“Buccaneer Bunny”

French Rarebit (Bugs Bunny, Louis, Francois; 1951)

The Four-Way Test

From Rotary International:

“Service Above Self”

Of the things we think, say, or do –

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?


Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


Rotary International is the oldest of the service oriented clubs. Please find out more by going to Rotary International’s website, then find a local club and find out more.

Here is something that makes Walnut Creek great.

If you like to eat sushi, then I recommend that you go by and try my favorite Japanese restaurant. Nama Sushi is probably the best for the quality of the fish and the skill of the current sushi chef. Jim the manager of this restaurant was just telling me tonight that the chef has been preparing sushi for 45 years and he came out of retirement because he was getting bored playing golf all day and missed the restaurant atmosphere. I recommend you order the chirashi so that you can experience some of the nicer cuts of fish with the chef’s special flare. Enjoy!

Have we hit the bottom of the market?

In all of my current conversations regarding real estate in the bay area, I am always asked “When do you thing we are going to hit the bottom of the market?” — the answer is… “I don’t know.” There are too many factors to be able to make any accurate predictions. I think that with the state of the foreclosure market, the only thing I am confident in saying is that there are more loans that have yet to readjust and more folks who will go into foreclosure due to their loans readjusting. More foreclosures mean more homes that need to be sold by banks and that means aggressively priced homes. The big factor that buyers need to keep their eyes on is the interest rates and when to lock into a loan. My friend Andy from Peregrine Lending just sent his latest newsletter and I have included a few words from him below:

“As I’ve mentioned in many of my previous weekly newsletters, inflation is the arch enemy of bonds, and as of late the tune hasn’t changed. With several of the Fed Presidents coming out publicly to note that inflation is on the rise. Much of this has happened due to a weakening dollar and the high cost of oil – which translates to higher food and energy costs. Regarding bonds, we’ve pretty much hit the bottom on June 13th and have since staged a nice rally, but we are still below a technical floor of support with the 200 day moving average. What does this all me in lay terms? Well, since the third week of May home loan rates have been hammered almost every day until the 13th of June. We have since stabilized and we’re beginning to see some improvement in rates, albeit not much yet. I have been in a cautionary stance with locking rates and had been advising many of my clients to lock prior to the 13th to avoid further worsening in home loan rates…that position has changed for this week as we’ve seen the stabilization, however I do have my finger on the lock button as this market is extremely volatile and it’s not uncommon for us to see 2 to 3 rate changes in a single day! There was some bright news regarding the housing market….we saw home sales surge 7.2% over last month and that’s the best reading we’ve had in over 7 months! We are seeing prices bottoming out here in the Bay Area and now are starting to rebound.” — Andy Scott

The surge in home sales is indeed encouraging, but who knows if this is going to be a continuing trend. For homes that have been on the market and have not sold, the only course of action to get them to sell is to lower the price until they do sell. Buyers are picky and want to get the best value while getting the best location with the best amenities. Until all of the best homes are sold, the less desirable ones will be sitting there. The only sure fire way to take a home that is less desirable and make it more desirable is to make it attractive to a new group of buyers, and this requires moving the price of the home down to a new price point. All of these things having been said… it is a great time to buy, so get out there and go qualify for a loan then call me so we can go shopping!

AHHH… Too Many Technologies!!!

OK… I just have to express my fears and excitements around the latest and greatest technologies that are out there as far as social media/networking. I fall somewhere on the midpoint of the curve for tech-geek prone behaviors, and I keep discovering new things that can plug me and those that know me into a giant ball of social network madness.  I don’t know if I will start to use any more of these technologies, but there are a lot of really exciting tools out there that I think I want to use, but I’m fearful that I will end up spending too much time in this internet based social networking realm. Sites like Twitter, Utterz, Friendfeed, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Yelp, just to name a few are the latest and greatest internet tools that my geek side jumps up and down for — yet the analog side of me wants nothing to do with. I think I am probably doomed to dive in and participate. I guess if the commitment to using these tools gets too great, I can always just unplug everything and go back to cutting wood.

Interesting news from LandAmerica 1031 Exchange Services

Foreclosures, Deeds-In-Lieu, and IRC § 1031

In the current phase of the real estate cycle, a number of leveraged commercial real estate investors will experience foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transaction. For many it will be unfamiliar territory, especially as it relates to tax considerations. Simply identifying the investor’s self-interest will require a level and type of analysis not necessary during better economic times, and acting consistent with that self-interest will require foresight and discipline. The focus of this article is whether and when an IRC § 1031 exchange might offer some advantage in the context of a foreclosure or deed-in-lieu. However, the treatment of that topic requires that we first examine the taxation of foreclosures and deeds-in-lieu more generally.

Foreclosures and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure are dispositions of real estate constituting a sale or exchange for federal income tax purposes (or are the equivalent for certain aspects noted hereafter). The invisible tail on the dog, if you will, is that while the foreclosed real estate investor rarely has any equity to take away from the table, the real estate investor has gain for federal income tax purposes. Read More

QI files for bankruptcy less than 90 days after taxpayer successfully completes exchange

Recent defalcations and insolvencies by closely held § 1031 qualified intermediaries highlight the risks of choosing a qualified intermediary (QI) that lacks sufficient liquidity, capital reserves, and governance, to make it an appropriate financial counterparty. The risks are so great that the IRS (in Fact Sheet 2008-18) cautioned taxpayers to beware of QI bankruptcy when selecting a QI, and the possibility of a being unable to timely acquire replacement property. Now a state appellate decision out of Minnesota highlights that the risks of choosing the wrong QI do not end when a taxpayer receives its replacement property. Read More

Articles taken from LandAmerica 1031 Exchange Services newsletter vol.1 issue#4
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From Indymac Bank’s Economic Update

Last Week in the news:

Reflecting the stimulus from government rebate checks, retail sales rose a full percentage point in May, double what economists were anticipating, the Commerce Department reported June 12. Not including the higher prices consumers paid for gasoline, retail sales still rose a strong 0.8%, the biggest increase in a year.
Sales of existing homes in April also caught economists off guard, climbing 6.3% instead of the negative 0.4% drop they were predicting. The new reading, issued June 9 by the National Association of REALTORS®, indicates that the drop in property values has started attracting more buyers and bargain hunters.
Soaring gasoline prices helped push consumer inflation up 0.6% in May, the fastest pace in six months, the Labor Department said June 12. But core inflation, which strips out volatile gas and food prices, edged up a modest 0.2%, easing concerns that big jumps in energy and food costs were breaking through to more widespread inflation.
The nation’s trade deficit — what we import versus what we export — rose 7.8% to $60.9 billion, the largest imbalance since March 2007, the Commerce Department said June 10. Driving the deficit was a $4.3 billion increase in crude oil imports, which jumped to a record $29.3 billion in April.

New claims for unemployment benefits rose to 384,000, an increase of 25,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported June 12.

More upbeat economic news came from the Mortgage Bankers Association, which said that mortgage loan applications rose 10.9% from the previous week. Purchase applications increased 12.1% while refi volume was up 8.4% from the previous week.

Economic news due this week includes reports on the Producer Price Index and housing starts on June 17.

Economic data compiled from government reports and news services Bloomberg.com, msnbc.com, cnbc.com, cnn.money.com and Yahoo Economic Calendar.

Fast and Efficient Sales!