Monday, October 31, 2011

It is spooky how low Nampa home prices have gone!

Although this Nampa house is not really spooky it is in need of updates and it brings home to me how low prices have fallen in Canyon County.

It is located on Midland Blvd, has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath with two extra deep single car garages. Priced at only $39,900!

Pop over to my website for more information on this home and all the spooky low priced homes. www.lowesflatfee.com

Saturday, October 29, 2011

National Housing Market Update

From the National Association of Realtors comes the following information. Of course all real estate is local as they say, but national trends affect us as well. I provide local trends as well, so you may look under the statistics category for past postings and tune back in often for new updates.

October 2011  Market Update

Despite some pessimism pertaining to the global and domestic economies, the U.S. housing sector continues to show promising signs of stability and growth. Low levels of new home construction and gaining sales volume fueled by an inventory of affordable housing since Richard Nixon was president have reduced the number of homes on the market. This means home prices may begin to appreciate again.

While there are many factors that can be barriers to buying a home, such as the tightening of mortgage lending rules by banks, consumer confidence in the job market is among one of the top obstacles to home ownership. In the 2011 Housing Pulse Survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 80% of respondents cited job security as their primary concern when deciding to buy.

For only the fourth time since the beginning of 2010, home sales in August were up both year-over-year and month-over-month, posting an 18.6% gain from last year, with first-time home buyers accounting for nearly a third of all homes purchased.  These indications of strength in the housing market may help to add to consumer confidence, which is an integral part of sustained growth. Even though there is still a long road to recovery ahead of us, there are opportunities to be had for both home buyers and sellers.


Home Sales
in millions

August home sales were up 18.6% year-to-year, posting a 7.7% increase in sales activity over July despite Hurricane Irene, which struck the Eastern seaboard and New England regions at the end of the month. As a result of the hurricane, the Northeast experienced the smallest increase in sales. At the same time, persisting restrictions among banks affecting home lending are having the greatest constraint on sales levels. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated, "The market can easily move into a healthy expansion if mortgage underwriting standards return to normalcy."




Oct graph 1



Home Price
in thousands

Homes prices were down, with a 5.1% drop in August compared to a year ago. The national median price for homes in August was $168,300, with distressed properties, foreclosures, and short sales still accounting for 31% of sales. The buyer's market for residential property continues, as favorable prices, and record low interest rates offer the most affordable conditions for purchasing a home in the last 40 years.




Oct graph 2




Inventory- Month's Supply
in months

The supply of homes measured in months on the market at their current pace of sales fell 10.5% in the month of August, to an 8.5 month supply of inventory, down from a 9.5-month supply in July. With homes being more affordable than they have been in a generation and the lowest levels of new home construction since World War II, this inventory is projected to continue to fall, which will eventually result in the appreciation of home prices and a move toward a balanced market.




Oct graph 3


Source: National Association of Realtors


Friday, October 28, 2011

Which comes first, the mortgage or the house?

I get calls all the time from folks who want to look a house that I have listed for sale but they have not even spoken to a loan officer. It really is getting the proverbial cart before the horse. I am including a great article from KCM Blog about this subject.

And when you are ready to drive your cart give me a call or shout me an email, I can provide you names of some great loan people.

Most people get it backwards. They shop for a home, THEN, they try to structure the financing for it. They make the emotional decision of buying the home of their dreams, THEN, try to apply logic in how they pay for it. Many even go “online” and play with what is affordable by underwriting standards without TRULY considering their future.

I am always fascinated by mortgage underwriting “standards” when they don’t even take into account some very large variables that affect an applicant’s cash flow, and thereby, their ability to repay the loan or maintain a lifestyle they want:


  • Are you single or a family of six? Costs for food and clothing alone are very different.

  • Do you live in a state that requires State Income Tax or not? Another significant part of the equation.

  • How often do you like to eat out or vacation? Are you willing to sacrifice these things for a bigger or nicer home?

Falling in love with a home without considering the REAL impact on your lifestyle is a recipe for unhappiness….either in re-adjusting to a “lesser” home or disappointment over the lack of vacations or nights out.

