All posts by Katerina Gasset

Bank Employees Given Bonuses To Foreclose? Instead of HAMP? Hmmm…

An ex-Bank of America employee in court documents has alleging that Bank of America gave bonuses out to their employees for foreclosing on homeowners. 

It is alleged that employees were rewarded with gift cards and cash incentives to meet specified quotas of foreclosures. 

Well, what do you know, this statement says that they were told to postpone and drag out the home modification requests. Hmmm, I wonder if all those homeowners that called us to do a short sale for them here in Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Port St Lucie, Miami and Cooper City and West Palm Beach after they were served with those home modification decline notices and on the same day being served with their foreclosure lis pendens papers. 

We always did find that too much of a coincidance. 

One of the loss mitigation specialists said that they were drilled on knowing that it was their job to maximize the banks’ fees by pushing out the modification process by “any means we could”. While I totally get that the bank is to look after their investors and shareholders it is not ethical to lie about it. Just say you are not doing loan modifications! Don’t pull people along in false hopes. 

They were instructed to tell the homeowners when they called in to check the status of their modification request that their modification was under review when in fact it was not under review. 

Homeowners who were turned down for permanent loan modifications have hired attorneys to take their claims to court. The attorneys representing the homeowners say that they have more than one witness. That they have at least 7 former employees that are verfifying the allegations. 

Bank of America has denied the allegations. 

Wellington Short Sale Market Updates

Wellington Short Sale Market Updates

The Wellington short sale inventory- homes listed for sale that are short sales has dwindled to a very few. There are currently only 18 short sales listed for sale in Wellington Florida. 

short sales for sale in Wellington Florida

The highest priced short sale is listed at $875,000 in the Equestrian Club on World Cup drive

The lowest priced is an investor special on White Pine listed at $135,000. If the bank wants that much for that section of the rental area in Wellington- they should not hold their breath. Most of the townhomes located on this street are not even close to that so I don’t know what comps they are using. 

The second to lowest priced short sale is a lot located in the Binks commercial area that is listed and short sale approved for $150,000. 

There is a gorgeous former model home listed as a short sale in Buena Vida – a very popular 55+ community in Wellington. This home is listed at $280,000. 

The majority of the short sales for sale in Wellington are in our median price ranges of $350,000 to $500,000. For a complete list of short sales for sale in Wellington Florida click here. 

Fannie Mae Artificially Inflating Home Values???? Could it Possibly Be????

Fannie Mae Artificially Inflating Home Values???? Could it Possibly Be????

Does anyone learn from past mistakes? Does this sound at all familiar to any of us who here in the real estate boom and then the bust??? 

It appears that Fannie Mae is creating their own values through their Homepath program and through their outrageously laughable counter offers to short sales! 

This is market manipulation. This is one of the reasons the real estate market crashed. So is anyone going to learn from the mistakes of the past? Or are they bound to repeat them? 

When we list a short sale we make sure to market the property at the fair market value according to comps. All agents should know how to do this. 

But Fannie Mae took away delegation authority of appraisals from the servicers and orders their own values. Let’s say we have a short sale that is listed at $189,000. How did we come up with that price? 

Well, we take into consideration the solds in that neighborhood of similar properties and we make adjustments to those sold properties based on condition of the property, pool or no pool, lake view or no lake view, etc. That determines the price. 

Once a buyer puts in their offer which will most likely in our market be full price at $189,000 we begin the negotiations on the short sale. If the investor on the property is Fannie Mae, they order a BPO on the property. 

But the Fannie Mae counter offer comes back at $263,542!!!!!! How did that happen???? Well, ordinarily we would blame the BPO agent whom Fannie Mae ordered the BPO from. 

Well, don’t attack the BPO agent so fast!!! 

Agents that we know have found out from some of these BPO agents that they were TOLD by Fannie Mae what price to come back with!!!! WTH!!!!!???!!!! 

Does this sound familiar to any of you who were in the real estate market back in 2005 and 2006???? 

Remember the mortgage brokers, lenders and banks were ordering appraisals from their buddies who would come back with appraisals of inflated values? That is why the government decided they needed to make more appraisal regulations. Those regulations included keeping the agents and mortgage brokers away from the appraisers ears. But we know that regulations always have unintended consequences because they are mostly made in haste without much though or sense. 

