Friday, August 31, 2007

Mortgage & More!

Today in history....

US Naval Observatory was authorized by an act of Congress in 1842.

1st US men's single tennis championships 1881 in Newport, RI.

1st major earthquake recorded in eastern US, at Charleston SC, 110 die in 1886.

FDR signs an act prohibiting export of US arms to belligerents in 1935.

US National Guard assembles in 1940.

1st microwave TV station operated in Lufkin, Tx in 1955.

1st sun-powered automobile demonstrated, Chicago, Ill in 1955.

Malayasia (formerly Malaya) gains independence from Britain in 1957.

Former Teamsters' president Jimmy Hoffa reported missing in 1975.

Emily & William Harris plead guilty to 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1978.


With the advent of the subprime market and more stringent controls in the mortgage industry, it was only a matter of time before more government-backed loans would be making a return. We are now seeing more FHA & VA loans. These loans went out of favor during the past several years because sellers had their choice of offers and didn't have to accept an FHA loan (which usually cost the seller more in closing costs) than a conventional loan.

As of tomorrow, Sept. 1, the VA will allow military veterans access to loans that exceed the present $417,000 loan limit thanks to Ginnie Mae, the Government National Mortgage Association. This will allow veterans to purchase homes in higher-cost areas, such as California, where the median home price is $568,000.

Now, FHA, another HUD agency which insures mortgages for low-income borrowers, may be allowed to guarantee mortgages for homeowners in default who are refinanced into lower-rate loans as well as also increase its limit to $417K if proposed legislation is passed.

Here's a link to a great article, U.S. faces deep economic downturn but recession unlikely, says Nobel laureate, Joseph Stiglitz . The long and short of it is that we are spending more than we are making and that holds true for us as well as our country. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel economics laureate, was quoted in this article stating that "... if it is not carefully managed, the fiscal consolidation will further depress the economy.”

Til next time... Marc It Sold!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day.

On this date in history....

William Penn left England to sail to New World in 1682.

Jack Dempsey wins middleweight title in 1st fight with boxing gloves in 1884.

Hubert Cecil Booth patents vacuum cleaner in 1901.

1st German plane bombs above Paris, 2 killed in 1914.

Gen MacArthur lands in Japan in 1945.

US Senate confirm Thurgood Marshall as 1st black justice in 1968.

Hurricane David, kills 1200 in Florida, Domincana & Dom Rep 8/30 - 9/13, 1979.

1st recorded occurrance-comet hits sun (energy=1 mil hydrogen bombs) in 1979.


Yes, we've all been hearing about foreclosures and unfortunately, we are going to hear quite a bit more in the next couple of years to say the least. Just to give you an example, I get a weekly update from Freddie Mac as to their foreclosures available in my local area. I had not received one of these in basically a couple of years, but each week now I am religiously getting an email update and this list just keeps on growing and growing.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I guess I will and must say that I am proud of myself for never putting a sale before my clients best interest. I have never to my knowledge put a client into a situation where they could possibly lose their home because of changes in the environment.

I can even go as so far as stating that I would actually advise my clients of the risk of getting a something like a not only a 100% financing, but an adjustable-rate loan in addition. Not only could this be a bad decision, but we were not expecting rates to stay as low as they have. Granted, that's been accomplished due to the fact of other ensuing issues that have occurred.

I have always cautioned my clients to purchase within their comfort zone. Many would go to a Mortgage Broker who would tell them that they could afford x. Just because it says this on paper, can you really afford such? In most instances the answer is 'no' And, especially, when you take into account precarious loan situations.

It seems to have been the way of recent to buy as much home as you could afford. I don't know if was to better the Joneses or what. I've always stated that easiest way to hate your new home is to be living for it. If that is all you can afford and not having anything left for leisure activities, nevermind the essentials, then what was the purpose of purchasing that home?

I feel that it's an ethical and moral obligation that I have to my client. Maybe, I've lost some income due to this, but I'll tell you what - I sleep well at night!

Til tomorrow - Marc It Sold!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cancellation Fees

Did you know that on this date in history...

Chop Suey was invented in 1896.

First Scout Camp Opened in 1934.

The Goodyear Tire Company was founded in 1898.

The Beatles performed their last public concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, 1966.

Ingrid Bergman was born on this date in 1915 & died on this day in 1982 from breast cancer.

Cancellation Fees

Now to cancellation fees. I have never charged a client a cancellation fee, nor have I ever entered it on a listing agreement. I've always felt that if the client and myself are not a good fit, than I am not going to hold them and their property hostage, nor will I be held at that same time if that may be the case.

Yes, I know the arguments that a realtor should be compensated for their work and costs. I can agree with this partially, but have to disagree on the whole. This is a part of the business. This is a part of being an independent contractor and salesperson. If you have a problem with this, than you might wish to reevaluate your decision to be a realtor. I know that a lot of people will totally disagree with me and feel that I am too harsh. But, I really feel that this is the reality of the business.

I could even possibly deal with a cancellation fee if was at least reasonable. But the new manager of the office in which I work and some higher management personnel are obviously on another planet. We are told to institute a $1500 cancellation fee. Let's be realistic, who the heck is going to sign a listing agreement with that policy? I'll tell you right now, that I surely wouldn't. This is whacked! I'll get back to my new manager shortly. Oh, by the way, did I mention the fact that when I spoke with my regional manager about this, because I did not think that this was the company's philosophy, I was informed that they never checked with the competition to see what they were doing and how much they were charging. I was totally blown away by this response. This is just a basic business principle - know who & what your competition is and what they are doing. Duh!!

One of my main reasons for never even thinking of instituting a cancellation policy, is that I feel that there has to be a matter of trust between my seller & myself. This is what I build. We have a relationship. To me being a realtor is basically that of building trust between my clients & myself. I am there to educate and lead them through the process to make sure that they make the right decisions for themselves. Aren't I supposed to be the professional?

Many of my sellers have become friends. In fact recently, I had a home that was just not selling and we took this home off of the market. These people have become such very dear friends. I care for them so very much as I know that they do for me.

So my new manager comes into the office. She is a very effervescent person. I do believe that she has a lot to offer. It appears that she does not have a lot of management experience, but sometimes that is a plus. Well, unfortunately, she also has two bad habits. Let me preface this by stating that she seems to be genuinely interested in helping. But, then again, her salary is surely corelated to the business that the office produces.

When she told us about the cancellation policy, it was just that. Not that it was talked about and this is the decision that her bosses came up with and that we will have to implement this. No, we were TOLD! Great management style - think we might just need a little bit of work here. Her other habit, which I understand drove her boss crazy during the interview process, is it is always 'I, I, I, or me, me, me.' Can you imagine how infuriating it is to hear this consistently.

Granted, I can only come the conclusion that she is probably egotistical to some degree and most likely also very insecure. Unfortunately, at present, I am dealing with a brother in the trauma center due to a motorcycle accident and twice in conversations with her, I came away with the feeling that she had to 'one-up' me with tales of woe that she has encountered.

Even through most of this and the fibs that we've encountered I have tried to just let it rest and go on, but this cancellation policy is so totally against my grain. I can't do this to people. I really do believe in the common good of all people. Yes, we know that there are others out there. But, let me ask you, why should the general good out there pay for that? I can't go through life looking for the evil in others and watching my back & being wary. I will give almost anyone a chance - a chance until they prove me wrong, then they won't get another chance.

I am not saying this is right or wrong, for it isn't. It is just the way that I tend to live my life. I would love to right more at this time, but am running late for I have to catch a plane.

See you here tomorrow again, when we'll do a little more on this date in history.

Til then - Marc It Sold!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The Market & some fun information...

Did you know that on this date in history....

St. Augustine, Florida was established in 1565. It is the oldest surviving European settlement in the United States.

Henry Hudson discovered the Delaware Bay in 1609.

Germany declares war on Romania and Italy declares war on Germany in 1916.

Today is Dream Day (Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech during civil rights rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1963.)

On another note, the mortgage debacle that we are all witnessing has definitely added to the real estate woes. Unfortunately, the number of available homes on the market is continually increasing. Granted, not at break-neck speeds, but increasing none the less. There are well over 9 months supply of inventory on the market and these numbers will rise as the builders are offering some great deals that are basically undercutting the pre-owned homes market.

Personally, I do have some listings, but have also turned away many as of late. It should be noted that I also sell new homes as well. You should never purchase real estate without some sort of representation on your side. You do not pay any more for a home if you utilize a realtor. Actually, in many instances you may pay less and get more for your money.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Market Update

OK, I know that I haven’t blogged lately, but can’t believe that it’s already been one month. My goodness, how time flies. But, finally, I’ve noted what is hopefully a good note.

As many of you are well aware, I like numbers & have been tracking the number of available homes listed in the Greater Orlando regional MLS. In mid June, I noted that the number of available properties slipped slightly one week, but then again continued to rise each week afterwards.

Well, this week, it again went down some. Maybe not a lot, but more so than I’ve seen in the past. It may not seem like a large number, but the number of available homes decreased by approximately 250. I can only hope that we are finally turning the tide.

OK, so this doesn’t mean that this period in real estate is over and everything is back to where we were over the past several years. But, it is still a good sign if this slide continues. I think that it might.

I’ve also noted that the calls for showing instructions have gone up over the past week. Granted, I feel that the properties that I have listed are priced well. But, I’ve noted a perceptible increase in the number of calls to see properties.

This in combination with the fact the fed has kept the rate steady & also that mortgage rates have slightly dipped over the past week all seem to be positive signs to our local real estate markets recovery.

Until next time – Marc It Sold!