By Brent Wayne
As one of the most effective tax shields of any deduction, the mortgage insurance tax write-off is essential to the protection of the middle class, especially in a volatile economy of uncertainty. Despite their considerable differences on other issues, the legislative and executive branches seemed to come together to protect the mortgage insurance write off for the sake of the overall economy (and most likely their jobs).
Below are just a few reasons why the mortgage insurance write off continues to be one of the most important political and economic initiatives in contention today.
- Most borrowers do not have the ability to pay cash for housing. Not only has the volatile economy consolidated wealth away from the middle class, but it has also stopped much of the housing market in its tracks. People who would normally buy houses are now renting and staying at home. Even those who have the money for a down payment are holding back because of the few extra expenditures that go along with purchasing a home. Those few who still have enough money for a down payment may not have the 20 percent that is necessary to keep from paying mortgage insurance. Without the tax write off for this insurance, most borrowers would end up in default or underwater because of the accruing interest and fees on the mortgage and on the insurance. Continue reading »
By Peter N. Lamandre
While I was at the Rally to Protect the American Dream last Thursday during the NAR Midyear meetings in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to interview some of the YPNers in attendance. See what they had to say about the importance of homeownership.
By Nobu Hata
I loathe business planning. Recognizing one’s failings from the previous year, and moving forward, learning from mistakes is a hard thing to do. And since the economy hit the skids, it’s become increasingly difficult to “plan” for anything as of late.
But the one thing I’ve made a commitment to do this year, is to ask advice from those agents who are still thriving after 20-plus years in the industry, every chance I get. I’m going to put my money where my “industry hasn’t changed, but the tools have” mantra is. These folks have seen previous recessions, have experienced double-digit interest rates, and walked uphill to listing presentations – both ways! – to boot.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received so far this year is to door-knock – “Go out and find the inventory that’s lacking, for your clients…”. The very thought of getting a door slammed in my face, in real life, scares the bejeezus out of me; but I’ve got clients interested in a particular neighborhood where no blogging/social media/twitter campaign will work, so what the heck. As luck would have it, I happened upon the neighborhood while the homeowners were digging out of some monster snows we had, so I took the dog for a walk and chatted up the neighbors as I walked by. Six prospective sellers, and a hit for my client later, I was sold. And it only took an hour to do it!
Us REALTOR2.0’s like to strut our stuff with the Facebooks, blogs and Tweets, but every now and then it pays to get some fresh perspective from the professionals who are still alive and kicking in these tough times. After all, some of those “tools” haven’t changed a bit!
So go old-school! Which old tool will you use in a new way this year?
Nobu Hata is a sales associate for Edina Realty in Minneapolis, and a founding member of the Minneapolis YPN group, the YoPros. Visit his Web site at www.nobuhata.com.
By Brian Copeland, 2009 NAR Conference Blogger
Entering the Westin, you definitely get the Wizard of Oz Emerald City feel that its known for. As mentioned in my other blog, the interesting architecture abounds in San Diego.
I made my way to the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) pre-conference meetings. This morning’s topic, International Affairs, lead by Jed Smith, Managing Director for Quantitative Research for NAR.
Takeaways from Mr. Smith presentation:
1. Economy and housing is getting substantially better from this time last year domestically. Our market reacts with the international market.
2. Economics, Government and People Some Forecasting Issues:
a. Modeling The Economy. Did we get it right?, Government. What’s the government going to do? People. Are they scared to act? Are they rational?
b. Risks and Uncertainties: The world is recovering from recession
c. Domestic and International Interactions: commercial real estate is a huge factor or the “iceberg.” Residential mortgages and rolling over of those mortgages.
3. Some Federal incentives have been delayed but will be coming to fruition. (Home Affordable Refinance Program, Home Affordable Modification Program, Upside down mortgages, removing toxic assets from balance sheets.)
4. Guessing a 2.4 percent GDP growth in 2010 as opposed to 2009’s –2.7 percent decline.
5. Many foreign purchasers pay with cash. If you have international buyers, you can confidently tell them that in two to three year, they can look back and say that perhaps they purchased “at the bottom.”