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.  She can be reached at 805.340.5025, or and is associated with Century 21 Troop Real Estate.



Hats off to the School District – It’s Week 431 at Many Meals and they are working late these days. April 19, 2017

One of our Many Meals student helpers was evicted from a garage with her mother and little sister. They were in a motel til the money ran out. They are at the Lighthouse in Oxnard and traffic is particularly bad that time of day. The School District is trying to work out transportation for this 11th grader who is Harvard material. I tell her every day what my mom said, “Nothing lasts forever and you will get through this.” She was right.

There are so many stories at Many Meals. The farmworkers are working later now that days are longer and they can’t get to us before the gates close at 6 pm. Many of them come to the back door while we are still in the kitchen. Last week several arrived late and I’m not sure they had eaten all day. We would not turn them away. Each received two generous dinners and desserts.

When I got back to the office around 8 pm, I noticed that several of them had followed the Many Meals truck and three more were at the back door.  I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude for being able to serve them. I know mashed potatoes may not be their favorite food, but we had plenty of bollos and awesome chicken gumbo with salsa to serve with it.

I felt sorrow and gratitude for them.  Sorrow for the hard work they do and that few will do. Sorrow that things are better here, it seems, than they are in their home land. Sorrow they are enticed to come here and left to the elements and luck. My gratitude is that they found a welcoming place with lots of food at the end of a really hard work day that few of us understand. I am grateful they do the work that provide so much for all us. I never want to stand before God and be admonished for not honoring people who picked the food I ate.

We meet so many people with problems during the day. The Fire Department called over the weekend to see if I could help a family of three with shelter.  They had a car at least and so I suggested they stay safe for the night and see me in the morning. She is here with proper documentation, but her husband is not. He is working during the day but they are having a hard time finding a place to rent without a deposit and the ability to run

Tomorrow’s menu with be cheese and chicken burritos, fresh strawberries, rice from El Pescador and beans from the Presby kitchen, freshly cooked buttered carrots, green 3-way salad,  rolls and butter.

Thank you all for listening. I know you are grateful too.

 The Many Meals Story – Santa Paula CA

 SPIRIT of Santa Paula

Kay Wilson-Bolton, Director


Serving the Least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in Santa Paula CA


More Than Many Meals for our Community – Week 428 on March 29, 2017

If you have ever had a toothache, you know they don’t heal up. Part of the tragedy of drug and alcohol abuse is that it’s easy to lose track of time. An appointment for next Tuesday at 1 pm to see about an infected tooth means nothing on Friday afternoon. The weekend is long and the pain is endless. Two of my homeless women are suffering tonight with infected teeth. The dentist has to clear the infection first and that takes 4-5 days then another appointment for the extraction—if they remember, if I can find them. Today I couldn’t.

We have two families in motels waiting for what it becoming impossible and that is to find a room to rent or a studio that will take more than two people, or any kind of rental for under $1,000. The kids have such a hard time getting to school, concentrating and doing homework when they are homeless.

The conventional wisdom is that kids are better off with parents in almost all circumstances. I wonder.

Our Many Meals cooks are amazing and put together the best food for Wednesdays. Tomorrow’s menu will be a little easier – bean and cheese burritos, rice from El Pescador, fresh cooked carrots from Garman’s Pub, shredded cole slaw with mandarin oranges and dressing, chips and orange slices.

This recipe for the beans is a favorite. We get such a collection of people coming for dinner. It’s the thing to do on Wednesday, you know. It’s also the day when its 50% off at the Thrift Store.





Housing is Still the Problem–and the Solution – Week 424 for Many Meals on March 1, 2017 – The Beginning of Lent

The issue of homelessness does not attach only to the addict. I have three serious issues at the moment and each involves children. One mother is renting a room from an elderly person here in town. The roof leaked during the last rain so extensively the ceiling fell in on . There is now serious mold and the 7 year old has been in the hospital. I have to find a room for them.

A father is in a motel still with a 12 year old daughter. We are working with all the agencies to get them housed. Today was the last day in an apartment for a mother and a 9 year old daughter. They are homeless tomorrow.

