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Welcome to your constantly updated resource for news and views on the Brookline Real Estate market. Here you will find commentary and statistics to explain the daily changes in the Brookline specific housing market.

Whether you're looking for an estate in Cottage Farm, a condo in Brookline Village or are just stopping by please feel free to read along and comment at will. If you are interested in speaking about renting an apartment, buyer representation or listing your home please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Countrywide Has Got to Go???

I was just enjoying a peaceful rainy day lunch at my favorite Coolidge Corner lunch stop when I heard the above chant coming through the windows. It seems like a group called the "Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Predatory lenders" and the "Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA)" have banded together to protest at all of Boston's Countrywide offices. Never one to pass up an opportunity I asked a nice gentleman handing out fliers to explain to me why we were trying to stop Countrywide. Let's just say he wasn't quite sure why. My conversation with the non-home-owning NACA representative actually centered around the fact that Countrywide is not a financial adviser or an attorney contracted to protect your rights.

Every single one of my customers and clients knows that when we have discussions about homes they want to look at, lenders they want to pick to finance those homes, and legal counsel they want to represent them at the closing (as opposed to Banks' counsel) we make sure that everything starts with one question. "How much are you comfortable spending each month?" Where in this crazy market did we lose personal accountability? I actually ask my buyer clients to fill out an extensive questionnaire before we proceed too far into the home search process to make sure that they're not following a harmful path.

One of the fears we have in the real estate brokerage business is how easy it is to get a license to sell Real Estate. There is no practical training to steer you through the potential pitfalls. Nobody trains you on consumer protection. In fact, all you have to know to get a license in MA is what method of mapping is used by communities and what parties you can't discriminate against. Buyers, in their quest to go to the path of least resistance will not hire a buyer's agent to protect them. Around and round we go until we end up at the closing table without representation and all of a sudden a buyer has been "mislead" or "misinformed" about their purchase.

I'm sure we'll hear more "big" news from the lending industry in the not-too-distant future, but when we boil it down to facts, homeowners must understand that in purchasing a house they are putting themselves into significant debt. If managed properly their purchase has a tremendous potential for upside, but improperly used it can destroy their financial well-being.


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The views expressed on these pages are the opinion of the author and any public contributors. They do not substitute for the advice of a legal or financial professional. These opinions are not representative of any firm or business. Please always consult an attorney, financial professional or sign a contract with a Buyer Agent or Seller's Agent for specific advice.