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Treasury, HUD and FHFA Release White Paper on the Future of Foreclosure Prevention



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State program offers up to $35000 in assistance for struggling homeowners





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Need to sell a house? Too many repairs?

Even in today’s market, some homes won’t sell for a variety of reasons. Or the owners may need a guaranteed sale in a short amount of time.

Those reasons can include being behind on taxes, divorce, death of a loved one, inheritance, a home that needs extensive repairs, job loss, facing a short sale or a looming foreclosure.

When these circumstances arise, a local company can help you. KC Property Pros, owned by Brandon Logan and Brett Shelton, offers a variety of solutions for homeowners needing immediate relief from the economic burden of ownership.

Logan started the business in 2005 and was joined in 2009 by Shelton, his college roommate. Logan has an extensive real estate background as a member of one of the top-producing sales teams in the Kansas City area. Shelton’s expertise is a background in accounting and remodeling.

Logan knows the Kansas City area real estate market, so he is able to realistically value the homes KC Property Pros purchases. And because of this expertise, he is able to offer homeowners the best advice on how to sell their house even if KC Property Pros isn’t their best option for selling.

“Homeowners need a homebuyer they can trust – that’s us,” Logan said. “They don’t need a national company that just puts their house into a formula to make a low-ball offer. They need to sell but want someone to help them make the best decision. We offer honest solutions for local sellers.”

The amount KC Property Pros pays for a house depends on the comparable value of other homes in the neighborhood as well as the amount of work needed to renovate it. Logan said after touring a house, he can usually make an offer within 24 hours, and since the company pays cash, closing can be within as little as a week.

“Many houses are unsellable because they won’t pass inspections,” Logan said. “The owner may have lived there for several years and repairs have not been done. The house may have asbestos tile and lead paint that need to be removed or wiring and plumbing that need to be brought up to code.

“Most buyers don’t want to buy a house and then work on it. Today’s buyers want a move-in-ready house. These repairs can be very expensive, especially if the seller does not have a background in construction or design. It’s very important to make the right repairs even if the repairs are only cosmetic. I’ve seen good people make expensive mistakes rehabbing their home, either from hiring bad contractors to something as simple as picking out the wrong colors. It’s not an easy process and mistakes can be very costly.

“We do all of that,” Logan continued. “The seller, who might not have the money or the knowledge to make the repairs, is relieved of that burden.

“We buy all over the Kansas City metro.”

Logan’s background as a real estate agent for banks is especially helpful to homeowners facing foreclosure or a short sale.

“I have experience working with banks in those situations,” he said. “If you know someone going through hard times and about to lose their home, have them call me as soon as possible. We can help them avoid foreclosure and get them a fresh start in life.”

“KC Property Pros offers advantages that national companies cannot,” Shelton said, “because we know the Kansas City area real estate market and local home values. We use our own local construction company to do the renovation, and all of the money generated by buying, renovating and reselling the homes stays in Kansas City. These advantages allow us to pay more than our competitors.”

Those who want to sell their home can visit the website and fill out the form or they can call Brandon Logan at 816-582-8100.

KC Property Pros

Contact: Brandon Logan, 816-582-8100.


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Foreclosures in Winston-Salem area remain on downward trend – Winston

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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2016 12:15 am

Foreclosures in Winston-Salem area remain on downward trend

By Richard Craver Winston-Salem Journal

Winston-Salem Journal

The Winston-Salem metropolitan statistical area reached another three-year low, though a incremental drop, in two key foreclosure categories during May, a national real-estate research group said Friday.

The CoreLogic report focuses on residences in some stage of foreclosure. The Winston-Salem MSA comprises Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin counties.

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Report: Foreclosure rates decease in Dearborn, Livonia, Detroit areas


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GOOD DEEDS: Foreclosures spike in Norfolk County

Statistics are more than numbers; they tell a story. And sometimes those stories can be sad ones, especially when it comes to real estate foreclosures.

For many, home ownership is akin to living the American dream. It is a place to establish your roots and raise a family, as well as a foundation to build a better life. Like Judy Garland said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

A home, however, also comes with a steep price. For some of our neighbors, paying their mortgage has become a challenge. In many instances, a job loss, a catastrophic medical issue or a tragedy can result in an inability to pay a mortgage in a timely manner, and therefore result in foreclosure proceedings.

Just last quarter — April-June — there were 60 foreclosures in Norfolk County and 216 Notices to Foreclose. These sobering numbers are on the heels of 2015 Norfolk County statistics which saw a 22 percent increase in foreclosures and a 36 percent increase in Notices to Foreclose compared to 2014 data.

And Norfolk County is not alone when it comes to these stark statistics. According to a recent Banker and Tradesman’s article, petitions to foreclose in the Commonwealth are up 27 percent year to date from last May. Auction notifications are up 41 percent from last year at this time

What’s causing this surge and how long it will last are very good questions. When foreclosures started to decrease in 2013, many experts attributed it to the final disposition of properties left over from the 2008/2009 real estate crash winding its way through the process. But in 2014, the numbers started to increase again. It is now estimated by some that we could see foreclosures continuing to increase through 2018.

For homeowners facing foreclosures, there are nonprofits and government agencies willing to provide direction and help. Those facing foreclosure and delinquency actions can contact either the Quincy Community Action Programs 617-479-8181, ext. 376 or NeighborWorks Southern Mass at 508-587-0950, ext.46. Another option would be the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at 617-573-3333.

The above agencies provide a range of assistance from helping with the mortgage modification process to providing legal services to staving off a foreclosure and to offering several forms of credit counseling. There also is additional information available on the Registry’s website at under the Support tab.

And while you are looking for assistance, a note of caution: realize that foreclosure rescues are becoming a growing scam. Some unscrupulous businesses look to prey on desperate homeowners and make unrealistic promises while wanting outlandish fees for services.

The Registry is glad to help out consumers who need assistance in dealing with a mortgage delinquency or a foreclosure by directing them to the appropriate agency. You can contact the customer service department at 781-461-6101 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Around The Real Estate Block: In June, the following property transactions were recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds. Property sales: Canton 99, Holbrook 35, Randolph 63 and Stoughton 65. Homesteads: Canton 55, Holbrook 19, Randolph 43, and Stoughton 45. Foreclosure Deeds: Canton 1, Holbrook 1, Randolph 1 and Stoughton 1. Avg. sales price (including residential and commercial): Canton $1,098,908, Holbrook $279,037, Randolph $1,504,412 and Stoughton $986,457.

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ACLU, NAACP sue to stop Wayne County tax auction – Detroit News

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the NAACP Legal and Education Fund on Wednesday sued to stop the Wayne County Treasurer from auctioning hundreds of owner-occupied homes for unpaid taxes this fall, arguing the foreclosures were illegal.

The county’s tax sale violates the Federal Fair Housing Act by disproportionately foreclosing on black homeowners, a process driven by Detroit’s inflated city tax assessments, said ACLU Legal Director Michael Steinberg. The suit, filed Wednesday morning in Wayne County Circuit Court, names Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, the county and the city of Detroit as defendants.

“Wayne County and Detroit are creating a human catastrophe by tossing thousands of homeowners into the streets for inability to pay unlawfully assessed taxes,” Steinberg said in a press release. “This short-sighted practice not only violates federal law, it destabilizes families, destroys neighborhoods and undermines the economic recovery of the region.”

The city taxed the home of one ACLU client at risk of foreclosure as if it was worth $40,000, while a private appraisal paid by the ACLU pegged its value at $9,000.

The controversial auction has drawn critics for years, who say residents are losing properties because of tax bills that bear little relation to market value. The sale has attracted hundreds of out-of-state speculators and local investors who buy for as little as $500, and many don’t pay tax bills either.

The treasurer has processed more than 140,000 foreclosures countywide since 2002, according to Loveland Technologies, a company that studies tax foreclosure.

The ACLU is asking the court to halt the sale of all properties that are owner occupied, an estimated 1,530, and stop future foreclosures until the city can properly assess them, according to the lawsuit.

A total of 5,600 homes headed to the tax sale in September are occupied, which includes renters.

The plaintiffs, seven homeowners and four neighborhood associations represented by ACLU attorneys, are also asking the lawsuit be designated as a class action for all homeowners affected.

Sabree said he is required by law to auction off properties after three years of unpaid taxes. He said foreclosures are down by more than 46 percent this year to about 15,000 county wide because of efforts to get owners on payment plans.

“This complaint filed by the ACLU has nothing to do with the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office,” Sabree said in a statement. “It is an attempt to ignore state law and prevent the property tax foreclosure auction from taking place.”

City officials said assessments in 2013 were supported by sales data and that they’ve worked with the county to reduce foreclosures.

“This has been one of the mayor’s highest priorities,” city Treasurer David Szymanski said in a statement. “We successfully sought legislation to reduce penalties and interest and create workable payment plans that have helped to keep more than 27,000 homeowners in their homes in just the past year.”

Detroit is in the midst of a city-wide reassessment — the first in decades — and has lowered assessments between 5 percent to 20 percent in some neighborhoods for the last three years.

But some residents say it hasn’t been enough. Walter Hicks, a 57-year-old disabled Detroiter and one of the plaintiffs, is at risk of foreclosure next year with more than $4,500 in tax debt dating to 2013.

The city valued his west side brick home at $40,000 in 2013, more than four times what the ACLU says it was worth at that time. The home is on the 11700 block of Robson that has several vacant homes. Hicks bought it in 2012 from the tax auction for $2,700.

“It’s preposterous,” said Hicks, who has to pay the county $339 a month under a payment plan. “All I am worried about is paying that tax bill that I will never get caught up on.”

An investigation by The Detroit News in 2013 concluded that Detroit was over-assessing homes by an average of 65 percent, according to a review of state tax appeals. The series prompted state regulators to overhaul Detroit’s Assessment Division.

Steinberg said he believes “a huge percentage” of people on county payment plans are defaulting because they can’t afford them.

The lawsuit also argues that the Detroit Citizen Board of Review’s process to grant poverty exemptions has violated homeowners’ due process rights by not giving them a reason for their denial. And some ACLU clients didn’t receive a response at all, according to the lawsuit.

Poverty exemptions can lower or eliminate tax bills if owners qualify.

Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell called the lawsuit “meritless.”

“The city is confident that not only is the ACLU’s claim fatally flawed as any potential claim was discharged in bankruptcy, but it is also recklessly irresponsible,” Hollowell said in a statement. “It would violate compliance with the Plan of Adjustment, indefinitely prolong state oversight of city operations and threaten basic city services to all Detroiters.”

The ACLU, and NAACP Legal and Education Fund were joined by lawyers from the Washington, D.C.-based Covington Burling LLP in the lawsuit filing.

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Frustrated South Florida home buyers encounter shortage of listings …

A scarcity of homes for sale is rattling buyers, emboldening sellers and pushing prices higher in South Florida.

Analysts say a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers has a six-month supply of properties, meaning that’s how long it would take to sell all of the homes if no more were listed.

At the end of June, Broward’s single-family supply stood at a paltry 3.8 months, down from 4.9 months in June 2014, according to data from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Palm Beach County is slightly better off but still short on for-sale signs. The county had a 4.8-month supply at the end of June, compared with 5.8 months two years ago, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said.

Legal Line: What happens if you fall behind on your mortgage …

Legal Line: What happens if you fall behind on your mortgage payments?

Legal Line: What happens if you fall behind on your mortgage payments?


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The information in the column is provided for informational purposes only and is not, nor should it be construed as, legal advice.

Posted: Friday, July 29, 2016 3:35 pm

Legal Line: What happens if you fall behind on your mortgage payments?

By Melissa Lanier

Houston Community Newspapers

Perhaps you have lost your job or encountered some other financial hardship that has caused you to fall behind on your mortgage payments. You are unable to catch up the past due payments, and the mortgage lender sets your house for foreclosure. Does it automatically mean you will lose your home?

The answer to this question may depend on how quickly you take action to stop the foreclosure. Foreclosure notices should be taken very seriously. Once you receive a notice regarding foreclosure, time is of the essence.

So what can you do to stop a foreclosure?

One of your options may be to file for bankruptcy. A chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you an opportunity to restructure your debt and save your home. Your home is a secured debt and must be paid in order for you to keep it. However, the bankruptcy may be able to provide a more manageable payment plan. For example, let’s say your mortgage payment is $1,000 per month and you fall six months behind. The mortgage company is now demanding $6,000 be paid in one lump sum or they will foreclose on your home. A bankruptcy restructuring may allow you to pay the $6,000 over several years allowing you to remain in the home.

Similarly, the same issue can arise if you fall behind on your car payment or any other secured debt. Remember, secured debts must be paid if you want to keep the property.

Many people believe that bankruptcy is about not paying their debts, but that is simply not the case. In 2015, personal bankruptcy filings in Texas show there were approximately 30 percent more chapter 13 cases filed than any other chapter of personal bankruptcy — an indication that more filers are attempting to repay their debts.

If you find yourself in a position where you have fallen behind on property that you would like to keep, be proactive and get legal advice as quickly as possible.

  • Discuss


Friday, July 29, 2016 3:35 pm.

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Chapter 2 needed for mortgage rescues – Banking Exchange

The financial crisis of 2008 exposed a serious deficiency in the mortgage-servicing industry: No standard approach existed to respond to homeowners who could no longer meet their loan terms but who did not want to default. The historical approach—adding penalties to the unpaid balance—only dug a deeper hole.    

So in 2009 the federal government’s Making Home Affordable (MHA) program debuted to provide foreclosure alternatives. The largest operation under that umbrella was the Home Affordable Modification Program, which set standards for mortgage modifications that helped homeowners avoid default. Through these and private sector efforts, 10.5 million modification and mortgage-assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and May 2016, and the mortgage industry adopted certain standards that make it better equipped to manage the needs of struggling homeowners.

Yet the MHA programs will expire at the end of 2016. Private sector mortgage servicers and investors must develop their own loss-mitigation programs that will be more fitting to the post-crisis environment.

Constructing post-crisis-era solutions

To enable them in doing so, the Treasury Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency recently released a white paper, Guiding Principles For The Future Of Loss Mitigation. The paper highlights lessons learned and the best practices that should be incorporated into future loss-mitigation measures.

Through their experiences over the past seven years, the agencies identified five essential principles that should guide any new programs.

1. Accessibility. Most essentially, to benefit from foreclosure-alternative programs, homeowners must know whether they are eligible and be able to understand its requirements. Terms must be plain, and take into account the needs of homeowners with limited proficiency in English. Moreover, there should be clear avenues of recourse for homeowners who encounter difficulties.

To promote accessibility, the agencies recommend: adoption of a uniform application; third-party assistance, such as call centers and hotlines; assigning a contact person at the mortgage servicer to help a struggling homeowner throughout the process.

2. Affordability. For a mortgage-assistance program to be sustainable long-term, it must serve the needs of not only homeowners but mortgage servicers and investors. Thus any loan-modification program must consider:

• Whether a step-up modification is viable to lower the mortgage payment.

• If there are measures that can help homeowners build equity more quickly.

Whether the borrower’s foreclosure crisis is the result of a short-term or long-term hardship and adjust solutions accordingly.

What options are available for homeowners struggling because of circumstances unique to their location, such as natural disaster.

3. Sustainability. Because time is of the essence when foreclosure looms, the agencies recommend offering solutions that work the first time. Early intervention is key. Research indicates that modifications made as soon as difficulties arise not only reduce the risk of default, but reduce the chances that the homeowner will continue to need assistance.

In addition to early intervention that results in payment reduction, the other component of sustainability is financial counseling. The Urban Institute studied 240,000 loans over a four-year period and found that homeowners who received financial counseling were nearly twice as likely to correct their delinquency and avoid foreclosure. They were nearly three times more likely to receive a loan modification compared to those who did not receive counseling.

4. Transparency. Not only do the terms of assistance need to be clear and understandable, but information about their options and the terms of those programs should be available to all parties—and available in the public domain, the agencies recommend.

This has already been accomplished by Treasury and the GSEs, which standardized the modification process and published the requirements. They recommend that future providers follow suit.

Transparency also demands clear communications with homeowners to ensure that they understand the terms of their modifications. This points include the amount by which a payment will be reduced and for how long; whether there will be a balloon payment at the end of the modification; and what other options are available if payment reduction is not possible.

5. Accountability. Any future loan-modification program must include an appropriate level of oversight that provides protection for all parties.

The agencies are confident that if the five guiding principles are followed, the outcomes will be mutually beneficial for mortgage servicers, homeowners, and investors.

Ready for the hand-off?

When MHA expires at the end of this year, the burden of assisting struggling homeowners through loan-modification programs will transfer from the government to the mortgage-servicing industry. In handing off that duty, the agencies offered a final recommendation:

“One of the most important things we have learned from the crisis-era efforts is that a collaborative process results in better outcomes for all stakeholders. That lesson should not be forgotten, as the industry takes a more prominent role in defining the future of loss-mitigation offerings.”

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