It’s a Long Ride on a Short Sale

Definitions: Short Sale

The definition of a short sale is when a homeowner owes more to their current mortgage lender than they can sell the house for on the open market and sells the house for the market price
after negotiating with their lender to accept less.

For example, Henrietta and John own a single family house. The balance on their current mortgage is $267,000. John lost his job and they wish to sell the house to relocate to another state for better employment opportunities. They invite local Realtors to make a “Listing Presentation” as to how much Henrietta and John’s house could sell for under current market conditions. The consensus among these Realtors is a price range of $195,000-$220,000.

Henrietta and John owe more than the house can be sold for. They retain the services of a local attorney who specializes in negotiating short sales. Their attorney then negotiates with their existing Lender to accept less than the $267,000 owed on the house and basically to accept payment based on whatever Henrietta and John can sell the house for.

The negotiating of the short sale is a complicated and difficult process. Henrietta and John’s attorney will need to present comprehensive income documentation to their Lender. The Lender will in turn conduct it’s own analysis of the value of the house and the merits of accepting Henrietta and John’s offer of less money rather than conducting a foreclosure proceeding.

Thanks to recent Federal Government initiatives, the process to negotiate a short sale has become easier. What used to take nearly a year to accomplish can now be negotiated in as little as 45 days, although the average processing time for a short sale approval is probably closer to six months.

When Henrietta and John receive the approval for their short sale, there will be some fundamental conditions in place.

1. Their Lender will receive ALL proceeds of the sale AFTER Henrietta and John have paid customary closing fees for their locale and real estate commissions and legal fees to their attorney.

2. They will not be allowed to receive any funds in their pocket.

3. Their Lender may reserve the right to obtain a “deficiency judgment” against Henrietta and John for the amount of the mortgage loan left unpaid by the approved short sale.

What does a short sale mean for a Homebuyer?

1. Be PATIENT. You may have a considerable waiting period from the time you sign a contract of sale to the point when the short sale is approved on the house you are buying.

2. Get your Mortgage Approval and MAINTAIN your financial status. Once your mortgage loan application is approved and your Lender issues a loan commitment, be sure your Income, Assets, and Credit stay the same as when you made your loan application. Because it may be some time before you close, your Lender will update your documentation used for the loan approval. If your financial situation changes, you may lose your approval altogether.

3. You can’t get Something For Nothing. Don’t think you can get a house in a short sale situation for “fire sale” prices. After all, the house didn’t get burned in a fire, the Homeowner simply owes more than current market prices will bear. If you offer substantially below the market price, chances are the Lender approving the short sale for the homeowner may counter your offer to a higher price. This is based on their independent analysis of market prices for similar homes in close proximity to the house you are buying.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

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Ask Trevor A Question

Appraisal came in SHORT. WHAT NOW?

In the end, the motivations of all parties to make the deal happen and close the transaction rule the day. Those motivations drive everyone to find a solution and get the deal closed. Or not.

Wow, 27+ years as a Mortgage Banker! I have seen the occasional short appraisal! I started in November 1989 because I wanted to become a Homeowner so I chose a path which would get me there: Mortgage Professional.

Times were tough back in that market.  Interest rates were high and property values had dropped dramatically.  The employment picture for many Americans wasn’t very promising.  There were a lot of foreclosures and homeowners had a hard time refinancing their mortgages due to lost equity.  Sounds very similar to our recent post-meltdown market with the exception of the interest rates (11% in 1989!!!).

I received a valuable part of my education early on in my career as I dealt with purchase transactions where the appraisal came in for less than the purchase price.  Buyers, Sellers and their respective Realtors are all “IN IT TO WIN IT” and make the deal happen.

How you see your house!

I carry that education with me to this day when my HomeBuyer clients ask me at application time, “What happens if the appraisal comes in for less than the Purchase Price?”   I know many HomeBuyers may think it’s a NO-BRAINER: the Seller will automatically reduce the price.  But that is NOT the case right out of the gate.  Here’s what I learned all those years ago about appraisals that come in short:

How the Appraiser sees your house

When the bank appraisal comes in for less than the contract price

there are FOUR ways to proceed with the transaction.


