Landlords: Renters That Smoke, by Troy Rappold, Rappold Property Management, LLC


The ability to smoke in public and at apartment communities has been under attack for years. But what about rental homes? Often times an owner plans to rent their home for only a year or two. Certainly the owner does not want to receive the house back with the smell of cigarette smoke still lingering in the house. Even if the renter was a model tenant in all other respects, cigarette smoke can be very destructive. Smoking turns walls yellow (new paint job $1,200), it destroys carpets ($1,500), and it requires a deeper cleaning, perhaps with a deionizer ($500). The cost of all this stress…priceless.

The best approach? In all of our homes we have a no smoking policy. However, we do allow the renter to smoke outside, perhaps on the porch or deck. However, this issue can be a hard one to enforce. What if it’s cold outside? Who wants to stand outside when it’s only 35 degrees? The renter is easily tempted to stand inside the house or close to an open window and light up. Inevitably, smoke gets in the house and the home owner smells the evidence. A good suggestion is to do an inspection within the first month or two of a new lease if you know the renter smokes. Catch the problem early. Then do another inspection a few months later to make sure. If you detect smoke after the tenant moves out, a landlord can charge the tenant for the remediation of the smell. But this can be a tricky proposition. It is always best to be pro-active and keep this issue from becoming a possible expense.  It is less ideal to react and pursue a vacating tenant for money.

You can always call Rappold Property Management with questions about your single family home investment.

Troy Rappold
Rappold Property Management, LLC
1125 SE Madison Street, suite #201
Portland, OR  97214

Phone: 503-232-5990
Fax: 503-232-1462

 

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Multnomahforeclosures.com: Updated Notice Of Default Lists and Books


Multnomahforeclosures.com was updated with the largest list of Notice Defaults to date. With Notice of Default records dating back over 2 years. Multnomahforeclosures.com documents the fall of the great real estate bust of the 21st centry. The lists are of the raw data taken from county records.

It is not a bad idea for investors and people that are seeking a home of their own to keep an eye on the Notice of Default lists. Many of the homes listed are on the market or will be.

All listings are in PDF and Excel Spread Sheet format.

Multnomah County Foreclosures

http://multnomahforeclosures.com

Related News:Finance Real Estate U.S. Canada Homebuilders Revive Stalled U.S. Projects as Banks Unload Lots, By Prashant Gopal and John Gittelsohn, bloomberg.com


Construction crews are returning to the Cascades of Groveland, a gated 55-and-older community west of Orlando, Florida, almost three years after its bankrupt developer left owners of the existing 238 houses surrounded by empty lots, partially built homes, and an unfinished clubhouse.

Shea Homes, a builder based in Walnut, California, bought the remaining 761 lots from Bank of America Corp. in June and reopened the project Aug. 25 with a new sales office, lower prices and a changed name: “Trilogy.” Residents, who had taken over the guardhouse for mahjong, bingo and poker games, will get a 38,000-square-foot (3,530-square-meter) recreational center with indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and a card room.

“For the people here, the activity of construction equipment is music to their ears,” said Eric Sorkin, 61, president of the homeowners association at the development, 35 miles northwest of Walt Disney World. “There’s a future.”

Builders are buying lots at less than half their original prices from lenders eager to move distressed construction loans off their books. Developments are being resuscitated from Florida, California, and Las Vegas to Utah and the suburbs of Washington, D.C., according to Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy, a Houston-based housing researcher.

“This is a natural progression of the cycle,” Hunter said. “Projects fail, the price of the asset drops until it reaches a point where it’s profitable for someone else to pick it up and remarket it. They reposition the project and then what was formerly infeasible, is feasible.”

Mothballed Projects

Builders, facing record low demand, are trying to boost margins and revenue by pulling unfinished projects out of mothballs. They’re benefiting from cheap land and falling construction costs as they seek to adapt floor plans to today’s market and lure buyers with prices that, in some neighborhoods, are little more than the cost of a foreclosed home. The 12 largest homebuilders by market value added 16,631 lots in their past two quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The revived projects could contribute to a delay in the U.S. housing recovery by adding to the supply of available homes, according to Hunter. At the same time, builders are being cautious about flooding the market by limiting the numbers of houses they are constructing without having buyers lined up, he said. Many homebuyers also aren’t interested in foreclosures, which may be damaged or in inferior locations, Hunter said.

