foreclosures: The Luxury Home Opportunity - 07/16/12 05:08 AM

Since the beginning of the housing market crisis, the most common image in Americans' heads of a foreclosed property exhibited a house that was owned by a middle-class family struggling to make ends meet. However, there is a rapidly growing segment of homes that are struggling as well... luxury homes.
In the latest CDPE Member Broadcast, Alex Charfen discussed the growing number of homes worth over $1 million that are going into the foreclosure process. According to RealtyTrac, In 2007 there were 5,632 homes in foreclosure—just 0.5% of all foreclosure activity. That number jumped 17% higher to just over 33,000 in … (3 comments)

foreclosures: Review Deadline Extended for Wrongful Foreclosures - 07/12/12 07:23 AM

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System have extended the deadline for Independent Foreclosure Review to September 30th.
If you were affected by a mishandled foreclosure between January 2009 and December 2010, there is hope. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve Board have now extended the Independent Foreclosure Review deadline from its previous date of July 31, 2012.
If you are eligible, remediation may included lump sump payments, suspension or rescission of a foreclosure, a loan modification or other loss mitigation assistance of up to $500-$125,000. If you haven't taken advantage of … (1 comments)

foreclosures: Short Sale vs. Foreclosure: Who Wins? - 07/06/12 05:21 AM

One of the most frequent questions we're asked is if short sales are essentially the same thing as a foreclosure, when it comes to the future of the consumer. The answer is...ABSOLUTELY NOT!
When it comes to credit reporting, a short sale will have a much less catastrophic effect than a foreclosure. As of right now, short sales are not listed as "short sale" on your credit report, but as paid as agreed, paid as negotiated, or paid for less than the original amount.
Also, If you are considered current with a short sale, you still have the ability to apply … (0 comments)

foreclosures: Be Prepared: Crucial Updates to Bank of America's Short Sale Process Coming April 13 - 04/06/12 07:04 AM
On April 2, Bank of America announced the latest round of changes to their short sale process. The changes, aimed at streamlining and expediting the process, include new requirements for initiating a short sale and changes to Equator.
Beginning April 13, 2012, Bank of America will require the following five forms to be submitted to initiate a short sale: Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form IRS Form 4506-T - Request for Transcript of Tax Return 60-day Estimated HUD-1 (or HUD-1 with closing date if shorter than 60 days) Signed Purchase Contract including Buyers Acknowledgement and Disclosure Bank of America Short Sale … (2 comments)

foreclosures: Bank of America Announces New Pilot Program - 04/04/12 03:21 AM

Last month, Bank of America announced a pilot program that will provide some distressed property homeowners with a new foreclosure alternative. This new "Mortgage to Lease" program will allow homeowners facing foreclosure to remain in their homes by converting from home ownership to rental.
In this program, participating homeowners will transfer their home titles to Bank of America for forgiveness of all outstanding mortgage debt. Then Bank of America will lease the home to the former homeowner for up to three years at a rental price less than their mortgage payments, making payments affordable. After the three-year rental period, Bank of … (1 comments)

foreclosures: Lenders Providing Large Cash Incentives to Homeowners for Short Sales - 02/27/12 03:46 AM
For awhile now, we’ve instructed agents on government incentives available to distressed homeowners who opt to do short sales. Such programs include the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program, which provides up to $3,000 to assist the borrower with relocation fees.
In recent news, major publications including USA TODAY and CNNMoney have spotlighted the incentives provided by banks. These incentive programs, which offer anywhere from around $2,000 to upwards of $35,000, are intended to provide homeowners with the resources and motivation to pursue a short sale.
As banks look to ramp up short sales, such incentives are becoming more frequent. JPMorgan … (2 comments)

foreclosures: U.S. Government Settles with Banks on Robo-Signing Scandal - 02/10/12 10:38 AM
Yesterday, the Justice Department and 49 out of 50 state Attorneys General announced a settlement agreement with 5 of the nation's largest banks in the Robo-signing and Mortgage Service Fraud scandal that first came to light in late 2010.
The settlement, worth $25 billion dollars, was the largest government negotiated industry settlement since the Tobacco Industry settled in 1998.
In the Settlement, $5 billion is earmarked for $2000 payments to be distributed to borrowers who were illegally foreclosed on between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. The remaining $20 billion will be used to help homeowners who are currently in … (2 comments)

foreclosures: Freddie Mac Announces Up to 12-Month Forbearance for Unemployed - 01/17/12 03:32 AM
Effective Feb. 1, Freddie Mac is giving mortgage servicers expanded authority to provide six months of forbearance to unemployed mortgage holders without prior approval, and an additional six months (12 months total) with prior approval. This new policy essentially doubles the previously offered forbearance period. It's important to note: This applies to Freddie Mac-owned or guaranteed loans only. There is ACTION required. The homeowner must contact the servicer to request the forbearance. Delinquent borrowers in an existing short-term forbearance plan can be evaluated for an extended forbearance term under the new policy. Again, homeowners will need to contact their servicer to … (0 comments)

foreclosures: Federal Reserve Recommends Short Sales Among Solutions to Housing Crisis - 01/06/12 09:53 AM
On Jan. 4, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a letter and white paper to Congress outlining his insights and recommendations on restoring the health of the U.S. housing market. Among the key findings on current market conditions: Housing prices remain 33% below their early 2006 peak Currently, 1 in 5 mortgage holders are underwater (12 million homeowners) In states with the price declines (i.e. Nevada, Arizona and Florida) roughly half of all mortgage borrowers are underwater on their loans The number of properties currently in the foreclosure process is more than four times larger than the number of properties in … (0 comments)

foreclosures: HARP 2.0: What it is; What it isn't - 10/26/11 04:53 AM
When the Obama Administration announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) early this week, our phones started ringing with inquiries from the media for our input concerning the impact. And we had even more questions about HARP during our CDPEAdvanced Broadcast this afternoon.
The new HARP is by no means a game changer, but the media’s attention will spark questions from your clients. Your ability to offer an informed perspective is critical to the value you bring to the relationship.
Here’s essentially what we’ve had to say about the revamped government mortgage refinancing program:
HARP … (0 comments)

foreclosures: Are you on your local media’s radar screen? - 10/13/11 05:20 AM
September 12th, 2011 in CDPE by Alex Charfen Last week, I was contacted by CNBC and asked to comment on a segment concerning the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s reported plan to sue major banks on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, claiming that banks had misrepresented the quality of the bad mortgages it had purchased.
t’s a complicated topic and the debate is going to continue, but I was thrilled to add my input to this important issue. About once a week, in fact, I’m contacted by a representative from a national news organization and invited to participate in … (0 comments)

foreclosures: CDPE Agents: Does your market know what you have to offer? - 10/13/11 04:57 AM
August 17th, 2011 in CDPE by Alex Charfen Those of us who are immersed in the big picture of helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure are perplexed, to say the least, by the fact that in the majority of foreclosures, a short sale is not attempted and a real estate agent is never even contacted.
 Is this due to a lack of awareness of options? Misinformation? Denial? Distrust?
 For you, as a CDPE agent who has earned the most important designation in the history of real estate, it’s never been more important to make sure your market knows who you are, … (0 comments)

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Alex Charfen

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