A Crazy and scary ordeal, another unfortunate byproduct of the Real Estate Collapse

This whole story just makes me cringe.  I feel for the family that was dupped by the realtor con-artist but it seems legal action steps in to over rule common sense.  By all means they need to vacate the house which they are now wrongfully possessing and restore it to its owners.  The real owners are getting screwed and I’m sure they will never be made whole again for all the insanity of this ordeal.

Read on, and when you go on your next extended vacation, be sure you have a neighbor or family member do regular stops by your house when your gone.  I can’t imagine this can happen everywhere, I would think the conditions, legal and economic climate, etc would have to be just right.  But then again, I wouldn’t think this could happen at all.  Go figure.

Squatters in Littleton, Colo., Couple’s Home Refuse to Vacate Despite Judge’s Ruling

Despite a judge’s ruling that a pair of squatters vacate a Colorado couple’s home in two days, two weeks later they are still there, forcing the home’s owners to stay put in a relative’s basement.

Troy and Dayna Donovan (pictured above) had spent a few months away from their home in Littleton, Colo., and when they returned late last year they found another couple, who claimed that they bought the house, living there.

Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and her husband, Jose Rafael Levya-Caraveo (pictured in the yellow shirt at right), said that a man named Alfonso Carillo offered them a deed of adverse possession — which purportedly allowed them, for $5,000, to take over the Donovans’ house as abandoned property.

Earlier this month, the Donovans won an eight-month legal battle against the two in their home, and a judge ordered Fernandez-Beleta and Levya-Caraveo to vacate in two days.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.

As CBS Denver reported, Fernandez-Beleta and Levya-Caraveo have filed a “flurry of legal paperwork,” and are still living in the home on Mabre Court (pictured below). First, the two took the Donovans to court after the Donovans walked into the house through an unlocked door. The home occupants said that they were afraid for their safety and they were granted a restraining order, keeping the Donovans away from their own home.

Then, Fernandez-Beleta filed for bankruptcy, canceling the entire eviction process just hours before sheriffs were scheduled to remove them from the property.

“The Sheriff’s Office will not proceed with an eviction if there is a bankruptcy in question,” Arapahoe County Undersheriff David Walcher told the TV station.

This means that a Federal Bankruptcy Court will have to determine ownership of the house, which could take months, CBS Denver said.

But the Donovans aren’t the only victims in this case. Fernandez-Beleta and Levya-Caraveo seemingly were conned by Carillo, a real estate agent whose license was revoked. Carillo has already been arrested twice in similar cases. In Colorado, a property can only be claimed through adverse possession if it is vacant for 18 years; the Donovans were only gone for six months.

“You’re going to lose your money, and you’re going to lose the house eventually,” criminal investigator Daniel Chun told Fernandez-Beleta and Levya-Caraveo.

When asked why they haven’t left the home yet, Fernandez-Beleta and Levya-Caraveo’s daughter, Caren, told OurLittletonNews.com: “We were going to leave on Thursday [July 19th], but then the reporters came yelling, so we went back inside and decided to stay.”

She said her family is unsure of what to do, and they can’t afford to move.

The Donovans are still living in a relative’s basement with their two children, possibly for the next several months, as this ordeal continues.


Single-Family Rental Houses Draw Millions

So when someone looses their house to the bank where do they go?  To another house, only they rent it now.  Opportunity.

Single-Family Rental Houses Draw Millions Impacted by Foreclosure Crisis

After splitting from her husband, Tami Wingfield couldn’t afford to keep up with the mortgage on the home that they had shared. The monthly $1,600 bill was too much for her to bear alone, and in 2008, she lost the house to foreclosure.

Like many people who lost their homes in the housing collapse, Wingfield decided the next logical step was to rent. But that didn’t mean she had to give up the lifestyle of a homeowner. Wingfield and her three children have managed to stay in a four-bedroom single-family house all to themselves – they just don’t own it.

They’re part of a new class of American renters that has emerged in the wake of the housing bust: people who lost the houses they owned and are now renting single-family homes. Ironically, many of these rental homes are a reflection of the troubles that once plagued the renters. They used to be owned by other families who lost them in the downturn. Now they’re owned and rented out by investors who purchased them at a discount.

