TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Nov 29; Does Your Client Want to Dump You? Housing Affordability Hovers Record Levels; Group Saves Pets from Housing Crisis; Recovery Taking Hold in New-Home Market; Home Sales Increase Across the Country

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs: was an American Inventor and Businessman




Sometimes a relationship between a home seller or buyer and a real estate agent can turn sour. One of the most common reasons? Poor communication, Jennifer A. Chiongbian, a broker with Rutenberg Realty in New York City, told

Unresponsive agents “plagues our industry,” says Chiongbian.

You may have a hunch that your client is starting to lose confidence in you. “Most agents know when the seller doesn’t like them or doesn’t want to deal with them any longer as their real estate agent,” Joe Adkins, owner of The Realty Factor in Altamonte Springs, Fla., told “So if the seller asked nicely and explained the reasons why they want to cancel the listing contract, most real estate agents would honor their request. I know I have in the past.”

If you’re going to cancel an agreement, be sure to do it in writing to avoid any misunderstandings later on if the house does end up selling, experts suggest.

But before you throw in the towel, realize that sometimes the relationship can still be salvaged.

“Good agents, companies and brokers will discuss solutions based on market data to resolve the client’s queries,” Jerry Grodesky, owner of Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate in Buckley, Ill., told Solutions may include everything from price reductions, open houses, or doing more marketing on the home.



Ultra-low interest rates mixed with stabilizing home prices continued to push housing affordability in the third quarter near its highest levels in more than two decades, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

For the third quarter, 72.9 percent of all homes sold were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,200, according to the index. This marks the 11th consecutive quarter that the affordability measure was above 70 percent; prior to this it rarely was above 60 percent.

“With interest rates at historically low levels and markets across the country beginning to improve, home ownership is within reach of more households than it has been for nearly two decades,” Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement. “However, tough economic conditions – particularly in markets that experienced major changes in house prices and production – as well as extremely tight credit conditions confronting home buyers and builders continue to remain significant obstacles to many potential home sales.”

The most affordable major housing market nationwide? Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., in which 92.5 percent of all homes sold were found to be affordable to households earning the median family income of $53,800 for the area. Other affordable major markets included Toledo, Ohio; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; and Ogden-Clearfield, Utah. For smaller housing markets, Fairbanks, Alaska, ranked the highest, in which 97.8 percent of homes sold during the third quarter were found to be affordable to families earning the median income of $91,700.

Meanwhile, the least affordable major housing market continues to be New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., in which 23.3 percent of all homes sold were affordable to those earning the area’s median income of $67,400.



A growing number of real estate professionals are finding pets left behind in vacant homes after families have moved on.

Pets are being increasingly left behind in homes for any number of reasons, not just in cases of foreclosure, agents say. For example, pets are sometimes found in homes when the home owner has passed away and the relatives didn’t want to deal with the pet, or home owners who believe that by leaving their pets in a home they’ll have saved the animal from being euthanized at a pound.

In any case, it’s real estate professionals who are increasingly finding the abandoned pets when touring homes.

A group of real estate professionals in Chicago, for example, is reaching out to real estate professionals to help them provide information or assistance for families with pets they no longer want. For example, agents may also be able to provide guidance to these families’ who face foreclosure on what to do with their pets.

Suzy Thomas, a real estate professional for Dream Town Realty in Chicago, found REALTORS® to the Rescue in 2005. Originally, the group helped find new homes for animals abandoned in homes, but the group has now refocused its efforts on raising funds for animal-protection groups.

“We began to wonder, how can we network to help the shelters?” Thomas told the Chicago Tribune. “Because they have the experts. Or maybe we could help them get volunteers for events. Lately, we did a food drive to provide food for people who can’t afford to feed their pets. We volunteered at a 36-hour animal-adoption event. … We focus now on helping the shelters and rescue groups.”

Another group – No Paws Left Behind – was formed by a mortgage broker in Houston. Since 2008, the group has rescued at least 1,000 animals nationwide.



Single-family housing starts rose 3.9 percent in October with permits, a gauge for future home building, also seeing a sizable jump, the U.S. Commerce Department reports. Housing permits on single-family homes rose 5.1 percent in October to 434,000 units – its highest level since December 2010.

“While we still have a long way to go toward a recovery, some signs of hope are emerging in certain markets where economic and job growth is occurring and where foreclosures have not been an overwhelming obstacle,” Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement.

Single-family housing starts rose to an annual rate of 430,000 units in October. However, after a very large “unsustainable” gain last month, multifamily starts saw an 8.3 percent decline in October.

Housing starts in October by region, as reported by the Commerce Department:

  • Northeast: +17.2%
  • Midwest: +9.7%
  • South: +1.6%
  • West: -16.5%

The future is looking brighter for home builders. Housing permits for both single-family homes and multifamily rose 10.9 percent in October. For single-family homes alone, permits rose 5.1 percent, and for multifamily permits they jumped 24.4 percent – its highest level since October of 2008.

“The three-month moving averages for both housing production and permitting activity have been gradually rising since this spring, which is consistent with our forecast for slow improvement in market conditions through the end of this year and a positive sign that a more solid recovery will begin to take hold in 2012,” NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement. “That said, the improvements we are seeing are still limited to scattered local markets where economies are improving, and obstacles such as tight credit conditions for builders and buyers, appraisal issues stemming from new homes being compared to distressed properties, and consumer concerns about job security are definitely slowing the progression of both a housing and economic recovery.”



The National Association of Realtors recently released their 2011 3rd Quarter Housing Report. In the report, they showed that combined sales of single family homes, condos and co-ops increased in EVERY state as compared to the 3rd quarter of last year. Here are the state-by-state numbers.


The next time someone says houses aren’t selling, ask them which state they live in and show them the chart.


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