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New Blog Available

There is a new blog out there on the web that you may want to check out. It’s written by a local real estate broker that appears to have a lot of experience and is willing to share actually helpful real estate information, not just a commercial for their services.

If you hadn’t guessed by now, it’s me! Just go to www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Along the top of the page, just hover your mouse over “About Us” and then you’ll be able to click on “Blog.” I’ve loaded many of my past articles there already and all new articles will be posted there. I’ll also have some articles that ONLY make it to the blog. You can sign up to receive new blogs as they are posted via the “subscribe” button.

My old articles are organized by category and by date, so you can search out just the topics you are interested in. Have a topic you want covered, or have a question? Let me know and maybe I’ll cover it in a new blog post.

If you are in the mood for a little something fun, click on the category titled, “Bad/Funny MLS photos.” I’ve kept a collection over the years of some VERY funny photos I’ve found on the MLS. Each week I post a new photo. You can click on any of the posts, and then subscribe to be notified of any new posts.

While you are at the website, feel free to check out the market stats section. You can see all kinds of info about the number of homes for sale over time, price trends, etc. I also have community videos for Brentwood, Antioch, Oakley and Discovery Bay that you may find interesting.

If you have questions on this or any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). To search theMLSfor free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty



“Hey, uh, did you notice that your MLS photo needs to be rotated?”

“Huh?….Oh, yeah. You’re right. How do I do that?”

“Well, you open up the picture in your image editing software, then click on the rotate counter-clockwise button, then save it, then replace the photo on the MLS.”

“What? ALL that work? Sounds EXHAUSTING! Can’t they just turn their head a little when they look at the photos? I’ll get carpal tunnel syndrome with all that clicking!”

Another Foreclosure Moratorium?

Earlier this year, a new law was proposed in California aimed at unfair foreclosure practices. Below is a snippet from a press release from the California Department of Justice.“Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that the Homeowner Bill of Rights, which will protect homeowners and borrowers during the mortgage and foreclosure process, was signed into law today by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. The Homeowner Bill of Rights prohibits a series of inherently unfair bank practices that have needlessly forced thousands of Californians into foreclosure. The law restricts dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. It also guarantees struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers, and imposes civil penalties on fraudulently signed mortgage documents. In addition, homeowners may require loan servicers to document their right to foreclose. The laws will go into effect on January 1, 2013, and borrowers can access courts to enforce their rights under this legislation.”

From what I read of this new law, it does NOT appear to be a new foreclosure moratorium. What it’s trying to do is prevent lenders from foreclosing while they are reviewing your loan modification application. The big question is whether this new law will actually help more people get loan mods, or will it just cause banks to turn more loan mods down so they don’t run afoul of this new law? It also remains to be seen how the provisions of this new law will be enforced. The law is supposed to “guarantee” you get a single point of contact at your lender. Well, if you don’t, what then? File a complaint with the CA Department of Justice? Fill out a form, wait months, go to court, etc.? We’ll have to wait and see if this law really has teeth, or is it another one of those great-sounding programs that fizzle out because it is too hard to enforce.

If you have questions on this or any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). To search theMLSfor free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty

Give me your best guess what this is…

So, what do you think this is? C’mon, take a guess…

I promise I did not crop or edit this photo. This is actually the picture loaded to the MLS to show one of the “features” of the home.


Loan Mod Continued

Last week I talked about how some people think they shouldn’t even try a loan mod because they’ve heard that NO ONE is getting any principal reductions in their loan mod. I said there are two things to correct in that statement. The first one I covered last week, that there definitely ARE principal reductions happening in some loan mods. Not that often, but I AM seeing them happen.

The second thing I wanted to address is whether or not a loan mod is worth taking if they don’t drop your principal. Most people insist that they’ll only take a mod if their principal is dropped. I think that is faulty thinking to be so cut and dried about it. There are some instances where taking a mod where they only drop your rate can be worthwhile. Each person’s situation is different. The main thing I look at is whether you have to move anytime soon? If you don’t, and they drop your rate to the point where your payment becomes affordable, and it’s a fixed rate, principal-reducing loan with no balloon at the end, I would argue you need to consider seriously accepting that loan mod

But people argue with me that it makes no sense to keep paying on an upside-down home. To them, I respond as follows: If you owed $500,000 on a home worth $310,000, which loan mod would you accept? Option #1: Principal drops to $310,000, but they leave your rate at 6%. Option #2: Principal stays the same at $500,000, but they drop your rate to 2%. Most people would pick Option #1 and refuse Option #2. But the principal and interest payment on Option #1 is $10 HIGHER a month than Option #2! And keep in mind that BOTH of these loans get paid to $0 at the SAME TIME (I’m assuming both loans become 30 year loans again). So if you don’t HAVE to move, and the payment is affordable, and the only loan mod option your lender gives you is like Option #2, don’t be so quick to decline it.

If you have questions on this or any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). To search theMLSfor free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty

Ho, Ho, Hot August Nights?

Oh, so many things wrong with this photo…

At first glance you would think someone was having a little too much of the spiked eggnog before they went out to take pictures of their new listing. It’s out of focus, and tilted a bit, and really not a very flattering angle.

But the worst part is that this was the photo on the MLS in AUGUST! Either these sellers are REALLY, REALLY into Christmas, or the agent may want to think about updating their photos on their 9 month+ old listing…

Loan Mod Principal Reductions

I’ve heard clients tell me, “There is no sense in even trying for a loan mod because my buddy told me NO ONE is getting any principal reductions, so why try?” There are two things to correct here.

First, YES there are loan mods being done with principal reductions. I can verify this as FACT as I’ve reviewed many loan mods for free for people and I’ve seen the paperwork with my own eyes. Sometimes it’s very small, like $84 a month for every month you keep the loan current. Other times it appears to be a principal reduction, but it’s really still there lurking somewhere. Either as a balloon, or a silent lien on the property. Other times I’ve seen as much as $200,000 taken off the balance permanently. Yes, I said PERMANENTLY.

From the loan mods I’ve reviewed, those with principal reductions are still the minority. Maybe 10% of the loan mods I review include principal reductions. But that’s up from 0% from the mods I reviewed 3-4 years ago that had principal reductions, so it’s an improvement.

Each loan mod is different. It depends on your situation, who your servicer is, who the investor on the loan is, the balance of your loan, how far under-water you are, etc. But don’t believe blanket statements from people who claim to know about how ALL loan mods work. Have they really seen EVERY loan mod ever done? Contact me if you would like me to review your loan mod offer for free.

[Yes, I said there were TWO things to correct in the first line above. To be continued…]

If you have questions on this or any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). To search theMLSfor free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty


Yep, nothing quite like a good post.

Just let your eyes feast on this one.


No, that’s OK. You go ahead. I want to check out this post a while longer…

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