The three major personal property appraisal organizations jointly announce an initiative to educate the public regarding meaningful qualification standards for Appraisers. The Appraisers Association of America,
American Society of Appraisers and the International Society of Appraisers, all support the effort as a needed step to improving overall appraiser professionalism and competency, and as furthering public trust in personal property appraisers.
To help guide the initiative and frame the overall scope, new mission and vision statements were developed. Leadership of the three organizations, Deborah Spanierman (AAA), Linda Trugman (ASA) and Christine Guernsey
(ISA), explained in a joint statement, "Our mission is simple, to raise the public awareness of qualification standards for credentialed personal property appraisers who are members of The Appraisal Foundation sponsoring organizations". The motivating intent
behind the mission is explained through the coalition's vision statement, "to protect the public from the risk and abuse of unqualified individuals performing personal property appraisals; to bring the Appraisal Foundation’s AQB (Appraisal Qualifications Board)
standard to the forefront of public awareness; and to raise the profile of the credentialed personal property appraiser.”
In addition to adhering to a code of ethics and following the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the members of these associations earn their credentials through stringent accreditation
processes, as well as completing continuing education requirements. These tough requirements provide a level of professionalism and trust that is unmatched, and ensure the public that the appraisals performed by an accredited appraiser are among the most reliable
All three organizations strongly urge the public to verify the educational and experiential background of an appraiser prior to retaining their services, and to be wary of red flags that indicate an appraiser
may not be objective in conducting appraisals. These include charging for appraisals based on the appraised value of an item, or offering to purchase an item the appraiser has appraised. Professional, competent appraisers always conduct appraisals at “arm’s-length,”
FDIC: Dismantling Big Banks is Feasible
Banking regulators speaking Oct. 12 at the Institute of International Finance in Washington, D.C.,
said the federal government has the capability to dismantle any of the largest banks if one were to fail, Bloomberg reported.
Art Murton, director of the Division of Insurance and Research at the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation, who is charged with planning the process for taking apart large financial firms,
indicated that dismantling a large bank could become necessary and would be feasible in the event of a major financial crisis.
The Dodd-Frank Act gives the FDIC authority to seize and dismantle a financial firm if regulators
feel it cannot go through bankruptcy without causing significant harm to the nation’s or the world’s financial systems.
The FDIC has not yet released a plan on how it would accomplish such a liquidation, although it
likely would take a single-entry approach to overtake the bank’s holding company, impose losses on shareholders and then allow healthy subsidiaries to stay open. Federal regulators and banks have called for a process that would prevent future bailouts of so-called
“too big to fail” entities.
The FDIC discussed its dismantling abilities in order to instill trust in the nation’s banking
system and show the world that banks cannot continue to “socialize their losses and walk away when things blow up,” Bloomberg reported.
Dodd-Frank also requires global banks to file plans for how they would undergo bankruptcy without
hurting the world’s financial systems. If the FDIC and Federal Reserve find a bank’s plan unsatisfactory, they could force the institution to restructure or sell off pieces of its business.
In fact, both JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs filed a second round of such plans earlier this
month after their first ones failed to gain approval.
In a move some borrowers and originators might consider "too little, too late" both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced today they are
expanding the eligibility dates for the Home Affordability Refinance Program (HARP). While tremendously useful to the small amount of borrowers who benefit from the change, it's not quite as magnanimous as it might sound.
Previously, loans had to have beendelivered
to the agencies by 5/31/2009 to be eligible for HARP, which led towidespread confusion as lenders and borrowers had difficulty determining actual loan delivery dates without researching agency records. In general, loans closed by April 2009 were delivered
to Fannie/Freddie by end of May, so were previously eligible; those closing in May 2009, however, may have missed the initial delivery date requirement.
With the changes announced today, the eligibility date will now be based on the
NOTE date, thus opening the window of HARP eligibility to all those borrowers who may have closed their loans before the May 31st cutoff, but whose loans weren't acquired by the GSEs until after the cutoff.
Fannie Mae (per Selling Guide SEL-2013-08) will update their Desktop Underwriter (DU) system on Nov 16 to reflect the new eligibility dates; Freddie Mac will update its Loan Prospector (LP) underwriting system to reflect the
changes on Oct 27. Lenders are required to have DU/LP approvals for HARP loans, so may be hesitant to start them until the underwriting guidelines are revised.
Best execution rates in May 2009 rose from 4.69 to 4.88%, versus the current 4.25% rate for ideal borrowers. A borrower with a $200,000 loan could anticipate saving approximately $80/mn, an amount that could increase if rates
continue their downward trend of the last month amid reduced expectations of Fed tapering.
The chief advantages of HARP loans include their reduced equity requirements, a feature that enables many equity challenged borrowers to reduce their rates without incurring additional mortgage insurance costs, and,
in some cases, relaxed income documentation as well.
Home owners who closed their existing conforming loans in May 2009, and who were previously told they were not HARP eligible may want to
contact a lender to discuss their HARP eligibility. Both lenders and borrowers might be excused if they wonder why Fannie and Freddie waited until the HARP program was 3 years old to make this logical change.
"These changes would greatly improve the definition of ‘points and fees’ used to determine whether a loan meets the QM test, and would ensure that those
with low and moderate means would continue to be able to obtain their mortgages from their credit union at a reasonable price," Thaler concluded.
Nearly 1.6 million homeowners have received foreclosure prevention counseling from local nonprofits, national intermediaries and state housing finance
agencies, according to nonprofit Neighbor Works America. The organization's National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program shared updated statistics this week.
“Although the economy is improving, there are still many homeowners who need foreclosure prevention counseling and the NFMC program continues to assist
thousands of families,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald.
“A homeowner who receives help from the NFMC program saves significant money and time and, importantly, often is able to remain
in their home. The NFMC program has provided counseling in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We’re proud to spotlight the excellence and perseverance of homeownership counselors in helping people to stay in their homes,” she added.
Zoning in North GA
Q. Why don’t we have zoning in Union County?
A. Occasionally someone will ask me why we do not have zoning, and I try to remind them that while some feel zoning is protection for everyone, in many cases it has simply turned into a way for government to grab more power and control over your property. Personally,
I think that government and government regulations should remain as small and simple as possible and certainly should not try to control every move you make, while at the same time provide a reasonable amount of protection for the public.
The large bureaucracy created by zoning is one of the most contentious issues facing counties and commissioners statewide and probably the vast majority
of their time, prior to the recession, was spent dealing with variance request and paying zoning attorneys to defend county actions. During the past ten years in Union County there have been less than a dozen new issues pertaining to land use that have created
a problem. Thus placing another layer of bureaucracy for zoning for the entire county I do not feel is justified at this time.
Q. Do you see a time in the future that zoning in Union County may be required?
A. It is always possible that at some point in the future, with more growth, zoning or zoning light (a type of land use planning) may be necessary. Also, if we see an increase in people not “caring” or respecting others property rights, then different considerations
may be necessary sooner.
How Land use opposed to restrictive zoning effects land values.
Union County GA Land Sales
The average price per acre of qualified sales is currently at $14,296.85 per acre in Union County GA.
Polk County GA Land Sales same time period:
Price per acre
I can do this all day with any county in the north GA that has land use over zoning.
There are certain restrictions but the land is taxed according the value in use not based on some zoning applied bureaucrats that have no clue of what they’re
doing and have and really no idea of what affect it will have on the land owners.
Just a thought!
I will have more data later I have just been busy.
We want feedback from our Blog readers. What's on your mind or a do you have a specific question.
63,216,431 people used Craigslist in the month of September. Based on this information, do you think there may be a slight possibility that you could generate additional leads and sales using Craigslist real estate marketing strategies for your business?
Although the answer to this question should be a resounding "yes", there is certainly a right and wrong way to use this platform. Unfortunately, with our years of experience working with agents, investors and brokers around the country, we have found that many
professionals are not initially implementing this technique correctly.
Here's the major issue we have found. Since Craigslist closely resembles a form of traditional classifieds based advertising, a majority of users choose to utilize this real estate marketing tactic by simply running basic ads with no or a very poor call to
action. We cannot expect visitors to contact us directly. Instead, online marketing strategies require us to be proactive instead.
For instance, if you were to spend 15 minutes scanning over local postings on Craigslist, you would typically find a lot of listings that rattle off a bunch of features and benefits of a particular home, with perhaps a link to a website or property search tool.
However, the problem with this approach is that 95% of the population is doing the same exact thing! Unless that prospect is ready to buy or sell on the spot, your ad could quickly be glimpsed over with no action being taken. The difference with using Craigslist
real estate marketing strategies is that you must focus on lead capture instead of simply advertising your goods and services to a huge marketplace.
True, this is a super simple concept to grasp, yet too many real estate professionals are still following outdated methodologies to build their lists. Consequently, this calls for a complete mindset shift in order to fully take advantage of all that Craigslist
has to offer.
I decided to cover this exact topic in a recent video training video that I published. I am going to keep the text portion of this part short and sweet. Here is a basic Craigslist real estate marketing outline that you can refer to to get the real nuts and
bolts of everything that is involved with this process:
Gripping Headline: What makes your listing or offer unique? Focus on features, benefits, and pain points that will grasp your audienceï¿½s attention. This has to be compelling
to get people to first click on your ad.
Image/Banner Ad: Once a person opens your ad, the very first thing that should draw their attention is an image or banner ad with a very strong call to action. The offer should
be something that will speak to your audience and cause them to click over to your opt in page.
Property Info With Link: This portion of the Craigslist real estate marketing ad should be very short and to the point. The property information can be followed by an HTML link
that directs to a property specific landing page with lead capture for future follow up.
Final Call to Action: You can finish off your sandwich with an image or text link call to action. Create a twist on your top offer leading to the same landing page, or perhaps
target buyers on your first image ad and sellers for the bottom portion.
More real-estate investors are seeking solid returns. But they're not buying homes. They're buying mortgages.
As the residential market bounces back, investors are showing renewed interest in buying mortgage-backed securities—loans that the lenders have bundled and sold as consolidated debt. Since selling off jumbo mortgages lessens lenders' risk, more banks, credit
unions and other financial institutions are offering jumbos. And more competition could mean better terms for consumers.
In the first quarter of 2013, $4 billion worth of jumbo loans were sold by lenders, more than the $3.5 billion total of securitized jumbos in all of 2012, according to Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. If the pace holds through 2013, the
volume of securitized loans could reach $16 billion, Mr. Cecala said.
However, while a 400% annual increase is significant, $16 billion still represents just 7% of the $220 billion volume projected for jumbo loans in 2013, he added. Lenders issued $203 billion in jumbo loans in 2012, and securitized loans accounted for less
than 2% of that total.
"The vast majority of jumbo loans aren't securitized still, and the [secondary] market has a long way to go to be any reflection of what it used to be before the housing crash," Mr. Cecala said.
Before 2008, as many as two-thirds to three-fourths of all jumbo residential mortgages were securitized, he said. Then the mortgage meltdown occurred, and investors shunned jumbo securitized mortgages in favor of investments containing pools of government-backed
Fannie Mae FNMA -0.50%
Freddie Mac, FMCC -1.59%
which only guarantee loan amounts up to $417,000 in most of the U.S. and $625,500 in pricey metro areas, such as New York and San Francisco. That dearth of the "secondary market" meant lenders had to hold any jumbo mortgages, which are above those dollar limits,
on their books.
Redwood Trust Inc.
RWT -0.64% was
the first player to re-enter the jumbo secondary market in 2010, and the real-estate investment trust (REIT) has announced plans to securitize $7 billion in jumbo loans in 2013, three times more than its $2 billion volume in 2012. Its success has triggered
more investors, including
Credit Suisse, CSGN.VX +3.06%
Shellpoint Partners, JP Morgan Chase & Co.,
Two Harbors Investment TWO -0.27%
PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust PMT -1.65%
The secondary market's rebirth has allowed
EverBank Financial Corp. EVER +0.12%
to offer 30-year, fixed-rate jumbo mortgages, said Tom Wind, executive vice president of residential and commercial lending for the Jacksonville, Fla.-based bank. Interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate jumbo mortgage were 4.20% on May 31, just 0.13 basis
points more than the 4.07% rate for a conforming mortgage.
EverBank sold its first pool of securitized prime jumbo loans on the secondary market in April, netting $307.4 million, according to a Securities Exchange Commission filing. The lender anticipates bundling and selling more jumbos this year, Mr. Wind said.
The ability to sell loans has allowed San Francisco-based RPM Mortgage to expand its jumbo originations by 233% from 2011 to 2012, said Julian Hebron, vice president of the San Francisco-based boutique lender. RPM is now the second-highest volume lender
to home buyers in the nine-county Bay Area, where jumbos now account for 48.1% of all purchase lending, according to
DataQuick MDA.T +0.76%
. RPM's year-to-date 2013 jumbo production already has exceeded its 2012 total, Mr. Hebron said.
Other issues to consider:
• Credit qualifications remain tight. Investors look to buy securitized loans from lenders with tight qualification standards for borrowers, so solid credit scores, high down payments and excellent loan-to-income ratios are still important,
Mr. Wind said.
• Customer service. When lenders securitize loans, they sometimes retain servicing, and sometimes the purchaser takes it on. Currently, RPM retains servicing on 40% of its jumbo loans, but Mr. Hebron said he hopes the expanded secondary
market will allow the firm to increase that number to 80%. "We want to remain the point of contact for our customer," he added.
• New rules coming. New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations take effect in early 2014 that may require lenders and/or securitizers to hold 5% of the amount of securitized loans that aren't qualified mortgages. Some loan types,
such as interest-only loans, may be more difficult for borrowers to find, since securitizers will be less likely to want to buy them from lenders due to the 5% rule, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage-information website.
A version of this article appeared June 7, 2013, on page M5 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Investors Revive Market For Bundled Mortgages.
Retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores' annual shareholders' meeting this week showed signs of the company's recent turbulence, as protesters assembled at corporate headquarters to shout slogans and demands.
Despite a court-issued restraining order, the protesters, including workers who are on strike, decried low wages and called for better safety procedures for supply-chain workers. And some of their views were heard inside the meeting, as well.
The strikers were in Bentonville, Ark., with the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the labor group OUR Walmart.
Inside the meeting, the lineup of speakers included "former Bangladesh child garment worker turned activist Kalpona Akter, as Jacqueline Froelich reports for
Newscast, from Arkansas member station .
Akter took the stage to deliver a speech recommending the adoption of Proposal No. 5, a measure that would give shareholders of 10 percent of common stock the ability to call a special meeting. Such meetings would be useful, she said, in crafting responses
to incidents such as the recent collapse of the the Rana Plaza garment factory complex, which killed more than 1,100 people in Bangladesh.
After that tragedy, several large European clothing companies said they will band together to create a program for inspecting factories and ensuring safety upgrades to protect workers. Last month, Wal-Mart said it would not be part of that effort, preferring
instead to create its own plan, as .
That didn't satisfy Akter, who noted that repairs that would make the company's factories safer had been deemed too expensive, despite equaling "just two tenths of 1 percent of the company's profit last year."
"Forgive me, but for years every time there's a tragedy Wal-Mart officials have made promises to improve the terrible conditions in my country's garment factories, yet the tragedies continue," . "With all due respect, the time for empty promises is over."
Wal-Mart employs more than 2 million people around the world, . It generated sales of around $466 billion in fiscal year 2013. Friday, Wal-Mart executives unveiled a plan to buy back $15 billion in stock.
Despite appearances by celebrities Hugh Jackman, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and Tom Cruise, Wal-Mart's 2013 meeting brought serious concerns along with the company's celebration.
"This year's shareholders' meeting comes at a time of turmoil for the world's largest retailer, which finds itself dealing with empty shelves, labor unrest, bribery scandals and tumbling sales," as .
he director of the National Park Service doesn't have anything against hot dogs or pizza being served in eateries in national parks.
"But I wanted more options, and more healthy choices," told me at a tasting event this week to unveil for the concessionaires who operate more than 250 food and beverage operations in national parks.
"There is no reason that you should have to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park," Jarvis told a group that had gathered on the National Mall to sample some of the most innovative new menu options.
As Jarvis announced details of the initiative, the crowd was distracted by the wafting aromas of sauteing crab cakes, a creation of chef Steven Sterritt of in Shenandoah National Park.
"These are fresh jumbo lump Maryland crab with a roasted garlic béchamel sauce. ... It's pure crab, no filler at all," Sterritt told me. Wow. That's a far cry from fried chicken tenders.
Jonathan Jarvis, the director of the National Park Service, announced a new initiative to offer more healthful food choices at national parks starting this summer.
And instead of fries or potato chips, there were house chips made from beets and other vegetables.
"We are changing to a healthier fare, of course," Stefan Larsson of Yellowstone National Park told us as he served up things I'd never seen in national parks before.
"This is bison tenderloin," served with a dollop of horseradish sauce, Larsson told us. "Bison is flavorful and lean meat." Also on the menu: regional huckleberries, a rhubarb gazpacho and a brie-style cheese produced in the Yellowstone region.
