Monthly Archives: November 2010

Have a REO & Short Sale Business? Might Want to Track This…

legal standing anyone?

From the dusty files of the excruciating minutiae of bankruptcy court proceedings (courtesy of the NY Times) comes this story:

But while banks may have booted a few robo-signers and tightened up some lax procedures, one question at the heart of the foreclosure mess refuses to go away: whether institutions trying to take back a property can prove they even have the right to foreclose at all.

Some in the industry believe that questions about this issue — known as “legal standing” — are trivial. They say it’s just a gambit by borrowers’ lawyers to throw sand in the foreclosure machine. Nine times out of 10, bankers say, the right institutions are foreclosing on the right borrowers.

Maybe so. But the United States Trustee Program, the unit of the Justice Department charged with overseeing the integrity of the nation’s bankruptcy courts, is taking a different view. The unit is stepping up its scrutiny of the veracity of banks’ claims against borrowers, and its approach is evident in two cases in federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta.

This, to put it mildly, could be a thermonuclear land mine. There’s no reason to panic yet, since no court has ruled on the standing issue, but the action by the U.S. Trustee hints at the possibility that this issue will become larger and larger, and likely require significant litigation to resolve. And looming in the background? MERS… which is not tech-speak for merde, but the entrance of the DOJ (the parent department of the U.S. Trustee) could result in a major merde-storm.

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NAR 800K Might Be Coming

Blood Moon, aka, Hunter's Moon

A month ago, I read this depressing story on the Interwebs and it’s stuck with me since. Gary Shilling, the author, runs a research service for which one would pay a presumably hefty premium — I don’t subscribe to it, so I’m going simply on what’s on that website.

His conclusion is that housing prices will drop another 20% from today’s levels:

This huge and growing surplus inventory of houses will probably depress prices considerably from here, perhaps another 20% over the next several years. That would bring the total decline from the first quarter 2006 peak to 42%.

This may sound like a lot, but it would return single-family house prices, corrected for general inflation and also for the tendency of houses to increase in size over time, back to the flat trend that has held since 1890 ( Chart 26).

We are strong believers in reversions to the mean, especially when it has held for over a century and through so many huge changes in the economy in those years—two world wars and the 1930s Depression, the leap in government regulation and involvement in the economy, the economic transformation from an agricultural base to manufacturing and then to services, the post- World War II population shift from cities to suburbs, the western and southern transfer of population and economic strength, the movement from renting to homeownership and the accompanying spreading of mortgage financing, etc.

Seems to me that Gary Shilling runs a market research firm and normally gets paid for his analysis and opinions. They’re worth paying attention to, maybe. And the data, the charts, and the conclusion are pretty devastating and difficult to refute. Go read the whole thing; it might depress you a bit, but there’s some really good information and analysis there.

What I started wondering is, what would be some of the impact to the industry should Shilling’s predictions come to pass?

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New Design: What Do You Think?

Quick housekeeping note… you’ve probably already seen that I’ve made some design changes around these parts.  I’m still working on some things — like rendering iframes in Chrome, cross-browser compatibility issues, etc. — but I’m reasonably happy with this so far.

So… what do you think?  And if you run into problems/issues, please leave a comment here for me to fix/look at.



Coming Soon: Wholesale Changes to Keller Williams Signage

First, watch this video.  Note that it’s produced by Keller Williams Realty, Inc., the corporation that actually franchises the name.  This is the official position of the franchise, not of an individual agent or an individual office or franchisee.  And KW says, the brand doesn’t matter.

I wrote pretty much the same thing on a blog comment once, and was promptly threatened with dire financial consequences. The omerta is strong in the real estate industry, paisan.  But when one of the largest franchises in the industry says the same thing, I’m going to assume it’s safe to tag along without having people jump down my throat simply for discussing the topic.

In any event, I assume that the KWRI people produced this as a recruiting tool, to convince real estate agents to move from wherever they be to the local KW franchise. Most consumers wouldn’t give a hoot about this sort of inside-baseball stuff. Having said that, I have a couple of questions.  [Ed: Yeah, what else is new, Rob?]

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[7DS] If By “Reinvent” One Means “Imitate”, I Agree

[Original post at]

Bell Bottoms 2.0: What's old is new again!

There is a fascinating post on Find It Fill It blog (looks to me like this is a commercial real estate brokerage of some sort) about how Loopnet’s “crowdsourcing” model will reinvent commercial real estate as we know it:

This is like aiming a cannon to your competition that’s holding a pistol. If you leverage your user base to work for you and you provide them a better data service in the process, that’s the promised land of a business-client relationship. In technology terms, LoopNet is using a business model from the Web 2.0 period called, “Crowdsourcing”. Crowdsourcing is when a web software company provides the platform and the data entry/update is in part generated by the contribution of its users. So, let’s say an office building in LoopNet’s property database says that it was sold in 1999, but you (the user) know that it was just sold on November 1, 2010 for $2 million, LoopNet allows you to update that data yourself. Not only does this help you, but also you fellow professionals and in the end, LoopNet. This is very POWERFUL stuff. Having commercial real estate professionals who are “in the trenches” update this property data is the best quality in data that a commercial real estate data operation like LoopNet can ever wish for. Its competitors will be very envious and if they don’t move fast, they can lose ground quickly. (Emphasis mine.)

Interesting.  Well, I happen to agree with the FIFI blogger 100%, provided that by “reinvent” he really meant “imitate” the 100+ year old business model from the Telegraph 1.0 period called the “Multiple Listing Service”.

Read the whole thing on –>