RE/MAX 360

RE/MAX 360


Price reduction

An extended Aspen that was placed on the market 24 days ago at $280,000 has just reduced their asking price to $270,000. This home was originally placed on the market in August of this year at $335,000...subsequently reduced to $290,000, but the listing agreement with that agent was cancelled and the home was re-listed with a new agent at the $280,000 price this month.

The sellers purchased the home in 1999 for $167,400.

Merry Christmas Freddie and Fannie...from us, the taxpayers!

In an oddly timed move, on Christmas Eve The Treasury announced what essentially amounts to a blank check for the potential bad debt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Prior, the Treasury had a $200 Billion (each) limit on bailing out the "insolvent" mortgage lenders. At the present time, the two, combined have drawn down a little over $110 billion of the approved $400 billion.

Makes you wonder about the stability and equity of the $6 trillion dollars of loans on their books, doesn't it? If there is almost $300 billion still to go under their "credit-line" but The Treasury lifts all limits...on Christmas Eve no less! That scares me a little a taxpayer, homeowner and real estate agent...


FHA, 1st time buyers, short sales and perceptions...

Nearly 40% of existing homes purchased in November used an FHA-insured mortgage, according to a National Association of Realtors survey.

As a result, the FHA is having to defend the program, saying that it is well enough capitalized to avoid any major losses in case of surging defaults. Earlier this month, Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan was before Congress defending the FHA, and ensuring the House Financial Services Committee that the single-family insurance program is “not the next subprime.”

The increase in demand caused the capital reserve ratio at the FHA to drop below the Congressionally mandated 2% minimum, leaving HUD and the FHA scrambling to ensure the FHA program’s soundness.

A number of proposals are being considered, including the raising of insurance premiums, raising the minimum FICO (credit score) requirements, raising the minimum required down payments and reducing the allowable seller contribution...all of which will make it more difficult for buyers to qualify for and obtain financing (and hence, not good for sellers).

Other results from the Realtors survey showed first time homebuyers accounted for 51% of all transactions and are actively competing with investors for distressed properties...

And, distressed properties aren’t just affecting transaction price, however. The presence of distressed properties is influencing buyers’ perceptions of other homes for sale and many buyers have pricing expectations that treat every property as if it were a distressed sale.

Additionally, HUD issued a ruling that borrowers who were in default on their mortgage at the time of a short sale are not eligible for an FHA-insured mortgage for three years...


A Bank-Owned property has sold...

The bank foreclosure on Blue Bay (an Aspen 5) closed on 12/11/09

The bank priced the home at $285,000, however the final selling price was $223,000 with the bank accepting a cash deal. The home was on the market for a total of 48 days.

The prior owner paid $450,000 for the home in December of 2006 and it appears that the purchase was 100% financing (80/20).


Price reduction

An Antigua (floorplan on the left), on Blue Bay, that was placed on the market on October 20th at $349,900 has reduced their asking price to $344,900.


Aspen on the market

An Aspen with a pool on Blue Bay has just gone on the market as a short sale, priced at $299,000. The current owners purchased the home in March of 2005 for $422,500.

Back in 2007/2008 the current owners had the home on the market at $421,400 however after 6 months at that price, the listing expired. Doing a little research reveals that back in early to mid 2008, an Aspen with a pool may have commanded a price in the mid $300's.


Sample of some of the video marketing we have done recently


Some must-read stats...

According to a report today, nationally, 1 in 4 mortgages is currently “under water”. That comes to almost 11 Million homes where the owner owes more than the home is worth.

The majority of underwater mortgages are heavily concentrated in five states that have particularly suffered from the housing bust: Nevada, at 65%; Arizona, at 48%; Florida, at 45%; Michigan, at 37%; and California, at 35%.

For us in Florida, that is a very scary number…45% of all homeowners owe more than their homes current market value! Add to that continued job losses and the potential number of defaults/foreclosures is tremendous.

Hopefully, the expanded and extended homebuyer tax credit will keep a finger in the dyke long enough to give sellers who are not yet under water who want/need to sell to a chance to get out. But looking forward, as the tax credit expires, and if the Fed follows through on its plans to scale back its purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which will signal the end of these historically low interest rates, I sincerely believe that we will see a resumption of the decline in home values here in South Florida.

