I got a comment the other day about there being too much negative info here, so I want to tell a happy (and personal) story. I’ll keep it short, promise.
I bought a house a couple of weeks ago — well, my wife and I did. We had been renting for four years, and I had heard somewhere that it was a good time to buy, especially if you’re planning to stay put. We are.
I knew all the doom and gloom about getting a mortgage, so we were prepared to be declined, knowing there was a black mark on our credit from our last mortgage. (A story for another time.)
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.”)
Various consulting firms are reviewing the 4.5 million foreclosure files of Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo to verify those claims; review of other lenders’ paperwork will begin soon.
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.
They needed 51 percent of voters to approve the “Stay Tax Free” amendment. They got 81 percent.
On November 18, President Obama signed a bill re-establishing higher loan limits on FHA loans. Below are some of the particulars about what-qualifies-for-what, straight from HUD:
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.
It used to be relatively easy for a condo complex (or “project” in FHA parlance) to get certified by the FHA, meaning the agency would loan money to qualified buyers of units there. But with the burst of the housing bubble, FHA realized that a lot of delinquent and foreclosed properties were condos. So it tightened its rules.
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.”
The solution: Making it clear on an affidavit to be signed by all parties that they are liable for any “negligent or intentional misrepresentations, but not those of other signatories to the affidavit.”
Thanks to everyone who contacted their senators and representatives and who gave to RPAC. It made a difference — a big one.
The House of Representatives voted 292-121 and the Senate voted 70-30 to restore the higher conforming loan limits mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie, and Freddie.
This is a major victory. It’s a perfect showcase for what Realtors can do when they work together, and it shows why we’re always asking you to invest in RPAC: Those dollars helped make us friends on Capitol Hill, opened doors for us, and gave us a louder voice in the discussion.
And it worked; President Obama who is expected to sign the bill today.
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.
Those features may help lure buyers at a time when new homes are selling at a record slow pace and more Americans are living with extended families, said Megan McGrath, a homebuilding-industry analyst with MKM Partners LP.
According to RealtyTrac, October foreclosures in the country were down 31 percent from last year, but up seven percent from September. So you can spin the story whichever way you like: