Is it over yet? Why Northern Virginia Home Sales Went On A Wild Roller Coaster Ride

October took the real estate market roller coaster ride.

Rates went up, rates came down.  Sales went down, sales went up.  Inventory rose, inventory came back down.

Real Estate Market Roller Coaster Ride 31OCT2013

In some areas, the number of multiple contracts went down, then they went back up.  Inventory of short sales and foreclosures were down, then they rose but luckily by not too much.  The government shut down and the government opened back up – luckily, it was not too long and did not have a tremendous impact on the housing market.

Our emotions went up, our emotions came back down, as there was a lot of concern about delays in closings associated with the shut down because of the reduced number of employees at FHA and the IRS, but we avoided a potential disaster there.  Additionally, we were worried about the government defaulting on their debt which would have sent interest rates skyrocketing, and again, fortunately, this did not happen.

Even though there were so many ups and downs, the market in October this year was still better compared to a year ago.  There were more home sales, higher home prices and more homes for sale for buyers to choose from, although the uncertainty skewed people’s perception.  So now you know why October was such a roller coaster for real estate.

What lies ahead on the horizon as we enter the winter market?  My belief is we will be in our typical winter market.  Homes will come off the market for the holidays.  Motivated, savvy buyers will be out buying homes.  Interest rates will remain in the low 4% range.  Home prices will continue to stabilize throughout the Northern Virginia area.  Houses that are priced right, in the right condition and right location will see multiple offers and our market won’t be as up and down as it was in October.  Basically, we will continue to have a robust housing market locally.

To learn more about your situation, please feel free to call me today. Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway, LLC

An Xplosive amount of information!!!!!

We recently went to the Xplodethis Conference – a quick hitting, action packed, content rich event that offered the latest in real estate technology and some of the best speakers in the industry.  Here are the notes that will be helpful to you and your business!

MRIS – 12,000 agents have not done a transaction in the last year, 13,000 have done fewer than 3 transactions – basically 40% of agents don’t do the business!  If real estate is your business, technology is your platform – you have to get on the technology bandwagon to be successful!

Mobile is where it’s at for the consumer AND agents – have data on demand in your hand!  We are still in a people business – technology only helps you communicate.  In the next 3-5 years, more searches will be done a mobile device than PC. 

Study of consumers:

  1. Last 10 years – #1 complaint is not enough or lack of communication
  2. This year – consumers feel they are MORE educated about the product than the agent

Top 5 uses of tablets

36 new tablets will be released this year in this market – top 2 – Ipad2 and Motorola Xoom

  1. Data on demand
  2. Real estate searches – has high res. photos
  3. Planning calendars/Contacts
  4. Presentations – shows content and value
  5. Video capability

Top 9 Apps

  1. – can draw a circle around where your clients want to live
  2. ReaddleDocs/PDF Expert –iPad – opens PDF files
  3. Sign my pad – iPad – signature application
  4. Karl Jeacie’s Mortgage calculator
  5. Evernote – voice audio now
  6. Dropbox
  7. Cam card
  8. Cam scanner
  9. Hootsuite – manages all posts to social media

Today’s consumer is multi-media, multi-taskers – find people who would not normally find you

  • Watch TV while surfing the we
  • Surf magazines and scan QR codes
  • On phone and laptop at same time
  • 85% of people find your website other than direct search
  • Your marketing shouldn’t cost you money, it should make you money
  • Check out Agents of Change

Let people know you are Realtor – direct FB, Twitter, Linkedin to your blog where you talk about real estate and incorporate 365 things to do in your area

Use video – neighborhood videos, personal videos of clients about neighborhoods, schools, etc.

Use location – 4square and learn how people are looking to find locations

Use Twitter – use as an educational tool to do your job better – research think tanks, follow experts, get information and share and use in your business.  Find answers for people

Blog – neighborhoods, business, and valuable content so you receive leads!!!  Work your butt off as it is not a magic pill be consistent, be persistent and don’t quit – don’t be afraid to have an opinion – find a unique place and unique vision.

Google –

  • – group resizing, renaming, add to Google maps, collage, add to Facebook, post to Youtube movies
  • – transcribes voicemail, sends text message and you can call back
  • – lets you see where someone is at all times with their permissions
  • –allows you to sync all mobile devices at one time to calendars
  • – URL shortened – similar to tiny URL – creates Analytics and QR codes automatically
  • Maps – you can send maps to their GPS or as an email look at Matt’s video on how to use this feature www.
  • – monitors the power usage at your home but needs to be compliant with power companies
  • URL – use for adding every post you put on internet
  • – monitors information on what you want to follow and helps you monitor your online reputation – yourself, your listings & share with your clients, your company, your competition
  • Add where your listing is located – Vienna, Fairfax County, VA – in MRIS to get better mojo in Google
  • – add your business address and you can get analytics from it as well

14% of people trust what you say about 91% believe what others say about you – peer recommendations are so important today – go to rate-an-agent on Google and see what happens.

Sites where agents can be rated – you are being rated so you better check out what people are saying about you

  • Homethinking
  • Incredibleagents
  • Ratemyagent
  • Mountainofagents

Need to have a plan to ask to recommend you – please go to www.blah/blah/ and ask to recommend you there…Don’t take my word for it – see what others say!


  1. – search to see which site is best
  2. – aggregates all of your reviews so you can put a badge on your email, website, etc. and have people look at and review you

People want sold data from your website

302 million people are considered mobile users – more texts are sent than phone calls being made

Mobile web is growing 8 times faster than traditional web did 10 years ago.  Incorporate mobile into your listing presentation and speak about your solution to this for your clients.  Lower bounce rates and higher capture rates with mobile website.

Video optimization – video=leads=$ – video houses, your profile, and testimonials.  It’s not about what you think – it’s about what they Google!  Become a local provider of content that national companies don’t have the capability to provide.

Universal SERPs Results – 84% Informational – 18% Navigational – 8% Buy from me sell with me – do “how to” videos.  Do “Town Tours” – restaurants, schools, politicians, shopping centers, new homes, etc. and tag them properly.

Most Googled term is “how to” – how to move, how to fix a plumbing issue, how to anything and

Clients want to see video 6 times to 1 over text.

84% of rankings on Google come from Youtube videos

Keep it short – under 2 minutes, use fluid head tripods – no Blair Witch production, make it slow when panning & tilting, don’t zoom in and out, always be in focus, have external microphones, lighting – use white balance/Iris, Rule of thirds – be off to one side or the other but not in the middle.  Rotate male and female voice overs if you are going to do voice overs.  Talk about benefits and features not the layout because they can see it in the video.  Always use studio lighting to hide shadows.  Make videos about what the consumer wants!!!

RPR is for Realtors only and provides tons of content for our clients – gotta see to believe!

Tips for a better website

  • Quick to load is important
  • Don’t want to have to scroll side to side to see all of the content
  • Upper right should be content information – your contact information is preferred here with a form to contact you
  • Don’t use stock photos on your site
  • Use video or professional photographer
  • Work for the client not the commission – don’t use these things (don’t use honest, integrity, etc.)
  • Don’t use featured listings
  • No one cares what you look like – photos of you shouldn’t highlight site
  • Website shouldn’t be built to appease sellers it is used to get new clients
  • Consumer wants to search – giant section and easy to find
  • Valuation models on site too
  • How’s the market?
  • Hyper local information on site.
  • Use Madlib example on your forms
  • – thanks Eric

QR code on brochure box flyers should drop you into your mobile website

  • Have a personal website
  • Actively market your website
  • Get mobile
  • QR codes on fliers
  • Get social on your website

Use tools that work best for you – video, digital signatures, and mobile devices are extremely critical today for Realtors to use and understand – don’t forget to USE YOUR OWN BRAIN

iPad is a great tool for agents to learn AND use effectively

Marketing and prospecting in real estate – how we receive information today is different than in the past but people still want to be reached out and touched.

If you are a knucklehead in the office you are probably worse on line

Every form of marketing reaches a specific audience – know who you are trying to reach and why.

AVM’s are strictly a baseline and are still not quite there.  Let’s you know if you are in the ballpark but remember they have a huge margin of error.  Set expectations of everyone in the process that there is a margin of error.

Use RBIntel to help support your offer or make a better one!  The stats go back 5 years…

If I were starting today – where would I begin to build an online presence?

  • Make it easy to search for homes
  • Create community landing pages
  • IFrame search into your listing page
  • Need lead capture – don’t have outside links on your site
  • Get local – talk about the community
  • Create content want to share
  • Publish more
  • Measure your results
  • Do a self-audit of your website

Social Media is relational not transactional

  • Provide real time breaking news in their city
  • Things to do/events
  • Every deal in driving radius of their house
  • Automate your updates – maintenance free
  • Social commerce – groupon/living social $25 for $1,000 cash back at closing when buying or selling a house with RE/MAX Gateway
  • Social discovery – drives social commerce
  • Airbnb is the Groupon of 2011 and will create real estate liquidity – your room for rent, your basement for rent, etc.
  • Become a media star through automated messages
  • Become indispensible resource to your clients

Track your customers, leads, contacts through CRM

Leads are:

  • Bogus
  • Suspects
  • Or real prospects

CARMA – Client Acquisition Relational Management Acquisition

Initially set up as a forecasting tool for Fortune 500 companies to project earnings

Understand CRM

  • What
  • Why
  • And, then how

A good CRM system integrates MLS data and transaction data

Intangibles of success in real estate

  • Likability – can you control it?  Yes!
  • Be intentional about your actions – if your actions depended upon someone liking you or not and this determined whether or not you were able to feed your kids do you believe you control your actions
  • Perception is reality.  There is a perception of you in the marketplace and you can’t control it – craft your message you want others to believe and get the perception to the public.

Reason for success of top 100 companies

  • Speed of implementation of systems
  • Take action

CRM is a strategy for managing a company’s interactions and engagements with customers, prospects and clients.

Today we are dealing with Social CRM – advocacy, experience, service support, marketing, PR, sales on a relational basis.

Involves technology to create the best type of CRM

  1. Organize
  2. Automate
  3. Synchronize business practices

Success marketing – putting your plan on paper

How many lead sources do you need to be intentional and direct about growing your business – 4 to 6 – these include but are not limited to your sphere, niche market, online, networking, farming, etc.  Put them in groups and market to them differently.

What data should you collect – personal profiles, demographics, and conversations.  Why?  To build the relationship!

What do you send to whom and when.  Think about this seriously.

Stop drip campaigns and create or start a two way conversation.  Send valuable content, have a call to action, and the human interaction is critical.

Communicate to connect with people, don’t talk at them!


E=Events in your life

R=Response to those events


  • Events happen to everyone
  • It’s not the events that cause you to be or feel the way you do, it’s your choice of response
  • There are always at least two responses to every event

How do we learn how to react?  Parents influence is the number one way they respond.

Nobody makes do you anything – you choose your response.  An example is “he made me so mad” – he didn’t make you mad, you chose to be mad.

Everyone has an emotional checking account – think, is there a different way to respond to events?  Our account is full at the beginning of the day and the events we encounter make us write checks for each one we have.  Think before you write you check and don’t write a $5 check for a $.50 event.   

Don’t let self-help turn into shelf help – use what you learn!

Wrap-up – get yourself a mobile device.  By 2012, more people will use mobile devices instead of personal computers.  We are in a “freeware” environment but it will become “payware”.  Data is king – provide the right tools to get the right information out clients.