Fannie Mae, according to agents around the country, are telling the appraisers and BPO agents to NOT take ANY short sales or REOs into consideration in their values. So let us get this straight… you have a short sale listing and Fannie Mae does not want that short sale listing to be compared to any closed short sales???? A short sale is a short sale is a short sale…

The average out of whack counter values are about $60,000 difference between list price and appraisal price by Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae is apparently dictating the market values. There just are not that many listing agents and brokers around the country that are 60K off all the time! 

Fannie Mae does not want to do short sales and they have made this very clear through purposely inflating the values of the homes. They know darn well that even if the buyer accepts their outrageous counter offers the buyer’s lender is going to order an appraisal and that appraisal will reflect the real market value and the buyer will not be able to get the loan unless they are paying cash for the property. 

So when the deals fall apart…. Fannie Mae gets to take the property back into their asset column, cook their books some more and then offer the property up for sale through their Homepath program which guess what!!!! DOES NOT REQUIRE AN APPRAISAL!!!!!! 

Now, our next question becomes…. once that inflated market value loan is closed, do the appraisals moving forward on traditional sales and non Fannie Mae short sales reflect those inflated values? Most of the time the appraisers call us and ask us the details on our closed sales when they are evaluating the market value of a property. 

Fannie Mae gets to make up its own rules. 

Here we go…. again…. 

 

Wellington Short Sale Market Report – An Overview from 2007 to 2013

Wellington Short Sale Market Report – An Overview from 2007 to 2013.

Wellington Florida is a great place to live and is the first choice of many people moving to Palm Beach County Florida. When the South Florida market took a hit in the beginning of 2007 it affected every town in the tri-county southern part of our state. 

We started to list short sale properties at an increased pace starting in September of 2007. There were a lot of short sales in 2008 through 2010. In 2011 Wellington was getting back up and prices started to stabilize. But of course, there were still many homeowners over 50% under water. You could easily find 200 short sale listings back in 2008 and 2009. In 2012 the market turned around and the prices started to go up again but not at the toxic pace from before the bust. 

Today we are down to only 19 short sale listings for sale in Wellington. That is a huge drop. 

There are three reasons for this: 

1. The market has turned and so people are deciding to keep their homes and not selling them even though they are upside down. After all, a home is a home. It is not just an investment to many families and retirees. 

2. Many homeowners have not paid their mortgage payments in several years, some upwards of 4 years and still get to live in their homes. This is going to stop soon because of new legislation to help speed along the courts processing the foreclosures. But of course, when there is no incentive to list a home as a short sale when you can wait it out as long as possible and save up your money to move. 

3. The banks are not foreclosing on homes as fast. Wellington has a tough code enforcement division and the banks don’t want to pay the city for all the fines and code violations that REO properties are known for. 

The highest priced short sale is listed at $1,499,000 on Sea Mist located in Palm Beach Point- an awesome equestrian gated community with homes on 5 acre lots.  

The lowest priced short sale is listed at $179,900 and is an approved short sale that was just put back on the market in an older area of Wellington. 

There are two short sales available in Buena Vida a 55+ community in Wellington. This is very unusual to have a short sale in Buena Vida. One home is listed at $350,000 and the one is listed at $280,000. 

The Isles of Wellington is another nice gated community. There is one short sale available and it is an approved short sale. This home is listed at $325,000. 

There are only three short sales now listed in Olympia of Wellington. Now that is the lowest number of short sales in Olympia in years! Olympia was the short sale factory as well as heavily dominated with REOs. This is because so many people bought on speculation in Olympia. Many people including agents bought 6 to 7 homes pre-construction and flipped the properties before they were built. But many people got caught holding the bag. They could not sell those properties when the bust happened. It appears that Olympia has come out of that phase and is now doing well. 

To view all the Wellington Short Sale Listings click here. 

Should I Short Sale My Wellington Home?

Should I Short Sale My Wellington Home? 

This is one of the most frequently asked questions and also one that receives the most judgmental responses. There are many reasons why a homeowner would choose or should choose to short sale their Wellington home. Some may be laid off from work and can no longer afford their payments while others are looking at their savings- having watched it all get depleted through loss of equity in their Wellington FL home. These homeowners can no longer accept throwing their money down the drain so to speak. These are all considered in the decision of short selling your Wellington home.

