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HomeRun Homes is a centralized marketplace which helps people Find or Sell a Rent to Own Home, both Nationwide and Globally to the thriving Rent to Own Market. http://www.lease2buy.com

September 11, 2011

Feds Finally Keen on Rent to Own Housing

Good Morning Friends,

   I'm glad to have you back another week to examine the Real Estate Market, look at some options that are open to you as a buyer or a seller, and to interpret the moves that the Government is making toward improving the Housing Market and the Economy.

   Today, we are actually going to hit all 3 of the above points in one Blog Post, and some of this information will surprise you!

   For quite some time, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed has been, "calling on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to rent out their massive, 250,000-strong inventory of foreclosed homes in order to 'shrink the inventory of government-owned homes'", as Carol VanSickle points out in her story ("Federal Rental Program Update: White House Supports Rental Program"). Reed believes that by the Government taking on a landlord role, it would help "diminish the glut of foreclosures".

   According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, per a recent article by Christina M Johnson ("Rent To Own - Forecast Bright As Home Sales Continue To Be Gloomy"), he believes the U.S. Housing Market is a strong factor that is hurting the broader economy, and believes that the massive amount of foreclosures selling below cost are "one of our country's biggest economic drains".

   Johnson, who was been privately buying and selling homes for 20 years, says that as we have seen, "foreclosures offered at below market pricing forces all housing prices to continue downward", and that this is one never ending cycle. Exacerbating this are the lending restrictions (lowering the bar on potential buyers), along with decreasing home prices. Johnson fears that we could become a nation of renters with only the "rich few as the exclusive property owners", and she cites data from Realty Trac, Inc. and CoreLogic that estimates millions of homes either in foreclosure or very close to going into foreclosure...currently!

   The following question was raised by Johnson; "Could the rent to own home sale market help pull the U.S. out of its economic slump?". Could the Government acting as a landlord help us? As VanSickle writes, "Previously, the idea of a landlord-government has been met with strong resistance."

   The "Winds of Change"...

   "Reed finally has some real support in the form of a call to action from the White House", says VanSickle, and says that the Obama administration has announced that "the government-controlled GSEs should partner with private investors in order to make Reed’s proposed rental program a reality", and the president said that the administration is “soliciting ideas” on how to put Reid’s concept into action. In an article titled, "Feds seek ideas on renting government-owned foreclosed homes" on the Seattle Times Website, Officials from the Obama administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), said they hoped for innovative solutions to the "severe oversupply of single-family homes".

   The Seattle Times story says that Federal officials are "seeking ideas from investors and others about how to rent some of the nearly 250,000 foreclosed homes owned by government-backed entities such as Fannie Mae". VanSickle writes that the end goal is to "“turn the federal government’s inventory of foreclosed houses into rental properties that could be managed by private enterprises or sold in bulk”, and Johnson writes that Government incentives would "generate even more interest from other professionals related to the home sales industry, offering their help and expertise to help facilitate a successful rent to own transaction". This would, in turn, help the related fields and related services that are depending on Housing to get back on it's feet.

   U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently said that they are "Exploring new options for selling these foreclosed properties will help expand access to affordable rental housing, promote private investment in local housing markets and support neighborhood and home-price stability", as Louis Aguilar writes in The Detroit News story, "Feds aim to revive Michigan's foreclosed homes".

   Aguilar writes that among the strategies on which agencies are "seeking comment" are rent-to-own programs and "ways the properties can be used to support affordable housing". He adds that the program might have a "big impact on Michigan", which, as per the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, or "HUD", ranks fifth in the nation for foreclosed properties (There is a new foreclosure properties website called the "REO PORTAL" located on the Huduser website). Along with Aguilar, both the Seattle Times story, as well as Johnson's story, both mention Rent to Own as an option gaining popularity.

   Johnson says that if the Government encourages private Rent to Own purchases via "tax breaks and financial incentives", this will reduce the amount of homes in foreclosure (and lower inventory), will stabilize prices, and would add a layer of "privatized protection". She said that the risks must also be addressed, such as potential property damage and costly evictions. Two of the most important points, however, are ensuring that the Buyer is working with someone to fix their credit (so they can actually buy the home at the end of the lease period), and on the flip side, making sure the Seller is current and does not have existing liens or a pending foreclosure on the actual home!

   In order to counter the lack of an outright sales commission due to a Real Estate Agent or Broker at the successful completion of an outright sale, Johnson has a suggestion; Real Estate Agents and Brokers could expand their services to property management, collecting the monthly rent, etc. Of course, each one of these would need to be cleared with the local Real Estate Board and also not cross over any fine lines drawn by RESPA or other Federal agencies.

   "Action on the issue might take a while", says the Seattle Times story, and says that the HUD and the FHFA announced a "request for information" that is open to all interested parties (Aguilar points to the FHFA website, where potential investors can click on "Request for Information: REO Asset Disposition"). The deadline for information requests is Sept. 15, so act fast !

   My thoughts? I've been servicing Rent to Own for over 9 years and watching how it helps buyers and sellers...but I pose the following question; "Why did it take the Government so long to open their eyes to this option?" Do you have any ideas to share on this?

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #FHFA #foreclosure #renttoown #Obama #Government #rentalprogram #HUD #RealEstate #FannieMae #FreddieMac

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