A wrinkle in the time/space continuum

Photo from Gizmodo

This week marked the validation of a facet of Einstein’s theories, the existence of gravitational waves.  In looking at artist conceptions of how the average non-astrophysical Joe could understand what the scientists were celebrating, I couldn’t help but think of the Red Dwarf episode where a rift is created in time/space, and members of the crew from two different dimensions are able to interact.  The paradigm of Dave Lister’s birth is only created by an interaction outside of normal time lines.  For those who have not watched Red Dwarf 1) I’m sorry that this introductory paragraph means little and 2) do yourself a huge favor and rent the discs on Netflix.

Realities are shifting now as well in the real estate market.

For a year or so, we have been dealing with a shortage of available houses.  This has been driving up prices and causing no end of headaches for buyer’s agents who are putting in multiple, multiple offers/client, only to find out they are 5th in line and the top of the heap are either cash investors or flippers who can still make money, even at a higher purchase price. Continue reading “A wrinkle in the time/space continuum”


Crazy random conspiracy theory

The news this morning said the Fed is spending $40 billion/month (yes, per month) buying mortgage backed securities in what it says will nurse the housing market back to health.  That’s $4.8 trillion per year, on top of an already huge debt level.  To do what?  Relieve the pressure on banks holding bad notes so the banks can lighten up on lending requirements?

Might I suggest a more insidious thought?  This may be another form of helping not the homeowners or the housing market, but the banks.

Let’s say bank ABCF (American Bank of Chasing Fargo) services a NOTE which has been broken and sold as a Mortgage Backed Security (MBS).  Parts of the note are owned by hedge funds no longer existent.  While this is a win for the bank as they have nowhere to send those funds and can just put them aside for when the NOTE owners turn up, it becomes problematic if the bank needs to foreclose.

Increasingly, homeowners who have fallen on hard times are seeking legal counsel about their properties.  Savvy attorneys are asking for the documentation about who is legally entitled to foreclose, and it’s putting the banks in a precarious position.  It is difficult to obtain foreclosure directives from a non-existent entity.

If the Fed were to buy those mortgage backed securities ($40 billion/month), when John Doe’s attorney asks who owns the MBS, the answer is increasingly, the Fed.

This is a win for the bank, who can foreclose and satisfy investors, retaining the property and reselling for a profit.  It is a win for the Fed because as one of the investors, it receives payout.  It is an additional win for the Fed if some of the previous investors no longer existed, they receive more of the payoff.

The only one who doesn’t win is the homeowner, who once again has the system gamed against him or her.

WA Supreme Court says no to shortcut

The Washington State Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, declared MERS may not foreclose on properties.  The ruling does not mean people who have MERS notes don’t have to pay, it clarifies that in WA state, only the note holder may foreclose on a property.  This is very good news for homeowners.

It also affects people who wish to make a claim of wrongful foreclosure.  Use the contact page (navigation menu at the top) if you would like a referral to an attorney group already deep in the pursuit of justice for homeowners.

One other thing which will happen, at least in the short term — housing prices will continue to rise as the inventory of foreclosures takes another temporary hit.  If you’re a seller, that’s good news.

For your clients

One ring to rule them all, and in the darkness bind themWashington agents – if you need a resource for your clients who are losing their home, frustrated with an inability to modify or concerned that when the interest rates go back up, their ARM is going to send them into financial ruin, I now have a source of help you can recommend to them.
Continue reading “For your clients”

Read the fine print

Giving banks authority to pry at willDo you have a mortgage that was serviced by EMC?  If you missed the mailings, it is now being serviced directly by Chase, and your payment location is rolling to the Chase website.

Although other information is migrated from the EMC database, your pay-from accounts need to be re-verified in the new system.  Chase offers you two options:  the traditional deposit and verify or “Instant Verification System.”  I’m a fine print reader.  Although the IVS appealed to me so I could get on with paying the mortgage, I took the time to read.  In Internet verbiage, OMG.  Continue reading “Read the fine print”

Odd things I learned today

I was reading an article “7 Odd Things You Can Buy at Costco” and came across this interesting tidbit:

Mortgage Services

Okay, you can’t actually buy a house at Costco — but the wholesaler can help you secure a mortgage.

Members can chose from a group of national lenders that commit to low fees. According to the company’s Web site, members save 64% on lender fees.

Costco has teamed up with First Choice to provide this mortgage service. Lender fee caps are priced at $600 for executive members and $750 for business and goldstar members.

The list of lenders includes CapWest Mortgage, RMC Vanguard, West Star, Wyndham, Sterling Savings Bank, Bank of Internet and Real Estate Mortgage network.

As a full disclaimer, although I have a Costco membership, I am not being paid to advertise this service, nor have I yet referred anyone to them.  However in these interesting times, when loans are challenging, this might be an alternative to keep under your hat, especially with capped fees so low!

Don’t forget while you’re there, Costco also sells wedding dresses and caskets, in case you’re having other major life events along with buying that house.

Outside the box

As a child, did you ever know anyone who purposely got in trouble in order to be sent to the principal’s office?  Usually it was either a crush on the administrator or more likely, a test to be avoided.

The Associated Press gets high marks for a story today about the continuation of robo-signing, which we thought was dealt with because we’re decent folk, aren’t we?  We get told, “Don’t do that,” so we don’t!  Or maybe not.

The AP uncovered not only foreclosure documents still being signed, but also other types of real estate papers, citing mortgage discharge documents in one particular instance.  What the AP didn’t do is figure out if the banks are perpetrating a naughty in order to get sent to the principal’s office. Continue reading “Outside the box”

The new checking account

This morning I took my daughter to BECU to open a checking account before she left for her summer adventure.  While there, I took advantage of their new University of Washington card, replacing my boring red one with the Purple and Gold (Go Dawgs).  Conversing with Tim, the nice account manager, I also stumbled across a piece of fantastic information, which I’d be thrilled to share with you.

BECU does [I think exclusively] portfolio loans, which means they are not farmed out to the secondary market.  When a loan goes bad and the house is foreclosed on, BECU lists them on the MLS, but also on their website (keep reading and I’ll give you the link!). Continue reading “The new checking account”


Back in “the bubble,” if you could fog a mirror, you could get a loan.

Back in “the bubble,” if you could fog a mirror, you could write a loan.

Back in “the bubble,” if you could fog a mirror, you could be the escrow agent on a loan.

Back in “the bubble,” there were a lot of loans and a lot of mistakes.

One of the best pieces of ammunition you can have if you would like a loan modification, is a list of which mistakes may have been made on your loan.  Find a friendly escrow officer, not at the office where you closed the loan, and have them look over your closing documents.

Here are some things we found on a recent trip down bubble memory lane:  Continue reading “Tidbits”