What's on the market in Journey's End?

What's on the market in Journey's End?
Click on the photo above and see the homes for sale in Journey's End


A Thanksgiving wish


Finally! One of the big franchises ADMITS IT!

Thanks to the NotoriousROB blog for the heads-up on this video. Keep in mind while you watch this that this is a Keller Williams agent recruiting video...

And this is why I opened a small, personalized office long ago...I realized that it was me, my wife and our like-minded agents that our clients were hiring...not some company logo.

 I don't think many realty companies, large or small, make ANY promise to the consumer other than vague platitudes "we are the biggest/we sell the most etc., nothing like "we hire only the most highly skilled/we fire the bad agents...you know what I mean. And the ones that do make consumer based promises often do absolutely nothing to actually KEEP AND ENFORCE that promise, from recruiting, to rules, to marketing, to service standards.

But it is refreshing to finally see one of the big guys admit what the consumer already knows: It is the AGENTS, not the company.

All of the big franchises say that they have the best agents...etc, etc. But if you've ever gone on an interview as a real estate agent, you would know that there is never a competency test, ethics test or any kind of test for that matter. As a matter of fact, it is usually a 'reverse' interview...with the agent deciding whom THEY want to go work for. It's almost: If you have a license, you have a job.


There's no free lunch

I have started to see this being promoted recently by mail and on the radio.
"If we don't sell your house in ___days...WE'LL BUY IT!"

Sounds great...especially in this market. Worth checking out? That's what the agent is hoping you'll think. Get their phone to ring...but they'll most likely never discuss the details over the phone..."much to complicated and need to see your home to see if it qualifies"...get the foot in the door.  But there is NEVER a free lunch; there is always a cost associated.

But, particularly in this type of market, it would be "good business" if the agent NEVER bought any homes, or if they did, that they were purchased at such a drastic discount that the seller could do better selling the home themselves. 

I have gone to several seminars where they promoted this (tactic/gimmick) and it starts out sounding something like this:
" Mr./Mrs. homeowner, a big dilemma when making your move is deciding whether to buy 1st or sell 1st. Either way is risky as you could end up with 2 homes (or no home). Our unique/innovative/etc., Guaranteed Sale Program solves this dilemma...you get our personal guarantee that if we don't sell your home in 90/120/180 days, we will buy it at a price acceptable to you. Now, WE take all the risk from you and you can immediately place a confident offer on another home".

The hidden details usually follow some or all of these general guidelines:
  • Must purchase one of the agents listings...or at least buy a 'full commission' home with them
  • Seller must still pay a full commission on the 'guaranteed' sale
  • Quite often an 'upfront' fee or guaranteed sale program fee of anywhere from $295 to fees in the thousands
  • "Agreed upon" price well below appraisal/market value...could be as low as the 80% range, then subtract commissions, fees, closing costs etc.
  • Original list price 5% below comparables
  • Seller is REQUIRED to continually lower the asking price during the 90 day (or whatever the guarantee period is)...for example: 100%  for 1st 30 days, 90% day 30-60, 80% day 60-90, at which point they have reached their 'guarantee' point (but minus a full commission, etc.)
  • Sign the listing agreement first...then the guaranteed purchase details come later
  • May be a maximum allowable program price
  • Restrictions on home condition
  • Use the language "I'll buy it for 'list' price", but fail to say that the 'list' price is the 80% ENDING list price
If they'll buy it for the full price that they agree to list it for...then that's putting their money where their dog and pony show is.

Think about these few points:
  • With as difficult as it is to get a mortgage now, COULD your agent actually perform on their guarantee? Ask to speak with their mortgage lender...do your due diligence as with any other buyer.
  • If they don't need a mortgage and have a few $million sitting around to buy homes that don't sell in 90 days, why are they a real estate agent?
  • Are they "flipping" the purchase option to an investor? Are they going to list the home for the investor once they buy it?
  • Can they assign the guaranteed sale price (as in a wholesaler)?

Good, solid, cutting-edge marketing, a detailed understanding of the local and national economic factors affecting home values, subdivision level market knowledge, ability to analyze trends...trust and mutual respect...THIS is what is needed today.

Thanks for reading


Nobody likes an 'I told you so'...but


"Wall Street money is pouring into the coffers of those who are receptive (i.e., almost everyone in Congress). The legislation is already being drafted under the interstate commerce clause to ratify MERS and everything it did retroactively. It appears that the Obama administration is ready to pardon all the securitization deviants by signing this bill into law. This information is corroborated by several people who are in sensitive positions — persons who would be the first to know such proposals. Fortunately, there are some people in Washington who have a conscience and do not want to see this happen."

John Carney, CNBC--"When Congress comes back into session next week, it may consider measures intended to bolster the legal status of a controversial bank owned electronic mortgage registration system that contains three out of every five mortgages in the country.

The system is known as MERS, the acronym for a private company called Mortgage Electronic Registry Systems. Set up by banks in the 1997, MERS is a system for tracking ownership of home loans as they move from mortgage originator through the financial pipeline to the trusts set up when mortgage securities are sold.

The system has come under scrutiny by critics who charge MERS with facilitating slipshod practices. Recently, lawyers have filed lawsuits claiming that banks owe states billions of dollars for mortgage recording fees they avoided by using MERS...

Now it appears that Congress may attempt to prevent any MERS' meltdown from occurring. MERS is owned by all the biggest banks, and they certainly do not want it to be sunk by huge fines...And be subject to court challenges on mortgage ownership by foreclosure defense attorneys.

Investors in mortgage-backed securities also do not want to see the value of their bonds sink because of doubts about the ownership of the underlying mortgages.

Remember, this is the SAME Congress that "almost" passed the "Notarization Act" by voice vote and it reached Obama's desk. We will never know who voted for it, as a voice vote is not recorded, and it flew threw BOTH House and Senate.

So it looks like the stage may be set for Congress to pass a bill that would limit MERS exposure on the recording fee issue and perhaps retroactively legitimize mortgage transfers conducted through MERS' private database...."

Just look at my post of 10/26 on my Winston Trails blog at www.WinstonTrails.info ...this is EXACTLY what I feared would happen. Too big to fail also means too big to have to comply with the laws I guess. When was the last time you broke the law and then had legislation passed on your behalf?  I don't want to turn this into a politcal blog...but...


That one heck of a 5 o’clock shadow

Standard & Poor’s, known as a leader of financial market intelligence, has revised estimates for when we can expect this much-talked-about shadow inventory to clear up. S&P now estimates that it will take 41 months—or nearly three and a half years—to get through and sell off all that shadow inventory lurking in the national real estate market background.

This number is up drastically from it’s assessment a year ago when it estimated it would take 33 months to complete this process…(That’s 25% longer than their last estimate and these guys are the “leader in financial market intelligence”?) S&P’s report states that the growth in the nation’s shadow inventory is affecting the housing market in three ways.

First, low liquidation rates are artificially skewing the visible supply of these distressed properties on the market. Second, this ever-growing inventory is having a negative affect on existing home prices. And finally, home prices will only begin to stabilize once this shadow inventory backlogged is cleared out.

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