The Secret to Our Success


My wife Donna doesn’t get any publicity here on the blog, but she plays a vital role in the business.  Here is a review of Donna’s recent performance:

Donna Klinge and her husband, Jim, are real estate partners. Jim is the ‘face’ of the agency, I believe — he runs new business, and is who you’d likely work with to find and secure your next home, or sell your next home. And he is fab; I will review him separately.

But I feel the key differentiating reason why one should work with Jim, is because of the over-delivery Donna provides once you are in escrow, and AFTER CLOSING (yes, she continues to work with you after escrow closes).

First, Donna handles all paperwork for your RE transactions the second you ID a property. Her level of organization and savvy exceeds anyone I’ve worked with — in any capacity, let alone real estate. But she goes so, so much further. I will give you my experience as example: My husband and I purchased 2 homes on 1 lot via Jim (which you will see in my review of Jim, I simply would have never found without him, I’m certain). We intend to make rental properties out of them, which is a new experience for us; and even in the best of circumstances, becoming instant landlords of multiple properties is daunting!

Donna handled the inevitable back and forth with the sellers (regarding repairs, timing, moving schedules, etc.) with such objectivity, fairness, and strong ethical consideration, I can only characterize it as admirable.

But on top of her combo objectivity/fairness/ethics, she works with productivity in mind, so every move she makes is done in such a savvy way — she gets what needs doing, done. I feel like I could apply the Donna Klinge Method of Work to my own profession, and my parenting, and be better off for it!

But here is the magic sauce of Jim and Donna. AFTER escrow has closed — a time when most agents have completely turned their attention to the ‘next deal,’ Donna stayed with me. She secured vendors for us for: carpet and baseboard replacement, painting, HVAC, ductwork, electrical, plumbing, etc. Anything the house needed, she helped me either get done, or got me multiple bids to look through. Everything we needed to get our house rental ready, Donna has helped with.  Donna and Jim have such strong credibility with contractors I am certain I could not get these people out to our properties so quickly without their pull on my own. Even if I had the time to procure multiple bids myself, which I don’t, I never could have achieved what she did, in such a short period of time, with such high quality workers.

My family is deeply indebted to both Jim and Donna for helping us achieve a financial goal of ours that has been in the works since I started reading Jim’s blog in 2007. They have materially changed the course of our financial lives and I’m so appreciative, I’ve just written my first online review ever to show it 🙂



Shiller: “Holding Pattern”


For an ivory-tower guy, 70-year old Robert Shiller does pretty good in describing the current environment – a couple of excerpts from this article:


“There’s always reason to worry [about a coming collapse],” Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize–winning economist and co-creator of the S&P/Case Shiller Index, told Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith in the video above. But he is quick to point out one stark difference between today’s housing market and that of 2006. “We’re in a holding pattern right now … People are less excited about buying because they themselves don’t believe [home prices] will be going up a lot. Back in 2006, when the homeownership rate was setting records, people had extravagant expectations.”

“The Fed raised [rates] in December just a quarter of one percent, and plausibly they’ll raise [rates] by another quarter or a half percent, and it may not be a big deal,” said Shiller. “On the other hand, it might be a big deal because we’re in this strange period of near zero interest rates, and if people see it as a major turning point, it could affect home prices.  My opinion is if you want a house, go out and buy it. It’s not an extremely unusual time. There are always risks. ”

Fewer Repeat Buyers, Yet Still Cooking

At first, this article below mentions that there has been 50% fewer repeat home buyers:


Tight credit is making it hard for homeowners to trade up and out of their starter homes, according to findings from the Urban Institute’s latest Chartbook.

Researchers looked at GSE & FHA loans (which made up the majority of the mortgage market except in 2004-2006) and noticed that starting in about mid-2007, the share of first-time home buyers has been consistently between 50% and 60%. Between 2001 and 2007 the share was much lower, with just 40% to 50% of borrowers buying for the first time. They took a closer look to determine if repeat home buying had truly fallen off or if there were just more purchase loans being made by first time home buyers and the same number of repeat buyers still active in the market.

Researchers found that while there were the same number of first-time home buyers in 2001 and 2015 – 1.3 million, there were about ½ as many repeat home buyers: 1.8 million vs. just over 900,000 in 2015.

Repeat home buying took a big tumble and just kept falling after 2007. And it’s no coincidence that this happened at the same time it started to become really difficult to get a mortgage anywhere in the U.S. and hard to build home equity, thanks to dropping home prices.

In spite of fewer repeat buyers, their link to the most recent data showed that San Diego-Carlsbad HPI still went up almost 50% in the last seven years!


They said repeat buyers declined 50% between 2001 and 2015, but we had MORE sales between La Jolla and Carlsbad, in spite of almost 2x the pricing:

NSDCC Detached-Home Annual Stats

Total Number of Listings
Total Number of Sales
Median Sales Price
% chg

Mortgage Rates Dropping

rates sept 27

Are you still thinking about packing it in for 2016?

Mortgage Rates maintained their recent winning streak today, falling for the 5th straight day.  The average lender is now offering the best rates in nearly 2 months.  You’d have to go back early August or late July (depending on the lender) to see a better combination of rate and upfront cost.

Read more here:


Foreclosure Throwback


Homes that were foreclosed back in the day have been re-selling – and someone you know just happens to have an extensive video library!

The original purchase price for this McMansion in Chula Vista was $1,301,500 in 2007, but got foreclosed 20 months later.  The bank listed it for $585,900, and it closed for $630,000 in March, 2009.

This is how it looked then:

It resold again for $965,000 a year ago, and then it closed for $1,275,000 this month.  Here is how it looked:


$880,000,000 in Slush Funds


We’ve seen how bankers have been able to finagle fines instead of jail time for the harm done during the mortgage crisis.  Where did that money go?

Thanks to Art for sending:


Washington, D.C. — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) bipartisan “Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2016” (H.R. 5063) will receive a vote by the full House of Representatives next week.

Introduced by Chairman Goodlatte, this bill bars the Department of Justice (DOJ), and all other government agencies, from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of their settlement agreements with the federal government.

Need for this legislation arose after a 20-month House Judiciary Committee investigation found that DOJ had engaged in a “pattern or practice” of systematically subverting Congress’s Spending Power by using settlements from financial institutions to funnel money to left-wing activist groups. This bill would end this practice and restore accountability to the appropriations process.

Read the full story here:



San Diego Case-Shiller Index, July


The July, 2016 reading of the San Diego Case-Shiller Index was elevated compared to June – just like last year!  The increase this year was somewhat throttled though, and based on how it went in 2015, the San Diego CSI should be fairly quiet over the next six months.

Will sellers be happy to get what the last guy got?

Here are the recent San Diego Non-Seasonally-Adjusted CSI changes:

M-o-M chg
Y-o-Y chg
January ’15
January ’16

The highest reading of the San Diego NSA CSI was 250.34 in November, 2005.

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