Realtors Without Lockbox Keys

10% of the Realtors sell 90% of the homesI posted on Face Book last week this entry: When the agent calls and says “Vince, I’m Whoever with XYZ Realty and I don’t have a lockbox key, can you open your listing for us” I IMMEDIATELY HIT THE DELETE KEY.What I got were 58 comments of varying viewpoints. Although I respect the real estate profession, I do not respect Realtors who ask the listing agent to show their buyers your listing either because they don’t have a lockbox key (a basic tool of the Realtor) or because “they are out of town.”

This is a despicable request for them to make and I immediately disqualify a buyer who would work with such an inept agent. I used to always accommodate those requests and I NEVER got an offer…… or a thank you, from the other agent.

Some agents said I was doing my seller a disservice by not showing to every possible buyer. I DISAGREE. I notice that the other agent NEVER says “I’m sending my buyer with a pre-qualification letter or proof of funds” because the other Realtor never checked. They run their business by the seat of their pants and just hope and pray I could close this buyer of theirs that they can’t close on any other deal. It is a disservice to my client not to carefully screen each potential buyer to weed out the ones that will be a problem later.

To those agents that DISAGREE, I will ask you: Have you ever had a seller load up their furniture and clean out the house and on the DAY of closing you find out the buyer can’t close? I know I have NOT because I am taking care of my sellers by screening those deadbeats out.

Agents that don’t have the basic tools or even the office support to help them show office clients available listings will not be in the business long. I can’t imagine asking another agent from another firm to show MY buyer their listing. How unprofessional to the BUYER is that? At least have another agent from your own office cover the showing for you.

Realtors sometimes get a bad rap……. and sometimes it’s our own fault.

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As a past supporter of offshore drilling, I always assumed that those in charge had a plan to stop a massive oil leak like the one in the Gulf. The reason why I supported it was because I always thought the amount of oil spilled when they hit the well was minimal. Now THIS. It’s only a matter of time before hurricane season is clicking off one named storm after another and all that oil is swished around and no telling where in the world it will end up. This certainly will be the biggest disaster to the environment short of a nuclear accident.

I was thinking last night, why don’t the build a structure the size of a small house, with legs (like the Apollo Moon Lander) and sit it on top of the pipe. On top of the structure, put a circular pipe. They could slowly weld the pipe together and section by section lower it on top of the leak. Then the will have a large tube filling with the oil as it gushes up to the surface where it can be siphoned out into barges and hauled away, 100% clean.

It would take less than 7 days to build it and the environmental damage would be stopped. Why is this not being done? Certainly all those engineers have already thought of this simple solution? DUMBASSES!

Most would not support drilling offshore if they know this could happen. I’d rather pay $5.00 a gallon and have my clean beaches for my kids to enjoy.

The clock is ticking Mr. Next President

O.K., so we now have the bailout! This seems odd, that millions of Americans who are in trouble are passed over and $700 Billion goes right to the people who caused this mess to begin with. Now Wallstreet will breathe a sigh of relief, hold on to the money for a while before they are pressured to lend again in 2009.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM AMERICA IS OVERLOOKING: The banks are still not aiding those in need. They are “Short Selling” homes to investors, but not the home owners. Many homeowners are filing bankruptcy to force lenders to renegotiate loans that the lender should be doing by their own free will. Now here is the clincher and the trigger that will drain our economy for the next 5-7 years if something is not done:

As you may know, President Bush passed legislation in 2008 to waive any IRS taxes on the shortfall for those who sell via short Sale or are foreclosure victims. Everyone seems to think that EVERYONE is included and they could not be further from the truth. That law ONLY applies to those who did not pull equity or refinance their home. In other words, if you paid $300,000 for your home in 2003 and in 2005 you pulled $100,000 out to pay off bills, etc. (you owe $410,000) and the home is now worth $290,000 and you sell for that number (Short Sale), you will NOT be exempt from the $110,000 shortage and you WILL receive a 1099 for this amount.

This law needs to be revised and updated for the NOW situation facing this country. No, it’s not fair to the ones who are paying on time, but this law must change and all of those IRS penalties must be waived across the board……… and I’ll take a beating for saying this, but it should apply to ALL properties including investors.Wallstreet was bailed out, now (as Obama and McCain put it) Mainstreet will need a bailout as well. Otherwise, one in six Americans will face another financial disaster and the economy will be impacted again in another way because those people will not be able to SPEND and BUY things. And that is the medicine for the economy to recover.

This will be another disaster if the legislation is not changed again. America needs the bailout worse than Wallstreet ever did. The clock is ticking Mr. Next President

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Gordon Gekko Rises Again

Gekko Would LOVE 2008

Gekko Would LOVE 2008

The Stock Market CRASH of September 29, 2008. Gordon Gekko would be in his finest hour. Money is being lost……………… and made on Wallstreet. Funny how when the real estate market has been sucking air, Wallstreet was packaging all the bad mortgages and selling them off. It took a few years, but now everyone has their pants around their ankles.

Now Wallstreet wants the common American tax payer to “bail the out” of this jam. Everyone is pointing fingers. Obama is blaming McCain and McCain is blaming Obama. I ran across an interesting video clip today that helped me see through this mess. See it here :

In 2004, it was brought to the attention of our congressional leaders and you can see the reaction in the video. In 2005, if I had walked into one of those Wallstreet Banks, they would have called security and had me removed from the building! When everyday Joe got into trouble with a mortgage they no longer could afford, Wallstreet could give a hoot! GREED as Gordon Gekko used to say! It won Michael Douglass and Academy Award, but in 2008 it is for real.

I’m certainly not an expert in what is going on. I certainly have had and like most of America am having a rough time with the real estate market. But what I do know is that those big banks went into this mess thinking they were going to make a killing. They wanted those restrictions lifted so they could loan more and more money. GREED. Now they lost money and need to be bailed out! What about the everyday American. How is this going to trickle down and help Average Joe?

I do know that banks are not lending! That is causing a real estate (and an everything) meltdown. But I will bet you this: WHEN those lenders get bailed out by the government / U.S. Tax payer, they will not be quick to loan money again. Why? GREED. The fix only works if money is bled back out into the streets. If Wallstreet is not willing to loan money on Main street, the bailout will fail. Gordon Gekko would have made a killing!

China and the USA

U.S. Lenders beware! China has TRILLIONS to invest in the USA! Today, they are investing over ONE BILLION in our stock market! They plan on getting more aggressive as the months pass. I wonder what would happen if China started offering mortgages in the USA? With US Banks and lending institutions tightening lending standards, what is to stop China from loaning money here? Imagine if the nightmare! What if the past two years was erased? All the bad loans and foreclosures were wiped out? A fresh start for everybody! China has that opportunity now! They were not involved with any loans or the sub-prime nightmare we are living in today! In ten years, they could hold mortgages on a significant portion of loans in our country!

I do not believe this would be good in the long term! China a player in our real estate business here in the USA? What would happen if they called all the notes due if we had another real estate boom and they were the only ones lending money? They just take all of the equity of our property owners? If they were the primary lender, who could stop them from adding this clause to the fine print of the loan? I could write for days about it but I will leave it at this. What if they sold all the stock they have purchased the past few years all at one time? What would happen to our economy?


Loaning money is what caused this mess and loaning money again is the only way out! Learn from your mistakes, actually look at the applicant! If they were delivering pizza 4 months ago, don’t give that guy a $400,000 loan (yes, that did happen because I know the couple). Tightening of the belt is smart, turning down loans in this market will couples with 740 credit scores that have been working at the same job for 20 years (yes, I have seen this as well) is too tight!

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but our government needs to be the one to step up and fix it, not a foreign country!

Take Advantage

Say you purchased your home 5-10 years ago. How can you benefit from all of the real estate rise and fall. As of today, interest rates are VERY LOW! Why is everyone not refinancing those 30 year notes into 15 year notes! The amount of interest you pay between a 15 year and a 30 year is a HUGE amount! On a $200,000 mortgage, you will pay only $500 more a month on average. OR, you can pay an extra $234,000 in payments on that extra 15 years! The $500 extra per month on the 15 year note is $90,000. The difference is $144,000. Do yourself a favor, meet with a reputable mortgage lender and do the math. See if it makes sense to you. Rates may never be this low again! The real estate bust could be a huge benefit to your family. What do they say about making lemonade?

Property Taxes in Florida

Today in the Tampa Tribune, I read a new proposal by the State that would increase the sales tax by .01 in 2009 and would decrease property taxes by 25%. This new tax would replace the school portion of the property tax. I still say this is not enough. Again, it helps all homeowners, but the property owners, more specifically, the homestead property owners need real relief. Amendment 1 did little to help those that needed relief the most, those who purchased a house in 2004, 2005 and 2006. A better option would be an increase in sales tax by .02 and reduce property taxes by 50%. Get the insurance industry in line and reduce insurance rates in Florida and we are looking at a heathy recovery in Florida. I still wonder what our politicians did with all of the unexpected and unbudgeted hundreds of millions of dollars that came in off of the reassessment of property taxes on sales from 2004-2006. SPENT! Like drunken sailors at a bachelor party, our politicians are good a spending! How about that little thing called a budget! As in stay in it and stop spending the overages. Use the overage for a hurricane relief fund, show it to the insurance companies and cut a deal that would give Floridians some REAL relief!