SPIRIT was given a cute travel trailer today–fully equipped. I know a woman who will treat it right but there is no place to park it. It is registered with current tags. If anyone can think of a safe place I would love to know. She is highly responsible. A ranch somewhere, a parking facility of some kind, on someone’s large lot would be ideal. She works in town so needs to stay close. If you know of something, please let me know.

It is so hard just knowing the people behind these stories.

Thanks to Joey Siddens of First American Title and the Ventura Downtown Lions Club, we have about 150 quarter pound all beef hot dogs to serve in the dining room tomorrow include matching buns. They are monsters. It will be fun serve them.

Regular beef dogs will be served for takeout along with coleslaw and pineapple, chips, cooked carrots, orange slices and SP Fire Department beans cooked for a recent barbecue.

Easy menu on the cooks this week. Our new convection ovens allow us to bake the dogs—what a difference in taste from boiling them.

Only beef dogs served here! Thank you Food Share for being our excellent partner.

The Many Meals Story – Santa Paula CA

SPIRIT of Santa Paula

Kay Wilson-Bolton, Director


Serving the Least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in Santa Paula CA




Subject: Many Meals and Many Needs – Week 420 – February 1, 2017

A new month presents itself with a variety of opportunities to serve our community. Once again, over the weekend, our Police Officers came across a dad and his daughter with no place to stay and no resources. I so hoped to establish an emergency fund for a couple of nights lodging. One officer put the hotel bill on his credit card. Don’t you know that a circumstance such as that one is complicated? Many of our officers are so kind.

We lost one of our volunteers on the way to rehab. He was self-detoxing for a few days and because no bed was available he went back to drinking. Detoxing is hard on the body and the rehab is hard to get to because of it. He is now back to zero-minus. It’s so hard to watch.

Our menu tomorrow is the Good Shepherd’s Pie —  ground beef (thanks to Food Share and the Fair Animals), corn, peas, fresh carrots from Garman’s Pub, Brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes (Marty Pettit) Romaine Salad, orange slices, rolls and butter.

Jim Dexheimer is back with us after some diagnosis scares and some surgery. Our work is incomplete without him helping me with that piece.

Based on the first of the month, it will be a sell-out crowd. I’m so happy to days are lighter later. Clean-up is so much easier.

The Many Meals Story – Santa Paula CA


SPIRIT of Santa Paula

Kay Wilson-Bolton, Director


Serving the Least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in Santa Paula CA


Subject: Many Meals – Entering Year Number Nine – This is week 417 for January 11, 2017 – It’s Not About the Jacket

Hello to all. The rain is so wonderful but we were off about 100 people last week because of the wet weather.

Some of you heard about the interesting event last week where one of our homeless guests ended up with a jacket that didn’t belong to him.  Before we realized the jacket was missing, he had come to the back door and turned in a set of car keys, saying “Here, I don’t need these.”

We announced to the volunteers that someone had turned in a set of keys. When she recognized her keys, she realized her jacket was gone. We were all quiet for a minute, realizing that he could have taken her car, but only wanted the jacket.  It’s an interesting story of integrity and thoughtfulness at a time and place and from people where we do see a lot of it.

So, rather than focusing on the jacket, we are commending the dinner guest for returning the keys. So, it’s not about the jacket after all.

I know it’s the influence of being in a church, being welcomed into a warm safe place, and served generous amounts of really good hot food. Our volunteers, many of the teens (who could be anywhere) are so gracious to the guests, particularly our senior citizens. It’s heart-warming to witness such courtesy.

We are so grateful to the Presbyterian Church for hosting this weekly event and to the many churches that provide volunteers and encouragement and support. We are especially grateful to the two church members who provided the equipment to make us a “legal” kitchen. Rod Thompson has been so generous with his time and skills; John and Susan Kulwiec provided the drawings and design for the placement of the equipment and shepherded us through the County’s Environmental Health division

Tomorrows menu is Enchilada casserole with ham, corn, olives and black beans; coleslaw with pineapple and raisins, rice from El Pescador, orange glazed cooked carrots from Garman’s Pub, butter and rolls and fresh strawberries.

Tim Mason has been a regular at Many Meals along with his friend Marilyn. We hope he is back soon sharing dinner with us.

