Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 30

HAMP or HAFA and Your Mortgage

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

At last, the federal government is taking real action to provide homeowners assistance with their mortgages.  A new initiative, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, or HAFA, is now in effect to help homeowners.  The details are complicated, and you, the homeowner, need to clearly understand these new solutions to gain the most benefit.  This is a critical issue, especially for the Tampa Bay real estate market since this market has been so hard hit by the economic downturn.  As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Sun Bay Associates is in a position to explain the nuances and benefits of the HAFA process.

In March 2009, the Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP, was introduced to provide homeowners assistance if their mortgage payments exceeded guidelines for income levels (above 31% of income).  Most homeowners, however, are facing such financial hardship that the HAMP can't provide them deep enough discounts on the mortgage and either don't qualify or in the end will default on the modified mortgage anyway.

Enter the HAFA program.  This is specifically designed for homeowners who don't qualify for HAMP aid.  HAFA is supposed to speed up the foreclosure avaoidance options for those homeowners who need this help.  HAFA can help same millions of homeowners from the financial disaster of foreclosure by getting either a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure accomplished relatively quickly.  A short sale is when the home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage amount and a deed in lieu is when the property is completely turned over to the lender because the homeowner cannot continue making payments.  Then the bank will sell the house to salvage as much of the loan balance as possible.

A critical item in qualifying for the HAFA program is that the loans are NOT owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and applies only to the first lien mortgage.  HAFA does offer incentives to lenders for those homeowners who have second, third or more mortgages on their homes.  Also, HAFA prevents lending participants from pursuing deficiency judgments against the homeowner after the short sale or deed in lieu has been completed.  If you are in the Tampa Bay area and need to avail yourself of the HAFA program, or are seeking financial help with your mortgage and don't know where to turn, contact us.  We will send you a report that clearly outlines the HAFA process.

With the detailed training and ongoing education as CDPE, we will be able to explain your options.  We can walk you through the various programs available to assist you, whether it is to keep your home by loan modification or going through the short sale or even deed in lieu process as quickly as possible so life can return to normal without the financial stress of a crushing mortgage payment.

Avoid Foreclosure in Palm Harbor, FL

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Imagine that you live in Palm Harbor, FL, are behind on your mortgage, and facing foreclosure.  This is not an unusual scenario for people in Palm Harbor, FL, or almost anywhere else in Florida either.  On TV and the radio, you hear ads from attorneys telling people to extend the time they can live in their homes by not paying their mortgages and eventually declaring bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure.  In some cases this may actually benefit the homeowner, but not in most cases.  After foreclosure, the homeowner is, in almost all cases, still responsible for the TOTAL mortgage balance.  And if the homeowner goes to a lawyer, there is the up front fee that must be paid to that attorney.

A real alternative is to try the short sale route.  This is simply selling the home at market value.  When an offer comes in, the homeowner asks the bank to forgive the difference between the amount owed and the amount the house sells for.  In many cases, the bank will even forgive asking for a deficiency judgment.  If the short sale is successfully concluded and the deficiency judgment is negotiated away, the homeowner can then move on with his/her life without the cloud of a massive debt hanging over them. 

If you know someone who lives in Palm Harbor, FL and is upside down in their home, or someone in your community in that situation, give the short sale approach some thought.  It is far better than declaring bankruptcy or going through foreclosure.  Click here for additional information.


Making an Offer on Real Estate

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Is an offer to buy a house an insult even if it is very low??  Of course not.  An offer indicates that the buyer at least has more interest than everyone else who has looked at a house and kept on shopping.  Owners shouldn't get insulted about low offers, they should look at a low offer as the beginning of a negotiation.  All business deals start somewhere and often the two sides are very far apart, in the beginning.  This happens very often in the Tampa Bay real estate market, as well as everywhere else where real estate transactions happen.

The art of negotiating a real estate transaction is the heart of the deal.  The realtor has to present the offers to the seller, and then present the counter-offer, if there is one, to the buyer's agent.  Seller's who get insulted at a low offer, make the deal personal and refuse to negotiate cause one unavoidable result.  They are left holding on to a house that is not going to sell to that buyer - ever.  The seller who may not like the first low offer, and makes a counter-offer, is the seller who will in time sell the house to that buyer, for more than the original offer.  This is a win-win situation and is the goal of all business deals.

When a seller refuses to negotiate when they get a low offer they are simply making a higher offer than that buyer did and "buy" the house, in a manner of speaking.  Since the potential buyer couldn't buy that house, they moved on.  The owner has in essence, outbid that buyer, and ends up continuing to own the house. 

It is important to remember that many times the first, "low" offer came from a serious buyer who took a shot that the seller would be desperate and accept a known low offer.  The buyer in this case fully expected the seller to come back with a counter offer and start a negotiation.  No counter offer equals no deal.

The long and short of it, no matter how "low" an offer is, it is well worthwhile to come back with a counter offer.  This will tell the seller if the buyer is serious and willing to negotiate, or not.  If a buyer makes only very low offers, and will not accept a counter offer, nothing is lost by the seller.  In the Tampa Bay real estate market, this happens quite often because of the number of foreclosures and short sales.  If the seller refuses to negotiate, there can never be a successful negotiation that results in a sale.  Most sellers in the Tampa Bay market will respond with a counter offer and this leads to more successful transactions.

New HAFA Guidelines

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates


Federal Short Sale Guidance Out

On November 30, 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), which provides financial incentives to servicers, borrowers, and investors for a closed short sale or a deed-in-lieu (DIL). The guidelines provide $1,500 in federal funds to help borrowers relocate, $1,000 to help servicers offset their  processing costs, and up to $1,000 to investors to secure release of subordinate liens. The guidelines prohibit a reduction in agreed-upon commissions (if they're not more than 6 percent) and take effect April 5, 2010, but can be implemented by servicers at any time.

If you would like more information on the HAFA program, send us an email and we'll respond within 24 hours with additional details.  [email protected] - request HAFA guidelines.




Foreclosure impacts everyone!!

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

The topic of foreclosure is not an embarrassing secret to be whispered about any longer, nor is the topic of a short sale.  Falling behind on mortgage payments happens to people from every economic level, from celebrity status, such as Nicholas Cage, who lost two homes in New Orleans to foreclosure, to the man in the street who for whatever reason falls behind on payments.  Nicholas Cage's two homes were appraised at $6.8 million and sold for $5.6 million.

Whether it is loss of a job, death in the family, or mismanaged funds, foreclosure can be a fact of life to everyone.  One way to avoid a foreclosure, that can be financially devastating for most people, is to go through a short sale.  This can allow the homeowner to get out from under the debt of a home that has a mortgage that is more than the home is worth and the bank may forgive the balance due.  To learn more about short sales, click on this link.

Remember, foreclosure is not the end of the world and can be avoided as long as the homeowner seeks and receives credible counseling.  Whether you are a celebrity or not and are behind on your mortgage payments, a short sale is one option to avoid foreclosure.

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure and the CDPE

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Several months ago I talked with a for sale by owner who "needed" to get XX dollars from the sale of a house she owned.  Her price, in today's market was not realistic so she rented it out instead of trying a short sale and avoiding foreclosure.  That was before I became a Certified Distressed Property Expert, or CDPE.  Had I known then what I know now, I could have helped her and possibly gotten her through a short sale with a minimum of heartache.

To shorten a long, sad story, the renter never paid his rent, the house in now in foreclosure, the house has lost another $30,000 to $40,000 value in today's market, she has been advised by her attorney to go into bankruptcy and it may be too late to even try a short sale.  With the knowledge gained from the CDPE training, it is very possible that we could have found a resolution to her issues and sold the house before it got to this point.  I will be following up with her in a couple days to see if we can still help, but she has been pretty well discouraged by the turn of events and the distressed market of today.  In today's market the house is worth about half of what she paid just a few years ago.

If you know anyone who is falling behind on their mortgage, or even before they fall behind and are just upside down or underwater with the mortgage, have them contact a Certified Distressed Property Expert.  I work in the greater Tampa Bay area and can help here.  I also can recommend a CDPE to help someone in any area.  There is no need to suffer the stress of a foreclosure.  A CDPE can provide expert guidance, from loan modification to short sale.  Sometimes a foreclosure is the best option, but a short sale is far better for many reason.  In almost all situations, a short sale is the correct answer when the question is "should I just go into foreclosure or abandon the house?"

Short Sale, Pre-Foreclosure - It's the Market Reality

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

What is up with this so-called stabilized market in real estate?  The number of houses sold has been increasing recently, although the gross dollars has decreased.  That says very clearly that prices are still moving downwards.  A large component of this in the marketplace is the short sale, or pre-foreclosure.  Many people believe that when a property is in a short sale situation that it is a firesale.  Not true.  The banks are looking to get as close to fair market value as possible.  The better the price a house sells for at short sale, the less money the bank loses when they "forgive" the debt to the homeowner.

Real estate agents who have earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation have received rigorous training in the short sale process to come to as good a conclusion as possible for all parties involved.  The homeowner is out from under what is often a crushing debt obligation, the bank can take the non-performing asset off the books and lend money again, and the new buyer is getting a home at a good bargain, often at a price at or just below market value.  Certainly they are buying a home that a couple years ago may have sold for a much as 40% more.

If you are in a short sale or pre-foreclosure situation, or know anyone who may be, find a realtor who has earned the CDPE.  This level of expertise will guide you through the short sale process.  According to the Distressed Property Institute, CDPE agents close 85-90% of the short sales they take.


Short Sale Myths

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

There are a number of short sale myths floating around.  Today I'll "de-myth" a couple and explain why.  The following summary information is courtesy of the Distressed Property Institute.

Myth:  Banks want to foreclose instead of taking a short sale.  NOT true.  Banks are in the lending business, not property management and much prefer to get the property off their books.  If a person is qualified for a short sale, banks must consider the short sale.  Banks come out ahead with a short sale because they lose far less, almost always, than going through the entire foreclosure process.

To qualify for a short sale a person must 1. exhibit financial hardship; 2. have a demonstrated monthly income shortfall; and 3. insolvency, that is you do not have sufficient liquid assets to pay down your mortgage.

Myth:  You must be behind on your monthly mortgage payments to negotiate a short sale.  NOT true.  In the past, before short sales became so common, this may have been the case, however no longer.  Lenders are now looking for a verifiable hardship, montly cash flow shortfall or pending shortfall and insolvency.

Myth:  There is not enough time to negotiate a short sale before foreclosure on my property.  Again, not true.  Although a short sale is a lengthy process, it is just that, a process.  There is time, unless a seller has waited until the last second when the home is being auctioned on the courthouse steps.  Many lenders will delay foreclosure proceedings with a phone call from an owner explaining an honest attempt to sell, and if there is a legitimate contract, this almost always forestalls the foreclosure.

Next time, we'll address a few more myths about short sales.  Remember the parts to qualifying for a short sale:  1. financial hardship; 2. monthly income shortfall; 3. insolvency.

For more details, contact your local Certified Distressed Property Expert.

Rent, hold or sell in the current Tampa Bay real estate market??

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

In the current market lots of homeowners are upside down in their homes.  They have to ask themselves do we want to sell our house at the current market value and lose our equity, or even have to do a short sale just to get out of the situation, can they rent the house for a while until the market comes back, or should they just sit tight and hold on to their home until the market improves. 

The answer to these questions is "It depends on the situation."  For the homeowner who is farily comfortable financially and has no real pressing need to move, it may be the best course of action to do nothing and continue living in the house for a few more years.  For the homeowner who needs to sell, for whatever reason, whether it is a growing family, job change, health, and they do not want to sell at the current market value, renting could be an option. 

Experts are speculating about the recovery of the real estate market.  Some say we are near the bottom, others, such as PMI, the company that insures mortgages, estimates two more years of price decline, at least in the Tampa Bay area.  PMI did not just throw a dart at their estimate, but analyzed Florida foreclosures, unemployment and other data from the last quarter of 2008.  Other experts are predicting that Tampa foreclosures will increase in 2009 especially as unemployment continues to go up in the Tampa Bay area.

At a recent conference in Orlando, Florida, David Gergen, former presidential advisor and currently a professor of public service at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, predicted that the housing recovery would look like a saucer or soup bowl. that is an eventual leveling at the bottom, but staying there for a while and then there will be a very gradual recovery.  These predictions indicate that if someone decides to rent their home now, it may take another two years of decline, then with the gradual real estate recovery, two or three more years for prices to get back to today's level.  So the homeowner who opts to rent until the market recovers may have to rent their house, act as a landlord, for 3-5 years to just break even, if inflation is not taken into account.

If there is little to no equity in the house and the owner has a negative cash flow, holding or renting might be risky strategies.  A loan modification could work, selling at a loss if the owner can sustain a financial loss, a short sale - if the bank is willing, or going to foreclosure are other options.  In every case, serious consideration of the consequences, including the unintended consequences, must be carefully evaluated.

For specific legal advice, or financial advice, you should contact your attorney or accountant.

You Have Options

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Do you live in the greater Tampa Bay area and love it, but are having a hard time making your mortgage payments?  If you purchased a house in the last few years when the market was hot and now that the market has cooled off you might have a house with no equity that is simply not worth what it cost only a couple years ago.  With the economy in the condition it is in now, people are struggling to make their mortgage payments.  No matter the reason, if you can’t make the mortgage payments you are in a very stressful situation.


There are options, however, to avoid foreclosure.  Among the options available are:  forebearance; deed in lieu of  foreclosure; restructured loan;  renting the property, or, there may be an option most people don’t even consider, called a short sale.  This is when the house is worth less than what is currently owed to the bank, based on the current market conditions, there is no chance of selling it for enough to recoup the original investment, and the bank will agree to it. 


In the next few blogs we will discuss a little more of each of these options.  In our next discussion we will address a forebearance of mortgage agreement.


Remember, there are always options, foreclosure does not have to be the only way out of a temporary financial difficulty.  Visit for more information.

Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 30




Contact Information

Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team
at Keller Williams Realty
30522 US Hwy 19N, Suite 107 S
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908