TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Oct 13; 5 Quick Tips for October; Redistributing Wealth to the Rich?; Foreclosures Drop, But More Trouble Ahead?; NAR: Gov’t Play Valuable Role in Homeownership; Zillow – Real Estate Discounts; Big Fixes or Small Tweaks?

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world…as in being able to remake ourselves.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

 

5 QUICK TIPS FOR OCTOBER

1. We Must Be Prepared For EVERY Appointment

We can’t miss one single opportunity. We must be able to close each appointment. Every agent should have 4 different and distinct ‘conversation’ manuals:

Listing Manual

Buyer Manual

Price Correction Manual

Negotiation of Offer Manual

Each manual should be filled with visuals, charts, graphs, and articles that help buyers and sellers make the correct decisions for themselves and their families. If you do not have all 4 manuals, start creating them immediately.

2. We Must Be Prepared For The Pre-Appointment Appointment

The appointments mentioned above are usually scheduled, thus giving us time to properly prepare. We must also be prepared when someone asks us about the market when we just ‘bump into them’ (ex. at the store, movies or sports event). If you have a smart phone, make sure you have loaded a few great visuals to show when you are faced with one of these impromptu meetings. If you don’t have a smart phone, keep a few pieces of paper with you showing the same information.

HINT: The smart phone is a much cooler way to do this.

3. Attend Conferences and Classes That Will Help Your Business

We hope to see you in Anaheim at NAR’s REALTORS Conference & Expo.

4. We Must Start Building The Foundation For a Great 2012

Happy New Year!! Many of the deals we put into contract from now until the end of the year will actually close in 2012. Almost every buyer we meet and listing we take in the next three months will close next year. You are now building your 2012 income. If you had a successful 2011, great!! Now you must work hard in order to reach your 2012 goals. If 2011 was a challenge, the good news is it’s over. Start building the foundation for a fabulous 2012.

5. We Must Manage Our Expectations Properly

Some of us are judging our daily success by whether or not we did a deal (listing, listing sold, buyer sale) that day. If we did not, we see our effort as futile. We must make sure that we instead quantify success based on whether we did the activities that success requires. As an example, if a person is losing weight, they can’t judge success by the pounds they lost that day. Instead, they have to judge their success in terms of whether they ate properly and exercised. If they eat wisely and exercise, the weight loss is guaranteed to come. If you do the activities that will create deals, the deals are guaranteed to come.

The appointments mentioned above are usually scheduled, thus giving us time to properly prepare. We must also be prepared when someone asks us about the market when we just ‘bump into them’ (ex. at the store, movies or sports event). If you have a smart phone, make sure you have loaded a few great visuals to show when you are faced with one of these impromptu meetings. If you don’t have a smart phone, keep a few pieces of paper with you showing the same information.

HINT: The smart phone is a much cooler way to do this.

 

 

REDISTRIBUTING WEALTH TO THE RICH?

Many people are placing the concept of homeownership under attack. There is more and more debate whether we should limit government assistance to homeowners. The administration just came out with their Reforming America’s Housing Finance Market: A Report to Congress. The report acknowledges the advantages of homeownership:

“…which has helped millions of middle class families build wealth and achieve the American Dream.”

The paper also talks about curtailing a century of government assistance for American homeownership (ex. the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac):

“But our plan also dramatically transforms the role of government in the housing market. In the past, the government’s financial and tax policies encouraged housing purchases and real estate investment over other sectors of our economy, and ultimately left taxpayers responsible for much of the risk incurred by a poorly supervised housing finance market.

Going forward, the government’s primary role should be limited to robust oversight and consumer protection, targeted assistance for low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters.”

At the same time it speaks of increasing its support for rental housing:

“The Administration believes that we must continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that Americans have access to an adequate range of affordable housing options. This does not mean all Americans should become homeowners – we should ensure that there are a range of affordable options for the 100 million Americans who rent, whether they do so by choice or necessity.”

In a press release announcing the administration’s points, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan is quoted:

“We must continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that Americans have access to quality housing they can afford. This involves rebalancing our housing priorities to support a range of affordable options, from promoting much-needed financing for quality, affordable rental homes to ensuring the availability of safe, and sustainable mortgage products for current and future homeowners.”

This is not just a matter of semantics. In his prepared testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said:

“Our goal is not for every American to become a homeowner.”

