Monday, March 24, 2008

Clinton: Protect reputable home lenders

Clinton: Protect reputable home lenders

By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 32 minutes ago

PHILADELPHIA - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed several remedies to the nation's home mortgage problems Monday, including one tool more often associated with Republicans than Democrats.

The New York senator proposed greater protections for lenders from possible lawsuits by investors, a variation of so-called tort reform. For years, GOP leaders have called for restrictions on what they consider unwarranted lawsuits against businesses. Democrats have often resisted them on grounds they limit injured parties' legitimate rights to redress.

"Many mortgage companies are reluctant to help families restructure their mortgages because they're afraid of being sued by the investment banks, the private equity firms and others who actually own the mortgage papers," Clinton said in what she billed as a major address on the economy at the University of Pennsylvania.

"This is the case even though writing down the value of a mortgage is often more profitable than foreclosing," she said. Clinton said she would offer legislation "to provide mortgage companies with protection against the threat of such lawsuits," but provided no further details.

Brian Deese, a Clinton economic adviser, said different categories of investors can have different interests in how a mortgage is handled. Clinton's legislation would state that a mortgage provider's obligations are to "investors as a whole," he said in an interview.

Clinton also called on President Bush to appoint "an emergency working group on foreclosures" to recommend new ways to confront housing finance troubles. She said the panel should be led by financial experts such as Robert Rubin, who was treasury secretary in her husband's administration, and former Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker.

Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are campaigning heavily in Pennsylvania, which holds its presidential primary April 22 to allocate 158 delegates, the largest single prize left in the campaign season. There were 34,000 foreclosure notices issued in Pennsylvania last year, Clinton's campaign said.

Clinton said she supports pending legislation to establish an auction system for hundreds of thousands mortgages in default. Under the plan, drafted by Democratic lawmakers, lenders "could sell mortgages in bulk to banks and other buyers," Clinton said, who in turn would "restructure them to make them affordable for families, because they know the government will guarantee them once they're reworked."

The Federal Housing Administration, she said, "should also stand ready to be a temporary buyer to purchase, restructure, and resell underwater mortgages" if the auction plan falls short.

Clinton said a recently enacted $168 billion stimulus package "did next to nothing to help homeowners and communities struggling with foreclosure."

"If the Fed can extend $30 billion to help Bear Stearns address their financial crisis," she said, "the federal government should provide at least that much emergency help to families and communities address theirs."

Clinton's remarks built on her earlier proposals on the housing issue. Last week she called for a new stimulus package to include $30 billion to help state and local governments buy foreclosed properties, restructure mortgages, and undertake "anti-blight programs." She proposed another $10 billion for state housing agencies to refinance "unworkable mortgages."

Clinton also has called for a five-year freeze on interest rates for all subprime mortgages, which often go to borrowers with poor credit ratings.

Obama was not campaigning Monday. His campaign manager, David Plouffe, played down Obama's chances of winning Pennsylvania.

In a phone call with reporters, Plouffe called Clinton "the prohibitive favorite" in the state, and said Obama would try to do "as well as we can there."

Plouffe said Obama, if nominated, would put more states in play in the fall than Clinton could, because he would draw more support from independents.

Today's News

Existing home sales rise in February
1 hour, 11 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - After falling for six straight months, sales of existing homes posted an unexpected increase in February which may have reflected more aggressive price cutting by sellers in some parts of the country, a real estate trade group reported.

The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes rose by 2.9 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million units. It was the biggest increase in a year and caught economists by surprise. They had been expecting a small decline.

The trade group reported that the median existing sales price in February fell to $195,900. That was the largest year-over-year drop on records that go back to 1999.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors, said that prices in some formerly hot markets in California and Florida were seeing significant price declines now as sellers try to attract buyers.

Analysts cautioned against reading too much into the one-month rise in sales. Many economists are predicting that the steep slump in housing will not bottom-out until later this year after prices fall further and allow huge levels of unsold inventories to be reduced.

"We're not expecting a notable gain in existing-home sales until the second half of this year, but the (February) improvement is nother sign that the market is stabilizing," Yun said.

By region of the country, sales surged by 11.3 percent in the Northeast and were up 2.5 percent in the Midwest and 2.1 percent in the South. The only region of the country to see a decline in the sales was the West, where they dropped by 1.1 percent.

Sales of existing homes fell by 12.7 percent in 2007, the biggest decline in 25 years. Over the past two years, housing has been in a steep downturn made worse by a severe credit crunch as financial institutions tightened their lending standards in reaction to their multibillion-dollar losses on mortgages that have gone into default.

