Rapping Realtor

Speaking of other realtors using video, our local TV station, Channel 10, featured this realtor because of his youtubes:

SAN DIEGO – A local real estate agent is busting out some lyrics. He is not a professional rapper, but he is trying to generate business any way he can.

Rafael Perez is a Bonita-based agent for Dominion West Properties. He has produced more than 50 informative videos before but his friends and coworkers let him know they fell on the bland side.

“Most of the time people said, ‘Hey, it’s a really informative video. It was great information, but loosen up, try to be funny and have fun with it,'” Perez told 10News after reporter Joe Little found the would-be rapper’s video on YouTube.

“Home ownership is back, now the new routine,” Perez raps in the video.

Perez actually has a miniature TV studio in his office complete with tripod, green screen and a video editing program on his laptop.

“I recorded the whole thing with my phone,” he said.


Transparency Strikes


Tracy Glesby is a real estate agent. No doubt she’s good at her job.

But D Magazine did not name her a Best Real Estate Agent in either 2011 or 2012, as one would be led to believe by her Facebook page.

Glesby and I aren’t friends, so I can’t see her timeline. But the screenshot you see here was taken today. Which is why I like this lady’s moxie. Because last Wednesday, she got a call from our brand manager, politely asking her to remove the Best logos that she had not earned. Some snippets of that conversation:

D Magazine: “I’m curious. How is it that you acquired these logos? I am the person who disseminates these to the winners, so I am unsure how it is you even have one.”

Tracy Glesby: “Uhh, you can just google image it.”

And then:

D Magazine: “Our editors and fact checkers go through a very rigorous process to determine these lists, and when it is misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented by someone claiming to have won when it was not actually bestowed upon them, it really undermines the prestige.”

Tracy Glesby: “Ok, well, now you’re just using a bunch of words that I don’t understand. I’m an end-game person. Let’s just get to the end of this. If I take those two little logos off, are we all good? Because I can do that when I get to the office in the morning.”

As I say, that conversation happened last Wednesday. Yet the logos remain. That there is what you call stick-to-it-ness. You put your house on the market, and it doesn’t sell the first day? Tracy Glesby isn’t going to give up. To make the sale, that lady is going to do whatever it takes.

Hat tip to “just some guy” who saw this at patrick.net:


Yunnie Coming Around

Speed Up ForeclosuresAt the Washington Realtors’ legislative hill day this year we had an opportunity to hear from the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun.  Dr. Yun spoke about the improving real estate market in Washington state and his optimistic outlook for our state’s housing prices to continue rising at a rate faster than the nation as a whole.

At the same time, he was concerned with the persistence of high levels of “shadow inventory” in Washington, even while those levels have been shrinking significantly across the nation as a whole.  Dr. Yun surmised that the legal system in Washington was one that provided more obstructions to the foreclosure process, and that was creating a huge backlog of foreclosures that should have already been back on the market.  The striking lack of inventory in our current market is holding back a large crop of eager buyers and stifling home sales in general.

The essence of Dr. Yun’s point was that we should speed up foreclosures.  On its face, that’s not an argument you’re likely to hear from real estate professionals.  Our organizations are constantly working for property owners’ protections and rights, and fighting fraudulent or predatory practices that force homeowners out of their homes.

This issue, however, is more complex than simply pitting banks against homeowners.  When we really examine the broken foreclosure process in our state, and nationally, we have to make clear distinctions between the protections that distressed homeowners already have in place, and the unacceptable extensions of the actual foreclosure timelines taking place in the market.

There are an increasing number of homeowners who have realized that, even though their home is underwater and they have no intention of keeping it long-term, they can live in the home without making a payments for years on end.  As long as the lender is inhibited from closing the actual foreclosure sale, the number of people living in homes for two and even three years, rent free, continues to build.  The homes are a drag on the community, as these long-term foreclosures deflate nearby housing prices, instead of being resold and fixed up by the new homeowners.  The homeowners can’t just abandon the property, because it is still legally in their name (see Zombie Titles).

The effort to shorten the timelines on these foreclosures would make no changes to the protections already built into the process for the truly distressed homeowner.  There are already a number of steps for that person to repay their debt, work out an adjusted payment schedule, or find another means to save their home.   These people usually have at least a year from the time they stop making payments until the foreclosure sale goes through, and those protections can and will continue to exist for them.

For those homeowners who have already been through the normal foreclosure process and are one, two, or even three years behind on payments, the process needs to be expedited.  These folks have accepted that the home will be foreclosed upon, and the only question is when.  It will be better for the neighborhood and, frankly, better for these former homeowners to move on with their lives and begin to rebuild their credit.  This artificial backlog of foreclosure inventory has an eager market of buyers ready to move in, and our communities could benefit from a healthy gain in home sales as we continue to recover.

So, should we speed up foreclosures?  If the current legal protections are preserved, but the unnecessary multi-year extensions can be avoided, then the answer is “Yes.”  Sometimes, facing up to reality and moving forward is the only way to begin correcting the difficult times we’ve been through.

Dr. Lawrence Yun on Real Estate: Speed Up Foreclosures?

Fannie/Freddie Over-Paying Execs

Hat tip to SM for sending this in from yahoo:

If President Obama gets his way, a lot of folks at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be paying higher taxes in 2013 — and not just the senior executives.

More than 2,000 non-executive senior managers at the two firms were paid over $200,000 in 2011, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Among those senior managers, the median pay of vice presidents was $388,000 while 1,650 “directors” had a median income of $205,300.

Other findings in the report:

  • The top 90 executives at the two firms took home a combined $92 million last year.
  • The median pay for 23 executive vice presidents was $1.7 million.
  • The median pay for 62 senior vice presidents was $723,500.

Always controversial, Fannie and Freddie have become lighting rods since being taken into conservatorship in 2008 and this report is (almost) guaranteed to generate a strong response.

On the one hand, taxpayers are still nearly $140 billion in the hole for the multiphase rescue of the two firms so reports of big salaries is sure to outrage many. On the other hand, the government has become increasingly reliant on the GSEs since the housing bubble burst: Fannie and Freddie guarantee $5 trillion in outstanding mortgages and fund about two-thirds of new mortgage loans, The WSJ reports.

Given their checkered past, working at Fannie and Freddie doesn’t have the same cache as it did during their “glory years” in the 1990s and early 2000s. But the firms have a critical, ongoing role in the housing market which means that the government (and taxpayers) have an incentive to ensure the firms are staffed with qualified employees.

“It is absolutely critical that our compensation is competitive in the market,” a Fannie spokeswoman tells The WSJ.

Setting aside whether industry compensation itself is out of whack, “the reality is Fannie and Freddie are non-competitive,” says John Tamny, editor of Real Clear Markets. “To say they need to keep these executives around is the problem with bailouts more broadly.”

Among others, Tamny thinks we’d all be better if the government had allowed Fannie and Freddie to fail.

“Someone with a clue about profits would have purchased them and they arguably would have fired all these employees who are clearly overpaid,” he says. “This is why we have free markets so we can get rid of abuses like this — but then again, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t exist in what anyone would remotely call a free market.”

Read more here:


90,000 SF

Hat tip to Susie for sending this in from our friends at abcnews.com!

It’s the Spruce Goose of homes — American in its super-sized scope and confusion of styles. And the American Versailles differs from its historic namesake in a few key ways: It’s still under construction, it’s located in Florida, and it includes amenities like a bowling alley.

The American Versailles, if completed, will be, at 90,000 square feet, bigger than a 747 airplane hangar and will hold the distinction of being the largest house in the United States. Other features include nine kitchens, 30 bathrooms and two movie theaters. The home’s mahogany doors and windows alone cost $4 million.

The owners, vacation time-share mogul David Siegel, 77, and former beauty queen Jackie Siegel, 46, said they had originally planned for the home to be smaller.

“We didn’t start out having a 90,000 square foot house.  It was more like a normal 60,000 square foot house,” David Siegel said with a chuckle.

“…But then I said, ‘I want a bowling alley,'” Jackie Siegel continued. “And then he said, ‘Well, I want a health spa.’ You know, so we just kept going back and forth and adding on things.”

video platformvideo management

The Siegels offered filmmaker Lauren Greenfield full access to their home, their prickly marriage and some belt-tightening. When the recession hit, construction stopped for four years.

“This is almost like a riches to rags story,” David Siegel said in Greenfield’s documentary, “The Queen of Versailles.”

In an interview with ABC News, Siegel, the billionaire founder of Westgate Resorts, clarified that comment.


Bought Wrong House

(Senatobia, MS) Terry Jordan, of Tate County Mississippi,  quickly fell in love with a home in Senatobia. It was a foreclosure and needed a lot of work.  Her husband had just lost his job. He was going to fix it up and sell it for a profit to help them while they got through a tough time.

Jordan says she visited the home three times, her realtor taking the keys out of the lockbox on the door, and she went through an act of sale.  She says she immediately got to work, spending thousands of dollars.

“I have had a new roof put on, new electrical in it, I have had plumbing done to it,” said Jordan.

She had the property surveyed, after seeing records at City Hall that didn’t look quite right. After the survey she learned the bad news from her realtor.

“She’s like I don’t know how to tell you this but we might have sold you the wrong house,” said Jordan. Just to the right of the home she thought she bought was another one, it’s seems that’s the one that was supposed to be sold, the one she legally bought.

The home was listed by Bob Leigh Realtors.  A representative told us the mortgage company gave them misinformation. We contacted the company’s namesake with no luck.

Ms. Jordan says she’s been waiting for a solution for months, and she’s spent money fixing a house she doesn’t even own.

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