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If you happen to be doing some real estate business in the Spokane area, we’d love to be your choice for title and escrow. This morning, be sure to check out the Redfin article on the recent study they did, as well as the write-ups on underwriting rules and fence-sitting sellers. Thanks for reading!
Fannie Mae Tightens Underwriting Rules for Condo, Refinance Loans, Borderline Borrowers
Realty Times | October 3, 2012
Fannie Mae is putting the squeeze on underwriting guidelines this fall, making it tougher for some condo, borderline and refinancing borrowers to land a home loan.
Where downtown housing is hot, and where it’s not
MarketWatch | October 2, 2012
An increasing number of people began calling downtown Chicago home over the last decade or so, as new condominiums and then rental-apartment buildings accommodated all those young professionals and empty nesters interested in downtown living.
Fence-sitters in No Hurry to Sell
Inman News | October 3, 2012
Home prices are seeing some strength nationwide, but further price increases will be necessary to spur some homeowners to sell, according to real estate professionals. (What are you telling sellers right now that are hesitant to list their property? ~Anthony)
Government: We Plan to Sue More Banks
CNN Money | October 3, 2012
Wall Street banks should be prepared for more lawsuits, a taskforce of federal and state investigators said Tuesday.
Mortgage Prepayment Speeds Reach Highest Level Since 2005: LPS
HousingWire | October 3, 2012
Mortgage prepayment rates spiked in August to levels above those reached in the mini refinance waves of 2009 and 2010, hitting their highest levels since 2005, according to analytics firm Lender Processing Services
On Big Real Estate Sites, Study Finds Gaps in Listings
The New York Times | October 3, 2012
A study underwritten by Redfin seeks to compare the comprehensiveness and accuracy of real estate listings on five sites, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and the sites of two regional real estate brokerage firms, Windermere and Long & Foster.
Low Rates Fuel Refi Activity, But Will New Mortgage Applications Suffer?
US News & World Reports | October 3, 2012
More record low interest rates juiced demand for home loans last week as demand from homeowners looking to refinance surged to the highest level in more than three years, according to an industry group.
Facebook Tops 1 Billion Active Users
The New York Times | October 4, 2012
Facebook on Thursday announced that it had topped one billion active users, meaning users who visited the site within a month. (My opinion on Facebook? You can’t tell me that this company with their vast stores of data on 1 billion people is not going to figure out a variety of ways to make a huge fortune. They were only started in 2004 and in that short time their reach is beyond anything else. 1 billion people have visited their site in the last 30 days. That is an incredible accomplishment in 8 years. ~Anthony)
At Stewart Title of Spokane, we’re trying to pull together a list of questions/answers for a new Frequently Asked Questions section of our website. We’re hoping you can help! What are some of the most most common questions consumers ask you in relation to title or escrow? We’ve started a list by posting it to the blog, take a look and let us know what you think about the questions and our answers. Thanks! ~Anthony
FEATURED POST : Title and Escrow Frequently Asked Questions
Real Estate Today | October 2, 2012
The Mortgage Forgiveness Act: Will It Be Extended?
The KCM Blog | October 3, 2012
As the year winds down, we are getting more and more inquiries about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 and whether or not it will be extended past its original expiration date of December 31, 2012. This is important as people who are selling their home through a short sale may be faced with a tax liability if they don’t close by the aforementioned date. (Of all of the bureaucracy and laws that have changed or been implemented since the Great Recession began, it seems to me this one one law was one of the better Acts of our legislative branch. ~Anthony)
Lower Interest Rates Spell More Refi Risk for Credit Unions
HousingWire | October 2, 2012
Credit unions that have a history of holding loans they originate view the Fed’s continual push for lower interest rates as somewhat of a double-edged sword that will have long-term effects on portfolio lenders and credit unions.
Low Inventories Thwarting Buyers
InmanNews | October 2, 2012
Nearly every major market has seen double-digit declines in inventories of for-sale listings, making multiple-bid situations common.
Growth in Apartment Rents Slows
The Wall Street Journal | October 2, 2012
The apartment-rental market remained robust in the third quarter but, with home sales improving, the sector is showing signs of losing steam, according to a new report from Reis.
Property Owners Face a New Surtax
The Wall Street Journal | September 29, 2012
The housing market may indeed be recovering, as many experts suggest, but investors are still struggling to understand what, if any, taxes they’ll owe upon selling their homes.
Economists: Housing Recovery Finally Here
CNN Money | October 3, 2012
It’s been a long time coming, but economists surveyed by CNNMoney believe the nation’s housing market has finally turned the corner.
US Home Prices Jumped in August by the Most in 6 Years as Housing Market Steadily Recovers
The Washington Post | October 2, 2012
A measure of U.S. home prices jumped 4.6 percent in August compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase in more than six years.
MBA CEO blogs about homeownership on LinkedIn
HousingWire | October 2, 2012
David Stevens, the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association just wrote an introductory blog post on why housing matters on social media network LinkedIn. (You can read the actual blog post here)
The Secret to Top Social Media Content? Simplicity
InmanNext | September 25, 2012
If there’s one thing to be ascertained from social media, it’s that it’s a trial and error process. You have to experiment with different kinds of content and gauge which kinds get the best results. In the beginning, this is one of the biggest obstacles many real estate agents face. (If you are friends with me on Faebook or have liked our Stewart Title of Spokane page, you’ll notice the concept of “simplicity” is one I could grasp a little better. ~Anthony)
Cost of a Home: Impact of Interest Rates
The KCM Blog | October 2, 2012
(Here is a neat little graphic for buyers to look at and understand the impact rates have had on a $100,000 loan over the past 10 years. ~Anthony)
Las Vegas is the next Phoenix: Clear Capital
HousingWire | October 2, 2012
Despite its high REO saturation rate, Las Vegas is shaping up to be the next Phoenix as it exhibits concentrated gains in discounted home price segments.
How Joseph Stiglitz Misread the Risks at Fannie Mae
The Wall Street Journal | October 1, 2012
In the two decades before a cascade of mortgage defaults forced the U.S. government to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September 2008, the two mortgage companies regularly reassured anyone who would listen that nothing of the sort would ever happen.
Casualties of Chesapeake’s ‘Land Grab” Spread’
Reuters | October 1, 2012
Chesapeake Energy has exploited little-known laws in at least four states to force land owners to hand over drilling rights and sometimes forfeit profits. Land brokers, land owners and lawyers say such deals are pushing ethical and legal limits.
Where the Single-Family Rental Market is Heading: Capital Economics
DSNews.com | October 1, 2012
No doubt, the potential of the REO to rental market has caught the attention of both individual and institutional investors. But, what is the potential of the REO to rental market, and how long will it continue? In a recent report authored by economist Paul Diggle, Capital Economics addressed those questions.
Lawyers Get Rich Off Consumer Bureau
CNN Money | October 1, 2012
As the government’s consumer watchdog cracks down on banks, debt collectors, student lenders and other financial players, law firms are stepping up to protect them — and profiting nicely as a result.
This Housing Pickup Won’t Drive Much Economic Growth
CNN Money | October 1, 2012
Bright spots in the housing market are certainly a welcome relief, but it’s going to take something dramatic to impact GDP.
The estate tax: complexity needn’t be that complicated
Forbes | September 4, 2012
Let’s consider a financial topic most business owners seek to avoid at all costs … estate taxes. Business owners are loath to consider this arcane topic because it involves death and taxes, and it’s just plain complex. (From a reader: “I’m surprised that I don’t hear more about estate planning issues these days. As you know, the maximum lifetime exemption for federal estate tax is currently $5 million. On December 31, that exemption will expire and the maximum will go WAY down (unless congress acts otherwise….right!!!). Many people have a small window of opportunity between now and the end of the year to take advantage and save their heirs a lot of tax money. I, for one, don’t expect the exemption to ever be that high again, regardless of who is elected.”)
Bank of America to extinguish up to 150,000 second liens
HousingWire | October 1, 2012
Borrowers with second liens owned and serviced by Bank of America may qualify to get their subordinate debt extinguished entirely. (I don’t usually post lender-specific news stories but this one seems hard to ignore.~Anthony)
Foreign Residential Invasion: Why the New Neighbors May Not Speak Your Language
NBC News | September 28, 2012
Foreign purchases of U.S. homes have climbed by 24 percent since 2011, reports the National Association of Realtors, reaching $82.5 billion in total annual sales, and helping brace once-creaky markets like Miami.
Knowing When to Downsize
The Wall Street Journal | September 28, 2012
How can you tell when a home that was once perfect is now too big?
Meet The New Subprime: It Will Cost Us Billions
Forbes | September 30, 2012
When will our government come to realize that not everyone in this country can own a home? Not an issue of cruelty or insensitivity or lack of dream for Utopia, but a simple matter of economics. Not everyone has 20% or even 10% to make a bona fide down payment and have the subsequent income to comfortably service the debt.
