In today's real estate market, knowledge of the current market conditions is important. If you're selling, it's important to get the highest visibility for your home utilizing all of the latest technological resources available. If you're buying, it's important to know that the best homes still sell quickly if they are priced competitively. This is why I place such a high priority on responding to your inquiry. I promise to respond to your request for information within 24 hours, but usually sooner.
Thinking of selling? I would be happy to provide you with a FREE Home Evaluation. There is no obligation to list your home with me and never a fee unless your home sells.
Thinking of buying? There is never a fee to look for homes. All I ask is that you speak to a Finance Manager ahead of time, to get a free, no obligation, evaluation of what type of home you should be shopping for. Realtors® work strictly on commission and don't get paid until a home sells. So I just ask that you do your part ahead of time and get pre-approved for a loan so when we find that perfect home, you are ready to make an offer.
As your buyers or sellers agent, my commitment is to you from beginning to end. I will communicate with you throughout the entire process so you are never left wondering. Give me a call and let's get started. I am ready to earn your business!
Jessica Harwick, Realtor®
Mega-Million Dollar Producer
OAR Award Recipient
Champions Club Member
Howard Hanna Smythe Cramer
185 Great Oaks Trail
Wadsworth, OH 44281
(330) 777-3306 or (330) 335-2560
Help! I Can't Pay My Mortgage!
If you are struggling to make ends meet, and your mortgage has either fallen behind or soon will, there is help. You may not have to face a foreclosure! Your bank wants to work with you. It costs a bank more money to foreclose on a home owner than any other option they have available.
If you haven't already, you need to have a conversation with your lender(s). It will depend how far behind you are, but they want to work with you if they can. Give them a call and ask for someone familiar with alternatives to foreclosure. They may ask a few questions to guide you to the right person. But don't be afraid to make the call and don't avoid their call. They really want a cost effective solution, like you.
What are some of the options you may be discussing? This is a short list of definitions that will help you when speaking to your lender:
1. Reinstatement: Making your loan current by either a lump sum payment or scheduled payments to your lender over time.
2. Forbearance: This is something similar to reinstatement. This is to be negotiated with the bank. You will be asking them to add the amount of your missed payments, fees and interest to the end of your loan. Or, ask if the bank would take a small portion of what you owe up front and add the remainder to the end. You could even ask for them to accept a smaller amount of the back due and forgive the rest, or to forgive the whole amount if you begin paying again right away. You never know until you ask. I'm not promising the bank will do any of these. You just have to ask and negotiate.
3. Loan Modification: Loan modification is the process of changing one or more terms of your original mortgage in order to help you bring a defaulted loan current and hence stop foreclosure or prevent foreclosure.
4. Refinance: This option will require a lot of equity in your home and for you not to be too far behind in payments. Any missed amounts, including fees, would generally be included in the new loan, hopefully at a lower rate than you had originally. The challenge is, most homeowners have leveraged their home to the max already. So having this kind of equity in this situation is rare.
5. Deed in Lieu: You can give the property back to the bank. If there are no other liens on the property, the lender may agree to take the property back in lieu of foreclosure. If you have equity in your property, this is not a good option. You will be giving up any rights to a surplus gained at the point the lender sells the property.
6. Short Sale: You can either list your property with a Realtor or try to sell it yourself. But the idea is you will be trying to get the lender to accept an offer for less than what you owe on the loan. This is something you should really consider hiring a Realtor to help you with. You don't pay the Realtor fees in this situation. All costs to sell are negotiated with the bank. They will accept or not accept the offer as well as all the costs of selling. Most banks today are HAPPY to do a short sale. If it is a reasonable offer, they would love to go this route rather than foreclose on a homeowner. It costs them far less in the end to accept a short sale.
7. Foreclosure: There are many steps in the foreclosure process. Chances are foreclosure proceedings have already been started if you are behind in payments. But that doesn't mean these proceedings can't be stopped. It is up to you to do something vs. doing nothing but waiting. It can be scary when you don't know what to do or where to turn. But foreclosure does not have to be the option you wind up with.
