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All the Agents and Homeowners I Helped Has Started to Pay Off

Just featured in a whole page article in the Daily Times. The book is on the way!! Check the story below:

SALISBURY — Meet Brandon Brittingham, a Salisbury guru of short sales — an out for a homeowner facing foreclosure and financial ruin.

But short sales are a niche tool tall in complexity, and shied away from by many real estate agents. So few homeowners are encouraged to pursue the option that would allow them to sell their property at a price less than what is owed on the mortgage.

Brittingham is a Long & Foster Real Estate property executive working to change that. In the fall, a nationally recognized publishing company intends to release his book advising real estate agents and homeowners on the mortgage-sales option to foreclosure.

The book coincides with the federal government’s offer of financial incentives to lenders who do more short sales, effective starting early April. Industry watchers say new rules also are supposed to help standardize the process that buyers and sellers complain drags on at lending institutions already bogged down in the housing crisis.

Renewed attention to the less-used option puts Brittingham in a unique position as an expert. Restricted by limited capital, Brittingham launched a career in real estate seven years ago buying property priced lower through short sales. The perceived disadvantage has put him out front.

“I started doing short sales when I was 20 years old; now I’m 27,” he said in a recent interview. “I was limited in capital, so I purchased short sales. I did it all over the country, and when the recession hit, nobody knew how to do them. The difference between me and a lot of guys, from a teaching and instructional standpoint, is that they’re not doing it every day. Experience counts.”

He wants brokers to promote the mortgage-sales tool and position the real estate industry as a leader in foreclosure prevention and restoration of the national economy.

“You must get an agent well versed on short sales, and there are about 10 in the country with the same amount of experience with short sales as I have,” Brittingham said. “It is fairly new to the real estate community although it’s been around forever.”

lender would have to agree to the terms of the sale, and many of them are willing to reduce the price of a house to avoid the hassle of a potentially unprofitable foreclosure sale, Brittingham says. For homeowners, a short sale can be less damaging to credit and can alleviate possible IRS tax gains and bank deficiencies, he also says.

A Better Option

“Last year, three million properties went into foreclosure; this year will be more,” he said. In Wicomico County alone, industry watchers expect at least 200 foreclosures in 2010, Brittingham said.

“At a minimum, 150 are to come in 2010; it’s a good possibility without the options. And there are more options now than there ever have been in the history of our nation.”
One option would be to consider a loan modification for a reduced mortgage, or renting a property for income, he said. Selling the property “to bring cash to the table” is an option if there is equity, but not enough to sell it in the current market, Brittingham notes.

To be eligible for a short sale option, a house must be worth less than the amount owed on it, and a homeowner must be able to prove true financial hardship, such as decreased wages, job loss, or a medical condition that reduced earnings from when the loan originated, he said.

Starting in April, new rules take effect for the federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, or HAFA, offering incentives to lenders and struggling homeowners who select options to foreclosure. Under the rules, a borrower can receive pre-approved short-sale terms before a property is listed for sale, and is released from the first mortgage debt within 10 business days, according to a HAFA fact sheet.
Brittingham gets hundreds of telephone calls and e-mails on short sales from real estate agents hoping to bone up on what could become a lucrative trend for all parties involved. On average, he spends 70 hours to complete a short sale.
Through personal contact and his book, which he hasn’t decided on a title, Brittingham intends to push short sales as a viable option.

“The book is an education for the consumer and the agent; there’s a demand for it,” Brittingham said. “There is no helping hand for anybody in a short sale. I felt I could take my knowledge out there.”