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Showing posts from March, 2010

New alternatives to foreclosure unveiled

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Homeowners who can't afford their mortgage payments may want to take a look at the federal government's new alternative to foreclosure: the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative program, or HAFA, which intended to encourage lenders to facilitate short sales and deeds-in-lieu, or DIL, as alternatives to foreclosure.

The program, which is a part of the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, may help some homeowners escape a bad situation, but the rules are complicated and they won't be able to keep their homes.

U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary Herbert Allison explained the concept in congressional testimony.

"HAMP does not, nor was it ever intended to, address every delinquent loan," he said. "In these instances, the borrower may benefit from an alternative that helps the borrower transition to more affordable housing and avoid the substantial costs of foreclosure."

Read on: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortg…

Should you buy a house that's been vacant?

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

A for-sale house that's been vacant may look like a bargain, but buyers should be cautious because expensive problems often lurk inside homes that have been unoccupied for some time.

A home can become vacant due to a marriage, job relocation, death or other life event. But vacancies today are more often due to a bank foreclosure or short sale in which the lender accepts less than the mortgage balance. It's these bank-owned properties, sometimes called "real estate-owned," or REOs, that tend to be "problem homes," says David Tamny, owner of Professional Property Inspection in Columbus, Ohio, and 2010 president of the American Society of Home Inspectors in Des Plaines, Ill.

Vacant homes can suffer from a wide variety of ills due to neglect, deferred maintenance on the part of the prior cash-strapped homeowner and vandalism, Tamny explains. Broken water pipes, stolen copper wiring, damaged appliances and unhealthy molds are but…

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Reporter. Writer. Editor. Book reviewer. Part English major. Part MBA. Often at the beach. Always on a deadline.