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Monir Mamoun's Blog

By Monir Mamoun | Agent in Morristown, NJ
  • 'Flopping' - a new type of scam in the housing market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in USA, Home Selling in USA, Foreclosure in USA  |  May 11, 2011 7:08 PM  |  1,693 views  |  2 comments

    fascinating article from Philly Inquirer about a new kind of mortgage fraud... "flopping" ... click on the title to read the full article

    'Flopping' - a new type of scam in the housing market

    May 10, 2011|By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer

    Although reports of mortgage fraud nationally fell 41 percent in 2010 from 2009, the continuing downturn in the housing market has fostered new ways of perpetrating it, experts say.

    Consider "flopping" - the intentional misrepresentation of housing value for purposes of illegal flipping.

    Here's how it works: A real estate agent or broker identifies properties with severely depressed values. These could be properties with mortgages that exceed the present values or they could be short sales or foreclosures.

    A property is valued using a "broker price opinion." The broker's "opinion" is a low-ball price, because his intention is to profit from a quick resale for a higher price.

  • Mark Zuckerberg's new digs: Yay or nay?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Palo Alto, Home Selling in Palo Alto, Celebrity Homes in Palo Alto  |  May 11, 2011 9:07 AM  |  1,582 views  |  2 comments

    So the multibillionaire founder of Facebook has bought a new place. It is, by all standards, a pretty nice place. However, I keep thinking that in proportion to his resources that this will probably just wind up being his crash pad while he's putting in the long hard hours building up the world's premier social networking site.  Congratulations Mark!

    Click the link at the bottom to read the full article from SFGate.com


    Mark Zuckerberg's new digs: Yay or nay?

    When the freckled faced CEO of Facebook's Palo Alto rental house became available in December, we knew it would not be long before Mark Zuckerberg found another place to call home. Still within the confines of the Palo Alto zip code, it looks like Mark Zuckerberg has made his first mega adult purchase - a $7 million home. While he's about a year late for all the tax breaks, he is joining many Americans as part of the first time homebuyers club.

    Being the workaholic that he is, its convenient location - a 10 minute drive to Facebook's future Menlo Park office - will be a plus for his 16 hour work days. As the LA Times writes:

    The 26-year-old billionaire Facebook founder has bought a $7-million, 5,600-square-foot house in Palo Alto with five bedrooms including a master suite with Carrara marble, a banquet-size dinning room and a music alcove. Set back from the street, the remodeled turn-of-the-20th-century house has a saltwater pool and an outdoor pavilion with a fireplace.

    The house, which sits on a 17,000-square-foot lot with citrus trees to shield the property - and, according to the real estate listing, a "croquet-worthy" lawn.

  • NY metro area housing prices fall

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in New York, Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York  |  May 10, 2011 6:17 AM  |  1,217 views  |  No comments

    This article talks about the drop in housing prices in the NY metro area. Down 1.6% from Jan to March 2011 to $346k average, lowest level in seven years!

    Home values see largest drop in years; underwater mortgages hit new high

    BY Elizabeth Lazarowitz
    DAILY NEWS BUSINESS WRITER

    Tuesday, May 10th 2011, 4:00 AM

    Home values have plunged again to their lowest level in seven years as underwater mortgages hit a new high.
    Michael P. Farrell/Times Union
    Home values have plunged again to their lowest level in seven years as underwater mortgages hit a new high.

    Just when it seemed safe to get back into real estate, the housing market took another tumble, a new report showed.

    New York metro area home values fell 1.6% between January and March to $346,600, hitting their lowest level in more than seven years, according to a report by real estate tracking company Zillow.

  • No end in sight to foreclosure quagmire

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in USA, Home Buying in USA, Home Selling in USA  |  May 9, 2011 12:18 PM  |  1,345 views  |  1 comment
    Foreclosure crisis has already claimed 5 million homes, 3 to 4 million more to go in the next couple of years. Article from MSN. Here is the preview. For full article click on headline.

    No end in sight to foreclosure quagmire


    By Lisa Myers, Rich Gardella and John W. Schoen
    NBC News and msnbc.com
    updated 5/9/2011 7:28:34 AM ET

    Four years after a wave of rogue mortgage lending sent the U.S. housing market into the worst collapse since the Great Depression, the devastating flood of resulting foreclosures shows no sign of abating. In some ways, the problem is getting worse.

