September 17th, 2010, The Norris Group returns with its award winning event I Survived Real Estate 2010. The Norris Group has assembled an incredible line up of industry experts to discuss the state of REO from the inside. Topics will include regulatory intervention and aftermath, bulk buying, myths and facts, and opportunities emerging for real estate professionals. 100 percent of the proceeds support the Orange County affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This event would not be possible without generous help from the following platinum partners: Foreclosure Radar and Sean O’Toole, the San Diego Creative Real Estate InvestorsAssociation and Bill Tan, Investors Workshops and Shawn Watkins and Angel Bronsgeest, Invest Club for Women and Iris Veneracion and Bobby Alexander, San Jose Real Estate Investors Association and Geraldine Barry, Claudia Buys Houses, Frye Wiles, MVT Productions, and White House Catering.
This week Bruce is joined by Sean O’Toole. Sean is the Founder and CEO of ForeclosureRadar.com. ForeclosureRadar is the only company that tracks every foreclosure in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon. It makes updates daily on all foreclosure auctions. Prior to ForeclosureRadar, Sean spent 15 years building and launching software companies. In 2002, Sean entered the foreclosure business, and bought and sold over 150 properties.
Bruce thinks everyone who is a trustee sale buyer should be a member of ForeclosureRadar. When Sean started Foreclosure Radar, there were only about 40 trustee sale buyers who bought the majority of the deals within the state, but now there are thousands. The invention of the lower bid has created activity. We wish they would drop their opening bids even lower.
5 to 10 billion dollars worth in properties go to the courthouse steps every month. 80 percent of those properties go back to the bank as REOs. The number of REOs have decreased 50 percent from July 2008. However, there are still a huge number of properties being taken back by banks. From a historical perspective, we still have an outrageously high number of REOs.
People tend to have this mentality that nothing bad can happen from here on out, because they don’t think the lenders will unload a bunch of inventory into the market. However, in 2007 and 2008, that is exactly what they did. Up until the end of 2008, regulations required you to file a notice of default after 60 to 90 days of delinquency. In September of 2008, Paulson changed the rules, and since then, they have changed the rules to mark to market. Lenders now have this mentality that discourages them from foreclosing so long as there is some hope of receiving payment at some point in the future.
People are wondering when all the shadow inventory is going to show up and ruin everyone’s day. Shadow inventory has a few different holding tanks. The banks are holding it and not releasing it. In 2008, there was growing evidence that banks had inventory that were not being listed. In 2009, banks started selling more foreclosures than they were taking back. In the mean time, we had delinquencies that were over 90 days delinquent and were not going into foreclosure. Some properties are as much as 180 days delinquent. We have 1 million homeowners in California that are not making payment, but only 200,000 in foreclosure, and only 15,000 to 20,000 being foreclosed on per month.
There is a report claiming that “once a person is behind, the odds of them making that payment current again without a loan modification is 1%”. Sean thinks that may be true historically, but right now, the situation is worse than that. In the past, people went delinquent because of job problems, but this time, they are going late because we had a massive credit bubble that doubled home prices fictitiously. We have now corrected those prices, but we have 4 trillion dollars in excess mortgage debt. People are realizing that they are never going to get that money back, and paying the interest doesn’t help them.
ForeclosureRadar noticed an increase in investor activity in 2009. Subscriptions increased slightly around that time. Right now, people are concerned that the economy and housing might double-dip. Bruce thinks that a double-dip will probably occur.
A lot of ForeclosureRadar’s growth has come from builders and commercial real estate brokers. The court house steps have become much more competitive because of these two groups. They can’t just stop working because their niche isn’t doing well.
From 2002 to 2006, good investors could get a 50 to 75 percent return on capital. In 2007, the market went away because the banks weren’t dropping the bids. In 2008 and 2009, Sean heard plenty of stories about investors getting an 80 percent return on capital. It got really good for a little while, but over the past six months, the market got a lot more competitive. There are plenty of risks with buying at auctions. Bruce believes that someone makes a mistake every day at the courthouse that alters their financial life for a while.
The government has decided that it is better to avoid taking a property back to the lender. ForeclosureRadar is tracking the lenders who are willing to work problems out. Investor short sales concern Sean, especially if the deal is being bought to be flipped. Some people are claiming you can make a lot of money by doing a short sale through a double escrow. Sean thinks people who do that are going to get themselves into trouble. Bruce interviewed the FBI on this subject, and the FBI described the people who do double escrows as perpetrators. There are short sale opportunities out there, but there is a lot of risk involved. It can be difficult to convince lenders that you have added a significant amount of value to a recent short sale.
Lenders understand that auctioned properties are being sold at a discount. On a short sale, lenders believe that a market sale is being made, and they will not like the idea of selling a short sale at $100,000 below market.
Deutsche Bank recently made a report on mortgage servicers and how long it takes to do a short sale. With prime mortgages, GMAC took six months on average, CitiGroup took 7.5 months, Wells Fargo took 8 months, and Countrywide took 13 months. There is a buyer attached to the end of these deals, and no one is going to wait 13 months.
People involved with HAFA brag about their ability to sell within six months, and Bruce thinks that is ridiculous. The problem is that people are not coming to terms with the losses they are going to take. The government also has a few policies that are affecting speed. If Bruce was attached to that business, he would be very frustrated.
Mortgage insurance companies know they will have a better income and have less of a loss with a short sale, but if they have that loss right now, then they’ve got a payout to make. If they do not approve a short sale, and force a property into foreclosure, they may not have to payout for 8 or 9 months.
Sean believes that companies are moving away from principal reductions. Freddie claimed that they are not going to do principal reductions, because they have been tasked with protecting tax payer funds and they cannot just give out principal. If GSEs, who hold a lot of the mortgage debt, start giving out principal reductions, then that comes directly at the cost of the taxpayers. Freddie has a deed-in-lieu lease back program with a lease option. If someone does a deed-in-lieu under this program, they have a two year waiting period before they get to buy a property, and Bruce has the feeling that the property they will buy is that same property they were previously in. That would cause less volatility in the market, because it would discourage buyers from moving around.
Sean recently did some research for American Banker Magazine on jumbo loans. Loans under $417,000 are the fastest to be foreclosed on. Mini jumbos, which range from $417,000 to $729,000, take 30 days longer to foreclose on, and it takes even longer to foreclose on big jumbos. If lenders are struggling to deal with reality anywhere, it is at the high end of the market. Lenders sometimes try to aggressively foreclose with the hope of scaring the borrower into paying, but when they don’t get scared, the borrowers will simply vacate and move, and then the foreclosure gets cancelled. When lenders do not foreclose because they do not want the house, they are usually cancelling foreclosure by the masses. These lenders are often working to get people into the HAFA program, so that they can get a short sale or deed-in-lieu. Sean thinks the HAFA program is just like HAMP last year. It is not meant to conclude a bunch of short sales, it is meant to put people through another six months of delay only to tell them that they do not qualify.
Sean O’Toole’s website is www.foreclosureradar.com
Sean will be on the I Survived Real Estate 2010 panel in September.
For more information about The Norris Group’s California hard money loans or our California Trust Deed investments, visit the website or call our office at 951-780-5856 for more information. For upcoming California real estate investor training and events, visit The Norris Group website and our California investor calendar. You’ll also find our award-winning real estate radio show on KTIE 590am at 6pm on Saturdays or you can listen to over 170 podcasts in our free investor radio archive.
Thank you for being a Gold Sponsor for I Survived Real Estate 2010: Delmae Properties, Elite Auctions, Entrust California, Inland Empire Investors Forum, Keystone CPA, Las Brisas Escrow, Leivas Financial Services, Mike Cantu, North San Diego Real Estate Investors Association, Northern California Real Estate Investors Association, Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine, Realty 411 Magazine, San Jose Real Estate Investor Association, Tony Alvarez, and Westin South Coast Plaza.
Tags: American Banker Magazine, auction, bank, broker, bubble, Citigroup, commercial, Countrywide, credit, debt, deed-in-lieu, delinquency, delinquent, Deutsche Bank, fbi, foreclosure, ForeclosureRadar, GMAC, gse, HAFA, hamp, inventory, jumbo loan, lease option, lender, mortage, Notice of Default, real estate, reo, SEAN OTOOLE, shadow inventory, short sale, trustee, Wells Fargo