House Flip or Flop – You be the Judge

118 South Main towards Downtown Clio

In 1884 Squire Legette built his Italianate Revival home and office on Main Street in Clio, South Carolina.  He served as Justice of the Peace in the early days of Clio history and  from the large bay window in his office on the main floor he could see downtown.  The home was built of old growth timbers had multiple fireplaces, pine floors and custom woodwork and moldings throughout the 2 story home.  By the time the property was offered at auction in 2002 it had only seen 3 owners and was weathered but sturdy with over 1100 square feet of porches and 2 baths added to the original structure.  We didn’t have plans to buy a house that day and it sure needed lots of work but that is when we became the proud owners of a piece of South Carolina history and so began our first house flip although we didn’t know it at the time.

Buying any home brings with it responsibilities but when you buy a historic property that needs renovations priorities become much different especially one that is part of a National Register Historic District. For months we studied the house and the things that needed to change and researched our options and learned we could take advantage of tax credits for rehabilitation through the SC Historic Preservation Office.  While we didn’t take that route it was eligible for tax credits offered in South Carolina as new electrical was top on the list after installing a new roof.

Countless hours were spent refinishing floors, reglazing depression glass windows and patching and painting horse hair plaster walls not to mention installing new kitchen & fixtures in the home.  After all we had a new roof and the exterior could wait and wait it did. With most of the major interior work completed we moved into the house and enjoyed many years living at 118 South Main in Clio continuing to love, enjoy and improve on our new home.

Bay Window in Squire Legette's Office

As life went on and our priorities changed to opening a real estate office in my hometown of Murrells Inlet we had to make the difficult decision of selling the property.  Not that we didn’t want to keep the home we had put so much time and attention into but after the first tenant moved out we knew it needed to find new owners who would love and care for it as much as we did.  We didn’t buy the home with the intent to flip it and many people don’t which is why some people invest so much in personal resources that likely won’t ever be returned when they sell.  Sometimes this is the hardest part of home ownership for home sellers to understand but as a seasoned real estate professional I can tell you it is a market reality.

Winning the bid at the auction that day in 2002 was the beginning of our ownership of a historic property and this week a new owner takes over the home we loved so much.  For us losing money on selling is not so difficult when you know you are doing so to protect a treasure and that allowing it to sit empty for much longer would cause more harm than good.  Just knowing that the new owners appreciate old homes and have their own plans to improve it somehow deminishes the financial blow of selling at a loss and that is why we priced it to sell in the first place.

The new owners might not appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears we put in at 118 South Main but just maybe they will enjoy and improve it as much as we did during our ownership as sometimes the rewards of owning a historic property or any property for that matter is not always measured in dollars and cents.

Copyright©2011 Sandra Bundy, Broker-in-Charge, B&P, Inc.  Serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina.

Resources

South Carolina Historic Preservation Office

The Complete Guide to Renovating Older Homes: How to Make It Easy and Save Thousands

An Inside Glance at Home Retention

Yesterday afternoon as I was approaching my latest home retention assignment I was hoping to find the homeowner so I could share important information about options available to help them avoid foreclosure.  As I turned onto the street I noticed a UHaul in the road and wondered if it was the house I was going to visit.  Mine was the house next door and I was glad to find the homeowner and I think the homeowner was glad to for me to find them too.

Thanksgiving was less than 12 hours away and the homeowner was getting ready to leave town to visit family with a load of worry about what might happen next. The fact that so many homeowners really don’t know that these days their lenders would rather find a solution to the current deficiences than foreclose amazes me. But I also understand when someone is dealing with difficult situations they sometimes don’t get the information they need.

Worn out from a year of medical issues the homeowners initial response was “I don’t want to loose me home”!  And I was not there to take it but to advise the homeowner that contacting the lender was the right action to take for now.  As the homeowner connected to the lender and explained the failed attempts to work out modifications we me I could only listen to the tale of mounds of paperwork lost or sent numerous times or the denial of any solutions offered on the part of the lender.