The next few months will show whether the revived projects will inflate supply, because many builders purchased lots around the same time, and will likely market them at about the same time, said Jill Lewis, homebuilder specialist for the Land Advisors Organization, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based land broker.

Phoenix Communities

In the Phoenix metro area, 48 communities have reopened with about 40 more coming in the next year, according to Land Advisors. About 6 percent of finished lots for production are owned by banks, down from 20 percent a year ago, the company said. On average, new homes in Phoenix are going for half of what they sold for four years ago, Land Advisors said.

Picking up where another builder left off can be complicated by the passing of years. Without attention, weeds grow, swimming pools go green, government permits expire, and homeowners associations turn insolvent, said Taylor B. Grant, founding principal of California Real Estate Receiverships LLC in Newport Beach, California. Grant, who works as a court- appointed receiver for properties that have gone into default, is often asked by banks to prepare developments for sale.

It can take nine to 12 months to ready a site and construct model homes, said Tom Dallape, principal at the Hoffman Company, a land brokerage advisory firm in Irvine, California.

Knocking Down Homes

Shea, which had some models in place, did it in a couple months. Soon after taking over the Cascades of Groveland, the closely held company began knocking down 16 partially built homes that “were sitting out there too long, and were not protected from the conditions,” said Jeff McQueen, executive vice president for Shea Homes Active Lifestyle Communities.

Developers also are adapting projects to include smaller, more efficient designs that cost less to build, Dallape said.

“They’re tailoring them to the market,” he said. “The average new house used to be 3,000 square feet. Today, it’s 2,100.”

Publicly traded homebuilders such as D.R. Horton Inc., Lennar Corp., Meritage Homes Corp., KB Home, Standard Pacific Corp. and Toll Brothers Inc. started buying about a year ago as the market seemed to be strengthening, according to Tom Reimers, president of the California division of Land Advisors Organization. They deployed cash, which they amassed during the recession by selling land and taking advantage of a change in the tax code that provided them higher refunds, said Megan McGrath, homebuilding analyst with Barclays Plc in New York.

Weaker Market

The housing market weakened with the expiration of a homebuyer tax incentive in April, and builder land purchases could slow as a result, McGrath said.

Sales so far in the restarted projects are relatively strong, Metrostudy’s Hunter said.

Meritage, which builds in Texas, Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado and Florida, has had a monthly pace of three sales per community in new projects compared with two for older developments, said Brent Anderson, vice president of investor relations. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company bought 100 projects with 5,400 finished lots since the first quarter of last year and has reopened about half of them, he said.

“If these lots weren’t available, it would be damn tough for builders to make a profit,” Anderson said.

Plunging Sales

New home sales slid 12 percent in July to a record-low annual pace, and existing-home sales tumbled 27 percent to the lowest level in a decade of recordkeeping, according to separate reports last month from the Commerce Department and the National Association of Realtors. Single-family housing starts fell 4.2 percent from June. Foreclosure filings increased almost 4 percent in July from the previous month, RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based research company, said Aug. 12.

In Phoenix, where more than half the homes sold are foreclosures, demand is weak. The number of newly built houses and condos sold in July in the metro area fell to 641, down 50 percent from June and 38 percent from a year earlier, San Diego- based MDA DataQuick reported Aug. 26.

“All of us are going to sit back and evaluate the depth of the consumer market, and whether they are going to be chasing after the same buyer,” said Lewis of Land Advisors.

Sales offices are only just starting to reopen. Newly acquired developments make up 20 percent or less of public builders’ closings, and may reach about 50 percent for some companies by the middle of next year, McGrath said.

Less Than Foreclosures

Candlelight Homes, a South Jordan, Utah, homebuilder that bought lots in 20 stalled projects, recently introduced a new slogan: “Quality new homes, less than foreclosures.”

The company, which said most of its houses are cheaper than comparable foreclosed homes, has an average profit margin of 12 percent on the transactions, said Joe Salisbury, a partner at Candlelight. He purchases lots with power, sewer, and water lines and government approvals in place for 30 percent to 50 percent of what they sold for three years ago, he said.

“We’re buying lots for less than the cost of the improvements,” Salisbury said. “If someone offered me raw land for free next door, I wouldn’t even want it because it would cost me more to build out the lots.”

