Category Archives: Mortgages

Register Now for the 2014 San Francisco Housing Expo

Register Now for the 2014 San Francisco Housing Expo

Register Now for the 2014 San Francisco Housing Expo


HomeowenershipSF presents their annual Housing Expo this coming June 14.

The expo will offer information and resources for both perspective home buyers and current homeowners.

Current home buyers will be able to get the latest information about down payment assistance programs, credit tools and special mortgage products. Buyers will also be able to tour affordable homes for sale. Be sure and book the tour early because last year the tour booked up quickly.

For current homeowners, the expo will offer counseling and on the spot loan modification services for those in distress or suffering a hardship. The program will also include updates from Keep Your Home CA as well as other programs such as the CA Homeowners Bill of Rights to help avoid foreclosure.


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Filed under California, down payment assistance, Events, Foreclosure, Loan Modifications, Mortgages, San Francisco

Adjusting Loan Modifications Will Hit In 2014

Adjusting Loan Modifications Will Hit In 2014

Adjusting Loan Modifications Will Hit In 2014

Homeowners May Face Adjusting Loan Mod Rates Beginning In 2014

With distressed Bay Area properties going the way of affordable rent, and prices in most areas still on the rise (or at least steady) most homeowners and others interested in real estate think that we have seen the last wave of distressed properties in our collective rear view mirrors.

Like the mirrors in a funhouse, the real estate view may be slightly distorted or even downright scary. Despite the fact that the economy in the hilly city and as well as Silicon Valley, Marin, etc continues to display robust numbers, many people overlook the scary loan mod adjustment monster that looms on the horizon.

Those with short memories will need a refresher to remember that not only did the real estate crisis start about 2009 but so did the loan modification craze. While many homeowners received 30 or 40 year fixed loan mods, many homeowners received five year loan mods, meaning that they adjust after five years. These adjustments will mean that many homeowners will not be able to afford the adjusted monthly payment.

We have spoken with many homeowners who have these loan mods that will begin adjusting in 2014. Many of these homeowners can see the writing on the wall. Most will not be able to pay the adjusting amount which will put them in awkward positions. Either underwater or with equity, these homeowners may not be able to pay their new adjusted mortgage.

Re-modifying Adjusting Loans

Can homeowners return to the bank for another loan mod? Banks have not been in the habit of re-modifying loans so that may not be an option. Unfortunately, these homes may be future examples of distressed equity sales.

Some prognosticators think that we may be in store for 11 more years of short sales, foreclosures, loan mods and the distressed properties. That may be a bit of a stretch however it may likely continue for at least five years.

Homeowners with soon to be adjusting loan modifications (2014, 2015) take note. Be proactive. Create a game plan for your home or investment property instead of waiting until the loan modification adjusts. Doing so will allow you to look yourself in the mirror and know that you did the right thing.

Anyone with question about how to approach their adjusting loan mod can feel free to contact me at

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Filed under Banks, California, Loan Modifications, Mortgages, San Francisco

2013 San Francisco Housing Expo Coming In October

housing sf flyer-1For anyone out there who thinks:

A: It’s impossible to buy a home in San Francisco unless you work at Google or Facebook or

B: That foreclosures and foreclosure prevention does not exist anymore in San Francisco,

might consider attending the HomeownershipSF FREE RESOURCE FAIR FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE HOME BUYERS

For those wishing to purchase a home in San Francisco we have listed a number of items that will be included in the free event

Find out about down-payment assistance programs

Tour available Below Market Rate (BMR) properties

Learn about special products and services for Veterans, persons with disabilities, and Union members

For CURRENT HOMEOWNERS who may be having difficulty dealing with their servicer, making mortgage payments, trying to save their home or finding out of the box solutions may wish to attend as well.

The expo will include:

Negotiate directly with servicers to modify your home loan

Meet with a certified Keep Your Home CA counselor

Find out about grants and low interest loans for needed home repairs

Connect with resources to support your financial well being

Those wishing info before the event can feel free to contact us for assistance and information.

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Filed under Banks, California, Events, Foreclosure, Loan Modifications, Mortgages, pre-foreclosure, San Francisco

Richmond May Use Eminent Domain To Help Upside Down Homeowners

Richmond May Use Eminent Domain To Help Underwater Homeowners

Richmond May Use Eminent Domain To Help Upside Down Homeowners

Richmond Seeking Proactive Solution For Distressed Homeowners

Anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area who thinks that the real estate crises and underwater homes are “so 2012” might consider a trip over to nearby Richmond. Just across the Bay, Richmond city officials have taken a serious step toward actually using the eminent domain tactic to rescue underwater homeowners from their distressed homes.

While homeowners in San Francisco, San Mateo and many other nearby cities enjoy healthy appreciation in their homes, Richmond residents continue to struggle with options to fix their situations.

This week the city of Richmond sent letters to 32 banks and other mortgage holders offering to buy 624 underwater mortgages at discounts to their homes’ current value. If the banks fail to cooperate with the city, then Richmond may use what some cities have threatened in the past, to use their power of eminent domain to condemn the mortgages, and seize them using court determined fair market value.

Them the city would assist homeowners to refinance info the mortgages in line with their current value.

Richmond’s goal is to help stabilize the community by eliminating the numerous distressed homes that remain.

Of course the banks and Wall Street investors don’t think highly of this idea. They claim that the tactic is unconstitutional and if the city does move forward you can bet your mortgage that lawsuits will be flying around the city of Richmond.

Richmond Underwater Homes By The Numbers

624 Loans Richmond has made offers on

444 Loans current on payments

180 Loans delinquent on payments

32 Servicers for those loans

$241.98 million Total face value of those 624 mortgages

$177.16 million Total current market value of the 624 homes

$68.82 million Negative equity in the homes

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Filed under Banks, California, Mortgages

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act Set To Expire December 31, 2013

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act Set To Expire December 31, 2013

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act Set To Expire December 31, 2013


Homeowners On The Fence About A Short Sale Should Consider The Year End Expiration Of Tax Break

It seemed like just yesterday that underwater homeowners faced a conundrum to either short sale or wait things out to see if the market would improve. For many homeowners the market improved so much that they now sit right side up with actual equity in their home. Short sales have become equity (or what many people refer to as “normal”) sales.

Even with the hot sellers market, some Bay Area homeowners remain underwater. Because we passed the halfway point in 2013, homeowners have that same decision as before. With the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act set to expire at the end of this year, homeowners on the fence must choose whether to short sale and take advantage of the tax break or try another option.

What would those other options be?

1- Although banks have been downplaying the loan modification option for some time, homeowners can still apply for either a HAMP (government guidelines) or one of the in-house lender modification programs. Usually the banks mirror the HAMP guidelines but some differences often exist. Either way, those choosing this option should consider using a non-profit counselor to advocate on your behalf, instead of dealing directly with the bank.

2- Refinance through HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program). Homeowners with no late payments in the past 12 months who are underwater may be eligible to refinance through the HARP loan. Many guidelines exist including that the loan be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Those interested might consider working with a knowledgeable loan officer who doesn’t necessarily need to work with your current servicer.

3- If the above options don’t work, then a short sale may be the best bet. A short sale, handled correctly, will allow the seller to exit the home without any debts. The short sale can be particularly handy for homeowners with multiple liens and/or HOA liens. Depending on the status of your loans, a foreclosure may leave homeowners open to financial liabilities, while a short sale many times allows a cleaner break.

The Importance Of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act

In a short sale, the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act plays an important part of the loan forgiveness. The bank essentially “pays” the delinquent borrower the amount of debt forgiven, which is why creditors send Form 1099-C to the borrow showing the amount of “income” that he or she received as forgiven debt.

