Our team has been averaging about 10 new listings a month. Because of our Certified Distressed Property Expert designation, about 1/3 of them are short sales or pre-foreclosures of some sort.
Talk about being waist-deep in the personal lives of our Sellers… Job losses and illnesses and interest rate increases that lead to financial instability and stress that then even lead to illness and divorce (in some cases) are a large chunk of the lives of these Sellers that we work with.
Sometimes, I hate listing these homes. I feel so bad for the situations that these people are in. Regardless of “WHY” it is happening (poor buying decision, downsized employment, increased rate, cheating spouse, cancer) … losing your home to foreclosure sucks.
I mean, I am happy that Derek and I are knowledgeable enough to get the home sold BEFORE it forecloses and wrecks havoc on their credit even more than the missed payments have done, but knowing that these people WANT their homes (in most cases), but have to get rid of them … It breaks my heart.
Well, last month I installed a “For Sale” sign in the yard of a home and went up to the door to chat a little more with the Seller about how they wanted the home shown, etc. He was the sweetest man and was devastated that he could no longer afford his mortgage payment. See, he, like plenty of other people in America, bought his home in 2005 with an ARM. He makes his payments early every single month – not only his mortgage, but everything else, as well.
2008 rolls around and his rate increases by a little over 2% MORE than he was originally paying. Although it is a stretch (as he was used to a lower payment for 3 years), he continues to make his payments.
Then, he loses his job.
However, he CONTINUES to pay all of his bills on time, to include his mortgage, with the money he gets from unemployment. Granted, he lives on ramen, but he pays his bills. He assumes that when he finds employment, it will be easier… and knows he cannot keep up like this for much longer.
Months go by and he is unable to find a job. So, he calls his mortgage company and asks if they can help him. All he wants is the original interest rate for a few more months, until he finds employment. But, regardless of his stellar payment history and regardless of the fact that his unemployment covers the payment, they deny him that option … and tell him that his best bet is to GIVE UP and SELL THE HOME AS A SHORT SALE and FIND A PLACE TO RENT. … So, he Googles “colorado springs short sale help“, finds us, calls us and asks us to short sale his home.
We decide to put the home on the market, but impress upon him that he needs to continue to work with his lenders to find a way to KEEP his home. Just because ONE lender-representative told him to give up, does not mean all is lost.
He continues to press through, pay his bills (to include his mortgage) and continues to call his lender, other lenders – ANYONE who could help him KEEP his house.
All the time, I am praying for the call where we are asked to CANCEL our listing agreement with our Seller.
Yesterday, with tears in his eyes, our seller calls us and tells us that his lender finally agreed to work with him. And get this– They are ONE UPPING his request. He had originally asked just to remain at the interest rate that he had been at since 2005, which was somewhere in the 5%-6% mark. But instead, the lender (the same one who told him to GIVE UP a month ago) permanently LOWERED his interest rate to … drum roll please … 3%! He can now KEEP his house.
We happily canceled our listing agreement and I am yanking that “For Sale” sign out of his yard, today.
Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?
NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination
When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”
At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?
The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.
In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…
Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement
The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.
Job openings hit a high point
To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.
The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.
Good news, bad news, depending on your profession
That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.
Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.
If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.
If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.
Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.
Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?
Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.
Gas taxes and your bottom line
Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.
Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.
Supporters and opponents are polar opposites
Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.
Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.
While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.
The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.
Is a gas tax politically plausible?
Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”
Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”
Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.
Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.
“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”
Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.
OnePlus swears to kinda stop collecting invasive data from users
Ending a dismal year, Samsung says goodbye to CEO
DNA tests are cool, but are they worth it?
Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?
With reward comes risk: facial recognition and privacy
A few smarties are trying to create space cryptocurrency via Bitcoin
Microsoft’s Autism Hiring program really is driving innovation
LL Bean just stole the show with their invisible ink ad in the NYT
iPhone 8 Plus devices allegedly split open while charging #splitgate
Does creativity die as we age? Science says sorta
Amy’s Ice Cream founder on Austin’s business risks and rewards #WhyAustin
Turns out a lot of people are in between introverted and extroverted
P. Terry’s founder on the booming economy in Austin #WhyAustin
Ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. National Anthem
Indeed President, Chris Hyams tells us #WhyAustin [video]
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