Archive for March, 2012

April Calendar of Events for San Diego County

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

April 5
East Village Opening Day Block Party
Padre fans!  An East Village block party in celebration of the opening day of the Padres baseball season.  The event will have retail merchandise, great music, a beer garden and food court.  Come on down and mingle, eat, drink and have fun.
Time:  11:30 am – 6:00 pm
Location:  East Village – Downtown San Diego, J Street, between 7th & 10th Ave.
For more information visit www.eastvillagesandiego.com

April 7
ACT Today 5K
This event offers a 5K run, 10K run and kids runs–accompanied by a post event festival of music, beer, food, and inflatable jumpers.  Event proceeds benefit military families that cannot afford treatments and
other special needs for their autistic kids.
Time:  7:30 am – 11:00 am
Location:  East Mission Bay, Tecolote Shores, Fiesta Island
For more information visit www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.org

April 7
5th Annual CityBeat Festival of Beers
Over 40 local craft brewers will be offering samplings from a variety of their homegrown beers.  It’s a beer lovers paradise where you can stroll from booth to booth and sample beer.  The event is accompanied with music and tasty food.  Admission $35.00-$40.00 (includes unlimited Tasters).
Time:  1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location:  El Cajon Blvd., by the Lafayette Hotel (between Texas & Mississippi Streets)
For more information visit www.citybeatbeerfest.com

April 7
Santee Spring Eggstravaganza & Egg Hunts
Continuous egg hunts (first come, first served), carnival rides, inflatables, pony rides & petting zoo, crafts, photo with live bunnies, food. 
 
Time:  9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location:  Santee Lakes, Lake 5, 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee
For more information call 619-258-4100 x 201

April 7
Carlsbad EGGStravaganza Spring Festival
Egg hunt and festival.  Music, fun games, arts & crafts and a
fun zone with bounce houses, giant slide, obstacle courses and
a chance to “Soak the Bunny.”  Collect eggs in the ongoing “Egg Scramble” between 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Time:  10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location:  Poinsettia Park, 6600 Hidden Valley Rd., Carlsbad
For more information visit www.carlsbadca.gov

April 7
Encinitas Easter Egg Hunt Festival
Free event, sponsored by the City of Encinitas, features arts and crafts, entertainment, prizes, jump houses, face painting, pictures with the bunny and of course, 24,000 eggs!
Time:  10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location:  Ecke Sports Park, 278 Saxony Rd., Encinitas
For more information visit www.cityofencinitas.org

April 8
Coronado Easter Brunch & Egg Hunts
Easter at the Hotel del Coronado! Enjoy food, entertainment and fun for the whole family.  Featuring several holiday brunch options, Easter-egg hunts, holiday crafts and visits with the Easter Bunny.  Three different hunts on the oceanfront Windsor Lawn from 10:00 am – 10:40 am, to include children of all ages, then another round of 3 eggs hunts from 12:00 pm to 12:40 pm.
Time:  10:00 am – 12:40 pm
Location:  Hotel del Coronado, Windsor Lawn, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado
Call 619-522-8490 for brunch reservations.  Visit www.hoteldel.com for more information.

April 14-15
San Diego Pet Expo
Information about pets, including pet product and service vendors. 2 stages of entertainment, animal celebrities, petting zoo, splash dogs, expert speakers, pet adoptions, breed area, food court, and much more. Admission–see event website.
Time:  Sat. 10:00 am – 7:00 pm / Sun. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Del Mar Fairgrounds – Bing Crosby Hall, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit www.sandiegopetexpo.net

April 15
Annual Port of San Diego Day at the Docks
The West Coast’s largest public celebration of sportfishing. This free annual event provides marine attractions for the whole family, and especially the sportfishing enthusiast. Features boat rides on San Diego Bay, displays by marine artists and fishing tackle experts, great food, entertainment, fishing seminars, open house aboard sportfishing boats, kid’s fishing, contests, prizes and more!
Time:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  San Diego Sportfishing Landings, Point Loma, Harbor Dr. & Scott St.
For more information visit www.sportfishing.org

