Making Homes Affordable

20 03 2009

Making Home Affordable Program – Key Components


On March 4, 2009, the government released detailed guidance on the Making Home Affordable Program, President Obama’s housing plan designed to help 7 to 9 million families avoid foreclosure by refinancing or modifying their mortgages.  The plan also strengthens the federal commitment to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs).

Here are the key elements of the Obama plan:

1.     The Home Affordable Refinance Program.  Under this program, eligible borrowers may refinance loans that Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) own or guarantee.  The program can help homeowner-occupants who are current in making loan payments and have loan-to-value ratios (LTVs) above 80 percent but not more than 105 percent.  Cash out refinancings are not permitted.  The program ends in June 2010.

2.     The Home Affordable Modification Program.  This is a $75 billion program with lender, servicer, investor, and borrower incentives to make it work.  The program is limited to homeowner-occupants who are at risk of default or already in default and who have loans at or below the maximum GSE conforming loan limit of $729,750 (or higher for 2-, 3-, and 4-unit properties).  Loan modifications under the program may be made until December 31, 2012.

3.     More Support for the GSEs.  President Obama also announced more support for the GSEs, including doubling of potential Treasury investment from $100 billion to $200 billion for each GSE, to maintain their positive net worth.  The plan also raises the cap on mortgages that the GSEs may hold in their portfolios by $50 billion to $900 billion.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also launched a website for consumers seeking information about the Making Home Affordable program at  

Excerpted from the National Association of Realtors® – for more information visit:




CENTURY 21 International Convention

18 03 2009


CENTURY 21 International Convention

I just returned from the CENTURY 21 International Convention which was in San Antonio this year.   I attended several great learning sessions, celebrations, and met a lot of wonderful Century 21 friends.   The learning sessions were wonderful and included topics such as:

Pre-Listing Books

Open House – How to prepare

Your First Million is the Toughest

Staging Strategies

Time is Money

My Buyer Wants a Foreclosure…Now What?

REO & Short Sales


If you would like to learn more about CENTURY 21 Hecht Reatly, please contact me today.  I am anxoius to speak with you.  We have these great learning sessions and more!


Stimulus Plan

24 02 2009


Someone sent me a pretty interesting link to a website that allows you to track where the money from the stimulus package is potentially going. You can track it by state and by city. It details projects in the areas as well. Specifically, the total of cost of all the projects submitted by North Carolina is $1,976,159,270. Enjoy!

Stimulus Plan Update

13 02 2009

DATE: February 13, 2009

TO: NAHB Members

FROM: Joe Robson
2009NAHB Chairman

RE: Economic Stimulus Update

House and Senate conferees completed work on final elements of the stimulus legislation early this morning. I would like to provide you with a brief overview of what is in the final legislative package, particularly as it relates to the housing community.

House and Senate conferees have agreed upon a compromise stimulus package at a total cost of $789 billion. The House is scheduled to vote on the package today and the Senate will follow suit shortly thereafter, with the expectation that the legislation will reach President Barack Obama’s desk by Monday, Feb. 16.

There are several provisions in the overall stimulus package that will be beneficial for many of our members – and help stimulate demand for housing.

Chief among these is an $8,000 home buyer tax credit for new home buyers. While we are disappointed and would have preferred a more enhanced tax credit like the Senate version, the conferees did retain some key elements from the Senate and made other modifications that are beneficial to home buyers and home builders. For qualified home purchases in 2009, the legislation:

• Stipulates that the $8,000 tax credit does not have to be repaid, unlike the tax credit passed last summer;
• Keeps the tax credit refundable, or claimable regardless of tax liability;
• Extends the sunset date from July 1, 2009 until Dec. 1, 2009 so that consumers can utilize it during the critical summer and fall buying months;
• Allows tax credit home buyers to participate in the mortgage revenue bond program; and
• Permits state housing finance agencies to help buyers at closing by advancing the credit amount as a loan using tax-exempt bond proceeds.

While much of the industry’s focus was on the home buyer tax credit, there are several other important components in the legislation that will help small businesses and bolster the housing market. H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will:

• Help home borrowers in high-cost markets by extending the 2008 FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits of $729,750 through the end of this year;
• Temporarily allow exchange of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocating authority for tax-exempt grants and appropriates $2 billion in HOME funding for affordable housing projects;
• Provide up to a 10-year deferral of tax due to business debt restructuring;
• Expand the net operating loss carry back period from two years to five years for small businesses (businesses with average gross receipts of no more than $15 million over the prior 3 years) for losses arising in tax year 2008;
• Extend the 25C existing home remodeler credit through the end of 2010, increase the credit rate from 10 percent to 30 percent, raise the lifetime cap from $500 to $1,500, and expand the set of qualifying property;
• Provide an Alternative Minimum Tax patch for tax year 2009;
• Increase bonus depreciation and Section 179 small business expensing for business investment in 2009;
• Increase New Markets Tax Credit allocating authority for 2008 and 2009; and
• Delay for one year the start of the 3 percent government contractor withholding requirement (from 2011 to 2012).

Once the bill is signed into law, NAHB will be reaching out to you and your locals to provide information and marketing tools to make home buyers aware of the tax credit and to help builders utilize other aspects of the legislation in order to maintain and/or grow their businesses. (Attached at the bottom of this memo is a file that contains key provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.)

Keep in mind this stimulus legislation is just a first step and we know it is far from perfect. Rest assured, NAHB will leave no stone unturned until the housing market gets back on track. In the days, weeks and months ahead, NAHB plans to work closely with the Congress and the Administration on a host of issues to achieve these aims. Our primary focus will be on efforts to:

• End the credit crunch, particularly as it relates to acquisition, land development and home construction lending;
• Mitigate foreclosures; and
• Further reduce mortgage interest rates to stimulate home buying.

