Saturday, May 15, 2010

Laws will aid home market

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic May. 12, 2010 12:00 AM

Several pieces of important Arizona legislation that would have slowed foreclosures and potentially aided in the recovery of the housing market died in the recent session.

But some key bills did survive, and the new laws will help.

• Senate Bill 1130 regulates the growing number of foreclosure consultants working with homeowners. This legislation makes it illegal for foreclosure consultants to collect upfront fees from homeowners.

Consultants must also disclose all fees through a signed contract, which a homeowner can cancel up to three days after signing. The bill gives homeowners the right to recover damages from foreclosure consultants and state and county prosecutors the ability to file criminal charges against any consultant or firm that breaks the new law.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, as well as other state housing advocates and regulators, have pushed for more licensing and regulation of foreclosure consultants due to scams that are costing homeowners their savings and home.

• House Bill 2242 helps protect senior homeowners from reverse-mortgage scams. The law requires a mortgage broker to provide the borrower with a list of housing counselors and an explanation of all fees and total repayment costs of the loan prior to closing.

• House Bill 2479 requires more identification from buyers of foreclosure properties. The law requires foreclosure documentation to contain a name and contact information of the person responsible for the property. This information will help cities contact someone to take care of vandalism and maintenance on foreclosures.

Home prices

Phoenix is one of 91 cities out of 152 to post an increase in home prices during the past year.

Results from the National Association of Realtors' latest survey, released Tuesday, show existing-home prices climbed 9.1 percent in the Phoenix area for the year ended March 31.

The region's median price climbed to $140,900.

Luxury moves

Valley luxury-home expert Walt Danley has joined Realty Executives. Realtor rankings put Danley at No. 1 in Arizona for luxury-home sales. He left Coldwell Banker.

Laws will aid home market

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