Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sacramento Real Estate Market - January 2009 Water Cooler

Post off-topic links, observations, and stories about the Sacramento real estate market here. Please read the comment policy before posting.


Sold in '05 said...

Happy New Year! First!


anon1137 said...

Happy New Year, renters! (ok, investors too).

patient renter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mopar777 said...

Happy new year all you "bitter renters" that were "priced out forever." I'll see you at the bottom late next year.

Jacob said...

Happy New Year!

Bottom in 2010 sounds about right, I was hoping to buy in 09, but I don't see that happening now.

Husmanen said...

Happy New Year!!!

Remember NOW is the best time to buy


tomorrow will be better.

Someday that will not be true anymore, probably in 2010 or 2011.


patient renter said...

(Cmyst, from the previous water cooler)

Any ideas on how to avoid renting a problem house?

There are a few things you can do that I know of:

You can check a foreclosure listing service to see if there are any NODs on a house you're interested in (I think BT offered to check this for you).

You can check the prior sales history to get an idea of whether or not they overpayed for it, when they bought it, etc. Some people even have a way to check their loan info to see how much they owe. All of this info can help you guage how likely they are to default.

You can check the property tax info to make sure they're current (you'll need to call the county recorder to get the house's parcel number):

You can also check to see if there are any liens against the house (you'll need to ask the recorder for the owner's name if you don't have it)

Finally, you can try and find out as much as you can about the owner and their intentions for the house by talking to them or their property manager.

patient renter said...

BTW, obviously those links are for Sac county, but you should be able to get similar info from the offices in whatever county you're interested in.

Husmanen said...

You can get the parcel number for a home by looking the home up on Zillow and clicking on "Home Info" on the left hand side.

For El Dorado County you can find the name and taxes in a couple easy steps:

1) Get parcel number from Zillow
2) Copy parcel number into the El Dorado County Assessor site:

This will give you the tax info. as well as the current property owners.

You can use the owners name and check if they own any other properties in El Dorado County and if they are up to date or not.

Rich said...

Good idea, thanks Husmanen.

Trying to research two properties in Placer country I found:

Unfortunately, one of the properties doesn't have the parcel # listed on Zillow, but at least on the Rocklin on I found a more detailed list of Mellow-Roos than even our agent provided.

HHB said...

Thought you guys might like this graph. San Francisco Case-Shiller data w/ CME futures:

soldout said...

Was just on zillow, parcel numbers are not given and if they are, it is only homes for sale. Useless for renters.

Rich said...

Actually, I found mine. Often there's two records when it's forsale, one for the 'forsale' and one for the property. You have to be sure to select the property. I just checked a few randomly (not fore sale) in Placer and Sacramento counties and they all have parcel #s.

Husmanen said...

hmmm...I have yet to have Zillow fail me on the parcel number.

After I enter the address, I click on the icon in the map and the on 'home info'. This has worked on various addresses in CA, NE, MA, NV, and OR.

This does not work for commercial addresses or even multifamily dwellings. I am sure there are parcel numbers missing from the databases, depending on the source.

Good luck with your searches...

Sold in '05 said...

All Placer County APN / Parcel Numbers can be found using street name searches here (you can also use the map to zoom in and click on individual properties visually):

Tax Bills and Assessments can respectively be searched using the APN at:


Happy reading,


siflsockpuppet said...

Does anyone know why there are no new listings in the last two days at I've searched a few different areas and they all come back "Sorry, there are no Residential properties matching your selection".

Deflationary Jane said...

no idea why you can't see them. My email box is being flooded with price reductions and new listings in the central city. 95819 isn't looking so happy so enjoy you east Sac shopping bitter renters >; )

patient renter said...

Janet Yellen is dominating the financial news the last few days, supporting the idea of stimulus as a means of preventing another financial crisis, based on the idea that the financial crisis caused our current recession. What caused the financial crisis? Ah, silly details...

What is with these people? This, to me, is like saying a plane crashed because it fell from the sky, nevermind why.

siflsockpuppet said...

Now I see new listings... dunno where they went the past couple of days but I guess it's fixed.

Jacob said...

CA may issue IOUs instead of tax rebates.

smf said...

I was thinking about this:

Why are people comparing the 'recovery' from this bubble to the prior bubble in California?

I mean, the prior bubble is a mere hill compared to the Everest that was this bubble.

And if it took 10 years to 'recover' from the prior bubble, would it not be logical that sizewise it may then take 30 years to recover from this one?

Cmyst said...

Thanks, all, for the links.

In about 2 weeks, our rental hunt begins in ernest again.

anon1137 said...

Re: the previous discussion about trying to determine if a potential rental property is likely to go into foreclosure, it seems to me that the best indicator would be the current market value of the property vs. the amount of outstanding mortgages against it. The more underwater the landlord is on the property, the more likely they will be to let it go into foreclosure.

I used to think that if a property hadn't been sold recently, the landlord was probably reasonably stable and not likely to default, but I've since found a couple of these older rentals that were loaded up with mortgages that were taken out within the last 5 years. On this type of property, the tax assessment is very small so the owner is likely to pay the taxes even though they may be in trouble with the mortgages. I'm not sure if you can find the total value of mortgages from the online public databases, but real estate agents have access to this data.

Cmyst said...

I have checked the property tax status on our rental every year, 'cause it's public information. Mortgage balances aren't, though -- and unless a house is listed in MLS, I'm not sure even a RE agent can find out what's owed on it. Zillow can also tell you what was paid for a house, and what it's now worth (they're still too optimistic, but it's better than nothing).
Until we got the word from our landlord, I felt very secure in this rental because it's an older house that they've owned for well over 20 years. Their brother lives one street over, and they raised their kids here. They turned the back yard into an English country garden. They're responsible and long time members of the community.

Nope, the length of time that someone has owned the house is misleading.

Husmanen said...

A house I have been tracking was slated to go to auction last week and was it postponed due to a bankruptcy filing.

From what I understand this postpones the sale for about 6 to 9 months. Any thoughts?

anon1137 said...

Has Zillow stopped updating their zestimates? I look at some neighborhoods in Sac and the zestimates are 10-20% above the values of current listings that aren't selling, including the zestimates for the stale listings themselves. It's like, um, I think if it was worth $400K, it would have sold 6 months ago when it was first listed for $350K. Does Benanke own Zillow now?

Cmyst said...

Latest rental foreclosure news:
I called Homepointe, who manages my rental, to notify them that it was being foreclosed.

They already knew it was. They had been informed by the owners around the same time I had, maybe a bit earlier. When I questioned this, they said that they work for the owner, and basically that it's none of my business if the place I'm renting is being foreclosed if the owner doesn't want to tell me.
Of course, I can rent another place from them and since they know I pay my rent, they don't have to submit a credit check on me again. And of course, I have to give them a 30 day notice of intent to vacate.

The attitude I got was such condescension and amusement that I would think that ANY explanation was owed me at all. I was also told that it was not my business to know what company a landlord was providing to do yard work or pool maintenance -- even when such things were advertised to entice one to rent the property.

So, we're kind of irked right now.

norcaljeff said...

Great Bloomberg article on shadow inventory and what it will do to the market:

Buying Time said...

Cymst - Wow, that is rather sorry to hear you were treated so poorly by them.

Makes me really grateful for my LL. I am seeing lots of new rentals on the market these days.

On a separate but related note, a family that attended our daycare, was renting on our street (same model). They bought a home in the spring and moved out. The home was listed with Homepoint (I believe) for considerably less than what we pay in rent. Driving by yesterday, the home has two notices tacked on the door.

patient renter said...


Mental note: Avoid Homepointe Property Management like the plague (may this comment live on into eternity - god bless google.

Deflationary Jane said...

More CRE Woes: Multifamily housing
'From Dow Jones: Apartment-Complex Developers Falling Behind On Loan Payments'

The Residential Rental Market

Now, we had a bit of a discussion On Max's blog about rental rates in decline where I was told this counldn't be happening despite what I've been seeing on the ground. The above analysis might change your POV a smidge along with this:

From the BLS report: Over 8 Million Part Time Workers

A huge surge in the unemployment rate plus many more wage earners transitioning to part time from full time is going to keep rates strong?

