TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Oct 12; An Apple A Day Has Passed Away…; Picking The Right Agent is Crucial; House Prices to Fall over Next 6 months; HUD Offers Grants to Fight Housing Discrimination; This Time We Are Sounding The Alarms

“The purpose of human life is to show compassion and the will to help others.” by Albert Schweitzer

AN APPLE A DAY HAS PASSED AWAY. BUT HE HAS LEFT A BASKET FULL OF LEGACY.

I never met him, but I knew him.

I never talked to him, but he spoke to me often.

I never saw him present live, but my vision of him is burned into my brain.

Steve Jobs has left the earth, but his legacy and remains are among each of us, and will be touched every day for decades.

When I learned of his death, I was so saddened I couldn’t write. I just sat there in disbelief, realizing that the life of the business hero I followed would no longer be alive to announce the next amazing technological product.

After a few hours, I posted this on all of my social media outlets:

Steve Jobs has passed away, but his legacy will live longer than any of us. I am sad that my business hero has gone to his final reward, and forever grateful for what he has done to my world, both in business and in life. Thank you Steve, for a Jobs well done.

The laptop, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were created and improved beyond the imagination or the capability of 1,000 of his peers. The great Bill Gates tried and failed – many times – to top Apple products. So have every one of his competitors.

And Jobs did all of this with quiet dignity, genius, eloquence, and simplicity.

If you own an Apple product, any Apple product, there’s one thing you don’t need – an instruction manual. I have been using everything Mac, and everything Apple, since 1984 and I have NEVER read one word of “how-to” instruction. Part of Jobs’ design genius was to make every product intuitive.

One man reinvented the computer, the operating system, the music player, and the cell phone (now called a smartphone), and created a tablet to fill a market space that no one even knew was void – the iPad. The iPad2 is changing the face of book publishing, and book distribution, the same way the iPod changed music and music distribution.

Amazing? No – genius.

PICKING THE RIGHT AGENT IS CRUCIAL

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Sales Report two weeks ago and in the report they discussed a troubling trend: cancelled contracts are increasing dramatically. NAR defined the issue:

‘Contract failures – cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price.”

NAR explained that 18% of all contracts were cancelled in August. This compares to 16% last month and 9% in August of 2010.

The percentage of cancelled contracts has doubled in the past year!!

It is extremely important that both buyers and sellers pick the right real estate professional to assist them with their real estate needs.

BUYERS

Make sure your agent can not only help you find the home of your dreams but also find you professional assistance with all aspects of the transaction (mortgaging, title, etc.)

SELLERS

Realize that your agent must sell the home twice:

  • to a qualified buyer
  • to the bank (through the appraiser).

The second sale may be more difficult in this market than the first.

Bottom Line

It is imperative in this housing market that both buyers and sellers use a true real estate professional to guarantee that the deal will actually reach the closing table.

HOUSE PRICES TO FALL OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS

In a normal real estate market, it may make sense to wait for the spring buyers’ to appear before placing your house up for sale. The current real estate market is anything but normal however. The increase in supply of distressed properties will overshadow any increase in demand for housing over the next 6 months. This is reflected in the findings of two groups: Clear Capital and JPMorgan Chase.

Dr. Alex Villacorta, Director of Research and Analytics at Clear Capital explained last week:

“The housing market has yet to demonstrate the fundamentals necessary to overcome a seasonal slowdown over the next six months, which drives our projected 3.2 percent drop in national home prices through the first quarter of 2012.”

HousingWire quotes analysts at JPMorgan Chase:

“Home prices could dip another 6% to 7%, before hitting rock bottom in early 2012.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, it would be wise to put your house on the market before prices fall again.

HUD OFFERS GRANTS TO FIGHT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding more than $28 million in grants to organizations in 33 states to help investigate allegations of housing discrimination and promote equal housing opportunities.

“Last year, HUD filed more Fair Housing Act charges than any year since 2002,” John Trasvina, HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “The Fair Housing Initiatives Program grantees play a vital role to enhance our civil rights law enforcement efforts.”

The grants will be available to use for investigating alleged housing discrimination and enforce the Fair Housing Act, as well as to educate the public and housing providers about their rights and obligations under fair housing laws.

Eighty-four housing organizations and non-profit agencies will receive funds. To view the list of agencies, visit http://www.hud.gov.

THIS TIME WE ARE SOUNDING THE ALARMS

One of the things I often hear from people I meet is that real estate and mortgage professionals should have seen the current housing crisis coming and done something to prevent it. We should have realized that easing lending practices would lead to millions of families buying a home they could never afford. We should have warned our neighbors not to use their homes as ATMs. We should have realized that the economy could never withstand such growth and was about to crash.

Maybe these people are correct. Looking back, perhaps we could have been better stewards of the home buying process. We are committed to not making that same mistake again. Now, if we see a possible challenge in the future, we will speak up. That is what caused the writing of this blog post.

WE MUST SOUND THE ALARMS!

ALARM: Homeownership Percentage Has Dropped Dramatically!!

MSNBC.com, in an article entitled Housing Bust Worst Since Great Depression reported:

“The analysis by the Census Bureau found the homeownership rate fell to 65.1 percent last year – analysts say the U.S. may never return to its mid-decade housing boom peak in which nearly 70 percent of occupied households were owned by their residents.”

ALARM: People Are Losing Hope in the American Dream

In the same article, Patrick Newport, economist with IHS Global Insight is quoted saying:

“The changes now taking place are mind-boggling: the housing market has completely crashed and attitudes toward housing are shifting from owning to renting. While 10 years ago owning a home was the American Dream, I’m not sure a lot of people still think that way.”

ALARM: The Safety and Well Being of the Family Being Sacrificed

If we look at Fannie Mae ‘ s quarterly National Home Survey, as far back as we can go, the top four reasons for buying a home are the same. The top four reasons people buy a home are:

It means having a good place to raise children and provide them with a good education

To have a physical structure where their family feels safe

It allows for more space for their family

It gives them control over what they do with their living space including renovations and updates.

Are children no longer important? Is safety less of a consideration today? Is the pride of homeownership soon to be forgotten? We must look at the long range consequences of being a renters ‘ society.

ALARM: Building Family Wealth Being Threatened

Let’s look at homeownership as an investment. The Federal Reserve does a survey every 3 years. In 1998 the average Homeowner’s net worth exceeded that of renters by 31 times. In 2001 it was 36 times and eventually in 2007 it was all the way up to 46 times that of renters. Now, homeownership isn’t about a guaranteed financial short-term return – the market goes up, down and back up again. We have to be prepared for the long-term and a key component to wealth is homeownership. Even in these toughest of times, the wealth of the homeowner is over 30 times that of renters.

At a time when we are discussing the gap in wealth between the top 1% and the other 99%, how does the less fortunate paying rent to pay off the mortgages of the more fortunate make any sense?

Bottom Line

Homeownership is important to the American family. If we lose this as a basic concept, what else do we lose? We didn’t realize the consequences when it was too easy to buy a house a few years ago and we are paying a price for that. We will pay an even larger price if we don’t realize the consequences of it being much too difficult for many to own a home today. SOUND THE ALARMS!

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