The steep slump in housing has raised concerns about a possible recession. Democrats are pushing the Bush administration to do more to stem a tidal wave of mortgage foreclosures to keep more unsold homes from being dumped on an already glutted market.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Monday called on President Bush to appoint an emergency working group on foreclosures to recommend new ways to confront the housing crisis.

"Over the past week, we've seen unprecedented action to maintain confidence in our credit markets and head off a crisis for Wall Street banks," Clinton said. "It's now time for equally aggressive action to help families avoid foreclosure and keep communities across this country from spiraling into recession."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How To Stay Positive!

How To Stay Positive!
Ask Dr. Maya: How to Stay Positive in the Wake of Negative Real Estate Reports

RISMEDIA, March 24, 2008–Do you know how to avoid ‘toxic’ people? Or even what signs to look for to recognize them? This is just one insight among many this week from Dr. Maya Bailey, Ph.D., who tells real estate professionals how to remain positive against an onslaught of negative press surrounding today’s real estate market.

Q. Dear Dr. Maya: With so much negativity from the media and people around me, how can I possibly stay positive?

A. Excellent question. I get asked that a lot so I created eight ways that you can create and maintain a positive mental attitude in today’s market.

1. Avoid toxic people

What does this mean? Who are the toxic people?

Toxic people can be well-meaning people but when they talk to you, they are coming from a negative attitude about money, finances, and especially about the current real estate situation.

2. If you’ve tried everything and exhausted always to avoid toxic people, then you may have to set an internal boundary.

You can do this very simply by having your own inner conversation if someone is saying something negative to you on the outside.

3. Avoid the media

Why? Remember that the intention of the media is to sell newspapers and magazines. The more they can paint a negative and fearful picture, the more their sales go up.

Why subject yourself to slanted, negative spins on the economy when you can find just as much information to point to the positive?

4. Successful real estate professionals do well in any market

Were you aware of that? Knowing that fact, none of us can continue to use the excuse about the market being bad.

In fact, I am coaching several clients right now who in the last six months have doubled and tripled their incomes.

In addition to the right marketing strategies and regular lead generation activities, you could help yourself with this empowered belief:

“I now draw to me clients who are ready, willing and able to make a transaction in the next 30 days.”

5. Look for the opportunity in today’s marketplace

There are many opportunities in today’s market and successful real estate professionals are taking advantage of them.

Did you know that Donald Trump is buying up as much property as he can? Why do you think that is? He is a smart businessman, to say the least, and knows that this is the best time to buy.

Let your prospective clients know this and then say to them, “Let’s get you a deal.” Few could resist this invitation.

6. Remember that your success depends on your mindset, not on the outer conditions of the market.

“If you believe you can or you can’t, either way you are right,” Henry Ford.

What mindset do you choose to nurture inside yourself? Do you want to believe, “I can” or “I can’t?” Your beliefs create your reality so whatever you choose to believe will become true for you.

7. Remember to engage the Law of Attraction as one of your most powerful tools

The law of attraction states that you get what you focus your attention on. Furthermore, your beliefs create your reality so choose your beliefs carefully.

Here’s a tip: instead of saying “I can’t possibly succeed in today’s market,” choose instead to focus one of these beliefs:

“I achieve whatever I set my mind to.”

“I am a money market in any situation.”

“I attract clients who appreciate and respect my expertise.”

“My success depends on my attitude, not on any outer circumstances.”

8. Be proactive

In any marketplace there are always people wanting to buy and sell homes. They need your help and they need your expertise.

Clear out any self limiting beliefs that inhibit your ability to pick up the phone.

Follow the suggestions mentioned above and you’ll be happy to notice that are only are you staying more positive, but also your income is increasing as well.

Visit Dr. Maya’s website:


To successfully use the Law of Attraction, you need to be clear about what you want.

Empowered beliefs that will help you create the income you want:

• I do deserve an abundance of prosperity
• It’s okay for me to be grateful for what I have and still want more
• Money is neutral and can be used for good or evil
• Money can’t buy me happiness, but I can create a better life for myself and people around me by being prosperous
• Some people are honest and some are not. It has no relationship to whether or not they have money
- Dr. Maya Bailey, Ph.D

Friday, March 21, 2008

How Honest Harry Gets the Job Done !

How I Sold It
Honest Harry Gets the Job Done

With little to showcase, sales associate Harry Ackley decided to tell the brutal truth about his unmarketable listing in Plymouth, Mich., and his peers liked the approach.


Location: Plymouth, Mich.
Square footage: 704 square feet
Lot size: 7,695 square feet
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Year built: 1941
Extras: “Not much to speak of.”

THE CHALLENGE: When Harry Ackley, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Schweitzer-Bake Real Estate in Plymouth, Mich., secured a listing from a former client in March 2004, he was worried how he was even going to get people to view the property. “The house was a complete disaster,” Ackley recalls. “Just saying, ‘fixer-upper’ or ‘handyman special’ was not going to get it done. I needed to do something drastic to sell this one.”

How did you overcome the challenge?

ACKLEY: There was no point trying to cover up anything, so I didn’t try. In the listing’s public remarks section, I wrote: “The bottom of the barrel! I have avoided listing this one as long as possible, since it will take a miracle to sell. Sure, it has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and an oversized lot in a desirable Plymouth neighborhood. But beyond this, there’s nothing else that’s positive.”

I asked and received permission from the seller before I wrote the remarks, mind you, but I just went with the brutal truth. It sounds crazy, I know, but I received so many calls from real estate professionals, far and wide, who said they wished they could be as honest in their remarks as I was.
Many of them took the listing to their weekly marketing meetings and brought it to their colleagues’ attention. Someone in my office even framed the remarks. It’s hanging on my office wall.

What was the selling price?

ACKLEY: The property listed for $119,900 in March 2004 and sold for $112,500 in April 2004. It was only on the market for 17 days. We closed May 4, 2004.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Riverside County population forecast to double by 2050, ranking it No. 2 in state

Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO - Go-go growth is expected to more than double Riverside County's population by 2050, making it the state's second largest county.

Only Los Angeles County will top Riverside County and its estimated 4.7 million residents by midcentury, according to new estimates by the state Department of Finance.

"Let's face it, we got the land," said Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, whose district includes Moreno Valley, Perris and other fast-growing parts of Riverside County. "We have to make sure we have the roads, the infrastructure, the environmental mitigation, the water, all these challenges."

The state's population will be nearly 60 million by midcentury, which is 22 million more than today. More than half of the state's residents will be Hispanics, up from 36 percent currently, according to the Department of Finance.

The state report studied demographic trends such as immigration, births and deaths. The estimates did not take into account any shortages that could hold down growth, such as limited water, housing or infrastructure.

All told, nearly one-half of California's population in 2050 will live in five of its 58 counties, all in Southern California -- Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Orange and San Bernardino -- according to the state report.

Riverside County currently is the fourth-most populous, with an estimated 2,031,625 people. San Bernardino County is in fifth place, with 2,028,013.

In California history, only Orange County in the 1960s had the kind of growth that Riverside County is experiencing, said Mary Heim, chief of the Department of Finance's demographic research unit.

"At some point in time, the growth will be like Orange County and taper off," Heim said. "But as long as people are willing to have long commutes in return for more affordable housing, that growth will continue."

State Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, said he thinks the county maintained its quality of life during recent growth waves. What it will be like in 2050, with more than twice as many people, is still an open question, he said.

"It will present a lot of challenges for the county to make sure we have the facilities and infrastructure that we need and have to adopt policies to recognize that the growth is coming instead of trying to prevent it from coming, because you can't," Battin said.

Reach Jim Miller at 916-445-9973 or

Population 2050

These are projected to be the state's five largest counties by population at midcentury:

1. Los Angeles County: 13.06 million

2. Riverside County: 4.73 million (up from fourth)

3. San Diego County: 4.51 million

4. Orange County: 3.99 million

5. San Bernardino County: 3.66 million (ranking unchanged)

Source: California Department of Finance

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why San Francisco has The Highest Gas Price In the Nation?

Someone posted a question on my Baby Boomers Yahoo Group.
So, here is my answer:

Glancing at this Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes
for Metropolitan Areas report, (compiled by the National Association
of of REALTORS®), I can see these numbers and can understand why,
these prices reflect the cost of living in each area.

US Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes is $217.8 in

San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA is the 2nd highest in the nation
for at $805.4K for 2007. (up 5.5% from 2006)

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area is the highest in the nation at
$836.8 for 2007 (up 11.2%. from 2006)

Anaheim-Santa Ana, CA (Orange Co.) at $699.6
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA $589.2
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA $588.7
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA $381.4

New York-Wayne-White Plains, NY-NJ $540.3
NY: Nassau-Suffolk, NY $477.2

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $386.9

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $430.8

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL $365.5

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA $78.9$FILE/MSAPRICESF.pdf

> Weekly U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices, Regular Grade
> Dollars per gallon, including all taxes
> San Francisco takes the prize!! Why is gas so high in San Francisco?