The Fair Housing Act

In United States the House passed The Fair Housing Act in 1968. The sole objective of The Fair Housing Act is to protect the home buyer’s and the renter’s rights from any discrimination by the seller or landlord. It also prohibits any sort of discrimination from the municipalities, mortgage lenders, banks or insurance companies whose discriminatory practices in any way inhibits a person’s right to housing facilities.

It also prohibits discrimination based on race or color, religion, sex, national origin, family status and disability. An individual can always file a case under this Act if he is denied the right to purchase or lease out property based on any of these factors. In addition to this even advertising that promotes inclination of any kind based on any of these factors can also be prosecuted under The Fair Housing Act.

Discrimination based on race and color

In most of the cases the buyers or renters are denied the right to housing due to fake declaration of unavailability of the same and they are directed towards other areas that are distinguished for that race or color. Although the law was passed in 1968 even then this has always been a major issue. In many cases it turns out that the victim is quite oblivious of the whole situation at that time and by the time he realizes it is quite late.

Discrimination based religion

The Fair Housing Act also prohibits discrimination against any member practicing a particular religion in a housing zone. Although the number of cases registered under this is fairly low as compared to cases registered under race or color and national origin. However this law does not restrict the use of non-commercial housing, operated by members of a particular religious community, for reserving housing for a member of that particular religion.

Discrimination based national origin

Any discrimination based on the national origin of a person has also been prohibited under the Fair Housing Act. The number of immigrants from all over the world is increasing every year and so does the housing need. Lots of cases come up where the seller or landlord deny or prefer person based on his national origin. Any discrimination of individuals based on his national origin by the seller, landlord or even mortgage lender can be prosecuted under this Act.

Discrimination based on sex

Women, mostly poor, with limited housing options are many times subjected to sexual harassment by the landlords wherein either they have to submit to the sexual favors of their landlords or vacate the house. Fair Housing Act also prohibits any discrimination based on sex of an individual. A woman also has the same housing rights that a man has.

Discrimination based on status of family

There are cases wherein families having children below 18 are denied any housing rights by the seller or the landlord. They deny saying that the family has more members than the house can accommodate comfortably. Most of the landlords like to lease out their property to working couples or families with grown up children. Such cases of discrimination or preference are also prohibited under The Fair Housing Act. But there are housing that is designated to the elderly or the seniors completely. Such housing is excluded from the list of prohibitions of the Act.

Discrimination based on disability

The Fair Housing Act protects the right to housing for all types of disability wherein the individual can be disabled due to blindness, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, HIV infected, drug addict, alcoholism, mentally retarded, head injury, mental illness. Any discrimination based on these factors can be subject to prosecution under this Act. Any person with disability also has the same rights as any other normal person. So why deny them the housing right.

How DIY Dream House Construction Works

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term “DIY”? DIY stands for do-it-yourself; it’s an acronym that refers to the use of individual efforts to achieve an objective. DIY is often used for equipment and appliance repair jobs like home and automobile repair, as well as for handicrafts such as DIY bags, accessories, and clothes. DIY is generally used for household chores and handiworks that require little time, effort, and money.

Have you already heard of DIY house construction? Building a miniature dream house out of building blocks is easy, but constructing a real house entails a lot of effort, talent, time, and money. You cannot build your dream mansion with a measly thousand budget, inasmuch as you cannot buy high-quality materials with a penny on hand. You need adequate financing and budget to attain your dream house.
An average American cannot afford expensive houses and lots in commercial neighborhoods. Hence, housing companies have devised a way to pull down housing costs. Today, DIY dream house kits enable average Americans to build their dream house with a limited budget.

In DIY house construction, the homeowners themselves are the homebuilders. They plan, implement, and finance their own housing project. They procure DIY home kits from housing companies. DIY home kits contain home blueprint, materials, and equipment for house construction. Homebuilders simply need to follow an assembly guide in instruction manuals. They do not need to hire numerous workers for their house construction; they only need a few to assist in assembling materials.

Moreover, homebuilders can ask for the assistance of engineers when choosing supplementary construction materials. They can choose energy-efficient materials for their DIY home build construction. Through this, homeowners create a lasting investment for their dream home.

Building your house seems like an impossible task for conventional housing techniques. Real estate and commercial housing companies charge a high cost for real estate properties. They profit from amenities in the neighborhood that come with real estate purchase. Nevertheless, in building a DIY dream house, you can get your home for a smaller budget. Furthermore, you have the freedom to choose the location, design, and materials for your home.

The Perfect Storm – The Rise and Fall of the United States Housing Market

As we approach the end of 2009 and look ahead to the coming year, we continue to keep our eyes fixated on the optimistic horizon of our financial futures hoping to dissipate the recent memories of the turbulent past. These traumatic recollections are primarily associated with the collapse of the U.S. housing market which triggered the current economic recession that our country is still desperately trying to dig itself out of. This hurricane of eroding property values started to come onto U.S. shores in the beginning of 2008 and continues to wreak havoc into this present day. Now as we look back in time today, it is almost impossible to not know someone who has not been adversely affected by the housing market meltdown in the United States.

A financial storm of this magnitude did not form overnight. There were many years of reckless spending, poor financial planning, and irresponsible lending that synergistically blended together to create this potent financial catastrophe. To simplify things however, the crux of the blame can be cast upon three equally contributing parties: greedy lenders and naive buyers. These two factors combined with a lack of financial oversight by the federal government and affiliated regulating agencies formed into what could best be described as the “perfect storm” scenario.

The initial events that set into motion the collapse of the domestic housing market began immediately following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Just one year prior, the federal funds interest rate which establishes the baseline for lenders borrowing from one another was 6.50%. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 prompted the Federal Reserve to start slashing interest rates in fearful speculation that awful financial repercussions would quickly devastate the economy.

As the federal funds rate continued to be reduced down to 1.0% over the next two years, this provided a catalyst to home builders and developers as they increased land purchases and started massive residential and commercial housing projects. During this same time that interest rates were being reduced to historic lows, members of congress were coercing the executives overseeing the giant lending institutions such as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and many others to extend their lending policies beyond their normal credit worthiness limits so that consumers who would not normally qualify for a mortgage could achieve the American dream of home ownership. To appease these new found congressional pressures, lenders soon devised up new hybrid and exotic mortgage financing schemes. These new financing options featured adjustable rate mortgages with no money down requirements, and loans that financed home loans for up to 125% of their appraised worth with the naive thought process that property values would continue to increase indefinitely into the foreseeable future.

All of these converging forces united together to form the “perfect storm” that struck the U.S. housing industry with full force beginning in 2008. Soon many of those buyers who were enticed by the attractive financing options ended up as disheveled victims similar to those homeless survivors displaced after a tragic hurricane strikes. Those teaser mortgage rates which persuaded millions of home buyers and builders to spend beyond their means would soon skyrocket upwards as the Federal Reserve began to understand what was taking place and would try to counteract the financial chaos with series of organized interest rate increases. By this time however, it was too late to escape the impending doom.

This devastating combination of greedy lenders, naive buyers, and federal regulating agency members asleep at the switch undermined the very foundation of all of the housing growth that had been constructed over the previous years. In the wake of this storm’s aftermath were especially hard hit areas such as parts of California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona where overbuilt communities and speculation reached extreme levels.This grossly unbalanced financial leveraging scenario between the buyer with little to no equity down and the fully financed lender couldn’t last forever and it didn’t. Buyers soon wanted no part of rapidly depreciating neighborhoods and sellers flooded the market but no one would come to their rescue and many of them were forced to go belly up into foreclosures or short sales if they were so fortunate.

The rest as they say is history. A recent Zillow study of Floridian residents showed homeowners who purchased their home in the last two years ran a 77% chance of their mortgage being upside down. This is only a small fraction of the devastation that has been cast across the country. Let’s hope the worst is over.