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Top 5 Craziest Foreclosure Rescue Attempts

Treasure hunting, demolition, forgery–even a telethon. Our picks for the top five most bizarre foreclosure rescue attempts.

Three years after the recession hit, Americans still are losing their homes to foreclosure in record numbers. Not even celebrities are immune. Wanting to do anything you can to avoid losing your home is only natural. There are a wealth of resources on HouseLogic (http://www.houselogic.com/guides/finances-insurance/home-finance/foreclosure-guide) to help you take action. Still, some homeowners have tried other, less-proven methods. Here’s a countdown of some outlandish foreclosure rescue attempts:

5. I pimped my yard to PETA.
This past March, “Octomom” Nadya Suleman was reportedly approached by PETA when word got out about her mortgage woes. The offer: A billboard sign urging pet owners not to let their dog or cat become an “Octomom” in a campaign to raise awareness about controlling the pet population. Suleman ended up letting PETA advertise on her front yard for $5,000. In April, Suleman reached an agreement (

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/15/entertainment/main6399349.shtml ) with the mortgage holder for a sixth-month extension to pay off the $450,000 debt.

4. God made me do it.
Earlier this month, a Montana man, Brent Arthur Wilson, was convicted for removing For Sale signs and forging ownership papers on a foreclosed home in a bizarre effort (

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38242178/ns/business-real_estate/) to keep a roof over his head. During his trial, Wilson claimed that “Yaweh,” or “the creator,” gave him the home. The jury was out for less than an hour before finding Wilson guilty. He now faces up to 30 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced August 19.

3. Buy my T-shirt, save my house.
To raise the $250,000 he needed to avoid foreclosure on his Port Washington, Wis., pad, former Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond sold T-shirts (

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,199934,00.html) with his photo and a caption reading, “I paid $15 to save Screeech’s house.” (The extra “e” in “Screeech” was to get around copyright laws.)

The down-on-his-luck comedian turned his money problems into a publicity ploy, telling his story on The Howard Stern Show and even scheduling an online telethon to raise more money. The appearance was canceled moments before it went on the air. Despite all that, it looks like Diamond is still going to lose his home. Wells Fargo started foreclosure proceedings in April.

2. If I can’t live here, no one can.
This past February, Ohio carpet business owner Terry Hoskins decided that he’d rather bulldoze his $350,000 house to the ground (

http://www.wwlp.com/dpps/news/strange/ohio-man-bulldozes-home-to-avoid-foreclosure-jgr_3244918) than let the bank have it. Hoskins also basically confirmed that he’d do the same to his carpet store if he had to. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. Although Hoskins didn’t technically break any laws, the bank did hold a sheriff’s auction of his business property to pay off the $600,000 debt he owed.

1. Superman saved our house.
On a more positive note, a rare comic book (

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/07/27/faster-speeding-bullet-superman-saves-familys-home/) (an Action Comic #1-the issue that introduced Superman to the world) was recently found in the basement of a couple facing foreclosure. Although it hasn’t been valued yet, Stephen Fishler, co-owner of ComicConnect.com, guarantees that the comic will bring in more than enough to pay off the mortgage at auction time. Other rare finds like this have been valued at more than $1 million.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is dedicated to providing resources that help families facing foreclosure take every step they can to keep their home. To find out how to (legitimately) fight foreclosure, visit the HouseLogic Foreclosure Resource Guide (

http://www.houselogic.com/guides/finances-insurance/home-finance/foreclosure-guide/).

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

What to Have on Hand for the New Owners?

Owner s manuals and warranties for appliances left in the house.
Garage door opener.
Extra sets of house keys.
A list of local service providers  the best dry cleaner, yard service, plumber, etc.
Code to the security alarm and phone number of the monitoring service if not discontinued.
As a courtesy, you could provide numbers to the local utility companies.
If it s a condo, leave information on how to contact the condo board.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

What You Need for a Mortgage Your Lender Checklist

  • W-2 forms  or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed  for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.
  • Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.
  • Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
  • Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
  • Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.
  • Addresses where you ve lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.
  • Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.
  • Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.
  • Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension.
  • Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Tips for Lowering Homeowner s Insurance Costs

1. Review the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report on the property you re interested in buying. CLUE reports detail the property s claims history for the most recent five years, which insurers may use to deny coverage. Make the sale contingent on a home inspection to ensure that problems identified in the CLUE report have been repaired.
2. Seek insurance coverage as soon as your offer is approved. You must obtain insurance to buy. And you don t want to be told at closing that the insurer has denied your coverage.
3. Maintain good credit. Insurers often use credit-based insurance scores to determine premiums.
4. Buy your home owners and auto policies from the same company and you ll usually qualify for savings. But make sure the discount really yields the lowest price.
5. Raise your deductible. If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower. Avoid making claims under $1,000.
6. Ask about other discounts. For example, retirees who tend to be home more than full-time workers may qualify for a discount on theft insurance. You also may be able to obtain discounts for having smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks.
7. Seek group discounts. If you belong to any groups, such as associations or alumni organizations, they may have deals on insurance coverage.
8. Review your policy limits and the value of your home and possessions annually. Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage.
9. Investigate a government-backed insurance plan. In some high-risk areas, federal or state government may back plans to lower rates. Ask your agent.
10. Be sure you insure your house for the correct amount. Remember, you re covering replacement cost, not market value.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Tax Benefits of Homeownership

The tax deductions you re eligible to take for mortgage interest and property taxes greatly increase the financial benefits of homeownership. Here s how it works.

Assume:
$9,877 = Mortgage interest paid (a loan of $150,000 for 30 years, at 7 percent, using year-five interest)
$2,700 = Property taxes (at 1.5 percent on $180,000 assessed value)
______

$12,577 = Total deduction

Then, multiply your total deduction by your tax rate.
For example, at a 28 percent tax rate: 12,577 x 0.28 = $3,521.56
$3,521.56 = Amount you have lowered your federal income tax (at 28 percent tax rate)

Note: Mortgage interest may not be deductible on loans over $1.1 million. In addition, deductions are decreased when total income reaches a certain level.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Pros and Cons of Going Condo

Condominiums and townhouses offer an affordable option to single-family homes in many markets, and they re ideal for those who appreciate a maintenance-free lifestyle. But before you buy, make sure you do your legwork.

These are some of the important elements to consider:

Storage. Some condos have storage lockers, but usually there are no attics or basements to hold extra belongings.

Outdoor space. Yards and outdoor areas are usually smaller in condos, so if you like to garden or entertain outdoors, this may not be a good fit. However, if you dread yard work, this may be the perfect option for you.

Amenities. Many condo properties have swimming pools, fitness centers, and other facilities that would be very expensive in a single-family home.
Maintenance. Many condos have onsite maintenance personnel to care for common areas, do repairs in your unit, and let in workers when you re not home  good news if you like to travel.

Security. Keyed entries and even doormen are common in many condos. You re also closer to other people in case of an emergency.

Reserve funds and association fees. Although fees generally help pay for amenities and provide savings for future repairs, you will have to pay the fees decided by the condo board, whether or not you re interested in the amenity.

Resale. The ease of selling your unit may be dependent on what else is for sale in your building, since units are usually fairly similar.

Condo rules. Although you have a vote, the rules of the condo association can affect your ability to use your property. For example, some condos prohibit home-based businesses. Others prohibit pets, or don t allow owners to rent out their units. Read the covenants, restrictions, and bylaws of the condo carefully before you make an offer.

Neighbors. You re much closer to your neighbors in a condo or town home. If possible, try to meet your closest prospective neighbors.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

How Big of a Mortgage Can I Afford?

Not only does owning a home give you a haven for yourself and your family, it also makes great financial sense because of the tax benefits  which you can t take advantage of when paying rent.

The following calculation assumes a 28 percent income tax bracket. If your bracket is higher, your savings will be, too. Based on your current rent, use this calculation to figure out how much mortgage you can afford.

Rent: _________________________

Multiplier: x 1.32

Mortgage payment: _________________________

Because of tax deductions, you can make a mortgage payment  including taxes and insurance  that is approximately one-third larger than your current rent payment and end up with the same amount of income.

For more help, use Fannie Mae s online mortgage calculators.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

10 Questions to Ask the Condoboard

Before you buy, contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process, you ll learn how responsive  and organized  its members are. You ll also be alerted to potential problems with the property.

1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied What percentage is tenant-occupied Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.

2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property What grandfather clauses are in place You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date can t rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.

3. How much does the association keep in reserve Plus, find out how that money is being invested.

4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.

5. What does and doesn t the assessment cover Does the assessment include common-area maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection, and snow removal

6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years How much was each owner responsible for Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board s fiscal policy.

7. How much turnover occurs in the building This will tell you if residents are generally happy with the building. According to research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS , owners of condos in two-to-four unit buildings stay for a median of five years, and owners of condos in a building with five or more units stay for a median of four years.

8. Is the condo building in litigation This is never a good sign. If the builders or home owners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.

9. Is the developer reputable Find out what other projects the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their perceptions. Request an engineer s report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the roof, windows, and bricks aren t in good repair, they become your problem once you buy.

10. Are multiple associations involved in the property In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you re buying, may require separate assessments.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

How High Tech Home is Your Home

If the latest technology or entertainment options are important in your new home, add the following questions to your buyer s checklist.

1. Are there enough jacks in every room for cable TV and high-speed Internet hookups

2. Are there ample telephone extensions or jacks

3. Is the home pre-wired for home theater or multi room audio and video Does it have in-wall speakers

4. Does the home have a local area network (LAN) for linking computers

5. Does the home already have wiring for DSL or another high-speed Internet connection

6. Does the home have multi zoning heating and cooling controls with programmable thermostats

7. Does the home have multi room lighting controls, window-covering controls, or other home automation features

8. Is the home wired with multipurpose in-wall wiring that allows for reconfigurations to update services as technology changes

To rate the home on its technological sophistication, fill out the Consumer Electronics Association s TechHome checklist at www.ce.org/techhomerating.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

5 Largest Banks in the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement

Federal Government & Attorneys General reach landmark settlement with major banks

 Roughly $25 billion in relief for distressed borrowers, states and federal government.

After many months of negotiation, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government have reached agreement on a historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest loan servicers:

The settlement will provide as much as $25 billion in relief to distressed borrowers and direct payments to states and the federal government. It’s the largest multistate settlement since the Tobacco Settlement in 1998.

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Daniel Andrade, REALTOR® DRE #: 01849983
Century 21 My Real Estate Co
7825 Florence Avenue, Downey , CA 90240
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