Is it Finally Time to Buy a Home in West Palm Beach FL?

by Rodney Forbes on November 15, 2010

Home prices in West Palm Beach Florida have been in a serious decline for several years. How long has it been since average prices were this low? Does it mean the time is finally right to buy a home, whether a foreclosure or short sale? Have we reached the bottom in Florida? The following chart from Zillow shows the average price/value in West Palm Beach for the past 10 years.

West Palm Beach Median Sale Price

The last time prices were this low was January 2002!
Combine this with the lowest interest rates in decades, no state income tax in Florida and retirees starting to come back to Florida, we may have turned the corner(finally) in the home market.

No one can see the future, but if the chart above is any indication, it may well be time to get off the fence and into a home.

P.S. Investors have been buying rental property in Florida like crazy for over a year.

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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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Just when you thought the Florida foreclosure mess couldn’t take one more turn into the Twilight Zone, new information is released about the so called “robosigners” used by one of the largest foreclosures law firms in Florida.

In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in “foreclosure expert” jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn’t define the word “affidavit.” Others didn’t know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property. Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers’ accusations about document fraud.

“The mortgage servicers hired people who would never question authority,” said Peter Ticktin, a Deerfield Beach, Fla., lawyer who is defending 3,000 homeowners in foreclosure cases. As part of his work, Ticktin gathered 150 depositions from bank employees who say they signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the documents or ever laying eyes on them — earning them the name “robo-signers.”

The deposed employees worked for the mortgage service divisions of banks such as Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, as well as for mortgage servicers like Litton Loan Servicing, a division of Goldman Sachs.

Ticktin said he would make the testimony available to state and federal agencies that are investigating financial institutions for allegations of possible mortgage fraud. This comes on the eve of an expected announcement Wednesday from 40 state attorneys general that they will launch a collective probe into the mortgage industry.

“This was an industrywide scheme designed to defraud homeowners,” Ticktin said.

The depositions paint a surreal picture of foreclosure experts who didn’t understand even the most elementary aspects of the mortgage or foreclosure process — even though they were entrusted as the records custodians of homeowners’ loans. In one deposition taken in Houston, a foreclosure supervisor with Litton Loan couldn’t define basic terms like promissory note, mortgagee, lien, receiver, jurisdiction, circuit court, plaintiff’s assignor or defendant. She testified that she didn’t know why a spouse might claim interest in a property, what the required conditions were for a bank to foreclose or who the holder of the mortgage note was. “I don’t know the ins and outs of the loan, I just sign documents,” she said at one point.

Until now, only a handful of depositions from robo-signers have come to light. But the sheer volume of the new depositions will make it more difficult for financial institutions to argue that robo-signing was an aberrant practice in a handful of rogue back offices.

Judges are unlikely to look favorably on a bank that claims paperwork flaws don’t matter because the borrower was in default on the loan, said Kendall Coffey, a former Miami U.S. attorney and author of the book “Foreclosures.”

“There has to be a cornerstone of integrity to the process,” Coffey said.

Bank of America responded to Tiktin’s depositions by re-affirming that an internal review has shown that its foreclosures have been accurate. “This review will ensure we have a full understanding of any potential issues and quickly address them,” Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm said. Frahm added that, on average, the bank’s foreclosure customers have not made a payment in more than 18 months.

JP Morgan Chase spokesman Thomas Kelly said the bank has requested that courts not enter into any judgments until the bank had reviewed its procedures. But Kelly added that the bank believes that all the underlying facts of the cases involved in the document fraud allegations are true.

Litton Loan Servicing did not respond to a request for comment.

Even before the foreclosure scandal broke, the housing market was in the midst of an ugly detoxification. Now the escalating crisis is likely to prolong the housing depression for at least another few years. The allegations are opening the entire chain of foreclosure proceedings to legal challenge. Some foreclosures could be overturned. Others could be deemed illegal.

For a housing recovery to occur, all the foreclosed properties — which could account for 40 percent of all residential sales by 2012 — need to be re-scrutinized by the banks and resold on the market. Now, with so much inventory under a legal threat, the process will become severely delayed.

“This just adds more uncertainty to the whole mortgage process, so buyers are asking themselves: do I want to buy a home in this environment?” says Cris deRitis, director of credit analytics at Moody’s Analytics. “We need to fix these issues before the economy can recover.”

