Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coldwell Banker Bullard: Gordy Earns Agent Leader Status for Jackson Office

Danielle Gordy has been named September Individual Agent Leader for the Jackson office of Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty. Julie Epperson was No. 2 and Debbie Ingram was No. 3.
Gordy attended Griffin Technical College’s real estate pre-license course in 2009 and upon passing the state licensing test joined Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty. Prior to entering real estate, Gordy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Clayton State College and University. She resides in Jackson with her husband and two year old son.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Avoidable Foreclosures Continue Despite Servicers' 'Loan Modifications'

/PRNewswire/ -- Why have several recent programs designed to encourage loan modifications failed to slow America's still-worsening home mortgage foreclosure crisis? A new report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) discloses that mortgage servicers - including many large banks - have found it cheaper to foreclose on homeowners than to offer loan modifications that would benefit homeowners and investors.

The result: Americans who might be able to stay in their homes under a loan modification plan are being moved right past that option and on to foreclosure.

The new NCLC report, "Why Servicers Foreclose, When They Should Modify, and Other Puzzles of Servicer Behavior," reveals that servicers, unlike investors or homeowners, generally don't risk losing money on foreclosures. In fact, servicers usually make money on foreclosures.

Report author Diane E. Thompson, an attorney with NCLC, said, "The country is in the midst of a foreclosure crisis of unprecedented proportions. Millions of families have lost their homes and millions more are expected to lose their homes in the next few years. With home values plummeting and layoffs common, homeowners are crumbling under the weight of mortgages that were at best only marginally affordable when made. One common sense solution to the foreclosure crisis is to modify the loan terms in more instances. Foreclosures are a costly ordeal for the homeowner, the lender, and the community. Yet they continue to outstrip loan modifications because servicers have no incentive to help borrowers stay in their homes."

Who are these servicers that profit from foreclosures? Servicers are the banks or financial companies that usually collect payments and administer mortgage loans. They play a key role in the current foreclosure crisis, since original lenders frequently sell loans to investment trusts that rely on servicers to carry out most day to day transactions. Homeowners seeking to save their homes by modifying unaffordable loans typically deal with servicers. That is why the financial interests of servicers have the potential to hurt homeowners.

And too many of those financial incentives encourage servicers to ignore the interests of homeowners. For example, the report found that servicers often deny homeowners principal and interest rate reductions because as servicers they find it profitable to offer repayment plans or forbearance agreements that do little to reduce homeowners' debt burdens.

The consequences of such choices can be grim for homeowners. As the NCLC report notes: "Loan modifications inevitably cost the servicer something. A servicer deciding between a foreclosure and a loan modification faces the prospect of near certain loss if the loan is modified, and no penalty, but potential profit, if the home is foreclosed."

The NCLC report also found that the lack of third-party oversight allows servicers to pursue foreclosure instead of effective loan modifications that would benefit homeowners as well as investors. While credit rating agencies and bond insurers do monitor servicers, their oversight too often encourages servicers to foreclose.

The NCLC report includes a detailed examination of loans in foreclosure from 1995-2009 and how components of servicer compensation affected the likelihood and speed of foreclosure. It also looks at the rise of the servicer industry as a by-product of securitization; and the limited, but only effective oversight of servicers by credit rating agencies and bond insurers.

RECOMMENDED REFORMS

Thompson said: "The people who could change the way servicers are doing business - Congress, the Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission - and the market participants who set the terms of engagement - credit rating agencies and bond insurers - have failed to provide servicers with the necessary incentives to reduce foreclosures and increase loan modifications."

The NCLC report outlines the following action steps:

-- Avoid irresponsible lending through regulation of loan origination
-- Mandate loan modifications before a foreclosure
-- Fund quality mediation programs
-- Provide for principal reductions on existing loans in the
Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and
through bankruptcy reform
-- Increase automated and standardized loan modifications for borrowers
in default and provide a safety net for borrowers for whom a
standardized modification is not affordable or who later default,
through no fault of their own, on a loan modification
-- Ease accounting rules for modifications to facilitate standardized
review, encourage long-term modifications, and enhance servicer
recovery of the expenses incurred in performing a modification
-- Require more transparency and uniformity in how servicers report loan
modifications to investors
-- Limit fees charged borrowers in default to reasonable and necessary
ones

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Cash for Clunker Mortgages Program Unveiled

/PRNewswire/ -- The Cash for Clunker Cars program ended on August 24, but another stimulus program has recently been established. The Cash for Clunker Mortgages program begins October 19 and enables holders of nonperforming mortgages to trade them in for cash.

Holders of nonperforming First Mortgages are losing money each month as holding costs accrue and property values deteriorate. In an effort to allow lenders and servicers to focus their efforts on the loans more likely to qualify for the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP), Cash for Clunker Mortgages will pay competitive prices for nonperforming First Mortgages. Nonperforming loans, particularly those in bankruptcy or other litigation, demand a disproportionate amount of time and effort to service. Thus, loans eligible for Cash for Clunker Mortgages include charge offs, those secured by low-value homes and those owned by borrowers in bankruptcy or litigation, all of which are high maintenance for the servicing industry.

In an effort to provide prompt dispositions of these assets, Preliminary Indicative Bids will be furnished within 48-hours. Once the Preliminary Indicative Bid is approved by the seller, due diligence will be completed on the mortgages. Funding typically occurs within 3 to 4 weeks of receiving summary loan data. Cash for Clunker Mortgages is open to all holders of nonperforming mortgages secured by single family homes and 2 - 4 unit properties anywhere in the United States. Furthermore, both bulk pools and single assets are eligible.

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Freddie Mac CEO Charles E. 'Ed' Haldeman, Jr. Statement on New Initiative for State and Local Housing Finance Agencies

/PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was released today by Charles E. "Ed" Haldeman, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) :

"We are pleased that President Obama and Secretary Geithner are calling on Freddie Mac to play a central role in this new phase of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. This will give critical credit and liquidity support to our nation's state and local housing finance agencies when they need it most."

"Today's announcement marks a new and important way to reinvigorate the nation's housing markets and underscores Freddie Mac's vital role in the nation's economic recovery."

"We look forward to working with state and local housing finance agencies, the Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency over the coming months to implement this crucial initiative to deliver affordable housing credit to local markets across the nation."

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

St. Simons Island, Georgia to Offer Oceanfront Estate, Villas, Lots at J. P. King Real Estate Auction

(BUSINESS WIRE)--J. P. King Auction Company, the nation’s leading real estate auction company specializing in high-value properties, is managing the real estate auction of an oceanfront estate, ocean-view villas and beach-view lots on St. Simons Island. The real estate auction will take place on-site, Saturday, October 24, at 2:00 p.m.

“St. Simons Island provides the ultimate in coastal living,” said Craig King, president & CEO of J. P. King Auction Company. “It is one of Georgia's renowned Golden Isles and is well known as a resort community with top-tier golf courses, tennis courts, shopping, art galleries and a variety of restaurants.”

St. Simons Island properties include the following:

* The crown jewel of St. Simons Island, the Idea House is an oceanfront estate located in a gated community on the widest stretch of St. Simon’s beach. It contains three bedrooms and three bathrooms that are situated on 80+/- feet of beach frontage. The home was once designated as “Idea House” by Coastal Living. The most spectacular home site in Georgia, its upper-level master suite is designed with his-and-her baths and ocean views from the master suite. On the main level of the Idea House, two guest suites surround a state-of-the art kitchen and living area along with a wraparound deck that overlooks St. Simons beach. Below the home, the property features a cabana with a spa.
* Two ocean view Villas at Coast Cottages are selling absolute. The four-story villas contain four bedrooms and 4.5 baths. The entry-level floor features a dipping pool and parking garage while three bedrooms and three baths are on the next floor. On the main level is a large living and dining area with a state-of-the-art kitchen, a porch and a half bath. The oversize master suite is located on the top floor with a porch and large sleeping porch or office study. Each villa also features its own rooftop deck with expansive views of the ocean.

* Four ocean-view lots are selling absolute. Two lots with beach access are located within the Villas at Coast Cottages development. They were originally designed for two villas per lot or for a single family home. Additionally, two prime ocean-view residential lots are located on Bruce Drive, which is the prestigious East Beach area of St. Simons Island.

“We felt that the best way to market and sell these properties was through a high-end quality auction house such as J. P. King Auction Company,” said owner Denval Hamby. “We are working on another project that is nearby and decided the best way to move forward with these properties was by conducting an inventory close-out sale.”

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Friday, October 16, 2009

FDIC Real Estate Auction to Offer More Than 100 Properties in Atlanta and North Georgia

(BUSINESS WIRE)--J.P. King Auction Company, the nation’s leading real estate auction firm, will manage the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) auction of over 100 foreclosed properties throughout North Georgia and greater Atlanta. The sale will take place on October 27 and October 28, 10 a.m. daily at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta. A variety of assets are available, and many of each property type will sell absolute with no minimums and no reserves through J.P. King’s Asset Auctions Division.

The sale will offer single-family homes, townhomes and home lots. The residential properties range from one-bedroom condos to six-bedroom homes. Commercial properties include office condos, office buildings, warehouses and a convenience store with gas station and car wash. Land properties range from smaller commercial development land to 137+/- acre agricultural land.

“Whether you are a developer or investor looking for great opportunities in the Atlanta area or a first time buyer still seeking to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, the FDIC sale can accommodate every need,” said Craig King, president & CEO of J.P. King Auction Company.

Property locations include the Atlanta city limits and surrounding cities such as Hampton, Convington, Athens, Alpharetta, Greensboro, McDonough and other areas covering much of North Georgia.

Properties will be open for inspection at designated times during the weeks leading up to the auction, which will be posted on www.jpking.com. Individuals interested in information about the upcoming auction may contact J.P. King’s Asset Auctions Division at 800.558.5464 or visit the company’s Web site. Online bidding will be available and interested participants can visit the Web site for additional information. A $1,000 per property registration fee is required via cashier’s check.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta Receives $3.5 Million Grant to Support Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Efforts

/PRNewswire/ -- Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta today announced that it has received a $3.5 million grant to support its national foreclosure prevention counseling efforts in several metropolitan areas. The much-needed boost will enable CCCS of Greater Atlanta to provide more foreclosure counseling than ever before to homeowners in danger of foreclosure.

"This grant will enable us to help homeowners in metropolitan areas that have been hit hardest by the nation's foreclosure crisis," said Suzanne Boas, president of CCCS of Greater Atlanta. "At no cost to the homeowner, counseling provides people with information and resources to help them avoid foreclosure. This is most effective when they reach out for help shortly after they become delinquent on their mortgage payments. We hope people concerned about foreclosure will call us for assistance at 800-251-2227."

Funds from this grant will enable CCCS of Greater Atlanta to conduct 18,400 foreclosure prevention counseling sessions. Based on the agency's historic client distribution, the 10 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) that will benefit most from the grant are: Atlanta, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, New York/Northern New Jersey, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Chicago, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif., and Phoenix.

The grant to support CCCS of Greater Atlanta's foreclosure intervention efforts was provided by funds from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. The initial funding was provided by Congress in the fiscal 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Additional funding was provided through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009.

The National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program is administered through a competitive application process by NeighborWorks® America, within guidelines defined by Congressional legislation. NeighborWorks America is an independent, Congressionally-chartered non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., with a mission to provide access to sustainable homeownership and safe, affordable rental housing.

The $3.5 million grant is the highest amount awarded to any single organization by NeighborWorks America. Four other nonprofit housing organizations also received $3.5 million.

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Mortgage Programs Fall Short in Keeping Homeowners out of Foreclosure

Economists debate whether or not the country is actually currently in a recession. Some say that there are positive signs that we have reached the bottom and the economy is turning around. Others, however, suggest that the country still has a long way to go and it may be years yet before we truly reach financial recovery. Regardless of who is right though, one thing is clear: many people are facing significant financial hardships and need help now.

For many, the place they need the most help is keeping their homes out of foreclosure. The sub-prime mortgage disaster has left many people unable to make their monthly payments and facing the prospect of losing their homes.

In an effort to prevent the national economy from worsening and help alleviate some of the suffering felt by homeowners, the Obama Administration introduced the "Making Homes Affordable" plan last March. So far, however, the plan has failed to have the effect the Administration claimed it would, reaching far fewer homeowners than the millions promised.

Federal Programs to Refinance and Restructure Mortgages

Making Homes Affordable created two programs meant to help homeowners keep their homes out of foreclosure by either refinancing or restructuring their home loan debt.

The first program, the Home Affordable Refinance Program(HARP), is meant to help those homeowners who want to refinance their mortgages, but are unable to secure traditional refinancing because their home has lost value in the depressed market. HARP is only open to homeowners who have their loans owned or guaranteed by the government-run Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Additionally, refinancing through HARP will not lower or otherwise impact the principal owed on the loan.

Other eligibility requirements of the refinancing program include:
-Homeowners must be current on their mortgage payments
-Homeowners cannot have been more than 30 days late on a payment within the last 12 months
-The amount owed on the first mortgage cannot be more than 125% of the current market value of the home
-The homeowner must be able to demonstrate a reasonable ability to pay the refinanced amount

The second program, the Home Affordable Modification Program(HAMP), applies to homeowners who are delinquent in the mortgage payments and either in foreclosure or facing the immediate threat of foreclosure. Once a homeowner's application is in review for the program, any foreclosure proceedings against him or her must be stayed until an eligibility decision is made.

