Archive for Michigan Foreclosures

5 Steps to Rebuilding Your Credit After a Michigan Foreclosure

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 27th, 2011

When you go through one of the Michigan foreclosures, your credit score drops considerably. The good news is that you can rebuild your credit.  Here are a few tips to help:

rebuild your credit after a Michigan foreclosure

1. Create a budget. A budget lets you see exactly how much money you have to spend each month. It also helps you track where you spend your money. Put together a budget that fits your lifestyle and then stick to it.

2. Build an emergency fund. You never know when an emergency will happen. When you’re prepared for a financial emergency, you’re better protected from financial problems.

3. Repair your credit.  Review your credit reports from all three credit bureaus.  Dispute any errors you find.  Removing errors from your credit reports help improve your credit.

4. Establish new credit. This can be tricky after a Michigan foreclosure. New credit will give you a chance to prove you can manage debt. However, you certainly don’t want to find yourself owing more than you can possibly pay. If you can get a traditional credit card, your interest rate will be very high, so choose and use your credit cards wisely. An alternative is to apply for a secured credit card, which requires that you put money down as a deposit before credit is extended to you. Use your card regularly but lightly, and you will see your credit start to improve as you make consistent payments.

5. Have patience. It takes time to rebuild your credit. Don’t expect your credit score to be in the good or excellent range within weeks or even months after your Michigan foreclosure. It’s going to stay on your credit report for seven years, so there’s no need to rush.

A foreclosure is not the end of the world. Let me help you plan for and find your next home so it fits your budget. Give me a call at 248-514-2640 or email me at

Lee Morof sells North Woodward Homes in Oakland County Michigan RE/MAX Showcase Homes

Lee Morof
Associate Broker/Attorney
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


High Southeast Michigan Foreclosures Equals Great Deals

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 4th, 2010

The extension of the homebuyer’s tax credit, as well as the expansion to include upgrade homebuyers, has a lot of people looking for their dream home. Many are looking for that dream home in the listings for Southeast Michigan foreclosures. Why?

The Law of Supply and Demand
Quick marketing lesson: every market is dependent on the law of supply and demand. When the demand for a product is higher than the supply, prices go up. When there’s more product than demand, prices go down.

This is what’s happening now, especially with Southeast Michigan foreclosures. Around the U.S., the supply of homes has doubled in the past two years, reaching as high as a ten-month supply. While homebuyers have been reluctant to buy a foreclosure in the past, people are starting to rethink the situation because:

  • Foreclosures are usually less expensive than traditional homes for sale.  In fact, some buyers have found their dream home and bought it for pennies on the dollar.
  • Foreclosed properties are generally in better condition than they used to be.  In the past, foreclosed homes had a higher than average amount of repairs needed compared to other homes for sale. This is no longer necessarily true. Many foreclosured homes have been lovingly taken care of by their previous owners.
  • Potential buyers of Southeast Michigan foreclosures have a wider variety from which to choose. They aren’t stuck with just one type of house in one neighborhood. For the careful new homebuyer, the possibilities really are almost endless.

Most foreclosed homes aren’t money pits. To protect yourself, make sure your Southeast Michigan real estate agent includes in the contract that you want to have the home inspected, and that if the home inspection finds major problems, you then have the right to walk away from the deal.

If you’re looking for a great home at a great price, I can help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof sells North Woodward Homes in Oakland County Michigan

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Buy Your Valentine One of the Michigan Foreclosures in Oakland County

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 21st, 2010

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Are you wondering what to get your loved one? Buying Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County may not be on the top of your list, but maybe it should be. Do you need some extra room? Is it time to spread out? Are you a repeat buyer?

You’ve probably heard the term “buyer’s market” more often than you care to, but if you want to expand your living quarters, you might want to pay attention.

What is a buyer’s market?
The typical reply might be something like, “A buyer’s market is where the supply is greater than the demand; the heavier the supply, the stronger the buyer’s market.” What you really need to know is that a buyer’s market is heavily tipped in your favor. Mortgage rates, housing supply and negotiations are all pointed towards helping you find – and buy – the home of your dreams.

What’s so great about buying Oakland County Michigan foreclosures or other homes for sale now?
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or currently own a home and want to upgrade, there are plenty of reasons to get into the action now:

  • Home prices are lower than they’ve been in 12 years.
  • Foreclosures are going for rock-bottom prices as lenders try to make up their losses.
  • The number of programs to help buyers get into a new home is higher than it’s ever been.
  • Between government programs, lenders’ programs and private programs, the chances of getting into a home you can afford are high.
  • Many sellers are eager to find qualified buyers. If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, you have a better stance in negotiations.
  • Mortgage rates are lower than they’ve been in a long time, but are slowly starting to rise again.

