Monday, November 21, 2011

Foreclosure Fears Foster True Grief

Reports of foreclosures by the millions have been in the news so much over the past few years that to some, it might seem like the new normal. But as a real estate professional who is in the trenches with financially stressed homeowners every day, it never feels like business-as-usual to me.

The prospect of losing one’s home is right up there among the major sources of grief, and often it goes hand in hand with other tragic setbacks such as the loss of a job, a divorce, death of a loved one, mounting medical bills or skyrocketing mortgage payments. Unfortunately, the first stage of grief is denial, and that’s even more the case when the threat of foreclosure is looming. No one wants to talk about or admit financial troubles—even when millions of others have founds themselves in a similar spot. It’s completely understandable, but for homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments, decisive action is often the most critical step toward ensuring the best possible solution.

As a real estate professional who has sought out the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, I help homeowners to deal with every aspect of the grief and uncertainty that accompanies a mortgage which is no longer manageable. In the process, I help them to get on a path of financial solvency. If you or someone you care about would like to change the course of a life that’s facing foreclosure, I get it and I can help.

Contact me today at 402-598-3965 or

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seven Out of 10 Renters Say Owning a Home Is a Top Priority

RISMEDIA, July 8, 2011

Most Americans still believe that owning a home is a solid financial decision, and a majority of renters aspire to homeownership as a long-term goal. According to the 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey released recently by the National Association of REALTORS®, 72 percent of renters surveyed said owning a home is a top priority for their future, up from 63 percent in 2010.

Seven in 10 Americans also agreed that buying a home is a good financial decision while almost two-thirds said now is a good time to purchase a home. The annual survey, which measures how affordable housing issues affect consumers, also found that more than three quarters of renters (77 percent) said they would be less likely to buy a home if they were required to put down a 20 percent down payment on the home, and a strong majority (71 percent) believe a 20 percent down payment requirement could have a negative impact on the housing market.

“Despite the economic setbacks Americans have experienced in today’s current climate, it is clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home,” says NAR President Ron Phipps. “However, achieving the dream of homeownership will become increasingly difficult for buyers if they are required to make a 20 percent down payment, which may be a reality for many of tomorrow’s buyers if a proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule is adopted. That is why REALTORS® are strongly urging regulators to go back to the drawing board on the proposed rule.”

Defining the QRM rule is important because it will determine the types of mortgages that will generally be available to borrowers in the future. As currently proposed, borrowers with less than 20 percent down will have to choose between higher fees and rates today—up to 3 percentage points more—or a 9-14 year delay while they save up the necessary down payment.

Over half—51 percent—of self-described “working class” homeowners as well as younger non-college graduates (51 percent), African Americans (57 percent) and Hispanics (50 percent) who currently own their homes reported that a 20 percent down payment would have prevented them from becoming homeowners.

Pulse surveys for the past eight years have consistently reported that having enough money for a down payment and closing costs are top obstacles that make housing unaffordable for Americans. Eighty-two percent of respondents cited these as the top obstacle, followed by having confidence in one’s job security.

The survey also found respondents were adamantly against eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Two-thirds of Americans oppose eliminating the tax benefit, while 73 percent believe eliminating the MID will have a negative impact on the housing market as well as the overall economy.

“The MID facilitates homeownership by reducing the carrying costs of owning a home, and it makes a real difference to hard-working American families,” says Phipps. “Homeownership offers not only social benefits, but also long-term value for families, communities and the nation’s economy. We need to make sure that any changes to current programs or incentives don’t jeopardize our collective futures.”

When asked why homeownership matters to them, respondents cited stability and safety as the top reason. Long-term economic reasons such as building equity followed closely behind. On a local level, respondents said neighbors falling behind on their mortgages and the drop in home values were top concerns. Foreclosures also continue to remain a large concern, with almost half of those surveyed citing the issue as a problem in their area.

The 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program. The telephone survey polled 1,250 adults nationwide, with an oversample of interviews of those living in the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, opportunity, was created in 2002 to encourage local REALTOR® associations to create initiatives that help increase housing opportunities available to consumers and make affordable housing more readily available in their communities.

Information about NAR is available at

Peg Maloney

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Time Home Buyer Loan Availability

Today we are discussing the availability of loans for first time home buyers with Joe Iaccheri from Regent Financial Group in Omaha, NE. First time home buyers are the biggest group of buyers in the market.

The most commonly used loan for first time home buyers is the FHA Loan, (Federal Housing Administration). The FHA loan has more leniency is some areas where first time home buyers are concerned. These areas are Total Debt Ratio, Credit Score and Available Reserves which make this loan easier to qualify for. Mortgage Insurance is also now built into the FHA loans where before you would have had to carry PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance on your first home. This Mortgage Insurance insures the money on the behalf of the lender. As of April 18, 2011, The government has increased Private Mortgage Insurance.

5% Conventional Loans are great for people with rock star credit. You will need to have a very high credit score and good reserves. Most Private Mortgage Insurance companies do not like to insure 5% Conventional loans for people. They would rather flip you to a 10% Conventional loan or to an FHA loan and be able to carry Private Mortgage Insurance. With just a 5% down payment, you are considered more of a risk by the bank rather than if you were to put 10% down.

Get your credit cleaned up.

Be prepared for extra paperwork.

The national average is 45 days for closing of loans.

Call Joe Iacherri at Regent Financial today!

Peg Maloney
Re/Max Real Estate Group

Monday, March 21, 2011

10 Tips To Make Your House Look Like a Model

10 Tips To Make Your House Look Like a Model

1. Declutter - Clean, Clean, Clean
2. Remove any evidence of pets - Litterboxes, smell, toys
3. Remove any evidence of kids - Remove posters, personal artwork, etc
4. Cleanup the Front Yard and Porch - You are looking for Good Curb Appeal
5. Remove any Sunken Pavement Stones
6. Paint - Paint any rooms that need updated
7. Replace Fixtures - Lights, Ceiling Fans, etc
8. Replace Faucets and Spouts - Kitchen and Bathroom
9. Show Flowers/Greenery outside
10. Aromatherapy - Spray Vanilla before a showing!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Economical Kitchen Upgrades

Watch my new video on Economical Kitchen Upgrades!

Peg Maloney

Re/Max Real Estate Group


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter or Spring to Buy or Sell A House?

Many buyers and sellers wait until spring to enter the market, especially families with schoolchildren, who want to make their deals so they can move in time for the next school year.

Still, there are people who, for a variety of reasons, are in the market in winter. And while the market is smaller, real estate agents say that foul-weather buyers and sellers tend to be serious about making a deal.

Certainly, there are plenty of obstacles—especially in a winter like this one. A house that would have a ton of curb appeal when everything’s in bloom is less attractive under gray skies and a blanket of snow. Buyers may struggle to find street parking and navigate icy sidewalks. Sellers find it tougher to keep the place clean as snow and road salt are tracked into the house.

Some agents say the smaller market works to the advantage of sellers. “If they wait for the spring market, there’s more competition” for buyers, said Ricki Sellner of Coldwell Banker in Upper Saddle River, who is Fonseca’s agent.

Other agents insist that the winter is a buyer’s market. “They can usually get a better price, because there are not as many buyers in the market. If a house is on the market in the winter, the seller is usually extremely motivated,” said Nicolette Lisella of Terrie O’Connor Realtors in Allendale, N.J.

“If a house has been on the market, and it is still available in the winter, the sellers are sometimes much more flexible, and prices more affordable,” agreed Dennis Decina of Werner Realty in West Milford, N.J.

Buyers who venture out in winter may be able to get faster action on their mortgages because the lenders aren’t dealing with as many applications, said Antoinette Gangi of RE/MAX in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Another advantage for buyers: They will be able to get a sense of how drafty the house is, and how well the heat works. But on the minus side, home inspections can be more difficult if snow covers decks and the home’s foundation, said Sharon Marinaccio of LeConte Realty in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. And buyers won’t be able to have the air conditioning tested or the pool inspected. For that reason, agents recommend that buyers ask the seller to put aside money in escrow, or supply a home warranty, in case repairs are needed later.

All in all, winter markets have super motivated buyers and sellers, but spring markets have more inventory. Regardless, get into the market now and find your dream home.

Peg Maloney

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Successful Short Sale Steps

Solving Your Mortgage Crisis Just Got Easier
5 Steps for a Successful Short Sale

Lenders and the federal government, prompted by the sheer volume of loan modification and short sale requests, have overhauled their systems and programs, making the foreclosure avoidance process much easier than in the past.