April 20-22
48th Annual Lakeside Rodeo
The Rodeo features seven major events: Bareback Bronc, Barrel Racing, Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Saddle Bronc, Steer Wrestling, and Team Roping.  Parking donation of $3.00 benefits a youth organization in Lakeside.
Rodeo schedule: Friday 7:30 pm (gates open at 6:00);
Saturday, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm (gates open 12:30 & 6:00); Sunday, 2:00 pm (gates open at 12:30).
Location:  Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, Hwy 67 and Mapleview St., Lakeside
For more information visit www.lakesiderodeo.com

April 21
27th Annual Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair & Parade
A cultural celebration offering food, merchandise, performances, and carnival rides. There will be a Kids Zone, Teen Stage, and World Arts Village. This event is in conjunction with the Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Parade.
Time:  10:00 am – 5:00 pm / Parade:  11;00 – 12:00 pm
Fair Location:  Linda Vista Rd. – between Comstock & Ulric
Parade route: Linda Vista Rd/Lavant St > Linda Vista Rd > Comstock St >
Morley St > Ulric St > Fulton St > Levant St.
For more information visit www.lindavistafair.org

April 21
42nd Annual Chicano Park Day
A historic public arts site, Chicano Park is recognized worldwide for its mural paintings of Chicano and Mexican history. The Park was established on April 22, 1970 by Chicano artists. The annual Chicano Park Day celebration features children’s art workshop, traditional and contemporary music & dance, live bands,
                              food, arts & craft vendors and a classic low rider car display. Free Event.
Time:  10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Chicano Park, Cesar Chavez Parkway exit,
under the Coronado Bay Bridge, Barrio Logan
For more information visit www.chicano-park.org

April 22
Annual San Diego EarthFair 2012
The annual EarthFair in Balboa Park is the largest free annual environmental fair in the world showcasing a wide variety of causes, goods, and services pertaining to the environment and quality of life. Free to attend. All kinds of entertainment and things to see and do.
Time:  11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location:  Balboa Park – Central Mesa Area
For more information visit www.earthdayweb.org

April 28-29
Annual Encinitas Street Fair
Browse among 400 unique booths featuring a little of everything: arts & crafts, antiques, clothing, items from around the world, and more. In the spring, children’s rides, four live stages, and the Karl Strauss Brewery beer garden guarantee that you’ll find fun for the whole family at the annual Encinitas Street Faire, ongoing since 1983! See website for parking, location, etc.
Time:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Encinitas, Coast Hwy 101
For more information visit www.kennedyfaires.com/encinitas

April  28-29
May 5-6, Escondido Renaissance Faire
The age of chivalry will be recreated among the wonders of nature in an idyllic setting. Travel back to the 16th century and the glories of the reign of Elizabeth the First. Activities include several of Will Shakespeare’s new plays, battle pageants, music in the streets, jugglers and hundreds of costumed re-enactors performing in this giant outdoor play. There is an admission fee, which covers all entertainment.
Time:  10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location:  Felicita County Park, 742 Clarence Lane, Escondido

April 28-29
28th Annual Art Walk
Little Italy presents an adventurous art walk showcasing visual and performing art such as paintings, sculpture, photography, digital art, mixed media, music, and dance. Art collectors and visitors interact with artists, view and purchase their artwork and enjoy an outdoor casual atmosphere. The fine art festival
encompasses 18 blocks of downtown “Little Italy” San Diego where works are displayed in tents along the streets. A Kids Walk in Amici Park accompanies this event. Free event.
Time:  11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location:  Little Italy – refer to website for the various locations
For more locations visit www.missionfederalartwalk.org

Calendar provided courtesy of Lawyer’s Title
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Home Prices are Rising

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Home prices are rising and have been doing so for the last three months.  According to Standard and Poor’s newest Case-Shiller index report, prices have actually showed a decline, but that fact has been disputed by other reports. In North San Diego, I agree that prices seem to be rising and market times, not including short sales, are decreasing.

The discrepancy between the Case-Shiller report and other reports that have studied markets across the country is that the other reports focus on when contracts are signed – it uses the prices agreed upon at that time, even though it could be months until the properties close escrow.  Case-Shiller uses the prices reflected at the close of escrow, so there is quite a bit of lag time, up to several months, which skews the results.

Market Trends: The general consensus is that if you focus on what is trending, rather than waiting until close of escrow down the road, you get a clearer picture of price increase. Of course, there is the possibility that some of these sales may not close escrow, or may not appraise at the agreed price, but there is still a valid argument that focusing on what people are WILLING to pay and do get into contract for is a more accurate measure of hyper-local market analyses.

North San Diego: From a personal standpoint, I agree that prices seem to be increasing in the North San Diego market. We are seeing a lot of multiple offer situations, especially in the lower price ranges (under $400,000) across the county. Also apparent is that that the days on market time seems to be decreasing. In Carlsbad alone the average market time (for all four zip codes combined) for detached homes is 76 days, but if you scroll through all the pending listings you will notice many that sold in under a week. For attached homes in all four Carlsbad zip codes the average market time is 84 days, but again, you will notice a handful of properties that went into pending status quickly.

Sales Time Trends and Short Sales: Another trend I am seeing is that short sales contracts are being presented and accepted faster, especially in the under-$400,000 price range, with both attached and detached homes. These sales go into contingent status (meaning an offer has been signed and accepted by the seller pending approval by the short sale lender(s)) much quicker these days, but the market times are longer because the parties await short sale lender approval. The wait time, which can take months, throws off the market time numbers and makes them longer, so that has to be considered when looking at the sale times.

All in all the news is positive that the market here in San Diego is improving,which is great news for homeowners and buyers alike. According to Altos Research, the statistics indicate that the tables have turned slightly in the condo market, making it a seller’s market for the first time in a long time; the detached home market is still a buyer’s market. Hopefully the road ahead will continue to bring us closer to a more “normal” market.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like any detailed market reports and statistics sent to you, and I will be happy to do so. Send your request to Rachel@LaMarRealEstate.org.

 

 

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Have You Thanked Your Customers Lately?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

With the onslaught of social media and the digital age many people, myself included, lament the loss of humanization – that personal touch, face-to-face contact, handwritten notes and handshakes or hugs. In the interest of doing things faster and getting more accomplished in a shorter time, we tend to overlook the most important part of relationships, the things that make us stand out, seem more “real,” helpful and caring.

Humans need to feel appreciated, and if you are appreciated in your business you will be successful. Those who are appreciated are those who go beyond the norm – making sure their clients are satisfied, being available, moving around schedules to accommodate, and most importantly, listening and saying “thank you.”

We need to show people we appreciate them, whether it is our dry cleaner, the driver who let’s you in front of them, your client or anyone else. Saying “thank you” goes a long way.

One of the best books I read on the topic was The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary talks about how we can use technology and social media, and still thank our customers and colleagues with a personal touch. If you have not read it and you are in any kind of business, I highly recommend it. He truly understands that business requires a human element, and he shows how you can use technology to your advantage and the advantage of your clients.

So next time someone needs something from you, take a moment to help them, and do it with a smile on your face no matter how busy you are. Most importantly, thank them when you are finished. Thank them for choosing to call you, for asking for your help, for working with you. Remember, there are others out there they could have chosen, but they contacted you. If you are thankful, not only will it pay off in the long run, but it will make you feel amazing.

Lastly, please teach this important lesson to your children. They need to understand the power of gratitude (sadly, many do not). Thank you for reading my blog!

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”
Cicero

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach

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Real Estate News REcap

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

There has been a great deal of real estate news making headlines lately, so if you want the latest scoop here you go:

1.  Bank of America is about to launch deed for lease program. After much controversy over this type of program, it seems B of A is going to jump into the deed for lease program arena. The program will target underwater homeowners, who are in danger of foreclosure, and will provide an alternative that allows them to stay in their homes: the homeowner turns over the deed to the property, and in turn gets to rent the property back as a tenant, at current market rates. The former homeowners would be given one year leases with options to renew. There are many questions as to whether this program will work, and whether it is good for the housing market. We will just have to wait and see. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

2.  Bank of America is offering principal reductions up to $100,000. Sound too good to be true? It may well be – the requirements are very specific and do not apply to Fannie and Freddie loans. Your loan has to have originated with Countrywide AND you have to have been 60 days delinquent as of January 31, 2012. For more information click here.

