Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Selling Tips for those Fence Sitters!!!

It’s mid-week and you are wondering, “How can I get a couple of these buyers off the fence???”

They keep asking:

  1. What if prices drop further?
  2. Have we reached the bottom of the market?
  3. Should I look for a short sale or a foreclosure?
  4. Isn’t it still a buyers market? I want to bid low, don’t want to offer full price?

With all those questions are there any answers???

Here are some little tidbits of information to counteract those common questions.

  • Prices have dropped 53% since the peak median price in June of 2006. However, the current market shows that for the past three months the median price has gone up from $116K in April of 2009. Let’s say there is a slight possibility that the home prices drop 5% in the next year. Consider though that most people (outside of VA and USDA Rural Housing program) are committing at least 3.5% towards the down payment. Worse case scenario they lose 1.5%. Further, consider that if after we lose the last 5% we begin seeing normal/historical levels of 3% appreciation, then after 14 years of living in the home (this is the Census Bureau’s estimate of how long someone owns a home after purchasing it) the homeowners have gained 37% in appreciation. On the down payment of $4,375 (initial investment) and the future potential sale of $171,250 in 14 years the borrower stands to have a return on investment of 1000%. Clearly a scenario in which the borrower wins, even if prices drop further.

  • Like anything in life, everybody looks for the best deal. The question isn’t when the best deal happens it is what side of the deal you want to be on. For example, would your rather buy right before the bottom of the market or right after the bottom of the market? I vote for right before the bottom (even if you lose 5% - see scenario above). The reason right before the bottom is the best is because you, as the buyer, still have the advantage. If you ask for the fans to come with the house in a market where the sellers are eager to sell, you will have an easier time getting them. If you ask when the sellers are having an easier time selling their item, they might want you to pay for the fans. It’s just a classic example of why buying right before the bottom, when people are fearful is better than buying when people begin to get greedy. Don’t give the seller that opportunity.

  • Short sales are on the rise. In June, there were 9,350 total sales per ARMLS. Of those 9,350, 13.4% were short sale and 57.2% were foreclosure. That is highest number of closed short sales and lowest number for foreclosure percentage since the beginning of the year. However, the moratorium on foreclosures was recently lifted and so we may see an increase in that percentage in the next few months. Why would you steer the client away from short sale? Time, Effort, and most important cost. Short sales on average cost $82.88 per square foot while Lender Owned homes cost $63.36 per square foot. Basically there is more foreclosure inventory and a better price to be had for that foreclosure inventory.

  • Depends on your Market!!! Homes from $349,999 and down have a maximum of 4.6 months of supply, while homes under $99,999 have only 1.9 months of supply. Those markets are quickly becoming a sellers market, where closing cost contributions and any help from the seller will be limited. However, if you have a savvy borrower that can get into the $350+ range, they may still make out like a bandit in this market. According to ARMLS, the inventory jumps up to 7.4 months of supply from $350K and on range. You might still be able to get a lower offer into a $400K property and make it fly, perhaps even to the point where they could use the max financing for FHA of $346,250.

    See it really depends on whether or not you can ease the minds of your client. It is never a walk in the park, but with statistics and examples, it is easier to persuade someone that they are making the; right move, best offer, and are generally heading in the right direction towards their home purchase that will inevitably set them up for success and limits failure.

    Best of luck and Keep on Selling!

All statistical data is taken from ARMLS of Greater Phoenix.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Week In Review - What the passing of BIlly Mays and Michael Jackson can teach us...

There was easing in rates from a couple of weeks ago, as in about .25% better. This has helped us drop down to the mid 5% range again for qualified borrowers. The discussion is that this trend may continue and we may see them come down a bit more over the next couple of weeks. However, nothing in life is ever guaranteed but if you look back to my rate sheet update from early June, I mentioned they might ease in July, August and September. See sometimes even I get lucky!

In other News:

• November 30, 2009 is the Deadline for the 1st Time Homebuyer Tax Credit - Why mention this in early July??? Because we all know how long short sales can take, especially if you are working with a buyer who is making offers on short sales. Soon, if they want to take advantage of the tax credit, they may need to begin looking at other types of purchases that might move quicker. The worst thing would be for a buyer to get a home the 1st week in December and miss out on the tax credit. Food for thought.

Monetizing the $8,000 Tax Credit - In addition to the above deadline, there has been some circulation as to the ability to monetize the $8k tax credit. Monetize = using the money as an additional down payment or to help offset the costs associated with closing the loan. The $8K cannot be used as part of the down payment and as of now I haven't come across any companies that are working with borrowers to help them monetize the tax credit. I may have given this information already but it's a good refresher. See below:

  • WASHINGTON - Speaking to the National Association of Home Builders Spring Board of Directors Meeting, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will allow homebuyers to apply the Obama Administration's new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit toward the purchase costs of a FHA-insured home. Donovan said that today's action will help stabilize the nation's housing market by stimulating home sales across the country.

Tribute to Michael Jackson- Last week, while heading to Whistler, BC (an hour north of Vancouver and a very gorgeous place to visit indeed); the news came out that the "King of Pop" died. Sometimes we think these things are insignificant, but the man truly crossed all boundaries. The coverage in Canada was as prominent as that in the US as it was the only thing on the radio and news. The interesting part is truly what his genius built. You don't have to be a fan of Michael Jackson as a person to see what his body of work means. There is no doubt that someday, should I have a little boy, he might try the moonwalk and to emulate the dance steps in "Billie Jean". Michael Jackson was an interesting character but he gave lasting memories to many people all over the world and that is a feat all on its own.

Often we miss greatness only when it's gone and we fail to realize the lengths at which one must strive to become great. People who some may consider great, pour their lives into becoming great at their passion. Think Abraham Lincoln, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Michelangelo, George Washington, Bill Gates, and the list goes on and on. Greatness is achieved and earned, not given.

The last example of this was when watching "Pitchmen" a show on the Discovery Channel about Billy Mays and his partner Anthony Sullivan (in a nutshell they help inventors sell their products). In the show, they played an old clip from 1983 of Billy Mays, the renowned Oxi-Clean guy, selling a car shami on TV. They all had a good laugh about it. Why...because it was really bad. It didn't even seem like the same Billy Mays. But he worked hard, honed is craft and in the end became the most successful TV Pitchman of all time. His greatness isn't defined by his early beginning but that he was determined to become great at what he did.

We might all do better by learning from this example. The biggest decision lies in where we decide to be great.

HAPPY 4th of JULY.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's all in the Spin!

Life and our outlook on it, is sometimes dependent on how we Spin the situation.
It's the "Half glass full vs. Half glass empty" theory. But it is true, we can apply it to any situation.

For example, with mortgage rates increasing over the last couple of weeks there are two recurring thoughts:

  1. "I can't believe rates have increased to the mid 5% range. That is outrageous."
  2. "Rates have increased but at least we aren't paying 6.5%-7.5% like the historical averages. A thirty year fixed rate in the 5% range, is still a great deal."

Two statements - Two completely different outlooks.

It's the same with gas prices. They have gone higher but they aren't at the highest levels we have seen them (think March/April of 2008)

The question remains: Does it make it any easier?

NO - Is of course the resounding answer.

We all want the best rate, the cheapest gas, the easiest road. But it usually doesn't happen. I locked my fair share of loans in the 4% range, but those people didn't hold out for lower rates, they seized the opportunity. Sometimes timing isn't perfect and we wait too long until what was great passes us by.

I think the goal is to do what you believe is best at the time: based on past experiences and using good decision making skills. They say that "hindsight is 20/20" but perhaps those that say that dwell too much on the past. Think of why you make the decisions at the times that you made them and you will find that you probably made the decision with the best possible information you had available and were okay with it.

Life changes: sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. But one thing remains, another decision is always around the corner. How are you going to Spin it so that you make the best decision at that time. Don't let negativity keep you from moving forward...that might lead to regrets you never want to experience.

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Monetizing" $8000 Tax Credit for Down Payment

On May 29, 2009, HUD released Mortgagee Letter 2009-15.

Initially this letter appears to help First Time Homebuyer's to use their $8000 Tax Credit as a part of their down payment before they actually receive the credit back from the government.

Based on my research this is not the case!

Currently their are 10 States that are participating in "First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Loan Programs" - for purposes of this blog and since I work in AZ, please note that Arizona is not on the list.

In addition, if you read the entire Mortgagee Letter there is a very important Condition listed:

"Pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1709(b)(9), the homebuyer's downpayment required for eligibility for FHA insurance may not consist of any funds (including funds derived from a sale of the homebuyer tax credit) provided by the mortgagee, the seller, or any other person or entity that financially benefits from the transaction(or by any third party or entity that is reimbured, directly or indirectly, by the financially benefiting persons or entity). Accordingly, the proeeds of the sale of the tax credit to FHA approved mortgagees, the seller , or any other person or entity that financially benefits from the transaction (or any third party or entity that is reimbursed, directly or indirectly, by the financing benefitting person or entity), may not be used to meet the 3.5% minimum downpayment, but may be used as additional downpayment, buying down of interest rate, or other closing costs." - See Mortgage Letter 2009-15, Page 2

Notice the first part that says, "including funds derived from a sale of the homebuyer tax credit". You cannot use the money in place of the 3.5% down payment, based on the comment above.

The secondary financing essentially works like this: A company could "purchase" your $8k tax credit, charge you $200 for lending you the $8K and put requirements on how you pay them back.

Important points on how they can be repaid:
  • No Cash Back to the Borrower
  • Second lien cant exceed the total amount needed for down payment, closing costs and prepaid expenses.
  • Secondary financing can be "soft" - Meaning no repayment required until the sale or refinance of the property.
  • Must include payments in qualifying ratios if they are required.

Basically the mortgagee letter is intended to let buyers use the $8K tax credit to help pay for closing costs and any extra down payment above the 3.5% required by FHA.

There is no way, up to this point and based on my research, to not be required to put 3.5% down into the new home, unless the money is gifted from a relative.

Hopefully that clarifies the new mortgagee letter. I don't know whether it is good or bad...I just know that it might not be what people were hoping for. Sure it would help get more 1st time homebuyers into homes, but the DPA programs were opposed by HUD for a while, why would they enact a new guideline to help bring DPA programs back???

Kind of makes you stop and think that the perception this might be available in the future is just that - perception and not reality.

here is good news though - 1st time homebuyers or people who haven't owned a home for the past three years, can still receive an $8000 tax credit on the purchase of their new home between now and December 1, 2009 (unless the bill is extended by President Obama).

Happy 1st week in June.

All Quotes taken from Mortgagee Letter 2009-15 from HUD Website:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Volatile - Can I have the defintion please?

This week was the Scripps National Spelling Bee. I didn’t watch all of it but on Monday, I happened to catch about 10 minutes of it on ESPN. What I found most interesting was the way the kids showed their pleasure or discomfort with the words immediately. One contestant looked as if she was about to begin dancing when the moderator (or whatever they call him) asked her to spell ____________. (Heck I don’t remember the word, it’s not like any of them are used in daily conversation anyway!!!)

However, it does bring me to the word of the week – Volatility.

Can I please get the definition? a. Tending to vary often or widely,
b. Tending to violence; explosive

Can I have it in a sentence? a. Mortgage interest rate volatility was very high this week

Can I have the language of origin? a. Yeah – It’s frustration (doubt that’s a language).

Can I have it in another sentence? a. Many mortgage consultants were volatile this week because interest rates were volatile.

Volatile – V – O – L – A – T - = “Oh, who cares, just tell me what is going to happen next week with interest rates.”

I hope you get the idea. At one point, yields swung by a percent and rates jumped almost .75%. But then now, on Friday, only about .125% higher than where we ended last week! It’s enough to make a person well…volatile.

Outside of that, nothing fantastic happened. D-backs are winning a bit more, Detroit and Pittsburgh are in a rematch for the Stanley Cup Finals (check out games 1 and 2 on NBC this weekend), and HVCC still stinks.

My last tidbit of knowledge...Hold the ones you love close and dear to your heart because life is fragile and we are only guaranteed today.

(My thoughts and prayers go out to the Swartz family as they lost their mom to a stroke at the age of 45 this past Sunday. She touched many lives. May we all hope to do the same!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Revival: A Blogger's Story


Sure, I haven't posted anything to this blog in about 7 months, but most of the blog information is on my active rain blog.

No excuses! I neglected this little blog and those all important 8 subscribers. I have found renewed vigor in it as my foray into Facebook, showed me just how many people I know.

And yes it is more than I can count on my fingers and toes!

I actually feel lucky to know so many people. I hope they know that if they needed anything from me at any point, I would be willing to help.

Anyway, my goal is to make this blog better. To direct it in a way that people find it useful. But it will probably be more than just Mortgages. I will tell stories of my time as a Coach in competitve hockey in AZ, I will tell stories about my wife, our dogs, my car, the in-laws, the immediate family, the journey.

Hopefully, I will lead an interesting enough life that people will see the blog and decide that they might enjoy working with me as they choose to buy their first, second or last home. Perhaps they want to refinance their home.

So, here I am. Make of it what you will.

Active Rain Site

You can find great local Scottsdale, Arizona real estate information on Eric Murrietta is a proud member of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, a free online community to help real estate professionals grow their business.