I’m moving…

I’ve sold my house and I’m packing up, so it just seems right to move the blog too. Ok, that doesn’t make any sense at all, but I’m doing it anyway. I really like the wordpress blog setup, but I found another home for my blog that I like better. So you can now find me at http://brentatro.blogspot.com I hope to see you there. I’ll still write about all the crazy crap that goes on and the things that I find interesting. Ok, am turning into a pumpkin now. TTFN.

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Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Best damn real estate video I’ve ever s

Best damn real estate video I’ve ever seen! http://ow.ly/VtPM

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 8:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Ok, this is the kewlest thing EVER! I ca

Ok, this is the kewlest thing EVER! I can blog to Twitter and WordPress at the same time from hootsuite! I LOVE HOOTSUITE!

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 9:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Ok, here is the plan. Next tweetup is Ja

Ok, here is the plan. Next tweetup is Jan 18th at 6pm at @bajajacks. Lets make some noise and get the word out! http://ow.ly/SXa4

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Another Random Rambling…

So I signed up with ProBlogger for 31 days to help me write to this blog on a daily basis. Did it happen? No. Did I even bother to read the emails on a daily basis? No again. I did however save each of those emails and neatly store them away for safe keeping so I can refer back to them later. Does that help me write? Not really. So I say to myself, “BAD blogger! Bad, bad blogger!”

I also started up the networking thing again. I’m really excited to get it going, but have I been beating the bushes like I should to get people to show up? Ok, yeah, I have been doing that a bit, but not as annoyingly car salesman-like like I know I should. So currently, I’m planning on having the next one on Monday (January 4th at 6pm in Owasso, OK at Baja Jacks Burrito Shack). OMG, you have got to check out their BYOB, Build Your Own Burrito. It says to ask for as much or as little as you want, they put it together for you and viola! Magic! I only warn you of the jalapeno, if you request them, the cooks don’t seem to understand the term “lite” or “easy”.  Am just sayin. Anyway, I’m geeked to see who shows up. Everyone’s always very helpful and I have a bunch of cards for other people I have met during the holidays that haven’t been able to make it yet. Of course, me handing you a card for someone to refer services when you haven’t asked for them or met them isn’t the same as meeting them yourself, but hey, I liked ’em.

Oh, good grief, here I go again. I’m rambling without a point. It’s after midnight and Allen and I have been running all day long locksmithing, so I guess I’m allowed to be a little off. Besides, at least I’m writing something.

I remember now, I was going to complain about Facebook. I keep getting invites to be a fan of this group or that business or some random person. Even I have a fan page. I don’t have any fans, but I have a page, just in case someone wants to pet my ego. But I guess my issue is that if I ignore the invite it doesn’t exactly tell you that I ignored you, yet I get dozens of irritating invites from you. You see, I am fine and actually welcome getting befriended by just about everyone. Hell, I have almost 300 friends now. Most of you I have personally met at some point or another and I like and respect you. But for me to become a fan on your fan page or cause, I have to really believe in whatever it stands for. I mean, its like politics and religion for me. I’m going to be in one of three positions; “I’m behind you all the way,” “I think you’ve lost yer damn mind” (those are rare), or “sorry, but I just don’t care enough about the subject to become a “fan” of it. So, rarely do I become a fan of anything. I’m a fan of Keller Williams Realty, Keller Cares Charity, and anything that has to do with Cancer, particularly cervical cancer. So I guess my conundrum is that I’m not sure of a PC way of telling someone to please stop sending me invites to their cause or for their business. I’m in sales. I really don’t believe in the cram it down your throat until you buy into it kind of sales tactics.

I know that my sales tactics are gonna keep me in the poor house long before it ever saves me, but I actually believe in customer service and having a relationship with my clients. This brings up two points. 1) My personality is sort of an acquired flavor. Either you really, really like my brutal honesty or I annoy the ever-living [enter favorite obscenity here] out of you. 2) I feel like I’m one of only a handful of people like me in the service industry that treats what I do as an actual service industry position. For example, go to any retail establishment. Any of them, just pick one. Observe the cashiers. Do they smile? Do they make you feel welcome? Do they go out of their way to inform you on the product that you are in search of or even bother to ask if this is the product you really need to fit what you want to do with it? What happened to the customer service industry? Perhaps I’m naive, but I think this has become a gimmick for the majority and mastered by very few.

Ack, sorry, I got on my rambling soapbox again. That’s it. I’m shuttin’ up now. Perhaps I’ll have a point to my ramblings next time.

~B

OK, here goes… Google Wave publishing to my blog… lets just see how good this works.

[wave id=”googlewave.com!w+wdqmkLJSA” ]

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 12:18 pm  Comments (5)  

Don’t follow me either, I don’t seem to have a point.

I just read this great post by Teresa Boardman on Inman. You can find her link post here. I like to pride myself for being a total techno junkie and being ahead of the curve compared to most of my friends and colleagues in the Tulsa real estate market. I’m a total techno junkie. Seriously, there must be a 12-step program for people like me.

Anyway, I was reading her post and realized that even though I love technology and my friends and colleagues that know me call me the “Twitter Queen”, I really suck at consistently delivering a message. I am supposed to tweet and blog and create a “web presence” about real estate and about how I’m the greatest thing in real estate since we moved out of caves and into huts. And I tweet. I do. I just don’t see the point in tweeting about what I had for breakfast or tweeting daily mortgage rates unless it does something really, really cool.

The blog just doesn’t get the attention that I should be giving it. I blog about everything that I have an opinion about that I can talk about for more than 2 minutes. Wow, that happens about once a week, sometimes twice. I don’t like to write about just anything because if it bores me, it will bore you to read me being bored about whatever I’m writing about.

I also do the Facebook thing. I had a blast with it for a while and I played the games. But now my feed is inundated with my friends game updates. So-and-so accomplished this level in Mafia Wars or Whats-his-bucket wants to be your neighbor in Farmville. These days ignoring all the invites I get to play the games or join one of the hundreds of causes everyone sends for me to join in on takes all of my time when I’m on it. And don’t gasp about me ignoring invites. I accept all friend invites (unless they get naughty and then I delete them) and I’m sure you’ve deleted some game invite once or twice.

What I do tweet and blog and post on my Facebook are, are things that interest me. Whether its about real estate, the latest trends in paint, my latest car project (yes, girls like cars too), or about other jobs and friends businesses that I’m involved in. It sounds boring even to me.

What I’d really like to create is another networking group. I helped create one this time last year and it evolved into something I no longer enjoyed. I love all of this electronic media to network, but it isn’t the same as a good old fashioned face-to-face conversation. So I’m putting out the call again. I want to start another FREE networking group. No paid advertising, no official websites. Just good people networking to meet other new and interesting people for free. We’ll move it around town each week to support local businesses. Ooo, that could be the theme, supporting local businesses. Locally owned franchises would be good too. And we could change the hours every week because some people can’t make it during work hours and some people can’t do it at night. So we can change it around and make it available to everyone.

Please comment if you think this is a good idea or tell me your ideas if you would like to contribute to this brainstorm.

Published in: on November 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm  Comments (2)  
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Avoiding Foreclosure: When a Lender Won’t Work with You

Copied from: http://www.hud.gov/foreclosure/workingwithlenders.cfm

You’ve done all your homework, workout options, talked to a housing counselor and tried to talk to your lender. But, the lender won’t work with you. What do you do now?

 

For an FHA-insured loan
Your lender has to follow FHA servicing guidelines and regulations for FHA-insured loans. If your lender is not cooperative, contact FHA’s National Servicing Center toll free at (888) 297-8685, or via email. Whether by phone or email, be prepared to provide the full name(s) of all persons listed on the mortgage loan and the full address of the property including city, state and zip. We may be able to help you more quickly if you can also provide your 13-digit FHA case number from the loan settlement statement.

For a VA-insured loan
First, visit the VA Foreclosure Alternatives page. If you need assistance or have additional questions, talk to a Loan Service Representative.

 

For conventional loans
If you have a conventional loan, first talk to a HUD approved Housing Counselor(or call (800) 569-4287). They may be able to help you with your lender. You can also contact HOPE NOW or call the Homeowners Hope Hotline (1 (888) 995-HOPE) to ask for assistance in working with your lender.

Published in: on November 13, 2009 at 10:22 am  Comments (1)  
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Navigating Short Sales: What to Do When the Sale Price Leaves You Short

If you’re thinking of selling your home, and you expect that the total amount you owe on your mortgage will be greater than the selling price of your home, you may be facing a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won’t cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don’t have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells it.

1. Consider loan modification first. If you are thinking of selling your home because of financial difficulties and you anticipate a short sale, first contact your lender to see if it has any programs to help you stay in your home. Your lender may agree to a modification such as:

  • Refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate
  • Providing a different payment plan to help you get caught up
  • Providing a forbearance period if your situation is temporary

When a loan modification still isn’t enough to relieve your financial problems, a short sale could be your best option if

  • Your property is worth less than the total mortgage you owe on it.
  • You have a financial hardship, such as a job loss or major medical bills.
  • You have contacted your lender and it is willing to entertain a short sale.

2. Hire a qualified team. The first step to a short sale is to hire a qualified real estate professional* and a real estate attorney who specialize in short sales. Interview at least three candidates for each and look for prior short-sale experience. Short sales have proliferated only in the last few years, so it may be hard to find practitioners who have closed a lot of short sales. You want to work with those who demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of the short-sale process and who won’t try to take advantage of your situation or pressure you to do something that isn’t in your best interest.

A qualified real estate professional can:

  • Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) or broker price opinion (BPO).
  • Help you set an appropriate listing price for your home, market the home, and get it sold.
  • Put special language in the MLS that indicates your home is a short sale and that lender approval is needed (all MLSs permit, and some now require, that the short-sale status be disclosed to potential buyers).
  • Ease the process of working with your lender or lenders.
  • Negotiate the contract with the buyers.
  • Help you put together the short-sale package to send to your lender (or lenders, if you have more than one mortgage) for approval. You can’t sell your home without your lender and any other lien holders agreeing to the sale and releasing the lien so that the buyers can get clear title.

3. Begin gathering documentation before any offers come in. Your lender will give you a list of documents it requires to consider a short sale. The short-sale “package” that accompanies any offer typically must include

  • A hardship letter detailing your financial situation and why you need the short sale
  • A copy of the purchase contract and listing agreement
  • Proof of your income and assets
  • Copies of your federal income tax returns for the past two years

4. Prepare buyers for a lengthy waiting period. Even if you’re well organized and have all the documents in place, be prepared for a long process. Waiting for your lender’s review of the short-sale package can take several weeks to months. Some experts say:

  • If you have only one mortgage, the review can take about two months.
  • With a first and second mortgage with the same lender, the review can take about three months.
  • With two or more mortgages with different lenders, it can take four months or longer.

When the bank does respond, it can approve the short sale, make a counteroffer, or deny the short sale. The last two actions can lengthen the process or put you back at square one. (Your real estate attorney and real estate professional, with your authorization, can work your lender’s loss mitigation department on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and speed the process along.)

5. Don’t expect a short sale to solve your financial problems. Even if your lender does approve the short sale, it may not be the end of all your financial woes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You may be asked by your lender to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the amount of your loan not paid off by the short sale. If your financial hardship is permanent and you can’t pay back the balance, talk with your real estate attorney about your options.
  • Any amount of your mortgage that is forgiven by your lender is typically considered income, and you may have to pay taxes on that amount. Under a temporary measure passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation Act, homeowners can exclude debt forgiveness on their federal tax returns from income for loans discharged in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Be sure to consult your real estate attorney and your accountant to see whether you qualify.
  • Having a portion of your debt forgiven may have an adverse effect on your credit score. However, a short sale will impact your credit score less than foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Note: This article provides general information only. Information is not provided as advice for a specific matter. Laws vary from state to state. For advice on a specific matter, consult your attorney or CPA.

 

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

For a printable version of this, click here.

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stupid Oklahoma Laws

Nope, I don’t feel up to actually writing something witty or thought provoking tonight. Hell, I haven’t been up to it for the last three nights. So I was goofing off and found a list of stupid state laws that are still on the books. Well, except the tattoo one, it was repealed. Yay for me!

  • Females are forbidden from doing their own hair without being licensed by the state.
  • Dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor in order to congregate in groups of three or more on private property.
  • Oklahoma will not tolerate anyone taking a bite out of another’s hamburger.
  • It is against the law to read a comic book while operating a motor vehicle.
  • It is illegal to have the hind legs of farm animals in your boots.
  • People who make “ugly faces” at dogs may be fined and/or jailed.
  • Cars must be tethered outside of public buildings.
  • Oral sex is a misdemeanor and is punishable by one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
  • Anyone arrested for soliciting a hooker must have their name and picture shown on television.
  • It’s statutory rape for a man over 18 to have sex with a female under the age of 18, provided she’s a virgin. If she’s not a virgin, it is okay, but the said person must be over 16. If both parties are under 18, then the law does not apply.
  • Tattoos are banned. (Overturned in 2006)
  • No one may spit on a sidewalk.
  • It is illegal to wear your boots to bed.
  • It is illegal to have sex before you are married.
  • Fish may not be contained in fishbowls while on a public bus.
  • Tissues are not to be found in the back of one’s car.
  • It is illegal for the owner of a bar to allow anyone inside to pretend to have sex with a buffalo.
  • If you wear New York Jets clothing, you may be put in jail. (Ada)
  • If ones dog is run over by a car, the owner must pay for the dog’s disposal. (Bartlesville)
  • No person may own more than two adult cats. (Bartlesville)
  • It is illegal to cause “annoying vibrations” in the city limits. (Bartlesville)
  • Persons may not play catch on any city street. (Bartlesville)
  • Molesting an automobile is illegal. (Clinton)
  • It is unlawful to put any hypnotized person in a display window. (Hawthahorne)
  • Women may not gamble in the nude, in lingerie, or while wearing a towel. (Schulter )
  • You may not open a soda bottle without the supervision of a licensed engineer. (Tulsa)
  • Elephants are not to be taken into the downtown area. (Tulsa)
  • One’s mode of transportation must be tied up while not attended. (Wynona)
  • Mules may not drink out of bird baths. (Wynona)
  • Clothes may not be washed in bird baths. (Wynona)
  • It is illegal to tie a horse in front of city hall. (Yukon)
  • While passing another vehicle, you must honk your horn. (Yukon)
Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment