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Vol. 01 | Issue 1

the PIN magazine

In this ISSUE: alex perriello Anticipation + Preparation = Success donnell spivey Real Estate and Economic Recovery – Stalled for Most Black Americans

gary acosta The nuevo latinos...and their blueprint

for conquering politics, business and media in America

ivan choi Policy Issues for the Asian American and Pacific Islander

Global is the New Local

Realogy: The Business of Real EstateŽ Realogy Holdings Corp. is a global leader in real estate franchising with company-owned real estate brokerage operations doing business under our franchise systems as well as relocation and title services. Collectively, Realogy’s franchise system members operate approximately 13,500 offices with 241,700 independent sales associates doing business in 103 countries around the world.

publisher’s note

Esteemed Readers, Welcome to “The PIN” magazine, and thank you for reading the inaugural issue. Real estate is inescapable. Everything that happens in our lives happens somewhere. We are born in hospitals, grow up in houses and apartments, learn in schools and universities, get married in churches, work in tall buildings, retire in nursing homes, and finally, lay down to rest in cemeteries. Real estate is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives, and this truth cannot be escaped. As such, the central theme of this magazine revolves around real estate. But this magazine is about so much more. It is about fashion, money, music, cuisine, and entertainment. It is about what takes place inside those walls as much as it is about where it takes place. In short, The PIN magazine is a lifestyle magazine bringing together all facets of the real estate world, from the designers who dream up elegant dwellings, to the financiers who finance them, to the chefs, artists, writers, and entertainers who create in them and make them come alive. Real estate alone is about where we live. The PIN magazine is about how. It would be impossible to thank everyone who has made this publication possible, but I will try. First and foremost, The PIN magazine would not be possible without the thousands of listeners and supporters of The Power Is Now online radio program, which over the last 4 years has averaged over 50,000 live listeners and downloads every month. It is the primary reason why this magazine exists, and the fans are what motivate my team and I to continue to provide great programming on a daily basis. I am also greatly indebted to the many industry leaders who have been with us since the very beginning. These paragons of industry had enough faith in us to donate their time to come on our show and share their pearls of wisdom with us. They include Jane Severn, Director FNMA; JK Huey, SVP Wells Fargo; Sharon Bartlett, Director FHLMC; Lawrence Parks, SVP at FHLB; Daniel Walker, Asset Director FDIC; Jim Park, Chairman of AREAA; Gary Acosta, Co-Founder of NAHREP; Julius Cartwright, Past President of NAREB; Keith Murray, CEO of VRM; Roger Bean, CEO of LRS; Todd Mobraten, CEO of RESNET; Michael Krein, President of NRBA; and many other VIPs in the real estate industry. I want to especially thank Alex Perriello, CEO and President of Realogy Franchise Group, whose support and wise counsel have been invaluable to me as a leading real estate professional. Thank you Alex for speaking on The Power Is Now Radio so frequently, and for sharing your thoughts on the real estate business and inspiring us all. I am looking forward to reading the articles from the CEOs of the five Realogy Franchises in a special section called the CEO’s Corner in every issue. Thank you Alex for making it happen. The PIN Magazine would also not be possible without the support of my beautiful wife Ruby, my four wonderful daughters Jessica, Briana, Erica, and Raela, and my awesome son-in-law Virgil. I have an awesome family that supports everything I set out to accomplish, and would not be able to accomplish anything were it not for them.

The magazine’s amazing production team also has worked tirelessly to make this a reality. Special thanks to Goldy Ponce, Creative Director and Graphic designer; El Princess Eclar, Executive Assistant and Social Media Manager; Rachel Bacol, Relationship Manager; Dadrea Davie, Assistant Editor; Celeste Davie, Copy Writer; Jaime Cosico, Graphic Designer; Eric Egana, Writer; and Billy Engle, Website Developer. I also want to extend my gratitude to the past and present Presidents of the three minority real estate trade associations, NAREB, AREAA, and NAHREP, who have always been supportive of The Power Is Now Radio, and who will also be contributing articles and special announcements to the magazine. I have the distinct honor of serving on the board of directors of all three trade associations at the local chapter level, and appreciate all of them welcoming me into their organizations and making me feel like a member of their respective families. I am also thankful to CAR and their deceased past President LeFrancis Arnold whose life, support, and friendship will be remembered forever. And last, but certainly not least, a special thanks goes out to those individuals who are the lifeblood of the real estate industry: the agents. It is the real estate agents that toil away endlessly, showing properties, networking with buyers, and comforting frustrated sellers. It is because of their hard work and dedication that that most quintessential staple of the American Dream, homeownership, is still alive and well. To all the agents out there who have helped make the show, and this industry, what it is today . . . , thank you. Please go to and become a member of the Power Is Now network. Thank you again for your continued support of The PIN magazine and the Power Is Now radio. And always remember, The Power Is Now, and Your Power Is Now.

Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA

President/CEO of the Power Is Now Inc. Publisher of the Power Is Now Magazine


Edition team

Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA President and CEO Office: (800) 401-8994 Ext. 703 Direct: (714) 361-2105 Blogtalkradio: www.blogtalkradio. com/thepowerisnow

Eric Lawrence Frazier Editor in Chief (800) 401-8994 Ext. 703 Erica L. Frazier, MBA Assistant Editor (800) 401-8994 ext. 710 El Princess Eclar Digital Media Manager (800) 401-8994 ext. 702

Goldy Ponce Arratia Graphic Artist and Design Manager (800( 401-8994 ext. 711 D’Adrea Davie Assistant Editor (800) 401-8994 ext. 704 Celeste Davie Copywriter (800) 401-8994 ext. 706


Page 7

Page 9

Page 51


The rise of credit unions (page 20)

that produce profuse profits

and Alternative Lending

the nuevo latinos... (page 43)

mission and vision (page 7)

the boomerang homebuyer (page22) 7 reasons why (page 27)

and their blueprint for conquering

you should own your home


taking advantage

because nice matters (Page 47) are you ahead of the curve? (page 48) metro detroit’s rising (Page 50)

of TPIN magazine

The CEO’s corner ANTICIPATION + PREPARATION (Page 9) = Success

resource online leads

(page 29)

of the buying opportunities in today’s market

politics, business and media in

real estate market

(page 10)

& Beating the Odds

are you “moving with (page 12) The Cheese” Or standing still?

the challenge (page 16) Rebuilding wealth inthe African American Community Through Homeownership

