Announcer: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman, President of Platinum Properties Investor Network in Costa Mesa, California. During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before and a new slant on investing, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.
Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it. And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the complete solution for real estate investors.
Jason Hartman: This is Jason Hartman and welcome to a special news bulletin-style Creating Wealth show. We want to talk today about the big news that is historical and epic in its proportion, and that is the takeover or some say seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two big, secondary mortgage, government-sponsored entities in the United States. This is, again, very, very big news. So we’re going to start off with a couple points by me. We’re going to have a talk with our in-house lender, Mike Perez, with Envision Lending, then go to a recent radio interview I did for just a couple of quick minutes to talk about this subject as well.
So this government bailout, well, I believe it is a weapon of mass inflation, weapon of mass inflation. Any time you see our government in the United States here bail anybody out, whether it be Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, probably coming up it’s going to be the FDIC, maybe GM. Who the heck knows? Maybe if I ever get into trouble in my business, they’ll bail me out. Maybe they’ll bail out radio stations and airlines and who the heck knows what else? And all that means for us folks, is look, if you saw IOUSA, the movie that you must see that’s out now, you know that the government is totally broke and asking for anything from our government now is like a spoiled teenager asking their parents to buy them more stuff they simply cannot afford.
The fact is the government does not have the money, period, pointblank. The only way to get this money and the only solution to this problem are the things that I mentioned on my prior show. But I’m just going to mention two of them now, not all four of those possible alternatives, but it’s raise taxes, which will suppress economic activity. That’s not particularly good news for most of us to see tax increases. Or No. 2, which I think is the most likely alternative. It will really probably be a blend of both of these, but to devalue the dollar because when you devalue the dollar, you do that by turning on the printing press and pumping more liquidity and more money into the system.
So the government will pay for these bailouts. They’ll pay for the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout by devaluing the dollar, turning on the printing press, creating more money to do this bailout, which could cost up to $2 trillion or $2.5 trillion. I mean think about it. What would it be like with a national debt of $10 trillion? That is a huge amount of money and it means inflation. And inflation, for those investors following my plan, as you’ve heard me talk about on prior shows, is really, really very good news for us. So that is the silver lining in this cloud that appears to be bad news for so many people when you think of ridiculous, irresponsible government spending. It’s actually good news for us following our plan of investment.
So we live in a “too big to fail” era. The government is doing bailouts. We’re seeing that it pays to be irresponsible again. The former heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac got paid $14 million to $14.5 million each per year and they acquired lots of friends by spending about $200 million on lobbyists over the last ten years. Many pundits on this subject say this is really an act of criminal neglect or criminal intent. No company, no responsible company could be run this way.
But as a matter of national pride in America, and you look at the brand America has, which is still very strong around the world, which is good news for us, you see that stock markets all over the world are, right after this merger when the markets opened, rallied. I mean whether it was Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Hong Kong, Seoul, South Korea, stock markets were up all over the world.
So a lot of intricacy to this big story. It is epic; it’s historical proportion, and I’ve got here with me in the office Mike Perez, and Mike, I just wanted to get your take on what’s going on out there. It’s great to have you back on the show.
Mike Perez: Thanks, Jason.
Jason Hartman: So Mike, what is your take on this amazingly, historical situation? I mean this is an epic event.
Mike Perez: Well, Jason, this is probably the best way it can be summed up is in the famous song by the Wizard of Oz, Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead. I mean that’s probably the best way to put it because really, the witch being Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who were basically a private owned company, got greedy. The nice witch became the wicked witch because she became driven just by stock price, therefore opening up the guidelines and letting just about every Tom, Dick, and Harry. You know the old saying is, “Do they have a pulse? Great! Get them in here and let’s get them to sign the dots.”
Jason Hartman: Yeah, fog, fog a loan; fog a mirror, you get a loan.
Mike Perez: Yes, fog a mirror; you get a loan, baby. Yeah and it doesn’t matter what you make. You just say what you make and it’s all done. That was the problem, greed. And now fear is driving the market and that’s why the guidelines tightened up so much because they were afraid to take on the loans because they don’t want to get stuck with them.
Jason Hartman: See, I look at this whole mortgage meltdown as a really big opportunity for the real investors because a lot of the static, a lot of the noise has gotten out of the game, where now people really have to qualify for loans, which is the way it should have been all along, of course. You’ve got a situation now where I think we’re going to see a dramatic improvement in the rental market over the next couple of years and I mentioned that on prior shows because fewer people will be able to qualify for loans, which will strengthen the rental market because they will be renting rather than buying.
Bush came out years ago and he wanted this “ownership society,” in quotes. He used that phrase a lot. And the fact is there are some people who just shouldn’t own. They don’t deserve to; they haven’t earned it. They should be renting.
Mike Perez: Exactly.
Jason Hartman: And that’s the deal.
Mike Perez: They’re handing out the American Dream like Blockbuster cards.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, like I mentioned before, these people at Fannie and Freddie, they spent about $200 million in the last decade on lobbyists. They were just buying friends all over Washington so they could mismanage these organizations and drive up their stock price for their own benefit, line their own pockets.
Mike Perez: Absolutely.
Jason Hartman: What are the comments you have about that?
Mike Perez: Well, again, with the witch being dead, here’s the benefit and here’s why it’s good news as far as our economy’s concerned because, again, you couldn’t just let something like this just completely collapse. It would just freeze everything and just drive the market. I mean the Depression would have been like a picnic. So the reason this is good is because what it does now is opens up the floodgates a little bit to continue or to keep water and money flowing. Not water, but money.
Jason Hartman: And the initial reaction was that rates have declined. They went down about a half point on Monday, right?
Mike Perez: At least, yeah.
Jason Hartman: And what’s going on now? I mean we’re a couple days in.
Mike Perez: Already a couple days in, the stock markets kind of – the fear factor’s gone away a little bit, so they’re pulling money back out of bonds. So the rates have gone back up just a little bit, but so far, just above an eighth. So not a big deal. It’s still a great opportunity, but you mentioned earlier for investors what has been the big bummer lately, four properties max; that’s it.
Well, there’s another good thing about this whole situation occurring with the Fed backing them up is that now the banks won’t be afraid to be stuck with the loan, so if it’s a fairly decent deal –
Jason Hartman: Because they can sell them off to the secondary market, which is –
Mike Perez: And they’re guaranteed.
Jason Hartman: Which is Federal Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Mike Perez: Well, I mean foreign investors, even domestic investors, all those people will now not be afraid to buy bonds because they’re backed by the faith of the United States.
Jason Hartman: And a lot of people I know, all of the comments from around the globe were basically thank you to the U.S. government for stepping in and backing this up. And a lot of the pundits really said this was done largely for foreign investors to keep faith a little bit longer in our system.
Mike Perez: Right. Well, foreign investors always have at least 25 – 50 percent of our bonds, so without them, trust me. It would just get worse because our domestic investors won’t be able to do that. You know what I mean? Or maintain that level. So now that, again, water’s flowing again, the money’s flowing again, this will open up doors and hopefully, for investors, those guidelines will loosen up. Instead of four, it’ll go maybe six, and eventually get back up to ten.
Jason Hartman: Okay, where they can buy more houses.
Mike Perez: And more properties will qualify. It’s the [inaudible], though.
Jason Hartman: As the chip rolls, yeah.
Mike Perez: That’s probably not going to go away for a long time.
Jason Hartman: Okay, good, good. I was talking with Cliff Bass, who’s a friend of the show and he’s been on before, before this interview and I was saying the cycle of stupidity, it’ll be back in about eight years. It always seems like the pendulum swings back. Do we ever learn from history? We were just having coffee and we were talking about that hedge fund, who’s got their ten-year anniversary right now, Long-Term Capital Management, and these guys were just so insanely irresponsible and it seems like it just always comes around again. Every decade, you’ve got this part where we just don’t learn from history and we do it all over again.
