Archive for the ‘Short Sale’ Category


I was talking to some business associates yesterday and we were discussing QRPs. QRP is an acronym for Qualified Retirement Plan. I stressed most people know what these are and use them to their full capacity. My colleague said I wouldn’t believe how many do not know what they are or how to use them. I joked I should blog about that very topic. So here I am with a short snippet on QRPs.

Tiburon Golden Gate BridgeI was in a short sale real estate transaction and the lender requested the seller’s 401k (retirement) statement. I was shocked because that rarely happens in the many short sale transactions I’ve been involved in as an agent. The seller was sure he didn’t have one. I pointed out a deduction was being made every paycheck to his 401k account. (Maybe my colleague was correct after all.) It took him a while to get it to me since he never viewed it online and had no username or password.

401k_eggOnce I had it in hand, I decided to take a peek. His 401k had different options for allocation (where to place the balance of funds deposited). Normally, there are options for all levels of risk: low, high, medium, a money market fund (similar to a savings account) and a stock purchase (depending on the type of company you’re working for). Anyway back to my seller, most of his money was in the lowest performing least risk option. He was younger that I was and if it were me I would put more into high risk, stocks and some in my money market. I would try to make the most money I could In higher performing allocations while I was young and could still make the money back if I were hit with a large loss in the stock market. As I am aging I would go for a more moderate risk. I felt bad that he had no idea what was going on in his financial life. How many others out there are heading for a scary retirement because they didn’t make the most of their retirement while they were young?

I wish I would have read a blog like this when I was in my 20s because I would have make significant changes. I remember working for a large banking institution. I was 21 or so and not very financially savvy. My employer XYZ Bank put me into a 401k plan once I became a salaried employee. I received my first quarterly statement and I was totally confused. How dare they take money out of my account? Typical 20 year old, right? And then retirement was the furthest thing from my mind.

401KThen I started comparing my statement to others in my department. My supervisor had a lot of money in hers but I also noticed every quarter it was increasing substantially. So I asked her what she was doing to make her account grow rapidly. She looked at my allocations and let me know that putting more money in would help but also changing my allocation. By putting a larger amount in something with a higher payout and increased risk, I would see a substantial change. Then I asked should I change my allocation since this is where the company placed me. She said companies start everyone in an allocation that involved the least risk. Based upon our own research, we can change our allocation however we desire. Once I made the changes I saw a whole new world by the next quarter. I was making a lot more money every quarter.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Your employer may offer you a 401k, 403b, etc to make tax free deposit for retirement.
  2. You should have a statement at minimum quarterly. Otherwise find out how to access your account online.
  3. Make sure your money is diversified (spread into different sections) and not lumped into one account.
  4. If you are self-employed, look at SEP-IRA, Roth IRA or Keogh.
  5. Do not withdraw funds before you are 59 and ½ years old to avoid fees and penalties.
  6. Under some circumstances you can take a loan against your retirement account to make a home purchase or an emergency.

I will go into more detail in the next post.

Talk to you soon,

(510) 717-0094


Read Full Post »

A few more stores will be added to FootHill Square Shopping Center. On the horizon are several new stores: Ross Dress4Less, Foods Co (the Ralph’s/Kroger grocery chain), Anna’s Linens and Subway Restaurant. Initially, I knew about Ross and Subway. Foods Co is a wonderful addition to the FootHill Square redevelopment model. There is ample parking and the mall is easily accessible from I-580 freeway.

To buy homes surrounding FootHill Square, click here.

Driving past Foothill Square has been heart breaking FootHill Square has been a commercial ghost town for a number of years. Albertson’s closed and that eliminated a large grocery chain for many residents in the hills and the San Leandro border. After losing Albertson’s, Walgreens closed its doors. Pizza Hut and Churches Chicken followed suit and closed their retail locations.

Many of the current stores are scattered in the shopping mall have moved to one side to start the construction of Ross Dress For Less. Ross Dress For Less is speculated for the end of summer 2012.

Home values should increase with the addition of new stores attracting more revenue and positive interest in the community. I’m also looking forward to increased job growth in Oakland. Let’s patronize these new stores in FootHill Square and bring revenue back to Oakland. Foothill Square is located at 10700 Foothill Oakland, CA 94605.

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner (510) 712-6537 Leona@LeonaTurner.com

See listings in your area at: www.ISellSanLeandroHomes.com

Like Bay Area Real Estate Today on FaceBook www.FaceBook.com/BayAreaRealEstateToday

Read Full Post »

East Oakland welcomes a new CVS Pharmacy at the Eastmont Mall. This is a welcome change to this area. After speaking with the manager, Sunny, he said the scheduled grand opening is Sunday, April 5, 2012. I spoke with local area resident and she’s extremely excited about the new pharmacy. For many living in East Oakland, including myself, it’s difficult to find commercial, big box type stores in close proximity. The nearest CVS is on East 14th St in San Leandro.

This CVS is large with ample parking and a drive-thru pharmacy.

I would love to see a rejuvenation of Eastmont Mall, similar to Bay Fair Mall in San Leandro. Bay Fair has great big box stores like Staples, Kohl’s, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and several restaurants. A few great restaurants, an Office Depot, and a K-mart or Target would bring monetary benefits to East Oakland.

My pet peeve is the lack of grocery chains in East Oakland. Over the years, we have lost Lucky and Safeway. Where is WinCo, Foods Co, Food4Less, or the new Maxx Foods in Macarthur and 39th Ave? I’m thankful to Gazzali’s Market for stepping up to the plate to give local residents somewhere to buy groceries.

Currently, Eastmont Mall has two clothing stores, a gas station, Subway, Taco Bell, Burger King, Sheik (shoe store) , Bank of America, East Oakland Branch Public Library, Gazzali’s Market, DD’s, McDonald’s, Auto Parts and a few other small stores and county offices.

Let’s patronize East Oakland’s CVS Pharmacy at 7200 Bancroft Ave.

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner (510) 712-6537 Leona@LeonaTurner.com

See listings in your area at: www.ISellSanLeandroHomes.com

Like Bay Area Real Estate Today on FaceBook www.FaceBook.com/BayAreaRealEstateToday

Read Full Post »

What is going on in the current market?

I’ve noticed more and more how qualified buyers are looking for homes to buy and there are NO HOMES OUT THERE. Are sellers holding back on selling waiting for a better market price? New listings are needed right away. Now, is a good time to sell because in many communities buyers are bidding well over market. I guess you didn’t read what I wrote: “bidding over market.”

Contact me for a free market analysis.

A recent report in the Oakland Tribune made mention, on the front page, about how many homes are being over bid be as many as 20+ offers. Summer is coming and more buyers are ready to make a move to a new home. The school year is coming to a close and families are on the hunt for homes. Interest rates are on their way up again and this is the best time to place your home in a hot market. Get your home ready for the summer buying season.

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner (510) 712-6537 Leona@LeonaTurner.com

See listings in your area at: www.ISellSanLeandroHomes.com

Read Full Post »

The deadline has passed to enroll your child in some of Oakland’s top elementary schools. This blog will discuss top public elementary schools; no charters schools were included in this list. Charter schools will be discussed in a future blog.

Here are the current rankings of Top Oakland Elementary Schools:

School Name Location

API Score


Montclair 1757 Mountain Blvd.

Oakland, CA 94611



Hillcrest 30 Marguerite Dr.

Oakland, CA 94618



Thornhill 5880 Thornhill Dr.

Oakland, CA 94611



Lincoln 225 11th St.

Oakland, CA 94607



Anthony Chabot 6686 Chabot Rd.

Oakland, CA 94618



Crocker Highlands 525 Midcrest Rd.

Oakland, CA 94610



Redwood Heights 4401 39th Ave.

Oakland, CA 94619



Cleveland 745 Cleveland St.

Oakland, CA 94606



Peralta 460 63rd St.

Oakland, CA 94609



Joaquin Miller 5525 Ascot Dr.

Oakland, CA 94611



Rankings from www.GreatSchools.com 2012

Sellers, remember if your home is near one of these top elementary schools, you’re in a great position to put your home on the market now. Families are looking during the summer months and may be willing to pay over asking for these desired areas. Contact me for a free market analysis of your home, (510) 712-6537.

If your school is not on this list and you love the school FIGHT FOR YOUR SCHOOL. Join the PTA. Get involved with everything going on at the school. Don’t be a wallflower waiting for others to take action. Ghandi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Looking to buy near these schools?  Contact me.

Note: To parents of new kindergartners, now is a good time to make sure your child knows the basics:

  • Say the alphabet
  • Count to 20
  • Identify their colors
  • Spell their name
  • Sit quietly for increasing periods of time

Read to your babies every single day.

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner (510) 712-6537 Leona@LeonaTurner.com

See listings in your area at: www.ISellSanLeandroHomes.com

Read Full Post »

Can you believe Brian Moynihan, the Chief Executive Officer of Bank of America, has higher pay this year? After all the turmoil Bank of America has caused in the past few years, they are going to raise the CEO’s pay? On top of the mortgage crisis, they have asked customers to pay $5 to access our own money via debit card. They rescinded the $5 fee but added higher fees to check orders, overdraft and wire fees. One of these added charges will hit us in one way or another in our banking history.

Now, Mr. Moynihan has pocketed almost $1.8 million as his compensation package. How many jobs can be saved with $1,000,000? If you don’t know, the President of the United States does not earn $1,800,000 for running our 50 States and the District of Columbia. I believe the President’s salary is in the neighborhood of $750,000. What should big bank executives do when faced with a large salary while others are suffering?

I worked for a start-up once and when faced with closing the company while waiting for additional financing, everyone took a pay cut to minimum wage for two weeks. At that time, minimum wage was $6.00 per hour. Everyone took the cut from the CEO to the receptionist. Can I verify this? No, but the pay cut to minimum wage was the communication given to employees.

Such a drastic cut is a bit outlandish for a large company like Bank of America. What we must consider is how much will laid off employees make per hour on unemployment? If they get full unemployment pay at $450 per week, that equals $11.25 per hour. There’s really isn’t much more to say. Make it a great weekend.

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner (510) 712-6537 Leona@LeonaTurner.com

See listings in your area at: www.ISellSanLeandroHomes.com

Read Full Post »

The rain is finally making an appearance in the Bay Area. March and April are slated to be the rainiest months of the year. I’m glad for the rain. I also want you to understand how the rain can make you aware of problems with a leaky roof and a cracked foundation. Many homes in the Bay Area are over 100 years old. As I examine properties on a daily basis, many homes are not maintained to keep up with the forces of nature.

I was in Berkeley, CA this week and the homes on Grizzly Peak were one medium-sized earthquake away from total collapse. For those of you that don’t know about the Grizzly Peak/Cragmont section of Berkeley, the streets are primarily on a hillside with breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay. I’ve had hillside listings where there were definite cracks in the foundation and driveway. Cracks in your driveway are a clear sign of foundation issues.

Rainstorms present a good opportunity to check your homes for leaks. Rain is a big factor in homes sliding off hillsides ,if they are not maintained properly. The maintenance of your home affects your neighbors as well. With significant foundation problems, your home can slide. It may slide into the home next door or into the street. Can you imagine a home in the middle of your street?

The rainy season, believe it or not, is a great time for home-buyers to check out property. Cracks and leaks are clear during and right after heavy rains. Make sure when you are listing or buying a home to watch out for leaks and foundation problems. Money spent on repairs now can save a lot of pain later.

Contact me for a free market analysis of your home.

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner (510) 712-6537 Leona@LeonaTurner.com

See listings in your area at: www.ISellSanLeandroHomes.com

Read Full Post »

In the last two years, only 838,000 homeowners have used the HARP program. As a result, HARP has been accused of missing the mark.

On October 24, 2011, there was a major announcement made about changes to the HARP program. The biggest change is that some homeowners who are significantly underwater (over 125% loan to value) can now qualify for the program.

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the new revamped HARP program (HARP 2.0):

What Is HARP?

HARP was started in April 2009. The government calls it Home Affordable Refinance Program.

In order to be eligible for the HARP refinance program:

  1. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must back your loan.
  2. Your current mortgage must have a securitization date      prior to June 1, 2009.

If you meet these two criteria, you may be HARP-eligible. If your mortgage is FHA, USDA or a jumbo mortgage, you are not HARP-eligible.

How do I know if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac holds the mortgage? You can use lookup tools on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac websites.

If Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac holds the mortgage, is the borrower automatically eligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program? No. There are a number of criteria. Having your mortgage held by Fannie or Freddie is just the beginning.

