Second time around? – Great analysis of today’s Phoenix with good action points.

Rogue Columnist: Second time around?.

Solution ideas:

  1. Repeal SB 1070.
  2. Elect Terry Goddard governor.
  3. Throw out the Kook majority in the Legislature.
  4. Raise taxes on the rich and, if the Growth Machine ever revives, enact a real-estate transfer tax and a tax on long commutes.
  5. Stop all residential development outside existing urban footprints (and the extravagant planning maps of Buckeye, Surprise, Maricopa, et al, are not existing footprints). For one thing, there’s not enough water.
  6. Establish a real state commerce department employing best practices to attract high-wage jobs.
  7. Build out the Phoenix Biosciences Campus on a speedy schedule to include a hospital, large med school, pharmacy school and private-sector research facilities. Add a full-court press to lure biomed manufacturing from California.
  8. Eliminate GPEC. Let the cities go their own ways.
  9. Fund the public schools and universities to compete at top levels.
  10. Establish real infill incentives along the light-rail line.
  11. Put a premium on shade, including enhancing and reclaiming the shady oases in central Phoenix.
  12. Reform the tax structure so cities aren’t so dependent on sales taxes.
  13. Create a climate-change emergency plan now and begin acting by, for example, building intercity rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars and an integrated, easy-to-use transit system.

5 Things I learned about Short Selling my House

Burning down the houseIts no secret that Arizona and housing equals suck ass in 2010. Sure sales are up and kudos to the realtors still in the game and making that happen, but its little secret that the majority of this is Short and Bank Owned sales. The AZ Republic just had an article about people deciding to just walk away from their homes. This article is very interesting and gives you a good look into the psyche of those affected, but it misses out on one huge option: Short Selling.

5 things I learned from my Short Sale:

  1. Get an Experienced Short Sale Realtor
  2. Pay the Realtor nothing upfront
  3. Play for keeps
  4. Keep your home in decent shape
  5. Talk to Friends and Family

1. Get an Experienced Short Sale Realtor

First of all make sure you get someone who knows what they are doing. You should expect them to do just about everything for you and that includes negotiating with the bank.

2. Pay the Realtor nothing upfront

Second you should not pay them anything. This is important as there are companies out their trying to charge the seller an upfront fee. This is a sign of someone who is incompetent. When the sale goes through they will get their commission, 6%, split if there are two agents involved. Its sales ladies and gentlemen, once the sale is complete you get paid.

3. Play for keeps

GMAC, my mortgage bank, wanted me to bring cash to the table to close the deal. This makes zero sense to me and it was a good think I had followed Rule #1 and my realtor was talking to them for me as I would have had some spicy language indeed. The reason this is dumb to agree to is that you are not making any money on this transaction so why should you pay anything for it? Turns out you will be loosing your home and be unable to purchase another one for 2 years. My stance was simple, either take the fair market value that the buyer is offering or you can have the keys to my home and foreclose on me. GMAC is smart and took the buyers offer with no extra cash from me.

4. Keep your home in decent shape

Besides getting a buyer to want to buy the home you are also going to have to get the buyers bank to approve the appraisal of the house. I let my pool go total green and we had to do an acid wash to get it approved. That was an unecessary headache.

5. Talk to Friends and Family

Short selling your home is an emotional nuclear explosion. Personally I felt and continue to feel a large sense of failure. The american dream is all about owning the home and here I was selling mine for a loss. You have to have a support group of friends and family to talk with about this or it will eat you alive. I am very fortunate and have great friends and family. Also you will find that many of your friends have short sold their home or homes as well and just haven’t been so public about it…

In the end Short Selling your house is not a great resolution but it is better than foreclosure. There are also no guarantees that your bank will approve the sale since they are the ones who have to write the loss off their books. However with the new homeowners tax refund extension and more pressure from Washington it is something worth considering.

Hate me or love me please leave me a comment. =)

Green tip of the day – Instant Weed Killer

From my weekly newsletter at Dollar Stretcher Tips:

Instant Weed Killer

Weeds that grow between bricks on your walkway or sidewalk are
unsightly and can easily be killed without weed killer. Simply
boil water in your teakettle and pour it on the weeds. This is
better for the environment, too.
Kristel W.

From CNN Money – “Downsizing the American home”

Good read on how builders are changing their focus and building cheaper homes. I bet the McMansion owners are really happy about this. Ouch!

So if those first-timers who sat out the era of the McMansions and the McMortgages start buying these modest homes, Mezger may go down in the annals of real estate as the man who saved The House That Eli Broad Built. He’ll also need to expand his crooning repertoire. On karaoke nights, he usually caps the evening by singing “Unforgettable.” Since his music collection harks back to the 1930s, investors are hoping that he may soon be singing another classic: “We’re in the Money.”

Downsizing the American home (page 2) – Jun. 4, 2008

Tough times in the Desert

Take a look around while driving through any part of Phoenix and the amount of lifted trucks and high end cars will make you think that everyone here is making six figure incomes. The reality is that these people are in deep debt attributed to the housing boom seen over the last few years which has allowed people to take out second and third mortgages to make big purchases.

Now that the economy is slowing and the housing values are dropping we are seeing a slowdown in this spending. Since Arizona gets most of its taxes through sales and income there is a huge shortfall occuring in all city budgets across the state. Its going to start getting very tight around the Desert.

State and local governments tighten belts as tax revenues fall, a ripple effect of the housing slump.

If there’s any reason for cheer, it’s that the state has been in this position before, and it not only came out of it, but also came out of it with unprecedented growth to lead the country as the fastest-growing state last year.

“There have been seven nationwide recessions since 1960, and each time we’ve bounced back,” Vest says. “The two most recent recessions, in the early 1990s and 2001, were both short and mild. So far there’s no reason to believe this is any different than the last two.”

: Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories

Arizona coffers shrink amid housing bust

Phoenix/Arizona Business links for Feb 22nd 2008

Happy Friday!!!!

A few interesting business stories today: