Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Opening day at the Lake signals the first days of summer with deck opening parties, bike trails being open, and boat launching. Ride your bike, carpool, or kayak your way around the North and West Shore. Stop in to get your passport stamped at various locations and be entered to win one of dozens of prizes. It’s your weekend to discover and explore beautiful Lake Tahoe. It’s a Tahoe Tradition!
We are proud to announce that 3 of our Chase International luxury properties have been nominated for the 2014 HGTV Frontdoor Doory Awards!
Please take a moment to VOTE by June 5for our nominees!
(Simply click on the property below, scroll down to the correct listing, and then click LOVE IT.)
Category: Waterfront Homes
Sue Lowe listing agent (click below)
Category: Celebrity Homes
Karen & Tom Bruno listing agent (click below)
By Christina Nellemann
You know you wanna be here, but take that avalanche safety class first before heading into the snowy hills. Photo by Alpenglow Sports
Finally, the next forecast is predicting about a foot more snow in the Tahoe area. Hallelujah! It looks like those snow dances and prayers worked. This might be your best time to get up into the mountains for some Sochi-inspired extreme winter sports. If you’re already an experienced skier or snowboarder, you know what to do, but what if you’re new to mountain snow sports?
Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City will be holding a two-week winter sport festival February 14 – March 2 which will feature clinics, classes, natural history lessons and backcountry ski and snowshoe tours at various locations around North Lake Tahoe including Squaw Valley, Page Meadows, Ward Canyon, Emerald Bay and Homewood.
Each event is geared toward aspiring beginner and intermediate winter sport enthusiasts who want to get more exercise in the high mountains. Alpenglow has teamed up with Nature’s Bakery to offer most of the events for free, but participants are encouraged to register online in advance to ensure they get a spot in their desired clinic or tour.
You can also register for some great giveaways. The events will include guided snowshoe, backcountry and nordic ski tours, cross country skills and wax clinics, AIARE certified field and classroom avalanche safety clinics, and full moon skiing.
Other events will include the Great Ski Race at Tahoe Cross Country, the Wine, Women and Wax clinic, presentations by Mammut athlete Todd Offenbacher and Alpenglow Sports experts on backcountry skiing and avalanche conditions, and a natural history tour with Will Richardson of the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.
Read more at http://www.7×7.com/tahoe/alpenglow-mountain-festival-tahoe
PHOTO: Tourism in the Reno-Tahoe area is at a five-year high. Photo credit: Douglas County, Nevada.
RENO, Nev. – American travelers again seem willing to spend the money to take a business trip or vacation in Northern Nevada.
Chris Baum, president and CEO of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, says last year was the best tourism year in the region since 2008.
He points out a nearly 10 percent room rate increase generated an additional $25 million in taxable room revenue.
And, he says, more tourism should mean more jobs created.
“When your hotel is running two-thirds full you’re able to keep most of your employees on board and keep them busy and occupied,” he says. “So we’re talking about thousands and thousands of jobs.”
Baum maintains more tourism money also helps restaurants, retail and other businesses in the area.
He says his agency does a lot of marketing and advertising to try to boost tourism, but he says it also seems that many Americans are ready to have some fun after years of recession.
“We also find there’s a lot of pent-up demand in the United States from people who haven’t taken a vacation for a couple of years,” he explains. “Even if they get away for a three-day weekend, that’s still a lot more than they were doing three or four years ago.”
Baum says a lot of people visit Northern Nevada to enjoy Lake Tahoe and the outdoor lifestyle of the area.
He stresses tourists come from all over the U.S., but Northern California remains the top market for Reno-Tahoe tourism.
– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-01-28/budget-policy-and-priorities/reno-tahoe-tourism-at-five-year-high/a37145-1#sthash.pyDSWXED.dpuf
You could say that Zari Mansouri’s Lake Tahoe home has views to die for.
“The colors from the west shore are just so spectacular,” she says about the vistas from her roughly 4,100-square-foot Lake Tahoe condo—the same golden hues in Fredo Corleone’s fatal scene in “The Godfather: Part II.”
That scene, in which Fredo, played by the late John Cazale, takes a one-way fishing trip after betraying the family, was filmed in what is now known as Fleur du Lac Estates, a 22-unit condominium development on the western shores of Lake Tahoe, near Homewood, Calif. Originally built in the 1930s by industrialist Henry Kaiser, who was instrumental in the creation of the Hoover Dam, the 15-acre compound was converted in the early 1980s into this gated luxury development.
“I thought, my God, that is so fascinating,” she recalls, but it wasn’t the Corleones that brought her to Lake Tahoe—it was the skiing. As the president and chief executive of Laboratory Skin Care, a business-to-business biotech company in the San Francisco Bay Area, she spent her free time traveling to nearby Squaw Valley Ski Resort, until she finally decided to make Lake Tahoe her primary home. She bought the condo for $4.575 million in 2006, according to public records.
The property also won over WSJ.com readers: Ms. Mansouri’s home received the most votes, 88,957, out of the 897,478 votes cast in the 2013 U.S. House of the Year contest. Ms. Mansouri’s home is on the market for $6.499 million; the other homes in the poll were also on the market at one point during 2013.
For years, Lake Tahoe has attracted affluent buyers from the tech and financial-services industries, including billionaire Larry Ellison, CEO of technology company Oracle Corp. ORCL -2.73% In March, Mr. Ellison listed his 2.6-acre compound on the eastern shore for $28.5 million, according to Jennie Fairchild of Chase International Real Estate. He is building another compound on the north shore’s Incline Village.
“They like the quiet and peaceful serenity” of the western shore.
In 2013, the median sale price of a waterfront home was $4.7 million on the north and west shores of Lake Tahoe, up 20.6% from the previous year.
Despite its prime location, inside the four-bedroom, 4½ bathroom home left something to be desired, says Ms. Mansouri. Before her renovations, a corridor of mirrored walls made the space feel outdated.
“You went into the entry and… you felt like you were mice looking for cheese in a maze,” joked architect Rob Rogers of RWR Art-Architecture in Truckee, Calif., who was part of the team that completed the three-year, $3.5 million renovation project.
For Mr. Rogers, the solution was simple: “What we need to do is blow a hole through the fireplace,” he remembers telling a less-than-enthused Ms. Mansouri. Drastic, perhaps, but efficient, he argued—the hole would create a double-sided fireplace.
“Everybody told us we couldn’t do it,” he says, in part because of the engineering and air-filtration systems required. Today, the roughly 6-foot, 8-inch fireplace (big enough to stand in, they note) is a focal point.
“We certainly weren’t going for typical Tahoe,” says interior designer Justine Ringlien, who incorporated contemporary décor to match the unusual wood finishes, like Sapele mahogany from Africa that was used for flooring. The home features 13 distinct sound zones and wiring for a professional DJ booth. They tore down interior walls and added glass panels on the lakeside for what Mr. Rogers calls the “explosion view,” because of its breadth.
“I’ve had friends who visit who just want to take pictures in that same spot,” she says, referring to a view from the compound that overlooks the scene of the fictional mob hit. In the busy season, tour boats stop near the waters by the private compound for a peek at the development’s “Godfather” history.
Upstairs, Ms. Mansouri kept the focus on the lake, with a master-bedroom suite that includes an all-glass shower. The shower faces the bedroom; a dry sauna is hidden behind a door with a two-way mirror.
“It looked super X-rated,” to have a glass shower in the middle of the bedroom, Mr. Rogers joked, but that wasn’t the intention. (“I wanted a spa bedroom,” Ms. Mansouri says.) The glass shower was designed to extend the views, so that the lake is visible from the vanity mirror.
Her reasons for moving to Fleur du Lac go beyond water views. As a single woman, she says it helped to have maintenance and upkeep handled by the condo development. There is 24-hour security and a concierge-like service that handles requests, such as reserving the original Kaiser family boathouse and yacht club for parties.
Ms. Mansouri says she is one of the few year-round residents of the community, allowing her to enjoy the perks of condo living with the privacy of a single-family home.
Ms. Mansouri says she is selling because she is spending more time near her office in the Bay Area. The home was listed in May 2013 for $6.99 million. Condo fees are $3,900 a month.
This year is ending on a high note with some very good news for REALTORS® and California homeowners and home buyers as I informed you earlier. Good news bears repeating, so let me recap the good news again.
Late last month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it will keep the 2014 maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at $417,000 on one-unit properties in most areas and a cap of $625,500 in high-cost areas. C.A.R. applauds the FHFA for acting lawfully in making the only decision they could by retaining the existing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits. Retaining the higher loan limits is critical to providing liquidity in today’s housing market and is essential to a full housing recovery. Earlier this year, the FHFA announced its intention of lowering the loan limits. Since then, C.A.R. and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) aggressively fought to prevent a reduction in the loan limits. C.A.R. and NAR both have long advocated for retaining the higher conforming loan limits, and as a result of our combined efforts, Congress kept permanent the maximum conforming loan limits at $625,500.
On a related note, in early December, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced it was reducing the loan limit for FHA-insured loans from $729,750 to $625,500 beginning Jan. 1, 2014. As part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008, loan limits for high-cost areas were temporarily raised to $729,750, which C.A.R. and NAR lobbied to maintain. In connection with the loan limit reduction, FHA also reset its metropolitan statistical area (MSA) median home prices used to calculate loan limits. Since 2008, FHA has based its MSA median home prices on the highest median home price for a county over time (which for many counties has meant 2007 home prices, when prices were at a peak). According to FHA’s announcement, FHA believes it must use 2008 price levels. If an area’s median home price has increased since 2008, FHA will use the higher median price. However, home prices in many areas are still below 2007 levels, which have resulted in the drastic reduction of FHA’s MSA median prices. In California, it has resulted in reductions of an average of more than $100,000 statewide.
This is an unprecedented action by FHA. FHA has historically held an area harmless when that area’s median home price declined. While FHA was required to lower maximum loan limits and reduce high-cost area calculation beginning January 1, 2014, C.A.R. does not believe it was required to reset MSA median home prices. C.A.R. is working with NAR to fight the resetting of MSA median home prices. View FHA’s announcement and the new FHA median home prices.
California homeowners who lost their home in a short sale will not be subject to federal or state income tax liability on debt forgiveness “phantom income” they never received, thanks to recent clarifications by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). In November, in a letter to California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized that the debt written off in a short sale does not constitute recourse debt under California law, and thus does not create so-called “cancellation of debt” income to the underwater home seller for federal income tax purposes. Following the IRS’s clarification, C.A.R. sought a similar ruling by the California FTB, with the help of the Board of Equalization (BOE). Now with the FTB’s clarification, underwater home sellers also are assured that they are not subject to state income tax liability, rescuing tens of thousands of distressed home sellers from California tax liability for debt written off by lenders in short sales. We thank Sen. Boxer and BOE member George Runner for their leadership in obtaining this guidance from the IRS and FTB. Distressed California homeowners can now avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy and can opt for a short sale instead, without incurring federal and state tax liability, even after the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expires at the end of this year.
While C.A.R. will not be pursuing SB 30 on the phantom income/debt forgiveness short sale issue, it will explore whether state and/or federal legislation is necessary in connection with loan modifications and certain foreclosure actions. Thanks very much to the thousands of REALTORS® who fought for their clients by responding to C.A.R.’s Red Alert on SB 30.
Lastly, C.A.R. recently has held a number of high profile events to help educate and keep you at the top of your game. Under our Thought Leadership program, which helps C.A.R. position itself as a leading housing organization, we convened an executive roundtable with four leading economists and finance experts to share their insights on market conditions, the financial recovery, mortgage finance, and other housing policy issues. C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer was joined by Professors Janice Eberly, Edward Leamer, David Min, and Richard Green for this private event, and the resulting executive report, “The Future of Housing Finance: Economic and Policy Insights,” is available here.
C.A.R. also gathered some of the brightest minds in real estate for a one-day symposium last month that featured cutting-edge real estate and economic presentations from leading experts in the field. Titled, “Real Estate Voices—The Past, Present and Future of the Real Estate Industry,” the event represented a variety of related disciplines, with 18 presenters providing their insights on the future of the housing market, banking, mortgage finance, the economy, demographics, and more. The fast-paced, “TED Talk-styled” event provided an opportunity for a thought-provoking exchange of ideas and information. Obtain event materials and view videos of the presentations.
Before I close, I want to tell you how excited I am to serve as your President in 2014. I hope you will join me and get involved with C.A.R. next year. I look forward to working with you!
Have a very safe and joyous holiday and a Happy New Year.
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
San Francisco Mansion With Secret Bar Asks $27 Million
Ricky Martin lists a Manhattan apartment for $8.3 million; a British Virgin Islands estate goes on the market for $15 million; a Miami Beach spec house gets a $23.5 million price tag
Prices start at $80 million!
London is making history once again, this time in the realm of real estate: The capital now has more homes on the market listed for £50 million or more than at any other time on record, according to one new study. That’s $80 million for those across the pond.
California Homeowner Bill of
Rights Becomes Law
All eyes in the nation now turn to California as Governor
Jerry Brown signed into law today the Homeowner Bill of Rights to help
struggling Californians keep their homes. This law aims to avoid
foreclosure where possible to help stabilize California’s housing
market and prevent the other negative effects of foreclosures on
families, communities, and the economy. The new law will generally
prohibit lenders from engaging in dual tracking, require a single point
of contact for borrowers seeking foreclosure prevention alternatives,
provide borrowers with certain safeguards during the foreclosure
process, and provide borrowers with the right to sue lenders for
material violations of this law.
is a summary of the key provisions of the Homeowner Bill of Rights that
may affect California’s REALTORS® and their clients. The full text of
this law, also known as Assembly Bill 278 and Senate Bill 900, is
available at www.leginfo.ca.gov.
Applicability of the Law: This law will generally
come into effect on January 1, 2013. It only pertains to first trust
deeds secured by owner-occupied properties with one-to-four residential
units, unless otherwise indicated below. “Owner-occupied”
means the property is the principal residence of the borrower and
secured by a loan made for personal, family, or household purposes (CC
2924.15). A “borrower” under this law must generally be a
natural person and potentially eligible for a foreclosure prevention
alternative program offered by the mortgage servicer, but not someone
who has filed bankruptcy, surrendered the secured property, or
contracted with an organization primarily engaged in the business of
advising people how to extend the foreclosure process and avoid their
contractual obligations (CC 2920.5(c)). A “foreclosure prevention
alternative” is defined as a first lien loan modification or
another available loss mitigation option, including short
sales (CC 2920.5(b)). Some of the requirements of this law do not
apply to “smaller banks” that, during the preceding annual
reporting period, foreclosed on 175 or fewer properties with
one-to-four residential units (CC 2924.18(b)).
No Dual Tracking During Short Sale: A mortgage
servicer or lender cannot record a notice of default or notice of sale,
or conduct a trustee’s sale, if a foreclosure prevention alternative
has been approved in writing by all parties (e.g., first lien investor,
junior lienholder, and mortgage insurer as applicable), and proof of
funds or financing has been provided to the servicer. This requirement
expires on January 1, 2018. Effective January 1, 2018, a lender or
mortgage servicer cannot record a notice of sale or conduct a trustee’s
sale if the borrower’s complete application for a foreclosure
prevention alternative is pending, and until the borrower has been
given a written determination by the mortgage servicer. Smaller
banks are only covered by the requirements taking effect in 2018.
Cancelling a Pending Trustee’s Sale: A mortgage
servicer must rescind or cancel any pending trustee’s sale if a short
sale has been approved by all parties (e.g., first lien investor,
junior lienholder, and mortgage insurer as applicable), and proof of
funds or financing has been provided to the lender or authorized agent.
