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Fixing the Foreclosure Crisis

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These days, it is hard to find a person who has not been touched in some way by the foreclosure maelstrom that seems to feed off its own fuel as it swirls across the nation, turning homeowners into renters and leaving many homes vacant, neglected, abandoned, and in the worst cases grossly vandalized. The very word "foreclosure" evokes powerful images -- law enforcement officials forcing out tenants and owners; lawns and landscaping overgrown and untended; stagnant for-sale signs in front of long-dormant homes; walls gouged and copper piping gutted. The emotional toll can be devastating, too: sadness, despair, hopelessness, instability, depression. Real estate agents and brokers have been on the front lines of the foreclosure crisis -- meeting with sellers in various stages of distress, helping banks to unload their massive inventory of foreclosed properties, and working with buyers who are trying to navigate the new real estate market reality of short sales and ba...