This holiday, which occurs on the third Monday in January each year, was established to serve as a time for Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It took 15 years to create the federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Congressman John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, first introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968. A number of states resisted celebrating the holiday. Some opponents said King did not deserve his own holiday, contending that the entire civil rights movement rather than one individual, however instrumental, should be honored. Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, Republican from California.
We’ve all heard the saying that ‘Bad things sometimes happen to good people’. If you have ever owned a home and have experienced both the pride of homeownership and the correlated sentiment of shame for having lost that home in foreclosure, short-sale, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or worse bankruptcy when the event which caused what I like to call the ‘housing event’ was caused by circumstances beyond your control then you can appreciate just how achingly long the waiting period before you are eligible for a mortgage loan can be.
Ever since the first Europeans called America home, before there was America, giving thanks to God has been our tradition. Even in times of trial and strife, Americans have set aside this one day of the year to give thanks for all that He has done.
Today, as we look around and see images flash across our screens of civil unrest and bloody atrocities, both near and abroad, we can find many reasons to be sorrowful. However, lest we overlook the too numerous to mention reasons to be thankful, consider instead the following words of our 16th President who as Commander in Chief in the midst of what arguably was the darkest hour of the Union proclaimed the following:
‘It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father, and the power of His hand, equally in these triumphs and sorrows…I invite the people of the United States to assemble….and render the homage [giving of thanks] due the Divine Majesty for the wonderful things He has done in the nations behalf… and finally to lead the whole nation, through the paths of repentance and submission to the Divine will, back to the enjoyment of union and fraternal peace”. – Abraham Lincoln
So recently a realtor client contacted me to find out just how long they should expect before being able to close a USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan because a local bank loan officer had told her that she should expect that it would take several months to close.
According to the AAA nearly 35 million Americans will journey at least 50 miles from home during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend, a final farewell to summer before the long march to the next holiday at the end of November. But ironically Labor Day wasn’t always a weekend of leisure nor is it an original American holiday.
Buying a home involves a lot of steps and they can seem complicated, but really it’s just about the details. So what we’re going to do today is to actually illustrate the visual of all the steps that have to happen as you go through the process of buying a home.
The first step is that you get pre-approved for financing
This step makes sure that you get all your ducks in a row and you get all your supporting documents to your lender so that you know that your mortgage will be in place once you have found your perfect home, it sends a strong message to a seller that you are ready, willing and able to buy their home.
Second to Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest purchaser of mortgage backed securities is where you will find Freddie Mac. Each month Freddie publishes a variety of insightful industry reports. One of those reports is called the Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market IndexSM (MiMiSM). In this report various data points are weighted to determine the health, both current and trending of 50 major US real estate markets.
This month Freddie Mac described the Raleigh housing market in May as ‘weak and declining’.
According to the report, Raleigh’s MiMi score of -3.44 for May is below North Carolina’s market index of -2.91, a score categorized as “weak and flat” because, as opposed to Raleigh North Carolina’s score only moved a fraction of a point from three months ago. But it is important to note that although it is weak, it is still 1.95 points above its all-time low of -5.39 reached in November 2011.
But like all real estate professionals, I know that all real estate is local. That’s why I take my data from my local board of realtors who do an excellent job of producing and assembling the data for its Real Estate Market Trends for Wake, Orange, Johnston and Durham Counties.
As a self-professed data geek, I eagerly look forward to its publication each month for the prior month because the reports contain invaluable market data.
Cancer, transmission repairs and mortgage loans; none have the same impact on our lives but in the right context each can create financial nightmares.
When faced with the prognosis of the first two we rarely hesitate to seek second opinions. Yet for some reason when it comes time to financing the single largest investment that a person will typically make in their lifetime, the thought of a second opinion rarely occurs.
Surprisingly, since the so-called mortgage meltdown of 2008 mortgage fraud has risen exponentially, so much so that the FBI has a dedicated Mortgage Fraud unit within its White Collar Crimes Division. The increase has been attributed to four primary reasons:
1.) Decreased Mortgage Originations
2.) Tighter lending guidelines
3.) Increased Accountability by Lenders to Washington
4.) Reduced Profit Margins on Mortgages
Mortgage Fraud isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem and it can often involve numerous licensed professionals such as loan officers, realtors, attorneys and often willing borrowers acting as straw-buyers. When these professionals are involved in fraudulent behavior the FBI has assigned it a special category called Fraud for Profit. Fraud for profit is exactly what it sounds like; it occurs when people collude to commit fraud for the sole purpose of lining their pockets and it generally takes a quasi-criminal enterprise to pull it off. It is not uncommon for this type of fraud to cost banks millions and can devastate entire communities making it one of the worst types of mortgage fraud. Eventually everyone involved, including the willing borrowers wind up either in jail or on the lam. The worst examples can even involve elected officials as in the case of the former Mayor of North Miami Marie Lucie Tondreau, a/k/a “Lucie Tondreau”.