Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Countrywide - has a heart and a brain?

I was at a friends today helping him paint his house. You see he is heading for foreclosure and wanted to make a good impression putting his home on the market to try to sell it. His adjustable rate had raised his payment over $1,000 over the past 18 months and there was no way he could keep up.
Today as we pulled out our paint cans a Fed X truck pulled up and delivered a letter. We were expecting the worst as he opened the letter, but much to our surprise Countrywide had offered a huge olive branch. They offered to take his adjustable rate mortgage back to the start rate of 6.5% and fix it for the next 5 years effective immediately. On top of that they are willing to talk to him about working out a payment plan for any unpaid balance to get caught back up. Had he been transported to the land of OZ and received a gift from a benevolent wizard? No, this was Countrywide!
As we sat with our mouths agape we thought "what has the world come to when a mortgage company would voluntarily fix our rates and give up over $1,000 a month in interest payments?"
Tomorrow my friend will call Countrywide to see what they offer via re-payment of his back mortgage payments. I will keep you up to date as to what they say.
Has Countrywide become the wizard of OZ and given them selfs both a heart and a brain? The scarecrow and tin man may be out of luck, but it looks like my friend is the beneficiary. Let's hope more lenders follow suit.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's a buyers market out there!

Now I'm no expert in money management, but I have been in the mortgage since 1996. Over the years, I have been a Realtor, a Mortgage Broker, a real estate investor, and even an appraiser. You see I believe that in order to be good at processing you need to understand all the challenges that your clients will have. The best way to understand them is to be in the trenches and learn.

But I digress - the point is that in markets like this it's tough to figure out what you should do with your money. With home starts faltering, and foreclosures at a near all time high, what's the best place to put your money? Should we all hang in there and keep throwing our money at the stock market on the hopes that it will rebound soon? Or should we liquidate our stocks and go out there and buy some real estate to hold until the market rebounds?

Cash flow seems to be the big problem these days with everyone needing a lot of it to float what they have. If you own your own home you need cash every month to keep it. If your a real estate investor you need cash and rents every month to keep that as well. If you have a method of cash flow then real estate is starting to seem like a steal. I predict that a lot of second homes and vacation property will be snapped up in the next 24 months by retired couples who are looking for a real deal for their home in the sun. They have the cash in the bank, and have just been waiting for a deal like this from the builders and foreclosure market. My suggestion, start marketing to them.

Pete Temple
National Operations Manager

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lender Fax Submissions are a waste of time.

It seems that some lenders out there have not caught up with the 21st century yet. Lenders that make you submit files hundreds of pages long via fax are not seeing the big picture. Not only is it a huge waste of time on everyones part, but frequently the faxes do not even finish transmission. This forces processors to waste untold hours sending faxes that will end up hardly even legible. Then if the entire fax does get through the lender is likely to lose it before it even gets to their desk. There is a better way and we all need to get on board. Are you listening HSBC?

Wake up Lenders! Hire a webmaster to build you an infrastructure for your business. Scanned documents e-mailed to you have the following benefits for all:

- Faster transmission
- Better clarity
- Simple electronic storage (how many faxes do you lose a month)
- No long distance charges for your customers
- Does not tie up your customers faxes for hours
- Can be sent again in a matter of seconds if lost

Seriously, most lenders are scanning all files for electronic storage anyway. Why not accept the files in Adobe format, have a virtual file with all the pieces accessible at any time that you can work from. It's the 21st Century - and it's time lenders started catching up with the rest of us.

Pete Temple
National Operations Manager

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Home Sales Falter

According the the New York Times, new home sales have fallen to the lowest level since 1990. The main fears seem to be buyers reluctance to purchase in declining markets.

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