Thursday, February 17, 2011

Township C of O can cause havoc on closings! Someone higher up needs to govern these people!

In our area of New Jersey we are required to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy before closing. Years ago the mortgage companies required them as well as the Townships.

Today the mortgage companies (most of them) don't require them anymore. However that doesn't matter because the townships do.

It use to be (back in the day) that a C of O was for "SAFETY" issues. Then as the years went on we encountered more and more Township inspectors who were on such a "POWER TRIP" they started failing homes because they didn't like the color that the room was painted. No matter how much we asked nicely or argued, they didn't care. "Have it done or you don't close"!!

This attitude from the town became so horrific over the years, yet there was nothing we could do. I even wrote a letter to the Governor at the time (15 years ago) and 3 months later received a response saying "we can't help because we don't govern those departments of the townships".

I had an 89 year old woman with no money, and everything was going well and we were about to close...the C of O inspector came in (with his attitude that he was "God") and failed it because the rooms needed to be painted neutral and the carpets were old and needed to be removed and replaced. After explaining to him that this was ridiculous, he gave me the attitude that the more I argued with him the more he would put on the list.

Well, never won that battle and none of the battles that followed over the years.

Now when you go to get a C of O they even have a new system of "making more money". If you want it done this week, it will cost you $250. If you want it done in 2 weeks, it will cost you $150. If you don't want to pay the extra money then we'll be out to inspect in 3 to 4 weeks (knowing full well that we need to close). This infuriated me!!! The market has been slow, so don't tell me you can't come out sooner because your backed up with appointments.......................What a thing for our townships to do to homeowners. And the "We're the boss" attitudes just freak me out.

Well, maybe KARMA is coming around for those people. Just heard that because of lack of money, the jobs being cut are theirs!

So hopefully you don't live in an area where a C of O is required..........It's a JOKE!!!

Sandra Nixon

EverSand Realty Group

This year's change in the way HUD homes are handled - why can't they get it right?

As we watched 2010 come to an end, and read all about the NEW HUD site and management companies, my thoughts were "Wow, when it's broke, they can fix it"!

Well here we are in the second month of the new year and the new HUD layout, and my thoughts are "OMG, why are the same mistakes repeated and no one in charge can see it?"

In the past, HUD (or their management company) would chose 1 or 2 listing Broker's for each State and that listing Broker would receive 1%. Speaking for myself, I thought "Gee, that's why they never answer their phones and their listings are almost "empty" room sizes, interior pics, description of house/area". However, the selling agents had a great incentive to sell these homes because their commission was 6%. Agents were pushing these houses and going out of their way to sell them.

The goal for the revised HUD this year was to appoint several listing agents throughout each State. Rumor had it that the purpose was to make sure these homes were well marketed and handled with care, so as to have a good turn around as they came in. Someone here on Active Rain had even posted that they called HUD (when they applied) and were told that each new prospective listing agent would only be allowed 3 counties. I, myself, applied and the application made us express WHY our marketing and experience would benefit HUD.

NOW, here's what we have....the same thing we had before only now the listing agent gets 3% and the selling agents get 3%. So they took a bad thing and made it even worse. At least in the past there was an incentive to sell them.

HUD homes are just now starting to POP up on our MLS. The listings are almost "empty". No room sizes, interior pics OR remarks. The listing agents are over an HOUR away from the homes in my area and know nothing of their value or the area. They simply list them and collect their 3%................WOW they won the lottery!

Just yesterday I had been showing units in an adult community. My client was just slightly under qualified for the lowest listed price there. She just kept saying "if there was one listed for what I am qualified for, I would purchase it today" (mind you she lives out of State and was leaving last night). Late last night I just kept scanning the Internet for a different place, town, or development. Becoming desperate I went to the next county and even searched for non adult communities...........................AND THERE IT WAS!

That exact adult community had a HUD unit for sale..................listed in the WRONG COUNTY and WRONG TOWN! It had no room sizes, no photos, no maintenance fee or model type. No one will find this thing and that's why it's not sold......How is this allowed??? And this is who HUD has chosen to list all of their properties???

Needless to say, my client left town last night and won't be back for weeks. I look bad because she wanted to know WHY I didn't know about it while she was here.


Sandra Nixon

EverSand Realty Group

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cut your mortgage payment down, without refinancing or modifying you loan

Pay attention to your Homeowners insurance, and Flood insurance (if it's required). Then be aware of when your mortgage company sends you your yearly "Escrow Analysis".

Here's what happens:

Your homeowners insurance (and Flood) can be lowered simply by knowing the rules and reading the fine print on your policies. Once you fix it and get it lowered you can then call your mortgage company and ask them to re-evaluate your escrow. This, in turn, will lower your monthly mortgage payments (if your insurance and taxes are included in your payments).

First of all, don't let an insurance company TELL YOU how much coverage you MUST have. Alot of companies use "information" systems that tell them how much sq. footage you have, in turn telling them how much it would cost to replace your home if it were destroyed. Also, some of them will tell you that you MUST get the amount of your mortgage or the amount you paid for the house... Not true. If your house is destroyed, your land is STILL you only need the amount that the HOUSE is valued at without the land. You can actually look on your tax bill and see the values of the house and land separated. Example: Mr. Smith pays $400,000. for his home. His mortgage is $350,000. The town says that his home is worth $250,000. and the land is $150,000. He can cover his home for $250,000. Alot of people don't know the rules and just get coverage based on the sales price and/or mortgage amount.

NOW, the second thing to do, is READ THE FINE PRINT! Every year my mortgage company would send me a letter saying "you do not have enough Flood insurance and if you don't increase it we will force you to by assigning you the difference". In turn, my monthly payments would go up.


Well, I finally inquired as to why this is happening. WELL, guess what..........almost every insurance policy has "in fine print" that your policy will increase every year because they feel that the cost to replace your home increases, as well as the value of your property. So every year my homeowners policy was going up and I didn't know it. When your homeowners policy goes up, the bank insists that your FLOOD insurance also has to "match it" leaving you with a DOUBLE WHAMMY! This is crazy. Especially since we all know that home values have dropped dramatically.

This is ridiculous!!! So here is something you can do...........switch insurance companies every year. If I keep the same one, the contract will allow them to increase the value amount that is covered. BUT, if you sign up with a new company, it's like starting all over again at the value you want covered. Example: Mr. Smith (above) can get $250,000 in coverage with a new company, but will have to be covered for $275,000 now if he stays with the same one (which would increase his mortgage payments).

So people, this may be confusing to you, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
I just switched insurance companies AGAIN..........and insisted on having my home covered for ONLY the value of the HOME (not the land or the mortgage amount).

I just decreased my mortgage payment this year by $100/month.

This is not legal or professional advice, this is my "opinion" on how to handle reducing your mortgage payments