Archive for June, 2010

Great Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July in Orange County

Posted on June 30, 2010. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Orange County things to do | Tags: |

Light Up Your 4th of July Orange County Style

Gray, gray, go away. Let’s be hopeful, folks. June is almost through, and with it the gloomy gray skies that have become a yearly tradition. That means the 4th of July is upon us. No doubt, you’ll want to celebrate Independence Day with gusto and style. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do that right here in Orange County. Here are some major events to check out:

Plus there’s the beaches, picnics, sports, and of course, major loafing. If you’d like to learn more about great things to do in Orange County for the 4th, by all means get in touch with me. You can reach me at 949.338.7408 or And be sure to follow me @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Happy Fourth of July!

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Orange County CA Economic Update – Gary Watts says…..

Posted on June 25, 2010. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Informed Investor Alliance, Lenders & Loan info, Orange County CA Foreclosures, Orange County Real Estate |

Hi everyone,

Just got back from OCAR’s annual meeting held at the beautiful Aliso Viejo golf course.   I thought I would record a video update for you 🙂

I know you have comments, let ’em fly!!

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Understanding B of A’s Short Sale Process

Posted on June 18, 2010. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Lenders & Loan info, Orange County Real Estate, Orange County Short Sales |

B of A  Short Sales – What every party needs to know!

Today I’m taking a few hours out of the busy day to listen to Allen Seelenbinder, a VP with Bank of America, tell Realtors how to work better with B of A to get our short sales closed quicker.  Definitely good use of time, because short sales take waaaaay too long!!!  For Realtors looking for Equator tips, check this post.

Allen said the goal of the bank is to help preserve homeownership, they WILL attempt to modify your loan & help you stay in your house if you want to.  It’s part of being on the HAFA program, and you can even try multiple times if you get denied on your first loan mod request!  Good news if you’re late on the mortgage & want to keep your home, but you have to keep communicating & trying.

BUT…Did you know 60 percent of all loan modifications fail in the first 9 months?  Yikes, make sure you are working with a professional modification specialist so you are not a statistic!   Most times if you default on your modification, you’re not going to get another one, and its time to short sale.

For those who can’t afford the mortgage, & don’t see light at the end of the tunnel soon, you have options…

1.  Deed in lieu – leaving your home and giving the deed back to the bank willingly
2.  Foreclosure – defaulting on payments until the bank is forced to take your property back
3.  Short sale – selling your property for less than it is worth

Short selling your property will allow you to buy again sooner than if you get a foreclosure, so its a good option.  BUT, its complicated, so you need a good Realtor who knows what they are doing to help.

If you’re drained on the process, please keep trying.  If you allow foreclosure, your credit will have a huge hit, and you know how important your credit is!  Allen warned many times employers are looking at your credit as a gage on your responsibility, fight to keep it in tact as best you can!!

Short sales are the new normal!  Buyers, sellers, investors, Realtors, & banks need to work together 🙂  There are over 6 million homeowners late on their mortgage right now, and many more projected in the upcoming months.  Short sale will continue to be a household term for the next few years, unfortunately.

Why is the short sale process so long?  Well…theres a lot of hoops to jump through:

  • the process doesn’t begin until an offer is received, you could have a sign in the yard for months.
  • an appraisal & bpo must be done
  • the offer must reasonably meet current market value
  • the buyer must qualify
  • the seller must demonstrate hardship & provide documentation
  • arms-length has to be proved (that means sellers aren’t in cahoots w buyers)
  • the mortgage investor must approve the offer
  • 3rd party approvals (mortgage insurance, helocs, second liens.)

Unfortunately, there is a lot of red tape to untangle.  Buyers need to be prepared for at least 60-120 days for close, and agents from both sides need to constantly keep communication lines clear and all parties in the transaction updated.

What is financial hardship? Its better to say what it is not.  Financial hardship is NOT that you are under water on the property, that is simply a bad investement.  Its also not hardship if you can’t get a renter.  If you are widowed, but have assets, death is not financial hardship, its emotional hardship 😦  there are a lot of people now trying to claim hardship when they do not have truely have one.  You need to be able to show your hardship on paper.

One of the biggest challenges right now is getting 2nd loans, liens, and MI to reasonably come in line with the short sale loss.  Sellers, be prepared for agents to ask questions about ALL loans & liens on the property, and please offer up front and honest answers.  There’s going to be some back & forth necessary between the parties you owe $$ to.

Want to know if you are eligible for HAFA?  Check to make sure you qualify!  B of A is also working on a program similiar to HAFA, but with better guidelines, called the Cooperative Short Sale.

B of A Cooperative short sale

Yes, its still in the works, but its pretty good!!  It will:

  • proactively outreach to customers
  • offer preapproved short sale pricing
  • promise offers reviewed/approved within 2 weeks
  • be similiar to hafa, but wider scope
  • rollout hopefully August 1st

Banks including B of A are all trying to make the best of our current market, and short sales are a huge percentage of it.  Look for more posts (and videos!) soon to help you through the short sale process.  If you or someone you know is late on their mortgage, The Weeks Team keeps everything confidential and we will be happy to discuss options!  877-230-3211 or

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Tips for Realtors to use Bank of America’s Equator

Posted on June 18, 2010. Filed under: Lenders & Loan info, Orange County Real Estate, Orange County Short Sales |

Allen Seelenbinder answers Realtor's questionsI went to a seminar today on using Equator, here are some tips for all!

Equator has 5 stages:

1.  Initiation – seller calls & signs up to initiate
2.  Document collection – seller uploads hardship docs & Realtors upload offers
3.  Valuations – BPO & appraisal is done
4.  Negotiations – counter offers & 3rd party investor approvals
5.  Closing – handling escrow & title transfer

To better step (um, jump) through through them, check out

Realtors, make your short sale process shorter:

– have the seller contact the loan servicer asap to advise s/he is trying to sell
– ensure your customer financials are in pdf format
– confirm all requested documents & tasks are accurate & completed asap
– double check purchase offer is legitimate & @ fully executed
– make sure the purchase offer is the best possible at fair market value
– include listing information & comparables to support price w/your purchase offer

Success Secrets

In Equator you can add attachments when you email negotiators..  Listing agents, email your COMPS; they WILL be reviewed.  Help the bank help you.  Show them you’ve done everything possible to get the best value.  Tell the bank how many offers you had, your open houses, your marketing, so they know you’ve minimized their loss.  Remember, the bank is losing $$ here so offers need to be reasonable.

NEVER, ever, for the love of God, use the reject button in Equator.  It closes your file!!!! There is a button to submit with changes, use THAT instead 🙂

Itemize your escrow items, too.  Don’t forget to include buyer credits, this happens too much & causes deals to blow up!!

When you submit your counter offer in equator, push the close date out 60 days. If you pass approval date, then a new BPO & approval usually need to be done, and that can set you back 3 whole weeks!  This can make any deal crumble, so just get the extra padding upfront.  *note* if property is going to auction, that won’t work, so set the closing to be the day before scheduled sale.

Stop clogging up the phones, B of A has a rule ‘if its not in Equator, it didn’t happen’…so use  Equator to give you the paper trail you need.  You can escalate right there through the system, copy a manager if necessary.  ***ANGIE TIP*** if a conversation is necessary, and you’ve tried 3 emails through the system, tweet @bofa_help .  I always get a call back within 48 hrs 🙂

Say ‘actionable item’ in the subject, not urgent. Everyone says urgent.  What many consider urgent is truly not urgent, but actionable items=urgent to B of A, ok?

Today a VP at Bank of America, Allen Seelenbinder, advised us cash offers mean nothingB of A doesn’t care about your quick close, they care about minimizing their loss. Present your highest & best offers as opposed to lowball quick close cash.

Also, write your repairs into the contract, the bank doesn’t play well with new terms after appraisals!  How will you know?  Bring your trusty B of A local lender to the property, they can help advise you on standard repairs B of A is willing to do.

Realtors Pelt Bank of America with questions

What if the buyer walks?  Why do you automatically close my file? Unfortunately, we have to completely start over including submitting the sellers info again into equator.  Its for privacy purposes, so its not gonna change.  There is a 5 percent chance you can pull a switcheroo:  upload a NEW, better offer FIRST.  Then the next day, email the negotiator the cancellation of the first offer and request the switch out for the better offer.  In some cases this is allowed.

Will B of A pay a negotiation fee? NO, agents or buyers need to absorb.

Will B of A allow closing cost credits?
YES, but submit everything correctly in equator.

How can we escalate a file in equator? CC the manager or team leader on an actionable item!!  (for our technically clueless that means CTRL+click all titles you want to copy)  OR, worst case, you can call your local B of A loan offer and they can talk to the OC approval head.  There is such a person, however, Allen would not release his/her name to the ‘dogs’ 🙂

Will B of A reduce Realtor commissions?  Tax us for dual agency? Contrary to popular belief they try not to…commission can be 6 percent for properties up to 250k, 5 percent for 500k, higher than that your commissions can be reduced more.  Allen jokes…You can always ask the seller to pay the rest…the bank is taking a loss too.   Now Angie must joke…sure, how about we charge per phone call, email, and walked buyer then, cool?  Seriously, this process is a B for all of us.

Allen, way to let yourself get on the hot seat.  I’ve done customer service for Realtors before… they can be a mean, loud, unhappy bunch.  You handled yourself with class, and taught us how to work with B of A better.

Hopefully this post will help some struggling agents – tweet @angieweeks or @weeksteam your Equator tips, or comment them below!!

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Orange County Real Estate in a Virtual World

Posted on June 15, 2010. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , |

To Be There or Not to Be There

How can you be someplace and not someplace at the same time?… By entering a virtual world. But you won’t find these realms on a conventional map. Virtual worlds are available only in cyberspace. They are simulated, 3-D worlds, much like video game environments. The big difference is you can use your computer to actually enter a virtual world, just as easily as you’d access any other website. There you’ll be in the form of a 3-D representation called an avatar, which you’ll control – actions, conversations, etc. And you’ll be able to interact with other users, who are also represented as avatars. You can design your avatar to look any way you want.  You could look like a walking carrot stick if you preferred. People from all over the world can be brought together in a shared space, interacting in their chosen virtual community. It’s the chat room concept taken to the next level.

Alright, so what are the implications for real estate in Orange County and beyond?  Well, taken to the limit, you could literally go house hunting, transact a purchase, and send everything to the local escrow office all from the comfort of your favorite sofa. Here’s how it would work. You arrange for your avatar to meet your Realtor’s avatar in the virtual neighborhood of your choice. Maybe a virtual Mission Viejo. Once you connect, you get in virtual transportation of some type, cruise through the local communities, and explore perfect 3-D simulations of homes that exist in the real Mission Viejo. You could walk through the houses, turn on the faucets, draw the shades, tap the woodwork —  the whole ball of wax. Once you find the home of your choice, you just sign on the electronic dotted line.

This is an oversimplification, of course. But it’s basically what happens in a virtual world.  Sooner or later, most people probably will want to get off their comfy sofas and actually go inside of the very real place where they intend to hang their very real hats. Nevertheless, a virtual real estate hunt would save time, and let’s face it, could prove to be a very fascinating experience.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Would you like to go on a real estate hunt in a virtual world? Or would you prefer cruising around chosen communities in real metal and walking around in real brick, stucco, and wood structures?  You can reach me at 949.338.7408 or And be sure to follow me @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

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Summer Activities in Mission Viejo

Posted on June 15, 2010. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Orange County things to do | Tags: |

Mission Viejo is the Place for Summer Fun

It’s that time of year folks. Sunshine, barbecues, swimming, and kids released from the captivity of academia for three months.  With the arrival of summer, our attention naturally turns to our favorite summertime activities.

Mission Viejo is a world champion in this department. The city offers residents and visitors alike a million and one things to do during the season of sunshine. Here are some of the biggies:

If you’d like to learn more about the ton of summer fun awaiting you in Mission Viejo, I’m ready to help. You can reach me at 949.338.7408 or And be sure to follow me @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

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    Orange County, CA Real Estate for hip first-time buyers and investors. Plus, fun things to know and do in OC.


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