Though some have chalked up the foreclosure debacle to an overblown case of paperwork bungling, the underlying legal issues are far more serious. Yes, swearing that you’ve reviewed documents you’ve never seen is a legal offense. But at the center of the foreclosure scandal looms something much larger: the question of who actually owns the loans and who has the right to foreclose upon them. The paperwork issues being raised by lawyers and attorneys generals have the potential to blight not just the titles of foreclosed properties but also those belonging to homeowners who have never missed a mortgage payment.

So far, JP Morgan Chase, PNC Financial and Litton Loan Servicing have stopped some foreclosure proceedings in 23 states. Bank of America and GMAC, recently renamed Ally, have extended their moratoriums to all 50 states. Wells Fargo and Citigroup have said they are continuing with foreclosures, adding that they are confident in their documents and processes.

But Citigroup has now backpedaled some on that assertion. The bank sent out a press release Tuesday that it was no longer using the law firm of “foreclosure king” David Stern, now under investigation by the Florida attorney general’s office. “Pending the outcome of the AG’s investigation, Citi is not referring new matters to this firm,” the bank said in an e-mailed statement.

Late last week, in an interview with the Florida attorney general, a former senior paralegal in Stern’s firm described a boiler-room atmosphere in which employees were pressured to forge signatures, backdate documents, swap Social Security numbers, inflate billings and pass around notary stamps as if they were salt.

Stern’s lawyer, Jeffrey Tew, did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the public outrage continues to mount. In what is perhaps a sign of things to come, a Simi Valley, Calif., couple and their nine children broke into their foreclosed home over the weekend and moved back in, according to television station KABC of Simi Valley. The couple, Jim and Danielle Earl, say they were working with the bank to catch up on payments until they discovered a $25,000 difference between what they owed and what the bank said they owed. The family was evicted from their Spanish-style two-story in July. The home has been sold, and the new owner was due to move in soon.

The Earls and their attorney now allege that they were victims of fraudulent paperwork.

Source: Yahoo News

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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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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Bank of America Foreclosure Mess: The Death of Housing?

by Rodney Forbes on October 13, 2010

Bank of America and other lenders are under attack again for the foreclosure mess that has brought about a freeze on thousands of foreclosure cases around the country. Since all crises with suspected fraud or wrongdoing have to have a name with “gate” on the end of it, we’ll officially name this as
“Robo-signer-gate” (you heard it here first!).

What’s the outcome? The end of housing as we know it? The end of the world as we know it? (sorry, R.E.M. already has that one). I’m not as pessimistic. With over 50% of all homes in America owned free and clear, and the overwhelming majority of homeowners with a mortgage are current, I believe this is just the natural result of the end of the housing boom.

How is that? If you go on a drinking binge what is the end result? Hopefully only a bad hangover. So what’s the result of the wild boom in real estate from 2003-2007 in certain areas of the country? Hangover. The inevitable flood of foreclosures around the country has overwhelmed the banks in their ability to deal with all the paperwork. The same thing is happening with short sales. The banks are overwhelmed with paperwork to process these.

The short sale process is starting to get more efficient with banks, and the foreclosure mess with get straightened out too.

Just don’t drink so much next time.

by: Rodney Forbes, video from CNBC
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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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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The uproar over the foreclosure freeze with Bank of America, GMAC and others has turned into a political hot potato. As some politicians are looking for more opportunity to bash banks and their mortgage processes, it seems important to find out what the foreclosure paperwork mess is all about.

As the video above shows, many people want to throw around the word “bank fraud” when it comes to many of their foreclosure files. If someone doesn’t (or can’t) pay on their mortgage and are served foreclosure papers that has a document that wasn’t notarized, is that fraud or just sloppy record keeping?

Either way it’s a black eye to an industry that really can’t afford one right now.
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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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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West Palm Beach Realtor Interviewed on WJNO Radio

by Rodney Forbes on October 11, 2010

Rodney WJNO interview

Local radio personality Jim Edwards interviews West Palm Beach real estate broker Rodney Forbes about the current real estate market in Florida. Jim and Rodney discuss current issues such as the foreclosure freeze by major banks such as Bank of America and GMAC, unique features at Forbes Realty such as the Hassle Free Listing and Easy Exit Listing. Jim also asked Rodney about the opportunity with HGTV to feature first time home sellers on a national television series. Click the link above to hear the interview.
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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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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Bank of America to Freeze Foreclosures in all 50 States

by Rodney Forbes on October 11, 2010

Following the announcement that Bank of America would join other major lenders in freezing foreclosure proceedings in certain states, including Florida, Bank of America now has decided to expand the freeze to all 50 states. BofA is using this time to review foreclosure documents on thousands of cases that have recently come under criticism of shoddy record keeping.

