Short Sale Sellers Self Sabotage

When a seller requests an agent to list a short sale,  they are in effect asking us to help prevent them from going to foreclosure – they are seeking a dignified way to exit their state of default. 

At the outset,  the seller is easy to work with and willing to do what is necessary to market the property, by de-cluttering, and allowing the REALTOR® to paint and stage the property for a faster sale.  The seller is also more than willing to allow agents and buyers to preview the home and to vacate the property during Open House days.

Having spent 4 days painting and staging,  the once dingy house looked magnificent – clean, tidy and perfectly color-coordinated and everyone who viewed the house during that first month commented favorably.  We got a SLEW of Offers! 

What mental transformation takes place in the seller from the second and third month, resulting in the total sabotage of the sale?

  •  The seller leaves the house with socks hanging out of draws, toothpaste ‘spit’ in the bathroom sink, remnants of last nights dinner still on the stove top and dirty dishes in the sink
  • The house has not been cleaned since the first day on the market, the dog has not been bathed in weeks and is stinking up the house and his promise to not smoke inside the house has clearly been broken!
  • There are ‘things’ growing inside the ‘frigerator and the garden is overgrown!
  •  The seller says that it is not convenient for the agent to bring a buyer at that time (ANY time)! 

When my seller and I had our ‘Come to Jesus’ talk,  his reasoning was simple: “While you are out celebrating at the sale of my house,  just remember that I have lost everything and have no reason to be happy!”

At this stage,  both REALTORS® and buyers have become the enemy and the seller believes that if he/she cannot have the house, no-one will, but sadly,  they don’t consider the alternative:  Foreclosure, eviction and devastating effects on their credit.

As with any loss,  a short sale or foreclosure comes with a grieving process for the seller/owner and REALTORS(R) need to explain this to them at the first meeting.  They need to be advised of the various levels of grieving and that each level is followed by another, but that each level does pass.  If they know this up front,  they will be better prepared to handle it.

 

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

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

http://www.BuyCheapHomesToday.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Education Chairperson – 2009 (South County)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

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

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Selling Your Home Yourself

The following appeared in a Blog by a Texas company:

“Posted on August 17th, 2009 by Kimberly Edwards

If you’re into Los angeles California Real Estate, and if you’re selling your home, be sure to get it seen by the masses for  a quick sale.

 

MomsHouse

 

Sometimes that means you’ll want to list it with a realtor, but be sure you’re still trying to sell it privately yourselves – that means you’ll want an exclusionary clause in your contract with your seller’s agent. This will allow you to “buy out” your realtor for whatever agreed upon price if you actually sell your home yourself.

Are you dealing with Santa Monica Real Estate? No problem, LAHomeSearch.com can help you sell your home quickly and they provide you with Seller’s and Buyer’s Resources.

* Tip: Nowadays, you can pay to list your house on the MLS and not use a realtor! How cool is that?

Also, if you’re selling your home, that likely means you’re also looking for a new home to live in.

LA Home Search still has all of your bases covered because you can search their Los Angeles Homes for Sale too!

Now, you know we advocate selling your house on your own, but there are lucrative ways that could help you in the sale of your home, especially if you simply don’t have any time to put into it.

However, still try to sell your property on your own, even if you do list it…again, just make sure it’s in your realtor contract that you can and have a pre-determined amount you can give your realtor if you do sell it yourself!”

Whether this clause is in your contract or not,  your REALTOR(R) is under no obligation to assist you with the documentation or the Escrow,  which leaves you doing all the work and taking all the risks,  while still paying your REALTOR(R)!

In addition,  during the contract period,  the seller is not permitted to advertise the property as a ‘For Sale By Owner’ because he is legally contracted with a brokerage.

The best scenario, would be to include a clause that permits the seller to inytoduce buyers to the REALTOR(R) and that the REALTOR(R) take the buyer to fruition. 

Remember,  the REALTOR(R):

  • is covered by E&O insurance – the seller is not!
  • pays for and does all the marketing/advertising, Open Houses, signage etc
  • keeps abreast of new law changes and scams
  • is qualified at negotiations
  • is knowledgable about the Escrow process, what has to be done and when
  • knows what CAN go wrong and how to avoid it

Remember also, that the REALTOR(R) does this day in and day out.  For the seller,  this is a ‘sometime’ thing!

