Real estate forum: Dont go to court without a lawyer | SierraSun.com

Real estate forum: Dont go to court without a lawyer

Nick CruitSierra Sun

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. The analogies were endless, but simply put, real estate experts who attended Chase Internationals public real estate forum Saturday in Incline Village urged people to address home and mortgage problems early and consult a wide range of professionals to help make sense of todays market. The rule book is changing every day, said Jamie Winter, a real estate attorney with Rogers, Wolf, Von Baeyer andamp; Herhusky in Incline Village. Widen the circle of professionals that surround you. The more people you talk with the more informed you will be and better off in the long run Knowledge is power.For those interested in buying or refinancing, bank affiliates agreed that there is still quite a bit of lending going on, especially for 30-year fixed mortgages, which loan consultants tout as a great opportunity with rates now at 5 percent and below.Even jumbo loans, or non-conforming loans, which exceed Fannie Mae and Freddie Macs loan limits and typically have high interest rates, are being considered. Wells Fargo recently opened a jumbo lending program that would loan up to 70 percent or $3 million on a homes value, according to Ron Farrell, a home mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo.And with Chase Internationals 2008 year end report showing the median Lake Tahoe home price at $697,793 above the Federal Housing Finance Agencys loan limit for high-cost areas, which cannot exceed $625,000 jumbo loans are especially important to the Tahoe market. Still, lenders are looking for proof of income and a solid credit score.Start looking at your credit score well before youre looking at buying a home, said Ephraim Schwartz, mortgage broker with Odette Mortgage Group. A 720 is good, but it could be better.

For some homeowners, however, staying put is financially unfeasible.If you think you are going to get into a situation where you will have to skip on a mortgage payment, contact your lender right away, said Jonathan Dyer, a loan modification specialist with Chase. Its similar to doing your taxes; you could do them yourself, but it would be best to have a CPA take care of them.And because the processes of cutting the losses on an upside-down mortgage are so different from trying to salvage a home, its up to the homeowner to forecast your future and see if mortgage payments could be made months down the line, advised Leslie Henderson, a default specialist with Chase.If you cant see yourself making payments on that house in the next 12 months, let go of that house, she said.Herein lie options for the homeowner looking to sell.For those that have fallen behind on mortgage payments because of verifiable hardships like divorce, death of a spouse or job relocation, a short sale is generally the best option and does far less damage to credit than a foreclosure, which should be avoided at all cost.If everything goes well with a short sale, the homeowner would take a moderate hit to their credit but would be able to buy another home in about 18 months, Henderson said. But with a foreclosure, it may take up to 10 years to qualify for another mortgage, she added. That said, Henderson warned of the future repercussions of mass foreclosures, saying if the current amount homeowners with upside-down mortgages are faced with foreclosure, were going to have a lot of people that will be unable to qualify to buy a home well after the real estate market makes a turn for the better. Of the nearly 52 million U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, almost 14 million, or nearly 27 percent, owe more on their mortgage than their house is now worth, according to Moody’s Economy.com. And nearly half of all borrowers in Nevada were “under water” on their home loans as of December, according to First American CoreLogic, a provider of real estate data.