October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
“Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”
Between last month and this one we got caught in a tsunami of major proportions. If you are reading this and you are a real estate or loan agent, have pity on your escrow officers, the loan processors and the funders. Show them your appreciation as we work 12+ hour days 6 to 7 days a week to meet the overwhelming needs of the business. A box of doughnuts would not be rejected!
A couple days ago I answered an email from a funder that was sent to me at 10:49 p.m. I bet she was surprised when I responded right away. Unfortunately as many people continue to work from home, the lines between work-time and time-off blur and we seem to always be on work-time. Losing our life-work balance is not good; something has to give and hopefully it won’t be our mental/physical health. Unfortunately, the quality of work has gone down. More mistakes are made, phone calls are ignored, emails are left unanswered. I had one set of docs that had to be redone THREE times because the doc drawer could not spell the Borrowers’ name correctly and got the zip code wrong. Little things that delay and delay and delay while frustrated loan officers and Borrowers wait impatiently.
To recap this last month:
- Median home price in Southern California has gone up to $600,000 – YAY!
- CAR reports the median price statewide has gone up to $706,500 – It’s those northern cities…
- Unfortunately, unemployment is still rising, as the job market is on very shaky ground and Yelp shows that businesses are closing. Thus lenders have been tightening credit availability.
- Jumbo loans are being priced out, which means buying a 7 figure home and getting a loan to finance it can get costly (but I guess those who can afford it don’t really care; what’s a few more pennies…)
- Don’t expect a fast closing for your refinance. The processing time for a refinance has more than doubled for some files, to over 60 days. I saw one funder’s signature block state that the turnaround time to review signed loan docs is SEVEN days after receipt. That lender needs to hire more loan processors.
- Purchase loans take precedence over refinance loans.
- The bulk of the refinance market is “no cash out”, ranging from $300,000 to $500,000. Back end loan broker fees range around $5,000 per pot, and in quantity it becomes a very decent living!
- Homes in the mid range of $600,000 – $700,000 are being snapped up once it comes on the market.
- Condos are selling like hotcakes because affordable SFR inventory is still low. But, boy, do we hate dealing with those condominium HOA management companies! $350 to give us access to HOA documents that are already on their website? $350 to transfer name to new Buyer at closing? Their fee demands are out-of-this-world! Don’t pay? Don’t play. No regulatory control or standards, just frustrated Escrow Officers and upset Sellers.
- Squeezing out space for a home office is a major thing now. But if you are actually renovating to add? Try the FHA 203(k) program.
- Inventory is low because sellers are nervous. The economy is still struggling, unemployment is high, the end of the pandemic is nowhere to be seen, the upcoming political turmoil is forcing them to hunker down. “Let’s wait till next year” is what I have heard a number of potential sellers say.
And that, my friends, is my depressing industry report for the month.
How about more interesting stuff?
➤ Have you seen the Beer house? Realtors, this one’s for you to show and sell.
Here’s the Redfin link. I am flabbergasted at how much time some people have. All they do is drink beer and glue the can to the wall?
➤ And here is another exercise in salesmanship. The narrowest house in London can be yours for a cool £1 million , which equals about $1,281,000 at todays’ currency rate. Here are some more pictures of the interior. A great ad for the architect and interior designer – what they can do with a little over 5 feet. Which begs for the comment – It must be a hassle getting furniture in and out of there.
➤ California does it again! In 15 years, gas powered cars will no longer be sold and should be gone from California roads as the Governor signed an “Executive Order” setting a goal of banning such cars by 2035. This is a step in the right direction for clean energy and climate change, but will it come to pass? Will it be challenged? The fossil fuel industry is already reacting and will most probably be vociferous in the years to come. Just leading the cavalry charge, that’s California.
What did I say a couple months ago about “Executive Orders” taking away the ability of our Legislature to formulate policies?
➤ Worried about your privacy? Think Google is controlling your life? Well, you are right. What would we do without their search engine? “Google” is no longer just a noun; when it also becomes a verb you know we are hooked. If you are trying to protect some of your privacy, you are going to want to read this article about some things you can do, like blurring the view of your home on Google Maps (especially if you are sunbathing au naturel near the pool) and erasing your search engine history of sites that you “clicked on by mistake”, LOL.
➤ Sports – the diversion most of the world needs to take us out of our daily mundane, routine lives, was a bust this year. As a tribute to all the sports action that we did not get to see this year, Nike put together this advertising ad and what a great job of blending and sequencing! Enjoy the clip! You Can’t Stop Us | Nike
➤ We are all tired of wearing masks, especially when the temperatures hit the triple figures, but boy, was I happy that I was used to wearing one during the week the Bobcat fires threatened my area in Monrovia, Arcadia. Yes, the masks are important, whether for COVID, the FIRES, or the FLU season coming up. We are well reminded that COVID-19 cases have risen here in southern California. Trump, Next time you put on your mask, do a little dance to the Monster Mash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dThiYFgI_g&feature=youtu.be.
Dear President Trump, “You need a mask, a Covid mask, it seemed a lot to ask, to do a simple task, put on a mask!”
➤ Finally, quoting from the Rob Chrisman blog,
“The World Health Organization announced that dogs cannot contract COVID-19. Dogs previously held in quarantine can now be released. To be clear, WHO let the dogs out.”
My YouTube offering for the month:
Grant Deed? Quitclaim Deed?
What are the differences between the two and how does the public know which one to use?
You Have Questions? We Have Answers!
Juliana Tu, CSEO, CEO, CBSS, CEI, SASIP
“Escrow is my FOREMOST language!”
The opinions expressed in this blog are solely the author’s.
Your comments and viewpoints are always welcome.
Info @ VivaEscrow.com