C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


H.R. 600, AmeriDream and an Irritated Mini-Ranting Me (Dear Mr. President...)

I love when my kid gets that look of Eureka and the light-bulb goes off and you can just feel the excitement bubbling forth regarding a good idea. I've had some interesting e-mail and decided to answer it in public rather than write people individually. For the record, I think that AmeriDream, other DPAs and H.R. 600 are great ideas and I am tired of people pissing on DPA companies as if all DPAs did something wrong or contributed the bulk of the problems regarding the collapse of the housing market.

What a load of crap. There were a lot of good companies out there and I lost several very nice buyers because of the hypothetical stupidity of known and unknown peeps of HUD looking for a housing scapegoat and screwing around with the rest of us (possibly because of their personal peeves). There. I said it... some wont speak their minds, but I will (so what else is new? LOL).

I'm gonna talk about AmeriDream because several of my former prospects completed the program but didn't buy homes before the cut off date. Bummer... I believe legislation needs to be passed so that AmeriDream and other DPAs are renewed and supported in their efforts to educate families and help them obtain a home. I like those programs and want them back. They did not cost us taxpayers money and consistently generated revenue, so I don't think I am the only one who does want to see their return.

Here's a picture of my 7 year old Autistic son getting a bright idea in school after putting on his "thinking cap." I'm firing off this post because I keep wondering what his life will be like when he gets older and I pray that he'll be able to afford and maintain a home of his own one day. What we do now will effect his future and every generation to come after him. It's time for DC to get a bright idea because we can't keep doing what we're doing and not crash the economy further. This political game of sticking a virtual dunce cap on the opposing party when ever they do not agree has got to stop. Whacking the DPAs was a bad move. HUD is supposed to be for us, not against us and the fact that officials in HUD pushed for this puts a bad taste in my mouth. Sour grapes is when you loose in court and introduce naughty legislation to get what you want anyway while a significant portion of the public is cyber-screaming, "don't do it, save the program..." My son has no gile, he doesn't understand the gray areas, he only understands on and off, black and white, right and wrong and approaches life with the simple trust of a child. I'm going to take a page from his book and trust that someone more influential than I will read this. Nothing like planting an idea seed (LOL). 

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2009

Here's an idea: We have a shot at saving former DPA programs like the one AmeriDream administers. BTW, I love this company. I really do. They take the time to educate their buyers and know how to generate excitement about being a first time buyer. :-)

Did you know that AmeriDream is a 501(c)(3) charity? Yup. It's true. They are not some fly-by-night company either. This charity was established in 1999 to provide housing-related programs to low and moderate income individuals and families. (I got that info from directly from them, so don't argue with me.)

AmeriDrea has a cool mission statement that in sum and substance states the following, "Our mission is to permit qualified aspiring homeowners, a disproportionate number of whom are first-time home-buyers, minorities, legal immigrants, women headed households, and single-parents, achieve and sustain home-ownership." That is very cool. I am working with people who fit that general profile.

Did you know that AmeriDream has provided "critical down payment assistance to over 250,000 low and moderate income homebuyers," enabling them to purchase their homes without using any taxpayer dollars?

In addition, AmeriDream has educated over 60,000 home-buyers through our home-buyer education course. It has also been reported that this company (a) has counseled and assisted approximately 1,200 people to retain their home when confronted with mortgage difficulties; (b) built 168 affordable housing units in inner cities; and as of this writing (c) has reportedly committed over $30 million to projects unrelated to its down payment assistance program. Hmm... How cool is that? Friggin' awesome!

Don't believe me? Ask their President Ann Ashburn. Bet you'll get an earful and the documentation to back it up. I dare you to read it all (LOL). People love to argue, always want proof, then when you hand them a whole lot of paper they start making excuses as to why they didn't or can't read it all. Congress had access to proof, yet somebody managed to squeeze in this whack-a-DPA-mole-litigation-that-I-lost-issue into the bail-out bill.

WTF? Too many pages? Thought we'd never notice? Did HUD really believe we wouldn't find out about this until it was too late? Public wins round one, HUD wins round two, now we're battling over round three, spending mad money to fix something that never should have been broken anyway. When we, the public, did read it and started to complain, politicos put a dunce cap on our heads while they played politics and killed one of my favorite programs, making it even more difficult for me to make a living in a slow housing market spiraling into hell... Well, people like me don't just go away, especially when people like me invest some of our life savings into learning a new profession and dedicate a significant portion of time and talent trying to make a living at it. The public is here to stay as well, so we have lots of questions no one really wants to answer because they'd have to admit things they do not want to admit.

Mini-Rant time: What the hell were the politicians thinking to kill this type of program? Seriously...

Inquiring minds want to know because it just plain didn't help things. Please don't Bush-bash and think this is an answer. I really want to know why HUD was a bad dog with a naughty bone about this. Did losing in court for changing the rules piss someone off so bad they felt the need to legislate a back door victory with the a little help from their friends? The Club of 100 is pretty exclusive. Maybe we should make friends as well. Wonder if we can get a Senator to answer us? Hmm... What the hey, lets write everybody! I'm gonna start with the President and work my way down (LOL).

Wanna have some fun trying to get answers while putting those programs back? Go write your own posts on the subject and then re-blog each other like crazy. Time to trigger President O's Google alerts, people. Dude is into social media. Wanna write a letter with me? Better yet, send out postcards. You'll save on postage stamps (LOL). I'm into instant gratification, so I'm gonna blog about it and raise virtual hell because I am tired and I want what I want... which is to make a decent living and for someone in Washington to listen to the majority of regular folk when they are begging pretty please, don't help kill our industry while you experiment on paper and ignore our realities. By The People For The People has been on the back burner lately. We'd like that part of our American lives back. It may not be perfect, but it's what we do and how we are supposed to roll in the USA. Let's find out who really reads these things, shall we? (LMAO)

President Barack Obama

The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Mr. President,

I'm gonna quote ya and get real plain spoken about how I feel: “We need to move past the stale arguments that say low-income Americans shouldn’t even try to own a home,” is one of my favorite things that you said BUT DID YOU MEAN IT?

Got news for you. I'm a Realtor, I like your quote and I want you to know that we are depending on you to help make it right. This market seriously sucks and since I'm bleeding money rather than making boat loads like those ponsi-pricks who stole millions in the stock market, that would make me a low-income American with an attitude.

Once upon a time I was middle class but now I've no idea what you'd call me. Don't care, in that flippant-not-quite-true-way people do when they're angry, want to save face, rant for a minute then move on. Obviously I care because I am writing an open letter. What I care about is the fact that a lot of us are suffering and you all (on behalf of the American people to save our banks) just purchased a bunch of bad property debts that need to be put back on the housing market and sold to the public in a responsible way. Ironically, you are the virtual-head of the USA landlord business, so as a Realtor I am asking you to remember us struggling folk trying to make a living in this slow a$$ market. This market whomps! Seriously.

Do ask your real estate banking gurus to do the right thing by taking those Fannie Mae properties and putting them in the hands of us local professionals who want to work with local buyers and get families back into those homes. My mortgage buddies, inspector pals and appraisers would love to have more to do. Our businesses are slowly closing from lack of activity which means your job loss statistics are rising. The tenants who have been paying their rents for years and were shocked to discover themselves homeless because of foreclosures should get something for their troubles (rent with the option to buy, perhaps? We can help you with that... just give us a chance). The multiple bail-out from hell was a solution that cost us taxpayers some serious money. We want to have a part in this since we helped to pay for it. Affordable housing is a serious issue and the public now has a chance to purchase affordable housing if you place the properties on the market in a responsible way and publish the schedules.

I guess my supporting no cost bipartisan legislation in Congress (H.R. 600) to reauthorize and reform down-payment assistance programs funded in part by sellers, also known as DPA, which expired under federal law last year is a start. I think doing a monthly lottery for brokerage firms and independent brokers to help sell Fannie Mae bad debt properties is another solution. 

