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Thursday, December 18, 2008

November Austin Area Market Statistics

Alamo Title who is my monthly source of my Austin Real Estate Market Statistics has not posted the November numbers nor have they updated their chart. I am using Austin Board of Realtors information this month so here it goes.

ABoR reports that single family home sales (number of units) is down 40% compared to last November. Ouch! It is also 20% year to date lower than last year.

As far as Lakeway and communities in the Lake South MLS, residential sales are down 4% from last November. That doesn't sound so bad but you must consider that last fall is when the sales in LS have started to slow down. In a lighter note, it appears as there is a good amount of homes currently pending (in December) and with the Feds currently decreasing the interest rate, we hope that this stimulates home buying again. Let's keep our fingers crossed that our wishes become reality! Wouldn't that be nice?

NOTE: The statistics posted herein are obtained from the Austin Board of Realtors and have not been verified.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pearl's Odd Joke on Going "Green"

I want to go green in 2009. I use alot of paper, I print out alot of marketing flyers, print contracts, MLS sheets for my buyers and myself and mail out alot of postcards. Where do I begin? I plan to buy a PC tablet where I can write my notes on it, sign paperwork, etc. I already use a Palm Treo for my scheduling, contacts, etc. so give me some credit, I no longer carry a Day Planner around.

As I think about ideas, I thought about the days when I was growing where paper was less abundant and expensive. What did people do back then? I started to think when I was a little girl in the provinces of the Philippines. I remember people writing on banana leaves, using banana leaves for plates, and of course we ate with our fingers (which by the way if you haven't tried it yet, it is the best! I just won't eat my fried chicken with a fork and a knife like most people do). Hence, I came up with this comic.

If ya'll have any ideas on going green, your suggestions are welcome.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Buyers, please sign my Buyer Rep Agreement

I admit it, sometimes, I use my blog site to get things off my chest!

I met a buyer at my office. The buyer had given me their criteria, and we planned to meet at my office to go over the properties, hop in my car and show property. I whip out the Buyer Representation Agreement and there goes the Buyer, faster than a speeding bullet, out the door, Adios! Huh what happend, you ask?

The Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement is written by the Texas Association of Realtors, an agreement between the broker (me) and the buyer prospect for the purpose of acquiring property in Austin (my area). The form that I use is 4 pages long and is written by TAR, not by me. It spells out the duties of the broker and the buyer and the commission that the broker will obtain from the transaction. Most importantly, the agreement states that the buyer will work EXCLUSIVELY with that broker. That is what the buyer had a problem with. The buyer wanted to work with numerous brokers and which ever broker showed the buyer the property that the buyer wishes to purchase, that procuring broker will obtain the commission. Hmm, did you get that? I argued back and forth with the buyer, basically, I told the buyer that it is NOT how I ran my business. I am not in the business of driving buyers around in my car, wasting my time and gas, doing the research and hope and pray that I find them the home they buy.

Without going any further with my heating discussion with the buyer, who supposedly understood my position, but didn't want to be binded with one realtor, I just hope that YOU do not feel the same way. I want you to know that I do not work for FREE. I work hard for all my clients and treat them as if each client were my only client. With that said, I hope that YOU value my time and my efforts. My commission is my pay and I earned it. Just as you get paid at the end of your pay period, you would hope that your employer would pay you even if your team mate did most of the work.

Enough said, before you jump into my car, besides having a pre-qualification letter from your lender, a check book and the downpayment, please have your pen ready and sign my Buyer Representation Agreement.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A homeowner's Christmas Miracle

I wanted to share with you a homeowner's Christmas Miracle.

Many homeowners purchased their home and got ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage). These type of loan vary but commonly, the loan has a fixed rate for 2 years then the rate adjusts (fluctuates up and down) depending on the current prime rate. In this homeowner's case, the rate has adjusted a few years ago to a rate as high as 11%, which made the monthly payments unaffordable coupled with the fact the second source of income has stopped.

A homeowner who has been behind in their mortgage payments has called me to discuss their options. As you may already know, I am a short sale specialist and I help people short sale their home in lieu of foreclosure. The homeowner got their short sale package together as I got ready to put their home on the market. In the meantime, the homeowner has looked for other home alternatives and have submitted a lease application. A few days later, the homeowner received word that their lease application was denied. A day later, the homeowner received "the letter" from the bank about foreclosure proceedings. The homeowner and I met the following day after church to get a copy of the letter. That afternoon, the news had sunk in, the homeowner emailed me, needing to find an alternative lease but unfortunately, they did not have the money for a lease application until next pay day. As some of you know the stress of moving is very cumbersome but to have the feeling of losing their own home AND not having a place to stay is overwhelming.

I received a phone call the following evening. The homeowner was elated after getting off the phone with the lender, they received a letter from the bank stating that they were being offered a loan modification. The loan would convert to a fixed rate and the payments would be less than the original fixed rate payments. I was happy to hear these news as the homeowner gets to stay in the home they have lived in for the past 20+ years!

It's about time the banks stepped up to the plate and offered such programs to the homeowners. Everyone with a hardship should be able to get a loan modification especially when the rates are going down. I want you to know that if you are experiencing a hard ship and and may be facing foreclosure, I am here to help you.

When the world around us is upside down, pray for a miracle. Miracles do happen!