Mightier Than Tor?

Posted on: December 21st, 2010 by
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I know you are thinking that I can’t spell, but actually I’m not talking about the Germanic God of Thunder or the Marvel Comic superhero. I’m talking about the tor project (http://www.torproject.org/index.html.en). Tor is a free anonymity software that protects you against network surveillance and traffic analysis. It prevents someone from learning what websites you visit and it prevents those sites from learning your physical location. Believe it or not, some websites charge higher prices for their products or services based on where you live. Tor protects you from those tactics. Tor also protects the anonymity of whistleblowers, abuse survivors, or victims of rape or other crimes when in chat rooms and support websites.

This is definitely a download worth checking out since it adds one more layer of protection to your browsing activity. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comment section below.

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Is the Jumbo Loan Market Dead?

Posted on: November 16th, 2010 by
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“Jumbo loans” are loans above Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits, which in the state of Alabama is $417,000. In 2008, when the financial markets first felt the heat from the mortgage meltdown, many mortgage companies either went out of business or dropped their non conforming (any loan program that wasn’t marketable to Fannie, Freddie, or HUD) loan products off of their menu. When this happened, Jumbo loans basically became the baby that was thrown out with the bath water. Despite the fact that many of these loans were very good quality loans, there was very little, if any, demand for Jumbo loans in the secondary markets. If lenders cannot find buyers for loans in the secondary markets, then the loans they cannot sell simply sit on their books, all the while tying up the lenders money in one loan and prohibiting the lenders from loaning any new money on new loans.

Because so many lenders were literally stuck with these Jumbo loans on their books, they simply quit offering them or priced the interest rates so high that either no one wanted a Jumbo loan or the lender was guaranteed to make significant profits from the higher rates while holding the loan in their portfolio indefinitely. This is one of the main reasons that higher end homes in this country have deflated in price so much over the past few years. With no lenders offering a low rate Jumbo loan or just not offering Jumbo loans at all, the market of buyers for these homes dried up due to the lack of available mortgage funds.

As with any correction, the players in the markets (in this case the mortgage lenders) were quick to overreact by pulling out of or tightening up on the Jumbo loan market; and slowly, over time, some lenders have quietly eased back into Jumbo loans. Although most lenders are only loaning up to 80% of the sales price (or appraised value on refinances), I am aware of one lender who is financing up to 90% of the sales price or appraised value for loans up to $500,000 with no Private Mortgage Insurance – which in and of itself amounts to significant payment savings to borrowers.

With lenders easing back into the Jumbo loan market, one would think that it is only a matter of time before that segment of the real estate market will begin to stabilize and grow once again. This leads me to believe that the Jumbo loan market is not dead; and, in fact, it may be coming off of life support altogether very soon.


Posted on: October 11th, 2010 by
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So, I’ve tried out the rssHugger service at www.rsshugger.com. This is an incredibly cool service which allows you to index your blog with blog search engines. rssHugger helps visitors to be able to easily find blogs that write about subjects they are interested in. rssHugger offers two options for bloggers. You can register your blog for free as long as you write a review of the rssHugger service on your blog or you can pay a small $20 fee to have your blog registered. This is a great service that all bloggers should be using, and I highly recommend their service.


National Mortgage Licensing

Posted on: August 2nd, 2010 by
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So, the National Mortgage Licensing Law finally went into effect in July of 2010. This is the law that our federal government put into place to register mortgage originators. The problem with the law is this…

Mortgage originators who work for Federally chartered lending institutions are not required to be licensed, only Third Party Originators!

What does this mean? It means that a mortgage loan officer who works for a bank is not required to be educated, fingerprinted, credit checked, background checked, tested, licensed, and registered. Mortgage loan originators who work for a mortgage broker ARE required to go through all of those steps above. Despite the fact that this difference in treatment seems a bit unfair, slightly irresponsible of our political leaders, and completely idiotic, I believe it has created an additional benefit for consumers to use mortgage brokers for their mortgage loans than banks, credit unions, or mortgage lenders. This registry and licensing system has separated the wheat from the chaff because the originators who can’t pass the background checks, credit checks, and National and State tests with a score of a 75 are simply going to work for banks and mortgage lenders.

So, consumers have two choices when searching for someone to satisfy their mortgage needs. One, go to your local bank and work with an uneducated, unlicensed mortgage originator. Or, two, go to your local mortgage broker and work with an educated, licensed, reputable, honest, and knowledgeable mortgage loan officer.

The NMLS has helped the very sector of the industry it was intended to hurt, and to this I say, “Thank You, Uncle Sam!”

Cool Lead Generating Tool

Posted on: July 19th, 2010 by
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I just got finished with an awesome webinar where I learned of a new lead generating tool for Realtors. I’ll be getting this info out to my agents in a few days to ramp up the volume of their businesses. If you want some info on it, leave a comment on my blog at www.andygagliano.com/blog-this.html, and I’ll get the info out to you this week. This is really amazing stuff!

Property Listings Increase

Posted on: July 12th, 2010 by
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I read an interesting article that stated that the number of properties listed for sale are increasing despite the expiration of the first time homebuyer’s tax credit. This increase is due to record low interest rates. Sellers understand that lower rates mean that buyers can qualify to buy more house for the money compared to when interest rates are higher. Sellers also understand that the low rates and value of homes on the market are pulling more buyers into the market than the government’s tax credit.

It’s About Time!

Posted on: July 1st, 2010 by
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It is about time Congress did something productive. I’m not making a political statement towards one party or the other, but these people need to get a clue! They finally got off of their rear ends and passed the extension of the home buyer tax credit. The mortgage and real estate industry associations have been telling Congress for months that 60 days from contract date to close date is not enough to get these buyers’ loans closed. Congress waits until the day after the extension expires to extend the credit AFTER lenders and Realtors have been screamed at and threatened with lawsuits? They just don’t get it! They are so far out of touch with reality and how the world works; and, somehow, they got elected to run this country. It is time for fresh ideas and a sense of servitude from our elected officials!

Realtors: 1st Time Homebuyer Tips and Stats

Posted on: April 21st, 2010 by
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Some great tips and statistics for 1st time homebuyers. Something I took away from today’s TBWS Daily show linked below is that the tax credit is not the only reason 1st time buyers are buying. Even though the tax credit is ending soon, the sky is not falling! Click and enjoy today’s Daily!


Realtors: Learn to Advertise Your Listings on Craigslist

Posted on: April 20th, 2010 by
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For those agents who are not using Craigslist to advertise your listings, you are missing out on a great opportunity to market your sellers’ homes to a huge market. For a great tutorial on how to advertise a listing on Craigslist, click the link below.

If you find this post valuable, leave me a comment to let me know.


A Tip on How to Sell Your House in a Buyer’s Market

Posted on: April 19th, 2010 by
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Make a good first impression! Increase curb appeal by freshening paint, cleaning up yard and street, etc. Take notes on your first impressions of your neighbors’ houses (likes and dislikes). Then take a look at your house and be honest with yourself regarding things you need to do to your house to increase your curb appeal and make a better first impression.

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