Underwater Properties Continue to Plunge

Underwater Properties Continue to Plunge

By: Joshua C Anderson
Colwell Banker/Housing Assist Chief Correspondent


Los Angeles- In a recent statement released by Zillow.com, 28.4 percent of single family residences are underwater, in other words they owe more on their home than it is actually worth, and in most cases that means hundreds of thousands of dollars. Large metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Chicago, to name a few, have nearly 50 percent of homes underwater, and in some cities, its worse. Owning an underwater mortgage is just the tip of the iceberg, once in that position it’s very likely that a number of other problems will occur that may eventually lead to foreclosure.  These problems can range from loss of income, illness, death and divorce, all of which can certainly cause financial constraints.

The original HAMP or Home Affordable Modification Program was regarded by industry experts as a failure for a number of reasons. One of the most significant aspects of the HAMP failure was that already troubled borrowers were once again set up for failure, once they defaulted on their trial payment; foreclosure proceedings began almost immediately, further deterring their situation. Another key factor was that the guidelines became too stringent for homeowners to qualify for. As a result, more than 80% of those who applied or even qualified had eventually either been denied or foreclosed.

When faced with such a dire situation, most homeowners decided they needed to make a change, for some however that meant walking away. A recent study showed that homeowners who decided to short sale rather than a foreclosure were more likely to be back on track financially within a two year period. The ramifications to their credit and livelihood were greatly reduced when they short sold the property. The only down side to short selling is that the homeowner needs to be certain that the company or realtor representing them has adequate experience. Many fly by night realtors claim to have the credentials to complete a short sale, however after months of unsuccessful negotiations, it becomes increasingly clear that they were in over their heads.

California based Housing Assist of America, www.housingassist.com, has recently teamed up with Real Estate giant Coldwell Banker in an effort to streamline the short sale process for both agents and perspective clients and the results are phenomenal, 92 percent of the clients who apply and stay cooperative throughout the process end up with favorable results. Lenders are now encouraging homeowners who have exhausted all of their option to opt for the short sale.

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