My Listings

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Before winter storms and extreme cold...

Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit:
* Rock salt to melt ice on walkways
* Sand to improve traction
* Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
Prepare your home and family
* Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
* Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
* Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
* Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
* Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
* Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
* Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
* Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

Lifestyle Search About to Launch

Lifestyle searches are expected to soon become one of the hottest trends in real estate.

At least four search companies are about to debut lifestyle search capabilities, according to a report from consulting firm WAV Group. The leading innovator is Onboard Informatics, which is working with EXIT Realty Corp., as well as Sunnyvale, Calif.-based MLSListings Inc. and the New York Daily News. Onboard users will be able to tap into a database that provides information about 75,000 neighborhoods and includes school ratings, population demographics, ratings, and reviews.

Competitors in the space include Home Junction Inc., which is launching what it calls Spatial Match, allowing home shoppers to overlay their own interests with area information. eNeighborhoods allows real estate practitioners and multiple listing services to display demographic information via map overlays. NabeWise invites real estate practitioners to provide content that helps consumers find neighborhoods that reflect their special interests.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A "Tiny" House Boom!

See The Video HERE:

By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press Terence Chea, Associated Press – Mon Nov 29, GRATON, Calif. –

As Americans downsize in the aftermath of a colossal real estate bust, at least one tiny corner of the housing market appears to be thriving.

To save money or simplify their lives, a small but growing number of Americans are buying or building homes that could fit inside many people's living rooms, according to entrepreneurs in the small house industry.

Some put these wheeled homes in their backyards to use as offices, studios or extra bedrooms. Others use them as mobile vacation homes they can park in the woods. But the most intrepid of the tiny house owners live in them full-time, paring down their possessions and often living off the grid.

"It's very un-American in the sense that living small means consuming less," said Jay Shafer, 46, co-founder of the Small House Society, sitting on the porch of his wooden cabin in California wine country. "Living in a small house like this really entails knowing what you need to be happy and getting rid of everything else."

Shafer, author of "The Small House Book," built the 89-square-foot house himself a decade ago and lived in it full-time until his son was born last year. Inside a space the size of an ice cream truck, he has a kitchen with gas stove and sink, bathroom with shower, two-seater porch, bedroom loft and a "great room" where he can work and entertain — as long as he doesn't invite more than a couple guests.

He and his family now live in relatively sprawling 500-square foot home next to the tiny one.

Shafer, co-owner of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, designs and builds miniature homes with a minimalist style that prizes quality over quantity and makes sure no cubic inch goes to waste. Most can be hooked up to public utilities. The houses, which pack a range of amenities in spaces smaller than some people's closets, are sold for $40,000 to $50,000 ready-made, but cost half as much if you build it yourself.

Tumbleweed's business has grown significantly since the housing crisis began, Shafer said. He now sells about 50 blueprints, which cost $400 to $1,000 each, a year, up from 10 five years ago. The eight workshops he teaches around the country each year attract 40 participants on average, he said.

"People's reasons for living small vary a lot, but there seems to be a common thread of sustainability," Shafer said. "A lot people don't want to use many more resources or put out more emissions than they have to."

Compared to trailers, these little houses are built with higher-quality materials, better insulation and eye-catching design. But they still have wheels that make them portable — and allow owners to get around housing regulations for stationary homes.

Since the housing crisis and recession began, interest in tiny homes has grown dramatically among young people and retiring Baby Boomers, said Kent Griswold, who runs the Tiny House Blog, which attracts 5,000 to 7,000 visitors a day.

"In the last couple years, the idea's really taken off," Griswold said. "There's been a huge interest in people downsizing and there are a lot of young people who don't want to be tied down with a huge mortgage and want to build their own space."

Gregory Johnson, who co-founded the Small House Society with Schafer, said the online community now has about 1,800 subscribers, up from about 300 five years ago. Most of them live in their small houses full-time and swap tips on living simple and small.

Johnson, 46, who works as a computer consultant at the University of Iowa, said dozens of companies specializing small houses have popped up around the country over the past few years.

Before he got married, Johnson lived for six years in a small cabin he built himself and he wrote a book called "Put Your Life on a Diet: Lessons Learned from Living in 140 Square Feet."

"You start to peel away the things that are unnecessary," said Johnson, who now lives in a studio apartment with his wife. "It helps you define your priorities with regard to your material things."

Northern California's Sonoma County has become a mini-mecca for the tiny house industry, with an assortment of new businesses launching over the last few years.

Stephen Marshall, 63, worked as a building contractor for three decades before the real estate market tanked three years ago. That's when he jumped into the tiny house business, starting Petaluma-based Little House On The Trailer.

His company builds and sells small houses that can serve as stand-alone homes equipped with bathrooms and kitchens, and others he calls "A Room of One's Own" that can be used as a home office or extra bedroom. Many of his customers are looking for extra space to accommodate an aging parent or adult children who are returning home, he said.

He said his small houses, which sell for $20,000 to $50,000, are much cheaper than building a home addition and can be resold when the extra space is no longer needed. His company has sold 16 houses this year and aims to sell 20 next year.

"The business is growing as the public becomes aware of this possibility," Marshall said. "A lot of families are moving in with one another. A lot of young people can't afford to move out. There's just a lot of economic pressure to find an alternative way to provide for people's housing needs."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snoqualmie Holiday Tree Lighting


The Cascade Team annual Holiday Tree Lighting will be on Thursday, December 2nd this year located at the Railroad Park Pavilion in downtown Snoqualmie.

This is a great Holiday event for all ages and benefits Encompass NW who helps families throughout the Snoqualmie Valley (Snoqualmie, North Bend, Carnation, Fall City, Duvall, and Preston)

We hope that you can join us for this Family event. It’s a lot of fun for kids of all ages. Everyone will get to ride the Horse Drawn carriage & sing songs (The carriage hold between 16 and 20 adults at a time), there are free cookies and cider/ hot coco. Santa will also be there and even live carolers singing Holiday favorites.

