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2 Neighbors Hold New Buyers of REO at Gunpoint

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

2 Neighbors Hold New Buyers of REO at Gunpoint

It wasn’t exactly the welcoming response from the neighborhood a couple expected when they tried to enter a home they just purchased which had been in foreclosure. Their two new neighbors held them hostage at gunpoint.

Jean-Joseph Kalonji, 61, and his wife Angelica, 57, arrived at the home their son had just purchased to have the locks changed. But two men suddenly came up behind them as they were trying to get into the home, and pointed semi-automatic rifles at their backs.

"Shut up or I'll shoot," the men reportedly told the couple, having the couple lift their arms over their heads.

The men — a neighbor and his teenage son — had thought a robbery was in progress at the foreclosed home, which had stood vacant for several months. The men thought they were saving the day.

The couple claimed to be the new owners but couldn’t produce the closing paperwork so the men contacted police as they kept the couple held at gunpoint. The police arrested the couple, and they were sent to jail, charged with loitering and prowling.

The neighbors — Robert Canoles and his son — had been praised by police for busting what everyone assumed was a foiled robbery.

However, the tables turned when the couple and their son proved they were actually the new owners of the home. The charges against the couple were dropped, and the men now face charges for holding their new neighbors at gunpoint. The two men were arrested and charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal trespass.

Meanwhile, the couple’s son, Bruno Kalonji, says "we're waiting to move" into the home, but "we're still afraid of what the guy next door might do."

Source: “Newton County Neighbors Charged After Home Buyers’ Arrests,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (April 24, 2012)

 

More Single Family Homes Turned Into Rentals

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

More Single Family Homes Turned Into Rentals

As the number of for-sale homes listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) drops, the number of single-family homes up for rent has been gradually increasing, RISMedia reports.

Single-family home rentals are a growing business, as more investors buy up foreclosures at bargain prices and then transform them into rentals.

About 16 percent of all listings on the MLS are rentals, which is more than double the number of rentals listed in 2006, RISMedia reports. Single-family rentals are often listed on the MLS by real estate brokers, whereas multifamily units typically aren’t.

The single-family rental market now accounts for “21 million rental units or 52 percent of the entire residential rental market,” according to a new study by CoreLogic.

Single-family rentals are usually very differently from multi-family homes. For example, rents for single-family rentals typically are 1.5 to 1.6 times higher than multifamily homes. Also, families and prior home owners tend to be attracted to single-family rentals whereas multifamily tenants tend to be younger, more mobile people who have never owned a home before.

Many of the single-family rental tenants nowadays are former home owners who had faced foreclosure and can no longer afford to own. According to CoreLogic, more than 3 million home owners have been turned into renters over the past five years due to foreclosure.

Source: “Single Family Rentals Now Exceed Multifamily,” RISMedia (April 23, 2012)

 

Top 5 Most Affordable Housing Markets

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Top 5 Most Affordable Housing Markets

Where is it cheapest to buy a home? Look in the Midwest for the bargains, according to a recent 24/7 Wall St. article, which used Realtor.com data to track the most affordable housing markets based on the lowest price per square footage.

“In general, the cities with the lowest real estate prices per square foot were cities that have suffered from poor economic conditions for some time,” 24/7 Wall St. notes in the article. “Many of these cities have begun to see interest from potential home owners and investors.”

The following cities have the lowest cost per square foot in the nation:

1. Detroit

Price per square foot: $62.45

Median list price: $84,900

2. Fort Wayne, Ind.

Price per square foot: $66.03

Median list price: $104,900

3. Toledo, Ohio

Price per square foot: $67.02

Median list price: $100,000

4. Indianapolis

Price per square foot: $68.56

Median list price: $133,000

5. Wichita, Kan.

Price per square foot: $69.04

Median list price: $129,900

The metro with the highest price per square footage? San Francisco, where the price per square foot averages $420.99, and the median list price is $611,700.

Source: “America’s Most and Least Affordable Cities to Buy a Home,” 24/7 Wall St. (April 23, 2012)

 

Real Estate Agent Among Best Business Jobs

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Real Estate Agent Among Best Business Jobs

Real estate agents earned a place on U.S. News and World Report's recent compilation of the best business jobs, alongside such other professions as human resources specialists and meeting, convention, and event planners.

In addition to putting the customer first and other tips, insiders say that staying on top of business trends is critical for success. Often, according to Destin Real Estate Company owner Blake Morar, real estate agents allow emotion more than anything else guide their recommendations to home buyers and sellers, which he says is the wrong way to go about it, since evaluating housing markets is a huge part of the agent's responsibility.

Morar, whose firm is based in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., suggests that would-be agents “become a student of the business,” learning as much as possible about the process before diving in head first. That advice is in line with what other professionals in other fields say about launching a successful business career, along with maximizing flexibility and looking proactively for a job opportunity that’s the right fit.

Source: “6 Booming Business Jobs,” U.S. News & World Report (April 19, 2012)

 

Freddie Reallocates More Funds to Boost Short Sales

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Freddie Reallocates More Funds to Boost Short Sales

Money used for a federal program aimed at helping 18 hard-hit housing market states can now reallocate its funds to help home owners complete short sales or other foreclosure alternatives, Freddie Mac announced Monday to mortgage servicers.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, has recently placed more focus on helping home owners complete short sales to avoid foreclosure. (Read more: Fannie, Freddie Speed Up Short Sales)

The Hardest Hit Fund reportedly has been an underused program by 18 states and the District of Columbia. The program is to provide home owner assistance to states through loan modifications, short sales, unemployment assistance, and mortgage principal reduction. But only 3 percent of the funds for the $7.6 billion program has been used as of Dec. 31.

Some of that money can now be allocated to helping more distressed home owners, including borrowers for short sales, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or relocation assistance, according to Freddie Mac.

Source: “Freddie Directs Servicers to use Hardest Hit Fund in Short Sales,” HousingWire (April 23, 2012)

 

Having Good Schoold Nearby Improves Homes Values

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Having Good Schools Nearby Improves Home Values

Living near a high-scoring public school district can raise home values $205,000 higher compared to homes located in neighborhoods with low-scoring school districts, according to a new study by Brookings Institution. Brookings analyzed the nation’s 100 largest metro areas to find the differences between living near a high-scoring public school and a low-performing school.

“We think of public education as being free, and we think of the main divide in education between public and private schools,” Jonathan Rothwell, a senior research analyst at Brookings, told The New York Times. “But it turns out that it’s actually very expensive to enroll your children in a high-scoring public school.” The cost of living in a high-scoring public neighborhood can be higher than paying a private tuition at a school, researchers note.

Housing costs near high-scoring schools — those in the top one-fifth of schools in the area — were 2.4 times higher on average, or $11,000 more per year, than homes located in school districts in the bottom fifth, the study found.

“Some of the areas with the largest differences in housing costs also have the widest gaps in school test scores,” reports CNNMoney about the study’s findings.

Students from low-income families — classified as those who are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches — were found to be more likely to attend schools that score in the 42nd percentile on state tests, according to Brookings. On the other hand, students from middle- to high-income households, on average, tend to attend schools that score in the 61st percentile.

Source: “Test Scores and Housing Costs,” The New York Times (April 19, 2012) and “Living Near Good Schools will Cost an Extra $200k,” CNNMoney (April 19, 2012)

 

Low-ball Offers a Thing of the Past?

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Low-ball Offers a Thing of the Past?

Last year, 10 percent of REALTORS® complained about receiving low-ball offers on listed homes — offers usually submitted by the buyer for 25 percent or more below the list price, according to a National Association of REALTORS® survey of its members. But that number has dropped drastically.

According to a survey this March of 4,500 agents and brokers, no REALTORS® complained about low-ball offers. The main problem nowadays: The sudden drop in inventory of for-sale homes has led to fewer homes available to sell.

For home buyers who still think they have a chance of hitting it lucky with a low-ball offer, they’re finding in many markets that their offers are more often being rejected or countered closer to the original asking price, the Los Angeles Times reports.

West Neal with Prudential Olympia in Olympia, Wash., recalls a buyer who came in recently with an offer of $150,000 for a home listed at $250,000. Eventually, they negotiated a final sales price of $230,000, but it took a lot of negotiating on the agents’ parts to get the buyer higher.

"Low-ball offers are down a lot because we're seeing more homes come on the market that are more realistically priced," Neal told the Los Angeles Times.

Source: “Low-ball Offers Decline in Some Housing Markets,” Los Angeles Times (April 22, 2012)

 

Short Sales to Reach Record Numbers This Year?

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Short Sales to Reach Record Numbers This Year?

Short sales are surging this year, and if the trend continues, they could reach record levels in 2012, RealtyTrac reports.

