Archive for July, 2009

Manic episode triggers $2600 fine from HomeOwners Association

If you’ve ever wanted to know anything about HOA rules and regulations – what’s legal and what isn’t – I highly recommend subscribing to Davis-Sterling’s newsletter. They are a law firm that specialize in the often gray area of Condominium HomeOwners Associations in California. Their weekly newsletters are full of what amount to hilarious (but more often legitimate) questions and answers. I keep meaning to post about swim diapers and how the Center for Disease Control has strictly banned them as well as non toilet trained kiddies from public pools.

QUESTION: When I was manic last year, I put trash in front of another homeowner’s door and during the period of one hour, I walked back and forth to her door 13 times which was on the surveillance camera of the pool deck. The board fined me 13 x $200 = $2,600 saying it was justified even though it was one incident. Now they are threatening to file a lien on me if I don’t pay it in 30 days. They refused internal dispute resolution and alternative dispute resolution. Can they refuse my request?
ANSWER: Your manic behavior probably scared the daylights out of everyone and earned you a well-deserved fine. The size of the fine may or may not be deemed reasonable by a judge. It will depend on whether the judge believes your actions constitute one incident or 13 incidents. You’re lucky the owner didn’t seek a restraining order. Regarding the threat of a lien, the board cannot lien your unit for unpaid fines. Civil Code 1367.1(e) As for ADR, the board is not required to accept your request for mediation or arbitration. However, the board should not refuse your request for “internal dispute resolution.”

Reprinted from by Adams Kessler
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Summer’s coming to a Close – Fall Selling Season about to Begin

And so is my hiatus from updating the blog. The time off has been spent wisely as we here at SFHomeBlog have been upgrading the site to a more user friendly interface, while still maintaining our sans advertisement policy.

In the meantime here are a few facts pulled from the 2009 California Association of Realtor Buyer’s Survey’s that I found of interest:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, 59% of all buyers rated the difficulty of getting a loan as 9 or higher.
  • Main reason for dissatisfaction with agent: “did not negotiate aggressively” (83%)
  • Why buyers were satisfied with their agents: quick to respond, negotiated a good deal, worked hard on my behalf, listened to what we needed
  • 38% of recent home buyers were first time buyers (doubled from previous year)
  • Only 37% of escrows closed on time!
  • Average time spent considering a purchase, looking around, searching with an agent: over 25 weeks
  • Only 13% of home buyers looked at a RE newspaper or magazine ad; 84% used the Internet

That last fact is the primary reason you are seeing less and less advertisements in the Open Home section of the Chronicle…almost all open house times and details can be found at now. It’s also the primary reason you’ll be seeing riders all over the city pointing buyers to that web site and less and less agents making the choice to spend their marketing budget on expensive and inefficient print advertising. Now if we could just insist that all agents (and you know who you are out of area agents that dont put photo’s in) reinvest in high quality photography …

Open Homes Listings in San Francisco []


San Francisco #10 Top city worldwide?

Ever wonder who makes up San Francisco? Thinking of moving here? Here are a few of the statistics…

Population: 809,000 2nd most densely populated city in US (after New York) and there are an estimated 120,000 dogs in this city which means roughly 14% of San Franciscans have a canine best friend.

51% are male 49% are female (and only 16% are gay/lesbian – but it can feel like a lot more to the single women around here). We do have, and proudly so, the highest percentage of same sex-households of the 50 largest US cities.

13% are 14 years old & under
San Francisco has the lowest % of children of any large US cities.
72% are 15 to 65
15% are over 65

53% are Caucasian (non-Hispanic)
32% Asian American
14% Hispanic American
7% African-American

46% speak other than English at home
26% speak Asian language at home
12% speak Spanish at home
7% speak other Indo-European language
37% born in California
27% in another US state
6% born outside of US
16% are not US citizens

54% registered as Democrats
11% as Republicans
4% as Green
28% Decline to State

Travel and Leisure magazine just ranked us #10 of the Worlds Top Cities Overall…but I have to say having lived in Sydney for several years (which ranked #11) and SF I’m gonna have to say Sydney almost has us beat – just on the weather, a bigger prettier bay, and a lot more trees – but I suppose I did settle back here to my hometown so. Back to SF being #10 but it’s a really close call.

2009’s World’s Best Cities -Top 10 Cities Overall [Travel & Leisure Magazine]


No loans for Sellers with Undocumented Income

The exact reason No Income Verification loans were created in the first place is the exact challenge now facing numerous potential homeowners who no longer can get a loan – unless you know a R E A L L Y good mortgage broker who has a personal and private relationship with some good banks. Oh, and by the way – this is also the same reason Chris Daly’s rental assistance law is diabolical. There’s no way to account for undocumented income…

With more than $300,000 in combined annual income, tens of thousands of dollars in the bank and credit scores that top 800, Jennifer France and her partner would seem like ideal candidates for a mortgage refinance. But when they applied to swap an interest-only loan on their nearly $1 million San Carlos home for a 30-year fixed that locked in today’s low rates, they were summarily denied. The reason: effectively, because both operate their own businesses.
“I was really surprised, I had been preparing to refinance for years,” said France, a landscaper and gardener. “It’s hard for the self-employed; that puts us in a bind.”

While the amount they make is easily enough to qualify for the new loan, tax deductions for self-employed workers dropped their official income below the threshold that banks wanted to see. A few years ago, theirs would have been the ideal scenario for a stated-income or no-documentation loan, which allowed individuals with ample but unconventional sources of income to secure home loans. But after untold numbers of borrowers lied about their financial wherewithal to buy homes they couldn’t afford, often with a wink and nod from mortgage brokers, nearly all lenders stopped offering what became known derisively as “liar loans.” Now even the well-qualified borrowers for whom the products were first intended can’t get them. [more]

Undocumented income makes it hard to get a loan [SFGate]
The Giant Pool of Money – Hands-down best description of the Credit Crisis [SFHomeBlog]
Daly’s Draconian Renter’s Relief Package Passes [SFHomeBlog]


Bad News for Mission Bay – Pfizer pulls out

SAN FRANCISCO — The world’s largest drug maker has abandoned plans to move into a new research center in San Francisco’s burgeoning Mission Bay neighborhood. What was hailed last summer by Mayor Gavin Newsom as a “significant win” in the development of Mission Bay is now a loss for the area, which has attracted numerous life science companies in recent years as a result of payroll tax breaks offered by The City.

Pfizer had planned to take up a bulk of a new building on the corner of Third Street and Mission Bay Boulevard. The company negotiated a 15-year lease with the builders, Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., and said they planned to move 100 employees there from their South San Francisco office in early 2010. Newsom announced the deal in August 2008, alongside Corey Goodman, the president of Pfizer’s Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center, who said the move would position the center for success. Signs that the deal could be in jeopardy surfaced in November, when Alexandria announced they would be putting two Mission Bay properties on hold, but would not elaborate on the specific sites. Goodman then unexpectedly resigned in April — just months after Pfizer acquired drug maker Wyeth in a $68 billion deal. A spokeswoman for Pfizer, Joan Campion, said the company did notmake its decision based on recent leadership changes, but by analyzing its real estate holdings after acquiring Wyeth. “Economics was a factor,” Campion said. The fate of the building is still unknown. A public relations firm for Alexandria Real Estate Equities did not return calls for comment.

Pfizer drops plans for Mission Bay facility By: Brent Begin [Examiner]