Free Santa Photos with the kids provided by The Cascade Team for Holiday cards!

Please feel free to forward this out to everyone you know, post it on Facebook and whatever.

There is a link on the website provided below detailing needed donations.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Click HERE for more info:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Lending Guidelines From Fannie Mae

NEW lending guidelines being rolled out by Fannie Mae will make securing a mortgage a lot easier for some borrowers but harder for others.
The rules, effective on Dec. 13, will allow buyers to use gifts and grants from nonprofit groups for their minimum 5 percent down payment, which is the threshold set by Fannie Mae, the government-owned company that sets lending standards and buys mortgages from lenders. (Freddie Mac is considering similar new guidelines, said Brad German, a spokesman.)

Previously, borrowers had to contribute a minimum 5 percent down payment from their own funds, but additional down payment money could be from a gift (though never from a home seller). The exception was for borrowers who put 20 percent down: all that money could come as a gift.

Because many lenders now require a down payment of 10 percent or more, the new rules mean that borrowers will still have to come up with extra funds — either their own or gifts.
Still, “this is definitely going to help upgrade buyers and young couples who for whatever reason don’t have enough money and are getting some from their families,” said Edward Ades, the owner of Universal Mortgage, a broker in Brooklyn.

The gift rules apply only to single-family principal residences, including town houses, co-ops and condominiums, and covers mortgage amounts in excess of 80 percent of the property’s value. Also, there is a limit on the loan balance — $729,000 in high-cost areas like New York City, and $417,000 in other areas.

Now, the not-so-good news.

Fannie Mae is getting tougher on debt-to-income ratios, or the amount of a borrower’s gross monthly income that goes toward paying off all debts. The maximum ratio for those seeking a conventional mortgage will drop to 45 percent from 55 percent under the new guidelines.

The agency is also taking a harder look at payment histories on revolving debt. In the past, if a borrower missed a monthly payment, Fannie Mae ignored it, or required that lenders add a few percentage points to the total balance when calculating the debt-to-income ratio. Now, buyers who have missed a payment will have 5 percent of the total balance added to their ratios.
Mr. Ades said that new hurdle could sink many potential borrowers with student-loan debt that has been deferred.

Susan A. Kreyer, the president of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers, added that buyers who had bought big-ticket items through financing with delayed payments would also be affected.

In addition, Fannie Mae is scrutinizing people who are at the end of their mortgages, with 10 or fewer payments left. It will now count those remaining balances in the debt-to-income ratios — another departure. Mortgage experts say that older buyers near the end of their loans may now have a tougher time securing a loan for a second home.

But perhaps the toughest news from Fannie Mae concerns borrowers who have gone through foreclosure. They will be excluded from obtaining a Fannie-backed loan for seven years, up from four. “That’s a long time in this economy,” Ms. Kreyer said. That change was announced separately from the gift and debt rules, but will also take effect in Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting systems next month.

Fannie Mae buys or guarantees around $3.2 trillion in residential loans, about 28 percent of the entire residential mortgage market in the United States. Lenders typically issue loans based on the agency’s guidelines.

Buyers who do not meet the new Fannie Mae requirements may have to consider a nonconforming loan from the Federal Housing Administration. These loans, which do not follow Fannie Mae underwriting guidelines, require mortgage insurance premiums and, for those with low credit scores, higher interest rates and steeper down-payment requirements.

A version of this article appeared in print on November 21, 2010, on page RE6 of the New York edition

Monday, November 22, 2010

Should credit-score firm revise policy?


WASHINGTON — Here’s a home­owner credit torture scenario that has a major real estate lobby on Capitol Hill demanding immediate reforms.

Say a homeowner has a solid payment record on just about all his accounts. The last time he checked, his credit scores were comfortably in the 750s.

Suddenly he receives a notice from the bank that because of “market conditions,” the equity line limit has been cut to $35,000 — slightly above the $30,000 balance outstanding — from $60,000. Then one of his credit-card issuers delivers more bad news: The $20,000 limit has been reduced to $10,000. The balance on the card is about $9,000.

The cuts could send the home­owner’s credit scores plunging into the upper 600s. This in turn could put him out of reach for a refinancing at a favorable interest rate or hamper his ability to buy a house and sell his current one.

The reason for the score plunge: With the reductions in credit limits, the homeowner is is using a higher percentage of credit — $30,000 of the $35,000 revised limit (86 percent) on his home equity line, and $9,000 of the $10,000 limit (90 percent) on the card. Scoring models typically penalize high use rates because they correlate with delinquency problems.

The largest lobby group on Capitol Hill, the 1.1 million-member National Association of Realtors, is demanding that the creator of the FICO score that dominates the mortgage market — Fair Isaac Corp. — act immediately to lessen the negative impacts when banks abruptly cancel or slash nondelinquent customers’ credit lines.

The group wants FICO either to ignore the use rate for consumers with solid histories of on-time payments or to compute the score as if the credit maximum had not been reduced.

Asked for a response, Joanne Gaskin, Fair Isaac’s director of mortgage scoring solutions, said research conducted by the company last year found that consumers who use 70 percent of their available credit “have a future bad rate 20 to 50 times greater than consumers with lower utilizations.” Ignoring this key indicator, the study said, would “decrease [the score’s] predictive power.”

The National Association of Realtors has also asked Fair Isaac to help out with the nationwide foreclosure crisis by revising its model to recognize lender codings on credit file accounts indicating that homeowners had received loan modifications approved under federally backed programs.

Rather than treating borrowers’ reduced post-modification payments as ongoing evidence that the mortgage was “not paid as originally agreed” — which depresses scores sharply — the association said FICO scores should reflect that the lender agreed to lower payments and borrowers are making payments “as agreed.”

Mortgage Rates Back on the Rise

Rates for 30-year fixed mortgages rose to 4.39 percent this week from 4.17 percent a week ago, and average interest on 15-year loans moved to 3.76 percent from 3.57 percent, said Freddie Mac.

