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The Politics Of Housing Recovery

"If anything ever was a bipartisan problem, the housing mess is. Let’s all share with our elected officials that we’d like to see politics set aside and solutions tried..." writes JEFF in the post that follows. I'm including this reBlog in my tour of current matters affecting all we, together, look for ways to remedy the real estate conundrum...Interested in this conversation/ READ ON!

It seems that while everybody is putting forward ideas for a plan to “fix housing,” not much is being done. Considering that several proposals have come from the Republican side of the aisle, it shouldn’t be considered an election-year football.

The latest, presented as a congressional bill Oct. 5 by Sen. Johnny Isakson and Rep. Tom Graves, would create a waiver for the IRS penalty for withdrawing 401(k) savings to pay down delinquent loan amounts in a pending foreclosure. As with all the other plans or ideas put forward in the last two years, this one has its positives and negatives. My fear, however, is that nothing will get done — or even tried — in this tense pre-election atmosphere.

The real losers? All those who legitimately could use a hand and are about to lose their homes.

I am emphatically not a big-government supporter, but I would also contend that since big-government policies caused the housing bubble and placed the housing market where it is today, government needs to craft a policy that would:

  1. Reduce the number of homeowners about to enter foreclosure.
  2. Motivate banks holding foreclosed properties to get them sold.
  3. Create a stable lending environment for mortgage lenders to go out and make good loans on currently distressed properties (most of which currently don’t qualify for FHA or VA loans based on condition).

I’m not necessarily advocating a nationwide “one-size-fits-all” federal policy package — I’d be fine with the FHA putting together liberal guidelines making it easier to get a loan on a distressed property (underwritten second loans, less-restrictive property appraisals …) and handing the states something they can work with.

The bottom-line problem at the moment is that there are untold thousands of properties sitting vacant falling into disrepair around the country with no light at the end of the tunnel for them. I bet you even know of one somewhere near you. All the while it’s harder and harder to get a good home loan, especially if you are one of those folks interested in taking on a distressed property to rehabilitate it. On top of all this, mortgage lenders face stiffening compliance regulations and rising fees to write loans.

If anything ever was a bipartisan problem, the housing mess is. Let’s all share with our elected officials that we’d like to see politics set aside and solutions tried.

Jeff Geoghan is a real estate agent and founder of in Lancaster County. He also hosts “YourLancasterHomeTV (” He also holds a Green designation from the National Association of Realtors and blogs about homes and green issues.



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