Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
The real estate industry, by it's corrupt nature, is in dire need of reform. Consumers of real estate in the United States of America need more information and greater protection.
What Americans must put up with today is essentially a sales organization, call the N.A.R. or National Association of Realtors, which has asserted itself to be something it is not, and can never be: an objective, informative, consumer-focused industry trade organization that serves American consumers with constructive, unaltered market data, historical sales data and pricing analyses. Above all consumers of real estate need to be reassured that licensed standards of professional business ethics are being enforced.
This can easily be accomplished, just not by a group of salespeople, which is what the N.A.R. is. It's not possible by salespeople because of the obvious conflict of interest inherent in the business exchange. Real estate sales people wants to sell and want to earn commission on the sale. How can this be balanced with the consumer need for an unbiased, representative "trusted advisor" role? Many realtors don't ever realize the precarious position they occupy when serving buyers and sellers of real estate.
It can't be balanced.
At a time of decline in the American real estate market from California to Connecticut, one would expect the realtor sales pitch bullshit and self-serving lies to stop.
Instead the bullshit never stops. And the lies never stop.
Now is always a "great time to buy". And just why is it always a great time to buy? Well, mainly because American realtors have mouths to feed and bills to pay. That's why.
If you're a prospective homebuyer with a small family, Ms. Krista-Leanne Yates of Alcco Realty instructs you to get off the fence, turn away from the still high home prices of Orange County and purchase a home based more inland in Rancho Cucamonga, CA:
Yates continues, 'By searching for Rancho Cucamonga CA real estate young families can find properties such as a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom single story home with a mountain view on a 7,150 square foot lot for only $400,000.-Nice lot size, but Ms. Yates, in case you haven't looked on Redfin, young families can (potentially) buy 2 bed, 2 bath single story homes in OC now for $450K and sometimes less - with a very distant Saddleback mountain view. The median family income in Rancho is abut $69,640 per annum. Ms. Yates is so focused on the well-being and customer satisfaction of young families (read: driven to earn sales commissions) that she recommends they leverage themselves by 7 times their gross income to purchase a home that either is declining, or very likely will decline, in value in the coming months. See local home sales decline in lower paragraph.
Jay Yerman, First Time Home Buyer Specialist with T.N.T. Lending in Rancho Cucamonga adds 'Payments on this home can be as low as $1960 a month with the right credit driven program offering 100% financing, no money down.
"T.N.T. Lending"? You gotta be kidding me. That's almost as bad as the Remax Realtors Hotair Balloon logo.
Hey, let's all stop what we're doing and listen to what T.N.T. Lending has to tell us about the "right credit driven program with 100% financing, no money down". I mean, we can all rely on their advice. Sounds super-duper! Where do we sign? And where is that ominous, horror movie background music coming from?
Before house hunting it is advisable to obtain a free mortgage pre-approval letter. This will allow real estate agents to only show properties in the specific price range of the maximum mortgage.Of the maximum mortgage? Listen everybody, I'm going to show you only those houses that earn me the largest commission check and leverage you to the f&*%ing hilt! Come on! Let's go!
'Sellers also take an offer more seriously if the home mortgage loan is already pre-approved,- concludes Yerman.Right. With that kind of local median income in Rancho Cucamonga, pre-approval is more important now than ever before, assuming T.N.T. Lending and their ilk have tightened lending standards. Ms. Yates, why do you care about what the seller "takes seriously"? Whose side are you on? Here's a tip: today potential buyers take sellers more seriously when they finally come down from their ivory towers long enough to realize the glory days are over, the pool of qualified buyers is dwindling and leveraging a property to live in is not a sure-fire way to beat inflation anymore.
Yates concludes, 'The latest housing figures indicate that sales in the Inland Empire fell 47 percent in March from the same month a year earlier. Inland Empire prices still are a bargain compared with coastal areas such as Orange County and we expect to see a movement of buyers moving inland.-Uhhh....Ms. Yates, if sales in the Rancho area are declining year-to-date by 47%, then why is now the great time to buy? Value can and likely will plummet even further. Why not wait a few more months so that the young families you feign to care about so much won't have to leverage themselves to such a massive extent?
There are some good realtors out there.
But they are few and very far between. Experience is golden. I recommend working with realtors who have survived market crashes before in you area. I wouldn't trust any who have 8 years experience or less. Those that have really "been there" are in this career for the long haul. They will likely listen carefully to you, and will not push you into doing something that doesn't make sense. Listen very carefully what a realtor or realtor organization says. Make sure that they represent your wants and needs at all times, and that they really are knowledgeable of the market.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
*Use of American Express credit card to meet monthly mortgage payments and prevent foreclosure may cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal cramps, headaches, sleeplessness, difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking up, delusional behavior, mild to severe mood swings, obsessive-compulsive behavior, grinding teeth, swearing, public outburts, lack of attention, snoring, erectile dysfunction, tooth sensitivity and swollen glands. Contact a physician and financial advisor before using American Express. Use only as directed.
Yeah, that's it! Who doesn't just love chocolate cake?!!!"
Well, John Burns Real Estate Consulting and Mr. Bernanke at the Fed respectfully disagree with the NAR's assessment.
NAR stooges must be asking: "Now where the hell did that 37% number come from?"
Look NAR members, if you aren't royally embarrassed by now, then you should be.
If you're going to fudge the numbers to mislead the public to protect your incomes, at least have the common sense to bribe the other complimentary industries to report numbers that at least jive with yours. Otherwise the lies spiral out of control. Come on! You know the drill. Just like recommending clients to that special "mortgage lender friend" of yours. Right hand washes the left. Grease the skids. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?
This must really suck. On the one hand Realtors have to try and continue to assert the role of the real estate industry's can't-survive-without-us "trusted advisor". And yes, we've all seen the new commercials. Ughh! I have 4 words for the new REALTOR commercials out there year-to-date:
"Wrong, do it again".
Then on the other hand, you must manufacturer reports and lie through your teeth about actual home sale numbers to prevent a complete deadpan response from prospective buyers and investors.
It's not easy to do either anymore when your organization no longer maintains complete control of the "proprietary housing data", MLS services, and real estate industry statistics. Your counterparts in the homebuilding sector aren't exactly putting forth stats that compliment your findings.
What is a sales commission only-driven organization to do now?
Monday, May 21, 2007
California's statewide unemployment also increased to 5.1% in April, compared to 4.8% unemployment in March 2007 - this despite the addition of over 7,400 nonfarm jobs in April.
On the face of it, not an earth-shattering increase. But it is mid May. The OC economy is considered one of the strongest in the state of California, if not the world. Do these minor increases in unemployment indicate the beginning of something far more ominous brewing in the OC economy for 2007? May's unemployment numbers will be critical. Typically April and May have been extremely robust months for employment figures even when one seasonally adjusts the employment stats.
I mean, trying to convince California homedebtors that the "good times are over" is hard work. And not a little bit embarrassing, since over the last 7 years it has been realtors themselves doing cheerleader splits on the front lawn everytime a house sold for 15% more than the original asking price.
Now with slowing housing market, the tables have turned slightly. A realtor's work might require a little more effort. It might even become more dangerous. Driving over to tell home sellers that they should seriously consider "dropping their drawers" on sale price in order to flip might even precipitate a smack in the mouth, or worse a pickaxe in the hood of that precious Audi A4!
We wouldn't want that.
So let's look at some other options.
The median prospective homebuyer in Orange County isn't rich. He or she is probably pulling down somewhere between $75,000 and maybe $80,000 per annum gross. So when this prospective homebuying pauper comes knocking on the door of the Open House, why not help a brother out by paying down down his interest rate over the first three years of his mortgage loan? There's the 3-2-1 interest rate buy-down, for example - sort of like bringing the "teaser rate" mortgage back from the dead! Where would we be without that concept of "get in now, while you still can!" these past 7 years!
With the interest rate buy-down sales tactic, homedebtors might even help widen the pool of prospective buyers to help them qualify for home financing in the first place.
While the interest rate buy-down solution is expensive to the seller inititially, it is financially more favorable than just slashing the home sale price.
Consider yourselves effectively warned.
With love from your local Realtor(R) and coming to a desperate homedebtor near you: Interest Rate Buy-Downs!
Say no to low prices!
It's not because of the housing market crash, people!
Come on! Stop the insane negativity already!
Poor weather in the first quarter significantly affected these declines!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Many Americans today are outraged by this. Why? Because "this is completely unfair". "We now have to take on all of these illegals!". Some of us Americans are pounding the table blaming the "liberals" or the "conservatives".
I call it complete bullshit.
The new rule around the polarized, Divided States of America should now be this:
You can't label anyone "liberal" or "conservative" unless you include the word "about" followed by a named "issue" (crime, prostitution, gas mileage regulations, illegal immigration, abortion, the patriot act, oil exporation in wildlife reserves, gay marriage, etc.). For the record, Republicans and Democrats are equally at fault for failing to secure the nations border and enforce immigration laws already on the books.
The truth is, my politically sedentary American friends, we have been "taking on" illegal immigrants for over 20 years. Even after 9/11 more illegal immigrants have entered the country than ever before. The governments we have elected into power have done nothing - NOTHING - to impede it. George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr., take your pick, all providing incompetent, ineffective leadership on the issue.
Today, May 17th, 2007, as many as 5,000 illegal migrants from Mexico will have crossed the Mexican border illegally into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Only now, that the boat is chock full of 11 million illegals, do the complaints begin? Nice.
Where were you people 3 years ago? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? You said nothing then.
By doing and saying nothing, you made your bed.
Time to lie down and go "nighty night" in it and enjoy the relaxing fruits of your apathy.
Yes, it is unfair. Yes, thousands of legal applicants must continue to wait in long lines in Hong Kong, Berlin, Mexico City, Cuidad Juarez, Ottawa and witness the "cue jumping" of unapologetic, innovative illegals who didn't followed the rules and have the balls to assert that America was theirs all along.
But life is not fair. The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service and the Customs & Border Patrol are doing their best, but still failing miserably to protect us and enforce immigration laws. They have been perpetually understaffed for 15 straight years. Millions of valid cases are rejected unfairly every day on minor technicalities. Millions of cases are granted every day unfairly on minor technicalities.
What do Americans want? A perfect system? Yeah, right. Shouldn't you be watching American Idol right now?
The system is not perfect. The idea of rounding up all illegals, stuffing them on planes and deporting entire extended families is unrealistic. I agree it should have been done. But not now. It's far too late. The boat is full and we are too far out at sea to return back to shore.
Illegal residents now must pay a fine, return to their country of origin, and re-enter legally into the United States. They must receive a legal work permit - and hence a taxpayer ID number. They will have to pay income tax like everyone else, or face federal prosecution - like everyone else - and worse, certain deportation.
The solution is not fair, but it's better than the alternative or what we have now.
All of this vitriol about the unfairness and congressional incompetence has caused critics to turn their attention away from the biggest issue of all. It is another example of Americans blinded by anger and failing to critically analyze and understand the problem underlying illegal immigration.
The border is still not secure.
I repeat, the border remains wide-freaking-open.
And tomorrow too.
And the next day. And the next day. And the next..
We (our elected government) have decided on amnesty first, and securing the border second, as our national borders leak profusely.
That, more than anything, should outrage American citizens, not whether or not Jose Gonzalez gets publicly caned, fined and deported.
Even the American news media has missed the point and is talking about "amnesty" rather than "border security".
We are blind.
Congress has placed more importance and immediacy on amnesty than the root cause of the problem, which is a leaky frontier with Mexico, Canada and all U.S. major ports.
This must be addressed first and with the greatest concentration of effort, funding, strategic thinking and vigor.
Otherwise, it is not only an unfair "deal", it is 1986 all over again - just another politically expedient bandaid created by our derelict, elected tenants in Washington.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
California comes in a distant second place. Again, no big surprise. Everyone wants to live here. The weather is fantastic, a little traffic, a little unattentive driving, might be a little late for work - but nothing bad.
