Foreclosures

Looking For A House With A View? Consider Saw Creek Estates.

Saw creek sunsetPhoto Credit: John Beljean, Bushkill, PA


Whether you are looking for wide open vistas or prefer a wooded creekside setting, you may be able to find your perfect home or weekend getaway in Saw Creek. Prices here are pretty reasonable, with properties available in the low $100's and even less. Additionally, Saw Creek's location in Bushkill allows easy access to Bushkill Falls, Shawnee Mountain, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and lots of other Pocono attractions. 

Saw Creek Estates boasts amenities that rival any available in the Pocono region, with well-maintained resort-style facilities dispersed throughout the community: several pools, tennis courts, a ski hill, and playgrounds, and more, as well as indoor pools, tennis, raquetball, and weight training facilities. Saw Creek is a fantastic value when you compare association fees and what you get for them. 

Find a home with a view in Saw Creek Estates via the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS MLS/IDX here

A little more about Saw Creek from the homeowner association's website

Saw Creek Estates is a private residential subdivision of nearly 3,000 properties, conceived and developed as one of the premier, four-season recreational communities in the Pocono Mountains. Construction of roads, common area facilities and amenities was begun in the mid 1970’s by Lehman-Pike Development Corporation. Sales of year-round and vacation homes continued at a brisk pace throughout the 80’s and 90’s.

Saw Creek Estates Community Association, Inc. was formed for the purpose of managing the rapidly growing community and transitioning full control from the developer to the property owners. All property owners are members of the Association, which is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership, and managed by an experienced staff of professionals. The transfer of control was completed in the year 2000 and since that time, the community has continued to grow and flourish.

Today Saw Creek Estates is one of the largest, best managed and most financially sound private communities in the region. 

Sunset at Top of the World RestaurantSunset view from Top of the World Restaurant 

One of the coolest things about Saw Creek is that it has its own restaurant, Top of the World, which allows owners and their guests to enjoy casual dining, fine wines and beverages, and weekend entertainment like live music and karaoke. How convenient is that? 

Enjoy the views in saw creek communityMany homes in Saw Creek have beautiful scenic views

Interested in finding out more about Saw Creek? Contact me! 

Find a home with a view in Saw Creek Estates via the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS MLS/IDX here

Scenic views at Saw Creek Estates in BushkillYou can see for miles from some properties!


Preliminary 2010 Pocono Home Sale Statistics

Monroe_County_Poconos_2010_Real_Estate_Statistics


The number of home sales in the Monroe County Poconos in 2010 is off by about 7.5% from last year and 15% from 2008, according to data I compiled from the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service on 12/6/10. The 314 sales reported as 'Pending' (under contract but not closed yet) right now would go a long way to redeem 2010 from being the worst year yet for number of transactions, but the likelihood of all of these closing before December 31 is doubtful.

Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 32.5% of the 1,360 homes sold so far this year. This segment accounted for 31.6% of closed sales in 2009 and 23.8% in 2008.

Today there are 2,404 homes for sale in Monroe County, 112 of which are bank owned. 260 of these current listings are advertised as short sales. This inventory represents a 19.7 month supply at the current absorption rate (average of 122 sales per month from January 1-November 30, 2010).

Closed_Sale_History_Pocono_Mountains_Real_Estate

Please don't shoot the messenger ;)


Is The Pocono Real Estate Market Stabilizing?

Pocono_home_sale_prices

Forget an upturn, stabilization is the word of the day. We want the market to find an even keel for awhile, which is the natural progression of a market cycle after a downturn. Once things stabilize, the stage will be set as buyers regain confidence that their real estate investments aren't going to tank and home buying becomes fashionable again. Once we achieve stabilization, normal appreciation can resume.

Market Data Indicates Stability is Imminent

Here are some positive pieces of market data reported by the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS and compiled by Dominic Sacci, Senior Vice President/General Manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates:

  • Active Listings (Market Saturation): There were 10% fewer homes on the market in March 2009 than in March 2008. Lower inventory is a good thing!
  • Pending Listings (The Crystal Ball, aka predictor of future actual closings): The number of pending sales reported in March 2008 was down 26% from March 2007. The number of pending sales THIS March are only down 5% from last March. Interestingly, this 5% equates to only 20 sales! Once the percent change is 0, we are stable.

We Still Have Challenges Ahead, Of Course

The average sale price of homes that actually went to closing this March was down 13% from the same time period last year. The reason? Foreclosures. Foreclosure sales have accounted for 35% of the total number of sales in Monroe County so far this year. Since the average sales price of a foreclosure has been 23% less than a non-foreclosure sale, this has a big impact on home values. Home sellers are still competing with the bargain-priced foreclosure offerings out there. 

For more information about real estate issues and market conditions in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, please contact me via email info@lisasanderson.com or by phone 570.421.8950 ext 394


Another Pocono Real Estate Attorney Offers Valuable Advice (Part III)

Attorneys_in_the_poconos_advice

If you missed the previous installments of this series, read Part I and Part II. Go on, I'll wait :)

Attorney Jane Roach Maughan wrapped up the presentation at the REALTOR meeting, focusing her time on the foreclosure issue and how home owners can avoid losing their home. Obviously, having attorney representation from the very beginning stages is something she recommends, and from listening to what she had to say, I agree with her...there are many situations that can be leveraged on a homeowner's behalf.

"Foreclosure is Highly Defensible"

What a great lead in to her discussion! She definitely had the attention of every real estate agent in the room when she said that foreclosures are highly defensible, meaning there are many ways to stave off foreclosure, control the amount of money at issue, and/or buy homeowners time when mortgage default is unavoidable. Additionally, it is feasible to get a better interest rate on your loan and/or lower the principle balance of the mortgage thereby lowering your monthly mortgage payment.

How to Avoid Foreclosure

Attorney Maughan outlined several ways she has helped home owners who face foreclosure avoid losing their property. These include:
  • Equity/Fairness Defense: Advocating for what's fair to you is your attorney's first job
  • Challenges to the calculation of penalties and late fees
  • Challenges to the paperwork of foreclosure: oftentimes, she says, the legally required notices are not filled out properly.
  • Truth in Lending Defense: She advises, read the Truth in Lending Statement provided at your closing and compare it to the foreclosure notices, your mortgage document recorded in the courthouse and other paperwork involved in the orignal transaction. Oftentimes there is conflicting information that can be used to your advantage.

The Ultimate Stall Tactic: Produce the Note

This last bit of advice was the highlight of of the presentation as far as I am concerned. She began with an exercise to illustrate the complicated nature of the whole mortgage mess, passing papers, the 'mortgage notes,' around the room to people representing the lender, the borrower, the securities traders, and the loan servicers. By the end of the exercise, no one knew who had their 'note.' The complicated nature of the secondary mortgage market can be a distressed homeowner's lifeline.

Because the notes associated with most mortgages had been packaged with other loans and sold as a commodity over and over again, the documents are often hard to find. Requesting your lender or loan servicer to 'produce the note,' as proof of the debt, can put the breaks on foreclosure in many instances.

Since the presentation by Attorney Maughan, this tactic has made it to prime time news. You may have seen coverage and explanation of the Produce the Note foreclosure stall:


Other "Produce the Note" Resources

Attorney Jane Roach Maughan
726 Ann Street
Stroudsburg, Pa 18360
570.421.7009

Email Attorney Maughan


The Poconos Real Estate Blog, Lisa Sanderson & Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates are not licensed attorneys and offer this for informational purposes only and not as legal advice. Everyone's situation is different and a consultation with an attorney is recommended to ensure all your legal rights are protected. If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure, short sale or other issues pertaining to your mortgage, please be pro-active by contacting the appropriate advisors early on - it will make you feel better and may even save your home!


