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Fannie makes deal with insurers to help homeowners

By Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Government-seized housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Wednesday that they have reached deals with nine mortgage insurers that could help distressed borrowers avoid foreclosure.

Specifically, the two firms reached deals with mortgager insurers that would allow mortgage servicers, which collect payments from borrowers for Fannie and Freddie and mortgage investors, to complete so-called short-sales and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure without seeking approval from the insurer.

Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is when a borrower signs over ownership of the home in default to the lender, a process that is less costly to the bank and helps a homeowner limit damage to their credit ratings.

In a short-sale borrowers sell their home for less than what they owe on their mortgage, a situation that requires mortgage investors to sign off on the deal. Observers have said short-sales are lengthy and complicated to complete, but that they also help borrowers avoid foreclosure.

“We applaud the nation’s mortgage insurers for committing to work with us and our servicers to help more borrowers obtain short sales and other foreclosure alternatives,” said Freddie Mac vice president Tracy Mooney in a statement.

“By paving the way for more borrowers to avoid foreclosure, today’s announcement will support the housing recovery and help reduce taxpayer losses,” she said.

Borrowers with mortgage insurance and loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie could be helped by the deal.

Click here to see whether your home loan is owned by Fannie Mae

Click here to see whether your home loan is owned by Freddie Mac


The agreement was made with nine mortgage insurance companies, CMG Mortgage Insurance Co., Essent Guaranty, Inc., Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.

/quotes/zigman/7497570/quotes/nls/ppmiq PPMIQ

, Radian Guaranty Inc.

/quotes/zigman/205031/quotes/nls/rdn RDN

 , Republic Mortgage Insurance Co., Triad Guaranty Insurance Corp.

/quotes/zigman/11136439/quotes/nls/tgic TGIC

 , and United Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Co.


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57000 Completed Foreclosures in September 2012

CoreLogic®, a leading provider of information, analytics and business services, reported its National Foreclosure Report for September and according to the press release, there were approximately 57,000 completed foreclosures in September 2012 which is down from 83,000 this same time last year down from last month where we had 59,000 foreclosures in August.

Before the crisis had started in 2007, in the years between 2000 and 2006, completed foreclosures had only averaged approximately 21,000 per month. Hence, we are still at double the averages at he beginning of the decade with no end in sight. A total of about 3.9 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since September 2008.

Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 3.9 million completed foreclosures across the country.

CEO of CoreLogic, Anand Nallathambi said this about the crisis;

“The continuing downward trend in foreclosures along with a gradual clearing of the shadow inventory are signs of stabilization and improvement in the housing market,” said Nallathambi. “Increasingly improving market conditions and industry and government policy are allowing distressed homeowners to pursue refinancing, loan modifications or short sales rather than foreclosures.”

“Homes lost to foreclosure in September 2012 are down 50 percent since the peak month in September 2010 and 22 percent less than the beginning of the year,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “While there is significant progress to be made before returning to pre-crisis levels, the trend is in the right direction as short sales, up 27 percent year over year in August, continue to gain popularity.”

Highlights as of September 2012:

The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in September 2012 were: California (108,000), Florida (92,000), Texas (59,000), Georgia (55,000) and Michigan (51,000). These five states account for 47.7 percent of all completed foreclosures nationally.

The five states with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in September 2012 were: South Dakota (20), District of Columbia (58), Hawaii (436), North Dakota (583) and Maine (625).
The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Florida (11.5 percent), New Jersey (7.3 percent), New York (5.3 percent), Illinois (5.2 percent) and Nevada (4.9 percent).

The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Wyoming (0.5 percent), Alaska (0.7 percent), North Dakota (0.7 percent), Nebraska (0.9 percent) and South Dakota (1.1 percent).

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Baltimore-area foreclosure rates increased in August

Maryland as a whole had a similar jump in the foreclosure rate, from 2.83 percent in August 2011 to 4.4 percent two months ago.

The national foreclosure rate in August was 3.35 percent, down from 3.46 percent in August 2011, CoreLogic said.

The increase in Maryland’s foreclosure rate is likely driven by a the substantial “shadow inventory” that built up when banks put the brakes on their foreclosure processes in the fall of 2010. At that time, bank became wary of moving forward with foreclosures while they were being investigated for foreclosure-related misdeeds, including “robo-signing.”

A national settlement of those allegations was approved about six months ago, allowing banks to resume their foreclosure activities.

Maryland’s rate of extreme mortgage delinquency also increased slightly in August.

Eight percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent, CoreLogic’s report said. In August 2011, the 90-day delinquency rate was 7.17 percent.

In Maryland, the 90-day delinquency rate was 8.24 percent during August. Nationally, the three-month delinquency was 7.76 percent.

Among Baltimore and its six surrounding counties — Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Carroll, Harford, and Queen Anne’s — only small portions of Howard and Anne Arundel counties had foreclosure rates below 1.5 percent.

Nationally, the 90-day delinquency decreased from 7.19 percent in August 2011 to 6.76 percent this August, CoreLogic concluded. 

Have a real estate news tip or experience to share? Email me at

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Salem foreclosure activity drops in September

Foreclosure activity dropped in Salem last month, reflecting a statewide trend of year-over-year improvement during the first month that foreclosure petitions dropped below 1,000 this year, according to data released by the Warren Group.

Only one home was foreclosed on last month in Salem, compared with two in September of 2011. So far this year, there have been 36 foreclosures completed in the city, the same as the first nine months of last year.

Foreclosure petitions, which mark the start of the foreclosure process also dropped, from nine in September of last year, to five last month, but are up by nearly 45 percent for the year.

Completed foreclosures in the Bay State declined for the fourth month in a row, according to Timothy Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group. He points to the drop in foreclosure petitions as a good sign of things to come.

“The pace of homes entering the foreclosure process slowed in September, another strong indicator of a housing market recovery,” Warren said in a statement.

Foreclosure auctions in Salem have also dropped for the year, from 132 through September last year to 99 this year, and showed a decline of more than half from 17 in September of 2011 to six last month.

Similarly, there were 126 foreclosure auctions across Essex County, a more than 41 percent year-over-year drop from September of 2011, and the county has seen a year-to-date drop of more than 17 percent, from 2,022 in the first nine months of last year, to 1,674 so far this year.

For town-by-town foreclosure data, click here. County-by-county numbers can be found here.

Ryan Mooney can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.

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17 Foreclosure Strategies to Stop, Stall or Walkaway with Cash Book Give Away

John Brooks
Email | Web

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6 Options for When You Can’t Afford Your Mortgage Payments Anymore

how to avoid foreclosure
Foreclosures hit a record high in August 2011. Although they have since dropped about 13 percent from that peak, the housing saga continues to unfold as high unemployment rates and economic stagnation continues to leave homeowners broke — and sometimes unable to make their mortgage payments. According to the most recent statistics by Realty Trac, many states even saw year-over-year increases in foreclosures in August 2012.

If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments, there are several options to help keep you in your home, or at least limit the financial damage of giving it up. Here’s what to do if you can’t keep up on your home loan payments anymore.

1. Contact Your Lender

A lot of people lose their homes to foreclosure out of sheer denial. Unfortunately, ignoring a foreclosure notice will not make the problem go away. In fact, the longer you wait, the more you reduce the options available. That’s why as soon as you run into trouble with paying the mortgage, you should contact your lender to see if you can work something out.

According to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you should be prepared to discuss why you can’t pay the mortgage, whether the situation’s only temporary and details about your income. For lenders, helping a borrower keep the home can be a best-case scenario, especially at a time when the market may already be flooded with other foreclosed properties. You can also contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to talk to a housing counselor about your options.

2. Refinance

Refinancing a home can be an option, but only for buyers who aren’t already stretched to the max. For example, if you’re on track to pay off your mortgage in 10 years, you could extend the amortization of the loan, thus making the payments smaller.

Keep in mind, however, that refinancing often includes some pretty hefty fees (for breaking your existing mortgage contract), and may also cost you more in interest over time. For those who are already overextended on the loan, refinancing may not be an option at all.

3. Apply for a Loan Modification

A loan modification is when a homeowner works with a lender to change the terms of the mortgage loan. This could mean a temporary or permanent change to the mortgage rate, term and/or monthly payment. This option is similar to refinancing, but it’s only open to those who can prove they’re facing great financial hardship — and who are willing to advocate for themselves to a lender that is probably receiving many other similar requests.

This option is part of the Making Home Affordable Plan, which was designed to help offset some of the dishonest lending practices that left many homeowners in the lurch. However, it may take many months for borrowers to be approved for this program, so it’s hardly a quick fix. Plus, it’s only open to homeowners whose first mortgage originated before January 1, 2009, and whose unpaid balance on the mortgage is not more than $729,750. You can look into whether you qualify here.

4. Get Rid of Your House

Sometimes the best way to avoid foreclosure is to sell your home. The best way to do this is to list it the traditional way. Unfortunately, falling real estate values have taken that option away from many people whose mortgages are bigger than the market value of the property. If that’s the case for you, there are two key options:

  • Short Sale: This is when the bank agrees to let a homeowner sell the home for less than they owe on the mortgage. The catch is that, as you can imagine, lenders aren’t thrilled about the idea of taking less than what’s owed to them, and it’s up to the lender to decide whether allowing a short sale is in their best interest. This option may not be as damaging to the borrower’s credit as a foreclosure, but that’s only true if the creditor doesn’t report the debt reduction to credit reporting agencies.
  • Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure: In some cases, a lender will allow a struggling homeowner to sign their deed over to the bank instead of suffering a foreclosure. In this case, the borrower essentially turns the home over to the lender, who can then sell the home to recoup what they’re owed.

Not that both deed in lieu of foreclosure and short sale can have tax implications. Therefore, homeowners should consult with an HUD-certified housing counselor as well as a tax professional to determine the full implications of this move.

5. Declare Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is no picnic. It’ll destroy your credit and make it hard for you to borrow any money from anyone for many years. Plus, depending on what type of job you hold, a personal bankruptcy can even be a bad career move. That said, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy it is possible for owners to keep their homes, but only if they have a solid plan to repay at least some of their debts. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 requires that borrowers make an attempt to repay some of what they owe before the slate is wiped clean.

6. Walk Away

During the height of the foreclosure crisis, lenders faced a phenomenon they came to refer to as “jingle mail.” Owners who could no longer make their mortgage payments and had little or no equity in the property would send their keys to the lender and walk away from their homes. For those who are upside down in their mortgage and who’ve been unable to work something out with the lender, allowing a foreclosure to happen may be the only choice.

In recent years, many borrowers in default have managed to stay in their homes for months or even years without making payments. That’s because completing a foreclosure takes more than a year, on average, in the U.S. Plus, if borrowers choose to fight their eviction in court, they may be able to stay even longer while the case works its way through the system. Some people will argue that this just isn’t fair, while others feel it’s the only choice they have.

Staying Off the Street

If you find yourself with no place to live, there are still options. The National Coalition for the Homeless has programs to help prevent people from landing on the streets, so contact them directly to learn about emergency assistance programs available in your area. You can also try to sniff out a state homeless advocacy coalition. This a great option for tracking down housing partnership programs or other types of aid you may be eligible for from various nonprofit organizations. If you can’t get hep or find the resources you need in your community, consider moving to one where you can.

There are several options available to borrowers who are facing foreclosure, but in order to avoid being kicked to the curb, homeowners need to be informed, move quickly and be proactive. Borrowers should also be on the lookout for anyone who tries to charge a fee, pressures them to sign over their deed or tries to collect mortgage payments. When it comes to foreclosure, there are many scammers out there looking to take advantage of struggling homeowners’ desperation. Just know that if you can’t pay your mortgage, there are some things you can do to make the best of a bad situation.

Photo: TruliaVisuals

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Zillow reduces number ‘premarket’ foreclosures on site

The site will not list homes that have been stuck in foreclosure, somewhere between the default notice and the auction date, for more than a year with no activity. It also will not include any property for which an auction notice was filed, but there has since been two years with no activity.

While Zillow has data on those homes, it decided to err on the side of caution by not counting the properties, in case there had been a resolution and it had not been recorded, spokeswoman Alison Paoli said. When there is some publicly filed activity on those foreclosures, the properties will be added to Zillow’s site.

The site also includes 260,000 foreclosed properties that have been repossessed by lenders but have not yet been listed for sale. | Twitter @mepodmolik

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Foreclosures closing in on McHenry County baby boomers

Dolan sees many of the same things, adding that a bothersome trend is older parents who refinanced to help a grown child and now can’t afford the payments.

But despite 70 percent of Tony Bellino’s business coming from short sales, the ReMax real estate agent said he is not seeing seniors. He covers much of southern McHenry County and at the height of the housing crash, about 95 percent of his business came from short sales.

Bellino said he’s had only one short-sale client over the age of 60 and doesn’t know why.

Beckstrom has a guess.

“Short sales are such a cumbersome process,” he said. “It might take quite a while for the whole thing to work, and seniors tend to not really want to go through that. They don’t have the time and patience to go through the stress and emotional commitment.”

