Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Both The Home And The Ad Have Potential

"Perfect for a large family or a car collector". Not the way a typical ad for a home starts out, but that's a good thing. In fact, this is an all-too-rare positive example of how a property ad should start out.

The above quote is actually the first sentence of the copy. Now you are talking! There is a sentence that makes you want to read more. And when you do read more, you read things like "Covered parking next to house plus 11 car garage".

Remaining copy includes "5 acres of paradise. Horse corral and stables. Basketball court plus putting green. Upper deck patio plus gazebos".

There is nothing in the description copy about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. And that's fine, even though it took me a moment to find where it says 4 bedrooms 3 baths on the side.

The photo spread in this ad is effective, especially since the primary photo actually matches and compliments the description. Normally, it is not advisable to show a vehicle within a photo, but in this case it actually enhances the photo because it shows how easily several vehicles can fit on the property.

This advertisement rates very well with me for many of the reasons already described. Again, that first sentence does what every real estate ad should do. It makes you want to keep reading. It points out the unique features only. After all, even in the $800,000 price range, not many homes offer parking for more than 11 vehicles, a horse corral, and a basketball court, and so much more.

Strong copy like this makes for a strong advertisement. It helps in a big way that the photos serve to enhance the copy. There is no "Realtor fluff", as I call it. None of the "Must see. This is the house. Won't last long." stuff that wastes valuable ad space.

However, the agent needs to carry this out at least one more step. My problem with this advertisement is that it seems only be on HomeFinder.com. This is not to knock that site, but their property ads, like most other independent real estate advertising portals, are standard in format, which makes it more difficult to make a property stand out and seem more "special" to the potential buyer.

You see, I found this well written ad on HomeFinder.com through the agent's office web site. I saw the primary photo and opening of the description, and clicked on it for more details. Yet, it took me to this HomeFinder.com ad.

With such effective copy and the solid photo spread, there is no excuse for this property not to have its own dedicated web page. The photo spread should be available right away in its entirety instead of having to click through.

The description could be even longer and even more enticing.

If the HomeFinder ad were an additional one in order to get this property on "an additional" site I could understand.

But the agent needs to carry this through. The commission on this property easily justifies being able to provide the treatment this property deserves. Considering that this ad has been up for more than 1 1/2 months, it's not like the agent could tell me he hasn't had time to create an individual ad for it.

You can see it for yourself (as of press time) by searching at 11816 North Loop Dr., Socorro, TX 79927. Hopefully by the time you do, there will indeed be more than one advertisement for it!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Update On Foreclosure Process Blog

This morning brings us an important news update from yesterday's blog about the challenge of a "purchased mortgage" foreclosure in Colorado.

The Alabama Supreme Court today upheld a lower court opinion giving MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) the ability to "legally assign" mortgages in that state, with this response coming as a result of a challenge similar to the one in Colorado. (Crum vs. LaSalle - in AL)

Upon further investigation, it seems that the Supreme Courts in Nevada, Rhode Island, and Idaho have also recent ruled in favor of MERS in this regard.

Hopefully the Judge in Colorado will follow suit.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where You Can't "Bank" On A Foreclosure.......

A U.S. District Judge in Colorado is expected to make a ruling this week which could result in an additional challenge for certain banks to foreclose on homes.


But there is so much more to this story. As of now, this ruling appears to only impact Colorado, where the interpretation is that certain foreclosure regulations are different from other states. Even though the Bank involved also serves many other states.


The confusion doesn’t stop there. The home owner who brought it to the point of a Judge’s ruling may have found a loophole to prevent her home from being foreclosed upon.


Many of us know and understand that mortgages are often sold to other banks or investment groups, causing the home owner of that mortgage to need to make their ongoing payments to the “new” owner.


In the case that brought this to light, the home owner challenged the “new” Bank, which reportedly purchased her mortgage, to prove ownership. According to a Denver Post report, the service which handles the transfer of mortgage ownership does not have official documentation of their takeover, and therefore was not able to show proof of ownership of the mortgage. Yet, this Bank was attempting to foreclose upon the delinquent home owner.


The Judge has admitted that Colorado does not require such documentation. The home owner has not yet involved an attorney, even though the situation has already gotten to this point.


Of course, as those who are involved in this matter will recognize, if the home owner in question could afford the lawyer to fight this, chances are she could be making her payments and not be considered delinquent.


Even in real estate, two wrongs don’t make a right.


If you have been following this blog for a while, you are probably waiting for me to suggest that realty agents in Colorado make their current home owner clients aware of this situation. Perhaps, unless the current system in Colorado is changed, others could challenge the validity of their mortgages. However, I am not going to do that.


In reality, it is potential renters who need to be aware of this mess. The local publicity for this story has likely reached into the wrong hands already. A delinquent home owner who knows their mortgage was purchased by another entity now has reason to delay a foreclosure attempt.


During this delay, there would still be no public record of the bank (or entity) attempting the foreclosure actually having the ownership right to do so. Thus, the home owner could simply collect a security deposit and a month’s rent, turn over the keys, and be moved to another country. An unsuspecting renter could then face eviction and legal action because they have documentation showing they live at the property in question.


To me, the fact that there is a concern for a potential renter about renting a single family home at a time when it should be a more viable option is just as important as what becomes of the foreclosure regulations in Colorado.


Here’s hoping that enough people “move” on this one before it’s too late.






Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why the Focus Should Be On Renting Homes

Unfortunately, there does not appear to be anything close to a short-term solution to the ongoing real estate crisis, even though there is a major need for one. Perhaps making a large portion of available single family homes and condos available as "Rent To Own" would be the best way to help.

All of this "Home sales are up!" information doesn't help when the increase is due to lower property values which make it difficult for so many others to sell.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports another decline in the percentage of American who own their homes during the first quarter of 2013 when compared with the same period in 2012. This makes the lowest level of Americans who own since 1995. Yet, during the same one-year period, the number of completed forecloses dropped more than 2.5%.

Thus, even with fewer homes in foreclosure, home ownership is down over the same period. Put this together, and it confirms that the reason home sales are "up" is because cash investors continue to swoop up the bargains in hopes of flipping for a future profit. But that doesn't help the current market.

Add to these facts that construction spending was reportedly the largest drop in 2006 during the month of March 2013, which came after a reported increase for February.

My solution to this is to encourage more "Rent To Buy" opportunities. There are plenty of people who cannot get a mortgage, and/or can't afford a huge down payment at the moment. There are plenty of homeowners who want out but, understandably, do not want to take a loss on their home.

The reason that many cities are boasting "less inventory to choose from" is because a large percentage of listed homes are distressed properties. There is little to no incentive for owners to sell since chances are they would not make a profit, let alone break even in most cases.

Yet, if an "owner" can cover the cost of the mortgage and fees, or come close to it, chances are they could use their own funds to rent or buy elsewhere, and perhaps take advantage of an undervalued property available in a location they want to be in.

However, the realty agents I have talked to about this generally are not receptive to this. Therein lies the problem, even though I can understand their hesitation. A "Rent to Buy" deal means the property actually doesn't sell for months or even years. Hence, the agents see this method as putting their commission potential on hold. So they decided they would rather sit on a listing for six months in hopes of getting a sale and a commission sooner rather than later.

What they don't see is the potential to place the "landlord" into another home sooner rather than later, AND setting up for the seller commission down the road when the "Rent to Buy" tenant finally completes the purchase.

Do the math. If fewer people are owning their homes, it has to mean more people are renting. Those realty agents who won't get involved with rentals are missing out on commissions - sooner. That is one short-term solution to this problem.