Ask Anything: 10 questions with Realtor Parker Creech
Posted May 20, 2008
Updated March 18, 2009
Many people are facing foreclosure of their homes due to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. What are some of the available bail-out options for people in these situations? – Robert, Youngsville
The very first thing a borrower having difficulty making payments should do is to contact the lender. The lender prefers to avoid foreclosure if at all possible and will usually have programs available to assist the borrower. Sometimes payment adjustments can be made, and there are some FHA programs available through the lender to assist people in this situation. The important thing is to contact the lender at the first sign of trouble. Waiting until you are behind on payments sometimes prevents the use of some available programs.
What tips can you look for regarding "hidden fees" and being taken advantage of when you are at the closing? – MaDonna, Erwin
When you make a loan application with a lender, the lender is required to give you a “Good Faith Estimate” of all costs and fees associated with the loan for which you are applying. Ask as many questions as you need to have an understanding of all loan fees. The lender and your Realtor should be able to help you have a basic understanding of the fees. The lender will provide an updated estimate once you have loan approval. Keep this updated “Good Faith Estimate” to take with you to your closing to compare with your actual HUD Closing Statement and ask for a full explanation of any fees that are different and why! The time to inquire about fees is when you are in the mortgage-shopping process, to prevent “hidden fees” showing up at closing. Remember that the interest rate is not the only thing that matters when shopping for a mortgage. Using a professional Realtor and mortgage lender should prevent these problems.
I have a condo that burned down and was rebuilt. However, the one next to me was completed to the studs and boarded up. How detrimental to the sale of my condo is the fact that his is boarded up? – Sherrill Craig, Raleigh
Unfortunately, the boarded up condo is very detrimental to the ability to sell your condo. Few buyers are willing to invest in a property when the adjacent property or properties are in a serious state of disrepair. Until the repairs are made to the neighbor's property, any potential sale on your property would be greatly impacted. I recommend you contact the HOA (Home Owners Association) manager for an explanation as to why the delay. Also if there is an insurance problem, all owners in the association should be aware of it because they share the same master insurance policy.
Why aren't there any relief programs available for homeowners who had a great credit rating for over 36 years and now with the economy slumping, there are no assistance for mortgage options? Thank you for your time, cooperation and consideration. – George T. Riley, U.S. Veteran, Willow Spring
If you are currently having difficulty meeting your payments, contact your lender immediately and ask for assistance. It is usually possible to negotiate a lower payment for a specified length of time, or to get other assistance programs available through the lender. The key is not to wait until you are already behind. Call when you first experience any trouble. If you are trying to get a new mortgage, the lender's decision is based on your current ability to repay the debt as well as your long-term credit history. Talk to several lenders and ask what they can offer you.
Long story short, parent has terminal cancer. We will be selling their home as well as our home and building (all in the same neighborhood). What would you consider a fair reduction in Realtor fees for listing both homes with the same agent? Thank you! – William Stewart, Clayton
It is not unreasonable to expect an agent to negotiate a more favorable fee for listing multiple properties. However, a full-service professional agent will usually earn his or her fee by netting you more dollars at the closing table. A good, seasoned professional can negotiate on your behalf and usually make up more than 1 or 2 percent of a commission. Remember, an agent who cannot sell you on the fee probably cannot be a firm negotiator on your behalf when you need it!
I have my condo on the market. Although it has been shown by my Realtor, I haven't had any offers to date. I am asking $75,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. I have asked my Realtor for feedback from the potential buyers who have seen the condo. He tells me that all the comments have been positive – but no offers. What's a girl to do to get this place sold??? It has been on the market since mid-January. Should I lower the price??? Help me please. Thanks for any advice or suggestions. – Winnie Brown, Raleigh
Have your agent bring you a printout of the most recent comparable sales and competing listings in your neighborhood. You both need to discuss what each of you needs to do to make your unit the most desirable for the potential buyers looking at property. A price reduction may be needed as well as some painting, cleaning or redecorating, to make your condo the best buy. Some additional marketing may also be required. You need the prospective buyers to be comparing the other units to yours and determining that yours is the best value available in the neighborhood. If your agent cannot help you determine what needs to be done to achieve this goal, then you probably have the wrong agent for your property.
Dear Mr. Parker Creech, I own a property in Wilson, N.C., that is in an ideal location in which I have been in contact with national franchises for possibly locating on my property due to the fact it sits right on Hwy. 301. However, I am interested in attracting a commercial or real estate development partner to join me in getting the property rezoned commercial and cleared and marketed for and to national franchises that would lease or enter a deal that would provide a long-term residual return on my ownership of the property and to anyone that would partner with me on the project. What firm or developer contact would you recommend or what would be your suggestion to make this happen? – Daryl McGhee, Garner
I would recommend you contact a real estate professional who concentrates solely on commercial properties. Many commercial agents also will specialize in franchise sales and know of potential investors that may meet your needs. Interview several commercial agents (not just from the Wilson area) to determine who will work on it, not just add your property to the listing inventory and hope someone comes along. I would need to know more about the property to recommend a specific agent.
Why do most Realtors look to the loan officer to cut fees at the closing? The loan officer only gets 1 percent, where the Realtors split up to 6 percent. I have the money to bring to the table, and all a Realtor does is show a house. I feel, I have the gold, I make the rules. What does the Realtor bring to the table and do you feel Realtors are really needed? Seems buyers get as good, if not better, service by using an online service with much lower fees. Please legitimize the Realtors' position on these issues. – Bob Denver, Raleigh
A Realtor, acting as a buyer's agent, has a contractual obligation to review, understand and negotiate if needed, all expenses regarding the purchase, including lenders' fees for the buyer. As a loan officer, you are responsible to take the application and help process the many things required by the lender to approve the loan for the bank or investor. The investor or bank, whichever applies, brings the “gold” to the table for a return agreed upon by both parties (much more than 1 percent). The (selling) agent normally must split the paid commission with the listing agent, and then both agents normally have to split that with their respective brokers or companies. So an average of 1 percent to 2 percent is much more realistic. Also a good professional loan officer or originator will usually originate six to 12 loans a month or more, where a good Realtor may sell two to three homes a month. It is the job of both loan officers and Realtors to work together with a professional attitude to help the buyers achieve the goal of closing the property.
You likely know the current and past values of several local properties in the Raleigh area. I just bought a one-bedroom condo for $78,000 with a 6.25 percent fixed rate. It's in a great neighborhood and the unit is like new, being built in 1987. My question, if we were not in a (recession) and things were good like they were during the start of 2000, what do you think my home would be worth now? –David, Cary
Not knowing your specific property or its location, I have no way of giving you a value. If you are interesting in selling, I would recommend you call a Realtor and ask for a free market analysis at no obligation. Interview more than one. If you are not ready to sell, but need a value, you could call an appraiser to appraise your property.
My mother-in-law is in ill health and now lives with us. She had her house up for sale for over a year with two different agents and another year by word of mouth – over two years total. They refinanced their house shortly before my father-in-law died. The house needs upgrades – probably $20,000 worth. It is a brick ranch built in 1970. However, they owe so much we cannot sell it. Since I have had to quit work to care for her, she is helping us and can no longer afford her home, which has first and second mortgages totaling $75,000. It is VA-backed. (First mortgage) She has not made a payment on the house since January, wanting to voluntarily let it be foreclosed and no attempts by the mortgagors to do anything about it. What are we looking at legally with this? Her payments totaled $1,000 a month just in the two mortgages, and she cannot pay that and not be able to live there or sell the home. We have written to all mortgage companies and the VA and we have heard nothing. What advice can you give us regarding this situation? – Kathy Naquin, Dunn
Not being an attorney, I cannot answer any legal implications. It does sound like you have done all you can do by writing and attempting to contact the lenders. Over time, the foreclosure process will move forward and the foreclosure will take place. There are requirements for the lender to give legal notice to the borrower of pending foreclosure. If you have already vacated the property and removed all personal property, then you can do nothing and the process will take place.
Click here to Ask Anything!