What does this mean if your home happens to be in the foreclosure process? This is not a free pass to stay in the home forever, or a “get out of jail free card”. These cases will resume as documents are reviewed. This does give you time to look for an alternative solution to foreclosure, such as short sale or loan modification.

If you live in the south Florida area you can contact Forbes Realty of South Florida to discuss your options. Forbes Realty, based out of West Palm Beach Florida, specializes in short sale help for homeowners.

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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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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Rodney Forbes with Forbes Realty of South Florida

Rodney Forbes, registered broker with Forbes Realty of South Florida, headquartered in West Palm Beach, has been featured on a national foreclosure/REO teleconference as a leading foreclosure/REO real estate agent in the south Florida market. The conference was sponsored by Tim and Julie Harris of Harris Real Estate University, one of the largest online real estate training programs in the country.

You can listen to a replay of the call be clicking here.

Rodney has been working as a licensed real estate agent and broker in the south Florida market for the past several years, focused mostly on assisting homeowners in distress with mortgage solutions such as loan modifications and short sales. Recognizing the need for agents with specialized training in the REO field, Rodney enrolled and received his RSD(REO Specialist Designation) from Harris Real Estate University.

With the knowledge and confidence to assist lenders with the sale of bank owned property, Rodney has quickly developed relationships with several major companies in the REO field. He also helps buyers and investors that are looking for the opportunity to purchase bank owned properties.

You can find out more about Rodney and Forbes Realty of South Florida by clicking here. You can also call him directly at 561-337-4810.

If you’re a real estate agent loking to break into the REO field you can find more information about Harris Real Estate University by clicking here.

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HGTV Looking for Home Sellers In West Palm Beach FL

by Rodney Forbes on October 7, 2010

Have you ever watched one of the home shows about buying, selling, renovating or flipping and wanted to know how to get one yourself? Well, here is your chance. Rodney Forbes, real estate broker with Forbes Realty of South Florida in West Palm Beach, has been approached to be on the show with first time home sellers.

If you have been thinking of selling and would like the opportunity to be on an HGTV series call Rodney at 561-337-4810 as soon as possible for more details. The HGTV crews will be filming the home selling process from start to finish throughout the fall season.

So this may be your opportunity to be the next HGTV star and sell your home at the same time. For more information about the process call Rodney at 561-337-4810 or email to Rodney@ForbesRealtyOnline.com

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Short Sale Townhome in West Palm Beach

by Rodney Forbes on January 31, 2010

Another affordable short sale is available in the West Palm Beach area from Forbes Realty of South Florida. This 3 bedroom 2 bath townhome is perfect for a first time home buyer or investor.

Located in a quiet community in West Palm Beach, this townhome has a private fenced patio. This short sale is being marketed by an experienced short sale team.

Click here for more information or call Rodney Forbes at 561-337-4810.

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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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Rare Singer Island Ocean Front Foreclosure on Market Soon

by Rodney Forbes on January 31, 2010

Wake up to this every morning!

A very rare find is coming to the Singer Island Florida real estate market soon. A large 3 bedroom 3 bath oceanfront condo will be available for sale in a few weeks. Bank owned foreclosures are common in Florida, but rarely does an oceanfront gem like this go to foreclosure.

With over 2,000 square feet, this property is located in the prestigious quiet north end of Singer Island. There are 3 balconies, including a private balcony attached to the master bedroom.

Because it’s bank owned, this home will probably be the lowest priced 3 bedroom oceanfront condo to come on the market in a long time. It will sell very quickly, so if you’d like to know when the property is available for sale, please contact real estate broker Rodney Forbes at 561-337-4810.

Although no price has been set as of yet, it probably will go on the market in the low $400’s, up to 50% less than comparable units in the area. You can be the first to be notified by contacting Rodney at Forbes Realty of South Florida. Contact information is listed below.

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. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at www.SouthFloridaRealEstateReport.com

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