Tag Archives: real estate

Even the Wealthy Take a Beating in Real Estate


GOSSIP ALERT!

Every once in a while, I love to throw in juicy pop culture gossip. It just so happens that I stumbled upon a couple of tidbits that compliment my own post  today on real estate woes of the common man.  This nosey news is from The Real Estalker:

(Writers take note of the gossip columnist style. There is a market for this kind of writing.)

We first heard it from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills and then we received a covert communique from a well-connected insider—let’s call him Charlie Chitchatter—who snitched that magically mercurial Oscar-nominated actress Sharon Stone has done sold a five-ish acre estate in Beverly Hills, CA that Your Mama first discussed way back in December 2006 when it popped up on the open market with a starry-eyed $12,500,000 asking price.

After many fits and starts, countless price reductions and at least one high-paying rental tenancy, Miz Stone—who never, as far as we know, actually occupied the property—has sold the neo-Mediterranean style compound for, according to documentation provided by Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills, $6,595,000.

That’s a whole lotta dough by any standard but it’s also almost half Miz Ston’s original asking price and represents, as per our bejeweled abacus, a bank account flogging $4,400,000 loss. Ouch!

And this:

Over the weekend, while Your Mama did some peeping and poking around in the property records regarding the John Lautner-designed Bob and Delores Hope house in Palm Springs, CA that recently and very quietly available through an upscale Beverly Hills brokerage with—so the rumor goes—an astronomical $45,000,000 asking price, we happened across documentation that reveals the sublime and much-lauded four time Emmy winning actress Allison Janney (West Wing, Juno, The Help) owned a house just down the street from the Hope house that—quelle horror—she lost to unforgiving maw of foreclosure in September or October 2012.

On this one, there’s going to be a loss by someone who makes his living flipping houses — on TV no less:

On the currently airing sixth season of the reality program Flipping Out, sometimes temperamental house flipper and sassy-pants Bravolebrity Jeff Lewis bought a 1940s traditional on Spring Oak Drive in Los Angeles, CA without telling his much younger and punctiliously primped live-in man-friend—and employee—Gage Edward who at least acted for the cameras as if he were none too pleased with the behind-his-back acquisition.*

Property records show the Spring Oak Drive domicile, located on narrow cul-de-sac in the Bronson Canyon area of Los Angeles, was acquired by Mister Lewis—and only Mister Lewis—in April (2012) for $1,350,000. Yesterday—sixth months and an extensive and expensive renovation later—the property is back on the open market with an only slightly higher asking price of $1,450,000.

Finally, here’s one where the tenant (Cee Lo Green) moved out in order to rent smaller digs (a trend these days among the common folk as well) and the landlord has taken repeated hits to his wallet in losses on sales. It just goes to show ya, it’s tough out there!

Since at least March 2011 rapper, songwriter, music producer and televised singing contest judge Cee Lo Green* (The Voice) leased a 4,200-ish square foot residence just above the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, CA owned—as it turns out—by actor, race car driver and indie pop rock band drummer Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle, the Agent Cody Banks franchise).

Howevuh hunnies, according to our always so freakishly well-informed friend and aide-de-camp Lucy Spillerguts Mister Green recently decamped Mister Muniz’s updated 1941 traditional for a smaller, more contemporary crib in the so-called Bird Streets ‘hood** high above the Sunset Strip. . .

. . .Mister Muniz is well known among celebrity property watchers and real estate gossips as a relatively frequent shuffler of the cards in his property portfolio. He once owned a house just above the Sunset Strip he sold to Halle Berry in 2005 for $5,995,000 and in 2004 he spent $4,650,000 on a low-slung modern on Blue Jay Way that he sold the following year for $3,900,000.

In the early days of 2006 Mister Muniz dropped $3,499,000 for the Sunset Strip house that, until recently, was rented by Cee Lo Green but is now back up for sale at $3,195,000 and is also listed to lease at $14,000 per month.

Modern Investigative Reporting Aids Those in Foreclosure


Warning: Off-topic subject, although it illustrates the value of old-fashioned investigative reporting.

After this post was written and scheduled, I came upon a news story that sets the context for the story. I will paste it here, in italics.

It’s easy to judge someone who spends more money than he makes and gets into financial trouble. It’s irresponsible. At first, that is the way I felt about all people who bought too much house, then lost their homes to foreclosure.

The more I read the background news stories, the more I came to believe many were lured into a snare designed by certain financial organizations to be a massive money-making machine. Select lenders and investment banking institutions purposely behaved irresponsibly because they had a plan. They figured out how to make money using “mismanagement”  and avoid consequences. (The perfect legal defense: “Your Honor, I used poor judgement and made some bad management decisions.”) Stupidity isn’t a crime, unless it can be proved to be a smoke screen for outright fraud. Once these banks were en masse in insolvency (they all did the same inane, irresponsible acts), then step two of the devious plan kicked in: suck massive amounts of free money out of the general populace through tax-supported bailouts. With no paybacks. Forever. (Where can I get me one of them? I’d like $40 million dollars a month indefinitely for being criminal stupid.)

Lend– bad loan, good loan, it doesn’t matter. Make money. Package and sell the bad mortgages to investors, teachers’ retirement funds, firemen’s retirement funds, policemen’s retirement funds, your retirement funds, foreign governments. Make money. Pass off the consequences to unsuspecting others. Mortgages defaults. Pension funds lose the money they need to pay out retirement benefits. Get government to tax citizens and give the $$$ to lenders–no strings attached, no pay back required. Bail out. Make money. Foreclosure.  Real Estate is sold. Make money. The cycle begins again. Make Money.

Sadly, citizens do pay consequences for bad behavior. That’s where the news story comes in. The institutions which figured out how to profit from fraud haven’t paid consequences–yet. That’s where the original post comes in. Someone clever has figured out a way to turn the game back on the banksters in certain circumstances.

But first the newly added news clipping from Reuters:

Spain promises to spare needy from eviction after suicides

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos promised on Monday that no needy family will go homeless over mortgage arrears, responding to public fury at a homeowner’s suicide as she was being evicted.

Facing accusations that politicians and banks are complicit in de facto “murder”, Spain’s banking association said its members would suspend eviction orders for two years for those borrowers worst hit by economic crisis and record unemployment.

Banks have repossessed close to 400,000 homes in Spain since a property bubble burst in 2008 and the nation subsequently sank into recession, throwing millions out of work and unable to keep up mortgage payments to the banks.

Last Friday’s suicide of 53-year-old Amaia Egana has inflamed a public already angered by what they see as a lack of compassion among Spanish banks, many of which have benefited from taxpayer-funded bailouts organized by the political elite.

Now to the originally scheduled post:

An investigative reporter discovered that a segment of the mortgage banking/ investment banking community purposely defrauded investors and homeowners. His investigative findings are now compiled in a book called Clouded Titles.

The subject bankers defrauded pension funds and other investors by selling worthless mortgage backed securities. The same bankers also unscrupulously by-passed laws governing title and mortgage records so that millions of homeowners with a mortgage may not be able to sell their homes. Why? Because the homeowner will not be able to provide clear chain of title, solely due to lender fraud and mismanagement. Further, the banks skipped out paying millions in taxes and fees to local governments when they short-cut the law through robo-signing and other techniques. So the mortgage-handling entities cheated investors; they swindled homeowners; they skipped out like a dead-beat parent on paying their fees and taxes to local, state and federal governments.

Currently, a multi-BILLION dollar lawsuit has been filed by the U. S. federal government seeking damages. There is a successful movement growing among injured mortgagees who are suing  in court to prevent eviction and foreclosure. Some have seen the courts stop the banks from foreclosing or even from collecting mortgage payments.

For anyone who has received repeated letters about a change in who owns your mortgage or a change to where you send your house payment, you may eventually learn your title is clouded and you may be paying someone who doesn’t legally own your mortgage, and therefore, your home.

For those persons, I am providing the following information about the author and his  book Clouded Titles.

Dave Krieger is a former major market radio news reporter and news director and television news reporter/anchorman and investigative journalist, who won national and state news awards from Associated Press Broadcasters. Dave was a former member of Radio and Television News Directors Association. Dave began studying law in early 1990; specializing in real estate, tort, consumer credit and collection issues.

His first self-published work, The Credit Restoration Primer, a 263-page, self-help, credit repair book, was first released in 1995 and is now entering its 4th Edition.

Dave currently serves as a paralegal and legal research analyst for Wade Kricken, an attorney in Dallas, Texas, who specializes in consumer and real estate law and foreclosure defense. He has lectured at the Texas County Clerk’s school hosted by the V.G. Young Institute and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and currently conducts audits of county land records and instructs attorneys on the subject of Chain of Title Assessments & Quiet Title Actions in continuing legal education courses around the country.

The newest version of his book, Clouded Titles, is 396 pages of updated information about the aspects of foreclosure defense, strategic default, quiet title actions and county land record functions; coupled with a detailed Index and Table of Case Citations and comes highly regarded by attorneys.

Additional commentary from MSNBC on a related subject– listen to the end to hear the “banking corruption” remark. Ignore the politics. This is your chance to look behind the curtain in OZ. It’s your life. You are the one behind the eight ball. You and your kids and your grandkids. Know who is using the system and putting the screws to you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TZ0LqnaeuA&feature=share&list=PL2WWM-Cq2nuJ59drKmEEfsSkwZ9C2n5Gm