DANGER!!! DANGER!!! DO NOT CALL THE Agent on the sign – CALL A SEASONED BUYER’S AGENT INSTEAD!

DANGER!!! DANGER!!! DO NOT CALL THE Agent on the sign – CALL A SEASONED BUYER’S AGENT INSTEAD!

Alabama is one of those states that holds buyers responsible for due diligence. In a nutshell, buyers should make every effort to investigate issues of importance to them and not rely on others to do what they should have done to fully investigate a situation to their satisfaction. Seems intimidating? It can be without the use of a sworn Buyer’s Agent such as myself.

You wouldn’t — for a lot of good reasons — go into a contested divorce proceeding without an attorney, or worse, take the advice of your spouse’s attorney.Why, then, would you buy a home — an adversarial process regardless of how friendly everyone involved in the transaction seems — without someone on your side? Oh, you think home buyers have always had representation? Well, think again. As a buyer, you are not represented unless you’ve told the real estate agent who is showing you homes that you want that agent to represent you as your “buyer agent.” If you haven’t, “your agent” could be representing the seller. If the agent is representing the seller, you could be making a costly mistake, possibly not receiving the best price, lack of professional negotiation expertise, and leaving yourself wide open for later regret.

Recently, more home buyers have been asking, “Who represents whom?” As a result, many are opting to be represented by a buyer’s agent to take them through the process, from house hunting to closing. The greatest thing about this is it doesn’t cost the buyer anything and often saves them thousands. Why choose a buyer’s agency? While any agent will arrange property showings, suggest sources of financing, provide accurate information, explain the forms and agreements, and monitor the entire process, only a Full Representation and Single Sided Buyer’s agent is able to perform services for you that a Full Representation and Single Sided Seller’s Agent cannot; such as show you reasons not to buy a particular property; negotiate the best price and terms for you; include contingencies in the contract that protect you, rather than the seller as in most contracts; and keep confidential any information that could hurt your bargaining position with the seller.

For the last 5+ years, I have made it my mission to be a Buyers Agent, where I work for you and you only! I decline and avoid Dual Agency as part of my day to day operations, referring these situations out to trusted colleagues different brokerages. Yes, I am a Realtor® that will sacrifice money in order to uphold my Code of Ethics. You cannot afford to not have me on your side, working for only you in the transaction. it has become my opinion, though years of experience that it is impossible for a Realtor® to represent both sides of the transaction. Confidential information cannot be shared between the parties, but the agent is still aware of these little tidbits of information. The knowledge influences the decisions and the forthcoming advice to you or the seller.

In short, hire a Buyer’s Agent today and protect yourself.

DANGER!!! DANGER!!! DO NOT CALL THE Agent on the sign – CALL A SEASONED BUYER’S AGENT INSTEAD!

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/13/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/13/2012

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While housing has been a bright spot for the economy lately, the General Public should not expect runaway growth anytime soon, according to panelists at today’s Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco.

“I think the market we have today is going to be a market that is going to be somewhat sustained,” said Joel Singer, executive vice president of the California Association of REALTORS®. “Time is important, if for no other reason than personal balance sheets get healed. There will be growth in the next couple of years, though it’s obviously not going to be dynamic.”

Housing will be one of the better sectors of the economy, Singer said, but he cautioned that the economy as a whole was at risk in the next six months. Calling the downturn “financially created,” he said a revamp of the financial system was in order. “I think we have to be very, very concerned about the policy issues,” Singer said. In particular, he noted that some 95 percent of mortgages originated are owned or guaranteed by the federal government.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Patrick Stone, president and CEO of Williston Financial Group, said that uncertainty surrounding two controversial regulations — the qualified mortgage (QM) and the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) — is an impediment to the development of a private secondary mortgage market.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

QM would establish standards for borrowers’ “ability to pay” the mortgages they seek, while QRM would establish certain baseline standards for safe underwriting and require lenders to retain a 5 percent minimum ongoing stake in any loans they originate that don’t meet QRM requirements.

The regulations are under the aegis of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which recently postponed action on both rules after protests from REALTORS®, builders, banks, unions and consumer groups.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

The bureau needs to define exactly how the regulations will work, the debt-to-income and loan-to-value ratios that will be allowed, and FICO score requirements, he added.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL- 08/11/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/11/2012

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Mortgage rates have moved higher off of record lows for the second consecutive week amid signs that the U.S. job market is stabilizing, according to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac.

Reuters reported.

 

For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 3.59 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending Aug. 9, up from 3.55 percent last week but down from 4.32 percent a year ago, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 when they fell to 3.49 percent during the week ending July 26.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.84 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 2.83 percent last week but down from 3.5 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages hit a low in records dating to 1991 of 2.8 percent during the week ending July 26.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

For five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, rates averaged 2.77 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 2.75 percent last week but down from 3.13 percent a year ago. Rates on five-year ARM loans hit a low in records dating to 2005 of 2.74 percent during the week ending July 26.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Rates on one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.65 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from 2.7 percent last week and 2.89 percent a year ago. Rates on one-year ARMs hit an all-time low in records dating to 1984 of 2.68 percent during the week ending July 5.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

A separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed demand for purchase loans during the week ending Aug. 9 was down a seasonally adjusted 2 percent from the week before, and off 12 percent from the same time a year ago. Applications to refinance accounted for 81 percent of all mortgage loan applications.

The Department of Labor reported today that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 during the week ending Aug. 4, to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, suggesting that the increased job growth seen in July could be sustained into August,

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL- 08/09/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/09/2012

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Loan servicer GMAC Mortgage has launched a Web portal, HomeownerConnect.org, that allows struggling borrowers to apply for loan modifications and other foreclosure alternatives online.

The site is a joint effort with Hope LoanPort, a Web-based portal launched in 2010 by the HOPE NOW Alliance of loan servicers to streamline the collection of loan modification applications. Both Homeowner Connect and Hope LoanPort are powered by IndiSoft’s RxOffice, a Web-based tool that streamlines home retention applications from at-risk borrowers.

Homeowner Connect will help GMAC Mortgage fulfill its obligations under the national mortgage settlement reached earlier this year, in the wake of allegations that loan servicers engaged in so-called “robo-signing” practices.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

The $25 billion settlement mandates that each of the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers — Ally Financial Inc. (parent company of GMAC Mortgage), Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — set up an online portal linked to their primary servicing system, allowing borrowers to check the status of their loan modifications at no cost and improving communications with housing counselors.

Hope LoanPort is specifically mentioned in legal filings as a model for a “neutral, nationwide loan portal system” that could meet compliance requirements for the settlement. Hope LoanPort allows housing counselors to transmit completed foreclosure alternative applications to mortgage servicers online. More than 4,000 housing counselors in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., as well as more than 800 mortgage servicer users, have registered with Hope LoanPort.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

In addition to meeting these criteria, Homeowner Connect will provide borrowers with information about foreclosure alternatives available through both government and industry programs. GMAC Mortgage borrowers will also be able to apply for foreclosure alternatives online through the portal as well as track the status of their application and upload all required documents.   Hope LoanPort will also partner with MortgageKeeper Referral Services, an online database application that will help borrowers connect to more than 6,000 local, nonprofit and government agencies that provide assistance with employment, food, utilities and housing counseling, among other services, and may be able to put borrowers in a better position to qualify for a foreclosure alternative.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

GMAC Mortgage sponsored the development of Homeowner Connect and “will proactively notify its borrowers at risk of foreclosure about the availability of this option,” according to an announcement.

“GMAC Mortgage is committed to preserving homeownership whenever possible,” said Dana Dillard, senior vice president of GMAC Mortgage, in a statement. “In that spirit, we’re proud to support this initiative with Hope LoanPort to provide useful tools and education to borrowers.”Hope LoanPort said it is “actively working” with other mortgage servicers to participate in Homeowner Connect after the initial rollout to GMAC Mortgage borrowers.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL- 08/07/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/07/2012

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Few topics have sparked more debate among housing market watchers than mortgage principal reduction. Its proponents tout debt forgiveness as one of the surest ways to counteract the housing slump. Its critics label it a handout that would cost taxpayers and spur further defaults.