I have several friends who are looking to move and I was considering moving with them. I hate property management companies with a passion as they have proven to be nothing but worthless to both myself and they seldom severed the owners in my experience. However, I'd been looking at Homepointe as I had wanted something that seemed a bit more stable and I assumed they screened their clients and worked with the tenants to good affect.

Now after hearing Cmyst's discussion with Homepointe, I'm even more inclined to stay where I am and let folks sleep on my floor and couch instead of moving.

Talk about watching the rental markets seize, I guess it couldn't happen to 'nicer' property managers.

Deflationary Jane said...

lol Typo alert

That should have been served the owners well but knowing some LLs as I have over the years, if Homepointe did sever them (preferably heads from bodies), I'd have a new respect for them >; )

Deflationary Jane said...

Not in our local market but an encouraging sign for me and thought some of you might get a giggle

From Mortgage Insider -
'SAG in Anaheim writes:
Q. I live in Anaheim Hills but the townhouse I own is in Orlando, FL. Since I do not reside in the property for which I hold the mortgage, I am having a very difficult time finding any mortgage relief programs for which I might be eligible. My property is currently rented but the rent only covers approximately $1,000 of a $1,700 mortgage. I struggle every month to pay my own rent, cover the mortgage, and pay all other monthly expenses. I want to consider a short sale but don’t know the implications and don’t know who to call, a realtor here in CA or one in FL or my mortgage company. Please help!

A. I believe that most “mortgage modification” programs are directed toward owner-occupied homes, so it may be difficult. Since you mention short-sale, it is likely that your equity has evaporated, which makes a refinance impossible. If that is the case you have two choices: get rid of the property now or hang on for the long haul.

Getting rid of the property via a short sale will have a negative effect on your FICO score and shut you out of the mortgage market for a few years. However, the alternative may mean shoveling more than $7,000 every year into a dark pit with little likelihood of recovery anytime soon considering the reality of the Florida marketplace.

Sorry I cannot be more encouraging, but that is the reality as I see it.'

Husmanen said...

Speaking of rentals and property managers. The owner of my rental dropped by in December and said she is canceling the contract with our property manager and we should just pay her directly in the future. She said she is reducing costs.

No problem we fully understand. I have done all the small things on the house w/o the property manager, e.g. fix fence, replace kitchen faucet, plant flowers, add new bark to landscaping etc.

But I did check the tax records and she has not paid the December 2008 bill yet. Our rental has not shown up on Realtytrac yet but I monitor.

Can't a homeowner skip paying taxes for a long period of time, say 5 years, before it is a problem. And, it might never be a problem if the house goes back to the bank.

Deflationary Jane said...

Well there is a major issue that just hit the fan here:

'Reporting from Sacramento -- State Controller John Chiang announced today that his office would suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants and other payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, as a result of the state's cash crisis.

The payments to be frozen include nearly $2 billion in tax refunds; $300 million in cash grants for needy families and the aged, blind and disabled; and $13 million in grants for college students.'

Davis lives off the backs of college students. Landlords here are already pissed off that they can't jack rents. Vacancy rates up and now this.

Jacob said...

I wonder what CA would do if everyone that owed taxes sent an IOU lol... If a few people did it they would just get fined but if everyone did it in protest...

I actually overpaid for my 08 estimates on accident (usually I owe a bit). But I odn't want to deal with IOUs so I will just apply the refund to my 09 taxes and underpay by Q1 estimates accordingly. Nothing they can do to keep my money if I do that.

We need to look at all the grants and welfair we provide. Some is needed and some needs to go. Even if we fired 100% of the stat workers we would still be in a deficit. Until CA takes a serious look at spending we will not get any better.

Cmyst said...

