THE SECOND STORY | July 21st, 2011

Zillow – doesn’t have the details.

Blog photo: Gardenias in the back yard.  This will sound stupid but the first time I ever smelled one was in a wrist corsage I was given for a Homecoming Dance in high school.  It was kind of overwhelming (the event and the scent)!  I don’t feel that way now.  Love it!

Blog post:  A client (and dear friend) emailed me this morning saying she’d gone on Zillow to find out about the value of her home and was what it said right? (panic).

Simple answer NO!

Complex answer: Zillow doesn’t know a thing about location, condition, improvements, etc.  It is extremely unreliable yet lenders and appraisers use it as a tool.  It only knows algorithms.  And it works best in tract and cookie cutter homes but still can’t take into account the three items above.  I don’t know about algorithms, which is the only reason this a complex answer.  However,  I do know a tad about local real estate.

This is exactly why you want your real estate agent to see the ‘comps’ the lender is using you if you are trying to refinance and/or get a line of credit.  Example: A long time client wanted to secure a line of credit on her house.  She has an incredible employment history, fabulous credit, terrific payment history, and has a nice low loan balance.  Low.

Chase Bank told her what her house was worth.  She called me.  I asked for the comps they used.  Each was a complete fixer, bank repo, and/or short sale.  All the bank/appraiser did was go to a couple of sites like Zillow and put in the area and square footage and out pops ‘the comps’.  I gave her real market comps to give to the lender AND told her they just didn’t want to make the loan.

She updated me last week saying that indeed, I was right, they actually do not want to make the loan and had narrowed down what they were offering her, and upping the interest rate. Plus they ended up disclosing a few material facts that included some substantial ‘oversights’ regarding details about the line of credit she was pursuing.  She dumped them and is now working with another lender.  Gosh, if I had the money, I’d make this loan to her!

Folks, lenders are looking for reasons not to make loans, throughout the loan process.  You can beat them at their game if you understand they are documenting you to death, insulting your intelligence, and changing the rules on you anytime they want.  Document the docs you give your loan officer.  Be ready to give the same ones again but three weeks later for updates.  Have your ducks lined up.  Be sure and steady and read the fine print in the papers.  Get those closing papers a few days before you go in to sign, if at all possible.  Get a loan officer/morgtage broker who really knows the game.

After too many months and huge price reductions, the small 1/1 co-op unit at 1808 Main is pending!  Three offers this week!  What’s with that?

After less than a week on the market 906 Central, the fixer duplex received 4 offers, 1 of which was  withdrawn, and we may have some answers to work with tomorrow on that.

Quick Glimpses:
-Pay attention to this- jumbo loan amounts are being reduced and it will cost borrowers!  WSJ
-Pay attention to this one too!  was your line of credit yanked or cut?  Join the lawsuit! LA Times
(I love this one because it touches (by coincidence) what I wrote for the post!)

-Major banks are getting fined, sued, watching stock drop, offering compensation to borrowers, BUT still raking in billions in profits.  CNN Money

Unsold inventory this week 181, 183 last report
Pending inventory this week 101, 98 last report

Tuesday Broker Tour 8, no repeats  (you’ll see 11 because 3 are double entered as both single family and duplexes.

Highest and lowest priced NEW listings

NEW  16
BOM (back on market)  2
REPOSITIONED PROERTIES (price changes)  13
SOLD  11

ALAMEDA REAL ESTATE AWARDS THIS WEEK…remember this is only my perspective!
Winner  doesn’t it just gravel you when the agent doesn’t put photos in?  Even junk deserves photos.  At least one of the front or something!  This is not junk…

OK!  That’s a wrap! Carry on!  Have a good sunshiny weekend!  If I can be of help give a call.

best,  marilyn

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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!