Obama says NO to banks practicing real estate

March 16, 2009

001On March 11 of 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act permanently prohibiting banks from entering the real estate brokerage and management businesses. This is a tremendous victory for The National Association of Realtors (NAR), who fought hard since 2001 to keep banks out of the real estate business.

What harm would come of banks being involved in real estate brokerage and management?

Had banks been allowed to practice real estate, an area in which they lack expertise, consumers would have been financially harmed. Any time competition is limited, such as through the merger or fusion of the banking and real estate industries, consumers are given less options and subsequently less power and control over their own finances. NAR deserves credit for keeping pressure on the government and educating the relevant decision makers.

Congress could change the law, but the odds are slim this will ever happen. Good work, NAR.

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Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)

February 23, 2009

3273177Obama’s new housing stimulus bill provides $2,000,000,000 in additional funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The funds can be used to purchase, manage, repair and resell foreclosed and abandoned properties. In addition, the funds can also be used by states and localities to establish financing methods for the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed properties.

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$8,000 Tax Credit for 1st-Time Home Buyers

February 20, 2009

money1Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican you’ll probably appreciate the new tax credit for first-time home buyers. Obama signed this bill into effect recently allowing for an $8,000 tax credit available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. The credit does not require repayment. Repeat: you don’t have to pay the money back!

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Free legal advice to troubled homeowners

September 1, 2008

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – July 10, 2008 – Florida homeowners facing foreclosure have access to a lawyer and free legal advice through a program offered by the Florida Bar and Florida Legal Services. 
According to Florida Legal Services Inc., 77,000 state homeowners are in foreclosure, making Florida second in the nation only to California. And many others are at least 30 days past due on their mortgage payment, which places them at risk of having their loans foreclosed.
Florida Legal Services and the Florida Bar Association have partnered in establishing a toll-free hotline – (866) 607-2187 – that consumers can call. They’ll be asked a few initial questions about their situation to ensure accurate placement, and then be sent to a free attorney. The attorney will then negotiate with the lender on behalf of the client to keep the home from being foreclosed.
“I applaud Florida Legal Services and the Florida Bar for offering this public service,” says Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson. “Any effort that helps families keep their homes in this uncertain economy is beneficial.”
More than 10,000 Florida attorneys have volunteered their services in the program, according to Florida Legal Services Inc.

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