Short-sale transactions are starting to outpace foreclosure sales, as more banks see it as a better option to curb high losses from foreclosures. More mortgage servicers are also trying to increase the pace of approving short sales, a process that is generally viewed as drawn-out and lengthy.

Short sales increased 33 percent in the last year, according to January data released this week by RealtyTrac. Thirty-two states saw year-over-year increases in short sales. Lender Processing Services Inc., which also recently released its January housing data, showed that short sales accounted for 23.9 percent of home purchases in January while foreclosures made up 19.7 percent of sales — the first time that short sales have outnumbered foreclosures.

"[We] believe 2012 could be a record year for short sales," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

This week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issued new rules to speed up the pace of short sales. Mortgage servicers will be required to respond to a short-sale request within 30 days and make a decision about short-sale offers within 60 days. The new rules go into effect June 1.

Source: “Short Sales Expected to Surge This Year,” CNNMoney (April 19, 2012) and “Short Sales Start to Outpace Foreclosures,” REALTOR® Magazine Daily News (April 19, 2012)

 

Nationwide Open House This Weekend, April 28-29

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Ready for Your Open House? Nationwide Event Starts April 28

With housing affordability at record highs, real estate professionals are hoping this year’s REALTOR® Nationwide Open House Weekend event will be a big jump-start to the spring buying and selling season for housing markets across the country. The REALTOR® Nationwide Open House Weekend will be held April 28 and 29, in which REALTORS® and real estate associations across the country and worldwide hold thousands of open houses in their local communities.

Nearly half of home buyers visit open houses during their home search, according to the 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®.

The nationwide open house will allow buyers the opportunity to visit several homes in their area as well as learn more about home ownership. REALTORS® will be available at the open houses to talk about local market conditions as well as answer any questions about the buying process.

Housing in many markets has been showing signs of improvement in recent weeks. Mortgage rates continue to hover around record lows and with falling home values, affordability is at record highs.

Learn more about how you can prepare for your open house next weekend at REALTOR.com and REALTOR.org.

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Daily NewsN

 

Risk Changes in Emerging Foreclosure Tide

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Risk Changes in Emerging Foreclosure Tide

Banks are expected to pick up the pace of foreclosures, which will send a new wave of these properties on the market soon, housing experts say. This anticipated “wave” will occur at a time when the housing market has been showing signs of strengthening in pockets across the country, they also note.

But this time around, the increase in foreclosures is expected to come from a different source — everyday home owners with low interest-rate mortgages, housing experts say.

Borrowers “with ordinary mortgages whose ability to meet payment have been hit by the hard economic times” will be the ones dominating the foreclosures in the next round, CNNMoney reports in a recent article.

The last time that foreclosures dramatically increased nationwide, they were dominated by borrowers who had subprime loans with high interest rates and loans in which banks often had asked for no money down or even proof of income. Since then, underwriting standards by lenders has gotten a lot stricter.

"The subprime stuff is long gone," says Michael Redman, founder of 4closurefraud.org. "Now the folks being affected are hardworking, everyday Americans struggling because of the economy."

While unemployment has seen improvement, recently falling to 8.3 percent from its 10 percent peak in 2009, many Americans still remain without a job and are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments. More than a quarter of home owners are considered “underwater,” owing more on their homes than they are currently worth, according to fourth quarter 2011 data from Zillow Inc.

"We're seeing more people coming through who have good loans with reasonable interest rates," says Ed Jacob, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Inc., a non-profit that provides foreclosure counseling. "But in many households only one person works now instead of two, or they had their hours cut. The answer to the housing crisis now is job creation."

Experts Warn: It’s Coming ...
The signs of the next tide are already taking shape as banks set out to quicken the pace of reviewing backlogs of defaulting loans: Foreclosure starts soared 28 percent in January, according to Lender Processing Services’ report last month. RealtyTrac reported that while overall foreclosures saw a slight drop nationwide in February from January, 21 cities saw large spikes, such as Tampa (increasing 64 percent), Chicago (43 percent) and Miami (53 percent).

In previous reports, RealtyTrac has predicted that completed foreclosures will jump 25 percent this year and will likely reach 1 million in 2012.

Source: “New Foreclosure Wave to Hit ‘Everyday’ Borrowers,” Reuters (April 4, 2012)

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

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Roberts (Bobby) Johnson
Cool Denver Homes, Inc.
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Fax: (303)9635335

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