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February 2009

Home Buyers $8,000 Tax Credit

Attorney Darren Welsh has an informative post on his legal blog regarding the first time home buyers credit of $8,000 which was modified as part of the recently passed legislation "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009".  Las Vegas accountant, Diane Clough explains the tax credit... read more..... TGIF Legal Tip: First Time Buyer $8,000 Tax Credit 

In a nutshell:

  • Changes the 2008 $7500, repayable credit to $8000 and no repayment (tax credit - “refundable”)
  • Good for purchases of principal residence on or after January 1 to December 1, 2009
  • Only first-time home buyers are eligible (defined as anyone who has not had any home ownership in 3 years prior to day of 2009 purchase)
  • Income restriction - individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples who file joint return no more than $150,000
  • There is a reduced credit which totally phases out for individuals at $95,000 annual income and $170,000 (joint return)

Here's more on the home buyer tax credit from NAR:

Homebuyer Tax Credit – The bill provides for a $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.  The credit does not require repayment.  Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules:  the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser's income tax liability.  If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser.

Download HomeBuyers_Tax_Credit - NAR Presentation

Download HomeBuyer_tax_cred_qa - FAQ from NAR

Stimulus Plan; Recovery and Reinvestment Act - Resources for REALTORS

Here are some links to various resources concerning the Stimulus Plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

If you want to recommend any other useful resources to add to this post - just post your comment and link!

NAR's resource page - Unlock America's Economy  (Links to articles, NAR President's Podast series, and other good information to keep you informed and updated)   Stay informed about how and where the money is being distributed from the recently passes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Visit the site for timelines, graphics, charts and updates  The President has promised Accountability and Transparency...  Quick links to press releases, webcasts, fact sheets

Emergency Economic Stability Act - US Treasury site - HUD site packed with info and resources

The White House website and blogs:

Las Vegas to Lead the Nation Out of Housing Crisis?

Kathryn Bovard wrote an excellent post yesterday on her Zen Real Estate blog, reporting on NAR's chief economist Dr. Lawrence Yun's prediction that Las Vegas would lead the country out of the housing crisis.

Dr. Yun cited to key reasons...
1.The Las Vegas home prices are under market and
2. The Stimulus Plan

Read Kathryn's full post for more..
Today Chief Economist Predicts Las Vegas Real Estate Market to Lead the Nation Out of Housing Crisis

Las Vegas, Nevada Real Estate & Foreclosure Report for January 2009

Nevada continues to have the highest number or foreclosure filings for all US states according to   Realtytrac records and defines foreclosure filings as:

".... documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default — Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction — Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank)."

"Nevada foreclosure activity in January decreased 4 percent from the previous month, but the state continued to register the nation’s No. 1 foreclosure rate, with one in every 76 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month. Foreclosure filings were reported on 14,444 Nevada properties in January, up 137 percent from January 2008."

Las Vegas ranked as the second highest metro foreclosure rate (#1 was Merced, CA) in January with one in every 63 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Bank-owned (REO/Foreclosure) sales accounted for 81% of all residential closings for January 2009 in the Las Vegas Real Estate market.

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported the following breakdown of closed residential transactions for January 2009:

  • Cash 25%     Average Sale Price = $149,267
  • Conv 31%      Average Sale Price = $221,460
  • FHA 36%      Average Sale Price = $168,760
  • VA 8%          Average Sale Price = $193,787

What is the good news?   There are tremendous purchasing opportunities for Las Vegas properties.  With interests rate low and prices even lower, there has truly never been a better time to buy then now.

If you want a referral to a top Las Vegas real Estate agent - give me a call at 702-858-9191, email me at or start your search now for a Las Vegas home, condo, or bank-owned/foreclosure:

Click on the icon below for Free access to over 30,000 listings in the Las Vegas valley.

Las Vegas Home Search

President Obama stays connected through blogs, websites and social media

I really love how President Obama continues to use social media outlets to stay connected to the people!  The latest addition to the mix is  where you can stay informed about how and where the money is being distributed from the recently passes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Visit the site for timelines, graphics, charts and updates  The President has promised Accountability and Transparency...

Obama HQ Blog

Besides the frequently updated blog, you will find links to President Obama's profiles and accounts on a variety of social networking sites:

Obama Everywhere

Facebook Black Planet
MySpace Faithbase
YouTube Eons
Flickr Glee
Digg MiGente
Twitter MyBatanga
Eventful Asian Ave
LinkedIn DNC PartyBuilder

Las Vegas Real Estate Market Condition Report for January 2009

January 2009 Las Vegas Real Estate Fast Facts

Courtesy of Larry Murphy, 

SALES:  Existing home sales reached 2,737 - a 71.1% increase over last January.  Unfortunately, that was an 11.7% decline from December's totals.  New homes fared far worse.  The average number of sales per subdivision totaled 0.81 - the lowest in this century.   The total of 284 new home sales is a number not seen in decades in this market.  It is a 66% decline from last January and a drop of 55.1% from December.  There were only 10 closings in the vertical market (hi-rise/mid-rise).

