Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rave Reviews for Sky Minor+Preferred Realty and Loan

Rave Reviews for Sky Minor and Preferred Realty and Loan.

From Jeannie G. 12/2009:

Special Thank You to PREFERRED REALTY & LOAN, Sky Minor, Rachel Mintz and especially my real estate agent Cesar Briones. Their hard work, talent, charm and limitless determination to
get me my house paid off. Frank and I look forward to turning this
house into a home for our family. Thank you guys, love you for fighting
with me for this house!!!

From Michelle C. 11/2009
: Driving around looking at open houses, I came across one of Sky's listings. As soon as he heard I would be going the FHA route, he was
straight-up and said why that house wasn't for me. We got to chatting
and it seemed like we had a similar mindset, plus he liked my tokidoki
bag...which meant he had decent taste :) I wanted a multi-family
property and my previous realtor had told me it would be near
impossible to find in the areas I wanted (Eagle Rock/Highland Park). I
don't think "impossible" exists in Sky's vocabulary.

offers later, about 20 houses walked-through and a 30 day escrow that
turned into almost 60 (thanks to my lender going out of business
mid-stream and Wells Fargo losing my file for a couple days), I have
the multi-unit property I wanted, have my first renter and am moving
into my unit this weekend...all before my first mortgage payment is due.

Sky found the property for me less than 3 days after it hit the market. We
made an offer immediately and, thankfully, it was accepted. He's really
up on technology...makes it easy to keep track of files when they're
digital and texting/email is so much more efficient than faxes and
voicemail. And in this market, a couple of hours lag could be costly as
to whether you get that offer in or not.

If not for Sky, theprocess would have literally made me INSANE. He stepped up while my first lender disappeared (while I was out of the country, no less) and
found another one with an amazing interest rate. He rolled with the
punches when I melted down because of all the FHA hoops we had to jump

This is serious grown-up stuff, but Sky isn't stuffy and uptight. He's the right balance between professional and chill. In the end, he got me exactly what I wanted and I'm still kind of stunned that I am an actual homeowner now!

From Megan C
. 5/2009:

Sky is the Limit.

He is wonderful, professional, smart, friendly... I definitely recommend Sky Minor.

From Ricky L. 3/2009:

Sky got me up and moving to find my first investment property. He
offered sound advice that I initially thought was too conservative, but
he ended up being right about what he was saying. He found me a
terrific duplex that is my first cash-flow rental property but not my
last! Thank you, Sky.

From Jon R. 7/2008

I've never encountered another real estate agent with more concern for
getting the best house for ME, at exactly the right time with a killer
interest rate on my mortgage. Sky's been infinitely patient and aided
me in searching for exactly what i want in a house as well as advising
me on the exact moment to by. It's a true no pressure approach and the
man understands the housing/loan market better than anyone I've ever
encountered. I can tell some of the other agent's I worked with before
I found Sky are only interested in a quick commission pushing you to
make offers on houses that don't even make sense... Or not putting in
any legwork at all! Seriously, i didn't make an offer on anything for
the first five months I was shopping with Sky and it was at his urging

because he felt the market was still dropping! Now I'm looking at
buying an AMAZING house for cheaper than I ever Imagined....


From Miki H 5/2009:

Sky sold an investment property for us. He got full asking price in less than two days. The buyer had a tough time getting his financing together, and took over a month to close, but I credit Sky for sticking with it.

From Bastien B. 8/2009

It was really a pleasure to work with Sky in finding-buying my new home. He has the ability, in today's complex real estate market, to make any complicated situation simple. He really went the extra mile in helping me finding the perfect house and all his advises were extremely valuable.

It's sometimes difficult to find a Real Estate Agent that you can really trust, and Sky's realistic and judicious advices made the purchase of my house totally easy and smooth with only good surprises!

I definitely thank him for making my dream come true in such a professional and friendly way.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Buying a house step by step, pt 2.

This is the second part of the blog series about the steps of buying a house by Sky Minor, Broker at Preferred Realty and Loan in Los Angeles.

We left off at
4(a). Get a property inspection

The home inspection report was received by the buyers. We noted items to look for that will cause concern to future owners-Foundation, Plumbing, Power, Any water leaking, etc. Once the buyer receives a copy of the inspection report they really get a good opportunity to "look under the hood" of the house. With the inspection report in hand, the buyer is given the power to do one of three things;

1. Request that the seller repair any items that are of concern.
2. Request that the seller credit the buyer the cost of repairs either from a reduction in the price of the property or by paying the buyer's closing costs.
3. Cancel the deal.

Most buyers I work with are too emotionally tied to the property at this point and do not want to cancel. So then the question becomes should they request repairs or money? This is a significant question and needs to be carefully examined. Many new buyers who I see opt for the credit never get around to getting the work done. For items that are in serious need of repair, this is obviously not a good thing. If there is water leaking in a roof and it gets into the flooring, it needs to be repaired right away. The long term cost of neglecting maintenance issues needs to be weighed by the buyer. If it doesn't get fixed now, it will usually cost a lot more to do later when it goes up for sale. Conservative bargaining and due diligence are very important. The agent should be able to offer referrals to contractors who can give estimates. I find that Yelp is also a pretty good source for finding contractors, although many good ones are not of the internet generation and must be sought out other ways. The smart buyer will have made their own connections with contractors before entering escrow, so that they can give second opinions of the issues that come up. No buyer is an island.

When buying bank owned foreclosure REO properties, the seller will rarely make repairs unless there is a health and safety issue. The banks are reticent to negotiate much on repairs either, usually requiring buyers to accept the property as-is. This refusal to fix or credit is why REO foreclosures are sold at a discount. The bank is going to pass the problems to the new buyer.

So let's take a hypothetical example and assume that the buyer asked the seller for $10,000 in credit for closing costs for various maintenance items. The buyer will put that on their Request for Repair form (ROR), and the seller can accept, negotiate or cancel. I have never seen a seller cancel at this point, even if ROR was overkill. The seller in this example will counter back at $4,000 in repair credit and the two will eventually agree on $6,500. An addendum is drawn up and sent to escrow whereby the seller will pay $6,500 of the buyer's closing costs. The price will remain the same but the seller is going to be contributing the $6,500 to the buyer's expenses. The buyer is not receiving cash from the seller, they are only getting credited money to close. If they don't use all of that credited money at the closing, they lose any unused portion. It is very rare that lenders will let a buyer walk out of escrow with money in hand that they didn't bring in themselves. It is important buyers remember this and make sure they can spend all the money they are asking for as a seller credit! After the dust has settled and an agreed upon amount is credited or repaired, we move on.

5. Get an Appraisal. This step is only for buyers getting a mortgage. The lender will always need to appraise the property. Appraisals are usually $350-$500 and usually paid by the borrower in the form of an Application fee. Since the advent of the HVCC appraisal code, appraisers are not chosen by anyone who has an interest in the transaction. The intention to avoid potential conflicts of interest is good with this law, but the actual effect is that appraisal orders get farmed out to the lowest bidder and the resulting quality of the reports is equally low. Appraisers used to be local and knowledgeable about market factors in the neighborhood (Schools, Crime, Views, Amenities, etc). For the most part, they are not at all like that any more, and are only valuating the house based on price per square foot of nearby comps. This is an overly objective approach to valuating homes and can result in wild swings of variation, often lower than the asking price. If the property that the buyer has under contract does not appraise at the price that the buyer has on their contract, they can cancel (provided they did not waive that right on their offer). Alternatively, they can take the appraisal to the seller and request that the price be lowered to the appraised value. Since the seller will presumably have this same issue with any buyer, they have a reason to consider lowering their price. Buyers should ensure their agent evaluates the comps before writing an offer far over the asking price. A lot of time and heartache can be saved by doing some diligence. After the appraisal comes back to the lender they will issue a loan approval and will require conditions from the borrower, escrow and title companies. Time is of the essence, so when the agent or lender requests something it is important to get it to them right away. I always tell my buyers that when the loan officer says "Jump", they say "How High?".

6. Get Natural Hazard Disclosure report and Title Prelim, The Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) report is not mandatory but is recommended. It contains 30+ pages of potential hazards in, under and around the property. The scope of the report is vast, covering everything from Radon gas to Seismic activity to landslide and liquefaction potential to airport noise. The reports are prepared by private companies who are responsible for the validity of their data so they always tend toward over disclosing. As before with the inspection report, some bad news is inevitable. Life kills and after seeing some NHD reports, it's a wonder how anyone could live in the houses. But they have, and in many cases the house has been there for 70-80-100 years and people have been living there. Don't get too flustered when the NHD comes back with some problems. At the same time, there are some important issues that should not be taken lightly. Some of those issues are;

1. Fire hazard area. In Southern California, If the property is in the hills or not surrounded by other structures in an urban setting, it is probably in a high fire area. The ramifications of this are higher homeowner's insurance premiums for life.
2. Radon Gas. Radon seeps in through the soil and collects, usually in ground level or basement areas. There are three levels of Radon gas disclosed. If it is beyond level 1, I recommend another Radon specific test. Radon is bad news, especially for young children developing.
3. Mello-Roos tax districts. Mello-Roos taxes and other supplemental tax assessments run with the land and can really break the bank. The NHD will have information on every expense that has to be paid with the property. Usually the Title report will have this data too, but the NHD is the most accurate source of information for this.
4. Proximity to old Oil Wells/Mining sites- This is most frequently associated with gas coming up from the earth. There are plenty of oil well sites around Southern California and some still leak off methane and other gases that can be dangerous, if not foul smelling.
5. Flood zone. If the property is in a flat area it may be in a flood plain and that requires higher homeowners insurance coverage.

There are many other issues that the NHD will touch on, and the agent will be the first point of contact for questions.

The preliminary title report is issued from the title company. This report shows the history of the property, sometimes going all the way back to the Spanish occupation of California. The title prelim shows any and all liens on title of the property. If the seller didn't pay taxes, had a contractor slap a lien on the property or borrowed money against it then all of this will come up on the title prelim. The title companies' job is to insure the homeowner against any defects in title, so if they miss anything at all they pay for it. They never miss anything. The lender will require a title insurance policy to protect their interest in the property. The buyer does not usually concern themselves with what is contained in the title prelim, if there are hidden costs then the agent or escrow will alert the buyer right away and the buyer can act accordingly.

After the buyer has these reports in and signed off and their appraisal is completed, they are almost done. Buyers will sign off on all of their contingencies, which means that they have to close or the seller can claim their earnest money deposit. There is usually a time in every transaction when all the contingencies are signed off, but the loan is not ready to fund. A skilled agent will negotiate with the seller to give them what they want, but buy more time for the buyer's loan contingency. The reality is that lenders are never 100% reliable and can back out at literally any moment without warning. Ideally, buyers want to keep their loan contingencies until they close but it is not always possible. If the time comes to take a leap of faith, rest assured that many before have done so successfully.

7. Sign Loan Docs By the third week into the transaction, the loan docs are usually ready to be signed. The buyers getting the mortgage will sign the docs in the presence of a Notary Public, or at the escrow company. Buyers should request an estimated HUD from the escrow company before signing their loan docs and compare it to the lender's initial Good Faith Estimate. Any increase in charges should be addressed to the lender as soon as they are discovered. Some charges are unavoidable but there should be no more than a couple hundred dollars difference. If the lender hikes up the fees then call them out on it and don't accept the loan. It is an age old trick of money lenders to wait until the borrower has no other options and then increase the fees and rate. Although this practice has lessened since the mortgage industry underwent a major overhaul in 2010, it is still prevalent at closing tables across the country. Because of this, I recommend applying for mortgages with two or more lenders if possible. Playing them one against another can lead to the best deal, but it is a lot to keep up with. If the buyer has any questions at all, ask! Don't be afraid to get answers from your lender. Remember they need to lend money to stay in business.

8. Closing Time After the loan docs are signed they go back to the lender and the buyer wires their money into escrow to close. There will be several lender conditions prior to funding-usually updating paystubs and bank account information. At this point many buyers are at the end of their rope but stay with it, the very end of the transaction is just as important as any other point. When the loan underwriter is satisfied, they fund the loan by wiring the money into escrow. Once the loan is funded, escrow disburses funds to the seller and deed to the buyer, gets the deed and mortgage information recorded at the county recorder and gives the buyers the keys to their new home. This is a happy time for everyone.

I hope I was able to shed light on the process of buying a property for first timers or anyone who might benefit from it. Buying your home is never a walk in the park and indeed it can be a stressful journey but in the end, all of my buyers unilaterally say that it was worth it. Home ownership is the biggest preserver of wealth for most American families. Right now is an ideal time to buy property. We have a perfect storm of real estate is in a downturn and interest rates are extremely low, the time is right for more people to take a step into home ownership.
For any questions, feel free to contact Sky Minor.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Buying a house step by step, pt 1.

