As a result of the housing collapse, many homeowners experienced a serious reduction in income or lost their jobs due to the crumbling economy. Some mortgage borrowers were forced to file bankruptcy or short sale their home to avoid foreclosure. Others were not so lucky and lost their home on the courthouse steps. Borrowers may now qualify for an FHA mortgage under new guidelines established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to Eli Younes of Viking Mortgage in Pembroke Pines on Monday.
The new HUD rules allow borrowers whose credit was damaged due to a temporary loss of employment or income to qualify for an FHA mortgage if they have substantially recovered from that situation and maintained a positive credit history for at least 12 months. Borrowers who recently experienced a bankruptcy, foreclosure, short-sale, loan delinquencies, deed-in-lieu, debt collections or other situation negatively impacting their FICO credit score may now be able to qualify for an FHA loan.
Recognizing that any number of events may have impacted a borrowers’ credit rating, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) believes that such catastrophic event does not mean they are not financially stable or unable to make a mortgage payment. As such, the previous 3-year waiting period required by the FHA on financing a new home has been revised.
“Referred to as the ‘Back to Work’ initiative, this program is designed for borrowers who lost their home through foreclosure, short sale, bankruptcy or deed in lieu and also suffered a 20% or more loss in household income,” Eli Younes of Viking Mortgage told Examiner. “As with most FHA loans, this program only requires a 3.5% down payment and is applicable for all purchase loans other than the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.”
In order to qualify for a mortgage under the “Back to Work” initiative, there are several steps that must be taken to prove an “Economic Event” that was beyond the borrower’s control.
The lender must verify that the borrower lost at least 20% or more in household income – or became unemployed – for a period of six months prior to the foreclosure, short-sale, or deed-in-lieu. To verify loss of income, the lender must request a written Verification of Employment to show the termination date or loss of income, receipt of unemployment compensation, or signed W-2′s and tax returns detailing the reduction in earnings.
To demonstrate a loss of income for part-time or seasonal employment, the borrower must prove a 2-year history in the same field prior to loss of employment. Borrowers will also be required to prove that they have fully recovered from their hardship, increased earnings and have maintained other credit obligations for a period of 12 months following foreclosure, short sale, bankruptcy or deed in lieu.
When evaluating a borrower for the “Back to Work” initiative following a foreclosure, the lender may deem the borrower eligible if:
1.) The borrower’s credit report is free of any late housing payments within the last 12 months;
2.) All other mortgage accounts must be current for the last 12 months, even if the loan was previously modified to avoid a foreclosure action;
3.) The borrower’s credit report contains no more than a single 30-day delinquency on payments due other creditors; and
4.) The borrower’s credit report contains no current collection accounts or public records. This condition may be waived in instances of identity theft or borrower’s with medical collections.
1.) Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: One year must have elapsed since the bankruptcy discharge. Proof must also be shown that the bankruptcy filing was the result of an “Economic Event” covered within the FHA program guidelines.
2.) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Most lenders will require that the bankruptcy filing be discharged with all payments required under the agreement having been made on time. For borrowers currently in bankruptcy, written approval from the court allowing them to enter a new mortgage contract is required.
Housing Counseling Requirement:
For purposes of establishing satisfactory credit following an “Economic Event,” mortgage borrowers’ under the “Back to Work” initiative must:
1.) Receive homeownership counseling or a combination of homeownership education and counseling, at a minimum, one hour of one-on-one counseling from HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, as defined at 24 C.F.R. §214.100. The counseling must address the cause of the ‘Economic Event” and the actions taken to overcome it as well as reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence; and
2.) Be completed a minimum of thirty (30) days but no more than six (6) months prior to submitting a loan application to a lender, as application is defined in Regulation X, implementing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 24 C.F.R. §3500.2(b).
The housing education may be provided by HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, state housing finance agencies, approved intermediaries or their sub-grantees, or through an online course. It may be conducted in person, via telephone, via internet, or other methods approved by HUD, and mutually agreed upon by the borrower and housing counseling agency.
