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Unemployed NC Homeowners

by Randy Dockery

Information taken from Claudie Burchfield

Breaking News -Starting December 1st, financial help is available for North Carolina homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages because they’ve lost their jobs or experienced other temporary hardships.

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency announced today that its new N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund is now available statewide through participating HUD-approved counseling agencies. The new program is financed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s “Hardest Hit Fund.”

“We expect the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund will enable 21,000 North Carolina unemployed workers to keep their homes,” said A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. “By reducing the number of foreclosure sales, the effort will also help stabilize property values in communities across the state.”

Kucab said the Fund will make mortgage payments for qualified unemployed workers while they seek jobs or complete job training in a new field. Others, who through no fault of their own, have gotten behind on their mortgage payments because of divorce, illness or other temporary hardship, may qualify for help while they seek jobs to get back on their feet. The program is expected to be available over the next three to five years.

The assistance will be provided as a zero-interest, deferred loan of up to $24,000 or 24 months of mortgage-related payments. In high unemployment counties designated as "hardest hit", the maximum assistance is $36,000 or 36 months.

See listing of "hardest hit" counties here.

Homeowners will resume making their own mortgage payments at the end of the loan period. If the owner continues to live in the home for 10 years, the loan will be considered satisfied and no repayment will be due.

To be eligible, homeowners must have a good mortgage payment history prior to the job loss or hardship, have potential to resume their mortgage payments once the assistance ends, and meet other program guidelines.

For more information about eligibility, homeowners in Western North Carolina should call OnTrack at 828-255-5166 or 1-800-737-5485 or visit the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund website.

The Treasury’s “Hardest Hit Fund” is authorized under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. It is available in 18 states and the District of Columbia, which have experienced high unemployment or a steep decline in property values. North Carolina was selected because of the large percentage of the population living in counties with high unemployment rates in 2009.

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency. It has financed 196,000 homes and apartments in the last three decades, including 81,000 for first-time homebuyers.

 

RE/MAX Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction

by Randy Dockery

7/27/2011

Good morning,

I have extremely exciting news to share with you!

J.D. Power and Associates announced today that RE/MAX ranks highest in customer satisfaction, for both buyers and sellers, in its 2011 residential real estate survey.

That's right – we've earned the highest level of appreciation from BOTH groups of consumers, which is a remarkable statement about the Outstanding Agents in our organization.

I want to personally thank and congratulate every one of you for contributing to this prestigious recognition. It truly reflects your professional excellence, your enthusiasm for education, your commitment to distressed sellers, your individual drive, and many other qualities that serve the interests of your clients. Your efforts change lives, and those people have spoken.

Our team at Headquarters is working with J.D. Power and Associates to determine how we can use the results of the survey, as well as their name and logo. As soon as possible, we will let you know what the guidelines are.

In the meantime, celebrate this incredible achievement and enjoy the fact that once again you've proven yourselves to be the best in the business.

Congratulations!

Dave

Sent by Dave Liniger, Chairman and Co-Founder, RE/MAX World Headquarters

Information found at the Cherokee County

Court House in Murphy, North Carolina

If you are facing foreclosure, be assured that you are not alone. North Carolina has several resources to help you obtain foreclosure prevention counseling, mortgage payment assistance, and protection from fraud. You don't need to be behind on your mortgage payments to seek help. If you feel you are at risk, contact one of the state's free resources right away. We are here to help.

Free Counseling

Regardless of why you are in danger of foreclosure, you can access free counseling through the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project (SHFPP), funded and led by the NC Office of the Commissioner of Banks. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, state and federal agencies, legal assistance organizations, mortgage servicers and community organizations are working with the Office of the Commissioner of Banks to help you protect your home.

To get help, call 1-866-234-4857 or visit www.ncforeclosurehelp.org You will be referred to a HUD-approved foreclosure counselor and other services in your area.

Mortgage Payment Assistance

If you've lost your job or your income has been reduced, the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund can pay your mortgage while you seek or retrain for new employment. You also may be eligible if you are facing a temporary financial setback, such as a divorce, serious illness or death of a co-owner, and need help to pay your mortgage while you look for work.

The Fund is offered by the NC Housing Finance Agency, a self-supporting state agency, and funded through the US Department of the Treasury. Services are provided by participating HUD-approved counseling agencies statewide at no cost to you.

If you qualify, the Fund offers zero-interest, deferred loans of up to $24,000 to pay your mortgage for up to 24 months while you seek or retrain for a new jo. In the state's high unemployment counties, the maximum is $36,000 (36 months of assistance). The loan balance is reduced every year you remain in your home after the fifth year, and is fully forgiven after the tenth.

Fraud Prevention

If you have been contacted by a foreclosure prevention or "rescue" company offering help, keep the following tips from the NC Office of the Attorney General in mind.

  • Beware of companies that require payment before they "Help" you. Its illegal to charge an upfront fee for foreclosure assistance in North Carolina.
  • Steer clear of companies that want you to make your mortgage payment to them, or who tell you not to talk to your mortgage company or to an attorney.
  • Watch out for investors who promise to pay off your mortgage if you sign over the deed to your property, but not the mortgage. The investor then rents your home back to you or to a tenant but doesn't make mortgage payments and the bank forecloses.
  • Check out companies with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division and your local Better Business Bureau, get all promises in writing, fill out your own paperwork and only sign it after reading it thoroughly.

To report a scam or check out a company, call the NC Attorney General's Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at ncdoj.gov

NC Office of the Commissioner of Banks, Joseph A Smith, Jr. Commissioner

NC Housing Finance Agency, Sam Ewell, Jr. Chairman, and A. Robert Kucab, Executive Director

NC Office of the Attorney General, Roy Cooper, Attorney General

To learn more, go to www.NCForeclosurePrevention.gov. or visit www.ncforeclosurehelp .org or call me toll-free at 1-877-837-3002 or send me an E-mail at: randy@randydockery.com 

Randy Dockery

RE/MAX Carolina's Region Special Award Announcement

by Randy Dockery

A Letter from the RE/MAX Regional Vice President dated February 21, 2011 to Randy Dockery.

Dear Randy:

Congratulations, I'm very pleased to announce that you've earned the prestigious designation of being the RE/MAX Carolina's Region #1 Commissions Paid - Commercial Individual, in North Carolina.

This is a tremendous accomplishment and even more extraordinary given the vast challenges within the real estate industry during the past year. Your clients are fortunate to work with such a successful and dedicated professional, and we are even more privileged to have you in the RE/MAX family.

We sincererly appreciate your support of the RE/MAX organization.

Warm regards and best wishes for 2011!

Kerron Stokes

Regional Vice President

 

RE/MAX Carolinas Region

5075 South Syracuse Street, Denver, Colorado 80237-2717

What you should expect of a Realtor

by Randy Dockery

Found this article in the Asheville Citizen Times paper on Sunday, January 16, 2011. Written by: Alan Kellam

I think that it's so important for buyers and sellers to know the facts before buying or selling a property.

I think that it's critical for buyers and sellers to be prepared for the market, but when it comes down to it, your Realtor should provide guidance. He or she is the person in the marketplace every day, has experience in negotiations and knows the process. It's very important to obtain the services of a Realtor who you feel will give you the best experience.

Here are some questions that you should ask about the people you are considering to be your buyer's agent

Is he or she:

• An expert in your market? You need to know where property values are rising … and falling; what's been selling … and what's not. Your Realtor should have done his or her homework.

• Willing to work with you before you're ready to buy? A good agent knows that homebuying is a process, and will get you started, educate you about the process, help you define your needs and wants, show you properties, and help you find a lender, even before you're ready to make the commitment — so when you are ready to buy, you will be prepared to find the right home, and get the best value.

• Willing to suggest more than just that one property you found on the Internet? Are there similar homes in the same area that you didn't see? Your Realtor should dig for others and have them ready to show you.

• A good listener? Will he/she listen to your requirements … and respect them; but also talk to you about other ways to meet your needs?

• Not going to push listings just because they're listed in his/her own office? Sure your Realtor could make more by selling his/her office's own listings, but a good agent will show you everything that meets your requirements, regardless of whose listing it is.

