Monthly Archives: November 2010
25. U.S. Post Office
They are pricing themselves out of existence. With e-mail, and online services they are a relic of the past. (refer to #9) Packages are also sent faster and cheaper with UPS.
24. Yellow Pages
This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages, to local search engines and combination search/listing services like Reach Local and Yodel Factors like 20 an acceleration of the print ‘fade rate’ and the looming recession will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10% this year — much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.
23. Classified Ads
The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of civilization as we know it.. The argument is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites like Craigslist.org and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind them.
22. Movie Rental Stores
While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City . Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost already.
21. Dial-up Internet Access
Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008.. The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.
20. Phone Land Lines
According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that had land lines, one in eight only received calls on their cells.
19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs
Maryland ‘s icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay . Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population. Over-fishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the blame.
For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and staple in every American household until being completely decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be found. They served us so well.
17. Ash Trees
In the late 1990’s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia . In less than a decade, its larvae have killed millions of trees in the
Midwest , and continue to spread. They’ve killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana . More than 7.5 billion ash trees are currently at risk…
16. Ham Radio
Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.
15. The Swimming Hole
Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing of the past. ’20/20’ reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert Every in High Falls, NY, are shutting them down out of worry that if someone gets hurt they’ll sue. And that’s exactly what happened in Seattle . The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park. As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, expect more swimming holes to post ‘Keep out!’ signs.
14. Answering Machines
The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No 20 our list — the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New York; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It’s logical that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.
13. Cameras That Use Film
It doesn’t require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the film camera in America .. Just look to companies like Nikon, the professional’ s choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the shrinking market — only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.
12. Incandescent Bulbs
Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.
11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys
Bowling Balls. US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.
10. the milkman
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% percent. Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the rounds in pockets of the U.S. , they are certainly a dying breed..
9… Hand-Written Letters
In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails were sent each day.. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world’s population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?
8. Wild Horses
It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were roaming free within the United States . In 2001, National Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population has decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in Nevada . The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the total! number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective euthanasia.
7. Personal Checks
According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based payments — for the time being. Checks continue to be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers’ recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).
6. Drive-in Theaters During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn’t much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones.
5. Mumps & Measles
Despite what’s been in the news lately, the measles and mumps actually, truly are disappearing from the United States . In 1964, 212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the U.S.. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.
4. Honey Bees
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. ‘Colony Collapse Disorder,’ or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S. and Europe over the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many beekeepers — and along with it, their livelihood.
3. News Magazines and TV News
While the TV evening newscasts haven’t gone anywhere over the last several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is half that.
2.. Analog TV
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S. get their television programming through cable or satellite providers. For the remaining 15% — or 13 million individuals — who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you are one of these people you’ll need to get a new TV or a converter box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast in digital..
1. The Family Farm
Since the 1930’s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census is just now being published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. FARMS are small family farms.
Note from Brad Pearson: In response to this warning and our own conservative belief systems. Our firm has decided to make it our company policy that our agents cannot impose short sale negotiator fees on buyers interested in our listings. We will not allow our agents to pay anyone who is not licensed a SS Neg fee as well. We feel that a short sale negotiator is simply a service that benefits the listing agent ONLY therefore should be a cost of the listing agent and no one else.
_________UNEDITED____ COPIED DIRECTLY FROM DRE WARNING_________
STATE OF CALIFORNIA — BUSINESS, TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING AGENCY ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor
DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE
OFFICE OF THE REAL ESTATE COMMISSIONER
P.O. Box 187000
Sacramento, CA 95818-7000
September 13, 2010
Subject: Short Sale Fraud Warning For Lenders, Servicers, GSEs, and
Other Mortgage Owners and Investors (referred to collectively as “Lenders”
and individually as “Lender”)
A Time for Collaboration and Cooperation
With the rise of short sale fraud in California, the Department of Real Estate (“DRE” or
the “Department”) is reaching out to lenders in an effort to discuss and identify short sale fraud
issues, common problems, share information, and ultimately help lenders prevent these types of
schemes from being perpetuated. Over the last several months, our Department has received a
number of complaints involving short sale transactions where lenders have seemingly been
defrauded by real estate licensees and unlicensed companies and persons alike. While
investigating these complaints, patterns of activities that are occurring and commonalities
among the cases have come to our attention. It is our hope that, by sharing this information
with you, a collaborative relationship will be forged to collectively fight against fraudulent
schemes targeting lenders and consumers and reign in the yet unknown resulting financial
Despite the nuances of the various short sale fraud ploys, our investigators have noticed
some common threads that comprise potentially fraudulent short sale transactions that I would
like to share with you.