Mike Perez: Exactly, yeah, and everything will come back. The status will come back. The type of loans, who knows? Subprime, that’s debatable. You know what I mean? But I think everything’s always possible when you make the money.
Jason Hartman: What do you think the future is for Fannie and Freddie? I mean you were kind of saying to me before that you think the likelihood is that nobody really knows yet. The government doesn’t even know. But the government will run it for 5 – 8 years and sell it off.
Mike Perez: Well, probably closer to ten, but then eventually give it back out to the public. Now, how does that happen, I have no idea. I suppose give us all our money back that we put into it or make payments. Give a loan towards it so you can buy the companies and go private again, and then go back to stock ownership and things like that, which, again, if the price is very cheap back then, you’ll get a lot of investors that will pony up, right up to the bar, and spill a lot of money into it, which will get it going again.
Jason Hartman: Will there be other agencies, private agencies?
Mike Perez: Yeah, there won’t be just two. Yeah, there won’t be just Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They’ll beat it up. They’ll break it up into parts.
Jason Hartman: But do you think over the time while the government is running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, hopefully that’s not indefinitely, but for whatever period of time they do it, do you think now we’ll see the type of thing where other companies, private enterprises that theoretically need to be run in a responsible manner, but that’s even debatable –
Mike Perez: That’s a whole other issue.
Jason Hartman: For sure. Even if it’s not a government sponsored entity or government sponsored enterprise. Do you think they will spring up or is it too early to tell? I mean has this sort of opened a door for maybe some other types of groups out there?
Mike Perez: Absolutely because whenever something like this, just like the real estate market, when things crash like it, there’s always opportunity. So are there going to be other foreign monies coming in to maybe play or to create more opportunities or another type of bank? I have no idea. Nobody’s even speculated on that, but if I had that kind of money and I saw there was an opportunity here, I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to take advantage of it.
Jason Hartman: It’s obviously a huge market, no question about it.
Mike Perez: It is, yeah. You can guarantee it with the government and if you don’t guarantee it with the government, you can still sell it and make a ton of money.
Jason Hartman: Right. What is your outlook on interest rates? I mean you said that the qualifying standards you think will start to loosen a little bit. I’ve said many times that I’ve felt that after the mortgage meltdown, the banks really overcorrected and they’re just still too cautious, and so there’s a pendulum that’s swinging back and forth as always. So hopefully, we won’t go back to the roaring ’20s days, so to speak, with the completely stupid underwriting we had two or three years ago. But what’s your prediction on rates? Qualifying, it’s going to get a little bit easier. It’s moving in the direction of a little easier now?
Mike Perez: Well, nothing happened overnight, but it will. It will, but it will be gradual. And we have no timeframe on that, but I just know over the next 18 months especially, we’ll start seeing a lot of relaxation. Loans that I’ve been struggling with and fighting with for will go through a lot easier with a lot less hassle, which is good. It’ll speed things up and again, get money flowing. As far as rates, they’re already historic lows. Even if they stayed at 6.5 for the next two years, it would still be historic lows. Right now, they’re close to like around 6 percent, hovering right around six today.
Jason Hartman: Now, 6 percent is for an owner-occupied loan.
Mike Perez: Yeah, owner-occupied, conforming 30-year fixed type of loan.
Jason Hartman: And the spread for an investor loan buying a rental property, what about – a half point, three-quarters?
Mike Perez: A half percent to three-quarters, depending on the situation you’re in credit and cash flow, things like that. So different things like that. But rates will stay pretty flat, pretty low for quite a while. Bernanke won’t start talking about raising rates till probably next year, which he’ll have to because he has to deal with inflation now. As this credit issue starts to fade away.
Jason Hartman: You’re absolutely right and as I’ve said so many times before, I think we are in a really historic era right now of negative interest rates, where you’re really getting paid to borrow. If you’re lucky enough to have the privilege of being able to borrow and get a nice 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you’re absolutely crazy if you don’t.
Mike Perez: Yeah, 6 percent versus 10 percent in inflation, yeah, you’re even higher actually.
Jason Hartman: Your ability to borrow is a huge asset and if you can do it, do it because it makes a lot of sense to do now.
Mike Perez: Yeah, don’t sit on cash. That’s just not the way to go.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, especially in an inflationary environment.
Mike Perez: Absolutely.
Jason Hartman: Mike, any other thoughts about this?
Mike Perez: No. It’s just, I guess, the only way I would round it up is this is the beginning of the end.
Jason Hartman: The beginning of the end in a good way, though.
Mike Perez: In a good way, right; exactly. The end being people who just want to win is all going to start coming to a halt with what’s going to happen. This bailout was a good first step. We still gotta flush out all the foreclosures and everything, but I mentioned in our last podcast between last year and this year and the year after, it’s all good solid loans. So that’s going to rebuild the whole foundation of the mortgage industry.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, that’s good. So the loans that have been underwritten and funded in the last year or so are solid loans and we shouldn’t be seeing this default problem as we carry these loans in the future.
Mike Perez: Exactly.
Jason Hartman: Now, what about a lot of people, Mike, have talked about and we’ve talked on previous shows about the other types of loans. We’re largely past the subprime debacle now. That took about 13 months to clean itself out of the system. There are still defaults coming, but the lion share has occurred. What about the Alt-A loans? What about the conventional loans that are these pay-option ARMs? I know that there’s a lot of that still coming.
Mike Perez: Yeah, that’s still a really big concern.
Jason Hartman: A-borrowers, A-credit borrowers.
Mike Perez: Yeah, these people who have solid – and they had good incomes. They just like the smaller payments. And some people didn’t understand it very well and some people were sold a bill of goods, and some of your listeners may be aware, yeah, I got sold. They didn’t explain to me that it wasn’t a 30-year fixed, that it was an adjustable. So all that misunderstanding and confusion is going to create some problems down the road.
Now, the subprime debacle cost us about $600 billion. I mean in that ballpark. Some are saying as high as $800 billion, but I’ve seen numbers more between $6 – 7 billion.
Jason Hartman: Close to a trillion with a T dollars.
Mike Perez: Well, yeah, exactly, but we’re definitely gonna hit probably close to $1.5 trillion with the Alt-A and the [inaudible] because that book of business is about five times bigger than the subprime business.
Jason Hartman: So it’s a larger market. Do you think people will just walk away from those loans as easily? Those are people that are making money. They’re a slightly more sophisticated borrower. Do you have a prediction on how?
Mike Perez: Well, I don’t have a prediction. You’re always going to have your basic foundation of foreclosures, death, loss of job, divorce.
Jason Hartman: Right. Disability.
Mike Perez: Disability. Those are all going to be part of your –
Jason Hartman: And that’s there all the time.
Mike Perez: Yeah and it’s always single digits, but it’s always there. Now, as far as those other people, I mean the biggest problem a lot of them are going to have is they may be able to qualify for a new loan, but they’re not going to have the equity, which means they’ll have to go FHA because FHA does allow what they call a short refinance. That means if you owe $400,000.00, but your house is worth $300,000.00, FHA will allow you to refinance for up to 90 percent of the $300,000.00 value, as long as the current lender is willing to let the $110,000.00 go.
Jason Hartman: So FHA and VA, one of the things you mentioned to me before is there’s been a move toward these loans in the last year because they’ve become a lot more popular.
Mike Perez: Oh, it’s spiked. Yeah, from 2 percent to almost 40 percent of the market now.
Jason Hartman: Wow!
Mike Perez: That’s a risk for Jenny Mae.
Jason Hartman: Right, so what you’re saying there obviously is the government will insure a loan that a smart, private businessperson won’t insure.
Mike Perez: In a nutshell.
Jason Hartman: So they’re underwriting dumb loans.
Mike Perez: In a way, yeah, Jennie Mae is taking some risk as well because of the insurance and they’re allowing lower credit score borrowers in, but again, full doc and their guidelines are pretty strict. So if you get that loan in, you’re going to be fairly safe. And we can go a whole other leg on that one, but we don’t have time for that. But that’s why Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, like I mentioned, their guidelines are going to loosen up because the government’s going to make them loosen up because Jennie Mae can’t carry 50 percent of all the loans in the country. They can’t, so they’ll have to spread the risk out.
Jason Hartman: Okay, okay, good. Any other thoughts?
Mike Perez: Nope, not a lot, but thanks for having me, Jason. It’s been really, really good.
Jason Hartman: All right, good. Thanks for being on the show, Mike. If you’d like to contact Mike Perez, he’s here in our office. He’s a subtenant, not directly affiliated with us, but we see him just about every day here. And it’s 714-820-4200.
Now, let’s go to that radio interview I did just the other day, talking about the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. It’s just about six minutes long. Let’s listen in.
Al Rantel: There’s a huge financial story I churn on the Al Rantel Show to Jason Hartman to explain what it means to all of us because it’s very confusing. And over the weekend, the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which is a huge story, but a lot of us have no clue what it all means. Jason, I know it’s a tall order in a short time. What the heck is going on?
Jason Hartman: We are in a crazy era nowadays, Al. We definitely live in interesting times. Basically, the takeover of Fannie and Freddie by the government that many suspected was coming is designed to lower mortgage rates, increase availability of financing, and help out the very tough real estate market. This will not impact everybody evenly obviously. The shareholders are getting probably a pretty bad deal, so I’m glad I’m not a shareholder. It will not reduce rates on larger loans. It will not reduce rates on HELOCs, which are home equity lines of credit, which a lot of people got themselves in trouble with. But it is a move designed in the short term to bail out these two entities for being very irresponsible and mismanaging their money and their investors’ money.
Al Rantel: Well, I thought they already were government agencies of some kind.
Jason Hartman: Well, no, these are, again, the GFCs, or the government sponsored entities. They’re sort of pseudo-governmental entities, like the Federal Reserve as well, and the FDIC. But they’re not really government entities. They are now, though, officially.
Al Rantel: Right, they are now. All right, but obviously, someone has to come up with money to infuse into these agencies, right, because they’ve got no money.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, they’re –
Al Rantel: That’s me and you and everybody else, isn’t it?
Jason Hartman: That’s exactly what they’re going to do. They’re going to tax us. The Congressional budget office has estimated a very low number in terms of this bailout. I mean see numbers bandied about like $25 billion. Well, the real estimates seem to be in the middle $1.5 trillion cost. Some say as much as $2.5 trillion if you can believe that.
Al Rantel: Wow!
Jason Hartman: So none of us really know what the number is, but it’s certainly much higher than the official government folks are telling us. We know that for sure because it always is. So turn on the printing press because the government doesn’t have the money either. So this is again a stopgap, temporary measure. The markets around the world have really welcomed the takeover. We see stock rallies in Germany, all over Europe, Japan.
Al Rantel: Right. Now, that’s because they know they’re not going to get to lose their money.
Jason Hartman: Well, they’re not going to lose their money right away. Obviously, this devalue of the dollar and they have bonds and equity stakes in these two now-government entities that are denominated in dollars, so ultimately, this is a bad move ultimately. It’s a short-term measure, like almost anything our government [inaudible].
Al Rantel: Well, you say it’s a bad move, but if they hadn’t done it and these two entities had gone under, it would have been calamity, wouldn’t it?
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it probably would have been. I mean there’s been a lot of talk the last few months as many people saw this coming, that there’d be different private entities that would take these mortgages and there would be a private secondary money market. I mean this was never really completely private, as we just talked about. But yeah, initially, it’s a band-aid and it will help smooth things over. The real estate market still has a lot of excess inventory in many areas around the country, so initially, this is a move to make it a little more palatable and comfortable.
Al Rantel: Now, this isn’t going to make the value of your home go up.
Jason Hartman: No, I don’t think so.
Al Rantel: So in other words, if you think things are still going to drop, this doesn’t change that.
Jason Hartman: In all of the bubble markets around the country, we are still going to see significant drops in prices. I sure wish I didn’t own the two properties I own in California, but I do and so I’ve just decided I’m going to kind of weather the storm. But around the country in a lot of markets that have much lower land values, markets are pretty good in many areas.
Al Rantel: Well, you believe in real estate investment in the right markets, as we’ve talked about before, so does this bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae make it easier to borrow money if you want to be a buyer or an investor?
Jason Hartman: Yeah, no question about it. It will keep it easier to borrow and, of course, we hope that they’re more responsible this time in their lending practices and what loans they buy and don’t get crazy again like they did over the last several years. But the bailout again, Al, it’s a temporary measure. Long term, I think it means bad news for the dollar. It means bad news for the taxpayer. Nobody really knows how they’re going to manage these two entities until the new Congress comes in and the new President comes in. So we’ll see what happens there.
Al Rantel: So this is a problem that’s going to be handed off to the next administration really.
Jason Hartman: As usual, yes. It is always handed off. And why I kind of chuckle about this is because it’s just become so ridiculous that in this country, there’s such a short-term focus all the time on what can we do to manage for this next quarter.
Al Rantel: Day-to-day, from crisis to crisis.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, from crisis to crisis. It’s not pro-active management, whether it be government or publicly traded companies nowadays.
Al Rantel: So now, all right, if you want to get a mortgage now, if you’re a buyer, I’m assuming you still don’t think this is the time to buy, at least not here.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it’s not the time to buy in California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon. It is the time to buy in the Southeastern U.S., the Mid-Atlantic. I think there are still very good deals there and largely, Al, the reason I think that is because you’ve got real estate prices, which are declining, but as you know from our prior discussions, I really like investing in what I call the packaged commodities, the cheap land and the expensive structure sitting on the land. And [inaudible] and I think we’ll see that go up a lot.
Al Rantel: All right, so in other words, the bottom line, Jason Hartman; you can go to www.jasonhartman.com if you want more. It’s bad news for the taxpayer.
Jason Hartman: It is bad news for the taxpayer.
Al Rantel: That’s what I thought.
Jason Hartman: And anybody who holds dollars.
Al Rantel: Anybody who holds dollars.
Dave Toombs: Hey, so we’ve been Platinum members for a couple of years now and we’re just real pleased with the way things are working out.
Kathy Toombs: We couldn’t be happier and it’s really changed our lives for the better.
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Remember that Platinum Properties Investor Network has moved. We are in our beautiful new office in Costa Mesa, California, 555 Anton, Suite 150, in Costa Mesa, California, 92626, and we’re right by world-famous South Coast Plazas. So come in for a visit and a little shopping.
Also, we just uploaded another video podcast and I’d highly recommend that you subscribe to that. There’s some stuff that just lends itself better to video than audio. If you want to see what’s on that, subscribe to it, you can go to www.jasonhartman.com. If you use iTunes or an iPod and you’re an Apple person, then you can go to the iTunes Store, type in Jason Hartman, and two podcasts will come up, the video podcast and the audio podcast. And you’re probably already, if you’re listening, a subscriber to the audio podcast, so make sure you get yourself a free subscription to the video podcast as well.
And this particular one that we just loaded in the video podcast is about Naked Short Sales and what goes on with this short sale and manipulation of the stock market. It’s a very interesting report from Bloomberg News and I think you’ll really learn a lot from that. So be sure to tune in and watch that.
Be sure to see appropriate disclaimers and disclosures on our website at www.jasonhartman.com. Remember that we are not tax or legal advisors.
Anyway, we’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening.
This material is the copyrighted creative work of either Jason Hartman, the Hartman Media Company, Platinum Properties Investor Network, Incorporated or the J. Hartman Company, all rights reserved.
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Duration: 31 minutes