Thursday, June 23, 2011

Foreclosure myths, debunked ?

Although there are a number of programs available to help homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages keep their home, the large amount of misinformation tends to result in troubled homeowners failing to contact their lender until it is too late.

Making sense of the story

•Some homeowners believe, incorrectly, that contacting their lender early in the process will draw attention to their situation and result in a quicker foreclosure. In reality, contacting the lender or servicer is an important first step, and the sooner, the better. Contacting the lender provides the homeowner with an opportunity to explain their situation and the steps necessary to deal with it.

•It is a common misconception that missing one mortgage payment will lead to foreclosure. However, the foreclosure process doesn’t begin until payments are 90 days delinquent. Lenders generally have a financial interest in keeping homeowners in their homes, so making contact as early as possible could help lenders modify terms of the mortgage or devise a repayment plan.

•Once homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments, it becomes challenging to dig out of the hole. Some homeowners try to solve this by depleting their savings or dipping into their retirement accounts to become current on the loan. Most financial experts advise against this.

•Delinquent homeowners may think they should stop making mortgage payments to get their lender’s attention, which often isn’t the case. When possible, homeowners should stay current on their mortgage payments and continue to contact their lender on a regular basis.

•Homeowners who have applied for assistance or loan modification programs in the past and were turned down are advised to reapply. Program parameters are constantly changing, so the rules might have been liberalized since the last time the borrower sought help.

•A number of free, government-sponsored housing services are available through the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A list of HUD-approved agencies can be found at

Read the whole story here:,0,7530880.story

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Short Sale Disclosure rules - MARS

M.A.R.S. - Mortgage Assistance Relief Services is a new FTC (Federal Trade Commission) ruling to help protect distressed homeowners from mortgage relief scams. Explaining the ruling, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said, “At a time when many Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages, peddlers of so-called mortgage relief services have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of homeowners without ever delivering results. By banning providers of these services from collecting fees until the customer is satisfied with the results, this rule will protect consumers from being victimized by these scams.”

This ruling not only applies to loan modifications, but also to short sales. Fines of $11,000 per occurrence and $11,000 per day may be incurred for violations, so it is important that you understand the new regulations and are compliant. If you provide, or arrange for someone else to provide, short sale services, you need to be sure that all documents, correspondence and advertising are in compliance.

Highlights of the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services ruling include:
■ Advance fees are outlawed. You may not collect a fee until the homeowner has an offer in writing that they agree to accept.
■ Homeowner has the right to reject an offer, and no fees would be charged
■ Various disclosures must be included in the initial contact and throughout the process. They need to be in writing. These disclosures are designed to protect the homeowner from being mislead, and help them make better informed decisions. These disclosures include stating you are not associated with the government, and your service has not been approved by the government or their lender.
■ Homeowner has the right to stop doing business with the provider at any time, and no fee is involved.
■ False or misleading claims are prohibited in advertising or communication about services or performance.
■ If you tell the homeowner to stop paying their mortgage, you must also make them aware that they may damage their credit rating, and could lose their home.

Check out the entire ruling: or view the FTC’s November MARS press release: FTC Issues Final Rule to Protect Struggling Homeowners from Mortgage Relief Scams

There has been a lot of hashing and re-hashing but the diclosure requirement remains, therefore, in any of my emails, flyers, mail, newspapers ads, website and/or phone conversations wherein Short Sales are mentioned/discussed ... you will see and/or hear the following:

If we discuss the topic of Short Sales at some point or I transmit information relative to Short Sales freely or at your request and your property is now, or in the future may be construed as, a Short Sale, I am required by law to tell you:

Neither Roger A. Sullivan, Realtor nor Windermere Real Estate is associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating.

The afore-mentioned is given in mandatory compliance with required M.A.R.S. (Mortgage Assistance Relief Services) disclosure requirements mandated for Real Estate professionals who assist those homeowners/borrowers who may be in need of Short Sale assistance. I do not provide Loan Modification services. You will never have to pay a fee UP-FRONT for any Short Sale services I may perform or you may request of me.

