Archive for February, 2012
I’m not sure what to make of these two stories.
Business Insider: “Zillow And Trulia Face Backlash From Real Estate Agents“
Among their complaints are that the sites allow any agent, for a fee, to have their name and photo appear prominently beside homes listed for sale in a given region, even if they aren’t the agent who represents the seller.
Some realtors also claim that many listings on the largest sites are inaccurate. “The wrong photos often appeared with our listings,” says San Diego realtor Jim Abbott, whose firm no longer shares data with the national sites.
From AG Beat: “Largest MLS in America to syndicate listings directly to Trulia”
Today, Trulia has announced a strategic partnership with Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), the largest MLS in the nation which will now syndicate over 100,000 listings directly to Trulia.
29 Feb 2012
Posted by: Andrew Kantor in: The Buzz
Every year, NAR recognizes five members who go above and beyond the call of duty and give back to their communities through volunteer service. It’s part of Realtor magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards, and guess what — it’s currently accepting applications.
Winners each get a $10,000 grant for his or her favorite charity, plus free travel to (and presumably from) NAR’s Conference & Expo in Orlando. (Another five honorable mentions will each receive a $2,500 grant.)
Know someone who fits the bill? Entries must be received by Friday, May 18.
Visit the Good Neighbor Awards Web site for more info.
Not too long ago we told you how FHA changed tightened its rules for condos to have their units certified for FHA loans — and then required every condo in the country to re-apply for that certification. The result is that condo owners who try to sell are finding they’ve lost a good portion of their market because their association hasn’t done the paperwork. (Click here to read that story.)
Anyway, some Democratic congressmen wrote to HUD secretary Shaun Donovan, pointing out that a lot of condo associations were having trouble meeting the new guidelines.
Result: FHA head Carole Galente said that yes, some “adjustments” in the requirements could happen. Her exact phrase:
“I will commit to you here that some of these I think we can make some adjustments.”
Translation: I promise that maybe we’ll change things.
29 Feb 2012
Posted by: Andrew Kantor in: The Buzz
Low mortgage rates and great prices aren’t enough to get people buying homes — so says Fed chairman Ben Bernanke in his testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services. That’s because too many people lack the cash for a down payment, and even the ones that have the money are skittish about their jobs.
Or, as Bernanke put it,
[M]any potential buyers lack the down payment and credit history required to qualify for loans; others are reluctant to buy a house now because of concerns about their income, employment prospects, and the future path of home prices.
Each year, VAR and some of its partners recognize those members who have gone above and beyond the call of their real estate duties.
These are the Realtors, brokers, and property managers who set the standard for all of us, and who exceed that standard themselves.
Here are our 2011 winners.
Women’s Council of Realtors 2011 State Member of the Year
Phyllis Schrader Robinson
RE/MAX Olympic Realty, Haymarket
Certified Residential Specialist of the Year
RE/MAX Commonwealth, Richmond
2011 George Rink Educator of the Year
Governmental Employees Realty, Alexandria
2011 Ann Swearingen Property Manager of the Year
Oglesby Management Group, Lynchburg
Pearl Insurance Virginia Manager of the Year
Coldwell Banker Elite, Fredericksburg
VHDA Service to Virginia Award
Long and Foster, Richmond
Virginia Realtor® Hall of Fame 2011 Inductees
Coldwell Banker Professional,, Hampton
RE/MAX Commonwealth, Richmond
Long and Foster, Mechanicsville
2011 Omega Tau Rho Inductees
Admission to the Omega Tau Rho fraternity is awarded by state and local Realtor associations to members and others who have given exemplary dedication and service to the Realtor organization. And once an Omega Tau Rho medallion is awarded, the recipient is a member for life.
Matha Allen, Northern Virginia Association of Realtors®
Paige Audet, NVAR
Walter Babic, NVAR
Pete Bratic, NVAR
Renee Brown, NVAR
Walter Burns, NVAR
Erick Campos , NVAR
Constance Crigler, NVAR
Leslie Dickemann, NVAR
John Dickinson, Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors®
Elaine Fortune-Moat, NVAR
Karen Gaskins, Hampton Roads Realtor® Association
Joseph Giovannelli, NVAR
Hella Grayson, NVAR
Grace Harris, NVAR
Suzie Hatcher, HRRA
Joseph Jones, HRRA
Merelyn Kaye, NVAR
Sue Mandel, NVAR
Louis Panizza, NVAR
Robert Pannier, NVAR
Sunnie Poloskey, NVAR
William Rhodes Jr., HRRA
Andrea Riggs, NVAR
Evelyn Rivenbark, HRRA
Elizabeth Ross, NVAR
Mary Satre, NVAR
Steven Sherman, NVAR
Robert Simmons, NVAR
Tim Taylor, NVAR
Patricia Toenniessen, NVAR
Jan Trach, NVAR
Wendell White, HRRA
Jon Wolford, NVAR
John Wood Jr., HRRA
Benjamin Zurun, NVAR
James Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, commented on a paper written by a list of financial bigwigs* called “Housing, Monetary Policy, and the Recovery.”
He made two particular points of note. First, the housing bubble and its bursting is scaring a generation of Americans from buying property, and “may suggest a more permanent shift to renting.”
Second, that Americans’ high debt loads are hobbling a recovery. Not only do about 65% of homeowners carry debt, but their combined homes are only worth about $712 billion — and their debt is close to $10 trillion.
In 2005, the typical loan-to-value ratio was about 58%. Today, thanks to collapsing prices and over-borrowed homeowners, it’s at 90%.
*Mike Feroli (JPMorgan Chase), Ethan Harris (Bank of America), Amir Sufi (University of Chicago Booth School of Business), and Ken West (University of Wisconsin)
On April 1, and again on June 1, mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans will go up. Buyers who want to avoid having to pay the higher rates should apply for a loan — and get an FHA case number — no later than March 31.
The next day, the premium will rise from 1.0% of the loan to 1.75%, and annual fees will rise as well (by 0.1% or 0.25% for loans between $625,500 and $729,750).
Click here to read more from The Mortgage Reports.
Fannie Mae is beginning its program to sell the foreclosed homes on its books to investors who will turn them into rental properties.
The pilot program will be available for about 2,500 properties in Los Angeles, parts of Florida, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Chicago. Most of the properties are single-family homes, but about 500 are condominiums.
The goal is to stabilize home prices and get these properties off the taxpayer’s books and back into the private sector.
The new version of the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program, which allows underwater and upside-down homeowners to refinance at lower rates is seeing “tremendous” interest, according to Ed DeMarco, acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Administration.
The program had been limited to homeowners who owe less than 125% of their home’s value, but that limit was lifted. Borrowers still need to be current on their existing mortgages to qualify.
Large and medium-sized banks lost almost 10 percent of their customers to smaller institutions in 2011, thanks to dissatisfaction with customer service, high fees, and “social consciousness.”
Prompted in part by “Bank Transfer Day” on the fifth of November, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo were the big losers; most moved their money to smaller banks and credit unions.
Large banks — those with more than $33 billion in assets — are losing an average of 10% or more, according the JD Power and Associates, which released the report. On the other hand, small banks and credit unions are losing less than 1% of customers.