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Realtors Eyes for the Police

January 26th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

On average, in smaller communities, there may be as few as six police officers on duty at any given time.  The larger the community, the more police, but if your police department has a force of 48 officers, chances are that as few as six officers would be on patrol at any time.   Without question there are considerably more real estate agents driving around the community previewing properties, showing homes to potential buyers or holding Open House.
Who would more likely know if someone, who is just walking or driving around the area, who normally has never been seen there before?  Having roaming real estate agents, who may notice something out of the ordinary, are extra eyes for the police department.  And, that is exactly what our local police department is asking real estate agents to do, keep an open eye for things or people that should not normally be in the area.
Our local Police Department will hold special training program for agents on just what to look out for, how to report those items and especially how not to personally accost any strangers.  It’s like an extension of Neighborhood Watch, a proven workable program.  Every neighborhood that has a watch program has experience a reduction in crime.  I have a few flyers available from our local police department, and would gladly mail them to anyone interested in what the program is designed to do.  Simply send me your mailing address and the flyer will be mailed to you immediately.

More Troubling Real Estate Questions
Q) We have just lost our home, and we were told that we would have to claim the amount of loss that the bank is taking on our income tax.  Wasn’t there a law passed regarding that?
A) Yes, the government has passed a law that for the next couple of years, those that have lost their homes will not have to pay capital gains tax on the amount of loss taken by the bank.  But – always a but – the State of California has not agreed to that tax forgiveness, and the state is still requiring that you pay taxes on that gain.  You should consult with your accountant, tax advisor or attorney to confirm what I have just written.
Q) We based the purchase of our home on our weekly income and the over-time income that we had been earning for over a year.  Company we work for has had a drop in sales, and we no longer have that extra income, and now find ourselves in trouble being able to make our monthly payments.  It appears that we may lose our property if we can’t arrange for lower payments with our lender.  You said that the government has passed a law regarding this.  How and where can we get a copy of this law?
A) You are referring to SB1137 – the Foreclosure Law.   Most real estate agents should have received a copy of this law from their Title Insurance representative.  If not, simply drop me a note with your mailing address or fax number and it will be sent to you immediately.  I received my copy from Fidelity National Title Company.
Q) I have been selected as executor of my parent’s estate.  The attorney expense is too much for me to pay and another member of the family is in a better financial position to take care of these costs.  How would I proceed to have this change made?
A) You need to see an attorney that specializes in handling estates.  What I don’t understand is why you would be required to pay the attorney up-front.  Normally, the cost comes from the estate and is paid when everything is settled.  I don’t know if the attorney that you have spoken to specializes in such cases, if not, I most certainly would search out one that does.
Q) We are purchasing a bank owned property, and thought that we would receive information about the property.  Our real estate agent said that banks are not required to provide us with any type of disclosure, and that is a concern to us.  Our agent says that all bank owned properties are sold AS-IS, but is there any way to protect ourselves?
A) You did not mention if the real estate agent is also representing the bank.  What the agent said is true, that the bank is not required to provide you with any of the standard disclosures, but your agent does have responsibilities of providing others. As example:
(a)     Bank is not required to provide you with a Natural Hazard Disclosure, but the law does require that most of the information in that report is required to be provided.  So, insist that the agent provide that report to you.  Payment is made through escrow and can cost as little as $50.00, and may be paid by you or by the real estate agent, if the bank wouldn’t pay for it.
(b)     You are to receive the three-page California Association of Realtors® disclosure.  It may not get signed by the bank, but their agent must sign it, as would your agent, and it does require the agent to complete a visual inspection.
(c)      You are to receive a Pest Inspection, and I have never known a bank not to pay for this inspection, although they may limit any repairs to $500.00.  The amount could vary from bank to bank.
(d)     You can have a professional inspection made of the property, and should a serious problem be discovered, the repair can be negotiated with the bank, or you can cancel the offer.  Minor repairs would still be the buyers responsibility should you decide to proceed.

Louis Perlin CRS, GRI is a Syndicated Writer, Author, Professional Witness and Mediator.  Lou can be reached at Marilyn Perlin Realtors, Inc. @ (760) 327-8401 or by e-mail: mprltr@aol.com.  In addition, Lou is available for Real Estate office meetings and for book signings.

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