Making homes affordable is a daunting task for everyone associated with real estate and for the government. Hey, wait a minute! Isn't that what got us into all this trouble?!
The can-the-buyer-fog-the-mirror-under-his-nose test is long gone. That party is over! That criteria for loan qualification certainly has created problems for us today. We can point to the proliferation of short sales and REO's, the new rules affecting underwriting and appraisal.
Timing is everything. A listing I had that came on the market during the last week of July, 2006 was destined to be the most agonizing experience for me and my sellers. The weeks before it came on the market everything was going great. We had such high expectations. I don't know how the markets were in other parts of the country, but we were in the bubble. We were told by corporate that the bubble wouldn't burst because we were special. If anything, we would have a fizz like a glass of champagne. This is Silicon Valley after all!
We got an offer almost immediately -- full price offer. We went to the title company to sign off about three weeks after ratification. The buyers were scheduled to sign off the following week. The day before the close of escrow I received a phone call from the buyers' agent telling me that the husband had lost his job. As they say, everything went downhill after that!
We got an offer, finally, in October. For some reason, I felt uncomfortable about the agent and the buyer. I searched the county records and, lo, and behold, this very same buyer had just purchased another property in another city nearby. I asked the agent how this buyer could possibly afford to buy a second property. I knew what his occupation was and that just didn't add up to being able to buy two properties. The agent told me he was helping the buyer to "build wealth"! No, no, no! The house did finally sell but the relationship between me and the sellers was so damaged.
This has been a long introduction to my purpose here. The Obama administration has approved state plans for North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Carolina to help homeowners that are struggling with unemployment. There is a government web site that has information to help homeowners that are finding themselves in trouble. The years of the fog test did a lot of damage, but in my opinion also helped individuals to acheive their dream of homeownership. This web site has a self-assessment tool so people can determine whether or not they are eligible for government assisstance. It also warns against foreclosure rescue scams. This web site isn't just for homeowners in the states named above, but for all the states. I'm sure you, like me know of some one who needs this information.
Marge Draper, REALTOR
KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY MENLO PARK