1. One of the major and recurring schemes is short sale flipping, where real estate agents
and brokers have defrauded a short sale lender with respect to the value of a property
and purchase offers received, and then, in turn, resold the property for a much higher
price. These types of scenarios usually involve a false appraisal or broker price opinion
(BPO) that was provided by the listing broker to the short sale lender with the intent of
under pricing and falsely stating the value of property. Sometimes, the listing broker
will withhold offers from the short sale lender and will only submit one offer from a
buyer, or straw buyer, that they have personally secured for the purchase of the
property at an artificially low price. Without the knowledge of the short sale lender,
the listing broker will then resell the property for a profit, sometimes immediately
Short Sale Fraud Warning
September 13, 2010
after the close of the first transaction as the listing broker already has a buyer lined up
at a higher price.
2. Another popular maneuver to defraud the lenders takes the form of undisclosed
addenda. In some cases there is an addendum to a purchase agreement that contains
conditions of the sale and agreements made between the buyer and seller that are not
submitted to short sale lenders with the original purchase contract. One type of
addendum that has recently surfaced is one wherein the buyer agrees to pay for the
alleged service of a short sale negotiator. The purported service provided by these
negotiators is to negotiate with short sale lenders on behalf of sellers which arguably
should be the job of the listing broker. Even more disturbing, we have found that many
short sale negotiators are, in fact, unlicensed, thereby unlawfully performing real
estate services in the State of California. Furthermore, these same negotiators may be
affiliated with or confederates of the listing broker, and additional compensation is
being paid to the listing broker vis-a-vis the short sale negotiator all without the short
sale lender’s knowledge. These payments to short sale negotiators are being withheld
from short sale lenders altogether and, if financing is obtained, to the buyer’s new
lender as well.
3. Another variation on the theme of short sale negotiator payments is seen in
agreements wherein sellers are crediting buyers with so-called non-recurring closing
costs. This credit is then used by the buyer to pay a fee to the short sale negotiator.
Whereas the closing cost credit to the buyer is or may be eventually disclosed and
approved by the short sale lender, the ultimate payment of that credit to a third party
is not. These payments to short sale negotiators often are not divulged on the HUD-1
statement until after the short sale lender has approved all of the terms and the
transaction has funded and closed.
4. It should be pointed out that non-recurring closing cost agreements made between
buyers and sellers regarding short sale negotiators are also now becoming a reflection
of how property are being marketed. DRE is investigating transactions where listing
brokers are indicating in their advertisements that only offers where buyers request a
non-recurring closing cost credit from the seller to pay for the short sale negotiator fee
will be submitted to the short sale lender.
5. The Department has also learned of several occurrences in which buyers and/or sellers
are receiving undisclosed monies and credits outside of escrow. These types of
Short Sale Fraud Warning
September 13, 2010
disbursements might also be made possible and facilitated by the escrow company
handling the transaction.
All of these incidences of fraud in short sale transactions (which are illustrative and not
exhaustive) share the same theme – they revolve around and arise from the knowing failure to
disclose material information to the short sale lender. As a result, lenders are approving of sales
based on false or omitted information. Our main concern is how can this be stopped?
Consumer complaints and fraud detection have a direct correlation to the market
conditions. During these times, consumer complaints about issues involving foreclosures, short
sales, and “creative” marketing techniques rise, as do t reports of real estate licensee misconduct.
Furthermore, real estate activities by unlicensed persons/companies are extremely damaging to
the consumer, the industry, and now the lending community. In order for DRE to actively seek
the maximum administrative penalties against licensees engaged in short sale fraud and also
reduce the risk of financial losses in short sale transactions, we need open channels of
communication with lenders to share and report suspicious, unlawful, and/or fraudulent activity.
We also need increased cooperation with regard to specific short sale fraud investigations so that
DRE can gather, as we are required to do, clear and convincing evidence to a reasonable
certainty that a violation of the Real Estate Law has occurred. The way that business is
conducted may need to change in order to dry up the flow of short sale schemes.
In closing, let me say that we welcome your feedback, insight, concerns, and reports of
possible violations of law at any time. We remain strongly committed to creating a dialogue
between our Department and the lenders so that we can combat short sale fraud issues more
efficiently and effectively. With multiple avenues of communication and the exchange of
information, we aspire to get ahead of the problems and aggressive combat the fraud.
California Real Estate Commissioner