Home Auction Sales…NEWS

52 Cal. Investors Indicted For Bid Rigging/Fraud at Bay Area Public Foreclosure Auctions

In a new series of high profile fraud prosecutions, prosecutors and grand juries are pursuing indictments….  More can be read here…

On Oct. 21, 2014 a San Francisco grand jury returned an 8-count indictment against 5 real estate investors for their role in bid rigging and fraud schemes at foreclosure auctions in San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties.

The indictment alleges defendants agreed to stop bidding or to refrain from bidding for properties at public foreclosure auctions in return for payoffs and concealing the fact that monies were diverted from mortgage holders, homeowners and others to co-schemers.

Previously, 47 individuals have agreed to plead or have pleaded guilty, as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California.

Each violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.

Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The government can also seek to forfeit the proceeds earned from participating in the mail fraud schemes.

Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to public real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at 415-934-5300, or call the FBI tip line at 415-553-7400.

15 Easy Home Buying Tips

15 Easy Home Buying tipsHow To Buy a House Made Simple, Really Simple.

While these 15 easy home buying tips are entertaining,

they are 15 important tips.

Read on MEME!


On a serious note, get started by contacting me first.

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Home Buyer Contingencies, What are they?

home buyer contingenciesHome buyer contingencies are buyer options that build in protections for home buyers within a home purchase offer.  Much like traffic lights they warn you when to stop, when to proceed and often, when it is time to go in another direction.  Your good faith deposit will be at risk if the home buyer contingencies are not understood or used properly.

Three common types of home buyer contingencies are defined here.  Their purpose is to provide a set time period to investigate the property condition, title history and to secure your financing.

The common home buyer contingency periods are 10-17 days.  A few can be as short as 7 days. The clock starts at the ratification date of the contract or when your purchase offer is accepted by the home seller.

The most important Home Buyer Contingencies you need to understand are…

  • Property Condition
  • Financing
  • Title Conditions

These 3 common home buyer contingencies are found within your purchase contract.  They are not required, however your contract should Continue reading

First Time Home Seller -Step One

first time home seller

Are you planning to be a First Time Home Seller? 

Thinking about putting your home on the market this spring?  It’s never too early to start planning for your upcoming home tours.  And there’s a lot to think about.  Perhaps one of the most crucial pieces to finding that buyer will be staging your home properly.  And that means…..de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter.

Having your stuff lying all around the house tends to tell prospective buyers that “this house is someone else’s place, not theirs”…never a good message to send.  Removing clutter will not only help your home appear clean, well maintained, and move-in ready, but will also give you the added benefit of being one step closer to your move.  Why is this my first step of the process?  Because you want your chosen agent to see your home in a better light with the idea they will see more value too.

5 easy tips a first time home seller must follow.


Having a place to put all your stuff should be a priority.  Storage pods are a great alternative to cluttering up the garage.


1. Prepare for a de-cluttering marathon.  This is a big, sometimes emotionally draining task and is best tackled in small bites.  You’ll want to gather some de-cluttering tools before you begin.   Garbage bags, boxes, tape and cleaning gear can be most helpful.  If you find yourself having trouble staying organized throughout the process you may want to start three piles labeled “throw out”, “put away”, and “charity.”  This approach will keep you from throwing out things you want to save, and saving things you want to throw out.

2. Throw out old, unused stuff that tends to find itself on countertops and shelving such as junk mail, bills, receipts, etc….  Outdated paperwork can also find its way into drawers and closets.  Potential buyers want to see homes for sale that have lots of counter space, not your mail or last Sunday’s paper.  So don’t let the junk mail keep you from receiving an offer.

3. Sort through closets to find extra storage space.  If your closets are overflowing with “stuff”, it may be time to do some closet purging.  Potential buyers love to see storage space when they open closets.  If the buyer’s eye goes directly to the boxes, cloths and clutter, they won’t notice all the great storage space you have.  Overflowing closets also have the habit of telling buyers that your home doesn’t have enough storage.  But not to worry, there is an easy fix to the full closet…..  If you haven’t used something in a year, throw it out.

4. Clear out book shelves to give your room an open, lighter feeling.  Again, buyers are looking for  homes for sale that have lots of storage space and if shelves are packed with stuff, buyers will think your home is small.  Maintaining book shelves that are organized and half-full gives the appearance of space and can make a room feel larger than it actually is.  And don’t forget to pack up the majority of your personal pictures when staging your home.  You want potential buyers to see themselves in your home not your Nieces and Nephews.

5. Maintaining clear kitchen countertops has the potential to visually double the size of your kitchen.  Always a good thing.  The golden rule for countertops is to have no more than two appliances sitting on the counter.  Homes for sale that feature vast expanses of countertop space will have a competitive advantage in today’s buyer’s market.  And it would be a shame to miss out on an offer because kitchen clutter overshadowed your fabulous countertop space.

You are now just about ready for these 26 seller tips.

And last, but not least, celebrate!  If you’ve managed to de-clutter your entire home, then you, the first time home seller, deserve a giant pat on the back.  You’ve just completed the most inexpensive remodel of your home possible.  Potential home buyers will see the value in your work and you will be rewarded with more offers and, potentially, a much higher sales price!

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Make the Best Offer on a Home

How to make the best bid on a houseHow to make the best offer on a home for sale is becoming tough..  I recently wrote about how fast homes were selling in San Jose and very little has since changed.  The one change in homes for sale in San Jose, the entire Bay Area for that matter, might simply be more questions  “What do I have to do to get my offer accepted?” orI keep making offers on homes for sale and never get one!”.

In this fast paced environment how to make the best offer means being prepared beyond belief.   Writing the winning offer is more technical than in the recent past.  Naturally, having a pre-approval letter is still the number one item on the list of things to have.  There are many others too.  I would recommend this list be fulfilled before you submit another offer on any home for sale in San Jose.

Realtor… A seasoned San Jose Realtor is the one asset in the home buying process that you get to choose.  Choose a Realtor that you feel comfortable with.  Take the time to talk to more than one.  Find one that you feel is listening to your needs and wants.  Often, you may choose one that has been referred to you by a friend.   After all, if your friend liked them, there is a strong probability that you will like them too. Ask them how they will help you make the best offer on a home.

Lender… A Mortgage Broker is more flexible than your bank.  Every bank does mortgage loans, right? Yes, however, they only offer mortgage loans that they have available at a given time.  Mortgage Brokers offer a nearly endless number of mortgage options for you to choose from.  The big banks offer loans in cycles and while one bank may have a great mortgage option this month it may be unavailable next month.  A mortgage broker will be your best source to secure the mortgage loan that fits your needs all the time.   They are usually much more affordable in the long run too.

Multiple Pre-Approvals… Realtors are pushing their own lenders an awful lot lately.   You can overcome this by obtaining multiple pre-approvals  from a few major banking institutions.  If a seller is requiring a Wells Fargo pre-approval, to test your credibility, be prepared in advance and get one.. This will also expedite your offer process and could secure the home before anyone else has a chance to produce the required pre-approval.

Proof of Funds… This can be in the form of a letter, however a copy of your bank statement is more suitable.   Warning:   Your account numbers should be redacted from any form you choose to use.    If your money is in an account that requires several days to be made liquid, consider depositing those funds in your savings account where they are readily available.  Speak to your financial adviser or accountant to be certain you are doing so in a fashion that does not introduce negative tax ramifications.

Deposit Check… This is a required item that is often handled poorly.   I have seen some pretty bad examples and I want you to give this item some serious attention.   The date of the check should be current and the memo should not refer to a previous property that you have made an offer for.   The recipient should be the title company where escrow is being held and the amount should be correct and reflect the structure of the offer.

Offer Summary…Today, most homes for sale in San Jose, Los Gatos and other homes for sale around the Santa Clara County receive multiple offers. This can cause confusion for an unprepared listing agent.   Purchase offers are full of detail and some very slight differences could make or break your chance of getting yours in front of the seller.  My suggestion is to have your Realtor create an ‘offer summary’ to help the listing agent understand your offer.  This should also be used in the text of any offers submitted electronically.  This summary is simply an outline of the offer structure.  It must include offer price, timelines, deposit amount, type of loan, loan amount, down payment amount, length of contingency periods and any specific exclusions or inclusions that will up sell your offer.  You can’t make the best offer on a home if you go generic.  This is where you can use some creativity.

Disclosures and Inspections… If the home for sale in San Jose that you are considering has the seller disclosures or inspections available, review them prior to making your offer and sign them.   This will put you another step ahead of other buyers.  Every advantage has to be taken in this market.

Contingencies… This is where most successful buyers are finding the greatest potential to gain an advantage.  The loan, appraisal and property condition are the important ones.   If you can get a written guarantee of loan approval or the seller’s inspection reports are sufficient then you might remove these contingencies or make them very short term, for example 3-7 days. Applying these fundamentals and executing them properly will not guarantee your success.   They will however, put you ahead of more than half of the competition out there. All of this information would be moot if I did not discuss appraisal gaps.

Appraisal gaps have been a serious issue for the last few years.   When multiple offers push the price above market value, the buyer who is using a mortgage loan will not receive a loan approval if the value does not match the offer price.  A buyer who has additional cash resources to cover any appraisal gap will have an advantage. A strongly recommend that you find a way to cover an appraisal gap prior to making a high offer.   How do I do that, you ask?  Choose a loan that allows you to keep some of your cash, discuss any rebate programs your Realtor or lender may offer or choose a home priced below your loan approval amount, saving you some cash.

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