Your Weekly Jacksonville Real Estate E-Zine
February 22, 2010
In this Issue:
Walter’s World: Doing Home Searches on Your Smartphone
Special Report: “Deed in lieu on steroids”
Featured Article: Presidential wisdom…two centuries later
Recommendations & Resources: More Money Blog
Jacksonville NC Home Searches on Your Smartphone
Have you ever tried to do a home search in the Jacksonville area on your Smartphone? Either the application is slow loading, the image is too small to read, or the data is old and out of date. When you are driving around looking at homes, this can be frustrating.
Even with i-Phones and Android phones, you still get a lot of mobile applications where you only receive a partial list of the home listings available (like Realtor.com, Trulia or Zillow.com) or the listings have not been updated since they sold or expired ( like Zillow.com, Google Base, Trulia)
No More! There is a new mobile application for i-Phone users (with Android and Blackberry users coming later this year) that provides all the listings in the Jacksonville NC Market with up-to-date information. It is myAgent by IDX. You can download it FREE from i-Tunes app store or through this link.
You will love the interactive map, the search features, the quick loading full-size photos of homes for sale. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a showing, my Cell number (910-340-5524) is right there at your fingertips.
Deed in Lieu on Steroids
CitiMortgage last week launched a new program designed to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes…at least for a bit longer anyway.
The mortgage servicer, one of the nation’s largest, has implemented a program that will allow delinquent homeowners to stay in their home for six months, provided they agree to hand over the deed at the end of the six months and walk away.
Rather than let the foreclosure process go all the way to auction, evict the home owner and pay all the associated costs, Citi will take deed at the end of six months and forgive any difference between what the house is worth and what is owed. In addition, it will help some owners with relocation costs.
Taking deed back instead of going through with a foreclosure is nothing new – it’s often referred to as “deed in lieu of foreclosure.” In a CNNMoney.com article, Citi CEO Sanjiv Das called his company’s new program “deed in lieu on steroids.”
Hopefully, Das said, allowing homeowners who can’t afford to pay to remain in the house for six months will help them plan their next move.
To be eligible for the program, home owners must have a first mortgage with Citi; no second mortgage; actually live in the home; and be at least 90 days behind.
Citi launched a pilot version of the program in six states – Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida and Michigan. If successful, the program would be expanded to other states.
Presidential Wisdom…Two Centuries Later
"Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty." — John Adams
There is a lot of discussion going on right now about the role government should or should not play in helping citizens of a country achieve home ownership.
Government’s role as an advocate for home ownership, for example, has been criticized and labeled one of the reasons for the subprime mortgage mess — a mess, critics say, that was created by pushing something on people who couldn’t afford it.
Even now, as the government, through tax credits and the purchase of bad mortgage-backed securities helps to prop up the housing market, the wisdom of those things is questioned.
Even the notion of "home ownership" has come under attack, with "experts" saying "rent, don’t buy" and "It’s not worth owning a home."
The thing is, even though President’s Day 2010 finds us in quite a different position than we were two centuries ago, one of the foundations of this country is the ownership of property.
Look at the quote above by John Adams, the second president of the United States and one of the country’s Founding Fathers. He believed liberty, freedom, is a basic human right. Obviously to him, that included the right to own property.
Of course, things were different then. Adams was president in a young America, during a time not long after its citizens had relatively recently won independence from England. Those early Americans who fought for their freedom did so in part because of how strongly they felt it was their right to own property — not an easy thing for a "commoner" to do under a king’s reign in the country they left.
Back then, the founding fathers recognized it was the government’s role to protect the freedom of property ownership, and as the frontier of the New World expanded west, so did the government’s support of property ownership. It was encouraged, subsidized. After all, the ownership of property by its citizens was one of the basic beliefs on which the United States of America was founded.
Somewhere along the course of the 225 years or so between the colonists’ independence from England and today, however, that fundamental idea has gotten lost. Why? Because of a few bumps along the way?
Sure, there has been profiteering by some on the American Dream. Greedy bankers have been pegged as the enemy, with the U.S. government believed by some to be complicit, if not directly by action then by inaction when it comes to regulations. There have been instances of fraud and predatory tactics have been used on those who badly wanted the home ownership part of the American Dream.
But does that make the dream itself bad? Does that mean the government, despite the wishes of its Founding Fathers two centuries ago, should no longer back the dream?
Two-thirds of American adults are home owners, enjoying the freedoms, the pride of ownership and even some financial advantages that ownership of property provides. Owning a home is obviously important enough for 2 out of every 3 American citizens to work for that part of the dream. Many of them will probably tell you it’s the best investment they’ve ever made.
Believe what you will about how big a role the government should play in helping its citizens achieve home ownership. Love or hate the fact that the government is propping up the housing industry right now with taxpayer dollars. But don’t be so quick to attack the notion that a government should encourage home ownership.
It’s what they had in mind more than 200 years ago.
Recommendations & Resources
More Money Blog
Do you ever read CNNMoney.com online? If you have, maybe you’ve checked out the site’s “More Money Blog.” If you haven’t, you should. It’s a pretty wide range of topics covered, mostly personal finance. And it runs the gamut from what Exchange Traded Funds to avoid all the way to what coupons to clip. It’s usually pretty interesting, and it’s often entertaining. You can check it out at:
Have a great week!
Walter Whitehurst, Broker
Keller Williams Realty
Jacksonville NC Home Search