Date Archives: May 2014

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May
23

Congratulations!  Your offer has been accepted on the Home of your dreams and now it's time for that Home inspection.  Every home should have an inspection by a licensed home inspector. We've seen a few sellers have an inspection on their homes before they list a property so that there are no surprises that may come up later.  Most often, it is the buyers who pay for the inspection after the offer has been accepted.  Sometimes if a problem is detected, the home inspector may suggest hiring a specialist to further investigate.  Read about these five things you should know about Home Inspections from Realty Times.

May
16

There was a video about flight attendants making the rounds a while ago.  Perceived as waitresses in the sky, one attendant appeared in the video and listed off the other skills that were required of her.  She had to be capable of instructing, remaining calm and leading emergency response, diplomacy, medical assessment and response, equipment operation, carrying out counter terrorism procedures and yet smile and provide for passenger demands.  It was quite an eye opener.  Real Estate agents are very similar. Jones Group agents must be knowledgeable  of zoning issues in all area towns, environmental hazards, the legal process, agency law, flood plain delineations, financing requirements, be master negotiators,  and all while smiling and educating  buyers about the market and helping sellers to properly price their homes.   Jones Group agents attend training courses on a regular basis.  Recently we had a national speaker teach us about the nuances of LinkedIn to improve business communication.  We invite attorneys to our meetings to discuss changes in the laws and how it may affect our clients.  Bankers have instructed us about Regulation Z.  Education never stops and we are committed to our agents to being the very best and current with all changes happening around us so you can make informed decisions about your biggest investment – your Home.

May
13

Congratulations to Northamtpon, MA for being rated a "5-Star Community." "Northampton has demonstrated that U.S. cities of all sizes are making tremendous strides toward building a more resilient economy, strengthening their social fabric and improving environmental health," said Hilari Varnadore, STAR Communities' executive director. "We were particularly impressed with Northampton's across-the-board commitment to sustainability. From greenhouse gas mitigation to green business development, Northampton is a leader in its commitment to being a healthy and livable community."  Read more about the award from StarCommunities.org.

May
6

The banking disaster that befell a number of homeowners in recent years  was created by the misguided belief that everyone should own a home.  It was a prevalent and accepted belief.  At a National Association of REALTORS® convention, the President stood up and said "We are responsible for putting 69% of the American people in their own homes."  Everyone clapped.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were told by Congress to buy up all types of loans, not just your Class A ones with conservative guidelines to which banks had, in the past, strictly adhered.  Mortgage lending companies packaged up loans and sold them to investors. The creativity was astounding.  You could walk in and say I earn this and they would say "OK."  It was the time of the ridiculous "no Doc" loan.  If it ever comes back, get ready for another disaster.  Overtime pay, maybe overtime, maybe part time, maybe no time, were included in your income.  Who cared?    Hey, it is only going to keep getting better. The real estate engine pulled the economy along until it ran out of track.  I jest to some extent but it was a wild ride.  In my many years of selling real estate I learned that cycles happen.  And depending on what is the popular norm,  it can modulate to different extremes.  We created a bubble that had to burst. That is what happens to bubbles.

As the engine stalled the economy did, too.  The foreclosure rate was astounding.  First to go were those who were not qualified to own a home in the real world, then those who lost their jobs,  then those that paid too much and had little money invested.  What they all had in common is they just couldn't hold on.  As a Fannie Mae broker, I have been involved in many of these houses and people who each had a heartbreaking story. I am thankful to work in an area with relatively few foreclosures.  Other areas were not so lucky.

This set the stage for Dodd Frank Act.  Gone are the days of the mirror test when if you fogged the mirror you got a loan.  And I say with conviction, rightfully so.   Some of the lending was predatory, put together by unscrupulous individuals.  But many loans were made following established guidelines flawed as they were.  The enactment of some type of new legislation was only a matter of time.

Now we live with the aftermath.  The banking industry will pay for its sins.  Unfortunately so will homeowners and buyers.  It makes sense that without the borderline loans there will be less loans made and only to well-qualified buyers. We are only beginning to feel the effect of the changes. As a buyer, when you get your mortgage it will be stamped with the Home Owner Stamp of Approval  or be called a QRM, "Qualified Residential Mortgage"  something that will give you piece of mind.