Beth L Peerce
Dear C.A.R. Member, It’s hard to believe this year is soon coming to a close. We’ve accomplished a lot over the past year, but we still have much to do in 2011. For instance, we know we will have to defend changes to the mortgage interest deduction (MID). In late November, President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission released its preliminary recommendations, and one of the provisions called for dramatically limiting the MID. Since then, the commission failed to win enough votes to approve the recommendations. However, it is very likely that legislation will be introduced next year to curtail the MID. Few issues are more important to homeownership than the mortgage interest deduction, and while the housing market continues to recover, any change that reduces the ability of the market to heal is misguided and must be rejected. I want to thank everyone who responded to NAR’s Call for Action and urged their member of Congress to preserve the MID. Last week, NAR issued a new Call for Action asking all REALTORS® to call their state senators and ask them to defend the MID. I urge you to contact Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to voice your concerns today about limiting the MID. In my first message to you last month, I mentioned that one of my goals this year as C.A.R. President is to help you, the REALTOR®, earn a living. I know many of us have been having a very difficult time working with lenders on short sales. Please be assured that C.A.R. has been working on several fronts to help you more easily deal with short sales and distressed properties. First, we’re working with the U.S. Treasury Department, which administers the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA); Fannie Mae; Freddie Mac; and many of the largest lenders to facilitate their implementation of the HAFA program in order to streamline the short sale process. C.A.R. members who are having difficulty with HAFA short sales should call (888) 995-HOPE or send an email to sfdil@hmpadmin.com. Additionally, to help in our outreach efforts with lenders, C.A.R. is conducting an extremely important and time-sensitive survey to obtain reliable and up-to-date information about members’ recent experiences with the four largest lenders in distressed transactions. I’d appreciate your help in participating in the survey. Your responses will be kept confidential. On the education front, we offer an array of courses, including “Mastering REOs and the Broker Price Opinion,” “Distressed Properties,” and “Short Sales and Foreclosures: What Real Estate Professionals Need to Know.” You can even become a Certified HAFA Specialist, which gives you advanced training in managing the complexities of a foreclosure or short sale transaction. Visit C.A.R.’s Education Web site for information on these and other classes related to working with short sales and distressed properties. You’ll also find numerous Webinars and videos that explain the ins and outs of short sales and how to expedite them through the HAFA process. Stay tuned for future updates on our efforts to address your concerns related to short sale transactions. In another initiative to help you earn a living, C.A.R. recently launched its Home Payment Protection Program (HPPP), which provides a home buyer with mortgage payment assistance in the event of a job layoff. The program is offered by REALTORS® to sellers at the time of listing as an added incentive to prospective buyers. It is paid for by the seller and is completely optional. The program covers both first-time and repeat buyers for 12 months from close of escrow and will make up to six mortgage payments up to $1,000 or $1,500, depending on the coverage level the seller chooses. By offering HPPP as an added incentive to buyers, sellers have an additional way of differentiating their home from others and can sell their home more quickly. It’s a win-win benefit for buyers, sellers, and REALTORS®. Before I close, I want to thank you all for your active involvement with C.A.R. this year. I am looking forward to working with you again in 2011. I wish you all a very safe and joyous holiday and a Happy New Year. Sincerely, Beth L. Peerce 2011 President CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®