Here’s an irritated real estate agent using YouTube to get her point across. She sold a house though a Short Sale with Bank of America. Meanwhile another department of the bank kept chugging along and was prepared to secure (lock down) the house pre-foreclosure. If the new owners of the home hadn’t been home, who knows what might have happened to all their possessions? B of A Short Sale buyers be aware.
This website is meant for Realtors, but may be of interest to viewers looking for more accurate information about Short Sales. There are a lot of scams going around, and we’ve heard some instances where inappropriate legal advice is being offered to troubled mortgagees. Go to http://ShortSaleCalifornia.org or click below to check it out.
All real estate is local, so take this news with a dose of blood pressure medication, and no salt. As of January, home prices in 19 of the 20 the major metropolitan areas are in decline, still. Just Washington DC saw an increase. It’s good to be the seat of government, I guess. More at the link below, if you’ve the stomach for it.
Northstate Realtors need to know a lot about water wells. Outside of our local cities, or the unincorporated areas served by local water districts, a homeowner’s only choice is to rely on groundwater. Modern well systems are not extremely complex electromechanical devices, but like so many things in the world of real estate, the devil is in the details. There’s a lot to know. On March 9, we were pleased to have a local expert on hand to answer our questions, Michael Colbert of Shasta Drilling.
Michael Colbert of Shasta Drilling
What does it cost per foot to drill a well? Where are there problems finding groundwater? What area sometimes has arsenic in the water? How do you sanitize a well? Does water witching work? All things a good local agent needs to know. Often, we are selling property to people who know nothing about water wells. Here is a diagram of a typical well system: There is a lot more to water wells than a hole in the ground. We stay abreast of these things to serve our clients more skillfully. Thanks Michael!
Reporter David Benda posted an article today in our local newspaper about Shasta County median home prices going up from $142K in January to $161K in February. Since it seems apparent that we are still in a declining housing market, the price increase seems counter intuitive. “I don’t know what that is due to,” quotes one of the real estate agents interviewed.
I wasn’t asked, but let me offer my opinion.
The article says there were 111 homes sold in Shasta County in February. There are roughly 77,000 homes in the county, so the sample was .0014% of all homes. I think that’s just too small of a number on which to base any reliable trend conclusion. On top of that, they use Median price, not average price. The Median is the numeric value separating the higher half of a sample, from the lower half. With such a low sample, all it takes is a few very expensive homes sold to skew the number higher month over month. That happens randomly. The statistic is meaningless.
One might as well read tea leaves to sense the market. But I understand the post. They have column inches to fill. Sometimes you just gotta write something about something.
Somewhat unrelated: I’d like to post my clarification/opinion over at redding.com. But the anonymous comment environment online there has become so poisonous that, as a small business person, I don’t think I can afford to be associated with what’s written there, which is too bad really. This is a small town, not cyberspace, and ours is a reputation based profession.
Locally, not so much. Sales have been slow here for while, and statistically hard to plot. By my measure, truly local Redding area home sales didn’t decline much. Slow is slow. In fact, sales were up a bit over last year. That coincides with our personal subjective opinion. But figure, there’s like 500 real estate agents in this town, and 120 transactions between us all is just weak. Well, nobody cries crocodile tears for 100% commission salespeople. That’s ok. Here’s the numbers:
“Existing-home sales in the West declined 8.0 percent to an annual level of 1.26 million in February and are 2.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $190,000, which is 5.2 percent below January 2010.”
That’s what they call them. Those agents that call on homeowners behind on mortgage payments, who have had a Notice of Default filed, calling to convince the occupant that they should do a Short Sale instead of having their home foreclosed. In truth, real estate agents cannot give legal advice, and if you are offered any, you should be immediately suspect. If you are in mortgage trouble and get a call from an agent, realize that the caller has a huge conflict of interest. They are paid nothing if they don’t sell a house. They have nothing to lose by calling. Whatever ethical challenge posed, the overriding concern of the agent too often becomes the possible sale.
I wish it weren’t so. I wish all my colleagues were driven by service to clients and ethical behavior above all, but in fact that just isn’t the way it works in real life. Money changes everything. Remember that PLEASE if you get that call from an agent.
One of the things I keep hearing sellers being told is that a Short Sale can “save” your credit. I cannot give legal advice either, but I do have a guide from the California Association of REALTORS about the relative credit effects of either Foreclosure or the alternatives. I am not allowed to post it here (I asked politely too). But I am allowed to reprint it and give it away to clients. There are 3 relevant Legal Q&As, as excerpted below:
SHORT SALES AND FORECLOSURES
Q. My client is a distressed homeowner facing foreclosure. Will a short sale be better for his credit score as compared to foreclosure?
A. No. According to www.myfico.com, both a short sale and foreclosure are considered very negative events for someone’s credit rating because they are not “paid as agreed” accounts. Furthermore, www.myfico.com states that, as far as a FICO score is concerned, “there is no difference between foreclosures and short sales.” A distressed homeowner may have other reasons to prefer a short sale or foreclosure, but the two options have the same impact on someone’s FICO® score.
C.A.R. Legal Articles:
• Credit After Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, or Short Sale
• Short Sales
• Taxation of Foreclosures and Short Sales
If you’d like any or all of these 3 articles in print, I can get that for you. But I won’t be calling on you, or offering any legal advice. Be wary of those that do.
The California Association of Realtors published a full page ad in California’s major newspapers yesterday pleading for lenders to make it easier to accomplish a Short Sale. Here is the text:
An important message from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®:
I write on behalf of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, whose 170,000 members continue to witness the devastating consequences the home foreclosure crisis is having on California’s families, neighborhoods, and communities on a daily basis.
The number of families affected by foreclosure is staggering. During the past three years, more than 640,000 Californians have lost their homes. With the number of homeowners who owe more than their home is worth hovering at 30 percent, experts predict there will be many more foreclosures in 2011 and 2012. Unless we take immediate, aggressive action to assist these homeowners, any meaningful recovery in the housing market and overall economy will continue to be delayed. Continue reading →
The membership of the Shasta Association of Realtors were pleased to have guest speaker Bob Angulo on March 2, 2011. Bob is the real estate fraud investigator for the DA. He was here to discuss the various investigations underway by his office, and to take questions from the Realtors in attendance. He was also interested in hearing what our membership had to ask about any potential fraud that they had run across. We learned of a heartbreaking story of elder fraud being investigated, along with the usual Craigslist scams and rental issues. Did you know that it is a felony to strip a foreclosure property? Its not uncommon to see foreclosed homes where appliances, cabinets, and more have been removed. Since those items are fixtures, if their value exceeds $950, the result is a felony crime.
Bob was followed by an impromptu appearance by the DA himself, Steve Carlton. DA Carlton spoke briefly about the change in focus that he will be bringing to his office, and he expressed his pleasure with finding such a great and dedicated staff already in place at the DA’s office. It was a very informative and thoughtful meeting.
If you have information about an instance of real estate fraud, Bob Angulo would like to hear from you. (530) 245 6350. Photos by Skip Murphy