Florida Governor

I have just finished watching the gubernatorial debate on TV. Here is my post on Rick Scott’s web site: (Rick Scott has several websites that do not allow comment – this was the ONLY one that allowed comment – we wonder why!)

Sir:

I have just finished watching your debate against opponent Alex Sink and to be quite honest, I don’t know who is worse…. you or her!

Number one: Your body language is appalling and you falter with every statement. This does not foster confidence in your voters. Neither of you have confidence in what you are feeding the voters and this leads me to believe that BOTH of you are simply currying favor with the voters, only to feed your own egos after elections!

Number two: You did not answer A SINGLE QUESTION! All you did was to attempt to discredit your opponent. Now don’t get me wrong ~ I am not convinced that she is the right choice either but by gosh…. you did a great job of playing right into her hands with your hell-bound mission to bring out every single infraction in her career! If you are so religious (as you claim to be), then you will respect the notion that they crucified the last perfect person!

Number 3… and more to my point: You blatantly state that you will reduce unemployment. Exactly how do you plan to do that, Sir? What is your plan as this was never addressed in the debate? And BTW… I expect a tangible answer to this question – in detail – not the waffling and evasion that you employed on television.

As a REALTOR(R) in both California and Florida, having suffered through the bad decisions and laws passed by government which has simply taken us from a bad economy to a WORSE economy, I would like to know what you plan to do to resolve the distress sale issues that we have in this State.

How strong will you be in representing the distressed owners against government officials and representatives who are so far removed from the problem, as to not care about it. PLEASE tell me that you do NOT favor a bank bailout because I cannot see why banks should receive funding – they are the ONLY ones making money out of this recession and the ONLY ones that have not had to make any sacrifices.

What do you plan to do about the banks who are grossly overcharging customers to the point where homeowners have no alternative BUT to go into foreclosure?

What do you plan to do about banks that encourage homeowners to stop paying their mortgages while they assess a loan modification, only to foreclose on them for non-payment of their loan?

What do you plan to do about fraudulent charges that banks bring to their customers, that they cannot reverse, due to the change in dispute law?

What will you do to combat the inflated appraisals that banks obtain through THEIR appraisal companies (at listing), which are then low-balled at a later stage (after sale), so that banks can sue to get the appraisers insurance money and put them out of business?

Education in this country, but moreso in this State is a JOKE! I have no faith in the next generation of so-called leaders, who have been schooled and graded, not on merit, but graduated on multiple choice question papers, marked by teachers who fear their students.

Oh…. and what would you do about curbing government spending on unnecessary staffing? Government – Federal, State and local – is fraught with staff that spend 20 years with nothing to do only to draw healthy government retirement plans (yes, I have known a few)! Are you prepared to CUT those members of staff to save tax payers money? And while we’re talking about it, how much clout DO you have? … Do tax payers REALLY have to foot the bill for past Presidents and other Officials, to live out their lives on pensions to the standard that they have BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO, when the taxpayer can’t afford their own retirement?

I have SO MANY QUESTIONS that I, my collegaues and our clients have brought forth, that this post could never be long enough. If you could answer just 1% of these questions satisfactorily, you might be successful in getting my vote – although I very much doubt it, because I am of the opinion that you have not thought further than the day of elections.

Furthermore, you state that with regard to marriage between homosexuals (that was how the question was put to you), is concerned, you believe that marriage is a state that exists between a man and a woman. You said this TWICE! Are you aware that gay people do not wish to live in Florida BECAUSE of that archaic belief? Because they KNOW that GOVERNMENT opposes same sex relationships? Are you aware that this drachonian belief is the very reason that our State is not more prosperous than it is now? If you believe that this is what your Bible says, then, Sir…. why do you shave your head? There was a time when Biblical law provided that men should not cut hair/shave their heads OR their faces! I mean…. if you are going to take the Bible at the very meaning of the letter, then please, Sir, do so in entirety – don’t pick and choose according to what suits you at the time. If, however, you are progressive enough to shave your face and shave your balding head, wear a red tie (which, incidentally was ALSO not dictated by your Bible), then at least have the progressive nature to allow the same courtesy to others! Live and let live!

Oh, and incidentally, I am a US Citizen who was once an immigrant. Secure our borders? What a stupid statement! Have you ANY idea how many THOUSANDS of miles constitute our borders (hint: look at a map of the US… um… Google?)? Clearly you have NO idea what this issue involves! Believe me, having come through the process of what took me 25 years at a cost of over $100,000, you cannot teach me anything about the immigration laws that I don’t already know and which NEED REVISING! You, Sir, have never been an immigrant, know nothing of the process and cannot even begin to understand how to improve the situation!

Please understand that I have not yet made a decision as to who I will vote for, but vote I will! I will not vote for a party – I will vote for the BEST person for the job, but help me out here…… at least give me A LITTLE SOMETHING to work with!

(I came to this country with the intention of having a beneficial input into the lives of the people – I will not be silenced when so much needs attention! I have no doubt that this post will never air on this site, so I am posting it on other sites, so that the people of Florida may be better informed).

Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

Selling Key Lime Pie

This economic crisis has affected the entire nation, but as far as the housing market is concerned, Florida was the first hit and has been the hardest hit and yet, property is flying off the lists here in Port Saint Lucie.

Our brokerage currently has 147 listings out of a total of 1608 properties on the market, which includes vacant lots. In an industry that has 1200 brokerages in the Tri-County area (Saint Lucie, Indian River and Martin Counties), Preferred Realty Executives ranked #11, making them the #1 boutique brokerage in Saint Lucie County!

How do PRE agents manage to stay on top of this competitive market? If asked if they think outside the box, these dynamic agents will tell you that they are so far ahead, they no longer HAVE a box! Instead, they have learned to MAKE KEY LIME PIE!

You’ve all seen them ~ virtual tours that show a picture perfect home in a picture perfect yard, but what you can’t see is the community…. the surrounding area, the state of the streets and road verges, what the area has to offer and what proximity the property is to features such as stores, museums, freeways, entertainment and if applicable, beaches.

When selling property, the surrounding area is just as important to the buyer, as the interior of the home, which in many cases has been ‘froofed up’ by a stager or interior designer. Hello????? All that ‘froofie’ stuff is going away, and what you’re left with is an empty house and…. Yup! .. the surrounding area! That’s the key lime pie!

When asked what the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) was, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz replied: “The experience!” That’s right… what draws people to Starbucks is not the delicious brews or the tasty mid morning snacks, but the whole experience and THAT is why Starbucks can afford to charge more for it’s products!

Preferred Realty Executives agents don’t charge any more for their services, which include commercial, industrial and residential sales, Title, Mortgage, Property Management and Business Investment, and that is why all 35 agents are busy! They GET IT ~ they believe that if you give the customer what the customer wants, and in this case, it’s information, education and exemplary service, the customer will be happy!


Althea GarnerREALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):Education Vice Chair – 2009

Is your buyer on the Government’s ‘Blocked’ list?

There are many documents that form a contract in a property transaction and by the time the property is ready for recording, the pile measures about 4″ or 5″ in height!

One of those documents, recently added by the Federal government, is the AFFIDAVIT OF NONFOREIGN STATUS – a one page declaration of who the buyer/seller is and this document is sent to the lender for screening ~ to be measured up against the 480+ pages (3 columns per page) of persons who are not permitted to purchase property in the US!

According to the Federal Secrecy Act, certain individuals are barred from buying property in the US, because they are at risk of money-laundering, either for purposes of terrorism, drug trafficking or on-line fraud, and this forms part of the 911 Homeland Security process.
http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/default.htm

“Pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act and requirements specified by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), seller will not engage in any transaction with an individual and/or entity that either a) appears on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, Specially Designated Terrorists, Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers, or b) that Seller suspects to be involved in suspicious transaction or a transaction in violation of federal law………..”

Although this document applies to all who enter into a property transaction, there are certain ‘red flags’ that would escalate such an investigation, one of which is the reluctance on the part of the buyer or seller to provide identity information or who provides incomplete or incorrect information.
http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/pages_manual/OLM_106.htm

If you think about it, sellers who accept cash deals without an agent, are placing us all at risk, because this vital step would be by-passed, thereby possibly risking the lives of innocent Citizens. Do YOU know who bought the ‘For-Sale-By-Owner’ property on your street?

In addition, the Internet is fraught with offers from outside the US to buy property, usually offering to do so through their ‘attorney’, and these almost always turn out to be fraudulent deals!

One of the ways that these chancers get FSBO information is through advertising and as most FSBO listings are advertised on Craigslist, this is the most common point of contact.

It is only by being vigilant and using an agent who is aware of the many and frequent changes imposed by government, that YOU, the buyer or seller can safely close Escrow without putting others at risk! In the event of a ‘For-Sale-By-Owner’ property passing to a blocked person, the Federal government would hold both buyer and seller responsible, so while the owner might save money on the brokerage commission by not using a licensed agent, is jail time really worth it?

Don’t take a chance ~ ONLY do business with a qualified and licensed agent, one who is a member of the real estate Board (a REALTOR ®) and one who makes it their business to stay up to date with the law!


Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

What’s happening to America?

I arrived in this country almost 17 years ago from Africa. Images that one conjures up would be that of jungles, wild animals and mud huts, however, I was very much part of the corporate scene in a large city, much the same as Los Angeles. For years I had dreamed of one day living in the greatest country in the world – the land of opportunity…. the United States, and on the morning that I arrived, I kissed the ground in gratitude!

In order to be accepted by the US, I had to have substantial qualifications, a letter of tax clearance, AIDS clearance and Police clearance. Clearly, the US did not tolerate felons and in order to ‘fit’, I had to meet the high standard required by the greatest country in the world!

I noticed it immediately! The deterioration in the roads, the neighborhoods and it seemed as though many people were out of work – a huge contrast to my first visit, 10 years earlier, however the nation pulled itself out of that recession, so what makes this recession so different? One can lay blame at the feet of the mortgage industry and certainly I questioned it when a friend said ‘My son is a police officer by night and sells mortgage during the day’. This young man was not qualified in the mortgage industry, but I was assured that all he had to do was to sell the concept – someone else signed the client up!

What I was seeing was the start of greed. The land of opportunity had morphed into ‘the land of con artists’ and people who bent the rules to get what they wanted – money!!

With 2.9 million foreclosures in the last year, one has to ask oneself if all those foreclosures were necessary? Isn’t a roof over ones head, a necessity? As an active REALTOR(R), I tried to get inside the head of a foreclosed owner, to fathom the motivation – after all, I had worked hard and saved for years to afford our first home, and strived everyday to ensure that I kept it. Paying my bills was paramount in my life, to preserve the good name I had fought for, for over 50 years, so why were some people giving up? It just didn’t make sense, until…….

One of the reasons I am where I am today, is because I never stopped learning. To me education is vital, in order to remain competitive in my market. One of those training classes made me a Foreclosure Prevention Specialist and I was thrilled to be able to legally, consult with families, to help them keep their homes. Sadly, the more consultations I held, the clearer the picture became: since the last recession, America had become dependent on plastic – a society of people who could keep up with the Jones’s without having to afford it!

Wherever I looked, there were ads offering credit cards at zero interest, student loans and people soliciting credit availability from cars to clothing! Consumers found it easier to use plastic for their purchases, which were now so easy to come by. Gamblers purchased casino chips on-line… pornography became easy to obtain with a credit card and late night TV offered the latest in fashion and jewelry at the click of a button – all on credit card! We had entered an era where bad habits were easily hidden by the use of plastic!

Pretty soon, boats and cars entered the mix and one seminar I attended, encouraged the purchase of investment property, using credit card for the down payment! As a REALTOR(R) I can tell you that from the examination to the marketing, NOTHING happens without a credit card! Apparently, suppliers no longer use cash or check and plastic is ‘king’!

As I consulted with each family, I generated an income and expenditure account, to determine if they were eligible for a loan modification and more and more I noticed the trend – good living is what had led them to this point!

I asked one single lady what her car payment was: $950/month …. and she assured me that she couldn’t survive without her Mercedes or her entertainment budget of $500/month! That’s a mortgage payment right there, and yet when we were done, she said that she’d rather walk away from the property than change her lifestyle! I hated telling them that in order to get a loan modification, one has to prove hardship and having two luxury vehicles in the garage (both on lease) did not constitute hardship to the lender!

Another client had been on a ten year spending spree: a brand new Mustang convertible, a new career (and the training that he needed). With his HELOC (Home Equity Line Of Credit), he borrowed money to invest into a business, went on luxurious vacations and employed the services of a friend who constructed unpermitted modifications to enlarge his home! As a loving son, he set his mother up in a condo and maintained her – all on borrowed money and without a thought for either the future or of repaying the loan. When the HELOC was exhausted, he maxed his credit cards and when all else failed, he called me!

OH MY GOSH! What had happened to this great country, where status symbols and grandiose lifestyles had become more of a priority than a roof over their heads?

As a REALTOR(R), my business quickly slid from helping people to increase their investments, to helping them get out from under debt and day after day, I was dealing with those who had allowed debt and good living to place a stranglehold on them. These were desperate people who no longer answered the phone or paid their bills, allowing them to overflow from duffel bags in the corner of the room – unnoticed and ignored and when I (and REALTORS(R) like me) arrived, the demand was to ‘help’ them.

It never ceases to amaze me how we are not part of the problem, but we have to be part of the solution and the demand is almost always the same: “It’s YOUR JOB to get us FULL FORGIVENESS of debt!” and yet many of these home owners resent the commission that we earn whilst doing just that! Understand that a desperate person is very often a hostile person, so our job is never easy, and yet, we try to remain non-judgmental, positive and pleasant. (Interestingly enough, this same client did receive FULL forgiveness of his debt and still demanded $1,500 from us (REALTORS(R) towards his moving expenses!)

I was dealing with people who had stopped paying their mortgage, yet were still eating in restaurants, buying new clothing and going on vacation! What was I missing? Then the penny dropped! When the HELOC ran out, they lived on their credit cards and when those were maxed, the unpaid mortgage payments became their lifeline! These were people who CHOSE to not pay their mortgage!

Now, I hasten to add that MANY people suffered true hardship, loss of jobs, divorce, illness – those things that genuinely prevented them from making mortgage payments, however, not all 2.9 million foreclosures were due to hardship! Many were due to greed, convenience and the government stimulus programs that made it easy for them to walk away with full forgiveness, affording them a fresh start and a clean slate! These were people who made a broken system WORK for them! There are families who have lived in their homes for 18 months, without a mortgage payment and without eviction, exacerbating the problem suffered by most of the lending companies – the lack of staff to process the ever-growing piles of foreclosures, which is taking longer and longer to process due to the increasing number of defaults!

And what is so amazing is that they don’t feel the least bit guilty! Their argument is that their loans are insured, they paid interest and that the bank gets the house at the end of the day. True, true and true! Not only is the home-owners system broken – the mortgage industry’s system is also broken!

Watch this video: (not for the feint-hearted!)


Unfortunately, this blasé attitude doesn’t stop there!

In 2008, a friend and colleague of mine sat in her office, crying. When I asked, she said that her husband had spent their rent money on car repairs – it was just before Christmas and her kids would have no gifts. I took her to my bank, had her open her own bank account and she signed a promissory note for the $2,000 that I deposited for her from my account. Three months later, because she had helped me sell my home (probably 6 or 8 hours work), I reduced her loan to me by $1,000! When the promised six months passed and her loan (now only $1,000) became due, she avoided me and did not return my calls. After another year of dutifully sending her monthly invoices, I received an e-mail stating that she had no intention of EVER repaying the loan – ‘You can garnish my wages, if you like’ was her response!

In June of last year a fellow REALTOR(R) who had fallen on hard times, joined our brokerage, but she didn’t have the $295 for the franchise dues. I offered to help her by lending her the money. She left after two months to join another brokerage and now, a year later, has told me that I will have to wait until she closes a ‘deal’ before repaying me!

Another REALTOR(R) asked me to build a website for her – the cost quoted was $790 (considerably less than most web developers), to be paid in two payments, the second payment a month after the first. The deposit was paid and the site went up. Three months later, she, too has told me that I have to wait for her next ‘close’, before she can settle her debt.

Am I the only one who fails to understand the new rules of engagement? What has happened to our great country and why has honor fallen by the wayside? Why do people not care about their reputations, any longer and more importantly, what can we do to fix it?

Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Exit Realty All Professional
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-905-9133

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Ooops…. she did it again!

I guess I am too used to working foreclosures and in general, real estate, so I really don’t want to discuss HOW I got the FakeAV virus – just how I got RID of it!

Firstly,  how did I know that my computer had a virus in the first place?  Honestly,  as anal as I am, I am paranoid about maintaining a clean computer, as much for my protection as for those with whom I am in communication (for which reason,  no-one has heard from me for three days!).  I was doing an Internet search for electricians, but what came up, was a list of dating sites.  HUH?  I am married and wouldn’t need a dating site!  I checked my search criteria, just in case I typed it incorrectly, but no….  I was correct!  Second guessing myself (as we do) I typed it in again and guess what?  I got dating sites again!

My next search (logically) was for new viruses,  as I have virus protection and assumed that the virus I might have was something not detected by my current program.  This time I got vacation resort sites!

Huh?  What the ———?  Just the mere typing of the word virus, took me to all and sundry sites EXCEPT for those that might give me information.  I launched my McAffee virus protection (and eradication) software only to find that ‘Scan’ etc, was grayed out!  Well naturally,  the virus didn’t want to be removed and therefore had disabled my protection software! Clever little virus, wasn’t it?

Now,  my biggest fear was that this type of virus (a Trojan or worm) is used by those criminals who reduce your computer to ‘zombie’ status, and use it as a mail server to launch thousands of e-mails!  Consider those ads that offer you X-thousands of mailouts for $Y.00?  Yup,  they’re coming from YOUR computer,  so when it is time to black list for spam,  it’s YOU they black list! And you don’t even know that your computer is being used!

This was Friday afternoon and thus started a weekend of virus hide and seek.  My first line of attack was to seek out all the files created in the last 24 hours (I would have expanded to the last week etc, had this not been successful) and sure enough,  I found a Windows file that was downloaded outside the update time frame.  Upon closer scrutiny, I noticed that this appeared to be a Microsoft file, BUT, checking the original name (through Properties) a non-Microsoft name was revealed with no manufacturer.

“Ah-HA!  Got you,  you little sucker”, I thought, and promptly deleted it!  There followed a list of 103 files generated in an around the time that I deleted the offending file!  What now?  It would appear as though deleting the master file, caused the virus to ‘spawn’ hundreds of aliases in different folders.  “Aw…..  I don’t have time for this,  I thought ~  I’ll call a geek!”

Now understand that my Internet Explorer was giving me everything EXCEPT what I was searching for, so I fired up my laptop, found Best Buy and called them.  HOW MUCH?  $399 per incident to remove a virus (any virus) – $299 if I took my tower in!  You MUST be JOKING!  I remember telling the Best Buy person: “You can’t see me, but I don’t LOOK stupid, either!” Dang…  I’m in the wrong business!

Doing a little research on the Internet via my laptop,  I found the file extension of the spawned files (all three of them) and started searching and deleting the files, one by one. This added a new challenge – as I scrolled down the list of files,  the window would freeze, halting my system, but with each file that I deleted, I noticed that a file was being added to my Trash Can, but that nothing was visible when I opened the Trash Can window!  Sneaky – very sneaky!  Still,  I dutifully instructed my computer to empty the Trash Can and sure enough,  the file had gone from the list.

103 files,  103 deletions,  103 Trash Can empties. 103 painful file searches and 103 reboots and finally,  my McAffee would work to the point where I could scan for malware!  By the time I was done,  it was Monday morning at 11am,  but I was virus free, adware free and spyware free!  My system was so squeaky clean that it just plain glowed!

Just a word of advice:  Download McAffee Stinger (free from the McAffee web site) which will scan for 538 of the most virulent viruses, Trojans and variants.  Follow this up with Windows Defender (free from Microsoft.com) which will catch any spyware or adware that might still exist.

Oh…..  I must mention that when I was ready to tear my hair out this morning,  I called my son, who is possibly THE most knowledgeable IT person I have ever known.  It was he who pointed me in the direction of Stinger and Defender, but by that time, the virus had already been arrested and removed.  Still,  in all my ‘hacking’  I had made quite a mess of my Internet settings and really needed someone ‘in the know’ to check on what I had done!

Thanks, son…..  I guess I really am in diaper credit now!  (For those of you who might not understand the currency of diapers:  a mother leverages the years of diaper changes – “I changed your diapers….  I washed your diapers” etc.  Well,  by now,  my diaper bank account is sorely in overdraft!  LOL) 

As sons go,  I don’t know how he got so smart, while I am so dumb for having got that virus, when I really knew better!

 


Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Chair – 2009

The importance of family!

In Real Estate, it’s easy to lose track of the importance of family.  After all,  times are supposed to be hard and we REALTORS(R)  are supposed to be burning the midnight oil, right? For all intents and purposes, we are supposed to neglect our families in order to get that ‘All important sale’?

WRONG!

In these times, more than ever before, it is of paramount importance for REALTORS (R) to STAY in touch with their families and to advise clients that they will meet with them at a time convenient to THEIR families.

Such was the case today……

When I got to my office this morning and was on my regular 8am coaching call (I coach new agents), I received a call from my husband to say that there was a water leak in his bathroom and that he had called a plumber!   Oh, GREAT!

At about the same time, I got a call from my sisters son (from Africa, now living in Las Vegas) to say that they were on their way from Laguna Niguel to Long Beach for our impromptu family reunion luncheon. With him, he was bringing his sister, her husband of 16 years and their two children the latter of whom I had not met – visitors to our wonderful country from Africa.

Oh crud!  I was already trying to negotiate a new sale in El Paso ( a past client) and a client wanting an investment property, ALL  on top if what I already have going on – with the interest rates dropping, I have several clients who want to buy NOW! How was I going to fit THIS in  AND driving rain and a water leak, too??  …..   rain and impending floods – after all,  Las Vegas had SNOW today and so did MALIBU!   MALIBU?  Snow?  Unheard of!  Instinct (flight or fight) told me that I should tell the family that – hey!  I have not seen you for 16 years….  let’s catch up on the next trip, but Umm…..  NO!  My family is my family and I will ALWAYS be there for them, NO MATTER WHAT!!

