411,000 referrals in 2012…and we are just getting started

There’s some shameless horn-blowing going on here at MK.

In the first 6 months of 2012, we referred more than 411,000 folks to local, vetted, best-in-class resources–from all 50 states and D.C.

That’s up 75% over the 235,000 referrals we made over the same period last year.

Thanks to global warming or just downright crazy weather, utility assistance (heating/cooling payment help) is most requested category for assistance. Rounding our the top 5 are food assistance, employment services, housing counseling, and affordable housing options.

Our friends at DSNews.com did a great job covering this story. Thanks, gang.

What slows down and stops the horn-blowing is knowing that millions of homeowners from all walks and all 50 states are trying to stay in their homes, or trying to exit them gracefully. And so the work continues.

More Home Equity? Yes, Please!

The news from the housing trenches is still mixed–this glass seems to be both empty and full at the same time. But this article from Bloomberg caught our eye: home equity (your home’s worth minus any debt you owe on the home) saw its biggest jump in 60 years last quarter–up $6.7 trillion, or 7.3%.

Homeowners, clearly, have had it with mortgage debt. They are moving to refinance, and bringing as much cash as they can to pay down their home principal. Simply, they want to be on stronger financial footing.

As our world reels from debt crises on an individual, corporate, and even national level (think Greece or Spain), this shift in thought is darned encouraging.

What’s your take on home equity? Are you making efforts to decrease your home equity, either by paying more every month or refinancing? Or are you just holding firm?

Congratulations! You’re a Homeowner!

I moved across town this week to a new home, and started the seemingly endless phone calls and emails to change my address, establish utilities, and generally get my new life in a new community in order.

My call to the local power company was especially interesting. Every customer service rep I talked with (and there were quite a few), asked if I owned my home (I do) and then congratulated me. Heartily and with feeling.

In MortgageKeeper’s business, we help homeowners who might believe their homes to be more burden than blessing. It made me wonder–how do homeowners feel about their homes? Did enthusiasm for homeownership go the way of the housing bubble, interest only mortgages, and zero down payments? Or is it cause for celebration and housewarming parties?

A recent study by Coldwell Banker showed that homeownership is still a vital part of the American Dream.  In fact, even though a home is perhaps worth less than it was during the housing bubble, folks still believe their homes are a crucial part of who they are. You can read more about their findings here.

How about you? Do you see your home differently now than you did 5 years ago?