This month’s interview David Stone from Greater Good Realty chats with Jon Maddux. Jon is co-founder and CEO of YouWalkAway.com and his company assists homeowners in navigating the Short Sale and Foreclosure process.
David Stone (DS): Jon, thank you for taking some time to share your knowledge regarding the distressed property market. Could you share a little about your background?
Jon Maddux (JM): I have about 15 years of mortgage, lending, investments and financing experience in a variety of capacities within the real estate industry.
DS: How did you come up with the concept of YouWalkAway.com?
JM: When the crash happened in 2007, I started looking at other options and fortunately my knowledge of foreclosure laws enabled me to realize that a lot of homeowners would not be able to recover from their positions. So, I thought it would be an interesting business to assist homeowners about foreclosures and give them legal and tax advice during this process and the ramifications involved. I knew it would be controversial but at the same time very beneficial for many people.
DS: How many people have you assisted so far during the short sale and foreclosure process?
JM: To date over 8000.
DS: Can you explain what some call a ‘strategic default’?
JM: It’s really when a mortgagor decides that they don’t want to continue making mortgage payments to the lender for any number of reasons, but technically could afford to do so. This could result in a loan modification, short sale, or possibly a foreclosure.
DS: What’s your view of the current San Diego real estate market?
JM: It’s definitely improved and in a more healthy position then in the last 4 years.
DS: What about the number of short sales and foreclosures in the market?
JM: When you look at organizations like Zillow and Realtytrac that analysis data, they are predicting another wave of foreclosures coming to market. I think this will also happen but will be much more prevalent in specific cities and not as extensive as before.
DS: Have we hit the bottom of the market yet?
JM: Nationally, I think we will be hovering at or near the bottom over the next couple of years and don’t see any major price adjustments in the near future. Of course, every individual market will have its own variations and San Diego is no different. There will be disparities between different neighborhoods.
DS: Is now a good time to buy a property?
JM: If you are looking for a primary residence and plan on owning it for long term, then it would be smart especially when being able to lock in the low mortgage interest rates.
DS: So, what’s your view on interest rates?
JM: There’s really no room to go much lower and I don’t see any significant increases in the near future.
DS: What advice would you give to those homeowners that are currently “underwater” on their mortgage?
JM: They really have to spend some time researching where they are now and avoid the emotions that go along with making a decision to foreclose or short sell. It’s basically a financial calculation. I might suggest going to www.foreclosureOK.com to do this calculation.