More Valuable Advice From Pocono Real Estate Attorneys (Part II)

Attorney_advice_short_sale


As I wrote in Part I of this series, the Attorney Panel that gave this year's presentation to us members of the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS was excellent. Attorneys William Cramer, Louis Powlette and Jane Roach Maughan enlightened us on many timely topics. It is always interesting to hear about the real estate business from another point of view, and with all of the hot topics boiling around in our business these days, it's even more riveting. Part I of this series addressed Attorney Cramer's presentation about common pitfalls in real estate transactions. This installment will discuss Attorney Powlette's discussion of Title Insurance Issues and Short Sales:

Seller-Paid Title Insurance

It is very common for bank- and relocation company- sellers to offer a paid title policy to a home buyer in a transaction. This seems, at first glance, to be a pretty good deal...it can save a buyer a substantial amount of money if they don't have to pay for title insurance themselves. The catch is that the seller chooses the title company, which is not standard practice. Buyers have the legal right to choose their own title insurance company, and usually do this based on recommendations by their real estate agent and/or their attorney.

Attorney Powlette says, "Accepting a title policy from the seller is not a good idea," and he gave several reasons why a buyer should say 'no thanks' and purchase their own title search and title insurance.

  • These banks and relocation companies buy their title work in bulk and the overburdened companies that are doing the searches and issuing title policies do a sloppy job. Also, these title insurers are almost never local companies and so they are not well versed in the intricacies of the local public records, closing procedures, etc.
  • There are myriad examples of properties being sold with title defects that were overlooked because of shoddy title work. Large real estate liens and previous owners who have not relinquished their claims to properties are some of the things that could threaten a buyer's standing as the true owner of the property after closing. Attorney Powlette cited a specific example where he did title work that revealed a federal tax lien. The prospective purchaser canceled the sale. After the property was put back on the market, a second buyer tried to buy (coincidentally using Powlette too!) and the same lien was still present. The seller was hoping to sell without a buyer questioning their title policy!
  • Another reason to decline the seller's offer of 'free' title insurance is, a real estate purchaser should have some assurance that the title policy underwriter is sound and stable. Should the underwriter ever go out of business, the title insurance policy becomes worthless. This is a great reason for a buyer to retain control of this aspect of the transaction.

Negotiating a Short Sale

These days many sellers are hoping to negotiate a short sale, that is ask their mortgage holder to accept less than what they are owed in order to allow the seller to sell the home at today's prices. Unfortunately, some owners who have their homes listed for sale through the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS MLS owe more than what they can currently get in today's market.

Attorney Powlette's recommendation is that a seller facing a short sale situation retain legal counsel to assist with the process. Yes, it sounds a bit self-serving of him to say that, but that's just not Lou's style :)...AND there are good reasons for his advice. A seller who tries to negotiate a short sale on their own, or a real estate agent who does it on the seller's behalf, assumes a lot of risk and liability. There are tax implications to selling short (shortfall can be considered income and therefore is taxed, for instance), and there are many legal issues surrounding the balance of the mortgage and the mortgagors remedies. A seller pursuing a short sale should have proper representation to be sure that their interests are served in the process.

One other caveat from Attorney Powlette: If you must cancel an Agreement of Sale because of unsuccessful short sale negotiations, a seller could be held liable for the buyer's expenses related to the transaction if the documents for the sale are not drafted properly. Always be sure to include the right contingencies when selling a property.

Contact Attorney Powlette at:

Louis D. Powlette Law Office

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360
Telephone: 570-424-8037
Fax: 570-424-0920
lpowl2@ptd.net


Please Subscribe to the Poconos Real Estate Blog to ensure that you don't miss the rest of this series. Part III will cover Attorney Maughan's inspiring presentation on avoiding foreclosure.

Related Reading:

Valuable Advice From Pocono Real Estate Attorneys (Part I)