3.  New study finds buying is cheaper than renting in 98/100 major U.S. cities. According to a study by Trulia, it is more cost-effective to buy rather than rent in many places. This is due mostly in part to the rising rental rates and the flat housing prices – combine that with the extremely low interest rates which make now a great time to buy. Buying rather than renting can also avoid other potential headaches, such as finding properties to rent (a big problem in my area), or the surprise of a landlord facing foreclosure. For more details on the report click here.

4.  Best February for home sales in 5 years. Yes, last month was the best February for resale homes of the last 5, according to the National Association of Realtors. Combined with a nice sale number in January, the year seems to be off to the best start since 2007. Hopefully this good news will continue.

5. Assets of 5 California mortgage companies are frozen by federal court. This came after investigations were opened against five California mortgage companies for fraud in scamming homeowners facing foreclosure. All the companies were owned by Sameer Lakhany, who apparently charged customers up to $10,000 for legal advice and forensic audits, encouraging them to join lawsuits against their lenders for fraud.

6.  The blame game – are you surprised? The FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) is claiming that the lengthy foreclosure timelines are the fault of state laws. These laws have been enacted by different states in order to protect homeowners, but the FHFA claims they are instead delaying foreclosures, which hurts neighborhoods and the homeowners in the long run. What do you think?

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North San Diego February Home Sales

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

North County Home Sales

Thank you to Roxanne Kelemen, with Advantage Title for the above information!

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Short Sale and Foreclosure News Brief

Monday, March 19th, 2012

There is a lot going on in the short sale and foreclosure arenas, and much of it may effect buyers, sellers and underwater borrowers. Here is the latest news:

Short Sales: Will They Soon be Shorter? There has been talk about making short sales shorter – not a new topic of course but this time the talk comes down from the Feds. The latest is that they want to make short sales more reliable as far as timing. The guidelines will only apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, and the full plan will be announced September 30.

Here are some of the highlights, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR):

Second liens: The plan entails better standardized rules between Fannie and Freddie regarding second liens and how they are to be dealt with (of course, there is no elaboration here). There is also a plan to set fixed amounts so that banks will know in advance how much they can expect to collect in a short sale. If there is no guessing and haggling with the first lender and/or the buyers and sellers to come up with an agreeable number, the second lender will be more likely to acquiesce to the short sale.

Mortgage Insurers: The idea here is to prevent mortgage insurers from dragging out short sales. Rules will be introduced that prevent their ability to do so (via timelines), which is one of the causes of breakdowns in short sale negotiations.

Mandatory Timelines: While there has been no information on what these might be or how they will be enforced, this is the crux of the short sale approval problem – if we can establish timelines in which a lender must respond, short sales definitely will become shorter.

Valuation Problems: Another big problem in getting short sales accepted is valuation – there is a push to get lenders to take steps to get better property valuations, and to disclose the lowest price they will accept on a short sale property. I for one feel that lenders should eliminate agent BPOs and rely on local appraisers to come up with these numbers – I have had bad BPOs and bad appraisals almost ruin transactions.

Changes in Settlement Structure for First and Secondary Lien Holders: Second lien holders tend to get the short end of the stick when negotiating short sales, and usually walk away with very little money toward the debt that was owed. First lien holders, on the other hand, have more power in negotiations with the seller and tend to far far better, thus creating problems where subsequent lien holders refuse to settle, which of course can cause short sale approval to take a very long time or not happen at all. A new plan proposes the first and second lien holders share equally in the losses through the short sale settlement.

Banks are Overvaluing Homes, Making Foreclosures Worse: A recent article in the Huffington Post last week stated that banks are not making proper valuations on distressed properties, which in turn makes it less likely homeowners can get loan modifications, sending more properties to foreclosure. Using proper valuation methods to come up with correct numbers could prevent more foreclosures, allow more short sales and auction sales to third parties, and also allow for the possibility of more loan modifications.

Foreclosures are Down from a Year Ago, but on the Rise: Foreclosures are down from the same time last year, but are up from the previous month. Typically foreclosures slow down during the holiday season, and combined with the robo-signing settlement this could be why their numbers went down at the end of the year and into 2012. However, some say the declining numbers show progress in the mortgage industry…hmmm, what do you think? For statistics on specific states and more information on foreclosure numbers you can read this article from DSNews.

 

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What is a Probate Sale, and Should Buyers Consider One?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

We don’t see too many probate sales out there, but they do exist. Oftentimes buyers, and many agents as well, do not understand their nature. The sales and paperwork process are different from traditional sales, and there are other caveats, but if you do your research buying a home via probate could be a great investment. Let’s look at the probate sale:

Defined: A probate sale occurs when a homeowner dies without a will, meaning they have not bequeathed their property to another. The state thus has to sell the property through the court, and wants the best possible price.

Court Confirmation: Most probate sales have to be approved by the court after being accepted by the parties (much like short sales have to be approved by the short sale lenders). In California, if the estate representative is given full power to sell the property under the Independent Administration of Estates Act (IAEA), it could bypass the need for court approval of the sale. If the representative has only limited powers, then a court confirmation is required.

Offer process: The offer process on a probate sale property is very different than any you have likely encountered. Once the buyer makes an offer and it is accepted by the estate representative, a petition is filed with the court for review (assuming it needs to be approved by the court). Note that the buyer must remove all contingencies before the petition is filed. Usually there is a hearing within 20-40 days from the petition date. Here is where it gets tricky.

During this time, the following events will occur:

• The buyer must deposit 10% of the purchase price before or on the date of the court hearing

• The court will advertise the accepted price for a certain period of time in a local paper, encouraging other bids. There are restrictions on overbid amounts (in California, the standard is to raise the offer from the accepted price by 5% plus $500), and the court will decide on the final increments on overbids.

Court Hearing: All parties who are interested in purchasing the property must come to the court hearing, which is conducted like an auction. Other interested parties must be able to present an unconditional offer (one with no loan or inspection contingencies) and present a check to the court for 10% of the purchase price. If the court accepts a higher offer the original buyer gets her/his 10% deposit back. If the original buyer’s offer is accepted the 10% deposit is applied to the purchase price and becomes nonrefundable.

The accepted purchase price must be no less than 90% of the appraised value of the property.

Caveats: Obviously, a probate sale may not be right for every buyer, due to the fact that the “accepted” offer is not a guaranteed sale, and because there is a long waiting period. If the buyer defaults after the offer is accepted s/he risks losing the deposit. Most importantly, the buyer should fork out money at the get-go for a home inspection, BEFORE writing an offer. This is obviously risky, because they may not end up as the purchaser, but it is definitely important to know any defects with the property since no seller disclosures will be provided.

If you do your homework, don’t have to move in a hurry, and have a good agent on your side a probate sale could be right for you.

 

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Free Homeowner Short Sale Seminar Wednesday in Carlsbad

Monday, March 12th, 2012

If you have ever considered a short sale, or would like to learn more about how they work, I have the seminar for you…and it’s free! Shortsaleopedia and I have collaborated to hold monthly seminars to help homeowners in San Diego, and the next one is this Wednesday, March 14, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Carlsbad Dove Library.

I have put together a phenomenal panel of experts – from real estate and credit attorneys to a CPA, short sale bank negotiator, mortgage professional, escrow and title professionals, who specialize and are trained in short sales. We will teach you all about the intricacies and ramifications (legal, credit and tax) of short sales, programs that may be available to help you, and how current and upcoming laws could make your sale easier or more challenging.

Please join me and my wonderful expert panel this Wednesday. Come learn, ask questions and get informed. You can sign up here:  http://shortsaleopedia.com/events/event-san-diego-shortsaleopedia-seminar/ The Carlsbad Dove (main) library is located at 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, just off El Camino Real North of Aviara Parkway.  If you are investigating options for distressed property, this event will be valuable.

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Memories of Home: Why Homeownership Should Still be the American Dream

Friday, March 9th, 2012

You have probably read the statistics that say that the younger generation of Americans have no desire to own homes. Being younger, the majority of what they have seen in their adult lives involves negativity and tragedy in the housing market – people losing their homes, underwater and unable to pay their mortgages, left with no equity and thus no way to refinance. They have seen prices drop and neighborhoods abandoned, new construction halted and the rental market hit all-time highs. No wonder they don’t want to buy!

I feel sad that the idea of homeownership has deteriorated, not just because I am in the business of finding the right home for people, but because I have children and want them to understand the value of a home. It is not just a place where we keep our things, but rather is a place where we make memories, spend time with family and friends, seek shelter from the cruelties and challenges of the world. A home is a safe harbor, a place where we can be ourselves.