After reciting the same monologue for nearly a dozen times this year, I realized that standardizing it online would be a great teaching tool. First Time home buyers or people who haven't bought in a while are always curious as to the process of buying Real Estate. I deal in California-Los Angeles in Particular, but the process is fairly universal around the country. Here is an outline of the homebuying sequence in order from start to finish.

1. Secure Financing.

-Get preapproval from lender within 60 days. Have the down payment ready and don't leave your job or apply for credit from anywhere until your loan is closed. You'll get a good faith estimate (GFE) from the lender for closing costs so you'll know what the bottom line to bring in will be. Budget for Title and Escrow fees if it is not included in the lender's GFE. Typical buyer's closing costs are between 2-3% of the purchase price so make sure you have that amount in addition to your down payment. Don't move money around, keep it in one place until you close. If you have to move any money keep the paper trail because the lender will need to account for every dollar.

2. Find the property, write your offer, get it accepted.

-Finding the Property is the fun part. Your agent should be showing you many properties, and you should be learning from each one. If something feels right to you, it usually is. Once you begin to write offers there are many things to be aware of in the fine print. These details can mean thousands of dollars coming from your pocket at closing so understand clearly everything you are offering to the seller. Some details I see: Transfer Tax, unpaid assessments, Mello-Roos taxes, Termite repairs, smoke detectors and on and on. Once the contract is accepted then it is taken verbatim by everyone involved so make sure you are OK with what you are putting on it. Ask your agent what the protocol and customary fees are for the items that you are including, they will know and advise you. This is why they are getting paid.

It is impossible to know everything about the property when you are writing offers on it, so don't worry too much about uncertainties in the beginning. As knowledgeable as your agent is, they won't be able to tell you absolutely everything about the property's maintenance history, neighborhood information (especially ethnic or racial makeup-by law) etc. The successful buyer needs to be able to act quickly with limited information. The best properties never stay on the market long in Los Angeles, despite economic or market conditions. The early bird gets the worm with real estate so don't get "analysis paralysis" as Rich Dad calls it. If you know the property is right for you, write the offer. You have plenty of time after writing it to change your mind, so put pen to paper now. Once it is accepted you will have an inspection contingency period and a financing contingency period usually 17 days. If you find something that you do not like, or are unable to obtain the mortgage that you said you would get on the offer, you can pull out no harm no foul. The chances are, you won't get your first offer accepted anyway. I did not have one single buyer in 2009 who got the first place they wrote an offer on. One of them is on his 12th offer. Buyers cannot be afraid to write offers, but with that being said they should be careful to dot the I's and cross the T's with every offer.

After the offer goes in, the seller will most likely counter-offer and request concessions. Higher price, shorter escrow, less closing costs etc. This negotiation is natural and should be approached with patience and serenity. Don't be flustered by aggressive counter offers, deal with them knowing that you are making progress. Too many times first time buyers bury their head in the sand at the first counter offer, probably because they feel intimidated not having negotiated much in their lives. That's perfectly acceptable, but I don't think any buyer should give in too easily to the sellers' demands. Many times the seller's agent will create inuendos about other buyers circling the property ready to pounce like well-funded lions, but in most cases it is a bluffing tactic. Keep a cool head and act rationally. This is another area where your agent has to earn their keep. They will be able to guide you, and should be heeded. After the dust settles and a counter offer is signed by both buyer and seller, notify the mortgage lender immediately and send them what they need right away to start underwriting the mortgage. It is important that the buyers do not make any large life changes once an offer is submitted. Don't change jobs, don't move money around, don't buy anything aside from everyday items, don't apply for credit and don't let anyone run your credit report for any reason.

3.Open Escrow, put down deposit money.

-Escrow is a neutral third party licensed by the state to carry out the contract. They ensure first that the seller doesn't take the buyer's money and the buyer doesn't take the seller's property. They ensure that all taxes get paid, all liens and any claims against the property get paid, every expense is accounted for and prorated up to the day the buyer takes title to the home. All money gets sent into escrow and sent out by escrow. The buyer will have to send in their earnest money deposit to escrow at this point. That is usually done with wire transfer or cashiers check. Escrows rarely accept personal checks. Wire transfer is easiest but it usually costs $30 each time. Escrow will send you out a small pile of paperwork to fill out. That paperwork needs to be returned to them as soon as possible. The buyer will need to determine their vesting, need to give background information and other questions. If your agent is not available, calling the escrow company for questions is perfectly acceptable.

Once escrow is opened, the clock starts ticking with the buyer's agreed upon Inspection and Loan contingency periods. Every day counts, so buyer's need to be ready to respond quickly to the requests of the lender, agent or escrow company. Email is the best way to send paperwork back and forth because it's possible to pull up what was sent and received by everyone involved. Make sure you keep or get copies of everything that you sign and keep it for your records.

4. Get a property inspection.

Getting an inspection is currently not mandatory in CA but it should be. I require all Preferred Realty and Loan buyers to get an inspection, even on new houses because you never know what you'll find. Inspectors are licensed and bonded professionals and hold insurance policies in case they miss anything in their inspection report. They never do. The agent will be able to recommend an inspector to you. They cost from $250-$450 on most houses and condos and are usually paid by buyer. If possible, go out and meet the inspector at the property when he's inspecting and ask questions. Inspector are typically contractors and they all know what to look for. They will provide you a large report outlining everything that is notable in the house. When you get that report, don't feel too broken hearted when problems are disclosed. Most houses have problems with them, especially in LA where most houses are 50+ years old. Things to pay attention to in inspection reports are: -Foundations, especially on hillsides. Foundation ideally should be bolted to the piers (wood beams). Foundation problems are seen in cracks that go from ceiling to ceiling or floor. In hillside houses, it is natural for the soil to move 1/10" per year. Keep that in mind.
-Any leaking water in roof or pipes. Water entry is the biggest problem in houses. Even in the desert climate that Southern California water is still an issue, and anywhere that has water should be examined for dryrot. Mold is a frequent accomplice of water leaks, and should be examined (although there are hundreds of different strains of mold, only a couple of which people are allergic to.)Mold can pose a problem for potential landlords. Also look for water coming off the roof and not flowing alongside the structure.
-Old elecrical systems, if there are air conditioner units or other large power draws. An updated 220v electrical box on a 1500 sq ft 3+2 house will cost 3-4 thousand dollars. Look at the breaker panel. If you see cloth wires going to a fragmented, unlabeled center then it's probably going to need to be updated.

There are more issues to discuss when seeing home inspection reports, but this blog is only so big. When you get it back, look at the report closely and ask questions about everything that is unsatisfying. The requests for repair will be based on this inspection report, and that is a fun time for buyers.

That is the conclusion of the first chapter of "Buying a house, step by step". Stay tuned for the second installment of this series. For a personal discussion, contact Sky Minor.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something stinks in LA REO brokering.

After another night of licking my wounds from trying to get my buyers houses, I took a look backward to see where all of these ludicrous bidding wars are ending up settling at. I became more than a bit disheartened when I saw a particular listin on 4674 Toland Way 90041. I have special affection for this property because I wanted it and made a very attractive offer for it. It is a beautiful 3+2 with a massive yard in a great section of Highland Park. It was listed for $319,000 on 7.20.09. We offered $355,000 with a 25% down payment on 7.24.09. We were told that our offer "met all of the seller's criteria" and was in the running. Like so many other offers, this one was never consumated into an escrow. We were told on 8.4.09 that the seller had taken another offer. We later discovered that the seller had taken an offer for $340,000 with only 20% down payment. Why would any seller take a lower offer with less of a downpayment? It just does not make sense, but it is on track with the summer of 2009 wild west real estate market in Los Angeles. I for one think that something illegal is going on with the listing broker. It seems that every time an REO comes for sale in our area that is over bidded on and one or more of my buyers is involved, the final selling price ends up being lower than what my buyers bid. What is happening over there in Glendale?

Monday, September 21, 2009

A brief pep talk to buyers.

As a real estate broker in one of the affordable and rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods of Los Angeles, I have the duty to be the truthsayer to my newbies about what to expect from buying a property in this day and age. I was just emailing this tidbit off to a buyer, and I thought it was too good to omit from the public eye.

The real estate market is hyper-competitive right now. (It usually is in LA). The only way to even have a shot in the lower price ranges is to get there right away when something becomes available. That's our job as Realtors, to bring you the top properties. But if you want to actually get one, you're going to have to get there right away and write a strong offer (i.e. over asking price with a good down payment). We can lead a horse to water, but we can't make them drink.

We know the homebuying process can be daunting, but the reward for going through this gauntlet of heartbreak and frustration is that prices are finally reasonable and within reach. For everyone who qualifies for a $300,000 mortgage, it becomes a question of if they will ever to be able to afford a home in LA if they don't get it now. Everyone who qualifies for only around $300000 in mortgage should strike while the iron is hot.

So don't give up, and when things come to you do go take a look. You'll be happy you did.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Is America finally coming down from it's decades-long materialistic binge?

I have always thought that Americans are simply crazy about consuming. As a country, we buy so much crap that we don't need. I have been rallying about this for decades but no one really paid attention until the last two years and our collective national belt-tightening began. Now it seems my country has a ray of hope! We are finally saving our money again! Granted we'll still have a long way to go until we reach Japanese levels of personal saving but at least it's not a negative rate any more!!! This paragraph is from a mortgage broker blog that I read for my home buyers and it makes me smile.

Are big price cuts "artificially" bumping up Retail Sales? Studies have shown that consumers are shopping at second-hand stores in growing numbers, cutting back on luxuries and putting money in the bank - resulting in the highest saving rate in 16 years. We appear to be putting off visits to the doctor, not grooming our pets, choosing store brands over big-name brands and turning to do-it-yourself manicures and pedicures. And we are shedding the things we've accumulated over the years: garage-sale listings on Craigslist shot up 60% in the last year, either because we're less materialistic or we need the money.

Hopefully option A! I tell everyone who asks me if they can buy that they'll need at least $20000 for a down payment and closing costs and it's shocking to see who has that amount and who does not. This goes into "Millionaire Next Door" Territory, so I'll save that for another blog. In conclusion, it's good to see us pinching pennies like everyone else in the world has to do!

Monday, June 1, 2009

AHSMI blows a deal out of the water.

loss mitigator Samantha Mai has just cost her company AHMSI $89000.

I have a contract on a property in the Valley that was a short sale. The contract price was $319000. The bank agreed to sell it to them. Samantha Mai was the assigned loss mitigator. She does not return emails or faxes and will return 1 voicemail for every 12 calls, always calling from a blocked number to shield herself and her company from being exposed for their nefarious and ultimately stupid decesions. Nonetheless AHMSI agrees to sell it for 319.

AHMSI had a change of heart and renigged on their offer and took the house to auction. To reiterate, they had an offer at 319 from a buyer for it. They sold it at auction for $230000. That is an $89000 discount on the amount that I had in on it!!!

Why the heck would any employee or company follow such abhorrent and backwards business plans?

The answer of course is because AHMSI, who used to be Option One (subprime mortgage lender) has made pure profit off that loan!. They initally funded $550000, sold that note to some other investor for $565000 and got their 1% annual servicing fee too. When the poop hit the fan, Option One folded and AHMSI was started to protect Option Ones' assets from all those pesky creditors and investors who wanted their money back. All of the loans that Option One had were transferred over to AHMSI, who resumed servicing. When the payments on this particular note stopped coming in, AHMSI sells it and everything they make is pure profit, because they've already sold the original mortgage immediately after originating it. All icing on the cake. Oh, and let's not forget something here: AHMSI GOT BILLIONS IN BAILOUT MONEY-that means they made money three times here. First, originating and selling the loan. Second when they foreclosed on the house and made money in attny fees, etc that they charged to the loan's owner and third sucking on the gov't tit for all it's worth.

How long will we tolerate this?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Man these REO's are going fast.

It seems to me that the East Side market is heating up in proportion with the weather. I've written 8 offers in the last 10 days for 8 different buyers on 8 different properties and not one of them has yet been countered or denied or even responded to. WTF are you loss mitigator/asset manager types doing all day long??.

Some of these banks are getting the hint that to sell a property quickly you need to underprice it and let it get bid up. When writing offers over asking price as is necessary on nearly all of these underpriced REO's, the question becomes how high to go. No one wants to drop more than necessary even for a great value. The way it seems to be occuring is that the bank will take a certain number of offers and let them all put in a highest and best offer in a silent auction for the property. This is a fiendishly clever strategy because no one knows where the bid is at, buyers can be made to bid against themselves blindly. A rich man once told me that auctions are a great way to sell something, not so good for buying something. Food for thought.

The price of real estate
in most areas (sorry, Silverlake) is about what it was in 2001. I'll see all you bargain hunters out there...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why I detest REO.

Fricking REO really chaps my hide. My buyers put in offers over the asking price, wait three weeks to hear something from the Asset Managers, then are asked for their highest bid, made to wait for another month and then told "sorry, we went with another offer that was 25% lower but all cash". I swear I want to wring the neck of these non-call returning, non-email returning, totally on their own schedule asset managers. It's almost to the point where I don't want to show any REO any more because of the nightmare of dealing with banks.

Let's take a step back and observe how disgusting this situation is.
Countrywide, Wamu, etc. all ventured into subprime lending, got greedy then got served with a hot, fresh plate of foreclosed houses. They come crying to the U.S. govt which writes them a blank check to cover their losses, then they turn around and resell the REO for PURE PROFIT!!! (remember, their initial mortgage losses were either totally paid off when they sold the crap paper to the next guy in line or were repaid with our ingenious Bush regime TARP plan.) In most cases, these lenders are out NOTHING on their foreclosures!!! Wait, someone has to foot this trillion dollar tab. Oh right, it's us taxpayers. And furthermore, the banks that sucked up all the TARP money are the ones buying the cream of the crop from the banks that can't stay solvent enough to pay their utility bills that month. These properties aren't getting sold to the general public, they are being sucked up by the heinously corrupt banks that are laughing all the way to with your and my money. I feel sick.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rent-versus-own balance shifting

As home prices continue to drop, the rent versus buy equation keeps changing. From "Renters lose edge on homeowners" Wednesday in the Wall St. Journal:

Now, after two years of rapid home-price depreciation, the relationship between the cost of rental payments versus after-tax mortgage payments is tilting toward ownership in a number of metropolitan areas.

Over the past 18 years, after-tax mortgage payments have averaged 26% more than rent payments, according to Green Street Advisors, a real-estate consultancy based in Newport Beach, Calif. In 2006, at the height of the housing bubble, mortgage payments reached as high as 66% more than rent payments. But by the end of 2008, average monthly rent for the largest 50 metropolitan areas was $1,045, compared with after-tax mortgage payments of $1,300, assuming a rate of 5.5% on a 30-year fixed mortgage. That means mortgage payments averaged just 24% more than rent payments, the narrowest gap since 2001. ...

In Los Angeles, for example, mortgage payments averaged 60% more than rent payments between 1990 and 2008. Now, those payments average 30% more than rent.

"We're not saying on an absolute basis that it's cheaper to own a home, but on a relative basis ... owning is looking much more attractive than it has in a long time," said Andrew McCulloch, a Green Street analyst. While the shift doesn't mean that renters will rush to buy homes soon, "it's not a 'no-brainer' anymore if they're going to rent versus own," he said....

Carla Zeineh, 22, and her husband recently began shopping for a home in Irvine, Calif., and discovered that with a 5% mortgage rate, her monthly payment on a $350,000 two-bedroom home with 20% down could be less than the $1,800 month that they pay in rent on their two-bedroom condo.

Between the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit from the stimulus package and the $10,000 incentive for Californians to buy newly built homes, the rent-versus-own tipping point may not be far off for some.

I've got two properties for buyers right now that will both cost less than $1400 monthly including tax and insurance. Both are within 10 minutes of Downtown L.A. and 15 minutes from Silverlake or Hollywood. The time to buy is here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My awesome blog about Eagle Rock

I love where I live. Eagle Rock is a great place and I thought I would honour it in my Eagle Rock Real Estate Blog. If you're ever in The Rock, 90041 give me a call.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A little bit of well deserved self-promotion.

I initially had a very difficult time with hyping myself up. Usually when I would meet people who would boast about their accomplishments I would retract from them and thought that they were either exaggerating or totally unconfident with themselves and trying to compensate. In many instances, both. Over time I've come to realize that it is sometimes appropriate and even necessary to toot your own horn, and this opinion is echoed by Trump, Doheny and many other influential tycoons. After all, if you don't tell the world about what a terrific job you are doing then who will?

So without further ado, I will commence with the gratuitous self-promotion. I took a listing on a gorgeous four unit building in Highland Park right on the York Blvd. strip behind the York and Johnny's bar, a place I have known to patronize. The clients wanted to get the equity out of their property to buy a retirement house in Norcal and were either going to refinance it and hold it or sell it, cash out and then 1031 into their new property. After evaluating the financial health and general state of the real estate market we decided that it's not going to hit massive growth again anytime soon, if at all so holding off five years for a higher price and refinancing the property now didn't make sense. We decided to sell the four unit. I looked around for comps in my own area (I live here to, you know). Everything was either a beat up REO or drastically overpriced so I approximated $/sq. ft based on the two blocks north and south. The area is important to the future valuation of the property because real estate is defined as it's future earning potential so I needed to keep my valuations constant with what's on the block and what that is renting for. I came up with a figure in the high 400's and presented it to the owners. They were thinking more in the low 500
s, but I showed them the state of the market and especially the mortgage world and they understood that the pool of qualified buyers has been reduced by about 60% for this type of small apartment building. We agreed on a listing price of $499000 and I set out to snap some pictures, meet the tenants and hang my sign. After day one my pictures were up online and the MLS. I take pride in the fact that I maximize online exposure for my listing. (Just google 5025 Lincoln or 6412 Enfield). I was instantly flooded with calls and offers. In the afternoon on day two, I had a full priced offer from someone who lived two blocks away from the building. I presented it to the amazed sellers who instantly got giddy about their plans to retire becoming a reality. We had a deal in under 48 hours. Now THAT'S hot especially in this market and that's why I am the hottest Broker in L.A..

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How business is done in Illinois.

Speaking of contractors, three of them are bidding to fix a broken fence at the Governor's Mansion in Springfield. One is from the capitol city of Springfield, another from the small town of Petersburg, and the third from Chicago.
They go with an official from the Governor's staff to examine the fence.
The Springfield contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. "Well", he says, "I figure the job will run about $900: that's $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."
The Petersburg contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, "I can do this job for $700: that's $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me."
The Chicago contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the Governor's young staff member and whispers, "$2,700."
The inexperienced official says, "Hey, you didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?"
The Chicago contractor whispers back, "That's $1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the dumb guy from Petersburg to fix the fence."
"Done!" replies the youngster.
And that is how business is done in Illinois.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Now hear this! Your cellphone is going to be a telemarketer trap unless you do this.

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 20:34:25 GMT

REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.

REMINDER.... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls.


To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222 .

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.



Monday, January 12, 2009

Fascinating take on why defaulting homeowners don't really OWE the money on their mortgage.

I found this very interesting writing out in the blogosphere. It is written by an attorney who has several good points about mortgages and who truly owes who.

His contention is that you don't owe your mortgage. Basically, the entity who gave you the loan was paid back when they sold it to a servicer and that servicer was paid back when they sold it to a mortgage backed securities pool. That pool of MBS's was paid back for their losses from the federal government bailout and all of our tax dollars. That debt has been paid. These lenders who are foreclosing are essentially being paid twice for the original mortgage money they lent out. They are a crafty bunch and they've already gotten us to this point, why should we let them go further?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Auto-industry bailout aptly described by Calvin and Hobbes.

Leave it to Bill Watterson, the clairvoyant author of Calvin and Hobbes to adequately summarize our latest capitaliscum-socialist atrocity. When I see this, I laugh but I am also disheartened and saddened because it is true and the U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for the $15 lemonade (or in this case, trillion dollar bailouts funding heinous CEO bonuses).

This is the darkest time for capitalism in history. How can we rebuild this system and restore trust in the "Great American Way? I for one vote that we move to completely ban any employee bonus for all companies receiving federal monies until the full amount of the government contribution has been paid back to the U.S. Treasury.

Time and time again, we have seen that the privileged few are unable to control their greed and corruption and if left unchecked ultimately plunder everything before moving on. Think of every European revolution/uprising.

Why aren't the average citizens of this country taking to the streets in protest?

Monday, January 5, 2009

$7500 Tax rebate to buy a house !?

As if a 4.5% mortgage and freefalling home prices wasn't enough incentive to get sidelined buyers buying again, this Los Angeles Realtor has just learned of a new $7500 federal tax credit that will be extended to first time home buyers. It is not a complete gift, but a loan at negligable interest that is repaid over 15 years. Nonetheless, that's one more bonus to buying your first home right here, right now. Call me to take action and capitalize on the best home buying opportunities our generation has ever seen. 310-709-8283