FROM THE REAL ESTATE TRENCHES

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By   Charlotte Reed

 
Real Estate is my business…my only business.
 
This week’s topics:
  • Brown Bag “Lunch and Learn” on GUHSD boundary changes Feb. 25
  • Is the grass greener?
  • Scam alert 

January 22, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--The news that there were more real estate sales in December of 2011 than the previous December and that sales in general appear to be heading in the right direction was a good way to start off the new year. Below are several additional stories of interest to area residents and those in the real estate business.

 
Brown bag “lunch and learn” on GUHSD boundary changes Jan. 25
 
After several Boundary Committee meetings and public forums, the Grossmont Unified High School District voted to approve school boundary changes in September.  Of course, not all were in a position to attend the public forums and many questions still remain unanswered.  One question we in the Real Estate business are asked most frequently is, “How does this affect our home values?”
 
To help us answer these questions, “a brown bag lunch and learn” meeting will be held at the East San Diego County Board of Realtors at 1150 Broadway, El Cajon on Wednesday January 25, 2012 from 12:30 am to 1:30 pm.   The guests speakers will be Ralf Swenson, Grossmont Union High School District Superintendent, Gary Schwartzwald, Director of Adult Education and Special Projects, and Catherine Martin, Director, Public Affairs and Legislative Relations.
 
Call your Realtor with your questions or e-mail me your questions and I will get an answer.  This meeting is open to the public.  The space in the Regency Room is limited, so be sure to call Sally Valdez to RSVP.
 
Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence?
 
Last year I noticed a trend developing where agents were in search of an office where they felt they would be more productive or studying to be loan representatives; escrow officers were becoming agents and title representatives and title representatives were becoming agents. In the first East San Diego County Board of Realtors meeting of 2012 there were several new announcements from agents, loan representatives and title representatives of their recent career changes.  Many agents and service Representatives have given up and left the Real Estate business. In general, it has been a difficult few years for anyone involved in the purchase of homes to stay in their chosen fields and still make enough money to maintain their families. 
If statistics are a true indicator, and the market is laboriously and slowly turning around, we can all be thankful for this timely news.
 
Scam alert: phony tax refund requests
 
Whenever there are financial uncertainties there will be those who will take advantage of the situation.  In the last few years, there have been numerous scams relating to, but not limited to, the unstable real estate market.  I have consistently reported on these scams in other news outlets and will make my scam alert a regular feature here.  The newest one is from the California Association of Realtors.  It goes like this:
“If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS requesting that you file a “tax refund request,” do not fall victim to this identity theft scheme.
 
Numerous people are receiving unsolicited email informing them that a $9,390.55 tax refund is due to them if they complete a tax refund request form.  The email code will be forged to appear as if it originated from a trusted source, usually the IRS or an IRS tax preparer, but viewing the “message header” or “message source” will reveal its origin to be something else, and the link will not lead to a drusted domain, but one controlled by identity theft criminals.
 
If you file a tax return and a refund is due, you will automatically receive your refund.  You will never be contacted by the IRS, and there is no tax refund request form, Never disclose personal information to any unsolicited inquiry, as compelling as the story may be.
 
For all questions or concerns about any IRS tax refund you may have due, you should access the official IRS “Where is my refund” online application at the following destination: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/o,,id=96596.html.
 
Charlotte Reed is a realtor with Windemere SoCal Realty in La Mesa.  She can be reached at CharlotteReed@cox.net or (619)997-7333. Her motto is “Real estate is my business…my only business.”