Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Obtain Your Certificate of Eligibility

I often get asked how one can obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, so I decided to ask an expert and share the information with you. Kevin Pearia blogs for VA Mortgage, the nation’s leading VA-dedicated lender.  In 2010 alone, VAMC helped secure over $1 Billion in VA financing for military members and their families.

VA home loans offer veterans and active duty service members a great opportunity to purchase for zero money down.  Not only can eligible military members benefit from not having to pay a down payment, but they also benefit from competitive interest rates and flexible loan terms.  Eligibility requirements for a VA loan are relatively lax, however, military members interested in securing a VA loan to finance the purchase of their home, will be required to submit a Certificate of Eligibility.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility?
A Certificate of Eligibility is a form given by the Veteran’s Administration office which states whether or not a service member is eligible for a VA Home Loan.  Military members who are able to receive a COE generally meet the following guidelines:
•    Have served at least 3 months on active duty during war time or served 181 days on active duty during a time without conflict
•    Have served 6 years in the military Reserves or National Guard

How Do I Obtain my COE?
Potential borrowers have two ways they can receive their Certificate of Eligibility: either they can let the lender get it for them or do so themselves.  Lenders are able to obtain COEs through Automated Certificates of Eligibility, an online system otherwise known as ACE which only lenders have access to.  With this program, lenders are able to access COEs in a matter of minutes only using the service member’s name a social security number.  However, those interested in allowing a lender to find their COE should note that the program works best for those who:
•    Are first-time VA Home Loan users
•    Were discharged after 1980
•    Served for at least 2 years on active duty

ACE will not certify a military member who is a part of the Reserves or National Guard, with a previous VA foreclosure, or with out the necessary time of service, as well as surviving spouses.  These individuals may have to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility themselves, and the process is a little more time consuming.  To receive a Certificate of Eligibility manually, military members must complete VA Form 26-1880 and submit it in one of the following ways:
∑    Online:  To fill out and submit VA Form 26-1880, prospective borrowers need to visit the Veterans Information Portal.  There they will find easy to follow guidelines for filling out the form.
∑    By Mail:  Surviving spouses may only submit a request for a COE by mail, and must submit VA Form 26-1817 to do so.  Military members must still submit VA Form 26-1880.  Both types of forms must be mailed to the VA Winston-Salem Eligibility Office.

A VA Home Loan is one of the most innovative lending programs on the market when it comes to helping military members achieve homeownership.  Borrowers will reap many benefits, and will be able to purchase the home of their dreams with little out-of-pocket expense.  All they need to do is to call a VA Loan Specialist and secure their Certificate of Eligibility, and they will be on the right track to becoming a home owner.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Jobs Equals More Sales

It’s no secret that job growth would benefit real estate and the overall economy. Job creation expects to be a major topic of tonight’s State of the Union address by President Obama.

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE), however, is already reporting an improved hiring outlook for the next six months.

Some 42% of companies surveyed expect to hire more workers in the first half of 2011. That’s a serious increase over last year at this time, when only 29% planned to hire. Another 51% expect no change in hiring which, in these times, is not exactly bad news. At least these firms don’t plan on cutting anyone (which is what the remaining 7% in this survey said).

Consumer confidence is also improving. The Consumer Confidence Index for January rose to the highest level in eight months. While the January rating is still nearly 30 points below what is considered a normal or healthy consumer mindset, it does appear our nation is taking baby steps in a more positive direction.

And with such improvements will come a greater sense of job security and an increased likelihood that people will want to buy or invest in real estate.

For additional information, please contact Susan Allen, Agent at Susan Allen & Associates 310.704.0815 or
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Wild Coyote "Fat Cat" - Wine Pick of the Month January, 2011

Manucci Winery


Wild Coyote
"Fat Cat" Zinfandel

Retail Price: $35.00 



A Great Exhibit of What You Can Accomplish When You Let The Fruit Speak For Itself! This Is A Sophisticated Zinfandel With Tightly Driven Flavors. Full Bodied, Powerful, & Well Balanced. Bold With Pronounced Fruit, & Good Acidity. All the Characteristic Traits of Rustic yet Elegant! Aged 20-months entirely in French & American Oak, only 309-cases produced

Manucci Winery, Inc.
3775 Adelaida Rd.
Paso Robles, CA 93446
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Monday, January 17, 2011

House Prices – Up Or Down In 2011?