The administration is taking a strong stance against government’s role in supporting homeownership. This would be a major change in policy. Assistance for homeownership has been important to America for a century. Many young people were able to attend college because their parents were willing and able to refinance their home to pay the tuition. Many American business owners got their start-up capital by taking an equity loan on their house. Renters won’t be able to ask their landlords to help pay their child’s college tuition. Renters can’t expect landlords to finance the development of the new product they discovered.

If we start to create a land with greater numbers of renters, those able to still purchase property will get wealthier collecting the rents from those who can no longer attain the American Dream. The administration calls for more support for these developers:

“The Administration will explore ways to provide greater support for rental housing. One option would be to do so by expanding FHA’s capacity to support lending to the multifamily market.”

This will lead to the redistribution of wealth in this country with the owners of the rental units building family wealth with profits generated by this real estate.

Diana Olick in an article for CNBC Realty Check quotes Democrat Melvin Watt of North Carolina:

“…there’s not going to be any home ownership at the low income level…Rich people will have home ownership and rich people will make money on apartment rentals, but we’ll be a renter nation for low-income people.”

We have to make sure this is the America we want.

 

 

 

FORECLOSURE FILINGS DROP, BUT MORE TROUBLE AHEAD?

Foreclosure filings dropped 6 percent from August to September and marking a 38 percent decrease since September 2010, RealtyTrac reports in its latest report.

“While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up,” says James Saccacio, RealtyTrac chief executive.

Already, foreclosures have posted slight increases when looked at on a quarterly basis. Following three consecutive quarterly decreases, foreclosure filings reversed trend in the third quarter, inching up slightly by less than 1 percent, RealtyTrac reports.

“This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14 percent jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months spent trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures,” says Saccacio.

Meanwhile, the foreclosure process continues to be a lengthy one. Banks are taking an average of 366 days to from start to finish in the foreclosure process–that’s up from an average of 318 days during the second quarter, according to RealtyTrac.

Some states are posting even longer delays. For example, in New York, the foreclosure process took an average of 986 days–the longest in the country. In New Jersey, foreclosures dragged on average for 974 days. Foreclosures were moving faster in Texas: Texas had the fastest foreclosure process with an average of 86 days.

 

 

NAR: GOVERNMENT PLAYS VALUABLE ROLE IN HOMEOWNERSHIP

Owning a home has had long-standing government support in the U.S. because homeownership benefits individuals and families, strengthens communities, and is integral to the nation’s economy, the National Association of REALTORS® said in testimony today.

NAR President-Elect Moe Veissi outlined the association’s recommendations for housing finance reform before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.

“We must be better stewards of the U.S. housing finance system if it is to thrive and effectively serve American home buyers and mortgage investors into the future,” Veissi said. “Repairs to our current housing finance structure must be made, but we must be careful that changes to the system do not come at the expense of homeownership opportunities for middle- and lower income Americans.”

Toward that end, NAR supports H.R. 2413, the “Secondary Market Facility for Residential Mortgage Act of 2011,” introduced by Reps. Gary Miller, R-Calif., and Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.

“H.R. 2413 offers a comprehensive strategy for reforming the secondary mortgage market and gives the federal government a continued role to ensure a consistent flow of mortgage credit in all markets and all economic conditions,” said Veissi. “Moreover, it supports the use of long-term fixed-rate mortgage products.”

Veissi testified that full privatization of the secondary mortgage market would all but eliminate products like the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and that mortgage interest rates would be unnecessarily higher and unaffordable for many Americans, shutting otherwise qualified buyers out of the market.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the bedrock of the U.S housing finance system, and without government support, there’s no evidence that this type of mortgage would continue to exist,” said Veissi.

Private firms’ business strategies would focus on optimizing their profits, creating mortgage products that are more aligned with the goals of their business than in the best interests of the nation’s housing policy or consumers.”

Veissi said that while the size of the government’s participation in housing finance should decrease if private capital is to return to the market and function properly, the federal government must have a continued role in the secondary mortgage market to avoid losing long-term, fixed-rate mortgage products and keep borrowing costs affordable for consumers.

“Continuing government participation in the secondary mortgage market is critical to ensuring that qualified home buyers can obtain safe and sound mortgage financing products even during market downturns, when private entities have historically pulled back,” Veissi said.

Recent reductions to the conforming loan limits by the federal government are already having an impact on mortgage liquidity according to early data from an NAR survey, which found that consumers who are now above the new lower conventional conforming loan limit are experiencing significantly higher interest rates and the need for substantially larger down payments.

Veissi said that the housing and economic recoveries have been slow and that activities that force economic activity to be constricted further should be resisted.

“For hundreds of years, this country has understood the value of homeownership because it helps families build wealth, supports community stability and contributes to our economy. We need to make sure that future housing policies continue to reinforce our long-standing value of homeownership, for the future of our families and our country,” said Veissi.

 

 

NEW ZILLOW SERVICE ALLOWS AGENTS TO ADVERTISE REAL ESTATE DISCOUNTS, DEALS

Online real estate portal Zillow has launched a new service, Zillow Special Offers, that allows agents to promote incentives for working with them in a home-sale transaction.

The feature is part of Zillow’s Premier Agent Program, a paid advertising and lead-generation service that can provide greater visibility to agents and real estate listings at Zillow.com.

The special offers are posted by listing agents participating in Zillow’s Premier Agent Program and are seller-funded, according to an announcement at the Zillow Blog. “These seller-funded incentives give buyers a little something extra after closing, such as a $3,000 credit off closing costs or a gift card to go buy those new appliances or blinds … extras that make the listing stand out!” the blog post states.

Also this week, Zillow announced that it has integrated its Zillow Mortgage Marketplace functionality into its popular iPhone app, which, according to apps-ranking site TopAppCharts.com, continues to be the most popular real estate app in Apple’s App Store, and today ranked sixth in the store’s “Productivity” category.

Zillow in June had launched Mortgage Marketplace as a separate app, and TopAppCharts ranks that app No. 1 in a keyword search of “mortgage” apps for iPhone, ranking No. 19 in the App Store’s “Finance” category. The Mortgage Marketplace allows users to request loan quotes and use mortgage payment and affordability calculators.

“This integration gives Zillow iPhone app users easy access to research, shop for and compare mortgages without ever leaving the app they use to search for homes,” the company said in an announcement.

Zillow also reported that a significant part of the company’s traffic is related to its mobile apps. People “are viewing more than 2.5 million homes on Zillow every day from a mobile device,” the company reported.

 

 

SOLUTIONS FOR HOUSING: BIG FIXES OR SMALL TWEAKS?

The housing market doesn’t necessarily require a major overhaul for a recovery, a panel of experts said yesterday morning at the Mortgage Bankers 2011 Convention & Expo in Chicago. A handful of relatively minor tweaks should hasten a turnaround that is already underway in some respects.

“I take a great deal of solace in recent numbers,” said Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi. “The stability in nondistressed prices is encouraging and suggests an underlying stability in the overall housing market. If you can implement policies that reduce the share of distressed sales of the total market, housing should see a dramatic recovery quickly.”

There are three fundamental problems with the housing sector today, Zandi said:

1. Valuation: Housing values until recently were very high compared to incomes and respective rents, he explained. Housing prices are back to normal in relation to income, but still a bit high compared to rents.

2. Overbuilding: There’s been some debate about how much excess inventory actually exists. Zandi speculated that it could take a couple of years to work through that surplus, if there were no major changes in supply and demand.

3. Foreclosure: There are about 3.4 million first-mortgage loans in foreclosure right now, he said. “I do think we’re going to have more price declines, but I think the share [of distressed sales of the total market] will go down over the next year.”

These are significant problems, to be sure. But a mix of simple solutions should go a long way in alleviating those issues. First, government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should make it easier to do refinancing and principal reductions, said Jared Bernstein, a former economic policy adviser to vice president Joe Biden and a speaker on that panel.

Second, the attorneys’ general suit against banks that improperly handled mortgage documentation must reach a resolution, Zandi said. Once that’s complete, the number of distressed sales will go up in the short run as foreclosures and REOs that were held up by the suit hit the market, but will decline long term.

Finally, credit needs to get back to normal, pre-boom and -bust levels. The loans being made right now are of “outstanding quality,” said panelist Brian Chappelle, a partner with Potomac Partners in Washington, D.C. He added that the average credit score of an FHA borrower today is 705. However, there aren’t enough qualified borrowers to absorb the current supply of properties.

Proposals such as GSE reform and risk-rentention rules are still important for avoiding another extreme boom-and-bust cycle in the housing market, Zandi said, but they don’t really get at the challenges of today’s environment like those simple solutions.

“Our problems are not drastic,” he said. “We don’t need to do one big thing to fix all of this. We’ve gone a long way to right the wrongs in this industry. There’s just a few things we need to do around the edges. If you can implement policies that reduce the share of distressed sales of the total market, housing should see a dramatic recovery quickly.”

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