November 2009

REALTOR® Action Center –

NAR’s Grassroots Online Communication


  The is a grassroots online communications system which allows REALTORS® to stay informed about NAR’s lobbying agenda and be involved in public policy issues critical to the real estate industry. The online system targets NAR Calls-For-Action, provides systematic communications with NAR grassroots activists, and gives REALTORS® an option to e-mail or fax their member of Congress. The system also features a web-based phone system. Actions taken by REALTORS® through the are tracked in real time and can be viewed by specific Call-For-Action, by congressional district or state, or by individual REALTOR®.

Log onto the to participate in NAR grassroots activities.

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Foreclosed and vacant homes are becoming the spot of choice for some entrepreneurial partiers.

Police around the country are busting young people who either rent vacant houses for a bash or just sneak in.

In San Diego County, California, Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeff Lauhon says some well-organized entrepreneurs were asking real estate professionals for tours of large foreclosed homes in remote places. While touring the property, they would open a window or unlock an outside door, so they could return and throw a party.

“It turned into a business venture. They were charging admission to cover the cost of alcohol and to make a good profit,” Lauhon says.

In Tempe, Ariz., another party town, patrol officers have been assigned lists of foreclosed homes so officers can make sure nothing is going on, says Sgt. Steve Carbajal.

Sales At Highest Level In More Than 2 Years

POSTED: Monday, November 23, 2009


WASHINGTON — Home sales surged for the second month in a row in October, climbing to the highest level in 2½ years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax credit.Home sales nationwide are now up nearly 36 percent from their bottom in January, data Monday showed, though they are still 16 percent below the peak in autumn 2005. At the current sales pace, there is only a 7-month supply of homes on the market and in some areas there are bidding wars.Joey Wilson, 53, and her husband made unsuccessful offers on 20 Las Vegas homes since midsummer before closing on a four-bedroom, $136,000 home this month.”It’s insane,” said Wilson, who relocated from Kentucky. “I’ve never seen a market like this before.”The National Association of Realtors said home resales rose 10.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.1 million in October, from a downwardly revised pace of 5.54 million in September. It was the biggest monthly increase in a decade, and far above the 5.65 million pace expected by economists, according to Thomson Reuters.The recovery is being driven by lower prices combined with federal programs to lower mortgage rates and bring more buyers into the market. The median sales price was $173,100, down 7 percent from a year earlier and off roughly 2 percent from September.Many experts predict prices will hit a new low next spring, perhaps falling another 5 to 10 percent, as more foreclosures get pushed onto the market.The government has tried to counter that trend by offering a tax incentive for first-time buyers and by keeping mortgage rates around 5 percent since the spring.The tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time owners was originally set to run out on Nov. 30, but Congress renewed it earlier this month and broadened its reach. People who have owned their current homes for at least five years can now claim a tax credit of up to $6,500 for a home purchase. To qualify, buyers must sign a purchase agreement by April 30.The Realtors’ report on October home sales reflects offers made before buyers knew the tax credit would be extended.”The incentives really did get people to go out and buy, “The question is: What does the trend look like when the credit is over with?”Home sales are likely to drop over the winter as buyers hibernate for a few months without the looming tax credit deadline.The new deadline means “we’re going to see some good activity coming out of the spring,” said Pat Lashinsky, chief executive of online real estate brokerage ZipRealty Inc.But the government support can’t last forever. For example, the Federal Reserve is likely to curtail its effort to push down mortgage rates next year. If rates then rise too high, it would make home purchases less affordable and dampen housing demand.”When we do kick those crutches out from under the housing market, will it be able to stand on its own?” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with real estate information company First American CoreLogic. “It’s really hard to tell.”

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) is once again pushing a mortgage relief program that would provide assistance to the growing number of homeowners who find themselves without a job. Under his proposal, some of the $12 billion that the Treasury has gotten back from its bailout of the nation’s financial institutions would be used to issue low-interest emergency loans to unemployed homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments.


The Mortgage Bankers Association reported this week that the delinquency rate on home loans has reached a new record-high, and experts from across the industry agree that rising unemployment is now the primary driver behind the growing number of defaults and foreclosures.

While most lawmakers are pressing the administration to let TARP expire at the end of the year, Frank says he would support an extension of the $700 billion federal program, as long as the Treasury would use it to fund initiatives to tackle the nation’s unemployment problem, and provide assistance to jobless homeowners in particular.

TARP watchdogs have repeatedly said the lack of aid for homeowners who’ve lost their jobs is a glaring weakness in the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable program. A congressional oversight panel said in a recent report that the $50 billion program “was not designed to address foreclosures caused by unemployment,” which has become an increasingly troublesome area for the mortgage industry.