Our drug and alcohol counselor Jim Dexheimer is still challenged with resting after facing some surgery and cancer scare. We need him back with us. Get to it, Jim. Semper Fi.  (Really, Viet Nam.)








Realtor Safety in a Changing World …Fear No Evil and Protect Against it


October 5, 2014

The recent tragic murder of 49 year old real estate agent, Beverly Carter in Little Rock Arkansas, is an urgent reminder of the need to fear evil—and take correction action against it. Realtors live the American dream. We are not tied to a rigid schedule except that which we impose on ourselves. We are not limited to wage restrictions, we meet the public where they need us to be—and we love what we do.

We share our knowledge and skills with anyone who asks. We are the gatekeepers of an industry that has outpaced anyone who did not embrace the changes that come with technology. We go where we need to go at often the whims and needs of the public to serve them and complete our tasks. It is time for all of us to examine our “open door” business practices and begin to “fear evil” with wisdom.

The world has never been a safe place, but there was a time when we were considered unlucky if something bad happened to us. Now it seems we are lucky if something bad doesn’t happen.

Our new personal commitments to safety will vary within offices and with practitioners. It is clear that the consent and cooperation of the public will be needed to help us stay safe.

For example, some may begin to ask you for copies of your ID before embarking on a business relationship. Please don’t be offended. While we don’t think you would cause harm, we know that someone out there could.

Some may ask for the first meeting to be at the office. Buddy systems should become standard operating procedure. Agents will check in and out of offices and destinations will be left with the administrator. 911 will be saved as a “favorite” on the phone.

Open houses will not be held without another realtor or lender partner in place. We will be more vigilant and we won’t carry money or purses. We may carry pepper spray and other protective devices. Vacant homes create a different kind of opportunities for mayhem and should be avoided, particularly in isolated areas.

We will re-think our willingness to share our success stories with the public. Prosperity is a coveted thing in our society but is often viewed with contempt. We should not be judged by our financial success anyway, but by our skills and commitment to serving well. Many will be more circumspect about how we promote our services.

Wisdom will require we not work at the office at night alone unless doors are locked and the car is parked in a lighted area. We will not take chances. There has always been wisdom in using caution. Soldiers do that by nature. This view of life is common in almost every country but we in America feel secure in light of all the freedoms we enjoy. The goal is to balance fear with wisdom.

Changes, if any, will be individual but there will likely be a generally rising of the tide. We will ask you to help us. We are your sisters, brothers, sons and daughters, friends and colleagues. These are different times and there is a new call to action.   Only the foolish will think business is usual is acceptable.

Kay Wilson-Bolton

Real Estate broker


End of Life Activities

My Look at His Book

By Kay Wilson-Bolton

March 1, 2005

Notary work at the rest homes usually involves meeting with family members who are helping their elderly parents or relatives make final arrangements for someone else to handle their business.

I really wish the patients would deal with these matters before they get to the rest home so that the stress of “final” days is less.

There have been occasions when it was too late for me to help because the patient was not able to understand what documents they were being asked to sign.

I was not prepared for my last appointment which was to notarize the final will and testament and durable power of attorney for someone I knew, a 50 year-old Santa Paula man dying of cancer.

Because he had no immediate family to help, and his mother was in a room down the hall, two high school chums had accepted the responsibility for his cats, his apartment and his personal business.

They told me that he had about two months to live.

After concluding our business, and some friendly chit chat in which he participated, I put my hand on his and told him that God would heal him on either side of eternity.

I wanted desperately to pray for him but I sensed that his friends were not ready for me to do that, so I prayed anyway in my heart and in my car.

I told him I would be back for a visit and he seemed glad to know that. I found an extra book I keep on hand called, “A Purpose Driven Life”, inscribed a little note and set aside to take with me on our next visit. That was Monday.

I went back on Wednesday at 9 am and it seemed as though the front door was locked. No one paid any attention tome so I assumed they had new rules and left.

I was going back the next day but a couple of appointments toppled onto each other and I purposed to go on Saturday

The front door was locked again and I really felt as though I was not keeping my promise to visit him again to talk about eternal things and His relationship with God.

I decided to try and side door and followed someone in. I went to his room and found that his name was no longer on the wall.

An aide recognized me from a few days before and let me know that he had died.

I felt sick that I had allowed my schedule to get between me and a man facing death.   I flirted with his moment in time and it ran out for both of us. For him it was too late to hear about how God can redeem the lost; too late for me to share the Good News of salvation.

As I walked to my car, I felt the tears in my eyes, and as I sat in the car for several minutes, aching for being so selfish, I recalled the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8;

1 There is an appointed time for everything,  and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die.

We can accept God’s timetable or be crushed by it. The God who ordains the routine events of our lives is a compassionate, gracious, faithful God.. Birth and death, sowing and harvesting, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, speaking and keeping silent, and war and peace are common occurrences in life.

We must fit ourselves appropriately into God’s plan for our lives, and not try to fit God into ours.




A Hand Up and Not a Hand Out

On Homelessness in Santa Paula

February 18, 2012

Begging in the streets is an ancient tradition. People of various diminished capacities have occupied the public squares or sat outside city gates to cry out for money.  That scene  is probably not much different on the streets of America—or Santa Paula.

Our city has an ordinance against aggressive panhandling.  Santa Paula has a small number of folks who are successful at this and continue to do it because it works.  Other panhandlers are very passive and simply flash a sign.

Many services are provided in our community which should offset the need for panhandling. Homeless and sheltered folks with addictions and enslavements generally need cash for a very limited number of reasons.

For those with no financial resources, they are in need funds for prescription co-pays, bus fare, telephone minutes, and unfortunately liquor or drugs.

Recently two well-meaning women recently had a conversation on Main Street with a homeless man holding his little dog.  He has been living under the bridge for some time. Thanks to recent regular visits from dedicated volunteers, he is now staying at the Winter Shelter. One woman offered him a $10 bill for food. Sadly, the money will likely go for cigarettes, alcohol or drugs instead. By trying to “do good” in this way, we actually cause harm because we continue to fund bad habits and choices. Those doors have to close before they realize there are no options but seeking real help.

The local Winter Shelter has provided safe sleep for almost 30 persons a night at El Buen Pastor Methodist Church since the winter season began last December 3. More than 100 meals per day are being served which includes a sack lunch for everyone. We have working mothers and several children, disabled men, homeless men and women looking for work. One of the guests has a master’s degree from San Jose State University. She just can’t find a job. We have some guests who come for the evening meal and a shower.

The local transition home has housed at least 8 children and 20 adults over the past two years. They found us on their way to permanent housing.

The Drop-In Center at First United Methodist Church is a welcoming place where homeless and hungry folks can get a warm jacket, hot coffee and snacks and use the computers to connect to other resources. The Center is open weekdays from 9 to noon.

Many Meals is hosted at the First Presbyterian Church where about 650 meals each week are prepared and served to area residents. Thanks to FOOD Share for the past 162 weeks, over 64,000 meals have been served.  By USDA standards, if a family of four would take advantage of Many Meals, they could conserve up to $80 each month—a tank of gas or a utility bill to keep them sheltered and mobile.

The non-profit that supports this work has been approached by the leadership of Children’s Hunger Fund to distribute food supplies through various local churches, and plans are underway to establish a Counseling Center where people can be helped to make lasting change in their lives. Pepperdine University has selected Santa Paula’s work as a study project in their non-profit funding studies.

Sending homeless people on a bus to anywhere or simply changing their environment will not solve their problems. Changing their hearts will. These folks are battered by life and, in many cases, their own bad choices over a lifetime. The goal is to provide the tools to make good changes last.

There are at least two local panhandlers who have gathered the wrong kind of attention. One of them is a non-hearing or speaking young woman whose name has been manufactured because we don’t know who she is.  She knows “street sign language,” an informal sign language known to only a few. We have arranged for a specialist in street signing at Santa Barbara City College to communicate with her.

She is very animated when she attempts to communicate, and her behavior appears aggressive. Sometimes it is as demonstrated in a recent incident with bystanders at a local store. There are a few others who flash signs at grocery stores to gather money for prescription medications.

If you are tempted to give a panhandler something, purchase gift cards at MacDonald for $1. It gets them a hamburger meal after 11 am. Please don’t give cash.

There is a new view floating around Ventura that providing services extends the problem of homelessness. In our view, ceasing to provide services would make a bad situation worse. The goal is to keep homeless people from dying in the streets. It has happened more than once in our community. This particular work began when a homeless man from Santa Paula died in one of our churches.

It is a challenge to work effectively with homeless people and help them find that better way. It can’t all be done in a day and we wish it was for just a season. The work will likely continue in our town until every person who wants a job can get one. Til then, as hard as it is at times, we will continue to find new partners and joy in the service.

Most important, special thanks goes to the members of the Santa Paula Police Department who have the very difficult task of balancing the right combination of thoughtful care and duty to protect all citizens.  We have so much respect and appreciation for their diligent exercise of training and individual talents to make our community safe.






 The Market Shift is Finally Here

Kay Wilson-Bolton

Century 21 Hometown Realty

March 8, 2013

Looking back at May of 2005 when the real estate market peaked, it’s amazing that eight long years later we are actually experiencing a modified frenzy of home buying. If this is any measure of a renewing economy, we can all celebrate.

There is a high level of energy circulating in the county’s home buying circles. Some of it feels good, but some of it is uncomfortably familiar. There are reports about the large number of offers on properties, mostly in the “affordable” price ranges. A $179,000 condo in Moorpark was on the market for 48 hours and had 11 offers; one home in Camarillo in the $400,000 range had 26 offers in 72 hours.

Buyers are offering over asking price. They are removing the appraisal contingency and producing evidence they can pay the difference in cash if the appraisal falls short of the sale price. Many buyers, however, are winning with cash offers.  There are rumors that a buyer’s chances of success in competing are enhanced if they work only with the listing agent. This just can’t be.

Some very good things are very different from 2005.  Lenders can no longer talk to the appraisers which eliminates the possibility of collusion in fixing prices. We all remember the days when it took a team of criminals to deceive borrowers.  However, stories of fraud of all kinds are still unfolding within the offices of the District Attorney and numerous arrests and indictments are still in the wings.

Unlike the last upswing, appraisers are slow to move prices up from the last sale, but this will change as overall closing prices begin to rise. Underwriters grind away at the details and often delay closings by asking for additional documentation. Incredibly complex laws were passed that affected all aspects of homeownership, from borrowing guidelines to appraisal and title company admonitions, tax relief accommodations and a host of safeguards to protect the consumer.

In today’s environment, most homeowners who choose to shortsale are simply making a business decision, unlike the choices made in the early days of shortsales when shame was a common emotion.

Whoever thought a lender would send you an overnight package offering to reduce the interest rate on your home loan even though your current rate is under 5%? There are still mysteries around the shortsale process where some banks are offering as much as $25,000 in relocation funds to borrowers who choose to shortsale and move rather than suffer foreclosure. The majority of offers are generally around $3000 to $7000 but it seems odd they offer anything.

Shortsales are considered “contingent sales” and show as “active” in the Multiple Listing Services even though sellers seldom accept a back-up offer or want to continue showing their property. It is rare when a seller will accept a higher back-up offer and actually submit it to the lender for consideration.  The expectation from the lender is that the seller negotiated the best offer in good faith.

Prequalification letters are harder to come by and are no longer provided after a brief phone conversation. Lenders are required to review tax returns, paystubs, W2s, work history and credit reports. If the letter is not well written, sellers are shy about accepting the offer.

There is a whole new lingo in the industry that runs in tandem with the changes in technology.  Standard practices are home inspections, home protection plans and electronic signing.

Other good news is that consumers who suffered through a foreclosure in 2005 and 2006 should be able to buy again and families who completed a shortsale more than two years ago can jump back into the pool. The REO inventory we thought was being guarded by asset managers as they watched prices rise has diminished with the move of the banking industry to cooperate and facilitate shortsales. Homes are left in better condition and there are elements of honorable exit, particularly when homeowners can honestly say, “We sold our home at market value.”

There is some certainty that most of us are wiser and more thoughtful about the value of money. There have been cruel but valuable lessons on the wisdom of living within our means and having a reserve account. If the lessons of the past give us a brighter more predictable future, they have great value. Now, if we will just teach them to our children!


These are the opinions and experiences of Kay Wilson-Bolton,  a real estate  broker in Ventura County Since 1976.