We conferred with CPA Robert Caplan about the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act.
Mr. Caplan mentioned, “Homeowners should keep in mind that they can only apply this provision if it was to purchase or improve the property. The advantage is particularly important if they have not re-financed the hell out the house.”

If considering a short sale, a homeowner might worry about being a target for an audit but Mr. Caplan mentioned, “It appears that there is not a lot of auditing for relief indebtedness if you do your tax planning carefully.

To many people, it would seem logical to once again extend the Act but with the Congress scoring a 14 percent approval rating who knows if they will use logic to extend this program.

This sellers market will not last forever. Interest rates should climb. At some point, real estate inventory will probably rise. Those on the fence should consult with their financial planner, accountant or other professional who can look at the big picture to decide if now if the time to hold on or sell and take advantage of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act.

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Filed under Banks, California, Foreclosure, Loan Modifications, Mortgages, San Francisco, short sales, Tax Credits

HARP 3.0 Fixes On The Way?

HARP 3.0 Fixes On The Way?

HARP 3.0 Fixes On The Way?

Federal Reserve Bank Of New York Report Suggests Two Tweaks To HARP

The old saying goes “If isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” We all know that that saying would almost never apply to a government program and that goes for the HARP program.

Although HARP 2.0 marked a significant improvement over its predecessor it still contains many holes that don’t allow homeowners to take advantage. The surging prices here in San Francisco and much of the Bay Area have reduced the number of underwater homeowners, however many distressed homeowners still exist and they can’t qualify for HARP 2.0.

A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York stated that if two tweaks were made to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), refinancing activity could increase “substantially.”

Although underwater homes have decreased significantly here in the Bay Area, Lender Processing Services estimate that about 7.3 million loans nationwide remain underwater.

Two Tweaks Include Removing Cutoff Dates and Allowing Refinance More Than Once

One of the tweaks that have been suggested would be to remove the cutoff date that limits eligibility to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans that were obtained by June 1, 2009. The second change would be to allow borrowers to refinance under the program more than once.

The New York Fed report states that by eliminating the cutoff date entirely the number of borrowers who would be “in the money” would increase to more than 530,000, up about 30 percent. Those “in the money” borrowers are those who could recoup the costs of refinancing within three years based on the savings from HARP.

Under current guidelines, the report authors estimate there around 1.5 million borrowers exist who would be eligible for HARP and in-the-money.

Additionally, removing the rule that limits borrowers to just one HARP refinance would increase by over 55 percent.

If the banks and government keep tinkering with HARP 3.0 then maybe they will get it right.

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Filed under Banks, Mortgages, San Francisco

HARP Refinance Volumes Remained High In April

HARP Refinance Volumes Remained High In April

HARP Refinance Volumes Remained High In April

Underwater Homeowners Continue To Refi With HARP

Even with interest rates resembling a roller-coaster ride, homeowners continue to take advantage of the extended HARP program. In April alone, just over 106,900 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in April, which represents 23% of the total refinance volume, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Just to show that the underwater home syndrome still has not completely dried up, 20% of the loans that refinanced through HARP in April had loan-to-value ratios greater than 125%. Of course that number would be lower here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Even with recent bumps in interest rates, the relatively low rates remain a key reason why for the higher refi volumes, and more specifically for HARP refi activity remaining high.

Since the inception of HARP, 2.57 million homeowners have refinanced through the program.

California Leads The Nations In HARP Loans

The breakdown for year-to-date figures through April saw borrowers with LTV ratios greater than 105% accounting for 44% of HARP loans, while underwater borrowers comprised 17% of the HARP refinances. The lower underwater percentage suggests that homes have shot up in value leaving less California and Bay Area homeowners underwater.

It’s no surprise that California has the highest number of HARP loans since the inception of the program through April with 357,751 followed by Florida (225,447).

Finally, since the program’s inception, roughly 2.2 million loans refinanced through HARP were for primary residences, 82,123 were for second homes and 272,530 were for investment properties.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia


Filed under Mortgages, San Francisco