In today’s ever changing real estate market, you need to stay ahead of the curve.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!

What have people been asking about the market lately?

There a few topics being reported by the media recently and we have been asked about as real estate professionals as well.  One is “is there going to be a double dip in housing prices?” another is “has your market hit bottom and how can you tell?”, “where are the foreclosures?” and “what do you see is happening in the market?”

Let’s answer these one at a time.  First, is there going to be a double dip in housing prices?  The answer is yes and no.  It depends upon where you live.  If your area continues to lose jobs, houses continue to languish on the market, foreclosed properties and short sales dominate your housing sale’s landscape, yes your market has a very good chance of seeing a double dip in housing prices because, unfortunately, these are all recipes for housing price declines.  As a nation, we have seen the overall housing prices drop 33% from their highs which is even worse than the depression era when housing prices decreased 31%.  Conversely, if you have job growth, brisk housing sales, and the housing market is not riddled with distressed properties, you will see stable to increasing prices.  It is a simple formula – jobs equal a strong housing market, no jobs equals a lousy housing market and consequently price declines.

The next one is, “has your market hit bottom and how can you tell?”  This one can be answered very much like the first one.  Are jobs coming back or have layoffs stopped?  Are people moving back into your area?  Are sale signs turning to sold signs?  How are the inventory levels on houses for sale?  With this question, be sure to take careful consideration of whether the houses were removed from the market or actually sold.  How are the days on the market?  What is the month supply of houses?  If these areas mentioned are flat or decreasing, you have seen the bottom or are getting close to it.  You are almost there if you are not already.

The last one is more difficult to answer, “Where are the foreclosures?”  We have been told on numerous occasions that banks are sitting on inventory waiting to release them on the market but fail to do so because they don’t want to take the losses on their books all at one time.   We have heard stories of the foreclosure process taking in excess of 400 days in certain states and evictions in others taking up to 900 days.  There are in excess of 6.5 million people 30 days late or more on their mortgages.  We don’t know how many will cure, how many will default or even specifically where they are but it has been reported that a majority of them are in the sand states.  The sand states make up Nevada, Arizona, California, and Florida.

Most everyone you hear from in the media, speak with or read about all concur that we need the housing market to come back so the economy can recover fully.  It seems to be a growing consensus amongst our Realtors that the media needs to help grow consumer confidence in the housing market and get the economy back on track.  In one of my upcoming blogs, we will discuss mortgage reform and its impact on the housing recovery.

It is time to understand the housing market so you can intelligently discuss this with clients, acquaintances, and others you meet.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!              

What’s up with our market?

There are home buyers out in Northern Virginia but they are savvy, price sensitive and condition critical.  As we have seen in the papers, read online, and heard on the news, the rest of the country is experiencing a double dip in home prices, and waves of foreclosures are going to hit the market spiraling prices even further.  All of this has made buyers in our area become very cautious and has lowered consumer confidence nationwide. 

Why do you ask are they this way?  Well, most of them are from someplace else and they have seen streets riddled with real estate signs, are from areas that have a 41 month supply of houses versus our 3.1 month supply of houses or have friends and relatives who have been unable to sell their house in other parts of the country.  This has an impact on their buying decision here and yes, they hear our area is different and understand the underlying reasons why our market is strong but they are still looking for “a deal”.  They scrutinize each property looking for excuses not to buy them versus finding reasons to buy them.  When there is a home that offers the right price (often below market)  that has been staged (painted in neutral or trendy colors, new carpeting and de-cluttered), in perfect condition (no broken window seals, leaky faucets, etc.) and in a great location (backing to trees, end of cul-de-sac, etc.) they swarm on this property like vultures.  Many times we will encounter multiple offers on these types of properties and see them escalate above list price.

If you are a seller and your home hasn’t sold, what should you do?  Lower the price – it is the least common denominator and makes up for many areas where the home may be lacking such as in condition or location.  Get the home staged, by a professional.  You could also offer a higher commission to the buyer’s agent as an inducement to sell your house.  Many sellers or listing agents are offering a lower commission as many buyer agents have accepted lower commission rates in the past few years  as a result of short sales and foreclosures (banks) only paying a lower fee so paying more can set you apart from the competition.  Be ready to negotiate to get your house sold.

If you are a buyer, what do you do?  You should be ready to be in competition if you are looking for the perfect house at the perfect price and be prepared to include an escalation clause with your contract.  As was mentioned early, these properties are typically seeing multiple offers that go above list price.  Buy a new home – pick your own colors, location, and avoid the competition.  Many builders have adjusted to the market and are priced to sell.  Make an offer on an almost perfect house and see what happens.  Often times, as homes stay on the market and sellers have many visitors with no contracts, they tend to be more reasonable with what the market is telling them in regards to pricing.  The idea for buyers is to just buy.  The housing affordability index hasn’t been this high since 1979!  Interest rates are at their lowest level this year and prices are reasonable plus, we have jobs and stability in our market place.

If you need to sell, this is a great time to do so.  If you are a buyer, you shouldn’t delay – prices and rates are not going to get lower in our area making this an opportunity of a lifetime.  Contact your RE/MAX Gateway professional today and get packing!

Conversations with Dave Stevens from FHA


At RE/MAX Gateway, we strive to bring the most current information and speakers to our agents enabling them to rise above our competition.  This past Friday was no different.  Our office of just 90 agents was able to secure the Commissioner of FHA to speak one on one with me and answer all of our agent’s questions – as candidly as he could – and took nearly 2 hours out of his busy schedule help us understand the role of FHA and the direction it is headed to aid in our economic recovery.  As we sat down with Dave Stevensfrom FHA, we thought we would share some highlights from our conversation.

· Where do you get your info?  There is no number one source, market data is complied on a weekly basis.  His belief is that Realtytrac has ineffective data and their foreclosure numbers are way off. NAR’s numbers aren’t accurate either, so FHA scrubs data from different sources. SIFMAis one of those sources (a bond tracking market group on Wall Street that reviews mortgage data). Looking at bonds reflects mortgages that are securitized, they won’t count any other mortgages that aren’t securitized. The majority of mortgages are securitized with Fannie Mae as the servicer for all Fannie and Freddie loans. As a part of Dave’s plan, he wants to have more numbers up on the HUD website for everyone to see and use.  

· Information for policy changes depends on the policy. For RESPA, that change started in 2005 and took until 2010 to be complete, pass and get out to the public.  Sometimes they can happen more quickly as is the case with mortgagee letters.

· We have been reading about upcoming changes for mortgage brokers, what will these changes reflect? Lenders will need to be directly responsible to FHA for the loans they underwrite for brokers.  As it stands today, lenders have different guidelines for loans they originate for themselves and others that they originate for brokers.  So, at this time, brokers don’t underwrite or fund loan their own loans and therefore if someone defaults, it is on the US taxpayer to foot the bill on the defaults for loans they originate.  Today the guidelines to be FHA approved are:  a broker only needs $250,000 in net assets; only $67,000 needs to be in tangible assets; of the $67,000 only 20% of theses tangible assets need to be in cash – only $13,400. This change was proposed because brokers can’t back the loans they are originating, so when goes into default, who do they go after?  The taxpayer.  FHA wants to make sure that they can stand up to what the loans they are generating. 

· The world has no faith in our mortgage system right now. The Bank of China was the largest buyer of MBS (mortgage backed securities); basically they were buying our debt. The government had to step in and start buying because China has lost their faith in our system and stopped buying them.  They got burned from the foreclosures so many people had from the loose underwriting policies of lenders.  Not everyone should be a home owner – some need to be renters.

· So what are some other policy changes on the horizon at FHA?  Some noted changes that we will see in the coming months are…

o   Currently, the Streamline Refinance will allow you to refinance and give you a new fixed rate, no questions asked. No appraisal, no credit check and at 105% loan to value. In January, streamlined FHA Refinance’s will be full document loans with appraisals, etc. One of the reasons behind this is because a company, Fortress bought MBS and bought distressed assets, got them to perform, turned them into FHA loans, then streamline refinanced them and then went into default – with no recourse. Now, one true streamline refinance is left. It’s a refinance from balance to balance where the owner pays closing costs, etc. and it will stay in effect for a while. All other refinances through FHA will be subject to full document review.

o   Appraisals will see a new policy which takes the good parts of HVCC (House Values Code of Conduct) to create a new model. FHA would like to see more arms length transactions.   They are going to discontinue allowing the lender to order the appraisal because FHA feels they are too involved in the transaction as it is.  FHA is also working on shortening the term of getting another appraisal if a contract falls through and a new buyer purchases that home.  The new buyer will be assigned a new FHA case number and would not have to utilize the first appraisal.  Going forward, they would be able to get a new number and appraisal even if it’s within that 6 month window that is currently in place. Also, FHA is not mandating that lenders use an AMC (Appraisal Management Company) just the originator and appraiser cannot speak.  The lender could designate someone in their office to order the appraisals and that is acceptable with FHA. Additionally, the appraiser must know the local market in which they appraise.   There will not be a required mile radius for appraisers because of rural areas vs. suburban areas.  As agents we will also be able to deal with appraisal issues through dispute resolution which can be an issue for lenders who send appraisers without local knowledge and could result in litigation.

o   The capital reserves required for lenders to indemnify loans (loan loss) will go up to one million dollars immediately! Then $2.5 million in 2 years.  Again, 20% of that number has to be in tangible capital and even that number might change.  FHA wants lenders to have more skin in the game.  There will be more changes to come from Fannie, Freddie, etc. and for lenders who can participate with these programs will have to be more legit and have more money.

o   Brokers are not going to be approved by FHA.  They have no ability to pay for loans they originate that go into default. 

o   For Short sales, the Treasury Department and HUD have created a new process and it will take some time to figure it all out. There is a lot of concern with flips, unfair advantages of the system, etc.  These new guidelines roll out April 5th.  Dave is meeting with servicers on Monday to discuss these guidelines.  As we know, the government is pushing for loan modification.  Going forward, FHA will publish a scorecard monthly on how lenders are doing with loan modifications.  FHA is very concerned about moving distressed properties off the market while their main concern is keeping people in their homes.  Short sales guidelines discussion started in July.  FHA felt that we put too many people in houses who couldn’t afford them, now they have to do something to fix it.  Not every bank will sign up for the new program.  To see who is participating, a list of the banks that will be uploaded on the HAMP website.  A couple of large banks refuse to participate and they didn’t take tarp money, so there is nothing FHA can do to make them abide by the guidelines.  

We have heard about some policy changes at Fannie such as the increase in minimum credit scores and lower debt to income ratios, can you speak to these changes?

· Fannie is going to 640 min credit scores and FHA is going to follow suit shortly more than likely.

· 18% of borrowers with FHA loans are in default and FHA feels that raising the FICOscore will lower that default rate.  As of the beginning of 2009, the average FICO score of an FHA borrower is 693 and virtually none of those borrowers are in default. The previous problems in 2004-2008 was in the down payment assistance programs which caused $10.4 billion in losses going forward…it was a disaster. 

If 2009 programs are working, then why change now?

· FHA forecasters are concerned about a double dip in home prices. Home price forecasts that at a minimum there will be another 9-10% drop in home prices through the first quarter of 2010…nationwide. They are looking at current unemployment trends as a huge factor in determining this drop.  It has been forecasted to remain high and as such, we are looking at a jobless recovery. Surprisingly, 2009 has been the best quality book (year economically overall) in a long time.

