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Short Sale Basics 101

This article “Meltdown 101: What is a Short Sale of a Home?” does a pretty good job of answering commonly asked questions about short sales. If you are facing a Michigan foreclosure or know someone who is, this information will help educate you on “short sales” which are one of the most useful, and often misunderstood tools available to help get a homeowner back to better times.

I want to zero in on the last 2 questions in the article.

Why is the process so complicated and why does it take so long? The writer does a good job of naming the common pitfalls with short sales. These errors are made by inexperienced homeowners and REALTORS® trying to do a short sale with no training. Trust me, with more than 10years experience and 100s of short sale approvals, our negotiators know the right paperwork to submit and who to submit it to so your short sale gets attention and is not kicked back or neglected. Plus, they follow up unrelentlessly.

And talk about being educated about short sales.  Joel, our President and lead negotiator/closer as the only State of Michigan Approved continuing education course for REALTORS® that’s taught by a full time short sale negotiator.  REALTORS® are coming to him to learn from “The Master” on how to get close to our 80% success rate (vs. the 10% national average).

What should I do if I am interested in a short sale? That’s easy – call us. We do nothing but short sales. We have a trained and dedicated staff waiting to help you evaluate your options and negotiate your short sale if that is the right answer for you.

While this article gave you the 101 basics of short sales, our team has a graduate degree in short sales and we are ready to work for you. Give us a call today.


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I just got off the phone with a homeowner who is facing a Michigan foreclosure. They only have a few months left in their redemption period and called to see what options they have. Unfortunately, since they waited so long without searching for a solution, there are not many options left.

She told me that she’s known this whole time about the foreclosure, but that the idea of it was so scary, that she had just pushed it to the side and didn’t address it. I certainly understand her being scared, but I would find it even scarier if I didn’t know what the next step was, how long I had left in the house, or what my options were.

Yes, the idea of facing a Michigan foreclosure is scary; but your best tool for dealing with that is having information. The more you know about your rights and options, the more control you’ll gain over the process. If you’re not sure who to call, look no further, I’m just a phone call away. You can reach me anytime at 269-685-5921 or on my cell at 269-808-5880.


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Can I Negotiate the Short Sale for Myself?

I was called by a seller facing a Michigan foreclosure yesterday who had been told by a mortgage person that she does not need a third party to do a short sale for her, she can do it herself. She wanted to know why she should work with us.

Let me tell you, like we told her, the top three reasons why you should get us involved:

  • The closing rate national average for sellers or REALTORS® negotiating Short Sales is about 10% while ours is almost 80%.
  • Our negotiators have over 10 years experience negotiating Short Sales. One of them does nothing else 8+ hours a day besides negotiate.
  • You will never pay us a fee.

Yes, you are perfectly capable of calling the bank and asking for the short sale yourself. Before you do, ask yourself:

  • Do you want to do this? Do you want to sit on hold, get passed from person to person, be submitted to degrading remarks by customer service people who are trained to get you to pay anything they can get you to pay?
  • Do you have time to call the bank? Most people are busy with jobs and kids during lenders hours and don’t have 30-60 minutes to sit on the phone waiting to be told nothing is new. Not just one day but multiple days.
  • Will you understand what the lender tells you and know what to do if obstacles are put in your path? One gentleman told me yesterday that he called the lender about a short sale and was told the loan had been written off and the bank would accept nothing less than a full payoff. He didn’t know what to do. Our negotiators know what to do in this situation so the short sale does not die.

Yes, it may look easy when you watch trained professionals like our negotiators talk to a lender about a short sale. It may even sound easy when you break down the basic steps. However the professionals always make the talent they have perfected look easy. Doesn’t mean I want to perform surgery on myself if I ever need it!

If you decide to try negotiating the short sale on your own, or have your REALTOR® do it, I wish you the best of luck. If you’d like to see if you are eligible for us to do it for you, give Emily a call and discuss what is right for you and how we can help you get back to better times.


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The Magic of Emily

As soon as I started working here I noticed something very interesting. Our clients come in for their meetings with Emily to start the short sale process, and they sometimes look a little down. It’s completely understandable. They’ve been struggling to keep up with their house payments – sometimes for months, and sometimes for years. They may have tried to work out a modification with their mortgage company, only to have wasted hours on the phone, gathering and faxing documents, and getting told that they do not qualify for one reason or another. They’ve realized that they’re fighting an uphill battle, and that they need to sell to stop a Michigan Foreclosure.

So they meet with Emily, and when they come back out into the lobby… they’re smiling and laughing and joking around! It’s amazing! I don’t know what happens in there, but Emily knows how to cast some sort of happy spell on our clients. I think that what’s really happening is while talking to Emily they start feeling a heavy burden lift off their shoulders. They’re no longer alone. We’re going to help them. Heck, we’re going to do most of the work. Sure, we might bug them for some paperwork every once in a while, but I think it’s a small price to pay in exchange for Melissa’s relentless negotiating powers, Ann’s special way with REALTORS®, Emily’s answers to all of your questions (and magical happiness potion), and Joel’s amazing problem solving and coordinating skills.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and facing a Michigan Foreclosure, give us a call. We will never ask you for any money or to make any repairs on the house. We will keep everything confidential. We will never put you in a worse position and we will work harder than anyone else to give you a permanent solution to foreclosure. Give Emily a call today, and see for yourself!


