A Dozen Morris County People Talk With Realtor Kelly Holmquist, Attorney Marty Eagan About Avoiding Foreclosures

(We just issued the following release:)

The Holmquist Team, Kelly Holmquist, Morris County Realtor, houses for sale in Long Valley, houses for sale in Chester, houses for sale in Mount OliveCHESTER – The headlines may be shouting about an improving housing market, but for a dozen people at a workshop in Chester earlier this month, the topic of a quieter discussion is avoiding foreclosure. They heard two experts – Kelly Holmquist of The Holmquist Team, part of Keller Williams-Towne Square Realtors and Morristown Real Estate Attorney Martin Eagan – talk about ways to do that.

Ms.Kelly Holmquist, the Holmquist Team; Morris County Realtor, Long Valley Realtor, Chester Realtor; short sales, foreclosures Holmquist and Mr. Eagan work together to help people sell homes short, meaning the bank agrees to allow a house to be sold for market value, even when that sum is less than what is owed to the bank.

“It’s a traditional sale,” explained Eagan. “You’re selling to a buyer. It’s not a foreclosure. It’s just the bank agrees to take less than you owe.”

As they have at several previous workshops, the duo explained to those around the table how a short sale works and the role of the attorney and the Realtor in the sale. The bank agrees to accept the lower price, but it does want market value. It’s a tight rope, said Eagan.

“We want to upsell it to the buyer and downsell it to the bank,” said Eagan. “Kelly’s great at that.”

Ms. Holmquist explained that the home will be appraised by the bank, which will set a target asking price. The house is then aggressively marketed like any other home. It must be listed on the MLS, for instance. And home sellers are encouraged to properly stage their homes so it sells quickly. When an offer is received, the bank has to approve the offer.  In fact, said Ms. Holmquist, the only difference between a short sale and regular sale is the negotiations are done by the attorney with the bank and others owed money from the proceeds of the sale.

“On the front side, everything appears to be a traditional sale,” said Ms. Holmquist. “It’s on the back side that it’s different.”

While past workshops have been attended by an array of people, many of them have been younger homeowners who can no longer afford their mortgages or who need to move for a better job, but can’t sell their depreciated homes. This group was a different, said Ms. Holmquist and Mr. Eagan. One couple, for instance, was collecting information for their daughter who is going through a divorce. Another couple is trying without success to sell a home owned by the woman’s mother, now in her 80s in assisted living and with no income. A third woman, in her 70s, had taken multiple mortgages to pay medical expenses. Although she’s never missed a mortgage payment, the failure of the real estate market and the devaluation of her savings now has created financial problems.

“All sorts of people are facing foreclosure or are so far underwater that they may never recover, even though they’re making their payments,” said Ms. Holmquist. “It’s not at all uncommon.”

In fact, she said, about 29 percent of the homes being sold in Long Valley and Mount Olive are short sales. In the Chesters, that number is about 9 percent.

“Working with an established team of an attorney and a Realtor to sell short offers a good way out for many people,” said Ms. Holmquist. “The improving real estate market improves their chances of selling short, but it’s still the best answer for some people.”

Ms. Holmquist said people with questions about short sales or any other facet of buying or selling real estate can call her office at (908) 867-7109 or by sending her an email at kholmquist@comcast.net.

Ms. Holmquist is the team leader for the Holmquist Team, part of Keller Williams Towne Square Realty, and one of the top-producing real estate teams in Morris County, N.J.  She has been in real estate since 1997, specializing in residential home sales. After working at other agencies, she founded The Holmquist Team in 2008. A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), she holds a bachelor of science from PennStateUniversity. More information is at http://www.kellysellshouses.com or by calling (908) 867-7109.

Eagan heads an office that focuses on real estate and is one of New Jersey’s fastest growing specialty law firms. The firm has successfully represented thousands of individuals and business clients across the state in residential and commercial real estate transactions. More information is available at (973) 898-7300 or www.martyeagan.com.

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Holmquist Team, Other Realtors, Will See More Short Sales In Coming Days

Short sales a way out for those swamped by mortgages

For those swamped by their mortgages, short sales may help avoid the coming tide of new foreclosures.

Although the news media and real estate blogs have been talking about the improving real estate market, there’s an unpleasant fact that people in the market have to face: Even as home sales are increasing, The Holmquist Team and other Realtors in New Jersey soon will see many more foreclosures and short sales.

The housing marketing is improving. Home sales in theNorthwesternMorrisCounty area up, days on market are down and the number of buyers per home is increasing. But a recent report by the Mortgage Bankers Association saysNew Jersey now has the second highest percentage of mortgage loans in foreclosure in the country. With 8.4 percent of homes in foreclosure,New Jersey is second only behindFlorida.

