Archive Info

You are currently browsing the Stop Michigan Foreclosure weblog archives for August, 2010.

FHA “Short Refi” To The Rescue?

FHA “Short Refi” To The Rescue?

On March 26, 2010 the Department of Housing and Urban Development along with the Treasury Department, in all their infinite wisdom, announced a new FHA refinance plan.  The goal of this plan was to help homeowners who are current on their payments but owe more than their house is worth – in a nutshell, they’re upside-down.

What? But how is that possible? One of the major components of doing a refinance is the appraisal. Without the appraisal proving the home’s worth, there IS no refinance. FHA is telling us they will take a $150,000 loan on a home that is worth $120,000, owned by an individual who is current on his or her payments, and put them into a new FHA loan for only $120,000. But what happens to that $30,000? Where does it go?

The catch – and it’s a very big catch – is that the current lender must agree to forgive at least 10% of the principal balance. What lender would do that? Why would they ever agree to this on a loan that is current? It just doesn’t make sense to me, how about to you? Actually, it apparently doesn’t make sense to HUD either. HUD is the department that insurances FHA loans and this new program they created is not available to FHA borrowers. So HUD is essentially saying “it’s OK for other lenders to reduce the principal balance to do this refi, but we won’t do it for our own loans”. Wow!

Which is why I believe it will fail. The thought process behind the plan was well-intentioned; they were trying to help borrowers stay in their houses while avoiding more foreclosures. The housing market is hemorrhaging money, and from their point of view, something had to be done, even if it’s not really feasible. Now, to be fair, there are incentives, I’m sure, to lenders who agree to this. But most will refuse. It’s letting go of hundreds of thousands of dollars without even a protest and with no financial hardship from the borrower. You and I both know that confrontation and collecting are second (if not first) nature to the banks, and they will not give up their money without a fight.

Thanks, but no thanks, HUD.

Interested in real solutions to your Michigan Foreclosure?  Call us for a cash offer and free short sale negotiation.

Melissa

Share This Post

Instincts Aren’t Always Right!

Instincts Aren’t Always Right!

The other day I was at the lake with my dogs watching them “swim” which is really just them walking around in the water. They only go as deep as they can stand and still keep their heads out of the water. We all know that when a dog gets out of the water, some instinct tells the dog to shake to dry herself off. Well, as I was watching Maggie standing in the lake, up to her belly in water, she apparently decided she didn’t want to be wet because she started to shake. This just made her even more wet because she propelled water up over the top of her, soaking her head and back. The more she got wet, the more she tried to shake herself dry. I had to laugh and I thought to myself, sometimes our instincts are wrong.

Then I started thinking about the families facing a Michigan foreclosure that we talk to every day. Sometimes their instincts are wrong about how to respond. Some people who are behind on their house payments immediately think they need to file bankruptcy. While I am not an attorney (and you should always consult an attorney), I know from watching it over and over that a bankruptcy does not stop the foreclosure and merely postpones it. Other people facing a Michigan foreclosure will do some kind of work out program with their bank hoping to keep the house a little longer. This can be great if their financial hardship is over and they can make their new and future payments. However, for many people still facing a financial hardship, the new payments or terms are just as hard to pay as they were before the work out.

I think the main reason our instincts mislead us is that we lack information and experience. Most people have never experienced or been educated on Michigan foreclosures so when they are facing foreclosure, they have no instincts to guide them through. That’s why we are here! We can give you information and answer your questions and guide you through your options. We do not charge a fee and we will keep all your information confidential. Let us be your instincts and help you find the right course of action for you. Give us a call today.

Ann

Share This Post

A Michigan Foreclosure Does NOT Have to be the Boogie Man

A Michigan Foreclosure Does NOT Have to be the Boogie Man

As children, I am sure we all had our different “Boogie Man”, that thing that kept us awake at night with fear. When I was a child, I was afraid that my Dad was going to die when I was in high school because his Dad had died in high school. I knew enough to make myself miserable. I knew that sometimes people died of the same thing that killed a family member. What I failed to realize is that my grandfather died in an accident in a steel mill and since my dad did not work in a steel mill, this would not likely happen to him. When someone pointed this out and put this light on my “Boogie Man” a huge fear was lifted.

Many of our childhood fears are illogical like this based on us not having the full knowledge or experience or misunderstanding something. Sometimes, the same thing happens when we become adults. We get ourselves into a situation we don’t fully understand or were educated on and we don’t know where to turn. Many people facing a Michigan foreclosure end up in this situation. I hear it in the fears they voice when they call:

  • If the Michigan foreclosure sale happens, am I out of options? (Answer is no, you have a redemption period with certain rights including the right to live in the house and sell it)
  • When will the sheriff come and toss me out of the house? (Answer is not till the end of the redemption period and only after going through a legal eviction.
  • Will the Michigan foreclosure auction happen in my yard for all the neighbors to see? (Answer is no)

That is why we are here. We have the experience, knowledge and answers to put your fears to rest. Plus, we will not charge you anything or put you in a worse situation, so no fears there! Give us a call and tell us what is bothering you and let us put the light of day on your “Boogie Man” and drive those fears away so you can get on the road to a better day.

Ann

Share This Post

Can You Believe They Didn’t Call Me?!?

Can You Believe They Didn’t Call Me?!?

Isn’t it funny how little we really know the people in our lives sometimes? Or how little time we spend really taking an interest? In the last month I’ve talked with two different friends who have gone through the foreclosure process – sheriff’s sale, repossession, the whole bit. You know what they both said to me? I wish I would’ve known there were other ways to get out of my situation.

Well HELLO! I’m the one who spends the majority of the time on the phone with lenders at Great Lakes Home Solutions negotiating the short sales for our team!

In the first instance, the foreclosure happened before we were acquainted, but in the second instance, the foreclosure happened only a few months ago. Hearing that made me feel awful, like I’d failed this person. You see, we don’t have the sort of friendship wherein we talk about work. That was my reason for not knowing – it won’t be an excuse going forward. I realized that we at GLHS have an answer, a possible solution to the foreclosure problem so many people in Michigan are experiencing. So often I think we wait for the phone to ring, but do we have a responsibility to get our message out? When it comes to people I know personally, yes, without a doubt, I have a responsibility to at least offer a solution. It’s my duty as a friend or acquaintance to offer this life preserver to someone who’s drowning financially.

If you’re someone who’s looking for answers or know someone who might, give us a call today. Give us the chance to offer our life preserver and to get our message out so we can get them back to better times faster.

Melissa

Share This Post

Find Your Michigan Foreclosure Compass

Find Your Michigan Foreclosure Compass

Stuck in the clouds?

Did you know that when a pilot is learning to fly in clouds, one of the first things he has to learn is to not listen to his body and instead believe the instruments in front of him? That is because when we cannot see where we are going, it is so easy to get disoriented. You may have experienced this if you ever walked in a thick fog or snow storm. Imagine adding the third dimension of height and you can see why a pilot needs to learn to rely on instruments like compasses to keep them flying in the right directions (instead of her “seat of the pants” or “gut feelings”). Instruments also keep pilots from getting disoriented and turning the plane upside down or descending into an obstacle when they can’t see where they are going.

A similar disorientation can happen to us when we are in a stressful situation, such as a job loss, divorce, disability, death of a loved one. This can be amplified if the financial hardship causes someone to get behind on house payments so they are facing a Michigan Foreclosure. People facing a stressful situation tend to react emotionally and by “gut feel” instead of logically about what to do and where to go. They can make bad decisions or no decision at all. They need a “compass” to guide them out of the clouds of despair and into the light, and back to better times.

That is where we can help. We can give you information about your options, educate you about the foreclosure process and help you figure out your goals and plans. We can help you make a logical decision about what is best for you instead of a gut reaction that may be wrong. We never charge a fee for this and we won’t put you in a worse situation. Give Emily a call and let her show you how to get out of the clouds and back to better times.

Ann

Share This Post

When To Consider A Short Sale

When To Consider A Short Sale

People who are facing a Michigan Foreclosure frequently ask me how they should know if a short sale is their best option. That’s an easy answer. When you’ve tried everything else possible, and nothing has worked out (and your expenses exceed your income), THEN, you try a short sale. It’s a last-ditch effort when the only other alternative is foreclosure.

What else is there to try? Well, there’s a loan modification, forbearance plan, repayment plan, refinancing, private loan, getting a roommate to share expenses and even selling it to a friend or family member (not using a short sale). I put together a handy reference for REALTORS® defining these options and giving pros and cons. I included it at the end of this blog for you!

I always tell people to use a short sale as their last option before foreclosure. It doesn’t cost anything to do a short sale with us, we keep everything confidential and we won’t put you in a worse situation so you’re not losing anything if you try. Of course, your situation is unique and you have questions so give me a call and let me explain your options to you and help you figure out what is right for you.

