A Cooling Real Estate Market and Investing in Pre-foreclosures

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With the housing market cooling and demand for mortgage loans shrinking, banks and other lenders are turning to nontraditional and sometimes riskier mortgages to bring in additional business and make up their dropped off business.

Many lenders have turned to mortgage products designed to lower monthly loan payments and to help borrowers qualify more readily for larger loan amounts, while others require little in the way of documentation during the approval process. 

These loans do make it easier for some people to get mortgages, but they also can raise the possibility that some borrowers may end up in foreclosure. For the real estate investor or home buyer these market conditions represent a window of opportunity

As housing monetary value appreciation rates slow, more mortgages are going into default. Foreclosure notices have edged up in recent months, providing yet Another sign of a cool down in the real estate market across the U.S. 

For example in San Diego County, CA. Banks and other lenders sent 1,266 letters of default to borrowers in the third quarter, a notice that gives homeowners 90 days to become current on payments before moving towards a foreclosure auction.

At the height of the real estate boom, the double-digit rises in home equity meant customers could pull out money from the increased home equity to bask in a lifestyle that they could really not afford. 

Flush with the ability to tap into home equity loans, homeowners have pulled out cash to purchase new cars, furniture, vacations and other luxuries. Another boost to their lifestyles was rendered when homeowners refinanced using adjustable-rate mortgage loans that cut their monthly payments.

But now the conditions are changing, in many areas of the country real estate price levels are flattening out and even not rising in some real estate markets. With little or no increase in home equity, or even vanishing equity, homeowners could find themselves in a tight spot.

Additional forces are also having an impact on the housing market: New federal laws regarding credit card payments have passed to increase the minimum payment mandatory on credit card debt. For many people that payment will now be twice what it has been in the past. 

And, as energy prices and health care costs continue to march upwards to new all-time highs. Growing numbers of people are in financial situations where moines spent is exceeding money earned.

For the first-time real estate investor or seasoned veteran, the current market conditions are a window of opportunity for those shopping to buy real estate property just before foreclosure. A growing number of homeowners have withdrawn all their equity (sometimes as much as 110% of their home’s value.) and now house values have turned down and they are upside down -where they owe more than they can sell the house for. 

Trapped in a situation where they can’t pay their debts and they can’t find a buyer for their home, real estate investors who understand the default process can offer a solution that offers the homeowner in default a way to escape from their mortgage payments and for the investor a way to secure a property in the process.

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