Housing Alert: Short Sales May Be in Big Trouble
CNBC | September 28, 2012
As lenders plow through a backlog of over five million delinquent mortgages, short sales are becoming an ever more popular escape route. A short sale is when the bank allows a home to be sold for less than the value of the mortgage.
Mortgage Lenders Set Higher Standards for the Average Borrower
The Washington Post | September 29, 2012
With 30-year mortgage rates hitting new lows and recent borrowers’ payment performance the best by far in decades, you’d think that banks and other lenders might be loosening up on their hyper-strict underwriting standards. (Lender-readers, are we seeing underwriting standards continue to become tighter? ~Anthony)
Capital Economics: Window for building single-family rental portfolios closing
HousingWire | October 1, 2012
As home prices recover, investors looking to create pools of single-family rental properties could find themselves late to the party as values go up, Capital Economics warned in a report Monday.
Rock Doc: Hopefully, Ranier stays silent
The Spokesman-Review | October 1, 2012
Mount Rainier is a stunning site. At more than 14,000 feet, its summit is worthy of respect from even serious hikers. There’s no wonder it’s a national park. Mount Rainier is also a deadly volcano. It hasn’t erupted since 1894, but that’s not long ago to a geologist – we are sure it’s only sleeping and will be heard from again. And when she blows, great may be the calamity that ensues. (This article reminds me of two things: First, that I am fascinated by volcanoes. Second, that I’m glad I live east of the Cascades for many reasons. ~Anthony)
Below you’ll find one of the best articles I’ve seen in a while on short sales, a great look at real estate malpractice claims, and don’t miss the reader-feedback generated blog at the bottom. Thanks for reading! ~Anthony
Home Prices Rise Again, This Time on the Low End
The New York Times | September 25, 2012
The housing market continues to gather strength, and the biggest gains in price now appear to be among the least expensive homes, whose values fell the most in the downturn and have weighed against any would-be recovery.
Short Sales – 10 Common Myths Busted
The KCM Blog | September 26, 2012
There are some huge misconceptions when it comes to a short sale vs. a foreclosure. We take the most common myths surrounding both short sales and foreclosures and give a brief explanation. LET’S BUST SOME MYTHS!!
Report: Why Investors Should Consider Properties in Small Towns
DSNews.com | September 25, 2012
Major metro areas such as Phoenix and Atlanta aren’t the only places where investments opportunities abound. (Note: The author and the study define a “small town” as one between 200,000 and 500,000 people. That seems more “midsize” to me, but regardless Spokane falls in that category. ~Anthony)
Study Shows 25 Percent of Americans Would Delay Home Purchase Until After Election
RISMedia | September 25, 2012
When it comes to buying a home, 25 percent of Americans would like to know who the next president will be before they would feel totally comfortable putting their money down.
Real Estate Legal Malpractice Claims On the Rise
Akron Legal News | September 25, 2012
The American Bar Association names real estate malpractice claims as the leading cause of malpractice actions in its “Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims: 2008-2011″ report.
Consumers Back to Feeling Flush
The Wall Street Journal | September 25, 2012
After two years of falling incomes and penny-pinching, Americans opened their wallets in 2011, ramping up spending on everything from restaurants and clothing to health care.
Is Housing Risen From Ashes? ‘Industry Has Come Back’
CNBC | September 25, 2012
After falling to depths not seen since the Great Depression, the U.S. housing market may finally be rising from the ashes.
Lenders may see different score
The Spokesman-Review | September 26, 2012
About 1 in 5 consumers are likely to receive credit scores that differ substantially from those used by lenders, according to a government study released Tuesday.
Here is a new reader-response blog I just posted based on feedback I got last week. Keep it coming!
First Time Homebuyer’s Programs, Investing in Real Estate, and Agents’ Feedback on Answering their Phone
What’s the point of a contract in an eminent domain world?
HousingWire | September 24, 2012
The mortgage and real estate crisis in America will inevitably shape the way housing consumption is viewed across the U.S. But what’s even more obvious – yet less highlighted in the media – is the dramatic impact the mortgage fallout and the subsequent rescue measures will have on property laws and our view of contract law in America.
U.S. Home Prices Rose More Than Forecast in Year to July
Bloomberg | September 25, 2012
Home prices in the U.S. climbed more than forecast in July from a year earlier, adding to signs that housing will spur economic growth.
So You Want to Be a Broker
The New York Times | September 21, 2012
(Here is an interesting look at three folks of different ages and backgrounds that chose to be real estate brokers in New York. A couple of things that caught my attention: the home prices in New York -seriously?- and I enjoyed reading their reasons for entering real estate as a career. ~Anthony)
Economists Bullish on Housing Recovery
Inman News | September 20, 2012
Home prices will see steady increases through 2016 starting this year, according to a quarterly survey of more than 100 economists, real estate experts and investment strategists.
Avoiding Closing Derailment
Realty Times | September 24, 2012
Eighty percent of the problems in closing transactions fall into three basic areas. Stay on the lookout for these problems and solutions to steer your transactions clear of as much trouble as possible.
What Gen Y Wants in an Apartment, and How They Find It
MultiFamily Executive | September 25, 2012
Whether Gen Y apartment prospects are relying on a single source to inform their selection of a rental community or tapping into a variety of channels, the Millennial approach to finding an apartment is comparatively (and perhaps not surprisingly) more tech-savvy than searches conducted by other demographics.
Steps to Build Good Credit With Your First Credit Card
Fox Business News | September 25, 2012
(This is a GREAT article to pass along to anyone you know who is just dipping their toes into the credit pool. Good advice here. For home buyers/borrowers, check out Five Quick Ways to Boost Your Credit Score to Get a Mortgage ~Anthony)
6 Things a Successful Real Estate Blog Must Do – Part 1
Taylor Christian Marketing | September 22, 2012
(This provides some great insight into how to make your blog a success; it’s worth reading if you’re at all interested in blogging for your business – whether it’s real estate or something else. The author also happens to be a friend of mine. ~Anthony)
Council reduces apartment, condo subsidy zones
Spokesman-Review | September 25, 2012
It will be harder next year to qualify for tax subsidies to build apartments and condos in Spokane.
We received quite a bit of feedback on the two most popular articles we had last week, check them out if you missed them: Listing search of diminishing value for agent websites and Why real estate agents don’t answer the phone
‘Horifying’ Find in Ohio Foreclosure
RealtorMag | September 21, 2012
In foreclosed homes, it’s not uncommon to find belongings the previous owner left behind, such as furniture, clothes, or piles of trash. But a foreclosure in Dayton, Ohio, gave police possibly one of their most shocking finds yet — boxes containing the cremated remains of 56 people.
Agents and Twitter: Where You’re Going Wrong and How to Fix It
InmanNext | September 21, 2012
There have been endless articles written educating agents on how to use Twitter. There are also a ton of helpful posts about how to manage your time on the site so that you maximize your success without getting caught up in the world of pointless tweets.
Investors raise $8 billion for REO
HousingWire | September 21, 2012
Larger Wall Street investors rushing into the REO market have raised between $6 billion and $8 billion for acquisitions, according to analysts at investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
Home Woes May Scuttle Your FHA Mortgage
MarketWatch | September 24, 2012
What’s a sure way to slow down approval of your FHA mortgage? Try to close on a property that doesn’t meet its safety, soundness and security requirements.
How Nixon Expanded Fannie Mae’s Footprint
The Wall Street Journal | September 21, 2012
A look back: Rather than weaning the mortgage market from dependence on Fannie, President Nixon increased it by signing the Emergency Home Finance Act of 1970.
Resolving unpaid HOA accounts before it’s too late
InmanNews | September 21, 2012
Delinquent homeowners owe homeowner associations (HOAs) about $1 billion in back dues, according to a Bloomberg News source, and the HOAs desperately want that money back — in some extreme cases in order to survive. (This article is aimed at servicers of loans, I include it because it seems to me that the real estate industry could soon be dealing primarily with this kind of service for HOAs rather than working with the neighborhood leadership on collections. ~Anthony)
5 Reasons to Sell Now
The KCM Blog | September 24, 2012
Many sellers feel that the Spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand increases at that time of year. However, the Fall and Winter have their own advantages. Here are five reasons to to sell now. (The article lists some solid reasons to sell now rather than wait until Spring. Do you agree and can you think of some other great reasons to list your home now? What about commercial real estate? ~Anthony)
School district in talks with city to buy Joe Albi Stadium
The Spokesman-Review | September 24, 2012
Spokane Public Schools has an interest in buying Joe Albi Stadium. (You can give us your opinion on our Facebook page poll! https://www.facebook.com/#!/stewarttitlespokane )
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Anthony V. Carollo / President
Stewart Title of Spokane