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Residential Real Estate

Metrostudy sees positive outlook for Texas
The Greater Houston Builder Association (GHBA) held it’s mid-year forecast luncheon with Mike Inselmann of Metrostudy presenting 2008 and 2009’s outlook of the housing markets in Texas. Metrostudy is a nationwide provider of real estate housing market information as well as related industries. Mr. Inselmann projects that 2009 we will see an increase in home starts and a move toward a progressive real estate market rebound. Where will this happen? Texas, of course...
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Career Advice

Thinking about a career as a Professional Home Inspector
Would you like a career where you are your own boss and work your own schedule? A professional Home Inspector allows you the flexibility to work for yourself, set your hours and spend a great deal working outside. It is a great career for entrepreneurs who like spending time outside and helping people with one of the most important purchases they will make in their lifetime. Follow the simple steps below to get started.
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What is the difference between Residential Real Estate Sales and Commercial Real Estate Sales?
In residential real estate sales an agent is either representing a new residential homebuyer or representing a seller of a residential home. Commercial real estate sales are different in that agents are usually representing businesses or an owner of a business. Commercial agents will buy, sell, lease or sub-lease commercial properties. Shopping centers, retail office space and industrial complexes are all considered commercial real estate properties. There are many opportunities that present themselves for a commercial real estate transaction. Businesses expanding and needing more office space, new construction of a shopping center with retail space or businesses downsizing no longer requiring the amount of space they currently have. All of these scenarios require the expertise of a commercial real estate agent or broker.

Getting started in the commercial real estate industry is easy and can take as little as a month to become licensed. In order to get started you will first need to meet the licensing requirements to become a licensed agent. Whether it is residential real estate or commercial real estate that you are interested in, both require that you meet the same set of requirements to become licensed. There are so many aspects to the real estate industry that virtually anyone can find a path that suites them best. Home Inspection, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate Development, Title Insurance, Property Management and Construction are all part s of the real restate industry in which one can get involved. A career in real estate is not only rewarding for you as an individual but you also get to share in the process of helping others achieve their dream of building their business.

Thinking about a Career in Real Estate?

Now is the perfect time to get a career started in the real estate industry. The four largest cities in Texas have all been recognized as recession proof with unemployment rates dropping in all four and job growth increasing in Austin, Dallas and Houston. Remove the guesswork from trying to figure out how to get a real estate license and follow these easy steps to become licensed. For a s little as $700 you can get all the education needed to become licensed...

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The Texas Real Estate Market –
Now and in the Future

With the national media focusing heavily on the negative markets highlighted by States such as California and Florida, very little attention is being paid to the markets that are thriving and continuing to grow. And with recently released data it is evident that the Texas real estate market is not only thriving but poised for considerable growth.

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Mortgage Fraud

There is hardly a more pervasive problem in lending today than of mortgage fraud. It always involves a conspiracy between a loan originator and an appraiser. Additional conspirators can include a buyer’s broker (who may also be the mortgage broker), a title company, and the seller’s real estate agent. An overlooked conspirator could be the secondary market who is encouraging loan originators to make loans as fast as possible, so the loans can be purchased in the secondary market (even though they are the “victims” who sue!). Since the vast majority of these loans are packaged, processed, and sold based on credit scores and tax returns, most of them are sold with very little due diligence as to the quality of the borrower.

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Mortgage Fraud - The Old Switch.

In this transaction, the buyer and seller agree to change the sales price in the contract and the seller kicks money back to the buyer at the closing (maybe without knowing it). For instance, the seller enters into a contract for sale for $400,000. The home appraises for $600,000, the buyer then returns to the seller and asks that they increase the sales price to $600,000 so he can get the higher loan and pocket the difference. The broker’s commission, oddly enough, is not increased, but the title policy premium is increased—it must reflect the sales price. The seller then kicks back the excess proceeds to the buyer. This occurs as a cash payment to a fictional company, a third party as a cover for the buyer. It could also show up as a “soft second lien” to the seller that will never be repaid, but shows up on the closing statement. Once again, we have a lender making a loan for more than the property is worth, putting money in the buyer’s pocket and destroying the loan-to-value ratio that the lender had anticipated.  The problem with this scenario is the seller is happy to do it, because the seller ultimately gets his agreed sales price and doesn’t care that the buyer profits in the transaction.  In addition to this, the seller and the broker make their sale! The buyer never makes one mortgage payment and moves on to his next transaction.

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Mortgage Fraud - Involving Predatory Lending Practices

The predatory lending practices work hand in glove with the ability to dupe the lender by a mortgage broker who knows how to manipulate the system. The last several years has seen a rise of the private secondary mortgage market who actively recruit loan originators, urging them to make as many loans as possible, with the guarantee of a sale into the secondary market after the transaction closes, or sometime while the transaction closes. The lender may even provide credit score information and profiles of likely “targets,” who may have questionable credit scores but want to refinance the house to lower their monthly payments. What is generally left unsaid is that are a number of very expensive built-in fees, insurance policies (credit life and homeowner’s), which may be hidden costs in the transaction that the consumer is unlikely to recognize. The borrower in these transactions can be either innocent or part of the conspiracy; it depends on the facts in each situation.

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Mortgage Fraud - Who’s Liable?

The Mortgage fraud is typically uncovered when the buyer refuses to make any payments (or doesn’t make one payment!) and the lender pursues foreclosure. If the lender is a secondary market investor, it may look to the loan originator as the fraudulent party for selling him a loan that the loan originator knew was an incapable (or maybe non-existent) applicant. There is usually a pattern to these fraudulent transactions. Again, they can almost always be tied to a loan originator working in concert with an appraiser. The appraiser, however, only gives an opinion of value and therefore it is hard to find liability with the appraiser, provided his opinion can be justified. Remember, the surrounding neighborhood had high values. It’s hard to prove fraud in an appraiser’s opinion. The mortgage broker may already be in jail.

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Real Estate News

Getting Past the Mortgage Crisis
Compliance is now the buzzword when it comes to the mortgage lending industry. The industry, after the huge fall-out, is now going back to the way it used to do business. Proof of income, proof of assets and good to excellent credit scores are once again the benchmarks by which consumers are able to obtain loans. Gone are the days where you just had to have a pulse (in some states a pulse was not even needed) to qualify for a loan.
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