Author: Coops Coffee - Zackry Cooper TEAM COOPER

As Team Leader, it’s my job to play to people’s strengths and in turn offer exceptional service to our borrowers, referral partners, and national builder accounts. My goal is to create a “Client For Life” by offering exceptional service and creating “Wow” moments with everyone I encounter. I believe there is no such thing as over communication and stress the importance of “under promising and over delivering.” Because of this, our team is 100% referral based. I am a passionate person and play at 100% in all areas of my life. Knowing the importance of balance between work and play, I practice living in the moment, spending time with real people, and I’m grateful for all the gifts I been given – most of all my wife Terri and son Brody. I work hard, play hard, and laugh often.

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Jan 18; People are Buying Homes and Getting Mortgages!; Fannie Extends Mortgage Relief to Unemployed; Creating Wealth Through Homeownership – The Proof; Optimism Builds in Housing Market; Housing News: 11 Trends

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.”

— Chinese Proverb

 

PEOPLE ARE BUUYING HOMES AND GETTING MORTGAGES!

Many believe that very few houses are selling and that almost no one can get a mortgage. We want to let everyone know that neither of these assumptions is true. Recently, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Homes Sales Report. According to the report there are, on average, 12,109 homes selling in the United States EACH and EVERY DAY! That means that approximately 12,000 houses sold yesterday, approximately 12,000 will sell today and approximately 12,000 will sell tomorrow. So the thinking that homes aren’t selling just isn’t true.

Another interesting fact in the report was that 72% of these transactions were accompanied by a mortgage. That means that approximately 8,719 people qualify for a mortgage on a daily basis in this country.

There are over 12,000 homes sold and over 8,000 mortgages granted every day. The real estate market is doing better than many believe.

 

FANNIE EXTENDS MORTGAGE RELIEF TO UNEMPLOYED

Fannie Mae says it will be providing more mortgage aid to the unemployed, possibly extending the forbearance period to up to a year to those who qualify.

Starting on March 1, Fannie Mae will require mortgage servicers to extend the forbearance relief to qualified unemployed borrowers for six months — without any approval needed from Fannie Mae. The government-sponsored enterprise also says special consideration will be made for some borrowers in suspending mortgage payments or reducing them for up to a 12-month period.

Fannie’s announcement follows on the heels of Freddie Mac’s announcement earlier this week about similar changes to its mortgage relief program for the unemployed. Freddie Mac announced it will begin offering a 12-month forbearance period to qualified unemployed borrowers starting on Feb. 1.

To qualify, mortgage servicers will determine if the “borrower has less than 12 months worth of mortgage payments in reserves and has monthly housing expenses above 31 percent of their incomes before extending a forbearance plan,” HousingWire reports.

During the third quarter of 2011, the GSEs issued more than 7,000 forbearance plans, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

 

CREATING WEALTH THROUGH HOMEOWNERSHIP – THE PROOF

Several real estate economists have shown that the average homeowner accumulates more overall wealth than the average renter.[i] However, it is not clear how this is done. Is it that owned property usually appreciates at such a rate that, after considering leverage, returns to ownership are extraordinarily high? Said another way, might homeowners accumulate more overall wealth because ownership is a great levered equity creator through property appreciation? Or, is it that owners acquire greater wealth, on average, because they are systematically paying down a mortgage thereby creating equity thanks to loan amortization? In other words, paying off property creates wealth.

In ongoing research being conducted by Beracha and Johnson,[ii] these and other questions concerning homeownership and the accumulation of wealth are being investigated. In earlier research, Beracha and Johnson show that renting is the superior investment strategy; however, in this earlier strict horserace between buying and renting, a very bold assumption is made. Specifically, it is assumed that any rent savings (from lower rent versus mortgage payments) are reinvested without fail. Thereby, after balancing all of the costs and benefits from ownership and comparing them to renters’ portfolios from reinvesting rent savings, renting wins.

The question, however, very quickly becomes that, in a setting where Americans generally save less than 5% of their disposable income, is this assumption realistic and how might the removal of this reinvestment decision alter the outcome of the horserace between buying and renting? As part of their current research, this question is directly addressed. In particular, Beracha and Johnson find that after allowing renters to spend any rent savings on consumption (beer, cookies, healthcare, education, etc.), ownership leads to greater wealth accumulation, on average. The graph below highlights this finding.

The graph looks at the ratio of renters’ portfolio values to owners’ proceeds from sale for the entire U.S. between 1978 and 2010 both with strict reinvestment of rent savings and without reinvestment of rent savings.[iii] Clearly, numbers greater than 1 indicate that renting leads to greater wealth accumulations, while numbers less than 1 indicate that homeownership creates greater wealth, on average.

When renters are forced to reinvest (top line in the graph), the results confirm the earlier findings of Beracha and Johnson (2012). That is, in a strict horserace between buying and renting, renting wins in the vast majority of cases. However, when renters are allowed to spend rent savings on consumption (i.e. economically act like the typical American consumer), homeownership wins in virtually all instances. Notice that in the bottom line of the graph (no reinvestment), the renters’ portfolio values divided by owners’ sale proceeds is great than 1 for only four of the 32 years of the study. Thus, when renters are allowed to spend rent savings, homeownership is the clear winner in the wealth accumulation horserace.

Finally, in the same current research, Beracha and Johnson find that allowing for property appreciation rates to increase as much as 20% over their actual historic values results in virtually no change in the outcomes concerning wealth accumulation. That is, property appreciation contributes only marginally to wealth accumulation.

Implications

Without proof many have speculated about this outcome for years. However, there is now actual quantifiable evidence that homeownership is not the great levered equity creator that it has so often been touted to be. Instead, it appears that homeownership creates extra wealth mainly through its ability to force owners to save rather than through property appreciation. Thus, homeownership appears to be a self-imposed savings plan, which through time leads to greater wealth accumulation as compared to comparable renters. In short, buying a home makes Americans save.

Who says that Americans are horrible savers? Apparently, we are not. We have simply been saving through our homes rather than putting our savings in the bank.

________________________________________

Endnotes

[i] Homeownership is the most viable path to wealth creation for the majority of Americans. See Engelhardt (1994), Haurin, Hendershott and Wachter (1996), and Rohe, Van Zandt and McCarhty (2002), among others.

[ii] Eli Beracha and Ken H. Johnson, 2012, Beer and Cookies Impact on Homeowners’ Wealth Accumulation, ongoing research.

[iii] The research assumes 8-year holding periods. When the holding period is allowed to vary between four and twelve years, the results change only marginally. Thus, holding period has very little to do with the results.

 

OPTIMISM BUILDS IN HOUSING MARKET

Several recent indicators for the real estate industry are pointing to a market that is on the mend and entering recovery mode.

Housing experts’ predictions for the new year tend to center around a market stabilizing before entering a gradual, albeit very slow, recovery. However, the tone is more upbeat than it has been in years for the housing market.

Here are a few of the signs that are showing the market moving in a more positive direction:

Home sales: Existing home sales are expected to increase 12 percent this year, following a 2 percent jump last year, Moody’s Analytics predicts. The signs are already showing: In November, pending home sales — a gauge for future home buying — reached its highest level in 19 months, the National Association of REALTORS® reported.

New-home market: Coming off of what could be considered the worst year for new-home building ever recorded, the sector is expected to bounce back this year. New-home sales and starts were already showing a rebound in the last few months of 2011. Moody’s is predicting that single-family housing starts will increase 37 percent this year, and new-home sales will soar 74 percent.

Housing stocks: Investors are starting to get optimistic about the possibility of a rebound too, and are turning to home builder stocks. These equities have recently outperformed the broader stock market and the S&P 1500 homebuilding index has increased 38 percent since mid-October, USA Today reports.

Consumer confidence: With mortgage rates at record lows and housing affordability high, about 71 percent of Americans say now is a good time to purchase a home. Also, more Americans are optimistic that home prices will rise over the next year — about 26 percent say prices will rise in 2012, an increase of 4 percent over the last survey, according to Fannie Mae’s December National Housing Survey

 

HOUSING NEWS: 11 TRENDS FROM 2011

The National Association of Realtors surveys homebuyers and sellers each year to uncover housing trends and monitor changes taking place in the industry. This year’s report highlights a number of trends that haven’t been seen in years. Here are just 11 highlights from the 2011 report.

1. In 2011, 37% of homebuyers were first-time buyers – which was down from 50% in 2010.

2. Last ye ar, 88% of homebuyers used the Internet to search for a home. That number was down slightly from a high of 90% in 2009.

3. The typical homebuyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 12 homes.

4. The number of buyers who purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker climbed to 89% – a share that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

5. Nearly 1 out of 4 buyers said the application and approval process was “somewhat more difficult” than expectedand 16% reported it was “much more difficult” than expected.

6. About half of home sellers traded up to a larger and more expensive homeand 60% traded up to a new home.

7. The top 3 factors influencing neighborhood choice were: the quality of the neighborhood, the convenience to job, and the overall affordability of homes.

8. The typical seller lived in their home for 9 years. That n umber has increased from 6 years in 2007.

9. Although 61% of sellers said they reduced their asking price at least once, the average home sold for 95% of the listing price.

10. Only 10% of sellers sold their homes without the assistance of a real estate agent. Of those people, 40% knew the buyer prior to the sale.

11. The typical “for sale by owner” home sold for $150,000 compared to $215,000 for the average agent-assisted home sale.

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Jan 10; When the Prophet Says Buy – BUY!; Making It Happen, Part 2; Fed Officials Call for More Housing Fixes; 4 Ways to Enhance Your Web Site; 5 Tips to Enhance Your Listing Photos; Continuing Education Courses Help

“If you turn it over to the universe you will be surprised and dazzled by what is delivered to you. This is where magic and miracles happen.”

— Dr. Joe Vitale: Motivational author and speaker

 

WHEN THE PROPHET SAYS BUY – BUY!

John R. Talbott, previously a Goldman Sachs investment banker, is a bestselling author and economic consultant. When it comes to the housing market he is also a prophet. When housing prices started to skyrocket in 2003, he published The Coming Crash in the Housing Market correctly warning us that a real estate bubble was forming. Then in January 2006, he called the absolute peak of home prices in the US by releasing a new book, Sell Now! The End of the Housing Bubble.

Mr. Talbott, the person who accurately predicted the housing bubble and its bust, now has a new prediction – IT IS THE TIME TO BUY A HOME! In a recent article, Homes – Buy Now!, Talbott simply explains:

“I have been waiting for more than five years to offer this advice. It is now time in most cities across the country to buy a new home or refinance your existing home with thirty-year fixed rate mortgage debt.”

He goes on to explain that his conclusion is based on four different metrics, all of which favor buying today:

  • Home Prices Relative to Peak Prices During the Bubble
  • Home Prices Relative to Construction Costs or Replacement Costs
  • Home Prices Relative to Incomes and Rents
  • Home Prices in Real Terms, Not US Dollar Terms

Bottom Line

If the person who called the real estate bubble and its bust says now is the time to buy, we believe it is time to buy.

 

MAKING IT HAPPEN, PART 2

In last week’s View article, we focused on 5 steps to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions. Those steps included: setting realistic goals, making a simple plan for each goal, announcing your goals, tracking and celebrating your progress, and avoiding the urge to give up if you have a setback.

Luckily, you’re not on your own to work through those steps. That’s because there are a number of social media websites and smart phone applications designed to help you.

Obviously, popular apps like Facebook and Twitter can help you announce your goals, hold yourself accountable, and receive supportive feedback from friends and family members. But there are a number of additional resources that you may not know about.

Here are just 5 social media sites and apps that can help you set your New Year’s resolutions…and stay on track!

1. Tweet Reminders. Twitter is great for connecting with people and sharing news instantaneously. But did you know it’s also a great way to remind yourself about tasks? Need a reminder to go to the gym… or to call those past clients? No problem. Visit the Tweet Reminders site, and then enter your Twitter username and up to 5 tasks or reminders. You can even pick a date and time. Then, Tweet Reminders will send you a direct message on Twitter to remind you about them. It’s both an easy and helpful thing to do.

2. Moteevate. Regardless of whether your goal is big or small, this site has the inspiration, energy, and advice you need to reach it. With moteevate, you get support from people you already know as well as advice from experts in the field – all while being surrounded by people looking to achieve similar goals. You can even moteevate in teams and act as moteevators for each other. The site also includes cool trackers to record your progress and milestones. Plus, you can customize the privacy settings to keep your goals to yourself or share them with others. And best of all, the basic platform is free to use with the caveat that you pay whatever you want after you achieve your goal. In fact, this honor system is the only thing old-fashioned about moteevate.

3. Toodledo. This is a businessperson’s dream app. You’ve no doubt seen a To-Do list before…but this app kicks it up a notch! Not only does it help you easily organize your tasks and set alarms, but it also allows you to collaborate with other people and establish sub-tasks to work towards your goal in small steps! Plus, Toodledo can be used on your mobile phone, in your email, on your calendar, and even integrated directly into your web browser. So you can stay on track from anywhere…and at any time.

4. StickK. The basic principle of this app is that “incentives get people to do things.” So if you really want to achieve a goal – whether it’s personal or professional – it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Basically, stickK allows you to create a Commitment Contract focused on achieving a specific goal. As part of the process, you set your goal and timelines, stakes, referee who will monitor your progress, and supporters who will cheer you on. If you achieve your goal in your timeframe, you don’t lose the stakes you wagered. But – the best part is – even if you don’t achieve your goal, the money you wagered goes to a worthy cause or charity that you designate. So it truly is a win-win situation!

5. GymPact. This is similar to stickK in that you put money on the line…but it’s different in that you can also earn some money. You start by making a commitment that you will go to the gym a certain number of times per week (don’t worry, you can change your pact any week). You also set the monetary stakes that you’ll pay if you don’t meet your commitment. Then, you simply use the GymPact iPhone app to check in when you go to the gym. When you meet your weekly goal, you’ll be rewarded with real cash, funded by the people who didn’t work out! The more days you commit, the more cash you earn. The only downside is that you need an iPhone (or an iPod Touch and a gym with Wi-Fi) to participate, since apps for other systems aren’t available.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media websites and apps designed to help you set and achieve your goals. Best wishes to you in the coming weeks and months.

And, if your New Year resolutions involve any financial or housing matters that I can help with, please call or email today. I’ll be happy to help out in any way that I can.

 

FED OFFICIALS CALL FOR MORE HOUSING FIXES

New programs and “housing policy interventions” are needed to help the real estate market rebound and boost growth in the overall economy, three Federal Reserve policymakers said Friday.

The latest statements join a range of calls by the Federal Reserve in the last week urging for more government intervention to help the housing market. Last week, the Fed released a 26-page white paper providing an outline on how the government needs to take more aggressive action to prevent home values from falling further, seek solutions to the foreclosure crisis, and loosen stringent underwriting standards that are keeping borrowers from securing mortgages or refinancing.

New York Fed President William Dudley said on Friday that the housing market is “only one factor behind the frustratingly slow” economic recovery, but it’s an “important one that deserves our attention.”

Dudley said that it’s important for monetary policy to complement actions taken by lawmakers in order to help stabilize home prices and bring about a recovery to the housing sector within the next year or two. He said programs are needed that are aimed at preventing additional foreclosures, easing burdens for home owners in refinancing mortgages, and getting more renters into REO properties.

“Forceful and effective housing policies have the potential to significantly influence the speed and strength of our recovery,” Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke said in separate comments made last week at an event in Virginia.

The Fed will hold its next policy-setting meeting Jan. 24-25.

 

4 WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR WEB SITE

A good Web site can do some of the work for you to bring in new clients. Tricia Andreassen, CEO and founder of Pro Step Marketing, recently highlighted ideas in an article at RISMedia about how to enhance your real estate Web site to make sure it’s serving as a lead generator for your business. Among her ideas:

1. Have a strong MLS tool on your Web site’s front page. “Having an interactive search tool where the visitor can choose a specific town, price range, and even property type can be a powerful way to compel them to want to click-through and access listings,” Andreassen writes. “Having an IDX-integrated search on the home page eliminates the need for buyers or sellers to click-through three or four levels just to view homes.”

2. Make sure your visitors can contact you. Ensure you are the point of contact through easy-to-find buttons throughout your Web site, even when your Web visitors are searching the MLS from your site. Make it so they can easily click a button to access more information, schedule a showing, or share the listing with a friend or family member.

3. Include social media features. Have icons to your Facebook wall or your Twitter account, and allow your Web visitors to easily share any information on your Web site via social media.

4. Set up e-mail campaigns. Allow your Web visitors to sign up to receive more targeted information from you. “For example, let’s say you come across a great foreclosure deal and you want to let your foreclosure buyer pipeline know about it,” Andreassen says. “Have the tools so that you can e-mail the entire group within moments to let them know about the new listing.”

 

5 TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR LISTING PHOTOS

High-quality images are an important ally in attracting buyers to your listing and selling a home, real estate pros say.

David Rezendes, who won the 2011 “Top Real Estate Photographer” honor by the Photography for Real Estate organization, offers up some of his secret tips to AOL Real Estate on taking better property photos:

Don’t always shoot wide. A wide shot can capture an entire room and show off its roominess, but sometimes focusing in on a vignette or architectural detail will better “convey the feeling of a house and give a stronger effect,” Rezendes told AOL Real Estate.

Remove clutter. Sure, you’re going to remember to fluff the pillows and ensure stacks of papers are out of the frame. But don’t forget to hide exposed power cords or personal items. “Keep your photos neat but not sterile,” Rezendes says.

Beware of vertical photos. “Shooting at a downward or upward angle can skew the vertical lines of the photo, making them no longer parallel,” Rezendes told AOL Real Estate. You can tweak this using photo editing software, but beware of it when you’re shooting if you don’t want to correct later.

Stay out of the frame. When taking a photo near mirrors or windows, watch the reflection so you or your equipment don’t wind up in the picture.

Don’t shoot into the sun. When photographing a home’s exterior, avoid taking the photo in the direct, midday sun. Instead, a better time to capture the exterior is in the morning or early evening, capturing the best natural light backdrop for the home.

 

CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSES HELP YOU STAY ON TRACK

To provide its members with the tools and expertise to build their business and better serve clients, the National Association of REALTORS® and The CE Shop, Inc., have entered into a partnership to provide continuing education for REALTORS® taking online designation and certification courses at REALTOR® University’s School of Professional Development & Continuing Education.

Continuing education is now available in 20 states across the country for several courses including some of NAR’s most popular certifications and designations, which include ABR®, GREEN, SRES®, AHWD, BPOR, e-PRO®, SFR, and RPR™. These programs help REALTORS® serve the unique needs of their clientele, including first-time home buyers, seniors, consumers interested in green building practices, and buyers and sellers involved in foreclosures and short sales. The CE Shop and NAR are currently in the process of securing continuing education for additional states in the U.S.

“REALTORS® bring value to their clients, and continuing education is just one example of how they do that,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “These courses encourage REALTORS® to strengthen their skills while offering them a chance to stay up-to-date with their designations, certifications and state-mandated continuing education hours. Meanwhile, home buyers and sellers can rest assured they are working with a professional who has exceptional real estate knowledge and experience.”

As an added member benefit, the courses being offered are approved for continuing education credit at no additional cost. The REALTORS® University School of Professional Development & Continuing Education offers over 400 hours of online education and professional development courses through Learning Library Inc.and is the exclusive provider of courses leading to NAR’s official designations and certifications.

REALTORS® University also has received approval to operate from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and has submitted an application for degree-granting authority to the Board. REALTORS® University will be applying for candidacy for accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The CE Shop is the nation’s leading provider of online real estate continuing education. The CE Shop proudly offers courses certified by the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO®) and approved by real estate regulatory agencies across the United States.

Learning Library Inc. is the leading North American provider of integrated education e-store, automation and management systems primarily supporting compliance education with a core focus on servicing the real estate industry and the NAR family for 10 years.

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Jan 4; Convert Leads into Contracts!; 5 Quick Tips for January 2012; 5 Real Estate Trends to Look for in 2012; Buyers vs. Seller on Home Prices; Making It Happen! 5 Simple Steps for Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions

“When you are in the zone, your intuition comes to the forefront, … Your intuition will guide you. It is your best friend. It has information your mind does not have. When you are a zone performer — no matter what it is you do — you are operating on intuition and you have an unfair advantage over the competition.”

— Jim Fannin: Nightingale-Conant author

 

5 QUICK TIPS FOR JANUARY 2012

1. Attack the Expired Listings

There will probably be more listings expiring this December 31st than any other single day in real estate history. We should not let this tremendous opportunity pass us by. These sellers may not have had an agent that was strong enough to price their home correctly. Prospect these sellers and explain what it will take to sell their home in this market and let them decide what is best for their families.

2. Prepare a Powerful Pricing Conversation

Whether working expired listings, FSBOs, new listings or your current listing inventory, it is crucial to have a well prepared conversation concerning pricing. Building a large inventory of salable listings in January will guarantee your success throughout the year – BUT THEY MUST BE SALABLE. Pricing will be the most crucial component of salability throughout the first quarter of 2012. For more on this subject you can read: House Prices: Where They Will Be in the Spring.

3. Be Seen As a Trusted Advisor

In the current economic climate, many consumers are losing confidence in both corporations and the individuals who represent those corporations. We must make sure that we know how to build trust with both our buyers and sellers. Once people realize that we are knowledgeable and truly care, they will more readily trust us and the information we share with them. To help with this you can listen to a recorded version of a webinar we recently did on this subject: How to Build Trust in Times of Doubt.

4. When Speaking With Buyers, Talk Affordability

The combination of falling prices and record low interest rates has made owning a home more affordable than almost any other time in history. Know what the affordability indices (ex. Price-to-Income, Mortgage Payment-to-Income) mean and be able to explain them simply and effectively. Dr. Ken Johnson of FIU has done great research on this issue. To download a copy of a PowerPoint presentation Dr. Johnson recently did on the subject, click here.

5. Become a Go-To-Agent

We must realize that it is not just the number of people we talk to but the depth of conversations we are capable of having with them. We need to position ourselves as the source of great information regarding the real estate market. We must develop and be able to communicate compelling messages for both buyers and sellers. For additional information, you can listen to a recorded version of a webinar we recently offered: How to Position Yourself as the Go-To-Agent.

 

5 REAL ESTATE TRENDS TO LOOK FOR IN 2012

Predicting trends during the most volatile housing market in American real estate history is no easy task. We strongly believe these are the five real estate items we should keep an eye on in 2012:

1. Buyers Will Return

In 2011, a lack of consumer confidence in the overall economy dramatically impacted the housing market. Buyers were afraid to make a purchasing decision on any big ticket item. By the end of 2011, consumer confidence began to return and sales increased. Economic conditions will continue to improve throughout 2012 and consumer sentiment will solidify. Once that happens, home buyers will realize that now is the time to buy.

2. Foreclosures Will Increase

The ‘shadow inventory’ of foreclosures which has been growing since the robo-signing challenges of late 2010 will finally be introduced to the market. Distressed properties sell at discounted prices. They will impact the housing values of the non-distressed homes in the area.

3. Prices Will Soften

As more and more foreclosures come to market, there will be greater downward pressure on the values of houses in the region. Foreclosures impact values of non-distressed properties in two ways:

• They will eat up some of the buyer demand in the market.

• They will impact the appraisal on ALL transactions in the area.

An increase in foreclosures will have a negative impact on values. This will cause more homes to be underwater.

4. Short Sales Will Increase

As mentioned above, we strongly believe that home prices will soften through at least the first half of 2012. Falling prices will force more homeowners into a position of negative equity. Negative equity is one of the triggers that cause people to strategically default on their mortgage obligations. If this happens, there could be an increase in the number of foreclosures. However, we predict that banks will take preventative measures which will help many of these homes avoid foreclosure by easing the requirements in the short sale process for both homeowners and real estate professionals.

5. Great Agents Will Be VERY Successful

Real Estate professionals who have invested the money, time and energy to truly understand what is happening and why it is happening will separate themselves from their competition and do very well this year.

Those who take that next step of learning how to simply and effectively communicate the market to their clients will be seen as industry leaders. These experts will dominate their markets.

 

BUYERS VS. SELLER ON HOME PRICES

Housing analysts are expecting home prices to stabilize in 2012, but that doesn’t mean that buyers and sellers won’t continue to be at odds over home prices in the new year.

While buyers are feeling good about the housing market and saying its a great time to buy, seller sentiment is falling to record low, a new report by the Mortgage Bankers Association shows. Sellers say they are unhappy because they’re unable to snag the prices for the home that they want.

According to the MBA report, a large gap is occurring between home buying and home selling that isn’t expected to narrow for at least the next five quarters.

From 1992 to 2005, seller sentiment remained high — between 40 percent and 60 percent, according to the report. However, since 2005, seller sentiment has decreased to 7.6 percent. Meanwhile, home buyer sentiment has remained high despite unemployment and economic conditions. Nearly 80 percent of American households say now is a good time to purchase a home.

As home values have dropped over the last few years, many sellers are refusing to budge on their prices to reflect current market traditions. One reason why: Some sellers are underwater on their homes. About 20 percent of home owners nationwide are considered “underwater,” owing more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth. Also, some sellers are realizing there may be a benefit in waiting to sell or to keep the home on the market holding out for a higher price, notes the author of the report, Gary Engelhardt, a Syracuse economics professor. “This could hold prices high enough to drive a substantial wedge between the existing buyer and seller. And a poor jobs market with limited mobility, a key driver of housing-market transactions, may exacerbate this,” an article at HousingWire notes about the report.

 

MAKING IT HAPPEN! 5 SIMPLE STEPS FOR ACHIEVING YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Each new year is full of promise and potential. Perhaps that’s why so many of us choose this time of year to make positive changes in our lives.

And, believe it or not, achieving your goals can be easier than you think. The following 5 steps can help you get started and follow through!

1. Set realistic goals. The first step to your successful New Year’s resolutions is to set realistic goals for the coming weeks and months. You can start by focusing on the things you’re passionate about or the things you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe it’s a worthy cause you want to become involved in…or maybe you want to kick a habit that’s bothered you for years. If it’s something that you’re passionate about, you’ll have a better chance of being successful. Once you have the topic, make sure you write down a specific, attainable goal. It’s not enough to just think about doing something. Come up with a specific statement you want to achieve. For example, the most common resolution is to lose weight. But that’s not specific enough. Write down exactly how much weight you want to lose and by when. But make it realistic…and healthy at the same time.

2. Make a simple plan to achieve each goal. Once you have your goals written down, take the resolution a step further by figuring out how you’ll achieve it. That means breaking the goal down into simple steps that you can achieve over time. And, often, it means multiple little steps. So, for the weight loss resolution, you may write down a number of simple, daily or weekly steps – such as exercise 20 minutes three times a week, eat vegetables and fruit with each meal, switch to diet cola or better yet water during the day, and lose a certain number of pounds per month. Remember to consult a physician before starting any weight loss or exercise routine to make sure you’re approaching it in a healthy manner.

3. Announce your goals. One of the best ways to make sure you stick to your goals is to make them known to your friends, coworkers, and family members. The reality is, once you’ve told people you’ll do something, you’ll feel more accountability than if you just keep it to yourself. You’ll also have a cheering section to help you stay focused and positive as you work to achieve your goals. But don’t just share your goals; share the specific steps that you’re going to take each day or week to achieve those goals. If you use any social media websites to connect with friends and family, make your goals and steps part of your daily/weekly updates…it’s a great way to get the word out and hear feedback from people who want to help you stay on track.

4. Track and celebrate your progress. Small steps aren’t just about making your way to a goal; they’re also about building momentum, a positive attitude, and celebrating successes along the way. There are a number of ways to track and celebrate your success. For example, if your goal is to work out 20 minutes a day three times a week, you can use a marker and a calendar. Each day you work out, simply color that day in green (or another positive color that you like). As the month unfolds, you’ll see more and more green covering the calendar, which will help you see just how much work you’ve done and keep you motivated to keep going. In addition, you can also use social media to track and celebrate your success. Maybe you tweet or update your Facebook status every time you exercise. Or maybe you announce when you’ve lost a few pounds. The point is, you’ve already announced your goals to friends and family as a way to hold yourself accountable, now it’s time to celebrate with those same people every time you achieve a step along the way.

5. Don’t get discouraged. You’re bound to have good weeks and bad weeks. Just because you fall off track once or twice doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, acknowledge that you had a bad day or week, figure out what happened to throw you off track (maybe it was a busy or stressful week), and then make a plan to overcome the problem if it happens again. For example, if you had a tough week at work that required you to work late and miss the trip to the gym, make a plan to be proactive the next time work gets busy. Perhaps you make a plan to walk during your lunch break or wake up early to do jumping jacks and push-ups before heading into the office. But…whatever you do…don’t give up on your goals or yourself. Review your plan and recommit yourself to those simple steps. You can even use social media to acknowledge a mistake and commit to overcoming that problem in the future. That way, you’ll have a new sense of accountability and support from your friends and family.

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 29; NYE Plans; Gov’t Reviews Foreclosure-Rental Program; Best Post of 2011: Short Sales; 7 Cities Where List Prices are Falling The Most; Take Advantage of The Winter Market

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”

— Earl Nightingale: was an American motivational speaker and author

 

 

NEED PLANS FOR NEW YEARS EVE?

Looking for something to do during New Years Eve? Click Here for New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Events. Enjoy!

 

GOV’T REVIEWS PROPOSALS FOR FORECLOSURE-RENTAL PROGRAM

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) received more than 400 proposals on how it should handle the high number of foreclosures that are plaguing many markets across the country. The proposals suggest various ideas on how the FHFA can go about turning thousands of repossessed homes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own into rentals, in trying to curb losses, stabilize neighborhoods, and prevent further drops to housing values.

Fannie and Freddie service more than half of all U.S. home mortgages so any foreclosure-to-rental program could have a significant impact on the housing market, real estate experts say. The FHFA received more than 4,000 submissions during its call for proposals — however, only about 10 percent were deemed valid, the agency said.

“FHFA is proceeding prudently but with a sense of urgency to lay the groundwork for the development of good initial transactions in early 2012,” Corinne Russell, an FHFA spokeswoman, told Bloomberg. FHFA has declined to discuss specific submissions or a timeline for the program.

But proposals for the foreclosure-rental program reportedly documented joint-venture partnerships, sales, and auctions.

As of Sept. 30, Fannie Mae has 122,616 foreclosures with a carrying value of $11 billion — costing Fannie $733 million to maintain in the third quarter alone, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Meanwhile, Freddie Mac owns 59,6161 foreclosures, costing it $221 million to operate and manage in the third quarter.

 

BEST POST OF 2011: SHORT SALES

Short Sale Vs. Foreclosure: A Short Sale Always Wins

Today’s ever changing real estate industry has brought upon some very challenging questions from our clients. We as counselors, want to put forth the best, non-emotional advice that we can, in hopes that we can help our clients and their families navigate the rough waters of the short sale process.

The most prevalent question and one that continues to permeate the industry is:

“Why should a seller go through the short sale process rather than letting their house be foreclosed upon?”

While we cannot speak to every client circumstance, we can say one thing with complete conviction. In almost all instances in which a potential seller is contemplating whether they should short sell their house or let it go through the foreclosure process, a short sale is the better option. The following are examples to consider:

Example A- Short Sale

Mr. Smith owns a home in which he has a mortgage balance of $220,000 and a current market value of $150,000. Mr. Smith has elected to short sell his property. His Realtor successfully obtains a buyer who puts forth an offer price of $120,000 (80% current market value according to Realty Trac Foreclosure Report 5/26/2011). After reviewing the buyers offer and the financial hardship information from Mr. Smith, Mr Smith’s bank agrees to accept the short payoff of $120,000 which would leave a deficiency balance of $100,000.

The transaction closes and is final. Mr. Smith then pulls his credit report 30 days after the transaction takes place. On the report he notices that the mortgage trade line states “Mortgage debt was settled for less than full” and the balance on the mortgage is $0. Mr. Smith is now on the road to financial recovery.

Example B- Foreclosure

For the ease of illustration we will use the same value and mortgage debt amounts as in Example A. However, Mr. Smith has elected to forgo the short sale process and let the bank foreclose on the property. The bank holding his mortgage facilitates the proper legal procedures to foreclose on the property, all of which are costly. Mr. Smith is notified and his property foreclosed upon of which is taken back by the bank to sell as an REO.

Six months later, the bank finally sells Mr. Smith’s home only they sell it for $90,000 (60% of current market value according to Realty Trac Foreclosure report dated 5/26/2011). Remember, as a short sale, the home would have sold for $120,000 keeping the deficiency to $100,000. In addition to the deficiency now being $130,000, the bank has elected to add on legal costs of $15,000 and asset preservation costs of another $5000 for a total deficiency liability of $150,000. Mr. Smith pulls his credit report 30 days after being notified that the bank has sold his property and of his liability.

On the report he notices that the mortgage trade line states “Foreclosure” and the balance is $150,000. Because of Mr Smith’s choice to choose foreclosure vs. short sale his road to financial recovery has taken a major detour. He not only has a foreclosure on his credit report but now has a much larger deficiency balance in which the bank, in most cases, will report on his credit report as a balance owed.

The Best Option is Clear

While the financial and credit advantages are clear when choosing a short sale over a foreclosure, other advantages are sometimes overlooked. The most important of all of them is maintaining the seller’s dignity and peace of mind. We have heard too many stories of families having to leave their homes because of a Sheriff’s order or some other type of legal action. The short sale process alleviates this negative social impact. The process puts the control back in the seller’s hands so that they can get back on the road to financial recovery and start providing for their families. In the battle of the two evils, a short sale always wins!!!

 

7 CITIES WHERE LIST PRICES ARE FALLING THE MOST

Nationally, median list prices have mostly been flat since June, but some markets are still seeing some decreases in home prices, according to the latest data from Realtor.com of 146 metro markets.

The following are the cities where list prices have fallen the most from October to November:

1. Detroit

• Month-over-month decrease: -4.61%

• Year-over-year decrease: -12.47%

• Median list price: $84,900

2. Monmouth-Ocean, N.J.

• Month-over-month decrease: -4.32%

• Year-over-year decrease: -3.05%

• Median list price: $300,444

3. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.

• Month-over-month decrease: -3.52%

• Year-over-year decrease: -1.95%

• Median list price: $539,250

4. Pueblo, Colo.

• Month-over-month decrease: -3.45%

• Year-over-year increase: 0.29%

• Median list price: $139,900

5. Tulsa, Okla.

• Month-over-month decrease: -3.38%

• Year-over-year decrease: -5.34%

• Median list price: $140,000

6. Peoria-Pekin, Ill.

• Month-over-month decrease: -3.18%

• Year-over-year increase: 3.71%

• Median list price: $139,900

7. Charleston, W. Va.

• Month-over-month decrease: -3.09%

• Year-over-year increase: 6.67%

• Median list price: $159,900

 

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WINTER MARKET

“There’s a misunderstanding that winter is quiet,” Andrea Webb, an agent with Keller Williams in Montclair, N.J., told The Star-Ledger (New Jersey) in a recent article.

Real estate pros report that the weeks between now and the Super Bowl can be some of the most hectic in getting a head-start on what’s traditionally considered the busy spring buying season.

“Most good associates use the months of November and December as an opportunity to get organized for the coming spring market, which can arrive as early as January,” Gary Large, president of the New Jersey Association of REALTORS®, told The Star-Ledger.

More real estate pros reportedly recommend to their sellers to host open houses during the cooler months because they’ll face less competition. Also, they say, more serious buyers often come out during the winter months, such as corporate clients who are needing to relocate within the first quarter of the year.

“We try to encourage the sellers to pretty much get their house on the market early in January to beat the rush, because most people tend to wait until the spring,” Marilyn Bailey with Prudential New Jersey Properties in Morristown, N.J., told The Star-Ledger. “It’s a nice time of year to shop — not as many buyers are out there, so you’re not competing with other offers as much.”

Real estate pros are also using the winter months to focus on networking (such as through holiday parties that can create plenty of opportunities for meeting new clients or gaining referrals) and taking continuing-education classes to ramp up their skill sets before the spring buying season hits, agents report.

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 28; 5 Quick Tips for Jan 2012; 90-Day Seasoning Waiver Expanded; FHA Loan Limits are Back Up!; Best Post for 2011: For Buyers; Home Owners try Delay Tactics to Stall Foreclosures; What’s In Store for Housing in 2

“What if you could be anything, or anybody, you chose to be? Think about it. What would you choose to be?”

—Nido Qubein: is a businessman and motivational speaker

 Please note our office will be closed on Monday 1/2/2012 returning Tuesday 1/3/2012 in observance of the New Year Holiday, Thank You.

 

 5 QUICK TIPS FOR JANUARY 2012

1. Attack the Expired Listings

There will probably be more listings expiring this December 31st than any other single day in real estate history. We should not let this tremendous opportunity pass us by. These sellers may not have had an agent that was strong enough to price their home correctly. Prospect these sellers and explain what it will take to sell their home in this market and let them decide what is best for their families.

2. Prepare a Powerful Pricing Conversation

Whether working expired listings, FSBOs, new listings or your current listing inventory, it is crucial to have a well prepared conversation concerning pricing. Building a large inventory of salable listings in January will guarantee your success throughout the year – BUT THEY MUST BE SALABLE. Pricing will be the most crucial component of salability throughout the first quarter of 2012. For more on this subject you can read: House Prices: Where They Will Be in the Spring.

3. Be Seen As a Trusted Advisor

In the current economic climate, many consumers are losing confidence in both corporations and the individuals who represent those corporations. We must make sure that we know how to build trust with both our buyers and sellers. Once people realize that we are knowledgeable and truly care, they will more readily trust us and the information we share with them. To help with this you can listen to a recorded version of a webinar we recently did on this subject: How to Build Trust in Times of Doubt.

4. When Speaking With Buyers, Talk Affordability

The combination of falling prices and record low interest rates has made owning a home more affordable than almost any other time in history. Know what the affordability indices (ex. Price-to-Income, Mortgage Payment-to-Income) mean and be able to explain them simply and effectively. Dr. Ken Johnson of FIU has done great research on this issue. To download a copy of a PowerPoint presentation Dr. Johnson recently did on the subject, click here.

5. Become a Go-To-Agent

We must realize that it is not just the number of people we talk to but the depth of conversations we are capable of having with them. We need to position ourselves as the source of great information regarding the real estate market. We must develop and be able to communicate compelling messages for both buyers and sellers. For additional information, you can listen to a recorded version of a webinar we recently offered: How to Position Yourself as the Go-To-Agent.

 

90-DAY SEASONING WAIVER EXPANDED

This update from FHA was released late last week as an industry email without a corresponding Mortgagee Letter and contains information about FHA’s policies regarding the waiver of the 90-day seasoning required for sellers.

Here are the 6 things you need to know:

1. The extension is effective through December 31, 2012, unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by FHA.

2. Investors continue to be exempt from the 90-day seasoning rule.

3. All transactions must be arms-length.

4. No identity of interest can exist between buyer and seller.

5. If sale price is 20% or more of the seller’s acquisition cost, the lender must: a) provide supporting documentation and/or a second appraisal and b) order an inspection of the property and provide it to the buyer.

6. The waiver is limited to forward mortgages only.

READ FHA’S ANTI-FLIPPING WAIVER

 

FHA LOAN LIMITS ARE BACK UP!

The FHA Loan Limits have been restored to a SFR High Balance Maximum of $729,750. Loan limits vary by county (see flyer below for details) and will be effective through December 31, 2012.

 

 

BEST POST FOR 2011: FOR BUYERS

Even the Naysayers Say Now Is the Time to Buy

Business School professors Eli Beracha of East Carolina University and Ken H. Johnson of Florida International University have done extensive research on which makes more sense financially: to rent or own a home. They published, Lessons from Over 30 Years of Buy versus Rent Decisions: Is the American Dream Always Wise? In their paper, the professors do not dispute the social benefits of homeownership:

“Home ownership is touted as the “American Dream”. It is credited with enhancing wealth, increasing civic pride, improving self-esteem, crime prevention, child development, and better educational outcomes, among other benefits. This paper does not dispute any of these claims.”

What the professors were proposing is that homeownership is not a better investment strategy than renting. The first of the two major findings was:

“After setting the holding period to the average American’s tenure in a residence, renting (not buying) proves to be the superior investment strategy over most of the study period… Individuals, on average, were better off in economic terms to have rented for most of the years in the study period. This first result is strongly dependent upon fiscally disciplined individuals that, without fail, reinvest any residual savings from renting.”

Historically, people do not actually reinvest savings “without fail”. Check here for the findings of a recent study from The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.

The second major finding says it all. According to both professors Beracha and Johnson, NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY!

“(F)undamental drivers now appear to be in place that favor homeownership over renting in the near term future…

The second finding might seem unwise to many given the recent crash in the real estate markets around the country. However, rent-to-price ratios now seem to be in place along with other fundamental drivers that favor ownership over renting.”

They conclude their research paper with this sentence:

“Conditions (historically low mortgage rates and relatively low rent-to-price ratios) now seem in place to favor future purchases.”

Bottom Line

Two researchers set out to prove that homeownership is not a good financial decision. After completing that research, they have determined that now is the time to buy. What more needs to be said?

 

HOME OWNERS TRY DELAY TACTICS TO STALL FORECLOSURES

The average time it takes for banks to process a foreclosure — from missed mortgage payment to the final part of the process — has increased to 674 days, more than double the time frame foreclosures took just four years ago, according to LPS Applied Analytics. Four years ago, the average time nationally was 253 days.

Delinquent home owners are learning how to stay longer in their homes with some home owners taking advantage of delay tactics, according to a recent article at CNNMoney. Some stall tactics housing experts report more home owners are using to delay evictions are home owners’ challenging the bank’s foreclosure against them, requesting that lenders dig up original paperwork such as by asking for banks to produce paperwork that shows it is the legal holder of the mortgage note, or even, in some cases, home owners will declare bankruptcy, CNNMoney reports.

Housing experts say the delays are continuing to throw a thorn in the real estate market’s recovery. “People who stay in homes undergoing foreclosure for years often don’t maintain the properties, causing blight and lowering property values in the surrounding neighborhoods,” David Dunn, a partner at law firm Hogan Lovells in New York, who represents banks in foreclosure cases, told CNNMoney.

The following are the states with the longest delays in foreclosures:

• Washington, D.C.: Foreclosures take on average 1,053 days

• Florida: The average process time for foreclosures takes 1,027 days (or three years).

• New York: 906 days

 

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR HOUSING IN 2012?

The worst for the housing market may finally be over, according to housing experts in a recent article in Kiplinger. After median home price have dropped nearly 40 percent nationwide, a rebound is taking shape — although, housing experts say, the market may stay flat for awhile before gradually ticking up.

According to housing experts in a recent Kiplinger article, here are some predictions for the real estate market in the coming year:

Home prices stabilize: Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, predicts that home prices nationwide may still drop another 3 to 5 percent in 2012, but the new year will most likely finally bring a leveling off of home prices before gains start to take shape in 2013. When markets do begin to stabilize in the new year, “price appreciation tends to spread unevenly, creating a lot of confusion about where the recovery is occurring and when,” David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv Case-Shiller, told Kiplinger. “Even within a single city, more desirable neighborhoods will stabilize first, while prices in other neighborhoods may fall at a rapid pace.”

Housing affordability high: Housing affordability — the ratio of median home prices to median family income — will likely remain at record levels in 2012. Homes in many cities are “substantially undervalued,” the Kiplinger article notes. That may even lead to a mini bubble with double-digit spikes in prices, such as an increase of 10 to 15 percent in a given year in some markets, housing experts say.

Low mortgage rates: Helping to keep affordability high, low mortgage rates are expected to continue on in 2012 — at least the first part of the year, economists predict. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular among home buyers, has been hovering under a 4-percent average the past few weeks, staying in record low territory. Rates are expected to stay between 4 to 5 percent in 2012, predicts Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry publication.

Sales increases: The National Association of REALTORS® has already been showing a tick up in sales taking shape with increases in existing-home sales during the summer and early fall of 2011. High inventories of homes continue to flood the market but a drastic slowdown in new-home building the past three years is “gradually easing the surplus,” the Kiplinger article notes.

Foreclosures: Foreclosures remain the problem and still plague many markets. After a slowdown with lenders processing the paperwork, foreclosures have began to pick up once again. About 1.84 million home loans are 90 days or more delinquent and 2.17 million have finished the foreclosure process but aren’t up for sale yet, according to RealtyTrac data. Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital, told Kiplinger that he predicts regardless of the downward price pressure caused from foreclosures, overall home prices won’t fall as long as lenders bring additional foreclosures to the housing market at a steady pace.

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 27; How Your Agent Markets Themselves Indicates How They Will Market Your Home; Best Post of 2011: For Sellers; Good Signs for Real Estate Market; Calif. AG Wants Answers, Sues Fannie, Freddie; REO’s Hamper Sales

“Picture yourself in your minds eye as having already achieved this goal.

See yourself doing the things you’ll be doing when you’ve reached your goal.”

— Earl Nightingale: was an American motivational speaker and author

 

 

 

HOW YOUR AGENT MARKETS THEMSELVES INDICATES HOW THEY WILL MARKET YOUR HOME

With the glut of available homes on the market, how your home is marketed is the biggest factor in determining how quickly it will sell (assuming the price is reasonably presented). A real estate agent’s marketing plan should be the most crucial determinant in deciding who to list your home with. But, how can you really know about the agent’s marketing strategies?

One way is to see what they are doing with their current clients. Do those homes “stand out”? Contact those sellers. Are they getting a lot of showings and offers?

Another way is looking at how the agent markets themselves and their services:

• Does the photo they use for themselves represent how they look?

• Does their print advertising look like everyone else’s?

• What technology are they using to show your home? Are they using video?

• Is their website interesting and full of current information or just cookie cutter?

• Do they have a professional presence on social networks?

• Does their marketing show them as an expert or does it merely pat them on the back?

Quality photos on the web and top notch video may be the factor that drives people to see your house (and they are very important). However, how an agent drives traffic to see those photos and videos is even more important.

We all know the saying – “It’s not what you know…it’s who you know.” However, in marketing, it’s more crucial to know “who knows you”. Agents who are unknown are not good marketers. Today, you need an excellent marketer to represent you.

 

BEST POST OF 2011: FOR SELLERS

The First Question You Should Ask Your Listing Agent

What is the most important thing a seller should look for when hiring a real estate agent to sell their house? We are often asked this question. Is it the size of the company they are licensed with? Is it their marketing program? Their years experience in the business? Should you choose the agent who suggests the highest listing price?

There are many things that should be taken into consideration when hiring someone and giving them the responsibility for selling your home. In our opinion, the most important question you can ask a potential listing agent is a simple one:

Do you truly believe that now is a good time to buy a home?

Why should this matter when hiring someone to SELL your home? Buyers are nervous about purchasing right now. They want to know they are making an intelligent choice. We believe, especially in today’s market, you need to hire someone who realizes that this is one of the best times in American real estate history to buy. If an agent doesn’t believe that, how will they be able to convince a potential buyer to buy your home?

When interviewing a real estate professional, ask them to explain why purchasing a home makes sense today. They should be able to explain it simply and effectively. See how many of the following facts (which should be shared with every potential purchaser) the agent knows:

The Wall Street Journal last week stated:

“With home sales starting to improve, and with prices now possibly forming a bottom, real estate could well be the asset class that represents the best low-risk buying opportunity out there today.”

Donald Trump was just quoted saying:

“I’m pretty sure this is a great time to go out and buy a house. And if you do, in 10 years you’re going to look back and say, ‘You know, I‘m glad I listened to Donald Trump’.”

John Paulson, a multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius who made a killing betting against housing a few years ago, is now bullish on residential real estate market. He recently said:

“If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one. If you own two homes, buy a third. And, lend your relatives the money to buy a home.”

A recent Gallup Poll showed that 67% of American’s think that now is a ‘good time’ to buy a home. The Gallup Organization went on to say:

“Overall, there is good reason for most Americans to think now is a good time to buy a house. Interest rates remain near historic lows. Home prices are down sharply, providing many incredible buys.”

The iconic financial paper in this country, the country’s most famous real estate investor, the most successful prognosticator of the housing market and 2/3 of all Americans say now is the time to buy a home. Shouldn’t your agent agree?

Bottom Line

Selling is nothing more than the transference of conviction. How can agents transfer that conviction if they themselves are not convinced? Find a listing agent who truly believes that someone should buy your home – TODAY! This is the single most important thing you should look for in a potential listing agent.

 

SOME GOOD SIGNS FOR THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

Sales ticked up for existing homes and new-homes, several real estate market indicators revealed last week, pointing to a housing market that may finally be entering recovery mode.

In the most recent report, the Census Bureau reported that the new-home market continued its rebound, with sales of new homes once again inching up last month. New-home sales rose 1.6 percent from October to November to an annualized rate of 315,000, and sales were up nearly 10 percent compared to November 2010.

The median sales price of a new-home in November was $214,100, the Census Bureau reported, and the inventory of new-homes nationwide decreased to a 6-month supply at the current sales pace.

“Inventories of new homes are very low: There’s nothing on the shelf, so any increase in new home sales will translate directly into new housing starts,” Bob Denk, senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders, told CNNMoney. “That means putting people back to work.”

Other recent good news for the housing market: November sales of existing-homes increased 12 percent year-over-year, new-home building starts were up nearly 21 percent year-over-year, and mortgage rates reached new record lows last week, pushing housing affordability even higher.

 

CALIF. AG WANTS ANSWERS, SUES FANNIE, FREDDIE

California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit against mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week, pressuring the government-sponsored enterprises to respond to some 51 questions regarding foreclosures and other actions taken by Fannie and Freddie in the state.

Fannie and Freddie own about 60 percent of California mortgages. Harris is investigating the GSE’s involvement in 12,000 foreclosed properties in the state where they served as landlords, as well as the GSEs’ role in selling or marketing mortgage-backed securities, HousingWire reports.

The state is seeking a variety of information from Fannie and Freddie, including a list of which homes in the state that they foreclosed on, whether they have complied with civil rights laws protecting minorities and military members against unlawful convictions and foreclosures, and whether they complied with California’s securities and tax laws.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not commented on the lawsuit. An attorney representing the Federal Housing Finance Agency, however, said the lawsuits’ 51 subpoenas were “frequently vague and ambiguous,” HousingWire reports. Also, the FHFA attorney said Harris does not have the authority to issue subpoenas against the GSEs since they’re under federal control.

 

DISTRESSED PROPERTIES CONTINUE TO HAMPER OTHER SALES

The pressure on overall home prices from distressed properties is still haunting the housing market, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse tracking survey. However, home buyer demand is growing, the survey finds. The average time on the market for REOs is more than 10 weeks, which is at its lowest point in more than a year.

The average price for a short sale during November was $209,200. The average sales price for move-in ready REOs was $189,700, and $98,600 for damaged REOs sold.

Distressed properties represented 46.1 percent of all home purchase transactions in November, according to the survey, while short sales accounted for 17.6 percent of purchase transactions.

Distressed sales are continuing to make it difficult to appraise non-distressed properties, according to the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Survey.

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 21; Americans Eager to Buy, Sellers Aren’t Happy?; Fannie: Economy Ends Year on More Upbeat Note; Does Foreclosure Counseling Work?; Agents, Home Owners Predict Where Prices Will Rise

“Talkers have always ruled. They will continue to rule. The smart thing is to join them.”—Bruce Barton: was an American author, advertising executive, and politician

 

AMERICANS EAGER TO BUY, SELLERS AREN’T HAPPY?

Nearly 80 percent of home buyers say now is a great time to buy a home, but sellers say it’s not a great time to sell, according to a new study, “The Great Recession and Attitudes Toward Homebuying,” released this week by the Mortgage Bankers Association. In fact, homeselling sentiment has fallen to record lows.

As for home buyers, they certainly have plenty to be happy about — housing prices have fallen and interest rates are at record lows, pushing affordability to record levels and allowing buyers to snag great deals on housing.

But sellers, on the other hand, are getting discouraged that they can’t find buyers for their homes at a desirable sales price as well as the large overhang of mortgages past due or in foreclosure, according to the report.

“In economic terms, as market values have fallen, potential sellers have not adjusted their price expectations downward fast enough to bring buyer and seller sentiment in line with one another,” Gary Engelhardt, a professor at Syracuse University who authored the study, said in a statement.

Sellers still can’t accept that their home values have fallen and they are no longer able to get the prices from the past, according to the study.

Meanwhile, “despite high unemployment and slow economic growth, the bulk of American households believe that now is a good time to buy a home,” Engelhardt said. The strongest positive sentiments toward buying was found among young, educated, white, and Hispanic households, according to the study.

“The pattern of home-buying sentiment during the current recession looks very similar to that of past recessions,” Engelhardt notes. “Home buyer sentiment falls as the unemployment rate increases, and improves as job growth returns and housing becomes more affordable. What distinguishes the current recession, though, is the dramatic decline in home-selling sentiment. From 1992 through 2005, positive home-selling sentiment fluctuated between 40 and 60 percent. Since 2005, sentiment has dropped precipitously, to around 7 percent currently, even while home-buying sentiment remains high.”

 

FANNIE: ECONOMY ENDS YEAR ON MORE UPBEAT NOTE

Economic growth, an improving job picture, greater consumer spending, and slight improvements in the housing market are all recent indicators that 2011 is ending on a much brighter note, Fannie Mae reports in its fourth-quarter report.

“It’s important to recognize that we’re ending 2011 on a stronger note than we’ve seen throughout the year,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said in a statement. “Unfortunately, however, our 2012 outlook is not as rosy as our forecast for the fourth quarter of 2011.”

Fannie Mae’s Economics & Mortgage Market Analysis Group predicts that despite recent improvements, the housing market will remain “subdued next year — a reflection of the winter season, an expected slowdown in economic activity, and a potential increase in distressed sales.” The nation’s fiscal problems as well as the European debt crisis are also expected to threaten the nation’s economic recovery in 2012.

 

DOES FORECLOSURE COUNSELING WORK?

Borrowers who underwent foreclosure counseling are more likely — nearly twice as likely — to receive a loan modification and stay current on their mortgage, according to a new study by the Urban Institute, which analyzed about 800,000 borrowers who participated in the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program from January 2008 to December 2009.

Through the program, foreclosure counselors assist home owners on budgets and guide them in how they can avoid foreclosure.

Home owners who participated in the program were at least 67 percent more likely to stay current on their mortgage within nine months after receiving a loan modification, according to the study. Also, home owners who participated in the program had their mortgage payments, on average, reduced by $176 per month, the study found.

However, the counseling program has been on the chopping block in recent months, HousingWire reports. Earlier this year, Congress cut the funding for HUD’s housing counseling programs, but in November voted to restore $40 million to counselors.

 

AGENTS, HOME OWNERS PREDICT WHERE PRICES WILL RISE

About 43 percent of real estate professionals and 48 percent of home owners say they expect home values to mostly stay flat over the next six months, according to HomeGain’s 4th Quarter 2011 National Home Values survey, based on a survey of 400 real estate agents and brokers and more than 2,000 home owners.

On the other hand, others are more optimistic: 15 percent of real estate professionals and 15 percent of home owners expect home values to increase in the next six months. Where are real estate pros and home owners the most optimistic about home prices rising?

The following are the 10 states where real estate agents say they think home prices will rise in the next six months, according to the survey:

• Michigan

• Arizona

• Colorado

• Florida

• Texas

• Wisconsin

• California

• Maryland

• Washington

• Ohio

The following are the states where home owners say prices will likely go up in the next six months, according to the survey:

• Colorado

• Massachusetts

• Virginia

• Arizona

• Michigan

• New York

• Tennessee

• New Jersey

• Texas

• Florida

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 20; Why Involve a Lender in the Home Selling Equation?; 4 Tips for Improving Your Business in 2012; Evidence is on the Choice of Lockbox; Real Estate: Today’s Golden Opportunity; Which Seller Incentives Tempt Buy

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” 

— Mohandas Gandhi: was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement

 

WHY INVOLVE A LENDER IN THE HOME SELLING EQUATION?

One thing many real estate agents have learned is the importance of having a team of professionals to facilitate a smooth transaction. Having a lending expert on the team, can make available the following services to you…all for FREE:

• They stand ready to screen all potential buyers. Today’s lending landscape is a rapidly changing environment. Programs and requirements are changing regularly. A good loan officer should have a reputation for being on top of current guidelines and finding the best solutions for prospective clients. You need to know that when you accept an offer, the buyer can actually close.

• Financing is an important component to getting a home sold. Whether it’s marketing flyers, carrying costs, unique mortgage strategies (such as buy-downs and Sales Concessions) or even loan programs to differentiate your home (ex. loans that can incorporate monies for the purchase and renovation of a home), the best loan officers take pride in their ability to help increase the number of people for whom your home could be a fit. More prospects equals higher sales prices.

• In so far as a professional loan officer is seen as an educator, they would want to offer you the chance to tune into some of their online seminars (called webinars) and videos. As an example, some lenders have webinars with topics ranging from “How Lenders Look At A Mortgage Application” to “Renovation Lending” to “Getting Your Optimal Credit Score”, as well as videos that can fully explain your Good Faith Estimate. They are constantly striving to be a resource for everyone they come in contact with.

• Lastly, your loan officer knows that most home sellers become home buyers. Not only will they run your credit and analyze your income and assets, but they will also pre-approve you for your next mortgage, typically free of charge.