8. Bankruptcy: This is not a recommendation. You can file for one of the bankruptcy chapters. But please be advised of the differences in these chapters. And file only as a last result. You most definitely need to contact a bankruptcy attorney to discuss the differences in these options.
Once you have a discussion with your lender and find out what they are willing to do, you can make an educated decision about your next step. If you are still confused, please call me. I've worked with these things before and can help you through the process. I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. But I may be able to help you work through a couple of these options.
One option I work with all the time is the Short Sale. Many confusing things are being tossed around in the media and on the internet about what could happen to a seller after a foreclosure or short sale. You might hear things like Deficiency Judgment or 1099 tax forms are coming! Let me see if I can help with this too.
Deficiency Judgments: This is a state by state legal issue. In Ohio, lenders can come after homeowners for the amount they are "deficient". This is the difference in what the property sold for vs. what they owed. It is a legal proceeding that may or may not happen. You will have to discuss with your bank what their intention is according to your contract and your situation. Many banks today are telling sellers it is too expensive to pursue these judgments. But that doesn't mean they can't or won't. And keep in mind; this could happen in either a Foreclosure or a Short Sale! That is important! You are not avoiding anything by foreclosing and "walking away".
1099 Tax Forms: There are a couple types of 1099 forms that apply here. One is a 1099a and the other a 1099c. I am not a tax expert and cannot give tax advice. But you need to understand when a lender writes off a "short" from a loan, that amount will be reported to someone as income. That someone is the homeowner. Does that mean you will have to pay taxes on the amount your home sells short in either a sheriff's auction sale or a short sale? Maybe or maybe not. It will depend on a few things. One is whether or not you qualify for the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, which has been extended to 2012, or if you can prove insolvency. When you receive a 1099, you should take it to your tax advisor for assistance. Again, remember, the 1099 doesn't apply to just Short Sales. It also applies to Foreclosures.
If you choose to try the Short Sale, I can help. You first need to request a short sale packet from your lender. This packet will explain everything they need to consider your short sale. They will be asking your for several documents. You may wonder why they are asking for so much information. Remember, they are being asked to take an amount that may be considerably less than what you owe on the home. They need to know you can't pay them, not that you just don't want to. In order for a lender to consider a short sale, you will need to prove financial hardship. Some of the typical reasons for hardship are:
Bad Health: Medical bills that have taken over your finances.
Death of a Spouse: Many times even in two income families, the remaining spouse cannot make the payment on their own.
Divorce: Divorce is expensive and many times it is a requirement that the jointly owned home be sold. There may be other legal issues here complicating a short sale and must be discussed with an attorney.
Called to Active Duty: Sometimes being called to active duty drastically decreases a homeowner's income and ability to pay their mortgage. In this situation, there may be other options with your lender. Inform them of your situation. They may be willing to work out a repayment option or other option pertaining to active members of the military.
Job Transfer: This may actually mean an increase in income but that doesn't mean a homeowner can afford two properties, even if one is a rental. And if the homeowner is unable to rent the home they are leaving or sell for what they owe, hardship may apply and a short sale may be acceptable.
Disabling Injury: The homeowner may have experienced an injury preventing them from working. They will need to prove, even with disability, they are not able to keep up with the current mortgage.
Job Loss: Most homeowners are not able to keep up with their living expenses after the loss of a job.
Remember, lenders don't want to go through the foreclosure process either, but they will if they have to. A lender will not agree to a short sale just because the homeowner thinks their home is worth less than they owe and they want out. So be prepared to do your part in proving your hardship. Give them what they ask for, when they ask for it, and you will have a better chance of success with a short sale.
Your other road to success with a short sale is to call me! I have been through these situations with other homeowners and I know how to help. Call today for a free, confidential, report on the market and how I can help.
Jessica Harwick, Realtor