Thursday, August 04, 2011

NAHREP Chicago REO/Short Sale Summit

NAHREP Chicago REO/Short Sale Summit on August 11. The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), Chicago Chapter is hosting a one-day summit at the Drury Lane Oakbrook. IAR members receive a discounted price of $50 when they use the code "IAR" when registering.

Realtor, Hispanic Marketing Opportunities Learn More Here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Report Predicts Hispanics Will Boost Housing Market

U.S. Hispanics will drive growth in U.S. housing demand due to their population size, age and greater propensity to be married with children, according to a new report issued by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).

The report, "The State of Hispanic Homeownership," predicts that this demographic will drive demand for condominiums, smaller starter homes and first trade-up homes in the next 15 years. NAHREP adds that these demographics will also represent a "rapidly growing segment of the middle and middle-upper markets for housing."

NAHREP notes that Hispanics are the largest minority group in the nation and represent a significant portion of the 26- to 46-year old age group that are involved in most home sales.

"The Latin boom has been forecasted for years, but we are now seeing the front edge of it," says Carmen Mercado, president of the NAHREP. "It has the potential to help the nation's housing system get back on track if we can create a safe credit environment for new buyers to get into the market."

Mercado adds that it is crucial for housing policy to focus on encouraging affordable housing. "In the climate of crisis, we must resist over-reaching with regulations that make homeownership more expensive for millions of responsible consumers who have the buying power to revitalize our fragile housing market," she says.

Full Report Available Online...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Signs of a Real Estate Recovery?

The number of home owners who were put on notice for defaulting on their mortgage payments dropped last month to the lowest level since 2006, RealtyTrac reports.

Meanwhile, foreclosure filings for the eighth straight month also were down as filings fell 33 percent in May compared to a year earlier and 2 percent month-over-month. Also, lenders took back fewer homes in May, the second straight month of declines. And bank repossessions were down in May too — down nearly 30 percent over the last 12 months.

Is this a sign of a recovery in real estate, which has been bogged down by a high number of foreclosures over the last several years?

Experts are still cautious. Lingering delays in banks’ foreclosure process may be the culprit for the declining numbers, they say, and not an overall improving picture of the number of home owners facing foreclosure.

"Foreclosure processing delays continue to mask the true face of the foreclosure situation," says James Saccacio, the CEO of RealtyTrac. "Lenders are somewhat unevenly pushing batches of bad loans through foreclosure as they overhaul their paperwork and documentation procedures."

Read more:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meeting with Latino Leaders Across the U.S.

Director Mayorkas joined Chicago area business leaders As I travel across the country to meet with various higher education organizations, I have also had the opportunity to meet with Latino community leaders to share with them the Administration’s initiatives and to hear about their concerns and accomplishments. I have been struck by their dedication to their communities, their commitment to our country, and their determination to provide a better future for their children. The President’s 2020 education goal is deeply resonant with them and with the communities that they serve.

In a suburb of San Diego, Gary and Kathleen Acosta graciously opened their home to me and about a dozen colleagues and friends from the real estate industry, the arts, and academia so I could share with them the President’s agenda for the Hispanic community. Gary is an officer of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, and through his leadership, that organization has embraced improving the educational level of the Latino community as one of its goals. The group was keenly interested Read More Here!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

REL Launched “Path to Sustainable Latino Homeownership Sweepstakes”

For immediate release: June 1st, Jacksonville, FL. Education remains a major barrier to Latino homeownership. (REL) celebrates Homeownership Month by launching “Path to Sustainable Latino Homeownership Sweepstakes” nationwide. Over the years REL has become a trusted online resource to educate the Latino community about the process of homeownership. REL is expanding its educational efforts by providing realtors who embrace our core value of “Impeccable Ethical Behavior” with tools to help inform their local communities.

REL, one of the most trusted online real estate destinations for Spanish speaking consumers in the US, kicks off June’s Homeownership Month today launching “Path to Sustainable Latino Homeownership Sweepstakes”. This promotion will run from June 1st through August 30th and will be open to all real estate sales associates and brokers regardless of their company affiliations and cultural background. Three lucky agents will be selected by September 15th.

REL understands that under current market conditions many agents will face challenges if they decide to incorporate a Spanish branded website in their business plan. By entering REL’s “Path to Sustainable Latino Homeownership Sweepstakes”, real estate professionals get a chance to win a free website and a complete REL marketing package that can help increase their business in the local Latino market.

A custom-made website includes all the tools an agent will need to ignite his or her local online market. The agent website features real estate education articles and local resources that along with lead capturing forms on every page will ensure a successful lead-capturing strategy. “Need extra online exposure? You got it,” says Bill Arce, founder of REL. The winners will also receive a full year membership with The certified membership provides real estate professionals an innovative online marketplace en Español where agents can list their properties for sale, promote their bilingual services, and receive phone-verified real estate leads.

About, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is the nation’s leading provider of real estate resources and information, with a mission to increase homeownership opportunities within the Latino community. Launched in 2004, was founded by William (Bill) Arce to answer Latinos’ real estate concerns about purchasing homes. The future is getting brighter for the Hispanic real estate community, as partners with trusted real estate professionals to make it the premier source of real estate information nationwide. For more information please visit

Media Contact:

Dunia Arce
(904) 647-4420

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Por Bill Arce:

Con frecuencia, la primera persona que usted consulta sobre la compra de una vivienda es un agente o corredor de bienes raíces. Si bien estas personas brindan consejos muy útiles sobre muchos aspectos de la compra de una vivienda, ellos representan los intereses del vendedor y no los suyos como comprador.

La práctica más común es que el vendedor contrate un agente para encontrar una persona interesada en comprar la vivienda bajo los términos y condiciones aceptables para el vendedor. Por lo tanto, el agente de bienes raíces con el cual está tratando puede también estar representando al vendedor.

Sin embargo, usted puede contratar su propio agente de bienes raíces, conocido como agente del comprador, para que represente sus intereses. Además, en algunos estados, los varios agentes tienen permiso para representar al comprador y al vendedor.

Aún si el agente de bienes raíces representa al vendedor, las reglamentaciones estatales sobre bienes raíces exigen que el agente le dispense al comprador un trato justo. Si tiene preguntas acerca de la conducta de un agente o corredor, comuníquese con la Comisión de Bienes Raíces (Real Estate Commission) de su Estado, o con su departamento de reglamentaciones.

Algunas veces, el agente de bienes raíces le ofrecerá ayudarlo a obtener un préstamo hipotecario. Puede recomendarle que trate con una determinada entidad crediticia, compañía de títulos, abogado o agente de acuerdo/cierre. No es necesario que siga los consejos del agente de bienes raíces.

Compare los costos y servicios que le ofrecen otros prestadores con los recomendados por el agente de bienes raíces.

Si necesita asistencia en la compra de su casa, no demore mas, Aqui podras encontrar agentes profecionales certficados por REL que hablan su idioma.

Consultas 888-934-9779

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Homeowners Determined to Make Scammers Pay

Juana Castillo Quintanilla paid $3,500 to a real estate broker who promised to help her strike a deal with her bank to lower her monthly payments. The Latina, who faces imminent eviction, says he didn’t deliver. He refused to return her money, so last Thursday she went to his office with about a dozen other angry homeowners to demand a refund.

“Christopher Lim, shame on you,” the homeowners yelled, as they poured onto the 27th floor of a high-rise in the mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles, where the agent rents an office.
Hearing their shouts, Lim, dressed in a tidy gray suit, emerged from the conference room. Upon seeing video cameras, he shielded his face with a stack of papers, and turned and bolted down a corridor of identical office doors.

The homeowners continued to shout, “refund now,” as they chased after him. They lost sight of him, and believed that Lim hid in his office, before slipping out through the emergency exit when the hallway was clear.

“He’s not done a thing to this day,” Quintanilla said through a translator, adding she’s disappointed he “got away.” The Latina says she hired Lim after hearing an ad for his company, Neighborhood Credit Solutions, on Spanish-language radio. In the recession, work has slowed for her husband, a gardener, and the family’s income shrunk. Quintanilla says Lim promised to “fight” for her to stave off foreclosure, but that only involved submitting one loan modification application, which resulted in slightly lower payments that didn’t improve her situation.

But, Lim maintains that Quintanilla is just dissatisfied with the terms of the bank’s modification offer, which is out of his control.
“I’m not a bad person,” he said during a phone interview. There’s so much heat on my business. If they set this [confrontation] up on anybody, they could have looked like a bad person.”

Read More Here!

For real estate tips and advice, visit

Thursday, May 26, 2011

10 markets with fastest-rising real estate prices

South accounts for 6 of 10 metros with highest jumps in median list price

Southern metro areas dominated a list of the 10 markets with the biggest year-over-year increases in median list price in April, according to monthly data released this week by The data considers 146 metro areas nationwide.

Two Florida markets saw the highest jumps: median list price in Fort Myers-Cape Coral rose 25.7 percent to $225,000, and the median in Miami rose 8.6 percent to $239,000.

Shreveport-Bossier City, La., followed with an 8.1 percent increase, to $173,000. Fort Myers-Cape Coral and Miami also saw the biggest year-over-year drops in inventory: -25.3 percent and -29.9 percent, respectively.

The two Florida markets were the only metros in the top 10 to move properties at a slower rate than the national median: 95 days. Median age of inventory for each was 116 and 129 days, respectively. READ MORE HERE!

For learn how you can target the fast growing Latino Market-Go Here!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Op-ed:Offer More Housing Options for Latinos

Patricia Lindo, the president of the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates (NHORA), a non-profit trade organization responds to Patch's article "Report Gives 'D' Grade for Affordable Housing for Latinos."

The Latino population, at nearly one quarter of the San Mateo County population, is the fastest growing demographic group in the county and is estimated to be the state’s largest population group within the next 30 years. The largest population group has specific housing and quality of life needs, and it is critical that those needs be addressed in long range planning and policy decisions.

While the county continues to offer jobs, it is currently far off track from offering enough diverse housing to accommodate the range of income levels living and working in San Mateo County. In fact, in a recently released study, “The Silicon Valley Latino Report Card,” developed by the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, housing for Latinos received a “D” grade due to the housing quality, crowding, and affordability issues. Experts predict the lack of adequate housing will create major quality of life issues for the Latino population in San Mateo County as well as the Silicon Valley community at-large.

We need the support of our entire community – business, civic, labor and community leaders – in order to succeed in our mission to improve the quality of life for Latinos and sustain the prosperity of this county. This call to action is a win-win strategy for Latinos and non-Latinos alike. Together we need to:

Collaborate with public and private sector parties to develop or make available more affordable housing options
Advocate for housing policies, projects and opportunities that benefit the Latino community
Implement sustainable ownership measures, including financial and mortgage education for new homeowners
Last week at the Latino Bay Area Housing Report, held in Redwood City, a broad range of Bay Area housing leaders called on the Latino community and the county as a whole to take the steps necessary to help solve the housing problems. There is a huge opportunity for the greater community to join our efforts and to contribute the time and resources necessary to succeed in this effort. Education and awareness is key to mobilizing our supporters in every community. But, time is of the essence.

At the luncheon, we heard from housing experts about their minority group-focused sustainable housing programs and financial literacy education. A few of the speakers also mentioned opportunities that need serious consideration in San Mateo County, including the Baylands project in Brisbane, which includes several hundred flat and townhomes, and the Redwood City Saltworks project, which proposes up to 12,000 homes, 15% below market rate. Both projects offer considerable community and environmental benefits. It is critical for the Latino community to get involved in these projects and others and to advocate for housing product types, below market rate housing, and community benefits that benefit Latinos.

Change is possible if we act now. Commitment from our public and private sector is necessary to improve the fate of our Latino community and San Mateo County – but most importantly we need all community members to get involved. There are many ways to do so: sign up for an Engagement Circle, part of Phase II of the “Silicon Valley Latino Report Card”,; join NHORA to learn more about opportunities specifically in San Mateo County; join the Housing Leadership Council; and, go to city websites to learn about specific projects and how to participate, including the City of Redwood City, Brisbane and other cities on the Peninsula.

NHORA’s next forum will focus on education and will be held in September. Like our housing forum the next forum will be a call to action for Latinos and the greater community. I hope you will join us.

Do you believe Latinos have enough affordable housing options? Tell us in the comments.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

El ejecutivo Mel Martinez asume el cargo adicional de presidente de la Fundación JPMorgan Chase

Mel Martinez, alto ejecutivo de JPMorgan Chase en Florida y la región, se ha hecho cargo de responsabilidades adicionales como presidente de la fundación que posee la empresa, la cual dona más de US$ 150 millones en todo el mundo cada año.

Martinez, quien fue miembro del Senado de EE. UU. y secretario de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano, comenzó a trabajar en JPMorgan Chase el año pasado y continuará representando a la empresa desde el nivel de mayor jerarquía como presidente para Florida, México, Centroamérica y el Caribe.

“Mel ha sido un excelente líder tanto dentro de la empresa como con nuestros clientes y nuestras comunidades”, expresó Jamie Dimon, presidente y director ejecutivo de JPMorgan Chase. “Él sabe lo importante que es el papel de nuestra empresa a nivel local, nacional e internacional y su experiencia, integridad, criterio y compasión nos servirán mucho a todos”.

Martinez supervisará la organización filantrópica de la empresa, la cual donó más de US$ 150 millones a través de subvenciones y patrocinios a miles de organizaciones sin fines de lucro en 28 estados y más de 25 países el año pasado. Martinez reemplaza a Bill Daley, quien dejó la empresa para convertirse en jefe del gabinete del Presidente Obama.

Martinez emigró de Cuba cuando era adolescente durante los primeros años del régimen de Castro a través de la Operación Peter Pan, un programa humanitario que reubicó a 14,000 niños cubanos. Después de vivir con su hermano menor en campamentos de refugiados y hogares sustitutos, Martinez trabajó mientras asistía a la universidad y así obtuvo una licenciatura y se recibió como abogado en la Universidad Estatal de Florida.

“Mi sueño americano se hizo realidad, gracias a la generosidad de los estadounidenses que quisieron ayudar a jóvenes como mi hermano y yo”, lea mas aqui...

Monday, March 28, 2011

C.A.R. launches short sale website

With fewer than three of five short sales closing in California, C.A.R. is well aware of the complexity and difficulty of navigating lenders’ and servicers’ short-sale procedures. To assist both REALTORS® and consumers, C.A.R. has launched, a website specifically focused on short sales.

On the new site, visitors will find information ranging from short sale news, foreclosure timelines, and red flags to watch for, to legal Q&As, a short-sale glossary, and much more.

Additionally, consumers can find a REALTOR® to assist with their short-sale transaction, learn what to expect as a buyer or seller of a short-sale property, and find out whether they qualify for government programs to keep their home.

Visit the new site at

Sunday, March 20, 2011

U.S. Mortgage Rates Flat This Week

The U.S. mortgage rates held steady basically this week, said the Primary Mortgage Market Survey released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac said that 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rose slightly to 4.88 percent for the week ending March 10, 2011, up from last week when it averaged 4.87 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.95 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week was 4.15 percent, the same from the previous week' s figure. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.32 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.73 percent, up from the prior week' s 3.72 percent, the company said.

Moreover, the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.21 percent this week, down from last week when it averaged 3.23 percent.

"Mortgage rates held steady amid a strong employment report. The private sector added 222,000 jobs in February, the most since March 2006 while the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent, the lowest share since April 2009," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac.

"Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have averaged at or below 5 percent in every week but one this year, contributing to record home affordability."

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders.

Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inexperienced Real Estate Agents Cause HAFA Failures

Real Estate Industry News

Inexperienced and uneducated real estate brokers and agents are hampering short sales in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, according to a pair of real estate professionals that specialize in the distressed real estate sales.

Agents and brokers who are knowledgeable of the short sale process can complete HAFA agreements in as little as 60 days, according to Teaneck, N.J.-based agent Travis Waller, who spoke at a real estate conference in New York. But it all comes down to the short sale paperwork.

“The banks know who’s experienced and who’s not,” Waller said. ”If you don’t present the files correctly to the bank, you’re going to get put at the bottom of the pile. When the banks recognize you know what you’re doing with your presentation of the documents, you’ll get a call within a few days.”

But the inexperienced agent can cause a deal to fall apart. ”Many short sales are lost to foreclosure because of the inexperience of the listing agent,” Waller said.
Getting into the short sale market is sometimes the only option for agents and brokers trying to stay in business in tough markets, explained Cincinnati-based agent Holly Maloney. An educated short sales agent can help distressed mortgage borrowers, promote local housing stability and create new opportunities for agents, she said.

“There are so many REO properties out there,” Maloney told conference attendees. ”If we can short them, we’re keeping the market values up 35%-40% higher than what they would get on an REO property.”
Maloney spent years in the mortgage industry before getting her real estate license; both she and Waller have professional designations in distressed sales. Maloney said she’s completed 14 short sales under HAFA and Waller said he’s successfully closed 73 of the 75 short sale cases he’s taken.

In addition to listing properties intended for short sale and representing prospective short sale buyers, the agents also will work as a consultant to other listing agents and brokers, handling the short sale process in exchange for a referral fee — 30% of the listing agent’s fee, Waller said.

Waller said, in his experience, borrowers he lists properties for short sale have missed four to seven mortgage payments before they come to him, and most don’t have a lot of time before their property will go into foreclosure, so they must act quickly.

“You are working under the gun as a short sales agent. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then time is just ticking away,” he said.

But uneducated real estate agents and borrowers who wait too long aren’t the only causes of failed short sales. ”There are problematic banks and non-problematic banks in dealing with short sales,” Waller warned.

Maloney agreed and recommends agents use online resources to dispute failed HAFA agreements, particularly when dealing with a servicer for a private investor, rather than Fannie Mae of Freddie Mac. She recounted one deal where the servicer gave approval on a Thursday for a deal, but only if he closed by the following Monday. When all the pieces were in place, the servicer’s employee did not follow through with the proper documents to close the sale, and the bank repurchased the house at sheriff’s sale the next day.

“Through these websites I was about to dispute it and sell it during the 30 day redemption period,” she said.

The agents credited technology like the Equator platform as an effective technology tool to communicate and transmit HAFA documents to servicers, but Maloney added it’s the only way that officials from servicers like Bank of America and Nationstar will work with agents and brokers.
For the less tech-savvy servicing shops, fax machines are still the communication method of choice, though Maloney and Waller said they prefer e-mailing the loss mitigation personnel.

By: Austin Kilgore,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hispanic Soldier’s Home Foreclosed While She Was Serving Abroad

“I couldn’t believe it,” Capt. Tania Garcia said. “I was in shock.”

Excerpts from the report…

Army Capt. Tania Garcia said she was on active duty in South Korea when she got the news.

Garcia’s Realtor informed her that her south Orange condominium had been foreclosed upon. Suddenly, a soldier serving abroad had no home to return to.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Garcia said. “I was in shock.”

More shocking news was ahead. Court files from the foreclosure showed an affidavit had been filed that stated Garcia was not in the active military and that the notice of foreclosure was served on her husband.

Two problems: Garcia said this week she was on active duty — and she is not married. Now, Garcia is fighting to win back the home she thinks was taken from her unfairly.

Garcia’s condo initially was bought back by Flagstar Bank and then resold… (No, it was Fannie Mae!)

Garcia’s real-estate broker, Celia Ruiz of Casa Latino Real Estate, said she worked with the bank during the short sale, in which the lender allows a home to be sold at a price often far below the amount owed on the mortgage. She has e-mails from a bank employee stating the sale was approved.

Five days before the scheduled sale, Ruiz said, she received the bad news. Ruiz was flabbergasted.

“I’ve done a lot of short sales,” Ruiz said. “I have never seen a property go to foreclosure while we are working on a short sale.”

The “non-military affidavit” included in the court file attested to the fact that Garcia was not in the active military, and a military status report from the Department of Defense was attached, stating: “Based on the information you have furnished, the DMDC [Department of Defense Manpower Data Center] does not possess any information indicating that the individual is currently on active duty.”

If a person is on active duty, the military must be served notice of the foreclosure to make sure the person is aware of it, Kaufman said. Garcia said there was “no way” that the bank could claim to be unable to contact her.

Still in the service, Garcia shipped off to Iraq on Friday with the legal battle serving as a constant distraction in a place where, she said, distractions cost lives.

“When I was not in this country, I was working to protect my country,” she said. As she prepared to leave again this week, Garcia was hopeful that she would return to find the situation resolved.

Read the article in its entirety here…

Minority Real Estate Leaders AREAA, NAHREP, NAREB Say Government Efforts Are Failing to Meet the Needs of Multicultural Homebuyers

Saying millions of Americans are being left out of the American dream of homeownership, the nation´s three largest organizations representing multicultural real estate professionals, Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), and National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), today called upon policy makers to do more for minority homebuyers.

This callto action comes after AREAA, NAHREP, and NAREB met in Washington, D.C., to discuss regulatory and policy changes to preserve access to homeownership for people of color.

"Overwhelmingly, the members of our three organizations agree that the lack of mortgage financing is the single biggest challenge facing minorities who want to buy homes," said Kenneth Li, AREAA chairman. "The government´s housing recovery efforts have not gone far enough to improve the situation facing minority homeowners."

At the March 3-4 Multicultural Real Estate & Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., members of AREAA, NAHREP, and NAREB were surveyed on their views of the home buying market and economic recovery efforts.

According to the survey results, nearly 80 percent of the attendees responded they "believe that the current policy efforts have done little to improve the situation facing minority homebuyers."

Attendees also felt strongly that an active secondary market role is needed by the government to ensure that all homebuyers have access to the American dream of homeownership.

"These are real estate professionals who are out in the community, trying to help hard-working Americans achieve their dreams of buying homes, and they are confirming what we have long suspected - that their clients cannot get loans," Carmen Mercado, Chair of NAHREP said.

In the survey of attendees, "mortgage financing availability" was cited as the single greatest factor facing the multicultural real estate community. Additionally, respondents cited "tight underwriting requirements" as the greatest challenge facing prospective homebuyers looking to obtain financing.

To stabilize the home-buying market for minorities, the organizations issued a joint report entitled "The Five Point Plan: Refocusing the Future of Minority Homeownership."

"Our Five-Point Plan is designed to bring common sense and a balanced approach to restoring the dream of homeownership to everyone. None of us wants to have homeownership a dream deferred or denied," NAREB President and CEO Vincent Wimbish stated.

The Five-Point Plan focuses on sustainability, accountability and responsibility on the part of all parties in a real estate transaction.
It calls for more diverse solutions to meet the future housing needs, and demands more preparation and responsibility on part of consumers and the industry alike. It also calls on the industry to develop unique and innovative solutions to the housing challenges facing the multicultural communities today and in the future.

Specifically, The Five-Point Plan calls for.

- A balanced regulatory approach that will support and encourage sustainable homeownership for qualified and responsible consumers seeking to purchase a home;

- Increased diversity in the financial services arena and adequate oversight of minority business utilization and senior management hires;

- Maintaining strong government support of the secondary market system that includes the broad network of primary lenders, government-supported securitization agency, and FHA that collectively works to broaden credit availability for all communities at all times;

- Strong consumer protection oversight to restore consumer and market confidence in homeownership; and

- Mandatory financial education for all first-time homebuyers that prepares them for the responsibilities, risks and rights associated with homeownership.

The Plan includes specific recommendations for each of the Five Points.

Visit : , : , or : to download the Five-Point Plan.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lending to blacks, Hispanics plummets during housing crisis By Kenneth J. Cooper

Since the housing market collapsed, mortgage lending to African Americans and Hispanics has plunged precipitously — by more than 60 percent, according to a new study of loan information that banks submit to the federal government.