  1. The Purchaser comes up with the difference in cash. If the appraisal is less than the Purchase price, the Seller basically assumes the Purchaser wishes to buy the house according to the terms of the contract, including the agreed upon Purchase Price. Therefore, the Seller assumes the Purchaser will come up with the cash necessary to complete the transaction.
  2. The Purchaser and the Seller meet in the middle. The Purchaser comes up with some cash but the Seller also agrees to reduce the price enough to meet the Purchaser somewhere “in the middle.”  Both sides want to complete the transaction and so they work it out.  This is compromise at its best.
  3. The Seller reduces the Purchase Price to equal the Appraised value. This is the least likely scenario, but not an impossible one.  Sellers often want to complete the purchase transaction on the original terms of the contract, including the price. But a determined Purchaser working with a great Realtor, by digging in and working hard to negotiate can often make it happen.
  4. Nothing happens and the deal is cancelled. The Purchaser either cannot or will not come up with the extra cash and the Seller refuses to reduce the price completely or even a little bit to meet the Purchaser.  In this case the transaction is cancelled, the Down Payment is returned, and everyone goes home unhappy.  The Purchaser has to begin all over again and the Seller has to put the house on the market and try to find a new Purchaser.

In the end, the motivations of all parties to make the deal happen and close the transaction rule the day.  Those motivations drive everyone to find a solution and get the deal closed.  Or not.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

5 Steps To Making An Offer To Buy A Home

When you take these formal steps you are demonstrating to everyone involved in the transaction just how serious a Buyer you are. You will set yourself apart from “the crowd” when you follow my method.

There is a deliberate process to making an offer. I include step-by-step instructions on how this works. My instructions will help you get the house you want, even if you are dealing with a difficult Seller, a Bank-Owned property, or if you are competing against another Buyer for the same house.

I have seen these methods work many times over with my clients over my almost 28 year career as a mortgage professional.

My basic methodology here is one of making your Offer a very formal proceeding. When you take these formal steps you are demonstrating to everyone involved in the transaction just how serious a Buyer you are. You will set yourself apart from the crowd. I have seen this method work time and time again for my Homebuyer clients.

5 Steps To Making An Offer:

STEP 1. Always make offers in writing. Yes, it is absolutely true that offers can be presented verbally. Don’t do that. Put your offer in writing every time. Even if you are in a situation where you and the Seller are sending counter offers back and forth, every new offer should be in writing.

When your offer is in writing, you come across to the Seller as serious. Think about it, anyone who is taking the time to go in to the real estate office and sign the form is serious about buying a home.

Include the following into your written offer:

  • * The amount of your “earnest money deposit” or “good faith deposit.” That is the amount of money you’ll put into escrow with the Seller’s attorney upon signing the contract of sale.
  • * The amount of your mortgage financing. Of course you’ll back this up with a prequalification letter, but you must include the amount of your mortgage in the offer.
  • * Items included in the sale. If the appliances and the chandelier in the dining room are to be included in the sale, make sure they are written in to the offer. This shows the homeowner you were paying attention when you inspected the home and asked, “What’s included in the sale?”
  • * Attorney Information: the name and complete contact information for your attorney.
  • * Anticipated contract date. Always make this date within 48 hours of your offer. Present the assumption the Seller will accept your offer and immediately forward a contract to your attorney.

Again, this demonstrates to the Seller how serious you are. You are in effect saying, “I am so serious about buying this home I want to sign the contract immediately!” Imagine how many other Buyers out there are delaying things like signing the contract (and potentially changing their minds).

  • * Anticipated closing date. This is an interesting point for the offer. I always recommend putting the closing date for an offer within thirty days of the contract. The fact is most closings take place within 60 days of contract, and your attorney will most likely change that date in the contract, but if your offer says “thirty days,” once again you demonstrate how serious you are about buying the home.

STEP 2. Prequalification letter. Your mortgage professional should be available to fax a prequalification letter within hours of your making your offer; even on Saturdays or Thursday evenings.

STEP 3. Mortgage pro phone call. I think a phone call from your mortgage professional to the Listing Agent is a home run. When the Listing Agent hears from the mortgage person directly how eminently qualified you are, imagine how that raises your profile in the mind of the agent and the Seller!

STEP 4. Home Inspection ready to go. When you sign your offer, be sure to tell your Realtor that you’ve already spoken with your Home Inspector and you can have the inspection done tomorrow. Whoa, that’s really the mark of a serious Buyer!

STEP 5. Get ready with your counteroffer. If you offered less than the asking price, then you need be prepared with your counter offer if the Seller either declines or counters your opening offer. All of the steps above should be repeated with the new price replacing the original number. Organization and swift responses rule the day! Oh, you may not want to counter offer. That’s okay, too.

Close-up shot of keys in the lock of open door. One key is in lock another hanging on the ring
Unlock the door to homeownership with this method

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

Check out my Zillow profile HERE

Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

I welcome Comments for all my blog entries.  I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of  If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!


Use a Blanket that’s Big Enough

People don’t want to get in over their heads with a mortgage payment they can’t afford.

Recent conversations with First Time Buyers have revealed a refreshing attitude amongst today’s home buyers: affordability. People don’t want to get in over their heads with a mortgage payment they can’t afford. I really like that. I have advocated exactly that concept with my clients for my entire career: buy a home you can afford.

During The Boom my words of advice in this regard fell on deaf ears. I would do then as I do now: calculate the mortgage payment and ask the client if this number fits the family budget. In other words, “Can you afford this?” Too often the answer would be “Yes” when I truly knew it should be a “No.” I tried to tell these folks to buy a cheaper house, buy a home they could afford so as not to lead to trouble down the line. I walked away from many of those situations because I just couldn’t reconcile the math and I wouldn’t be a party to a future financial disaster. I knew full well, as I left the room, that another mortgage “professional” would sit down with those clients and tell them what they wanted to hear, give them a truly bad mortgage, collect his commission check, and march off into the sunset leaving this family with a ticking time bomb.

I sat last night with a young couple shopping for a 2 family home. They make an excellent income and have excellent credit. They’re working with not a whole lot of cash (for New York) and so we’ve qualified them for an FHA Insured mortgage loan. They had an expression, “Use a blanket that’s big enough.” In other words, buy a home you can afford. It’s truly all about the monthly payment. If you can’t reconcile that number with your family’s budget, you’re either not ready to buy, or you should look for a less expensive home.

Even though this couple could afford a pretty hefty mortgage payment based on their income, they insist on shopping for a house that allows for a mortgage payment that leaves “breathing room” in their budget. This is good, sober thinking.

When you buy a home, you’re reaching for the stars to make the dream of homeownership come true. But reaching for the stars doesn’t mean you have to launch yourself into orbit. You can make that dream come true with an affordable mortgage payment if you are honest with yourself and realize that you really need to a “blanket that’s big enough.”

Makes sense to me, a blanket that’s big enough keeps you warm at night.

I welcome Comments for all my blog entries. I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of I do not permit unfettered access to comments for obvious reasons: mortgage spammers and their ilk. If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve. Thanks for reading Hope that helps!

They’re BACK. Mortgage Losers/Thieves/Lowlifes Return To the Industry

All those mortgage losers who put this industry and the economy in the toilet are returning to prey on consumers once again.

We’re seeing it. All those mortgage losers who put this industry and the economy in the toilet are returning to prey on consumers once again. They’re returning because opportunities abound to separate hard-working homeowners and homebuyers from their money.

We’re hearing of people getting back into the mortgage business after the long cold “winter” of 2007-2009 when business was hard to come by and only the brave and the bold stuck it out to continue hard-earned careers. These mortgage-professional-wannabees are coming back because low interest rates and a newfound sense of optimism are bringing buyers back and opening up homeowners’ minds to the idea of refinancing.

The Associated Press reported of a warning from Senator Charles Schumer about these mortgage losers. The Senator it seems is also aware of the return of these crooks looking to ripoff consumers. Read more HERE

More than ever when shopping for a mortgage the words “Buyer Beware” ring true. Look for those mortgage professionals with substantial experience and preferably those who you find through a referral from a friend or family member, or your tax professional or attorney. Searching the internet for a mortgage professional is, IMHO, a recipe for disaster. You’re likely to come across many alleged experts who only want to tell you what you want to hear just to get your business. Once they get you to the closing table, everything changes and you can watch your money evaporate from your wallet.

I’ve recently cautioned against working with non-FHA approved mortgage people. These are yet another class of mortgage lowlife who pretend they are allowed to originate FHA loans. Worse, they pretend to know “all about” FHA loans. I just spoke on the phone while writing this blog entry with a young man who told me how he encountered many such people who claimed they could approve him for an FHA loan on a Co-Op apartment purchase. He told me they all seemed very happy to want to separate him from his money for application fees and the like. He contacted me to ask about getting an FHA loan for a Co-Op. He seemed to know already that such a loan was not available, but thought it’s because FHA doesn’t insure Co-Op loans. In fact, FHA DOES indeed insure Co-Op loans (FHA is an insurance program; FHA doesn’t make the loan, they insure the Lender’s loan in the event of foreclosure). I explained this fact to him. The problem with FHA and Co-Op loans is there are no Lenders who provide such financing.

No conversation about mortgage lowlifes would be complete without a mention of those poor homeowners trying to do a loan modification. As I mentioned recently, there are many scams out there with alleged “loan modification experts” very willing to take thousands of dollars in fees from distressed homeowners while providing absolutely nothing in return: no modification, no saving of the house, nothing, nada, zilch. Many of these crooks are, in my opinion, former mortgage losers who have changed their crime tactics from putting unsuspecting people into terrible sub-prime loans. Now they seek to steal your money—and your home—by pretending to counsel you on modifying your loan. BUYER BEWARE.

If you truly feel you wish to modify your loan contact an attorney. Or do it yourself.

On a sidenote, I attended a job fair yesterday seeking to recruit salespeople for the company where I work. I met the recruiters from the FBI and asked them to please, “…hire more people today and arrest more mortgage brokers.” They laughed and asked what I do. “I’m a mortgage broker!” I replied. “Please, I’m serious,” I continued, “these people have destroyed my industry, please hire some good people today and go out and arrest more mortgage brokers.”

Postscript: To the young man who called for advice on FHA and the Co-Op loan: Thank you for your kind compliment about and thank you for stopping by to read my rantings!!!

I welcome Comments for all my blog entries. I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of I do not permit unfettered access to comments for obvious reasons: mortgage spammers and their ilk. If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve. Thanks for reading Hope that helps!

How-To Make An Offer: Redux 2009

Check out my Re-Posted article on making offers and you, too, can get the home you want at the price you want to pay.

I like to share my professional and personal experience with HomeBuyers. To that end, I created this blog four years ago. I’ve written extensively about the experience of buying a first home, especially with regards to negotiating with Sellers.

As the Spring Buying season gets underway (and it is DEFINITELY doing so as witness recent activity within my market), I thought I might Re-Post one of my blog articles about how-to make an offer to buy your first home. There is a definite process to making an offer as you will see in the article. Not only did I present information from the “old-fashioned” way of buying a home through a Realtor, but I seeded the article with much that I had learned as a mortgage professional. In my experience, this is a technique that is tried and true and it WORKS.

When Buyers ask me, “Hey Trevor, how do I get a sense what the Seller’s “real” price is?” I respond: “MAKE AN OFFER!”

When Buyers like a house but realize it needs updating, or, the house location is great for their needs but the house itself isn’t quite right, thus leading in both instances to a desire to pay substantially less than the asking price, I recommend those Buyers, too, use the Offer technique described in my article.

Too often Buyers look at homes they really like but walk away without making an offer. In New York State, until you sign a contract of sale, you can make as many offers on as many houses for whatever prices as you like without being committed to a danged thing. Use the Offering technique to get what YOU want. In today’s Buyer’s market this technique is useful to get unrealistic Sellers shaken loose from the idea that their home is still worth what it was in 2005.

Try it and you’ll find you get results when you are dealing with what I consider to be “serious” Sellers and Realtors. The method also helps you weed out unrealistic Sellers from your search for a home. It’s true, there are Sellers out there who aren’t serious. By using my offer method you discover quickly and avoid wasting your time dealing with them.

Let’s talk about Realtors for a moment. With the market in such disarray, many, many Realtors have departed the real estate business; they could not earn enough to pay their bills. They have moved on to take salaried jobs elsewhere. You would think this cleansing process would leave only serious real estate professionals, those who are earnest in their desire to adhere to professional standards and ethics. Too, you would think the part-time Realtor, the “dabbler” if you will, couldn’t possibly survive. In both cases your thinking would be wrong. I’m sorry to report that I’m still coming across situations where Buyers are working with less-than-professional-Realtors. Unfortunately, this can affect a Buyer because you don’t get the high quality of professionalism that you deserve. In a difficult market where Sellers are unsure of their course of action the results can be disastrous. The Realtor’s role is to bring Buyers and Sellers together. A seasoned professional does so ethically and with quality sales techniques. The Pro doesn’t use sales “mumbo-jumbo” instead adhering to the idea that a good salesperson listens to the needs of the customer/client and finds a way to satisfy those needs. The Seller wants the best price in a “Buyer’s Market” and the Buyer wants the home they love without over-paying. Quality Realtors make that happen.

My experience with many part-time Realtors is they don’t have the resources to find the right home for their Buyer. Neither do they have the time nor the inclination for lengthy negotiations.

Many of those “Boom-Time” Realtors who made a killing selling homes to anyone with a pulse just don’t care to understand the finer points of being a good salesperson. In an attempt to survive they are still using the methods that sold homes four years ago. For example, I had a Realtor tell one of my clients at an open house that he had “…better hurry up and make an offer because there are 3 other really good offers on the table.” WHAT!?! In this market that cannot possibly be true. That’s “Boom-Time” selling, not Buyer’s Market professionalism.

My Buyer tested the waters using my offering technique. The offer was neither accepted nor countered. We do not believe the Realtor even presented the offer to the Seller, a violation of New York State law. My client’s offer was very reasonable considering the market conditions, their seriousness as qualified homebuyers, and the fact the house needed $30,000 of updates. The Buyer used the offering technique to discern if the Seller was serious about selling the home. Clearly the Seller was not, or, as I suspect, the Seller’s Realtor was a substandard salesperson. The house is still on the market a month later. I guess the other “really good offers” just didn’t work out (if they existed at all).

My client, on the other hand, has gone on to find a superb and experienced Realtor after using my offering method to walk away from a good house with a bad situation.

Check out the article and you, too, can get the home you want at the price you want to pay. As I have often said around the internet after posting advice on one forum or another, “Hope that helps!”

Why You Need To Look At Your 401k Statement

One of the prime methods to getting a mortgage loan approval during the current mortgage-underwriting climate is proving you have reserves: those dwindling 401k accounts might be useful after all.

Mortgage Loans are difficult to obtain these days.  Underwriters at Banks are about the craziest I have ever seen in 20 years as a mortgage professional.  Arguments over the interpretation of an underwriting guideline—the kind I used to win back in the 90’s—are frequently Cold-War-style standoffs: there is no clear winner, you see it your way, and I see it mine.

Folks think Underwriting a mortgage loan application is some kind of objective exercise.  It’s not.  Underwriters are human and they are subject to the same day in and day out challenges all the rest of us humans face, with one difference.  If the Underwriter is having a bad day, or, in our current market, a BAD YEAR, that Underwriter is making obtaining a loan approval an impossible endeavor.

As a mortgage originator, I have to “pre-underwrite” each and every client’s situation.  I have learned to “roll with the punches” as it were to find strengths in any given loan application and help my client get the loan approval for the home they wish to buy or refinance.  I’m watching how Underwriters are reacting to market conditions or the directives they are receiving from their bank employers (too often confused and muddled) to gauge the best path to loan approval for my clients.

Thus I look for every little bit of ammunition I can find in order to fight the good fight when I’m prequalifying a client.

One nice bit of artillery is the ubiquitous 401k or retirement account.  Underwriters like “reserves” on a loan application.  Reserves is the money you have left over after closing on a mortgage loan; it’s the money you didn’t spend on downpayment and closing costs.  In the event you experience some life catastrophe in the future, like a job loss, you can use the reserves to pay your mortgage every month while recovering from said catastrophe (finding another job).

Reserves are required for two months’ worth of mortgage payments for Conventional (Non-Government) financing. The FHA does not require reserves for 1 or 2 family home financing; 3 and 4 family homes require 3 months’ reserves. Those are the guidelines, but let’s talk about getting your loan approved during the toughest mortgage underwriting era I’ve ever seen. Reserves count a lot; the more you have, the higher the probability of a loan approval, especially if your application is weak in any of the other areas of loan underwriting (IAC, or Income, Assets, Credit).

Often, my clients come to me for prequalification with their standard documentation in hand: paystubs, Tax returns, bank statements.  I always request but never seem to encounter proof of any retirement accounts, like 401k statements.  And when I ask my clients, “Okay, you don’t have the statement with you, but how much is in your account right now?”  I am often met with blank stares.

Folks just don’t know. Considering how much money they may have lost in those retirement accounts in recent months, they don’t want to know.

I understand a lot of us don’t want to face the bad news of dwindling retirement funds due to markets falling and investments failing.  But you need to open up that 401k statement if you’re planning on applying for a mortgage.  Those monies, eviscerated by market forces though they may be, can be very useful on a loan application.

In fact, I’d be so bold as to say that right now, one of the prime methods to getting a mortgage loan approval is proving you have reserves.  So get out those statements this chilly Sunday afternoon and face the music. Put your 401k statment together with your other documents you’ll need for the loan application.  Doing so might be the difference between getting a mortgage approval, or not.

A New Hope…just like the Old Days

As a new sense of optimism sweeps into the housing market, the old-fashioned way of getting your mortgage comes once again into vogue.

There’s a feeling of hope we’re seeing from new clients; they want to buy homes. Monthly payment leads the day when it comes to determining if they can buy a home, not the rate, not the state of the economy, not the state of the housing market. And that’s just like the old days.

The hope is driven by the idea there will be a new President, a new administration, and a new attitude in Washington.

These people are coming out in the cold, looking at homes, asking questions, making offers and ultimately buying a home. Many of them are being qualified using another traditional mortgage “standard” the FHA Insured mortgage loan.

FHA has been around since The Great Depression and is still, in my humble opinion, the best way for a family to purchase a home. FHA financing allows for a more “human” understanding of a borrower’s qualifications; lower credit scores (not “deadbeat” credit, just the stuff life throws at you), lower cash required for downpayment (important in the NY Metro region where the cost of living and closing costs are so high), and the ability to use more of your income to qualify for the loan.

I’ve performed miracles using FHA loans throughout my career; and a lot of plain old boring loans that didn’t require a miracle, just a human touch.

FHA is a government insurance program; it’s not a bailout. The bank makes the loan, Uncle Sam insures it against foreclosure. So an old program comes into it’s own just in time. As a new sense of optimism sweeps into the housing market, the old-fashioned way of getting your mortgage—with some help from the government through the FHA—comes once again into vogue.

Yay for that.

The Floaters: Please Step This Way For Your New Career

To all you mortgage losers who got in during the boom and (almost but not quite) got out when it went bust: Please Step This Way For Your New Career!

They’re still out there, floating on the fringes of the mortgage business, behaving almost as badly as they did “back in the day.” These are the losers who got into the mortgage business immediately before and during the fantasy boom which ultimately led to the mortgage meltdown of 2007. They ignored the fundamentals of mortgage underwriting and joined the feeding frenzy of taking homeowners and homebuyers on the Sub-Prime ride to hell.

These idiots are still hanging on for dear life, attempting to find a foothold and stay in the game.

Newsflash:the game is over. Thank goodness.

When I say they’re still trying to hold on, what I mean is, they’re either still representing themselves as “being in the business” or they’re answering employment ads for Loan Officers. The fact is they have a day job and maybe they have some odd part-time status at a mortgage company. These fools are not working full time originating mortgage loans and keeping up to date with the rapidly changing market conditions to approve and close mortgage loans.

As to the first group of losers, well, I’ve spoken about them already. They still call themselves mortgage professionals even though they’re really and truly out of the business and working a day job at the local Big Box store. They interfere with the normal commerce of mortgage business when they try to sink their teeth into a potential mortgage application, claiming to the poor unwitting consumer how they have “special programs” available to help the consumer get a mortgage loan. Interference it is, truly, because these idiots are still making promises that can’t be kept: offering to provide “Stated Income” loans when no such program exists. Or offering to qualify someone with $40,000 income for a $500,000 mortgage when there isn’t a calculator on the Planet Earth that will do such math.

The second group of morons answer our company’s ads seeking Loan Officers. These yo-yo’s come into our office claiming to be experienced when they can neither spell nor define terms such as FHA or LTV. Then they lay claim to be capable of becoming the top producer in our shop in no time in the toughest real estate market in history. Then the kicker: they want a signing bonus, a salary plus commission and all kinds of employment benefits.

Look, LOSER, I started in the business 19 years ago and was offered straight commission. That’s what I still get paid. That’s what most every mortgage company pays! And in this market, why on earth would a mortgage company offer a salary or signing bonus? Companies are struggling to survive, they’re not in a position to hand out money just because you feel you deserve it!

So, I say this: Stop it! PUHLEEEEZE! You’re embarrassing yourself in ways too incredible to describe! We actually stopped laughing at you lot some time ago because you’re all so pathetic! Now we just cut the interview short and send you packing.

Truly, we’re considering collecting employment opportunity listings from the Big Box Stores, Fast Food Joints and even local convenience stores just so we can point you all in the right direction: to your new career as cashier, stock clerk or janitor.

Do us—mortgage pro and consumer alike—ALL a favor and get OUT of the mortgage business once and for all! You came in and thought you were gonna party like it’s 1999 when instead you destroyed people’s lives and wrecked an industry.

So, to all you mortgage losers who got in during the boom and (almost but not quite) got out when it went bust: Please Step This Way For Your New Career!

Intangible Benefits of Homeownership

I don’t think my radar is any more tweaked than usual, but I did pick up quite a few quotes in today’s which point to the American Dream of homeownership and the “intangible benefits” of same.

I have long said that you simply cannot put a number to quantify the intangible benefits of homeownership. When you live in your own home there is something that changes within you, there is a feeling which you simply can’t express with a number such as “4% increase in property value.”

My entire career as a mortgage professional has been spent helping people who think as I do, who “feel” it makes complete sense to own their own homes. These folks focus on the monthly payment—can they afford to own a home—then decide to move forward if that payment fits. They move forward regardless of the person sitting in the White House, regardless of interest rates or property values or what the newspapers say about it (“Buy NOW! Real estate always goes up!” or, “Worst time to buy real estate!”).

These folks know deep down inside there is something they will receive that you can’t put into numbers, and only rarely into words, that just makes it feel like you did the right thing when you put it all on the line to buy a home.

’nuff said from me, here are some quotes (with the links) from today’s

From “The Backyard In New York City-An Urban Oasis” (The article describes the joys and rather unusual circumstance of a backyard within the urban confines of New York City)— August 31, 2008

“”I wish they’d pass a law,’ said Rebecca Cole, a designer of high-end backyard, terrace and rooftop gardens, ‘that if you have outdoor space you have to put something on it because the rest of us want it.’”

“’One of the reasons we love it, it’s garden to garden,’” said Ms. Franklin

My Fave Quote from the article:
“At night, after putting their sons to bed, they set up a folding table to sip cocktails and grill by tiki candles and music on the radio while counting their blessings, as Mr. Pinn says: ‘A house, two kids, two cars and a lawn.’”

I don’t detect a single word about “ROI” (Return On Investment), the state of the economy and the effect on property values, or the mortgage meltdown of 2007. Nope, this is what the folks are talking about:

“They consulted neighbors who were also fixing up their yards. ‘We get together over drinks and talk about seeds,’ Mr. Pinn said. ‘It’s kind of an odd conversation for the city.’”

Instead of watching the value of his property ticking up or down:

“…weekends often find him pushing a manual mower back and forth across the baby lawn but he doesn’t mind. ‘It’s a little therapeutic,’ he said. ‘I get out there and do my thing. It kind of softens up the hard life of New York City.’”

Another article on reports on the unique penthouses being constructed atop an apartment building in Manhattan! The penthouses look like quaint little suburban tract homes. But the most interesting part of the story is the reaction of neighbors watching these mini-Manhattan-miracles make their way onto the (above) streetscape:

“Ms. Gavilanes found the penthouses alluring. ‘I would get a car,’ she said, ‘and put it out in the driveway. And then I’d add a white picket fence, and AstroTurf. Maybe have a golden retriever playing in the yard.’”

Even Jaded New Yorkers Are Intrigued By The Little Houses On The Roof. — August 31, 2008

I’d like to say, “Only in New York” but the fact is, these articles/comments all reflect the deep-seated understanding that there is something special about owning a home. That understanding isn’t unique to a bunch of New Yorkers, either. I’ve believed it for so long, I’ve forgotten just how long. And I’ve defended this intangible benefit vehemently, even during the “fantasy boom” when all the rage was “values going up, up, up,” and then later during the meltdown when all the pessimists said, “Don’t buy NOW. Wait ’til the prices drop.”

You can’t put a price on this stuff. Period.