Monthly Archives: August 2011

Featured Gay Realtor: Ray Gernhart, ReMax Allegiance ~ Washington, D.C.

ray gernhart, gay realtor, gayrealestate.com

With Ray’s successful career of over twenty five years in real estate, he has personally experienced all the ups and downs of the market. Since 1985, he has coordinated thousands of new home sales as well as easing the transition for families as they move on to new horizons. Ray’s expertise lies in his complete understanding of all facets of real estate, from buying and selling, to an all-encompassing grasp of the individual financial aspects for each client.

Ray’s background and success has earned him top honors in every club available including Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Re/Max Chairman’s Club, RE/MAX Hall of Fame and the $20 Million Plus Sales Producer since 1999 with the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

Ray’s promise he makes to every one of his clients is to provide quality service, as a full-time agent, to achieve the client’s goals.

Why choose Ray?

The service that Ray provides shines through so that your real estate experience, either buying or selling, is a seamless process. He employs a full-time assistant to oversee the closing process ensuring that all the details are handled. This type of coordination creates a situation that moves effortlessly through the buying and selling stages. Ray’s dedication to his clients is proven through the numer of referrals and resales he is proud to be part of. Ray is there for you; before, during AND after closing. Bottom line? Ray makes real estate fun. He enjoys his work and it comes through in the service he provides. Treat yourself to a deal with Ray.

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country.

Professional/Personal Distinctions:

Associate Broker, VA, DC & MD Lifetime Achievement Award Winner RE/MAX Hall of Fame Life Member Top Producers Club

Specialties:

Residential and commercial real estate to the LGBT community for over 25 years!

Ray Gernhart is a Member of the National Association of Realtors®.

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our top gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

View Ray’s Complete Profile & Contact them Immediately by Clicking Here

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and Gay Realtor stories affecting the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on August 31, 2011 in Gay Realtors

White House may unveil mortgage plan next week

Gay Home Blueprint

The Obama administration is considering unveiling new plans next week to revive the ailing housing market and reduce foreclosures, including an effort to help troubled borrowers refinance their mortgages.

The administration has been working for weeks on how to implement a mortgage relief program. President Barack Obama could include a nod to the plan in a speech on job creation next week, sources familiar with the administration’s plans said.

The refinancing initiative would allow certain borrowers to refinance loans that are backed by government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration, the sources said.

A broad-based effort to automatically refinance millions of mortgages is not in the works, yet the administration is looking to take targeted changes to an existing program that would allow more borrowers to take advantage of low mortgage rates, including allowing borrowers to refinance even if they owe a significant amount above their property’s current value.

The idea is to help struggling borrowers refinance at current low interest rates, which would cut their monthly payments and free up cash for other spending. The hope is that this could drum up overall business activity.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan was 4.22 percent last week, close to the lowest level in more than 50 years, according to Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA, which together account for 90 percent of the U.S. residential mortgage market, would be given permission to begin refinancing plans for borrowers that are current on their mortgage payments and not considered seriously delinquent, according to the sources.

While the administration is under pressure to firm up the details, it is not yet clear whether borrowers seeking to take out a loan that is more than 80 percent of the value of the home would qualify for refinancing. The White House has kept the specifics of the refinancing plan closely guarded as it attempts to work out the details.

White House officials had long been wary of trying aggressive new programs to revive the housing market. The prevailing view at the White House over much of the last two years was that any remedies would cause at least as many problems as they solved.

A mainstay of the administration’s housing initiative, rolled out in April 2009, has fallen short of expectations. Known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program, it was originally intended to help 4 million to 5 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. As of May it had helped only about 810,000 homeowners refinance into loans with lower rates, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

But Democrats close to the White House said the weakness in the economy and the drop in mortgage rates have led officials to take a second look at ideas that could bolster the housing market and ease the strain on household budgets.

Analysts who favor action say housing is at the heart of the economy’s woes and that its moribund state is creating a risk of a Japanese-style “lost decade” of economic stagnation.

“We can either spend the better part of a decade allowing households to gradually work off their debt burden,” said William Galston, a scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank. “Option number two is that we try to jump-start the process.”

“I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board,” he added.

Chicken or the egg
Some economists, however, believe the strain the housing market is putting on the rest of the economy can be addressed in other ways, such as using infrastructure spending and tax credits to encourage hiring in order to reinvigorate growth.

Christina Romer, a former top economic adviser to Obama, said that compared to other measures to address the economy’s woes, a housing-specific program could be expensive. She noted that homeowners tend to be wealthier than the general population so such programs would not be targeted to people most in need.

“A bold jobs program might be just as effective and better targeted to those who need help the most. Also, healing the economy is as likely to heal the housing market as programs aimed directly at housing,” said Romer, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

And while refinancing has accounted for the majority of mortgage applications for many months now, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, there is no evidence that the refinancings are providing a spur to consumer spending.

The refinancing initiative under consideration by the Obama administration mirrors a plan contained in legislation co-authored by Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, and Senator Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia.

In a letter on Monday to Edward DeMarco, acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Boxer argued that the plan would provide a “dual benefit.”

She said it would help Fannie and Freddie avoid losses, since fewer borrowers would fall delinquent, while providing a boost to the economy.

Bondholders on the losing end
The loudest objections are being registered by holders of mortgage bonds, who would take a hit if loans are paid off early.

Some fund managers have loaded up on agency mortgage-backed securities, those bonds backed by mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Government National Mortgage Association, because they offer higher yields than U.S. Treasuries.

Last week, the $5.4 trillion agency MBS market recorded one of its worst weeks in a year as traders dumped mortgage bonds out of concern the White House would put forward a plan that would shoulder them with losses.

While mortgage rates have been hovering around record low levels, banks remain stingy with lending although they are sitting on more than $1 trillion in excess reserves. Homeowners without a job or good credit histories have been essentially shut out of the refinancing process.

Some investors say the economic benefit of a government-encouraged refinancing wave would be minimal.

“It’s a political hail Mary. It’s unclear why they want to throw a monkey wrench into a $5 trillion market,” said John Kerschner, head of securitized products at Janus Capital Group in Denver. He said the net benefits for the economy are negligible, perhaps adding $20 billion to $30 billion “at best” to the U.S. economy.

The aurthor of this article is Thomson Ruters

See the original post at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44340713/ns/business-real_estate/

GayRealEstate.com creates original residential real estate content and reposts other articles that are of interest and may impact the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community ~ if you have a story you’d like to see us cover, please contact us at manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on August 31, 2011 in Refinancing

Spring buying boosts home prices in US cities

Townhome Denver, Colorado

Spring buying pushed home prices up for a third straight month in most major U.S. cities in June. But the housing market remains shaky, and further price declines are expected this year.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index showed Tuesday that prices increased in June from May in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. Prices rose 3.6 percent in the April-June quarter from the previous quarter. Neither of those numbers is adjusted for seasonal factors.

Over the past 12 months, home prices have declined in all 20 cities.

Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington and Boston posted the biggest monthly increases. Metro areas hit hardest by the housing crisis, including Las Vegas and Phoenix, reported small seasonal increases.

Housing has been a drag on the economy and is a key reason it has struggled to recover two years after the recession officially ended. Home sales are on pace this year to be the worst in 14 years.

High unemployment, larger down payment requirements and tighter credit are preventing many buyers from entering the market. Many who can afford to buy are waiting because they are worried prices have yet to hit bottom.

And growing fears that the U.S. economy is close to another recession “are likely to leave a mark” on both home prices and sales over the next few months, said Stan Humphries, chief economist at the real estate website Zillow.com.

“Monthly home value appreciation in June may mark the last hurrah before beginning to weaken in the back half of this year,” Humphries said.

Analysts say home prices have stabilized in coastal cities over the past six months. Seasonally adjusted prices have fallen a modest 1 percent over the past six months, according to the index. That’s less than a third of the decline from the previous six months.

But this year, home prices in many cities have reached their lowest points since the housing market went bust more than four years ago. Prices in Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa are at 2000 levels.

“These shifts suggest that we are back to regional housing markets, rather than a national housing market where everything rose and fell together,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P’s index committee.

The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The June data is the latest available.

Home prices are certain to fall further once banks resume millions of foreclosures, which have been delayed because of a government investigation into mortgage lending practices. If the U.S. economy slips back into another recession, prices could drop even further.

“There’s no theoretical floor for prices. If the economy worsens, housing will get into a vicious cycle of falling prices and foreclosures,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “When prices fall, confidence wanes.”

Last year, a homebuyer tax credit helped boost prices temporarily. But prices began to fall shortly after the tax credit expired. They tumbled in big metro areas in March to their lowest level since 2002.

As prices have declined, so too have sales.

The pace of sales for previously occupied homes is trailing last year’s 4.91 million sold, the fewest since 1997. In a healthy economy, people buy roughly 6 million homes each year.

Sales of new homes dropped in July for third straight month. This year is shaping up to be the worst for sales of new homes on records dating back to 1963.

Foreclosures and short sales — when a lender agrees to sell for less than what is owed on a mortgage — made up about 30 percent of all home sales last month, up from about 10 percent in past years. About 1.7 million potential foreclosures are being held up, according to real estate firm CoreLogic, either by backlogged courts or lenders awaiting state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices.

The aurthor of this article is Derek Kravitz, AP Real Estate Writer

See the original post at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Spring-buying-boosts-home-apf-28530223.html?x=0

GayRealEstate.com creates original residential real estate content and reposts original stories that are of interest and impact the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community ~ if you have a story you’d like to see us cover, please contact us at manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on August 30, 2011 in Home Prices

Featured Gay Realtor: Merlin Parker, Home Real Estate ~ Denver, Colorado

Denver Colorado Gay Realtor Merlin Parker

Merlin has a precise vision of the Denver Metro market and how it can benefit each of his clients. His unique ability to work closely and listen attentively with buyers and sellers, allows him to understand your goals and identify your best opportunities; all within a manageable time frame that fits your specific needs.

Merlin understands that real estate may be the biggest investment of your life. That is why education of the market, dedicated service, and attention to detail is Merlin’s promise, and using his experience and professionalism to negotiate the best possible deal is his final commitment to you.

Merlin provides relocating buyers a free relocation kit with information about the Denver Metro Area including information about neighborhoods, available properties, schools, recreation and employment information.

Merlin provides sellers a free comprehensive market analysis and a strategic marketing program, ensuring maximum property exposure, and accessing our extensive relocation network to ensure a quick sale. Additionally, offering no cost relocation assistance to your new destination!

Mindful and passionate, plus an unparalleled commitment to service is what you can expect from Merlin in your next Real Estate transaction!

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country.

Professional/Personal Distinctions:

Merlin has lived in the Denver area for 22 years. His background in residential and commercial design lends him knowledge to the many unique areas of Denver. He is a member of: National Association of REALTORS Colorado Association of REALTORS Denver Board of REALTORS MLS Certified

Specialties:

Residential Single Family; Resale and New Construction plus Condominiums, Townhomes and Loft Living! Land and Investment Properties also available.

Merlin Parker is a Member of the National Association of Realtors®.

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our top gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

View Merlin’s Complete Profile & Contact them Immediately by Clicking Here

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and Gay Realtor stories affecting the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on August 26, 2011 in Gay Realtors

How do I hire a real estate agent and how much will it cost me?

Gay Realtors, Gay Real Estate Agents

The best way to find a real estate agent is through a recommendation from someone that has used the agent previously. On-line services like GayRealEstate.com have previous client feedback and comments and can help you secure an honest realtor.

In the real estate game, so much is about trusted relationships and word of mouth, because buying a home is an investment. You don’t trust just anyone with your car keys or stock portfolio—and this is even more important. 

Interview with an agent and price-point your own home

Once you have finally settled on an agent or two, have a sit down with them. The REALTOR® will educate you on what he or she estimates your house will sell for, how the property will be marketed, and what costs are involved in the sale- including what you can expect to net (the check you will receive) at the closing. The agent will estimate your home’s value by doing a competitive market analysis in your neighborhood.

 For your turn, it is vital that you ask questions regarding his/her experience as a REALTOR®:

 

  • Are you a full-time real estate agent?
  • How many years have you been selling homes?
  • How many homes have you sold in this neighborhood?
  • What is the most important competitive advantage you will bring to the table in selling my home?
  • How long will my home be on the market? (Ask for details. It will be evident if he or she is clueless.)
  • What’s your sales record this year? In the past?
  • How can you or other services make my home more presentable for sale?
  • What will we do if my home doesn’t sell quickly

After you have asked these questions, it is time to pick a REALTOR®. If the price point the agent gave your home is way off, it’s important to have discuss the price and have any other conversations before moving forward. It is crucial that you smooth out all of the wrinkles before signing anything. 

The listing contract

The listing contract is, by far, the most elaborate and important part of hiring an agent. Within the listing contract, you will find obvious things like:

  • The price of your home
  • The length of the listing period
  • The negotiated commission the agent will charge for marketing the property and the percentage commission the agent will receive for the sale of the home 

Many listing contracts are cut-and-dry documents written to be accommodating for both the seller and the agent. However, you need to be specific.If you aren’t specific, you could get stuck with a bum agent who can’t sell a pair of shoes, much less a home! Many contract terms stipulate 90 to 120 days or longer before the seller is free to try a different agent. This is standard.

Paying an Agent

Agents get paid on commission. A typical selling commission is 5%-6% of the selling price of your home, although this is always negotiable! For a $250,000.00 sale at 5%, the agents take $12,500.00. It is commonplace that the buyer and seller’s agents split the commission on a successful sale, so your listing agent will really take about $6,250.00

The pros at www.GayRealEstate.com are some of the best in the business, when it comes time to find a real estate agent. They quite literally have thousands of agents they are happy to recommend.

Posted on August 26, 2011 in Selling

What are the costs of selling my home?

costs of selling a home

It may be surprising that the associated costs of selling a home can easily add up to thousands of dollars. Selling a home is a major transition for all parties involved, and, if you aren’t properly prepared ahead of time, it may cost you an arm and leg.

Repairs are necessary for the sale to close

Potential homebuyers and lenders may insist that you fix a leaky sink, re-shingle or patch a roof, and fix a cracked foundation. Some of these fixes are native to being a homeowner, but if you don’t want to do it yourself, you will have to negotiate that in (or out) of your contract. These costs can stack up to a major investment, so be sure to exhaust all due diligence when determining the value of your home before and after repairs—you may be adding value beyond what the homebuyer has agreed to pay. 

Property taxes must be paid in full up to date of closing

There is no way around them—you will have to prorate and pay your taxes up to the closing day. For instance, if you sell your home six months into the tax year, you will have to pay half a year’s worth of taxes on your home. If you pay taxes before the closing, you will need to provide documentation of this.

Closing costs and fees aplenty

The list of closing costs is long and fees apply for—attorney, title, recording, mortgage, inspection, appraiser, etc. These fees pay the people who are responsible for ensuring that the proper legal paperwork is filed so that the ownership of your home transfers from you to the buyer.

In this market, it has become more common for sellers to pay the buyer’s closing costs. You could potentially be on the hook for some of the buyer’s mortgage, bank, and real estate brokerage fees associate with the sale, if you want to sell your home quickly. Conduct some research in advance or contact a real estate agent at GayRealEstate.com to determine what closing costs are common in your neighborhood.  

Sales commission for your agent’s services

This is going to be the most expensive part of selling your home. Real estate agents can make as much as seven percent of the sales price. If you are in $250,000 home, that’s $15,000 to your agent. Of course he’s doing a ton of work to get your home sold in this market, and he’s splitting that fee with the buyers agent. Reasonably, you can expect to pay five of six percent in commission to most agents. Negotiate with your agent up front about his or her commission ~ if you’ll be repurchasing a home from the same agent, you can get a greatly reduced selling fee.

An agent should draw up a sheet the details the cost of selling your home—a net sheet– and they should calculate their fees into the cost of your home.

Transfer Fees (more taxes)

Transfer fees are state and federal taxes excised when a property changes hands. They are commonly referred to as “Death Taxes”. 

You can avoid paying the capitol gains tax by filing a 1031 exchange form (ask your agent). Capital gains taxes vary widely, but are those taxes assessed on profit from a sale.

All agent at GayRealEstate.com provide sellers a FREE Competitive Market Analysis which outlines a complete marketing plan, estimated time on the market, and provided you the “Net Sheet” mentioned above to prevent any surprises.

Posted on August 18, 2011 in Selling

Obama Administration Releases July Housing Scorecard

Housing and Urban Development
At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news affecting the LGBT community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today released the July edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest housing data offer continued mixed signals as home prices improved slightly but showed continued strain from foreclosures and distressed homes. Also, as more homeowners secure mortgage relief, fewer borrowers entered the foreclosure pipeline in June. The full report is available online at www.hud.gov/scorecard.

“This month’s housing data paint a mixed picture of conditions in the market – despite growing evidence of progress in the broader economy,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “We’re continuing to see a slight improvement in home prices and a decline in mortgage defaults as our foreclosure prevention programs reach more borrowers upstream in the process. But we have much more work to do to help the market recover and to reach the many households there and across the nation who still face trouble.”

“Tens of thousands of additional homeowners are getting real relief from the Administration’s programs every month,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “These programs are setting standards across the industry that are yielding more sustainable assistance for homeowners in the face of the worst housing crisis in a generation.”

The July Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:

    • Fewer homeowners fell behind on their mortgages during the month of June. In June, 4.4 percent of prime mortgages were at least 30 days late – a significant decline from the peak of 5.9 percent seen in 2010. Moreover, seriously delinquent prime mortgages – those at least 90 days late or in foreclosure – remained approximately 22 percent below a high of 1.9 million recorded last year. As new delinquencies decrease across the nation, the number of new homeowners seeking assistance through the Administration’s programs may also decrease.

 

    • The Administration’s recovery efforts have helped millions of families deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Nearly 5 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of May 2011.This includes more than 1.6 million HAMP trial modification starts, more than 938,000 FHA loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and nearly 2.4 million HOPE Now proprietary modifications, reflecting the reach of standards developed in the Administration’s programs. While some homeowners may have received help from more than one program, the total number of agreements offered continues to more than double the number of foreclosure completions for the same period (2.1 million). In June, nearly 32,000 additional homeowners received a permanent modification through the Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP); more than 760,000 homeowners across the country have received a HAMP permanent modification to date with a median payment reduction of 37 percent.

 

  • Even as new delinquencies continue to fall, eligible homeowners entering HAMP have a high likelihood of earning a permanent modification and realizing long-term success. The rate of modifications moving from trial to permanent is up to 74 percent, and the average time to convert from a trial to permanent modification is down to 3.5 months. Homeowners in HAMP modifications continue to perform well over time, with re-default rates lower than those on industry modifications. At one year, more than 84 percent of homeowners remain in their HAMP permanent modification. View the June HAMP Servicer Performance Report.

Also featured is the bi-monthly Housing Scorecard Regional Spotlight reporting on market strength in Riverside, CA and surrounding communities. The Riverside metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was among the nation’s hardest hit areas following the housing market downturn and a region where the Administration’s broad approach to stabilizing the housing market has been very active.

“Our Regional Spotlight shows that after years of rapidly rising home prices fueled in part by widely available – but ultimately unsustainable – adjustable rate mortgages, Riverside neighborhoods suffered a steep drop in property values and many severely underwater mortgages,” added Bostic. “However, we also show how the Administration’s approach to stabilizing the housing market has been a source of real help to local families – helping more than 131,000 homeowners to avoid foreclosure.”

The Housing Scorecard Regional Spotlight features data on the health of the Riverside housing market and impact of efforts to help homeowners at the local level including:

    • The Administration’s mortgage assistance programs have helped tens of thousands of Riverside families avoid foreclosure. Through May 2011, approximately 131,000 mortgage assistance interventions have been offered to homeowners in the Riverside metropolitan area, including more than 75,500 interventions offered through HAMP and FHA loss mitigation and early delinquency intervention programs. An estimated 56,000 additional proprietary modifications have been offered through Hope Now Alliance servicers. While some homeowners may have received help from more than one program, the number of times assistance has been offered in the Riverside MSA is two-thirds higher than the number of foreclosures completed during this period (80,000).

 

    • Riverside homeowners are starting to see relief after struggling with some of the highest levels of mortgage delinquency and foreclosure in the nation. The share of area mortgages 90 or more days delinquent dropped from 17 percent to 12 percent over the past year – an improvement over the national decline of 1 percent over the same period. Completed foreclosures also declined from 9,400 in the first quarter of 2010 to 7,600 in the first quarter of 2011, although lender process reviews continue to affect foreclosure completions locally and nationally. However, many homeowners and loans remain at risk as nearly half of all mortgages in the Riverside area (47 percent) are in negative equity – more than twice the national rate (23 percent).

 

  • The Administration’s Hardest Hit Fund and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs have fueled local foreclosure prevention efforts and market stability. California has received nearly $2 billion through the Hardest Hit Fund to implement local solutions to borrower mortgage defaults and address the range of factors that contribute to a family’s financial problems. Moreover, approximately $191 million has been awarded to sixteen jurisdictions through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help purchase or redevelop residential properties and address the effects of abandoned and foreclosed housing. Both programs have helped provide stability to the Riverside housing market.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at: manager@gayrealestate.com

Posted on August 17, 2011 in Housing Markets

NAR amends Code of Ethics to protect LGBT, yet finances anti-LGBT candidates

article 10 code of ethics

Code of Ethics amended

In January of this year, Article 10 of The Realtor Code of Ethics was amended to include sexual orientation as a protected class.  Article 10 in its entirety now reads as follows:

Realtors® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or sexual orientation. Realtors® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Realtors®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Discrimination problematic, NAR committee stood up

NAR had recognized that there was a problem in housing discrimination, and stepped up to the plate to ensure their members would not participate in denying service to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered) community.

If there wasn’t a need for an advocate in both the rental and homeownership markets, NAR would not have made this momentous change to the COE. What’s cool about our COE is that much like The Constitution, it is a living, breathing, evolving document.  Our Code of Ethics embraces the changes that have happened, that are happening in the world, and is able to adapt accordingly.

NAR’s historic political donations

NAR historically has donated fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats, based on their stance on housing issues, and usually it
comes out to be right around 50/50.

As of August 15th of this year, the split for monies donated is 45% to Democrats and 55% to Republicans.  It isn’t so much the lopsided-ness of the Republican v Democrat spending so far that is concerning.  What is, and what makes things so bassackwards, is who NAR is floating funds to either via PACs, parties, or direct contributions to candidates.

Looking at OpenSecrets.org which is a site that has the dish on who is donating, how much,
and to whom, we see one instance where NAR has donated $1,000 to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. She is near the top of the alphabetical list of donation recipients, and most people by now have at least heard something about her, which is why we are going to use her as an example.

Bachmann may have either sponsored or co-sponsored a couple of bills that can be considered housing friendly, but none of which have passed. One was in regards to flood insurance, and the other, repealing the Dodd-Frank Act.

NAR commits to LGBT community on one hand but not the other

Congresswoman Bachmann, if you follow the news, isn’t exactly a fan of
the LGBT community. It is surprising that NAR would place a pittance of housing legislation, which has gone nowhere, over those which they have pledged to protect.

Really, if one wants to fork over buck to someone who seriously cares about housing issues, NAR should start with Congressman Kucinich Yeah. Totally just said that.

This isn’t meant to be a pissing contest about political parties, or even social issues, and where we all stand as individuals. It’s more about where our principles are as a group, where they should be, and do we practice what we preach as Realtors. Do we actually, honestly, subscribe to the Code of Ethics that we promise to uphold, and abide by?

Realtors don’t discriminate, why should candidates?

If you are a Realtor, you cannot discriminate based on sexual
orientation, national origin, color, sex, race, religion, handicap, or familial status, and if you reside in the State of Ohio, you also cannot discriminate against those in our Military. End of discussion.

Why would we as individuals support candidates who do, even if they subtlety discriminate, no matter what their stance on housing? And more importantly, why would NAR?

—————————————

This story is reprinted with the permission of AGBeat. Kathleen Cosner at AGBeat is the original author ~ Please vist the link below to view the original story: http://agentgenius.com/editorials/nar-changed-code-of-ethics-to-protect-lgbt-yet-contributes-to-anti-lgbt-candidates/

 

Posted on August 16, 2011 in Realtors

Atlanta Building Market Has Potential for 40,000 New Homes a Year

atlanta-skyline2

Bloomberg just released an article with information from Barclays Capital stating that housing markets such as Phoenix and Atlanta. where foreclosures have been plentiful and home prices have sharply declined since the housing bubble burst, are the best potential markets for the sale of new homes.  In fact, they report that Atlanta has the potential to build 47,317 new houses a year, followed by Phoenix with 46,485 and Dallas with 33,997.

“Regions that have pushed foreclosures through the pipeline quickly should see demand for new homes earlier than those that have allowed their backlog to grow,” says Meli, Fole of Morris and Tayon.

This is great news for Atlanta homebuilders and others involved in the residential construction industry as at present the possibly of building and selling 40,000 home a year seems to be a bit out of reach. The Bloomberg story did not disclose when they anticipate Atlanta would reach this level of building again. If you have any ideas or further information, please comment!

atlantarealestateforum.com “Read Full Story”

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news affecting the LGBT community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood.

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
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Posted on August 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Housing woes point to further economic slowdown

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Signs of a slowing economy in the last few days appear to have taken Wall Street by surprise.

Those of us closer to Main Street would say they haven’t been paying attention.

Persistent unemployment and heavily indebted consumers have taken a toll on demand for months. That spells trouble with a national economy in which consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of activity.

On July 29, revised economic figures showed that first quarter growth was just 0.4 percent and the second quarter wasn’t much better at 1.3 percent GDP growth. Today, the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index came in at a worse-than-expected 50.9 percent in July.

“Economy still going sideways,” said Wells Fargo Chief Economist John Silvia, noting that the economy is “just not gathering the momentum some analysts had forecast.”

My observations and conversations with bankers, and those close to bankers, suggest further slowing is all but inevitable.

In Washington, one thing is clear: Government spending will be scaled back even as the economy depends on it to offset weak consumer demand. Cutbacks at other levels of government are already taking a toll.

I spent part of last week attending the Inman Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco. The annual gathering focuses on tech in the real estate business. But many speakers’ comments and observations signaled more economic trouble ahead.

A July 29 panel of economist-types on the outlook for residential real estate was sobering. The consensus was that we’re halfway through a decade of trouble for the housing market. Yes, that means we have five more years to go.

The always quotable Ken Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at U.C. Berkeley, was critical of those in Washington, who were busy threatening to send the nation into default and pondering measures to make home ownership in America even less attractive as he spoke.

“There’s no one thinking there,” Rosen said. “I’ve never seen so many dumb people working on housing policy in my life.”

He estimates a drop in conforming loan limits will affect 10 percent to 15 percent of Bay Area home buyers. Rosen, along with others attending the conference, noted the Bay Area’s housing market is stronger than most.

Another speaker at the Inman conference noted that consumer balance sheets are still laden with mortgages taken out during the housing bubble, creating a huge drag on consumer spending. Money paying off those loans curtails consumer demand amid the weak economy.

And another panelist said he found it “incomprehensible” that troubled home owners are paying on their credit cards while letting their mortgage payments lapse. In the new rules of personal finance, such behavior is logical.

The credit card issuer can impose higher rates and late charges immediately. Plus a credit card payment can boost cash flow since you can charge on the card after making a payment.

By contrast, the 4.5 million mortgage holders that are more than three payments behind might view a mortgage payment as going into a black hole, especially if the mortgage payment isn’t building home equity and the troubled borrower fears they’ll eventually lose the house to foreclosure anyway.

Other signs of economic trouble on the real estate front includes a July 31 report by Kenneth Harney in the Los Angeles Times that a growing number of home buyers nationwide appear to be more eager to fall out of contract as they worry about what lies ahead.

And bankers say that they’re not seeing businesses seeking loans because weak consumer demand doesn’t justify the risk and expense of expanding capacity. Plus these bankers complain that there’s a great deal of uncertainty created by new regulation.

That issue also arose at the Inman conference. A speaker said it might be a couple years before real estate agents once again can know “instinctively” whether a potential home buyer will qualify for a mortgage.

That doesn’t bode well for anyone.

Mark Calvey, bizjournals.com “Read Full Story”

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Posted on August 14, 2011 in Uncategorized