking into consideration the number of eligible loans, operational costs to implement such changes, and the potential effects of incentivizing borrowers to remain current.

 

Among the other changes announced, borrowers who are struggling because of debt beyond their mortgages, such as second liens and medical bills, will be eligible for an alternative program evaluation with more flexible debt-to-income criteria. In addition, Treasury will expand eligibility to include investor properties that are currently occupied by a tenant as well as vacant properties slated for rental use. Tim Massad, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial stability says single-family homes serve an important function as affordable rental housing, and foreclosure of investor-owned homes has disproportionate negative effects on low- and moderate-income renters, as well as communities.

 

The information presented in this Article is not to be taken as legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. If you are upside-down on your loan(s), especially if you’re facing a lender lawsuit, get competent legal advice in your State immediately so that you can determine your best options.

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