25 Billion Dollar National Mortgage Settlement

Foreclosure Notice

The Federal Government and five large loan servicers (Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Ally, and Wells Fargo) have reached a settlement over the “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents. The 25 billion dollar settlement provides relief to distressed homeowners and direct payments to states and the federal government.

The Attorneys General on the Executive Committee that negotiated the settlement have created a website at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com that provides information on the settlement.

Don’t be scammed by people offering to assist you with filing a claim for a fee. Filing is easy and free to borrowers.

Below is a link to a video produced by TBWS Daily that covers this in detail.

Your Portion of the $25 Billion Settlement

We will post updates as more information becomes available.

Photo Licensed from iStockPhoto

Another Happy Allen TX Foreclosure Buyer

Nice Foreclosed Home in Allen TX

Another happy home buyer in Allen, TX. This 4 bedroom, 3.1 bath, 2641 square foot foreclosed home with a pool was recently purchased by our clients. We were able to negotiate a sales price that was 85% of appraisal district value and get the bank to pay almost all of the buyer’s closing costs!

Distressed properties can be a good value but you have to do the research and plenty of extra due diligence since they are almost always sold “as is” and without a sellers disclosure (foreclosures are exempt from disclosure in Texas).

Looking to purchase a foreclosure? Contact us at 214-705-2470 for a current list.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Photo: Copyright 2011 Tom Branch

Fannie Mae Halts Foreclosures for the Holidays

Foreclosure Notice

Licensed from iStockPhoto

With Texas foreclosure sales set for next Tuesday, this is good news for many families:

Fannie Mae says it will suspend evictions for single-family foreclosures and two- to four-unit properties during the holiday season, from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2, 2012. 

“The holidays are meant for families to spend time together, especially if they’ve gone through the stress of financial challenges and foreclosure,” Terry Edwards, executive vice president of Credit Portfolio Management for Fannie Mae, said in a statement. “No family should have to give up their home during this holiday season.”  

While the holiday moratorium is in place, legal and administrative proceedings for evictions may continue, but “families living in foreclosed properties will be permitted to remain in the home,” Fannie Mae announced in a statement.

Source: Fannie Mae

Freddie Mac Launches Winter REO Sale

Foreclosure For Sale

HomeSteps, a Freddie Mac real estate sales unit, kicked off a sales promotion this week to unload some of its inventory of foreclosed homes.

Its Winter Sales Promotion for owner-occupant buyers includes:

  • Paying up to 3 percent of the final sales price toward the buyer’s closing costs for initial offers received between Nov. 15 and Jan. 31, 2012. Escrow must be closed on or before March 15, 2012, to qualify.
  • Two-year Home Protect limited home warranty, which covers such things as the heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, and other major systems and appliances. Home Protect also will offer a discount of up to 30 percent on the purchase of appliances. (For eligibility requirements, visit www.HomeSteps.com/smartbuy.)

Looking to purchase a foreclosure in the greater Dallas area? Contact us to work with a team of certified distressed property experts.

Source: Freddie Mac | Photo: Licensed from iStockPhoto

Foreclosures Make Dramatic Drop in June

Foreclosure Notice

I was interviewed by Danny Gallagher with the McKinney Courier Gazette as part of his story on the dramatic drop in foreclosures in June 2011.

According to the Foreclosure Listing Service (FLS), July 2011 foreclosure filings are down 28 percent across the Metroplex, the fifth straight month of decreased filings.

The real question is “What’s driving this change?” I agree with the FLS that while our numbers continue to decline, it’s hard to pinpoint the reasons.

As I dug into the MLS statistics, I note that North Texas continues to buck all the trends. Housing prices are up 3.5 percent year over year and Collin County prices are up 5.4 percent. Higher housing prices allow people to sell, if needed.

Additionally new listings are down 17 percent and home sales are down 14 percent. What these two numbers tell me is that the number of available homes is getting smaller since there are more sales than new listings. This has a positive impact on housing prices because the supply is actually getting smaller.

Other good news is that the North Texas economy is doing well. People who are working are far less likely to default on their mortgages.

Are we out of the woods yet?  Perhaps–but there is still too much economic uncertainty at the national level.  While some areas of the country are experiencing the “double-dip”, our housing market appears to be relatively stable.

If you are a homeowner having problems paying the mortgage, help is avaialable. Contract your lender or local real estate professional.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Foreclosures Facing More Court Challenges

Recent court rulings are raising some uncertainties when it comes to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (or MERS), which electronically tracks and transfers millions of loans and has been in use by the mortgage industry since the 1990s.

Borrowers who have been foreclosed upon using MERS have fought back in court–with mixed success–challenging the legality of MERS and arguing that it doesn’t own the mortgage and therefore, doesn’t have the right to foreclose on them.

The industry is keeping a close watch on recent court rulings since the results could have a big impact on reshaping the mortgage industry and potentially throwing the validity of thousands foreclosures into question, The Washington Post reports. MERS holds 65 million loans in its registry.

Read the entire article at: REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Foreclosures Facing More Court Challenges

I Saw A Foreclosure Listing on RealtyTrac

I was out showing one of my Short Sale listings today. The showing went well, but the house did not really work for them. Before I could ask them if I could help them find something else, they asked me about a property they had seen on RealtyTrac.

Foreclosure For Sale

Licensed from iStockPhoto

RealtyTrac bills itself as a ”Foreclosure Real Estate Listings” site.  According to their website, “Save up to 50% off market value! RealtyTrac lets you search the most foreclosure properties in your neighborhood.” It’s a pay site after a free trial period.

In Texas, it appears RealtyTrac gets some of their data from the county records. The property they showed me was not listed, had not been foreclosed on, and the owners were still living in it. I suspect the lender filed for a substitute trustee (one of the recorded first steps in the trustee sales process) or actually posted it for a trustee sale.

Even if the property had been foreclosed on, it may not be available for purchase. The lender has to make sure the property is vacant and in some cases, wait for the redemption period to expire before they list it with a local REALTOR®. They asked about contacting the lender to purchase it directly from the lender. While I don’t have extensive REO experience, I have two big REO agents in my office and they tell me that it’s not possible to purchase a single property directly from the lender.

I explained this to them and I told them if they were truly looking for active foreclosure listings, the data was available in the MLS. I offered to set up a foreclosure search for them.

My advice to them was to work with the MLS data as it is likely the most accurate source of actual foreclosure real estate listings unless they wanted to try to purchase a property at a trustee sale.