This month we leave behind a decade characterized by unprecedented change in our real estate industry and the world.
During the past ten years we saw our industry boom, lead the national economy, and then implode.
Today we look outward on a nation whose economic system is near collapse, an unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, banks collapsing, huge companies being taken over by the government, and security systems that don't work.
Technology, with the emergence of flat-screen, high-definition digital-broadcast television, the IPod, Social Networks, smart telephones, advanced, inexpensive digital cameras, ultra high-speed Internet connections - all these changes within the last ten years. And you can bet that equally impressive and important changes will happen in the coming ten years... optimistically, changes for the better!
In the real estate industry, the change began on the first day of the new decade. HUD issued a new RESPA (the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) rule, effective that day, which changes the process of obtaining a mortgage. The object of the rule change is to make it easier for borrowers to comparison shop for their mortgage, and better understand the closing costs they have to pay.
Among the RESPA changes are:
- Use of a new "good faith estimate" (GFE)
- A new HUD1 settlement statement, which adds a third page to the statement
- Restrictions and limits on which and how much GFE charges may change at the closing table, and
- Bundling of fees on the HUD1 by category or provider, allegedly to make things easier for the borrower to understand.
Are these changes good or bad? Some say good. Some say bad. We'll just have to wait and see.
in another change in Georgia this year, now before a Realtor® refers a buyer to another broker they must do two things:
- Get prior written permission from the person being referred for the referral, and
- Include an estimate of the referral fee, if any, the referring broker will receive by making the referral.
What else might change in real estate in 2010? Real estate gurus and prognosticators are saying this:
- Sales volume should be way up, compared to last year, particularly early on, due to buyers taking advantage of the expanded tax credit. (Not sure I believe that, but we'll see!)
- Average sales prices may dip even lower, or stay flat at best, because foreclosures will remain high. (Signals continuing difficult times for sellers)
- Future foreclosures will be more widespread geographically, not because of the market bust, but because of high unemployment. (Employment figures are usually the leading indicator of a bettering economy. Watch them!)
- Agents will have to convince sellers to price their property realistically for this market. (Duh! Is that a change? You bet it is! And if they don't, the property won't sell.)
- Short Sales will get easier and less confusing because lenders will staff up and develop routine processes to handle the sales. (I'll believe that when I see it!)
It should be very interesting to watch what happens in the coming decade in real estate... and in the world around us. But the one thing we can always count on... The only thing that stays the same is Change!
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