I got to my office with only enough time to dump my stuff to the unbelievable understanding of my Broker and I was off in the driving rain to meet my family at Bubba Gumps on the Marina.  I parked, trudged through the drizzle, jaywalked and arrived at the restaurant…..  and then I SAW THEM!  My darling sister’s son and daughter who I have not seen for  16 and 19 years respectively and THEIR BEAUTIFUL spouses and children!

I promised I wouldn’t cry – and I never do – but tears flowed like the rain outside, as I hugged them close – close enough for 19 years of separation.  Then I looked at their children – people who had not asked to be born but who were overjoyed to have the parents they have, to love and guide them in life! These were young people (sorry…  I refuse to call them kids, because I RESPECT them) who are BEST friends with their parents! Parents who  actually RELATE to their young!

As we sat and chatted furiously, at times talking over each other and catching up on time lost – I felt the hands that embraced my neck and heard the small voices of “I love you” from young people I had just met but who I could truly admire, for to be sure, their parents had taught them standards in life that most adults are lacking.  I turned and hugged them back with hearfelt communication of true love of family.

Young eyes, that spoke of  TRUE parental love and respected parental protection, now embraced me, a total stranger in their lives and only because I was there.  I had kept my word  – told them where and when to meet me and we were together. Such is love born of innocence and trust.

I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much that luncheon with my family meant to me, today!  All too often, families are separated by a few city blocks but don’t see each other for weeks, if not months. What keeps them apart?  Life’s stresses?  Family pressures? The Saturday football game?  Work? A silly dispute of a long time ago?

Get this! …..  When they’re gone, they’re GONE!  You can’t take back time and say: “I wish I could have…..” – It’s over!  All we have is NOW and if the time presents itself for you to be with you family, you need to grab that with BOTH HANDS – no matter the cost… no matter the risk …. no matter the shortage of time and in our case, no matter the weather.  GO FOR IT!

Sure, there have been differences in our lives – in our family, but who are WE to judge? Who appointed US  judge and jury?  Surely, we can be capable of looking at people and sharing with them for the people that they ARE – not what society dictates them to be or expects us to dish out to them ?

A child is born into the world with his/her own DNA, personality and character. Why should that child carry the burden of opinions and hurts past, by bygone generations.  They know nothing of that! Nor should they. This is THEIR life – fresh and unspoiled as it should be.

As I looked at my sisters children and their spouses and THEIR children, the years melted away and the dispute that I had with their mother of many years ago (my sister – and yes, I do truly love her), melted away. That was not THEIR problem, nor was it their children’s probem. Why should their children pay?

Changing one’s mindset and burying hurts from times long past,  goes a LONG way to creating happiness for today and future generations.

As I looked at the eyes of those, now two generations from my long time ago dispute with my sister, I realized  how really small that dispute was. And did it really matter any more? Well,  of COURSE not!

When I came to this country, 15 years ago, I promised myself that I would embrace its values and I believe that I have. Part of that embracing, involves NOT judging and another part requires of us that we start each day with a fresh mindset.

Today, I threw myself to the ‘wolves’ and I was embraced by those who love me and by those whom I love.

How tragic it might had been if I had just ‘done the right thing’ and told my family “I can’t meet with you today because I have a client!”  How VERY much I would have lost!

Today, I know that both my Broker and my client rejoice with me that I DID meet with my family and I am honored to know that my client has accepted an appointment for tomorrow, knowing that when SHE has a family committment, I will understand!

Today, I rejoice in the family closeness that I now feel and the memories that will last till my dying day of the next generation whose values are as great – if not greater – than those of our own generation.

Today, I rejoice in knowing new people who carry my bloodline and my DNA, who I can respect, despite the fact that they are only 12 or 16 years old, remembering that a person doesn’t have to be an adult to be respected!

Today, I grew and I am thankful for the experience!

Today, I value people for who and what they ARE, and not for what others SAY they might be.

Today, I am ME – the only thing I know and trust and with that trust of myself, I accept others with respect and without  judgment.

 

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Available on both special order and instock blinds. Receive $118 entire house basic installation on blinds and shades.  

Call the House of Homes Online NOW for your property related advice!
Toll-free (866) 774-2899

 ________

Althea Garner
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Flip Properties- Use Our Cash To Flip Properties in Nationwide – Earn Thousands Per Deal

Well,  that was the Blog heading that was posted by someone else but on reading further, I encountered the words ‘easy’ with regard to obtaining a mortage and 2.5% commission to the lender, etc etc etc.

