Welcome to November where the cold winds blow and we finally have to wear some long pants at the beach. When I think of November however, I start to think about my business plan for next year. It’s never too early to start planning for your business next year. When you ask most business people about goals for the next year the typical answer is to “do more business, have more productive marketing, and make more money.” I have goals like that as well, but I think we need to step back and think about how we manage our time in order to get more productive things done. This month and next our Sales Update newsletter will focus on Time Management.
The key to getting more done? Developing a sense of urgency with regard to what needs to be accomplished . . . Click here to download the Sale Update
Mortgage bond prices ended higher last week, which pushed mortgage interest rates lower. The financial markets remained extremely volatile. Most of the rate improvements came early in the week following Japan’s intervention to weaken the yen and Greek Prime Minister Papandreou’s indication that budget cuts would be put to a public vote. Unfortunately some of those rate improvements were erased when Papandreou retreated on the vote and the European Central Bank made a surprise rate cut. The employment report was mixed with the headline figure of 9% coming in lower than estimates while non-farm payrolls were weaker than expected. Despite the wild swings, mortgage interest rates fell by almost a full discount point for the week.
Every once in a while I like to post items from some of the newsletters I share with my clients and referral partners. Here goes . . .
When the government releases numbers, there is a mad scramble by economists to analyze what just happened. And what you see in the headlines is not only what is important. For example, on Friday the government reported that the unemployment rate dropped slightly. Even though it was a slight drop, any movement lower is good news. But wait, analysts were predicting an increase of almost 100,000 jobs last month and the increase was only 80,000. So that is bad news. We need at least 150,000 jobs added each month just to keep up with population growth. On the other hand, the previous two month’s job numbers were revised up by over 100,000 jobs. So that more than made up for the deficit. This is good news. Is anyone besides us confused as of yet?
The bottom line is, the report was not extraordinary in any way. That means that the economic recovery is continuing. It also means that the recovery is tepid at best. Despite the overall negative feeling, one has to remember that almost half of economists were predicting that we were slipping into a double dip recession just a few months ago. Now we realize that the double dip is less of a risk and we are moving forward. The economy’s growth rate of 2.5% and an average of around 125,000 jobs added each month are indicative of an economy getting stronger but nowhere strong enough to make up for jobs we have lost. We need at least 100,000 more jobs added every month to wake up the housing sector. So it is not what happened last month that is important. It is where we go from here. If Europe could actually finish their debt plan and move that focus from the front pages for a few months, that would help. Also Congress coming up with a debt plan will help. Remember the budget? Well, the time is getting short for a solution to this issue as the deadline for an agreement is again coming up later this month. Wouldn’t it be nice if the headlines were not marred with our representatives bickering during the month of November? Source: Weekly Real Estate Report
Are short sales getting easier? Some home owners are reporting that banks are now not only more willing to consider a short sale, but are even offering incentives to complete a short sale. For example, a home owner in Chicago says his lender approved his short sale and then gave him a $20,000 check after the deal was finalized for selling the home as a short sale instead of letting it sink into foreclosure. Lenders accepting a lower loan payoff from an underwater seller traditionally isn’t thought of an easy transaction to complete. Lenders weren’t so willing a few years ago. But as the number of Americans underwater on their home loans grow, more lenders are reconsidering as they try to avoid extra costs a foreclosure can cause. For 2011, short sales accounted for about 8 percent of total home sales, and rose 7 percent over 2010 totals, according to CoreLogic data. Short sales are up by 59 percent year-over-year in Illinois, 32 percent in Michigan, and 19 percent in Arizona alone, according to CoreLogic. “We’re starting to see that servicers and lenders are viewing short sales as a better alternative than they had in the past,” says Daren Blomquist, spokesman for RealtyTrac. “Some of that relates to the fact that it’s getting harder to foreclose. There are additional requirements in terms of paperwork and requirements that states and judges are imposing.” Short sales can still be complex and lengthy — they can take up to nine months to close and even after that, there’s no guarantee it’ll end successfully. “In general, it is a totally different type of transaction,” says Mike Cuevas, a real estate professional at Exit Realty in Chicago. “You’re not only selling a house, you’re negotiating debt.” Source: MarketWatch