These are just a few of the reasons.

Why buy foreclosures?
Foreclosures are selling at much lower prices than other homes. In fact, many expect to save at least 30% when buying foreclosed property and that percentage isn’t unrealistic.

If you’ve been trying to figure out what to buy your Valentine, and you’ve been thinking about buying a home, look around at Oakland County Michigan foreclosures. Not only can you find a fantastic deal, but you’ll also be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a new home!

Lee Morof sells North Woodward Homes in Oakland County Michigan

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Saving Michigan Foreclosures with New Fannie Mae Program

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 21st, 2009

As the number of foreclosures rise around the nation, some lenders have held their Michigan foreclosures in private stock, hoping to sell them gradually in a stabilizing real estate market. That hope has slowly dwindled, however, even with the five-month extension on home buying tax credits  signed by the President November 6th of this year.

Government-owned Fannie Mae may have come up with a solution.

Some homeowners facing a Michigan foreclosure have more options than foreclosure, loan modification or a short sale. Some qualify for a deed-in-lieu (DIL), where they sign away all their equity back to the lender and walk away “debt free” (except, possibly, for taxes). Unfortunately, a DIL leaves the homeowner without a home to live in, and the lender with a house to sell in an uncertain market.

Deed for Lease Program
Under Fannie Mae’s new Deed for Lease Program (D4L), those who go through the DIL process may be eligible to rent their home back from Fannie Mae at current market rental rates. This may not sound like a great deal, but many families have ended up on the street because of foreclosure. Those who qualify for the D4L Program will be able to remain in their homes for at least 12 months. To learn more, read the entire D4L Program eligibility list.  Here are a few of the qualifications:

  • No prohibitive Homeowner’s Association rental limitations
  • The cost of any required repairs is an acceptable amount, based on the value of the property
  • The income the lender receives from the current rental market should be expected to cover any maintenance/management costs
  • The current rental rates must be less than 31% of your gross income
  • The home must be a primary residence

Whether the D4L Program will help or hinder the number of Michigan foreclosures is still up in the air, but it does give homeowners other options – something they’ve been sorely lacking.
If you’re facing foreclosure and qualify for short sale, I’d love to help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof sells North Woodward Homes in Oakland County Michigan

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Does Your ARM Increase Mean You’ll Become One of the Michigan Foreclosures?

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 30th, 2009

With the current Michigan foreclosure woes, and the strains of the economy these days, many people are worried about what they’ll do when their ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) resets.  Here are a few suggestions to help you weather the current financial storm:

What is an ARM?
ARM refers to a mortgage loan that has a variable interest rate.  The amount of the monthly payments will change several times over the life of the loan.  ARMs usually have a lower introductory interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage.  After a period of time, the interest rate is recalculated, resulting in a higher interest rate and monthly payment.

Get Out Your Loan Paperwork
Many homeowners are worried about what will happen to their monthly payments when the ARM resets.  Foreclosure is a real worry.  The best way to avoid Michigan foreclosures is to know exactly what the terms of your loan agreement are.  Look for the date that the interest rate is set to change.  Find out what the cap is on each interest rate adjustment, and what the cap is for interest increases throughout the life of the loan.

After you have gathered that information, you can calculate what your ARM will reset to.  It’s best to know what the worst-case scenario payment could be when your ARM adjusts.  This information can help you determine if you are going to need help getting your loan payments manageable.  The next step is to make a detailed list of your current and future income and bills.  This will give you a better understanding of your financial status

Call Your Mortgage Company
If, after you make this list, you can see that you are going to have trouble making the difference in the monthly payments, call your mortgage company.  It’s best to call them before you miss a payment.  They may be able to renegotiate the terms of your loan for you.

If you’re ready to sell your home, I can help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.  Ask me about a Short Sale.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


National Foreclosure Trends and Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 19th, 2009

Everybody wants to know how the housing market is doing, especially if they own real estate in Oakland County, Michigan. I try to keep the newsy pieces to a minimum and spend most of my Internet space on helpful pointers, but a lot of readers have asked about the market. In response to high demand, here’s a peek at the current national foreclosure trends and how it looks for Michigan foreclosures:

Foreclosure Trends
It’s a wonderful thing to own any kind of real estate (although I’m partial to Oakland County, Michigan, of course). Unfortunately, many people have lost their homes due to foreclosure since the housing crisis started; there have been over 7.8 million since 2007. California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois and Michigan foreclosures have been topping the count, adding up to 62% of the nation’s foreclosures.

California’s numbers reached 349,435 foreclosures last month, and it was feared that those numbers might escalate. However, there’s some good news there. Even though homeowners are still teetering, lending institutions are caving in under government pressure to work with those homeowners. For that matter, they may even be working with the government to stem the deluge of foreclosures. conducted a survey of homeowners that shows we may have as many as 25 million foreclosures before everything is said and done, mainly due to homeowners who are tired of watching housing prices fall. Such a glut of the market could cause some serious repercussions for the economy. However, again, there are some positive points.

For instance, current mortgage interest rates are ranging from as low as 4% to 5.5%, cut almost in half from the “housing boom” years. While housing prices may be dropping, the fall is slowing down. As well, lower prices mean more affordable homes. While this may not be a good thing for homeowners, it’s an excellent thing for home buyers.

As prices drop and homes become more affordable, the glutted housing market of foreclosed and for sale homes is slowly shrinking. As the reserve market (the number of houses per capita that are for sale) shrinks, consumer confidence will build up (something we desperately need). Housing demand will rise, surplus will shrink, and prices will stabilize.

Of course, in the meantime, while you’re waiting for things to stabilize, hold on to Oakland County real estate. Take advantages of the tax breaks available to upgrade your existing property, maybe get the renovations done you’ve always wanted. There are still opportunities in this market – you just have to find them!

If you’re a buyer looking for a great home, act now to find amazing bargains on Michigan foreclosures or short sales.  I can help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


6 Tips to Protect Michigan Foreclosures from Loan Modification Scams

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 22nd, 2009

Many facing the possibility of being added to the number of Michigan foreclosures are frightened, often frustrated and feel helpless. It’s understandable; nobody wants to lose their home. However, those feelings often lead to being victimized by loan modification con artists who promise freedom from foreclosure for a little bit of money and leave victims in their wake.

Here are a few tips to protect yourself from scams that could take you one step closer to becoming one of the Michigan foreclosures:

1. Never believe a guarantee. No one, company or individual, can guarantee loan modification or that your lender won’t foreclose. If the loan modification company starts spouting guarantees, walk away.

2. Never sign over power of attorney. Sometimes, con artists will tell you that if you sign over your house to them, their good credit can help save your home. This is never a legitimate proposal and no legitimate company will ask you to do this.

3. Never spend thousands of dollars. Fees higher than $6,000 should be dismissed. Often, scam companies will charge absurdly high upfront fees to help. While some counselors will charge you a fee, those costs are added up after the loan closes, NOT before they even do anything. As well, any company charging over $4,000 needs to have a proven high quality of service and level of success.

4. Always talk to your lender first. Many loan modification scam artists will tell you to stop communicating with your lender. Communication is key, however, since your lender owns the note and will, ultimately, approve or deny the modification. Talk to your lender to find out how to refinance or restructure your payment.

5. Always check with the Better Business Bureau before hiring a “rescue” company. You can check with the Attorney General or Real Estate Commission as well.

6. Always look for free services first. Many foreclosure specialists can help, and will do so free of charge if you can’t afford them. As well, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved housing counseling that will provide foreclosure prevention services, also free of charge.

When you’re already faced with the possibility of being one of the Michigan foreclosures, you need help – not someone who will push you further across the line. Be careful when looking for loan modification help.

If your loan modification has been denied and you need to do a short sale instead, I can help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at today for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Helping Families Save Their Homes from Southeast Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 19th, 2009

By now, everyone knows that, just like the Dot Com bubble, the real estate market grew its own bubble to a degree that it finally popped.  Not only foreclosures across the nation, but Southeast Michigan Foreclosures went up, sales went down and everyone, from the government to lenders to John Q public, started looking around for someone they could point a finger at and blame.

The hard truth is that placing blame doesn’t do anyone any good, especially those trying to save their home from being a Southeast Michigan foreclosure statistic.  The truth is that it’s time to do what Americans have been doing since the country was founded – picking ourselves up off the ground, dusting off and working with what we still have. Thanks to new acts such as the “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009,” it’s even more possible to do that.

If you’ve been dealing with the possibility of becoming one of the Southeast Michigan foreclosures, you may have missed the news, so here are a few uplifting highlights that can make all the difference:

1)  If you rent your home and it is being foreclosed upon, you have to receive a 90-day eviction notice. You can’t just be preemptively kicked off the property. As well, if you have a lease you have to be allowed to live on the property until the lease is up unless:

     a) the new owner wants to move in and make it his or her residence or
     b) state law says the lease can be terminated on notice.

Although three months doesn’t seem like a lot of time, that’s three months you wouldn’t have had in most states before the Act was passed.

2)  Lenders and homeowners are now receiving incentives for successful loan modifications and refinancing under the Making Homes Affordable Program. According to the White House government website,  “Servicers covering more than 75 percent of loans in the country have now begun modifications and refinancing under the Administration’s MHA Program.”

3)  One of the biggest challenges to homeowners is finding out who owns the mortgages on their homes.  This can make it incredibly difficult to discuss refinancing or modification with the mortgage owner. Thanks to the Act, you have to be informed whenever your loan is sold or transferred to another party. Now, you always know who has control of your mortgage and who you need to talk to.

Dealing in the current real estate market can be hard. If you’re already struggling financially, it can be even harder. Try to keep abreast of the current laws that can help prevent homeowners and families from becoming one of the Southeast Michigan foreclosures and stay in their homes!

If you can’t qualify for loan modification or refinancing, and are considering a short sale, I can help. Call me now at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Do Southeast Michigan Foreclosures Make Good Rental Real Estate?

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 10th, 2009

Even, perhaps especially, in an economic downturn, people are trying to make a living in the real estate market. “Flipping” houses used to be a great way to make a little cash, but not now. Many are now looking at long-term cash prospects, such as renting property, and Southeast Michigan foreclosures seem to be a good start. But are they? Let’s take a look.

Finding a good rental property isn’t easy. It’s not like shopping; you can’t go into a real estate store and grab the first house off the rack that looks good on you. It’s a process of investigating, gaining knowledge and being realistic. This is especially true when looking at Michigan foreclosures.

Homeowners who suffered foreclosure were unable to pay the mortgage. We all know that.  What people usually don’t think about is that the homeowners were probably also unable to pay for upkeep. This means that you, as the buyer, have a larger possibility of buying a money pit rather than a moneymaker. Keep this in mind as you look over a few tips for finding good rental property:

1. Location – Since you’re looking at foreclosed properties rather than properties that are already set up for renting, you can’t check established rental records. However, you can ask your real estate agent for a list of areas with less people moving out and more moving in. As well, look at areas with surrounding retail development. New shopping malls, theatres and restaurants will bring in more people to an area.

2. Addition and subtraction – It’s time to do the math. Ask your real estate agent for what the going rental rates are in the area you’re looking at. You’ll need to find out if the rent you can charge will take care of expenses as well as bring you profit. Figure the yearly income you can expect to make and then subtract mortgage payments and operating expenses. If your math produces a negative balance, don’t buy the property.

3. Taxes – Once you pay expenses, your income is taxable. Now, while you can depreciate rental property,  you can’t depreciate the land it’s on. Talk to a real estate agent or accountant to decide whether it’s worth it or not.

If you follow these three tips and remember to pay attention to the amount of repair needed, you might just find some fantastic deals on Southeast Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County. Take a little time to make sure renting is for you, and then get started.

If you’re looking for potential rental property, I can help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Michigan Foreclosures in Oakland County, Title Searches and Title Insurance

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 7th, 2009

When you’re looking to buy a home, and especially when you’re looking at Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County or anywhere else, title searches are important.

Many buyers make the mistake of settling for a quitclaim deed without doing a title search. Unfortunately, the person who signs the quitclaim deed may not be the actual person holding the title. If there are any liens on the title, the new owner may get an unpleasant surprise at closing. With Michigan foreclosures, the possibility that there is a lien on the title is even greater.

What is a title search?
Title searches are performed by title companies or lawyers. These companies and attorneys search the public records for information on the property’s ownership. The goal is to find out if there are any problems with the title.

What kind of information can a title search give you?
A complete title search will cover such things as:

  • How many mortgages the property has
  • Any liens, such as judgments or mortgages, on the property
  • Taxes owed on the property

The purpose, other than finding current information, is to establish chain-of-title – who owned the property at what time, who they sold it to and so on. Title companies look for proof that any encumbrances have been taken care of, as well as easements, rights-of-way and anything else that can affect the title.

Why get title insurance?
Most title companies also offer title insurance. Title insurance, depending on the company, provides a guarantee that the title is clear, as well as insuring that you can’t be held accountable for forgery, fraud, defective records or incorrect signatures that occurred before you received the title. It also guarantees that there is no encumbrance or judgment on the property.

Michigan Foreclosures in Oakland County are a good bet for a great home or investment property. However, make sure you know what you’re getting by having a title search done. As well, spend the money on that one-time fee for title insurance. It may be the best investment you’ve ever made!

Thinking of buying a home?  As a licensed Real Estate Broker and Lawyer, I’m not your average REALTOR®.  I can guide you easily through the entire real estate process, from negotiating the price and writing a contract to having a title search performed to signing your closing papers.  And, I can keep you from making a mistake that could cost you thousands of dollars. 

Give me a call today at 248-514-2640 or email me at

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


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