Sellers and those thinking of selling take heed…your window of opportunity is the next 6 months…


Foreclosure goes under contract

The Aspen 5 model on Blue Bay that was taken back by the bank and placed on the market September 26th has just gone under contract...The owner that lost the home to the bank purchased it in December of 2006 for $450,000, and the Palm Beach County Courthouse records indicate that it was a 100% (80/20) loan....The big loser here looks like the bank.


Aspen price reduction

An expanded Aspen that was originally priced at $335k back in August has just reduced their asking price to $290k. This home is NOT being marketed as a short sale.


President Obama signs the 1st time homebuyer tax credit extension into law AND expands it to include NOT only 1st time buyers

More home buyers get tax credit

President Obama signed into law a $24 billion economic stimulus bill providing tax incentives to prospective home buyers.

The tax credits center on extending the  $8,000 credit for first-time homebuyers that was included in the stimulus package. The credit, which was to expire at the end of this month, will be available through next June as long as the buyer signs a binding contract by the end of April, 2010.

The program is expanded to include a $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who buy a new place after living in their current residence for at least five years.

The above is only the basic outline of the program…If you would like the full details just give me a quick call at 561-432-5202 or email


Expanded 1st time buyer $8000 tax credit headed to President Obamas desk for signature

And it's not just for 1st time buyers anymore!

Call me for the details.


New Govt. plan to delay, not cure, the foreclosure problem...

Fannie Mae to rent out homes instead of foreclosing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of borrowers on the verge of foreclosure will soon have the option of renting their homes from Fannie Mae, under a policy announced Thursday.

The government-controlled company, through its "Deed for Lease" program, will allow borrowers to transfer ownership to Fannie Mae and sign a one-year lease, with month-to-month extensions after that.

The program will "eliminate some of the uncertainty of foreclosure, keeps families and tenants in their homes during a transitional period, and helps to stabilize neighborhoods and communities," Jay Ryan, a Fannie Mae vice president, said in a statement.

However, the effort is likely to affect a relatively small number of homeowners. In the first half of the year, Fannie Mae took back about 1,200 properties through this process, known as a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. That pales in comparison to the 57,000 foreclosed properties the company repossessed in the period.

While neither option is particularly attractive for the homeowner, a deed-in-lieu does less harm to the borrower's credit record.

The rental program is designed to help homeowners who don't qualify for a loan modification under the Obama administration's plan, but still want to remain in their homes. Fannie Mae is not planning to market the homes for sale during the one-year rental period.

Fannie Mae has hired an outside company, which officials declined to identify, to manage the properties.(where's the transparency...Fannie is owned by the taxpayers for all intents and purposes)

To qualify, homeowners have to live in the home as their primary residence and prove that they can afford the market rent, which would be determined by the management company. The rent can't be more than 31% of their pretax income.


Short sale negotiation insider info...

I thought my readers may find it interesting to hear a little bit about some of the "behind-the-scenes" information regarding negotiating a short sale...Every day we are dealing with lenders and are involved with negotiations on short sales. A recent hurdle has been the negotiations with 2nd lien holders (2nd mortgages/home equity liens). We thought that the following may be of interest to a lot of folks currently contemplating how or even IF they should do a short sale....

These days many 2nd mortgage companies are now asking for 10% of their principal balance in order to release their lien. Prior to these recent changes, ALL 1st mortgage holders allowed a maximum of $1,000 to 2nd mortgages, period. Once 2nd mortgage holders started demanding 10%, it made obtaining approvals from both mortgages quite challenging. After all, 10% is quite a large number! And most 1st mortgages will only allow a maximum of $1,000 right?

Well luckily for our sellers, SOME 1st mortgage holders have paid attention to the changing trends and have started to change their policies to match. Now, more and more 1st mortgage holders are allowing a payoff of up to 10% to 2nd mortgages to avoid any complications. And for us short sale specialists, this is helpful to successfully navigating a short sale for our sellers! One of the lenders that have started to be more open to this policy change is ASC.

Keep in mind, not all 1st mortgage holders are doing this, and it is on a case-by-case basis, but, they are at least open to it and some will approve 10% to be paid to 2nd mortgage holders.


Senate Clears Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension to Pass This Week

After two weeks of delay, the Senate, last night, cleared the way to pass a seven month extension and expansion of the tax credit for homebuyers... making it virtually certain that the legislation will reach President Obama for his signature this week.

The homebuyer tax credit, due to expire in 28 days, would be extended through April 30 of next year. First-time buyers who are in process of making a purchased would not need to worry about qualifying for the $8,000 credit if they close after the November 30 deadline.

