Tag Archives: federal

Mortgage Reform, Refinance, Really?

My Thoughts on the Current Real Estate Market: Mortgage Reform, Refinance, Really?

With interest rates at the lowest rate in history, and foreclosures bursting through the ceiling still at this writing, I ask myself, why is this still happening?  How does the 1-in-4 upside-down homeowner out there, staring at their bank and scratching their head, get help to avoid walking away?

The empty promises, or the so-called “helping hand” being offered by the banks and the government, is still a joke to say the least. For the people who sold their home in recent years, they are in a position to buy or have already bought another home and recovered from that stress of “What do I do?” while taking advantage of the low interest rates and prices.

upside-downIt still is not too late to make that leap and start over–because the faster you do, the faster you will recover. Property values are not expected to go anywhere for at least two more years, and the laws for selling short sales that protect homeowners will expire at the end of this year. Laws allow a purchase after two years of selling a short sale. With a consultation with me and strategy, you could pay off most of your unsecured debt, while not paying your mortgage. This can only be done with someone who has had experience with this. I have done this with clients that have recouped while living in their home for over 3 years without paying a mortgage.

The latest reform laws are offering a glimmer of hope; however, when and how these guidelines are implemented by the banks and government is clear to not happen for awhile.  The state governments will have to also be on board. At this time, California is weighing the settlement being offered for unlawful foreclosure practices from five of the larger banks that have agreed to pay a settlement.

My opinion is that any settlement should accompany a mandate that the banks must reduce every upside-down property out there to fair market values, to allow the homeowner an opportunity to keep their home; granted that the home is not dilapidated to the point that the owner does not have the funds to repair the home or care for it after the refinance. This exclusion is warranted to the extent that a home that is in bad shape is only dropping or keeping the values low in the neighborhood and should be taken care of. In a perfect world, the banks would allow the homeowner funds after the refinance to repair the home–heck, let’s go for it all!

As always, my gratitude to you for reading my blog.  Please share your opinions or questions–I look forward to any questions I can answer or help I can give!

John A. Silva, Realtor

(619) 890-3648 | www.JohnASilva.com

Short Sale Memoirs & New Laws

The newest law in California is SB 458.  This law states that borrowers or owners of residential unit dwellings or properties of one to four units, will not experience any deficiency after a short sale extending to a junior lien holder.

Too good to be true, you’re asking? I have long known that the banks do not care about laws and take many months to implement them, whether they be federal or state government laws. They will march at their own drum. That being said, the new law that is instituted by the State of California is a joke!

Even senior lien holders of properties where there is only one loan, are still asking for a seller contribution. The California Law SB 931, passed in January of this year, clearly states there will be no contribution or deficiency and this new law, SB 458, piggy-backs on the SB 931 law. However, junior liens are still requiring contributions.

So why is this not applying to the junior liens and the SB 458 being enforced? Answer is, the banks want to test the validity of the law, while circumventing any loopholes that are there. The most important part of the new bill: “The bill would prohibit the holder of a note from requiring the trustee, mortgagor, or maker of the note to pay any additional compensation, aside from the proceeds of the sale, in exchange for a written consent to the sale.” This states that they can require seller to pay proceeds of the sale, but I have been successful to date with no seller contributions.  The lenders will do whatever it takes to squeeze money out of a transaction, but my track record shows that I have protected 99% of all sellers from contributions. Having an agent or short sale negotiator is now becoming paramount. I tend to avoid recommending many short sale negotiators because they do not have the experience I have in my two decades of short sale negotiating, since a huge problem is often caused in transactions due to the lender being not willing to pay them.

All new laws in real estate that are to help ward off the mess the government technically started by not limiting loan policies a few years ago has made the environment more difficult protecting the American Dream and helping citizens very little who pay their hard-earned money for taxes.

Bottom line–sellers want, and must have, a skilled and experienced agent with a team (assistant, attorney, accountant, escrow and title people) of problem solvers, that can get sellers out of their liability problems including past-due Home Owner Association Fees (which are collectible after bankruptcy filing post-petition or foreclosure). A short sale, when handled by me, will get paid past-due HOA fees with zero contribution by seller 99% of the time, call me today for a consultation, don’t delay!

Mortgage Modifications are a Mess

You have probably heard about the robo-signing fiasco and the fact that mortgage modifications are grinding to a standstill. We’re also seeing foreclosures occur after a modification has been approved–even occasionally when borrowers have the ability to make the payments. The whole process is a mess, and according to a top federal regulator, major U.S. banks are about to be penalized for “critical deficiencies” and shortcomings in their handlings of foreclosures.

One of the problems is that it is in loan servicers’ best interest to stall a foreclosure or modification.  This is because they can continue to charge fees while they’re servicing the loans. They charge fees for paying taxes, sending payments to the investors after receipt from borrower, maintaining records, etc.–and those “nickels and dimes” add up.

Having gone through the modification process firsthand, I can confirm that the process is daunting at best. The most painful part was when I had to pay 11% interest on my $400,000-first mortgage when the loan was adjusting at one point; only to have the bank tell me (on multiple occasions over a three-year period) that I either made too much money…or not enough. I went to court to stop a threatened foreclosure, but I still had to pay the ridiculous interest until my modification was approved.

While I won the victory of a modification, every situation is different. Like probably many of you, I’m still upside-down on the property, but at least I’ve lowered my payments while I await the market’s recovery.

In the interim, the Controller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has put sanctions on the banks, as I mentioned above, but the sanctions barely amount to a slap on the wrist. The reality is that the regulating agencies have a history of negatively impacting borrower’s rights rather than protecting them. So where does this leave you if you are fighting to keep your homes?

My personal experience has inspired me to grow my expertise in this area so that I can help others. No American should be subject to the whims of the system, and no American family should lose their home because of the negligent practices of a third party. If you need help fighting through the process, give me a call. I’ll stand by your side.

John A Silva
www.johnasilva.com
619-890-3648