Category Archives: Foreclosure Advice

Fort Myers Home Prices Firm Up | Are We at the Bottom?

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The front page of today’s News Press reads “Lee County Home Prices, Sales Go Up”.  Optimism in the real estate industry has been hard to come by in recent times.  For the savvy home buyer, statistics prove the Southwest Florida real estate market is on the rebound.  The median price of a home in Lee County increased from $89,700 in September to $91,600 in October.  Those numbers may seem insignificant to the median home price of $322,300 in December of 2005, but the numbers are extremely important.

The savvy home buyer now knows that prices are on the increase, so much that 1,413 homes were sold in the month of October, just in Lee County.  Based on what we’re seeing, the deals are still plentiful.  We are receiving new notifications of incredible homes for even more incredible prices enter the market daily.

With the first time home buyer credit extension and deals of the decade, we anticipate sales will continue to rise as prices continue to firm up.  If you would like to be notified of the best deals as they enter the market, simply fill out the form on the top right of this page.  We will keep you in the “know.”

How Will a Short Sale Affect My Credit?

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This is the most often asked question and as always there is no pat answer.  It really depends on three factors:

1.) Your lender

2.) Your personal history

3.) Your representative handling the transaction.

Lenders are all over in their approach to short sales and can change strategy at any time.  Currently the general environment is that banks and lending institutions see short sales as a better alternative than holding properties through till foreclosure.  Of course they are going to force the homeowner to prove that they cannot honor the commitment they have made.  If you have the means to continue to pay banks likely will not forgive the debt just because home values have dropped.  They are not in the real estate business; they are in the loan business.  Taking back property is a last resort for them.  Currently lenders are ramping up efforts to deal with short sales.  They are finding that it saves money to deal with homeowners that are still living in the homes and caring for them.  Each lender has criterion for their own evaluation and operating structures which govern their actions and response times.

Finally, there is the representative that is handling the negotiation.  I encourage anyone interested in listing or purchasing short sale property to carefully scrutinize your representative.  All are not created equal.  At the Dohack Group we work hand in hand with an attorney negotiator who does nothing but work on short sales.  They deal with all of the lenders and know what is necessary to submit a complete package to their specifications the first time.  This assures that the timeline will be cut to the very minimum.  Additionally, we are finding that many financial institutions are increasingly willing to review the offer early in the process so that buyers know their potential for success in the end.  This is not widespread yet but is an early trend and long overdue.

When you own a Fort Myers FL home and find that a short sale is your only option, procrastination is the WORST possible idea.  The more proactive you can be in working on an alternative to foreclosure, the better. It is worth the effort and in the end it could be the best overall solution to a mortgage that you can no longer afford due to uncontrollable circumstances.  If you find yourself having these considerations I encourage you to act quickly.  The worst response is no response. The earlier you begin the better your chances of a successful conclusion.  We at the Dohack group are here to help you answer your questions and offer whatever help is in your best interest.

Cash is King

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We have all heard the term but rarely in the context of real estate. It is amazing though how much it applies in this market. It is commonplace for banks to turn their noses up at full price offers on foreclosure properties only to turn around and accept a lower offer for cash. Once a property makes it through the lengthy process of foreclosure they are anxious to write it off their books. They are all too aware of the pitfalls that await financed homeowners in bringing the deal to a close. It is for this reason that I make the following recommendation to anyone hoping to cash in on the deals on Fort Myers FL homes. It is indeed wise to work out financing before you start shopping.

One way to accomplish this is to borrow against other assets. Do you have equity in your primary residence? Do you own a piece of property that has ample equity? Better yet do you already have a Line of Credit in place that you can utilize? Borrowing against other assets is wise for other reasons. Other costs associated with the purchase of a new home can be avoided. First and foremost is the Doc Stamp tax on the mortgage. Another is that an appraisal is optional. Add to that a price that will surely be thousands of dollars less and you quickly begin to understand my point. The money you save will pay any costs associated with procuring the loan. Add to that the fact that you can close in weeks instead of months.

What is that worth in saved aggravation? Planning ahead always makes sense, in this case it makes money. Plan ahead and take advantage.

