Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Administration Announces Refinance Program for Underwater Borrowers

Administration Announces Refinance Program for Underwater Borrowers

It’s official. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) unveiled a new, revamped government mortgage refinancing program Monday.
The initiative involves a series of rule changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to allow more underwater homeowners to reduce their mortgage debt by taking advantage of today’s rock-bottom interest rates.
Mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and originally sold to the GSEs on or before May 31, 2009 are eligible for the program.
Under the revised HARP guidelines, the 125 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ceiling has been eliminated. Previously, only borrowers who owed up to 25 percent more than their home was worth could participate in HARP. That limitation has now been removed. The program will continue to be available to borrowers with LTV ratios above 80 percent.
The new program enhancements address several other key aspects of HARP that industry participants say have restricted its impact, including eliminating certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers, as well as allowing mortgage insurers to automatically transfer coverage from the original loan to the new loan.
In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have done away with the requirement for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuation model) estimate already provided by the GSEs, and they’ve agreed to waive certain representations and warranties on loans refinanced through the program.
Not only are loans eligible for HARP considered “seasoned loans,” but a refinance helps borrowers strengthen their household finances, reducing the risk they pose to the GSEs. Thus, FHFA feels reps and warranties are not necessary for some of these loans.
With Monday’s announcement, the end date for HARP has been extended from June 30, 2012 to December 31, 2013.
The GSEs will release program instructions to lenders by the middle of next month, and FHFA expects some lenders will be ready to accept applications by December 1.
Since HARP was rolled out in early 2009, approximately 1 million homeowners have refinanced their mortgage loans through the program. FHFA estimates that with the revised guidelines, another 1 million will be able to take advantage of the program.
To qualify, borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments, but government officials believe by openingHARP up to more homeowners with higher thresholds of negative equity, it will help to prevent foreclosures by erasing the primary motivation behind strategic defaults.
Economists at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business estimate that roughly 35 percent of mortgage defaults are strategic. Numerous industry studies have found that homeowners who owe significantly more than their home is worth are more likely to throw in the towel and walk away from their mortgage debt even if they have the ability to continue making their payments.
“We anticipate that the package of improvements being made to HARP will reduce the Enterprises credit risk, bring greater stability to mortgage markets, and reduce foreclosure risks,” FHFA stated in its announcement Monday.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also released statements in response to the announcement.
Michael J. Williams, Fannie Mae’s president and CEO, called the program a “welcome development.”
“By removing some of the impediments to refinance, lenders can more easily participate in the program allowing more eligible homeowners to take advantage of the low interest rates,” Williams stated.
Charles E. Haldeman, Jr., CEO of Freddie Mac said, “These changes mark another step on the road to recovery for the nation’s housing market.”

Friday, 23 December 2011

JAG helps our less fortunate furry friends

JAG helps our less fortunate furry friends

What an AMAZING group of people I work with, I am truly beyond words!  I was planning on picking up the shelter donation boxes Friday, but since Sherman Oaks and Sunset were completely overflowing, I made an earlier pick-up today, but will still be picking up items from Beverly Hills, tomorrow.  I was completely floored by the amount of items collected from everyone, large dog beds in particular which I know are very expensive!  The shelter staff could not believe how Realtors especially, in such a challenging economy, are still so generous and giving.  After visiting both offices, my S.U.V. was packed to the gills with not an ounce of room to spare, nor a window to see out of….and this was my third trip so far this season, WOW!
I left the shelter in tears, as it’s always a bittersweet experience delivering the donations, knowing they won’t all make it out of there….but the one thing I do know is that as a group, we sure made a difference in making that hell hole a lot more tolerable for a lot of unfortunate animals, who probably don’t deserve to be there!  Warm beds, toys, treats and good food go a long way, and it makes an unbelievable difference in an animal’s moral and temperament, making it much more adoptable!  I know I’ll sleep better tonight, knowing that they undoubtedly are, as well.  They may not have a voice, but J.A.G. spoke very loudly on their behalf today.  So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! 
I hope you all enjoy beautiful holidays with your families, I know your generosity and kind hearts will bring you lots of wonderful blessings in 2012, and I am humbled to work with such wonderful, giving people.
With love and gratitude,

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Low housing inventory means more demand!

Already Low, Housing Inventory Drops More

The number of homes listed for sale in the U.S. fell for the sixth straight month in November to the lowest level since the housing bust began in 2006.
The 2.01 million homes listed for sale was down by 4.8% from October and by 21.3% from one year ago, according to data compiled by
While visible inventories are down sharply in many markets from one year ago, it’s not clear whether that is helping housing markets because many buyers have been complaining for months about a lack of attractive supply. Moreover, inventories could rise in the coming year if banks begin to become more proactive in moving properties through the foreclosure process. Banks own hundreds of thousands of properties and millions more are in some stage of delinquency and foreclosure.
The figures include sale listings from more than 900 multiple-listing services across the country. They don’t cover all homes for sale, including those that are “for sale by owner” and other properties that aren’t marketed through multiple-listing services.
Inventories typically decline in November on a monthly basis as the holiday season begins, but this year’s late autumn drop-off was larger than usual. Over the past 28 years, listings have typically fallen by about 1.8% on a national basis from October to November, according to Zelman & Associates, a real-estate research firm.
Inventories were down in all but one of the 30 major metro areas during November, with an increase of 1.5% reported in New York. The largest declines were reported in Seattle (-10.7%), San Francisco (-9.4%) and Boston (-8.4%).
Meanwhile, the median asking price has been unchanged over the past six months but was up by 4.1% from one year ago, when sales were depressed following the expiration of home-buyer tax credits.
For the year, median asking prices are down most sharply in Detroit (-12.5%), Chicago (-12.3%), and Atlanta (-7.7%). Median asking prices are up by 29.5% in Miami, by 10.5% in Phoenix, and by 10.3% in Washington, D.C. Median asking prices track the midpoint price of all homes listed for sale and can be skewed up and down by the types of properties being listed in any given month.
Of 146 markets tracked by, median asking prices are up over the past 12 months in 94 of them, flat in 21, and down in 31.
Follow Nick @NickTimiraos

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Bookkeeper who specializes in helping manage your monthly bills!

What a GREAT service! Kim is actually my business bookkeeper, but am going to utilize her managing monthly bill service to free up my time, so I can focus on helping Ken recover and SELLING more real estate! I highly recommend her!
We are excited about 2012! Books by Kim specializes in bookkeeping services for seniors. We will come to you and help you manage your monthly bills. We will help you manage your monthly budget and make sure bills are prioritized and paid on time. We charge a flat monthly rate for this service. Call for further information - 626-392-7446. Ask for Kim.

Monday, 12 December 2011

John Aaroe Group - Adopting Families for the Holidays

We Are Adopting Families for the Holidays!

We have for the past few years at John Aaroe Group adopted families for the holidays.  It is such a rewarding experience for us every year.  We get just as much out of the experience as our wonderful families. Here are some details about the program sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.  For over 25 years they have provided families with this special program during the holiday season.
The Adopt-A-Family Program assists low income families serviced by the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS).  This longstanding tradition matches sponsors with families that are undergoing a hardship during the holiday season. The process is easy:  DPSS will identify families receiving aid who are in need during the holiday season.
The families provide their consent for release of limited personal information to the sponsor. This information includes their name, telephone number, address, family size, and, most importantly, a “Wish List.”  With this information in hand, sponsors assemble personally selected gifts that are within their means and that come from the heart.  As a sponsor, you contact the family and make arrangements for delivery or pick up of items.

Monday, 21 November 2011


Land is between 3255 & 3247 Descanso in hip & trendy Silver Lake--ample lot comes with plans to build 2 gorgeous contemporary units (~2800-300 sq. ft.)!!!  Live in one and let the rent from the other pay your mortgage!!!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Five Eco, Easy + Cool Things to Do with Pumpkin Guts.

Five Eco, Easy + Cool Things to Do with Pumpkin Guts.

It’s said that putting the insides of a pumpkin down your drain—whether you have a garbage disposal or not—is bad for your plumbing, as the stringy stuff gets caught and dries in your pipes, causing clogging.
Plus who wants to be wasteful?

Here are 5 cool things to do with leftover pumpkin carving scraps:

photo courtesy Ian Burt

1) Roast the Seeds.

Separate the seeds from the other junk and rinse. Place on an oiled baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven until toasted (about 25 minutes), stir after ten minutes.
Flavor your own way:
*chili powder and cumin
*Italian seasoning
*garlic salt
*cinnamon and sugar
*Worcestershire sauce

2) Kid’s Toys.

Kids love slime and what’s better than organic slime? Mix it with some fake blood to create guts that can be used as part of a costume or just to play with.
Need red dye for your fake blood recipe? Try beet powder + water.

3) Bird Food or Compost.

If you really aren’t in the mood to mess with the insides you can feed the goo to the birds and/or add it to your compost pile. Bigger birds should be able to handle the seeds, but if you want to be super nice, roast them all up for them (do not add salt). The “meat” of the pumpkin can also be fed to the birds, for added nutritional value.

4) Puree.

For baking pie, cakes, cookies; for cooking soups; for making punch.
Most websites suggest not to use a regular jack-o-lantern pumpkin to make puree but to buy a sweet pumpkin instead (smaller and harder to find). I say there is no harm in trying it out if you already got it—but be forewarned.
To cook fresh pulp, remove the seeds and strings from a pumpkin shell and cut it into chunks. Bake the pieces, covered with foil, on a greased cookie sheet at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, peel off the skin and puree the pumpkin meat in a food processor.

5) Decorations.

Use the goo to add slime and scary stuff to your Halloween d├ęcor. Can be used in haunted houses or to make the ever popular puking pumpkin.
Photo Credit: Tom Nardone
Also check out these badass pumpkin carving ideas at Extreme