TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: August 17; Home Ownership Trumps Renting in 75% Cities, Survey Says; The Economy: Why All The Panic?; Borrowers Opt for Shorter Loan Terms

“I can’t do it” never yet accomplished anything; “I will try” has performed wonders.” – By George P. Burnham


 You have to keep yourself on task, and if we can’t find methods to do so it can ultimately “kill” us.

I’ve empowered my team to help keep me on track, consequences would be 10 push ups for me, and 10 for the team if they forget to remind me.

We make it fun, yet keeping it productive. 🙂




Low interest rates and falling home values have made home ownership make more financial sense than renting in most major cities, according to Trulia’s Summer Rent vs. Buy Index.

Trulia found that buying a home is cheaper than renting in 74 percent of the country’s 50 largest cities. Trulia compared the cost of buying and renting a two-bedroom apartment, condo, or townhouse in the nation’s 50 largest cities.

Buying a home particularly in cities plagued by foreclosures proves to be much cheaper than renting, according to Trulia. Below are the top five places where buying beats renting by the most, as well as the few cities where renting may make more sense.

Top 5 Cities Where Buying Beats Renting

1. Las Vegas

2. Detroit

3. Mesa, Ariz.

4. Fresno, Calif.

5. Arlington, Texas

Top 5 Cities Where Renting is Cheaper Than Buying

1. New York

2. Fort Worth, Texas

3. Omaha, Neb.

4. Seattle, Wash.

5. San Francisco, Calif.




For the last couple of weeks, all we have heard is how bad the current economic situation is. “The markets are going to crash and interest rates are going to skyrocket.” Panic has definitely engulfed the entire country.

Consumer confidence, as measured by the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey, has fallen to a number not seen in thirty years. This panic has actually had a negative impact on the economy.

It was said best by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy:

“Confidence normally reflects economic conditions; it doesn’t shape them”

Yet at times, particularly during economic turning points, cause and effect can shift. Sentiment can be so harmed that businesses, consumers and investors freeze up, turning a gloomy outlook into a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is one of those times.”

What does the data actually show?

We decided to look at certain economic indicators and compare them to the numbers from a year ago. Here is what we found:

We are not making the argument that the current numbers are worth celebrating. We are only suggesting that the sky is not falling.

Bottom Line

Conditions aren’t as dire as some are professing. Make good sound financial decisions based on your own economic conditions. There is no need to panic.




Record-reaching low interest rates have prompted more home owners to shorten the terms of their mortgages. Thirty-four percent of refinancers changed their loan to a 20- or 15-year mortgage during the first quarter — the highest level in seven years, Freddie Mac reports.

Mortgage companies are also reporting a higher demand for shorter-term mortgages. For example, LendingTree reports that 15-year mortgages have increased 30 percent from a year ago.

Quicken Loans recently debuted a product that allows borrowers to select the term of their mortgage. The most popular mortgage term selected is 8 years, followed by 13 years.

“Mortgage-burning parties are back,” Bob Walters, chief economist for Quicken Loans, told USA Today.

Shortening the term of a mortgage can save home owners “tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest costs,” Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, told USA Today. Some borrowers are finding that refinancing into a shorter term may not even increase their monthly payments, since 15-year rates are so low.

However, some borrowers who want to refinance are finding they’re being shut out, experts say. Home owners who don’t have a credit score of 720 or higher or don’t have at least 20 percent in home equity may not qualify for the lowest rates.




This blog prides itself on the quality of real estate information we deliver each and every day. We try to gather empirical evidence to validate the positions we take. We do not use just an anecdotal story to make a point. We also do not get caught up in the sensationalism of the moment. However, today will be different.

We can’t resist commenting on the story which recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal regarding Colby Sambrotto, the founder and former CEO of It seems the founding father and lifelong evangelist of the concept of selling your home without a real estate agent was forced to hire a broker to sell his home after failing at what he preaches others should do.

After failing to sell his NYC apartment on his own as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), Sambrotto hired a broker and paid a 6% commission in order to get the job done. His personal experience helps refute some of the myths Sambrotto has been espousing for over a decade. Let’s look at two of those myths:

Myth #1 – You Will Pocket More Money Selling on Your Own

Most FSBO sites say you can save the commission by selling on your own. What happened in Sambrotto’s sale?

From the WSJ article:

“The broker, Jesse Buckler, said he told Mr. Sambrotto the apartment in the Lion’s Head building on West 19th Street near Sixth Avenue was priced too low and wasn’t drawing the right buyers.

By May, it went into contract, he said, after attracting multiple offers. It closed in the last few days for $150,000 more than the original asking price.”

Myth #2 – The Internet Alone Can Sell Your Home

Many have said that, with the introduction of home search on the internet, hiring an agent is no longer a necessity. What happened to the FSBO guru when he attempted to only depend on the internet?

From the WSJ article:

“Looking to move his family to the suburbs, [Mr. Sambrotto] said he carefully staged his apartment for sale himself, and put it on the market. But after using a mix of websites to publicize his apartment, he said he had only “middling success” and switched to a broker because many buyers were so reliant on brokers.”

Bottom Line

There is a reason the real estate industry has been around for centuries: it performs a valuable service.


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