Tuesday, 20 September 2011

it's time for the Annual Cemetery Tour--this Saturday!

Hey, this is always a really interesting & fun event! 
Y'all Come this Saturday!
(I'll be leading a tour...)

Celebrating L.A.'s 230th Birthday

Living History Tour 2011
Pushing the Boundaries: Adventurers, Pioneers and Unconventional Heroes
Angelus Rosedale Cemetery
Saturday, September 24

WAHA presents the 21st annual Living History Tour, with costumed actors, at graveside, portraying historic personages in one of the city's oldest cemeteries. This year, we honor bold adventurers and unlikely heroes:
  • William T. Glassell, Confederate Naval Captain of the submarine that torpedoed the Union frigate New Ironsides
  • Fanny Stenhouse, famed Suffragette who exposed Mormon polygamy to the world in 1872
  • Miriam Matthews, California's first African American credentialed librarian and well-known historian who helped launch Black History Month
  • Harvey K. S. O'Melveny, pioneer Los Angeles lawyer, judge, and politician who helped bring transcontinental rail service to Los Angeles in 1876
  • Nina Vitagliano Torre, Italian-born female racecar driver who raced with fellow women Speederettes during World War I
  • Portus Baxter Weare, whose self-named ship brought tons of gold down the Yukon River, leading to the Klondike Stampede of 1897
  • Francisca Dominguez Alexander, whose family owned the great Rancho San Pedro
Tickets by advance reservation only: $25 general admission (children under 10 free)
At the door, if available, all tickets are $30

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery is located at 1831 West Washington Blvd. in Historic West Adams.
This is a 2-3 hour walking tour over uneven terrain; please dress accordingly.

For more information call 323-732-4223 or email tours@westadamsheritage.org.

Tickets may be purchased below:
9 am - 10 am Timeslot (Sorry -- this timeslot is sold out.)

10 am - 11 am Timeslot (Sorry -- this timeslot is sold out.)

11 am - 12 am Timeslot

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mortgage Rates at Record Low, Freddie Mac Says

U.S. Mortgage Rates Fall to Lowest on Record, Freddie Mac Says

The previous low for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.15 percent for the week that ended Aug. 18. Data from the National Bureau of Economic Research measuring Federal Housing Administration loans indicate that long-term borrowing costs are the lowest since the 1950s, according to Chad Wandler, a spokesman for Freddie Mac. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
U.S. mortgage rates tumbled to the lowest in at least four decades as stagnant job growth and concern that Europe’s debt crisis is deepening drove investors to the relative safety of government bonds.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 4.12 percent in the week ended today from 4.22 percent, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. That’s the lowest in the McLean, Virginia-based company’s records dating back to 1971. The average 15-year rate fell to 3.33 percent from 3.39 percent.
Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds, a benchmark for consumer loans including mortgages, touched an all-time low Sept. 6 on signs that the U.S. economic recovery has stalled and the euro region is struggling to contain its debt burden. Low borrowing costs have done little to lift the housing market as the unemployment rate sticks above 9 percent. No new jobs were added in August, the Labor Department said last week.
“Homebuyers are not responding to these record-low interest rates,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington,Massachusetts. “The reason interest rates are dropping recently is that the outlook for the economy has gotten weaker. A smart person would be very careful about buying a home unless he thinks his job is very secure.”
The previous low for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.15 percent for the week that ended Aug. 18. Data from the National Bureau of Economic Research measuring Federal Housing Administration loans indicate that long-term borrowing costs are the lowest since the 1950s, according to Chad Wandler, a spokesman for Freddie Mac.

Applications Decline

Mortgage applications dropped 4.9 percent in the week ended Sept. 2, the Mortgage Bankers Association said yesterday. The Washington-based group’s refinancing index fell 6.3 percent while the purchase gauge rose 0.2 percent, a second straight gain after falling to the lowest level since December 1996.
The number of contracts to purchase previously owned homes in July fell 1.3 percent, the first decline in three months, the National Association of Realtors said Aug. 29.
“The housing market remains challenging primarily due to uncertainty caused by general domestic economic and political concerns, stock market volatility and turbulent international economic conditions,” Ara K. Hovnanian, chairman and chief executive officer of homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., said in a statement yesterday. “We see very few indicators that any recovery in the housing market has begun.”
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac’s larger rival, found in a survey that 78 percent of Americans said the economy is on the wrong track in August, up from 70 percent the previous month. Twenty- two percent of respondents said they expect their financial condition to worsen in the next year, up from 20 percent in July, according to a report released today by the mortgage- finance company.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents expect home prices to decline in the next year, the largest share in the monthly survey since August 2010. While 69 percent said it was a good time to buy a home, only 9 percent said it was a good time to sell.
Fannie Mae polled 1,001 Americans in telephone interviews from Aug. 2 to Aug. 25.
To contact the reporters on this story: Prashant Gopal in New York at pgopal2@bloomberg.net; Brian Louis in Chicago at blouis1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

