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May 2009

April 2009

Las Vegas Down Payment Assistance (DPA) & Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) - Buyer Education Class. May 30th

For homebuyers interested in learning more about how the federal government’s Housing Recovery Act can help them, Prudential Americana Group and Housing For Nevada are providing a solution. The Nancy Storey Team of Prudential Americana has partnered with the statewide homeownership program to teach HUD-approved education courses. The courses, led by Housing for


president John Smith, are a prerequisite for homebuyers to apply for HUD’s down-payment assistance programs.

“In May, the federal government will release nearly $19 million in Southern Nevadato launch the Neighborhood Stabilization Program,” said Mark Stark, CEO of Prudential Americana Group. “The grants will be given to municipalities which will use them to help control neighborhood abandonment and blight. Among the uses for this money is down-payment assistance for first-time and entry-level homebuyers.”

Co-sponsored by Prudential Americana Group’s Nancy Storey Team and Housing For Nevada, the HUD-approved course will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday May 30th at Prudential’s corporate office. The office is located at 2140 E. Pebble Road, Suite 160. To RSVP, email or call 702-812-2520 with your name, phone number and email address.

  • Homebuyers must complete HUD approved 8 hour First Time Homebuyer Education Program and receive one-on-one counseling
  • Buyers must meet income and minimum investment requirements
  • Must be foreclosed property in targeted area (Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson)
  • Money available in form of a grant can be used for mortgage buy down, down payment, closing costs and rehabilitation
  • Prospective home must be owner occupied
  • Prospective buyers can’t currently own house or property
  • Loan is forgiven if homebuyer stays in property for 15 years
  • Repayment requirements apply if home buyer moves or rents the property prior to the end of the 15 years

    In addition to its education courses, Housing For Nevada’s homebuyer program assists families with financial planning to purchase a home, inspections and appraisals of the properties and rehabilitation if needed.

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Wakeup Call for Us All... the Susan Boyle Phenomenon

SusanBoyle Did you catch the video of contestant Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent yet? 

Here is the link on YouTube:

If you haven't, do yourself a favor and take the 7:07 minutes to watch it all - amazing, brilliant, uplifting, emotional, a true wake-up call and lesson for us all to take that chance and to not let anything or anyone hold you back.

Notice the immediate and overwhelming positive reaction by the audience and judges when she begins to sing.  You can't help being moved watching it on the video - it's that impactful. Listen to the comments and feedback by Simon Cowell and the other judges.  Susan represents that everyman and woman - it struck a collective nerve.

I think we all really need and crave this type pf positive, viral, good news!  Which explains why this story has had so much world-wide press and views on YouTube (over 46 million views so far). We are all being bombarded daily with so much negativeness, stress, anxiety, bad news.  It's everywhere and unfortunately for many it is easy to perpetuate the negative mindset and get stuck in this trap.  Just watch the news, listen to people in your office, your clients, your friends and family members.  How often are we sharing positive news, stories and attitudes? 

I truly believe we can change this "global funk" one person at a time.  It starts with me and you. 

What are you doing today to move towards what you desire?

How are you making adjustment to your business plan and activities to take advantage of the opportunities in the market?

Have you embraced Short Sales yet - are you fully educated on the process and how you can benefit from adding this to your toolkit? Or are you talking about how terrible they are and whining about the reality of the market?

Have you signed up for the next Certified Short-Sale Professional designation course?  May 1st is SOLD Out - June 5th is the next date.
Visit Steve Kitnick's website at to register today.

Some of my strategies and daily decisions that help me maintain a positive mindset:
  • Seek out positve, like-minded people
  • Share good news - no gossip!
  • Laugh more
  • Exercise and eat as healthy as I can
  • Read more - watch less TV (especially the news)
  • Journal - write - blog
  • Get outside and enjoy nature
  • Listen to inspiring and uplifting music 

Here is a pretty interesting Slideshow I can across today on the Internet...

Economic Crisis Affects American Well Being
View more presentations from Taly Weiss.

Are you ready for coaching? Take your business to the next level today. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session today to find out more.

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How to Pre-Qualify the Short-Sale Seller...Become a Certified Short-Sale Professional, May 1st in Las Vegas

The first key step to becoming an effective short sale listing agent is to know how to properly pre-qualify the seller and determine the likelihood of a successful short sale.  Steve Kitnick and I have compiled the following strategies and questions to assist you in that process.

