Louisville Properties Blog
Louisville Properties Blog

Louisville Properties Blog

Fair Housing Act Remains Relevant for Housing in Louisville and Other Markets

The Fair Housing Act was signed into law 42 years ago this month and is a powerful reminder of the past as well as the challenges of the present and future. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act in April 1968 after a heated debate in Congress. The law came into effect shortly after the Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated. It protects anyone in the United States from discrimination in finding and maintaining housing based on race, color, religion and national origin. In 1974, the law was amended to also include discrimination against gender. In 1988, the law was amended again to protect individuals from housing discrimination based on handicap or disability and family status (defined as the presence of minor children in the family). Some senior citizen complexes are legally exempt from this amendment. This law has been tested repeatedly since its passage, addressing issues such as the "steering" of some home shoppers to certain areas and a process called "redlining," which describes an organization's refusal to provide services to a specific area based on "a particular protected class." The U.S. Supreme Court has also addressed advertising, home appraisals, tax assessments and many other issues over the years under the provisions of the Fair Housing Act. Although this piece of legislation has helped countless homeowners over the last 42 years, when you're looking for the perfect Louisville home for sale, it pays to be discriminating in terms of price, location, features and other attributes. That type of discrimination is perfectly legal and very much encouraged. If you're looking for a Louisville home or real estate in the Louisville area, no one has a better selection than Louisville Properties. Call today at 502.744.9504 to speak to an experienced Louisville realtor. Resource link: http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100412/OPINION02/4120316/Community+Challenge+|+Fair+housing+still+faces+obstacles...

Obama Administration Aims to Provide Foreclosure Prevention for Struggling Homeowners

The Obama administration has launched a new set of initiatives to help struggling homeowners keep their homes and avoid bankruptcy. If successful, more homeowners would be able to stay in their homes, property values would stabilize and the country's deepening foreclosure crisis would bottom out. The administration's first efforts, launched last year, lowered interest rates in order to reduce monthly payments, but did little to address the fact that moderately lower monthly payments offer little assistance for borrowers who have lost their jobs. Critics also said that the Obama administration's initial efforts offered little or nothing for homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages and lack the ability or inclination to keep paying mortgages that exceed the plummeting value of their homes. In addition, critics stated that participation in the original plan was mostly voluntary with some incentives offered to lenders to join, but lenders were not compelled to work with homeowners. The new plan includes the following:
  • Assistance for borrowers who are underwater and/or unemployed
  • If the borrower has no job, participating lenders will be required to help in some cases
  • Borrowers who are receiving unemployment benefits will have their payments lowered to no more than 31 percent of their income, and lenders will be required to participate
  • Any unpaid amounts will be added to the loan's principal and will be repaid later
  • Other measures
If you're struggling to find the right Louisville homes for sale or Louisville real estate agent, call Louisville Properties today at 502.744.9504. No one has a better selection of residential and commercial Louisville real estate, and if you're selling your home in the Louisville area, money-saving flat-fee brokerage services are offered. To speak with an experienced Louisville real estate agent, call 502.744.9504 today. Resource Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/opinion/05mon1.html?th&emc=th...

HUD Investigating 'Admin Fees'

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has recently issued a ruling that any charges in addition to a real estate agent's commission are illegal if no extra services are provided. In recent years, some real estate agents and brokers have been adding extra fees to their commissions to generate more revenue. In most cases, no extra work or services were provided, and these fees were called a variety of names such as processing charges, convenience charges and others. The fees were charged to both sellers and buyers at closings. Fees charged by a brokerage firm in Alabama involving around 30,000 transactions led to the HUD ruling, but the agency and the National Association of Realtors warned real estate professionals across the country not to tack on extra fees for work not performed. Until this ruling, HUD did not provide any detailed guidelines about what charges are legal in the real estate industry. HUD general counsel Helen R. Kanovsky summed up the new ruling concisely. She said that federal law does not govern how much real estate brokers can charge their clients for their services, but it does govern how brokers and real estate agents disclose their compensation to their clients. Brokers' and agents' commissions may be expressed by "using a flat fee, a percentage of the sales price, or a combination" of the two. It is unfortunate that some real estate brokers have taken advantage of their clients and charged them for services that they did not deliver. However, if you're looking for an honest flat-fee Louisville real estate broker who will be happy to explain services and the fees for them, call Louisville Properties today at 502.744.9504. This Louisville discount brokerage has many years of experience helping clients and has earned a reputation for being honest and dependable. Resource Link: http://www.latimes.com/business/custom/yourmoney/la-fi-harney21-2010mar21,0,2521592.story...

Some Lenders Taking a Proactive, Helpful Approach with Delinquent Borrowers

Struggling homeowners who are late on their payments and don't answer the door or their phones are a sadly familiar situation for lenders who genuinely wish to help them keep their homes. Despite many attempts to help them refinance their mortgages, many homeowners are unable to act due to fear and/or embarrassment and other factors. Some lenders are going well out of their way to help homeowners keep their homes. They are hiring credit collection agencies not to harass homeowners for payment, but to literally knock on their doors to help them pursue alternatives to foreclosure. Loss mitigation firms are exploring new ways to get embarrassed mortgage holders to talk to their creditors in order to stem the tide of foreclosures that are devastating many communities. They have sent gas cards that they can only activate by calling their lenders and have employed other innovative methods to persuade people to overcome their shame and work with lenders while they still can. These firms understand what they are up against and say that while many troubled borrowers won't answer their doors or phones, some understand that they need to do something to help themselves. One credit counselor summed up the troubled borrowers mindset succinctly. She said, "It's a scary and confusing period" for troubled borrowers. "They're just not thinking as clearly as normal. Some are embarrassed, some are very angry." It is very important that these people receive the help that they need to remain in their homes. If you need help finding Louisville homes for sale, contact the experienced Louisville real estate agent at Louisville Properties today. No one else has a better selection of commercial and residential Louisville real estate, and he can help you find the perfect property for your needs now and in the future. Call today at 502.744.9504. Resource Link: http://www.latimes.com/business/custom/yourmoney/la-fi-lew28-2010mar28,0,7294195.story...

Some Homeowners Struggle with the Reality of Repeated Home Foreclosures

The loss of one's home to foreclosure can be devastating, and millions of Americans are intimately familiar with this kind of financial and emotional trauma. A Southern California couple is facing their third foreclosure in the past year. The couple, who lost two homes to foreclosure in March 2010, has been forced to declare bankruptcy, and is fighting to stay in their current home. The nation's foreclosure crisis has hit the Los Angeles metropolitan area especially hard as improper lending practices made it easy for people to take on mortgages that they couldn't afford. Other metro areas hit hard by foreclosures in the last couple of years include the Phoenix and Las Vegas housing markets. Once a rarity, multiple foreclosures have become much more common as people with easy access to credit bought multiple homes when property values showed no signs of slowing down. Lax lending standards allowed lots of people to get into the real estate investing business, and when the music stopped, they were left upside-down on homes that they bought for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The couple struggling to keep their only remaining home says that they would not have had the foreclosures or the bankruptcy had their health and the economy not taken a turn for the worse. Bad luck, a workplace accident for him, a pedestrian accident for her and a souring economy created a lethal financial tsunami for the couple, and their future is far from certain. This couple's situation is far from unique. Many couples, single parents and singles are fighting to keep up with their mortgage payments. If you're looking for a smaller, more financially manageable home for sale in Louisville or the surrounding area, contact a Louisville realtor at Louisville Properties today by calling 502.744.9504. Resource Link: http://www.latimes.com/business/custom/yourmoney/la-fi-cover-foreclose21-2010mar21,0,3077981.story?page=2...

