Smoke-Free Housing Tools from HUD

The Housing and Urban Development Department of the United States of America along with the United States department of Health and Human Services and health advocates has unveiled a series of tools for making HUD homes smoke free. The tool kits which were developed by Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control of HUD in conjunction with other agencies are designed to make home owners and home managers more aware with regard to smoke free housing policies for HUD homes.

While these initiatives from HUD are bound to improve the quality of HUD homes, they will also end up making cheap homes more attractive to potential buyers as they would be buying homes that will automatically give them healthier lifestyles. These tool kits are easy enough to be used by all types of people involved with homes such as multifamily housing managers, individual residents and even public housing agencies. In fact, there are specific tool kits for different types of people such as tool kits for owners and for residents.

Some basic aspects of these tool kits include an information based guide focusing on no smoking policies, resident survey templates, home smoke free pledge kits and a series of other highly relevant educational material that can be used to make HUD homes a better place to live in.

High Bank Foreclosures in Rhode Island: Despite Millions in Aid Available

Unemployment, horrible housing market and economic hardship is no longer breaking news, even in hard hit areas such as Rhode Island. What may shock you however is the fact that there are millions of dollars in financial aid for homeowners at risk for foreclosures that is not being spent! Rhode Island foreclosures are the highest in New England and one of the highest in the United States as well.

Rhode Island has access to $79 million dollars in aid for struggling homeowners, of which only $25 million has been allocated. The state and several other “hardest hit” areas have received federal aid but Rhode Island seems to be slower than most at dispensing the funds.

With high bank foreclosures in Rhode Island coupled with a nearly 11% unemployment rate, you may be wondering why more people are not receiving this much needed aid. There are several factors at play apparently, including the reticence of some to accept government help. Apparently, the main hold up is a slow roll out of the program and very little information in the general public.

There is also the reluctance of national lenders to work within the guidelines of the program in Rhode Island, citing issues with operational details throughout the 19 different jurisdictions.

Rhode Island has struggled to put the hardest hit funds to good use, as have several other recipient states. Each state had to build programs from scratch that would utilize the money appropriately. Thankfully, the tide appears to be turning and more homeowners will be able to save their homes in the coming years. Requests for assistance are up approximately 40% and the funds will be available through 2017.

The Queen of Versailles: Naivetee, arrogance, or both?

A house that is ready to be foreclosed upon, a family whose idea of economy is taking a super stretch limo to McDonalds and hanging on to the solid gold purse while not paying the staff enough money and working them longer hours, you have to wonder how in the world this billionaire became a billionaire and why his children and wife seem to have the business sense of a retriever.

90 thousand square feet will soon be up for grabs when the threatened bank foreclosures take hold of the Siegel family home, or a short sale is arranged to avoid one. Back in 2012, with the house still under construction and billed as one of the largest homes in the United States, the Siegels had not grasped the fact that their reign was soon coming to an end. In a world where bank foreclosures and short sales are part and parcel of everyday life to many Americans, the Siegels were living in their own little dream world.

David is generally portrayed in the media as a study in hubris, telling the world that he was nearly “singlehandedly” responsible for putting George W. Bush in the White House. Nowadays his wife Jackie, in an attempt to save money, takes a stretch limousine to McDonalds to purchase a meal.

When asked questions about the remainder of the world and how they are having to tighten their belts to make ends meet, the Siegels respond “Let them eat cake.”

If you believe the portrayal of this family in the upcoming “Queen of Versailles” documentary, this is a family that loses multiple pets because they’ve lost track of them and/or forgotten to feed them, while dog feces is often deposited unceremoniously about the floor on costly rugs. It is a study in contradictions.

Today, rather than cake, the Siegels order dollar menu items from a stretch limo and hang on to the trappings of wealth, while trying to sell their home for more than 75 million–a home which is not yet completed.

The world looks in awe at the the lifestyles of people like the Siegels, while those who are a bit more practical can find in this story much cause to be amused and saddened.

You can see a gallery of over 100 photos of the Versailles project here.

Investors and home buyers eager to buy bank foreclosures

The demand for bank foreclosures is basically tripling among all home buyers in the U.S., according to recently released information. Realtor.com recently released a poll that confirmed this information. The bottom line of this new information is highly interesting, as it essentially verifies that the once-dominant shame of purchasing bank foreclosures as residences has strongly dissipated.

