Real Estate Fraud

This is an activity that is purposely done to misrepresent information on real estate documents. It also involves the money transfers. It is also called mortgage fraud. The reason that it is referred to as this is that the fraud generally takes place with the mortgage application. Real estate fraud, in the United States, can have heavy penalties like imprisonment and large fines.

Such a crime can be committed in many different ways. It appears to happen more often when property prices are on the rise. Because of the simplicity of the fraud, some types are seen more than other frauds. Some are not as common because they are more complicated. One of the common forms of such fraud, according to the IRS is preparing two settlement statement sets that are different from each other. In one of the statements, the accurate property-selling price is written, which the buyer receives. The other one will depict a higher selling price that is exaggerated. When the mortgage lender approves the loan for the exaggerated price, the seller is given the amount that is stated in their copy of the settlement statement. The one who committed the fraudulent settlement statements will keep the money that is left over. If there are other conspirators, the money will be divided among them. It could be the entire excess money or a percentage of it.

Using qualification that are fraudulent is another type of real estate fraud. These fraudulent qualifications are used when applying for a mortgage or home loan to help them get the mortgage. In this form of real estate fraud, the real estate agent will usually assist the buyer. The fraudulent qualifications can include fabricating credit reports or history of employment. These two involve the obvious misrepresentation of data but not all real estate fraud is easy to see as these two examples. If buyers who do not intend to commit real estate fraud because they do not know the laws can accidentally commit mortgage fraud.

If a buyer has a down payment by using money that was given as a gift it is legal. If this gift is re-paid to the who gave the gift, this is considered a case of real estate fraud. The gift used to make a down payment cannot be repaid for it to be legal. Another type of property fraud is when the buyer accidentally fails to disclose any financial liabilities on their mortgage application. It becomes fraud when it is not taken care of before the loan is approved. Property flipping can become real estate fraud if you make false representations about the value and condition of the property when you sell it for a much higher price than you paid for the property.

REAL ESTATE: Something You Might Want to Know

Real estate means the property consisting of land or buildings which also includes the natural resources of the land including uncultivated flora and fauna, farmed crops and livestock, water and minerals, simply speaking any improvements on it. Tenants and leaseholders may have the right to occupy or make use of anything that is within the dominion of the rented area depending on the terms and conditions set by the landlords.

However when we hear the words “real estate”, we often refer it to the “real estate market” from the perspective of residential living. This is grouped into three categories based on its use. It’s either be residential which is used for living purposes, commercial as used in commerce and industrial which is used in manufacture or production of goods. Residential are those undeveloped land, houses, condominiums and town homes. Commercial are office buildings, warehouses and retails store buildings and examples of industrial are factories, mines and farms.

Those who are buying a home often need to borrow money in the form of mortgage because prices are generally well above their savings. They can either avail of fixed-rate or variable-rate.

Commercial leases are mostly longer that residential and lenders may ask for higher down payment on a mortgage for commercial than home loan since generally residential real estate is usually less expensive so it is more affordable for small investor

Generally, this is affected by the primary condition to where the property is located. Profits or losses come through revenue from rent and appreciation of the estate’s value. There is also risk of tenant turnover especially if the business model is in bad condition, product is unattractive, or poor management and many more. So landlords, lessees has to make sure all is well set before lending the area/place.

Real estate can help you earn more especially if you are in hand with generating leads and setting well the properties in case you are into selling or offering rentals. You have to make sure you will be working more of what you invested. Usually property appraisals are of good and or high value, you just need to work on it. You must always and consistently putting your client’s best interests first. With that, your personal needs will be realized beyond your greatest expectations. Investing in this even on small scale, was tried and tested as true means of building an individual’s cash flow.

The Real Estate Resurgence of Glassell Park and Highland Park

Real estate in Northeast Los Angeles has been booming for years. We hear about it on television and in the news. Rarely does a news story get published where the term “Gentrification” is used to describe areas such as Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington and Highland Park, regions where home values have spiked. Is it something home-buyers and home sellers need to know?

