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C o m i n g


America Kenneth Li and AREAA members from around the globe share their tales of immigration and the American Dream

HUD and AREAA United to Make Fair Housing a Reality for Asian Pacific Americans

Sharon Bartlett Exclusive interview with the HomeSteps REO Director

Asian Parents: It’s OK for Your Children to Grow Up to be REALTORS Summer 2011

PLUS: the New Default Services Directory, the AREAA EducationaFoundation, Sustainable Homeownership Through Education and more...

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Summer 2011 Volume 3, Issue 2 O n t h e C o v e r : Chairman Kenneth Li, a Chinese immigrant from Taiwan / Photo by Koby Brown



Coming to America


HUD and AREAA: United to Make Fair Housing a Reality for Asian Pacific Americans

Stories of AREAA members who immigrated to America to find new freedoms, new lives, and most importantly, a home By Emily Shapiro

Upholding the Fair Housing Act to end discrimination By John Trasvi単a



Exclusive Interview: Sharon Bartlett

The HomeSteps REO Director shares her unique perspective on the ins and outs of the REO market and Freddie Mac Interview by Dan T. Shanyfelt






Contents 10

2011 Multicultural Real Estate and Policy Conference

Photos and a recounting of meeting with Congressional leaders and sharing the Five-Point Plan By Ryan Edwards Photos by Ken Jacques


Sustaining Homeownership Through Education

A road map for real estate professionals to navigate home buyers through the purchase process By Sandy Wood



Bridging the Credit Score Information Gap for Borrowers


From the Editor

The AREAA Default Services Directory


Chair’s Message




Around the Association

Providing tools to advance consumer understanding of credit scores By Barrett Burns


In Their Own Words: Allen Chiang & Allen Okamoto

The founders of the AREAA Education Foundation are working to break down linguistic barriers to homeownership and help rebuild Japan Interview by Kate Nielsen



Aaron Yu discusses the one-of-a-kind resource that links professionals with real estate firms for default service assignments to better serve multicultural homebuyers

34 48

REO Corner

Skyhill Financial outlines their criteria in reviewing an REO offer submission

Asian Parents: It’s OK for Your Children to Grow Up to be REALTORS Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist or…REALTOR? By Scott Maeda

A common immigration story: a desire to own a piece of America, a hope for a better life, and the belief that hard work and sweat will bring new opportunities Kenneth Li on leadership, vision and enthusiasm Our multi-talented real estate expert answers readers’ questions about stale listings, strong odors, the FHA flip rule and the legality of shoe removal during showings

Lunar New Year parties, new board installations, a parade of homes, a fundraiser for Japan and more...


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F r o m t h e Ed i t o r An Immigrant’s Path Ellis Island, Angel Island, and Freedom Tower at different times in our history have served as a starting point for new Americans. But that starting point or new beginning has engendered much debate in American history. In fact, that debate has become so politicized and divisive that it is nearly impossible to have a rational, fact-based discussion about what immigration means and should be to our nation. Certainly, the xenophobic segment of America has always been threatened by the demographic shifts. Whether it’s the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that prohibited individuals of Chinese decent from immigrating to America or the recent Arizona law that threatens the Civil Rights of individuals based on the brown tone of their skin, these sentiments have created ugly blotches in what has been a tapestry of hope and opportunity in America. When commonsense legislation such as the DREAM Act, which focused on providing a pathway to citizenship for young adults working towards their secondary education, fall victim to the misguided rhetoric and misinformed ideas, one wonders how we can move the immigration discussion forward in a way that strengthens this nation. It is hard to imagine how we can be so short-sighted about our future and our economy when we deny a legitimate role in America for these future industry leaders, inventors and creative minds. This issue of a | r | e is dedicated to immigrants – individuals and families that have built America. Everyone has had a slightly different path to this country, but there are powerful themes that buttress their desire to succeed and to make a better life for their family. I came to this country when I was nine, and had no real understanding of what life was like in America when I got on that Korean Air flight from Seoul to LAX. Without knowing a single word of English, I walked into that third grade class – dazed and bewildered. Back then, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes were primarily geared towards Spanish speakers in Southern California, and not for someone from Asia. Both the ESL teacher and I looked at each other curiously, wondering what to do next. I spent that first year with my head down, drawing imaginary objects as students got promoted to the next grade. After watching enough Happy Days and Brady Bunch episodes, I learned to make sense of what was happening around me. My parents, both college-educated in Korea, worked menial jobs to support the family. Somehow they saved enough money to buy a home. After


Summer 2011

Volume 3, Issue 2 a few years, we moved again to a bigger house in a great school district. That home on Eagle Point Circle became the fuel for their first small business and helped to support my college education. Certainly, this is not an uncommon immigrant story of struggle and success. This is a story that continues to be replayed in America generation after generation: a desire to own a piece of America, a hope for a better life, and the belief that hard work and sweat will bring new opportunities. As you read the various immigrant stories from AREAA members, let’s remember the power of immigrants who have built this nation, and move the dialogue about immigration towards a more compassionate and practical solution.

Ed ito r- in - C h i e f Jim J. Park

C r eat iv e Dir ecto r

Ed i to r Dan T. Shanyfelt

Praveen K. Sharma

Edito r ia l B oa rd

Shen-Yi Michelle

Jim Park Editor-in-Chief magazine


Ivan Choi

John Fukuda

Asso ciat e Ed i to r Meredith Magee is a publication of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), a national nonprofit trade organization dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership in the Asian American community. For more information visit: Š2011 by the Asian Real Estate Association of America. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily the opinions held by AREAA. Direct article submissions and advertising inquiries to: Praveen Sharma | Office: Asian Real Estate Association of America 5963 La Place Court, Suite 312 Carlsbad, California 92008 760-918-9162 Phone 760-585-1397 Fax Previous issues available online at:

L e ad e r s h i p, V i s i o n a n d E n t h u s i a s m


irst of all, I would like to thank our founding chairman, Allen Okamoto, and many AREAA leaders and members for the great job of organizing and contributing to the Japan earthquake rebuild fund. I would like to thank all other organizations in working with us to raise more funds to show our compassion overseas. One of my mentors, Dr. Martha Wong, the first Asian who served as a Houston City Council Member and Texas State Representative, told me she remembered that minorities were not allowed to buy real estate when she was young. That made her decide to be a political leader to fight for the benefits of the minority. Later, when I started my real estate career in 1985, I still came across some property owners and agents that did not want to work with minority buyers, tenants or agents, even though they were better qualified. Of course, there is much more transparency in the system and less discrimination now. I think we shall continue to work together for our future generations in fair housing and end discrimination in all aspects. We had a very successful national policy conference in Washington, DC in March and we brought up the Five-Point Plan to our political leaders to address the needs of the multicultural communities. In April, with the help of Allen Chiang and Kathy Tsao to organize AREAA’s first official trade mission to South Korea and China, I had the honor of meeting the leaders of the real estate organizations in Asia and exploring the international networking opportunities for our members. In May, AREAA co-hosted the HOPE Awards ceremony in DC. This June, we will be hosting our Second Annual Leadership Summit in Marina del Rey, California.

I am pleased to announce that the national default services committee just launched the Default Services Directory for our members and delivered it to the national lenders and servicers. The newly formed strategic, planning and finance (SPF) committee is chaired by Emily Moerdomo Fu and the SPF committee will be working on our long-term strategies, plans and budgeting. The commercial committee is trying to get our commercial members to network together to explore more business opportunities for our members. I have received invitations from Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore for our future trade missions to Asia and we are inviting them to our annual conferences. Our host committee has been working hard to organize an “International Night” at our national convention in San Francisco on September 29th - October 1st. I also want to thank our chapter development and membership committees who are working together to assist our local leaders to help our members to grow their business and skills and work for our community as well. On and on, there are so many leaders who voluntarily serve and spend their own time, resources and money for the local and national events. We are like a big family and we really enjoy working for this great organization. I was so appreciative to have the opportunity to found this organization with John Wong and Allen Okamoto in Houston in 2003. We shared a vision that we will form the best national organization to serve the Asian community with first class leaders in the industry and we will always achieve our mission with all our members and staff enthusiastically. Kenneth Li AREAA National Chairman

a | r | e is the official publication of the Asian Real Estate Association of America. AREAA’s national leadership includes:


Executive Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Kenneth Li, Chairman Kathy Tsao, Chair-Elect John Fukuda, Immediate Past Chair Allen Okamoto, Founding Chair John Yen Wong, Founding Chair Jim Park, President Shen-Yi Michelle Chang, Treasurer Lidia Yun, Secretary

Allen Chiang Ivan Choi Louis Gonzalez Song Hutchins Paul Imura Christine Kim Mark Kitabayashi John M. Lee

Andrew Lee Cindy Lui Charlie Suh Dawn Tsien Fred Underwood Maria Valentin Sandy Wood

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Multicultural Real Estate & Policy Conference

Photos: Ken Jacques Photography





1. Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) 2. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan 3. Kathy Tsao 4. Allen Okamoto and NAR Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun 5. Dawn Lin, Carmen Mercado, Congressman Al Green (D-TX) and Kenneth Li 6. Michelle Chang and NAR 2011 Vice President, Vince Malta









7. Amy Kong 8. Kayin Ho, Dan T. Shanyfelt and Michelle Chang 9. Freddie Mac Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft 10. Kenneth Li, Glenda Gabriel and Vincent Wimbish 11. John Yen Wong 12. Dr. Hanh Vo attends a general session 13. Jim Park, Tom Deutsch, Phil Bracken, Barry Zigas and Ernest Clark


M y 1 s t E x p e r i e n c e at the M u lt i c u lt u r a l R e a l E s tat e and Policy Conference By Ryan Edwards


n March 3rd, the three largest organizations that represent multicultural real estate practitioners, and the minority communities they serve, met in Washington D.C. for the 2011 Multicultural Real Estate and Policy Conference. As a real estate professional and an actively involved member of AREAA, I was excited and enthused to take part in this conference. Having never been to D.C., I couldn’t wait to experience the energy and power that our nation’s capital exudes and that I had heard so much about. By the end of the conference, what I realized is that our organizations, members and leaders were the ones that brought the energy and power and made our voices heard for our families and communities. One day prior to the official start of the conference, members and leaders from AREAA, NAHREP and NAREB met to plan out our day of visits to Capitol Hill and to bring our Five-Point Plan to the Senators and Congressmen that represent our communities and districts. I was excited and nervous, having never met with legislators, let alone met with them to make our voices heard and urge them to proceed with caution as the Housing and Economic Recovery Act continues to develop and play out. I found some comfort in knowing that we would be traveling and meeting with Congressmen as small groups and that I would be there as more of a supporting cast member rather than the point man.


That comfort would quickly fade as I was pursuit of our common goal to serve our approached and told that I would need underserved communities. In addition, to take point and go meet with a Conthey provided some details on how they gressman’s office and/or their legislative have been forming a similar multicultural assistants and congressional aide in 45 minutes. I quickly took a seat and reviewed the Five-Point Plan again. With some help from my friends and colleagues, I wrote down some notes that highlighted on our initiatives and we were off to Capitol Hill. When we arrived to the Congressman’s office we waited briefly as my nerves were racing and then we were welcomed in. Unfortunately the Congressman was not able to meet with us but we were able to discuss our initiatives with his legislative assistant and congressional aide. As I presented the Five-Point Plan, the Congressman’s representatives were extremely attentive and receptive and as my nerves settled, all of a sudden I found myself feeling very comfortable and passionate about the mission and objectives I was there to present. As I went through each initiative one by one, the representatives were taking notes and providing enlightening feedback on what  AREAA leaders and members visit Capitol Hill to discuss AREAA, NAHREP and NAREB’s Five-Point Housing Policy steps and actions they have Plan with lawmakers, March 3, 2011 / Photo by Ken Jacques made and continue to make in

AREAA Member Network

Kenneth Li

Broker / Owner, CCIM, CRS, CIPS, GRI, CPM

coalition of the congressional aides that share similar goals and objectives with our coalition and serving the minority communities. Overall, the meeting was a tremendous success. We were able to effectively communicate our purpose and plan and I feel our voice was not only heard but also resonated. To add to a successful meeting, the conference itself was jam-packed with powerful content rich sessions covering everything from REO and default topics to HUD and community stabilization sessions. Rarely throughout the year do we have conferences that offer these types of topics and tools that empower our practitioners to better serve our underserved communities. The entire week was an amazing experience and it was refreshing to attend a conference and walk away with a sense of accomplishment; that we perhaps made a strong enough impression on our legislators that will positively affect our communities. This conference and trip to Washington D.C. will most likely be one of the best -- if not the best -- conferences I will attend all year! Thank you to all of the leaders who continue to give their time and efforts to organize such powerful gatherings in the pursuit of preserving the dream of homeownership!

Ryan Edwards,

Broker/Owner of Safe Realty & Property Management, graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. Edwards has been in the real estate industry for over eight years and has a broad and in-depth knowledge of real estate financing and sales. Edwards also holds a volunteer leadership role with AREAA, as a Director and Membership Chair of the Orange County (California) chapter of the association.

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Dear Dr. AREAA,

I took a listing six months ago and it still hasn’t sold! I did the comps and the pricing was right at the time but the market took a turn and now I have an overpriced listing. Are there any proactive steps I can take to avoid doing this again? - Six Months and Unsold Winter Park, Florida Dear SMAU, Ahh yes! We have all been there before. No matter how good you are at pricing, there are always those times when you get stuck with an overpriced home to sell. Here are a few different strategies you can implement to help move this listing forward:



Conduct an Executive Review: Enlist the help of your sales manager and a team of four or five of your colleagues or team members to officially visit the property and give an executive review. Each person should provide a separate written evaluation including property features and downfalls as well as a “suggested” selling price and present that to your sellers up front. This strategy is most effective if you conduct an executive review at the time you take a listing. This way, if you need to go back in for the price reduction in 30-60 days when the property is lingering on the market, the executive team reviews will help support your recommendation.


20 Showings or 200 Property Page View Rule: If you can’t get your seller to work with you on price when you take the listing, have them commit to a pricing review once you have had 20 qualified showings or 200 unique page views of the property online and no offers. Have them sign the price reductions to where you think the property should be priced when those milestones are met. Remember, you are the expert!


Agent/Buyer Feedback Surveys: Enlist the help of others! Collect the cards of all the agents who have shown the property and gather contact information for all the buyers who have visited the home during open houses and get their feedback immediately. There are great tools like where you can collect and compile feedback immediately and report back to your sellers. If you are consistent, the feedback will do all the talking for you!


Be Willing to Walk Away: There are those rare moments when the seller gets so stuck on their price there is nothing you can say or do. At these times, be willing to walk away to avoid getting stuck in a money pit. Often times the ability to walk away from the listing appointment or even release them from the listing will be enough to persuade the seller to be realistic. Remember, you are the expert!

Dr. AREAA O u r m u lt i -ta l e n t e d expert Answers your r e a l e s tat e q u e s t i o n s


Dear Dr. AREAA, There is a strong fish/curry/garlic smell in a home I am preparing to list. Any suggestions on how to remove the odor as we prepare to list the home for sale? - Stuck with Stink Norcross, Georgia Dear Stinky, Clear the Kimchee out of the refrigerator! That always seems to do the trick!

or garbage has been removed from the home. If this does not resolve the issue then it may be a good idea to get the carpets professionally cleaned. Better yet, just have the entire home professionally cleaned and disinfected! You might have to advise your sellers to stop cooking foods with strong odors for the first couple of weeks on the market to avoid deterring buyers solely based on smell. Best of luck!

Dear Dr. AREAA, Is FHA waiving the 90 day flip rule? - Bonnie Trenton, New Jersey

On a serious note (actually, I was serious about the Kimchee too), strong food odors are common and thankfully an easy issue to resolve.

Dear Bonnie,

I would start by having your sellers thoroughly wash the counters and cabinets in the kitchen with a good all-purpose cleaner. Both of these surfaces have been known to trap odors. Next, move to the sink and disposal. You can try a baking soda flush or squeeze lemon or orange into the disposal and whip it around for 15 seconds. The acid in the citrus will help to break down the oils and leave you with a nice fresh scent! Finally make sure any old food

As of January 29, 2011, FHA formally announced the suspension of their 90-Day Flip Rule to December 31, 2011. So, in a nut shell, yes, they have extended the waiver. What does this mean? Under the waiver, homes that were foreclosed on and are being sold by the mortgagee or on its behalf may be purchased by FHA borrowers without regard to the 90-day seasoning period so long as the new price is no more than 20% higher than the original purchase

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price plus acquisition and sales costs. This is good news as it was to have expired February of 2010. This flip rule only applies to FHA loans and not to VA or conventional loans. However, some lenders are applying the FHA Flip Rule to their VA and conventional loans. Be sure to always check with your lender before placing a purchase loan in a case where the property has been owned for less than 90 days. The waiver comes with a lot of fine print that may deem the purchase unqualified.

Dear Dr. AREAA, I work in a very diverse market and I have an upscale listing owned by Asian sellers. Recently I had a non-Asian agent requesting to show my listing but asked in advanced if he and his client can enter the house without removing their shoes. As per our listing agreement, I conveyed my sellers’ wishes and stated that the sellers require all parties to remove their shoes before entering and that booties were provided for those who don’t want to remove their shoes. The agent and his client didn’t want to remove their shoes,


didn’t want to use covers and subsequently lodged a complaint to my local real estate board stating that I am refusing to show my listing. I feel I have to comply with the sellers’ instructions ills of the since this is their m arket got home. But what do I y o u down? do since a complaint your ques send has been made f o r D r. A R t i o n s against me through EA my Association? Any dr@areaa A to .org suggestions? - Shoes or No Shoes? Garden Grove, California Dear Shoes or No Shoes, No Shoes! No House!!! Your seller has every right to refuse to show the house if the buyer and agent do not comply with their wishes, as long as there is a clear and visible sign on the front door. We double-checked with our attorneys and they concur. The only time you need to be accommodating is when there is a buyer involved who cannot remove their shoes due to disability, or if there is a mobility device that must be used to navigate through the home. I’m sure your seller would understand. Go back to your board and fight that complaint. You did the right thing!

AREAA Foundation Japan Rebuild Fund Friday, June 17, 2011 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Japanese American National Museum 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Black Tie Cocktail Reception & Fundraiser

Silent Auction-Live Auction-Raffle Admission $150 per person

All the funds received will be going directly to Japan for rebuilding homes


The AREAA Education Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to developing future leaders who will transform the way real estate industry serves Asian American and immigrant homebuyers.

In Their Own Words


Allen Chiang Allen Okamoto Co-Founders, AREAA Education Foundation By Kate Nielsen

An Asian American family who emigrated from Vietnam seven years ago purchased a new home just three years later. Now, their mortgage payments have adjusted upwards as their small business has struggled. Unable to discuss their options with a local lender due to their limited ability to speak English, they feel they have no choice but to give up their home. Linguistically isolated, they also do not know how to reach out for help to a mortgage professional who speaks Vietnamese. 18

In 2009, two former chairs of the Asian Real Estate Association of America launched the AREAA Education Foundation to provide assistance that may have enabled this couple to stay in their home. With a dual mission of developing the leadership potential of real estate professionals who serve the Asian American communities, and creating in-language resources to assist distressed minority and immigrant homeowners, the Foundation is aiming to make a difference in neighborhoods across the country. “Two years ago, I became aware of a leadership shortage among real estate professionals serving Asian American homebuyers and homeowners,” said Allen Chiang, co-founder of the AREAA Education Foundation. “Many of them were very successful in business, but they were not shining stars in their communities. There was a need for an organization that would provide leadership development education specifically for young professionals who served the

Asian American communities, and help current AREAA leaders become more effective.” “Our vision was to leverage AREAA’s strengths in working with Asian American consumers and our members’ experience in serving these communities,” Chiang said.

of several properties, which were rehabilitated and sold by the Foundation. Proceeds from the sales help underwrite the Foundation’s program. The Foundation recently announced the 2011 class of real estate professionals who were selected for the first Executive Leadership In-

Chiang and Allen Okamoto, the Foundation’s chair, decided to launch the Founda- Looking ahead to the next ten years, tion last spring and assemour vision is to develop a leadership bled a board of directors who shared their passion team that will make a difference in our for creating homeownership society and increase homeownership opportunities for minority and immigrant consumopportunities for Asian American ers. They believed that the consumers. Foundation was uniquely positioned to develop future leaders who will transform the way the real estate industry serves Asian stitute program. During the remainder of the American and immigrant homebuyers. year, each person selected will participate in leadership training at UC Berkeley, participate Chase, the consumer brand of JP Morgan in a mentorship program with top industry Chase, was the first major corporate supleaders, and complete a year-long project that porter of the Foundation through the donation supports the goal of expanding homeowner-


ship opportunities for underserved Asian Americans. “Announcing our first executive leadership class is one way that we are demonstrating that the Foundation has a great deal of potential to help the Asian American communities remain strong and grow,” said Allen Chiang. “Looking ahead to the next ten years, our vision is to develop a leadership team that will make a difference in our society and increase homeownership opportunities for Asian American consumers.”

