I was surprised today when I was going through my past week of newspapers looking at foreclosures. This last month has been pretty slow with only 1-2 per week…until yesterday. Maybe someone just changed the process of when they are put in the paper. In the August 1st newspaper, we had 11 new foreclosures and all except one are hitting the courthouse steps on 8/29.
I decided to do a quick look at the properties to see what was being auctioned. We have most areas of the island covered. We have market values ranging from $200k to over a million. Here are some interesting facts:
- 6 of 11 foreclosures are currently listed with an agent
- Of the 6 listed, only one is shown as a short sale
- 3 that are not currently listed, have been listed and did not sell in the past year.
- 2 have never been listed
- 6 are are condos of which 4 allow vacation rentals. 1 is a leasehold property.
- 4 are houses and 1 is vacant land zoned for residential.
- 4 are owner-occupied.
- Only 2 owners are off island.
- Most properties were purchased between 2002 and 2005.
So what does this mean? This is relatively small sample but it tells you a few things. The foreclosure market is similar to our overall market in numbers, distribution and types. You can not conclude that foreclosures are from mainland owners. You can not conclude that only low-end properties experience foreclosure.
I can conclude that most REALTORS® are not inquiring about the owner’s financial state for the homes they list. The recent upswing in short-sales may be changing this. I can also expect that if we have 138 listed short sales; we may have many more home-owners out there that will be facing foreclosure in the next few months AND many of those homes are listed.
If you are a homeowner in this position, you need to talk to a qualified real estate professional to know what your options are. The new bills passed last week may save you but they are very complex and may not be your best option. Do not list with a discount broker thinking that you’ll save money. You need a full-service professional working with you and your lender on your behalf. Not all REALTORS® are willing to work short sales, so make sure to ask. If you currently have your home on the market, make sure to tell your REALTOR® if you are behind in mortgage payments. If you decide to list as a FSBO, expect that you’ll get some very low-ball offers from investors. Talking to a licensed REALTOR® is usually free so talk to a few and get as much information as you can. Your REALTOR® may not have the answers you want but should be looking out for your best interests.