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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Who Said You Get What You Pay For?

I want to clarify that many people in my industry give away free advice all the time. Does this mean it doesn't have value? No! We do it to develop relationships. We know that if we can help friends, family, prospects, or strangers that it comes back to us in the form of goodwill.



I have written in the past that in California we can not charge upfront fees unless it has been approved with the Department of Real Estate. Therefore most of us represent buyers at no cost to the buyer and we get paid by splitting commission with the listing agent.



Yes this is tough especially during these times but our biggest reward is seeing people get ahead and achieve the American Dream. Once again I'll extend the offer to all of you. If you have a question regarding real estate feel free to email me or call me and I guarantee you'll get a good answer without any type of sales pressure.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Job Seeker Passes Out Paper Resumes

I am watching the news and they mention this guy in Henderson, Nevada seeking a green job. The difference is that he was holding a cardboard sign along the road and passing out resumes.

I would think that someone looking for a green job would be think green also by submitting resumes online. Well maybe he used recycled paper.

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Raises During These Hard Times?

When a company is having hard financial times all of the employees and executives are asked to tighten their belts. Hiring and raises are frozen. They work together to get over the hurdle. This is how it should be but not when you are getting your money from the taxpayers.



In Sacramento they just awarded raises to staff of legislators. This is insulting to the taxpayers, especially for the 8.5% plus that are now unemployed. This is just another example of how legislators are out of touch with the citizens they govern. I have to rank this act of stupidity right up there with bonuses that AIG paid out. Oh yeah they also got their money from taxpayers.



They keep on saying that we only have short term memory and soon will forget these acts of stupidity. Let's prove them wrong and really show these guys that we do not like them spending our tax money. Vote these guys out of office and let's put some fiscally conservative people in office.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

No Dunkin' Donuts in California, What?

So this weekend I decided that I would try to see what all the hype was about Dunkin' Donuts' coffee. Then the shock, there aren't any in California. Any investors out there you might want to jump on a franchise opportunity cause I hear that during this recession people are choosing to get their coffee at cheaper places as long as it's good coffee. I guess I'll stick to McDonalds for now.

By the way Dunkin' Donuts has a promo on their iced coffee April 21, 2009. They are donating a percentage of their iced coffee sales to Homes for Our Troops. That would've have made a lot of money in southern CA because of the summer type weather we are having. Come on Dunkin' Donuts stop ignoring us here on the west coast.

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Obama's Latest Budget Cuts

Thank you Mr. President for trying. Cutting is definitely something we need in order to avoid future tax hikes. Obviously he is going to take a lot of heat because the cuts are a small fraction of the $3 trillion budgeted for spending.

I have an idea let's get as much money back from the bailouts and keep the current cuts and come up with some more. Let people choose where they want to spend or if they want to save their taxes. I suggest to save so that banks can conservatively lend.

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I Applaud Miss California

Too many times in this day and age we end up with well intentioned laws that result in an economic crisis because people are scared to speak their mind. In the Miss Universe pageant Miss California hesitated when asked what she thought about gay marriage. I am sure she hesitated because she thought should I say what I really feel or do I say what is politically correct and win this contest.

I applaud her for taking the high road and not taking the path of least resistance. A lot of you might disagree and turn this into a gay rights versus homophobia discussion but that is not why I am writing this. All I am saying is that I respect her for not being a hypocrite and taking the road of less resistance. For the record I don't believe the government should have any say who they recognize as married or domestic partnerships. If there are churches out there that want to marry gay couples then more power to you. Let people live their lives and let's not force our will on people.

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818 Area Code

Those living in Glendale, Burbank, and the rest of the San Fernando Valley please remember that now you must dial 818 to dial another number with the same area code. We now have an overlapping area code, 747. Some phone numbers will be duplicated. When dialing an 818 or 747 phone number you have to dial 1 + the area code + the number.

Another friendly reminder from Mario Villagran :)

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Beware of Tax Scams

At the pace our government is spending money I can only conclude that our taxes will have to go up. With that said please remember that fear is a huge selling tool for many especially scam artist. Here are the top tax scams according to the IRS, http://tinyurl.com/c9nrbj.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cancelling Credit Cards

Well I learned this the hard way and just thought I'd pass it on. I am trying to rely only on the money I make and not use credit cards. I decided to close all of them. This past weekend I wanted to rent a van for my daughter's birthday trip to Magic Mountain. Well car rental companies will not rent unless you have a major credit card. They wouldn't even take a deposit. Now I know I should keep at least one for emergency and travel purposes.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Happy Good Friday to everyone. The kids and I will be taking some time out of the day to observe the Cross and remember the sacrifice that was made for all of us. If there's ever a time to be thankful for what you have, now is the time.

