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Understanding Foreclosures

It is an unfortunate commentary, but when economic activity declines and housing activity decreases, more real property enters the foreclosure process. High interest rates and creative financing arrangements are also contributing factors.

When prices are rapidly accelerating during a real estate “bonanza”, many people go to any lengths available to get into the market through investments in vacation homes, rental housing and trading up to more expensive properties. In some cases, this results in the taking on of high interest rate payments and second, third and even fourth deeds of trust. Many buyers anticipate that interest rates will drop and home prices will continue to escalate. It is possible that neither will occur and borrowers may be faced with large balloon payments becoming due. When payments cannot be met, the foreclosure process looms on the horizon.

In the foreclosure process, one thing should be kept in mind: as a general rule, a lender would rather receive payments than receive a home due to a foreclosure. Lenders are not in the business of selling real estate and will often try to accommodate property owners who are having payment problems. The best plan is to contact the lender before payment problems arise. If monthly payments are too hefty, it may be that a lender will be able to make some alternative payment arrangements until the owner’s financial situation improves.

Let’s say, however, that a property owner has missed payments and has not made any alternate arrangements with the lender. In this case, the lender may decide to begin the foreclosure process. Under such circumstances, the lender, whether a bank, savings and loan or private party, will request that the trustee, often a title company, file a notice of default with the county recorder’s office. A copy of the notice is mailed to the property owner.

If the default is due to a balloon payment not being made when due, the lender can require full payment on the entire outstanding loan as the only way to cure the default. If the default is not cured, the lender may direct the trustee to sell the property at a public sale.

In cases of a public sale, a notice of sale must be published in a local newspaper and posted in a public place, usually the courthouse, for three consecutive weeks. Once the notice of sale has been recorded, the property owner has until 5 days prior to the published sale date to bring the loan current. If the owner cures the default by making up the payments, the deed of trust will be reinstated and regular monthly payments will continue as before.

After this time, it may still be possible for the property owner to work out a postponement on the sale with the lender. However, if no postponement is reached, the property goes on the block. At the sale, buyers must pay the amount of their bid in cash, cashier’s check or other instrument acceptable to the trustee. A lender may “credit bid” up to the amount of the obligation being foreclosed upon.

With the recent attention given to foreclosure, there also has been corresponding interest in buying foreclosed properties. However, caveat emptor: buyer beware. Foreclosed properties are very likely to be burdened with overdue taxes, liens and clouded titles. A buyer should do his homework and ask a local title company for information concerning these outstanding liens and encumbrances. Title insurance may or may not be available following a foreclosure sale and various exceptions may be included in any title insurance policy issued to a buyer of a foreclosed property.

Your local title company will be happy to provide additional information.

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Shawn Ramsey
Brokers Real Estate
1602 Forest Glen Ct.
Pantego, TX 76013
Office: 682-233-0224
Cell:    817-360-9045
Email: sramsey@dfwbre.com

Testimonials

"Shawn made buying my first home a breeze! He took the headache out of all the paperwork, the inspection process, and the endless search for the perfect house. In two weeks of working with him, we found exactly what we were looking for. He is knows the ins and outs of foreclosures. I'm thankful for the referral! " Jennifer Shoemaker
"Hey Shawn! I was just thinking about you today because I noticed it was the 23rd - its been 4 months since we've closed. I can't believe its already been that long. I don't know if I thanked you enough for everything you did for me and Josh. So, here's another "thank you." We were pretty clueless on the process because it was our first home purchase, and you made us feel so comfortable. We love our house! Our summer was sort of crazy, so we're still making it our "home." But its still wonderful even if I still have some boxes here and there. Anyways, I'll let you go because I know you're busy busy! Oh, thanks so much for the fridge! You saved us some money and shopping! Thanks again for everything!!" Julie Calahan
"We were relocating from Pennsylvania to Dallas and had a very short window in which to find a house. We selected online the houses we wanted to see prior to our arrival and Shawn arranged and mapped out three days worth of houses to view. By the time we left we had a house. While still in Pittsburgh Shawn helped us finalize our closing from a far and assisted us with finding numbers to utility companies and or anything we needed. We have moved every year for the past 5 years and this by far was the best experience yet!" Withheld
"Shawn was extremely helpful, efficient and organized. He respected our busy schedules, only requested necessary information and worked well with our schedules to assist us in finding the perfect home." Rick Ybarra
"It was a great experience. Shawn was an outstanding communicator and went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable throughout the process. He kept our best interest in mind at all times and made the purchase of our home the easiest real estate transaction we've ever had. Simply outstanding." Chris Hill
"He worked with me very well and explained how the purchase process works." Withheld
"I can't begin to tell you how FANTASTIC Shawn is! Shawn always had my best interests in mind. He never tried to force anything on me and ALWAYS told me when things weren't up to par. I grew to trust and value Shawn's opinions and expert knowledge of not only the real estate biz but also this neighborhood and the real estate market. I was totally terrified of buying a house by myself, but Shawn was there by my side from the beginning to the end and STILL called to check up on me after we closed. Explaining every step (over and over sometimes) and calming my fears... Shawn was great. Thanks for SUCH a great time Shawn. I'm almost sorry that we're done buying a house! :-) It's been a great pleasure working with you and getting to know you!" Brenda Schumacher
"There were difficult situations that popped up and Shawn was always knowledgeable and available at all times to solve the problem." Withheld
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