Can't be too careful these days ... as always - Keep the faith !!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tying to keep your home? More Mortage Servicers added to help just that

More loan servicers are taking part in a $2 billion state effort to help low-to moderate-income homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The number of mortgage-servicing companies has grown to 21 from the eight that were participating when the Keep Your Home California program began in February, said officials with the California Housing Finance Agency. The project does everything from cutting outstanding loan principals to offering financial assistance to the unemployed.

In April, the housing agency reported having to turn down about 30 percent of interested property owners, more than 8,000 Californians, because their servicers weren't yet in the program. The 21 banks who are participating service about 80 percent of the mortgages in California, officials said last week.

The 21 servicers include six of the major ones in the state: Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, GMAC, CitiMortgage and EMC Mortgage. Only six take part in all four programs under the Keep Your Home California umbrella.

Read the full story from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

As always ... Keep the faith!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 reports on Major Servicers Activity

Administration finds Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Ocwen Loan Servicing, Wells Fargo in Need of Substantial Improvement under Making Home Affordable Program; Begins Withholding Financial Incentives for Three Servicers

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today released the May edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard. New to this month’s report are detailed assessments for the 10 largest mortgage servicers participating in the Administration’s Making Home Affordable Program, setting a new industry benchmark for disclosure on servicer assistance to struggling homeowners. In addition to providing greater transparency about servicer performance in the program, the new assessments are intended to prompt mortgage servicers to correct identified deficiencies to improve program implementation and more effectively reach eligible homeowners. “While we continue to get tens of thousands of new homeowners into mortgage modifications each month, we need servicers to step up their performance to meet the needs of those still struggling,” said acting Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “These assessments set a new benchmark by providing an unprecedented level of disclosure around servicer performance and will serve to keep the pressure on servicers to more effectively assist struggling families.”

Since the inception of the Making Home Affordable Program, Treasury has required participating servicers to take specific actions to improve their servicing processes. The new Servicer Assessments summarize performance for the 10 largest Making Home Affordable participating servicers from reviews largely conducted throughout the first quarter of 2011 on three categories of program implementation: identifying and contacting homeowners; homeowner evaluation and assistance; and program reporting, management and governance. Based on the reviews for this quarter, four servicers have been identified as needing substantial improvement and six servicers have been identified as needing moderate improvement. The servicers identified as in need of substantial improvement are:

•Bank of America, NA;
•J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.;
•Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC; and
•Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
While servicers are required to address all instances of non-compliance, beginning this month, the Treasury Department is withholding financial incentives for three servicers: Bank of America, NA; J.P Morgan Chase Bank, NA; and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Treasury will not withhold financial incentives owed to Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC for this quarter as their compliance results were substantially and negatively affected by a large servicing portfolio acquired during the compliance testing period.

Read the full story:

Keep the faith!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Have you been denied a HAMP Modification???

Getting Started With

Overview is a free tool provided by the United States Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable Program. is designed to assist homeowners in conducting a net present value (NPV) evaluation of their mortgage for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP. Need more information about NPV? can be used by homeowners who have been denied a HAMP modification because of their NPV result. Homeowners can enter the NPV input values listed in the HAMP Non-Approval Notice received from their mortgage servicer, or substitute with estimated NPV input values, to compare the outcome provided by against that on the Non-Approval Notice.

This tool can also be used by homeowners prior to applying for a HAMP modification to help them better understand the NPV evaluation. provides only an estimate of a mortgage servicer’s NPV evaluation. While the NPV formula used on is required to be the same as that of your mortgage servicer’s, differences in input data and other industry-related data may result in different outputs. After using, it is recommended that you save a copy of the evaluation and share it with your mortgage servicer to discuss options available to you.

check out the site yourself:

Good luck and as always ... Keep the faith !!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

S. F. Chronicle reports all foreclosure victims are not deadbeats and ...

S. F. Chronicle reports all foreclosure victims are not deadbeats and ... gives tips on credit repair, etc...

Popular wisdom holds that people who lose their homes to foreclosure must be irresponsible deadbeats who can't handle money.

But a new study shows that many homeowners who defaulted on their mortgages during the economic downturn subsequently proved to be responsible consumers and good credit risks.

