Get in the Know…now!

We recently attended the RISMedia convention in New York and have compiled notes that I will share with you on what was discussed and comment – occasionally how it will affect our business and ask that you do research on certain topics to inform yourself to give our clients the most up-to-date information so they can make the right decisions when buying or selling a house.

Finance update


There have been two price increases on FHA loans recently – upfront MI and monthly MI.

-Lenders paid less on FHA loans.

-FHA loan amounts decrease.

-Potential increase in down payment requirements are also on the horizon.

-FHA Loans are 30% of the market.

-MI – 5% down training on MI is required for agents who want to stay in the know!

Additional facts on the market:

-2/3 mortgage applications don’t go through.

-Do consumers understand the process of obtaining credit – no – Agents are transactional

-7 million people have been out of work for 26+ weeks.

-19.8% of all prior mortgages are 90+days delinquent.

-Eminent defaults are on the horizon – stay tuned.

-60 million + people with less than 630 credit score.

Lenders are looking for point of sale contact with Realtors

-Want to help you grow your biz and attract more agents into their database?

The question is how?

-Training and education

-Shared marketing dollars


-Exposure to listings through marketing ventures.

– What else can they provide?

GSE’s are stagnant on Capitol Hill and we shouldn’t expect progress anytime soon.  Too much else is on their plate.

270 points in Dodd-Frank bill – The lending industry WILL change.  We are expecting to receive talking points of the bill for you to share with your clients so stay tuned!

Do you know what Qualified Residential Mortgages are?  It is important to stay up on the trends.  QRM will push a 1/3 of Buyers out of market.  The comment period on QRM ends 6/10/2011 – get in the know and make your comments to your elected officials!

“Stuff” is thrown up against the wall right on Capitol Hill now to see what sticks

 – A tax on new home sales was proposed so that the existing home inventory could get absorbed and new home sales would subside as a result.

What is the HAMP Mod’s default rate within 6 months?  It occurs 60% of the time.

Average consumer has 13 credit obligations – 9 credit cards.

48% of college students leave school with bad credit

58% of college grads move home because of poor credit.

Ask your clients, “What is likelihood of you buying furniture, blinds, etc., if you do, can you really afford this house with this additional debt?”

Become a long term trusted advisor for your clients – provide valuable content – early and often.

Education is a continued effort so get educated.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!


Slow & steady we move along…

The real estate market is moving steadily along today but with reservation.  As corporations continue to move into our area and the state attracts businesses all over the Commonwealth, we were ranked #7 in the most transient states in the country – pretty impressive for those of us selling houses!  In order to be successful, you have to find the buyers and sellers so get out there and get busy looking – they won’t come to you, you have to go to them!

In addition to this, existing home sales increased 7.6% in April.  This was expected as the home buyer tax credit was set to expire but let’s keep a close eye on this in the coming months and see if the sales momentum continues.  We should be in good shape and should continue to outpace the rest of the country as we continue to create jobs, have affordable housing prices, and interest rates remain low.

Not only did existing home sales increase but so did new home sales!  New home sales rose 14.8% in April – the highest performance in two years!  Be wary however as the pace of new home permits dropped 10.7% in April as well.  We can expect this number to drop next month as a result of fewer permits being issued couple with low builder inventory.

Mortgage interest rates also continue to be a driving force in continued sales.  This week it was reported interest rates are at their lowest level since December as the instability in financial markets overseas have lowered borrowing costs.  If rates continue to stay low, buyers will understand the fundamentals for ownership are strong and will continue buy homes.

Another key to the market continuing to blossom this spring is consumer confidence.  As the economy continues to improve and we ease out of the recession, consumers believe their personal situation is improving and as a result, they are spending again.  As we know, consumers drive the recovery in their “perception” of their situation and not necessarily, reality.

Now, let’s talk about the reservation part of the blog.  Although refinance applications remain strong – they have increased 3 consecutive weeks – purchase applications have continued to decrease and have done so four consecutive weeks.  As a result, purchase applications have dropped to their lowest levels since 1997.  Keep a close eye on this number as it indicates future settlements on home purchases.

Next, is the double dip in home prices that Dave Stevens mentioned at our year end meeting in December.  Two price indices – the dreaded S&P Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported housing price decreases in the first quarter.  As we have mentioned, the under $400,000 market and the $800,000 – $1,000,000 market continue to be strong but the inventory priced between $400,000 – $800,000 are still trying to find the bottom and that is where a majority of our houses are priced today.  Couple this with the fact that mortgage delinquency rates have hit 10% – a record.  If these homes go into foreclosure and don’t end up as a HAP sale or a short sale, prices could continue to slide.

Lastly, another monkey wrench that could be thrown into the equation that could affect getting home loans is if Fannie Mae implements the right to pull credit up until the day of closing.  It can have a significant impact on a purchaser’s ability to close on their loan if their credit score goes down by just one point.  As we know, it is monkey see monkey do in the lending arena so others may implement this same strategy to limit the number of defaults in the future.  Stay tuned for further details.

So, what do you do?  Work!  As previously mentioned – people are buying and selling houses here in Northern Virginia – get out there and network.  Create urgency – rates won’t stay this low forever, prices will increase and if you can afford the home today, buy it.  Be a professional Realtor and set yourself apart from others in the industry and you will survive in any market.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Mortgage Fraud

As a leader in real estate, I am repeatedly asked specific questions about today's market – especially in today's economy. In an effort to provide more information to my community, I commited to providing current information that everyone may find useful. Here are the ways you can protect yourself from fraud….

Many of the challenges homeowners and home buyers are confronting today are the result of unscrupulous mortgages extended over the past several years. Help protect yourself during the home buying process with these tips from the American Homeowners Foundation and the American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance,, or in Canada, with tips found at

1. Deal only with reputable mortgage bankers or mortgage brokers.
Get recommendations from neighbors and friends who dealt with them as customers. Check on the mortgagor’s record with the local Better Business Bureau and state licensing authority. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I can also provide you with many credible mortgage resources.

2. Ask how long they have been in the business,
and be wary of working with someone with less than five years experience, no matter how reputable their employer may be.

3. Unlike professional real estate agents like myself, mortgagors owe you no fiduciary duty. While it is in the long-term interest of mortgage lenders and brokers to treat consumers fairly, for many, that doesn’t stand in the way of charging higher fees or interest rates. Always get quotes from at least three mortgage lenders and/or brokers, and make sure each one knows you are doing so.

4. Since you’ll be providing them the most comprehensive personal financial information you’ll ever provide any company, ask the lender to describe their data security policies, both online and offline.

5. To reduce the likelihood of overpaying for a home, make sure that you review recent selling prices for similar homes in the same neighborhood before you make an offer. I can provide you with a detailed analysis of the homes in our communities.

6. Set aside some extra money for closing costs. One of the vexations of real estate financing are the differences in estimated settlement costs on the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) forms, and the actual settlement costs, which very often include several hundred additional dollars worth of previously undisclosed and creatively named fees.

7. Pick the right kind of mortgage. Interest rates are higher on 30 year fixed rate loans than on 15 year fixed rate loans. Adjustable rate mortgages are always a gamble. You may well save money over the first few years if interest rates are dropping, but predicting their direction further out is very speculative. Prepayment penalties can more than offset any savings if the rates go up after that and you want to refinance.

8. Get pre-approved for your loan.
Even though there is a glut of homes for sale in most areas right now, a mortgage loan pre-approval is essential to many sellers, and gives a big negotiating advantage to buyers in almost all cases.

9. It is important to review loan documents in advance and understand all the terms. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try to avoid loans with prepayment penalties if at all possible.

10. Save all the copies of all documents
you receive and/or provide mortgage lenders or brokers.