September 30, 2008

Hypocrocy in Politics… Surprise?

I usually avoid writing about political controversy.  People have the right to their opinions.  I want my blog to be informative, not controversial, but I find the dishonesty and hypocracy in some politicians too much and therefore, decided to put a few things out there just so people know what is happening and can make informed decisions.  I have posted some videos from that I hope you will watch.

This one sets up the hypocrisy:  Watch this

This one is a good explanation of what happened and why.  Toward the end, it starts pulling the emotional strings a little, which I don’t like.  It is better to stick to the facts.  The facts speak for themselves and trying to scare people on an emotional level is manipulative.   But, this video does a good job of explaining what happened, so I am including it:    Watch this

Barney Frank is shown saying:   “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not in crisis”  Now, this same guy is crying, “Where was the oversight?”    Watch this


 In case you don’t have time or the desire to watch/listen to these video clips, the important points are:

President Bush and Senator McCain have been consistantly pushing for reform and oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Wall Street since 2000.

The housing market problems are rooted back to the Clinton Administration who coerced lenders into creating subprime lending with the “National Homeownership Strategy”.  See Article

Barney Frank and other Democrats did all they could to obstruct the reform and oversight that the Bush administration wanted. 

Barack Obama is second on the list of people who pocketed the most money for protecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, from regulations and oversight.  Yet, he blames the Bush Administration for our current economic problems.    

16 Democrats on the list of Top 25 benefactors from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who paid to keep regulators off their backs.  (9 Republicans)     See List


Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 8:08 am

September 22, 2008

Timing Investments

You can tell an amateur investor from the pro by his timing.  Amateur investors tend to be one of the contributing factors to a declining housing market.  There have always been those people out there that make money investing in real estate…lots of money.  They can turn a profit no matter what kind of market the area may be experiencing.  The key is that they understand that the market moves in cycles and they capitalize on that timing

Professional investors buy when the market is down.  They buy when the average buyer is immobilized by fear.  The average person does not have the courage to buy real estate when the market is down while the pros take advantage of a down market. They understand that sellers have to be more open to negotiation to sell.  Professionals also understand how to be fair.  They are looking for a good deal, not a free ride.  

Timing is the most important factor to becoming a successful real estate investor.  The pros buy when the market is cool.  They look for the real bargains, they do their homework.  They invest a little money on improvements, then they sell at a profit when the market starts to warm up. 

An amateur waits until the market is already hot. They buy properties without doing their homework…they don’t have time to do homework because taking the time means that 4 other buyers just made an offer on the property they want. 

They are buying blind and often, they are buying the homes that the pros are finally dumping because of…timing.  The pros have made their investments, held on to them until the market warmed up then they sold at a profit to the amateur that thinks he is going to now turn a great profit on a home he has put little or nothing into.  “Flipping,” thinking you can turn a profit with no real investment of money or time is what drives prices up and eventually makes the market cool back down.  Some people can make money flipping when they can get it down before the timing “hits the fan”.   However, it is the flippers that end up getting slaughtered when it finally does. 

The amateurs are the ones that are too afraid to take risks.  They are afraid to jump in so they wait to buy until they can see for certain that the market is hot.   These fearful investors wait so long that by the time they think they are safe enough to jump in, it is too often too late.  They end up stuck with homes bought at inflated prices, thinking they were going to sell at an even higher inflated prices.  However, they end up trapped in a property that is not going to sell for possibly years, it has a negative cash flow because it is now financed at more than it is worth.   

The irony of it all is that they were so afraid of risk that they waited.   Waiting so long actually left them with the most risk and ended up biting them in the butt…you know, in the back pocket where the checkbook is??? 



Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Community,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 5:53 am

September 12, 2008

Improved Home Affordability



A new report has come out which is saying that Utah home prices are more affordable than they have been in a few years. 

The report of August 19, 2008, based upon the second quarter of 2008 says that for families earning the median income of $65,300, 55% of all the new and existing homes are affordable statewide.

In the third quarter of 2005, 58% of the homes were considered affordable. 

Ogden-Clearfield have the highest affordability ranking with 68% of the homes being considered affordable. 
Provo-Orem area was at only 22.5% in the third quarter of 2007 but are now at 50%.
St George went from 16% in 2006 to 37%.

You can find this and more at














September 10, 2008

Home Prices are Falling?


I have been very busy in 2008 with buyers.  I have worked with more buyers than usual which I took as a good sign that the market was going to recover soon in spite of the downturn of August 2007.  Even though I have been showing more houses, I have not been getting the buyers to closing.  Now that the year is nearing it’s end, I can look back and see a trend. 

Almost every buyer I worked with throughout the year seemed to have a harder time choosing a home.  I showed more homes to each buyer than is typical.  This has been a curious phenomenon to me because there have been an unusually high number of listings available since a year ago.  Apparently, having more homes to choose from actually makes it harder for buyers to decide.

The other trend I have seen is that almost EVERY buyer this year has asked me to write offers that are at least $40,000 below the listed price.  In spite of all the low offers I submitted throughout the year, not one seller accepted one of these low-ball offers.  The only conclusion I can come to is that buyers are hearing the media reports from other places around the country and are going out, trying to buy homes for the same reduced rates that they are hearing other cities experiencing. 

The media has been very good this year at making it sound like the troubles in certain parts of the country are a nationwide problem.  So, because Southern California, Phoenix Arizona, Detroit and parts of Florida are experiencing dropping home prices, the bottom is falling out across the whole country. 

The fact that I have not seen one seller, so far, be willing to take such a loss on his/her home, shows me that our local market is not that desparate.  The other interesting thing I have seen is that when a seller wont take the ridiculous offer, the buyers do not want to negotiate.  The seller comes back from the low-ball offer with a counter that is more reasonable, and still well below their listed price, but the buyer walks away instead of trying to negotiate a “fair” price.  After two or three attempts at the low-ball approach, the buyers have told me, “We have decided that we are going to wait a while to buy a home.” 

I try to post Utah County statistics occasionally on this blog so that the public can see the trends in the market.  I include what is happening, usually for the last 30, 60, and 90 days.  I also break down what is happening by price range so that you can see where your home fits in or what price range you might want to look in. 

For buyers that are still believing what they hear about the “falling prices”, here are the average home prices/sold prices in 2008 by month so far:

January          /$266,580
February        /$252,760
March            /$275,554
April               /$266,500
May               /$269,120
June               /$279,638

July and August’s numbers are not listed yet but I have heard that they are up significantly, but just slightly below last year’s.  February and April were the months to buy a home at a better price as the average price was down a little, but there were never any $40,000 differences; as you can see. 

September 6, 2008

Loan Fraud in Utah County


A story broke a while ago about a Mortgage Loan Fraud scheme in Utah County.  I am sure that by now, most have heard about the Provo Riverbottoms fraud case.  Ron Clarke, a local real estate agent, recently plead guilty to charges of fraud.  Clarke, one of five people most involved, has been a prominent REALTOR® in our area dealing mostly in the luxury home market.  The Riverbottom area in question was hard hit by this scheme which used inflated appraisals, straw buyers, and false information.  I am sure that these homeowners would disagree that loan fraud is a victimless crime.  I have been told that appraisers in the state are not allowed to use those homes as comparables because of the grossly and fraudulently inflated values. 

I am happy to see that the Utah Mortgage Fraud Task Force is making themselves known.  Scammers beware!

I have said it before and I will say it again.  Take time to choose the right agent for you whether you are buying or selling.  It is important to find and agent that you can trust.  My experience is that most agents are honest.  A few are unknowlegeable and unskilled and do not try very hard (if at all) to remedy those weaknesses.  Taking a little time to interview agents, ask around for recommendations from friends, and read testimonials;  a little research can go a long way in protecting you from someone that may cause you damage in the end.  


September 4, 2008

Statistics September 4, 2008

As of:     September 4, 2008        
Active Listings in Utah County   4,949    
Homes Sold in Utah County in the Last 90 Days   1296    
Homes Sold in Utah County in the Last 60 Days   895    
Homes Sold in Utah County in the Last 30 Days   465    
Listings that expired in the last 90 days   2402    
Listings under contract in the last 90 days   527    
Listings under contract in the last 30 days   363    
In the last 90 days:   Expired Sold Under Contract
Under $200,000   489 543 217
Between $201,000 and 299,000   782 429 180
Between $300,000 and 399,000   447 162 60
Between $400,000 and 499,000   217 56 26
Between $500,000 and 599,000   107 28 13
Between $600,000 and 699,000   61 23 5
Between $700,000 and 799,000   63 14 4
Between $800,000 and 899,000   25 3 3
Between $900,000 and 999,000   13 1 3
Over $1,000,000   61 5 5
Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 8:31 am

September 2, 2008

Belize Topside

We had to take a puddle jumper from Belize City to Dangriga in order to catch our water taxi to Tobacco Caye.  I took a few pictures of the area in Dangriga which is smaller than Belize City.  Dangriga’s population is about 1,000 while Belize City is closer to 71,000.  I did notice a few advertisements around Dangriga for new real estate developments. Belize is very beautiful. It might be what you are looking for as far as a vacation home goes.

Here are some pictures of Dangriga:

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 1:00 pm