Interest for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages jumped to 3.4 percent from 3.25 percent, meanwhile, and one-year ARMs held at 3.26 percent. Rates have climbed along with long-term Treasury yields as traders unloaded Treasurys purchased before the Federal Reserve announced a $600 billion bond purchase program.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times (11/19/10)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Real Estate Funny

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Credit Score Requirements Stifling Borrowers

Despite record-low interest rates, an increasing number of Americans can’t afford to buy a house.

The nation’s two largest mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., have raised the minimum required credit score on FHA-insured loans to 640 from 620.

Requiring a 640 credit score excludes about 15 percent of FHA borrowers, FHA commissioner David Stevens said.

Such a high limit will further delay a recovery in the real estate market, says Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Source: Bloomberg, Jody Shenn and John Gittelsohn (11/17/2010)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Listing - Issaquah Highlands

Offered at $162,500

SHORT SALE APPROVED Courtyard side Starpoint condo in the heart of Issaquah Highlands. Beautiful laminate hardwood entry to generous sized kitchen with gas range, classy dining room and wonderful living room with gas fireplace. Enormous master bedroom and bathroom. Remarkable back patio area adjacent to lush Starpoint courtyard. Washer and Dryer included plus assigned storage space in garage. Issaquah Highland is an award winning community w/ 17 parks, lots of planned retail fast I-90 access.

Matt Jensen

Office: 206.909.8200
Mobile: 206.909.8200

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

7 Trends That Will Drive the Future of Housing

Hanley-Wood's identifies seven trends that the magazine’s editors believe will have the biggest impact on housing in 2011.

1. Big builders are wringing the extras out of construction costs and dropping the national average cost-to-build 36 percent to $52 per square foot.

2. Starting in 2011, Energy Star will ramp up its efficient design and quality installation standards. To get Energy Star certification, builders will have to install the right insulation, HVAC systems, and other features related to energy efficiency correctly every time.

3. Sheds are the next evolution. As homes get smaller, a separate shed will become a popular home addition.

4. There are 81 million "Echo Boomers" who were born from 1981 to 1999, compared to just 78 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 to 1964. These children and grandchildren of Boomers will drive home-building for years.

5. By 2015, demographers say, more than two out of every five households occupied by Generation Y people born between 1981 and 1999 will be WINKs (women with incomes and no kids).

6. Make room for the "Sandwich Generation" – Baby Boomers living with both their kids and their parents. These families like having two master suites, a second cooking area, and lots of storage.

7. Baby Boomers want to keep working and continue to live where they have always lived. They want a first-floor master bedroom near the washer and dryer and lots of convenient storage.

Source: (October 2010)

Five More Foreclosure Myths - BUSTED!

Four years into the housing crisis, myths about foreclosure still litter the minds of even the smartest of real estate consumers. When it comes to matters as high stakes as your home, confusion can cost you thousands - or even your home. Whether you’re a buyer looking at foreclosures, a homeowner struggling to keep your home or a seller concerned making sure your home can compete with the foreclosed homes on your block, these foreclosure myths are prime for the busting, with no further ado.

Myth #1: Foreclosure happens fast. With unemployment and underemployment still affecting nearly 1 in every 4 Americans, no one is immune from fears that a pink slip might quickly turn into a foreclosure notice. According to NeighborWorks America, nearly 60 percent of families seeking foreclosure counseling cited a lost job or cut wages as the reason they were facing foreclosure.

While the Obama Administration's Home Affordable Programs haven't been nearly as effective as predicted in actually preventing foreclosures, they have had the effect of extending the foreclosure process for many families. Even though the legal process of foreclosure can happen in as few as 6 months in most states, it is currently taking much longer for the average foreclosure to get to completion. Recently, JP Morgan Chase revealed that their average borrower who loses a home to foreclosure has not made any payments in 14 months nationwide; 22 months in FLorida and 26 months in New York.

To be sure, some see this as a good, others view it as unnecessarily dragging out the overall market's recovery. Many insiders will point out that these delays in foreclosure may be calculated to save the banks the costs of owning and maintaining foreclosed homes, not to help homeowners. In any event, the fact that foreclosure does not happen nearly as fast, in many cases, as expected does give families who are temporarily down on their luck some extra time to try to get back on their feet and save their homes.

Myth #2: Buyers can’t get clear title or title insurance on foreclosed homes. When the foreclosure robo-signing scandal first hit, there was widespread concern that buyers would not be able to get clear title on foreclosed homes, because the former foreclosed owners might be able to come get their homes back when the improprieties in the bank's foreclosure documentation processes came fully to light. At the same time, several of the country's largest title insurance companies publicly balked at issuing policies on bank-owned homes until the issue was resolved. At this point, the banks claim they have revamped their processes, and all banks have stated that they have found not a single borrower whose home was repossessed without them having missed the requisite number of mortgage payments. Nevertheless, a number of governmental investigations are still in progress.

The fact is, buyers of bank-owned properties in nearly every jurisdiction are protected from later title attacks by foreclosed homeowners by the bona fide purchaser rule, under which courts would prefer to simply award cash damages to be paid by the culpable bank to a wrongfully foreclosed-on homeowner, rather than reversing the sale or ownership to the new, innocent buyer. Additionally, the title insurers have now changed their tune and restarted issuing insurance policies on bank-owned homes which protect buyers' interests, after working with the banks for them to take responsibility in the event a former homeowner prevails in a wrongful foreclosure suit.

While there are still many intricacies of title to be resolved for foreclosure buyers who purchase homes at trustee sales and auctions, or for cash buyers who often went without title insurance in the past, on the average, Trulia-listed, bank-owned property purchased with an average mortgage and title insurance, the chances a buyer's title will later be successfully challenged by the foreclosed homeowner on the basis of robo-signing? Exceedingly slim.

