Foreclosures, REOs and ShortSales — Oh My!

Wouldn’t it be cool to have a yellow brick road to follow through this maze of investment opportunities? With foreclosures, bank-owned properties and short sales at a record high, it can be very confusing! Let me give you my perspective as your local economist and real estate expert.  
You need a guide to navigate your way to the best possible investment opportunities to achieve your financial goals. Call me today to show you how I have helped other investors like you get started.

When should you buy a home?

When should  you buy a home?  When you want one and can afford one. Interest rates are at historic lows.  While prices seem to go up and down a bit, the historic truth is that all Real Estate goes up over the long term.  The sooner you buy – the better. So called “timing the market,”  to find the absolute best time to buy really doesn’t work.  Look at some very prominent “Deal Makers” who have declared bankruptcy more than once.

couple buying home

Moving Day!

The home buying process might seem a little confusing if you haven’t gone through it before. However, it can actually be a lot easier than you think, particularly if you’re working with someone who’s got a lot of experience helping people with their real estate needs. I’ve been helping first-time home buyers realize their dreams for years. I can speed up your home search, help arrange financing, help you negotiate a good deal, and make sure everything’s signed, sealed and delivered on the closing date.

So if you’re interested in finding out more, please call or email me any time.

How long is Escrow?

First off, what is escrow?  The escrow company is the neutral third party in a Real Estate Purchase.  They hold money and executed documents in trust until they are ready to transfer or record.

In California the escrow process usually takes about 30 days.  I’ve seen some as quick as 10 days and right now I’m involved in a sale that is taking 60 days.  Typically the buyer asks for the time period in the Residential Purchase agreement (RPA) that the lender and buyer’s agent have advised that this transaction will take.  The seller can counter a different time period.  After any negotiation both parties agree on a time period and the clock starts ticking.

On day one the contract is agreed on and signed by all parties. The listing agent, usually, will contact the escrow company, receive a number and “open escrow.”  Once escrow is open the buyer has until the end of day three to get the deposit into escrow. Deposit amount is usually one to three percent of the purchase price. The most convenient way is to use a wire transfer from the buyer’s bank directly in the the escrow trust account.  The buyer will be provided with instruction on how to do this.  Or if preferred the buyer or agent may deliver a check to escrow.

Then the buyer begins inspections, appraisal and any other due diligence as well as making a formal loan application. At day 17 (or another mutually agreed on day) the buyer is expected to release all contingencies but the loan.  At day 21 (or another mutually agreed on day) the buyer releases the loan contingency.  This is the buyer’s commitment to go forward and complete the purchase.  If the buyer does not complete the purchase after giving up contingencies, there may be penalties including the forfeiture of the earnest money or deposit.

The lender will order loan documents to be delivered to escrow and make an appointment with the buyer to come in and sign with a notary present.  If necessary the buyer may sign with a mobile notary at home or their work location.  The seller will have already signed the Grant Deed over to the buyer sometime during the escrow period and escrow will deliver for recording at the appropriate time to record the new title in the buyer’s name.

The buyer is entitled to a final walkthrough a  few days before closing to see if the property is in substantially the same condition as originally and to inspect repairs, if any.

One to two business days after signing and the deposit of any additional funds (downpayment, closing costs) from the buyer the loan will fund and then in LA county the title is recorded the following day.  Other counties may have different timelines.  Recording is usually day 30 of escrow.

The date the buyer takes possession of their new home is negotiated in the RPA.  Generally it’s the end of the day on the day of recording, but depending on the needs of both parties it may be a few days after the recording.  Your realtor may use terms something like COE plus 3.  That means Close of Escrow plus an additional three days.

After recording the escrow officer will balance the file and deliver the proceeds to the seller.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed escrow.


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New Civic Center for Long Beach Will Start Construction Soon


We’re getting a new City Hall, Library, Park and much more!  The current city hall building that was built in 1972 CityHall-01005-002awas found unlikely to survive a major earthquake.
At the same time, the city’s Port of Long Beach enterprise, which had been leasing administrative space, wanted to find a permanent home.
The development of the new courthouse in also meant the city had the site of the old courthouse on which to build.
The state awarded the Long Beach courthouse project in 2010 to Long Beach Judicial Partners LLC, a consortium led by the French firm Meridiam Infrastructure.
The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse opened slightly ahead of schedule in September 2013.
The city will began demolition of the old courthouse on March 1 and start construction on July 1.
Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2018 and occupancy is set for June 30, 2019.
The Lincoln Park project would be completed by November 2020.
Take a look at this video outlining the new project.

Gingerbread houses

Making Gingerbread houses is a bit of an obsession for me.  I see bridges and old buildings, or the house you’re buying, and think; “how can I make this out of gingerbread?”

In July is when I really begin to obsess.  This year I entered Gingerbread City, which benefits the National Epilepsy Foundation.  The theme this year is “Light.”  After discarding many sketches I settled on a beach house made mostly of glass, reflecting the sunset, named Even Song.

So how is a Gingerbread house made of glass?  Very carefully.  To make the glass, you must melt hard candies.  It was really hard to find hard candy this year.  I began shopping at Halloween and everything was sour and gummy, even at the discount stores.  Finally I settled on Jolly Rancher candies, but they had no yellow.  For yellow I used butterscotch.  The Jolly Ranchers were very slow to melt (in the microwave) and set up very quickly. But once they were in place they didn’t move or crack.  I wanted the colors to gradually change as the window went up, but they set up too quickly for that. Lemon drops turned dark when melting so they were out.  The butterscotch melted well and didn’t set up too quickly but the windows cracked while cooling.2015-12-01 11.18.3420151130_224542-1

There are sailboats and a small houseboat in the bay.  The sails are made of pastillage with pretzel masts. The water is royal icing with blue food coloring.  Just a few days before finishing I almost gave up when I dropped a large piece with several windows in it and it shattered.  But determination won out and I baked a new piece.

There are some very talented artists who enter this competition and I did not place.  There was a very imaginative Whoville, two different nativity scenes and a Hogwarts that was amazing.  Last year in this same competition with a partner I entered a “Norsk Pole” santa’s village.

For several pPresidents-Choice-150x225revious years I entered the Discovery Science Center Science of Gingerbread competition and won best of show in 2013.

And of course, there has to be a way to use this in my business right? 😉