A good rental history can help borrowers

Buying a home is a massive decision and includes multiple, long-term financial and lifestyle obligations. The average person spends around 1/3 of their income on their home. You’ll still need to do the work to make sure your personal finances and holistic life picture are also in alignment before you buy, as well of the work it takes to ensure that your real estate and mortgage decisions are sustainable and smart, over the long-term. A good Buyer’s Agent is invaluable to a Buyer, and can be the difference between a wonderful transaction, and a nightmare. Here is an interesting article worth a few minutes of your time:



The New York Times

A good rental history can help borrowers
First-time home buyers planning to purchase a house later this year may have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage if they have had a history of paying their rent on time.

Making sense of the story

Last year, credit-reporting agency Experian added a section to millions of credit reports showing on-time rent payments and raised the credit scores of many people. The company said that this year it would add in negative marks, including mentions of bounced checks or of tenants’ leaving before a lease was up.
Incorporating rental payments into credit scores could affect millions of people who have not established credit histories through credit cards, student loan repayments, and other credit sources.
Almost half of consumers considered “high-risk” experienced an increase of 100 points or more after their positive rental history was added, according to Experian’s rent bureau. Those with average or higher scores did not experience major movement.
Although it is still too early to show the effects of the new credit report, which began in December, the changes are intended to allow lenders and consumers to have greater transparency, according to Corelogic.
People who have lost their homes to foreclosure and are now leasing may be able to rebuild their credit histories by being responsible renters.
However, consumer groups and advocates are skeptical, noting that reports are sometimes riddled with mistakes and some landlord-tenant disputes may be difficult to capture in a credit report. Rent may not have been paid, for example, because the furnace was left unrepaired for months…


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State now allows smoking bans in multifamily housing

Sacramento Bee

State now allows smoking bans in multifamily housing
California landlords who have long had the right to restrict pets, noise, and even water beds in their units, can now prohibit smoking under a new law that took effect Sunday…



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Five issues for housing in 2012

The Wall Street Journal

Five issues for housing in 2012
Just as in 2011, in 2012 many will be trying to figure out where housing is headed. While the housing market didn’t worsen in 2011, it also didn’t stabilize either. This year, the story will be about local markets. While many housing markets rose and fell together, they’re recovering at difference paces so talking about housing on a national level is not beneficial.

Making sense of the story

Confidence and jobs: Housing is more affordable than it has been in decades, but many would-be buyers are worried about buying today if prices are going to be lower tomorrow. Still, others don’t want to buy a house until they have more evidence that they’re not going to get laid off or see their hours cut back.
Foreclosures: Banks and other mortgage investors own around 440,000 foreclosed properties, but there’s another 3.4 million loans in foreclosure or serious delinquency, according to estimates by Barclays Capital. Because banks are faster to cut prices to unload inventory than are traditional sellers, home values can fall further as the share of distressed sales rises.
Rents: If low mortgage rates aren’t enough to give urgency to would-be buyers, rent hikes could accelerate buyers’ decisions to take the plunge.
Mortgage credit and rates: It’s still hard for many buyers to get approved for a mortgage because banks are demanding lots of documentation of borrowers’ incomes.
Regulation: Many analysts don’t expect Congress to make major changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the election year, but several major regulatory changes could significantly reshape the future of the lending landscape in 2012.

Meanwhile, the regulator that oversees Fannie and Freddie is revamping the way that mortgage companies are paid for collecting loan payments. This could lead to a broader shakeup in the mortgage industry that ultimately influences how much borrowers are charged for mortgages and how banks handle loans that fall into delinquency…


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Freddie Mac extends forbearance to unemployed borrowers

Freddie Mac extends forbearance to unemployed borrowers
Freddie Mac is giving mortgage servicers expanded authority to provide six months of forbearance to unemployed borrowers without Freddie Mac’s prior approval and up to an additional six months with prior approval. This means unemployed borrowers may be eligible for up to 12 months of forbearance. Freddie Mac’s forbearance options are being expanded at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and will take effect on Feb. 1.

Delinquent borrowers in an existing short term forbearance plan can be evaluated for an extended forbearance under the new policy.

Previously, Freddie Mac allowed servicers to grant up to three months of forbearance with no payment and without prior approval, or six months at a reduced payment with prior approval. Longer forbearance required prior approval and was generally restricted to events such as natural disasters, permanent disability or long-term medical emergencies…

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Housing Scorecard shows overall outlook mixed

Housing Scorecard shows overall outlook mixed
HUD and the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury released the December edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard this week. Data in the Scorecard show some subtle improvements in the market over the past year, but underscore fragility as the overall outlook remains mixed. For example, new and existing home sales rose compared with the prior month and remain higher than a year ago, and homes are more affordable than they have been since 1971. Median-income families today have nearly double the funds needed to cover the cost of the average home. However, home prices showed a slight dip from the prior month and remain below year ago levels.

The December Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:

More than 5.5 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of November 2011 – including more than 1.7 million HAMP trial modification starts and more than 1.1 million FHA loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions.
Nearly 910,000 homeowners have received a HAMP permanent modification to date, saving an estimated $9.9 billion in monthly mortgage payments. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than 2.6 million proprietary mortgage modifications through November…


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Foreclosure free ride: Three years, no payments

Consumers and specially people that are trying to buy, rent, or refinance their homes; save their homes from foreclosure; or sell their properties might hear some different stories and feel differently about the news and how they might be affected by it. Here is an interesting article worth a few minutes of your time:



Foreclosure free ride: Three years, no payments
Delinquent borrowers facing foreclosure are learning that they can stay in their homes for years, as long as they’re willing to put up a fight…



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Victims sought in Countrywide case

The Wall Street Journal

Victims sought in Countrywide case
The Justice Department faces the daunting task of tracking down more than 210,000 alleged victims and determining how to compensate them, following last week’s $335 million fair-lending settlement with Bank of America Corp.’s Countrywide unit…



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