Category Archives: Scams and Consumer Alerts!

Tom Havstad, Permit Consultant, winding your way through the county post fire!

Looking forward to long-term guest, Tom Havstad, permit consultant, and his take on the County of Sonoma and how it is coping with the onslaught of building permitting, septic issues and a post-fire working environment. Tom has great insight also on permitting structures which you might think are illegal or non-conforming. He can legalize your non-conforming lots too. Tune in for some frank discussion on the current state of the Permit Resource Management Division or “permit Sonoma county”!

Tom Havstad

Permit Consulting Services

12651 Fiori Lane

Sebastopol, Ca. 95472

Cell Phone: 707-695-0857

Office Phone: 707-874-2078

Fax: 707-827-8073

Website: www.permit-help.com

Email:   havstad@sonic.net

Podcast of Sunday, Oct 29th Show with Property Tax Assessor Bill Rousseau

Had a great discussion yesterday with County of Sonoma Clerk, Recorder, Tax Assessor and Elections Chief, Bill  Rousseau.  Click to hear the podcast! We had a far ranging discussion on keeping your property 13 status when rebuilding your destroyed home and repairing damage. Also, discussed:  Propositions 60/90 and how you can move your low Proposition 13 tax base with you if moving.  One of the emergency ordinances is found under Revenue and Taxation code 69.3. This allows larger parameters in a homes value if taking your old prop 13 tax base with you–up to 120% of the old value. Also, the number of counties allowing transfer of the old prop 13 base have been changed. Below are those counties:

Contra Costa,  Modoc,  San Francisco, Solano, Sutter, Los Angles, Orange, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Ventura.

Questions? You are encouraged to call: 916-272-3350 or your local County Assessor’s office.

Shark Alert!! This Sunday–Don’t wire your house downpayment to a crook!

Mark Bisordi, Gen Manager North Coast Title Co.Join us this  Sunday, July 16th as Mark Bisordi, General Manager for North Coast Title Company, talks to us about the scammers out there who intercept or have you falsely wire your down payment NOT to the title company and your escrow account but to a crooks account. One couple in Tahoe recently sent $1.5 million to a scammer and lost the entire amount! NO INSURANCE for this folks! What are the steps to protect yourself? Here are some quick tips!

Don't wire your down payment to a fraudster!
Don’t wire your down payment to a fraudster!
  • Call, don’t email! Confirm all wiring instructions by phone before transferring funds. Us the phone number from the title company’s website or a business card. You also have an “opening order” statement. This tell you your escrow number, escrow officer and her/his number
  • Be Suspicious! It’s NOT common for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment info–be aware and confirm!
  • Confirm it all: Ask your bank to confirm not just the account number but also the name on the account before sending a wire.
  • Verify immediately- You should call the title company or real estate agent to validate that the funds were received. Detecting that you send the money to the wrong account within 24 hours gives you the best chance of recovering your money.
  • Forward, don’t reply–When responding to an email, hit the forward instead of reply and then starting typing in the person’s email address. Criminals use email address that are VERY similar to the real one fora company. By typing in email addresses you will make it easier to discover if a fraudster is after you!

Sonoma County, California consumers-anti scamming alerts! Department of Real Estate articles.

 

Attorney Jeremy Olsan joins us today--Foreclosure-ShortSale Scams to Avoid!

Thanks to attorney Jeremy Olsan for providing us with special updates on Senate Bill 458 plus Scam updates regarding pre-foreclosures, short-sales and Loan Modifications. Invaluable to any of our listeners facing a situation of a distressed property. He wanted me to post these Department of Real Estate articles for our listening audience. Remember- an informed consumer is the BEST foil against scammers and sharks!

1. FRAUD WARNING REGARDING LAWSUIT MARKETERS REQUESTING UPFRONT FEES FOR SO-CALLED “MASS JOINDER” OR CLASS LITIGATION PROMISING EXTRAORDINARY HOME MORTGAGE RELIEF—Here’s the link to the whole article:

http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/ca/ConsumeAlert_WarningreMassLitigation.pdf

2.  Consumer Alert: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself from Getting Ripped Off in Real Estate and Home Loan Relief Scams—Here’s the link to the whole article: http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/ca/ConsumerAlert_ProtectYourselfFromGettingRippedOff.pdf

 3. New Federal Rule Outlaws Advance Fees and False Claims, and Requires Clear Disclosures, Regarding Mortgage Assistance Relief (including Loan Modification, Short Sale, and Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure) Services—Here’s the link to the whole article:   http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/ca/ConsumerAlert_NewFederalRule.pdf

 4.  Update to DRE Issued Consumer and Industry Alert(s) Regarding Short Sales Fraud, and Related Issues—Here’s the link to the whole article: http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/ca/ConsumerAlert_ShortSalesUpdate.pdf

 5.  Preventing Real Estate Fraud: How to Protect Yourself and Your Home—Here’s a link to the rest of the story:

 http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/re17.pdf

 

 

This Week on The Real Estate Hour; Aging in Place, tips for our growing population of Senior homeowners, and their families.

As the country braces itself for the “Silver Tsunami”, we need to arm our Seniors with good information and guide them through the on-slaught of  “help” they are being offered. Tune in Sunday 9-10AM on The News and Talk of Sonoma County KSRO 1350Am.

This week’s show will focus primarily on Senior homeowners who wish to remain in thier homes and “age in place” gracefully….and safely.  Our Guests Marilyn Barnes of Senior Helpers North Bay and Frank Samson of Senior Care Athourity are both strong supporters of the local senior community. They offer a wealth of information on aging in place with reliable in home care, home alterations that may be necessary, and ideas on other ways to make staying home a good, safe option.

Marilyn Barnes; Senior Helpers North Bay

 Marilyn has worked in the homecare industry for 26 years, starting as a caregiver on nights and weekends and moving to management approximately 11 years ago.  Marilyn is an active member in the Sonoma Co. Execs. and a member of the Section on Aging Chapters in Sonoma and Napa counties.  Marilyn has been instrumental in starting many community education programs to assist in a better understanding of what services are available, what each service does and helping seniors and their families connect with such services.

Frank Samson; Senior Care Authority

 Frank has had a passion for senior care since having to care for family members and personally experience the challenges that face families today.  After several years of researching the health care industry, he began Senior Care Authority, which has already helped many families throughout Northern California.

 Frank is a member of Section on Aging Chapters in Sonoma, Marin, Napa and Solano Counties.  In addition, he is part of the Senior Roundtable in San Francisco. He was also instrumental in starting the North Bay Senior Alliance (NBSA), which assists the aging population with services from in-home care, senior placement, Medi-Cal planning, financial planning and legal services., His expertise in senior care has given him the opportunity to write regular columns on this subject in local newspapers.  In addition, he hosts a weekly radio show called “The Aging Boomers” on 91.3 FM, KSVY, Sonoma.

Merry Day-After Xmas! “A Xmas Story” marathon is DONE! Winner Announced Today!

A major award! Obvious “French” in origin–it says “Fragilly” on the box!

We will be drawing for our “Major Award” today for one of our lucky contestants in our “A Xmas Story” trivia contest. Stay tuned as the award will indeed be major!

  Also, Allison will be discussing the latest settlement from the Attorney General of California and 9 other states with one of the big “Peer Banks”. This time it is Wells Fargo’s turn to pay for the shoddy loans which Wells Fargo inherited when purchasing Golden West Financial (aka World Savings) and Wachovia. You’ll recall the AG made a very similiar arrangement with BofA and their Countrywide portfolio of loans. They all invole the same type of loan, “Pickapayment” or “NegAm” loans. The settlement numbers, if fully realized, could top 2.4BILLIONS!!

  If you suspect you MIGHT be able to get a settlement here’s the number to call: Toll Free–888-565-1422.  Wells Fargo will ALSO be mailing out notices!! READ YOUR MAIL!! See the full press release by going to our Box.net site! Here’s the link! Click HERE!

  2010 Year in Review–Part I–We’ll look at the market for last year. Do some dissecting, prognostications and general BS about the year that was!!

So you want to be a Landlord here in Sonoma County, California huh? Some thoughts BEFORE taking the plunge!

Being LandLord of Your Own Manor Isn’t Always What it’s Cracked Up to Be!

If you decide you want to be a “landlord” for your own rental property, you may want to consider that this decision may involve a lot of hidden responsibilities that you may be unaware of.

In fact, by choosing to rent out your property, you have created a small business for yourself. This means new obligations to the property, the prospective tenant, and the tenant you eventually choose. Have you read the civil codes? Considered the State and Federal Fair Housing Laws? Looked at your obligation to local housing authorities who may also have a say in how you perform these landlord duties?

 It begins with marketing the property correctly. Did you know there is a WRONG way to market property for rent? Continue reading So you want to be a Landlord here in Sonoma County, California huh? Some thoughts BEFORE taking the plunge!

Q&A Regarding Tenant’s Rights before and after Foreclosure Action!

After The Foreclosure Sale

Q 9.  If the borrower is an occupant of the property, and the lender forecloses judicially (not trustee’s sale), can the lender evict the borrower?

A  If the borrower occupies one of the units in the rental property and the lender has foreclosed judicially, then the borrower is entitled to possession throughout the statutory redemption period (either three months or one year depending on the amount received at the judicial foreclosure) (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §  729.030). The foreclosing lender can charge the borrower rent for this occupancy equal to the value of use and occupation (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §  729.090(a)).
However, if the occupant/borrower fails to pay rent, the lender probably lacks the ability to evict during the redemption period. After the redemption period, the lender should be able to pursue an action for collection of unpaid rents. (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §  729.090(a).)

Q 10.  If the borrower is the occupant of the property, and the lender forecloses through a trustee’s sale, can the lender evict the borrower?

A  Yes.  If the lender has foreclosed by way of a trustee’s sale, the borrower can be evicted immediately following a three-day Notice to Quit. (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1161a(b).) Continue reading Q&A Regarding Tenant’s Rights before and after Foreclosure Action!

National Association of Realtors Issues “Red Alert” Call to Action

NAR, the National Association of Realtors has issued a “Red Alert” call to action, asking all Realtors to join them in reminding congress how  important the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is to national and local real estate markets, and to the economy as well.

There has been talk recently of changes to, or the elimination of, the homeowner’s tax deduction for mortgage interest. The federal policy choice to support and nurture home ownership has been in the Internal Revenue code since its inception. Now is not the time to undermine that basic decision.

The tax system does not “cause” home ownership, People buy homes to satisfy many social, family and personal goals. The tax system facilitates home ownership. The tax system supports home ownership by making it more affordable

The state of the real estate market, whether thriving or struggling,  has a huge ripple effect, either buoying, or depressing local economies.  Research has consistently shown that a reduction or loss in the MID will cause the value of existing homes to fall. Research also shows that this loss in value is never fully recouped.

With the help and support of its members, the National Association of Realtors has stood up, once again, in support of the MID. They are asking for your continued support.

Realtors, you can go to the NAR website, Realtor.org, and will be connected via cell phone to your representatives in the House, as well as in the Senate. There is also a list of talking points (from a Realtor’s stand point)

For anyone else interested in taking a stand and voicing your opinion, you can find your representatives by going to;