Monday, May 18, 2009


After dinner last night I was typing in my Face Book when something picked up my house and plopped it back down again...
I had a glass of wine on my desk and I watched my glass in amazement as it hopped up and righted itself without losing a drop! One of my dogs, however, was not as confident about the situation as my wine glass seemed to be. She threw open the patio screen and tried to fit all 125 pounds of her quivering fur self into my lap, pushing the other dogs and my keyboard and waste basket clean out of her way.

I've lived in Los Angeles for over 30 years (I believe that makes me a native, doesn't it?) I've survived the Northridge Quake, several Long Beach bursts and a host of assorted mini movers and shakers. Each time the drill is the same...quiet the dogs, carefully look around the house for broken glass and eventually venture outdoors to check for any broken pipes or evidence of foundation shifting, fallen trees or shaken neighbors. Here in the South Bay, we have been very blessed. We sit on a good deal of bedrock and have tested our homes' flexibility enough times to feel fairly safe. Of course, Redondo Beach is within Tsunami reach and Palos Verdes has the Long Beach fault running through it (as well as Lomita, Harbor City, San Pedro and Wilmington.) Needless to say, we still catch our breath when the rumbling starts.

I'm a certified CERT member (Community Emergency Response Team) and was trained in Redondo Beach by some of the best fire fighters in Los Angeles County! We completed some drills that would make Grey's Anatomy (the TV program on Thursday nights) look like Romper Room. We learned how to triage the neighborhood and toe tag the casualties. We learned how to shut off gas service to prevent fires and handle water shut offs before broken pipes turn houses into swimming pools. We learned how to store food and supplies and prepare to help others in assorted states of emergency. We learned how to comply with FEMA rules, give first aid, give CPR, use Cribbing, how to use Fire Extinguishers and to work on a hoseline operation.

Of course, non of the above can prepare you emotionally for any actual event but it helps. Those first few crucial moments when your mind snaps into place and fear retreats, come a lot faster with this training. I sincerely suggest that everyone reading my blog consider checking with your local city or county to find a CERT program to prepare you to help yourself, your family, your neighbors and your community in a time of crisis. We know it's coming. We know we must prepare. We should also be conscious that this kind of training may save your life or the lives of your loved ones and all it takes is one night a week for a few weeks. You won't be sorry - you'll be glad you did it.

By the way, they don't train how to catch a Great Pyreness dog flying at you across a room in emotional distress. Call me and I'll give you some pointers!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What is a Certified Distressed Property Expert?

All markets have a certain percentage of homes or homeowners who are distressed. Distressed could reference the condition of the property, the state of the homeowners finances, the reduced value of a property because of poor market conditions...there are many variations. In a healthy market one can expect about 1 to 3% of properties/homeowners to be "distressed." In some areas today, distressed properties may number as many as 1 in 10.

Here in the South Bay area we are quite fortunate. We are experiencing somewhere in the area of 1 in 75 homeowners facing either some loss of income, property in foreclosure (or currently behind in payments) or mortgages adjusting to sometimes double the original monthly payment. Our values have declined but generally only 25 to 35% (varies from city to city.) This is good news for us geographically. For a homeowner who just lost a job and is facing an increase in his/her mortgage payment because of an adjustable rate mortgage at a time when their value has decreased possibly under their loan balance, the news is not so great.
Many times, these homeowners try to work with their lender (loss mitigation departments) to work out a payment plan or rewrite their loans for lower payment amounts (with the owed balance tacked on the back end.) Check Government Site: When the lender can't help and the homeowner must sell the home to avoid foreclosure, my expertise as a Certified Distressed Property Expert applies. In working with a "short sale" (loan balance is higher than market value) the first thing a homeowner must do is put their property on the market. Homeowners must choose a Realtor who has the specific training to work with the lender and help them through this process in the most efficient and painless way possible. Call me for a free confidential consultation to help determine whether you, a friend or a loved one may be a candidate for a "short sale."

In my next few blogs, I will be going through some additional information to help distressed property owners. In the meantime, I will be putting together a new website and will be posting information on the website to answer some of your questions, especially the biggest question regarding FORECLOSURE vs. SHORT SALE.

Call anytime for no obligation information: 310-534-3940