Let’s be honest…..  this is NOT the market to be flipping properties.  I mean, GET REAL!  The banks are clamping down on loans and the property market has dropped,  so where, in all reality, is the profit to come from?

Yes,  you can put lipstick on the pig, but buyers are not stupid – they can see when a property has been rehabbed in a hurry, just to turn a fast buck.

I attended a seminar by a leading investment speaker about 5 years ago, and he advised his students to (and he has been teaching this for about 20 years)!:

1)  Go to an open house and get a look at the guest registry.  Contact the people in the registry, telling them that you are selling the house (then put in an Offer – the idea is to sell the house to one of the ‘lookers’ and close before a mortgage is raised, excluding the REALTOR (R) from the deal).

2)  Go to Home Depot (or equivalent) and buy all the ‘seconds’ paint in one color (ie, all white seconds) and mix it all together in a 40 gallon trash can. What would emerge, would be ONE color – white!  Now this is a good idea, but not used in the way prescribed. Offer to paint the house for the seller, at no charge (read: blood money).

3)  Tell the seller that you have a buyer and offer to plant some flowering plants in the front yard, thereby creating ‘curb appeal’ (During all this time, I can assure you that the listing agent would be asking some questions!

4)  Invite all the ‘lookers’ from the guest registry to the house to arrive at the same time, in order to create a frenzy and have one buyer bidding against the other which would ultimately push the price of the house UP!

Problem #1: The person bringing the buyers is NOT a licensed REALTOR (R)

Problem #2: Think the seller wouldn’t smell a rat?

Problem #3:  Have you ever tried to get information from a REALTORs (R) guest registry?  Best kept secret!

Problem #4:  The likelihood of anyone getting a purchase to close on the exact day that the sale occurs is minimal, to say the least, so interest WOULD be raised and one would be responsible to pay that interest! When that property is flipped,  if the purchase and sale did not go through simulataneously, the IRS would be after their Capital Gains unless you chose to exercise the $250,000 per person tax-free benefit (once every second year), but you’d be nailed on the next flip!

Problem #5: Probably the most important of all – if it could be proven that the buyer came from the guest registry, FULL commission would have to be paid to the agent by the bogus selling agent (or owner, if the purchase/sale went through on the same day), because they would be sued for ‘probable cause’. This commission would be over and above that paid to the agent from the transaction.

Bottom line is that there is no easy way.  One may buy property at a discount but there are risks.  One may obtain a loan through a discount lender, but there are risks (and we have seen the result of discount loans, haven’t we?).  One can buy and sell without a REALTOR (R), but there are risks.

If it seems easy, or rapidly profitable,  there’s usually a catch. Don’t get caught! 

Don’t ever under-estimate the buyer…  even a first-time-home-buyer!  They are simply new at this – not BLIND or stupid! What an insult for them to be treated this way!

The purpose of flipping homes, is to buy at a low price, rehab the property and sell soon after, at a higher price, thereby recouping all costs with an additional bonus profit.  What is the point of buying low, adding rehab costs, labor costs and interest and then selling LOW, which is what is happening in this market?  Anyone who talks you into this scheme, is talking you straight into a LOSS!

 I was chatting to a colleague of mine the other day who was really fired up about purchasing a property (at a discounted price – whatever that might be). He said that as he was in the construction business, he could rehab the property at a low cost and was just looking for ‘investors’. Yeah, right!  I tried to explain to him that his time in rehabbing the place was worth something and although he wasn’t ‘charging’ for his labor, in essence, the profit on the deal would be ‘blood money’. Needless to say, I gracefully declined his generous offer.

So let’s discuss the home flipping reality shows on TV.  These really make me laugh when I do the math, but I get really angry at the message that the show puts out.  On one hand, the math doesn’t add up because the show only gives you SOME costs – not all (for example,  they don’t factor in the closing costs or the agents commission. the agent, I believe does not charge a commission because of the air time they get – I could be wrong but agents commission is not something that is in the costs)!  On the other hand, I really feel for those who go out and try to do this themselves only to find that because the math can’t add up (there are hidden fees that the show doesn’t disclose), the buyers find themselves grossly out of pocket!

But the show is entertaining and they sell advertising based on the popularity of the show. Never mind all those people who lose their shirts finding out that things are not what they appear on TV!  After all,  that is Hollywood and life is quite different.

