Friday, September 26, 2008

My trip out West with my 18 year old: Cleveland Ohio real estate, Politics

My 18 year old graduated from high school this June. He decided to join his brother in Las Vegas while he is trying to figure out what he is going to do with his life. He bought himself a 1993 Cadillac De ville for $1800.00. It had 168,000 miles on it. We set out for Las Vegas from Cleveland Ohio. It was a very comfortable ride but expensive at every gas stop. We got as far as Evergreen Colorado before the radiator blew. Luckily I had one of those cool GPS gadgets that let me know where to closest repair shop and hotel were located.
We called AAA and within a half hour we were rescued from the mountain side highway where we broke down. The tow truck driver was wonderful and even dropped us off at the hotel after dropping our car at a service station that he recommended based on the mechanic. We had our car fixed at Big O Tire store in Evergreen, Colorado. I have to say they were wonderful. They fit us in and fixed the car in one day. We only had to stay over one night and were on our way the following day. Thank you Evergreen Colorado!

The reason I am writing this blog is on our way out west we stopped at a diner in Illinois. There was a young girl who was pregnant that was our waitress. She was having a conversation with another patron that seemed to be a regular. What was disturbing about their conversation was she had no idea that Hilary Clinton was not still running for office. The guy she was talking with told her that Hilary dropped out of the race and was now backing Barack Obama. She was very surprised! She said she was going to vote for Hilary anyway. What I found to be so disturbing is that no one had a clue of our basic political system. They were unaware that Hilary and Obama had a primary election and that Obama won! This is what is referred to as the dumbing down of America! I truly fear this coming election. If you watch Mc Cains advertisements they are focused on this group of somewhat illiterate people. Maybe we should have a test before you have the right to vote! Should everyone, even the illiterate really have this right. Don't you think that maybe this should be an earned right. something that you are not born with but have to pass a test of competence! Kind of like a drivers license but a voters license! By the way i am pro choice!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Uncle Sam's bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac from the trenches;Cleveland Ohio realestate

As a small broker in Cleveland Ohio my impression "from the trenches" of this latest government bail out is definitely a different perspective. What I saw in the industry before the Fannie Mae Freddie Mac bail out of the bank owned properties were selling for pennies on the dollar. It was like the wild wild west in real estate. A great big give a way! This had a huge effect on the regular market. The inner city and the first ring of suburbs are the ones that have suffered the most. High end markets are not feeling this as badly as our middle class properties. High end markets have suffered some losses in value but it appears that it is still moving along unlike the lessor priced properties. Why would someone buy a home on the resale market if it wasn't hugely discounted like many of these bank owned properties. The answer is few were. You could buy a double for 80k or less and put a few thousand dollars into it and end up with a huge equity savings. I have seen some of these bank owned single family homes in very good condition. You will see that they were on the market before the people lost their home. Then when the bank takes it over they put the property up for half the price. I have seen banks turn down offers on these properties only to turn around and put them up for far less than they would of made. I personally have been involved in three of these recently. The new buzz word in real estate is short sale. I have been doing short sales for 24 years. Sometimes you work out a deal but most of the time you get caught up in a bureaucratic web of who's on first base who's on second. Half of the people presently employed in the loss mitigation departments have no real estate background. They don't understand the dynamics of the industry. They just do what they are told and carry a huge work load. Since the bail out any bank owned property that was listed has had a really hard time getting answers on offers. I have had an offer in on one for over a week. Before the bail out anything in escrow seemed to be tied up. Now that the bail out occurred the properties that are in escrow are all getting cleared off the books and the deals appear to be set to close. All the brokers that I know who work the REO market are complaining that the listings are all dying out. Their sources of business continually keeps changing. Maybe this is a good thing! Maybe the slow down in the marketing of these bank owned properties will give the regular market a chance to catch up. I do know that "from the trenches" this last week made the phones stop ringing. It is the end of September and we have a long winter a head of us in Cleveland. Making a living in this continually declining environment has never been more challenging.