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Countrywide Makes New Demands on Short Sales and Won't Back Off - 02/28/09 09:35 AM
My husband is the poor guy who gets to listen to me rant and whine about my business. That's primarily because the cats don't give a hoot when I share my day. To be honest, my husband doesn't really care, either, but at least he's smart enough to say, "That's too bad," rather than, "Here, let me help." Working on short sales means every day I wake up and wonder: What new fresh hell is in store for me today? Last night, I complained at great length about a Sacramento short sale with Countrywide, and my husband was forced to listen. (30 comments)
Here is the State of the Real Estate Market in Land Park and Curtis Park, Sacramento - 02/27/09 09:00 AM
When my husband and I first moved to Land Park, my husband had his car stolen. A few years later, he almost had his bumper swiped right in front of our home, but the police scared off the thieves before the thugs could remove the last of 30-some screws. That's what he got for driving a Honda. So, I bought him a Prius. Now, if I'm driving more than one buyer to see homes in Land Park, I take my husband's car because my vehicle is a roadster. The other day I took the Prius to the car wash on Broadway (10 comments)
Would You Buy a Land Park or Curtis Park Short Sale at $75 a Square Foot? - 02/26/09 09:53 AM
It sounds unbelievable, doesn't it? A 4-bedroom home in the Land Park / Curtis Park area of Sacramento for $75 a square foot? Hey, it's for sale. I hate to burst your bubble, but it's a farce. How do I know it's a farce? For starters, homes in that area sell in the upper $300's -- on average about $250 a square foot. A bank is not going to accept a short sale offer at a price dramatically below the area's comparable sales. To deliberately price a home this low is terribly misleading to consumers and reflects poorly on the credibility (12 comments)
Why Short Sales Can Be a Viable Strategy for Home Buyers in Sacramento - 02/25/09 09:06 AM
I am working with a group of home buyers in Sacramento whom, for varying reasons, do not want to buy a home until this summer. But this is February, and they want to get started home buying. The most logical choice for this group is to pursue short sales. Why? Because the market is still falling and most short sale prices are below the pending sales. Also, because most regular home sellers would love to close within 30 to 45 days, and those sellers don't want to wait. They want to sell now. That's why their homes are on the market. (16 comments)
Forget the Bailout -- California Says Let's Legalize Pot - 02/24/09 10:18 AM
Buy some pot, fix the state budget deficit, say lawmakers in California. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a democrat from San Francisco, introduced Monday Assembly Bill 390. The bill would allow the sale of marijuana to anyone 21 and over and tax those sales, generating much needed revenue for the state of California's coffers. Of course, medical use of marijuana is already allowed in California, even though our federal law prohibits it. The same thing would happen if AB 390 passed. California would need to petition the federal government for a policy change. But President Obama has said in the past that he (18 comments)
MILK at the Land Park Tower Theatre Draws Packed Crowds - 02/23/09 10:23 AM
We were last at the Tower Theatre to see Slumdog Millionaire just before Christmas. I nominated Slumdog Millionaire in my blog as Best Movie of 2008, and was thrilled to see it win Best Picture and all the other Oscars, but the Best Actor nominations had me glued to the TV. Sunday, it was pouring rain in Sacramento -- some streets in Land Park were flooded, but I was still determined to go to the Tower Theatre. I scheduled all my real estate appointments tightly last week to give me this window of free time so I could go with my (12 comments)
Sacramento Home Sellers: What Happens if Your Lockbox Fails? - 02/22/09 09:59 AM
Last week an agent called because she could not gain access to conduct a home inspection on one of my vacant short sale listings. The sellers had already moved out of town. Usually I try to get an extra key from my sellers, just in case an agent breaks a key in the lock, but I had no extra key for this listing. She told me the lockbox wouldn't open. Do you know what happens when a Supra lockbox in Sacramento fails? I didn't, so I called the Sacramento Board of Realtors. (Our lockboxes sell for $115 each, so they're not (25 comments)
Do Your Homework Before Counting on that $10,000 Tax Credit in California - 02/21/09 11:25 AM
When I heard the news this week that California new home buyers may receive a $10,000 tax credit, it sounded almost too good to be true. In some ways it is. Some web sites are giving out wrong information to consumers, leading California buyers to believe that they can receive an $8,000 tax credit on the federal level for being a first-time home buyer on top of a $10,000 credit on the state level, equaling a whopping $18,000 tax credit for this year. It doesn't work that way. For starters, the $10,000 tax credit is only for new homes, and the (11 comments)
What's Black and White and Running Through Land Park? - 02/20/09 08:46 AM
There's a peculiar odor in the evening wafting through Land Park, and I'll be the first to tell you that's it's trouble with a capital T -- that rhymes with P and stands for pot. Well, not really. But a friend of mine walked out on my back porch, sniffed and exclaimed loud enough for my neighbors to hear, "Who's smoking pot around here?" Not that I really have any first-hand evidence of that smell, mind you, but I have seen with my own two little eyes what is causing it.It's skunks! Now, if I was Barbara Duncan in Searcy, Arkansas, (17 comments)
Are Sacramento Short Sale Sellers Submitting Phony Purchase Offers to Countrywide? - 02/19/09 09:21 AM
It's happened twice in the past week with Countrywide. Once is a fluke, but the second time is policy at that bank. Both of these short sales had different negotiators assigned, so it wasn't like we were dealing with one short sale negotiator who simply had a bad day. Countrywide's new short sale policy is to cancel a file if there are changes. Bear in mind, it doesn't matter if the changes were caused by Countrywide because it made a mistake. And Countrywide has a habit of making plenty of mistakes. In the first case, Countrywide forgot to add the back (22 comments)
95% of January Home Sales in Sacramento County Under $400,000 - 02/18/09 08:55 AM
If your home is on the market in Sacramento and you're not getting any offers, the problem might not be price. It might be price range. The Trendgraphix report for January 2009 shows that only 5% of the home sales closed at sales prices exceeding $400,000. Wow. I looked at older Trendgraphix reports to see how far that percentage has fallen. By comparison, in May of 2006, 42% of the home sales in Sacramento had sold for more than $400,000. Below is a chart reflecting the last 15 months of home sale activity in Sacramento County. Inventory, the number of (13 comments)
Take a Look at This Spectacular Short Sale Home in Galt with Pool Not Yet in MLS - 02/17/09 09:37 AM
Sacramentans' perception of Galt -- especially those who have never been to the city -- is that it's a long way from downtown, but it's really not any further to drive than to some parts of Elk Grove. Lots of law enforcement officials live in Galt, too. It's only 32 minutes from downtown Sacramento. So, if you're yearning for wide-open spaces coupled with the lifestyle that a vibrant small-town community offers, Galt might be the place for you to live. Here is a new short sale listing in Galt. It's located just minutes from Twin Cities Road off Highway 99. This (9 comments)
Sacramento Short Sale Agent Closes Short Sale in 67 Days - 02/16/09 09:58 AM
The success of a short sale depends largely on the listing agent. Fact: If that listing agent is not a short sale specialist, the escrow will take a long time to close, if it closes at all. Over the years, I've pretty much streamlined my short sale process in Sacramento, and I don't "farm-out" the negotiation process to an outside company like some short sale agents. As a result, most of my short sales get approval within 6 to 8 weeks and close 30 days later. However, last week, my short sale closed in 9 1/2 weeks. I beat my own (18 comments)
Punch Brothers Play to Full House at Mondavi Center and I Fell Asleep - 02/15/09 10:51 AM
OK, I didn't really fall asleep, I just felt like I was sleeping or perhaps wished I was sleeping, all snug and warm in the comforts of my own multi-cat infested bed instead of sitting at Mondavi Center in Davis to see the Punch Brothers. That's not to say the Punch Brothers are awful, because they have tons of talent, mountains of talent, Grammy-awarded talent bigger than the state of California, but they don't put on a spectacular show. The musicians are Chris Thile (from Nickel Creek) who plays mandolin; Gabe Witcher, fiddle; Chris Eldridge, guitar; Noam Pikelny, banjo; and Paul (11 comments)
Please Give a Warm Active Rain Welcome to Sally Dunbar of Lyon Real Estate - 02/14/09 11:55 AM
Psst. I'd like to introduce you to Sally Dunbar, a newbie on Active Rain. Sally is a 30-year real estate veteran who works at Lyon Real Estate's Fair Oaks office on Madison. (I work at the Lyon office in Midtown.) She's been licensed since 1979, is a director of the Sacramento Association of Realtors, a top producing agent and Master's Club member. So far, Sally has posted 5 blogs and received one comment. She's just beginning to figure out how Active Rain works, so I'd like to encourage everybody who reads this to scoot over to Sally's blog and say hello! (19 comments)
New Sacramento Restaurant: World Seafood & Sushi Buffet - 02/14/09 10:08 AM
My husband and I finally found time to check out the new buffet restaurant that just opened in Sacramento. The World Seafood & Sushi Buffet is located south of Land Park, past Fruitridge on the east side of Freeport near Claudia. It's a non-descript building. We showed up for lunch last Wednesday around 1 PM, and the place was practically deserted, so I don't know how many customers were actually there around noon. Without customers in the room, the air was chilly. It's a huge dining space, filled with lots of empty tables, so we received superior service from the staff (7 comments)
Many first-time home buyers for Land Park think they cannot afford Land Park prices; however, that is not necessarily true. The secret is to hire an experienced Land Park real estate agent who can find them for you. Some homes in Land Park are overpriced, but only a Land Park real estate agent can tell where they are because those listings aren't screaming: Come make a lowball offer and we'll accept it. Here is a list of the available Land Park homes for sale priced under $300,000 and an analysis of recent activity. Available Homes for Sale in Land Park (8 comments)
Land Park Community Association Election Results - 02/12/09 05:21 PM
I talked with Paula Swayne this morning who managed to make it to the Land Park Community Association meeting last night. She reports more than 150 people were present, some with proxies in hand, no doubt. The sides appeared divided, and the meeting went on for three long hours. I tallied the votes, and not every amendment received 274 votes, which means some people either didn't vote for each amendment or votes were miscounted. But no matter how you look at it, they all passed. Here are the election results for the Land Park Community Association Bylaw Amendments:
If One Box of Chocolates is Great, Two Boxes Are Even Better! - 02/12/09 09:59 AM
My grandmother was born in Hungary in 1903 and passed away in 1988. She told me shortly before her death that she was tired of living and was ready to go. I've never really understood that concept but perhaps I'm not old enough yet to reach that conclusion. I can't fathom it. But then I'm in relatively good health with very few vices except for chocolate. Whenever my grandmother came to visit when I was a child, she used to bring me a box of See's Candies. Did you know that See's Candies was founded in 1921 in San Francisco? That (18 comments)
Where's That Pot of Gold at the End of the Foreclosure Rainbow? - 02/11/09 09:12 AM
Having a large presence on the web for a Sacramento real estate agent can be both a blessing and a curse. The benefit from being everywhere online is my phone rings a lot. The drawback is some of those callers are, to put it politely, insane. But as any veteran real estate agent will tell you, even insane people buy real estate. In fact, a lot of real estate is sold to insane people, if you really want to know the truth. The secret, I've learned, is to choose the sane, logical and motivated clients to work with because that's how (20 comments)
News Flash: Land Park Community Association Directors Resign - 02/10/09 05:24 PM
It's like watching a train wreck. I don't want to watch but I can't take my eyes off it. The emails and letters via the postal service from the Land Park Community Association and its rivals, the LPCA Renaissance, have escalated to the point where I sit slack-jawed at the mud-slinging and accusations lobbed by the opposition to LPCA. This afternoon, I'm writing to inform you that 4 Land Park Community Association directors have tendered their resignation, effective February 11th at 6:30 PM, just before the scheduled meeting tomorrow. The resigning directors are: Elyse Metune, President Kearse McGill, Secretary Judy Sundquist, (5 comments)
The Time Has Come, the Walrus Said, to Buy a New Cell Phone - 02/10/09 10:34 AM
Have you seen those ads for the emergency medical alert monitor? You know, the device that you wear, I dunno, around your neck or something, in case you fall down and can't get back up? I see ads for those all the time. Now that I'm getting older, I can't help but wonder if I will end up having to wear one of those things when I hit my senior years. I doubt it though, because I'm always wearing my cell phone and bluetooth earpiece. It feels almost like I'm packing a pistol. When I leave the house, I pat my (20 comments)
Land Park Community Association - Please Make the Pain Stop - 02/09/09 10:05 AM
In the past week, I have received 3 letters in the U. S. mail, 4 emails and one email from a former president of the Land Park Community Association. I don't know about other Land Park residents, but I am looking forward to the day the pain, the bickering and all this in-fighting stops. It's like watching a guy banging his head back and forth on a door jamb and asking "why are you doing that," to which the response is, "Because it feels so good when I stop." The special membership meeting of the LPCA is Wednesday, February 11th at (7 comments)
Paying Attention to Your Intuition Will Rarely Steer You Wrong - 02/08/09 02:37 PM
Selling real estate requires full concentration, especially in Sacramento's red-hot buyers' market right now -- which is always a challenge because the economic climate changes from day-to-day. But it also requires full use of all an agent's capabilities. Having systems in place to handle the workload is a necessity, but so is listening to intuition, that little nagging voice in the back of one's head that says something is different or doesn't add up. I reviewed a real estate book for my About.com homebuying site yesterday, which I try to do every couple months. This is a book by Margaret Rome, (54 comments)
Swindlers and Crooks are Ubiquitous in the Sacramento Short Sale Market - 02/07/09 10:15 AM
There are days that I wish I could gather all the short sale sellers in Sacramento in one place -- maybe the Convention Center in downtown Sacramento -- and spend a few hours explaining how short sales work and how to avoid getting ripped off. Sacramento is witnessing an abundance of scam artists who are crawling out of the woodwork in our troubled times to prey on naive underwater home owners. But I intensely dislike giving public speeches, and I don't have the time to put together such an undertaking. I'm hoping somebody else in the position to do this reads (14 comments)
Sacramento Home Sellers' Privacy Violated by a Buyer's Agent - 02/06/09 02:20 PM
A Sacramento home seller called me yesterday to complain that when he came home from picking up his children, he discovered strangers had entered his home without permission. The fact that the intruders were a buyer's agent and buyers wasn't readily clear, and my client was understandably freaked out. I promised him I would put the agent on notice that he is not permitted to enter a home simply because he can spot a lockbox on the gas pipe. He is required to check MLS showing instructions. On this particular listing, the showing instructions say to call the seller's cell before (75 comments)
Increase of Burglaries in The Pocket / South Land Park Areas of Sacramento - 02/05/09 09:17 AM
I received a notice from the Land Park Community Association this morning advising residents to be on the alert and report suspicious activity to the Sacramento Police department. One of my own clients had a break in last month. The thieves broke a window on the back of the home and carted off electronics and jewelry. At first I thought she said, "They stole our weed," and I was thinking that maybe she shouldn't be confiding that sort of thing to her real estate agent. I mean, it's none of my business. Then I realized she had said "Wii." Here are (15 comments)
Senate Approves $15,000 Tax Break for Home Buyers - 02/04/09 08:48 PM
This is exciting -- the Senate today voted on the economic stimulus package and approved a tax credit for up to 10% of the purchase price with a maximum of $15,000 for home buyers. It's an amended version of what the House passed, which means it still needs to go to committee. But this is double the amount of the present tax credit which, at the moment, isn't really a tax credit at all but instead an interest-free 15-year loan. President Obama is behind this big time. Doesn't look like the Republicans are as enthusiastic, but they are in the minority. (32 comments)
Sacramento Home Buyers: Beware of Buying a Foreclosure Flipper - 02/04/09 09:08 AM
It ain't over until the fat lady sings, that is until a buyer has been approved by a manual underwriting process, the purchase is not solid and air tight. Things can go wrong in underwriting, especially in our turbulent times of falling home prices and increasingly stringent underwriting guidelines. An appraiser told me yesterday that some lenders are reducing the appraised value by 1% a month and projecting that difference over an 8- to 9-month period. But that wasn't the problem for my Natomas buyer. In fact, her appraisal came in at 7% over her purchase price. Rarely, in this market, (9 comments)
Why Not Spread a Little Sunshine Today and Say a Kind Word? - 02/03/09 10:14 AM
I was feeling a little pressured yesterday because I had my usual set of Monday deadlines to meet, mixed with qualifying several new clients, searching for homes in Land Park that fit a stringent, almost impossible, set of criteria, warding off telemarketers -- I get 2 or 3 calls a day from people pitching products -- and implementing my new marketing plan for 2009. Mondays are always blogging days for my About.com site. Plus, I try to pump out at least one article, and send listing update reports to my sellers, but I had an appointment with a client, which meant (27 comments)
List -Price-to Sales-Price Ratios Depend on Type of Market in Sacramento - 02/02/09 09:38 AM
I can't remember the last time a client asked me about sales ratios, but during a counseling session yesterday with first-time home buyers for Land Park, they asked if I would print out my last 12 months' of production. I suppose many agents wouldn't do it, but my life is pretty much an open book. Buyer Sales Price Ratios Later in the evening, I looked over those numbers. In case you want to know, the list-price-to-sales-price ratio average of my buyers over the past 12 months is 98.16%. But what does that really mean? For starters, it means that in the (15 comments)
Have You Ever Considered Remodeling Your Car? - 02/01/09 09:19 AM
Everybody knows that the moment you drive a brand new car off the dealer lot, the value drops when those tires hit the street. Still, there's a certain appeal to buying a brand new car. There's an agent in my office who trades in her car and buys a new car every year. She just gets tired of her vehicle. She doesn't lease; she pays cash. I took my car to Tom Stephens Mercedes in East Sacramento last week for its annual service. Stephens is the best Mercedes auto shop in Sacramento; he used to be a manager at Mercedes, and (24 comments)
Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate, midtown Sacramento. Selling since 1974. Home Buying Guide at About.com. Sacramento short sale agent.
Author Bio: Elizabeth Weintraub is a Sacramento real estate broker, author, home buying guide for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a Land Park agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully closes short sales throughout Sacramento four-county area. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 35 years of real estate experience to work for you.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.