Friday, November 5, 2010

Is this how your Banker treats you !!

On when the Shark bites !! Do you feel like the sharks are circling around the sinking ship? For, far too many that is what is happening, between short sales, foreclosures and REO’s it’s a feeding frenzy out there.

What can be done, you want to buy a home, but your not sure where to turn. You heard a friend say he had a friend who got a great deal on a foreclosure, so you start to think the foreclosures are the way to go. Let’s get a few facts and terminology out of the way first.

The time line is simple by nature, but starts to get cloudy as different variables come into the equation.

  • [1] If an owner is upside down on a property, in other words he/she owe more than the home is worth, they are going to have two (2) options.
  • Option 1: Negotiate with their bank for a lower rate, maybe extend the terms, and manage their monthly expenses.

  • Option 2: Work with an experienced team of Realtor’s and attorneys to sell their property in a Short Sale situation. (This is the best way for someone who is trying to sell their PRIMARY residence) An experienced team: Realtor and Attorney can help negotiate with the bank, price the property to sale, and deal with the bank when an offer comes through.

  • [2]If an owner for whatever reason waits too long, or has an investment/2nd home, the bank will begin the foreclosure process (obviously if the owner is behind in their payments). Typically it is thirty days, and the bank can and will pull it from the court if in that time frame the owner makes payments, or gets an offer for a short sale. A short sale is better for the bank and the owner, but is harder for a buyer.
  • Once the property goes to foreclosure, and a judge rules in favor of the bank the property becomes an REO of the bank (REO = Real Estate Owned) The term foreclosure is bantered about very loosely, yet it means a onetime event, when the bank takes possession of the property.
  • [3]Once the property becomes an REO it is sent to the banks Asset Management Department, which could be an internal division or a private company the bank contracts with. The Asset Manager will begin the process of evaluating the property. What shape is it in? What is the true value of the property? What are the market conditions in the neighborhood?
  • Once the Asset Manager has evaluated the property they will begin selecting the Realtor that they feel can best market the property.
  • Advertising the property, a viable list of prospects, a specialization in REO’s and a particular neighborhood.

  • The agent may be required to spend money on cleaning the property, frequent trips to the property to oversee maintenance work, advising the bank on additional items that might help sell the property.

So how does all this affect a buyer?

SHORT SALES: Short Sales take more time, and can become very emotional. There are three parties involved: Owner, Buyer and Mortgagor. The Mortgagor technically does not have the authority to convey title, but they are the last one with the authority to accept or reject an offer. In all Short Sales, the contract will say: “Subject to 3rd Party Approval” The Short Sale can typically take anywhere from 90 to 180 days to close. So, it is not for someone who needs a place in 45 days.

REO: An REO is typically a more traditional transaction. The bank has determined a range of value, they have assessed what will need to be done to the property and have either agreed to do it or sell it “AS IS” SO BUYER BEWARE!

GETTING FINANCING: The final piece of the puzzle is financing, obviously a CASH OFFER IS KING, but if you need to finance the property keep in mind that you will need a qualification letter, a certificate of funds at the time of the contract. Once the bank has countered and approved on the price and terms, they will want to do their own contract. Please have your attorney review it before signing the contract. It would be best to have at lease a 75/25 LTV ration in a mortgage, and a credit rating over 750 with income that can be verified. The underwriters, thanks to our government, will be asking for information in duplicate, and if anything changes they will ask again. So be nice to your loan officer and ask questions, don’t get mad, be patient.

The last thing I would say is that buying a property from an individual is still the easiest way to buy real estate. Financing for a purchase is going to be consistent throughout the entire process. An owner/buyer sales transaction has less emotion once the contract has been negotiated, and in today’s market an owner that is not in a short sale has been taking care of their property, and what you see in the property is going to be there when you purchase the property. So, keep in mind when looking at property look at the properties that are not REO’s, you might find out you are getting a better deal.

So, let Barry Ginn or Charlie Fraser help you to find a good deal on Hilton Head Island or surrounding lowcountry area.

Copyright content & photo Charlie B Fraser 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And that's the way it was!!

The other day while driving home from Charleston, fusing about the traffic from the widening of Hwy 17 I realized that a part of the lowcountry was going to disappear. A change in time was taking shape in the form of old buildings in disrepair, not that it had not already been slowly going away, but actual buildings that I had taken for granted through the forty plus years that I have traveled that road were falling to rot or progress. In this case it seems it might be a little of both. The buildings are in disrepair, and Hwy 17 is being widened between Garden’s Corner and Tarboro, SC. I decided I would stop and take a few pictures and think about the times that were. Along Hwy 17 it crosses the Ashepoo River and on either side of the bridge there are the remains of old fish camps. On one side is Joe's Fish Camp, and on the other is Crosby's Fish Camp. They have a couple of old river cottages that are built on pilings overlooking the river, and today they are all that remain of a time when on the weekends the rooms would be full, the bait shop would have a crowd talking about where to go the next morning. The crickets and frogs would be in full orchestra as the sunset on Friday night, and the men would call it an early night and get ready to go fish on Saturday. They would fish for bream, crappie, catfish and the occasional bass. They would all come back Saturday afternoon with a full stringer of fish.

Saturday night would be the social night, the day's catch would be fried up, along with plenty of local vegetables, and of course grits. Some of the fish camps had the best restaurants around a community and Sunday lunch after church would bring out everyone in their best church going clothes for local seafood. I remember as a young kid, of four years old, our family driving thirty minutes or more to go to a local seafood restaurant down in Midway, GA Liberty County Sunday after church. I would always get the fried shrimp. That restaurant had a pond in back, and Mom would let us go feed the ducks bread that the restaurant provided to keep the children happy and quiet.

Just up the road from the fish camps located on the Ashepoo River is an old Texaco station that today is falling apart, but at one time it served the community surrounding this area. It is located at the intersection of Hwy 17 and River Road. River Road leads into to Walterboro, and in the late 50's and early 60's when Crosby's Fish Camp was in full swing, many a fisherman would stop in at the Texaco for gas, and other supplies they might not find at the fish camp store.

Why have I been telling this tale of two old fish camps, it is because they are widening Hwy 17 to make way for our busy lives and the population explosion that has occurred in the south. These buildings might be lost for everyone once they finish widening the road, and I wanted to have one last memory of this once peaceful road between Beaufort and Charleston along Hwy 17. I might need to make a trip down Hwy 17 in Georgia, and see what remains of those fish camps that once populated Hwy 17 along the coastal communities of Georgia (Like the Cherokee Restaurant that I went to as a kid in Midway, GA), and complete my lowcountry tour of “Fish Camps”.

Today a new way of life has sprouted out of the changing times, and people come by bus with trailers full of kayaks for day trips along the Ashepoo River, or some might even enjoy an overnight camping trip. The boat ramps are open for fisherman, but the bait & tackle stores are no longer open. It is a pay as you play. Whatever the occasion the river still calls us to its beauty and charm, weather it is for a day of fishing or kayaking along the banks. As I have always said "A DAY ON THE RIVER IS BETTER THAN A DAY AT WORK !!"

In researching for history on South Carolina Fish Camps, I came across countless entries for places all over the country from California, Washington, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas. It wasn’t regarding the history, but fish camps still open. If the fish camp was no longer a viable operation then it usually had turned into a full fledge restaurant operation still serving food in an old fish camp location. They once were thriving true "Fish Camps" but today are tourist attractions with either a good restaurant or one that has seen its day. They still all have one thing in common, the history of fishing, camaraderie, and being on the river.

The other item that I found through my research, and I have certainly seen this in many developments but one in particular stands out for me. Old fish camps have given architects and developers another tool to attract people to a way of life in a particular area. The “Lifestyle” of the lowcountry is engrossed in these old traditions. One such project is not far from the Ashepoo River on Kiawah Island just south of Charleston. There the architects helped the developers capture the feel for the old "fish camp" through the Vanderhorst family, who for many years owned Kiawah and had numerous properties scattered around the island, and one of was the "Old Fish Camp". It is a great example of modern day qualities capturing the feel for the days of the “Fish Camp” Enjoy the link and learn about the modern fish camp.

  • Fresh fillet's of redfish
  • Zatarain's fish fry mix, add Old Bay, salt & Pepper, little cayenne. a little cumin and apply generously to fish fillets. Bring oil to 350 degrees and gently put seasoned fillets in oil (it takes about 4-6 minutes per fillet)
  • Garlic Grits .... this is a link to Paula Dean's recipe .. enjoy
  • Cole Slaw: Cabbage, red onion, carrots and Marie's Cole Slaw Dressing. It's easy mix ingredients and add dressing, chill until ready to serve, salt & pepper to taste ...... I like to add a sprinkle the top with paprika for taste and color, or get bold and use the Old Bay. Chop onions up fine, and shave carrots.

Invite friends over and have a good ole fish fry, it is best to do it outside if you can. More fun that way!!

This is one of the many reasons why I love the lowcountry, and I have an even better time helping people make the lowcountry their home. Barry Ginn and I have teamed up to help you find the perfect lowcountry home. We have a very good knowledge of the lowcountry, Hilton Head Island and would love to share it with you. Call us today!!

copyright Content and Photographs by Charlie B Fraser 2010