A second major mortgage lender, JPMorgan Chase, has stopped foreclosures so it can review loan documents for errors.
“It will probably slow things down for a couple of months while these documents are reviewed,” said Rick Sharga, senior vice president at foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. “It won’t stop things.”
But if Sharga is wrong and more problems surface, they are likely to slow the foreclosure crisis still more, making it drag on for several more years, other analysts say.
In any case, an increased number of lawsuits are likely. Christopher Immel, a Florida lawyer who represents foreclosed home owners, says many former home owners could sue their lenders, alleging errors in documents.
GMAC Mortgage was the first big lender to pause foreclosures while it reviews past files.
Source: The Associated Press, Janna Herron and Alan Zibel (09/29/2010)
Housing tax incentives mostly benefit younger households, according to research from the National Association of Home Builders.
The average mortgage interest deduction peaks for taxpayers in the 35 to under-45 age group, followed by the 18 to 34 aged taxpayers, and declines as the taxpayer gets older, according to the research.
“Any tampering with this deduction would have a disproportionate impact, as a share of household income, on younger home owners who have relatively higher mortgage interest payments,” said Robert Dietz, assistant vice president for Tax and Policy Issues for NAHB.
Source: The National Association of Home Builders (09/28/2010)
The best way to update a property is to paint it. It’s a job that many sellers can do themselves.
Here are six suggestions for making the work go quickly.
1. Move the furniture. Get as much furniture as possible out of the way, and then cover what’s left with plastic drop cloths held in place with masking tape.
2. Buy good paint. Top-quality latex interior paint will hide what’s underneath and make the job go faster.
3. Tape the edges. Taping the edges with painters tape will speed up the job and make the results more professional.
4. Work top down. Paint the ceiling first, then the walls, then the windows and trim and finally the baseboards. This will cut down on time spent repairing drips and splatter marks.
5. Cut in the corners. Applying a three-inch band of paint around the edges will allow you to fill in the middle with a paint roller.
6. Apply paint generously. Trying to stretch the paint won’t save sellers any money if they have to repaint.
Source: Paint Quality Institute (09/21/2010)
Fraudulent short sales are threatening the viability of this refuge for struggling home owners.
A recent study by financial consulting firm CoreLogic says one common practice is for a real estate salesperson representing the seller to negotiate with the lender to obtain approval for a low selling price. Then the property is sold to a straw buyer affiliated with the practitioner. After the deal closes, the property is immediately resold for a much higher price. Sometimes the new buyers are victims of identity fraud who don’t even know that their financial information is being used to buy a property.
Another fraudulent transaction involves the borrower deliberately defaulting. A friend or relative of the original borrower purchases the property through a short sale. When the short sale closes, the new owner transfers the property back to the original owner.
Frank McKenna, the vice president for fraud strategy at CoreLogic, say these deals represent only about 2 percent of short sales, but are becoming more frequent. CoreLogic estimates them by counting the number of quick turnaround resales, especially at significantly higher prices.
Source: The New York Times, Bob Tedeschi (09/10/2010)
Seventy-six percent of workers drive alone to work. Another 11% carpool, and 5% take public transportation. Average time it takes for people in the nation to commute to work: 25.5 minutes.
More women (26.4 million) work in managerial and professional-related occupations than men (24.7 million).
Of the total American workforce, 10.1 million workers are self-employed and 5.9 million work from home.
There are 16.1 million labor union members nationwide. About 12% of wage and salary workers belong to unions, with Alaska, Hawaii and New York having among the highest rates of any state. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates at 3%.
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