October, 2011:

As The Market Turns

According to Realty Trac, foreclosure filings have surged by 17% in what is being interpretedas a possible end to the review process that has hampered and bogged down the process for more than a year.  A review system was initiated by most of the major lenders in response to the robo-signing debacle that they faced last summer.
Many in the know do believe that major lenders are gearing up to accelerate the foreclosure process next year. Consequently, many of them are also gearing up to approve higher numbers of short sale transactions. As an example, Bank of America will complete approximately 100,000 short sales nationally in 2011, but has plans to complete 160,000 short sales in 2012.

Occupy HUD

One of our favorite economic prognosticators is a guy in San Francisco named Dick Lepre …  Dick was commenting on all the “Occupy Wall Street” cavorting and shared the following little nugget:


“For many potential homebuyers, the lack of cash available to accumulate the required down payment and closing costs is the major impediment to purchasing a home. Other households do not have sufficient available income to make the monthly payments on mortgages financed at market interest rates for standard loan terms. Financing strategies, fueled by the creativity and resources of the private and public sectors, should address both of these financial barriers to homeownership.”


Source: The National Homeownership Strategy: Partners in the American Dream, published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1994


This was the directive from HUD, not Wall Street. Do the protesters care?

A Divorce Decree Does Not Convey the House!

Even though a divorce decree may state that one spouse is required to relinquish their interest in favor of the other, a former spouse may still be required to sign when the property is resold.


In order to convey the property to a new owner, the title insurance underwriters will require more than just a copy of a divorce decree. The underwriters will require that the relinquishing spouse sign a quit-claim deed at closing, if they had not already done so. This is often overlooked in divorce situations and has been known to cause unnecessary delays when it comes time to resell.


We recently experienced a closing delay of more than one month because a former spouse claimed to be in China and could not get to the Embassy to have the deed witnessed and notarized. So far as we know, this person may have actually been in Omaha. The emails could have been coming from anywhere. Excuse after excuse and the clock kept ticking. We eventually got it closed judicially, but having to deal with a bitter former spouse on the day of closing is not an enviable position.



The moral to the story? Get the quit-claim deed signed simultaneously with all other divorce related documents!


For information on Destin Florida area short sales, bank foreclosures and general real estate topics, please visit www.FloridaBrokers.com or email us at smith@realtor.com

As the Market Turns

A recent AP story referred to the current real estate market as “bi-polar. ” That assessment would be difficult to dispute. With nearly all-time record-breaking low interest rates and extremely affordable homes and condos, it is difficult to understand how anything could even be left on the market at this point. The problem of course is the uncertainty and instability that equates to poor consumer confidence numbers. The fact that the fed took aim and sued 17 of the nation’s top mortgage lenders is particularly damaging to the economy.  The fed’s position is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were sold a bill of goods. As if they did not know what they were buying? With $198 billion in toxic asset sales at issue, this comes at a time when banks are already quite vulnerable.

However, the 500 pound gorilla in the room is the distressed shadow inventory that exists throughout the nation. The term “shadow inventory” refers to the millions of distressed properties out there that  have not yet hit the open market. We now have 2.2 million  of them in the foreclosure pipeline. 37% of those have not made a payment in more than 24 months; 34% have not made a payment in more than 12 months. All told, that means that nearly three quarters of the mortgagors in various stages of foreclosure have not, on average, made a single payment in nearly a year and a half! At some point, the banks will have to accelerate the process again and turn these billions of dollars in non-performing assets into cash.  

For Destin, Seaside, Ft. Walton Beach and Sandestin real estate information, contact Ed and Terri Smith at RE/MAX Coastal Properties, 850-837-5500 x1, or by email smith@realtor.com



October is Fire Safety Month!

Yes, it’s that time of year again. October is a great time to change out all the batteries in your smoke and fire alarms! According to organizations such as the National Fire Prevention Association and FireSafety.gov, almost all home fires are both preventable and survivable. Changing your smoke and fire alarm batteries annually and replacing alarms that are more than 10 years old will greatly improve your odds!


For many great tips and guidelines pertaining to fire safety, please visit http://www.nfpa.org  and http://www.FireSafety.gov


For information on short sales, bank foreclosures and general real estate topics, please visit www.FloridaBrokers.com  or email us at smith@realtor.com