Ann Ashburn states it best: "DPA funding from qualified non-profits helped more than one million creditworthy families and individuals become homeowners from 1998 to 2008, and generated $24 billion in economic activity in just a five year period alone, according to a 2007 study by George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis." We all had a hand in helping to generate those numbers so I think you could use a good team of companies networking together to move those properties all across the USA. Holding on to them after the tax payers have paid for them makes me wonder what else is going on back there...

We are counting on you, Mr. President.

Notice the lack of flowery speech? Notice no kudos and congrats fawning here. Just a simple statement. We are counting on you... BTW, I really do wish you well with your new administration and will be praying for you, however, I am a struggling mom trying to make ends meet with two learning disabled kids who are very expensive so you will not be getting a free ride when I write you open letters. I don't collect Social Security for them, I pay for everything. They are not on Medicare. I lay out $495 per month so they can have health insurance. Do you have any idea how many fees and dues I've gotta pay to be a Realtor? I have lots of bills so this legislation matters to me. The majority of Realtors are not independently wealthy, and I think the public needs to hear this and so do you.

Mr. President, I live in New York City. Do you know what the rents go for over here? My knickers are in a twist because while people in DC play at redistributing the bad-debt-wealth, the rest if us are trying to keep the lights on and put food on the table wondering what new bill we have to foot for you before we can pay for what we owe here. That pending bill is supposed to help us, right? Well, we're waiting... We don't want it pending we want it passed! Everyone knows those properties are worth something, yet no one knows just how little or much. I say it's time to find out in a very transparent way. They should be put on a time table and open to public sale.

We want relief and we want help so we can work and earn our living in the real estate industry. Releasing those properties to people who want to purchase a home would be a lovely start towards returning our tax money back to the coffers. The public wants to purchase affordable homes and we want our industry to survive and not have it inadvertently stolen from us by a handful of people slowly creating a government brokerage house so they can property manage our housing misfortunes into a fresh new hell born from good intentions that routinely create unintended consequences.

Wanna do a new thing and be a bank and landlord? Fine. Just keep us in the loop so we can help keep the game honest. After all, we're not running for office and we don't care about the polls. We care about feeding and protecting our families and keeping a roof over out heads while helping other families obtain their own roof to enjoy.

There are some people in DC who do not want us there while they create their version of the USA-Landloard-Bank-Brokerage-Division of Fannie Mae. I'm not one to make political rants, but I smell something rotten burning from hell here and I'm calling a spade a spade regarding the virtual stench from the greed trench. We don't have a union so inviting an association or two isn't fair if you are not a member of that particular club. A website where we can weigh in would be nice. Take your own survey from the public and real estate professionals. I do not like where the Internet chatter has been going with this, which is why I am putting my two cents in: Put some Builders, Inspectors, Appraisers and Realtors on that task force Mr. President. Get some input from us little folk who actually do the work, suffer the disappointments and know what we wish we could fix. Seriously... There is no theory here, only experience and issues that need to be addressed fairly... (Yes, I am a Donald Trump fan, so you should call him. He's very plain spoken. Get people who are not Yes-people to help you here. Do a new thing with this new problem you're having.)

I'll repeat a previous factoid because it is such a good point: from 1998 to 2008 DPAs reportedly generated $24 billion in economic activity in just a five year period alone...

Now imagine what would happen if Realtors got together in 2009 with AmeriDream (and other DPA programs) and moved that bad inventory the talking heads in Washington want to hoard and keep you tangled up as a landlord over? You want to get this economy started? Let us do our thing and move that inventory. Stop writing policy the size of a phone book when you can use the laws you already have. Make a monthly lottery if you have to, just give us a shot at moving the inventory. You, the USA Government, owns it now, which means the Government can start collecting closing monies and put our tax funds back into the virtual coffers they belong in by gently releasing the bad-debt Fannie Mae bank owned properties into the marketplace for sale to the public. That property has to be made available for everyone. I would hate to think that my Autistic and PDD-NOS little minions have more common sense than ____ when it comes to this issue. My kids already think they are Realtors. I take them everywhere. I would love to take them to an open house at a government released property for sale to the public. That would be mad cool.

