Friday, November 07, 2008

LATEST EDITION OF "YOU" MAGAZINE

Thanks to Mike King, Vice President1st Mariner Mortgage (Phone: 781-760-9268 Fax: 617-801-8081mike@mikekingmortgage.com ) we've received a link to the latest edition of YOU Magazine. There is someting for everyone, mortgage information and a recipe for a Thanksgiving pie. So check it out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Marketing and Technology Fair at Plymouth and South Shore Association of Realtors


I'm realy excited about the upcoming Marketing and Technology Fair which will be held on November 13th by the Plymouth and South Shore Association of Realtors. This function, which is open to Realtor and Associate members, features three speakers and a trade fair. Mike Cutlip from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors will address Social Networking for Realtors. Bob Mitchell from Home Center Sotheby's will show you how to improve your listing's pictures, inside and out. Nelson Zide from ERA Key Realty will talk on Generating NOW!! Business.
The booths at the trade fair will feature local and national vendors whose products and services may enhance the Realtor(R)business. You can check it out and pre-register for this event at the PASS website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Massachusetts Association of Realtors Holds Annual Convention

I'm back from two days ( September 22, 23) at the annual convention of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. This year's convention was held at the Worcester Conference Center. I'm not sure of the exact figures, but I did hear from one staff person an estimate of 600+ (?) registrations.


In addition to attending the Trade Fair (I was there on a mission, which I will explain), I had the opportunity to attend sessions on technology for the real estate profession as well as the real estate market in today's economy.


As this year's chairperson of the Marketing and Technology Committee at my local Realtor (R) association, the Plymouth and South Shore Association of Realtors, I was hoping to recruit some vendors for our own trade fair. This event will take place in Pembroke on November 13, 2008. We are looking for vendors whose product or service is consistent with the Marketing and Technology theme of the Fair, and it looks as those we will have some of these vendors at Pembroke. I'll write more about the convention in another post.






Friday, September 19, 2008

Update on FHA Loans



With all the excitement about the financial market, I almost forgot to post some intersting news about an event at our office, Century21 Annex Realty. We had William McCarthy, from Wells Fargo, give a very informative presentation on current FHA loans that available to the home buyer. It appears that many buyers and sellers could benefit from today's FHA program. Good buyers who do not have 20% for a down payment may still qualify to get a reasonably priced home. You can reach Bill at William.McCarthy at WellsFargo.com or contact one of our agents at Century21 Annex Realty.

Mass Real Estate Saleperson Classes and Cont. Ed Classes @ Annex Real Estate School Oct 2008

As the real estate market is recovering, there is the need for new, enthusiastic real estate people to make it happen!

You can start your real estate career by taking the Massachusetts Real Estate Saleperson Class at Annex Real Estate School and then passing the state examination.

At Annex Real Estate School, conveniently located in Quincy near the Wollaston T stop,
the Fall season continues on Tuesday, October 7th.
Day and Evening, Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson classes are being offered in the traditional, easy paced, 8 lesson class that runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can select the DAY program which meets from 9 am to noon, or the EVENING program which goes from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Start on Tuesday, October 7th.

Whether you elect the DAY or EVENING program, you will receive the same quality, state mandated 24 hours of classroom instruction that is a requirement before taking the state examination.

If you want a faster paced class, sign up for the intensive WEEKEND program that will start at 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm on Friday evening, October 17. The class then continues 8 am to 6:30 pm, on Saturday and Sunday, October 18th and 19th.

Class availability depends upon enrollment. Class size is limited to maintain class quality. Pre-enrollment is a must.


The cost of either program is still only $200, which includes two books and class material. (Annex Real Estate School uses professional books rather than someone's "class manuals").
Your class will be taught by experienced Massachusetts Real Estate Brokers who are also state Approved Real Estate Instructors. It's not too early to register for these classes.
You can read more about the whole process at this Massachusetts Real Estate Information
site.
Or, go directly to the school's WEBSITE

Massachusetts licensed Real Estate Salepersons and Brokers will have the option to apply for an interview at our associated real estate office.


Already Licensed? A special weekend of Continuing Education in October is now posted on the Annex Real Estate School WEBSITE. You can get all of your state mandated hours in one weekend, Saturday, October 11th and Sunday, October 12th. Take all 12 hours or just as many as you need.


Annex Real Estate School
49 Beale Street (near Wollaston stop on the T Red Line)
617-773-2576

It Get's Even Better: Banker says, "Now people are going to actually have to have a job to get a loan.."

In yesterday's (September 18, 2008) online version of the New York Times, Louis Uchitelle wrote an article "Pain Spreads as Credit Vise Grows Tighter".

In the article, he quotes Bradley E Rock, Chairman, President and CEO of Bank of Smithtown, Smithtown, NY (L.I), and current Chairman of the American Bankers Association, "Now people are going to actually have a job to get a loan and they are going to have to make installment payments that are actually higher per dollar borrowed than they used to be,"..

Uchitelle has this to say: "The winners so far are the Brad Rocks of America, the bankers who have emerged unscathed, their capital intact and with enough retained earnings to support lending, on their terms. A residential mortgage from Bank of Smithtown requires 20 percent down and clear evidence of adequate income to repay the loan, as well as a good record of paying down debt. "

Then, as a further comment: "Bank of Smithtown specializes in small businesses — the stationery stores, pizza parlors and pharmacies of eastern Long Island with annual revenue of $2 million or less, regularly in need of bridge loans, for example. During the credit boom, Mr. Rock said, many of these business owners went to lenders who required, as he put it, nothing more than a tax ID number to qualify for a loan. [Emphasis added]
“Now many of these lenders are gone,” Mr. Rock said, “and the small-business borrowers are coming to us, and we are doing good old-fashioned underwriting, and the result is that fewer people are getting loans.”

Also, in the same piece in the New York Times, there is also an example about loans in the trucking business:" “The banks were giving loans for the full value of these trucks and the value was falling, and the truckers found themselves owing more than the trucks were worth,” Mr. McCormack said. “They found themselves forced to keep driving or let the banks repossess, and many have elected repossession.” In the Times article, Mr. McCormack is referenced as being the operator of an online site called truckertotrucker.com.

So let's see, not only were loans made on homes, but also on businesses and on personal property (trucks), with the same lack of standards. And, some bankers, who held to standards are in pretty good shape. Furthermore, traditional Wall Street brokerage firms and insurers are in trouble.

This would seem to emphasize that the real source of the problem is NOT the housing market. IF, the source of the problem is in the housing market, then that's were you would need to find and make the fix. But as you can see, the problem is being worked on in the financial marketplace. They need to stop the rhetoric of blaming housing. That's just where we all live.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

They Still Don't Get It

Yet another of many articles on why the housing market is the cause of today's financial market crisis appeared on Yahoo Finance, as supplied by CNN.com.

Let's understand that there are two markets. The housing market is where the sellers and buyers of houses get together to negotiate the transfer real property from one person to another. The financial market is where lenders and borrowers get together to negotiate a loan of money.

The real crisis in the housing market has been caused by financial market. The headlines that blame the housing market, without looking at the real source of the problem are making it difficult, if not impossible for sellers and buyers to get together.

This may seems rather naive. But, as long as a mortgagor, the real estate buyer and borrower, makes the monthly payments on their loan, regardless of the value of the property,there should not be a crisis in the housing market or the financial market.

From what I see, the crisis in the financial market is occurring because of two factors: 1) Loans were made that never should have been. (Have you heard of ninja loans? No Income, No Job, No Assets) So now loans are not being repaid, and 2) the Gamblers who bet on the future increase of value of those loans, have lost their bet.

The loans were made in the financial market, not the real estate market. The bets were placed on Wall Street, not Main Street. Now, we're all losing.

Hm..I remember, not too long ago, when the banks wanted to get into the real estate business and sell houses. The only real opposition they had was from the Realtor (R) Association. This one article in BNET Business Network, from April 2001, is one of many that talk about this issue. Now it looks as though the banks have their wish fulfilled. The banks have a lot of houses to sell.

If this problem is going to be fixed, someone will have to be gutsy enough to fix the way loans are made, and limit the gambling to those who can afford to lose without asking the rest of us to pay.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's NOT the Housing Market

Today's financial news was dismal, at best. Lehman Bros has declared bankruptcy, insurer AIG is having financial woes, and Merril Lynch is being bought out by Bank of America. The Dow Industrial Average on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at 10,917, down 504 points!

All eyes are on blaming the Housing Market for what is being described at a financial hurricane. I don't see where the blame should be on the 'Housing Market" which is where buyers and sellers meet to exchange real property. Although the recent surge in prices (yes, it seems so long ago that prices were on the increase) was fueled by a pent up demand by buyers and the exuberance of sellers (another familiar word), they certainly could not have done this on their own.

If there wasn't the financing, this couldn't and wouldn't have happened. The experts and commentators on TV and the Internet are looking for an easy scapegoat for today's bad news. It's not the housing market. They should instead take a serious look at the real source of the problem, those that made the loans that shouldn't have been and those that bought and exchanged the paper that those loans created, without really looking, caring or understanding about the value. This was not the housing market. It is a different market where money is changes hands to finance these loans, loans that never should have been. That's where the focus of any correction needs to be.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Final Score:Boston Red Sox 7; New York Yankees 3

As a Red Sox fan, for more years than you might imagine, this score really makes me feel good. Now, I know this may have nothing to do with real estate, but I felt that I had to state it ;)! Also A-Rod's 0 for 5 in this game, which is probably the last time the Sox will meet the Yankees in the old field. "How sweet it is"

I'll probable add more to this posting later....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Consumer Affairs Alert About Digital TV

Although most of us, locally, subscribe to either cable TV or one of the satellite services, there are still many thru out the country, who still get their TV programs over the air. In February of 2009, there will be a major change, as most of the stations will be switching from the current system of analog signals to digital signals. If your TV is hooked up to one of the subscription service boxes, satellite or cable, you probably won't notice the difference. This is also true if you have one of the newer TV sets that can receive digital signals.

But, if you are watching TV over the air with one of the older analog only sets, you might be in for a surprise!

Here in Massachusetts,the local broadcasting stations have been showing an alert message. Our state Consumer Affairs has also prepared some information. Here is the text from their latest bulletin:

"www.mass.gov/consumer Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation
CONSUMER ADVISORY
Analog TV Owners Beware!
The federal government has mandated that on February 17, 2009,
U.S. broadcasters must shut down analog TV broadcasts. But the transition to digital television does not mean you have to buy a new TV! To protect you from misinformation or potential fraud, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Department of Telecommunications and Cable want you to be aware that some retailers may try to persuade you to buy a new, expensive TV or premium converter box.
If you have an analog TV, you have the following options:
• Buy a digital converter box (costs range from $40-$70+) • Subscribe to cable or satellite TV service (if available) Digital converter boxes are the least expensive option and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has certified more than 80 boxes that can be purchased with DTV Converter box coupons. To see a complete list of DTV Converter Boxes go to https://www.ntiadtv.gov/cecb_list.cfm.
Each household is eligible for two coupons in the amount of $40 each. You can apply for your coupons at https://www.dtv2009.gov/ ApplyCoupon.aspx or call the coupon program hotline at 1-888DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009). Be aware that the coupons expire 90 days after issue so be sure to use yours within three months of the date of issuance, not delivery, to you.
For more information, call the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable at 1-800-392-6066 or go to www.mass.gov/dtc. "

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Consumer Price Index Information for May, 2008

The index for housing rose 0.5 percent in May. The index for shelter increased 0.2 percent, following a 0.1 percent rise in April. Within shelter, the indexes for rent and owners' equivalent rent increased 0.2 and 0.1 percent, respectively. The index for lodging away from home, which had declined in each of the preceding three months, increased 1.3 percent in May. (Prior to seasonal adjustment, charges for lodging away from home declined 0.5 percent in May.)

The index for household energy registered its fourth consecutive large increase--up 2.8 percent in May. The index for fuel oil rose 10.4 percent and was 64.0 percent higher than in May 2007. The indexes for natural gas and for electricity rose 5.6 and 0.9 percent, respectively. During the last 12 months charges for
natural gas and for electricity increased 16.5 and 5.8 percent,
respectively. The index for household furnishings and operations, which declined 0.1 percent in April, increased 0.2 percent in May.

What is the Consumer Price Index? "Brief Explanation of the CPI

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services purchased by households. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups:

(1) the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which covers households of wage earners and clerical workers that comprise approximately 32 percent of the total population and (2) the CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the Chained CPI for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI- U), which cover approximately 87 percent of the total population and include in addition to wage earners and clerical worker households, groups such as professional, managerial, and technical workers, the self- employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force."

NOTE: This data and definition are taken directly from the site of the website of the Brief Explanation of the CPI

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services purchased by households. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups:

(1) the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which covers households of wage earners and clerical workers that comprise approximately 32 percent of the total population and

(2) the CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the Chained CPI for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U), which cover approximately 87 percent of the total population and
include in addition to wage earners and clerical worker households, groups such as professional, managerial, and technical workers, the self-employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Domain Name Sale - Limited Time Offer


GoDaddy.com $6.95 .com Sale 120x90


(Even if you are not a real estate agent or Realtor(R), you can still take advantage of this money saving opportunity).

As a real estate agent, I was anxious to get my own domain name. I could get email sent directly to me at my own name! Then I realized that my MLS provider had provided me with a free website, somethink called a VOW (Virtual Office Website). Unfortunately the internet address of the site is something like: http:/vow.mymlsprovider.com/myid# !

Not too easy to remember. So I went and bought my own domain name and redirected it to the VOW. Now, all I have to do is tell my clients and customers my domain name and they end up at my VOW!

Then I found a way to offer other real estate agents the opportunity to get their own domain name and save a few dollars. When you click on the link above, you'll be connected to the GODADDY site, where you can buy a domain name at a discount from the going rate.

With each domain name purchase, you will get free EXTRAS:
Online Photo Filer
Quick Blogcast
Hosting with Website Builder
Personalized Email Account **
Starter Web Page
Getting Started Guide
Domain Forwarding and Masking **
...and more!

** These are the two features that I use to get my own mail and to send clients and customers to the free VOW.


Go Daddy $6.95 .com Sale 125x125

Friday, May 02, 2008

The new rules of marketing...

The new rules of marketing and PR. I'm reading a good book, called "The New Rules of Marketing and PR", written by David Scott. It shows how the internet can be used in marketing all kinds of businesses. I'm hoping to learn from it how to use the internet to market Annex Real Estate School, that's our real estate school, and our Real Estate Company, Century 21 Annex Realty. Also located in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Powered by Jott

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Just heard online that...

Just heard online that the financial markets are responding to the fact that they think that credit problems are over and the market is taking off. Good news. listen

Powered by Jott

Friday, March 21, 2008

Celtic Pride and My Real Estate Team

It wasn't too far into this year's NBA season, when it became apparent that something special was happening with the Boston Celtics. Playing as a team, they accomplishing something that brought out Celtic pride. After last night's game, they had a .809 average in the NBA standings. Their nearest challenge is from Detroit with .720 .

Regardless of the numbers, our Celtics just took three games in Texas!

I know it's been said before, but it's not just having great players. It's when the players working together as a team.

I like to think of Century 21 Annex Realty as my real estate team. I've been there for over 25 years and have watched this team grow. Last year, Century 21 Annex Realty, located in Quincy, Massachusetts, was in the top 11 offices out of 152 Century 21 offices in the Northeast Region. Go Team!

There are now over 70 agents as part of this team. Men and women who are all there for one purpose: to help sellers and buyers of real estate accomplish their goal of having a successful and satisfying real estate transaction.

In addition to the real estate office, there is also Annex Real Estate School.
This school was founded over 16 years ago by one of the principals of Century 21 Annex Realty.

Annex Real Estate School features Massachusetts Real Estate License Classes that are a pre - requisite for taking the Mass state real estate licensing examinations. After succesfully becoming licensed Real Estate Salepersons, students may apply for an interview at Century 21 Annex Realty.

In addition to preparation for the first license, that of a Real Estate Salesperson, Annex Real Estate School is one of the few schools in Massahusetts offering a Real Estate Broker program that is taught by practicing real estate Brokers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is Now the Time to Buy Real Estate? Read This Article in Time Magazine

Whether it's stocks or real estate, there are those who hope to squeeze the most out of the market. When they buy low, nobody buys lower. And when they sell high, nobody sells higher.

That's why this article in Time magazine by Dan Kedlec is so good. In 'Ignore Headlines', author Dan Kadlec addresses the buyers who are waiting and waiting and waiting. They want it all, all time lows in home prices and all time lows in interest rate. But will they get it?

Let's check out the crystal ball. Are the prices still heading lower? And, what will interest rates be when the right time to buy comes along? In his article, Kadlec shows the effect of waiting a year for another 10% drop in the prices of real estate coupled with a 1 % increase in the interest rate (from 5.5 % to 6.5%). If that is to be the case, then the total monthly payment of principal and interest on a 30 year, 20 percent down loan, is actually 63 cents more per month. And as Kadlec says in his article, "...you'd have saved nothing. Meanwhile, home prices might steady and sellers might become less willing to negotiate. And you have spent a year living someplace you'd rather not be."

Now, nobody has a reliable crystal ball :) but if you're looking for a home as a place to live, it doesn't make much sense to wait.

Monday, February 11, 2008

NOW Listed Online: Massachusetts Real Estate License Classes: Thru May

Annex Real Estate School has listed the February thru May schedule for Real Estate License Classes to prepare for the Massachusetts state Real Estate Salesperson examination. There is also a February, Massachusetts Real Estate Brokers Class for those persons who are already licensed Real Estate Salespersons. (See more info below).

Do not be misled by offerings of online courses or other options to get your license in Massachusetts.
In order to qualify to take the state examination to become a Massachusetts Licensed Real Estate salesperson, you must first take 24 hours of classsroom instruction that follows the state curriculum. Your instruction must be given by an Approved instuctor working for an Authorized school at an appoved location. Also, unless you are a Massachusetts attorney or you are already licensed as a broker in another state, you must first become a Salesperson and gain experience working for a Broker before you can go for your Broker license.

You can read some information about this at this ONE PAGE EXPLANATION or go directly to the About page on the website of Annex Real Estate where there is information on getting started on your real estate career.

You will find Applications under the HIGHLIGHTS column.

Questions? Call the Schools direct line 617-773-2576. If we are unable to take your call, please leave your number and let us know what is a good time to contact you.
If you prefer, you can always email the Registrar at AnnexRealEstateSchool.com

Class availability depends upon enrollment. Class sizes are kept small to assure class quality. Pre-enrollment is a must.

For licensed Real Estate Salespersons: If you are looking for that small class where you can learn the material for the Brokers exam, while networking in the environment of an active real estate environment, call 617-773-2576 NOW, as the class is about to start.

Annex Real Estate School is conveniently located in Quincy, near the Wollaston T stop on the Red Line.

Annex Real Estate School
49 Beale Street
Quincy, MA 02170
617-773-ALSO (2576)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Free Online Magazine About You

We got a link from Mike King, VP at 1st Mariner Mortgage, to "You Magazine .. An online magazine about your favorite subject"

This month's articles and videos are on a variety of subject, including Budgeting Basics, Improving Your Relationships, Attack of the Killer Fees (an article about credit repair), Pet Insurance , and Cooking at Home in 2008.

So check it out. Here's the LINK to the magazine. If you want to contact Mike, here is a LINK to his Contact Information at 1st Mariner Mortgage.

For information on getting your Massachusetts Real Estate License, visit Annex Real Estate School in Quincy Massachusetts.





Monday, February 04, 2008

Political Phone Calls: What's Your Opinion? Take A Survey

Now I know what our neighbors to the north in New Hampshire fel,t just a few weeks ago. We here in Massachusetts are now getting a barrage of phone calls prior to Super Tuesday. And I thought the Super Bowl was enough! These automated phone calls are certainly a misuse of technology.

barrage of calls = gabbage of calls ;)


Any comments? And please stay on subject.

You can take a survey right here: Click Here to take survey

Patriots Fan - Giant Winner - Take A Mass Real Estate Salesperson Class

You can be a New England Patriots Fan and still be a giant winner in 2008! Despite the gloomy talk, Real Estate is still alive and selling in Massachusetts. To get in on this, you must be licensed.

Annex Real Estate School offers a full lineup of Spring Classes starting on February 5th. Become a licensed Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson and get in on the action now. Visit the WEBSITE to see the your classsroom opportunites for February, March, April and May!

Read more Information about getting your license.

Already licensed as a Salesperson and want to get your Massachusetts Real Estate Brokers license? Call 617-773-2576 NOW to get into the February Class. If we are unable to take your call, please leave your call back number and a convenient time to contact you.

The cost of the Salespersons Program is still only $200 and the cost of the Brokers Program is still only $250. The cost of your course includes professional textbooks as well as other classroom material.

You can email the Registrar. We return emails.

Annex Real Estate School
49 Beale Street
Quincy, MA 02170
617-773-ALSO (2576)


Friday, February 01, 2008

Patriots Official Massachusetts Real Estate License School ;) !

We'd like to be the Official Real Estate School of the New England Patriots! Until that happens though, we do want to go on record. Win or lose, the Patriots are our team. And on Monday morning we will still be admiring our team that made it to the Super Bowl.

On Tuesday, Februry 5th, there will be the return to reality, as Annex Real Estate School starts it's February schedule of Massachusetts Real Estate License Classes with the traditional MIDWEEK classes. There is the Morning Program that go from 9 am to noon, on Tuesdays and Thursdays for four weeks. (24 hours of state mandated classroom instruction).

Then there is the traditional MIDWEEK Evening Program that meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. This program also starts on February 5th and runs for four weeks. (24 hours of state mandated classroom instruction).

For those who would like an INTENSIVE WEEKEND Program, that will start on Friday evening, February 15th, at 5:30 pm. The classes will then continue on Saturday and Sunday, February 16th and 17th, 8 am to 6 pm, both days. (24 hours of state mandated classroom instruction).

What is so important about '24 hours of state mandated classroom instruction'?
We don't want you to be misled by what you might read elsewhere. We've taken online courses and sometimes they're great. But, in Massachusetts, in order to qualify, all of your pre-Licensing Instruction and Continuing Education must be given at an Authorized Massachusetts Real Estate School. There must be a Massachusetts Approved Real Estate Instructor present in the classroom, ie , 'live' instruction.

At Annex Real Estate School your pre-Licensing Instuctors are all state Approved who are also experinced Real Estate Brokers. You can read a synopsis of the process to become a Massachusets Real Estate Salesperson by clicking on the link. If you need an Application, just download one from the HIGHLIGHT on the school page. Application 02T for the MIDWEEK Program. Be sure to check off your choice of Days or Evenings. Download Application 02W for the WEEKEND Program.

What do we like about the Patriots? Besides being our hometown team, we like their attitude! They know that their success depends upon their education, training, practice, as well as their commitment to each game. They're also out there with a 'no brag' attitude. They have played each game as the most important.

It's also the attitude that makes for a successful real estate agent. With all this negative talk, there are real estate agents and offices that are just going about their business of servicing their clients and customers. They have stayed focused in their job of putting sales together. With the right education, training and practices they know they can be succesful in the real estate field.

For those who are already licensed Massachusetts Real Estate Salespersons and want to advance their career by becoming a Real Estate Broker, Annex Real Estate School has a program for you. There will be a Massachusetts Real Estate Brokers License Class that will start the 2nd week of February. This is a 30 hour program.

This Brokers Course is being taught by experienced, practicing Real Estate Brokers who are Approved Real Estate Instructors. Your lead instructor, with over 28 years of of practical real estate experience, is the Co-Owner of one of Quincy's major real estate offices with over 70 agents. Don't miss out on this incredible experience of sharing real estate knowledge with your fellow students other while learning the information needed to pass the Massachusetts. This class has not been posted to the website so call direct 617-773-2576 to apply and get information. If we are unable to take your call, please leave your call back number and when is a good time to contact you. Or, you can email the Registrar at Annex Real Estate School
We do answer emails!

Availability of all classes and programs depends upon registration. Class size limited to assure class quality. Pre-registration is a must.



Annex Real Estate School is conveniently located at 49 Beale Street in Quincy and is near the Wollaston T stop on the Red Line.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Massachusett Real Estate Broker Class

Are you a Massachusetts licensed Real Estate Salesperson? Are you looking to advance your career by becoming a Real Estate Broker?

Annex Real Estate School announces a Massachusets Real Estate Broker license class starting the second week in February. Don't miss out on this incredible experience of sharing real estate knowledge with each other while learning the information needed to pass the Massachusetts Real Estate Brokers test.

This course will be team taught by experienced, Massachusett Approved Real Estate Instructors, both of whom have been Real Estate Brokers for over 29 years. Holding both Realtor and other nationally recognized Professional Designations, they are Life Members of the Plymouth and South Shore Association of Realtors. Your Lead Instructor is the Co-Owner of a major Quincy real estate office, with over 70 agents.

Information about this class has not yet been posted to the website. So, to register and reserve your place, call the school direct line 617-773-2576. If we are unable to take your call, please leave a call back number and a good time to reach you. We also reply to emails. Just click here to send an email to the Registrar. Be sure to put February Brokers Class in the Subject of your email.

Class availabilty depends upon enrollment. Class size will definitely be limited to assure class quality. Pre-enrollment is a must.

Annex Real Estate School is conveniently located in the Wollaston section of Quincy, near the Wollaston T stop on the Red Line.

Annex Real Estate School
49 Beale Street
Quincy, MA 02170
617-773-ALSO (2576)

[ Yahoo! Maps ]


Map of Annex Real Estate School

49 Beale Street,02170







Tuesday, January 29, 2008

TAX TIME: Consumer Alert from the MA Office of Consumer Affairs

I just received this email that is entiitled "Consumer Alert from the MA Office of Consumer Affairs" It has to do with your tax refund.

I found it interesting and feel that may benefit some of our readers, so I have copied that email here, in full. As you read through the Alert, you will see a reference to an Advisory, that has been issued by Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. For your convenience I have copied that Advisory to a folder at Annex Real Estate School, so you can easily access it. The link to that, as well as to an Adobe Reader (if you need it), are at the bottom of this posting.

But, please read the message from Dane Crane, first.

Email from Dan Crane, Undersecretary of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation:

"Dear Massachusetts resident,

My name is Dan Crane, and I am the Undersecretary of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

I would like to highlight an issue that is very timely. As tax season is upon us, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation advises Massachusetts consumers to be wary of tax refund loans, also known as refund anticipation loans (RALs). RALS are secured by and paid from your pending federal or state tax refund. Many tax preparers advertise them as an easy alternative to waiting for your refund check.

Instead of paying the high fees and interest that are associated with refund anticipation loans, there are alternatives for consumers to quickly access their tax refunds. The attached advisory details the resources available to help consumers obtain the money that is due to them. The advisory is in PDF format so you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file. If you already have Acrobat Reader you will be able to open the newsletter without any problems. If you do not have it, you can go to the link below and download it. There is no fee associated with downloading Acrobat Reader.

http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

Since one of the objectives of the office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is to provide information so that consumers can make educated and informed choices, this consumer advisory is the first that we will send you periodically to address important and timely issues as they develop.

Please check our website frequently for consumer advisories on other topics that may be of interest to you.

Thank you."

Click to get a copy of the Advisory of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Click here to download an Adobe Reader.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Morning and Evening Massachusetts Real Estate License Classes in February

If you only have mornings or evenings free, you can still take a class to prepare for the Massachusetts state examination to become a Massachusetts Licensed Real Estate Salesperson.


Starting on February 5th, these evenly paced classes will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 4 weeks.
If you are in the morning program, your class will be from 9 am to noon.
If you are in the evening program, your class will be from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Our flexibility allows you to match your schedule to the class schedule.
All students must complete all 24 hours of classroom instruction to qualify for the Massachusetts state examination.

The cost of the course is only $200, which includes two textbooks. One book, Modern Real Estate Practice is used to study for the General section of the examination. The other book, Massachusett Real Estate: Practice & Law, is used to study for the Massachusetts specific section of the examination. These books will then become a usefull part of your real estate library.


All pre-licensing students atAnnex Real Estate School also receive their own copy of the Massachusetts Real Estate License Law and Regulations, which is produced by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons. This handy booklet is used in class and is an excellent study guide to prepare for licensing questions that are a part of the Massachusetts section of the exam.

You can check out the website at http://AnnexRealEstateSchool.com and download Application 02T for the Traditional 4 Week Course. Please indicate your choice of 'Days' or 'Nights' on the Application.



If you are looking for a faster paced, intensive class, there will be one WEEKEND CLASS in FEBRUARY, starting Friday evening, February 15th, 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The class then continues on Saturday and Sunday, February 16th and 17th, 8 am to 6pm both days. Download Application 02W on the WEBSITE for the February Weekend Class. Still only $200 and 24 hours of state mandatory classroom hours. If you believe that this is the course for you, then call 617-773-2576 or email the Registrar now, as this is a popular program.


These classes are being offered by Annex Real Estate School, which is conveniently located in the Wollaston section of Quincy, near the Wollaston T stop on the Red Line.



You can email the Registrar@AnnexRealEstateSchool.com or call 617-773-ALSO (2576) for more information.

Class availability depends upon registration. Class size will be limited to assure class quality. Pre-enrollment is a must.


Annex Real Estate School
49 Beale Street
Quincy, MA 02170
Mass License #1119


Map of Annex Real Estate School49 Beale St, Quincy MA

8 Ways To Improve Your Credit

I found this article about the "8 Ways to Improve Your Credit" online at realtor.org, and I thought that it might be interesting for people who come to our site, so here it is:

'Credit scores, along with your overall income and debt, are a big factor in determining if you’ll qualify for a loan and what loan terms you’ll be able to qualify for.

1. Check for and correct errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone else’s poor financial management.

2. Pay down credit card bills. If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. However, transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

3. Don’t charge your credit cards to the maximum limit.

4. Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage. You’re penalized less for problems after a year.

5. Don’t purchase big-ticket items for your new home on credit cards until after the loan is approved. The amounts will add to your debt.

6. Don’t open new credit card accounts before applying for a mortgage. Having too much available credit can lower your score.

7. Shop for mortgage rates all at once. Too many credit applications can lower your score, but multiple inquiries from the same type of lender are counted as one inquiry if submitted over a short period of time.

8. Avoid finance companies. Even if you pay the loan on time, the interest is high and it will probably be considered a sign of poor credit management.

This information is copyrighted by the Fannie Mae Foundation and is used with permission of the Fannie Mae Foundation. To obtain a complete copy of the publication, “Knowing and Understanding Your Credit,” visit http://www.homebuyingguide.org. '



Reprinted from REALTOR (R) Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (R).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

N.Y. Giants Open N.Y Stock Exchange: Market and Interest Rates Drop!

OK, As a Patriot fan, I cannot help it! The New York Giants, who will meet the New England Patriots for the Super Bowl, were there this morning at the ringing of the bell to open today's session of the New York Exchange. The Dow Jones Industrial Average then dropped over 465!

Then more news. Around 10:30 am came the announcement that the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve, had dropped the federal funds rate by 75 basis points (3/4 of a PERCENT) to 3 -1/2 percent.

While cheering for the Patriots, do we also cheer for the economy after hearing this news? This certainly shows the level of concern for a recession in our economy.

The President and Congress are meeting in urgency on the tax rebate/refund idea. This would give $800 to individual taxpayers and $1600 to married couples.

There is a hint that this refund to taxpayers will be part of a package that will also have some stimulus for business .

What will be the impact of the rate cut on the housing market? Obviously there is no change for existing fixed rate mortgages, but where will the rate go for future loans?

The immediate impact of this rate cut will be on existing adjustable rate mortgages and credit cards. It is hoped that this will bolster consummer confidence and spending. The next date for the number to be published is Jan 29th, with the FOMC meeting scheduled for January 29th and 30th.

With the housing still projected to decrease, we're not necessarily at the bottom yet. Here in New England, particulary in Massachustts south of of Boston, in Norfolk and Plymouth counties, the drop is not as severe as in many other places.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Real Estate Continuing Education Classes in Massachusetts

Are you a licensed Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson or Broker looking for Continuing Education Classes? You must have a total of 12 hours of Continuing Education to maintain the Active Status of your license.


Annex Real Estate School will have two days of Continuing Education Classes the WEEKEND of January 26 and 27. You can take the classes without missing the Patriots! :)


Three 2 hour Modules will be offered each day. Saturday's Classes includes:

  • Offers
  • National Economic Trends and the Real Estate Market
  • Foreclosures

  • On Sunday, the three 2 hour Modules covered will be:

  • Dual Agency
  • Anti-trust
  • Technology and Real Estate Brokerage


  • Come and be prepared to learn and discuss these topics.

    Take all six Modules or just the ones you need to fullfill your requirements. The cost of each 2 hour Module is only $20.



    Class size will be limited to insure class quality. Call or email now to secure your place in the CLASS.



    You can go to the website at http://AnnexRealEstateSchool.com where you will find an Application in the HIGHLIGHTS column or just CLICK HERE.

    Annex Real Estate School is conveniently located in the Wollaston section of Quincy near the Wollaston T stop on the Red Line.


    Annex Real Estate School

    49 Beale Street

    Quincy, MA 02170

    617-773-ALSO (2576)

    Mass License #1119






    Map of Annex Real Estate School,
    49 Beale Street,02170

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Fannie Mae CEO Outlines Short Term and Long Term Fixes to Mitigate US Housing Woes

    On Wednesday, January 8, 2008, Daniel Mudd, President and CEO of Fannie Mae, spoke to th U.S. Chamber of Commerce with his predictions on the state America's business 2008. Asummary of his remarks might be the following statement "The state of American business in 2008 and beyond will depend on the choices we make about housing today."

    He outlined five short term actions: "First, the Treasury Hope Now initiative is an important step. By helping a set of subprime borrowers to freeze their payments at the initial ARM rates, we can avoid creating a whole new class of distressed borrowers.

    Second, lenders and policymakers should pursue the most generous means possible to refinance ARM borrowers facing resets into long term, fixed-rate mortgages. This will require innovative high quality products that replace the sloppy credit that has been – appropriately – withdrawn from the market. There is now, for example, a 40-year mortgage designed to keep payments lower but level for the life of the loan. Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein has suggested a kind of “equity participation mortgage” for subprime refinancings in which both the lender and the borrower share any eventual recovery of the equity lost in the refinance.

    Third, public outreach is critical. It’s a senseless tragedy when people lose their homes just because they didn’t know what to do – and were afraid to ask.

    Fourth, banking regulators could give their institutions favorable CRA consideration for what you could call “MRA” – or Mortgage Reinvestment Act – loans. Banks would receive extra CRA credit for providing secure financing to borrowers who are facing exploding subprime loans and in communities suffering foreclosures.

    Fifth, in those cases where foreclosure appears inevitable, and the family cannot stay in the home, alternatives exist to leave the home in good condition and enable a quick exit with minimal financial damage to the family AND the lender.

    Here’s a not-to-do: Policies should not damage the credit markets by cramming down losses or abrogating the rights of lien or securities holders. Altering basic contracts would have a high price. Investors left with the losses would not easily return to the market. That inevitably would shrink the pool of credit. The Chamber has sounded the warning against regulating risk out of a system that relies on risk and reward as its foundation."

    He then went on to suggest 5 long term reformsplans "Long-term, I believe the focus should be two-fold. First, we need to make balanced reforms to the lending system. Second, we need to restore the fundamental healthy demand for housing, based on people who want and can afford to buy a home. I’ll offer some examples"............."There are five key areas that are ripe for reform:

    First, mortgage brokers should be licensed. A House-passed bill, supported by the brokers themselves, would create a national registry of loan originators regardless of where they work in the industry. It also establishes strict national standards for loan originators that include criminal background checks, fingerprinting, continuing education and testing.

    Second, predatory lending laws should be strengthened: Clearly we need to tighten the definition and toughen the penalties for ripping people off. Here, the efforts by Congressman Frank and Senator Dodd have been a good start. The challenge, however, is to get the definitions and penalties right so that we stop bad lending without discouraging the good lending. Where borrowers were defrauded, the fraud should be vigorously prosecuted.

    Third, we should improve mortgage disclosure. Much of the present hangover came from consumers taking on loan products they didn’t understand, payments they couldn’t afford, and/or calculations for pricing and fees that belong in a supercomputer, not a mortgage. As we’re seeing now, when enough consumers get hurt, the industry gets hurt too. So the industry’s long-term financial incentive is to provide more simplicity, transparency and consistency. One cover page – your starting rate, your maximum rate, your starting payment and your maximum payment – that’s it. The Fed’s effort to simplify mortgage disclosures is welcome. So is the Mortgage Bankers’. The challenge, here, though, is to avoid the perfect from becoming the enemy of the good.

    Fourth, we should improve homebuyer education: The mortgage industry should make a commitment to arm consumers with financial literacy and homebuyer education so they avoid making the wrong mortgage choices in the first place.

    Fifth, we need a private-label market review. While the so-called private market has nearly collapsed from the subprime meltdown, it will rise again. So it’s worth taking a hard look at what happened to allow so much unsustainable lending there. The rating agencies, Wall Street, structured investment vehicles, the creation of instruments to disperse risk that actually magnified risk – these are all due scrutiny and introspection, if not regulation."

    Mudd then went on to outline four lessons that are to be learned from recent events. Perhaps my favorite is the first "Lesson one: When they say the old rules don’t apply, apply the old rules. No market is exempted from the laws of gravity, and that includes housing and home loans. Home prices were not going to keep rising without interruption; supply and demand eventually have their due.


    The full text of Danial Mudd's speach to the Chamber of Commer follow:

    "Good afternoon, and happy new year – I hope. The state of American business this year will depend, I believe, on how we get through the toughest housing correction in our lifetimes.
    It is clear that housing is critical to the US economy. The building, selling, buying, lending, fixing and furnishing of homes generates 9 million jobs, six percent of all employment, and more than 20 percent of our gross domestic product. Typically we spend 20 to 30 percent of our income on housing and our homes represent 18 percent of our net worth.
    It is also clear that the housing correction has been damaging to the economy. It’s taken $166 billion off the GDP … cut the jobs outlook by nearly half a million … knocked $1.2 trillion off of property values – and raised the specter of broader recession.
    For the business community, the quality of life for every one of our workers depends on the houses they go home to, the communities they live in – and how many of their productive hours are disrupted by fear of whether they can make that house payment.
    So when we examine the state of American business, and look at the year ahead, the housing correction is the relevant topic. Simply stated, the state of American business for 2008 depends on how quickly housing stops detracting from GDP.
    I’d like to touch on how we got here, and then offer some thoughts about what we can do right now – and in the long term – to get through the correction to recovery.
    What Happened?
    Let me review briefly how we got here.
    As the decade started, incomes were rising and interest rates were low and stable. Demand for homes outpaced supply, driving a sustained boom in home prices. Affordability plummeted.
    Nevertheless, first-time homebuyers scrambled to get in, spending more and more of their income to purchase homes. The mortgage market, being efficient and responsive, offered new loan products with features that lowered initial monthly payments – teaser-rates, interest-only, negative amortization and the like.
    These products shifted more risk to consumers. But demand continued to spiral prices upward. Credit underwriters kept underwriting, and all bets were covered by the upward march of home values. Homeowners took out a steady stream of cash – nearly two trillion dollars since 2003 – by refinancing or borrowing against the value of their rising equity.
    The homebuilding market – also being efficient and responsive – built a record 7 million new single-family homes during this period, boosting supply significantly.
    Then … cracks started showing in the market. Inventories of unsold homes began to grow. Some of those new mortgage features expired and consumers – particularly at the lower end of the credit spectrum – started to struggle as their monthly payments jumped up.
    Last summer, the music stopped. Subprime foreclosures began to mount. Investors pulled back, touching off a liquidity crisis among subprime lenders, and six out of the top ten folded or were sold. Many large-scale lenders carried significant exposure to subprime loans – and they responded by tightening up. That triggered a broader credit crunch.
    The markets began to exude the scent of panic in August and again in October, and distressed mortgages began to crop up in places we hadn’t seen before – Wall Street, big banks, hedge funds, overseas investors. You began to hear about holders of esoteric securities like CDO’s, SIV’s, and beyond. Essentially by Thanksgiving, confidence had evaporated.
    Today, my expectation is that home prices – on average, nationally – are likely to decline by 10 to 12 percent, peak to trough, through 2010. Specifically, home prices are likely to remain weak into '09, and then perhaps begin to gain modestly in 2010. That depends on inventories and consumer confidence. But the housing market as a whole (credit, construction, foreclosures and so forth) should begin stabilizing – stabilizing, not booming, or even recovered – in the second half of this year, and the correction could morph into recovery by 2010.
    However, the duration of housing’s drag on GDP can be shortened or lengthened, depending on whether the industry, policymakers and regulators come together to make the right choices.
    Having studied past dislocations in Texas, California, Asia, in the 1970s, it is clear that there is no single magic bullet. Multiple parties will have to take multiple steps over time to restore confidence. The most effective steps, historically, are solutions that buy time to restore normal housing supply and demand … solutions that have broad political support … and solutions that take a hard, realistic stance to “getting it over with” – rather than just nickel-and-diming the problem.
    With that in mind, there are two broad policy areas to focus on here, and I think it is extremely important to keep them un-muddled.

