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Vampire Squid Offers Flip Financing

Add house-flippers to Goldman Sachs’ ever-expanding roster of potential clients as the Wall Street firm hunts for new ways to make money.

Lending has taken an increasingly higher profile at Goldman, where once-prominent trading desks have had their wings clipped by automation and regulation. The bank started out last year with small loans up to $30,000 for regular people with good credit through an online business it calls Marcus.

This summer it opened its doors to investors by giving financial advisors a way to arrange loans of up to $25 million for clients backed by their investment portfolios.

Goldman is even trying to find a way to occupy its traders’ time, exploring possibilities in the realm of bitcoin and other digital currencies after picking up on client interest in the area.

In September, the bank’s president, Harvey Schwartz, said lending activities are projected to shake out $2 billion in additional revenue.  Now Goldman is getting into lending for real estate pros through its acquisition of Genesis Capital.

The deal, for undisclosed terms, gives Goldman a business that makes loans of $100,000 to $10 million at rates of 7 percent to 12 percent. It won’t lend to occupants, so that leaves real estate professionals who are renovating and looking to sell fairly quickly. Genesis made $1 billion of loans last year.


Posted by on Oct 14, 2017 in Flips, Jim's Take on the Market, Mortgage News | 0 comments

After the Fires

An article that details some of the impact from the fires.  The area had a 1% vacancy rate, so for people who got burned out, there is no place to go.  If only half of the residents rebuild, then there will be ample opportunities for new people to get in, but at what price?

An excerpt:

The median home price in Napa County was a whopping $876,200 on Sept. 1, according to® data. In neighboring Sonoma County, the median home price was $750,000. But that was before the fires.

More than 172,000 homes are now at risk of going up in flames in the Napa and Santa Rosa metropolitan areas, which are usually not prone to wildfires, according to an analysis from CoreLogic. (Napa is the name of a town as well as of the surrounding county.) It will cost an estimated $65 billion or more to rebuild them.

Californians are just beginning to come to grips with the scope of the disaster.

“Multiple neighborhoods are burnt out,” says Randall Bell, CEO of the national real estate appraisal firm Landmark Research Group, based in Laguna Beach, CA, which has assessed areas damaged by wildfires. “It’s street upon street of just charred-to-the-ground moonscape. All you see are chimneys and foundations. It’s a sad sight—and you see hundreds of them.”

Only about a quarter to half of the original residents whose homes were reduced to ash are likely to return and rebuild, Bell predicts.

“Emotionally they’re overwhelmed. Financially, they’re overwhelmed,” he says. “When these fires come through, they don’t just burn houses. They burn stores, restaurants, the churches, the schools. They burn everything. You may rebuild a house, but where’s your infrastructure?”

Lee, the real estate agent whose Santa Rosa home burned down, doesn’t plan to rebuild. He and his wife plan to move to Kentucky, TN, or North Carolina, where they have friends who might be able to find him work.

“I’ve started an insurance claim and hopefully I’ll do well. … [But] I’m a real estate agent and there’s nothing to sell anymore,” he says. “I’m starting over from scratch at 63 with achy joints and an achy back.”

Even homeowners with insurance premiums may not get enough money to rebuild their entire homes to what they were before, Bell says. That’s because the price of construction is likely to skyrocket with the extra demand for construction workers, for which there is currently a national shortage compounded by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and building materials. Some will get loans, others will tap into their savings.

Those who do rebuild are in for the long haul. The area is expected to recover only about 10% to 15% each year, according to Bell. That means it’s likely to take five to 10 years before homes, businesses (including employment and tourism), and the local infrastructure is back to normal.

Plus, they’ll have to find a place to live while they rebuild—which won’t be an easy feat.

“We had a housing crisis before the fire,” says Santa Rosa–based Realtor® Daphne Peterson, of Keller Williams Realty. “We’re in a very high-cost area. Our vacancy rate was about 1%. Now we’ve lost about 1,500 to 2,000 homes. We have no place for people to stay.”

Homeowners who decide to sell won’t have it easy, either. Those whose homes survived should expect the properties to sell at a 10% to 35% discount. That’s because it’s not as desirable to live near burnt-out houses or with fewer services and businesses nearby.

“People don’t buy a house,” Bell says. “They buy a neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, properties whose homes were charred or destroyed altogether could see discounts as high as 60%, he says. Sellers should expect an army of investors, a combination of home flippers and landlords, to swoop in.

But the price breaks won’t last forever. These will likely dissipate after about five years, he says.

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market | 5 comments

San Diego Water-Conservation Rebate–450681053.html

The City of San Diego is offering a lawn rebate, $4,250 for residential owners and $17,000 for commercial owners to replace their grass, in an effort to encourage water conservation.

The City’s Public Utilities Department water customers can receive a rebate by removing their water-thirsty grass and installing water-wise material and efficient irrigation systems.

“This rebate will allow customers to become empowered in their efforts to save money on their water bills,” said Halla Razak, Director of Public Utilities.

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 23, 2017. There are limited funds for the rebate, so applications received within the application submission period will be selected through a lottery process until the funding runs out.

Grass lawns are estimated to use up to 44 gallons of water per sq. ft. per year. Water-wise landscapes can use 70 percent less water, the city said.

To apply, click here. 

Customers can also call 619-533-7485 for more information.

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Tips, Advice & Links | 2 comments

‘Coming Soon’ Defined

The ‘Coming Soon’ tactic has been around for a few years now – long enough that it’s become an accepted part of the murky, unregulated landscape, just like short-sale fraud. Because there is no enforcement of the rules or laws, we have to trust that agents handle it ethically. Here the National Association of Realtors cops out and pins the decision on the seller:

From N.A.R.

What does it mean to advertise a property as “coming soon”? The answer to that seemingly simple question varies among agents, brokers, MLSs, and state regulators nationwide. While the real estate industry has not agreed on a definition of “coming soon,” one thing is certain and consistent — a broker’s decision to market a seller’s property as “coming soon” must always be made based on the client’s informed determination of what best serves the client’s interests.

Some “coming soon” advertisements involve unlisted properties that may or will be listed with a broker in the near future, while others relate to properties that are subject to listing agreements where property is available to potential purchasers only through the listing broker and not available, temporarily or indefinitely, for showing or purchase through other MLS participants. In either case, “coming soon” properties are commonly withheld from the MLS.

The first important step in advising a seller-client on whether to advertise a property as “coming soon” is to identify the client’s best interests, as defined by the client. Failing to act in the client’s best interest and failing to disclose the pros and cons of a limited marketing plan, such as “coming soon” advertising, can violate state real estate license laws and regulations, MLS policies, and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

For most sellers, getting the highest possible price on the best terms is their “best interest,” and maximizing exposure of their property to potential buyers advances that interest. Multiple Listing Services promote the interests of sellers by compiling property information in an orderly manner and distributing that information to MLS participants who have buyer-clients actively seeking to purchase property in the location served by the MLS.

Restricting the marketing of a seller’s property to only small networks, private clubs, or even to national websites without also making it available to other area brokers and agents and their buyer-clients through the MLS results in the property not being exposed to the widest group of potential willing and able buyers, and may not provide the seller the best opportunity to attract offers at the highest price.

It’s important that sellers understand the implications of various ways of marketing the property so that they can knowingly determine the choice that best serves their interests.

If a broker determines that “coming soon” advertising is in the client’s best interest and confirms that the client understands the possible consequences, then it’s imperative for the broker to know the state’s real estate license laws and regulations to ensure that such advertising is in compliance. A broker who fails to comply with state laws and regulations risks facing disciplinary action from licensing authorities, as well as the possibility of litigation from unsatisfied clients.

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Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices | 3 comments