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Zillow today launched a new iPhone app, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, to help consumers shop for and compare mortgage rates. The app combines personalized loan quotes with advanced calculators and tools to help borrowers understand how much home they can afford, what their monthly payments would be, and whether refinancing their current home makes financial sense.
The Zillow Mortgage Marketplace App allows borrowers to fill out a loan request by providing information about the home they want to buy or refinance and their own financial situation. Borrowers do not enter any personally identifiable information, but just enough data for lenders to return custom quotes. Users receive an average of 25 loan quotes per request, and can compare rates and lenders side by side, including scanning more than 8,900 consumer-submitted lender reviews. With one touch, the borrower can then immediately connect with lenders of their choice and begin the process of securing a home loan, right from their iPhone.
The Zillow Mortgage Marketplace iPhone App design streamlines the user experience for mobile and uses its Web-based counterpart Zillow Mortgage Marketplace to provide a transparent lending marketplace where borrowers can connect with reputable lenders to find personalized loan options and get a variety of competitive mortgage rates.
For more information or for a free download visit Zillow.com/iphone/mortgage/.
SFAR asked us to post this to let our clients know about this amazing resource:
The Association’s web site for homeowners, www.SFBayWindow.com, contains more than 130 articles on subjects important to owners. From “Adding a Room” to “Zoning Districts,” it’s all there, making the site the most robust resource guide for San Francisco homeowners on the web.
Want to know more about sidewalk repair? What to do about barking dogs? Confused about who’s responsible for repairing the fence between your backyard and your neighbor’s? Aren’t sure if you need a permit to remodel your bathroom? The answers to all these questions and many more can be found on the Association’s very informative and unique site.
Topics are separated into three easy-to-navigate sub-headings: Your House, Your Neighborhood and Your City.
In addition, the site contains a fourth, separate category—Your Government—which provides descriptions of legislative proposals and ballot measures affecting the interests of property owners at the local, State and federal levels. Sometimes accompanying these descriptions are letters supporting or opposing legislative proposals (as the case might be) that site visitors can send to selected legislators, with their name attached to the letters with a single mouse click. To view the political content, however, the visitor must click on the separate Your Government link. The site was set up this way so that REALTORS® would not feel uncomfortable about referring their clients to the site because the “political point-of-view” expressed may be different than that of site visitors and client alienation would occur.
REALTORS® are encouraged to bookmark the site at www.SFBayWindow.com and to add a link to it on their web sites. Consider bringing the site to the attention of clients in mailings and suggest that clients visit the site regularly for information on how to make homeownership and living in San Francisco even more rewarding. It is hoped that every time they do, they will be appreciative of the public service the REALTOR® community is providing by maintaining the site.
We got an e-mail alert this morning about a new site that has gathered private information for individuals culled from various sources. Unfortunately, they have not asked permission to post our credit rating and personal information. The site is:
Search on your name and drill down to your state, then your city. You will be amazed at the amount of personal information that has been gathered by this group. To remove yourself, do the following. Type your name in the search box and press SEARCH.
In the left pane choose the state, then the city, then the street, Once you locate your name copy the URL (http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=John%20Smith#CITY,STATE), click on Privacy at the bottom of the page. A new window will pop up that looks like this:
1) Paste the URL into the first field
2) Put in your e-mail and type the code. It will act as if it didn’t take the entry as the page will refresh.
3) Within a few minutes, an e-mail will arrive with another URL.
4) That URL must be copied into a NEW browser window which will remove your listing.
Marketing for Janis Stone & SFResidence.com
Assessment Appeals Board
The Assessment Appeals Board is an independent agency, separate from the Assessor’s Office, established to decide disputes between the Assessor’s Office and property owners. It is the duty of the Assessment Appeals Board to equalize the valuation of the taxable property within the City and County of San Francisco for the purpose of taxation.
Information About the Assessment Appeals Boards
VIDEO- The Appeals Process: The following video entitled Your Assessment Appeal was developed as a collaborative effort between the Board Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate and the County-Assessed Properties Division. Additionally, assistance and input was provided by many of the counties. The video is divided into the following segments:
- Decline in Market Value
- Base Year Value
- Reassessment After Calamity
- Escape Assessment and Roll Changes
- Filling Out the Application
- Preparing for Your Hearing
- Your Hearing
Watch “Your Assessment Appeal” video
Purpose:The purpose of the Assessment Appeals Board is to provide the Taxpayers of San Francisco a means to appeal their property tax assessments.
Procedure: After an application is timely filed a hearing is scheduled to allow both the Taxpayer and the Assessor an opportunity to present evidence upholding their respective opinions of value for the property at issue. A panel of three Assessment Appeals Board Members or a Hearing Officer will listen to testimony, review documents, and question the participants. The Board panel or Hearing Officer then evaluates the evidence and decides what the assessment of the property will be.
Differences between Boards:
Board #1 is authorized to hear appeals regardless of value, type, or location.
Board #2 is authorized to hear all residential property of four units or less, property assessed at less than $50 million, excluding possessory interests, and applications concerning real property located all or in part within Assessor’s Blocks 1 through 876 and 3701 through 3899, inclusive.
Duties of Assessment Appeals Board Members & Alternates: To listen to testimony, review documents, and ask questions of the Taxpayer and Assessor in order to determine the fair and correctassessment of property in accordance with applicable California Revenue and Taxation Codes.
Duties of the Alternate Board Members: The same as regular Board Members except that they substitute for regular Members who cannot attend the hearing.
Hearing Officers: All Board Members and alternates act as Hearing Officers. Hearing Officers perform the same duties as the Board panel except that they can only hear applications on single family residences, condominiums, cooperatives, or multiple-family dwellings of four units or less. Hearing Officers meet with the Taxpayer and a representative for the Assessor to evaluate their respective evidence. Afterwards, the Hearing Officer makes a recommendation of value that can be accepted or rejected by either the Taxpayer or Assessor. If the value is timely rejected, the appeal will be re-scheduled before a panel of three Assessment Appeals Board Members for final disposition.
Dates and Times of Meetings: The Assessment Appeals Board meets Monday through Friday. There are two daily sessions. The first starts at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m. Each session lasts until all the calendared items are acted upon. The Hearing Officers usually meet at 9:30 a.m. as needed.
Composition of the Board: Due to the demanding hearing schedule, there are five regular members and three alternates on each Board. Members are scheduled on a rotating basis from the five regular members to create a three-member Board panel to hear appeals.
Last updated: 10/8/2009 4:09:42 PM
The Consumer Confidence Index rose in December to 52.9 (1985=100) compared with 50.6 in November, the Conference Board reported yesterday. The Present Situation Index declined to 18.8 in December from 21.2 in November, and the Expectations Index increased to 75.6 from 70.3 last month, according to the report.
“Consumer confidence posted yet another moderate gain in December as expectations for the short-term future increased to the highest level in two years,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The Present Situation Index, however, continued to lose ground and remains at a 26-year low. A more optimistic outlook for business and labor market conditions was the driving force behind the increase in the Expectations Index.”
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined in December, with those claiming business conditions are “bad” increasing to 46.6 percent in December from 44.5 percent in November, while those claiming conditions are “good” decreased to 7 percent in December compared with 8.1 percent in November. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market also was mixed, and their short-term outlook improved slightly, according to the report.
Next Tuesday, December 8, 2009, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on amendments to the city’s Rent Ordinance, proposed by Supervisor John Avalos. The amendments will extend “just cause” eviction protections to tenants in units that are not now subject to eviction controls (i.e., most residential rental units with a certificate of occupancy issued after the effective date of the Rent Ordinance, June 13, 1979).
If the amendments are passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed into law by the mayor, an owner of residential real property still may, under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (California Civil Code Sections 1954.50, et seq.), establish the initial and all subsequent rental rates for a unit located in a structure for which a certificate of occupancy was first issued after the effective date of the Rent Ordinance.
But, according to some, there is some possibility that the mayor may veto the amendments if they are passed by the Board of Supervisors.
Currently, there are three supervisors who are likely to vote against the Avalos amendments. But four votes are needed to sustain a mayoral veto. So, a fourth supervisor must be found to vote against the amendments and to sustain the mayor’s veto if the Avalos amendments are to be defeated.
For REALTORS® and their clients who own post-1979 units, the best strategy to pursue is to focus lobbying efforts on District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Mayor Gavin Newsom. The contact numbers for the two elected officials appear below, followed by arguments that can be advanced for opposing the Avalos amendments. Since the amendments are scheduled to be voted upon by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, December 8, 2009, it is important for the two elected officials to be contacted as soon as possible.
Elected Officials to Contact
Supervisor Bevan Dufty
City Hall, Room 244
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, California 94102-4689
Telephone: (415) 554-6968
Fax: (415) 554-6909
Mayor Gavin Newsom
City Hall, Room 200
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, California 94102-4689
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160
Arguments to Advance
The Avalos amendments, if passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed into law by the mayor, will reduce the availability of rental units for the following reasons:
They will impede an owner’s ability to move into a rental unit in structures for which a certificate of occupancy was issued after June 13, 1979—a problem no owner had reason to believe would ever exist when a decision was made to buy and rent.
They will discourage owners from renting units in post-1979 structures because of problems likely to be experienced recovering possession.
They will discourage the construction of residential structures that can be rented.
The Avalos amendments provide only the flimsiest justification for their passage. Two examples:
“Evictions without just cause from these post-1979 residential units are a growing concern…particularly due to the increasing number of no-fault evictions following property foreclosures.” (No specifics are provided.)
“As a matter of fairness to all residential renters, just cause eviction protections should be extended to units with a certificate of occupancy first issued after June 13, 1979.”
The Avalos amendments provide no verifiable evidence—only hearsay from biased tenant activists and others—that evictions without cause have become a problem in structures for which a certificate of occupancy was issued after June 13, 1979.
It is estimated that 15,000 residential rental units have been built after June 13, 1979, and currently are not covered by just cause eviction protections. Approximately 180,000 were built before June 13, 1979, and are covered by the rent control provisions of Chapter 37 of the city’s Administrative Code.
Note: Face it, if you own property in San Francisco but do not live here, you have no voice! – Mick Orton
The Bay Guardian (released today) is beginning the drum beat for new and higher taxes to be placed on the ballot next year. In its editorial entitled, “Time for Serious Budget Reform”, the Guardian states: “[T]here is simply no way to close a deficit this large [expected to be about $520 million] without new taxes. That’s just reality, and anyone who denies it is refusing to face facts.” The Bay Guardian goes on to recommend that the city’s tax structure be overhauled “to change the way the city collects money” and calls for the Board of Supervisors to do it, if the Mayor won’t. The Guardian is recommending that an additional $250 million be collected annually from businesses and wealthy individuals. How? Replace the current flat (payroll) business tax with a “progressive gross receipts tax that charges the biggest companies a higher percentage”, a “properly written utility users tax that (again) would hit big companies that use a lot of power”, and a city income tax, which would hit all the commuters “who use city services but don’t pay city taxes.”
Nothing is said in the editorial about the need to trim San Francisco’s bloated bureaucracy or its inflated salaries and benefits, or the need to relax its restrictive work rules that keep costs sky high. No. It’s simply this: the private sector must pay more to the public sector because “San Francisco is a rich city. By millennial standards, it’s one of the richest cities ever, in one of the richest civilizations ever.”
For the full and disturbing San Francisco Bay Guardian editorial, click below:
Note: As is pointed out in the story above, the message is NEVER to spend less, it is always raise taxes. Once they get 100%, then where will the money come from? This obviously was written by people who don’t pay taxes! – Mick Orton
Near historic low mortgage rates, favorable home prices, and the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers have contributed to home purchases in the past year. However, the onset of the credit crisis, new regulations for home appraisals, and more stringent guidelines for purchases and refinances have resulted in confusion for some potential home buyers.
While using a mortgage broker to find the best loan may work for some buyers, it may not always be the best route. In the past, mortgage brokers could “shop” a loan to multiple lenders to help find the best deal. However, new practices and procedures under the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) have hampered mortgage brokers’ abilities, namely that lenders may no longer accept home appraisals commissioned by brokers. As a result, consumers may have to pay for new appraisals with each lender, which costs time and money. However, consumers who are very busy or need guidance may find that working with a mortgage broker is the easiest solution.
Qualifying for a mortgage under current lender standards is more difficult nowadays than in years past. Beginning Nov. 1 or Dec. 12, depending on the type of loan, Fannie Mae is tightening its lending standards to the 620 credit score benchmark—including loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs. Borrowers with credit scores of less than 620 will find it very difficult to qualify for a mortgage. However, to qualify for the best rates, consumers generally need credit scores of 720 and must have verifiable, steady income.
As for loan type, most real estate professionals agree that a fixed-rate mortgage is the best choice for buyers and refinancers.
Starting October 11, 2009, a new law prohibits anyone from claiming any compensation for negotiating or arranging a loan modification until after that person fully performs each and every service as promised. Aimed at combating loan modification scams, this ban applies to upfront fees collected by real estate agents and attorneys. The ban expires on January 1, 2013. Also effective immediately, anyone who negotiates or arranges a loan modification must give the borrower a specified notice that paying a third-party for loan modification services is unnecessary. These new requirements apply to mortgage loans secured by residential property up to four units, with certain exceptions for lenders and loan servicers acting on their own behalf. Violations can be penalized by, among other things, a $10,000 fine plus one-year imprisonment for individuals, or a $50,000 fine for businesses. Real estate brokers with existing Advance Fee Loan Modification Agreements reviewed by the Department of Real Estate (DRE) can no longer, as of October 11, 2009, enter into these agreements or collect advance fees. Agreements entered into and advance fees collected before October 11, 2009 are not affected.
(Editor’s Note: In the event readers missed it the first time around, here’s another glimpse at the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act (MDIA))
Starting July 30, 2009, if the APR on an initial Good Faith Estimate is no longer accurate (within a 0.125% range) at close of escrow, a lender must generally provide a residential borrower with a new disclosure and a three-day right to rescind before consummating the loan. Because of this new three-day waiting period, a lender’s failure to timely provide corrected disclosures has the potential of delaying funding of the loan and close of escrow.
This new requirement is part of the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act (MDIA) implementing new loan procedures to protect borrowers and foster greater transparency in mortgage lending. For loan applications submitted on or after July 30, 2009, the new MDIA changes to the Truth in Lending Act are generally as follows:
- Applicability: The new MDIA rules pertain to federally-related mortgage loans covered under RESPA and secured by a consumer’s dwelling. The rules apply to both purchase and refinance loans.
- Early Disclosures: A lender must provide a borrower with an initial Good Faith Estimate within three business days of receiving the borrower’s written loan application as specified. For this provision, a “business day” is generally defined as a day on which the lender’s offices are open for business.
- Upfront Fees Restriction: Neither a lender nor any other person may impose an upfront fee on the borrower (except for credit report) until the borrower has received the early disclosures in person or, if mailed, three business days after the early disclosures are mailed. For this rule, a “business day” is defined as all calendar days except Sundays and legal public holidays as specified.
- Seven-Day Waiting Period: A lender must wait seven business days after providing the early disclosures before consummating the loan. For purposes of this waiting period, a “business day” is defined as all calendar days except Sundays and federal legal holidays as specified. A borrower may waive the waiting period in writing in case of personal financial emergency, such as an imminent foreclosure sale.
- Re-disclosure Requirement: If the final Annual Percentage Rate (APR) at loan consummation varies more than 0.125% (or 1/8 of one percent) from the initial APR on the early disclosures of a regular transaction, the lender must provide the borrower with a corrected disclosure at least three business days before the loan is consummated. For purposes of this waiting period, a “business day” is defined as all calendar days except Sundays and federal legal holidays as specified.
- Three-Day Waiting Period: For corrected disclosures, a lender cannot consummate a loan until three business days after the borrower receives the corrected disclosure in person. If the corrected disclosure is mailed, the borrower is deemed to have received it three business days after it is placed in the mail. A borrower may waive this waiting period in writing in case of a bona fide personal financial emergency, such as an imminent foreclosure sale.
The new MDIA rules and regulations are set forth at 74 Federal Register 23,289 (May 19, 2009) (to be codified at 12 CFR 226) and are available at http://www.federalreserve.gov/reportforms/formsreview/RegZ_20090519_ffr.pdf.
- San Francisco Association of Realtors
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