Myth #3: Buyers should wait for the shadow inventory to be released. Many a buyer, discouraged with the homes they see on the the form in their price range, has decided to sit still and wait for the banks to release for sale what is called their "shadow inventory" - rumored to be anywhere from 4 to nearly 6 million homes that have already been foreclosed, but not listed for sale, or will be foreclosed in the near future. The fact is, to the extent that the banks have acknowledged the existence of a pool of homes they own but are not selling, they have expressed that their reasoning for holding the homes off the market is to avoid flooding the market and driving home values down any further. For that reason, buyers should not expect to see a massive influx of these shadow homes onto the market anytime soon - if ever.

The banks' current modus operandi is that as they sell a home, the replace it with another home in that market - if they sell 50 homes in a town that month, they'll put another 50 on the next. So, don't hold your breath waiting for a fabulous new flood of homes. Instead, set up a Trulia alert to notify you when homes that fit your search criteria come on the market, and be ready to call your agent and go visit any and every one that looks like it might be a good fit.

Myth #4: If you’re looking for a deal, you’re looking for a foreclosure. Despite what they may say, no buyer’s heart's fondest desire is to buy a foreclosure. But almost every buyer dreams of buying a great home - and getting a great deal on it. Many people think that to get a great value on their home on today's market, it means they must buy a foreclosure. As a result, the value and other advantages of buying an individually-owned home on today's market are frequently overlooked. Individual sellers with homes on the market right now are generally quite motivated, and understand that their homes are competing with discounted short sales and foreclosed homes. Many of these sellers are slashing prices in an effort to get them sold - the most recent Trulia Price Reduction Report revealed that 27 percent of homes on the market across the country have had at least one price reduction. Now that's what I call a sale!

Further, individual owners are often much more negotiable on a wide range of contract terms than a bank which owns a foreclosed home. You can work with non-bank owners on things like repairs, closing dates, choice of escrow provider, closing costs and even included personal property much more flexibly than you can when the bank is on the other side of the bargaining table. On top of that, many individually-owned homes are in pristine, move-in condition; that is much rarer with foreclosures. So, don't underestimate the value of the deal you might be able to get on a non-foreclosed home. Just get clear on what you can afford and look at all the homes that are available in that price range, without discriminating against non-foreclosures.

Myth #5: Having a foreclosure on your credit history means it'll take years and years before you can buy again. One of the most Frequently Asked Questions in the Trulia Voices Community by homeowners who are facing or have just lost a home through foreclosure is how long it will take before they'll be able to buy again. Until recently, the standard wisdom was that 5 years, minimum, would have to have elapsed between the foreclosure and the new home purchase. Now, though, borrowers can obtain an FHA loan with the low, 3.5 minimum down payment requirement as soon as 3 years following a foreclosure. To do so, though, all your other ducks must be in a row.

Post-foreclosure buyers need a credit score of 620-640 to qualify for an FHA loan; higher for a non-FHA loan - given that the foreclosure itself usually dings anywhere from 100-150 points off the credit score (not necessarily counting a full year or more of pre-foreclosure missed payments), former homeowners who want to buy again need to ensure they have no other late payments or credit dings after they lose thier home. You must have clean credit with no derogatory marks like late credit card payments following the foreclosure, and you may also be required to document 12 to 24 months straight of on-time rent payments after the foreclosure.

Further, the bank may impose a lower debt-to-income ratio on post-foreclosure borrowers than on borrowers who have not had a foreclosure, in an effort to keep your mortgage payments low, keep you from overextending yourself and boost the chances you'll be a successful homeowner over the long-term this time around. The bank will also need to see 2 years of continuous employment history in the same field, and documentation that you meet other loan qualification requirements.

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson Broker in San Francisco, CA

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lenders face lawmaker wrath over foreclosures

WASHINGTON/CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) – Banks under fire over their foreclosure practices face twin hearings in Congress this week, at which they will come under renewed pressure to find ways to keep borrowers in their homes.

The hearings on Tuesday and Thursday will include the first appearances by executives from major lenders like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase since the furor over sloppy foreclosure paperwork erupted in September.

Banks are accused of having used "robo-signers" to sign hundreds of foreclosure documents a day, a fiasco that has reignited public anger with banks that received billions of dollars in taxpayer aid during the financial crisis.

Lenders will be pressed on whether the paperwork problems are further evidence that modifying loans is a better alternative to eviction.

"Foreclosure should be the last option and we need to examine barriers to mortgage modifications," Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, expected to lead the Banking Committee next year, said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Other witnesses at Tuesday's Senate Banking Committee hearing include Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is leading a 50-state probe of foreclosure practices.

Miller's testimony will be closely watched. A settlement with lenders could include fines or commitments to loan modifications.

Bank of America and JPMorgan were among banks that temporarily suspended foreclosures pending internal reviews of their practices, but have since begun to resume sales of foreclosed properties.

Some lawmakers and consumer activists called in October for all lenders to institute a national moratorium on foreclosures, but they failed to gain traction due to fears it would further depress home sales and crimp economic growth.

Real estate data company RealtyTrac said the temporary suspensions by banks led to a 9 percent drop in U.S. foreclosures in October from the month prior.

Republican Representative Spencer Bachus, the front-runner to be chairman of the House Financial Services Committee next year, said the paperwork problems are "disturbing," but singled out federal regulators for criticism.

"It is disappointing that the regulators didn't catch this before the media since most of the problems in the contested foreclosure proceedings occurred at the nation's largest banks," Bachus told Reuters in an email.

The House panel's foreclosure hearing is set for Thursday.


The mortgage paperwork mess threatens to eat into bank profits by delaying sales of bank-owned properties, drawing fines from regulators, and spawning lawsuits from both homeowners and investors in mortgage-backed securities.

Some industry analysts have said a bigger cost for banks stems from investor demands that they buy back billions of dollars of mortgage bonds because they misrepresented the quality of the underlying loans.

Georgetown University law professor Adam Levitin, a witness on Tuesday, sees a fundamental danger highlighted by the sloppy paperwork. He believes the mortgage industry has failed to properly track the ownership of loans, undermining the legal standing of mortgage-backed securities.

The U.S. government's Home Affordable Modification Program has had limited success and banks have been reluctant to reduce the principal owed, a step that can require approval by multiple investors, and causes banks and investors to take losses.

Nevertheless, some economists and housing experts believe the time has come for lenders and mortgage investors to accept reductions in the amounts they are owed.

"It just cannot be the case that foreclosure is preferable to modification -- including reductions of principal -- for a significant proportion of mortgages where the dead-weight costs of foreclosure, including a distressed sale discount, are so high," Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo said in a speech at George Washington University law school on Friday.

The Fed and other federal banking regulators are reviewing the processes large banks have in place for foreclosures.

Congress is currently led by the Democrats, but big losses at the November 2 elections mean Republicans will control the House next year while Democrats retain the Senate with a reduced majority.

That split in control could ensure legislative gridlock and minimize lawmakers' influence on the foreclosure issue.

"I have no hopes for this Congress whatsoever," said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Taylor said he is placing his hopes for a mortgage modification push in the state attorneys general.

(Reporting by Dave Clarke and Joe Rauch; Additional reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami and Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Real Estate Funny

Now These are some funny real estate signs and homes! : )

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Snoqualmie Pass Home for Sale!

Offered at $399,000 Fantastic

Room to sleep 6 to 8 people. Comfortable, all season home. Comes with additional tax parcel that allows lots of turn around room and place to build your garage or outbuilding. 4 decks-at entrance, off dining/living area, master suite, and office/loft. Beautiful interior design with knotty pine finishing. Fully equipped kitchen with custom cabinetry. Spacious dining/ living area with mountain views. One bedroom and full bath on the main level, a bedroom suite with sitting area,luxurious bathroom, plus office/loft on the third level, and bedroom with 3/4 bath and sitting area on the lower level. Like new.

Ann Meisner

Office: 425.502.6404
Mobile: 206.953.9745

Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome to The Cascade Team Krista Mehr

We are very happy to welcome Krista Mehr to The Cascade Team Real Estate. Krista has been a licensed agent in Washington State for over seven years working for John L Scott. Krista also worked as a transaction coordinator for her fathers real estate business in Arizona for four years prior to that.

Krista's focus is going to be on Urban Condo Sales.

Contact information is:

Welcome to the Team!

Mortgage rates fall to fresh lows this week

By JANNA HERRON, AP Real Estate Writer Janna Herron, Ap Real Estate Writer – Thu Nov 11, 3:28 pm ET
NEW YORK – The mortgage rate bar is even lower, but few homebuyers are making the jump.

Rates on fixed mortgages again fell to their lowest levels in decades this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday, after the Federal Reserve unveiled a massive bond-buying program to help spur economic growth.

That marked more than a half-year of record lows. But housing activity has still faltered.

"I have zero purchase deals," said Wisconsin mortgage broker John Stearns. "That's how it's been for months."

Stiff headwinds — unemployment, foreclosures and tight credit — are undermining attractive rates and forcing buyers to the sidelines.

Home sales logged their worst summer in decades, with third-quarter sales falling by 21 percent from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. Median home prices fell in half of U.S. cities in the July-to-September period, up from a third in the previous quarter.

And banks are on pace to take back more than 1 million homes this year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. Recent investigations into faulty paperwork have postponed some foreclosure sales, resulting in a 9-percent drop in home repossessions in October from the previous month.

Major lenders temporarily halted some foreclosures while they reviewed their practices and attorney generals in all 50 states launched a joint investigation into the issue. But many have resumed or plan to resume foreclosures soon.

"While that put a pause in the foreclosure process, that doesn't do anything to help delinquencies," said LendingTree chief economist Cameron Findlay.

Economic woes, such as unemployment or reduced income, continue to be the main catalysts for foreclosures. Borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth are also at high risk and their numbers are rising.

Zillow Inc. said Wednesday that the number of mortgage holders who are "upside down" on their home loans rose in the third quarter to 23 percent. Homeowners with negative equity have a harder time refinancing even though rates are enticingly low.

The average rate on 15-year fixed loans, a popular choice for refinancing, fell to 3.57 percent from 3.63 percent, Freddie Mac said. That's the lowest since the survey began in 1991. The average rate for 30-year fixed loans fell to 4.17 percent from 4.24 percent last week. That's the lowest on records dating back to 1971.

The Federal Reserve detailed plans last week to buy $600 billion in Treasury bonds. The central bank gave more details on Wednesday, saying it plans to purchase $105 billion in Treasurys over the next month. The extra demand means Treasurys will produce lower yields for investors. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.

Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to their lowest level in at least five years. They averaged 3.25 percent, down from 3.39 percent a week earlier. It is the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.

Rates on one-year adjustable-rate home loans were unchanged at 3.26.

The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year and 15-year fixed loans in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.8 point. It was 0.7 point for 1-year and five-year mortgages.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Technology, Energy, Full Service $100k+

The Cascade Team seeks highly motivated, customer-oriented, Real Estate Brokers for Seattle and Eastside expansion

Your invited to take part in changing the way residential real estate is being done in Seattle:
The Cascade Team is a Full Service Real Estate Company like no other, because of the tools, service and savings we provide our clients. We understand that in today's fast paced environment, we need to provide a high level of service, utilize technology to keep our clients up to date at all times and provide added value to both buyers and sellers in the transaction. Our missions is to provide our agents an environment promoting flexibility, professionalism and success. In today's ever changing real estate industry, you need a partner that keeps technology in the forefront, the marketing innovative and the training relevant to keep you ahead of the curve.

We focus on you and continually work to Put cutting edge technology in your hands for FREE; with NO DESK FEES!

Save time and work smart with our suite of technology & online marketing tools:

* Get a personalized web site branded to YOU for every listed property
* Backend lead management system
* FREE leading edge CD flyers for every listing
* Mobile MLS App (No Carrier Restrictions) to drive more buyer traffic
* Text code with call capture for every listing
* Virtual tours for all listings
* NEW Snapit Tags: Instantly connect prospects to more property info
* DocuSign electronic signature & E-Fax (no need to print your contracts)
* Facebook applications to expand listing exposure
* YouTube virtual tour auto submission
* Personal Blogs - so you can target your farm area * Upload Videos, Flash and More:

We brand the marketing to you, so your leads come directly to your email; allowing you to respond quicker and close more business!

The Cascade Team Real Estate also provides all of our Broker/Agents free of charge with:

* Certified Transaction Coordinators - who market your listings and assist in managing the transaction * Professional home stagers provide your clients a FREE in-home consultation paid for by the company
* Full marketing support
* Social media and web training
* Community service opportunities
* FREE 1 hour staging consultation for your client

All The Cascade Team Properties:
• Listed on Yahoo
• Listed on Craig’s List
• Listed on Trulia (Featured)
• Listed on Zillow (Premier)
• Listed on The Seattle Times On-Line
• Listed on
• Listed on Bing
• Listed on

With our online interactive technology, more buyers than ever will see your client's listing!

Agent training... we are committed to ongoing education and training of our agent partners!

The Cascade Team Real Estate provides a complete change from those traditional "Brick & Mortar" Brokerages where you're just a number paying in a desk fee. At The Cascade Team, you are part of the "Family" and we have your back. We provide all of the marketing for your listing up-front! Both your clients and you get amazing service, and we don't make a penny unless YOU are a successful Broker/Agent!

Just imaging providing a higher level of service to your clients, saving them money, and having an marketing plan that is second to none for your listings. Sellers and Buyers will literally chase after you to list their home, The Cascade Team will provide the marketing and support for you, and you will be a busy, productive and $uccessful agent!


Our goal is to set a higher standard of professionalism, integrity and industry expertise by creating a team of real estate professionals looking to dominate in their farm areas. Client expectations are changing and we are on the leading edge. The ideal candidate will have 2-5 years experience as real estate professional. New agents are welcome to interview and ask about our mentor program.

• State of Washington Real Estate or Broker license
• Understanding of the current local Real Estate Market
• Excellent sales and client consulting skills
• Working knowledge of real estate contracts and forms
• PC literate in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and the Internet

Opportunities like this don't go away, they just go to someone else if you fail to take action. To learn more about how you can be part of this real estate revolution.
(425) 396-4569 Ext. 101

To learn more about our company please check out our website at:

Join by December 31st and get a $500 bonus on your first closed transcation!

New Listing - Renton Highlands

Offered at $363,900

Nestled against a greenbelt toward the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, this home boasts brand new slab granite counters with island, cherry hardwood floors in the kitchen. Rounded wall corners. New paint and carpet throughout. The master suite looks onto views of the trees while the master bath offers a soaking tub, two sinks and sizeable walk in closet. 9-ft vaulted ceilings w/ sky lights. Cedar Shake siding, window shutters and NW rock adorn the facade. 1 year home warranty included.

Stephanie Clancy

Office: 425-396-4569
Mobile: 206-915-8800

Home for Sale Windsor Estates Bothell

Offered at $550,000

Excellent floor plan with 4 bedrooms, main floor den, upstairs bonus room and 2.75 baths. Grand two story entry with elegant curved staircase. Formal living room with soaring ceilings and gas fireplace. Dining room with butler's pantry, crown molding and plenty of space to entertain in style. Chef's kitchen with stainless appliances, granite counters, breakfast nook and abundant storage and work space. Family room with gas fireplace flanked by media alcove and custom built-ins. King sized master suite and luxurious 5 piece master bath.

Matt Jensen

Office: 206.909.8200
Mobile: 206.909.8200

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Issaquah- Skye Landing

Offered at $299,000

Beautiful Rare End Unit with Expansive Open Fl Plan, Lake View off Greenbelt! Many lg windows for maximum light exposure. One of largest homes in desirable Skye Landing, at 1501 sq ft. Two Lg Bdrms, 1 bright bd on main w/ own bth. Dream Kitchen w/ towering Vaulted ceilings, huge skylight, bar seats 6, Pantry, Formal DR, LR & 2 bdrms look at greenery! Custom closets in 3 rms. Nearby 25-mi trail system, lake!

Sheri Hilton

Office: 425.396.4569
Mobile: 425.750.0354

New Listing in Klahanie - Issaquah

Offered at $365,000

Beautiful 3 bed 2.5 bath home. High vaulted ceilings, three large skylights let in tons of light, Gas fireplace, Hardwood floors throughout lower level, stairs & upstairs hallway, Large Master Suite w/ 5-piece bathrooms, soaking tub, walk-in & storage area, pantry. 50-year Roof installed '08, New cedar siding 2001! Fully fenced backyard w/ maturing landscape, tiered gardens gives peaceful views. Community has 2 heated pools, 25 miles trails, multiple parks, lighted tennis, bskball, baseball, soccer, lake, dock. Could be best buy in town!

Sheri Hilton

Office: 425.396.4569
Mobile: 425.750.0354

Monday, November 8, 2010

Klahanie Issaquah Homes for Sale

Offered at $200,000

Spectacular top floor condo backing to protected greenbelt. Warm and inviting living room with vaulted ceilings, gas fireplace and designer paint. Private deck with storage. Chef's kitchen with breakfast bar and tile floor and counters. King sized master suite with vaulted ceiling, ceiling fan, luxurious bath and walk-in closet. Enjoy Sundance's clubhouse, fitness room, pool and spa plus all of Klahanie's amenities including trails, shopping and dining!

Matt Jensen

Office: 206.909.8200
Mobile: 206.909.8200

Home Sales Could Enter 'Virtuous Cycle'

Consumer confidence and business spending are key to whether the U.S. housing market will move into a virtuous or a vicious cycle in 2011, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told a packed audience at the Residential Economic Outlook Forum Friday in New Orleans.

After the downturn, the housing market has clawed its way back to a point of near stability, Yun said, with the pace of new foreclosures easing, sales moving toward historically normal levels and prices on a national basis gaining modestly.

At the same time, affordability remains strong. He said all of the price excesses from the housing bubble have been squeezed out. In San Diego, for example, buyers today would pay $1,564 a month in mortgage payments for a house that at the height of the boom would have cost them $2,833 a month.

The broader economy is also showing positive signs, with businesses enjoying strong profits, sitting on huge cash reserves, and even adding jobs. Yun predicts this positive trend to continue into 2011, with existing home sales reaching 5.5 million units, prices rising a modest 1 percent, and the U.S. gross domestic product increasing to about 2.5 percent.

“We are entering a virtuous cycle,” he said. But for the positive trend to continue, he added, businesses will have to start spending some of their cash to fuel job growth at a far greater pace than they’re doing now. Currently, businesses are adding jobs at a pace of about 100,000 a month. That needs to grow to about 400,000 a month for unemployment
to start shrinking.

The scenario will be far more negative if businesses continue to sit on their cash. In that case, sales will fall, inventories will rise, the high rate of foreclosures will resume, and the cost to the federal government of bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will surge.

Federal Reserve Governor Thomas Koenig, who shared the data with Yun, said the Fed’s continued effort to spur the economy, most recently through a $600 billion bond buying program, is understandable given concerns over the slow pace of growth. But the continued subsidization of the market could unleash inflationary forces.

Yun said he sees possible evidence of inflation building, but it’s not visible now because the housing-cost portion of inflation measurements is holding down prices.

—Rob Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

30-Year Mortgage Rates Inch Up 3rd Straight Week

Freddie Mac confirms that average interest for 30-year fixed mortgages rose for the third consecutive week, bumping up to 4.24 percent from 4.23 percent a week ago.

The average 15-year rate for the week ended Nov. 4 was 3.63 percent, a drop from 3.66 percent.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (11/05/10)

With rates still near record lows, and homes prices near 10 year lows, now is the time to buy. Rates basically have nowhere to go but up from here, and new government regulations taking affect in the spring of 2011 will further add to fees required to purchase.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Real Estate Funny

Is your Real Estate agent doing a little more than sell homes to make ends meet these days?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

BoA Real Estate Center "Powered" by The Cascade Team

Search for homes from the Bank of America website in the new BoA Real Estate Center "Powered" by The Cascade Team Real Estate

The Cascade Team/ Bank of America Strategic Marketing Partnership:

Along with our “Buyer Bonus” get $1,000 towards closing from BoA, and an additional $1,000 for a energy efficient home, AND NO origination fees!

Get Prequalified With Bank Of America & Save $1000 On Your Closing Costs!

The Cascade Team Real Estate is pleased to announce the launch of our NEW strategic partnership with Bank of America Home Loans. As a valued client of The Cascade Team Real Estate, you'll receive $1000 off your closing costs with Bank of America Home Loans. In addition, to our buyer rebate program, this can substantially reduce your out of pocket expenses in closing your new home purchase. In addition, there is an additional $1000 credit if you are purchasing an energy rated home (ask your loan officer for more details). With no origination fees, Bank of America and The Cascade Team Real Estate can save you thousands of dollars on your next home purchase.

Clients of The Cascade Team receive:

$1,000 towards closing cost when closing with Bank of America

An additional $1,000 for Energy Star certified homes

No origination fees!

On time closing guarantee

Free Buyer Protection Program

Friday, November 5, 2010

Issaquah Real Estate

Offered at $434,995

Beautiful home with 4 bdrms large finished bonus rm with vaulted ceiling & 2 large skylights above garage. Use finished 5th bed/loft as private home office/den/exercise/play rm/your choice. Open floor plan w/great room, new neutral exterior/interior paint & peaceful landscaped gardens. Garage has extra lg built-in storage. Attractive hardwoods on main, large yard/patio for entertaining guests & gardening. Move-in ready & a must see!

Sheri Hilton

Office: 425.396.4569
Mobile: 425.750.0354


Thursday, November 4, 2010

WA State Pending Home Sales drop 22% Year to year

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Nov. 4, 2010) – Housing activity around Washington state remained lackluster during October, with brokers reporting year-over-year declines in pending sales. On a brighter note, prices on sales that closed last month showed signs of stabilizing, with eight counties showing price gains compared to 12 months ago.

“The change in the market will not be a’ light switch’ moment,” remarked NWMLS director Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate in Poulsbo. He expects 2011 will be a little better than 2010, with 2012 likely to be a little better than 2011.

Northwest MLS members reported 5,653 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during October, a drop of nearly 22 percent from the same month a year ago. Compared to September, brokers wrote 88 fewer transactions, a decline of 1.5 percent.

Broker-members are reporting upticks in activity in some geographic areas and in certain price segments.

While entry-level buyers dominated sales earlier in the year due to the tax credit, move-up buyers have a growing presence in the market, according to OB Jacobi, another NWMLS director. Commenting on October activity, Jacobi, the president of Windermere Real Estate Company, said during the first quarter, homes priced at $500,000 or more made up less than a quarter (23 percent) of all home sales in King County. Since mid-year, his analysis shows $500,000-plus homes have accounted for over a third of all sales (34 percent).

NWMLS members reported 4,072 closed sales during October, reflecting the slower pace of pending sales. Last month’s closed sales, which include single family homes and condominiums, had a median selling price of $255,932. That area-wide figure is down about 5.2 percent from twelve months ago.

In King County, the median price for last month’s sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $350,000, about the same as the year-ago figure of $349,950. Seven other counties also reported price gains from a year ago. They include Clark, Ferry, Grant, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, and Okanogan.

Inventory remained plentiful, despite the addition of fewer new listings during October than during the same month a year-ago.

Brokers added 8,212 new listings to the MLS system last month, including 7,039 single family homes and 1,173 condominiums. That total is down from a year ago, when members added 9,344 new listings.

With October’s new listings, there were 39,677 active listings in the NWMLS database at month end, an increase of nearly 4 percent from the year-ago selection that totaled 38,159 listings.
Wilson noted there is considerable variation across the NWMLS service area when measuring the months supply of homes (a barometer of how long it would take for the entire inventory of active listings to sell given recent sales activity and assuming no new listings were to appear on the market).

In Kitsap County, for example, Wilson said listings in the Indianola and Gamblewood areas are selling quite well with roughly a 4-month supply of inventory. “On the other hand,” he noted, “in the Hansville/Driftwood Key area in the northernmost part of the county, there is close to a 20-month supply.”

“Buyers and sellers need to live in the now and not try to second-guess the market or when it will actually bottom out,” Wilson suggested, adding the messages to sellers and buyers are unchanged.

Sellers need to be realistic, Wilson emphasized, noting on average 27 percent of listings sell within the first 30 days and 46 percent of listings either take more than six months or don’t sell at all. “This is why it is critical to price your home correctly right out of the gate when it is being seen by the most buyers,” he explained.

The advice to buyers has not changed either, according to Wilson. With interest rates low and inventory fairly abundant, prospective owners should be prepared to make an offer if they see an appealing house that has just been listed.

In a statement accompanying a report last week on existing home sales across the U.S., Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, said the housing market is in the early stages of recovery. “A housing recovery is taking place, but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,” he said.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Woodinville Real Estate

Offered at $439,000

Short Sale opportunity. Get into one of the Eastside's best neighborhoods at an Amazing Price! Requires TLC, but can provide instant equity w/ some elbow grease! TONS of SPACE inside and out! High-quality Anderson Windows, Top-notch Merbau Cherry Hardwoods; Sold "As Is". Seller agent make no warranties of any kind. Seller will do no work orders. Buyer to investigate and verify all information to their satisfaction.

Shannon Woodcock

Office: 425.396.4569
Mobile: 206.484.5330

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Issaquah Highlands Top Floor Condo

Offered at $215,000

Top floor end unit in the Enclave at Issaquah Highlands with beautiful views! Open floorplan with windows on 3 sides is bathed in natural light. Chef's kitchen offers tiled counters, stainless appliances and breakfast bar. King sized master suite and spacious master bath with large walk-in closet. Large covered deck with storage and sweeping westerly views. Ideal location in the heart of the Highlands just steps from trails, shopping and dining!

Matt Jensen

Office: 206.909.8200
Mobile: 206.909.8200

Homeownership at lowest in a decade

By The Associated Press The Associated Press –

HOMEOWNERSHIP LOW: The percentage of homes owned by their occupants remained at 66.9 percent this fall, the lowest level in more than a decade. A rise in foreclosures and weak demand for housing have kept the rate low.

LOWEST SINCE 1990s: The last time the rate was lower was in 1999, when it was 66.7 percent.

REVERSING TREND: For decades, the rate was about 64 percent. It began climbing in 1995. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush encouraged home buying and the rate hit a peak of more than 69 percent in 2004. The housing market went bust two years later.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Realtors Support FHFA Proposal to End Private Transfer Fees

by Amber Pineda on October 26, 2010

RISMEDIA, October 19, 2010 ( The National Association of Realtors (NAR) strongly supports the proposed guidance from the Federal Housing Finance Agency to prevent government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks from investing in mortgages encumbered by private transfer fee covenants.

In a letter sent to FHFA, NAR reiterated its opposition to these covenants, which developers often attach to a property to require payment of fees back to that developer each time the property is resold. These covenanted mandates are often extremely difficult to reverse once in place, and in many cases are attached to a deed for up to 99 years.

“As the leading advocate for homeownership and private property rights, we oppose private transfer fees, which decrease affordability, serve no public purpose, and provide no benefit to purchasers or the community where the home is located,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of a real estate company in Tucson, Ariz. “These fees increase the cost of homeownership and place an inappropriate drag on the transfer of property—they do little more than generate revenue for private developers or investors.”

NAR also made recommendations to FHFA if the agency decides to provide an exception for organizations such as homeowners associations, where there may be a direct benefit to the homeowner.

“If FHFA believes that some private transfer fees have a legitimate place in real estate markets, then we recommend they adopt strategies to minimize any unintended consequences. If an exception is made for certain organizations, such as homeowners associations, then FHFA should ensure that the fees paid are reasonable and fully disclosed—otherwise these properties could be at a disadvantage in the marketplace. FHFA should also consider an exception for existing properties with private transfer fees because the lack of an exception would curb the ability of homeowners to sell their homes,” said Golder.

There is virtually no oversight on where or how private transfer fee proceeds can be spent, on how long a private transfer fee may be imposed, or on how the fees should be disclosed to home buyers. For these reasons, 12 states have banned or restricted private transfer fees, including Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Louisiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah.

Monday, November 1, 2010

3 New Anti-Foreclosure Strategies

Here are three programs that are considered promising replacements for the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which has failed to stop foreclosures.

· Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be encouraged to refinance loans for some 30 million borrowers with high-interest rate mortgages. The new mortgages would be folded into a new round of mortgage-backed securities issued by the government-sponsored finance firms.

· The right-to-rent plan would offer delinquent borrowers an option of renting their foreclosed homes at a market rate for five years. At that point, owners turned renters would have another chance to buy their homes at market value. It’s a compromise. Borrowers lose their homes, but lenders have to accept lower payments.

· Mortgage cramdowns give a bankruptcy judge the right to consider all of a borrower’s debts and create a solution that would force all interested parties, including holders of mortgage debt, to compromise.

Source: Reuters News, Alina Selyukh (10/29/2010)