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Change is a Coming

We have been reading about it for months and now we are five months away from the big RESPA  Reform due to go into effect January 2010.  Have you taken time to review the changes?  From a lender perspective, it will greatly change the way some of you have been doing business. The new time line requirements for TIL and final TIL prior to closings will make it difficult for us to close at the last minute.  The “variance” limitations on the amount  the fees can differ from the GFE, may cause some issues at the closing table.  From my perspective, this puts the title companies in a very difficult position of explaining any differences and begs the question “will we be required to inform borrowers of their rights to not close due to extreme pricing variances”?

In my opinion, this is real change that we all need to be on the same page.  Are all of us, and I mean the Realtors, lenders and title companies, prepared for this change that is coming?  I am reading as much as I can about it and hope you are as well.  Check this blog site that is a nice forum for RESPA discussions.  http://www.respaready.com/

Mixed signals

I may spend too much time reading the tea leaves in order to determine what to expect in the Real Estate Market in the next few months, as it is beginning to cause me to have quite a headache.  Everyone has an opinion and none of them are the same.  Construction starts too slow = not turning around anytime soon, yet sales in new construction is up….go figure that one out.  Seems to me that this is good news, means that inventory is being reduced which is what we need to have happen… I think so anyway!

Interest rates are going up = bad news for us in the Real Estate business. Maybe that is exactly what we need in order for  buyers to realize that rates will never come down to 3.5%…isn’t 5% still considered a really good rate?  If not, then we suffered from a horrible case of memory loss.  Just because it was at 4.5% a couple of weeks ago doesn’t mean that 5% is a horrible rate.  Some of us remember 12% interest rates and thought it was a good deal, maybe some folks need to revisit the history of our industry.

Nobody has the crystal ball, and all I am saying is that the market has been through a struggle, a cleansing process, but we are going to be fine.  Sometimes it takes a positive outlook as opposed to being negative everytime  we turn around.

100 Degrees and business is booming

Well it is officially very hot here in Central Arkansas and so is the real estate business.  At least that is what we are seeing so far. I don’t know if the rise in interest rates caused this spark or if we are seeing a bit of a rebound in the overall industry.  I can tell you that purchases are picking up and the refinances are levelling out. To me this is all good news… we can’t afford to put all of our eggs in one basket, that being the refinance market.  Of course, we take what we can get; however, we must keep looking for ways to expand our market.

Realtors, let me know if you are seeing your business picking up.  It is beginning to feel like a typical summer with the purchases beginning to roll in.  Let’s hope it continues for a couple of months!

Summer is Here

Well, it is beginning to warm up here in Arkansas, a sure sign that Summer is here.  It also marks the beginning of the Real Estate selling season.  Based on the first two weeks of June, we are in for a good summer.  The bump in the interest rates may have been the trigger for many folks to get off the fence and either buy or refinance. 

Have you seen an increase in your business?   Are you ready for the summer selling season? I hope so, because it sure was a long cold winter!!

Is it possible to be paperless?

I tell you we are trying our best to reduce the paper use in our office, but it is difficult to go completely paperless.  Maybe the term should be “Less Paper”.  We have not made a copy of one closing file since we opend our doors in Little Rock on March 1, we have provided copies of all closing docs on a flash drive.  Which has been surprisingly well received in our market!  We are a step closer to “less paper” office, now if we can get the digital signiture peice in place, then I can see how close to a paperless office we can become.  Of course, if our customers are not willing to accept this direction we are headed, then we could be going through this exercise for no reason at all!!

Spring is Here

After a few thunderstorms rumbled through the last couple of weeks, we have sunny skies and warm weather.  The flowers are blooming and the grass is ready for the first mowing.  And the Real Estate Business seems to be picking up, as it typically does at this time of year.  In spite of the news, we still have a real estate market that is alive and doing okay.  It is traditionally this spring season that kick starts the activity in the real estate markets.  I see this is true today, even in the current climate.  The low rates have caused an increase in refinances, but at the same  time, there are still people out there looking for homes.  I am hearing from our customers, that this is in fact the case, and the purchase market is picking up. 

Do you see this in your market?