    First, there are immediate actions to make housing’s drag on the economy short and shallow. Second, there are longer-term reforms that take the lessons of this crisis to heart and buttress the future strength of the housing industry.
    What we do right now
    Let me sketch some immediate actions that I believe would make the slowdown shorter and shallower.
    According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s third quarter 2007 National Delinquency Survey, over 90 percent of mortgage borrowers were current – they generally have good loans on good property. But for those in trouble, the first goal is to avoid foreclosure – a lose-lose proposition for homeowners, lenders and communities. Door-to-door, it costs roughly $20,000 to $50,000 to foreclose – and with the average home of $140,000, you can see what I mean.
    Here are five short-term remedies:
    First, the Treasury Hope Now initiative is an important step. By helping a set of subprime borrowers to freeze their payments at the initial ARM rates, we can avoid creating a whole new class of distressed borrowers.

    Second, lenders and policymakers should pursue the most generous means possible to refinance ARM borrowers facing resets into long term, fixed-rate mortgages. This will require innovative high quality products that replace the sloppy credit that has been – appropriately – withdrawn from the market. There is now, for example, a 40-year mortgage designed to keep payments lower but level for the life of the loan. Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein has suggested a kind of “equity participation mortgage” for subprime refinancings in which both the lender and the borrower share any eventual recovery of the equity lost in the refinance.

    Third, public outreach is critical. It’s a senseless tragedy when people lose their homes just because they didn’t know what to do – and were afraid to ask.

    Fourth, banking regulators could give their institutions favorable CRA consideration for what you could call “MRA” – or Mortgage Reinvestment Act – loans. Banks would receive extra CRA credit for providing secure financing to borrowers who are facing exploding subprime loans and in communities suffering foreclosures.

    Fifth, in those cases where foreclosure appears inevitable, and the family cannot stay in the home, alternatives exist to leave the home in good condition and enable a quick exit with minimal financial damage to the family AND the lender.

    Here’s a not-to-do: Policies should not damage the credit markets by cramming down losses or abrogating the rights of lien or securities holders. Altering basic contracts would have a high price. Investors left with the losses would not easily return to the market. That inevitably would shrink the pool of credit. The Chamber has sounded the warning against regulating risk out of a system that relies on risk and reward as its foundation.

    So … in the near term, keep the foreclosure wave from becoming a malignancy on communities and our economy. That means buying time for borrowers and lenders to work through the cycle, making safer fixed-rate refinancing available to those who qualify, and delivering services and counseling to every at-risk borrower out there. Will these efforts require some stretching by our industry? Yes. Will they be costly in the short term? Yes. Will they help restore confidence to the housing market? If we act fast, yes.


    What we do long term
    Long-term, I believe the focus should be two-fold. First, we need to make balanced reforms to the lending system. Second, we need to restore the fundamental healthy demand for housing, based on people who want and can afford to buy a home. I’ll offer some examples.
    Reforms to the lending system need to moderate excess, again, without creating disincentives for rational, responsible risk taking … what we call “lending.” We have a credit crunch now, but we don’t want to amplify cycles in the future.
    There are five key areas that are ripe for reform:
    First, mortgage brokers should be licensed. A House-passed bill, supported by the brokers themselves, would create a national registry of loan originators regardless of where they work in the industry. It also establishes strict national standards for loan originators that include criminal background checks, fingerprinting, continuing education and testing.

    Second, predatory lending laws should be strengthened: Clearly we need to tighten the definition and toughen the penalties for ripping people off. Here, the efforts by Congressman Frank and Senator Dodd have been a good start. The challenge, however, is to get the definitions and penalties right so that we stop bad lending without discouraging the good lending. Where borrowers were defrauded, the fraud should be vigorously prosecuted.

    Third, we should improve mortgage disclosure. Much of the present hangover came from consumers taking on loan products they didn’t understand, payments they couldn’t afford, and/or calculations for pricing and fees that belong in a supercomputer, not a mortgage. As we’re seeing now, when enough consumers get hurt, the industry gets hurt too. So the industry’s long-term financial incentive is to provide more simplicity, transparency and consistency. One cover page – your starting rate, your maximum rate, your starting payment and your maximum payment – that’s it. The Fed’s effort to simplify mortgage disclosures is welcome. So is the Mortgage Bankers’. The challenge, here, though, is to avoid the perfect from becoming the enemy of the good.

    Fourth, we should improve homebuyer education: The mortgage industry should make a commitment to arm consumers with financial literacy and homebuyer education so they avoid making the wrong mortgage choices in the first place.

    Fifth, we need a private-label market review. While the so-called private market has nearly collapsed from the subprime meltdown, it will rise again. So it’s worth taking a hard look at what happened to allow so much unsustainable lending there. The rating agencies, Wall Street, structured investment vehicles, the creation of instruments to disperse risk that actually magnified risk – these are all due scrutiny and introspection, if not regulation.

    As we make these balanced reforms to the system, we also should look at ways to unleash the latent demand for housing. I can think of three groups of people we should reach:
    First, New Americans are the fastest growing segment of the population and housing market. Their path to homeownership remains tortuous. Over the past ten years, the IRS has issued close to 8 million individual tax identification numbers – ITINs – to new Americans. ITIN lending is a tough issue for the mortgage industry because there is no unified regulatory view of whether the ITIN is an appropriate form of legal verification. Maybe it’s time to create a national standard for ITIN use that would allow the mortgage industry to serve these taxpayers. Eight million potential legal homebuyers – even if only five to ten percent ultimately qualify – would produce a big jump in demand, and would illuminate a huge gray area in US lending.

    Second, armed forces veterans and military personnel are another underserved population. I think the people who defend America deserve a shot at the American Dream. Right now, VA loans offer favorable rates and terms. We could beef that up by offering lower down payments, help with closing costs, homebuyer savings programs, affordable loans, and homebuyer counseling, offered through military credit unions and banks that serve base communities. I’m suggesting that the mortgage industry team up with the VA like it has with FHA to give all military families the best we have to offer. This is another source of huge demand.

    Third, minority families and communities are at greatest risk of foreclosure because they took on a disproportionate share of subprime loans. Whole neighborhoods could be wiped out. The African American homeownership rate, after years of slow gain, is already sliding backwards. Our progress as a nation to achieve housing equality is at risk. We must not let the housing correction take our eyes off closing the gap in minority homeownership. Perhaps the community lending rules for banks could be changed to define underserved areas as not just based on income, but also those with large minority populations.


    I put these proposals under the long-term umbrella, but we shouldn’t wait to work on them. None of them – demystifying loan disclosures, educating borrowers, jailing predators, serving communities long ignored or shunned – are new. What IS new is the urgency to act – and the recognition that it’s critical to the industry’s health.
    The GSE role
    Now, allow me one luxury. I’ve spoken for 20 minutes, and not mentioned four words even once: Fannie, Freddie, Mae or Mac. Obviously, this all matters a lot to my company. We have a lot at stake. Essentially, we are the largest US lender, property holder, housing investor, and the key link between the global capital markets and Main Street. Our job, under charter, is to help provide stability, liquidity, and affordability to the market in good times and in times like these.
    Let me tick off where we stand on three or four matters relevant to the problems at hand:
    There has been concern about illiquidity in the jumbo market – those loans above $417,000 where Fannie and Freddie do not, by law, participate. In a lot of lower-cost states, this is not an issue. But in high-cost states like California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Florida, a $400,000 home is near the median. Secretary Paulson, the mortgage bankers and others have called for raising the loan limit. I agree, and Fannie Mae is ready to take action.

    Likewise, we endorse legislation, along the lines of the bill passed by the House of Representatives, to modernize the regulatory oversight of the GSEs, which gives our regulator powers no different than those typical to regulators of banks or other financial companies. We’d like to see legislation.

    Fannie Mae has a major role to play in minimizing foreclosures. We have an initiative called “HomeStay” that streamlines refinancing of subprime ARMs into prime, fixed-rate loans. We are part of Treasury’s Hope Now initiative. Our foreclosure-prevention operations in Dallas help about half of our seriously delinquent borrowers work out their loans. Last year we helped about 100,000 homeowners stay in their homes. We reimburse lenders for referring troubled consumers to counseling agencies, and we have donated more than $7 million to these agencies to make sure they can respond.

    Finally, to ensure that we’re in good shape to weather the correction and help the market through it, we’ve adjusted our pricing, tightened our credit standards and bolstered our capital reserves. These steps are critical to our ability to help stabilize the market in the longer run.

    During the housing run-up, we kept our exposure to subprime and exotica limited. But no one is immune to the rise in foreclosures and decline in mortgage values, and we’re taking our lumps. Again, we are not the sole solution to the market’s woes, but we are part of the answer. Ok, enough about us…

    Lessons learned
    So … looking back, we know what led up to the housing correction – risky lending chasing rising home prices fueling more risky lending … until the bubble burst. Looking at the situation now, there are some short-term remedies to minimize the pain as the correction plays out. Looking ahead, there are some longer-term remedies that would help protect borrowers and sustain a healthy demand for homes.
    But stepping back from the particular problems and solutions, what are the greater lessons we can learn from this experience, to ensure – as best we can – it never happens again?
    Lessons tend to get better and clearer over time, but already, at least four seem clear.
    Lesson one: When they say the old rules don’t apply, apply the old rules. No market is exempted from the laws of gravity, and that includes housing and home loans. Home prices were not going to keep rising without interruption; supply and demand eventually have their due.

    Lesson two: Financial shocks often begin with a liquidity correction in one segment – in this case the subprime market – that spreads across the landscape. Modern credit markets are not divided into discrete buckets. When investors flee and the funding stops flowing to one area, it winds up affecting the entire watershed – in this case hurting not just people who made bad choices, but millions more who lose their jobs or can’t buy a home.

    Lesson three: The fractured nature of the industry, both in terms of participants and regulators, complicates a coordinated response to a crisis like this. Think about the parties involved when you buy a home – a builder … a Realtor … an inspector … a mortgage originator and/or broker … a title company … lawyers. And you could have gotten your mortgage under the unseen purview of any number of regulators: the Fed … the OCC … the OTS … the SEC … OFHEO … the FDIC … the state insurance commissioner … the state banking commissioner, or others. Accordingly, when problems arise, figuring out what the problem is, what to do about it, and who holds the policy controls takes time. We need a more unified approach to housing finance policies. For another day, maybe a single, national regulatory agency will make sense.

    Lesson four: The policy choices are not as stark as “free market” versus “bailout.” No one is in favor of bailouts. Nor does anyone seriously think American markets – particularly the financial markets – should be free from rules, regulations or consequences. The best proposals, in fact, seek to help families who can be helped, strengthen consumer protections and provide a measure of stability to the market, while avoiding broad moral hazard.


    Taken together, these four lessons point, I hope, to a new appreciation for the role of housing in the economy, in the financial markets, in our policymaking and in our political process. The correction has given us an opportunity to come together and remind ourselves of what’s really important: And that is the interests of the families who buy or rent the homes we build, sell and finance. What’s good for them is good for housing, a good system … which can be made better.
    Going forward
    Indeed, as we go forward, there seems to be a lot of room for consensus and common ground for minimizing the impact of the correction on homeowners, communities and the economy.
    The notion seems pretty fundamental in this country that a prosperous, sustainable society is built on stable communities where the right to own property gives citizens a stake in the place where they live. And so it is in our shared interest to work to stabilize the communities where that stake is in jeopardy. If families have the means to own a home, it should be possible to help them stay there. If not, we should be able to find rental housing. In most cases, we should focus on affording consumers the time and flexibility to work through this crisis.
    Moreover, on the other side of the correction, underneath the turmoil, there are fundamental factors supporting a strong, stable housing market, and we want to get back there as quickly and smoothly as possible, so that housing resumes its role as a stable contributor to the GDP.
    Our nation is growing. Immigration, economic expansion and demographics all drive the demand for homeownership. Over the next 10 years, one way or another, the US population is expected to grow by over 26 million people. They will create 15 million new households. They will demand 2 million new homes built every year. I believe as the current cycle works itself out, and the correction turns to recovery, home price growth will reassert itself at sustainable rates.
    The question for the state of the economy is simply whether we pull together and deliver a recovery sooner, or we wait and hope until later, at the cost of time, money and human suffering. The state of American business in 2008 and beyond will depend on the choices we make about housing today.
    Thank you. "

    Friday, January 04, 2008

    Morning and Evening Classes for Your Massachusetts Real Estate License

    If you only have mornings or evenings free, you can still prepare to take the Massachusetts state examination to become a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson.


    Starting on January 8th, these evenly paced classes will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 4 weeks. If you are in the morning program, your class will be from 9 am to noon. If you are in the evening program, your class will be from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm





    The classes are being offered by Annex Real Estate School, which is conveniently located in the Wollaston section of Quincy, near the Wollaston T stop on the Red Line. You can check out the website at http://AnnexRealEstateSchool.com and download Application 01T



    You can email the Registrar@AnnexRealEstateSchool.com or call 617-773-ALSO (2576) for more information.

    Class availability depends upon registration. Class size will be limited to assure class quality. Pre-enrollment is a must.



    Annex Real Estate School

    49 Beale Street

    Quincy, MA 02170


    Mass License #1119





    Map of
    Annex Real Estate School
    49 Beale St, Quincy MA