Despite 2007 real estate “annus horribilis,” Ken Harney says there’s reason for hope next year

January 18, 2008

wizard hat Prominent Real Estate columnist Ken Harney recently put on his economic prognosticator wizard cap and came up with this heartening forecast.

I’m inclined to agree with him–as long as our government doesn’t interfere too much with the natural healing process of the market.

Like this. ‘…The administration must focus on the housing crisis and declining home values. “We should take immediate, commonsense measures to prevent unnecessary foreclosures to preserve the economic value of our nation’s homes,” Schumer said.

Oh dear! It sounds so good, doesn’t it? But in the long run, it’s not. (BAD SCHUMER, BAD BOY!)

Mr. Schumer’s ideas are likely to cause more harm than good by delaying normal–and needed–and inevitable–market corrections.

Notwithstanding B. F. Skinner’s fall from grace, it can be reasonably assumed with a significant level of confidence that behavior reinforced (through a lack of negative consequences) will be behavior that is repeated.

Bad loan originators will be emboldened to return to their greedy, irresponsible ways and eager, ignorant, impulsive borrowers will flock to them faster than a clutch of Park of Roses ducks attacking the last crust of bread on the pond.

Eager, ignorant, impulsive borrowers.

In the end, there will be no escaping the negative consequences of all the ignorant, irresponsible and criminal behavior that precipitated this giant financial imbroglio. But, like an oil slick, its reach is far and wide but not all that deep. The economy should be strong enough to withstand the stress and recover just fine.

Locally, housing market values never shot up like they did in other regions of the country in recent years. Consequently our home values are not likely to suffer the big losses that are now evident in portions of Florida, Arizona and California, for example.

Columbus area home buyers–be not afraid! The nexus of flush inventory, “friendly” sellers and favorable interest rates around here is the best that it has been for a long time and is not likely to be repeated for some time to come.

Just one caveat…you will probably need somewhat decent credit to get in the game. (About that, more later…)


National Radon Action Month

January 16, 2008

You don’ t believe it, do you? A colorless, odorless, radioactive gas seeping into your home causing lung cancer in non-smokers? Pul-eeez!

Well, the EPA believes it and has designated January as National Radon Action Month to raise awareness in our doubting population.

The Surgeon General’s Office has also weighed in.

All you need to do is do a web search for radon…or have a look at my last post about it. You’ll find out everything you need to know to justify action on your part.

Here’s one example.

Central Ohio is in the middle of a high risk zone for radon. If you or your kids hang out in the basement (or if you are a smoker) your risk is elevated dramatically. 

So have your home tested by a professional, or test it yourself. Contact the Ohio Department of Health Radon Program (1-800-523-4439) for information on where to obtain low cost radon test kits.

When you get the results, DO something about it!

Pols Extend Mortgage Insurance Tax Deductibility Beyond 2007

December 21, 2007

Our good friend and a frequent client choice for home loans, Andy Deutschle of Strategic Mortgage, brought the passage (December 19, 2007) of this legislation to our attention. It extends the tax deduction for mortgage insurance beyond the end of 2007 when it was scheduled to expire.

This is how he tells it…

 At a time when homeowners need relief most, Congress has taken another big step to help by extending legislation that makes mortgage insurance payments tax deductible for many homeowners. The tax legislation, originally approved in December 2006, pertained only to loans closed in the 2007 calendar year. With this renewal, there are three important points to note:

  1. The tax deductibility extension is for three more years (through 2010). After that, it will have to be renewed again for existing homeowners to continue to deduct premiums and for new borrowers to take the deduction.
  2. The specifics of the legislation will remain the same. Borrowers whose annual adjusted gross income is $100,000 or less can deduct their MI premiums from their 2007-2010 federal income tax returns for homes purchased or refinanced during this timeframe. Those with incomes between $100,000 to $109,000 are eligible for a reduced tax break under the law.
  3. Deducting the cost of MI on federal tax returns is estimated to save borrowers $200-$400 each year. 


Thanks, Andy! And Merry Christmas to you all!

New and Improved

November 7, 2007

You may notice the new look for our blog. We have changed to a new platform that we think will make viewing easier and navigating our site simpler. Please let us know how you like it. Thanks for visiting.

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself? Columbus Viewed as One of the Country’s Most Stable Housing Markets

October 10, 2007

All the doom and gloom talk about real estate values damaged by the subprime loan debacle and other market trends has many people nervous about the future of their home investment.

How are things in Columbus?

This month’s issue of Forbes Magazine names 10 cities as “America’s Most Stable Housing Markets.” Columbus is one of their selections—and we agree. In general, Columbus, despite the undeniable impact of an unprecedented rash of foreclosures, seems to be demonstrating signs of improvement that may be expected to gain in strength in 2008.

It’s always nice to read hopeful news, isn’t it? We think Columbus is a great place to live for lots of reasons. Resistance to big economic swings is only one of its many subtle charms.

The Subprime Mortgage Mess Begins With Outfits Like this

October 8, 2007

This item in the Charlotte Observer chronicles how perfidy, ignorance, greed and naiveté combine to smash the dreams of financially fragile home buyers and send destructive repercussions throughout financial markets. There is plenty of blame to go around but you can trace the origins to outfits like this.

What the Heck is eSORN?

September 16, 2007

eSORN is the electronic sex offender registration and notification web site for the State of Ohio. Attorney General Mark Dann has implemented one of the most advanced and effective web sites in the country to deal with sex offender notification.

Most states have an antiquated patchwork system (mailing postcards) to notify the public of sex offenders in their community. The eSORN database is one of the first systems in the country to link all of the state’s county sheriff’s offices and correctional facilities records offices together.

The eSORN web site is easy to use and provides great information to the public. Some of the great benefits of the new system are:

  • Email Alert: you can quickly sign up to be notified via email if any sex offender moves into your community (within one mile).*
  • County Sheriff Offices: “one click” access to contact your local county sheriff to obtain more
    information or to submit a tip/sex offender.
  • Instant Offender Search: you can instantly search to see which sex offenders currently live in
    your community. A great map tool.**
  • Most Wanted List: View a list of the state’s most wanted sex offenders.

Everyone should check out the new eSORN system today, especially if you are thinking about buying a new home.

*To ensure that you receive email notifications please place in your address book and adjust your bulk or junk mail settings.**make sure any “pop up” blocking utility programs are turned off.