There’s a reason that selling property requires a license!

 

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

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

http://www,BuyCheapHomesToday.com

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

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

Buyers: Beware Unlicensed Agents!

When an agent receives a call requesting to show buyers their listing, the rules are simple:

1)  Get the buyers agent name

2)  Get the buyers agent Brokerage name

3)  Get the buyers agent license number

With this information,  we are able to grant permission for a buyers agent and his/her buyers to enter the property.

Such was the case with my listing last week and as expected,  I released the combination code to the ‘agent’, granting permission for the buyers agent to take his buyers to view the property.

My seller called me about an hour later to say that the key, together with the front of the lockbox was laying on the floor in front of the front door,  and HUGE RED FLAGS went off in my mind!

I immediately called the agent (Joe Chaides) asking if he was WITH the buyers at the time and his answer was “No,  I’m in Bakersfield” – the house is in Long Beach!  When I questioned him,  he just hung up!  A second call obtained the same result.

When I called the Brokerage,  the Broker was unavailable (and the e-mail address I was given, bounced – I was also told that this Broker was away and did not have a cell phone!).  I was told by a man at the Brokerage,  that the agent in question did not work there anymore, so I ran a check on his license and sure enough, his license had lapsed!

What does all this mean?

1)  That there is an unlicensed agent in Bakersfield, posing as a REALTOR(R).

2)  The buyer/s that he represents, have no qualified advisor and therefore no legal recourse.

3)  The Brokerage name that the agent used is ultimately responsible – Castita Realty, Inc 

4)  Good agents who work according to the rules and regulations of the DRE (Department of Real Estate) are likely to be judged according to this unlicensed agents unlawful behavior!

5)  Both the Buyers and the agent are guilty of unlawful entry into a private residence – breaking and entering!

As a result of the above,  I immediately had the sellers home re-keyed and a new lock box applied to the property.

It was abundantly clear to me that the man at the Brokerage had contacted the unlicensed agent because I got a message on my cell phone (a message that will be retained for legal proceedings) that clearly stated “I just received a call from the office…..” .  Had this man not still been working for this Brokerage,  his message would likely have said: ” a call from my previous office” or “a call from Casita Realty, Inc”,  but to call that Brokergae ‘the office’,  indicated posession and therefore,  this unlicensed agent is STILL conducting business as a REALTOR(R) AND under the umbrella of Casita Realty, Inc!

I also still have the unlicensed agents phone message from the day before which states: “My buyers would like to see your listing at [address in Long Beach]” in which he admits that the buyer is HIS client!  This message will also be retained for legal purposes.

During the ensuing conversation with Joe Chiades the following day,  he freely admitted that he did not have a valid real estate license and that he knew that he was doing wrong!  I daresay that he did not inform the unsuspecting buyers of this fact and I wonder how many other home seekers and sellers are falling prey to this type of indiscriminate ripoff?

I have reported this man to the DRE and feel very strongly that this is a person who should NOT be allowed to hold a real estate license, because when one is an agent,  we are placed in a position of trust.  How can anyone (buyer, seller, Broker, REALTOR(R)) trust a man who has so blatantly and knowingly, broken the law?

So,  here’s the crunch:

Joe Chaides,  told me that he felt that it was OK to grant access to his ‘buyers’, because he assumed that the house was vacant.  If he had been a member of his local MLS board (Bakersfield Association of REALTORS(R)) ,  he would have seen that the house is indeed, occupied by the owner,  so now he is also not paying Board fees!  A simple search of this Board, reveals that neither the agent, nor the Broker of note, nor the Brokerage, come up in the search! Why should some agents feel the need to do business honestly, by adhering to the rules and regulations of the Department of Real Estate, by maintaining a valid license and by paying Board fees,  while others do not?  For those who do not,  is it right that they continue to conduct business in real estate?

If his buyers wanted to put in an Offer on this (or any other property),  how was he going to complete the Offer documents,  which REQUIRE the agents name, license number and Brokerage name and number?  Very simple…….  this unlicensed agent would have put the buyer in touch with someone at Casita Realty, Inc, to process the documents,  which means that Casita Realty, Inc is ALSO at fault for circumventing the system.

