February 3, 2012

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Got Gas!

February 3, 2012

I recently read an interesting article that was published in the Chicago Tribune from their Los Angeles affiliate about the gas prices that are expected for the Spring and Summer of 2012. A Los Angeles Times article by Ronald D. White indicates that all projections point to a cost of $4/gallon by Spring with gas spiraling upwards up around $5/gallon by Summer time. Are you curious yet – http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/14/business/la-fi-gas-prices-20120114 

Part of the justification for rising gas prices stems, according to the article, from high oil prices and brisk fuel exports, according to Ronald White (ron.white@latimes.com).

As I stopped to consider the ramifications of these gas prices in our daily lives, I asked myself one basic question – why haven’t I heard any type of negative response or reaction from anyone who is impacted by the rising cost of gas?  I know in my job as a Realtor I spend quite a bit of time driving to service my clients.  And yet this news story, which also has received some minor attention from local radio stations did NOT seem to create any type of concern OR comments from anyone!

I took the opportunity to go back and pull out some old gas receipts in an attempt to research how much gas has risen in the last few years.   Though you can isolate any 2-year range, one 2-year period  jumped out at me – in December of 2008 gas was selling for $1.599/gallon.  If you go to November of 2010 gas jumped up to $2.789/gallon. This represents roughly a 74+% increase in cost to us, the consumers.   Why?  In my business I certainly have never been able to experience an almost 75% increase in my margins yet we seem to blindly accept that this must be the way it has to be!

I think that every year for the last few years the oil companies, investors and analyst have always tried to find a way to explain to the consumers why the anticipated price increase is appropriate. The bottom line is every year they have offered the same reasons (seasonal blend, demand, political instability somewhere, blah, blah, blah) as to why our threshold for pricing should be different and every year we seem to accept this without so much as a complaint or public outcry.

So as you think about how you can do your part to stimulate the economy consider this – every time we jump into our vehicles in attempt to make that economy-stimulating purchase, the only ones benefitting from this are the oil companies, investors and the like who hedged their bets (and possibly manipulated supply??) that we need to continue to drive. I believe every business organization is entitled to profits but the reasons cited year in and year out do not seem to have as much merit now as they did when the Oil Industry first tried to explain why the increases were necessary.  As you review my summary below of my gas expenditures see if it helps you consider one basic question – Why and what can we do to change this? 

Date & Year Price Per Gallon AVG PPG/YEAR
1/11/2007 $2.269 
2/10/2007 $2.189 
7/10/2007 $3.089 
12/5/2007 $2.929 
  AVG Price Year – 2007 $2.619
2/2/2008 $3.079 
7/1/2008 $4.179 
9/1/2008 $3.859 
11/1/2008 $2.679 
12/9/2008 $1.599 
  AVG Price Year 2008 $3.079
2/4/2009 $1.849 
3/11/2009 $1.969 
12/2/2009 $2.639 
  AVG Price Year 2009 $2.152
2/3/2010 $2.799 
2/7/2010 $2.659 
7/2/2010 $2.839 
10/7/2010 $2.929 
11/1/2010 $2.789 
  AVG Price Year 2010 $2.803
2/1/2011 $3.299 
10/2/2011 $3.399 
  AVG Price Year 2011 $3.349



Is a Short Sale right for you?

June 7, 2010

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage and you’re weighing your options, there are a few points to consider.  The lenders you are working with will evaluate ALL of these factors as they consider accepting any short sale offer.

  1. Are you behind in your payments?  Some will suggest to you that you need to be behind in your payments before they will consider a short sale offer.  Not necessarily true!  Each lender will have their own criteria and who is  holding your note may dictate how you are instructed to proceed by your lender.  Whatever you do, find out for yourself and not from someone you know who may have had a similar experience.
  2. Are you “underwater” in value?  We can’t decide for ourselves to “walk-away” from our legal obligation to pay our mortgage because the homes in our neighborhood have declined in value.  You should first find our whether or not the bank will consider a loan modification as a first step before you just consider walking away or NOT paying your mortgage.
  3. Hardships!  These come in all sizes and shapes and include job loss, divorce, death, loss of income, medical, forced relocation, etc.  
  4. Insolvency.  Have you exhausted all available means to keep up with your mortgage?  You don’t necessarily need to tap into your retirement plan in order to qualify.

While this list is not intended to be all inclusive, as you can see there are plenty of factors that will be considered before your lender will agree to accept a short sale contract (and unfortunately contrary to popular belief we as Sellers’ can’t just decide that our transaction will be a short sale).  Communicating with the lenders is the key to making the process as painless as possible.  The type of loan you have (FHA, VA, Conventional, HELOC, 2nd Mortgage) will be the key as several additional approval steps may be required depending on the complexity of your loan.   

Why is it necessary to understand all of these steps?  The process can be time-consuming and requires plenty of attention to detail. If you’re a Seller consider selecting a Realtor that has experience with Short Sales.  I recently attended a seminar and our speaker summarized it best. If you are a Realtor and you only work with Buyers, understanding the Seller side is crucial to understanding the time frame involved in the decision making process and will help you with your Buyers.  And as a Seller you will understand why the information is necessary and key to a successful Short Sale!

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April 5, 2010

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