Awhile back, I was contacted by clients who were having trouble with their mortgage payment. They were current but the inevitable was going to happen as they kept scrimping and saving to pay their bill every month. Very soon, they felt they would soon fall behind so they called upon me to meet with them and list their home as a short sale.
As I sat at their dining room table, I explained the entire process and went over every detail so they would be fully prepared for the short sale process. Then they provided me with all the paperwork I had requested in our short telephone interview and I was surprised to see something I didn't expect. Their payoff was less than they thought. In fact, after further review and running the numbers right then, it appeared that they were not that far off from conducting a standard sale. I advised them that if they could hold off until the summer when homebuying typically surges, then they may be able to sell, break even and start fresh without the negative mark on their credit. As long as home prices continued to rise and interest stayed at historic lows, they would most likely be okay. Many years ago when the market was in a similar transition, I would list homes at higher values to "test-sell" the listing. As prices rose and there was a over supply of buyers, many times the homes would sell at the higher value.
So we decided to go ahead and list the home at the higher price and test the market to see if we could sell earlier. So far, due to a shortage of homes on the market, we've had some great activity. I'm confident we'll see an offer soon.
Tomorrow, I'm meeting with clients to list their home. They originally contacted me to do a short sale after a failed loan modification attempt. But again, after reviewing their current payoff in relation to the market values in their area, the listing will be a standard equity sale. Not a short sale
The fast paced rise in home values has recently helped many underwater homeowners to see land in the horizon. In fact, Zillow released their Negative Equity Report last week which stated that 1,400,000 underwater homeowners found themselves rising to the surface. Zillow also reported that this 3rd quarter rise was the largest since Zillow began collecting it's data.
Stan Humphries, the chief economist for Zillow recently stated, "Rising home prices and a greater willingness among lenders to engage in short sales have both contributed substantially to the significant decline in negative equity this quarter."
This rise in home prices and equity has helped the nation's foreclosure inventory plunge again to it's lowest point since the end of 2008, according to LPS (Lender Processing Services).
But the end is still not yet in sight for many. In fact, reports show that 1 in every 5 homeowners with a mortgage are still underwater today. Estimates show that number to be approximately 10,800,000 homes currently with negative equity. And there's more possible good news coming from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae who both just announced that they'll be changing their loan servicing guidelines to help more borrowers avoid the dreaded foreclosure while assisting with the completion of a short sale.
Zillow's Humphries went on to say, "We should feel good that we're moving in the right direction and at a fast clip".
We shall see as many more underwater homeowners begin to find them selves afloat again!