Contact Info For Your City Council Members

In case you missed the info before, here is how to contact your South San Francisco City Council Members for important issues, especially if you can't make it tonight,: Let The City Council Know Your Concerns.Contact the City Council at (650) 829-6601 or send an email:
Mayor Richard Garbarino – richgarbarino@ssf.net
Vice Mayor Pedro Gonzalez – pedrogonzales@ssf.net
Councilmember Mark Addiego – markaddiego@ssf.net
Councilmember Kevin Mullin – kevinmullin@ssf.net
Councilmember Karyl Matsumoto – karylmatsumoto@ssf.net

ALERT!!!! URGENT CITY COUNCIL MEETING ON OCTOBER 17

IMPORTANT MEETING!!! < Are you a homeowner in South San Francisco?  Then you will be very interested in the very important Special Study Session Meeting that will be taking place this Wednesday, October 17 at 6:30 pm at:   Municipal Services Building Council Chambers 33 Arroyo Drive South San Francisco, CA 94080   Over many, many years, South San Francisco has led the residential sellers and their agents to believe that it is required to have a Home and Safety Inspection as well as a Smoke Detector Inspection(at a cost of $125).  The City has said it is mandatory but it is only a ruse to get into homes and find code violations such as unpermitted work or alterations.  It doesn’t matter if the work was completed by a previous owner, or if the repairs, additions, were done 50+ years ago when a permit was not even needed.   Once found, then the seller’s ability to close escrow depends upon repairing those violations along with penalties and fees, especially if they are not completed in a timely fashion.   Did you have your countertops changed and didn’t get a permit? Or what was code back in 1970, or 1960, or 1950 is no longer code today could be called as a violation and the work has to be upgraded or you could face sometimes unreasonable fees.   Look around your home and think about any upgrades you have done or even a previous may have done that you think are minor.  Not to South San Francisco.   Because the San Mateo County Association of Realtors are trying to put a stop to it, South San Francisco now wants to make it an law so that they can come into your home when you sell.  It will be the “Point of Sale Inspection”.   Please come to the meeting and show your support by just being at this Wednesday, October 17 at 6:30 pm Meeting when we present the scary and expensive stories that many sellers have had to endure when all they wanted to do was to sell their home.   Learn about your rights.  You could be selling your home soon or know someone who is considering it.  Or down the road you may and then it will be too late if this law is passed.  Let them know and please pass on this email.  

New South City GO-Kart Center Opens

Looking for some fun.  There's a new fun place in South City and it is for both kids and adults.   K1 Speed Go-Kart Center just opened on September 19.  There will be a Grand Opening on October 25 from 6-9 PM.   They are having a special this month of 2 races for $25, which is a $15 savings.  For more information check out this article: http://southsanfrancisco.patch.com/articles/go-kart-center-open-in-south-city Go check it out.

Whom Do You Know Has Been Abused By Bogus And Illegal SSF Inspections?

As you know, the sellers in South San Francisco have been repeatedly abused over the years by these unreasonable and unwarranted inspections.   I am  not talking about a few hundred dollars in penalities or fees, I am talking about thousands and thousands of dollars in penalities and fees, not to mention the cost of the repairs.  I am on a subcommittee of our Board of Realtors so I have heard some hair-raising stories.  One agent told us just recently of a $37,000 penalty that was levied against a seller.  Yes, you heard it right - $37,000 and that did not include the repairs.  The city just penalizes the seller to the tune of $1,000 a day to get work completed!  Now that is what I call cruel and unusual punishment. Many of these so called violations were improvements made by a previous owner. So if a previous owner changed their kitchen countertops and even though no structural work was completed, the City decides that since it was not done with a permit, there is a penalty that has to be paid.  Of course, then a permit is needed.  Ridiculous, right?  Well it has happened and continues to happen. DO YOU KNOW OF ANY ABUSE BY SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO THAT HAS EITHER HAPPENED TO YOU OR A NEIGHBOR?  THIS HAS TO STOP AND WITH YOUR HELP IT CAN!!! Please contact me as soon as possible so these true accounts can be presented to the City. I do not have any stories from my clients, because I became aware that they were not legal(by more than one attorney's profession opinion) a few years ago.  Here's what happened.  When the buyer's agent asked for the inspections and I told him the seller would not allow the City into the property, his broker called the City to find out if it was required.  The City said it was and that if the seller did not allow the inspections, the City would "slap a lien on the property and there would be penalities" for the buyer once they took possession.  My response has always been "show me the ordinance and my seller will comply".  We did close escrow on that property.  To this day, no lien has been filed against that property and no penalities were paid.  Do you know why?  Because they have no right to do so and they know it.  But it did not keep them from bullying the agents and sellers.     Each and every time I listed a property, I had to educate the other agent and get into long discussions with them or their broker.  While I felt it was such a waste of time,  I also realizede that I was educating them one office at a time. So, if you were subjected to these unwarranted and financially destructive inspections, please let me know ASAP.

