Here we discuss all matters Real Estate, with an emphasis on Tucson Arizona. We welcome your story ideas. Via Realty is a boutique real estate company founded on Jan 1 2000 by 2nd generation Arizonan Wayne D Anderson, a Realtor since 1989. 520) 327-1550. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oh Say Can You See?

Have you noticed the new street signs that are sprouting up all over town? The ones with the little bitty letters on them? Well the new design comes courtesy of the Federal Government!

In a flash of helpful creativity, the Highway Safety people in Washington deemed it necessary to mandate that all new street signs be in upper and lower case to "make them more readable" because "studies showed" that words with both upper and lower case "were easier to read" (Even if the letters are made smaller to accommodate this new style?)

The problem is that with this mandate, the street signs are not being replaced with larger signs to allow for larger letters, and the result is a stylish sign that is now harder to read. This mandate by the way, comes at a time when cities and states are broke, or fast running out of money. And the new sign mandate comes at no small cost. All because a committee of "experts" suggested this style change to a government agency. And the agency ran with the new idea.

Maybe someone at the Highway Safety Administration thought that ALL CAPS street signs was SHOUTING and of course, we couldn't have that.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Short Sale Experience with FNMA

Last year I listed a home in central Tucson which ended up with a contract for a short sale. (A short sale is a sale at a price that will not cover the payoff of the existing mortgage). The foreclosure process had begun.

Per the contract for a short sale, the inspection period would not start until we received a notice of approval of the short sale from the asset manager for the mortgage holder (investor). As a rule, buyers do not want to spend money on inspections and an appraisal if they do not know if they can actually buy the home, so that is a condition in a short sale contract.

The contract price was $185K.

Long story short, after about 2 months from receipt of the buyer's contract, the asset manager finally told us that FNMA approved the sale but would only give us one week to close, if not, the home would be sold at auction. The Buyer, with little time for inspections, appraisal, and title work, cancelled the contract. FNMA took the home back.

Almost four months later, the new owner, FNMA, put the home back on the market for 189,900. After languishing on the market for a few months, with several price reductions, it is currently priced near 170K, still without a buyer. This is almost seven months after the home could have been sold for $185K, in July 2010. Seven months of mortgage payments lost, seven months of interest lost.

In fairness, the bank asset managers and FNMA have a big job to do, and are clearly overworked and over-extended. There is not enough staff available to do this important job. But situations like this do avoidable damage to our market and neighborhoods. There have been steps taken to streamline the process but it does not seem too evident to me. Buyers should have a reasonable opportunity to buy a property from a distressed seller without unnecessary roadblocks and delays from the system.

It just seems too easy to take back a property and sell it for less, months later.

Another Reason Not To Live in New York

Reading the Wall Street Journal today, I came upon an interesting article regarding a recent tax case in New York State. It seems that an administrative law judge has found that "vacation homes" in the state are de facto evidence that the homeowner is a resident of New York, regardless of how much time that vacation home owner spends in New York! That means that the out of state home owner is liable for New York income taxes, even if the home owner has not stepped into the home all year! Solution: Sell your New York cottage and buy a winter home in Tucson. No tax penalty here (yet!)