"So, are park visitors surprised to see these kinds of dishes?" I asked. "Yes, I think so," Larsson told me. But folks are also usually impressed to find the regional cuisine and the fresh approach, he says.
Turns out there's only one flop, so far. Apparently, park visitors are not too keen for his take on ostrich meat. Hmmm. Perhaps the pace of change
can come too fast.
The new standards are based, in part, on changes already in place in parks like Yellowstone, where concessions are run by . As part of its Healthy and Sustainable Cuisine program, the company has pledged to adhere to naturally raised meats, cheeses from
regional farms, no high-fructose corn syrup and baked goods sweetened with 30 percent less sugar than traditional preparations.
To usher in the new Park Service food initiative, the White House sent over of the campaign, who noshed on almond-crusted baked chicken with a fennel salad.
"You know, baked is the new fried, so that looks delicious," he told the chef.
Kass told the group that the new initiative is "an important step toward making the healthier choice the easy choice for parents and kids."
And after tasting the baked chicken: thumbs up?
Low-fat yogurt parfaits with berries are currently sold in kiosks along the National Mall in D.C. The version served at the tasting event came topped with cinnamon wonton crisps.
"Absolutely delicious!" Kass said, congratulating the chefs from . and , two additional companies that operate park concessions. "That's really innovative."
Aramark's vice president for food and beverage, , told us that his company has worked with regional wholesalers to procure more local produce and meat.
And how does the new park food initiative influence the bottom line of the companies serving up the food?
Well, , president of Delaware North, which has a contract to run eateries at Shenandoah National Park, didn't hold back in answering me when I asked.
"We're a commercial company, and we're in this to make money," he told me.
Abramson says there's demand for these new options: "What the market wants is what we deliver."
So does this new initiative mean park visitors will pay more? Not for basic concession-stand foods like pizza or ice cream, which will be staying on the menu.
But the Park Service says even the newer, fancier offerings will still be affordable.
FORTUNE -- Today, for the first time, more people worldwide live in cities than in the countryside. What's often missed in this equation is how fast this trend will accelerate. Take China. Currently 650 million people, or 52% of the population, now live
in cities. Fast-forward only 10 years or so, and that number is expected to hit one billion. That means that some 350 million people, the equivalent of the entire population of the U.S., will move from the Chinese countryside into urban areas. The number of
Chinese cities with a million or more people will hit 221.
This migration presents a challenge. China's urban dwellers on average consume three times more energy than rural ones. That means we must design new cities and rebuild old ones in ways that will allow billions to live, drive, eat, and work sustainably.
At today's session on Rethinking Our Cities at Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, Zhang Yue, the CEO of Broad Group, a maker of energy equipment and a real estate development
company, said that we have to totally redefine what it means to live in cities.
"People don't want to have to get on trains or drive a car to get to work," he said. One solution: Zhang plans to lick the urban congestion problem by building up. His proposed high-rise prefab in Hunan Province called Sky City will soar 202 stories to a
height of 838 meters.
MORE: Complete coverage of the Fortune Global Forum
Zhang says that Sky City can be built in seven months compared to at least five years for other super high-rises and is five times more energy efficient. The building will save some 200 hectares compared to typical sprawl development in China and will contain
offices, schools, playing fields, stores and restaurants, reducing dependency on the automobile. Says Zhang: "Sky City will take some 2,000 cars off the road simply because its residents can find most of what they need right where they live."
Another proponent of smart cities is Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the CEO of Schneider Electric, the French company that offers solutions for power, grids, traffic systems, and more. Tricoire says cities can embrace social media to make them run more sustainably.
"Parisians," he says, "spend a year of their lives looking for parking spaces." He says his company is working on systems where drivers can tap into social media and find an empty parking spot or avoid traffic jams.
David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell (HON), the industrial giant that has more than 50% of its portfolio linked to energy efficiency, gave a telling example of how the city of the future
will require dramatically less energy. The company has designed building management systems that integrate core systems such as HVAC, lighting, and security that maximize energy usage while providing cost savings.
China's big bet on transportation
So the world has recognized the challenge of making our cities more sustainable and has the technology to do it. Cote says that's not enough. "We can't let this process be chaotic. We need much more planning. We need to get a lot of smart people in a room
to figure out how to make all this work."
The three executives on this panel would certainly be well-suited to lead the discussion.
Please let use here from you. I promise we will not barrage you with crap.
We do not have the time and we really appreciate your input on any subject.