Plus, their credit score isn’t as important to them as it would be to a younger person, Beckstrom said.

The hit a credit score takes from a short sale is easier to recover from than one from a foreclosure.

Whatever the reason, Dolan doesn’t recommend sitting back and letting a foreclosure just happen.

This month Prairie State Legal Services started up a phone line dedicated solely to handle incoming foreclosure calls, a program paid for through a settlement between the federal government and some of the banks, said Sam Degrino, another lawyer with the nonprofit.

“I have a feeling that a significant portion [of the calls] that we take will be seniors,” Degrino said. “When it comes to foreclosure, seniors have many of the same problems that other homeowners have.”


Prairie State Legal Services provides free legal advice to seniors as well as a few other qualifying groups. The new intake number, specific to those with foreclosure issues, is 888-966-7757. For more information, go to

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of McHenry County provides financial advice. For more information, go to or call 815-338-5757.

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Massachusetts foreclosure activity slows in September

Massachusetts foreclosure activity dropped in September, another sign that the housing market may be recovering, the Warren Group said Tuesday.

In September, 973 petitions were initiated, a 16.4 percent decline from September 2011, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks local real estate activity. September is the first month in 2012 in which petitions fell below 1,000. Petitions are the first step of the foreclosure process.

All told, 510 foreclosure deeds were recorded in September, a 32 percent decline from the same month a year ago.

In a statement, Timothy Warren Jr., chief executive of the Warren Group, said: “The pace of homes entering the foreclosure process slowed in September, another strong indicator of a housing market recovery. Foreclosure deeds declined for the fourth month in a row. That’s another good sign.�

Chris Reidy can be reached at

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Pre-existing Evictions – Community Activists Try to Stop Banks From …

Wells Fargo Bank and US Bank have chosen to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by trying to evict breast cancer survivors from their homes.

Last week, Ana Casas Wilson — a wheelchair-bound woman with celebral palsy and terminal stage-four breast cancer, and who has struggled for months to get Wells Fargo and US Bank to accept her money and stop foreclosing on her home of forty years — received a final 5-day notice to vacate from LA County Sheriff Lee Baca’s office. Wilson and her family briefly fell behind on her payments after she had to go into the hospital for a double mastectomy, as I described in an earlier post. She and her friends and supporters have launched a round-the-clock vigil at her home in a blue-collar suburb outside Los Angeles (8968 San Juan Ave., South Gate, CA 90280) to resist eviction, as the Los Angeles Times reported last week.

It turns out that Wilson isn’t the only cancer victim that Wells Fargo and US Bank are trying to evict. Community groups around the country have met with others in a similar situation. One of them is retired police detective Jacqueline Barber. She spent 20 years on the Atlanta police force, only retiring after she was injured by a car in the line of duty. In 2009, the predatory loan on her house caused her monthly payment to go up by $1500, and she fought to stay current, according to a local Atlanta news outlet. Then she was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and had to undergo aggressive treatment to save her life. She fought back against the disease, and spent months filling out forms and asking Wells Fargo for modifications to her mortgage.

A Wells Fargo Executive Vice President assured he they were working on her case. Instead, they sold her loan to US Bank at foreclosure auction, and now she’s fighting imminent eviction. The banks are refusing even to sell the home to friends and family who have banded together to help Jacqueline.

We all know that increased stress makes it harder for the body to fight back against serious illness. There is little in life that is more stressful than being evicted. By pursuing these foreclosure evictions US Bank and Wells Fargo are hurting the lives of Ana and Jacqueline.

You can help by:

  • Signing this petition to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf and US Bank CEO Richard Davis to stop sickness evictions and commit to no more illness foreclosures.
  • Adding your name to the more than 13,000 people who have already signed this other petition on behalf of Ana Casas Wilson.
  • Emailing your friends and posting this on your Facebook page to encourage others to join the campaign to help Ana and others like her save their homes from unfair evictions.
  • Showing up at Ana’s press conference this Tuesday (October 30) at 10:30 am, at the Flower Street entrance of the Los Angeles Central Library to lend your support to the national campaign to end evictions of cancer patients. Wilson will join with groups around the country to push for a national bank moratorium on foreclosure evictions for homeowners with cancer.
  • Joining Ana and her friends and supporters at the round-the-clock vigil at her home at (8968 San Juan Ave., South Gate, CA 90280) to resist eviction.
  • Contacting Peter Kuhns, an organizer for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) at (213) 272-1141 to offer your help.

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