10/28/2008

How Many REO and Short Pay Properties Are There in Belmont, Alamitos Heights?

716 Havana, $679,900
The filing of notices of default increases each quarter in California, per Dataquick on October 23rd, "Foreclosure resales have emerged as a major market factor, accounting for 47.6 percent of all California resale activity last quarter" but not all areas are impacted as heavily as others:

So far, for areas falling in the 90803, 90814 zip codes, the MLS listings are showing, out of 257 residential properties up to 4 units listed, there are 27 "short pay" and "NOD" listings, 3 in bankruptcy, and 11 REOs (bank-owned properties). The 4-bedroom, 2100+ sq ft Alamitos Heights single family home at right is an REO property that has been on the market for 8 days, and is competitively priced at $679,900. Looking for your next home? This is a great residential area close to the coastline, Cal State Long Beach, the 405 and 605 Freeways, and a few blocks from a major grocery chain store, bank and eateries.
BUT, did you know that we (meaning Realtors) have an REO Advisory that goes along with your offer on a bank-owned property? Be sure and ask for this important disclosure because you the buyer should know that owners of bank-owned properties are not legally required to provide you with certain information that you would expect from a "equity" seller, and you may even be asked to sign the bank's addendums, and in some cases, the bank's own contract form, that are not the same as the standard Realtor contracts. They are exempt from the transfer disclosure statement, the natural hazard disclosure statement (although the listing agent is not exempt from this), the supplemental property tax notice, Mello-Roos lien disclosure, the 1915 Improvement Bond Act notice (that's how you learn about other taxes affecting your property), and notice of private transfer fees, or the earthquake guide book. After all, they never lived in the property, and took it back in foreclosure, so they just want to sell it. Also, they often will do no repairs, including termite repairs, or so they say. As time goes on, though, I'm hearing that banks are more willing to contribute towards buyer closing costs.
Unlike the last recession, REO properties in this market are not well-prepared for sale, may need a lot of repairs, or just plain smell bad requiring the buyer to use a lot of imagination to see the ultimate potential. The issue in some communities has been such that laws have been passed forcing banks to maintain their properties and drain the swimming pools.
So, buyer beware, but if you can get past the physical condition and the disclosure issues, or lack thereof, you may find a great home.
The same story goes for a "short pay" property, and indeed, there are a growing number these days. If you make an offer on one, be sure you receive a "short pay" advisory with your contract--this details conditions surrounding the bank's approval of the seller's market value of the property vs. the mortgage amount owed and how it may affect you, the prospective buyer. You may be in a for a wait just for an initial response, especially if there is also a second lender whose approval must also be obtained. Banks vary in their efficiency handling these offers, and much depends on the completeness of the seller's package, along with the growing number of properties affected.
One thing that's immediately affecting the number of Notices of Default filed right now is that lenders are required to contact borrowers in advance of filing default notice. Just how much this is affecting the market, and how far into the future, is unknown:
"It's unclear just how much foreclosure activity will be time-shifted into future months. We'll know more when we have fourth-quarter numbers. What's interesting is that the surge in activity certainly did level off during the second and third quarters. A lot of the market's distress is working its way through the system and the spectacular jumps in activity may be behind us. Or it may be that those processing the default paperwork are just maxed out," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
So, when all is said and done, take advantage of the opportunity before you.

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