December Housing Scorecard Shows Continued Home Affordability

RISMEDIA, December 27, 2010—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the December edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard. The latest housing figures show continued home affordability in the housing market, with interest rates near record lows, but the market remains fragile, as prices are unsettled. Foreclosure starts and completions dropped significantly in November, as lenders review internal servicing procedures. The housing scorecard is a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market.

“The Obama Administration’s broad set of programs have helped promote stability for the housing market, neighborhoods, and the nation’s homeowners, but there is much more work to be done,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “Since taking office in 2009, the Administration’s efforts have helped millions of families stay in their homes and helped millions more refinance, but the data clearly show that the market remains extremely fragile. That’s why we’re continuing to focus on successfully implementing the programs we’ve put in place—such as additional refinancing assistance and emergency loans to help unemployed homeowners—and ensuring that help is available to homeowners as early as possible.”

“While much work remains to be done to help families that have been hurt by this crisis, the Administration’s programs have benefitted many homeowners directly while setting standards for the entire industry,” said acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “This is a major reason why there have been more than twice as many modifications and other foreclosure alternatives as foreclosure completions since April 2009.”

The December Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market including:

-Foreclosure starts and completions dropped significantly in November. As lenders review internal procedures related to foreclosure processing, many foreclosure actions have been delayed, leading to a 21% drop in foreclosure activity in November. While this is the biggest month over month decrease since 2005, the decline is likely to be temporary as lenders eventually revise and resubmit foreclosure paperwork in the coming months.

-As expected with the expiration of the Home Buyer Tax Credit, new and existing home sales have remained below levels seen in the first half of 2010. However, this month’s report also shows that home prices and home equity declined moderately, as prices remain unsettled at this fragile stage of the recovery.

-More than 3.9 million mortgage aid offers were initiated between April 2009 and the end of October 2010—more than double the number of foreclosure completions during that time. These actions included over 1.4 million Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) trial modification starts, more than 600,000 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and nearly 1.8 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. While some homeowners may have received help from more than one program, the number of agreements offered were more than double the number of foreclosure completions for the same period (1.7 million).

Data in the scorecard also show that the recovery in the housing market continues to remain fragile. While the recovery will take place over time, the Administration remains committed to its efforts to prevent avoidable foreclosures and stabilize the housing market.

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

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2010 a ‘Challenging’ Year With Slowly Improving Economy

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dec. 21, 2010 – The state of the economy remains the top story of 2010, and many of this year’s real estate issues relate to the recovery’s ups and downs. Here’s a recap of this year’s top real estate stories, as determined by editors of Florida Realtors’ News:

Amendment 4: We came, we saw, we conquered
Amendment 4’s defeat at the ballot box in November gave Florida Realtors a stunning victory. The group that introduced the amendment hoped it would short circuit state growth management laws, but it would have done so with a sledgehammer. Had Amendment 4 passed, it would have burdened the courts with a series of lawsuits, and convinced companies to steer clear of The Sunshine State because it was anti-business and anti-growth. At the state level, Florida Realtors fought hard in partnership with The “Vote No on 4” coalition; at the grassroots level, Realtors called lawmakers, posted signs, and explained the reasons to vote no on 4 to neighbors and clients.

We see a light at the end of the tunnelThe real estate market is cyclical and will once again thrive – but when? In 2010, more than supply and demand influenced the market. Each time the market received a bit of good news, something happened. Tax credits ended, banks pulled back on lending and foreclosures stopped closing. But signs continue to point to a stabilizing and slowly improving economy. The market remains solid if not stellar, and most economists predict a positive trend in 2011.

Going, going, gone – homebuyer tax credit
To boost home sales and bolster the economy, Congress created a first-time homebuyer tax credit and extended it three times, tinkering with the rules each time. But the final tax credit – which included more than just first-time buyers – drew to a close on April 30, 2010, for clients under contract. (Note: Military buyers still qualify.) Florida saw a groundswell of signed contracts in April but a drop-off by mid-summer as interested shoppers hurried to take advantage of the contract deadline. By the end of 2010, however, falling home prices and record-low interest rates made homebuying a bargain even without the tax credit, and the Florida housing sector seemed to be tentatively and warily stabilizing.

Florida Open House Weekend – A celebration of homebuyingAs the homebuyer tax credit drew to a close, Florida Realtors introduced the state’s first-ever “Florida Open House Weekend” to highlight all the buying opportunities from Pensacola to Key West, and as a way to help potential buyers sign a contract early enough to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credit. More than 15,000 houses opened their doors to buyers in the largest single open house event across the state, and the largest open housing event of the year.