Brokers are required to ensure that agents working under them are in fact holders of a valid DRE license. Buyers and sellers are strongly advised to perform their own due diligence in checking that the real estate individual that represents them, is in fact licensed,  by going to the DRE website and searching for the name of the licensee or broker.

 

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

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

http://www,BuyCheapHomesToday.com

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

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

DOI Reverses Law

A week ago,  like so many REALTORS(R),  I learned of the DOI’s decision to stop Title companies from providing real estate professionals with key documents – documents vital to real estate transactions.

I asked my informer how we were expected to establish clear Title when taking new listings?  After all,  how do we know who the Title holders are, unless we are afforded the Title documents?   A listing is not legal, unless it is signed by all Title holders.  How can we be certain that there are no liens or judgments on a property, before submitting an Offer on behalf of a buyer? He had no answer.

I was speechless!  Did the DOI really understand the repercussions of their decision? Like so many of our laws, they are not thought through well enough – laws that are made from a knee-jerk reaction to something that has happened, but in fairness, this was a stupid, poorly considered law that just served to throw into further turmoil, an industry that is trying so hard to recover!

In my opinion, our lawmakers think only for the here and now – they don’t stop and think of the result of the changed law a week,  a month or a year (or more) down the road!

A favortie past time of our lawmakers is to change the laws, but to keep from us the alternative.  For the past week,  we have been trying to find ways to still obtain vital information for the processing of real estate transactions.  For the past week,  transactions have been held up because clear Title could not be established other than verbally (which Title companies were still permitted to do).

Last night,  once again,  my short sale attorney requested documents from me, prior to sending an Offer to the lender. He did not want to obtain this information verbally,  because as we are all aware,  attorneys are all about the facts – the cold hard facts – and attorneys never go by verbal information. 

Someone told me to go to Dataquick.com where I found that the only way to obtain documentation was to pay the $200 subscription.  Once done,  the site informed me that liens and judgments were not available at that site! 

At midnight,  on my vacation,  I was still at the starting line, without the information needed to process this transaction.  A seller, who is prepared to walk away from his property – entire life savings, his retirement fund all wrapped up in this property……  a single parent, waiting anxiously for news as to whether hers might be the successful Offer and I had no answers because the DOI changed a law!

Six days.  SIX DAYS  of pure unadulterated frustration,  and we were JUST informed that the DOI has reversed their decision, allowing Title companies to provide real estate professionals the information they need to do their job.

I shudder to think of how much time and money has been wasted in the last six days – how many buyers have walked away from Offers and we have our lawmakers to thank. 

More money is wasted in poorly thought out law and policy changes, than anything else.  Can’t they just take the time to consider the ramifications of their decisions – perhaps talk to industry leaders, or don’t the public at large, count anymore?

There is so much that goes on behind the scenes of a property transaction – so many battles fought to protect the rights of the buyers and sellers, by so many professionals involved in a purchase or sale, of which the the consumer is often unaware.  I just ask that you, Mr & Mrs Buyer or Seller, be patient with us – we’re doing the best we can.

 

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your 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 Vice Chair – 2009

10 Ways to Spruce up Your Home for the Busy Summer Season

                                                                                                                         (Courtesy of HomeAway.com
 Redecorating your vacation rental doesn’t have to break the bank. By focusing on a few low-cost, high-impact projects, you can stretch your decorating dollars to create a dazzling “mini makeover” to impress prospective travelers and returning guests alike.  

1. Slip on a slipcover. Slipcovers are a tried-and-true way to refresh tired couches and chairs even (yes, really!) at the most upscale properties. To avoid the sloppy,“billowing sheet” effect, opt for a custom-tailored version – these can even be made with built-in zippers or Velcro to accommodate fold-outs. For beach rentals, designer KerryAnn Dame of Surfside Beach, South Carolina’s Posh Living, LLC recommends Sunbrella fabric, which stands up well to chlorine and suntan oil. Make sure to have an extra seat cushion cover on hand to rotate into the wash if one gets stained.

 

2. Dress down the dining area. To tone down the formality of a coordinated dining set, Dame suggests subbing in an old church pew, a vintage iron bench, or even an upholstered armchair, stool or loveseat. (Keep an eye out at tag sales and vintage shops.)Just be sure to stay in the same color family to keep the look cohesive. (Even the most eclectic group of wooden chairs can be repurposed with quick coat of white paint.) To punch up more traditional dining sets, recovering the seats of existing chairs is an easydo-it-yourself project all it takes is a few yards of fabric and a staple gun.

