Real Estate Commissions…

(Editor’s Note: The following is reprinted from the Real Estate Bulletin, spring 2012 issue, published by the California Department of Real Estate.)

“The California Real Estate Law (Business and Professions Code §10000, et seq.) does not prohibit the sharing of commissions. Before going further, it must be understood that this section and its analysis only covers the California Real Estate Law. Other laws, such as the Federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (known as RESPA) must also be considered by licensees.

From a technical point-of-view, the agent/client relationship, and the right to commissions therefrom, belong to the broker. Nevertheless, it is recognized that real estate agents may work together and decide to share or split a commission.

A licensee may share or split his or her commission with another person or entity provided that person or entity has not performed any acts for which a real estate license is required. The Real Estate Law prohibits the payment of compensation to unlicensed persons who are performing acts requiring a license on behalf of another or others.

For example, a licensee may give a share of the licensee’s commission to a buyer, as an incentive to a prospective buyer, assuming the incentive payment is not a violation of some other provision of law. Where an unlicensed person is acting as a principal in a transaction (i.e., seller or buyer), that person is not “acting on behalf of another or others” (licensed activity) and the prohibition described above would not apply.

If licensed acts were performed, a commission can be shared only if the person was a licensed real estate broker or salesperson acting within the scope of his or her license.

Even though a licensed salesperson may share his or her commission, as discussed above, the salesperson’s employing broker must actually direct and control the manner and payment of a salesperson’s share of the earned commission to ensure compliance with B&P §10137.

Pre-supposing that the broker has authorized escrow to directly pay a commission to the salesperson, the commission can be paid to the salesperson out of escrow.

Depending on the circumstances, there may be a disclosure requirement if such payment is a material fact to a party to the transaction.

Lastly, B&P §10137 allows “a licensed real estate broker to pay a commission to a broker of another State”. This refers to another State in the United States of America. It does not refer to a foreign country. However, there is no prohibition in the Real Estate Law against a real estate broker, licensed in the State of California, paying money to a foreign individual or company (which may or may not be a licensed real estate broker in their respective countries), as long as the payment of money is not for acts which require a real estate license in the State of California.”

Got it?

$8000 First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit: the fine print

We would advise, before you run outside screaming, “I need to buy a house! I need to buy a house! This $8000 won’t last!” Read the fine print, particularly question 9.

From the California Association of Realtors Website (verbatim):

A.  FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT

Q 1.  What, in a nutshell, is the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers under the new law?

A  A first-time homebuyer as defined may receive a refundable tax credit up to $8,000 for purchasing a principal residence in the U.S. from January 1, 2009 to November 30, 2009, inclusive (see Questions 5 to 16).  No repayment is required if the buyer owns and occupies the property for 36 months (see Question 17).  This new law enhances the preexisting $7,500 tax credit enacted in 2008 which still applies for purchases from April 9, 2008 to December 31, 2008 (see Questions 18 and 19).

Q 2.  How will the new $8,000 tax credit affect REALTORS® and their clients?

A  The new $8,000 tax credit provides a monetary incentive for first-time homebuyers to purchase homes.  First time homebuyers represent a significant segment of U.S. homebuyers.  According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, nearly half of the homebuyers in 2008 were first-time homebuyers.  Hence, the new tax credit for first-time homebuyers, along with affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates, should help spur the housing market.
 
Q 3.  What is a tax credit?

A  A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of tax owed.  In contrast to a tax credit, a tax deduction is merely a reduction of taxable income.  Hence, a tax credit is generally more valuable to the taxpayer than a tax deduction.  To illustrate, an $8,000 tax deduction for a taxpayer in a 25% tax bracket would only save the taxpayer $2,000 in taxes, whereas an $8,000 tax credit would save the taxpayer $8,000 in taxes. Continue reading

Being a Landlord is Such a Drag…

I have to admit, watching the banks, AIG, the automakers, and finally, homeowners get a bail out, I did more than once cry out piteously: “But who the f— will bail out me?”

Answer: Chris Daly.

