Thursday, February 28, 2008

Michael Jackson's Woes Continue!

I have been reading in the news lately about Michael Jackson and the Notice of Trustee Sale that was recorded against his property.

Since I'm in the business where this kind of public information is easy for me to get I decided to get a copy of the document if for nothing else to at least satisfy my curiosity.

After reading through it I thought it might be worth posting this short article on the drama playing out in Los Olivos.

The document was recorded on Monday Feb 25th at 8:12 in the morning. It references a Deed of Trust that was recorded April 14th 2006.

The amount of money referenced in the Trustees Sale Document is $24,525,906.61. This amount is not the full amount as there are additional monies that will be added on to that. At this time, I'm not able to figure out what those monies might entail.

The sale is scheduled to be on March 19th 2008, at 1pm at the County Courthouse 1100 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara Ca.

The Trustees Deed doesn't mention the lender by name, but I did pull a copy of the trust deed and it is DBCG LLC whose address is in c/o Fortress Credit Corp. in New York.

The interesting part of the document is later on where it references all the personal property and begins to itemize many of the fixtures that The Neverland Ranch is famous for.

Some of the items listed are trains, carousels, and merry go rounds. They don't stop there, audio visual equipment (If I remember right there is a pretty good sized theatre on the property), computers, etc...

If I'm reading this document correctly they are even making sure that the use of the word "Neverland" is included in sale to some degree.

I can't help but think of the circus that has surrounded this property and it's owner ever since he bought this property. I have absolutely no idea if Mr. Jackson will be able to satisfy his lender or if the property will end up being auctioned on the courthouse steps or even end up in the lenders hands. The fate is truly up in the air from what I've heard. One way or another I'm expecting more of the circus of news and media coverage we have all been used to seeing.

I have attached a copy of the document so anyone who would like to can read it for themselves. See You In Escrow!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Santa Barbara Residential Lending Activity

Every month I do a little number crunching and come up with the numbers that reflect the residential lending activity for Santa Barbara's South Coast, as well as Lompoc and Santa Maria.

As you can see from the chart the number of non purchase transactions has dropped over 50% from March of 2007. January is not typically a busy month in general, but that is huge.

Our escrow officers have seen a big increase in the number of refinance escrows they are opening. I expect this number to begin to increase in future months.

It is the same story on the residential purchase loan side. January was down, and from what I know of February, it won't be much better.

On a positive note the open sale escrows in February have certainly shown signs of life. We have opened many more than in January. See You In Escrow!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Santa Barbara Foreclosure Info Jan 2008

The Santa Barbara Foreclosure Chart is showing some interesting changes now that we have a few months of data to compare.

The piece of the process that starts everything else is the recording of the Notice of Default. In January in Santa Barbara County there were 284 recorded, which is the largest number since the mortgage meltdown began.

The next step in the process is the recording of a Trustees Deed. For January there were 98 recorded. This is also the largest number we've seen. This is the number that leads to all the Bank owned properties for sale.

The Bank owned properties or more commonly referred to as REO's that sold in January stayed at the same number we saw in the previous 2 months, 17.

The last, but probably not least line on the chart is the number reflecting how many loans are being adjusted in a given month. You could argue that this is the number that starts all the others moving, but I haven't figured out if there is a direct relationship yet, so I'm holding out. This number for January was 139.

As you can see from the graph the number of loans that adjusted in January is down significantly, but will be climbing in April and May back to the 180 level. This coupled with the rise in the number of Notice of Defaults and Trustees Deeds makes me think we are seeing the worst of this.
I do expect a rise in the number of foreclosed properties being sold based on what we've seen the last 12 months. The number of sales occurring seems to be about 25% of the number of Trustees deeds we record, so with that in mind we may be seeing about 25 bank owned properties closing escrow in a given month in the not too distant future.

I think we are seeing the worst of it, knowing what I know about the number of loans that are going to adjust in the next 6 months. I also think there will be some positive impact on the market with respects to the stimulus package that is being implemented.

So all that is left to say is, See You In Escrow!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Coast Village Road

A local group has begun a campaign to save the look of Coast Village Road. They are opposed to a 3 story building being proposed at the corner of Coast Village and Olive Mill. Here is a link to an article written by Jeff Farrell that was in the Independent. Chime in on this one and let your voice be heard. If you would like to help the cause the article has information on how to donate or participate. Good Luck Jeff! Here is a link to the Save Coast Village Road website.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Santa Maria And Lompoc January Sales

Property Sales in the Santa Maria and Lompoc area did not show anything other than the seasonal slowness you would expect.

There were 95 transactions reported by CORT. This matched the most recent low number of 95 in October and is a drop from the 112 in December.

I am expecting the market in these areas to start getting some momentum behind it.

With help from The Economic Stimulus package which will increase the conforming loan limit in these areas, I am expecting some renewed confidence for buyers in this market. These neighborhoods will probably quickly transition out of the double digit sales numbers we have seen recently.

I am also anticipating that with all the different lender related solutions for people facing foreclosure that Santa Maria and Lompoc should start to be less affected by those properties being on the market. Time Will Tell!

See You In Escrow!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, & Carpinteria January 2008

The real estate markets of Southern Santa Barbara County got off to a slower start this year than last, with one exception.

Goleta actually had more sales than last years 25 and was one short of the 32 sales in January 2006. This is good news in that the lower end of the market is the one that appears to have been hit hardest in the last few years. Maybe this is the beginning of a comeback in that market.

Carpinteria and Summerland came very close to matching the January number for the last couple of years with 10 sales. The previous years had 11 and 12 respectively. As is the case in Goleta, this could be good news for the lower end markets in our area.

Santa Barbara and Montecito had the biggest declines of the areas in January. Santa Barbara had 41 properties close when last year there were 55 and 74 the year before. Montecito had 10 closed sales this year with 20 last year and 21 the year before.

I will be interested to see what February's closings show for this year. We have been experiencing a fair number of openings, but nothing really consistent yet. The numbers won't lie.

See You In Escrow!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

Santa Barbara's Conforming Loan Limits Not Good Enough!

I have pasted the text of an email sent out by the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors below.

I definetely agree that for Santa Barbara's South Coast to have the same conforming loan limit as Santa Maria and Lompoc doesn't make sense.

I have heard that the loan limit for Ventura County would be the mimum of $729,500 if it is figured by county.

So join the campaign of letter writers who are going to try and send the message to our elected officials that from Carpinteria to Goleta our conforming loan limit should be raised.

Let Lois Capps, and Barbara Boxer, and the organizations listed below know that this should be considered a seperate area when it comes to figuring the new conforming loan limits.

This issue could affect pricing and the number of homes that end up in foreclosure, which affects everyone in Santa Barbara.

You can download the letter from the Association's site referenced below.

Stimulus Package will NOT help Santa Barbara!

South Santa Barbara County (Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, and
Carpinteria) is lumped with North Santa Barbara County (Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Ynez) which means a $587,500 maximum loan instead of a $729,500 maximum loan. We need to split the calculations for the county.
Help us contact our Congresswoman, Senators, HUD, OFHEO, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae and ask them to split north and South County
for purposes of calculating conforming loan limits.

Thank you for making a difference!

Please visit
to see more information about this and to download the letter.

For further information please contact:

Krista Pleiser
Government Affairs Director
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®
1415 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
805-963-3787 office
805-884-8609 direct
805-966-9664 fax
For more information visit:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Santa Barbara Property Sales For Jan 2008

It's a new year and it has started out just where 2007 left off in December.

In the Santa Barbara area there were 92 closed transactions according to C.O.R.T. (Computer Oriented Real Estate Technology) They are a local provider of property information and do a terrific job.

Now back to the numbers, we have had 4 consecutive months of property sales being in 90's. Historically that is a very low number. Seasonally this is the time of year you would expect low numbers.

I'm going to really go out on a limb here and say that we should see some bigger numbers very shortly. Maybe we will climb in to the triple digits in February, but most likely it will be March before that happens.

We have given our chart a bit of a face lift, by adding our escrow officers and marketing representatives information, as well as putting a Santa Barbaraesque photo in the background. You may notice Elissa has been promoted to escrow officer! Congratulations Elissa!

We also have a chart showing the submarkets of Goleta, Montecito, Carpinteria/Summerland, and Santa Barbara as well as information on the North County. Those will be accessible from the links on this page soon.

See You In Escrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Property Sales Map January 2008

I have completed the South County map which covers Carpinteria to Goleta in Santa Barbara County.

The map is reflecting all the sales reported by CORT for January 2008.

For 2 months in a row there were under 100 sales in the Santa Barbara area. These sales include all the single family residences and commercial & industrial sales as well as any multi family properties.

The map is actually at the bottom of the blog. I won't post it in the text of this blog as it can make the site load slowly.

Here is a link to it if you would like to view it separately. You can also refer to the links at the right when you need it.

One thing you can do with this map is click on the show list link in the upper left and it will show you a list of the sales prices to the right if you would like to browse the sales that way.

I'll be posting more numbers and statistics on January as we get them as well as the maps for the Santa Maria, Lompoc & Santa Ynez areas.

See You In Escrow!

Friday, February 8, 2008

California Association of Realtors Numbers for Santa Barbara Real Estate

I had the good fortune of seeing Leslie Appleton Young speak in Santa Barbara yesterday and it was refreshing hearing her speakhow she speaks without overwhelming you with economic data. I will be getting a copy of her presentation soon and post some of the useful information she shared. In the mean time I went to the California Association of Realtors website and poked around a little and found some statistics I found useful for December of 2007.

The first was the median home sales price for Santa Barbara, South and North County.

  • Santa Barbara County

$492,860 (12/07) $673,080 (11/07) $607,140 (12/06)

  • Santa Barbara South Coast

$925,000 (12/07) $1,080,000 (11/07) $1,250,000 (12/06)

  • North Santa Barbara County

$323,810 (12/07) $354,760 (11/07) $431,710 (12/06)

The comparison of prices from either the previous month and or the previous year shows a pretty sizable drop. This isn't any huge surprise, although it is affecting those properties on the market that have been listed for a while and haven't adjusted their asking price. If they want to sell they are going to have to chase the market down at this point. The other point to bring up is that there were so few sales in Dec. that it is hard to get a real idea of a true trend.

Below are the exact percentage drops as compared to November and the previous December

  • Santa Barbara County

$492,860 (dec 07 price) -26.8% (nov 07) -18.8% (dec 06)

  • Santa Barbara South Coast

$925,000 (dec 07 price) -14.4% (nov 07) -26.0% (dec 06)

  • North Santa Barbara County

$323,810 (dec 07 price) -8.7% (nov 07) -25.0% (dec 06)

Like I said, these are pretty significant differences, but the amount of sales in Dec 07 as a low going back at least 10 years makes it hard to make any significant predictions on where the market really is.

The January month end numbers have just arrived, so check back soon to see how they turned out. See You In Escrow!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Trulia Is In The House!

Pardon the pun, but has anyone noticed the Trulia search box on the right side of my blog?

They have a new program which allows you to put a search box on your website. When someone does a search using that box the results open up in a page branded to your company.

I thought that was pretty cool when I first read about it. I didn't completely understand how it might work, but it was interesting enough for me to submit my application to Trulia to see if they would accept my blog as a site for the search feature.

I didn't think I had a snowballs chance in you know what after I answered some of their questions, like how many visitors do I get a week?

After about a week I received an email saying I had been accepted and accompanying that email was a form I needed to fill out and send back to them. That was simple enough.

There was another form talking about web programming of headers and sizes of logos etc, which really sent me for a loop. I had no idea what this might cost me, because I certainly didn't have the expertise to figure this out.


What I did was just let the person know that I had no idea what he needed from me. His response almost floored me. He basically said well "Tell me a little about your website and what your purpose for having it is and let me see what I can do". So I did and within a couple of weeks of trial and error, my new friend at Trulia got me up and running.

I just wanted to relay that story. It just goes to show you; That if I can do it, anyone can!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Realtors Home Sales Statistics For Jan 2008

Gary Woods sent out his updated statistics reviewing the market in January 2008. He has compared those numbers with Jan of 2007. One thing to make a note of is that this information only reflects the sales that were reported to The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. There are transactions that aren't reported and I'll review them when they are available.

Total Active Listings; Jan 07 605, vs. Jan 08 676 UP +10.5%
This certainly shows that there is still a good selection to choose from when buying a home

New Listings; Jan 07 155, Jan 08 151 DOWN -2.6 %
Pretty much that same number for both years, not much to really draw any conclusions from

New Listings Median List Price; Jan 07 $1,295,000, Jan 08 $1,299,000, UP +0.4%
This tells me not much has changed when it comes to the sellers expectations of what their property is worth. The real issue is how many of these properties will sell and at what price.

Properties that went into Escrow; Jan 07 88, Jan 08 56, DOWN -36.4%
Number of Sold Properties; Jan 07 60, Jan 08 40 DOWN -33.4%
This is the trend we have been seeing for the last 6 to 7 months. It continues to tell me that there is a pent up demand we will get hit with shortly.

Median Sales Prices; Jan 07 $1,200,000 Jan 08 $1,130,000 DOWN -5.9%
The median price seems to continuu to slip and this isn't any surprise either. I'm not certain the lower price is really that significant though.

Median Sales Price without Montecito/Hope Ranch; Jan 07 $975,000 Jan 08 $920,562 DOWN -5.6%
This statistic really goes to show you that the median price decrease is the same pretty much across the board.

Average Sold Price; Jan 07 $1,928,066, Jan 08 $1,981,600 UP +2.8 %
I just feel like prices aren't going to continue to slip that much and this is representative of that.

Average Sold Price without Hope Ranch/Montecito’07 $1,338,922 ’08 $1,124,367 DOWN -6.1%
This number of course counters my last comment, but I do think prices will slip, just not that much. I have heard people predict a 25% decrease....... I don't see it.

Sold Volume Jan 07 $115,684,000 Jan 08 $79,264,025 DOWN -31.5%
This of course is representative of the number of transactions and a little lower median price.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Get Your Real Estate Documents Online

I first began working in the Title Business for Safeco Title Company in Los Angeles County. I was a messenger and one of the items I would deliver were blank documents to escrow companies and real estate offices.

The supply of these documents in the warehouse seemed to go on forever. The only other place I knew of to get these documents was the good old Stationery Store.

There isn't any reason to go to the Stationery Store anymore to get blank copies of Grant Deeds, or Quitclaim Deeds.

If you didn't know already our website has many of the most commonly needed documents for handling real estate transactions.

This of course has saved us money, in that we don't have to print them and keep them on hand for our customers and transactions.

It has also made life easier for people who need these documents because you can get what you want either in pdf format or in a Word document. You can save them to your computer and fill them out as you need them.

So, check out our blank real estate document library to see if we have what you need. I would always recommend talking with an attorney and or cpa before using these documents so you know you are using them correctly.