None, so far. Readers will recall I have clients who may require government intervention on their behalf to prevent a Freddie Mac foreclosed home they have offered to purchase from being sold to a private investor group. We went to our representative’s website, and sent him an email message, asking for help. So far we’ve been waiting for any kind of confirmation of receipt. Waiting this long:
7 months,24 days,0 hours,13 minutes ago
We weren’t sure what to expect, of course. So we’ll keep an open mind. Also, we saw in the news that Congressman Herger was busy at a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday for a giant corporation. So he’s busy. And my clients aren’t giant corporations. They are just working people who want to buy a home in their community. Our community. A home foreclosed on by the government. And then offered for sale locally, only to be “pulled” for a bulk sale. Or so it is threatened. Let’s hope we get intervention soon.
Meanwhile, here’s a video from Freddie Mac, explaining the reason they exist. No mention is made of their seizure by the US Treasury in September 2008.
If you have a mortgage with Bank of America, Countrywide, Chase, Ally, GMAC, Citi, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, or Wells Fargo, here’s a webpage set up by the Office of Attorney General that can direct you to real help in obtaining a mortgage modification if you need it. All these lenders were forced into a restitution program in return for not having to undergo prosecution for robosigning and other frauds. Click on the image below, or go to http://www.oag.ca.gov/nationalmortgagesettlement
Here’s a 2 minute tech tip we recently created for the education committee of Shasta Association of Realtors in Redding. You may want to know this too. Just one of many 2 minute tech tips from our brokerage, The Address Realty.
The California Association of Realtors has produced this brief message on the topic of mortgage fraud and foreclosure scams to inform our membership.
We haven’t heard much about these scammers in the Redding area. But it pays to be informed. Foreclosure is a tough enough life event without the added damage inflicted by fraudsters preying on the vulnerable. Be cautious, and never pay an up-front fee for “services.”
This comes from the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) via the Shasta Association of Realtors:
Consumer and Industry Warning, False and Misleading Designations and Claims of Special Expertise, Certificaton and/or Credentials, Wayne Ball, Chief Counsel, DRE.
“The DRE is issuing Cease and Desist on questionable and possibly misleading terms such as “expert” “Certified” and “Speciality” in marketing and advertising of assistance to anxious homeowners. A growing number of individuals and companies in the area of short sales, are advertising as “experts” and the like. Moreover, there are an increasing number of companies offering expensive course materials and leads that have no meaningful or substantive content, which are designed to allow those who pay for the same to claim they have “certifications” which are, in effect, worthless. DRE does not issue any special designations. Some questions asked What qualified you as an “expert” how did you get that “expertise” When you state that you are a “specialist”, what special qualification do you have and what does that mean?”
Just last weekend I saw an advertisement in our local newspaper from an agent claiming to be an “advocate” for homeowners in a distress sale. The newspaper wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true, right?
Here are my thoughts:
1. There is a large conflict of interest possible for any agent helping a homeowner conduct a short sale. No short sale = No commission. Whose interests are foremost? 2. Sometimes a short sale makes sense, but not always. What’s really the advantage for the homeowner? 3. There are a (very) few agents in our market who are demonstrably able to get short sales done regularly and cleanly. Typically, the most successful don’t run ads claiming to be experts or having certification.
I’ve been told that every homeowner around here that gets late on house payments, and then has a Notice of Default recorded, will immediately be contacted by about 5 agents claiming that they can help them do a short sale, and promising many benefits. These are the agents you should investigate most thoroughly.
I do believe that short sales are better for our community than foreclosures. And certainly better for the short sale agents. But I still haven’t heard a compelling argument that they are always better for the homeowner. Informed consumers need to be aware of the facts, and greet claims of short sale benefits from agents with full awareness of the inherent conflict of interest. Contact the Shasta Association of Realtors if you have any questions.
Exposure to lead based paint is considered the “number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.” Recent changes in the law make it much more problematic to repair or renovate pre-1978 built homes. Any contractor doing more than a very minor repair can be fined $37,000, or even jailed for not testing for and/or mitigating lead paint exposure. Not only that, but your neighbors can sue as well, for your exposing them to lead paint particles in the air. It’s a serious matter only now starting to really sink in.
We’ve been wondering how radically this will affect the resale value of older homes. Anyone considering purchasing a pre-1978 built home with the idea of repairs or renovation will need to factor in the added cost of Lead Based Paint safety compliance and testing.
Source: US EPA
Lead is a bigger problem in older cities in the East. Much of our local Shasta County home construction took place later. Still, the rules apply here. Chances are, your contractor is now well aware of the rules, and the steep fines. You can learn more at the EPA informational website.
I would certainly be considering this factor in the purchase of an older home, or the impact on value if you are a seller. If the rules seem overly broad or harsh, you need to consider the victims of lead pollution inside the home are children, unable to manage their own risk of exposure. Failure to address the threat would be irresponsible by any measure.
We suspect this blog gets read by other Realtors too, so this may be of interest to you guys. This week is Inman Connect. Here’s Erin with Chris Smith, Chief Evangelist for Agent Reboot and Inman News. Chris is a much admired figure in our business. Really dynamic to listen to and watch.
Inman Connect is one of the most important real estate conferences for Realtors who keep up on the latest. You can follow along with attendees commentary on Twitter, using hashtags #agentrb and #icny. It’s incredible really, that you can follow progress of a conference on the other side of the continent in real time. There is an abundance of ideas here for RE professionals. Follow along.
Here I am with Brad Inman. Brad is the founder of Inman News which serves as a clearinghouse for the very latest real estate news that help us do better work for our clients. Despite being so influential in real estate, Brad is super nice. Networking like this allows us to bring you the latest and best ideas to the Northstate.
Ran into this interesting interactive map of population migration using IRS data via Forbes and IBM. Click on the link to open the map. Then click on the county you wish to see, and a graphic representation of the migration appears. The web is a wonderful storehouse of graphical info.
Using IRS data. It’s a brave new world of privacy, folks.