After a twenty-year hiatus, I made my return today to the La Jolla REBA pitch session and broker’s open house.
The meeting starts promptly at 8:30am, and is always well attended – today there were 50-60 realtors in attendance. It is a very friendly, jovial atmosphere, but everyone is there for business. There were a handful of pocket listings pitched, some buyer wants, and a few previews of upcoming listings. There were 4-5 mentions of sellers losing $1 million-plus, but hey, it’s La Jolla.
Then it was off to conduct broker’s open house at my new listing on Loring, in Pacific Beach:
For American taxpayers, now on the hook for some $145 billion in housing losses connected to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, that amount could be just the tip of the iceberg.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the losses could balloon to $400 billion. If housing prices fall further, some experts caution, the cost to the taxpayer could hit as much as $1 trillion.
Two things are clear: Taxpayers don’t want to foot the bill, and Fannie and Freddie, taken over by the government in 2008 to stanch the financial bloodletting, need a major overhaul.
“Some of us who don’t even own homes are paying to support others and their home ownership, and they ask ‘why?’ said Robert J. Shiller, a Yale Universityeconomics professor and co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Shiller added that the mission of Fannie and Freddie should be severely cut back “so that they’re not helping middle-class homeowners, [but] they’re helping poor people get into the housing market.”
At the crux of the financial crisis, the government took over Fannie and Freddie to avert possible massive losses for banks, money-market funds and, perhaps, most importantly, foreign institutions that purchased billions of Fannie and Freddie debt because of its implied government guarantee. The Chinese, for example, had invested heavily, and the US decided it didn’t want them to take a loss on their investment.
One possible scenario for the entities is to turn them into utilities, said Sean Dobson, CEO and chair of Amherst Securities, whose company trades as much as $50 billion in mortgages annually.
“Freddie and Fannie could be used to standardize the mortgage product,” Dobson said, “to completely describe what the risks are and then act as a conduit for the capital markets to take the risk.”
The long-term mortgage, which began as a Depression-era remedy to keep Americans in their homes, may be out of step, given the current housing crisis.
Could it be time to say good-bye to the popular 30-year mortgage?
“The 30-year mortgage is outdated, the standard fixed-rate mortgage is outdated, and it has to be improved,” housing expert Robert J. Shillertold CNBC. Shiller is Yale University professor and author, who is best known for co-creating the S&P/Case-Shiller Housing Indices, which track home prices in the United States. “People want a more modern vehicle, and that’s something we need to think about next,” Schiller said.
With the sweeping financial regulations billnearly finished, the next big job of Congress may be to revamp the broken housing market and scrutinize all its key elements, even the vanilla 30-year mortgage.
Once Americans look more closely at this country’s housing situation, they may realize, and maybe even be surprised by, the fact that even though the US leads the world in 30-year mortgages, it doesn’t in home ownership.
“We spend a whole lot on housing in the US and don’t necessarily get a very big bang for the buck,” said Mark A. Calabria of the Cato Institute.
American homeowners, it turns out, have a very sweet deal to buy their home sweet homes, with the government being their candy man. For instance, America is nearly alone in not charging a fee for paying off mortgages early. And it’s one of the most liberal countries in allowing interest to be tax-deductible.
“If America wants the government out of housing, it has to get used to a number of things,” said Raghuram G. Rajanformer IMFeconomist, author of ‘Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy’and professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
“For example, shorter mortgage durations, higher interest rates [and] potentially lower housing prices, because the cost of financing has gone up. Is it ready for that? I don’t know.”
First I put my own kid on the hot seat, then here I’m subjecting one of my favorite clients of all-time to the scrutiny of the blogging public – all in one day!
This will be a very interesting test case, because this’ll come down to how much the view is worth, and if we can get lucky with some clear weather over the next few days. If you’d like to stop by and say hello, this will be on the La Jolla REBA caravan on Wednesday, June 30th, from 10:00am to 12:30pm, and open Saturday July 3rd from 12-3pm (if unsold ;)):
At what point do borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth decide to stop paying the mortgage?
A new study from economists at the Federal Reserve Board aims to answer that question. The research found that the median borrower who “strategically” defaults doesn’t walk away from the mortgage until the amount owed exceeds the value of the home by 62%.
(the new study uses -62%, JtR math shows $800,000 x -62% = $496,000)
The study is bad news for the mortgage industry in that it backs up the idea that a growing share of borrowers are walking away from loans. Concerns are mounting among lenders and investors that some borrowers who owe far more than their homes are worth are now choosing not to pay mortgages that they can afford.
But the silver lining here is that it suggests a rather high threshold for borrowers to walk away.
“The fact that many borrowers continue paying a substantial premium over market rents to keep their homes challenges traditional models of hyper-informed borrowers” choosing to simply walk away, the authors write. The results suggest “that borrowers face high default and transaction costs” that make strategic defaults less widespread than they might otherwise be.
The substitution effect can squish down values in other areas, and for the bank clerks charged with the responsibility of determining the opening bids, it is a moving target.
Here are two properties from the foreclosure list who have published opening bids – which hopefully means that this week’s trustee sales are for real. But for buyers who are paying attention, the first house pictured in the youtube below is leading the market:
The Carmel Valley market can probably be split into two separate segments, under and over $1,000,000. With the Fannie/Freddie/FHA limit being $697,500 and most buyers having a healthy down payment, the supply and demand is fairly balanced under $1,000,000. It’s when you go over $1 million that it gets a bit squishy.
I’ve been a big proponent of agents doing their own video tours of listings, and this guy has one! It probably played a role in him finding his own buyer in just seven days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8iQPpi6sOo
Jim the Realtor is legit - I interviewed three brokers; he said list price should be $100,000 higher than the other two brokers; listed it with him and had all cash (no financing) offer in two days, five day contingency period, closing in two weeks - and it closed at his recommended list price. I could not recommend anyone more than I recommend Jim the Realtor.
When we moved to San Diego in 2005 we rented a big house on Mt. Soledad (La Jolla) with 180 degree ocean views for the same payment as a mortgage on a dump in Chula Vista. Clearly something was wrong. Yet, the media was full of the usual happy-talk nonsense, so I was glad to find Jim's blog. I've followed his honest assessments and data since.
We decided to sell and move to AZ at Thanksgiving. Dec. 1st we met with Jim to sell our home. We closed today (29 days later). Jim orchestrated a feeding frenzy -- we had 25 showings in 2-1/2 days, multiple offers, and sold for well over asking price. I'd say he earned his commission! We have owned and sold homes in 5 different States always using experienced, productive, full-time realtors. Jim outshines them all.
You don't decide to sell and close 29 days later over Christmas (with COVID lockdown) without some miracles. Donna was amazing at performing lots of those miracles and ensuring that everything was done right and on time. They are a terrific team with a very responsive and professional network.
Where do we begin..2020 has been a year for everyone. When COVID hit and shut down both my husband and my businesses, we were left with a mortgage and very little income coming in. We were stressed, scared and felt stuck. We made the hard decision to sell our home and move out of state. We contacted the Klinges' and spent a good hour going over what we hoped we could accomplish. Jim and Donna came over with comps in hand and suggestions on improvements to get our house ready for the market. It was overwhelming to think about, but Donna was there and one step ahead in every scenario. Basically we just approved what they suggested and Donna handled literally everything. We placed our house on the market and within the first day we had multiple offers well above asking price! We couldn't believe it. We were overjoyed! Jim countered the offers to weed through them, and everyone came back with way more. It was amazing, and we are ?? sure it was because of the staging and repairs the Klinges suggested we do.
Due to unforeseen dishonesty from the buyers lender, we hit a big hurdle when trying to close. We had already moved out of state and were shocked when three days before closing the lender dropped a bombshell on the buyers and us. However, Jim and Donna handled it like veterans, not afraid to play hard ball and represent their clients. After a few phone calls with us, and several between Donna and the lender, they had a plan B-Z to make sure we were taken care of. In the end we closed with even more money than we ever thought possible and with very little work from us. The Klinges handled this entire "2020" worthy event with the utmost professionalism and did everything in their power to not only make this as smooth as possible for us, but we also walked away with more money from the sale of the house than we ever hoped for. After working with Jim and Donna, you don't ever use anyone else. They are hands down the best team to represent you in any scenario.
Working with Klinge Realty Group was a great experience! They are very responsive, professional and knowledgable about the real estate market! I would definitely recommend Klinge Realty Group.
Jim and Donna Klinge made the sale of our condo extraordinarily easy. They know the market and gave us sound advice backed by details and very considerable experience, reflected both in the initial pricing and subsequent negotiations. They work together as a team and are always available to talk. We had a few challenges with our property and they were able to coordinate the resolution to everything, including items that I would not think would ordinarily be their responsibility to handle. They made the whole process effortless on our part. They are folks with high integrity and we cannot recommend them highly enough.
Review for Member: Donna Klinge
I cannot believe there are no reviews of Donna yet, ugh!! She is the secret sauce of the Jim Klinge/Donna Klinge combo! I will touch on Jim here, but Donna is why I'm so totally loyal to these two (no offense to Jim :)).
I consider myself a rather savvy buyer/seller. I've bought/sold 7 times in about 15 years. On the buy side, Jim is the PERFECT combo of: completely digitally savvy (he will pull data all day long until you feel comfortable with your chosen house, area, school district, anticipated appreciation rate...anything!), he's super well respected and known in the area by other agents, an amazingly cool but strategic negotiator, is totally devoid of desperation for a sale/commission, and more.
Then once you get into contract phase, Donna literally handles every last and final detail in a concierge-like manner -- totally shielding you from the daily back and forth, noodling and annoyances of the buyer's requests. She solves it ALL; it's miraculous what that woman accomplishes over and above what is even expected in a buy/sell transaction.
On the sell side, Jim and Donna do the same, but even moreso. Donna in particular truly takes everything off your plate: she'll manage getting the house painted, the carpets replaced, she'll go on site (as she Jim both did for me when selling our rental properties) to work with the renters and make sure the house is ready to show -- freeing me to have to take time off of work to do so. They work with A+ integrity, too, so you know you are serving all parties fairly and lawfully throughout.
A home purchase/sale is the most considered you'll ever make. HIRE A SAVVY AGENT, not a friend!, and get what you need out of the transaction. Jim and Donna are our agents for life.
Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community. Jim's vast experience means he has worked with several realtors and knows the market all over north county. Donna is AMAZING in processing everything in the transaction. She scheduled trades people to work on the house in preparation for the sale as well as the repairs needed before closing. She communicated clearly every step of the way about what would be happening. She took the weight off my shoulders for the whole process. I will always use Jim and Donna for my future real estate needs and I whole heartedly recommend them to anyone buying or selling a home.
Jim and the team at Klinge Reality are without a doubt the best in the business! Not only was Jim helpful and extremely knowledgeable, he was patient and determined to help me find my first home. Jim and his team have been in the business for many years, and it shows. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and was my biggest proponent despite the temperature of the competitive market. I ended up getting the perfect property in my dream neighborhood all thanks to Jim. From the day my offer was accepted, Donna was a real lifesaver. She was extremely helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable when it came to every minute detail, and held my hand through the process. As a first time home buyer I had no idea what the process would entail, but Donna curtailed every concern I came across and made the escrow process feel seamless. Jim and Donna provided me the best home buying experience, and I am very grateful for all they did for me. It was truly a pleasure to work with Jim and Donna and I am already looking forward to the next time we work together!
Review for Member: Richard Morgan
Richard is an amazing realtor! He has high integrity and genuinely cares about his clients and their needs. Richard paid close attention to what I was seeking in a home and was very patient in our search to find it. I would highly recommend Richard and will use him for future transactions. Truly a different kind of realtor experience!
Could not be happier with my experience with Jim and his team. He helped me sell a very unique and challenging property. Throughout the entire process he was always available, honest, transparent, trustworthy, and always put my interests as a seller first. A (rare) true professional! During close of escrow Jim went above and beyond to complete the deal. It would not have been possible without his experience, fantastic team, and pure dedication. Highly recommended!
Thanks Jim and Donna Klinge!