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Lee Ginsburg is an award-winning Realtor with 30 years experience in Peninsula residential real estate. With the utmost attention to detail, Lee delivers expert marketing, negotiating, and management of all financial matters. With a strong commitment to honesty, fairness and hard work, Lee has successfully helped first time home buyers, move up buyers and investors.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

What shall it be; Loan Modification? Short Sale? Foreclosure?

You are among the millions underwater and over stressed. What shall you do.

Your credit will be most negatively affected with a Foreclosure, then a short sale. As long as you stay current on your loan, loan modification should not affect your credit. Your credit score weather it is right or wrong is used by potential employers before hiring, landlords before renting, insurance companies before granting insurance and etc. Depending on your individual situation maybe credit is not important.


My client’s father nearing retirement age could live in his son’s rental unit and will not be looking for another job said he might pass away before his home in Las Vegas is worth as much as as his loan. He opted for foreclosure.

I had another client, a family with parents and adult children living at home in South San Francisco. They came to me for a discussion on their options. They are still working and acquiring things so their credit score is important to them. Being an immigrant family losing their home, the “American Dream”, would be extremely emotional and their image amongst friends and family here and back home would be devastated. They struggled making payments, but after family members lost two part time jobs they couldn’t do it any more and came to me for help. They pondered the situation. Should they continue making payments on a home that they owe $250,000 more than it is worth. They purchased this home with no money down and realized they would probably never be able to save the 10-20% now required down payment to purchase another home. They opted for a loan modification. They were hoping for some debt forgiveness.

fingers crossed

Their bank would not hear from that. But with persistence similar to a short sale approval I was able to get the bank to modify their 6.5% fixed interest only loan to a Principal and Interest loan starting at 3% for five years, 4% for 1 year and 5% for the next 34 years. Before that, the second lender agreed easily to modify their 8.5% loan to .31% yes .31% not 3.15 but only for 1 year. We will follow up with them in a few months. With home ownership tax benefits their new payments are now about the same as rent would be. They are thrilled, knowing they will now be able to afford the “American Dream”. During these negotiations I had them apply and they were approved for a property tax reduction with annual savings of almost $3,000.

I was told during this process that each loan holder not necessarily the servicing bank has their own set of ratios and criteria for loan modification. This worked out to be win-win situation. Their lender will receive their full payment over a longer period of time rather than losing several hundred thousand dollars during a short sale or incur thousands of dollars for foreclosure expenses.

We have all read that more than 50% of loan modifications are defaulting. Maybe it depends on the modification. I recently reviewed a loan modification for a client from San Bruno, Ca.. She was was in default. In November her loan was modified from 8.4% to 7.9%. Maybe $100 reduction and then they had the nerve to add on another $550.00 per month to bring her current. Her payments were $400.00 more than before the modification. If I did not see it myself I would not believe it. What were they thinking? It is no surprise she is in default again only 4 months later.


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