MERS still being sued for role in foreclosures
MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. today announced that Judge Thomas Rice of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington, has ruled in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and its co-defendant members, denying a nine-count complaint alleging wrongful foreclosure and violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
MERS has been sued numerous times, with plaintiffs commonly citing the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in Bain v. Metropolitan Mortgage Group, Inc. wherein a judge ruled a beneficiary cannot foreclose on a property under Washington state law, and regardless of what cases are cited, MERS continues to argue in court the legitimacy of its role in foreclosures as plaintiffs continue to come forward saying their foreclosures should be voided.
Judge Rice found no merit to the plaintiff’s reliance on Bain in support of a wrongful foreclosure count against MERS, in his opinion writing, “The fact that MERS is listed as a beneficiary of the deed of trust is not relevant to the outcome of this case,” noting that as U.S. Bank was the holder of the note and deed of trust, it had the authority to foreclose.
The plaintiff also alleged violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA), but that count was also rejected, as consumers must demonstrate injury as a result of the act, to which Judge Rice said, the “Plaintiff simply has not been injured by MERS’s involvement with her loan.”
The crux of the case
“Here in Ukpoma, the plaintiff relied on the Bain decision in an attempt to stall the non-judicial foreclosure of her property after she defaulted on her loan,” MERSCORP Holdings Director of Corporate Communications Jason Lobo said.
“Unconvinced, Judge Rice explained in detail why a borrower’s attempts to halt a non-judicial foreclosure using the Bain decision and claims against MERS will not be successful,” Lobo added. “We continue to emphasize that struggling borrowers are better served by working with their mortgage servicers and seeking appropriate financial counseling, than by attempting to use the judicial system to avoid valid foreclosures.”
After being sued by counties and homeowners alike, MERS is coming out on top more frequently, but the issue remains contentious as some believe MERS played a role in the mortgage collapse while others point to cases like this, opining they are a stunt to avoid foreclosure.
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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