THE SECOND STORY | May 27th, 2011

Plant and Rant

Wow.  Twice in 3 weeks….last night after meeting with clients until about 8:45pm I decided to start getting the links for this week’s post.  MLS was down for scheduled servicing!  I must have missed that memo….and it was still down at midnight.  This morning I’ve been fitting pieces of 7 different transactions together (two for my partner who is back from vaca, and 5 of my own.).  So here we go.

Blog photo: This was taken last week at 1545 C Stonehenge, a listing I have that is in contract.  I’d not seen this flowering plant at the corner of the house near the garage, surrounded by pavement and stucco, under a non-dripping water spigot.  I loved what I saw because it was a reminder that I need to grow wherever I’m planted and the opportunities for that growth will be realized regardless of the challenges.  It’s a reminder that it’s what I have to do everyday, work or play.  And the message was delivered in such a subtle but rich way.

Blog post:  So the CAR (CA Association of Realtors) asked its members to sound off about short sales.  They asked and I did.  Except for a couple of changes to protect parties, here’s what I sent to them.

Dear Friends at the California Association of Realtors,

Thanks for the email blast to members encouraging us to sound off about short sales.

Here’s my story thus far.

Address ****  ******* *****, Alameda, CA.

I am representing a buyer.  It has been about 2.5 months since offer was submitted along with one other.  The Seller paid 880K for the place.  It came on the market for 600K.  It needs work.  My clients offered 485K.  The other offer was accepted by Seller. 

Agent assured my clients when they went through an open house that he was very experienced with short sales and he knew what he was doing.  He is not using a licensed facilitator but doing it all himself. 

Almost 2 weeks ago, when I was calling for another update, he said the first buyers dropped out, and another set came in.  Total of 3 offers (which I told him was news to me), and then quickly down to 2.

The bank, Wells Fargo, (it seems he’s only dealing with the first, Wells Fargo, since he never mentions Discover Bank, the second) then tells him to give a price out to the buyers for 571K and the buyers to submit their highest offer.  The agent also says the lender has a report of 32.5K in repairs and that has been factored into their offer to sell for 571K. 

My question to the agent was, where’s the list of items and pricing  comprising the repair list?  How did they get to 571K…let’s see the appraisal or something.  He says the lender won’t release the info.

I responded by saying not only it is unethical to have that info as ‘the seller’ but it is illegal to withhold it.  No response to that.  My clients elected to stay at their price and they are considering another regular sale, close by, in nice condition with a water orientation as well, that was listed about 3 weeks ago for 639K and last week dropped to 599K.

And another question I had for the agent is how are my people supposed to negotiate when they don’t have one thing in writing from the Seller that their offer is accepted by the Seller?

Where do these lender morons get off even negotiating and end-running the Seller? 

To add to that the title/escrow company, Placer Title, the Buyer’s choice, has determined the wife should also be signing the purchase offers since although the husband bought it as his sole and separate property, she signed her name to the second and that makes her a party of interest and completely involved in the transaction.  Nobody at Chicago Title, the seller’s agent’s choice, told the agent that when he opened up a pre-escrow (as we did at Placer Title, prior to making the offer).  I have not heard from the agent how the lender expects to deal with this.

AND to add one more thing to the mix, I checked the permit history, and the city has filed a code-compliance complaint against the property, and the agent never elected to dig a bit deeper and spend a few bucks to find that out.  Ignorance is bliss.

I expect to see this property go to foreclosure.

I have only dealt with 2 short sales (both on the buyer side) since this mess began.  All my other listings have been have been motivated sellers with clean, yet challenging (title issues, illegal units, code compliance issues, condition, tight money, etc) transactions.  But I was around in the early 1990’s when I did my first short sales and nobody even knew what they were then.  Of course this ginormous mess exceeds anybody’s wildest nightmares.

If I can be of assistance, let me know.

Thanks CA Association of Realtors for being a great trade organization.

Quick Glimpses updates on the state mandated (but unclear how it’s enforced) carbon monoxide detectors, required in single family homes July 1.

My listing at 108 B Cypress went pending two nights ago.  A long time coming for the very nice listing in Alameda’s only (and mostly rare in CA) stock co-op.  And I have clients who bought 5 Regulus so that is in contract also.

I wasn’t on the broker tour on Tues….held 924 Del Mar open and the property received very nice comments. If there are offers, the Sellers will review them on Monday.

Let’s get to the properties.

Unsold inventory this week  202, last report 201
Pending inventory this week  102, 104 last report

Broker Tour 13 with 1 repeat

Highest and Lowest priced NEW listings this week 
(1729 Buena Vista that shows up as new was on the market over 400 days…I’m pretty sure I gave it the Get me to Rehab award back then. I’m quite sure nothing has changed)

Remember…some of these may be expired and/or withdrawn/canceled or pending, and showing up as BOM or NEW.  There is some hopping amongst the categories out there.

New 14
Back on Market 3
Repositioned properties (price changes)13 
Pending 17
Sold 14
Expired 1 

ALAMEDA REAL ESTATE AWARDS THIS WEEK…remember this is only my perspective!
Get me to rehab
These owners have talked to me for probably 15 years….but I’m not the listing agent on this.  I saw it a year ago and I understand it’s not changed much.  Bring cash…lots of it.  Price should pull investors in.

Get me a facelift – short sale in the Harbor Bay Community.



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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!