November 2011


Bankruptcy and Foreclosure

 A frequent question I receive is, “Can filing bankruptcy save my home?”  The answer is “no” and “maybe”.  And please note that I’m not an attorney and sharing this information is not intended as legal advice.

 

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To me, cooking my first turkey was a rite of passage.  Not quite up there with my first kiss, but an important milestone,  Cooking a turkey and orchestrating this feast called Thanksgiving was something your mother or your grandmother did.  When it was thrown in my lap at the age of 21 I gulped and just prayed I didn’t screw it up!

I had spent the prior year studying in Aix-en-Provence, and just wasn’t quite ready to come home…..hey, I still had a little bit of money, why not extend the adventure?  So much to my parent’s chagrin, I moved to Germany and took up residence with 5 guys in the Air Force.  They were stationed at Bitburg, which you might know for its excellent Pilsner.  Our home was actually about 6 kilometers outside of Bitburg, in a very small farming village called Nattenheim.

Now Nattenheim was not exactly a hopping place in the day, but our home was an entire upstairs above the only pub in town. So our evenings were filled with oompah-pah music filtering up through the ceiling that the guys tried to drown out with Led Zepplin.  Yep.  Loved the ‘70s.

Sometime in October I remember the guys first mentioning Thanksgiving…..since I had moved in a few months earlier, they had enjoyed actually eating real dinners.  God only knows what they ate before I was around, but they seemed to enjoy my culinary experiments and word soon spread. Every night it seemed that we had one or two extra buddies that stopped by just around dinner time.  Heck, I had nothing to do but wander in the forest, take photos and cook.  (Can I have that gig again???)  So the guys suggested that I make a big  Thanksgiving dinner for, well maybe 20 people.  They of course would buy everything….I just needed to make it happen.

OMG. Cook a Turkey?? And fixings for 20?  I had no clue and the Frau across the street had pigs sleeping downstairs, so probably not a good source for culinary advice.  I frantically wrote mom…of course no Internet or even accessible phone service in those days.  Please mom, please answer in time and help me know how to cook the damn thing and make your delicious stuffing!

Mom and the postal service somehow came through and I managed to cook a beautiful turkey, stuffing and all the side dishes. It wasn’t all perfect, but we had enough beer and wine to compensate.  I still sweat just thinking about it, but also smile remembering how good it felt to hear the oohs and aahhs and to see the smiles on everyone’s faces. Whew! I was a grown-up!  I had passed the first turkey rite of initiation… guess the rest is just gravy 🙂

 

Prost! Happy Thanksgiving!

Home Depot DIY 

 

 

OK. I’m admittedly a bit of an HGTV junkie, and I personally love painting, refinishing furniture, sewing  and gardening. But, have you noticed that for some folks DIY home projects are just about as successful as DIY dentistry or representing yourself in court?

Just because you own the tool, doesn’t mean you should use it.  Let’s start with a chop saw. You want to install crown molding, but somehow figuring the miter cut involves math and angles that were obviously discussed that week you were absent in 7th grade. Walk away from the saw. Do not nail those pieces of molding to your walls and then patch all of the corners where the wood doesn’t meet.

Faux finish is a faux pas.  No matter what the brochure indicates, results are not typical. Dapping paint and layered finishes on your wall with a sea sponge is probably not a good idea unless you actually have a few artistic bones in your body.

Color me wonderful!  Who doesn’t like color? Hosting the entire rainbow in your 3 bedroom house might seem like fun, but when selling, the purple bedroom and red bathroom have to go.

So you don’t want to color within the lines.  Love your sense of expression and freedom, but please don’t pick up a paint brush! Wall paint should be on the walls; ceiling paint on the ceilings; trim paint on the trim; no paint should be on the floor. These little paint groups shouldn’t get together. They really like to have their own place. And oh, one coat is not enough.

New flooring can change the look of your home.  Yep. And I know that the tile in the entry isn’t quite level and the laminate in the family room has a little gap around the edges. Probably not a big deal though.

Love your attempt at curb appeal.  However, the plants are not happy to be lined up like little soldiers in straight rows parallel to your house and sidewalk.  Those annuals are also concerned about your plans for when they pass on…..

Do I sound mean?  Yes! I am!  That’s because I want to sell your home, not make excuses for it!  Do I believe that people can learn to improve their DIY project skills with practice? Absolutely, but please, not while trying to sell your home. When in doubt, call a professional. Stay away from Home Depot. Trust me; it’s cheaper in the long run.

Foreclosure in California

Whether you’re facing an involuntary foreclosure or considering a strategic default, here is what you need to know about the process and time line for foreclosure in California.

 

Well, as noted in Part 3, the clock started ticking on Monday, October 17, when I submitted the offer and estimated HUD1, and let’s see….today is Wednesday the 26th. Despite several emails and phone calls, no one has contacted me to confirm the new negotiator or let me know what the next steps will be. I feel as though the file has already slipped between the cracks…..

Just left a message for a supervisor…..

OK. Now it’s the 28th and I’ve no reply from anyone so I called again and finally got hold of a supervisor. And it appears my gut feeling was right and the offer is no where to be found. Arrrrggghhh! The supervisor set-up a task for me on Equator so at least I could be connected to the file, though they still have not requested I upload the offer.

So far, this has been a bit uncoordinated because the homeowner started the process and I’m coming in after the fact. More on Monday.

On November 1 I finally received a task to upload the offer into Equator and then on the 3rd received notice of some “additional items” needed by the mortgage insurance company…so it took about 2 weeks to actually get it in the system.

In the offer we requested a pay-off to the 2nd lien holder in the amount of $10,000, which is what the 2nd lien holder told us it would take to get it approved. On November 8 I received a counter offer from B of A….they only want to give the 2nd lien holder $6,000. I forwarded the counter to the 2nd lien holder and am waiting for a reply.

The good news is that B of A did not counter the offer price, which is considerably lower than what they originally requested, and they were pretty quick about issuing a counter. I’m not very hopeful however about the 2nd lien holder accepting $4,000 less…will keep you posted. We’re now at 26 days on this B of A Cooperative Short Sale…..

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

People often ask me if a short sale is really worth the effort.  Well, I’d be the first to admit that short sales can be a real pain for everyone involved…sellers, Realtors, buyers…and because so many fail, people often have a negative view of the short sale process.  But, do you really know the benefits over foreclosure that might make it worth the effort?  Watch this short video and see why short sale if becoming an attractive alternative to foreclosure for many homeowners.

 

I moved with my parents to Fletcher Hills when I was 8 years old, and lived there until fleeing the nest for college.  And now I’m back with my husband, living again in my childhood home, wondering where the time has gone!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fletcher Hills it is a suburban area of east San Diego County, located on the north and south sides of (you guessed it), Fletcher Parkway, just before the Parkway goes down the hill into the heart of El Cajon. 

The area was developed by Colonel Ed Fletcher (1872-1955) who was a prominent San Diegan and responsible for the development of Fletcher Hills, Mt. Helix, Del Mar, and other communities.   The Colonel was a major advocate of road and water projects that aided in the development of San Diego County.  He served in the California Senate where he authored laws that created the San Diego County Water Authority and transferred ownership of Mission Bay to the City.  What I remember about the Fletchers is that one of the Colonel’s sons and his family lived about a block away and to my mom; it was sort of like having royalty as a neighbor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the exception of a few subdivisions, most homes in Fletcher Hills are custom single family homes on good-sized lots.  When we first moved into our home, it was quite rural, and many families had horses.  A large horse arena at the end of Rippey Street was the site of major horse shows and competitions.  Today, the arena, and most of the horses and bridle paths are gone, but the numerous canyons and open spaces still provide a bit of a country feel.

Fletcher Hills is a very desirable area because of its many custom homes, large lots, proximity to freeways, shopping and good schools.  Prices for a single family home range from $300,000 – $800,000.  This is a very typical  home for the area, though it is somewhat larger than most:  4 bedrooms, with 2.5 baths, ranch style built in 1966 with an updated kitchen and beautiful backyard.  The home is a standard sale being offered at $579,888.  

 

For a personal tour, just give me a call and you’ll learn why I’m happy at home in Fletcher Hills.

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