VOTE – My grandmother was an early voter!

I have a hunch my grandmother would not have died for your right to vote!

Controversy is not the aim of this blog, but since Sarah hit the scene, a lot of e-mail from other women my own age has been finding its way to my computer.  The Alaskans I know seem to love her.  But, it would appear that women of my age group don’t consider Sarah much of a woman’s woman. This election does have us thinking about how far women come. 

As a teenager my grandmother amazed me when she told me that she voted in the first election in which women were ever allowed to vote.  The concept that women had not always possessed all the same rights as a men was just beyond me then! It appalled me when Granny said it is a woman’s responsibility to vote the same way as her husband.  So, I guess you can imagine how I reacted when, at age 19, I was told a guy with half a brain got the promotion I wanted because, being male, he would eventually have a family to support.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the progress women have made during the past 30 years. My generation wonders if young women know how recent and hard won their equality is. We perceive human rights, civil rights and women’s rights at the heart of  today’s international cultural conflicts.  

The photo and story below was sent to me by a friend. I hope you will consider sharing it with your daughters and sons.

Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC
Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
In Real Estate, Experience Counts
808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.KonaBigIsland.com or contact me Joyce@KonaBigIsland.com

 

Women Picket for VoteWHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE?

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.  Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of ’obstructing sidewalk traffic.’

Thus unfolded the ’Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms. 

(Lucy Burns) They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. 

(Dora Lewis) They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

(Alice Paul) When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

 http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/nwp/prisoners.pdf 
  
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because–why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels.’ It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient. My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was–with herself. ‘One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,’ she said. ’What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.’ The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her ‘all over again.’

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies  and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order. It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’ 

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – remember to vote.

KONA MYSTERY By My New Favorite Writer

Baron R. Birtcher, Mystery Writer 

AS REQUESTED, I AM LINKING directly to Baron R. Birtcher’s* official web site where you can find sources for ”Angels Fall” and Killer Coffee online.  My diving friends from are Alaska report that Birtcher’s books are in short supply. I’ve noticed Boarder’s Bookstore in Kona is nearly sold out too. So I contacted my new favorite mystery writer, and fellow diver, Baron.  He offered THIS LINK to his web site where you can find on-line sources for the book.  More important, he promised Mike Travis will soon return in his next Kona adventure.

ATTENTION DIVE BUDDIES!  Those of you who dive regularly with Jake’s*, I mean Jack’s Diving Locker.  Keep your eyes open as you read.  One of the characters in “Angels Fall”* is a boat captain you know.

“Angels Fall” By Baron R. BirtcherIF YOU LOVE KONA, don’t miss this book. Here’s what critics say:

 “Baron Birtcher’s* Angels Fall is a taut and evocative thriller set in the lost paradise of Hawaii. The plotting is tight, the characters are vivid and there’s a sense of longing and loss that accompanies the action. Birtcher is a fine writer and you will enjoy this book.” 

—T. Jefferson Parker

(Edgar Award winning author of The Fallen and Storm Runners)

“Baron Birtcher ruined my whole work day. I kept trying to set Angels Fall down to do my own stuff, but couldn’t stop turning the pages. It’s stylish, fast, soulful and has an indelible—and rare—sense of place. You want to read this book, then you want to live in it.” 

—Don Winslow

(Bestselling author of The Winter of Frankie Machine and The Power of the Dog)

Joyce Murphy, R(B), BIC, ABR, ALHS
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
“In Real Estate, Experience Counts!”

808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.KonaBigIsland.com

Joyce@KonaBigIsland.com

KONA HOMES – Real Estate Looking Up?

THE ANSWER TO THE BURNING QUESTION, is real estate looking up in Kona is simply, no one knows but it is well worth your time to spend a few minutes looking at ceiling details.  In an area where most homes are “custom”, a great deal of time and money has been spent making these homes perfect from top to bottom.

