The Real American Idol – HOMEOWNERSHIP!

Simon Cowell would have to be considered congenial compared to the critics of real estate in the last few years. But like the popular TV show, where the ultimate winner is not chosen by a select few but instead by the vote of the nation, homeownership again has proven to be the choice of the people. […]

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Distressed Inventory to Step Out of the Shadows

We are beginning 2011 with much more positive news about real estate than we have had in several years. The pending sales numbers (houses going into contract) have been climbing for several months. Last month’s Existing Homes Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors showed an increase of over 12%. Demand definitely seems to […]

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Is the Housing Market Starting to Come Back?

It seems that the housing market is finally showing signs of a recovery. We are not suggesting that it will come roaring back and we will see 2006 numbers again. However, the National Association of Realtors released their December Existing Home Sales Report yesterday. The report showed a 12.3% increase in closed transactions over the month before. […]

What IS Risk Retention and How Will It Affect You?

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. The law’s far reaching impact will take years to understand, but as professionals we do know that Title IX (Risk Retention) will have a dramatic impact on consumers and the mortgage industry. What is Risk Retention? Risk Retention […]

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Most Americans Say It Is a Good Time to Buy a Home

We have been making two major points for several months. If you are selling a house, you must do it now AND if you are buying one, you must also do it now. This sounds crazy – but it is true. PRICE is the most important thing to a seller. With prices projected to fall […]

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You Need an EXPERT, Not Just an Agent

A major national television network called us a few weeks ago to do a live interview. To Steve Harney, our lead author, it was an honor to visit their Manhattan studios and meet Gerri Willis, the anchor of her own show – The Willis Report.  She and all the people on her staff were both extremely […]

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Buy or Rent? Play Chess, Not Checkers

A number of pundits are saying that now is NOT the time to buy a home. They look at how prices have fallen over the last four years and claim that investing in real estate is too risky. However, we must also look at the gamble one takes in not buying to determine which is […]

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Why Prices Will Soften in the 1st Half of 2011

The big question facing real estate in 2011 is which direction are home prices headed. We agree with most experts who believe prices will continue to soften for the first half of the year. Supply and demand will determine this. Let’s look at where real estate sits entering this year compared to the beginning of […]

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Will Foreclosures Be Erased?

A court in Massachusetts voided two bank foreclosures this past Friday. The decision has already created a ripple effect across the banking community. Will other courts also decide to void local foreclosures? Does this put an added burden on banks when they are trying to complete a foreclosure process? What will it mean to the […]

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Rent vs. Buy: Do the Math and Then Ask Mom

We are starting to hear from real estate professionals that a growing number of purchasers are young adults being persuaded to buy now. Who are the people selling them on the American Dream? Their parents! It seems that parents of some adult children are strongly suggesting that their children take advantage of the low cost […]

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Would You Hire a Fat Personal Trainer?

Imagine you decided to get into great physical condition in 2011. It was your most important New Year’s resolution. Would you hire an out-of-shape trainer to help you achieve your goal? Of course you wouldn’t. You would want to take advice from a person that already is in the physical condition you hope to attain. […]

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3 Questions You Must Answer Before Buying a Home

If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. And most of that advice is probably negative. Why buy now with prices still falling? Don’t you realize real estate is no longer a good investment? Don’t you know that people who bought five years ago lost […]

Questions You SHOULD Be Asking Your Lender

We have run this post before but want to make sure you still are asking the right questions of your loan officer. Here is a great list from Dean. – The KCM Crew More and more, consumers are learning that there is much more to getting a mortgage than just the interest rate and points.  A good […]

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2011: The Year a House Again Becomes a Home

For almost a decade now, every time we talked about real estate we immediately discussed money. We didn’t talk about the value of a home but instead about the price of the house. We didn’t worry about a roof over our heads but instead the ceiling on our interest rate. We didn’t care as much about […]

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Real Estate 2010: The Year of Intervention

This past year has been very challenging for real estate. The market was defined by outside intervention. This intervention tugged at historic trends. Government involvment caused market fundamentals to be distorted beyond recognition. Unpredictability was the only thing we could predict. Modifications The administration’s announced goal of the modification program was to save 3-4 million families […]

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Dr. Doom, Mr. Bear and Real Estate

Trying to negotiate the current housing market is difficult. There are so many external variables impacting real estate it seems almost impossible to project where sales and prices are headed. But, there were two people who saw the challenges we are currently experiencing back in 2005-2006. They looked at the market and predicted we were in […]

Remember… Pigs Get Slaughtered

The recent spike in interest rates reminds us that though rates generally gravitate lower slowly, they move upwards “quickly and dramatically”.  For months, we have been listening to prospective home purchasers say they want to wait because prices will continue to fall and rates aren’t going up.  Well, my friends, the horse may have already left […]

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Prices Compared To Historic Trend Lines

Last week, we did a blog post on house prices as compared to income levels. We showed that, using historic ratios, house values were lower than previous norms. Many people asked us if we believe that home prices were about to increase. As we said in the post: Some experts are predicting that today’s values […]

The Basics of Credit Scoring

Today, we are going to be centering on the basics of an increasingly important portion of a buyer’s mortgage application – the credit score. First, the 3 major national credit bureaus are: Experian (XP), Transunion (TU), and Equifax (EF)….But better terms to describe their function are: Repository – they are huge “holders” of data; information about you and […]

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Are Homes Actually UNDERVALUED?

We have been barraged with headlines and news stories telling us that home values will continue to soften for the next several quarters. Some experts are predicting that today’s values will drop and not be seen again until the middle of 2012 at the earliest. We concur with these estimates based on the current demand […]

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Demand for Housing Will Increase in 2011

The last Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed a substantial 10.4% month-over-month increase. According to NAR the index measures: housing contract activity. It is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos and co-ops. A signed contract is not counted as a sale until the transaction closes. […]

Impact of Rising Rates When Buying a Home

There has been much volatility in the 30 year mortgage rate over the last few weeks. According to Freddie Mac, rates have soared almost a half of a percent in just the last four weeks and now are as high as they have been in the last six months. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, […]

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This is Good News for Housing, Not Bad News

We found it interesting to see how some media outlets reported on the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey. It is true that the number of people who believe that now is a good time to buy a home dipped 2% since the June report. However, the report also showed that 68% of people still […]

There Is Still a Tax Credit Available!

As Veteran’s Day passed last week, I forgot to remind everyone to thank those who have served our country AND to remind everyone out there in the blogosphere that eligible Veterans are still able to take advantage of the Federal Tax Credits that expired for the rest of the population a few months back. Yes, […]

Is Your Loan Officer A Leader or Paper Pusher?

Being a PROFESSIONAL Loan Originator in today’s market requires more than just a fancy title on a business card or the affiliation with a recognizable name in lending. As regulators try to continue to minimize the importance of the counsel of talented lenders through tightening guidelines and the guise of transparency, the public needs to […]