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Guide to Real Estate in Los Angeles

Top Selling Agent, Specializing in Real Estate in LA and the Valley

By Richard Schulman | Agent in Los Angeles, CA
  • What Does Writing an Offer Subject to Interior Inspection Mean?

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Foreclosure, Property Q&A  |  February 28, 2012 11:26 AM  |  1,881 views  |  1 comment
    Have you been looking at listings that say "Subject to Interior Inspection" or "Drive By Only"? Do you understand what that means?

    Some properties may not allow for buyer showings prior to acceptance of offers. This may seem a little unusual, but it may actually help you out!

    Why is this done?  Some properties are tenant-occupied, and the seller may not be able to make accomodation for everyone to see the property prior to an accepted offer.  Or there may be some other reasons that the property is unable to be shown.  You may see this with short sale or foreclosures too, or with larger apartment buildings.  

    You may be scared off, but you needn't be!  In this case, I recommend making an offer, and attempting to see the interior of the property.  This process may scare off other buyers, and may potentially allow you to get a better value.  

    As always, if you don't like what you end up seeing, you can walk away and cancel at no cost or obligation within the buyer contingency period.  You can also try and renegotiate the price based on the interior condition.  

    For more information on this topic, and expert guidance on making an offer of this sort, visit here:
    http://richardschulman.com/2012/02/28/making-an-offer-subject-to-interior-inspection/ or contact me with any further questions.

    Richard Schulman
    Keller Williams Realty
    #1 Listing & Selling Agent
    (310) 482-0173
  • The Secrets to Getting a Great Foreclosure Deal

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Financing in Los Angeles, Foreclosure in Los Angeles  |  February 21, 2012 12:01 PM  |  1,740 views  |  No comments

    You are Invited!
    The Secrets To Getting a Great Foreclosure Deal
    Sunday, February 26, 2012 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM 
    10880 Wilshire Blvd. #122
    Los Angeles, CA 90024
    View Map
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  • Exciting Changes to the HARP Refinance Program (Read: It's Easier to Refinance an Underwater Loan!)

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Los Angeles, Financing in Los Angeles, Foreclosure in Los Angeles  |  October 27, 2011 8:15 AM  |  2,486 views  |  No comments
    Exciting Changes to the HARP Refinance Program
    HARP is Now Unlimited Loan-to-Value!

    Have you heard about the changes the government just announced to its Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)?  These changes make it a lot easier for homeowners who are currently underwater to refinance their loans.  Previously, there was a loan-to-value restriction even for government programs such as this.  Now, the loan-to-value restrctions have been removed, and all homes - regardless of equity or loan-to-value figures - are eligible to refinance under the HARP program. 

    What Does This Mean?
    Well, I am excited about this program. What is really interesting, is that there are 11 million homeowners currently underwater, and already close to 1 million were helped by the previous loan refinance program.  If this program is able to help more than the original program was, then we are going to significantly reduce the number of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages. A

    Another Quick Thought:
    We sold 2.5 million distressed properties last year in this country, meaning that at the current rate, we have four years or less of foreclosures available (not all underwater homeowners default) and then we aer on the downside of the foreclosure market!

    Read More:
    You can find out answers to many of your questions about the new program by reading more details and frequently asked questions and answers HERE! 

    Feel free to contact me with any questions.

    Richard Schulman
    Keller Williams Realty
    #1 Real Estate Agent KW Westside Realty
    (310) 482-0173

  • More REO Buying Opportunities To Come

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Los Angeles, Home Buying in Los Angeles, Foreclosure in Los Angeles  |  July 8, 2011 11:15 AM  |  1,285 views  |  No comments
    Expect to see more buying opportunities are REOs are pumped out by Bank of America. A settlement was just recently announced in the class action suit against BofA. As part of the settlement deal, BofA will speed up the foreclosure process on the loans it services for investors. 

    See the full post here:

    Richard Schulman
    Keller Williams Realty
    #1 Real Estate Agent KW Westside Realty
    (310) 482-0173
  • Foreclosures Decline in California

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles, Foreclosure in Los Angeles  |  January 13, 2011 1:17 PM  |  895 views  |  No comments

    Foreclosures decline in California in 2010

    While foreclosures climbed 2% nationally, California saw a 14% drop. But California's high unemployment rate and resetting loans mean the fall in foreclosure activity could be brief.

    Fewer Californians grappled with foreclosure last year, bucking a national trend and giving homeowners fresh hope that the state's housing market could be on the mend.

    The 14% drop in foreclosure activity contrasted with a 2% rise nationally, according to data tracking firm RealtyTrac. Analysts noted that California's housing market was among the first to falter and may now be among the first to recover. Home prices here hit bottom in April 2009, and have gradually risen since then.

    "There are a lot of risks out there, but I think the trend is improvement — not dramatic, but substantial," said Kenneth Rosen, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

    But Rosen and other observers caution that the state's high unemployment rate of 12.4% and weak demand for housing are still a concern.

    Another potential trouble spot: A large number of adjustable-rate mortgages are scheduled to reset to higher rates in coming months, said Rick Sharga, senior vice president with RealtyTrac. That could lead to another uptick in foreclosures if the borrowers cannot make the higher payments, or decide that they are throwing good money after bad.

    "You have the three-headed monster of high unemployment, a weak economy and problem loans," said Sharga, who thinks that California foreclosures in 2011 could surpass last year, and possibly the peak year of 2009.

    The crisis certainly isn't over for Guy Vernikovsky. He is facing foreclosure on his home in Torrance after trying multiple times to modify his loans, asking for lower interest rates from his bank, he said.

    Vernikovsky, 32, said he lost his job installing energy-efficient light fixtures in 2008 but tried his best to keep up on his two mortgages, even burying himself deeply in credit card debt. He said he moved home with his parents in Northern California, found a new job and would now be able to make his mortgage payments if he could get reduced interest rates on his two loans.

    "I applied two or three different times and they would not modify my loans," Vernikovsky said. "I wasn't looking to turn a fast buck on a real estate market that was hot at the time. I was really looking to own that home for the next 20 to 30 years."

    More than half a million California homes were involved in some stage of foreclosure last year, including notices of default as well as bank repossessions, according to numbers to be released by RealtyTrac on Thursday. Among those filings, 173,175 represented homes retaken by lenders, a 13% drop from a year ago.

    Nationwide, a record 2.9 million homes were in foreclosure, up 2% from 2009.

    Sharga said the national numbers would have been much higher were it not for several major banks' slowing foreclosures dramatically late last year amid scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators and law enforcement officials over their foreclosure practices, including allegations that paperwork was not properly processed.

    "There were delays over the last two months, or 2 1/2 months, and that just skewed the numbers wildly," he said.

    Sharga estimated that an additional quarter-million filings in the U.S. probably would have been logged if it were not for the delays brought about by the foreclosure fracas.

    Several major banks, including Bank of America, Ally Financial Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., suspended foreclosures late last year in states where a court order is required to take back a home. Bank of America went as far as to declare a national freeze as it reviewed its process, though it lifted that policy in November.

    Analysts credited the Bank of America action for depressing foreclosure sales across the Golden State in November and a subsequent sharp increase last month.

    How quickly banks will return to foreclosing in the new year remains the wild card in the equation.

    Homeowners who have lost their properties to foreclosure are making gains challenging the foreclosure system through the legal process. Last week, the highest court in Massachusetts agreed with a lower-court ruling that two home foreclosures were invalid, and found that lenders Wells FargoBank and US Bank had failed to prove they owned the mortgages.

    The case was significant because it was the first time that a state supreme court had ruled on the issue of chain of title. A spokeswoman for California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said such lawsuits might be brought in the Golden State, where foreclosures remain largely outside the court system.

    "We have now officially begun the litigation phase of the foreclosure crisis," Sean O'Toole, chief executive of data provider ForeclosureRadar, recently wrote on his blog. "Attorneys will likely be the biggest winners in the foreclosure business for 2011."

    About 4% of all homes in California were at some stage of foreclosure last year, RealtyTrac said. That acts as a drag on the housing market overall, as the availability of low-priced bank repossessions lowers the value of competing properties.

    Christopher Thornberg, principal of Beacon Economics, said that high rates of default among borrowers in California are likely to push up foreclosures, but so far the state's fairly efficient foreclosure system and active housing market have been able to absorb these properties.

    "They get snapped up pretty quickly," Thornberg said. "We are not ending up with swaths of empty homes the way that was being predicted."

    [Source:Los Angeles Times]

  • Loan Scams: 6 Things You Should Know

    Posted Under: Financing in Los Angeles, Foreclosure in Los Angeles, Credit Score in Los Angeles  |  November 7, 2010 11:18 AM  |  1,069 views  |  No comments
    Homeowners facing foreclosure are at risk to be confronted mortgage loan scammers who seek to prey on homeowners' vulnerability and take advantage of their situation.  It is important to know what to look out for:

    Six Warning Signs of a Foreclosure Scam:

    1. A company/person asks for a fee in advance to work with your lender to modify, refinance or reinstate your mortgage. They may pocket your money and do nothing to help you save your home from foreclosure.
    2. A company/person guarantees they can stop a foreclosure or get your loan modified. NO ONE can make this guarantee to stop foreclosure or modify your loan. Legitimate, trustworthy HUD-approved counseling agencies can assist you with options and facilitate communication with your mortgage company.
    3. A company/person advises you to stop paying your mortgage company and pay them instead. Despite what a scammer will tell you, you should never send a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage lender. If you have trouble making your monthly payment, contact your mortgage lender or call the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline at 1-888-995HOPE™.
    4. A company pressures you to sign over the deed to your home or sign any paperwork that you haven't read or you don't fully understand. A legitimate housing counselor should not and will not pressure you to sign a document of any kind.
    5. A company claims to offer "government-approved" or "official government" loan modifications. These may be scam artists pretending to be legitimate organizations approved by, or affiliated with the government. Check to be sure by contacting your mortgage lender directly or by calling Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline at 1-888-995HOPE™ to learn more about government programs for which you may qualify.
    6. A company/person you don’t know asks you to release personal financial information. Check to be sure you are speaking with a legitimate company/person by contacting your mortgage lender directly or by calling Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline at 1-888-995HOPE™.[Source: 955Hope]
    To read more visit this article by 955Hope, a non-profit aiming to alert homeowners to fraud resources.
  • California Expects Mortgage-Aid Program to Begin in Weeks

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Los Angeles, Financing in Los Angeles, Foreclosure in Los Angeles  |  November 7, 2010 11:11 AM  |  868 views  |  No comments

    California expects mortgage-aid program to begin in weeks
    The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) reported this week that its “Keep Your Home California” program will be delayed because of logistical issues with the program.  The program was scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 1.



    • The “Keep Your Home California” program is a $1.83 billion government aid program that will pay down loan balances and provide monthly cash assistance to struggling California homeowners.

    • One of the logistical complications that has caused the delay is the fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last week instructed their loan servicers to participate in the program, dramatically increasing the number of potentially eligible homeowners.

    • Funded with federal money, the program offers four different types of cash assistance for an estimated 100,000 low- to moderate-income California homeowners.  Additionally, eligible borrowers must have endured some sort of loss of income.

    • The two primary forms of aid include $875 million dedicated toward unemployed Californians who need help making their monthly payments, and $790 million to be used to directly reduce mortgage loan balances.

    • Although the program has been delayed for several weeks, homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments are advised to not wait for assistance programs to begin before contacting their servicer or lender.  Instead, homeowners should begin working with their lender or servicer at the first sign of difficulty.

    • More information about the “Keep Your Home California” program can be found at www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org.  A toll-free hotline soon will be established.   [Source:CAR]


      Read the full story.

    Richard Schulman
    Keller Williams Realty
    #1 Listing & Selling Agent KW Westside Realty
    Los Angeles Real Estate Expert
    (310) 482-0173
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