Are you ready to become a Certified Short-Sale Professional? 
Recession-proof your career and  capitalize on the amazing opportunity in our current real estate market now.   (8 hrs of General CE) - SOLD OUT May 1, 2009, 9am to 5:30pm.  - Class Added  Fri. June 5th ~ 9am-5:30pm Lunch Included!  First United Mortgage Bldg. off the 215 between Buffalo and Durango off W. Sunset Rd. Near Pulte/Del Webb Bldg. Enroll in the Certified Short-Sale Professional Designation Course

Telephone Strategies

(Remember, the purpose of the telephone call is to "get the appointment, not to conduct your presentation!"

  • When setting the appointment ask a few qualifying questions:
    •  “Is this your primary residence or an investment property?”
    • “Are you current on your payments?”
    •  “Have you received a Notice of Default?”  
    • “Is your name on the loan?” 
  •  Set the expectation for the meeting and ask the seller to gather key documents for the most productive appointment, e.g.
    • Current mortgage statement(s) with loan information, payoff or current loan balance(s)
    • Any notices or letters from the lender
    • Other issues affecting the property
  • Don’t over sell or over commit on the phone:  “I know things are tough.  But, it’s hard for me to do an unbiased study until I get there.  We’ll talk about the numbers then, OK?”
  • Know in advance that the seller will likely react negatively

Listing Appointment Strategies

  • Bring down the walls by building rapport - you do this by asking pertinent questions and "listening"
  • Use a consultative / educational approach 
    • “Why are you considering a short sale?” 
    • “Tell me about the circumstances leading to your current situation”
  • Ask questions!  Use the list below as your guide
  • Explain the short sale process
  • Set expectations and what is required of them and what you will be doing to facilitate a successful sale and closing
  • Ask this key question after you have built rapport and trust: “Are you willing to do what is necessary to get this short-sale accomplished?”

Questions to Ask The Seller to Determine the Likelihood of Successful Short Sale

1)  Is  your name on the loan?  Are there any co-borrowers?
2)  Whose name(s) is/are on title?
3)  Why are you considering a short sale?
4)  Have you missed any payments?
5)  Has a Notice of Default been filed?
6)  What caused you to get behind in your payments?
7)  Are you considering or currently in a bankruptcy?
8)  Have you spoken to an attorney or accountant regarding legal and/or tax  ramifications?
9)  How many loans are there? 
10)  Who is/are the loan(s) with?
11)  How much do you owe? 
12)  Are you aware of any pre-payment penalties?
13)  How much is/are the payment(s)?
14)  Have you refinanced recently?
15)  Are you current with your CIC monthly dues and other related housing expenses   
       (sewer, water, trash, etc)?
16)  Are you current with any SID/LID or other assessments?
17)  Other than the loans, are there any other liens? (CIC, SID/LID, property taxes, 
        mechanic's lien, IRS tax liens, child support
18)  I presume you live here, is that correct?  Will you continue to live here?
19)  Will you maintain the property?
20)  Can you contribute to paying any closing costs?
21)  Would you be willing to sign an installment note if required?
22)  Do you own any other real estate?
23)  Do you expect your situation to change any time soon? 

Steven Kitnick Seminars, LLC. in association with RealtyU® Presents
Certified Short-Sale Professional Designation Course
Friday, May 1st, 9:00am - 5:30pm  SOLD OUT - 
Prudential Americana Group REALTORS®
2140 E. Pebble Rd., #160 Las Vegas, NV 89123 

Added date June 5th
Reserve your seat and ENROLL NOW!

This program qualifies you for the Certified Short-Sale Professional Designation. The CSP designation is managed by the Short-Sale Council, an exclusive membership organization specializing in assisting agents in mastering the skills of managing short-sale transactions.  Earn the CSP designation by attending the full-day, live short-sale class held by Steven Kitnick and Jan O’Brien.  May 1, 2009 (9am to 5:30pm.  Lunch Included) Course investment is $299.  Be a member in good standing with the Short-Sale Council. Your first year’s dues of $99 are sponsored by RealtyU®.

At the End of this Course, You Will Be Able to Do the Following:
•    Know if a short sale will be successful before signing a listing contract
•    Understand what needs to be included for a successful short sale submission package
•    Know the importance of each item the lenders require for a short sale
•    Have multiple lead generation sources for short sale prospects
•    Know the timeline for the foreclosure process and how to extend it if necessary
•    Understand how to make simple quick calculations to determine if a short sale will be accepted by a lender
•    Master the key steps to successful short sale listings and close more sales


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Analysis of Market Changes - from Appraiser Debbie Huber

Debbie Huber of Huber Appraisaland Home Pride Insectionsin Las Vegas is today's featured guest blogger.  Debbie has been appraising residential homes in Las Vegas for over 20 years and holds the SRA designation (Senior Residential Appraiser).  She is also a Past President of the Appraisal Commission for the State of Nevada. 

Virtually any subdivision or extended market area can be studied using MLS to determine what changes (if any) have occurred in overall prices. To do this type of analysis in an abbreviated format, you can take the following steps:

Search the subdivision or area you wish to study, and enter the parameters such as subdivision name, map page, legal section, square footage range, etc.

Step 1: If you want to figure out changes in pricing over a 6 month period, enter status “S” for sold, any other parameters such subdivision name, square footage, etc., and for date of closing enter “past six months”. If you want to figure out changes in pricing over the past year, just enter status “S” for sold and it will automatically pull up the last twelve months of sales based all the other parameters you added to the search. Print out the results and indicate that you want the search criteria to print. This will give you the short report you will need to complete the analysis. Put this report aside.

Step 2: Enter the same parameters you had before as far as area, square footage, subdivision name, legal section, etc., but if you want a study of the past six months, change only the date of closing from “past six months” to “between”, and enter the two dates that will be the start and end dates of the closings during the previous six months. If you want a study of the past year vs. the prior year, change the status from “S” to “H” for history, and enter the closing dates to bracket the dates that would give you the closings during the previous twelve months. Print out this report as well, along with the search criteria.

Note: if you don’t have enough properties to result in enough data, (20+) broaden your search so it will include more properties. The less data you have to analyze, the more likely your study could be skewed or inaccurate.

Step 3: Compare either the median or average selling prices to each other on the two reports from the two different time frames. Subtract the median price that is the lowest from the two reports, from the median price that is the higher of the two reports. For example, the report from the past six months shows a $376,000 median selling price for what you were searching. The report from the previous six months indicates a $400,000 median selling price. Subtract the two figures to obtain the difference. Convert that to a percentage by dividing the difference by the median selling price from the “oldest” data.

In the example, that would be:

$400,000 - $376,000 = $24,000

$24,000 divided by $400,000 equals .06, or 6%

Since we did our two searches in 6 months increments, it shows there was a 6% decrease in predominant prices in the past 6 months, or 1% per month. If you did your two searches based one year apart, the resulting percentage will be the price decrease attributed to the past twelve months.

Remember, this is just a “quick” study to give you an idea of trends in pricing in the recent past. Also the more data you have, the more reliable your analysis will be.

This is an abbreviated way of studying price trends in order to better assist your clients.

To reach Debbie at Huber Appraisal, please call (702) 243-3256 or
email her at  


To reach Home Pride Inspections, please call (702) 363-1681      .



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REO Reality Check Blog Post Featured in Arizona Realtor Magazine

Thanks to the Arizona REALTOR Magazine and their online version ( for publishing my blog post from August 2008 in their April 2009 Edition.

One update to the article... February 2009 Las Vegas Closings:
REO sales accounted for eighty percent (80%) of the February closings with another eight percent (8%) attributed to short sales.

Original Post on Active Rain
REO Reality Check - 10 Tips to Get Your REO Offers Accepted and Closed

Real Estate Coach version:
Buying REOs/Foreclosures – 10 Tips to Help Get Your Offer Accepted and Closed!


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Beware of Loan Modification and Foreclosure Rescue Scams!

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams - Help Is Free! (Source:

  • There is never a fee to get assistance or information about Making Home Affordable from your lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor.
  • Beware of any person or organization that asks you to pay a fee in exchange for housing counseling services or modification of a delinquent loan. Do not pay – walk away!
  • Beware of anyone who says they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
  • Never submit your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau have both issued recent warnings about foreclosure rescue and loan modification scammers who have been ripping off consumers by typically collecting money upfront and preying upon distressed homeowners. 

FTC Alerts:

MSNBC reports ...Government cracks down on mortgage scams.  Attorney General: FBI investigating about 2,100 mortgage fraud cases

You can get free advice and consultation for your refinance, loan modification and foreclosure needs through several government agencies:

FHA Homeownership portal


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Weekly Real Estate News Links

A new weekly feature on the blog is "Weekly Real Estate News Links".  Thanks to my fellow manager, George Head, who aggregates the best links on a weekly basis as a service to our agents to help keep everyone informed, educated and aware of "the news they can use!"


Market the $8000 Tax Credit



Lots of Information at Census Site:

Changes to Code of Ethics that Affect Your Business

Although the changes to the Code of Ethics for 2009 look small, they have a big impact on REALTORS'® business practices.

Standard of Practice 1-15, which interprets Article 1, was amended to read as follows (new material in bold):

"REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the seller's approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, REALTORS® shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker."

Essentially, the buyer's agent now needs to ask two questions: "Do you have any offers?" and the follow up, "Who are they from?" The listing agent must only disclose (with the seller's approval, of course) whether offers exist, but need not reveal the source of the offer(s) unless specifically asked by the buyer's agent. Both buyers' and sellers' agents and brokers need to be aware of this new practice


Daily Real Estate News  |  March 27, 2009  

Fed Plans Spark Drop in 30-Year RatesBoston
The average interest on a 30-year mortgage fell to a 38-year low of 4.85 percent during the week ending March 27 from 4.98 percent the prior week, Freddie Mac reported.

The decrease came on the heels of the Federal Reserve's announcement that it plans to purchase another $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities and up to $300 million in Treasuries. President Obama says refinancing is now possible for 40 percent of mortgages and encourages home owners to reap the benefits of the record-low rates.

Source: Globe (03/27/09)

Rental properties to lead recovery, experts say

Housing experts predict that multi-family rental properties and apartments will recover fastest from the current downturn, followed by housing in cities that didn't overbuild.  The market is likely to hit bottom in the next few months, says Bernard Markstein, senior economist and director of forecasting for the National Association of Home Builders.
"Next year will see slow but steady improvement, as homebuilders are controlling their inventory," Markstein says.  Apartments and other multi-family residences will snap back quickly once businesses start hiring again, predicts Victor Calanog, director of research at Reis. Baby boomers looking for retirement homes and first-time home buyers also will lead the way out of the decline, predicts Bill Singer, a securities attorney and trader who is a member of's panel of financial experts.
Source:, Madalina Iacob (03/18/2009)

Hope Now Alliance Says Foreclosures Keep Rising
News on the foreclosure front continues to be discouraging and especially bad for prime borrowers.

Hope Now alliance of mortgage servicers says it helped 244,000 borrowers avoid foreclosure in February, but completed foreclosure sales reached 56,000, an increase of 86 percent compared to January.

Foreclosure starts on prime loans numbered 157,000 in February, a 25 percent increase over January.

Hope Now says that although it made more than twice as many loan modifications for subprime borrowers in February – 91,333 compared to 42,503 prime borrowers – a rising number of prime borrowers are getting repayment plans – 64,605 compared to 46,033 subprime.

Completed foreclosure sales as a percentage of foreclosure starts reached 46 percent. The percentage for homes with prime loans was 54 percent.

Source: Inman News (03/31/2009)


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What's Your "Great Opportunity" in the current Real Estate Market?

At the Prudential Real Estate Affiliates (PREA) National Sales Convention held March 29-31, one of the keynote speakers, Geoffrey Colvin (Senior Editor-at-large for Fortune Magazine) presented a compelling talk on our economic recovery, how we got here and how we are going to get out of it. 

As he was speaking, the thought that came to me was...What if everyone could stop focusing on the next "great depression" but rather see "The Great Opportunity". What have you been focusing on in the past months?  Are you open to the opportunities in the market?  Are you making the appropriate adjustments in your business plan and daily tactics?

The key points of Colvin's speech that resonated with me included:

  • The two main areas to watch and track are:
    1.  Consumer behavior.  Colvin explained that this recession showed a distinct "opposite behavior" by consumers compared to previous recessions.  Specifically, this time around, the consumer trend leading up to the economic downturn has been increased spending and decreased savings rates. 
    2. The price of risk (tracking the gap between junk bond rates and low-yield instruments)
  • This has been historically the longest recession but not the deepest.
  • Three things that have to happen to drive the economic recovery:

    1. Employment rate must increase
    2. Credit markets have to start working again
    3. Home prices have to stabilize.  Colvin also relayed his belief that "small business owners especially us (Realtors)"  were vital to the economic recovery.  Housing is after all at the center of this situation
  • What the leading companies are doing differently during this down turn and recovery:
    1. Investing in their core
    2. Protecting their most valued assets (their people)
    3. Communicating like crazy  (with optimism, the victories and sucesses)
    4. Creating new solutions for new problems

This last point is "the golden nugget."  Are you actively creating new solutions for new issues?  What is your "Great Opportunity"  and what action steps are you taking to make it your new reality?


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