SAN FRANCISCO — The massive waves of foreclosures have bogged down the nation like a natural disaster and require a large-scale response, said Frances Flynn Thorsen, managing editor for the RealTown.com online community.

"This crisis is like Hurricane Katrina, and in order to save it, we all have to come together like people came together for Katrina," said Thorsen, a panelist during a Foreclosure Workshop session on Wednesday at the Real Estate Connect conference.

Thorsen was joined on the panel, "Relationship 2.0: How to Help Homeowners While Closing Business," by Eli Tene, president of I Short Sale Inc.; Heidi Mueller, broker associate of Prudential California Realty; and Tom Geller, author of "Save My Home: 10 Steps to Avoiding Foreclosure."

Panelists shared their views on how to handle the foreclosure market and what steps to take in order to prevent clients from losing their homes.

"Some people have to realize that a home is not a stock. A home is a place that people live in, but many think homes are stocks," said Thorsen. Too many homeowners purchased property seeking quick profits, she said, and recommended that buyers plan to keep their homes for more than four or five years.

Tene said that short sales can benefit both lenders and buyers, as buyers can get a fresh start and lenders can save time and money by avoiding a full foreclosure process.

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