Archive for the ‘Foreclosures’ Category

Buying a house after a foreclosure

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Palm Springs and Southern California, as well as the entire country, is in the process of a real estate recovery from multiple foreclosures and short sales.  At The Paul Kaplan Group, we have many clients that for various reasons, foreclosed on a property that they once owned during the recession, and asked if they would ever be able to get a mortgage again.

A very informative article published by the LA Times for anyone wondering if they’ll every be able to buy a house after foreclosing or short selling their previous residence.

From the article,

“If you lost your home during the housing recession — and have not completely soured on homeownership — your ability to qualify for another mortgage may not be as compromised as you think.

It used to be that a bankruptcy, foreclosure or other major black mark on your credit record meant you could not hope to obtain financing to buy another house for seven years. Now, for the most part, the rules say you must wait just three years. Depending on the reason you lost your house, the wait could be even shorter.

You can qualify for a mortgage as soon as 24 months after the fact if your issues were the result of “extenuating circumstances” over which you had no control.”

To read the whole article, click here. 

If you’re looking to buy a new home, we’re here to help.  We can refer you to a lender that can evaluate your credit and income, to determine if you will be able to qualify for a home.  Feel free to contact us at 760-459-1396 or email us at [email protected]


Riverside county sees a drop in affordable homes by 40%!

Friday, October 12th, 2012

We knew it was getting tough to find homes under $300,000 here in the Palm Springs area (which is in Riverside County), but the LA Times published a report today showing some startling statistics.

The LA Times reported that properties priced below $313,200 are increasingly scarce as investor groups crowd out first-time buyers. As foreclosures drop, some parts of the Inland Empire have only one month’s home supply. Competition for lower-priced homes in California is so hot that the number of cheaper homes available for sale has sunk more than 40% in the last year. Economists typically consider a six-month supply to be a healthy market.

Foreclosure filings fell in September to the lowest level in more than five years, according to a report by RealtyTrac released Thursday. Substantial decreases in California and some other states hard hit by the collapse of the housing bubble helped reduce filings to 180,427 last month, down 7% from August and 16% from a year earlier. The last time filings were that low was in July 2007. This is contributing to a lack of affordable inventory.

Typically- when inventory is down, prices rise- basic law of supply and demand.

Investor groups have been flooding the market with cash, beating out traditional buyers who are financing their home purchases. Its not unusual to have multiple offers on properties, bidding the price up, 10 to 15% over asking if not higher. We recently sold a home in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood- the asking price was $650,000. There were 7 offers and the final sales price was $800,000. Our buyer felt lucky that he won the competition!

That being said, there are still good buys out there- even with prices on the rise, they’re still significantly lower then what homes were selling for at the height of the market in 2006. Difficult lending qualifications and the current frustrating appraisal process, are keeping prices relatively steady. Coupled with historic low interest rates hovering around 3.5%, purchasing a home still remains an attractive investment, if you can get one!

For more information and to read the complete article, click here.   

We’re seasoned Realtors at The Paul Kaplan Group–  we’ve been through this real estate cycle before-  if you’re interested in purchasing a home in the Palm Springs area, we’ll be happy to help, and advise you on the best competitive tactics to use to be the winning bidder for your home purchases.

Paul’s House- A mid-century remodel in Palm Springs

Monday, December 26th, 2011

My Chistmas present to myself, was purchasing a mid-century home in the Racquet Club Road Estates neighborhood of Palm Springs.  I’ve been promoting & selling homes in this neighborhood since 2001 and have been wanting one of my own for years!   Here’s an intro to the ‘hood I did in 2009:  Racquet Club Tour

The original home was a “flat roof” model, designed by Palmer and Krisel architects, and built by the famed, Alexander Construction Company.  The flat roof design tends to be less popular then the more iconic Butterfly Roof, or Pitched Roof models-  but for some reason, I’ve always been attracted to this plan.  This house on George Drive, done by my friend, Jennifer Dorn, has always been one of my favorites.   GEORGE DRIVE

Side Patio

The house is located at 439 E Racquet Club Road.  At the height of the market, the house was listed at $599,00!  (August, 2006)  Amazing that prices were actually that high back then!  Then came the recession-  this house went into foreclosure.  It had been sitting on the market since July, 2011, starting at $310,000.  I showed it to many of my own clients-  and admired it for the orientation, spacious back yard, pool shape and views.  There were a few price reductions, before I made a stab at it, and got it for $265,000, plus they paid 3% for my closing costs…a good buy in the current market for Racquet Club.

Having lost a lot of $$ in real estate with the recession myself, (like so many others!)  I am on a very strict budget to remodel this little gem.  Over the next few months, I’ll be posting my progress on my renovations, the pros, the cons, the highs the lows. 


 Here are some of the “before” photos:

Facade of 439 E Racquet Club

Living Room

Master Bath

Pool & Spa

I’m looking forward to the transformation!  Check back often for updates as I delve deeper into this new adventure of home remodeling!

7 Reasons to Buy a Home Now

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

The bad news for the housing market sometimes seems like it will never end.  In the last round of housing data, home prices continued to drop as did the number of home sales.  Foreclosures remain a major weight dragging down everything, and then there’s the massive shadow inventory of distressed homes that will create more supple overflow as they are brought on the market.  Add up all of that, and suggesting now is a good time to buy a home is probably less popular than supporting Anthony Weiner. But along with all the bad news are in fact some compelling reasons for getting serious about buying right now. For example, home prices have come down so far in many markets it now makes the cost of buying a better financial deal than renting.

Read more:

Featured Real Estate Agent: Kris Rain

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Kris Rain is one of the Paul Kaplan Modern Real Estate Group’s stellar agents- Here’s a short update from one of the many deals that she’s worked on recently:

The last month has continued to prove busy even as the high season has come to a close. June started off right with a successful short sale closing on a cute mid-century modern house in Rancho Mirage Cove.  This house was exactly what the client was looking for, but short sales can be a challenge- both for the seller and the buyer.  Time is of the essence in most sales, but this was moreso the case in this instance: The client was renting a house locally, and had sold her business in another city, and was very nervous that the sale would not close in sufficient time.  I gave the client weekly updates on her purchase, and even showed her some additional properties in the meantime to alleviate her anxiety.  We both visualized a happy outcome, and sure enough, it came.  She is now living in her wonderful new home!  I have a great deal of respect and admiration for her to go after the things that she wants in life, and my clients are often an inspiration for me.



Canadian Home Buyers Rush to Purchase in Palm Springs

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Great video from the CBC. The Looney is at an all-time high, with many homes that formerly would have cost Canadian buyers two million Canadian Dollars are now available for one million Canadian or less! We’re experiencing it in our office, too, as Canadian snatch up fabulous properties! Watch the full video: Canadian Buyers in Palm Springs Land Grab

Palm Springs Bargain Priced Mid-Century $169,000

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Yes, there are still hot real estate deals to be had in Palm Springs-  This home is located in Racquet Club Road Estates–  it was built by the famed Alexander Construction Company around 1960, and designed by William Krisel, FAIA.
For the buyer that has vision, wants a project and enjoys remodeling, then this house definitely has potential.  It is a Short Sale, which means it is subject to the Bank’s approval-  however we’ve been very successful lately at the Modern Real Estate Group in closing these types of deals.

Because we haven’t seen these homes come on the market in this price range for a long time, I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of interest! So if you or anyone you know is interested, please have them call me at 760-285-8559.  (Listing Courtesy of Prudential California Realty)


Short Sales- how to write a hardship letter

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

More and more people these days are facing the harsh reality that they are upside down on what they owe on their homes. A short sale for some, is a viable option that helps them with their situation and doesn’t damage their credit quite as bad as a foreclosure. (See attached) Here are a few tips from regarding writing the “Hardship Letter” which is a requirement when submitting your short sale package to the bank for approval.*

Tips for Putting Your Hardship Into Words

By , Guide

Writing a letter

Before a bank will approve a short sale or a loan modification, the bank will ask to see your hardship letter. What is a hardship letter and how do you write it? Don’t panic. If you can write a letter to your mom, you can write a hardship letter.

What Constitutes a Hardship?

Lots of people think a hardship is based solely on financial matters, and that’s not necessarily true. Just about anything that makes it difficult for you to continue making a mortgage payment might qualify you for a hardship.The one thing that a bank does not want to see is a homeowner who wants to walk away simply because the home is no longer worth the amount the owner paid for it. While being upside-down is one of the qualifications for a short sale, a bank is under no obligation to grant the short sale solely on that basis.

Think back to when you took out the loan and what your life was like then. Has it changed since then? If your situation is unchanged, the bank might say you can afford to stay in your home at your present payment level. If your situation has changed, here are some examples that may qualify for a hardship:

  • Unemployment
  • Reduced income (furloughs, new job, partner’s loss of job, pay cut)
  • Illness or medical emergency
  • Job transfer (voluntary or involuntary)
  • Divorce, separation or marital difficulties
  • Exotic mortgage terms (an adjustable-rate loan)
  • Military service
  • Death in the family
  • Incarceration
  • Increased expenses and excessive debt
  • Unexpected repairs or home maintenance

The Basics Behind a Hardship Letter

When I initially interview sellers who want to sell on a short sale in Sacramento, I ask the sellers to describe their hardship. Agents who do a lot of short sales can sometimes become a little insensitive because we are focused on the statistics. For example, when a seller says she is getting divorced, it’s possible that my eyes might light up and I’ll blurt out, “That’s fabulous.” But then I realize how that comes across, which is not at all in the way I intended it. It’s good to be getting a divorce and trying to do a short sale or loan mod because relationship difficulties generally meet bank guidelines. It’s not fabulous that the parties are splitting up.In your hardship letter, you want to explain 3 things:

  • How you got into your present situation
  • What you have done to try to get out this situation
  • Why this situation is permanent because nothing you can do will change it

Hardship Letter Mistakes

Writing a hardship letter is not a lot of fun. In fact, it can be downright depressing. Many people have no idea how bad their lives have become until they start to write a hardship letter. Sometimes, seeing all those awful things in black and white is startling. Don’t be surprised if you cry. But don’t take a 90-degree turn and talk about how your life will improve.

Your life won’t improve. In fact, it will only get worse. If there is hope on the horizon, if there is a chance for recovery, for you to become whole again, trust me, the bank will not hesitate to grab a knife and plunge it into your heart. If the bank senses vulnerability, responsibility or anything else that shows the bank you might have the financial means at some point in the future to repay part of that debt, the bank will jump on it like hot fudge on a sundae. If the bank sees disposable income, it might ask for a seller contribution to grant a short sale or deny your loan modification.

Don’t share your hopes and dreams for the future with the bank. It’s none of the bank’s business. The bank doesn’t care about you or protecting your precious credit rating. In fact, if you’re on the brink of bankruptcy or headed to foreclosure, you’ve got a story the bank should hear. So, tell it. Be truthful.

What Else Goes Into a Hardship Letter?

You should put everything but the kitchen sink into a hardship letter and then, just for good measure, throw the sink in, too. Use numbers and percentages to explain loss of income or negative cash flow. Instead of saying you’re borrowing money to make the mortgage payments, disclose the dollar amount and source of that debt such as “I’ve borrowed $10,000 against my VISA card to make my payments over the past 6 months, and I have tapped my cards to the max.”

If your car needs maintenance or repair, if the cat has cancer and your vet bills are mounting, if your kids are starving to death on peanut butter sandwiches, and your fingernails are worn to the quick scrubbing other people’s floors for pennies a day because your mom has moved in with your family and needs round-the-clock medical care, put it into your hardship letter. Paint the worst picture that you honestly can and keep going downhill with it.

Use simple words geared toward the education of a 6th grader. If you don’t feel sorry for yourself by the time you have finished, maybe you didn’t do the job right.

*Always consult your appropriate legal and financial professionals when considering a short sale or foreclosure, for advice. As a realtor we cannot give you financial or legal advice.