A Love-Hate Relationship With Biggest Cities

Americans have a love-hate relationship with their largest cities, according to a survey of 2,500 employees and small business owners.

Human Capital Institute, a Washington-D.C.-based human resources think tank, asked employees and entrepreneurs to name the U.S. city where they’d be most eager to relocate.

The winner? New York City.

The loser? New York City.

Survey-takers who liked New York pointed to its entertainment options, readily available transportation and business opportunities. Survey-takers who panned it pointed out its high cost of living.

Here are the rest of the cities on the picks and pan lists. New York isn’t the only city to appear on both. Cities use the information in determining how to market themselves to attract out-of-town workers.

10 Favorite Cities to live and work:

  • New York
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Denver
  • Phoenix
  • Chicago
  • Boston

10 Cities Workers Would Like to Avoid:

  • New York
  • Detroit
  • Los Angeles
  • New Orleans
  • Chicago
  • Washington DC
  • Las Vegas
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas
  • Miami

Source: Businessweek.com, Prashant Gopal

Cities Where Most Homes Are Mortgage-Free

Amid the subprime mortgage disaster, it’s easy to forget that a lot of people own their homes outright. In fact, a full one-third of U.S. homeowners don’t have a mortgage to worry about.

According to an analysis of census information by USA Today, there are 123 areas of the country where 40 percent or more of home owners don’t have a mortgage.

Many of those areas also never had any sort of boom in prices, either because they are in declining areas that have suffered job losses and dwindling population or because they are thriving retirement communities.

Cities with the highest percentage of owner-occupied properties that are mortgage free:

  • Bluefield, W. Va.: 57 percent
  • Sebring, Fla.: 56 percent
  • Odessa, Texas: 54 percent
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas: 54 percent
  • Weirton, W.Va.-Steubenville, Ohio: 53 percent

Source: USA Today, Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg

Soon  West End Atlanta, will be added to this list 🙂 many of our homes are being purchased with Cash, or at a low enough financed price these homes will be paid for sooner than most expect!

Fannie/Freddie-Ban on Foreclosures!!

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Announce Ban on Foreclosures Until Jan. 2009

Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac revealed Thursday afternoon they will work to keep Americans in their homes, announcing a suspension on foreclosures starting Nov. 26, 2008 until Jan. 9, 2009.

The two companies said no evictions will take place during that time period.

Furthermore, they instructed loan servicers and attorneys working for them to suspend foreclosure sales of single-family homes.

The release on Fannie Mae’s website said, “The temporary suspension of foreclosures is designed to allow affected borrowers facing foreclosure to retain their homes.”

The release from Freddie Mac had a similar reasoning: “The temporary suspension is also expected to give servicers more time to help borrowers avoid foreclosure.”

By Megan Ainscow and edited by Sarah Sussman

* This seems like a very short period of time for them to actually be effective. Seems like a bit of holiday relief -I guess they do have a conscience..however those facing foreclosure- we NEED to do all we can in this time to stop it, readjust mortgage plan, or fight for a short sale approval.

Foreclosure Clean-up Business

Finally- we have a response from an Atlanta based company! If you are looking to start up a Foreclosure Cleanup business- see below for advice from one company on how to get started:

“Contact realtors that specialize in foreclosures. Often they have a cache of homes.  Pricing is a different ball of wax. It’s relative to sooooo many things… Book almost finished on this biz; I get so many questions about start-up.  You can order it at http://www.foreclosurecleaningbusiness.comsoon.  I own Foreclosure Cleanup, LLC in Atlanta area. Good biz, good money, hard work.  Email me for more info if you’d like:  info@foreclosurecleaningbusiness.com.http://www.foreclosurecleaningbusiness.com

Cassandra
Foreclosure Cleanup, LLC
Book: 

Good luck!

Safety Tips from the Westview Community

1. Get a Dog. These motion activated barking devices are probably the single biggest deterrent to burglaries in our community. Advertise the presence of your dog. Leave a dog bowl and bone on the porch.

2. Get a Burglar Alarm. Purchase a burglar alarm system with some sort of siren or noise-making device. Once a siren goes off, most criminals depart immediately. Having the alarm connected to a monitoring service is a good idea, but it is far more important to just have a system which makes noise. Also consider purchasing a battery back up so that your alarm will function in the event of a loss of power, such as your power meter being torn off of your house by a burglar. You can purchase a cellular phone back up for your alarm system so that by severing your phone wires, the alarm can still call the police. See the Additional Information Section on Burglar Alarms.

3. Use your Burglar Alarm. Always turn your alarm on when you leave your home, even if it is for one minute. When you are in your house for an extended period of time, anything over 30 minutes, turn your alarm to instant on.

4. Advertise your Burglar Alarm. Use signs and stickers to let folks know that you have a burglar alarm in operation. Put a sign in your front yard and stickers on the windows around your house.

5. Always Lock Your House. Even if you are only going to be out for a minute.

6. Keep your House Well lit.

a. Keep your porch light on. Criminals don’t like light. The brighter your home is, the less likely a criminal is to come calling.

b. Use Motion-Activated Lights. Purchase motion activated lights and place them in front of and on the sides of your home. Make it as challenging as possible to approach your house without tripping the lights.

c. Make Sure That All Required Street Lights Are Installed. The City of Atlanta installs street lights every 500′.

d. Report any non-operating Street Lights. Phone 888-891-0938 (pick option No. 3) or go to the following URL: https://customerser vice.southerncom pany.com/ residential/ outage_st. asp?mnuOpco=gpc&mnuType= res&mnuItem= ma

e. Install Additional Street Lighting. If you really want to light your place up, call Georgia Power and ask them to install a street light in front of your house. It only costs a $10 or $20 a month and can make a huge difference, particularly if you live on the end of a street. The number for this is (770) 322-5713.

7. Never leave anything in your car. Ever. Value has nothing to do with it. If it is raining outside and then your umbrella in the car has value to a criminal.

8. Park your car in your driveway near your house. Cars parked away from the street are less likely to be broken in to.

9. Don’t Advertise Your Possessions. Keep any windows which are visible from the street/sidewalk obscured to the extent that people cannot look inside and see your nice TV or stereo. Don’t throw away anything that would entice a burglar, take it to a dumpster or some other location.

10. Get to Know Your Neighbors. One of the best defense mechanisms is your community. If your neighbors know when you come and go, they can tell if something strange is happening. Ask your neighbors to call 911 if they see anything unusual at your house.

11. Don’t Hide Keys Outside. Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys. Leave your keys with your neighbors.

12. Secure Items Outside of House. Don’t leave anything lying around your yard or your porch that is easily removed. Keep your shed locked. Keep tools inside your locked shed. If you have a grill or lawn mover in an unlocked area, chain it with a lock to something immovable. Anything you secure outside your house is much safer if it is not visible from the street. Please see the additional information on Padlocks and Chains.

13. Remove Cover. Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce places where burglars can approach your house without being seen. Utilize the 3-foot/6-foot rule. Trim tree branches up to 6 feet off the ground and trim your shrubs down to 3 feet. This creates a “window effect” into your yard and minimizes hiding places for burglars.

14. Secure the windows in your house. Install some type of additional locking mechanism on all ground-floor windows. See the additional information regarding the type of window locking mechanism you should consider.

15. Secure the Doors in Your House. Get solid core or steel exterior doors with reinforced strike plates, and deadbolt locks. Make sure that they are all properly installed. See the additional information regarding the type of door and lock you should consider.

16. Don’t open your door unless you know the person on the other side. Require identification otherwise. Have a peephole in your door.

17. If you see anything suspicious, call 911. We were all raised to think of 911 as the life or death number, but here in Atlanta, it is the way the police get sent out on all calls. If the police are busy with a higher priority call, they will deal with that first. If there is nothing to worry about, then nothing is lost as the police will just move on.

18. If you have concerns which are not immediate, call Zone Four. Call Zone Four at 404- 756-1903 and ask to speak to the Unit Commander, Major Perdue or email him at mperdue@atlantaga.gov. You can meet him in person or convey your information to him another way, but let him know your concerns and they will be addressed. If you can’t reach Major Perdue ask for Lt. Cox.

19. Report All Crimes. In the City, police resources are allocated based on need and one of the best indicators of need is reported crimes. Therefore, no theft is too small to report, even if it is a rake or plant from your front yard.

20. Get to Know your Beat Officer. If you want to meet your beat officer, call Zone Four at 404- 756-1903 and ask to speak to the Unit Commander, Major Perdue or email him at mperdue@atlantaga.gov.

21. When your home is going to be vacant overnight, tell the police via a Directed Patrol Request Form. This way your beat officer will know who, if anyone, should be at your house.

22. Inventory of Possessions. Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.

According to a study by the California Crime Technological Research Foundation, the most common techniques used by burglars to enter single-family homes are (from most often used to least often used):

 

32.00% Through unlocked window or door

26.64% Forced entry by impacts

24.02% Prying or jimmying

6.79% Use of pass key or picking the lock

5.10% Entry attempted, but failed

5.45% Other or unknown

According to the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), homes without alarms are three times more likely to be burglarized.

Loan Company Tries Cutting Mortgage Principal

 At least one loan servicing company is retooling mortgages to lower the loan balance as well as the rate in order to keep borrowers in their homes. Reducing the principal on mortgages is “a last resort,” says Paul Koches, executive vice president at Ocwen Financial Corp., a West Palm Beach, Fla., loan servicer. Ocwen has reduced the amount owed on 10,884 delinquent mortgages as of Sept. 30. That’s about 25 percent of all loans modified by Ocwen this year. Dropping the principal has looked like a last resort to many lenders and servicers because they fear investor backlash. Ocwen says the writedowns are generally less than the company’s average loss of $122,000 on a foreclosure. Ocwen is the nation’s sixth-largest subprime-mortgage servicer, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, with about $45 billion of mortgages under management.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Ruth Simon

Another Short Sale WIN!!!

Great news! We have another short-sale win, this time in  Westview! While it’s been a 10mths struggle to get the bank to come around- it’s also been 10 months of preventing an owner from being foreclosed on!! I’m very excited about this win as I have seen many agents attempt to negotiate short sales in the past and fail. “Thank you”, to my wonderful Short Sale partner and attorney, Cameo Nichols.

1716 Rogers Ave will have a new owner in no time! We are due to close on the 18th *send prayers up that all goes well*  The new owner is looking forward to being apart of the community and restoring that beautiful double lot home to it’s glory.  The old owner is looking forward to this being over and restoring her life after this battle with JP Morgan Chase.

As much of an emotional battle it is, I am willing to continue to help those  facing foreclosure and under water in their mortgage, try to obtain a short sale with their bank. The process is long but worth the fight- (the relief on this Seniors face for Rogers was worth every minute).  Please feel free to refer me to anyone you know facing these difficulties, most of the time help is not requested and many are living in fear silently until they are foreclosed.

Good things are happening in Westview and West End, let’s keep up the great energy and continue to help our neighbors while building our neighborhood!

What’s a Short-Sale?

A short sale occurs when a property is sold and the lender agrees to accept a discounted payoff, meaning the lender will release the lien that is secured to the property upon receipt of less money than is actually owed.

Examples: If the unpaid balance of a loan is, say, $100,000 and a property sells for $90,000, under a short sale the lender might accept $90,000 as payment in full.

Def from About.com