September 2016 Newsblog

Is it UP? Is it DOWN? Maybe it is SIDEWAYS?

Did July real estate sales go up? Or was it down? Confused? You Are Not Alone. The Truth Is Out There.

I have been scratching my head at the daily number of articles from fore-casters, back-casters and pun-dits who are also scratching their heads trying to make sense of what’s up (or down) with this market. So new home sales are up? And then existing home sales are down?

But California, which no matter what we think, is not always the center of the world,  the report is that it is DOWN DOWN DOWN and maybe it even “fell of the cliff”? I haven’t heard of any Malibu homes sliding off into the ocean but I do know that many homes were gobbled up by the unending fires.

You have something selling for around $500,000? Ears will perk. Double that price and you’ll have to wait longer for the fish to come nibble. How many people are willing to shell out $1,000,000 for a 3 bedroom fixer upper??

According to the pun-dots, inventory is the culprit. It’s either too much or too little, depending on what part of the country you are standing in and how close to the cliff.  In my little geographical area in Southern California, it is too much and too high and I do not need the forecasters to interpret the writing on the wall when the overseas money sources constrict and dry up.

So Buyers, hang in there, the market will soften and the prices will come down.

What goes up must come down (was that Einstein, Pythagoras, Newton or the UP movie?). I understand that in my little community of approximately 21,000 housing units there are over 300 of them for sale and it looks like they are all near my home.

I guess I am losing a lot of neighbors.  I never even got to know them, darn.

Flipping It!

Gone are the days in which you could buy a house and flip it in a week for double the price purchased.

Ah, I remember those crazy heydays and how property tax re-assessments could not keep up with the pace. But that was then and this is now.

Despite the steady increase in values which is making flipping hard and unprofitable turn on the radio and there are still lots of advertisement on “How to Flip With No Money Down” courses.

If someone has a hankering to start in this business, the following article on the best cities to flip and the tentative returns would be food for thought. It’s no surprise that the highest median purchase price areas are all in California.

Remember, value is relative and a good flip may not be buying at $30,000 and flipping it for $60,000. You can flip in high priced San Francisco, too.

Find that highly desired property for $3,000,000 and flip it for $6,000,000 to someone who doesn’t care if there are more zeroes than we are normally used to. Again, it’s all RELATIVE (Einstein? Pythagoras? Newton? Definitely UP!!)

6% Commission – That Rare and Indigenous Animal

I can’t remember when was the last time I saw a 6% commission on a standard residential sale come across my desk.

Obviously, things are different all over the state and nationally, but speaking of my area 5% is more in line with what has been happening these last few years.

I’m not saying that real estate agents don’t try to get the listing at 6%, it’s just that Sellers are much more savvy, and as this article says at the very end, they now know better that “it doesn’t hurt to ask”.

So when I do see a transaction come in with “full” commission, my eyebrows rise and my first thought is: “Well, good for you!” The second thought is, “Is the Seller desperate to sell?”  Then comes, “What’s wrong with the property?” See how our minds work? (and don’t tell me you didn’t think exactly the same thing.)

Another Sad Silicon Valley Story

Where would this blog be without some news from the Silicon Valley each month.

Every day there are articles bemoaning the unaffordability and untenability (yes, that is a word according to The Free Dictionary) of its dirt and improvements.

Here is one vent from a frustrated ex-housing official in Palo Alto. We feel your pain, Kate.

But, in response to her publicized angst, the mayor of Palo Alto came out with his piece of “rebuttal” and his explanation.

Perhaps there are “too many jobs”, he muses, and there should be a balance between job growth and housing growth. Wow, that is a new one – too many jobs.

Maybe this untenability will spur the high tech companies to export their companies to other states which has low cost of living, beautiful environment, friendly people, accommodating state governments and could use the jobs, like maybe Utah, Montana, Wyoming …

One Scammer Down, Hundreds More to go

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! E-mail scammer from Nigeria is caught! The story here is that Mr.

Scammer’s hobby of swindling, money laundering and “CEO fraud” was profitable to the tune of $60 million and, according to the story, “$15.4 million from one victim alone”.

Who, may I ask, is that rich and that stupid?

I am sorry but it seems to me that this victim deserves to be separated from his money.

Anyway, one email scammer caught!

Gosh I feel safer already.

Superliens! The Dawn of Justice ! (Disclosure: Movie Spoiler ahead)

It’s Batman (the Lender) versus Superman (the HOA) and as you all know what happened when the two clashed, no one was the winner but one definitely lost. In this ongoing case of whether the HOA lien has a priority to foreclose over the first mortgage lien (super-duper!), Nevada’s Court of Appeals struck down the older law that gave Superman this super-duper priority over Batman much to the relief of Batmans everywhere.

Read all about it at this “Daily Planet” news bulletin!  Is our mortgage system deemed safer now? Who do you think is now lying in his coffin?

The EPIPEN Debacle – A First World Type of Atrocity

The most common emergency treatment for allergic reactions, the Epinephrine injector (EpiPen) saves countless lives.

The most common allergy is the life threatening reaction to peanuts which can be found in many children and can last throughout their lives. My niece is one in this group.

Here is my brother’s analysis of this situation when I asked him, and mind you, this is coming from someone who can afford it but is unwilling to bow down to blackmail without a fight:

Yes, Leanna uses Epi-pen.  Or to be more accurate, she has bought Epi-pens every year since she was like 6 (Editor’s note: She is now 23). I feel Mylan has such a death grip on millions of families.

– We’ve never used it, as we’re careful with peanut contamination.

– It expires every year, so we have to throw away hundreds of $s worth of medicine that we never use.

– It only comes in a 2-pack, so we have to pay for two shots which we never use.

– And of course it has gone up 500% over the past years. $500/year we must pay and throw away.

– Even 2-3 years after expiration, the drug is still 90% potent, and 70% potent after 5-7 years.(article)

– However, the drug company puts a 1 year expiration date to force us to throw away the pens from last year.

– My high deductible health insurance plans (as a result of “affordable care act”) means I pay full price every year.

The medicine epinephrine is an artificial adrenaline that costs <$1.  Then with the packaging and injector, the whole assembly is a few dollars. And they charge $500-600 for this 30 year old drug.

Can you tell I feel strongly about this?  It’s a travesty.

To the horror of many families, low income or not, this injector, which cost $100 for a 2-pack, has increased throughout the years and is now $600, a 500% cost increase.

This is an issue that has been “injected” into Congress recently because one senator has a daughter who has need for the medicine and another senator has a daughter who is the CEO of the company which manufactures it and is responsible for the price hike.

With this fracas, the company – Mylan – has stated that they will issue a “generic” substitute for $300.00.

That is still a 300% jump for their “generic” drug. My struggle with this issue is simple: this is a life saving device for many, young and old, whose families may not be able to afford it.

What is this special type of greed that motivates this company – Mylan – that they must issue this exorbitant price hike, knowing that so many young children and their families will be affected?

What can we do? We can ask our Congressional representatives to help, but will they? Or are there too many of them living in the pockets of the powerful pharmaceutical lobbying group?

Rio, Samba and the World’s Indomitable Athletes:

For a while this June/July, I was very nervous that Rio 2016 would not happen; that some calamity would befall Rio de Janeiro – an unfinished stadium, a terrorist attack, or torrential rains that would wipe out what would have been the 2016 Olympics.

Now that the event is done, the gold, silver and bronze won, accolades piled on all the athletes and only one Lochte, one sofa-in-the-river and one blue-turned-green pool marred the games, we and all the Cariocas can breathe a sigh of relief. “Let Tokyo deal with the next four years,” I imagine them saying, “we are done!”

Here are some of the images that can carry on to posterity! Enjoy!

Until my next blog, here are a couple of funnies from wise men:

“The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once….”

“You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.”

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.”

Love it! Live it! Laugh it! I regret that I can’t take credit for anything but knowing how to Google!

2 thoughts on “September 2016 Newsblog”

  1. I miss the hazards of running and escrow desk stories you used to include with the newsletters. And the Q&A at the bottom, too! Do you think you will ever bring it back? Love this newsletter!

    • Thank you for leaving a comment on my Viva Escrow website regarding my newsblog.

      I am happy to hear that you enjoy my Hazards of the Escrow Desk and my Q & A section.From time to time I re-tool the format and re-direct my emphasis, but you have given me an incentive to bring them back. Thank you!

Comments are closed.