By definition, “to gentrify” is to improve a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. The middle class, or Bourgeoisie, is attempting to emulate upper-class standards. In the U.K., the gentry refer to people of high social position, specifically the class of people next below the nobility. Therefor the gentrification of an area is a process whereby those of lower socioeconomic status are forced out of a region in order to make it more attractive to the people of higher socioeconomic standing. Taking deteriorating inner city homes away from working class families to be renovated and sold to the privileged is also known as progress, or gentrification.

That is precisely what is occurring in the once run down neighborhood of Highland Park. This ongoing restorative transformation has helped to eradicate crime and strengthen the local economy. Juice bars and yogurt shops have sprung up in place of derelict Laundromats and liquor stores. Local businesses are now thriving, where the windows were once boarded up and car carcasses rusted.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Glassell Park, where police not long ago bulldozed suspected gang homes in a dramatic crackdown on crime. Soon after, investors began investing in fixing up Glassell Park’s hillside view homes and property values began to rise with new shops and restaurants appearing in direct proportion.

At one time, Eco Park stood as the poster child for gentrification in Los Angeles. This forgotten slum went through a complete metamorphosis in the 90’s, turning it into one of the most sought after areas east of downtown. With Echo Park as a model, the restoration movement has continued its march east, rehabilitating other areas, such as Highland Park and Glassell Park, with great potential.

One telltale sign of the up and coming neighborhood is what is known as the Starbucks phenomenon. If this “7-eleven” of coffee houses has chosen to plant its green lady logo on the block, you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘Hipsters are coming or more likely, the Hipsters have already arrived. This of course means that property values are climbing. In the historic region of Highland Park, York Boulevard is now book ended by Starbucks. Having a Starbucks on the corner is clear evidence that a moneyed community is on the rise. The values of homes for sale in Highland Park are absolutely exploding.

Another way of measuring affluence is by exploring the high volume of trendy restaurants, bars, and art galleries not to mention the cafes populated by too cool for school patrons everywhere. This enclave has become a hot spot for exotic dining among foodies and the like. Good eats just seem to go along with gentrification. That is one of the advantages. Today you can find French, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and a wide variety of Vegan food in this once neglected district. It has become an amazing multi-cultural mecca. One more example of economic growth is improved public transportation. Business people can commute from paradise to downtown by train in a matter of minutes.

The median price for a house in Highland Park is now approaching seven hundred thousand. In relative terms, this area is still a bargain in Los Angeles’ exorbitant housing market. As the beautification of these older neighborhoods flourishes in NELA, the real estate naturally becomes more desirable and the property values escalate.

Shadow Inventory – What Is It and How to Find It

Many Investors have been asking me about shadow inventory how much is out there and how to get their hands on it. Shadow inventory usually refers to the supply of homes that has not yet hit the market, but “hiding” in the background. In Real Estate this refers to foreclosures (REO or bank owned properties) or those close to the process.

Banks and mortgage loan servicing companies typically hold onto properties that haven’t seen a mortgage payment for 90 days and in some cases even 2-3 years.

Why do they hold on so long?

Banks hold on since it allows them to release their inventory over time to keep their books in check and also to provide that easy liquidation to stimulate the real estate economy when necessary. Banks will now be getting more money for those newly released properties, then say 2 years ago, due to the steady increase in home prices and low inventory levels. If they chose to release all at once, it would flood the market with “distressed properties” and bring down property values.

How much “Shadow Inventory” is still out there?

Foreclosures have been steadily declining since 2013 with the highest shadow inventory then at 2.2MM. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is still about 4 years still on the books and it is possible that we could soon see more!

More “Shadow Inventory”? Why? (HAMP) Home Affordable Modification Program

In 2017 and beyond, many homeowners may find it difficult to make their mortgage payments due to “resets” with HAMP thus pushing them into foreclosure. The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program provided temporary relief to borrowers during the housing crisis. These reliefs ended after five years and now payments will be “reset” thus causing loan payment increases for nearly 900,000 homeowners. Some of those are likely to find it difficult to keep up with the payments in our current economy.

Where do Investors find “Shadow Inventory”?

Forget about calling the loss mitigation department or asking the cashier at your Big Bank. They won’t be able to help you. Instead, savvy real estate investors can approach the REO departments of smaller regional banks, credit unions and portfolio lenders to find out what could be “lurking” in the shadows. This presents an opportunity to beat out the competition and purchase at greater discounts.