Builder Flexibility

Development-ready lots give builders the flexibility to construct homes as customers sign contracts, and then ramp up quickly when the economy improves, said Robert Curran, a managing director for Fitch Ratings. Rather than paying for parcels upfront, builders often are acquiring the option to buy a minimum number of lots over a period of time, which gives them the freedom to walk away and simply lose their deposit.

“The fact that you can take a lot in and quickly build on it means you’re not tying up capital for an extended period of time and get better returns,” New York-based Curran said.

Private-equity firms are partnering with builders, big and small, to buy projects around the country and put them back on the market. Shea, for example, entered into a $15 million joint venture with Mountain Real Estate Group LLC to revive the Cascades project, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based property investment firm said in a statement. Levitt & Sons LLC, which pioneered the planned suburban community of Levittown, New York, abandoned the Cascades project after it filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2007.

Toll Brothers

Many public builders can finance projects on their own. Toll Brothers, the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, spent about $340 million on new land in the first nine months of its fiscal 2010, adding 4,100 lots, its first rise since 2006. The Horsham, Pennsylvania-based company has $1.64 billion in cash for more deals, Chief Executive Officer Douglas Yearley Jr. said.

“This is an opportunity to be investing that capital back in the market,” Yearley said in an Aug. 11 interview. “We have opportunities now that we haven’t had for some time.”

Toll Brothers paid $23 million in February to SunTrust Banks Inc. for Hasentree, a foreclosed golf course community in Wake Forest, North Carolina, that was once appraised for $78 million, said Tom Anhut, the builder’s group president in the state. Hasentree was built around an 18-hole course designed by Tom Fazio. It featured a completed community activity center, roads, about 400 acres of dedicated green space, 100 developed home sites, 218 raw sites, 18 new homes seeking buyers and 40 occupied houses at the time of the sale.

Lower Prices

Buyers have put deposits on four new Toll Brothers homes, with listing prices starting at $669,995 since Hasentree’s sales office reopened in July, Anhut said. The community’s original homes sold for an average $1.5 million.

“This is really a special golf course and piece of property,” Anhut said. “But there’s a reason that we paid about one-third of the previous appraisal. Obviously, the market is different now.”

Builders are competing for land with investment companies, some of which are buying expansive projects and selling chunks to homebuilders.

Starwood Land Ventures of Bradenton, Florida, paid $81 million in February for 5,499 home sites in the state, most of which were finished, from bankrupt builder Tousa Inc. Miami- based Lennar has an option contract to buy about 1,500 of them across the state, said Mike Moser, east region president for Starwood Land Ventures, which is funded by Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group LLC.

Independence

Among the newly opened Tousa projects is Independence, a master planned community in Orange County, Florida, with 500 finished lots, and room for 450 more, Moser said. Builders selling lots in the development include Lennar, Meritage, Ryland Group Inc. and closely held Ashton Woods Homes, he said.

“This product is in a very good location,” Moser said. “There is still demand for housing, and builders are eager to build homes.”

Residents of Trilogy, who have become close in the years since construction halted, are looking forward to having new neighbors, said Sorkin, the homeowners association president. The clubhouse, which Shea plans to complete in phases over the next two years, will be central Florida’s best, he said.

“It will attract many buyers,” he said. “And of course, it will be a wonderful retreat for people who live here.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in New York at Pgopal2@bloomberg.net; John Gittelsohn in New York at johngitt@bloomberg.net.

Fannie Mae tries to stimulate market for foreclosed homes, By Kenneth R. Harney, Latimes.com


The mortgage giant quietly launches the HomePath program, which offers subprime-era terms for buyers: minimal down payments, no appraisals, no mortgage insurance and lower minimum credit scores.

If you’re a buyer with little cash or a small-scale investor looking for a deal on a foreclosed house, a little-publicized national lending program could be just what you need this fall.

Here’s what it offers:
• Minimal down payments — 3% for buyers who plan to live in the house, 10% for investors. Most of your down payment can come from documented gifts from relatives or others with no direct connection to the transaction.
• No requirement for an appraisal on the property unless you’re applying for additional money to renovate the house. This is crucial because lowball appraisals can be deal-killers, especially when the house needs cosmetic or other repairs.
• Generous “seller contribution” limits of up to 6% of the price, effectively reducing the cash you’ll need to pay closing costs.
• No requirement for mortgage insurance coverage, despite your high loan-to-value ratio at purchase.
• A minimum credit score of 660 — significantly lower than the 700-plus scores many lenders now demand for conventional loans on favorable terms.
• Maximum loan amounts tied to standard conventional loan limits: $729,750 in the highest cost markets, $625,500 in others, and $417,000 everywhere else.

Who is offering such an unusual package of come-ons like this in an era of stringent underwriting requirements? It’s Fannie Mae, the mortgage investment giant that got into deep trouble when the housing bubble burst and is now bleeding red ink in prodigious quantities under federal conservatorship. As a result of its past problems, Fannie is saddled with a bulging portfolio of tens of thousands of foreclosed homes. It needs to sell those houses, is willing to finance their transfer to new owners and has come up with a program it calls HomePath to do so. In recent weeks, HomePath loans have been rolled out through mortgage brokers and a network of 50 lenders, so it’s probably available on houses in your area.

The basics on HomePath: The program is restricted to Fannie Mae foreclosure holdings. The full lineup of listings can be viewed state by state at http://www.HomePath.com. Participating real estate brokers are listed on the same site; Fannie Mae will entertain only offers that come through those brokers, not directly from consumers. Most properties are open to bids from owner-occupant buyers and investors, but some designated “First Look” are reserved for bids from owner-occupants during the initial 15 days after listing.

There are two main options with HomePath: mortgage financing to buy the house in its current “as is” condition and “renovation” financing, in which Fannie lends additional amounts needed for what it describes as “light to moderate” fix-ups, such as a roof repair or replacement of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Standard HomePath listings are all in “move-in condition,” according to Fannie. That is, the company has inspected them, performed at least cosmetic repairs as needed, and determined them to be structurally sound with no code violations and all systems in working order. Listings eligible for renovation financing generally require some work to be funded through add-on amounts to the mortgage that are held in escrow by the lender after closing and disbursed as repairs are completed during the succeeding six months. The maximum rehab amount is $30,000 or 20% of the projected “as completed” value of the renovated house.

Interest rates on both options are slightly higher than prevailing conventional or FHA-insured loan rates. For example, Peter Boutell, co-owner of Santa Cruz Home Finance in Santa Cruz, Calif., says that in mid-August, when 30-year fixed rates on owner-occupied home loans dropped to the 4 3/8% range, applicants making less than 20% down payments were required to pay mortgage insurance premiums that pushed their effective rate to about 4 7/8%. At the same time, HomePath loans with 5% down payments were available at 5 1/8%. “This is an amazing program” for people looking for a foreclosure at a low price who don’t have big down payment cash, Boutell said. “You cannot buy a fix-up with conventional financing anywhere. Lenders just won’t do them.”

Are there potential downsides to HomePath? Absolutely. Although Fannie Mae says it owns foreclosed houses in a wide variety of neighborhoods, mortgage brokers say they are more likely to be found in lower- to moderate-priced areas that took deeper hits when the housing market unraveled. Buyers looking for pristine properties with zero defects might not find what they want on the HomePath listing board. But check it out. Fannie’s loan terms will be hard to beat.

Is Debt Really The Problem… or is it something else?, By Bill Westrom, Truthinequity.com


Mainstream media, the Government and consumers themselves vilify debt as the root of the consumer’s financial plight and the root of a weakening country. Debt is not the problem; it’s the management of debt and the way debt is structured that is creating the problem not the debt itself. Unless you win the lottery, invent a cure for cancer or get adopted by Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, debt will be something you will have to face somewhere along the course of your adult life; it’s a natural component of our society.

In today’s economic environment hard working American’s are experiencing a level of fear and financial uncertainty they have never been faced with. This is keeping them up at night wondering how they are going to sustain a life they have worked so hard to build. Americans are also wondering why those we have trusted for all these years; the banks, money managers and politicians, are thriving financially, but don’t seem to be contributing anything of real value to the public? Today, the predominant questions being asked by the American public as it relates to their financial future are; what am I going to do, what can I do, how am I going to do it? We all work way too hard to be faced with these questions. The answers to these frightening questions are right in front of us. The answers lie in the use of the financial resources we use every day. You just need to know how to use them to your advantage.

The crux of the problem for consumers and the country alike lie with misaligned, improper or a shear lack of education on the use of the banking tools we use every day. The three banking tools that we use every day; checking accounts, credit cards and loans are simply being used improperly. The solution lies in educating consumers and institutions to use these tools in the proper sequence and function to manage debt properly, regain control of income and possess the authority to control the repayment of debt. It’s as simple as that. By exposing the failed business model of conventional banking and borrowing practices, realigning them into a model that actually helps consumers get more out of what they own and what they earn, we can once again grow individually, as a society and a nation.

The Truth Is In The Proof.
TruthInEquity.com

Rescue from foreclosure? Frustration, anger grow, By Sanjay Bhatt, Seattletimes.com


When he tried to change the terms of his home loan, Michael Guzman was rejected because the bank didn’t consider his joblessness a long-term hardship.

Kamie Kahlo’s bank offered her a modified mortgage on her Queen Anne home but later told her the lower payments weren’t permanent.

And Leslie Oldham was stunned her bank moved to foreclose on her Kent home before it gave her a decision on a loan modification.

“I tried everything I could to work it out with the bank,” said Oldham, 58, “because the last thing I wanted to do was file a bankruptcy.”

More than a year since President Obama announced an unprecedented national foreclosure-prevention program, many homeowners’ experiences with the program have left them feeling frustrated and angry at mortgage servicers.

The program gives servicers financial incentives to permanently lower the monthly payments of homeowners who qualify for and successfully complete a three-month trial period. Servicers can modify a mortgage by lowering the interest rate, extending the loan’s terms or deferring payment of principal.

Federal auditors say the Treasury Department has failed to hold banks and other servicers accountable for following the loan-modification program’s guidelines, and state regulators say there’s little they can do.

Some examples from the Government Accountability Office:

• Delayed decisions: After three months of accepting payments on a modified trial loan, banks are supposed to decide whether to make the new terms permanent. But some banks have a backlog of thousands of homeowners who have been making trial payments for six months or longer.

• Inconsistent treatment: Fifteen of the 20 largest servicers in the program didn’t follow federal guidelines for evaluating borrowers’ loans and may have treated similarly situated borrowers differently.

• No meaningful appeals: The Treasury does not independently review borrowers’ application or loan files, nor does it have clear penalties for servicers who violate the program’s rules.

The program was intended to keep 3 million homeowners from foreclosure, but it had produced only about 435,000 permanent modifications through July.

Treasury officials say the program’s impact can’t be measured by a single statistic. Many homeowners who were deemed ineligible for the federal program have been offered private loan modifications by their servicer.

Still, six of every 10 seriously delinquent borrowers are not getting help, according to a new study by the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group. Struggling homeowners are alienated by the mixed messages and long delays, the group said, and almost three-quarters of modified mortgages leave borrowers owing more, not less.

“That is not a sustainable solution,” said Roberto Quercia, who consulted on the study and is director of the Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “For people underwater, making the hole deeper is a recipe for disaster.”

Jumbled paperwork

In March 2009, Treasury officials launched the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), its cornerstone effort to rescue the nation’s housing market, in which property values have fallen at a rate not seen since the Great Depression.

Homeowners must pass three tests to be considered: First, they must have an eligible hardship, such as unemployment. Second, their mortgage must exceed 31 percent of their gross monthly income.

Finally, the bank applies a “net present value” test to see if it will lose more money from foreclosing on their home than from modifying the mortgage.

Through July, homeowners in the program saw a median 36 percent, or more than $500, savings in their monthly payment after permanent modification, according to the Treasury.

But the number of homeowners making trial payments who were dropped from the program — more than 600,000 — now exceeds the number with permanent modifications.

“Paperwork has been the No. 1 reason homeowners have not been able to convert to permanent modifications,” Treasury spokeswoman Andrea Risotto said.

The second most common reason, she said, is that homeowners are unable to keep up with payments during the trial period.

Housing counselors and lawyers for homeowners say servicers misplace documents or wrongly reject eligible applicants for no good reason — even after they’ve made trial payments for six months or longer.

“The servicers are claiming that the files are a mess or are incomplete,” said Marc Cote, a housing counselor who coordinates Washington state’s foreclosure-prevention hotline. “We have confirmation the fax was received. Then you call back in two days and there’s no record of it. That’s not uncommon.”

Regulators at the state Department of Financial Institutions say they’ve been flooded with consumer complaints about mortgage issues — such as banks failing to properly credit homeowners for payments.

Department director Scott Jarvis says a series of federal court decisions since 2002 has made it nearly impossible for regulators to force national banks and thrifts to comply with state consumer-protection laws.

“It’s a massive shell game,” Jarvis said. “The pea is the consumer, and the consumer ends up getting shuffled around the shells and rarely gets anything resolved.”

For their part, big banks and other servicers say they’re helping distressed borrowers, while being fair to the majority of homeowners who pay their mortgages on time.

This year, Chase opened a loan-modification office in Tukwila that focuses on screening homeowners with Chase mortgages in Washington and Oregon.

And a coalition of big banks recently announced support for a Web portal called HOPE LoanPort that housing counselors can use to submit complete applications, verify their receipt and get status updates.

“In the end I think we all share a common goal, which is to help as many customers as possible stay in their homes,” said Rebecca Mairone, Bank of America’s national default-servicing executive.

Left in limbo

Cote, the housing counselor, recounts this story: On Aug. 6, a national bank told an elderly owner of an Issaquah house that her application for loan assistance — submitted March 3 — was still under review.

A week later, a trustee let the bank repossess the woman’s house. The bank had denied the woman’s application but never notified her in writing, as required.

“They’re violating the guidelines,” said Cote, whose agency doesn’t allow him to identify the national bank.

Some Seattle-area homeowners echo Cote.

Guzman, of Lake Stevens, has been unemployed for more than two years and was told — incorrectly — by Chase last year that his joblessness did not count as a permanent hardship.

“Servicers continue to evolve their implementation of HAMP,” Chase said in a statement.

Moreover, Chase said, it asked Guzman to reapply for loan assistance, but he has refused.

Guzman said he’s already submitted paperwork three times.

“Millions of people have gone through this wringer like I have,” he said.

Kahlo, who bought her Queen Anne home in 1999, said she did everything Bank of America asked her to do to qualify for relief under the federal program.

After the bank told her it wasn’t permanently modifying her mortgage, she sued, alleging it had violated the federal program’s rules.

Bank of America sought to dismiss the suit, saying the lower monthly payment it offered her was an alternative to the federal program.

“A participating servicer is not required to modify every HAMP-eligible loan,” the bank stated in court.

Without a permanent modification, Kahlo says, she’s in limbo. “I don’t know if I’m sleeping in their home or my home,” she said.

Declaring bankruptcy was a last resort for Oldham, a widow in Kent who manages payroll for a small construction company.

But she believed she had no recourse because Bank of America foreclosed on the manufactured home she’s lived in for 15 years.

Oldham said she got behind on her mortgage because of medical bills.

She applied for a modification last year, but the bank tacked a foreclosure notice on her door before she received an answer.

Oldham complained to the state Attorney General’s Office, which passed her on to the state Department of Financial Institutions. That department routinely forwards such complaints — about 540 so far this year — to federal regulators.

With Oldham, though, the state department lost track of her complaint, finally sending it along last month.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or sbhatt@seattletimes.com

66% of homeowners who seek foreclosure counseling cite job losses for trouble, Craig Wolf, Poughkeepsiejournal.com


Two-thirds of the people seeking foreclosure -prevention counseling in the major local program say it was their loss of jobs or income that got them in trouble.

And the majority of people counseled did not have subprime mortgages, but conventional, fixed-rate mortgages, according to Hudson River Housing Inc., a Poughkeepsie-based nonprofit.

The group said its count of counseled homeowners has exceeded 1,500 since beginning the program in 2008.

Mary Linge, director of home ownership and education, said that 66 percent of homeowners currently cite loss of jobs and reduced income as primary reasons they face foreclosure.

In foreclosure, a lender who isn’t being paid takes possession of the property.

Of those who have recently sought services, 79 percent have conventional loans, compared with 43 percent in late 2008 when the program began, Linge said.

“The foreclosure crisis is now largely being driven by economic pressures, not bad mortgage products,” Linge said.

Recent research by the Poughkeepsie Journal found that foreclosure filings in state Supreme Court rose in 2009 by nearly 20 percent over 2008. For the first seven months of this year, filings are on course to show a further 10 percent increase.

Hudson River Housing has received three federal grants totalling $308,602 for counseling people through the Hudson Valley Foreclosure Prevention Services.

Linge said the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program that has funded her group has done research on results nationally.

Homeowners who got counseling were 60 percent more likely to avoid losing their homes than people who did not seek help. Clients were more likely to get a loan modification and, on average, saved $454 a month on mortgage payments.

Reach Craig Wolf at cwolf@poughkeepsiejournal.com or 845-437-4815.