Real estate outlook: scattered showers of optimism

Mood of the Market

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 27, 2011

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Bank of America withdraws from reverse mortgages, redirects staffers to loan workout division
Both Bank of America and Wells Fargo recently exited the business of making reverse mortgages, which are loans to homeowners over 62 that require no repayment until after the borrower passes away. That in itself is not particularly positive; fact is, part of the issue was that widespread declines in home equity are rendering fewer and fewer homeowners eligible for the loans every year.

But what is positive is that Bank of America, in particular, states that 300 members of its reverse mortgage workforce will be redirected to processing loan workouts.

As the nation's largest bank has been under very loud criticism about the inefficiency and understaffing of its loan modification and short sale procedures, this development seems to be somewhat promising or, at the very least, a step in the right direction, from the perspective of the millions of upside-down homeowners who are trying hard to work with the bank to keep their homes or to liquidate them without a foreclosure.

Who among us hasn't heard that if we don't have something nice to say, we ought not say anything at all? If I'd followed that advice over the past few years, when it comes to saying nice things about the real estate market, I'd probably be out of business.

But these bright spots, among others, teach us to cast a wider definitional net about what constitutes real estate and about what constitutes "nice," and we might just find something nice to say even when positive news is tough to find.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.

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