Monday, February 27, 2012
"A stand-alone unit without piped-in water, a sewer connection, or outside electricity—all for less than 5 cents a day."
To read more about the future of flushing, click here.
To view the diagram, click here.
The implication of this ruling is that appraisers should be mindful of increasing oversight by both Federal and State authorities. More so, Appraisers should be knowledgeable of the USPAP and continually review its interpretations and amendments. To review the USPAP, click here.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Settlement negotiations are in place with the nation’s five (5) largest mortgage servicers to compensate victims of Robosigners. These lenders include Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.
Robosigners are lender representatives that signed several thousand documents without reading and reviewing them for accuracy, creating issues in foreclosure litigation as a result. This practice came to light as a result of the 2008 financial crisis because the number of foreclosures increased greatly as a result.
On the Upside: A portion of the estimated $25 billion settlement will be used to assist homeowners facing foreclosure in participating states. Compensation may also be available to homeowners that fell victim to Robosigning practices. The lenders would also be required to participate in an upgraded procedure for processing foreclosures in order to provide homeowners with greater protection.
On the Downside: After a final settlement, the participating lenders would be protected from future litigation by the participating states. This raises concern to several state Attorney Generals, such as in California and New York’s Eric Schneiderman.
Opponents to the agreement argue that although the number seems large, these lenders are “getting off too easy”.
This opposition is also fueled in part by the concern that there may be other, undiscovered predatory, deceptive, and/or illegal practices in place with these lenders that warrant further investigation and potentially prosecution. Since protection for the participating lenders is part of the package, this may prevent investigation, prosecution, and protection concerning such ongoing practices.
Likewise, President Obama announced that he anticipates creating a task force which will further investigate lenders’ wrongdoing. If such a task force is created prior to the execution of the settlement agreement, this could result in a failure of the settlement. The lenders are bargaining for protection from further litigation and may not be willing to pay such sums without that promise.
Further, compensation to the victims of foreclosure is limited to a small class of persons damaged within a restricted date range. Homeowners with Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loans will be exempt.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Additionally, the administration will modify the framework of the Making Home Affordable program to offer assistance to an increased target population of homeowners. To accomplish this goal, the Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP) will shift its sole focus on front-end debt-to-income ratio, or the comparison of income to a homeowner's mortgages, taxes and insurance, to also evaluating back-end debt-to-income ratios, or the comparison of income to a homeowner's total debt, including non-real estate related debt. Its interesting that it took the administration so long to shift to this focus because back-end debt-to-income has traditionally been the primary focus of lenders when making a loan. Still further, the program will be extended to income-producing properties, with tenants, as well as vacant properties instead of being limited to owner occupied properties as it currently exists. Lastly, the administration has expanded its incentive offerings to services who offer principal reduction to underwater homeowners.
To read the administration's explanation of its new policies with respect to the Making Home Affordable Program, click here.