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2 More Houses – Another $254,000 of Debt Wiped Out

Last week, we closed on two different houses and my team made $254,000 of debt disappear between both of them. How is this done? This is done with a short sale. Don’t know what a short sale is? Well you can search this blog to learn more, or just give us a call. We’re really good at them though based on all of the testimonials you’ll find here and here. And here’s two more!

“We are grateful to Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc and especially Joel Zieve for saving us from foreclosure on our home. When we had given up and had prepared ourselves for a foreclosure we received a call from Joel. Joel helped us to work out a settlement with our lender which saved us about $108,000. Joel helped us each step of the way and made the process painless. Thank you!”

Rick and Sharon, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Started out with a two mortgage debt ($286k and $70k). Having to move out west to take new job the house had to go up for sale. Depressed economy had the appraised value of the house significantly lower – house ended up selling for $140k. GLHS got a total of $146k debt released. Business with Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc, specifically Joel and Emily has been great – made this transaction from out of state painless. Great recommendation from Beth Foley (our Realtor).”

Bill and T., Fennville, Michigan


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Is Your Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

I saw a quote the other day by an unknown author that said “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we deal with it.” I know it’s hard to keep this in mind when you’re facing a Michigan foreclosure, but it’s true

I’m sure there were extenuating circumstances that led you to the pending Michigan foreclosure you find yourself facing. There always are for the dozens I speak to every week (and there were for me in my Michigan foreclosure). Those circumstances have taken place, and the past can’t be rewritten (I wish it could be!)

So, how do you deal with it? Take charge of your situation. There are options!!! If you need guidance on what those options are, please call me. I’d be glad to give you the information you need to help you decide what’s best for you and your family.


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It’s Not A Job, It’s A Passion (My Story of A Michigan Foreclosure)

Back in 2002, I had a rental house that the tenant had moved out of. We weren’t able to find anyone to rent it to in order to cover the mortgage, so we decided to sell. The problem? Our house wasn’t worth what we owed on it. Yep, even way back in 2002!

We had invested almost all of our savings into repairs and upgrades to the house thinking that would bring in a buyer faster and at a higher price. Boy, were we wrong. Not only did it not bring in any offers, but we were also out of savings and still had that monthly mortgage payment to make. The next thing we knew, we were facing a Michigan foreclosure.

Why am I telling you this story? Well, because had I known that there were other options out there, like a short sale, I could have saved us from the nasty Michigan foreclosure, all of its financial and emotional damage (can you believe they published our name in the newspaper next to everyone else facing foreclosure in the entire county!?!).

I consider myself lucky that I have a career that I love. I help families, just like mine, stop Michigan foreclosures on their houses. I’ve been in those shoes- I know what it feels like to make tons of phone calls to the mortgage company, only to get nowhere. I know what it feels like to have that heavy burden of not knowing your options just sitting on your shoulders. That’s why I’m here – to lift that burden and to help prevent what happened to my family from happening to your family. If you want to discuss your options, please give me a call – I’m here to help.


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Giant Pool of Money – Part 2

Okay, so from around 2003 to 2005, houses were increasing in value. Income, however, was staying about the same, or rising at a much lower rate. In the past, individuals or families were buying houses that cost around 2 or 3 times their annual income. During this time, however, people were buying houses around 4 times their annual income. To put it into perspective, families with an $80,000 income that were buying $160,000 houses were now buying $320,000 houses – and paying a mortgage payment twice as high. Income being the same, where did they get the money to make their mortgage payment, you ask? Well… due to the increase in the value of these houses, people were able to take the equity in their houses and borrow against it, in the form of an equity loan or equity line of credit. They could then take this money and use it to make their mortgage payment. Crazy vicious cycle, huh?

Obviously, this wasn’t going to last forever, and housing values started decreasing around October of 2006 – the bubble had burst. People were no longer able to borrow against their houses to make their payments, and they started defaulting on their loans. As more people defaulted, more houses came on the market. With no buyers for these houses, prices were forced down even further, and people began to see themselves upside down – owing more money than their house was worth.

The investors, who before couldn’t get enough of the mortgage backed securities (see Part 1 of my blog), no matter how risky, quickly tightened their restrictions. Now they wanted safe investments. The problem was that the small mortgage companies had already made quite a few high-risk loans that they now could not sell – and they made them with money borrowed from large banks. Since they could not sell these mortgages, they had no choice but to default on their own loan, causing the company to go out of business, and people to lose jobs. So now… everyone was losing. The large banks were losing the money that the mortgage company had borrowed, the investment companies were losing their returns, the mortgage company lost, well, everything, and the families lost their houses. Even the government was losing money – they had to lend it to the large banks in order to keep the economy afloat.

If you, like many others, are facing a Michigan foreclosure due to the bubble bursting, or because of a hardship, give us a call. We will never ask you for any money, we will keep everything confidential, we will never ask you to make any repairs on your house, and we will absolutely never put you in a worse position than a foreclosure.


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FHA Loan in Default? Read This!

If you have an FHA loan that is in default, you may have heard that the federal government launched a program in August to help you since other government programs excluded FHA loans.

Before you get your hopes up, read this article.  It boldly says this program will only help 45,000 of the approx. 850,000 FHA loans that are in default. Those odds are not very good that the program can help you (about 5%). This “success rate” is about the same as lenders helping borrowers on their own (without the government’s help) through the lenders’ own “loan modification” programs.

Fortunately for you, the odds that we can help you if you are facing a Michigan Foreclosure (regardless of the type of loan) are much higher. Still, we cannot help everyone and the earlier you call us in the foreclosure process, the better the chances we can help you. Give our team a call and see what we can do to help you get back to better times.


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