The first thing you need to ask yourself and go over in your family meeting is your budget. Are you laid off from your work? Are you unemployed? If so, what are your job options and how realistic is it that you will get a job or start a business where you will be able to keep making your mortgage payments or where you can catch up if you are late.

How far behind are you on your mortgage payments if you are behind? Have you been turned down for a loan modification with your lender? If you do short sale your home, where are you going to move? Sometimes we have helped a homeowner discover that paying rent to a landlord will cost them more and get less space then trying to figure out a way to keep their home. In that situation it is not in the homeowner’s best interest to sell their home as short sales.

Do you own properties that are your investment properties but the rents are not making the mortgage payments because of the real estate market crash?

Are you thinking about just walking away from your home or property and leaving the keys on the table? 

These are many of the questions that are constantly being tossed around in a homeowner’s mind here in Wellington Florida and other places in Palm Beach County.

Most of the time doing a Wellington short sale is better than having a foreclosure against you and the judgment that the banks are entitled to after the foreclosure.

Did you know that there are some programs that you may qualify for where your lender will give you up to $20,000 in some cases and in many cases at least $3000 to help you relocate?

We can not promise that you will qualify for one of these incentive programs but the call to us is totally confidential. We will have a short sale intake evaluation with you over the phone and go over your foreclosure options with you. Call Nestor Gasset or Katerina Gasset at 561-753-0135 today to get your short sales questions answered.

Wellington Short Sale Update! Mortgage Debt Relief Act is Extended until January 2014 and other “Goodies”

Short Sale update- mortgage cancellation relief is extended for one year to January 1, 2014.

On January 1- the Senate and the House passed H.R.8 which is the bill to deal with the fiscal cliff.

One of the provisions in that bill is the mortgage debt relief act which has been extended to January 1, 2014. Wellington Short Sales - Debit Act Relief Extended

So we have another year to be doing short sales with the mortgage balance being forgiven for tax purposes. In reality the debt relief act did not apply for IRS purposes to investors and second home owners. Most homeowners who are losing their homes are insolvent anyways so the IRS debt relief is not a huge benefit to them. It is used more as a political angle for special interest groups.

In other real estate related taxes as part of the new legislation there were a few changes:

There is a deduction for mortgage insurance premiums for income tax filers who make below $110,000. The deduction for mortgage insurance premiums is extended through the end of the year of 2013 and it’s also retroactive to cover 2012. New

Leasehold improvements for qualified leaseholds on commercial properties – 15 year straight-line cost recovery has been extended to the end of 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.

The energy efficiency tax credits for homeowners who make energy improvements on their existing homes is extended to the end of 2013 and made retroactive for the year 2012 with a tax credit of 10% up to $500.

Now here come my liberty busters and you will get some of my commentary here to:

There’s a permanent repeal of the “Pease Limitation”. Under the new H.R 8  legislation the agreement permanent repeals the limitations that reduce the value of itemized deductions except for it has been reinstituted for high income filers.

The high-income filers are those who make more than $250,000 and joint income tax filers who earn over $300,000. These are also going to be indexed for inflation and they will rise over time. The amount of your adjusted gross income above the threshold is multiplied by 3%. This amount is then used to reduce your total itemized deductions.

My biggest question always comes about taxation – is it fair to charge some people more taxes than other people? And why? What is there in our constitution that states that people can be treated differently based on their production?  The biggest problem with this provision is that married couples are basically punished because if they were instead single people living together filing separately they could each get a $250,000 threshold for a total of $500,000 instead of $300,000. Again, I am married and would like to have equal benefit as two roommates living together but I don’t want special treatment. Just treat everyone equally.

Now in a lot of places in the country a couple would be living very well with the family of four at $300,000 annual income but they certainly would not be considered rich in most of the urban cities of this country. In fact, after they pay their state taxes (which we do not have in Florida) they are already being taxed at 60%. Do the math. Living in Manhattan with a family of 4 is not going to get very far on $120,000 annually to live on. I have not even gone into running a small business. That is a whole other topic of which I can discuss from experience on.

The only fair tax is a fair tax and that’s certainly not going to be implemented anytime soon.

capital gains tax real estate WellingtonCapital gains. Capital gains rate is going to be staying the same at 15% for those individuals up to $400,000 and $450,000 for joint filers. After that amount the gains will be taxed at 20%. For real estate capital gains the 250/500K exclusion for sale the process principal residence remains in place.

My opinion is that the money you invested is money you already paid tax on, so in essence, you are getting double taxation on your investments. I think this is cooked up by the banksters, wall streeters and the politicians to try to force you to keep your money in your investments because before you take it out, you are going to think twice. But for retired people they don’t have a choice. This is a huge disservice to retired people. Again, this is not treating everyone fairly in our tax structure.

Again we’re treating different people differently which is very unfair and is punishing people who want to take proactive measures for their own retirements and their own wealth.

Estate taxes.

The ever popular and unpopular estate taxes you are taxed when you die. Your family has to pay taxes when you die on whatever you left behind under these circumstances.

The first $5 million in individual estates and $10 million for family estates are now exempted from the estate tax. So we made a little bit of progress there but again we are not treating people fairly across the board and equally as Americans.

Anything over $10 million will be taxed at the rate of 40% up from 35% and those exemptions are going to also be indexed for inflation.

Needless to say I am not happy at all about the H.R.8 legislation. I believe there are too many special interests involved and too many people wanting to get back scratched along with government not making sound spending cuts and not working on the deficit. There is a total lack of responsibility on the part of our leaders. For every $42 in spending they are getting they are only cutting $1 of spending! DO THE MATH!!! How does that equate to financial responsibility. I would be out of business if I ran my business like that.

I am sure that NAR is happy with the outcome because they are a special interest group that lobbies for real estate interests. But whenever you get into I want this, the other side says, but I want this. As long as government makes deals with special interest groups and their cozy pals in big companies nothing will be fair. But if NAR really stands for “under all is land” and we must protect private property then NAR needs to stand to protect ALL private property. Taxation on private property especially real property violates the very principles of private property rights.

authored by Katerina Gasset

 

Wellington Foreclosures | REO | Bank Owned | Market Report

Wellington Foreclosures | REO | Bank Owned | Market Report

If you are looking for a foreclosed property to buy in Wellington Florida you will be hard pressed to find one. There are very few bank owned properties for sale in Wellington. 

REO is a real estate term that means, Real Estate Owned. This term is used by banks with regards to the assets they own, the properties they have taken title to through the act of foreclosure. 

Currently there are only 4 properties listed for sale in Wellington as bank owned properties REOs.  

12305 Equine Lane is listed at $510,000. This home has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms with 6,287 square feet. 

15721 Athens Ter is listed at $333,382. This home has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with 4324 square feet. 

12632 Buckland St is listed at $239,000. This home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with 2586 square feet. 

and a  multi-family zoned lot is listed for sale at $41,000.

Contact Nestor Gasset and Katerina Gasset at 561-753-0135 to get started on your home search. 

Wellington Short Sale Market Report October 2012

Wellington Short Sale Market Report- October 2012 

Currently there are 41 short sales for sale in Wellington. 

The highest priced short sale is a single family home with a 6 stall barn listed at $1,649,000 with 3258 approx. living square feet under air. This home is in a gated equestrian community. 

The lowest priced single family home short sale in Wellington is currently listed at $ 158,773 with 1641 square feet and this home backs up the preserve. 

Most of the homes for sale in Wellington as short sales are priced in the high $200,000’s to the mid $300,000’s. 

There are not many short sales for sale in Wellington and that has been the case for almost a year now. We are anticipating more short sales to come on the market in 2013 as the layoffs and unemployed numbers rise. We will also start to see some short sales coming on the market because of time is coming up for many homeowners who have not made their mortgage payments for a long time. The banks are starting to foreclose again and the courts are processing foreclosure judgments. 

If you are looking at options to foreclosure, a short sale may be your best option. It is most often a better option for you than to leave your keys on the table and just leave when the sheriff arrives at your day with a notice to vacate. Many times homeowners qualify for cash incentives to do a short sale by their lenders. 

Call Nestor Gasset and Katerina Gasset today at 561-753-0135 to go over your foreclosure options. This call is confidential. Don’t lose your home to foreclosure. Call us today. 

Florida Foreclosure Case- Homeowners Win in Appeal

Florida Foreclosure Case- Homeowners Win in Appeal 

A Florida appeals court sided with homeowners Cesar and Ruth Vidal in Broward County in south Florida. They have a home in North Lauderdale. The bank foreclosed on their home. 

The homeowners took their case to the County Circuit Court where they lost and that court favored in behalf of the lender. 

Then the homeowners appealed their case in the Fourth District Court of Appeals who ruled that the foreclosure must be overturned. 

This is not the first homeowner that has won a case in Florida courts regarding their foreclosure. 

Florida is a judicial state. We are also a deed state. This means that the banks must go through a judicial process of sueing the homeowner in court, called a lis pendens filing, and then the homeowner becomes the defendent. As the defendent the homeowner gets to bring forth a defense and a case to the judge about why the bank should not foreclose on them. 

Now the fact is that it is not easy for the homeowner to win a case. If you are not making your mortgage payments you have defaulted on your promise to pay back the money you borrowed from your bank to buy your home. At the end of the day, the piper must be paid. 

But this is why the judicial process is so important for us who own property in Florida. Be mindful of that and do what you can to keep supporting us to have a judicial foreclosure system. There are times when banks err and in non recourse states you don’t have a prayer. 

The judge in the appeals court in this case also rules that the Vidals could continue to seek damages and try to have their mortgage canceled on the grounds that their lender, Liquidation Properties Inc allegedly violated the Truth in Lending Act. 

We know of a couple other cases where judges have canceled the homeowners mortgage because of harrassment and violations of the Fair Credit Act. These cases are rare though so don’t go starting to make a case like this without good evidence in your favor. 

Some people use the judicial process to delay the ultimate end reality that they are going to have to move out of their home. Again, this is better than not having a judicial process. 

The banks complain that the judicial process takes too long here in Florida, the average time is over 800 days now. Some people want this to hurry up to stop the bleeding however we must always be careful of the unintended consequences of quick solutions. Stay vigilant in our rights to keep our judicial process. 

The Vidal case though, could set a precedent and could affect thousands of homeowners which is a win for homeowners. 

We are not attorneys and we are NOT giving any legal advice, we are just reporting the news. 

Do I Have to Put a Deposit In With My Offer to Buy a Property?

Do I Have to Put a Deposit in With my Offer to Buy a Property? 

There is no law that says you have to put deposit money down with your offer to purchase a property. But there is a law in Florida called the Statutes of Fraud. Part of that law says that in order to enforce a contract there has to be some time of consideration. That can be in the form of cash, check, money order or bank check. It could also be gold, silver or whatever else of value. 

Now, with saying all that…. you know the answer to so many questions, it all depends:) 

Why are you buying a home? The reasons you are buying a home should become part of your reasoning as to what type of deposit to attach to your offer. 

If you fall in love with your dream home it is highly likely other buyers may also be of the same opinion as you. That creates competition. Here in Wellington many listings get multiple offers. The stronger you make your offer, the better your chances are that the seller will accept your offer and not someone else’s. 

Many buyers don’t learn this lesson until after they have lost the chance at buying a home they fell in love with. 

The bigger deposit you put with your offer, the more serious you appear to be in going through with the sale of the property. 

A seller has to take their home off of the active market once they accept an offer. So they are looking at what is going to be the offer that is most likely going to close. The highest and best offer and terms is usually the one a seller will accept. 

The seller has to take his/her house off the market they in turn want you, the buyer, to not be actively searching for another home. Some buyers want to place offers on multiple properties. 

Many buyers’s agents don’t want to have the buyer’s money at risk. What if you decide you don’t want the property next week? 

There are contingencies you can add to your offer, such as your offer is subject to you accepting the home inspection report on the property. If you don’t like the inspection report you can cancel your contract. If you cancel your contract within the terms of the contract, you get your deposit money back within the time specified. 

If you don’t show the seller you are a serious buyer the seller will likely accept another offer. 

No matter what the opinion of anyone else is, you must always ask yourself, do you really want this house? Are you willing to show that you are a serious buyer?