• Able to give you advice on financing and taxes? Realtors are not accountants or mortgage brokers, but the good ones have the experience and knowledge to help you analyze alternatives … and let you know when to consult with the professionals.

To read more of this article, please click this link:

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20110116/NEWS/301160021/What-you-should-expect-of-a-Realtor

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Whether you are considering buying or selling a home now or not, I think it's important for you to keep up-to-date on the local real estate market in the western North Carolina and North East Georgia areas.

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, contact me toll-free at 1-877-837-3002 ext 218 or via e-mail at: randy@randydockery.com

Randy Dockery

Fed to Buy $600B in Securities to Hold Interest Rates Low

by Randy Dockery

Taken from DSNEWS.com

By: Carrie Bay

11/03/10

The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to pump another $600 billion into the economy in the hopes of bolstering what it called a “disappointingly slow” recovery.

The capital injection will come in the form of purchases of long-term Treasury securities by the central bank, about $75 billion a month between now and the end of June 2011.

Fed officials said they also plan to continue reinvesting principal payments from existing securities holdings. According to a separate announcement put out by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – essentially the central bank’s money manager – these reinvestments will amount to another $250 billion to $300 billion in Treasury bond purchases over the same period.

The goal is to buoy economic growth by keeping interest rates low. By throwing more money into the financial system, the Federal Reserve is hoping banks will lend more, allowing consumers to purchase a home or refinance their mortgages and giving businesses the capital they need to grow their operations.

If it plays out correctly, the move is expected to spur spending, foster job creation, and keep deflation in check.

The analysts at the international research firm Capital Economics say they don’t expect lower long-term interest rates to do much to stimulate demand in the wider economy.

Paul Ashworth, a senior U.S. economist with the firm, explained, “Half of all mortgage borrowers don’t qualify to refinance at lower rates because they don’t have enough equity in their homes. Larger businesses are already sitting on stockpiled cash, while small businesses dependent on banks for their credit can’t get loans at any cost.”

Ashworth added, “When the Fed realizes that QE2 [its second round of quantitative easing] isn’t working it will have two choices: Admit this is a lost cause and halt its purchases or increase the size of its purchases. We suspect the Fed would double-down rather than fold.”

This marks the second big bond-buying spree by the central bank since the recession took hold. From November 2008 to March of this year, the Fed bought up $1.7 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS), debt from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Treasury bonds.

That effort succeeded in pushing mortgage interest rates to extreme lows, but even that hasn’t been enough to boost housing demand. Even after the Fed’s bond buying initiative ended in the spring, mortgage rates continued to drop, hitting lows not seen in more than 60 years.

The Federal Reserve said in its policy statement released Wednesday that information received since its last meeting in September “confirms that the pace of recovery in output and employment continues to be slow.”

Household spending is increasing only gradually, and remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit, the central bank said.

The Fed committee voted to maintain the target range at 0 to 0.25 percent for its benchmark federal funds rate – the rate at which banks lend to one another. As it has reiterated for months on end now, the central bank said it anticipated economic conditions will warrant “exceptionally low levels” for the federal funds rate “for an extended period.”

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Randy Dockery

Capital Economics Warns of Another Dip Ahead

by Randy Dockery

Taken from DSNEWS.com

By: Carrie Bay

11/01/10

The analysts at Capital Economics say that dreaded double-dip is already underway, in both housing activity and residential property prices.

“It is becoming clear that the housing market cannot stand on its own two feet,” said Paul Dales, U.S. economist for the international research firm.

Dales and his team are forecasting home prices in the United States to steadily decline over the next 12 months. The Capital Economics House Price Model suggests that by the end of next year, prices will have fallen back by just over 5 percent, taking them to a new cycle low.

“Prices may not regain their previous peak for a decade,” Dales said.

The agency says in an upside scenario, in which the economy is stronger than its analysts expect, prices may not fall. In a downside scenario, though, prices could drop by another 20 percent.

