Lake Charleston homes for sale


CBS The Early Show...Rebecca Jarvis; Selecting a real estate agent

Yesterday, Rebecca Jarvis on CBS The Early show did a piece on how to avoid the common mistakes in selling real estate...her #1 mistake: Picking a bad agent

But, through lack of research or lack of expeirence she failed to give any concrete advice on how to judge if you are picking a good agent or a bad agent. The best advice is be diligent and careful when hiring an won't know you hired the wrong one until it is too late.

Personally, I have seen sellers select an agent because (in their own words) "they send me postcards all the time". Others have selected neighbors, friends, church associates etc. as their agent with no other qualifying criteria.

A recent development is the "mega agent" who advertises under their name but actually has less experienced "team members" handle just about all aspects of a transaction, all the time selling the client on how this is good for them. The "mega agent" doesn't meet with the client, doesn't write or negotiate the contracts, doesn't interact with the buyers agent and may not ever speak with the client...they are involved in the clients transaction in name only.

While this is just my opinion and there may be no way to prove this, I would argue that the best agents occupy the "80th to 90th percentile" of a Bell Curve of relative real estate production. I say this because my years in the business have led me to believe that the absolute "top" agents in terms of total # of homes sold tend to be focused primarily on SALES and SELF-PROMOTION and most of the actual work is delegated to other individuals, while the agents just below that tend to be more client-centric and personally involved in the clients transaction.


HAFA...all the benefits of a regular short sale...hafa the headaches!

Monday, April 5th, was the 1st day, officially, of the new government sponsored intiative, HAFA: Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives. HAFA was introduced to simplify and streamline the short sale process and to provide incentives for the homeowner, loan servicer and lender/investor.

We have already received specialized, in depth training on this new program and will briefly summarize the features and benefits below:

Qualifying Factors

  • Must be HAMP eligible
  • Principal residence only (must be living there, with 1 allowable exception)
  • 1st lien mortgage originated prior to 2009
  • Mortgage balance less than $729,750
  • Mortgage payment exceeds 31% of monthly gross income
  • NOT a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loan

Here are the Fannie and Freddie loan look-up tools:
Fannie Mae Loan Lookup
Freddie Mac Loan Lookup

How is the HAFA program different or better than what is being done now?
The main problem, for both sellers and buyers, with traditional short sales was that they took too long and the process was wholly unpredictable. It was always difficult to keep buyers interested in, and committed to, the process. The HAFA program was designed to speed up and standardize the short sale process and give incentives for each short sale completed. During a non-HAFA short sale, there is no government incentive for banks to help you. Also, a VERY important benefit to homeowners is the requirement that participating lenders release you of any further libility for the deficiency amount!

What are the incentives?
  • As a qualifying homeowner, you would be entitled to a $3000 "relocation" incentive payment at the time of closing and funding of your short sale.
  • Servicers participating in the program will receive $1,500 for a completed short sale
  • Investors (lenders) can receive up to $2,000 for payments made to junior lienholders
  • Junior lienholders can receive up to $6000
Do I have to hire a real estate professional for a HAFA short sale?

Yes, but it won't cost you anything. Under HAFA, our fee will be deducted from the sale proceeds and paid by the lender. It is a requirement of a HAFA short sale that you work with a real estate professional throughout the HAFA short sale process. The Jackson Realty Group is now the areas HAFA specialists, having received the most up-to-date training available on the HAFA program.

Also, any time there is a new program announced, there are people who set up scams based upon the publics ignorance of the details, and the HAFA program will be no different. Other than an attorney you may hire to assist with a pending foreclosure or associated issue, beware of anyone requesting "up front fees" to assist you in processing a HAFA short sale. (MHA) provides the following guidelines:

• Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan.

• Scam artists often target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or anxious to sell their homes.

• Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who try to convince you that they can "save" your home if you sign paperwork or transfer over the deed to your house.

• Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

• Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.

If you would like to meet with me to discuss if you may qualify for this program and to review the process as well as your options, please call me at 561-602-1258 or CLICK HERE and send me an email with your contact information.

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