The problem is a 2010 court-ordered moratorium on foreclosure filings as part of the “robo-signing” scandal. Banks and mortgage companies were signing so many documents so quickly, that they often didn’t have proper documentation when a home was sold and couldn’t prove ownership when foreclosures were challenged. Add to that New Jersey’s court process that stretches out for more than a year, and you loans due for foreclosure just piling up.

Now the courts have cleared the way for the floodgates to open. While Realtors, economists and government officials will say that the housing market can’t stabilize until the foreclosures are dealt with, it doesn’t help those who are drowning in debt and facing foreclosure.

For some, foreclosure can’t be avoided. But for others, there are ways out. For those behind in the mortgages or barely keeping up, the issue may soon be unavoidable.

For those folks, attorneys and knowledgeable, experienced Realtors can provide information about the many federal, state and non-governmental programs that are available.

There are programs to help people in foreclosure. Others help people readjust their mortgages. For many, short sales are a good answer. In fact, several experts are predicting an increase in the number of short sales.

A short sale is when the bank allows a homeowner to sell a home for less than what’s owed on it. The seller gets to stay in the home until closing. Short sales have less of an impact on the seller’s credit rating.

On the other hand, there are complicated negotiations and there could be tax implications to a short sale.  It takes a team of experienced Realtors and attorneys to do a successful short sale.

If a short sale seems like a good idea, talk with your Realtor or attorney. Make sure they are experienced in dealing with short sales.

And plan on spending Monday evening, June 11, with us at Cinders on Route 46. I’ll be there with attorney Marty Eagan, an attorney who specializes in short sales and other distressed sales. Call (908) 867-7109 or email me at kholmquist@comcast.net.net for more information about our free workshop.

Holmquist Team Helping Homeowners Take Advantage of Federal Program That Helps Avoid Foreclosure

Area homeowners are turning to Realtors like the Holmquist Team to take advantage of a federal program designed to help homeowners who are drowning in debt and facing foreclosure. That program is slated this year.

New Jersey ranks fourth in the nation in homes with delinquent mortgages, according to the Otteau Valuation Group, a well-respected real estate appraising company. One in six home loans is “underwater” in New Jersey. Homeowners in this situation, however, should be reaching out to knowledgeable Realtors who can help them navigate various private, state and federal programs to help them reduce their loans or sell their home before losing it foreclosure.

Holmquist Team, real estate agents and  home sellers in Long Valley, Chester and Mt. Olive, an help homeowners who are having difficulties with their mortgage and are underwater with their mortgages.

Homeowners who are overwhelmed by their mortgage should contact the Holmquist Team or another Realtor to explore their options before they lose their home to foreclosure.

Short sales are one tool to get homeowners out from under an oppressive mortgage. For qualifying homeowners, a group of federal programs called Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives is an excellent way to get out of a home you can no longer afford and still be able to move on with your life. Under the HAFA program, you may be able to sell your home through a short sale or through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, where you give the home back to the bank.

The program applies to homes that are principal residences with a mortgage under $729,750 that was obtained on or before Jan. 1, 2009. The homeowner also has to be able to document financial hardship.  The program applies only to homes with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, although there are other programs available for in-trouble homeowners with VA, FHA and USDA mortgages.

Qualifying has excellent benefits:

  • You’re completely released from your mortgage debt after the property is sold,
  • A HAFA sale has less negative impact on your credit score than a short sale,
  • HAFA gives you $3,000 in relocation assistance.

While there’s some discussion of the program being extended, right now the program is slated to end Dec. 31, 2012.

If you’re a homeowner in trouble, now is the time to make a move. You should start by contacting The Holmquist Team or another Realtor who is knowledgeable in distressed sales and in HAFA.  He or she can help you understand what options you have, what you need to do to get your home ready to sell and, perhaps, where you can live next. An agent also should have the proper contacts to work on your behalf with lenders and attorneys.

You may also wish to attend a workshop on short sales and other tactics to avoid foreclosures that is slated for 7 p.m. March 5 at the Publick House Restaurant in Chester. It will feature Kelly Holmquist, broker-sales associate and leader of The Holmquist Team of Keller Williams Towne Square Realty. Also featured will be Martin D. Eagan, a Morristownattorney who specializes in distressed real estate sales. The pair will discuss the HAFA program and other alternatives. Information is available at www.theholmquistteam.net or by calling the office at (908) 867-7109.

There are many alternatives to having a home taken by foreclosure, but homeowners need to give themselves ample time to investigate and take advantage of those programs.  Those who need to get out of a mortgage that has them “underwater” should call a Realtor today to explore their options.