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Sep 17 2008

 Posted by: Lauren Young on September 08

The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNM), nicknamed Fannie Mae, was a depression-era institution created to make homeownership affordable for the working-class. Freddie Mac (FRE) was created in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the housing market.

Today, Fannie and Freddie guarantee or own over half of U.S. mortgages valued at $5 trillion. But with the credit crunch, too many of those loans started going into default, hurting the companies’ financial reserves and driving up borrowing costs.

Now that the U.S. government has taken control, here’s what should happen:

What Will Happen
Mortgage rates will drop. The 30-year fixed is at 6.08% today, more than a quarter of a percentage point lower than Friday,
according to

Update: Rates took a big dive downward on Monday, with the national rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage at 5.75%, according to Zillow Mortgage Marketplace. At a state level, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate in Arizona saw the most significant drop from 6.35% to 6.13%, while Michigan saw the smallest decline from 6.30% to 6.25%.


The takeover will shore up financing for buyers with stellar credit. (“Stellar” is defined as folks with credit scores above 700.)

It will hurt performance in mutual funds that invest in the stocks of Fannie and Freddie. It will also help funds that invest in their debt.

What May Happen
The takeover could have a domino effect: It could help stabilize housing prices, which have been falling, by allowing people with weaker credit to buy homes. (Home prices have fallen almost 16% nationally in the past year, according to the S&P/Case-Schiller index.)

It may stem the tide of foreclosures.

What Won’t Happen
The takeover will not cut rates on jumbo mortgages. A jumbo mortgage is defined as a loan of more than $417,000 in most parts of the
U.S. But jumbos are much higher in expensive housing markets. For example, a jumbo loan is up to $729,750 in the Los Angeles area.

It will not reduce home equity loan or line of credit rates.

It will not immediately eliminate fees for borrowers with weaker credit histories. Fannie Mae recently announced higher borrowing costs for loans to borrowers with weak credit. Applicants with credit scores between 640 and 659 who are putting down 15% to 20% now pay an additional 2.25% charge. Mortgage experts are hoping these fees will be dropped as the dust settles.

Sep 11 2008

Study Sets Benchmarks for Customer Service

Keller Williams, Prudential top major research survey

By Matt Carter, Wednesday, August 27, 2008.

Inman News

A first-of-its-kind ranking of customer satisfaction with national real estate brokerages not only gives Keller Williams and Prudential something to crow about, but creates industry benchmarks local brokers can use to distinguish themselves from the competition.

A major research firm surveyed more than 3,200 people who bought or sold a home between April 2007 and June 2008. Buyers gave Keller Williams the highest overall satisfaction ratings, while Prudential was ranked highest by those who sold a home.

Although the California-based marketing research firm has conducted similar proprietary surveys for brokerages' internal use, this is the firm's first "syndicated" study of customer satisfaction in the real estate industry. This major research firm funds syndicated studies itself, releasing the results publicly and awarding trophies to top-scoring firms.


Aug 14 2008

Good News. The line has finally been crossed in Ada County! Inventory levels are below one year ago for the first time since February 2006!  28 straight months have seen inventory levels above the same month from a year before; but July 2008 finally brought a change. Inventory is down 1% from last month, and 2% lower than last year at this time.
The credit mostly goes to new construction. New Construction inventory - 1129 DOWN from 1167 last month.  Last year at this time there were 1594 new homes for sale. New Construction inventory has dropped for 17 of the last 22 months since reaching a high of 1890 09/06. 09/05 was the low at 666.
There are a number of signs that the market has bottomed out. July's inventory calculation is just one of them. Here are two more: The "affordability index" which correlates median household income with median priced housing and interest rates actually was at its lowest level in April 2008 since September 2005 - 25%. Since April it has been edging back up a little each month to a present calculation of 26%.
"Absorption rate calculations" which measure the housing supply in terms of the number of month required to sell the present inventory have also gone from a high of 13.2 in February 2008 to 9.8 months currently. Wise buyers would do well to act sooner rather than later unless they want to wait until prices have started going up!

Jul 05 2008

Keller Williams Realty's vice chairman, Mo Anderson has been selected by the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB) as 2008's inductee into their Hall of Leaders.

The Hall of Leaders recognizes brokerage professionals who significantly shape and influence both the local and the national real estate market.

“Mo’s success is not by accident or luck. Passion, leadership and innovative vision are just a few of many characteristics that make her a respected industry leader. Her generosity of time and talent have enhanced the profession and her community. We are so pleased to honor her with this prestigious award,” says Ginny Shipe, CAE, chief executive officer of the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers. “Mo has absolutely demonstrated that leadership is about action not position.”

Congratulations Mo Anderson, you are a continued inspiration

to your entire Keller Williams Family!

Jul 14 2008

Government Grants

For first-time buyers, often the first thought that comes to mind is, “I need a down payment.” This is often followed by the question, “Now, where do I get that down payment?”

Depending upon the loan type, a home mortgage typically requires 3 to 5 percent down. If you have the money, then you’re set. But what if you don’t?  What if you’re renting? You can afford a mortgage within your means, but coming up with the down payment money needed to begin the transaction can be challenging. So, where can you turn?



One of the most overlooked sources of down payment funds is likely right under your nose—in the form of government bonds and local grant programs. These programs either provide outright monetary grants for down payment or money to buyers in the form of a forgivable loan. In essence, the government will help you buy your home and you typically only have to pay back the money if and when you sell that same property.


In the past it was challenging to find these special programs, but now all you need is your agent, a computer, an Internet connection, and a search portal such as Google or Yahoo.  Enter the search terms “down payment assistance (followed by your city, state or province)” and see what pops up! It might just be the answer to helping you buy your first home.


Written by David Reed, author of Mortgage 101 and Mortgage Confidential.

Jun 07 2008




Jun 04 2008
Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine picked Boise as one of it's 'Best Places to Live, Work, and Play' for 2008.

No. 4: Boise, Idaho


Population: 568,086
Population Growth Since 2000: 18.2%
Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 33.2%
Cost-of-Living Index: 95.5 (100 being national average)
Median Household Income: $49,833
Income Growth Since 2000: 16.6%

How do folks get any work done around here? The skiing, snowboarding, fishing, biking and kayaking in and around Boise are an almost irresistible temptation to desert your desk. Glance northward from the city's orderly downtown business and shopping district, and the majestic slopes of the Boise foothills beckon.

Take Our Walking Tour Through Boise

Those in search of classy entertainment may be surprised. Says Susan Thayer, who relocated four years ago from Albany, Ore., to run sales for Episciences, which makes Epionce skin products: "The city has evolved into a magnet for the arts." She and her spouse, Terry, frequent the theater, as well as Boise's own symphony, opera and dance companies.

When they're not casting a line or taking in a show, a growing number of Boisians work for local high-tech businesses, the fruits of which make up the state's biggest exports. Micron Technology and Hewlett-Packard are the Boise Valley's two largest employers. But the area also cradles smaller technology and e-commerce firms, which come to make the most of low business costs -- about a third less than in California or Washington.

Employers know they'll find a high proportion of college graduates here (37%, compared with the national average of 27%) and that new hires will find plenty of affordable housing. Explore Boise's eclectic mix of old and new neighborhoods and you'll find homes with a median price of $235,000. The average work commute is 18 minutes.

For those in search of a small-but-happening feel, the burgeoning suburb of Eagle is the place to go. Lloyd Mahaffey, previously an executive at Honeywell, Apple Computer and Verifone, moved to the former farming town in 2004, hoping to find a laid-back place where his kids could hunt and play tennis while he dabbled in winemaking and developed real estate.

Eagle's soil tests perfectly for the cultivation of red-wine grapes. Now Mahaffey is developing ten homes reminiscent of Italian villas, each with its own 4-acre vineyard. After visiting him in Eagle, several friends are planning to relocate to the area. Be advised: "When you first arrive, you have to downshift and adjust to a more relaxed pace," says Mahaffey.

Jun 02 2008

This is probably the question I get asked the most right now. The question I ask in response is, "Do you mean the national or the local market?" If they say the local market, I then ask, "Which city?" When they tell me, I ask, "Which neighborhood?" When they answer, I next ask, "Is it new construction or an existing home and what is the price range?" As you can tell by my questions, a lot depends on where the property is located, the type of property, and its price range.  


One of the physical characteristics of real estate is immobility. Because property cannot be moved around to satisfy demand in different areas, the real estate market is very local in character. Markets may differ among different parts of the country, different cities, or even different sections or neighborhoods within the same city. Because of this, each local market must be considered separately. In addition to being localized, the real estate market may be segmented. Market segmentation may occur in several different ways and some of these factors may include the type of property you’re selling and its price range.


Ada County is different from Canyon County, Boise is different from Star, the North End is different from West Boise, and even parts of the North End are different from each other. And, if you have house that’s priced at the very low end, you’re going to have better luck selling it than a property at the very high end. Because of market localization and market segmentation, the above question is not exactly easy to answer (which is why the media often doesn’t do that great of a job of it!) 


This is why it is important - if you are thinking about selling your home - to talk to an agent who will do her homework to help you determine the best price for your home in order to get it sold successfully! For more information about how we price homes, read the article below.

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