Don’t Allow Your Home to End Up in Foreclosure

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The reasons that homes end up in foreclosure are many.  Many Ft Myers FL homes were purchased under economic assumptions that no longer apply. While I understand the causes I also see the devastating affects that Foreclosure has on a person’s ability to build a new and better future.  I am no attorney but I will offer some observations in the hope that it can help prevent unnecessary hardship.  Most people who realize they can no longer afford to pay their mortgage just quit.  This begins a process which snowballs and eventually becomes too large to fix and leads to eviction and financial ruin.

What I recommend is seeking out professional assistance as soon as the problem is recognized or maybe more accurately anticipated.  Here are the first questions you will have to answer.

  • Can the house be sold for enough to pay off what you owe on it?
  • Do you have the means to solve this situation on your own?  Do you have money sitting in a bank account or equity in another property that you can use to catch up or pay off the mortgage?
  • Do you insist on staying in the home even if a solution is found?

If you the answer to any of these questions is yes then you need to implement a plan to resolve the problem according to your means.  If on the other hand you answer no, then do not delay.  Call us or another professional immediately.  Many agents try to manage this process on their own and quite frankly transactions often fail as a result.  We are experts at listing and selling real estate.  We are not attorneys or bank negotiators.  Our approach is very different.  We begin with a dedication to helping you, our client.  The first order of business is to evaluate your individual situation and determine a course of action that will work for you specifically.  Every case is different.  Assuming that short selling your Ft Myers FL Home is indicated we bring in a professional team consisting of professional negotiators, attorneys and clerical staff who work with people like yourself to relieve them of the burden that an unaffordable mortgage creates and at the same time minimize credit consequences.  We do all this at no cost to you.

The short sale process requires a buyer.  No bank is going to negotiate a settlement unless there is a buyer in place.  While our team of professionals are working on negotiations with the bank we are working to put a buyer in place so that the process is rapid and seamless.   Quite simply, this is the best system currently available.  Please do not delay.  Start your journey today to a better life.

How to Buy Foreclosure

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It is hard to evaluate the prices offered on bank owned foreclosure homes.  Some are extremely good deals  and others, not so much.  So what should you expect and what should you be on the look-out for?

Unless the home is part of a development where yard maintenance is included, landscaping is almost always destroyed inspectdue to lack of maintenance but more importantly from lack of water.  It is my experience that there is no inexpensive way to resolve this.  When Florida turf grasses and unwanted weeds such as nutsedge take over , they cannot be brought under control without completely killing all vegetation and following up with new sod.  Careful inspection of landscaping plantings is necessary to estimate what can be saved and what will need to be replaced.  This is an expense that is often overlooked since it is not necessary for move-in but must be considered when comparing it to other Fort Myers FL homes for sale that are not in foreclosure.  This is a substantial expense and your ability to fund it over and above your other expenses should be a serious consideration.

Next there is the structure itself.  First and foremost is the determination about whether the home has Chinese drywall.  Nothing can cause more distress than finding out the home you purchased has the dreaded Chinese drywall.  The first sign is a fowl odor (many compare it to rotten eggs).  Next, remove a switch or outlet and inspect the wire.  Homes that have Chinese drywall will corrode the exposed wire.  Easiest to inspect is the bare ground wire.  I have seen them corroded so badly that they look as if they have black insulation on them.

The next concern is mold.  While sophisticated air quality tests can be performed, a visual inspection is easy and should be done any time you view a home.  We all live with some mold.  Can any of us really say that we haven’t put off cleaning that shower a little too long and seen a bit of mold.  The problem comes in when water enters for any reason and circulation is not provided.  Many of these homes have had the power turned off so be extra cautious about mold exposure.

Last tip on how to buy foreclosure homes is overall condition.  For some this is not a concern since they enjoy painting and carpeting and making a home their own.  Others shutter to think about such undertakings to say nothing of the expense.  In the end most of these “bargain homes” require a great deal to bring them up to your own and subdivision standards.  They still can provide opportunity and value but before taking that big step consider the total picture and be sure that you go in with your eyes wide open.

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