Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today- a vote to allow Judges to do Principle reduction on primary home loans!

Loan Modifications with PRINCIPLE REDUCTION does not happen hardly at all. It should, and it makes sense. This is a good call to action, and I would support this bill. Please spread the word if you can

Via Mark Archer (REC Real Estate Consulting Services LLC):


In the next 2-3 years, it is estimated that there will be an additional 14 million foreclosures in this country. That will make the total roughly 20 million homes lost in this catastrophic recession.But it won't stop there. Foreclosures breed foreclosures. And 20 million foreclosures just means that millions more homeowners will find themselves seriously underwater... owing quite a bit more than their house is worth... and they'll walk away... just like 18% are doing now.
And that will mean even more foreclosures after that. And that will mean everyone's property values continue to fall, which will bring even more foreclosures.

Both President Bush and President Obama have tried to put plans in place to stop the flood of foreclosures... BOTH HAVE FAILED. Why? Isn't it obvious?The banks cannot be trusted to act in anyone's interest but their own. The government has given them hundreds of billions of dollars, after they bankrupted themselves. And yet, they act as if it's business as usual.This year alone, the major banks in this country are paying out $91 BILLION in BONUSES to their executives!

The only answer is to allow judges to modify mortgages for homeowners in bankruptcy court. Here are a few facts that will show you why this is so important:

1. President Obama's Making Home Affordable program was designed to work with "a carrot and a stick". The "carrot" is the money banks receive when they modify a loan, and the "stick" was supposed to be allowing judges to modify the loans. Without the "stick," the plan cannot work.

2. Banks don't modify their behavior for the same reason I wouldn't modify my driving habits if there weren't Highway Patrol officers out there to give me a ticket or take me to jail if I drive 100 miles per hour. No stick.

3. Allowing judges to modify mortgages in bankruptcy court WILL NOT increase borrowing costs in the future, which is what the banking lobby is saying and wants you to believe. The amendment only allows judges to modify mortgages that are already in existence when the bill is signed. It will have NO EFFECT on borrowing in the future whatsoever. NONE.

4. If we allow judges to modify mortgages on primary residences, chances are they'll never get the chance... because the banks will modify them... like they're supposed to.

5. Judges can already modify every other type of loan in bankruptcy court, just not mortgages on primary residences. Allowing them to do so will help stop the foreclosure crisis that is hurting every homeowner in America... AND IT WON'T COST THE TAXPAYERS A DIME!

Our economy cannot begin to recover until we stabilize the housing market. We've tried letting the banks decide... and look where we are today.The only people opposed to this amendment are the bankers and financial service companies. We can't turn our country over to them, can we?

Click the button below NOW, 24/7. There is literally NO TIME TO SPARE... You don't even need to know your representative's name. All you need to know is your own name, address, phone and zip code. The letter is already written for you. Just enter your information and click the button to send. It's that simple and takes less than a minute.


EMERGENCY!! PLEASE TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW... SAVE BANKRUPTCY REFORM! Posted: 10 Dec 2009 01:45 PM PSTJUST MINUTES AGO...House Rules Committee agreed to allow the bankruptcy modification amendment THAT WOULD ALLOW JUDGES TO MODIFY MORTGAGES to be considered on the House floor as an amendment to the broader financial services reform bill AS EARLY AS THIS AFTERNOON!!THIS AMENDMENT IS BEING FIERCELY OPPOSED by the BANKS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES communities and we NEED to get people CALLING in IMMEDIATELY. PLEASE TAKE TIME NOW TO contact your friends, family and business associates... stop whatever your staff is doing to give them time to call in. Put it on your Facebook pages, on your LinkedIn pages, Twitter it... re-tweet it! PLEASE DO IT RIGHT NOW!IT'S SUPER EASY TO DO:Phone toll free at: 877.354.4958Put in your zip codeWhen you reach the receptionist:State your nameSay that you are a constituentAsk the Representative to vote FOR the Conyers-Turner-Lofgren amendment (#201) to the Financial Services Reform bill.This amendment will cost taxpayers NOTHING and will save millions of homes from foreclosure. IT MUST BE CONSIDERED... IF THE LINE IS CLOSED, BECAUSE CLOSES AT 6:00 PM...Email your Senators (24/7) using the link below, which will lead you to a sample email that you can edit and personalize. YOU DON'T EVEN NEED TO KNOW YOUR REP'S NAME... CLICK AND GO!Email Your Congressional Representative Now

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

If you were thinking of buying a car, you might want to hurry! Unknown tax credit ends at the end of 2009!

Taxpayers who buy a new car or several other types of motor vehicles this year may be entitled to a special tax deduction when they file their 2009 federal tax returns next year. The tax break is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Thanks to our local news station for helping to get the word out ABC Action 7 news here in Sarasota.

And you don't even have to bring in a clunker either. It would be nice if this credit did not have such a quick expiration.

I had just found out that as part of the latest stimulus package, you may be able to deduct the taxes paid on a new vehicle purchase through the end of the year. I had to share this because I think that if you were considering buying a car you might want to get it done before it expires at the end of the year. Check out this IRS web site for full details.

Also, this applies to not just cars. RV's, trucks, motorcycles, are also included up to 49,500.

Maybe somebody will get that car under the tree. I am surprised that the car companies are not promoting this more with all their ads that encourage cars as the "perfect" gift for the holidays.

Here was some key points to the deduction

  1. State and local sales taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of qualifying vehicles are deductible.
  2. Qualified motor vehicles generally include new (not used) cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles.
  3. Purchases must occur after Feb. 16, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010.
  4. This deduction can be taken regardless of whether or not you itemize other deductions on your tax return.
  5. Taxpayers will claim this deduction when filing their 2009 federal income tax return next year.
  6. The amount of the deduction is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is between $125,000 and $135,000 for individual filers and between $250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers.
  7. The deduction may not be taken on 2008 tax returns

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

where are all the bank owned homes in Manatee County?

It was front page news that the number of foreclosures filings here in Manatee County has had 5687 foreclosure filings to date this year, which is an increase from last year. This is a lot of homes and as an active agent it made me wonder where are all the bank owned inventory?
There are 4696 total active residential listings as of this evening (11/22/09). 474 "normal" are pending
There are 149 active bank owned homes 123 pending
There are 920 short sales active there are 940 pending
The Statistics show two big things.
The action is happening on bank owned, and short sale homes. You can clearly see that there is almost the same amount of pending listing vs. active in the short sale/bank owned categories. The conventional sellers have only about 10 to 1 that are pending.
If there are almost 6000 homes that have entered foreclosure WHY is there less than 300 active and pending bank owned properties
Factor in that there are foreclosure filings from prior years that have not been completed. Many foreclosures I am aware had a foreclosure filing well over a year ago and have not gone to auction.
Also, some of foreclosure filings that are also homes that are currently listed as short sales.
Some of the foreclosure filings can also be filed from second position lien holder,s and homeowner associations that have a low probability of actually forcing a sale. These type of filings maybe inflating the numbers somewhat.
So there are under 2000 homes short sale homes, active and under contract. This means that there are around 4000 homeowners that are either attempting a loan modification, or have given up on either a short sale, or some type of work out solution.
I would estimate that if there are 2000 homeowners short selling, than there is at least that many attempting or considering a loan modification.
Activity in Manatee County has significantly increased in the past few months. Prices have continued to drop except in the 200,000 and under market where prices have leveled. Multiple offers are much more common for bank owned homes.
Why is there only 5% of the total inventory bank owned when there is more homes in foreclosure than all active and pending sales on our local MLS?
Two reasons
1. The slow pace of foreclosures is due to the flood of files, and the increasing willingness for lenders to agree to short sales, and loan modifications.
2, Anyone that has a bunch of inventory to sell realizes that if they flood the market it will drive down prices.
I am hopeful that the lien holders will come to realize it is better to keep homeowners that want to stay in their home if at all possible. Less inventory will create price stability.
The question remains when will all those foreclosures will come on the market? I guess it is really in the lien holder's hands.

whether you are buying or selling I am here to help. Serving Sarasota and Manatee Counties for the past 8 years with skill, knowledge, and care. Expert in short sales. If you have questions I have anwers.
Joe Murphy 941-780-3260

Hope for short sales and loan modifications- new guidlines this week!

Finally! Home owners, Realtors, Lenders, and home buyers are all going to benefit from these new guidlines. The faster and easier the process becomes the closer offers will come to being fair market value.

This will lead to reduced inventories, and market stabilization. The Treasury department created a 46 page guide for major lenders to follow with regards to short sales, deed in lieu, and loan modifications. The frustrating process was in need of standardization, and streamlining.

Short sales that are dragged out for months and months. Homes that sell as short sales tend to go pending with prices that are below market value since the buyer(s) brace themselves for the long drawn out process with no guarantee that their offer will be accepted.
These guidelines go into effect in April of 2010. Hopefully, most lenders will become early adopters of the new guidelines.

One major point of the guidelines is that the lender has to offer a plan to help the borrower with a loan modification ahead of entertaining a short sale, or deed-in-lieu.

This is a great requirement, since I see many people that would rather keep their current home, but are having a tough time making the payments, or they are so far "underwater" that they question the rational of paying on a mortgage that is much higher than the actual value.

I think that one aspect that was missing was creating an incentive for the lend ers to "cram-down", or reduce the principle balance to the actual value of the home. Many borrowers would work to keep their homes if they had equity, or at least didn't have negative equity.

Some of the major points that relate to short sales.

1. Lenders must respond to Short Sale requests within 10 business days of receipt of the offer package.
2. The seller will be released from all liability for repayment of the mortgage debt.
Subsequently, the seller is entitled to a relocation incentive of $1,500, which will be deducted from the gross sale proceeds at closing.
3. The lender will be paid $1,000 to cover administrative and processing costs for a Short Sale or a deed-in-lieu.
4. The property must be listed with a licensed real estate professional who does regular business in the community where the property is located.
5. The lender is prohibited from requiring, as a condition of approving the Short Sale, a reduction in the agreed-upon real estate commission.
6. The investor will be paid a maximum of $1,000 for allowing a total of up to $3,000 in Short Sale proceeds to be distributed to subordinate lien holders, or for allowing payment of up to $3,000 to subordinate lien holders.
LINK to Home ownership retention guide

If you are looking for help with a short sale or loan modification for a home located in Manatee or Sarasota Counties I would be happy to help you understand your options. I have helped dozens of homeowners either sell or assist to modify their home loans. I can help you too with no cost. For all your real estate needs I am ready to go to work for you!
Joe Murphy 941-780-3260

Friday, November 20, 2009

Are new home sales pulling market values down?

I have been working with a buyer this week, and after seeing all the resale inventory including short sales, and foreclosures they decided on a new build. What is amazing to me is that the deal they got with the local builder is BETTER than any of the comparable resales in that area.
A resale home that was essentially the same home as they purchased was an option, BUT it was 45,000 dollars more, and a SHORT SALE too. The new construction will take 8 months to close, but a short sale can take 90-180 days to close. Plus the new home has all the features and upgrades that they want.

This perplexed the buyers. The new home Should be More, but in a falling market, I explained, that Bank owned, and new builds pull the market down, since they HAVE to Sell.

A builder is not a builder if he is not building, so, he has to stay competitive in the market. Whether they are making 1% or 20% they have to continue to build or they have to close their doors, and find new work.

Bank owned properties have owners that want to get rid of them asap.

Short sales, and "regular" sales have a major disadvantage since they have to follow the market and are constrained to appraisal issues.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Obama signs home tax credit extension.

It's finally really here. Of course, this is a little old news, as people have been saying that the tax credit was approved fro the past week. Nothing is in stone until the President signs the bill into law.
It would have been nice if this could be extended to ALL home buyers. This would cause the investors back in the market in droves, and snapping up all the investment homes. Could you imagine buying a rental home for 50,000 and getting back 8,000 of your taxes?
Kind of like when everyone was driving HUMMERS because they could write off the full cost of the vehicle in the first year. I am happy with this extension because personally I have four contracts pending with First time home buyers that were probably not going to close by the deadline. It would have been ugly for all those that were counting on the credit if they couldn't get it.

Here are the highlights
  • The stimulus bill will extend the 8,000 dollar tax credit to First time home buyers from the current deadline of November 30. until May 1, 2010. If you are under contract by

  • April 30, then you will qualify as long as you close by July 1, 2010.
  • "MOVE UP" buyers can now qualify for up to a 6,500 dollar tax credit if they are buying a primary home, and have lived in their current home for at least 5 years. (This is really great, although it would be better if it was for all home-buyers regardless of purpose)
  • All U.S citizens that file taxes are eligible
  • The tax credit has no pay back provisions so that you don't pay anything back over time, and if your taxes are less than the credit you will get a refund back.

Here is the FINE PRINT
  • Home-buyers who file as single or head-of-household taxpayers can claim the full credit ($8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for repeat buyers) if their modified adjusted gross income is less than $125,000.
  • For married couples filing a joint return, the combined income limit is $225,000.
    Single or head-of-household taxpayers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000, and married couples who earn between $225,000 and $245,000 are eligible to receive a partial credit.
  • The credit is not available for single taxpayers whose income is greater than $145,000 and married couples with an income that exceeds $245,000.
  • The maximum price of the home can not exceed 800,000. Bummer..

    When you need a great Realtor in Manatee County please give me a call. I am ready to help.
    Short sale expert, REO-Bank owned, and investment properties

    Joe Murphy
    Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

Thursday, November 05, 2009

wells fargo short sale approved in 30 days! Sign of things to come?

This was a great day! I just had a short sale come back approved in less than 30 days pending!
I love Wells Fargo. I listed the home preparing the seller for a long painful process that would take 6 months to a year to complete. I advised her to call her lender to let them know she wanted to do a short sale.
The NEXT day, I get a call from the assigned negotiator. That same day, I get a call from the BPO agent! THIS WAS BEFORE I EVER HAD AN OFFER!
Within two weeks I get the unit under contract with a realistic buyer with a 90 day approval deadline.
The seller provids all required documents, and we sent in the contract.

(light at the end of the tunnel, and this was a short tunnel)

I get a call from the negotiator the next week with some questions, and some required changes for the HUD. No big deal.

Then, today, I get the call that the deal is approved, and the WRITTEN approval is on its way.
The only down side is that the deal has to close THIS MONTH. Wow, I called the buyer's agent who was in disbelief. They were expecting a close next year, and hopeful that we would get a response in 90 days.

This is how all short sales should go. Kudos to the Short sale dept at WELLS FARGO.
I hope this is a sign of things to come for 2010!

If you need help with selling a short sale in Manatee County Call me today.
Free advice, and no cost short sale assistance.
Helping buyers and sellers in Manatee county for the past 7 years.
Joe Murphy 941-780-3260
Your Realtor for Life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Foreclosure defense- how does an attorney beat a foreclosure suit?

I found this interesting document through searching for info on foreclosure defense, and loan modifications. With the rise in mortgage defaults attorneys that specialize in foreclosure defense have plenty of work
Most people that I meet with are interested in first a "principle reduction loan modification". They are having a tough time keeping up with the mortgage because of lower income, interest rate resets, or they just realize that they are severely upside down in their home. I do not see many instances where the homeowner has been successful in reducing the mortgage balance.
It makes common sense that the current home owner is really the best person to own the home most of the time. I am only there because they were denied a reasonable loan modification, or they really need to move. That''s when the foreclosure defense attorney can potentially help.
In working short sales I have seen there effect is mostly stalling a foreclosure sale and responding to homeowners being served foreclosure papers.
This guide gives examples of cases where Judges have actually reduced or wiped out mortgages on defendants properties! ( which is really what everyone really wants!)
Anyway, this makes for an interesting read into the world of foreclosure defense, and I thought I would post it as a resourse for consumers to get educated, and other agents to gain knowledge. It is written by an attorney for other attorneys so be prepared.
Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sales in Manatee County are up 16%. 5 Reasons why.

In September there were 433 homes that were closed compared with August's 361 here in Manatee County, FL.

That is an INCREASE of 16.2% from the prior month!

This is noteworthy because this is supposed to be the SLOW season. No vacationers, no snowbirds, kids are in school, Holidays coming, etc.

I listed 4 new listings in September and all 4 had offers with the month. All but one went pending, but that last one is still in negotiations.

Three offers written in the past month have been in multiple offer situations. It seems that the buyers are realizing that we have hit the "bottom".

You do not need to be an economist to see that the supply of inventory here is going down, and also that sales, contracts are increasing. Except for January and February of this year, there has not been less than 500 homes go pending in a month. Last year the highest month was under 350 units.


  1. Home owners who can afford their homes and do not need to move are not on the market.

  2. Banks REO departments are bringing the REO homes on the market at barely a trickle.

  3. The "pent-up demand" from three years of a "bad" FALLING MARKET, has hit a breaking point. At some point those that need to buy, will feel that they can't wait anymore.

  4. KILLER DEALS are here. I have sold two homes in the past three weeks that are 50%-25% of their 2005 Prices!

  5. Resale homes are priced well below replacement cost. One home that I put under contract for 525,000 had to have almost 700,000 for home owner' coverage. The buyer complained for a minute, but quickly realized this is a very, very GOOD thing.

When you are ready to buy or sell- Think of us!

Joe and Molly Murphy

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

3 things first time buyers should know to get the 8,000 tax credit

The first time home buyer tax credit will expire on November 30. With Thanksgiving that week it might as well be a week earlier. Typical F.T.H.B. are getting financing through FHA, VA, or USDA. These type of loans will usually take 45 days to close, if there is no major issues with the borrower. So we have a month to find a home, go to contract, and close it to get the cash for the buyer. Here in Manatee county First time home buyers, and their agents are scrambling. I get a few calls a day from buyer agents asking if one of my listings would be able to close in time for the deadline.

My advice for a first time home buyer?

1. Avoid short sales, unless they are "pre-approved"- Short sales can take months to close. You do not have time for that, and betting that you found the "one" short sale that will close in time is a risky bet now. Focus on foreclosures, and regular motivated sellers ( yes, they do exist!).

2. Get your financing in order as much as possible, as early as possible.- If the deal does not close due to financing issues, or worse, is delayed for financing issues. You will be the one losing the benefit of the tax credit. Make sure you have a reputable lender, be realistic with the time frame, and be proactive to make sure they have everything needed to close the deal.

3. START SHOPPING RIGHT NOW! - Did I mention you have about a month to find, and get into contract with your next home? Also, you are not alone. There are plenty of buyers out there trying to do the same thing. The good deals are going FAST.. I wrote an offer for 5k over list price, pre-qualified buyer, quick close, etc. We were beat out. The home had gone into a bidding war. My buyer was maxed out with what he could afford, but we made the offer within 24 hours of the home getting listed.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

short sales: 7 words of wisdom

I have now have closed a lot of short sales; these are my words of wisdom for buyers, and sellers who are considering a short sale.
Short sales can be a great deal typically selling for 10-20% below current market value. But, they have a tendency to frustrate buyer, and sellers in the process. Patience, involvement and realistic goals are helpful to get a short sale closed. Either everyone wins, or everyone loses. The buyer gets a great home, for a fair price. The seller gets rid of a home that is under water, and can potentially wipe out a huge debt while avoiding a dreaded foreclosure. The market benefits because a short sale keeps one less home from becoming a foreclosure, or derelict. If you need help with either buying or selling a short sale I am here to help.

1. There is nothing "short" about a short sale.. Only your patience.

I have closed a short sale in a record 4 weeks. The buyer went to contract the day the home listed. The seller was experienced real estate assistant, who was very involved with dealing with the bank. The bank was the "servicer" and the "investor". Servicer is the bank that payments are made to, and act as an intermediary to the investor who owns the note. In this case, they were one and the same. The home was in excellent condition. The buyers really wanted this particular home. Basically everything went perfect in this deal. Still, the buyers were anxious and considered canceling the contract because it was "taking so long".

2. Most transactions take a few months to get an approval, or counter offer.

It can still take a few more weeks for the " investor" to give written approval. I have experienced negotiators for lenders that will counter, negotiate, and verbally approve a deal, before any acceptance from the investor is given. Certain lenders take longer than others to get assigned a negotiator. This is really the major hurdle to get to an approval. Getting someone at the lender to talk with about a specific deal.

3. Inspections should be done shortly after going to contract, not "LENDER ACCEPTANCE"

It is very common to sell a short sale home two, three, even four or more times before a buyer sticks to the deal. Most short sale offers are written very loosely with many outs for the buyer. MLS rules dictate that homes "under contract", even short sales have to be put pending. Many times when many hours of work have been invested to get a short sale approved by the lender, the deal dies because the buyer is dissatisfied with the home inspection report. These sales are most often "AS-IS, with right to inspect". The problem is that this is usually tied to the effective date of the contract which is the day the lender gives written approval of the short sale. Short sales are often poorly maintained, and neglected. Utilities are often disconnected, pools are green, lawns are overgrown and full of weeds. You get the idea.

My suggestion for my buyers and sellers is that the major home inspection done within 10 days of going pending. If there are major issues, the buyer can adjust their offer accordingly to account for unknown defects. Also, with a written report the defects in the home can be submitted to the lender to further encourage them to accept the offer. This will also serve to vest the buyer in the home, since an inspection can cost 200-700 dollars. Of course I would always recommend a walk through inspection, or home re-inspection close to the close date to account for any further defects, vandalism, or theft to the property.

4. Realistic list prices and reasonable offers

Some times a buyer will call me with news of a home that seems to good to be true. Most often, they are. A listing agent can under price a home so dramatically that it can bid up the price. In my experience short sale homes will sell for 10-20% under the appraised value. So, if the home would be priced at 300,000 under normal circumstances, the same home as a short sale should sell for at least 240,000 and up. Short sales are not fire sales, they have to make sense to the lender and the buyer. Of course, condition and specific market conditions apply, but for a home in reasonable condition this works. All buyers are looking for a great deal, but that does not mean the bank is going to be willing to take a loss without considering the alternative of foreclosure and resale.
To be able to "steal" a home, it would be better to first look to foreclosures, and motivated, regular sellers. A property owned by the bank (REO) has to sell. The price will be lowered until someone buys it. Also, motivated regular sellers, that can afford to sell in this market, and "NEED" to sell are sometimes willing to make a deal just to be able to move on. Short sale buyers need to be patient, and realistic with the price they are willing to pay. This means if it is worth 250,000, don't bother with the 50,000 offer.

5. Sellers need to be PROACTIVE in the closing process.

My job as the Realtor is to expose the property to the buying audience. Make the property available to potential buyers, and agents representing buyers. And negotiate a successful CLOSED transaction. I can help the willing, but if someone is drowning in quicksand, I can extend the stick, but I can't jump in to save you. A home seller has to take the process very seriously. One of the most important indicators of a short sale's success is the Sellers tenacity to follow up with the lender(s), maintain the home, organize and prepare the required documents. Of course, My team, and the seller's negotiator are going to be calling and pushing to make the deal go, and keep the buyer updated, but the ones that go quick always have a very involved seller.

6. Hire a GOOD negotiator to assist with the lender negotiations

Short sale Sellers often are having money issues, but acquiring assistance is critical to the success of a short sale. This does not have to cost a fortune either. Options include title companies, that can charge as low as a few hundred dollars, to attorneys that can charge a few hundred an hour. Some firms charge a flat rate to take on a short sale negotiation. The added help is really needed due to the tedious process of following up with lien holders. If you are a buyer and the seller does not have a skilled negotiator involved, be wary. I have closed many deals without outside help, but the cost is greatly outweighed by the benefits for the seller. I have many options for seller to consider.

If you need help getting your home sold, avoiding foreclosure, or just would like a professional consulation to way options, please call anytime. Joe Murphy, Broker-Associate 941-780-3260

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate