Friday, April 30, 2010

Info on Cal's $10k home buyer tax rebate program

If you're buying a home which is closing after May 1, here's a link to the info on the Cal State tax credit.  Beware, however: experts predict that this fund will run out of money very shortly, so close and get your application in very soon.  Thanks, client Michael Nomoto, for researching this and for the link!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The west San Fernando Valley was disappointing today, which may not surprise anyone

Showing property in Reseda, Tarzana and Lake Balboa today was a total waste of time.  My client is looking for a small home or condo.  He's willing to do some work, but he's not willing to take on a fixer.  We spend hours combing the mls for him every week and picked out three homes that had promise. 

But no.

7413 Jellico Ave, Lake Balboa: this 3+2 has a huge hole in the roof/ceiling and a "condemned" sign on the outside. 17420 Vanowen #4 in Reseda is a total, gross fixer and we wish the mls had indicated that; and the lockbox at 19044 Archwood in Reseda was empty.  No return calls from any listing agents either.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Upshot on 724 University (pictured below)

See update below!
I listed the house at 724 University, in Burbank, a cosmetic fixer, for $559k.  It received 17 offers within one week.
Our seller chose the all cash offer with no contingencies.  That was not the highest purchase price offer, but it was quite a bit over the list price. We have several strong back-up offers, too. Here are some other numbers:

Open house attendees: 130+.  Partner Michele and I couldn't keep track of everybody. 
Offers from extremely financially well-qualified buyers: 16.  I’ve never seen so many high FICO scores (over 775) in my life.
Offers with over 20% down payment: 14.  One was as high as 42% down.
Offers at list price or higher: 14
People disappointed at the outcome: 16.

This process wasn’t fun.  We just really got a sense that the potential buyers had a lot of hopes and dreams riding on this outcome.  Many of the buyers had already put in good offers on other properties and had gotten aced out by other buyers.  Many also have children that they’d like to get into the excellent public school for the neighborhood.  And this gave me the feeling that we were messing up the buyers’ lives who didn’t get the house.  In retrospect, we should have listed it higher, but we believed the asking price was in line with the comps.  Yes, we probably would have still gotten multiple offers, but it wouldn’t quite have been such a carnival of disappointment.  This experience also confirms my belief that underpricing a home for sale isn’t the right thing to do just to draw multiple offers.  My experience lately has been that if a house is priced to sell at or around the asking price, it will sell just as quickly as if it is artificially underpriced.

A couple of other things:  we had virtually no print advertising for the open house.  Our 130+ people came strictly from internet and mls advertising.  I conclude that print advertising really is a thing of the past.

I was surprised when two separate buyer groups showed us proof of funds to close – in other people’s names!  Um, kinda fraudulent, yes?  Did they think we wouldn't actually look at the documentation?
Update April 28, 2010: we're already in escrow with the 1st back up buyers.  What happened: the first buyers were paying all cash and had submitted an offer without any contingencies.  We were dubious about this, but these terms were too good for our seller to pass up. Sure enough, late Monday morning, the buyers' agent called me to say that the buyer wanted $20,000 (!) back based on the physical condition AND wanted to get a loan.  Uh, no.  Here's your deposit back; go in peace.  The buyers in the backup position stepped up (for a higher price, too) and we're now in escrow with them.  (Gossip: the agent who wanted to renegotiate the terms for her buyer the minute we opened escrow is a member of a prominent Glendale real estate family.) Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weirdest question of the week

The oddest question I received at my Sunday open house: "Would you sell to a molester?" Which made me want to answer: "Why? Are you one?"

For the record, I always like to find out as much as I can about potential buyers.  But we have laws in place to protect people's privacy and civil rights, and I'm not the FBI.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How my short sale is going, Chapter 3

My short sale "file" has now been in the closing department of Chase since 3/29/10.  However, nobody has been assigned to the file yet.  I'm told that the closing department just got a lot of short sale files (you don't say!) and they will hopefully have a negotiator assigned this week.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Foreclosed pets in Florida/Gangs in Chicago

Sad news for foreclosed pets in Florida:

New 'Owners' of Foreclosed Florida Homes: 300,000 Cats

Tuesday, 13 Apr 2010 10:25 AM

By: Julie Crawshaw

Hundreds of thousands of cats roaming beaches in Miami-Dade County, where one in 10 homes are in foreclosure, are living and often breeding in homes abandoned during South Florida’s housing bust.
Professional cat catcher Rob Hammer told he estimates there are more than 300,000 feral cats roaming the beaches, and more than 100 cat colonies living in abandoned buildings.

Hammer — who normally takes the cats he captures to local shelters, where about 90 percent of them are put down because of disease — estimates populations are up 20 percent the last two years.

Area hotels and condo sellers are now waging a type of undercover cat cleanup, using Hammer as their main operative.

"Every day I have a different call. I mean, these hotels are now worried about their image. Their beaches are being turned into litter boxes," Hammer says.

At least cats don’t commit crimes. I'll say.

In Chicago, officials say that abandoned houses have become home to squatters, places where gangs and criminals stash drugs, plot crimes and evade the police, The New York Times reports.

The garbage inside attracts rodents (sounds like they need some cats), and the boarded windows symbolize neglect, which has a devastating impact on nearby property values.

Overwhelmed city officials, trying to trace the parties responsible for the dwellings, are facing a challenge unique to this crisis: Complex financial schemes hatched by predatory lenders eager to make home loans have made it tough to trace ownership of abandoned buildings.

© Moneynews. All rights reserved.

Thanks, Dana, for forwarding this.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New listing: location + incredible price!

724 University, Burbank 91504 
Here's my new listing in the Burbank hills. I've co-listed this with my colleague, Michele Crawght. It's an original Benmar, built in 1952, 1522 square feet on a 7000+ square foot lot, and it has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, HVAC, formal dining room, separate laundry room, 2 car detached garage and hardwood floors under the carpet.  It's a cosmetic fixer and the same family has owned and occupied it for over 50 years.  Here's the best part: it's listed at $559,000, which is about $100,000 less than similar, fixed up homes in the neighborhood are going for (see my listing last year on Birmingham).  The neighborhood is terrific, and Jefferson is the award-winning elementary school.  More pics can be found on my "Featured Listings" page at  If you're looking for a great Burbank neighborhood (location, location, location and all that) a wonderful house, and an incredible price deal, call me. 

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I'm outta here

...but just for a couple of days.  I'll be back at this blog later this week/weekend.  Hopefully with a brand-new listing!