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Posts Tagged ‘hudson valley short sale Realtor’

128 days ago, I sat at a dining room table in Putnam Valley, New York, just north of the Westchester County border with a young couple who were listed 4 times previously with 3 different brokerages in unsuccessful attempts to sell their home. Along the way, they got behind on their payments due to loss of income and had all but lost hope that they could avoid a foreclosure. 

One of my agents, Tom Ricapito, had found these nice people quite by accident, and told them to talk to me before giving up. This was the first time they had ever heard of a short sale. I told them I had closed dozens, and they listed with my company with Tom as their agent. He later told me that our meeting gave them new hope. It is funny how these people found us quite by random chance, and not through our regular marketing. When you specialize in New York short sales, they sometimes find you.

Continued here.

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester & the Hudson Valleys’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. He has listed and sold successful short sales in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange County, as well as the boroughs of New York City. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com

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This short sale closed at the end of this past year. The clients were divorced, and the home they had built while married was incomplete and upside down. The house was listed this past summer.

Divorce cases are in and of themselves difficult. I have to give both clients credit in their dealings with me- they kept it to the transaction. It still was more difficult than with a happily married client, and there were the dicey moments one might expect, but in context we did well in spite of the circumstances.

There were numerous offers on the property, but getting consensus on which one to submit to the lender complicated matters. No offer separated from the pack- price was an issue with one (rather crucial in a short sale), another was an acquaintance of the husband, which the ex wife was reticent to accept, and we were unsure of how to go forward for a time.

Not long after, what appeared to be a tie-breaking offer came in. Price, terms and details did give it a distinct advantage, that is, until the incomplete state of the home came into play. Without a final certificate of occupancy, they reduced the offer by $20,000. A decision had to be made, and with time running short the acquaintances were chosen.

It took another 90 days to get approved. Unfortunately, the buyers then asked for an extension! Given the rigid guideline of the approval we could only grant one brief extension. When another was requested, we had to deny it. We began to get concerned that the buyers might no longer qualify, but the file was cleared to close the day after their extension was denied. They might have been jockeying for a better loan; it might have been a stroke of luck. Because the closing was scheduled in haste for a morning I was already booked, I was unable to be present for the closing.

I later found out that the buyer voiced a complaint about me at the closing. I have never dealt with this person (just his agent), nor was I the source of any of the difficulty on our side. The combination of a short sale and divorce would make any transaction difficult, and perhaps the buyer transferred his frustration to me. I have no way of knowing. I do know that the seller’s attorney advised him that he was mistaken and that I was a good guy. You know you are living right when an attorney sticks out their neck for you and you don’t get a bill!

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester & the Hudson Valleys’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com

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A recent posting from an Ohio broker highlights how real estate differs from place to place. In it, she says that she advises her clients to not sign a contract with a buyer if the house is a short sale prior to getting the bank’s approval. While I won’t quarrel with what works for someone else in another market, I disagree.

That may work in Ohio, but it is ill-advised in New York. I do most of my short sales in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Orange and Fairfield (CT) Counties. It is the same in each place- when the buyer makes an offer, it is submitted to the lender with the seller’s hardship package and a contract that is conditioned on the approval of the short sale. The contract is prepared by the seller’s attorney. If the short sale is approved, we have a deal. If it is not approved, my seller is not obligated to sell and incurs no financial obligation to the buyer. Most of the time we continue to negotiate with the lender anyway, but the contract protects both parties.

For the buyer, the contract ensures that they will not lose the house to another buyer after enduring the long process of short sale approval.

For the seller, whom I represent far more often, the contract ensures that the buyer will not simply walk away without penalty or recourse after that same lengthy process. If I list a short sale, my job is to protect my seller. Handshake deals do not protect the seller, only contracts and deposits protect them. This does not “imprison” the buyer. It is virtually the same sort of contingency as their own financing, which is in almost every real estate contract, and no seller objects to such contingencies.

Moreover, the lenders require a valid contract of sale before they approve a short sale. With no contract, the offer is hypothetical. Hypotheticals don’t help my clients whose goal is to avoid foreclosure.

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com

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This transaction came several years ago, before the market decline was fully accepted by home sellers. The client was a single mother who, because of a heart condition, missed a great deal of work and fell behind on her home loan. By the time I had met her, she was finished with another agent who failed to sell her home. She was skeptical of agents because of this, and felt that it was not her home’s price that was an issue, but how it was marketed. However, by the time we competed the CMA, she was clear that she owed more than the house would bring from the market.

