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Single Family Home Rental Market is On Fire

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 posted by tommi

                                   The recession/depression and housing crash have certainly altered the old American Dream…at least for the foreseeable future.   The ongoing foreclosure crisis will drive another 3 million families to rent single family homes before 2015.

These millions of people are not typical renters, either.  They are older.  They have furniture, appliances, kids and pets.  They are not interested in apartment living.  They are looking to move back into single family homes, after foreclosure.   This new growth in single family rentals is the fastest growing part of the rental market and the pace is unprecedented.

A Nation of Renters Appears to be the Plan?

Private Equity groups smell the blood in the water.  They are buying up billons of dollars in distressed property, which they will in turn rent back to American families.  Colony Capital, for example, has purchased over 1ooo single family homes since December of this year and plans to invest at LEAST $1.5 BILLION more this year. 

In the next 5-10 years, investment firms will gobble up hundreds of billions of dollars of single family homes, at basement prices.  They will Raise rents every chance they get over the next 3-5 years.  Then, they will dump these properties for a profit and move on something else.

How does a Renting Society change the American neighborhood? 

The combination of transient families and declining home values will take a huge toll on American neighborhoods.    A rentership society is much less likely to spend money on plants, a fresh coat of paint, new carpet or a fenced yard—as they would if they owned the home they live in.   

Renters also mean shifts in student populations and present more challenges for our school systems.  Many schools in the Phoenix area report that 50% of their students will be new this year, a far higher percentage than normal.   Everything slows down when a new student enters a classroom and parents are less likely to be involved, when they are not sure they will be there for long.

Is American homeownership still the American Dream?

Thankfully, the answer is YES.  83% of people who lost their homes to foreclosure or distress sales say they want to own their own home again.  Most say they will buy something smaller than they had.  Many promise they will never again tie up so much of their income for a home.  Many who are forced to rent feel displaced.  They feel that they are living in someone else’s house.   They are fearful of entering retirement without having a home that is paid for…which only owning and paying off a mortgage will accomplish.    So, yes, neigborhoods are changing…new homeowners aren’t families, but are investment firms…but appears for all the right reasons… the American dream is alive… at least for now. 

Thank you for visiting   Flat Fee or Entry Only MLS?  We can Help

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1. Pristine and staged. The homes that I’ve seen get multiple offers in my own market recently are immaculately clean — not a whiff of anything within noseshot, so to speak — and dressed to the nines. Their photos look like something out of a home decor catalog or design magazine — like no one lives there, even if someone does. Their owners have often spent months in advance cleaning, decluttering, organizing, primping and otherwise sprucing their homes for sale with the intention of blowing the competition out of the water.

I won’t purport to capture the art of staging in a sentence, but prepacking is a good visual to hold in mind as you prepare your home. (And anecdotally, I will say that it strikes me that a large proportion of multiple-offer homes have actually been professionally staged. I’d urge a seller who wants multiple offers to explore whether there’s some level of staging service or even staging advice that is worth the investment, before dismissing it as too expensive out of hand.)

2. Low prices. The homes that get multiple offers are not priced at the top of their markets. In fact, I know that many of their listing agents and owners specifically aimed to list these homes slightly below what they believed to be the true fair market value of the property at the time they listed it. Why? What seems like it might be risky is actually a time-proven strategy for cranking up the number of buyers who come view the property.

When buyers see a beautiful home listing online for less than they’d expect for the area, they show up in droves, eager to get a great home for a great value. And the math from there is simple — it takes more showings to drive more offers.

Once these value hunters are at the place and fall in love with it, they often become willing to offer more than the asking price if they need to, to secure it in the face of competing offers, knowing that it was priced well to start with.

3. Ample exposure to the market. Part of the effect of a low list price is that it creates an auction atmosphere, the environment that churns up bidding wars. The other half of the auction equation is ensuring that the home has ample exposure to the market, both in terms of time for buyers to come see and fall in love with the place and in terms of marketing the property aggressively to reach as many prospective buyer/bidders as possible.

Ample exposure can be achieved in several ways. Professional photography. An aggressive online marketing campaign — most experienced local listing agents will happily brief prospective seller clients on what they do in this vein. One ample exposure method I’ve seen become a standard practice in my area is to create and publish an offer timeline. In my town, it’s now almost universal for listing agents to list the home a day or two prior to the broker’s open house, hold it open for brokers once, hold two general Sunday open houses and then take offers the Tuesday following the second Sunday open house.

By publishing this timeline as part of the listing, buyers are assured that they will have time to see the place and get their ducks in a row in order to compete for it. And sellers are assured that they will not forgo the great offer that might come tomorrow by virtue of taking a good one that comes in the day after they put the home on the market.

Now, sometimes, aggressive buyers force a seller’s hand, making an offer immediately upon seeing the property, despite a preset offer timeline. In those cases, the listing agent can call up all the other agents who have expressed an interest in the place and offer them the opportunity to get in the game. For this reason, and for any other important updates or changes that might come along, it’s essential that buyers and their brokers let the listing agent know if they plan to make an offer, even early in the published offer timeline.

4. Showable on demand. Hard-to-show homes just don’t sell, when there’s lots of competition. When buyers’ brokers put their home tours together, if a particular listing requires too much notice (i.e., 48 hours) or too many calls and callbacks for appointment-setting, they’re very likely just to turn to one of the other dozens of homes that’s easy to show. Anything that diminishes the chances your home will be shown diminishes the chances your home will receive multiple offers.

To get multiple offers on today’s market, in fact, a seller’s home must be showable on demand. If you require an appointment, you should keep advance notice requirements as low as possible — an hour or less is ideal. Even better is to be accommodating and let brokers show your home at their leisure — ideally, stepping out or running to the market when they come by. Allowing your broker to put a lockbox on the place and let it be shown at all times while you’re at work or out and about on the weekends will require that you keep the place in tiptop shape, 24/7, but it will also be well worth it.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions.” Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website,

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HomeBuyers Dislike Wall to Wall Carpeting

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 posted by tommi

   Today’s homebuyers are not at all impressed by wall-to-wall carpeting.  In fact, homebuyers list it among their top list of things they hate when looking at pre-owned homes.  (Most hated item…Popcorn ceilings. Click to read about getting rid of popcorn or covering it up.)

Today’s Buyers expect hardwood floors, even in starter homes.    If your home has hardwood under the carpet, immediately remove it, even if your floors aren’t in great shape.   If you don’t have hardwood, consider installing it in the main living area of the home, especially if the room is visable from the entry.

If you don’t have hardwood floors or you can not remove the carpeting, at least make sure it is squeeky clean and smells great.  At a minimum, hire a professional carpet cleaner and ask that they pay close attention to the traffic patterns.  If the carpet can not be cleaned, satisfactorily, or if it is worn, torn, faded a bad color or it smells….don’t attempt to clean it….REPLACE IT.  

Thank you for visiting   We can assist you in advertising your home on the MLS or  Save thousands and reach millions of homebuyers everyday!!  Call us at 1-800-381-9496 or visit for details.

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50 Cities with Bed Bug Infestation Problems

Friday, March 16, 2012 posted by tommi

Okay, sure…  not ALL of the beds in these cities are infested.  But if you’re planning on hotel stays in any of these destinations, you might want to do an inspection around the headboards before you lay your body down.

Pest control corporation Rollins (which owns seven companies - including Orkin) reports a 34% rise in bed bug biz from 2010 to 2011.

Here’s the list, including the change from the previous year’s ranking:

1. Cincinnati
2. Chicago
3. Detroit (+1)
4. Denver (+2)
5. Los Angeles (+20)
6. Columbus, Ohio (-3)
7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (+43)
8. Washington, D.C. (-3)
9. New York (-2)
10. Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (+6)
11. Houston (-1)
12. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif. (+35)
13. Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Ohio (+1)
14. Boston (+4)
15. Dayton, Ohio (-7)
16. Las Vegas (-1)
17. Honolulu (+55)
18. Baltimore (-6)
19. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C. (+9)
20. Philadelphia (-9)
21. Atlanta (+24)
22. Lexington, Ky. (-13)
23. Syracuse, N.Y. (+25)
24. Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (+27)
25. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. (+19)
26. San Diego (+13)
27. Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. (-3)
28. Omaha, Neb. (-11)
29. Buffalo, N.Y. (-16)
30. Pittsburgh (-3)
31. Indianapolis (-12)
32. Milwaukee (+6)
33. Charlotte, N.C. (+13)
34. Phoenix (+19)
35. Louisville, Ky. (-3)
36. Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (-16)
37. Grand Junction/Montrose, Colo. (+30)
38. Knoxville, Tenn. (+4)
39. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Mich. (-17)
40. Nashville, Tenn. (+15)
41. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif. (+24)
42. Des Moines/Ames, Iowa (-13)
43. Salisbury, Md. (+46)
44. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. (-23)
45. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (-22)
46. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. (-20)
47. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb. (-17)
48. Salt Lake City (-8)
49. Charleston/Huntington, W.Va. (-13)
50. West Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce, Fla. (+6)

Read more:

Thank you for visiting  Place a free home listing on our site…buy an InfoTube or InfoBox…search for great deals in complete privacy…or reach millions of home buyers every day by placing your property listing on the MLS or   If you have a home to sell..we can help!

