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"Haunted Houses" Foreclosure Tour

by Jeremy Larkin

Very few people I know HAVE NOT seen the image below by this time. I had it emailed to me (literally) by 6 different people - thanks for thinking of me!

That said, it is hilarious and tragic all rolled into one. It is, however, the reality of our current market and will be for some time as far as I can see.

The flip side of all this pain and suffering is the load of purchase opportunities that pop up when "blood is running in the streets." Of course.....I do not know when the "bottom" nor do I dare predict it.

One thing I DO  know for is the fact that we will ALL know where the bottom was once it starts going up......hindsight is interesting, ain't it?

I am personally trying to make the best of this market with our very first "Foreclosure Tour" this Saturday which I wrote about last week. This is NOT a "sales tour." The intent is to provide buyers with they want, access to bank foreclosures, and educate all on tour about both the opportunities as well as risks involved in buying a foreclosed home. We will have our Home Inspector & lender there to field pressing questions.

Additionally, I'm sick  and tired of so much negative press, doom, gloom etc. This is my way of saying "hey, le'ts do something about this problem" by getting this inventory in front of today's buyers.

I spent the afternoon today previewing  properties for the tour and narrowed down the 8 we will be touring. A couple of these homes probably ARE haunted....they have certainly been let go.

On the low end is an absolute "beater" that is essentially a duplex and has ALOT of opportunity for  an investor, currently priced at $153,900. A perfect example of a home that needs a bunch of work but could be a killer rental.

On the high end is a luxury home in Green Springs at $495,000 that would have easily sold at $700k+ in the peak of the market. All this home needs is a fresh front yard and installation of the back. Many bank foreclosures are in almost mint condition but the builder got under water and just couldn't resurface for air.

We have seen great interest in the tour, but are still taking registrations. We would love to see anyone who is intersted in either capitalizing on, or just simply learning about this market. Check it out here: www.SoUtahForeclosureTour.com.

To all of our readers out there, keep fighting! This market is tough and we are going to have to "hunker down" before it gets less tough, but so much good will come of it. It is our chance bring America back to reality on 3 key issues:

1. Home Values. 2. Credit (as in not giving it away like business cards) 3. Consumer spending.

Until then, keep smiling.

 

Lipstick Needed for Pig - September Sales Figures are in!

by Jeremy Larkin

Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat this: Sales were down in September, the Economy is a mess and the Media isn't helping in any way shape or form. This is what Washington County Real Estate Sales have looked like for the past 3 months:

  New Listings Active Listings Sold Listings Months Inventory
Sep/2008 768 6,292 183 34.38
Aug/2008 818 6,403 227 28.21
Jul/2008 935 6,501 232 28.02

That last column is what we call the "absorption rate." 28 months of inventory was not good. 34 months of inventory is LESS good.

The flip side?

  • Credit actually IS available and we continue to see people buy and sell homes.
  • There are so many good stories out there, but nobody is telling them.

We just sold a home for 3 sisters from Idaho. They had held this condo in their family for many years and made a nifty profit. They were REALLY happy and it was closed and recorded just 38 days after it hit the market.

We assisted another young couple get into their first home last month and they are tickled pink. It was a bank-owned property, priced extremely well, and it got them out of a small apartment.

Then there is another family living in my immediate neighborhood whose' house is under contract to close sometime next week. They have owned it for 3-4 years, will take a nice little profit, use it to pay off some debt, then rent a larger home for a while preparing to buy again down the road.

I understand it is tough right now...BOY do I understand it. However, there really are good things happening for some people, housing values are getting back in line for the "everyman" and tremendous opportunities are surfacing for investors.

When all else fails I count my blessings every day to have a wonderful wife, 4 hilarious little kids and for every chance I get to enjoy the simple pleasure of pedaling and suffering on my mountain bike or road bike.

If you have any good, OR bad stories to tell about this market is affecting you, send them on over.

 

Your agent tried to warn you, but you just wouldn’t listen. You thought you could save some real dough buying a short-sale. Now months have passed and you didn’t even get the home you wanted!

 

This can either be a long or short post. It all depends on how much convincing you need, which will then determine how much you elect to read.

 

If you’re a Buyer, you’ve probably been enticed by all sorts of real estate-sexy terms like “short sale”, “foreclosure”, or “bank-owned.”

Yes, just hearing those words may have you turned on for a “killer deal” as we speak.

 

As a Seller you’ve heard those same terms and they’ve had more nasty connotations. You  might have said to yourself, “those are things that happen to other people, not me.” Or perhaps you have even become aware of the fact that those very bank-owned, foreclosure, or “REO” properties are robbing you BLIND of your equity. And they are, believe me they are, but that is a discussion for another day.

 

However, this post is mainly devoted to Buyers. After getting really excited about the short-sale, you call your agent and tell them you want to make a really low offer and save some serious cash. Your realtor knows better, and tries to dissuade you from making the offer. “Let’s find another home” he or she says, but you just think they want a quick sale. You can’t be stopped. You are one savvy buyer and hell-bent on making a good deal.

 

Weeks pass, and still no word from the listing agent. Your agent tries and tries to call the listing agent to find out what is up, but they always get the same response: “we’re waiting for approval from the bank.” As the weeks pass, so do other buying opportunities on properties with great equity in them and that you can actually close on in 3-4 weeks. You, of course, are still living where you don’t want to and it’s driving you nuts.

 

Finally after say a 4-6 week wait, the bank comes back and tells you: “Sorry, we can’t accept your offer. Please bring us a higher offer.” Or better yet, “sorry we received a higher offer than yours and we will be pursuing it.” Or let’s say that they actually accept it. Now they need you to close within an EXACT number of days or it is dead and they have to reapprove…yuck! (Hey that 4-6 week scenario may be conservative...I've seen MONTHS pass before approvals).

We will be closing a short sale transaction next week. It took us 5 months, 7 offers, and probably 100 calls to the bank to get to this point. I am hearing figures of only 10% of short sales making it to the closing table, but who can be sure how many really do?

 

But it is a “short” sale…can’t I save money?

Here is the deal: The very NATURE of a short-sale is that the bank is taking a loss on the deal. Why in the world would they want you to give you a good deal in the process? Sure they need it sold, but they aren’t stupid and they will make dang sure that they exact every penny they can out of the deal in the process. They don’t care about you, me, or even the Seller – only their bottom line.

 

What is it with Human Nature?

There is nothing more compelling than the thought of either saving or losing money. Buyers in today’s market live in absolute fear of buying something that may lose value, or that they might have saved money on in some way. Sellers suffer from the same malady, only from the opposite perspective. They notion of selling their home and “leaving money on the table” is almost too much for most Sellers to bear. That is their hard-earned money dammit, right? Well not really. The equity you have on paper is just make-believe until you sell and get it out – just like the stock market.

 

So what DO you buy?

There are hundreds of phenomenal buys sitting right under your nose in our market right now, being offered by either A: motivated sellers with the equity to negotiate, or B: Motivated banks who have already foreclosed on the property (the short-sale never worked) and they have it back on the market at a great price so they can get rid of it quickly.

 

Any while you’re at it, please take caution with so-called “short-sale” or “foreclosure specialists.” These are usually just brand-new agents looking to cash in on the current market, or unscrupulous investors who want to save money at your family’s expense. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

 

Summary: Short sales are a necessary evil in today’s market, but they do suck. They suck for several key reasons:

1. They are, in essence, a "mirage." They look good from afar, but they end up sucking the life and energy out of everybody involved in the process: Buyer, seller, agents, Title Company, mortgage lender, the whole works. If you can avoid them, do.

2. As a segway to #1, statistically, you will probably never get that home. Really, you probably won't. You will either give up before the bank approves, or someone else will outbid you in the process.

3. Because of #1 and #2, they don't even end up being the "great buy" you wanted. I just sold one in downtown St. George for $9000.00 OVER the listing price! Yes, you read that correctly, OVER. Does that sound like a good deal to you?

Buyer beware, what more can I say?

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

St. George Real Estate - Your premier destination for St. George,Utah Real Estate Listings, Home Values, MLS Search, REO/Foreclosure Info &  St. George Real Estate Statistics.  Serving St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Washington, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Toquerville & more! Specializing in REO/foreclosure properties, frustrated Sellers, First-Time home buyers, and Investors. Looking for the most LOCAL St. George, Utah real estate information available? Your search is over!