Monday, January 23, 2012

RAGE Against Bank Stupidity and Cold Blood!

Right now, it's hard to
love the banks...
Banks are an easy target.  And like any easy target, they get hammered unmercifully.  They're like many politicians, in that you listen to their party line... compare it to what they said last month or last year... and you are forced to conclude that they tell lies for a living!

As a Real Estate Broker and Sales Agent for the past 25 years, I've seen the good, bad, and ugly... in up and down markets... in several states.  To say that this real estate market crash we've been in for the past 5 years is all the bank's fault, would be a stretch.  Yet to say they are a major contributor, is spot on.

So here's the purpose of today's post... My partner has been helping a customer to sell her house as a "short sale" with a well-known bank.  It's been a maddening process, consuming over a year of showings, offers, counters, rejections, and fickle buyers walking away.  Then, as it seemed at least, the stars and planets aligned.  A cash buyer at the bank's requested price... An approval from the bank's "negotiator"... and then... and then... THE BANK DISAPPROVED THE SELLER'S REQUEST FOR A SHORT SALE!  And this, after a year of stringing everyone along!

Single Mom...
of modest means...
Here's the rub - They denied this single mother's short sale because she has a job... and got a small raise this past year!  A single Mom of modest means... living in their personal residence... Denied!

Oh, and did I tell you that last year, I closed several short sale properties for Millionaires... on investment properties... because of hardship?  Hardship like this:  My salary has been decreased by 30% in this economy!  (Translation:  From $400,000 per year way down to $280,000 per year)  These folks were relieved of their mortgages and did not receive deficiency judgements at all!  Man, does it pay to be able to afford a good attorney!

Friday, January 6, 2012

From Perth Amboy to Flagler - A New Beginning

Economic Development = Political Hot Potato.

Let's face it, being a Realtor or a business owner or a Director of Economic Development, from 2000 to 2005, was a sweet gig.  Houses were flying off the shelf, restaurants were packed and Flagler County, FL was the fastest growing county in the country for two years in a row!  Heck, if things hadn't changed, a Palm Coast "starter home" would be $1,000,000 now and Flagler County would now be "skyscraper worthy."

But things did change... in a way that no one could have imagined.  Not since the depression of the 1930's, have we experienced such sustained economic frustration.  As a Realtor, there is a very personal, reverential humility, as I sit in the home of a friend who is hurting.  A typical scenario sees a couple who both had good jobs when I sold them their first home in Palm Coast, for $275,000.  Now, six years later, one or both have lost those jobs... or their hours or salary have been seriously curtailed.  They have missed a couple of mortgage payments... other bills are getting tougher to pay... credit cards are maxed out...
and they are in some eerie composite of denial, shock, and anger.  Their home is now valued at $145,000 and they owe $225,000. They have gotten their first "Foreclosure Notice" from the bank and they are feeling the first pangs of panic.  "Frank, what are we going to do?"  "Can we do a loan modification?"  "What is the difference between a Foreclosure and a Short Sale?"  And most important, "Can you help us?"

Counties and cities around the country are feeling the pinch of decreased tax revenue and familiar businesses, which once served us with a smile, disappear in the night.  All the construction vehicles, which once annoyed us on our roads, are gone... along with the jobs that rode them.  Politicians and their constituents know that something has to be done... but what? 

Flagler County, along with Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell, Beverly Beach, and Marineland, to include the resort area in The Hammock and the agricultural areas of the Western County, are making it a top priority.  Enterprise Flagler did so much in such a positive way... and now the torch has been passed to the newly formed Economic Opportunity Advisory Council (EOAC), a nine member board, chaired by County Commissioner, Barbara Revels.  And to be sure, it's not a group which intends to stand alone against the wind.  But, rather, intends to embrace the interests of all the players and groups in the county.  It's just fine that Palm Coast has its own effort.  Why not... it's a big town and can do what it likes to further its agenda.  Everyone working together as a team - Chambers of Commerce, tourism groups, business incubators, training facilities and schools, arts organizations, professional and service groups like the Board of Realtors and Rotary, developers, business owners, and political entities - will be the key to success in bringing jobs and revenue here.

And now, a Director for this EOAC has been recommended to the Commissioners, by the nine council members.  Helga van Eckert, from Perth Amboy, NJ has been offered the reigns.  Assuming she agrees to terms and is approved by the Commission on 1/17/12, she should be on the ground here by the end of February, hopefully sooner.  She is impressive, unassuming, business crisp, and has done a heck of a job in her economic development tenure in Perth Amboy.  She has a friendly, cordial demeanor and  strikes me as one who has the ability to bring groups with diverse personal agendas to the same table.  Another factor which impressed me was that she made no attempt at wild promises or sugar plumb visions.  She made it clear that establishing a plan, based upon challenging, yet achievable goals, was the first order of business...  Communicating realistic expectations to the public and all the players will be the jumping off point.  Welcome to Flagler County, Helga... Time to roll up our sleeves.

Why read "Palm Coast Unplugged?"

"Palm Coast Unplugged" gives a "backstage pass" to locally focused Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, and Ormond Beach, Florida... Real Estate and other useful information:
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