Obama Jobs Plan Includes Real Estate Effort By Robert Freedman, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

Obama Jobs Plan Includes Real Estate Effort

September 9, 2011 by Robert Freedman · 33 Comments
Filed under: Breaking NewsPolitics & Government 
By Robert Freedman, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
The $447 billion jobs initiative President Obama introduced last night, called “The American Jobs Act,” contains some pieces that aim to boost home mortgage refinancing, rehab homes, cut taxes for small businesses, boost road, bridges, and other public-works spending, in part through an infrastructure bank, and otherwise inject momentum into the stalled economic recovery. Many of the specifics are still to come. Here’s a thumbnail summary of the key provisions provided by the White House:
President Obama
President Obama
1. Cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll, targeting the benefit to the 98 percent of firms that have payroll below this threshold.
2. Give a payroll tax holiday for adding workers or increasing wages. The benefit is capped at the first $50 million in payroll increases.
3. Extend 100-percent expensing into 2012.
4. Institute regulatory reforms to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital.
5. Offer tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.
6. Institute reforms to prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs and “to keep police and firefighters on the job.”
7. Modernize at least 35,000 public schools and supporting new science labs and Internet-ready classrooms.
8. Invest in infrastructure, in part through a National Infrastructure Bank.
9. Launch “Project Rebuild” for rehabilitating homes, in part by leveraging private capital, “scaling land banks,” and encouraging other public-private collaborations.
10. Expand access to high-speed wireless.
11. Institute reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use unemployment insurance funds for work-sharing and other programs, including programs in which displaced workers take temporary, voluntary work or pursue on-the-job training.
12. Offer a $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers; prohibit employers from discriminating against unemployed workers in hiring and training programs.
13. Cut payroll taxes by 50 percent, for an average tax cut of $1,500 per worker.
14. Increase home mortgage refinancing.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Crazy things happen to realtors too!

I was doing some research on properties in my own neighborhood, and happened to pull a property profile for my own house--lo & behold--I don't own my own house!!!!
The title was recorded in someone else's name and had transferred--unbeknownst to me--
almost 7 months ago!!!
I freaked out!
How could this be?
I got on the phone and called my title rep, Greg Lane, from Lawyer's Title--the John Aaroe Group affiliate. I'm sure he sensed my panic, and calmly said, don't worry--these mistakes happen all the time--I'll check on it and get back to you as soon as possible.
He called and emailed me a very short time later, explaining that the oil & mineral rights for my property (which I know I did not own--as is not uncommon) had transferred in March, and the mistakenly recorded the property--instead of just the oil & mineral rights!
He assured me he would get it resolved right away--so I can now breathe a sigh of relief!
A-- so glad I just happened to check on my own property...
B--so glad to have a knowledgeable professional like Greg (of Lawyer's Title)--wjo I could call on immediately--and have him allay my fears, and take care of the mistake!
Thank you, Greg!--and Lawyer's Title!

More Than One-Fifth of Mortgages Underwater: Report --BY: PHIL BRITT

More Than One-Fifth of Mortgages Underwater: Report

Nearly 10.9 million, or 22.5 percent, of all residential mortgages had negative equity at the end of the second quarter of the year, according to a report released Tuesday by the analytics firm CoreLogic.
The figure is actually a slight improvement from the 22.7 percent of all mortgages with negative equity in the first quarter of 2011.
An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than 5 percent equity in the second quarter, according to the report, which also shows that nearly three-quarters of homeowners in negative equity situations are also paying higher, above-market interest on their mortgages.
The states that had the most inflated property values before the housing bubble burst, and Michigan, which continues to suffer from the fall off of the automotive and manufacturing industries, had the highest negative equity percentages.
Nevada held the top position in terms of negative equity with 60 percent of all of its mortgaged properties underwater, followed by Arizona (49 percent), Florida (45 percent), Michigan (36 percent), and California (30 percent).
Yet there are some signs that the worst could be over in those states. According to the report, the average negative equity share for the top five states declined from 41 percent to 38 percent during the past year.
Nevada had the largest decline over the last year, with its negative equity share dropping from 68 percent to 60 percent. The reason for the Nevada decline is the high number of foreclosures that led to lower numbers of remaining negative equity borrowers.
“High negative equity is holding back refinancing and sales activity and is a major impediment to the housing market recovery,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic in releasing the data.
Fleming added, “The hardest hit markets have improved over the last year, primarily as a result of foreclosures. But nationally, the level of mortgage debt remains high relative to home prices.”
According to CoreLogic, 8 million borrowers with negative equity, or nearly 75 percent of all underwater borrowers, have above market rates.
Since the 2005 sales peak, non-distressed sales in ZIP codes with low negative equity have fallen 61 percent, compared to an 83 percent sales decline in high negative equity zip codes.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Freddie Mac Rolls Out New Standard Modification 09/12/2011 BY: CARRIE BAY

Freddie Mac Rolls Out New Standard Modification

Freddie Mac has rolled out a new standard for mortgage modifications. The new model was a key part of the discussion Monday during the Freddie Mac Update at the Five Star Default Servicing Conference and Expo in Dallas.
Dubbed the “Standard Modification,” the GSE says it will strengthen servicers’ ability to support positive outcomes for financially distressed borrowers. The Standard Modification replaces Freddie Mac’s classic modification, which is a debt coverage ratio mod, and is part of theServicing Alignment Initiative underway to bring the two GSEs’ protocol for handling defaulted loans in line with one another.
Freddie Mac says the new formula will help servicers simplify underwriting by using a standard set of modification terms, including a 5 percent interest rate, for all eligible borrowers.
The new Standard Modification is available to borrowers who don’t qualify for the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and includes a trial period to help ensure borrowers can sustain their modified mortgage payments and reduce re-default rates in servicers’ Freddie Mac portfolios, the GSE explained.
Ty Miller, Freddie Mac’s VP of servicer relationships and performance management, told attendees at the Five Star that the GSE will begin accepting trial payments for Standard Modifications as early as next month. The new loss mitigation model officially goes into effect in January.
Freddie Mac is also implementing an incentive plan to pay servicers for “successfully settling Standard Modifications in a timely manner based on the term of delinquency when the trial period starts,” the GSE explained.
Additional details on Freddie’s new Standard Modificationare available online.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011



As you may know, unless Congress extends the expiration deadline, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limits set in 2008 will drop significantly beginning October 1. Congress raised the loan limit amount in response to the housing crisis to help spur the homebuying market. FHA loans offer borrowers very competitive rates and terms, and they only require a 3.5% down payment. Allowable debt ratios are higher than the typical debt-ratio limits imposed for conventional loans, and there are no income limit qualifications, so more people can qualify for them.

If the loan limit drops on October 1, many California homebuyers will face higher down payments, higher mortgage rates and stricter loan qualification requirements. Borrowers seeking larger mortgages will have to apply for conventional loans or jumbo loans, which may be subject to higher interest rates and down payments. Here are four things you should know to help your clients now.

1. LOWER LOAN LIMITS. The conforming loan limit determines the maximum mortgage amount that FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy or guarantee. If your client wants to stay under the current loan limits, then encourage them to purchase now and close by September 30th.

2. DROPS BY COUNTY. Under the new FHA loan limits, some counties will see significant drops in their loan limits. San Diego County will experience a $151,250 drop, Sonoma County a $141,550 reduction, while Orange and Los Angeles Counties will drop by $104,250. To see a full, county-by-county list of changes, click here.

3. JUMBO LOANS. The current FHA loan limit is $729,750. After October 1, that limit may drop to $625,500. Mortgage loans higher than that amount will be considered non-conforming jumbo loans, which typically have rates that are 0.875% to 1.5% higher than conforming rates, depending on the loan product, and require higher down payments.

4. MORE STRINGENT REQUIREMENTS. FHA loan requirements may allow for lower credit scores. So an applicant with a lower FICO score can still qualify for an FHA loan, even if they can’t for a conventional loan. Your clients may be able to obtain an FHA loan three years after defaulting or having a loan foreclosed. 

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