Owners Get Chance To Rent Foreclosed Home

March 23, 2009
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Foreclosures

Qualified tenants and homeowners now have the option to rent out properties which they formerly owned but which were recently foreclosed under the REO Rental Initiative of the Freddie Mac. Under the Initiative which will be managed by HomeSteps, the lease will be made on a month-to-month basis. Aside from this, homeowners have one more consolation these days since Freddie Mac said it will continue to suspend all evictions actions until April 1, 2009. This will give the homeowners enough time to look for alternatives including the option to avail of the Initiative.

The new REO Rental Initiative is expected to help ease the impact of foreclosure by providing more time for renters and owners to determine which option they should take. It is also expected to stabilize the values of the properties as well as the well being of the local communities by keeping homes occupied thereby reducing the risk of vandalism and squatting.

The tenant of former owner should however qualify under the Initiative by showing that they have adequate income to pay the monthly rental. On the other hand, they should also agree to open up the house for potential buyers.

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Bethany Holdings Abandon Complex After Default

March 22, 2009
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Foreclosures

The once alluring Alante at the Islands is now a picture of neglect after property owner Bethany Holdings Group abandoned the property after it defaulted on its loans. This is not the only property abandoned by the Irvine, California based company because a dozen other properties in the greater Phoenix area are in the same sad state of neglect. However, residents of Alante found this out only in the early weeks of March when they noticed the lack of maintenance over the property.

The abandonment of Bethany Group has given rise to the lack of protection for renters who are caught in the foreclosure crisis. Alante renters are now at a quandary as to how they can recoup their security deposits or if they could just walk away from the leases. And this is not an isolated case because several other properties are also in the very of bankruptcy and it is feared that the property owners might resort to abandonment.

Another property abandoned by Bethany, the Granite Bay in Phoenix which has 500 plus units, tenants are about to lose their utilities. This after the water company gave notice that their water would be shut off due to an outstanding bill worth $64,000. Luckily the 707 Management Services, Inc, which has been appointed as a receiver, said it would make sure that the water remained on.

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West Palm Beach Offers Foreclosure Assistance

March 22, 2009
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Foreclosures

One thing that’s great about the recession is the concerted efforts from almost everyone to cushion its impact. Take the case of banks that have agreed to temporarily halt foreclosures. There’s also the establishment of a foreclosure assistance center for residents of West Palm Beach. Homeowners in Palm Beach County can avail of the foreclosure assistance center, which has recently been expanded, for free. The center aims to curb the increasing rates of foreclosures in Florida.

The Foreclosure Assistance Center do not only provide credit assistance to homeowners but it also offers mortgage refinancing and even handing out of up to $10,000 worth of checks to help homeowners catch up with their loan payments. It also provides assistance to homeowners who wan to sell their homes prior to foreclosure to avoid having a red mark on their credit rating.

The center is partially sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development considering that Florida is third in the list of states with high foreclosure rate. Florida’s foreclosure rate has increased by 70% in one year’s time and this is blamed on the proliferation of sub-prime mortgages as well as overdevelopment.

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Lack Of Jail Time Encourages Foreclosure Scams

March 17, 2009
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Foreclosure Scams

Along with the rise in foreclosures came the rise in foreclosure scams no thanks to unscrupulous individuals and group who want to make money out of the misery of other people. These scammers usually call themselves modification consultants or specialists to the detriment of the legitimate consultants who really does provide modification negotiation services to troubled homeowners. Watch out for these con artists especially now that Obama’s administration has commenced the home saving plan schemes.

Scammers thrive because there is very little chance of ending up in jail. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said it is very difficult to get prosecutors to investigate misdemeanor cases. The worse that these con artists face is a civil case meant to recover their money and not to put the perpetrators in jail. While some states have toughened up the penalties for foreclosure scams, there are a few attorney general offices willing to seek criminal charges to put these scammers behind bars.

North Carolina Better Business Bureau president Tom Bartholemy said the civil actions are not getting the attention of these people. And as more homeowners face foreclosure proceedings this year, expect the number of fake foreclosure fixers to also thrive given a target-rich environment.

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5.4M Americans Face Mortgage Default, Foreclosure

March 11, 2009
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Mortgages & Foreclosures

Last year’s figures are out and they are not encouraging. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that by end of last year, nearly 12% or a record 5.4 million American homeowners with mortgages were either in default or foreclosure. While the reckless lending practices in California, Florida and Nevada were previously identified as the culprits for the foreclosure crisis, there has been a shift and it is now being blamed on the rising default payments in New York, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia where there is massive unemployment and deteriorating economy.

Chief economist Jay Brinkmann said today’s foreclosures are clearly driven by the jobs market as evident with the increase in the fixed-rate categories. The sharp increase in prime and sub-prime loan rates in the fourth quarter is also a sign that it is already brought about by a problem in the economy.  While the Obama administration’s $75 billion stimulus fund could help up to 9 million homeowners refinance their loans it will not be able to help the unemployed homeowners who would not qualify.

Last week’s unemployment claim reached 630,000 which is still high although lower than expected. And with the continuing slip in factory orders employers will be forced to continue shedding labor at a frightening pace.

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Mortgage Rewriting Bill Approved By House

March 11, 2009
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Mortgage Homes

Debt-deep homeowners now have a chance to get lower mortgage payment with the recent approval by the House of Congress of a bill that gives bankruptcy judges the legal power to lessen not just the interest rates but the principal of a home mortgage. The legislation, which has been approved 234-191 in the House, is however facing a tough road in the Senate even if it is part of the housing rescue plan of President Barack Obama. Obama’s $75 billion stimulus bill includes cash incentives for loan servicers that can provide more affordable loan terms for homeowners.

While some people see the legislation as a powerful negotiation tool that will provide more affordable terms to homeowners there are however people who see it as a factor that will increase bankruptcy filings. This in turn could lead to higher mortgage rates which could further destabilize the housing market. The financial industry has been lobbying against the bill and has in fact been successful in seeking concessions from Democrats in the House who agreed to limit the bill to homeowners who have sought modification first from their lenders before they filed for bankruptcy and also to people who are no longer capable to pay their mortgages.

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Aid To Minnesota’s Distressed Homeowners Eyed

March 10, 2009
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Minnesota Foreclosures

Minnesota officials are eyeing the possibility of providing assistance to distress homeowners facing home foreclosures. Three bills, which are eyed to provide relief to homeowners, are already being reviewed. One bill would require Minnesota lenders to contact a foreclosure counselor approved by the state so that the latter can provide assistance to the concerned homeowner.

Another bill seeks to strike out evictions related to foreclosure from their record to avoid bad history which would make it difficult for them to rent another abode. The third bill would legally shorten foreclosure sale transactions from six to five weeks to avoid the piling up of abandoned properties.

The three bills are deemed practical and effective in helping distressed homeowners and in reducing high foreclosure inventory. Of the three bills it is the one requiring counseling for homeowners which is seen to have the biggest direct effect on homeowners considering that most of them do not even contact their lenders or do something about the notice of default to avoid foreclosure. It is hoped that this would increase the number of homeowners who would be able to settle their debts and avoid foreclosures.

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Foreclosure Disobedience On

March 5, 2009
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Foreclosures

American citizens are saying no to foreclosures by launching a civil disobedience program to support homeowners to refuse to leave their homes after it has been foreclosed. This strategy may catch media attention but it has also proved detrimental to the participants considering that they also face arrest for defying the courts. This was the sad fate of Louis Beverly, a member of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or ACORN after he broke into a southeast Baltimore home last Thursday to protest the rising number of foreclosures.

Baltimore Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Beverly will be charged with fourth-degree burglary. Donna Hanks, owner of the said home since 2001, lost the home in September after she defaulted in the payment of $1,995 mortgage payments. There are no reports however about Hank’s involvement in the incident so she was not arrested. Various police departments said they will arrest individuals who are found illegally residing in foreclosed homes as this would constitute trespassing. The case would be filed against anyone found living in foreclosed homes whether or not they previously lived in the home.

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Inland Empire Torn By Foreclosure

March 4, 2009
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Foreclosure

There was a time when Inland Empire in Riverside County was a picture of economic growth and a major housing boom. But that was before the United States’ housing industry skidded and ultimately went down on its knees. Today, the county can very well act as a poster child for the severity of the country’s foreclosure crisis. While the past years saw a bustling activity in the new housing developments they are now vying for which site has the most number of vacant homes.

A lot of the houses here are either undergoing a short sale or undergoing auction proceedings. Trash-out companies, or those that take charge of removing whatever is left by the owners, are budding business ventures here. Others have gone into dead lawns spray painting where the lawns are painted a blooming green to cover up the dead browns. The crisis in Inland Empire is summarized by two things—green pools and brown lawns.

Western Riverside Council of Governments executive director Rick Bishop said there were more or less 360,000 homes traded from 2004 to 2007. However, he said, virtually all of these homes are worthless with 126,000 served with notice of default and the rest queuing along that line depending on how their mortgages are settled.

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