    House prices are falling again, forcing more homeowners “underwater” — owing more than their house is worth. Lenders’ shoddy document practices have brought widespread court challenges, slowing the process and leaving millions of homeowners in limbo.

    And the foreclosure crisis continues to weigh heavily on the fragile economy.

    “Right now, it’s the second-biggest drag on the economy after the surge in oil prices,” said Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.

    Already some 5 million homes have been lost to foreclosure; estimates of future foreclosures range widely. Zandi, who has followed the mortgage mess since the housing market began to crack in 2006, figures foreclosures will strike another three million homes in the next three or four years.

  • Housing won't hit bottom until at least 2012, report says

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in USA, Home Buying in USA, Home Selling in USA  |  May 9, 2011 9:55 AM  |  1,391 views  |  No comments

    wow, incredible article from Seattle Post Intelligencer by Aubrey Cohen that brings to light more information from Zillow's chief economist. The outlook is rocky until 2012 he says. Preview here, full article link below.

    Housing won't hit bottom until at least 2012, report says

    Seattle-area home values have fallen farther, faster than those of the nation as a whole, according to a new report.

    Area values in the first quarter were down 32 percent from their peak in June 2007, compared to the nationwide drop of 29.5 percent from a peak a year earlier, Seattle-based real estate information company Zillow reported. Values fell 8.2 percent nationwide and 11.7 percent in the Seattle area from a year earlier.

    Zillow's home value index estimate was $259,200 in the Seattle area and $169,600 nationwide in the first quarter.

    One area where Seattle fared slightly better than the U.S. was in decline from the fourth quarter of 2010.

    Nationwide home values fell 3 percent in the first quarter from the end of 2010 -- the largest quarterly drop since the the fourth quarter of 2008, Zillow reported. Seattle's quarterly drop, 1.7 percent, was down from declines of 3.5 percent, 4.2 percent and 2.8 percent in the previous three quarters.

    "Home value declines are currently equal to those we experienced during the darkest days of the housing recession," Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries said in the report. "With accelerating declines during the first quarter, it is unreasonable to expect home values to return to stability by the end of 2011. We did expect substantial payback from the homebuyer tax credits, which buoyed the housing market last year, but underlying demand post-tax credit, as well as rising foreclosures and high negative equity rates, make it almost certain that we won't see a bottom in home values until 2012 or later."


  • Zillow index: accelerating real estate price declines

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in USA, Home Buying in USA, Home Selling in USA  |  May 9, 2011 9:24 AM  |  1,393 views  |  No comments
    Found a great article about fresh news from Zillow -- more mortgages are underwater and price declines are accelerating.

    28% of homes with mortgages are underwater

    By Inman News, Monday, May 9, 2011.

    Inman Newsâ„¢

    An index maintained by listings and valuation portal Zillow.com shows U.S. home-price declines accelerating during the first three months of 2011 to post a cumulative drop of 8.2 percent from a year ago that left more than one in four homes with a mortgage underwater.

    To read the original article click here

  • New deed scam in Houston

    Posted Under: General Area in Houston, Home Buying in Houston, Home Selling in Houston  |  May 9, 2011 5:57 AM  |  843 views  |  1 comment
    Really fascinating article by Carole VanSickle of Brian Ellis newsletter... some guy has managed to steal 70 homes in Houston by forging deed records. And they've been in legal limbo for years. How does do they get away with it?

    Real Estate Scam of the Day: Forged Deeds Lead to False Sales

    Posted by Carole VanSickle on Monday, May 9th 2011     

    If you have properties sitting vacant, be sure to check on them regularly. Otherwise, you might swing by one day to a happy, well-tended home with new locks and a new owner, particularly if you live in Harris County in Texas[1]. For at least six years, con artists have been forging deeds to vacant properties in the area, delivering the deeds to the local courthouse and then seizing and selling the properties. At least 70 houses – and probably more – were affected by the scheme. Many property owners have not been able to recover their properties.

    Authorities are calling it “the largest deed scam in Harris County history,” and only one man has, as yet, been convicted despite $6 million in penalties and three years of civil litigation on the part of the Texas attorney general. “Most of the houses are still in limbo,” says Nick Abaza, an attorney who represents many of the victims of the scam. Furthermore, many of the buyers paid cash, which means they are unlikely to ever recoup their losses.

    This is a huge mess for the Houston area with many victims involved on both sides of each transaction. How do you think that the problem should be resolved?

    Thank you for reading the Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter!

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