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The Check Is In The Mail

That’s the word out of Washington this week to victims of some of the worst foreclosure fraud in the country.  A handful of people will get $125,000, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. But most who receive checks won’t get anywhere near enough to fairly compensate them for the plethora of fraudulent foreclosures and predatory lending practices at the hands the nation’s largest lenders. Remember, this settlement involved only those in foreclosure in 2009 and 2010 with loans serviced by 13 lenders who signed a settlement with the federal government. Regardless of whether you receive a check, you’re still...

Banks Make Bad Neighbors

Recent news reports say Palm Beach County has 25,702 homes that are empty, bank-owned, but not on the market. The so-called shadow inventory is 78 percent higher than it was during the first quarter of 2012, according to RealtyTrac. Banks are holding the properties off the market so they won’t have to record their real value on the books when the sale is considerably lower than the recorded mortgage.  But banks are not good neighbors. Reasons to care if your neighbor is struggling: Unpaid taxes, unpaid HOA fees. Reasons to care if your neighbor’s house is part of the shadow inventory: Unpaid taxes, unpaid HOA fees, unkempt yard, vandalism, potential squatters. It is in everyone’s...

Foreclosures May Ease Shortage Of Homes For Sale

More than 56,000 homes in Palm Beach and Broward counties make up a so-called shadow inventory – properties in some stage of foreclosure that have yet to hit the market, according to RealtyTrac Inc. That's an increase of 55 percent from a year ago and offers hope to prospective buyers frustrated by a persistent shortage of homes for sale. Local Realtor boards say listings have dropped by about half from last year at this time. "Every day, I look to see what homes come on the market, but I haven't found one I like," said Ryan Bivens, 33, a Broward resident who works for an aviation parts manufacturer. "The good ones get contracts within a day. I want to be in something as soon as...

Foreclosure Cases Slow Road Is A Good Example Of “Justice Denied.”

There’s an adage that says “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.”  That is absolutely applicable to defendants in foreclosure courts whose cases are sound based on the rules of law but who fall victim to the prejudicial belief in society and our courts that the lenders must be right because if borrowers simply would pay their bills they wouldn’t be in foreclosure. A Feb. 13th story in the Daily Business Review says that foreclosure cases have been pushed through the court system like a clog through a drain, and many now await rulings in the appellate courts, often because of decisions that ignore the rule of law. In Florida’s race to rid itself of the foreclosure backlog, courts...

Affordable Housing Once Again Unaffordable As Wealthy Investors Become Landlords

At the height of the housing bubble, communities across South Florida worried about how its workers – its teachers, clerks and truck drivers – would find housing they could afford. How ironic that the same problem exists today for earners with limited income. But just as the high real estate prices that squeezed people out during the boom were based on abnormal market conditions, so too might be today’s squeeze where every affordable home is being snapped up not by first-time homebuyers or lower-income earners, but by investors. A report by Bloomberg News tells how JPMorgan Chase & Co. is giving its wealthiest clients a chance to invest in the single-family rental market. The...

Where’s The Milk From The Foreclosure Cash Cow?

For most people, the closest they ever get to a courtroom is traffic court. South Florida’s foreclosure courtrooms operate very similar to traffic court, with each case getting its few minutes before a judge, a whirlwind of quick motions and quicker decisions. And yet they’re dealing with dispensing justice for what is most families’ most significant asset. The speed is necessary, some say, because of the backlog of foreclosure cases. They clog the courts, devour resources, and must be eliminated. Certainly that appears to be the mindset of State Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and her supporters who continue to push for changes to Florida’s foreclosure laws. Problem is, the...

HB 87 – The Panacea Florida Foreclosure Bill

For the third time in three years, a bill has been filed in Tallahassee to change the rules governing foreclosures in Florida. Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a Republican from Naples, once again is proposing the legislation as a remedy to the backlog of foreclosure cases in Florida. The Palm Beach Post’s Rhonda Swan wrote in an editorial that ran Tuesday, Jan. 15, that the legislation should undergo scrutiny. That’s an understatement. Once again, advocates for homeowners are skeptical that the bill will do anything to help homeowners. During last year’s legislative session, the bill sparked protests outside the state capitol and here in West Palm Beach. The bill’s authors and supporters...

New Florida Bill Would Speed Up Foreclosure Process – Benefit Who?

The Miami Herald is reporting that for the third year in a row, a bill has been filed in Tallahassee to speed up Florida’s foreclosure process. Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, filed the bill last week. Not surprisingly, it immediately drew immediate outcry from consumers. The Herald quotes Passidomo as saying the process needs to be efficient while giving borrowers their due process rights. As foreclosure filings jumped 20 percent in the last year and Florida ranks first among all states or its foreclosure rate, predictions are that banks are beginning to rev up their foreclosure machines again after a two-year lull. Much has been written about Florida’s slow foreclosure system,...

Federal Government Seeks Solutions To Underwater Mortgages

According to Bloomberg News, the Obama administration, along with several members of Congress, is looking for ways to help additional homeowners who are underwater in their mortgages – even if they’re not behind on payments. The Dec. 17th article says a program being considered by the Treasury Department for owners of loans that were packaged into securities would provide government funds to pay the difference between a new interest rate and the original rate for five years in an effort to overcome investors’ objections to mortgage modifications. Borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments and who owe at least 25 percent more than the property is worth would be eligible,...
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