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Identity Theft

Bad mortgage advice could cost you tons of money and time.

Are you thinking about buying or refinancing a home in the near future? If so, chances are you're getting all kinds of advice from well-intentioned friends and family.
Just remember to keep this important piece of advice in mind: Don't listen to everything you hear. According to industry professionals, some words of wisdom are not wise at all.
To help you separate the bad advice from the good, check out five common statements that should cause you to cover your ears immediately.
Bad Advice No.

NeighborWorks Gets $63 Million to Help Prevent Foreclosures Through Counseling

NeighborWorks America announced on Tuesday that $63.1 million had been awarded by the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program for assistance and counseling for families and individuals facing foreclosure. The funds were awarded to 29 state housing finance agencies, 18 HUD-approved housing counseling intermediaries, and 67 community-based NeighborWorks organizations. More than 167,800 families who face foreclosure are expected to be assisted by the funds. The organization notes that even though the number of households facing foreclosure has dropped below the peak from a few years ago, “many hundreds of thousands of homeowners will still face trouble with their mortgages this year.

California Governor Sued for Diverting Housing Settlement Funds

It’s not just fraudsters and criminals who warrant mention in our scam of the day features; sometimes, state governments and their officials make the cut as well. In California, governor Jerry Brown and other government officials are being sued by three nonprofit home owner counseling organizations, claiming that $369 million of funds meant to help struggling homeowners was instead diverted to pay down the state’s debt. California was awarded a portion of the $25 billion national mortgage servicing settlement in 2012, with the funds to be used for home loan counseling and other educational services to help home owners avoid foreclosure.

Real Estate Scam of the Day: Fannie Mae Employee Involved in ID Theft Ring

Federal prosecutors announced that seven people, including a Fannie Mae employee, have been charged in a North Texas identity theft ring that illegally gained access to the personal information of 1,100 Fannie Mae customers.  Charges against the seven included bank fraud and aggravated identification theft, and was based on alleged involvement from 2009 through last year.[1]
Among the defendants is 40-year old Katrina Thomas of Garland, Texas, who worked as an underwriter for Fannie Mae.  She is accused of forwarding customer information to others who then used it to illegally access bank accounts.

Buyers Get Extended Offer Period on REOs

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced an extension of their “first look” programs, granting buyers seeking a primary residence a full 20 days to submit offers on REO properties ahead of investor competition. 
Previously, the First Look period was 15 days long. Freddie Mac’s program operates under HomeSteps First Look initiative and Fannie Mae’s version operates under the HomePath system. The expanded 20-day program took effect for HomeStep listings on or after Dec. 17. Fannie Mae’s First Look HomePath program is effective for properties listed on or after Jan.

Real Estate Crystal Ball: Economists Predict Job Growth will be Deciding Factor in 2014 Housing Market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is feeling good about the jobs market in 2014, and that means good news for housing. According to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, “2 million or more jobs will be created in 2014.” This surge will create a demand for existing homes and create a leap in homebuilding activity. Moody’s Analytics analyst, Celia Chen, said that this original surge will likely be the key to a full economic recovery – assuming it happens – since a rise in homebuilding will “spark even more jobs from construction workers to manufacturers and bring about a greater demand for housing overall.

More “Fancy Foreclosures” Entering the System

Huge, beautiful homes are a great asset to those who own and live in them, but when tough times hit they are hard to maintain. Although many luxury home owners held on through the housing crisis and kept their mortgages afloat, now an increasing number of luxury homes are going into foreclosure at an increasingly rapid rate. Although overall U.S. foreclosure activity is down 23 percent year-over-year, foreclosure activity on homes $5 million and up is up 61 percent year-over-year, reported RealtyTrac this month[1].

Housing Market Heats Up in Warmer Climates

Because of tight inventory, states in the West and South are expected to see home prices jump by 4 to 8 percent over the next 12 months, according to the latest data from the REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.
The highest price growth in the next year is expected in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina, according to the survey of about 3,000 REALTORS®.
Nationally, prices are expected to increase by about 4 percent in the next 12 months, according to the data gathered in November.

Real Estate Scam of the Day: Lawyer Promises Foreclosure Assistance, Keeps Mortgage Payments for Himself

After charging homeowners thousands of dollars in upfront fees for help avoiding their foreclosures, a Chicago lawyer is accused of taking those fees and thousands more in mortgage payments from struggling homeowners for his personal use and not helping them avoid foreclosure at all. Philip Igoe allegedly offered to help his victims stall their foreclosures or avoid them all together by filing for bankruptcy protections or loan modifications. Part of the process is alleged to have involved the homeowners sending Igoe their monthly mortgage payments with the understanding that he would forward that money to the banks with which he was purportedly working.

Borrower Indicted for Falsifying Assets in 2007

If you lied, fudged, or blurred the truth on your mortgage loan application during the boom years of easy, easy credit, then Alberto Solaroli’s recent indictment may have you concerned. Solaroli was recently indicted on charges that he borrowed “on false pretenses” from OneBanc in April 2007. He claimed to be the owner of energy patents that placed his net worth around $170 million and also claimed additional assets in excess of a million dollars. Solaroli used these purported assets to obtain a loan for $1.