FROM THE REAL ESTATE TRENCHES: REAL ESTATE RECOVERY SIGNS AND MORE LOCAL REAL ESTATE NEWS

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By Charlotte Reed, REALTOR SRES CRS

October 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—This column includes some hopeful signs of a real estate recover, a warning about a loan scam, a new real estate laws taking effect in January 2013, and an update on a revised Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Local real estate market shows signs of recovery

There are definite signs that the Real Estate Market is finally stabilizing in San Diego County as well as the rest of the country.   Fewer short sales and foreclosures are coming on the market and prices are, after too many years of dropping, going up.  Interest rates are still at an unbelievable low rate making this one of the best times in our local history to purchase a home.

There also seems to be a refreshed and hopeful attitude among the local brokers and agents.  The fashion show that at one time was a yearly affair, was reinstated and was a great success under the leadership of Carey Guthrie.  Several small brokerages that closed their doors were again open for business and the owners are showing up at the weekly East County Board of Realtors.  Brokers and agents alike are jockeying for better locations and better circumstances.  Steve Wilson, the Broker of Record for the local Coldwell Banker for almost 2 decades has left to be a trainer for Windermere SoCal, taking several agents with him. Laura Lothian, after a short time with Allison James is now with Sotheby’s for the second time, Virginia Hall is now with Keller Williams and Coldwell Banker is adjusting to a new manager. 

Loan Scam alert

One thing that has not changed is the abundance of scams!  A couple of weeks ago, the Feds arrested 11 people who worked at a Rancho Cucamonga business that allegedly offered bogus loan modification programs to distressed homeowners resulting in financial losses of at least seven million dollars in fees paid to the company.  Several victims also lost their homes to foreclosure while trying to negotiate with this unsculptuous company.  Another scam that seems to be growing stronger as time goes by is the one where the scammer looks for houses that appear to be vacant and then advertises them on Craig’s list as rentals.  He tells the prospective victim that he and his family have been sent to a third world country as missionaries and so they need to rent out their home at a reduced price.  Once the deposit is sent, they are never heard from again.  

Several new laws concerning Real Property in California will go into effect the first of 2013.  I will be discussing most of these in the next few columns.

Reverse Mortgage There is much mystery about the Reverse Mortgage and as a result after January 1, 2013, the safeguards for a borrower seeking to obtain a reverse mortgage loan have been expanded.  Under existing law a lender cannot accept a final and complete application for a reverse mortgage loan or assess any fees without first receiving a certification from the applicant’s representative that the applicant has received counseling from a HUD-approved counseling agency.  Under the new law the certification must state that the counseling was conducted in person unless the applicant elected to receive it in another manner.

Protecting Military Service Members From Foreclosure The existing California protection for a military service member against foreclosure by a mortgage lender during the period of military service or within three months thereafter, has been extended to nine months thereafter.

Capping mortgage rates charged to Military Service Members If, before the entry into the military, a service member has a mortgage or trust deed with an interest rate over 6%, the interest rate must be reduced to 6% or less during that person’s military service and for one year thereafter.

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the new and Revised California Homeowner Bill of Rights on September 28, 2012 aimed at assisting distressed California homeowners.  The bill covers the tracking of short sales, Loan Modifications, fees, safeguards and much more.  For a complete copy of this bill go to: CAR.org/legal

Charlotte Reed is an active real estate agent with the La Mesa Windermere SoCal office and can be reached at charlottereed@cox.net or by calling (619) 997-7333