Tag Archives: mortgage

Considering a Short Sale? Here’s what you need to know.

 

In Atlanta’s real estate market today, short sales and foreclosures make up about half of all real estate transactions. In fact, short sales represent a significant portion of real estate sales activity in Atlanta and are becoming increasingly more common than foreclosures. Though they require a bit more red tape than a normal real estate sale, short sales can benefit all parties if they are all willing to make some sort of compromise.

First, let me explain what is a short sale anyway. When a homeowner sells a home for less than the amount of money owed on the mortgage of that home, that sale is called a short sale. Sometimes, you might hear people refer to it as pre-foreclosure. In most cases, the homeowner has fallen behind on mortgage payments and cannot afford to continue making mortgage payments on the home. Instead of waiting until the lender decides to repossess the property, the homeowner will petition to sell the house for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. In some cases, the lender will even forgive the portion of the mortgage loan not covered by the selling price. Even though foreclosures and short sales negatively affect seller’s credit score, the damage incurred from a short sale can be mitigated if the seller can convince the lender to report the debt as “paid in full.”

For the lender, short selling a property is a lot less hassle and a lot less paperwork than taking on a foreclosed property. They are just as tired of foreclosures as the rest of the population. A short sale transaction benefits them in that they don’t have to deal with selling a property that has been vacant for a while and most likely needs repairs. The lenders are the shot callers in the short sale process and are the ones who set the selling price.

It’s unfortunate for the sellers and the lenders that these homes are selling at depressed price levels. For buyers, it’s a deal. Even though a real estate short sale can still take months to have a decision made by a lender, buyers still get a deal on a property that will most often require less work than a foreclosure.

If you’re in the market for a home in the Atlanta area and are considering a short sale, here is a list of things you want to consider before you jump in head first.

Understand what you’re getting yourself into. Short sales take a while to close and can involve extra effort on the buyer’s part. Save yourself time and unnecessary stress by getting disclosures up front.

This is not a DIY project. As I mentioned before, short sales come with a lot of red tape. It’s imperative to work with a real estate agent on the Go Getter Team who knows the territory and is able to navigate you to a successful close.

Know the condition of the property. In a rush to get rid of the property, sellers may not always be so forthcoming with unfavorable information about the condition of the property. It’s important to have the property professionally inspected before you commit. The Go Getter Team has a list of knowledgeable real estate inspectors on our Preferred Service Providers List.

Be sure the sale has a prayer of closing. Since lenders generally approve of short sales based on the seller’s financial situation, the sadder the story, the better. Most lenders require a letter of hardship, proof of income and assets, a comparative market analysis and a list of liens to consider approval of a short sale.

Be realistic. If you are in a hurry to purchase a home, do not consider a short sale. It’s definitely a waiting game. If you do decide to go for the short sale home purchase, make a reasonable offer that the lender will actually entertain. Lastly, be realistic about where closing costs are coming from. In these cases, cash is the greatest financing alternative for buying a short sale in Atlanta.

What are the short sale tips you’d like to share?

 

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Is Now Still a Good Time to Buy a Home?

Even though the supply is low and demand has increased, now still may be a good time to buy a home in Atlanta for most homebuyers. For one, interest rates are still relatively low. Though interest rates are not as low as they were six months ago, they are still pretty low compared to 5 years ago during the downturn of the housing market. Plus, you’ll still get tax advantages, the opportunity to build wealth and stable monthly payments.

Listen to Atlanta Real Estate Agent Chris “Willa” Williams of the Go Getter Team as he explains why now still may be a good time to buy a home in the Atlanta real estate market.

In the process of buying a home or thinking about buying a home? Share with us what you’ve experienced in the current real estate market.

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Rent to Own a Home

You may be renting a home right now and thinking that you would like to own your own home someday. Many people choose homeownership for the permanency and security it provides for themselves and their loved ones. Homeownership offers the owner a number of personal and financial benefits like having pride in owning a home and income tax breaks. Besides, homeownership is often times a sound investment. For whatever reason, some people continue to rent despite the advantages of owning a home. Maybe they don’t have enough money for a down payment, or maybe they don’t qualify for a mortgage at the moment. Maybe they don’t understand homeownership and the idea intimidates them, or maybe they just haven’t decided to make the commitment. Well, did you know that you can rent to own a home? If any of the “maybe’s” above sound like you, then a rent-to-own home may be a good choice for you.

When a homeowner lists their property as a rent-to-own property and accepts an offer from a prospective tenant, they enter an agreement. In this agreement, the homeowner, who is now the landlord, and the tenant agree on leasing terms which include and are not limited to the duration of the lease and monthly payments. At this time, the homeowner takes the property off the market and the tenant pays an option consideration as compensation. The tenant has the option to purchase the property anytime during the lease or at the end of the lease depending on the agreement. The homeowner may also include the purchase price or pricing conditions in the agreement.

While you’re renting to own your property, you have time to build your credit score so that you may qualify for a mortgage loan. Per the agreement, a portion of the rent paid may be allocated to the purchase price of the home. Unlike renting without the option to purchase, your rent money can become investment money. Nevertheless, you could lose your investment if you cannot secure a mortgage loan or neglect to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

In the real estate industry, this rent-to-own option is referred to as a lease purchase and sometimes a lease option. There are subtle differences between the two, so be sure that you fully understand the type of property you’re considering and the terms of the agreement. Remember that this is your investment, so feel free to negotiate!

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Real Estate Glossary:

Maturity– The date on which the principal balance or amount of a financial/debt instrument becomes due to be paid and payable. Examples of financial instruments that have a maturity date are:

-Loans

-Bonds

-Notes

-Acceptance bonds

-Drafts

The maturity date informs the investor/lender of how long interest payments will be received and at what date the principal is expected to be paid in full.

For homebuyers, when you take out a mortgage loan you’re responsible to pay your investor/lender an assured amount of money every month for an agreed period of time. After the full amount is paid back as promised, the loan matures and the interest payments discontinue. When the maturity date is reached, the principal is paid back in full and the debt is completely satisfied, your lender will no longer have a claim on your property that you now own.

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Real Estate Glossary: Jumbo Loan, FHA Loan, Conventional Loan

Jumbo Loan: A non-conforming loan that exceeds the maximum loan amounts deemed by the Federal National Mortgage Association (includes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).  It is generally the type of mortgage that is used for the purchase of luxury homes. Jumbo loans often carry higher interest rates than other types of loans.

Conventional Loan:  A loan that is not guaranteed or insured through FHA or VA. Conventional loans often require a percentage down payment is made on the purchase of a property.

FHA Loan: A loan that is open to all homebuyers and insured by the Federal Housing Association. FHA loans have mortgage amount limits and are designed to assist borrowers who cannot otherwise afford a conventional loan.

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