This week’s relevant links: Week of April 1st-6th, 2013


“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”

― Joseph Addison


GenY is finally in a mood to buy (houses)

A generation that’s about 90 million strong, Millennials (or Generation Y) form the largest demographic wave in the nation’s history


Home Prices Seen Making Stronger Gains in 2013

the first three months of the year have shown the conditions that produced last year’s gains are just as strong


Homeowners, Name Your Price

A real-estate site tests the magic number that might convince an owner to move; listing an Arizona home on a whim


CoreLogic: Completed Foreclosures at Lowest Level Since 2007

Data from CoreLogic shows 54,000 homes were lost to foreclosure in February of this year, a 7 percent decline from January’s downwardly revised 58,000


DataQuick Reports Improvements for Housing, Questions Sustainability

Although prices are improving and foreclosures are declining, there’s still room for economic uncertainty to “dampen” housing activity, according to DataQuick’s Property Intelligence Report


Increase in Consumer Sentiment Surpasses Expectations

consumers have expressed improved prospects for economic growth


Is California’s Wild Housing Market a Sign of a Bubble?

California is the comeback kid of the housing recovery


A Look at Case-Shiller, by Metro Area

The composite 20-city home price index, a key gauge of U.S. home prices, was up 8.1% in January from a year earlier. Seattle-8.7%, Portland-8.3%


Trulia: Buying Beats Renting Despite Rising Home Prices

To buy, or not to buy, and instead to rent? That, as ever, is the real-estate question


Housing recovery starts to look like a boom

Portland steamed along in the middle of the pack, posting 8.3 percent home price growth, slightly ahead of the 20-city index of 8.2 percent


Buy or rent? 10 major cities

Seattle’s land comes at a premium: The area’s residential communities are hemmed in by the Olympic Mountains and Cascade Range, as well as the Puget Sound.


Seattle house prices take seasonal dip

House prices in the Seattle area edged down in January for the second straight month, but year-over-year they are up 8.7 percent


US rate on 30-year mortgage ticks up to 3.57 pct.

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages edged up this week but remained near historic lows. Low rates have helped drive the housing market’s steady recovery


S&P nears record as home price surge lifts stocks

Rising home prices and orders for manufactured goods drove stocks up from the opening bell


Coldwell Banker recognized for training platform

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC was named one of the top 10 companies “for ongoing excellence in learning and development” by Chief Learning Officer magazine


Zombie Homes on the Rise?

Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries weighs in on how much of a problem zombie homes really are across the country


Home Decor When Money’s No Object

Prices are increasing but are still ‘on sale’ throughout most of the country when compared to 2007 prices


Homes ‘On Sale’ Across the Country [INFOGRAPHIC]

The NAR reported total sales were up 10.2% from February 2012, but conventional sales are probably up closer to 25% from February 2012, and distressed sales down


Should Your Buyers Increase Their Offer?

Limited inventory and a very strong demand for housing has created an environment where bidding wars are commonplace in today’s real estate market


House of the Week: And the Winner Is…

Four new properties vied for the title of “House of the Week.”  Watch this video (or see the slide show) to find out which home readers chose as the latest top abode


Oregon home permits jump 27 percent

The number of single-family home permits issued in Oregon jumped 27.4 percent in 2012


After You Read the Listings, Your Agent Reads You

EVERY saleswoman will tell you that the customer is always transparent


Housing market surge may wane in time

The outlook for housing continues to remain positive, with economists predicting a sustainability that may last for years


Lending data reveals no debt crisis

Home mortgage debt fell to $9.4 trillion at the end of 2012, down from a record of $10.6 trillion in 2008


 Big Predictions for Housing for Next 2 Years

Home sales are projected to post some big gains in the next two years, according to Fannie Mae’s latest monthly economic outlook


New Database Allows Americans to Post Mortgage Gripes

Americans have a lot of gripes when it comes to mortgages


A New Senior Moment

Zumba classes, sushi chefs and kilns in the crafting room: the newest generation of 55-plus communities caters to active—and demanding—retirees


For more opinions on today’s real estate issues, visit CBBain’s “In The Know” blog at

“Links” are edited each week by John Deely 


This week’s relevant links: Week of March 25th-29th, 2013



18 Inspirational Quotes for Spring

 Spring is the time of rebirth and inspiration. Here are some amazing quotes to help you start the season with a refreshed outlook.


How to be the Most Attractive Homebuyer

Multiple bids are becoming the norm, so be ready to compete and do your homework to seal the deal.


Analysis: Realtors’ Economist Sees Higher Home Prices in 2013

report showing that sales of previously owned properties grew last month to the highest level in more than three years


20 Seconds for Love at First Sight

Researchers use eye-tracking measurements to determine how home buyers look at listings online.


NAR: Housing inventory growing at woefully slow pace

After Freddie Mac predicted this spring to be the healthiest in six years, the National Association of Realtors confirmed by saying February existing-home sales and prices point towards a healthy housing spring


Here’s why the latest NAR report is actually bad news

“buyers have little to choose from and agents have little to sell.” Not good


The time to sell is a waiting game for some

Real estate is always a game of knowing when to make your move


FHFA: Home prices continue slow mend

U.S. home prices inched upward 0.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis from December to January, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.


Zillow home values rise for 16 consecutive months

Home values rose nationwide in February for the 16th consecutive month, according to Zillow


Study: Proximity to Public Transit Boosts Home Values

” However, “location” may no longer solely refer to zip code, but proximity to the nearest train station or bus stop. Portland # 4 – Seattle # 9


Growing Home Equity Makes Refinancing Possible


Pocket Listings Heat Up: Good or Bad?   | Realtor Magazine


 List of Improving Housing Markets Rises to 274 in March

The list of improving U.S. housing markets expanded for a seventh consecutive month in March to include 274 metros on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today


NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI)

The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) tracks housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health


The World’s Most Expensive Cities For Luxury Real Estate

Global billionaire activity in world real estate markets has been so intense over the last seven years that it has led to a doubling of property values in this sector


Housing’s Bullish Supply-Demand Squeeze

growing demand for housing amid a shrinking supply


Sudden Rise in Home Demand Takes Builders by Surprise

After six years of waiting on the sidelines, newly eager home buyers across the country are discovering that there are not enough houses for sale to accommodate the recent flush of demand.


Existing Home Sales: Conventional Sales up Sharply

The NAR reported total sales were up 10.2% from February 2012, but conventional sales are probably up closer to 25% from February 2012, and distressed sales down


Existing U.S. home sales reach three-year high

Existing home sales across the U.S. grew 0.8 percent in February over the previous month, pushing them to the highest level since November 2009


US mortgage bonds: opening doors

On the heels of a comeback in US housing, there are signs of life in the market for private label mortgage bonds


Agents to Sellers: Get Moving!

With inventories at 13-year lows, real estate professionals are getting creative in trying to convince home owners to sell


Realtors ask: “What can I do to get you OUT of that house?”

“I’ve been posting kind of my war stories with buyers, saying ‘Hey, you know what, I’ve had six offers on this, seven offers on that, twenty-five offers on this one.  Sellers, hello?  Where are you?!’” Snyder says.  “There’s such little inventory that my joke is it’s like the last shrimp at the buffet at a cocktail party and everyone’s jumping on it to try and get to it.”


Freddie Mac Releases Single-Family Loan-Level Data

“The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is pleased that an important step toward returning private capital to the mortgage market occurred today.


Shiller: Housing Market Is ‘Very Abnormal’

concern that the housing market “is becoming more of a speculative asset.”


From Midcentury to Modern

A couple buys a circa-1960s lodge-style home around the corner and turns it into a minimal, contemporary space. Peeling away four layers of carpeting in the basement


Better Deals Abroad?

Looking to live abroad? Americans who get a mortgage from an overseas lender can end up with lower interest rates, more lenient repayment terms and tax perks to boot


US rate on 30-year mortgage declines to 3.54 pct.

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week and remained near historic lows, a trend that has supported a recovery in housing.


Nightmare tenant charged with fraud

Criminal charges have been filed against a woman who repeatedly rented luxury homes, then paid minimal rent. When evictions loomed, she’d make false accusations against her landlords, prosecutors say. goes by a number aliases, including Jessica Hartman, Juanita Hofseth-Lammer, Juanita Hofseth and Juanita Frye


For more opinions on today’s real estate issues, visit CBBain’s “In The Know” blog at

“Links” are edited each week by John Deely 

Avoiding Lender Fraud

Avoiding Lender FraudAs a Principal Managing Broker, I am asked about the proper response to handling seller financial incentives to the buyer. There are only two ways to handle financial incentives from the Seller to the Buyer without stating specific inspection items in the addendum. Loan officers from various companies continue to ask our brokers to write a Form 34 that simply says, “Seller shall credit Buyer $5000 toward their allowable closing costs and pre-paids at closing”. This is easy for them, because they don’t have the liability we do. As the ring master of the transaction a real estate broker always knows the exact reason why a Seller would be crediting a Buyer money. The loan officer can say they didn’t know what it was about should the loan later go into default and the transaction is investigated. When we write an addendum as stated above it is clearly an intent to hide the fact that the compensation is due to problems found on the building inspection. The Buyer will sign a document from their lender at closing that speaks specifically to disclosure of material facts about the property. So if the brokers and the principals are a party to such an addendum they will all have liability concerning fraud if the loan defaults and is investigated.

Below I have outlined the two responses that push us as far as we can go without getting into the gray area of possibly committing fraud. These two responses are within the requirements set forth by the Department of Financial Institutions.

Form 34: “In lieu of any repairs, Seller will credit the buyer $5000 toward their allowable closing costs and pre-paids.” (It is up to the underwriter to ask for any additional inspection information. We met the burden of the law, because we wrote “In lieu of any repairs”.

Form 35R: (Inspection Response Form) “Seller shall credit Buyer $5000 toward their allowable closing costs and pre-paids.” (It is up to the underwriter to ask for any additional inspection information. We met the burden of the law, because we wrote the credit on an inspection response form).

Put Our Knowledge On Your Side

When buying a home: Why not “on or before”?

Why not “on or before”? Closing Calendar

Often a buyer and seller aren’t sure when they want to close.  They would like to write in the contract that the closing will be “on or before” a certain date.  Brokers will sometimes go along with this thinking that the issue will be resolved later.

Therein lays the problem.   The date isn’t certain.  Good contracts are unambiguous.  Everything pertinent to the transaction, all the terms of the agreement, is spelled out in it.

In a good transaction, someone could know exactly what the parties had agreed to by just reading it.  As a Principal Managing Broker I am often called into a situation where a transaction is faltering.   The first thing I do is review the paperwork.  As I talk to the broker involved, if they have to explain what the parties REALLY meant (say on the notorious “form 34”) I know we are in trouble.

Good transactions are factual, precise, and specific.  Actions are spelled out, results identified.  Thankfully we have excellent forms already written for us by attorneys.   These forms have been tested and revised when they are found wanting.

“On or before” isn’t factual, precise or specific.  One party can think that the closing will happen as soon as their financing is ready.  The other party can be arranging for packers and movers with another date in mind. Worse, either party assumes they can compel the other party’s cooperation to their date.  No, they can’t.  Lenders don’t like it.  Escrow doesn’t like it.

Go into every contract with clear precise language.  If the parties agree to a change, amend the agreement.  That is how you really look out for the best interests of your client.


Property-Seller Disclosure Statement


Like many other states, Washington requires that the Seller must provide the buyer with a property disclosure statement if the sale involves a property containing up to four dwelling units, unimproved land that is zoned residential, or a mobile or manufactured home. The only exemptions to this law include transactions where the Seller received the property through a foreclosure purchase, a gift from a family member, or transfer from a personal representative who is settling an estate.

Many residential building companies require as a condition of sale that a buyer waive their right to receive a completed transfer disclosure form. The common misconception is that if the Seller doesn’t fill out the form, and the Buyer waives their right to receive the completed form, that the Seller no longer has any obligation to disclose material defects. The Seller must disclose in writing any known material defects, regardless of whether or not the Buyer waives receipt of the disclosure form. There is no “free walk” on disclosure. If it is material, and you know it, you must disclose it!

Real Estate Licensees have no duty to investigate or inspect a property for defects. When a Real Estate Licensee representing a Seller is made aware of a defect that is not on the Seller’s Disclosure Statement they must immediately make the Seller aware of it and recommend that they disclose it to the Buyer if there is already a pending sale, or amend their Disclosure Statement if the property is actively on the market. If the Seller will not comply, the Real Estate Licensee is left with one option, and that is to resign. The reason for this is that the Licensee is literally left between a rock and a hard place when a Seller chooses not to disclose a material defect. The Licensee has an obligation of confidentiality where their Seller is concerned, but they also have an obligation to prospective Buyers of disclosing any material defects that are not already contained in the Seller’s Disclosure Statement.