Refinance or Short Sale? The New HARP – Will IT HELP?

Huntington Beach, CA: Are you wondering if you or someone you know will be able to take advantage of the new revisions to the HARP program that were just announced last week and are scheduled to become available to borrowers this December? The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or “HARP,” is the revised program for struggling homeowners that President Obama has been talking a lot about recently. While media coverage has been quite positive and made it seem like this is the magic cure for all homeowners who owe more than their homes are currently worth, most still will not qualify for it. The problem is that the new HARP program is still only available to loans that are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Some of the most upside-down homeowners who bought back at the peak in 2006 and 2007 are also the least likely to have a loan backed by one of these government agencies. A high percentage of the loans were held by private investment firms in their mortgage backed portfolios and are not eligible for HARP. In addition, only loans that were delivered to Fannie or Freddie prior to May 31, 2009 are eligible. If you bought your house or refinanced your existing mortgage after this date you will remain ineligible. Unfortunately, having gotten your loan prior to this date does not immediately guaranty your eligibility either. If your loan was originated prior to May 31, 2009 but not sold to Fannie Mae until after that date, you would also not be elegible. That is because the HARP program goes by the date Fannie or...

Where Are The Best Wings in Huntington Beach?

Huntington Beach, CA: Had planned to join my son Drew last night for some wings and things and watch the world series. Unfortunately the game was postponed due to rain, but Drew and I headed over to the Orange Dog Bar and Grill anyway since we were hungry and thirsty. The Orange Dog was also having a special event. Kevin Klauss and his partner participate in a wonderful homeless dog resue effort (Freedom Flight). Money is raised and the dogs are flown to Canada where they are guaranteed to be adopted. The establishment was packed last night with supporters who enjoyed some awesome live music and great food. My son votes for the Orange Dog as having the best wings in Huntington Beach and maybe all of Orange County ( Drew likes the Tai Peanut and Wasabi honey flavors) . Where is your favorite place for wings? Have you tried the Orange Dog yet? Tony Hunthausen Remax Select One...

I Need My Home’s Equity For Retirement! What Can I do To Preserve It!

Huntington Beach, CA: Many notable economists believe that we have not seen the bottom of the housing market. That goes for the entire country, not just Orange County. With interest rates at historic lows history, it can still be an ideal time to buy as prices would need to drop 30% or more if interest rates rise to 7.5% to get the same affordability. However, if they do drop another 20% or more, which is within the range that some of these economists think is possible (some think it could be as much as 30%), today’s buyer may still be ok with regard to the affordability factor, but those of you who needed that 20%+ for retirement just saw it go to “money heaven”. For all practical purposes, with those in their 60’s and beyond, it is money gone forever! Remember that I am talking primarily about personal residences here. If you have positive cash flow income property the analysis is a little different. The community you live in will also be a significant factor in how much any further price drop will affect you. Some neighborhoods will continue to be more affected than others. Some may not decline any more at all. A 20% drop would mean a $120,000 loss of retirement funds if you have $600,000 in equity! If you don’t know how much equity you may have and want to know what this could mean for you, call me and I will be happy to help you figure it out. Of course the only sure fire way to get your equity out so that you can...

Counting On The Equity In Your Home For Retirement?

Huntington Beach, CA: Are You Counting On The Equity In Your Home For Retirement? If So You Definitely Need To Read On… While cooling off recently after an unusually tough hot yoga session I was chatting with Steve, one of the other “older” class participants. My 26 y.o. lifeguard son took me to my first class a couple months ago, and before any of you “real men” joke about this sissy stretching activity you need to give it a try. You will find there is definitely nothing sissy about it. Anyway, we started out talking about how the yoga had improved our fitness in ways we hadn’t thought about. For me it is a better score and less back pain on the golf course, and for my classmate it meant a stronger back and the ability to keep up with the younger guys on a recent surfing trip. The conversation moved into a discussion about the economy and housing market once he found out I was a real estate broker. As it turns out Steve is 66 yrs old and still working. He wants to retire but was hit real hard in his retirement accounts by the 2001 and 2008 stock market down turns. He knows that he has not put away enough to see he and his wife comfortably through their retirement years and so has continued to work a little longer than they had hoped. Fortunately he says he has about $600,000 of equity in his home. If he works another 3 or 4 yrs he figures he will be in a position to retire when he...