Being the mother of two teenagers, my client was both scared and proactive. She was under terrible stress, which isn’t good for someone with a heart condition, but she was a fighter. She engaged with the bank as few sellers I have seen before or since. She hung on their every word. Anything they requested was faxed and followed up upon. She kept me on my toes. The buyer actually found the house through her craigslist posting. It never fails to impress me how much better things turn out for my clients who help themselves.

It was a tough process, but the short sale was approved. My clients’s attorney, well, let’s just say I wish he had half the initiative of the lady he represented. He did a sloppy job, and as a result of title issues he failed to detect, I walked away from the closing with about 75% of my commission going to cure a defecit. Niether the buyer nor the seller attorney seemed to feel at all badly about this draconian loss I had to eat. I never recommended the scoundrel again.

Regardless, my seller got out from under the house she could no longer afford, and she got her fresh start. Her attorney promised to refer me a client in exchange for my severe loss, but he never kept his promise. Just as well; I don’t want to hear from him. My client calls me from time to time, and she is rapidly approaching the point where she can buy again if she chooses. All in all, a tougher deal on me than my seller. That’s baseball.

 

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com

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Buying any foreclosure is tricky, and a short sale is probably the longest process. Is purchasing a short sale right for you? Perhaps you rent in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam or Dutchess and are considering a short sale purchase in one of those areas. Here are some things you ought to know:

  • You can’t be in a hurry. Negotiating a short sale might only take a month but in most cases it can go 90 days or longer. So don’t hire a mover, end your lease or lock your rate until you have confirmation that your offer is approved by the bank. If the seller accepts your offer that isn’t an approved short sale; any offer the seller accepts still requires approval from their lender.
  • You are buying the house “as is.” In rare cases, such as in an environmental problem, the lender will pay for repairs but most if the time you are getting the house as is, as found. The seller is in hardship, so they won’t be able to help either. So make sure you do your inspections and know what you are getting into before going forward.
  • You can’t “flip” the house. Short sales are very good deals in most cases but not so very low that you’ll be able to turn a short term profit. They usually are retail value, less repairs and maintenance, and perhaps less a bit for speed.
  • Status updates take longer. Unlike regular transactions where updates are a phone call away, all parties are forced to wait on the lender, who is not, shall we say, committed to keeping everyone happy. This doesn’t mean that the purchase is lost in the ether; but it does mean that more patience is required than normal.
  • If the listing agent is not a short sale specialist, it may turn into a nightmare. You wouldn’t want a podiatrist giving you root canal, nor do you need a rookie cutting his or her teeth on the biggest purchase of your life. Short sales are hard for experienced experts like myself; an agent who is doing their first or 2nd short sale is in for a long ordeal. The best way to handle that transaction is to not enter into it. If the house looks right for you and a short sale is disclosed, ask how many short sales the listing agent has successfully closed. If the agent hasn’t done many, the best thing to do might be to pass the house by. Otherwise, you might be in for 6 months of frustration.
  • Subordinate financing takes longer. If the seller has a second mortgage, then two lenders have to render their approval, and coordinating the two complicates matters. Some specialists won’t even list those homes (I do.).  Ask if there is another lender, and even if they are the same institution, it will add a measure of difficulty (the same lender but two different loans means two different divisions or departments). Do a lien search on the home before going forward. If there is a 2nd lien the listing agent hasn’t disclosed you might consider walking- they may not be in command of how to close this workout.
  • Ironically, you have to be ready to close rather quickly. This is the “hurry up and wait” irony of the short sale process. The lender will make you wait far longer than a normal purchase for a decision, but when that decision is issued there will typically be a 15 or 30-day deadline to close or the sale approval has to go back to review. By this point you should have done your inspections and other due diligence completed. Once the lender approves the sale it is then time to lock the rate, call the mover and give notice on your apartment.

This is a broad overview, but it boils down to knowing when to hold and when to fold.  No two short sale transactions are the same, even with the same lender. If you are in a state where attorneys are used it helps to have an attorney represent you in the purchase with short sale experience, but at the very least make sure they are experienced at real estate.

The long process aside, buying a short sale does put you ahead of the market, as the prices are more aligned with where the market is heading. This is significant, because the places where the bulk of my short sales are done (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties), prices are so high that even a 5% reduction can mean tens of thousands of dollars to you.