New Government Program Seeks to Help Struggling Homeowners

The federal government has created more programs to help struggling homeowners keep their homes. The government has to walk a tightrope of sorts to help homeowners having problems making their mortgage payments while ensuring that homeowners who are struggling but continue to make their mortgage payments on time don't become angry. The new programs are designed to help the more than seven million households that are behind on their mortgage payments as well as the 11 million who are upside-down on their mortgages or owe more than their homes are worth. White House officials say that if the plans work as intended, struggling homeowners will be able to keep their homes through payments they can afford with mortgages that more closely resemble current market values. If successful, the programs would significantly reduce foreclosures and stabilize housing markets across the country. "We're walking that delicate balance to make sure these solutions are sustainable and not temporary," said David H. Stevens, Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. However, if the bold plan does not achieve its goals, it could result in embarrassment for the Obama administration and make them devise another plan to accomplish the same goals again in a year or less. Critics say that the programs lack any teeth as none of them has the force of law, and lenders say that they have no good reasons to participate in the programs. While the effectiveness of these programs may be in doubt, if you're looking for residential or commercial Louisville real estate, there's no doubt about who has the best selection and service in the area. Louisville Properties has the experience to exceed clients' expectations. Call today at 502.744.9504. Resource Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/business/27modify.html?scp=1&sq=Administration%20Plans%20Program%20to%20Cut%20Mortgage%20Debt%20of%20Troubled%20Borrowers&st=cse...

Bank of America Reduces Mortgage Balances

It comes much too late for many people who have lost their homes in foreclosure, but is welcome news for many homeowners struggling to hold onto their homes. Bank of America announced recently that it has started to forgive some mortgage debt to help stressed homeowners keep their homes and avoid bankruptcy. If Bank of America is your mortgage lender, don't pick up the phone yet because participation in the program is by invitation only. The Obama administration and Congress have been urging lenders to loosen lending to stimulate the economy and provide a much-needed lifeline to prospective homebuyers who are having difficulty getting home financing. It remains to be seen whether the BoA program will inspire other lenders to launch similar programs to help distressed homeowners. After a brief surge in home sales last summer and fall largely attributed to the government's popular homebuyer tax credit program, home sales and selling prices are down again in most markets across the country. The new program has angered many homeowners who have kept up with their payments and have been trying to refinance their mortgages to save money, but have had little success due to tight lending practices. The timing of BoA's announcement just happened to coincide with the news that it had reached a settlement with the State of Massachusetts over predatory lending claims. While Bank of America's reputation may be bruised, if you're looking for homes for sale in Louisville, Louisville Properties has an excellent reputation for good business practices and exceptional customer service. This Louisville realtor has been helping people buy and sell homes, commercial real estate and other properties in the area for years. To speak with Jim Powell, an experienced Louisville real estate agent, call him today at 502.744.9504. Resource Links: http://www.latimes.com/business/custom/yourmoney/la-fi-harney28-2010mar28,0,26637.story http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/business/25housing.html?th&emc=th...

Short Sales Offer Options for Distressed Homeowners

Homeowners who have lost their jobs or are suffering other types of economic distress may be thinking foreclosure is the only option. However, short sales have become hot over the last year or so, and there is every indication that they will become even hotter in the coming months when the federal government begins providing incentives to lenders to close short sales. "Banks have ramped up short sale approvals," said one spokesman for a company that connects short sellers with buyers. "They're hiring a lot of the people who once worked in the mortgage-lending industry and moved them over to short sales." A short sale is a financial arrangement where a lender allows a homeowner to sell a home for less than he or she owes on it. It works for homeowners because they can get out from under that debt obligation. It's an attractive option for lenders for these reasons:
  • Even though they take a loss, they can get much more of the investment back than they would in foreclosure
  • If the home goes into foreclosure, they assume ownership of the home and have to deal with their loss on the mortgage and taxes, maintenance and other costs
  • If the home goes into foreclosure, many foreclosures sit on the market for months or more and can be vandalized, stripped of plumbing fixtures, etc.
  • It is much better to facilitate the transition from one owner to another so the house doesn't sit vacant and depreciate
Short sales have gained in popularity recently and accounted for 17 percent of all residential real estate sales in February 2010. If you're looking for Louisville homes for sale, but want a great deal, you may wish to consider buying a short sale home. For more information and the area's best selection of Louisville real estate, call Louisville Properties at 502.744.9504 today. Resource Link: http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/29/real_estate/short_sale_explosion/index.htm...
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