Rachel Bacol Relationship Manager (800) 401-8994 ext. 701 Eric Egana Staff Writer (800) 401-8994 ext. 701

CONTRIBUTORS Alex Perriello Michael Urbanski Shelley Kaye

real estate marketing(Page 32)

real estate and (Page 51)

HUD homes

economic recovery-Stalled for most black americans

Making the american dream (page 35)

survive & trive(Page 54)

a reality for those who have served

communicating to get (page 38)

5 Principles to Building Vital Professional Relationships

the succesfull outcomes you want

policy issues


for the Asian American and Pacific Islander

six traits of teams (page 41)

D’Adrea Davie Jay Kister Nabil Captan Regina Braun Robert Fragoso Ray Warda Bubba Mills Gary Acosta Bob Irish Jill Rand Darren Johnson Donell Spivey Marion Napoleon Ivan Choi Michael Frein Ryan Hennessy Roger Beane

(Page 58)

Christian Broadwell Antonio Perez Julie Evans Mark Whitlock Rusty Bailey Carla Elfield P.S. Perkins John Reyes Tanya Freeman Ivonne Salcedo Linell King Celeste Davie Dede Davie

Page 44

Page 92

health how to stop craving (page 106)

broker school (page 60) today’s lesson: “the real value of an agent.”

new mortgage servicing regulations

politics Completion Counts (Page

Page 10

84 )

the wrong foods

making a difference for Riverside students

the secret to a flat stomach (page 108) what type of neighbourhood (page 110)

ocupied properties


Vacant Property Registration Ordinances (page 68)

and its relationship to African American home ownership

(page 64)

managing reputational risk with

a trend on the rise, are you in

reflecting on lessons (page 72)

Life coaching a balanced life (page 88)

learned from the housing crisis

5 simple tips to help you have it

you are not compliant (page 74) introduction to commercial real estate


(Page 76)

from generational poverty


freeing our families (page 90) have you paid your d.u.e.s.? (page 94)

education Introducing a new role (Page 78) for parents in supporting local

technoogy technology trends (page 96)


leads to sull service solutions

ministry obamacare (Page 82)

Entertainment movies that inspire (page 102)

and the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

and entertain. “The buttler”


“baggage claim” (page 104) and relationships today

(not what you may think) are you living in?

cuisine beso(page 113) napa valley (page 114) wine train

TRAVEL puerto rico (page 116)

the power is now Magazine editorial calendar January | February 2014 Deadline December 1, 2013 March | April 2014 Deadline February 1, 2014 May | June 2014 Deadline April 1, 2014 July | August 2014 Deadline June 1, 2014 September | October 2014 Deadline August 1, 2012 November | December 2014 Deadline October 1, 2014

The Power Is Now Magazine was born out of the Power Is Now Online Radio which features biographical interviews and informational interviews with local and national community leaders, real estate, banking, investment professionals, business coaches and sales trainers. The Power Is Now Magazine features profiles of successful real estate practitioners, interviews with real estate and banking industry leaders and editorials from experts and practitioners involved in all aspects of real estate, marketing, banking, insurance, investments, business development and social media.

Mission and Vision of the power is now MAGazine Mission

The Power Is Now e-Magazine is a national real estate and lifestyle magazine, bringing together consumers and the real estate, banking, insurance and investment professionals who serve them, through smart, fun, and timely editorial content, compelling photographs and quality advertising. Each issue will feature a blend of articles from business and industry professional leaders, on residential and commercial real estate, default services, REO and short sales, finance, banking, insurance, dining, fashion, home design, travel, health/ fitness, Book/Movie reviews and more. The Power Is Now e-Magazine will be a free subscription magazine available on www. The Online version will be a paid subscription with more content, video, radio interviews and commentary from news makers and the writers. Vision The Power Is Now Online and e-Magazine will be the premier Real Estate Magazine serving consumers, real estate and business professionals nationwide in all metropolitan markets. The Power Is Now Online and e-magazine will be viewed as the most effective medium for real estate and business professional to get exposure to consumers and to share their knowledge and information that will empower them to take action.



CEO & Publisher Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA 3739 6th Street Riverside, CA 921506 Ph: 800-401-8994 x 703 Editorial Editor in Chief Eric L. Frazier, MBA Associate Editor Dadrea Davie Associate Editor & Writer Eric Egana, MA Associate Editor Erica L. Frazier, MBA Staff Writer Celeste Davie Transcription Gail Valeski ONLINE Managing Editor/Online El Princess Eclar Web Designer & Manager Rahul Patel DESIGN Art Director & Design Manager Goldy Ponce Graphic Artist Jaime Daniel Costico

ADMINISTRATIVE Executive Assistant El Princess Eclar Relationship manager Rachel Bacol SALES Sales Manager Perry Frazier HEADQUATERS The Power Is Now Inc. 3739 6th Street Riverside, CA 92506 Ph: 800-401-8994 Fax: 800-401-8994 Email: PUBLICATION AND SERVICES The PIN Magazine The Power Is Now Radio The Power Is Now Publications The Power Is Now Radio Guide The Power Is Now VIP Agent Program The Power IS Now Power Consulting/Coaching The Power Is Now Association Management The Power IS Now Event Management

Statement of Copyright: The PIN Magazine™ is owned and published electronically by The Power Is Now Inc. Copyright 2013-2014 The Power Is Now Inc. All rights reserved. “The PIN Magazine and distinctive logo are trademarks owned by The Power Is Now Inc. “” is a trademark of The Power Is Now Inc. “ “ is a trademark of The Power Is Now Inc. “ “ is a trademark of The Power Is Now Inc. “The Power IS Now Event Management” is a trademark of the Power Is Now Inc. “The Power Is Now Radio” is a trademark of the Power Is Now Inc. “The Power Is Now Publications” is a trademark of the Power Is Now Inc. “The Power Is Now Radio Guide” is a trademark of the Power Is Now Inc. “The Power Is Now VIP Agent Program” is a trademark of the Power Is Now Inc. “The Power IS Now Power Consulting/Coaching” is a trademark of the Power Is Now Inc. “The Power Is Now Association Management” is a trademark of the Power Is Now Inc. No part of this electronic magazine or website may be reproduced without the written consent of The Power Is Now Inc. Requests for permission should be directed to: El Princess Eclar at



+ Preparation =



here are two distinct types of preparation that must be in play to insure a successful outcome for real estate professionals.

