July 2011







 The Meredith Mortgage Team ~ We Always Have Your Best Interest In Mind ~



Buyers Rejected for Loans Can Now Find Out Why

Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, July 21, 2011
A provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which took effect this week, is requiring lenders to provide consumers with a free credit score, which will help provide new insights into why they may have been rejected for a loan or did not qualify for the best, lowest rate.

While borrowers can access their credit scores from the credit bureaus, the credit score that a lender uses isn’t always the same one that the credit bureau provides you. According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some credit bureaus sell consumers “educational” scores that aren’t the same ones used by lenders, or these bureaus may base the score on a different model than the one lenders use.

Now, borrowers for the first time will get a more accurate view of what credit score lenders are using to base their mortgage on.

Under the new provision, lenders will be required to provide potential borrowers with a free credit score whenever they reject an application for a loan. Lenders must provide borrowers with an “adverse action” notice, which will include their credit scores as well as an explanation of why they were rejected for a loan.

Lenders will also be required to provide a free credit score and an explanation whenever they approve a loan but at a higher rate than what is given to their best customers.

Mark Greene, CEO of FICO, says that many borrowers may be surprised to learn that they didn’t qualify for a lender’s lowest rate when applying for a loan.

Source: “Turned Down for a Loan? Now You Can Find Out Why; Consumers Can Also Get Free Credit Scores if Loan Rate Isn’t Best Available,” USA Today (July 21, 2011)

Where Closing Costs Are the Highest, Lowest

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, July 20, 2011 
Closing costs on mortgages have increased dramatically nationwide, increasing on average 8.8 percent from one year ago, according to a new survey from Bankrate. Origination, title, and third-party fees on a $200,000 loan, for example, averaged $4,070 — that’s up from $3,741 from Bankrate survey in June 2010.

Why the increase? Analysts say it’s because lenders have to do extra work in approving mortgage applications due to increased scrutiny and tighter lending regulations.

The survey found that it can pay off for borrowers to shop around for a mortgage. In New York, for example, lender origination fees were found to vary anywhere from $700 to more than $4,000.

Most-Expensive States for Closing Costs

1. New York: $6,183

2. Texas: $4,944

3. Utah: $4,906

4. California/San Francisco: $4,832

5. Idaho: $4,643

Least-Expensive States for Closing Costs

1. Arkansas: $3,378

2. North Carolina: $3,410

3. Indiana: $3,430

4. Iowa: $3,474

5. Alabama: $3,501

Many Home Owners in Denial About Price

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, July 20, 2011



More home owners — particularly those who bought their homes in 2007 or later — are overpricing their properties when trying to sell them, according to a new analysis from Zillow.Home owners who purchased their home in 2007 or later are overpricing their homes by an average of 14 percent, according to Zillow.

While sellers who purchased their home prior to the housing bubble also overprice their homes, they don’t overprice by as much, the study finds. For example, home sellers who bought their home prior to 2002 are pricing their homes on average about 11.6 percent above market value; those who bought between 2002 and 2006 are pricing their homes 9.3 percent over market value.

“Post-bubble buyers seem to believe they escaped the worst of the housing recession, as evidenced by how they price their homes today,” says Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist. “But 2006 was just the beginning of the housing recession, and it is continuing in earnest to this day. That means that even people who bought after the bubble burst need to break out the pencil and paper and do serious research into what has happened in their market since they first bought their home, whether it was four years ago or six months ago.”

In its analysis, Zillow compared the asking price of 1 million homes for sale to the home’s previous purchase price and factored in the home’s estimated current value.

Source: “Sellers Who Bought Post-Bubble Guilty of Overpricing Homes; More Likely to Base Asking Price on Original Price, Rather Than Current Market Conditions,” Zillow (July 14, 2011)

Gen Y to Lead ‘Massive Increase in Housing Demand’

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Watch out for Generation Y: This large, diverse, well-educated generation will drive the housing market recovery over the next 10 years, according to economists with the University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate.

Gen Y (15-32 year olds) boasts about 77.4 million members, which is about equal in size to the baby boomers (46-64 years old). Yet, Gen Y is much more diverse and educated (60 percent of Gen Y goes to college), according to the center, which recently presented its findings at the USC Lusk Center Orange County Executive Briefing.

Stan Ross, Lusk Center Chairman of the Board, says that “baby boomers and Gen Y comprise 50 percent of the population and will soon be part of the largest U.S. wealth transfer ever.”

As more of this age group joins the work force, “they will produce a massive increase in housing demand,” forecasts the USC’s Lusk Center.

However, Ross points out “these kids are concerned. They have watched the stock market, financial markets, and economy wipe out their parents’ retirement plans. As a result, they will choose lower-risk investment strategies.”

Source: “USC Lusk Center Says More Educated, Diverse Generation to Drive Real Estate Recovery,” The Hoyt Organization (July 19, 2011) [No Link]

Study: Tax Credit Had ‘Fleeting’ Effect on Housing Market


By Nick Timiraos

Bloomberg News

Critics of last year’s $8,000 tax credits for home purchases routinely argued that the credits were unlikely to do more than offer sellers the chance to boost their sale price by the amount of the tax credit.

