April 2015 Newsletter


If you had some of Viva Escrow’s resources bookmarked, you may have recently noticed that they are no longer online. Our website was compromised with malware about two weeks ago and we had to take it down to clean it up.

We are presently rebuilding the whole site and bringing back the major content pieces slowly, double checking each one for any possible viruses.

A big thank you to our IT and Web developer teams for working extra weekend hours to get us back online as quickly as they could. We also thank you, our visitors and users, for your support and your patience!


The TRID is coming!

Change is coming! And we don’t like it. No one likes change, particularly if you wonder, right off the bat, whether it is really something that is good for us?

Effective August 1, 2015, new forms, disclosures and regulations will be implemented when a consumer is borrowing a loan for household or personal use. The Lending industry is gearing up for the changes, but it will affect the escrow industry and also particularly the real estate industry.

We have been pushing hard to get the information across to all concerned, knowing that communication and collaboration between all industries and the Buyers/Borrowers and Sellers, will be of utmost importance.

Disclosures on new consumer loans after this date will need to meet stringent delivery time guidelines.

There will be no more 30 day escrows if you are purchasing a property with a new institutional loan, and there will be no changes to costs and charges without a corresponding effect on the closing date.

Life in a Real Estate Transaction will no longer be the same.

The following is a YouTube video of my presentation, courtesy of the West San Gabriel Valley Association of Realtors.  Or you can access our longer presentation on our Website: ssdev7.staging.wpengine.com.


Sounds like Halloween is coming soon to a house near you, doesn’t it, and it could be just as scary.

Back in ’05 we were doing refinances with first and second loans like there was no tomorrow.

The second loans were HELOCS where for most, the terms called for the re-setting of the loan from a minimum payment to a fixed, fully amortized loan in 10 years.

The mentality at that time was: “Ten years in the future? That is a lifetime away! We’ll worry about it at that time!” Well, that time just arrived and Borrowers who shrugged off the future specter of higher house payments are now not so sanguine.

Will the re-setting HELOCS set off a rash f foreclosures? RealtyTrac’s reports that $158 billion worth of HELOCS that were placed during the 2005-2008 housing frenzy are due to be re-set to a higher rate between 2015 and 2018.

For those whose property values have risen, the possibility of refinancing those HELOCs will minimize the effect. However, for those whose property values are still underwater, refinancing will not be an option.

Unless the property owner can afford the higher payments after the re-set, they stand to lose the property to foreclosures.

Will this be the dreaded fate of many underwater California homeowners?

California has the highest number of such re-sets. I should know, we had worked long hours and weekends to sign many of them up.


The Check is in the mail!” Laugh at it we may, but … two years ago?

For a Borrower with a loan that was foreclosed improperly and for which a settlement was reached under the Independent Foreclosure Review, this is probably not a laughing matter.

Citigroup is in the hot seat for forgetting to send out settlement checks to 23,000 such borrowers whose loans were serviced by 13 different companies.

What, they were too busy?  Oh, right, they were busy settling with the government their litigation regarding concealing the risks of the mortgage securities that they sold before the financial crisis, oh, and also allegations of money laundering in Mexico….. Yes, busy, busy.


Forget the check-in-mail situation. There are those out there who simply forget to file an income tax return.

Are these people so well off that they can afford to give the IRS their funds to keep, hold and use? The IRS has stated on their public notice that federal income tax returns for 2011 must be filed by April 15, 2015 or the any refund claims of overpayment for that tax year will be “Bye, bye, bye”!

Imagine, the IRS voluntarily telling us that they want to give you back your money!


The CFPB has launched its “Consumer Complaint Database”, and exactly as its name says, it is a database of complaints filed by the consumers on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s site.

In order to fulfill their mandate of being more “transparent”, this public database was set up, much to the dismay of big Lenders and the heavy duty Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Complaints are easy to file, the MBA says, but how many of these are legitimate and not an emotional spur-of-the-moment issue? What about a process to rebut or address the complaint by the lenders?

Again, like some of their other pronoucements and efforts this is  another CFPB idea which may not have been well thought out and have unintended consequences.

Here is an editorial piece that shows how this database can be mined for information and made into a public interest article, whether or not the analysis is correct. In this particular article it lists the 10 most hated banks based on the data in that database.

If I were Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and all those banks that appear on this list, I too, would be a tad bit upset. However, as a consumer and in an industry who deals with these banks on a professional basis, I can probably concur to a great degree.

So, is this database good? Or is it bad? It is all dependent on which side of the equation you are, isn’t it?


In a society which used to promote the “leaving the nest and striking out on our own” school of thought, more and more millennials are opting to live at home until such time as they can save enough or make enough to afford to either rent or buy. Zillow has done a research on whether it is even possible to rent when making the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

They have put up an interesting interactive tool to illustrate the affordability in cities around the country and what wage earnings are necessary just to have a roof over your head.

Upon looking at the numbers, I can only say that we need to promote the importance of education and its path to better opportunities for the kids early on in life, or they will forever fall farther and farther behind in the economics of survival in the future.


Here is my fun fact(s) for the month: What are the hidden symbols in the logos of some of the world’s best known brands? Take a look at this and tell me if you don’t think the graphic designers are some of the most creative artists out there! I love the “Tour de France” logo as well as the “Beats” headphone! Creative designers, they  are my heroes!


(Real questions left on our website- verbatim!)


Q:My mother, who has recently passed away, has a home in a living trust.  My brother and myself are 50/50 heirs of her estate.  I wish to have the home put into my name and pay off my brother.  Would there be a transfer tax?  Would it be at the same annual tax rate, on the home, as my mother was?”

A: In California, if you are purchasing real property or a partial interest in it, the Revenue and Taxation Code calls for the payment of transfer tax on that portion which is being purchased, and a reassessment of the property tax to current property value at transfer.

When the Trustee of the Trust deeds the property from your mother’s Trust to you and your brother pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Trust, then it is an inheritance gift and there is no transfer tax or reassessment to that particular transfer. However, when you go and purchase your brother out, then both taxes would apply.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

~Pablo Picasso~