Based upon information from Realtor.com, we realize for a fact that the interest among homebuyers for foreclosures actually skyrocketed a whopping 159 percent since just October of 2009. If you look at it in the right context, it is almost surprising just how many of today’s homebuyers are really serious about purchasing bank foreclosures. Greater than 66 percent of the homebuyers of today have asserted, according to the Realtor.com poll, that they would be more than happy to purchase a foreclosure. This is extremely significant when you compare the attitudes of homebuyers of today to the attitudes of the homebuyers from just two-and-a-half years ago, back when only a little bit more than a quarter of all the homebuyers said they would be open to purchasing foreclosures!

It turns out that there are quite a few varied reasons for this surprising and growing interest in the purchase of bank foreclosures (which should obviously help grow the foreclosure listings, too). First, there is just a lessening of the supply. Second, there is the expectation that the prices of homes are going to increase in the near future. Finally, there is also the change in the attitude toward bank foreclosures. This change in attitude is especially prevalent among the owner/occupant set.

It is also interesting to note a recent blog post that has appeared on the authoritative RealtyStore.com website. In this post, it is explained that a possible increase in foreclosures is actually a good thing for the real estate market, as these increased foreclosures are actually required medicine to help the market recover in the long term!

People who are searching for bank foreclosures - and there are more and more who are searching for them - should consult RealtyStore. As it stands, it is the premier website that helps folks search for and find the foreclosure of their dreams, as well as any bargain homes that will also pop up on the site. The advantage with searching for homes on the RealtyStore.com website is that one can easily find all sorts of bank foreclosures all across the nation.

Buy your college kid a condo

Over four years, college students (or their parents) can expect to end up paying in excess of $10,000 for room and board alone. A much better option is to purchase a small property near campus.

It’s often possible to find affordable housing near campus that can be purchased and used instead of campus housing. Here are some of the advantages to purchasing rather than paying for campus living or renting an apartment:

Potential return on investment

With the real estate market beginning to rebound, purchasing a home or condo in the area can prove to be a great investment. You’ll often find mortgages cheaper than average room and board, which will help you save money. Home ownership also offers great tax advantages that can help you save money too. And since properties near campus are easy to rent out, you can easily turn this into an income property once your kid graduates.

More stability for the student

Think about the lessened anxiety for the student. No longer having to run around looking for places to rent, no longer being tied to the institution for housing needs. There’s also the added bonus in the maturity, accountability and investment savvy that your kid will acquire, especially if you make him/her a partner in the upkeep and finances related to the property.

Where to find cheap homes near campus

Your local paper, school directories, craigslist, the classifieds, realtor.com are all good sources of info on cheap homes near campus. But we recommend you subscribe to RealtyStore.com using their special offer for students and military personnel – for just $5 per month, you’ll be able to search for bargain homes (foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, lease-options, fsbo’s, tax sales, and more) across the whole state of your choice.

Taking the “Distress” out of Saving Your Home

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has homes that it financially “backs up” called HUD homes. These special homes are foreclosed homes listed on foreclosure listings and are one step away from being taken away from one family and put up on the market. This sounds simple, but it is also very heartbreaking. A family works very hard and in the end, they lose their home anyway. That can be devastating, especially if that family has had that home for perhaps generations. How would anyone feel if they work one or two jobs and still cannot meet that big mortgage payment, and the place they call their home gets taken out from under them? This very sad situation is exactly what the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program is all about, giving hard working people a way to keep their homes without the badgering and horrific treatment from a mortgage company.

The Distressed Asset Stabilization Program was developed to make it possible for home owners to keep their homes. The economy is tough all over and mortgage companies are taking houses away at an alarming rate. With the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program someone other than a mortgage company will be able to buy the delinquent loan and together with the actual owner of the home, find a way to work together so that the home is saved. So, between this private company and the home owner, a delinquent loan will become current and in the end a home stays with the family that has put so much work into it.

RealtyStore.com Offers FSBO Tools that Work

A for sale by owner home is often a good way to barter for an acceptable price without a realtor. Not as visual as bank owned homes or houses advertised by realty companies, it often takes a bit of work to locate an fsbo. RealtyStore.com, the most frequently visited foreclosure website on the Internet, has now made it possible to view those hard to find for sale by owner homes.