What if neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac has a record of the mortgage? If neither Fannie nor Freddie has record of the mortgage, the borrower is not eligible for this refinance program.

Is a borrower eligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program if s/he is behind on the mortgage payments? No. You must be current on your mortgage to refinance through this program.

Will the Home Affordable Refinance Program help borrowers to avoid foreclosure? No. The Home Affordable Refinance Program is not designed to delay, or stop, foreclosures. It’s meant to give homeowners who are current on their mortgages, and who have lost home equity, a chance to refinance at today’s low mortgage rates.

What are the minimum requirements to be eligible for HARP? First, the home loan must have been paid on time for the last 6 months, and at least 11 of the most recent 12 months. Second, your mortgage must have been sold to Fannie or Freddie prior to June 1, 2009. Lastly, you may not have used the HARP program before: only one HARP refinance per mortgage is allowed.

Is there a loan-to-value restriction for HARP? No, there is no loan-to-value restriction. All homes (regardless of equity) are eligible for the HARP program—just as long as the borrower and the loan meet all of the other criteria.

What’s the biggest mortgage you can obtain with a HARP refinance? HARP refinances are limited to your area’s conforming loan limits. In most cities, the conforming loan limit is $417,000. However, in San Diego County, the current confirming loan limit for a single-family home is $546,250.

If a borrower in unemployed, will s/he eligible for HARP? No. Income verification is required for the HARP refinance program.

Is there a minimum credit score to use the HARP program? No. There is no minimum credit score requirement with the HARP refinance program. However, you must qualify for the mortgage based on traditional underwriting standards.

While this program will open up opportunities for responsible borrowers who are significantly underwater, it is definitely not a salvation for most of those sellers participating in short sales. So, before short sale sellers get super excited about the refinance, make sure that they understand the scope of the program.

Reference to article:http://bit.ly/x2jsPZ

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner.

Read Full Post »

Historically, harvest time meant reaping ripe crops and celebrating. After the harvest, it was time to plan crops for next year. In essence, plan what needs to be planted next year to make your desired income. This strategy works without a physical crop to harvest.

What are your financial plans for next year? With all the talk of economic downturn and Occupy (Insert City Here) protests, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I just came back from the Lone Star State, Texas, on sabbatical from my day-to-day life. (Yes, I missed all of you.) There was time enough to think about where I needed to be financially. My goals and current reality are not on the same page. How about you?

In most areas, pricing in the real estate market is at an all time low. Interest rates are super low across the board. Now is the time to figure who you desire to be in your financial life. If you want to own property, be proactive and save up, fix your credit to get a loan, and live your dream. Many are in a financial mess from no work, furloughs (forced time off from your employer), or debt piled to the ceiling. Bad times don’t last always. Write your vision down. Figure out what it takes to get there and move toward your vision.

I know some of you could have made better financial decisions; I know I could have. No better time than the present. Set your sites on better times ahead. The planning may take a while and that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged. Keep pressing forward toward your vision.

If you’re at risk of losing your home and loan modification is not an option, call me to start a short sale. This is a good step toward removing a problem situation and planning for future harvest.
• Vision
• Research
• Plan
• Start

If you or someone you know needs to buy or sell a home call me today. Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner.

Read Full Post »

The legal doctrine that allows trespassers to become owners is called “adverse possession.” The home vacant home is occupied by someone with the intent to adversely possess the property. To my favorite home squatters, please be aware to make an adverse possession claim California now requires the following:
In order to assert a claim of adverse possession in California, the claimant (party seeking to gain title to the property) must demonstrate:

    possession under a claim of right or color of title;
    actual, open, notorious occupation (protected by a substantial enclosure such as a fence and usually cultivated or improved);
    adverse and hostile possession;
    continuous possession for a period of five years; and
    and certified records of the county tax collector showing that ALL state, county, or municipal taxes have been TIMELY paid for the FIVE-year period the property has been occupied and claimed

Previously, the law merely requires proof that taxes have been paid for the five-year period, not certified proof of timely payments. Assembly Bill 1684. And after keeping up appearances for 5 years, you still may not take title to the home. Keep any and all paperwork and be able to present it to law enforcement or neighbors. This type of possession can be very dangerous. You’re safety is the most important aspect of any home acquisition.

Talk to you soon. Leona Greenlow-Turner

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »