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RISMEDIA, February 12, 2010—Dave Liniger, RE/MAX International Chairman and Co-Founder, urged government and economic leaders to push lenders to release foreclosures to help speed the housing recovery. Liniger made his comments as a featured speaker at the Five Star Government Forum in Washington D.C. The Forum brought government and industry leaders together to share ideas for building stability in the nation’s housing market.

“Most of us feel that there is a tsunami of properties out there. I can assure you in the hardest hit areas of the country, there are bidding wars going on,” said Liniger, the only speaker representing a real estate company. “So, for those lenders who are here listening, now is the time to release properties, because you’ve got the Home Buyer Tax Credit that’s driving buyers into the market, and a limited window of opportunity to get these properties sold before the credit expires this year.”

Liniger explained that in some markets experiencing high foreclosure rates, homes in price ranges that qualify for FHA financing are attracting a lot of attention. In these areas, there are multiple offers from investors and first-time buyers, which indicates there’s a real shortage of available homes.

The Five Star Forum focused on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and the challenges facing mortgage lenders in modifying loans under the program. It brought this group of influential leaders together to begin the hard conversation on how better to keep more Americans from losing their homes.

Over the past year, RE/MAX International has led the way on the housing recovery. Liniger and other RE/MAX representatives met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, as well as officials with FHA, Fannie Mae, the Treasury Department, and the Homeowner Preservation Office. RE/MAX offered recommendations for streamlining the Short Sale process, some of which the Treasury Department adopted when it announced a new process last November.

In 2009, RE/MAX trained more than 10,000 agents to handle Short Sales. More RE/MAX agents have earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation than agents with any other real estate company. Surveys show that after earning a CDPE designation, agents are twice as likely to be able to keep families in their homes. And, if the best route is a Short Sale, CDPE agents are much more successful at completing the transaction.

“In our industry, we talk about distressed properties, but we’re dealing with distressed sellers, distressed human beings,” said Liniger. “They’re humiliated by their situation, and that’s why 70% of them never pick up the phone to help themselves when they’re faced with a foreclosure. That’s where Short Sales come in. They provide a better way for both the homeowner and the lender.”

While some cities and markets are experiencing a recovery, as both home sales and prices rise, others are not faring as well. Overall, the real estate industry is in a correction, according to Liniger, who sees distressed properties making up the majority of sales for the next three to five years. And, after that, another housing boom may be on the horizon.

“Once this correction is over, we have a whole new generation of home buyers waiting to get into the market. But we have to get through this first, and the best way to do that is to take it head on.”

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