I didn’t really ask for this kind of bailout, but Daly’s constituents are largely renters; and hey, so is San Francisco. Thus a little protection for us too is a nice gesture.

Specifically, Daly’s proposals, to quote from the Chron, are as follows:

Three laws proposed by Supervisor Chris Daly on Tuesday would bar landlords from increasing rent to more than one-third of a tenant’s income, would expand the rights of tenants who want to add roommates, and would limit the amount of so-called banked rent increases in which annual increases allowed under city laws are saved up and then imposed all at once.

I should embrace this, since I am a renter. However, I’m also aware of the ironic side effect of many “renter protection laws” that actually end up keeping the rental market as expensive and competitive as it is here, even now. So I eye these laws cautiously, though they excite me, if only because I hope they make my landlady unhappy. Because I hate her.

But I digress. Surprisingly, Mayor Newsom, who is by all accounts not a member of the Daly fan club (in fact, I believe he’s probably the founder of whatever club is the opposite of that one), appears amenable to these laws.

It’s not yet clear whether the proposed laws will have sufficient support at the Board of Supervisors, but Mayor Gavin Newsom – who advocates had expected to oppose the measures – appeared open to the ideas.

So, does that mean SF is about to get even harder on landlords? 

In the end, I’m out of my league. My bias is obvious, but I don’t want to rent forever, so I like to undertand long term effects.  I bring this article to you, the educated Front Steps populace, to explain why these laws are a bad idea, a good idea, a crazy idea, or a pipe dream.

Adjusting Housing Relief Plans For Bay Area Residents

From SFGate:

‘[Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough] drafted an amendment so that rather than being limited to whether the loan was conforming at time of origination, it will be based on (whether it’s conforming at) the time of (modification), which will take the limit up to $729,750 in high-cost areas. This should make more people in the Bay Area eligible.’

Speier’s amendment addresses an aspect of the plan that encourages mortgage services to modify loans to make them more affordable for struggling borrowers. The modifications are supposed to reduce monthly payments to 31 percent of a borrower’s income for five years; they also could include lowering the principal or refinancing the loan.

The amendment says that loan modifications must be available to loans that are “conforming,” meaning those that can be securitized or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The conforming loan limit was $417,000 until July 1, 2007. About 60 percent of homes purchased in the expensive Bay Area in 2005 and 2006 were bought with higher-cost “jumbo” loans above $417,000; about 30 percent of homes in California were jumbos in those years, according to MDA DataQuick. The limit is now $729,750 in high-cost regions, including most of the Bay Area.

-A central aspect of the bill, called the “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009,” is a change to bankruptcy law. That controversial proposal, fiercely opposed by the lending industry, would allow judges to “cram down” or reduce the principal owed on mortgages to the home’s actual value.

Wish we would have bought a $1,000,000 house with zero down a few years back. And we wonder if a judge would “cram up” some stock values to be worth what they were when we bought them. Hmmmm…might be on to something there.

To learn more please visit, www.financialstability.gov

-Speier plan would aid refinancing in Bay Area [SFGate]

$15,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit Trimmed To $8,000

From the Zillow Blog:

Details have not yet been ironed out, but the proposed $15,000 tax credit amendment in the economic stimulus package that was sponsored by Sen. Johnny Isakson has been trimmed down to an $8000 tax credit, according to the NY Times. This is all very preliminary until the bill is actually signed, but here is the before ‘n after of what’s been thrown around:

Before:

  • $15,000 tax credit
  • Available for all home buyers
  • No repayment necessary

After:

  • $8000 tax credit
  • Available for first-time home buyers within certain income limits
  • Repayment? Not known at this time

Details on the bill could come this afternoon or tomorrow, but it is expected to be signed by President Obama by Monday.

Why do they have to put an income limit on it?  That will likely cut out half of San Francisco homebuyers. WTF!

$15,000 Tax Break For Homebuyers, Good Or Bad Idea?

The news of the day is the Senate approved $15,000 tax break for new homebuyers:

-WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday voted to expand the economic stimulus package with a tax credit for homebuyers of up to $15,000, a provision championed by Republicans as addressing a root cause of the recession.

-Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, a former real estate broker, who was the prime sponsor of the homebuyer credit, said it was modeled after a similar, $2,000 homebuyer incentive that helped lead the country out of recession in 1975.

“We do have a history in this country with housing and it goes back to the crash of 1974, which actually in terms of inventory and price declines was comparable to what’s happening now,” Mr. Isakson said at a news conference.

“Within one year of the inception of that tax credit, two-thirds of the available inventory that was on the market was gone. The market moved back to a balanced inventory, values stabilized and things became very healthy. The only reason I know all of that is I was selling houses in 1974, that’s what I was doing to feed my family and make a living.”

The tax credit would give buyers 10 percent of the price of a primary residence bought within one year, up to $15,000, and is intended to stabilize plummeting home prices, which caused a wave of foreclosures and led to the near collapse of the financial system as Wall Street firms wrote down billions in mortgage-backed assets.

Realtors are celebrating, no doubt, as should many others, but some are not so convinced:

New home sales increased from a 477 thousand SAAR in March 1975 to over 600 thousand SAAR later in the year. But that was from a depressed level as shown on the graph. The real boom in sales happened when the economy recovered – so I’m not sure of the actual impact of the 1975 tax credit.

Click to enlarge

And so goes the cycle of life…We humans will always argue, we will always fight, we will always have our differences, but dammit you need to start buying houses again! ;-)

-Home-buyers tax cut raises cost of stimulus bill [Yahoo News]
-Senate Adds Homebuyer Tax Credit to Stimulus Bill [New York Times]
-$15,000 Tax break for homebuyers [Calculated Risk Blog]

TIC? Got Cash? To The Front Of The Line Please…

Good news on a Monday morning:

-Waiting to go condo is San Francisco’s version of waiting for Godot [seeing that phrase a lot lately...good on ya Malcolm.]

Building owners can spend years vying for one of 200 condo-conversion slots awarded annually via a lottery. But this year San Francisco is considering letting people skip the line, offering a one-time chance to the hundreds of folks on the lottery list to go condo now – for an extra fee. The goal is to generate more revenue for the cash-strapped city and to create building-industry jobs, because condo conversions generally require some construction work to bring buildings up to code.

-A proposal to expedite condo conversion would require approval by either the supervisors or the voters – no easy task in a city where housing issues are famously contentious. Tenant advocates say the practice hurts renters who get evicted when buildings convert to tenancies in common, the step before going condo. Previous proposals for increased condo conversions have failed miserably.

-”It’s a win-win if the fee is not too high,” [says one TIC owner]. “The city also will make more money when property taxes go up, when they reassess the units (as condos rather than TICs).”

On the other hand, TIC owner Daniele Mills, an administrative assistant at Genentech, said she thinks the proposal doesn’t seem democratic.

“It has a lot of repercussions for people with less income than other people,” she said. “The lottery seems more fair.”

Nothing in life is fair. It’s kinda like going to a club and tipping the doorman to get in, skip the line, and party on, instead of losing your buzz waiting in line.

Proposal: Pay fee, skip condo-conversion line [SFGate]

House Passes Stimulus Bill, Senate What Next?

We pulled this directly from a C.A.R newsletter:

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Economic Recovery Package, by a 244 to 188 vote. Amid all the negative economic news we’re hearing on a daily basis, this is good news, as the bill contains a number of issues critical to REALTORS® and the industry, including extending all 2008 Metropolitan Statistical Areas’ (MSAs’) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA loan limits through the end of this year.

The extension prevents an MSA’s 2008 loan limit from being reduced in 2009 for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. Language in the bill also specifies that if an MSA’s loan limit is set to change, it can increase, but is prohibited from declining.

The proposed legislation also will eliminate an existing payback requirement on the first-time home buyer tax credit for qualified buyers who purchase a home between Dec. 31, 2008, and July 1.

Congress included these provisions as a direct result of the grassroots efforts put forward by REALTORS®, and the advocacy efforts of both NAR and C.A.R. Congress elected not to include numerous housing provisions beyond those previously mentioned. It looks like Congress will begin to address other housing issues next week when the Financial Services Committee meets.

The legislation also contained a laundry list of appropriations for various affordable housing programs, neighborhood stabilization programs, and other housing and/or real estate-related issues, including:

Public Housing Capital Fund
Native American Housing Block Grant
Home Investment Partnership Program
Self-help & assisted homeownership
Elimination of lead paint in homes
Repairing leaking underground storage tanks
Low-income home energy assistance
Rural Housing Insurance Fund
In addition to tax credits for individuals and married couples, other provisions in the bill include funds for increasing access to high-speed and broadband Internet; highways and roads; railroads; alternative energy incentives; unemployment insurance; Medicaid insurance; health care technology upgrades; childcare; education; and low-income and affordable housing programs.

The Senate now is working on its version of the stimulus legislation, and is expected to vote on it next week. Congress would like to get a bill to the President’s desk by President’s Day, Feb. 16.

So what next? More importantly, what kind of impact will this have for San Francisco? Here’s your chance to go on record and compare the power of your crystal ball to that of other readers.

Obama Wants to Jump in on the Real Estate Crisis. Which Way should He Jump?

barackme

You might have already read Alex Clark’s article on the Bush plan to help homeowners, named optimistically “Hope for Homeowners.” Commenters on that post were less optimistic. Seems a lot of lenders won’t touch the program, though that might be because the program itself is new and everyone is so gun-shy right now.

That leaves President-elect Obama (Hi, Obama, if you’re reading!) in a tough place. He wants to act immediately on this issue, but has multiple, and conflicting voices to listen to as he plans a methodology. I feel for the guy. We want someone to bail us out of a clusterf*** that is 8 years in the making, and we want him to do it yesterday.

Sunday’s Chron outlines the issues Obama will draw from in taking action:

“Unlike his opponent, Sen. John McCain, he did not urge the government to buy up bad home loans and reduce them to the homes’ new values, putting taxpayers on the hook for the difference. But some of Obama’s proposed $10 billion fund would help homeowners who are facing foreclosure ‘through no fault of their own’ by letting them refinance mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

What Obama accomplishes depends, in part, on what the Bush administration does about housing in its waning days.”

Well, that admin is credited with the Hope for Homeowners program, to which $300 billion dollars was allocated. Other moves under consideration:

  1. a proposal by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. similar to what it is doing to modify IndyMac mortgages. The FDIC plan would use $50 billion from the $700 billion bailout bill to modify mortgages.
  2. a mortgage-industry proposal to split losses on modified mortgages with the government. Treasury has not confirmed these reports.
  3. In recent weeks, some large lenders including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have announced their own mortgage-modification plans.
  4. Rick Harper, director of housing at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco, says it’s becoming much easier for borrowers to get a mortgage modification.

In his address to the nation last Friday, Obama said: “It’s ‘absolutely critical that the Treasury work closely with the FDIC, HUD and other government agencies to use the substantial authority they already have to help families avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.”

To do that though is not going to be an easy task. That’s why I want to ask the experts out there what Obama, in case he’s reading (and if you are, Obama: Hi!) what he should do first. And then second. And third.

Some conflicting advice and ideas he’s already getting:

  • Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, says the most expedient thing Obama could do would be changing the law so Bankruptcy Court judges can modify mortgages on primary residences. These judges already can change the terms of other debts, including commercial loans and loans on second homes. On the opposite side of that argument: “Allowing judges to reduce mortgage balances on primary residences ‘will destabilize the market exactly at a time when we should provide stability,’ says Steve O’Connor, senior vice president with the Mortgage Bankers Association. “
  •  a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures (but what would come after that?)
  •  a $10 billion foreclosure-prevention fund
  •  a mortgage tax credit of up to $800 a year for homeowners who don’t itemize  their deductions, but some experts say “the tax credit would do little to stimulate housing because it would mainly benefit people who have owned homes for many years”

It’s all enough to make a President run off to Camp David–only we need this President on the job. How can he maybe do it well?

—-

Photo: Javno.com

In the Spirit of Halloween and Election Season, Scary Technology that “Outs” Your Neighbors

Prop 8 is not one that encourages sedate emotion. People are either vehemently for it, or they are just as vehemently against it. The debate between the two camps, heated as it is, often erupts into full out fighting, which we all know from our rhetoric classes is actually the opposite effect civilized, fair debate is supposed to have. The fights themselves can even get violent, as seen in this article about a Bakersfield man who attacked, punched, and kicked a No on 8 proponent (article and disturbing video here). 
 
That’s why I wonder whether the Chronicle’s new technology that allows you to see who in your area has contributed to “yes” or “no” on 8 is a good idea. Here you can type in a city, a zip, or even a name to see who has contributed to which side, as well as the dollar amount contributed. I do see the logic of printing the names of corporations who donate to or against the proposition, as you can retaliate by ceasing to spend your money with those companies whose views differ from your own. But how do you retaliate against an individual person? Punching and kicking? And though candid information about campaign contributions helps us understand the actions of our elected leaders, in this case the revealed data seem akin to publicizing people’s ballots after they’ve voted, when by law our votes are supposed to be secret. 
 
Essentially: I’m happy enough to say I’m voting no on 8; but I’d like the freedom to keep that to myself if some frothing-at-the-mouth Bakersfield psycho is waving a blood spattered YES ON 8 sign in front of my face.

A Worse Punishment for Sisyphus: Policing Noise in a Metropolis

Hello out there, theFrontStep Readers! You may (or just as likely, may not) know my name from my blogs for Redfin. I’ve kindly been invited to write also for theFrontSteps, so here I am, on the steps, with my first blog.

So here’s the setting: last night, 2:00am, sultry night, people walking up from the bars, falling down, giggling. That noise doesn’t bother me much. I’d have to be a hypocrite if I tried to pretend I’ve never, after closing time, made too much noise under someone’s window as I staggered home. But another noise does bother me: some a-hole flooring his car and slamming on the breaks as he reaches the stop sign in front of my house. Then, from fully stationary, he floods the car again, tyring to go from zero to sixty instantaneously. Then he screeches off, circles the block, and comes back to do it again.

But we all live in a city. We can’t really expect quiet, can we? We can hope for it, and maybe in some areas, get it most of the time. But in the end, we’re sharing with a lot of people, some of them loud and possibly crazy. That’s why this new law aiming to curb SF noise interests me. Continue reading

Government Unveils Hope For Homeowners (H4H) Program

BUSH ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES “HOPE FOR HOMEOWNERS” PROGRAM

TO HELP MORE STRUGGLING FAMILIES KEEP THEIR HOMES
Detailed Program Eligibility Requirements Announced

WASHINGTON – The Bush Administration today (10/1) unveiled additional mortgage assistance for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The HOPE for Homeowners program will refinance mortgages for borrowers who are having difficulty making their payments, but can afford a new loan insured by HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

“For families struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments, this program will be another resource to refinance into a loan they can afford,” said HUD Secretary Steve Preston. “FHA remains a safe and affordable alternative to the high-priced mortgage loans that threaten homeowners’ ability to retain their homes. We strongly encourage borrowers to work with their lenders to determine if HOPE for Homeowners is the right program for them.”

The HOPE for Homeowners program was authorized by the Economic and Housing Recovery Act of 2008. Since the President signed this vital legislation into law on July 30, 2008, the HOPE for Homeowners Board of Directors has worked diligently to develop and implement the program as directed by Congress. The Board was charged with establishing underwriting standards to ensure borrowers, after any write-down in principal, have a reasonable ability to repay their new FHA-insured mortgage.

The HOPE for Homeowners program begins today and ends September 30, 2011. The program is available only to owner occupants and will offer 30-year fixed rate mortgages – so the borrower’s last payment will be the same as the first payment. In many cases, to avoid what would be an even costlier foreclosure, banks will have to write down the existing mortgage to 90 percent of the new appraised value of the home.

Borrower Eligibility Continue reading

Taking Over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Some Clarification

If you’ve been wondering what all of this Government takeover of Fannie and Freddie means, you’re hardly alone, so we just went ahead and copied what we just read to give you some different perspectives of what is being said in the real estate world. We take zero credit for this, it all came from the San Francisco Association of Realtors Advantage Online:

[Update: And we just discovered more info on Trulia].

