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Homeowner headlines

Foreclosure reviews continue, but with questions about transparency

Borrowers who were victims of mortgage servicers who broke various laws — robo-signing, false affidavits, etc. — may be eligible for compensation, but may also have to waive the right to any future claim against the lender.

Anyone who went through the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 has until April to apply for restitution; they need to show they were “injured” by a lender’s law-breaking. (Amusingly, Anthony Sanders, a professor of finance at George Mason University, referred to robo-signing as a “technical error.”)

Louisiana Realtors win big, end transfer taxes

Not content with winning battles over real estate transfer taxes every few years, the Louisiana Realtors Association decided to put an end to the possibility once and for all. They decided to try to amend the state constitution to prohibit the taxes, period.

Using funds and assistance from NAR’s My Rearltor® Party initiative (which is designed for just this sort of thing), LRA first convinced both chambers of its legislature to pass the measure, then — per the state’s constitution — turned to consumers to win their support and votes.

FHA buyers blocked from condos

Many condo communities in the state have lost their FHA certification, something buyers and sellers don’t realize until a contract is blocked. So if you have clients that are in any way connected with condo or townhouse communities — owners, managers, potential buyers — they need to be aware of this: FHA revoked its certification of every condo earlier this year. If the management hasn’t reapplied, units can’t be purchased with an FHA loan.

New Freddie Mac requirement looks to combat short-sale fraud

In an effort to cut down on the amount of fraud it’s finding in short sales, Freddie Mac has issued a new set of guidelines.

The problem: Working with an unethical agent, someone makes a low bid on a short sale and the agent doesn’t disclose any competing (higher) bids. When the sale goes through, the new owner turns around and sells the property to one of those higher bidders, pocketing the difference. The process is called “flopping.”

Builders making granny more welcome

Home builders know a good market when they see it, and what they see are “multigenerational” homes — houses designed for families with an extra body or two, e.g., a grandparent.

What makes them a bit different. Could be any number of amenities: A separate entrance, two kitchens, two master bedrooms, a “mother-in-law apartment,” and so on.

Says Bloomberg:

1.8 million already helped by federal housing programs

The latest progress report released by the Treasury Department finds that the government’s three “H” programs — HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program), HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) and HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) — have helped about 1,777,000 Americans stay in their homes.

In the case of HAMP, the delinquency rate of mortgage holders taking part in the government program is much lower than that of people using private modification programs.

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