But my favorite way to locate “Shadow Inventory” is what I call “Driving for Dollars”. Simply drive through areas that have high foreclosure activity and look for the white sticker posted on the front window or door of the house. This typically contains the information of the bank or asset manager of the property and their phone number. Give them a call and see where they are in the foreclosure process and if they’re ready to make a deal!

The NEW kind of “Shadow Inventory”!

There is a new kind of shadow inventory on the market these days and I’m not talking about the REO kind. Many successful agents have their own shadow inventory. If you’ve been in the business for an extended period and built up a clientele, these clients typically contact you well in advance of the property going on the market. You advise them of the steps needed to get the house ready to show which typically means doing repairs such as paint, carpet, landscaping, staging, etc. Therefore, there is a period of time before the property actually hits the market creating a different type of shadow inventory. Contacting your favorite realtor about this type of inventory can definitely increase your chances of finding that Dream home.

Happy House Hunting!

4 Daily Habits to Adopt for Success in Real Estate & Life

Good habits are the foundation of wealth. If you watch successful people you will see their day is filled with consistent habits that save time, improve focus and ultimately help accomplish more daily. Successful people get up early, learn daily, make lists & set goals and track their progress.

• Get Up Early.

Make the first two hours of your day the most important. It will not only set the tone for the day but will give you a game plan for everything else that follows. These two hours can be used for activities you enjoy such as exercise, meditation or completion of a project or activity from the previous day. The early morning is free from distraction allowing you to do more of whatever you enjoy.

• 20 Minutes Of Learning Daily.

It is important in any business to know what is going on at all times. Trying to master every aspect of the business may seem intimidating but is less difficult if you spend some time on it daily. Regardless of how busy you may be you can squeeze twenty minutes of learning into your daily routine. You can find this time on an audiobook driving to or from an appointment or on the treadmill as you get some exercise in.

• Make Lists & Set Goals.

Success is often easier if you plan exactly what needs to get done. Before you go to bed you should plan for the next day. Tackle the toughest task first and go from there. Planning your goals not only makes you efficient but gives you a sense of direction and purpose. The most successful people in the world have one thing in common, they all say their goals out loud three times daily. This helps to reinforce their direction and keeps them on track in accomplishing their goals. Try it and see how much closer you get to reaching your goals!

• Track Progress.

If you don’t know what is working, is impossible to gauge the results? At the end of every day you should take some time to evaluate what you did to build on your progress. If you failed to do anything, you need to ask yourself why and then develop a new plan to stay on track.

You ultimately control where you go in Life. Changing habits is never easy but is essential for growth. Start by incorporating these four habits into your daily life and see the difference it makes towards your success.

Home Repairs and Alternatives: 5 Pros And Cons

Many homeowners, at a variety of points – of – time, decide to pursue certain repairs and/ alterations. Some are out of necessity, because of damage, and/ or wear – and – tear, while others, are for cosmetic, and/ or taste – related reasons! One should consider a variety of factors, before undergoing costly expenses/ expenditures. These include: how long you will be living in this house; your alternatives; the Return on Investment (R.O.I.), etc. This article will review 5 positives (pros) and/ or negatives (cons), related to home repairs and/ or alterations.

1. Cosmetic changes: This category includes items, which improve the appearance of the property, but usually are minor, in nature! For example, inside or outside painting might be cosmetic. If you are painting, simply to change the look, color, theme, etc, it falls into the category, but if it is necessitated, because of structural damage (for example, from water damage, etc), it’s a far different scenario! If you plan to keep the home, for a substantial period of time, you have far more flexibility, in terms of color, etc, than if you are planning to sell it in the foreseeable, near future!

2. Kitchen: Does your kitchen need remodeling and/ or renovation, for structural reasons, or to improve its look and appearance? How much you spend on remodeling your kitchen, must be put into perspective! A well – considered amount of spending, usually makes sense and has a reasonable Return on Investment (R.O.I.), but exorbitant spending is another thing. A homeowner can spend whatever he decides, but should have a somewhat, realistic perspective of its value, especially to prospective buyers.

3. Bathrooms: What is the reason, you wish to renovate/ upgrade your bathrooms? Compare the options and alternatives, including determining, if a system, such as Bath Fitters, makes sense, as opposed to a complete demolition and rebuilding! Again, upgrading bathrooms, might. either, make financial sense, or not!

4. HVAC: What is the condition of your heating, ventilating and air conditioning, system (HVAC)? What is the useful life of your heating system, and should you change it (for example, converting from oil to gas)? Consider any decisions related to conversions, carefully and thoroughly. If you wish to put a central air conditioning system, into the house, should you go, the convention route, or the ductless one? Consider costs, economies, space – sacrifices, and the positives, versus the negatives! Before acting, always get several bids, and compare apples – to – apples!

5. Grounds maintenance: How much money, should you commit to grounds maintenance, landscaping, trees, bushes, plants, flowers, etc? Those thinking of selling, in the near future, should focus on curb appeal, etc!

Homeowners have options, in terms of the best way to proceed, for home repairs and alternatives. Know what you need, and want, and thoroughly consider!

Highland Park, CA Homes and Real Estate – A Look at the Numbers

In Los Angeles real estate circles, everyone is talking about Highland Park. Like other Northeast LA neighborhoods like Silver Lake, Eagle Rock and Mt. Washington, Highland Park is in a state of gentrification as new stores and restaurants are popping up on York Blvd. and homes are being purchased and restored. As a result, homes in Highland Park are in demand and prices have steadily risen. But gentrification isn’t the only reason. Highland Park is a wonderful area to call home.

Highlan Park is an amiable historic neighborhood located in Northeast Los Angeles. It is a hilly neighborhood located in the San Rafael Hills along the Arroyo Seco. It is southwest of Eagle Rock and Northeast of Cypress Park. People from many ethnic and socioeconomic groups call this neighborhood “home”. The weather is pristine with the highest monthly average temperature being 73 degrees in the hottest month of July and 57 degrees in the coldest month of December. Highland Park experiences light rain; January receives the highest amount at 4.6 inches total. According to Walk Score, Highland Park is the most walkable neighborhood in Los Angeles with a score of 72. It is very accessible and most errands can be completed on foot. It has some public transportation and is somewhat bikeable with a transit score of 47 and a bike score of 53.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census there were 57,566 residents in the 3.42 square miles of neighborhood. That is an average of 16,385 people per square mile. Highland Park is one of the highest density areas in Los Angeles. Highland Park grew to 60,835 people by 2008. The ethnicity break down was as follows: Latinos, 72.4% Whites 11.3%, Asians 11.2%, Blacks 2.4% and others 2.6%. A larger than average 57.8% residents were born abroad. 55.3% of them were born in Mexico and 12% were from El Salvador. In the male population 52.2% were married, 41.2% had never been married, 4.9% had been divorced and 1.6% were widowed. For the women: 50.4% were married, 33.2% were never married, 9.3% were divorced and 7.1% were widowed. The demographic for never married was among the county’s highest. 14.3% of residents who were 25 and above had a four-year degree. This was average for Los Angeles. 45.1% of the residents were born in a foreign city. This was a high number for Los Angeles. 4.9% of people in the population were veterans; this was a low number for Los Angeles. The average age of residents was 28, which is seen as young compared to the other areas of Los Angeles.

The average household income in 2008 was $45,478, which is an average number for Los Angeles. The average household size was 3.3 people, which is 25% higher than the national average. Renters occupied60.9% of housing units, which is 105% higher than the national average. Owners completed the other 39.1%, which is 58% lower than the national average.

Zillow states that Highland Park’s home value index is $662,800, which is up 13.1% since last year and with a projected increase of 4.3% predicted over next year. The market temperature is very hot and ideal for sellers. The average price per square foot is $582, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $448. The average price of homes is $652,500, which is 123% higher than the national average. The average rent per month is $2,600, being 22% higher than the national average. The current Market Health is 5.3/10, which is relative to other markets across the country. Highland Park will continue to grow and develop.

Because Highland Park is in a stage of gentrification with rising home prices, it is highly advised for home-buyers and home sellers to seek out an experienced Highland Park realtor who specializes in the area.

