Monday, October 25, 2010

Deep Thoughts on the National Moratorium on REO/Foreclosures -

Foreclosures ans Short Sales in IllinoisThe magnitude of the moratorium on REO/Foreclosure properties and how it came about is national and Congress or President Obama will have to address it quick. The best way out of it is to stop all lawsuits, let the foreclosure judgment stand and let the lenders do all the necessary paperwork through the various “bundles”. Be sure that the last lender who is holding the mortgage note and foreclosing on a non-paying-homeowner has the “paper right” to do so. Every coin has two sides…Suspension of REO/Foreclosures opens up a much larger window for short sales. Buyers and sellers now have more time to take advantage of a short sale. Those pasty junior liens, besides the first position lender, debate and mess us up in a transaction right up to the closing table but, once closed, it’s a done deal. Unless the RESPA did not match the disbursement sheet or some “side deals” were made at the closing table by unscrupulous attorneys.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Inductee into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame! - - Paul Paterakis Power team - Paul Paterakis Power team

Congratulations! to Paul Paterakis of The Paul Paterakis Power Team -RE/ MAX Showcase of Long Grove, Illinois on being inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. This is RE/MAX's highest honor given to an agent.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Exercise is no fun, how about just not sitting? -

My friend’s grandmother, born in a small town in Italy, grew up in a family that could not even afford a horse and buggy. She walked to school, church, the library etc. Walking was a way of life. Due to the time involved in walking from place to place and because there were always chores to do around the house, there was very little time for sitting down. If she were alive today she would most definitely wonder why people spend so much time sitting during the day!

According to research from the Cancer Research Center at University of Queensland, prolonged sitting is very bad for our health. Absence of whole body movement is associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism and the metabolic syndrome, researchers looked at breaks in sitting time and how this corresponded with biological markers of metabolic risk such as weight, height, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference and resting blood pressure. This study provides evidence of the importance of avoiding prolonged uninterrupted periods of sedentary or primarily sitting time. They explained that when the large muscles in the legs and buttocks, which are designed to be standing and maintaining posture, are immobilized for long periods of time, there is a failure to activate an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which is responsible for reducing the above mentioned risks.

A follow up study by the same researchers found that television viewing time was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. “In addition to the promotion of exercise, chronic disease prevention strategies could focus on reducing sitting time, particularly prolonged television viewing” says Dr. Hunter Yost, M.D. The most serious and well known complication of prolonged sitting is venous thrombo-embolism (VTE), a condition in which blood clots occur and travel through the veins. When a blood clog forms in the deep veins of the legs, thighs or pelvis, it is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When this blood clot breaks off from its original location and travels through the venous system, it can become lodged in the arteries leading from the heart to the lungs: a very serious condition.

For the majority of people who don’t want to engage in “formal exercise,” follow my grandmother’s advice who would come to us kids sitting around and after looking right in our eyes…we knew, we better get up and do something. She would send us across the farm to pick up a tomato for her when she had hundreds of them in the next room! Today I fully understand what she was doing and why. As we go through our day to day activities let’s make it a point to get up and walk at least every hour.

Maybe when at our desk and need a form we’ll get up and get it instead of calling staff to email it to us or looking for a quick answer by just calling out to someone across the office. We forget that the body we currently are in is the only one we have: no returns or exchanges; let’s do our part to protect and preserve it any way we can.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Deep Thoughts on Election Madness -

As we enjoy our second “late summer” I could not help but to take a moment and remember Nat King Cole singing about those “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” It may have been the last quiet moment as Nat was obviously not thinking about the 2010 primary election season in Illinois and all over the country.

There has been no “down time” as negative TV commercials, flyers, letters and hit pieces are crowding our mailboxes and roadside signs are jockeying for positions on street corners. Live and recorded telephone calls and campaign workers knocking on doors: it’s all a regular feature of the campaign cycle. The November 2nd election is fast approaching, it will be one for the record books as far as the most governors (37), the most U.S. senators (37) since 1962 and who controls Congress. Over 150 measures are on ballots in 35 states; reapportionment changes will shape state and local politics for a decade in 88 of the 99 state legislative chambers. It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote after 33 of them were wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic” by demonstrating back in November 1917.

One of their leaders, Alice Paul, made sure that the men of her time understood that “courage in women is often mistaken for insanity”. Today we need the women’s vote more than ever before. Whatever you do, please take time to understand the real issues; don’t focus only on their accusations: based on them no one should be elected! Dig in and find out more on which candidates, regardless of their affiliation, deserve your vote.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Near Complete Stop to Foreclosures Nationwide -

Foreclosure/Short Sale -

What started out within a few lenders has now turned into a major halt to the nation’s REO and foreclosure business by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Bank of America, GMAC, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and many other large and small lenders.

