Realty Advisors International - Unlicensed Advice

Miami, Florida 0 comments
Not resolved

The broker of Realty Advisors International, Inc and Realty Advisors International Investors Association, along with another company owner advised that I could give a wrap around mortgage in selling my property to a individual without notifying my mortgage company of the sale. The broker along with this other owner further called into question whether a current mortgage holder had a right to be notified with the wrap around mortgage. The broker and other owner went on to express the tax benefits of holding such a mortgage.

About two months after that meeting I attended of Realty Advisors International Investor's Association. I went to see my attorney and accountant considering the advice I was given at that meeting. Thankfully my attorney advised me before I made the mistake of taking these peoples advice. I learned that the advice I had been given was dead wrong and could of caused many problems. My accountant even had dealing with them in the past and had ceased contact with them altogether due to the broker and owner providing tax and financial advice without having the training or a license to do so. I was told that the broker of this company had no prior financial experience at all, was not educated to be providing any kind of advice outside of real estate contracts, and there where rumors among other real estate people they dealt with that this company had been giving legal advice as well. However, if you attended one of these meeting you would be led to believe you where getting this advice from licensed professionals.

Thank god I spoke with a licensed attorney and accountant otherwise I would of learned the hardway what I was getting myself into. I was even told the real estate agent program they had, raised all kinds of questions to how this company stayed in business. If you looked at where this company operates at shows they are a fly by night organization, why else would you operate a real estate company out of a hotel, something else I was unaware of at the meeting I attended. As it was put to me, when you pay out 100% commissions how do you make money. The answer is you don't, unless you hold a lot of meetings and give a lot of unlicensed advice in a attempt to get as many people as you can to either sell their property with you so they can charge an extra $395.00 over the commission, or start charging you to manage your property, while they use unlicensed contractors so they get kick-backs.

Review about: Real Estate Investors Association.

Realty Advisors International - Unlicensed Advice

Miami, Florida 57 comments

The broker of Realty Advisors International, Inc and Realty Advisors International Investors Association, along with another company owner advised that I could give a wrap around mortgage in selling my property to a individual without notifying my mortgage company of the sale. The broker along with this other owner further called into question whether a current mortgage holder had a right to be notified with the wrap around mortgage. The broker and other owner went on to express the tax benefits of holding such a mortgage.

About two months after that meeting I attended of Realty Advisors International Investor's Association. I went to see my attorney and accountant considering the advice I was given at that meeting. Thankfully my attorney advised me before I made the mistake of taking these peoples advice. I learned that the advice I had been given was dead wrong and could of caused many problems. My accountant even had dealing with them in the past and had ceased contact with them altogether due to the broker and owner providing tax and financial advice without having the training or a license to do so. I was told that the broker of this company had no prior financial experience at all, was not educated to be providing any kind of advice outside of real estate contracts, and there where rumors among other real estate people they dealt with that this company had been giving legal advice as well. However, if you attended one of these meeting you would be led to believe you where getting this advice from licensed professionals.

Thank god I spoke with a licensed attorney and accountant otherwise I would of learned the hardway what I was getting myself into. I was even told the real estate agent program they had, raised all kinds of questions to how this company stayed in business. If you looked at where this company operates at shows they are a fly by night organization, why else would you operate a real estate company out of a hotel, something else I was unaware of at the meeting I attended. As it was put to me, when you pay out 100% commissions how do you make money. The answer is you don't, unless you hold a lot of meetings and give a lot of unlicensed advice in a attempt to get as many people as you can to either sell their property with you so they can charge an extra $395.00 over the commission, or start charging you to manage your property, while they use unlicensed contractors so they get kick-backs.

Review about: Real Estate Investors Association.

Comments

Anonymous
#131488

Wow, can you say chickens coming home to roast Lou Ann Barrette. I guess your 90% payout to agents was really *** after all. The poster who put up all the court dockets of your partner really has your number. I guess when you're using investor funds from rental properties to support a business model that won't work. Those investors get upset.

You sure have bitten off more than you can chew now. One of those attorney's against your partner, he's apart of the South Palm Beach County Elite. You now have all from the FTL, NBRO, & SPBC elite wanting you. Maybe you can tell them how much money you'll make them in investments in Real Estate. That could be a uphill battle for you seeing how theses people are all holding post grad educations.

At least theres one less scam artist on the block now.

Anonymous
#130016

It appears to us that Libel Attorney is attempting to commit, extortion as defined by F.S. 836.05.

Which states: "or with intent to compel the person so threatened, or any other person, to do any act or refrain from doing any act against his or her will"

By attempting to use legal citation so public information from public entities isn't posted sure fits the bill of "refrain from doing any act against his or her will".

Libel Attorney unless you can prove the information posted here is incorrect I suggest you choose your next posting very carefully. F.S.836.05 is a felony statute.

Maybe you want to consult an actual attorney.

Anonymous
#130011

Realty Guy & Real Estate Guy,

You guy's work for Realty Advisors International, huh?

Here I see two people in real estate giving unlicensed legal advise. Let me guess, you didn't attend college.

Anonymous
#130007

Gee Libel Attorney,

You know they have this thing called LexisNexis. Instead of quoting 1960's & 1970's citations. Let's try to get a little more current.

I'm now thinking your license to practice is from a crackjack box.

In your incomplete knowledge, how does all that apply to Florida Law? I was able to prove by public record, the below as completely factual.

"Realty Advisors International, Inc. shares the same director's, broker (Louise A Barrette), and shareholder's as WORTH AVENUE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC. Realty Advisors International, Inc. is a more than 50% shareholder of WORTH AVENUE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC. On which broker Louise A. Barrette resigned as director on 03/01/2010. This resignation comes as her co-director or these entities is being sued under case # 50-2009CA042589XXXXMB, 50-2010CA004258XXXXMB, 50-2010CA000724XXXXMB, 502010CA000718XXXXMB, and in addition to several other entity's that would be related entity's. At this same time Louise Ann Barrette registers 2 corporations, REALTY PROFESSIONALS GROUP, INC, and KEYSTONE REALTY GROUP, INC. If she and her co-director at WORTH AVENUE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC., where being accused, note "accused", or misuse of funds. Why would she resign from a entity she was a operating officer of to start 2 new organizations if she had nothing to hide? She has advertised herself, services she holds no licenses for such as IRC Section 1031. By doing so a reasonable cause...

Accordingly it appears that you've not realized the army of lawyers involved. Hope you know what you're going. Sure doesn't look like it.

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Anonymous
#130003

Defamation of Character On and Off the Internet

The Internet has afforded the world a previously unimagined source of information and freedom of expression. But with this new media came the ability for anyone to attack others with instant global distribution. Before the Internet, a person's efforts to defame another were limited to their own social network. Now, at little or no cost, anyone can go onto the Internet and publish their defamatory comments (libel is the printed form of defamation, slander is spoken). Businesses, organizations and individuals suffer attacks on their reputation and good will, often from anonymous posters, or those claiming to be someone they are not.

Aaron Morris, a partner with Morris & Stone, located in Orange County California, is known world-wide as an expert in fighting defamation, both on and off the Internet. He is the current President of the California Defamation Lawyers Association. He has represented clients from such far flung locales as Bangladesh, Guernsey, India and China. He provides exceptional legal representation to businesses and individuals on matters related to defamation (libel and slander), trade libel, and false light invasion of privacy. Similarly, when someone is falsely accused of defamation, he fights for their right of free speech.

Nothing is more valuable than your reputation. You should never allow a defamatory statement to go unchallenged. Silence is perceived as acceptance. ...

Stopping the defamation and restoring your good name takes a skilled approach. The technique utilized usually depends on what is motivating the person making the defamatory statements. If the person has no serious grudge against you, then a cease and desist letter from Morris & Stone will probably stop the behavior and get the statements removed from the Internet. On the other hand, if the person is acting out of spite toward you, it may be necessary to file and serve a civil complaint. We find that just filing and serving the complaint for defamation is often sufficient to stop the defamation. Faced with having to defend a legal action, and knowing they cannot back up the false statements they have made, the defendant will want to settle the matter. If that is still insufficient, we are ready to take the defendant to court to obtain both money damages and an order from the court to cease the defamation.

Finding Anonymous Message Posters

Often our clients will not know who is posting the anonymous messages (although most of the time they have a strong suspicion). Aaron Morris and Morris & Stone know how to find out that information. We can file the complaint even before knowing the name of the defendant, and then use the court's subpoena powers to get the information we need. The Statute of Limitation for defamation is just one year, so it is important to file the complaint before the deadline, even if the identity of the perpetrator is still unknown.

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Anonymous
#130002

Slander vs Libel

Slander against a person or organization can cause permanent damage to their reputation or financial status. How can you recognize what is and what is not slander? This article will explain some of the different types of slander.

First off, slander is the oral or transitory form of defamation of character. Defamation of character is a claim made against a party that is usually false but implied to be true that negatively affects their image. It is considered a tort, or civil law, and therefore can be used as a reason for a civil lawsuit. Suing the slanderous party is a common step used to reinstate reputation or collect compensation. In reality, it is sometimes tough to pinpoint whether or not a party has committed the tort of slander, as numerous parameters need to be met in order for the statement to be considered slanderous. Also, since slander is an oral statement, it may be a challenge to prove, let alone prove that it has caused defamation to your party.

For a statement to be considered slander, it must be malicious and clearly directed at your party. Knowing these parameters is important. Malicious intent in slander is when one party intentionally aims to cause harm one’s reputation or image. For the slander to be considered directed at your party, it must directly or indirectly identify your entity in the statement. To show that your character has indeed experienced defamation you will have to prove these two...

So how can you tell if you have been slandered against? How can you be sure what type of defamation of character you have experienced? Here are a few concrete characteristics of slander:

1. Slander vs. Libel

Defamation is differentiated between slander (oral) and libel (written). It is also often called calumny or vilification. Knowing the difference is key, as slander and libel and the appropriate actions to take are different.

2. Slander per se vs. Slander per quo

Slander per se is considered direct defamation of character. That is, slander per se is obvious and intentional, directed at your party, and immediately damaging. For example, calling a doctor an “abortionist” or a politician a “nazi” is slander per se. Slander per quo, on the other hand, depends upon the situation to be considered defamation. It is an indirect defamation of your character that may or may not be realized at first. Specialized attorneys will help you determine what type of slander you are victim to.

3. General damages vs. Special damages

General damages refer to emotional damages or defamation to your reputation. Special damages refer to direct economic loss. Proof of special damages may be required to win the lawsuit and therefore be awarded any damages.

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Anonymous
#130001

Defamation is written or spoken injury to a person or organization's reputation.

Libel is the written act of defamation. Slander is the oral act of defamation.

Defamation:

An attack on the good reputation of a person, by slander or libel.

Libel:

Defamation by writing such as in a newspaper or a letter.

Slander:

Verbal or spoken defamation.

A central theme through the ages has been that the reputation of the individual is of fundamental importance. Professor R. E. Brown writes in The Law of Defamation in Canada (2nd ed. 1994), at p. 1-4:

(N)o system of civil law can fail to take some account of the right to have one's reputation remain untarnished by defamation." Some form of legal or social constraints on defamatory publications "are to be found in all stages of civilization, however imperfect, remote, and proximate to barbarism.

Proving Defamation and Assessing Damages

If one can prove that one has been libelled, and there is no defence for the loss of reputation, the law assumes damages and fixes an amount as compensation. The plaintiff does not have to prove damages for actual financial loss. However, in cases of slander, the plaintiff must prove actual financial loss before damages can be awarded. Slanderous statements are oral and therefore, do not have as great an impact as libel which is writtern defamination. In many Canadian Provinces libel and slander have been combined and...

Defences

The most common defences, if someone sues you for defamation, are:

* Truth - A statement may have hurt your reputation, but if it was true then anyone can say it and have a good defence against a lawsuit.

* Absolute privilege - There are two main examples of this defence:

1. statements given in evidence at a trial, and

2. statements made in Parliament.

This defence also allows the fair and accurate reporting of those statements in the media, like newspaper reports of a trial. People must be able to speak freely in our justice and political systems, without worrying about a lawsuit when they do so.

* Qualified privilege - If your former employee gave your name to an employer as a reference, the potential employer may call you. You say: "He was unreliable poor at his work and I would not hire him again". As long as you acted in good faith, the defense of qualified privilege protects you if the former employee sues you for defamation. You had a moral duty to give your honest opinion and the caller had a legitimate interest in hearing it.

* Fair comment - We all are free to comment, even harshly, about issues of public interest, as long as our comments are honest, not malicious, and based on fact.

The following are some "Do's" and "Don't's":

* State the facts, and then state your opinion separately. This keeps things clear in your mind.

* Bad: "My neighbour John Smith is a stinking lush." This is defamatory: an unproven, malicious ("stinking" and "lush" instead of "alcoholic") statement about a private individual.

* Better: "My Member of Parliament, John Smith drank 10 glasses of whiskey last night at The Local Pub. In my opinion he's an alcoholic." The proof is a bit hazy – getting drunk once does not prove alcoholism – but an MP is a public figure with less protection than John Smith. You have clearly separated fact from opinion, and there is no particular evidence of malice.

* Best: "My Member of Parliament, John Smith, drank 10 glasses of whiskey last night at The Local Pub. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he's an alcoholic." This is entirely fact, with no clear evidence of malice, about a public figure.

What is not defamation:

* Generally, a statement made about an undefinable group of people or organizations cannot be defamation. Take, "Used Car sales people are crooks." It's defamatory enough, but there is no identifiable victim.

o "Most of the Used Car sales people at Smith Car Sales Company are crooks" is getting closer to the line, but it is still hard to define the victim.

o "Smith Car Sales Company is a crooked company." Now you have a victim; Smith Car Sales Company and a possible defamation action.

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Anonymous
#130000

Libel Slander Defamation

Slander and Libel are forms of defamation of character, which is the publication of false statements about an individual that cause personal injury to the individual's reputation or character. Publication is established when the statement, in writing, orally, or by electronic media, is received by at least one other person. Libel is written defamation, while slander is oral defamation. Both are covered by state laws, which generally require the false statements to be intentional. Proof of the truth of the defamation is generally a complete defense in a civil action for libel or slander. Only factual misrepresentations are considered libel or slander, not expressions of opinion. Please read on to find a slander, defamation or libel attorney or access more information about defamation law here in our libel, slander defamation practice center.

Anonymous
#129999

Two torts that involve the communication of false information about a person, a group, or an entity such as a corporation. Libel is any Defamation that can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard.

Collectively known as defamation, libel and slander are civil wrongs that harm a reputation; decrease respect, regard, or confidence; or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity. The injury to one's good name or reputation is affected through written or spoken words or visual images. The laws governing these torts are identical.

To recover in a libel or slander suit, the plaintiff must show evidence of four elements: that the defendant conveyed a defamatory message; that the material was published, meaning that it was conveyed to someone other than the plaintiff; that the plaintiff could be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and that the plaintiff suffered some injury to his or her reputation as a result of the communication.

To prove that the material was defamatory, the plaintiff must show that at least one other person who saw or heard it understood it as having defamatory meaning. It is necessary to show not that all who heard or read the statement understood it to be defamatory, but only that one person other than the plaintiff did so. Therefore, even if the defendant contends that the...

Defamatory matter is published when it is communicated to someone other than the plaintiff. This can be done in several different ways. The defendant might loudly accuse the plaintiff of something in a public place where others are present, or make defamatory statements about the plaintiff in a newsletter or an on-line bulletin board. The defamation need not be printed or distributed. However, if the defendant does not intend it to be conveyed to anyone other than the plaintiff, and conveys it in a manner that ordinarily would prevent others from seeing or hearing it, the requirement of publication has not been satisfied even if a third party inadvertently overhears or witnesses the communication.

Liability for republication of a defamatory statement is the same as for original publication, provided that the defendant had knowledge of the contents of the statement. Thus, newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters are liable for republication of libel or slander because they have editorial control over their communications. On the other hand, bookstores, libraries, and other distributors of material are liable for republication only if they know, or had reason to know, that the statement is defamatory. Common carriers such as telephone companies are not liable for defamatory material that they convey, even if they know that it is defamatory, unless they know, or have reason to know, that the sender does not have a privilege to communicate the material. Suppliers of communications equipment are never liable for defamatory material that is transmitted through the equipment they provide.

In general, there are four defenses to libel or slander: truth, consent, accident, and privilege. The fact that the allegedly defamatory communication is essentially true is usually an absolute defense; the defendant need not verify every detail of the communication, as long as its substance can be established. If the plaintiff consented to publication of the defamatory material, recovery is barred. Accidental publication of a defamatory statement does not constitute publication. Privilege confers Immunity on a small number of defendants who are directly involved in the furtherance of the public's business—for example, attorneys, judges, jurors, and witnesses whose statements are protected on public policy grounds.

Before 1964, defamation law was determined on a state-by-state basis, with courts applying the local Common Law. Questions of Freedom of Speech were generally found to be irrelevant to libel or slander cases, and defendants were held to be strictly liable even if they had no idea that the communication was false or defamatory, or if they had exercised reasonable caution in ascertaining its truthfulness. This deference to state protection of personal reputation was confirmed in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 62 S. Ct. 766, 86 L. Ed. 1031 (1942), in which the U.S. Supreme Court stated, "There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise constitutional problems." The Court in Chaplinsky held that defamatory speech is not essential to the exposition of ideas and that it can be regulated without raising constitutional concerns. This reasoning was confirmed in Beauharnais v. Illinois, 343 U.S. 250, 72 S. Ct. 725, 96 L. Ed. 919 (1952), where the Court again held that libelous speech is not protected by the Constitution.

In 1964, the Court changed the direction of libel law dramatically with its decision in new york times v. sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S. Ct. 710, 11 L. Ed. 2d 686 (1964). For the first time, the Court placed some libelous speech under the protection of the First Amendment. The plaintiff, a police official, had claimed that false allegations about him were published in the New York Times, and he sued the newspaper for libel. The Court balanced the plaintiff's interest in preserving his reputation against the public's interest in freedom of expression in the area of political debate. The Court wrote that "libel can claim no talismanic immunity from constitutional limitations. It must be measured by standards that satisfy the First Amendment." Therefore, in order to protect the free flow of ideas in the political arena, the law requires that a public official who alleges libel must prove actual malice in order to recover damages. The First Amendment protects open and robust debate on public issues even when such debate includes "vehement, caustic, unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."

Since Sullivan, a public official or other person who has voluntarily assumed a position in the public eye must prove that a libelous statement "was made with 'actual malice'—that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard to whether it was false or not" (Sullivan). The actual-malice standard does not require any ill will on the part of the defendant. Rather, it merely requires the defendant to be aware that the statement is false or very likely false. Reckless disregard is present if the plaintiff can show that the defendant had "serious doubts as to the truth of [the] publication" (see St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. 727, 88 S. Ct. 1323, 20 L. Ed. 2d 262 [1968]).

Also since Sullivan, the question of who is a public official has been raised often. In Rosenblatt v. Baer, 383 U.S. 75, 86 S. Ct. 669, 15 L. Ed. 2d 597 (1966), the Court found that a nonelected official "among the hierarchy of government employees who have, or appear to have, substantial responsibility for, or control over, the conduct of public affairs" was a public official within the meaning of Sullivan. Similarly, in Monitor Patriot Co. v. Roy, 401 U.S. 265, 91 S. Ct. 621, 28 L. Ed. 2d 35 (1971), the Court found that a candidate for public office fell within the category of public officials who must prove actual malice in order to recover.