Those critics won’t be surprised, then, by a new paper that finds—you guessed it—that average listing prices rose by around $8,000 in the month after the signing of the first major tax credit, and that they fell by slightly less than $9,000 two months after the tax credits expired.

The paper by Jonathan Brogaard and Kevin Roshak, doctoral candidates at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, found that the tax credit did little to change the quantity of homes for sale. But the researchers found that in certain markets, the tax credit had a substantial impact on prices.

Researchers looked at different types of housing markets: stable and low-cost markets were more likely to be influenced by the credit, while more expensive markets or those with more volatile prices were less likely to see an impact.

In the first class of housing markets, researchers found that homes sold for around $6,500 more than before the credit. “These price and quantity changes imply that sellers captured the credit in treatment markets,” the paper says.

While the estimates of the changes in home prices during and after the tax-credit program “are imprecise, they are also dramatic and distinct relative to other noise,” the authors write.

The paper concludes that “rather than igniting ‘animal spirits,’” the tax credit had a transitory effect. “These results suggest that the tax credits had only a fleeting influence on the housing market, resulting in little more than a redistribution of wealth,” it says.

8 Common Seller Problems (and How to Resolve Them)

If you’re working in real estate, you’re bound to run into one of these problems. But if you address them early and honestly, they shouldn’t present major obstacles for your transaction.
July 2011 | By Rich Levin

Do you ever clash with sellers on price, staging, or marketing? Has someone ever asked you to lower your commission? Has a seller’s personality ever rubbed you the wrong way?

If you work in real estate—and you aren’t exclusively a buyer’s agent—then the answer to those questions is almost certainly yes. But unless you’re working with someone who’s incredibly dense and obstinate, these problems don’t have to slow down the selling process.

The Problems

Note that the problems below don’t apply just to real estate professionals. In fact, they’re even bigger issues for sellers. These cost them time, money, and aggravation, and disrupt their lives far more than their agents’.

1. Sellers can be uncooperative on price.

2. Sellers frequently believe that the way they live in the house is the way they can sell the house.

3. Sellers are often unprepared for low appraisals.

4. Most sellers aren’t negotiation experts. They may bring expectations and anxiety that make everyone’s experience more difficult.

5. Sellers can be uncooperative on commission and might even request a reduction.

6. Sellers regularly have unrealistic demands concerning showings, advertising, marketing, and communication.

7. Agents and sellers may have personality conflicts.

8. Sellers might not be aware of all the closing costs.

Solving these problems gets sellers’ homes sold faster, for more money, and with less stress.

The Universal Solution in Two Parts

Before we get into the solution, it’s important to point out that owners don’t fully understand the entire process of selling a home. These problems would occur far less or not at all if agents could give them a crash course on selling, in which the practitioners covered these issues in a frank way. If that happened, I believe that sellers would be more cooperative.

The universal solution in two parts is first to ask the seller specific questions over the phone and at the beginning of the listing presentation as the agent is establishing rapport. These include:

▪ “Have you done much research to determine the asking price or how to sell a house?”

▪ (If yes) “We’ll talk more when we get together, but what are some of the more important things you discovered?”

▪ “Why are you thinking of selling?”

▪ “Where are you going?”

▪ “Is there an ideal time frame to have the move complete?”

▪ “The tax records indicate that you bought it x years ago, is that correct?”

▪ “Have you refinanced?”

Similar to how a doctor asks patients about their health history, this process gives the sellers confidence in the thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and ability of practitioners.

The second part of the universal solution is for real estate pros to build a listing presentation that addresses each of these problems before they arise. Details on how to do that are below:

1. If they’re uncooperative on price, prepare a very thorough comparative market analysis. Show sellers all the research that you used to select the properties you chose for the final CMA. Offer your pricing recommendation, but let sellers choose — and “own” — the list price.

2. Sellers believe the way they live in their house is the way they can sell it. Ask sellers if they are planning to do any work to prepare it for the sale. If they are, use your judgment to determine whether they will follow through or not. Share examples and anecdotes of how house cleaning, reorganizing, renovations, and so forth have helped homes sell faster and for more money.

3. Describe the entire pending process, from offer acceptance to closing. As you go through this, cover other stumbling blocks and how you work to prevent or address them.

4. Go over the entire negotiating process, from interested buyers to accepted offer. Also, explain pitfalls and emotional turbulence and describe how you will be their advocate.

5. If they’re uncooperative on commission, sometimes you will simply have to walk away. When possible, build so much value into your marketing plan that sellers are reluctant to even ask you to adjust your commission.

6. Show proof that what you do works. Continuously check for agreement. If and when they challenge you, make a note and return to it after they are impressed with your entire effort.

7. When it comes to personality conflicts, make sure you’re self-aware. Determine your personality style, and your strengths and weaknesses. Learn to recognize others’ personality types, and figure out which will naturally conflict with yours. Learn strategies for adapting.

8. Get sellers’ mortgage balances. Find out what else they plan to pay off with the proceeds. Then complete a detailed net sheet. Use a conservative sale price. Inflate the numbers a bit, so you can assure them it will likely be more in their pocket.

All of these bases can be covered either in conversations with owners over the phone before making an appointment or during the listing presentation. Top practitioners have spent years interacting, building, rehearsing, presenting, adjusting, and improving. Solving these problems consistently comes out of that effort.

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