Category Archives: Industry news

Banks Making Short Sales Tougher

newlogoRealtor.org, October 9, 2009

Banks are backing away from short sales, forcing sellers to pay extra at closing or demanding a promissory note for the amount due. One-third of borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, according First American CoreLogic.

When their situations were really tough, most banks preferred short sales because they were their best opportunity to get the most money back. But with an improving economy, and because the losses on many of these properties have already been written off the books, banks are increasingly reluctant to negotiate a short sale.

Today, banks demand 9.5 weeks to respond to a short-sale request, compared to 4.5 weeks a year ago, according to research firm Campbell Communications. Their reluctance is frequently stymieing sales and frustrating real estate practitioners.

“It drives me up a wall,” says Robert G. Hertzog of Summit Home Consultants in Phoenix. “[The bank is] holding my client hostage.”

Source: BusinessWeek, Christopher Palmeri (10/09/2009)

The Weak Dollar = Strong Real Estate Opportunities

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The weak U.S. Dollar is good news for foreign investors! Now foreign investors can buy more real estate for their same financial investment because of their increased purchasing power.  Even in comparatively strong residential markets like Portland, prices can be considerably lower than in competing cities. And with direct flights to major hubs like Tokyo and Amsterdam, access to Portland is convenient.

“U.S. real estate has always been a popular option for buyers around the globe,” said Tu Packard, senior economist for Moody’s Economy.com. “The appeal lies in the general stability of the country compared with others throughout the world.   Add to that the fact that the dollar is so weak and interest rates are low and house prices are at their lowest in years… it’s a compelling combination for a home buyer,” she said.  “The U.S. dollar’s trade rate is the weakest it has been since the 1970s,” she continued, as reported in a MarketWatch article written by Amy Hoak.

Strong investment opportunities exist in all sectors of the U.S. real estate market.  As always, real estate is a local business, so foreign investors will want to work with a U.S. real estate professional to best understand the various markets and the investment opportunities.

How can a foreign investor find the best U.S. real estate professional to meet their real estate needs? Through FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation.

As a FIABCI member, I have access and contacts in 65 countries around the world and throughout the U.S. FIABCI members understand real estate and cultures around the world.  My clients make informed decisions about investments in my local market, nationally and internationally, based on my experience and the contacts I have developed through FIABCI’s diverse network of real estate professionals.

Please contact me whether you’re looking to invest in Portland or elsewhere. It all starts with an initial conversation and a plan.

Real Solutions

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I’ve been asked why I am involved in both local and international real estate, coming out of such a global economic crisis. First, it’s because the real estate world is becoming smaller and it’s what people expect. But perhaps more importantly, it’s because of events over the past several years that I have become so involved.

On the whole, people buying properties outside the United States are not fabulously wealthy, living a jet set lifestyle. They are solidly middle class, looking for a cost-effective yet desirable alternative to places like Palm Springs, Phoenix, and Fort Lauderdale for vacation or investment property.  And for people nearing retirement, they face the real dilemma of how to not outlive their financial assets.

Consider this: Ernst & Young reported last year that three out of five (60%) middle class retirees would outlive their assets if they did not cut back on spending significantly.

A major source of funding that many people planned on for retirement was home equity. The plan was to sell their appreciated asset and buy homes in warmer climates, banking much of the cash for additional income. While for many that is still possible, for others looking/needing to retire very soon, that amount may be substantially less than expected.

Enhance your lifestyle and spend far less? It’s possible, and Nicaragua may be right for you. With a growing ex-pat community, the friendliness of the Nicaraguan people, and cost-effective housing options – all in one of the safest countries in our hemisphere – be prepared to be surprised.  I work with developers that offer homes built to American standards, with many priced under $200,000 in a new urbanist neighborhood, and near the ocean to boot!  Combine that with the ability to live on $1000-$1200 per month, and you truly can enhance your life and spend less. Please feel free to contact me, and I can send you a complete budget with actual receipts to show you how viable this is.

Even if  the idea of buying a home outside the  United States is just a twinkle in your eye, please do not hesitate to contact me. It all begins with an initial conversation and a plan.

To my REALTOR colleagues – contact me, too. We offer attractive referrals and make it easy for you and your clients.