Monday, January 23, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours

It has been a "gully washer" off and on for the last couple weeks... weather is something we can't do anything about but maybe co-exist with it...

The temp was 32 a couple weeks ago on a Monday morning... the next week, it was 55, then the next day it was 65... what do you do?

The housing market is a lot the same way!  It is hard to predict it... hard to even evaluate it at times... but one thing for sure... it will always be there, just like the weather.  Folks have to sell and buy to move from place to place due to all kinds of events in their lives... the housing market will always be available... sometimes hot, sometimes chilly!

Right now, the market seems to be burning up...  Give me a call if you have an interest in selling and or buying... contracts and prospects are generating at a high that has not been seen in a while...

Get off the fence...  the weather is perfect... get your home on the market in time to stay in the flow... and prices are so good... as are interest rates... so it is a great time to BUY!

Call me if I can help you in any way!  205 229-3013!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Avoiding Foreclosure

It seems only fit to talk about something in the industry that is making headline news almost daily.  The rate of foreclosure had dropped slightly over the last few months and it has brought a breath of air to many people, but there are lots of "behind the scenes" things that have gone on to slow the procedure down.  One thing that has decreased this amount though, is the process of "Short Sales."

Short sales are sales that are consummated with both the homeowner and the homeowner's mortgage company agreeing to sell the house for less than what the homeowner owes on the property.  It would seem odd that the mortgage company would be acceptable with this offer, but in many ways it makes sense.  If the mortgage company were to foreclose on the property... they would in turn spend lots of money to make the process work, not to mention that in Alabama, there is a "right of redemption" period for a year.  This means that the mortgage company may have to sit on the property and tie up it's money for up to a year after the foreclosure.  Between interest, legal fees, and the total process it could cost the mortgage company upwards of $30,000 or more to foreclose.  If they can sell the home for a reasonable amount, then it is to everyone's advantage.

Short sales are much better for the seller than foreclosure.  A consumer that suffers a short sale can usually recover their credit and can actually purchase another home within 2-3 years.  In a foreclosure setting it can be as much as 7 years.  Not only this, but it does not hurt the credit score nearly as much as a foreclosure... giving opportunity for other credit issues as well as finding an acceptable job, or security clearance for a job.

It is estimated that as many as one in five families are behind on their mortgage payments from month to month.  One out of ten are in default being more than one month past due.  The mortgage company becomes distressed in this situation and will begin to try and find ways to assist the homeowner.  It may seem as though they are harassing the owner, but in all actuality, they just want it to get worked out so that they can get their money and everyone can be happy.  Seems reasonable... no?

So how does all this work... and how can foreclosure be resolved.  There are many ways...  The "making homes affordable" program has helped more people that you would ever dream possible.  This is a program that the mortgage company will work with you to re-structure you mortgage to make it possible for you to remain in your home and retain ownership, as well as make your credit closer to a normal situation.  This program is FREE!!!! If someone asks you to pay for this program it is a hoax!  It only takes a lot of patience and time with the mortgage company and the owner to find out if you qualify... this is not always and exact science... and the left and right hands don't always know what is going on.  But, if you qualify... you can be saved!  It is estimated that 50% or more of those on the Home Modification Program  have survived it.

A second option would be giving a "Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure."  This may be an option if your home is valued at enough that the mortgage company can assume your mortgage from you and take the property.  If there is too much negative equity or too much "work" to be done on the home to make it a sellable property, then it may not work out.  This too can help with the hit on the credit history... and also shorten the time to be able to buy another home.

A third option is that of the Short Sale.  Some reports say that there are as many short sales being sold right now as there are foreclosures in some states.  That said, it is a viable alternative.  It is also a system that requires lots of patience and trust.  IT IS NOT AN EASY THING TO DO, although the system is very easy.  Bank of America and Citi Mortgage have set up systems that are actually telling the homeowners to contact a realtor to do a short sale.  Amazingly so, it is such a better alternative.

I have been studying the short sale process for over a year now.  I began by reading and studying the information that was available... then took several classes on the idea.  The National Association of Realtors put together a certification and designation called SFR:  Short Sales and Foreclosures.  I took this class first.  Another group began the CDPE program:  Certified Distressed Property Experts.  It was begun with a husband and wife team in Florida that was living the short sale process before it was ever a recognized program.  They have built the structure that most short sales are processed through.  I have also completed this program and had the certification and designation.

