Thursday, January 21, 2010

Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta Awards $40 Million for Affordable Housing Development

/PRNewswire/ -- Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta) announced today that it will award $40 million to fund 78 affordable housing projects in 10 states as part of its 2009 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) offering.

Local community developers, in partnership with FHLBank Atlanta member institutions, will use $35.8 million of the funds to buy, build, or preserve 3,384 affordable housing units in seven states within FHLBank Atlanta's district including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Partnerships in states outside of the Bank's district including California, Kentucky, and Tennessee will receive funds totaling $4.2 million to develop 513 housing units.

"For the past 20 years, FHLBank Atlanta has provided critical economic stimulus to communities through our Affordable Housing Program," said Richard A. Dorfman, FHLBank Atlanta President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our funding promotes growth and stability by revitalizing neighborhoods, creating jobs, and supporting economic development during these challenging times."

FHLBank Atlanta's AHP awards range from $50,000 to $1 million and will be made in the following states in the Bank's district:

-- Alabama $6,488,184 for 695 units
-- Florida $12,005,499 for 897 units
-- Georgia $7,856,404 for 693 units
-- Maryland $925,000 for 116 units
-- North Carolina $3,578,616 for 397 units
-- South Carolina $2,060,185 for 251 units
-- Virginia $2,855,383 for 335 units



The 2009 AHP funds will be combined with other funding sources to develop more than $514 million of affordable housing. In addition, a portion of this year's AHP is dedicated to alleviating the foreclosure crisis by supporting the reclamation and redevelopment of foreclosed properties.

AHP is a competitive funding program that helps develop owner-occupied and rental housing for very low-to-moderate income families. FHLBank Atlanta awards the funds annually to member financial institutions and their community housing partners. AHP is a component of FHLBank Atlanta's affordable housing, economic development and down-payment assistance initiatives. For the complete list of winners, visit www.fhlbatl.com/ahp.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Murphy Named Dec Individual Agent for Newnan Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty

Bette Murphy has been named December Individual Agent Leader for the Newnan office of Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty. Johnnica Portress was No. 2 and Linda Scott and Marian Hynson were No. 3.

Murphy obtained her real estate license in 1989 and joined Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty in 2003. Since that time she has accumulated many educational credentials that include, Graduate Realtor’s Institute, Cendant Mobility Relocation Specialist, Cendant Mobility Marketing Specialist and Certified Negotiation Specialist. Her awards include life membership in Million Dollar Club and Coldwell Banker’s Diamond Society.Murphy and her husband live in Coweta County and when not selling real estate, she enjoys her three grandsons, gardening and golf.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Landmark Civil Rights Agreement Will Increase Housing Accessibility Across Country

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and its member fair housing organizations in Atlanta, Ga., Melbourne, Fla., and Napa and Marin, Calif., announced a landmark agreement with the A.G. Spanos Companies to increase housing accessibility for people with disabilities. Under the agreement, the nation's fifth largest builder of residential real estate will retrofit properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Texas at an estimated cost of $7.4 million.

The agreement initiates a productive partnership between the Spanos Companies, NFHA, and its member fair housing agencies to make apartments accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs and people with limited mobility. It amicably resolves a lawsuit filed by NFHA and its members against the Spanos Companies under the federal Fair Housing Act's accessibility requirements, and covers 123 properties built since March 1991. The agreement also establishes a $4.2 million national fund to provide retrofitting grants to people with disabilities across the country.

"At our very first meeting, Michael Spanos, Executive Vice President, A.G. Spanos Companies, made it clear that he wanted to be in compliance with the Fair Housing Act," said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of NFHA. "Indeed, the wide-ranging relief described in this agreement is a testament to Mr. Spanos's commitment not only to comply with the Fair Housing Act but to provide comprehensive remedies guaranteed to increase the availability of accessible housing to thousands of people across the country, whether they live in Spanos-built properties or not."

The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988, has required since 1991 that builders, developers and architects design and construct multi-family buildings so that both apartments and common areas such as lobbies, community rooms and recreational areas are accessible to the growing number of Americans with disabilities.

During 2006, NFHA and its members examined Spanos Companies apartment units in California, Florida, and Georgia. In June 2007, NFHA, Metro Fair Housing Services of Atlanta, Ga., The Fair Housing Continuum of Melbourne, Fla., Fair Housing of Marin, Calif., and Fair Housing of Napa Valley, Calif., filed suit in federal district court in San Francisco. Michael Allen, Stephen Dane and Tom Keary of Relman & Dane, PLLC in Washington, D.C., represented the plaintiffs.

The agreement provides for the following:

Retrofit Requirements: The agreement calls for renovations in 82 buildings comprising approximately 12,300 units to make them accessible for people with disabilities. The retrofits will be completed within 36 months.

National Accessibility Fund: Another 41 buildings could not be retrofitted because of structural or topographical complications. To compensate for the lost housing opportunities for people with disabilities, Spanos generously agreed to establish the NFHA Accessibility Fund, to which the company will contribute $4.2 million over five years. NFHA will use the Fund to make grants available to homeowners and renters who require modifications or other assistance in making their homes accessible. NFHA will work with local and national organizations to secure matching funds and donated labor to be able to provide grants to the maximum number of people possible nationwide.

Local Accessibility Funds: Spanos will contribute $750,000 over three years to be used by the five plaintiffs to establish local retrofit funds. Each fair housing center will establish a program to provide grants, directly or through support organizations, to people with disabilities. In addition to the national fund, NFHA will operate a local fund for Washington, D.C., residents.

Building Accessible Housing Coalition: The agreement provides $40,000 to support the creation of an accessibility coalition to be co-chaired by NFHA and Metro Fair Housing Services in Atlanta, Ga. The coalition, including builders, architects, social services providers, medical professionals, city/county planners, fair housing practitioners, and disability advocates, will identify new construction designs and modification needs to help increase the supply of accessible housing nationwide. A report with recommendations will be released by the coalition within 18 months.

National Media Campaign: Spanos generously agreed to support NFHA's A Richer Life multi-media campaign with a $100,000 contribution. NFHA created the first national media campaign to promote inclusive communities as a proactive step to encourage neighbors to welcome people who are different from themselves because of their race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or other personal characteristic. www.aricherlife.org

Damages and Attorney Fees: The agreement also includes $950,000 in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs and $1.325 million in attorneys' fees and litigation costs. The agreement will be monitored over a five year period.

"We are so pleased that Michael Spanos agreed to support a coalition to explore new ways to assist builders and others to meet the needs of people with disabilities. It is important that everyone involved in housing have a seat at the table for this ground-breaking project - including architects, developers, builders and fair housing practitioners as well as disability advocates and agencies providing services to people with disabilities. Most importantly, this project will assist people who need and use accessible housing. Any one of us might need accessible housing during our lifetime and this coalition will look to the future and make recommendations for builders, planners and governments to increase both housing accessibility and affordability for people with disabilities."

-- Foster Corbin, Executive Director of Metro Fair Housing Services of Atlanta, Ga.

"While Mr. Spanos could have relied solely on the National Accessibility Fund to address our needs, instead he thoughtfully agreed to support our local efforts. The local accessibility fund will allow Fair Housing Napa Valley to help disabled veterans, children, and adults overcome housing barriers. Our agency is delighted to collaborate with the Senior Services Program of the Volunteer Center of Napa Valley and Disability Services & Legal Center in Napa to help fund modifications to make housing accessible for their clients. One out of five households in Napa County has at least one person who is disabled. This fund has the potential to make an enormous difference in the lives of Napa County residents."

-- Kathryn Winter, Executive Director of Fair Housing Napa Valley, Calif.

"This agreement marks a major step forward for people with disabilities and we congratulate Michael Spanos on his forward looking attitude. Fair Housing of Marin will be able to help make housing accessible for Marin and Sonoma County residents with disabilities. FHOM will work with two well-regarded disability advocacy groups in our region, Marin Center for Independent Living (MCIL) in Marin County and Disability Services and Legal Center in Sonoma County (DSLC), to administer the accessibility fund. These two groups cover an area of one million residents."

-- Nancy Kenyon, Executive Director of Fair Housing of Marin, Calif.

"This valuable contribution by Mr. Spanos to the local accessibility fund provides the opportunity for The Continuum to partner with local disability organizations to increase accessible housing throughout Central Florida. We hope to double the impact of our partnership with Spanos by requesting matching funds from local organizations and governments. The Continuum hopes this agreement will remind permitting officials and builders across Florida of their Fair Housing Act responsibilities. Building accessible housing from the start will protect the civil rights of those with disabilities and ultimately save hundreds of thousands of dollars."

-- David Baade, Executive Director of Fair Housing Continuum, Inc. of Melbourne, FL

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nearly 200 Foreclosed Homes Head to Auction Block Throughout Southern States

/PRNewswire/ -- Foreclosures continue to dominate the nation's housing market and their discounted price tags are attracting strong interest from homebuyers. Buyers looking for great deals on homes will find them at Hudson & Marshall's auction of nearly 200 bank-owned homes January 11th-16th in cities throughout Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Valued from about $14,000 to $969,000, all the homes come with insurable title, no back taxes or liens. Buyers will be required to make a cash or certified check deposit of $2,500 for each property which they are the winning bidder. Property #810 located in Braselton, Georgia is a six bedroom, six bath home in move-in ready condition valued at $969,000. Another stunning property being auctioned is property #253, a four bedroom, four bath home in Hilton Head, SC last listed at $479,900.

"As the nation's housing market slowly see-saws back toward recovery, homebuyers expect to purchase homes at significant discounts and are often bypassing traditional homes in favor of foreclosures," said Dave Webb, principal Hudson & Marshall. "Buyers particularly like purchasing bank-owned homes through auction because the process is quick and offers a wide selection of choices," added Webb.

According to the National Association of Realtors, both investors and first-time homebuyers are now competing for distressed properties. In November, NAR reported distressed sales increased to 33% of all home sales.

All homes being auctioned by Hudson & Marshall are sold "as-is" and buyers should inspect properties before placing any bids. Properties can be viewed by contacting listing agents to schedule an appointment. Complete property details and additional information may be found at www.hudsonandmarshall.com or by calling 866-539-4172.

Hudson & Marshall will auction the homes on the following dates:

January 11th - Savannah (6 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Holiday Inn Savannah Airport

January 12th - Hilton Head, NC (4 homes) at 11:00 am -- Holiday Inn Hilton Head Island

January 12th - Goldsboro, NC (12 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Holiday Inn Express Goldsboro

January 12th - Wilmington, NC (5 homes) at 1:00 pm -- Hilton Garden Inn Wilmington Mayfaire Town Center

January 13th - Macon (6 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Homewood Suites-Macon North

January 13th - Charlotte (16 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Doubletree Hotel Charlotte Airport

January 13th - Greensboro (12 homes) at 1:00 pm -- Hilton Garden Inn Greensboro

January 13th - Myrtle Beach, SC (6 homes) at 11:00 am -- Hilton Garden Inn Myrtle Beach/Coastal Mall

January 13th - Nashville (8 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Holiday Inn Express-Nashville Airport

January 13th - Memphis (6 homes) at 11:00 am -- Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis Shady Grove

January 13th - Montgomery (8 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Hilton Garden Inn-Montgomery East

January 14th - Birmingham (9 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham/Lakeshore Drive

January 14th - Greenville (7 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Homewood Suites Greenville

January 14th - Asheville (9 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Four Points by Sheraton Asheville Downtown

January 14th - Knoxville (14 homes) at 7:00 pm -- Holiday Inn Knoxville-West

January 15th - Chattanooga (8 homes) at 1:00 pm -- Hampton Inn Chattanooga
January 16th - Atlanta (53 homes) at 1:00 pm -- Atlanta Marriott Northwest


Prior to auction, buyers can purchase property online by visiting the website and clicking on the Bid-Now icon. Sellers typically respond to offers within 24 hours. This is a reserve auction, which means sellers have the right to accept, reject or counter any bid; however, in past auctions conducted by Hudson & Marshall, the majority of offers have been accepted.

Having sold over 80,000 homes for sellers in the past eight years, Hudson & Marshall of Texas, Inc is the most experienced, trusted leader in the REO auction industry. The company's accelerated sales process enables it to swiftly and efficiently sell large volumes of property in a way that minimizes expenses for sellers and maximizes return. Over the past five years alone, Hudson & Marshall's total sales have topped $1.2 billion and the company anticipates selling another 30,000 homes through 2010.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

US Department of Housing and Urban Development Releases Latest Version of Shopping For Your Home Loan

/PRNewswire/ -- In its first revision in over 10 years, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) advises home buyers that it is their responsibility to search for a real estate agent that will represent their interests. In Shopping for Your Home Loan - HUD's Settlement Cost Booklet, HUD states: "If you want someone to represent only your interests, consider hiring an 'exclusive buyer's agent,' who will be working for you."

The National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA) views this as an important element of the new era of home buying.

"'We are pleased to see that the wisdom of having someone in your corner and on your side is being conveyed to Buyers by HUD. Because most real estate agents represent Sellers, HUD emphasizes, and the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents stresses, that it is a Buyer's responsibility to find an agent who will represent their best interests in their real estate transaction," said Benjamin Clark, 2010 President of NAEBA.

Exclusive Buyer Agents (EBA) represent buyers and their interests in real estate transactions. They not only work to get the best price and terms for their buyer clients, they also serve as diligent home buying guides, consultants, and often coaches to ensure that clients achieve their desired outcomes in an efficient way. They offer full buyer representation without the potential for the conflicts of interest that occur when the company representing the buyer also represents the seller. The concept of a buyer's agent arose in the mid-1990s as real estate buyers sought to have agents that would represent only their interests and level a playing field that previously favored sellers.

Working with an EBA offers more than a dedicated representative. Data validates that buyers actually get better results. An EBA promises to work toward a better price and terms for buyers. A study conducted by Chandler & Chandler confirms that property purchased through an alliance with an EBA shows a 67% greater appreciation in value. Additionally, a survey conducted by the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA) found that among survey respondents, there were only 15 foreclosures out of 1,849 closings. That represents a foreclosure rate of just 0.8%, compared to the nationwide rate of 1.84% in 2008.

NAEBA views HUD's advice to consider an exclusive buyer agent as very timely given current market conditions. Clark agrees, "We are encouraged by an increased movement among consumers to seek out Exclusive Buyer Agents. Working on behalf of buyers is extremely rewarding. Consumers who hire an Exclusive Buyer Agent find that the whole process is more enjoyable because of the incredible trust between the buyer and their agent that doesn't always exist in the traditional buyer/agent relationship."

You can download a free copy of the new HUD booklet at: http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/documents/Settlement%20Booklet%20 December%2015%20REVISED.pdf

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