Cool Idea To Speed-Train 26,000 Agents For MLS Cutover.

With 26,000 members to train on a new MLS system, SoCalMLS general manager Russ Bergeron didn"t want to repeat the time and expense it took to train people to use previous MLS access products, so he came up with a cool idea - take members and put "em on ice for a day. "You can do the math," says Bergeron. "Even if you get 300 people into a room, the time, expense, and lost productivity is just too much." SoCalMLS had been using two systems - Stellar as a legacy system and XMLS as a parallel system, and opted to put members on one system - MarketLinx Tempo, so that everyone could be on one Internet-based system, among other reasons.

Bush Pledges Help from the FHA for Delinquent Subprime Borrowers.

The Bush administration"s new, multi-pronged assistance plan for the mortgage market could help tens of thousands of subprime borrowers facing unaffordable payment jumps or hefty federal taxes after loan modification workouts or short sales. The centerpiece of the plan, outlined last Friday, is a program called "FHA Secure." Under present rules, the Federal Housing Administration cannot insure refinancings of borrowers who are delinquent on their current mortgage payments. The FHA Secure program-aimed squarely at subprime and other borrowers now facing so-called "exploding" adjustable-rate payments -- would waive that requirement provided the borrowers" credit histories and verifiable income and assets meet FHA"s standards.

Second Guessing Second Homes.

It may be a better time to buy a second home than it is to buy a primary residence. The nation"s second home market is repelling investors in droves and the blow is so crushing to the second home market, the nation"s primary housing market downturn pales by comparison. Second home sales plummeted last year, falling 18.56 percent to 2.72 million, compared to 3.34 million in 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors" annual "Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey". Primary home sales fell only 4.1 percent to 4.82 million in 2006 from 5.02 million in 2005. The second home sales plunge took a chunk of market share along for the fall. Second homes now represent 36 percent of all homes sold in 2006, down from 40 percent in 2005. Blame speculators.

Market Conditions: Loudon County, Virginia.

Local market expert Shirley Chambers reports the Loudoun County real estate market can rightly be classified as a significant local bubble. This bubble was fed by investors in 2005 and 2006, says Chambers, who quickly realized the boom was fueled by their own demand. After those investors withdrew from the region, prices dropped and mortgage holders saw their value plummet. Now Chambers says the region is faced with a surplus of foreclosures and short sales, and it will take at least 6 months to deplete the current housing inventory. For the future, Chambers sees prices dropping further through 2009, and a rebound to normal should occur by 2010.

News of the day
Real Estate Expert: Getting in the News
You are in front of the TV, watching the six o"clock news, and up pops a story about the real estate industry. Maybe it is about real estate or mortgage fraud. Maybe the market has bottomed out and people are having trouble selling their homes. Perhaps your area has been hit hard by layoffs and the foreclosure rate has spiked.
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Market Conditions
Real estate crooks and cons have even more reason to worry these days. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a multi-agency crackdown is set to target scams and frauds, as well as bolster state and federal action and efforts to protect homeowners.

Masonry, Steel Shelter From The Storm
The Three Little Pigs didn"t become a ham sandwich for the Big Bad Wolf because they huddled in a house built of brick and their home withstood his big bad breath.