May 2018 NewsBlog

(Real questions left on our website!)

Q: “My father, who passed away a week ago, was the only one on the title of his house in Pico Rivera. What process needs to be taken to get it transferred to my mother’s name who is still alive. There was no will. They were both legally married and have had that house for 34 years. Also approximately how much does that process cost. Lastly, do you guys offer this service.

A: Unfortunately, California Probate Law states that when your father passed without having a will done and there was no one else on title to the property with him, the disposition of the property needs to go through Probate Court. The Court will determine who the property will be passed on to. Please contact a Probate attorney for the steps needed to complete this process. I don’t know how much that process would cost. It would be at least a few thousand dollars. Regretfully, as an Escrow Company we would not be able to help you until after the Probate is completed and you are in the process of selling the property.


I guess the IRS knows that out of all the tens of millions filing income tax returns there are bound to be a few who forgot (purposely or not) that April 17 was the filing deadline this year, which was then extended to April 18th due to a system glitch. With that in mind the IRS put out their Tips on what to do if you are one of the forgetful few. Did you know that if your return is late and there is a refund due, you don’t have to pay a penalty for late filing? But if there is a tax payment due, then a penalty is assessed, which is 5% per month of the payment for every month not paid. Here is a link to IR-2018-102  which talks about penalties, where to track your refund, and it also has a link to the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights”. I bet you didn’t know you had Rights when it came to paying taxes, did you?

While we are discussing IRS stuff, the new Tax Laws changed and if you haven’t done so, you might want to make sure that your paycheck withholdings are sufficient so that you don’t end up having to pay more money at the end of the year. Here is the IRS video  regarding this subject matter. The IRS is just a font of information in sync with today’s technology.


And when it is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) it could be a big deal. Since Mick Mulvaney took over as Acting Director of this “independent” agency, he has sought to make big changes on how it is run, who is to direct it, and now, its name. Mr. Mulvaney has been calling it the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection” (BCFP),  much to my consternation. It will take some getting used to! You can’t just mix the letters around in this acronym and expect us to not stutter and hum and ah. So, from now on, do what everyone else in the know is doing – call it “The Bureau”. Sounds like something from a John Grisham novel.

Name change or not, the Bureau is still going to fine Wells Fargo  about $1 billion (with a “B”) for sticking their clients with car insurance they didn’t need and charging Borrowers with additional fees for missing rate lock deadlines.

I’ll just bet Wells Fargo is just wishing that the Bureau gets buried in its entirety… before they find something else….


I always go to Zillow to look up properties, their values, pictures, and do comparables. Now it seems that you will be able to do more than just look. You can also buy those properties you like through them directly. Zillow, my friends, is joining the crazy real estate industry by doing their own direct buying from homeowners and then selling it to a new buyer. Somewhere along the line, they promise, they will keep the real estate agents in the loop earning commissions. Here is the article.  The reason this move confounds me is that I, and some of my peers, have found sales prices in certain markets so high that the inventory for “flipping” (and that is what Zillow is doing) to make a buck is scarce and hard to find. What does Zillow know that we don’t know? How will the real estate agents be affected by this new player who already has a huge internet presence ? Will Zillow be using the MLS system to list the properties they will sell? Questions, questions.


Real estate values are rising as quickly as the days go by. The For Sale signs out there are evidence that despite a sluggish 5 months from November to March, Spring is here and things are starting to perk up. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s not all “Rise and Shine!” One development in San Francisco is going the opposite way – sinking, literally. Millennium Tower, according to the article , has sunk 17 inches and is tilting 14 inches to the northeast. One of the condo units took a $1 million reduction to finally sell at $4.66 million. So whoever the purchaser was, he was willing to take the risk that (1) he would be able to recoup and add to his investment sometime in the future, and (2) gravity does not work. I bet their title insurance policy had special exception clauses in it.

No really, maybe my mental processing has to change but if I were to spend $4.66 million for a living space, I would really like to be sure it will not topple in the future, before I sell it to the next unsuspecting victim. I mean, guys, this Tower is in San Francisco. Remember what happened in San Francisco in 1906??!!

Talking about Title Insurance, here is a picture of a fun ad that I took when I went with the Escrow Institute of California to visit and talk to representatives of the American Land Title Association (ALTA) in Washington D.C. :

Title Insurance

Good advertisement for title insurance! So, of course, the next question will be, “What is Title Insurance?” Aha. I see an article in the making…..


You all remember Deutsche Bank? This was the German bank that lost quite a bit of money in the economic meltdown through their investments in those troubled mortgage backed securities. Well, they just popped into the news again, and not in a good way. CNN Money put out this article about this bank’s epic blunder – wiring $35 BILLION, to pay for a collateral payment. The Bank’s market value at the time was only $30 Billion in total! Operational mistake but I bet whoever clicked that “SEND” button probably broke out in hives, cold sweat, froze and collapsed. But no worries, they rectified the mistake. Don’t know if the sender still has a job, though.

About Marriage

First Guy (proudly): “My wife’s an angel!”
Second Guy: “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.” – Anonymous

If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married. – Katharine Hepburn

I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married. – Elizabeth I

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man. – Anonymous

Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming:
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up. – Patrick Murray

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The Thinker


Juliana Tu