To be honest with you, working through a short sale is the hardest sales venture that a real estate agent can undertake.  Most realtors do not like them, but have to do them as a necessity. Most agents don't have the understanding nor the expertise to complete a short sale.  Check out this short video as a comedic look at what could happen if you don't know how?!  Knowing How to Work A Short Sale?

 Even with this, working with Distressed Familes and Porperties is becoming a specialty for me.  The pleasure of helping families get through some of the worst times of their lives makes it all worthwhile.  (Don't ask me about that in the middle of the process... but afterwards LOL)!  In the last few months I have successfully assisted 3 families in short sale situations, am working another now,  and had one that did not sell and went into foreclosure.  They don't all work out; but it is worth an effort.  It is reported that as many as 70% of foreclosed property owners never placed their home on the market to sell.  From depression and embarassment... it made the process even worse!

If you know someone that is going through a hardship and is behind on their mortgage, please don't hesitate to call them and give them my information.  I am not a miracle worker... but I understand the process and can make the sale a reality.  If you don't feel comfortable with a call, just call me and I will make contact with them myself!

Thanks for reading my blog... and I look forward to talking with you soon!  If I can ever be of any assistance to you, please don't hesitate to call on me at any time!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring has Sprung... Spring Ahead... Where is Spring?

Living in LA (that is Lower Alabama) the seasons are not always really strong... but the calm after Summer... bringing Fall and the calm after Winter bringing Spring are usually the most welcome times of the year.  Although the Winters are not very strong here, the change is such a wonderful change... and temperatures are exciting.

As soon as the "changing of the clocks" this year as we sprang forward to Daylight Savings Time, the weather changed drastically... and nature began its course.  March winds usually blow in blustery cold air that is only neutralized by the beautiful skies that reward with that special spring time sun!  Trees begin to bud and flower... plants begin a slow progression to green... and eventually we have a beautiful landscape showing off the great relief from winter.

This year we sprang into summer rather than spring... It is hard to believe that lawnmowers are cranking up in March.  Days and Nights got so warm that enjoyable spring weather and adventures... almost did not exist.  Hot and humid days in this season should not exist... there is supposed to be a retrieve from the boldest of temperatures for a few weeks before the onslaught of Summer.

Even though I complain... I absolutely love this time of year.  It is the best!  No heat bills, no air conditioning bills, and the ability to enjoy the outdoors is great!  Being able to get out and enjoy the yard, walking a round of golf, or just getting out to get all those natural vitamins offered by the sun is just great!

Just as the seasons bring new climates in nature... most people are getting geared up for spring cleaning... inside and out... and considering whether or not they want to get their home on the market to sell.  If you are thinking about making a move and getting your present home sold and finding a new place to live... just give me a call!  We will "Spring" into action!

Call, text, or email me if I can help you in any way!



Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving... Nicknamed "Turkey Day"

Thanksgiving is a holiday much like Christmas, where most of the value and most of the importance has been lost!  I am as guilty as the next for teasing about "turkey day" rather than trying to find and recognize the importance of our beginnings as a nation.  One Nation Under God!  Our need to be Thankful!

In reconsidering the plight of the Pilgrims... we could all take a little trip down memory lane and see what events led up to the event.  The early pilgrims had bravely crossed the Atlantic and landed near Plymouth Rock in the late fall cold.  Over 40 of the original Pilgrims lost their lives due to the elements and not being prepared.  Over the next year they learned how to survive from their new found friends. "the Indians" or Natvive Americans   It is said that as they survived they huddled together in the extreme cold and sang hymns and Psalms for comfort.  The festive occasion happened the next fall after a bountiful crop of pumpkins, corn, and beans even after a horrible drought.  They are supposed to have invited their "Indian Friends" and had a joint communal feast of about 90 people to celebrate.

At my household, we will have the thanksgiving "feast" as it is called, although it will be far less than a feast!  But it will be no less of a celebration of Thanksgiving.  While talking to friends and associates today, many things have come up that we should be most grateful for!  Well being!  Comfort!  Love!  The Grace of God!  Friends that have stood by you even in the worst of times!  Sharings in your family that make you a "Family."  Evolving from not such good times to not as bad times. 

As the Pilgrims, we all have a pilgrimage that takes us from better times to times that are not so good, and occasionally to good times... but alas, the cycle continues.  It does not matter so much where we "are" in our lives right now as much as where we have been and where we are going.  We can be thankful for all things... even if it is a bad time in life, thankful that we don't have to dwell there but are in a journey moving past that bad time. 

