Congress Fails to Act on Loan Limits

Congress failed to extend the FHA and GSE mortgage loan limits. On Oct. 1, those limits declined in 669 counties in 42 states, including 16 counties in KY for FHA loans. The new limits will be equal to 115% of local area median home price (from 125%). The high cost cap will fall from $729,750 to $625,500. To determine your new loan limit, find your county; if your county is not listed, your limit will not change. NAR will continue to work with Congress to attempt to restore the higher limits as quickly as possible. Click here to view county chart.



What The Heck Is A RESPA???

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, commonly referred to as RESPA, was passed by Congress in 1974 to give consumers certain information and protections when financing a home. RESPA applies whenever a consumer obtains a conventional, FHA, VA or HUD loan. RESPA is administered by HUD. The Act prohibits those involved in the settlement of a real estate deal from receiving referral fees or kickbacks that would increase the cost of settlement charges. Lenders are required to provide consumers with an information bulletin within three (3) days of application, a good faith estimate of closing costs, and a closing statement 24 hours prior to the closing.  Now you know…

Stigmatized Properties (Just in time for Halloween ;-)

There is no specific stigmatized property law in the State of Kentucky. If you want to know whether there has been a murder, suicide, violent crime or ghost in a particular home, you must ask the question. Once asked, the seller or the seller’s agent must disclose the information. However, without being asked, there may be instances where the seller has not disclosed such information, and by law is not bound to disclose. Likewise, as a seller, you must determine whether a murder, suicide, violent crime or ghost in your property has created a stigma and therefore a defect. If it is the reason that you are moving, you may want to disclose it, as that has become a stigma to you. My advice would be to disclose it anyway, as it is always better to have a knowledgeable buyer rather than one who feels duped after the closing. Buyers will find out the details of the property from neighbors or others once they move in, so it seems wise to disclose all known facts about the property.

Old School Marketing?

Let’s go old school for a moment. Trust me; I am not saying online marketing (social media) should not be No. 1. But until humans become robots and do not have eyes, there are other ways to market as well. Here are some ideas I have come up with to market yourself offline: 1. FSBO’s- Yep, the dreaded “for sale by owner.” Yes, they can be a waste of time; but honestly, how much time does it take to ring a door bell? That’s all the time it takes to approach a FSBO. Instead of taking the usual, “Can I list your home?” approach. How about offer to do a marketing flier about the home with your info? If the seller has any buyers that are interested in the home ask them to give you a call. Offer to post their home on Twitter, Facebook, and blog about it. It can’t hurt you to try a different approach than most REALTORS®. 2. Real Estate Magazines- We all love to look through the real estate magazines that show homes for sale. Grab a bunch of these from your real estate office or from your grocery store. Then staple your business card to the front and drop off a copy monthly at your local salon, dentist and doctor offices, oil change places, etc. What does it take to do this? Some business cards, a staple, etc. Try it!! 3. Books- Yes, books are dying. But until they do, go by your local book store and find the real estate section. Stick a business card in the first chapter of every real estate and mortgage book. How long can this take???? Seven minutes per store — I timed it myself. (Not sure about this one…Lamont) 4. Magnet Sign- “No one has ever called off a car magnet.” Really? Ask around your office — someone has gotten a deal off their magnet sign on their car. Get a nice and easy-to-read magnet for your car. Heck, how else can someone tell you sell real estate when they see you at a traffic light? 5. Name Tags- Yes, trust me, I know. No one has ever said, “You look amazing in that outfit. Now if only you had a tacky looking name tag, the outfit would be complete!!” But just like with magnets, it gives you the easiest and most direct way to make sure everyone knows you sell real estate. Make sure the name tag is direct and easy to read. Heck, make it catchy. Maybe a name tag that just says “Looking to buy a home? Ask me!” How much does a name tag cost? Maybe $15 on the high side? 6. Open House- Again, no one likes them… which gives you an even better opportunity to ask REALTORS® in your office if you can hold an open house for them, for one of their listings. It helps get that REALTOR® more traffic for their listing and it helps you get some new potential buyers. You can also try this approach with smaller home builders. 7. Market to a Professional- Think of a marketing campaign and aim it at a certain professional group. Try to choose a group that has some influence on other people such as CPAs or financial advisors. Or groups that have many coworkers, such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, or HR departments. Then offer them something for free. Some examples are a free home warranty, appraisal, free iPad, or talk about a specific program that is just for them (e.g. tax credit for teachers). Then make a flyer and drop it off at schools, fire houses, offices, etc. These groups are great to market to because if you do a great job they will tell all their friends and coworkers. Like I mentioned in my previous post, online marketing should still be king. But, there are still other ways to market yourself. If business is slow, or you are new to the real estate business, then this list gives you some inexpensive easy ways to market yourself. David Krichmar has been in the real estate business since age 19 and is currently a mortgage expert in Sugar Land, Texas. Connect with him at or @DaveMortgageGuy.