Archive for February, 2010

Chandler Plans Long-Term Growth

As we all know, times are tough today — but the City of Chandler is looking to gain momentum, rather than lose steam.

Highlights of the economic plan for Chandler include the following:

1. Chandler Airpark Development – The city is anticipating adding new tenants in the buildings of the master-planned business center surrounding the airpark by this June.

2. Intel continues the expansion of the $3 Billion Mega-Fab project along Price Rd.

3. The new Orbital Science expansion replacing the old Motorola building at Queen Creek and Price Rd. is up and running and will be home to 8,000 – 12,000 employees at build-out in 10 to 15 years.

4. Gangplank, a group of technology-based companies, will assist in promoting the city and conduct educational technology-based classes for youths.

5. The Chandler Regional Medical Center will be expanded to add more beds, more operating rooms, expand the cath lab and improve the cardiology program. As many as 200 high-salaried jobs and around 2,000 construction jobs will be created as a result.

6. The completion of the Boys and Girls Club facility at Foley Park.

7. The newly-built Care Center at Galveston Elementary School.

We look forward to these developments to help our City become poised for a better future.

February 26, 2010 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment


Federal help for hardest-hit foreclosure states

On Feb. 20, National Public Radio reported President Barack Obama’s plan to rescue five states that are heavily affected by home foreclosures: Nevada, California, Arizona, Michigan and Florida.

Obama’s plan includes doling out $1.5 Billion in federal aid to state and local housing agencies to help keep homeowners in their homes via loan modifications.

Wow, how much more taxpayer money will be withdrawn to save the economy?

The key is to use the money wisely. How? Use the money to hire more trained staff to answer phones, process paperwork and handle customer applications and questions.

I’ve had many conversations with homeowners who cannot get anyone from the state housing agencies to get back in touch with them. They get frustrated, helpless, hopeless and foreclosed on even if they have a legitimate hardship and are good candidates for loan modifications.

On top of hiring trained workers to process customer loan modification applications, the government should apply enough pressure to make the lenders APPROVE loan modifications at terms that would benefit the homeowner long-term. If loans were modified within one to two months, rather than the lengthy process that is more common among banks currently, we would not have a glut of loan modification requests and the housing market would recover faster.

The full NPR article is here:

— On Sun, 2/21/10, Maria Hass wrote:

February 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm Leave a comment


State Treasurer Dean Martin has been highly visible in the media lately — in case you didn’t know, he is running for state governor. Recently, Mr. Martin made a media statement that in order to expedite the housing market’s recovery, the clog of short sales should be dealt with in a quicker manner. His proposal? A law forcing all Realtors to take a 15-hour class about how to handle short sales.

Well, obviously, Mr. Martin has not negotiated a single short sale transaction. The problem of short sales being delayed lies with lenders, not Realtors. An additional 15-hour class will do you NO GOOD if banks do not respond to and process short sales paperwork in an expedient manner.

My message to Mr. Martin: “You ought to manage the banks, not us.” Realtors are the ones pushing the paperwork to get it DONE. If Mr. Martin really wants to know what is happening in the short sale world, he should come and sit in at a short sale discussion meeting among Realtors, where he would learn how much he doesn’t know about the process and how banks are slowing it down. Then, just maybe, he would have sympathy for the many Realtors who have worked so hard and consumed so many hours and months of labor only to end up with zero dollars in commissions because the powerful lenders denied and foreclosed on hundreds if not thousands of legitimate, profitable short sale deals.

February 18, 2010 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Is Calling the Listing Agent to Show the House a Good Idea?

I had a call from a buyer who would like to see a house that I have listed. After determining that the buyer was qualified for this house and was told that he did not have a Realtor, I arrange to meet him at the property. The buyer went around the house, we talked and then I found out he had a Realtor after all and he had made a previous offer with this Realtor on another home of which it failed to close.

Many buyers are not aware that calling a listing agent to show the house is not the best thing to do when shopping for houses. Why?

1. The listing agent is most likely NOT going to represent your interest. He/She made a contract with the seller to represent the seller’s interest. You need a buyer’s representation. Although, it is still possible to close on a home with just one agent. The agent becomes a DUAL AGENT. At this point, the agent represents both seller and buyer with their consent. The agent cease to be an advisor to any one party but acts as a messenger to communicate responses between parties. The agent takes on a higher liability in case any one party is not satisfied with the transaction.

