Tag Archives: homes

Homes for Our Troops Launches Construction of Specially Adapted Home for Florida Soldier

Building Partner NWC Construction and Orlando community unite for injured soldier

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Homes for Our Troops, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization building specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans, will begin building a home for Army SPC Luis Puertas September 16-18, 2011. The Build Brigade Ceremony, which will be held at 8:30 a.m. Friday, September 16, will kick off a weekend of activity, starting the home building process.

Specialist Puertas was left a double amputee following an explosion in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 20, 2006, claiming both of his legs on impact. He spent the following 14 months enduring surgeries and rehabilitation at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Following the ceremony, volunteers will work together to raise the home’s first wall. The goal of the three-day build is to frame, side, and roof the house and install windows and doors.  Interior and finishing work will be completed in the following months. The home will provide Puertas maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently.

“This Build Brigade is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a nation,” said John Gonsalves, Founder and President of Homes for Our Troops. “Specialist Puertas is a brave man who sacrificed for our country, and I’m proud to come together with our Building Partner NWC Construction and the entire Orlando community to show appreciation and to give this soldier a home that will restore his freedom and independence.”

WHO: Specialist Luis Puertas; Full bio available at http://www.homesforourtroops.org/puertas

WHEN: Build Brigade Kick-Off: 8:30 a.m., Friday, September 16, 2011
Build Brigade event will continue Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: 12841 Robert’s Island Rd., Orlando, FL 32832

And The Winners Are: Ugliest Houses in America

DALLAS, Aug. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The people of America have spoken by casting their votes in the 2011 “Ugliest House of the Year” contest.  The winners are featured at www.TheUgliestHouse.com.

The contest is sponsored by HomeVestors of America, Inc., known as the “We Buy Ugly Houses®”company, with participation from franchises in various U.S. markets.

“We’re proud to sponsor a contest that celebrates ugliness, recognizing that even the ugliest house on the block has the potential to be transformed into a lovely home,” said David Hicks, co-president of HomeVestors of America.  “If you’re the owner of an ugly house and have any doubt about whether someone wants to buy it, call HomeVestors at 1-800-44-BUYER (28937).”

The 2011 “Ugliest House of the Year” contest was open to the public, who could vote after viewing photos and property descriptions on the HomeVestors® website.  Nominees were selected from a call-for-entries inviting all real estate investors in participating market areas to submit the ugliest houses they had bought at any time between March 1, 2010 and May 15, 2011.  Most of the houses nominated have since been rehabbed and transformed into lovely homes, with some sold on the retail market and others maintained as rental properties.

Dallas-based HomeVestors of America, Inc., the #1 buyer of houses in the U.S., was incorporated and began franchising in 1996.  The first franchise real estate investment company, HomeVestors trains and supports franchisees that specialize in buying older homes in need of repair or updating, and rehabbing them.  Most commonly known as the “We Buy Ugly Houses” company, HomeVestors strives to make a positive impact in each community.  In 2010, for the fifth consecutive year, HomeVestors was among the prestigious Franchise Business Review’s “Top 50 Franchises,” a distinction awarded to franchisors with the highest level of franchisee satisfaction.  For more information, visit www.HomeVestors.com .  To learn more about the HomeVestors franchise, visit www.HomeVestorsfranchise.com .

SOURCE HomeVestors of America

CONTACT: Cary Brazeman,             +1-310-205-3590      , [email protected], for HomeVestors of America

Oh Say Can You See

I remember several years ago while looking to buy a house the realtor kept bring up properties that had HOA’s (Home Owners Association). I told her don’t even worry about pulling the files on the properties. I knew then that it would just cause grief and trouble if someone tried to tell me what I could do on the property I paid for.

In a single day I read two separate news reports where an HOA is being tyrannical and downright un-American. In one case the HOA is demanding that Fred Quigley- a veteran who fought in Korea and Vietnam- take down his flag pole. Mr. Quigley  proudly flies the flag that he so honorably served, the flag of The United States of America, on this pole.

In the other case, the HOA has halted construction on the home that was to be built by Homes for Our Troops for Sgt. 1st Class Sean Gittens who was paralyzed by an IED.

The HOA in Macedonia, Ohio told Mr. Quigley (I am sorry I could not find out the rank he attained or I would address him as such) he could fly his flag from a stanchion from his home but Mr. Quigley would not hear of it. In a statement concerning the matter, he stated:

“To me, a flagpole is a thing of boldness and is substantial. Putting a flag on your house is like putting a wreath on your door. It doesn’t mean as much.”

The HOA even stated that “landscapers have to work around it” and it would require electricity to be ran to the pole for illumination. OH MY GOSH! A landscaper would have to do what he is paid to do and run a line to the pole for a light. I was actually surprised that the HOA knew that flag etiquette deems that the flag be illuminated in the event it is flown at night.

I am proud to say that Mr. Quigley’s community have rallied around him. Many of his supporters gathered together with him as The American Legion performed a Flag Raising Ceremony at Mr. Quigley’s flag pole.

Sgt. Gittens and his family have been up against a very determined HOA. The HOA in the Evans, Georgia neighborhood have stated that because the Gittenses’ house would be smaller than most of the houses in the area, it would bring down property values even though the house exceeds the minimum square footage. The HOA even had the audacity to request that they build a second story on the house. REALLY?! A disabled veteran who is bound to a wheelchair or bed at all times should be required to build a second story?! The Gittens Family decided to build their new home elsewhere to end the conflict. Homes For Our Troops will now be able to build a home for the good Sgt. And his family without having to battle the HOA the entire time.

John Gonsalves, president and founder of Homes for Our Troops, made a statement saying:

“This home is about freedom and independence adapted to the Gittenses’ needs, but it’s also about roots. Luckily we can enjoy the [American] dream because of people like Sgt. Gittens. So who deserves it more than him?”

I would personally like to take these HOA presidents behind the woodshed and give them a few lessons on how to honor our veterans and OUR flag. There should be no other held in higher regards than those who have put his/her life on the line to defend our great nation and/or do her bidding. It is because of these individuals that we have the freedoms we have today. All of our freedoms have been bought and paid for with the literal blood, sweat, tears of our great men and women who make up our great military. Many have even given their very lives so that you might be free today.

July 4 Update: Ohio Veteran Wins Fight To Fly American Flag On Pole Outside His House

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For those of you that own firearms, train hard and well and teach those that do not know how.
Be good stewards of the right to bear arms, for we are the last line of defense against tyranny.

-Benjamin Wallace

 

 

National Home Prices Hit New Low in 2011

NEW YORK, May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Data through March 2011, released today by Standard & Poor’s for its S&P/Case-Shiller(1) Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show that the U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011, after having fallen 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010.  The National Index hit a new recession low with the first quarter’s data and posted an annual decline of 5.1% versus the first quarter of 2010. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels.

As of March 2011, 19 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were down compared to March 2010. Twelve of the 20 MSAs and the 20-City Composite also posted new index lows in March. With an index value of 138.16, the 20-City Composite fell below its earlier reported April 2009 low of 139.26. Minneapolis posted a double-digit 10.0% annual decline, the first market to be back in this territory since March 2010 when Las Vegas was down 12.0% on an annual basis. In the midst of all these falling prices and record lows, Washington DC was the only city where home prices increased on both a monthly (+1.1%) and annual (+4.3%) basis.  Seattle was up a modest 0.1% for the month, but still down 7.5% versus March 2010.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 5.1% decline in the first quarter of 2011 over the first quarter of 2010. In March, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual rates of decline of 2.9% and 3.6%, respectively. Thirteen of the 20 MSAs and both monthly Composites saw their annual growth rates fall deeper into negative territory in March. While they did not worsen, Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle saw no improvement in their respective annual rates.

“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation. The National Index, the 20-City Composite and 12 MSAs all hit new lows with data reported through March 2011. The National Index fell 4.2% over the first quarter alone, and is down 5.1% compared to its year-ago level. Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “Since December 2010, we have found an increasing number of markets posting new lows. In March 2011, 12 cities – Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago,Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR) and Tampa – fell to their lowest levels as measured by the current housing cycle. Washington D.C. was the only MSA displaying positive trends with an annual growth rate of +4.3% and a 1.1% increase from its February level.

“The rebound in prices seen in 2009 and 2010 was largely due to the first-time home buyers tax credit.  Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession. Further, while last year saw signs of an economic recovery, the most recent data do not point to renewed gains.”

“Looking deeper into the monthly data, 18 MSAs and both Composites were down in March over February. The only two which weren’t, are Washington DC, up 1.1%, and Seattle, up 0.1%. Atlanta,Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas are the markets where average home prices are now below their January 2000 levels.  With a March index level of 100.27, Phoenix is not far off.”

As of the first quarter of 2011, average home prices across the United States are back at their mid-2002 levels. The National Index level hit a new low in the first quarter of 2011; it fell by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011 and is 5.1% below its 2010Q1 level.

Eleven cities and both Composites have posted at least eight consecutive months of negative month-over-month returns. Of these, eight cities are down 1% or more. The only cities to post positive improvements in March versus their February levels are Seattle and Washington D.C. with monthly returns of +0.1% and +1.1% respectively.

 

Administration Says Its Saving Homes, Oversight Report Says Otherwise

The Congressional Oversight Panel published a report on October 9th assessing the effectiveness of “foreclosure mitigation efforts” for the previous six months.  Many in the media are focusing on how the administration’s foreclosure efforts are failing.  Just reading the executive summary, I was just as troubled by who these efforts are failing.  The first paragraph grabs the attention with, “The combination of federal efforts to combat the financial crisis coupled with mortgage assistance programs makes the taxpayer the ultimate guarantor of a large portion of home mortgages“.  Congratulations, even though you and I knew better than to get into real-estate investing during an obvious bubble.. the government forced us into it and we’re about to take a bath.

On a positive note, the executive summary does say that it is likely that the benefits will eventually outweigh the costs to the taxpayer.  The initiative that is expected to bring about these benefits is Making Homes Affordable (MHA) which is made up of two programs – the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).  HARP focuses on homeowners that are in-good-standing on their home loans but the mortgages are valued higher than the actual value of the home.  HAMP focuses on those that can no-longer afford their mortgages and keeping them out of foreclosure.

HARP reconfigures the loans into stable, affordable loans and has performed almost 96,000 mortgage reconfigurations or refinances.  It is difficult to prove a negative, just as with the “jobs saved or created” angle the administration takes on the stimulus plan.  Here we have another.  Did we actually prevent any foreclosures or just guarantee a more-favorable loan for people that bought too much house?  The report does not even try to compute how many homes loans were saved or prevented from being bad.  Probably because it can’t be done.

HAMP subsidizes the mortgage payments of soon-to-be-foreclosed debtors with taxpayer dollars.  This mortgage modification program reconfigured 1,711 mortgages and put another 362,348 other borrowers into a 3-month trial program.  The U.S. Treasury expects that it will spend almost $43 billion of the $50 billion TARP funds for mortgage modification.  This amount would support about two-and-a-half million loan modifications.  Unfortunately, current estimates are for closer to 12 million foreclosures will occur which means that, “the remaining losses will be massive”.

The report stresses three main reason why these favored programs of the Obama administration may not succeed.  Size, Scope and permanence.

First, the scope of the program will limit it from helping the most-at-risk mortgages.  The eligibility requirements will not allow adjustable rate mortgages or interest-only loans to be subsidized by taxpayer money.  HAMP is also not designed to help with non-payment of mortgages due to unemployment – the main reason for many home-losses in these economic times.  The whole program is built around fixing subprime mortgages, and even the report states that it’s so “six-month-ago”.  Nothing in this bill deals with the actual mortgage crisis that Americans are dealing with.

After scope, the report explains how the size of the program is also insufficient.  Foreclosure starts are coming twice as fast as HAMP modifications and many homeowners that would qualify for the program are losing their houses while waiting for the program to catch up.  This is similar to the cash-for-clunkers issue of too many promises for too little capability.  The car dealers could decide to stop accepting deals under that program to avoid cash-flow disasters.  These homeowner’s only choice is to lose their homes.  Even once the program catches up, it will only be able to service 50% of the Treasuries own estimate for home foreclosures.

Lastly, the Congressional Oversight Panel’s report addresses permanence.  Will these modifications actually result in the prevention of a home loss?  Only a small portion of the modifications done under HAMP have resulted in permanent stable mortgages.  The panel suggests that after massive infusions of taxpayer capital, these loans default anyway.  The report states that real results of these programs will be, “that foreclosure is delayed, not avoided”.

There is some discussion of negative-equity.  If the housing market continues depressing or deflating, more people may consider walking away from their mortgages as there would be no inherent value in the home.  These wealth-lost scenarios could increase foreclosures well-beyond even the pessimistic estimates of the U.S. Treasury.  If this is added into what the report calls “payment reset shock”, due to high loan-to-value adjustable loans, it’s obvious the government has no-chance at making any real dent in the real-estate crisis.

What the report doesn’t consider is the massive de-leveraging that is occurring in the American economy.  In the Conservative Daily News article entitled, “Going Galt Without Realizing“, it is apparent that between the government’s willingness to create money for these mortgage-subsidization programs and American’s lack of willingness to continue borrowing to consume, our fractional reserve systems could add another last straw.  Bank reserves will dwindle as fewer and fewer Americans borrow for homes and autos either because they can’t (due to recent foreclosure or a barely-affordable mortgage) or because this crisis has caused a change-in-behavior towards reduced indebtedness.

Whether we look back at cash-for-clunkers or at this initiative, it becomes obvious that the administration is unable to judge the size, scope, permanence or effectiveness of the programs it supports.