Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reach Minnesota First Time Home Buyers

If you have homes for sale or information you would like to share with first time home buyers in Minnesota, visit You can post your property listings for free and we are accepting articles from local Realtors around home buying topics to share with our visitors. Your articles will be displayed on our site and you can include links back to your web site, as well as your contact info so you get the calls.

Call Ken Horst @ 952-842-8100 for more information and check out our placement in the big three search engines for the following search phrases;

Minnesota first time home buyer
Google 1st page/ # 10
Yahoo 1st Page/ #9
Msn 1st Page/ # 1

Minnesota first time home buyer seminar
Google 1st page/ # 1 & 2
Yahoo 1st Page/ #1, 2, 3
Msn 1st Page/ # 1 & 2

Minnesota first time home buyer programs
Google 1st page/ # 9
Yahoo 1st Page/ #8, 9
Msn 1st Page/ # 1

Monday, August 20, 2007

New MLS listings website uses map search technology

As the race to build a national MLS rages on, MLS Maps takes a shortcut to the problem and offers visitors links to local real estate web sites that provides free access to MLS listings which are displayed on local maps. As a result, at it’s launch, MLS Maps provides visitors with access to over 1.2 million real estate listings all searchable on local maps, and they expect to grow the number of listings to over 2 million by year end.

Working with agents who are using WolfNet Technologies MapTracks IDX search solution, MLS Maps is able to provide visitors with the best in map search technology, without having to invest heavily in IT development, which helps keep this an affordable marketing program for local agents who want to capture the lions share of people searching for a home on the internets.

Unlike many internet marketing sites which sells agents small geographic territories like zip codes, or single suburbs, MLS Maps allows agents to own entire metro areas for less than what a zip code might cost at some of the other sites.

Horst, founder of Agentopolis, a national directory of real estate agents, said MLS Maps benefits from a simple user interface and fast connections to homes for sale in most major metropolitan areas.

In addition to listings, MLS Maps also provides users with access to school information, city, county and federal statistical information for all 50 states as well as three different ways to get a home value.

Friday, August 17, 2007

REDFIN WINS!!! As differentiation among agents disappears.

I read a horrifying article on Inman News today about public facing MLS sites owned by the local MLS. The article I read referred to HAR in Houston Texas and explained all the fantastic marketing things they were doing to drive traffic to their site including billboards, radio, tv, print etc. and they are talking about syndicating the listings and automatically feeding this info to some of the big internet home marketing sites like zillow, google base, etc. All the things a great agent might also do to increase and protect their market share. If the MLS’s around the country start to act like internet marketing companies, what is left for the listing agent to do besides stick a sign in the yard, and how much commission is that really worth, hence Redfin.

While this may be great news for the struggling agents who list fewer than 6 homes a year, (an agent who might want to consider the Redfin gig as I understand it) It is terrible news for the successful real estate agents and brokers who have taken advantage of technology and the internet to further grow their business by doing a better job of selling their clients listings and building a steady stream of qualified buyers.

Think about it, the best buyer magnet in the business is an MLS broker reciprocity IDX solution. If I am a home buyer on the internet, what is the only thing that is important to me when I stumble upon your site through Google or some other method? Listings!! If you spend all the time and effort to build a nice site and drive me their only to show me your current two or three listings, I’ll be off your site in less than 30 seconds. Smart agents know this and incorporate IDX search solutions into their site. The better listing agents know how and where to place their listings on the internet to provide ever increasing exposure to their clients homes for sale. If the local MLSs start doing all this for you, then how will any agent present themselves as any better or different from any other agent. And if this becomes true, than agents become a simple commodity and the value of their service drops like a lead balloon.

Think about it, if I have a $500,000 house to sell do I want to pay $30,000 in commissions or pay a couple of grand to Pro Source, study nights and weekends, to get my realtor license so I can join the local board and let them to a fantastic job of marketing my home for next to nothing?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What is a Liquidity Crisis?

It was just a short time ago that investors from all over the world were hot for US Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). Historically these investment vehicles performed well as US home owners made good on their mortgage payments. Think about it, in the olden days home buyers needed at least 10% down to even qualify to buy a home. Anyone who could manage to save a 10% down payment obviously had to be very responsible with their personal finances, and this fact played out in the return and relative safety of the MBS.

All of the sudden, there was more money available for people to buy homes than consumers were demanding, a liquidity surplus you might say, and with no room to muscle in on the "A" paper conventional mortgage markets, clever investors decided to create new and different types of mortgage loans to take advantage of all this investor money. Hence the birth of the Sub Prime mortgage industry.

With very little history as to the performance of these MBS, and a very hot US real estate market, investors and home buyers plunged into the market with reckless abandonment, ultimately leading to a person who was one day out of a chapter 7 bankruptcy with only a 580 credit score qualifying for a 100% home loan. (Credit scores range from 350 -850). By all known standards, this was a loan destined for default and in the past, no investor in their right mind would have made this loan. But money kept pouring in and an endless stream of home buyers and now people wanting cash out refinancing kept showing up at their local mortgage companies door and more recently at all the internet mortgage sites that promised hundreds of thousands of dollars for unbelievably low monthly payments.

It took a while but eventually, as history started to accrue for these sub prime loans, there appeared to be higher than expected rates of delinquency and default, which brings us to today and our current liquidity crisis. As more and more investors stop investing in these sub prime MBS vehicles, there is less and less money in the US for people who want to buy or refinance homes. Couple this with the fact that even some of the conforming or non-sub prime lenders are seeing higher rates of delinquency and default, and you have a situation where the mortgage arena, which recently had more available money than it knew what to do with, now is left with only a handful of investors who only want to buy the most secure of the MBS, those made up of people with high credit scores, a good solid track record of income, money in the bank and either a down payment or significant home equity in the case of refinance.

So there you have it, Liquidity Crisis, and if you are a real estate agent or mortgage professional, boy does it hurt!