Archive for October, 2013

Homeownership on Path to Sustainability

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged:

As most housing metrics turned around last year, one vital statistic stayed down: the homeownership rate.  However, one analyst at Fannie Mae says that low homeownership — when put in context with other data — might indicate a promising trend in sustainability.

According to recently published data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), the homeownership rate was down in 2012 for the fifth consecutive year, falling to 63.9 percent — the lowest rate recorded since the survey was fully implemented in 2005 and lower than any rate recorded in any decennial census since 1970.

“By most measures, 2012 was a year of housing market recovery, with gains in housing construction, home sales, home prices, and mortgage originations.  However, the homeownership rate did not follow suit,” said Patrick Simmons, director of strategic planning for Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group.

At the same time, the ACS recorded significant improvements in housing affordability for all groups, including renters.  According to the survey’s results, the proportion of households spending at least 30 percent of gross income for housing (the threshold before the situation is considered a “housing cost burden”) declined nearly 2 percentage points, bringing it to pre-recession levels.

“The improvement for renters is particularly notable, as it broke a string of four consecutive years of declining affordability,” Simmons said.  “Also of note was a huge improvement in affordability among young homeowners, as evidenced by a drop of 10 percentage points in the rate of affordability problems among 25-to-34-year-old owners during the last five years.”

According to the 2012 ACS, the 25-to-34-year-old bracket was also the group to see the biggest decline in homeownership, with its rate falling 1.9 percentage points.  Since 2007, the homeownership rate for that group has dropped 8.5 percentage points.

Together, the data indicate that the swing from owning to renting that started in the recession hasn’t come back the other way yet.  However, with housing costs waning and loan qualification standards still tight, Simmons expects homeownership to recover to a rate that can actually hold up.

“Tightening of mortgage qualification criteria soon after the onset of the housing downturn probably contributed to the particularly large declines in homeownership rates among young households, but may have also helped to create a cohort of young homeowners who have housing costs that are much better aligned with incomes,” he said

Housing Market Running at 85% of Normal, Pre-Recession Activity

A new index from First American and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) suggests that about one in seven housing markets have returned to or surpassed their pre-recessionary levels of activity.

The new Leading Market Index (LMI), released for the first time last week, measures employment growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home price appreciation data from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permit growth from the Census Bureau to measure overall improvements in each market.

While the LMI helps illustrate how far the recovery has come in the last several years, NAHB chairman Rick Judson said it also measures “how much further it has to go as we continue to face some significant headwinds in terms of credit availability, rising costs for lots and labor, and uncertainties regarding Washington policymaking.”

According to the association, the index registered a score of 0.85 nationwide, indicating that the national housing market is running at 85 percent of normal activity.

Of the nearly 350 metro markets examined, 52 have reported levels of activity at least equal to those before the recession hit.  What’s more, housing markets in 118 metros scored 0.9 or higher, which Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Co., described as “a very encouraging sign of things to come.”

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ranked highest on the list of improved major markets, posting an index score of 1.41-41 percent better than its last normal market level.  Other major metros reporting growth include Honolulu, Hawaii; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Austin and Houston, Texas.

Widening the scope to include smaller metros, both Odessa and Midland, Texas, scored 2.0 or better, meaning their markets have doubled in strength compared to pre-recession years.  Also topping the list of smaller metros are Casper, Wyoming; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Florence, Alabama.

“Smaller metros are leading the way to a housing recovery, accounting for 43 of the top 50 markets on the current LMI,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe.  “This is very much in keeping with the results of our previous index for improving markets, and is an indication of the extent to which local economic conditions dictate the strength of individual housing markets.”


By: Tory Barringer,



About, Inc., headquarter in Mayaguez Puerto Rico USA, with offices in Mobile Alabama, is a leading provider of services to the derogatory credit sector of the financial service industry through its Scoreway® Software Solution and credit report accuracy dispute services. The Scoreway® platform provides an end-to-end management solution that helps the companies that we serve manage the credit review and dispute process and to improve controls and profitability. services an ever growing list of mortgage company’s, banks, credit unions, Realtors®, builders and credit service organizations through its innovative technology and credit report accuracy service.

Contact Score for more information at 877-876-5921 or by visiting the following pages:
Credit Repair Merchant Service
Fair Debt Collection Practices-learn to earn from FDCPA
Credit Repair Business Training
Credit Repair Software
Credit Repair Solution
For more details please visit

7 Keys to Growing Old in Your Own Home

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged:

Want to live in your home for the rest of your life?  Boost your odds by “future-proofing” now.  Older adults who are most likely to remain in their homes have successfully arranged their houses and lives in ways that maximize their ability to weather the physical and practical setbacks often associated with getting older — setbacks that can make living independently more challenging.

Here are seven ingredients you’ll want to have in place in order to age in place:

1. A single-story floor plan

Sure, you can get up and down stairs easily now.  And, sure, many spry octogenarians can do the same.  But what if you break a bone and require extended bed rest?  What if you become confined to a wheelchair?  It’s possible to convert a downstairs room to a bedroom, but not so easy to live on one floor if the only shower is on an upper floor.

Think ahead about how you can convert to all-on-one-floor living, should the need arise.  You may need to remodel to add a full bath on the ground level, for example, or insert a door to provide privacy in a downstairs room.

The living space also needs to be all on one level.  Split-level homes can be problematic because wheelchairs and walkers can’t easily navigate from one room to the next.

2. Basic safety upgrades

One’s risk of falling increases with age, often due to medications or certain health conditions.  Installing secure grab bars and wall-to-wall carpeting (or bare wood floors, no throw rugs) are smart safety upgrades that will help you avoid broken hips — one of the most common reasons older adults are forced to leave their homes.

Familiarize yourself with the basics of bathroom safety and other home care safety, and start to slowly make your home safer for future needs.

Don’t overlook good lighting.  Dark hallways and burned-out bulbs are a common contributor to accidental falls.  Did you know an 85-year-old needs about three times as much light as a 15-year-old does to see the same thing?

3. Accessible utilities

Sure, you can reach tall cupboards, stacked washer-dryers, and back burners easily now.  But it’s likely that won’t always be the case.  Even something as simple as a doorknob may be difficult to open if you develop arthritis or other disabilities.

At least one lower countertop, a taller toilet, and a front- (rather than top-) loading washer and dryer raised up from floor level are all examples of slightly modified household items that become easier to use later in life.

Lever-type door handles, paddle faucets, and curbless showers make these devices easy to use even in the event of arthritis or other disabilities affecting mobility.

Familiarize yourself with the principles of universal design, for a home you can live in forever — bringing together safety, convenience, and style for residents of any age.

4. Transportation options

Some 90-somethings are still on the road, but that doesn’t mean that all should be — or that you will.  For many older adults, giving up the car keys becomes an unwelcome but inevitable rite of passage.

See what kinds of transportation alternatives are available in your location: Will you be able to count on family to transport you?  Use local paratransit?  Public buses?  Are taxis an inexpensive distance from the grocery store?  Can you safely walk or use a wheelchair to get to shopping?

5. Emergency alerts

Living alone is great.  But if you need help, how will you summon it?  Fortunately, a wide range of new emergency-alert systems and medical alert systems are on the market.  Some personal emergency response systems are meant to be worn, so you can call for help even if you fall.  Or you can install emergency buzzers that call for outside help in the bathroom or kitchen, where falls and accidents are common.

Also available: Monitoring systems that rely on sensors to track movements, such as how long someone spends in the bathroom or whether the front door is opened — providing a safety net of information for an outside family member.

At minimum, you’ll want up-to-date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a way to make sure that batteries are replaced regularly if you can no longer climb a ladder to do this.

6. Outsourced home maintenance

Older adults tend to focus on the inside of their homes.  But what about the outside?  Someone will need to tend the lawn, blow leaves out of gutters, shovel snow, replace roof tiles, and so on.  Think through how you’ll make this happen and whether you can afford to outsource this work to outside companies or individual contractors.

7. Automated bill pay and other transactions

Switching over to automated financial systems will eliminate your need to go out and do banking in person.  You may be surprised just how many aspects of life you can automate to help you continue living at home, including Social Security payment deposits and other government benefit deposits, pharmacy refills, and even grocery orders.

The more aspects of life that can be managed electronically or delivered to your door, the less you’ll have to rely on others, enhancing your odds of independent living.

Of course, a rich social network is also a key ingredient to successfully living in your home forever — but ideally, you want those interactions to be born of wanting to be together, rather than needing to rely on others for everything in order to function.


By: Paula Spencer Scott,



About, Inc., headquarter in Mayaguez Puerto Rico USA, with offices in Mobile Alabama, is a leading provider of services to the derogatory credit sector of the financial service industry through its Scoreway® Software Solution and credit report accuracy dispute services. The Scoreway® platform provides an end-to-end management solution that helps the companies that we serve manage the credit review and dispute process and to improve controls and profitability. services an ever growing list of mortgage company’s, banks, credit unions, Realtors®, builders and credit service organizations through its innovative technology and credit report accuracy service.

Contact Score for more information at 877-876-5921 or by visiting the following pages:
Credit Repair Merchant Service
Fair Debt Collection Practices-learn to earn from FDCPA
Credit Repair Business Training
Credit Repair Software
Credit Repair Solution
For more details please visit

Four Wild Ideas to Help You List and Sell

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged:

Idea #1: Help sellers gauge the true demand for homes in their price range.  Clarify how many actual buyers are active.

When dealing with listing prospects, share information about the number of buyers in various price ranges.  This sets you apart from the competition and provides the seller with important market information.

First, do your homework.  Divide the specific market area you serve into specific price ranges or price bands.  For instance, under $100,000 might be one price band, from $100,000 to $124,999 might be another, from $125,000 to $150,000 might be the third, and so on.  The price bands which you select will be determined, of course, by the market you serve.

Next, research the number of closed transactions per price band in the last six months.  Divide the total number of closings in each price band by six.  The resulting number is the average number of buyers per month in each price band.  Put this data in chart form showing number of buyers per price band.  You can also calculate number of buyers based on pending statistics for a more current look at the market activity.

Show sellers the actual number of buyers in a specific price range and talk about the number of properties competing for those buyers.  This information can make your sellers more realistic about market activity, price and selling time.  Using the “number of buyers per month” terminology rather than “number of sales” is a more powerful way to explain level of demand to a seller.

Idea #2: Ask Sellers to “Tour” Their Own Homes

Holding a successful open house is a joint project.  You depend on the sellers to have the house in super showing condition, and the seller relies on you to generate traffic, qualify prospects, sell the neighborhood and highlight the home’s special features.  Help your sellers do their part by lending your expertise in preparing the house for showing.

First, suggest that your sellers look at their home from a buyer’s perspective and actually role-play as home shoppers.  This exercise will help them be objective about their home’s marketability and identify flaws that need fixing.

Start by having your clients approach the front of their home to size up curb appeal.  You may want to facilitate the process by giving them a checklist of items to consider; a room-by-room inventory helps you to focus your sellers’ attention on problem areas in a way that doesn’t offend them.  They ask themselves the questions — and provide their own answers!

For instance: Are painted surfaces clean and in good condition?  Does the roof need repair?  Have thermal windows lost their seal and turned cloudy?  Are screens or storm windows in good repair?  Do gutters need cleaning or other maintenance?  Is landscaping and fencing well maintained and attractive?  Are there weeds in sidewalk seams?  Are sidewalks and porches clean?  Can the front entry be made more appealing with a seasonal wreath or potted flowers?

As your homeowners enter their home, have them think about a prospect’s first impression.  Does the house seem bright and spacious?  Is it neat?  Are there noticeable pet or other odors?  (You may need to provide input on odors; sellers usually grow used to the way their house smells.)  Do carpets and window coverings need cleaning?  And don’t forget to include backyard, garage and basement in your sellers’ assessment.

Viewing their home as if they were perspective buyers helps sellers take a fresh look at their property and lets you guide them easily through the process of deciding what needs to be done to bring the house up to tiptop marketing condition.

Idea #3: Enlist the children’s help to keep your listings looking spiffy.  Sign them up for your “Neat Kids Club.”

Have you ever had a listing or shown a home where the children’s rooms looked like a whirlwind had blown through — toys in a jumble or dirty gym clothes hanging from the room’s light fixture?

Here’s an idea to encourage the small children who live in your just-listed properties to clean up their act and help you sell the house.

Initiate a Neat Kids Club.  Explain to the whole family how essential it is that the house be neat and clean in order to show well.  Then let the children know how important it is that they do their part.  Ask them to join the club.  In return for their commitment to keep their rooms tidy, present them with a Neat Kid certificate (make these on your computer).

Then every couple of weeks until the home sells, send the kids a funny thank you card, or other small thank-you item.  Let the kids know they’re important in helping sell the house, and they’ll be neat kids.  (Parents will appreciate this, too, and view it as added value service!)

Idea #4: Develop a sweet technique for clearer communication with buyers.

Ask prospective buyers, “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?”  You probably know the old technique of giving a carton of ice cream to prospects who visit your open house.  This sends them scurrying home to put the ice cream in the freezer rather than going on to meet other agents at other open houses.  A top sales associate in the Buffalo (NY) area has developed another ice-cream related technique which he says gives him specific feedback about how well his buyer prospects like the homes he shows them.

He asks his prospects, “What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?”  If, for instance, they tell him, “maple walnut,” he says, “As we look at houses, I want you to tell me how close each house is to maple walnut.”  Houses they’re not impressed with become “plain vanilla” while one they like a bit better becomes “maple, but with no walnuts.”  Until, Eureka!  They find the “maple walnut” house.

“The ice cream analogy makes it easier to get meaningful feedback,” says the top producer who originated the ice cream approach.  ”Making a game of it seems to reduce the pressure and open up communication.”


By: Laurie Moore-Moore,



About, Inc., headquarter in Mayaguez Puerto Rico USA, with offices in Mobile Alabama, is a leading provider of services to the derogatory credit sector of the financial service industry through its Scoreway® Software Solution and credit report accuracy dispute services. The Scoreway® platform provides an end-to-end management solution that helps the companies that we serve manage the credit review and dispute process and to improve controls and profitability. services an ever growing list of mortgage company’s, banks, credit unions, Realtors®, builders and credit service organizations through its innovative technology and credit report accuracy service.

Contact Score for more information at 877-876-5921 or by visiting the following pages:
Credit Repair Merchant Service
Fair Debt Collection Practices-learn to earn from FDCPA
Credit Repair Business Training
Credit Repair Software
Credit Repair Solution
For more details please visit

NAR Insists Mortgage Interest Deduction be Saved (so it Probably will be)

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged:

The life or death of the mortgage interest deduction (MID) is a perennial Washington, DC soap opera.  The prospect of eliminating it is always on the table early in any discussion of budget cuts or of revisions to the tax code.  Yet, like Little Nell on those railroad tracks, a hero in the form of multiple real estate industry lobbying groups always comes to the rescue.

Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently penned an op-ed for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), one of MID’s biggest champions, extolling the value of the deduction.  In his piece, which appeared on the NAR website, Yun put forth the usual arguments in its favor.

The tax savings make the costs of carrying a mortgage possible for many families;

Owning a home means gaining a foothold into the middle class;

Unlike the rich, whose wealth is tied to other investments, that of most middle-class Americans is typically tied to their homes;

The nation’s homeowners already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income tax;

Eliminating the MID at a time when the housing recovery is just gaining a solid footing could slow sales, lower prices, and erode much of the wealth that has recently been recovered through home equity;

And last, home sales account for about 2.5 million American jobs.

Actually the fate of MID has come up only sporadically in recent months as tax reform has been overwhelmed by other capital madness, but the Ryan Budget did recently resurface.  The pre-2012 election analysis of that budget, and Ryan’s plan to offset the massive high-earner tax credits it contains, always brought up a prominent group of what are called “tax expenditures,” that is tax credits and deductions.  MID is the second largest of these (after the exclusion of employer-paid health care from earned income calculations) and is projected to cost the government $113 billion in 2015.

With budget battles about to get even more intense, this is a timely reminder on an issue that’s likely to come up in coming weeks.  Is the gathering storm reason enough to trigger Yun’s entreaties?  Probably.  Or maybe there is something else going on behind the scenes that the rest of us are not aware of — but insiders are.  And there is no bigger Washington insider than NAR.

While its membership declined following the housing crash, it is recovering; NAR refers to itself as one of the largest trade associations in the U.S., representing one million members in the real estate industry.  It maintains an advocacy staff of 39 with most having responsibility for several of some 80 regulatory, tax, environmental or credit related issues in which the association has an interest.  These range from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, bankruptcy and estate tax, and credit reform to Qualified Mortgages and visas for seasonal workers.

NAR’s advocacy includes tracking legislation, giving testimony to House and Senate committees, and writing letters to members of Congress and various government agencies.  And money.  Lots and lots of money. (the Center for Responsive Politics), which tracks lobbyists and political action groups, says that NAR is one of the biggest spenders on industry advocacy and made one of the biggest increases in that spending in 2012.  In mandatory reports filed with the House and Senate, NAR and its subsidiary, the California Association of Realtors®, said it spent $41.5 million on lobbying in 2012, a new record and 19 million more than it spent in 2011.  It has spent $17.68 million thus far in 2013.

NAR contributed over $14 million to political candidates in 2012 to rank 13th out of 21,002 donors tracked by OpenSecrets and did $8.2 million in outside political spending.  Contributions to members of the House and Senate ranged from $15,000 given to each of eight members of the House and one senator and $10, which we would guess was the equivalent of a lump of coal, given to eight senators and one representative.  OpenSecrets classifies NAR as a “fence straddling” contributor, but it appears that more of the larger donations went to Republicans than Democrats.

Of course NAR isn’t the only heavy hitter in the industry, though the others are far down the list.  The National Association of Home Builders spent $2.37 million on lobbying to rank 236 out of 4369 registered lobbyists and contributed 3.42 million to candidates to rank 87th among contributors.  A 2012 search didn’t garner information on the Mortgage Bankers Association, but it has spent 1.7 million on advocacy thus far in 2013.

The bottom line is this: money talks in Washington.  With a million members and $42 million to spend, NAR is definitely a political force.  Given its stated objection to any repeal of the MID, chances are good that particular deduction will be around for a while.


By: Jann Swanson,



About, Inc., headquarter in Mayaguez Puerto Rico USA, with offices in Mobile Alabama, is a leading provider of services to the derogatory credit sector of the financial service industry through its Scoreway® Software Solution and credit report accuracy dispute services. The Scoreway® platform provides an end-to-end management solution that helps the companies that we serve manage the credit review and dispute process and to improve controls and profitability. services an ever growing list of mortgage company’s, banks, credit unions, Realtors®, builders and credit service organizations through its innovative technology and credit report accuracy service.

Contact Score for more information at 877-876-5921 or by visiting the following pages:
Credit Repair Merchant Service
Fair Debt Collection Practices-learn to earn from FDCPA
Credit Repair Business Training
Credit Repair Software
Credit Repair Solution
For more details please visit

Referral Source Protection Mode

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

I want to ask you one simple question: How many referral sources are you losing each year because you have not embraced pre-underwriting homebuyer development as a strategy to build and protect your business?

First, you are probably asking yourself: What pre-underwriting homebuyer development?

Pre-underwriting homebuyer development is a process of preparing not yet mortgage ready consumers to be successful homeowners. It’s simply a process of building your pipeline for tomorrows loan closings. But more than that, it is a strategic decision to protect and grow your referral business.

As you already know, most originators recently lost over 50% of their business due to interest rate increases.

And most of you lost a ton of money on rate locks because you are not yet members of Barry Habib’s MBS Highway program.

Want to know one more thing? Your referral sources are being inundated by calls and visits from those same originators as they get back out on the street doing whatever they can to gain back the referral sources that they neglected during the last refinance boom. These are otherwise known as your referral sources.

But to fully understand the strategic reason to pre-underwriting homebuyer development, let me tell you a story: About a year ago, John and Sally Homebuyer responded to agent Jim’s online marketing to inquire about purchasing a home. Jim, being the welled trained agent that he is, gave them a little information about the home and then asked the question: Have you been prequalified for a mortgage?

Sally said no they had not but would like to. So, agent Jim sent this young couple over to his favorite originator only to find out that their credit was at a 580 and could not purchase at this time. Originator Mary even provided John and Sally Homebuyer with a game plan provided by the tri-merge provider’s what-if simulator. Since agent Jim believed that Mary always did everything she could to get his referrals approved for a loan, he didn’t give it a second thought.

As a typical originator and agent, that was the last time that they thought about John and Sally. Of course these would-be homebuyers were disappointed in the news and for a couple of months attempted to follow the suggestions provided by the what-if simulator. But it proved to be too much for them and they gave up.

But since the desire to purchase a home was burning deep within John and his wife Sally, as it does all Americans, they continued to dream about buying a home. Eventually, they contacted another listing agent from a yard sign. During the interview process, agent Bob asked if they had met with a mortgage company. Of course, they said yes and related the news to the agent of their low credit score.

But, since Bob and his favorite loan originator embraced the concept of pre-underwriting home buyer development, the outcome would be different this time.

As a part of Bob’s team, he used the service of a company that specializes in helping consumers when they are in the “not yet ready” status to purchase. As soon as Bob heard about the problems, he referred them over immediately.

Come to find out, John had gone through a job loss a few years back and had gotten behind on a couple of accounts. Now that was bad enough but one of the accounts had been charged off, sold to a collection company and then resold again. As with many consumers credit file, this one account was now reporting three separate times each with balances and each stating that John was currently late.

Sally on the other hand had gone through a divorce and had to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Through the interview process, it was discovered that the Chapter 7 discharge date was reporting incorrectly. Instead of reporting the discharge as of June 2009, it was reporting as June 2011.

Through the efforts of this company, John and Sally were able to correct these errors and purchase a home for their family. Agent Bob was able to sell a home, the sellers were able to purchase another home; that seller was able to purchase a new home from a local builder and four mortgages were closed.

But that’s not the end of the story. After John moved into their home, he ran into agent Jim. Remember Jim and his favorite originator Mary? Jim was so happy to see his former prospect and made a beeline for him in the produce section. “Hey John, how’s it going? How are the kids? How’s Sally? Great. Been working on those issues that Mary explained to you had to be corrected for she could do a loan?”

I won’t belabor the point. Not only did agent Jim lose that commission from that purchase, he lost a potential positive referral source for future sales and in its place, he had gained a potential negative referral source.

The next day, agent Jim had a call from a would-be homebuyer that he had met in open house the week before. They were ready to move forward. But guess what, Jim didn’t call on former favorite originator Mary. Mary had blown this deal for him and he was upset.

In today’s real estate and mortgage market, building and maintaining quality referral relationships is the key to success. A primary driver of that success is to embrace pre-underwriting homebuyer development as a key strategy.

Joel Pate is a 28-year veteran of the real estate, mortgage and credit industries. For more information about Joel, his companies or pre-underwriting homebuyer development, visit or




About, Inc., headquarter in Mayaguez Puerto Rico USA, with offices in Mobile Alabama, is a leading provider of services to the derogatory credit sector of the financial service industry through its Scoreway® Software Solution and credit report accuracy dispute services. The Scoreway® platform provides an end-to-end management solution that helps the companies that we serve manage the credit review and dispute process and to improve controls and profitability. services an ever growing list of mortgage company’s, banks, credit unions, Realtors®, builders and credit service organizations through its innovative technology and credit report accuracy service.

Contact Score for more information at 877-876-5921 or by visiting the following pages:
Credit Repair Merchant Service
Fair Debt Collection Practices-learn to earn from FDCPA
Credit Repair Business Training
Credit Repair Software
Credit Repair Solution


For more details please visit


MMRecap for Oct. 21st

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged:

Stocks made moderate gains last Monday in the hopes of a resolution to the stand-off between the Democrats and Republicans and the partial government shut-down.  The bond market was closed, of course, in honor of Columbus Day.

Stocks turned tail on Tuesday as multiple factions proposed solutions to the debt crisis.  None had “the answer” the markets were hoping for.  At noon the Dow was down 55 points, or 0.34%, while the Nasdaq fell 0.22% and the S&P 500 slid 0.27%.  These percentages fell rapidly.  By the time the markets closed, each stock index had more than doubled its losses on the day.  The 10-year note yield, which moves inversely to price, was also on the move.  At midday it was up four basis points to 2.73%, but it closed at 2.72%.

One economic report was released, the NY Empire State index on manufacturing, and it took a dive.  It plunged to 1.5% in October from 6.3% the previous month.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New York produces that report.

After the markets closed, Congress continued to work.

On Wednesday Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the voice of the Tea Party of late, said he would oppose the plan crafted by the House of Representatives, but not seek to delay its passage.  Officials said the proposal called for the Treasury to continue borrowing through Feb. 7, with the government reopening through Jan. 15.

The only economic release was a housing market index for October from the National Association of Home Builders.  It fell two points in October to 55 after posting 57s and 58s for the past several months.

The bond market closed with the 10-year yield falling five basis points to 2.67%, while stocks zoomed higher.  Each index rose, with the S&P 500 increasing 1.38%.  It was followed by the Dow, which climbed 1.36%.  The Nasdaq added 1.20%.

On Wednesday night the country escaped default and the government reopened its doors.  Good news?  Sure.  But it’s another case of Congress kicking the financial can down the road.  Solutions to the shutdown and possible default now have new deadlines, but the problems still exist.  The debt ceiling deadline was extended to Feb.7, 2014, and funding for government operations will end Jan. 15, 2014.

Investors didn’t respond well on Thursday to the temporary solution, so they turned to the safety of the 10-year Treasury.  Its yield dropped nine basis points, closing at 2.58% — the lowest it’s been since August 8.  The Dow Jones opened in negative territory and closed there, but it rebounded from -144 points to close at -2.18 points.  The Nasdaq and S&P 500 crept into positive territory, but gains were small.

Two economic reports were released.  The first was first-time unemployment claims for the week ended Oct. 12.  They fell to 350,000, down 23,000 from the previous week.  The Philly Fed index on manufacturing conditions in October dropped to 19.8 from 22.3, but that’s far better than the single-digit readings of August and September.

Leading economic indicators were scheduled for Friday but never released.  The Conference Board probably didn’t have data, either.  During the day of inactivity, the 10-year yield was unchanged at 2.58%.  The Nasdaq climbed 1.32%, thanks to Google’s strong quarterly report.  Its stock rose 122.61 points, or 13.80%, and closed at $1,011 per share.  The Dow rose 0.18%, and the S&P 500 closed up 0.65%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for the week ended Oct. 11 rose 0.3% from the previous week.  Applications to refinance jumped 3.0%.  However, the purchase index was down 5% from a week ago, and applications were 1% lower than they were last year at this time.

This week is hit-or-miss as far as economic indicators go.  When reports from the previous two weeks will arrive remains a mystery.  Only a couple of heavy hitters are currently on the list.  Existing home sales for September are due today, but analysts believe sales will fall to an annual rate of 5.35 million units from 5.48 million in August.

On Tuesday the better-late-than-never employment report for September will be released, with analysts estimating 185,000 jobs were added to non-farm payrolls last month.  That would be a sizable increase from the previous 169,000 and could push the 10-year yield higher.  The unemployment rate should remain at 7.3%.

So far, we know that Wednesday will bring the FHFA housing price index for August.  The previous month it rose 8.8% year-over-year, but no estimates are available for the current index.  Import/export prices indices for September are also scheduled.

On Thursday the first-time jobless claims report for the week ended Oct. 19 is due, with sizable increases expected.  Economists believe they could shoot up to 427,000 from the previous 358,000 — largely due to the government shutdown.

New home sales in September are also listed, but whether the data are ready for release remains a question.  Sales have been volatile, coming in at annual rates of 455,000 in July and 394,000 in August.  Sales are predicted to rebound to 421,000 in September.

Durable goods orders for September are scheduled for Friday, but whether or not they will be ready for release is also an unknown.  August orders were up 0.1%, but down 0.1% excluding transportation.  Unless there is a big move either way, this report generally doesn’t impact the markets.

The final Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report for September could, however, move the markets.  The preliminary report issued two weeks ago fell to a nine-month low of 75.2.  It’s difficult to believe that it would move up substantially — or at all.  Should it fall, the 10-year yield could fall with it.  Because it is not a government release, it should come out on time.



About, Inc., headquarter in Mayaguez Puerto Rico USA, with offices in Mobile Alabama, is a leading provider of services to the derogatory credit sector of the financial service industry through its Scoreway® Software Solution and credit report accuracy dispute services. The Scoreway® platform provides an end-to-end management solution that helps the companies that we serve manage the credit review and dispute process and to improve controls and profitability. services an ever growing list of mortgage company’s, banks, credit unions, Realtors®, builders and credit service organizations through its innovative technology and credit report accuracy service.

Contact Score for more information at 877-876-5921 or by visiting the following pages:
Credit Repair Merchant Service
Fair Debt Collection Practices-learn to earn from FDCPA
Credit Repair Business Training
Credit Repair Software
Credit Repair Solution
For more details please visit

Networking Involves Much More than Exchanging Business Cards

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Years ago when I attended what were termed as “Networking Events” we basically walked around smiling and exchanging business cards. When I got back to the office, I would look through my handful of cards, not remembering any of the faces that went with the names on the cards, and I would eventually throw most of them away. I don’t remember anyone ever calling me because of this time-wasting ritual.

Networking performed with a plan and with panache, on the other hand, can reap huge benefits, including lots of lucrative business. Let’s take a look at networking with a purpose that produces results.

Start with knowing why you are networking. Before attending any kind of event, trade show, and/or gathering, ask yourself why you are taking the time to do this and what you hope to gain from the networking. Just like having a business plan and setting goals give us direction, making a networking plan with goals will add value to the time you spend.

For example, if you are giving a presentation to a Chamber of Commerce meeting which follows some type of gathering — a meal, perhaps — it is a good idea to get there early and take part before you give your speech. When I was an unknown, aspiring speaker I found this method to be unbelievably helpful. By the time I got up on my feet to speak, I already had friends in the audience. The outcome was that they liked me before I started, which helped me relax and give better presentations.

I often attend gatherings to touch base with people I know, plus meet at least one new person and learn at least one new piece of information or find the solution to one problem — and there are always problems to solve now that I am doing so much computer work.

And rather than racing around trying to talk with as many people as possible, focus on one or two conversations. There was a time when I would set my networking goal to talk with as many people as possible. It was lively and fun, but from a follow-up business standpoint, not very fruitful. I now focus on having one or two in-depth conversations, take down some notes on a business card, and follow-up within a few days. This takes the superficial quality out of the meeting, and I have made some excellent on-going contacts using this approach.

If the person you are talking with asks about some information you have mentioned, make a note to get back to them, either through e-mail, on the phone, or by snail mail. Actually, by dropping a handwritten note or card to someone, along with a brief article about a topic you discussed, you will make a long-lasting impression. So few people take the time to write notes today; so, your gesture will be unforgettable.

Handle business cards with professionalism and thought. Remember, we are not in the business card give-and-take mode. Yes, I always hand my card to someone I am interviewing or have a designated appointment with. But, in a networking event situation, I always wait until the other person asks me for my card before foisting it on them. And just because someone pushes their card into my hand, I don’t automatically give them one of mine. This is just my belief, but this way I leave with the cards of people I really want to see again. However, of course, I am always ready. I wear a jacket or outfit with two pockets — one with my cards and one for the cards I am handed. This makes the transition of cards smooth and easy.

Also, I always have up-to-date cards with me. I feel that there is nothing more unprofessional than someone handing me a card with a phone number or other information crossed out or written in. Business cards are so reasonably priced that there is no reason for handing out a poor excuse for a card. You can even print up a few on your computer, although many of these are made with low-grade paper.

Be on the lookout for a variety of networking opportunities. When attending meetings, seminars, classes, trade shows and presentations by others, you will have a chance to meet and talk with people who are also attending because they have similar interests. Being active in associations and clubs in your field of endeavor is a great way to become known as a good and dependable worker. Now that I am a free agent, I find that much of the work I am doing — and I am extremely busy — has resulted from contacts I have made in the past through serving on committees or boards.

I am also on the lookout for networking opportunities that pop up during daily routines. For example, I often see people at the grocery store, the library, and coffee shops. Just today I saw a woman at the store with whom I had worked organizationally years ago, and after I asked what she was doing now, she, of course, asked me the same. When I told her “web design” her eyes lighted up because the person who had been maintaining her business’ site just moved out of town. We exchanged business cards, and there is a good chance we will at least discuss web design in the near future.

Remember, networking in today’s tough market is a real necessity. And with a bit of your imagination added, the opportunities to make it successful are all around you.

So, go to it, have fun, and make lots of excellent contacts!

By: Chris King,

Using Proper Sales Tools Leads to Success

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

No, I’m not talking about a hammer to bludgeon your prospect (or operations department) into submission. The discussion of proper tools sounds so remedial that some readers might not get past the title. Well, I’m here to share with you that it would amaze most people how ill-prepared sales people can be as a result of not employing the use of effective tools.

More importantly, those same sales people will argue that they have all the necessary tools and are more than adequately prepared to sell their product and/or service, which might be their perception but not the reality of the situation. Enough of the generalities — let me get to specifics.

At a recent seminar I presented to a group of loan originators (mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, loan officers — you say tomato, I say…); halfway through I stopped to ask a quick question: “By a show of hands, how many in the audience use a financial calculator?” Not surprisingly, only a handful of attendees raised their hands. Who needs a financial calculator when my loan origination system calculates payments for me, or when I have a program on another electronic device that accomplishes the same results?

Not to belabor the technology discussion, I shared with the group that I have three HP-12C financial calculators. I carry one in my briefcase, one on my desk at home and one on my desk at my office.

A financial calculator is an important tool for anyone in the mortgage or real estate industry — or anyone who trains sales people in those industries. Yes, anyone who is engaged in financial transactions needs to carry a financial calculator. Amortization schedules, monthly payments, qualifying, loan terms, etc., can all be calculated instantly in any environment.

A loan officer will simply be most successful when their preparation meets various opportunities (please refer to my last 742 articles on this topic). It’s one thing to be properly prepared with a financial calculator, but part of that preparation should be associated with a high degree of calculator proficiency. If you give me the month, day and year of your birth — I can tell you in a few seconds with three or four calculator entries — what day of the week that was.

No, it’s not a cheap “parlor” trick (do they still have parlors?) but rather a quick way to schedule closings and ascertain if the date selected is a business day.

Adjustable rate mortgages are making a comeback in popularity; can you calculate future payments with a few keystrokes (quickly) with anything but a financial calculator?

And a successful sales person will always offer alternative recommendations for a prospect. In any financial transaction, utilizing a financial calculator will accomplish this quickly and accurately. Don’t wait for an electronic device to “boot-up” or get to the appropriate screen.

Again, at the risk of sounding remedial and redundant, along with the financial calculator the loan officer’s other tools should be a pad and writing instrument.

Most financial calculators don’t have the ability to print, so it behooves the user to write down various results so accurate comparisons can be made. So yes, a pad and writing instrument is a necessary tool. I’m sorry if you were expecting something complicated and expensive — I don’t dwell on impressive toys. Rather, my focus is on effectiveness and successful outcomes.

Selling is a discipline that requires the use of many tools, some technologically complicated and some that are so simple, easy and effective that they often are not found in even a veteran salesperson’s toolbox.

If you are responsible for sales (and as a loan officer that is certainly true), it would clearly behoove you to review what tools will make your selling function more successful. Don’t overlook the obvious because of its simplicity; simple is often better.

Working smarter, not harder, can be best accomplished when the tools employed are effective, and it doesn’t always have to be impressive or expensive to accomplish the salesperson’s objective.

By: Stephen Greenberg,

Improved Equity Position Empowering Trade-Up Buyers

Posted by Joel pate in Home Builders, Mortgage Loans. Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Housing demand by trade-up buyers is rising as the home equity available to these prospective buyers is improving; at the same time, foreclosure sales are declining nationwide while those properties are in high demand in many fast-rising markets.

According to FNC’s Foreclosure Market Report, the foreclosure market has rapidly improved in recent months with foreclosure rates approaching pre-crisis levels — an indication of strengthening supply-side conditions. On the demand side, steadily rising home prices and an expectation of continued recovery have stimulated housing turnover by prospective buyers who are in a position to take advantage of low home prices. In the meantime, higher home prices are bringing out trade-up demand from existing homeowners who are experiencing rising home equity, and that supports a down payment on their next bigger house.

“We’ve seen hard data from the past 18 months that show rising home prices and a foreclosure market with diminished impact due to decreasing foreclosure inventories and fewer new foreclosure filings,” said FNC Director of Research Yanling Mayer. “Meanwhile, a very encouraging trend that has been developing is the rising participation of trade-up buyers who are seeing improving home equity position and positive capital appreciation on existing homes.

“An important sign of a healthy and sustainable recovery is increased housing turnover driven by trade-up buying, which is more or less discretionary spending,” Mayer said. “These buyers are typically more responsive to market conditions and financial incentives.”
FNC’s report shows that foreclosure price discounts, which compare a foreclosed home’s estimated market value to the price paid by investors or home buyers, have dropped to a 10-year low at about 8.1% in Q2 2013, down from 12.5% a year ago. At the height of the mortgage crisis in 2008 and 2009, foreclosed homes were typically sold at close to 25% below their estimated market value. In many fast-rising markets, such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, and California, investor activity and low foreclosure inventory drove foreclosure prices up, frequently resulting in a price premium relative to estimated market value.

FNC publishes the mortgage industry’s first market-value based foreclosure price discount to gauge the degree of market distress. For more information about the foreclosure price discount, please refer to FNC’s March 2011 report.

According to the FNC report, investing in foreclosed property continues to be profitable with gross capital appreciation — the annualized percentage difference between a foreclosed property’s sales price and subsequent resale price — averaged at 7.8% on sales of homes previously purchased at foreclosure sales. In the meantime, ownership duration on distressed investment is up, along with the average ownership duration of all existing home sales.

More highlights from FNC’s Foreclosure Market Report:
Single-family REO and foreclosure sales are 12.2% of total home sales as of July, down from 17.3% a year ago.

The median foreclosure price is $98,000 or $67 per square foot, up 6.8% since the housing recovery began 18 months ago. In comparison, the median price on non-foreclosure sales is $205,000 or $118 per square foot, up 21.7% during the same 18-month period. Foreclosure price discounts are typically larger for low-tier properties, averaging 13.7% in Q2 2013. One in four homes continues to be discounted heavily. High-end properties, on the other hand, are typically sold close to their market value.

At 86% of total foreclosure sales, low-tier properties continue to account for the bulk of foreclosure sales. Prior to the housing bubble, low-tier homes contributed more than 90% to foreclosure sales.

Collateral depreciation on foreclosure sales — the difference between a property’s prior purchase price and foreclosure sale price — continues to decelerate, down to 3.8% in Q2 2013 from 6.4% a year earlier. Among the re-sales of non-distressed homes, for 16 consecutive months the median home has sold at a price above its prior purchase price, enabling potential trade-up buyers to capture a small capital appreciation.
Despite declining foreclosure rates, Michigan continues to be the nation’s most distressed market with one in three homes sold during Q2 2013 being foreclosed properties.

Arizona, California, Nevada, and Oregon have seen the fastest declines in foreclosure rates in the ongoing recovery, down respectively from 30.7%, 33.4%, 44.9%, and 24.2% entering 2012 to 11.9%, 12.4%, 15.3%, and 7.2% by Q2 2013. At 3.2% of total home sales, the District of Columbia has the lowest foreclosure rate.

States with continued high foreclosure rates include Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee. More notably, foreclosure rates in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky are trending steadily upward in recent months, dampening home prices.
Among the largest housing markets (MSAs), New York, Boston, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. have the lowest foreclosure rates at 4.3%, 5.4%, 6.8%, 7.0%, and 8.3%, respectively, compared to a national average of 14.8% in Q2 2013. In contrast, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Cincinnati have the highest foreclosure rates at 34.7%, 27.1%, 24.3%, 19.4%, and 19.3%, respectively.