For HomeSteps a foreclosure program,Properties with Sales Pending: Per Freddie Mac, buyer must be notified,through the buyer’s attorneys and buyer’s agents, that all buyers who are under an executed, approved contract, may keep their contracts in place while the issue is being addressed and resolved. However,should any buyer wish to terminate his or her contract, Agents must work with the assigned closing agent to terminate the contract of sale and promptly return the earnest money deposit.

Buyers must be notified, through the buyer’s agents per Freddie Mac, with which Freddie Mac has only accepted verbal offers but have not executed a written contract, that the property is being taken off the market temporarily to address title related issues. Once the property is available, Agents must notify all listing agents affected, and reach out to the buyer's agents to resubmit their offer, with direction from Freddie Mac.

How did it happen? Some bank employees in multiple unrelated cases
around the country testified in court that they could not “verify the accuracy of every foreclosure” put in front of them as they were receiving between 10,000 and 18,000 cases per month. This brought into question the validity of some completed and ongoing foreclosure actions. If the foreclosure was defective because the lender bringing the foreclosure action did not have the legal authority to foreclose, then the buyer at the sheriff’s sale, along with successive purchasers, could be challenged on the validity of the title they are holding. As Wall Street was “re-packaging” loans prior to the meltdown that started in 2007 the actual“final” owner may or not have had legal title to the promissory note and mortgage therefore creating the gap causing the current issues.

If the mortgage holder who brought the foreclosure action did not have the authority to bring the action or otherwise failed to comply with the requirements of the foreclosure statues, then the court has the power to vacate the foreclosure judgment(s) for an ongoing transaction as well as prior closed ones. Lenders will not resume foreclosures until the flaws in the process are resolved, they need time to confirm that the foreclosure was properly initiated by a legally authorized party and that the due process was completely followed.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Newest Credit Card Restrictions Take Effect -

By now, most of us have already noticed that our credit card statements have taken on a more reader friendly look than they have in prior years. Information such as when payments are due, the amount owed, the consequences of making late payments and how much we are paying in fees and interest on different types of accounts are now easier to find. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 was passed by Congress with the intent to protect credit card users from unfair rate hikes and hidden fees. The bulk of this new Act has already taken effect, but the final phase came into force on August 22, 2010.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most important provisions of the law:

  • Credit card statements must clearly disclose the following:
    1. How long it would take to pay off a credit card balance if the cardholder makes only the minimum payment each month.
    2. The total cost in interest and principal payments if a cardholder makes only the minimum payment each month.
    3. The late payment deadline and postmark date.
  • Credit card companies must give the consumer advance notice of forty-five days prior to significant changes to credit card terms. This includes change of interest rates and the benefits/rewards structure of a credit card.
  • Bills must be sent out no later than twenty-one days before the due date.
  • Retroactive interest rate increases are banned except when a cardholder is more than sixty days late paying a credit card bill.
  • The interest rate cannot be increased within the first twelve months and promotional rates must have a minimum of six months in duration.
  • The practice of double-cycle billing is no longer allowed. This is a practice by which credit card companies would use their customers' average daily balance from the current and previous month to calculate finance charges.
  • Over credit limit fees are prohibited unless consumers specifically agree to allow the transaction to go through instead of being denied.
  • Payments must be considered on-time if the payment is received by 5 p.m. on the due date.
  • Credit cards cannot be issued to people under the age of twenty-one unless they have an adult co-signer or show proof that they have the means to repay the debt.

The newest provisions that recently took effect on August 22, 2010 cover the following:

  • Credit card companies can no longer charge more than $25 for late payments except in extreme circumstances. A consumer may be charged more than $25 if the credit card company can show a pattern of repeated violations or if a card issuer can show that a higher fee reasonably offsets its own costs in dealing with the violation that spurred the penalty.
  • Customers may not be charged for not using their cards.
  • Penalty fees cannot exceed the dollar amount incurred by the consumer’s violation that spurred the fee. For example, if a customer is late making a $10 minimum payment, the fee can’t exceed $10. Or, if a customer spends $5 over his or her credit limit, the credit card company may not charge more than $5 as a penalty fee.
  • Credit card companies may only charge one fee per infraction.
  • If a credit card company increases the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), it must explain to the customer why.
  • The credit card company must review the cardholder’s account six months after increasing the interest rate, and return the APR to the previous lower level if the cardholder has been on-time with payment.

These provisions were enacted to put a stop to unfair and deceptive credit card practices, but consumers must also analyze their own financial habits to make sure that they are not building up a credit card balance by paying off their monthly credit card balances and spending only what they can afford.

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