As many of you know, the past 4 years my personal marketing emphasis has been serving the REO and ShortSale markets.  I have encouraged Sellers not needing to sell, and those having no plan on what to do should they sell, to sit on the sidelines and wait for the market to stabilize.  During this time, we have also helped numerous families finally find a home they could love, feel safe in AND afford.

But there was something that happened today that made me want to shake it up a little.  You may remember that I am always loved being a resource to you, but have I done enough for my clients to provide access to me and information that might help them turn a decision into a good decision?

One of my bank clients sent me an order to confirm occupancy on a home that just had completed the foreclosure process and was now becoming REO.  The address sounded very familiar, and I verified with my past client file to find that sure enough I had sold this home to a wonderful couple at the beginning of the new millennium.  I have kept in touch with mailings, and whenever possible we would communicate by phone or in person on a Pop By.  Now they lost their home, and I never was aware of the difficulty they were in.

The reasons do not matter, whether they were caught up in the Refi for better rates, using the home for an ATM machine, or needing their equity for real emergencies, something had gone wrong and they couldn’t keep on going.  With this being so visible and close to home for me, I couldn’t just let this go without offering some insight and possibly some hope.

What caused this to end this way was embarrassment.  It was too embarrassing to this couple to let anyone know until it was too late.  Now added to that is guilt, what if, why, and a variety of other soul robbing questions.   Let me help.

1st, if this is where you find yourself, or your family and friends, STOP, call, let’s meet and consider your options.

2nd, if you are in the rat race of refi, refi refi,.. STOP!  The only one who wins is the lender, not you.

However, having said all that, this is not the end of the world.  Someday, if someone is interested, I will tell Donna’s and my story of what we went through in the 1980’s that nearly cost us our home, business and credit but at the end changed our lives.  Suffice it to say, ‘been there, done that, bought the whole T-shirt collection’.  In other words I know exactly what I am speaking of.

So to this couple and to any others you may know, get up, get in, and let’s get a plan to rebuild.  It took time to lose it, it will take time to regain it, but we will regain if we create a plan that works specifically for you.

But what could we have done differently had someone let me into their private financial affairs? 

One thing I believe every one of the more than 5000 clients I have personally served would attest I gave them my best:  advice, support, knowledge, and fought for them.  I would not have allowed this to happen without an all out assault to provide alternatives.  And there are some.  And in 75%+ of times, they work and stop the foreclosure losses!

We have all heard the terms Loss Mitigation.  This was always available for the seller to attempt to work with the lender to resolve the debt in some other fashion, i.e., rewrite the terms, recast the loan, put off the payments and add to the end of the loan, and other techniques.  While not wildly successful, it is a first step to other alternatives. 

Then there is the granddaddy of all solutions, the Short Sale.  While industry averages of success are around 47%, with our system, our team was able to maintain over 90% success rate in 2009.  As you will remember, I LOVE SYSTEMS THAT WORK, in fact, my whole 35 year career has been based on creating and improving systems that create success for my clients. 

Short Sales, in brief, allow for negotiation with the Lender(s) to accept as Payment in Full the current market price for your home.  There may be more detailed explanations out there, but the best summary is the bank takes what the home can now bring, as payment in full.  And the cost to the seller for commissions, etc., ZERO.  They are included in the loan payoff so there is no out of pocket expense for the fees.

What does this do for you? 

Allows you:

1-       To leave the home with dignity once it is sold, you fully participate in the selling process just as you would if you were a seller with equity in their home. 

2-      There is no strange signage to create embarrassment, no markings on the home targeting you as a troubled owner.

3-      Reduces the negative credit rating received if the home goes thru foreclosure

4-      Returns you to the market as a buyer in much less time (80% faster!)

5-      Did I mention dignity?

Had this young couple been able to face the embarrassment of speaking with me about their issues, I believe we would have had a 90%+ chance of granting them a gracious dignified exit while placing them on the road to ownership in short order.  Ownership that I know would have been handled differently.  Isn’t there an old saying that goes “wisdom is knowledge gained by experience”?  Their ‘case’ was poster perfect of what a lender looks for to see if someone qualifies for such a strong solution.  One similar transaction we just closed on had the 1st and 2nd trust deeds in excess of $394,000 with our final sales price ending up at $157,000 and the banks accepted that as payment in full.

So why am I writing to you?  1 in 8 families in America are behind in their mortgage payments.  In Stockton the numbers are nearer 1-6.  That means you may know someone who could benefit from a no obligation counseling meeting. 

How can you help?  Here are a few suggestions:

1-      Have them visit as a starter

2-      They can then visit my blog on and get to know me a bit.

3-      Let them know my CORE values of work, to serve the client, answer the questions and educate without obligation so as to build trust and how it helped you through the decision process that you went through.

4-      Encourage them to visit with me for 30-60min to ask me any question about the process.  Again, no obligation.

5-      Request some printed materials I can forward to you or your friends/family to start the conversation.

I really believe we are at a crisis in real estate and that there are few who can lead families out of this mess.  I am committed to aggressively doing everything within my power, using the knowledge and life experiences of 35 years in business and more than 5000 home sales, to ensure your family and friends have the best chance. 

Oh yeah, the young couple.  We are currently looking for an investor who will purchase in today’s market, enter into a qualified Lease Option that will benefit both parties fairly.  Total Win-Win.  Interested? J

If I can be of service, please do not hesitate to call or email.