Please pass the legislation and let us do our jobs, Mr. President. Release the bail-out housing inventory back into the public for sale where it belongs. What the hell does Fannie Mae need a portfolio of bad debt for? Seriously! Inquiring minds want to know...

Who knows, the government might even make a profit if we sell enough of it off... I hear Social Security has a lot of IOUs waiting to be paid off (LOL).

Update: My girlfiend Julie has a question for you: Mr. President why haven't you released some funds to the USDA which still offers 100% financing so that all the buyers I have with loans that are approved but are not funded could close? Why offer a program that you choose to fund when it suits you?

Respectfully submitted,

Carolyn Tann-Starr


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Comment balloon 27 commentsC Tann-Starr • January 28 2009 07:35AM


Carolyn I too miss the AmeriDream DPA's it made sense.  Maybe that's the real problem, when does what our government does make sense?  The writers of bills and passers of legislation tossed out the baby with the bath water on this one.

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) almost 12 years ago

Gail, I am soooo with you on this one. The people I was working with had from $25K to $37K saved and their $10K grant had made a huge difference regarding the type of home they could afford. It made the difference between having to choose between a co-op, condo or house.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago


While you are at it, maybe you could get Mr. President to release some funds to the USDA which still offers 100% financing and all the buyers I have with loans that are approved but are not funded could close.  Why offer a program that you choose to fund when it suits you?   

Posted by Julie Chapman, New Homes Sales Ormond, New Smyrna, Daytona Be (DR Horton ) almost 12 years ago

Julie, very good point. I shall have to start working on that. Mind if I quote you in my post? You said it so well. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Dear C., you know how much I love this president.  Why not write to him directly?  Why not start a campaign among the Club Chaos group, with a letter, perhaps not as irreverent?  I would leave out the Prez-Dude and other such comments.  You know I love you C., and you know how much I detested President Bush.  But I wouldn't even call him Prez-dude in a letter!  Lol!  You can do a form type letter like they do in our MLS, have each person personalize it and mail it to President Obama.  He has his heart in the right place.  Let's give him a chance to put his money where his nice speeches are.  By the way, are we still on for Friday?

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) almost 12 years ago

I completely agree and have been sending this out to my contacts....I have used the Nehemiah Corp for a number of my clients in the past....with great success. Same principle as the silent-second that FHA allows. Except it's not tax payer money. I couldn't believe that not only did they cut out the DPAs but raised the down payment to 3.5%...great idea, make it harder for those who QUALIFY to get a loan.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) almost 12 years ago

I agree with Susan and cannot say it better myself.

Thanks for sharing the pic.  He is a real cutie pie!!!

Posted by Melody Botting, You Deserve The Best (Broker Associate PenFed Realty) almost 12 years ago

Susan, I love you and will edit the Prez-Dude to Mr. President. The rest stays (LOL).

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Okay Susan, Respectfully submitted (LMAO).

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Karen, the 3.5% minimum has made my life very interesting because I've been telling people they need to have 5% for closing saved up (8.5% is my favorite magic FHA number - LOL).

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Melodious, if you want me to behave as well, I will. ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

C ~ I love the letter to the Pres. I'm very active in my local and state Realtor Assoc and we just spent 2 days last week in the capital here touting some very similar sentiments and ideals regarding down payment assistance programs and homeowner education. I hope you see some results from your rants... our suggestions were very well received here in WA state... hopefully something actually gets done. We'll be following the entire leg. session to ensure they don't drop the ball on the bills we dropped!! Good luck! I too want to be sure things are better for my daughter when she is grown! ~A:)

Posted by Alisha Harrison, Allyn, Belfair and Hood Canal real estate expert! (John L. Scott, Belfair) almost 12 years ago

Alisha, our kids can get us really motivated, can't they? (LOL) I'm following this issue with great interest.

