Our Monthly Real Estate Information Exchange at the Market Street Grill was once again filled with lively conversation, outstanding & relevant real estate information and great networking opportunities. We covered topics such as short sales and recent bank changes. We are hearing more about banks asking for mortgagees to hold a reduced note, interest free for up to 7 years to offset the mortgagors losses and the impact it is having on getting short sales through. The conversation also went on to discuss reporting MRIS violations on listing agents who do not properly change the status on listings with contracts in our multiple listing service. We also discussed which areas are “emerging” as hot markets and where we are seeing more multiple contract situations occur. More frustration was discussed about how we are having increasing difficulty with cooperating agents and getting responses from them in a timely fashion and how to handle them through Professional Standards to “police” our own. We also covered our recent involvement in Top 5 in Real Estate and how it will help us differentiate us from others in the industry as well as help us promote ourselves more professionally to the public. On the mortgage side we reviewed how ARMs are a great alternative to fixed rates as fixed rates continue to rise. FHA 5/1 ARMS are currently at 3.5% with caps of 1 and 5 – a very viable option for many buyers in our market today! Conventional 5/1 ARMs are at just 3.625% – very attractive as well! We also heard that NVR had acquired WCI’s land holdings in Northern Virginia out of bankruptcy court on Tuesday by outbidding several other National Builders.