  While the pricing picture is slightly brighter than sales, it is still dismal.  Overall new home prices slid to $233,000, down 15.3% from last January and 2.6% from last month.  When vertical product is factored out (new homes and condominiums only), the price drop is very similar: $230,000, which is 15.1% below last January and 2.9% under last month. 

Existing home prices (and sales) are very much affected by foreclosures.  The median price of an existing home in January was $150,000, down 37.1% from last January and 6.3% from last month.  Almost two thirds of existing home closings this month (64%) were bank-owned homes with a median price of $139,000.  The balance (36%) were non-bank owned homes with a median closing price of $170,000.

INVENTORY:  The number of homes found on the MLS was 20,673, the lowest total since September.  But, at current sales rates, that number still represents 8.6 months of inventory.  And, almost two thirds (65%) of those homes are vacant.  You will notice a new term this month regarding MLS listings “DOM” (Days On Market).  It has been replaced by  CDOM (Cumulative Days On Market).   The CDOM reflects the total time a listing is on the market, even it has been listed for multiple terms and even if listed with different brokers.  Thanks to Forrest Barbee of Prudential Americana for sharing this new methodology with us.

The number of new home subdivisions continued its 19 month slide to 350.  That's down 33.3% since last January and 4.9% from December.  The number of new home permits continued in the three digit range, coming in at 183, the second lowest total of the decade and a drop of 48.2% from last January.

Foreclosures increased to 2,356, a 37% jump from last January and 8.2% above December's figure. 

Las Vegas Real Estate Market Report: 02/11/09

Las Vegas Real Estate Market Report: 02/11/09

This is the latest Las Vegas Real Estate Market Report from (National Association of Residential Real Estate Investment Advisors). For the week of February 11, 2009, data is obtained from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors MLS.

Single Family Residence (SFR)
Available – 15,937 (-171 , Last Week 16,108)
Under Contract – 5,976 (+365 , Last Week 5,611)
Days of Supply – 80 (-6 , Last Week 86)
Short Sales – 7,349 (+117 , Last Week 7,232)

Condominiums and Town Homes (CONDO/TH)

Available – 4,537 (+2 , Last Week 4,535)
Under Contract – 1,092 (+45 , Last Week 1,047)
Days of Supply – 125 (-5 , Last Week 130)
Short Sales – 1,695 (+76 , Last Week 1,619)

Combined SFR + CONDO/TH
Available – 20,474 (-169 , Last Week 20,643)
Under Contract – 7,068 (+410 , Last Week 6,658)
Days of Supply – 87 (-6 , Last Week 93)
Short Sales – 9,044 (+193 , Last Week 8,851)

President Obama Unveils $75 Million Foreclosure Prevention Plan

President Obama unveiled his $75 Billion plan to stem the foreclosure crisis in the country. The "Homeowner Affordability and Stability" plan proposes to help between 7-9 million families restructure & refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.

Highlights of President Obama's plan to reduce mortgage foreclosures:

  • Allow an estimated 4 million to 5 million currently ineligible homeowners who get their mortgages through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance at lower rates.
  • Create incentives for lenders to work with borrowers to modify the terms of subprime loans at risk of default and foreclosure.
  • Take "major steps" to keep mortgage rates low for millions of middle-class families seeking new mortgages.
  • Pursue reforms designed to help families avoid foreclosure, including allowing bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgages on primary residences to their fair market value.

Who benefits from the plan? 

  • Homeowners on the verge of becoming delinquent or those who have missed a few payments are the prime candidates for assistance.
  • The plan calls for lenders to reduce monthly interest payments to 38 percent of the mortgage holder's income. Then, the government would step in with funding to help reduce payments to 31 percent of the individual's income.
  • Another key part of the administration's plan enables lenders, with the assistance of the Treasury Department, to reduce monthly payments by lowering the principal due on the mortgage.

Links to articles and blog posts about the President's Housing Plan:


New York Times - Graphic explaining the key points is excerpted below...

Removing a limit on refinancing for "responsible homeowners"

4 million to 5 million households.

The bill will remove the current restriction on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that prohibits them from guaranteeing refinancing on mortgages valued at more than 80% of the home's value. This will allow many more homeowners to refinance at lower rates.

Who may qualify

  • Example
  • Today A family's home value drops to $400,000 from $475,000. The loan balance at $337,460 is now more than 80 percent of the home's value, making it difficult to refinance under current rules.
  • Under the proposal The family can refinance to a rate of 5.16% from 6.50%, which would save $331 a month and $3,968 a year.

Who doesn't qualify

  • Those holding loans not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • Mortgages above a certain threshold -- $417,000 for single-family homes in most areas and $729,000 in higher-priced regions.
  • Those whose outstanding mortgage debt exceeds 105% of their current home value.
Although this is a step in the right direction, it does not begin to help so many homeowners in the Las Vegas Real Estate Market who have continued to be responsible and do the right thing by continuing to pay their spite of the fact that housing prices and equity have declined so drastically.  In fact, finding a local homeowner who only has an outstanding mortgage debt that is less than 105 % of their current home value would be an exception to the rule.

Helping renegotiate loan terms for "at-risk homeowners"

3 million to 4 million households.

The bill creates incentives for lenders to modify the terms of subprime and other loans. Participating lenders will reduce payments to no more than 38% of borrower's income, with the government matching further reductions down to 31%.

Who may qualify

  • Example
  • Today A family's home value has fallen to $189,000 from $230,000 and its loan balance is $214,016. Job loss has reduced household income and loan payments can't be made.
  • Under the proposal The family could modify the mortgage for five years, so that payments are manageable. This would save $406 a month or $4,870 a year.

Who doesn't qualify

  • Mortgages above a certain threshold -- $417,000 for single-family homes in most areas and $729,000 in higher-priced regions.
  • Homes that are not owner-occupied.
  • Those who apply more than three years after program's start.

From The White House blog:

Questions and Answers for Borrowers about the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan Executive Summary (PDF)

Download HousingExampleSheet (PDF)

Steps for Internet and eMarketing Success

Internet_success A succesful eMarketing strategy must have:

  • Compelling reason(s) for prospect to contact you over other agents
  • Benefits for prospect
  • Specific offers, reports
  • Calls to action
  • Lead capture ability
  • Measuring & Tracking capability

Steps for Internet  & eMarketing Success

1.    Create & Maintain a great “Destination” Website

  • Customer-Centric not Agent-Centric - "Image style branding is out"
  • People don’t want to be sold, they want to be helped and get information
    • Internet = access, information, instant
    • Offer what the consumer wants
      • Easy & accessible Search for listings (IDX)
      • Photos & virtual tours
      • Reports, local market data
      • Neighborhood, community, school information
      • Foreclosure, short sale, loan modification information
  • Compelling content - in addition to the list above, consider
    • Buyer/Seller process & tips
    • Relocation info, guides
    • Testimonials
    • Your niche, target markets, specialties
  • A Good domain name (Consider keyword terms vs. your name)

2.    Effective Lead Generation & Lead Capture

  • Calls to Action that lead to capturing prospect info
  • IDX search – allow access to a point and then a sign-up form
  • Property Watch – email alerts – allows the consumer to receive the listing information they want when it becomes available
  • Free, compelling reports – consumer completes a contact form to receive the report or offer
  • Home Market Valuation
  • Offline Marketing Plan
  • Energize Your Database to Search for Homes - Import or add your SOI, past client database and send them a VIP welcome letter with a strong Call to Action - "Search over 30,000 Las Vegas Properties for Sale!"
  • Add contacts daily – use your website to close prospects for their information and set them up as A VIP on your site for full access
    • Open House prospects; Ad & Sign Calls
  • Change Your Voice Mail message to include a CTA to visit your site and Search homes for sale
  • Add compelling call to action on everything:
  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Marketing Flyers
  • Email signature
  • Postcards
  • Print advertising
  • Car signs
  • Yard & Open House sign
  • Paid Advertising on other websites
      Trulia Pro
      Local online magazine & newspapers
      Your niche market
  • Strategic Linking
    • Comment on blogs (you can add a link back to your website)
    • Business vendors, partners
  • Search Engines

    • Optimizing your website and pages for search engines
      • Title tags
      • Keywords & Description
      • Keyword research Tools
    • Write quality content that matches your selected keywords
    • Submit Your site to directories and search engines
    • Consider adding a blog to maximize SEO
    • Pay Per Click – Paid Advertising

3.    Converting the Lead (From Click to Close)

  • Connect
    • Immediate response (less than 20 mins) increases your chances of converting that lead – text and email alerts for leads
    • Initial welcome (VIP) letter
  • Cultivate
    • Automated, drip email campaigns
    • CTAs in the email (Search properties now!)
    • Phone calls = qualify, build rapport
  • Close
    • Use the visitor search profile information
    • Refine searches – use property watch
    • Close for appointments  
  • Build Referrals 
    • Client for life email campaigns – Ask for referral CTA
      • eNewsletters
      • Holiday letters
      • Market condition reports

P.S. - Remember, it's a process!  Set aside time each week to improve your overall website and emarketing solution for your business.  Find the balance bewteen working IN your business and ON Your Business!!


Discover the power of business coaching – Book a Free 30-minute consultation with Jan