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We just received some important recognition, so I want to take a couple of minutes to brag a little. Two industry surveys, from REAL Trends and RISMedia, rank RE/MAX at the top in two important categories: Brokerage productivity -- The strongest representation of any company among the 500 busiest brokerages in the industry. Agent productivity -- More clients served per agent than anybody in the business. I hope you'll take a minute to review a little more about those surveys:
RE/MAX Helps the Most Consumers in U.S., Canada
I am proud to be associated with (1 comments)
Traffic in Austin? Cheers! - 06/30/10 10:05 PM
I have posted many brags over the past year or so -- Austin on a wide variety of Top 10 lists -- quality of life, local culture, robust economy, strong real estate market, first to enter the recovery from the current recession, etc. I also posted recently about a dubious distinction -- our fine city as a top funder of lobbyists!!?? Now, I am proud to post this article in which Austin does not appear: Hate your commute? Then pity workers in Beijing, Mexico City This is not to say that we don't have traffic issues in Austin. We certainly do, and (0 comments)
Austin/Central Texas market vs. Case-Shiller index - 06/29/10 12:04 PM
Two articles added to AustinMarketInfo.com this morning discuss changes and trends in the U.S. real estate industry (Housing Market In Stumble Mode and Home Prices in U.S. Cities Up 3.8% From Year Earlier). As I frequently do, I think it is important to provide an Austin/Central Texas perspective since our local and regional market has experienced the housing downturn and recession very differently than the five states where the worst impacts have been felt. Both focus on today's report on the Standard & Poor/Case-Shiller index of home values in April 2010 showed the best year-over-year improvement in more than 3 1/2 (0 comments)
Fannie Mae Loan Quality Initiative - 06/25/10 09:59 PM
For those of us who work with home buyers and mortgage lenders routinely, it has been clear for a long time that mortgage underwriters were getting more cautious -- and rightfully so. More thoughtful review of borrowers' qualifications a few years ago would have prevented the mortgage crisis we have experienced in the past two years. Last minute credit checks have become fairly common, and I have even seen employment verification redone after closing. (If the borrower's employment situation changed since the previous verification, this could have prevented funding -- obviously an "awkward" issue after both buyer and seller have completed (0 comments)
Another great ranking for Austin - 06/25/10 05:07 PM
I find myself in disagreement with our city council's approach to the world more often than I would like, but Austin is home, and it is great to see "river city" keep coming up on national rankings for positive things. Here's the latest from Brookings Institute: America's most recession-proof cities I guess "Keep Austin Weird" means many things. On the surface, Austin's free-wheeling lifestyle and worldview don't mesh well with a thriving economy and the kind of stability that article discusses. On the other hand, we have had a strong entrepreneurial outlook for many years, and I believe that is an (0 comments)
Austin still stronger than national picture - 06/24/10 03:21 PM
As always, I study market conditions in Austin and Central Texas real estate, and I continue to see significant contrasts between our area and conditions elsewhere around the United States:
National: On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors® reported that sales of existing homes were down 2.2% in May compared to April (May Shows a Continued Strong Pace for Existing-Home Sales). They indicated that sales last month would have been weaker without tax incentives for homebuyers.
Austin: In the Austin metro area sales of existing homes were UP 1% last month, and the median sale price was up 2.5% from (2 comments)
Short sale ... credit impact - 06/12/10 07:48 PM
RISMedia published a very good article yesterday about a misunderstood aspect of dealing with distressed properties: Will a Short Sale Save Your Credit? I have seen ads and heard real estate agents suggest that a short sale will prevent the damage to the homeowner's credit standing that foreclosure would cause. Not true. As the article points out, whether a homeowner completes a short sale or loses a home through foreclosure, the mortgage lender ends up collecting less than the mortgage contract called for. Under no circumstances is this a "positive" on the borrower's credit report, and it will impact credit scores. (5 comments)
There is life after tax credits - 06/08/10 12:20 PM
Last weekend I distributed my latest e-Newsletter (No more tax credits). I suggested that the recently expired tax credits had significant effect on new residential sale contracts in Austin and Central Texas over the past year: After last year's first-time homebuyer tax credit program ended November 30, 2009, home sales (i.e., closings) were down 33% in the next three months (December 2009 through February 2010). In three month period March through May 2010, during which all closed sales were eligible for the extended and expanded tax credit, sales increased 65% over the previous three months. I also suggested that this doesn't (0 comments)
Texas Foreclosure and Keeping Your Home - 06/06/10 08:33 PM
Over the past several months, there has been a lot of information available about alternatives to foreclosure: -- forebearance -- loan modification -- short sale -- deed in lieu All of these depend on the mortgage lender involved, and on how they make loss mitigation decisions. The rules of foreclosure, however, are a matter of state law. Lenders may exercise patience and attempt alternatives before triggering the foreclosure process, but this website does a good job of outlining the steps in a Texas foreclosure, and in providing good general information about some alternatives: KeepMyTexasHome.org If you're struggling (0 comments)
Working with multiple offers - 06/06/10 07:01 PM
In Austin and Central Texas, we have not had a time in recent years when we stopped seeing multiple purchase offers. Sometimes it is simply built into the chosen sales process -- public auctions and online auctions (a la HUD), for example. Those are special cases, but even "typical" MLS-listed properties can and do attract multiple offers, even in "down" markets. Active, attentive buyers know a bargain when they see one, so aggressively priced homes sometimes attract more than one prospective buyer. As we enter the growth phase in our next market cycle, the number of properties attracting multiple offers is (0 comments)
Special loan programs -- use responsibly - 06/02/10 04:27 PM
In the years before the "mortgage meltdown," special loan programs and assistance were everywhere. In many ways, that is the reason for the meltdown itself, and the reason that qualifying for a mortgage loan is now more difficult and more complicated than it was then. (Properly contained, fire can keep you warm or heat your food. Applied improperly it can also burn your house down. Too easy access to too many programs effectively burned our collective house down, and we are now rebuilding.) That said, there is assistance available now for home buyers in special circumstances. Here are a couple that (0 comments)
Underwater? Here's another option ... - 06/02/10 02:01 PM
Much has been written and said about how to deal with homeowners in distress -- owing more than they can afford for their homes, and often more than their homes are worth in the current market: -- Loan modifications have been an active initiative, but few have succeeded. -- Short sales remain a viable option in most cases, and major banks and the U.S. government have established a framework of rules and procedures to streamline this historically problematic process. -- Negotiating a deed in lieu of foreclosure can be a great solution for those that are running out of alternatives. -- (1 comments)
Given the way the popular press discusses short sales and foreclosures, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how often I get calls from prospective home buyers wanting to focus on those market segments. It usually only takes an afternoon to educate those buyers, and to expand the search to all properties that meet their needs for price, size, age, style, location, schools, etc.
Recently I spent a little time to assemble some market data on the subject:
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.