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Open commentary on everything impacting the U.S. housing economy. The opinions expressed here represent the author's alone.

REO For $100? Believe it!

We're not kidding - an HW reader forwarded this listing search to us, and we're sharing. For those that haven't worked in the REO side of the biz before, there has been a sort-of inside joke about when the first $100 house will hit the market. Unfortunately, it's no longer a joke.
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Second life

ServiceLink, a cog in the giant machine that is Fidelity National Financial, said Tuesday that former E*Trade operations director Dave Steinmetz joined the firm, where he'll head up ServiceLink's default title and closing operations. At E*Trade, Steinmetz managed pretty much the entire mortgage biz, from the looks of the press release. He ran mortgage operations, wholesale and retail post-closing departments and handled the company's offshoring initiatives.
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Life under the microscope

Countrywide Financial cancelled a client relations event for its top correspondent lenders after the Wall Street Journal put a bright light on the ritzy plans, which included rooms for approximately 30 bankers at the Ritz in Avon, Colorado.
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Consumer advocacy's short memory

You know, here at HW, we remember the housing boom well. In particular, we remember local community groups targeting lenders for 'redlining' because lower-income (read: less credit worthy) borrowers weren't getting a shot at participating in the "historic housing boom." We also remember how everyone looked to the Homeownership Preservation Foundation as a beacon for how foreclosure prevention should work, because GMAC went out of its way to partner with and help fund the nonprofit's efforts.
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A Rather Unfortunate Name

Are we the only ones that have noticed that the NAR's president is named Richard Gaylord? He's even managed to take up some common short-hand for other famous Richards out there -- like Richard Nixon, for example, who was known famously as 'Tricky Dick.' (We're tempted to call Gaylord the NAR's chief Dick, but that might be crossing some sort of line.)
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Friday rumor: BofA Buying UBS?

The powers that be here at HW have been busy focusing on getting a new Web site launched today (you'll see it starting this weekend). But market rumors keep moving around, with the craziest being that Bank of America is looking to buy UBS. We're not kidding. Just read the speculation over at FT Alphaville. Sounds as if they're as cynical as we are here in the HW newsroom about the alleged deal.
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Waiting for March 7

Some sources are suggesting -- and National Mortgage News reported on the rumors Thursday -- that HUD is expected to issue new loan limits for 'conforming jumbos' on March 7.
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Strange Press Statement of the Day

Fidelity National Real Estate Solutions, touting its property information Web site, put out a press statement Wednesday discussing an analysis of the home values for lead and supporting actor and actress Oscar nominees. Tommy Lee Jones was the winner, and we'd hope the winning streak stops there; Daniel Day Lewis deserves the trophy in 2008.
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