Rules for Renters:
Under certain circumstances, renters may qualify under the “Back to Work” initiative. For purposes of establishing satisfactory credit, mortgage borrowers must:
1.) The borrower’s credit report is free of any late rental payments within the last 12 months;
2.) The borrower’s credit report contains no more than a single 30-day delinquency on payments due other creditors; and
3.) The borrower’s credit report contains no current collection accounts or public records. This condition may be waived in instances of identity theft or borrower’s with medical collections.
Prior to the proposal of new mortgage guidelines, the FHA had considerably shorter waiting periods for borrowers who had gone through foreclosure or bankruptcy than for conventional mortgages. In the past, borrowers could be approved for a new FHA mortgage in as little as three years after a foreclosure or two years following a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
A foreclosure, short-sale, Chapter 13 bankruptcy or deed-in-lieu will continue to plague a borrower’s credit report at the Equifax, Experian and TransUnion consumer reporting agencies for a period of seven years. A discharged Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on the credit report for a period of ten years.
“As a result of the recession many homeowners experienced unemployment or unforeseen circumstances and were not able to make their monthly mortgage payments,” Carlos J. Reyes, a foreclosure defense attorney with the Reyes Law Group in Fort Lauderdale, told Examiner. “I’m glad to see that the FHA has recognized the financial hardship faced by many borrowers and is allowing them to once again attain the American Dream through homeownership.”
The new guidelines take effect immediately and will be in force through at least September, 2016.
A South Miami man is being held without bond Friday after gunning down his wife and posting gruesome photos of her body on Facebook, according to police and The Miami Herald.
Turning himself in to police Thursday, Derek Medina, 31, was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center early Friday following the shooting death of his wife, Jennifer Alonso, 26.
Under the caption “RIP Jennifer Alonzo,” Medina posted a graphic photo of his slain wife’s blood soaked body on his Facebook Timeline. Shortly before, he updated his status to reveal: “You will see me in the news.”
“Im going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys takecare Facebook people you will see me in the news,” Medina wrote.
“My wife was punching me and I am not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did I hope u understand me.”
Medina then drove to his father’s house and confessed to the murder. Thereafter they drove together to the South Miami Police Department.
“Officers then responded to the listed location where they found the victim deceased from apparent gunshot wounds, as well as the victim’s daughter, 10, who was unharmed,” authorities later reported.
“His lawyers will advance the ‘battered husband syndrome,’ to mimic the often-used defense of ‘battered wife syndrome’ used famously by Ellis Rubin and other lawyers defending wives who have killed their husbands,” Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney John Contini, author of several real-life crime dramas including Danger Road and Feeling the Heat, told Examiner. “They’ll argue, ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,’ otherwise you’re denying men ‘equal protection’ under the 14th Amendment which guarantees equal treatment for both men and women under the law.”
It took Facebook five hours to remove the graphic photo of Jennifer Alonzo from Derek Medina’s personal profile. In releasing a statement to Examiner:
“The content was reported to us. We took action on the profile — removing the content and disabling the profile, and we reached out to law enforcement. We take action on all content that violates our terms, which are clearly laid out on our site.”
With the exception of Medina’s claims of self defense, a motive for the murder is unknown at this time.
“In posting his allegations of domestic violence for the entire world to see, it appears that Medina could be setting the groundwork for a ‘Stand your Ground’ defense,” Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney and Fox/CNN legal contributor Eric Schwartzreich told Examiner. “With that said, a fish doesn’t get caught if it keeps his mouth shut.”
Fading faster than his rise in the polls for New York City mayor, former congressman Anthony Weiner has plummeted to fourth place in the Democratic primary field, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released late Tuesday.
With over 20 declared candidates for mayor, more than have of those surveyed – 53 percent – suggest Weiner should drop out of the race.
