Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Which State has the Most Mortgage Fraud?

Reports of mortgage fraud are on the rise: A government agency reported this week a 31 percent jump in mortgage fraud cases for the first quarter of this year, largely attributed to additional reviews from banks of loans issued several years ago that now have gone bad.

California cities dominated the rankings for the highest incidences of mortgage fraud in the nation — occupying six of the top 10 spots, according to the report issued by The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

The following is a list of the top 10 metro areas with the highest reports of mortgage fraud in the first quarter of this year, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
  3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
  4. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.
  5. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif.
  6. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.
  7. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.
  8. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.
  9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah
Source: Finacial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Department of the Trasuary 1st Quarter 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

What is Due Diligence?

Most buyers and sellers share similar frustrations in the current housing market. Buyers look long and hard for the right home to buy, exercising caution to make sure they don't make a mistake that could be costly. Sellers wait anxiously for a committed buyer who sees the value in their home and is willing to put pen to paper.

There are exceptions: Relatively hot neighborhoods surrounded by areas of sluggish sales. But, typically, negotiations between buyers and sellers are lengthy and tedious -- neither ending up with exactly what they want, but something they can live with.

The negotiations often don't end when the contract is ratified. Ratification occurs when the initial offer and all counteroffers are signed and accepted by both parties. The buyers' lender can be the source of problems like refusing to lend the amount the buyers need to close the deal, either due to a low appraised value of the property or a problem with the buyers' credit.

A major cause for further negotiations is inspection-related issues. This can encompass a broad range of problems from physical defects with the structure itself, like faulty electrical wiring, to discovering something previously unknown about the neighborhood like the fact that it's zoned for multi-dwelling housing and the house next door is being converted into a 12-unit building.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Do as much due diligence investigation as you can about a home you're seriously considering buying before you make an offer. It's time consuming and emotionally draining to make an offer. If you can discover in advance that there is something about the home or neighborhood that you can't live with, you come out ahead.

Some sellers provide a disclosure package about their home that provides presale inspection reports and information about the property. If so, read and understand these before you make an offer. A seller's disclosure package should not be viewed as a substitute for doing inspections once your offer is accepted. You should include an inspection contingency in the contract.

There is a certain amount of subjectivity involved in home inspecting. One inspector might say the roof needs to be replaced; another could think the roof is serviceable and will last another few years with maintenance. One inspector might see a crack in the foundation as a big deal; another could find it typical and not affecting the integrity of the building.

Usually home inspections recommend further inspections for such systems as the furnace, hot water heater and drainage system. Few sellers take the steps to have all recommended further inspection done.

During the buyers' inspections, issues that the buyers thought wouldn't be a big problem can turn out to require expensive fixes. Or new defects are uncovered of which neither buyer nor seller was previously aware. These situations can lead to further negotiation.

Buyers should be aware that a contract may not permit you to simply cancel without penalty if you decide you don't like the house after taking a serious look at it. It depends on the wording of the inspection contingency. Make sure you understand this before you sign the contract. In some cases, the buyers are required to request that sellers make repairs. The seller may have no responsibility to do so.

However, buyers should consider how long they have looked and how difficult it will be to find another house like the one they're trying to buy. Sellers need to realistically assess how difficult it might be to find another buyer if they have to put their home back on the market.

THE CLOSING: It's usually in both parties' interest to try to reach a mutually satisfactory solution, either in the form of a credit to the buyers, the sellers getting work done, or a price reduction.

Always do your homework, and be guided by the licensed professional you are paying to educate and help you.

Do you or a family member have unclaimed money in California?

Unclaimed Property is generally defined as any financial asset that has been left inactive by the owner for a period of time specified in the law, generally three (3) years. The California Unclaimed Property Law does NOT include real estate. Unused gift certificates are also generally excluded from unclaimed property and are not sent to the State as unclaimed property. 

The most common types of Unclaimed Property are:

  • Deposits for utilities
  • Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed cashier’s checks and money orders
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Matured or terminated insurance policies
  • Estates
  • Mineral interests and royalty payments
  • Trust funds and escrow accounts
Remember this can apply to anyone you know.  Do you really know what your parents may have done before you were born.  Or what they did when they were single.  It doesn't hurt to check, you might find money for a family member.  Good Luck!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Elects New Board Members for July Fiscal Year 2012!

Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Elects New Board Members on June 29, 2011 at Pueblo del Sol Community Center.

The newly elected members are:
  • President                                          Rocio Gandara
  • Vice President                                   Eddie Padilla
  • Secretary                                         Margarita Amador
  • Treasurer                                         Vera del Pozo
  • Outreach and Special Events Officer     Randy Salinas
  • Planning and Land Use Officer             William Morris
The meeting was interesting to say the least with a parliamentarian guiding and directing proper meeting procedures. Though the meeting went passed the allotted time frame of 8:00 pm.  It was interesting to see and hear the challenges that have plagued this Voluntary Board.

Good Job!