Best Practices in Preparing for an Appraisal

In the days leading up to a scheduled appraisal inspection, many transferees and borrowers ask what they can do to ensure the appraiser views their home in the most positive light.  Like the old adage says: “You only get one chance to make a first impression”.  While this can be applied to many of life’s events, it is particularly true in the case of an appraisal.

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Alternative Valuation: Examining Appraisal Types for the Mobility Industry

In the relocation homesale process, few things trump the importance of an accurate valuation of an assignee’s home, especially in light of current real estate woes. This article, published on Page 80 of the November 2011 edition of Mobility Magazine, provides an overview of property valuation tools available to the employee mobility industry to provide both corporations and transferees additional assistance and preparation for the homesale process.

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New-Home Sales Results- A Mixed Bag

New sales data was released  and, while new home sales increased slightly in October, 2011 looks to be the worst year for new home sales since the statistic was tracked starting in 1963.   

While the overall picture is bleak, there were definitely some signs of hope.  New home sales in October were 1.3% higher than September and 8.9% higher than sales in October 2010.  The October sales were the best since May and the National Association of Home Builders is expecting continued “improvement in sales activity through the remainder of the year”.   Although October only demonstrated modest gains across the country, the Midwest (up 22.2%) and the West (up 14.9%) regions had dramatic improvements in October.

While the overall real estate market continues to suffer, it is nice to see some positive signs shining through the darkness.

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Connie Dees, CRP, Hired as Director of Government Services

Dwellworks, LLC, a provider of innovative services for the relocation, real estate, and mortgage lending industries, is excited to announce that Connie Dees, CRP, has recently joined the organization as the Director of Government Services. Connie will manage the company’s relationships within the U.S. government arena, focusing on property management needs.

Connie brings over 18 years of relocation industry experience to Dwellworks. As a member of the Worldwide ERC, she is highly regarded as the past President of the Greater Washington Employee Relocation Council (GWERC), where she has served as a member of the Board for over 5 years. A Florida State graduate, Connie holds real estate licenses in both Florida and Georgia. Read More »

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Dwellworks Honored with Special Projects, Health, Safety, Security and Environment Award from BP

Dwellworks was honored to receive BP’s award for Special Projects, Health, Safety, Security and Environment at the BP Award Banquet in October for providing an Education support program for the evacuees from Egypt and Libya this past spring.  The project required the Dwellworks team to mobilize very quickly since the evacuation was unplanned.  The evacuees were first flown to London before completing their evacuation to Houston, Texas.  Dwellworks immediately designated a team lead in Houston to support the work on the ground.  Overall, our quickly assembled, but highly experienced team was amazing, especially with the flexibility and sensitivity involved with this particular situation.  The project was short-lived, but dynamic, displaying the great strength of the Dwellworks team.

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Foreclosures on the Rise

On October 24th, RealtyTrac, the nation’s top resource and foremost authority on the foreclosure housing market, released a report indicating that activity is once again on the rise.  Foreclosure filings were up 14% in Q3 over the previous quarter.  This serves as a warning that foreclosure properties will once again become commonplace in many markets.

RealtyTrac does provide a glimmer of positive news in that this flourish of foreclosure activity will likely not inundate markets at the levels the previous wave did between 2007 and 2010.  Activity on the foreclosure/short sale front had begun to wane in previous months due to processing delays by lenders, but this now appears to be picking up and is impacting some housing markets more than others.

For the full story and to view the top 20 markets affected nationwide, please visit: http://www.realtytrac.com/content/news-and-opinion/top-20-new-wave-foreclosure-markets-6891?a=b&accnt=305608.

Source:  RealtyTrac “Top 20 New-Wave Foreclosure Markets”, October 24, 2011

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Would Higher Interest Rates Boost the Housing Market?

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Daniel Indiviglio makes a strong argument that the historically low interest rates being offered today are not helping the housing market rebound.  While low rates would definitely drive consumers to seek loans, the lenders are less inclined to offer these mortgages with the inherent risks associated with them.  The author points out that, as interest rates climb (as they are bound to do) the banks will see the relative value of these mortgages offered at the historic lows fall.  Eventually the banks could potentially lose money on these mortgages.  Likewise, the low rates do not compensate banks for the risk they are taking.  As rates climb, the banks would be willing to provide more credit to consumers.

While higher interest rates won’t resolve the number of foreclosures or ease the uncertainty in the market in general; the potential for this to increase banks’ propensity to offer credit can certainly help the real estate market.  Mr. Indiviglio’s article is definitely interesting and hopefully points out a bright spot on the horizon as we look for recovery in the real estate market.

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Wichita Housing Market on a Slow Road to Recovery

A recent article in The Wichita Eagle discussed how the local housing market has experienced many challenges stemming from a high inventory of homes and a high unemployment rate. As with many cities all over the country, foreclosures continue to present a problem and have yet to be offset by the increasingly low mortgage rates. However, in Wichita, existing home sales are slightly improving and home prices are starting to normalize. The Wichita housing market is projected to slowly increase to a 1% appreciation in the year 2012.

Contributed by Aisha Holt

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Dwellworks, LLC Honored with ‘Lexicon World of Quality’ Award from Lexicon Relocation

Dwellworks, a provider of innovative services for the relocation, real estate, and mortgage lending industries, was honored with the first annual ‘Lexicon World of Quality’ award by Lexicon Relocation during their ceremony in Denver, Colorado on October 11, 2011. The awards reception, attended by more than 100 global mobility professionals, was held to recognize customer satisfaction and performance excellence in global mobility.

A total of 9 global services providers were recognized by Lexicon’s Supply Chain Management professionals from among a field of qualified entrants. Award winners were chosen based upon internal and external service and performance metrics, as well as internal and external voice of the customer surveys based on customer service, value, technology, and service offerings.

“We are truly honored to win this award,” said Bob Rosing, CEO at Dwellworks. “It is humbling to see the efforts of our destination services team continue to be recognized in the global mobility industry.  I would also like to thank the Lexicon supply and operation management teams for their hard work and recognition of our efforts.”

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Triple-Dip Coming Up

Unfortunately the title of this blog post isn’t referring to an ice cream cone.  In a recent CNN Money article (see link below), Les ChristieDwellworks ice cream cone walks through the numbers which point towards the US housing market suffering its third (and lowest) trough since the market peaked in early 2006.  The first bottom was reached in 2009, when pricing fell 31%.  This past winter saw a price decline down to 33% and now data is showing that the housing market could reach a 35% decline by June 2012.

The article sites the usual suspects behind the continually declining home values; increased foreclosure filings, a rise in default notices and looming threat of an influx of “shadow inventory” homes hitting the market.  Clearly this is a bitter pill to swallow, but the market will have to work through these issues as it starts its climb back up.  Hopefully the numbers are right and we will see at least some modest gains in the second half of 2012.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/31/real_estate/home_prices/index.htm

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