Loan Mod Program Scam Alert

by Rodney Forbes on April 24, 2009

The recent law enacted by the federal government designed to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes by modifying the interest rate and/or term of the loan has spawned all sorts of bogus companies preying on unsuspecting homeowners.

Many homeowners who are behind on payments are now being contacted by certain “loan modification” companies who guarantee just about anything for a fee. Over 1,000 of these firms are now being investigated for fraud.

There are legitimate companies who work with homeowners to save their homes by modifying their mortgages. But who can tell the legitimate from the scam artists? The following are some warning signs.

* You’re asked for upfront fees.

* You’re guaranteed success.

* You’re asked to pay by wire.

* You can’t get them on the phone after paying.

* You’re told to stop paying your mortgage.

* You’re told not to contact your lender or attorney.

* You’re pressured into signing documents you don’t understand.

* You’re asked to sign over your house title.

A company who really can help you should only ask for payment once they have earned it…when the loan has been modified to where the homeowner can afford it.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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New Simplified Tax Plan Unveiled

by Rodney Forbes on April 15, 2009

The first rough draft of President Obama’s simplified tax plan has been leaked to the press. The details are highlighted at the end of the article.

The following excerpt courtesy of Liz Sidoti

The president noted that he’s asked his economic advisers to thoroughly review how to simplify the tax code and report back to him by year’s end.

“We need to simplify a monstrous tax code that is far too complicated for most Americans to understand, but just complicated enough for the insiders who know how to game the system,” Obama said.

He added: “It will take time to undo the damage of years of carve-outs and loopholes. But I want every American to know that we will rewrite the tax code so that it puts your interests over any special interest. And we will make it quicker, easier, and less expensive for you to file a return, so that April 15 is not a date that is approached with dread each year.”

line 1 Total Income $_____________

line 2 Pay This Amount $_____________ enter line 1 on line 2.

Seems simple enough to me.

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Clark Howard Buying = Real Estate Market Bottom!

by Rodney Forbes on April 14, 2009

This video is a great example of what bargains are out there for home buyers, especially first time home buyers. Foreclosures and short sales make up the majority of pending home sales in the Palm Beach Gardens and the Palm Beach County area.

I bought my first home in the Atlanta area where Clark Howard lives and it seemed like the same deal he is looking at. I still own the home and it’s rented as a long term investment. I can say without a doubt: if Clark Howard is thinking of buying a home the market has definitely reached a bottom. He’s a notorious penny-pincher and has an eye for a great deal.

You can see an example of a similar deal I closed in the Port St. Lucie area where the home originally sold for $292,000 and we negotiated for the buyers a price of $140,000!

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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First Time Buyers Get Home at 50% Discount

by Rodney Forbes on April 14, 2009

First time home buyers Katherine and Haas weren’t sure if they could qualify for their first home. They certainly weren’t ready to get an almost new home for 50% of what it sold for 3 years ago.

The 4 bedroom 3 bath bank owned property in Port St. Lucie sold in 2006 for $292,000. Katherine and Haas were able to get the home under contract for $140,000. The seller also paid most of the closing costs for the home.

Katherine credits her realtor, Rodney Forbes with Forbes Realty of South Florida, for finding and negotiating the purchase for her. Rodney really enjoys helping first time home buyers.

A referral from another successful first time home buyer with Rodney, Katherine has found a realtor for life and will be referring Rodney to her friends and family as well.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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Palm Beach Gardens Florida Market Report April 6, 2009

by Rodney Forbes on April 14, 2009

Rodney Forbes with Forbes Realty of South Florida discusses the real estate market conditions in Palm Beach Gardens Florida for the week of April 6, 2009.

Of the pending sales, over 50% are short sales and bank owned properties. Buyers are responding to low interest rates, prices that are below 2004 levels and government stimulus efforts including the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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Florida as a Tax Haven?

by Rodney Forbes on April 13, 2009

This is a great interview of Donald Trump that gives further credibility to low or no income tax states like Florida. As certain state governments continue to increase taxes on the wealthy they will keep moving to states like Florida that have no state income tax.

Both Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh have homes in the Palm Beach county area as well as countless other high income, high profile people. Besides no state income tax, Florida is not a bad place to live either!

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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Real Estate Market Update West Palm Beach FL

by Rodney Forbes on April 11, 2009

Rodney Forbes with Forbes Realty of South Florida discusses the real estate market conditions in West Palm Beach Florida for the week of April 6, 2009.

Of the pending sales, 60% are short sales and bank owned properties. Buyers are responding to low interest rates, prices that are below 2004 levels and government stimulus efforts including the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit. Year to date sales have increased 45% over 2008.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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The following excerpt is courtesy of Inman News

Wells Fargo & Co. reported “exceptionally strong mortgage banking results” Thursday, saying it originated more more than 450,000 loans totalling upward of $100 billion during the first quarter.

The strength in mortgage lending helped Wells Fargo boost projected net income for the quarter to a record $3 billion, news that sent stocks in the financial sector soaring Thursday.

The San Francisco-based bank said it received 800,000 mortgage applications for $190 billion in loans, up 64 percent from the fourth quarter, with $100 billion in applications in the pipeline at the end of the quarter.

Could this news signal the beginning of a recovery in the real estate market? The federal government has certainly been doing everything it can to help rebound the economy. And they certainly know any recovery has to start with the real estate industry.

My guess is that foreclosure filings will continue and home prices may be stagnant for awhile, but economics taught me one thing. Supply and demand will determine where prices go in the future. Mortgage applications on the rise means people are buying, which means demand is increasing.

That’s certainly some comfort to millions of homeowners and millions of potential home owners.

PS. I wonder if some of the $3 billion is going back to the public?

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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Rodney Forbes with Forbes Realty of South Florida discusses the real estate market conditions in Jupiter Florida for the week of April 6, 2009.

Of the pending sales, 53% are short sales and bank owned properties. Buyers are responding to low interest rates, prices that are below 2004 levels and government stimulus efforts including the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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5 Secrets to Buying a Foreclosure in West Palm Beach

by Rodney Forbes on April 5, 2009

Article by Rodney Forbes

foreclosures-ahead1So you’ve been reading the news about housing recovery, government tax credits and record low interest rates. Or maybe you’ve gone to a real estate seminar or taken a course on buying foreclosures and bank REO’s.

Buying a bank owned property can be a great way to buy a home well under market price. But you must be careful and avoid making some common mistakes when dealing with foreclosures.

1. Never contact the listing agent (the person on the yard sign)
This person works for the bank, not you. ALWAYS use a buyers agent when purchasing a home, foreclosure or otherwise. This person looks out for your interests and helps to negotiate the best price and terms for you. But a common misconception is you are paying them. Not true. The sellers pays the commission to both the listing agent and the buyers agent. Always look for an agent who is experienced in dealing with bank foreclosures and who works with buyers.

2. Be pre-approved for a mortgage first
Don’t waste your time trying to submit an offer without a pre-approval letter. The bank wants to sell the property as quickly as possible. Remember, they’re in the banking and lending business, not the real estate management business. Your offer will get priority with a strong pre-approval letter. This will also insure you’re looking in the right price range.

3. See past cosmetic fix up
This is where you can find the real diamond in the rough. Most bank owned properties will need some fix up. Many buyers are turned off if a home is not in move in condition. This is where your real opportunity lies. Paint, carpet and clean up can make a major difference in the look (and value) of a home. Don’t let these small items deter you. Major fix up is left up to the inspection.

4. ALWAYS pay for an inspection
This is your insurance policy against buying a home that needs major fix up that you didn’t count on. Your contract should ALWAYS be contingent on the outcome of the inspection. You have the right to cancel the contract and get your deposit back if the inspection comes back with major repairs needed (Secret: If the inspection comes back with many repairs needed you can re-submit another offer at a much lower price and have the inspection report attached to the offer). Most banks have no clue what condition the property is in, until you tell them.

5. Look for the ugliest home in the best neighborhood

Look for the best neighborhood in your price range and see if there are any bank owned properties there. The price will most likely be well below what comparable homes are selling for. Once the home is back in really good condition, it should be worth what other homes in the neighborhood are worth, no matter what you paid for it. And the neighbors will be very happy that you have taken the community eyesore and made it a beautiful home again.

As a buyer specialist and a real estate investor for ten years I can tell you bank owned foreclosures can be the best investment of your life. But you have to be careful and have someone in your corner who has been there before and who can guide you through the process.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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