"Certain consumers who defaulted on a mortgage in the recent recession only did so because of the recession - they are otherwise good credit risks," the report said.

The study doesn't come from a pro-consumer advocacy group but from TransUnion, one of the three national credit bureaus (along with Equifax and Experian) that collect information on Americans' borrowing and bill-paying habits.

As such, it carries significant weight and could influence how lenders view defaulting homeowners. While it's unlikely to change how mortgage delinquencies affect consumers' credit scores, it provides guidelines for lenders to consider mitigating circumstances such as job loss in extending credit to people who fell behind on their home loans.

"Lenders always try to distinguish a one-off, life-crisis event like divorce or a medical catastrophe versus people who are just ineffective at managing credit," said Ezra Becker, TransUnion vice president of research and consulting, and one of the study's authors. "Our argument is that this economy disproportionately affected certain people in a way akin to a one-time crisis. Those consumers have not in fact forever changed their personal philosophy on repaying debt. It was a one-time event because of the specific and personal circumstances of the recession, and they otherwise would be good credit risks."

TransUnion reviewed data from 5 million randomly selected mortgage holders to find 129,000 people who were 120 days or more behind on home-loan payments, and who had additional lines of credit, such as car loans, credit cards and student loans, including lines opened both before and after missing the mortgage payments. It followed their loan performances over 12 to 17 months.

It found that consumers whose only delinquencies were on their mortgage (as opposed to ones who previously were late on credit card payments and other loans) "do indeed present less credit risk," Becker said. "It's the environmental impact (of the recession and high unemployment) that has come into play for those consumers."

Trying to improve scores
Advocates who work with defaulting homeowners said the report confirms their perceptions.

"Most people I've talked to (who lost their homes to foreclosure) were very sensible, had saved a long time, worked very hard and figured out what they could pay," said the Rev. Lucy Kolin, pastor at Oakland's Resurrection Lutheran Church and co-chair of the faith-based Oakland Community Organizations network. After foreclosure "they went back to their regular fiscal practice of making a budget, paying their bills and keeping current."

At Sunnyvale's Project Sentinel, Sharleen Kilgore, deputy director of housing counseling, said: "What I find typically is people who've been through a foreclosure have taken a significant hit on their credit and are very anxious to improve their credit score because credit rules our lives - you can't rent, buy a car, or do a lot of things without it. Once that heavy burden of the mortgage payment is no longer on their shoulders they have the ability to meet their obligations and save for the first time in many years."

Sheri Powers, director of the homeownership center at Oakland's Unity Council, said that foreclosures are so common now that many landlords are willing to overlook that blemish on people's credit records.

"We find that more landlords are open to renting to people who had a foreclosure," she said. "I suggest they offer an additional deposit with a stipulation on the lease that after 12 months of paying on time it gets refunded back or applied to the rent."

2 waves of foreclosures
Many experts point out that while the first wave of foreclosures hit people who got unsustainable subprime loans, the current wave of foreclosures is mostly among people who underwent job loss or reduced income.

Oakland's Lilian Cabrera fits both categories. The economic downturn cut into her earnings from the insurance agency she owns in the Fruitvale district. At the same time, she had an adjustable mortgage that increased significantly. She got a temporary loan modification and made 14 payments, but never received a permanent modification. No longer able to keep up, she is contemplating either selling the house for less than she owes or letting it go to foreclosure.

"I still pay all my other bills," she said. "It's just this one; I couldn't pay an extra $1,000 a month."

She is determined to recover her profile as a reliable consumer.

"I'm going to rebuild my credit and keep it up," she said. "I'll keep everything current."

Tips to restore damaged credit
-- Pay your debts consistently on time every month, even if it's only the minimum payment.

-- Be patient. Companies offering quick-fix solutions generally are ineffective. Building a positive credit profile takes many months of regular payments.

-- Be proactive when you're in a cash crunch; contact lenders before going delinquent to ask for forbearance or temporary lower payments.

-- Keep your credit-card balances below 30 percent of your allowable maximum. For instance, if your Visa card has a $1,000 limit, don't run up more than $300 of debt on it.

-- Check your credit reports. lets you order reports for free.

Read more: