pre approval letters

Do You Know WOT WOT?

Molokai pool

Pool at Hotel Molokai

An expression used in Molokai is wot wot; it’s a slang phrase for being informed about something and knowing what to do. Like knowing which end is up. I tried to explain it to my husband but his brain could not wrap around it. He kept asking about a punch line. There is no punch line. It’s kinda like telling somebody that they should know “what is what” after they’ve been in the business for a few years. The thing about wot wot is not everybody knows. When you come to a Sacramento REALTOR for advice, though, that agent should know wot wot.

That knowledge of wot wot is what keeps your transaction running smoothly and without a lot of complications. That’s not to say we can always anticipate exactly what an underwriter might come up with that could cause a problem in a file, which is where most of the woes in real estate today seem to originate.

Hotel Molokai Hawaii

Hotel Molokai Hawaii

We had an underwriter disclose yesterday that because a home was transferred into the name of a nonprofit organization as a charitable contribution prior to the end of the year that now that file is being treated like a flip, even though it is not a flip. Flip transactions require an additional appraisal.

In another transaction, the buyer, unknown to any of us except to his mortgage lender-slash-buyer’s agent, is on title to another property. By all rights, he probably should NOT have received a preapproval letter because that mortgage would have showed up on his credit report, and somebody, like his loan officer, probably should have questioned it. In this particular instance, the original borrower, who apparently could not qualify first go-around, is now trying to qualify for a refinance to remove the co-borrower.

There is no way the listing agent in this transaction would have known any of this information or could have determined it at time of offer acceptance. But it would have made a difference in the how the negotiations were handled had this bit of information been received by the agent.

So, while your Sacramento REALTOR may very well know wot wot, we don’t have a crystal ball to predict all the things that can delay a closing. But we move closer to it every day.

Sacramento Real Estate and Yoda: Times They are a Changin’


Sacramento River in South Land Park Hills

As I look over my listings and escrows in Sacramento this morning, I see a pattern. I’m not talking about those free flashbacks we were promised and never received — what a rip. No swirls and dots nor peacock feather trails. Nope, the pattern I see is every single one of these listings and escrows has a challenge, for lack of a better term. All of the challenges are different, but they are challenges just the same. Not insurmountable, either, but it’s not the same for a Sacramento real estate agent in 2014 as in previous years. Selling real estate the last half of 2013 and early 2014 is harder. The times they are a changin’. You wonder where Yoda got his manner of speaking? I tell ya, he stole it from Dylan. But I digress.

For example, one Sacramento short sale presents a peculiar difficulty with Chase Bank. To provide you with further clarity, consider the fact that every short sale agent probably felt like that Meg Ryan scene in When Harry Met Sally when Chase Bank last year began using Equator. However, this year, its HELOC department is stuck in bureaucracy and over the course of two months can’t seem to open the file. I kick, I nudge, I push, I sweet-talk, I escalate; I set that Chase short sale underwriting department on fire and run out the back door, and they aren’t budging. Feet glued to the floor. It’s as though they are lobotomized. But eventually, Chase will get it together; it’s the Peter Principle in action.

Another escrow is stuck in limbo until the bankruptcy court releases the home or authorizes the sale. The court date has been pushed forward, just when I had hoped it would be resolved. Are you involved in bankruptcy proceedings is not usually a question I ask a seller when I accept an equity listing. I imagine in this economy the bankruptcy lawyers are doing a ton of business, though.

The ripples of the past are still present. We Sacramentans haven’t completely emerged from the sea like Bo Derek: all cornrows and smiles and tan. Nope, we’re more like Tank Girl coming home to discover the earth looks like steaming lava fields on Big Island and treasuring that baby tree sprout, straining toward the sun from a sidewalk crack.

I have another escrow that’s nearing 45 days and the buyer’s loan is still not approved. That’s because the buyer wasn’t actually approved by the bank at the inception — like most of the bogus crap passed off as meaning something, the pre-approval letters make better paper airplanes. The buyer also could not satisfy loan conditions for the longest time, and it seems like nobody really pushed the buyer to perform, except for my sellers. Hello? Clock ticking.

Experience has taught me that these issues will get worked out, and we will close. Moreover, eventually the overpriced listings will be reduced or we’ll find one of those tasty Bay area buyers. Sacramento real estate is a fairly tight market that often moves in circles, it can be like a roulette wheel. Make sure you have a good real estate agent at your side. Sellers today need a smart agent who can offer sensible advice on such matters like always double your odds on craps and let’s not overlook Kenny Rogers: know when to fold ’em and back off. This is a great time to sell if you know what you’re doing!

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email