Not such a “short” sale? Help is on the way!
The market for short sales, whereby underwater homeowners sell their homes despite owing more on the mortgage than the property’s value, is expected to hit an all-time high in 2012 because bankers now realize that this option is more profitable than foreclosure. Data from RealtyTrac shows that during the first quarter of this year alone, the number of short sales – 109,521 – was up 25 percent on an annual basis, showing the highest level observed in three years. In some cases, the desire to help move on from underwater, distressed properties is so strong that banks have even begun to offer underwater borrowers large sums of money if they agree to a short sale for their distressed property.
Distressed homeowners believe that the expression “short sale” is a bit of a misnomer, and unfortunately, for the most part, they would be right. While it may seem that a short sale is the answer to a family’s financial nightmare, getting through the process is enough to give anyone bad dreams. All too often, the process is fraught with delays and frustration, and if that isn’t enough, local homeowners and title insurance companies are now being warned about bogus short sale approval letters from Bank of America, one of the nation’s largest short sale processors.
Now, more than ever, consumers need to work with a professional who is experienced in handling all types of real estate transactions and who has been specifically trained in handling short sales. First Team, headquartered in Orange County and serving the Southern California region, is hoping to reach consumers to let them know that First Team agents can handle the intricacies of even the most challenging transactions, and they are taking to the airwaves to do just that.
The company has just debuted its first series of TV commercials to reach out to consumers and distressed homeowners who may be considering a short sale or who have questions concerning the myriad of new home assistance programs that have sprung up in recent months.
“I believe in educating the consumer through education-based selling – we inform the buyer/seller of all aspects of the sale as well as the current market during the process,” said Cameron Merage, CEO and founder of First Team. “No wonder consumers are confused: There’s an alphabet soup of programs to understand out there, such as UMA (Unemployment Mortgage Assistance), MRAP (Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance), PRP (Principal Reduction), TAP (Transition Assistance) to name just a few. To the uninformed, it’s mind boggling, and to the misinformed, it can be disastrous.”
Not only is First Team reaching out to consumers via their commercials on CNBC, CNN, Fox News, Fox Business News, National Geographic, Hallmark, Golf, Discovery, TNT, ESPN, Fox Sports News, Headline News, ESPN2 and Oxygen as well as through banner ads in the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, Press Enterprise, Irvine World News and Sun News, but they have also designed a resource-heavy, consumer-friendly website (www.ShortSaleDestination.com) to help answer some of the questions surrounding the sale or relief of a distressed home.
First Team dominates the Orange County buyer market with more than $4 billion in transaction volume and its agents have sold more than two-and-one-half more homes in Orange County than their nearest competitor. In the past year, First Team agents have helped more than 1,200 families handle the short sale of their home.