Will The Mobsters Come Back to Las Vegas?

Fun (and true) story – we took 60+ friends & clients to the 51’s baseball game last Saturday. I threw out the first pitch (well I was actually the 3rd one to throw out a first pitch). They announced the first guy’s name and gave a list of his accomplishments; competitor at the 2018 Winter Olympics, some kind of high school and college honors and he was wearing the glove that his great grandfather wore with the 1916 Pittsburgh Pirates… then they announced the 2nd guy’s name and he was a WWII veteran, and several other cool things… then they announce “Next up will be Jeff Howard” and that’s all they said. One of my guests overheard a woman behind her ask someone “who is Jeff Howard?” and without skipping a beat she said “Jeff Howard is MY REALTOR”.

 

Everyone in our group seemed to have a great time at the game! We ate nachos, hot dogs and of course peanuts. The kids played with their inflatable aliens and hustled the players for balls & autographs. The weather was amazing – or should I say lack of weather. It was about 71 degrees and no wind or clouds!

The 51’s played a team called the Albuquerque Isotopes! Who names a sports team the Isotopes? Speaking of team names, this is the last season as the 51’s. Next season they will be in their new stadium in downtown Summerlin and they will be rebranded again (when I first moved to town in 1993 they were the Stars). The new name has not been decided and you can help them choose if you’d like by clicking here; https://las-vegas-51s.apps.umbel.com/217/new-name/ I like Las Vegas Mobsters… I’m sure it’s not politically correct, but it’s the perfect name for a Las Vegas sports team as far as I’m concerned.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space?  We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

New Rules for Short Term Rentals in Las Vegas

Any landlords that wish to offer short term rentals through services such as VRBO, AirBnB & Homeaway are required to comply with Las Vegas Municipal Code Section 6.75.

To read the entire statute, click this link; https://goo.gl/bAwu5x

Here are what I feel are the highlights;
On June 21, 2017, the Las Vegas City Council passed Bill No. 2017-16 by a vote of four to three, requiring that all short term rentals be required to obtain a special use permit prior to commencing operations.
First, the owner must apply to the City Planning Department for that permit for each separate unit. Then, have the property inspected to verify the number of bedrooms and compliance with safety and other minimum housing requirements. Once the Conditional Use Verification is approved, the applicant is also required to submit a business license application and affidavit to Business Licensing by the next business day.

In order to secure the permit, owners are required to produce proof of liability insurance for $500,000.00 and install letter-size placards outside the properties with contact information and maximum allowed occupancy. Any until with more than five bedrooms is now required to maintain a resident manager on site during the term of the rental.

Other provisions of Municipal Code Section 6.75 state that the owner must collect and remit Room Tax and it appears you cannot require a minimum number of nights – even over big events like New Years Eve.

If you have a short term rental and don’t want to deal with the new rules, we will sell it for you quickly! Just call us at 702 SELL NOW (702-735-5669)

Shockingly good news; (IMO) It’s about time Green Tree was punished

As a real estate agent who has successfully negotiated many short sales, I eventually had my short list of horrible lenders to deal with. Green Tree Funding was on that list. Funny story; few years back, I was complaining over the phone to Green Tree about how horrible they were, the woman on the other end of the phone told me I was exaggerating, so I walked around my office with her on the phone and took an impromptu survey. Without explaining to my fellow agents who was on the phone, I asked several of them what they thought of negotiating short sales with Green Tree. As near as I can tell, most of them probably figured I was having a conversation with another Realtor, and they all in run either said that they had not dealt with Green Tree at all, or that they hated dealing with them. One agent, Paul, realized asked me (embarrassed) after he answered if that was Green Tree on the phone.

Well they were just formally punished by the CPFB (Consumer Finance Protection Bureau) for (allegedly) “mistreating borrowers attempting to avoid foreclosure on their homes.” The federal agencies announced last week that they will compel Green Tree to pay a total of $63 million – $48 million in “redress to victims” and an additional $15 million civil penalty – for (allegedly) refusing to honor loan modifications on mortgages transferred from other servicers, demanding payment for the provision of loss mitigation options, and charging borrowers “convenience fees” for pay-by-phone services while presenting those payment services as the only option. Later, Green Tree also (allegedly) withdrew from those same accounts for more payments even though the original payment had been presented as a one-time withdrawal. Green Tree also (allegedly) harassed delinquent borrowers with “anywhere from seven to 20 phone calls per day” when they fell as few as two weeks behind in their payments; these calls included threats of wage garnishment and arrest.