We will make every effort to keep you informed through your local association, Nation’s Building News (NBN), and other communications vehicles over the coming days and weeks.
Key Provisions in Stimulus Bill

$15000 Tax Credit For Homebuyers

4 02 2009

Senate approves $15,000 tax credit for homebuyers
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 6:20 PM EST
The Associated Press
By DAVID ESPO Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate voted Wednesday night to give a tax break of up to $15,000 to homebuyers in hopes of revitalizing the housing industry, a victory for Republicans eager to leave their mark on a mammoth economic stimulus bill at the heart of President Barack Obama’s recovery plan. The tax break was approved without dissent and came on a day in which Obama pushed back pointedly against Republican critics of the legislation even as he reached across party lines to consider a reduction in the spending it contains.

“Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the essential,” Obama said as Senate Republicans stepped up their criticism of the bill’s spending and pressed for additional tax cuts and relief for homeowners. He warned that failure to act quickly “will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession.”

Democratic leaders have pledged to have legislation ready for Obama’s signature by the end of next week.

While they concede privately they will have to accept some spending reductions along the way, conservative Republicans failed in their initial attempts to force deep cuts in the bill.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who advanced the homebuyers tax break, said it was intended to help revive the housing industry, which has virtually collapsed in the wake of a credit crisis that began last fall.

The proposal would allow a tax credit of 10 percent of the value of new or existing residences, up to a $15,000 limit. Current law provides for a $7,500 tax break but only for first-time homebuyers.

Isakson’s office said the proposal would cost the government an estimated $19 billion.

Democrats readily agreed to the proposal, although it may be changed or even deleted as the stimulus measure makes its way through Congress over the next 10 days or so.

Other GOP attempts to change the measure went down to defeat. The most sweeping of them, by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., failed on a mostly party-line vote of 36-61. It would have replaced the White House-backed legislation with a series of tax cuts on personal and business income and capital gains at the same time it made cuts passed during the Bush administration permanent.

“This bill needs to be cut down,” Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said on the Senate floor. He cited $524 million for a State Department program that he said envisions creating 388 jobs. “That comes to $1.35 million per job,” he added.

After days of absorbing rhetorical attacks, Obama and Senate Democrats mounted a counteroffensive against Republicans who say tax cuts alone can cure the economy.

Obama said the criticisms he has heard “echo the very same failed economic theories that led us into this crisis in the first place, the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems.”

“I reject those theories and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change,” said the president, who was elected with an Electoral College landslide last fall and enjoys high public approval ratings at the outset of his term.

Obama did not mention any Republicans by name, and most have signaled their support for varying amounts of new spending.

Even so, the president repeated his retort word for word in late afternoon, yet softened the partisan impact of his comments by meeting at the White House with senators often willing to cross party lines.

His first visitor was Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, a moderate GOP lawmaker. Later he met with Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb.

“I gave him a list of provisions” for possible deletion from the bill, Collins told reporters outside the White House. Among them were $8 billion to upgrade facilities and information technology at the State Department and funds for combating a possible outbreak of pandemic flu and promoting cyber-security. The latter two items, she said, are “near and dear to her,” but belong in routine legislation and not an economic stimulus measure.

Collins and Nelson have been working on a list of possible spending cuts totaling roughly $50 billion, although they have yet to make details public.


Associated Press writers Jennifer Loven and Andrew Taylor contributed to this story.

January Award Winners for Denver Office

4 02 2009

Our office had a total of 7.9 Million in Relist and 13.5 Million in new listings for a total of 22.4 Million in listing volume brought in for January. The listing agent of the month was a close race. Michelle Nantz will hold her reign with 33.5 points with Al Johnson nipping on her heels for 2nd place. Congratulations! Several of you have over 1 Million in listing/relist volume and you are: Mark Bangs, Mike Cloninger, Warren Greenlee, Guy and Sandra, Al Johnson, Tina Kinard, Carol Laney, Michelle Nantz, Andie Taylor, and Marty Wulfhorst. Great job!!!!!

Congratulations to Angela Armstrong as sales agent of the month! She led this race by far. Both she and Michelle will enjoy a parking space our front. They will also have 200 postcards sent out to their sphere on behalf of the company for their achievement!

We are also rewarding our Quality Service agent with 100 postcards to their sphere. Tony C., Warren G, Al J., Michelle N., and Cathy S. all received returned surveys this month. Our January Quality Service agent is awarded to Al Johnson with the most returned surveys of 90% or better. Thanks for your superior service.

Our 10 Dot winners for the month are Angela A., Al Johnson, Eric T. (first time…yeah), Renee Muse (first…yeah), and Michelle Nantz. Each of you will get to pop a balloon for ca$h at our sales meeting on the 19th. You must be present to enter.

Thinking of a career change? Would you like to know more about our agents and our office? Contact me, Shantae Brown, for your persoanl and confidential interview! 704-880-4664 or

Demystifying the Mortgage Questions – Foreclosure & Bankruptcy

26 01 2009

Are you facing possible bankruptcy or foreclosure? This is a great article that may help answer some of your questions.

Realty Time Article

If you are considering selling your home or you just need help answering additional questions, please contact your local CENTURY 21 Hecht Realty office. We will be glad to assist you every step of the way. We also have a mortgage consultant with CENTURY 21 Mortgage available. In Denver you can call 704-483-3651 and in Mooresville you can call 704-664-3165.