Eventually, Sullivan's actual-malice requirement was extended to include defendants who are accused of defaming public figures who are not government officials. In the companion cases of Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts and Associated Press v. Walker, 388 U.S. 130, 87 S. Ct. 1975, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1094 (1967), the Court held that a football coach at the University of Georgia and a retired Army general were similar to public officials in that they enjoyed a high degree of prominence and access to the mass media that allowed them to influence policy and to counter criticisms leveled against them.

These rules make it difficult for a plaintiff to prevail in a libel action. For example, in Levan v. Capitol Cities/ABC, 190 F.3d 1230 (11th Cir. 1999), a federal appeals court dismissed a libel action against a television network because the plaintiff could not prove actual malice. BFC Financial Corporation ("BFC") and its president, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder, Alan Levan, brought an action for defamation against Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. ("ABC") and one of its producers, Bill Willson. Levan and BFC based their case on a segment that had been aired on ABC's television program "20/20." The segment portrayed BFC and Levan as unfairly taking advantage of investors in real estate-related limited partnerships, by inducing them to participate in transactions known as "rollups." BFC and Levan claimed that ABC had made numerous false or misleading statements with actual malice and that it had misused videotaped statements and congressional testimony.

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Anonymous
#129998

DEFAMATION

Defamation is an injury to the reputation or character of someone resulting from the false statements or actions of another. Defamation is a false attack on your good name. Your good name is regarded as a proprietary interest, not a personal interest. Defamation is an improper and unlawful attack against your proprietary right to your good name, your reputation.

Defamation is a general term for the false attack on your character or reputation through either libel or slander. Libel is a term describing visual defamation, usually in the form of lies in print, or misleading or deceptive photographs.

Libel exposes or subjects you to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or disgrace, or causes you to be shunned or avoided, or injures you in your occupation.

Slander is a term describing defamation that you hear, not see, usually in the form of someone talking trash about you or spreading or repeating lies and unfounded rumor.

Slander is an oral statement that tends to injur you in respect to your office, profession, trade or business. The statement or statements generally suggest that you lack integrity, honesty, incompetence, or that you possess other reprehensible personal characteristics.

Defamation is an important concept to know for anyone working in California. Why? Because you may be an at-will employee subject to being terminated at any time for no reason, but if your employer, or his or her representative defames you,...

A legal claim based on defamation entitles the victim to recover against the defamer for his or her emotional damages. In addition, the victim will be entitled to sue for punitive, or punishment, damages.

There are other critical differences which make defamation important to be aware of. You can prove defamation on your word alone, even though it is always better to have some confirming evidence. ( a letter, a memo, an e-mail, statements from fellow employees confirming the defamatory remarks about you, etc.) You can testify in court as to statements made by others about you. This means that the "hearsay" rule does not apply to the testimony in court which repeats defamatory statements.made out of court.

You do not have to prove damages in defamation cases. Damages are presumed. This means that you do not have to testify that you were emotionally destroyed or had to see a psychiatrist or other mental health specialist or doctor.

The defamatory comments do not have to be stated (this is described as being "published") to someone outside the company. Purely internal memorandums or comments that falsely attack you can be defamatory. If another employee heard or read the comment then the defamatory statement has been "published" sufficiently to support a charge of defamation.

Each repetition of a defamatory remark is a new injury. This means that you can obtain damages for each time the defamatory statement is repeated.

You may even be entitled to receive damages every time you repeat the defamatory comment to someone else! Yes, if it was reasonably foreseeable that you would feel compeled to repeat or explain the defamatory comment, your employer may be liable each time you repeated his comment!

For example, suppose your employer charges you with stealing or lack of loyalty to the company and you are terminated as a result of those false accusations. Suddenly you find yourself unemployed and looking for a new job. You feel compelled at interviews to explain why you can't offer a good referral from your prior employer.

"He said I stole from him, or he alleged that I wasn't loyal to the company."

Under these circumstances your repeated explanation of the defamatory comments may itself be defamation that you are entitled to be compensated for! See the additional discussion of this topic below.

The biggest problem in alleging defamation in the workplace is the concept of privilege. In some instances the defamer may be privileged or entitled to make the defamatory statements. It is not defamation if the person making the statement is privileged in doing so.

The defamer may have an absolute privilege for statements made in judicial proceedings, and a limited privilege for defamatory statements made in the employment relationship.

For example, suppose you have an overtime claim that you are pursuing in the office of the labor commissioner. In that hearing your employer says that you not paid certain overtime because you stole money and the employer felt thought that he could withhold overtime as compensation for that theft. At another time or place the statement by your employer would be slanderous if it were false, but in the context of the labor hearing the statement is absolutely privileged. No defamation results from the defamatory statements.

The privilege protects statements made before the beginning of a civil or criminal proceeding, if the statements are part of the "preparation" for that proceeding.

Anytime you have a proceeding that is judicial in nature, the statements made there are absolutely privileged. Most proceedings involving wage or job related claims are judicial in nature, and statements made in those hearings are privileged. This means that your employer may say things that are untrue, even if he knows that they are untrue, and says them intending to injure you or make you look bad, or ruin your reputation. He can do so without fear of being liable to you in any subsequent lawsuit against him. That is simply the way the system is set up. Defamatory statements made in an employment dispute before a government agency are absolutely privileged, and you are simply out of luck. Even though defamatory statements made in judicial proceedings are privileged, don't despair. There are many situations other than judicial, where the privilege is only partial, and that privilege can be lost under a number ofcircumstances.

In order for the defamer to be protected by the absolute privilege, at least one of the following four factors must be satisfied. Analyze these four factors to see whether statements made against you might not be protected. Absolute privilege is provided if;

1. The statement was made in a judicial proceeding.

2. The statement had some connection or logical relation to the judicial action.

3. The statement was made to achieve the objects of the litigation.

4. The statement involved litigants or other participants authorized by law.

Any doubts as to whether judicial privilege applies is decided in favor of the privilege. Although the privilege was meant to apply to defamation, the privilege applies to almost all personal injury claims, such as intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress or interference with prospective advantage.

Probably the most important situation involving qualified privileges are those where your work is being evaluated in performance reviews or other evaluations of your conduct in the workplace.

Can your employer defame you in a performance review without being liable to you for defamation? Maybe. Maybe not. An employer loses his or her qualified privilege to make defamatory comments in critiquing you or your work when the defamatory statement is made,

1. Without a good faith belief in the truth of the statement; or

2. Without reasonable grounds for believing the truth of the statement; or

3. With a motive or willingness to vex, harass, annoy, or unjure you; or

4. Is exaggerated or not fully or fairly stated; or

5. The result of a reckless investigation; or

6. Motivated by hatred or ill will towards you.

Examples of statements that have been determined by the courts to be defamatory are those that involve; allegations of embezzlement, lying, irresponsibility, lack of integrity, dishonesty, laziness, incompetence, not being eligible for rehire, insubordination, being a traitor to the company, or having committed a criminal act.

As you can see, there are numerous situations where the employer risks losing his or her qualified privilege and if the privilege is lost, any publication of the false comment becomes defamatory and you will be entitled to damages for the injury to your reputation.

Other factors that may be considered in making a finding of defamation are whether the person making the statement knows or believes the statement to be true; whether the statement is the result of anger, jealousy, resentment, grudges, quarrels, ill-will or other conflict between you and the person making the statement.

In order to be defamatory the statement must be, of course, false. The employer has the burden of proving that the statement is not false In other words, the employer has to prove that the statement was true. The statement must also seem to state a fact, or that it is based on fact, rather than an opinion, or based only on opinion.

A statement made as a statement of opinion, rather than as an allegation of fact, is not defamatory.

Are statements made about you by a supervisor that are placed in your personnel file possibly libelous? If the statements are statements of opinion, rather than false statements of fact, they are not potentially libelous. The question to ask is, does the statement of opinion suggest that it is base on fact or is provable as a fact? Statements that may support a claim of libel are; false accusations of criminal conduct, lackof integrity, dishonesty, incompetence, or reprehensible personal moral behavior. For example, if you found in your personnel file, a false statement accusing you of suspected theft, such a statement would be libelous. Such a statement would imply to the average reader that it is confirmable as a fact, and is not just an unfounded personal opinion.

Be aware that a defamatory statement in your personnel file defames for as long as the statement exists in your file. What does this mean? This means that defamatory statements made 5, 10, or even 15 years ago, and placed in your personnel file may be subject to a lawsuit if they are still there in your file "attacking" your reputation or your good name up to the present time. The statute of limitations does not protect the employer on "old" statements that are still around to be seen or heard.

If you are an employee or supervisor-employee and you are accused of engaging in sexual harassment or some other offensive activity and the fact of the accusation is "published," your employer may be liable to you for defamation. If the employer notified other employees or other parties of the allegations against you , such conduct by the employer may be defamatory against you.

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Anonymous
#129997

DEFAMATION

Defamation is an injury to the reputation or character of someone resulting from the false statements or actions of another. Defamation is a false attack on your good name. Your good name is regarded as a proprietary interest, not a personal interest. Defamation is an improper and unlawful attack against your proprietary right to your good name, your reputation.

Defamation is a general term for the false attack on your character or reputation through either libel or slander. Libel is a term describing visual defamation, usually in the form of lies in print, or misleading or deceptive photographs.

Libel exposes or subjects you to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or disgrace, or causes you to be shunned or avoided, or injures you in your occupation.

Slander is a term describing defamation that you hear, not see, usually in the form of someone talking trash about you or spreading or repeating lies and unfounded rumor.

Slander is an oral statement that tends to injur you in respect to your office, profession, trade or business. The statement or statements generally suggest that you lack integrity, honesty, incompetence, or that you possess other reprehensible personal characteristics.

Defamation is an important concept to know for anyone working in California. Why? Because you may be an at-will employee subject to being terminated at any time for no reason, but if your employer, or his or her representative defames you,...

A legal claim based on defamation entitles the victim to recover against the defamer for his or her emotional damages. In addition, the victim will be entitled to sue for punitive, or punishment, damages.

There are other critical differences which make defamation important to be aware of. You can prove defamation on your word alone, even though it is always better to have some confirming evidence. ( a letter, a memo, an e-mail, statements from fellow employees confirming the defamatory remarks about you, etc.) You can testify in court as to statements made by others about you. This means that the "hearsay" rule does not apply to the testimony in court which repeats defamatory statements.made out of court.

You do not have to prove damages in defamation cases. Damages are presumed. This means that you do not have to testify that you were emotionally destroyed or had to see a psychiatrist or other mental health specialist or doctor.

The defamatory comments do not have to be stated (this is described as being "published") to someone outside the company. Purely internal memorandums or comments that falsely attack you can be defamatory. If another employee heard or read the comment then the defamatory statement has been "published" sufficiently to support a charge of defamation.

Each repetition of a defamatory remark is a new injury. This means that you can obtain damages for each time the defamatory statement is repeated.

You may even be entitled to receive damages every time you repeat the defamatory comment to someone else! Yes, if it was reasonably foreseeable that you would feel compeled to repeat or explain the defamatory comment, your employer may be liable each time you repeated his comment!

For example, suppose your employer charges you with stealing or lack of loyalty to the company and you are terminated as a result of those false accusations. Suddenly you find yourself unemployed and looking for a new job. You feel compelled at interviews to explain why you can't offer a good referral from your prior employer.

"He said I stole from him, or he alleged that I wasn't loyal to the company."

Under these circumstances your repeated explanation of the defamatory comments may itself be defamation that you are entitled to be compensated for! See the additional discussion of this topic below.

The biggest problem in alleging defamation in the workplace is the concept of privilege. In some instances the defamer may be privileged or entitled to make the defamatory statements. It is not defamation if the person making the statement is privileged in doing so.

The defamer may have an absolute privilege for statements made in judicial proceedings, and a limited privilege for defamatory statements made in the employment relationship.

For example, suppose you have an overtime claim that you are pursuing in the office of the labor commissioner. In that hearing your employer says that you not paid certain overtime because you stole money and the employer felt thought that he could withhold overtime as compensation for that theft. At another time or place the statement by your employer would be slanderous if it were false, but in the context of the labor hearing the statement is absolutely privileged. No defamation results from the defamatory statements.

The privilege protects statements made before the beginning of a civil or criminal proceeding, if the statements are part of the "preparation" for that proceeding.

Anytime you have a proceeding that is judicial in nature, the statements made there are absolutely privileged. Most proceedings involving wage or job related claims are judicial in nature, and statements made in those hearings are privileged. This means that your employer may say things that are untrue, even if he knows that they are untrue, and says them intending to injure you or make you look bad, or ruin your reputation. He can do so without fear of being liable to you in any subsequent lawsuit against him. That is simply the way the system is set up. Defamatory statements made in an employment dispute before a government agency are absolutely privileged, and you are simply out of luck. Even though defamatory statements made in judicial proceedings are privileged, don't despair. There are many situations other than judicial, where the privilege is only partial, and that privilege can be lost under a number ofcircumstances.

In order for the defamer to be protected by the absolute privilege, at least one of the following four factors must be satisfied. Analyze these four factors to see whether statements made against you might not be protected. Absolute privilege is provided if;

1. The statement was made in a judicial proceeding.

2. The statement had some connection or logical relation to the judicial action.

3. The statement was made to achieve the objects of the litigation.

4. The statement involved litigants or other participants authorized by law.

Any doubts as to whether judicial privilege applies is decided in favor of the privilege. Although the privilege was meant to apply to defamation, the privilege applies to almost all personal injury claims, such as intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress or interference with prospective advantage.

Probably the most important situation involving qualified privileges are those where your work is being evaluated in performance reviews or other evaluations of your conduct in the workplace.

Can your employer defame you in a performance review without being liable to you for defamation? Maybe. Maybe not. An employer loses his or her qualified privilege to make defamatory comments in critiquing you or your work when the defamatory statement is made,

1. Without a good faith belief in the truth of the statement; or

2. Without reasonable grounds for believing the truth of the statement; or

3. With a motive or willingness to vex, harass, annoy, or unjure you; or

4. Is exaggerated or not fully or fairly stated; or

5. The result of a reckless investigation; or

6. Motivated by hatred or ill will towards you.

Examples of statements that have been determined by the courts to be defamatory are those that involve; allegations of embezzlement, lying, irresponsibility, lack of integrity, dishonesty, laziness, incompetence, not being eligible for rehire, insubordination, being a traitor to the company, or having committed a criminal act.

As you can see, there are numerous situations where the employer risks losing his or her qualified privilege and if the privilege is lost, any publication of the false comment becomes defamatory and you will be entitled to damages for the injury to your reputation.

Other factors that may be considered in making a finding of defamation are whether the person making the statement knows or believes the statement to be true; whether the statement is the result of anger, jealousy, resentment, grudges, quarrels, ill-will or other conflict between you and the person making the statement.

In order to be defamatory the statement must be, of course, false. The employer has the burden of proving that the statement is not false In other words, the employer has to prove that the statement was true. The statement must also seem to state a fact, or that it is based on fact, rather than an opinion, or based only on opinion.

A statement made as a statement of opinion, rather than as an allegation of fact, is not defamatory.

Are statements made about you by a supervisor that are placed in your personnel file possibly libelous? If the statements are statements of opinion, rather than false statements of fact, they are not potentially libelous. The question to ask is, does the statement of opinion suggest that it is base on fact or is provable as a fact? Statements that may support a claim of libel are; false accusations of criminal conduct, lackof integrity, dishonesty, incompetence, or reprehensible personal moral behavior. For example, if you found in your personnel file, a false statement accusing you of suspected theft, such a statement would be libelous. Such a statement would imply to the average reader that it is confirmable as a fact, and is not just an unfounded personal opinion.

Be aware that a defamatory statement in your personnel file defames for as long as the statement exists in your file. What does this mean? This means that defamatory statements made 5, 10, or even 15 years ago, and placed in your personnel file may be subject to a lawsuit if they are still there in your file "attacking" your reputation or your good name up to the present time. The statute of limitations does not protect the employer on "old" statements that are still around to be seen or heard.

If you are an employee or supervisor-employee and you are accused of engaging in sexual harassment or some other offensive activity and the fact of the accusation is "published," your employer may be liable to you for defamation. If the employer notified other employees or other parties of the allegations against you , such conduct by the employer may be defamatory against you.

If you are defamed, the injury to your reputation affects a proprietary or "ownership" interest and is not a personal injury. This means that damages from defamation are not pre-empted by workers compensation. If the damages from defamation were thought to arise as a normal risk from the employment relationship and were regarded as a form of personal injury, rather than an injury to the "property" of your reputation, you would be forced to file a worker's compensation claim.You would not be able to sue in civil court.

As we mentioned earlier, an interesting situation that sometimes occurs is when the publication of the slanderous information is made by the employee being slandered, rather than by the employer. This is described as "self publication." For example, suppose your boss brings you into his or her office and informs you that you are no longer needed because he suspects that you are a drinker and he states that he does not regard you as competent in your work.. Suppose further that your employer makes these comments only to your direct manager, and repeats these comments to no one outside the company. Suppose after your boss informs you of these "facts," you feel compelled to tell your fellow employees what has happened to you. After all, everyone wants to know. Under these circumstances the employee himself publishes the defamatory statements.

Is your employer liable for slander when you have repeated and published the statements? Your employer will be liable where he or she knew or should have known that someone facing circumstances similar to yours would have been compelled to "self-publish" the defamatory statements, and dthe court asks is, was theid nothing to prevent it. The question self-publication foreseeable under the circumstances? If so, the employer may be liable. The difficulty with "self-publication" defamation for the employee is that the employee has the burden of proving that he or she was psychologically compelled to repeat or publish the defamatory statements.

What if you leave your old job for a new one and find out that your ex-employer has been saying bad things about you? Bad-mouthing an employee, or a former employee is known as "blacklisting" and is potentially illegal as a form of defamation just described..

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Anonymous
#129996

Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

Defamation may be a criminal or civil charge. It encompasses both written statements, known as libel, and spoken statements, called slander.

The probability that a plaintiff will recover damages in a defamation suit depends largely on whether the plaintiff is a public or private figure in the eyes of the law. The public figure law of defamation was first delineated in new york times v. sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S. Ct. 710, 11 L. Ed. 2d 686 (1964). In Sullivan, the plaintiff, a police official, claimed that false allegations about him appeared in the New York Times, and sued the newspaper for libel. The Supreme Court balanced the plaintiff's interest in preserving his reputation against the public's interest in freedom of expression in the area of political debate. It held that a public official alleging libel must prove actual malice in order to recover damages. The Court declared that the First Amendment protects open and robust debate on public issues even when such debate includes "vehement, caustic, unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials." A public official or other plaintiff who has voluntarily assumed a position in the public eye must prove that defamatory statements were...

Where the plaintiff in a defamation action is a private citizen who is not in the public eye, the law extends a lesser degree of constitutional protection to defamatory statements. Public figures voluntarily place themselves in a position that invites close scrutiny, whereas private citizens who have not entered public life do not relinquish their interest in protecting their reputation. In addition, public figures have greater access to the means to publicly counteract false statements about them. For these reasons, a private citizen's reputation and privacy interests tend to outweigh free speech considerations and deserve greater protection from the courts. (See Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 94 S. Ct. 2997, 41 L. Ed. 2d 789 [1974]).