My advice is to first work on your financing. Go the logic route. Find out what you can afford from a lender’s underwriting perspective, but then, spend some time considering the the cash flow realities of your choice. Work with your loan officer to make wise choices.

Additionally, your loan officer should be advising you on ways to properly represent and transfer your assets, how to explain and document your income, as well as, assisting you in methods to get your optimal credit score. This counsel can be invaluable in smoothing out some of the bumps in the mortgage process, besides giving you the best chance to get the most aggressive pricing available.

To me, the choice is crystal clear…the mortgage before the house!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boise, do you want to rent or own?

With all the difficulty the housing market has taken here is a little graphic from Forbes.com that compares renting and owning and it's effect on wealth.

And let us not forget interest rates at or below 4%. AMAZING!!!



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Idaho Underwater Homeowners-Here's Help?

With no better than the government's last program worked, I do not know whether this has promise or not but the Feds are coming out with a new improved  HARP program. You really have to love acronyms, it is a whole new language sometimes. It stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program. That most helpful part in my opinion is that it eliminates the loan to value restriction that stopped many Treasure Valley home owners from participating in the previous version.

I read a good explanation from KFMB TV8 in San Diego that I am reprinting for your information.

So what do the new changes to the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) mean for you? If you're an underwater homeowner, it could mean a lot.

In fact, it could be the thing that finally allows you to refinance your mortgage at some of those all-time low interest rates you've been hearing about, but couldn't qualify for. Here's a look at some of the key elements of the changes to the government-backed mortgage refinance program, announced Monday by the Federal Home Finance Agency (FHFA).
No loan-to-value restriction

The main thing is that you no longer have to worry about how far your home has fallen in value since you took out your mortgage. Previously, you couldn't get a HARP refinance if your mortgage balance exceeded your home value by more than 25 percent. That limit has been totally eliminated, meaning you can still refinance even if your home value is a third of what you owe on your mortgage, or even less.

Appraisals, fees waived

The new rules waive certain fees charged at closing, particularly for borrowers who choose to refinance into 15- or 20-year fixed-rate mortgages. High closing costs have been seen as a barrier to refinancing under HARP, so the administration hopes that waiving these fees will enable more homeowners to refinance. Since home value is no longer an issue, appraisals are no longer required, as long a reliable automated estimate is available, though some lenders may still insist on one.

There will still be some fees associated with closing costs on the new loan, which can be financed as part of the new mortgage.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac mortgages only

The HARP underwater refinance is available only to borrowers who have mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Since they're already on the hook if the loans go bad, it's in their interest to enable underwater borrowers to refinance so they're less likely to default. It doesn't really matter to them if the interest rate is reduced, since the interest is paid to the investors who buy the guaranteed loans from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. You can find out if yours is a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan at the agencies' web sites.

Who's eligible?

To qualify for the new HARP refinance, you need to have been current on your mortgage payments for the last six months and been late no more than once in the past year. The mortgage must have been transferred to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac no later than May 31, 2009. The mortgage must be on a one-to four unit dwelling that serves as your primary residence.

How much can I save?

Underwater borrowers refinancing through the program will save an average of $2,500 a year on their mortgage payments, or more than $200 a month, according to Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The government estimates the changes to the program will benefit up to 1 million people, although Moody's Analytics puts the figure at 1.6 million. The Obama administration may be a bit cautious after their original estimates for borrowers helped by the current version of HARP and its companion HAMP loan modification program turned out to be too optimistic.

What kind of loans can I get?

This is a significant change from the current HARP. The administration is encouraging underwater borrowers to refinance into short-term 15- and 20-year fixed-rate mortgages by waiving most or all program fees for those loans. The current program mandates that borrowers refinance into 30-year fixed-rate mortgages only. Homeowners will still be able to refinance into 30-year loans if they wish, but they'll have to pay more fees if they do. Combined with the ultra-low rates now available on 15-year mortgages, that's a significant prod for borrowers who've been in their homes a number of years to shorten up their term and start building back more quickly toward positive equity.