Together, African Americans and Hispanics were able to borrow 62 percent less to buy or refinance homes in 2009 than in 2004, before the market crashed, the computerized analysis finds. With lenders imposing tighter credit standards, mortgage dollars going to non-Hispanic white borrowers also declined, though by considerably less: 17 percent. Asians fared best, obtaining nearly an equal amount in mort­gages.
The study, using Federal Reserve data, was conducted by Maurice Jourdain-Earl, founder and managing director of ComplianceTech in Arlington, Va., which advises financial institutions on fair lending practices.

Mortgages made to Hispanics have decreased the most, by 63 percent, to $78 million in 2009 from $214 million in 2004. Lending to African Americans has dropped to $49 million from $122 million, or 60 percent.

Whites have been affected much less and Asians barely. New mortgages to white borrowers declined to $1.1 billion from $1.3 billion, or 17 percent. Lending to Asians stayed almost the same.

Whites were about twice as likely as African Americans and Hispanics to be approved for prime mortgages with the lowest interest rates, while members of the two largest minority groups were two to four times more likely to receive subprime loans, which have higher rates. By contrast, the disparities were much narrower for loans insured by the government’s Federal Housing Administration, which has attracted a growing number of borrowers during the credit crunch.

The study concluded that a “dual mortgage market” has emerged, with white and Asian borrowers having better access to lower-cost mortgages than African Americans and Hispanics, who on average pay more to own or refinance a home — if they can obtain a mortgage.
“The higher cost for mortgage credit translates into less money for basic necessities,” Jourdain-Earl writes. Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Carmen Mercado Named Chairman of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals


Carmen Mercado, a Long Island, New York-based Education & Diversity Manager with NRT’s Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, was installed as chairman and president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals during its policy forum last week in Washington, D.C. Mercado has served on the association’s national board since 2006 and most recently was vice chair. Gerardo “Jerry” Ascencio, a Los Angeles-based real estate broker, will succeed Mercado as vice chair. Both officers will serve a one-year term in their post.

“Carmen Mercado and Jerry Ascencio bring a potent combination of real marketplace knowledge, leadership and understanding of the challenges that Hispanic homebuyers and practitioners encounter,” said immediate Past Chair Alex Chaparro. “Their grasp of the issues will be a huge benefit to NAHREP’s national leadership team.”

By day, Mercado trains real estate agents and drives leadership development for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, which is owned by NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company. Mercado is also an active member of the Realogy Diversity and Inclusion Council. She is a certified real estate instructor and delivers training programs throughout the Long Island and Queens area. She became active in NAHREP at the local level in 2004 when she founded the local NYC affiliate chapter. In 2006, she was appointed to the national board and has served on the executive committee prior to being named last year as vice chair. A passionate advocate for underserved homebuyers, she has helped educate local Latinos about homeownership over the years by delivering seminars in liaison with local nonprofits.

Gerardo “Jerry” Ascencio, GRI, CRS is founder and past president of the NAHREP San Fernando/Santa Clarita affiliate chapter and a member of the association’s national board. He is an established real estate broker in the greater Los Angeles area with two offices and 65 agents and broker-associates. Ascencio served on the board of directors for the Southland Regional Association of Realtors and has served in numerous leadership and educator roles. He will succeed Mercado as chairman in 2012.


The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, a non-profit 501c6 trade association, is dedicated to increasing the homeownership rate among Latinos by educating and empowering the real estate professionals that serve them. Based in San Diego, NAHREP is the premier trade organization for Hispanics and has more than 18,000 members in 48 states and 50 affiliate chapters.


Phase Two Communications
Mary Mancera, 760-634-5007


Friday, February 25, 2011

NHORA Celebrates One Year Anniversary- Installs National Leadership Council

Real Estate Professionals organize a trade association to elevate professional standards and promote commerce through sustainable home ownership in the Latino community


San Francisco – February 23, 2011 – The National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates celebrates its first anniversary at an event in San Francisco St. Mary’s Cathedral. At this gathering, Patricia Lindo will be installed as the national board chair and the National Leadership Council will be activated.

NHORA National past President Richard Gonzalez said “I am delighted to have played a key role in getting NHORA off the ground and proud to see Patricia step up to the top leadership role”.

NHORA National Board Member, Jorge Carcamo of San Francisco adds “Patricia has a tremendous passion for NHORA’s commitment to transparency, leadership development, highest ethical standards and to our Latino community. The President’s Council is important component of our governance to ensure transparency and leadership development.”

The impact of the current economic market has had a disproportionally higher negative impact on Hispanic communities. NHORA has been created to help thwart this kind of damage in our communities and further educate and empower ethical professionals and the consumers they serve.

Patricia Lindo said “Some of us have been advocating for many years for a true trade association that focus on sustainable home ownership in the Latino community. I am humbled and honored to lead this organization and take it to the next level.”

NHORA Membership opportunities are open to industry professionals and leaders in Housing, Banking, Ancillary Service Providers and housing related Business Owners with chapters scheduled nationwide.

For more information go to

Friday, February 04, 2011

Latin Builders Association® Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Latin Builders Association® (LBA), the largest Hispanic construction association in the United States, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2011. Since inception in 1971, the LBA has strived to provide a vital forum for discussion, networking, training/development and representation at the local, state and federal level.

The LBA’s core goal is to represent and further the interests of the South Florida Community, the local building industry, and the individuals and companies that strive day after day to make our community a better place to live, work and play.

“We are grateful to have grown as an association and to have experienced the journey we have endured over the past 40 years,” said Noelia E. Moreno, President, Latin Builders Association®. “The LBA was first started because our fathers and grandfathers were looking to have access to the building opportunities in Florida and were eager to be welcomed into our community and, as a united front, they were able to experience much success and worked hard to become recognized and valued for their hard work. We look forward to continuing to make them proud and follow the lead that they have paved for us in the years to come while accepting change.”

Further defining the LBA’s commitment to the community is the LBA Children and Families Foundation which houses the organization’s philanthropic work to formalize and further extend LBA’s involvement and commitment to providing help to those in need. Even in the midst of tumultuous times, the association continues to recognize the importance of educating our future workforce and providing for those who benefit from a helping hand. LBA’s philanthropic ventures are made possible through the commitment of the members to help the community one child at a time.

