Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Local Address: March 1, 2009 - March 7, 2009

Surprise! It's a Bailout for Vacation Homes, Too

I'm shocked that people aren't jumping all over the revelation that the no-equity mortgage refinance program unveiled yesterday is going to be available for vacation homes and one-to-four unit rental properties as well as for owner-occupied homes. The Post's Renae Merle reported this detail, which she found in the program rules published by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The refinances are available to borrowers who bought their properties using Fannie or Freddie loans and who are not behind on their payments, but who don't have enough equity to qualify for an ordinary refinance. It's half of a two-part homeowner bailout program. The other half encourages loan modifications that can reduce interest rates and payments for borrowers already in default or near foreclosure. That loan-modification plan is restricted to a borrower's primary residence. But President Obama never made such a distinction when he first announced the broad outline of his plan...

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  March 6, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Foreclosure , Mortgages , The economy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz  

Sharpen Your Elbows to Get In on Borrower Bailout

Ah, it was good to see so much detail laid out for the government's new refinance and loan-modification programs for borrowers at risk of foreclosure. The 17 pages of guidelines are government poetry, what with all the acronyms, formulas and step-by-step directions. It makes for lousy reading, but all those details increase the odds that the program will actually work. If you don't believe me, consider the infinitely complicated IRS Form 1040 and its effectiveness at separating you from your money. If a quick run through this calculator indicates you may qualify for a refinance (available even if falling values have wiped out your equity, as long as you're current on payments) or a loan modification (available if you're behind on payments or on the verge of foreclosure) get your financial documents together quickly and call your lender. They are going to be swamped with calls. Some of the largest...

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  March 5, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Foreclosure , Mortgages , The economy , The market  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz  

Wrath and Derision, Just for Wanting to Buy a Home

It takes courage to admit that you want to buy a home now. In Sunday's Washington Post Magazine story, Take a Deep Breath by Christina Ianzito, Diego and Jessalynn Gomez allow us in on the search for their first home. They finally decided on a townhouse being built in Gaithersburg, which they're buying for about $380,000. Jessalynn and Diego Gomez look at the view from the foundation of their new home. (Sean McCormick). If you pay much attention to some of the comments posted online with the story, and those submitted for yesterday's Web chat, you would think they were trying to pull a Bernie Madoff on someone. Yet this couple seems to have researched the market fully, accepted the risk that prices may decline more, adhered to their budget and -- brace yourselves, here's the root of their madness -- decided to do what they think is best for...

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  March 4, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Buying  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz  

An After-the-Recession Spending List

Like almost everyone else, I've pulled back on spending around the house. I haven't set foot in a mall since Christmas, and I recycle most catalogs without even looking at them. But my After-the-Recession Spending List is getting longer by the day. It makes me feel better to plan and prioritize family spending, even if it's going to be a long time before we pull out the checkbook. A vacation involving passports and phrase books? That's a long, long way off, but it stays on the list. My After-the-Recession list includes things pricey and cheap. Plantation shutters for two rooms will cost more than a few pennies. New shelves in a closet, not much. Paint throughout the house is looking shabby, but it can wait. And forget about saving money by doing it ourselves. My husband and I—along with everyone we know—are working harder at our jobs than ever. Who...

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  March 2, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The economy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz  

My Day at the Foreclosure Hotline

I traveled to Freehold, N.J., in January to spend a day getting to know some of the people who staff the Homeowners HOPE hotline (888-995-4673), and to listen in on of the calls they field from people who are afraid of losing their homes. The result is the "Talk to Me" story in the March 1 issue of Washington Post Magazine. One of the things that struck me was that almost everyone working at the call center is female. I spotted a couple of men, but overwhelmingly the hum that rose up from the cubicles carried a feminine tone. Maybe it's evidence that women make good listeners; maybe it's evidence that women need the jobs. But it's not a fluke. The Department of Housing and Urban Development says 78 percent of all housing counselors are female. Stacie Rillo, the counselor who allowed me to shadow her through a work day,...

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  March 2, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Foreclosure  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz  

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company