Category Archives: Foreclosure

January 1st, 2013–Homeowner’s Bill of Rights goes into effect!!

Come this January 1st a whole new era in the foreclosure/distressed Market Place will come alive–the “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights”, most every state will have one, goes into effect. Some of the more dramatic highlights:

  • Tenants with valid leases written PRIOR to the foreclosure can have them REMAIN in effect. Tenant leases a home for a year, in writing, Seller goes belly-up, lease MUST be honored by new owner. However, any fraudulent work will have the lease dismissed.
  • You’ll see the Attorney’s circling as the HBR gives the homeowner broad reach–just how BROAD will be determined by the courts in the months to come. “Robo-signings” will be no more but if they happen and fraud is detected injunction relief will be the Homeowner’s tool! Here are all of the new “Rights”.


Big Medicine for a BIG Problem!

Holiday Halt for Foreclosures, BUT, Is your loan owned by Fannie or Freddie?

In Sonoma County, Ca., most “bubble” loans (loans originated 2004-2007) were not sold to Fannie or Freddie. However, double check with the sites below to see if your loan is owned by Fannie and Freddie. If you are in foreclosure, you may have a holiday delay in the sale of your home.  The links below will help you figure it out.

Short-Sale Sellers and their Agents–Please! Get a grip on the transaction. Chronicles of a Frustrated Realtor Team.



Short-Sales in Sonoma County, California–WHOA IS ME!  I had a client call me yesterday with a list of three properties. I pulled up all three and everyone was a “Short-Sale”. This client is in that market “sweet-spot” of  $0-$250,000. But I’d also include ANYTHING under $300,000. There was a total of 5 photos between the THREE listings. This is, in MY humble opinion, complete and utter BS!! We are allowed 24 photos PER listing in our MLS. WHEN did it become the NORM for a “Short-Seller” to ONLY have 1 photo in the MLS? Do the Realtors NOT realize we use these sales for comparable sales? What does ONE photo do for us when we are using these properties for comparables? Secondly, is this a tool to DISCOURAGE offers? Is the property on the market simply to “Stall” foreclosure? Why do I say this? Two of the properties had showing times of 2-5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday ONLY!! Another, 24 hours notice! And this is a SELLER!! NOT a tenant!

So what gives? When did a Short-Seller become a “protected class” of Seller? No open houses, NO broker’s open houses, One photo, 24 hours notice, ONLY showing ONE DAY between 1 and 4pm. YES–this is OUR NORM when it comes to Short-Sellers. It’s frickin’ maddening!! Why is this? Because the Seller doesn’t really give a damm if they DO the short-sale.  They probably have NOT made a payment in months, given up on the property, but a CPA or accountant or FRIEND told them they could get OUT of their house, have little credit hit and walk away owing the bank NOTHING. You THINK this would be a great incentive but NO–they treat the process with disdain and indifference.

We have had Sellers selling “short” state they will NOT clean up their yard waste, debris, personal junk in the backyard. One agent actually writes an addendum stating this. I’m putting forth a Short-Sale Proclamation shortly-WHAT WE, as a team, will DO to sell your home as a Short-Seller and what we will NOT do! Stay tuned!!

If we have NO REO’s–Does this mean Prices Will Rise? It did in Phoenix, AZ–UP 33%!! One of the hardest hit markets in the nation.

As the big Attorneys General settlement begins to sink in the banks are shifting and migrating away from the sale of Individual REO’s ( real estate owned or foreclosed homes) and this change in the retail market and REO’s influence is shown in the Phoenix, AZ marketplace. The REO’s there our at all time lows and guess what happened to home prices? They soared 33.1% over last year at this time. Now here in Sonoma County not only do we have a scarce REO inventory but scarcity THROUGHOUT the market as the following slides show. As REO’s are sold in bulk to large investment groups and sold at auction with more and more bidders, we will most likely NOT see all that big a segment in the retail or “street” marketplace. The graphs tell the story:


As you can see from the first graph, REO’s are down 63% over last year at this time. Whatever the reason, the absence of these listings will increase median price and having little REO’s will make the inventory MORE scarce and increase bidding for existing stock–hence RAISING prices. How much? Your guess is as good as mine. But with rates in the Upper 3% range the demand should remain high. Our “trough” or “bottom” came in 2009. The consumer KNOWS prices are on the rise and that this is a golden buying opportunity.

The graph below show how SCARCE inventory is THROUGHOUT Sonoma County.  Our Month’s supply of Inventory has plummeted by 71.3%. Every buyer KNOWS this as they and their Realtors compete against each other for a few properties with MULTIPLE offers.


Foreclosure Process for California, Sonoma County distressed property owners–KNOW THE RULES!

Foreclosure process in California with Milestones

Sonoma County, California, Alli and I have heartbreaking stories with many home owners in “property distress” who DO NOT know the rules or “milestones” associated with the foreclosure process.

First and foremost is ALWAYS open your mail. I know this is daunting when bills are piling up but you COULD have a juicy compromise from the BANK which could stave off foreclosure! Check with top-flight professionals who know the ropes of foreclosure or selling under financial “distress”. We have CPA’s and Attorneys who KNOW the right questions to ask you. And if a “Short-Sale” is a viable alternative then GIVE ALLISON and I a call for a free consultation. Remember, as Realtors we DO NOT charge UPFRONT FEES! We work on a concept known as a “contingent fee” which means basically–we don’t get paid until WE perform and have the OUTCOME you so desire. In the case of a short-sale it would be a successful sale with the banks and all involved lenders allowing you to sell without any further financial consequences for recourse. Talk to us if you are in need! 707-799-3617. Asset preservation–Family preservation!




Next BIG foreclosure market? How about Marvelous Marin?

Here in Sonoma County, California, 50% of all sales are distressed but look what awaits the affluent and upscale Marin County to the south! Some feel the many Pre-foreclosures or those with a big green “P” are the result of strategic walkaways. These are folks who have stellar credit, hardworking but cannot get their lenders to help them out with their “Under-water” nature of the loans secured on their homes. Have they had enough? Is this strategically mass walk-aways? This we will discuss in some lenght tomorrow!

Note all the "P"'s which are Pre-foreclosure--Notice of Default filed--Strategic Walkaways?

Join us this Sunday, 2/12/12 as we unravel the latest mortgage relief effort…could THIS be the real game changer??


Federal Government & Attorneys General reach landmark settlement with major banks

Roughly $25 billion in relief for distressed borrowers, states and federal government.

From the “” website.

After many months of negotiation, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government have reached agreement on a historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest loan servicers:

The settlement will provide as much as $25 billion in relief to distressed borrowers and direct payments to states and the federal government. It’s the largest multistate settlement since the Tobacco Settlement in 1998.

The agreement settles state and federal investigations finding that the country’s five largest loan servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct.  Both of these practices violate the law.  The settlement provides benefits to borrowers whose loans are owned by the settling banks as well as to many of the borrowers whose loans they service.

  • About the Settlement: Learn about the settlement, who is affected and what claims may still be pursued against the banks. Find links to your state Attorney General’s Office to find state-specific information and contacts.
  • Help for Borrowers: Learn how to find out if your loan is affected by this settlement, the timeline for relief, how you will know if you are eligible. Find links to your state Attorney General’s Office to find state-specific information and contacts.
  • News: Read the national news release and find links to your state Attorney General’s Web site for state-specific news.
  • Loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are not impacted by this settlement.  You may visit the following websites to learn if your loan is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:

Here’s what the plan will do for homeowners in specific situations;

Mortgage underwater but current with payments. More than 10 million homeowners in the U.S. owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. The latest plan would enable people who have been making loan payments on time to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing with lower-interest loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration.

Mortgage underwater and behind with payments. More than $12 billion to be set aside to reduce principal for homeowners who are behind on their payments and owe more than their houses are currently worth.

Victims of foreclosure fraud. The plan will provide payments of about $2,000 a piece to approximately 750,000 families that have been the victim of improper foreclosure practices. Most commonly—routine electronic notarization of documents being transferred from one financial institution to another as part of the foreclosure process–a practice known as robo-signing.

This will most likely apply to people who lost their homes between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011.

20880 Heron Drive, Bodega Harbour,California–BEST VALUE UNDER $600,000! Sweeping Ocean Views

We have one of ONLY 3 properties currently available in the prestigious and sought after Bodega Harbour in Bodega Bay. Call Allison NOW to preview this coastal home: 707-799-3617. This Coastal property has sweeping views from the Marin Headlands to Bodega Head. Watch the “crab boats” ply the waters as they come and go through the Jetty to their crab pots out in the blue-green Pacific Ocean. Sunsets, seals barking from the rocks below, fine coastal dining and golfing to your hearts content–all facets of the Bodega Harbour experience. I’ve prepared a chart showing just HOW tight the market is out at the coast. If you thought obtaining a coastal home was beyond your limits RE-THINK this again! At $529,300 this home is affordable and would make a GREAT vacation rental bringing in extra income when you are NOT there. Or make it a “year-’rounder” as it has just under 2,000 sqft PLUS a guest suite below with kitchen and full bath.


  As you can see by the above chart–ONLY 3 homes are currently on the market in Bodega Harbour. Our listing at 20880 Heron Drive is  THE best value when comparing square footage and views AND the guest unit down stairs. Also–if you’re THINKING OF SELLING–our final % to List Price is WAY above the average. Saving almost 11% when selling your home can be HUGE in today’s marketplace. If you wish to search for property simply use our “Market Snapshot” in the upper right hand corner or call Allison Norman to schedule an appointment to see your home.

Sonoma County Short-Sale History–How many, Hot-Spots of Sales, How LONG does it take? Read ON!

Here in Sonoma County,California  Short-Sales are a consistent part of our monthly sales. Our market currently is 50/50 Distressed (gun to your head selling–short-sales) and Bank Owned(REO-real estate owned or foreclosed upon bank owned homes). The other 50% of the market are “elective” or “equity” Sellers.  Our clients keep asking  WHEN will  a “normal” market appear? A normal market, to us, will be total “Distressed/REO” sales in the sub 5% range of total sales.  In January Short-Sales made up 27% of total Sales with just slightly more REO/foreclosed upon homes at 27.7%!. Our “Elective” sellers are less at 49% of total sales. But this is NORMAL as in the “Winter” market most “elective” sellers DON’T market their homes. The Banks and Distressed Home sellers have no “Selling”  SEASON.


2011 Short-Sales by Month-No big surge here!

See any take aways from the above chart? NO BIG SURGE of SOLD short-sales.  Many though the promise of the government program called HAFA (Housing Affordability Foreclosure Alternative)  would be a “game changer” However, the numbers are JUST not there.  And NOTE the DOM or Days on Market ending the year at over 6 months! currently we have an enormous amount of properties IN ESCROW as Short-Sales. The “Under Contract” numbers are through the roof! We currently have close to 3,000 properties IN ESCROW.  Why the big number? Short-Sales GO INTO ESCROW but don’t leave anytime soon. So they “pile-up” and give us these bloated Continue to Show numbers. Of the 3,000 homes IN ESCROW as CTS or Continue to Show (early in the escrow process)  1911 are short Sales.  Short Sales account for 64% of ALL the CTS properties.  How many are currently “pending” (deal firmed up, contingencies removed) ONLY a paltry 38.  That’s a mere 0.02%.

     The other chart below shows 2008 through 2011 Short-Sales. We had an initial BIG jump between 2008 and 2009 but nothing dramatic year over year:


Tracking of Short-Sales began late in 2007. Here's "valid" numbers 2008 to 2011.











Sonoma County, California “New Contracts” bode well for the “Regular Buyer AND Seller”!

Sonoma County, California “under contract” sales tipping towards “regular sellers” and NOT the “distressed Marketplace”–could bode well for “move-up” market as regular sellers see value and low interest rates as a reason to make a move. See Chart below–I’ll explain this!


Regular Buyers are MAKING a comeback! Bodes well for MOVE up market


The above chart shows sales going back three years and is broken down into “Quarters” of the year. This report breaks out the Non-Bank portion of the marketplace or what Realtors call “Elective or Regular” sellers–those who DO NOT have a gun to their head (short-seller) or who own a property through the foreclosure process (bank owned or REO).  If you go back to 2008 you can easily see how the “Distressed” market dominated sales (Q4,Q1 2008-2009).  Now look at the last two quarters of 2011. One can easily see how the “regular” buyer market has rebounded. This can indicate a number of things; the distressed properties are NO longer dominating the listing landscape, “Regular” buyers are finding great value in the normal marketplace, consumer confidence is rising as “regular” buyers are once again on the move, interest rates are just TOO darn good! (3.75% FHA!).

  Why is this a good thing? The Mid-range marketplace ($400,000 to $750,000) has been suffering as the dominate “Sellers” where “Distressed” meaning they were NOT buying anything when they sold. REO’s or the banks are NOT buying in the marketplace after seller and neither are those selling their homes “Short”.  This surge in the “under-contract” marketplace of regular buyers indicates perhaps a move to this “mid-range” marketplace. We will need to watch this category to determine what price point is inherent in these numbers. But this portends of good things to come!