My Lingering Impressions of 2011

Here is how 2011 is coming to a close here at All Phoenix Real Estate World HQ:

Was the LSR even legitimate?  I doubt it…….

That is the overheated bleating of a data entry clerk bank owned listing agent upon learning that my buyer was denied for her loan. That this could happen was of considerable shock to the data entry clerk listing agent because this clerk agent has only worked with a handful of buyers this year and doesn’t seem to realize how easy it is for a loan to crumble like sandstone thanks to greatly tightened lending standards.

In fairness, this agent hasn’t been happy with me since I accidentally left attached the bottom of an e-mail where I referred to Fannie Mae and its asset managers as idiots. In fact, I was scolded at length for using said word (right before I was asked to send the same paperwork I had sent an hour earlier, more or less proving the validity of my claim.)

When I first entered the game back in 2004 one of the biggest concerns was that banks would enter the real estate world and try to sell real estate. That hasn’t happened per se, but let me tell you – the banks have rewritten the rule book.

On this above transaction, we received the Fannie Mae addendum after the offer was accepted. Except then the asset manager, after the buyer already had signed, decided to delete a word from the additional language on the back page. Okayfine. Buyer signed again. Except then the same asset manager decided that they wanted the corrected language typed and not hand-written.

Of course, all the buyer could do was to continue signing amendments while watching the processing time for the loan decreased day by day because the asset manager couldn’t seem to get it’s own addendum right.

But the asset manager isn’t an idiot, even if his or her actions left the lender with barely two weeks to get a loan completed and to docs.

Which can happen as long as there aren’t complications. Which is like saying there will be no traffic at rush hour as long as everyone keeps driving 65. It ain’t gonna happen.

In any event, this is how my 2011 ends – with continued evidence of the decreasing professionalism in the real estate industry. Not to keep banging on REO agents but at some point they will need to remember this is a relationship business and the relationships that matter aren’t the ones with the asset managers who will be non-factors once the foreclosures are done. It’s with the agents they screwed along the way, agents with longer memories than they can conceive of.

Some other thoughts:

  • Despite the ever-present fear of shadow inventory, it feels like we’re much closer to the bottom than not right now in the Phoenix market. Inventory remains ridiculously low – 12,116 single family detached homes as of a few minutes ago with the year-end expirations coming in a couple of days – and sales remain brisk even for the fall. Inventory could double tomorrow and it would be absorbed with nary a hiccup; we’ll see if that happens or if what has seemed to be intentional trickling on the part of the banks instead is evidence of fewer homes in the pipeline than is commonly imagined.
  • In case you were wondering … 30,764 foreclosures have been sold in the Phoenix real estate market since the first of the year (looking only at detached homes in Maricopa County itself – not including Maricopa, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley or Apache Junction.) Last year there were 26,864 which means the number of foreclosed homes sold rose about 15 percent this year.
  • Since the foreclosure wave hit in late 2007, more than 115,000 foreclosed homes have been sold in the Phoenix real estate market. What does this mean? To my mind, unless some of these homes are foreclosed on twice, there’s a finite number of homes you’ll see foreclosed on which makes me think the shadow inventory is less shadowy than is often advertised.
  • Television stations are big on shadow inventory. They’re also predicting gas will be at $4.50 a gallon came April (and actually made that prediction when gas was 40 cents higher than it is now.)
  • For all the talk from banks on their improved short sale processes, they’re still largely clueless.
  • Seeing Suntrust on a loan makes me cringe.

That’s about it from here. We return you to your normal programming.

Photo credit: Heather Buckley via Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at