Category Archives: selling homes

Tax Credit Extended for California

I don’t know if everybody knows that the state of California has extended the first time home buyer and re-beat buyer tax credit.  New applications will be available on May 1st, 2010.  The federal governments tax credit will expire April 30, 2010.    There are a few difference with the State credit and the federal credit.

The state credit will have a budget of $100 million for first time home buyers and $100 million for re-beat buyers. The major difference with a budget, is you can run out of funding and the program ends.  They plan to on the $100 million cap for New Home Credit will be reduced by 70% of tax credit allocated to each buyer.  The $100 million cap First Time Home Buyer credit will be reduced 57% of the tax credit allocated as well.  This is because the state feels that many buyer will not be able to use the whole credit within 3  years.  These credit will be served on a first come basis.  Another difference is this is a credit.  That means it goes against what you owe in your taxes.  You have to use this tax over a three year period ($3,333 per year).  This tax cannot reduce regular tax below your Tax Minimum Credit (TMT).  You cannot get a refund for the amount you do not use.

The taxpayers who are first time home buyers need to purchase (close escrow) on or after May 1, 2010 and before January 1, 2011 in order to get this credit.  Repeat buyers going for the New Home Credit need to purchase on or after December 31, 2010 and before August 1, 2011

There are a few regulations on who will be aledgeable for these two credits.  Please go to the government website and too read all the rules and updates as they become available.


Brokers being Fined for Adding on Fees

I don’t know if any of you read the article in the Union Tribune this Sunday about how the HUD is cracking down on what realtors charge for extra.  The rule behind this is that if you are being paid a commission and that is negotiated with the seller that is all you should be paid.  They (HUD) are finding that a lot of realtor tack on extra fees above and beyond their real estate commission.  If the fees are for services that should be done to close the deal the HUD feels their is no reason the client should be paying more.  So when an agent tacks on a fee for a transaction cordinator or signage or advertising any of these fees the HUD could fine the broker for gauge their client.

They feel that advertising, paperwork, adminstrative, puting the sign on the property, and flyers need to be done in order to sale the home and should be included in the commission or flat rate negotiated at the beginning.  When I first started real estate in the Bay Area I saw a lot of agents charging their clients for things I felt were all part of the transaction.  It will be curious to see if brokers abide by the new law.

Any thoughts…..

RealtyTrac… Is Their Data Accurate???

Realty Trac is a company based out of Irvine California. This is what they advertise they will do for their members:

RealtyTrac Member Benefits

Search nearly 650,000 Foreclosure and Bank-Owned properties. More than 1 million total properties including For Sale by Owner, New Construction, Resale, and Home Auctions!
Become a member of RealtyTrac today and get exclusive access to all the information and resources you need to buy or sell your home or investment property.
  • The largest database of foreclosure properties in the U.S.
  • Members have the opportunity to save up to 20% – 50% or more off market prices
  • The nation’s largest database of pre-foreclosure, auction, bank-owned and for sale by owner properties
  • The chosen provider of foreclosure data to leading businesses like MSN House & Home, Yahoo! Real Estate, The Wall Street Journal’s Real Estate Journal as well as federal government agencies like the FDIC, FBI and Federal Reserve Bank
  • The nation’s 2nd largest real estate website
  • The highest Nielsen-rated website in its category
  • Better Business Bureau “A” rating

Part of their services include listing houses for sale, and buyers looking to get a deal on properties in distress pay $49.95 a month to subscribe to Realty Trac. So are their numbers all hype? MAYBE Here is how they get their data on foreclosures—they add default homes (NOD’s), auction sales notices, and bank repossessions. 

Looking at this data, some properties are counted multiple times. A house for sale can go through several permutations–first the default, then the bank repossessions, then the auction, and in some states this can go on for many months with many different filings. 

If RealtyTrac has been counting this way for years, then the percentages of month-to-month and year-to-year are accurate.  Do I believe their foreclosure numbers on a daily count is accurate? No. 

Both RealtyTrac and Zillow pull their data from county records. County records aren’t always accurate. In my next post, I will discuss the problems with what your home is worth on Zillow.

Thanks for reading…

Writing on a Short Sale: 4 Weeks!

Well iIam blogging about my short sale transaction again.  This deal is still going… It has been almost 4 weeks since I wrote the offer, and the bank hasn’t countered.  The agent stated the amount the bank wants and we are suppose to come up to that price.  My clients have decided to write another offer and come in a little higher than their last offer to see if we can get the bank to counter us.  We will see….

According to the listing agent, if we go a little higher, they will counter.  I’m not sure its worth the effort, but I am here to support my clients to their best interest.  I do not want them to over pay for the home.

I will keep you posted as we will write another offer on Tuesday. 

Thanks for reading!

Writing on a Short Sale: Day 16

Hi Everyone,

I am back from vacation as of Tuesday Night. Here’s an update on my short sale offer:

Day 6 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 7 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 8 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 9 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 10 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 11 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 12 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 13 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 14 – Did not hear anything from other agent

Day 15 – Did not hear anything from other agent

On July 2nd – Day 15! – I was back from vacation and decided to email and voicemail the listing agent to see if I could get any information about where the offer was with the lender.  The agent returned my call a few hours later and this is how the conversation went.  By the way, I am not making this up!

Listing Agent:  Hi, I am returning your call about one of my listings.

Catherine: Hi, this is Catherine Barden and I wrote an offer on your listing about 14 days ago and have not heard from you about the status of this offer.

Listing Agent:  I did get the extension of trustee sale, did I tell you that?  (I guess he remembered the message I left.)

Catherine:  That’s good to know.  Where are the lenders, with regards to my client’s offer?

Listing Agent: They would like $575,000 (our offer was $385,000, and the home’s value is close to our offer). 

Listing Agent: However, there is another issue.  The seller thinks he can work something out with the lender and keep the home.  I told him that this wouldn’t work out that well on myside. (…Like the seller cares about what the listing agent might lose!)

Catherine:  The bank’s price is high.  It’s way over the value.

Listing Agent:  I told them that the home is worth somwhere between $425,000 – $450,000.

Catherine:  I can’t believe they want $575,000!

Listing Agent:  Did I say $575,000? I meant $475,000. I have so many lenders I am dealing with, I get confused.  If you want, you could have your clients write another offer for $425,000, submit it, and see what the lender says. However, because you are representing the buyer I don’t want you to have your buyer over pay for this home.  (I’m not sure why he thinks he needs to protect my buyer, it’s my client!)

Catherine:  What about the seller, he has until August since you got him an extension to work out something with his lender, right?

Listing Agent: Its up to you, I don’t think he is going to get the lender to agree.

Catherine: I will let you know.

THIS was the conversation I received from the listing agent 15 days after the offer was submitted, and I had to call the agent.  He did even know who I was, even though I had left detailed messages and emails. 

AFTER SPEAKING WITH MY CLIENT:  they have decided to start looking at other properties.  They prefer not to look at any other Short Sales.  They don’t understand why they are even allowed on the market.

I think I would have to agree with my client on this.  These listings are too convoluted to be for Sale.

Thanks for reading!

Writing on a Short Sale: Day 5

I have been on vacation since Saturday… That is why you have not heard from me!  And since my offer on the short sale, I have not heard from the other realtor either.

Day 3…  Nothing.

Day 4 (Sunday)… Nothing.

Day 5 (Monday)… Nothing.

Had this been any other deal, I would have heard from the person selling the home. Since we are never really sure who is selling or not sellling a short sale, we just WAIT and WAIT…

Will keep you posted!

Writing an Offer on a Short Sale (Day 2)

My Short Sale Offer – Day 2:

About three hours after making an offer on a short sale listing, I finally received a response from the realtor. It was as follows:

Realtor’s Email:
Thank you Catherine. Please note eventually we will need approval letter and copy of check made out to escrow.. We have time since your offer is a back up offer. 
My Thoughts:
I asked the realtor what I needed and was told to send only the purchase contract and the Short Sale Addendum.  I usually send an approval letter and copy of the escrow check when completing an offer, but since this is a short sale, I wasn’t sure what the lender would need.  I am still confused about my offer being a “back up offer” as the home is not currently under contract. (They have 3 offers on the home, and the lender has not responded to any of them.) 
My response to the realtor was as follows:
My Reply Email: 
…Could you clear one thing up: You haven’t had lender approval on another offer, correct?  You just know there is an offer that was taken before you became the listing agent, and you are thinking it is low and that is why the lender has not responded?
Realtor’s Response:
You are correct. Lender prefers to have one offer regardless of price.. once all paperwork is reviewed lender will order BPO… When we get value from lender, I inform all Realtors who have made an offer… Some will stay and other will walk away. Be patient. I will keep you posted…

My Thoughts:

Is this not a crazy way to do real estate?  What happen to the good old-fashion way of putting a home on the market after you do a comparable market anaylsis, taking offers, reviewing offers, accepting one offer, and going into contract?
I’ll keep you posted on the next thing I get from this realtor or the lender…