According to Capital Economics’ latest report on U.S. housing markets, Illinois, Florida, California, and Nevada appear the most vulnerable to further home price declines. Alaska, the District of Columbia, Maine, and West Virginia seem the best placed to weather another downturn.

Mortgage applications for home purchase have remained weak despite the plunge in mortgage rates to a record low. Capital Economics says “even the mortgage bargain of a lifetime has not been enough to bring the market back to life.”

The company’s analysts predict housing demand will remain “unusually weak” for at least the next three years. At the same time, supply is set to stay “unusually high.”

Relative to today’s demand, Capital Economics says there are currently about 1.5 million too many homes up for sale. And a steady flow of foreclosures will mean that excess supply will continue to grow.

According to Capital Economics’ report, the bulk of the 2.5 million households that are already in foreclosure and the 2.4 million that are at least 90 days past due will at some point be put up for sale.

“The economy will not be able to support a decent housing recovery,” the company’s analysts wrote. “Income growth will stay muted, unemployment will stay high, and the threat of deflation will rise.”

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Randy Dockery

Fitch Says 7M Homes in the Shadows Will Take 40 Months to Clear

by Randy Dockery

According to the ratings agency, the number of months between the date of the borrower’s last payment and the date of liquidation has steadily increased over the past several years, and is now at more than 18 months on average. Fitch says that is the highest figure on record.

While the volume of newly delinquent mortgages has begun to improve in recent quarters, Fitch says liquidation rates of existing distressed properties have been constrained by weak demand and expanded initiatives to modify loans for troubled borrowers.

On top of that, the agency’s analysts believe the recent discovery of defects in the residential mortgage foreclosure process will further extend liquidation timelines, slowing the resolution of distressed properties in the shadow inventory and preventing home prices from finding a floor.

“While the reduced volume of distressed sales since 2009 has temporarily helped home prices, Fitch believes that the extension in foreclosure and liquidation timelines is simply prolonging the housing correction underway,” the agency said in a report issued Monday.

The total number of troubled loans reached a peak in early 2010 and had begun to show some improvement prior to the most recent foreclosure moratoriums resulting from documentation issues, Fitch said.

According to the ratings agency’s analysis, the latest industry trends indicate that it will take more than three years to sell the properties of loans that are currently seriously delinquent, in foreclosure, or REO. Fitch says for judicial foreclosure states, such as Florida, it is expected to take longer than the national average of 40 months to resolve the distressed loans, while for nonjudicial foreclosure states, like California, the inventory will likely be resolved faster.

The agency points out in its report that the market’s ability to absorb the supply of distressed homes has been affected by limited demand for home purchases.

While interest rates are near historical lows and affordability has improved, fewer potential buyers can qualify for new loans due to the heightened credit standards, Fitch says. Additionally, high unemployment, weak consumer confidence, and uncertainty about the future of home prices have prevented some potential buyers from entering the market.

“Recent concerns about the title-transfer process for foreclosed homes could further weigh on demand,” Fitch noted.

The agency says at this point, it is still unclear how much the foreclosure process will be extended specifically due to document defects. However, even prior to recent developments, Fitch assumed the ultimate resolution of the backlog of distressed properties would result in further home price declines and prevent sustained home price increases for a number of years.

“Fitch is currently assuming approximately a further 10 percent home price decline nationally, with the majority of the adjustment occurring by the end of 2012. However, the timing of the adjustment will be affected by the timing of the distressed inventory resolution,” the agency said in its report.

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Randy Dockery

Home Prices Have Already Hit Bottom

by Randy Dockery

From the DSNEWS.com

Article by: Carrie Bay on 10/12/2010

Economists Say Home Prices Have Already Hit Bottom

Home prices in the United States found their floor during the early part of 2010 and are expected to begin trending upward next year, according to a panel of elite economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) for its October 2010 Outlook.

“The housing recovery is intact, but tepid overall. Home prices have hit bottom,” NABE stated in its report outlining the survey results.

The panel anticipated a 1.5 percent drop in residential home values this year, and that decline has already been registered through the first half of 2010, NABE explained.

The group of economists is projecting gains in home prices of 1.2 percent over the course of 2011, but they warn that the modest increase will not keep up with the broader measures of inflation.