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com

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The question that pops up for people who can no longer pay their mortgage is how much money they’ll have to come up with in order to get out from under their mortgage through a short sale. It is like the old catch-22 I’ve often heard where the client tells me that they want to seek bankruptcy protection but they don’t have the money to pay the attorney (of course, the answer to that is that the good attorneys I know will not charge for a preliminary consultation).  It is an understandable conundrum, and I’ll do some math illustrations here.

First, in a typical sale, the seller has numerous expenses, but the big one are the real estate commission, New York State transfer tax ($4 per thousand), Attorney fee, and the big one-the mortgage payoff (typically the biggest check drawn at closings).

On a $500,000 house with a $400,000 mortgage balance, assuming a 6% commission (all commissions are negotiable of course) and a $1500 attorney fee, the seller is liable for the following:

  • Commission: $30,000
  • NYS Transfer tax: $2000
  • Mortgage payoff: $400,000
  • Attorney: $1500
  • Total: $433,500

If you have the equity, all expenses come from the proceeds and you don’t give it another thought. Let’s look at a short sale scenario where the balance and market value are both $450,000:

  • Commission: $27,000
  • NYS Transfer tax: $1800
  • Mortgage payoff: $450,000
  • Attorney: $1500
  • Total: $480,300 shortage of $30,300

In a short sale, the bank absorbs the loss and discharges (settles/forgives) the loan debt, with no post-closing obligation, even if there are back  taxes and back payments. The reason is hardship. Lenders recognize that sellers do not have magic wands to wave and make the market values any higher, and that in selling the house the debtor is making a good faith effort to pay their debt. If you have hardship (which is typically why the house needs to be sold to start with), you should have a successful short sale. If you have  $100,000 in the bank, you don’t qualify for a short sale. I should also add that my clients do typically pay a small attorney fee to defray the attorney expense for the workout, but in short sale situations where the lender refuses and returns mortgage payments, it becomes a relatively negligible matter.

This is the same structure in my short sales in Rockland County, the Bronx, Putnam, and Dutchess.  Some municipalities such as Yonkers have a higher transfer tax. Of course, the broker or agent you choose matters as much as the surgeon you choose for an operation. You need a specialist or the results could be fatal. The lesson here is that homeowners experiencing hardship ought not put off acting because they don’t have money. You really don’t need any to get informed, get started, and get your life moving again. And the best part is that once the short sale is completed, the slate is clean. That day is the first day of the rest of your life.

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com

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Some transactions stay with you your whole life. This occurred almost 2 years ago and seems like it was last week. The clients lived in Orange County, an exurb of NYC about 40 minutes north of White Plains. They were desperate, and their situation was compelling.

First, they were restoring an older Georgian. Even in an incomplete state, it was a magnificent place. As with many younger couples in the multi-tasking pursuit of making a family, they were also trying to have a baby with little luck. Then, she got pregnant.  Their daughter was born prematurely, and never made it home. Language limps in describing such a tragic event. She became understandably depressed, and then he lost his job.

I met her at the house on a cloudy day. She was back on her feet, physically and mentally, with a fat file filled with research on short sales on the kitchen table. She knew everything I was talking about. She educated herself. Unlike many people with overwhelming financial problems, she was not paralyzed with fear. I’ll explain.

While she was showing me the house, explaining what was completed and not, we came to what was the baby’s room. The poor Little Soul never slept in it. Briefly, she was sad again. She became depressed when she was told she couldn’t have a baby. I am blessed with 4 rugrats- what could I say? Have you thought of adopting, I asked. She looked me right in the eye. “Of course. But they won’t let you adopt if you have a foreclosure.” How dumb of me! Adoption agencies weigh finances very heavily!

And THAT is why she was on her feet, lucid and fighting. She wasn’t fighting to save her credit; she wasn’t fighting for sheetrock and plumbing;  she was fighting for motherhood. She was on her toes for a child who wasn’t even in her life yet, a child who was just an idea.

I am proud to say that there were multiple offers on that house (it was expired with a prior broker who tried to sell at a higher price because they didn’t know short sales). The lender approved the short sale, an offer about $15,000 over asking price as I recall, and it closed successfully. Was it easy? Hell no. Did I care? Hell no.

They mailed me a photo of their daughter later that year. You can’t make this stuff up.

J. Philip Faranda is Westchester’s Premier Short Sale REALTOR. Find out more at www.NYShortSaleTeam.com  

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