Inglewood, CA (PressExposure) May 11, 2009 -- -The FOX News interview with Butch Grimes, popular west coast real estate educator and talk show host, resembled a cordial tennis match between anchor and interviewee on the upsides and downsides of buying distressed homes. As the host asked questions about the first time home buyer frenzy, and other positive signs in the real estate marketplace, Grimes attempted to deliver a cautionary message that he never seemed to fully express, until after the show.
When asked, after the FOX interview, about the distressed properties he sees daily Grimes said, "House rape is occurring daily and it's impacting homeowners and potential homeowners. I'm seeing bidding wars on some cheaply priced homes. What no one realizes is that these foreclosed homes have often been pillaged for essentials like plumbing, sinks or carpeting. I'm just saying that folks should take signs of market improvement cautiously." While Grimes has a solid reputation within the California real estate industry, and a national following from his speaking tours, books and podcast show, he's also got a reputation as someone who bucks the big boys and makes many in the industry bristle with discomfort as when his incendiary comments comparing bank lending executives to drug dealers riled the banking sector a couple of months ago.
As has often been the case in Grimes' 20 plus years as a realtor who specializes in educating minority homebuyers, he is saying the opposite of what buyers are hearing from the government and the media. With the stress test results for banks like Citigroup, Bank of America and other pivotal lenders expected to be released later today, many are counting on the results and continued government help for banks to get the nation through this tough spot. According to Grimes, "No one's discussing the huge bank inventory of homes that are going to continue to drive the market down. Yes, some of the indicators drive opportunities for home buyers, but what about that segment of the population that is being raped in this way?"
Grimes is referring to those stable homeowners who never got in over their heads, but now find themselves unable to sell homes or refinance loans in the current atmosphere. House prices are low and first time homeowners are getting government tax credits, low interest and other buying incentives. Those borrowers who got in over their heads are often able to refinance. Yet, those stable homeowners who are current on their payments are unlikely to get refinancing help, and many of those responsible homeowners hoping to sell their homes will lose money.
"Smoke and mirrors," says Grimes. "On one hand the government and the media are trying to convince everyone that positive signs of a hot marketplace tell the whole story. USA Today had a story about how as inflation drives salaries higher home loans will stay the same. That's great if you have a job to begin with! But Chrysler just filed for bankruptcy and jobs are disappearing all over the place. Come on people! Can we have a dose of reality here?"
Grimes' opponents claim that the low interest rates, low home prices and government help for struggling banks are getting the housing sector back on track. Many call the vehement and outspoken businessman a negative voice in a struggling economy. The frequent FOX News analyst answers, "There are so many properties stuck in the system that have yet to go into foreclosure. I talk to folks who are losing their jobs on a daily basis. My goal is to educate people. That means speaking the truth, even when no one wants to hear it." Listeners to Grimes' radio podcast at www.WeTalkRealestate.com are still tuning in, even as others negate his message.
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