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HR-4208 FHA Loan Limits and Finding the Right Buyer – MAR Monday Memo 04/07/14

Good morning MAR members!

It sure is crazy out there, full-on springtime anxiety season for our buyers…a mad rush to get to every new listing and get those offers in.  The good news is lots of new listings!  I’m running from one end of the county to the other on a daily basis, like everyone…hurry hurry hurry…offer offer offer!  We’re all busy, which is great!

Early last month, I relayed to you that Kay Moore, Katie Beacock and I went to visit Congressman Jared Huffman in late February.  Among other things in that meeting, we shared with Representative Huffman the importance of passing flood insurance reform, and also the importance of retaining the higher loan limits on FHA loans.  He was aware of the flood bill, but he said he was not fully briefed on it yet.  He did agree that these loan limits are essential for buyers here in high-cost Marin.

It feels good to see results from these meetings.  After our meeting with Representative Huffman, on March 4th, the house passed the flood insurance relief bill, and on March 21st, President Obama signed that bill into law.

As for the loan limits, earlier this week Representative Huffman’s office alerted Kay Moore that the congressman was co-sponsoring HR-4208, the “Stabilizing FHA Loan Limit Calculations Act of 2014”.  This bill is still in its infancy, but it’s great that our leaders hear us and respond to the needs of our industry.

MAR’s new CEO Andy Fegley has been super busy during his first five weeks on the job.  He has been in morning-to-night meetings around the county, introducing himself to local elected and appointed leaders.  He has been in regular contact with Assemblyman Mark Levine’s office, reminding them of MAR’s strong support for Assemblyman Levine’s housing density bill, AB  1537, which reduces the state mandated housing density in Marin from 30 units per acre to 20 units per acre.  Last week, I signed a letter of support for the bill and Andy delivered it to Assemblyman Levine’s office in time for that letter to be included in the legislative package for upcoming committee hearings.

It’s another way that our voices are being heard by our leaders here in Marin and also in Sacramento.  Please let us know other things we should be taking to the CAR Sacramento Business Meetings later this month.

It’s gearing up for election season, and candidates for office will be visiting with MAR’s Local Candidate Recommendation Committee in the coming weeks.  The big races are for two county supervisor seats and also for seats on the Ross Valley Sanitary District.  Please let us know if you have specific concerns or questions that you would like us to be asking these candidates.

I just visited an old friend this past Friday, by beloved 1986 BMW 635csi.  It was always our 3rd car, used for fun and weekend driving.  I purchased it used in 1997 with low mileage and perfect condition, and kept it until it was time to move on in the fall of 2010.  It was a sad departure, but as the years wore on I wasn’t driving it much, sometimes for months at a time.  My wife convinced me that it needed to go to someone who would drive it and give it the love that it deserved.

I was very diligent about who I would sell it to.  Ultimately, a military security officer from Lawrence Livermore Labs contacted me and told me that he had been looking for this type of care his whole driving life…literally since he was 16.  Now that he had somewhere to put it, he’d been looking for one for 3 years.  It was love at first sight, he had brought cash, we did the deal and away they went.  I took pictures and with a heavy heart waved goodbye.

He has stayed in touch, and was going to be in Marin and wanted to bring the car by to show me what he’s done.  I told my wife that morning that I was going to see the 635.  Sherman had sent me pix over the years, he’s fixed some things and generally showered the car with love.  My wife told me on Friday morning, “you sold the car to the right guy.”  Needless to say, when Sherman brought the car by my office it was immaculate, we took it for a spin, I took a couple of pictures and that was that.  I really do feel like I sold it to the right guy.  He is still so happy to this day!

I tell you all of this because it’s often the same thing in our business.  It feels good to sell a house to the “right buyer”.  We often talk about having the “right buyer”, looking for the “right buyer”.  When that comes together, it brings us great satisfaction.

One of the best scenarios for me is when I find a house for a couple expecting their first child.  You find them a house, they settle in, the baby comes, and it’s everything they wanted.  I had the good fortune to have one of these buyer scenarios late last year:  pregnant couple, got them into a short sale, got the deal approved and closed about six weeks before the baby came.  I live in the neighborhood, but haven’t seen them since the baby.  I ran into the wife and baby finally about ten days ago, she was SO happy.  Loves the house, loves the neighborhood, loves the neighbors.  I came away thinking about what I’m writing now, so nice to see the young family in their happy house.

The next day, coincidentally, I ran into the husband while walking my dog.  He too was so happy.  Loves the outdoor life, loves the trails, loves the lifestyle.  He was beaming.  He thanked me for everything.  He earnestly told me that “my life is perfect right now.”  I had just had a difficult day…ok a bad day…and that little moment turned it all around.  He made my day.  And that’s what it’s all about.

We truly are blessed to be in this business in Marin.  Thank you for indulging my story.

That’s it for now.

I wish you a safe and prosperous week!