If you are considering short selling your home to avoid the financial and emotional fallout of foreclosure, you should be aware of the five steps you should take to increase your chances of a successful transaction.
First, do you qualify?

You must:

  1. 1. Have a verifiable hardship, like unemployment, medical bills, or relocation.
  2. Must have a monthly income shortfall.
  3. 2. Be insolvent (you have no cash or assets that can be sold to pay down the mortgage), or headed towards insolvency.
3. If you meet these qualifications, follow these five steps to a successful short sale:

  1. 1. Contact me so we can identify your servicer, fill out a short sale packet for the lender, and assemble all the required information needed to list your home for sale.
  2. 2. Gather financial information (i.e., bank statements, pay stubs) from at least the last three months.
  3. 3. Keep your house in showcase condition for showings, and make as many repairs as necessary and that you can afford.
  4. 4. Expect the lender, junior lien holders, and private insurance companies to request more paperwork, and try to gather requested information quickly to ensure transaction efficiency.
  5. 5. Set realistic expectations and work with me, the lender, and the buyer to the satisfaction and benefit of all parties involved.
For more information about how the short sale process works, or about any other foreclosure alternatives you may qualify for, call me today. I can help you alleviate the burden that the threat of foreclosure brings, and we can develop a strategy to help you breathe a little easier.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cheap Ways To Help Get Your House Sold

Cheap Ways To Help Get Your House Sold

I saw this article and thought: "How easy!" You don't have to spend a lot to make little changes that make a house look "refreshed". According to the HomeGain survey, the top five home improvements that real estate professionals recommend to home sellers based on average cost and return on investment (from highest to lowest ROI) are:
1. Cleaning and de-cluttering – ($290 cost / $1,990 price increase / 586% ROI)
2. Lightening and brightening – ($375 cost / $1,550 price increase / 313% ROI)
3. Home staging – ($550 cost / $2,194 price increase / 299% ROI)
4. Landscaping – ($540 cost / $1,932 price increase / 258% ROI)
5. Repairing electrical or plumbing – ($535 cost / $1,505 price increase / 181% ROI)
In my opinion, the cleaning, de-cluttering, and staging are the most critical, BUT above all else, make sure you are priced competitively. Now let's go out and get your house sold!
Peg Maloney

Friday, January 7, 2011

10 Real Estate Predictions for 2011

I was reading the Daily Real Estate News that RisMedia put out in December, and they had the “10 Real Estate Predictions for 2011”. I wonder how they will pan out over the next year..

1. Building is back. After 3 years of little or no new development, new properties are breaking ground again. I think you’ll find that true in Omaha..

2. Apartments continue to thrive. Some people like the benefits of renting, such as flexibility in housing commitments. Also a number of people just don’t qualify for a mortgage at this time and can wait it out in an apartment

3. Opting for established. Mega-communities in the exurbs are a thing of the past, where builders are moving toward smaller neighborhoods in established communities

4. Make it modern. Transitional and warm-modern design will be prevalent, clean line exteriors and open floor plans comfortable for the family and versatile for entertaining.

5. Buying for the long term. The idea of a home as a short-term moneymaker is essentially gone, so when people do buy, they’ll do it with the intention of staying put for closer to 10 years rather than 2-3 ( relocation buyers being the exception of course). Buyers want to be sure the home will suit their needs not only for now, but down the road , whether they plan to expand their family or become empty nesters

6. Upping the ante on amenities. Outdoor space will be of higher importance to many buyers, especially condo and townhome buyers, so folks can live with less square footage inside their home if they have a place to call their own outside, like an outdoor grilling area.

7. High-tech takes over. What? A smart phone app that controls their residence remotely?? We’re getting there!

8. Smaller homes stay the course. This trend is fueled by first-time buyers with smaller budgets, requiring smaller homes, more conservative mortgages, and higher down payments thus a home with a smaller price.

9. Green and gorgeous. No longer mutually exclusive, new products and forward thinking design have proved homeowners can have both.

10. Healthy homes. Indoor air quality, low VOC paints and adhesives, and healthier materials are more of a concern to people building homes, especially for those with small children. With our economy people have decided to stay put in their existing homes and invest in changes to make it look better and live healthier, like replacing old door and windows, and installing HVAC systems with better filtration.

These all sound reasonable to me and it’s what we are seeing on a day to day basis. What are your thoughts?