Archive for December, 2011

New Construction Open House Weekend – Bedford MA – Sunday & Monday

Don’t miss the open house on this new construction at 343 South Rd in Bedford MA – Open Sunday, January 1st  1230 to 2:30 AND Monday, January 2nd, 11:30 to 1:30

Home nearly complete – just looking for its first owners – If you are looking for your first home, looking to upsize, maybe moving into the area – stop by and say hi

FHA Will Keep Funding Flips – Reprint from 12/28/2011 Inman News

This is great news for investors looking to rehab and resell properties – Waiver for 90-day resales extended through 2012

For the second year in a row, the Federal Housing Administration is extending a temporary waiver of its “anti-flipping” rule, meaning homebuyers relying on FHA-insured financing will continue to be able to buy homes that have changed hands in the last 90 days.

The waiver is a boon for investors seeking to rehab and flip properties, because it expands the pool of eligible borrowers to include those relying on FHA-backed loans, popular with first-time homebuyers and others who lack the cash to make large down payments.

In extending the waiver through 2012, FHA said all transactions must continue to be arms-length. In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will apply only if the lender can document the justification for the increase in value, FHA said.

FHA instituted the anti-flipping rule in 2003 to protect its mutual mortgage insurance program from losses on homes that were merely flipped, rather than rehabbed. Homes repossessed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and state- and federally chartered financial institutions were exempt from the rule.

In February 2010, the Obama administration waived the waiting period for resales — including homes purchased and rehabbed by private investors — in the hopes of stabilizing home prices and revitalizing communities hit by foreclosures.

It often takes less than 90 days to acquire, rehabilitate and sell properties, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said at the time. Some sellers of rehabbed properties had been reluctant to enter into contracts with FHA buyers because of the cost of holding a property for 90 days, HUD said.

In extending the waiver through 2011, FHA said it insured 21,000 90-day property flip loans worth more than $3.6 billion in 2010 that would otherwise not have qualified for financing.

That number has since grown to nearly 42,000 mortgages worth more than $7 billion on properties resold within 90 days of acquisition.

Local Event – Networking Workshop – Billerica MA

If you own a business OR are an employee who attends networking events OR are looking to meet business owners because of a potential career change OR just want to improve your networking skills, this event is for you. and Business Boys located in Billerica MA are hosting a “Networking Workshop” on Thursday, January 5th, from 6pm to 8pm at their offices on Boston Rd in Billerica (across from Kentucky Fried Chicken).


Short Sale Shows Slice of Life – Reprint from Billerica Atty James Haroutunian Blog

This was originally posted on August 2, 2011.  However with all the short sales currently on the market and the potential for more over the next few years, the information bears repeating:

While government officials take their political standoff to the streets, seeking to affect public opinion and gain sympathy, a quiet example of real economic struggle occurred in my office.  The tale spans six years and aptly summarizes the fallout and effect of america’s economic woes.

In 2005, a young family sought my help with their purchase of a home in Billerica.  Gleeful to move their family to the suburbs, the couple paid top dollar at the height of the real estate market.   Their first and second mortgage carried temporarily fixed rates.  The couple, assumed they would simply refinance when the rate changed in a few years.  After the market crash of 2007, this was no longer an option.

To keep up with payments, each spouse took multiple jobs.  This worked for a couple of years.  Financial stress ultimately took a toll on the couple, leading to separation.  The couple moved out of the home, leaving it in disrepair, while the banks began foreclosure.  As a last alternative, the broken family turned to a Realtor to help with a short sale.  By avoiding foreclosure, a short sale would minimize credit damage.

The realtor struck a deal with a new young couple, eager to rehab the house.  Aggressive negotiation ensued with both banks, until they reduced the amount of their debt.  This took months of hard work, during which the dilapidated house caught the eye of the local Board of Health.  The Realtor valiantly absorbed threats from local officials and ire from neighbors.

Further calamity struck, when pipes froze and burst in the house, causing major damage.  The Realtor literally and figuratively bailed out the property by negotiating a major price reduction.  After seven months of struggle, the house finally sold.  The former owners now close the curtain on six tumultuous years, starting their lives over separately.

Meanwhile, a new young couple enters the home to improve the neighborhood blight left in the resulting wake.  As I write this column, a dumpster is being dropped at the property to begin the clean out.

What awaits this new couple?  Will their next six years offer greater opportunity without being saddled by high housing costs?  The house remains the same, but will the story change in a more optimistic economy?

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real estate estate planning and probate law in Billerica at 630 Boston Road.  Contact him with questions at, 978-671-0711 or email him at

New Year’s Day Activity in Concord MA

Everyone learns about Henry David Thoreau at sometime during their school experience. Thoreau was born and lived his entire life in Concord MA.  He is known for this work – “Civil Disobedience” – and for his time at Walden Pond (on land owned by close friend and Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson) –

The following is taken from Billerica Townie News( Article of 12/6 –

Start the New Year off by joining Henry David Thoreau portrayed by historian Richard Smith on Sunday, January 1, 2012, at Walden Pond. From 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm, Thoreau will be entertaining visitors at the house replica near the main parking lot.

 From 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm join DCR staff for a First Day Hike to the Thoreau house site, (1 mile round trip). Come and celebrate the start of a new year with good company and a sprinkling of seasonal literary readings. This is a program for visitors of all ages. Meet at the Thoreau house replica and be sure to dress for winter weather. After the hike join park staff for hot chocolate at park headquarters.
For more information call (978) 369-3254. Parking fees will be waived on January 1, 2012. Pre-registration is not required. No dogs allowed, unless they are working guides.
Park programs are sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and bu the Friends of Walden Pond, an activity of the Thoreau Society.

Rt. 126 (near Route 2), Concord, MA.

(978) 369-3254
New Years Day 1847
Sunday, January 1st 2012, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

A New Saga Unfolds in the Foreclosure Saga

Below is an article by guest columnist for the Lowell Sun, Billerica Attorney James Haroutunian, as it appeared in the October 22, 2011 edition.  This speaks volumes on why title insurance is so important in real estate transactions.

This week the commonwealth’s highest court substantiated the long-term negative effect of a defective foreclosure on subsequent owners.

Last year, the infamous Ibanez-case ruling identified why foreclosures can be defective if a lender forecloses without proper documentation proving its ownership at the time. This week, the Supreme Judicial Court applied that ruling against a subsequent buyer of a defectively foreclosed property. The ruling effectively stated the new owner’s title is null and void, despite his paying for and improving the property.

These are amazing times in property-law history. The Bevilacqua case sets a new precedent for owners seeking proper channels to prove their title through Massachusetts Land Court. Yes, there is a Land Court, which deals primarily with land legal issues.

One method the Land Court offers is a lawsuit to “try title.” This action is brought against known or unknown potential adversary parties who may claim to own your land.

The tool provides everyone in the world an opportunity to step forward and fight for a claim to your title. Most cases result in default plaintiff victories, when nobody appears to challenge ownership. However, plaintiffs must first prove they own the property.

In Bevilacqua, the court ruled the plaintiff had no standing to file the case (i.e., no ownership of the property he paid for), due to a defective foreclosure in its title history. This new case proves a practical effect to the Ibanez ruling. Other big cases are in the court’s pipeline, which will hopefully soon direct the method by which Bevilacqua can clear the title to his property.

In the meantime, remember to buy owner’s title insurance when you purchase (or maybe even when you refinance). Take advantage of the protection title insurance provides.


Attorney James Haroutunian practices real-estate law, estate planning and probate at 630 Boston Road, Billerica. He invites questions at or by phone at 978-671-0711. Read his blog at

FHA Loan Limits Restored by Congres

According to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, note the following regarding FHA loan limits that had expired:

On November 17, Congress restored FHA loan limits back to 125% of the area median price of a home (for more information read our post: Congress Restores FHA Loan Limits). While we believe all lenders should be aware of this by now, we wanted to pass on some resources that might make it easier for you and your clients to take advantage of the program.

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