ABC's Channel 7 news finally reports on the 214% increase in mortgage fraud cases in California, and the staggering 2,800% increase in mortgage fraud cases in the Golden State since 1996.
The stellar reporters of ABC news in Orange County crack another big case yet again! I mean these guys are just so on top of what's happening.
Wow! We're all just really impressed here, let me tell you!
Now, turn it back to American Idol!
Welcome to Orange County California!
You will discover the origins of famous American sales mantras like "coffee is for closers only" and "A.B.C. - Always Be Closing".
The film is a graphic metaphor of how high-stakes sales, high-pressure management styles, intimidation, deceptive sales tactics, verbal abuse and baseball bats can all come together to form something distinctly American.
Glenngarry Glenn Ross.
"These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they're
gold. And you don't get them. Because to give them to you is just throwing them
away. They're for closers."
The manifestation of online real estate search engines, sales and buying tools with links to all that the MLS previously afforded real estate consumers - and much more is scaring the shit out of certain individuals who have chosen the profession of home realtor.
Realtors mistakenly view themselves as the most motivated party to sell your home or help you buy a home.
This assumption is incorrect.
They are NOT the most motivated to do either. They are motivated to make sales commissions which are directly proportional to the sale price of a home.
The truth is that home sellers and home buyers are more motivated. And they no longer need realtors in the same way they did before to intermediate on their behalf. If 80% of prospective homeowners are no longer looking at newspaper ads, no longer phoning up Joannie Loves Chachi Realty Group, and prefer to research home information, sales history, prices and neighborhood data online, including crime and school district statistics, then the realtors job and importance suddenly becomes less significant.
Realtors might be tempted to assert that only they "understand your needs" when it comes to buying or selling a home. But those days are over. A computer really can perform the light lifting regarding the research.
So why are realtors necessary? What tasks or duties of the home selling and home buying process make them so indispensable?
Perhaps there are certain duties and legal paperwork items to which realtors have traditionally attended.
Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin offers the following in the Ad Age article:
"The most motivated advertiser is the seller and millions of homeowners are proactive now. If people can see a home without an agent, where does that leave the industry? It's kind of marketing itself off a cliff."
Right off a cliff, indeed. Sometimes CEOs like to use the damnedest of metaphors to get their point across.
The ad campaign of the National Association of Realtors (N.A.R.) serves exactly that - members of the N.A.R.
Realtors shouted in unison: "We want more advertising".
The N.A.R. organization has responded.Advertising Age reports that according to Frank Sibley, the N.A.R.'s Senior Vice President of Communications, N.A.R. members (realtors) themselves voted to hike their own association dues by $5.00 to a total of $30.00 in order to fund the new ad campaign, which would extol the virtues using Realtors over licensed brokers, and continue to flood the television airways with the notion that "Now is a great time to buy" real estate.
The N.A.R. will be increasing advertising spend by 60% to $40 million in 2007.
But will this be enough to change the sales volume stats in the housing market?
One must consider Brad Inman's comments in the AdAge article:
Realtors "are trying to counteract that tipping of consumer
confidence," he said. "None of those ad campaigns is going to counteract a bad market."
As a trade association, "A lot of what [the NAR does] is to
please its members as opposed to doing what is really going to persuade the public," Mr. Inman added.
The OC register reported this week that median Lake Forest home sale prices fell 19.5% when comparing YTD April 2007 with April 2006. This Lake Forest statistic of median home prices smashes the Orange County-wide stat of just a .2% price decline for the same period.
Total home sales in Lake Forest, California declined 24.7% in April.
Not a good time to buy. Not a good time to be owing on an asset with an increased likelihood of a future downward trend.
So should you "86" OC housing off your future "to-do" list. Perhaps, but not necessarily long term.
There can be no question anymore that a real estate recession is underway here in Lake Forest. But if more people would just stop what they're naysaying and listen closely to realtors and Mr. Yun of the N.A.R. , then perhaps the Orange County weather might eventually save the day and bring all of those sideline prospective buyers out of the wood work, with their front pockets lined with rainy-day cash, with FICO scores hovering in the stratosphere, and of course, W2's with above-median incomes - all of them patiently waiting to re-enter the candy store of creative California mortage loans to re-open.
Only I'm not too sure that those mortgage candy stores will ever re-open.
Yeah, it looks great, doesn't it? But most can't afford to partake.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Orange County
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Most Americans simply don't. Your average, everyday red, white and blue American citizen has over $9,000.00 of ongoing credit card debt.
We've probably all heard about the idea of a "cashless society". No need for bills. Charge it to a card. Swipe it or just wave it in front of a contactless smart card reader. Ease. Convenience. Speed.
But is the United States of America - the absolute worst moneysavers on the face of the planet -ready and willing to reverse the tables and move to a "cash only" way of life?
Some have already made this personal choice, because they took inventory of their financial situation and recognized an interesting weakness: a lack of self-control.
"Since we are now into our "normal" buying and selling season, it is not surprising that more listings are coming on the market, but someone forgot to invite the buyers to come out of hiding! The decline in the total escrow number includes both closed sales and cancellations. I have noticed a much higher than average rate of properties coming "back on the market" due to buyers failing to qualify for their financing. With the recent tightening of lending standards and meltdown of the subprime mortgage market, fewer buyers are able to qualify for financing"
Lowest Price Home: $549,000
Highest Price Home: $700,000
Lowest Price Home: $520,000
Highest Price Home: $699,900
Estimated Average Price: $609,950
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
To Mr. Yun and members of the National Association of Realtors: It's time for someone from your decrepit organization to step up to the plate and tell it like it is.
"However, there is no enforcement mechanism in place to ensure that they (do so)," said Paul Leonard, director for the California office of the Center for Responsible Lending. Leonard told a state banking commission earlier this year that mortgage brokers "have strong incentives to make abusive loans that harm consumers, and no one is stopping them."
Monday, May 7, 2007
Mr. Peña has been working 3 jobs trying to make ends meet while at the same time facing foreclosure on his Lake Forest, CA home. His life Olivia probably doesn't recognize him anymore, since he is never home. Instead he works his tail off trying to muster together enough dough to meet the monthly mortgage payment.
But not anymore.
Today Arturo Peña won the California Lottery Big Spin ticket for $1,000,000 from a local Albertson's grocery store in Lake Forest.
God knew that Mr. Peña previously only brought down about $30,000 gross per annum. Thanks to the lightening strike at Albertson's, Arturo and his family can add another $37,000 after taxes to their take home earnings.
Great story, and a nice faith-builder for those around the country who need help - any kind of help to prevent their own foreclosure and bankruptcy.
God was not available for extended comment following Mr. Peña check holding ceremony, but was rumoured to have requested "a word or two" with N.A.R. chief economist, David Lereah.
then stated in late 2006 that the market was now in correction mode, but that we were all certain to experience a "soft landing", who then stated in late December 2006 and again in February 2007 that "we've hit bottom" already.
Now it is May 7, 2007. Mr. Lereah already has his bags packed up, ready to leave the real estate big leagues of the National Association of Realtors, and join a new, hole-in-the wall, real estate sales organization called Move, Inc.
But the final act in the play has not yet been shown. Prior to providing his last major NAR speech at an upcoming Washington real estate conference, the Bob-Saget-Look-Alike, Mr. Lereah, had the audacity to make this admission - probably the most damning one ever about the current American real estate market.
"Ask him in a couple of weeks", indeed! I think by now, Mr. Lereah, we already know what your duplicitous reply will be.
Also, Bob Saget
So, I ask you: how can any prospective homebuyer in America today turn to a home realtor in good faith anymore for "help"in purchasing a home, assist them making the right choice, and work to protect his financial interests?
I submit to you that he cannot. Not anymore. The game is up.
Bob Saget has played you all, the home consumer, the realtor, the mortgage lender.
Time for the theme music to start. This really is America's Funniest Home Videos.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
This comes across as cold and perhaps Darwinesque to say. I don't mean that subprime borrowers get no help at all. But I don't like the idea of allowing loan do-overs that, under normal market lending standards, would make no business sense at all.
That, alongside grand jury hearings of the N.A.R. for fraud, are the only government interference worthy of discussion right now.