Category Archives: Real Estate news

Real Estate Today 10-1-2012

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.

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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)


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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 9-26-2012

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 | 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

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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 9-25-2012

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)

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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.


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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 9-24-2012

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!!/stewarttitlespokane )



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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 9-21-2012

Why real estate agents don’t answer the phone
InmanNews | September 20, 2012
We get a bad rap from the experts for not answering our phones. In spite of all the coaching and complaining, it doesn’t seem to get any better. There will always be agents who do not return phone calls, and we deserve all of the criticism we get — even when the calls are not actually going to us because of the way we market ourselves. (I’m curious to hear from agents on this article. ~Anthony)

5 Surprising Home Buyer Turn-Offs
Trulia | September 19, 2012
The prospect of selling your home effectively makes you a marketer. And effective marketing requires that you understand the mind and priorities, likes and dislikes of your target buyer. In real estate, we all know that buyers like to see homes that are pristine, huge and well-located. Sometimes, though, it’s much harder to recognize when our own homes might actually be triggering buyers’ distaste – or disgust. 

Canceled Contracts Dog Real-estate Recovery
MarketWatch | September 20, 2012
An average of nearly 18% of signed contracts on existing home sales were canceled during the three months ending July, according to data released this month by Capital Economics. (Failed contracts- what’s your market doing? ~Anthony)

Economists Far More Optimistic on Future of Housing Prices: Survey
DSNews | September 20, 2012
A strengthening housing market in the past few months has economists making more bullish predictions about the recovery, Zillow revealed Thursday.

Discussion: Does Home Staging Pay Off?
The Wall Street Journal | September 20, 2012
Do luxury listings really need rented furniture to sell?

Deutsche Bank Claims Housing Correction Complete
HousingWire | September 20, 2012
Recent indicators showed housing has largely corrected back to pre-bubble levels and affordability, according to a note from Deutsche Bank analysts.

3 Macro Indicators Predicting a Real Estate Rally
NBC News | September 20, 2012
In what can only be considered a hallmark week for real estate, new macro indicators have given further validity to the hope that the housing market is solidly improving. Read below for the good news, as well as five different companies poised for profit.

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Unhappy at Work? Find Out Where You Fit
The Wall Street Journal | September 20, 2012
Ever had the sneaking suspicion that you’d be happier at another company? Here’s a way to put that hunch to the test.

Rep. Neugebauer questions CFPB six-figure salaries
HousingWire | September 20, 2012
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, is questioning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s decision to pay six-figure salaries to 958 staff members.


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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Real Estate news


Real Estate Today 9-20-2012

10 best states for first-time homebuyer help
MSN Real Estate | September 2012
Achieving the American dream has long been associated with owning a home. Yet for many of today’s would-be homebuyers, economic uncertainty has called that dream into question.  (OK experts, here is your chance to shine!  What great programs do we have available to first-time homebuyers in the Northwest? ~Anthony)

Some Markets See Inventories Cut Nearly in Half
RealtorMag | September 19, 2012
The number of homes for sale in the last year is falling the most in California, with eight of the top 10 biggest drops in inventories in the last year from metro areas in the Golden State. Many California metros are also seeing asking prices on the rise in the last year, too. (One NW area metro makes the list – which one is it?)

U.S. Banks on High Alert for Cyberattacks
Columbus Dispatch | September 19, 2012
A financial-services industry group warned banks yesterday to be on heightened alert for cyberattacks after Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. experienced unexplained outages on their public websites.

U.S. May Have Paid $1B in False Claims
The Washington Post | September 19, 2012
Report finds HUD may have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in mortgage aid to homeowners who did not qualify for the help.

Housing Recovery Nuanced at the Local Level
The Wall Street Journal | September 19, 2012
Today’s existing-home sales numbers from the National Association of Realtors, paired with today’s Census data on housing starts and a boost in builder confidence from earlier this week, paint a picture of housing on the mend.

Meet the New Boss: Big Data
The Wall Street Journal | September 20, 2012
At more and more companies, the hiring boss is an algorithm, as jobs that were once filled on the basis of work history and interviews are left to personality tests and data analysis.

Incomes Fell or Stagnated Last Year
The Wall Street Journal | September 19, 2012
The income of the typical U.S. family fell or was flat in almost every state last year, with the drop particularly steep in places where the economy has been hit hard by the housing bust.

Real Estate Investors Plan to Purchase More Homes in U.S.
BusinessWeek | September 20, 2012
Almost two-thirds of U.S. residential real estate investors plan to buy as many as or more homes in the next 12 months than they have in the past year even as prices rise, according to a survey released today.  

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Today I’d like to hear from real estate investors (or their agents):  What sectors provide the best opportunities?  What advice do you have for a prospective first-time investor?  What your personal market outlook for investment real estate?  (Both residential real estate and commercial real estate) 


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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Real Estate news


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Real Estate Today 9-19-2012

Take a look at the loan officers article at the bottom.  It seems to me lots of folks are still frustrated with their world, and I know that is not limited to loan officers.  The economy is hard for everyone, and will continue to be, until we see full a recovery.  I also found the article on REO discounts interesting in that it offers some great perspective.  Thanks for reading! ~Anthony

HOA Meeting Turns Deadly
RealtorMag | September 18, 2012
Homeowner association meetings can get heated as neighbors fight with neighbors or dispute board rules. But a recent HOA meeting in Louisville, Ky., resulted in two people dead.

Existing-Home Sales Soar to 27-Month High in August | September 19, 2012
Existing-home sales rose 7.8 percent to 4.82 million in August – the highest level since May 2010 – the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.

Mile-High Skyscraper Possible by 2025 as Ego Fuels Race to Top
Bloomberg | September 18, 2012
A mile-high skyscraper, almost double the height of today’s tallest building, may become a reality by 2025 as developing countries splurge cash in an ego- fueled race to construct the world’s highest tower.

Shiller: ‘Not Ready Yet’ to Call Housing Bottom
CNBC | September 18, 2012
It would take at least a year of price increases to call a recovery in the housing market, Yale University economist and housing expert Robert Shiller said Tuesday on CNBC.

Housing Recovery: More Reasons to Be Bullish
The Wall Street Journal | September 18, 2012
The much-ballyhooed housing recovery just got some more good news.

Why REO Discounts Vary So Greatly: FHFA | September 18, 2012
Calculations for REO discounts can differ on extreme levels. In a mortgage market note from FHFA, the agency explained the common reasons behind the variations.

Survey: 24% of Loan Officers Consider Firm Leaders ‘Illogical’
The | September 18, 2012
Twenty-four percent of loan officers think their firm leaders lead with “unclear” and “illogical” visions, according to a recent survey.

I got some great feedback from a loan officer on yesterday’s edition of the news, and I thought it worth sharing.  One of the comments was on the “Mortgage Cops” article and the other was on the article about folks that still carry a rate on their loan of over 5%.  Good stuff, keep it coming! 

“Mortgage Cops and comments were very interesting. Many of them had good points. I wonder where the law lies in all this? I don’t think strategically defaulting is fraud, so I’m not sure that argument works. It also seems the deed of trust doesn’t address any sort of criminal prosecution if default occurs. What do you think? (ME: I’m not sure that a strategic default is fraud, I’m not saying it isn’t, I simply don’t know.  The article seemed to say that they’re going after some of the strategic default borrowers for reimbursement, and then the fraud can come into play if they turn around and fib and a loan application. ~Anthony)

Mortgage rates over 5%- If Fannie and Freddie would simplify the process, it might actually work. Making people credit qualify when they have been paying on-time for years doesn’t make sense. If they can make the higher payment, they obviously can make the lower. I’ve had a few get rejected on high DTI (debt to Income) ratio even though they have been making their payment for years. Seems to me if they come out with a program that has payment history at it’s core qualifier, many more would be served.  

They also need to bring back high net worth/ asset depletion as a means for qualifying. I recently had a retired borrower with 800 credit score and $1,000,000 in assets (half of it cash so there is no risk of loss on $500,000) and was turned down on a $250,000 purchase due to Fannie Freddie guides. Seriously? This is the lowest risk borrower on the planet. No job to lose, plenty of money, perfect credit history. Then walks in the 640 credit with previous BK (bankruptcy) and short term job history. No problem for that person.  

Oh well, common sense and the financial industry don’t seem to hang out with each other to often.”

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Real Estate news

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