Friday, November 20, 2015

Are You Like Other Home Buyers?

If you're like most homebuyers, you're not taking any chances. You want to own a home, but you've struggled to save for a down-payment. You waited until you were 31 years of age to buy a home, and plan to stay there at least 10 years. You believe that buying a home is a sound investment.

Like other buyers, your dream of owning a home was delayed by student debt of $25,000 or more. You worked to bring your debt down until you were earning over $69,000. You improved your credit scores so you could qualify for a fixed-rate loan, knowing that today's artificially low rates won't last forever.

You'll take advantage of today's easier loan qualifications and put down between six percent and 14 percent of the purchase price. As a first-time buyer, you'll purchase a 1,620-square-foot home at $170,000. If you're a repeat homebuyer, you'll purchase a 2,020-square-foot home costing over $246,000, because you're older (about 53 years old) and earn nearly $99,000.

You'll go with a government-insured loan, either FHA or VA loan with low or no down-payment requirement. You'll use your own savings for a down payment, but you'll also accept money from family or friends, and tap into other investments to come up with the down payment. You're likely to be a repeat buyer, using the proceeds from the sale of your home to make your down payment.

You're more likely to be married than single. You're using the equity from your current home to help you get into a better home. You may be looking for a property that will accommodate aging parents as well as your children.

From the time you begin your home search, you'll spend about 10 weeks before you find the home you'll ultimately buy. You'll search the Internet for homes using your phone or tablet to see how far your money will go, then call a real estate agent to help you. Tight supplies in most areas will keep you frustrated, and more than one or two homes may slip through your fingers before you find the right home and make an offer in time to prevail over other buyers.

The home you buy will likely be a detached single-family home built in 1991 with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It will be located in a suburb or subdivision about 14 miles from your current residence. You'll choose the home for its neighborhood location, its affordability and its convenience to your job.

These are the characteristics of most buyers who purchased a home in 2015, according to the National Association of REALTORS

Story courtesy of Blanche Evans

Yulonda Evans  
Real Estate Agent, Remax Accord
p: 510-339-4100 m: 510-385-2083 a: BRE#01239875 USA, LLC

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Former Bayview Foreclosure Gets Remodel

Less than five months ago, this three-bedroom townhouse on Garnett Terrace in the Bayview was sold at a foreclosure auction for $401,300. A quick but effective remodel has left it with new floors, lighting fixtures, remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. The house now feels fresh and modern inside, and  has reappeared on the market for just $595,000, or a very low $373 per square foot. The house is on a quiet cul-de-sac that isn't super-accessible to public transportation, but it is right next to a park and has partial bay views from the backyard.

The townhouse community that the home sits in was built by the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation to revitalize this corner of the Bayview and provide attainable housing options to community members. Now, however, its interiors and staging look to be trying to attract a somewhat different audience. The kitchen has quartz countertops and subway tile floors, stainless steel appliances have been installed, and fancy light fixtures have been hung. The large master bedroom has its own little suite, and the two smaller bedrooms have leafy views. There's also a big one-car garage.

Story Courtesy of Tracy Elsen

 San Francisco Housing Indicators

Yulonda Evans 
Real Estate Agent   

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sell Your Home

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Yulonda Evans

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BRE# 01239875

Piedmont: Short-term, home-share rentals debate

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PIEDMONT -- The Piedmont City Council at its Monday meeting reviewed the complex and controversial topic of home-share rentals, where homeowners rent a room in their home for a short period of time to someone usually through an online service such as Airbnb.
These rentals for fewer than 30 days are currently prohibited in the city's code. The practice has become popular around the country for travelers looking to avoid expensive hotel lodgings. There are numerous companies offering online this type of rental.
After much deliberation and public testimony, the council did not take action but asked staff to prepare a report and proposed ordinance detailing what kinds of enforcement mechanisms should be in place if short-term, home-share rentals were approved. The report would go to the Planning Commission for review and recommendations to the council. The council also wanted staff to review similar issues with vacation rentals of homes.
Issues the council posed included: whether to place a limit on the number of nights per year that a room or a house could be rented; whether to inspect the property for health and safety reasons; and what types of fees should be charged.
In home-share rentals, the homeowner is on the property. In vacation rentals, the homeowner is generally not present.
Several people spoke supporting the idea of short-term, home-share rentals.
Jane Klein said she is "an Airbnb traveler" and has been a host for two years, with no problems. A speaker who gave the name of Alice from Oakland said she has hosted many short-term guests and never had a complaint. She believes the fears from opponents are unfounded in most cases.
However, the city received many emails objecting to the practice, citing strangers in the neighborhood, noise, parking, degradation of the neighborhood and other public nuisance. A report from police Chief Rikki Goede noted there have been no complaints registered with the Police Department over "temporary" home-share guests.
Planning Director Kate Black prepared a comprehensive survey of similarly sized cities and how they deal with short-term rentals.

Malibu requires a 12 percent occupancy tax with penalties and fines if the tax is not paid. Palm Springs requires a business license of $28 and a tax of $25 with a "good neighbor" brochure to advise neighbors of the practice. Sausalito charges $36 for a business license and 12 percent tax, with unpermitted rentals subject to fines.

All second units, which are equipped with kitchens, bath and other self-contained living amenities are prohibited for short-term rentals, as are any apartments. Home swaps where a family swaps the use of their home in exchange for a home to vacation somewhere else are permitted.

"The sharing economy is here. I have used Airbnb. This is a work in progress," Councilwoman Teddy King said.

In other business, the council approved spending $587,424 for a paving project with Granite Rock Company. The project includes resurfacing and ADA improvements to Harvard Road between Portsmouth and Annerly roads, resurfacing Requa Place, safety improvements to Moraga avenue near the Ramona avenue intersection to reduce speeds and improve lane markings. The projects are funded through Measures B and BB and vehicle registration funds.

Story Courtesy of Linda Davis

Yulonda Evans      (510)385-2823       BRE#01239875

Friday, August 28, 2015

San Francisco County Homeownwership Rate

Chart update 08/24/15
Q2 2015Q1 2015Q2 2014
San Francisco County homeownership57.7%52.5%54.1%

The homeownership rate in the Bay Area tends to vary more wildly than other parts of the state. However, the general trend since the Millennium Boom peak has been down. This decline may have recently reversed its trend, at 57.7% in Q2 2015, up by three-and-a-half percentage points from a year earlier, but time will tell. However, the homeownership rate in San Francisco has not suffered quite as much as the rest of the state during this protracted recovery due to the job support delivered by its successful tech industry. All the same, as the homeownership rate in the rest of the state catches up to pre-recession levels in the coming years, don’t expect San Francisco to follow. Due to the high cost of housing and the allure of city living, renting is often preferred in San Francisco.

If you’re looking for indications of where California’s housing market will be in a couple years, take a look at San Francisco County. Home sales volume is nearly level with the pre-Millennium Boom years and the renter turnover rate is fully recovered. Jobs are also fully recovered, due to the presence of the high-paying tech industry in San Francisco.

View charts  for current activity and forecasts for San Francisco’s housing market. fill out the form below and get this complete report emailed right to your email inbox.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Super Bowl 50: Bay Area residents hope to cash in by renting out their homes

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We're still months away from kickoff for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, but the VACANCY signs are already popping up like mushrooms all over the Bay Area.
They are not, however, popping up at hotels, many of which are already sold out.

Joining what has become an annual tradition that gathers more steam each winter, scores of residents of the Bay Area hosting the big game are jumping into the hospitality business, using sites like Airbnb and to rent out their homes, apartments, cottages and spare bedrooms to the football faithful coming to town.

Judging by the prices they're asking, many expect a real gold rush.

"Superbowl 50th 2016 Event House in Santa Clara: $3,000 a nite!"

"Beautiful resort-like Eichler home: entire home/apt 1 guest pay $5830."
"San Jose home for Super Bowl 50: 1500 a nite."

"The surge has already begun," said Riccardo Ulivi with San Francisco-based Airbnb. "We've got more than 7,000 available listings already for Super Bowl weekend and we're seeing a bigger surge in demand here in the Bay Area than we did for the last one in Phoenix. We're currently seeing three-and-a-half times more searches than normal for that weekend" of Feb. 6-8.

Driving the home-hosting frenzy, which Airbnb says began with bookings as early as last January, is that many of the larger hotel properties in San Francisco, where many Super Bowl events will be held, and Santa Clara, home of Levi's Stadium, have already been booked solid. Many of those rooms are controlled early on by the NFL for its owners, guests and teams, with one hotelier complaining that the league uses "an onerous contract" that prevents a hotel from renting out even its unblocked rooms without the NFL's permission. (The league did not respond to a request for comment.)
A check of area hotels shows a dearth of available rooms. Close to the stadium, not only are all of the nearly 800 rooms at the Santa Clara Marriott already sold out for Super Bowl weekend, but a reservations clerk couldn't even quote a hypothetical rate: "They don't give me a room rate," she said, "unless I can sell a room -- and for those dates I can't."

And so into the void rushes an army of wannabe landlords like Reuven Shelef, the 45-year-old head of a management-consulting firm who's renting out his four-bedroom, two-bath home in Sunnyvale for the big event. He became an Airbnb host for the first time a few months back, even though he wasn't crazy about the idea.

"I didn't want to do all the prep work, but my wife was excited about the idea of becoming hosts," he said. "So to get her off my back, I said OK." In a flash, they had their first paying guests, who took the house for three weeks while Shelef and his family took off on vacation.

"For Super Bowl, my plan is to carefully research the market rates for those dates and then list it, start fielding candidates, and then take off Super Bowl weekend for some exotic place," said Shelef. "We'll have to take off, because it'll be too expensive to stay around here that weekend. Maybe Belize, or Costa Rica, or Hawaii to see that erupting volcano."
Isn't he worried about Super Bowl party animals trashing his pad while he's gazing at the very active Kilauea volcano?

"There is a risk, because we might get first-time renters who couldn't care less about how we might review them on Airbnb after their stay," he said. "So we might prepare the house a bit differently this time, leave no valuables or computers like we have in the past. But then again, who's going to pay $1,000 a night for our place and then destroy it?" Signs of the surge's momentum are everywhere. On HomeAway, which caters to owners of second homes and vacation properties, Santa Clara shows 58 listings this week, up from just 19 in April. San Jose jumped from 57 to 115, while Palo Alto's inventory climbed from 43 four months ago to 74 today. Spokesman Adam Annen said this Super Bowl uptick is not surprising.

"Super Bowls draw hundreds of thousands of people to events outside of the actual game," he said about an event that organizers predict will draw one million visitors to the Bay Area. "And all these people simply can't be accommodated by the existing hotel infrastructure. So you have people putting up their homes to take advantage of the demand."

Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, located nine miles outside Phoenix, saw a more than 300-percent price hike above usual rates, according to HomeAway, averaging $850 a night.
In the Glendale/Phoenix area, rates started as low as $617 for the weekend all the way up to the site's most expensive listing of $225,000 for seven nights in a $10 million-valued home. The average weekly rate was around $8,000, a Super Bowl-sized jump from the normal rate of $1,600.
Ian McHenry, co-founder and president of Beyond Pricing, which helps hosts figure out what to charge, said that greed is also part of this annual ritual. "We've seen this cycle over and over again, whether it's a Super Bowl or a Grateful Dead concert or the pope visiting, where all the hotels sell out and then the news stories lead everyone to list their home on these sites," he said. "Suddenly, you have a flood of supply with people asking outrageous amounts like $2,000 a night. People equate a listing with a booking, but it often doesn't turn out that way."

Still, the thought of easy income has proved hard to resist for Paul Arys, a 30-year-old account manager at Fiserv whose Santa Clara home sits across the street from the stadium.
"We started renting out a bedroom in February to pick up some extra income to pay our bills and save for a trip," said Arys. "It's pretty good since you can see a profile of the person who'll be staying in your house. We haven't gotten any ax murderers that we know of."
Asking $2,000 for his room, Arys has already fielded a handful of queries from "people saying, 'If our team makes the Super Bowl, we'd like to rent it for the week.'" And while they wait to rent out the bedroom, Arys and his wife are already thinking ahead: "We'll probably turn our garage into another bedroom we can rent out for Super Bowl," he said. "We're just waiting for permits."
HOMEAWAY super bowl 50 listings are up
Santa Clara: 58 listings (up from 19 listings in April)
San Jose: 115 listing (up from 57)
Palo Alto: 74 listings (up from 43)
Oakland: 246 listings (up from 64)
Berkeley: 201 listings (up from 172)
San Francisco: 1,185 listings (flat since April)
Half Moon Bay: 38 listings (flat since April)
Redwood City: 36 listings (up from 18)
Sunnyvale: 38 listings (up from 19)
Mountain View: 36 listings (up from 5)

* Airbnb currently has more than 7,000 available listings in the Bay Area for Super Bowl 50 weekend.
* Some current nightly rates for rentals in Santa Clara on HomeAway: $6,500; $2,500; $2,100; $1,840; $1,860; $1,800; $1,499; $688; and $579.

Source: Airbnb;, which also owns vacation rental site VRBO
By Patrick May pmay

Yulondas Evans
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hayward Residents Says "Leave Our Chickens Alone!"

HAYWARD -- Stay out of our backyards and leave our chickens alone, a group of residents told city staff at an informal meeting Tuesday.
"Every Hayward neighborhood is full of chickens, and they're not a problem," said Didacus Ramos.

The city's rules for raising hens are so restrictive they effectively ban chickens in most residential neighborhoods. In response to increasing inquiries as the urban farm movement grows, Hayward is considering whether to loosen those regulations.

The city's regulations do not differentiate between larger animals, such as horses, and smaller ones, including chickens; all are classified as livestock.

A stable -- or chicken coop -- must be set back 20 feet from the property line and 40 feet from neighboring homes. But many Hayward backyards are only 20 feet deep.
Chickens are allowed on larger lots in the city's agricultural zones, mostly in the Hayward hills. But a city permit to raise hens is $500, which isn't chicken feed, noted those at the meeting.

"You can require permits, but people are not going to go get them, regardless if it's $500 or $5," Marcy Timberman said.

Ramos and others said the city should drop hen-raising permits altogether. "Having livestock in our backyards, that's our responsibility. I think it's a waste of our money and a waste of your time to issue permits," he said. "The chickens are not a problem; they're not creating a hazard."

Hayward assistant planner Michael Christensen acknowledged many people already are raising hens in the city. "We don't have a lot of properties that have permits, but we have a lot of properties that have chickens. They have had them for years, and we never hear about them," he said.

Most of those at the meeting agreed the ban on roosters should stay. If there are complaints about hens, the city should be able to respond. City planners will discuss revising the ordinance with the Planning Commission and City Council in September. A proposal could come as early as October, Christensen said.

A number of cities allow chickens, including San Leandro, Fremont, Oakland and Berkeley. San Leandro's approval in 2013 came after four years of debate. Some unincorporated areas of Alameda County also allow backyard chickens.

Moraga is considering an ordinance to not only allow chickens, but also let hen owners slaughter their livestock. It is patterned after a similar ordinance in Lafayette.

Some of the 20 or so people at the meeting also asked for the city to lift its ban on bees. Hives only are allowed on lots zoned for agriculture or in some open spaces along the shoreline. "Bees are critical to our survival," said Frank Goulart. Hayward could require beekeepers to register their bees, as Alameda County does, said Rick Hatcher, a beekeeper and member of the Ashland Cherryland Food Policy Council.

"It's the dogs I hear about at our neighborhood association meetings," Goulart said. "Dogs have to be snarling to get a response from the city. And the city is worried about chickens and bees?"

Story courtesy of Rebecca Parr. USA, LLC
Real Estate Café     Yulonda Evans

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Overpriced Bayarea, The Effect on Black Churches.

Priced Out of Bay Area Hometowns, What Effect This Has on Black Churches

Oakland lost more than 50,000 black residents from 1990 to 2010, according to census figures. Richmond lost 8,000, while Antioch gained about 15,000, Oakley 5,000 and Brentwood 3,000.

With the exception of a few predominantly commuter churches such as Beebe Cathedral in Oakland, declining black populations in the inner East Bay have meant fewer people in the pews. Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland has seen its membership drop from a high of 7,000 to about 5,500, Bishop Bob Jackson said. "We lost them to Stockton, Sacramento, Antioch, Brentwood," he said. "They just kind of scattered."

Traveling long distances to church is fairly common across racial groups in the Bay Area, but Black-Americans may feel more invested in their home churches even after they leave their hometowns, said James A. Noel, the H. Eugene Farlough Jr. chairman of  Black-American Christianity at San Francisco Theological Seminary. "It's more than just convenience," he said. "It's their understanding of what the church should be involved in. They might not want to live anymore where the church is located, but they want the church to be doing ministry in that locale."

The black churches in the inner East Bay, East Contra Costa and the Central Valley are as intricately linked to each other as they are to the communities they serve. And they are every bit as vulnerable to the roller-coaster housing market as their parishioners. As the housing boom peaked a decade ago, Oakland churches lost members to upstart congregations in Antioch, Oakley and Stockton. When the bubble burst, families who lost their homes to foreclosure started moving back.

"I had little girls coming into the office with tears in their eyes because they had to leave," said the Rev. R. Mario Howell, pastor of Antioch Church Family. Howell's church, which he said consists almost entirely of transplants from San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond, swelled to 400 members on the eve of the 2008 foreclosure crisis. Now membership stands around 250. With the real estate market pushing people eastward once again, pastors in Oakland are bracing for another exodus.

"Every week I hear from people who tell me they're moving to Antioch or Pittsburg," said the Rev. George C.L. Cummings of Imani Community Church. "They say rent is going up and they can't afford Oakland anymore."

Rev. Gerald Agee, senior Pastor at Friendship Christian Center in West Oakland said membership at his church is holding steady for now, but he is promoting the construction of 7,100 new homes in Oakland to help safeguard the city's black community population and its churches. "If we don't do something about the housing shortage, it will affect the churches," he said. "We have to educate people that there is a tsunami en route."

If you would like this story emailed to you in it's entirety, send your request by clicking Here.
Story courtesy of Matthew Atrz.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Was Irvine House- Flipping Business a Ponzi scheme?

A co-owner of a real estate firm based in Irvine and Long Beach set up a Ponzi scheme to pay off old investors while continuing to recruit new ones for a plan to flip distressed apartment buildings during the Great Recession’s housing collapse, a federal prosecutor told jurors.

However, Michael J. Stewart’s attorney told jurors his client was innocent and he thought his plan was a financially prudent one because homeowners who lost their property in foreclosure would have to turn to renting apartments Tuesday. Defense attorney Kenneth Miller also placed the blame for the company’s failure on co-defendant John Packard.

