Archive for April, 2011

You Might Want to Know This

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

It looks like we are still talking about budget woes; however, this one is close to home, the City of Santa Rosa. An editorial in the Press Democrat on April 26th, outlined some basic issues. It is not an easy task to balance the voters/taxpayers wishes against community services/benefits and the rapidly increasing cost of employee benefits. The voters did their part by voting to pay ¼ cent more in sales tax. I don’t envy the City Council; they have some tough decisions ahead.

Have you ever thought about how much information/data your cell phone collects and what it does with the information? There are thousands of apps (applications) that are downloaded by cell phone users; I do this myself, to make finding out information easier to access. However, I wasn’t aware, until recently, that app developers use ad kits provided by advertising partners. The kits collect data and send it back to the advertisers. The Wall Street Journal studied more than 100 apps and found that some apps use as many as 8 ad kits. It is disturbing that a company collects your information without permission; you can’t opt-out. You don’t know how the companies are protecting your information. Could it also put you at risk for identity theft? Preventing apps from collecting data might be impossible. There is no current solution other than to avoid apps or be very selective. Hopefully, this will be changing in the future but it will probably take legislation.

This weekend in Sonoma County it is Passport to Dry Creek Valley, call 707-433-3031 for information; also the Annual Bodega Bay Fish Festival, call 707-875-3866 is this weekend.

Private Money Lending

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I thought it was time for a little education about our business.  Private Money Lending is one of the oldest professions in the world.  Yet, many industry professionals know very little about it, and misconceptions tend to dominate public perception.  It grew out of documented lending by private money lenders at organized and individual levels.

Private Money lenders have been associated with organized crime, the Tony Soprano’s of the underworld.  They were more commonly known as loan sharks – need cash fast, no questions asked.  However, the loan was at a very high cost, including the enforcement policies that extracted more than a pound of flesh. 

Obviously, there was a need for non-traditional financing that was more conventional in its approach.  Hence, the emergence of hard money lenders a.k.a. private money lenders in the 1970’s—free from any ties to underworld influences.  By the 1990’s, the rules of private money financing were codified by many states in their real estate laws, and trade organizations were formed. 

Today, private money lenders are comprised of professional business men and women who perform an important role in providing a much needed function in the marketplace, enabling an additional source of debt for borrowers that for reasons of timing, credit or collateral cannot use conventional financing.

For fun, check out “Dogs! It’s the Musical” in Sonoma, call 707-938-4626, ext. 1.

Sonoma County is Great!

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

A report, as of March 30, 2011, by the County of Sonoma Public Health Division, ranks Sonoma County as one of the Healthiest Counties in California.  The comprehensive report ranks the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states by using standard measures to determine how healthy people are and how long they live.  In 2011, Sonoma County ranks 12th in California and is in the top 10% when compared to National benchmarks in several important areas, such as Adult Obesity, Preventable Hospital Stays and the Ratio of Population to Primary Care Providers.  It’s great to see that Sonoma County is one of the healthiest places to live, work and play.  

I read the paper this morning and didn’t see my name in the obituaries so I figured it was going to be a great day!  We all realize the economy is going to be very slow to recover, gas prices are going higher and the California Budget appears to be bogged-down; however, we can get off our fannies, take a walk (long or short) and breath in the fabulous Sonoma County air.

There are two parades this weekend—the Butter & Egg Days Parade in Petaluma and the Apple Blossom Festival in Sebastopol.

California’s Budget

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

California’s budget woes are still at the fore-front. The good news is out of all the States, California ranks only 16th worst in Budget Shortfalls percentages; Nevada leads with a 54.5% shortfall, Arizona is #4 with a 36.5% shortfall and South Carolina at #10 is 26.1% short on meeting their budget needs. Other states look to California to get a feel for how, from a political standpoint, you handle cuts and tax increases. Several states have raised park fees, shut down state-funded museums, cut public employee benefits and slashed social services. There is still pressure on the State to cut costs through hiring freezes, furlough programs and layoffs.

The California budget deficit was once $ 26.6 Billion—it is now $ 15.4 Billion. So, there is progress—just not enough, yet. It has been said that progress in Sacramento is rarely accomplished on a straight line; this is not a set-back, just a turn in the road.

At least in our Private Money Lending world, we are still seeing some very good transactions worth serious consideration. We have even sold one of our REO properties we took back in foreclosure.

On the lighter side, check out these two FREE events; at the Wells Fargo Center, on 4/9 & 4/10, the American Philharmonic presents Moby Dick, call 707-546-3600; or “Tomatomania!” in Sonoma, (largest tomato seedling sale) on 4/16 & 4/17, call 707-933-3010.