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Real Estate

Castro Law > Areas of Practice > Real Estate

Service Offerings

Short Sale

Short Sales aren’t what they used to be! The process to close a short sale has become a rather overwhelming task for most people. The approval and negotiation process is tough enough, let alone tracking down all the lien holders! Loans and liens have been sold and banks have been absorbed by other banks, making the process of tracking down who to talk to only the first challenge.

The banks aren’t rolling over on approvals either. The 1st lien holder has no particular interest in helping the seller. In fact, they just want to convert a non-performing or under-performing asset into a performing one. They have many files and which file takes priority is anyone’s guess. If you have a second mortgage, judgment liens or an HOA the negotiations become even more complicated. Properly taking care of liens will insure that you can get the “fresh start” you are looking for, without the threat of unresolved debt coming back to haunt you down the road.

We assist with all of these challenges, freeing you up to get on with your work and life. We work with both the seller, buyer and their agents to coordinate the application and negotiation process. We collect documents and compile the financial package, help determine what the sales price will need to be in order to get an approval, negotiate the liens, and sometimes have to pull the “lawyer” card to get someone’s attention at the lenders office. We keep you updated on the status of the lengthy review process and do what it takes to keep the review moving forward toward completion of the sale.

We also coordinate with title, escrow and the agents to get all applications and approvals signed and prepared for closing. We consistently hear that “we don’t know how it would have closed without you involved”. (You can read some testimonies below.) Give is a call with any questions. We look forward to serving you!

Loan Modification

Home Affordable Modification Program

If you are having a tough time making your mortgage payments, you may be eligible for MHA’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP®). HAMP is designed to provide significant relief for struggling homeowners devastated by unaffordable increases in expenses or reductions in income.

You may be eligible for HAMP if you meet the following criteria:

You are struggling to make your mortgage payments due to financial hardship.
You are delinquent or in danger of falling behind on your mortgage.
You obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
Your property has not been condemned.
You owe less than $729,750 on your primary residence or your one-to-four-unit rental property (loan limits are higher for two- to four-unit properties).
You have not been convicted of a crime in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction within the last 10 years.

* Eligibility criteria are for guidance only. Contact us to find out if you are eligible to begin the HAMP evaluation process. Act quickly! This program is only scheduled to continue through December 31, 2016!
For more information, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov

Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program

If you can’t afford your mortgage payment and it’s time for you to transition to more affordable housing, the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives® (HAFA) program is designed for you. HAFA provides two options for transitioning out of your mortgage: a short sale or a deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure. In a short sale, the mortgage company lets you sell your house for an amount that falls “short” of the amount you still owe. In a DIL, the mortgage company lets you give the title back, transferring ownership back to them, without a foreclosure sale.
In either case, HAFA offers benefits that make the transition as favorable as possible:

  • You can get free advice from HUD-approved housing counselors and licensed real estate professionals.
  • Unlike conventional short sales, a HAFA short sale completely releases you from your mortgage debt after selling the property. This means you will no longer be responsible for the amount that falls “short” of the amount you still owe. The deficiency is guaranteed to be waived by the servicer.
  • In a HAFA short sale, your mortgage company works with you to determine an acceptable sale price.
  • HAFA has a less negative effect on your credit score than foreclosure or conventional short sales.
  • When you close, HAFA may provide up to $10,000 in relocation assistance.



Keep Your Home California is a free service for homeowners who have suffered a financial hardship, to help them stay in their homes, maintain an affordable mortgage payment and avoid foreclosure.
The following are brief summaries of the programs offered under Keep Your Home California. See a list of participating servicers and which programs they are currently offering.

Unemployment Mortgage Assistance

For eligible unemployed homeowners.
Mortgage assistance of up to $3,000 per month for unemployed homeowners who are collecting or approved to receive unemployment benefits from the State of California’s Employment Development Department (EDD).
Click to learn more.

Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program

For eligible homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments.
Funding of up to $25,000 to help qualified homeowners catch up on their mortgage payments.
Click to learn more.

Principal Reduction Program

For eligible homeowners who have suffered a financial hardship and owe more than their home is worth.
Financial assistance to help pay down the principal balance of a mortgage loan and allow for a more affordable monthly payment.
Click to learn more.

Transition Assistance Program

For eligible homeowners who are undergoing a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure program.
Financial help to make a smooth transition into stable and affordable housing.

Private Funding

If you are considering Private Funding for your next property, here are some considerations. If you have questions or need assistance, please give us a call.
“Pros and cons of private-mortgage loans”
September 13, 2013, 10:02:00 AM EDT By Margarette Burnette, HSH.com

The problem for most borrowers in recent years hasn’t been low mortgage rates, it has been the strict lending requirements imposed by most lenders. If you’re having trouble qualifying for a conventional mortgage, a private-mortgage lender may be an option.

Private money funds, also known as “hard money,” usually come from private investors or private lending companies who are willing to loan homebuyers money to purchase a specific property, says Jared Martin, chief executive officer of Keystone Funding, Inc. in Media, Pa.

Here are the pros and cons regarding private mortgage loans:

Pro: Easy to qualify

The loans could be a great option for homebuyers who are not able to qualify for a traditional mortgage because of less-than-perfect credit, debt or for self-employed individuals who can’t always provide proof of a steady income, Martin says.

“The underwriting of the hard money loan is not so ‘person’ focused as it is ‘property’ focused,” says Brian Frederick, a certified financial planner who advises real estate investors in Scottsdale, Ariz. “A person with poor credit can get a hard money loan if the project shows a likely profit.”

Con: Short payback period

Private loans aren’t paid back over 30 years like a traditional mortgage. Many private-money lenders expect the loan to be repaid within an extremely short time period, such as six to 12 months, says Martin, though “it could occasionally go to two years,” he says.

Private lenders are often looking for a quick return for their money, and they usually aren’t set up to service a loan for several years the way a typical mortgage company is, he says.

For this reason alone, most homebuyers should look elsewhere for mortgages, says Jeff Curtis, a Realtor and director of mentoring at Keller Williams in Pasadena.

Pro: Great for ‘flippers’

However, you might consider such a short repayment period if you plan to sell or “flip” the house within that timeframe, or expect to be able to qualify for a conventional refinance within a few months after acquiring the property, Curtis says.

If you plan to make extensive renovations in a short time period that will boost the value of the home, it is possible that you could sell or refinance the property fairly quickly, he says.

Pro: Geared toward ‘fixer-upper’ properties

Homes that need extensive renovations generally can’t qualify for conventional mortgages, no matter how good the borrower’s credit is, says Frederick. In those cases, private money can play an important role, he says.

“Some vacant homes may have been vandalized or someone may have stolen the plumbing,” he says. A private lender could step in and provide financing to get the house in sellable condition, and then “flip” the house, says Frederick.

Con: High interest rates

Interest rates are much higher with private-money lending than with conventional loans, Curtis says. In fact, mortgage rates are sometimes more than double typical 30-year mortgage rates, often 12 to 20 percent per year, he says.

Mortgage rates are so high because private lenders don’t usually require perfect credit. “Loans from private lenders are generally secured by the property in question, so it’s usually not as important to the lender if the borrower has pristine credit or not,” Curtis says.

Read more

Repayment Plans
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

If you are unable to sell your home through a short sale, another option to avoid foreclosure is a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a transaction where the homeowner voluntarily transfers title to the property to the lender in exchange for a release from the mortgage obligation. If you are considering a deed in Lieu of foreclosure, give us a call to ensure this is the best option for you.

Title Issues

Need help with any kind of legal issues? Contact us now.