Distinguishing between public and private figures for the purposes of defamation law is sometimes difficult. For an individual to be considered a public figure in all situations, the person's name must be so familiar as to be a household word—for example, Michael Jordan. Because most people do not fit into that category of notoriety, the Court recognized the limited-purpose public figure, who is voluntarily injected into a public controversy and becomes a public figure for a limited range of issues. Limited-purpose public figures, like public figures, have at least temporary access to the means to counteract false statements about them. They also voluntarily place themselves in the public eye and consequently relinquish some of their privacy rights. For these reasons, false statements about limited-purpose public figures that relate to the public controversies in which those figures are involved are not considered defamatory unless they meet the actual-malice test set forth in Sullivan.

Determining who is a limited-purpose public figure can also be problematic. In Time, Inc. v. Firestone, 424 U.S. 448, 96 S. Ct. 958, 47 L. Ed. 2d 154 (1976), the Court held that the plaintiff, a prominent socialite involved in a scandalous Divorce, was not a public figure because her divorce was not a public controversy and because she had not voluntarily involved herself in a public controversy. The Court recognized that the divorce was newsworthy, but drew a distinction between matters of public interest and matters of public controversy. In Hutchinson v. Proxmire, 443 U.S. 111, 99 S. Ct. 2675, 61 L. Ed. 2d 411 (1979), the Court determined that a scientist whose federally supported research was ridiculed as wasteful by Senator William Proxmire was not a limited-purpose public figure because he had not sought public scrutiny in order to influence others on a matter of public controversy, and was not otherwise well-known.

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Anonymous
#129995

What is Defamation of Character?

Most people think of personal injury as a physical injury caused by another party. Not all personal injury causes physical harm. There is a form of personal injury that does no physical harm, but can be extremely harmful to a person’s reputation (or "character"). That form of personal injury is called "defamation," which is sometimes known as "defamation of character."

What is defamation?

Defamation is false and unprivileged spoken words or written publication, which exposes any living person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or which causes him/her to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him/her in his/her trade or occupation.

For example, if a person or the news media says or writes something about you that is understood to lower your reputation, or that keeps people from associating with you, defamation has occurred. However, if someone says something false about someone who has died, as reprehensible as that may be, in most states it is not considered defamatory. No legal action can be taken on behalf of a dead person. Only a living person can be defamed.

What are the elements of a defamation claim?

1. a publication to one other than the person defamed;

2. a false statement of fact;

3. that is understood as

1. being of and concerning the plaintiff; and

2. tending to harm the reputation of plaintiff.

4. If the plaintiff is a public...

What defenses may be available to someone who is sued for defamation?

There are ordinarily 6 possible defenses available to a defendant who is sued for libel (published defamatory communication.)

1.

Truth. This is a complete defense, but may be difficult to prove.

2.

Fair comment on a matter of public interest. This defense applies to "opinion" only, as compared to a statement of fact. The defendant usually needs to prove that the opinion is honestly held and the comments were not motivated by actual "malice." (Malice means knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth of falsity of the defamatory statement.)

3.

Privilege. The privilege may be absolute or qualified. Privilege generally exists where the speaker or writer has a duty to communicate to a specific person or persons on a given occasion. In some cases the privilege is qualified and may be lost if the publication is unnecessarily wide or made with malice.

4.

Consent. This is rarely available, as plaintiffs will not ordinarily agree to the publication of statements that they find offensive.

5.

Innocent dissemination. In some cases a party who has no knowledge of the content of a defamatory statement may use this defense. For example, a mailman who delivers a sealed envelope containing a defamatory statement, is not legally liable for any damages that come about from the statement.

6.

Plaintiff's poor reputation. Defendant can mitigate (lessen) damages for a defamatory statement by proving that the plaintiff did not have a good reputation to begin with. Defendant ordinarily can prove plaintiff's poor reputation by calling witnesses with knowledge of the plaintiff's prior reputation relating to the defamatory content.

What are slander and libel?

Slander and libel are two forms of defamation. Slander is a spoken defamation and libel is the written form. However, radio and television broadcasts that are defamatory are considered to be libel, rather than slander, even though the defamation is spoken rather than written.

What is libel per se?

When libel is clear on its face, without the need for any explanatory matter, it is called libel per se. The following are often found to be libelous per se:

A statement that falsely:

* Charges any person with crime, or with having been indicted, convicted, or punished for crime;

* Imputes in him the present existence of an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease;

* Tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects that the office or other occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade, or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits;

* Imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity.

Are insults, critiques and opinions considered defamatory?

Insults and epithets are not normally considered defamatory because they are generally seen as outbursts of emotion, with no real substance except to show intense dislike. A fair critique of a restaurant, movie, TV show, or theater play is also not considered defamatory. However, if the comments or criticism are disparaging enough, they may result in a loss of business or reputation.

Opinions are also not normally considered defamatory because opinions usually don't contain specific facts that can be proven untrue. Merely labeling a statement as your "opinion" does not make it so. Courts look at whether a reasonable reader or listener could understand the statement as asserting a statement of verifiable fact. (A verifiable fact is one capable of being proven true or false.) This is determined in light of the context of the statement. A few courts have said that statements made in the context of an Internet bulletin board or chat room are highly likely to be opinions or hyperbole, but they do look at the remark in context to see if it's likely to be seen as a true, even if controversial, opinion ("I really hate George Lucas' new movie") rather than an assertion of fact dressed up as an opinion ("It's my opinion that Trinity is the hacker who broke into the IRS database").

Are e-mail and on-line activities subject to laws relating to defamation?

Yes, laws relating to defamation are applicable to e-mail and other online activities. For example, if a person commits libel against you through e-mail or other on-line activities, the publisher, and any re-publisher, of the offensive statement can be held accountable for damages. This is why it is wise to be careful about anything you write in an e-mail message or online chat room. If the victim is harmed by your action, you can be held liable for his or her losses.

If you think you've been defamed by false information passed on by a computer channel, or worry about whether you can make an aggressive advertising claim, it might be worth talking to a qualified lawyer.

May someone other than the person who originally made the defamatory statement be legally liable in defamation?

One who "publishes" a defamatory statement may be liable. However, 47 U.S.C. sec. 230 says that online service providers are not publishers of content posted by their users. Section 230 gives most ISPs and message board hosts the discretion to keep postings or delete them, whichever they prefer, in response to claims by others that a posting is defamatory or libelous. Most ISPs and message board hosts also post terms of service that give them the right to delete or not delete messages as they see fit and such terms have generally been held to be enforceable under law.

Can I be sued for defamation of character if I am writing a book based on a true story?

If you place a "disclaimer" at the beginning that the people and events have been changed to protect the innocent, and that any similarities to actual persons, either living or dead, are merely coincidental, it is not considered defamation of character and you can’t be sued. You have the First Amendment, which gives you freedom of speech.

I think I’ve been defamed, how can I prove it?

In order to prove defamation, you have to be able to prove that what was said or written about you was false. If the information is true, or if you consented to publication of the material, you will not have a case. However, you may bring a defamatory action if the comments are so reprehensible and false that they affect your reputation in the community or cast aspersions on you.

What damages can I recover from a defamation of character suit?

If you have been defamed you may seek both actual damages, to recover the harm that you have suffered, and punitive damages to punish the person who made the remark (and serve as an example to deter others).

If the defamation improperly accused you of a crime or reflected on your profession, the court or jury can assess the damages. For other types of defamation you must prove some actual damage to be able to recover.

This article provides general information about defamation of character in the spoken form of slander and the written form of libel. It gives general examples of what could be considered defamatory and what is normally not considered defamatory. It also outlines possible defenses against a slander or libel claim. However, it is not a substitute for qualified legal advice. Consult with a personal injury lawyer that specializes in defamation actions if you feel you’ve been defamed, if you’re facing any form of defamation of character action or have legal questions about this practice area.

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Anonymous
#129994

Defamation of character is notoriously difficult to prove in court, although the actual effects can be quite evident and damaging. If a disgruntled customer of a restaurant tells numerous people that the head chef has AIDS, for example, sales for that restaurant could fall and the employee might lose his job or find it difficult to work. Because the customer's slanderous statement concerns a specific person and an unproven accusation, the chef may have a legitimate case of defamation of character.

The main problem with proving defamation of character is the protection of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. Courts generally agree that an opinion, no matter how malicious, is not the same as a stated fact. If the disgruntled customer had said "Don't eat at Joe's Cafe. I think the food is lousy and the chef is sick," then defamation of character would be difficult to prove. Other people can still form different opinions. Once the customer said "Don't eat at Joe's Cafe. I know the chef and he has AIDS," then a statement of fact has occurred and a claim of defamation of character can be pursued.

Another problem concerning defamation of character is the actual truth of the statement. Some may argue that in order for defamation of character to occur, the alleged victim actually has to have character to defame in the first place. Calling a known neighborhood bully a 'thug' in the local paper wouldn't qualify as defamation of character, because it isn't...

Very few defamation of character lawsuits actually reach the level of a court trial. Many are settled privately, in order to avoid even more damage from publicity. Since actual damages must be demonstrated, some cases are dismissed because the statements or accusations do not rise to the level of actual slander or libel. Hurt feelings or a loss of social standing may not reach the legal definition of damages. What few defamation of character cases do reach the court system are usually local in nature, such as a city councilman suing his local newspaper for implying he accepted a bribe.

In our case of the chef and the disgruntled customer, damages could most likely be demonstrated by restaurant sales records and testimony from other customers who heard the slanderous statements firsthand. Even if medical tests revealed that the chef did indeed have a medical condition, that fact alone would not mitigate the customer's obvious malicious intent. The customer was not working in the public's best interest at the time. Under these circumstances, the court would most likely find in favor of the plaintiff and order the defendant to pay punitive damages.

This is generally the same legal mechanism which allows celebrities to successfully sue tabloid publications. A truthful but malicious statement can still be considered defamation of character under the right circumstances.

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Anonymous
#129866

Libel Attorney, we can see you put so much time in to this post we didn't want that time to go to waste.

Realty Advisors International, Inc. shares the same director's, broker (Louise A Barrette), and shareholder's as WORTH AVENUE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC. Realty Advisors International, Inc. is a more than 50% shareholder of WORTH AVENUE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC. On which broker Louise A. Barrette resigned as director on 03/01/2010. This resignation comes as her co-director or these entities is being sued under case # 50-2009CA042589XXXXMB, 50-2010CA004258XXXXMB, 50-2010CA000724XXXXMB, 502010CA000718XXXXMB, and in addition to several other entity's that would be related entity's. At this same time Louise Ann Barrette registers 2 corporations, REALTY PROFESSIONALS GROUP, INC, and KEYSTONE REALTY GROUP, INC. If she and her co-director at WORTH AVENUE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC., where being accused, note "accused", or misuse of funds. Why would she resign from a entity she was a operating officer of to start 2 new organizations if she had nothing to hide? She has advertised herself, services she holds no licenses for such as IRC Section 1031. By doing so a reasonable cause exists to believe constructively that the public at large is served by facts that derive of there own actions of misleading the public. Nevertheless, these people have made willful misstatements in a attempt to cover there own actions. Based on facts coming from public record's...

But a court can decide that should they need to based on the above as well! I'm glad to see a argument to a counteraction however.

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Anonymous
#129856

Claiming to be something your not, Scotty, like a CPA or Attorney.You might want to consult a actual criminal attorney on.

It's a crime to practice any kind of law without a license.That includes giving advise on IRC.

Anonymous
#129850

to Libel Attorney,

What's your point? I knew the broker of this company. Everything I've read here about Realty Advisors International & Lou Ann Barrette is pretty accurate.

Privacy right's do not involve public records or information published for public viewing.

If a person or group commits acts with malice, with the intent of defrauding the public. Privacy right's do not protect that person or group from the attempted fraud they tried to commit. But good luck trying to argue that. I know the attorney's that have brought claims against all the entities here, and I know several people that are preparing claims for statements made by these entities. If you are trying to build a case, I hope you are collecting a very large retainer. You're in for a fight with these people. But that's what happens when you go out lying to people as the broker of this company did. She's in for a fight she won't win because of all the lying she's done. No one but her created that by lying.

Anonymous
#129838

Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually, but not always,[1] a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).

In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism. Related to defamation is public disclosure of private facts, which arises where one person reveals information that is not of public concern, and the release of which would offend a reasonable person. "Unlike [with] libel, truth is not a defense for invasion of privacy."[2]

False light laws are "intended primarily to protect the plaintiff's mental or emotional well-being."[3] If a publication of information is false, then a tort of defamation might have occurred. If that communication is not technically false but is still misleading, then a tort of false light might have occurred.[3]

In most civil law...

[edit] History

In the later Roman jurisprudence, from which many of modern laws descend, verbal defamations are dealt within the edict under two heads. The first comprehended defamatory and injurious statements made in a public manner (convicium adversus bonos mores). The Praetorian Edict, codified cica 130 A.D., declared that an action could be brought up for shouting at someone contrary to good morals: "qui, advesus bonos mores convicium cui fecisse cuiusve opera factum esse dicitur, quo adversus bonos mores convicium Weret, in eum iudicium dabo." (Digest 47. 10. 15. 2.) In this case the essence of the offense lay in the unwarrantable public proclamation. According to Ulpian, not all shouting was actionable. Drawing on the argument of Labeo, he asserted that the offense consisted in shouting contrary to the morals of the city ("adversus bonos mores huius civitatis") something apt to bring in disrepute or contempt ("quae... ad infamiam vel invidiam alicuius spectaret") the person exposed thereto (Digest 47. 10. 15. 3-6.). Any act apt to bring another person into disrepute gave rise to an actio injurarum. (Digest 47. 10. 15. 25.) In such a case the truth of the statements was no justification for the public and insulting manner in which they had been made. But even in public matters, the accused had the opportunity to justify his actions by openly stating what he considered necessary for public safety to be denounced by the libel, and proving his assertions to be true. (Book 9, Title 36.) The second head included defamatory statements made in private, and in this case the offense lay in the content of the imputation, not in the manner of its publication. The truth was therefore a sufficient defense, for no man had a right to demand legal protection for a false reputation. In the first Satire of their second book, Horace alludes to this provision in a dialogue with the lawyer Trebatius, by punning on mala carmina at lines 82-84:

si mala condiderit in quem quis carmina jus est

judiciumque. esto, siquis mala; sed bona siquis

judice condiderit laudatus Caesare?

Horace's pun turns on the two possible meanings of mala, "evil and unlawful," or "of poor quality".

Roman law aimed at giving sufficient scope for the discussion of a man's character, while it protected him from needless insult and pain. The remedy for verbal defamation was long confined to a civil action for a monetary penalty, which was estimated according to the significance of the case, and which, although vindictive in its character, doubtless included practically the element of compensation. But a new remedy was introduced with the extension of the criminal law, under which many kinds of defamation were punished with great severity. At the same time increased importance attached to the publication of defamatory books and writings, the libri or libelli famosi, from which we derive our modern use of the word libel; and under the later emperors the latter term came to be specially applied to anonymous accusations or pasquils, the dissemination of which was regarded as particularly dangerous, and visited with very severe punishment, whether the matter contained in them were true or false.

[edit] Types of torts

[edit] Slander and libel

The common law origins of defamation lie in the torts of slander (harmful statement in a transitory form, especially speech) and libel[5][6] (harmful statement in a fixed medium, especially writing but also a picture, sign, or electronic broadcast), each of which gives a common law right of action.

"Defamation" is the general term used internationally, and is used in this article where it is not necessary to distinguish between "slander" and "libel". Libel and slander both require publication.[7] The fundamental distinction between libel and slander lies solely in the form in which the defamatory matter is published. If the offending material is published in some fleeting form, as by spoken words or sounds, sign language, gestures and the like, then this is slander. If it is published in more durable form, for example in written words, film, compact disc (CD), DVD, blogging and the like, then it is considered libel." The debate whether Internet blogs or Bulletin Boards are publishers is a key subject being addressed, whereas an Internet based community is more akin to conversations in a bar or pub, with content being written as an ongoing dialogue that is generally not edited or regulated such as in the publishing industry.[8]

[edit] Criminal defamation

Many nations have criminal penalties for defamation in some situations, and different conditions for determining whether an offense has occurred. ARTICLE 19, a free expression advocacy group, has published global maps[9] charting the existence of criminal defamation law across the globe, as well as showing countries that have special protections for political leaders or functionaries of the state.[10]

The OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) has also published a detailed database on criminal and civil defamation provisions in 55 countries, including all European countries, all member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the United States and Canada.[11]

[edit] Defenses

Even if a statement is derogatory, there are circumstances in which such statements are permissible in law.

[edit] Truth

In many legal systems, adverse public statements about legal citizens presented as fact must be proven false to be defamatory or slanderous/libel. Proving adverse, public character statements to be true is often the best defense against a prosecution for libel and/or defamation. Statements of opinion that cannot be proven true or false will likely need to apply some other kind of defense. The use of the defense of justification has dangers, however; if the defendant libels the plaintiff and then runs the defense of truth and fails, he may be said to have aggravated the harm.

Another important aspect of defamation is the difference between fact and opinion. Statements made as "facts" are frequently actionable defamation. Statements of opinion or pure opinion are not actionable. To win damages in a libel case, the plaintiff must first show that the statements were "statements of fact or mixed statements of opinion and fact" and second that these statements were false. Conversely, a typical defense to defamation is that the statements are opinion. One of the major tests to distinguish whether a statement is fact or opinion is whether the statement can be proved true or false in a court of law. If the statement can be proved true or false, then, on that basis, the case will be heard by a jury to determine whether it is true or false. If the statement cannot be proved true or false, the court may dismiss the libel case without it ever going to a jury to find facts in the case.

Under English common law, proving the truth of the allegation was originally a valid defence only in civil libel cases. Criminal libel was construed as an offence against the public at large based on the tendency of the libel to provoke breach of peace, rather than being a crime based upon the actual defamation per se; its truth or falsity was therefore considered irrelevant. Section VI of the Libel Act 1843 allowed the proven truth of the allegation to be used as a valid defence in criminal libel cases, but only if the defendant also demonstrated that publication was for the "Public Benefit".[12]

In some systems, however, notably the Philippines, truth alone is not a defense.[13] Some U.S. statutes preserve historical common law exceptions to the defense of truth to libel actions. These exceptions were for statements "tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead" or "expose the natural defects of one who is alive".[14]

It is also necessary in these cases to show that there is a well-founded public interest in the specific information being widely known, and this may be the case even for public figures. Public interest is generally not "what the public is interested in", but rather "what is in the interest of the public".[15] [16]

Noonan v. Staples is sometimes cited as precedent that truth is not a always a defense to libel, but the case is actually not valid precedent on that issue because for some reason Staples didn't argue First Amendment protection for its statements. (see footnote at bottom of page 15 of the courts decision) The courts often don't decide cases on issues not argued by the parties, and thus the court assumed for the sake of that particular case that the Massachusetts law was constitutional under the First Amendment.

See also: Substantial truth

[edit] Privilege and malice

Privilege provides a complete bar and answer to a defamation suit, though conditions may have to be met before this protection is granted.

There are two types of privilege in the common law tradition:

* "Absolute privilege" has the effect that a statement cannot be sued on as defamatory, even if it were made maliciously; a typical example is evidence given in court (although this may give rise to different claims, such as an action for malicious prosecution or perjury) or statements made in a session of the legislature (known as 'Parliamentary privilege' in Commonwealth countries).

* "Qualified privilege" may be available to the journalist as a defense in circumstances where it is considered important that the facts be known in the public interest; an example would be public meetings, local government documents, and information relating to public bodies such as the police and fire departments. Qualified privilege has the same effect as absolute privilege, but does not protect statements that can be proven to have been made with malicious intent.

[edit] Other defences

Defences to claims of defamation include:

* Statements made in a good faith and reasonable belief that they were true are generally treated the same as true statements; however, the court may inquire into the reasonableness of the belief. The degree of care expected will vary with the nature of the defendant: an ordinary person might safely rely on a single newspaper report, while the newspaper would be expected to carefully check multiple sources. However in UK election law, a true statement made during an election campaign by someone who didn't know it was true is still actionable.[citation needed]

* Opinion is a defense recognized in nearly every jurisdiction. If the allegedly defamatory assertion is an expression of opinion rather than a statement of fact, defamation claims usually cannot be brought because opinions are inherently not falsifiable. However, some jurisdictions decline to recognize any legal distinction between fact and opinion. The United States Supreme Court, in particular, has ruled that the First Amendment does not require recognition of an opinion privilege.[17]

* Fair comment on a matter of public interest, arguments made with an honest belief in their soundness on a matter of public interest (such as regarding official acts) are defendable against a defamation claim, even if such arguments are logically unsound; if a reasonable person could honestly entertain such an opinion, the statement is protected.

* Consent is an uncommon defense and makes the claim that the claimant consented to the dissemination of the statement.

* Innocent dissemination is a defense available when a defendant had no actual knowledge of the defamatory statement or no reason to believe the statement was defamatory. The defense can be defeated if the lack of knowledge was due to negligence. Thus, a delivery service cannot be held liable for delivering a sealed defamatory letter.

* Claimant is incapable of further defamation–e.g., the claimant's position in the community is so poor that defamation could not do further damage to the plaintiff. Such a claimant could be said to be "libel-proof", since in most jurisdictions, actual damage is an essential element for a libel claim. Essentially, the defense is that the person had such a bad reputation before the libel, that no further damage could possibly have been caused by the making of the statement.

* No Third-party communication: If an employer were to bring an employee into a sound-proof, isolated room, and accuse him of embezzling company money, the employee would have no defamation recourse, since no one other than the would-be plaintiff and would-be defendant heard the false statement.

* No actual injury: If there is third-party communication, but the third-party hearing the defamatory statement does not believe the statement, or does not care, then there is no injury, and therefore, no recourse.

In addition to the above, the defendant may claim that the allegedly defamatory statement is not actually capable of being defamatory—an insulting statement that does not actually harm someone's reputation is prima facie not libelous. Also, the public figure doctrine, also called the absence of malice rule, may be used as a defense.

[edit] Public figure doctrine (absence of malice)

Special rules apply in the case of statements made in the press concerning public figures, which can be used as a defense. A series of court rulings led by New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964) established that for a public official (or other legitimate public figure) to win a libel case, the statement must have been published knowing it to be false or with reckless disregard to its truth, (also known as actual malice).[18]

Under United States law, libel generally requires five key elements. The plaintiff must prove that the information was published, the plaintiff was directly or indirectly identified, the remarks were defamatory towards the plaintiff's reputation, the published information is false, and that the defendant is at fault.

The Associated Press estimates that 95% of libel cases involving news stories do not arise from high-profile news stories, but "run of the mill" local stories like news coverage of local criminal investigations or trials, or business profiles.[citation needed] Media liability insurance is available to newspapers to cover potential damage awards from libel lawsuits.

[edit] Defamation and freedom of speech

Defamation laws may come into tension with freedom of speech, leading to censorship or chilling effects where publishers fear lawsuits, or loss of reputation where individuals have no effective protection against reckless or unfounded allegations. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights permits restrictions on freedom of speech when necessary to protect the reputation or rights of others.[19]

Jurisdictions resolve this tension in different ways, in particular in determining where the burden of proof lies when unfounded allegations are made. The power of the internet to disseminate comment, which may include malicious comment, has brought a new focus to the issue.[20]

There is a broader consensus against laws that criminalize defamation. Human rights organizations, and other organizations such as the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, have campaigned against strict defamation laws that criminalize defamation.[21][22] The European Court of Human Rights has placed restrictions on criminal libel laws because of the freedom of expression provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. One notable case was Lingens v. Austria (1986).

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Anonymous
#129777

Are Property Tax Payments An Indicator Of The Housing Market?

Let’s face it, in tough times paying the mortgage is tough enough. But when property taxes are added to a tight budget things tend to break. Santa Cruz County in California is running into this issue. 1 in 10 households in the county are behind on their property taxes.

This is setting off warning signs in the county offices as a new wave of foreclosures could be on the horizon. Since many loans have the property taxes paid into an escrow fund and paid by the lender this number may even be higher than it seems on the surface.

“When you see people making a choice to not pay taxes, you know they’re in trouble,” said Ken Cole, recently named executive director of the county’s Housing Authority. “It’s a shame that there’s such a high percentage of people on thin ice.”

Most of those not paying property taxes are not paying their mortgages as well, Cole and other housing experts suspect, a signal that hundreds, if not thousands, are on their way to losing their homes

Housing experts blame the nationwide real estate meltdown, which has not only depressed local property values but left homebuyers with rising mortgages they can no longer afford, coupled with a sagging economy that for many has meant less work and less income. San Jose Mercury News.

One word of advice I do have for homeowners this winter and spring is to appeal your property tax valuation....

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Anonymous
#129775

First Time Buyers Want Perfect Homes, Not Fixer Uppers

Fixer-uppersGot a fixer upper you do not want to work on and you thought a first time homebuyer would be interested? Think again.

A study found by Mary Umberger and initiated by Coldwell Banker

tells the opposite story. Fixer uppers are so ‘90s. Todays new homebuyers want it all perfect. Just like Mom and Dad’s home. Caulking, replacing carpets, fixing plaster are all skills that new buyers do not want to learn.

And the numbers are not even near a statistical deviation, they are extreme.

In a survey of its brokers, the company found just 7 percent who say they’re encountering novices who are willing to look for fixer-uppers to buy at a lower price and renovate. Instead, 81 percent say their first-time buyers want their houses to be in ship shape from Day One.

This is a noticeable change from just a decade ago, the brokerage said.

“In the past, first-time home buyers

were willing to purchase older, more basic houses in an effort to save money and break into home ownership,” said Jim Gillespie, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

He said these new buyers probably haven’t roughed it before, and they’re not going to start now. “Today, this group has greater home expectations because they have grown up more accustomed to their parents’ lifestyles,” he said. via Mary Umberger at chicagotribune.com.

What ths is...

When the market turns, you will know that you have targeted the right buyers with the right homes.

Real estate agents, my advice to you is not to even take the listing on the starter home fixer upper. If this data is correct, it will be a money sink for you as the odds of the home selling are slim to none.

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Anonymous
#129774

Demand Hits 13 Year Low For Mortgage Applications

DownchartA combination of weather and low demand has led to a 13 year low in demand for mortgage applications according to The Mortgage Bankers Association. Demand for mortgages has not been this low since 1997.

Hopefully the market slowdown is a statistical blip due to the harsh winter that so much of the country has been dealing with. Unfortunately the uncertainty of the market and economy has all of us scoreboard watching. The demand for new mortgages is the canary in the coal mine for the real estate industry.

If mortgage applications drop typically closing are not on the horizon.

A continued drop in demand for purchase loans, a tentative early indicator of home sales, would not bode well for the hard-hit U.S. housing market, which remains highly vulnerable to setbacks and heavily reliant on government intervention.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported an 8.5 percent decline in its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications, which includes both purchase and refinance loans, for the week ended February 19.

The four-week moving average of mortgage applications, which smoothes the volatile weekly figures, was up 1.6 percent.

The MBA’s seasonally adjusted purchase index fell 7.3 percent, the lowest level since May 1997.

Related posts:

Anonymous
#129772

RE Blogging Hits The Mainstream And Brings The Lawyers

Blogging on real estate can be dangerous. As Vlad Zablotskyy is facing with his battle with ePerks.com and Lucas Lechuga in his 25 million dollar lawsuit with a Miami developer fighting deep pocket companies can be expensive and dangerous.

This is not to diminish blogging and being opinionated when you are blogging. Vlad’s case is spurious, a company asked him to write a review and then when he researched the company he found there were things that he did not like and wrote another post that was critical of ePerks. Now bloggers being led by Greg Swann are coming to his aid with a defense fund and that is admirable.

But as bloggers we are coming out of the shadows of a quirky pastime and playing in the big leagues. When we write something it will not only be for our friends and fellow bloggers. Now the targets of what we say will most likely see it. And that is where the peril is.

It is easy to write a post in the early morning slamming someone or something and have more opinion than fact in it. (In no way am I insinuating that Vlad or Lucas did so) These posts may be protected as opinion but without understanding the rules of journalism and the law. Anyone can file a lawsuit, so you have to think before you post.

We all know real estate is an expensive game. It is why cartels such as the NAR and local MLS’s are still so powerful, there is a great deal of money in play and it...

But real estate bloggers are writing about the same topics and could be potentially at risk. Understanding how to write opinion so it does not come across as fact is an important skill for bloggers. And sourcing these opinions is also very important.

Some may wonder why most of my posts have a snippet of the source material at the bottom. It is because very often when I am writing I want people to see what I base my opinions on. Many newspapers and publications put their articles behind a pay wall or take the material off the internet after a period of time.

By having the source material it provides an added resource for you the readers. It also provides a source for those that may get the wild hair that I should be targeted. Reinforcing that my opinions came from a vetted source (that does have lawyers) gives me a layer of protection in the chance that someone does come after me. I am not running scared by any means, but I am providing safeguards for the protection of my family.

We are in the big leagues now guys and the people are watching. I am not advocating that you should write with a sense of fear. But I do recommend that when you write a blistering post in anger you hold it for a bit and re-read it later. We all learned that lesson in our dating days.

It could save you a great deal of heartache and pain.

More than 100 judgments valued at $17 million have been handed down against bloggers over the last three years, according to Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association. Cox said about 60 percent were for defamation, 25 percent for copyright infringement and 10 percent involved privacy.

“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” Cox told the Associated Press

“Bloggers are being asked to write checks. The threats against bloggers are very real. The costs are very real.”

Others are also beginning to offer assistance to citizen journalists. NowPublic.com, which collects news tips from the public and distributes them to news organizations, offers resources for contributors to help them learn to monitor themselves, said co-founder Michael Tippett. via redOrbit.

Update: Joe Ferrara over at Sellsius has a great post on this topic, How to *** Proof Your Blog From Lawsuits, worth a read.

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Anonymous
#129770

Real Estate Agents Spending Most Marketing Money On The Internet

January 30th, 2009 • Related • Filed Under

Filed Under: 2009 Real Estate Forecast • Real Estate Internet • Real Estate Sales • Real Estate Video

The Real Estate Book’s owner Network Communications put out a press release on how real estate agents are using their marketing dollars. The results will not surprise anyone who reads this site.

Real estate agents are using the internet as their primary means of reaching new clients. The money is racing away from newspapers and radio into focused real estate print product, search engine marketing, and websites such as blogs.

When you read the original press release remember this is put out by a print vendor so they have a vested interest in focusing on how their product plays into the marketing mix. It is easy to sometimes read a press release as an article. And this is not to discount how publications like The Real Estate Book do work as a part of your marketing mix, it can be very effective.

Here are some of the nuggets that came out of the survey:

– Respondents spend about 25% of their media spending on each of the

following: Specialty print, Internet marketing, and the broker’s own Web

site.

– Virtually all respondents use some form of Internet marketing. Over

the next six months, the channels respondents expect to spend the most

money on are...

sites (32%).

– The median amount spent on Internet marketing is $196 each month. 38%

spend more than $250 per month on all forms of Internet marketing.

– 86% of the respondents had a personal web site in addition to their

broker web site. 61% spent money on search engine marketing to promote

themselves. 25% used blogs or social media as a promotional tool. via msnbc.com.

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Anonymous
#129769

Economist Robert Shiller: Is a Double Dip in Housing Ahead?

"We're in such an unusual economy now that [a double dip] has substantial probability"

By Charlie Rose

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The Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a respected measure of housing prices across the country, shows a slight improvement for the month of January. However, housing starts are sluggish, delinquencies are up, the foreclosure level remains troubling, and the National Association of Realtors just reported a drop in sales of existing homes. On Mar. 31, the day after the most recent Case-Shiller numbers were released, I talked with Bob Shiller, the Arthur Okun Professor of Economics at Yale and co-creator of the index.

CHARLIE ROSE

The S&P Case-Shiller Index for January saw upticks in 12 major metropolitan markets. Is that an encouraging sign for the housing market?

ROBERT...

The fact that [prices] are up on a seasonally adjusted basis, although the market has been weakening, is definitely encouraging.

You said on Bloomberg Television yesterday that there is a 50-50 chance of a double dip in housing.

I am really going out on a limb to say it's as high as 50-50. Double dips are rare. You know, I have a forecasting model that I used to use years ago when we were doing forecasts for The Wall Street Journal in the late 1990s, and that model emphasized momentum before anything else. When prices go up, they tend to go up for years. That's history. Whereas if they start going down, they'll go down for years. We saw home prices decline between 2006 and 2009—three years of decline. And now that [the market is trending] up, you know, it's perfectly plausible to think we'll have three years or more of increases. But I'm not so sure. We don't know how much of this is transitory because of the government support. We're in such an unusual economy now that [a double dip] has substantial probability.

You've said that 90% of the housing market is supported by the government.

Well, it's 80% or 90%. Really almost the whole market now is government. And we know this can't last.

And that means prices are being artificially inflated?

It seems to. Government support is especially prominent in sales of existing homes, which shot up to over 6 million on an annual rate in November 2009, the month that the home buyer tax credit initially was supposed to expire.

Do we need another stimulus?

I think we may. Our latest GDP growth number was phenomenal. Things seem to be coming back. But I'm worried about a double dip. And I worry that the political support for another stimulus may not be there.

Where do confidence levels fit in?

Confidence has many dimensions. The things measured by the Conference Board and by the Michigan consumer-sentiment people are one aspect of confidence. That has shown improvement since a year ago, but it's still at a low level. I've been trying to develop other confidence indexes in terms of stock market confidence, home buyer confidence. But I don't know that I have the answer. One thing George Akerlof and I talk about in our book, Animal Spirits, is that the economy is driven by stories. And there's a story at any point in time that colors people's thinking. Right now the story is one of anger, frustration, and disillusionment—mistrust. The Tea Party movement is one result of that. And that is potentially holding back the economy.

Do you like the Dodd financial-reform bill?

I think it's the first step. I wish it were stronger. For example, his initial plan to consolidate regulatory authorities would have been important because part of the problem that led to this crisis was that the regulatory authorities were too scattered. But he backed off on that.

He was going to take authority away from the Fed, too, and he got a lot of protests.

Right. I think the Fed should have a lot of regulatory power. The central banking tradition is really one of understanding market psychology. It's part of what central bankers do...so that's the organization that should be in charge of systemic risk management.

How should derivatives be handled?

I think they should be put on exchanges. What I've been writing about in my books is that we need to expand derivatives. I'm giving a talk tomorrow at the SEC and again on Friday at the Federal Reserve about a proposal to create GDP-linked bonds. It would be a new derivative because the government would be issuing bonds linked to the GDP. My argument is that this time of crisis is the time to start doing that. I think it would create a better and more robust market for our debt around the world right when we have to worry about our debt. Derivatives represent an important technology. We have to get it right. Moving them to exchanges is one way of getting it right.

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Anonymous
#129768

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has expanded the definitions of "foreclosed" and "abandoned" properties in order to speed up their purchase and rehabilitation, the housing agency announced Friday.

The agency's $5.9 billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants funds to selected nonprofits and state and local governments for activities that will benefit low- and moderate-income people who don't make more than 120 percent of an area's median income. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 established the program, which was further expanded with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Grantees must use at least 25 percent of the monies to buy and redevelop abandoned or foreclosed homes that will ultimately house people who make less than half of the area's median income, according to the agency's Web site. Grantees can also use funds to put financing mechanisms in place for that purchase and redevelopment, establish land banks for foreclosed homes, and/or tear down blighted structures.

Grantees must have pledged the first round of the program's funding -- the biggest portion of funding at $3.92 billion -- by this September. Because of the program's limited definitions of properties that qualified for assistance, HUD determined the program was not moving fast enough to stabilize affected neighborhoods.

"It became clear to us that the Neighborhood Stabilization Program as originally designed was...

The term "foreclosed" previously applied only to properties where the foreclosure process had been completed.

"Many properties were lingering in the foreclosure process and beyond the reach of NSP. The original definition limited a grantee's ability to intervene strategically when a lender initiates but does not complete foreclosure, or where a default is allowed to linger," the agency said.

Now, in addition to the previous definition, foreclosed homes will include properties that fall into at least one of these situations: 1) the owner is at least 60 days delinquent on a mortgage and has been notified; 2) the owner is at least 90 days delinquent on tax payments; 3) foreclosure proceedings have begun under state or local law; or 4) the foreclosure process is complete and lenders have transferred title to an intermediary aggregator or servicer that is is not a beneficiary of the program, the agency said.

The term "abandoned" previously applied only to properties that had been foreclosed and vacant for at least 90 days.

"This definition effectively excludes properties abandoned by owners but where tenants are still in place, thereby precluding local communities from assisting the properties with NSP funding or protecting the tenants' occupancy," the agency said.

Now, abandoned homes will include those where the owner has not made mortgage or tax payments on the property for at least 90 days or a code inspection has declared the property uninhabitable and the owner has not corrected the problems within 90 days of notification, the agency said.

The new definitions are effective immediately.

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Anonymous
#129767

Home Builders Need To Help CoBrokers Build Their Business

by David Fletcher

For years, brokers have helped builders build their business. Now it is the homebuilders' turn to help general agents build theirs. The need is now and the timing is perfect.

Many builders pay all or part of the broker's commission up front for presales while the same agent waits up to six months to be paid for a short sale (if it closes).

It used to be the other way around. Brokers would have to wait for presales to close to get their commissions, but could sell a resale and be paid in 30 days.

Even worse, selling short sales is hard work. Have you seen a short sale checklist lately? Selling new homes is much easier.

Here's the truth:

Builders need cobroker sales more than ever. Agents need to sell inventory that will close in the shortest period. It is time for the new homes industry to send a new clear message to the general real estate community:

The very reason general agents did not sell new homes before, delayed commissions, is the exact reason they will sell new homes today. Not only will you the homebuilder pay early, you will help grow their business!

General agents don't need to be simply reached. They need to be coached. Who better to coach them than your on-site agents?

General agents need to be coached way beyond "bring a prospect and we will do all the work." They need to be coached to build a new hew...

Teach general agents how to find new homes buyers, how to 'needs' qualify them for a new home, how to follow sales office protocol, their role during a sales presentation and a presale meeting, why your follow up system works, how you protect their commission, etc.

Here is a core issue that builders need to understand. There are major differences in how general agents are trained and how new homes consultants are trained. They are practically 180 degrees out of sync emotionally and professionally.

For instance, general agents are trained to solicit 'offers." New homes consultants are trained to protect and be proud of 'price."

Here are 7 more differences:

1. General agents are trained to show a few prospects many homes. On-site agents are trained to sell from the few models built by their builder.

2. General agents need few details about the home. On-site agents know everything you need to know about every detail.

3. General agents see their job as helping the buyer 'find a home." New homes agents see their job as helping the buyer understand that their location, homes, and value are the best available.

4. General agents deal with a few prequalified ready, willing, and able buyers generally in the market for a home within weeks. On-site agents deal with a much higher volume of all kinds of shoppers, many not qualified or even interested in buying.

5. General agents are not accountable to anyone. On-site agents usually have to provide traffic and sales reports on a regular basis.

6. General agents don't know everything about their product, and usually nothing about the builder. On-site agents must and do sell their company, products, and builder.

7. General agents are truly independent. On-site agents like the structure of having their own office and knowing the details of every phase of selling a new home.

What new homes agents don't understand about general agents, based on in-office surveys and sales meeting comments heard in general agent offices:

1. They like the 'easy' sell idea. We all do.

But mostly they care about their prospect buying a home and getting paid. The fact that it is an easy sale and on-site agents do most of the transaction management is icing, not the cake.

2. There is a reason some agents 'fly through the models'' with their prospect.

Understand that if they are with a relocating prospect their company expects the agent to show the prospect all sides of town, perhaps, to get a feel for the types of homes and prices available. They will be back if the prospect prefers your side of town and liked your price range.

3. Since 'location, location, location' is the real estate mantra, why do new homes agents spend so little time selling location?

The fact is the general agent may not know what is going on with the schools, industry, shopping, taxes, etc either. Who better to sell 'location' than the on-site agent? Don't leave the agent in a position of having to answer questions related to these matters after they leave you.

4. General agents are not going to risk being embarrassed by not knowing how to get to your sales office. Invite general offices to hold their sales meetings in your sales office, sponsor breakfasts, lunches, and other events as often as possible to get the agents to your property. That way they will know and be comfortable bringing prospects.

5. When asking for offices to caravan your models, call the broker's office; ask for the "caravan coordinator." Then ask to be placed at the end of the next caravan scheduled for your side of town. Always offer lunch so you can control your presentation. This way you are doing for the broker, what you want the broker to do for you -work within his system.

6. Compliment the agent in front of his prospects during the tour. A comment like "I see you are working with one of the top agents in our area," would go a long way towards building trust and loyalty with the agent.

7. Follow up with the general agent and don't complain if they don't call you. We know they should, as a courtesy, but don't let that get in the way of not building a broker relationship.

8. Invite offices out for a sales program. Talk some about your models but a lot about how much you understand them. You will be amazed at how they will respond.

One thing needs to be clearly understood by on-site agents: Brokers are to your business, what prospects are to general agents.

Buyer loyalty to a broker is almost none existent, but broker loyalty to an on-site agent can be developed. In times like these there is nothing like a call from a broker asking for an on-site agent by name because they want to bring a ready, willing, and able prospect to the sales office.

It's ok to remind brokers that you work for the best builder, have the best product for the best price, and that you will do most of the broker's work. But that was yesterday.

What they need to hear repeatedly today is that you, the homebuilder, will not only make it easy for the agent but you can help them develop a long term new homes niche in their market.

Help general agents build their business and they will help you build yours.

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Anonymous
#129765

Mortgage Rates Rise Ahead of Fed MBS Exit, 30-yr to 4.875 (+0.125)

by Ed Ferrara

FreeRateUpdate.com research shows 30-yr fixed mortgages are available today at 4.875 percent to well-qualified consumers paying a standard .07 to 1 point origination. Today's rate is slightly higher (+0.125) than what's been obtainable for most of March.

It's not just the 30-yr fixed rate that's up, as a result of a decline in mortgage-backed securities prices late last week, conventional mortgage rates are up on almost every program.15-yr fixed mortgages, previously available at 4.125 with standard origination, are available today at 4.25. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages, previously available at 3.625, are now at 3.75.

A larger increase in mortgage rates is expected soon after the Fed officially ends their 1.25 trillion dollar mortgage-backed securities buying program on the 31st. FHA mortgage rates have been steady. FHA 30-yr fixed mortgages remain available at 4.75%, now slightly better than the conventional rate.

Jumbo 30-yr fixed mortgages exceeding jumbo conforming loan limits remain available at 5.625.

All rates mentioned in this article are available today to well-qualified consumers paying .07 to 1 point origination as verified by FreeRateUpdate.com research of over 2 dozen wholesale lenders' rate sheets.

Today's Mortgage Rates:

* 30 yr fixed rate - 4.875%

* 15 yr fixed rate - 4.250%

* 5/1 ARM rate - 3.750%...

MI and FHA mandated fees make FHA loans more costly despite origination being the same.

* FHA 30 yr fixed rate - 4.750%

* FHA 15 yr fixed rate - 4.50%

* FHA 5/1 ARM rate - 3.750%

* Jumbo 30 yr fixed rate - 5.625%

* Jumbo Conforming 30 yr fixed rate - 5.000%

Source: freerateupdate.com

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Anonymous
#129764

Only in America

by Bob Hunt

Recently, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) conducted its 2010 Issues Conference in San Diego, California. An annual event, the Issues Conference is attended by Realtors® from around the country who are active supporters of NAR's political efforts.

With more than 1 million members, NAR maintains a high-visibility presence in Washington, D.C. Working out of NAR's striking, green-certified building on New Jersey Avenue, the Realtors®' lobbying staff is widely acclaimed to be one of the most respected and accomplished in the capital.

It is fair to say, though, that a significant portion of Realtors® have a pretty low level of awareness with respect to the organization's legislative efforts. Many have misperceptions as well. It is often assumed that the Realtors®' support and interests are pretty much lined up with the Republican Party. This just isn't so. As the Realtor® Political Action Committee (RPAC) explains it, "Unlike some organizations, Realtors® believe in not favoring one political party over the other, but rather we believe in having as many friends as we can on both sides of the aisle."

At the conference, NAR's chief lobbyist, Gerard "Jerry" Giovaniello pointed out that RPAC financial support in the last election cycle was roughly 57% Democrat and 43% Republican. That number will vary from year to year, but generally it is pretty even. This is because the political activities of...

Speakers at this year's conference included Senator Johnny Isakson (author of the Senate version of the tax credit for first-time and continuing home buyers), Stuart Weisberg, former Staff Director for Congressman Barney Frank, and Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report. A panel on "The Obama Administration's 1st Year" featured Jim Glassman, a former Under Secretary for the Bush Administration and Anita Dunn, former Communications Director for the Obama Administration.

There is little doubt, though, that closing speaker Paul Begala was the one who made the greatest impression on those who attended. The choice of Begala as speaker was an interesting one. To say that he is a highly partisan Democrat would be a severe understatement. Begala is a former White House counselor to Bill Clinton. With partner and sometime co-author James Carville, he was a senior strategist for the Clinton-Gore Presidential Campaign in 1992. Begala frequently appears on CNN political panels where he passionately and incisively defends and supports the presidency of Barack Obama. It was reasonable to expect that his comments would test the bi-partisan spirit of the conference.

But Paul Begala didn't deliver a partisan analysis to the Realtors® that evening. Rather, he talked about America. He told of calling his French brother-in-law the evening of Obama's election and asking him if he thought that France might ever elect a President of color with French-Moroccan roots. "Only in America" his brother-in-law responded.

Mr. Begala spoke of his grandmother who came to the United States from Hungary, speaking no English. She worked as a maid and took care of other people's children. And she was proud to do it. He told of being able to bring her to the Oval Office where she sat and conversed with President Clinton. As they drove away from the White House, she poignantly commented, "Only in America."

Paul Begala challenged his audience to consider that the servers who were clearing their dinner tables and the maids who would make up their hotel rooms might be very much like his grandmother. And one day, maybe one of those servers or maids would get to visit their grandson or granddaughter at the White House in Washington, D.C.

It could happen in America.

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Anonymous
#129757

Rx for HOA Insurance Gapposis

by Richard Thompson

One of the all too frequent occurrences in homeowner associations (HOA) occurs when a gap exists between insurance carried by the HOA and insurance carried by each homeowner. This is not a small problem. According to Murphy’s Law: If there is a loophole, insurance adjusters will find it and refuse to pay a claim on it. So, when different insurance carriers define coverages differently, a gap in coverage results. This gap too often plays out in common wall homeowner associations.

One way to eliminate the possibility of insurance gaps is to have both the HOA and all owners insured by the same carrier. It makes sense to go one step further and all use the same agent. When the same carrier is used, where one policy stops, the other begins. No gaps.

Another way of solving the gap problem is for the board to adopt a Maintenance and Insurance Areas of Responsibility Policy which includes a list of grounds and building components and which party, HOA or owner, is responsible to maintain and insure them. The list should be definitive and consistent with maintenance responsibilities found in the governing documents. For example, if the governing documents state that the HOA is responsible for decks, the board cannot make it an owner responsibility.

In the typical common wall scenario, the HOA maintains and insures the common elements and unit owners are expected to maintain and insure from...

Once the list and policy is approved by the board, a copy should be provided to each owner with instructions that a copy be sent to the owner’s insurance carrier. All agents are then put on constructive notice what level of coverage is expected by the insureds. The written notice should request from the agent any exceptions to the coverage to make doubly sure there are no gaps. If there are gaps, there will be an opportunity to close them.

Many insurance claim gapposis disputes can be avoided by closing the gap between coverages and clarifying the maintenance and insurance responsibilities of the parties. If your homeowner association has not gone through this exercise and enacted a policy, now is a good time to get started.

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Anonymous
#129756

Let's Admit It's Bad and Help Our Agents through It

by Walter Sanford

Our agents are facing dropping prices, buyers without the hope of future appreciation, and FICO scores that aren't up to par. Sellers are watching the equity that they have already spent disappear. Banks are pushing the short sale envelope until it rips. Shadow inventory with Alt A option arm re-adjustments are now coming to join the party. The government is spending more than the printing press can handle, debasing a currency that the lenders expect to get back 30 years from now. Are they going to continue to lend at 6 percent? You have not seen anything yet! So, get ready to change the way you do business … or move over.

You get what you deserve when you tell agents it is going to be "ok" tomorrow, because they never change. They think they are going to party like 2006 again. Keep telling them it's getting better and watch them do what most do best -- wait for a client to bump into them.

If they want to survive, even prosper, you need to do what I did when the market was horrible -- increase your listing inventory by multiples populated by motivated sellers (with equity would be nice, too!). Only take short sales that have a chance of closing. Stop chasing the REOs. If you don't have an account already, there is easier business to find!

Work only with buyers who allow counseling, written pre-approval, and sign a loyalty agreement. Give them something different...

Stop blowing smoke. It may not be getting any better. Let go of clients who cannot perform. Remember -- real estate agents work for FREE until closing. The only thing you can control is the quality of your client. Build that listing inventory, stop doing things that make little or new money, and stop working with buyers who have not jumped through a few hoops.

The business of real estate is exciting. Personally, I was always able to increase my income in tough markets by following these steps:

1. Agents get out faster than the market goes down, leaving the great clients to me!

2. It is easier to get listings, just take those that will close.

3. Learn how to add "glue" to contracts.

4. Nicely turn down buyers who will not become clients.

This will increase an agent's income, allowing the inherent leverage of this business to work. Here's how that leverage works:

1. A listing puts the whole MLS on your payroll. It gives you an opportunity for a double-ended transaction. It is the least expensive method to generate a buyer. Work every day to get a new one.

2. A buyer who is shown off-market listings will help you produce more listing leads. Work with fewer and show them properties in addition to the MLS.

3. Buyers and sellers pay you commission to learn and absorb information about all the good deals out there. What if you had a few extra bucks to buy prime, bargain property at 40-year low interest rates? I guess that I am just tired of hearing all the complaints. It is time to start training agents to do the right stuff … NOW!

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Anonymous
#129755

Bifurcation in the Commercial Real Estate as Demand Outstrips Supply, For Now

by Peter L. Mosca

[Note: To follow is an excerpt of a radio show interview conducted by Peter L. Mosca, host of Income Property Investment Talk dot com, with Dr. Sam Chandan, Global Chief Economist and Executive Vice President of Real Capital Analytics (RCA) and adjunct professor of real estate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. To listen to the show archive or download an MP3, go to www.IncomePropertyInvestmentTalk.com/030310.]

Mosca: The services of Real Capital Analytics are based on your proprietary database of commercial property transactions. The integrity of your data is unparalleled. I know your company goes to great lengths to make sure that your data is timely, accurate, and completely objective. That said, what is your interpretation of that data as it relates to current trends in the economy that are most relevant to commercial real estate?

Chandan One of the things we see very clearly right now and it's quite consistent with previous cycles both for the economy and for the real estate market. What's happening with rents, what's happening with vacancy rates, what's happening with net operating income both of those measures of real estate market activity are lagging the trends that we see in the broader economy. for people outside of the real estate sector, this can sometimes come as a bit of a surprise. What we have is a critical...

Mosca: I read a quote from Dan Fasulo at Real Capital, "Well if Sam Zell is getting into the market, that might say something to a lot of people." What do you think?

Chandan: For every individual investor, depending on the nature of their capital source, depending on their cost of capital, and depending on the time horizon for their investment they are going to have to make an independent decision about the right timing for the market. One critical differentiator is that all investors need to be very careful of the fundamentals for the real properties, for the office buildings, the apartment buildings, because it can lag the economy in a very significant way. Even if you are able to identify a very good investment opportunity for yourself and the price seems right, the market seems right, the capital is available, you have to have a strong operational capacity. Again, assuming you are in a property or investing in a property or taking exposure to an asset where there will be some degree of exposure to the market over the next couple of years, each and every one of us are going to have to contend with the fact that it is a difficult environment in which to maintain occupancy, in which to manage the relationship with the tenant. There are going to be continuing strains on cash flow.

Mosca: What is the CPPI and what is it telling us right now?

Chandan: Moody's Commercial Property Price Index, the CPPI, is an index that is fed by Real Capital's transaction data There was a slight up check in prices for properties and this does come as a bit of a surprise again for some people who do also see that if levels of distress, delinquency, defaults on commercial mortgages continue to rise how is it sometimes seems counterintuitive that we might actually see a slight price increase. There is a lot of capital sitting on the sidelines. There are a large number of investors both domestic and foreign that have raised pools of equity and over the last year have waited very patiently but all things considered are growing increasingly frustrated at a lack of opportunity to really invest that capital. What we do see is that for the potential targets for those investors they may want to buy well performing office assets or apartment's assets in very liquid metropolitan areas, the 24 hour cities on the two coasts of the country. The number of investment opportunities that are available to them, the number of properties that are unoffered that meet the profile, and the characteristics of the type of asset they would like to introduce to their portfolio, those opportunities are still very small in number and so when some of these assets are becoming available in the market, we surprisingly see that there is actually a fairly robust bidding for these assets and that's supporting some degree of improvement in pricing.

Mosca: What does that say about the market?

Chandan: We have bifurcation in the market. By that I mean that again we have bidding and interest in those very good quality assets, assets that are performing on a fundamentals basis because occupancy in particular is so highly valued right now. The next couple of years are going to be particularly challenging for commercial real estate fundamentals. It will be a while before we see vacancy rates coming down and rents increasing again. So, where you do have solid tenants in place, where you don't have significant exposures to the market as a result of impending lease rollovers, that occupancy where it is stable, good quality credit tenants that is very highly valued and those properties are seeing very healthy bidding. On the other side of the market, we may have assets that perhaps are in metropolitan areas where the economy is weaker, where the recession has taken a greater toll or where some characteristic of the asset leaves the investors to believe that it will fundamentally underperform not only over the course of the next couple of years but it will very difficult to get that asset really to the point where it was in 2006 and 2007 at the peak of the market. Those assets are available for sale in larger numbers but what I think we have to recognize is that those characteristics of the property, the fact that occupancy is so valued but these properties may have high vacancy rates are resulting in fairly weak bidding for those assets.

Mosca: Does an investor have to manage their cap rate and cash flow expectations in this particular marketplace? Could they expect or should they expect the numbers to be the same as they were before maybe in the early 2000s?

Chandan: We need to be very careful about how we look at an individual property's cash flow, its tenant role, and when it will have exposures to market when thinking about how that asset will perform. For the foreseeable future, we need to be not only realistic about how property level cash flow will change but we need to in many cases be very prudent about anticipating where there could be downward pressures on cash flow. In as much as this has been a very unusual cycle in the economy, certainly there is a great deal of debate in economic circles around the nature of the recovery, the extent of the recovery that we'll have. I think for listeners, it's critical to remember that commercial property fundamentals depend critically upon jobs. We've lost an unusually large number of jobs over the course of the cycle. We are still in an uncharted area in terms of our thinking about what the new sources of jobs will be. Where will those new jobs come from? What will be the time frame over which we replace all of the lost jobs from the last two years? It's only until we can see very clearly that new jobs are being created, ultimately resulting in new demand for office space, driving payroll and wage growth, supporting retail space and ultimately industrial warehouse distribution. Young people critically need to find their way back into the labor market in larger numbers so that they can be demanding apartments. All of those things need to happen. We do at the individual property in metropolitan area levels need to think about how is that going to impact my expectations for the property level cash flow. One thing I should add there is that the cycle can be fairly protracted. You mentioned the early 2000s. We reached a peak, for example, if we just look at the office sector for a moment in property fundamentals in 2000. Then we had a recession that began in early 2001, at least technically the National Bureau of Economic Research tells us that it ended in November of that year. How long was it before we started to see a meaningful improvement in property fundamentals after the end of that last recession? What we actually saw was that vacancy rates for office properties at the national level continued to trend up for another two years after the recession ended. It wasn't until the 4th quarter of 2003 and the 1st quarter of 2004 that we saw we reached a peak in vacancy rates and over this entire period rents are still falling. After that, it was about another two years before vacancy rates had come down enough that we started to see some meaningful improvement in asking and effective rents. This is a four to five year cycle over which fundamentals were declining before they began to then improve again and that requires an unusual degree of patience when we are thinking about taking investments in positions in the commercial real estate market.

Mosca: We have had guests on Income Property Investment Talk dot com who spoke about international investors and their desire for U.S., assets. What are your thoughts?