Is It Only SSF That You Need A Warrant Or Does Everyone Have That Right?”

  Great Question!!! I had a couple of people contact me regarding my postcard on the Warrantless and Illegal searches in South San Francisco. In response to your question: .  “ Is it only SSF that you need a Warrant or does everyone have that right?”   Here’s the short answer: Accordingly to the 4th Amendment of our Constitution, everyone has that right.   Here’s the long answer:   Below are comments from me but, most importantly, these excerpts  in black came from our Board of Realtor attorney.   The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and persons or things to be seized. ***** Article 1, Section 13 of the California Constitution: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, may not be violated; and a warrant may not issue except on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmative, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons and things to be seized. ***** Chapter 1.12 Right of Entry for Inspection, South San Francisco Municipal Code 1.12.010 Authorized—Notice—Warrant. Whenever necessary to make an inspection to enforce any ordinance or resolution, or whenever there is reasonable cause to believe there exists an ordinance or resolution violation in any building or upon any premises within the jurisdiction of the city, any authorized official of the city may, upon presentation of proper credentials, enter such building or premises at all reasonable times to inspect the same or to perform any duty imposed upon him by ordinance; provided, that except in emergency situations or when consent of the owner and/or occupant to the inspection has been otherwise obtained, he shall give the owner and/or occupant, if they can be located after reasonable effort, twenty-four hours’ written notice of the authorized official’s intention to inspect. The notice transmitted to the owner and/or occupant shall state that the property owner has the right to refuse entry and that in the event such entry is refused, inspection may be made only upon issuance of a search warrant by a duly authorized magistrate. In the event the owner and/or occupant refuses entry after such request has been made, the official is empowered to seek assistance from any court of competent jurisdiction in obtaining such entry. (Ord. 643 § 1, 1972) Now here are comments from me: However, if there is reasonable cause, such as smoke and flames coming out of a home, that could be considered “reasonable cause”.  But what SSF has been doing is making it mandatory to check to see that your smoke detectors are working, something that any homeowner can do, or even the buyer or buyer’s agent can do. No City inspector is needed.  Also, the City is charging $125 to the homeowner to come into your home to do this inspection. While they are there, they start looking for problems that they can penalize the homeowner for which can get quite costly and it holds up the sale. SSF also says they require a Home and Safety Inspection, which is also another way of getting into your home.  Once you let them in for these inspections, then it can get very expensive.  SSF has no law or ordinance for either of these inspections.  They just lead you to believe they do.  However, there is a State Law that says smoke detectors must be installed and working at close of escrow.  There is no mention of inspections. I am on a subcommittee of our Board of Realtors to deal with this problem.  If you know of anyone who has had a problem in selling their home with regards to this, please let me know or have them contact me. However, I instruct my clients on the pros and cons of letting in the City for these inspections, and I have not had one client tell me they are okay allowing these inspectors inside their home. So, I do not have any stories to tell.  But with the new Sewer Lateral Ordinance that became effective this year, I have already had a situation that turned ugly for the seller to the tune of $7,000 in repairs and fees. I could go on but I think you get the idea.  Of course, it is always wise to get legal advice for a particular situation. Again, if you know of anyone who has had a problem, please do let me know.   Be sure to inform your neighbors.

Stop Warrantless And I’m Told Illegal Searches of Your Home

 Watch out! The City may

STOP THE SALE OF YOUR HOME!

Want to sell your home in

South San Francisco?

Under the guise of a ‘safety inspection’ they say is required when you sell your home, the city (with the Fire Department acting as code enforcement officials) says it can enter your home WITHOUT A WARRANT to inspect for certain conditions including an unnecessary smoke detector inspection for which they charge $125! If found, these conditions have to be taken care of, often as the cost of thousands of dollars to you before you can close escrow even if a previous owner made the improvements.

Protect Your Property Values & Constitutional Rights

From Warrantless Searches of Your Home

 South San Francisco is the ONLY CITY in San Mateo County that has this requirement when you sell your home. The City Council and the Fire Department both claim this is a CITYWIDE PROBLEM… but they're putting the burden ONLY on you, THE HOME OWNER.  Let The City Council Know Your Concerns.Contact the City Council at (650) 829-6601 or send an email and tell them you object to having the sale of your residence stopped (whenever that may be) and that these warrantless inspections must be eliminated. You could be next:
Mayor Richard Garbarino – richgarbarino@ssf.net
Vice Mayor Pedro Gonzalez – pedrogonzales@ssf.net
Councilmember Mark Addiego – markaddiego@ssf.net
Councilmember Kevin Mullin – kevinmullin@ssf.net
Councilmember Karyl Matsumoto – karylmatsumoto@ssf.net

 Working for and representing buyers and sellers in South San Francisco since 1986: Carole Fogelstrom (650) 878-8813

Carole@CaroleFogelstrom.com

Broker Associate – Today | Sotheby’s International Realty DRE# 00938260

SouthSanFranciscoHomes.com

Bernanke: Loan Standards Easing

Bernanke: Loan Standards Easing

On September 20, 2012, in Breaking News, Mortgage Financing, by Robert Freedman
One of the main questions hanging over the Federal Reserve’s plan to buy up to $40 billion a month in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to help spur the housing market is whether continuing tight underwriting requirements will offset any positive impact the effort will have on lowering mortgage interest rates.   NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun and other analysts have said that interest rates, already at historical lows, don’t need to come down further to spur home buying. What needs to happen instead is a change in lenders’ underwriting policies. Since the downturn, lenders have been imposing underwriting restrictions on borrowers that go above and beyond what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA require for loans. For example, borrowers in some cases need to have a credit score 100 points higher than what Fannie, Freddie, or FHA require. These restrictions, or overlays as they’re sometimes called, on federally backed loans are crucial, because Fannie, Freddie, and FHA comprise so much of the mortgage lending market today. Lenders say they need these higher standards to ensure they don’t make loans on which borrowers subsequently default and then face having to take them back if Fannie, Freddie, or FHA say the loan violated the “representations and warranties” the lender made when they originated the loans. As Yun said in his monthly press conference yesterday, to release August existing-home sales figures, despite improvement in home sales and prices, these standards are keeping otherwise creditworthy households from getting financing, which could lead to wide and troubling disparities in home ownership rates down the road. “The tight underwriting standards are not a trifle matter,” he said. They’re “limiting who can become home owners and setting the stage for possible highly unequal wealth distribution in five years, because who will be getting [home price] appreciation over the next five years? They’re limiting the number of people in the middle who can become home owners.” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, at a press conference he held last week to announce the MBS purchase plan, known as QE3, (for “quantitative easing 3, because it’s the third such measure the Fed has taken since the downturn), said these tight underwriting standards are in fact easing. “As house prices have begun to rise, as the economy has gotten a little stronger, lending standards have eased just a bit,” he said. “There have also been other changes which are useful. I note for example that the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) and the GSEs (Fannie and Freddie) have recently changed their policy on put-backs, so that banks will have more certainty under what conditions a mortgage will be put back to them if it defaults. So, there are a number of things in train that will make the mortgage market a little bit more open. That is one factor actually that could make our policy more effective,  rather than less effective over time. If more people have access to more credit, more people will have access to the low rates we’re providing.” Other than the policy clarification on put-backs, also known as loan repurchases or loan buy-backs, Bernanke didn’t specify what those eased lending standards are. And, whatever they are, they don’t appear to be trickling down to many real estate practitioners on the ground. NAR just last week released survey findings that suggest tight standards continue to be a problem. In one of the findings, in about 75 percent of loans to Fannie and Freddie last year, borrowers had credit scores of 740 or above, compared to just 40 percent of borrowers between 2001 and 2004 who did so. The years 2001 to 2004 are considered stable and healthy, before the housing boom. The difference in credit scores suggests up to 700,000 more loans could have been made last year had that the tight restrictions not been in place. ”Financial institutions appear to be focusing on making loans only to individuals with the highest levels of credit scores,” Jed Smith, NAR manager of quantitative analysis, says in his anlaysis of the survey findings. All this is just another way of saying, as many of the reporters at Chairman Bernanke’s press conference last week were saying (see first video), that the MBS purchase plan might be all the Fed can do, given it’s mandate to focus on monetary policy (matters affecting the supply of money in the economy), but it misses the point. The problem is in lenders’ underwriting policies. And interest rates that go lower than even today’s historically low rates seem unlikely to have much impact on those. In the first video above, Bernanke makes some key housing market points, including about easing loan standards, as he talks about the Fed’s MBS purchase plan. In the second video, Yun talks about the continuing tight underwriting standards.