April is Fair Housing Month

April 2, 2018

Kay Wilson-Bolton

Realtors will be making the rounds speaking to all city council meetings and the Board of Supervisors to talk about why Fair Housing is so “American.”  We will also be talking about the daily threats of real estate fraud in all aspects of our lives. This includes rentals, deed transfers, loan modifications and equity loans. Real estate professionals have partnered with the District Attorney’s office to prosecute those who steal equity from us.

In honor of the anniversary of the passing of the Fair Housing Act and in remembrance of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, April is set aside as National Fair Housing Month to remind us all that equality is at the heart of the American dream.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the campaign includes efforts to end housing discrimination and raise awareness fair housing rights in communities across the country.

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children.

Housing discrimination occurs when an individual or family is treated unequally when trying to buy, rent, lease, sell or finance a home based on certain characteristics.  This type of discrimination can lead to housing, spatial inequality and racial segregation which, in turn, can affect the wealth disparities between certain groups.

In the United States, housing discrimination began after the abolition of slavery as part of a federally sponsored law, but has since been made illegal; however, studies show that housing discrimination still exists.

Federal and State governments have various laws stemming from rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.  Most of us think we know what that means, but there is evidence of unfair housing practices in many areas, from rental application processing, lending practices and discrimination by those who make decisions about where people should or can live.

This matter is very important to Realtors®. Our Code of Ethics provides specific instruction in   Article 10 where “REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11).

Real estate contracts and documents include warnings, admonitions and agreements about fair housing, equal opportunity and fairness. In the typical listing agreement, it simply                                                                                                              states in paragraph, “14. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY: The Property is offered in compliance with federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws.

In the Real Estate Purchase Agreement, paragraph 27 reads: “27. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY: The Property is sold in compliance with federal, state and local anti-discrimination Laws.”

Generally speaking, anti-discrimination law refers to the law on the right of people to be treated equally without regard to sex, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and sometimes religious and political opinions.

There are many reasons we should support fair housing practices. It simply is “so American.”

Kay Wilson-Bolton is a member of the Real Estate Fraud Advisory Team (www.refat.org) and a director of the Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors.  There is more information about Fair Housing Month at www.vcrealtors.com.

 

 

Balance Customs with Courtesies in Real Estate Practices 

Kay Wilson-Bolton

February 15, 2018

It is no secret that just about everything we do takes place quickly — or it is designed to.

One outstanding example is found in how we get real estate documents signed. Some years ago, electronic signing made its debut. No longer did we need to meet face to face. What we sacrificed was the personal connection and the ability to explain documents clients are asked to sign. This is particularly true of seller’s disclosures. There are many reasons why an agent should sit with their client, if possible, and help them complete these documents.  If the client is a distance away, even a phone call would be helpful.

While the question on a disclosure generally is, “Are you aware?”, many clients are quick to simply answer “no.”  But, when it comes to the question of neighborhood noises and nuisance, it is helpful to think through possible scenarios. Does the neighborhood have a teenage in a band that practices loudly four days a week after school? Are there barking dogs? Do neighbors rent out rooms in their house generating numerous cars on the street in front of the client’s house? Is the fence on their property line, or on the neighbor’s. Is there a recorded easement to use a driveway or was it a casual agreement?

There is now a trick question on our standards forms and that is “are there any plumbing fixtures which are non-compliant with regard to updated efficiency guidelines?”  That answer is more often than not a “yes”. And, it’s really easy to miss a particular signature at the very top of page 3.

Talking it out gets a better disclosure and that produces a better future for everyone.

The real change began when the fax machine allowed us to transmit documents across town without getting in our cars. It was back then when Realtors ceased meeting as the clients’ house to present offers and discuss the merits and details. The real advocacy of real estate sales died a sudden death.

As we move even closer to wordless communication with email and texting, the challenges magnify because many of us have given up land lines and rely on cell phones. Many of us keep our phones on 24/7 for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it remains the only point of contact in an emergency.

That needs to be remembered when a sudden thought occurs in the middle of the night and we want to hurl a message into space, thinking it will arrive in the morning. We know it lands in an instant and should remember it will awaken the recipient.

Exceptional courtesy is to keep texting and emails to the hours of “Do Not Call” — not before 8 am and not after 9 pm. Getting a text about a termite report at 2 am is not helpful. If you aren’t really awake, it is tempting to text back, “Thank you” and of course as you doze off, comes another one stating, “You are welcome.”

Common courtesy should be to limit bad news to daytime so the processing factors are more manageable. What prompted this column of hearing from a client that their agent in another city sent a text at 10:15 pm to report their seller had accepted another offer.

I encouraged the client to tell their agent to save news like that til morning. She admitted that there was little sleep that night. Further frustrating was their inability to do anything to combat their situation.

The days of a kinder and gentler business environment can be reinstated but we have to work at it using the new rules of communication. This is true of our world in general. Our best roles in life are to be patient, helpful, accommodating, encouraging and forgiving. I’m going to start on that again tomorrow and send a text to myself right now to remind me! 

Kay Wilson-Bolton is a broker associate with Century 21 Troop and has been serving Ventura County homeowners since 1976.  She can be reached at 805.3340.5025. Her blog is http://www.KayWilsonBoltonblog.com

 

 

Don’t trust “them” to help you. Real Estate Fraud is Real and On the Rise.

February 14, 2018  By Kay Wilson-Bolton

These are the facts in a real and current tragedy. The owners were three months behind on the payment of their second mortgage to an off-brand mortgage company. They were current on their first mortgage with a known reputable conventional lender.

They received a call from “Charles” who told them he could modify their first and second mortgages bringing their payments below what they are currently paying. He explained over the phone how it would work and made them sound like his new friends.

All they had to do is wire him $10,000 up front, send him the monthly payments for the first and second, and he could take care of everything. He gave them the name of his company, the address and made friends.

The family borrowed $10,000 from a family member, wired the money, and never heard from Charles again.

The first lender foreclosed on them in December. The family is working with that bank to restore ownership of the house back to them. They have a family member willing to refinance her home and provide the money to do just that.

This dramatic event happens to almost everyone who gets a notice of default on any loan. The sharks circle and find way to attack people when they are most vulnerable.

In another case, a woman was foreclosed on and immediately contacted by a “helper” name Raymond. He told her lender had unlawfully filed the foreclosure and with the filing of certain documents, he could get the foreclosure reversed.

Claudia asked me to help her. I asked for the name and contact information of the person who called her. He was good.  He quoted all kinds of citations, case law, and federal law stating he would send copies for review. He would include a list of people he had helped and many references. I told Claudia to be very cautious… remember, he was very good.

She sent him the $2,000 and she never heard from him again.

There are laws against this and the District Attorney of Ventura County has a special fraud investigation unit tracking these crooks and thieves with the intent of bringing them to prosecution.

They partner with a handful of real estate professionals in this fight against real estate fraud, known as the Real Estate Fraud Advisory Team. Their mission is to prevent, detect and report fraudulent activities which rob people of their wealth and their peace of mind.

We ask everyone be wary of help that finds you quickly and wants an upfront fee. When those two events occur simultaneously, it is likely fraudulent. Please consult with a professional or someone you already trust to see if it smells like the real deal. You can also call the Real Estate Fraud Helpline 805.751.5899, for help in Spanish or English. Your call will be routed to the on-call professional and returned within 24 hours.

If you have a current complaint, you can go to the website for the Ventura County District Attorney and find “real estate fraud” under services. There is a complaint form which can be completed on line and sent directly to the DA’s office.

Don’t be easy targets or prey to people who want to steal your money. There is real help to be found in the right places and the right people. Visit www.refat.org where you will find a Complaint Form; call the Helpline 805.751.5899; or visit the website for the District Attorney. www.vcdistrictattorney.com.  Click on “Services and Information” and then to “Special Prosecutions” where you will find “Real Estate Fraud.”

Real Estate Fraud Advisory Team directors are: Armando Jaquez, OnQ Financial; Brooke Smith, Keller Williams; Carlo H-Banki, Department of Real Estate, Charlene Williams, Chicago Title; Cindy Diaz-Telly, Coldwell Banker; David Valenzuela from the DA’s office; Fernando Campos, Coldwell Banker; Jeromy Bagott, Bender and Rosenthal Law Firm; Jim Keith, Berkshire Hathaway; Jorge DeLeon, Coldwell Banker; Justin Alvarez, attorney from the Alvarez Firm.com. Kay Wilson-Bolton, Century 21 Troop Real Estate; Millie Gordon, Dilbeck Estate; Brooke Smith, Keller Williams; Monica Garcia, Select Properties; Tony Wold from the District Attorney’s Office; Monica Cruz representing National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

 

 

When the Neighborhood Gets Cranky – Week 472 on January 31, 2018

We lost another homeless person this past week. Eddy Newman was sleeping at the tracks and was found not responsive. Paramedics could not revive him. He was only 30 years old. His mother and grandmother live in our community. We are very sad about this as he was a helper at the Drop-In Center.

Not unlike our own neighborhoods, when something looks like it could change or innovators get out of line or someone crosses their turf line, it goes the same way in the outlying areas of our community where the homeless population lives.

They refer to each other by where they sleep. “They are at the tracks” or “They are at the lower river.” They tell stories on each other and love the gossip of who did what and who was arrested yesterday. There is rivalry and suspicion of the other camps. It is a sad commentary of how some live their lives. After a time, they view it as normal and don’t see themselves living any other way.

One of our reasons for serving this population is that for a time with us during the day at the Drop-In Center or at Many Meals, they get a soft touch and kind words. It brings them back to what many of them knew as children or before drugs and alcohol became what they worship. They also listen to the news. They were intent on the Thomas Fire, the tragedy in Montecito and always on national news.

Street life is hard and ugly. It’s a constant search for money for a fix or the big beer and burrito. With us, they don’t have to worry about food or bus passes for court appearances, and as a result, I think there is less panhandling. But, stealing is a way of life and they are always protecting their back backs, blankets and phones. Every day we hear a plea for another blanket, lotion, water bottles and small amounts of cash. Daily, we lose hand soap dispensers, toilet paper, and napkins.

In case you wondered, there is a rotation for who gets the hot spot at the bottom of the 10th street exit. One of them tends to sleep through his shift.

A number of our unsheltered friends are working at making things right by the law by completing community service hours. I signed off today on a completion of over 300 hours. It took her two years to do it but she did it. Whenever they start, they feel like it’s hopeless. We always take them in for assignments and they soon begin to see the wisdom of the work. They like being needed and making new friends, and before long they see the results of their good work and intentions. I tell them it’s like going on a diet. Soon those uneaten calories add up!

Last week at Many Meals, we adopted the sweet task of learning the names of our guests. Our volunteers are so amazing. There are several children from 6 to 10; many teenagers from Santa Paula High School and St. Augustine Academy, community members and leaders.  I often look around the room and see the charming variety of humanity comprised of grandmas with little ones, families in after work, and very senior men eating alone and eating generously. I wonder where they came from and how did their paths and ever cross mine? There are numerous connections for those in need with a variety of available services.

Our meals are fabulous. The 8-9 cooks who gather at noon on Wednesdays take my recipe and ingredients and make it theirs. Many of our student volunteers eat together in the dining room before they go home. That’s a testimony to the cooks, right?

Our Mental Health Moment from Dr. Miller was about eating properly and balancing food intake, relating it to the ravages of anorexia, binge eating and purging.  I have three homeless women who are on the verge of this disorder. Offering food is not always the right answer. So, we offer ourselves.

Showers – Jill Wallerstedt and Melinda White assist the County Healthcare Agency in offering weekly showers.  There are 8 – 12 weekly faithful attendees. This number will grow when warmer weather arrives. There will be a grand opening for the public to see what we are doing on Friday, February 23 at 9 am. Please come. It is located at 1029 E. Santa Paula Street, at El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church.

The Count of Homeless Persons 2018 event sign-up page is now on the Volunteer Ventura County website. This activity is an education in itself. You will be safe and with us. Please click this link to volunteer on Thursday, February 22 from 6 am to 1 pm.  View: http://www.volunteerventuracounty.org/aem/general/event/?doc_id=4649

Free Eye Glasses:  Thanks to the amazing work of the Lions Club and the cooperation of members at the Church of Christ, free exams and prescription glasses will be given on Saturday, Feb 17 from 8 am to 2 pm at Santa Paula Church of Christ, 276 W. Santa Paula Street. Call Ken Ary 805.201.5929 or Al Learn 805.525.8566.

Food Share was on alert today with a major food inspection of their facilities. We came home with 1200 lbs of food and spent $8. Lots of melons, Meyer lemons, romaine, potatoes, oranges, pears, rolls, muffins, pastries among other foods.

While it will be warm tomorrow, we are serving cold chicken curry pasta with olives, sweet relish, raisins, celery and onions. Hot buttered carrots with a brown sugar orange glaze, rolls and butter, romaine lettuce salad with tomatoes.

You really should join us. It’s my weekly adventure into a very special world of service.

Don’t forget to name SPIRIT of Santa Paula when you shop on www.smile.amazon.com. Thanks for reading and caring about what we do.​

Homeless for the Holidays at Many Meals Week 467 on December 27, 2017

This has been a month to remember with the Thomas Fire causing such fear and bringing such disaster.  Despite the impact of the winds, the terrible air quality and learning why breathing in that toxic cocktail of particles is so dangerous, the homeless population felt little impact. They were glued to the television and caught up in the reporting, but for the air quality, they lived their lives as usual.

Two reported to me recently that “we” have to serve them because I am rich and retired, and the government pays the volunteers to serve them.  Fortunately, all the others who benefit from our work and very grateful and appreciate the hot meals and now particularly the hot showers. The Welcome Center was open Christmas Day and we were able to share food and water with a number of them.

The soft launch of the Care Pods was last Friday under the eyes of County Health Care professionals and a few volunteers who welcomed those who received the first showers and registered them into the Homeless Management Information System.

Jill Wallerstedt, John Lopez and Laura Hernandez led the volunteer side. While I was disappointed only eight people took advantage of the showers and opportunities to see a nurse, the word was spread this week and I anticipate double the number this Friday. Those who enjoyed the showers commented on how good it felt and how organized it was. One is a single woman who is homeless and picks lemons for a living.

Pastor Paul Rovere from the El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church has been very welcoming and accommodating. We appreciate him and his congregation very much.

Nine families were adopted this year for gifts. It was a nice way to get to know how they live their lives. SPIRIT Vice President Lupe Servin organized Toys for Tots again this year. It was disappointing again to see some families reject many of the toys as not “good enough” or expensive enough. We are going to rethink our role in this very labor intensive task for next year. Toys for Tots is a wonderful project but as the “tots” get older, their tastes become more mature as well. The pressure on parents is not funny and hard to watch.

January 2018 starts year 10 for Many Meals. Little did we know where that first meal on January 14, 2009 would take us. We applaud the Many Meals project in Camarillo who followed us for still going strong and staying the course.

Food Share was closed today and I felt the pang of fear in providing affordably for our 600 meals tomorrow. We keep a rotating supply of food so we will be okay for this week. Thanks as always to Garman’s Pub for the fresh vegetables and El Pescador always willing to provide their wonderful Spanish rice.

We learned that Elevate Church in Newhall is discontinuing their fresh produce distributing at the Boys and Girls Club the third Saturday of each month. We thought to continue it but it would require renting a refrigerated truck, picking the up the vegetables in Pacoima on Friday afternoon and holding it for distribution until the next day. Not an easy task. Their decision to stop the activity is based on the diminished number attending on distribution day. We thank them for caring about our community.

Tomorrow’s meal will be our popular Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Spanish rice, fresh cooked carrots and chips. Hopefully someone will find some oranges so we can have a fresh orange quarter on the plate.

Thank you to those who support our work, like our stories and encourage us along the way by good words and/or financial support. If you are able to provide a donation before year’s end, please remember we are a 501C3 non-profit corporation and can provide a receipt for your tax deductible donation.   SPIRIT of Santa Paula, Post Office Box 728, Santa Paula CA 93061-0728.  If anyone out there is a grant writer, would you kindly let me know if you are able to help?

 

 

Unique, Up Close and Personal

Date:               February 12, 1998

Published in the Ventura County Star – Thank you Myrtle

 

There is hardly a business like real estate. The nuances and subtleties are complex and profound.  Realtors are rather independent people who operate their own businesses within the business of the broker, or completely on their own if they are one. For members of the public who have not purchased or sold a property for a few years, the shock of new paperwork and legal requirements for a valid real estate transaction is real.

Realtors and real estate agents are constantly reminded of their duties to clients and customers. One of the greatest challenges is to stay current with changing requirements of the California Civil Code and the Business and Professions Code.

Fortunately, the business is still very up close and personal with clients and other Realtors. We are usually the first line of defense when problems arise during and after the close of escrow.  We are also sometimes the last to know when there is a problem.

One of the most unique features of a Realtors business is to share their inventory with competitors through the Multiple Listing Service.  While websites, high performance computer programs and flash forms come and go, the constant factor is the personal relationships between clients and Realtors and their competitors.

The line is usually drawn, however, when it comes to Realtors having to share clients.  This element of our business can be most hurtful and distressing. It is often unintentional. It occurs when buyers engage the services of more than one Realtor at a time.

New relationships can begin with a simple phone call.  Realtors shine here because the caller is considered to be a new client and the red carpet is rolled out. Typically, appointments are made to show property; time, gasoline and materials are provided, conferences with lenders are held, and educational information is shared—all at no charge.

Sharing clients occur when the public decides to make another phone call in response to an ad—to a different Realtor.  No mention is made of previous activity in the market or the efforts made by their previous Realtor.  The new Realtor benefits from the efforts of the other—an unfair advantage often innocently provided by the public.

Once the situation is revealed, the results are distressing for all parties.  To this point in time, neither Realtor has been compensated for their time and talents. It is not uncommon for a client to feel embarrassed or irritated and to move to a third agent.

Most Realtors will admit that our way of doing business needs to be overhauled. We also will admit that not all relationships are productive and that a client may simply choose one Realtor over another.

One solution and trend is to utilize a buyer’s broker agreement.  It is a contract between buyers and Realtors and guarantees compensation for time, talent and materials.  An interesting benefit is that Realtors might have to limit the number of clients due to requirements under the contract and that the public might receive enhanced services.

Another solution would be for Realtors to be retained by clients at an hourly rate, as are other professionals.  This would solve the problem of client loyalty and would level the playing field for all Realtors.

Until such a time, the public can make a nice difference if they would utilize the services of one Realtor at a time.  A few helpful hints are to let your Realtor of Choice obtain information on any property where you see a sign. If you are visiting an open house, let the host Realtor know that you are working with another.  Let your Realtor call around for information on properties you see rather than taking the time of Realtors you do not intend to engage.

All a Realtor has to offer is time and talent. We are used to being compensated when everyone wins.  We simply ask that you find a winner and stick with him or her until you do too.

Editorial: January 23, 2018. Editor’s Note – Nothing has changed.

 

VA Buyers Unfairly Lose Traction in the Marketplace

By Kay Wilson-Bolton

January 15, 2018

At the heart of every real estate transaction is a good appraisal no matter what type of financing is used to purchase the home.

In general, all homes must have Minimum Property Requirements which include a sound roof with generally five years of life left. The heating system has to be functioning without asbestos floating in the air.  Plumbing and electrical system have to be in good working order, there has to be a kitchen and bathroom, reliable sewage system, hot water heater, safe and potable drinking water.

Homes on raised foundations have to have a stable foundation and adequate crawl space for ventilation. Homes have to have private driveways or permanent and reliable access to the property from the street.  The property has to be free of any conditions which could negatively affect the health and safety of the occupants.

The home has to be free of poor or defective construction or degradation. For example, fireplaces should have dampers that work and spark arresters. House should be free of termite conditions, dryrot or fungus. Homes built before 1978 could have lead-based paint and no home can have peeling or deteriorating paint.

Sounds like normal and routine expectations, right?

Few people are willing to buy a home with these adverse conditions unless they are paying cash and receiving a price concession.

Appraisers are required to identify deficiencies and note them for the sake of the lender and the buyer who then has the right to ask the seller for corrections or walk away from the property. When termite corrective work is identified, buyers and sellers can sometimes agree on how to remedy the work by deleting it from the transaction or negotiating the cost of repairs prior to close of escrow.

With only one exception, VA loans are no different.  The house has to be made free and clear of any termite infestation, dryrot or fungus.

The marketplace has the wrong idea about VA loans and as a result, the offers from many Veterans are excluded from consideration.

John and his wife just made their eighth offer since April of 2017. They have seen themselves living in eight different homes and have made offers on all of them. They are VA buyers with a significant down payment getting started in the home buying process after the kids have left home. They have excellent credit and want to be homeowners while they are still working.

While VA will not let the VA buyer pay for a termite report, the buyer can pay for work to be done prior to close of escrow.  A free and clear report is required in all VA transactions prior to closing. Thanks to wise homeowners who obtain termite reports before the home goes on the market, all buyers can know what they are facing early in the process.

VA loans were designed to help Veterans buy homes. They can purchase a home with nothing down in a loan amount up to $672,750 in Ventura County. Sadly, when the market heats up, the age-old fears and impressions about VA loans squeeze VA buyers out of the market as sellers opt for buyers using “conventional financing.”

Some of those fears are lengthy escrows, intense government restrictions and influences. In my recent experiences, appraisals are completed in 10 days; and smart loan officers can get a VA loan through in 35 to 45 days.

Sellers will often exclude FHA loans from consideration for fear of the need to make unplanned repairs to the home. If a home is substandard in any way, the items will be identified as negative issues and repairs will be required prior to close of escrow no matter what time of loan is utilized.

Sadly, loans which are not VA and FHA are called “conventional” and any loan that is not “conventional” is considered “unconventional”. It, therefore, sets up a seller to wrong thinking.

I encourage sellers to research the VA loan of today and give thought to considering an offer from a buyer who has served this Country in the military. It’s good for nation and it’s the right thing to do for Veterans.

Kay Wilson-Bolton is a Certified Military Relocation Professional and has been serving Ventura county homeowners since 1976. She is a broker associate with Century 21 Troop Real Estate and can be reached at 805.340.5025 or kay@realestatemagic.com

When Realtors Face the Loss of Home There are things than can’t be destroyed.

 

December 17, 2017

By Kay Wilson-Bolton

There is something unique in the business transaction of helping someone purchase a home or finding the right rental.

The goal is always a good ending and the perfect match. When a Realtor® hands someone the keys to their home, it goes with our best hope that all will be well and that memories become the basis of a good and certain future. Based on how the transaction went, there is a lifetime connection. There was great temptation during the Thomas Fire to call or text clients to see if they were safe or if we could help. So many of us had been evacuated ourselves, there was often little to do other than pray, be encouraging and supportive from afar and literally stand by.

