Real Estate Information Archive


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Temecula Valley Wineries

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Over the years Carol and I have enjoyed fine wines and have spent time in the Napa Valley and surrounding areas along with Paso Robles tasting wine.  In recent years we have started spending time at the Temecula Valley wineries.  It’s a short drive from Orange County and great for a day trip or weekend getaway.  We have put together a list of the wineries, restaurants at wineries, lodging and resorts, and informational websites to make easier to plan your trip. Temecula Valley Wineries to get the information or if you prefer enter the complete U.R.L .  below.

Securing a jumbo: No small task

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Qualifying for a jumbo loan—those with loan amounts higher than the conventional conforming loan limit of $729,750 in high-cost areas—is more difficult than it was a few years ago.

While rates on jumbo mortgage historically have been higher than rates on conforming loans, jumbo loans still are available, but often come with stringent underwriting requirements. Prior to the credit freeze, borrowers of jumbo mortgages could qualify for loans with a 5 percent down payment, credit scores of 620and enough money in the bank to cover two months of payments. Now, borrowers typically must have six months’ reserves, a 700 credit score, and a down payment of at least 20 percent.

Scam alert: Home, Stolen Home

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

I have reprinted this from AARP  to help warn people about the problems with homes exchanging hands without anyone knowing it until its too late. Just like identity theft you need to keep an eye on your properties too.

Forged deeds can give crooks the keys to your castle

 Source: From the AARP Bulletin print edition | July 1, 2009 | By: Sid Kirchheimer

Teresa Bidwell learned that her house had been stolen when contractors she hired to make minor renovations found another crew already there—and much of the Philadelphia row home gutted.

“My guys called me to ask if I had hired other contractors,” says the 45-year-old business owner. “I hadn’t.”

Instead, her property had been sold for just $5,000, and the new “owner” hired the unexpected workmen. “Unknown to me, the deed was transferred to her name, and she had that as proof I had ‘sold’ it,” Bidwell told the AARP Bulletin. Her signature had been forged. “I spent more than one year, $16,000 and a lot of hassles to get back my house.”

House stealing: easier than you might think

House stealing is a fast-growing and easy scam. Once a home is targeted—vacant ones are preferred, but occupied residences are also vulnerable—scammers find out who owns it by searching public records.

“When I went to City Hall, there were maybe 20 people in the deed recorder’s office, using its computers to research properties owned by those who, like me, live outside the city. When I told the clerk, ‘I’m here because my house was stolen,’ they scattered like cockroaches,” Bidwell says. 

 To prove how easy this scam is, William Sherman, a reporter at the Daily News in New York, bought the Empire State Building with doctored documents.

Armed with property records, crooks can then purchase $10 property transfer forms at any office supply store. The signatures of “sellers” are forged, and paperwork is filed with the city or county recorder’s office. In many states, deed recorders and those who oversee property closings are not required to authenticate the identities of buyers or sellers. Some crooks simply create fake IDs, stealing the real homeowner’s identity.

With a newly issued deed, stolen homes are sometimes sold, as in Bidwell’s case, for a fraction of their worth to cash-paying buyers (who are also scammed). But more often, hijacked homes are used as collateral to get new loans.

Lenders are more likely to issue new loans to homeowners with no existing mortgage. “The elderly are most often targeted because they usually don’t have a mortgage,” says Molly Butters of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

To prove how easy this scam is, William Sherman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the Daily News in New York, bought the Empire State Building with doctored documents. “After downloading the correct existing deed, I transferred it from its rightful owners to my own phony company, Nelots (“stolen” spelled backward) Properties LLC, using paperwork I bought at Staples,” he told the Bulletin. “It took about 90 minutes, and the next day the property was mine, according to the New York Register’s office.” Sherman promptly “returned” the landmark skyscraper.

How do you protect your own home?

  • From time to time, check all property records with your local deed recorder or register’s office to ensure all documents and signatures are legitimate.
  • If you receive a payment book or other information about a loan that isn’t yours, “whether your name is on the envelope or not, don’t just throw it away,” advises the FBI website. “Open it, and follow up with the company that sent it.”
  • Some deed-recording offices use software that alerts homeowners whenever a transfer is made on their property. If yours doesn’t, ask why not.
  • If you discover your home has been stolen, immediately report it to your district attorney or state attorney general’s office.

Stop Telemarking Calls

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

December 1,  the Federal Tade Commission has required all prerecorded telemarketing calls to include a "quick and easy" opt-out system to stop future call by the company. Typically for calls you answer, that means saying a certain word or press a number. Message left on your voice mail must have a toll-free number that connects to an automated opt-out system. Any prerecorded sales or fundraising calls that do not meet these criteria are subject to fines. File complaints at or call 1-877-382-4357 toll-free.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

Contact Information

Photo of Carol and Jim   Real Estate
Carol and Jim
Preferred Home Brokers
3230 E Imperial Hwy, Ste 125
Brea CA 92821

Carol & Jim Chamberlain 714-726-3166 or 714-726-3144                  "Yes, We Can Be In Two Places At Once!"                                              BRE Lic Numbers: 00912962, 01015143