The arguments for and against are only going to get hotter. In 2010, principal reduction was included in just 11 percent of those mortgage modifications without government guarantees. But by the fourth quarter of 2011, the number had jumped to 40 percent, according to a report by mortgage research firm Amherst Securities Group. And it’s likely to rise still further: The “robo-signing” settlement reached in February requires the country’s five major mortgage servicers to perform at least $10 billion in write-downs, mostly on loans that they own, to atone for illegal foreclosures.

Now principal reduction is nipping at the heels of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Many consumer advocates and policymakers are calling for the twin mortgage guarantors to adopt the loss-mitigation tactic, but so far the mortgage giants’ conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has resisted.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

All forms of mortgage modification, not just principal reduction, carry some of the same risk, but critics say that principal reduction offers more of an incentive for a homeowner to strategically default. Calabria points out that principal reduction, unlike a break on an interest rate, offers a lasting reward in the form of increased home equity.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

And, he added, debt forgiveness also puts a homeowner closer to having a home value that exceeds his or her loan, which makes it much easier for a borrower to sell.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

The question of whether lenders should reduce principal on some distressed mortgages grows even more fraught in the case of write-downs performed under government-sponsored programs like the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Taxpayers fund HAMP, which subsidizes modifications on distressed mortgages. So when a lender performs a HAMP modification, taxpayers are footing some of the bill.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL- 08/06/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/06/2012

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Mortgage rates bounced off record lows this week as the Federal Reserve offered few clues as to whether it will unleash another round of asset purchases to stimulate the economy. Looking back a week, homeowners were rushing to refinance at levels not seen since 2009.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 3.55 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Aug. 2, up from 3.49 percent last week but down from 4.39 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in reporting the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Last week’s rate for 30-year fixed-rate loans was an all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971.

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.83 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 2.8 percent last week but down from 3.54 percent a year ago. Last week’s rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was a low in records dating to 1991.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Rates on five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.75 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from 2.74 percent last week but down from 3.18 percent a year ago. Last week’s rate for five-year ARMs was a low in records dating to 2005.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Wrapping up a two-day meeting yesterday, a Federal Reserve committee responsible for setting monetary policy gave little indication on whether the Fed will or will not launch a third round of quantitative easing, or “QE3.”

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Lower gasoline prices have curbed inflation, and the committee said it will closely monitor economic and financial developments, providing “additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.”

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/01/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 08/01/2012

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Home prices continued to see a spring bounce in May, but fell slightly compared to the same month a year ago, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released today.

After seven straight months of declines, home prices rose on a monthly basis in April and continued to rise in May with all 20 major markets tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index seeing increases between April and May. Overall, the index rose 2.2 percent month to month in May, but fell 0.7 percent from May 2011.

Eight of the 20 markets experienced year-over-year price declines, though 17 of the 20 saw their rates of return improve, making these annual changes “the best we’ve seen in at least 18 months,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Nonetheless, these figures are not seasonally adjusted, and Blitzer cautioned that despite the improvements, “we need to remember that spring and early summer are seasonally strong buying months so this trend must continue throughout the summer and into the fall.” On a seasonally adjusted basis, the index still rose month to month in May, but at a slower rate, 0.9 percent.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Both sets of numbers have their problems, according to Bill McBride of the blog Calculated Risk, but “however we look at the numbers, it appears house prices increased in May from April, and that the year-over-year change will probably turn positive in the June or July report.”

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Blitzer noted that data for existing-home sales, new-home sales, housing starts and mortgage default rates were all better than their year-ago levels in June.  “The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait-and-see mode for the next few months.”

On average, home prices in the 20 markets in May had fallen to their spring 2003 levels, down about 33 percent from their peak in June and July 2006.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/31/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/31/2012

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he likes the design of a plan proposed by an Oregon senator to establish a temporary government-backed trust that would allow about 8 million underwater borrowers to refinance at a lower interest rate at no cost to taxpayers.

The plan, proposed by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., would be available to borrowers current on their payments who meet basic underwriting criteria — regardless of whether their mortgages are currently guaranteed by the federal government.

The plan is designed to either lower monthly payments for underwater borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth or allow them to regain equity at a faster pace. The plan calls for establishing a Rebuilding American Homeownership Trust through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Federal Home Loan Banks, or the Federal Reserve.

The trust would buy mortgages that meet the plan’s standards from private lenders with revenue from government bonds sold to investors. The program is expected to turn a profit for the U.S. Treasury over its lifetime due to a roughly 2 percent interest spread between the borrowing costs on the bonds and the interest charged to homeowners, according to the proposal.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

Borrowers would have three years to refinance into one of three options:

•a 15-year mortgage with a 4 percent interest rate, which would allow borrowers to rebuild equity at a faster rate;

•a 30-year mortgage with a 5 percent interest rate, which would lower a borrower’s monthly payments; or

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

•a two-part mortgage with a first mortgage worth 95 percent of the home’s value and a “soft” second mortgage for the balance. The second mortgage would not accrue interest or require payments for five years, thereby lowering a borrower’s monthly payments.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

While rising home prices helped more than 700,000 homeowners regain equity in their homes during first quarter, 11.4 million borrowers still owed more on their mortgage than their homes were worth, according to data aggregator CoreLogic. Because negative equity prevents homeowners from selling their homes, the available inventory of for-sale homes has seen double-digit declines this spring.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL- 07/26/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/26/2012

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ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

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Housing starts jumped 6.9 percent from May to June to the fastest pace in nearly four years, according to the latest numbers from the Census Bureau. At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units per year, housing starts were up 23.6 percent from the same time a year ago, reaching the highest level since October 2008.

Single-family housing starts were up 4.7 percent from May to June, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 homes per year, a 21.7 percent increase from a year ago and the highest level since April 2010. The jump coincides with a jolt in homebuilder confidence.

With a six-point jump of the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index in July, the index reached its highest point (36) since March 2007, the largest one-month jump in a decade, according to NAHB.

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Housing starts have been rising on an annual basis since September 2011, and in June were 59 percent above their April 2009 trough of 478,000 homes per year. Single-family home starts were up 53 percent from their March, 2009 bottom of 353,000 per year.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

As was the case in May, the West and South saw the biggest gains. The West saw the biggest year-over-year rise in overall housing starts in June — 63.4 percent  — followed by the South (26.9) and Northeast (11.6 percent). The Midwest saw housing starts fall 19.8 percent from a year ago, due to a decline in multifamily construction.

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL

For single-family housing starts, the Northeast saw the biggest annual gains (42.1 percent), followed by the West  (33.7 percent), South (18.7 percent), and Midwest (8.3 percent).

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/16/2012

ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN MOBILE AL – 07/16/2012

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Rising home prices helped more than 700,000 homeowners regain equity in their homes during first quarter, but 11.4 million borrowers still owed more on their mortgage than their homes were worth, according to the latest report from data aggregator CoreLogic.

The number of U.S homeowners with negative equity declined by 6 percent in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter, leaving 23.7 percent of all homes with mortgages underwater. That’s down from 25.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

When the 2.3 million borrowers with less than 5 percent equity, which CoreLogic calls “near-negative equity,” are included, 28.5 percent of mortgaged homes were either underwater or nearly underwater in the first quarter, down from 30.1 percent.

All told, negative equity nationwide totaled $691 billion in the first quarter, down from $742 billion the previous quarter. The decrease was largely due to home-price increases, CoreLogic said.

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“This is a meaningful improvement that is driven by quickly improving outlooks in some of the hardest-hit markets. While the overall stagnating economic recovery will likely slow housing market recovery in the second half of this year, reducing the number of underwater households is an important step toward reducing future mortgage default risk.”

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Some 1.9 million borrowers were only 5 percent upside down in the first quarter, meaning further price appreciation could move them into positive territory. Negative equity is concentrated at the low end of the market, CoreLogic said. Among homes under $200,000, 31 percent were upside down, compared with 15.9 percent among homes worth more than $200,000.

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The majority of the underwater homeowners — 6.9 million — had only a first mortgage with no home equity loans, and owed an average of $212,000 on their mortgages with negative equity averaging $47,000.