Archive for the ‘Loans’ 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]


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.



Cash-only home sales rise in California…including Palm Springs

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Interesting post on the LA Times site today about the influx of all cash buyers in today’s Real Estate market.  This is very true in all prices ranges for the Palm Springs market-  the majority of our sales in the past year have been from all cash buyers. In particular, most of our Canadian buyers purchase only using cash.  For more info, read below:

By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times

March 1, 2011

All-cash buyers grabbed a record 30.9% share of California house and condo sales in January. In Southern California’s most expensive communities, cash deals now account for as much as two-thirds of home sales.
 See the attached link for the full story:,0,7049248.story

Canadians buying Property in Palm Springs- What is Escrow?

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Escrow 101

The purchasing process varies from state to state in the US.  Buying real estate in Palm Springs,  California, will involve setting up an Escrow Account.  Many Canadian Real Estate Buyers in Palm Springs, and other areas are unfamiliar with this process.  Paul Kaplan’s MODERN REAL ESTATE GROUP is extremely experienced with dealing with Canadian buyers and other foreigners, and are here to help explain the process for purchasing homes in Palm Springs.

 Here’s a quick explanation of how it works: 

What is Escrow?

 Escrow is a process that evolved to ensure protection for all parties to

a real estate transaction. A “neutral third party” or “stakeholder” was

nominated to hold the funds until the purchaser received appropriate

assurance that the property had been transferred. An escrow may also be

created for other purchases, although it is most commonly used during the

transfer of real estate. Today the escrow is overseen by an escrow officer

employed by an independent escrow company or title company. All parties

are protected because the escrow holder will retain funds and documents

until all the instructions are fulfilled.

An escrow is created when money and/or documents are deposited

with the escrow officer. The escrow officer’s authority is strictly governed

by written instructions, mutually agreed upon by the parties involved.

The instructions direct the escrow holder to perform duties necessary to

complete the transaction. A few of the tasks which may be required are:

• Receive and deposit earnest money

• Order information for payoff of existing liens

• Calculate and/or prorate taxes, liens, interest, rents, and

insurance policies

• Make arrangements for title insurance protection for the

buyer and lender

• Prepare and/or receive documents relating to the escrow

• Request and receive funding from new lender when conditions have

been satisfied

• Arrange for recording of the conveyance documents and any other

legal instruments required to transfer title to the property pursuant to

the terms of the purchase agreement

• Close the escrow and disburse funds as agreed upon in the


• Prepare a closing statement for the parties showing disposition of funds

 Definition of “Escrow” from Black’s Law Dictionary

A writing, deed, money, stock or other property delivered by the grantor,

promissor or obligor into the hands of a third person, to be held by the

latter until the happening of a contingency or performance of a condition,

and then by him delivered to the grantee, promissee or obligee. A system

of document transfer in which a deed, bond or funds is delivered to a third

person to hold until all conditions in a contract are fulfilled.

  Fun Fact

Escrow practices evolved from English common law. The word “escrow”

is actually derived from the Middle English (12th to 15th century) word for

“scroll”, on which all of the escrow instructions and lists of properties were recorded.

This material may not be reproduced except for explicit use by registered members

The Modern Real Estate Group is here to help with your purchase in Palm Springs.  We provide individual attention, genuine knowledge, considerate and gentle guidance in all price ranges for those looking to purchase a desert home.  Please contact us for more information.

Paul Kaplan
The Modern Real Estate Group


[email protected]
Greater Palm Springs 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.

Trust issues with agents

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Thought I’d repost this from because I think its very relevant. It stresses the importance for buyers to get PreQualified with a lender PRIOR to looking for homes.

Do You Trust Me?
January 7, 2010 | By Kelley Koehler | Filed Under Home Buying, Loans and Financing

…in both the real estate and mortgage industries, there’s a decent amount of distrust between consumers and lenders, between clients and real estate agents. Historically, there’s been some amazingly dishonest people who have generally brought down the overall reputation of agents and lenders. Also, agents and lenders have a reputation for the hard sell, for pestering and annoying and pushing a sales message beyond what is appropriate.

(We’re not all like that. I promise.)

Anyway. We were talking about people shopping for agents and lenders online. I’d say 90% of my home buyers contact me without having talked to a lender first, or even really thought much about talking to a lender and getting pre-approved for a home loan. In my experience, that’s because people don’t know they need a pre-approval that early on in the game. He contests that people don’t get the pre-approval because they don’t trust the lenders either.

I say people don’t get the pre-approval because of a lack of knowledge about this process that most only go through very few times in their lives. He says it’s a trust issue.

What say you?