When is it available?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are scheduled to provide full details of the program, including information to lenders, by Nov. 15. The FHFA says some lenders may be able to start offering the program by Dec. 1, although most estimates are of a rollout in the first quarter of 2012 for most participating lenders. Chase Bank and mortgage lender Genworth have already indicated they look forward to participating.

Sounds great! What are the downsides?

Like the current HARP, the new version is voluntary, so not all lenders may participate. But if you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage, you can refinance with a participating lender even if your current one is not in the program.

Because the program is voluntary, lenders may have their own requirements they overlay on top of the HARP guidelines, though there will likely be limits on what they can do. However, there will still likely be credit score and income requirements, the same as for any mortgage.

It's also not yet clear how the new guidelines will address loan-level price adjustments, which are tacked onto the interest rate to reflect certain risk factors. Since being underwater in itself is considered a major risk factor, interest rates offered to homeowners under the current program have sometimes been considerably higher than they expected, even above what they are currently paying. But if seriously underwater borrowers are able to get near-market interest rates when refinancing, this could be a real bonanza for financially stable underwater homeowners.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why do you want to buy a house?

Some excellent points to consider in purchasing a home today.

If you are in the market to buy a home of your own, you need to ask yourself one question: WHY?

It seems like a simple enough question yet it is not. Experts are predicting that, in many markets, prices will continue to soften (see our blog from yesterday). That has caused many buyers to stay on the fence of indecision hoping to buy at the optimum time. If the reason you are buying is to do a quick ‘flip’ of the property to make money, waiting most definitely makes sense.

What if the reason you are moving isn’t about finances however. Does it still make sense to delay? That depends on why you are buying. What if your purchase is more about improving the quality of life for you and your family? Or moving into a school district where your child’s talents will be maximized? Or being closer to friends and family? There is a cost to delaying any of these decisions.

We realize everyone wants to make a sound financial decision no matter the actual reason for moving. Delaying in a hope to ‘time’ the market might not make sense however. Forbes.com addressed this issue in an article by John E. Girouard last week:
“Trying to time the housing bottom is as much folly as trying to time stocks or any other investment vehicle. In fact, it’s greater folly because if housing prices do fall further, it’s likely to be because mortgage rates are rising, which would mean that over the long term that slightly lower price you may have paid could end up costing more in carrying costs than you saved.”

He went on to say:
“My answer to those who ask whether now’s the time to buy a house is that the American Dream is and always was alive and well. It has nothing to do with the direction of housing prices but everything to do with your financial situation, income stability, ability to shoulder the costs, and if the home you have your eye on is your version of the American Dream—a home you love that you hope to live in for an extended period.”

Bottom Line

Don’t make buying a home solely a financial decision. Is the real reason you want your own home more important than money? Only you know the answer.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What will Idaho Home Prices Be in the Spring?

The following article by KCM Blog talks about the national real estate market. It is hard to know how much our local market will affected. Idaho is a Statutory Foreclosure state, which I have spoken of before in this blog, and did not experence the level of issues that Judicial Foreclosure states did. However, what we do not know is, if the major banks put a hold on foreclosures in all states. Hopefully not, but we may very well receive an increase in bank owned properties on our market.

Many sellers want to wait until the spring before putting their home on the market. This might be for any of several reasons:

  1. They don’t want to be inconvenienced during the holiday season.

  2. They believe that they will see more potential buyers and as a result will get a higher price.

  3. In the northern part of the country, they might not want people walking through the snow and then into their house.

  4. All of the above

In a normal real estate market, this may make sense. However, this market has been anything but normal. This spring will also see some abnormalities. The biggest difference will be the direction prices will take.

In years past, the spring market would favor the seller because increased demand would outpace any increase in supply: the number of houses coming onto the market would not be as great as the number of buyers newly entering the market. In most situations, when demand is greater than supply, prices increase.

The reason this spring will be different is that the supply of homes coming to the market will be dramatically impacted by foreclosure properties being released by the banks. Many believe this increase in inventory will far outweigh buyer demand. In situations where supply is greater than demand, prices decrease.

Will This Actually Happen?

RealtyTrac, in their latest foreclosure report, explained:
“U.S. foreclosure activity has been mired down  since October of last year, when the robo-signing controversy sparked a flurry  of investigations into lender foreclosure procedures and paperwork. While foreclosure activity in  September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a  year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to  change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up.

This will impact prices.

What Do Experts Believe the Impact Will Be?

Here are the pricing projections by several major entities:

  • Zillow believes we will not see a bottom in prices until the first quarter of 2012.

  • Standard & Poors thinks prices will drop %5 in the next few months.

  • JP Morgan Chase believes prices will depreciate 6 to 7% over the next six months.

  • Barclays says prices will fall 7% by the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Bottom Line

You may pay a hefty price for the convenience of not having your property on the market right now.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ada County Autumn Housing Stats Roundup

A great great synopsis from Marc Lebowitz of the Ada County Association of Realtors.

2011 September sales were 564 in Ada County, an increase of 13% over September 2010

September sales YTD is 4,757; Up 7.2% over 2010 YTD. In July of 2011, we exceeded YTD 2010 sales for the first time in 2011. In August we improved to +6.1%. Now we have increased again.

September sales decreased 7.5% from August 2011's 605. Historically, September sales increase over Aug.

The change in the number of Pending Sales suggests that many transactions that were scheduled to close in September didn’t.

Of our total sales in September… 41% were distressed….down 4% from August 2011. In January 2011, 57% of our sales were distressed. (Short sales 17%, REO’s 22% and HUD sales 4%). Distressed sales continue to cast a long shadow over the market, but they are no longer the “majority” of transactions!

For homes sold in September, the average number of “Days on Market” was 73. This is down 8 days from last month. Down from 90 days last year this time and down from 93 days in January 2011.

Pending sales at the end of September were 868; a decrease of 1.5% from the end of August. Looking back at pending sales from March 2011 to September 2011, we see an average near 900 at the end of each month. The percentage of pending sales in distress increased 3% from August, totaling 47% overall. We are now at six consecutive months below 50%.

At the end of September, we had 22% more sales pending than at the end of September 2010.

September median home price decreased 6% from August. Overall median price was $147,500; down 7.8% from September 2010.

New Homes median price for September 2011 was $216,000; a 3.4% decrease from August 2011 (?); but still 25% higher than in September 2010.

The number of houses available for sale at the end of September fell to 2,325 for the first time since March 2006. This is down 6% from August and 24% less than last year at this time.

At the same time, the percentage of distressed active inventory remained steady from August at 35%. We have been hovering between 33% and 36% since May. We remain well below the 40% levels set last spring….when we were on the increase.

In Ada County we have 4 months of inventory on hand…historically this number defines a strong “seller’s market”. The price category in shortest supply is <$100,000 with 2 months available. This is closely followed by the $100,000 to $119,000 with 3 months and $200,000 to $249,000 with 4 months. Consumption of inventory is expanding to all price ranges. In the price ranges from $250,000 to $499,000 we have about 6 months of available inventory. These are the lowest numbers in more than a year and continue to show improvement

We continue to “benefit” from inventory levels much lower than national average.

The Federal Reserve launched “Operation Twist” late last month intending to drive down long term interest rates. Although most experts agree that lowering mortgage interest rates, which are already at the lowest level in more than 60 years and in many cases below 4%, won’t spur much in overall home sales. What it may do is increase refinancing, freeing up consumer money for other purchases and improve overall economic numbers.

Recently the Wall Street Journal, long critical of Washington’s efforts to boost housing has changed their tune. “We Can’t Ignore Housing Anymore” was the title of a commentary published last week. Citing Warren Buffet and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, WSJ said: (These efforts)…“won’t do much for housing if too many people won’t qualify for mortgages or can’t refinance because the value of their home has declined or they don’t have much equity.

That has to change. By regulatory fiat, where possible, more people who are current on their mortgage payments have to be able to refinance their mortgages to take advantage of rates near 4%.

That savings for many would go into additional spending, a stimulative measure, and would boost their economic psychology, which is important. Even if they used the savings to pay down their own debt it would do long-term good.

Someone also has to take a hard look at standards for initial mortgage qualification. Obviously, things became absurdly easy as the housing bubble inflated. But pendulums swing too far and experts should determine if there’s a middle ground that would allow more to qualify without excessive risk to lenders.

It’s time to stop trying to work around housing, and take it on”.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Idaho Sellers-House Prices to Fall Over Next Six Months!


In a normal real estate market, it may make sense to wait for the spring buyers’ to appear before placing your house up for sale. The current real estate market is anything but normal however. The increase in supply of distressed properties will overshadow any increase in demand for housing over the next 6 months. This is reflected in the findings of two groups: Clear Capital and JPMorgan Chase.

Dr. Alex Villacorta, Director of Research and Analytics at Clear Capital explained last week:
“The housing market has yet to demonstrate the fundamentals necessary to overcome a seasonal slowdown over the next six months, which drives our projected 3.2 percent drop in national home prices through the first quarter of 2012.”

HousingWire quotes analysts at JPMorgan Chase:
“Home prices could dip another 6% to 7%, before hitting rock bottom in early 2012.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, it would be wise to put your house on the market before prices fall again.

Buyers, even with the above in mind it still makes sense to buy now with interest rates at the lowest levels ever, along with rent increasing and loan requirements tightening.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Boise Buyers, Here are the Top 6 Reasons Loans Are Rejected!

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-212377p1.html" target=blank>zentilia</a>/<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com" target=blank>Shutterstock</a>

Half of refinance applications are abandoned or rejected, as are 30 percent of purchase mortgage applications, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. All told, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) says that well over 2 million mortgage applications were rejected last year.

Want to avoid falling into that number? It's tough -- especially in light of the fact that mortgage lenders have become increasingly restrictive in terms of their lending guidelines since the housing market crash.

Here, as a cautionary tale and primer on what to expect, are the top six reasons mortgage lenders reject applications.

1. Income issues. Most failed applications falling into this category have income too low for the mortgage amount they are seeking; often, a spouse's credit issues can create this problem, too, as the income the spouse plans to actually chip in toward the mortgage cannot be considered by a lender.

But increasingly, the recent vagaries of the job market are also causing this issue, as people who have changed their line of work or have changed from salaried employee to freelancer over the last couple of years can also have their home loan applications rejected based on income.

2. Muddled money matters. If the mortgage for which you're applying plus your monthly payments on credit card, car and student loan debts will comprise more than 45 percent of your total income, you could have problems qualifying for a home loan. You might also run into problems if you rely too heavily on bonuses, overtime, cash wages or rental income -- all of these can be difficult or impossible to get a mortgage bank to consider, and if they do, they might not take all of it into account.

3. Credit issues. Today, the mortgage-qualifying FICO score cutoff falls somewhere between 620 and 660, depending on which lender and which loan type you seek. More than one-third of Americans, by some numbers, have credit scores too low to qualify for a home loan. Even if your credit score is high enough to qualify, if you have any late mortgage payments, a short sale, a foreclosure or a bankruptcy in the last two years, loan qualifying could be difficult to impossible.

4. Property didn't appraise. Since the whole industry had its hand (among other things) smacked for allowing home values to skyrocket in a very short time, appraisal guidelines have tightened up -- some would say, even more than overall mortgage guidelines. So, it is increasingly common to have the property appraise for a price lower than the sale price negotiated between the buyer and seller.

This is especially common in the refinance realm, as well over a quarter of U.S. homes are now upside-down, meaning the mortgage balance owed is greater than the value of the home. (If you're trying to refinance an upside-down mortgage, consider the FHA Short Refi program -- contact your lender or get referrals to any mortgage broker who makes FHA details to apply.)

5. Condition problems. With all the distressed properties on the market, and with most nondistressed sellers barely breaking even, more home-sale transactions than ever are falling apart due to condition problems with the property. Many lenders will not extend financing on homes where the appraiser points out problems like cracked or broken windows, missing kitchen appliances, electrical problems, or wood rot.

And in the world of condos and other units that belong to a homeowners association, if more than 25 percent of units are rented (rather than owner-occupied) or more than 15 percent are delinquent on their HOA dues, new applications for refinance or purchase mortgages on units in the development are likely to be rejected.

6. Technical difficulties with application. The days when lenders just took your word for it are long, long gone. Applications with incomplete or unverifiable information are doomed.

If any of these mortgage loan application glitches arise in your homebuying or refinancing process, it's critical that you connect with your mortgage professional, be it your banker or mortgage broker, to determine what course of action to take.

In some cases, it might be as simple as buying a stove you find at Craigslist and installing it before escrow closes; but with income issues your mortgage pro will need to help you determine whether it makes sense to pay some bills down, get a co-signer, or even wait six months so your income documentation will qualify.

Also, different lenders have different overlays, a loan that rejected by one institution may be accepted another, it can pay to check around. I have names of excellent loan officers, give me a call!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure: A Short Sale Always Wins

Our Boise-Nampa Metro area continues to experience a high number of foreclosures and short sales. Sometimes I get the question of which is better, or perhaps the lesser of two evils.

The following article from KCM Blog shares some insights. I have handled a lot of short sales, both for the sellers and representing buyers. Give me a call if I can be of service!

Today’s ever changing real estate industry has brought upon some very challenging questions from our clients. We as counselors, want to put forth the best, non-emotional advice that we can, in hopes that we can help our clients and their families navigate the rough waters of the short sale process.

The most prevalent question and one that continues to permeate the industry is:

“Why should a seller go through the short sale process rather than letting their house be foreclosed upon?”

While we cannot speak to every client circumstance, we can say one thing with complete conviction.  In almost all instances in which a potential seller is contemplating whether they should short sell their house or let it go through the foreclosure process, a short sale is the better option. The following are examples to consider:

Example A- Short Sale

Mr. Smith owns a home in which he has a mortgage balance of $220,000 and a current market value of $150,000. Mr. Smith has elected to short sell his property. His Realtor successfully obtains a buyer who puts forth an offer price of $120,000 (80% current market value according to Realty Trac Foreclosure Report 5/26/2011). After reviewing the buyers offer and the financial hardship information from Mr. Smith, Mr Smith’s bank agrees to accept the short payoff of $120,000 which would leave a deficiency balance of $100,000.

The transaction closes and is final.  Mr. Smith then pulls his credit report 30 days after the transaction takes place. On the report he notices that the mortgage trade line states “Mortgage debt was settled for less than full” and the balance on the mortgage is $0.  Mr. Smith is now on the road to financial recovery.

Example B- Foreclosure

For the ease of illustration we will use the same value and mortgage debt amounts as in Example A. However, Mr. Smith has elected to forgo the short sale process and let the bank foreclose on the property.  The bank holding his mortgage facilitates the proper legal procedures to foreclose on the property, all of which are costly.  Mr. Smith is notified and his property foreclosed upon of which is taken back by the bank to sell as an REO.

Six months later, the bank finally sells Mr. Smith’s home only they sell it for $90,000 (60% of current market value according to Realty Trac Foreclosure report dated 5/26/2011). Remember, as a short sale, the home would have sold for $120,000 keeping the deficiency to $100,000. In addition to the deficiency now being $130,000, the bank has elected to add on legal costs of $15,000 and asset preservation costs of another $5000 for a total deficiency liability of $150,000. Mr. Smith pulls his credit report 30 days after being notified that the bank has sold his property and of his liability.

On the report he notices that the mortgage trade line states “Foreclosure” and the balance is $150,000. Because of Mr Smith’s choice to choose foreclosure vs. short sale his road to financial recovery has taken a major detour. He not only has a foreclosure on his credit report but know has a much larger deficiency balance in which the bank, in most cases, will report on his credit report as a balance owed.

The Best Option is clear

While the financial and credit advantages are clear when choosing a short sale over a foreclosure, other advantages are sometimes overlooked. The most important of all of them is maintaining the seller’s dignity and peace of mind.  We have heard too many stories of families having to leave their homes because of a Sheriffs order or some other type of legal action. The short sale process alleviates this negative social impact. The process puts the control back in the seller’s hands so that they can get back on the road to financial recovery and start providing for their families.  In the battle of the two evils, a short sale always wins!!!