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Every year about this time I hear this question. There is a myth out there that home selling activity completely shuts down after Thanksgiving and picks up again in January. The truth is that homes sell all year round. I’ve had some of my best months in December.

If you aren’t that motivated to sell, you don’t have a deadline to meet, and showing your home during the Holidays is too much of a hassle, go ahead and take your home off the market. However, if you do have to sell your home, and you do have a deadline to meet, then leave it on the market. It certainly isn’t going to sell if you take it off the market!

Here are some reasons why the Holidays are a great time to be on the market—Some people take more time off of work, giving them more time to go look at homes. While there are fewer buyers looking, those that are looking are serious buyers. The “lookey-loos” go home, leaving the serious ones. These are usually the buyers that are getting relocated who are usually your best buyers because they have a deadline to meet and often company financial support so they are non-contingent buyers. Many buyers want to get their family settled before school starts up again in January. Also, when does your home look better than when you have it all cleaned up and decorated for the Holidays? Lastly, consider that many other sellers will take their homes off the market, so the buyers have fewer homes to choose from.

If you absolutely, positively do not want to move until after the Holidays, that is still not a reason to avoid being on the market now. If you get an offer asking you to move out December 20, you can counter-offer a new date or just refuse the offer altogether.


You’ve probably heard that old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Well, that’s VERY true in real estate right now, especially if you are having trouble making your payments. There are a lot of programs out there to help distressed homeowners, and if you got turned down, my advice to you is to try again! I’ve had many people come to me that want to short sale their home because their lender turned them down for a loan mod. If it’s been more than a few months, I tell them to try again (if they truly want to keep their home). You never know what new program or new criteria your lender is using now.

This is also true for the government programs out there. For example, I’ve written about the Keep Your Home California program in this space several times before. First, I reported about the creation of the program and encouraged people to call and see if they qualify. I heard from many of you that you did call, but weren’t eligible for one reason or another, often because your lender wasn’t participating.

Well, good news! They’ve opened up their criteria, and more lenders are now participating. They are now allowing borrowers to apply that did “cash-out” refis, who own more than one property, or co-signed for someone else. They are also increasing the length of help for unemployed borrowers to 9 months instead of 6 and they’ll pay up to $20,000 in past-due payments, where the prior limit was $15,000.

For more info, Call 888-954-KEEP(5337) from 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. Mon-Friday, and 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. on Saturdays or their website at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org.


4.3 million people across the U.S. are about to get an interesting piece of mail. This letter will invite people who may have been victims of “robo-signing” to have someone review their case to see if they qualify for a cash (or other) settlement.

“Robo-signing” become a popular term last year when it came to light that many loan servicers were using either digital or human means to copy one person’s signature on thousands and tens of thousands of documents. This kind of thing happens all the time in the business world (like on a credit card offer you get in the mail), but in this case, the signature was supposed to mean that the signer had thoroughly reviewed all the mortgage and foreclosure documents and certified them to be accurate and complete. There were also issues with these signatures being notarized improperly.

As part of a large court settlement in regards to this robo-signing issue, 14 mortgage servicers have agreed to identify customers who may have had robo-signing occur on their files related to some kind of foreclosure activity between Jan. 1., 2009 and December 31, 2010. These are the people that will get one of these letters which gives them the opportunity to have their files reviewed by an independent auditor. For more information, to see if your lender is one of the 14 and to see if you may qualify for this, go to: www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com, or call (888) 952-9105.

If you do qualify for some kind of settlement, that’s all it will be. They will not be reversing any foreclosures or getting you a new loan mod or approving a short sale. This is strictly a settlement process. I predict this will be just the first of many of these kinds of settlements for various foreclosure improprieties.


For many of us, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of food, family, and friends! But for many others, November 24 will just be another day on the calendar. No special meal, no special gathering of friends or family. Maybe you’ve thought in the past that you’d like to help, but you have commitments on that day, which is certainly understandable.

Well, here is your chance! I am chairing the annual Golden Hills Community Church’s FREE Thanksgiving Dinner for Brentwood. We serve a hot meal of turkey, ham, and all the fixin’s. We also try to send everyone home with a bag of food and some clothes. This will be at the Brentwood Vet’s Hall at 757 First St. from 10:30 to 2:30 on Thanksgiving Day. All are welcome to attend.

We are usually blessed with more than enough physical help the day of the event to serve the meals, but we could always use more canned goods and/or clothing. You can drop them off at my office anytime between now and Thanksgiving Day. We are in need of canned food (soup, tuna, veggies, fruits, etc.), non-perishables like noodles, cereal, bread, bottled drinks, etc. We can also use any type of clean, usable clothing, blankets, jackets, etc. New baby diapers in any size are also VERY popular! We are located at 320 Fairview Ave. in Brentwood. If you come by after hours, just drop them off on our porch.

If you will be around on Thanksgiving Day, you could also cook and carve a turkey and bring it to the Vet’s Hall in the morning. We also love ham, and it’s easier for you to prepare. Other needs for the day of the event will be pies, sweet potatoes and stuffing. The sweet potatoes and stuffing will need to be cooked and then dropped off Thanksgiving Day in a disposable pan.


I will be doing another free seminar on loan mods and short sales as part of a local church’s budget class soon. They will allow a FEW outside people to attend, but space is extremely limited.


• New government program can pay you $3,000 to do a short sale.
• Find out who is a good candidate for loan modification vs. short sale.
• Can lenders pursue you after short sale/foreclosure/loan mod? (UPDATED FOR 2011 NEW LAWS)
• Impact on your credit score and ability to buy another home.
• Why you may still get a 1099 after a foreclosure or some loan mods, but learn what exclusions you may qualify for per the IRS.

The seminar will be on Nov. 13th, 2012, starting at 9:45 am. If you would like to attend, you MUST speak to me first to make sure we have room for you. If we run out of room, I will be doing another seminar with more seating over the next 60 days, so I can put you on a follow-up notification list. You can call me at 925.998.9712 or email is preferred at Brian@SharpHomesOnline.com. I will respond back to you to confirm if we have room and give you directions. But you will hear from me one way or the other. This will not be held at Sharp Realty, so don’t show up there thinking you can just slip in unnoticed!

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