Wednesday, June 16, 2010


It is always intriguing to find the different places that one can learn outside of a regular classroom. I say this because of my vast experience as a public school educator who spent many years learning and teaching in a classroom. The Las Vegas Real Estate and Financial Industries have provided an education beyond my wildest imagination.

I should back up and start with this question for my readers. “What happens when everything you have been taught and have learned in an area suddenly becomes useless?” “What do you do when you find out that real estate and financial institutions no longer function in the manner that you have been taught during your adult years?” These two questions sum up the beginning of my journey two years ago when I first moved to Las Vegas.

My wife and I moved to Las Vegas and decided to rent for at least a year before we would purchase a home. This worked well for us. However, I immediately began meeting people who were in financial difficulty with their homes. These people had achieved their dream of achieving home ownership in the past. Now, upside down, adjustable rate loans about to be reset, interest only loans, and loan terms that were absolutely terrible to start with was turning the dream into a nightmare.

While trying to assist troubled homeowners with home loss mitigation services, I found that most people promising help were not helpful. Loan modification and short sales experts as well as lawyers promise many things that are encouraging to the homeowner in trouble. They often make their money, but the homeowner is often left out in the cold and the happy ending doesn’t happen. Most often the banks that hold the note on the house can make more money forcing a foreclosure so they are not helpful to the homeowner. Please feel free to see an example of this with Indy Mac at Debt settlement companies have a nice racket going as they will promise to reduce your unsecured debt to half with the owed companies. However, they charge the client at least half of the saved debt for their fee. It is better than nothing, but people probably could have settled this account without paying the settlement company. I saw the strong need for a trustworthy professional customer service person who would truly take their client’s fiduciary responsibility seriously.

This is all sad and true…but what about the current buyers who are supposed to get such a great deal because Las Vegas is a buyer’s market with low house prices. This is a myth as large as all of the companies that promise to help modify and short sale your homes to get homeowners out of financial trouble.
Our personal story goes right along with this myth. We looked at homes to purchase in the Henderson and Las Vegas areas for ten months. In the beginning, we were excited and energized by some of the homes and their listing prices. My experience was that when one sees a house they like and it is near their price range, the perspective buyer makes an offer. Often there is a counter offer and the seller and the buyer will go back and forth with offers until they have an agreement or the buyer decides not to pay what the seller is demanding.

The housing market in Las Vegas, dictated by the financial institutions, operates far differently. A price listed on a house is not the owner’s bottom line starting price, it is the owner’s beginning price. The price is listed to appeal to the buyer and hopefully begin a bidding war of multiple buyers. It works pretty much like Ebay…however if a bidding war does not occur and the buyer’s bid is not high enough, the house isn’t sold. The buyer then must move on to the next house. This is totally different than my previous experiences. Again I could see the need for a customer service professional who would take their responsibility seriously for their client.

My wife and I made 7 offers on 7 different properties in 10 months. We dealt with different banks, different title companies and even different loan officers. We even dealt with a seller who was making dictations that were illegal. It truly was a long and frustrating experience for us until we found a house being listed for sale which actually had an owner which was not a bank or company. The story does have a happy ending. We did find the house of our dreams and a loan officer who was a customer service professional who took his fiduciary responsibilities seriously.

So “What happens when everything you have been taught and have learned in an area suddenly becomes useless?” “What do you do when you find out that real estate and financial institutions no longer function in the manner that you have been taught during your adult years?”

The answers are to become ready to read, listen, network with others and learn as to how the current industries play the game. It is important to not rely on your previous experiences for answers, but for a beginning point to learn. Along the way you will meet individuals who you will ultimately need to trust so you need to make certain that you take your time in making those decisions. Remember that promises are nice, but not a guarantee. Only a written guarantee is a guarantee!