Skin in the Game

With it still dark out this morning, I noticed but a faint trace of the new moon in the sky which is telling us we’re about two weeks away from the “Cold Moon”. Thank goodness it wasn’t as freezing out, but still enough to where it was biting my bare hands and face.

I was back again at doing additional research for several clients this morning which always seems to make the hours fly due to how consumed I become with it all. There weren’t many interrupting phone calls which always helps while busied with my diggings. After about three hours at it, I found what I needed and passed the information on to those who’re asking. You’re likely wondering why I don’t have them do it, because unfortunately it would take far longer for me to explain the process, and oft times in the end, they don’t get accurate information, so I’d rather do it myself and be done with it.

Over my noon hour, I had a few errands to run, and one of them being the placement of sold signs on two of my listings which now are fully approved and set to close next week. In spite of them being smaller sales, I’m still happy to have a busy December as I certainly remember a number of years past when during the cyclical slow time we’re now in, my not having one home under contract and wondering if there’d ever be another. Yes, I am a bit of a chronic worrier, but at least I came by it honestly.

I’d planned on calling several of my dear ones today, but every time I went to pick up my phone and dial, there’d be another call coming in. You can bet I’m ecstatic over finally getting loan approval on a home that’s been tied up with one of our corporate mortgage lenders. I’m sure that selling agent’s buyer is about ready to tear his hair out over this far too long of a process of getting his loan approved. I’m thinking he’ll be a good fit for his new home, and it won’t surprise me if he’s there for a very long time, as the current owner has had it for well over 30 years.

In spite of it being close to Christmas, I’m going to host yet another public open house at 114 – 11th St. NE this Saturday. We almost had it sold, but unfortunately the buyers couldn’t get it bought at the price they wanted. Oh well, there’ll be another one who’ll be up for the job of lovingly restoring it back to its original grandeur. As many restorations I’ve done in my years, I never would’ve considered myself such a dinosaur in these times because there’s far fewer younger people willing to take on such projects, and more fully convinced it’s the lack of experience and know-how, which in the end, triggers unnecessary fears. We all must remember that if we don’t at least make an attempt to learn and do, then another great talent is possibly wasted. Make sense?

While doing my market pricing, by chance I noticed an acreage just listed southwest of Charles City which happened to be a HUD foreclosure. Just for the record, The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development becomes the end titleholder of foreclosed FHA loans which require only three and a half percent downpayment when purchasing. My curiosity was piqued enough to where I went looking to see what it originally sold for. I just about fell off my chair when seeing someone paid $120K for it only four years ago, and it now being priced at $58K. What bothered me the most, is knowing that we the taxpayers are the ones footing the bills for those toxic assets, and not to be sounding negative, one of my colleagues recently told me that there are more FHA loans in pre-foreclosure than there were back in the 1970’s.

I fully understand why people want to own a home or acreage, but when they’re using loan vehicles requiring so little down, the likelihood of those loans going south is much more probable due to those buyers not having enough of their own “skin” in the game. Before FHA loans became go-to popular, there were far fewer foreclosures. At one time, Roger Holtz was the registered agent for VA foreclosures, and you can bet there were enough of those that came about during our Savings and Loan Crisis. Unfortunately, there’ve been big businesses created out of those government foreclosures, and you can bet they’re charging Uncle Sam too many bucks to manage them. As far as I’m concerned, any time a government or corporate entity hires a third party to work for them, that’s when the hose-jobs begin. Who do I blame? I fault those entities for not hiring their own people to do their work, and their weak reasoning, is that they don’t have to treat them like benefit-entitled employees. You can be sure such business practices will continue to be on the rise our years to come. Shame on them. By the way, did you know our great City has now hired a third party to replace water meters? Yep. Just one more example of what I’m talking about.

I was in need of doing some banking today, so I made an appointment with one of the personal bankers this afternoon due to their not allowing walk-ins without appointment. When she came to the door, the first thing I asked was, “How did your wallpaper stripping project come out?” After hearing how well it went, I was glad to have run into her at the paint store and shared a few of my “stripping” secrets. She did say the toughest job was getting all the glue scrubbed off her walls. I teasingly asked, “What hurt the most? You’re shoulder or your wrist?” She rolled her eyes and said, “For sure my shoulder.” I dared not tell her there would’ve been more aches and pains if she’d followed the poorly-given advice of another. Yes, I’ve stripped my share of wallpaper over the years to where if I even see the prettiest on someone’s walls, the only thing I think of, is how long it would take to get it removed. Now what was your first clue regarding my intense hatred of wallpaper?

As chance would have it, I managed to snap the above photo of our evening sky. What a beauty. That one cloud almost looks like a flying saucer shooting at something.

Tonight’s One-liner is: A person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere.

Related Property:
114 – 11th St. NE Mason City
Joe Chodur

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