Both your agent and the loan officer on their team are committed to the highest level of advice and integrity. Reach out to them for any questions you may have.

 

4 TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR BUSINESS IN 2012

Become a specialist and target a niche market in your real estate business in 2012, suggests Alan Shafran, with Prudential California Realty in San Diego and president of ShowingSuite.com, in a recent article at RISMedia. Shafran offers some of the following tips for creating a business plan in real estate for success in the new year:

1. What’s working and what isn’t? Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing plan. Identify your talents and skills and try to match new strategies to take your business in 2012 that matches your skillset. “If you want to try something new — for example, the mailing of postcards to reach a new farm — make sure you have enough resources to cover the cost of the project for a period of at least six months,” Shafran suggests. “If you don’t have the budget, don’t start the project. Implementing a new marketing strategy without giving it enough time to succeed will only dilute the effectiveness of your other marketing programs, because it will sap you of your time, effort, and energy.”

2. Hone your sales skills. Jot down a list of the areas where you feel you need improvement in the new year. Vow to become more educated and try role-playing exercises to allow you to speak with more confidence and knowledge.

3. Re-evaluate your branding and the demographics you’re targeting. “To be successful, it’s important to constantly evaluate what types of homes people are looking for in your area and what they are willing to pay,” Shafran says. “After you figure out what type of clients you want to target, take the time to adjust your marketing strategy according to their preferences.”

4. Update your profile and marketing materials. “Chances are, if your pictures and business cards make you look like you are 25 years younger than you actually are, then it’s time for an update,” Shafran says. “Shocking the customer is typically not a good idea.” Also, make sure your resume and Web site reflects today’s customer, given the financial environment, he adds.

 

THE EVIDENCE IS IN ON THE CHOICE OF LOCKBOX

Brought to you by: Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D. — Florida International University (FIU) and Editor of the Journal of Housing Research

Does the choice of a lockbox matter? Do the older type lockbox systems influence the final transaction price or the marketing time of property? These questions are often pondered by real estate professionals. Older key and combination systems are low tech, easy to employ, and less costly to the broker. Newer electronic lockboxes are often more complicated, provide additional information by way of technology, and are slightly more expensive than their low tech counterparts. The trade-off is therefore between ease of use, information, and cost of operation.

If the different lockbox systems do not influence transaction outcomes (price and marketing time), then the choice of the lockbox system can be left up to the broker without costs to the sellers of property. On the other hand, if one system produces either a pricing discount or extended marketing times, then brokers need to be aware of these differences in order to better serve their clients.

Research

Recent research by Benefield and Morgan answer these questions.[1] The researchers directly test for the impact of lockbox type (newer electronic versus older systems) on property price and property marketing time. After controlling for other difference in listings such as location, age, size, seller motivation, and quality, Benefield and Morgan find that older lockbox systems, on average, do not influence the time it takes to market property. Property pricing, however, is another matter. Specifically, Benefield and Morgan find a negative impact on price from the use of the older lockbox system. More to the point, older lockbox systems appear to not influence marketing time but result in lower selling prices. The pricing discount was a staggering seven percent on average.[2]

Implications

There is now statistical evidence (not just professional speculation) that indicates the inferiority of the older lockbox systems.

Therefore, wherever financially practical, brokers should stop their use of older key and combination lockbox systems in favor of the newer electronic systems. It now appears that these newer electronic lockboxes lead to a better sharing of information and feedback between listing and showing brokers resulting in better prices.

Endnotes

[1]Benefield, J. D. and J. M. Morgan, Ease-of-Access, Home Prices, and Marketing

Times:The Choice of Lockbox Type, Forthcoming in the Journal of Housing Research.

[2] The authors believe that at least part of this discount is related to the type (mostly lower priced, lower demand) properties on which the older systems are employed.

 

REAL ESTATE: TODAY’S GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

Everyone wants to comment on the current real estate market. They want to talk about how now is not the time to buy a home. Some even argue owning a house has never been a great investment. Most say it will be a long time before real estate again begins to appreciate. It all sounds so familiar to us. It was just a decade ago that many made the same arguments about gold as an investment.

Gold had dropped from over $400 an ounce to $250 an ounce (a 40% decline) from February 1996 to August 1999. People ran from gold as though it was a plague.

Lord William Rees-Mogg, the current Chairman of The Zurich Club, in 1997 said:

“No investment has been so thoroughly exploded as gold; most people think that there will no more be another gold boom than there will be another boom in tulip futures in The Netherlands.”

Two years later in 1999, Don Wolanchuk author of the Wolanchuk Report explained:

“Everybody hates gold. You can’t have a bottom until everybody is out. And everybody is out of the gold sector.”

Everyone knows what happened next. The proclamation of gold’s death was rather premature. Gold rose from $250 an ounce to over $1,500 an ounce in the next twelve years. We see the same situation with real estate today. We are not predicting that real estate will see the same levels of appreciation. I do believe however that the market will rebound strongly.

Those who continued to believe in gold as an investment were rewarded. Those who continue to believe in real estate as a sound investment will also be rewarded.

Here is what Adam Hamilton wrote in October 2000 in an essay titled Is Gold Dead?

The road for gold investors has been long and parched in the last five years. They have wandered through a seemingly endless desert, occasionally tempted by what proves to be an illusory mirage. Many have fallen beside the sun-cracked path, their white bones picked clean by buzzards and gleaming in the sun. Nevertheless, a brave contrarian core continues to march forward. They have studied history, currency, gold, investments, economics, and finance. They understand the timeless value of gold, the cyclical nature of the markets, and the vagaries of human psychology. They realize it is darkest before the dawn, and the journey most difficult right before the homestretch is reached. Gold is in an INCREDIBLE position, and it will have its day. Nothing goes up in price forever, and nothing goes down in price forever. Investments are cyclical. Gold is NOT dead, it is simply biding its time, waiting for its next earth-shattering mega-rally. The spoils that go to the few remaining gold investors when that day inevitably arrives will be fantastic. The stunning victory will quickly blot out the painful memories of the long struggle…

You could replace the word ‘gold’ with the words ‘real estate’ throughout this essay and it would apply today.

We originally ran this blog back in March. We believe it still applies. By the way, Gold closed yesterday at almost $1,600 an ounce.

 

WHICH SELLER INCENTIVES TEMPT BUYERS?

Sellers trying to get buyers attention are offering up plenty of incentives, everything from closing-cost assistance to remodeling credits — even hot tubs, home theatre systems, flat-screen TVs, and cars, reports The Washington Times.

But these incentives “don’t actually make the deal,” says Michael Labout, regional vice president for the National Association of REALTORS®, who recalls one seller who offered up his 1970s Cadillac El Dorado in a real estate deal. “They’re as much to get buyers and agents to look at a house as anything.”

But sellers may be convinced that the extra buyers these incentives may bring in to view their home may be worth it. Some popular seller incentives catching on:

• Offering a gift card to a home improvement store or a local flooring company if the property you’re trying to sell is in need of some remodeling work;

• Covering some or all of the closing costs;

• Offering home warranties, which will cover HVAC systems and other major appliances., usually for a year — although more home sellers are offering warranties that last longer, possibly even up to 4 or 5 years;

• Paying the homeowners association dues for a year or more or covering the first year’s property taxes or condo fees;

• Offering a selling agent bonus, such as $2,000 or $3,000 bonus to the buyer’s agent may help get the property shown to more potential buyers.

 

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 14; Better Indicator of a Healthy Market: Liquidity; The Need for a True Real Estate Professional; 4 Tips to Help Your Buyers Refine Their Home Search; QR Codes: Give Them A Reason to Scan; Flippers to Blame for Downturn

“Potential is all of the resources you have in front of you. Efficiency is putting those resources to use effectively.”

 — Garrett Gunderson: is an entrepreneur and author

A BETTER INDICATOR OF A HEALTHY MARKET: LIQUIDITY

Blog brought to you by: Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D. — Florida International University (FIU) and Editor of the Journal of Housing Research

What is the definition of a healthy housing market? Is it a housing market in which home prices are decreasing? Few would agree with this. Is it a market in which home prices are increasing? At first glance, many would agree with this definition. However, increasing prices cannot be used to diagnose a healthy housing market. If increasing prices indicate market health, then in 2005 housing markets were “very” healthy, and we know that this is not true.

If pricing does not indicate market health, then what does? The answer is simple: it is market liquidity and not pricing that indicates the health of a housing market. Liquidity has been defined in many ways but it basically boils down to: can an individual seller, at a time of their choosing, successfully market their property at or near market value? We often hear of rates (turn-over and absorption) that are related to this concept. Unfortunately, these measures are difficult to estimate and they all have something to do with outstanding inventory. What really matters, regardless of outstanding inventory, is the likelihood that a property will close. This is the most basic meaning of market liquidity and it can easily be proxied.

All of the data necessary to proxy a particular market’s liquidity (and thereby its health) is available on the daily “hot sheets” of almost every MLS in country. Since liquidity is really just a batting average all that needs to be done is total the successful transactions (closed properties) and divide these by the failed listing transactions (Expireds + Withdrawns + Cease Efforts + Cancelled)[1][2]. The resulting number is a very close approximate to the probability that any given property listed in that market will close and an increasing trend in this number indicates improving market health.

Implications

Pricing trends do not indicate the health of a housing market. Keep in mind. For almost every sell in an increasing market, there is a repurchase at a higher price. For almost every sell in a decreasing market, there is a repurchase at a lower price. Thus, pricing is a “double edged sword”. Gains/Losses on a sell are almost always accompanied by higher/lower repurchases. Thus, pricing trends can never indicate the health of a particular real estate market. Instead, it is market liquidly, which can be easily proxied, that actually indicates market health. After all, the real goal is for a seller of property to be able to transact at or near market value with a high degree of certainty. Fortunately, most MLS’s around the country have the information at their fingertips to estimate the health of their particular market.

It is liquidity (not price) that matters.

Endnotes

[1] Different MLS’s have similar but not exact designations for these various categories. The goal is simply to divide successes by failures.

[2] The timing of the calculation will depend on the number of outcomes each day on a particular market’s MLS hot sheet. The goal is to avoid a mathematically undefined estimate. Thus, larger markets might do this average daily, while smaller markets might only calculate this average on a monthly basis.

 

THE NEED FOR A TRUE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL

Anyone in the real estate industry for any length of time realizes that the education required and the resources necessary to be a true industry professional have dramatically increased over the last two decades. In today’s volatile market, it is necessary to have a true real estate professional if you want to sell your home for the best possible price in the shortest amount of time – and make sure the deal gets to the closing table!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explained in a recent Existing Sales Report that 18% of all contracts were cancelled in the previous. This compares to 16% the prior month and 9% in August of 2010.

The good news is homeowners have realized that attempting to sell their home on their own is an arduous process best left to an industry expert. According to NAR’s 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the percentage of sellers selling on their own, known as For Sale By Owners (FSBOs), has dropped almost in half over the last 20 years:

Bottom Line

If you are selling a home in today’s confusing real estate market, it is best to take on the services of a local real estate expert. He/she will guide you through each step of the transaction thereby increasing the likelihood that there will be fewer inconveniences for you and your family.

 

4 TIPS TO HELP YOUR BUYERS REFINE THEIR HOME SEARCH

Are your buyers having a tough time wading through the inventories of homes to find the right home? Kelly O’Ryan, an office manager with Coldwell Banker in Lexington, Mass., offered some of the following tips in a recent article at RISMedia to help your home buyers narrow their search when looking for properties:

1. Have your home buyers make a list of all the must-haves for their future home, such as the number of bedrooms and school district they must have.

2. Make sure your buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage by a lender. This will help ensure they don’t look for homes that are only within their budget.

3. Encourage your buyers to research available homes on the Internet so they get a feel for what’s available. You can help them sort for properties within their price range and locate homes that fit their criteria. But have them review photos and videos of multiple homes on the Internet to help them narrow their search before you take them to view homes in-person.

4. Remind your home buyers to not get sidetracked when viewing homes at aesthetics that can be changed out easily, such as paint colors and light fixtures. Help them to see past any bad decor and focus in on items in the home that can’t easily be changed, such as the home’s location and lot size.

Source: “How To Lead a Refined Real Estate Search

 

QR CODES: GIVE THEM A REASON TO SCAN

QR (Quick Response) codes must be used correctly to serve as valuable marketing tools.

QR codes should direct consumers to a mobile landing page, otherwise they load slowly, do not format correctly, and do not allow for easy browsing. They also must be accompanied by a clear call to action, encouraging consumers to scan for a discount or to receive useful information. After consumers scan the QR code, there must be an exclusive offer or important content or information waiting for them.

Although QR codes can be had for free, experts say it is important that they come with reporting tools, which can help real estate agents gauge the success of their marketing campaign. Free codes also prevent changes in content, requiring that a new QR code be created.

Finally, agents should keep the URL short to make the code easier to scan.

Source: The 5 Rules of QR Codes

 

HOUSE FLIPPERS TO BLAME FOR HOUSING DOWNTURN?

House flippers — made up of investors who bought up homes during the housing boom, possibly made a few upgrades to the home, and quickly resold the homes for high-dollar profit — played a larger role in causing the housing bubble than previously thought, according to a new federal report out by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The impact that speculative real estate investors played in driving the housing downturn has mostly been overlooked until now, the researchers note.

The speculative investors used low down payments and subprime credit in buying up multiple homes at once, the report says. Their actions attributed to home prices in some areas being inflated, researchers say.

“This may have allowed the bubble to inflate further, which caused millions of owner-occupants to pay more if they wanted to buy a home for their family,” researchers note in the report.

House flippers made up a big piece of the real estate market during the housing boom. According to the report, more than one-third of all home mortgages from 2006 were to people who already owned at least one home. What’s more, “in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, where average home prices more than doubled from 2000 to 2006, investors made up nearly half of all mortgage-backed purchases during the housing bubble,” the Associated Press reports. “Buyers owning three or more properties represented the fastest-growing segment of home owners during that time.”

When home values began to fall in 2006, investors defaulted on their loans in large numbers, accounting for more than 25 percent of seriously delinquent mortgage balances, according to the report. In investor hot-spots like Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada, investors accounted for more than a third of seriously delinquent mortgage balances from 2007 to 2009.

The report urges lenders and regulators to take action to limit speculative borrowing in order to avoid a future housing downturn.

Source: “Flippers’ Housing Bust Role Larger Than Thought

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 12; Banks Spend Money to Spruce Up REO’s; Where Are The Gen “Y” Home Buyers?; BofA Considers Renting REOs Back to Former Owners; Housing Still Great Investment, Americans Say; Low Rates Keep Housing Affordable

“A resourceful person can see opportunity when others only see obstacles.”

— Garrett Gunderson: is an entrepreneur and author

 

 

BANKS, GSEs SPEND MORE MONEY TO SPRUCE UP REOs

Foreclosed homes continue to hamper nearby property values. In some cities, foreclosures were found to decrease nearby property values up to $17,000, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

More programs are being aimed at rehabbing foreclosed homes so the harm to property values won’t be as great.

According to the GAO report, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doled out $953 million last year to maintain and fix up vacant homes.

“We are committed to stabilizing communities and helping the housing market recover,” a Fannie Mae spokesperson told HousingWire. “Our goal is to sell REO properties at a competitive market rate, and maintaining our properties is an important part of achieving that goal.”

Since 2008, investors and nonprofits received $6 billion in grant money from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program to maintain and fix up vacant homes. In Detroit, the city spent $20 million last year demolishing vacant homes or rehabbing ones that could still be saved after neglect.

Wells Fargo & Co. said recently it will donate $5.53 million to 52 nonprofit groups through its Leading the Way Home Program Priority Markets Initiative so that the groups can purchase and redevelop foreclosed and abandoned homes.

“These grants will help stabilize and rebuild local communities,” Kimberly Jackson, executive director of Wells Fargo’s Housing Foundation. “We want to do what we can to make resources available to support efforts led by nonprofits to revitalize neighborhoods in cities that have felt the effects of financial difficulties and a challenging economy.”

 

WHERE ARE THE GENERATION “Y” HOME BUYERS?

Many buyers are delaying a decision to purchase a home because of the volatility of the real estate market. There is no larger category exhibiting this behavior than those of Generation Y. To define this segment of the population, we go to Wikipedia:

Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation (or Millennials), Generation Next, Net Generation, or Echo Boomers, describes the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the Millennial generation starts and ends, and commentators have used birth dates ranging somewhere from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s.

Does this generation wish to own a home?

Yes. A recent survey completed by Trulia shows people between the ages of 18-34 still believe in the concept of home ownership. 65% of those surveyed said “their American Dream includes owning a home”.

Where are these adults living?

Recent research form John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows the number of adults living with their parents has dramatically increased over the past eight years. Below is a graph showing the numbers:

Bottom Line

Generation Y believes in homeownership. Yet, they are delaying the decision to purchase a home of their own. When they do decide to buy, they will impact the housing market in a big way.

 

BofA CONSIDERS RENTING REOs BACK TO FORMER OWNERS

In facing large inventories of foreclosures, Bank of America is considering a program that would allow investors to buy a foreclosed home and then rent it back to the former home owner, HousingWire reports.

Bank of America is looking for ideas on how to handle the large inventories of foreclosures in some areas where demand hasn’t picked up.

“We are looking at programs where you can capture somebody before the REO process and offer a deed-for-lease,” Ron Sturzenegger, who leads the bank’s legacy asset servicing division, explained to HousingWire. “We would go to the customer and say, ‘We’ll do a short sale. Will you be interested in leasing your property back? We’re still going to sell the property. You will no longer be the owner. But you can be a tenant now in that same property and save you from moving on.”

The program is still in very early stages and more details need to be worked out, Sturzenegger noted.

 

HOUSING STILL GREAT INVESTMENT, AMERICANS SAY

Sixty-two percent of Americans say that purchasing a home is a good investment over the next 10 years, according to the Mortgage Index Study conducted on behalf of Bank of America.

Affordability ranks high among the 1,104 consumers surveyed nationwide. For those considering a home purchase within the next year, 62 percent reported contacting a lender or using online tools to determine affordable monthly mortgage payments, according to the survey. Seventy-four percent also said they plan to use their personal savings for a down payment on a home.

According to the survey, consumers most popular piece of advice for others looking to buy a home soon: Don’t “buy more house than you can afford.”

 

LOW MORTGAGE RATES KEEP HOUSING AFFORDABILITY HIGH

Mortgage rates continued to be near record lows this week, keeping housing at affordable levels for most households.

“Thirty-year fixed-rate loans have declined 0.62 percentage points from a year ago, and median sales prices on existing homes are off 4.7 percent in the year ending with October,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement. “These low rates and home prices have pushed housing affordability to record highs this year.”

Monthly principal and mortgage interest payments accounted for 12.6 percent of a median family incomes in October, Nothaft notes. For the sixth time this year, the National Housing Affordability Index reached another all-time record high, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Here’s a closer look at mortgage rates for the week ending Dec. 8.

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.99 percent, with an average 0.7 point, down from last week’s 4 percent average. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.61 percent.

• 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.27 percent, with an average 0.8 point, just slightly above the all-time low of 3.26 percent it reached on Oct. 6. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.96 percent.

• 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.93 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, ticking up slightly from last week’s 2.90 percent average. Last year at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.60 percent.

• 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.80 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, edging up slightly from 2.78 percent last week. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 3.27 percent.