To be eligible for HAMP, homeowners must demonstrate a financial hardship that makes it impossible for them to meet their mortgage obligations. This financial hardship may include things like unemployment and medical expenses. Some of the other qualifications homeowners must meet include:
-The unpaid principal balance on a single home cannot be more than $729,000
-The monthly mortgage payment must be more than 31% of the homeowner's monthly pre-tax income
-The first mortgage on the home must have originated on or after January 1, 2009
-The home must be the primary residence

If the homeowner has more than one mortgage lien on the property, only the first mortgage is eligible for modification under the program.

Criticisms of the Federal Programs

Even as the federal government continues to laud the successes of its Making Homes Affordable programs, those who have sought acceptance into either program are telling a different story. Some of the chief criticisms of the federal mortgage programs include:
- The programs are not helping as many people as the Administration claimed they would. According to reports, only 6% of the 4 million eligible homeowners are participating in the refinancing or restructuring programs. As of September, 88% of the 1 million ARM mortgages had not been modified or refinanced. Only 575,000 homeowners have been offered a trial program and of those, only 360,000 currently are underway.
- The programs only are mandatory for federal lenders and not private ones. Right now, private lenders like Bank of America and Citigroup are not required to participate in either program. Given that private lenders hold 85% of the 14 million mortgages in the country, their participation is necessary to offer any real relief.
- Voluntary involvement by private lenders is limited. Even though the federal government is pushing private lenders to become more involved - and giving them bail-out money as an incentive - the participation rates by private banks and other lenders are still low. Recent reports put JP Morgan Chase at the top of the list, having enrolled 20% of its eligible customers in the federal program. Wells Fargo and Bank of America round-out the bottom of the list with 6% and 4% respective enrollment.
- The process itself is difficult for homeowners. When homeowners are deemed eligible to participate in the program, they are buried under paperwork and may be forced to wait months before they obtain final approval. Many private lenders do not have the resources or personnel to handle the onslaught of requests, leading to lost documents, duplicate requests and long waits. The process is confusing at best, making it not worth the hassle for some frustrated homeowners.
- The programs do not offer relief to those who need it most.Arguably the biggest problem with the program is that it fails to help those in the worst financial straits. Homeowners behind in their payments are not eligible for the refinancing option. Those who qualify for the restructuring option must be able to make three payments on-time during the trial period in order to secure final approval for the restructured mortgage. If they fail to do so, they are dropped from the trial program and their home is subject to foreclosure. It stands to reason that an option should be made available for those in the worst financial conditions who cannot meet the eligibility requirements for either program.

Conclusion

People who have found themselves behind on their mortgages and facing foreclosure have other options besides seeking participation in one of the federally-sponsored Making Homes Affordable programs. Lenders have created their own refinancing and restructuring programs for many homeowners. If a bank program is not an option, homeowners may be able to keep their home out of foreclosure by negotiating a private settlement with the lender or filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.

Even though the unemployment and foreclosure numbers in Louisiana are considered moderate when compared to other states, this does not mean people in the state are not suffering from the economic downturn. According to the Louisiana Economic Vital statistics, foreclosures in Louisiana increased by 46% in August 2009 over the prior month. For more information on your legal options to reduce debt, contact an experienced attorney.

Article provided by Grand Law Firm
Visit us at www.grandlawfirm.com

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Valerie Levin Promoted to Recruiting Director at Prudential Georgia Realty

Real estate professional Valerie Levin has just been promoted to senior recruiting director at Prudential Georgia Realty. With the firm since the start of 2007, she previously served as assistant broker and part-time recruiter at the firm’s Midtown office. Levin will continue to be based out of the Midtown location on Peachtree Street, but will oversee agent recruitment around metro Atlanta for Prudential’s nearly two dozen branch offices.

Possessing more than 20 years real estate sales and management experience, Valerie also has experience as a legal headhunter. She plans to put this experience and her knowledge of the Atlanta real estate market to good use in the continued expansion of Prudential Georgia Realty’s 1,200-agent sales team.

“My plan is to focus on seasoned talent who are serious about their business, but are not being given the numerous technology, training and agent support tools offered by Prudential,” said Valerie Levin. Her vision also includes creating enough need to add two additional recruiters under her by the end of 2010.

Valerie got her start in the real estate industry by making prospecting calls for a top producer in real estate while working her way through college. She quickly got the real estate bug and never looked back. “Real estate is and always will be a wonderful career for self-motivated individuals. Regardless, of what you may hear in the media, if you have good support as we do at Prudential and are willing to put in the time prospecting and networking, you will be a success!”

Valerie is a member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, where she is a life member of the board’s Million Dollar Club for high annual sales production, the Georgia Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She earned her broker’s license in 1989, her Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) designation and invested her time and money in a personal business coaching program with the well-known Mike Ferry organization. “Prudential has their own business coach for their agents and all it costs the agents is their willingness to be held accountable. Quite progressive thinking,” says Levin.

“Prudential is committed to maintaining and expanding its sales team with the best agents in metro Atlanta. Right now, we are probably one of very few real estate firms in the area, if not the only real estate company, to commit to having a full-time recruiting director,” said Prudential Georgia Realty President and CEO Dan Forsman.

For more information about becoming an agent at Prudential Georgia Realty, visit www.PrudentialGA.com to learn about the complete menu of agent services, the firm’s DreamBuilder and TeamBuilder programs and the numerous ways the firm is at the forefront of technology in the region. To contact Senior Recruiting Director Valerie Levin for a confidential career consultation, call her directly at 404-879-7009 or e-mail vlevin@PrudentialGeorgia.com.

Prudential Georgia Realty is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, a full-service residential and commercial real estate network with offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ranked by Real Estate Magazine as one of the top 100 real estate companies in the U.S., Prudential Georgia Realty placed 43rd for most 2008 sales in the real estate trade magazine’s 2009 Power Broker Report. It is the 12th largest Prudential real estate affiliate in North America.

Prudential Georgia Realty recently became the first large brokerage company in the nation to win the Realtor.com Online Marketing Award of Excellence. For five consecutive years, the Atlanta-based firm has been honored with a Consumers’ Choice Award as Best in Class for Executive Home Sales in metro Atlanta. Prudential Georgia Realty annually has real estate sales well in excess of $1.5 billion and just completed its 45th year serving metro Atlanta. Search all available properties including Atlanta new homes and Atlanta foreclosures at PrudentialGA.com.

To learn more about the state of the Atlanta real estate market, visit www.atlantarealestate2009.com to view a quarterly-updated, information-filled video by Prudential Georgia Realty President and CEO Dan Forsman with local housing market outlook details.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

J. P. King Auction Company to Sell Historic Thomasville Georgia Plantation at Real Estate Auction

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Historic Coalson Plantation in Thomasville, Ga., will sell at real estate auction on-site on Thursday, October 8 at 1 p.m. J. P. King Auction Company, the nation’s leading real estate auction company specializing in high-value properties, is managing the auction of the plantation. The Coalson Plantation will sell to the highest bidder.

“The Coalson Plantation has an authentic Southern Charm that truly takes its visitors back to an era gone by,” said Craig King, president & CEO of J. P. King Auction Company. “The historic plantation has 33 guest rooms with 35 full bathrooms and 13 half bathrooms, making it a prime candidate for a resort in renowned Thomasville.”

The historic mansion is located on 37+/- acres and was originally constructed in the 1800’s. The property features all of the luxury amenities of an elite resort including a fitness center, pool house, Showboat Theater, six brick cottages, honeymoon suite, equestrian facility, tennis court, private gardens and a commercial kitchen. The plantation will sell fully furnished including maintenance and workout equipment.

“This historical plantation is a true treasure with all of its different property themes throughout,” said majority owner Jim Steiner. “The property is perfect for entertaining family or corporate retreats. The numerous amenities including the main house, village and Showboat Theatre can easily accommodate a large party and still provide a feeling of quaint intimacy.”

The Plantation features include:

* Main house was originally built in 1825. It has 11 guest suites and includes a commercial kitchen.
* Honeymoon Suite has historic antique columns with 10-foot ceilings. It includes a bathroom with double sinks and double-jetted tub.
* Showboat Theatre was designed to resemble the stage of Broadway’s Showboat Theatre. The Theatre was built in 1934 and hosted the first private screening of Gone with the Wind.
* Village at Coalson is walking distance from the Main House. It is comprised of six brick cottages with Georgian Revival architecture and includes the Bowden Presidential Suite with wet bar, large-screen television and theatre surrounds system.

Thomasville is known as the City of Roses and famous for its quail hunting. Downtown Thomasville is located only minutes from Coalson Plantation and offers exceptional shopping and dining while remaining only a 30-minute drive to all the sporting and recreational events of Tallahassee, Fla.

For more information about the upcoming auction, individuals may contact J. P. King Auction Co. at 800.558.5464 or visit the company’s Web site at www.jpking.com.

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