How soon will it be before people finally start using the term “depression” to describe what has happened to the U.S. housing market?  It has been four and a half years since house prices began to decline, and they are still falling.  In fact, U.S. housing prices have now fallen further during this economic downturn than they did during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Just think about that.  We are now in unprecedented territory, and most analysts believe that U.S. house prices will continue to decline in 2011.  Mortgage rates have been moving up, mortgage delinquencies are on the rise again, U.S. mortgage lenders have really tightened lending standards and “foreclosuregate” continues to plague the entire mortgage industry.  It would be really nice for the overall economy if house prices did go up in 2011, but right now it looks like that simply is not going to happen.

For many U.S. homeowners, all of this is absolutely sickening.  Millions of homeowners are stuck in houses that they desperately want to sell, but they don’t want to take huge losses on their investments either.

Millions of other U.S. homeowners are stuck paying on mortgages that are for far, far more than their homes are now worth.

Could you imagine paying $400,000 for a home that is now only worth $200,000?
Unfortunately, U.S. house prices just continue to decline.

According to CoreLogic, U.S. house prices have fallen for four months in a row, and in November (the last month CoreLogic has released numbers for) housing prices actually fell 5.1% on a year-over-year basis.

Sadly, house prices have dropped so much at this point that we have entered truly historic territory.
According to Zillow, U.S. house prices have declined a whopping 26 percent since their peak in June 2006.  Amazingly, this is even farther than house prices fell during the Great Depression.  From 1928 to 1933, U.S. housing prices only fell 25.9 percent.  A brand new record has now been established.

So have we hit bottom yet?

Will house prices recover in 2011?

Unfortunately, every indication seems to point to even more declines in U.S. home prices.  The following are five key factors that will continue to drive house prices down….

#1 Mortgage Rates Are Going Up
Over the past couple of months, mortgage rates in the United States have been moving up fairly steadily.  That is going to make mortgages even more expensive for potential home buyers.

#2 Mortgage Delinquencies Are Increasing Again
As we approached the end of 2010, the number of mortgages in the U.S. that are “seriously delinquent” started to creep up once again.  That means that we are likely to see another bump in foreclosures at some point in 2011.  There are already way, way too many homes on the market, so more foreclosures will only add even more supply to a market that already has way too many homes for sale.

#3 Mortgage Lenders Have Really Tightened Standards
Most large financial institutions have responded to the mistakes of the past decade by really, really tightening mortgage standards.  It is now much harder to get a home loan in the United States.  But if less people can qualify for a mortgage that means that less people will be out there buying homes.
#4 The Entire Mortgage Industry Continues To Be Mired In Legal Problems

Foreclosuregate is a huge story that simply refuses to go away.  For example, just the other day the highest court in Massachusetts voided the seizure of two homes after the big banks involved failed to prove that they actually held the mortgages at the time they foreclosed.  This case made headlines all over the nation, and precedents such as this will encourage even more homeowners to challenge their foreclosures in court.  This is going to be really bad for the big mortgage lenders and it is going to really slow down the pace of mortgage lending.

#5 The Underlying Economy Continues To Be Very Poor
The American people cannot afford to buy good homes if they do not have good jobs.  But today there are seven million fewer middle class jobs than there were about ten years ago.  As 2007 began, there were just over 1 million Americans that had been unemployed for half a year or longer.  Today, there are over 6 million Americans that have been unemployed for half a year or longer.  Until there is a “jobs recovery” there simply is not going to be a “housing recovery”.

There are very few top economists that are actually optimistic about the U.S. housing market in 2011.  In fact, there seems to be an emerging consensus among analysts that house prices in America are going to decline quite substantially this year….
*Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics says that U.S. house prices are “double dipping” and that we will likely see another 5 percent decline in housing prices during 2011.
*Economist Nouriel Roubini recently declared to CNBC that the “double-dip” for the U.S. housing market has already arrived….

“It’s pretty clear the housing market has already double dipped.”
*Standard & Poor’s analysts are projecting that U.S. home prices will fall another seven to ten percent during 2011.

*Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries expects home prices to continue to fall until at least mid-2011 and he is convinced that more hard times for the U.S. real estate market are still to come….

“Zillow believes that we’ll see bottom in national home values in Q2 or Q3 of 2011 (more likely the latter), that home values will fall another 5-7% nationally (in the Zillow Home Value Index) between now and then, and that we’ll experience a very long, protracted bottom before home value appreciation returns to historically normal rates.”

So it looks like the U.S. housing crash is going to continue for a while.

For those that are seeking to buy a house or that are seeking to buy some land, there could potentially be some very good deals out there over the next year or two.

So what do you think is going to happen to house prices in 2011?
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Friday, January 14, 2011

December Foreclosure Activity Mixed on West Coast: Report

A recent report by ForeclosureRadar shows unexpectedly mixed foreclosure activity in its coverage area for the month of December.
The California-based firm tracks foreclosures and provides auction updates for Arizona, California, Washington, Nevada, and Oregon.
According to the company, foreclosure starts were down in Arizona, California, and Washington; flat in Nevada; and higher in Oregon. Foreclosure sales were down in Arizona and Oregon; flat in California and up in Nevada and Washington.
According to a statement by Foreclosure Radar, the results were surprising because most of the big lenders service all of the states they cover. The company speculated that the differences in activity across the states could be in part because of the differing laws between states that servicers must abide by.
“Servicers appear to have their hands full and it may be a while before foreclosure activity stabilizes,” said Sean O’Toole, CEOand founder of ForeclosureRadar. “While it seems unlikely at the moment, it is our hope that 2011 will bring clarity to the foreclosures process for all involved.”
In California notice of default filings declined 16.7 percent in December, and notice of trustee filings rose 1.5 percent. Foreclosure sales dropped .07 percent. The time it took investors to resell properties purchased at auction is currently 157 days on average for the state.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011- Short Sales Could Improve the So Cal Real Estate Market.

Taking a look at the local housing market and what we can expect in the new year, there will likely be a spike in foreclosures. But that could be offset by short sales becoming easier.

Susan Varley, owner of Real Pros Real Estate in Corona, is showing a house for sale that was once a foreclosure. Believe it or not, it is somewhat of a rarity. For the past several months, foreclosures all but dried up, even in the Inland Empire.

"The truth is, there's not a lot of foreclosures right now," said Varley.
But in 2011, that's expected to change.

This now-remodeled house will likely face more competition. Banks had a moratorium on foreclosures, especially during the holidays.

But this year, some experts believe banks will release more foreclosures into the housing market.
Varley doesn't think that will change things much in Southern California.

"I think we will see an increase in foreclosures, but I don't know if a dramatic enough increase to really impact our market," said Varley.

What happens with foreclosures in 2011 may be dependent on what happens with "short sales." Short sales are when a home is sold for less than the property owner owes on it. In the past, the banks have taken quite a bit of time to do a short sale. But that's about to change.

"The banks are getting a better handle on the short-sale process, and the time frames are speeding up quite a bit," said realtor Mike Belger. "This property we're standing in right now has been on the market with a short-sale negotiator about three and a half months, and we just actually got a full approval today on it."

Even though short sales like on this Corona condominium are 40 to 50 percent of the Inland Empire market, it used to take six to nine months or longer to complete a short sale, and that was not good for most buyers.

"You waited nine months. By the time you got your approval, the buyer was gone or had bought something else," said Belger.

But with faster short sales and more inventory at good prices, 2011 is looking up.
"I wouldn't call it a banner year, but I expect it to get better than it was last year," said Belger. "2011 will be better than 2010."

(Copyright ©2011 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.) 
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