Equally tough is the cost and advertising for home owners that wish to present their home to the public through a for-sale-by-owner (fsbo) sale. For $19.95 per month, RealtyStore.com takes the worry out of getting an fsbo house in front of the public. This is great news to homeowners that cringe at the thought of newspaper listings or paying a realtor 3 to 6% in commissions.

With a regular audience of over 3 million, RealyStore.com specializes in non-traditional home sales with 40% being foreclosures. Other types of real estate includes MLS listings and rent-to-own properties. Many visitors to the site are ready to buy and make offers quickly. An advanced search technology lets shoppers find desired real estate in minutes, saving the hassle of wasted time and effort.

This new feature is a welcome opportunity for fsbo clients in realizing the ease to bring potential buyers right to their doorstep. Available now to homeowners looking for somewhere to list, RealtyStore.com has just the option for immediate potential plus many educational options for those new to the industry.

Single-Family New Home Sales Up by 7.6 Percent

Those hoping to take advantage of the extremely low interest rates of the last few years will be heartened to know that single-family new home sales increased in May by 7.6 percent. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), these sales are 19.8 percent higher than those same statistics from May of 2011. This increase shows that banks are feeling more secure in lending money to homebuyers. The increase in new home sales should bolster the construction industry and benefit the economy in general.

If banks feel on more sure financial footing it stands to reason that not only will they be inclined to loan money for new home purchases but for foreclosed homes, HUD homes, and short sales as well. Additionally, for those banks that have been dragging their feet, foreclosures may begin moving more rapidly. The results will be more foreclosed properties for sale.

For this reason, the near future may be the best time to make that new home purchase and join the ranks of those who can say, “I own it, this house is mine.” Short sales could soon decrease and these low interest rates cannot last forever. The time to buy is now while the supply and interest rates are at optimum levels for potential buyers.

Demand for Foreclosures on the Rise

A recent study conducted by Realtor.com has revealed that the demand for foreclosures in the last two and a half years has tripled as people look for cheap homes to not only invest in but to also reside in. While the growth itself is not surprising, what is surprising is the fact that an incredible 92.1 percent of the people interested in foreclosures now want to live in them as opposed to investing in them.

According to the research conducted by Realtor.com in October 2009, foreclosures accounted for only 29 percent of all home sales in the country. Furthermore, since 2009 the interest amongst homebuyers in cheap homes and bank foreclosures has spiked by an unbelievable 159 percent.

It is also worth mentioning that, as of now, around 64.9 percent of today’s potential homebuyers have stated that they are likely to purchase foreclosures. This is in direct contrast to 2009 when only 25.3 percent of people had stated this. In addition to this, Realtor’s survey also revealed that only a paltry 6.9 percent of potential foreclosure buyers today are interested in buying these cheap homes for investment purposes. This means that interest in foreclosures as investment properties has dropped to the tune of 6.3 percent in the last two and a half years.

As per the Chief Executive Officer of Realtor.com, Steve Berkowitz, the change in statistics is a result of a wide variety of factors. Even so, he did specify three major causes for these statistics, and they are:

  1. Projections of improvement in the real estate market
  2. Reduction in supply
  3. Changing attitudes that used to cast foreclosures in a negative light

Short Sale and Foreclosure Listings

Due to the increase in short sales in the US, many were able to purchase property at below market value. This occurred because of a 25 percent increase in pre-foreclosure sales, the highest it has been since early 2009. The banks taking on the possibility of more foreclosed properties allowed transactions where the sale price was lower than the mortgage balance. It was good news to property buyers, but bad for banks. Now the trend of selling pre-foreclosed properties is on the rise; rather than waiting for the bank to buy the property back and as a way of easing through the troubled loans.

Short sales help to slow the mortgage losses and help both the mortgage holders and the homeowners from the rigors of the legality of full foreclosures. Mortgage companies now accept lower priced short sales, which keeps the property out of foreclosure processes. The number of repossessed homes is dropping due to hefty settlement fees induced on the five largest US mortgage companies over having wrongfully repossessed homes. There will be fewer properties in the foreclosure listings due to this.

The trend of selling off pre-foreclosed homes is highest in California, followed by Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, proving the short sale is the wave of the near future for home sellers and buyers.