I belonged to a number of Real Estate related groups on Linked In for a long time but mostly as reader and never really posted anything till I got my daily digest this morning from Real Estate Owned / REO Professionals and read a posting from one California agent who complained about Foreclosure Moratorium. It was alarming how rude and clueless some of discussion participants were so I decided to deep my foot into social media frenzy and express my opinion on the issue. Since my few short thoughts quickly turned into a couple of pages I’m posting it on Facebook, Linked In, AmeriDreamRealtors.com
Short sales…Foreclosures… Let’s be honest to ourselves. I’ve done my share and in my humble opinion they were only a truly good thing till about the end of 2007 maybe mid 08. By the end of 08 most Realtors and large share of homeowners had figured out how to abuse Short Sale option (Each for their own selfish reason, of course). Realtors were able to sell neglected and otherwise overpriced property and SAVVY homeowners managed to stay in their homes for 2, 3 and some even 5 years without paying a penny. Number of people who had taken 2nd and 3rd mortgages prior to going into strategic default is staggering. I have no sympathy for someone who borrowed 125% on a house they bought without a penny down and seller paid closing in 2003-2005. Short sales were done long before housing boom and collapse… If someone had to do a short sale in 1997 or 2002 they usually had real financial hardship and exhausted all financial resources such as 401K Etc. prior to resorting to Short Sale.
My first Short Sale was for a couple who owned their home for 15 year and had it nearly paid in full until, health issues that ultimately ended with disability for both husband and wife brought financial hardship. Back in the days banks didn’t pay much commission on a short sale and homeowner’s credit was trashed, but I was so proud to save their dignity and help the neighborhood avoid foreclosed eyesore on the street.
I admire (not advocate) those who fight till they run out of blood and have no sympathy for those who get thrown out of their house during holidays because the made a rational choice not to pay for a couple or three years and stash or spend the money. After all, everyone gets advanced notice on foreclosure date and even good 30 or so days after property sells at the court ordered commissioner’s sale if you’re in judicial State like KY (approx 30 out of 50 are judicial). So unless a family had gone to an absolute $0.00 income or fought till the last drop of blood they should have had plenty of time to save enough money to rent an apartment before Sheriff comes knocking on the door. With a small exception; only drunks, and ignorant idiots get evicted by Sheriff, most other people have enough common sense to brace for impact. I say “I admire and not advocate” those who fight because it’s a noble and honorable thing to do and those people are 180 degrees away from those who don’t have to sell, can afford it, but still sell short (at our expense)because the value is not there. I don’t advocate the fight anymore because running from the sinking ship is a new HIT tune that ALL of us dance to and few who choose not to become a black sheep and get hurt.
I’m sure I sound Hippocratic in a lot of what I just said, but remember “we the realtors” don’t really have the right for opinion….. As long as it’s legal; we must serve our clients without interference of our personal judgment or believes. Like it or not an ER doctor must put stitches on self inflicted wounds of criminal who has been sentence to death by the court. So yes I’ve done short sales…. And I’m good at it. I also must admit that I’ve been lucky and have NOT represented sellers in so called Strategic Default.
As for complains toward the government I’ll quote -- Winston Churchill: "The Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives."
It’s time the government quit interfering with our lives and started creating business friendly environment. STOP calling investors “Speculators” and offer tax incentives to those who buy and hold or rehab undesirable property. I.E accelerated depreciation schedule, lower capital gain tax on property purchased NOW and held in inventory for 10, 15, 20+ years. Let’s make it a tax free transaction for those who buy worthless boarded-up property in rough neighborhoods and improve its value by more than 300-400% and make it desirable again. Offer a 10-20 tax moratorium or significant on rental income to those who rehab and rent those boarded-up houses. We’ll see investors vacuuming the inventory and creating thousands of construction jobs as well as huge increase of sales in materials, fixtures, appliances, Etc. The collapse of housing bubble created huge inventory and wiped out a lot of construction, retail, and manufacturing jobs. But as we all know “As one door closes, another one always opens”, the problem is that we the Realtors aren’t the only ones who go with the flow and Short-Sell houses to put food on our kids table. The politicians are fighting for survival in Washington, I’m sure they have families to feed too, however, the difference is that while politicians fight “The Key” to that revolving door is laying in Uncle Sam’s back pocket. That’s why I think we’re stock with the “Short” end of a selling stick.