Further personal real estate reporting:

We had to "officially" withdraw our offer on the short sale, as previously noted. The house had sat on the market at $297K since being listed, we had offered $230K (and I was willing to haggle up a little) and ours was the only offer, and the only interest even shown in the house. Our offer sat at the bank for 4 months, until Life inevitably intervened and we realized that we may not be able to stay in the area for the next 5 years, making buying a poor option.
The very day that my written withdrawel arrived at the bank, they dropped the price of the house 10k. And a week later, they've dropped it an additional 35K.
I doubt the house will sell for a long time in the location it's in, and certainly not for what I offered for it, which isn't much below the new "bank approved" listing price.
Of course it's a blessing to me that they didn't accept my offer, or even counter-offer at the price they're asking now. But it sure seems stupid of them not to have moved a little quicker, since they obviously could move quick AFTER their only offer was rescinded.

anon1137 said...

We have regime change, finally!

Deflationary Jane said...


Thanks for letting us know. You certainly are not alone, I know so many people that are just staying put, hoping for the best.

Diggin Deeper said...

It's beginning to look like banks are deeper in trouble than many think.

Those that have money are willing to lend to people with stellar credit and serious money down on a real estate purchase. But what if the bank can't lend because of solvency issues?

"At a conference in Dubai, NYU's Nouriel Roubini said credit crisis losses could hit $3.6 trillion, up from $1 trillion worth of writedowns and losses estimated by Bloomberg to have already roiled the global financial system.

Bloomberg reports Roubini says that if losses are really as large as he fears “it means the U.S. banking system is effectively insolvent because it starts with a capital of $1.4 trillion. This is a systemic banking crisis.” He also warns the disease is spreading to Europe, where the Royal Bank of Scotland Group faces an estimated $41 billion loss."

B of A was thought to have sidestepped the problem, with a hand out for more money from the Feds. They're about to jettison lots of workers as well.

While up to this point it appeared as if main street was able to secure funding as needed. Going forward, that might prove to be a more difficult task. That should pressure qualifying reqs. as well as interest rates...

Deflationary Jane said...

It was a stellar sell-off on Wall Street as far as financials are concerned. I have a hard time seeing how we can't nationalize at this point.

Also, apparently the riots in Iceland have turned violent. If I were a 1%er, I'd looking at flight schedules out of here. I smell smoke in the air by Aug 09.

luca said...

I sold a condo to one of my employees in '06 for $150,000

Bank of America appraised the condo for 180,000 at the time and allowed him to use extra money to pay off his car loan. His total loan was $165,000.

They are selling foreclosure condos in his complex for $39,000 now.

He stopped making payments 13 months ago and my realtor friend tried to setup a short sale for the last 8 months.

Nothing has happened.

No one has come to tell him he has to move either.

He is not paying taxes or the dues at the complex.

He is wondering why they have not come to move him out yet and so am I.

Now he has saved almost $20,000 in cash as is ready to buy a unit soon in cash.

Is this common? If so I can only imagine how many more REOs will hit the market.

Diggin Deeper said...


I think we're just warming up to the buy, bail, buy again era. I'm seeing it happen with friends of friends I know...I would think you'd have to buy while you are still in the home you're about to foreclose on.

On a side note....John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch and now global banking / securities head for BofA...'s that for a vote of confidence in BofA?

siflsockpuppet said...

MLS#90006299 - I think someone forgot to tell the builder that it's not 2006 and that Monterey Village is a failed development. $312,000 for 1,825sf = $171/sf, and there's a $180/mo HOA fee on top of that? I think not.

Cmyst said...

About Thain, here are some interesting links:

This guy has become the new face that makes me throw up in my mouth a little when I see it. For real.

Cmyst said...

Sorry, the second link may not work. So here's a Tiny Url:

norcaljeff said...

Yea, after all this fraud and abuse, then someone like Thain steals more money from taxpayers with that ridiculous office expense and paying out over $4B in bonuses to his buddies before the close of the BofA merger, I throw up a little in my mouth as well. There had better be Priolsec OTC in this next bailout bill for tax payers.

Diggin Deeper said...

As if we don't have enough to deal with concerning real estate, credit, good bank/bad bank, job losses, company bankruptcies, etc...

It's only been a week and the new administration is accusing China of manipulating its noted in some of Geitner's congressional testimony.

This is not "Hey Day" America and imo we can ill afford to ramp up rhetoric and protectionism policy when we're at the mercy of those that already hold so much of our debt. The worm has turned and its beginning to appear that we need the rest of the world more than they need us.

Why blame other countries for our ills when there's between $1-2 Trillion of our debt sitting in their coffers? It's their option to hold that debt and it's a nuclear option to our economy if they choose not to...and frankly we need them to buy more...lots more.

I hope we walk lightly on protectionsm policies until we have some rennaissance plan to retool our industries, flip our trade balance positive, and provide internal growth to our economy...that may be asking too much...

anon1137 said...

I posted a message a couple weeks ago wondering why Zillow's estimates were so ridiculous. I think I may have figured out one reason: they're using foreclosure sales back to the bank as comps.

I got this idea because I was looking at the appraisal for a house on ZipRealty, the list of comps you get when you click on the "estimated value" tab. Some of those comps were foreclosure sales back to the bank at the value of the recently-defaulted mortgage. I know because a couple of them were listed on the MLS shortly after the sale as foreclosures. I suspect the software these programs uses can't tell the difference between a bank sale and legitimate 3rd party sale.

waiting_for_the_fall said...

The zestimate from zillow is usually wrong.

When I look at the zestimate of homes for sale, it's nearly always the for sale price instead of being close to the nearby comps.

Rich said...

The house we're buying has a zillow range of 321K to 406K. Appraisal came in at 278K. Zillow can't keep up.

Jacob said...

Yea I have noticed the bank sales as the last sale as well. Some places the bank takes it back for x and the list price is x + y, lol.

Shortsales failed but now you want to raise the price so you have room to lower the price...

I might wait until homes have passed through so many banks and investors and some owner occupants that no one even remembers 2005 prices, then I might buy.

Husmanen said...

In EDH and Folsom I have noticed banks take back houses for X and market them for X MINUS Y.

Then they start to decrease prices weekly.

The flood gates seem to have opened up in the last week or so, even with my very specific criteria I am seeing a noticeable increase in the number of houses.

Deflationary Jane said...

Favorite listing of the day-
MLS Num: 90006259
LOL funny, anyone know who is selling this albatros?

Jacob said...

Wait a minute, I must be reading that wrong, $710/ft2 plus $550/m hoa...

Oh, but for $1.45M the furnishing are also included, so that makes it a lot better lol.

RV6Flyer said...

Top 10 vacancy rates for apartments across the country.

anon1137 said...

Favorite listing of the day- MLS Num: 90006259

Looks like a pre-foreclosure listing if I ever saw one.

Just think, they wanted to build several hundred more condos just like that on Capitol Mall up until a couple years ago. What happened to the all the wealthy retirees that were going to buy them? Oh yea, they're working at McD's now because their stock portfolios got cut in half. How quickly things change . . .

Anyone checked out the hole in the ground at 3rd & Cap lately? Just wondering whether it's draining well or if there are puddles.

sacramentia said...

In EDH and Folsom I have noticed banks take back houses for X and market them for X MINUS Y.

No kidding, why are the banks paying more at auction than list prices? Add it to the list of retarded things the Banks do with RE to lose money.

Husmanen said...

No, banks are not paying more for the properties, as in buying them on the open market.

The bank auctions off the house on the court steps, last step before they take it back. The auction is usually for the loan amount. No one puts in a bid for the home, because the loan mount is higher than market value.

Since no one purchased the property the bank 'gets' the house back. They register a transfer of title with the loan amount, often skewing the data as it is not an open market sale.

So I should have said, the banks get homes back at the loan amounts, which is higher than the market value, then place a value that is less than the loan and try to sell it.

Even with this strategy the prices are often too high, in certain areas.

RV6Flyer said...

Things are slow across the pond as well. Check out this promotion from British Airways. Bought my tickets a couple of days ago ($200 each way from SFO plus two free nights in a 4 star hotel) and will surprise my wife with a long weekend in London. With the Pound in the toilet, no better time to go.

patient renter said...

Good read: BR gives Geitner(sp? - who cares) a well-deserved bashing, only 2 days into his tenure: