Industry News

New year, same difference

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I am not a big fan of the numbered lists, but this time of year they seem to be requisite — much like using a shopping cart as a weapon of mass destruction in order to secure better positioning in the checkout line is a seasonal requirement if one is to properly display that old holiday spirit.

So lest I be labeled a killjoy — a Grinch even — I offer my top 10 real estate market predictions for 2010. Actually, I offer 11. I’m going rogue.

1. All of your seller clients think real estate prices have bottomed and are now climbing faster than Sir Edmund Hillary on amphetamines.

Meanwhile, all of your buyer clients think the market will hit the earth’s core sometime this year (Oct. 2), at which point they will be able to use their Veterans Affairs benefits to purchase acreage in Telluride, Colo. — or put a downpayment on the White House. Until then, they want to see a dozen homes every Saturday just for fun.

2. Bank of America will find my client’s short-sale package in May. They will lose it again in August.

3. Congress passes HR 3044, placing into effect an 18-month moratorium on the Home Valuation Code of Conduct. But Congress also passes HR 3126, which kills the HVCC dead for good. A last-minute amendment to HR 3126 is unfortunately revealed, which establishes new oversight requirements for appraisers to ensure their complete and indisputable independence.

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All appraisers are granted Canadian citizenship. More importantly, all appraisals must now be performed using the Randomized Valuation Method (RVM) in which the appraiser is required to record his odometer reading each time he stops to ask directions to the property and then average or add the numbers to arrive at an opinion of value (his choice).

Appraisal reviews will be performed by committees of three to comply with the new rock-paper-scissors final approval requirements. The review committees may convene no sooner than one day prior to your scheduled closing to ensure that no one ever really knows what the hell is going on with the loan.

4. Distressed sales continue to set the tone of the market, and flipping is again all the rage. New, stricter lending guidelines for Federal Housing Administration-insured loans, together with the 90-day rule, will mean that only people with at least cab fare can now buy homes.

Congress will pass new homebuyer-incentive legislation offering a free toaster to anyone who closes escrow before Labor Day. For closings occurring on a Wednesday, they will throw in Bank of America’s "Music While on Hold" CD boxed set, a compilation of easy-listening tunes (performed by various artists) that I have been enjoying since February. My favorite is the upbeat classic "Your Business is Very Important to Us."

5. The president announces the government’s latest bailout plan involving the Treasury Department’s takeover of McDonald’s. To boost consumer confidence and put the happy back in the housing market, homeowners with toxic loans are given free, extremely happy Happy Meals that include a toy — a drooling Bank of America action figure.

Treasure maps identifying the relative location of my short-sale package to the Delta Quadrant are sold separately. Proclaiming that this new program will not cost the taxpayers anything, the president increases the price of a Quarter Pounder with cheese to $7 trillion to offset administrative expenses. …CONTINUED