The quickest path to finding true foreclosure bargains

Following the facts on discounts can help you find the real deals NEW YORK (MarketWatch) —

You’ve heard a lot (probably too much!) about real estate market problems and especially the rapid rise in foreclosures. But as a real estate investor you’re picking up big-time “bargain” signals on your antennae.

The headlines are ominous: some 243,000 foreclosures in August, up 36% from July and 115% from August 2006. There’s blood in the streets.

So how do you get from “there must be bargains out there” to “how much will I save, and where are the best bargains?”

I like to guide any buying decision as much as possible with the facts. But while lots of foreclosures are out there, how good an opportunity they might be was hard to know. Until now.

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Richmond Housing Stats for single family homes and condos

Single family homes

Trendgraphix 10-2007 single family homes

Condos & Townhomes

Trendgraphix 10-2007 condos & townhomes

Richmond: Rosie the Riveter, Pt. Isabel and the neighborhood map

I love Richmond! Sure it’s had its share of bad press but Richmond is so incredibly rich and diverse and there is so much to do. I go out to Richmond at least 2-3 times per week. Richmond has a wonderful shoreline, a great dog park, fantastic bike paths, cute homes, shopping galore and it’s close to everything!

A little history…Richmond was founded in 1905 and until 1919 had the largest winery in the world and in the ‘20s the KKK was rampant. A small town at the time with a population of only 2,105 the town grew with the advent of the Ford Motor Company in the 30’s and the onset of World War II . World War II brought the shipyards along the waterfront and an influx of workers, including African Americans and women entered the munitions and manufacturing workforce for the first time. Richmond grew from a population of 2,105 in 1905 to a population of 99,000 by 1950. In the 60’s Richmond was also home to the Black Panthers. In the 80s the former shipyards were transformed into a multiunit residential area now known as Marina Bay. In early 2000 the city began an aggressive redevelopment effort “spurring exurban housing, condos, townhomes, a transit village and terraced hillside subdivision. Richmond today has 104,000 people and is incredibly diverse in race, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Speaking of culture…have you heard of Rosie the Riveter?

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter, a cultural icon, represents the six million women who worked in the manufacturing plants during World War II. More than that Rosie increased the number of working women to 20 million by 1944 and opened up the work force for women. Interested in learning more? Then you should visit the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. The Park commemorates women’s shipbuilding and support for the war effort in the 1940s. Directions to the park can be found here.

Got a pooch that you’d like to frolic with? Then you have to check out Pt. Isabel. Pt. Isabel is the largest dog park in Alameda county. 22 glorious acres for you and fido! On a sunny day expect to spend at least a good one and a half to two hours there. Pt. Isabel is by far THE best dog park around (Fort Funston in San Francisco comes in at second). Restrooms, dog wash and dog store, café, open water, paved trails, nature all around…simply wonderful. To get there take Hgwy 80 to Central Avenue exit. Head left, past Costco and the road dead ends into the Park. Make sure to bring your leash. Doggie bags provided. To find out more visit Pido

Not sure about all the neighborhoods? Then click on the link for a map of Richmond’s neighborhoods. Richmond neighborhood map

Thinking about moving to Richmond? Looking for a bungalow or a home up in the hills? From the Annex to the Marina to the View or Downtown Richmond has what you are looking for whether in the 300K price range or the million dollar home. Email me if you’d like a list of homes that are currently for sale or ask me for the list of little known diamonds in the rough.

For more information on what Richmond has to offer click on the image below.

Points of Interest

Stereotypes of Wealthy Women Challenged In New Study From Asset Management Advisors

PALM BEACH, Fla./PRNewswire/ — Wealthy women today are not only wealthy, but well educated and working too. They give education and work a high priority, manage their own money and careers, are philanthropic, and want to give their children equal shares in their wealth, a recent study sponsored by Asset Management Advisors (AMA) concluded.

AMA’s CEO, Mel Lagomasino, remarked on the importance of the study findings stating, “Women are key decision makers, making up 46 percent of top wealth holders in the U.S., so understanding their needs, views and approach to wealth is critical to helping families successfully manage their wealth.” With a 20.7% response rate, over 100 women with a combined minimum net worth exceeding $2 billion participated in the study sponsored by AMA. The study focused on women’s approach to wealth management, including their attitudes, values, practices and wealth transfer intentions.

“The study’s findings help debunk some prevalent myths, particularly around affluent women’s involvement, awareness, education and employment,” said Kirby Rosplock, vice president of research & development, who conducted the research. The study is part of a larger, multi-institutional study conducted with Fredda Herz Brown, Ph.D. and Dennis Jaffe, Ph.D., principals at Relative Solutions.

Some of the myths challenged by the study’s findings include the notion that affluent women are not that educated or employed, that they are not interested or involved with the management of their wealth; that women are not communicating about their wealth, specifically their estate plan and wealth transfer intentions to the next generation and women are not interested or focused on legacy planning. On the contrary, many of the research findings provide insights that challenge some of these stereotypical generalizations.

Some key insights gleaned from the study are:  

    -- Surveyed affluent women are not only wealthy, but very well educated:

       Over 60% of the women indicated that the net worth of their household

       was between $5 and $100 million. When asked about the level of

       education completed, over 80% had at least a Bachelor's degree and over

       40% had a Master's or Ph.D.  

    -- A majority of wealthy women work: 53% of the women surveyed are

       employed and manage their own careers.  70% expect family members to


    -- Supporting family members financially with their education is a

       priority: Not only do the women who were surveyed feel it is important

       to be educated themselves, 70% agreed that it is important to support

       family members financially with their education.  

    -- A majority of women concur that they are in control and involved with

       the management of their wealth: When asked to rate the statement, "I

       have control of my wealth," 68% agreed, and over 50% said they are

       actively involved with the management of their wealth.  Women expressed

       the importance of not relying on a man when it came to their wealth,

       and the importance of being educated and knowledgeable about wealth

       management issues.  

    -- A majority of women are talking about wealth in their families and have

       communicated to their children about their estate plan and inheritance.

       Seventy-one percent of women indicated that their families are talking

       about wealth. Over 70% of women agreed that they are talking to

       advisors and spouses about wealth, with 62% of women agreeing that they

       have talked with children about estate plans and 64% of women agreeing

       that have talked with children about their inheritance.  

    -- A majority of women indicate that their families are philanthropic.

       Over 85% of women indicated that their families are currently

       philanthropic, and interviews indicated that women and families are

       volunteering their time, knowledge and expertise as well as their

       dollars. Of special note, 43% of women indicated that they serve on a

       community board(s).  

    -- A majority of women anticipate having their children inherit equally.

       Almost all women with children indicated that some portion of their

       wealth would go to their children, and 95% of mothers surveyed intend

       for their children to inherit equally.

A steal of a deal in Oakland!

I am always on the lookout for a great deal in Oakland especially for single women or single mothers.  Why? Because at a certain time in my life I was a single mom wanting to buy my first home and my criteria was that the home had to be in “good” location (aka a safe neighborhood), it had to have 2 bedrooms, space to grow in, a laundry room, good storage, a parking space AND a front or backyard for my child. 

Well…this is what I found today when I went on tour.  Take a look at 2431 Damuth Street in the Diamond District.

This is a 2bd/1ba bungalow that was build in the 40’s.   Vaulted open beam ceilings in the livingroom, hardwood floors throughout, newly remodeled kitchen and bathroom. There is an office in the basement, an incredibly large workshop area. The home is private and very secluded.  If I had the extra cash on hand I would buy this house for my mother!  Below are some pics (basement, storage area, office, artist space and backyard not included):


This bungalow is situated towards the back of the lot.


Walk through an enclosed yard and up the front steps.


Front brick patio just as you enter the gate and go up the front steps. Its very private and secluded.


Nicely remodeled kitchen just off the livingroom. Lots of light and it looks down upon the enclosed backyard.


The kitchen is open and spacious and just to the left is the dining area. The hardwood floors throughout the house are in mint condition.


The remodeled bathroom is quite spacious and roomy enough for two.

Great find. Great price. If you are interested in homes like this one 2bd/1ba under $500K in a great neighborhood simply email me , I’ve got a long running list of homes in the East Bay that make sense for the first time home buyer. 

If you are interested in duplex to help defray your monthly mortgage payments I’ve got a great one located on the same lot.  It’s a side-by-side duplex with one unit rented by a long term tenant that is paying $1,000/mo rent.  The vacant unit is perfect for an owner occupied unit, vaulted ceilings, enclosed brick patio, parking space…a steal of a deal in Oakland at $469K!

1st Time Home Buyers Program with no down payment!

I just spoke to a colleague of mine who works for B of A and she mentioned the following programs that are available.  IF you are interested in finding out more about these special programs just email me.

1st Time Home Buyers


May qualify for a home with NO Down Payment


All Low – Moderate income homebuyers apply!


*  103% Financing available – No Mortgage Insurance       *  Seller credit – OK

*  30 year & 40 year fixed rate loans                                *  Gift money – OK

*  Fico scores NOT applicable in most cases                   *  Other credit OK

*  $1,200. month of undocumented income allowed           *  No reserves required                                                  

Down Payment Assistance Available for qualified buyers

*  City programs offering $15,000.00 – $50,000.00 for Assistance towards your Down Payment

*  MCC – Mortgage Credit Certificate a Federal tax credit  

*  CHDAP – California Housing Down Payment Assistance – 3% of sales price for down payment or closing costs.

Want to know what you can buy for $6M?

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of previewing one of the top tier luxury homes in Oakland, California.  To say the least I was impressed. It was an invitation only preview. There was a security guard at the front door (the owners had an absolutely stunning art display from renowned painters and sculpters), there was an pianist, champagne and lovely hors’doeuvres.  See the pics below:


The house sits atop Merritt College in the Oakland Hills.


Front entrance with sculptures and fountain.


The views from the main living room were astounding!


Gorgeous top of the line kitchen with views of the Bay and their basketball court below.


This is the sitting area just off of the kitchen. The picture does not do the room justice.


Loved this master bath. Big jet tub with views while you bathe. The shower had multi heads and was big enough for a party of 17.


This is  the master bedroom. Sparse, clean, views galore.


This is the back of the house. You really feel like you are sitting on top of the world. The only thing that was missing for me, especially with a $6M+ price tag was a heated infinity pool!

The house is 9,084 sq ft and has 7 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms and sits on a 31, 442 sq ft lot. Views were phenomenal. Windows surround and if you bought this home you would have an unobstructed 5 bridge view from all windows.  I could not imagine being the housekeeper or the grounds person for a home this large.  Of course there were things that I would have done differently to the home but all in all it was impressive.  Amenities as described on the virtual tour and MLS include the following:

v       Fantastic, one of a kind contemporary home with incredible five bridge view!

v       Live in real modern art!

v       7 bedrooms all ensuite with bath

v       7 full baths v       2 partial baths

v       9,000 square feet

v       Elegant and contemporary driveway and pedestrian gates lead to an oversized 4 car garage and porte cochere at entryway

v       Limestone flooring from entrance, throughout first floor and out to rear verandah

v       18 zone radiant floor heat

v       Incredible views greet you as soon as you walk to the front door

v       Top of the line finishes, Poggenpohl cabinets, Miele, Gaggeneau, Jade appliances, built-in Miele espresso maker

v       Built in sound system

v       Luxurious home theater

v       Fitness room

v       Indoor/ Outdoor Entertainment Area (radiant heated) off rear yard. Ready for kitchen, wet bar, B-B-Q, sauna, shower, bath, audio/video, and much more.

v       Incredible custom windows, with custom window treatments; many controlled electronically v       Huge rear yard

v       Interior and exterior water falls

v       Custom spiral staircase traverses three floors

v       His and her closets off of master

v       Each and every bath has extensive use of natural stone, contemporary finishes, gorgeous fixtures

v       All interior doors are walnut

v       Panoramic views from nearly every room

v       Contemporary door hardware throughout

v       Two bedroom apartment, with 2 baths and a kitchen

v       Pre plumbed for salt/fresh water aquarium in family room



 Made me wonder what else I could get for my $6M in California within a 50 mile drive of 4616 Rockingham Court.  Click this link to find out what your $6M will get you. 

Being the research hound that I am I had to pull the title records on this one. I wanted to know when the property was last purchased and for how much. Property records show that the home was purchase on September 15, 2001 for $750,000. 

Oh, and by the way,estimated monthly mortgage payments are $33,146 per month with a 20% down payment and a 6.75% interest rate!!  Now that’s building wealth…wouldn’t you say?