Chandan: When you look at a survey done here by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, they work with and they survey active investors on the global stage and they inquire about which markets those investors might target. What are the markets where they see the greatest potential for asset price appreciation? The results of the most recent survey from earlier this year complement data that we've collected at Real Capital that shows that foreign investors remain very interested in the US market. For all of the challenges we faced over the course of the last couple of years, in spite of the fact that in the minds of many of these investors, the root of many of the challenges that we've faced in the global economic environment over the last couple of years have had their roots right here in New York and other parts of the United States in part because we have relatively higher cap rates here. They do perceive that the US and some very specific markets in the US that this is really the target market for them at this particular juncture. This is something that the Real Estate Round table in Washington has also taken an interest in when you look at their current policy agenda and they are working with legislators and policy makers. One of the items on the list is a potential relaxing of FIRPTA, the Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act, which assesses a tax against gains that are realized by foreign investors into US real assets and REIT stocks. That is something where there are certainly constituencies in the market who feel that there are a large number of foreign investors both on the debt and equity side who have an interest in coming to the United States, being active within the US market, and we should remove some of these disincentives. My particular view is that we can relax FIRPTA. It's not necessarily going to result in a sudden uptake or a sudden flood of new capital to the United States. I think changes will occur fairly gradually and in part that's because foreign investors are already very interested in taking exposures in the US market. One thing there that we do have to be realistic about, I think you mentioned it already is that there are only a finite number of cities within the United States that really do enjoy the full extent of the benefit from investment flows into the US. There are the major coastal cities both on the East Coast and West Coast but for the vast majority of individual metropolitan areas foreign capital inflows are not necessarily a significant factor.

Published: April 1, 2010

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Anonymous
#129754

Long-Term Mortgage Rates at Second Highest Level This Year

McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.08 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 1, 2010, up from last week when it averaged 4.99 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.78 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.39 percent with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.34 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.52 percent. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.10 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.14 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.92 percent.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.05 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.20 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.75 percent.

"Interest rates for fixed mortgages rose this week following a run up in long-term bond yields, while ARM rates eased slightly," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "Rates on 30-year fixed loans were the highest since the starting week of this year."

"Home-price declines continue to moderate with more metropolitan areas showing stabilizing or rising values. Compared with...

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Anonymous
#129751

Building Credibility and Trust

by Dirk Zeller

Selling and sales techniques go through evolution and sometimes revolution. Evolution is when we evolve and change slowly over an extended period of time. We experience revolution when our customers demand a change in approach quickly to be better served.

Whether building trust is a new key concept in the sales person's lexicon or not, it has come about through evolution or revolution; I am not completely sure which one. I do know that building credibility and trust are essential elements in the sales process in order to develop long-term sales relationships. Building credibility and trust is more important than ever before in real estate sales. Sales needs to be viewed as something we do with or for someone, not what we do to someone. That's a very key distinction.

There are two basic sales models and sales customers that have evolved over time. They are transactional selling and relationship selling. For too long, sales and, especially, the real estate sales arena were transaction based. We provided the conduit of access to the information and the properties. We secured and facilitated the closing of the property. The service usually ended at the conclusion of the transaction. That is not an effective model to create a long, successful business from, but we controlled the information, access, and fee structure.

The pendulum started to swing rapidly as our control started to slip away....

My evidence of this outcome is the high competition for commission dollars and the fees we charge. According to a Harris Interactive and Real Trends report, 62% of sales professionals feel pressure to negotiate commission; 81% said it was because of the competition. When all we have is a relationship with a prospective client, it's not enough to sustain our exclusive position as their Realtor®. It's not enough to protect our commission and value. The fact that we are a nice person and send them a calendar each Christmas is not enough to position ourselves as the expert – someone they will always use to represent their interests in real estate acquisition or sale.

The buzzword in real estate sales in the early 2000's had been "relationship selling." We were being taught to bond, connect, find common ground, soft sell, let the customer lead, and many other phrases and acronyms that we speakers and trainers can think up to get our message across. The over-correction into extreme levels of "relationship" sales or "consultative" sales is just beginning to be seen in our sales performance. This is because the marketplace made it so easy to make a sale at that time. For some Agents, this over-correction had allowed them to feel better about themselves in a sales career. I am not trying to offend anyone here, but it has also created a new breed of wimpy salespeople where the relationship is everything, and the skills of selling are inconsequential. Which, in a market that has turned, has proved to be detrimental to their career.

Rather than focusing on building the relationship exclusively, I would encourage you to focus on building credibility and trust. The process of building credibility and trust should make up about 40% of your sales process, followed by identifying their wants and needs, which should represent 20%. Don't mistake this new focus of building credibility as a way to get around having to develop sales skills, as most did with relationship building. There is no substitute for Champion level sales skills. We need to sell the prospect on our credibility and trust through a knowledge and expertise platform.

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Anonymous
#129734

o understand title policy insurance in America, let's look at chain-of-title and how title companies search the public records. Title insurance companies aren't really concerned with where dinosaurs once roamed, whether our ancestors trekked across the Bering Straight or where American Indian tribes settled. Title searches begin with when the United States government stole the land, I mean claimed it -- from the U. S. patent -- and move forward from that point.

Because humans are involved in recording deed transfers and plotting land parcels, a lot can go wrong. You want title insurance because it will protect you against defects and human error.

Property Searches and Public Records

* Property transfers were first recorded alphabetically in separate Grantor and Grantee books.

* The books are heavy to lift and dusty.

* County records are often maintained at local courthouses or the Clerk of Registrars.

* Today, most records are stored on the computer.

Division of Land

* Early deeds involved large chunks of land known as Townships.

* Townships contain 36 sections and are six miles by six miles.

* Sections measure one mile by one mile and contain 640 acres.

* Half of a section is 320 acres.

* 1/4 of a section is 160 acres.

* 1/4 section of 1/4 section is 40 acres.

* An acre is 43,560 square feet

Title Search Basics

* Title searches start with the...

* That grantor's name is then searched backwards in time in the grantee's book to find when the grantor acquired title as a grantee.

* This process continues, and over time, the property description involves larger and larger parcels of land.

* Eventually, the searcher finds the U. S. Patent.

Other Factors Affecting Title

Deeds establish chain-of-title, but sometimes those chains are broken. In addition, title searchers also look for reconveyances (proof that the encumbrances are paid off), and they look for easements, rights-of-way, CC&Rs, other elements affecting title to the property. Here are more records that are searched to piece title together:

* Marriage records

* Death certificates

* Tax sales

Title Insurance Coverage

Depending on the title company, consumers can choose among a variety of options, but the top three choices are Owners, Lender's and Extended Coverage.

* Basic Owner's Title Policy Coverage:

1. Clear title to the property

2. Incorrect signatures on documents

3. Forgery, fraud

4. Defective recordation

5. Restrictive covenants

6. Encumbrances or judgments

* Basic Lender's Title Policy Coverage:

1. Mechanic's liens and unrecorded liens

2. Unrecorded easements and access rights

3. Defects and other unrecorded documents

* Extended Owner's Coverage

1. Building permit violations from previous owners

2. Subdivision maps

3. Covenant violations from previous owners

4. Living trusts

5. Structure damage from mineral extractions

6. Variety of encroachments and forgeries after title insurance is issued

Who Pays For Title Policy Insurance?

* This depends on your local custom.

* It can differ from county to county, but it is also negotiable in the purchase offer.

* Sometimes sellers and buyers split the fee for the owner's policy.

* Typically, the buyer pays for the lender's coverage.

How Long Are Title Policies Good For?

Forever, theoretically. If you are planning to resell the property within a couple years, ask your title company about "binder" coverage. Most companies will sell you a binder policy for 10% more. A binder is good for two years, often can be extended beyond that time, and the fee charged for the new buyer's policy will be the difference between what you bought the property for and the price at which it sold. In other words, you will get a credit for the amount of coverage you purchased under your own Owner's Title policy.

How Often Are Title Policy Insurance Premiums Paid?

Once. The fee is due when you buy. You will never pay it again. Title policy insurance is the best insurance policy you can ever buy.

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Anonymous
#129732

What Is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is protection against loss arising from problems connected to the title to your property.

Before you purchased your home, it may have gone through several ownership changes, and the land on which it stands went through many more. There may be a weak link at any point in that chain that could emerge to cause trouble. For example, someone along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title. Or there may be unpaid real estate taxes or other liens. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.

Is Purchasing Title Insurance Obligatory?

It is if you need a mortgage, because all mortgage lenders require such protection for an amount equal to the loan. It lasts until the loan is repaid. As with mortgage insurance, it protects the lender but you pay the premium, which is a single-payment made upfront.

Does Title Insurance Do Anything For Me?

The required insurance protects the lender up to the amount of the mortgage, but it doesn’t protect your equity in the property. For that you need an owner’s title policy for the full value of the home. In many areas, sellers pay for owner policies as part of their obligation to deliver good title to the buyer. In other areas, borrowers must buy it as an add-on to the lender policy. It is advisable to do this because the additional cost above the cost of the lender policy is...

Doesn't the Lender Policy Indirectly Protect Me?

No, title policies are indemnity policies, they protect against loss, and a lender policy would only cover the lender's loss. Of course, the fact that the insurer issued a policy to the lender indicates that the title has been searched and nothing amiss has been found, but no search is 100% dependable. That is why an insurance policy is issued.

When Does Title Insurance Protection Begin and End?

With the exception noted later, title insurance only protects against losses from claims that arose prior to the date of the policy. Coverage ends on the day the policy is issued and extends backward in time for an indefinite period. This is in marked contrast to property or life insurance, which protect against losses resulting from events that occur after the policy is issued, for a specified period into the future.

For How Long Is the Property Owner Purchasing Title Insurance Covered?

Indefinitely. The owner’s protection lasts as long as the owner or any heirs have an interest in or any obligation with regard to the property. When they sell, however, the lender will require the purchaser to obtain a new policy. That protects the lender against any liens or other claims against the property that may have arisen since the date of the previous policy.

For example, if the contractor you failed to pay for remodeling your kitchen places a lien on your home, you are not protected by your title policy; the lien was placed after the date of the policy. You will probably be required to get the lien removed before you can sell the property. But in the event the lien hasn’t been removed and a search has failed to uncover it, the new lender will be protected by a new policy.

Will Title Insurance Protect Me Against False Claims That Arose After I Purchased the Property?

The standard policy does not, which is a weakness. Many events beyond your control can reduce the value of your house after you buy it. If it is a newly-constructed house, sub-contractors claiming they had not been paid by the builder may place a lien on the house. Identity theft can result in a new mortgage you know nothing about. A neighbor could build on your land without your knowledge, thereby adversely possessing and possibly eventually taking your land. Or you may suddenly be told that you must correct a zoning violation of the previous owner.

To deal with these issues, a new policy with expanded coverage has been developed. I am told it is virtually standard in California and is available in many other states, perhaps at a small price increase. It is usually referred to as the ALTA Homeowner’s Policy.

Does Title Insurance Coverage Rise With Increases in the Value of My Property?

No, but coverage under the ALTA policy referred to above increases by 10% a year for the first 5 years after issuance, to 150% of the initial amount. You can buy additional coverage as a rider to the policy.

If your policy does not have such a rider and your property has appreciated sharply in value, you may be able to purchase additional coverage on the same policy by paying an incremental fee. The fee should be modest because because no new title search is involved. The coverage will only apply to title defects that existed prior to the original date of the policy. To extend the coverage to events that may have clouded the title since the original policy, you would need to take out a new policy with a new search and pay the full rate.

Why Do I Need to Purchase a New Policy When I Refinance?

You don’t need a new owner’s policy, but the lender will require you to purchase a new lender policy. Even if you refinance with the same lender, the existing lender’s policy terminates when you pay off the mortgage. Furthermore, the lender is concerned about title issues that may have arisen since you purchased the property, such as the lien mentioned in an earlier question. A new title search will uncover the lien, and you will have to pay it off as a condition for the refinance.

Insurers generally offer discounts on policies taken out within short periods after the preceding policy. In some cases, discounts are available as far out as 6 years from the date of the previous policy. Ask for it, it may not be offered if you don't.

Does the Fact That Title Insurance Companies Pay Out Very Little in Claims Indicate That it Is Overpriced?

No, it may be overpriced, but not for that reason. Because title insurance protects against what may have happened in the past, most of the expense incurred by title companies or their agents is in loss reduction. They look to reduce losses by finding and fixing defects before the policy is issued, in much the same way as firms providing elevator or boiler insurance. These types of insurance are very different from life, property or mortgage insurance, which protect against losses from future events over which the insurers have no control.

Are Title Insurance Premiums Fair to Low-Income Borrowers?

Probably they are more than fair. Most title insurance costs arise in preventing loss rather than paying claims, and prevention costs are not much different for a small policy than for a large one. Despite this, premiums are scaled to the amount of the mortgage or the value of the property, which suggests that smaller policies may be under-priced and larger policies overpriced.

Does Title Insurance Guarantee Me That I Will Be Able to Sell My Property If An Unforeseen Claim Arises?

No. Title insurance does not prevent loss of marketability due to a title claim, any more than fire insurance prevents fire. If a claim arises, you probably won’t be able to sell your property until the claim is settled by the title insurer. The interest of the owner and the insurer may clash in such cases. The owner usually wants settlement immediately, whereas the insurer wants to minimize the cost of settlement, which may require time-consuming negotiations with the claimant.

Why Are There Such Large Variations in the Cost of Title Insurance in Different Parts of the Country?

One major reason is that the services covered by the title insurance premium vary in different parts of the country. In some areas, the premium covers not only protection against loss but also the costs of search and examination, as well as closing services. In other areas, the premium covers protection only, and borrowers pay for the other related services separately.

To complicate it further, in some states the charges for title-related services are paid to title insurance companies, which perform the functions but charge separately for them. In other states, borrowers may pay attorneys or independent companies called abstractors or escrow companies.

Of course, what matters to the borrower is the sum total of all title-related charges. These also differ from one area to another in response to a variety of factors. The 50 states have 50 different regulatory regimes, which affect charges. So do local costs, competition in local markets, and other factors. This is a largely unstudied segment of the economy that would make a nice PhD dissertation for a student in economics!

Does a Borrower Have the Right to Purchase Title Insurance on Her Own?

Yes, although few exercise it. Most leave it up to one of the professionals with whom they deal – real estate agent, lender or attorney – to select the carrier. This means that competition among title insurers is largely directed toward these professionals who can direct business rather than toward borrowers. This has begin to change with the development of the internet, however, and one new insurer has emerged to market directly to borrowers. See Buying Title Insurance on the Web: Entitle Direct.

If a Borrower Does Shop For Title Insurance, Would it Pay?

Perhaps. It is difficult to generalize because market conditions vary state by state, and sometimes within states.

I would certainly shop in states that do not regulate title insurance rates: Alabama, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

You would be wasting your time shopping in Texas and New Mexico because these state set the prices for all carriers. Florida also sets title insurance premiums but not other title-related charges, which can vary.

In the remaining states, the situation is murky and it may or may not pay to shop. Insurance premiums are the same for all carriers in “rating bureau states”: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Delaware. These states authorize title insurers to file for approval of a single rate schedule for all carriers through a cooperative entity. Yet in some there may be flexibility in title-related charges. More promising are “file and use” states – all those not mentioned above -- which permit premiums to vary between insurers.

It is a good idea to ask an informed but disinterested local whether it pays to shop in the area where the property is located. Just keep in mind that those likely to be the best informed are also likely to have an interest in directing your business in the direction that is most advantageous to them.

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Anonymous
#129731

itle insurance in the United States is indemnity insurance against financial loss from defects in title to real property and from the invalidity or unenforceability of mortgage liens. Title insurance is principally a product developed and sold in the United States as a result of the comparative deficiency of the US land records laws. It is meant to protect an owner's or a lender's financial interest in real property against loss due to title defects, liens or other matters. It will defend against a lawsuit attacking the title as it is insured, or reimburse the insured for the actual monetary loss incurred, up to the dollar amount of insurance provided by the policy. The first title insurance company, the Law Property Assurance and Trust Society, was formed in Pennsylvania in 1853.[1] The vast majority of title insurance policies are written on land within the U.S.

Typically the real property interests insured are fee simple ownership or a mortgage. However, title insurance can be purchased to insure any interest in real property, including an easement, lease or life estate. Just as lenders require fire insurance and other types of insurance coverage to protect their investment, nearly all institutional lenders also require title insurance to protect their interest in the collateral of loans secured by real estate. Some mortgage lenders, especially non-institutional lenders, may not require title insurance.

Title insurance is available in many other...

In 1868, the case of Watson v. Muirhead was heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Plaintiff Muirhead had lost his investment in a real estate transaction as the result of a prior lien on the property. Defendant Watson, the conveyancer, had discovered the lien prior to the sale but told Muirhead the title was clear after his lawyer had (erroneously) determined that the lien was not valid.

The courts ruled that Watson (and others in similar situations) was not liable for mistakes based on professional opinions. As a result, in 1874, the Pennsylvania legislature passed an act allowing for the incorporation of title insurance companies.

Joshua Morris, a conveyancer in Philadelphia, and several colleagues met on 28 March 1876 to incorporate the first title insurance company. The new firm, Real Estate Title Insurance Company of Philadelphia, would "insure the purchasers of real estate and mortgages against losses from defective titles, liens and encumbrances," and that "through these facilities, transfer of real estate and real estate securities can be made more speedily and with greater security than heretofore."

Morris' aunt purchased the first policy, valued at $1,500, to cover a home on North 43rd Street in Philadelphia.[2][3]

[edit] Why Title Insurance Exists in the United States

Title insurance exists in the U.S. in great part because of a comparative deficiency in the U.S. land records laws. Most of the industrialized world uses land registration systems for the transfer of land titles or interests in them. Under these systems, the government makes the determination of title ownership and encumbrances on the title based on the registration of the instruments transferring or otherwise affecting the title in the applicable government office. With only a few exceptions, the government's determination is conclusive. Governmental errors lead to monetary compensation to the person damaged by the error but that aggrieved party usually cannot recover the property. The Torrens Title system is the basis for land registration systems in many common world countries.

A few jurisdictions in the United States have adopted a form of this system, e.g., Minneapolis, Minnesota and Boston, Massachusetts.[4] However, for the most part, the states have opted for a system of document recording in which no governmental official makes any determination of who owns the title or whether the instruments transferring it are valid. The reason for this is probably that it is much less expensive to operate than a land registration system; it doesn't require the number of legally skilled employees that the registration systems do.

Greatly simplified, in the recording system, each time a land title transaction takes place, the transfer instrument is recorded with a local government recorder located in the jurisdiction (usually the county) where the land lies. The instrument is then indexed by the names of the grantor (transferor) and the grantee (transferee) and photographed so it can be found and examined by anyone who wants to see it. Usually, the failure by the grantee to record the transfer instrument voids it as to subsequent purchasers of the property who don't actually know of its existence.

Under this system, determining who owns the title requires the examination of the indexes in the recorders' offices pursuant to various rules established by state legislatures and courts, scrutinizing the instruments to which they refer and making the determination of how they affect the title under applicable law. (The final arbiters of title matters are the courts, which make decisions in suits brought by parties having disagreements.) Initially, this was done by hiring an abstractor to search for the documents affecting the title to the land in question and an attorney to opine on their meaning under the law, and this is still done in some places. However, this procedure has been found to be cumbersome and inefficient in most of the US. Substantial errors made by the abstractor or the attorney will be compensated only to the limit of the financial responsibility of these parties (including their liability insurance). Some errors may not be compensated at all, depending on whether the error was the result of negligence.[5] The opinions given by attorneys as to each title are not uniform and often require time consuming analysis to determine their meanings.

Title insurers use this recording system to produce an insurance policy for any purchaser of land, or interest in it, or mortgage lender if the premium is paid. Title insurers use their employees or agents to perform the necessary searches of the recorders' offices records and to make the determinations of who owns the title and to what interests it is subject. The policies are fairly uniform (a fact that greatly pleases lenders and others in the real estate business) and the insurers carry, at a minimum, the financial reserves required by insurance regulation to compensate their insureds for valid claims they make under the policies. This is especially important in large commercial real estate transactions where many millions of dollars are invested or lent in reliance on the validity of real estate titles. As stated above, the policies also require the insurers to pay for the costs of defense of their insureds in legal contests over what they have insured. Abstractors and attorneys have no such obligation.

[edit] Types of policies

Standardized forms of title insurance exist for owners and lenders. The lender's policies include a form specifically for construction loans, though this is rarely used today.

[edit] Owner's policy

The owner's policy assures a purchaser that the title to the property is vested in that purchaser and that it is free from all defects, liens and encumbrances except those which are listed as exceptions in the policy or are excluded from the scope of the policy's coverage. It also covers losses and damages suffered if the title is unmarketable[6] The policy also provides coverage for loss if there is no right of access to the land. Although these are the basic coverages, expanded forms of residential owner's policies exist that cover additional items of loss.[7]

The liability limit of the owner's policy is typically the purchase price paid for the property. As with other types of insurance, coverages can also be added or deleted with an endorsement. There are many forms of standard endorsements to cover a variety of common issues. The premium for the policy may be paid by the seller or buyer as the parties agree; usually there is a custom in a particular state or county on this matter which is reflected in most local real estate contracts. Consumers should inquire about the cost of title insurance before signing a real estate contract which provide that they pay for title charges. A real estate attorney, broker, escrow officer (in the western states), or loan officer can provide detailed information to the consumer as to the price of title search and insurance before the real estate contract is signed. Title insurance coverage lasts as long as the insured retains an interest in the land insured and typically no additional premium is paid after the policy is issued.

[edit] Lender's policy

This is sometimes called a loan policy and it is issued only to mortgage lenders. Generally speaking, it follows the assignment of the mortgage loan, meaning that the policy benefits the purchaser of the loan if the loan is sold. For this reason, these policies greatly facilitate the sale of mortgages into the secondary market. That market is made up of high volume purchasers such as Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation as well as private institutions.

The American Land Title Association ("ALTA") forms are almost universally used in the country though they have been modified in some states. In general, the basic elements of insurance they provide to the lender cover losses from the following matters:

1. The title to the property on which the mortgage is being made is either

* Not in the mortgage loan borrower,

* Subject to defects, liens or encumbrances, or

* Unmarketable.

2. There is no right of access to the land.

3. The lien created by the mortgage:

* is invalid or unenforceable,

* is not prior to any other lien existing on the property on the date the policy is written, or

* is subject to mechanic's liens under certain circumstances.

As with all of the ALTA forms, the policy also covers the cost of defending insured matters against attack.

Elements 1 and 2 are important to the lender because they cover its expectations of the title it will receive if it must foreclose its mortgage. Element 3 covers matters that will interfere with its foreclosure.

Of course, all of the policies except or exclude certain matters and are subject to various conditions.

There are also ALTA mortgage policies covering single or one-to-four family housing mortgages. These cover the elements of loss listed above plus others. Examples of the other coverages are loss from forged releases of the mortgage and loss resulting from encroachments of improvements on adjoining land onto the mortgaged property when the improvements are constructed after the loan is made.

[edit] Construction loan policy

In many states, separate policies exist for construction loans. Title insurance for construction loans require a Date Down endorsement which recognizes that the insured amount for the property has increased due to construction funds that have been vested into the property.

[edit] Land title associations & standardized policies

In the United States, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) is a national trade association of title insurance underwriters and title insurance agents. ALTA has created standard forms of title insurance policy "jackets" (standard terms and conditions) for Owners, Lenders and Construction Loan policies. ALTA forms are used in most, but not all, U.S. states. ALTA also offers special endorsement forms for the various policies; endorsements amend and typically broaden the coverage given under a basic title insurance policy. ALTA does not issue title insurance; it provides standardized policy and endorsement forms that most title insurers issue.

Some states, including Texas and New York, may mandate the use of forms of title insurance policy jackets and endorsements approved by the state insurance commissioner for properties located in those jurisdictions, but these forms are usually similar or identical to ALTA forms.

In addition to ALTA, independent land title agents from across the United States recently formed the National Association of Independent Land Title Agents (NAILTA) which was formed in response to the steady consolidation of the title insurance industry, the proliferation of anti-competitive controlled business arrangements and as a means to advocate the position of independently-owned and operated title insurance agencies.

While title insurance generally insures owners and lenders against things that have occurred in the past, in some limited circumstances, in some states, coverage is available for certain events that can occur after a title insurance policy is issued. Most notably, coverage is now available that includes the risk that a third party may place a forged mortgage or deed of trust against a property after the owner's policy has been issued. This coverage is included in the "Homeowners Policy of Title Insurance" (a specific policy form), published by ALTA and the California Land Title Association (CLTA). Note that this is not the same as a so-called CLTA Standard Policy, which provides much less coverage than the Homeowners Policy of Title Insurance.

[edit] Comparison with other forms of insurance

Title insurance differs in several respects from other types of insurance. Where most insurance is a contract where the insurer indemnifies or guarantees another party against a possible specific type of loss (such as an accident or death) at a future date, title insurance generally insures against losses caused by title problems that have their source in past events. This often results in the curing of title defects or the elimination of adverse interests from the title before a transaction takes place. Title insurance companies attempt to achieve this by searching public records to develop and document the chain of title and to detect known claims against or defects in the title to the subject property. If liens or encumbrances are found, the insurer may require that steps be taken to eliminate them (for example, obtaining a release of an old mortgage or deed of trust that has been paid off, or requiring the payoff) before issuing the title policy. In the alternative, it may except from the policy's coverage those items not eliminated. Title plants are sometimes maintained to index the public records geographically, with the goal of increasing searching efficiency and reducing claims.

The explanation above discloses another difference between title insurance and other types: title insurance premiums are not principally calculated on the basis of actuarial science, as is true in most other types of insurance. Instead of correlating the probability of losses with their projected costs, title insurance seeks to eliminate the source of the losses through the use of the recording system and other underwriting practices. As a result, a relatively small fraction of title insurance premiums are used to pay insured losses. The great majority of the premiums is used to finance the title research on each piece of property and to maintain the title plants used to efficiently do that research. There is significant social utility in this approach as the result conforms with the expectations of most property purchasers and mortgage lenders. Generally, they want the real estate they purchased or lent money on to have the title condition they expected when they entered the transaction, rather than money compensation and litigation over unexpected defects. This is not to say that title insurers take no actuarial risks. There are several matters that can affect the title to land that are not disclosed by the recording system but that are covered by the policies. Some examples are deeds executed by minors or mentally incompetent persons, forged instruments (in some cases), corporate instruments executed without the proper corporate authority and errors in the public records. However, historically, these problems have not amounted to a high percentage of the losses paid by the insurers. A more significant percentage of losses paid by the insurers are the result of errors and omissions in the title examining process itself.

[edit] Homeowner's right to choose a title insurance company (United States)

A federal law called the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) entitles the individual homeowner to choose a title insurance company when purchasing or refinancing residential property. Typically, homeowners don't make this decision for themselves, instead relying on their bank's or attorney's choice; however, the homeowner retains the right. RESPA makes it unlawful for any bank, broker or attorney to mandate that a particular title insurance company be used. Doing so is a gross violation of federal law and any person or business doing so can be heavily fined or lose its license.

Section 9 of RESPA prohibits a seller from requiring the home buyer to use a particular title insurance company, either directly or indirectly, as a condition of sale. Buyers may sue a seller who violates this provision for an amount equal to three times all charges made for the title insurance.

The only exception to this rule applies to commercial real estate transactions, which is not within the parameters of RESPA.

[edit] Cost of Title Insurance

The cost of title insurance has two components: premium charges and service fees.

[edit] Premium charges

Some states do not regulate the premiums for title insurance. Examples are Illinois, Georgia and Massachusetts. However, the vast majority of state governments do individually regulate the insurance premiums charged for properties located in the state. The regulation runs from requiring the filing of rates by the insurers (and requiring their use while they are in effect) to promulgating the rates that will be used by all title insurers within the states. An example of the latter is Texas, where rates are set after comprehensive hearings each year. In most states, there is an approval requirement. This varies from rates being deemed approved if no complaints are filed within a specified period of time after filing, to the requirement of approval by the state's insurance regulator before use of the rates is allowed. The rates may include discounts if title insurance is ordered within a specified time after the last policy issued or if the mortgage being insured is a refinance of an earlier mortgage. In the states employing any of these regulations, it is illegal for title insurance companies to charge a higher or lower rate than the regulated rate.

For example: In Pennsylvania there are two rates, basic rate and reissue rate. The basic rate would apply if it has been more than ten years since the last policy was issued. Less than ten years, the reissue rate applies. The reissue rate offers a discount of approximately ten percent off of the basic rate. If the transaction is a refinance, the savings can be as much as thirty percent off of the reissue rate. These rates and applicable discounts are filed with and approved by the Pennsylvania Insurance commission. Applicable discounts are mandatory not optional.

[edit] Service fees

In some states, the regulated premium charge does not include part of the underwriting costs necessary for the process. In those states, title insurers may also charge search or abstracting fees for searching the public records, or examination fees to compensate them for the title examination. These fees are usually not regulated and in those cases may sometimes be negotiated. In some states, regulation requires that the title insurer base its policy on the opinion of an attorney. The attorney's fees are not regulated. They are also not part of the title insurance premium, though the title insurer may include those fees within its invoice as a convenience to the attorney rendering the opinion. Similarly, fees for closing a sale or mortgage transaction are not regulated in most states though the charge for closing may appear in the invoice disclosing the total charges for the transaction.

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Anonymous
#129729

A title search is a procedure performed when a parcel of property is being transferred to new ownership, through either a sale or inheritance. The purpose of this report is to investigate the history of the property through relevant records for any variances or irregularities associated with the property.

The resulting report filed from a title search is called an Abstract or an Abstract of Title. It precludes a Deed and is one of the processes that real estate law requires when transferring ownership. The mortgage company also requires it before any loan can be approved. A Real Estate Attorney, a Title Abstractor or many Real Estate Brokers are qualified to do a title search. It involves researching the deed records of the specific property. Most title searches are now available online, depending on the county and state.

During the escrow period of buying a property, a Title Company will be assigned to investigate the history of the property. If you are planning to get a mortgage to purchase the property, the lender will use a title search as a mortgage approval process. They will want to know all pertinent information, especially proof that the property is owned free and clear and that any existing liens or mortgages are being paid off at the time of closing. A mortgage lender will require title insurance on said property as a conformation of the title search records.

A title search will reveal if the land is fee simple or leasehold. It will...

Even if a mortgage lender is not involved, one of the most significant results of a title search is to discover if there are any outstanding mortgages or liens on the property. Otherwise, you could purchase a property at a seemingly good price, only to discover the property has a first mortgage in place that you have inherited in the deal.

Another possibility is that there are back taxes due on the property that need to be resolved before a transfer of title is completed. There could be easements restricting your usage of part or the whole of the property. A title search will disclose all variances that could affect your investment.

An Abstract or Abstract of Title researches back to the original owner of the property, usually starting with the country of origin, and follows a detailed lineage to the present. It will disclose ownership in succession, conveyances, details of mortgages, surveys of the boundaries of the property and legal description, any code violations and compliances.

With inherited properties and purchases on foreclosures, a title search is vital, as it will disclose all outstanding claims and attachments to the property. Each country, state and province has specific guidelines and reports mandated to secure full disclosure.

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Anonymous
#129727

A title search is a process that is performed primarily to determine the answer to three questions:

* Does the seller have a saleable interest in the property?

* What kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land (real covenants, easements, or other servitude's)?

* Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing (mortgages, back taxes, mechanic's liens, or other assessments)?

Anyone may do a title search and documents concerning conveyances of land are a matter of public record. However, it is often the case that people choose to contact a title company or attorney to conduct an exhaustive title search. For example, a title report may also show any easements, or recorded legal rights to the property or portions of the property. A previous owner may have legally given a neighbor the right to share the driveway, or the city may have a right to strips of the property for putting power lines, communication lines, water pipes, or sewer pipes. A few on-line services, such as HomeInfoMax.com offer title searches for relatively little cost, and their accuracy is not inferior to what a title company or attorney will offer; however on-line businesses rely mostly on electronically available information, and for that reason could at times be limited.

In the United States, the buyer of a property will usually purchase title insurance, which protects the buyer from any title problems that may arise...

A title search is also performed when an owner of a certain real property wishes to mortgage his property and the bank requires from owner to insure their transaction.

Generally, there are two main types of title searching, a full coverage search and limited coverage search; other types include non-insured reports and foreclosure guarantee search.

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Anonymous
#129725

Although you may see many different types advertised, they all belong to just two families: those mortgages that carry fixed interest rates, and those whose rates change during the course of the loan on a periodic schedule mutually agreed upon by you and your lender.

Fixed Rate Mortgages

You are probably familiar with a fixed rate mortgage. Your parents more than likely had one, as did their parents before them. The major advantage of fixed rate mortgages is that they present predictable housing costs for the life of the loan. Some fixed rate mortgages you will probably hear about are:

* 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages

* 15-year Fixed Rate Mortgages

* Biweekly Mortgages

* "Convertible" Mortgages

When people thought of a mortgage 10 to 50 years ago, they thought of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This traditional favorite is not the only choice nowadays because volatile financial times created a whole new range of selections. However, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage may still be the best mortgage for your circumstances. It offers the lowest monthly payments of fixed rate loans, while providing for a never-changing monthly payment schedule. Some lenders offers 25, 20, and even 40-year term mortgages as well. But remember, the longer the term of the loan, the more total interest you will pay.

If you are looking for a traditional 30-year fixed rate loan, we invite you to take advantage of our database of the most...

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage allows homeowners to own their homes free and clear in half the time and for less than half the total interest costs of the traditional 30-year loan. The loan's term is shortened by the 10 percent to 15 percent higher monthly payments. Some homebuyers prefer this mortgage because it allows them to own their home before their children start college. Others prefer it because they will own their home free and clear before retirement and probable declines in income. If you are interesting in obtaining a 15-year fixed loan, you may want to try our Loan Request Form.

The major disadvantages or the 15-year fixed rate mortgage are the sometimes higher monthly payments. But if saving on total interest costs and cutting the time to free and clear ownership are important to you, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is a good option.

The biweekly mortgage shortens the loan term to 18 to 19 years by requiring a payment for half the monthly amount every two weeks. The biweekly payments increase the annual amount paid by about 8 percent and in effect pay 13 monthly payments (26 biweekly payments) per year. The shortened loan term decreases the total interest costs substantially. The interest costs for the biweekly mortgage are decreased even farther, however, by the application of each payment to the principal upon which the interest is calculated every 14 days. By nibbling away at the principal faster, the homeowner saves additional interest. Remember, however, that you trade lower total interest costs for fewer mortgage interest deductions on your federal income tax. Your ability to qualify for this type of loan is based on a 30-year term, and most lenders who offer this mortgage will allow the homebuyer to convert to a more traditional 30-year loan without penalty. Availability is limited on this mortgage, but it can be worth looking for.

Mortgages That Change

Some newer mortgages afford homebuyers some the best qualities of the fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages. One new type of loan, often called a Two-Step, Super Seven, or Premier Mortgage, gives homeowners the predictability of a fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage for a certain time, most often seven or 10 years, and then the interest rate is adjusted to fit market conditions at that time. The main advantage associated with this type of loan is that homebuyers often get a slightly lower than market rate to begin with. The main disadvantage is that they may see their interest rate go up by as much as six percentage points at the end of the seven-year period. The lender may also reserve the option to call the loan due with 30 days notice at that time, making this loan similar to a balloon mortgage in some cases.

Lenders offer this type of loan in part because research indicates that many homebuyers remain in the home for seven to 10 years before moving. For this type of homebuyer, the Two-Step or Super Seven loan present an excellent way of getting a fixed rate loan at a better than market price for a fixed period of time.

Another type of mortgage that is becoming popular is called a Lender Buydown, where the homebuyer gets an initially discounted rate and gradually increases to an agreed-upon fixed rate over a matter of three years. For example: When the market rate is 10 percent, the fixed rate for the mortgage is set at about 10.5 percent, but the homebuyer makes monthly payments based on a first year rate of 8.5 percent. The second year the rate goes up to 9.5 percent, and for the third year through the remaining life of the loan, the rate is calculated at 10.5 percent. A second type of lender buy-down, called a Compressed Buydown, works the same way, but with the interest rate changing every six months instead of on a yearly basis.

The Lender Buydown gives consumers the advantage of lower initial monthly payments for the first two years of the loan when extra money may be needed for furnishings and, secondly, the advantage of knowing that, although the interest rate does change during the first three years of the loan, the interest is fixed from the third year on.

If you are looking for a 2-1 buydown, feel free to request personalized rate quotes from local lenders.

Convertible mortgages offer today's homebuyer the option to change the loan's interest rate after some period of time or some specified movement in interest rates.

Convertible fixed rate mortgages are often referred to as the Reduction Option Loan (ROL) or, in some locations, the Reducing Interest Loan (RIL), or Mortgage (RIM). This new type of loan offers homeowners the option of getting a loan that , under the right conditions, can be adjusted to a lower interest rate with a payment of $100 or $200 or so and a small loan amount-based fee, sometimes as little as one-fourth of a percentage point. These conditions usually are a prescribed movement in rates-typically two percent below the initial- during a set time limit-between months 13 and 59, for example.

On a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with a reduction option, the homebuyer pays an extra one-fourth to three-eighths of a percentage point in the interest rate on the mortgage plus a quarter to three-eighths of 1 percent of the loan amount (points) at the time of closing. This allows the homeowners to adjust the interest rate on the loan without having to go through a refinancing, which could cost up to 5 percent or 6 percent of the loan amount, if the rates are right during the prescribed time limit.

On an $80,000 loan, this means that you could reduce the interest rate on your loan from, say, 10.5 percent to 8.5 percent, and take advantage of the low rates for the rest of the loan term for $150 instead of up to $4,800, if the rates dropped to that point during your "window of opportunity" - months 13 through 59. Some homeowners may find the ROL a good "insurance policy" against the high costs of refinancing. Others may want the flexibility that refinancing offers - namely the ability to draw on built-up equity- that is not available with ROLs. The decision is up to you.

Convertible Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are another new loan product on today's market. It works like any other ARM, but offers homeowners a distinct advantage - it allows them to turn their ARM into a fixed rate mortgage after a set period (usually during the second through fifth years of the loan).

A new product developed by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), which buys mortgages from lenders, allows the homeowner to convert an ARM to either a 15 or 30 year fixed rate mortgage for a fee of 1 percent of the original loan plus $250, as compared to the 3 percent to 6 percent costs of refinancing. Say, for instance, that you got your convertible ARM at an initial interest rate of 10.0 percent, and after a year or so, rates had dropped to 8.0 percent. For the smaller conversion fee, you could adjust your mortgage to either a 15 or 30 year fixed rate loan at a new rate that would be about one-half percent higher than the going market rate, or 8.5 percent. There are other variations on this loan available from lenders across the country. Homebuyers who want the low initial rate of an ARM, and the option and peace of mind of a fixed mortgage should rates drop, can now have it both ways.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) have become on of the most popular and effective tools for helping some prospective homebuyers achieve their dream of homeownership. Developed during a time of high interest rates that kept many people out of the housing market, the ARM offers lower initial rates by sharing the future risk of higher rates between borrower and lender.