Rebuilding Japan On March 11, an unprecedented earthquake and tsunami disaster suddenly struck Japan, resulting in thousands of deaths and reducing entire cities and neighborhoods to rubble. As the Japan­ ese people began searching for those who were missing, and building shelters for those who were rendered homeless, a nuclear crisis threatened the safety of many more people who lived nearby. The scenes of total devastation and loss of life led the Foundation to establish a relief fund to assist in the recovery effort.


“I feel fortunate that as Chair of the Foundation, we are able to help the people of Japan, whose homes, businesses and cities have been devastated by this disaster,” said Allen Okamoto. “While many organizations around the world are providing immediate funds for food, shelter, medicine and clothing, the Foundation will focus on a longer-term initiative of helping to rebuild Japan’s homes and neighborhoods.” “We are probably several months away from actually beginning the home rebuilding effort, but in the meantime, we will reach out to real estate associations and non-profits who are interested in partnering with us in this monumental task,” he said. The Foundation is holding its first fundraising event for the Japan Rebuild Fund on Friday, June 17, at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Tickets for the event are available online at Funds donated to the rebuild fund will be used to replenish Japan’s homes and communities destroyed in the disaster. Rebuilding is expected to begin in early 2012.

AREAA Foundation Japan Rebuild Fund Through the establishment of the Japan Rebuild Fund, the AREAA Foundation is working to support the long term rebuilding of Japan’s housing stock that has been destroyed by the recent devastation. All donations received* will go towards efforts to rebuild homes in Japan and are tax deductible. *Please note that online donations are subject to a transaction fee imposed by Paypal and the full remaining amount will be added to the fund.






The AREAA Education Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to furthering the mission of AREAA.

United to make Fair Housing a Reality for

A s i a n Pa c i f i c Americans


s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, I lead the office that enforces the Fair Housing Act.

By John Trasviña Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Photo by John Photography /

The mission of the almost 600 members of my staff across the nation is to ensure that all Americans may “live free” from housing discrimination based on their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability or family status. We are proud to work, with partners such as AREAA, to make housing a platform for equality and equal opportunity. Equal opportunity in housing has not always been the case in America. Neither has equal opportunity always been afforded members of the various Asian Pacific American communities. Our job, together with AREAA, is to make fair housing and equal opportunity the reality for all people. I grew up in San Francisco in the 1960s in a time that paralleled the civil rights challenges and changes across the nation. Housing discrimination against Asian Americans -- both those who had recently arrived as a result of the 1965 Immigration Act as well as those whose ancestors came over in the 1860s to build railroads and establish the newly admitted State of California -- was

a widely established practice in San Francisco real estate. Asian American families were typically not shown otherwise available homes for sale outside of the northeastern corner of San Francisco. Some homes contained racially restrictive covenants prohibiting their transfer to non-white buyers. People today still recall how they or their parents as prospective buyers were given poor treatment by real estate agents. Growing up in the Ingleside District, the only time I would see Asian Americans my own age was at the annual city-wide youth chess tournament when the champions from Chinese Playground or North Beach would be matched with kids from the rest of the city. In elementary school, I was the only Latino student and my class had no Asian American students. Activism brought change to San Francisco and the nation through public laws and private, corporate and other practices that have changed the face of the nation, our neighborhoods and workplaces. Yet, we have more work to do. Since 1968, the Fair Housing Act has made it illegal -- as a matter of federal law -- to limit housing opportunities because of a person’s or family’s race, color, national origin, or religion. These housing opportunities include renting, buying or selling and obtaining a home loan. The


Our studies indicate that Asian Americans face differential treatment in one out of every five real estate interactions. Fair Housing Act also covers zoning and land use matters of local and state governments and also requires the federal government to protect and advance fair housing in our programs and policies. In later years, federal housing protections were extended to protect against gender discrimination (1974) and to aid families with children and people with disabilities (1988). We cannot put an end to housing discrimination without the active involvement of organizations like AREAA. One of our most important initiatives at the Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity is reaching out to all communities -- both housing providers and housing consumers -- so that they will know their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act and the resources and remedies available when there are violations. To that end, we have translated over 100 vital HUD documents in key Asian languages and posted them on our website. We have used our bilingual hiring authority and available translation and interpretation services to ensure that we speak in and respond to the languages of Asian Americans and all Americans. And we are embarking


on an initiative that focuses on national origin discrimination in housing. We receive relatively few complaints of housing discrimination from Asian Americans. This is not because there are few instances of discrimination when Asian Americans seek to rent or buy a home. Our studies indicate that Asian Americans face differential treatment in one out of every five real estate interactions. Not all of these interactions is discrimination but there is enough for us to acknowledge that without the help of organizations like AREAA, we are not doing all we can to prevent housing discrimination. When individuals or clients face housing discrimination, another victim may be the real estate agent who is helping them buy or rent and who has lost out on a valid commission as a result of discrimination interfering with a successful sale or rental. Therefore, we represent real estate agents as well as the prospective buyer or mortgage applicant in these instances. The real estate industry as a whole has taken great strides forward since the days of overt exclusion of Asian Americans.

The support provided by the National Association of Realtors to AREAA and its counterparts in the Latino, African American, gay and other communities as well as NAR support for expanding and enforcing the Fair Housing Act is notable. Nonetheless, AREAA can serve as the conscience of the real estate industry and, together with HUD, is well placed to inform, educate and persuade other industry actors to abide by the essential civil rights protections and carry out fairness in all real estate transactions. Overt discrimination has lessened but our job will not be done until every house and every home in every community is open equally to Asian Americans and all people.

guidance in order to make complying with the requirements easy. Housing providers should, when advertising, focus on the property that is being made available and not describe the “type” of tenant or buyer they are looking for. Inevitably, focusing on the buyer or tenant rather than the features of the property can lead to an often successful Fair Housing claim. And persons who were injured in these emergencies are now returning home or seeking a new home. They may have new mobility and access needs than before the disaster. They may not have thought of disability access before but accessible housing now means the difference between being able to resettle or not and being self-sufficient or not. Our staff can help guide housing providers and housing consumers alike in complying with the Fair Housing Act and not artificially -- and illegally -- limiting housing opportunities.

As a matter of law and of common humanity, housing discrimination is unacceptable. Asian Pacific Americans must not face it on their own.

Advancing access and equality is important at all times. As the Southeastern and Midwestern states rebuild and restore neighborhoods hard hit by tornados, floods and other weather-related emergencies, we are available to help homeowners and home seekers understand the requirements of the Fair Housing Act and carry them out. For the new or small housing provider who, for the first time, makes housing available on the market, the Fair Housing Act’s requirements may not be readily known. Yet they are easy to understand. HUD has compiled

communities. Our most important weapon in the fight against discrimination is our partnership with trusted organizations like AREAA and active involvement with the community. One of the persons I have admired most in my public career is former Congresswoman Patsy Mink of Hawaii. She was the first woman of color to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and to run for President of the United States. I sat with her at a dinner a few weeks before she died and at that time she was still strategizing for the future. As we left, she said, “John, we have a lot of work to do!”. I pass that on to AREAA and our commitment to work together to end housing discrimination.

John Trasviña was appointed by President Obama in April, 2009 to be HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity. His office may be reached at 1-800-669-9777 or at

As a matter of law and of common humanity, housing discrimination is unacceptable. Asian Pacific Americans must not face it on their own. HUD, with the capacity of bilingual staff and materials, is committed to enforce the law and improve




By Sandy Wood, AREAA Policy Committee

AREAA believes homeownership remains an important opportunity for families and a critical tool for economic growth and stabilizing America’s communities. A joint team of

members from AREAA, NAREB and NAHREP has created a Five-Point Plan to focus attention on a sustainable path to minority homeownership. A key component of this plan is to require pre-purchase, face-to-face home buyer education for first-time homeowners by a HUD-certified counseling agency. Consumers rely heavily on real estate professionals for assistance and guidance in the purchase process. In addition to encouraging clients to complete home buyer education, real estate professionals should use the following road map to help educate customers on what is likely the most important purchase of their life.


The value of consumer education Informed and prepared consumers are most successful in sustaining homeownership. Understanding what is involved in the entire mortgage process and what lenders look for in assessing applicants will help a consumer determine what they can comfortably and reasonably afford. An educated borrower may have a better chance of also being a successful homeowner. The value of pre-purchase home buyer education is the consumer walks into the home purchase process informed, with a full understanding of their responsibilities as a homeowner. In addition, consumer education helps a buyer know what lenders are looking for in terms of credit score, savings and income so they can better prepare for the application process. Instead of looking for the biggest home and the largest mortgage they can afford at the time, they are looking for a home that best fits what they can comfortably afford for the long term.


Education Is ownership right for your customer? Homeownership is a significant financial commitment, and one that should be a part of a borrower’s long term financial goals. You can help your customer evaluate if they are prepared to keep up with a monthly mortgage payment and still have enough left over for unforeseen expenses and repairs, as well as continuing to contribute to a savings account. Owning a home is a responsibility and may not be the right solution for every customer. But by encouraging home buyer education, you can help your customer better understand the home purchase process so they can come back prepared to become a homeowner.

What’s different now? As the industry has shifted, lenders are taking a careful approach to extending credit to ensure a borrower

can sustain homeownership, not just qualify for the initial purchase. Discussing the elements of lending decisions with your customers as well as enhancing your customer’s knowledge of the process and what to expect can help ensure a positive outcome for you and your customer.

How much can your customer really afford? There is a common phrase in the industry of being “house rich, but cash poor,” a situation that can be prevented with pre-purchase home buyer education. Helping consumers understand the true costs of homeownership is essential to their success as property owners. This includes ensuring they are aware of the costs involved – both initially and over time – that need to be factored into what they can comfortably afford in addition to the down payment and monthly mortgage payment.


Typically, for budget purposes, income is split into three major categories: income taxes, savings and expenses, and debt. While taxes are generally withheld from most consumers’ paychecks, adding up what they pay for groceries, entertainment, utilities, miscellaneous activities, and other expenses such as child care, may surprise some consumers and needs to be taken into account. The amount of debt a consumer carries is a key factor – credit cards, loans and other amounts owed also affect what is available for mortgage payment.

The importance of savings and reserves Having adequate savings and reserves are an important component of preparing for purchasing a home, and are a key part of what lenders look for when qualifying a borrower. Customers need to have enough saved up to cover unforeseen expenses such as the loss of income or unexpected medical expenses.

Pre-qualification vs. Pre-approval Help your customer understand the distinction between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval. A pre-qualification provides your customers with an estimate of what they could borrow – and does not necessarily represent what they should borrow. A pre-approval is based on proof of income and is a stronger indicator of what the customer can potentially spend on a home purchase. The preapproval process takes a bit longer, but can also provide you as a real estate professional with a closer range of home prices that your customer should be considering.

