Archive for September, 2009

VARbuzz subscriptions should now be back to normal

pleasestandby That emptiness you feel in your innermost being? Yeah, we have it too. It’s the lack of VARbuzz posts in your feed reader or inbox recently.

We’ve been having some ongoing technical difficulties with VARbuzz subscriptions, both e-mail and RSS flavors. Earlier attempts to rectify things seem to have failed, but we think the problem has been permanently resolved.

First Convention photos are up

We had a coupla folks taking shots at the Convention, and not all the photos are in yet. But the first batch is up — some of events, some candids, some repetitive, but all VAR.

VARbuzz.com/photos/Convention 2009/

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October 5 is the deadline to register to vote in Virginia

The headline says it all. But here are three reasons to visit the Virginia Board of Elections Web site even if you’re already registered to vote.

And if you’re voting to improve your ability to earn a living as a Realtor, the RPAC of Virginia Trustees encourage you to vote for Bob McDonnell for Governor, Bill Bolling for Lieutenant Governor and Steve Shannon for Attorney General. Find out how the RPAC Trustees determine whom to support and their choices for House of Delegates candidates at RealtorsChoose.com.

State offers tax amnesty

If you (or someone you love) owes some of Virginia’s $48 million in back taxes, the state is offering a one-month amnesty under what it calls the Get Square VA  program. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s between Oct. 7 and Dec. 5 and there are no penalties — plus you only have to pay half the normal interest rate charges.

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Freddie (Mac, not Kruger) going door to door

This came from a press release by the company (or one of the companies) hired to actually put the shoe leather on the ground, but it’s still an interesting tactic — if that’s the word.

Freddie Mac today announced it has hired Titanium Solutions, Inc. to meet with delinquent borrowers at their homes and help them supply missing information, documents and complete other actions needed to begin their three month trial payment periods for Home Affordable Modifications under President Obama’s Making Home Affordable program.

And:

Titanium Solutions representatives will provide borrowers seeking Home Affordable Modifications with a wide range of support and expertise from reviewing program requirements, to explaining which documents are needed, to securing signatures and walking them through unfamiliar processes.

Did you know that October is…

…National Window Covering Safety Month? Me neither.

Maybe a suggestion for a seller you’re representing: Replace window cords.

This campaign focuses on raising awareness of the potential strangulation hazards that window cords can pose to young children and toddlers. Parents and caregivers are urged to use only cordless window coverings in rooms where young children sleep and play.

More info from the press release and at windowcoverings.org.

Commonwealth Contest EXTENDED

Apparently some folks are only just getting their copies of Commonwealth, so to be fair to everyone we’re extended the contest. Entries are due by 11:59 PM Wednesday, September 30, 2009.

See the earlier post (below) for the instructions.

Securitized mortgages — hard to foreclose?

An interesting story here from Kansas that has the potential to affect a lot of homeowners facing foreclosure.

Here’s the gist:

Many home mortgages have been securitized — split up into pieces and packaged like stocks. And like stocks, those mortgages can be traded. The company that handles much of that is called MERS, for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.

The New York Times described it thusly:

Created by lenders seeking to save millions of dollars on paperwork and public recording fees every time a loan changes hands, MERS is a confidential computer registry for trading mortgage loans. From an office in the Washington suburbs, it played an integral, if unsung, role in the proliferation of mortgage-backed securities that fueled the housing boom.

Because MERS handles something like 60 million loans, it’s often the closest a homeowner can come to finding out who actually owns the note on his property. Quoting the Times again, “[N]o matter how many times a mortgage is bundled, sliced up or resold, the public record often begins and ends with MERS.”

And if it came time to foreclose on a property “held” by MERS, it was MERS that filed the paperwork. And that caused some problems:

In the last few years, banks have initiated tens of thousands of foreclosures in the name of MERS — about 13,000 in the New York region alone since 2005 — confounding homeowners seeking relief directly from lenders and judges trying to help borrowers untangle loan ownership. What is more, the way MERS obscures loan ownership makes it difficult for communities to identify predatory lenders whose practices led to the high foreclosure rates that have blighted some neighborhoods.

Sorry to bury the lede, but here’s the interesting part. In a case called Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, the Kansas Court of Appeals said that no, MERS cannot foreclose on someone’s home because it doesn’t hold the actual note — only a deed of trust.

“Only the holder of the note is entitled to payment of the underlying obligation,” the court said. “The mortgage loan becomes ineffectual when the note holder did not also hold the deed of trust.”

What does that mean? Well, it could be really interesting, according to economics and financial guru Barry Ritholtz, who writes:

To start, it potentially gives a powerful weapon to homeowners who are being foreclosed upon. If their mortgage is held by MERS, they certainly have a strong basis for challenging the action on the grounds of standing.

Ellen Brown, author of  seems to think the ruling has even more surprising consequences:

The significance of the holding is that if MERS has no standing to foreclose, then nobody has standing to foreclose – on 60 million mortgages.

I’m not going to guess whether Ritholtz or Brown are right or wrong, but the Kansas court’s decision — which will likely affect more than Kansas — is certainly something to take note of.

VAR Video Blogging HOW TO Class 1hr

This was recorded at the VAR annual convention. This year it was in Hot Springs Va.
The topic is why you should be using Video in your business.
Including:
- Get started without buying anything
- Premium equipment if you wanted to upgrade
- Different types of videos. (ie for listings, neighborhoods)
- Things to talk about in your video and creative ideas

Hope you enjoyed it.

Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker FranklyRealty.com

RPAC of Virginia Surpasses 2009 NAR RPAC Goal

As of the end of August, RPAC of Virginia has raised 102 percent of its 2009 NAR RPAC Goal. Only 17 other states or territories have hit the 100 percent mark so far this year.

If you want more details, here’s the August NAR RPAC Reports or you can visit www.RealtorsChoose.com to find out what candidates are getting the Virginia-raised funds.