“NAR: What the Government Takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Means to Housing Industry

In short-term, home sales should improve as mortgage rates fall Continue reading

Wondering about the recently signed Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008?

So are we, but we found some answers:

H.R. 3221, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” passed the House on July 23, 2008, by a vote of 272-152. On Saturday, July 26, 2008, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 72-13. The President signed the bill on July 30, 2008. The bill includes the following provisions:

* GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).

* FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The downpayment requirement on FHA loans will go up to 3.5% (from 3%). The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).

* Homebuyer Tax Credit – a $7500 tax credit that would be would be available for any qualified purchase between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009. The credit is repayable over 15 years (making it, in effect, an interest free loan).

* FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value. Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA. The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide. Program is effective on October 1, 2008.

* Seller-funded downpayment assistance programs – codifies existing FHA proposal to prohibit the use of downpayment assistance programs funded by those who have a financial interest in the sale; does not prohibit other assistance programs provided by nonprofits funded by other sources, churches, employers, or family members. This prohibition does not go into effect until October 1, 2008.

* VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.

* Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year. This provision is effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.

* GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.

* Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.

* National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs. In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program. In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.

* CDBG Funding – Provides $4 billion in neighborhood revitalization funds for communities to purchase foreclosed homes.

* LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.

* Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate). Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks. The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements. The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.

-National Association of REALTORS® Summary of Key Provisions of H.R. 3221 – The Housing Stimulus Bill (as of 7/30/08 ) [Realtor.org]

Installing ultra low-flow toilets at point of sale

We recently caught wind (through Realtor Advantage Online) that

As reported almost two years ago, San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission is planning to propose an ordinance that would mandate the installation of ultra low-flow toilets in residential properties at point of sale (i.e., before properties are sold).

[A] former aide to soon-to-be Senator Leno, is working with the PUC to resurrect the ultra low-flow toilet point of sale ordinance. The Board of Supervisors is expected to take up the subject in the coming months.

Are you shitting us!?

Daly Madness: Ordinance to place two-unit buildings into condo conversion lottery

If you haven’t noticed we’re just spitting out the SFAR Advantage online as it keeps getting better the further towards the bottom we read. Just when you think it is over, Daly strikes again.

Daly Introduces Ordinance Placing Two-Unit Buildings in Condominium Conversion Lottery

Supervisor Chris Daly introduced a proposed ordinance that would place two-unit buildings in the condominium lottery and exempt two-unit buildings that are owner occupied as of August 1, 2008. The full text of the proposed ordinance appears below.

Under city law, ordinances must undergo a 30-day waiting period before they may be heard in committee. This is to allow interested parties an opportunity to study ordinances and take positions on them; so the first hearing on Supervisor Daly’s proposed ordinance will not occur until early July, at the earliest.

ARTICLE 7

SEC. 1359. PARCEL MAP.

(a) The requirements of Subsection (c) of Section 1356 of this Code shall apply to Parcel Maps.

(b) The Parcel Map shall conform to the requirements of Chapter 2, Article 3 of SMA and to the Subdivision Regulations regarding detailed format and contents.

(c) In the case of Conversions where a Tentative Map is not required, the requirements of Section 1314 and the requirements of Article 9 on Conversions shall apply, provided that hearings as provided in Sections 1313 and 1332 shall not be required, and the 10-percent low and moderate income occupancy as provided in Section 1341 shall not be required, and provided further that Article 9 shall not be applied to two-unit buildings only where both units are owner-occupied for one year as of August 1, 2008 and where both units remain owner occupied by the same owner occupants as on August 1, 2008 up until prior to the application for Conversion. The Director of Planning, however, shall make the determination pursuant to Section 1385 concerning preservation of low and moderate income housing.

(d) In addition to the requirements of Subsection (c), the owners of record of a two-unit building conversion that qualify for the exemption from Article 9 must certify under penalty of perjury and the Department must verify with the Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board, and with the Human Rights Commission as applicable, that since November 16, 2004, no eviction as defined in San Francisco Administrative Code Section 37.9(a)(8)– (14) of a senior, disabled person, or catastrophically ill tenant as defined below has occurred, or if an eviction has taken place under Administrative Code Section 37.9(a)(11) or (14), that the original tenant reoccupied the unit after a temporary eviction. For purposes of this Subsection a “senior” shall be a person who is 60 years or older and has been residing in the unit for 10 years or more at the time of the lottery; a “disabled” tenant is defined for purposes of this Subsection as a person who is disabled within the meaning of! Title 42 U.S.C. Section 12102(2)(A); and a “catastrophically ill” tenant is defined for purposes of this Subsection as a person who is disabled as defined above, and who is suffering from a life threatening illness as certified by his or her primary care physician.

(e) If the owners of record cannot satisfy the requirements of Subsection (d), then the owners of record shall comply with Article 9, including its Section 1396.1(g)(3), prior to submitting an application for Conversion.

(f) If the Department determines that an applicant has knowingly provided false material information under Subsection (d) above, the Department shall immediately deny the application, or if the applicant has submitted an application for conversion, shall immediately deny the application for conversion. Moreover, the Department, the Director, or other authorized person or entity may also enforce the provisions of this Subsection under Section 1304 or any other applicable provision of law as warranted.

All of this legislation and proposals and ways to cut property owners’ legs off makes our heads spin!

Verbatim: Daly goes after Rental Property Owners…yet again

This also from the SFAR Advantage Online e-newsletter:

Daly Introduces Two Ordinances Aimed at Rental Property Owners

Supervisor Chris Daly has introduced two proposed ordinances that, if passed, will affect rental property owners. One would prohibit owner move in evictions for households with children under the age of 18 and amend the definition of disability so that it is the same as the definition of disability in the relocation section of the city’s rent ordinance. The other would amend the city’s rent ordinance to define and prohibit harassment by landlords and provide for rent reduction fines for landlords who are harassing tenants. Both proposed ordinances have been assigned under the 30-day rule to the supervisors’ rules committee, consisting of Supervisors Daly, Dufty and Ammiano. Public hearings on the proposed ordinance are expected to be held by the committee next month.

When will the madness stop!?

Verbatim: Real Property Transfer Tax Rate Increase Proposed

…by none other than McGoldrick and Peskin (surprised Daly isn’t in on this one).

From the SFAR Advantage Online e-newsletter we Realtors receive, and of course we’re sharing with you:

Increases in Rate of Real Property Transfer Tax Rate Proposed

Two Supervisors, Aaron Peskin and Jake McGoldrick, have proposed increases in the rate of the city’s real property transfer tax. Both proposals are intended to leave the rate for less expensive properties unchanged while focusing on properties in the mid- to high- price range.

State law requires tax increases affecting real property to appear on the ballot and to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the electorate for passage. It is not known at this time whether either or both of the proposals will appear on the municipal ballot in November.

To provide a basis for comparison, set forth below are the current transfer tax rates, as well as those proposed by Supervisors Peskin and McGoldrick. Changes to the transfer tax ordinance currently in effect are underlined.

Current Rate Structure:

  • Over $100 and less than or equal to $250,000 = .50%
  • More than $250,000 and less than $1 million = .68%
  • Equal to or more than $1 million = .75%

Proposed Rate Structure (McGoldrick):

  • Over $100 and less than or equal to $250,000 = .50%
  • More than $250,000 and less than $1 million = .68%
  • Equal to or more than $1 million but less than $1.25 million = 1%
  • Equal to or more than $1.25 million but less than $1.75 million = 1.25%
  • Equal to or more than $1.75 million but less than $2 million = 1.5%
  • Equal to or more than $2 million = 1.75%

Proposed Rate Structure (Peskin):

  • Over $100 and less than or equal to $250,000 = .50%
  • More than $250,000 and less than $1 million = .68%
  • Equal to or more than $1 million and less than $2 million = .75%
  • Equal to or more than $2 million = 1.5%
  • (Tax Reduced on Transfers of Residential Property by Up to One Third If, After January 1, 2009, Transferor Has Installed Active Solar System or Made Seismic Retrofitting Improvements or Improvements Utilizing Earthquake Hazard Mitigation Technologies)
  • (Clarifies Application of Tax to Transfers of Ownership Interests in Legal Entities that Own Real Estate)

California Foreclosure Crisis: I ask, Senator Barbara Boxer replies

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a personal message to me, but I contacted Senator Boxer not too long ago to find out more about her ideas behind helping Californians who are upside down on their homes (actually I was mostly interested in getting the code to post her video directly on the site.) After sifting through all kinds of Political crap and coming to grips with the fact they did not, in fact, “listen” to what I had to say, I found this quite interesting:

California is being hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis, reporting 481,392 foreclosure filings on 249,513 properties in 2007, the highest total of any state and more than triple the number in 2006. These foreclosures will cost Californians an estimated $67 billion in lost property values, and local governments are likely to see a decline of $4 billion in collected property, sales, and transfer taxes.

For the full reply, read on… Continue reading

Senator Boxer Video (and quotes) on California Foreclosure Crisis

Some quotes on Senator Barbara Boxer’s April Fools Day Speech/Proposed Bill regarding the housing crisis.

“Seven of the top ten foreclosure filing rates nationwide are in California!”

“One in every 557 homes nationwide filed for foreclosure.”

“Two hundred million dollars in additional funding for housing counselors [proposed].”

“When counselors sit down with mortgage holders miracles happen.”

“Times have changed since my time…the old days.”

“A lot of people don’t know who holds their mortgage anymore.”

“Four billion dollars in community development block grants [proposed].”

“[Proposing to] allow bankruptcy judges to modify loans on principal residences.” They can do it on all types of bankruptcy filings except principal residences.

“Increase transparency by simplifying disclosure on mortgage documents [proposed].”

“We faced 60-70 filibusters by my Republican friends…they will take the blame for this if nothing gets done.”

“We’re irrelevant to this country if we don’t have the courage to cast a vote to solve this crisis, when every leading economist tells us it is the housing crisis that is at the heart of this recession.”

Follow this link to see the video

Octavia Boulevard: What happened?

If you want to see what’s wrong with planning in San Francisco – and how the city suffers as a result – take a stroll down Octavia Boulevard.A year ago, four empty lots along the way were awarded to architects and developers who won a civic competition.

Neighborhood leaders helped draw up the rules. They praised the winning designs.But today the land’s still empty, and there’s no telling when that might change.

Those fenced-off lots are in limbo – victims of a larger process in which everyone has his own utopian demands, and nobody’s shy about gumming up the works if he doesn’t get what he wants.

Liberal only goes so far before it all goes down hill.

-Larger agendas stall city’s best-laid plans [sfgate]

This just in: Conforming loan limit approved by Senate (up to $729,750)

Senate approves $151 Billion Economic Stimulus Bill [Bloomberg.com from Marc Herrenbruck and Kelly McCray]

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance companies, will be allowed to buy loans worth as much as $729,750 for loans made between July 31, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2008, an increase over the current $417,000 loan limit, a move that could help struggling homeowners to refinance large mortgages at a lower interest rate. It will also allow the Federal Housing Administration to insure loans as high as $729,750 in expensive markets.

Express checkout at cash register 1 is full, please proceed to register 2. Knowing “W”, he’ll forget to bring a pen.

Wonder if we had anything to do with it? Guess we’ll never know.

Conforming loan limit increase in jeopardy?

We just received this email from N.A.R.

“The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a stimulus package that raises the FHA and conforming loan limits to as high as $729,750 in high-cost areas.

There is speculation that the Senate version of the stimulus package DOES NOT include these increases.

Please contact Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Diane Feinstein if you’d like to help this bill get passed.

The easiest way to take action is to click here. It’s a one second process and will send the Senators an email directly. So we think.

The tone is obviously a bit alarmist, but hey, that’s how America works.

[Update: ...and approved.]

[Update: ...and clarification of some of the confusing aspects of the package.]

-Call to Action [Realtor.org]