 

3. Color, color color! Even just a little bit of color can make a big difference in a room with four white walls. If you’re worried about going too bold, start with just one brightly-colored accent wall behind the sofa or around kitchen cabinets. (Some colors to consider: robin’s egg blue, deep turquoise, terra cotta, lemon yellow, or lime green.) In more formal spaces, a painted border in a color like indigo can add depth and character to a room without molding.

 

4. Think outside the frame. Take down any wall art that’s been water damaged (especially in the bathrooms) or faded by the sun. How to fill that blank space? When grouped closely together on a wall, an assemblage of even the most mundane objects (wooden canoe paddles, vintage sports pennants, a pair of colorful canvas kites) can create a striking visual focal point for a room.

 

5. Spray-on the shine. Resurfacing can give new life to grungy bathroom tile or a shabby-looking sink for a fraction of the cost of a full remodel. Beth Williams of Elizabeth Williams Design on Cape Cod recommends a professional refinishing company like Perma Ceram. A professional can reglaze a bathtub with a spray-on finish in about 5 hours, and they guarantee it’ll be ready to use just 12 hours later. When Williams recently had the tub and bathroom tile in her vacation rental reglazed, she says the project was completed in less than 48 hours for a total cost of about $1000. 

 

6. Focus on the details. To make any bathroom feel more luxurious, Williams recommends switching out your regular shower curtain for a curved one (the few inches of added elbow room feel wonderfully spacious), and adding larger mirrors above the sink. Consider adding a dimmer switch (especially if you have a big soaking tub), and for the finishing touch, pick up a few gleaming new switch plates in chrome, glass, or just clean, bright white.

 

7. Eliminate clogs. Be sure to clean out the screens on your faucets and showerheads (especially if you live in a hard-water area) and unscrew the stopper in sinks and tubs to make sure drains are clear of clogs. If kitchen back-ups are an ongoing problem, consider adding a garbage disposal to the kitchen sink. For leaks, you can easily replace old faucets and showerheads with new low-maintenance models for less than $20, or upgrade to a luxury rain-style or massaging showerhead for just a bit more. Just be sure to add those new amenities to the description of your property listings!

 8. Go green underfoot. When replacing dirty or worn area rugs, consider natural fibers such as sea grass or sisal. In addition to adding great texture and a coastal flair to your décor, both sisal and sea grass rugs are durable enough for high-traffic areas. Sisal is particularly well-suited to humid climates — the fibers are resistant to stains and bacterial growth, making it non-toxic and non-allergenic.

9. Add an outdoor shower. To prevent sand and dirt getting tracked indoors, consider adding an outdoor foot shower. Although free-standing outdoor showers run in the $1000-range, wall-mounted unit can be had for less than $200. Or, to save moneywithout skimping on charm, a simple teak shower mat and an ordinary steel watering can is a great low-tech solution.

10. Banish hidden dust bunnies. Last but not least: don’t forget to root out any dust lurking among your refrigerator condenser coils, in your air conditioner filters, and your dryer vent. You’ll save yourself from future maintenance headaches and protect yourself from fire hazards while cutting your energy costs as well.

 

 What’s your favorite low-cost decorating secret?

 

 

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your 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 Vice Chair – 2009

 

                                                                              © Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2009 U.090520.KM

 

 

 

 

Follow-Up to Auction Property Fiasco

Subsequent to our purchase of two properties on a recent auction by REDC, you will recall that after signing the purchase documents,  the properties were broken into – one of the properties was being occupied by transients and had suffered substantial damage and trashing.

Upon contacting the Escrow company and voicing our opinions rather firmly, we were told that the Escrow process had not yet begun and that if we wanted to get out of the purchase,  we could!

Huh?  The Escrow period was to be 30 days and we are now 5 days from closing and the Escrow company is telling us that nothing has been done yet? I have never heard of anything quite so preposterous!

The Escrow representative went on to tell us that there had been a delay because the seller (the lender/bank) had not yet accepted our Offer!  And they were going to tell us this….  WHEN?  Wait a minute…….  what was all that,  that we went through on the day of the auction?  What was all that signing and paying of CASH.  How come one seller was ready to close after a week but the other seller hasn’t had the common courtesy to let us know if they have accepted our Offer or not?

Gentlemen,  can we have a level playing field, please?  This seller was so confident that we had bought the property,  that they disconnected the utilities and abandoned the property and now they’re telling us that they hadn’t made up their minds as to whether to accept our Offer or not?

Something decidely odd here!  Is it remotely possible that they did this, in the event that they received a better Offer prior to closing but if not,  they would proceed, delivering to us a trashed property?

Well,  suffice it to say that the lender is now the proud owner of a property that isn’t even worth what WE paid for it, and if they hope to resell the property,  they will have to dig deep to have it cleaned up first, because we signed the cancellation documents.

If you are going to buy property on an auction,  ensure that you know your rights – they will tell you that the deal is legal and binding upon your signature, but apparently they can get out of it just as easily as we did.

Now,  excuse me while I look for another property………..


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 Vice Chair – 2009

Tax Credit for New Home Purchase

 

 

Information directly from the California Franchise Board
http://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/New_Home_Credit.shtml

In addition to the updated items identified on this page, we have updated Form 3528-A and the instructions for line 6 and Part III. If you have already faxed a completed application, you DO NOT need to resubmit a new application. We will update this information frequently. Please check this page often.

This tax credit is available for qualified buyers who on or after March 1, 2009, and before March 1, 2010, purchase a qualified principal residence that has never been occupied. The buyer must reside in the new home for a minimum of two years immediately following the purchase date. We will accept applications for allocation of credit by fax only (916.845.9754), starting March 1, 2009; however, we will not send notifications of credit allocation until we have developed procedures. Once we begin processing allocation applications, credits will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

We will update this page as soon as we begin mailing credit allocation letters. We plan to begin mailing credit allocation letters no later than May 1, 2009. This delay is necessary to allow us time to develop a system to capture and verify the application information, allocate the credits, and send the credit allocation letters. Please be patient with us and do not send applications more than one time. Tax credit amounts California allocated $100,000,000 for this tax credit. Buyers must apply for credit allocation from us. Applications will be reviewed and credit allocations will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Once $100,000,000 has been allocated, the tax credit will no longer be available.

Please check this page for updates on the allocated and remaining credits available. Total credit allocated: $0          Remaining credit available: $100,000,000

Note:
The remaining credit amount displayed above only reflects allocations processed. This amount will be updated once we begin mailing credit allocation letters, which is expected to commence by May 1, 2009. This amount does not include applications that have been received, but not yet processed.

Applications for New Home Credit received, but not yet processed as of 3/25/09

As of Applications received: Credit claimed:
3/4/09            173     $1,715,826
3/11/09          711     $6,987,515  
3/18/09      1,188    $11,599,825
3/25/09     1,710    $16,647,498

This reflects the total amount of credit reported on applications received as of the date indicated. This amount has not yet been verified and may include duplicate, incomplete, and invalid applications. This amount is provided for informational purposes and does not reflect the actual amount to be allocated. We will update the amount received, but not yet processed, on this webpage each Friday.

As we approach the $100,000,000 limitation, we will update the reported amounts on a daily basis. Keep in mind, that all applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date received by fax only.

California allows qualified new home buyers a total tax credit amount equal to either five percent of the purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less. Taxpayers must apply the total tax credit in equal amounts over three successive taxable years (maximum of $3,333 per year) beginning with the taxable year (2009 or 2010) in which the new home is purchased.

How to apply Within one week (seven calendar days) after the close of escrow:
The seller must complete Part I of Form 3528-A, Application for New Home Credit, certifying that the home has never been occupied, and provide a copy to the buyer or escrow person. The buyer will complete Parts II & III of Form 3528-A.

The escrow person on behalf of the seller and buyer will fax the completed Form 3528-A to FTB at 916.845.9754, and provide a copy to the buyer. Fax is the only delivery method that will be accepted and considered for credit allocation by FTB, as the date and time stamp on the fax will determine the order in which credits are allocated.

Fax only one completed application per residence with all qualified buyers listed. Do not include information on nonqualified buyers. An incomplete application may delay or prevent credit allocation. Do not fax the application to FTB before escrow closes. Do not fax the application to FTB more than once. We will process the applications in the order received as quickly as possible. Escrow companies should only send one application per fax transmission. The buyer keeps a copy of the completed Form 3528-A for their records. The Form 3528-A is now available online as a fillable form. Simply fill in all required information, print the form, and sign.

If you fill out the form by hand, please print numbers as clearly and neatly as possible using CAPITAL LETTERS and staying between the lines. The faxes can be very hard to read.

Application processing
The buyer will receive notification of credit allocation from us. An allocation of credit will not be issued if:
The home has been previously occupied.
The application is not received within one week after the close of escrow.
The application is received after the total credits available ($100,000,000) have been allocated.

Requirements of the credit
The home must be a “qualified principal residence” as defined under California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 17059(b)(1).

The home must:

  • Be a single-family residence, whether detached or attached.
  • Never have been previously occupied.
  • Be occupied by the taxpayer for a minimum of two years.
  • Be eligible for the property tax homeowner’s exemption under California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 218.

For over three successive taxable years, the total credit allocated among owners that occupy the home must not exceed $10,000. (Multiple qualified buyers that occupy the home will be allocated credit based on the amount paid and their percentage of ownership.)

Any credit that reduced tax on a tax return must be repaid if the buyer does not occupy the home for at least two years immediately following the purchase date.

FTB may request documentation to ensure buyers have complied with the requirements of the credit. Claiming the credit The buyer must receive an allocation of credit from us to claim the credit. The credit allocation letter will state the amount they can claim listed by tax year. The buyer should refer to Publication 3528 (available by 12/2009) for instructions on claiming the credit.

The buyer must claim the credit on an original timely filed return, including returns filed on an extension. Special rules apply to married/RDP (Registered Domestic Partners) taxpayers filing separately, in which case each spouse is entitled to one-half of the credit, even if their ownership percentages are not equal.

For two or more taxpayers who are not married/RDP, the credit amount will have already been allocated to each taxpayer occupying the residence on their respective credit allocation letter. If the available credit exceeds the current year net tax, the unused credit may not be carried over to the following year. The credit is not refundable.

Definitions Purchase date:
The date escrow closes.
Qualified buyer: A taxpayer who purchases a single-family residence, whether detached or attached, that has never been occupied, that is purchased to be the principal residence of the taxpayer for a minimum of two years, and that is eligible for the homeowner’s exemption under California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 218.

Qualified Principal Residence/New Home:
A qualified principal residence means a single-family residence, whether detached or attached, that has never been occupied and is purchased to be the principal residence of the taxpayer for a minimum of two years and is eligible for the property tax homeowner’s exemption.

Types of residence:
Any of the following can qualify if it is your principal residence and is subject to property tax, whether real or personal property:

  • a single family residence
  • a condominium
  • a unit in a cooperative project
  • a houseboat
  • a manufactured home
  • or a mobile home.

Owner-built property:
A home constructed by an owner -taxpayer is not eligible for the New Home Credit because the home has not been “purchased.”

Contact us Phone: 888.792.4900 (press 5) 916.845.4900 (not toll-free)

Email: wscs.gen@ftb.ca.gov   This is not a secure email address.

Please do not send confidential information.

 


Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
(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 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 Start Of The Real Estate Year

The start of a new year is always busy and certainly for me, the state of  ‘mass hysteria’ only calms down around tax time – mid April.

The normal causes for being busy, usually revolve around the aftermath of the holidays, the setting up of the new years systems and preparation for Spring buyers, but this year was different.

First, let’s consider my life this time last year:
Aside from the usual causes for being busy, we had just sold our house in Fountain Valley and on February 17th, we were 2 days from moving to Signal Hill.  It was hard to down-size, but after 3 garage sales, we were left with mainly boxes.  We dumped our boxes in our new home and took off for the Bahamas! Seriously….  we didn’t open a single box!

So far, this year has included:
~ Christmas with my parents-in-law in San Diego

~ New year with the kids in Sacramento and San Jose

~ A Women’s Council Of REALTORS(R) State conference in Monterey

~ A week of being office bound, while my Broker did jury duty

~ Wrapping up 2008, capturing, scanning and shredding 2008 documents

~ Tax preparation

~ Seeing our vacation rental in the mountains, through a busy snow season

~ Setting up 2009 systems

~ Training, being tested and becoming certified for Foreclosure business

~ Listing a property in Garden Grove

And it’s ALL DONE!  Yay!  AND we’re only 7 weeks into the year!

I will admit that a large part of my time has been spent maintaining a paperless office, but I can tell you that when we get busy,  the paper can mount up in no time.  Today, for the first time in 3 months, I can actually see the wood surface of my desk and you have NO idea how good that feels!

With the property market picking up during the first week of the year, real estate has been extremely busy, too and every day starts with a ton of phone calls to get back to those wishing to buy or sell. I try to work with only 6 clients at a time. Realistically,  any more than that and I am not devoting quality time to any of them. Right now, I have 37 active clients on my books and am in dire need of paring back.  Some of these clients will disqualify themselves, by virtue of the fact that they didn’t qualify for a loan or the market isn’t in a good place for them to sell,  so these clients will be placed on hold till later in the year, as we repair their credit, allow them time to save a little more or simply allow the sellers time to de-clutter their homes in preparation for listing.

Still,  all things considered, it has been a dynamic start to the year and I truly believe that 2009 is going to be an excellent real estate year!

Happy house-hunting!

 


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 Vice Chair – 2009

The ultimate insult to a prospective client

I was with a buyer this week – a lady who has had a hard life and simply wants to do the right thing by her family (she was looking in the $250,000 range and had $7,500 to put down).  We went out and looked at homes and came up with two properties that suited her.  An Offer was made.

During our 150 mile drive, looking at properties, she related to me that her listing agent had told her:  “Don’t be so dumb!” and that for this reason, she would not engage that agent to source a home for her.

Wow!  I can’t say that I blame her.  How can any agent be so pompous and condescending?

Hey, I know that the market is tough for most REALTORS(R) and that there are frustrations on both sides, but REALLY‘Dumb’?  Does this agent really want work?  And in this market?  Does he (and yes, it IS a guy!) expect that this seller will refer him to her friends and family? REALLY?

Who is this man kidding?  Has he forgotten that the SELLER pays his commission and that he is working for the BUYER?

Hey,  it’s hard enough to procure a client.  Then you have to build rapport – find commonality, show knowledge of the market, negotiations, etc…  this is not a piece of fish that they are buying, dripping in oil and vinegar and shrouded in today’s newspaper …  it happens to be the biggest purchase most people make in a lifetime.  You think they could be a little more polite, yes?  NOT!

Take this prime doozie:  ‘Whether it’s stocks or real estate it’s best to buy low now and sell high in later years. For those bottom feeders who think that prices might slip a little further, the only way you’re going to know if it’s the bottom of the market is when you look behind you and it’s already happened. Would you rather buy a house in a seller’s market or a buyer’s market?”

How can ANY REALTOR (R) refer to prospective clients as ‘Bottom-feeders’, and would any of you readers WANT to do business with her (and yes, this IS a woman – won’t call her a lady, though!)?

Being called a ‘Bottom-feeder’ doesn’t give the buyer the ‘warm fuzzies’, does it? “Would you rather buy a house in a seller’s market or a buyer’s market?”, she asks.   No,  I’d like to buy in a market where the agent does the job that they’re employed to do and not have to put up with her insults, THANK YOU! (That would be my answer….  how about you?)

And guess what?  Since she wrote that, THE MARKET SLIPPED EVEN FURTHER!  So much for expert advice!

True:  The buyer should have some idea of what they are looking for, within their budget, while maintaining some flexibility

True: The loan market is tough and agents must ask questions that sometimes make the buyer feel a little disquietened

True: It might take 150 miles in a car and 42 properties viewed to find the one that suits

True: It might take a few days to get an answer or to be pre-qualified

BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE INSULTED AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO ENDURE THE AGENT’S FRUSTRATION!

Buyers:  You don’t have to do business with a REALTOR (R) who insults you!  Do your research and find one that fits with you, your personality, your lifestyle and standards of ethics – heaven only knows – we are ten-a-penny in this market…..  find one that makes you feel comfortable and excited about finding the RIGHT home for you!

YOU HAVE MY BLESSING TO DO SO!


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