I Sell Foreclosed Properties
I’ve been selling foreclosed properties for 20 years. In that time I have checked the occupancy on thousands of houses that had just been foreclosed upon. I have knocked on the door and said,”Hi, My name is Bill Lublin and I represent the Lender that just foreclosed on your property. I was just stopping by to see what your plans were about leaving the property.”
Usually the reasons for foreclosures fell into what I called the four “D”s. Death, Divorce, Drugs, and Drinking. Someone dies, and the heirs didn’t make mortgage payments. People divorced and lost the house through spite. People drank or drugged and lost the house to their habit. Sometimes the loss was the result of a gambling problem.
Though I’m a pretty charitable guy, you become inured to the situations because someone has to do the job. You distance yourself from the issues of the former mortgagors because you need to, and sometimes its easy because they’re harsh or offensive or uncaring themselves. Often they’re gone before you get “the assignment” so you don’t even think about them, other then to reflect on the possessions they left behind (a lot of free weights get left – I guess body building and bill paying don’t always go hand in hand). And over the years, it has been a good specialty to pursue. People that sell foreclosures help get housing stock back into the community. We put families in vacant homes, help investors create security for their families, and improve the neighborhoods where the vacant homes are.
A Real Tragedy
Yesterday there was a headline in USA Today entitled “Foreclosures Take Toll on Mental Health” which talked about an older couple in Prineville, Oregon, ages 71, and 69 who committed suicide 2 days before their house was scheduled for foreclosure. The article quoted the Crook County Sheriff’s office who said, “It is believed that the Donacas committed suicide after attempts to save their home following a foreclosure notice left them believing they had few options”.
The article tells us little . Its main point is that losing your home is stressful (Duh!) and that people will react to that stress in a variety of ways. Raymond Donaca, the brother of the deceased husband Raymond was quoted as saying “He got so deep in debt he couldn’t figure out what to else to do. I guess a guy would have to walk a few miles in his shoes to understand.” That may be the understatement of this yet new century.
Their case is obviously extreme, and as obviously disturbing, and I am struggling to make some sense out of this and take some lesson away from it. We aren’t given any of the back story. Why did the house end up in foreclosure? What happened to these two people in the later years of their life that created this problem? What was therein this situation that got out of hand? Were there health issues? What were the financial circumstances that led to their terrible choice? Why didn’t they know that they had other choices?
Be the expert , Be a resource, Be a lifeline.
In the current real estate market, more agents are meeting people who are under financial stress because of the current market and the mortgage industries challenges. Many of us have never had experience with foreclosures or with short sales. We need to be aware that the people that they are dealing with need them to become informed. They need to know what the laws are in their state. We need to find out what programs thir local or state government has put in place to help people in financial trouble. And We need to provide the consumer with answers to their questions so that they can find a more positive way to handle their issues.
I’m not suggesting that everyone run out and take the first course they find, I’m suggesting that you take the time to google search or go to the local governmental authority, or read the HUD website, learn about Hope Now or get information from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and get it out to the consumer.Go to Realtor.org to get information on Short Sales, and look for the information coming to you soon from the NAR Working Group on Short Sales that reported at NAR’s Mid-Year meetings this week.
Every one of us talks about being the expert in our neighborhoods. Knowing where things are, how they work, taxes, schools, movies, and shops. Maybe we can get some more knowledge to share with consumers that need it. We are the members of the Real Estate Profession and the members of our Communities. We can make a difference when we make a living.
Sorry for the weight of the message. I’ll keep it lighter next time-
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.
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