Ms. Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
Kevin Boer, 3 Oceans Real Estate
Chris Iverson, Ventoux Real Estate
Dear Madam Secretary,
We understand based on recent news events (include Mr. Obama’s pre-emptive European victory lap), and on the harsh constitutional reality that your present employer will soon no longer be needing your services, that you may soon be looking for a new residence, perhaps near to your past employer Stanford University.
It seems, in fact, that Mr. Bush has already begun his own search, so there may be some urgency to this matter.
Allow us to suggest a residence suitable for a person of your experience and discerning taste: the Squire House at 900 University Ave in Palo Alto. This property is currently on the market, listed by the local Alain Pinel triumvirate Carol, Rosemary, and Nicole, for only $12.5M.
First of all, this home is a leisurely 20 minute walk down University Ave straight into the heart of the Stanford Campus:
Secondly, the facade of the home may well remind you of a similar grand mansion on the East Coast, one in which you have spent a considerable amount of time in the last 8 years:
(Image courtesy of 900UniversityAvenue.com)
Thirdly, the home is over 6000 square feet, and has a lot size of nearly one acre. This will provide ample room for all your entertainment, parking, and security needs.
Should you wish to view this property, have your people call our people, and we’ll make it happen.
Mssrs. Boer & Iverson
P.S. Some of your colleagues may be in a similar situation. We are happy to provide them with good references for real estate professionals in their home towns.
Mr. Paulson, for instance, may return to Manhattan to work for Goldman Sachs. May I recommend Mr. Noah Rosenblatt as the ideal discrete broker to assist him.
Should Mr. Gates return to his former employer, I recommend he contact Ms. Lani Anglin, who, though based in Austin, not College Station, would be a stellar pick.
If Mr. Gutierrez finds the siren song of Miami irresistible, I highly recommend Mr. Kevin Tomlinson.
Perhaps you could also relay to Senator McCain that, should he decide to retire, the right person to contact is Mr. James Wexler, one of the best real estate brokers in the Phoenix area. We understand this move might happen this year, or in 2012 or even 2016; Mr. Wexler is patient and will be awaiting his call.
Curtis Van Carter, who sells real estate in Napa Valley, claims he’s trying to nab another high-profile soon-to-be-unemployed individual, none other than “W” himself. Apparently, said individual, while in Napa Valley on a fund-raising expedition, took a little side trip to see a certain castle. Alas, it’s not even for sale, and spouse Laura found it cold and uninviting.
At the other end of the spectrum, Los Altos Realtor Joanne Fraser suggests Condi may have to settle for a $1.6M Los Altos home because Stanford profs only make $175K per year. I completely disagree. First, she’d be the Provost, not a mere professor, which means her salary would easily be $250K. Secondly, I’ve heard she may be getting help for the down payment. Finally, there are rumors of a book deal in the works!
Tags: Condi Rice
, Palo Alto
, Real estate
, Secretary of State
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Tags: Real estate
Geeks Of The World Rejoice! Behold The First-Ever Twitter-MLS!
July 22nd, 2008 · 2 Comments
I’ve been accused — rightly, I might add — of being a geek. I also happen to be in real estate. You put the two together, plus a keen interest in using new social media tools like Twitter, and what do you get? The Twitter-MLS!
For a long time, MLS searches have been available via email. Recently, some real estate search providers — like our friends at Trulia and at Diverse Solutions — have enabled MLS searches via RSS feeds. (That’s actually the technology I use on the sidebar to provide the link searches.)
As the latest new big online thing, Twitter has attracted a massive cult following, and as a permission-based communication tool, it’s ideal for sending out news snippets such as new listings.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for an account at Twitter if you haven’t done so already.
- Head thither and “follow” my Twitter “Menlo Park MLS” account. Other towns in the Bay Area will follow shortly.
- Sit back and enjoy the “tweets” that will come your way by cell phone, email, Twhirl, online (depending on how you configure Twitter). These “tweets” will be little news snippets about new homes to hit the market. Want more details? Click on the link in the tweet and you’ll see pictures, details, and much much more.
If you’re more of a FriendFeed type, I have the same offering available in FriendFeed room format. Find your way yonder, select your favorite city, and click “Join This Room.” And, as our British cousins would say, “Bob’s your uncle!”
FriendFeed room example for Burlingame:
Twitter example for Menlo Park:
, Real estate
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Tags: Consumer · For sellers · Industry · Redfin
Yes, for those of you gents who still may be holding on to the rather relaxed “grunge” look from the 1990’s, I’ve got a newsflash for you: grunge, along with the current housing crisis, is over.
Articles about the housing crisis ending have been few and buried in their respective periodical, my favorite of which was in TIME magazine back in February titled, “Ignore the Headlines“. But now we have the Wall Street Journal. claiming that the trough was reached in April with an article from May 6, “The Housing Crisis is Over“.
I agreed with Peter Lynch back in February.., and it’s becoming more an more apparent that the longer prospective home-buyers sit on the fence, the more expensive that home purchase will become. And this is not just because I believe that home prices will rise, it’s also because I believe that both long and short term interest rates will rise. The 10-year Treasury Note, for example, is up over 1/2% since the middle of March, and the 10-year Treasury Note is a decent barometer to use when you want to know what the trend in long term mortgage rates have been.
That written, if you really want to continue with the grunge look, might I suggest saving it for your next camping trip?
As always, kindly consult with your trusted real estate, tax and mortgage professional before seriously considering any home purchase.
, For buyers
, For sellers
, Palo Alto
, Real estate
, Real estate blogging
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Tags: Buyer and seller tips · Consumer · For buyers · Industry · Mortgages · Real estate
(photo credit: mop squad)
Kevin Costner was hot 20 years ago in Field of Dreams. So was that comment “If you build it, they will come.” I received a fantastic comment from a home buyer today for my previous post How Listing Agents Unintentionally Sabotage Their Own Staged Listings:
May 12th, 2008 at 10:51 am That is so true. As a potential buyer, I have been frustrated many times by Craigslist ads that have no picture. There are a ton of houses out there, and I’m trying to weed out the ones I don’t want to look at - it’s really impossible without a picture.I’ve seen so many places, staged or unstaged, that sounded great on paper and then turned out to be hideous-to-unlivable in person.More importantly, even though online listings at a place like Craigslist are free and offer almost unlimited space, a lot of sellers just put up one or two sentences and no pictures - and to me that says “I don’t have it together enough to actually market this house.”
And my experience has been that often, that means they don’t know how to deal with the paperwork, or with my questions, or even with basic social skills.I guess in a way it’s helpful to see a boring, picture-less, one-line house ad - because it tells me I don’t want to deal with that seller. But it’s still hilariously frustrating to see an ad online that says something like, “2 BR 1.5 BA NICE!!! MUST SEE CALL JAMES SMITH REALTOR 555-1414!”
This is a brilliant comment, it just goes to show that with that in this fast changing real estate market, our buyers’ behaviors have changed. The old attitude of “If you list it, they will come” no longer works. That worked in the movie Field of Dreams for Kevin Costner but guess what? Kevin Costner is OLD news now. That phrase was coined 20 years ago, so is that attitude. It’s freaking 20 years old. Shouldn’t we move on with the times?
A savvy marketer knows that today’s consumers are so de-sensitized by advertisements that they need more interactive and user-friendly contents [Note: "content," NOT "ads."] to make an educated decision before buying. You can see that through the fast rising numbers of business blogs and web 2.0 services. People want interaction, not sales agenda ramming down their throats.
Also, today’s agents no longer holds monopoly to MLS information. Internet has made today’s buyers more savvy, shrewed, efficient and much more likely to start their buying process without agents. Additionally, if the consumers cannot be satisfied by you, it’s very easy for them to go elsewhere. To be able to work in a competitive market, as a listing agent or FSBO (For Sale By Owners), you will need to get on with the time to provide a comprehensive and user-friendly marketing package.
To do so, here are a few tips as pointed out by Danika, our lovely buyer:
*Online presence is KEY. Staging the property will instantly make the home show-ready online. Once you have staged, having big & high quality photos is a must.
*Don’t just do 1 photo, if you are allowed to post 10, why not do 10?
*Place ONLY good quality photos that will entice buyers’ appetite. Photos like featuring the local eateries or parking lots are not really adding anything to your listing.
*Be creative, not boring and cookie cutter in your listing descriptions. “2Br for sale” is kind of a duh since anyone can read it from the sheet. Why not say something more descriptive that showcase the unique selling points of your listing?
*MOST IMPORTANT: Provide reasonable expectations for buyers. If your listing sounds like the “IT” property to buy and buyers walked into an ill-maintained home, they will turn around and leave immediately because you have wasted their time. If the house is staged, keep it staged while you sell. If you property was already on market then staged, showcase the staged photos online and on flyers and take out the old unstaged photos.
, Home selling
, Real estate
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Tags: Advertising · Buyer · Buyers · Home selling · Online advertising · Real estate · Strategy · Technology
Maybe it’s the frustrated business school professor in me, or the memories of sitting in Professor Barry Nalebuff’s classes during business school, but what has fascinated me the most about the ongoing debate about Trulia’s no-follow outbound listings links (started here by Galen Ward, then continued here, here, here, and here) is not the arcana of the no-follow tag, not the dissection of SEO intricacies, and not really even the question of what is or is not appropriate to do with listings online.
No, what really fascinates me about this debate is how it accentuates co-opetition in the real estate industry. Co-opetition is simply the notion that companies compete and co-operate simultaneously. Arch-rivals Northrup Grumman and Boeing go mano-a-mano to get a lucrative government contract … and the winner often subcontracts part of the project to its rival. Microsoft and Oracle have competing database platforms but often sell eachother’s products.
In our industry, co-opetition reaches nearly incestuous levels. For instance:
- Brokers John and Betty compete for the listing at 123 Main Street. Betty wins and puts the property on the MLS. The very next week John brings potential buyer clients to the property. Sure, he would rather have won the listing, but that’s in the past. Now he’s working with Betty to consummate the transaction. No hard feelings.
- Realtor Bob hangs his license with ABC Realty. He puts an ABC Realty sign on the front lawn of all his listings, and the ABC Realty logo is prominent in all his media ads. He’s co-operating with his real estate brokerage to promote their brand, and he in turn benefits from that brand awareness. Co-operation. A phone call from a prospective buyer of one of Bob’s listings, however, may well go through to the agent on “floor duty.” That agent turns this phone call into a client, who goes on to buy a different listing, not Bob’s. That’s competition — Bob would have loved to get that phone call and turn it into another client, but his competitor — the other agent, and to some extent his own broker — snagged that client. Co-operation plus competition = co-opetition.
- A thousand local brokers — each fierce competitors — co-operate to run a local MLS. They put their competing listings up on the MLS, and they compete to bring buyers to each of the listings. At the close of each transaction, we again have co-opetition — competing parties co-operating for the sake of the deal.
- Broker Tom snags a listing and puts it on the MLS. Via the wonders of IDX, that listing spreads its tentacles onto a thousand other sites, including that of arch-rival Broker Sarah. As long as Broker Sarah indicates that Tom is the broker of record, it’s all good. Her site is much better than Tom’s, so she gets more traffic and hence more clients online. The fodder that draws in those visitors? Listings … not only her own, but also Tom’s.
- Broker Rachel gets the listing at 789 Elm Street and puts it on the MLS. She also puts it on Trulia, which, like the MLS itself, exposes the listing to a much broader audience than she could reach on her own. She benefits from the increased exposure, and Trulia gets more inventory to display. It’s a win-win — co-operation at its finest. The next day, a prospective homebuyer passes 789 Elm Street and Googles the address to find out more. Who’s on the top page? Trulia and Broker Rachel’s listing site. Now they’re competing — for web traffic.
There really is nothing new under the sun. This business has always been a co-opetitive one, and we’ve always simultaneously co-operated with and competed against not only every other broker, but many of the third-party advertisers, aggregators, and media companies.
, Real estate
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Tags: * Export · Barry Nalebuff · Industry · MLS · Real estate · Trulia
If you’re Eliot Spitzer, probably three feelings come to mind: panic, disorientation and regret. But if you’re a potential home buyer in the Peninsula region of California, you have good reason to feel excited, encouraged and confident! Why? If you read my last post last month, you know that the conforming loan limits for many California Counties are going up and that means cheaper mortgage rates on loan amounts between $417,001 and $729,750. Now that HUD has made it official that ALL bay Area counties qualify for the revised maximum conforming loan limit, that means potentially big savings on mortgages for qualified applicants looking to purchase single-unit properties up to $810,000 with as little as 10% down!
We’ve all heard the cliche, “the devil’s in the details”, so what are the latest requirements to obtain a conforming loans between $417,001 and $729, 750? Since I’ll provide you with a link to Fannie Mae website and announcement , I’ll provide you with some highlights that I think are most relevant and let you read further at your leisure:
1. Single-unit properties only
2. Purchase and “limited cash out” transactions only (i.e. no greater than $2,000 going into your pocket upon settlement)
3. If primary residence purchase, up to 90% loan-to-value (”LTV”) allowed if fixed-rate program is selected–700 minimum FICO(R) required; 80% LTV if an adjustable-rate loan is selected–660 minimum FICO(R) required; if refinance
4. If second home or investment property purchase, maximum 60% LTV allowed with minimum 660 FICO(R) regardless of eligible loan program selected
5. If refinance, regardless of type of eligible mortgage program, up to 75% LTV allowed, plus subordinate financing allowed in addition up to 20% LTV–660 minimum FICO(R) required
a. SPECIAL NOTE, consolidating existing first mortgage and subordinate mortgage into one loan NOT eligible AND six months of “seasoning” (six payments made on existing mortgage) required to refinance!
6. Loans are eligible for origination NOW
7. Eligible programs include 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, LIBOR-based 5/1 ARM (amortized and interest-only payments allowed for this program)– more programs may become available
8. Sufficient employment, income and assets must be verified and each file will require manual underwriting– automated underwriting engines not allowed at this time
Again, I do encourage you to read the Fannie Mae announcement from the 6th of March for all the details, but the above are the top highlights.
So what will pricing look like on these “new” conforming mortgages? Well, pricing has just recently been released by only a few institutions, but it looks like the 30-year fixed is running at about 6.375% and the 15-year fixed is running at about 6.25%. The 5/1 ARM pricing is expected to be released next month. What I do think is that pricing may actually get a little better in the short term as more institutions post pricing and auctions are successful with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
What’s right for you as a would be home buyer on the Peninsula? That depends of course on your specific situation, and I do encourage you to consult with your trusted mortgage and financial consultant before placing an offer on a home or refinancing your mortgage. What I can say is that the majority of our clients who are buying or refinancing today are selecting a jumbo 5-year ARM in the mid-5% range due to its balance of savings, security and flexibility.
, For buyers
, Home buying
, Menlo Park
, Mountain View
, Palo Alto
, Real estate
, Real estate blogging
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Tags: * Type of Content · Buyer · Buyers · Consumer · Industry
Unlike Hollywood, sex scandal is not a career launcher for politicians like Eliot Spitzer, now former New York Governor and someone who had single-handedly tanked his own career.
First of all, he is no Paris Hilton. People don’t want to link him with a sex scandal. Second of all, there is a drastic difference between his political image & persona comparing to his exposed image, unlike Paris Hilton who has at least been very consistent in her image as a party girl. So it was not a huge shock that Paris made a sex tape somewhere.
Eliot Spitzer, right, apologised to his family for “private failings” [AFP]
What does Spitzer have to do with Real Estate & Listing Photos?
Like someone in the limelight, your listing needs to present a consistent image front and back, inside and out. In a competitive market, your buyers are critical and they will be picking your listing apart. Also with the ease of internet shopping, it is very easy to overlook your listing while someone else’s looks much nicer and easier on the eye.
I see many MLS photos that present an inconsistent story that does not tell the story of the house.
Let’s look at some real MLS photos I recently pulled off the web:
It’s too dark to see anything. How big is the room, what is the purpose of this room, can you see? The room also has the “Titanic Effect” where everything is tilted to one side.
What’s the selling point of this kitchen? More importantly, where is the counter? Does this image say “I am a good seller who takes care of my house?”
Ah I get it, your listing has a floor.
What an interesting splash pattern on the floor, was there a dead body?
Am I looking at your floral arrangements or at your house?
Are you trying to sell me this house or this giant cabinet? I see I can fit, oh just about 1/3 of the bed into the room.
Are you advertising for your listings or its neighborhood vendors? Shockingly I see this very often in MLS photos where people show signs of local shops, etc. where there are less than 10 pictures of the home itself. In real estate photos, quantity does NOT equal to quality. As buyers, we want to see quality photos that represent the home well.
Are we selling the seller’s interesting collections or the house?
Now you see why photos are important? The MLS photos is a tool for you to tell the story of the house that you are selling. Leverage it well will bring you success in driving traffic to the open house and showing. We all know a photo is worth a 1,000 words, so let your pictures do the talking.
As the listing agent, you have a tremendous power and control over how you can present and market your listing in the best light. After all, presenting a listing is like presenting your single friend to the dating market — your single friend is gotta look good out there! So let’s make a pack together: us stagers will provide the nice staged home effects ready for show and you the agents will present wonderful and well-shot photographs on the MLS!
, Real estate
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Tags: Home selling
Trulia! Zillow! … and now Roost! Where do they come up with these names?
Roost, a new startup in the increasingly crowded real estate search space, launched last week to a cacophony of commentary from the re.net. Joel Burslem covered its feature set, its performance, and noted that Roost has the complete MLS inventory because it gets its listings from MLS’s, albeit indirectly. Greg Swann fawned over its business model and complete inventory.
If I understand Roost’s business model correctly, it intends to make money in a way that’s clever, unique, and possibly
illegal non-MLS-compliant. [1/30/08 update: I've been thinking about my choice of words, and "illegal" is definitely not the word I should have used. "Illegal" is mugging somebody, or stealing something. What Roost is doing is 100% legal and above-board. It may -- and I emphasize may -- be viewed by some as being non-MLS-compliant.]
The unique aspect of its business plan: it offers brokerages the opportunity to sponsor search results and get the resulting click-throughs to their own site. A search in Sacramento, for instance, reveals that the current sponsor is Sacramento heavyweight Lyon Real Estate.
The first three listings I see are from VM Group, Gold Financial Services, and Prudential CA Realty, all clearly identified in compliance with Sacramento’s Metrolist MLS services.
Here’s the tricky bit…if you want more information, you click on “View Details on Featured Broker’s Site.” When you do that for, say, the Prudential listing, you get information about the Prudential listing on the Lyon Real Estate site:
This sleight-of-hand is accomplished through a too-clever-by-half url manipulation, much to subtle to be noticed by the average consumer, but apparently kosher enough to pass muster from the Sacramento MLS — at least for now. What if Prudential gets upset that the click-through on one of their listings on a public MLS-ish site goes through to one of its competitors?
Here’s how (I believe) Roost and Lyon defend themselves: Look at the url. When you search in Sacramento, you’re not actually using the Roost site at all; you’re actually using the Lyon site (GoLyon.com). For as long as Lyon is the sponsoring broker, the search is being conducted at golyon.roost.com — a (sub)domain under the control of Lyon Real Estate — and hence in compliance with those silly old arcane MLS rules.
Watch what happens when you go back to the site. In my case, I ran another search, and this one was sponsored by Intero. Same results, same look and feel, but the search is now running at InteroRealEstateIDX.com…and sure enough, the click-through goes to Intero’s own site.
Very, very clever. I really like this part of their business model, for reasons I’ve explained before: The current real estate business model heavily favors the listing side of the equation, and I’ve been clamoring to the likes of Zillow and Trulia to think about buy-side advertising offerings. If I’m a small brokerage in Sacramento, and I currently only have, say, 5 listings, I could decide to spend, say, $5000 sponsoring X number of real estate searches in that market. The number one bait that still seems to draw eyeballs in real estate is listings, listings, listings, and if I don’t have many of my own, why not leverage those of my competitors?
Now for the questions of MLS
legality compliance …without going into all the details, I tried something like this trick about 2 years ago. It involved subtle manipulation of a url so that searches on a heavily-trafficked site were done — technically — using a url that was under my control. A good lawyer could easily have argued that this was in strict compliance with all the MLS rules. No dice. Within hours I got slapped down — not just by the MLS, but by my own broker!
I certainly wish Roost all the best, but I’m afraid they’d better put a sign on their front door that says, “Couriers please deliver cease and desist letters here.” Any business model that requires MLS compliance involves by definition an order of magnitude more headache. Why do you think Trulia and Zillow decided to get their listing feeds straight from the brokers?
And still more commentary:
* At the last Inman, Brian and I finally answered that great conundrum: Did his ancestors add on “o” or did mine drop an “o” at Ellis Island? The answer: neither. His ancestors are Italian, and mine Dutch. So no, we’re not related — except of course, through Lucy.
Tags: Alternative business models
, Real estate
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Tags: * Export · Consumer · MLS · Roost · Trulia · Zillow
January 24th, 2008 · 7 Comments
Several changes are afoot that may give some breathing room to the troubled parts of the housing market — which includes much of the country, even some areas here in the Peninsula. The Fed’s surprise 75-basis point rate drop a few days ago may lead to lower mortgage rates, and some of those with soon-to-reset adjustable rate mortgages may also be breathing easier.
The news today is that the House of Representatives has signed off on at least a temporary increase in the conforming loan limit, from its current level of $417,000 (more than enough for much of the country, almost irrelevant here) to $625,000, and perhaps as high as $700,000 in high-cost states. Now if the Senate and W. sign off on it, we could have ourselves a deal!
Currently, conforming loans (those which are guaranteed and resold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are limited to $417,000 in most states, but are about 50% higher in “high-cost” states like Hawaii and Alaska. By some twisted government logic, California is not included as a “high-cost” state.
What impact would raising the limit from $417,000 to $625,000 have on our local market? As a non-mortgage professional, here’s my take on it… (I’m hoping that a local mortgage expert or two may chime in here.)
First, if you’re buying a $1.5M home and putting $300K down — ie you’re borrowing $1.2M — nothing would change for you. Since you’re borrowing more than the limit, your loan can’t and won’t be resold and guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, and the risk premium for this has increased dramatically over the last year. A quick check over at bankrate.com shows a full 1.16% price difference between a conforming 30-year mortgage at 5.25% and a jumbo 30-year mortgage at 6.41%. Sorry, you’re stuck in the 6.41% camp.
However, if you’re buying a less expensive home — or putting down a lot more money — this could help dramatically. Say you’re buying a $750,000 home and you’re planning on putting $125,000 down — ie you’re getting a $625,000 loan.
Currently, that’s above the conforming loan limit, so with today’s rates you’d be paying (click click click on my calculator) $3914 per month. If the bill passes, you could get that same $625,000 loan for for 5.25% (click click click) or $3451 per month. That’s a handy pre-tax savings of a tad over $500/month, hardly chump change.
The lesson? If this bill passes, and the numbers work out such that the home you’ve been eying would require a loan between $417,000 and $625,000, here’s what you need to do:
- Scramble, beg, borrow, steal — do whatever you need to do in order to get enough of a downpayment to bring your loan in under $625,000.
- Work with your mortgage person to get a big enough second mortgage so that your first comes in under $625,000
Brian Brady notes that some political horse-trading may be ongoing as part of the negotiations. In particular, President Bush may have dropped his insistence on increases in loan limits being tied greater regulatory oversight.
The Front Steps blog posits that this will cause a rush of demand for appropriately priced properties in San Francisco, leading to a good year for real estate.
A commenter at Socketsite notes the downside of this move: Hooray! Privatize profits, then socialize the losses…Now all the troubled lenders can refinance this toxic garbage and put it into Fannie/Freddie’s lap (oh, and FHA too.)…I’m saving my $300 tax rebate (that I don’t qualify for) so that I can pay my share of the bailout.
The OFHEO (government body charged with oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) released a hefty 19-page position paper earlier this month with some fascinating statistics. Of particular note:
Nearly 50% — half — of all jumbo loans come from California.
Secondly, this graph, from the same OFHEO report, clearly shows the havoc the whole mortgage fiasco has caused to the Jumbo loan market: the difference in interest rates between conforming and Jumbo loans more than quadrupled in 2007. Here’s how to read this graph: In January 2007, the interest rate difference between conforming and Jumbo loans was a scant 20 basis points; a confirming loan product at, say 6%, would have a comparable Jumbo product at 6.2%; by the end of 2007, that difference had increased to 80 basis points, so a conforming product at 6% would have a corresponding Jumbo product at 6.8%.
That’s real money, folks!
Caveat: I am not a mortgage broker or banker. In particular, I am not your mortgage broker or banker. The above represents my layman’s understanding of the issue. Don’t make any kind of home purchasing decision based solely on the above. Talk to your mortgage professional. ‘Nuff said.
Tags: Conforming Loans
, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Mortgages
, Real estate
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Tags: Buyers · Consumer · Mortgage · Real estate
I recently read a great post from Dan Green, a mortgage planner in Ohio, titled, “While Rates Are Low, Schedule Your Purchase Closing At Least 45 Days Out “, and I wanted to remind any potential home buyers searching within or around Palo Alto, CA that local sellers are still requiring a 30-day or less close. Thanks to our main man, Dr. Boer, for bringing this blog to my attention.
Dan does have some great points about turn times deteriorating, underwriters being more cautious and resources being slimmer. All of these concerns are valid and may press the close date on any transaction. Thus, it’s important to verify with whomever you select as your lender what the timetable looks like for your situation. As a general rule, purchase transactions are given higher priority than refinance transactions.
The reality is that we have worked on two transactions already this month where the close date was ten days or less from contract ratification. In fact, one call I received yesterday asked whether a month-end close would be possible for a client looking to buy a condo in Menlo Park. Yes, a one-week close is possible.
So how can you prepare, and whom can you trust to get your transaction done right and on time? I offer the following:
1. if you have a trusted mortgage lending source, double check to determine whether the institution makes direct lending decisions (usually a direct lender or a mortgage bank)
2. if your trusted source does not make direct decisions (usually a mortgage broker), request a realistic timetable to determine whether your loan will fund in the time required by the contract
3. ask your real estate professional for a referral to a lender that she or he trusts
No doubt, this is a fantastic time to be buying a home: there a some local values out there, rates are phenomenally low (have you seen that 5-year treasury lately, wow! And what a move by the Fed to lower another .75%..!) and our local economy is doing well (check out Iverson’s latest post for more on that subject). The flip side is that the inventory of available homes has not been very encouraging (only four new ones in Palo Alto on Friday– ouch).
My position has always been that you can’t go wrong with purchasing real estate in select areas of the peninsula, provided that your holding period is five years. And if you’re someone with a reliable real estate professional, a reliable lender, reasonable qualifications and a solid plan, you will likely see a nice bump to your net worth over the next five years by making a move sooner than later.
Tags: Menlo Park
, Palo Alto
, Real estate
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Tags: Consumer · Industry · Mortgage · Real estate