Those robo-signing, disorganized lenders made mistakesAs the number of foreclosures grew, Realtors took them on and turned them into business opportunities. However, sales in some cities ground to a halt for awhile as more people facing a foreclosure asked a simple question: Who owns my mortgage? As the inner workings of some lenders unraveled, the public found out that banks blindly signed foreclosure docs, called a pseudo-mortgage owner (MERS – Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) the mortgage owner, and turned a blind eye to legitimate complaints, such as “I don’t have a mortgage on my house – I don’t even have a checking account with you.” Paperwork problems cancelled or delayed a number of closings in the fall of 2010, and some buyer’s agents who specialized in foreclosures found their business at a standstill. By the end of 2010, the paperwork problem seemed mostly resolved, but as more foreclosures roll onto the market, 2011 could hold a few more surprises.

Don’t touch our sugar sand beachesThe economy and lending problems hit Florida real estate sales with a one-two punch, but an environmental disaster kicked the sector when it was down. An oil rig owned by BP exploded on April 10, 2010, and it took three months to cap the flow. In the meantime, millions of gallons of oil tainted the Gulf, with some of it ending up as tar balls on Florida’s famous sugar sand beaches. Eventually BP ceded control of damage payouts to the federal government. As part of that package, Florida Realtors convinced the fund administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, that Realtors’ livelihoods were hurt and, along with other Gulf states, received control of a special fund to reimburse Realtors in Florida who suffered a business loss.

Little interest in mortgage interest deduction?By the end of 2010, a philosophical shift started to occur among U.S. lawmakers. The highest branches of government started to question the value of homeownership for Americans. Many thought the federal push to put as many people as possible into a home – done in part by tax incentives – played a role in the economic slowdown and housing collapse. However, the U.S. tax structure rewards homeownership by allowing taxpayers to deduct mortgage interest paid as well as property taxes – a reward for homeowners. Should that benefit be dropped? Does it even work? Only a handful of people propose a complete negation of the benefit, but expect a fight to water it down heading into 2011, with a tax credit for second homeowners and equity lines of credit in the crosshairs.

© 2010 Florida Realtors®

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.houseofhomesonline@gmail.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

Foreclosure Update

For the second month in a row, foreclosure activity was impacted by voluntary foreclosure suspensions, after certain practices commonly used during the foreclosure process were called into question. While initially limited to judicial foreclosure states, the so-called robo-signing controversy began impacting foreclosures in non-judicial states, including those in our coverage area in early October.

Foreclosure starts were down across the board in November, ranging from a 9.3 percent month-over-month decline in California to a staggering 31.7 percent decline in Washington. Despite the fact that robo-signing was not directly tied to foreclosure filings in non-judicial foreclosure states, foreclosure starts in our coverage area have dropped 25.5 percent since the controversy began.

Foreclosure sales continued to be impacted by robo-signing related foreclosure suspensions more directly, as Ally (GMAC), Bank of America and PNC all halted foreclosure sales nationwide, contributing to a 38.7 percent drop in foreclosure sales over the last two months within our coverage are. In November, foreclosure sales dropped the most dramatically in Washington, after having seen little impact in October; while California had the least dramatic decline with a drop of 9.0 percent. After having had the largest impact on foreclosure sales, Bank of America slowly began foreclosing again the week of December 6th. Their return will likely lead back to normal foreclosure levels in the months to come.

“Since September 2008 the foreclosure process has seen significant bottlenecks, first due to government intervention and now lender ineptitude,” says Sean O’Toole, CEO and Founder of ForeclosureRadar.com. “Unfortunately the resulting delays will only serve to extend the time it takes to recover and return to a normal housing market.”

Arizona
Continuing downward, Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 24.4 percent from October to November, reaching their lowest level since March 2008. The holidays, and issues around the robo-signing controversy, likely contributed to the significant drop. Foreclosure sales were down 14.8 percent from October to November, following a 26.9 percent decline the prior month resulting in the lowest number of sales since September 2009.
View all Arizona stats by state, county, city or ZIP

California
Foreclosure activity slowed across the board in California. Notice of Default filings dipped 9.3 percent month over month, while Notice of Trustee filings declined a mere 1.0 percent from October. Cancellations of foreclosure sales dropped 8.5 percent in November, down 54 percent from their peak in June, likely due in part to the failure of the Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to help California homeowners. Foreclosure sales are down by 9.0 percent from October, though sales to 3rd parties increased by 7.8 percent.
View all California stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Nevada
Foreclosure activity in Nevada dropped dramatically over the past two months. Foreclosure sales are down 22.1 percent from October to November, and 50.5 percent from September. Notice of default filings are also down for the second month in a row, dropping 12.7 percent from October, and 24.3 percent from September. Clearly, Nevada foreclosure activity was impacted not only by the holidays, but also by the robo-signing controversy.
View all Nevada stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Oregon
Oregon’s Notice of Default filings and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped for the third consecutive month, reaching their lowest point since Q4 2008. Notice of Default filings declined 25.0 percent from October to November, and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 21.2 percent. Foreclosure sales declined 26.7 percent in November, and have dropped 54.3 percent since September. After a four month decline, cancellations of foreclosure sales increased 34.8 percent from October.
View all Oregon stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Washington
While Washington showed little impact from the robo-signing controversy in October, foreclosure activity dropped substantially in November. Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 31.7 percent from October, but are still up 16.2 percent from a year earlier. Similarly, foreclosure sales dropped 38.1 percent from October but are up 29.3 percent from November 2009.
View all Washington stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

How Agents View Open House Guests

I had occasion to visit an Open House in my area recently and asked the agent what kind of traffic she had. “Um, mostly ‘Lookey Lou’s,” she hissed.

Most agents break down their visitors according to prospective business, with ‘Lookey Lou’s and neighbors being at the bottom of the list and they walk away resolving to contact only those who said that they were in the market to buy in the near future. What? Neighbors don’t have friends and relatives they’d like to have living close by? When these ‘prime’ prospects don’t react immediately, or don’t result in an immediate sale, these agents drop them from their list and never contact them again.

In my experience, comments like these come from agents who resent having to do Open Houses, because it cuts into their weekend and naturally, this reflects on their return of invested time. As an agent, I try to visit Open Houses not only because it enables me to see what is on the market in my area but also to support fellow agents, but I too, fall into that disappointing category of ‘Lookey Lou’s and therefore I don’t count!

The biggest single mistake that agents make is that they don’t maintain contact with prospective buyers. After all, today’s ‘Lookey Lou’s could be tomorrow’s buyers – or sellers, as circumstances change and buyers affordability may increase.

I started looking for a home in 1998 prior to getting my real estate license, but I only bought in 2000. It took me that long to save for the deposit and to really understand the market of my new chosen city, but the agents I encountered in 1998 had not kept in touch with me and needless to say, did not benefit from my purchase. Indeed, the agent that took me out, showed me properties that didn’t suit me, until I picked up a flyer from the house next door to one on his list. This house had 7 bedrooms – we only needed 4; it had 4 bathrooms – we only needed 2 and the price was about $50,000 more than we wanted to pay. The agent didn’t miss a beat! He knocked on the door and requested a showing. We were ‘Lookey Lou’s – we had NO intention of buying that property, but by the time we had walked through the house, I knew that it was our dream home and, filled with trepidation, we put in an offer! I was shocked when our offer was accepted, and terrified too, because the purchase required additional funds for the deposit which I did not have. In the 42 days it took to close the sale, I worked double shifts and offered my clients a 10% discount if they paid their account immediately and in doing so, I raised the last of the funds in time.

Working in real estate requires patience and understanding – it’s not about instant gratification and agents who rely on clients who are ready NOW, set themselves up for failure. Open House and working on the weekend is part of the job and agents who chose this as a career need to understand that in real estate, our schedule is not 9-5. Real estate is different…. we work when others play, which is most weekends and public holidays and our appointment times are often in the evenings.

The next time you are at an Open House, watch the faces of the visitors as they enter the property and you’ll see the look that asks: ‘Is this going to be an angry agent, or one that I’d like to do business with?’ and then ask yourself why so few prospects like to leave their contact information at Open Houses!

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

Last week in the (real estate) news

Retail sales fell 0.6% for the week ending November 20, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.8%.

Gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 2.5% in the third quarter of 2010. This follows a 1.7% pace of growth in the second quarter of 2010.

Existing home sales fell 2.2% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.43 million units from 4.53 million units in September. The inventory of unsold homes on the market declined 3.4% to 3.86 million, a 10.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a revised 10.6-month supply in September.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending November 19 rose 2.1%. Refinancing applications decreased 1%. Purchase volume rose 14.4%.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 3.3% in October after increasing an upwardly revised 5% in September. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly decrease of 2.7%.

New home sales fell 8.1% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 283,000 units from a rate of 307,000 units in September. Economists had expected a pace of 314,000 units.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 34,000 to 407,000 for the week ending November 20. That’s the lowest level since July 2008. Continuing claims for the week ending November 13 fell by 142,000 to 4.18 million.

All that said, we are in full swing of buying season in Florida, and we have experienced greater buyer activity this year, over 2009.

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

Hormone Replacement Therapy and Cancer

Most of my blogs are about or connected to the real estate world, in some way shape or form, but when I saw this news article today, I felt compelled to take a different direction:

ABC News ~ Combination hormone therapy linked to breast cancer deaths

You see, for many years, I have believed that the US is killing its people!

Prior to coming to the US, I lived in Africa and was happy, healthy and of normal weight. Within the first 8 months of being in the US, I lost 54 lbs and finally, when I collapsed, my son begged me to stop eating meat – ‘Just for a little while’, he pleaded. For two years, my diet was completely meat-free (not vegetarian) and surprisingly, I gained in both strength and weight. Then I gradually reintroduced meat into my diet and now 15 years later, I am overweight!

My initial massive weight loss was caused by an allergic reaction to hormones injected into food-producing animals, intended to raise the meat-to-bone ratio, so that the food industry may get a better return on sales. Continued ingestion of these hormones, increases the meat-to-bone ratio in people, resulting in weight gain and osteoporosis – both of which are conditions that are epidemic in the US!

Is it any wonder why the US is overweight? With a society of people eating cheap fast food, which is heavily laden with hormone-filled meat, deep-fried in cholesterol-increasing oil and pumped full of salt (for taste) and preservatives, we should not be surprised at the death toll! But this menu is encouraged because it supports the pharmaceutical industry, which churns out billions of dollars in pills prescribed for the health issues caused by ‘affordable’ meals!

The indoctrination starts at a very young age, with parents taking their children to fast food outlets for breakfast and entertainment. It follows them through their school years as parents provide children with lunch money – two fast food burgers quell hunger pangs better than one over-priced salad. You only have to witness the road verges, where students get off the bus – go ahead…. just count the fast food containers that litter your suburb on a daily basis!

Doctors are too quick to prescribe chemical drugs for simple disorders, many of which create more issues than they are intended to cure. A colleague recently commented “So you’re a Lipitor survivor, are you?” … it was only when I stopped taking Lipitor for high cholesterol, that I realized how sick it had made me and how extremely well I felt without it!

In an attempt to control the rising population, women are encouraged to take birth control pills – hormones. Then, when they reach menopause and all its debilitating effects, doctors are quick to provide relief in the form of hormone replacement therapy. When my doctor suggested HRT for my frequent and extremely uncomfortable hot flashes, I declined, suspecting that there might be a link between hormones and breast cancer and since my sister had lost a breast to the disease, I believed that I needed to be cautious.

Is there any way to get away from hormones and chemical cures? And is it any wonder why cancer deaths are so frighteningly high? There is no medical confirmation of this, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if one day soon, we are informed that there is a link between chemical drugs and Alzheimer’s disease!

Is it remotely possible that the US is killing its people in an attempt to boost the pharmaceutical industry?


Althea GarnerREALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):Education Vice Chair – 2009

Selling Key Lime Pie

This economic crisis has affected the entire nation, but as far as the housing market is concerned, Florida was the first hit and has been the hardest hit and yet, property is flying off the lists here in Port Saint Lucie.

Our brokerage currently has 147 listings out of a total of 1608 properties on the market, which includes vacant lots. In an industry that has 1200 brokerages in the Tri-County area (Saint Lucie, Indian River and Martin Counties), Preferred Realty Executives ranked #11, making them the #1 boutique brokerage in Saint Lucie County!

How do PRE agents manage to stay on top of this competitive market? If asked if they think outside the box, these dynamic agents will tell you that they are so far ahead, they no longer HAVE a box! Instead, they have learned to MAKE KEY LIME PIE!

You’ve all seen them ~ virtual tours that show a picture perfect home in a picture perfect yard, but what you can’t see is the community…. the surrounding area, the state of the streets and road verges, what the area has to offer and what proximity the property is to features such as stores, museums, freeways, entertainment and if applicable, beaches.

When selling property, the surrounding area is just as important to the buyer, as the interior of the home, which in many cases has been ‘froofed up’ by a stager or interior designer. Hello????? All that ‘froofie’ stuff is going away, and what you’re left with is an empty house and…. Yup! .. the surrounding area! That’s the key lime pie!

When asked what the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) was, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz replied: “The experience!” That’s right… what draws people to Starbucks is not the delicious brews or the tasty mid morning snacks, but the whole experience and THAT is why Starbucks can afford to charge more for it’s products!

Preferred Realty Executives agents don’t charge any more for their services, which include commercial, industrial and residential sales, Title, Mortgage, Property Management and Business Investment, and that is why all 35 agents are busy! They GET IT ~ they believe that if you give the customer what the customer wants, and in this case, it’s information, education and exemplary service, the customer will be happy!


Althea GarnerREALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):Education Vice Chair – 2009

Is your buyer on the Government’s ‘Blocked’ list?

There are many documents that form a contract in a property transaction and by the time the property is ready for recording, the pile measures about 4″ or 5″ in height!

One of those documents, recently added by the Federal government, is the AFFIDAVIT OF NONFOREIGN STATUS – a one page declaration of who the buyer/seller is and this document is sent to the lender for screening ~ to be measured up against the 480+ pages (3 columns per page) of persons who are not permitted to purchase property in the US!

According to the Federal Secrecy Act, certain individuals are barred from buying property in the US, because they are at risk of money-laundering, either for purposes of terrorism, drug trafficking or on-line fraud, and this forms part of the 911 Homeland Security process.
http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/default.htm

“Pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act and requirements specified by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), seller will not engage in any transaction with an individual and/or entity that either a) appears on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, Specially Designated Terrorists, Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers, or b) that Seller suspects to be involved in suspicious transaction or a transaction in violation of federal law………..”

Although this document applies to all who enter into a property transaction, there are certain ‘red flags’ that would escalate such an investigation, one of which is the reluctance on the part of the buyer or seller to provide identity information or who provides incomplete or incorrect information.
http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/pages_manual/OLM_106.htm

If you think about it, sellers who accept cash deals without an agent, are placing us all at risk, because this vital step would be by-passed, thereby possibly risking the lives of innocent Citizens. Do YOU know who bought the ‘For-Sale-By-Owner’ property on your street?

In addition, the Internet is fraught with offers from outside the US to buy property, usually offering to do so through their ‘attorney’, and these almost always turn out to be fraudulent deals!

One of the ways that these chancers get FSBO information is through advertising and as most FSBO listings are advertised on Craigslist, this is the most common point of contact.

It is only by being vigilant and using an agent who is aware of the many and frequent changes imposed by government, that YOU, the buyer or seller can safely close Escrow without putting others at risk! In the event of a ‘For-Sale-By-Owner’ property passing to a blocked person, the Federal government would hold both buyer and seller responsible, so while the owner might save money on the brokerage commission by not using a licensed agent, is jail time really worth it?

Don’t take a chance ~ ONLY do business with a qualified and licensed agent, one who is a member of the real estate Board (a REALTOR ®) and one who makes it their business to stay up to date with the law!


Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Murder ~ The New Plague On REALTORS(R)

More and more we read about real estate agents found murdered at vacant properties and with the rising number of foreclosed properties, agents have become easy targets for rapists and killers!

A California agent was found stabbed to death a couple of months ago … two weeks ago two agents were murdered in Ohio and we have to ask ourselves what we are doing to protect ourselves and our clients? How many agents carry mace or weapons?

One can argue that our GE keys can track our whereabouts, based on the last Supra I-box that was opened, however, most vacant foreclosed properties have combo boxes, which do not have radio frequency.

Ted Cernak, of Costa Mesa, California designed a GPS ‘fob’ device compact enough to attach to one’s key chain, which would silently summon law enforcement at the press of a button! This device can be used anywhere, at any time: in the parking lot late at night, on vacation in a foreign country or in the event of a fall, heart attack or car accident.

I would invite Mr Cernak to give readers more information on this life-preserving device, by posting his response at this blog.

Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Dear Mr/Ms Seller

Dear Mr/Ms Seller,

Your property has been on the market for 498 days without a price change. Tell me something …. Have you HEARD from your listing agent in that time? Do you know if they are still alive? Did you ever see a marketing plan? Did your agent ever do Open House and if so, how many were held and with what result (did you ever ask, assuming that they didn’t contact you afterwards)?

Has your listing agent advertised your property (you would know this by Googling the listing address – I have!)? How many prospective buyers has your agent brought to your listing and what was the buyers reason for not signing a purchase offer?

Mr/Ms Seller….. if your property hasn’t sold in 498 days, might I suggest that you either change your list price or your agent – one of them is not working for you!

Signed:
A-good-agent-who-can’t-believe-how-slack-agents-get-good-business-and-do-nothing-with-it!

[aka:]
Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
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Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009