Of the cities identified by the Federal Reserve Board as the largest REO inventory markets entering 2012, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Riverside, CA., have since improved and are in strong recovery. The recovery in Atlanta is on par with the national trend, and in the 18-month period, home prices are up 9.8%; foreclosure rates are down from 32.0% to 19.4%; and the foreclosure price discount is down from 18.8% to 8.7%. Conditions in Detroit are improving despite continued high foreclosure rates. Chicago, however, lags behind the rest of the country in the ongoing recovery — foreclosure rates are elevated at about 27%, contributing to the continued weakness of home prices.


How to Increase the Value of Your Home

Posted by Joel pate in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Is digging up the backyard to put in a pool worth it? What about upgrading a tired-looking kitchen with gleaming marble countertops? And what about installing high-tech speakers — throughout the house?

If you’re planning to renovate your home, you may already be asking yourself these very questions. But when it comes to increasing your home’s appraisal value, the answer to them isn’t always a resounding yes.
To help ensure that your reno dollars are well spent, we asked real estate experts across the country to weigh in on the top five home improvement dos that can boost resale value — and five don’ts that just aren’t worth the extra expense.

Renovation to Do: Upgrade Your Kitchen

All of our experts agree that a kitchen renovation should be at the top of your list, since it’s the heart of a home — the room where families spend most of their time. But where to start? A couple of givens include upgrading to stainless steel appliances and installing countertops made from engineered stone or granite, because these fairly easy changes will improve the aesthetic appeal of the space. Details can also make a difference, like putting shiny knobs on cabinets and purchasing a sparkling new faucet for the sink.

Another wise kitchen upgrade? Knocking down a full or half wall, so you can connect the kitchen to a den or living room. “It makes the kitchen feel more spacious,” says Phyllis Rockower, owner of the Real Estate Investors Club of Los Angeles in California. “If you’re cooking, you can still hear what people are saying during a party, or keep an eye on your kids while they’re playing.”

Renovation to Do: Revamp Your Bathroom

A toilet that looks old, cracked or dirty (or doesn’t flush properly) is a turn-off — and the same goes for a vanity, which should be eye-catching and practical. “Install a vanity that recesses into the wall, so it saves space,” advises Alen Moshkovich, a broker for Douglas Elliman in New York City.

Proper lighting can also be a great value booster, such as adding a window in the bathroom, so natural light can illuminate the space.
There’s another very simple fix that homeowners tend to overlook: Reglazing a tub, rather than getting a new one, will save you money and upgrade the look of your bathroom.

Renovation to Do: Go Green

“In the last four to five years, there’s been a growing demand for green housing,” says Tom Ferstl, a commercial and residential real estate appraiser at Ferstl Valuation Services in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Making your home more energy efficient is a plus; anything that helps keep heat in during the colder months and out during the warmer months will help.”
The changes can be small, such as adding storm doors or a ceiling fan in each room. Or they can be large, like double- or triple-paning your windows.

Want more ideas on how to renovate your home in a green way? Check out, a site created by the American Society of Interior Designers Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council.
Renovation to Do: Invest in a Sprinkler System
Many homeowners don’t want to be bothered with maintaining a stunning, landscaped garden, so planting tons of tress, bushes or flowers isn’t necessarily going to elevate your home’s value. But everyone wants green grass, so adding a sprinkler system that automatically turns on and off is a good investment, says Ferstl, because it allows a buyer to keep a lawn looking good without much work.

Renovation to Do: Install Built-In Speakers

High-tech homes stand out — and will impress buyers. Your best bet is to centrally wire a sound system in your home and put a speaker in every room so you can control music from anywhere in the house with one remote. Rockower also suggests installing surround sound in the den or living room (basically wherever you watch TV), which makes watching movies or sporting events more exciting.

Renovation to Avoid: Putting in a Pool

You may think that a beautiful backyard pool will make buyers flock to your home, but many families don’t want to deal with the maintenance or the liability of an accidental drowning. “It’s an especially bad investment in the northeast and the northwest, where you have few hot months to actually use a pool,” says realtor Brendon DeSimone, a member of the National Association of Realtors and an expert contributor to Good Morning America and HGTV.

Renovation to Avoid: Converting a Bedroom

Turning a bedroom into a room that’s specific to your interests — such as a wine cellar or a library — is a risk. Once you start embedding wine refrigerators or bookshelves and customizing the space’s structure, the room becomes less valuable because the next owner may not want to spend money renovating that room. “If you insist on doing it, at least make it easy to ‘un-do’ later when you want to sell,” says DeSimone.

Renovation to Avoid: Laying Down Carpet

Don’t bother carpeting any room in the house. “Natural hardwood flooring is what everyone wants these days,” says Moshkovich. Plus, wood floors tend to be easier to clean, they don’t show as much dirt and they’re better for family members who suffer from allergies. “If you’re looking to save, engineered wood is cheaper than 100% natural wood — and it still looks good,” suggests Moshkovich.

Renovation to Avoid: Installing Ornate Lighting

Buyers like bright lighting, but if you empty your wallet buying an over-the-top chandelier, you probably won’t get most of your money back, notes Ferstl. “Some people go all out when decorating a dining room, but the next owner may want to turn the dining room into a bedroom, so it’s often a waste,” Rockower says. Her recommendation: Opt for subtle high-hat or recessed lighting or get a basic chandelier or hanging fixture from Home Depot; you can find a bunch that look good for under $100.

Renovation to Avoid: Redoing Your Garage

“I’ve seen some people turn garages into family rooms or play rooms — and then have a hard time selling their house,” says DeSimone. “Most people want a garage to stay a garage.” Not only do buyers want to protect their cars from rain and snow, but they also need a place to put dirty outdoor stuff, like lawnmowers, leaf blowers, shovels and garbage cans. Bottom line: Don’t go glam with your garage!

By: Jane Bianchi,