Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thinking of Buying A Foreclosure Home In Southern Oregon?

Here in Southern Oregon, in the traditional peak buying season we’re seeing quite a bit of activity in the lower price ranges of the real estate market. Even Ashland, where prices are at the higher end of the scale for the Rogue Valley, sales are picking up. In Medford, White City, Central Point, Eagle Point the under $200,000 price ranges are seeing a flurry of activity, especially heavy in the lower price ranges where both first time home buyers looking to take advantage of the $8000 tax credit before it sunsets December 1, 2009 AND investors who are seeing price ranges that will cash flow and meet their investment goals are competing against each other. The inventory of available homes is shrinking consistently now, with the Mar-May 2009 number of homes on the market 27% less than the same period in 2008. Foreclosure sales are still representing a large percentage of these sales, and this market segment is likely to pick up a bit more when the State once again releases the funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, probably sometime toward mid to end of July.

So, how does the “average buyer” buy a foreclosure home? Typically, you won’t find the average buyer on the courthouse steps trying to pick up a bargain through the Trustee’s Sale. This is where you will find the sophisticated, experienced investors who know the risks associated with purchasing foreclosed homes in this manner. The average buyer is working with their savvy, experienced Realtor, who has explained the many risks associated with these “as is” purchases where the bank who owns the property has no idea of how the property was treated by previous occupants. Their Realtor is advising their buyers how to limit risk and protect themselves through home inspections and other more specific types of inspections specific to a property, such as septic system and well/ water flow/quality inspections and certifications. And, their Realtor is watching for these properties to come on the market – knowing even before they are on the Multiple Listing Service that they are coming down the pipe, letting their buyers position themselves to pounce as they come on the market.

Sound intimidating? With the right professionals on your team, it doesn’t need to be. Southern Oregon Buyers are finding amazing deals this way. They are choosing their own Realtor to look out for their best interests vs. the bank’s representatives who are looking out for the banks. Here are some financing tools that may help you if you choose to buy a foreclosure/bank-owned home:

Home Path – Fannie Mae’s specific program for buyers purchasing a home that Fannie Mae owns. A “standard program”, or a “renovation program” for homes in need of some work. Fannie Mae works with local Realtors and Lenders on the sale of their homes so you may work with your chosen professionals. Here are the general highlights:
  • Low down payment and flexible mortgage terms (fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, or interest-only)You may qualify even if your credit is less than perfect
  • Available to both owner occupiers and investors
  • Down payment (at least 3 percent) can be funded by your own savings; a gift; a grant; or a loan from a nonprofit organization, state or local government, or employer
  • No mortgage insurance
  • No appraisal fees
  • HomePath Renovation Mortgage Financing to fund both your purchase and light renovation
HUD Homes – These homes went back to HUD after an FHA loan was foreclosed upon. This foreclosure process is a slow one, so we haven’t seen many of these on the market in our area, but we do see a handful of them in our area. With only $100 down payment required, plus other buyer incentives, buyers may find they are paying as much as they are paying for rent, but own their own home.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program – This federal program that was devised as part of the stimulus packages approved in late 2008 has had a slow start getting to market so buyers may use it. Eligible Buyers purchasing foreclosed homes in the eligible areas that have seen a high concentration of foreclosures may get up to $50,000 to be used for matching down payment, closing costs, prepaid expenses, eligible repairs and mortgage reduction. A recent change in June has led to further investigations by the State of Oregon who administers the program. This process will hopefully be complete and the program re-released for eligible buyers purchasing foreclosure homes

USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing – This program is not specific to foreclosure properties as are those programs listed above, but it does have a unique feature that allows for a “holdback” of up to $10,000 for repairs to be made after close of escrow that may be financed. Buyers meeting the income/property eligibility requirements of this program end up with a great government loan with no down payment and no mortgage insurance required.

Some of these programs have income limits, some have population/area limits, so feel free to check with me to see what is available to you based on your individual circumstances.

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant – www.Quality4Loans.com

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who Is Krista Bolf, Principal Broker at Coldwell Banker Prowest in Ashland?

Although Krista Bolf, principal broker at Coldwell Banker ProWest in Ashland Oregon has an impressive list of credentials that go with her, it is the person behind the resume that impresses me the most.

Having had the pleasure of working on several transactions with Krista since we first met while working together on a Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity and Ashland Community Land Trust project in 2006 and taught the HUD approved “ABC’s of Homebuying” at Rogue Community College, I’ve since seen Krista’s clients benefit from her sharp negotiating skills, solid knowledge base about the Rogue Valley properties and issues, and her extraordinary listening abilities. I do not hesitate to refer home buyers who are in need of good representation on their home purchase, be it their first home, move up home or an investment purchase, knowing they are in good hands. Together Krista and her business partner Rick Harris can – and have – handled these transactions smoothly and professionally every time.

Personally, Krista has consulted with me and my husband on multiple transactions, from our house to a rental home to general market information on commercial property decisions we have contemplated. Even when the information provided led to us holding off on listing our property due to market conditions, Krista has earned our respect and confidence with her professionalism, straightforwardness and follow through. And her dry wit can be very much appreciated in the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves working in with today’s real estate/mortgage industry.

Alright, alright…enjoy the list of Krista’s accomplishments. But, you’ll need to meet her in person to wholly appreciate the Krista Bolf I have come to know.

Licensed Realtor in Oregon since 1994

Licensed in California 1990 to 1994

REALTOR Membership Service

- Oregon Association of Realtors, 2009 President Elect

- Executive Committee 2006-2007

- Business Issues KOG Chair 2006

- Business Issues KOG 2004-2007

Rogue Valley Association of Realtors
- Realtor of the Year 2009
- Realtor Image Award 2006

- Oregon Association of Realtors Director 2007

- Affiliates Committee 2002-2003 Ashland Board of Realtors

- Secretary 1995 – 1997 REALTOR Designations Advanced Training

- ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative Specialized Buyer Agency training

- CRS - Certified Residential Specialist Less than 5% of Realtors nationwide achieve this specialized training


- Trainer 1999 - 2006

- HUD approved “ABC’s of Homebuying” Instructor

Other Affiliations

- Ashland Community Land Trust President 2002,2003, 2005,2006

- Women's Council of Realtors

International Real Estate

- International Corporation de Inversiones

- Real estate sales and construction in Mexico

- AMPI-Association of Real Estate Professionals

- TRC–Transnational Referral Certified Agent

- Subscriber Member of WorldProperties.com

See you out there!
Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant – www.Quality4Loans.com

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ready...Set...WAIT! No, DON'T Wait!

Have you ever played "On your mark...Get Set....Wait!" with your kids? Or, "Red Light, Green Light"? I know my husband and I have done this, and are learning as time goes by that this isn't a bad lesson for our kids to get in the world we live in today. I'm thinking I wish someone had played "ready set wait!" with me a bit more when I was a kid, so I might be a bit more tolerant of the world I live in today - especially when it comes to the real estate/mortgage industry!

Monetizing the $8,000 tax credit
HUD Secretary Donovan opened mouth and insert foot at the National Association of Realtors convention in Washington, D.C., announcing a wee bit early that the guidelines had been changed so that eligible FHA home buyers could have their participating lenders "monetize" tax credit funds they are eligible for so that these buyers may use these funds to meet the minimum 3.5% down payment requirements on FHA home loans. I'm glad Secretary Donovan did this, because although this announcement and its associated Mortgage Letter were retracted until the fine nuances were ironed out, Friday May 29th a new letter was issued. So, eligible first time home buyers, call your lenders and see if they are participating with this program to make the funds available to you.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program
Well, finally, the waiting is coming to an end for some of these programs to be up and running for today's eligible Oregon home buyers to take advantage of. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is just awaiting its final stamp of approval which should be coming through any day now. One segment of this program will be made available to home buyers who are looking to purchase bank-owned or privately financed properties that have been taken back through foreclosure proceeds. Matching down payment funds, closing costs and reasonable/eligible repair costs may be funded through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds - up to $50,000 per home!

Yes, you heard that right...GO! The Neighborhood Stabilization Program for Oregon is about ready to accept reservations. If you are a buyer who has gotten all your ducks in a row and are prepared to jump on this opportunity, DO IT NOW! Not many lenders and realtors have familiarized themselves with these program requirements, so you may be a bit frustrated when calling around about it. If you are looking to buy in Southern Oregon, call me and I can help you with your financing, and recommend you to Realtors who are knowledgeable about the program guidelines. Why the sense of urgency you may ask? Very limited funding allocation is available, and it's first come, first served, so the early birds will be catching this particular worm. I've been on the phone with all my eligible buyers and Realtor referral partners spreading the word, and would love to play a part in the successful outcome of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which is to help eligible home buyers while getting foreclosed homes off the market.
Oregon is trying to get the $8000 "monetized" for non-FHA or non-participating lender programs by June 30, 2009, so get ready now!

See you at the closing table!
Karen Cooper - OR/CA Mortgage Consultant -