A House for Every Voter!

(Notes from a conversation with Karl Lueders… as told to Karl Lueders):

So Karl Lueders is likely going to vote for Barack Obam!a in the ongoing Anybody But Bush variety show, but even Obam!a proves his theory about what skills good Presidents must possess: an ability to delegate responsibility (to responsible people), a calming influence on television and the best speechwriters.

This quote from Obam!a, in response to the Fed’s decision to “brace” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from further carnage, shows that his free-market advisers might be riding on a separate bus (taken from Monday’s MSNBC article, “Treasury, Fed to prop up mortgage giants:”

“Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said the government’s main concern should be ‘to make sure that home ownership remains attainable and affordable for American families. Second, any measures should protect taxpayers and not bailout the shareholders and management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.’”

What part of that scares you? Isn’t it the term “attainable and affordable?” Hasn’t that been the mantra for lenders for the past five years figuring out how to pump out loans to mortgage-starved Wall Street bundlers? Karl Lueders knows this might seem counterintuitive that what we all do for a living, but the reason why this market blows is that homeownership shouldn’t be – by definition – attainable and affordable for all Americans.

Lueders knows there are people younger and more successful than him that live in nice houses with smaller loans. “Do I deserve a break for being older?”, asked Lueders. “If I was to wait until I was 40 to buy my first house, do I get credits for waiting so long, do I deserve a proportionally better house that factors in my age, even if my funds are lighter than my more successful neighbor?” (Answer, by the way: no.) What Lueders assumes Obam!a means by “attainable and affordable” is that there will always be homes in every price range, which is usually dictated by location and quality of construction. (By the way, you can check out the recent Denver metro market statistics here, proving that there are still a lot of homes below the “average price.” Thanks, Vali.)

The problem with presidential candidates is that they can’t be “handled” at every turn, so every once in a while, you get a somewhat candid answer. If this is one of those times, should we assume that Obam!a rents? False: Obama actually owns a mansion in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood (purchase price approx. $1.65 million, of which he got a $1.32 million!!! loan). If you live in Chicago, they call that a business lunch.

Do these kinds of things disturb Lueders? According to Karl, they should bother everyone. “I wish my candidate’s cached memory was slightly more adroit, so he wouldn’t make such semantic errors which sound like quotes from the Liberal Handbook,” said Lueders. As he stormed off, however, he yelled over his shoulder, “Am I going to change my vote? Probably not… at least Obam!a was speaking English.”

Ed. note: I couldn’t catch up with Lueders, but I think he was referring to John McCain’s weigh-in on the same Fed decision. So in the interest of equal time, here’s Johnny (words actually spoken by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, senior policy adviser.) from the same article:

“Republican rival John McCain believes the measures announced Sunday ‘are consistent with the goal of providing support for a path through the current duress toward steps that include regulatory reform, market discipline and mission focus.'”

Hey Obam!a, now that’s good speechwriting!

Think You Have it Bad?

It could be worse. This sunny article from Time.com about the current instability of the secondary mortgage market makes the Bear Stearns fiasco seem like shoplifting. Then again, you know what could have made that story depressing? Including this feel-good story about the pathetic condition of the Sunset, er, Sunshine State. Oh, wait, I just included it. My bad. The upside: CSI: New York and Miami get good ratings.

Is this why your grandparents moved to Fla?

Is this why your grandparents moved to Fla?

And you thought we had it rough here in CO? After reading these two articles, I’m just happy to have clean tap water. Seriously, read my post from yesterday about why CO has the Big Mo right now. Unless, of course, you’re leveraged on properties and your dogs’ names are Freddie and Fannie.

PS- Have a fabulous weeked.

PPS- Don’t click that Florida link if you’re shorting frozen concentrated orange juice…. Winthorp.

Are You Picking Up What I’m Setting Down? Denver’s Doing Work!

I’m not sure if Colorado has truly deserved the maligning it’s received for being a cesspool of foreclosures and slimy lending practices (there’s plenty of blame to go around for either topic) but when you’re a national punchline for so long, regardless of whether it’s true or not, sometime it’s nice for the truth to come out. CNBC just named Colorado as one of the top 5 states to do business in the US!

Wow, how do you go from the outhouse to the penthouse in one fell swoop? First off, it’s not one fell swoop. Second, Colorado was hardly in the outhouse to begin with… first and foremost, Colorado’s faulty definition of a foreclosure is partially to blame for what now could be said are inflated foreclosure rates. According to the Colorado Springs’ Gazette, the state records a foreclosure when the lender files the paperwork, not when the property is sold. The difference is that when a lender files, the homeowner (or lienholder) still has ample time to redeem.

Of course, this is the same state legislature, that up until the beginning of 2008, didn’t require any sort of licensing for mortgage brokers operating in this state. I remember finding a home for a couple that moved here from Chicago and was going to use one of their “boys” to do the loan. When I spoke with this lender to get a pre-approval letter, not only was there no letterhead from his company, but he spelled the name of my firm (at the time, the most recognized real estate company in the world) incorrectly.

When I called him out on it, his reply was, “Hey, it’s Denver. It’s the Wild West out there. Who cares?” I asked my clients if they wouldn’t mind finding a local lender, which they did, and everything went smoothly from that point forward. That was a couple of years ago, but you get the point. Reputations die hard. Which is why CNBC’s article, combined with the DNC’s impending arrival is giving this town a much-needed shot in the arm. I’m reserving judgement on how the city and state capitalize on these invigorations (think Chicago after their DNC hosting, not Montreal after their Olympics).

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