Monopoly my a..!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Ok, today I want to talk about monopolies and how some folks seem to think that NAR and it's members are monopolizing real estate and prohibiting other business models from participating in our closed "secret society". Now folks, I'm not one to use big words and I don't waste much time reading about the DOJ and their law suit against NAR, so if my response to all this sounds too simple, well, it is. I can only respond based on my perspective and how things are in my market. So with that in mind, my first reaction is "Monopoly my ass!"

Real Estate, at least in my little world, is very, very competitive. The consumer is bombarded with choices of who to do business with and how much they are willing to pay. Everyone and their brother has a Real Estate license. We have many "discount" brokerages and to the best of my knowledge all of them are REALTORS® and are part of our "secret society". Commissions are all over the board. There is no such thing as a fixed commission. I compete with "discounters" on just about every listing appointment I go on and I win the listing about 95% of the time. I win because in his slower market the consumer knows they need the best person for the job, not the cheapest.

When I hear all this talk about monopoly, I truly believe the people that are saying it are just plain ignorant of our business. They are simply repeating the "catch phrase" du jour. I also, believe they are underestimating the consumer. The consumer is not stupid, they know they have choices and they are quite capable of making the right one for their needs, based on what they are trying to achieve, not based on what the DOJ or others perceive their needs to be.

The Seller can go FSBO, they can pay a marketing company for a "selling package", they can pay a fee to have their property entered into the MLS, they can choose a "discounter", they can hire a full service-full fee REALTOR® and choose from a variety of commission structures, they can use Craig's List or Zillow to advertise their property and many, many more options that are available to them. Monopoly? I think not.

The Buyer can go it alone, they can use a commission rebate company or they can hire a full service-full fee REALTOR®. They too, can choose the program that best fits their needs. Is having choices a monopoly?

Real Estate is one of the most market driven and competitive businesses out there. Heck, any one can get into Real Estate. In most states, all you have to do is attend a few weeks of classes and pass a simple test. If you want to be a REALTOR® then all you have to do is write a check. That's it. Write a check and you are a REALTOR®. No test, no training required, no formal education needed and no denial! If you have a valid Real Estate license there are NO qualifications at all to become a REALTOR®. Does that sound like a monopoly to you?

Another fallacy, is that you have to be a REALTOR® to have access to the MLS. Well, that's not true either. ALL listings that are in the MLS can be found online. Also, rules for joining the MLS vary from board to board. Some are controlled by the LOCAL association and some aren't. Every area makes their own rules. So how is that a monopoly?

So really, I guess the issue is, not whether or not NAR has a monopoly but what can we do to get in on the money train? Well, come on in, it's open to anyone who has the will to do what it takes to be successful in this business. I welcome all of you. Come on down to my market and let's compete. Charge what you want, do what you want. I will personally be happy to blow you away and prove to you it has nothing to do with how much money we charge. It does however have everything to do with helping people achieve their goals and helping then to stay focused on the end result. By the way, you just landed on Boardwalk. You owe me $2,000. Now that's monopoly! Giddy up!

See Sally fall on the way to Paradise lost!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

In the summer of ‘04, John and Sally fell in love. Both were in their late 20's and had recently gone through difficult divorces. Life being unpredictable, as it is, put them in each other's paths about one year prior. Since they were both going through difficult times, they hit it off immediately and moved in together. They lived up north in the big city and had always dreamed of moving to beautiful sunny Florida. They both had pretty good jobs, with Sally being an LPN and John working for a medical records company, this is actually how they met, but the living expenses in their area were too high. Purchasing a home together, in the city, was out of the question.

One day, Sally received a nice brochure in the mail from a builder in Florida, Paradise Castles LLC, it was chock full of beautiful shiny pictures of Florida and had a promise that they would build you a new castle in Paradise starting in the mid 150's.

Sally was so excited! Can it be possible? Could John and I really afford to buy a home in Florida? The brochure states we don't need any money and they will pay all our closing costs! Sally could hardly contain herself and couldn't wait for John to get home, so she picked up the phone and called Paradise Castles. She got lucky and a real nice man named Mr. Needermoney answered on the second ring.

"Hello, thank you for calling Paradise Castles, this is Mr. Needermoney, how may I help you?" "Hi" said Sally "I just received a brochure from you, me and my fiancée are interested in moving to Florida. Your brochure said we didn't need any money. That sounds real good to us, since we don't have any. Our credit is a little messed up but we do have good jobs and should be able to get jobs down there pretty easily. Can you help us?"

Mr. Needermoney, is now the one who is excited, there's a live one on the phone and he has a quota to meet, "Well we do have a special going on today, in fact, we are giving Castles away to anyone that breaths. I will have our mortgage guy, Mr. Liarsloan, give you a call."

Sally is ecstatic and can't wait to tell John "We are moving to Florida!" Mr. Lairsloan calls and explains to Sally "We will have to do a stated income loan since you don't qualify on your own and John's credit….well, it sucks. But don't worry, I'll take care of everything for you. Just sign the documents I'm getting ready to send you and send them back with the fogged up mirror I'm including. No, no, no ….it's not lying, it's called a no document, no verification loan, I do them all the time. Just do what I ask and we'll get you in that Castle in beautiful sunny Florida."

Eight months later, they loaded up the truck and moved to Paradise. Life was grand! It was heaven! Their new home was beautiful and their future looked bright. Sally had found out a week before leaving the big city that her new job did not pan out but that's OK. We're moving to Paradise anyway and we will figure out what to do when we get there. Of course, when they arrived, they were surprised to find out that the jobs they were used to getting paid $25 an hour for, in the big city, only pay $15 in Paradise. Sally decided to go to work for Wally World while she waits for a better job and John…..well John just decided "I ain't working for no stinkin' $15 an hour. I'll keep looking."

They got real lucky though. They had purchased their home at the right time and by the time the construction was complete and they moved down, it had appreciated about $35,000. Not only that but they got stuff in the mail everyday from really nice folks that said they qualified for an equity loan of $35,000. WOW!! This really is Paradise. So, like any young couple in love, wanting to start a new life together, they pulled all of the equity out of their home to hold them over until Sally found a better job and John started work.

They also decided there was really no need to wait any longer for that new furniture they needed. So they bought some new furniture and really had the house looking good. The new couch was soooo comfortable John decided he would just sit there all day and play video games on the new plasma big screen. He'll have much better luck finding a good job in the spring time. After all, we have enough money in the bank to carry the house for six months and the way values are going up we can always refinance again, if we have to.

So on and on it goes…………………..John left Sally in mid '06. She was too stressed out for him. The house is in her name, so what the heck…John decided to go back to the big city and move in with his parents.

Sally called me last week. She hasn't made a house payment in three months and wants to sell. She hates living in Paradise. All she has done for two years is work to try and make ends meet. She refinanced again after John left. She owes $210,000 on the house and now it's only worth $185,000 and declining rapidly. Her heaven turned into hell. And Broker Bryant can't do any thing about it. Sally's a nice person and I feel for her. But I can't help. I can't perform miracles. Her house WILL be foreclosed on. THE END

So whose fault is it? Does it really matter? All Sally ever wanted was a better life. If Mr. Needermoney and Mr. Liarsloan didn't "help" her she would have found someone else to. Would she have found you?

Broker ‘Big Boy" Bryant serving up Redfin for you enjoyment!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 

OK, I think you guys are going to like this one. I received this Email last night:

Subject: Redfin Rebate to the Buyer

I saw one of your posts and wanted to get your thoughts about rebating "the selling commission" to the buyer. It seems to me if I am the seller and am charged x% for the listing agent and x% for the buyers agent but y% of the sales price of the home is rebated back to the buyer then I have been falsely charged for the buyers agent's fee? Apparently this is legal in some states but other not? END OF EMAIL. NOT EDITED

Now isn't that interesting? My take on this, is that this consumer (?) has agreed to pay Redfin a certain amount to list his home and has also agreed to offer a co-broke in order to get the home listed in the MLS. Redfin has now also provided the Buyer (double dip) and is rebating part of the selling side commission to the Buyer. The consumer's perspective is he is being taken advantage of. Hmmm……

Is he? Well I guess it depends on how the listing agreement was written. Legally, probably not. But he certainly brings up a good point. Remember perception is everything.

As a listing Broker I rarely work with Buyers. And if I do, I pass the savings on to my Seller, since they are the ones that have hired me. Granted, this may enable my Seller to accept a lower purchase price, which does benefit the Buyer as well BUT it is not a Buyer rebate. The NET to the Seller would look the same, as in the above scenario, BUT the Seller's perception is much different. Hmmm…..

Now as we all know, an ABM (alternative business model) such as Redfin depends on doing volume, they MUST work both sides of the transaction, when the opportunity presents itself, to make their numbers work. So the million dollar questions are:

  • Where does their loyalty lie? 
  •  Are they looking out for the Seller at all? 
  •  Would Redfin EVER counsel a Buyer to walk away from a deal? 
  •  Or are they just paper pushers?

Folks, I do not know the answers to these questions. As I've stated many times, I have NO problem with any ABM. But when I read this Email it really got me thinking. I will be linking this post to the consumer that sent me the Email, so, have at it. What is your opinion? How would you answer his question?

Related posts by Broker Bryant:

Don't forget to enter the "Broker Bryant Image Contest". The deadline is June 15th.

***Broker Bryant image compliments Ines Garcia and Chris Elizabeth Griffith Thanks again Ines and Chris!

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

The ebb and flow of a real estate market.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

OK, today I want to take a little trip down memory lane. As most of you know I have been selling real estate in Poinciana Fl since 1994. I have seen this community grow from 7,000 people to almost 70,000 today. Poinciana has been the 2nd fastest growing PUD (planned unit development) in the country for many years. The oldest houses in Poinciana were built in 1973. So it took 20 years to get up to 7,000 people and then in 13 years we added more than 60,000 with most of the growth coming in the last five years.

I've come up with a little visual to show you how values in Poinciana have been affected over the last 17 years. I'm going to use a house that I have listed and sold 3 times since 1998 and had managed prior to that. This is a typical Poinciana house built in 1990 with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, swimming pool and 1186 sq ft of living space. Here it is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

              1998                                                            2002                                                               2005

This house was bought new in 1990 for $86,400 by a man from England. I started managing it in 1994 and used to rent it out by the week for $450. Not much happened in Poinciana from 1973 to 1998 and values actually declined. I put this house on the market in 1998 and sold it for $79,900. After 8 years of ownership the value had decreased by 8%.

Now move forward to September 2002 when I sold it again for 102,000. From 1998 to 2002 Poinciana had experienced about a twofold increase in population and had about 17,000 people. This house's value had appreciated by 28% during this 4 year period. Things were looking up.

For the next couple of years values were slowly starting to increase but were still only averaging about 5% a year. Then we had three direct hits from Hurricanes during the summer of 2004. Poinciana was devastated. Surprisingly by the end of 2004 Poinciana started to recover and the real estate boom was upon us. This little house was gutted after the storms and rebuilt from the studs up.

In June of 2005 I placed it on the market again and sold in one week for $165,000. The boom was in full affect and values were increasing rapidly. The Seller experienced a 38% increase during his 21 months of ownership!

The second half of 2005 was amazing!! By the end of the year this house had a value of $215,000. From late 2004 to late 2005 values doubled in Poinciana and our population tripled. From 2002 to early 2006 we now had a population of over 60,000 people up from less than 20,000 in 2002!

Now fast forward to today. The last two sales(this month), of similar homes, were for $158,000 and $145,000! This is down from a high of about $215,000. That's a decrease of about 30% with most of that coming in the last 6 months. The fall out of the sub prime market had a major affect on values in Poinciana Fl. Inventory is on the rise and values are declining rapidly. My prediction is we are in for a rough ride for a couple of years. I think 2008 will be better than 2007 but I don't see a substantial positive change until maybe late 2009. But of course this is just an educated guess based on years of experience.

Poinciana's growth was due to affordability. It is Not a destination market. People move to Poinciana because they can't afford to live in Kissimmee or Orlando. Now they can. Our prices need to drop another 15% to 20% in order to be a value driven market. It's also an investor driven market. Once values come down, to where rentals make sense, the investors will be back. In my opinion, that's the first thing that will happen. Investors will swoop in as they did in 2005 and 2006 because the values make sense. Until that happens we are dead in the water.

Now I don't have a crystal ball, so of course, all of this is speculation on my part. So we'll see. In the meantime, I have some leads to sell you! So what's happening in your market?

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

You want my buyer to do what?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Hi folks. I don't normally post two days in a row but this one's too good to not share.

This morning, I took my buyer back to the builder to do the contract for her purchase. This particular builder requires that buyers are pre-qualified through their preferred Lender who is on site. You don't have to close with them but you do have to qualify with them. They do this so they can remove the financing contingency from the contract.

Anyway, while our sales rep was preparing the contract my buyer and I had to go see the "mortgage momma" to get my buyer prequalified. Now folks, my buyer is a young lady and this is her first home purchase. She lives at home and over the last two years has had three different jobs. Two in her field of journalism and most currently working for her father in the family business as a marketing rep.

I guess the "mortgage momma" decided that "getting her through" would be a little difficult since my buyer hasn‘t had the same job for two years. Even though my buyer's credit scores are over 700 and she has a pretty good income. The "mortgage momma" did mention an FHA loan but thought it would be easier to just go conventional.

She then proceeded to "coach" my buyer by telling her to say she has worked for her father for two years. The kicker was to make sure dad confirmed it when they did the VOE (verification of employment) and to make sure he didn't mention that they were related. Then of course she gave us the cursory wink!!

In a nutshell, she was "coaching" my buyer on how to lie and commit mortgage fraud!!! And she did this with me sitting right there in front of her. I'm not sure she realized I was a Real Estate Broker, or she just didn't care and assumed I would just agree with her. After all, "Everyone does it".

Well, she was dead wrong! Broker Bryant don't play that crap! My buyer looked at me like "Why is she asking me to lie?" and I looked at the "mortgage momma" and told her that my buyer will not be committing mortgage fraud just to make her job easier. For some reason she seemed a little shocked!

We left "mortgage momma" and decided we would go a different way with the financing. If fraud is her normal way of doing business then doing business with her is out of the question.

I guess I need to write a letter to KB Homes on Monday to let them know their Countrywide "mortgage momma" is a disgrace to our profession. What's wrong with people? What do you think?

DISCLAIMER: I have no problem with KB Homes or Countrywide. BUT I have a serious problem with "mortgage momma".

EDIT: I have change the term "loan lady" to "mortgage momma". It seems there is a real Loan Lady in South Florida and she has politely asked me to make the change. This post in no way refers to the Loan Lady in Sarasota. 

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

ActiveRain Mortgage/Housing Crisis Resource.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 Hey guys. I took a little time today to put together this resource for you. In case you hadn't noticed there were some excellent posts written over the last few days relating to the mortgage crisis. I've placed all the links in one place so I can send it to my Sellers. This is good stuff.

Ten  Nine Writers with close to 200 years and 1,000s of closed transactions in experience writing their opinions on the mortgage crisis. These writers are Real Estate Brokers, Mortgage Experts, Fraud Experts and Title Agents who work everyday in the trenches. 

This compilation truly shows the power of ActiveRain. Use it.

THE ACTIVERAIN MORTGAGE/HOUSING CRISIS RESOURCE

Ed Rybczynski-Mortgage Fraud Speaker and Expert located in MD

Lenn Harley-Broker/Owner in VA and MD

Broker Bryant-Broker/Owner in Central FL.

Carole Cohen-REALTOR® in Cleveland OH

Renee Burrows-REALTOR® in Las Vegas NV

Gena Riede-Associate Broker in Sacramento CA

Janet Guilbault-Mortgage Expert in San Francisco CA

Fran Gaspari-Title Agent with over 35 years experience-Limerick PA

Kaye Thomas-REALTOR® with 28 years experience in Manhattan Beach CA.

Brian Brady-Mortgage Expert and hard money Lender-San Diego CA

Lola Audo-Broker/Owner located in Grand Rapids MI

Gabriel Silverstein-Broker/Owner in Chicago IL with over $1 Billion in Real Estate Experience.

Mike Jones-Mortgage Expert located in Tucson AZ

Bob Mitchell-Owner/Broker and Mortgage Broker-Saint Louis MO

Bill Roberts-Real Estate Broker-San Diego CA

By the way, if I missed any posts please place a link in the comments section and I'll add it if it's suitable.

Copyright © 2007 Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings | All Rights Reserved

***Edited: I had to remove one of the post from Ed Rybczynski and the post from Brian Brady. I didn't realize they were for "members only". This post is public so they had to go. Sorry about that.

***2nd Edit:: Ed made his post public so I added it back in. I also added a new post from Lenn. I will contune to add to this list as posts come up.

Broker Bryant…..you’re FIRED! Or not.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Call Broker Bryant today!!! 407-873-2747

 

Recently, I re-listed one of my listings that had expired about six weeks ago. At the time it expired the hubby decided they need a new REALTOR® so did not re-list with me. I HATE it when that happens!!!

I had the property on the market for 5 months and had quite a bit of activity but being on the high side of the market, for Poinciana, we never received any offers. Got real close but nothing materialized.

Anyway, the Sellers came down before Christmas and decided to try another REALTOR® that was a friend of a friend of a friend. We all know how that goes.

I’m very close with my Sellers and talk with them all the time. Mrs. Seller did not want to switch but Mr. Seller just felt he needed to try something new. No biggie. It happens in a down market. Folks get anxious. I completely understood and wished them well.

Being the good little Broker that I am, I decided to treat these folks as if they were still my Sellers until such time that I saw the listing pop up as a new listing in the MLS. So every week, just as I had done when the listing was mine, I called the Sellers to check in on them.

Three weeks went by and the property still had not shown up in the MLS yet. Needless to say MY Sellers were very surprised to hear this since they had signed a listing agreement with their new REALTOR® when they were down for Christmas.

So, they figured they had best track down their new REALTOR® to see what was going on. It seems their new REALTOR® didn’t work over the Holidays and hadn’t had time yet to activate his new listing. Too busy opening presents I guess. Either that or his shift at Wal-Mart was keeping him busy. After all, it WAS the Holidays! Well OK then!!! You’re FIRED!!!

Do you guys like my new (old) listing? I LOVE it when that happens!! Never give up.

Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Agent

Copyright © 2007 Broker Bryant’s Real Estate Ramblings| All Rights Reserved

I wish this was an April Fool’s Day joke.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

                                        

 

I wish I could say this was an April Fools Day joke…..but it’s not. It’s my March market report for Poinciana FL.

The following is the reality of the market in Poinciana.

There were 31 closings for March. This is actually a 50% increase from February. So that’s a good thing.

The average sale was a 1857 sq ft home listed at $140,201 and sold for $137,609 in 131 days. $75 per sq ft living area. The sold price is down about 5% from February.

Out of those 31 sales, 21 one of them were banked owned properties(REOs). 4 were short sales. 2 were builder inventory and 4 were owned by Mr. and Mrs. Average Home Seller. This is right in line with my last market report, “Selling Retail listings in a wholesale market”.

Now let’s look at a few of the houses that came on the market today:

Poinciana pool home

 

Property #1: 4 bedroom 3 bath pool home with 2013 sq ft living area built in 1987. This property was last sold in May of 2005 for $280,000. It came on the market today as a bank owned property priced at $149,900.

 

 Poinciana 4 bedroom

  Property #2: 4 bedroom 2 bath home with 1563 sq ft living area built in 2005. Last sold new in June of 2005 for $186,000. Today it hit the market as a bank owned property priced at $78,900!!!

 

Poinciana 3 bedroom for sale

 

Property #3: 3 bedroom 2 bath home with 2003 sq ft living area built in 2004. Last sold in December of 2006 at $230,000. Today, you can purchase this home from the bank for $99,900!!

 

Folks, I said about a year ago that the first thing that needed to happen in Poinciana, before the market had a chance of turning around, was that buying a rental needed to make sense. Once this happens Investors will start buying up some of the inventory. Well look at those prices.

Do you think purchasing a 3 year old 4 bedroom home for in the mid 70s would make sense? This house would rent for about $750 to $800. Bought with a 20% down payment it would pay for itself. It makes sense.

So for all you Investors out there…..give me a call. It’s time to start buying some single family rentals. Does that make sense?

Sell Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Agent

Copyright © 2008 http://www.brokerbryant.com/ | All Rights Reserved

Bryant Tutas
Broker/Owner
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
http://www.brokerbryant.com/
***The content of this blog is solely my opinion*** 

Subprime Mortgage Brokers and FHA foolishness!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

FHA laons are the bomb!!!Hi folks. So here’s the deal. I should NOT know more about FHA loans than the Mortgage Brokers that are attempting to do them. My market area, Poinciana FL, has always been a 100% financing market. Back in the 90s if you wanted to purchase a home in Poinciana it was USDA “Farmer’s Home Loan” all the way. This was the mortgage product of choice. Back then you couldn’t do FHA in Poinciana because the HOA(Homeowners Association) would not subordinate their first lien position. 

Finally, about the year 2000, the HOA changed their position on this, but by then, sub-prime loans ruled the day. FHA, even though it was now available, was not needed. 

Sub-prime Mortgage Brokers had a field day in Poinciana up until April of 2007 when the rug was pulled out from under them. Not knowing how to do anything BUT 100% loans they started jumping onto the FHA, Nehemiah and Ameridream band wagon. The only problem was……they were and are clueless on the intricacies of FHA and down payment assistant programs. 

So that’s where we are at today and………..Houston, we have a problem!!!! 

FHA with down payment assistance is a GREAT product for PRIMARY home Buyers. It will NOT work for someone who just wants to buy a second home or a property to flip. Read this: 

  • “Down payment assistance and community redevelopment programs offer affordable housing opportunities to first-time homebuyers, low-income and moderate-income individuals and families who wish to achieve homeownership.”

Could it be any clearer who these programs are designed to help? Please quit trying to fit a square peg into a round whole. FHA don’t play that s**t!!!

If you want to specialize in FHA loans then learn the product. It’s not brain surgery but it does require knowledge. So REALTORS®, if you have Buyers and you want to submit offers on one of my listings then PLEASE make sure your Mortgage Broker knows what they are doing. I will be doing my due diligence and will be counseling my Sellers to reject your offers if the financing does not line up with what the Buyer is trying to achieve. Is that clear enough for ya? I hope so.

OK, that’s all I have to say about that. What say you?

COME ON DOWN TO TUTAS TOWNE!!!

MORE INFO FROM BROKER BRYANT… THE SOURCE FOR POINCIANA REAL ESTATE

Sell Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Agent

Copyright © 2008 http://www.brokerbryant.com/ | All Rights Reserved

Your Home is Your Castle, NOT an ATM Machine!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

This is one of my classic posts that I felt I needed to bring to the front of my blog. It shows that short sales aren’t something new. This post was written in December of 2006. Enjoy!!!

12/15/2006 Your home is your castle, not an ATM machine! 97 13294 9381

I smite thee TLW!Tomorrow, I’m placing a home on the market, that is going to require a short sale. Seems like I’m getting an awful lot of these lately. This is one where I just don’t understand what some folks are thinking. Nice young family, who were first time homebuyers just about 2 years ago. They bought a great little house, new construction, and they only paid $135,000 for it in November of 2004.

This was right before our big increase in prices that happened in Poinciana in early 2005. So when I made my appointment with them, earlier this week, I assumed they would be in a pretty good equity position. Even if they had purchased with 100% financing, which they did, they would still be able to receive a sizeable amount of money at closing. Based on my preliminary analysis, the property is worth between $225,000 and $235,000. That’s some real good appreciation for 25 months of ownership. After expenses they should be looking at around $70,000 to $75,000 in their pockets. That’s a lot of money for a young family.

Well, when I met with them, I was shocked to find out they currently owe $225,000 on this house! How the heck did that happen? From what they told me, when they moved into the house they wanted to fix it up and furnish it real nice, so about six months after moving in, they refinanced and pulled out the equity that had built up when prices started skyrocketing.

They used this money to purchase the things they wanted. New furniture, TVs and all the other items that a young family think they need. What they didn’t count on was hitting a financial bump in the road about 9 months later. But they weren’t too concerned since they kept getting all these mailers from mortgage companies in the mail promising them more money.

The temptation, being too much, they decided to call one of the mortgage companies and have a salesman came out to see how he could “help” them. They said he was a real nice guy and he told them they could put a second mortgage on their house for $65,000. He was also nice enough to let them know, that the way houses are appreciating, that after a few months, they could refinance again and get rid of the second mortgage. He said “Don’t worry about the high rate, once you refinance the payments will come back down to what you can afford. You can use the $65,000 to make payments in the meantime.”

What a great guy! They can now get that new car they want and buy more nice things for their three young children. They told themselves, “It’s not a big deal. We know we will get jobs real soon and then we can just refinance like the nice man said. This homeownership is really awesome! It’s like having our very own ATM machine.”

Fast forward to this week. I met with them and they are in dire straights. Husband just started work a couple of months ago and the wife has still not been able to find work, since she is too busy, taking care of three small children. They have enough money to make two more mortgage payments and then they are done.

So, tomorrow, I am placing the house on the market at $225,000 and I will be trying to negotiate a short sale.

These folks are in their late twenties. Instead of selling the house and using their, what would have been, $70,000 equity to purchase a better and bigger home for their children, they are now looking at possibly being foreclosed on and in the best case scenario, ruining their credit for years to come. It is sad but it’s largely self inflicted.

They made a mistake and they know it. They’re not bad people they were just weak in the face of easy money and instant gratification. Now they must pay the price. I hope I can get them through this with the least amount of stress possible. I hope they have learned a valuable lesson. I hope they move forward from this and are able to get it together. I hope all their new furniture looks good in their new apartment. I hope they don’t read this post.

Moral of the story: Your home is your castle, not an ATM machine.

About us

I am a licensed real estate Broker in the state of Florida. My opinions on real estate have been formed from my experiences and 15 years of working in the business. My opinions are in line with Florida Real Estate laws and the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics. Your State’s laws may differ. So do your own homework before implementing any of my business practices into your business.