October 23, 2008 Newsletter

The marketplace has been exciting these last few weeks. Our view of the purchase and refinance market is a slow but steady stream of activity. No immediate change is apparent. The good news is that as of the date of this writing (October 23) the interest rates are creeping below six percent (6.0%). Most of the industry insiders we consult believe we need to see sustained rates below six for any significant change to occur.

Foreclosures and the ability to stave off foreclosures continue to be the hot topics. We are getting an increase in phone calls seeking help in that arena. Should you need help or know of someone who does, have them call our law firm. The lenders are still inundated with requests for forbearance so the sooner one gets started, the better. Here is a checklist of what anyone trying to get relief from their lender needs:

  1. A hardship letter. The letter should spell out why they have been unable to make payments, what amount would be feasible to pay, and when the borrower would likely be able to get caught up, if possible.
  2. Current, realistic schedule of monthly living expenses.
  3. Any information (appraisal, comps, etc.) as to current market value of property.
  4. Last year or 2 of tax returns.
  5. If the property is listed, who it’s with and at what price.
  6. Current pay stubs.
  7. Letter of authorization as to who the lender can talk to. Lenders won’t talk to us as representatives without an express letter of authorization.

As hard as we work on these forbearance cases, it takes time to get a result. To understand the complexity, one needs to understand that the loan you have on your house might be serviced by one company, but the note has been split into 3 different pieces, called tranches, to three different investors in three bonds. So the servicer of the loan must get approval of the changes, in some cases from more than one investor.

Whether you use our services or not, if you fall behind CALL THE LENDER. If you are not pro-active, they will surely move to secure their position.

On a positive note, Business Week named Arlington VA, Washington DC and Baltimore as 3 of the 10 cities better situated to ride out a recession, due to proximity to the Federal government, low jobless rates and strong local employers.

As always, we want to be your law firm and title company. Call with questions or email me at tee.tillman@colonytitle.com.