Real Estate and Mortgage Viewpoints In Retrospect


This first article titled, In Philadelphia, a Chance to Stave Off Foreclosure is published to the NYTimes.com website.

My commentary: The article provides an insightful description of a necessary and timely housing program provided by the city of Philadelphia to that city’s homeowners. It is a program which should serve as a model to every municipality in the country. Housing and mortgage professionals should find the article very informative. Take a look!

This second article titled, Back to Business – Investment Funds Profit Again, This Time By Paring Mortgages is published to the NYTimes.com website. it sheds light on the mortgage crises of 2007. View the entire article here!

My commentary: Way to go Wall Street! When you read this article you will probably be as surprise as I was. I have been pretty down on Wall Street for the last couple of years for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the mortgage crises, but here is a Wall Street idea that is actually creating benefits for homeowners (Main Street). If you promote affordable financing for homeowners as I do, you will enjoy this article. Take a look for yourself at the above link!

Article number 3 is titled, An Upturn in the Housing Market May Be Reversing, is published on the NYTimes.com website.

My commentary: At first I thought all the housing market news was going to be negative, but as I continued reading that turned out not to be the case. It’s kind of a mixed bag: One index shows housing prices rising just a fraction, another forecasting a decline of as much as 10 percent, while yet another has prices flat for September. Read more!

Article number 5 is titled, Bigwigs Debate ‘Too Big to Fail’ and is published to the Seeking Alpha website.

My commentary: Some workout programs have not been working out, and it may be necessary for the federal government to take a second look at the Home Affordable program. This is a fascinating article which gives the reader a brief insight into what is really taking place behind the scenes at mortgage servicers/holders across the country. Was it ever the intention of these banks and mortgage holders to implement the program as the government intended? You be the judge!

Article number 4 is titled, Treasury to Pressure Mortgage Companies to Cut Payments, is published to the NYTimes.com website.

My commentary: As one who believes in, and writes about affordable housing at every opportunity, I certainly can’t fathom the TBTF concept. There are many who believe that our government is too big as it exists, and yet here we are debating whether certain institutions (not of the government) ought to be permitted – actually enabled – to continue operating on such a scale that their failure spells doom for the rest of us.

‘TBTF’ just doesn’t seem a reasonable or acceptable societal structure under which to live, so I’m anti-TBTF and I hope those we elect to address these matters share these sentiments. The above article, authored by Carolyn Austin, is very thought-provoking and, to her credit, she has opened what I believe to be one of the more profound discussions of our time. Take a look!

Article number 6 is titled, Official Google Blog: RT @google: Tweets and updates and search is published to the Google blog.

My commentary: What an appropriate statement. There is certainly a lot happening on the social networking scene, and when you add search to it, my sentiments are exactly those on the above article. Take a look!

Thank you for your support. We will continue working to provide the most relevant and useful information about current FHA-insured programs and related topics. God Bless!

Chicago’s Urban Economic Development: An Incremental Work in Progress



Houses Bought As-Is for ALL CASH! Fast Closings!

In recent weeks we have been rather busy writing a variety of articles for paying customers in accordance with established deadlines. Unfortunately, we were unable to update REAMS as often as it would otherwise have been. However, we’d like to share some of the other researched content with you. We hope you find some interest and/or enjoyment in it. Here’s today’s Chicago-specific post:

In this age of dwindled state and federal funding, the Chicago Stockyards have become a national model for urban economic development. – Quote!

The portion of this quote which, regrettably is true more often than not, is, “…this age of dwindled state and federal funding…”, and it succinctly depicts economic conditions in many of our nation’s poorest, low, and moderate-income neighborhoods. The quote was extracted from a December 1999 article in the GOVERNMENT FINANCE REVIEW titled, Urban Revitalization and Tax Increment Financing in Chicago.

The “GOVERNMENT” is the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development; and the neighborhoods are, unfortunately, most often under-served by those empowered to bring about positive change in the form of revitalized development of housing, schools and businesses, as well as more jobs, positive growth and the prospect for continued prosperity.

However, as stated in the quote, the City of Chicago has created what has become a national model for urban economic development, and should be utilized in many other urban communities in need of such development. The national model referred to is Tax Increment Financing (TIF), a program which the state of Illinois first enacted in 1977.

TIF was considered an important community development tool for attracting the development that will generate new taxes. Unfortunately it took 12 years for the program to be embraced by city officials and fully utilized. This acceptance and utilization of the Tax Increment Program occurred when Mayor Richard M. Daley took office in 1989.

Tax increment financing is actually a technique for financing a capital project from the stream of revenue generated by that project. The “…advantage of using TIF over federal economic development money is that it allows for more project flexibility and local control”, and it was this program that provided the funding mechanism to clean up the stockyards and prepare land for redevelopment.

The Stockyards Industrial Park is now home to modern industrial facilities for companies like Culinary Foods, Inc., Luster Products, and OSI Industries, while a new retail center has brought stores and services to a once under-served area.

As is often the case with so many city and community initiatives, TIF was enacted after a drastic reduction of federal economic development funds. A similar effort for such an economic development is WECAN (Woodlawn East Community And Neighbors Inc.) which was founded by Mattie C. Butler, a 40-year Woodlawn resident and sister of Hall of Fame R&B singer/current Cook County Commissioner Jerry Butler.

WECAN quickly became a neighborhood and citywide advocate for rescuing at-risk and abandoned buildings, preserving an estimated 5000 units of housing in Woodlawn since its founding. Many of its programs – Abandoned Property Program, Vintage Homes For Chicago and Step-Up Housing – have become citywide models.


Along with TIF and WECAN, there is a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program created specifically for the rehabilitation of one-to-four family residential properties, as well as mixed-use (consisting of residential and retail space in proportions set forth by the program) buildings. This program is known as HUD’s Section 203 (k) rehabilitation mortgage, which is administered by FHFA and insured by the FHA.

The 203k rehab loan permits a home buyer to finance a minimum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) in the mortgage loan for completion of any repairs that are needed on the home s/he is purchasing, unless that home is a year old or less. Under the 203k program loans are insured up to approximately 96.5 percent of the lesser of appraised value before rehabilitation plus rehabilitation costs or 110 percent of appraised value after rehabilitation.

A 203k loan can be used to (1) finance rehabilitation of an existing property; (2) finance rehabilitation and refinancing of the outstanding indebtedness of a property; and (3) finance purchase and rehabilitation of a property. An eligible rehabilitation loan must involve a principal obligation not exceeding the amount allowed under Section 203(b) home mortgage insurance” (the standard FHA-insured residential mortgage program).

Due to recent changes in these programs please refer to HUD’s website at the link below for updated information: More about 203k financing or simply www.hud.gov

The programs mentioned in this article are by no means all there is to remedy some of the blight and dilapidation in many of Chicago’s neighborhoods and, indeed, neighborhoods all across this nation. There are other programs, including the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which should be utilized for the maximum benefit to every community in which commercial banks conduct business. Please learn more about CRA here: More Wiki CRA info

TIF was developed in Chicago and – as one of the most effective programs ever developed for the purpose it serves – has come of age in that city, although other cities have been encouraged to follow Chicago’s example.

A statistic which may best illuminate the success of Chicago’s TIF program is the calculation of private return leveraged from public investment. For every one dollar of public funds spent on TIF projects, the private sector has invested almost five and a half dollars. By the end of 1998, Chicago had invested a cumulative $526 million in TIF funds and benefited from $2.82 billion in private investment – Quote

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Buying Your Dream Home – A Priority In Any Market


Houses Bought As-Is for ALL CASH! Fast Closings!

Even though it’s not easy for everyone to buy a home, it is in fact more affordable than ever to get a home these days with interest rates on most mortgage types at the lowest they have ever been since the mid-thirties when both the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and FNMA (Federal National Mortgage Association) were established.

It can be said that banks are not as liberal as they were a few years back with providing home loans and mortgages, but if rates remain at this level for any reasonable length of time, you can expect lending to improve.

So even if you don’t have a lot of capital or a lot of money to put down, you can still get the home of your dreams at a very affordable price. There are many folks who think that buying a home is a tough process, needing a large down payment, although this isn’t always the case.

Buying a home largely depends on your budget. If you put a down a substantial amount of money on your home purchase, it will go towards your overall purchase. The more money you put down on a home when you purchase, the lower your monthly payments will be.

If you don’t own a home you most likely live in a rental house or an apartment. This can be a worthwhile solution, although you are still paying money towards your housing needs that you could instead be putting towards a home of your own. Owning a home is a dream for many Americans, especially when it comes to that dream home that most people hope to own one day.

Apartments and rental houses may be great to rent, but if your monthly rent is going to cost you almost as much as a mortgage payment – which seems to be the case these daye – then it makes little sense to rent if you can afford to buy your own.

Instead, you can easily convert your rental payments into monthly installments towards your own home. All across the United States, you can find lenders that offer mortgages with flexible terms and low out-of-pocket costs, such as mortgages which are insured by the FHA.

This mortgage type may be easier for purchasing your own home in today’s economy for two reasons. First, the interest rates are low as stated earlier. Second, they are insured by the federal government and therefore reduces risk for lenders. FHA-insured mortgage loans can help you to get the home of your dreams and enjoy low monthly payments.

Keep in mind that while choosing a mortgage program that’s best for you, all aspects of that program must be taken into consideration. How much of a down payment is required? Will your interest rate be fixed for the full term or ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)? What if my credit report has a few blemishes? Will this prevent me from obtaining a mortgage? How much of my monthly income am I permitted to use for housing costs and other credit obligations?

Although there are many questions to which you may not have immediate answers, some lenders can/will help provide answers by pre-qualifying you for a mortgage.

You can also use an online service to find a lot of answers to your questions. In fact, many aspiring home buyers do their own research in the privacy of their own living rooms with the use of a computer and internet connection. So by the time they are ready to get that pre-approval, most of the questions have been answered.


Another option is to consult a real estate agent, who will be more than willing to provide answers to some of your questions. Good real estate agents will be more than willing to help you get a great deal on the home also, and at prices that are right for you.

Anytime you buy a home, you should always plan ahead, get yourself a real estate agent, and then pursue your dream home.

If you plan your budget and take things one step at a time, you’ll be closer than you think to the home of your dreams. If you choose to keep renting and pay money toward something you don’t own – the home of your dreams will continue to slip away. Take action when conditions are favorable (low interest rates, low home prices), and stop renting – find the home of your dreams and put your money towards owning it instead.

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