Archive for January, 2015

Don’t Leave Thousands on the Table at Closing

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me in the real estate business is how many investors leave hundreds or thousands of dollars on the table at closing due to errors in the closing documents. This is an area where many investors need to be educated. Many times investors get excited about the bottom line and forget to check the figures on the documents.

It is a mistake to assume that the HUD or closing statement is correct or that the closing documents are correct. The person preparing the closing statement can make mistakes. In addition, the person preparing the closing statement and documents is using figures that they have acquired from other people who could also make mistakes, such as the insurance company, the Realtors, the lender, home inspection service, or the surveyor.

You need to take the time to read all the documents carefully before closing on any deal. I have personally seen errors on the HUD at almost every closing I have ever been part of. Many investors only look at the bottom line and think “yes that’s enough money” but they fail to look at the whole closing statement, and in doing so possibly leave thousands at the table. I just had a closing take place recently where there was a mistake of a thousand dollars on the HUD. They put one of the buyer’s expenses on my side of the closing statement. I don’t know about you, but I think a thousand dollars is a lot of money to leave behind when you are entitled to it.

If you are looking at a closing statement and you aren’t sure why a figure is there, ASK the closing agent or attorney what it is and why it’s on the closing statement. It’s their job to make sure things are done correctly and all the figures are on the right side of the statements at a closing. Until I thoroughly learned the real estate business, I questioned every closing statement I looked at to make sure there were no mistakes.

There are some areas in particular that should be checked thoroughly. If there is a Realtor fee, make sure the percentages are correct and the payment amount to each Realtor is correct if more than one Realtor was involved in the deal.

Make sure you check the per diem interest to make sure this figure is calculated correctly. There are programs online that can help you with these calculations. I recently had a deal where I was the lender and my borrower was paying me off with the sale of the property to a buyer. When I received my check for the payoff on my note, I had been overpaid by $750.00. The per diem interest and pre-payment penalty had been calculated incorrectly. Had I not caught the error and written a check to my borrower, he would never have known there was an error. His mind was on nothing but the bottom line and he left at least $750.00 at the closing table. Compared to big checks, these may seem like small amounts, but multiply these amounts by how many closings you will do over a period of just a year and it adds up quickly! If it’s your money, you are entitled to it.

Make sure that the figures on the HUD from the insurance company, termite inspection, home inspection, survey, realtors or any other fee that should be carried to the HUD are correct. There have been many times when these figures were either incorrect or there were fees on the HUD that I had already paid out of pocket before the closing. If there are home owner association fees, make sure the pro-rated amounts on these are correct. If there is a home warranty to be paid for the buyer, make sure it shows up on the closing statement. These are all errors I have personally experienced on closing statements.

Check to make sure that the pro-rated property tax figures are correct on the HUD and appear on the correct side of the HUD. If you are due pro-rated taxes from your seller, make sure they show up as a credit on your side of the HUD. If you owe pro-rated taxes to a buyer, make sure these show up as a credit on the buyer’s side of the HUD. If there is a new loan amount or a payoff figure from a lender make sure these figures are correct. Make sure that any pre-payment penalties have been properly credited or charged. If you are paying off a mortgage, also make sure you are not charged a pre-payment penalty when none is due. This is another error I recently encountered on a closing statement.

There are other areas where I have frequently found errors so make sure you check your documents carefully before the closing. It’s much easier to deal with problems at the closing table than have them show up later and have to be corrected. If you are assisting a buyer with closing costs, make sure they don’t charge you more money in closing costs than they are entitled to. If you are assisting a buyer with closing costs and you see a big pay day on their side of the HUD, you need to open your mouth and protest it. Most lenders will not allow a buyer to take any more than 500.00 away from the closing table, especially when it is your money. If there is money left over from seller assisted closing costs, it should be credited to the seller who assisted with closing costs. It shouldn’t result in a big payday for the buyer.

Make sure you also check loan documents carefully. Check the interest rate, the balloon date and amount, and the amount of the note. I had a note and mortgage just recently where I was funding the deal for the buyer and the payee of the note and mortgage was the seller instead of me. They also had the balloon date wrong on the note. It showed a ten year balloon instead of a one year balloon because someone accidentally added a zero.

If there is an interest only payment to be made each month, make sure this is clearly stated in the note and mortgage. Also make sure that terms for late fees are clearly stated if you are the person holding a note for your buyer. Make sure names and addresses are correct and spelled correctly. Make sure you get an amortization schedule whether you are the mortgagor or the mortgagee. This is the best way to track a loan.

All of these are important points to check before any closing occurs. Don’t assume the title agent or attorney will catch the errors. They do many closings each day and they usually are unable to catch every mistake. In addition, very often the title agent or attorney is transferring figures they got from other people such as the Realtor, the lender or the insurance agent so they may not be aware that these figures are incorrect. It’s your deal and your closing, make sure the documents are correct so you don’t leave thousands at the closing table or create title problems later that could have been solved at the time of the closing of the deal.

Make sure all the documents that are to be signed and notarized are done properly. Make sure social security numbers or Tax ID numbers are correct on the 1099 so you are taxed correctly. I just recently had a closing where they put my social security number on the 1099 instead of the corporation that was supposed to absorb the income from the sale of the property. These are all real errors that occur all the time. Make sure you protect your interests when closing on properties whether you are buying or selling or simply holding a note so you don’t leave thousands on the table at the closing.

Kathy KennebrookKathy Kennebrook is a speaker, author and has been actively investing in real estate since 1999, Kathy currently resides in Bradenton, FL and is known as the “Marketing Magic Lady” because she is the country’s leading real estate marketing expert on finding motivated sellers using direct mail.

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Wells Fargo Paper Pushers are a PAIN!

In the past several months, Wells Fargo has taken on a new policy wherein they want a copy of all lien releases for any outstanding liens on the property PRIOR to submitting the file to the negotiator for review. They are now pulling their own title work and reviewing it to make sure that all liens are being reported to them. This may cause a huge battle because often the Second Lender will not approve the lien release until they have the written approval from the First.

I have always said that Wells Fargo is one of the strictest Banks that requires a crazy amount of paperwork for them to move forward. We recently had a file wherein the second mortgage, even though they had a second mortgage on the property, took the Sellers to court on the Note and received a Final Judgment against them. The seller was even garnished. However, in Florida, if you are head of household, you can stop the garnishments if you do not agree with the garnishment, so that ended. We have been fighting with a Negotiator that cannot put the second mortgage payoff and the Final Judgment Payoff together as one.

The Bank Negotiator keeps asking for another payoff from Citi Financial which is both the second mortgage and the Final Judgment Plaintiff. She just can’t get it thru her head! We have gone over her head multiple times to a supervisor and she refuses to submit our file. I requested a copy of her title work so we could see what she is seeing, but she just keeps sending us the recorded page number of the Judgment. We have contacted Citi Financial and they said yes this payoff includes the mortgage and the Final Judgment. We have asked Citi Financial to state that in their letter but they complain that this is a standard letter and it will not be tailored to the request of the First Mortgage Company.

So … What do you do??? I have requested our title company to provide us with current marked up title to verify that they have all lien releases and we can move forward. Marked up title is usually done at closing if the Buyer and/or Seller has an attorney, just to confirm that that are no more liens on the property and that they can guarantee the title free and clear from all outstanding liens.

At this time, we have submitted this information into Wells Fargo and asked for a supervisor as the Negotiator is not a title agent and has no idea what she is doing due to the fact that there are over 7 liens on this property and she doesn’t understand anything. All I can say is that many of the Banks have no intelligent life form working there to understand this process.

Many of the processors and Negotiators are thrown into Short Sales without knowing what is right or wrong. They just follow a checklist and if your file does not fit in their standardized checklist then it will not get through. That is why your Title Company may need to help you and/or the Bank supervisor needs to help. If that doesn’t work then send an email directly to the investor of the loan such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or FHA, stating in the subject line of your email “Wells Fargo does disservice to FHA!”

That is my next step if she doesn’t move this file through as I am fit to be tied and I want this deal to close. It has not yet been submitted to the investor for final review and she is withholding a deal that can close immediately once it is approved.

Know your lender and learn the key things to tell your negotiator to get your deal through. Join me at my 3 Day Live Event in February. Stay tuned to hear about a short sale deal that I just negotiated and closed with my partner. We could wholesale it for a profit of $20,000, but we’ve chosen to rehab and sell it for a profit of $40,000-50,000. I will tell you more in the next article, but remember, short sales DO work and people are cashing in BIG checks on short sales!!!

Please keep sending me your questions and topics that you would like to hear about, so I can be sure to keep feeding you with the information that you need in order to move ahead in your real estate dreams for 2015!!

Happy Negotiating!

Kimberlee Frank

Kimberlee FrankKimberlee Frank is a Master Negotiator who has closed over 600 deals since 1998. She is a Mentor, Trainer, Author and Real Estate Broker teaching Investors and Realtors how to creatively purchase and sell short sales with her Step-by-Step System. She has helped Investors and Realtors earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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