Escrow, the time for performance

 This article discusses the purpose of an escrow to ensure that the expectations of the parties and terms of the transaction are met. This article is part of our Fundamentals of Real Estate Practice series. The execution of a purchase agreement Escrow is a process employed to facilitate the closing of a transfer of real…

FHA lowers fees on streamline refis: will it help California?

This article evaluates the FHA’s Streamline Refinance Program, and the impact its reduced mortgage insurance premiums will have on California homeowners. In a recent effort to increase consumer spending, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has announced mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) will be cut on theirStreamline Refinance Program. These hopeful reductions will decrease FHA-insured mortgage payments for homeowners who want to…

Reports suggest FHFA killed cramdowns without cause

A recent letter from Congress to the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicates the FHFA withheld information regarding their analysis ofprincipal reductions (cramdowns) for negative-equity homeowners. FHFA internal documents provided to Congress by an unidentified independent source show initial analysis of cramdowns in 2009 predicted they would be very effective in stabilizing the real estate market and saving taxpayer money,…

Shortsales may jar the market awake

  The number of shortsales nationally exceeded that of trustee’s foreclosure sales, or real estate owned (REO) sales, according to Lender Processing Service, Inc. (LPS). Nationally, shortsales increased from 16% of home purchases in January 2011, to 29% of home purchases in January 2012. Foreclosure sales nationally decreased 5% over the past year, from 25%…

Test scores boost housing prices, reduce foreclosures

When did you last check the test scores in your school district? Good schools are a benchmark of desirable neighborhoods, and high-rated school districts have fewer foreclosures than low-rated districts. The payoff? Higher home values. Purchasing property in a high-testing school district means sustained high property values and greater resale value down the line. This…

Bankers, their crystal balls, future mortgage volume

Bank risk professionals expect more of the same for mortgage delinquencies over the next six months, according to the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA). Most bankers surveyed believe: the level of mortgage delinquencies will stay the same or increase slightly over the next six months; 2012 will see a gradual improvement in the housing…

Critics demand fewer HARP 2.0 restrictions

The revised Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0) is taking more shots from its critics – this time from U.S. senators wanting to remove the competitive edge HARP 2.0 affords to lenders who originated the loan. HARP 2.0 is a revision of the first HARP and applies to home loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively, Frannie). HARP 2.0’s most significant…

Reduced shortsale response time for Frannie loans

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively, Frannie) are introducing new policies to expedite the shortsale approval and closing process. These policies become effective for Frannie loans on all shortsale offers servicers receive after June 24, 2012. Servicers are encouraged to implement them immediately.   Through June 24, Frannie requires servicers to evaluate borrowers requesting a shortsale for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) first as a step…