Fort Myers area Homes Prices Rise

The median price of an existing home sold in Lee County in September rose 5 percent to $94,400 from $89,700 a year earlier, according to statistics released today by Florida Realtors.
Numbers compiled by the group include only sales assisted by Realtors.
The number of homes sold in September was 1,102, down 17 percent from 1,321 a year earlier.
Statewide, the number of homes sold in September dropped 8 percent to 13,536 from 14,781 in September 2009. The median price dropped 6 percent to $133,400 from $141,700 in the same time period.
Lee County’s median home price reached a peak of $322,300 in December 2005 at the height of the residential real estate boom, then fell sharply before stabilizing about a year ago.
September’s median price was up from $88,400 in August but down from August’s 1,193 sales.
In another report released separately today by the National Association of Realtors, sales of previously occupied homes rose last month after the worst summer for the housing market in more than a decade.
Sales grew 10 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.
Home sales have declined 37.5 percent from their peak annual rate of 7.25 million in September 2005. They have risen from July’s rate of 3.84 million, which was the lowest in 15 years.
Most experts expect roughly 5 million homes to be sold through the entire year. That would be in line with last year’s totals and just above sales for 2008, the worst since 1997.
Still, sales could fall further if potential lawsuits from former homeowners claiming that banks made errors when seizing their homes make consumers fearful of buying foreclosed properties.
Courtesy Fort Myers News Press. Locate your Fort Myers area home or condo.

Title insurers seek insulation from foreclosures

The title insurance industry is maneuvering to protect itself from losses if courts rule that banks have played fast and loose with the foreclosure process. But people who buy foreclosed properties from banks may face some degree of loss despite having a title policy.

Fidelity National Financial, the largest title insurance company, is leading the industry in demanding that lenders warrant that they have followed all legal procedures in the handling of foreclosures and indemnify the title insurers if a court decides otherwise.

"They are putting on record that it is absolutely the bank's responsibility," said Susan Wachter, professor of real estate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

But Wachter said buyers of these properties risk getting caught up in litigation among title companies, banks and possibly other entities if the foreclosure is overturned by a court. "There is still uncertainty," she said. "It's a question of litigation; it's a question of transaction costs."

That uncertainty will continue to place a chill on the foreclosure market, she said. Real estate agents are already seeing would-be foreclosure buyers retreating from the market, said Lucien Salvant, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. And observers fear that a market chill, if it persists for more than a few weeks, could drive property values down further.


Title insurers are at the hub of real estate transactions. They guarantee that the chain of title is clear, unblemished by missing documents, outstanding liens or other factors that would impede an owner's right to sell a piece of real estate and deliver a clean title to the new owner. Lenders always require buyers to pay for title insurance coverage that protects the lender against those risks. Buyers have the option of paying extra to have such coverage for themselves.

Fidelity National Financial, which has 38 percent of the market nationwide, underwrites policies under the brands Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Commonwealth Land Title and Alamo Title. As of Nov. 1, all lenders seeking a Fidelity National policy for the sale of a foreclosed home must warrant that all documents and procedures involved in the foreclosure process were handled properly. They also must agree to pay the title insurer's costs in the event that a court finds errors or fraud in the foreclosure process.

Those agreements will be required even sooner for Bank of America, which plans to resume foreclosure sales next week. Peter T. Sadowski, Fidelity's chief legal officer, said the indemnity agreement was drafted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that he hopes their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, soon makes it mandatory for loans backed by Fannie and Freddie as well.

Fidelity executives said they do not anticipate having to pay claims anyway, even if a court sets aside a foreclosure due to a defect in documentation or process. In a conference call to Wall Street analysts Thursday, Sadowski said, "If a foreclosure is set aside - which is very unlikely to happen - the purchaser who bought the property is going to get his or her money back from the lender who sold it to him."

In such an instance, the title insurance company would deal with the lender on behalf of an insured buyer, Sadowski said later in an interview.

Although Sadowski said he does not expect the foreclosure crisis to result in significant losses to the company, Fidelity National nevertheless is building up its cash on hand. The company has halved its dividend and announced plans to cut $50 million in expenses within the next six months. Company officials cited continued uncertainty in the real estate market and the desire to repurchase shares of company stock as reasons for the cash buildup.

