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Foreclosed homes - What to Do?

April 06, 2012

With millions of families displaced by foreclosure, and their homes often sitting vacant and vandalized while the torturous process of foreclosure grinds on, new ideas have emerged about how to make better use of this inventory, especially to provide afforable rental housing while preserving the homes and preventing further deterioration of neighborhood values and conditions.  Literally billions of dollars in new investor equity has been marshalled in anticipation of bulk property sales that could provide bargain-priced homes that could be repurposed to rentals and eventual sale when markets improve.  Locally, “mom and pop” investors are bidding for these homes, and new would-be property owners/investors are showing up on courthouse stairs to bid for these properties.

At the federal level, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to experiment selling some of their REO in bulk to investors who would convert the properties to rentals.  

Bank of America recently announced its own “Lease for Deed” pilot to allow curernt delinquent homeowners to swap their ownership for a long-term lease.  The program could lead to these families having the opportunity in the future to buy back the homes, as well.  If the pilot shows promise, BofA says they will expand it.

I was recently a guest on KCRW’s To the Point broadcast, which you can listen to here.


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