Weiner – who first rose to national stardom in 2011 in his now infamous crotch shot - has vowed to stand tall and continue his campaign despite sexting young women while married. Bringing parody to the race while violating the fundamental vows of marriage and abusing the public trust, Weiner remains hard in his commitment to become mayor of America’s largest city.
Crossing party lines – Democrat, Republican and Independent alike – gender, ethnicity and religion, voters have been unforgiving as allegations of continued bad behavior plague a shrinking Weiner base.
“With six weeks to go, anything can happen, but it looks like former Congressman Anthony Weiner may have sexted himself right out of the race for New York City mayor,” stated Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “And with Weiner in free-fall, it begins to look like a three-way race again.”
While obstinance and delusion continue to rein supreme for Weiner, he refused to fade from glory and vowed to continue despite his lewd messages to women.
“Quitting isn’t the way we roll in New York City,” Weiner stated in a minute-long video posted on his campaign website late Tuesday. “Someone wants to come out with something embarrassing about you in your private life; you’ve got to talk about that for a little while.”
“If politicians like Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer can reinvent themselves despite allegations of lewd photos, messages and using the services of a prostitute, anyone can,” Rico Petrocelli, former chairman of the Broward Republican Party in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told Examiner. “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
Utilizing public record databases to find criminal, civil, or traffic violations in South Florida became a little easier Friday with the release of a semi-comprehensive list of online resources.
Locating and identifying a criminal history, civil litigation or traffic history is but a click away. You can also access resources in relation to inmates, those on probation, parole or community control, sex offenders or missing children, in addition to stolen property or vehicles.
· Florida Department of Law Enforcement – For a modest fee of $23.00, you can obtain an individual’s criminal history record in Florida.
· Broward County court records - Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
· Miami-Dade County court records – Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
· Monroe County court records – Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
· Palm Beach County court records – Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
· Florida Offender Alert System – Sign up to receive an email alert when a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
· Florida Sex Offender Registry – Locate registered sex offenders by name, city, address or zip code.
· Sex offender screen names – Check a computer screen name or email address to determine whether it’s linked to a registered sex offender in Florida.
· National and other state sex offender registries – Search the national database, or select a state to view a particular registry.
Jail and state prison inmates
· Broward County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Broward County.
· Miami-Dade County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Miami-Dade County.
· Monroe County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Monroe County.
· Palm Beach County Jail inmates – Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Palm Beach County as well as those released within the last 12 months.
· Florida Department of Corrections – Search for inmates currently incarcerated or recently released, as well as those on probation, parole, community control or other form of non-custodial release.
Wanted and missing persons
· Florida Missing Children Search – Search for a missing or endangered person directly at the state Missing Children Information Clearinghouse.
· Missing Persons Search – Search for a missing person directly at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
· National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – Search for several national resources for missing children.
· Wanted Persons Search – Search for felony or misdemeanor warrant information as reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
· Wireless Amber alerts – Sign up for free wireless Amber alerts directly to your cell phone.
· Florida Crime Information Center – Search for information on whether a vehicle, vehicle parts, boats, license plates, decals, guns and other items were reported lost or stolen in Florida.
· VINCheck – Search the National Insurance Crime Bureau database to see if a vehicle has been reported stolen.
For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 16,550 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.
2,140 days without freedom.
Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson devoted almost three decades of service to his country and the citizens of the United States. A career that deserved honors has instead resulted in almost six years as a hostage in a foreign country.
Until his disappearance in March 2007, Levinson, 64, resided with his wife and seven children in Coral Springs. Working as a private investigator, he was researching a cigarette smuggling case on Kish Island in Iran when he went missing.
There have been many efforts over the years to locate Levinson and return him home and to his loving family. All have met with disappointing results.
In 2010, the Levinson family received a “proof-of-life” video from his captors. The Federal Bureau of Investigation responded by placing a $1,000,000 reward for information pertaining to his disappearance and whereabouts.
To date, there have been no publicized results and the Levinson family feels all but abandoned.
