Monthly Archives: May 2012

Americans? Perspective on Home Ownership Shifts

Home ownership is getting more emotional than it used to be. A new survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate finds that Americans are increasingly saying that the real value of home ownership is emotional, not financial. That marks a stark contrast from Americans’ perspectives on home ownership during the housing boom, in which they mostly viewed it as a financial venture. 

“Instead of taking things for granted, people are protective of their jobs, homes, and futures,” says Robi Ludwig, a psychologist in New York who was involved in the study. “And now that we’re picking up the pieces [after the financial crisis], we’re seeing a psychological shift. Instead of looking at homes through the eyes of an economist, we’re realizing that a home doesn’t solely equate to financial return or measure only to a mortgage amount. Instead the home is the emotional center of our lives, and it remains a critical component of who we are.”

The more emotional ties to home ownership are causing Americans to get more practical in their home buying, the survey finds. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed say that people should no longer stretch themselves financially just to get a bigger house. 

“Americans now recognize that they don’t need the biggest, most ornate home on the block,” Ludwig says. “Rather, they can and should live within their means.”

Buyers today are more swayed by a home that they can easily afford and that reflects their personalities. Seventy-one percent of Americans surveyed said that a home is an expression of their identity. 

“Our homes help to define who we are, partly because we have to ask ourselves a lot of really honest questions, including what we want in life and why,” Ludwig says. She says that a home serves as an expression of peoples’ personalities, down to the wall colors they choose and the family photos they display.

“It’s only been in the last few years that the conversation has shifted almost entirely to the financial aspect of home ownership,” says Jim Gillespie, CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. Gillespie adds that a more emotional perspective on home ownership will make owning a house a more central of the American Dream once again and will aid in the housing recovery.

The Coldwell Banker survey also found that 78 percent of owners say owning a home is one of their greatest life achievements. What’s more, 83 percent of renters say they plan to own a home one day.  

Source: Coldwell Banker and “The American Dream Gets Another Facelift,” Time Magazine (May 15, 2012)

 

Bank of America New Short Sale Relocation Assistance Program:

Short-sale your house instead of going into foreclosure and you could receive $2,500 to $30,000 in relocation assistance.

That’s why Bank of America is excited to announce that for a limited time, we are offering enhanced relocation assistance payments in which qualified homeowners who initiate a short sale without an offer could be eligible to receive $2,500 – $30,000* in relocation assistance and owe no more on their mortgage with the sale of their property.

The homeowner must participate in one of the preapproved price short sale programs, such as HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) or Bank of America’s proprietary program. Specific investor participation and eligibility criteria do apply to these programs.

Bank of America is reviewing all current, in-process preapproved price short sale agreements to determine who is eligible for this limited-time offer.  Eligible homeowners actively participating in a preapproved price short sale program (such as HAFA or Bank of America's proprietary program) will receive a letter if they qualify for the additional relocation assistance.  The relocation assistance will be paid at closing.

Call a Bank of America short sale specialist at 1.866.880.1232 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Then call me to discuss your options.

Q: If a short sale is initiated with an offer, will it qualify for this relocation assistance?

A: No. This relocation assistance is only available on preapproved price short sale programs.  Short sales initiated at the time an offer is received do not qualify for the enhanced relocation assistance funds.

 

Q: Will the relocation assistance funds be reported on the HUD-1?

A: Yes, funds received at closing will be documented on the HUD-1, and a 1099-MISC will be issued.

 

Q: Can the relocation assistance funds be used to pay off existing liens?

A: Yes, the homeowner may use funds to pay off existing liens or to help with relocation expenses.

 

Q: Is the relocation assistance added to any other incentives, such as the HAFA or Bank of America proprietary program incentives?

A: The homeowner incentive will be inclusive of the $3,000 HAFA incentive.  For example, if the homeowner is eligible for a $5,000 homeowner incentive, $3,000 will be from the HAFA incentive, and $2,000 will be from the homeowner incentive.

 

Q: Is the enhanced relocation assistance available for other programs?

A: Currently, the enhanced relocation assistance is only available to short sale programs initiated without an offer. However, as we gauge the success we may extend this incentive to other programs.

Questions?

Homeowners and agents may call 1.866.880.1232 to speak to a Bank of America short sale specialist about this exciting limited-time preapproved price short sale program offering.

 *The relocation assistance payment is calculated based on the appraised value of the homeowner’s property. The total amount will be no less than $2,500, but no more than $30,000. The payment will be delivered at the time of closing if the homeowner complies with all terms and conditions of the Short Sale Agreement, which includes but are not limited to the following: a full walk-through appraisal must be completed and the homeowner must satisfy all junior liens and provide clear title for the property (the relocation assistance payment can be used to clear those liens). The short sale must close by September 26, 2013.  If the homeowner does not comply with all terms and conditions of the Short Sale Agreement, they will not receive the relocation assistance payment. The amount of any deficiency and relocation assistance will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the appropriate 1099 Form or Forms. We suggest that the homeowner contact the IRS or their tax preparer to determine if they have any tax liability.