Check out what Ken Cook wrote here. People really don't understand these programs...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

I've closed more than one deal that used DPA programs and I have heard arguments as to how good and how bad they are. As for me, I really didn't see an issue with them and I think it was a bad idea to do away with them, especially in this day and age.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) almost 12 years ago

I read Ken Cook's post... he is spot on! Thank you for directing me there! And you are right, people really don't understand these programs! ~A:)

Posted by Alisha Harrison, Allyn, Belfair and Hood Canal real estate expert! (John L. Scott, Belfair) almost 12 years ago

JL, I'm with you 100%. I love those programs. They help people.

Alisha, I'm glad you liked Ken's post. Very well said, indeed. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Thank you my dear!  I do love you.  And I have high hopes for President Obama, even though that will make my adopted son gag a bit.  Sorry son! 

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) almost 12 years ago

Susan, I hope he does well because his success is our nation's success. We all need to pull together and back our President because he is the only one we have. People need to get beyond party and just get pro-American. Division keeps us from getting our work done. ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

It's time to let your voices be heard!

Please express your support for H.R. 600 that reforms and restores DPA now by visiting http://capwiz.com/nehemia/issues/alert/?alertid=11709431 . It has a helpful area to compose a message, which will be sent directly to your Senators and House Representative.

Thank you for your time.

Posted by MaryB almost 12 years ago

Mary B, very cool link! Thank you! :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

If you are serious about investing in Real Estate check out this site. http://tinyurl.com/bmlyjq

Posted by Liam almost 12 years ago

You guys should check out Mary B's link. Very useful. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

LOL@ Liam. Dude, that is an advertisement going off topic. Real Estate Riches is not exactly what I am ranting about here. Getting the DPAs back and supporting first time buyers would be a more relevant angle, but I thank you for sharing because we all want to make a living in the industry and someone may actually want to try this program. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Still waiting and rooting for the cause. Things are heating up. I hope we win very soon. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Did any of you participate in any caucus or gather numbers?  Are your comments derived from missed income because of easy loan structuring?  Get real folks ActiveRain is not the place to rant.  Real political action was the answer.  You all failed.....................miserably!

Posted by Misunderstood almost 12 years ago

C-Tann if you had spent as much time in the political trenches reaching meaningful constituents who cared enough to join your cause BEFORE THE FACT then you might have elicited some momentum.  After the fact ACTIVERAIN rant bullshit is meaningless.  Too "much" TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Horatio almost 12 years ago

Good morning Misunderstood and Horatio. We were involved every step of the way which is why the bills are back on the table. It's never too late to effect change. It just takes a while (LOL). People respond in stages, just like you did. Some "for" and some "against." I'm for it, so I'll keep talking and waiting and writing through the entire process.

BTW, if you read my blog you'd know I was against it from day one, you'd know I've written several articles on-line in various forums about it and you'd also realize I'm in possession of my "cause statistics" and government responses while you are not. Your statements reveal you are doing a "hit and run comment drive by." I didn't delete you because you may actually serve a purpose to other readers: 

"Real political action" starts one person at a time. I moved over 100K people to action with a handful of posts in my little corner of cyberspace. I'm happy with the numbers. I received 367 positive e-mails v. 3 complaints, significantly more than the comments on this post (more people disagree with your position than agree). I've been linked to and quoted by News organizations and magazines for blogging on Active Rain, so my view statistics rise every single day because of this post (and others). Point of the response: I'm happy with the numbers. I reach people and they think about what I have to say. They share my opinions with other folks. Then they move on.

What did you two do besides leave anonymous comments with your IP addresses behind? (Of course we know where you are. We even know when it comes from the same computer or geographical address. Nothing is anonymous on-line, so you may want to move on and go read another writer you feel is more in tune with your views and beliefs - LOL).

Enjoy your day. Thank you for taking the time to write. Play nice in the electronic sandbox. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments