October 2009


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INTEGRITY . . A LOST TRAIT

A few words on integrity.

In a world of high-tech, instant emails and instant gratification, there seems to be an ever growing sense of impersonality within our midst. We overhear personal conversations at the deli counter. We see people waiting in offices, enveloped in their mobile laptop and blackberrry. We seldom know our postal carrier, and we don’t even have a milkman or butcher anymore.
We’ve become unaccountable; hiding behind electronic doodads so we don’t have to face each other eye to eye in total honesty.

It used to be a handshake was all it took to confirm in stone our business intentions. Now, we have to engrave our signatures in blue ink, notarized with seals of approval. We simply do not do what we say we will do… we lack integrity.

What ever happened to integrity? Whether you define it as a core value system, or being honest, you’re only half right. Those are some components of integrity…but it is so much more.

Integrity in whole, respects a unity a completeness of consistent principles and ethics – which comprise a value system that never sways, never erodes. It is committed to authenticity– direct accountability. It doesn’t concede to infallibility, but rather is a refusal to engage in incorrect behavior and instead embraces the ethics of correcting fallibilities under a moral guideline.

According to famed law professor, Stephen Carter, integrity imposes three distinct steps as such:

1. The discernment of what is right and wrong.
2. Acting on what one discerns as right and wrong even at a personal cost.

3. Stating you are acting on your discernment of right from wrong.

In this model, integrity isn’t honesty. It is an act of thinking and taking action on what is right and remaining accountable for those actions regardless of its outcome.

What we need more than ever is to remember that behind every keystroke is a person who needs to remain accountable, reliant, efficient and trustworthy. We need to remain ethical in our high-tech world, and remain steadfast in our society’s definition of integrity.

 The Meredith Mortgage Team

A Solid Reputation Of Serving Our Clients With Integrity~

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Expanding Housing Opportunities Class, November 11

NAR’s new housing opportunity course—Expanding Housing Opportunities—will be offered on Wednesday, November 11th from 9am – 3:30pm (breakfast and lunch included). The 6-hour class provides REALTORS® with information on affordable housing opportunities; affordability impacts; affordable financing options; and leveraging partnerships and resources to expand housing opportunities in their community. Sign up for the class on the Conference webpage under pre-conference courses. Walk-ins will also be accepted if space is available.

Housing Opportunity Advisory Board, November 12

The Housing Opportunity Advisory Board will meet on Thursday, November 12, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, Manchester Ballroom C, Second Level. The meeting will focus primarily on the topic of workforce housing.

Housing Opportunity Committee, November 13

The Housing Opportunity Committee will meet on Friday, November 13, from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, at the San Diego Marriott, San Diego Ballroom A, North Tower, Lobby Level. The meeting will review the progress of the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants program and feature presentations from three associations that have received grants.

Housing Opportunity Forum, November 15

The Housing Opportunity Forum will be held Sunday, November 15, from 9:00 am–11:00 am., at the San Diego Convention Center, room 6C, Upper Level. The Housing Opportunity Forum will join with the Property Management Forum to discuss the impact of foreclosures on single-family and multi-family housing as it pertains to REALTORS®, property owners, tenants and property managers.

Expanding Housing Opportunities Train the Trainer, November 15

The Instructor Training will train Instructors for the new Expanding Housing Opportunities course. Participation in the Instructor Training must be pre-approved and completion of the Expanding Housing Opportunities class is a prerequisite. The application period for this training is now closed. For information on future opportunities, contact Lora McCray at lmccray@realtors.org

Housing Opportunity Program Events at the 2009 REALTORS Conference Expanding Housing Opportunities Class, November 11NAR’s new housing opportunity course—Expanding Housing Opportunities—will be offered on Wednesday, November 11th from 9am – 3:30pm (breakfast and lunch included). The 6-hour class provides REALTORS® with information on affordable housing opportunities; affordability impacts; affordable financing options; and leveraging partnerships and resources to expand housing opportunities in their community. Sign up for the class on the Conference webpage under pre-conference courses. Walk-ins will also be accepted if space is available. Housing Opportunity Advisory Board, November 12The Housing Opportunity Advisory Board will meet on Thursday, November 12, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, Manchester Ballroom C, Second Level. The meeting will focus primarily on the topic of workforce housing.Housing Opportunity Committee, November 13

The Housing Opportunity Committee will meet on Friday, November 13, from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, at the San Diego Marriott, San Diego Ballroom A, North Tower, Lobby Level. The meeting will review the progress of the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants program and feature presentations from three associations that have received grants.

Housing Opportunity Forum, November 15

The Housing Opportunity Forum will be held Sunday, November 15, from 9:00 am–11:00 am., at the San Diego Convention Center, room 6C, Upper Level. The Housing Opportunity Forum will join with the Property Management Forum to discuss the impact of foreclosures on single-family and multi-family housing as it pertains to REALTORS®, property owners, tenants and property managers.

Expanding Housing Opportunities Train the Trainer, November 15

The Instructor Training will train Instructors for the new Expanding Housing Opportunities course. Participation in the Instructor Training must be pre-approved and completion of the Expanding Housing Opportunities class is a prerequisite. The application period for this training is now closed. For information on future opportunities, contact Lora McCray at lmccray@realtors.org.

  

  2009 Regional Employer-Assisted Housing Forums & Home From Work Classes NAR is organizing two regional employer-assisted housing forums: one in Philadephia, PA on November 19, co-hosted by the Greater Philadelphia REALTORS® Association and one in Boise, ID on December 3 co-hosted by the Ada County Association of REALTORS®. In conjunction with the forums, NAR will also sponsor two Home From Work classes: 11/18 in Philadelphia and 12/4 in Boise. NAR is offering a $500 travel stipend to assist REALTORS® to attend the EAH Forums. Thirty (30) travel stipends are available for each Forum on a first-come, first-served based. If you would like to apply for a stipend to attend an EAH Forum, e-mail Lora McCray at lmccray@realtors.org with your request and stating which EAH Forum you would like to attend. Please include EAH Forum Stipend Request in the subject line of your message. Get more information and register for the forums and classes.  
  Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants Update To date, $1.6 million has been awarded in Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grant funds. Nearly $4 million is still available for State REALTOR® Associations and State Foundations to support their workforce housing programs. Your state could be next, but you must apply to receive the funds. Visit the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants webpage for details on how to apply. Also attend the Housing Opportunity Committee Meeting on November 13 (see meeting details above) to hear first-hand from states that have already gone through the process.  
  Expanding Housing Opportunities Class Update NAR is co-sponsoring an Expanding Housing Opportunities pilot class with the Chicago Association of REALTORS® in Chicago, IL on Wednesday, December 9. The class provides a comprehensive overview of affordable housing and the REALTORS®’ role in that market. Get the details and registration information.  
  Home From Work Class Update The Home From Work class is in the process of being updated. The new class will incorporate feedback from both students and instructors. The class will be extended to include more information on forming a team and meeting with the employer. It will include overviews of the tools and resources that have been created to assist with an action plan. The new class be rolled out in Janauary and the name of the class will be changed to the “Employer-Assisted Housing” class. If you took the Home Form Work class, you may still want to take the EAH class to refresh your memory and to revitalize your efforts to contact local employers.  
  Legislative & Regulatory News
  Latest Update on Tax Credit Senate leaders of both parties and key Senate Finance Committee members and staff, and tax credit sponsors Dodd-Lieberman-Isakson agreed on October 28 to extend and expand the housing tax credit. However, there is no agreement on how to attach this tax credit to the pending Unemployment Insurance bill, or whether to offer the tax credit agreement on another bill, or whether to bring the agreement to the Senate floor and vote upon it as a separate, stand alone bill. And after Senate action, the tax credit must go to the House of Representatives for action. REALTORS® should keep responding to our Call For Action by calling and writing their members of Congress to support the tax credit extension. NAR will continue to update you as developments warrant.  
  Focus on Extending Tax Credit Intensifies NAR’s Call For Action to NAR members has achieved a higher response rate than any other previous Call for Action, underscoring the importance of the credit to REALTORS® and consumers alike. Several House members have introduced bills extending the credit in direct response to the communications from REALTORS®. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) have spoken out publicly about discussions underway to extend the home buyer tax credit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) continues to express his desire to move the extension at the first opportunity. Cost issues and whether extension should also include expansion are reportedly under discussion. The credit currently expires on November 30. 

 
  Recovery Requires Permanent FHA Loan Limits Making the current FHA loan limits permanent would ensure liquidity in the housing market and make mortgages more affordable for qualified buyers at a time when the market is showing signs of a fragile recovery, Boyd Campbell of Century 21 in Lanham, Md., testified to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity last week. FHA loan limits are $729,750 in high cost areas, but are set to expire at the end of the year and revert to lower amounts, greatly hindering the housing recovery process. Read the News Release.  
  Rules Released on Military Home Owners Relief Military personnel who bought their primary home before July 1, 2006, and were ordered at least 50 miles away on permanent reassignment between February 1, 2006, and September 30, 2012, and sell at a loss are eligible for assistance under rules just released by the federal government. The assistance was authorized under the economic stimulus act passed earlier this year. Read the details. For more info contact Megan Booth, mbooth@realtors.org, 202/383-1222.  
  Housing & Economic Indicators
  Pending Home Sales Index and Forecast Pending home sales have increased for seven straight months rising 6.4 percent to 103.8 from a reading of 97.6 in July, and is 12.4 percent above August 2008 when it was 92.4. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said not all contracts are turning into closed sales within an expected timeframe. “The rise in pending home sales shows buyers are returning to the market and signing contracts, but deals are not necessarily closing because of long delays related to short sales, and issues regarding complex new appraisal rules,” he said. “No doubt many first-time buyers are rushing to beat the deadline for the $8,000 tax credit, which expires at the end of next month.” Read the News Release.  
  Existing-Home Sales Index Existing-home sales bounced back strongly in September with first-time buyers driving much of the activity, marking five gains in the past six months. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said favorable conditions matched with a tax credit are boosting home sales. Read the News Releases.See all the housing & economic indicators from NAR’s Research Department.  
  Housing Opportunity in the News
  Housing Opportunity Initiatives Helena Association of Realtors® receives Ambassadors for Cities Award
The Helena Association of REALTORS® and the City of Helena received the Ambassadors designation for their roles in creating the Helena Area Housing Task Force. The purpose of the Task Force is to prepare a comprehensive housing affordability strategy. This is the first effort of this kind in a decade. The strategy will begin with a housing needs assessment, which will identify housing needs within the community, establish priorities, and recommend projects to the city and its partners. Read the press release about this honor.
 
  Housing Opportunity Resources IRS and the Tax Credit on YouTube
The IRS is using a YouTube video to promote the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit as Congress weighs whether to extend the benefit prior to its expiration December 1. Cost issues and finding the appropriate legislative vehicle are among the hurdles to extension. Watch the video.Eye on Local Markets: Housing Affordability Data for 2009
As we get nearer to the end of 2009 and the beginning of a new year, Research is taking a look at some markets that are showing positive movement.   This list will expand as new data and information become available. Find your market.

FotoFlexer_Photo“EXPERIENCE MATTERS”

Erin Meredith closes loans on time!  Realtors, Financial Planners and Consumers choose to work with Erin and The Meredith Mortgage Team, because she has integrity and she gets the job done!  She maps out a timeline that keeps both the realtor and borrower informed at all times.  Erin focuses on purchase transactions, rather than refinances; and always closes on time!  Prior to becoming a mortgage broker, Erin was the West Coast Regional Sales Manager for a high-tech Silicon Valley based company.  When Erin bought her first home, she developed an interest in helping people make informed decisions when it came to the financing of a home loan.  Erin has a degree in Business Administration, is CalPERS certified, and a CMPS Mortgage Specialist®.  You will find Erin to be a great business partner and valuable resource!

 

 

Kathleen Meredith is a native Californian who for the past 30 years has lived and worked in the Danville community, raising her son Chris, a well-respected teacher and coach, and her daughter, Erin, a successful mortgage broker.  Kathleen’s professional background includes marketing for a title insurance company, real estate sales, resale and new homes, and was one of the first to introduce the concept of real estate staging with her successful business, “First Impressions” in the early 1980s.  Kathleen has seen the up and down cycles that are inevitable in real estate and her experience brings wisdom, integrity, and optimism for what is to come. 