Yes I am very aware that many homeowners have been denied loan modifications but I also understand the rules are changing and new programs are available and the only way to find out what might be the best option for the homeowner is to open the lines of communication.  So thankful this time the homeowner wanted to hear the message I had when I knocked on the door and to know that perhaps this time both the homeowner and the lender were ready to work things out together.  Copyright©2011 Sandra Bundy, Broker-in-Charge, B&P, Inc.  Serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty making mortgage payments, contact Sandra Bundy for a confidential consultation. 

Additional resources

SC Mortgage Help – Funds for SC homeowners who have been laid off and direct loans to help avoid foreclosure.

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Strand Area Short Sales to Rise in 2012

Short Sale Listing in Myrtle Beach

According to the non-profit counseling agency CredAbility South Carolina ranks 9th in household distress with the overall distress at 63.9% for the third quarter of 2011.  Not surprising when the unemployment rate in SC for September at 11% ranking 5th highest in the US.  Homeowners that want to sell their home in this tough climate are more likely than not to owe more than their home is worth especially if they made their purchase during the housing boom in the Myrtle Beach area.  With no housing recovery in sight short sales along the Grand Strand are likely to rise next year.

In some of Myrtle Beaches newest neighborhoods sale prices declined 23% this past year and while real estate prices might appear to be holding steady for now any increase in foreclosures could have negative impacts on home values.   In May of this year the halt of foreclosures on owner occupied homes slowed down foreclosures but as work out options are exhausted foreclosures could increase.  Horry County already ranks among the highest in foreclosures in South Carolina.  A better option for Myrtle Beach area homeowners facing foreclosure is to consider a short sale.  Not only would a short sale help neighborhood home prices but it also allows homeowners to remain in control of the sale and move on.

Homeowners often overlook the option of short sales even if they have not experienced financial hardships however a short sale might be a good option especially where the owner needs to sale the property in a timely manner.   Increasing inventory and higher marketing time are evident in many neighborhoods and short sales could outpace foreclosures in the coming months which would certainly mean a winning outcome for area home prices in the Myrtle Beach area.  Copyright©2011 Sandra Bundy, Broker-in-Charge, B&P, Inc.  Serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina.

If you would like a confidential consultation on a short sale of your home contact Sandra Bundy for more information.

Short Sale options for Murrells Inlet Homeowners

The recent announcement of a new plan to help underwater homeowners refinance home mortgages brings more light on the problems many area homeowners are facing due to declining values in Murrells Inlet and Grand Strand area home values. While interest rates remain at historic low levels many residents are unable to take advantage of the low rates which the new initiative promises to change however in some instances a short sale might be a more viable option especially if payments are out of reach due to unforeseen hardships.

No doubt home prices in some neighborhoods have fallen more than the 20% initially offered under the refinance program and allowing thoses who have lost more value should boost the programs effectiveness but for homeowners that have lost value and income a short sale could be the right alternative. Avoiding a foreclosure not only helps borrowers get out from under unaffordable housing expenses but it also helps to bring more stability to the housing market overall and costs lenders much less than foreclosure actions. An added benefit of a short sale is the ability for the homeowner to restore credit much sooner than would occur in a foreclosure situation.

It appears more lenders are filing deficiency judgements in foreclosure cases in the Myrtle Beach area and while a short sale may require contributions by sellers it is likely far less than would be required once the home is sold as a foreclosure. In a short sale the lender is going to recoup more of the loan and by working in cooperation with your lender and with the help of an experienced REALTOR the short sale process could be the right course of action for underwater homeowners. Copyright©2011 Sandra Bundy, Broker-in-Charge, B&P, Inc. Serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina.

If you or someone you know if having difficulty making mortgage payments and would like to seek alternatives contact us today for a confidential consultation.

How the SC Hardest Hit Fund Might help you Avoid Foreclosure

SC Mortgage Help Tweet

Horry county had the third highest number of forecloures in South Carolina in July and as a home retention consultant assisting homeowners to keep their homes I see many homeowners who are frozen and shut down when it comes to taking steps to save their home.  Hardships happen and in order to keep your family homes there are steps to take and thankfully resources for SC residents that are available to help.  The Hardest Hit fund in SC administed by SC State Housing was allocated $295 million to assist SC homeowners with monthly payment assistance and direct loans.

Eligible homeowners that are unemployed can have mortgage payments made under the Monthly Payment Assistance program to keep their homes.   This program is capped at $36k and could make the difference in many homeowners situation and help to avoid foreclosure while unemployed and the homeowner is seeking employment.

Direct Loan Assistance is for homeowners who have experienced hardship through no fault of their own and have fallen behind on their payments and overcome the hardship but remains delinquent on their mortgage up to 6 months or more.   These loans are available interest free and are designed to bring the loan current. While there is a lien placed on the property for a period of 5 years it is forgiven after the period and no interest is charged.  This is an excellent opportunity for homeowners that have fallen behind and now able to make mortgage payments.

In addition to these programs there is also assistance for homeowners who are unable to stay in the home and do not qualify for the Direct Loan or Monthly Payment Assistance that have experienced hardships.  Short sales and deed in lieu of foreclosure are options and if you do not qualify for relocation assistance through your lender this program may be able to help.

If you think you need help to avoid foreclosure don’t overlook these programs!  The quickest way to get help is by visiting the SC Mortgage Help Website or calling 855-435-7472.  This program is expected to run through 2017 or funds are exhausted. Don’t delay, get help today! Copyright©2011 Sandra Bundy, Broker-in-Charge, B&P, Inc. Serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina.

How would you stabilize your neighborhood?

Neighborhood stabilization should be in local hands

News on the housing market remains to be the source of confusion for many as like the stock market you seem to hear about the wild swings in the prices of both since both are market indicators on the health of our economy as a whole.  Truth is that the locality of real estate makes it necessary to investigate the facts of the locale rather than the broader picture of the state of the housing market to determine the health of the local real estate market.  This week FHA released a RFI to solicit input and ideas on how how to best deal with the 242,000 homes it reportly holds in REO inventory in ways that would help to stabilize neighborhoods across the country and provide affordable rental units.

For one thing there is no doubt the task of dealing with the large number of REO properties can be overwhelming especially on this large of a scale and it only makes sense to ask for input from stakeholders.  After all it is the feet on the ground like REALTORS® and local officials that know what effect foreclosures are having on their neighborhoods.  Sure there are others just as qualified to answer the RIF and provide solid strategies for the disposition of FHA assets and surely they will but that doesn’t mean the local homeowners association in a hard hit areas couldn’t provide a solution of their own along with local community development corporations or other housing advocate groups.

The way I see it the rehab and rental of some of these properties by local Real Estate & Property Management Firms is the way to go in some areas especially where affordable quality rental homes are needed.  Jobs will be created in the very neighborhoods that are affected unlike when national vendors are used who have no neighborhood ties or focus on the facts of the market needed to make the proper decisions on the rental or disposition of a home in the first place.  It is certainly understandable to have national vendors in some instances and new rules have been implemented so listing agents are local however it does not appear to be followed as I write but it certainly needs to be the standard when dealing with distressed homes no mater who happens to own the REO inventory.

In other areas adding to the rental inventory and competing outright with investors for tenants could have a more negative impact as falling rents could bring down home prices too in areas where investor activity is heavy.  This is no doubt when selling the REO inventory would make sense and again local Real Estate & Property Management Firms should be used for this as well but having an office 25 miles away from the property is not truly local.  Using asset management firms with access to thousands of qualifed REO agents can easily address the locality rule and present more opportunity for the neighborhoods.  I for one don’t know of anyone more famaliar with that cares as much about helping our communites overcome the current financial conditions and the state of the housing market than a local REALTOR®. Copyright©2011 Sandra Bundy, Broker-in-Charge, B&P, Inc.  Serving the Pee Dee and Grand Strand of South Carolina.