Please Note: SF REALTOR® Advantage Online will not be published over the holidays (following the December 18, 2007 issue). The publication will resume on January 8, 2008. Happy Holidays to all of our readers from the SFAR staff.
December 11, 2007
Tom Sinkovitz, the former KRON-TV anchor, is working with the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® to produce video features on contemporary real estate subjects. The features are called “Spotlight with Tom Sinkovitz.”
The features are intended to be of interest to the clients or prospective clients of REALTOR® members of the Association and a link to them (available on www.sfrealtors.com) is intended to be posted on the home page of members’ web sites. To obtain the link, click on “click here” below and send the page on which the link appears to your web master and ask the person to add the link to the home page of your web site. Alternatively, paste the code into the home page of your web site if you have the technical expertise to do so.
The video features are available in two versions—a shorter version and a longer version. The shorter version features have a running time of two and one half minutes; the longer version features have a running time of four and one half minutes. To obtain the link you are interested in posting on your web site, click here.
By posting a link to “Spotlight with Tom Sinkovitz” on the home page of your web site, site visitors will be able to access five up-to-date videos on the following subjects:
The video features are intended to serve several purposes. First and foremost, they are intended to underscore the value of using a REALTOR® in real estate sale and purchase transactions, with validation coming from clients and real estate service providers. Second, they are intended to provide the public with information they need to know to better understand the dynamics of the current real estate market. And, third, they are intended to establish REALTORS® as the “go to” professionals for everything having to do with real estate.
If there is a positive reaction to the “Spotlight with Tom Sinkovitz” video features on the part of REALTOR® members of the Association, it is expected that additional videos will be produced. In addition, existing videos will be updated periodically so that when they are archived they will continue to provide clients and prospective clients accessing them with up-to-date content.
The San Francisco Association of REALTORS® is fortunate to be working with Tom Sinkovitz, one of the most respected and credible journalists in television today and someone known throughout Northern California for his fair and balanced reporting. By posting the “Spotlight with Tom Sinkovitz” video features on the home pages of their web sites, members of the Association could lead the rest of the nation in establishing a new method of providing the public with information they need to know to better understand the dynamics of the current real estate market in a way that establishes REALTORS® as the “go to” professionals for everything having to do with real estate.
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Tom Sinkovitz and the Association are interested in getting your reaction to the “Spotlight” video features and being provided with any suggestions you might have for new stories that might be of interest to visitors to your web site and clients. Please communicate with Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim Fabris at email@example.com.
Hundreds of thousands of strapped homeowners could get some relief from a plan negotiated by the Bush administration to freeze interest rates on subprime mortgages that are scheduled to rise in the coming months.
"We should not bail out lenders, real estate speculators or those who made the reckless decision to buy a home they knew they could never afford," Bush said. "But there are some responsible homeowners who could avoid foreclosure with some assistance."
Bush said 1.2 million people could be eligible for help. But only a fraction will be subject to the rate freeze. Others would get assistance in refinancing from their lenders, Bush said.
Also, the aid will only come to those who ask for it, he said. Thousands of borrowers who are falling behind on their payments have been sent letters about the options, and Bush also urged people to call a new hot line: 1-888-995-HOPE.
The administration's effort is aimed at stemming a further tidal wave of foreclosures in coming years as 2 million subprime mortgages reset from their introductory rates to levels as high as 11 percent, adding hundreds of dollars to the typical monthly payment.
A recent surge in mortgage defaults, part of the worst housing slump in more than two decades, has piled up billions of dollars in losses for big banks, hedge funds and other investors while roiling financial markets worldwide. Some economists think the housing slump may become severe enough to push the country into a recession.
The president mentioned other steps to prevent foreclosures. The FHA has greater flexibility to offer refinancing to homeowners with good credit histories. It is expected that this eventually will help 300,000 families, he said.
The Federal Reserve is announcing stronger lending standards this month, while the Housing and Urban Development Department and federal banking regulators are acting to improve disclosure requirements.
The highest-profile part of the plan would freeze introductory "teaser" rates on certain subprime mortgages, preventing rates from resetting for five years.
This offer would apply only to people living in their homes and who have not missed any payments at the lower rate. It also only would apply only to loans taken out between 2005 and this past July 30 and scheduled to reset to higher rates in 2008 and 2009.
The hope is that the five-year freeze will buy time for the housing sales and prices to rebound. Such a rebound would enable homeowners to refinance their current adjustable rate mortgages into fixed-rate loans with more affordable monthly payments.
REALTORS® are being urged to call Senator Barbara Boxer to request her full support to achieve FHA reform legislation in 2008, in order to provide existing homeowners with secure and affordable refinancing alternatives, and more mortgage options for first-time home buyers. Increasing the supply of affordable mortgage money is a critical component of bringing stability to the nation's turbulent housing market.
In addition, REALTORS® are being urged to campaign for increasing the Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae Government Sponsored Enterprise loan limits through the passage of legislation that allows for regional increases. Increasing the loan limits would make lower-cost, GSE mortgage financing available to more families attempting to buy homes in high-cost areas like California, while expanding the supply of mortgage funds.
Please call Senator Barbara Boxer today and urge her to offer her full support of these two important measures. For more information click on the link below.