Wood Ceilings Grace New Home ATTENTION TO DETAIL STARTS AT THE TOP! In Hawaiian homes, when I say at the top, I mean it starts with the ceilings. This exposed wood ceiling is very typical in today’s medium to high priced homes. Sometimes we see pickled or painted wood. That lightens the room, but look at the room light solution incorporated into this nearly new Puu Lani Ranch home.

Skylights Open to Heaven 

BRINGING LIGHT INTO EVEN THE LARGEST ROOMS, skylights allow you to keep the natural color of the wood you selected without making your spacious home feel like a dungeon. Strategically placed skylights will brighten even the darkest hallway, kitchen or closet.

Bath Ceiling Detail 

THERE IS NOTHING CONTRIVED ABOUT ARCHITECTUAL DETAILS that are the bones of the structure itself. The corner location of this garden tub takes advantage of ceiling details and an outside view to create a pleasant retreat. See how this is example of country casual being built in Hawaii today contrasts with the vintage ranch below.

Captain Cook Vintage Ranch GENERATIONS OF LOVE AND CARE come together to create the atmosphere this Captain Cook Bed and Breakfast displays so well. At it’s heart, koa creates the spirit of home. Huge beams support the roof in the gathering room. Koa, one of the beautiful Hawaiian woods now nearly extinct and extremely rare, was plentiful at the time this home was constructed. It was also used for walls, shelving and floors.

Dalphine House Keauhou 

FEW HOMES HAVE THE WOW FACTOR you see at every turn in this vintage Keauhou Estates home, known as The Dolphin House. It’s about the sculpture and view. It’s about the water and the sound of water. It’s about the breeze too. The breeze is encouraged by an updraft through the clerestory windows providing both light and air above the enormous sculpture. The Dolphin House in Keauhou Estates was only on the market a short time before it was snapped up by some savvy buyer.

The full treatment 

HIGH CEILINGS WITH CLERESTORY WINDOWS create updrafts and encourage constant circulation on warm days. Airflow is a major consideration in Hawaii. Air conditioning systems here are rare because they discourage the Indoor/Outdoor lifestyle that attracted most of us to the tropics.

Holualoa Home 

SOARING CEILINGS AND ARCHITECTURAL DETAIL combined to create interesting opportunities to display art and collections in this wonderful Holualoa country home.  At lower elevations these windows might contain only screen.

Kona ceilings feature wood trim 

THESE COLOR CHOICES were a little unusual for Kona, but this was such a pretty room I brought the focus down off the wonderful tray ceilings so you could see the floors too. This master suite  included a large bath and closet, not to mention the view.

These photos were taken on our Realtor’s KONA CARAVAN over the past year. If you have questions about any of these homes, please call or e-mail me.

Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
“In Real Estate, Experience Counts!”
808-443-4302
www.KonaBigIsland.com

KONA DIVE starts with a Spotted Eagle Ray

Reticulated Butterfly  WHEN YOU STEP OFF THE BOAT, deflate your BC, clear your ears at 10 feet and see a Spotted Eagle Ray flying leasurly past about 30 feet away, you know this is going to be a killer dive day!  We recovered from that excitement when we noticed a medium sized White Mouth Morey hunting with a Peacock Grouper and a half dozen Bluefin Travally. This is a behaviour Kona divers have noticed for several years.  It is always very cool to see a free swimming eel.  The idea is that as the eel passes through small spaces between the coral heads and rocks, the things Groupers and Travally like to eat dart out. To start the process a Grouper will swim up to an eel and caress its face with a fin, after a few seconds of that the Morey begins hunting.

THE VIS WAS GREAT, from 90 feet I could clearly see the second group of divers on the surface and maybe 40 feet toward the shore.  We checked out a Pipefish hiding in a hole with two Ghost Shrimp. A few minutes later the Eagle Ray made a second pass to delight the group of divers too.  We saw an Octopus, a beautiful Flat Worm, Flounder, Golden Gobies and lots of yellow fish too.

LATER IN THE DAY, near the shore it was baby day. There were dozens of juvenile fish. Best of all there was a Whitetip Reef Shark pup about 2 feet long. He’s been hanging out in a low ceiling lava tube for the last week or two, but this was the first time I was lucky enough to catch him there.  Nearby in another hiding hole, I saw my first Sponge Crab. Well, I might have seen one before and just thought it was a sponge.  Just before the dive ended we spotted a pair of Reticulated Butterfly Fish, perhaps the most beautiful of all the butterfly fish. (Pictured Above)

AT THE END OF THE DAY we thanked Captain Paul, and all the Jack’s Diving Locker staff for another great day of diving.  Join us in the water off the Kona Coast when you can.  Feel free to add your dive experiences to this blog. You are welcome to call or e-mail with your dive questions too.

Joyce Murphy, PADI Advanced Diver

“In Real Estate and Diving, Experience Counts!”

Joyce Murphy, Realtor (B)
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
More Kona Real Estate Information at: www.KonaBigIsland.com

GETTING YOUR KONA FIX? It is a Mystery

“ANGELS FALL” by Baron Birtcher SO YOU LOVE KONA. You work and live for those magic weeks of vacation, that portion of your life you spend on the Orchid Isle. You check a local web cam several times every evening and read every word in the Friday West Hawaii Today, even though it’s a week old when it arrives. I’ve been there. I remember when my life was on the mainland and my heart was in Kona.

ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE BARON R. BIRTCHER* , my new favorite mystery author.  If you’re longing for Kona, run, don’t walk, to the nearest book store and demand; don’t just ask for, “Angels Fall”, a Mike Travis novel! Before the third chapter you will have focused your eyes on the slopes of Hualalai (I stole that from the book), smelled Kona coffee roasting and well, get the book!

SHORT OF BEING HERE, this is the best Kona fix you’ll find. Birtcher’s characters are believable, even familiar. He approaches controversial local issues with sympathy and Hawaiian culture with respect.

GET ”ANGELS FALL”!  Read it. Let me know what you think. But please, don’t give away the ending!

BOOK STORE SOLD OUT? Find out where to buy “Angels Fall”* online HERE.

Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Accredited Luxury Home Specialist
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
“In Real Estate, Experience Counts!”

808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.KonaBigIsland.com

Joyce@KonaBigIsland.com

NAALEHU May Cause Rapid Weight Gain!

Na’alehu Delights BIG ISLAND RESIDENTS BEWARE! NA’ALEHU may be habit forming. Once you’ve seen the beauty of the countryside and tasted Na’alehu’s delights, you may find yourself looking forward to a Ka’u get-away. Soon you too may notice dimples on your butt, saddlebag thighs, double chins and a big belly.  You can probably walk away from the bakery’s home made salads and sandwiches. Well, sometimes you can. It is possible to resist the exotic flavored ice-cream. At the pastry display, however, is where you may well lose your resolve! But I am getting ahead of myself.

A FEW YEARS BACK the real estate market was a-booming and life was incredibly hectic for Kona. On a rare day off, friend and fellow real estate agent, Jan Engle, introduced me to Ka’u. After visiting Whittington Park, we had a look at a piece of ocean front conservation land she had her eye on. I was smitten with the spring-green hills long before we got to the incredible Punalu’u Black Sand Beach at Mile Marker 56. Jan introduced me to her friend, Barb, who showed us around Colony One condos at Sea Mountain.  We had lunch in Na’alehu before we went to see the Discovery Harbour lot Barb was ready to build on. By the time we passed South Point on our way back to Kona, I was SOLD! 

BEFORE LONG MY HUSBAND was in the truck and we had looked at every lot for sale in Discovery Harbour. Ecstatic to find a subdivision this far from city life, yet still “on the grid”, we picked our lot and bought it. Next we started looking for house plans and began dreaming of our Ka’u hide-away.  Over the next few years, whenever we found the time, we made our way to Na’alehu to admire our hide-away home-site, dream a little and eat at the Punalu’u Bake Shop.

OVER TIME WE ATE OUR WAY to dimples, doubles and saddlebags. On our last trip we brought home a baker’s dozen malassadas, a loaf of coconut bread and half dozen pieces of bread pudding. That was in addition to what we ate while we were there. Realizing we cannot resist the bake goods at Na’alehu. My husband at last declared, “Sell the lot!”

IF YOU HAVE THE IRON WILL to resist the temptation of heavenly pastries or a really high metabolism, and the desire to build a get-away with stunning views; I have a lot for sale in Discovery Harbour.  The golf course is closed for now, so I put the sales flyer for the lot on our new golf balls. E-mail DiscoveryHarbour414@KonaBigIsland.com and include your address if you want me to mail you a “golf ball sales flyer”.

If you want to test your resolve without driving to Ka’u or even coming to Hawaii, the bake shop sells goodies on-line. Click the photo or link above but remember, you have been warned about rapid weight gain.

Aloha and Mahalo,

Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
“In Real Estate, Experience Counts!”
808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
Joyce@KonaBigIsland.com

More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.LuxuryRealEstateHI.com

INDEPENDENCE on THE BIG ISLAND

When it is the 4th of July, you will find me in Waiamea at the Parker Ranch for the annual Independence Day Rodeo. This year is the celebration of the Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy). Later in the day an estimated $40K was raised for charity during Waikoloa Beach Resort’s annual Fourth of July Rubber Duckie Race and Extravaganza. In Kailua-Kona, our annual parade was the largest in my memory with about 50 entries. After sunset all other fireworks paled beside Madame Pele’s magnificent display at Kilauea. It is tauted as the most spectacular eruption in decades.

At Mauna Lani Resort hundreds of spectators looked on as five honu were released into the ocean. There they will live out the rest of their lives, free to do whatever turtles are inclined to do. In the aftermath of all that celebration, I find myself contemplating how well it suits my nature to live where independence is cherished. Is it any wonder I work as an “Independent Contractor”? I just don’t like being controlled.

Lately I am feeling irritable about being dependant on oil. You see, I am old enough to have lived through the last really big oil scare. I recall most of the details of the passive solar home I hoped to build. I remember American made muscle cars giving way to fuel efficient foreign imports. I wrote articles on making solar collectors. Like so many “Baby Boomers”, I had great ideas about changing our dependence on fossil fuels. We knew in the 1970’s that we were depleting the ozone. We understood about acid rain, global warming and the greenhouse effect. Funny how much more oil we seemed to find in the 1980’s and 90’s. We got busy with other things and failed ourselves. I guess we counted on the catalytic converter and earth day to save the planet. We all had good intentions but we did little or nothing to make a cleaner world happen. We looked to the EPA to take care of our world and complained when it tried.

When Hink Rogers, founder of Blue Planet Foundation, recently said his goal is eliminate the use of all fossil fuel, it was a just shocking. Later I started thinking, what more perfect place to make a serious effort to do just that, than The Big Island.  The higher gas and electric prices climb, the more convinced I am, the time to start is right now. I’m not talking about just recycling cans – mercury filled light bulbs – solar hot water – hybrid car – every little bit helps ecology. I’m thinking we should set our goal at full blown – geothermal – photovoltaic – electric car – Fossil Fuel Independence on The Big Island!Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
“AWARD WINNING REPRESENTATION!”
808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
Joyce@KonaBigIsland.com

More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.LuxuryRealEstateHI.com

NAR Adopts Rules – Short Sales in MLS

NAR Adopts Rules for Disclosure of Short Sales in MLS  by Bob Hunt

Reprinted from Realty Times

At the recent mid-year meetings of the National Association of Realtors the Board of Directors adopted new policy regarding the disclosure of short sale listings in a multiple listing service data base. According to an NAR news release, the directors “approved new model rules for MLSs that would enable practitioners to alert one another to potential short sales and put them on notice about the sharing of any reduction in gross listing commission required by a lender. MLSs are given the authority to decide whether or not their participants have to disclose reasonably-known short sales.”

All MLSs must provide their members with the means to disclose that a given listing is a short sale. MLSs, at their discretion, may require that such disclosure be made.

For purposes of the new rule, short sales are defined as “a transaction where title transfers; where the sale price is insufficient to pay the total of all liens and costs of sale; and where the seller does not bring sufficient liquid assets to the closing to cure all deficiencies.” Short sales have become a fact of real estate life. In more than a few market areas short sales may represent upwards of 20% of the listing inventory.

So, why the rule? As many real estate practitioners can attest, short sales are, to put it mildly, liable to be a pain. They are frequently difficult, frustrating, time-consuming, and have little prospect of closing. In my own Orange County, California market area, the proportion of short sales that close is much lower than the proportion of inventory that they represent. It is not uncommon for a property to go to foreclosure while a short sale application is being processed. Apparent lender indifference, convoluted processes, and interminable failures to make decisions are common reasons cited for the low closing rate of short sales.

As a result, many competent and experienced agents just don’t want to become involved with the process of making an offer on a short sale. Others, while willing to take on the task, at least want to be given notice upfront. They want to be able to counsel their buyers. They need not only to be able to advise them of the process, but also of the fact that a sale price accepted by the seller might not ultimately be approved by the lender.

Unfortunately, things like this happen: Mr. and Mrs. Seller have a total mortgage amount of about $800,000. Regrettably, the current value of their home is about $700,000, and they can’t keep up the payments. They need to sell. So their listing agent recommends putting it on the market for $625,000. He reasons thusly, “Look, there’s no difference to the sellers what it sells for, because they are not getting anything out of it anyway. [I am not saying he is correct about this.] So why not just list it at a bargain basement price and get the whole thing over with?”

But, guess what? Even the bank might not be so foolish as to take a $625,000 payoff when the market might actually yield a price closer to $700,000. Before a buyer gets all worked up about this “bargain”, he or she should know that it is a short sale and that the price is going to have to be approved by the lender.

Not everyone agrees that short sale situations should be disclosed through the MLS. Some sellers may feel that the fact that they are “upside down” is a matter that they would prefer to keep confidential. They might be fine with disclosing this reality to someone who has actually brought forward an offer; but it might not be something that they want to be more widely known. A balancing of interests is required here. The new NAR rule would seem to favor the informed interests of potential buyers over the possible privacy desires of unfortunate sellers.

Published: June 23, 2008 Use of this article without permission is a violation of federal copyright laws.

Bob Hunt, “Real Estate the Ethical WAy.” Bob Hunt is a director of the National Association of Realtors and is author of the recently published book, “Real Estate the Ethical Way.” A graduate of Princeton with a master’s degree from UCLA in philosophy, Hunt has served as a U.S. Marine, Realtor association president in South Orange County, and director of the California Association of Realtors, and is an award-winning Realtor. Contact Bob at Keller Williams Realty 111 Via Pico Plaza, San Clemente, CA 92672
949-492-5300
949-492-5333 FAX
949-584-1205 Cell
800-417-7773
scbhunt@aol.com scbhunt@aol.com 

Joyce,

Thank you for writing and asking for permission to reprint.  You certainly may feel free to use that article or any others of mine.  I would be interested to know, though, if short sales have become a large and annoying part of your market. 

Best wishes,  

Bob Hunt  

In Reply, 

Not a large part of our market, but somewhat annoying.  

We don’t have nearly as many in Hawaii as there are in other parts of the country. A great many of our buyers, however, come from the mainland. There has been so much hype about “Short Sales” that many of those buyers only want to look at Short Sales. They see them as an opportunity and so, some agents see them as an opportunity too. 

I have a bit of an aversion to Short Sales. First, I don’t feel they are usually the screaming deals. The banks look closely at the market value before agreeing to the sale and there are sometimes problems that survive the sale. Second, I find the idea of working with a buyer who only wants to look at Short Sales as personally offensive. Those buyers seem to believe they can profit from another’s tragedy. It breaks my heart to see people losing their homes. Third, properties are being offered at unrealistically low “Short Sale” prices that a bank won’t really accept. That leads other buyers to believe the house across the street priced at market is not worth the asking price.  That hurts the market at large.