NABE panelists expect any evidence of price weakness post-tax incentive to be temporary. Their assessments of the importance of the government’s recent stimulus measures in the form of tax breaks for homebuyers vary widely. Nearly one-third feel that a persistent relapse will follow the incentives’ expiration, while the remaining two-thirds believe an underlying recovery is in place.

When it comes to the distressed side of the business, it’s become clear that the nation’s high level of unemployment is now one of the primary triggers of default among struggling homeowners. Getting more people back to work is key to a recovery in housing and getting a handle on still-rising delinquency numbers. But NABE’s panel warns that labor market conditions will be slow to improve.

The economists are forecasting monthly payroll gains to average 150,000 or less until the latter half of 2011, at which time gains will improve to a range of 170,000 to 175,000. The unemployment rate is expected to persist at over 9.5 percent through midyear 2011, before easing only slightly to 9.2 percent by the end of next year.

“This will mark the worst post-recession job recovery on record,” NABE said.

NABE panelists trimmed their projections on overall economic growth. Those projections now remain sub-par through year-end, the organization explained.

“This summer’s slowdown has exposed the economy’s sensitivity to wealth losses, the unwinding of debt, and the reductions in economic stimulus,” said Richard Wobbekind, NABE president-elect and associate dean of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “Confidence in the expansion’s durability is intact, but recent economic weakness has prompted many panelists to scale back expectations for the year ahead.”

The October 2010 NABE Outlook presents the consensus of macroeconomic forecasts from a panel of 46 professional analysts. The group included economists from such firms as Moody’s Analytics, the PMI Group, Fannie Mae, and Goldman Sachs.


Autumn is in the air - Smell the Colors

by Randy Dockery
 

Autumn is in the Air - Smell the Colors

 

Autumn is in the air - Smell the Colors

By: Roz Barnett


Autumn is a preferred time of year by many people to come to the mountains of Murphy, North Carolina to see the beautiful color of the changing leaves. The colors are so vivid with orange - the color of pumpkins that gets you in the mood for pumpkin-carving, and you know Halloween, haunted houses, trick-or-treating is just around the corner.

Another leaf color that you would find here in Murphy is the candy apple red color - it reminds us to go to the local community centers in this area and get ready to bob for apples. Oh what fun!

Yellow leaves remind us that soon that the mornings are cool and the days are filled with sunshine - but ohhh those nights - better put a log in the fireplace and let the cheery yellow/orange colors lull you into a peaceful sleep. Snuggle under those blankets.

Brown leaves let us know to get ready for the hayrides in the area, and then to get our rakes out - soon the big leaf piles will let everyone run and jump in the pile of leaves. Kids of all ages and adults really like doing this.

There are so many chances to take pictures and videos of these beautiful trees with their vivid leaf colors here in the mountains of Murphy, North Carolina and the surrounding areas. It's free, it's fun, and you can make an entire day or week-end or week of visiting the western North Carolina area this Autumn. There are many areas in the mountains that you definitely do not want to miss if you are interested in seeing the best autumn foliage.

 
Great Smoky National Park - has an entrance in Cherokee, North Carolina as well as two cities in the adjourning state of Tennessee, this national park boasts some of the best views of fall leaves that change to bright and beautiful colors like red, brown, yellow, orange, and purple. According to tourists, the best time in the fall to see the leaves at the peak of their beauty is mid-October. Park admission is free, so if you're looking for a free activity to do, grab a friend, your best camera and a brown bag lunch and head over to the Great Smoky National Park this October.

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Note from Randy:

When you visit our beautiful mountains of Murphy, North Carolina - drop by our office at 1151 West US 64 in Murphy and let us know if you can Smell the Colors of Autumn in the western North Carolina. I went to the Lake over the week-end and the colors were just amazing. It makes me want to live here. Wait! - I do live here, maybe it will affect you the same way. Call me toll-free at: 1-877-837-3002 or send me an e-mail at: randy@randydockery.com and I will be proud to show you our beautiful, peaceful, tranquil homes in the mountains.

 

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Randy Dockery

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18