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The average US citizen looks at NAR (National Association of Realtors) as nothing more than another lobbying group that spends its' days and nights telling buyers that every day is the "right time to buy."

What people (this includes Realtors themselves) don't realize is that they are doing a CRITICAL work for the country in getting legistation passed that benefits us all. So what did they do this time? Nothing besides creating an opportunity for 1st-time home buyers to get $8000.00 of FREE MONEY from the government!

Yes, FREE, so long as you hold the home for at least 3 years. That is pretty easy since I am counseling ALL of my clients to buy for the long-term.

Many thanks to one of my lending partners, Blake Bench of Countrywide Home Loans, for this timely breakdown of how the latest ("latest implying one of MANY bailouts...) multi-GAZILLION dollar (gazillion with a "g") bailout legislation.

This sign is posted on the doors of Congress....

The information is not only timely, but downright critical to not only those of us either working in the industry, or trying to buy or sell real estate right, but the greater populiation at large. Until we get the real estate markets more healthy, there will be major financial pain worldwide.

The only thing most of us hear about the bailout package is that GM and others want taxpayers to pick up the tab on a few million transmissions.....good to know, but not relevant to real estate. Here it is:

  • Tax Credit: The tax credit for first time home buyers has gone up from $7,500 to $8,000. I also understand that this new amount doesn't have to be repaid. I have been helping buyers see that they could use this money to repay a gift from a relative. Maybe then they can come up with a down payment. (I wish that they had passed the $15,000 credit for any homebuyer but sometimes when you wish upon a star your dreams don't come true.) I have to add the disclaimer for all buyers to talk to their accountant or tax advisor about this since I am not licensed to give that type of advice.  Here is a breakdown of the tax credit:

 

Still not making sense? Here is a step-by-step explanation: 2009 Tax Credit Explained

  • Help for struggling home owners: Many borrowers from the last few years put nothing down or very little down toward the purchase of their home. With home values now lower many are upside down and can't refinance. New legislation may allow them to refinance with LTV's up to 105% of the homes current value if they have stayed current on their payments. I am going to call all of my database and see if I can help them lower their payments.
  • Modifications: Billions of dollars are set aside to help people modify their loans without refinancing. They do not have to have missed payments to qualify for this.
  • Keeping Interest Rates Low: Bear in mind that current interest rates are "artificial" in nature and WILL NOT stay this low for ever. (This subject merits its' own discussion) These "artificial" rates are part of the government's plan to "prop up" the ailing economy. Treasury and Federal Reserve will continue to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities to ensure stability and liquidity. The Treasury will also provide up to $200 billion in capital to ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can continue to stabilize markets and hold mortgage rates down

Departing from Blake's starter course on the bailout, let me add the following advice: Make sure you completely understand the rules, regulations and consequences (good and bad) of things like tax credits and local "grants" for home buyers.

In the meantime, chime in with any key information or ideas you have on this bailout business!

"Bailout Begins at Home" - courtesy of Utah CEO Blog

by Jeremy Larkin

Hello real estate fans! Occasionally, (because I am too tired, or busy, or lazy or in this case - because this is a great piece), I will "borrow" content from colleagues in the business who bring a relevant point of view to the table.

This week I hope you will take the time to read a post on the UtahCeoMagazine.com blog written by local Broker and friend, Graig Griffin. He talks about the value that every sale of a foreclosed property brings the local real estate market.

I share his sentiments. The quicker we can "mop up" these homes, get them "off the books" so to speak, the better. The challenge that all of that vacant inventory creates affects every one of our lives whether we own a home, rent one, or simply live in a distressed housing market - which we ALL do.

One of my favorite comments in this piece is about the changes in the 2009 St. George Parade of Homes brought on by the challenges in the housing market:

"Most of the Parade homes are what I would consider “normal” houses, meaning that the odds of prospective purchasers arriving on planes without propellers is pretty low. Any plane, really."

As a related side-note, there is actually a home on tour for $259,900 this year. If that doesn't sound very cheap to you, remember that a few years ago there were almost NO homes on tour under $750k.

Here is the link, enjoy and be sure to comment on that blog site if you like it, don't like it or just want to share your opinion!

http://www.utahceomagazine.com/blog.php

 

Larkin Group & Foreclosure Tour make Evening News

by Jeremy Larkin

It's always great to get some free press, and we had a super tour today! The following was taken directly from the KCSG website. Story and VIDEO CLIP here: http://www.kcsg.com/news/local/39603417.html

Real Estate Agent Organizes Fun Bus for Foreclosures

By Chance Walser

Local real estate agents and banks are putting a unique twist on the parade of homes.
Keller Williams Realty and Country Wide Home Loans are teaming up to take you on a foreclosure tour.

Jeremy Larkin says he got the idea from the internet.

He has mapped out close to a dozen foreclosed properties in the area to show to prospective buyers.

He says out of the box thinking is important because selling techniques change, and with a lot of people looking for the best deals in the slow market, the tour is a good way to peak interest.
The foreclosure bus will run tomorrow.

For more information you can call Jeremy Larkin at 435-862-8467.

I’m sure I’m going to take some heat from my peers for this, but I’ll take that risk to present the following long-range views on the subject.

 

There’s a lot of “buzz” in the St. George real estate market right now about the upcoming “Utah Real Estate Auction”, (www.UtahREA.com). I’m not sure what that buzz looks or sounds like outside of my professional peer group, but it seems that every time I turn around this week another agent is talking about it. 

 

 

The concept behind the auction is quite simple, and on the surface, makes complete sense: Put together a huge list of properties that are (supposedly) distressed and ripe for deal-seekers. Compile them all into a big online database, roll out the direct mail and billboards announcing “deals of the century”, and set the “contract room” up for hungry Buyers and elated Sellers.

 

In theory, everyone wins. Sellers get what they want, Buyers the same, and any involved Realtors pick up a quick, albeit reduced, commission.  So what’s wrong with the program?

 

Nothing, perhaps, but if you take a long-term view of the market and the perceptions that get created when things like “auctions” take place, there are some potential pitfalls. Here are a few to chew on:

 

Potential Pitfall #1: Buyers’ perception of possible savings become distorted.  For months and months now, the average home in Washington County has sold for 85-100% of the list price. Now hold on for the next part: many homes, almost all bank foreclosures, are selling for 100% of the list price or MORE! I am hearing weekly of “bidding wars” being created on homes priced so aggressively that multiple buyers are trying to get in on the action.

 

With the hype of an auction, buyers, especially out of town buyers, get the idea that they can come to town and “name their price” when the reality just isn’t so. This creates disappointed buyers and lots of wasted time.

 

Potential Pitfall #2:  3rd-Party lender and lien-holder buy-off. Many of these homes are “short-sales” and lack the required 3rd party approvals at their current prices….what happens when bidders come in and offer another 25% lower?

 

What happens is more disappointment. We saw this happen in the past 90 days in Northern Utah. It was all over local and state news. Would-be deal seekers showed up an a similar commercial auction, made their bids and had them “accepted” at the auction…only to find out later that the banks and 3rd-party lien holders wouldn’t buy off on the high bids. I saw some ANGRY people on the news that day……whoops.

 

Potential Pitfall #3: The “perception” of a good deal does not a good deal make. I am always reminded of the story my Keller Williams Sales manager told me about his first iPod purchase on eBay. The poor guy stayed up ½ the night to ensure a winning bid, only to find out later he had paid higher than retail price!

 

In a KSL piece dated August 6, 2008, Paul Nielson wrote about the fact that real estate auctions are not always a good investment. This goes back pitfall #1. Read the following excerpt from that article: As for those great deals where people can buy a home at auction for less than half it's worth, some attorneys say that's not really happening in Utah right now. Sometimes at foreclosure auctions, the bank will charge what it is owed, even if it's more than what the house is worth.”

 

Well that’s interesting. Unfortunately, just as there is always a dummy who will respond to an email from the “Princess of an African King” to make a few million dollars, there will always be people who will show up to a real estate auction and over-pay for a property due to the inherent “perception” of a good deal.

Now can I be completely frank with the following? When you go to the auction website you will see the "Estimated Value" vs. the "Opening Bid." There are very "Estimated Values" that I can comfortably say are the "Actual Values." From my personal observation, many of those estimated values seem high to the tune of 5-15%. In many cases the "Opening Bid" is just about the actual current market value. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

And don't forget that they are tacking a 6% "premium fee" on top of the winning bid price!

Here is a link to the auction inventory which stands at 72 properties at this writing: http://www.utahrea.com/auctions/properties.php?auctionid=14

So why go?

Lots of reasons. Sheer Curiosity and the fact that you really might find a sweet deal are two really great reasons. Another is that you will just learn a lot in the process as a bystander.

 

The Utah REA people and their local contacts are doing a super job promoting the even and all of the potential pitfalls aside, it is great exposure for our local market.

The other thing I really like is that in a market of "bystanders," these people are actually out making it happen. There is also the potential to move a large volume of inventory in a very short period of time....very cool.

 

Here are some useful tips to make sure you don’t end up as one of the “dummies” I described above:

  1. Do your homework first. This means contacting a good local Realtor who has solid contacts with people like home inspectors. Get out and physically view the properties in advance, ask questions, and have your agent run some “comps” (comparable sales data) to determine what would be a good price for the home.

If you’re concerned about how your agent, as well as “listing” agents get paid (cause you don’t want to pay more than you have to, right?), contact me directly for a copy of the auction company’s rules, forms, etc.

 

  1. Pre-determine your absolute max asking price in advance. This will also ensure that you don’t get caught up in the wave of emotions that can come along with an auction-type setting.
  2. Be sure about your big “why” before bidding. Do you need a home or are you just someone who buys 5 pallets of Diet Coke at Costco because it’s “on sale?” Real estate investment may be the greatest long-term wealth building tool in the world, but buying and “flipping” homes like the masses did in 2005 is a dangerous game nowadays, so but be sure you have a solid game plan put together before bidding at an auction.

Auction Date: Thursday February 13th - 7:00 PM.

Location: The Dixie Convention Center - 1835 S. Covention Center Dr., St. George.

 

I will be there. We will be driving the SoUtahForeclosureTour.com shuttle…you can’t miss us! Please chime in with your thoughts and opinions about the auction process. Good? Bad? Indifferent?

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

St. George Real Estate - Your premier destination for St. George,Utah Real Estate Listings, Home Values, MLS Search, REO/Foreclosure Info &  St. George Real Estate Statistics.  Serving St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Washington, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Toquerville & more! Specializing in REO/foreclosure properties, frustrated Sellers, First-Time home buyers, and Investors. Looking for the most LOCAL St. George, Utah real estate information available? Your search is over!