Glassell Park Real Estate – What the Numbers Tell Us

Real estate in Glassell Park, a hillside neighborhood adjacent to red-hot Mt. Washington and Highland Park – is in high demand. Prices for Glassell Park real estate are rising and the inventory of homes is shrinking, creating a seller’s market. But why is this happening now when the area was undiscovered for so long? Let’s look at what the numbers tell us about this special community.

Glassell Park is a moderately diverse neighborhood located in Northeast Los Angeles. Glassell Park resides south of Glendale, west of Eagle Rock and northeast of Mount Washington. This neighborhood is quite hilly and provides its residents with astounding views. During the housing boom of 2000 a large group of middle-class people moved to Glassell Park because of the inexpensive cost and abundance of Craftsman homes. The average temperature for the hottest month of the year, July, is 73 degrees. The average temperature for the coldest month of the year, December, is 57 degrees. January is the month with the most precipitation at 4.6 inches.

Area Vibes awarded Glassell Park a livability score of 72, very livable, which is higher than the national average of 70. Walk Score says that Glassell Park is a 61, with a transit score of 44 and a bike score of 38. Therefore, Glassell Park is somewhat walkable, and some errands can be accomplished by walking. There is some public transportation with a score and not many bike lanes.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there were 23,467 residents within the 2.75 square mile neighborhood. This equates to 8,524 people per square mile, which is average density for Los Angeles. The ethnicity break down was as follows: Latinos: 66.1%, Whites: 13.7%, Asians: 17.4%, Blacks: 1.4% and others 1.4%. 51.5% of its residents were born abroad with the highest two being Mexico, 49.3% and the Philippines, 16.2%. The average age for residents was 30; this is average for the city and county of Los Angeles. 19% of the residents who are 25 and older have earned a four-year degree. There was 4.8% of the population listed as veterans.

The median household income in Glassell Park was $50,098, which is an average figure for the city and county of Los Angeles. The average household size is higher compared to most parts of Los Angeles at 3.3 people. This is 21% higher than the national average. Renters reside in 56.2% of the housing stock; this is 55% higher than the national average. Owners are the remaining 43.8%, these figures are 30% lower than the national average.

According to Zillow, Glassell Park homes are valued on average at $713,700. This is a 9.3% increase from last year and they expect it to raise another 2.6% next year. The average price of homes on the market is $675,000; this is 148% higher than the national average. The market health is rated at 3.8 out of 10 in comparison to other markets across the county. The average price per square foot is $499, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $448. The current market temperature is “cool” which is ideal for the Buyer’s market. The average price of rent is $2,900, which is 33% higher than the national average.

When buying and selling real estate in Glassell Park, buyers and sellers should consult an experienced real estate agent who specializes in the area.

The Telltale Signs of Gentrification in NELA: Garvanza and Hermon

The rapidly developing area of North East Los Angeles (NELA) lends new meaning to the name “Boomtown”. Following in the footsteps of Highland Park, their neighbor to the West, the picturesque communities of Hermon and Garvanza have been undergoing a major facelift since the nineties. That’s been good news for homeowners who have seen homes in Garvanza and Hermon spike in value as real estate in these areas become highly coveted.

The once neglected Craftsman-style residence has taken-on a new pride of ownership, making the region one of NEL.A.’s most hidden treasures. The ornate architecture of Garvanza encompass nearly every style popular from the 1880’s through the 1940’s including, Queen Anne, Shingle, Mission Revival, and Tudor Revival. The charm of this unique enclave, overflowing with historic buildings, is reminiscent of small towns in Northern California.

The ginger bread homes of Chico come to mind. These dilapidated beauties from yesteryear are being restored back to their original splendor with the ginormous wave of gentrification sweeping across NELA. The rejuvenation of these sad old buildings has helped to launch the local real estate market into the stratosphere. If to gentrify is to make a house or district more attractive to the up and coming “gentry”, then the dramatic improvement of Garvanza and has come to exemplify this very process.

