Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gladwin Got Hammered with SNOW!

9 inches of fresh snow Tuesday morning! To snowmobilers will love it this weekend!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

40 Acres on Guernsey Road - SOLD!

The 40 acres on Guernsey Road, that adjoined the Beaverton Twp Game Refuge, sold for $97,700 at the beginning of January,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Loss Mitigation is Like a Lion's Den -- Enter at your own Risk by Janet Caldwell

Years ago by accident, my husband (a realtor)and I became interested in foreclosures and loss mitigation when "out of the blue" he lost a sale due to the fact that the seller nor listing agent had revealed to him that the house was in foreclosure and that the redemption period had just expired the day before the closing with the buyer & seller. No one involved nor any colleague could explain the foreclosure process or have any good understanding of it or how to loss mitigate. So we began our journey into foreclosures by going to the sherrif sale on the court house steps every Wednesday. Eventually with a little understanding of foreclosures we became bold enough to invest in foreclosures by bidding $1.00 more than the bank's bid on foreclosed homes. Later on, we would buy houses from homeowners that were in the redemption period to gain control of the property, fix them up, and sell them before the redemption period ended. This was back in the 80's when most people had some equity in their homes and were appreciative of just being able to get out from under their house and have some money to move. Sometimes, we bought people an automobile or traded jewelry for houses. We also began to publish the foreclosure list for Kent County in Michigan and developed a few relationships with some part-time investors. The foreclosure list in effect developed a market for investors and distressed homeowners. We promoted "Forsale by Owner." All of this time and through the 90's we never thought to try and negotiate with the bank for a short sale. We learned the hard and expensive way.

In 2002, I decided to gain more courage and began to originate loans. I was mystified by debt to income ratios, rate sheets, and how interest rates and fees were determined and applied for nonowner occupied homes. I was also becoming alarmed at all of the adjustable rate mortgages being sold to marginal and average home buyers. We were feeling the pinch ourselves and could see a lot of predatory lending taking place since my husband had also obtained his appraiser's license and then later on started a mortgage company in 2006 as our real estate venture, interests, and journey continued within the foreclosure market.

After the meltdown in the subprime mortgage business that began in early 2007, we began to loss mitigate and formed the Foreclosure Prevention Institute, LLC. The appraisal, real estate and mortgage business just dried up -- we were in a depression. Many people would call to refinance, but we couldn't help them because of job/income loss, no equity, decline in appraised values within the neighborhood, high debt, etc.. So we turned to loss mitigating in hopes of obtaining loan modifications and a little income.

It's been an interesting 6 months talking to various lenders within the loss mitigation departments. We are finding that many lenders are doing "lip service" to satisfy the laws of the land. They will lie to you and provide forbearance plans that only provide high monthly mortgage repayment or "failure" plans, because the bottom line is that all the investor wants is his money owed. With that said, there are lenders that do try to help the homeowner who is behind and/or in foreclosure. We have seen some good loan modifications in which unpaid taxes or delinquent payments are put on the back end of the loan. Often times it is the investor behind the loan or the loss mitgator who makes the difference. Some really care and others just care about moving the file off their desk by pushing the foreclosure button.

The other difficulty that we see sometimes is that once we have a work-out, the lender goes under and/or the loan is sold or moved to a new servicing company. Then we have to start all over when the forbearance plan is up for a possible loan modification which is usually 3 months. (Note that every 3 months financial documents have to be updated.) In this environment, I have been left on hold for an hour or more, disconnected, hung-up, and told several times from a few servicing companies that they don't do loss mitigation only to have their story change after a period of a month once the new company is somewhat organized with the vast amount of files given to them. One new loss mitigator said he started out with 10 files and by the end of the day had 150 files on his desk. Persistence is the name of the game. Thus, if one wants to loss mitigate and be successful the paperwork required by the lender must be complete and in order. Lenders prefer to talk to the homeowner, because it's their last chance to squeeze money out of the homeowner before foreclosure. Sometimes, though, lenders prefer to talk to an independent third party, because it can get quite emotional for the homeowner or since the homeowner has a language barrier or just doesn't understand the lender's terms, conditions, time-lines and concepts.

Perhaps, my experience here will shed some new light on loss mitigation and how to obtain a work-out solution. The homeowner needs to know that the call/collection center is a lion's den -- they are as predatory as the lenders. They want their cut too and are not regulated like the mortage companies. The homeowner needs to ask for the loss mitigation department or "Hope" center or whatever name they call themselves, and pray that they get someone who cares and is willing to work-out a fair and workable solution. Often times, no one will talk to you until you are 2 months behind in payments.

Due to bad press regarding loss mitigators, a levied sales tax in Michigan on service companies (just repealed), and the need for homeowners to save their money, our Foreclosure Prevention Institute is recommending that the homeowner do their own loss mitigating. If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure or are interested in becoming a loss mitigator, then you might want to consider getting the Homeowner's Foreclosure "Survival Kit" at As a homeowner, you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars if you are successful in preventing foreclosure. A foreclosure is not a foreclosure until the last day of your redemption period.

About the Author

Founder of Foreclosure Prevention Institute, LLC and managing director of 1st Loss Mitigation of MI. Have 25 years experience in foreclosures. To learn more about our organization, Loss Mitigation, and the Foreclosure "Survival Kit" goto

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gladwin Events!

Easter Bunny and Egg Hunt

The Gladwin Business & Professional Association will be holding their 10th annual Easter Egg Hunt in conjunction with the Gladwin Arts Council. The event will be held in the Gladwin City Park on Saturday, March 22, 2008 beginning at 11:00 a.m. SHARP!

There will be prizes, Aunt Tude’s petting zoo, face painting and a special guest...The Easter Bunny. Pictures may be taken with the Easter Bunny for a donation (donations are not mandatory). All other activities are free.

The event will take place rain, snow or shine. Make plans to join in all the fun.

Gladwin Home and Garden Show

Sponsored by the Gladwin Business and Professional Association will take place on Friday, March 28th and Saturday, March 29th at the Gladwin Community Arena, 402 James Robertson Drive in Gladwin, Michigan. The time of the event will be Noon to 8:00 p.m. on Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Admission fee for the show will be a $2.00 donation, with a portion of the receipts donated to the Gladwin County Habitat for Humanity.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Numbers Are IN!

I wanted to thank everyone for making 2007 my best Real Estate Year Ever!

The numbers are in! With well over 3.5 Million in Total Sales, Ivie Baker was the Top Selling Agent in 2007 for all of Gladwin & Clare Counties!

Thank You for trusting me with your Real Estate needs!


Friday, January 04, 2008


I know this is unrealed to Real Estate, but sometimes I run across somthing really neat that I'd like to share... and I found a New COOL TOOL!

Eric Kreckman of Gladwin County Abstract first told me about this!! Thanks Eric!!! It is such a cool tool and it's totally free! I started using it while on the road, to remind myself about tasks and reminders and it works great!

You can create "To Do" List and Reminders...
Send Email and Text Messages to yourself and other people...
Blog Your Thoughts from Anywhere!
... All with your voice from any phone! What's even more cool, is that it's a toll free number!

I tried it and love it! Check it out at

Anyway, I thought I'd pass that bit of neat information along to you!

Winter Fun Up North!

I thought this was a really neat photo. I actually got it as a Christmas Card.

This picture truly shows what it's like to own a cabin up north! Don't they look like they are having fun (or about to)???

This is the Oseid Family. I sold them a cottage on one of the local fishing lakes in the area, last fall, and they are having a blast!

This winter has been fantastic for the snowmobilers! Lots and lots of snow!