Archive for May, 2010

Facebook and the Cost of Your Privacy

May 21, 2010

Facebook is nothing special.  Its features are not revolutionary or technologically groundbreaking.  It wasn’t the first social networking or online profile website.  In fact, there are very few unique elements to Facebook that you cannot find elsewhere on the internet.

However, Facebook is not only the most popular website on the planet, its millions of users willingly dispense their most personal information.  We upload photos of our children, talk about our vacations and likes and dislikes, and share our marital status, gender, hometown, religious views and birth date.  We identify our family members and point out our friends.  We publish our exact location live via our smartphones’ GPS.  Some of us would probably enter our social security and bank account numbers if there was a box for it on the Edit My Profile screen.

People are trusting by nature, and we expect others to treat us like we would treat them. We trust Facebook to keep our information private, sharing it only as we would like.  We forget the company is a for-profit corporation.  The heads at Facebook may be the nicest people in the world, but they still have to explain themselves to the investors that forked over the megamillions needed to fund such an ambitious project.  Those investors want one thing: a high rate of return on their money.

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What Can “Survivor” teach Realtors?

May 17, 2010

Last night I watched the season finale of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. It’s always interesting to see the dynamics and strategies of all the players. In case you missed it, Sandra won and the under-handed Russell lost.

It got me to thinking about how agents survive in a challenging market. Agents are always looking for ideas to increase their business, to market themselves, and to market their listings.

So what can you do to survive a challenging real estate market? Agents can learn a thing or two from the TV show Survivor…

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Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended for Military

May 10, 2010

Many people may not be aware of this, but the Homebuyer Tax Credit has been extended for the military and certain other federal employees. This was actually part of the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, which was signed into law on Nov. 6, 2009.

Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the Homebuyer Tax Credit. Thus, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2011.

If a binding contract is entered into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011, to close on the purchase.

Members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if married, the individual’s spouse) who serves on qualified official extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010.

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New Short Sale Wrinkle Could Add Complications

May 3, 2010

As if Short Sales weren’t complicated enough!  After a deluge of complaints about the length of time needed to gain lender approval on Short Sales, deadlines are beginning to be imposed on lenders.  As a result of these deadlines, some sellers’ lenders are now “requiring” (as a condition for seller’s lender’s written approval of the deal) that the Purchase and Sale Agreement be REDATED to show the current date as the offer date. 

For example, you submitted an offer containing a Short Sale Contingency on January 10, 2010, the seller signed it on January 11, 2010 and it was sent to the seller’s lender(s) for approval.  Today, the seller’s lender says they will approve the deal, but ONLY if you rewrite the offer with today’s date on it. 

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