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President’s Corner Spring homebuying season starts well

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Diane Gallagher

Posted: Friday, June 1, 2012 2:23 pm | Updated: 2:26 pm, Fri Jun 1, 2012.

According to the California Association of Realtors, spring home buying season is off to a strong start.

California home sales and median price both jumped in April, with sales shooting up to their highest level in more than two years. The median price rose above $300,000 for the first time in 16 months. This price varies in our area.

Corelogic reported that foreclosures and mortgage delinquency rates continued a long gradual descent across northern California. Foreclosures fell to 2.69 percent of outstanding home loans in the four-county Sacramento region, according to the Santa Ana-based real estate information service said in a news release.

That was about half percentage point lower than the same period a year before. The foreclosure rate in the Sacramento region has been steadily decreasing in small increments since January 2010. Sacramento’s foreclosure rate in March was lower than the national average of 3.41 percent but higher than the state average of 2.49 percent, it said.

Something free! Free workshops for new homebuyers are scheduled in Sacramento and Stockton for June and August. There will also be workshops in the Fresno, Manteca and the Modesto areas. This will be sponsored by the nonprofit ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. These workshops are aimed at first-time homebuyers, as well as those who have gone through foreclosure and want to buy again. The eight-hour workshops will cover all aspects of buying a home, including escrow, loan approvals and down payments.

Participants will also receive a HUD certificate to help qualify them for down payment assistance. For more information go to www.clearpointcreditcounselingsolutions.org or call 800-750-2227.

In a new press release from Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Harris announced the Assembly and Senate each passed important components of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights that will help protect homeowners from scams. AB1763 (Assembly member Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles) and SB 1474 (Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley) would allow the Attorney General to convene a special grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple jurisdictions. It will also provide protection when Californians need it the most. Both bills passed out of their respective houses unanimously with bipartisan support.

The special grand jury would convene in cases involving fraud or theft that occurs in more than one county and where all potential charges are against a single defendant or multiple defendants working together.

Crimes of a financial nature often occur in multiple jurisdictions. Under current law, crimes where the fraud victims are all over the state require separate grand juries and charges filed in each county where the defendant committed the crime. This legislation would provide for the option of a special grand jury that can investigate financial crimes beyond the scope of single-county grand juries.

In addition, AB 1950, by Assembly member Davis, will extend to three years the statute of limitations on mortgage related crimes. The current statute of limitations of one year can make it difficult to prosecute crimes such as the prohibition on charging upfront fees for loan modification services.

Because the foreclosure process is so protracted, some homeowners may no even realize that they have been the victim of a scam before it is too late for prosecution.

AB 1950 equips the Attorney General to do her job; to go after the bad people that have taken advantage of homeowners. It accomplishes this by providing the Attorney General with appropriate time to investigate and prosecute those who prey on California homeowners,” said Davis. The bill passed out of the Assembly on a 46 to 18 vote.

Lots of information, have a great week!

Diane Gallagher is the president of the Lodi Association of Realtors and can be reached at larpres2012@yahoo.com.

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