I thought I would ask a question of some friends and family members, and also on Facebook, to see how important homes are to people, so I asked, “What is your favorite memory of the home you grew up in?” Here are some of the responses:

• Family holidays – they were always at our home and I loved them. My mom cooked all day and the house smelled so good and was so festive

• Playing outside at night with all the neighborhood kids…

• Sleep over parties in our huge living room! We’d have sleeping bags everywhere and [my brother] would come out in the middle of the night and mess with all of us. Fun times 🙂

• Playing Charlie’s Angels around the apartment building complete with groovy sunglasses and mom’s purse. We were SO grown up!

• Playing in the middle of the street with the other neighborhood kids, w/o any fear whatsoever, having good fun, and they had to go home when the street lights went on !

• The way the whole house smelled when my mom made her homemade marinara sauce – she cooked it all day and we would come in from playing outside and get to dip big pieces of bread in it

• Playing in our basement…climbing trees…making tree houses…and catching craw daddies in our creek.

• Walking home from high school to eat lunch and watch soap operas before going back

• Having my cousins and family over on the weekends for swimming and barbeques

• Our backyard treehouse! All the neighborhood kids came over to play in it

• Having our birthday parties in our yard – one year we had a petting zoo and pony rides, and lots of times we had jump houses

• Two of my closest friends lived next door and across the street – we would always be over each others’ houses, sharing clothes and hanging out

• Doing doughnuts in our circular driveway (not a safe thing, looking back!)

Our memories of home shape who we are. Try to think of your childhood, and I bet that your home plays a big role in the memories you have – your friends, school, family, pets, holidays…the list is endless. Please share your favorite memories from home here, to add to the many reasons why a home is so much more than just a house. I hope the American dream of homeownership will once again become one that our children not only will be able to realize, but will desire.

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Rent Your Home and Avoid Foreclosure: Too Good to be True?

Monday, March 5th, 2012

These days it is frustrating to figure out options to avoiding foreclosure. Many homeowners who call me to discuss short selling have similar questions: what are my options. Of course, there are options out there – like refinancing (HARP2 will be able to help some underwater borrowers starting in a few weeks – see previous blog) and short selling.

Lately you may have heard talk about banks selling underwater homes to third parties, allowing the sellers to remain in the home as tenants. This idea is not new, but it has been considered lately as one solution to preventing foreclosures. There are positive and negative elements to establishing a program of this nature.

The positive side: If you are a homeowner the ideal situation for you, if you are underwater and will no longer be able to pay your mortgage, would be to stay in your home. The government agrees, and it wants the banks to sell your home to an investor, keeping you in the property as a long term renter (you still have to qualify as a renter, of course, so no unemployment). Your payments would likely drop substantially, and although you would not longer “own” the home, you would be able to stay there. Sounds good, right?

The not-so-pretty fine print: The problem with the above scenario is twofold: first, we have to consider the effect it may have on the housing market. At what discount will all these homes be sold to the third party investors? It would have to be a big discount, to make sense from an investment perspective. This will devastate neighborhoods, bringing the comparable sold properties down even lower.

But so do short sales and foreclosure, you argue, right? My second point demonstrates another issue…

Allowing homeowners to stay in their homes as renters will make things even worse for housing, because what kind of message does it send? Hey, if you can’t afford your home, you can still live there and just rent it! I can see this becoming a problem, and some homeowners will undoubtedly try to take advantage of it, hurting local markets and neighborhoods even further.

A smarter solution to the housing nightmare is to make the banks approve short sales faster. Although it is so difficult for homeowners to have to short sale their homes, they have an opportunity to start over and get back on their feet, make smart decisions and be homeowners again in the future. I do think that turning the vacant bank-owned inventory into rentals could be a positive spin on things, but I DO NOT think the government should be in the business of renting homes, so for this option to work an investor would have to come in and buy the bank-owned property and rent it out. But of course, this brings us back to the issue of deteriorating prices.

Trying to figure out the best ways to help both distressed owners AND the housing market is tough. I say the banks should bless the short sales and make the process more streamlined, so at least we can get more inventory on and off the market quickly, and get people on their way to healing. What do you think?

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