Website scams Realtors protecting their reputation

WASHINGTON – Jan. 11, 2013 – A website appears to scam Realtors by posting negative comments – probably fake – and then offering to remove them for a fee.

According to Stacey Moncrieff of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the website – realtor-complaints.com isn’t authorized to use the Realtor trademark, and NAR is investigating the site.

The New Jersey Association of Realtors looked into the website after it received a string of complaints from its members, and found that most complaints on the website had similar phrasing.

“This leads to suspicion that these are not all public-submitted complaints,” says Lauren Castellano, director of communications for the New Jersey Association of Realtors.

The alleged scam, however, does not seem to be targeting consumers with false information – it seems to be targeting Realtors who are worried about their online reputation, and who try to have a negative comment removed.

When agents who have a complaint contact the website, it offers them the “opportunity” to pay to have the complaint and their name removed, says Michael Thiel, an attorney for NAR.

NAR legal staff checked the WHOIS record for the site and discovered it’s hosted on servers located in the Seychelles. “It’s recorded as having been initially registered on Jan. 1, 2013,” Thiel says, “which makes the site’s claim of having been around since 2002 very suspect.”

For more information on the alleged scam, read Moncrieff’s blog on NAR’s website.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=285637

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website scams Realtors protecting their reputation

WASHINGTON – Jan. 11, 2013 – A website appears to scam Realtors by posting negative comments – probably fake – and then offering to remove them for a fee.

According to Stacey Moncrieff of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the website – realtor-complaints.com isn’t authorized to use the Realtor trademark, and NAR is investigating the site.

The New Jersey Association of Realtors looked into the website after it received a string of complaints from its members, and found that most complaints on the website had similar phrasing.

“This leads to suspicion that these are not all public-submitted complaints,” says Lauren Castellano, director of communications for the New Jersey Association of Realtors.

The alleged scam, however, does not seem to be targeting consumers with false information – it seems to be targeting Realtors who are worried about their online reputation, and who try to have a negative comment removed.

When agents who have a complaint contact the website, it offers them the “opportunity” to pay to have the complaint and their name removed, says Michael Thiel, an attorney for NAR.

NAR legal staff checked the WHOIS record for the site and discovered it’s hosted on servers located in the Seychelles. “It’s recorded as having been initially registered on Jan. 1, 2013,” Thiel says, “which makes the site’s claim of having been around since 2002 very suspect.”

For more information on the alleged scam, read Moncrieff’s blog on NAR’s website.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=285637

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business identity theft on upswing in Fla.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 16, 2013 – In October 2012, Florida Realtors joined state leaders for a discussion on business identity theft, and the state recently issued a report of its findings.

Business identity theft can work the same way as personal identity theft. If criminals can get important business keywords, they can access tax records, bank accounts, suppliers and more.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=286005

Buyers: Don’t just list a home – prepare it first

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 16, 2013 – To sell a home or get top dollar, sellers must look at their property through the eyes of a potential buyer. Consider the following five tips:

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=286008

‘Zombie titles’ plague homeowners

WASHINGTON – Jan. 16, 2013 – Some refer to “zombie titles” as a little-known horror in the fallout of the foreclosure crisis. Thousands of homeowners are discovering they may be legally liable for a home they thought they no longer owned.

In some of these cases, homeowners receive a notice of a foreclosure sale and move out to give the home to the bank. But then the bank never completes the foreclosure.

“The banks are just deciding not to foreclose, even though the homeowners never caught up with their payments,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, told Reuters.

According to housing experts, the problem of “zombie titles” is worsening, although no national database tracks such titles.

“There are thousands of foreclosures in limbo, just hanging out there, just sitting, with nothing being done,” says Raymond Pianka, a judge with Cleveland Housing Court. He says the problem is due to homeowners who leave the home before an imminent foreclosure sale. Later, the homeowners discover they’re legally responsible for the home. By that time, the house may have greatly deteriorated. And some homeowners don’t even discover it until years later, such as when a municipality finally fines them for failing to keep up the property.

Source: “‘Zombie Titles’ Haunt Victims of Foreclosure,” Reuters (January 2013)

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http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=286001

CoreLogic predicts 6% home price increase in 2013

RVINE, Calif. – Jan. 14, 2013 – CoreLogic released its CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) today, which looks at repeat sales. It found a 7.5 percent increase in 2012 – the largest home price increase since 2006.

In 2013, CoreLogic projects home prices to rise 6 percent due to greater affordability fueling steady demand, a lower level of real estate owned (REO) sales and a low inventory of unsold homes.

Housing made an impressive recovery in 2012

• Total homes sales increased 6 percent to 4.2 million in 2012, up from 3.9 million in 2011 for the first increase since 2005.

• Non-distressed homes sales increased 11 percent to 3.2 million.

• New sales increased 3 percent to nearly 300,000.

• Home price growth happened in many U.S. locations.

• REO sales declined more than 20 percent to 600,000, the third annual consecutive decline.

• Short sales rose 23 percent to 370,000 units, the highest level since the real estate downturn began.

• Serious delinquencies declined by nearly 300,000 loans in 2012, which drove the seriously delinquent rate down to 6.9 percent, from 7.4 percent in 2011. Since the January 2010 peak, serious delinquencies have declined by 1 million loans.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=285673

How does the new QM mortgage rule impact buyers?

WASHINGTON – Jan. 14, 2013 – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) says that the Qualified Mortgage (QM) Rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) did not create rules so stringent that it will shut down the recovering housing market.

It “establishes strong consumer protections while ensuring continued access to safe, affordable mortgage credit. … The QM rule is a positive step to bringing certainty to the housing finance system,” says NAR President Gary Thomas.

The new rules are proposed to take effect in January 2014, with a seven-year phase in for certain provisions.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=285677