For the first time, the legislation cleared last night makes move-up buyers as well as first-time buyers would be eligible for a credit. The $8,000 maximum first-timer credit will continue and will now available to couples with income up to $225,000, a nearly $55,000 increase above the level in existing law.

A new $6,500 maximum credit would also be available to move-up homeowners who have lived in their current residence for five of the prior eight years... it is virtually certain that the President will sign the legislative package, which contains an expansion of unemployment benefits as well as the tax changes.


21% still to go?

I have recently read several news stories regarding predicted home values. The reports indicate that the 2 worst performing housing markets in the country in the next 12 months will be Miami with aprox a 30% drop in "median" value, then Orlando...but not far behind, and of little comfort that we're not number 1, is the report for West Palm Beach area home prices that predicts values to dip another 21.7 percent from a median price of $229,000 to $179,307. The report used the Case-Shiller index of home prices along with foreclosure data to formulate the prediction.

However, I always advise my readers and clients to keep in mind that the "median" can be easily skewed and is not an accurate predictive statistic for individual home values. Along those same lines, the property value sites like Zillow can be wildly innacurate. As it has always been, the undisputed most accurate way to determine a homes value at any point in time is by comparable sales and comparable offerings.

As is especially true in this market, buyers ultmately determine a homes value and they do this by "comparison shopping", as you most likely did when you purchased the home you now own.


Lakeview Estates market activity recap

Below you'll see the recent market activity for your community

  • There are currently 6 homes on the market
  • 1 of the 6 is a short sale
  • 1 of the 6 is a bank-owned property
  • The remaining 4 are regular sales at this point

  • In the previous 90 days, there has been only 1 closed sale reported

  • There are currently no homes under contract

A search of the Palm Beach County courthouse records reveals that there are currently 5 homes that have had a "Lis Pendens" (default/foreclosure notice) filed. None of the 5 are currently on the market.

Price reduction

The Aspen that was originally listed at $335,000 on August 18th has reduced their price again today...they are now asking $297,150. This is the 4th reduction to date. The home is not being marketed as a short sale.

The sellers are the original owners who purchased the home in October, 1999 for $167,400.


New on the market...Antigua

A seldom available Antigua model has just come on the market priced at $349,900.  Via public record access, it appears that the home is being sold by the original owner who purchasd the home in November of 1999 at $225,200.



Aspen, price reduction...

An Aspen (extended), originally listed at $335,000 has just been reduced to $300,000.  The home was placed on the market  August 14th and this is the 3rd price reduction.

The sellers purchased the home in March of '99 for $167,400.

Govt. Foreclosure Rescue Plan losing ground...


18,300 property tax bill appeals break record

18,300 property tax bill appeals break record

Shared via AddThis


Pulling the rug out?

Since the initial decline of the housing market and associated collapse of the banking and mortgage industry, FHA loans have taken over a majority of the lending being done here.

 I have often thought that these FHA loans were going to be our next "wave of defaulting loans" for the following reasons: Most FHA loans made here are with only a 3.5% down payment and allow the seller to contribute up to 6% towards the buyers closing costs. And generally, a lot of the buyers go "FHA" for 2 main reasons...they don't have much cash AND they have lower credit scores than required by conventional lenders.

In essence, all of these newly issued FHA loans are the same "no money down" loans that are currently contributing to the explosion in defaults. It has been shown that homeowners are more likely to default when there is no equity in the home....this seem obvious.

Well, in a declining market, like we are in, it won't take long for all of the FHA loans made in the previous 12 months to be "upside-down". Combine "upside-down", with lower credit scores and what do you get? The recipe for more defaults!

I believe that the above reasoning has prompted the following:

The FHA Taxpayer Protection Act of 2009 — HR 3706 , introduced in Congress Monday would increase the minimum down payment for Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgages from 3.5% to 5% and would also prohibit financing initial service charges, appraisals, inspections, or other fees or closing costs with any part of an FHA mortgage. (seller-paid closing costs)

 The bill’s author, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), said the current policy of allowing closing costs to be rolled into the mortgage effectively reduces FHA down payments to as low as 2.5% (and sometimes greater than 100% financing) because borrowers don’t have to have as much (any) cash on hand at closing.

 “As we have learned repeatedly throughout the mortgage crisis, the amount of equity a homeowner has in their home directly correlates to the credit risk associated to their mortgage.”

 The bill also calls for an examination of the housing market’s dependence on the fund (FHA) since the mortgage crisis began.