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    President Obama just announced a plan to help US families.  And, miraculously, he doesn’t need the approval of Congress to help us.

  • Obama promised relief to homeowners who are trapped in high rate loans by banks.  If a homeowner is current on their current high interest loan payment, they can not be turned down for a lower interest rate loan that reduces their monthly payment.
  • Obama will cut closing costs for loan refinancing on FHA loans to make refinancing affordable.  The average borrower will save at least $1000 a year in fee’s and charges, in addition to saving about half of the closing costs on the new loan.
  • Obama waives appraisal value as a criteria for refinancing a high rate loan.  In other words, your bank can no longer use an appraisal against you…no matter how much you owe on your current loan.
  • Obama promises to compensate all US Servicemen and Veterans who were foreclosed upon during their tour of duty.  All Veterans who attempted to refinance their home to avoid foreclosure, and were turned away by their lender…are entitled to full compensation for all penalites, fee’s and losses.

We applaude this action and feel that it is long overdue.  This is exactly the type of change that Americans, and the housing market, need to avoid further personal and financial losses.  There is no legimate reason for a bank, who received taxpayer handouts, to turn down a borrower who wants to benefit from low Fed bank rates.   If a borrower is able to afford a $1500 house payments at a 10% interest rate, then why would a lender turn them down for a loan payment of a $1000 per month at 4.5%?    The only answer is a unfortunately a common one…GREED.    Banks are closing ranks to protect their 10% rate of return from dropping to 4.5%, even though the Fed’s (ie:taxpayers) are giving them the money for nothing.

Thank you for visiting  If you are in a position to refinance a high rate loan and save your home, please do so TODAY.    If you have been turned down for a refinanced loan…please reapply today.  Help is Here!!

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How to Get a Home Loan After Short Sale

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 posted by tommi

    Short sales are not uncommon in today’s real estate market.  Currently, they make up more than 10 percent of home sales and that number is rising.

If you have been forced to sell your previous home short, there is a way to get another mortgage.    Banks are starting to lend money to people who have worked hard to scrub up their tarnished credit history and other financing options are available.

  1. If you kept your mortgage paid until the closing of your short sale…you may qualify for an FHA loan right now.  If you were in loan default, you will have to wait 3 years to apply…however, if you had extenuating circumstances that led to your default, the 3 year waiting period may be waived.
  2. If you qualify for a VA loan (veterans) you can apply for a loan within 2 years after a short sale.
  3. If you are applying for a Fannie Mae loan you will have a 2 year wait with a 20% down payment….10% if you have qualifiying extenuating circumstances.   Otherwise, Fannie requires a 4 year waiting period for down payments between 10%-20%…and, a 7 year waiting period if your down payment is less than 10%.
  4. Freddie Mac requires a 4 year wait, or two years if you can prove extenuating circumstances.
  5. Banks and credit unions may give you a loan within 2 years with a 30% down payment.  If you have extenuating circumstances, they may waive the waiting period entirely.
  6. Two other options to consider are seller financing or a lease-purchase.  You may have to settle for less than your dream home since sellers who agree to these type of arrangements often have less desireable property that they haven’t been able to unload using normal methods.

Everyone deserves a second chance.  If you have been forced to sell a home short, if you have worked hard to rebuild your credit and if you have steady employment, selling your home short won’t keep you from owning your own home, again very soon.

Thank you for visiting  Our network of brokers can list your property on the MLS and all the major real estate websites for one, low flat fee…and let you sell your home yourself.  Save time and money, yet reach all the buyers in the marketplace.  It’s a win – win!!  Call us today at 1-800-381-9496 or visit our for details.

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8 Signs that the Housing Market is Improving

Monday, January 16, 2012 posted by tommi

We finally have a reason to celebrate!!  There is an avalanche of positive news regarding an upturn in the real estate and housing market in 2012.   

  1. Foreclosure activity in 2011 is down more than 50% lower in several states, including New Jersey, Maryland and Florida.  Realty Trac
  2. The much feared “shadow inventory” of foreclosures declined dramatically in 2011.  In December 2012, 2.2 million properties were in some stage of foreclosure.  In September 2011, that number dropped to 1.5 million units…or a whopping 32% in nine months.  Realtytrac
  3. Realtors in some hard hit area’s, such as Michigan and southern California, are reporting a shortage of housing inventory and a return to bidding wars in tight markets.  
  4. Wall Street thinks the worst is over.  Stocks of the nation’s five largest, publicly traded, home builders are at 52 week highs, signaling an upswing in home construction in 2012.  In addition, the home builders have been snapping up deals on land and abandoned subdivisions, in anticipation of increased buyer demand.  CNBC
  5. Home sellers, Realtors and home builders are getting help from rising rents, as Americans realize that owning a home is often less expensive than renting one.   And, while future rent increases have no ceiling on how high they can go, ownership locks in housing expenses and equity is created as the loan balance decreases each month.
  6. Legal issues, property maintenance and other issues complicating the foreclosure process will push banks and lenders to approve more short sales in 2012, further reducing housing inventory.
  7. Interest rates will remain at historical lows in 2012, which allows more people to qualify for a home and cheap money buys more house for the same monthly payment. 
  8. Overall, foreclosure activity was dropped more than 30 percent in 2011.   Fewer than 2 million properties foreclosure notices were filed in 2011, down from 2.9 million property filings in 2010.  Realty Trac

If you need to sell your home, things haven’t looked this favorable in years.      Arm yourself with an MLS listing and exposure on and all the major search engines for real estate.   Millions of home buyers search these websites, daily.  If your home isn’t there, they will buy the one that is. 

Thank you for visiting  We have helped thousands of home sellers and we can help you, too.

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To MLS or Not to MLS? Separating Fact from Hype

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 posted by tommi


What is the MLS?

What are the Benefits of advertising on the MLS

What is all the “Hype” of the MLS

What Should You Consider? 

What is the MLS? 

The Multiple Listing Service is a database of homes and property that are for sale.  The MLS is operated by the local Board of Realtors®.  The MLS is the resource agents use to find homes for their buyers or advertise their home listings to other agents.  MLS listings include detailed information about the property.  In addition to selling price and address, an MLS listing generally includes number of rooms, size of rooms, interior and exterior features, lot size, local school district, property taxes, association dues, directions to the property and comments.  Most also include photo’s of the home and a lockbox.  At the sellers discretion, most MLS listings can also be upgraded for a fee to include additional photos or virtual video tours.

 To MLS or Not To MLS;  Separating Fact from Hype 

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a powerful tool for real estate agents and home sellers.  It allows seller’s and agent’s to cross-sell all properties in a given market, which greatly expands the sales force of all the properties for sale.  The Internet has expanded the power of the MLS by providing information in real time to not only agents, but to home buyers and home sellers alike through its website.  The MLS and Realtor,com it is looked at by thousands of real estate agents who may have a buyer for your property and individual home buyers searching the Internet.  

Note:  In addition to, properties listed on the MLS  also appear on other major real estate search engines like Zillow,,,, Yahoo, Google and a host of others. 

Benefits of MLS Advertising: 

There is only one very significant benefit to having your home listed on the MLS…EXPOSURE!   The fact that your home is for sale will now be known by anyone searching the Internet.  Additionally, hundreds, if not thousands of real estate agents in your market will also know about your property.  To fully benefit from this exposure, you need to be willing to “co-op” with a real estate agent, if they bring a buyer whose contract terms are acceptable to you.  “Co-op” means that you agree to compensate the buyer’s real estate agent at the closing of your property.  Typically, a buyer’s agent will earn between 2%-3% of the sales price of the home.  If you are willing to “co-op” with a buyer’s agent, you should indicate this clearly in your Internet and classified advertising, and on your brochures. 

To list your home on the MLS, you will need to contract with a real estate listing agent that is a member of your local real estate board.  If your interest is purely to have your home listed on the MLS; you can contract with a new type of  Broker who charges a one-time fee to cover the cost of them listing your home in the MLS and allows you to act as your own listing agent. 

The flat-fee MLS listing concept is fairly new and not all agents will be anxious to provide this service, as they are in the full service real estate listing business.  To learn more about using a flat-fee MLS service, visit websites like     

In many areas of the United States, when a home appears on the local MLS, it will also appear on aggregator websites like MSN Home Advisor, Yahoo Real  Estate,, and local state and broker websites.  Many of the MLS  Boards send their inventory directly to these websites to enable even more exposure for the homeowner. 

In today’s transient society, thousands of people use the internet to search for homes far in advance of their relocation.  Many  people supply the list of properties that interest them to their agent, so the agent can set up showing appointments.  When a buyer is relocating to a new area, time is limited and critical.  This means the buyer’s agent becomes a critical part of relocation effort.  Therefore, the MLS can be key to exposing your home to people relocating to your area. 

What is the Hype of an MLS listing? 

1)      Your house will never sell if it is NOT listed on the MLS…False.

Your house may sell more quickly or for more money because of the tremendous exposure we discussed above, but your home can sell with or without the MLS.   

2)      Buyers will never find your home if it is NOT listed on the MLS…False.

According to the National Assn. of Realtors data, 60% of all home sales occur because of the sign in the yard.   Newsletters, directional signs, open houses, classified advertising and InfoTubes or InfoBoxes, filled with attractive home information flyers, will also help you find a buyer for your home. 

3)      Real estate agents will not bring a buyer to you if you are NOT on theMLS… False.

If an agent has an interested buyer and you indicate you are willing to pay them a commission, they have no reason to boycott your property.   If they do, they risk that the buyer contacts you directly and they don’t make a dime. 


The MLS has proven value and is certainly a wonderful way to expand your advertising reach.  If your goal is to make local agents aware that your home is for sale and reach the millions of buyers searching for homes on major real estate websites.  Keep in mind that you will need to pay a commission to a buyer agent at closing, if they bring you an offer that you accept.

If you decide to place your home on the MLS, consider it as a part of your overall marketing strategy and not a replacement for your advertising program.  Properly understood, the MLS can be another excellent part of your home selling process.

Thank you for visiting   Our national network of flat fee MLS brokers are standing by to assist you in marketing your home.  Please visit our website or phone 1-800-381-9496 to get started!

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College Students Swap Dorm Life for Suburban Mansions

Monday, December 19, 2011 posted by tommi

When the real estate bubble burst in 2007, I predicted that we would likely see large, single family, suburban mansions carved up and repurposed into multi-family housing.   Well, time and a prolonged recession have proven the idea viable.

The USA went through the same type of evolution, in reverse, with intercity housing.   Vacant, large urban, single family mansions where carved up into apartments, efficiencies and co-ops, after the mass exodus to the suburbs in the 1950′s.      Now, its the McMansions, gated communities and long commutes that are out of vogue. 

Families are returning back to life in the inner city.  They are buying multi-family homes and converting them back into single family residences.  The concept of highest and best use…has come full circle.

Check out this short video to see the latest change in student housing in decades.  A bad housing market has created some luxury digs for college co-eds out in the ‘burbs”. 

College students renting suburban McMansions

Thank you for visiting Why 6 Percent.  We offer flat fee MLS and packages to builders, homeowners and anyone who needs to keep more money from their property sell.  We have helped thousands of homeowners sell their homes.  We can help you, too.

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What a ship….no wonder ‘Made in China ‘ is displacing North American made goods big time.

 This monster transports goods across the Pacific in just 5 days!!   This is one of three ships presently in service, with another two ships commissioned to be completed in 2012.  

These ships were commissioned by Wal-Mart to get all their goods and stuff from China .  They hold an incredible 15,000 containers and have a 207 foot deck beam!!  The full crew is just 13 people on a ship longer than a US Aircraft Carrier (which has a crew of 5,000.   With it’s 207′ beam it is too big to fit through the Panama or Suez Canals .
                    It is strictly transpacific. Cruise speed: 31 knots. 

The goods arrive 4 days before the typical container ship (18-20 knots) on  a China -to-    California  run.   91% of Walmart products are made in China .  So this behemoth is hugely competitive even when carrying perishable goods.      
The ship was built in five sections. The sections floated
together and then welded. 
The command bridge is higher than a 10-story building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate simultaneously unloading the entire ship in less than two hours.

Cost for this container ship…$146,000,000

 A recent documentary in late March, 2010 on the History Channel noted that all of these containers are shipped back to China , EMPTY.

Yep, that’s right.  We send nothing back on these ships. What does that tell you about 
the current financial state of this country?    Let’s all just keep buying those imported goods (mostly, cheap nothing gadgets) until we run out of money, jobs, homes or all of the above.   

Just our two cents here at…. We support American workers, products and companies.  We manufacture The InfoTube and InfoBox here in the USA, with materials Made in the USA…so don’t believe it can’t be done.  We’re just a little company.  If we can do, anyone can.  

Please Buy Made in America, whenever possible!!!

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