Some of the things that one has to consider when buying ‘discount’ property is perhaps a neighbor who has a water leak and the water is seeping into your property. This may not be apparent at the time that you buy, however, your foundations are being undermined and slippage can occur, causing not only cracks but, a pulling apart of the house – front from back etc.  Such would be the case of the homes that we have seen on TV where the sub-flooring had to be lifted, due to damp conditions. They make it seem so simple, but this issue can have far-reaching effects.  To repair this type of defect, can range from $20,000 – $100,000!

With that damp, almost certainly comes a mold issue, which requires an expert for abatement and then an inspector to give clearance. These services are not free – in fact they are quite costsly.

A friend of  mine recently expressed concern that her home might have been built on the burial ground of cows, which during the 1920’s had to be ‘covered over’ because they had hoof and mouth disease.  As these cows decompose, they give rise to sink holes, into which homes subside.  I am told that hoof and mouth disease never goes away (don’t hold me to this as I am not a vet), but one wonders what would happen, if the house sunk, exposing the diseased corpses.

I guess this is why one might want to employ the services of a REALTOR (R) who might have knowledge of these things or at the very least, could investigate for the buyer. Realistically, if one were flipping a property and it sunk because it was on a cattle burial ground (as an example), there is no limit to the time span one could get sued – 10 days or ten years! It could still come back on you, even if you were the seller, three times ago. Does that make sense?

These are the things they DON’T tell you on the TV reality shows!

Special Offers!

When you buy or list with House Of Homes Online, you become eligible for ‘Red Carpet’ treatment AND true Savings!

$100 Off Closing Costs

Yes,  we will pay $100 towards your closing costs!  That’s $100 that you can save for decorating your new home!

$249 Entire House Carpet Installation
Purchase your carpet from Lowes and receive $249 entire house installation which includes delivery of carpet & pad, moving of normal furniture, carpet & pad tear-out and haul away, and basic installation. Contact us for full details.

 

$118 Entire House Blinds Installation
Available on both special order and instock blinds. Receive $118 entire house basic installation on blinds and shades.  

Call the House of Homes Online NOW for your property related advice!
Toll-free (866) 774-2899

 ________

Althea Garner
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

The Property Market and Election Day!

Well,  here I sit at Kansas City airport, awaiting my connecting flight to Orlando for the Women’s Council of Realtors National conference.  It’s been a long day of travel – was up at 5.30am, so I could be at the polling station to vote before getting to the airport in Los Angeles by 8.30am!

The election has been on my mind all day as I can’t pick up regular news reports on travel day.  Among those thoughts are: HOW WILL THE ELECTIONS AFFECT THE PROPERTY MARKET?

Now I don’t have a crystal ball and I am no more claivoyant than the next person, but something in my bones tells me that we will see a slight increase in sales once the results come out.  Realistically, no matter who you voted for, some people will feel victorious while others will be ticked that their candidate didn’t get elected.  Those whose candidate was elected will feel a surge of promise and hope and – if they are in the market to buy property – they will accept that now is a good time to buy!

For those whose candidate was defeated: perhaps they will decide not to buy, but, they were sitting on the fence anyway. In other words, they hadn’t bought and now won’t – situation unchanged.

It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other, really – those who were going to buy, will and those who were undecided, won’t!  In both cases,  the election results will simply provide the justification to act in whichever direction they are going.

Whoever moves into the Oval Office, MUST see that something MUST be done about our economy. Clearly, we can’t keep spending money that we (the US) doesn’t have.  Since being in this country (15 years, now) I have seen the government encourage consumer spending and the banks encourage the use of credit.  Hey!  Banks have even issued credit cards to students with little or no credit rating!

So now that the US consumer is accustomed to living off plastic,  the banks have run out of money and the consumers can’t repay their loans because the interest rates were so high and we have reached an empasse!

Will the incoming administration realize that there are too many banks?  That interest rates have brought the life blood of this country (the consumers) to its knees?

My fervent wish is that whoever is successful in winning the Presidential race, will be less inclined to leap back into war, and more able to count to ten and add 2 + 2.  What our country needs most at this time is a leader who has a basic understanding of bookkeeping and can see and understand that you can’t keep spending money that you don’t have!

If I were able to advise our new leader,  I would suggest that ALL interest on credit card debt be eliminated for one year so that consumer payments could be applied to principle.  Let’s face it:  banks have made a mint out of credit card users.  Now is the time to be realistic and objective – if the consumers have had to pull in their belts, then why not the banks, too?

Cash has to start flowing somewhere and better for it to start flowing from where it has bottlenecked – the government and the banks.

 

Althea Garner

Executive Real Estate

House Of Homes Online

http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com