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The Association has submitted a redrawn supervisorial district map to the city’s redistricting task force. The map is based on neighborhoods and communities of interest identified on the SFARMLS district/sub-district map. Almost 200 pages of supporting documents were presented with the map providing background information and rationales for the 38 changes that were proposed to existing supervisorial boundaries, again based on the SFARMLS district/sub-district map.
The city is required to rebalance its supervisorial districts every 10 years to assure all districts are roughly the same size and to provide for appropriate representation of the city’s diverse communities.
The only other organizations that submitted detailed maps were the Bay Guardian newspaper and the Chinese-American Voter Education Committee.
The final map, with which the city will have to live with for the next 10 years, will be released by the task force in mid-April. It does not require either Board of Supervisors or voter approval.
QUESTION: The September 4, 20011 Los Angeles Times said that “Management employees, like any other vendor, do not belong at association board meetings. Although they may be invited to attend, they should not be taking minutes or offering suggestions on the conduct or content of the meetings.” Is that true?
ANSWER: No it’s not true. But what should you expect, it’s the L.A. Times. I noticed that the paragraph did not cite any statutes or cases to support the writer’s position–that’s because there are none. Board members are volunteers and need to rely on vendors such as managers, lawyers and CPAs to assist them in carrying out their duties. Even paid professional directors on the boards of publicly traded corporations rely on managers, lawyers and CPAs to assist them in carrying out their duties, all of whom attend meetings at the board’s invitation.
Increasing Burden. With the increasing burden put on HOA boards by the legislature and the courts, it is no longer possible for directors to fulfill their duties without professional assistance. The law specifically authorizes boards to delegate duties such as management, preparation of minutes, preparation of budgets, etc. to others. Corp. Code §7210. Can managers attend meetings and take minutes? Of course they can.
Professional Certification. Managers can be an extremely valuable resource for boards. Professional standards for managers have steadily grown over the years because of excellent training programs put on by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and the California Association of Community Managers (CACM), which lead to certifications by each organization. The top certifications are the PCAM (Professional Community Association Manager) and the CCAM (Certified Community Association Manager). Each requires a specific number of years of experience plus classroom training taught by attorneys and seasoned management professionals.
RECOMMENDATION: The smartest thing associations can do is to hire certified managers to attend their board and membership meetings, take minutes, and make suggestions on the conduct and content of meetings.
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
ADAMS & KESSLER LLP
Foster Weeks publishes a weekly mortgage report which is updated every Monday morning. How is this affecting the San Francisco real estate market? Read our weekly and monthly market reports. Here’s what Mr.Weeks says about last week’s activity:
“LIFE IS A MIXED BLESSING, WHICH WE VAINLY TRY TO UNMIX” – author and journalist Mignon McLaughlin. The labor market and the economy saw their own mixed blessings last week, when three different employment reports were released. Unlike Mignon McLaughlin’s quote above about life, these mixed job reports can actually be untangled. So let’s break down what we learned about employment last week…and, just as importantly, what’s going on with home loan rates.
After two disappointing employment reports earlier last week – in the form of the ADP National Employment Report and the Initial Jobless Claims Report – the labor market finally received some good news on Friday when the Labor Department released their official Jobs Report that showed 244,000 jobs were created in April. That was far above all expectations… and it was the biggest private job increase since 2006!
But where did this number come from… and is it accurate?
This headline number comes from the Current Population Survey, which uses the birth/death model to guesstimate the amount of jobs lost or gained in different industries – based on how many businesses were “born” or “died.” And it isn’t until we get revisions to the previous month’s reports that we get a more accurate and final number.
Furthermore, history has shown that the birth/death model used to estimate is lagging – and at the start of an improving labor market, like we are seeing, the future revisions will likely show more jobs created than previously reported. This dynamic was evident in this month’s Jobs Report, as revisions to March showed that an additional 46,000 jobs were created.
Despite the better-than-expected number of jobs created, the Unemployment Rate ticked up to 9% from 8.8%. The data for the Unemployment Rate comes from an entirely different survey – which is called the Household Survey – and is a bit contradictory to the headline news. This shows that the jobs being created simply aren’t enough to have yet made a significant dent in the number of jobless Americans.
Also in the Jobs Report, Average Hourly Earnings were reported up by 0.1% to $22.95 per hour. Hourly earnings have increased by 1.9% year over year, just not enough to create “wage-based inflation,” which is where employers have to pump up the prices of their goods and services to cover increased wages. So this was somewhat Bond-friendly news.
Although the Jobs Report was mixed, the overall positive tone does validate that the labor market is gradually improving. As the labor market improves, so will the economy and housing – and with that, interest rates will gradually rise as well. In the short run, the recent rise in Bonds is encouraging. However, after such a strong run higher, it would not be surprising to see more downside follow through in Bonds – which could mean higher home loan rates. The good news is that home loan rates recently reached some of the best levels so far in 2011 – and rumors on Friday that Greece may leave the European Union helped Bonds, as traders sought a safe haven.
That means a window has opened up… but there’s one important point you should understand.
It’s important to note that the last time rates hit this level, they jumped significantly higher from here. What’s more, signs of inflation are beginning to creep into our economy, which never bodes well for home loan rates. And if the rumors of Greece leaving the European Union turn out to be untrue (as Greece has stated), the safe haven bounce we saw last Friday could quickly be erased. That’s why it’s important to take action now.
It doesn’t cost anything to check out your situation, and the choice of moving forward or not will be up to you. Don’t miss this window of opportunity to save significantly on your monthly budget. Call or email today to take a look.
Read the entire article and see the graphs here.
- Foster Weeks
Foster Weeks publishes a weekly mortgage report which is updated every Monday morning. How is this affecting the San Francisco real estate market? Read our weekly and monthly market reports. Here’s what Mr. Weeks says about last week’s activity:
“YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT UNTIL IT’S GONE – AND I FOUND OUT A LITTLE TOO LATE…” The words from Chicago’s hit song from the 80′s sums up the market’s sentiment on the ending of the Federal Reserve’s Mortgage Backed Security buying program, and the resulting volatility for home loan rates that has already begun.
The Fed did what they set out to do – purchasing $1.25 Trillion in Mortgage Backed Securities, and succeeding in their plan to lower home loan rates and help stabilize the housing sector. And even though they stretched out the length of the program slightly – in order to soften the impact of the end of the program – the training wheels are now off, the safety net is gone, and home loan rates have already moved higher. In fact – as the Fed will now gradually become a seller of their massive holdings of Mortgage Backed Securities – rates are very likely to continue to move higher still.
Even after home loan rates took a jump higher last week, they still remain at reasonably low levels – which makes right now a crucial time to take advantage of the opportunities that exist, including the Homebuyers Tax Credit which is down to its last month. To take advantage of the generous credit, purchase contracts must be signed by the end of April. If you or someone you know has questions about this credit – please don’t wait to get in touch with me.
Adding to last week’s volatility, the official Jobs Report was released last Friday – and according to the report, 162,000 jobs were created in March, making it the biggest one-month increase in three years. Additionally, there were upward revisions to January and February, which brought the last two months’ net job losses to near zero.
Read the entire article and see the graphs here.
- Foster Weeks
Chicago Tribune – As more homeowners find themselves underwater — owing more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth — and unable to make the monthly mortgage payments, many are turning to short sales, which allow a homeowner to sell their home for less than owed on the mortgage. Short sales can be a win-win situation for all parties, because they enable home buyers to purchase properties in desirable neighborhoods and at favorable prices.
MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY FOR CONSUMERS
- Theoretically, short sales should be a win-win for the bank and the homeowner. Although the bank does not receive the full amount owed on the mortgage, it also does not incur the costs of foreclosure and/or eviction, if necessary. Many homeowners also prefer short sales because it is less damaging to their credit scores than a foreclosure. However, many real estate experts say that the majority of banks are reluctant to approve short sales, and often let properties go into foreclosure, even when there are reasonable offers on the property. In addition to considering the price, most lenders also take into consideration whether the homeowner can demonstrate financial hardship. If the homeowner is capable of making payments, many lenders will try to work out a loan modification, rather than a short sale.
- Unlike foreclosed properties, which may be run-down and vacant for many months, short-sale properties are likely to be better maintained, as most owners may still live in the home.
- Short sales often are more time intensive than traditional transactions and often require additional paperwork. Due to the large number of offers on short sales, many take as long as a few months to receive approval. If information or required forms are missing or incomplete, the bank may set the offer aside, which could delay the process and cause the property to go into foreclosure. To expedite the process, sellers should work closely with their REALTOR® to provide all of the necessary paperwork.
- Working with a REALTOR® who has experience with short sales can help both sellers and home buyers during the transaction. A seasoned REALTOR® will be able to serve as the mediator between the seller and the lender, and lead to a successful transaction.
- It is important to remember that in a short sale, although the seller may be anxious about selling the property and willing to accept any offer, it is ultimately up to the lender to determine if, and at what price, the property can be sold. Home buyers should work closely with their REALTOR® to submit realistic offers.
Recently we became aware of SocketSite, a San Francisco real estate blog. The topic this morning was “deceptive practices of Realtors”. It was put forth that instead of reducing the prices on listings, agents are pulling the property from the MLS and relisting it at the reduced price leading people to believe that the home sold for over the asking price, when in reality it may have sold for less than the original listing price.
Of course, I had to put in our two cents worth by commenting the following:
“What people here are saying here has some truth… from the BUYERS point of view. However, having worked with a Realtor, I see the other side, the SELLER’S side, more clearly.
“Imagine you’re trying to sell your property now after witnessing a frenetic market like we had a couple of years ago. You want the best price and expect it. Your Realtor suggests you put it on at $1,995,000. You insist that it is worth $2,500,000. It sits on the market for 3 months before reality sets in and the price is reduced to $1,995,000 which generates multiple offers and goes over the reduced listing price.
“If the price is only reduced in MLS, it creates the impression that there is something wrong with the property. (What problems made them lower the price $500,000?) And even with the new price, the listing becomes stale. Many Realtors may not see it again, or forget about this listing which is not serving the best interest of the SELLERS.
“Finally, don’t forget, if the property had been withdrawn and placed with another broker, it would have shown up as a new listing anyway at the reduced price.”
The bottom line here is that statistics may lie, or at least not tell the “whole” truth. When responding to a request for a CMA (comparative market analysis), the Realtor will bring a list of sold homes that compare to yours in order to suggest a listing price that is realistic in that day’s market.
It is our practice (and most Realtors in the City will agree) that we NEVER tell the prospective seller that the house will go a certain percentage OVER the listing price! The statistics from the MLS are just that… statistics and should not be counted on.
We’d love to hear your comments.
- Mick Orton
The San Francisco Chronicle reported last Sunday that the latest thing in City rentals is corporate housing. This might also be a way around the rent control issue for San Francisco landlords and create way to get positive cash flow by renting to corporations. It provides an alternative to vacation rentals which are seasonal.
According to the article, there are management firms that specialize in this type of rental who work with corporations and home owners to secure temporary housing for workers who are brought in for varying reasons. Their commission is high, about 30%, but might be a great alternative to long term rentals.
Landlords might want to check into this rental option.
- Mick Orton
Market Watch reports:
The Federal Open Market Committee will hold rates steady at its policy meeting on Wednesday, taking a “wait-and-see approach” amid hints that the economy is downshifting and inflation pressures abating, economists say.
“This seems like a good time to stay on hold because there really is a lot of uncertainty now,” said Robert Dederick, a former Commerce Department economist and the president of RGD Economics.
“We’ve reached that stage in the cycle where things could go a number of ways. The wisest thing would seem to stay there and look around,” Dederick said.
The FOMC stopped hiking interest rates in August after 17 consecutive rate hikes raised its key target Fed funds interest rate from 1% up to 5.25%.
Read the entire article here.
A recent article in Market Watch, a newsletter published by Dow Jones, it was reported that the NAR (National Association of Realtors) is saying that home prices will probably fall temporarily as the market corrects, but predicts that prices will bounce higher again in a few months. This is contrary to what Forbes and Templeton forecast for the real estate market, both sources predicting a gloom and doom scenario.
In San Francisco, we are seeing a lot of activity in the fall market and prices continue to hold steady, particularly in the higher end homes. However, it is taking longer to sell properties and has shifted to a buyers market. As listings sit on the shelf longer, it makes it easier for them to negotiate. There are still multiple offer situations, but today that is the exception rather than the rule.
- Mick Orton
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