The feds have opted to allow Green Tree to refuse to admit wrongdoing in return for paying through the nose. Richard Cordray, CFPB director, clearly believes that this is the right option in light of the huge payday for the government and the victims. “We are holding Green Tree accountable for its unlawful conduct,” he said in a public statement about the settlement. In the meantime, all entities other than Cordray must continue to refer to the alleged misdeeds as just that, alleged, because Green Tree has not admitted or been convicted of bad behavior.

FTC blogger Lesley Fair recently wrote a column praising the settlement, pointing out that the move will encourage other loan servicers to actually service loans rather than “making misleading statements about what people owe, [causing] deceptive delays, and [making] unauthorized withdrawals from [borrowers] accounts.” Since many customer complaints hinge on Green Tree’s refusal to correct “iffy information” in new loan portfolios, the company also has promised to institute a “comprehensive data integrity program” designed to make sure customer accounts hold the right information and are being handled appropriately. I am not as optimistic as Lesley.

You know what aggravates me about Realtors®?

Realtors® agree to abide by a “Code of Ethics” as part of the process of becoming a Realtor. Specifically it says “Realtors® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction”. Let’s face it, we (Realtors®) are regularly involved in what is the largest financial transaction that a person has ever been a part of, and to quote Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” When I consult with a potential seller, I sit with them, show them how much I believe their house will sell for, and explain to them why they should hire me to sell their house, instead of the next agent they interview. Then, (sometimes) another agent makes an outrageous promise, that they either can’t keep, or don’t put in writing (or both), and that agent get’s hired, instead of me, because of that promise.

As an example, I had a seller once tell me that the reason he signed with “Jill” was because she told him she could sell it
for about 20% more than research showed it was worth, and she agreed to prove it by making the contract good for only 30 days. At first glance I was impressed with her approach; basically, she was saying “if I can’t deliver what I promise, quickly, you are free to hire someone else”. The reason I was impressed with that is because I offer my clients similar promises (actually mine can fire me any time if they are not happy because I am not delivering what I promise). However, “Jill” did not put her promise in writing. The reason I know this is that the seller invited me to call him in 31 days and if the house had not sold, he would hire me. He believed that the information I gave him about marketing and the value of the property, made a lot of sense, but he would be a fool to pass up “Jill’s” offer to get 20% more in only 30 days. 31 days later, I called the seller as I promised. As it turned out, the house was still listed with “Jill”.  I asked if he had signed an extension with “Jill”. He told me he had not heard from “Jill” since signing the paperwork (which is a horrible practice of many agents) and that he did not know why it was still listed. He sent me a copy of the agreement he had with Jill so I could tell him what it said – it said he had hired her for a year and there was nothing that allowed him to get out of it! I wished him luck and hung up the phone (because I am not allowed to continue to speak with him if he is actively under contract with another agent).

I seem to run up against this kind of agent a few times every year. Is it all of them? No way! Many of them take their code
of ethics very seriously. Unfortunately, it’s those that lie, or exaggerate that often end up getting a listing that they have no business taking. So how do you avoid those people (and what do you do if one of them already duped you)?

If you have already been duped, and you believe that person was unethical, you have the opportunity file a complaint against them with the Nevada Real Estate Division here; http://www.red.state.nv.us/compliance.htm
The RED takes these complaints very seriously.

If you just want to hire someone who will sell your house quickly, for top dollar, and not lie, deceive or mislead you along the way, you could hire me – but, let’s pretend that I am unavailable. What questions can you ask when interviewing an agent to ensure you are hiring the kind of agent that will look out for your best interests?

1. Ask the agent for references/testimonials. They should have plenty (maybe online). They should also have at least a few of those clients who wrote the testimonials that are also willing to be contacted to verify the testimonial (you probably have to ask for that separately). And yes, you should verify no less than 3 of them.

2. Ask the agent to put a provision in the contract that allows you to fire them any time you feel they are not doing their job. Most agents will not do this. They will tell you it costs a lot of money to list your house and that provision is not fair. They are correct. It is also not fair to force someone to continue to employ you when you are operating at a substandard level. Then, BEFORE you sign the contract, ask them to show you specifically where it says that.

3. Ask them how often they intend to contact you during the process. If you don’t like the answer they give, have them make a better commitment (even write it in the contract), and if they don’t stick to it, you can rely on #2 and fire them. Seriously. This is a big deal and you have the right to regular communication. If they don’t have any showings to report, they should at least be reporting what steps they are taking to get you showings and get your house sold.

4. Ask them their policy about photos and video. You probably don’t realize this, but buyer’s have become sophisticated and demanding consumers. Buyers expect to see no less than 25 photos and 83% of buyer’s last year said that they want to see video, yet less than 5% of agents are providing video.

Is that everything you should be concerned about when you put your house up for sale? No, it’s the big stuff though, and #2 will pretty much help you with the rest.

Great news for those who have completed a short sale in 2014

“The Debt Forgiveness Act” has been extended to the end of 2014 by the House and Senate and is now headed to the Presidents Desk (He is expected to sign it).  This is great news for Short Sales that have closed (or will close) this year.

Do you owe more than your house is worth? We have helped dozens of families successfully short sale their house, and we can help you. Read some of the testimonials here; http://www.HowardTeam.com/Testimonials

The Las Vegas valley has a balanced real estate market for the first time in years.

It’s one of the oldest laws in history – the “Law of Supply and Demand”.  And in residential real estate, there are some very specific measurements, that tell you most of what you need to know about any given market.

Take any specific territory (one zip code, or several), then we refer to “supply” as the number of available houses on the market today, and we call the demand, the number of houses that sold in the previous 30 days. Next, divide the former, by the latter, and that gives us “months of inventory”.  (to be clear, if there are 400 houses on the market today, and 100 houses have sold in the past 30 days, 400/100=4 “months of inventory”). What we have learned in modern real estate history, is that when “months of inventory” is less than 4, seller’s are pretty much “in charge” of the negotiations and the buyer is just grateful for the opportunity to (hopefully) buy.  Under these circumstances, we regularly see properties receive multiple offers, and buyers are often prone to paying more than the appraised value for a house. That’s the way it has been in the Las Vegas Valley for quite some time. I, personally started tracking inventory levels in September of 2012, when inventory was a paltry 1.34 months of inventory. I did this because I had learned that people who tracked these kind of numbers, saw what was coming, long before the typical consumer. A lot of people were blindsided in Las Vegas in 2006, and I did not want that to happen to me or my clients in the future. We just recently broke the 4 barrier and today we have 4.12 months of inventory.

What is next? That depends. Of course, historically less houses sell in the winter months, however, last December, we never broke the “4” mark; and inventory levels ranged between 3.29-3.38 months. What I hope this means is that we will continue for a long time to see “months of inventory” between 4-6 in our valley? What happens after 6?, well then the buyer’s kind of become “in charge” and the seller’s are just happy to have someone (hopefully) buy their property.

Would you like to see the supply of homes available in 89135 (Summerlin South)? 43 residential properties sold last month, and this link will show you what is what is available right now;
http://goo.gl/L8uwhb

(The Las Vegas valley is considered balanced, as a whole, however sellers are still “in charge” in this zip code)

Is it your first time? Because if it is, it just got easier! (Oh yeah, and if it’s not your first time, we can pretend)

Today Fannie Mae, a government entity that helps ensure that Americans can become homeowners, announced an improved option for qualified first-time home buyers, which allows them to buy with as little as a 3% down payment. On a $150,000 home purchase, that is less than $5,000 down and with today’s interest rates, your monthly payment would be around $1,000 (including Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance [PITI]). You still have to meet their standards of income and credit, and really, that’s just because they want you to be able to keep the home that you buy.

Two important things to remember; 1. A “first-time homebuyer” (in their eyes) is someone who has not had a mortgage in the past two years. (pretty cool, huh?) 2. The down payment can be a gift from a family member.

You can read more about the announcement here on Fannie Mae’s web site;
http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/about-us/media/corporate-news/2014/6203.html

Would you like to search for your first home? Click the link below to search for single family homes between $125,000 and $175,000 in Southwest Las Vegas
http://goo.gl/oG0Fe6

Would you like to find out if you qualify for this 3% down program?
https://www.my-loan-application.com/SecureLoanApp_Step1.cfm?org=2079&cli=18192