· Scenario forecasting in a jobless recovery shows that you won’t get the home appreciation rates that you normally would. Growth is predicted at .7% over the inflation rate which is very low and will take several years to have housing prices come back to the levels they are today. They are looking for ways to make it work to avoid another bailout.

· The real estate industry will be a better industry once it’s all done with better lenders in business.  FHA is looking at the rent vs. own index, MSA (Metropolitan Service Area) by MSA, borrower behavior, etc. in order to make cautious decisions as we bottom out and experience a  slow recovery.  Some factors, if not approached soon enough, could have us go into a recession again.

So what’s next – with the extended tax credit, no more government purchase of MBS, there will be a raise in rates, fewer first time home buyers, and then a predicted foreclosure release in the second quarter of 2010?

· Dave said there is an expected ¾ to 1 ½ point rate increase when the Fed backs out of the market (the Fed has already spent $1 trillion and has committed to spend a total of $1.4 trillion).  At this time the government is not buying Ginnie Mae MBS as they are selling verywell in foreign markets. China continues to waitand doesn’t want to start buying again until we decide what we are going to do with Fannie and Freddie. If the government doesn’t continue to purchase MBS, then the MBS will become worthless.  Banks who have huge deposits with no loan demand and may possibly start buying MBS to offset their deposits.  When the Fed pulls out, we will feel an immediate effect of an increase that is expected to be 300-600 basis points above current interest rates which equates to .75% to 1½% in rate increase.

· Before the Fed bought MBS, rates were up 1 ½% above where they are today , so they think that will be the premium to get investors to start purchasing MBS. Currently, we are totally dependent on foreign capital to keep our housing market afloat and America is bankrupt in that department.

· The tax credit is the single biggest expense of the government.  The government stimulus is an artificial growth for the economy.  A lot of people in the government want out of helping the housing market.  They feel they have done enough.  By slowly pulling out of purchasing MBS and discontinuing the tax credit, the housing market should be able to sustain itself.

· If the Chinese economy starts to take a downturn, the first asset they are likely to sell will be US Treasuries and then we’ll really feel it because currently they are the largest buyer of US Treasuries!

· There is a legislative cap of $1.4 trillion for the rest of MBS that the government will buy and they might hit that cap before the program is phased out.  

· So Dave’s advice for Realtors is to be prepared and look forward for what is going to happen, keep growing, invest in your business, get back to basics, don’t deal with uncontrollable and drive forward.

· The government has no money, social security will run out on paper, but the money is already spent. In order to buy these MBS, they have to sell debt; the more debt auctions will drive prices up, so have to drop the price for debts and treasuries which would almost equal the cost for the debt. The spread will have to be there or it’s not good for taxpayer.

· Dave’s big concern is about the disadvantaged as well as sustaining safe housing for all.

· FHA’s HAMP loan modification program, where they tack the excess loan balance due to the back of loan and adjust the payment to a level to a level they can afford, has a 96.6% success rate for no defaults. The majority of the distressed market is due to cultural and language barriers. Dave’s asked for a budget of $75 million for next year to add more counseling services in distressed communities.

· Hardship will be a big factor in the new short sales guidelines. Too many people are taking advantage of the process which is a moral hazard.

· Condo approvals will be more stringent. They will have a permanent policy in place soon and currently have a temporary policy in place.

In closing….

FHA needs to back out of the market and get back to why it was created; Freddie and Fannie can’t be government owned forever and a lot of work has to be done in the process.

Anyone who predicts the future is wrong, homeownership=community stability.  Agents are the key to this recovery. They did it all wrong and the only way to get out is with the real estate agent.

We need to get faith back in the system. Safe act for loan officers, RESPA changes, etc. are just the beginning of the changes that have to take place to stabilize the industry.  

Finally, be excited about the work you do and remember, you are key to the economic recovery.

Numbers, Short Sales and Taxation…oh my!!!

ScottsCam 001

Wow!  Lots of great info was shared today at training
– numbers, top ten questions ready to be answered, short sales in any market
and then Aronson & Company notes on taxation of debt forgiveness.


Numbers (in Northern Virginia)


  • Active (Sales)                                      5414
  • Vacant                                                 1597
  • % of Market                                         29.5%
  • Month Supply (For Sale)                      1.8
  • Month Supply (For Rent)                     2.2
  • Month Supply Sold                              2.1



Top Ten Questions – ready
to be answered!


  1. Is the housing market getting better?
  2. When will housing bottom out?
  3. What signals should I watch to determine
    whether my local market is improving?
  4. How can I figure out the value of my home?
  5. Does it matter whether I’m ‘under water’?
  6. If I lose my home to foreclosure, how long
    will it take to repair my credit record?
  7. If I’m renting, is now a good time to buy a
  8. Can I get a tax credit if I buy a home now?
  9. Can I get a mortgage on attractive terms?
  10. Should I invest in foreclosed homes?



Aronson & Company


of debt is a taxable event

does protect from tax liability from a tax liability that occurred prior to

Deed in Lieu
of Foreclosure – similar to short sale – selling to third party with bank’s

Modifications can also result in cancellation of debt and the modifier may
receive a 1099 from the lender – be aware this is could possibly happen!

The discharge
of acquisition debt secured by the taxpayer’s principal residence is excluded
from income up to $2,000,000 until December 31, 2012.  This date is subject to change.

For a complete chart of
the implications of the Taxation of Debt Forgiveness handout we received call
or email me and we will get it to you. 
As is always the case – you learn more by listening, taking notes and
reading the materials than you do by reading my synopsis – get to training
yourself to internalize it more!  Get
it?  Got it?  Good!


Now, go sell something!

Platinum Group – November


Don’t wait to put houses on the market – multiple contracts
at $875,000 in Lansdowne – needs work but 7,500 sq ft on three levels – people
waiting in line to buy

Reasons to list today – you know what prices are today, you
know inventory levels, you know what  rates are today, buyers who are looking this
time of year are serious buyers

Where do you price properties and why – psychology of buyers
or internet strategies of being on the number for search engines – when market
is hot, it doesn’t matter – analyze DOM and number of showings in first week in
same area at same price

Agents continue to be agitated over short sales when
expectations are not set up front.  When
expectations are communicated from the beginning agents are easier to work
with…also, don’t burn bridges with agents who pester you – don’t blow off agent
because they are keeping your feet to the fire.

CDRS – America’s Home Rescue Short Sale process is the
program to work with when dealing with short sales

Write addendum to contract outlining your process for
handling the short sales – communication the time frame, your communication
frequency and type, who communication is with and when and why then have buyer
sign.  Are you committed?  Are you sure this is the right house for
you?  Are you prepared for the process to
take several months?  Will you be ok with
not hearing from me, as the listing agent for sometimes weeks at a time?

The foreclosure report: 
sense from Kent Eley and Fannie Mae is 2nd quarter of
2010.  Administration is trying to be
gentler on folks and not kicking them out in winter and around holidays as well
as push loan modifications.  Also, money
given in stimulus package, banks were told not to foreclose by try and work the
loans out.  Other agents feel that it is
the ignorance of the bank and no one moving fast enough because no one is
giving them direction on what to do as banks are overwhelmed.

Is anyone specifically marketing to get move up buyers into
the market?  What are you doing to get
the word out because most people don’t know or understand what was in the
extension.  Email campaigns, newsletters,
phone calls – just do it. 

Quick analysis: 
Market on upswing, foreclosures coming in second quarter, MBS are going
to stop being purchased by the government in March, tax credit ends on April 30th
even though you have to close by June 30th – therefore you will make
a majority of your money in the first quarter of next year and you need to get
busy today to take advantage of the future market.

What happens to Fannie and Freddie moving forward?  Who will absorb the secondary market funds?