I know some excellent seller’s agents are really making an effort to help their seller- clients. Unfortunately,  that isn’t always the case. I believe when agents take a short sale, they should have the agreement from the bank for both a deliverable list price and the commission before it is advertised. I am thinking we might want to use range pricing. The top figure being what the seller wants to sell it for without the assistance of the bank and the bottom figure being what the bank will accept on a Short Sale – then let the bidding begin. 

Mahalo, 

Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
“In Real Estate, Experience Counts!”
808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
Joyce@KonaBigIsland.com

More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.LuxuryRealEstateHI.com

HOPE NOW! – New Guidelines for Short Sales

THIS CAME MY WAY through Space321Talk, a Blog conducted by and for members of Florida’s Space Coast Association of Realtors. Almost everyone has heard Florida has been one of the states hit hardest by foreclosures. Realtors there are struggling to find ways of dealing with short sales. This may contain good news for everyone. 

HOPE NOW Adopts New Guidelines for Second Mortgages and Short Sales Wednesday, June 18, 2008 –    WASHINGTON, D.C. – HOPE NOW, the industry alliance of mortgage lenders, servicers, investors, and counselors, announced that its servicer members have agreed to a uniform set of procedures and guidelines that will greatly enhance the ability of homeowners to quickly receive the help they need and ensure that the assistance process is respectful, understandable, and transparent.

The agreement also includes the mortgage lending industry’s first-ever guidance for dealing with second mortgages and short sales. “These new guidelines will greatly expedite the process of preventing foreclosures,” said Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW. “The industry is committed to helping distressed borrowers stay in their homes whenever possible and these guidelines will help in that effort.”

For the first time, the new guidelines establish a common, streamlined timetable that will be used by each HOPE NOW mortgage servicer when working with a homeowner to prevent a foreclosure. The guidelines establish a common set of principles on the possible foreclosure prevention alternatives including loan modifications, repayment plans, partial claims, and temporarily suspending the need to make monthly payments.

The agreement also includes procedures to keep homeowners informed about the status of their request to their servicer for help. Additionally, it encourages servicers to provide access to objective, independent, and free counseling for homeowners while putting in place detailed procedures that will allow servicers to reach out to homeowners who may be in danger of losing their home. “The guidelines also include an agreement relating to second mortgages which is important to help clear the path for increased modifications and re-financing,” said Schwartz.

“It’s critical to remember that nobody benefits when a homeowner faces foreclosure,” said Jonathan L. Kempner, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “Creating these servicing procedures was the right thing to do, both for consumers and for the industry, and it’s something that the HOPE NOW Alliance is entirely united on as it continues to fulfill its mission of helping as many homeowners as possible stay in their homes each and every day.”

“This is another clear sign of the industry’s commitment to helping more homeowners avoid foreclosure,” said Steve Bartlett, President and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable. “We are bringing more transparency and clarity to the process and that is a positive for the homeowner.”

 ”These new guidelines will bolster some of the existing policies that servicers have already had in place, while creating important new ones,”said John Dalton, President of the Housing Policy Council. “We are seeing more coordination within in the industry with the hope of preventing more foreclosures.”

The new agreement was developed between April and June 2008. “Although many of the HOPE NOW mortgage servicers have been implementing some procedures similar to many of these for some time, they are now agreeing to fully implement this uniform plan in 60 days or less.”  Interesting Article I received thru my mortgage publications…..

Please call me with any questions or need any help, W alter Ferrero,Vice President Union America Mortgage 321-452-2660

I DO NOT TAKE CREDIT OR RESPONCIBILITY for the content of the article above.  As you can see it came to me third hand. Most Realtors are dedicated to the idea of a home for everyone. Helping people find the right home for their family creates a very personal bond. Foreclosures are not just bad for business, they are heartbreaking. Some of the states hardest hit have gone to great lengths to help homeowners retain their property. If you are in need of more information about ‘HOPE NOW’, contact your mortgage company, lender or Realtor.

Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Accredited Luxury Home Specialist
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC and Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
“In Real Estate, Experience Counts!”

808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.LuxuryRealEstateHI.com

TAX DEFERRED 1031 for Vacation Homes

Finally — IRS Guidance on Exchanging Vacation Homes Revenue Procedure 2008-16 Provides Safe Harbor

Until now, the issue of whether a vacation home qualifies for tax deferral treatment under IRC §1031 was the subject of much scrutiny and uncertainty. To the delight of many tax practitioners, on February 15, 2008, the IRS eliminated that uncertainty by issuing Revenue Procedure (“Rev. Proc.”) 2008-16, effective March 10, 2008, which provides a safe harbor for exchanges of vacation homes (defined as “dwelling unit” in the Rev. Proc.). Now taxpayers can have a clear understanding of the circumstances under which the IRS will not challenge whether a vacation home will qualify as property “held for investment” under §1031.

Vacation Home as Relinquished Property

For a vacation home to qualify as relinquished property, it must meet the following criteria:

• It is owned by the taxpayer for at least 24 months immediately before the exchange (“qualifying use period”); and

• Within the qualifying use period, in each of the two 12 month periods, (1) the taxpayer rents the dwelling unit at fair rental to another person for 14 days or more and (2) the taxpayer’s personal use of the dwelling unit does not exceed the greater of 14 days or 10 percent of the number of days during the 12 month period that the dwelling unit was rented at fair rental value.

The first 12 month period immediately preceding the exchange ends on the day before the exchange takes place (and begins 12 months prior to that day). The second 12 month period ends on the day before the first 12 month period begins (and begins 12 months prior to that day).

Vacation Home as Replacement Property

For a vacation home to qualify as replacement property, it must meet the following criteria:

• It is owned by the taxpayer for at least 24 months immediately following the exchange (“qualifying use period”); and

• Within the qualifying use period, in each of the two 12 month periods, (1) the taxpayer rents the dwelling unit to another person at fair rental for 14 days or more and (2) the taxpayer’s personal use of the dwelling unit does not exceed the greater of 14 days or 10 percent of the number of days during the 12 month period that the dwelling unit was rented at fair rental.

The 12 month period immediately after the exchange begins on the day after the exchange takes place and the second 12 month period begins on the day after the first 12 month period ends.

Personal use is defined broadly. Use by the taxpayer or other person having an interest in the dwelling unit and any family member1 will be considered “personal use” by the taxpayer. Also, any arrangement whereby fair market rent is not paid will be considered “personal use” by the taxpayer. Notwithstanding the foregoing, use by family members will not be considered “personal use” by the taxpayer only if the dwelling unit is rented at fair market rent and the family member uses it as his principal residence.

Fair rental is based upon all of the facts and circumstances that exist when the rental agreement is entered into. All rights and obligations of the rental agreement are taken into account.

Note special rule for replacement property. If the taxpayer files a return reporting a transaction under §1031 based on the expectation that the dwelling unit will meet the qualifying use standards and subsequently determines that the dwelling unit does not meet the qualifying use standards, the taxpayer, if necessary, should file an amended return.

Exchanges of vacation homes outside the Rev. Proc. 2008-16 safe harbor. An exchange of a vacation home may still qualify under §1031 even though it falls outside the parameters of Rev. Proc. 2008-16. Any such circumstance will be subject to greater scrutiny and therefore should be carefully planned and reviewed by the taxpayer’s tax advisor.

Compliments of
Julie Tumbaga
Vice President, Hawaii Regional Manager
(877) 591-1031 Toll-Free

Joyce Murphy, Realtor Broker BIC
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate LLC
Luxury Real Estate Florida, Inc.
In Real Estate, Experience Counts
808-443-4302 / 808-327-1155
More Kona Real Estate Information at:
www.LuxuryRealEstateHI.com