"You Snooze... You Lose!" Deal of the Week

(yes that's a pool you see)

7601 Ethan Allen Way, Sun City
(cross-streets: McCall/Chatham)
5 bed 3 baths
2,209 sq. ft
Built in 2000
List price: $249,000
Sold price: $258,250
Days on the market: 2
Last sale price: $540,000 on 12/6/2005
Granite kitchen countertops, 3 car garage with epoxy flooring, RV Parking, Swimming Pool and Spa (and artificial turf - no water "run-off" tickets here!)
Can you say "SCORE!"

Do Short Sales Sell?

As 90% of the families that I talk to in Menifee, who are looking for rental homes, are going through foreclosure, I am frequently asked questions about the foreclosure process and asked to explain about Short Sales.


A Short Sale is the sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. In lieu of the house going into foreclosure, some lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale and forgive the rest of what is owed on the mortgage when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments.

For a more in-depth clarification about Short Sales, this is a good article: http://homebuying.about.com/od/4closureshortsales/qt/112707_QualSS.htm


In my opinion, not as often as they should.

Today I reviewed 100 Menifee homes for sale on the MLS, price ranged $185,000-$244,000. Of these, 40 were Bank Owned, and 53 were Short Sales.

Next I reviewed the 51 MLS properties sold in Menifee from 5/1/2008 - 5/26/2008. Of these, 43 were bank owned (REOs), and 3 were Short Sales.

Based on the above, speaking speculatively, if 50 in 100 Menifee homes for sale are Short Sales, only 6 in 100 actually end up selling.


Back in October I had a Short Sale listing, 2 bed/2 bath house, 1040 sq' in Rustlers Ranch. We had an offer in at $205,000. The owners owed less than $250k. It took the lender, Nationstar, almost 8 weeks to verbally counter back at $250,000. I sent the bank comps which strongly confirmed that $205k was a good offer, but Nationstar didn't listen. Well, of course the buyers backed out, the property went back to the bank in December, my clients negotiated a Cash for Keys, and the house came back on the market on 2/20/08 at $185,000.

Here is the kicker. 97 days later, this Nationstar property STILL has not sold, and is currently listed at $179,000.

Some lenders get it, some don't.

Here are three MENIFEE SHORT SALES THAT SOLD this month:

28535 Heather Green Way, Listed at $289,000, Sold at $287,000, 58 DOM
29322 Rock Vista Drive, Listed at $199,999, Sold at $258,950, 54 DOM
28700 Sunridge Court, Listed at $240,000, Sold at $292,000, 97 DOM

For more details on these Menifee Short Sales, go here:
For more details on Menifee homes sold this month, go here:

Short Sales do sell, and although the current numbers are low, I personally believe that the lenders and buyers will start responding better to these Short Sale listings. Not all properties and/or owners are good candidates for Short Sale. A Realtor, who is EXPERIENCED in Short Sales would be an excellent resource in determining this.

A big advantage in buying a short sale, is that you usually don't have to compete with multiple offers. I truly believe there are great buys to be had in the short sale market. If you want to buy a Short Sale, though, above all, you need PATIENCE. Patience, and hope, that good things come to those who wait.

Cynthia Aina
New Vista Realty
REO & Leasing Specialist

Did the Crime... gonna do some Time!

"Law enforcement Wednesday night arrested William J. Hutchings, his wife Xiaoke Li, Edgar Martinez and Diego Gil Gil", reported Kelly Bennet at VoiceofSanDiego.org.

An arrest warrant was issued and is still outstanding for another defendant, Shawna Landis, Hutchings ex-wife. (Ding dong lady does not remember why she divorced him in the first place?)

So folks, basically, this was the scam:

Hutchings program would put the property in a land grant, and as such, the land would be given back to the government. That would keep the bank from being able to take the property. Hutchings company would keep the property in a protected state for 4 years while the homeowers lived in it, paying a monthly rent to Hutchings company. After four years the bank would have to release the mortgage debt and the homeowner could buy out Hutchings share and own the house free and clear.

Sounds great, eh?

Ok, well the foreclosure process wasn't thwarted and some of the homeowners from that night have already lost their homes and whatever rent they paid in the meantime.

The defendants are thought to have pocketeded "hundreds of thousands of dollars", and fortunately have had their assets frozen for restitution to the victims of this scam.

Two of these jerks were arrested in the middle on one of these seminars, while 50 potential victims sat in shock and amazement, this last Wednesday.

178 properties in San Diego County had been deeded over to just one of the LLCs -- Federal Land Grant Company LLC -- just since March 7, according to the County Recorder's Office. The defendants face more than 100 felony charges so far.

For the full story go to:


Recently, on one of my bank-owned listings, I negotiated a Cash for Keys with a really nice family, and helped them get into a nearby rental.

Apparently, this family had been "helped" by a different company who told them that filing bankruptcy would save their home. They had the family pay their mortgage payments to them stating they would in turn pay the bankruptcy Trustee, which would keep the bank from taking their home.

Well, it did not work, and after paying over $4,500 to this company, the bank took the house anyway. I have not been able to determine if this company pocketed the money or if they did pay the money to the bankrutpcy Trustee, and just didn't really know what they were doing.

This is the problem: when reaffirming a debt in the bankruptcy process, you need to PROVE to the Trustee and the Bank that you can afford the payment. The Bank can file a Motion to Lift the Automatic Stay (on the bankruptcy) and take the property anyway stating the debtors could not show proof of ability to reconfirm and pay the debt.

My point of this whole article is to BE CAREFUL! There are ways to try to save your home, but using a third party to help you do this is very, very scary.

Work directly with your lender in trying to get a loan modification, where in some cases they will reduce your interest rate and add your current deficiencies onto the end of your loan, and you get a fresh start.

If you cannot work out a loan modification, list your house with a Real Estate Agent experienced in Short Sales and try to sell your home. This can help save your credit score and enable you to buy a home again a lot sooner than having a foreclosure on your record.

Cynthia Aina
REO & Rental Specialist

"You Snooze... You Lose!" Deal of the Week

29635 Peacock Mountain Dr., Menifee
(Cross-streets: Camino Crystal/Menifee Rd)
Menifee Lakes Golf Course in your Backyard!
3 bed 2.5 baths plus a loft
2,255 sq. ft built in 2005
List price: $210,900
Sold price: $210,900
Days on the market: 4

April home sales up in So Cali

(Per info from article by Eliot Spagat on The Associated Press)

Southern California homebuyers stepped off the sidelines in April, snatching up foreclosures and homes priced under $500,000 at a rate that was 22 percent higher than in March but down 19 percent from April 2007 and the lowest level since 1995, according to DataQuick Information Services.

Keep this in mind. . .

-The median home price for the six-county region was $385,000, unchanged from March but down 24 percent from an April 2007 peak of $505,000. April marked the first time in eight months that the median price did not decline.

-Sales were strongest in areas hit hardest by foreclosures: Riverside County (where sales increased month to month for the first time in two years), Lancaster, Chula Vista, Anaheim, Lake Forest and Victorville experienced the strongest rebounds. Two-thirds of homes sold during the month in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties were priced under $500,000. About 38 percent of the homes sold were in foreclosure at some point during the previous year, up only 2 percent from March but sharply higher than the 5 percent reported a year ago.
In Riverside County, 53 percent of sales involved troubled properties.

-The credit crunch, potential for a recession, and uncertainty over when foreclosures will peak caused DataQuick analysts to remain cautious. Lack of financing for high-value homes continues to be an issue and could forestall a recovery if the trend persists. In April, only 15 percent of Southern California home loans were above $417,000, down sharply from the same period a year ago.

To read the full story by Elliot Spagat, please click here:

Menifee & Sun City Info (From Dataquick )

             # sold           avg price        last year avg   difference

MENIFEE 98 $277,500 $390,000 -28.85%

SUN CITY 98 $241,750 $339,250 -28.74%

To see info on all California cities:

GMAC Insurance Phone Solicitors

Just got a call today from a girl representing GMAC, regarding some kind of disability insurance, which helps you make your house payments should you get injured and can't work.

She was using a really sneaky tactic.

She started off by saying that she wanted to send me some material about this program, and proceeded to describe what it is, and what it's benefits are.

Then she read off my mailing address and asked if that was my correct address. I said, "yeah". Then she verified my first and last name, and I said, "yeah". Then she asked me for my place of birth, and I said, "ok, what's that got to do with sending me something in the mail?"

She explained that it was some kind of security measure, to make sure that I'm really the same "Steve" represented in their records. So, I answered her question.

Then she started reading off a bunch of stuff, saying that the program costs $24.90 per month, is added into our mortgage payment, Then she said something that worried me, "after 60 days, you can choose not to continue with the coverage..."

I said, "wait a minute, why did you say that I can choose not to continue coverage?"

She reiterated the same baloney.

So I said, "That means by sending me this material, you're actually signing me up for coverage, aren't you?"

"No" she said. "You're not under any obligation. After 60 days, you simply cancel the coverage by submitting the cancellation form."

I said, "But I don't want coverage. You told me that all you wanted to do was send me some material, and verify my address. I never gave you authorization to provide me with 60 days of coverage".

Then she said, "But sir, you said you wanted to go with the 60 days of free coverage..."

I stopped her immediately, "No I did not say any such thing. YOU said you wanted to send me some material. You didn't say ANYTHING about initiating coverage. I don't want any coverage!"

She said, "Ok, I see there's a misunderstanding here." Then she ran off a bunch of stuff, gave me her toll-free telephone number, and hung up before I could say anything else.

So there you go. If any of you have a mortgage through GMAC, watch for telemarketers calling you about a disability mortgage insurance. They'll tell you that all they want to do is send you some material, when in fact they're going to initiate an actual policy that will add $24.90 to your mortgage payment.

Menifee Home Values Drop 31%

Zillow, an online home valuation service, says that home values in Menifee (zip code 92584) dropped 31.1% in the first quarter of 2008, compared to the first quarter of 2007.

Compare that to national figures which show single-family home values decreased 7.5% while condo values declined 9.0% during this same period.

Sex Offenders Cause Home Values to Drop

BankRate.com reports that having a registered sex offender living in your neighborhood will cause your property value to drop...
A 2002 Wright State University study concluded that homes within one-tenth of a mile of a registered sex offender sold for an average of 17.4 percent less than comparable houses elsewhere. It also noted that homes one-tenth to two-tenths of a mile away sold for 10.2 percent less and homes two-tenths to three-tenths of a mile sold for 9.3 percent less.
This is quickly becoming an issue because homeowners around the country have been able to convince their county tax assessors to lower their property taxes due to the presence of a nearby sex offender.

To find out if you have a registered sex offender in your neighborhood, visit this link...


No More Dead Grassroots Movement

According to Wikipedia, a grassroots movement... is one driven by the constituents of a community.

Walking out to my car on a warm Saturday morning, I am thankful to my neighbor who had started a grassroots movement of his own... what I'm going to call the "No More Dead Grassroots Movement". For almost 6 months, my awesome neighbor, Frank Veloz, has mowed, watered, and tended to the garden and the front lawn of the house abandoned next to his.

Finally, just last week, the bank has taken possession, and thankfully, has turned the water on and started landscaping service. I say thankfully, because as you can clearly see driving through your neighborhood, sometimes the banks/realtors will go this extra mile, and sometimes they won't.

Unfortunately, things are going to get worse before they get better.

Recently, Joseph Ascenzi with TheBizPress.com reported

"One in every 38 houses in the Inland region received a foreclosure notice of some kind during the first quarter of this year, the second-highest foreclosure rate per household of any metro market nationwide during that time."

Mr. Ascenzi goes on to report, "In all, 37,239 foreclosure notices - default notices, auction sale notices or bank repossessions -- were issued on properties in Riverside and San Bernardino counties during the first three months of this year, a 230.8% increase compared with the first quarter of 2007, according to RealtyTrac in Irvine, which charts foreclosure rates throughout the United States. The activity represented a 39.1% jump in foreclosures compared with the fourth quarter of 2007, RealtyTrac found."

"Unfortunately, I think we're looking at the tip of the iceberg," said Steve Johnson, director with the Riverside office of Metrostudy, a housing information and consulting firm based in Houston. "Because of the jobs we've lost and the other economic problems we're having, I think we're going to see a lot of foreclosures for at least nine more months. I believe this has become an economic issue, not just a subprime issue."

The "tip of the iceberg"? 9 more months? And although the article is saying 1 in 38, I don't know about you, but the ratio is much higher in my neighborhood. Yikes!

To minimize the damage to the asthetics of our neighborhoods join me, and caring neighbors like Frank, in supporting a "No More Dead Grassroots Movement" here in Menifee. Here are some suggestions:

1. If you are losing your home, stay in it and take care of it until the house goes to bank sale. (The banks really do want you to stay until they take it. By doing so, the property has less chance of being vandalized, the landscape stays green, and you can take advantage of the bank's "Cash For Keys" program. If you don't know how long before the bank sale, your friendly neighborhood Realtor can usually get this info from the MLS Realist website.) Note: this also applies to Renters in foreclosure homes.

2. When you do move-out, keep the eletricity and the water on for at least a couple of weeks. That will give the Realtor time to switch over service.

3. If your neighbors move out unexpectedly, do what you can to help maintain the front yard of the property. Do not assume that the bank will immediately take over the maintenance of the property. Get together with your other neighbors and take turns mowing and watering.

Although we, as a community have no control over the number of foreclosures each neighborhood will see, we DO have control over the way our neighborhoods look.

I know there are other Frank Veloz' out there, and if you have one of these in your neighborhood, PLEASE show your appreciation to him or her and POST A COMMENT on this blog.

Just Say NO... to Dead Grass!