We learned from the ravages of the Thomas Fire what any particular home, apartment, single family residence or manufactured home really means. It appears that each one who lost their home struggles most with the loss of the memories made inside. Yes, each of us placed some priority on what things needed to be removed in haste, but it seems those items were attached to memories such as family photos, grandma’s quilts, special books and keepsakes or to a new future with important papers and records.

The inconvenience of losing their dwelling manifested itself differently for each family. Some had the good fortune of finding vacant homes quickly or were able to stay with family and friends. It was very different for the 11 farmworker families in Santa Paula who lost their mobile homes located on ranch which were owned by their employer. The rally to provide for them took on its own personality as did the efforts in Ojai, Ventura, Fillmore and Santa Paula. Donations at most evacuation centers exceeded need, but it was determined by all it was a good problem to have.

During the smoky days of uncertainty, there were moments of angst when lenders stopped funding loans and the issuance of insurance policies was halted. The Realtor® community had to coalesce like never before to keep clients and colleagues informed and encouraged. Most of us had agreements that we would not press for updates but would stand by and wait for them.

Special communications were required of Realtors whose clients had left the area and left the care of the home to family and friends and their Realtor. The looming issues of safety collided with the issues of an uncertain future relating to value and a potentially slow market impacted by tragedy.

The real estate community in particular mobilized and uniquely rallied around our 16 colleagues who lost their homes. There was little time lost from the moment of discovery to making connection with an offer of a place to stay and the provision of basic necessities. Within a few hours, most of us knew from Facebook who the victims were and shared their sadness. It was clear no one was exempt from loss.

At the same time, Realtors for our communities joined their neighbors to serve food, collect items, have fundraisers and be good neighbors. There was cross sharing of resources.

We found Facebook to be our reliable information source. Posts were mostly thoughtful and carefully fact-based.

What is categorically true is that while there is justified sadness over the loss of property and the comforts of home, there is an overriding sorrow for the loss of firefighter Cory Iverson from San Diego. He gave all so that we would be safe. His family gave all too. It is the one most significant memory the survivors of the Thomas Fire will recall together.

Kay Wilson-Bolton has been serving Ventura County for 41 years.

The Impact of a Pre-Emptive Offer

June 18, 2017

By Kay Wilson-Bolton

In a competitive market like this, the impact of a making the early and quick “pre-emptive” offer can vary. In the old days real estate professionals would advise clients their first offer is their best one. It’s not always true.

If a home is listed at $650,000, it is reasonable to assume that a quick, full-price offer with reasonable terms, made prior to full market exposure, would be readily accepted by the seller.

Recent experiences demonstrate it isn’t so.  In the case of a trustee’s sale, it is the duty of the trustee to obtain the highest net return for the beneficiaries. The trustee may feel more compelled to wait to see all offers unless a fee appraisal is in the file making the trustee aware of what to expect when the house is appraised. And, the trustee will wait if there is no pressure from the beneficiaries.

If the sellers are being relocated, they are likely to accept their first, full-price offer unless they have a guaranteed buy-out and can afford to wait for a higher price. If it is a flip house, investment funds for the next sale are tied up until the close, it could go either way if the investor has significant funds in the bank.

The various business practices of individual brokers and their agents will influence the outcomes. Based on the contact management programs being used, buyers may hear about new listings within 24 hours of being taken. Others will learn about it in real time.

The neighborhood network is also in play. Word will leak that the property is coming on the market soon. Sharp buyers and their agent will make the pre-emptive offer that will result in one of two events. “Stop — let’s see what else is out there;”  or, “Go” and move towards escrow with the seller not looking back.

Listing agents needs to be wise in how they advise their sellers. The wrong advice could cost their clients  both money and time. There is no substitute for experience, but the agent is obligated to present options stand by while the client decides. It is always the client’s choice. Always.

Kay Wilson-Bolton has been serving Ventura County since 1976 and brings a regional perspective to local issues. www.kaywilsonboltonblog.com.  She can be reached at 805.340.5025, or kay@realestatemagic.com and is associated with Century 21 Troop Real Estate.