For other types of foreclosure prevention alternatives, a lender must
record a rescission of a notice of default or cancel a pending
trustee’s sale if a borrower executes a permanent foreclosure prevention
alternative. These requirements do not apply to smaller banks, and will
sunset on January 1, 2018. CC 2924.11.
Providing a Single Point of Contact: For a
borrower requesting a foreclosure prevention alternative, the mortgage
servicer must, upon the borrower’s request, promptly establish and
provide a direct means of communication with a single point of contact.
The single point of contact must remain assigned to the borrower’s
account until all loss mitigation options offered by the mortgage servicer
are exhausted or the borrower’s account becomes current. The single
point of contact must be an individual or team responsible for, among
other things, coordinating the application for the foreclosure
prevention alternative, giving timely and accurate status reports,
having access to those with the ability and authority to stop
foreclosure proceedings, and referring the borrower to a supervisor if
any upon the borrower’s request. Each team member must be knowledgeable
about a borrower’s situation and current status in the foreclosure
alternatives process. These requirements do not apply to smaller banks
as defined. CC 2923.7.
No Dual Tracking During Loan Modification: A
mortgage servicer generally cannot record a notice of default, notice
of sale, or conduct a trustee’s sale for a nonjudicial foreclosure if
the borrower’s complete application for a first lien loan modification
is pending as specified, or if a borrower is in compliance with the
terms of a written trial or permanent loan modification, forbearance,
or repayment plan. The borrower will have 30 days to appeal the denial
of a loan modification, and the mortgage service cannot proceed with
the above foreclosure steps until 31 days after giving the borrower a
written denial of a loan modification, or longer if the borrower
appeals the denial. To prevent abuse of this provision, however, a
mortgage servicer is not obligated to evaluate a first lien loan
modification application from a borrower who has previously been
evaluated before 2013, or given a fair opportunity to be evaluated,
unless the borrower submits a documented material change in the
borrower’s financial circumstances. These specific requirements expire
on January 1, 2018 at which time, as stated above, a lender or mortgage
servicer will be prohibited from recording a notice of sale or
conducting a trustee’s sale if the borrower’s complete application for
a foreclosure prevention alternative is pending, and until the borrower
has been given a written determination by the mortgage servicer. Smaller
banks are only covered under the requirements commencing in 2018. CC
2923.6 and 2924.11.
No Late Fees or Application Fees: A mortgage
servicer cannot collect any late fees while a complete first lien loan
modification application is under consideration, a denial is being
appealed, the borrower is making timely modification payments, or a
foreclosure prevention alternative is being evaluated or
exercised. A mortgage servicer is also prohibited from charging
for any application, processing, or other fee for a first lien loan
modification or other foreclosure prevention alternative. These
requirements do not apply to smaller banks as defined. These
requirements will sunset on January 1, 2018. CC 2924.11.
Additional Loan Modification Safeguards: Until
January 1, 2018, a mortgage servicer must provide written
acknowledgment of receipt within five business days of a borrower’s
submission of a complete first lien modification application or any
document in connection with a first lien modification application. The
acknowledgement of receipt must provide a description of the loan
modification process, including an estimated timeframe for the mortgage
servicer to decide, other timeframes, and any deficiencies in the
borrower’s application. CC 2924.10. Furthermore, effective January 1,
2013 with no expiration date, if a first lien loan modification is
denied, a mortgage service must send a written notice to the borrower
with the reasons for denial and additional information as specified. On
January 1, 2018, the required content of the denial letter will change
to comport with other changes that will take effect. Smaller banks need
not comply with these requirements until January 1, 2018. CC 2923.6 and
Binding if Loan is Transferred: Any written approval
for a foreclosure prevention alternative shall be honored by a
subsequent mortgage servicer in the event the borrower’s loan is
transferred or sold. This requirement does not apply to smaller banks.
This requirement will expire on January 1, 2018. CC 2924.11.
Lender Required to Review Foreclosure Documents:
No entity can record a notice of default or otherwise initiate the
foreclosure process, except for the holder of the beneficial interest
under the deed of trust, an authorized designated agent of the holder
of the beneficial interest, or the original or substituted trustee
under the deed of trust. Furthermore, a mortgage servicer must ensure
that certain foreclosure documents are accurate and complete, and
supported by competent and reliable evidence. Those foreclosure
documents are the initial contact declaration, notice of default,
notice of sale, assignment of deed of trust, substitution of trustee,
and declarations and affidavits filed in a judicial foreclosure
proceeding. A mortgage servicer must, before recording or filing these
documents, review competent and reliable evidence substantiating a
borrower’s default and the right to foreclose. The above provisions
have no expiration date. However, until January 1, 2018, any mortgage
servicer who engages in multiple and repeated uncorrected violations of
its obligation to review foreclosure documents shall be liable for a
civil penalty up to $7,500 per deed of trust in an action brought by
the Attorney General, district attorney, or city attorney, or in an
administrative proceeding brought by the DRE, DOC, or DFI against a
respective licensee (see below for a borrower’s legal remedies). These
provisions apply to all trust deeds, regardless of occupancy or number
of units. CC 2924(a)(6) and 2924.17.
Extending Initial Contact Requirement: Existing
law requiring a lender to contact a borrower 30 days before initiating
foreclosure has been modified as well as extended with no expiration
date. Originally set to expire on January 1, 2013, this provision generally
prohibits a mortgage servicer or lender from recording a notice of
default until 30 days after the lender or mortgage servicer contacts
the borrower in person or by telephone to assess the borrower’s
financial situation and explore options for avoiding foreclosure.
During the initial contact, the mortgage servicer must advise the
borrower of the right to request a subsequent meeting within 14 days,
and provide a toll-free number to find a HUD-certified housing
counseling agency. Any meeting may occur telephonically. Instead of
directly contacting the borrower, a mortgage servicer can satisfy due
diligence requirements in the manner specified. A notice of default
must include a declaration that the mortgage servicer has complied with
or is exempt from this initial contact requirement. An existing
requirement for a declaration in the notice of sale will be eliminated.
Until January 1, 2013, this law generally applies to loans made from
2003 to 2007 secured by owner-occupied residential properties with one-to-four
units, whereas starting January 1, 2013, this law will generally apply
to first trust deeds secured by owner-occupied residential properties
with one-to-four units. CC 2923.5 and 2923.55.
Notifying Borrower Before NOD: A mortgage
servicer cannot record a notice of default for a nonjudicial
foreclosure until the mortgage servicer informs the borrower of the
borrower’s right to: (1) request copies of the promissory note, deed of
trust, payment history, and assignment of loan if any to demonstrate
the mortgage servicer’s right to foreclose; and (2) certain protections
under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act if the borrower is a service
member or dependent. This requirement does not pertain to smaller banks
as defined. This requirement expires on January 1, 2018. CC 2923.55.
Notifying Borrower After NOD: Within 5 business
days after recording a notice of default, a mortgage servicer must
generally send a written notice to the borrower on how to apply for the
mortgage servicer’s foreclosure prevention alternatives if any. This
notice is not required if the borrower has previously exhausted the
first lien loan modification process offered by the mortgage servicer
as specified. This requirement does not apply to smaller banks as
defined. This requirement shall sunset on January 1, 2018. CC 2924.9.
Postponing a Trustee’s Sale: Whenever a
trustee’s sale is postponed for at least 10 business days, the lender
or authorized agent must provide written notice of the new sale date
and time to the borrower within five business days after the
postponement. However, any failure to comply with this requirement will
not invalidate any trustee’s sale that would otherwise be valid. This
requirement applies to all trust deeds, regardless of occupancy or
number of units. This requirement shall sunset on January 1, 2018. CC
Legal Remedies for Borrowers: A borrower may
generally bring a private right of action to enjoin or stop a trustee’s
sale until the mortgage servicer has corrected certain material violations
of this law. If a trustee’s deed has already been recorded, the
borrower may recover actual monetary damages for certain material
violations. For intentional and reckless violations by the mortgage
servicer, the borrower may recover treble actual damages or $50,000,
whichever is greater. A prevailing borrower who is awarded relief under
this provision can also recover reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Certain violations by a person licensed by the DRE, DOC, or DFI are
deemed violations of that person’s licensing laws. These provisions do
not apply to smaller banks until 2018. CC 2924.12. C.A.R. opposed this
provision because of our concern for bad faith claims, but the
Legislature was not convinced.
Lender’s Standard of Care to Investors: The
Legislature intends for a mortgage servicer to offer the borrower a
loan modification or workout plan in accordance with the mortgage
servicer’s contractual or other authority. Any duty a mortgage servicer
has to maximize net present value under a pooling and servicing
agreement is owed to all investors, not any particular investor. A
mortgage servicer will be deemed as acting in the best interest of all
investor if it implements a loan modification or workout plan in
accordance with certain specified parameters. CC 2923.6.
Published: May 17, 2012
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Wealth is here if you know where to find it.
Fabulous home theaters are tucked into the basements of plain suburban houses. The hand-painted Italian bicycles that flash across Silicon Valley on Saturday mornings have become the new Ferrari — and only the cognoscenti could imagine that they cost more than $20,000.
Even at Facebook, ground zero for the nouveau tech riche, peer pressure dictates that consumption be kept on the down low.
“The message here is, ‘Keep shipping product,’ ” said a Facebook executive who requested anonymity while discussing internal matters. “If someone buys a fancy car and posts a picture of it, they get ridiculed and berated.”
The company disclosed on Thursday that on the eve of its stock market debut it was inviting employees to a hackathon, or marathon programming session, bringing new meaning to the term overnight millionaire. The event is more likely to be fueled by Red Bull than Dom Pérignon.
Make no mistake. In this, Silicon Valley’s gilded age, money is chasing money. Lucrative salaries and stock options are dangled to recruit or hold onto engineers. The shares of established companies like Apple have soared. And Facebook itself has turned to Wall Street for a vast infusion of fresh funds.
But here in one of the richest corners of the country, the tech elite display an ambivalent, sometimes contradictory approach to wealth. Money, as one scholar of the Valley described it, is treated as a measuring stick, gauging the power of the companies that entrepreneurs have built, rather than a thing to display.
“They use it as a way of keeping score — how disruptive can you be in reordering the market,” said Ted Zoller, a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and a scholar of entrepreneurship.
Money, of course, still matters deeply to this crowd. “It is a means to do more, to make more money and ultimately build more,” Mr. Zoller said.
The one money matter that most Internet millionaires talk about openly is what start-ups they are investing in next. Expect many more such investments from Facebook executives. Indeed, that might be where the biggest chunk of their new wealth will go.
Off the corporate campuses and out of public view, it seems, there is little anxiety about spending. Friends of Facebook employees say that they have talked about buying houses, of course, but also planes — a seaplane even — and works by popular artists like Banksy, whose pieces can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just do not expect them to post about any of that on their Facebook pages.
To understand the contradictions of moneymaking in the Valley, it is instructive to look at another landmark public offering: Google in the summer of 2004. Just before it went public, a senior manager holding a baseball bat lectured a roomful of Google employees: Anyone who dared show up to work in a flashy sports car would soon find its windows shattered. The story is part of Valley lore. But it is also well known that the company’s three top executives have a collection of eight private jets, parked in a NASA hangar.
Some tech celebrities, of course, are known for being flashy. Both Lawrence J. Ellison, chief executive of Oracle, and Sean Parker, an early Facebook executive, have storied, lavish lifestyles. But there are many more who stick with the conceit of understatement. For example, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, is building a house in exclusive Menlo Park — much of it underground, hidden from view.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, sets the tone at the company with his trademark rumpled hoodies that display no obvious brand name. He spent $7 million on a large but nondescript home in Palo Alto, a suburb so expensive that even a small, no-frills house easily goes for $1.5 million these days.
In a letter to would-be shareholders when the company filed to go public, Mr. Zuckerberg summed up his corporate philosophy this way: “Simply put, we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.”
Although he has not articulated it with an office memo or a baseball bat, it is understood, say Facebook employees and their friends, that Mr. Zuckerberg would find it uncool for one of his underlings to drive a Lamborghini to the office.
Quentin Hardy and Nick Bilton contributed reporting.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: May 18, 2012
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the jeans favored by Mr. Dorsey, a Twitter founder. While he wears jeans by the designer Scott Morrison, he does not own a pair of Mr. Morrison’s $1,200 custom model.
strong>Our annual look at the prospects for U.S. luxury real estate in the coming year sees a fragmented recovery, with steady improvement at the high end.
By Camilla McLaughlin
In an increasingly uncertain world, real estate is emerging as one of the few sure things. We’ve seen a growing reversal of sentiment regarding real estate. Scarcely two years ago, buying real property seemed the biggest gamble in town. Today, especially for the wealthy, real estate is emerging as one of the few sure things. Prices at historic lows translate into once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunities, whether computed by dollars or the ability to acquire a platinum residence in a prized location. Tired of watching and waiting, with a keen eye toward value, a growing number of affluent consumers are ready to jump back into the market. In 2011, a number did, and these fundamentals, along with uncertainty in both the stock market and global economies, make the outlook for luxury real estate in 2012 at least as good as — but perhaps better than — 2011.
Affluent buyers are viewing real estate as a good long-term investment at current prices and an attractive alternative to the volatility of the stock market, observes Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for Northern California.
“While affluent consumers are watching to see what will happen with the global economic situation, many seem concerned that they will miss out on low prices and low interest rates and they are tired of putting purchases on hold,” says Laurie Moore-Moore, founder and CEO of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “Some are still shifting dollars from other investments into residential real estate in the belief that long term it will be a good investment.”
Blockbuster sales such as the $85 million Spelling Manor in Holmby Hills, Calif., or the $100 million mansion in Los Altos Hills, Calif., generate headlines, but the real story of luxury real estate in 2011 can be seen in high-end markets all over the country. In Sarasota, Fla.: “Our inventory is at record low levels, down to pre-2005 levels,” observes Michael Saunders, founder and CEO of Michael Sanders Company. In Atlanta: $1 million-plus sales increased by 24 percent in the third quarter while days on market went down 26 percent. In the Hamptons: Homes priced at $5 million or up sold at pre-recession rates.
“While total U.S. home sales fell about 13.7 percent in the first half of this year, activity declined less or even increased in many high-end ZIP codes,” reports San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks home sales nationally. “Nearly 45 percent of a group of affluent ZIP codes, those with a median sale price of $800,000 or more in the last two years, saw sales rise in the first half of this year compared with last.”
More than a few properties closed well above the $20 million mark in a range of locations. More importantly, what occurred was a steady — sometimes slow, sometimes not so slow, depending on the location — rise in the number of overall sales, particularly above $3 million.
“Looking back, 2011 has really been a better year for us,” says Philip White, president and COO of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates. “Our sides are up significantly year over year. Prices are relatively flat compared to last year. Last year (2010) was a notable year in terms of the higher end market, but that was coming off a bad year. Statistically, 2010 was up over 2009 because 2009 was so bad.”
In an Institute for Luxury Home Marketing survey of U.S. agents in the $1 million-plus market, 77 percent reported an increase in luxury activity in 2011 over 2010. Internationally, sales are up as well, according to a recent Christie’s International Real Estate survey. Roughly, 67.5 percent of member brokerages responding reported an increase in buyer activity for the first eight months of 2011.
Sellers coming to grips with the realities of the current market became the tipping point in many places. “You can’t put a strategic price on a property that you are going to move down from. You’ve got to be very sensitive to what brokers are telling you it should be,” advises Robert Borden, chairman of the board and chief residential advisor at LandVest.
Miami showed substantially more growth than any other market in 2011, but by fall, other Florida locations were beginning to show signs of revival. “The Florida population is increasing, unemployment is decreasing and we are seeing more corporate group moves. Real estate unit sales are up, including $1 million plus,” observes Betty Graham, president of Previews International for Coldwell Banker NRT.
Speaking about the 2011 market at the National Association of Realtors annual conference, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun underscored the contradictions in the current market. Although homes are more affordable than at possibly any other time, there has been no appreciable uptick in overall sales. “The Fed wants to stimulate lending, but it’s hard to get loans approved,” he observed. Consumer confidence still registers at low levels, although jobs are picking up. The litany of positives for real estate, according to Yun, include a slowing of price depreciation, a decrease in the inventory of newly foreclosed homes, and, in many areas, the number of for-sale properties is trending down.
In some places, including those hardest hit by the downturn, inventories are approaching lows that haven’t been seen for years. Add to that a growing understanding among consumers, especially high-net-worth individuals, that the time to buy is now. “The smart money is coming back to the market,” says John Turco with Prudential Florida Realty of Naples, Fla. “I have never seen the Naples market take off like it has. Our market started to improve about five months ago. Our inventory is off by at least 60 percent from last year.”
In Paradise Valley and North Scottsdale, Ariz., the number of homes for sale holds steady while per-square-foot prices are trending upward, reports Tom Pelliteri with RE/MAX Excalibur Realty. In Houston, Keller Williams Realty agents see money on the sidelines beginning to venture back into the market and a pent-up demand for homes in the $1 million to $1.5 million range. And in Miami, “The market has definitely been on an upswing. We are closing $250 million this year,” says Jill Eber, with The Jills Team at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.
At year-end, a growing number of reports such as these from luxury enclaves all over the country paint a picture of high-end markets stabilizing and, in some instances, improving. Not only are luxury properties selling in more locations but brokers tell us they have even more sales pending. “Big properties are under negotiations now,” says Eber.
“High-end deals are coming together in a lot of the major urban markets,” observes Paul Boomsma, president of Luxury Portfolio International and COO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
Seattle broker John Brian Losh, who is also the publisher of LuxuryRealEstate.com, acknowledges increased sales, but also notes reduced prices. “Transactions started to happen pretty consistently throughout the year, but prices are much lower. Properties are selling, but at bargain prices.” Moore-Moore agrees. “Luxury buyers relish the art of the deal. They are value conscious and are looking to buy future profitability by buying smart.”
The big story for the high-end market in 2011 was foreign buyers. They only account for approximately 5 percent of U.S. sales, but as prices and the rarity of a property increase, so too does interest from buyers outside the U.S. Also important is the appeal of an area. In Florida, 25 percent of all sales from June 2010 to June 2011 were to foreign buyers, particularly Canadians, Brazilians and Venezuelans.
The hottest markets are global destinations such as Beverly Hills and New York that attract international and domestic buyers. Foreign buyers buoyed Miami’s record year. Here, cash transactions, favored by foreign buyers, accounted for 43 percent of single-family and 77 percent of condominium sales in October. Nationally, only about 29 percent of sales are all cash.
“International buyers look to the U.S. as stable politically, a safe haven for money, offering a desirable lifestyle, and on sale! They will continue to invest in U.S. luxury homes,” says Moore-Moore.
This year, other places including San Antonio, Vail, Atlanta and Chicago report growing interest from outside the U.S. Houston, according to Bruce Kink at Keller Williams Metropolitan, has seen an increase in buyers from Latin America, China, Japan and Russia.
There are no indications that this interest will slack off in 2012. “So far we’re seeing great things happen. We’re so busy showing things it’s hard to keep up. We have people coming from out of the country and not just in the summer time now,” Beverly Hills agent Jade Mills said in early December. Mills, with Coldwell Banker Previews International, is ranked as the No. 2 real estate agent in the world. Particularly notable, she says, is the number of buyers from Russia, China and Indonesia looking in Los Angeles’ famed Westside neighborhoods.
And rather than putting a damper on sales, the economic turmoil in Europe is only enhancing the cachet of U.S. properties. “No one really knows what’s exactly going on in Europe and that’s disconcerting, but on the other hand that makes U.S. real estate more attractive,” says Losh.
“A lot of people in the world are still more confident about our economy overall than their own,” says Boomsma. “Most of the world still sees the U.S. as a safe haven for investment, for property rights and ownership.”
Still, assessing the market — and even categorizing the recovery — continues to be complicated. Many local markets continue to struggle, which means that in spite of promising indicators, crystal balls this year are apt to be a little fuzzy. “The country and the luxury space are becoming more fragmented so it’s harder and harder to make not only a global statement, but to make a national statement,” comments Boomsma.
“In 2011, the luxury market continued its recovery overall, although each market continued to deal with its unique situation,” says Kathy Neu, president of Luxury Homes by Keller Williams. “Based on what we hear from industry experts and our associates, this trend will continue in 2012 as buyers take advantage of the opportunities in the recovering market.”
Looking ahead, Graham sees more positives for Florida, including, “expectations that the widening of the Panama Canal will increase commerce.”
John Tuccillo, former NAR chief economist and current chief economist for the Florida Association of Realtors, cautions, “The recovery will be long, but it is a recovery. I think that we are past the bottom, but the slope up is not very steep — or won’t be until we can create more jobs.”
Looming for 2012 also are a number of potential bumps along the road to recovery. One is the presidential election, which Losh describes as the proverbial elephant in the room. “Traditionally, election years are good for business. I think activity will remain the same if not pick up. But this is an extraordinarily long recession, so that could change things,” he says.
Other wild cards include potential changes in tax laws, including potential cuts to the mortgage interest tax deduction. The lower end of luxury, under $2 million, has not experienced the same uptick as the higher prices. This is the price bracket that is also most affected by constraints from lenders and from changes to loan limits for conforming loans that took place earlier this year.
Don’t be surprised to see more distressed sales of high-end properties, says Moore-Moore, as more owners lose upscale homes and others choose strategic default as an option. “As of the fall of 2011, 2.3 percent of homes in foreclosure were $1 million property. Expect this level to hold for 2012,” she says. However, these sales might also offer an opportunity for new luxury buyers to move into the market, shares Rob Aigner with Keller Williams Beverly Hills.
Will 2012 end better than it started? “I’m betting we’ll see the number of luxury home sales going strong at the end of 2012,” concludes Moore-Moore. “Prices will still be under pressure as we work through high-end short sales and foreclosures. Will 2012 be a good time to buy upper-tier homes? Absolutely. Qualified prospects will find plentiful inventory and good value.”
November 19 – 20, 2011
It’s your best opportunity to speak directly with ski,
snowboard and travel experts with great season pass deals & show specials.
Saturday November 19 • 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday November 20 •
11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sacramento Ski & Snowboard Festival™ Is Sacramento’s largest
annual ski and snowboard show and sale. Exhibitor and Sponsor booths showcase
winter all under one roof.
Free lift ticket offer, or 2 for 1 lift tickets to one of
six Tahoe Resorts. Up to $82 value just for coming!
Money saving Resort Show Specials and over $1 Million
Dollars of brand-name gear all on sale at up to 70% off. Plus, show sponsors
join in by offering FREE entertainment – Sierra-at-Tahoe® Ski Lessons right at
the show, Climbing Wall and more, with lift tickets and prizes for all ages!
Two days only, November 19-20, 2011, Sacramento Ski &
Snowboard Festival™ is the best chance to speak directly with all the experts
who can save you money and start your ski or snowboard season off right.
New for the 2011, we’ve partnered with award winning
filmmakers Teton Gravity Research and Matchstick Productions to host TWO ski
movie premiere nights at the Silicon Valley Ski & Snowboard Festival. Fans
will have the chance to watch TGR’s“One for the Road” on Friday night, Nov.
11th. Everyone that purchases a movie ticket will also go home with a FREE
Alpine Meadows lift ticket valid Sun.-Fri. (no Saturdays) all season long!! You
must attend the movie to claim your free lift ticket.
And watch MSP’s “Attack of La Nina” on Saturday night, Nov.
12th. Everyone that purchases a movie ticket will also go home with a FREE
Sugar Bowl lift ticket valid Sun.-Fri. (no Saturdays) all season long!! You
must attend the movie to claim your free lift ticket.
– Friday Night
Convention Center Theater
TGR – “One for the Road”
Friday, Nov. 11
– Saturday Night
Convention Center Theater
MSP – “Attack of La Nina”
Saturday, Nov. 12
At the core of the San Francisco and Silicon Valley Ski and Snowboard Festivals lie our passion and love for the mountains. Spend two days exploring gear manufacturer booths, interactive ski resort exhibits, and the biggest winter sale you’ve ever seen.
Come see us this weekend at the Hyatt in Santa Clara! Want free admission? Contact us to be placed on the “Will Call” list!
Daily Real Estate News | July 14, 2011 |
1 Million Foreclosures Delayed Until 2012
An estimated 1 million foreclosure-related notices
for defaults, auctions, and home repossessions that should be filed by lenders
this year will be pushed back until next year, according to the latest report by
While the delays could give
home owners more time to catch up on their payments and try to avoid
foreclosure, housing experts warn this means the looming shadow inventory of
distressed properties likely will continue to plague the real estate market even
“The best-case scenario is we
don’t get back to normal levels of foreclosure activity until 2015, which means
the housing market recovery gets delayed by at least a year,” says Rick Sharga,
a senior vice president at RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure Notices Drop, Threat Still Looms
Overall, the number of homes repossessed by lenders in the
first half of this year dropped 30 percent compared to the same period in 2010.
But foreclosure processing delays — with lenders taking longer to
take action against delinquent borrowers
— is stalling the
housing recovery, experts note.
million homes received a foreclosure-related notice in the first six months of
this year —
in other words, one in every 111 U.S. households,
Nevada continues to
face the most foreclosures; one in every 21 households in that state received a
foreclosure notice in the first half of the year.
The foreclosure process continues to lengthen too. From April and
June, homes took 318 days on average to go from the first stage of foreclosure
to ultimately where it was repossessed by the lender — that’s up from 298 days in the first three months of the year. (In
New York, the foreclosure process took the longest at an average of 966 days or
2.6 years; Texas boasted the shortest at 92 days.)
Source: “Delays in Bank Processing Push Likely
U.S. Foreclosures Until 2012, Stalling Recovery,” Associated Press (July 14, 2011)