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A Thanksgiving Blog

A Thanksgiving Blog

I think we are all familiar with the story about the first Thanksgiving – how about 400 years ago, the pilgrims were forced out of their European homes by religious persecution and came to the “new world” where the Native Americans helped them to learn the ropes about surviving in this strange world. Survive they did, and a year after they arrived they had a bountiful harvest.  They celebrated their good fortune with the first Thanksgiving dinner to give thanks for all the good that had come to them.

If you are facing a Michigan foreclosure, hopefully you will find some inspiration in this story this Thanksgiving holiday.  Like the pilgrims, your home is being threatened and you may feel like you have nowhere to turn for help.  Fortunately, you don’t have to sail half way across the world to find help.  We are right here in Michigan, only a phone call away.  We have been helping families “learn the ropes” of the Michigan foreclosure and short sale processes for more than 5 years.  We will charge you no fees and will work harder than anyone to help you.

I realize that someone facing a Michigan foreclosure may feel like they have nothing to be thankful for or to celebrate this Thanksgiving.  After all, there obviously has been a hardship in your recent past that is probably putting a damper on festivities.  Our Thanksgiving wish for you is that you have the courage to face your hardship, find solutions and take action just like the Pilgrims did a long time ago.  In a year, you too can be celebrating the return of better days.  We can help you do that (only if you call us before it’s too late), and that indeed is a reason to be thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Ann

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Tips to Sell from the Media – Really? Let’s Get Real!

Tips to Sell from the Media – Really? Let’s Get Real!

I recently read an online article listing some of the reasons people cannot sell their houses and providing some suggestions to that end. Here are a few examples:

  • You haven’t picked the right REALTOR®.
  • You need to get an appraisal so that you’ll know what a buyer’s lender will approve.
  • You need to get comparative list prices (or “comps”) which include foreclosure listings so you know at what price houses are actually selling in your neighborhood.
  • The house needs to be attractive and have “curb appeal”.
  • The house needs to be “staged”. This means you would hire someone to analyze and address any cosmetic or décor problems that are preventing your house from being aesthetically pleasing to potential buyers.
  • You need to make sure the house doesn’t need any work.

Now, many of these tips are good and useful. You want to have an agent who is reputable and dedicated. As for the appraisal and “comp” tips, I could not agree more; a house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, regardless of debt or perceived sentimental value. And, of course someone is more likely to offer on a house that is attractive and to pass on one that is not. Again, these are good ideas, but more than half of them require spending money, and who in this economy has the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to spend on these recommendations?

My point is that although I agree with the thoughts and intentions in this list, for many families here in Michigan, needing a short sale to avoid a foreclosure, these suggestions are simply not feasible or affordable. If you are struggling to sell your house, call us – we’ll see what sort of practical solution we can help you find.

Melissa

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All in a Day’s Work – Many Michigan Sellers Want Short Sales

All in a Day’s Work – Many Michigan Sellers Want Short Sales

Let me tell you about some calls I took yesterday to show you what goes on around here in a typical day.

Colin called (not his real name). He had talked to us back in May when he was already several months behind on his house payment. At that time, he wanted to do a work out and try to save his house and he was going to work with another company. However, he was unsuccessful because the financial hardship he had experienced (cut back in hours at work) was not over and the bank would not work with him – he simply needed a payment far less than what was possible. Now, he has been notified that he is facing a Michigan Foreclosure and he wants to do something to at least save his credit, since he is not able to save the house. Fortunately for Colin, we should be able to help him with that by writing an offer to purchase it right away and negotiating the short sale without charging him.

Patty called (not her real name). She missed several months of work due to a disability and got behind on the house payment. Now she is back to work and able to make the house payment again. The lender is willing to work with her and reinstate her loan if she can come up with several thousand dollars to bring the loan current. She called looking for advice on how to find the money if a relative is not able to help. I referred her to Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services (read about them here)  since her situation is something they are better equipped to handle than we are. She was grateful for the referral.

Jason called (not his real name). He owns a business and business has been bad for many, many months forcing him to live on his savings. His savings is almost depleted and he is now several months behind on his house payment and facing a Michigan foreclosure. Jason was very anxious about the letters he has been receiving from his lender’s attorneys. I was able to explain to him what is happening and what to expect going forward with the foreclosure process. I explained to him about the Michigan redemption period and his options before and after the Sheriff auction. I even arranged to send a REALTOR® over to his house (one that specializes in distressed properties) to give him an accurate value of what the house is worth (since he doesn’t know the value in today’s market). Jason has some decisions to make on what he wants to do and now he has the information to make informed decisions. I could hear the relief in his voice as we hung up.

From my perspective, yesterday wasn’t so unusual, as we have been helping Michigan homeowners like Colin, Patty & Jason daily for 5 years now. It sounded like yesterday was unusual for Colin, Patty & Jason because they finally got some answers and direction. From their feedback and feedback I get from others, apparently there aren’t a lot of companies/people out there willing to listen and take the time to educate and discuss options with homeowners facing a Michigan foreclosure. That is why we are here, to help. We will never ask for any money and we keep all information confidential. Give us a call today and see how we can help you. Come on, make our day (and yours too)!

Ann

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How To Get The House Market To Work For You vs. Against You

How To Get The House Market To Work For You vs. Against You

Some of you may have read or heard on the news about the investigations into the foreclosure processes of several of the largest mortgage servicers. The investigators are looking into the validity and accuracy of the foreclosures that have taken place over the last few months and years. Apparently, there are suspicions that shortcuts were taken by the servicers that had millions of defaulted loans. The problem is that the servicers were unprepared for the volume of defaulted loans to deal with, and they were scrambling to address the defaults in bulk instead of reviewing each situation individually. Due to the investigation, some of the servicers have halted any further foreclosure proceedings (many of these have started the proceedings back up).

What does that mean for you? Well, if you are currently in default, it could mean you will be able to stay in the house for a little longer. But for sellers who need to sell now or who will need to sell in the next few years, it could be bad news.

The result of servicers’ decision to suspend foreclosures will simply delay the inevitable. These foreclosures will happen eventually, and the distressed properties will need to be sold. This action is just keeping distressed houses on the market longer. So, if all these houses were on the market in a smaller amount of time, prices would be extraordinarily low, but for less time. It’s essentially just biting the bullet and getting this price decline over more quickly. Maybe in this scenario, we could see price increases in the next two years; whereas with the current developments, it could be five or six years before the market picks back up.

If you’re a victim of the current declining market or foresee difficulties in selling your house in the near future, give us a call today. We’ll see how we can help you make the market work for you instead of against you.

Melissa

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