Definitions, Pros and Cons.
1. Repayment Plan: Your lender may give you a fixed amount of time to repay the amount you are behind, plus any late fees, by adding a portion to your regular monthly payment. This may be an option if you only missed a few payments and had adequate income to make regular monthly payments again.

2. Forbearance: Your lender may agree to suspend your payments for a period of time. At the end of this time, you will resume your regular monthly payments, and you may be required to either make one lump sum payment or additional partial payments. This may be a good option if you have a temporary reduction in income and are now able to make regular payments plus lump sum or partial payments.

3. Loan Modification: Your lender may agree to reduce your interest rate, extend the term of the loan, or add missed payments to the loan balance. This may be a suitable option if the terms meet your needs and financial abilities.

4. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure (voluntary foreclosure): You voluntarily transfer title to the lender. The lender has the option of canceling the remainder of the debt, but we’ve never seen this. But you will lose any equity in the house and may have to pay taxes on the debt forgiven (if any).

The above is referenced from this Michigan Web Resource

5. Refinance: May only be an option if you actually have equity in the house and/or one spouse was not on the original loan and is able to refinance into their name alone.

If you need help sorting through all of this, or simply realize a short sale is for you and want an immediate offer and someone to negotiate the short sale at no charge, give me a call.

Emily

Share This Post

If There Was No Such Thing As A Short Sale….

If There Was No Such Thing As A Short Sale….

I had a lady call me the other day and say” “I need to do a Short Sale”.

“Ok” I said, “Tell me about your situation”.

She proceeded to tell me her story and ended with “I will be making a payment to the bank this month so they don’t foreclose”.

Wait a minute, I thought, we won’t do a short sale if you are still making payments because we are setting ourselves and you up for failure. Why? Because if you’ve got income to make payments, your income exceeds your expenses, and the chances of your lender agreeing to a short sale are very slim.

So, I had a question for her, and this is the same question you need to ask yourself: “If there was no such thing as a short sale, and the only option was to stay current or have a Michigan foreclosure, which would you do?” If your answer is “keep making payments”, well, then keep making payments.

If you are like a lot of distressed sellers in Michigan who have had a financial hardship (job loss, divorce, disability, death, etc) the obvious answer is you have no choice but to face a Michigan Foreclosure. These are the people we are best equipped to help with a short sale. While we are sorry that you have had a hardship, we are ready to help you focus on a better future. We will do this without charging you anything and we keep everything confidential. Yes, there are such things as short sales and we have the best team in Michigan to help you navigate through them (since 2005). Give us a call today.

Ann

Share This Post

Everyone’s An Expert, Really?

Everyone’s An Expert, Really?

I’m currently trying to sell my house, and one thing I’ve noticed is that EVERYONE wants to give me advice. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they do. When it comes to real estate, everyone’s an expert. Not really, but it seems that way! Everywhere I turn someone is telling me “this is a tough market” or “people aren’t buying houses right now” or “this is a buyer’s market.” I even had my neighbor tell me that I’m going to “lose my rear” (he used the A-word.) Thanks, neighbor! I constantly have to tell myself that people are just trying to sound knowledgeable, and not trying to be hurtful.

The truth is, with the right REALTOR®, and the right price, houses are selling like crazy (over half of our short sale houses have buyers lined up) and we close on over 80% of them!

If you’re trying to sell your house, I understand your frustrations. And if you’re having a hard time because your house isn’t worth as much as you owe on it (and you have a financial hardship), we may be able to help you with a short sale. It won’t cost you a penny, and we promise that we won’t give you any advice to put you in a worse situation. Give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss your options with you!

Holly

Share This Post

Can Your Attic Stop Your Michigan Foreclosure?

Can Your Attic Stop Your Michigan Foreclosure?

I recently read a story online detailing how Superman (yes, the comic book superhero) helped save a family in foreclosure. Yes, really!

This particular family (who wish to remain anonymous), having been in default for quite a while and anticipating foreclosure followed by eviction, had begun packing up their belongings. During the move preparation, they discovered a box in their attic, long forgotten, full of comic books that had belonged to another family member. Inside the box, they found Action Comic #1, which, for all of you who – like me – aren’t comic book aficionados, is a very rare comic book. It is the debut of Superman, and it is in fact the most valuable of its kind. Experts estimated its worth at a quarter of a million dollars – a sum large enough to bail the family out, allowing them to keep the house.

Unfortunately, most moving situations aren’t as serendipitous – most people cannot count on something like this happening. No Superman swoops in to save the house. If you’re in a similar situation and need a more practical, realistic solution rather than hoping for a superhero, give us a call today.

Melissa

Share This Post