At least 1.75 million renters in the U.S. have gone down the same path as Wingfield, according todata from analytics firm CoreLogic.

Wingfield rents her $1,000-a-month home in Goodyear, Ariz., from The Empire Group, a development and investment firm that bought it as a foreclosure. She has a backyard where she’s planted a garden, and she’s on a desirable suburban street lined with quaint homes just eight miles from the house that she owned with her husband.

It’s as if hardly anything has changed.

Feeling Part of the Community

“I am able to provide my daughters and myself a nice home,” Wingfield said. “I don’t have to find a parking spot when I come home, tired from working double shifts at the hospital. I pull my car into the garage and walk into my house.”

Being able to maintain a homeowner’s lifestyle, even as a renter, has also helped her continue to feel like a part of her community.

“You can establish a place in the neighborhood — get a school for your children,” Wingfield said. “The buses run in the neighborhood…. There’s parks and sidewalks to walk your dog.”

Empire, which owns about 1,000 homes in the Phoenix area, spends close to $7,000 a pop to restore each of the distressed properties that it purchases. Its average rental home is 2,100 square feet and goes for $1,050 a month, said Geoffrey Jacobs, a principal at the company.

Jacobs said Empire, which started off as a developer, “put on the investor hat” in 2009. “It was an opportunity for us to take advantage of something we never thought we’d see again,” he said.

Investors provide the capital that Empire needs to convert homes into rentals, and the company turns a profit by taking a cut of the monthly rents that it collects and distributes to investors.

Empire is just one of many firms that are snapping up bargain homes and leasing them to families like Wingfield’s. And with rental rates soaring nationwide, the business strategy is currently lucrative.

As of January, investors are raking in an average 8.6 percent return on their investments annually, according to CoreLogic. That’s a 3 percent increase from 2006. And there are 21 million units in the country’s single-family rental inventory, putting the size of the market at a whopping $3 trillion, CoreLogic said.

That might be a good thing, since millions more borrowers are headed toward foreclosure and may flood the rental market. If that happens, it could continue to push up rental prices and lure more investors into the market, experts have said.


FHA mortgage delinquencies on the rise

Hmmm, interesting info.

FHA’s mortgage delinquencies soar

CNNMoney.com – Mon, Jul 9, 2012

The mortgage market appears to finally be stabilizing — as long as you ignore loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

Increasingly, FHA-insured loans are falling into foreclosure or serious delinquency, moving in the opposite direction of loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or those held by banks, which are all showing signs of improvement.

And taxpayers could ultimately be on the hook for FHA’s growing number of troubled mortgages. The agency’s finances are already on shaky ground, and additional losses from loans going sour could prompt the need for a federal bailout, experts said.

“We can’t escape this one,” said Joseph Gyourko, a real estate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “This is an arm of the U.S. government.”

The share of government-guaranteed loans, a majority of which are backed by FHA, that were 90 days or more delinquent soared nearly 27% during the year ending March 31. Foreclosures jumped nearly 17%, according to a report published recently by federal regulators.

At the same time, bank loans saw a dramatic improvement, with delinquencies shrinking by 39% and foreclosures declining by nearly 10%. Fannie and Freddie’s portfolio also improved as delinquencies dropped by nearly 15% and foreclosures slid by more than 6%, the quarterly report issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said.

FHA has also had a tougher time successfully modifying loans. More than 48% of government-guaranteed mortgages re-defaulted 12 months after modification, compared to 36.2% of loans overall, the report said.

FHA’s risky borrowers: FHA doesn’t make loans, but it backstops lenders if borrowers stop paying. With this guarantee in place, banks are more likely to offer mortgages to borrowers with lower credit scores or incomes.

FHA-backed loans made up more than 29% of the market for home purchases in the first quarter of 2012, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry publication.

Housing experts have been warning for years that many FHA-insured loans are not sustainable, especially in these troubled times. That’s particularly concerning because FHA’s share of the market has swelled in recent years as lenders pulled back on providing mortgages that weren’t backed by the government.

One of the main critiques of FHA loans is that they require very low downpayments — a minimum of 3.5%. In an environment where home prices are declining, borrowers can quickly slip underwater and owe more than their property is worth.

