Americans Want to Be Obama’s Neighbor

The neighbor most Americans would choose is the Obama family, according to the annual Zillow Celebrity Neighbor Survey, which asked more than 2,000 U.S. adults to choose who they’d most like to see across the fence.

The most desirable neighbors for 2010 are:

  • The Obamas
  • Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi
  • Sarah Palin
  • Taylor Swift
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen
  • Tiger Woods
  • Robert Pattinson

The least desirable neighbors are:

  • Nayda Suleman (also known as “Octomom”)
  • Jon and Kate Gosselin
  • Sara Palin
  • Richard and Mayumi Heene (parents of balloon boy)
  • Kanye West
  • Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt
  • Britney Spears
  • Tiger Woods

Source: Zillow.com (12/29/2009)

Hilarious!! ….how did Tiger Woods and Sara Palin get on the top and bottom list?

U.S. to Offer Incentives to Modify Seconds

The Obama administration is announcing incentives today for mortgages servicers to modify home equity loans and other second mortgages.

Servicers must agree to modify second mortgages when the first mortgage has been modified. They must extend the term of the second mortgage and match the rate of the first mortgage. Then the government will share the cost with the servicer of cutting the rate to 1 percent for amortizing loans and 2 percent for interest-only loans.

Under the program, the government will pay mortgage servicers $500 upfront and $250 a year for three years for the modifications. Borrowers will receive payments of up to $250 a year for five years if they stay current on the modified loan.

There will also be a schedule of incentives for holders of second liens to drop their claims altogether.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and Treasury will make the announcement jointly.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase have already agreed to participate in the program.

A separate announcement will include changes to the Hope for Homeowners program, which helps homeowners refinance into more affordable government-backed loans. To get this program moving, the administration is announcing a $2,500 upfront payment to servicers. Lenders will receive $1,000 a year for three years if the loan stays current.


Source: The Wall Street Journal, Jessica Holzer (04/28/2009)

Federal Housing Rescue Plan Launches

The Obama Administration’s program to rescue distressed home owners got off the ground this week. The program was announced on Feb. 18, but it took several weeks to put the bureaucracy in place.

Six of the nation’s largest banks signed up to participate, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday. They are JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, GMAC Mortgage, Saxon Mortgage Services, and Select Portfolio Servicing.

Treasury says it is allocating $50 billion to the program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide the rest.

The plan calls for loan servicers to reduce interest rates so a family’s monthly mortgage obligation is no more than 38 percent of its pre-tax income. Loan servicers also can reduce loan balances. After the loans are modified, the government then provides enough money to reduce payments to 31 percent of income.
Participating servicers get $1,000 a year for each modification and another $1,000 a year for three years if the borrower remains current. Servicers get an extra $500 if they do the modifications before the borrower falls behind in his payments—and the borrower gets $1,500. Also, homeowners get $1,000 a year for five years if they remain current on their payments. The money must be used to reduce their principal balances.

Source: CNN, Tami Luhby (04/16/2009)

Barack Obama Takes Oath of Office

Barack Obama on Tuesday became the 44th president of the United States.

Following a swearing-in ceremony witnessed by hundreds of thousands of onlookers in Washington, D.C., and millions more who watched on television, the new president acknowledged there there will be challenges ahead, but that he will seek to confront those issues without partisanship or divisiveness that has recently pervaded national politics.

“Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered,” Obama said.

The full text of Obama’s speech is available here.

Simultaneous with Obama’s swearing in ceremony, the White House rolled out a new Web site at the previous address, www.whitehouse.gov, which includes details on all aspects of the president’s agenda, including his plans for the economy. The site also has a blog and a section devoted to the White House itself.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® plans to work with Congress and the Obama administration to pass an economic stimulus plan that is expected to include many components championed by NAR to improve housing.

NAR’s Housing Stimulus Plan includes both legislative and regulatory fixes. Its focus includes keeping mortgage interest rates low, boosting home buyer confidence, and reducing the current foreclosure rate. It also asks that regulators be encouraged to help financial institutions resolve problems in the short-sale process, make it easier for servicers to modify existing loans, remove unreasonable underwriting guidelines and insist that credit reporting agencies correct errors promptly.

Source: NAR, CNN.com

What a special day… we also heard a special prayer from Dr. Joseph Lowery– I couldn’t help but smile while driving on Joseph Lowery Blvd in West End today .. The West End has so much history!

McCain, Obama Solidify Stands on Housing

Both presidential candidates have announced plans to help voters deal with the challenging housing economy.

Here are their ideas as posted on their election websites:

Sen. John McCain:

Direct assistance to homeowners. No taxpayer money should go to real estate speculators who made bad decisions about investments.

Reform financial and lending systems to prevent a repeat.

Require participating lenders to forgive part of subprime borrowers’ loan principals and place them into new 30-year Federal Housing Administration loans.

Give financing to municipal and civic groups trying to solve problems within their own communities.

Sen. Barack Obama

Create a standardized disclosure plan that allows for full-disclosure of loan costs and provisions.

Crack down on mortgage fraud.

Give a mortgage credit to those who don’t itemize deductions.

Create a fund to help homeowners who face foreclosure refinance.

Allow bankruptcy courts to modify a homeowner’s mortgage payments.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, Lori Weisberg

Candidates Disagree on Foreclosure Fix

Daily Real Estate News  |   February 20, 2008

As the presidential primary in Ohio approaches, Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are highlighting their different housing proposals. Voters in Ohio especially are concerned about the housing proposals because the state has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.

Clinton insists that government intervention is necessary. She proposes ceasing foreclosure proceedings for 90 days to allow borrowers and lenders to work on modifications, instituting a five-year interest-rate freeze on adjustable-rate subprime mortgages for primary residences only, and the use of government-backed mortgages to refinance borrowers who can no longer manage their monthly payments.

Meanwhile, Obama says that government involvement will force lenders to put the brakes on making new loans and modifications. Instead, he is focusing on stricter penalties for predatory lenders, tax credits for mortgage interest, and a $10 billion fund dedicated to preventing foreclosure and assisting first-time buyers.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos (02/20/08)