ARMs can be an excellent choice of financing under certain conditions, such as rising income expectations, high interest rates, and short-term homeownership. But because payments and interest rates can increase, either steadily or irregularly, homebuyers considering this kind of mortgage need to have the income to keep up with all possible rate and/or payment changes. Each ARM has four basic components:

* Initial interest rate, which is typically one to three percentage points lower than that of most fixed rate mortgages. Lower interest rates also make ARMs somewhat easier to qualify for. The initial interest rate is tied to certain economic indicators that dictate in part what the monthly payments will be.

* Adjustment interval, at the time between changes in the interest rate and/or monthly payment will be.

* Index*, against which lenders measure the difference between what they are making on their investment in the mortgage and what they could be making on other types of investments.

* Margin, or the additional amount the lender adds to the index to establish the adjusted interest rate on an ARM. The margin is usually 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

* Well known ARM indexes include:

Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT)

Treasury Bill (T-Bill)

12-Month Treasury Average (MTA or MAT)

Certificate of Deposit Index (CODI)

11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI)

Cost of Savings Index (COSI)

London Inter Bank Offering Rates (LIBOR)

Certificates of Deposit (CD) Indexes

Bank Prime Loan (Prime Rate)

Fannie Mae's Required Net Yield (RNY)

National Average Contract Mortgage Rate

Click on index title for explanations.

In addition to the four basic components, an ARM usually contains certain consumer safeguards such as interest rate caps, which limit the amount that the interest rate applied to the payments may move. This prevents the amount of interest the consumer pays from rising higher than perhaps the homeowner can afford. For instance, a typical ARM would have a two percentage point cap over the life of the loan. That means that a loan with an initial interest rate of 9.75 percent would be able to go no higher than 14.75 percent over the life of the loan, and it would be able to move no more than two percentage points per year.

Another safeguard found on some ARMs are monthly payment caps that limit the amount homeowners need to increase their payments at adjustment time. Monthly payment caps can, however, sometimes prevent the monthly payments from increasing enough to keep up with the rise in the interest rate, causing negative amortization-resulting in higher or more payments for the homeowner later on.

Other options you should ask about when shopping for an ARM are:

* Assumability, or whether you may transfer the mortgage to a new homebuyer, usually with the same terms if the new homebuyer qualifies for the loan. ARMs are almost always assumable.

* Convertibility allows the borrower to change an ARM to a fixed rate mortgage, usually at the end of some predetermined period, locking in a lower interest rate.

To get rate quotes for ARMs from local lenders please use our Loan Request Form.

An Option For Older Homeowners

A relative newcomer in the mortgage market is a Reverse Annuity Mortgage (RAM). For older Americans, especially retirees living on fixed incomes, the equity in their paid-for or almost-paid-for home represents a large but liquid asset. The RAM is designed to help supplement those homeowners' income.

The lender who will issue a RAM appraises the property and makes the loan based on a percentage of its current value. The homeowner retains ownership, and the property secures the loan. The lender then pays an annuity to the borrower, usually on a monthly basis, up to an amount equal to the equity they have in the home.

The advantage of such a loan for older Americans is that of receiving a monthly tax-free income. Under one plan, this income is available for life or until the house is sold at the homeowner moves. The schedule of payments depends on the value of the home and the ages of the owners. There are risks involved, however. If the homeowner wants to move and buy a new house, there may not be enough equity in the home to permit such a plan. Or the lender may consider only the current market value of the home rather than any future appreciation when deciding on the monthly payments.

To get a reverse mortgage loan, borrowers need to apply to a HUD-approved lender.

FHA/VA Mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA) offer a wide range of mortgage choices that may appeal to you. These include 30 and 15 year fixed- rate mortgages, as well as ARMs. Insured by these government agencies, the loans feature low or no down payment terms and are often assumable by future purchasers. VA loans are restricted to individuals qualified by military service or other entitlements, but FHA - insured loans are open to all qualified home purchasers. Note that there are limits to handle moderate-priced homes anywhere in the country. Talk to your lender about FHA/VA possibilities.

If you are looking for an FHA home loan right now, please feel free to request personalized rate quotes from HUD-approved mortgage lenders via our website.

Creative Financing or Seller-Assisted Mortgages

This type of financing became popular when interest rates went to very high levels in the early 1980s. Seller-assisted creative financing usually means the seller of the home helps with the financing by underwriting all or part of the loan.

The advantage of this type of arrangement is that the mortgage usually carries a lower interest rate with lower monthly payments. The disadvantage is that the previous homeowner, not an institution, may hold the deed of trust. If the loan terms call for certain payment schedules, the buyer may have to seek new financing. Many homebuyers in recent years have found "creative financing" deals to be fraught with problems and useful only as short-term alternatives to mortgages from traditional lenders.

One type of mortgage you are apt to run into with seller financing is the balloon payment mortgage. Balloons, as they are known, are usually offered as short-term fixed rate loans. The balloon payment mortgage gets its name from the payment schedule, which involves smaller payments for a certain period of time and one large payment for the entire amount of the outstanding principal. They have terms of 3, 5, and sometimes 15 years, though payments are usually calculated as though it were a 30 year loan. Sometimes a balloon will be offered as a second mortgage where you also assume the homeowner's first mortgage . The major disadvantage with a balloon payment loan is that it may be difficult to save up the money to make the final large payment (often the entire amount of the principal) while paying interest on the loan. Some lenders guarantee refinancing, though the interest rate is usually adjusted when the principal comes due. If you cannot refinance, you may have to the property if you cannot meet the large payment. Balloons are an advantage if you plan on living in an appreciating house for a short period of time and want to pay less while you live there.

Related Articles:

Types of Mortgage Loans (characteristics of all the basic loan programs available today):

Conventional, FHA, VA, and RHS Loans

Conforming, Jumbo and B-C-D Loans

Fixed Rate Mortgages and Balloon Loans

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Negatively Amortizing Loans

Hybrid Loans: Two Step, Fixed Period ARMs

Graduated Payment Mortgages

Buydown Mortgages

FHA Programs

Mortgage Limits for FHA Loans

Quick Guide to VA Home Loans General brief information about VA Home Loans.

VA-Guaranteed Home Loans for Veterans Eligibility requirements, repayment plans and other questions.

Rural Housing Service (RHS) programs

Reverse Mortgages

Accelerated (Bimonthly) Payments

Interest-Only Mortgages

100% Financing

Mortgage Indexes Market characteristics, volatility, current values and historical graphs of the most common ARM indexes.

COFI-indexed ARMs Typical features and advantages of COFI ARMs.

Pay Option ARMs

Shopping For a Mortgage Information that will help you shop for a mortgage most effectively.

Calculators:

How much will my payments be?

Government Publications:

How To Save Half On Interest Costs (15-year mortgage) The purpose of this brochure is to help homebuyers explore the advantages and disadvantages of a 15-year fixed rate mortgage.

Consumer Handbook on Adjustable Rate Mortgages (Federal Reserve Board and the Office of Thrift Supervision) This booklet provides useful basic information about ARMs, explains how ARMs work and some of the risks and advantages to borrowers that ARMs introduce.

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Anonymous
#129709

Before you can start repairing your credit, you have to know what you need to repair. Your credit report will contain all the information you need to start repairing your credit. You’re entitled to free credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus each year. You can also order your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus for a fee.

Why should you order all three credit reports? Some of your creditors and lenders might report only to one of the credit bureaus. And, since credit bureaus don’t typically share information, it’s possible to have different information on each of your reports. Ordering all three reports will give you a complete view of your credit history.

Make an extra copy of each report in case you need to dispute information.

Anonymous
#129708

*

No one can erase negative information if it’s accurate. Only incorrect information can be removed. Accurate information stays on your record for 7 years from the time it’s reported (10 years for bankruptcy). Even information about bills you fell behind on but now are paid will remain on your report for these time periods.

*

Credit repair services can’t ask for payment until they’ve kept their promises. Federal law also requires credit repair services to give you a explanation of your legal rights, a detailed written contract, and three days to cancel (this applies to for-profit services, not to nonprofit organizations, banks and credit unions, or the creditors themselves).

*

Be cautious about emails for credit services. Many unsolicited emails are fraudulent.

*

You can correct mistakes on your credit report yourself. If you were recently denied credit because of information in your credit report, you have the right to request a free copy. Otherwise there is a small fee, unless your state law provides for one free report a year. It doesn’t cost anything to question or dispute items in your report. Follow the instructions provided by the credit bureau. The major credit bureaus are: Equifax, 800- 685-1111, www.equifax.com; Experian, 800-682-7654, www.experian.com; and TransUnion, 800-916-8800, www.transunion.com. Contact all three, as the information each has may vary.

*

You can add an...

*

Know that you can’t create a second credit file. Fraudulent companies sometimes offer to provide consumers with different tax identification or social security numbers in order to create a new credit file. This practice, called “file segregation,” is illegal, and it doesn’t work.

*

If you have credit problems, get counseling. Your local Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) can provide advice about how to build a good credit record. The CCCS may also be able to make payment plans with your creditors if you’ve fallen behind. These services are offered for free or at a very low cost. To find the nearest CCCS office, call toll-free, 800-388-2227, or go to www.nfcc.org.

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Anonymous
#129707

nsurance fraud is any act committed with the intent to fraudulently obtain payment from an insurer.

Insurance fraud has existed ever since the beginning of insurance as a commercial enterprise.[1] Fraudulent claims account for a significant portion of all claims received by insurers, and cost billions of dollars annually. Types of insurance fraud are very diverse, and occur in all areas of insurance. Insurance crimes also range in severity, from slightly exaggerating claims to deliberately causing accidents or damage. Fraudulent activities also affect the lives of innocent people, both directly through accidental or purposeful injury or damage, and indirectly as these crimes cause insurance premiums to be higher. Insurance fraud poses a very significant problem, and governments and other organizations are making efforts to deter such activities.

The “chief motive in all insurance crimes is financial profit.”[2] Insurance contracts provide both the insured and the insurer with opportunities for exploitation. One reason that this opportunity arises is in the case of over-insurance, when the amount insured is greater than the actual value of the property insured.[3] This condition can be very difficult to avoid, especially since an insurance provider might sometimes encourage it in order to obtain greater profits.[4] This allows fraudsters to make profits by destroying their property because the payment they receive from their insurers is of greater...

Insurance companies are also susceptible to fraud because false insurance claims can be made to appear like ordinary claims. This allows fraudsters to file claims for damages that never occurred, and so obtain payment with little or no initial cost.

The most common form of insurance fraud is inflating of loss.

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Anonymous
#129705

Measuring insurance fraud is an elusive target. No single national agency gathers omnibus fraud statistics. Insurance fraud data thus are relatively piecemeal, making our understanding of insurance fraud an ongoing work in progress.

Insurance companies and diverse state and federal agencies each gather fraud data related to their own missions. But the kind, quality and volume of data they compile vary widely.

Independent watchdogs, academics, insurance industry groups and other organizations also conduct research on a variety of fraud topics. Some is national in scope, and some is state-specific.

* State insurance fraud bureaus

* Year-end Totals for Arrests and Convictions

* Auto insurance

* Workers compensation

* Consumer attitudes

* Health insurance

* Drug Diversion

* Whistleblower Lawsuits

* Medicare Fraud

* Medicaid Fraud

* FBI Enforcement (FY 2007)

* Medical Identity Theft

* IRS Enforcement

* Slip & fall injuries

* Anti-fraud Legislation

* Employment & education

* Older statistics

Insurance fraud is not a highly visible crime, but an extremely costly one. In fact, insurance fraud is the second most costly white-collar crime in America (tax evasion being the first).

Insurance fraud costs consumers approximately $150 billion a year in damages, leaving the average family paying a minimum of $1,000 a year...

Despite this, research conducted on consumers’ attitude towards insurance fraud found 2 out of every 5 Americans didn’t see anything wrong with making a fraudulent insurance claim to receive money they weren’t entitled to. As well as, majority of people believed insurance fraud crimes were victimless crime. But, in reality we, the average consumer, senior citizen, business owner, are all the victims.

We will be penalized with higher insurance premiums, goods, and services to compensate for the hundreds of millions of dollars lost a year by insurance fraud schemes, such as the Worker’s Compensation fraud , Medicare fraud , and Auto fraud.

Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person�s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person�s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information

*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet

*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.

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Anonymous
#127505

I use to work with her at FRF.I'm not at all shocked by this as she always had a problem with lying.

I worked with one of the attorney's with a lis pendens against her partner. Accused her of misuse of funds. Accused several employees of the same thing who received cash payments. Several attorney's with claims showed me all the recent causes of action.

Trying to form other companies won't help her. It only makes her look more guilty. It's really to bad she's black listed from Pt. St.

Lucie to Miami now.

Everyone in my firm is aware of her and her partner and we represent HOA's all over Florida.All over lying.

Anonymous
#127281

To all researching Lou Ann Barrette, Broker of Realty Advisors International. We've learned by attorney's preparing to bring suits against this broker that she is attempting to set up shop as KEYSTONE REALTY GROUP, INC.

Be advised that Lou Ann Barrette is now attempting to operate as of 3/15/2010 KEYSTONE REALTY GROUP, INC. is being investigated by many agencies and people right now.

Do not fall prey to Lou Ann Barrette, she is being accused of some very serious things right now.

Anonymous
#120593

Former Client thought you would want to see this. Posted in a South Florida forum as a response to this company's business practices of offering services they are not training for, have not been educated for, nor hold a business tax license, registering them for performing these services.

There are no legal academic pre-requisites required to charge for, or offer the services that Realty Advisors Internatinal offers. Until recently the state only requires a mortgage license to offer or charge for loan modifications. All the other services that Realty Advisors International offers or charges for are in un-regulated industries, requiring no licensure. To confirm these facts please check with FTC (Federal Trade Commission), Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Florida Office of Business and Professional Regulation.

Be well...

Scotty

I guess actually being educated in things like the Credit Repair Organizations Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act. Is not a important business practice. All these Act's are administrated by the FTC, then by State Attorney General's offices as arms of the FTC under state's consumer laws. But according to this very uneducated person working for them, these are "un-regulated industries".

I forwarded this off to Bill McCollum's office.

Anonymous
#117912

To the writer of this article,

Very sorry you had to go through this experience. I wish you had left your name with me when you contacted me. Cause I was asked to have you speak to the agency I forwarded the information off too.

Should you return to find this, based on what you told me I've had the proper authorities get involved. I personally in August of 2009 told the broker of this company. After I had closed a business relationship, not to be giving advice as this. The letter sent to them stating they didn't have the proper license. I've forwarded that to the authorities.

The authorities will be acting on the information you provided because in their own website they have stated things that are not proper. If they took money from you in performing any of theses unlicense services, Mortgage Modification, Principal Reduction, Debt Settlement, or Credit Repair it could be much more serious, maybe even criminal. Why they need to speak with you.

To all researching this company, I've personally dealt with this company. They are not trained or licensed to be performing Mortgage Modification, Principal Reduction, Debt Settlement, or Credit Repair. I've asked authorities to look at this company for performing these services. Be advised both Federal & State agency's are currently investigating them. Do not fall prey to them. Outside of several honest real estate agents most of this company will not be truefull with you. After hearing of these...

There are many licensed & honest professionals to help you out their.

If you've been a victim of these services Mortgage Modification, Principal Reduction, Debt Settlement, or Credit Repair by this company email me at kingofthestreetssfla@.........

I'll get you in contact with the proper authorities.

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Anonymous
#114263

I've heard that as well.Since about September last year I'm hearing all kinds of stories about them.

When you start acting with very questionable business practices like this company is doing, it moves fast.File your complaints so that professionals like myself, that bring in licensed attorneys and accountants don't get bad wraps because of companys like this.

Anonymous
#114254

Yes, its a her.

Jay, thank you for the insight. I actually ran into someone else at a workshop that told me the companys had several complaints with FREC for use of escrowed funds, and this person had heard the IRS was now criminally looking at them.

Anonymous
#114016

Your attorneys a women huh?

Anonymous
#114014

Thank you Jay in the know.Yes, my attorney knew who you where speaking of right away.

Said hes a good man that many in the state are expecting to see great things from.

I laughed at my attorneys response, this sound right?Very street smart with the education to back it up, dangerous.

Anonymous
#114006

Your attorney I bet knows him, if your attorneys out of Ft.Lauderdale, Deerfield, Boca or Delray.

Hes very well known in Real Estate here. I'm told he just formed a REIT. Although hes just recently got his law practice here, he was a very high powered attorney in New York, Boston, & Washington D.C. Really the entire east coast.

Trust me when I tell you if its him the article writer spoke with. Its over for this company. He would of handed the article writer all kinds of information. I would tell you how to contact him, but hes a private person and I go way back with his father.

Being that, I would want to talk to him first.

Trust me, any misdeed thats been done, it'll come out. I know this because I'm one of the few that know everything about him.

Hes become quite powerful in our state just in the last year.He knows all the top power brokers here and has the backing of the Kennedy family along northeast unions.

Anonymous
#113980

I hope you get this fast. Can I contact who you think it is? I'm asking because my attorney is working on a complaint.

Anonymous
#113971

I looked it up.I doubt that to be the case.

I'm thinking that the accountant spoken of here, you don't want to be on bad terms with.

If I'm right they mine as well close their doors.Because its over for them and you'll be seeing more of their misdeeds come out.

Anonymous
#113933

You're welcome. I'm told the plaintiff on that record is the accountant the article writer is talking about.

Anonymous
#113844

That is a understatement to say the broker has a hard time telling the truth. Several former agents of hers I know have all say the same thing. Don't trust a word unless shes not speaking.

Yea, how do you make money as a company at 100% payout. I've been in Florida Real Estate for 15 years, I can't see it. Its great for agents until they have no place to work because the company can't pay its overhead or advertise. I've had several investors show up at my office after attending one of these meeting saying much the same thing about understanding what they've been adviced to do on property.

Real estate is MLS, advising on value, advising on property improvements,& drawning a contact. The advice this company is giving is way outside what their license allows.

To the poster that put the info about the Clerk of Court record up. Thank you, as a officer of a corporation the broker was suppose to appear for the corporation. One of the former agents told me the companys out of a hotel now because of all the investigations coming their way. Much like a boiler room operation that can move around quickly.

Anonymous
#113490

Whatever you do, do not use this Real Estate company. While several agents are good. The broker of this company has a real hard time telling the truth about anything. You don't want someone like that representing you in dealing with your biggest asset. She will tell you what you want to hear. Than make excuse after excuse when she can't deliver.

Several attorneys I've deal with in Boca Raton and Delray claim she is under investigate right now, due to handling of investor funds. One attorney even showed me a PB Clerk of Court record that the broker didn't even show up to represent herself in a case against her. Real professional, this company is well known by people in Real Estate in Palm Beach County for how unprofessional they handle themselves. I'm not surprised their out giving this kind of advice when they should be.

This company will only cause you more problems

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