We are committed to becoming your partner by building your trust and always exceeding your expectations.

 

The Meredith Mortgage Team

Your Partners In Success!

Erin & Kathleen

Erin Direct: 925.918.0585

Kathleen:     925.735.6621

kmeredith@cmgmortgage.com

emeredith@cmgmortgage.com

 

FotoFlexer_PhotoDaily Real Estate News   October 30, 2009  NAR Lauds Extension of Higher Loan Limits
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® thanked Congress for speedy action in passing a congressional resolution yesterday that would extend the current higher Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA loan limits through 2010. The present loan limits would expire at the end of 2009 and revert to previous lower limits.

“NAR commends both houses of Congress for their quick action in continuing these higher limits during a time for recovery in the housing market and national economy. The higher limits, along with the home buyer tax credit extension, are necessary to keep the markets moving at this critical time,” said NAR President Charles McMillan.

“Home sales have shown significant movement upwards in the past six months and reduced inventory in some segments of the housing market, but not in all. Home purchases in the middle-income and higher brackets have not moved much, and those markets must improve before we can experience a fully sustained housing recovery. These higher loan limits will help motivate qualified home buyers to purchase in those markets,” McMillan said.

The resolution would extend the present conventional loan limits for Fannie and Freddie through the 2010 calendar year at 125 percent of local median home sales prices, up to a maximum of $729,750 in high-cost areas. The floor for FHA is $271,050; the floor for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits is $417,000.

The resolution now goes to President Obama, and he is expected to sign it today or Saturday to avoid a government shutdown.

Daily Real Estate News  |  October 30, 2009  |  

House Committee Weighs Scrapping HVCC

The appraisal system imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last May is under attack by the House Financial Services Committee and could be on its way out.

The “Home Valuation Code of Conduct” could be terminated by the proposed new Consumer Financial Protection Agency under a bipartisan amendment approved by the House committee.

The amendment would require the new agency’s director to replace the code with a set of rules developed through regular administrative procedures and pubic comment periods used by all federal agencies. The valuation code was the product of a settlement among New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Critics say the code created more problems than it solved and has encouraged lenders to use inexperienced appraisers who don’t know the areas where they are doing the work, which is resulting in lowball valuations as well as higher fees.

The legislation under which this code would be scrapped is likely to pass the full House, but may have a tough road in the Senate.

Source: The Washington Post Writers Group, Kenneth Harney (10/30/200FotoFlexer_Photo9)

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The Meredith Mortgage Team

Certified Mortgage Planning Specialists

What are the options if I owe more on my mortgage than the value

of my home?

Option 1

Continue making your payments on time and ride out the storm

Your lender cannot take your home away as long as you make your payments on time. Therefore, if

you want to keep your home and you can afford your payments, you should do whatever it takes to

continue making your payments on time. Although it is a hard pill to swallow, this is likely to be your

best option because it is the most responsible thing to do and it protects your credit rating.

Even if you are experiencing other financial difficulties and you are faced with declaring bankruptcy,

you are not required to include your home in the bankruptcy. For more information, check with an

attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state.

Option 2

Stop making your payments and go into foreclosure

This is probably the worst decision you could make, but depending on your circumstances, you may

have no other choice. Foreclosure laws vary from state to state, but here are a few things to keep in

mind:

Foreclosures reflect very negatively on your credit rating and could preclude you from

borrowing money through credit cards and car loans. In fact, if you become delinquent on your

mortgage, this will likely have an immediate negative impact on the interest rates and terms of

all your credit cards. Credit card companies typically have the right to increase your interest

rates, close your accounts and/or reduce your credit limit as soon as you default on any other

debt (including your mortgage).

Fannie Mae, which is very influential in setting the mortgage guidelines, has recently updated

their lending rules to state that individuals who have gone through foreclosure need to wait

anywhere from 3-5 years before qualifying for a new mortgage. This means that it will be very

difficult, if not impossible, for you to buy a home and qualify for a new mortgage for at least 3-5

years.

Option 3

Try to modify the terms of your mortgage

Nearly everything in life is negotiable

this includes the current status of your mortgage. You couldeither hire an attorney or try to call your lender yourself and renegotiate the terms of your loan. Keep in

mind that your chances of success are always better if you get an attorney involved. In that case,

make sure to get references from the law firm of clients they worked with resulting in successful

modifications. Remember, lenders would rather not have you go all the way through foreclosure if it

can be avoided. In fact, after regulators took over the failed IndyMac Bank, Sheila Bair who is the

Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said, “We will very aggressively

pursue loan-modification strategies for unaffordable loans to make them affordable on a long-term,

sustainable basis.”

 

Please ask me about

other articles in this

series:

What exactly is the problem

today with banks, financial

institutions and the financial

markets?

How long will the turmoil last,

and is this still a good time to

buy a home?

Option 4

Try to sell the home on the open market as part of a “Short Sale”

A short sale is where a property owner sells property for less than what is owed on the mortgage. The mortgage lender is asked to approve the sale

and forgive the difference between the sales price of the property and the remaining balance of the mortgage. Consider this example:

$200,000 sales price

$250,000 mortgage balance

$50,000 difference that is forgiven by the mortgage lender

Understand the impact on your credit rating

a short sale has virtually the same negative impact on your credit rating as a foreclosure. Both shortsales and foreclosures are treated as “settled accounts.” In other words, the lender is settling with you and agreeing to be paid less than what they

are legally entitled to receive. Therefore, you are developing a reputation for paying back to your lenders less than what you originally agreed to pay

them, and this reflects negatively on your credit rating.

Understand the new Fannie Mae rules

 

depending on how your short sale is structured, beginning August 1, 2008, an individual who has sold ahome as part of a short sale may not be able to qualify for a new mortgage for another 2 years!

Understand the tax impact

 

depending on the type of mortgage and property you have, you may be subject to income taxes on the portion of themortgage that is being forgiven by the mortgage lender! If the forgiven mortgage debt is attached to your primary home and the mortgage balance

itself was originally used to buy, build or improve your home, income taxes would not apply. However, unless you are deemed to be “insolvent,”

forgiven mortgage debt on second homes and investment property is taxed, as well as all forgiven debt on your primary home where cash-out loan

proceeds were not used for home improvement.

 

Option 5

Consider a sale-leaseback or rent-to-own strategy

A sale-leaseback is where you sell your property to an investor (as part of either a short sale or traditional sale), and then you lease it back from the

investor. This allows you to remain in your home without the trauma of having to move away and find new housing. The thing to be cautious of is that

some variations of the sale-leaseback strategy are centerpieces in some of the so-called “foreclosure rescue” scams that prey on unsuspecting

home owners. Before engaging in sale-leasebacks, consider the laws of your state, and make sure the transaction is properly and ethically

structured to protect the interests of all the parties involved.

A rent-to-own strategy allows you to find a new home now and rent it from an investor with the option of buying the home at a pre-determined price at

some point over the next two to three years. You would do the house shopping and find a home where you would like to live. The investor then buys

the home, preferably getting a good deal by buying a home that is being sold short or through a foreclosure. You then sign two agreements with the

investor:

Lease agreement that spells out the terms of the rent payments

Option agreement that spells out the predetermined price and terms under which you can buy the home from the investor at some point within

two to three years

Conclusion:

It is always advisable to consult with a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist

TM

(CMPSR) when navigating today’s turbulent mortgage and real estatemarketplace. As a CMPSR professional, I am committed, qualified and equipped to help you evaluate your options!

 

Standardizing the

The Meredith

 

 

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The Meredith Mortgage Team

 

Daily Real Estate News  |  October 29, 2009  |  

After increasing for five consecutive months, new-home sales declined 3.6 percent in September compared with August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

Sales were down 7.8 percent compared to September 2008.

Most of the decline was in the West and the South, where sales fell 11 percent and 10 percent respectively. These reduction were offset by transactions in the Midwest, where sales jumped 34 percent.

Analysts were surprised by the decline, and some blamed it on the first-time home buyer tax credit, which sucked up customers eager to buy foreclosure bargains. Others said that the new normal for time between signing the sales contract and closing is two months or longer, a reality that could be reflected in these numbers.

“We don’t know yet if it’s anything more than a blip,” says Steven Ricchiuto, an economist for Mizuho Securities USA.

Source: Washington Post, Renae Merle (10/29/2009)

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