The plans and concerns of the other major providers of title insurance - First American Financial Corp., Stewart Title and Old Republic International - will be disclosed this week. Each is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings to investors Oct. 28. Along with Fidelity, they account for 90 percent of the title insurance market. Courtesy of the Washington Post.
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Banks seize 288K homes in Q3,

Lenders seized more U.S. homes this summer than in any three-month stretch since the housing market began to bust in 2006. But many of the foreclosures may be challenged in court later because of allegations that banks evicted people without reading the documents.


A total of 288,345 properties were lost to foreclosure in the July-September quarter, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing service. That's up from nearly 270,000 in the second quarter, the previous high point in the firm's records dating back to 2005.
Banks have seized more than 816,000 homes through the first nine months of the year and had been on pace to seize 1.2 million by the end of 2010. But fewer are expected now that several major lenders have suspended foreclosures and sales of repossessed homes until they can sort out the foreclosure-documents mess.


On Wednesday, officials in 50 states and the District of Columbia launched a joint investigation into the matter.
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MERS Class Action

mers class action


A class action lawsuit  has been filed in the State of Kentucky.  I applaud the Plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this suit, the fact is, State Attorneys General should be doing this.

MERS does not, nor did it ever have any standing to foreclose on any property as they never had an interest, secured or otherwise.  It is also very clear that all the banks that used MERS were well aware of this fact from the outset.  After all, it was the big banks that created MERS in the first place as a tool to facilitate the bundling, selling and buying of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) – those lovely little toxic debt instruments that still lie ticking on bank balance sheets, pension funds, 401(k)s, and public trusts.

Will this affect our area and surrounding Fort Myers Real Estate?

Read the entire complaint against MERs. Foreclosure Fraud?

Lee County hires new firm to promote the area

All of the content that Lonely Planet creates for the destination will be available to the bureau for use on its consumer website and in other marketing. The publisher also will ask major retailers, such as Books-A-Million, to offer the guide free with the purchase of other Lonely Planet products at stores in Lee’s key feeder markets.

Next Page1| 2Previous PageThe Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau and travel publishing giant Lonely Planet are pairing up to promote the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel brand.


Tamara Pigott, visitor bureau executive director, announced the alliance Thursday at the annual Team Tourism Summit at Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. She called it a first-of-its kind partnership between a tourist destination and a major travel brand.


“I’m very excited,” Pigott said. “We need all the firepower in the market we can get.”
The visitor bureau will spend about $700,000 in bed-tax funds for Lonely Planet services in the coming year. These include creating:


• A customized local guide book, in the style of other Lonely Planet titles that will replace the bureau’s more traditional visitor guide;


• A digital/online version of the guide;


• A mobile application of the guide;


• A Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel microsite at LonelyPlanet.com, with different versions for the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.


Lonely Planet will start rolling out these products by year-end, finishing up by the end of January.


The deal also gives the visitor bureau six full-page advertisements in the U.K. edition of Lonely Planet magazine with a distribution of 80,000 in Europe.

About 190 people in the region’s lifeblood tourism and hospitality industries attended the meeting, during which marketing objectives for the coming year also are unveiled and cooperative advertising opportunities are outlined.


Pete Corradino, operations director for Fort Myers-based Everglades Day Safari tours, was especially pleased to hear there would be a mobile application of the visitor guide.
“More and more people are using smart phones for travel-planning,”
Article courtesy of Fort Myers News Press
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Unified Lee County Real Estate Listings Possible

 

Fort Myers Real Estate NewsReal estate agents in Lee County could be in line for something they haven't seen for seven years: a unified service to list all homes for sale here.

Making the proposal is the Bonita Springs-Estero Association of Realtors, which uses the Sunshine multiple listing service run by the Naples Area Board of Realtors.

Agents and brokers in the Bonita-Estero association have to pay extra to join the Rapattoni MLS system operated by the Greater Fort Myers and Cape Coral boards, and vice versa.

Bill Barnes, CEO of Bonita-Estero, said his association's logic is simple: "Bonita Springs is in the middle. Half our people do business to the north and half to the south. That's been a problem for a long time."

The proposal is being reviewed now by Greater Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

Brett Ellis, head of The Ellis Team with Re/Max Realty Group in Fort Myers, said he hopes the deal goes through.

For agents in groups such as his, which handles sales throughout Lee and Collier counties, a unified MLS would be great, Ellis said.

The split, he said, is "a major hassle, a waste of time, a waste of money. I can guarantee the agent who's the end user would definitely be for merging the data, only joining one board."

Besides the cost of joining multiple boards, Ellis said, the current situation forces agents to log on to two separate systems to look up information - researching on behalf of a client what's for sale in a particular neighborhood, for example.

Broker Melvin King of The King Group, president of the Cape association, said its board has approved the proposal in concept "but there's still a lot of study to be done and things to work out."

For example, he said, "Bonita has no canals to speak of" and agents there likely wouldn't be interested in the detailed information on water access that's on the Cape's MLS now.

Greater Fort Myers president Christie Knight of Preferred Choice Realty Group said her association has formed a task force that's studying Bonita's proposal. Bonita intends to keep its 15 percent ownership of Sunshine so members of that board would continue to have the right to join.

But Brenda Fioretti, president of the Naples association, said her group might be amenable to a consolidated MLS including Naples and the Lee County boards.

"I believe the technology is moving in the direction of wider MLS territories," she said. Article courtesy of the Fort Myers News Press

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Obama won't sign bill that would affect foreclosure proceedings

Amid growing furor over the legitimacy of foreclosure proceedings, White House officials said Thursday that President Obama will not sign a two-page bill passed by lawmakers without public debate after critics said the legislation could loosen standards for foreclosure documents.



The bill, named the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act, would require courts to accept document notarizations made out of state. Its sponsors intended the effort to promote interstate commerce. But homeowner advocates warn the new law could allow lenders to cut even more corners as they seek to evict homeowners.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president did not believe Congress meant to undermine consumer protections regarding foreclosure challenges. Still, Obama will use a "pocket veto," which will effectively kill the legislation.

Democratic leaders on the Hill were scrambling to figure out how the bill managed to sail through both chambers of Congress without any objection. The episode may prove embarrassing for Democrats who in recent weeks have been calling for federal investigations into flawed paperwork, forged documents and other kinds of misconduct in foreclosure proceedings initiated by big lenders.

The House passed the bill in April by a voice vote, meaning there's no record of who voted for or against the legislation. The Senate passed the bill on Sept. 27, just before recess, without any debate.

Even the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), was surprised by how quickly the legislation was greenlighted, according to D.J. Jordan, a representative for Aderholt.

Staffers said lawmakers will revisit the bill to add protections for consumers.

Jordan said Aderholt had been working on the issue since April 2005, soon after hearing complaints from a court stenographer in his district that courts in other states were having trouble using documents notarized in Alabama.

"The authors of this bill no doubt had the best of intentions in mind when trying to remove impediments to interstate commerce," said Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director. "We will work with them and other leaders in Congress to explore the best ways to achieve this goal going forward."   Courtesy of the Washington Post


Foreclosures: United States Foreclosure Problems Snowball

Foreclosures: Fort Myers

It just doesn't quit.

Questions over the accuracy of legal documents submitted by mortgage lenders have significantly slowed U.S. foreclosure proceedings in recent weeks.

 

The growing controversy has forced at least three banks to temporarily halt foreclosure or eviction proceedings and prompted some lawmakers and state attorneys general to demand a moratorium on home seizures until the problems are resolved.

HOW FORECLOSURES WORK

To foreclose on a house, a lender must prove it has a valid claim.

That means it must certify through an affidavit and other documentation that it clearly holds the right to enforce the terms of the loan, and that the borrower has actually defaulted.

Judges approve foreclosures in 23 states. Otherwise, lenders use an out-of-court process.

Banks are expected to take over a record 1.2 million homes this year, up from about 1 million last year and 100,000 in 2005, real estate data company RealtyTrac Inc said last week.  Not to mention the MERS problems with title.

WHY "ROBO-SIGNERS" ARE A PROBLEM

Emerging evidence of so-called "robo-signers" has thrown a wrench into the foreclosure process. These are mid-level bank executives who signed thousands of affidavits a month claiming they were knowledgeable of the cases.

GMAC official Jeffrey Stephan acknowledged signing an affidavit supporting a foreclosure without reading it or being in the presence of a notary. That disclosure led a Maine judge to reprimand GMAC, now known as Ally Financial Inc, although the court accepted an amended affidavit in the case.

Stephan has testified to signing some 10,000 documents a month.

Consumer attorneys say they have also obtained evidence of similar practices by other servicers. Article courtesy of Reuters

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Fort Myers" Businesses feeling foreclosure's impact

Fort Myers Foreclosures

The foreclosure crisis hasn't only hit homeowners in Southwest Florida; businesses are also feeling its effects.

A hair salon in Lehigh Acres has been forced to relocate not once, but twice because their shopping plazas were foreclosed on.

Elsa Cora's "Fresh Cuts Hair Salon" started as her mother's dream in 2008, but the reality of a bad economy made owning a small business a nightmare.

"The struggle is more than we thought it was going to be," Cora said.

Cora says the salon's first location off Lee Blvd. never even got off the ground, after the plaza they picked went into foreclosure.

They tracked down another plaza off Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers, only to face the same result a few months later.

"We established our business there, later I found out it went into foreclosure."

While some signs remain, Cora says lease terms under the building's new owner didn't work to stay.  Unwilling to completely quit, she moved the business again.

"If we all stop and think what the risks are, would we really take them.  Sometimes you just have to put the risks aside and just go for it."

Many of her clients and employees didn't follow the salon to Lehigh Acres. Cora's mother even stepped aside as a co-owner, though she works for the salon as a stylist.

Cora is confident the American dream is still out there.

"The drive keeps me going.  I want this to work.  I want to show her it can be done, we shouldn't give up." Courtesy Wink News.

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Sloppy Foreclosures Procedures could slow down foreclosures.

Sloppy Foreclosures could slow down Fort Myers Foreclosures

There's no polite way to put this. A growing cancer is infecting the backlogged legal process of foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homes in Florida.

It's endangering the legal and economic stability of this state. And it's exposing an appalling lack of leadership, first for allowing such a breakdown in the legal system and, now, for failing to own up to this mess and get it fixed.

How bad is it? Laws governing who actually owns a foreclosed home are becoming so suspect a new buzzword is emerging: blighted titles. Even the tepid rebound of Florida's economy may face crippling delays in resolving hundreds of thousands of foreclosures in the Sunshine State.

What's wrong? The accuracy and truthfulness of an immense flood of legal documents and affidavits some lenders and their hired lawyers use to foreclose on homes have come under such critical attack that some major banks are suspending their court cases pending internal reviews.

"Sheer volume allowed perversions in the legal system to be overlooked," says Mark Stopa, a Tampa lawyer who helps people fight foreclosures.

"This has long-term catastrophic consequences," adds St. Petersburg lawyer Matt Weidner. He wants an intervention into what he considers a corrupted legal process.

At best, the foreclosure process in Florida is beyond sloppy. At worst, it may suffer from serious fraud. Left unchecked, a growing chorus of critics warns this cancer may have sweeping consequences.

Here's a big one: Title insurance companies may be scared away from offering "clear title" guarantees on foreclosed homes. That would throw into doubt who actually owns many thousands of houses — those going into foreclosure and those purchased out of foreclosure — all across the state.

Who's going to buy a home if they don't have a guarantee that they will legally own it?

If the courts finally acknowledge that many foreclosure documents are inaccurate, people who have bought thousands of foreclosed homes may have to reassert their legal ownership. Some former owners already pushed out of their homes by foreclosure proceedings could find they still own their houses, only to face a second round of foreclosure just to get the ownership documentation right.

The impact of this mess is not limited to foreclosures, which make up a third of area home sales. It threatens Florida's mainstream housing market by making it harder to reach any sort of price stability. Wary buyers will remain on the sidelines until they know the value of what they intend to purchase won't collapse.

Even the credibility of the state's court system could be questioned. Pressured by legislators (who control the court system's budget) to clear Florida's huge foreclosure backlog, many judges employ what derisively are known as "rocket" dockets. They speed foreclosures by minimizing legal arguments. But in the name of expediency, they bend the rules governing individual property rights.

Ultimately, the foreclosure mess could stall Florida's still struggling economy and, worst case, revive the possibility of a double-dip recession.

Florida's foreclosure train is not slowing. Tampa Bay, Miami and Orlando are among the top five metro markets nationwide with the fastest-growing mortgage delinquency rates — a harbinger of coming foreclosures.

Last week, lender JPMorgan Chase said it was halting 56,000 foreclosures because some of its employees might have improperly prepared the necessary documents. All of the suspensions are in the 23 states where foreclosures must be approved by a court, including Florida. Chase mortgage supervisor Beth Ann Cottrell said in a court deposition that she was among eight managers who together signed without any personal review about 18,000 documents a month — including critical affidavits of indebtedness.

Last month, GMAC Mortgage, the country's fourth largest home lender, said it was suspending an undisclosed number of foreclosures to give it time to take a closer look at its own procedures. GMAC (majority owned by the federal government after a recent bailout) simultaneously began withdrawing affidavits in pending court cases, throwing their future into doubt.

GMAC employee Jeffrey Stephan said he and a team of 13 others signed an estimated 10,000 foreclosure-related documents a month. Similarly, Erica Johnson-Seck, an employee of OneWest Bank, estimated she signs about 750 foreclosure-related documents a week and spends about 30 seconds on each document.

And just Friday, Bank of America said it, too will delay foreclosures in Florida and 22 other states after disclosing a bank official signed off on 8,000 foreclosure documents a month without reading most of them.

Cottrell, Stephan and the other officials are now known as "robo-signers" — people who are supposed to know what's in the affidavits they sign off on, but are so under the crush of foreclosure volume that they are, in effect, robotlike signature-signers of key documents they never read.

A backlash to GMAC is already under way. Old Republic National Title last week instructed its offices not to provide title coverage to any properties foreclosed on by GMAC.

Already, Moody's says it may downgrade the servicer ratings of GMAC and Chase.

Sarasota lawyer Richard Kessler conducted a study that found errors in about 75 percent of court filings tied to home repossessions. "Defective documentation has created millions of blighted titles that will plague the nation for the next decade," he told Bloomberg News.

In the courts, a few judges worry about the problem.

"I don't want to say that every one of these cases is wrong and a fraud on the court, but it is a big concern for us," J. Thomas McGrady, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Florida, which handles cases in Pinellas and Pasco counties, told the New York Times after GMAC's announcement. Pinellas County alone is dealing with 33,000 cases in the foreclosure pipeline. Statewide, there are more than half a million cases.

Yet many judges are fixated on clearing clogged dockets. Some lawyers gripe about "kangaroo courts" that have largely abandoned judicial process.

Some legislators are pushing for solutions. But most are eager to put a rush on foreclosures in a simplistic belief that speedy resolutions will quicken Florida's economic recovery.

Quite the opposite. If tens of thousands of foreclosures are proved bogus by shoddy legal process, many will have to be done over. Others may face additional litigation for screwing things up in the first place.

Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Orlando recently wrote the Florida Supreme Court, saying, "taking someone's home should not be done lightly." He asked the court to halt foreclosure proceedings for flawed paperwork brought by the most active "foreclosure mill" law firms in the state. Four firms are already under investigation by the Florida Attorney General's office. They are the Law Offices of David J. Stern, the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, Shapiro & Freeman and Florida Default Group.

In response to Grayson, the state Supreme Court punted, saying it lacked the authority to get involved. The court referred the official to the Florida Bar to investigate any allegations.

I won't hold my breath on that referral. We're beyond simple remedies or toothless inquiries. Watch the issue of "blighted titles" balloon into an economic nightmare that may require a larger-scale, legislative-legal bailout of its own.

Courtesy of TB Times.

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Foreclosure Shock Therapy

 

Maybe this is like shock therapy. Maybe this will actually get the lenders to the table and encourage them to work out deals that are to the benefit of everybody.”

--Economist Karl E. Case, quoted in the New York Times

The hits are coming fast and furiously.  Major Wall Street mortgage lenders could soon be falling like dominos – and looking again for handouts.

On September 20th, Ally Financial Inc., which owns GMAC Mortgage, the nation’s 4th largest lender, halted evictions and resale of repossessed homes in 23 states.  This was after a document processor for the company admitted that he had signed off on 10,000 pieces of foreclosure paperwork a month without reading them.  The 23 states were all those where foreclosures must be approved by a court, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida and Illinois.



On September 24, Representatives Alan Grayson (D-FL), Barney Frank (D- MA) and Corrine Brown (D-FL) directed a letter to Fannie Mae questioning its use of “foreclosure mills,” which were described as “law firms representing lenders that specialize in speeding up the foreclose process, often without regard to process, substance or legal propriety.”  The letter followed a report by the Florida attorney general’s office in August that it was investigating three law firms that had allegedly fabricated documents in thousands of cases to obtain final judgments of foreclosure.

On September 24, California attorney general Jerry Brown asked GMAC to halt foreclosures in his state until the lender could prove it was complying with a law that prohibits lenders from taking steps to foreclose a home before making an effort to work with the borrower.  California is a non-judicial foreclosure state, meaning foreclosures do not require the prior approval of a court.

On September 28, JPMorgan Chase said it was halting 56,000 foreclosures because some of its employees might have improperly prepared the necessary documents. All of the suspensions were in the 23 states where foreclosures require court approval.

On September 29, the Washington Post reported that a top federal bank regulator had directed seven of the nation’s largest lenders to review their foreclosure processes, after learning about widespread mishandling of homeowner evictions.   Besides JPMorgan Chase, they included Bank of America, Citibank, HSBC, PNC Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.  The Washington Post reported:
    The paperwork problems range from potentially forged documents to bank employees who never read borrowers' files before signing off on an eviction. . . ."While we don't expect our review to find that consumers were harmed, we will take appropriate action if we find any impact," JP Morgan spokesman Tom Kelly said.

No harm perhaps except the illegal taking of thousands of homes without due process . . . .

On September 30, Rep. Alan Grayson posted a devastating seven-minute video, in which he gave four real-world examples of such travesties of justice, including a man who was foreclosed on when he didn’t have a mortgage and paid cash for the home; a home that had two foreclosure suits against it because both servicers claimed ownership of the title; and a couple foreclosed on over a contested $75 late fee.  Grayson blamed the massive foreclosure problems largely on the electronic shortcut called MERS.  “The banks simply digitized mortgage titles into a privatized system, called the Mortgage Electronic Registry System (or MERS),” he said. “And it did the transfers by trading Excel spreadsheets among the banks and trusts, rather than endorsing the notes as required by their own contracts, by state real estate law and by IRS rules.”  He stated that 60 million properties are recorded in the name of MERS -- 60% of the mortgages in the USA, and 97% of the loans made between 2005 and 2008.

On October 1, Bank of America announced that it was delaying foreclosures in 23 states.

The same day, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal took the radical step of putting a  haltto all foreclosures from all banks in his state.

A Box Even Houdini Couldn’t Escape?

All of this is a major headache for the banks, but according to the New York Times, “The companies say they are reviewing their procedures to take care of any violations.”  They seem to think they can correct the problem by redoing some paperwork.  But if the holdings in recent court decisions are upheld, it will not be just a question of hiring extra staff to clean up some files.  For all those mortgages filed in the name of MERS, say these courts, the chain of title has been irretrievably broken.  Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall and cannot be put together again.

MERS is simply an electronic data base.  On its website and in assorted court pleadings, it declares that it owns nothing.  It was set up that way intentionally so that it would be “bankruptcy-remote,” something required by the credit rating agencies in order to turn the mortgages passing through it into highly rated securities that could be sold to investors.  MERS not only has no assets; it has no employees.  The thousands of people enlisted to sign affidavits on its behalf are merely conduits.  The arrangement satisfied the ratings agencies, but it has not satisfied the courts.  Increasingly, judges are holding that if MERS owns nothing, it cannot foreclose, and it cannot convey title by assignment so that the trustee for the investors can foreclose.  MERS breaks the chain of title so that no one has standing to foreclose.  The homes are effectively owned free and clear.

That does not mean the homeowners don’t owe money to someone.  They do.  But the claim for relief is not in “law” (by virtue of an enforceable contract or rule) but in “equity” (a remedy provided just because it is fair), and MERS is not the proper plaintiff.  Every MERS case involves a securitization, which means the real parties in interest are a group of investors somewhere; and before the homeowners can be made to pay, the investors have to come forward and prove not only that they are the parties owed the money, but the actual sums they are owed.   In some cases they might already have been paid; for example, by insurers on credit default swaps held by the investment pool.  The investors are entitled to recover in equity only so much as they are actually out of pocket, not the full amount of the original promissory notes, since they were not parties to those notes and there is no way to re-establish the chain of title. Article is Courtesy of the Peoples Choice

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Is your Foreclosure Legal?

Fort Myers Real EstateHere in Florida several law firms are being investigated for foreclosure fraud in regards to certain documents.

We have not even began to deal with the mers crises. It is amazing all the shortcuts to the legal process that were taken. Click on the link below and watch the 5 minute video on Mers. http://www.thinkbigworksmall.com/mypage/archive/1/53413/

The Fort Myers area is currently the 3rd hardest hit metropolitan community hit by the foreclosure crises.

Visit our web website to find Fort Myers area real estate Foreclosure bargains.