Established in 1971 by a group of local contractors, Latin Builders Association, Inc. ® has embodied the interests of builders, developers, contractors, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians and tradesmen associated with the business of construction, striving to provide a vital forum for discussion, networking, training/development, and representation at the local, state and federal level. Today, we are the largest Hispanic construction association in the United States, representing over 750 member companies throughout South Florida.



WASHINGTON – El Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano de los Estados Unidos anunció hoy que está iniciando múltiples investigaciones a varios prestamistas hipotecarios para determinar si sus políticas de préstamos denegaron ilegalmente acceso a crédito a prestatarios calificados de origen afroamericano y latino.

Las investigaciones surgen en respuesta a 22 quejas presentadas ante HUD por la Coalición Nacional de Reinversión Comunitaria, (NCRC por sus siglas en inglés), National Community Reinvestment Coalition, alegando que las actividades de préstamos de los originadores de hipotecas mostraron que sus prácticas de préstamo denegaron préstamos asegurados por la Administración Federal de Vivienda FHA a afroamericanos y latinos con puntaje de crédito de hasta 640. Las guías de FHA permiten asegurar hipotecas a prestatarios con puntaje de crédito superior a 580, provisto que los prestatarios realicen un pago inicial igual al 3.5 por ciento del monto del préstamo, o con un puntaje superior a 500, si los prestatarios realizan un pago inicial equivalente al 10 por ciento del valor del préstamo.

"FHA es un importante vehículo para los estadounidenses que desean comprar o refinanciar una vivienda. Agradecemos a NCRC por presentar estas quejas ante HUD. Para los prestamistas a negar esta fuente de crédito a compradores responsables, sin consideraciones de su capacidad para pagar el préstamo, crea preocupaciones muy serias de igualdad en la vivienda y, de comprobarse, menoscabaría los esfuerzos de recuperación de nuestra nación", dijo el secretario adjunto de HUD para Equidad de Vivienda e Igualdad de Oportunidades, John Trasviña. "HUD tomará acción apropiada en contra de cualquier prestamista que se encuentre realizando prácticas discriminatorias."

Con antelación al reciente retroceso en la economía, los préstamos asegurados por FHA equivalían a menos del tres por ciento de los préstamos de nuevas viviendas. Desde la crisis económica, FHA y las empresas patrocinadas por el gobierno – GSA Government-Sponsored Enterprises- han asegurado o garantizado cerca del 95 por ciento de los nuevos préstamos hipotecarios que se han originado. Al final de 2008, casi la mitad de los préstamos de compra de nuevas viviendas y un cuarto de los nuevos préstamos de refinanciación fueron asegurados por FHA o la Administración de Veteranos, (VA por sus siglas en inglés).

Según NCRC, una asociación de más de 600 organizaciones comunitarias que promueven el acceso a los servicios bancarios básicos, sus "probadores" que observan las prácticas prestatarias equitativas evaluaron las prácticas de los prestamistas nacionales, las empresas de servicios financieros, y otros prestamistas aprobados por FHA regionales y locales. En las quejas presentadas el 7 de diciembre, NCRC indicó que los prestamistas fueron elegidos según la cuota de mercado, el volumen de préstamos de FHA y discusiones con los líderes comunitarios.

Bajo la Ley de Equidad de Vivienda, HUD investiga las alegaciones de discriminación de vivienda con imparcialidad, así como durante cada fase de las investigaciones, el intento de resolver las quejas a través de los esfuerzos conciliatorios.

FHA fue establecido en 1934 y actualmente asegura más de 6.5 millones de préstamos unifamiliares. El 80 por ciento de los préstamos asegurados por FHA en 2010, fueron destinados a los compradores de vivienda por primera vez y más del 30 por ciento de los préstamos de compra fueron destinados a los compradores minoritarios.

La Oficina de Equidad de Vivienda e Igualdad de Oportunidades (FHEO) de HUD y sus socios en el Programa de Ayuda de Equidad de Vivienda investigan más de 10,000 quejas de discriminación de vivienda al año. Las personas que creen haber sido víctimas de discriminación de vivienda deben comunicarse con HUD al (800) 669-9777 (voz), (800) 927-9275 (TTY).


La misión de Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano de EE. UU. es crear comunidades fuertes, sostenibles e inclusivas y vivienda de calidad asequible para todos. HUD trabaja para fortalecer el mercado de vivienda a fin de impulsar la economía y proteger a los consumidores; satisfacer las necesidades de vivienda de alquiler asequible de calidad: utilizar la vivienda como una plataforma para mejorar la calidad de vida; construir comunidades inclusivas y sostenibles libres de discriminación; y transformar el modo en que HUD hace negocios. Información adicional sobre HUD y sus programas está disponible en y

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

5 Tips You Must Do Before You Sell Your Home

5 Tips You Must Do Before You Sell Your Home

New FHA Tool Will Help Condo Associations

CAR subsidiary launches FHA approval tool

By Inman News
Inman News™

February 02, 2011

Real Estate Business Services Inc., a subsidiary of the California Association of REALTORS®, has teamed with FHA Pros LLC to launch a product that checks for FHA loan eligibility and offers assistance in the FHA loan approval process.

The Clarus FHA Approval product includes two services:

Approval Services helps condominium homeowners associations meet regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that require an entire condo development be approved before an FHA loan may be granted for a single unit.
Eligibility Check is a database that allows real estate professionals to determine FHA loan eligibility through a property address search.

"FHA loans now account for up to half of all new mortgages. Given the importance of this loan program, every condominium association should seek to be approved for FHA loans," said Robert Bailey, chairman of REBS, in a statement.

Contact Inman News:

Fed punts on real estate loan disclosures

Consumer protection bureau tasked to devise single, standardized form
By Inman News
Inman News™

February 02, 2011

The Federal Reserve is backing down from a slew of proposed changes to mortgage loan disclosures, saying authority in that arena will soon be transferred to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Fed's proposed changes to mortgage loan disclosures were over a year in the making, prompted by criticism that homebuyers often didn't understand the true cost and terms of mortgages taken out during the boom.

The situation was complicated by the fact that borrowers get two sets of federal mortgage disclosures: one addressing Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requirements, and the other satisfying requirements of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA.

The Federal Reserve has had rulemaking authority for TILA loan disclosures under Regulation Z, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees RESPA disclosures.

Lenders, the real estate industry, and consumer groups have complained that having two sets of mortgage loan disclosures is confusing.

In an attempt to address that problem, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act transfers oversight of both TILA and RESPA to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July.

The bill mandates that the CFPB issue a proposal for a single federal mortgage disclosure form that satisfies both TILA and RESPA requirements within 18 months of assuming oversight responsibility.

By the time Dodd-Frank was passed, HUD had rolled out new RESPA loan disclosure forms in the face of industry opposition, but the Fed was still in the process of overhauling TILA disclosures.

A combined TILA-RESPA disclosure rule "could well be proposed by the (bureau) before any new disclosure requirements issued by the Board could be fully implemented," the Fed said in announcing that it will not finalize three rulemaking proceedings it's initiated since August 2009.

Although there are specific provisions of the Fed's proposals that would not be affected by the bureau's development of joint TILA-RESPA disclosures, adopting them "in a piecemeal fashion would be of limited benefit, and the issuance of multiple rules with different implementation periods would create compliance difficulties," the Fed said in an announcement.

In announcing plans to update TILA loan disclosures in the summer of 2009, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the one-page TILA disclosure currently in use "is not adequate to convey the features and risks of today's complex products."

The Fed promised improved disclosures would:

Capture most fees and settlement costs paid by consumers in the disclosed annual percentage rate.
Require lenders to show how the consumer's APR compares to the average rate offered to borrowers with excellent credit.
Require lenders to provide final TILA disclosures at least three business days before loan closing.
Require lenders to show consumers how much their monthly payments might increase for adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans.
Another issue the Fed was attempting to tackle was the use of "yield spread premiums" -- rebates paid by lenders when mortgage brokers place borrowers in loans with higher interest rates than they might otherwise have qualified for.

Critics said the rebates were often pocketed by mortgage brokers without a borrower's knowledge, creating a financial incentive for loan originators to place borrowers in more costly loans.

The Fed proposed a ban on yield-spread premiums that was to take effect April 1 -- a move adamantly opposed by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

HUD, for its part, has maintained that yield-spread premiums can benefit borrowers who would otherwise have trouble paying their closing costs, as long as the rebates are not pocketed by mortgage brokers.

Instead of banning yield-spread premiums, the standardized loan disclosure forms HUD began requiring lenders to use last year require that the rebates be credited against a borrower's closing costs.

Inman News columnist Jack Guttentag has characterized the dual-disclosure system as "a disgrace" because critical information is often buried or absent.

But Guttentag -- also known as "The Mortgage Professor" -- has also questioned whether the solution put forward in Dodd-Frank will solve the problem.

Dodd-Frank appears to have more mandated disclosures than TILA, some of which are "nonsensical and will prejudice the ability of (the CFPB) to do its job," Guttentag wrote in a column on the topic.

Contact Inman News:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Miami: el mercado más atractivo para la compra de una vivienda

Existe alguna ventaja en tener una enorme tasa de ejecuciones hipotecarias, un desempleo de dobles dígitos y un mercado de crédito muy limitado. De acuerdo con una respetada firma inmobiliaria, estos elementos ayudan a hacer de Miami el principal mercado en la nación para comprar una casa en vez de rentarla.

Miami ha subido dos lugaress desde el año pasado para convertirse en el mercado más atractivo de la nación para hacerse propietario, en vez de rentar, encontró un nuevo informe de la firma inmobiliaria Trulia. El estudio, dado a conocer el lunes, comparó los precios de las casas y las tasas de rentas en las mayores 50 ciudades del país para determinar dónde el ser propietario tiene un mayor sentido financiero.

Los compradores potenciales comienzan a darse cuenta de la dinámica cambiante de la Florida en compra vs. renta. Arden Shank, director de Servicios de Viviendas de Vecindarios del Sur de la Florida, dijo que los compradores por primera vez de los condados de Broward y Miami-Dade inundan su oficina.

``Tenemos más familias que vienen al proceso de preparación de compradores de viviendas que los que nunca hemos tenido'', destacó Shank. ``Muchas personas que fueron sacadas antes del mercado debido a los precios, pueden ahora disponer del dinero para comprar una casa''.

Read more:

Para consejos de como comprar una casa en Miami, visite

Church Foreclosures Surge, Seen as 'Next Wave' in Crisis

ROSEVILLE, Calif.—Residential and commercial real-estate owners aren't the only ones losing their properties to foreclosure. The past few years have seen a rapid acceleration in the number of churches losing their sanctuaries because they can't pay the mortgage.

Just as homeowners borrowed too much or built too big during boom times, many churches did the same and now are struggling as their congregations shrink and collections fall owing to rising unemployment and a weak economy.

Since 2008, nearly 200 religious facilities have been foreclosed on by banks, up from eight during the previous two years and virtually none in the decade before that, according to real-estate services firm CoStar Group, Inc. Analysts and bankers say hundreds of additional churches face financial struggles so severe they could face foreclosure or bankruptcy in the near future.

Read more:

Looking for a better way to target the Latino market? Visit,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nextage Realty International, LLC to Convert Casa Latino Real Estate Offices

JOHNS CREEK, Ga., Jan. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Nextage Realty International, LLC, one of the fastest growing franchises in the US, has announced that it will be converting the majority share of offices of the well-know and highly respected Casa Latino franchise to its Nextage Realty brand. Casa Latino was created in 2005 based upon the premise that Hispanic home buyers and sellers have unique needs due to cultural differences and lifestyles. Casa Latino currently has offices in 13 states. Details as to which offices will convert to the Nextage brand are still in discussion.

Robb Heering, founder of Casa Latino Franchise Corporation states, "Although we will still be serving our specialized and targeted Hispanic market, the Nextage Realty system allows for broader opportunity for our franchisees as well as allowing us to continue providing superior service to our multicultural clients. Nextage and Casa Latino have much in common in our business strategy and priorities, our consumer-centric focus and our vision for the future. It's a logical next step for us to combine efforts. This is by no means the dissolution of our brand, but rather the evolution to our future."

Heering will join Nextage Realty International, LLC as Vice President of Diverse Markets, initially focusing on the Casa Latino office conversions, agent training and coaching. "The future of real estate is about the power of 'We' and I am confident that we will share much success and satisfaction working together and building our new brand across the nation and, eventually, internationally."

Franchisee Thomas Mestas, with offices in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, New Mexico and one of the very first Casa Latino franchise owners, is looking forward to the transition. "We are very excited about joining the Nextage Realty family and about being able to provide all of our agents the same opportunity that we have as owners. With the Nextage model, we anticipate systematic growth of our business in terms of locations, agents and transaction sides throughout the next several years. We have just begun the process of presenting the opportunity to agents in the community and the response has been tremendous."

The office conversions will begin in January 2011. Currently, Nextage Realty International has almost 60 offices across the nation. Nextage Realty debuted their brand at the National Association of Realtors Convention in New Orleans in November and has achieved remarkable success, taking the industry by storm in the two years it has been in operation. Co-Founders, Frank Cluck and Dave Wild, industry veterans and visionaries, are behind the evolutionary business model that has gained wide-spread attention and respect in the industry.

For more information, visit:

About Nextage® Realty International, LLC

Nextage Realty International, LLC is a consumer-centric company that helps brokers and agents overcome today's major, marketplace challenges by creating a unique team environment where everyone works toward one common goal. It's about BUILDING a business, not just DOING business™ while providing the absolute highest level of client service. With an evolutionary business model and the most innovative compensation plan in the industry, Nextage Realty is setting the new standard and leading the industry into its "Next Age".
SOURCE Nextage Realty International, LLC

Looking for a better way to target the Latino market? Visit,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mexico Real Estate Coalition Announces "Live Mexico" Campaign

Houston, TX (PRWEB) January 6, 2011

For the first time, a nationwide array of companies are joining forces to promote living and real estate investment in Mexico. Individuals from some of the most respected companies including Grupo Questro, Capella Pedregal, Punta Mita, Querencia, RCI International, BBVA/Compass Group and Stewart Title Latin America have compiled a stellar group of talent to combat the negative media, security concerns and perception challenges that have faced Mexico the past year.

The Mexico Real Estate Coalition (MREC) has a very clear and simple goal: to promote the many benefits Mexico offers to those seeking a place to retire or own a second home. The second home/retirement home sector is a multi-billion dollar industry in Mexico, spread over several major markets and many smaller ones. Until now, there has never been a national association to advocate this specific segment. As a national industry-wide Coalition, the MREC has the combined power to ensure that Mexico continues to attract people from United States and Canada and educate them on the main benefits of living in the country.

Read more:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Banks repossess 1 million homes in 2010

NEW YORK – The bleakest year in foreclosure crisis has only just begun.
Lenders are poised to take back more homes this year than any other since the U.S. housing meltdown began in 2006. About 5 million borrowers are at least two months behind on their mortgages and more will miss payments as they struggle with job losses and loans worth more than their home's value, industry analysts forecast.
"2011 is going to be the peak," said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc.
The outlook comes after banks repossessed more than 1 million homes in 2010, RealtyTrac said Thursday. That marked the highest annual tally of....

Read more:

In Jacksonville’s older rentals, EPA checks warnings on lead paint risks

In Jacksonville's older neighborhoods, an old worry - lead paint - is drawing attention from the federal government.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined the operators of four Jacksonville apartment complexes and a house-management company last year after concluding they violated a law that says property owners must tell tenants about any evidence of lead paint.

The last case was finalized in December.

EPA doesn't know whether tenants at any of those buildings were ever exposed to decaying paints. But it will send inspectors to as many as 175 rental offices around the Southeast each year to audit lease records for disclosure forms that are supposed to be signed by tenants at any property built before 1978.

"Understand that this is a public health issue," said Anthony Toney, chief of the lead and children's health section at EPA's regional office in Atlanta.

Lead poisoning can hurt a child's brain development and cause neurological problems that can persist as the child grows up. Adults are less vulnerable but can also be harmed by chronic overexposure at high levels. Read Article Here

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Judges berating bank lawyers over foreclosure

t's not been a good year so far for plaintiffs seeking to foreclose. Last week, a the highest court in Massachusetts ruled against U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co. in affirming a lower court judge's ruling invalidating two mortgage foreclosure sales because the banks did not prove that they actually owned the mortgages at the time of foreclosure.

As Jacksonville attorney James Kowalksi said, "Wells Fargo had every opportunity to walk the judge through all the complicated steps to show ownership. And they couldn't do it."

Monday, the New York Times looked at how judges in that state are becoming more critical and vocal toward the attorneys representing banks in foreclosures.

"In numerous opinions," the Times wrote, "judges have accused lawyers of processing shoddy or even fabricated paperwork in foreclosure actions when representing the banks."

A judge on the state supreme court called one filing, "incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous."

You can read the story here.

Vista Realtor Sent to Prison for Foreclosure Fraud

SAN DIEGO - A Vista real estate agent and businessman who engaged in several fraudulent schemes in which his mostly Latino clientele paid him $4.5 million in fees over several years was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison.

Miguel Angel Romero, 40, pleaded guilty last September to eight felony counts, including grand theft and deceitful practices by a mortgage foreclosure consultant.

Prosecutors said Romero told his mostly Hispanic clients that they could get rich by withdrawing equity from their homes and investing the money in other properties.

Romero also pressured clients to buy homes they couldn't afford, most of which ended up in foreclosure, prosecutors said.

"This is a tragedy of unspeakable dimensions," Judge Charles Rogers told the victims jammed into his courtroom.

According to a probation report, Romero was involved in several fraudulent schemes from 2005 until last year. Prosecutors said at least 400 people were victimized.

Read More In San Diego 6

BIENVENIDOS AL ÁREA DE ORANDO, AQUÍ SIEMPRE ESTARÁS DIVIRTIÉNDOTE. El centro de la Florida compuesto por cuatros condados, Lake,...