The role of credit scores in a purchase decision Potential customers must demonstrate that they have the ability and history of paying their debt on time,


generally reflected in their credit score. A credit score, which typically ranges from 300 to 850, is generated by the three major national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) and represents a customer’s overall credit health. The credit score is an important indicator of how they’ve handled credit in the past, and can show a potential lender how they’re likely to handle credit in the future. A higher score increases a lender’s confidence in the customer’s ability to pay back a loan and make payments on time, so this number can make a big difference in their ability to qualify for a loan and for the terms of the loan they get. If your customer needs to improve or establish credit, it may be best to postpone a purchase until the situation has been remedied. The lower the credit score, the more likely it will be that a customer will pay a higher interest rate and points or be declined for a mortgage.

Choosing the right loan There are four main elements to a loan: type, term, amount and interest rate. Many lenders have improved the clarity and transparency of their available loan products. Home buyer education can help a borrower better understand these elements, so that they are prepared to discuss the available options with their lender, ultimately selecting a product that fits their situation for the long term.

Help your customer know what to expect in the loan process The process of purchasing and maintaining a home is complicated and challenging. Once a purchase decision has been made, customers need to understand the steps in the mortgage process, including inspections, title searches, the need for additional documentation that may be required, the possible need to establish a relationship with a real estate attorney, and be prepared to provide whatever information a lender may request to keep the process moving smoothly to a closing.

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Additionally, the current real estate market is flooded with “distressed properties” and consumers can greatly benefit from understanding the potential added risks and expenses associated with these types of transactions. There is still a great opportunity for our organization to help grow homeownership among Asian Americans in a responsible, sustainable way. Use this information as a starting point to connect with home buyer education providers in your area to partner and provide customers with the education necessary to make informed homeownership decisions.

An up to date list of HUD approved Housing Counselors can be found online at: Click “Resources” followed by

“HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies” to

search for HUD approved counselors by location.

Reach the Nation’s top real estate professionals serving the asian american market

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Bridging the Credit Score I n f o r m a t i o n Ga p for Borrowers

By: Barrett Burns, President and CEO of VantageScore


s members of AREAA know, credit scoring is by nature a complex and dynamic industry.

Yet nearly all consumers are in some way affected by their score. That’s why the industry takes educational outreach very seriously. To further these efforts, VantageScore partnered with Consumer Federation of America (CFA), one of the nation’s oldest and most respected consumer advocacy groups, and its executive director, Stephen Brobeck, to advance consumer understanding of credit scores. Along with CFA, we surveyed what consumers currently understand about credit scores, and more importantly, what they do not. Using this information, we then developed a new consumer-focused website,, which allows all consumers to test their knowledge about credit scores by taking the survey themselves.

Most Consumers Don’t Know the Financial Costs of a Poor Credit Score The results of our initial survey demonstrate that overall, consumers understand some of the important basics about credit scores, but there’s still an information gap: “The good news is that most consumers have a basic knowledge about credit scores, especially the factors that can lower or increase one’s scores,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA. “Yet, most consumers also don’t seem to understand that there are different scoring systems using different scoring scales and that a low score can be very costly in purchasing credit.” Indeed, most consumers know that the three national credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – collect information on which scores are most frequently based. Moreover, a large majority of consumers understood that missed payments, high credit card balances and many applica-


tions for new accounts at one time are factors used to calculate credit scores. Taken together, this shows that consumers knew what goes into a score and who to contact if there is a credit report error. Of course, all the news wasn’t so positive. The lowest scoring survey respondents were elderly and lower income consumers. Among the most common issues consumers didn’t understand were that a strong score depends on the scale used (a good score is generally defined as a 700 for FICO and over 800 for VantageScore). Nor did survey respondents know the financial cost of a low score. Indeed, most consumers didn’t know that on a $20,000, 60-month auto loan, borrowers would usually pay $5,000 more in interest with a bad score than with a good one. And many consumers don’t know that factors such as age and marital status are not figured into a credit score. Clearly we need to work collectively to improve consumer awareness, particularly with elderly and minority consumers. We are urging all consumers to take the quiz and obviously, whether you are an agent or prospective buyer, this information can help with the loan process.

Scores to Become More Accessible One of the other interesting results from the CFA-VantageScore survey was that simply being exposed to one’s credit score greatly improves consumer knowledge about credit scores. In fact, according to our survey, a key factor among respondents with a higher level of credit scoring knowledge was that they had recently obtained their credit score. This is important because as of January of this year the “riskbased pricing rule”, which was issued by the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Trade Commission, went into effect. In certain circumstances this rule requires lenders to either notify certain consumers when they are charged more for credit based on their credit report, or alternatively, provide a free score to everyone who applies for credit. And scheduled to take effect in July 2011 is a rule that’s generally known as the “adverse action rule”. The rule refers to a section of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FACT) that requires

consumers be given their “numerical credit score” when any adverse action is taken against them based in whole or in part on any information contained in their consumer credit report. As these two regulatory changes reverberate through the system, many more consumers will be exposed to their credit score: “Given the proliferation of scoring models and their diverse bases, we are emphasizing two things,” said Mr. Brobeck. “First, that consumers always compare a score with other scores from that source. In almost all cases, a score will be accompanied by a 1-100% scale and, in some cases, by a letter grade as well. Second, since different lenders may assign different risks and prices to the same score, it is important for consumers to shop around for credit.”

Frequently Asked Questions Real estate agents are sometimes viewed as the go-to source for all information related to the purchase of a home, including questions about credit scores. So here are some general questions that are most often asked by consumers:

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number derived through statistical means that predicts the likelihood of whether or not a consumer will have serious delinquencies (90 days late or greater) on a credit account in the future. It is generated from a variety of credit history-related elements, such as a person’s history of payment punctuality, the total amount of available credit, the total amount and type of debt, the number of open and active accounts, and the longevity of relationships with creditors. Banks, credit card companies, and other lenders use credit scores to assess a borrower’s loan eligibility and set loan/ credit terms.

How can I determine whether the information used to generate my score is accurate?

three national credit reporting companies. VantageScore Solutions encourages consumers to review the information in their credit files on a regular basis.

How do I get a copy of my credit report?

Consumers can obtain a free copy of their credit reports once a year from each of the three national credit reporting companies at or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

What can I do to improve my VantageScore?

Improving your credit score can be achieved over time by regularly practicing these sound financial management techniques: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Pay your bills on time. Apply for credit only when it’s needed; do not open new accounts frequently or open multiple accounts within a short time span. Keep your outstanding balances low - a good rule of thumb is not to exceed 30% of your available credit limit with each account. Pay any delinquent accounts as soon as possible and then keep them current.

Through continued partnership with groups like AREAA and the Consumer Federation of America, I’m confident that we can bridge the information gaps that exist, and build platforms to keep consumers aware of industry changes. We believe that whether you are a real estate professional or a prospective borrower, arming yourself with the most upto-date information about credit scores is more important now than ever.

So what are you waiting for? Take the quiz!

w w w.Cre ditSc ore Qu i z. o rg

The Fair Credit Reporting Act grants consumers the right to a free copy of their credit report once a year from each of the


a | r | e

E x c l u s i v e

I n t e r v i e w

S h a r o n B a r t l e t t REO

D i r e c t o r ,

H o m e s t e p s

I n t e r v i e w b y D an T. S h an y felt

As REO Director for HomeSteps,

a Freddie Mac Unit, Sharon Bartlett is always on the lookout for talent, the real estate industry’s best and brightest, to join her network. Bartlett is a longtime supporter and advocate of AREAA and can often be seen at events across the country. Editor Dan T. Shanyfelt recently caught up with Bartlett in Dallas, Texas where she shared some of the ins and outs of the REO market and Freddie Mac. What is your background, and how long have you been with Freddie Mac? My background is primarily in the secondary mortgage market. Early in my career I was actually a collector


for a major retail company. I decided that wasn’t really a good fit for me, so I decided to make a change. That was 29 years ago! Over the years, I’ve had an opportunity to work in many areas within Freddie Mac...but I seem to be drawn to the world of REO.

Freddie Mac is well known for being an industry leader. What are some of the steps or processes you are taking to promote diversity within the broker network? That’s a great question! Freddie Mac’s listing broker network is the foundation of everything we do in REO. As you know, we acquire all types of properties all over the country. We look for the most qualified broker to meet our business needs and we strive to have a diverse network of listing brokers

that can meet the needs of the communities in which our properties are located. To do this, we rely on the memberships of various organizations such as AREAA to provide high-quality applicants.

What are some of the programs or measures that Freddie Mac has implemented with regards to supporting owner occupancy? Obviously, homeownership is important to Freddie Mac. Part of our mission is to expand opportunities for homeownership and affordable rental housing. Last year, Freddie Mac implemented a program that allows owner occupant purchasers a better opportunity to obtain one of our REO properties; it’s called the Freddie Mac First Look Initiative. The program allows owner occupants 15 days (30 days in Nevada) to submit an offer on a property without investor competition. I’m proud to say that since implementation, we have seen our owner occupant numbers increase.

What role do industry groups, specifically AREAA, have in helping Freddie Mac achieve their goals? Industry groups like AREAA play an important role in Freddie Mac’s success in reaching our goals. In fact, our missions are similar as we both are dedicated to promoting homeownership opportunities. Your membership affords Freddie Mac an excellent source for qualified suppliers to handle our REO properties.

What is your outlook for the rest of 2011 with regards to the level of REO inventory?

months. It’s hard to say exactly when volume will pick up, but my guess is that it won’t happen all at once...which is good news for all of us!

Is Freddie Mac currently hiring new brokers for their network? Yes. We’re always looking for qualified listing brokers. Last year, in anticipation of record REO volumes, we staffed up in areas where we saw that we may have a shortage of listing brokers. Since the volumes weren’t as high as expected, that put us in a really good position for 2011. However, our business needs change on a daily basis so there is always a need to add listing brokers to our network.

In your experience, what do you feel are the top three challenges that a new REO broker may face? New REO brokers face many challenges, with one of the top being financial. We estimate that a new listing broker should have a reserve somewhere around $3,000 for each property they are going to handle. This will enable you to cover expenses until they are reimbursed. So

Sharon Bartlett fields questions during an asset manager roundtable hosted by AREAA and NAHREP in Las Vegas Photo by Ken Jacques Photography

Our volumes are down based on projections for 2011; however, we expect that to change over the next few

keep this in mind when you tell a client how many assets you can handle. The second challenge I see would be


in learning the processes and requirements for your new client. Take advantage of any training and/or mentoring opportunities they offer, which can help you with the third challenge...keeping the business! Once you get the business, you need to ensure that you consistently meet your clients’ expectations and perform to acceptable levels so that you retain the business.

Describe a typical work day for Sharon Bartlett. I’m not sure I have a typical work day. Each day is different, which Sharon Bartlett attends a panel discussion at the Multicultural Real Estate and Policy has probably contributed to my Conference in Washington, D.C. Photo by Ken Jacques Photography 29-year tenure with Freddie Mac. Two things that are consistent are responding to e-mails well as to celebrate birthdays, service anniversaries and and attending meetings. Those two items tend to take up special recognition. the majority of my day.

We have a very successful group within AREAA called ‘theEDGE’, created to support the next generation of AREAA leaders and young real estate professionals. How does a ‘younger’ agent differentiate themselves from an agent with more experience and is this something that Freddie Mac seeks? I’ve met several members of theEDGE and have been very impressed. Freddie Mac strives to have a diverse network of suppliers including professionals of all ages. I encourage new brokers to work and/or mentor with more seasoned professionals, as they certainly can learn from each other.

What are some unique internal events that occur within your Freddie Mac team at the Dallas office? One thing that sets HomeSteps apart is our monthly Town Hall meeting. Our entire office gets together once a month to review our goals and accomplishments, as


What advice would you give agents and brokers out there who are considering applying to the Freddie Mac Network?

Be patient. While there are many agents and brokers that would like to join our network, our policy requires that we have a business need before adding to the network. While you’re waiting, sign up for our selling agent program, HomeSteps HomeBaseSM, and help us by bringing buyers for our properties. Tip: HomeSteps HomeBase is one of the resources we utilize when sourcing for new listing brokers in a market area.

What do you feel is the most efficient way banks and lenders can stabilize neighborhoods in this environment dominated by distressed assets? Since distressed assets are the market in many areas, it is vital that corporate sellers become good neighbors by ensuring that properties are correctly valued and properly listed, and that properties are maintained and not allowed to deteriorate.


hat’s different about selling a home when the owner is a Bank? That’s the case for millions of homes throughout our nation today. Unprecedented defaults have dramatically changed the real estate market and Banks are among the biggest sellers of REO (Real Estate Owned) out there. How Banks go about selling their properties creates major differences often with very distinct and strict protocols. For example, in the retail real estate market, the seller is often guided by personal needs and emotion. This is certainly not the case in REO; the decision maker is a more sophisticated lender with a bottom line responsibility to its shareholders or investors. Because of this distinction, there are many factors one must take into account to ensure the needs and goals of the seller are met. Some sellers just want to get the properties off the books, and want to sell them “as is”. Others are concerned with getting as much as they possibly can out of them, and make improvements on the properties before marketing them. Still others have a primary focus on making sure properties are sold to families. The listing agent’s communications with the Asset Manager determine what the goals of the seller are, and the marketing should reflect those goals. If communication is appropriately in place, you should be able to present an offer that is structured in a way most desirable to the seller. Below are some criteria used by Skyhill Financial in reviewing offers, which should help you whether you represent the buyer or the seller. When an offer is presented to us, we go through a checklist to ensure that all the key components are in place and properly addressed.

Here is a sample of what Skyhill Financial looks for in an offer:

»» »» »» »» »» »» »» »»

Are both sides’ agents from the same office? Are the close dates reasonable? Is there a valid, credible prequal (if applicable)? Is there a prequal from the current servicer? Did the sellers’ agent verify the buyer’s funds? How much earnest money deposit (EMD) is the buyer offering to put down? Is the price right? Is the buyer requesting too many contingencies, repairs or closing costs? Have you included any private information that shouldn’t be included?

Some of our agents invite the buyers’ broker to their office, and help them make sure all the component pieces of the offer are in place before they submit the offer; although they do not tell them what to offer or how to structure the

The Topic This Issue:

REO Offer Submissions Guest Writer:

Skyhill Financial, Inc.


offer. They just help them get all the correct pieces together for a complete offer submission.

or $1,000. The greater the amount of the EMD, the more serious we consider the buyer.

On all real estate contracts, we want to see all pages, with all signatures, initials and dates where they should be, and on an offer for the correct property. Different lenders have different requirements for their contracts and you need to make sure you follow those requirements. If there are multiple offers on the property, each offeror must submit a “highest and best” form, which documents their highest and best offer (or their refusal to sign the form).

We need to see a competitive offer, not a low-ball offer. We have priced off of an appraisal and broker price opinion (BPO), so we expect offers close to the asking price. If the offer is for an amount over list, we need to see that the buyer is willing (and able) to pay the difference between the purchase price and the appraised value.

Sellers scrutinize double-ended deals very closely

because they want to ensure an arm’s-length transaction. Therefore, dual agency MUST be disclosed with the offer, not after one is accepted. It is imperative that the designated broker for the office be involved in any double-ended deals, and that the broker ensures (in writing) that fair and open practices were followed and documented. Whether the transaction will be financed or for cash, make sure projected close dates are reasonable. Know up front if your client will be able to close on time so that you can avoid multiple extensions. If it’s a cash offer, make sure the buyer actually has the funds required to close. If the buyer is financing the purchase, make sure the prequal letter accompanying the offer meets requirements and is on lender letterhead that includes the specific terms regarding buyer qualifications and a specific contact at the lender that the Asset Manager can verify. The documentation should absolutely NOT include the buyers’ social security numbers and/or FICO scores. There should be a prequal letter from the servicer. All servicers want to recapture business, and while we cannot push buyers to get their loans from any particular source (think RESPA), we can require a prequal from the current servicer. The earnest money deposit is also an important part of the offer. Skyhill Financial requires the greater of 1% of the purchase price

About Skyhill Financial, Inc. Skyhill Financial is a full service REO Asset Management company located in Southern California. Since 2007, we have exceeded expectations of our clients with over 11,000 properties sold for over $2 billion. Our track record demonstrates our commitment to integrity, the effectiveness of our Customer Service, and our commitment to continually improving the skills of our team.


There are a few things that will potentially reject an offer right off the bat.

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Long inspection periods are not welcome (keep them in the 7-10 day range). Requesting any repairs other than lenderrequired repairs will damage a deal. Also, requesting too much of the buyers’ closing costs to be covered by the seller will put the offer at a competitive disadvantage.

There are a few things we do NOT want to see with the offer. Please do not send us any “customer sensitive infor-

mation”, information which would put the security of the buyers’ finances or credit at risk of harm. While some servicers may vary, at Skyhill Financial we absolutely do not want to see copies of checks (yours or the buyers), social security numbers, FICO scores, dates of birth, or anything else that could lead to risk of identity theft sent to us with an offer. In short, open communication between agents and the Asset Manager will let you know the seller’s goals for the property and should guide you to structuring your offers correctly. Keep that in mind, and use your best real estate practices, and your offers should be fine.

” e k i L “

n o A


his Summer, AREAA introduced its Default Services Directory (DSD), a one-of-a-kind resource for real estate firms that are seeking professionals who serve the nation’s multicultural markets for default service assignments. This tool will give real estate professionals an opportunity to showcase their experience and language skills to some of the default service industry’s biggest players. We discussed the new directory with AREAA’s default services committee chair, Aaron Yu.

A RE A A D e fau lt S e r v i c e s Directory The

Linking the Default Services Industry with Professionals Who Serve the Diverse Homebuyer Market

a | r | e : Why was the DSD created?

Aaron Yu:

Coming into 2011, one of AREAA’s goals was to provide its members nationwide with an opportunity to showcase their expertise in the realm of the default services industry. In addition, banks, asset management companies and loan servicers saw a need for qualified minority real estate professionals to help fill the needs of areas that were not being properly represented in the local communities. Therefore, AREAA felt that they would help fill that gap and become a resource to the default services community.

a | r | e : How will the DSD assist AREAA members in

possibly obtaining REO or distressed asset business?

AY: The DSD is a database of our members who are experts in the management or servicing of distressed properties. As a result, with our strong partnership with many outsourcers and banks, we’ve requested that they consider using our database as a resource to help look for qualified professionals and/or companies that can either service or handle their REO assets. a | r | e : Who has access to view the profiles in this directory?

AY: Currently, AREAA’s policy is for ONLY outsourcers and asset

managers to have access to view DSD member profiles. AREAA members will not be able to access other members’ qualifications at this time.

a | r | e : What banks or servicers will be using the

a | r | e : Do you have to be an experienced real estate

AY: We have strong support and commitment from many asset management companies, the GSEs and banks, that will be checking the directory from time to time if and when a need arises. However, we have not received authorization to list their names [at the time of this interview]. New partnerships will be secured in the coming weeks and months, therefore, it’s imperative that all AREAA members keep their profiles accurate and updated on a regular basis.

AY: Absolutely not. Our directory is unique in that we’ve included

AY: Simply put, an asset manager will log into the DSD and do a general search to see if there is a real estate professional in the coverage area that might be qualified to handle an REO assignment. If a positive result appears, the asset manager will then contact the agent directly for additional requests.

AY: The only requirement is that you are in good standing as a


agent to be included?

not just real estate practitioners but affiliate service providers as well, such as: escrow officers, title reps, loan officers, contractors, attorneys, appraisers and many more. These members have a wide range of experience, from new professionals to seasoned experts. The DSD is for all AREAA members, provided as one of the benefits of membership.

a | r | e : What are the minimum requirements to be a | r | e : How will asset managers utilize this directory? included in the DSD?

a | r | e : As a former asset manager, what advice

would you give members to set themselves apart from their peers in the directory?

AY: The only advice I would like to offer is, be truthful. If you

are dishonest and provide false or inaccurate information, you will never be selected by that asset manager again. The default services industry is a very small community and you may find that your peers police themselves rigorously. If you find that you do not have enough experience yourself as an agent, then partner with an experienced REO broker or agent.

member of AREAA National and/or one of the local chapters.

To create or update a profile on the Default Services Directory, visit:

ht t p: //a rea a . o rg /d s d


H C o m i n g to A m e r i c a

istory, roots, and origin are all words to describe where something or someone began. It has been said that in order to understand ourselves we must look to our past. Listen to the stories of those who found new freedoms, new lives, and most importantly a home in America. By Emily Shapiro

E m i ly Moerdomo



mily M. Fu came to America from Jakarta, Indonesia to seek higher education. As a woman it was not easy for her to continue her secondary education. “In Indonesia we had a few good universities, but it was almost impossible for a woman to get accepted,” said Fu. “A woman is limited in her growth.” In Indonesia opportunities for women were very limited. According to Fu there were limits on freedoms, including speech, which is part of the reason why she immigrated. Unlike some of her colleagues who settled in big cities, Fu was drawn to Atlanta, Georgia. “It was a small town 34 years ago, it had a better educational environment, and it was safe,” said Fu.

Fu on Housing:

The endless benefits of living in America did not stop there. According to Fu, the mere idea of owning a house in Indonesia was just that, an idea, “I never dreamed of owning a house in Indonesia since property was extremely expensive and mortgages were not available,” said Fu. The Fu’s bought their first house, in America, at an interest rate of 18% as a result of what Fu called, “creative mortgage”.


“In Indonesia we had a few good universities, but it was almost impossible for a woman to get accepted.”

Photo: Koby Brown

Kenneth Li W hen asked about ‘Success’, Kenneth Li responded, “Is it shiny cars, designer clothes, and expensive possessions? Or is it something more than skin deep? It is obvious that the true meaning of success is lost on today’s youth who value the latest technological innovations over moral character.” “For those of us with experienced eyes the true measure of success is how one deals with the obstacles that are placed before us,” said Li. When faced with life’s difficulties there are two kinds of people, those who help and those who run. Li is the former. Kenneth Li is a Chinese-American who was born in Taiwan and who grew up in Hong Kong. Like so many of his colleagues Li came to America to obtain a better life. He headed for Houston, Texas where a job, working in his uncle’s Asian supermarket, and a chance for a college degree awaited him. He came to America with almost nothing and was determined to make a better life for himself. According to Li, Houston, in 1981, had numerous opportunities for newcomers as it was much smaller then with fewer competitors and offered the all-important factor of affordability. “There were only about 25,000 Asians out of 2.5 million people,” said Li. After working his way through college, he graduated with two degrees, one in Computer Information Systems and the second in Mathematics. Instead of pursuing a position in either of those fields, Li found himself in a precarious situation. “In the mid 1980’s there

was an oil bust in Houston. Many jobs were lost. Some of my family members decided to go into real estate,” said Li. When he found out that there was a lack of Asian Realtors, he decided to make this his career. At a time when many people would pack up and leave, or transition into an­other field, he was persistent and dedicated, “I wanted to help people,” said Li. In 1987 an opportunity to help others presented itself in the form of a shopping center. “We had a 90,000 square foot center that had only two tenants. One was a newspaper office, and the other was my office,” said Li. He capitalized on this chance and succeeded in catching the attention of Californian investors. According to Li, all of the spaces in the shopping center were filled within three years. Helping people was only part of Li’s phil­ osophy. Community also matters. According to Li, it is a known fact that the Asian community is concerned with the welfare of all rather than an individual. “We all worked hard and long hours and helped one another to try to merge into the main stream once we were established,” said Li. According to Li, the Asian community in Houston can trace its roots back to railroad lab­orers from China who were mostly from the Canton province. In the early 1980’s, more immigrants from Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines came to find jobs and business opportunities. Since 1981, according to Li, many groups of Asian Americans have flourished in Hous-

ton. “Quite a few of them are professionals who came to study and eventually opened their own businesses. I am one of them. New immigrants from Taiwan and Korea came to open hundreds of import-export wholesale businesses, some got into the motel business, and some opened banks,” said Li. Two years later the opening of a new Asian supermarket in southwest Houston provided the magnet that attracted many Asians to move closer to the area. “During this time the Asian population grew from 25,000 to more than 300,000. In the last 20 years most of the Asian retailers, banks, and supermarkets were developed on Bellaire Boulevard to serve the Asian community,” said Li. As the years passed, Li continued to flourish as both a helper and a businessman. In 2002, while he was away on international business his office was completely destroyed by a tornado, “After 20 years of working, every­thing was gone overnight,” said Li. This was the turning point in his life. He could either pack it in or, like so many years before, start from scratch. The choice was obvious. He rented an office space while he relocated to his present location. Remaining upbeat in the face of such hardship is not something many people could do, let alone repeat. “I feel very appreciative of what I have. I appreciate the friendship, my customers, and my family. Even though I lost everything I still feel positive, like the best is yet to come,” said Li. Perhaps we can take a lesson from a true success. 41

S h e n -Y i


Chang A

fter graduating from Fu Jen University in Taiwan, Shen-Yi Michelle Chang attended the University of Arizona to earn a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications. She said, “I planned to return to Taiwan to become an anchor woman at the evening news, but after seeing and living the American lifestyle, I decided that I wanted to stay in the US and pursue my American Dream and have my own business.” With this in mind, she finished her degree in Accounting at the University of Arizona and she quickly entered the workforce for a major American company, gaining experience along the way. She soon purchased her first house and realized her passion was in helping others pursue this goal of homeownership. She focused her attention on both real estate and mortgages, and after receiving her licenses and working in the field, she completed and passed all tests, and became both a Real Estate Broker and Mortgage Broker, and founded DA FA Realty & Investments and DA FA Mortgage.

Chang on Housing:

“Homeownership is the ultimate goal for many people. It provides security for your family, and if it’s kept within their means, can be a long term place to grow.” Shen-Yi Michelle notes that homeownership is near paramount in the Asian culture. A well-respected member of the Arizona Asian Community, Shen-Yi Michelle founded the Arizona Chapter of AREAA. Both Shen-Yi Michelle’s goals and those of AREAA’s parallel nicely: sustainable homeownership to better the local communities.

Na n c y N

ancy Suvarnamani came from Thailand to the United States looking for educational opportunities. Suvarnamani’s mother was a Registered Nurse working in Chicago at the time. She chose a university in Chicago to be close to family. Suvarnamani received a Master’s Degree in Social Science from Northeastern University in Chicago, and a Master’s Degree in Information Science from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Moving from Thailand to Chicago posed many challenges especially when it came to transportation, “I was completely lost in the subway when I first tried to go somewhere. I was astounded by the noise, the intersecting tunnels,


S u va r n a m a n i and the rush of people. For a moment, I was disoriented and doubted that I would even find my way back home,” said Suvarnamani. Eventually, the subway would become a close friend to the future real estate leader and would be her main means of transportation during school and the beginning of her career.

Suvarnamani on Housing: Owning a house is vital to one’s well-being. According to Suvarnamani, owning property gives an individual a sense of security. “One cannot be asked to leave by a landlord, nor have Draconian rules imposed upon you,” said Suvarnamani.

“I was completely lost in the subway when I first tried to go somewhere... For a moment, I was disoriented and doubted that I would even find my way back home.”


Oka m o t o O

kamoto’s grandfather came to San Francisco, in 1898, from Chiba, Japan. He was in San Francisco and witnessed the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Before coming to America he was part of the samurai class, which was a dying breed. They really had no purpose as the world was changing around them. The Shogun had them learn a trade and then go to the United States to try and find a new life. His grandfather chose shoe repair. This was most unusual, as in Japan they didn’t wear leather shoes. He established a shoe repair shop and made a decent living. He had four children and they were all U.S. citizens. Unfortunately during World War II, in spite of being U.S. citizens, they were all placed in prison as enemy aliens for the duration of the war with a total loss of all civil rights. In 1946 Okamoto’s father started in the real estate and insurance business right after returning from the prison camps. He was very courageous to return to San Francisco and the West Coast as there was still a lot of antiJapanese sentiment. But San Francisco was where he was born and that is where he wanted to continue his life. He became the first Japanese American allowed membership into the San Francisco Association of Realtors, after numerous unsuccessful attempts. “After graduation from college, I received my license and went into real estate while I tried to find out what I was going to do with the rest of my life,” said Okamoto. “46 years later I still haven’t figured that out.”

Okamoto on Housing:

D av i d “I left Vietnam as a political refugee and escaped to the United States for a better future,” said David Tran.

“I was born in Kien Giang, Vietnam. I immigrated here to the United States in 1981,” said Tran. “When I left Vietnam on a boat, I did not know that I was leaving the country for good. My parents wanted me to leave Communist Vietnam for a better future. My parents told me I was just visiting family in the big city of Saigon. It turns out they didn’t want me to know I was leaving the country and escaping to Thailand en route to the United States. I was the only one from my immediate family that went. My cousin watched over me during the escape.” “It was a very dangerous journey because the boat was small and everyone’s lives were at risk out in the unpredictable ocean,” said Tran. “Fortunately, the boat made it to Thailand and we were accepted by the United States to enter the country as political refugees after a long process.” Tran arrived in the U.S. with his cousin and settled in Sunnyvale, California because his brother who was living there sponsored them. Tran has lived in California ever since. “Looking back, I am happy that my parents made that tough decision to let me go. I know now that they wanted the best possible future for me even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. I was finally reunited with all my immediate family at the end of 1991, when everyone finally made it to the United States,” said an appreciative Tran.

Tran “It was a very dangerous journey because the boat was small and everyone’s lives were at risk out in the unpredictable ocean.”

“A home provides security, shelter, and a home base to raise a family.”

Okamoto’s father started in the real estate and insurance business right after returning from the prison camps. He was very courageous to return to San Francisco and the West Coast as there was still a lot of anti-Japanese sentiment.


Kat h y

Tsao K

athy Tsao is from Taiwan. She came to America in the 1970’s to pursue higher education. “In Taiwan education is based on scores. If you don’t have high enough scores then you can’t go,” said Tsao. According to Tsao her parents thought that America would provide a variety of choices. Although Tsao came to America with family she already had an anchor. “My mother came here 10 years ahead of us,” said Tsao. When it came time to choose an American name, she had to compromise. “My mother, sister, and I opened a dictionary and I picked Katherine, but it is so hard to pronounce, so we shortened it to Kathy,” said Tsao.

Allen Chiang


llen Chiang was born in China and grew up in Taiwan. “My family emigrated from China to Taiwan to escape World War II and the China War,” said Chiang. Before permanently settling in America, Chiang worked in a legal department in New York City and traveled back and forth from Taiwan to America for business. In March of 1979 Chiang traveled to Hawaii. Unfortunately, while he was there the airlines went on strike and he was ‘stuck’. Perhaps this was predestined as during this time when he was ‘stuck’, Chiang met and married his wife Sophie.

Chiang on Housing:

According to Chiang, Chinese philosophy states that: “If you have land you are wealthy. So a home is where a family grows.”

Phi N g u y e n “I was born on June 2nd, 1981 in the middle of the Ocean,”

“My mother, sister, and I opened a dictionary and I picked Katherine, but it is so hard to pronounce, so we shortened it to Kathy.” Tsao on Housing:

“Homeownership is deeply rooted. It is such an important place, and it brings security and investment.”


said Phi Nguyen. His parents were from Vietnam and had to leave rather quickly. “My mom was pregnant with me when we migrated from Vietnam to the Philippines. We had to leave Vietnam as soon as possible, because of the war in 1981.” According to Nguyen his parents had to make a detour in their journey to America. It was during this detour that Nguyen was born. “During the escape to the Philippines, my mom gave birth to me on the boat. My birth certificate said I was born in the Philippines because it was the closest location,” said Nguyen. The Nguyen family stayed in the Philippines for several years until they had an opportunity to come to America in 1983. Upon arriving in America, his family decided to settle in California because they had friends and family members already there. “They provided us a temporary place to live, food for the family, and also transportation. This help cushioned the new environment and also paved our path for a better life,” said Nguyen.

Nguyen on Housing

When it comes to owning property and owning a home Nguyen is adamant, “Homeownership is very important because it’s the start of your personal investment.”

“During the escape to the Philippines, my mom gave birth to me on the boat.”


Suh P

eople make impressions upon others. No one knows that better than Charlie Suh. “Edward Canda inspired me to come to America,” said Suh. Suh was born and raised in Daegu, South Korea. In 1976 while a student at Young Nam University, Suh met his mentor, who is now a professor at he University of Kansas. According to Suh, he was introduced to Edward Canda by his American professor Dr. Kennedy from Kent State University in Ohio. The trio traveled for two weeks all over Eastern Korea. “I think he gave me great motivation to come and find better opportunity,” said Suh. After serving in the Korean Air Force, Suh was admitted into the AGSIM, which is now called the Thunderbird School of Global Management. His next move was to the Los Angeles area where his uncle was a successful real estate investor in Koreatown in Los Angeles. “To me, his real estate life looked so wonderful, so I decided to learn and later start a real estate career with Gold Well Investments as a mentor,” said Suh. While living in Los Angeles, Suh met and married his wife Nancy and they have two daughters and one son.




ames Chen is from Taiwan and came to America for his graduate studies in 1982. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington. Chen’s first job in Garland, Texas was as a mechanical engineer. In 1989 he became a custom home builder in McKinney, Texas, and has lived in Texas ever since. Chen believes that a home is more than just symbolic, “It is important to own properties, especially a residential home, because it has family value, and has long term appreciation,” said Chen.





s a 24 year old in South Korea, Song Hutchins’ grandfather cried and begged her not to go to America and marry a foreigner. He promised to find her a Korean husband. Her brother felt the same way and told her life in America would not end up well. Unconvinced, Hutchins left for Sacramento in 1981 under a Fiancée Visa to marry a Captain of the U.S. Air Force. “I was a very brave fool,” Hutchins recalls. “Having little or no knowledge of American culture, knowing no one, and especially speaking very little or almost no English, I followed my future dream and came to America.” The language barrier proved to be an immediate challenge. The young immigrant didn’t understand her driving instructor as she confused the brake pedal with the gas, ran red lights and frequently drove over the curb on her way to four failed driving tests. Before Hutchins could master the English language, or acquire a driver’s license, the couple moved to Okinawa, Japan, where their two daughters, Chantal and Shani, were born. During her four years in Japan, Hutchins took English courses and learned how to cook American food in preparation for a return to the U.S., which came in 1984. The family moved frequently, living in Colorado, Virginia, Alabama and back to Virginia, where they settled and purchased a home. In her professional career, Hutchins made a name for herself as an award-winning manager in the banking industry. However, she was passed over for at least three promotions, which Hutchins attributes to language bar-


riers. More recently, the Korean native founded the AREAA DC Metro chapter and is Founding President of Asian-American Homeownership Counseling, Inc. (AAHC). Hutchins is grateful to live in America where “the tools and resources are available for you to succeed. You make your own destiny and must take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.”

“I was a very brave fool. Having little or no knowledge of American culture...I followed my future dream and came to America.”



Wong T

hough a few of the AREAA members came to America for secondary education that was needed to pursue a career, Betty Sun Wong came for something else. “I realized that I needed more education to understand what some of the paintings in the Lou­ vre and on the wall in Versailles meant. Maybe it was a calling for me to visit America,” said Wong. Wong worked in the Mandarin restaurant to put herself through school. Wong is from Taipei, Taiwan. Growing up in a family of five, Wong had to share a bathroom. “Ever since I was a little girl, and even though my Dad was a government employee, we lived in low income housing. We had to use a community bathroom. I got so sick and tired of it. So I made a decision to buy a house for my parents to live in so that we could have our own bathroom,” said Wong. According to Wong she bought her first house when she was only 20 years old.

“...we lived in low income housing. We had to use a community bathroom. I got so sick and tired of it. So I made a decision to buy a house for my parents to live in so that we could have our own bathroom.”

AlicE Tsang A

lice Tsang grew up in Hong Kong as a post World War II child who experienced the everyday realities of trauma, “I saw and felt the pain of a general population who had suffered and endured the turmoil of war,” said Tsang. This situation led to a drive to find something better, and a life that was “more stable where I can build a career, raise a family and pursue my happiness. I felt I could find it in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,” said Tsang. This pursuit led her to America. The differences between the two

places were vast. According to Tsang, Hong Kong and America in the 1950’s and 1960’s were polar opposites. At the time, Hong Kong had a large homeless population in contrast with America. “Free speech is one of the freedoms that Americans take for granted. Life is great if you could express your viewpoints with your friends on whatever topic you guys feel like and if you could call your Commander­ -in-Chief by his first name and tell him we have consumer watchdogs to watch over him,” said Tsang.

“I saw and felt the pain of a general population who had suffered and endured the turmoil of war.”


Asian Parents:

it’s OK foryour children to

grow up to be realtors by Scott Maeda theEDGE, AREAA Young Professionals

Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist or…REALTOR?


fter the fire storm of media coverage and subsequent heated debate surrounding author Amy Chua’s contro­ versial new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and the Wall Street Journal’s follow up article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”, still lingers the burning question: Is Real Estate Professional a valid career in the eyes of the Asian Community? Asian Americans and non-Asians alike have all had their share of debate regarding Amy Chua’s parenting approach. The overall stereotypical upbringing prepares children for the future by arming them with “work habits and inner confidence”, according to Chua. This concept of hard work and inner confidence seems to manifest itself among all Asian American families. While some may argue the merits of a “successful” profession, I for one, respectfully regard the REALTOR field as one of the most fulfilling, challenging and financially rewarding professions in today’s global economy. Additionally, it resonates well with the current Asian American population, aged 30 and under. As we all know, the Internet has dramatically altered the way goods and services are sold today. Brick and mortar stores, such as Blockbuster and Circuit City are falling to companies with a user-friendly website, lower overhead and an efficiently run shipping warehouse. According to a recent study conducted by Horowitz Associates, there are 220 million Internet users in the United States, or 71% of the population. Asian American Internet usage totals an estimated 12 million users in the United States and finds they are most likely to have an Internet connection in their household compared to other minorities. An estimated 87% of Asian Americans have Internet access in their homes. They are also more likely to make purchases online. An estimated 70% of Asian Americans shop online, with about 46% making 5+ pur-

chases a year and 25% making 12+ purchases. This means that Asian Americans are more likely to use the Internet to research and purchase products compared to other minority groups (only 41% of African-Americans and 42% of Hispanics shop online). Following this trend, the vast majority of prospective home buyers are beginning their home search by turning to the Internet to browse for homes, find pricing, look at photos and even shop for the right REALTOR. Given the high percentage of Internet users and their typical usage behavior, there is a tremendous opportunity for all REALTORS, and especially AREAA practitioners, to leverage and utilize the Internet in the field of real estate. A reminder of how much money is being invested to capture online real estate buyers, is illustrated by “googling” “your street, city, and state”. You will quickly see that this competitive world of real estate, traditionally brick and mortar, is being tackled by some very large, well-capitalized, Internet companies, such as Yahoo. Yahoo has recently paired with Zillow, a real estate-based Internet company located in downtown Seattle that generates revenue by selling advertising space on its real estate shopping website. While the average REALTOR may find the Internet to be a mysterious universe of code, data and advertising, the smart REALTOR will use the Internet to their advantage, learning search engine optimization (SEO), creating websites, branding their image, spreading reliable knowledge, growing a client base and ultimately driving business from the Internet.


ne significant aspect of being an Asian American REALTOR is the role you play in helping families, both Asian American and non-Asian American alike, make one of the most important financial decisions of their lives. According


Quotes from Parents of Realtors What did you initially think your child would be growing up? What do you think now that your child is in the real estate field?

Allen Okamoto, father of Scott and Kara Okamoto, says: When our kids were young my only thought was that they grow up to be healthy, happy and well adjusted. As they grew up and entered college I wanted them to choose the major of their choice. After graduation, each child selected the area in which they wanted to focus. One decided to go to law school and become an attorney. The other decided to enter the real estate field. I am very pleased with the choices they made.

sic to Marketing Communication studies. It has led to a tremendously successful career in real estate. Looking back, Mom and I totally agree with your decision and are happy that we were able to provide you with the precious education in music which strengthened you emotionally and provided the mental fortitude to excel in whatever you chose to do! Just never imagined it would be the in the field of real estate!

Jacki Ueng’s parents say: Mother: I think if my kids are good at sales and marketing, if they have a good sense of investing, that they would be a great REALTOR.

As my daughters are growing up, all I want for them is to work with happiness, confidence, stability and be able to survive at the same time. To On a personal level, I am happy that my daugh- use money to make more money and to have a ter joined me in real estate as it has reinvigo- better life. Be independent, and not to put hope rated my life and business. Before she joined the or expectations to marry rich or to ever rely on office I was going to go silently into retirement anyone else. but now I have new focus and want the business to be bigger and better. I think things have gone Father: full circle as I want my kids now to be healthy, I’d prefer my kids focus on a specialty that they may earn a degree from a University and/or happy and well adjusted. Graduate School. Any profession that provides more stability and growth. I’d prefer them not go into real estate because there is no real stability, unless they are an investor.

Ken & Myungki Choi, Christine Kim’s parents, say:

Let me give you the following reminiscence. Mom and I had two different ideas. Mom was dead set on making you a concert pianist. I was impressed with your musical talent but had an open mind about your career and future. Early on when you were 3-4 years of age we found that you had special gift in musical instruments. You excelled both in violin and piano. Since your sister Jenny also had talent in playing violin and had an earlier start, your mom decided to make you a concert pianist. Both Mom and I were more convinced with our decision when you kept winning all the important competitions, including the Oregon State championship in piano. To my bitter chagrin, I was shocked when you revealed that you did not enjoy playing piano, which resulted in your course change in college from Mu-

Macaria Crescini, Tess Crescini’s mother, says: “I thought my daughter would be a nurse or a teacher. I don’t like the real estate field because it is not a stable job. You have no benefits, no time off, or too much time off. What kind of a job is that?” Tess’ mother has even told her, “it’s not too late to be a teacher because you have the credential.” Tess Crescini responded by saying, “I’m thinking about what she said, but honestly, I’ve taught before and I find the public school system broken and it frustrates me even more than real estate.”

to the recently updated study conducted by AREAA and The UCLA Asian American Studies Center, more than 60% of Asians in America are foreign-born and more that 70% speak a language other than English in the household. Reaching this demographic through education and understanding, either in-person or via the Internet, may be a vital source of business transactions in the future and enable even more families to realize the dream of homeownership. This dovetails perfectly with AREAA’s mission of promoting sustainable homeownership opportunities in the Asian American community. The challenge of the current condition of the real estate market obviously creates a barrier to entry for newcomers to the industry. Although this market can be extremely difficult, a resilient and crea­tive REALTOR finds ways to reinvent methods of success. The dynamic nature of the real estate business has always fascinated me, pushing me to merge my ideas of sales, psych­ ology and technology in unique ways. The challenge of reinventing your business strategy to adapt and hopefully predict market changes - and succeeding - generates a tremendous sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Tireless work habits are instilled early on in most Asian American households. Endless hours of flash card practice, multiplication tables, practice tests and music practice replace hours spent in front of a television. The Asian American culture personifies the idea that above all, hard work produces success and happiness. This idea pairs perfectly with being a REALTOR: selfemployed, self-motivated and financially rewarded. We can continue to debate the validity of many of Amy Chua’s ideas, but if her foundational beliefs that hard work and inner confidence breed success, I for one, couldn’t agree more…and the real estate world is a perfect place for that to happen.

Around The AREAA Dallas/Fort Worth Asian New Year Party On January 28, 2011 AREAA DFW hosted its Asian New Year Party, featuring the inauguration of the new board and President James Chen. The party was packed with many distinguished guests and elite members from the real estate, banking and title industries. The ceremony began with Mr. James Chen delivering a welcoming address and thanking the former council members for their contributions to the chapter in its first year: President Tim Chen, V.P. John Zhang, Secretary Michelle Lee, Treasurer Midi Tung and CEO Matt Soltis. President Chen stated that he will continue to lead AREAA DFW into healthy, strong development; is determined to increase membership to 300 in his term; and will work together with more peripheral industries, realizing common development of members and the AREAA team itself. Chen then welcomed the new board: V.P. Ken Shaw, Chancellor William Tsao, returning Secretary Michelle Lee and Treasurer Lily Chang. Given Mr. Chen’s remarkable contribution to the city of McKinney, where the party took place, the Mayor of McKinney, Brian Loughmiller, sup-


ported his good friend James Chen and AREAA, along with State Representative Ken Paxton and many other city officials from the DFW Metro Area. In almost four hours of networking and activity, everyone was happy to bring in the New Year with talks of education, seminars, new housing, real estate investments, product trends, new policies, federal and local government housing, green energy saving, foreclosure properties and a series of hot topics in the industry. With the help of Executive Director of Events Dionne Cuello and Executive Director of Membership Kelley Liu, AREAA DFW is ready for professional and reputable growth, considerable development to adhere to a brighter future! Dionne Cuello Executive Director of Events AREAA DFW

A s s o c i at i o n AREAA Southern California Tri-County Educational Seminar: Mastering REO/Short Sale with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage AREAA SCTC held their first event of the 2011 calendar year on February 3rd, which was also the start of the Lunar New Year. The local chapter, based at the nexus of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, held this Wells Fargo sponsored event at the prestigious Pacific Palms Resort, centrally located in the City of Industry. There was an audience of over 250 Realtors, brokers, lenders and other real estate and finance professionals who participated in the all-day educational session. Speakers included Tony Garcia III, Area Sales Manager of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, who spoke of both finance programs and housing market trends from an institutional lender’s perspective. Other featured speakers included Tony Delgado, Short Sale Manager of Wells Fargo’s Wachovia Short Sale division, and Christina Dorsa, Asset Manager for Wells Fargo’s Premier Asset Services REO arm. Far from being a strictly business affair, the event also included fruit and pastry breakfast and banquet-style lunch, offering the opportunity to meet, mingle and otherwise connect with other working professionals in the area, as well as the Wells Fargo negotiators and managers.

AREAA Greater Los Angeles 2011 Kick Off Event AREAA-Greater Los Angeles (GLA) started 2011 with a BANG! With a new leadership team in place led by chapter president, Hea­ ther Chong, AREAA-GLA celebrated the new year in delight with the Chinese Lunar New Year on February 4th in Downtown Los Angeles. This two-part event day started in the afternoon with a great educational session featuring Wells Fargo, Tom Ferry and Foreclo­ sureRadar to kick start the new year with an updated market forecast, tips on branding yourself and generating leads to grow your business in 2011. More than 15 sponsors supported this year’s first event by participating in a mini expo with Wells Fargo being the Premiere Sponsor for GLA chapter. The evening event started with a social networking gathering followed by the 2011 Installation Gala with over 200 guests. After the installation of the new leadership team by Jim Park, president of AREAA National, the invited guests were treated to a very special performance by the Immortals – Chinese dragon dancers. The excitement of the new year will be carried throughout the entire year and AREAA-GLA will continue to advance the association’s mission by promoting education and knowledge to AREAA-GLA members and real estate professionals. Esther Lee Vice President, AREAA Greater Los Angeles Photography by Byron Guillermo

Photos by Simon Chu and Jeff Lu


Around The AREAA Greater Chicago “Marketing, Selling & Financing HUD Homes” On March 17, 2011, 95 AREAA members, Realtors and industry professionals learned from Hometelos, one of HUD’s new marketing and management contractors in Illinois, and local lenders Wintrust Mortgage and Chase Bank. Trevor Heaney of First Preston/ Hometelos introduced his company and as a resource for buyers and real estate professionals. Drew Myers of Hometelos and Stephany Oliveros of Re/Max Signature also shared their expertise about contract procedures on the new electronic bidding system, Irma De Leon of Chase discussed the Good Neighbor Next Door and $100 downpayment program. Jeanette Martinez and Barbara Jacobsen of Wintrust Mortgage presented on FHA 203k rehab loans. The importance of these financing options was emphasized in reaching out to owner occupant buyers, and eventually

stabilizing communities. Greg Faulkner of the Illinois Housing and Development Authority talked about the Smart Move Program providing closing costs and downpayment assistance to homebuyers, which will empower AREAA Greater Chicago members to successfully sell FHA properties and increase their business.

AREAA SCTC Congratulates We congratulate our Director and Educational Chair, Chris Jurilla, Wells Fargo Bank Home Mortgage, City of Industry Branch Manager, on his new baby girl, Natalie Anne. We are so excited for the birth of Natalie Anne Jurilla.

Vicky Silvano, AREAA Greater Chicago President served as moderator, while Ladonna Reed from Chase, and also an AREAA Greater Chicago board member, assisted in gathering questions from the audience. Board members Vanessa Falcon and Ann Trandai, along with member Joanne Hyun, participated as well. The event concluded with an opportunity to meet with HUD’s new asset manager. Event sponsors Chase and Wintrust were also available and met attendees at their booths.

We congratulate our chapter Director and Advisor, Shirley Batman, Bank of America San Gabriel Valley home mortgage manager, for receiving her doctorate degree this month from University of La Verne in Organizational Leadership. Shirley has earned her Master’s Degree in Finance from Pepperdine University. Now her title is Dr. Shirley Hsueh-Li Huang Batman. We are proud of her achievement. Shinglian Chu AREAA Southern California Tri-County President

“Discover New Ways to Grow Your Business in Today’s Real Estate Market” hosted by AREAA Greater Los Angeles In today’s challenging market, real estate professionals are in search of ideas to learn how to grow their business. To this end, AREAA-GLA recently presented “Discover New Ways to Grow Your Business in Today’s Real Estate Market”. This event featured presentations on HUD, RES.NET/USRES, BPO, and REO followed by a great networking session with the guest speakers. Ray N. Warda, from BLB Resources shared an information packed presentation on “How to Successfully Sell HUD Homes in California and How to Market HUD properties as Lead Generations”; this was a “MUST ATTEND” event. The HUD session included a panel of FHA lending programs explained by leading lenders along with five top producers of HUD properties. The event attendees were in for a pleasant surprise when Todd Mobraten, COO of USRES/RES.NET provided information on AMP (Accelerated Management 54

Platform) to educate agents on how to maximize their business, how to provide the best service possible to their clients, and how to market themselves to get new business. Jeff Delrey of PCV Murcor, Michael Hermosillo of Precision Asset Management, along with Phillip Greenberg of Skyhill REO shared tips and techniques for selling REO properties and BPO preparations as the foundation of all REOs. AREAA-GLA is focusing on providing updated information through education and tools for members to help the growth of their business and to further the mission of promoting sustainable homeownership in the Asian American Communities. Esther Lee Vice President, AREAA Greater LA

A s s o c i at i o n AREAA Inland Empire Parade of Homes On March 19 and 20th, the AREAA Inland Empire Parade of Homes paired homeownership seminars with open houses across the region to educate families in the community about homeownership opportunities and sustainable financing. The seminars were offered in Asian languages to better serve individuals who were more comfortable in their native language.

Photography by Praveen Sharma

AREAA Foundation Japan Rebuild Fundraiser in Palm Desert The AREAA and Friends Networking event on April 5, 2011 in Palm Desert, California featured food, drinks, an exciting raffle, and an even more exciting live auction of asset managers. All proceeds were donated to the AREAA Foundation Japan Rebuild Fund and AREAA members from across the Nation generously donated over $70,000 to the cause.

TV, AREAA Southern California Tri-County donated a round of golf, and AREAA Greater Sacramento and Andrew Lee donated DVD players, iPod Shuffles and a digital photo frame.

Finally, the event would not have been possible without the support of representatives from Skyhill REO, RES.NET and New Vista Asset The event’s success can be attributed to host, Management who donated their time and AREAA Orange County. The chapter also knowledge to benefit the Japan Rebuild Fund. donated golf passes for auction. In addition, Photography by Jennifer Yturralde AREAA Greater Los Angeles donated a 32�


A dv e r t i s e r s 2011 AREAA National Convention................................................................................................ Back Cover

AREAA Foundation Japan Rebuild Fund............................................................................................ Page 21

AREAA National Facebook Page...................................................................................................... Page 37

Bank of America................................................................................................................. Inside Front Cover

Chase.................................................................................................................................................. Page 9

Default Services Directory.................................................................................................................. Page 15

theEDGE............................................................................................................................ Inside Back Cover

First American Title Insurance Company, Strategic Markets Division.................................................... Page 2

Kenneth Li, Century 21 Southwest Real Estate.................................................................................. Page 13

LSI - A Lender Processing Services Company..................................................................................... Page 1

MongoFAX......................................................................................................................................... Page 51

Prudential Real Estate.......................................................................................................................... Page 5

Lidia Yun, Presidential Real Estate, Inc............................................................................................... Page 13


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PA L AC E H OT E L | S A N F R A N C I S C O | S E P T 2 9 - O C T 1 , 2 0 1 1

a | r | e Summer 2011  

Volume 3, Issue 2 Featured: Coming to America (Immigration Stories from Around the Globe), HUD and AREAA United to Make Fair Housing a Reali...