The Housing Chronicles Blog: Welcome to the 119th Edition of CORE: the post-Thanksgiving edition

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome to the 119th Edition of CORE: the post-Thanksgiving edition

Having posted several times in the past to the Carnival of Real Estate, I decided it was finally time to step up and offer to host an edition, so here it is!

Since I knew I couldn't repeat last week's Thanksgiving-related theme, I knew I had to think of a creative theme. Something that hadn't been done before, nor likely to be attempted again in the near future.

Fortunately, the stomach illness I came down with last Thursday night after sharing a great Thanksgiving meal with my younger brother and his family outside of Philadelphia gave me a few prize ideas, including the following:

  • 5th Place, The Chicken Soup Award: for serving information that I could retain and that I knew was good for me;
  • 4th Place, The Pepto Bismol Award: for providing soothing advice that would help me better understand what's happening in a particular area;
  • 3rd Place, The Hot Tea Award: for providing some classic, traditional counsel that wouldn't necessarily keep me up at night;
  • 2nd Place, the Ibuprofen Award: for working to provide me with clear thinking when something else (in this case, aspirin), didn't suffice; and
  • 1st Place, the Mayflower Award: based on the 2006 book by Nathaniel Philbrick I was reading when in recovery and on the plane back to Los Angeles, this award suggests a good story very well told. Even better, there's a definite real estate component to the tale Philbrick weaves, as both the Native Americans and the English used the local real estate market and the development of settlements to gain power and strategic land holdings. Highly recommended!
The criteria I used to select the winners was pretty simple:

1. Did they follow the rules? One rule that was broken several times by submitters was offering up somewhat ancient postings. In some cases, had they been written within two weeks of December 1st -- as specified in the FAQ section on the carnival -- some would have been listed in the Top 5 (and to whom I will still give an honorable mention). In the future, I'd suggest at least re-publishing with a few tweaks and more recent date.

2. Was it interesting to the non-real estate civilian? Since I'm more of an economic & development consultant and not a real estate agent, mortgage broker, lender or involved in the actual selling or purchasing of real estate, sometimes blog posts can be filled with insider jargon or terms that need further clarification. Was it written in a easy-to-read, breezy format? I tend to write conversationally, so I appreciate that quality in a blog post.

3. Was it a genuine attempt to educate and/or persuade rather than an obvious commercial or a few bullet points in search of a thesis?

4. Did I come away from the post feeling as if I'd learned something? In many cases, I certainly did, so deciding on just the top five submissions was not an easy task!

So without further ado, here they are:

Fifth Place: The Chicken Soup Award

Joyce Zangmeister at the 805local blog provides an excellent and quick overview of why short sales can be very complicated in "The Short Sale that NEVER happened." Whether the reason a deal fell through was due to a low-ball offer, loan fraud by the original borrower or even simply a lender being overwhelmed, this post will help you avoid taking the loss of a short sale personally.

Fourth Place: The Pepto Bismol Award

Ever wonder why the mortgage rates you get quoted by a lender are different than what you see in the newspapers? Check out Dan Green's post "How Newton's First Law Relates to Mortgage Rates" for a detailed explanation at blog. In this post, he explains the role of the federal government in today's mortgage market and the importance of working with a broker or loan officer who keeps up on the latest news -- and, in Dan's case, also allows you to sign up for regular Twitter updates.

Third Place: The Hot Tea Award

In these times of constant bad news about real estate, it's easy to forget why it was considered a good investment in the first place. Fortunately, JCL at the Real Estate Investing Journey provides a solid reminder in "Why Real Estate?" of why investing in real estate -- at least for the long term -- has built wealth for so many investors. After reading this post, it makes it easier to defend the decision to hold into income property that cash flows decently and slowly yet surely pay down any mortgage debt. Future equity gains? Gravy.

Second Place: The Ibuprofen Award

Although I don't live in Florida, I thought Joe Manausa's post at the Tallahassee Real Estate Blog entitled, "Great News for First Time Homebuyers in Florida Real Estate" and about an array of programs in that state to assist first-time homebuyers would be highly useful to renters thinking about making the move but not knowing where to start. Joe gets right to the point in this post, describing several programs for first mortgages and down payment assistance.

First Place: The Mayflower Award

This prize goes to Ardell DellaLoggia writing at Seattle's Rain City Guide, both for a great, stage-worthy name and the sort of opinionated, amusing and informative post I've also come to love from others in the blogosphere. I'll definitely be adding Ms. DellaLoggia's musings & rantings to my blog list!

In her post "Is the housing market performing as expected?" Ardell takes to task real estate agents who claim that housing prices "always go up" with complete disregard to historical market trends or economic conditions. In fact, she argues, real estate, like many other markets, tend to ebb and flow and always correct when they overshoot. Filled with several charts and great examples, I think this post should be a must-read for any newly minted agents wanting to educate their buyers as well as any veterans who sullied the industry with years of pollyannish advice and are eager to rebuild their reputations.

There were certainly similar scofflaws in the development consulting business, who thought the only way they could bring in new business was to tell builders and developers good news, no matter how disconnected their recommendations were from market realities. Those same consultants are now partially responsible for the builder foreclosures and bankruptcies you see erupting in the housing market and, in moving into 2009, also commercial real estate.

Honorable Mentions

Randy Saputra offers some time-honored advice on 6 effective ways to get ideal home loan rates at the HomeLoanRate blog.

Finally, Raymond of the MoneyBlueBook blog submitted two excellent posts on credit scores and how FICO scores, the most important of them all, are calculated. The first one is entitled "What is My Credit Score and How is My FICO Calculated?" and the second one is called "How to Get Your Free FICO Credit Score and Avoid Fake Credit Offers." Unfortunately, since these posts were originally published in July and April of 2008, they were too old to be officially considered. Nonetheless, I do recommend that you check out Raymond's blog!

This concludes the 119th edition of the Carnival of Real Estate. If you'd like to see the full list of submissions, you can find those here.

For those of you who missed the deadline, submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of real estate using our carnival submission form. However, please remember that posts are supposed to have been written during the two-week period prior to the carnival's publication!

Next week's CORE will be hosted at the Realty Thoughts blog, and thanks again to Stockton Real Estate Specialist for hosting last week's carnival.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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aaa said...

Thanks for mentioning our article and the kind words!

ARDELL said...

Thank you for the honor of First Place in this week's Carnival of Real Estate.

I did not know Tanta, but I am not surprised that my style is similar, given Jillayne Schlicke was a big fan of Tanta's writings.
I remember sitting on the stage at Inman Connect saying "Isn't it sad that the main reason I am here, is simply because I am honest." I don't understand people who don't just say what is on their mind.

I'm sure when I meet Tanta in the after-life we will both be able to say, "at least we didn't hold back in the time we had".