Archives for November 2007

Fit to be Tied

My husband and I went to the Seattle International Auto Show with our three teensFitextreme350  late last month to look for an economy car for us to use for commuting.  We decided we liked the Honda Fit.   I doubt anyone relishes the idea of buying a car.   Probably much like getting a mortgage.   We did our homework and decided we were willing to pay a certain amount for the car and no more than that.

We first met with the sales person who spent some time with us at the Auto Show and followed up with us via mail.  He’s very polite.  However, it was almost comical to go through the drill of buying a car.  This salesman had us sign a statement that “We will drive a Fit home at $X”.  Well, we offered “x” and the sticker is “y”.   When he came back from his manager, their price was pretty much smack dab between x and y.   We explained we’re only willing to pay “x” for this car.   And he explained that the car is selling for more than it was presented at the car show due to high demand.  We said “good bye”.

We decided to try calling a dealer and to try buying a Fit over the internet.   Ya’d think I’d know better than calling around for the best deal considering my preaching about doing this with mortgages.  Boy I got some doozie one liners.  In the car biz, it’s all about getting the consumer into the dealership and having them waste invest a significant amount of time on their turf.  At this stage, over the phone no one was willing to commit to our price of buying at “x”.   Their efforts to lure us into the dealership was unrequented.

Meanwhile, my husband was working with the internet sales team at Klein Honda in Everett.  He received this response from their “internet sales manager” regarding his offer of paying “x”:

We have ourselves a deal!  I will do $X plus tax and license for the Black Fit Sport with an automatic transmission.  We need to move quick on this deal before they sell it to someone else for more (I am serious).  When can you come in and wrap this up?  The sooner the better.  We open at 11am on Sunday.  I would recommend coming in and finishing up the deal earlier than later.  That way, we can avoid any back-ups getting into the business office.  If I hear back from you before the end of business today, via e-mail or phone I will place a sold sign in your new Fit and pull it off the lot!  I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for considering Klein Honda!

We made the one hour trek to the dealership this morning to purchase this car at $X as agreed at 11am.  The Internet Sales Manager (ISM) seemed friendly and straight forward enough.  We completed a mini application after reviewing the car and picked out a couple of accessories to go with the car.  ISM lets us know that this is a steal and ask that we refer our friends and family.  While I went to our car to fetch our insurance info, my husband mentions to the Internet Sales Manager that I’m blogger and will probably write about how pleased we were with this experience.

Well well well…sure enough, while the ISM was away with our mini application, the Big Sales Manager (BSM) showed up…aka The Closer.   This guy looked really ticked off and informed my husband and I that ISM did not have the authority to cut us this deal and that it the agreed to price needs to be a couple hundred over $X.   We angrily walked out.   The ISM never showed his face and has yet to call or email us.

Where is the honor to stick with what was quoted?   Stuff like this fries me.  If I quote a rate as being locked in as x and I make a mistake, I eat it.  Sometimes I’ll tell the client; sometimes they’ll never know.   It doesn’t happen often…but hey, we’re all human!   I honor my word.   Their reputation and integrity wasn’t worth a couple hundred bucks to them.  It was pretty despicable.

We were so disgusted with the experience over our hour ride back home, we decided that we didn’t want or need a Fit.  Then Renton Honda calls us from my checking out the Costco auto discount the previous day (at the time, they said the Fit was not in the Costco program).

I explained to the Internet Sales Manger at Renton Honda (I believe his name is Randy) that we just wasted our entire morning trekking up to Everett for a promised price on a Fit and he apologized for our experience.  He wanted to know what color, model, etc. we were interested in and I told him but warned we were pretty worn out from our dealings with Klein.   Randy tells us that we can have a Fit for $X and we told him we wanted his manager to call us to confirm so that we can avoid repeating what happened the last time we ventured into a Honda dealership.   Within minutes Randy’s manager called us and committed to our price.

We journey south to Renton and Randy sets us up with Shain Patrick, Senior Sales Consultant who was very decent to deal with.  Renton Honda did honor their word and we drove home a Honda Fit tonight (my husband was so thrilled that the gas gage didn’t budge the whole trip).

No one wants to feel like a chump or like they’re being toyed with.  We all just want a fair deal and to work with people who honor their words.   Life is too short to deal with those who don’t.

My husband told the ISM at Klein Honda that I would blog about how our experience was (this was when we thought they were selling us the car for the agreed price; before they brought in “The Closer”); I guess he’s right!

Fall Photos from my garden




Bankruptcy and Your Home

I have been in the mortgage side of the real estate industry for over seven years…and there’s just been a handful of times that I’ve advise someone to consider talking to a professional about bankruptcy.   It’s a very heavy subject and not easy to suggest to anyone.  Lately the topic is coming up more often.   I just stumbled across this article from the Wall Street Journal and thought it would be worthy to share:

"Most consumers filing for bankruptcy continue to do so under Chapter 7 of the federal Bankruptcy Code. Under that provision, a person must forfeit certain assets — including, in some cases, a portion of home equity. Those assets are sold to pay off debts.

While Chapter 7 filings stop foreclosure proceedings, the break is usually only temporary. As a practical matter, many homeowners who file under Chapter 7 lose their homes.

In recent months, however, an increasing number of homeowners have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, which staves off foreclosure proceedings while the homeowner works out a plan to pay off mortgage debt and other obligations over time — usually three to five years. To qualify, debtors must have a regular income and must stay current on their new bills. About four in 10 filers today are filing under Chapter 13 — up from three in 10 two years ago. The 2005 change in bankruptcy laws was designed in part to shift more filers to Chapter 13, which forgives less debt than Chapter 7….Consumer advocates say the homeowners who are most likely to benefit from Chapter 13 are those facing foreclosure because of a temporary financial setback, but who expect to be able to cover their mortgage payments in the future."

If there are extenuating circumstances that caused the bankruptcy, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may allow transactions 24 months after the discharge as long as the borrower has reestablished their credit during that time.   FHA may allow transactions while someone is in a Chapter 13 as long as they are current on the repayment and the Trustee approves the transaction.   Late payments following a bankruptcy is not only damaging to your credit scores, it also pretty much eliminates the chance of having an "a paper" mortgage anytime soon.

Even if you have just a sniffle of financial distress, seek professional advise now.  Bankruptcy is not something to enter into causally, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy. 

If you have a mortgage that’s adjusting within the next 12 months, or you don’t know the terms of your mortgage, please contact your Mortgage Professional.

Larry Cragun’s Magnificent 7 for October

Mag7_2Once again, Larry Cragun has revealed what articles he feels are most consumer oriented with his Magnificent 7.   I am very honored to have a couple of my posts from October recognized.   Please visit Larry’s blog, Real Estate Undressed to check out all of the nominees.

Ben Bernanke faces the Joint Economic Committee


FOMC Chairman, Ben Bernanke provided testimony to the Joint Economic Committee this morning.  You can read the transcript by clicking here

Senator Charles E. Shumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Opening Statement is available here.

Q&A from the Committee followed Bernanke’s testimony.    Here’s some bits I found interesting:

Senator Robert Bennett from Utah discussed how 15 years ago, the cry from Congress was that credit was not available to the poor and more needed to be done to make home ownership less restrictive.  Now the cry is that too much credit became available.  He went on to say that large institutions who created these programs are paying the price and they should.   As well as people who falsely stated their income to lenders and flippers hoping for “tulip time” by pushing an inflated home price onto another buyer.   

“Markets make better decisions than government.   Markets will punish.   Markets will reward and markets will eventually stabilize”.

The possibility of having conforming loan limits raised was touched on a couple of times during the Q&A.   Bernanke stressed that the lift should be temporary and that the Government should consider possibly taking some of the credit risk from Freddie and Fannie for the loans over $417,000.

Bernanke continues to stress (as do I) that home owners need to contact their lender as soon as possible if they have any concerns about not being able to make their mortgage payments.   The earlier a lender is contacted, the higher the possibility the home owner will have of being able to work something out with the lender and keep their home.

Fed futures are now betting on the Fed Funds rate being decreased again at the next meeting in December.

Barney Frank: Gambling with the future of the mortgage industry


Bill 3915 is progressing towards a vote in Congress after passing through the House Finance Committee.   If Barney has his way, mortgages will be changed drastically and not all for the better.  Consumers will have financial freedoms taken away.  Apparently some of our elected officials don’t feel consumers can handle the responsibility of owning and financing a home.  They’re correct on a small scale; yet they are going to punish the masses (consumers and lenders alike).   

When I think of the people who I have helped buy homes or restructure their mortgage who would not be able to have a mortgage based on this proposed legislation, it sickens me.   Last year, I helped a woman who’s husband had lost his battle to cancer.  She was relocating back to Seattle to be closer to family and did not have a job.  We were able to do a "no job" loan based on her credit and down payment.   This type of program may not exist if Barney Frank gets his way.

If you are a successful home owner who may have used subprime or alternative financing (stated income, interest only, etc.); speak up or lose your financial freedom.   If you could only use The Bank of Barney Frank, you would not own a home without private financing and you may have troubles (fewer options) refinancing.   Don’t worry though, Barney will do what he can to make sure you can use the money to gamble on line instead of using it for something as dangerous as a mortgage. 

Regarding legalizing on-line gambling, Mr. Frank states

"…adults who work for their money, in the comfort of their homes, should be allowed to engage in a form of recreation which they enjoy and which has no conceivable negative impact on anybody else…"   

How can suffering gambling losses or supporting people with addictions to gambling be "suitable" to Mr. Frank? Argh!

If you are opposed to having this bill pass, I encourage you to take action and contact your representative in Congress and let them know how you feel.   You can copy and paste the letter below and forward it via email to your congress person.


Dear President George W. Bush, U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, U.S. Senator John McCain, U.S. Rep. Harry E Mitchell:

We want to express our opposition to H.R. Bill 3915. We believe it is burdensome to the independent mortgage broker, anti-competitive, and in the name of consumer protection, it will actually harm consumers. In an already tough lending and real estate environment, this bill will put additional unneeded pressure on real estate prices and cause unforeseen harm to homeowners, mortgage professionals and real estate professionals everywhere. It will also limit the choices consumers have in finding a residential mortgage loan to strictly large financial institutions.



Click to access Section%20by%20Section.pdf

We endorse the NO on H.R. 3915 Petition to U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, U. S. Senator John McCain, President George W. Bush, U. S. Rep Harry E Mitchell.

Read the NO on H.R. 3915 Petition

104,000 Total Signatures as of 11/7/2007

My Website is Down…My Blog is Not

Big move today.  I’m taking off line; the URL will be forwarded to (hopefully) by tomorrow.   I may have a bit of down time with my email address.   If you’re not receiving a response from me in a timely manner, please pick up the phone and give me a call or use my alternate email.

Update 8:20 pm: my email is back and running! is now forwarding to Mortgage Porter…. Isn’t technology great?

HR 3915 Amendments and NAMBs Call to Action

I’m have my office TV on C-SPAN hoping to catch HR 3915 being presented to the House Finance Committee.   Apparently there have all ready been modifications made since I last posted about this bill.

Summary of Amendments

NAMB’s Call to Action

Hat Tip to Ray Gallegos