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Category Archive: ‘Train Wrecks’

Transparency Strikes

TracyGlesby

Tracy Glesby is a real estate agent. No doubt she’s good at her job.

But D Magazine did not name her a Best Real Estate Agent in either 2011 or 2012, as one would be led to believe by her Facebook page.

Glesby and I aren’t friends, so I can’t see her timeline. But the screenshot you see here was taken today. Which is why I like this lady’s moxie. Because last Wednesday, she got a call from our brand manager, politely asking her to remove the Best logos that she had not earned. Some snippets of that conversation:

D Magazine: “I’m curious. How is it that you acquired these logos? I am the person who disseminates these to the winners, so I am unsure how it is you even have one.”

Tracy Glesby: “Uhh, you can just google image it.”

And then:

D Magazine: “Our editors and fact checkers go through a very rigorous process to determine these lists, and when it is misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented by someone claiming to have won when it was not actually bestowed upon them, it really undermines the prestige.”

Tracy Glesby: “Ok, well, now you’re just using a bunch of words that I don’t understand. I’m an end-game person. Let’s just get to the end of this. If I take those two little logos off, are we all good? Because I can do that when I get to the office in the morning.”

As I say, that conversation happened last Wednesday. Yet the logos remain. That there is what you call stick-to-it-ness. You put your house on the market, and it doesn’t sell the first day? Tracy Glesby isn’t going to give up. To make the sale, that lady is going to do whatever it takes.

Hat tip to “just some guy” who saw this at patrick.net:

http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2013/03/25/tracy-glesby-my-new-favoite-real-estate-agent/

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013 in Train Wrecks, Unbelieveable | 11 comments

Exotic Financing for Schools

An excerpt from the Will Carless article at the Voice of San Diego – hat tip to several readers!

The Poway Unified School District may be California’s poster child for exotic school bond financing, but it is by no means alone in San Diego County.

As I detailed in my story yesterday, Poway Unified borrowed $105 million last year using a form of financing called a capital appreciation bond. The district won’t start making payments on the loan until 2033, and by the time it’s paid off in 2051, taxpayers will have paid back almost $1 billion, or almost 10 times the original loan.

As I point out in my story, capital appreciation bonds have become increasingly popular across the state, since they allow school districts to borrow money now without raising taxes on current residents. Instead, the burden for paying for the bonds is pushed to future generations, who are left on the hook for loans that are wildly more expensive than conventional bonds.

I’ve been digging through public records to try and find some other examples of these bonds in San Diego County. I haven’t come across anything quite as extreme as Poway’s deal, but I have found some bonds with very similar rates of interest and repayment schedules.

The deals elsewhere in the county mirror Poway’s deal in other ways, too. All three districts had recently passed bond measures to complete previous renovation and modernization efforts that were behind because of cost overruns and delays.

The three bond measures, passed in 2008, all made the same promise to voters: Tax rates would stay the same.

Read more here:

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/education/article_3f780860-e0b7-11e1-821b-001a4bcf887a.html

I think this should be considered when making a decision about homebuying!

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in Local Government, Prop 13, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Train Wrecks | 23 comments

Trashing Home = 270 Days in Jail

From the nctimes.com:

For crimes associated with trashing their foreclosed Winchester home, a former San Diego police officer and his wife each received a sentence of 270 days in jail and five years on probation.

In rendering the sentence, Judge Mark Mandio at the Southwest Justice Center decided against handing out the maximum punishment of four years in prison to Robert Conrad Acosta, 40, and Monique Evette Acosta, 37.

A jury convicted the couple in May of defrauding their lender by ripping out fixtures in the home and attempting to sell them after they were kicked out in June 2010 for failing to make mortgage payments.

Mandio cited their lack of prior convictions and the damage that long-term incarceration could do to them and their family as reasons for giving them lighter sentences.

“This was an act of anger,” Mandio said. “I think it was out of character for each of these individuals.”

Apparently incensed that they were getting booted from the home on Via Laguna, the Acostas tore the house apart, taking nearly everything of value and leaving the property in shambles.

Jurors saw a video and photographs taken after the family’s departure that showed piles of rubble, empty doorways where doors were removed, damaged rock facings, spray-painted walls, tile grouting saturated with black hair dye and loose wires sticking from walls from which light fixtures had been taken. The kitchen literally was gutted for everything of worth.

The swimming pool was filed with cypress trees that had been cut down and dumped there along with other debris.

The Acostas contended they had a right to take the items from the house because they had purchased them. However, the deed of trust that ran with the outstanding loan on the property prohibited the removal of permanent fixtures regardless of who installed them, according to evidence presented at trial.

Investigators discovered Robert Acosta had advertised many of the items for sale on the online marketplace Craig’slist and the couple were arrested.

While awaiting trial, Robert Acosta resigned from his position with the San Diego Police Department.

During Friday’s sentencing proceeding, the judge rejected requests by the Acostas’ defense attorneys for a reduction in their convictions from felonies to misdemeanors.

Read More

Posted by on Jul 21, 2012 in Protest, Train Wrecks | 8 comments

Leucadia’s Nantucket

The saga of Barratt American’s Nantucket in Leucadia is winding down, and the neighbors should be pleased about how it is turning out:

1. Sales are all over $1,000,000.

2. The eyesore has gone away.

3. The low-income housing will be complete.

For some history, click here for some of the first coverage from 2008:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2008/12/18/leucadia-sore-spot/

Here’s the story of Shea buying the property from a flipper, who bought it as an REO from Bank of America.  The first house shown, the split-level, closed for $1,400,000:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2010/08/18/leucadias-nantucket/

The L.A.Times story on a certain part-time blogger:

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/02/business/fi-real-estate2

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Bubbleinfo TV, Builders, Leucadia, North County Coastal, Train Wrecks | 14 comments

Luxury Real Estate TV

From CurbedLA:

General Hospital” heartthrob-turned-real estate agent Stuart Damon will be returning to the small screen with the show “Luxury Lifestyles TV,” which’ll air on Fox 11 starting March 6 (in the odd 11 am time slot). The show features Stuart and his son Christopher cracking wise as they tour local high-end real estate, including downtown’s Watermarke and the Ed Niles-designed salad spinner in Beverly Hills.

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011 in Interesting Houses, Train Wrecks | 12 comments

Sad Ending

Hat tip to downturn for sending this along, from tampabay.com:

When armored vehicles knocked down the house on 28th Avenue S in St. Petersburg on Monday, it climaxed an hours-long gunfight that claimed the lives of two St. Petersburg police officers and the wanted felon who shot them, Hydra Lacy Jr.

It was also the last echo of the frenzied house-flipping that lured Lacy and millions of other investors during the nation’s real estate boom.

The Crayola-orange dwelling at 3734 28th Ave. S was the only house among seven that Lacy bought between 2004 and 2007 that did not end up in foreclosure. But like all the others, its flattened remains are testament to a bust that has hit St. Petersburg’s Midtown area especially hard.

“The properties are back in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and three years, maybe four years ago they were in the $100,000-plus amount,” says Lou Brown, a veteran real estate agent. “I guess maybe we got a little greedy.”

Read More

Posted by on Jan 27, 2011 in Train Wrecks | 19 comments

Busy Week For Train Wrecks

Hat tip to OC Renter for sending along another episode of Michael Pines, foreclosure-chaser:

A Newport Beach man was arrested Wednesday after an attempt to regain possession of the home he claims his family was wrongfully evicted from 16 months ago.

Rene Zepeda, 72, was accompanied by his attorney and several Newport Beach Police officers as he made his way to the back yard of the spacious home at 19 Crystal Cay and, wielding a hammer, broke a window to gain entry. Officers promptly arrested Zepeda and attorney Mike Pines for trespassing and carted them away in a police vehicle.

“They told me I’d get arrested, but I don’t care,” said Zepeda before his arrest. “It’s my house. I have to do something.”

His attorney said the action was part of a revolt against “illegal” foreclosure and eviction practices that have cost countless people their homes, and he will advise other clients to commit the same act of civil disobedience until change is effected.  “These homeowners have been out of their house for more than a year,” Pines said. “That’s long enough. They deserve to get back in because it’s legally theirs.”

Located in the gated and luxurious community of Crystal Cove, the 5-bedroom, 4,400-square foot home is on the market for $3.8 million. It’s an unlikely symbol of the brewing confusion surrounding foreclosures.

Rene Zepeda and his wife Otilia purchased the home in 2008 after “years of sacrifice and hard work,” she said. Rene claims the lender, Bank of America, then raised the interest rate on their mortgage, causing the family to fall behind on payments.

Attorney Pines argues that because the foreclosure was hastily pushed through, the homeowners were denied the right to a jury trial and to present evidence in court. Public records show that the home was foreclosed on July 8, 2009; Pines says the couple has been fighting a legal battle ever since and finally resorted to this dramatic gesture because the house is now for sale.

Gary Kishner, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, said the homeowners lost the home 15 months ago after not making payments on the mortgage and that Chase now owns the property.

“After two illegal break-ins and squattings in a two-week period last November, a court order was obtained and sheriffs secured the property once again,” Kishner said. “Police assistance was needed today once again because of trespassing and criminal damage to the property.”

Zepeda and Pines were promptly bailed out, and Pines said prosecutors would have to prove they were trespassing.  “Newport Beach needs to know that they have to pick sides,” Pines said. “It’s either the homeowners or the financial institutions.”

Posted by on Oct 17, 2010 in Train Wrecks | 16 comments

Another Teardown

From the WSJ:

Atlanta’s most notorious pink elephant is about to go the way of the dinosaur.

Dean Gardens, a huge, and very pink, mansion finally sold, after 15 years on the market and a whopping $25 million price reduction. The buyer plans on demolishing the 32,000 square-foot home, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

But, before the wrecking ball strikes the Atlanta-area abode,  the contents are up for grabs. Gala events are planned for Aug. 20-21 and Aug. 28, and what’s left over will be auctioned off, with some of the proceeds donated to charity, homeowner Larry Dean tells Developments. He’s been living in the ornate digs.

Attendees can glimpse gilded rooms that cost more than $5 million to fill: There’s a nursery with a carousel theme, a diner-inspired game room with a jukebox and soda fountain and the peacock room featuring a cappuccino bar and a 4,000-pound English limestone table sitting atop a steel beam buried under the home.

The house comes with an 18-hole golf course, amphitheater and wedding chapel. It spent years on the market, with price tags ranging from $20 million to $40 million. The selling price is said to top $10.5 million, but Mr. Dean, a self-made millionaire who was in the software business, would not confirm the final number.

The eight-bedroom mansion that took more than four years to build was to be the dream home for Mr. Dean and his wife Lynda Dean,

according to the AJC. But they separated not long after its 1992 debut and have since divorced.

“It’s not sad,” Mr. Dean says. “The operating expenses far exceeded my expectations. It was a beautiful place, but a very expensive place to run.”  Mr. Dean has about 60 days to leave his home. He doesn’t know where he’ll go next. Still, “I’m ready to leave,” he says.

There is a Facebook group working to save this pink palace.

Posted by on Aug 10, 2010 in Train Wrecks | 8 comments

Turko on Nantucket Part 2

Barratt is the owner of the lot that’s designated for the low-income house. The reason it’s just sitting there is because they are in bankruptcy court, which has to wrap up sooner or later. Bank of America doesn’t have anything to do with the lot being highlighted, but they are actively soliciting offers for Nantucket 2.

We’ll have more on this story:

Posted by on May 5, 2010 in Builders, Buying at Trustee Sale, North County Coastal, Train Wrecks | 18 comments