This is the only way that we can hope and exist.  If we focus on what is so bad in life, we never realize the blessings and great things in life that are ours for the taking.  It is never an easy task.  But to be able to survive the coldest of the winter, to go without the nourishment we want, to make life more bearable for each others, and to survive the extreme drought of life, we can be thankful that our journey is continuing... and this too can and will pass! 

I feel a need every year to find a way to help someone that has a worse plight than myself.  In the good times,it was an easy thing to do.  In the bad times, it is not so easy.  But our foundation and our lives are built not on being so needy and self centered, but in finding ways to help others who may have a worse situation than we.  And then thanking God first of all for our bounty!  Then thanking all the others that have touched our lives and made us what we are. 

So, my friends and family, Thank you one and all!  You have made my life so much better than it would have been without you!  Yes, even you (this is supposed to be a comedic attempt to thank those friends and clients that were not optimal friends...LOL) Mr &/or Ms Pessimism.  I love you all, and I hope to continue to have you as friends in my life forever!  And thank you my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without Him, I have nothing at all.

Thanks for reading my blog...  If I can help you with any of your real estate needs... please don't hesitate to call!  205 229-3013


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Day for Rememberance from a Grateful Nation

As I try and reflect on life, it is hard to say if I am fortunate in the fact that I never had the privilege to serve my country in the Military or if it is an unfortunate thing.  My dad and all his brothers served our great nation in the military... and most of my mom's brothers did as well.  Most of my male cousins have served... With that said, only one of our brave family members was killed in action; giving the ultimate sacrifice for his nation and for me and for all others who may read these words. 

I was at my Uncle;s Funeral service not long ago.  He was a decorated war hero and a "lifer" in the military.  The army Sargent gave my aunt an American Flag, and said that he presented it on behalf of  "A GRATEFUL NATION."   My Grandmother had one of those flags, and several of my aunts have one as well.  At each and every service, those precious words were spoken to a surviving family member.  It seems ironic that it was the military reminding the family member that our nation was grateful for his sacrifice and devotion for his country!

History tells us that Veteran's Day began at the ending of World War I.  I think it was called the war to end all wars... although it was not.  Others called it "the Great War" which I am sure it was!  Although the treaty was signed much later... the fighting ceased when the Allied forces and the German Army called for a cease fire and signed a document of Treaty.  It was to be signed on the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of November, 1918.

This picture was taken near a church in Stenay, Meuse in France at 10:58 AM just prior to the meeting and the signing of the Armistice Treaty as a declaration of Germany's defeat. The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m on the each November 11.

Painting depicting the signature of the armistice in the railway carriage. Behind the table, from right to left, general Weygand, Marshal Foch (standing) and british admiral Rosslyn Wemyss. In the foreground, Matthias Erzberger, general major Detlof von Winterfeldt (with helmet), Alfred von Oberndorff and Ernst Vanselow.

Of course, the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, several months later.  And The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

A Grateful nation indeed...  But, more wars came and they were just as evil, just as bloody and just as deadly.  The Bible teaches us that there will always be wars, and rumors of wars.  So, indeed, we need to be a grateful nation.  We need to have a military might... and we need heroes that will make the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me.  I read some one's note a few days ago that said something like..."Someone in our military service writes a blank check and swears an oath when signing up for service ultimately to die for his country."

At another hero's funeral this year, there were rumors that war protesters were going to be protesting at or near the funeral.  I guess trying to make a point.  While the fallen hero had died for them and for their right to protest... it just does not seem appropriate for a memorial service to be littered with that kind of action.  A Grateful Nation!

I would personally like to say to several members of my family... a warm thank you for serving for me... for the nation.  There is no order to my madness, and hopefully I don't miss anyone...

Pete Pittman... Killed in Action, World War II at the battle of the bulge.
CW Pittman... My Dad... served in World War II
Jimmy Kyle Pittman... my Dad's brother... Served after World War II
Charlie G Pittman... my Dad's brother... Served after World War II
Billy M. Faulk... my Mom's bother...Served in Korea, Vietnam & more, retired after twenty something years
Robert Williamson ... my cousin... served during the Vietnam War
Jessie Lamar Williamson...  my cousin... served during the Vietnam War
Harold Hagler... my cousin... served during the Vietnam War and retired after twenty something years
Johnny Faulk...  my cousin... served after the Vietnam War
Mark Pittman... my cousin... served in the Marine Corp

Thanks to you all... proud men and women of our armed services!  I hope you know that we are really a Grateful nation!