The inspector general for HUD, Kenneth Donohue, also appeared before the House subcommittee calling for more resources. To illustrate the explosion of FHA’s presence in the market since the development of the near-third statistic often exchanged by industry players and media outlets, Donohue said data show the FHA’s endorsements (or guarantees of mortgages) rose from 24% of the single-family market in the first quarter of 2008, to 63% of the market in Q109, including home sales and refinance.

So, if the above bill does pass and the FHA lending criteria "tighten", then I believe that here, locally, the housing market will suffer. When you make it more difficult to obtain the loan that the majority of our buyers are utilizing...there is only 1 conclusion. Then, combine this change with the expiration of the 1st time homebuyer tax credit AND a potential rise in mortgage interest rates! Not good for us homeowners here in South Florida.

Shoot me an email and let me know which way you see the market heading.

Foreclosure...on the market

An expanded Aspen with a pool on Blue Bay Circle that was taken back by the bank on July 30th of this year has just come on the market at $285,000.

This home is reported to be 2743 sq ft under air on the Palm Beach County tax records. But from the elevations I can see, I believe it is an  Aspen, which is 2336' under air, that must have been expanded (or the tax records are incorrect). If the sq footage is correct, an asking price for a pool home in Lakeview Estates of just over $100/sq ft is quite a deal!

The previous owners paid  $450,000 for the home in December of 2006.


What housing recovery?

Not that Moody's was very accurate in assessing and assigning risk ratings to RMBS, but, if you live in Florida and were thinking of "holding on until prices come back" you'd better have a lot of stamina according to Moody's recent projections!

Moody's predicts that home prices will not reach their previous peak prices of '05/'06 until 2023-2030's (according to the article that accompanied the graph above).

If you have reason or a desire to sell, now or in the near future, you may want to sell sooner rather than later. However, if you're planning to live in your home until the kids are married and on their own, you may be able to weather the storm. Below is the bulk of the original article.

Scary default stats...

13.16% of Mortgages Delinquent: MBA

By DIANA GOLOBAY August 20, 2009 10:04 AM CST

Single-family mortgages set a new record delinquency rate of 13.16% in Q209, according to the quarterly survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The delinquency rate includes mortgages at least one payment past due or in foreclosure.

The results were lead by Florida with 12% of mortgages somewhere in foreclosure, another 5% at least 90 days past due and a total 22.8% at least one payment delinquent or in foreclosure at the end of June. Nevada followed Florida with 21.3% at least one payment past due or in foreclosure.

Homes in Foreclosure in Lakeview Estates...Lis Pendens

Lis pendens means "a suit pending". A lis pendens is a written notice that a lawsuit has been filed involving the title to real property or some interest in that real property. Notice to the defendant who owns the property and potential buyers or financiers is given by filing the lis pendens with the clerk of the court, certifying that it has been filed, and then recording it with the County Recorder.

As of today, there are 5 homes in Lakeview Estates that have had a Lis Pendens filed. Most likely there are more homeowners in Lakeview Estates that are in default (late on their mortgage payments), but lenders are not very agressive right now in moving forward on foreclosures.

In addition, there is 1 home that already is owned by the bank but has not yet been placed on the market for re-sale.

Community Stats

To begin, we'll provide some market statistics for Lakeview Estates:

 As of today, there are only 4 homes listed for sale in the follows:
1) A Riviera on the lake with a pool, listed at $375,000 and on the market for 130 days so far.
2) An Aspen with a pool, listed at $329,000 and on the market for 17 days.
3) A Riviera on the lake with a pool, listed at $349,000 and on the market for 46 days. This home is being marketed as a short sale.
4) An Aspen, no lake or pool, listed at $320,000 and on the market for 53 days.

There are currently NO homes under contract

There have been only 3 reported sales in the previous 6 months as follows:
1) An Aspen on the lake sold for $305,000 on 9/3/09
2) An Aspen on the lake sold for $300,000 on 7/24/09...this was a short sale
3) An Aspen, no lake or pool, sold for $295,000 on 5/31/2009...this was a short sale

There have been 3 homes that have had their listing expire or have cancelled their listing this year without having sold their property.

Lakeview Estates, Lake Worth Florida...foreclosure tracker

Lakeview Estates, Lake Worth Florida...foreclosure tracker
As of 4/1/10 there are 7 Lakeview Estates homes in some stage of foreclosure.
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