REO offer rules - don't bug the Listing Agent

I lift this "comment" from "JimtheRealtor's" blog in San Diego. It apparently is verbatim instructions from a Listing Agent sent to all interested properties in his REO listings. It just goes to show how hot the low-end foreclosure market is in areas outside of San Francisco like San Diego.

"Thank you for your many emails, phone calls and dropped off and faxed offers. Thanks for your patience as you have filled up my email and phone services. The agents receiving your calls thank you for your courteous manners as well.

We have received 12 offers thus far. The majority are cash offers well over the 200’s. FYI- After working with this client for over 7 years, This client prefers cash and quick closes and large, non refundable earnest deposits, CLEAN OFFERS!!!. (This is a hint, I don’t make the rules).

EMAIL ALL OFFERS IN ONE EMAIL, RIGHT SIDE UP, (yes, I have gotted them side ways, upside down and the best, is 20+ emails one page for every email). If you are not learned on scanning please go to Kinkos).

ALL offers MUST include copy of the earnest deposit check, PROOF of funds, 8 page Purchase Contract and 2 page buyer advisory, Agency and WPA if seller paid termite work is being requested.

Please submit your buyers highest and best offer as the seller will not counter, only the 2 highest offers will be submitted (per seller instruction), one for acceptance and 2nd for a back up offer. CLEAN OFFERS ONLY. Bank owned are TDS and Statewide exempt. Submit only emailed offers (this email to all inquiries, this does not meant to suggest you did not email your offer). YOU MUST VISIT THE PROPERTY BEFORE SUBMITTING AN OFFER, REALLY!!!

SOLD AS IS- seller has no knowledge on ANYTHING, if you need to talk to me or have questions concerning this property, it is not the right property for your client. NO FHA OR VA OFFERS, because the MLS says so!!!!!

If I pissed you off, please feel to do what you must, I work for the seller and not you.

This email is intended to save me, agents and your clients from the frustration and time it takes to submit an offer on something they most likely will not be purchasing.

Thank You,"

Ahh - that is good stuff. Despite getting upset myself with an REO agent here in SF when I wanted to submit an offer and he wasn't cooperative, I now get it. We have so few REO's, but thanks to San Diego I now know what to do here in SF the next time a Buyer client of mine wants to submit an offer on an REO. Email it in sit tight. And don't send it faxed sideways one page at a time. Lesson learned :)


Infinity on the move - literally

The Infinity SF sent out a press release (here) about the "new" 2nd tower welcoming it's new residents. Apparently as many as 75 of them after "averaging 6 sales a week".

The verbiage is a tad unclear as it says 322 homes have sold in the 365-unit first phase "and more than 75 new homes sold at The Infinity in the past 90 days". Well, both phase 1 & 2 are called The Infinity, so are some on phase 1 with most in phase 2????

By the way, apparently "Blu" at 631 Folsom is now 20% sold out, nearly at their 25% goal for loan approval, and they are "set for May move ins" - all according to the sales agent I spoke to today.


Possible good news on Short Sales?

I'll believe it when it happens... but any news about the banks getting serious about allowing Short Sales to happen is welcome. I can't get excited after my one and only Short Sale experience in which I got 4 offers... all above the REO (bank owned) price it was listed at recently after the two Lenders on the condo refused to cooperate with each other.

As this article states, Realtors shy away from Short Sales if we think there is little chance of success, and that REO's sell for less than Short Sale properties (not always the case, but with mine is most definitely was).

In short the article is about Bank of America being willing to accept only 5% of a HELOC's value rather than 10% when the Short Sale is approved. This does NOT get me excited. In my one Short Sale the 1st bank offered the 2nd bank $1,000 to release their over $100,000 2nd loan. So this is like BofA saying "when we're in 2nd position via a HELOC, we'll now happily take $5,000 on a $100,000 loan" while the 1st lender is only offering $1,000. They are still worlds apart (even though $4,000 apart doesn't sound like much on a $600,000 condo, it is when you're dealing with over worked and out of touch banks).

But a baby step is a step in the right direction. I'd just like to see a few more before I'm willing to try to help another homeowner try a Short Sale here in San Francisco.

San Francisco mortgage fraud story

OK, I had to google it after writing the below post. And I got all of one story found here.

A Tennessee man who conned an elderly woman into taking out a fake reverse mortgage in which he pocketed $140,000. Terrible story, yes. On the scale of the scams I've found in Southern California and Utah, not so much.

Are San Francisco's values "safe" if we didn't have the kind of mortgage fraud these other areas have had? I'm not saying that, but it is VERY obvious when homes were falsely assumed to be worth $1 million more than they actually were, and people bought more homes based on those comps, the decline in valuations is going to be catastrophic. When hundreds of homes in one community are "bought" for $300,000 when they were only worth $150,000, that's a 50% drop just when the fraud is removed, never mind the craze southern California experienced. So if we avoided large scale scams, we're in a much more normal cycle.... if you can call the near-great-depression-two "normal".

Mortgage Fraud week at SFisHomeBlog

I seem to have developed a morbid fascination with mortgage fraud. Type in "mortgage fraud" into google and one of the States or Cities you know saw extra high bubble valuations, and you get outrageous results.

In part my fascination is to support the "san francisco is different" argument that our prices aren't quite the "bubble" of other areas. It's not hard to believe when you read a story like this one from Utah.

This one quote pretty much says it all:

"Clarke admitted to falsifying property sale values, in some cases by more than $1 million per transaction over the actual sale price on the Wasatch Front Multiple Listing Service, in order to create false comparables in the Riverbottoms area to help him sell neighboring homes at higher prices."

I've now read about a gang leader in Pasadena, a "Bay Area" con artist who pulled a similar scam in San Diego, and I know that Miami is chock full of scams. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix will no doubt be easy marks for my morbid googling side show to San Francisco real estate.

The question... is San Francisco different? I'm convinced there was some funny business, but I just don't see how we could have anything on the scale of these few scams I've found in 5 minutes on Google here in good old SF.

By the way, if you yourself didn't get scammed... it's not all roses. Also from the above article:

"In addition to the mortgage lenders' losses, several hundred residents in the area also suffered collateral damage in the aftermath of the scam. About 180 residents appealed their property tax valuations in 2007 after the mortgage scam sent property valuations of some 550 homes in the Riverbottoms area up between 50 percent and 100 percent in just one year, according to the Utah County Assessor."

So when we see very high San Francisco prices.... we want to know that it's because very real people, with very real money, drove the prices up. Not large scale fraud.

The ugly side of real estate - a Pasadena, CA story

An agent and Seller asking for "money out of escrow" to accept a Short Sale offer

A "short sale" is when the loan on the home exceeds the proceeds from the sale.... and the Seller doesn't have the money to make up what is "short" so the lender takes the loss. In this "work around" the Seller is trying to con the lender.

I'm sure we had some questionable deals in recent years here in San Francisco, but from the stories I'm finding out fraud in other markets, I just can't imagine we had any where near the level of problems in the worst bubble areas.

Oh, and what a beautiful day it was today in San Francisco... it felt like a 100 degrees.


GMAC hiring - a different view of the jobs market

I always find it interesting when people assume Realtors are all make a killing when the market is hot, and that we're going broke when the market slows down. In truth, both present their own challenges. Similarly, right now everyone assumes that anyone who was a mortgage broker or lender is out of work or in huge financial trouble. But this article points out that GMAC is hiring 1,000 new employees.

The article sites refinancing, and increase Jumbo loan business, for the big uptick in GMAC's business. My guess is that re-fi's account for 90+% of the hiring. One of my listings is in contract and the Buyer's mortgage broker called me to see if I knew any Appraisers who could make it to the home earlier than his "go-to" guy could. Sure enough I have a friend I'd been out of touch with for a while who got his Appraisal licence around the time we lost touch, so I took the opportunity to catch up and see if I couldn't throw him a little business... just assuming he would be struggling right now. The truth is he is slammed and couldn't fit in the appraisal for days after the mortgage broker's guy. Re-fi's have him slammed.

It was sort of a "doh" moment... when interest rates at an all time low, of course everyone in the entire world is trying to refinance.

So it would appear that the acts of the Fed to lower interest rates is helping in quite a few ways. GMAC and other lenders, as well as Appraisers are hiring, and making money. Many homeowners are getting rates that are likely to keep many of them in their homes... fewer sales = less inventory, and fewer in-trouble owners = fewer foreclosures.

As for my business.... my partner Ciara and I are very busy too... but not too busy for your phone call. The "downturn" if you can call this relative blip in the San Francisco market has meant a lot of "wanna be" agents have left the business, and that makes our job easier. Hiring a quality agent is more important than ever, and whether you are Buying or Selling we recommend you interview several agents... just so long as we're one of them :)

More San Diego real estate & mortgage fraud

I've seen what appears to me to be some evidence of fraud in San Francisco, but a condo or home here and there.... vs. hundreds of homes by a San Diego street gang, and in the video a couple of post down, 81 condos in one identity con. This two part story - a street gang running a con in conjunction with a real estate agent and other conspirators really takes the cake.

Here's the gang member side of the story:

And the real estate agent side:

More San Diego fraud(?) in the two videos below.


Jim the Realtor - "Obvious fraud?" video

Jim the Realtor is my new hero. He cracks me up, and exposes San Diego's dirty real estate world. Check out this video for a taste

Mortgage Fraud's impact on San Diego Real Estate

Pretty shocking video... two things of note... the scam artist is from the "Bay Area". And the scam prices were new "comps" most likely causing other buyers/sellers to assume ever higher prices. When a market has this type of activity, expect their prices to drop much further than most.


1335 Union St

The SFisHOME Real Estate Group's newest listing. Top Floor Golden Gate Bridge View corner unit. 1,000 SqFt 1 bed 1 bath with parking, in-unit laundry, extra storage & more. Watch the YouTube video walk thru here. Watch the photo slide show below or use the "view detailed listings" link below for showings & info. Open Sunday 2-4pm.