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Is YouWalkAway.com’s strategic default plan legitimate?

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Strategic default

YouWalkAway.com has been around for a few years and Realtors should be aware of their “strategic default” process in the event a consumer approaches them in an effort to short sale or buy another home.

Although as we mentioned, the service has been around for a while, it is gaining a new wave of attention as Fox News ran a special by reporter John Stossel called “Freeloaders” several times over the weekend in which he interviews the founders of YouWalkAway.com and calls them “disgusting” to their faces. To which they explain the legitimacy of their company.

According to the website, “you will immediately know the exact amount of days you have to live in your house payment free. We stay on top of your walk away plan and keep you up to date with weekly progress emails. We also will notify you if the lender is taking longer than expected subsequently giving you more time in your home payment free.”

Stossel then interviewed one of their clients who could afford the payments but values had dropped in his California neighborhood, and when his bank didn’t approve a loan modification, he chose to contact YouWalkAway.com. To be fair, there are likely other clients that have been in situations where strategic default was necessary, it is not uncommon these days and not all defaults are Californians who can afford to pay but choose not to.

What the company offers

Clients pay $995 and receive 30 minutes of legal advice, then the companies file the legal papers to get lenders to stop calling the client. They reject the idea that they are a scam, that they’re not buying defaulted homes, they’re just helping homeowners strategize. The catch? Clients may be enrolled in a “credit repair program.”

Consumerist.com reviews YouWalkAway.com as “Not recommended. Troubled homeowners should refi, get a lower rate or sell, and walk away from ‘you walk away.'” Is that fair or does this appear to simply be a quick way to help homeowners file papers and trategize their impending exit?

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Brian Block

    March 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Just happened to catch John Stossel’s show last night and “Freeloaders” was excellent viewing. Thanks for the reminder about YouWalkAway — I was going to check out their website today after watching yesterday.

    I have to agree with Stossel… disgusting.

    • Steve C.

      July 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

      I dont think its disgusting at all. What the federal government has done with our tax dollars for a long long time..is disgusting. We're in this mess because of the Feds..not the Banks. Its a financial decision in most cases brought upon people as a result of lending practices. Businesses make bad decisions all the time and restructure their debt, etc. Is that disgusting too ?

  2. Sara Bonert

    March 30, 2011 at 12:47 am

    I watched “Freeloaders” this weekend and found it very interesting too! I really liked how he presented all the examples used. But also made me sad on a lot levels when the examples showed that people think this freeloading way of life is not just okay, but their RIGHT.

    I wish they would have given YouWalkAway just a little more airtime because I liked where Stossel was going with the interview. I think the legality of it could be argued either way (but I’m no lawyer). However the morality is what gets me and for the interviewee to say that it doesn’t affect the greater neighborhood when people make a strategic decision (VERY different than when one has no choice) is just ‘disgusting’.

    • RayRay

      February 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Why is it disgusting when individuals do things just like the corporations do? What you do affects you and your family and your livelihood "Pursuit of happiness" according to our founding fathers. Corporate greed along with individual greed proven many times over (that is classed as a sin in any religion) and the years of deregulation (democracy? I don't think so…empowering the powerful:yes)have brought us to something else very close to our reasons for revolting from Great Britain. That is, when government no longer does its job of serving the interests of the people, (all the people) it is not only a right to change or overthrow it but a responsibility to do so. If the government and corporations are not taking these houses back, foreclosed or not, the individuals in the mess ought to do it.

  3. srichey

    April 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I bought my place in 2004 and have decided to do a “strategic default”. I originally bought the place for the tax benefit etc. I’ve held out thinking the market is going to turn around — It is now 8 years later. Enough is enough.

    Not sure why I have to either “refi, “sell” when I absolutely can’t because I am so far underwater. I did everything right and like any smart businessman, i have decided to cut my losses and move on.

    John Stossel and Faux News have always been “disgusting”. They had their own agenda wrapping up “YouWalkAway” up in their yellow journalism.

  4. Pingback: The New York Times Has Only Scratched The Surface On BofI Holding… | Bigboardalerts

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Austin

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?

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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.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

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.

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aging housing inventory

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.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

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.

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zillow move

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

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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