Enjoy your life, enjoy your family, and enjoy your surroundings this Easter weekend. Love everyone and it will be returned to you. Http://www.catholic.org

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Loan Modifications are on the Rise

Despite a lot of bad press lately, loan modifications do seem to be on the rise. In the past few months I've witnessed a few offers to my clients and I had my buyers lose a home that they had an accepted offer on cause the sellers received a modification. Just today a client called and they had Green Credit Solutions negotiate a modification with Indy Mac Federal.



The terms of this offer were 3% for the next 5 years interest only. After 5 years the rate would be capped at 4.875% and the payment would include principal. The $7500 she owed in arrears is put on the back end. This client had an option arm and was paying the negative amortization payment. This offer is a great deal for my client. I told her to take it and apply as much as possible to the principal so that when the 5 years is up she has paid down her balance significantly. I would like to tell you that I know she'll have equity in 5 years but my crystal ball's batteries just died. The key is that she is able to stay in her home with a payment that allows her to have peace of mind.



I am sure Green Credit Solutions charged her an upfront fee. I am also sure that they earned their money. There are a lot of good companies out there that deserve to get paid for their services and a lot of fraudulent companies that deserve to go to jail for defrauding people. How do you know which ones are legitimate? That is the problem. Loan modification seems to be a growing business in these tough times and because of that we have very little oversight.



I have always said that one of our government's duties is to protect us against fraud. The problem with our government is they react and are never proactive. The con artist are usually one step ahead in the beginning and only get caught because of their greed. Here in California anyone that negotiates anything that has to do with real estate has to be licensed. Yes this does include mortgages unless they are hiding under an institution's California Finance Lender license. An attorney is also exempt from having to be a real estate licensee. The first thing I would do is go to http://www.hud.gov/ and click on the link for the administrations "make my home affordable" plan. This is the free help that they are talking about. Not really free cause it is subsidized by our taxes but that's another conversation. If you do not feel like the counselors can help you or if they tell you they can not then do your research before paying someone upfront. Most people I have talked to felt like they needed to hire someone because the administration's plan only allows for the loan to be 105% over the current value of the home. A lot of people that I have come across are at least 20% over their current value. When you research a company get referrals, make sure you are hiring a company with attorneys or an attorney directly. If you hire a company that says they are attorney based, then check with your department of real estate to see if that company is licensed. In California the site is http://www.dre.ca.gov/.



Keep this in mind, if more home mortgages are being modified and avoiding short sale or even foreclosure, we will have less homes on the market. This will help stabilize home prices and eventually get to a normal market. Home prices will begin to appreciate in a normal market as they historically have. If you are someone thinking about walking away from your home just because you are upside down, be patient the housing market always appreciates in the long run.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

CWA and AT&T Please Work It Out

It is no secret that CWA's contract with AT&T is about to expire. It is also no secret that corporations are trying to make certain cuts right now. I just hope that AT&T realizes that the reason they have grown to the size that they are is because of its workers on the front line. These are your everyday blue collar workers that cannot afford to miss a check or have a cut in their pay or benefits. The American people are tired of seeing the corporate executives make off like bandits while everyone else struggles. AT&T you will not get any sympathy from your consumers or shareholders if you are just trying to cut at the lower level. Take care of your employees and they will take care of you. You cannot afford to have consumers switch their services because you failed to recognize your employees.



CWA please make sure that you are doing everything possible to work things out with AT&T. One problem that I have had with unions in the past is that they even protect workers that do not deserve protection. It almost becomes like a socialist state where everyone gets the same despite the quality of work. There does come a time when corporations have to make cuts so as long as they are making them across the board please be willing to give a little. I would hate to see what happened to the grocery store workers happen to your membership.



I am a supporter of CWA and AT&T but competition has increased a lot in the last few years and if I have to deal with bad service or interruptions because a strike then I will change my services and probably never come back. I am sure that I am not the only one.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Unemployment Numbers

I just read that unemployment is at its worst since 1982. I'm sure the numbers being reported are as accurate as can be considering our flawed system.

What I mean is that I've been around the block enough times to know that some people are out there getting paid under the table. Employers like to be able to pay under the table also because they then avoid payroll taxes. Just judging from the amount of traffic I see on a daily basis I know that people in Los Angeles are doing well. Yes people are scared but that's okay cause I'd rather have growth that's not based on credit.

If we were to have a fair tax or a national sales tax then we can hire more IRS officers to police the collection of taxes and some employees will actually see a raise because their employers will save money.

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Home Buyer Refundable Tax Credit

Just wanted to remind everyone that the home buyers tax credit to purchase a home in 2009 can be claimed on this years taxes. If you have already filed you can always amend your taxes. This is a refundable tax credit up to $8000. Call me for more information, 818-416-7511 or leave a comment here.

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