Packard, who pleaded guilty in November and “is hoping for a lesser sentence,” will testify against his former co-owner of Pacific Property Assets, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Sagel. Packard is awaiting sentencing.
Ultimately, Stewart and Packard declared bankruptcy in June 2009. The company’s 647 investors lost $91.6 million and the executives owed about $96 million in outstanding principal to banks, according to prosecutors.

In early 2009, during the downturn of the economy, “everybody’s extremely concerned… But defendant Michael Stewart is telling everybody, every potential investor … he has an opportunity for you to make money because his business is thriving,” Sagel said.
Stewart failed to tell his investors his company was failing, Sagel said.
The plan he sold to new investors was to snatch up apartment buildings at “rock bottom prices” and refurbish them to fill the void in housing when evicted homeowners look for a place to live, Sagel said.

“This investment was so great he called this the Opportunity Fund,” Sagel said.
Investors were told they could reap 15 to 30 percent interest a month, Sagel alleged.
“He was offering something too good to be true because it was,” Sagel said.
What he was telling investors was that the economic collapse “gravely affected PPA,” Sagel said.
Stewart’s and Packard’s business plan worked when they founded their company in 1999, Sagel said. They would borrow money from banks and individual investors while acquiring apartment buildings and renting out units and selling or refinancing the properties.

However, the rental income was never enough to even pay the bills, but as long as property values continued to thrive, the model worked as they sold off and refinanced the buildings, Sagel said.
Packard’s job was to acquire property, deal with the banks, get loans and manage the apartments. Stewart, an attorney and real estate broker, was in charge of recruiting investors.
When the housing industry began its collapse in 2006, the company found it tougher sledding to make a profit. By the end of 2007, the company had gotten its last refinancing deal, and the income from sales and loans had dried up, Sagel said.

That left one source of income left — new investors, Sagel said. The decision was made to “step on the gas with investors,” Sagel said.

At one point they put $2 million in the bank and then almost immediately pulled it back out so they could show investors a balance sheet with the money in the account, Sagel alleged.
Stewart also continued to draw a substantial salary while pulling his investments out of his struggling company even while he was giving investors a rosy account of its future, Sagel alleged.
The money from new investors to the Opportunity Fund was supposed to be spent on acquiring apartment buildings, but it instead went to pay off old debts, amounting to a Ponzi scheme, Sagel alleged.

Miller said his client could not have anticipated that the collapse of the housing industry would spread to apartments as well.

“What the government is doing is unfairly looking at this case with 20/20 hindsight,” Miller said. “Back when it was happening it wasn’t all that clear.”
By 2009, the housing industry slump appeared to be bottoming out, Miller said.
Stewart and Packard’s company had a solid track record and had earned praise for its business model before the economy cratered, Miller said.

Packard was the “hammer” who had “always come through” but had failed to win the financing to make the Opportunity Fund work, Miller said.
“Investors thought it was a good idea,” Miller said.
And they were warned in memos of the high risks, Miller said.
But up until April 2009, PPA had never failed to make a payment on a loan or to an investor, Miller said.

Stewart himself lost $1 million in his company’s collapse, Miller said.
Packard “was great at his job and Mike Stewart trusted him to do his job,” Miller said.
The two had $110 million in equity in 2006 and could have walked away with $40 million apiece after taxes if they had retired then, Miller said.

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Was California House- Flipping Business a Ponzi Scheme?

Yet another “scheme” has reared its ugly head in the real estate industry. A seemingly successful apartment-flipping business based out of Irvine looks like it turned into a Ponzi scheme when things got financially tough for the company and its two owners.

In November, John Packard, co-owner of a real estate firm based in Irvine and Long Beach, pleaded guilty to setting up a Ponzi scheme to pay off old investors while continuing to recruit new ones for a plan to flip distressed apartment buildings during the Great Recession’s housing collapse. Co-defendant and former co-owner of Pacific Property Assets, Michael J. Stewart stands behind an attorney who has told jurors that Stewart is innocent and his plan was a financially prudent one because homeowners who lost their property in foreclosure would have to turn to renting apartments.
According to prosecutors, just before Stewart and Packard declared bankruptcy in June 2009 and the company’s 647 investors lost $91.6 million and the executives owed about $96 million in outstanding principal to banks, Stewart was telling every potential investor that he had an opportunity for the investors to make money because the business was thriving. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Sagel pointed out that, in fact, the company was failing, but Stewart’s plan was to have investors snatch up apartment buildings at “rock bottom prices” and refurbish them to fill the void in housing when evicted homeowners look for a place to live. He told investors they would be able to reap 15 to 30 percent interest a month.

Sagel goes on to say that Stewart’s and Packard’s business plan worked when they founded their company in 1999. Packard’s job was to acquire property, deal with the banks, get loans and manage the apartments. Stewart, an attorney and real estate broker, was in charge of recruiting investors. They would borrow money from banks and individual investors while acquiring apartment buildings and renting out units and selling or refinancing the properties. However, the rental income was never enough to pay the bills, but as long as property values continued to thrive, the model worked as they sold off and refinanced the buildings.

Come 2006, when the housing industry began its collapse, Pacific Property Assets found it more difficult to make a profit. By the end of 2007, the company had gotten its last refinancing deal, and the income from sales and loans had diminished. This left new investors as the only source of income. The decision was made to “step on the gas with investors,” Sagel said. Sagel also alleged that Stewart was giving a “rosy” account of the company’s future despite its struggles and his actions of drawing a substantial salary while pulling his investments out of the company. The money from new investors was supposed to be spent on acquiring apartment buildings, but it instead went to pay off old debts, amounting to a Ponzi scheme.
Attorney Kenneth Miller defends that Stewart could not have anticipated that the collapse of the housing industry would spread to apartments as well. Stewart and Packard’s company had a solid track record and had earned praise for its business model before the economy cratered and up until April 2009, Pacific Property Assets had never failed to make a payment on a loan or to an investor.

What do you think? Was this a full-blown Ponzi scheme? Are Stewart and Packard guilty?

Read More Here

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

What is Your Home Worth?

  Find out How Much Your Home is Worth in Today's Market.
 A comparative market analysis is a report, usually compiled right before your home goes on the market. A CMA  gives you information about homes similar to yours (in size, amenities, and location) that are either on the market, have sold, or were listed but expired (usually, because they were priced too high and no one bought) within a reasonably recent time period (ideally three months when the market is in transition and no more than six months).
 A good CMA can tell you:
  • What homes like yours are actually selling for
  • How long it’s taking for them to sell, and
  • What their sale prices are in relation to their list prices (the difference between what people actually got for their house and what they asked for). 

Also, Join Real Estate Discussions, Read the Latest Real Estate News, Learn New House Hold Tips and Much More at Real Estate Café on Facebook   

Yulonda Evans


Monday, May 11, 2015

California Residents Sentenced in $13 Million Loan Scam

Two San Diego men were sentenced last week for conspiring to defraud more than 3,000 homeowners in a $13 million loan-modification scam. In total 13 defendants have now been sentenced in connection with this scam.

The two most recent defendants Attorney Dean Chandler, 50, of Fallbrook, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and Michael Eccles, 35, of Vista, a manager in the company’s telemarketing center, was sentenced to five years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. Chandler was president and attorney for 1st American Law Center, a sham Oceanside law firm. Following a jury trial, both were convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud. Chandler, described as “the face of the law firm,” also was convicted of money laundering.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.

Among other things, the telemarketers promised potential clients that a team of attorneys would negotiate with their mortgage lenders; that their attorney retainer fee would be safe in a trust account; and that there was a money-back guarantee.

“Nearly all of the statements made by telemarketers to the clients were lies,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, noting the firm failed to modify three out of every four loans and failed to provide refunds “to untold numbers of clients.”

Many victims testified during the trial, including an Indiana couple who had been helping a paraplegic son. They ended up losing their home and their money.

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said the defendants exploited homeowners who were “desperately trying to make ends meet and stay in their homes.” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum of San Diego said Chandler and Eccles preyed on the financially vulnerable and “misused and abused their positions of trust.”

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Richmond Struggling to find new homes for residents of troubled public housing project

The city of Richmond ordered the Hacienda public housing project in central Richmond to be shut down, following revelations about the decrepit conditions for the mostly disabled and elderly residents, including a foundation that was separating from the walls and squatters camping on the premises. 

It's been over a year since the city voted to shutter a publicly run housing complex plagued by rodents, mold and structural problems, not a single tenant living in 101 unit complex has been relocated, Richmond officials acknowledged this week.

Although some have moved on their own, The only progress seems to be the 44 Section 8 federal housing vouchers distributed to residents in recent months.

"We've all been looking, but there's no place available," said Mr. Tillis, 62, who has lived at Hacienda for nine years.  

The city plans to spend an estimated $20 million to remodel the six-story building, including retrofitting the foundation, testing for mold and installing new exterior lighting, carpet and windows in all units. But residents interviewed  said they weren't being picky but simply had nowhere to go.

"They ain't giving no list," Tillis said, adding that calls to his Autotemp counselor have gone unanswered. "I would go if they just tell me where to go. I have to get on my bicycle and go around looking for a place that accepts Section 8."

Housing advocates say people relying on the federal government for housing face long waits and discrimination from landlords who often prefer to not rent their units to Section 8 recipients. California law does not ban property owners from discriminating against tenants with housing vouchers.

"We are seeing a terrible problem for our clients with Section 8 vouchers," said David Levin, an attorney with Bay Area Legal Aid.  "Landlords often say, 'No smoking. No pets. No Section 8.' The technical name is a 'housing choice voucher,' which is deceiving, because people really don't have much choice. The unfortunate result is they are being pushed to the bottom of the real estate market."

Verna Haas, executive director of Contra Costa Senior Legal Services, said the lack of housing is the single biggest issue facing Bay Area seniors.
"We have people who have been in their homes for 20 years and then get 60-day or 30-day notices," Haas said. "There are no protections for seniors in Contra Costa County. It's just heartbreaking."
But Jones said tenants have not yet been relocated because they don't want to leave the city or the neighborhood.

"There's no 'nowhere to go,'" Jones said. "People can go anywhere in the country. Some of the households have specific needs, like wheelchair access, which makes it more difficult, but the reason people haven't moved is because they are a little reluctant to get out of their comfort zone."
Some residents interviewed agreed that they would prefer to stay in the apartment complex, which is centrally located and within walking distance to BART, the post office, a pharmacy and grocery store.

"I love it here, but the people who run the place are not doing what they're supposed to," said Bernice Smith, 92, who has lived at the complex for 17 years. "The janitors don't clean too good, they don't trim the trees or take care of the property. That's why it has become what it has become."
The challenge of relocating 100-plus elderly and disabled people, most of whom lack their own transportation, was foreseen by both Lindsay and Mayor Tom Butt, who last year cautioned the city against shuttering the building.

The Richmond Housing Authority has been plagued by a history of mismanagement, according to several audits by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including charging double for the same projects, paying for rehabilitation work not performed, improper procurement practices and steering contracts to family members.
But Butt also defended the agency, arguing HUD routinely failed to provide enough resources to maintain Hacienda and other federally funded properties in town. The cost of running Hacienda is $1.2 million a year, but the city receives only $500,000 from the federal government, according to Jones.

"The city and the housing authority are between a rock and hard place," Butt said this week. "There are not enough vacant apartments in Richmond to move existing tenants to, so they have to be dispersed. Nobody likes that, but it's unfair to blame the city or the (Richmond Housing Authority) or Tim Jones for the situation.".