Frank said earlier this week at a stop in his home state that his plan would allow jobless homeowners to continue to fulfill their mortgage obligations and stave off foreclosure until they can find new employment, noting that it’s credit-worthy borrowers who took out solid, conventional loans that are now underwater and falling behind as result of the depressed economy.

Frank floated the same idea back in July to provide assistance to homeowners who’ve lost their means of paying their mortgage, but the proposal apparently got buried under legislators’ clamor to put a plan for financial regulatory reform to paper.

The initiative would essentially bring back a 1975 federal program that provides credit to Americans who’ve lost their jobs so they don’t also lose their home, with borrowers using their property to secure the loan.

It would use $2 billion from TARP to provide low-interest loans to unemployed homeowners who stand a good chance of being able to pick up their mortgage payments in the future. The emergency loans would carry a term of 12 months, but could be extended for an additional year if necessary.


Real Estate Market FAQs
Got questions about where real estate is headed? Here are informed answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about today’s housing market.

When will housing hit bottom?
There isn’t any single answer to this question. It depends on where you live. Home prices are rising again in the most convenient suburbs of such cities as New York and Washington, D.C. In other places that are in less demand, prices continue to fall.

How can I figure out the value of my home?
Talking to a real estate professional and/or hiring an appraiser is the best idea. But even after getting a professional opinion, it is hard to tell what a home will sell for until you put it on the market.

Is now a good time for a renter to buy a home?
It could be. Prices in many areas are down significantly from their peak a couple of years ago. Plus, Congress has extended the tax credit for first-time home buyers and added a $6,500 credit for many previous owners of homes who sign a contract to buy by April 30, 2010.

Should I invest in foreclosed homes?
A foreclosure can be a risky buy, even for the most experienced real estate investors. Use caution.

“I had used the Meredith Team sucessfully in the past, but recently needed them to help pull a deal out of the ditch, literally and figuratively. My buyer’s lender dropped the ball on the day we were to sign, so in came Erin. We revived the deal, and with great effort, execution and panache, Erin and her team were able to help us sucessfully close the toughest escrow I have had in four years. These are tough times, and people are freaking out all over the place, but Erin and her team kept things cool, calm and collected and engineered a closing! Man, do I owe them one….or two! Thanks for a job WELL done.”
–Tom Stack, Coldwell Banker, Orinda 
First Time Home buyer, young single man …Stuart W. says….”You guys ROCK!”
November 12, 2009 at 11:03am ·
First Time Home buyers
November 2009:
Dear Kathleen and Erin,

My wife and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you both for all the help and assistance you have provided. With such a tough market here in the bay area, you have allowed our dreams to become homeowners a reality and we are forever grateful. Your professionalism and responsiveness is something we can’t say enough about and we would welcome the opportunity to work with the Meredith Mortgage team in the near future.
Erin, congratulations on your upcoming wedding and if it is ok, I would like to provide your contact info to a few friends who are looking to refinance and purchase new homes. They have heard me speak so highly of you both and would like to discuss what CMG has to offer. I assure them that they will be in great hands.
Thank you again for everything and if there is anything we can do, please feel free to let us know.

Mr. & Mrs. Sandy W
PPLN Product Marketing Manager | European Sales Manager
Crystal Technology, Inc.

Rockcliff Realtor…Dena H
Thank you Kathleen! You and Erin are simply amazing! What a great team we make!! Here’s a clip of what Sandy had to say to me yesterday;

I think that is all that I can think of.

And from the both of us we like to extend our thanks and gratutude for all your … See More
help and hard work. This was a tough jorney but thank for guiding us along the
way and making it so rewarding. Your expertise and professionalism was greatly
appreciated. This was way more positive than our previous experience and we
would most certainly like the opportunity to work with you in the future. (Maybe
next time you can show us one of your and Peggy’s listings for our future

Once again thank you so much and do not hesistate to let us know if there is
anything we can help with.

November 2009
Realtor:Thank you so much for the meeting today, it was very useful!  Pat Mc, Danville Realtor
September 23, 2009
Realtor: You are so sweet! Thank you for looking out for me. The house is not on the market yet…won’t be on for a few more weeks…
Pat (Danville/Alamo/San Ramon Realtor
August 27, 2009
Realtor: Mike F. ~ Danville ~ Kathleen, I really enjoy the information that you send out and blog; it’s very informative
Jeff Sposito; President J. Rockcliff Real Estate
You guys rock!!!!
August 2009
Realtor Blackhawk: Thank you for being so wonderful!!!  I really appreciate you!
Pat M.
July 21, 2009
Realtor Comment: You are so sweet!  I love the two of you!!!!

July 2009

Tax Credit Seems Likely Through March 2010~

Interesting…Thanks for keeping us updated!  Good work!! 

October 2009


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