When looking for a home, it is best to choose a Realtor first, before looking at houses. A good Realtor will educate their clients on the rules of real estate so clients avoid getting into sitcky situations and Realtors get compensated for their hard work. You only need ONE Realtor to represent you!

2. The listing agent should be fairly compensated as well for the time he/she spent with the buyer who is already represented. This issue usually is clarified between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

Rule of thumb – when you find a house you like to see, call your Realtor, If you don’t have one, you may call the listing agent with the knowledge that if you like the house, the listing agent may become a DUAL AGENT.

February 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment


Negotiating a short sale is complex. Every transaction is custom-made depending on the seller’s loan, the seller’s lender, the negotiator, the seller’s situation and the buyer.

A negotiator of a short sale transaction is similar to a conductor conducting an orchestra. All instruments in a symphony must come together in harmony, just as all parties in a short sale must come to terms to allow a short sale to close.

Six months ago, I started negotiations on a short sale with one of the biggest banks in North America. It is by far the most horrible bank with which to negotiate a short sale. The bank’s reputation is such that, in some cases, Realtors will not put an offer in on a home if the seller’s loan is with this bank.

The bank took 30 days to upload the documents in the system. The file then was transferred to the first phase negotiator to check for completeness of the file. Then, it got transferred to a phase 2 negotiator who decides whether to approve or decline the short sale. I emailed and called one to three times a week, but the negotiator never picked up her phone. She did not answer any emails either.

I escalated the file to the supervisor and the next day I got a secured email saying that the file was transferred to a different phase 2 negotiator and the 15-day period for review was reset to Day 1. What the heck?!?

Three months into the short sale, the new negotiator again did not respond to my weekly emails and phone calls. Customer service would not escalate the file until Day 15 had passed. I escalated the file anyway to a supervisor and a new email came in from the newest Phase 2 negotiator. After two escalations in a row, the newest negotiator came back with the investor’s guidelines, dictating that the lender would not cover many of the title fees and would ask for the commission and closing costs to be reduced, and so on.

Regardless of the changes, I was happy to finally get a response from the negotiator. I called the buyer’s agent to share the great progress, only to find out that the buyer was under contract with another home and walking away from the deal. I would have retained the buyer if the seller’s bank did not waste too much time changing negotiators.

In the fourth month of negotiation, a new offer came in. I presented the new offer to the seller’s lender but they told me that the file was already closed because the additional documents they requested were not submitted to the bank I argued that it was submitted so they reopened the file. I took a deep breath, glad to have a second chance with this offer. But wait… I had to start all over with the new offer and wait for the bank to assign yet another Phase 1 negotiator. What the heck?!?

A week later, the new Phase 1 negotiator was assigned. It was clear to me that the negotiator could not spell or write in clear English. But regardless of his literacy level, he had the power to decline the short sale as it was only a few days before the foreclosure date. Sure enough, he declined the file because the seller wouldn’t pay a $3,400 extension fee. I was so furious. I sent the negotiator a well-deserved critical email with copies to his supervisors. He reversed his decision in response to the email and extended the foreclosure date for a month.

We are now on the sixth month of the short sale and still going. The file was assigned to a Phase 2 negotiator who seemed better trained than the others. After review of the file, the Phase 2 negotiator countered $7,000 more on the purchase price. The buyer declined the counter offer.

The negotiator suggested I put the house back on the market and get a higher price. I convinced the negotiator that the market value she was basing the counter on was incorrect and sent comps to prove my case. She then agreed to submit the current offer to upper management for approval. So, that’s were we are for the moment. The file has gone through six negotiators, closed and reopend twice, one counter offer, and lost the first appraisal report six months into the short sale without conclusion. It’s been a roller coaster ride.

All the short sales I’ve done in the past have successfully closed, but this one is a particular challenge. The bank has a poor system of processing short sales and a lack of trained and qualified negotiators to determine the fate of a $500,000 home and the future of a homeowner. The bank’s practice of passing the file among several negotiators does not allow ownership and accountability; no one claims responsibility for the file if it is lost or badly-handled. Short sales are a menacing process which I have learned to accept and deal with successfully. It is THE dominating category in the current real estate market and will be for some time. Handling these sales is not for every Realtor, but for someone who has the tenacity and care for their customers to survive.

February 4, 2010 at 11:31 pm Leave a comment



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