Shari Olefson's blog

In the big picture, U.S. housing has recovered, but the rate of recovery is slowing, some regions continue to struggle and the future holds changes that could have a negative impact.

Prior to Fannie and FHA Americans needed as much as 50% down payment to own a home and even then loans matured in a short few years. Roosevelt created Fannie so average Americans could access Homeownership. From that perspective you can easily argue that the plan worked.

Enticing the private sector into the secondary mortgage market is the cornerstone of most proposals for reducing or reforming Fannie and Freddie’s (hence government and tax payers) roles in housing finance.

We all know it’s something we should do, so why is it that so few people set aside an emergency fund?

The biggest challenges are, first and foremost setting aside money. Most of us have not had a raise in awhile, but costs seem to keep going up, leaving little money to set aside for an emergency...

This week the President announced his plans for housing, more aptly called his housing “wish list.” This wish list has something for everyone: financial assistance for renters, help for hard hit communities, disclosures and access to affordable loans for buyers, refinances for folks who already own but are underwater, even a plug for the President’s nominee at the FHFA.

Even with home prices and sales rising, an incredible 6 million homeowners are in default or foreclosure, more remain underwater or still hope to have their mortgage modified to more affordable terms.   A new Streamlined Mortgage Modification was recently announced to help fix that. 

Flipping Houses: The 6 Steps InfographicA recent report from RealtyTrac reveals that house flipping, often times by local folks like us, is up almost 20% since last year and profits are up 246! That's great news for all you "Flip This House" and Armando Montelongo fans, but how do you know if there’s opportunity in your area and if this strategy is right for you.

These are big profit numbers.  But is it too good to be true?

I wrote the following post in response to the following WSJ report:

"City leaders in Richmond, Calif., said Tuesday that they would take the first steps towards potentially seizing underwater mortgages, becoming the first city to pilot an unorthodox use of eminent domain to tackle blight left by the housing bust.

When it comes to Fannie, Freddie and FHA, the decade old debate continues: what should the role of government in housing finance be? Should government still guarantee the principal and interest on your mortgage. Supporters say the guarantees make mortgages affordable. Opponents say it inflates prices and puts taxpayers at risk. But both agree that the model, essentially entities with a public purpose and risk, but private profit, is flawed.

Figuring out how to file your tax returns can seem way too complicated. The good news is there’s a plan underway in Washington right now to reform the U.S. Tax Code. It’s called the Blank Slate. But it may not be what we hoped for. Here with everything you need to know is Fox 29 lawyer Shari O.


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