Family and friends have set up a website and social media accounts under the username of “HelpBobLevinson” on Facebook and Twitter. Spreading awareness by posting updates on Bob Levinson’s “disappearance” in Iran has become priority one.
Levinson’s wife – Christine – released Tuesday five disturbing photos of Bob dressed in an orange prison-type jumpsuit. He had lost weight and has a long grey beard and disheveled hair.
In visibly deteriorating health, Levinson is also seen holding signs pleading for help.
An analysis of the photographs has led authorities to believe that Iran is behind Levinson’s kidnapping. With such knowledge, the family hopes that the United States will exact more pressure on the Iranian government to free Levinson.
According to published reports, the Levinson family received the photos anonymously by email in late 2010 and early 2011. With Tuesday’s release comes a heightened attempt to encourage media awareness and governmental attention.
The Levinson family is now attempting to secure Bob’s freedom through a recently created White House petition process under the Obama Administration’s “We the People” website.
“Make rescuing US Citizen Robert Levinson being held hostage in the Middle East since 2007 a top priority,” states the petition.
The family notes on the website that Levinson is the second-longest-held hostage in American history, second to Terry Anderson, held longer in the Lebanon Hostage Crisis.
As of now, the petition has almost 11,100 signatures. To be successful, it must have 25,000 by January 20th – the day before President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington D.C.
“We keep trying to get media attention in the hopes that whoever is holding him can see it, and will reach out to us to try and resolve it,” stated Bob’s son, Doug Levinson. “We also started the petition to try to get the White House to respond to it and make it a top priority.”
When Robert Levinson finally returns home, he will be proud to find his son pursuing the same career path that he took.
“My dad always wanted to be an FBI agent since he was 8 years old,” Levinson said. “None of my brothers or sisters had the desire to go into the FBI, but I have since I can remember. He’s my idol, my hero. Everybody wants to be like their hero, and I’m no different. If I could be half the man my father is, I would be happy.”
The entire community can help the Levinson family by signing the petition and promoting it through social media. In order to warrant an official response from the White House, 14,000 more signatures are required by Sunday.
For more information about Bob Levinson’s disappearance, please visit www.helpboblevinson.com. For more information on the $1,000,000.00 reward being offered by the FBI for information on his disappearance and whereabouts, please visit tips.fbi.gov.
As part of their commitment to the community, Applebee’s is partnering with the Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale and the American Cancer Society (ACS) to help raise funds and generate awareness for cancer research.
To help with the effort, Applebee’s, located at 6005 North University Drive, Tamarac, FL 33321 is hosting a special event Wednesday, January 9th during which 15% of its total sales from 5 p.m. will be donated to the Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale.
Throughout the evening, guests are welcome to dine at Applebee’s to support a great cause. Information about the Tamarac – North Lauderdale Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society and the important work of its foundations and community outreach will be available.
The January team meeting of the Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale will also be held. Be among the first to learn about their first team fundraising challenge. The meetings are open to all team members and those who are interested in learning more about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.
“It’s amazing to think that millions of people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Someone close to me may be one of them,” stated event chairwoman Julie Fishman. “Our Relay for Life is not only a way to join in the fight back against cancer, but it is also a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease.”
The Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale will be held on May 17th and 18th at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac. For information on the event, you may visit them online, “Like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
As part of their commitment to the community, Five Guys Burgers and Fries is partnering with the Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale and the American Cancer Society (ACS) to help raise funds and generate awareness for cancer research.
To help with the effort, Five Guys Burgers and Fries – located at 5701 North University Drive, Tamarac, FL 33321 – is hosting a special event Thursday night, January 10th, during which 15% of its total sales from 5-9 p.m. will be donated to the Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale.
“We’re proud to support the American Cancer Society through the Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale,” stated Ed Kelin, manager of Five Guys Burgers and Fries. “This event is part of our commitment to the local communities where we reside.”
Beginning at 5 p.m. and throughout the evening, guests are welcome to dine at Five Guys Burgers and Fries to support a great cause. Information about the Tamarac – North Lauderdale Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society and the important work of its foundations and community outreach will be available.
“It’s amazing to think that millions of people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Someone close to you or me may be one of them,” stated event chairwoman Julie Fishman. “Our Relay for Life is not only a way to join in the fight back against cancer, but it is also a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease.”
The Relay for Life of Tamarac – North Lauderdale will be held on May 17th and 18th at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac. For information on the event, you may visit them online, “Like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
Interesting guests and election related topics will be on AM 740 WSBR and The Credit Report with Bill Lewis as they broadcast live Monday from Lynn University and the final presidential debate before Decision 2012.
As a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis can be found on AM 740 WSBR in south Florida. Hosted by Bill Lewis, the show broadcasts live weekdays at 7am.
Over 5,000 credentialed members of the media have begun pouring onto the Boca Raton campus for Monday’s third and final debate.
Several weekend talk shows, including CBS News’ “Face the Nation” — whose host, Bob Schieffer, is moderating— are also expected to broadcast live on or near the campus.
And Lynn University President Kevin M. Ross is not one to brag about the attention.
“We’ve been waiting for a moment like this,” Ross told reporters Tuesday, on the eve of the Hofstra University debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. “We’ve been wanting to tell our story at Lynn for a long time.”
Lynn University now has the opportunity to shine in a nationwide spotlight.
According to Ross, Lynn University has seen a substantial rise in visits to the school website since the announcement was made that they would stage one of the highly coveted debates.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what we think will be intense interest,” Ross stated, although he also added that he wanted to keep an intimate atmosphere at Lynn and not expand much.
“I want people to know about the great teachers and teaching going on here.”
A relative unknown even among some Palm Beach County residents, Lynn University is home to over 2,100 students and faculty.
Lynn University last made major news in 2010 following the earthquake in Haiti, where four students and two faculty members were killed.
Ross noted Tuesday that the families of the earthquake victims were invited to all debate-related events, stating “we promised those families those stories would always be told.”
Abuzz with activity from workers and Secret Service personnel, Lynn University is spending almost $5 million – including more than $1 million in technology infrastructure – to successfully host the debate. Ross said the university raised about half of the $5 million and will absorb the remainder while considering it an “investment” in the university’s future.
Since the show’s inception, Bill Lewis has interviewed some of the country’s leading politicians, including: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Herman Cain, Chris Christie, Jon Huntsman, Allen West, Rick Scott, George LeMieux, Jeff Atwater, Pam Bondi, Marco Rubio, Connie Mack, Sharon Day, Alex Sink, Adam Putnam, Charlie Crist, Bill McCollum, Jeff Kottkamp, Jennifer Carroll, Christine O’Donnell, among others.
In addition, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis has hosted a number of politicians, attorneys and financial experts in the south Florida area. Among the dozens that have appeared on the show are Carlos Reyes, Al Lamberti, Chip LaMarca, Adam Hasner, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Tom Rooney, Carlos Gimenez, Roger Stone, Bob Davids, Lori Parrish, Richard Denapoli, Rico Petrocelli, Jamie McDonnell, Jim Lewis, Tom Lauder, and John Contini.
The Credit Report with Bill Lewis airs live, Monday through Friday from 7am-8am Eastern Time with an encore presentation Saturday’s at 3pm on AM 740 WSBR. Streaming audio is available at http://www.wsbrradio.com and on air participation is welcome at (888) 721-0074.
If you miss the early broadcast, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis is still available weeknights at 9pm Eastern Time, Saturday’s at 6pm and Sunday’s at 8pm on AM 1470 WWNN by streaming audio at http://www.wwnnradio.com.
Going head-to-head against Steve Kane and Jimmy Cefalo, Bill Lewis promises more “talk” and fewer commercials.
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