Browsing: United States

Market Trends, News & Commentary

Welcome to Virginia.  Stay a while.  Stay FOREVERLast week, I started looking into the Washington, DC Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which consists of the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. Given the growth in the federal budget over the last few years, I wasn’t surprised to see that the DC MSA was “the most educated and affluent metropolitan area in the United States,” according to Wikipedia.

The District of Columbia itself has made great strides in recent years, including greatly reducing the rate of violent crime. You may recall that it was known as America’s murder capital during the crack-filled 1990s. However, the city’s unemployment rate is actually fairly high, at 11.1%.

Maryland and Virginia, on the other hand, are very prosperous. Both are among the most economically successful states in the country.

Maryland’s Doing Pretty Well…

Maryland, DC’s (mostly) northeastern neighbor, has seen fairly consistent population increases and has a well-below-average unemployment rate of 7.2%. It actually has the highest median household income of any state, although this can be deceiving – the cost of living is also very high there. (The second highest median household income is in New Jersey, which is not currently an economic paradise.)

Investor Financing & Creative REI

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddi...

In today’s challenging real estate market where 30 offers on homes out here in Victorville, CA is the norm, (and I’m sure the same applies all over the United States) we need every little bit of information to help our offers stand out from the crowd.

I have made countless offers on REO properties including Freddie Mac deals, and these tips reflect my experience in dealing with them. These are the things that Freddie Mac always counters with and always wants flat out.

When making an offer to purchase a Freddie Mac or Home Steps owned property you should try and follow these guidelines to help your offer stand out from the crowd and help you save a day or two in negotiations with them.

The Top 20 Tips for Making offers on Freddie Mac, Home steps or FHLMC Properties

Market Trends, News & Commentary

Washington DC real estate marketNote to readers: I’ve been criticized for some blunt statements about real estate markets in the past.  You can disagree with me, but I ask that you not doubt my integrity.  I have no real estate interests outside New Hampshire and am not representing anyone.

When I started researching the Washington, DC real estate market, I was impressed by the stability of institutional markets in general and astonished by the growing disparity between federal government and private industry employment.  Put bluntly, the federal government has become the best employer in America.  It is the most stable, with a headcount that grows annually and essentially guaranteed salary increases.  It also offers the best benefits and salaries, except for the very top (the government’s CEO, President Barack Obama, makes $400,000 per year – a nice paycheck, but lower than that for almost any CEO in the Fortune 500).

As you might imagine, having the biggest employer in the country in your back yard is a good thing.  When that employer can always be counted on for a raise, that helps.  Partly as a result of that, the DC real estate market is looking pretty darned good.

Market Trends, News & Commentary

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...I didn’t know the particular piece of information you are about to read until I read an article in which the writer’s social security number was compromised by none other than the Social Security Administration. It all happened because U.S. Territories issue their own social security numbers and a U. S. agency had made a loan.

In fact, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau all have their own Social Security Administrations. The only difference between the numbers is the mainland issues 9 digit numbers and the Territories issue 8 or 7 (Palau) digit numbers.

The fun starts when one of these numbers is entered into a computer. It appears mainland computers are trained – programmed – to add a zero or two zeroes to fill in the eighth and ninth spot. But it doesn’t put the zero(s) at the end or what we would call the ninth number. It puts it/them first.

Market Trends, News & Commentary

New York - Metropolitan Life Insurance Company...
Image by Marionzetta via Flickr

I am keeping my insurance agent hat on today so I can talk about two different types of policies of which your average American should be aware. While insurance is as dull as dishwater to some, to me it is exciting because of the potential benefits that can happen for you and I, the end user.

I thought I’d talk life insurance out of the gate. Why life insurance out of gate you may ask. Because in case of death the bank pays you what you have saved, and the life insurance company pays you what you meant to save.

No matter how much money you accrue in real estate, stock market, or any other type of investing, life insurance is still the only product that offers tax free dollars. You can look that fact up in the IRS Code for verification. Truth is, trusts and other asset protecting documents generally use annuities or life insurance policies to keep the dollars safe from the taxman and other predators.

Market Trends, News & Commentary

Small Single-family homeIs it finally here? The light at the end of the you know what?
(tunnel, for those who are bad at guessing)

The government (yes, OUR government) is reporting that sales of new, single-family homes went up some 11 percent in June from the previous month while, at the same time, the actual number of new homes still on the market was at the lowest number since the winter of 1998!

One expert (and we all know how accurate experts have been of late!) is even quoted by Reuters as saying that the figures support the thinking that the “housing market has bottomed and that the economy has stabilized and will grow in the third quarter.”

Investor Financing & Creative REI

Buyer beware: The alleged crooks are back! And, they are after YOUR money; and getting it.

An eye opening account in the New York Times is a must read for anyone who is seeking a mortgage modification.

The article talks about how many of the very same people who seeded the current financial crisis with subprime mortgages are now going into the mortgage modification racket.

That’s right—the same people who often knowingly brokered subprimes to people they knew–or should have known–could never afford them, are now offering, for an upfront fee, of course, to get those subprime mortgages altered to be more affordable.

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