SOLD: 3640 El Grande Ct, San Jose 95132

3640 El Grande Ct – $775,000. Listed 2/28/11 (Tracey Jeanot of Coldwell Banker represents the Seller) Sold for $850K, COE 4/8/11

– 5 bed, 2.5 bath

– 3183sf living space on a 30420sf lot

– Built in 1963

– Big kitchen, Master has balcony with great views, New carpeting, Clerestory windows

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

A very interesting property!  Uniquely situated on 2 side-by-side lots specifically designed to allow maximum views of the Valley.  Certainly Mid-Century Modern design and construction although it has forced air instead of radiant.  The original owners showed remarkable care through the decades but a light remodeling facelift will be a very rewarding project.
 

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 166 Oak Hill Way, Los Gatos 95030

166 Oak Hill Way – $2,149,000. Listed 2/24/11 (Constance Miller of Alain Pinel Realtors represents the Seller) Sold for $2100K, COE 4/7/11

– 4 bed, 2.5 bath

– 3160sf living space on a 15681sf lot

– Built in 1963

– Completely re-done 15 years ago with custom features, Beautiful yards with many trees

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 290 Laura Ln, Mountain View 94043

290 Laura Ln – $725,000. Listed 2/22/11 (Patricia Jordan of Coldwell Banker represents the Seller) Sold for $720K, COE 4/28/11

– 3 bed, 2 bath

– 1104sf living space on a 5100sf lot

– Built in 1955

– Newly re-finished hardwood floors, New paint, Huge kitchen, Updated baths

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

Another clean Mountain View – Thompson Mackay.  The hardwood floors are great but the wainscoting in the master bathroom doesn't feel very modern.
 

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 720 Blair Ct Unit M, Sunnyvale 94087

720 Blair Ct Unit M – $420,000. Listed 2/17/11 (Mary Wathen of Key Realty & Lending represents the Seller) Sold for $501K, COE 4/22/11

– 3 bed, 2.5 bath

– 1356sf living space on a 871sf lot

– Built in 1973

– New paint, carpet, & appliances, 2 patio areas

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

I know you can't see that this looks like a Mid-Century townhome, and the builder of this complex still eludes me, but this is a modern townhome complex with tongue/groove ceilings, post and beam construction, and globe lights of the period.  An identical unit just listed for $599k sold in 8 days so getting this at $420k is a fantastic deal!  Good schools, decent size, modern flair, and dual patios.  It is built around the corner from a pocket of late-model Eichlers so I believe the whole community keeps a very cohesive look.  Check it out, surely it won't last long.
 
MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 19047 Saratoga Glen Pl, Saratoga 95070

19047 Saratoga Glen Pl – $1,395,000. Listed 2/17/11 (Jayne J Gibson of Alain PInel Realtors represents the Seller) Sold for $1387K, COE 4/27/11

– 4 bed, 3 bath

– 2718sf living space on a 10010sf lot

– Built in 1956

– Partially re-built in 2008, New kitchen, great room, & master suite, Reflfecting pool

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 855 La Mesa Dr, Portola Valley 94028

855 La Mesa Dr – $1,995,000. Listed 2/18/11 (Kristin A Cashin of Coldwell Banker represents the Seller) Sold for $1995K, COE 4/8/11

– 3 bed, 2 bath

– 1890sf living space on a 13500sf lot

– Built in 1963

– Eco-friendly design, Solar power and heating, Cool Roof technology, On-site rainwater recycling

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 2366 Lida Dr, Mountain View 94043

2366 Lida Dr – $849,000. Listed 2/17/11 (Anna M Salas of Intero Real Estate represents the Seller) Sold for $842K, COE 3/30/11

– 3 bed, 2 bath

– 1292sf living space on a 6400sf lot

– Built in 1958

– Remodeled kitchen, Master bathroom was remodeled down to the studs, Custom landscaping

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

This Mackay mimics the Eichler Courtyard model where you enter the front yard behind the fence that then opens to a usable court.  Its very clean and deserves a look if you have a chance.

MLS Photos:

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Prospect Mortgage was the WORST experience of my life

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It has taken me several months to compose this post and I apologize for the long story.  I needed to make sure I was writing with a clear head because every time I came back to this event I could feel myself getting angry all over again as I relived the entire disaster, but I feel so strongly that this needs to be told.  Yes, I will name names because this is a true story of actual events.

While working with a buyer recently, I had the misfortune of also working with Prospect Mortgage in Campbell.  It turned out to be the worst experience I have ever had for any transaction.

Screen shot 2011-08-03 at 9.08.21 AM My buyer had already met with and been pre-approved for his financing by Carey Atwood (NMLS#312243) of Prospect Mortgage before meeting with me for our buyer consultation.  I felt that my client had built a relationship with Carey and it wasn’t my place to jump in front of that to recommend someone new.  I should have suspected that something was not right when Carey misspelled our client’s name several times on various email and correspondence.

Once we made an accepted offer on a property, I kicked off the process for removing contingencies — ordering inspections and telling Carey to get his financing lined up and the appraisal ordered.  In most cases, I am usually called within a couple days by an appraiser telling me he/she will be doing an appraisal, and they like to ask questions if there is anything in particular they should be aware of (that effects the property value).  Almost a week goes by without hearing anything so I called Carey to check on the appraisal — I was given an excuse about how it must have gotten lost in the system!

The lack of communication from Prospect Mortgage amazed me.  Carey rarely if ever called me, I always had to call him.  He didn’t like to return phone calls, instead preferring to write an email.  So now I realized that I needed to constantly monitor his side of the transaction — was the appraisal ordered, when is it scheduled to take place, where are we with the loan application review and verification of income or assets, etc.  His job is basically to get the loan approval so we can remove our finance contingencies and move forward with drawing up the loan documents.

Most appraisals come in exactly at the offered price (don’t get me started on that “miracle”).  I have had some appraisals that come in 3%-4% lower than the offered price, so I need to kickoff an appraisal dispute process in order to make sure my clients are protected.  In this case, we get word from Carey that the appraisal came in $15,000 lower than the offered price (less than 1.5%).  I flipped out!  Who does this kind of thing?!  This never happens.  That’s such a small number on a $1M+ property.  After I pushed Carey to get to the bottom of it, he tells me the appraiser made a typo — it was supposed to be at our offered price!  Don’t you think he should have fixed that before sending it out to me and our client?

Ok, now we’re back on track, or so I thought.  The overall financing for this transaction was a $729,000 first loan, a piggyback equity line second loan for about $80k, and the rest made from the buyers cash down payment.  At this point we’re approaching the time to remove our finance contingency.  Essentially, once this contingency is removed, if my buyer cannot complete the sale then the seller has the right to keep the deposit money and sell to another buyer.  You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Making sure we are good to move forward, Carey tells us we are “Good To Go” on financing, the loans are in place and we are free to remove contingencies.  Sure enough, 2 days later Carey tells us his $80k piggyback second loan has disappeared.  The lender won’t approve this loan.  I was irate!  This has NEVER happened when I have used my referred loan agents.  Never!

Reviewing the situation — we are 2 weeks away from closing, $80k short of the purchase price, and $30k of my clients money at risk if we cannot close.  Carey is useless finding another solution.  After about 10 days go by where we poured over second sources and multiple solutions, my client reluctantly asks a family friend for a personal loan to replace the $80k and we’re back in business.

Now we go back to Carey at Prospect for the original $729k first loan and again Carey tells us we are “Good To Go”.  So we begin to put all the pieces in place, get agreement from the seller to close a little later than originally scheduled and then Carey sends an email — their loan rate-lock on this loan has expired and the cost of extending it was something like $5,000.

I flipped out, again.  At this point my buyer is exhausted, wants to give up, walk away, and sue everyone involved so I had to pull out the big gun to take care of this.  I went to my broker, who has high-level connections within Prospect, and told him how Prospect is a bunch of incompetent liars who have screwed this entire transaction from the start and now expect my client to pay $5,000 for their mistake.

Suddenly, I began seeing more email communication from Carey than ever before and names I’ve never seen included on the CC list which I assumed were stakeholder executives within Prospect.  Then a miracle happens, we get a 20-day rate-lock extension at no cost.

I’m confident we’re on track and everything is lined up to close in 2 daysCarey calls again — the Prospect underwriter is looking for the section 1 termite certification.  There is no termite report, my buyer waived that inspection and the purchase agreement specifically made no mention of termite inspection or report — I yelled at Carey again to fix yet another Prospect screwup.  He gets it fixed and we are finally able to close.

In conclusion, Prospect Mortgage and Carey Atwood in particular rarely delivered on anything they promised, they missed many deadlines and stretched the timelines way beyond anything I have ever seen, and worst of all, they always had an excuse for how someone else was to blame for the situation.

My lessons learned:

1) NEVER again work with Prospect Mortgage on any transaction, period.

2) I need to be more forceful and direct with my clients when they tell me they are already working with a loan agent they know.  Not to say I don’t trust whoever they are working with, but if I have never worked with him/her before then I still want my clients to meet one of my recommended loan agents so I have a quick backup plan if anything goes sideways.

-Mark

SOLD: 1032 Ringwood Ave, Menlo Park 94025

1032 Ringwood Ave – $679,000. Listed 2/10/11 (Chris Anderson of Alain Pinel Realtors represents the Seller) Sold for $700K, COE 3/16/11

– 3 bed, 1 bath

– 1360sf living space on a 6700sf lot

– Built in 1948

– Abundant natural light and clean design, Fresh paint and new carpet

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 125 Ridgeway Rd, Woodside 94062

125 Ridgeway Rd – $2,250,000. Listed 2/7/11 (Diane & Quetzal of Alain Pinel Realtors represents the Seller) Sold for $1800K, COE 3/15/11

– 3 bed, 2.5 bath

– 2480sf living space on a 71340sf lot

– Built in 1957

– Wadsworth designed home, Situated on 1.5 acres, Large master suite with extra storage

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

Stunningly original!  I feel like walking right back into the lifestyles of 1957.  Light colored wood panels are in fantastic shape and a nice contrast to the darker ones usually seen in this period.  The lot is awesome as well.  Please, someone needs to take on this project and transform this into an updated marvel!

MLS Photos:

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