A five year foreclosure
The average time to complete a foreclosure in the state of Maryland is up to 634 days now, but in a strange case, one couple has lived for five years without making a mortgage payment on their 4,900 $1M home on the Potomac River, according to the Washington Post.
The couple used to be house flippers and purchased their personal home in 2005 for $1.2 million, with one lender granting a $1 million loan and another granting a $200,000 down payment. When their first large mortgage payment came due in 2007 of $7,600, the couple had to choose between maintaining several buildings they own which was their source of income, or pay for their home. They chose the former.
“Do we put the money we had left in this one? Or is it better to spread it to the others?” the couple tells the Post regarding their thought process in 2007. The first attempt to foreclose took place in 2007, but when the wife declared bankruptcy, the foreclosure stalled. Later, the bankruptcy was dismissed at her own request.
Bankruptcies, loopholes and strange court appearances
Fast forward to 2010 – the most recent bank to own the note on their home attempted to foreclose, agreeing to a short sale for $799,000, but the short sale listing remained unsold. They told the Post their payments were refused by the lender who preferred to foreclose on the property.
The couple requested mediation from the State of Maryland, but claimed they never received the notice of mediation, so they failed to appear at the hearing where a judge ordered their home sold.
The foreclosure process stalled again despite the judge’s order, as the wife filed for bankruptcy in Georgia, but the home was ultimately auctioned off in July of 2011.
The auction did not end the process, however, as in a strange twist, the couple challenged the sale, claiming a tenant lived in the building, a move which could keep their tenancy in the house despite the sale. The judge ordered the tenant to appear, but the couple showed up alone to court.
Judge orders their eviction
The Circuit Court judge ordered the couple to leave, but the couple fought back by claiming the servicer had used illegitimate robosignatures, thus the original foreclosure was illegal. The current bank, however, was able to prove proper chain of title in response. The judge ordered a Sheriff’s eviction of the couple who acknowledge they are finally packing their belongings.
“People think, because you haven’t paid, you must be a bad person. But not everything is black and white,” the husband told The Post. They hope that an investor will buy the property and sell it back to them so they can stay.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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