Saturday, August 6, 2011

S.& P. Downgrades Debt Rating of U.S. for the First Time

Well, what can you say?!  This won't work well for new mortgage seekers!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

One Newsletter's Take on Housing Affordability

Available at:

U.S. Homes: Now the Best Deal in Recorded History

By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud 
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 

Now is literally the best time in recorded history to buy a house in America...
Right now – today – U.S. real estate is the most affordable it's ever been. Ever. 
When I say "affordable," I'm looking at three things: house prices, mortgage rates, and incomes.
With the Affordability Index near 200, the median family has 200% of the income necessary to buy the median home (or more specifically, to qualify for a conventional loan on the median home).
It's easy to see where we are now...
Right now, as you know, house prices are sitting near new lows for this cycle, down by roughly one-third (depending on who's counting). And right now, mortgage rates – after ticking above 5% earlier this year – are all the way down to 4.5% again, near all-time lows.
So it's simple: With the worst house-price crash in American history, combined with the lowest mortgage rates in history, you can now afford more home than ever.
Meanwhile, hope is gone. Everyone thinks housing is hopeless. That is when a bear market ends and a new bull market begins.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Interesting analysis of the financial meltdown from the Post's Alan Sloan

It was a low-down, no-good godawful bailout. But it paid.
"...The revisionist idea that the bailout is the problem — rather than excesses in the financial system — is simply stunning to those of us who watched the financial crisis surface in 2007, when two Bear Stearns hedge funds speculating in mortgage securities collapsed..."

NY Times Discussion on Troubled Homowners

Check it out at:

Hanging On to Houses

HAMPReed Saxon/Associated PressA home listed in foreclosure in Los Angeles in June.
In his column on Monday,Paul Krugman said that the Obama administration has done almost nothing to help troubled homeowners. Of $46 billion set aside for mortgage relief, less than $2 billion has been spent.
It has been more than six months since a bipartisan Congressional report called the government's effort -- the Home Affordable Modification Program -- "a failure."
While new foreclosure filings have slowed significantly since then, because of a large backlog in cases, greater caution by lenders and more aggressive defenses by homeowners, housing experts expect the pace of foreclosures to pick up again. The Timesreported today that Bank of America, the nation's biggest mortgage servicer, had reached a deal with its investors that will speed the eviction of the most distressed homeowners, while helping those in better financial shape.
What changes can be made in the program to make it work more efficiently -- for homeowners, mortgage holders and taxpayers?

Successful Class: "Stepping Up to Twitter, etc."

OK -- so, despite the horrendous hotel bandwidth issues, a good time was had by all.  Funny virtual tour videos, how to do and how not to do videos for agents and brokers.  And, eventually, some how to guides for launching your own blog, twitter site, and, if you'll email us ( and, we'll send you the YouTube cheat sheet!
We'll keep you posted on future workshops!

Monday, July 11, 2011

RealtorFest 2011 Has Begun!!

500 + agents, realtors, and hangers on have assembled at the Marriott North Bethesda to hear the latest information relevant to selling and buying homes, legal matters, etc. in the DC region.  This includes learning the latest about SOCIAL MEDIA and how they're being used to better the real estate situation in our area.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meet the New Social Networks, Same as the Old Ones

available at

January 24, 2011 by Todd Carpenter · 1 Comment
Filed under: Social Media 
There was a time when you had to have a e-mail address to join Facebook. Then, Facebook opened membership up to other Ivy League schools, then any school with a .edu e-mail address, and finally, to everyone. Facebook’s early success was based on their exclusivity. It’s what made them special, but it’s also the thing that had to be sacrificed for them to gain a critical mass.
Lately, there’s been a considerable buzz around two new social networks: Quora andNamesake. Both networks have promise as platforms for engaging in discussions. But both networks are really only getting the buzz they are because they’re exclusive. They’re filled with people who are in search of a place to have conversations that are free of the noise that they unknowingly created by getting caught up in friending and following everyone they could in the first place.

Social Media/New Media CE Class at GCAAR

MediaReal Partners is conducting a second class on New Media Wednesday, January 26, 1:30pm at GCAAR's offices.  A pair of New Media classes offered last October at GCAAR's Realtor Fest were well received.
Those lucky (or smart) enough to attend will learn how to set up a Blog (such as this one), how to set up a Twitter account, and how to set up a YouTube account, hands-on!  And they'll learn how social media can work to cross promote themselves and their business, by linking Facebook, Twitter, Blog site, and YouTube.
Attendees will also learn how to promote themselves and their business through VIDEO!
RE practitioners should all join the 21st Century by embracing the latest that technology has to offer -- increasingly their clients have embraced it!

Barbara Corcoran Interview: Is Your Neighbor Your Enemy?

Interview excerpts:

available at:

The State of the Market in General
Anyone who bought or sold a home in 2010 can tell you that it was a challenging year for real estate. Corcoran described it as "choppy" and more than anything else, "confused."

Looking ahead, however, there are a couple of wild cards out there that could make the real estate market in 2011 look very different. First, says Corcoran, if the job market improves, we will see an immediate improvement in the residential market. So that's good news for sellers.

Next is a government incentive similar to last year's first-time homebuyer tax credit. "If the government comes in with some great incentives, as they did last year, first time homebuyers will get a jump up in the real estate market as well," Corcoran says.

Lastly, Corcoran points out that the health of the real estate market is at least somewhat in the hands of the media. "The more that's written about how terrible the housing market is, the more apt people are to sit back and do nothing," she says.

Advice for Buyers
We next asked Corcoran if she had any advice for a buyer who is planning to purchase a home in 2011 and might be a little bit nervous about the uncertain state of the market.

"Of course anyone in this market with so many mixed signals is nervous about buying," she acknowledges. "But my advice would be to not wait. If there is one thing I've learned about this real estate market, it is that it usually takes a very long time to unwind but once it decides to turn around, those prices will move up very quickly and you'll just be joining every other Tom, Dick and Harry out there bidding on the same house."

Corcoran also points out that now is a particularly good time to buy since interest rates are so low. Just five years ago rates were up at 8 percent. Now they are down at 4.5 percent. "That is a phenomenal savings and people don't realize it," she says.

Unfortunately, Corcoran doesn't expect many buyers to jump on this opportunity. "What happens in the real estate business is that people are more comfortable buying when everyone else out there is buying and overbidding on property," she says. For some reason, folks feel like they are making a smart decision if they are moving along with the herd.

Advice for Sellers
What's Corcoran's best advice for sellers in 2011? They need to do a couple of things: First, they should be thinking about pricing their home for exactly what it's worth. The strategy of pricing a home high and letting buyers make a lower offer can backfire, she warns.

"In today's market, it takes seven bids from buyers to get one acceptable price," Corcoran says. "If you haven't gotten seven bids, you have no hope of selling a home. So you want to price it right against the bone so people are willing to bid."

Her second piece of advice for sellers is to realize you are in competition with your neighbors. "They are competing with you to sell their house, so you had better make sure that yours is prettier than theirs," she says.

How do you do that? You make the inexpensive improvements that buy you some "fashion sense." You even consider staging your home and renting furniture. You do the little things that people notice--"whatever you need to do to make your house compete best with the neighbor that is selling his home," she says.

Will Home Prices Rebound in 2011?
Some would-be sellers are sitting on the sidelines now and waiting for home prices to return to their pre-bubble prices. We asked Corcoran if that's a wise move and whether home prices will rebound any time soon.

The good news, she says, is that she wouldn't be surprised if prices returned to the same level--and then push even higher--within the next three years. "Real estate markets can recover much faster than they can fall," she says. "I've seen it time and time again. And so miracles can happen."

Of course, no one knows for certain what the future holds. Even data can be misleading. The best move for buyers and sellers alike? Carefully consider your own unique situation, do your homework and seek out advice from trusted sources to help ensure you are protecting your long-term financial success with any of the moves you plan to make.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some recent NAR News Blurbs

Department of Commerce Issues Privacy Report

On December 16, the Department of Commerce issued a report on commercial data privacy—demonstrating increased government focus on the issue of data usage by businesses. The report calls on industry to create voluntary self-regulatory programs that incorporate fair information practice principles. The report also recommends the establishment of a commercial data privacy office within the Department of Commerce that could serve as a hub for self-regulatory efforts.

NAR has developed a Data Security and Privacy toolkit to help members assess and manage their use of consumer data

Freddie Mac Trims Commissions for Some REOs 

On December 14, 2010, Freddie Mac advised its HomeSteps Listing Brokers about some reductions in the commissions it will pay for properties owned by Freddie Mac (referred to as REOs) and listed with a real estate broker on or after January 1, 2011. Freddie Mac advised that it was making reductions to reduce expenses.

VA Loan Limits for 2011 Released

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the 2011 loan limits for the Loan Guaranty Home Loan Program. The new limits begin January 1, 2011, and run through September 30, 2011.

For more on all these stories go to NAR link: