Friday, September 7, 2007

Foreclosures loom?

I had another conversation with a potential seller who is in over her head. This is the third situation like this in three days.

This couple bought two years ago, when the market was at its high point. Sellers couldn't get their "For Sale" signs up in the yard before they had multiple offers at their door. Buyers paid well for their homes, with an 80/20 mortgage. In other words, they used 100% financing, putting no down payment on the house.

Unfortunately, two years later this couple (like many others) hit hard times, and are behind in payments. She was afraid they were going to lose the house.

As Realtors, they encourage us to keep a cheery face, a smile pasted on. "The market is great, everything is fine."

Well, the market isn't great if you are a Seller who bought your house in the last three years. This is especially true if you pulled money out of your house, got a home equity loan, or used 100% financing.

However, Sellers are always selling, and Buyers are always buying. Even during the double-digit interest rates of the early 80's, people still sold and bought homes. So, the market is not as gloomy as the media makes it out to be. There are still ways to help these people!

One of the things we are going to do is check to see if the new FHA program will help them keep their home. Next, I will check with some lender-friends of mine to see if they have any tricks up their sleeves. Then, I will try to negotiate with their lender for them, to see if we can work out any payment arrangement.

If those attempts produce no results for us, then we will look at selling the house. At this point, if they can not keep the house, then we need to do everything we can to avoid foreclosure, sell the house and preserve their credit. In a couple of years, when they are financially steady and back on their feet, then we can get them into another house as long as they follow the plan we will outline for them.

Yes, Trustee's Sales and Foreclosures are on the rise. But Sellers shouldn't just give up and walk away from their homes! They need to contact a Realtor who is familiar with the foreclosure process, who is experienced with short sales, who is prepared to market the property heavily, both online and through print and word of mouth advertising. If you know someone who is facing this situation, don't let them give up!

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