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 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
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)

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

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

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.