Monday, December 26, 2011

Ventura Real Estate Digression

Lynn Kenton is officially wrapping up the end of 2011 for Ventura Home Sales. In case you're under the impression I don't have a life outside of being a Ventura Realtor, I wanted to share some fun statistics and info on my beloved Green Bay Packers. Yes, my husband and I were raised in Wisconsin. Just so you know, if born there, you are an official "Cheesehead" even if you only lived there for a nanosecond.

We even have one of those silly vinyl Cheesehead hats and my hubby received one share of the Packers as a gift from his buddy this Christmas. No worries, I'll not be retiring off of that:) And their current record notwithstanding, they are endearing as you can see from this article recently printed.

Packer's are still making history, with Aaron Rodgers as quarterback and this weeks stock sale

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This was in the Deseret News, the Salt Lake City newspaper.

Maybe the only truly romantic thing left in American sports: The Green Bay Packers .

Seriously, America , what's not to like about the Green Bay Packers ?
What's not to like about a small-town team that is not only surviving, but thriving in the billion-dollar business of professional football?

There is nothing like them in professional sports. Think about what an oddity they are. Teams have come and gone in the NFL in a continuous game of musical chairs - the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis , the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore , the Oakland Raiders to LA. and back to Oakland , the Cardinals from Chicago to St. Louis to Phoenix , the Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis .
But the Packers have stayed in tiny Green Bay , Wis .., since their birth in 1919. America 's second biggest city, Los Angeles , with a population of 4 million, doesn't even have a franchise, but Green Bay , with a population of 101,000, does. It's like plunking down a team in the middle of Sandy , Utah .

They are the smallest market in pro sports Green Bay 's metro area - if you stretch the definition of "metro" - is 283,000. Buffalo , the next smallest in sports, has 1.1 million. New York City has 8.5 million in the city limits alone, 19 million in the metro area.
What's not to like about a team that was dreamed up during a street-corner conversation one day? Curly Lambeau , a former Green Bay prep star and Notre Dame football player, hatched the idea and convinced his employer, the Indian Packing Company, to buy uniforms and provide a practice field. In turn, the team called itself the Packers. Lambeau was the team's first star player (for 11 years) and its first coach (for 30 years) and - you've got to like this - he pioneered the forward pass in the NFL.

What's not to like about the last small-town survivor of the National Football League? In the early '20s, the fledgling NFL consisted almost entirely of small-town teams like Green Bay - the Decatur Staleys, Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Muncie Flyers, Rochester Jeffersons, Rock Island Independents. But as the league turned fully to professionalism, those teams either folded or moved to big cities for bigger profits. Green Bay found a way to keep the Packers - the community bought them.
What's not to like about a team that is owned by its fans? The Packers are the only publicly owned team in professional sports. There's no Jerry Jones, George Steinbrenner or Daniel Snyder in Green Bay . The other teams have one very rich, often reviled, owner; the Packers have 112,000 shareholders - or 112,000 Monday-morning quarterbacks who are legally entitled to kibbitz. They've rescued the team from financial hardship four times - in 1923, '35, '50 and '97. Without them, the team simply would not exist.

What's not to like about this team? Apparently, not much.
Despite their small-town roots - or perhaps because of it - they have courted a world-wide following. According to a 2010 Harris poll, the Packers are still the third most popular team in the country, 40 years after their glory years. Someone once asked the late former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to name the best football city in America . " Green Bay ," he replied. "A small town.. People owning their own football team. Rabid supporters."
The Packers have one of the longest waiting lists for season tickets in pro sports, some 80,000 deep (Lambeau Field seats only 78,000). The average wait for season tickets is estimated to be 30 years, but if you added your name to the list now you probably wouldn't get tickets in your lifetime. Packer fans are known to leave season tickets in their wills or to place newborn babies on the waiting list. Packer games have been sold out since 1960.

"I'm a 'green and gold' season ticket holder and have some voting stock in the team," explains Walt Mehr, a Utah resident who grew up in Eagle River , Wis. , just north of Green Bay . "It took me 23 years to get season tickets. We have a big shareholders meeting in July and vote. We were involved with remodeling of the stadium. As season-ticket holders we had to put up money for that - $5,000. My tickets are in my will." It's every fan's dream - they get to help run the team.. You've got to like that.

What's not to like about a team that has been an almost mythical force since joining the NFL in 1921? They've won 13 championships - nine NFL titles in the pre-Super Bowl era, and four Super Bowls - and no one else is close to matching them..

They won the first two Super Bowls . They won five championships in seven years during the '60s They're the only team that's ever won three in a row. The city's nickname is "Titletown." Their coach's name is on the Super Bowl Trophy . They have 21 Hall of Famers, second only to the Chicago Bears. They are a team of legends - Starr, Nitschke, Taylor, Lombardi, Davis, Hornung, Kramer, Gregg, Hutson, Lambeau, Favre.
What's not to like about a team that is so entrenched in the community in such a personal way? It's big-time football in a small-town way that has been lost as the NFL has grown. This is the town that spawned the Lambeau Leap - players leaping into the arms of fans behind the end zone after a touchdown, a routine that has since been adopted throughout the league. It symbolizes the close connection between the team and the fans, like so many other things.
Green Bay's stadium is bordered by the back yards of middle-class neighborhoods. The players live in regular neighborhoods, with the fans.

"Unlike the other NFL cities, where players can live in mansions away from the masses, Green Bay has no real 'affluent' suburbs," says Vai Sikahema , a former Packer and BYU player.

"And because of the frigid weather, everyone had second homes in warmer places. So the players lived in modest homes in regular neighborhoods.
"Playing for the Packers and living in Green Bay is generally the way it was in the '60's when Vince Lombardi lived there. The house we rented was rented by a host of former Packers , dating back to the great running back Jim Taylor .

"Another player rented a home once lived in by Bart Starr . That creates this extra unique bond with the fan base. On Tuesdays, our day off, we'd walk our children to the bus stop and all the dads would go in late so they could walk their own kids and talk football with us at the bus stop. My wife had play dates with regular moms on our street, as opposed to the closed, elitist 'wives club' on other teams."
There is a tradition in Green Bay that has received considerable publicity over the years. Kids wait for Packer players outside the locker room and often use their bikes to ride to the practice field. The kids hold the players' helmets and jog alongside the players as they ride the kids' bikes to practice. Who couldn't like that?

"I was one of those kids who ran next to a player while he rode my bike to the practice field from the locker room," says Mark Stimpson, a Salt Lake resident who grew up in Green Bay . "We did it every day during the summer. I had a metallic green stingray bike. I'd wait by the locker room. The player would hand me his helmet. The players wouldn't pedal the bikes. They were too big. They'd just stick their legs out and coast because it's a down-hill walk to the field.. We'd talk to them while we walked beside them. Then, during practice we'd watch the guy who rode our bike. It was a fun time. The players were great to us."
Sikahema remembers the bike routine, as well. "The bikes are one of those unique things in Green Bay that allow fans, especially kids, to get to know the players in a personal way," he says. "I stayed in touch with the kid whose bike I used through his college years and his wedding. He's now in his mid-30s. His name is Aaron Smet. When I was there, a bunch of poor kids didn't have bikes to lend to the players and (teammate) Sterling Sharpe had Wal-Mart deliver to the complex a tractor trailer full of bikes that he gave away to less fortunate kids."

Stimpson recalls seeing Willie Wood , Ray Nitschke , Eli ja h Pitts and Bart Starr around town when he was a kid. The Packers were one of them. His sister, Mary Nelson, babysat for reserve quarterback Zeke Bratkowski .
" Zeke lived around the corner from us," says Nelson. "After the games some of the players would come over to Zeke's house. I got to meet Bart Starr , Jerry Kramer and Max McGee and their wives. Every time I babysat Zeke's kids he would walk me home."

What's not to like about a town that is all about its team? Green Bay businesses are Packer themed. The streets are named after Packers - Lombardi , Ray Nitschke , Brett Favre , Mike Holmgren , Don Hutson , Reggie White , Bart Starr , Tony Canadeo . Even the official Green Bay website is all about the local football team.
The town shuts down during games; churches schedule around the Packers , then open their parking lots for Packer fans. "The streets are empty during the games," says Stimpson. "When I was a boy I could ride my bike down the middle of the street because there was no traffic."
What's not to like about a team that won the Ice Bowl , one of the greatest games ever played? It was the 1967 NFL Championship game in Green Bay , and the temperature was minus-13 degrees , with a windchill hovering around 50 below .
Rick Delacenserie, who grew up in the Green Bay area and now lives in Park City , watched the Packer practices as a boy and witnessed the Ice Bowl from the same end zone where Starr scored the game-winning touchdown.

"I spent most of the third quarter in the bathroom," he recalls. "It was packed in there. Everyone was trying to get warm. Someone brought a hacksaw and cut up the goal posts. All I got was some of the foam they wrapped around the post."

You've got to love a team that inspires fans to brave sub-zero weather. After the Super Bowl victory that followed the Ice Bowl , the Packers went into decline for 25 years until the Favre years arrived in the early '90s , but the Packers still inspired fierce loyalty and love.

"The only thing you can see on the horizon is Lambeau Field ," says Mehr, who pauses to choke back tears before continuing. "I get chills when I see it. On a beautiful clear day, omigosh."

For his part, Stimpson left home decades ago to attend BYU and settle in Utah . He doesn't follow sports as he once did, and the game has changed, and yet he still says this: "The Packers are so much a part of you. The Packers still have a certain pull. They always will."
You've got to like that.

Hope you all had a great holiday! Go Pack!!!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fraud Alert: FTC Charges Credit Repair Operators

The Federal Trade Commission has charged the operators of a credit repair company with making false statements to credit bureaus about information in consumers’ credit reports, and illegally collecting fees from consumers before performing any services.

The FTC’s complaint against RMCN Credit Services Inc. and the married couple who own it (Doug & Julie Parker) alleges that they advertised a six-month program to improve consumers’ credit reports. Supposedly the defendants falsified statements to credit bureaus contesting the accuracy of negative data in consumers’ credit reports. In communications to credit bureaus, which RMCN did not divulge to consumers, the firm routinely disputed all negative information in the reports, regardless of accuracy. RMCN then repeatedly sent these deceptive dispute letters to credit bureaus, even though they received comprehensive billing histories verifying the accuracy of the information, or signed contracts from creditors proving the validity of the accounts.

In the complaint, RMCN allegedly misrepresented to consumers that federal law permits the company to dispute accurate credit report information, and that credit bureaus are required to delete information from credit reports unless they can prove it is accurate. In the company’s words, credit bureaus must “prove it or remove it.” RMCN charged a retainer fee of up to $2,000 before providing any service.
The defendants are charged with violating the Credit Repair Organizations Act by making untrue or misleading statements to credit bureaus about consumers’ credit worthiness, and by charging fees for credit repair services before they were fully performed.

Please be aware as a consumer that by law you cannot be charged up front for credit repair or a loan modification!

Monday, October 3, 2011

What’s the Deal with Shadow Inventory?

The subprime mortgage debacle in ’07- ’08 caused an unparalleled number of foreclosures and disintegration of the housing market. Because of this, lenders were left with significant real estate in their portfolios.

Shadow inventory is a term referring for the most part to properties that are in the process of or have been foreclosed on and haven’t been listed or sold as yet. Many of these homes are not being listed for sale by banks who are waiting for market prices to recover. These lenders are also apprehensive of putting too much inventory on the market as flooding the market would further drive down prices, lowering their projected return on investment.

The good news (for the moment anyway) is that residential shadow inventory as of July 2011 decreased a bit to 1.6 million units, which is a 5 month supply of homes for sale. Before you laugh, it is down from the 1.9 million units (a 6 month supply) reported one year ago. Additionally, there was a decline from April 2011 when shadow inventory was at 1.7 million units.

Will this be a continued pattern? One can only hope… The bottom line right now is that movement or sales of distressed homes is slightly faster than the new delinquencies being taken on by the banks and this is encouraging for the time being.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Has Your Equity Line Been Reduced or Cancelled?

A potential class-action lawsuit could have an immense influence on the future of homeowner rights under the Truth in Lending Act and some consumer protection statutes.

Here’s the scenario:

You’re a home owner who has taken out a $100,000 home-equity line for home improvements. Cash has been pulled out to hire contractors and purchase materials for the renovation. Then a letter comes from the bank stating that the credit line has been canceled and there is no further access to it.

The bank claims that your home is worth substantially less than when the credit line was opened. And now you have bills to pay with no equity line available.

To add insult to injury, the bank has not done a formal physical appraisal, but an automated valuation done with no more than a computer program. If you believe your property to be worth more than the bank claims, you can appeal it and pay to have another formal appraisal done at your expense, but it will be with an appraiser of the bank’s choosing.

There are apparently huge numbers of home owners (in the millions) whose credit lines have been reduced, frozen or canceled in 2009. Banks were understandably gun shy during that time after the close call of near disintegration of the marketplace.

In Chicago, a federal district court has given the go-ahead to customers of J. P. Morgan Chase Bank to commence with a class action suit alleging that their equity lines were illegally reduced or cancelled. Chase attempted to get the case dismissed, but a judge rejected the bank's motion to dismiss the case, clearing the way for a possible giant class action suit.

Suits are being filed in six different states including California which should have a great (and hopefully positive) influence on the future of consumer protection laws for homeowner rights.

At the forefront of the suit will be alleged violations of truth in lending practices and consumer protection laws. The suits should bring attention to the manner in which the lenders are expediting these automated appraisals with tools and programs that are egregiously inaccurate in many cases. Word has it that there are similar suits being filed against other big players such as GMAC Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Citibank.

The Chicago law firm representing the plaintiffs found that the computer valuations used by J. P. Morgan Chase were "grossly in error" after later physical appraisals were done.

Also hovering about will be the issue of Chase having accepted $25 billion in emergency funds from the Treasury. This money was to be used to assist them in lending to borrowers in need of credit which was subsequently cut back.

In fairness, it should be noted that Chase has since paid back the treasury money and they are one of the better lenders in approving short sales in an expedient manner. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Short Sale Update: A Win for Short Sale Sellers

This month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 458 (Corbett) into law. SB 458 extends the protections of SB 931 (2010), to guarantee that any lender agreeing to a short sale is required to accept the approved short sale payment as payment in full of the outstanding balance of all loans.

Under previous law (SB 931 of 2010), a first mortgage holder could accept the agreed-upon short sale payment as full payment for the outstanding balance of the loan, but that rule didn’t apply to junior lien holders (second trust deeds). SB 458 extends the protections of SB 931 to junior liens. SB 458 contains an urgency clause making it effective upon signing. This should make sellers’ lives a little less stressful after undergoing the hardships that necessitated the short sale.

If you know of someone considering a short sale, give me a call- we’ve assembled a great team of short sale negotiating experts and can equip you with information to make the right decision for you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Have you experienced a short sale or foreclosure in the past? Even though you may have fallen on some difficult times home ownership could be attainable sooner than you think. Separate the myths from the facts and learn what steps to take to qualify for homeownership once again. This is a no cost community service seminar to assist those who are interested in reentering the housing market after foreclosure or short sale.

Presented by: Linda Hall of Guild Mortgage Company, Karen Campbell and Lynn Kenton of Ventura Property Shoppe and Eric Olson of U.S. Settlement Group. Seminar will be held on Thursday, July 21st at 6:30pm at Guild Mortgage Company, 711 East Daily Drive #110, Camarillo. To reserve your seat call Lynn Kenton @ 805-901-5444 or Linda Hall @ 805-208-8951.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How Soon Can You Buy a Home After a Short Sale or Foreclosure?

You or someone you know lost their home. Once recovered from the gut wrenching experience, the question is will you ever be able to buy a home again?

The short answer is yes. Below is a cheat sheet with the time frames and details.

Conventional Financing

For Foreclosures (home was given back to the bank- no owner participation)

7 years from foreclosure completion date and given back to bank if there were no
extenuating circumstances.

3 years from foreclosure completion date and given back to bank if there was
acceptable extenuating circumstances AND a 10% down payment. Only for
primary owner occupied homes.

For Short Sale (Home sold for less than amount owed) or
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure (Home returned to lender in exchange for canceling the loan)

7 years from sale date closed and transferred to new owner or transferred back to
bank with less than 10% down payment.

4 years from sale date closed and transferred to new owner or transferred back to
bank with 10% down payment.

2 years from sale date closed and transferred to new owner or transferred back to
bank with 20% down payment.

2 years from sale date closed and transferred to new owner or transferred back to
bank with acceptable extenuating circumstance and 10% down payment.

FHA Financing

For Foreclosures (home was given back to the bank- no owner participation) or
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure (Home returned to lender in exchange for canceling the loan)

3 years from foreclosure completion date and given back to bank.

12 months to 2 years from date foreclosure completed and transferred back to
bank may be acceptable if the result of extenuating factors.

For Short Sale (Home sold for less than amount owed)

3 years from sale date closed and transferred to new owner.

No waiting period if borrower had no late payments on any mortgages and
consumer debts within the 12 month period prior to the short sale AND they
are not taking advantage of declining market conditions.

Contact me for more info or questions!

Friday, June 3, 2011


The real estate opportunities right now are unprecedented.

Distressed properties, also known as short sales and foreclosures, are indeed the bulk of real estate inventory. And, sadly, many home owners have suffered hardships causing them to lose these homes. Additionally, “traditional” sellers are bearing the brunt of the market as their home values have been driven down alongside the others.

But for investors, first-time buyers and those with the ability to move up, the market couldn't be better. Interest rates are hovering around 4 ¼ to 4 ½ % right now for 30 year fixed rate loans. That’s outstanding.

Now there are some out there who want to wait to buy and see if prices go down some more. The average sale prices of single family homes in Ventura dropped about 5% over the last year, so that may seem like a good plan at first blush. But here’s some food for thought...

Since the entry level homes are driving the market, let’s say we’re looking at a home for $400,000 with a 10% down payment and a 4.5% interest rate. Your payment (including taxes and insurance) would be about $2324 per month.

Let’s suppose that home values decline by 5% and interest rates go up 1 %. You’re buying the same home for $380,000 (a 5% lower price) with a 10% down payment and a 5.5% interest rate. Your payment would now be about $2417 per month. Hmmm.

I left my crystal ball at home, but I’d be willing to bet interest rates will go up before anything remarkable transpires in home values. My counsel would be to take advantage if you can. We won’t know the bottom has hit until it’s already in the past.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekly Fraud Alert: Leasing Back Your Home

From California Association of Realtors

To get around federal laws outlawing people from charging up-front fees for mortgage modification, fraudulent mortgage modifiers are approaching homeowners in default and offering to pay cash for the home and lease it back to the owners.

However, once the mortgage is paid off, the scammer effectively owns the house and does not lease it back to the original owner.

If you or someone you know is in a similar situation with their home, encourage them not to grab onto the thing that seems too good to be true...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Real Estate Update

The National Association of Realtors® has reported that pending home sales increased in six of the last nine months. The Pending Home Sale Index is an indicator derived from signed contracts and showed a rise of 5.1% in March from February. The index also showed that it was 11.4% lower than March of 2010. This was caused by the high number of contract signings by people wanting to cash in on the home buyer tax credit.

NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun feels that market activity has shown an irregular but palpable improvement. “Since reaching a cyclical bottom last June, pending home sales have posted an overall gain of 24 percent and demonstrate the market is recovering on its own,” he stated. “The index means modest near-term gains in existing-home sales are likely, which would be even stronger if tight mortgage lending criteria returned to normal, safe standards.”

“Based on the current uptrend with very favorable affordability conditions, rising apartment rents and ongoing job creation, existing-home sales should rise around 5 to 10 percent this year with sales growth of lower priced homes likely to outperform high-end homes. That means the price trend will reflect more homes sold in the lower price ranges,” he said.

Yun also added, “The good news is that recent home buyers are staying well within budget, leading to exceptionally low loan default rates among home buyers over the past two years.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Real Estate Headlines, taken it with a grain of salt...

A recent Pending Home Sales Report stated that signed contracts on existing homes slipped in January for the second month in a row. Come to think of it, that may not be a huge surprise since not many people shop for homes during the holidays.

We should be somewhat cautious about buying into the doom & gloom and not erect barriers to our progress just because of a minor setback, like the one we had with last week's Pending Home Sales. Although The National Association of Realtors (NAR) records show fewer signed contracts on existing homes, the drop wasn't as severe as anticipated. NAR's chief economist stated: "We should not expect the recovery to be in a straight upward path--it will zigzag at times."

The most recent general forecast from NAR showed an interesting projection of that recovery. Property re-sales should grow 8.1% this year and an additional 5.2% in
2012. Median prices are expected to be static during 2011 and then increase over 3% next year. Sales of new homes are projected to go up about 5% this year, to over 55% for 2012. Median price will move up a bit in 2011, then up 3.5% next year.

As always bear in mind that this is a National survey and real estate and economies vary geographically. More soon on Ventura County real estate and California…

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Listing!

Ondulando Beauty

4 bedroom, 3 bath in Ventura hillside neighborhood offers quiet location and many upgrades. Remodeled baths, hardwood floors, dual pane windows and a resort-like backyard to relax in. For more info on this and other Ventura homes for sale, visit my web site at

New Listing!

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Fraud Alert

Many homeowners may not know it, but once you've gotten a loan for your home purchase, that mortgage seldom stays with the same lender. (This is a normal procedure.) As you might expect, a new type of fraud is being played off of this.

In this new scam, someone claiming to be the new owner or servicer of the mortgage mails a letter to the homeowner and instructs the homeowner to now send their payments to a new address.

To avoid falling victim to this type of fraud, the Attorney General's Office is advising homeowners who receive a letter like this to contact the current mortgage servicer (not the number in the letter) to verify that the information in the letter is correct.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Homebuyers Workshop

The National Homebuyers Fund has just released grant funds (up to 3% of the purchase price) to be used for down payments. This isn't a loan and does not have to be repaid. With interest rates and property values at record lows, combined with a program like this, it makes the timing pretty sweet if you're thinking about buying a home right now.

With that in mind, Guild Mortgage and Ventura Property Shoppe will be hosting a Home Buyers Workshop. Information on this new program will be provided as well as the "ins and outs" of making an offer on a short pay or foreclosure (bank owned) home.

Since buying or selling a home is no doubt one of the most important investments one can make, it makes sense to have as much information as possible. James & Lisa Sherman attended a previous workshop and said "The real estate class that Lynn, Karen, and Linda taught was exceptionally helpful in getting my wife and I ready to buy a home. Their expertise and experience, in addition to their gregariousness, eased us into making the decision to finally buy our first home. Every step in the process was made clear and understandable with their guidance. I recommend their services to anyone looking for a home in Ventura County."

This is a free service to the community. The workshops will be held on the first Tuesday of the next three months at 711 Daily Drive, Suite 105, Camarillo, CA 93030.

February 1st, 6:30 PM
March 1st 6:30 PM
April 5th 6:30 PM

To reserve a seat contact Lynn Kenton @ 805-901-5444 or Linda Hall @ 805-208-8951

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Homebuyer Grant Program ( free $$$$)

This morning I heard about a new grant program through National Homebuyer’s Fund, Inc. designed to assist homebuyers in California. I’ve confirmed it with my trusted lender contacts. It could translate into around $12,000 give or take...

Here are the “nuts & bolts”:

*It’s used with a 30 year fixed rate loan.

*Can be used with conventional, FHA or VA loans.

*Can be up to 3% of the purchase price.

*The proceeds can be used for down payment &/or closing costs.

*There can be no cash back to the borrower from the Grant Fund proceeds.

*It must be for a primary residence.

*Maximum income for borrower in Ventura County is $104,040 per year.

*You do not need to be a first time home buyer.

*Minimum credit score of 620.

This is a great program- tell anyone you know about it. It’s a limited fund and will no doubt run dry in the next few months. This is a real deal and an opportunity to take advantage of. Contact me for more details!