Distressed Property Institute Partners with Austin Habitat for Humanity to Fight Foreclosure and Promote Stable Homeownership

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Real estate industry-leading organization to build an Austin Habitat home and further its mission to train real estate professionals to assist families in crisis.

This solution we’re able to provide for one Austin family is a direct reflection of the incredible work the nationwide movement of CDPEs is accomplishing on behalf of distressed homeowners

In support of the Austin community and its goal to provide real solutions to homeowners nationwide, the Distressed Property Institute, LLC announced today its partnership with Austin Habitat for Humanity and support of an Austin Habitat home build. The Institute trains real estate professionals in the tools and solutions available to homeowners facing foreclosure, including short sales, and confers the Certified Distressed Property Expert® designation.

“This solution we’re able to provide for one Austin family is a direct reflection of the incredible work the nationwide movement of CDPEs is accomplishing on behalf of distressed homeowners,” Alex Charfen, co-founder and CEO of the Institute, said. “Our organization’s growth and continued expansion is humbling. We believe our momentum is based on this philosophy of doing what’s best for those homeowners who are facing foreclosure and don’t know what to do.”

The current U.S. housing crisis has put unprecedented numbers of hard-working American families at risk of foreclosure. Millions face the prospect of losing their homes at a time when the power of homeownership – family stability, wealth creation, education and happiness – are more than ever critical to the health of our communities.

Since 1985, Austin Habitat for Humanity has put this power into action by making it possible for hard-working, low-income Central Texans to achieve their dream of homeownership by working hand-in-hand with generous sponsors from the community. Habitat homeowners purchase their homes with a zero-percent mortgage after providing 400 hours of ‘Sweat Equity’ and taking 24 required courses in financial literacy and home maintenance.

“Austin Habitat focuses on the power of home-ownership to change lives.” Michael Willard, Executive Director of Austin Habitat for Humanity, said. “We recognize the effectiveness of the Distressed Property Institute, with its network of CDPEs across the country, in providing answers to troubled homeowners, and working toward a solution to the current housing crisis.

“Whether we’re building new homes or repairing existing homes, the nucleus of our program is the training and partnership that build stable, long-term, healthy homeowners. We are proud not only to share the same values as the Distressed Property Institute, but also to partner with them to build this home and take their message to those families in need in our community.”

Since its inception in January 2008, the CDPE has become the fastest-growing designation in real estate history, surpassing 15,000 members in November 2009. The Institute, founded by Alex and Cadey Charfen, estimates that 7 out of 10 families facing foreclosure proceed through the process without any visible assistance from a real estate professional, even when it has been reported that homeowners receiving counseling are 60 percent more likely to avoid foreclosure and have their mortgage payments lowered.

The Distressed Property Institute’s house sponsorship will inaugurate Austin Habitat’s 25th anniversary year. Construction will begin in January 2010, and will continue through March 2010.

About Austin Habitat for Humanity
At Austin Habitat, we believe everyone deserves a simple, decent and affordable place to live. It changes everything. We know that together we can end the cycle of poverty. Together we can change lives.

We have served the Austin community since 1985, building more than 235 new affordable homes with hardworking low-income families. Homes are built with volunteer labor and community funding, and sold to our homebuyers with zero-interest mortgage loans. Each homebuyer participates in housing counseling programs and contributes approximately 400 hours of "sweat-equity."

You can change lives by giving at Austin Habitat for Humanity.

About the Distressed Property Institute, LLC
The Distressed Property Institute trains real estate professionals to engage with and assist homeowners facing hardships. The Institute has developed a curriculum to provide the tools and knowledge to handle distressed properties, including short sales, deeds-in-lieu, mortgage modifications, forbearance, refinances, reinstatements and, if that fails, how to help homeowners through the foreclosure process. After completing a comprehensive on-site or online course, graduates are awarded the Certified Distressed Property Expert® Designation.

About the CDPE Designation
The CDPE Designation provides real estate industry professionals with detailed information on how to engage with and assist homeowners in distress. The CDPE designation has been endorsed by major U.S. brokerages and industry icons, including: Brian Buffini, founder of Buffini & Company; Dave Liniger, chairman and co-founder of RE/MAX; Howard Brinton, founder of STAR POWER® Systems; and Joe Stumpf, founder and national spokesman for By Referral Only®.

For more information about The Distressed Property Institute and the CDPE Designation, visit http://www.cdpe.com.

Contact: Austin Habitat for Humanity
Michael Kellerman
512-472-8788 x408

Contact: The Distressed Property Institute, LLC
Adam Pedowitz


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