“These are very risky loans,” said Ed Pinto, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. And loans made in the past three years are “moving into the beginning of the peak delinquency period and they are very big books of business.”

Unless the economy improves significantly over the next few years, FHA will experience even more delinquencies, said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.

Little room for failure: The dramatic jump in delinquencies comes despite the agency’s efforts to improve the quality of the loans it insures.

Over the past several years, soaring defaults have been eating away at FHA’s emergency reserves, which cover losses on the mortgages it insures. In fiscal 2009, the reserve fund dropped to 0.53% of FHA’s insurance guarantees, well below the 2% ratio mandated by Congress. By late last year, it had fallen to 0.24%.

FHA pledged to shore up its standards and its finances in 2009. The agency has since increased its insurance premiums, established minimum credit scores for borrowers, required larger downpayments from those with credit scores below 580 and banned sellers from assisting borrowers with the downpayment. It also created an office of risk management and cracked down on lenders with questionable underwriting processes.

Despite the emergency fund’s diminishing reserves, FHA maintains that its efforts are working. The loans insured starting in 2009 are much higher quality and should lower delinquency levels over time, an FHA official said.

“We expect the new books will continue with their better performance, primarily because of the steps that were put in place,” he said. “And we are benefiting from having more high-credit borrowers.”

Still, FHA watchers warn that the agency doesn’t have much of a cushion against these rising delinquencies and foreclosures. And if the losses grow too great, the agency could need a taxpayer-funded bailout.

Case to my previous post point: Jobless claims up; cooler CPI

Jobless claims up; cooler CPI gives Fed more room

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New claims for state jobless benefits rose for the fifth time in six weeks and consumer prices fell in May, opening the door wider for the U.S. Federal Reserve to help an economy that shows signs of weakening.

Though the increase was small, it undermined hopes that a recent slowdown in hiring would prove temporary.

“There is very little sign of life,” said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors in Albany, New York. “The economy as measured by employment conditions has slowed and there doesn’t appear to be any change when you look at the claims numbers.”

You can read the full text here:

Jobless claims up; cooler CPI gives Fed more room


International super-rich target California real estate

And so they come.  Nothing new we didn’t already know but some interesting analysis by Reuters.

As uncertainty stifles global financial markets, real estate with strong rental prospects in key cities across the United States is again becoming an asset of choice for the yield-hungry international investor.

I do take issue with their unsupported statement

As the U.S. jobs market expands, there are signs that the worst may be over for the property market that spawned the sub-prime mortgage maelstrom and the world’s deepest banking crisis since the Great Depression.

even the mass media has been reporting about all the revisions to the unemployment rate and job creation numbers & how companies large and small are hesitant to add new jobs until they see more positive signs in the economy.  A pretty glib generalization that really doesn’t belong in the story.

You can read the entire story here.

While Chinese investment is no surprise I didn’t realize Canadians had more money flowing into US Real Estate.  Very interesting.  One key to note for Real Estate Investors, namely wholesalers/rehabbers/flippers looking for those bargain REO’s is the statement

 “From an investment standpoint, the view is even more positive: people are searching for returns which aren’t available with other investments, and real estate yields are now looking very attractive, given recent price adjustments.”

They are looking at different criteria when evaluating an investment property so don’t be surprised when all the REO’s are being bid up so high.  It’s a combination of the banks trickling out the inventory or opting for Short Sales to save some of the cost/time of foreclosure and the large investment funds just looking at yields that fit their investment goals.

JPMorgan Trades Lop Off $27 Billion, Wall St. says so what…

Since JP Morgan lost $2B in derivatives last month the resulting slide in their stock value has erased a mere $27B off their books.  So, have they learned their lesson yet?  It’s obvious they have not.  This type of trade wasn’t supposed to be happening any more period, but it did & they got caught and burnt.  Wonder what would have happened if no one noticed…wonder how many others may be sliding under the radar…  There can not be any more bailouts, no more “too big to fail” time to let the bad apples rot and the good apples flourish.  Regulation is a farce.  If any exists applicable to such risky behavior it lacks any teeth hence is unenforceable, a mere bunch of words, no beef.  Pathetic.

Here’s the wisest comment in the story:

Executives who say the loss is small for a firm that earned $19 billion last year are missing the warning it represents about unwieldy large lenders, said Richard Sylla, a financial historian at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

“Even a great banker like James Dimon can’t really manage such a huge operation,” Sylla said. “They convince themselves that everything is fine because they’re making money.”

U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry told the Senate Banking Committee last week that the loss raises “questions about the adequacy and rigor” of the bank’s risk management. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner last month called it a “pretty significant risk-management failure.”

Basically we can safely assume nothings changed on Wall Street.   Business as usual.

Here’s the article from Bloomberg.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon plans to testify before Congress this week about his firm’s $2 billion trading loss. His Wall Street colleagues don’t understand why.

“Occasional losses are inevitable,” said Blackstone Group LP (BX)’s Stephen A. Schwarzman, 65, CEO of the largest private- equity firm. “Publicly excoriating JPMorgan serves no purpose except to reduce people’s confidence in the financial system.”

JP Morgan Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon. Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The loss sliced $27 billion from JPMorgan’s market value in the month after the May 10 disclosure, while triggering at least five federal probes and two planned Capitol Hill hearings with Dimon. It also renewed debate about whether curbs on trading by bankers were tightened enough after their wrong-way bets pushed the system to the brink of collapse in 2008.

Executives, lobbyists and analysts said in more than a dozen interviews that the public stir is an overreaction to a minor misstep.

“I kind of shrug,” said Bill Archer, 58, a former co- chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s capital markets committee and now a partner at buyout firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson LLC in New York. “That’s just the way the world is.”

JPMorgan shares dropped 17 percent through last week after the New York-based bank, the largest in the U.S., disclosed the losses on credit derivatives held by its chief investment office. Dimon, 56, had shifted the unit from a conservative manager of unused cash into a profit center that bet on riskier assets, former employees have said. Some wagers became so large that they were driving prices in the $10 trillion market and couldn’t easily be unwound, Bloomberg News reported.

Follow the link in the title for the full story.

OK Investors, is it time to look at the Luxury Market?

Attention K-Mart shoppers, err, Real Estate Investors it appears the Luxury Market is heating up.  Does that mean it’s time to jump in and start looking for some blue light specials? No doubt there’s some money to be made in big digit transactions but there also is a different type of buyer to deal with as well.  I’m very interested to hear about your experiences in this arena, good and bad.

Here’s the story from Bloomberg:

Luxury Homes Spur Bidding Wars in L.A. as Market Rebounds

A week after Christine Lynch listed her house in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles for $3.625 million, she had seven offers. Within 10 days, a deal was reached for the five-bedroom, six-bathroom home — and for $225,000 more than she asked.

“My first reaction was, ‘Wow, I guess we’re really doing this,’” Lynch, 55, said in an interview. The all-cash transaction was completed on April 23. “I was really surprised by this level of interest and how quickly it sold,” she said.

Bidding wars are breaking out for luxury homes in such wealthy Los Angeles enclaves as Brentwood, Beverly Hills and Bel Air as an increasing number of buyers bet on rising home prices and investors return to the market. Even properties in need of extensive renovation are being fought over by shoppers who expect to resell them for more after a remodel or rebuild.

“The percentage of people who think prices are only going to go up is the greatest I have ever seen in my career,” said Syd Leibovitch, president of Rodeo Realty Inc. in Beverly Hills.

Sales of Beverly Hills homes priced at $2 million and higher climbed 11 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 39, according to DataQuick, a San Diego-based provider of property information. In Brentwood, whose residents include actress and singer Julie Andrews, they increased 56 percent to 25, and in Malibu they gained 64 percent to 23.

Throughout the U.S., residential-property sales of $1 million and higher rose 7.2 percent in March, the most recent month for which figures are available, from a year earlier, according to the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors, whose price categories stop at that amount.

Across U.S.

Demand has been rising for high-end homes in the northeastern U.S., including Boston and New York; on the California coast; and in parts of the southern U.S. amid a recovery in financial markets, according to Paul Bishop, vice president of research at the Realtors group.

Click the article title for a link to the full story.

Larry InDeed


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