Garvanza is generally considered to be the birthplace of the Arts and Crafts movement in Southern California, and many of these houses have been recognized as official historic landmarks. For the architecture enthusiast and tourist alike, these spectacular structures are a treasure trove of gems to behold. As the area has become more and more fashionable among prosperous hipsters, the local economies have grown as well.

Evidence of gentrification is apparent when hip organic restaurants spring up, able to accommodate all of your dietary needs. It wasn’t that long ago that you would be hard pressed to find a meal outside of what might be available from the street taco vendor, or pedestrian fare served at mediocre restaurants. In present day Garvanza, the gay couple on the go can delight to poached eggs, avocado toast and espresso after Pilates class. There is even a new café custom made for the cycling culture, taking shape on York Boulevard, of course, peddling cycling gear along with lattés and vegan scones to its athletic neighbors. Starbucks is perhaps the most obvious telltale sign of gentrification and York Boulevard is now bookended by the famous green lady logo.

Adjacent to Garvanza, lies the hilly hamlet of Hermon. This ever so quint residential district is known for its sycamore-lined streets and gorgeous period homes. In the not so distant past, you might find people wrenching on the old family car, parked haphazardly on the front lawn. Fences and walls of commercial buildings were “decorated” with gang graffiti. Legions of homeless folk set up camp under the freeway.

Today Hermon real estate is booming and homes for sale in Hermon are handsome and immaculate, the yards well groomed. There are only so many places to go around, in these parts, which make this cozy bedroom community difficult to get into. The limited supply of homes and the ever-growing demand makes Hermon all the more chic among the groovy people. The small town feel, and close proximity to the L.A. metropolis gives you the best of both worlds.

Mt Washington Real Estate: A Look at the Numbers

For many years – decades, in fact – the LA district of Mount Washington was one of the hidden treasures of Los Angeles neighborhoods. All of that changed during the real estate boom of the mid-1990’s and since that time, the run on Mt. Washington homes for sale has been akin to the California Gold Rush. Homebuyers, investors, home flippers and creative types of have been snapping up Mt. Washington real estate as fast as they can. Let’s look at what the facts and the numbers tell us.

Mount Washington is located in Northeast Los Angeles just south of Eagle Rock, west of Highland Park and Northeast of Cypress Park. This mountainous community is located in the San Rafael Hills. Every house is situated on unique and hilly terrain. This eclectic community is home to many styles of houses, which allows people to build on lots of all shapes, sizes and slopes.

The various styles include: Cottages, Midcentury Moderns, Spanish, Hillside Midcenturies, Historic Craftsmen, Tree House Cabins, Bungalows and Craftsman Bungalows.

According to the LA Times, the population of Mount Washington was 13,531 people in 2008. With its 1.85 square mile radius there were 6,878 people per square mile. This is about average for Los Angeles County. The average income in 2008 was $57,725 and 2.9 people per household size. Both of these numbers are average for the county.

Even though the houses are on hills, Mount Washington is surprisingly accessible for walking, biking and public transportation. According to WalkScore Mount Washington is somewhat walkable with a score of 50. Some errands can be accomplished on foot. The transit score for Mount Washington is 59, meaning there are many convenient public transportation options – including the Gold Line Metro what deposits travelers at the Southwest Museum. Lastly, although this community is decorated with a slue of steep hills, there are some bike lanes on the main roads earning a bike score of 35.

Zillow states that the Home Value Index of Mount Washington is $720,100. This is an increase of 5.1% since last year. Zillow predicts the value to increase 2.8% up to $740,000 by the end of the year. The average price per square foot is $612, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $451 per square foot. The average rental price is $2,942 per month.

Since Redfin named Mount Washington one of the hottest cities in the country, house flipping increased in like wildfire throughout the community. In effect Zillow has labeled the housing market as “Cold” because it has become ideal for the Buyer with so many fresh homes to choose from. Because of this increase in listings, approximately 11.5% of listings end up shaving their price down. Compared to other markets in the nation, Mount Washington has a market health of 2.2/10. This is part of the average real estate flux. People will continue to search for homes in Mount Washington, but eventually the majority of the homes will be house flipped and/or sold. Once the number of listings decrease the community will turn back to “Hot” – a Seller’s Market – with hoards of people trying to obtain property in this hidden oasis of Los Angeles.