Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What? Better Financing For Non-USA Residents?

It is bad enough that millions of U.S. residents who have faithfully made every mortgage payment for years are "rewarded" with a significant drop in the value of their property to the point where they can't sell to break even. It is bad enough that lender restrictions toughened up to the point where many consumers are not able to qualify for a mortgage even if they had enough to purchase a home.

Yet, while this is going on, it turns out that some international buyers are now able to get BETTER financing for purchasing U.S. properties at a discount. Shouldn't residents of this country have an advantage?

New research shows a recent 46% increase in real estate purchases by foreign buyers. 

I'm sure that some will argue that these international buyers are helping the economy by pumping millions and millions of dollars into real estate. Normally, I would not have an issue with that. Where I do take issue is the fact that, at the present time, these foreign buyers have a significant advantage over U.S. residents right here in our country. 

If I was in charge, there would be an additional 15% "Foreign Buyer" county tax added to every U.S. property purchased by a non-resident. Why a county tax? Because that money should go into the local county property tax fund and go toward reduction of the local property tax costs for every U.S. home owner within that county. 

In addition, these purchases would serve to RAISE the sale prices of these properties. At 15%, a $400,000 property would cost a foreign buyer $460,000 instead. This would serve to increase area property values locally.

I had better not hear the argument of "That would be wrong to increase property values because of this". Why? If foreclosure and short sale prices have been used to reduce property values for everyone else (when the sale amount is to satisfy a loan and not reflect the current value), then an additional tax should count in the same manner.

This is something that should become a political issue, and be lobbied by the National Association of Realtors immediately. 

Just in case you have not yet read the story about this, here you go:


Let's force these international investors to "Buy American"!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How About Some Realistic Homes For Sale Ads?

I keep telling people looking to sell their homes about the need to ride herd on the agent they have hired, or to do their homework about every agent they are thinking of hiring. Here is why.

Take this online ad for the home at 10 Monroe St. in Billings MT. In addition to the fact that the home has been listed for two and a half months (at press time) and had another price reduction (over $6,000), it is obvious that the agent has not touched this advertisement during this time.

That is the bigger problem. The photos do not come close to matching the description copy. A big no-no.

The first full sentence in the copy reads, "Completely renovated with NEW flooring, doors, paint, hot water heater and much more." While the primary photo is shot with lighting that makes the roof look like patch work, shows absolutely no window decorations, and a worn out lawn that looks like no one has touched it for weeks.

The next sentence reads, and I quote, "2nd bedroom is through the 1st". Let's have a show of hands. How many of you read that and immediately wanted more information about the home? I didn't think so. By the way, this is listed as a THREE bedroom home.

I'll skip the part where the web page shows that this home was built in 1930 and the photo spread confirming that the home is totally empty AND poorly lit even during daylight.

There are several other properties currently listed within the same area in the same price range. Obviously, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to respond the way this advertisement is presented.

This is not to knock the listing agent, although it is difficult not to. However, somebody is trying to sell this property, but seems to not care how it is presented.

My point, again, is that sellers need to keep track of how and where the listing agent is representing the property. See for yourself: