Local realtors criticize Obama housing plan

By Dick Berry - email

(WTOL) - Sally and Joe Martinez just dodged the foreclosure bullet. The couple used to live in a west Toledo home.

After Joe retired from Ford, the Martinez fell behind on their monthly house payments. Doubt, worry and sickness sunk in. A question from a family doctor stunned Sally.

"Do you ever think about suicide?" the doctor asked.

"Yeah, sometimes I do because it's too much," Sally answered.

The Martinez sought help from Cindy Keil and Brett Varner from a foreclosure relief team at Remax. The two realtors though don't think the Obama home foreclosure program will help most Americans. "You're spreading $75 billion over 7.9 million homeowners. Do the math. It just isn't there."

They say the people hurt by the Obama plan are the unemployed. "If you don't have a job, it doesn't matter if you can re-finance, cut your payments by hundreds. If one or both spouses don't have a job, they can't make a payment."

So how did the Martinez survive? They've put their home on a short sale. That happens when a lender takes less than you owe on it. "Lets say you owe $150,000 and we get a buyer that comes in at $110,000. The lender will accept the $110,000 and writes off the difference."

Meanwhile, the Martinez have moved into a rental property they own, and their health has improved. "Now that it's all settled down, we're laying off on any medication."

If you don't think the Obama plan can help you, there are several advantages to the short sale plan. Not only do you avoid foreclosure, but bankruptcy too.

Treasury Secretary Geithner has a website on the government plan for financial stability. It includes the refinancing plan.