Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The nitty gritty on the short sale

Short sales. No, they aren't sales that close quicker than the standard 30 days (by Bay Area standards). In a nutshell, a short sale is when the amount the borrower owes in loans is higher than what the property would sell for. Many lenders will allow the property to be sold for less than the amount owed on a mortgage and forgive the rest of what is owed.

Why on earth would a lender agree to such a thing?

Banks are in the business of lending people money, not owning their homes. By agreeing to a short sale the lender can avoid a lengthly and often costly foreclosure, with the owner paying off the loan for less than what is owed on it.

Each lender will have its policies and procedures for handling a short sale and the process can be lengthy, sometimes taking up to 3 or 4 months to complete. They will want a plethora of documents, so for those unorganized folk out there, you may need to hire a personal organizer to help you sort through everything. Most won't even begin the process until there is an offer on hand.

Alameda and Contra Costa Counties have been deemed "declining markets" by the lender-powers-that-be. Oh man. That doesn't sound so good. And it appears that areas of declining markets are also areas high in short sales. This does not bode well for Oakland, one of the leading cities in both foreclosures and short sales.

Up against the possibility of a short sale? First step: call your bank.

Now this is some scary juice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Foreclosure, any options?

The big "F" word, foreclosure. This word is becoming a part of many consumer's realities. But for many homeowners, they just don't understand what it really means. And most are generally unaware that they have options.

Check this out:

Foreclosure and Default Data, Alameda County:
January 2007-August 2007

Alameda: 16 foreclosures, 57 defaults
Albany: 6 foreclosures, 17 defaults
Berkeley: 33 foreclosures, 104 defaults
Castro Valley: 42 foreclosures, 129 defaults
Dublin: 34 foreclosures, 154 defaults
Emeryville: 44 foreclosures, 106 defaults
Fremont: 122 foreclosures, 455 defaults
Hayward: 199 foreclosures, 718 defaults
Livermore: 74 foreclosures, 281 defaults
Newark: 36 foreclosures, 179 defaults
Oakland: 466 foreclosures, 1529 defaults- *yikes!*
Piedmont: 10 foreclosures, 51 defaults
Pleasanton:18 foreclosures, 92 defaults
San Leandro:82 foreclosures, 340 defaults
San Lorenzo: 41 foreclosures, 119 defaults


Is the "F" word in your future? Well you aren't alone. Even Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is facing foreclosure.

If you are unable to pay your loan, put aside any fear or embarrassment you may have because there are options.

Here is a link to a recent article from I think it was well-written and is easy for the consumer to understand. Contained within the article are some options for those who are facing foreclosure.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tasty Pumpkin Curry

Oh boy, the BEST pumpkin curry can be found at Bua Luang on Solano Ave. in Albany. It is fresh, tasty, and there is a generous amount of pumpkin. And their fried sweet potatoes? Oh man, you gotta try them. Perfect place to eat lunch after a long morning of touring homes.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Catch me on Forum- NPR Radio

On January 25th I was part of a panel on KQED's Forum.

"In light of ongoing housing woes and with real estate sites popping up daily on the internet, we look at the evolving role of the realtor."

Host: Dave Iverson
Guests: Enrico Moretti, associate professor of economics at UC Berkeley and co-author of "Can Free Entry Be Inefficient? Fixed Commission and Social Waste in the Real Estate Industry," published in the Journal of Political Economy; Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of partner relations for; Krista Miller, real estate agent with Windermere Real Estate of the Bay Area; Rick Turley, president of the San Francisco Peninsula Region for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

It was an interesting experience. I was able to give my opinion, but it was done over the phone. Debating while on the phone (yes, we were all tapped in via land lines) felt detached. I had a hard time remembering what point I had just made as there wasn't a REAL dialogue, it was me and this entity, or voice, on the other side. But I made some good points and overall the forum went well. I hope you will tune in.