August 2011 Newsletter

Check out our California Documentary Transfer Tax and our Rescission Period videos, new on our website!

DOES YOUR CITY HAVE A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY REPORT LAW? More and more cities in California have adopted ordinances that require a “pre-sale” property report. This means that before an escrow can close and property transferred, the City has to disclose to the Buyer what is on the City records as to the status of the property, its permits, violations, and compliance with its building code ordinances. Many require an on-site inspection by their inspector, others just do an internal check, but all require fees to be paid.

To help you, as an owner and possible future Seller, or as a real estate agent who may acquire a listing in those cities, we have called many, many cities in the Southern California area, and are calling those in the central and the northern part of the State. We know how massively confusing selling real estate can be in this day and age and we hope this will help. For a look at our list, the link to our website is as follows:

Please note that like all of the information we provide on our website this is an ongoing work-in-progress site, which means that we will be constantly updating, revising and adding as we gather further information. If you have anything to add, please make sure you let us know or drop us a comment!

NEW SHORT SALE PROTECTION SIGNED INTO LAW: Good news! California has just passed a law that extends additional protections to homeowners on their Short Sales. SB 458 states, among other things, that any lender that agrees to a short sale must accept the agreed upon short sale proceeds as payment in full. No demanding additional payment by Seller or anyone else beyond the proceeds of the sale. This protection applies only to 1-4 residential properties with first and junior loans. It does not apply to commercial loans where the Borrower is a legal entity like a corporation or LLC. This will definitely help some of our Short Sale clients. We have one file in which the second trust deed lender wants an additional $30,000 over and beyond….

HOA FORECLOSING ON OWNERS: When an article like this appears on the Internet it really makes me sit up and take notice. In my June article titled “Condo or House” I mentioned that diminishing reserves in HOA funds are a serious concern when owning a condominium. I have not personally heard of any Association in my area actually foreclosing on the delinquent owner yet, but if it is happening in other parts of the country, how far away can California be? And what does the Association do after they foreclose? Do they start making payments to the existing Lender before they foreclose, too?

RETIREMENT? OH SURE….. In May it was about Social Security and whether we should take it now or later. This issue, it’s all about that all important question of “retirement” – do we, don’t we, and when. Too much has happened in the last few years that have overturned many of our previous retirement plans. The big question now is: Can we afford to retire? My strategy changed from “retiring in 10 years” to “working till I die at my desk”, which they say is not a good strategy. Gosh, I can’t imagine why not.

So, are you confident that you can retire? If so, there is this town out there in South Dakota that is being sold, lock, stock and bar(rel) for $799,000.00. Read about it here. What do you say we all chip in to make this our retirement place?! Such a deal! 46 acres with a dance hall, basketball court, train depot, post office, and even a real jail!!! How can we go wrong! Oh, right. South Dakota. Below freezing in the winter. Blizzards, ice storms and tornados. Spend my retirement years shoveling snow. Okay. How about a nice island in the Caribbean instead?  Leaf Cay, 15 acres with a 19 building complex, an airstrip, beaches and marina, only for $8 million….

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT: Getting to that “retirement” mode, whether you are 30 or 60 years old, involves a certain mind set. Yes, we work, work, work, while our sun still shines, we invest wisely and carefully, and we hope the government leaves our money alone. But just as important is the concept of spending correctly, also known as “Why Waste Money?” Why….

  • Pay high interest on unpaid credit card balances
  • Pay for premium gas when not necessary (see my April 2011 newsletter)
  • Smoke (just burn those dollar bills, why not, and see your health insurance premium increase)
  • Pay for fancy cell phones and apps (the new status symbol) for you, your spouse and your teenagers
  • Give too much money each month to Uncle Sam (see my February 2011 newsletter)

…. And more right here. Let’s ask ourselves: Are we making so much money that we can afford to waste our hard earned after tax dollars?

RAISING OUR CREDIT SCORES: Certainly not in other countries, but in the U.S., it’s scary to think that people look at your credit score to determine what kind of a person you are. “Is Juliana trustworthy enough to be lent money or be hired? Her credit score will tell us!” No matter how you rant and rave against the system, this is the name of the game, and to win it we need to play it smartly. Here are 6 SIMPLE ways to raise your credit scores:

  1. Pay your payment on time each month
  2. Reduce your revolving (credit card or HELOC) debt
  3. The longer you have held that credit card, the better the score
  4. Don’t apply for unnecessary credit cards
  5. Cancel cards gradually, or keep them open for occasional use
  6. Review your credit report each year to make sure there are no errors

WHAT NAMES ARE NEXT TO GO? According to the Wall Street Journal, the following 10 brands may be on their way out in the next 18 months either through buyouts, loss in sales, or other issues:

  • Sony Pictures
  • A& W Restaurants
  • Saab
  • American Apparel
  • Sears
  • Sony Ericcson
  • Kellogg’s Corn Pops
  • MySpace
  • Soap Opera Digest
  • Nokia

What? Corn Pops on its way out? What is this world coming to? Will Cheerios be next? What will we feed our teething babies? What will our college kids eat (for breakfast, lunch and dinner)?

AIRLINE EXTRA FEES: Enough said, don’t you think? Every year around this time I have to vent my outrage at airline miscellaneous charges and this year is no different, especially after the stories from my daughter who just came back from traveling all over the world. Want to send your blood pressure into the stratosphere? How about the following:

  • Boarding pass print fee
  • Booking fee when talking to representative on phone
  • Checked luggage fee for first as well as second bag
  • Fee for carry on luggage
  • Excess baggage weight
  • Cancellation fee
  • Upgrade fee
  • Additional fee and fuel surcharge fee for ticket purchased through frequent flyer awards
  • Seat selection fee

Let me recommend that you do your homework before you plunk down the $$$ and before it is your turn at the airline counter.

By the way, CBS reported that in a survey of 101 airports, 3 of the cheapest airports in the country to fly in and out of are in my area – Long Beach (#1), Burbank (#2) and John Wayne (#5). LAX is #88. The article is here. Again, another Why Waste Money? moment.

And finally, from a person who loves shoes – the higher the better – here is my thought for the month:

~The shoe that fits one person pinches another;

there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.~

Carl Jung (1875 – 1961), Psychologist

Till next month!

Juliana Tu, CSEO, CEO, CBSS, CEI

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  1. Virginia Villar

    Thank you, Juliana for sharing your knowledge. You are a wise and respected business woman.


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