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I Will Buy My Toilet Paper at the Store, Not at the Bank!



Loan Officer, hard at work!

Loan Officer, hard at work!

Today,  I was emailed an agreement…

from another real estate agent on an expensive property that contained a very low deposit, a very, very long closing date but worse, a typed letter from a loan officer from a national bank’s mortgage division that basically just said, yea, they’re approved.

Big whoop.

What actually was in that letter was worthless.  Do they think we are that stupid?

The way it works in the world of professional financing these days is that you must have a Fannie Mae DU/DO or Freddie Mac LP approval.

These are not the gold standard, but the only standard (with a couple of exceptions) to show that the client can truly get approved.

I have submitted agreements with the LP approvals and some agents actually did not know what is was.

Once I explained it, they got it.

But, remember

Because of the Red Flag rule and common sense, make sure the social security numbers, bank accounts and other personal info is blanked out.

Now, back to that letter……let other agents know that you won’t take them aymore.

That (hopefully) will trickle down to the loan officer that types on the toilet paper and then you will not lose deals because of the loan person’s word processing system.

Now that by the end of next year the loan officers will be licensed, background checked, fingerprinted, tested and continuing educated (except for bank employees- what’s up with that???) the quality will get better.

Realty Reality! That describes Fred, a sharp witted and outspoken realist for the mortgage and real estate world who has appeared on CNBC and NPR's Marketplace along with being quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Fred is the CEO of U S Spaces, Inc/Arrivva (a real estate brokerage firm in PA, NJ, DE and CA) and U S Loans Mortgage Inc (mortgage brokerage in PA, CA, FL and VA), and serves on the Board of Directors and is the Federal Legislative Director for the UpFront Mortgage Brokers. Fred is also the co-creator of real estate startup, a mathematically driven rental search engine. See everything Fred at

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  1. Roland Woodworth

    November 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Your title is surely an attention getter. I agree, it’s totally amazing that LO’s at the banks are not required to have a license.

    Commitment Letters should be of value. When you tell a home owner that you have a commitment letter, they expect to close.

  2. Vicki Moore

    November 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    “The way it works in the world of professional financing these days is that you must have a Fannie Mae DU/DO or Freddie Mac LP approval.”

    So how do I know when the buyer has this? Can you explain more about what these are?


  3. Ken Montville

    November 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Fred, when I grow up I want to be just like you.

    Here’s my deal as a listing agent:
    1. Seller’s home has been on the market for month’s and they finally get an offer,
    2. The offer isn’t perfect but the Seller is now motivated and wants to sell the house,
    3.The letter doesn’t have all the DU/DO info. It might say (maybe) that the loan was put through DU/DO but most likely not,
    4. It might be a “reputable” institution such as a Wells or BoA or similar bank or credit union.
    5. Said institution (especially if it’s a credit union ) will not provide it because of privacy concerns or what not,
    6. Refer back to #2.

    I only wish I could get Sellers to turn down or send back weak or meaningless lender letters but it ain’t gonna happen. Sometimes, you just gotta roll the dice and hope for the best, keep your eye on the contingency dates and hope you can convince the Seller to void when they’re not met.

    I know it’s not optimal. I know it’s a risk. But, you know, Fred, a lot of the time they work out.

  4. Vicki Moore

    November 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Phone rings. It’s Fred Glick. Huh?

    That was a big surprise.

    Thanks for the easy to understand explanation. I’m trying to keep up with it all but sometimes it’s difficult!

    Now Kent – you’re scaring me here.

  5. Ted Jernigan

    November 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Item # 4 in the second comment names the two lenders we seem to be having the most difficulty getting to close on schedule. We are having best luck when working with midsized mortgage bankers who control their whole process. I also prefer someone who has a track record of closing on time. I have even referred buyers and their agents to my reliable lenders. We are still getting closings done in as little as three weeks. These reliable lenders do run applicants through DU early in the process so we know if they are real.

  6. Fred Glick

    November 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    @Ken..the bank or CU is wrong. They can give you the LP Summary page and black out the vital info.

    You just want to see that it is real.

    And since no one gets paid until all is closed, it would seem that everyone would cooperate.

    What some (not all) loan people may be doing (not as much now) is to play bait and switch with their clients and try to make more money.

    That process will die because of the new Good Faith Estimate that locks in the broker/lender costs at a max for the transaction.

    It’s a pretty good idea except that there are a few flaws in the system that need to get worked out.

    I will try and do a full post of that in conjunction with someone that is an expert on it.

    @Vicki- That’s typical for me- extreme high level of customer service! I enjoyed the chat!

    • Benn Rosales

      November 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm

      Trust but verify, your lips to God’s ear.

  7. Real Estate Feeds

    November 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I will buy my toilet paper at the store, not at the bank!: Loan Officer, hard at work!
    Today,  I was emailed an..

  8. RealEstate Babble

    November 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    AgentGenius: I will buy my toilet paper at the store, not at the bank! Full

  9. Short Sales ASAP

    November 14, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I will buy my toilet paper at the store, not at the bank! #LoanMod

  10. Von Dyke

    November 14, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    RT @agentgenius I will buy my toilet paper at the store, not at the bank! ~~What the what??

  11. realdiggity

    November 14, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I will buy my toilet paper at the store, not at the bank!: comments

  12. Natasha Hall

    November 15, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I Will Buy My Toilet Paper at the Store, Not at the Bank! – Loan Officer, hard at work! Today,  I was emailed an ag…

  13. John Badalamenti

    November 15, 2009 at 7:53 am

    As a listing agent, it is also prudent to call the lender (what Benn states above, “Trust but verify”); I want to hear from the lender’s lips in addition to what’s on paper (or TP 🙂 . And if I can’t reach the lender to speak with live or worse, never receive a call back – brighly colored red flag!

    The other document I want to see filled out in full and signed by the Buyer is the BFI, where are they getting the funds for downpayment and closing costs. When agents balk at providing this, this is very bad sign to me. Buyers only need to disclose the funds they have to cover the DP and CC.

  14. Matthew Rathbun

    November 15, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve rarely taken the lender letter very seriously. They vary too much and have no course and effect. The lender’s are liable to the statements made in the letter.

    Lots of agents get irritated that REO’s want lender letters from their own institution. This makes perfect sense to me. The Lending industry has mastered the art of non-binding letters, so why would they trust someone elses?

    I agree that the Fannie/Freddie are the best of all the options. You need to be careful when you say “I’m not accepting anything less…” It’s our obligations to present everything to the Seller. I may give them sources showing that it’s not a dependable letter, but ultimately it’s still their decision to accept of deny it.

  15. Ashley Lambert

    November 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm Interesting

  16. BarryLynnMiller

    November 17, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I spent 12 years as a mortgage broker so therefore I have an advantage somewhat. Depends on who gives me the approval letter and if I don’t know the lender I always ask to talk to them and within 5 min I typically can size up the loan officer to determine if the approval is solid or not. At the end of the day I would suggest that if you as a Real Estate agent don’t understand the mortgage process to take some classes about mortgages it will only help your business.

  17. Joe Loomer

    November 18, 2009 at 7:46 am

    What Ted said – neither one of those two seem to be able to close their own front door on time (if at all). At least not in our neck of the woods.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

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Economic News

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…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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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.



young executives

job openings

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.

What’s next

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.


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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 tax


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.

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