Sunday, April 22, 2007

Scams target those facing foreclosure.

Predators are taking advantage of financially strapped homeowners. This article points out all the different scams.

One correction needs to be made in the article. It is stated a lender has to wait until you're three months behind on payments to start foreclosure proceedings. This is not true. A lender can initiate foreclosure at any time if you miss a payment. They do not have to wait 90 days although most lenders will try to work with you for a period of time depending on your cooperation and other circumstances.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mortgage rates decline.

This is encouraging news. It will help offset high gasoline prices.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Campaign to fend off foreclosures starts Thursday.

This is great news for the real estate market. It seems there might be a nationwide effort forthcoming to keep people in their homes. A glut of foreclosures will only benefit a small group of people and isn't in the best interests of the overall real estate marketplace.

This is another example of why prospective homebuyers should be in the market NOW. The number one reason why? Because very few shoppers are in the market at present - only the smart ones. Three major homebuilders have come into the Valley recently. They obviously know Phoenix will rebound strong.

When prospective homebuyers sit on the fence and wait for the newspaper and other media outlets to tell them it's time to get back in the market, they are asking for trouble. When the media gives the green light, everyone will be competing for homes again just like in '04 and '05 and prices will quickly go back up again.

Prices aren't going to fall much further and you can find desperate sellers willing to sell at tomorrow's prices TODAY........with no competition from other buyers!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hotel Key Cards

Ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card?
a. Customer's name
b. Customer's partial home address
c. Hotel room number
d. Check-in date and out dates
e. Customer's credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner. An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee re-issues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest's information is electronically "overwritten" on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process. But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!

The bottom line is:
Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER turn them in to the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card (it's illegal) and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader.

For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip!

You can also use a small magnet and pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door, if it does not work it erases everything on the card.

Information courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department

Mortgage giants may help ailing borrowers.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could step in and help struggling homeowners by developing new loan products that would replace high-risk mortgages in the subprime market. This would slow the flood of foreclosures and help stabilize the housing market.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 estimates draw fire.

Anyone in the real estate industry knows Zillow's estimates are not accurate. A computer based program cannot possibly take into account all the factors involved in estimating a market value for a particular property.

When trying to come up with a market value, a professional has to look at property condition, the functionality of the floorplan, the specific location, market conditions, the quality and condition of the surrounding neighborhood, and a number of other factors. A computer cannot do this yet novice buyers and sellers have put significant credence in Zillow's "zestimates."

Real estate professionals see Zillow as nothing more than a nuisance.

Here's an article that's rather interesting as the state is now examining Zillow's appraisal methods.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Foreclosures on the rise.

It remains to be seen how low lenders will price their foreclosures so they can sell them. So far, they are pricing them at market value. No real bargains out there yet.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

National Association of Realtors predicts decline.

The NAR is predicting a decline in the national median price of existing homes for the first time since the late 1960's. The modest dip of 0.7% is probably low for AZ because we had such an unrealistic runup in prices in '04 and '05.

In AZ, we'll probably see a 10-15% shrinkage in outlying areas such as Pinal County. The outskirts of Maricopa County will see a 5-10% decline. Locations near freeway corridors will hold their values fairly well with perhaps a 5% reduction or less. Homes located in central Phoenix, Tempe, and south Scottsdale will maintain their current values provided they're in good condition or have been remodeled.

As a potential homebuyer, you can find homes to purchase today at prices you'll see at market's bottom. There are so many distressed properties to choose from. Why a person would continue to waste money on rent in a market like this is beyond comprehension.

Interest rates likely to rise.

With interest rates expected to rise later this year, buyers should get into the market now. There are so many motivated sellers out there it's easy to find a bargain priced home at a value likely below where the market will eventually settle. It makes no sense at all to wait until the media tells us we've hit rock bottom because the media is always six months behind the curve on economic trends.