The first and easiest is the tactical preparation. Ironically enough, many experienced sales associates admit that this is an area that lapses with time. You get so good at your game that you take for granted that the client knows and appreciates the same things you know and appreciate. This is especially dangerous if the appointment is the result of a personal referral. You assume going in that because their friend, or mother or accountant recommended you that you don’t have to go through your entire presentation. Wrong! Remind yourself that this referral got you in the door and may likely give you a slight advantage over the competition, but don’t take for granted that this buyer or seller is yours for the taking. Real estate holds two very special positions in the consumer’s life. One is that for the average American, this is the largest (and most emotional) buying or selling decision that they make. Two is that it happens infrequently and thus whatever happened the last time around is a faded memory. In fact, it may not even be relevant if they are buying or selling in your state for the first time – the procedures and protocols vary greatly from state to state. This is coupled with the fact that what they are most likely to remember are the emotional highlights and lowlights of the transaction … not the details! The second type of preparation is your own mental preparation. Here is where you can and should take a page from world-class athletes. Never go into a client situation without your game face on and your positive attitude hat

firmly in place. This starts with the vision of your anticipated outcome. How many Olympic champions have said in interviews following their success that they imagined themselves on the podium receiving the gold medal? How many professional football teams have lost the Super Bowl because their goal was to get to the playoffs, and not to win the big game? How many equestrians give up riding because they can’t visualize themselves getting over that last hurdle? Likewise, how many listings might you have taken (or possibly take in the future) if only you started with a clear visualization of walking out each door with a signed agreement? Or when you walk out of the office to your car with new buyers in tow, are you confident that you will be returning to write an offer … that day? When in doubt, just remember this simple equation:

Anticipation + Preparation = Success.

Alex Perriello is president and chief executive officer of the Realogy Franchise Group, which includes the esteemed global franchise brands Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, CENTURY 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA Real Estate and Sotheby’s International Realty.


Online Leads

& Beating the Odds S

ome people go to Vegas expecting to win and these are the same people that think that online leads should be deals. Unfortunately leads of any type are not deals. Offline leads, online leads or referrals from past clients are only leads and require our converting them to deals. We sometimes forget this and the principles that we can work to our advantage to increase our odds, if we apply them.

The first principle is to be at the right place at the right time. The


downside is that this principle makes it necessary for us to be everywhere all the time to maximize the rule. The benefit is that we have the internet, so the ability to be in multiple places at the same time are multiplied with the less effort. Social media, online advertising and mobile phones, text and other tools are excellent at allowing us to be everywhere all the time. The issue with all the above is that they all require time and time is what the internet has not created more of.

The second principle of overcoming the odds of leads is obviously the proper use of our time. As real estate professionals, time is all we truly have for inventory. We don’t have a never ending supply of our time. We cannot manufacture more time. We don’t have more time than the next person. The greatest time sink in recent history has been the inexhaustible number of new technology “must haves” that are continuously being shoved at us.


We were sold websites that didn’t work. We were sold search engine optimization that didn’t do anything. We have been sold on social media, but we are not allowed to offer our services on Facebook, Twitter or any other platforms because it turns people off, leaving us with fewer Followers, Likes or Friends. If we were to act on all the many technologies that we are presented with, we would never have the time needed to exercise the one truly meaningful use of our time which is to meet with people. People who need our help to accomplish their goals of buying or selling a home. We need to use our judgment in the use of the very precious resource which is time and steer clear of anything that requires us to learn a skill that is not essential to performing our actual jobs. The third principle of bucking the odds and turning more leads into transactions is the most important. We have to know the odds walking in. The average real estate professional requires 15 leads to close one transaction. However, the odds favor the professional that understands that the adage “Sales is a numbers game” is only partially true. Two different actions can increase our odds immediately. By “following up” and “keeping up” our chances of closing a greater percentage of leads

is dramatically increased. Improving the odds to 1 in 8 are achievable when we exercise the proper “following up” and “keeping up” principle alone. Following up is the art of getting back to the client in a timely manner and providing value with every contact. Value is created with information or insight that the clients don’t have. Following up means that we have to contact them sometimes more than we feel we ourselves would want to be contacted. We have to remember that we know our job and our industry. The client does not. They only know what we communicate to them. If we communicate that we will call them once and that is it. They are likely to perceive that we don’t care about them. We have to be willing to allow them to not answer the phone or respond to an email without it becoming discouraging. We have to be willing to compete in the market place without the hindrance of pride keeping us from reaching out to the buyer that didn’t return our call. They may have been busy or otherwise engaged so we need to call them back and follow up with an email. It is not rude, it is following up. Keeping up with clients is similar to following up but is post-closing that makes the professional more likely to close a greater number of leads in the future. Keeping up is a

matter of not forgetting about the client after we have been paid. By sending the person a Christmas card, birthday card or anything that is real and not virtual we are keeping ourselves in their mind. We have to know their address because we sold them a home. There is no excuse for not keeping up with our clients after closing escrow. Our circle of influence increases with every card or letter that cannot be deleted. No one deletes a Christmas card or allows it to end up in junk mail. The average person receives 45 emails a day. The same person receives less than one birthday card a year. Christmas and Birthday cards are little gifts and everyone wants to unwrap a gift. Once opened a card cannot be ignored. Even if it is thrown away, it was read. Email drip campaigns are great but they will never beat physical cards when it comes to impact and the appreciation of the person receiving it.

Michael Urbanski CEO Qazzoo Direct: (410) 980-7922




“Moving with the Cheese” So many articles that I read lately focus on the ever changing environment of technology, real estate, housing, social media, etc. Who do you listen to and how do you determine which direction to take to stay current and on the cutting edge of the industry? How do you keep up with the demands of an ever changing world. I for one have been dealing with this question for the past few years. Remember the book, “Who Moved My Cheese” An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Dr. Spenser Johnson? Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. This was required reading for all new hires when I started at Option One Mortgage Corporation in 1997. I read the book but did not really grasp how much of the message I would be following all these years later. I do know that I for one do not like changes. I guess that is why I have lived in the same house for over 30 years and have been married to the same man for 50 years!



s in all businesses, change comes whether you like it or not. The shifting market in Real Estate has left many business leaders and especially Realtors questioning where to go next. As an REO broker/agent, do you stay in default and continue to service the lender/servicers as REO and short sale agents, or do you go back to regular Real Estate and work with buyers and sellers? And for those Realtors that want to become REO broker/agents, is there still time to get in the game? Do you keep REO in your company name, or do you change it? I wish I had the answer. But what I do know is that in order to survive, you must take advantage of all the tools and information you can find. And definitely “Move with the Cheese”! Running an association for women in the default Industry has been very rewarding and also very challenging. Default is on the decline, at least for the moment and in order to keep up with the industry changes, we too had to change our point of focus . Since our goals are to provide resources for women in the Real Estate and financial services industry we needed to convey the message that we included all categories of the industry, not just default.



or standing still? Branding or should I say rebranding in some cases can be vital to keeping up with the current trends. I recently read that one sure sign that you many need to rebrand is if you find yourself continually explaining what your company really does. Rebranding offers the opportunity to clarify your image, while allowing for future growth. A rebranding does not necessarily mean you need to create a new brand name, logo, messaging, and everything else you can think of. Sometimes, a simple change can be enough. Many brands have successfully revitalized themselves without changing anything but their image. One important tool is to get your business out there and let the public know who you are, especially if you are rebranding. Online marketing is the best option for companies interested in reaching a large audience quickly and effectively. The world is changing faster than ever, and so is the social web. Social media makes it easy for businesses to promote their companies world wide. There are so many new tools to make it easier to keep in touch on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I found a way to automate some of my social media posts. This means I can set up the posts once a week to automatically go out every few hours. This is a great time saver. I still provide updated messages, but I also know that I am reaching out with interesting information that I preloaded to stay connected, even if I am unable to personally get on to one of the social media sites that day.

How did I find out about some of the new techniques that I am now using? WinDS hired a rebranding and business development manager. Some companies hire coaches. Sometimes you cannot do what needs to be done without expert advise and directions. We all have our own expertise, and sometimes we just need some valuable direction. Social media was not my forte in previous years. I did not even have a Facebook page until I took a class last year and the instructor insisted we had to have a page in order to proceed in the class. Now I even have a Twitter account! I know that the social media tools I learned are as important as any other in running a business. And with the opportunity to learn new programs, I am getting more confident that I have “Moved with the Cheese!

Shelley Kaye is the Executive Director of WinDS, Women in Diversified Services, in Real Estate and Finance. Office: (949) 734-3466


To register go to: For additional information go to:

An exciting place to be. A fabulous place to meet. • Our glass enclosed Courtyard is perfect for special group events of up to 1,000. • Our extensive outdoor patio marvelous fresh air venue.



• Enjoy our rich collection of African American art and memorabilia. • We are conveniently located 4 miles from downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to the Coliseum and USC. For more information Call us at 213.744.7535 or go to CALIFORNIA AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM 600 State Drive, Exposition Park Los Angeles, CA 90037


The Challenge: Rebuilding Wealth in The African American Community Through Homeownership By: D’Adrea Davie

Owning a home is a key cornerstone to building wealth in America. Homeownership has proven to be a way to strengthen the middle class within the African American community. Building equity has been a key element to improve their quality of life, by sending their children to college or opening a new business. During the foreclosure crisis, African American’s had the largest percentage of homeowners who had lost their homes. According to the State of Nation’s Housing 2013 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 20.6 million households were spending half or more of their incomes on housing, including nearly seven out of ten households with annual incomes of less than $15,000 (roughly equivalent to year-round employment at the minimum wage). Currently, fewer African Americans own their home than any other racial group, which makes it difficult for them to achieve wealth. Even with the increase of homeownership recently, only 44 percent of African Americans are homeowners compared to 75 percent of white Americans. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicates, the current economic environment, characterized by slow growth, eroded household net worth, strict lending standards, and tight credit, presents sobering challenges to would-be homeowners, particularly if they earn low incomes or belong to a racial or ethnic minority.



Challenges That Lie Ahead Recent reports indicate, in January 2014, Edward DeMarco, Acting Director of The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), is considering lowering the maximum original principal balance of mortgage loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are allowed to purchase. Currently, the majority of loans are being purchased by government agencies and the goal of FHFA is to decrease the government’s role in the mortgage market. If the loan limit is decreased, essentially, a homebuyer pursuing a loan above the confirming loan limits will have to adhere to stricter underwriting standards from a private mortgage market (banking institutions, credit unions, etc‌) where interest rates, downpayments, and credit score requirements all are higher. Within the same timeframe, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), new

mortgage rules begin. These new rules restrict the types of mortgages lenders can provide, so homebuying applicants will have less and more expensive mortgage options to chose from. The housing market is already experiencing tight credit guidelines and strict lending standards. Beginning in 2014, homebuyers who are qualified will experience even tighter guidelines. There is no denying that African Americans will have barriers to overcome in order to close the gap of homeownership. According to The State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA) 2013 report by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers states that, in spite of the recent economic crisis homeownership will likely continue to be the number one wealth building tool for the typical American family for decades to come. As a result, it is imperative to rebuild the housing finance system in a manner that enables it to serve the mortgage finance needs of a diverse America.


TOWN HALL MEETING the Housing crisis:

The Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc.

November 15, 2013 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm Janet goeske Senior center riverside, cA 92504

AgENDA 6:00pm - 6:15pm

Welcome and Introduction

6:15pm - 6:30pm


6:30am - 7:00pm Q&A Audience and Panel Guest

7:00pm - 7:15pm Q&A Audience and Panel Guest

7:15pm - 7:30pm Q&A Audience and Panel Guest

7:30pm - 7:45pm Q&A Audience and Panel Guest

7:45pm - 8:00pm

Monica Lopez, Program Manager, Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc. Eric Frazier Power is Now Online Radio Host

Government Representatives 

charles Ludlam, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Field Director (HUD)

David Allen, Special Prosecutor, District Attorney’s Office of Riverside County

Private Bank Representative 

ron green, Mortgage Loan Officer, Provident Bank

Real Estate Industry Representative 

will Harring, Executive Director of Palm Springs Regional Association of REALTORS®

Academic Representative  vanesa Estrada-correa, Professor of Sociology, UCR Open Discussion: Lessons Learned & Road to Recovery Q&A and closing and Catered Lunch

Fair Housing Council and the Riverside County DA office appreciate the participation of      

Charles Ludlam David Allen Ron Green Will Harring Vanesa Estrada-Correa Eric Frazier Power is Now Online Radio


The Rise of Credit Unions and

Alternative Lending Realtors and mortgage lenders today have the greatest opportunity ever to set themselves apart and serve millions of anxious buyers. You can assist: • • • •

Self-employed buyers Buyers with assets and no income Buyers with no assets and no income Buyers with poor credit

How much more business would you be closing? Since the mortgage collapse in 2008, most investors went running from the mortgage market and the Government Sponsored Agencies (GSA) stepped in. The GSAs grew quickly to 90% of the mortgage market and helped stabilize home prices. The decreased rates helped millions of Americans lower their monthly payments and it seemed advantageous to have the government in control. However, after several years it became the norm for the government to command rates. Economists readjusted their portfolios to the new normal. People began to accept the government having more direct control of the housing market. The assumption promulgated by economists at the time was that eventually guidelines would be loosened, allowing more people to access credit. Low interest rates with loosening guidelines would allow more people into the housing market

which would boost housing prices and propel the economic recovery. As a result of the government’s virtual monopoly on the market, they have been able to maintain good margins at low rates, have very tight qualification guidelines and control guidelines for everyone else. Over the last few years they have made record profits. In June we experienced the largest rate increase ever. Rates increased by one percent from 3% to 4%. That may not seem like a lot, but that equals a 33% increase in a very short time. It was such a shock to the system, that all the previous economic predictions were invalidated. The government control of the mortgage market for the last five years has left many under-served Americans. There are millions of people who would have been considered “A” borrowers in the 1990s, but now don’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. Portfolio lenders like credit unions and private investors are rushing in to fill the void. When we moved to credit score underwriting in the early 2000s, it was based on the belief that a higher credit score meant a lower risk of defaulting. During the housing crash, we learned that credit scores and defaulting had no correlation, but despite this, the GSAs are still using this system today.

Credit Unions



The largest contributors to default were negative amortizing loans, no income verification, ARMs with high margins and low equity loans. To avoid the defaults, portfolio lenders are returning to risk based underwriting. What are the two strongest factors that will determine a loan’s performance? First and foremost is equity. Those who had equity in their homes were far more likely to hold on to their homes in difficult times. Even perceived equity had a powerful influence on people’s decisions. If someone perceived that they had 40% equity at the top of the market, they were more likely to hold on to their home if the market dropped 50%, because of the perception that any comeback would greatly benefit them. The second determinant of loan performance is the ability to repay. Not everyone has a W-2 income. Many people have been pushed to 1099 income, including millions of small business owners. We are now seeing the resurgence of the bank statement loan. It isn’t just common sense that is driving the resurgence of these new loans; it is yield. Investors are now getting a great return on really solid loans. Now it is your responsibility as realtors and lenders to help this whole new segment of the population get back into the real estate market.

Look at the credit patterns Bob’s plu mbing: Bob has never missed a truck or house payment. His credit card history is awful. He takes large su ms, suffers several lates, and then pays it off. With this history his credit score would be in the 500s. However, the pattern tells you that is how he runs his business and he always pays his fixed expenses. If Bob has 30% equity in his home this is a very good loan.

As margins begin to tighten the door for more portfolio lenders opens. Now is the time for realtors and mortgage brokers to set themselves apart and capture a whole segment of the population wanting to get back in the real estate game.

Alternative Lending 9401 Jeronimo, Suite 200 Irvine, CA 92618 Main: (949) 208-6868 ext. 1229 Cell: (619)892-5170 Fax: (949) 268-1615 e-mail:




Boomerang Homebuyer! The FHA says your client could be eligible for a loan after “ONE YEAR” following any type of mortgage defaults, or even a full bankruptcy!


T LAST! The FHA has issued new guidelines for borrowers who have experienced periods of unemployment or other severe reductions in their household income, and were forced to settle for short sale, deed in lieu, foreclosure, or even a full blown bankruptcy. Effective August 15th, and for as little as one year, your boomerang homebuyer could be approved NOW for an FHA loan with 3.5% down payment, even if they may have been otherwise ineligible for an FHA-insured mortgage due to FHA waiting periods! An eligible borrower must document that his/her credit impairments were the result of a Loss of Employment, or a significant loss of Household Income beyond their control, that the borrower has demonstrated full recovery from the event, and that the borrower has completed housing counseling. According to the most recent U.S. Census figures, around 12% of all U.S. households—more than 14 million people—rented a single-family home in 2011 alone, up from 9% in 2004. Threefifths of people who lost their homes to short sale


and foreclosure in the past five years ended up renting a house. FHA is the first to recognize the hardships faced by the majority of these victims of the recent economic meltdown. It also recognizes that their actions may not fully reflect their true ability to repay a mortgage. Many of these victims were responsible borrowers and mature homeowners. However, because of their job losses or sizeable reduction of their household income, they were unable to make their monthly mortgage and other payments.

How Can You Help Your Client? The first thing you need to find out when talking with your client is the cause of his/her mortgage defaults or bankruptcy. If the reason is financial mismanagement, the FHA waiting periods remain the same: three years for mortgage defaults and two years for bankruptcy, with rebuilt credit of course. However, if the reason for the delinquencies is due to Economic Events,




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meaning the loss of job or a reduction of 20 % or more of household income for a period of six months or more, your client could be eligible for an FHA-insured loan only one year after the onset of the Economic Events which is the month of Loss of Employment/Income.

counseling agencies. A list of approved agencies may be found at hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm or by calling 1-800-5694287.

Secondly, you must make your client aware of his/her present credit standing. This could be easily done by the purchase of a credit report with REAL FICO SCORE from, at a cost of $19.95 per bureau (definitely worth the investment). When choosing only one credit bureau I highly suggest selecting Experian credit data, since most creditors report your credit information to Experian. Moreover, your client does not have to part with one penny by simply logging in to to get their free credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year for free.. Keep in mind, the free report does not supply a score. However, these reports are hard to read, understand, and virtually impossible for your client to make sense of their credit standing. In addition, when purchasing a credit score directly from any of the credit bureaus, you are almost certain to be getting a FAKO score that lenders never use.

First, realtors need to recognize that lenders are not in the business of credit repair. Their sole job is to get your client approved for a mortgage with the best possible rate and term within the guidelines of a particular loan program. With these new FHA guidelines, the lender must verify and document your client’s household income right after the onset of the Economic Event. So, while setting you client’s expectations it is vital to help your lender. In addition to the normal income and asset documentation, additional documentation requirements are needed. Here’s a list of what you and your client need to put together for your lender:

The FHA requirement for the re-establishment of satisfactory credit is simple: for one complete year, your client’s credit history should be clear of any late housing or installment debt payments, and any major derogatory credit issue on revolving accounts. Credit scores improve over time simply by adding new good information, meaning making your payment on time. A word of caution: do not refer your clients to credit repair companies or an attorney for quick fixes and instant solutions. They are nothing but scams. Thirdly, your client needs to receive homeownership counseling or a combination of homeownership education and counseling. This must be a minimum of one hour or one-onone counseling from HUD-approved housing


How can you help your lender?

Loss of Employment: • A written verification of employment evidencing the termination date, or in cases where the employer is no longer in business • A written termination notice or • Other publicly available documentation of the business closure • Documentation of receipt of unemployment income. For Loss of Income: The lender must verify and document your client’s household income prior to loss of income by obtaining: • A written verification of employment evidencing prior income or • Signed tax returns or W2’s evidencing prior income Post Economic Event Income: The lender must verify and document the borrower’s household income after the onset of the economic event.


Many Realtors today continue to chase the few REO left on the market today. It’s like getting into a tank full of sharks, be it a Wall Street investor or a cash buyer. Other Realtors continue to basically beg lenders for a short sale listing, but are very rarely successful. However, the majority of Realtors failed to recognize the presence of the new wave of homebuyers. Boomerang homebuyers number in the millions, and many of them are eligible to return to homeownership today. You can help yourself and your industry by talking today to a past client, who is back on the job and wanting to go from renting back to homeownership. You have the power to grow the next wave of homebuyers. I encourage you to step on board to educate, empower & prosper! Copyright 2013 Nabil Captan, Captan & Company. All rights reserved

Nabil Captan is a nationally recognized creditscoring expert, an educator, writer, producer and an approved instructor with the California Association of Realtors. Nabil is a national Center Stage Speaker for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Nabil continues to teach in various community colleges, and was nominated for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Financial Services Champion of the Year 2010”. To learn more about Nabil go to


Speed, Accuracy and the LRES Way.

For bulletproof Valuation and REO Services, call on the LRES Team.

From Los Angeles to New York, LRES people leap in where others fear to tread. Behind their mild-mannered appearance beats the heart of a superhero—one that can solve even the most formidable valuation and asset management challenges with superhuman speed and accuracy. For an unassailable real estate services partner you can count on nationwide, contact one of the superheroes from the LRES Team: 800.531.5737 or email

765 The City Drive South ∆ Suite 300 ∆ Orange, CA 92868 800.531.LRES (5737) ∆




Why You Should

Own Your Home W

hat is great about America? It’s the American Dream, of course! The ability to control your own destiny, the freedom to make your own choices, the opportunity to have something that belongs to you. And the cornerstone of the American Dream is home ownership. During my 25 year real estate career, I’ve been a strong advocate for homeownership. My mission is to see every renter buy their own home. Yes, that’s a big goal! Last year, I decided that the best way to get this message out to millions would be to publish a book. So I did! “Buy Your First Home” is a handy guide and today we’re going to take a page out of this book. Let’s take a look at the 7 reasons why you should own your home!

1. Cheaper than rent

In today’s real estate market, it is cheaper to own a home than to rent in 98 of the top 100 metro areas of the United States, according to a recent article published by The Huffington Post (Kavoussi, 2012). That is truly astounding! In most places in America, a mortgage housing payment often costs the same or less than rent. While home prices won’t stay this low forever, any time is a great time to buy if it makes financial sense for your family’s budget.

2. Family stability

The second reason is family stability. When you own a home, you know you and your family will be living in one place for a long time. If you have children in school, you know they are not going to have to change schools just because your

by Regina Brown

landlord gave you a notice to move. Children thrive when they know they have a stable home to come back to every day. Once you get to know your neighbors, you and your family will feel safe in the community. In a great community, kids play together and neighbors look out for each other. A good neighborhood offers a sense of security to residents.

3. Tax benefits

The third reason is the tax benefit of being able to write off your mortgage interest, property taxes, and other costs on your annual income taxes. By itemizing their tax deductions, homeowners find that they save money because they owe less federal and state taxes. That is much different from renting and it is a big reason why many renters decide to buy a home. In fact, tax laws are written in favor of home ownership

4. Anticipated appreciation

Another reason is anticipated appreciation. This is why manyhomeowners invest in a house and think of it as an investment. Although, I would caution you NOT to buy a house solely for future appreciation, because the house may depreciate in the short term, depending on the market. However, studies have shown that over the long term, homeowners will often realize an appreciation rate of about 5% per year. That is why we talk about buying and owning for the long term. Renters do not build wealth. Home owners do.



5. Future retirement Another great reason to own your home is future retirement. After you pay off your mortgage, you will own your home free and clear without any monthly mortgage payments. All you will have to pay are your taxes and insurance each year, and perhaps homeowner dues, if you live in anHOAcommunity. Therefore, with your mortgage payment gone, your overhead is greatly reduced and you can afford to retire. That is a great future to look forward to!

6. Asset investment Many families start with home ownership as the foundation of their wealth strategy. As you build your financial portfolio, buying your first home can be a vital stepping-stone to wealth management. As you pay down your mortgage loan balance, you gain equity. Although we do not advise you to purchase your family’s home as a way to get rich, we do recognize that many homeowners will eventually “move up” to a larger home for their family. When they do, they often keep their first house as a rental property. They hope to receive a small income from the cash flow each month, and then pay off the mortgage and receive a larger cash flow. The rental income helps supplement their fixed budget during retirement years.

7. It is all yours! The main reason to buy a home is that it is all yours! You can paint it. You can put up pictures. You


can improve it. You can put in new appliances. You can put in new carpets or hardwood floors. You can build a patio and barbecue in the back yard. Go ahead and decorate, remodel, or add on an extra room for your expanding family. Renters have many rules and restrictions to follow. You can have pets without having to get landlord permission. The children can get a puppy if they want to. Your family members can move in and you do not need permission from a landlord. Also, when you are a homeowner, there will not be a landlord giving you a notice to move out. You do not have to move unless YOU want to. Your home is allyours to enjoy for many future generations.

CONCLUSION Yes, you’ll have to make sacrifices to own a home. But the rewards are tremendous. In fact, we just gave you 7 reasons why you should own your home. In the words of top real estate agent Cecilia Kleiner, “in the end, we all need a place to live. Why not have something that belongs to you.” Home ownership is your piece of the American Dream!

Regina P. Brown PO Box 123 Carlsbad CA 92018 Phone (888) 550-9340


Taking Advantage of the Buying Opportunities

in Today’s Market

by Robert Fragoso


family residences across the country, the fix and flip investor or just the small individual investor just looking for increased yields in their investment portfolio.

Today’s real estate market is a very fast moving and changing market. The market has gone from a largely REO (foreclosed homes owned by the foreclosing entity), to a largely Short Sale type market (homes sold for less than their debt on the property) to ultimately a mixed market where conventional sellers, short sale sellers, and REO’s are available.

The fix and flip investor has helped fill the gap in the marketplace from the lack of new construction. In fact, the remodeled home has become the new construction product of this real estate cycle in many markets. Homeowners looking for a property that was in the like new condition have flocked to this product given the absence of new construction product. In many markets the added value to remodeled homes is significant given the lack of inventory. This creates an excellent opportunity for investors to capitalize on the market at hand. Many cash investors have really taken to leveraging their funds with private equity or hard money lenders to expand on their opportunities. These lenders are not credit driven but rather equity based for professional fix and flippers. The loans are easily attainable and based on the after repair value of each project versus the acquisition price. This gives investors a very high leverage on a given transaction and dramatically increases their annual return on investment. A typical loan scenario through a private financier for flip investors can be structured as follows;

Many investors have really taking advantage of this marketplace by capitalizing on the distressed homes created by the subprime market crash. From hedge funds looking to create a new asset class REO to rental type programs with single

purchase price $160,000 loan amount $152,750 (65% of the after repair value) repairs needed $25,000 (fund control amount) after repair value $235,000

s many would be homebuyers struggle to find the home of their dreams many others are taking advantage of the inventory which no one else wants and creating the home of their dreams. Those buyers who have cash to buy fixers are thriving in this market. While there might be low inventory to some degree in certain markets there is also a lack of new construction giving way to the “new” new construction of this real estate cycle which are “rehabbed” homes. Rehabbed homes are the properties which are in need of repairs and would not otherwise qualify for conventional financing. Many of these properties are over looked by potential homebuyers not wanting to do costly repairs prior to moving in and in many cases just pricing the homeowners out of this market due to the barriers of entry created by the competition of all cash buyer type investors looking to make a quick buck on repairing the property then reselling it at a profit.


RESOURCE As you will note, the lender is lending more than 95% of the purchase price, however, is only lending 65% of the after repair value getting it sufficient protective equity. In the scenario above the investor only invested approximately $45,000 after costs and yielded an annualized 68% return on their investment based on a fivemonth long transaction. Real estate agents have also capitalized on real estate investors which account for between 25% and 40% of all transactions in the marketplace. This creates the potential for recurring business for both real estate agents, loan originators and other services who cater to the real estate industry. Many times an investor transaction creates four different sides or earning potential for a real estate agent versus a traditional transaction that may only represent two sides for earning potential. The more savvy real estate agents recognize that their business must replicate the market in order to have a balance business plan. Additionally, working with investors give real estate agents much insight into the changes of the marketplace many times these same investors are at the pulse of change. I would suspect that over the course of the next 12 to 18 months more agents and services will focus on the investor market due to all of the changing regulations associated with the Dodd-Frank Bill which is producing sweetening changes to the mortgage industry. One of the largest constraints to hit the marketplace in the 43% threshold that consumers must meet for conventional financing on their debt to income ratio. Many conventional lenders currently will accept 45% – 48% as an average debt to.. This will limit many would be homebuyers and put downward pressure on pricing. When the homebuyers with the expectation of a certain price points or neighborhood may be disappointed to find they will no longer qualify for that debt after January 10, 2013. Amongst other regulations soon to be enacted is the ability to pay threshold which will impact many buyers who may have lost jobs in the recession or have had career disruptions in the past five


years. Job verification and employment history standings are key requirements at a time when unemployment has been historically high. Additionally people who live in higher-priced markets or places that had been hit by the housing collapse in more expensive states are most at risk. Markets like California, New York, Florida will be at greatest risk. According to research firm data quick the California average median home price was $352,000, up nearly 30% in the last 12 months. Small business owners or those collecting 1099 income which fluctuates will also face additional scrutiny even if they qualify to borrow. Retirees with adequate savings may also find it more difficult given that they lack the income to qualify. All in all, when you have a marketplace which stalled on May 25, 2013 due to a rise in interest rates, this regulation comes at a time when the housing market is struggling to regain its momentum. Albeit inventory levels are reasonable from a seller perspective, the market is relatively volatile when change is enacted. I would anticipate a slowdown in transactions the first quarter of 2014 as real estate professionals adjust to the new regulations. Many of these professionals will be caught off guard and are unprepared for the coming changes. With change comes opportunity. Those who understand the changes and how it will affect the market are most likely to capitalize on its changes while others struggle to adjust.

Robert Fragoso AnchorLoans FINANCING FOR INVESTORS 17777 Center Court Dr. Suite 150 Cerritos, CA 90703 310.395.0010 | O 310.345.2696 | C



HUD Homes H

UD Homes offer great deals to prospective buyers. Real Estate Agents have a great opportunity to market HUD Homes. When marketing HUD Homes, Agents must follow specific HUD advertising guidelines to stay in compliance. A question often asked by Realtors is if they can market HUD Homes. The answer is yes! Any licensed Real Estate Agent that is registered with HUD by having a NAID number may advertise HUD Homes without the permission of the Listing Agent. However, there are guidelines they must follow. Please see below the required guidelines: • Advertise HUD homes in a professional, ethical and positive manner • Please refer to properties as “HUD Homes,” “HUDowned,” or “HUD-acquired” • Always include the Equal Housing Opportunity Logo and/or statement on any and all advertising, including signage, websites,


flyers, etc. • Note any flood plain zones, or other warning information as it appears on the property’s Internet listing, if applicable • Adhere to all federal, state, county, city and real estate commission advertising regulations and the Truthin-Lending Act when advertising HUD Homes • When showing HUD Homes, always secure the property (all doors, windows, etc.) Please put the key back in the lockbox When advertising HUD Homes, please be advised of things not to do. Please see below some of the things that a licensed Realtor should not do: • Advertise homes before they are listed for sale to the general public • Use HUD or FHA in your URL Website Domain (Mortgagee Letter 2011-17) • State or imply the price of the property differs from the list price shown on the HUD website

• Do not give out the HUD keys • Refer to or advertise HUD Homes as “distressed,” “repo,” “foreclosed,” “repossessed,” “must sell” or any other adjectives with notable negative connotation • Place signage in/on any HUD property (except LLBs) • Destroy, damage, or remove the advertising or signage of another HUDregistered selling or listing agent Ultimately, a licensed Realtor may advertise HUD Homes anywhere they wish such as: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Newspapers/Homes Magazines Flyers/ Email Lists Billboards Seminars Internet Post Cards Message Boards Craigslist TV or Radio Blogs Podcasts Etc…


Often times, when a Realtor is working with buyers, they should know some of the benefits that the product or service offers.

Some of the benefits below are great items to point out when selling HUD Homes to prospective buyers: • HUD will pay up to 3% of buyers closing cost (must be negotiated in contract). Please be advised that this will affect the net bid to HUD • If Condo or townhome, project approval is not required (only on HUD Homes) ML 2009-46 B. This means that investor versus owner occupants ratio in a complex is not considered • Owner Occupant have priority bidding period which means that they are not competing against investors • Low EMD ($500 or $1,000).

• • •

Very affordable for first time home buyers Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) program available in certain areas for eligible buyers. GNND offers a 50% discount on homes that are designated in revitalized areas purchased by Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, EMT’s and Teachers All homes listed on nationwide for easy home search Quick response to bids (typically within 24 hours from bid deadline) FHA 203K owner occupant rehab loan option Did you know…? If FHA financing used, termite inspection and treatment is paid by HUD. The FSM will only clear the active infestation Sealed Bids meaning that nobody sees the bids until

the bid deadline has passed As you can see, HUD Homes offer great benefits to potential buyers as well as a great opportunity for Real Estate Agents to market these homes without the permission of the Listing Agent. Please contact Ray Warda, Outreach and Marketing Director for BLB Resources for any questions. We wish you the best of Success with your business.

BLB Resources, Inc



Making the American Dream a Reality for Those Who Have Served


any real estate and financial service professionals would like to better serve the real estate needs of the 1,411,425 servicemembers and 22,328,279 veterans in the United States. However, until now no organization existed that could make it happen. The Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP) was founded to fill the void. Established in 2012, the USA Homeownership Foundation, Inc. DBA Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership and economic development for the active military and veteran communities. We accomplish our mission through a Five Point Plan. The Five Point Plan is a holistic approach to create awareness, find solutions, and advocate equal housing and economic development for the underserved military and veteran communities. FIVE POINT PLAN: 1. Homeownership Advocacy - Advocate nationally to develop programs that reduce barriers to homeownership facing the military and veteran communities 2. Community Outreach - Foster responsible homeownership in the military and veteran communities by providing housing education and counseling services. Topics include foreclosure prevention, financial literacy, understanding credit, pre-purchase and post-purchase homeownership. 3. Professional Membership - Provide a place where real estate and financial service professionals can share ideas, get educated, and be empowered to better serve the real estate needs of service members, veterans and their families. Nonmilitary members are welcome.


REAL ESTATE 4. Veteran Job Creation - We are working with companies within the real estate and financial services industry to provide employment opportunities through postings on our Military and Veteran Job Board. We are also creating awareness among companies to include veteran-owned businesses in their supplier diversity program.

Along with VAREP real estate professionals and leadership, the conference features national housing leaders, corporate executives and policy makers who support our mission. Anticipated attendance is 250 real estate professionals.

5. Affordable Housing - Provide affordable home buying opportunities for veterans and service members who have gone through VAREP’s homeownership education counseling services as part of our “House a Vet” program.

The 2014 VAREP Leadership Summit is an annual meeting with its local chapter leaders, committees and national leaders to discover, train and further develop skill sets for current and future VAREP leaders. The goal is to equip our leadership with the necessary tools for success. Breakout sessions will include topics such as leadership, budgeting, fundraising, chapter launches, tips on running a successful chapter and chapter leadership transition. The VAREP Leadership Summit will be held in “America’s Finest City”.

VAREP LOCAL CHAPTER GROWTH Local Professional chapters in key cities allows VAREP to empower local real estate professionals to better serve the housing needs of military and veteran families. • 2013 Chapter Growth - We end 2013 with 12 professional chapters in 6 states, with 1,000+ members and growing rapidly! • 2013 Chapter Growth - Approximately 20 more chapters are slated to be established in fulfilling our mission throughout the United States. 2014 NATIONAL EVENTS OVERVIEW VAREP Military and Veteran Housing Policy Conference – May 2014, Washington D.C. VAREP hosts its Military and Veteran Housing Policy Conference in Washington D.C. This threeday event will be the first of its kind focusing on military and veterans homeownership issues.

VAREP Leadership Summit – October 2014, San Diego, CA

MOVING FORWARD We will be their voice in the legislative and policy arena, encouraging financial institutions and government agencies to create programs that suit their unique needs. VAREP and its members represent and work within all sectors of the real estate, housing and financial services industries including real estate agents, brokers, loan officers, mortgage brokers, title officers, escrow officers, appraisers and insurance agents. For more information about VAREP and to become a member, please visit



Communicating to Get the

Successful Outcomes

You Want Every Day


et’s start this article off with a question. And this isn’t just any question -- this is a question that can make or break your future in real estate. So here it is: What are you communicating to your clients and prospects? Before you answer, I’d like you to think carefully about this question in a kind of holistic way – not just about what words you use in a conversation or in a listing presentation. Yes, the words are important, but let’s look beyond the words for now. I want you to think about what you’re communicating at every possible contact point you (or your company, if you’re a broker) have with clients and prospects. What’s your website saying? What’s your logo saying? What’s your business card saying? Your office? Your desk? Your clothes? Your automobile? Your body language? And as far as that goes, what do you want to communicate to clients and prospects? That you’re professional? That you’re trustworthy? That you’re competent?


If you stop and think about it for a minute, communication – in all its forms – is without a doubt your most critical tool as a real estate agent. You can have all the bells and whistles, the latest, greatest software, the coolest new I-phone, a state-of-the-art laptop – none of it matters one iota if you’re not communicating the right message. So, what can you do to improve what you’re communicating to your clients and prospects from this day forward? Glad you asked. Here are some tips: 1. Take an inventory of your communication. Take time to look over some of what I’ve already mentioned – your business cards, website, clothes -- everything about you and your business. Realize that each item tells a story to an onlooker. As you peruse the items, ask yourself: What’s that really saying to someone who might read or see this? And then ask: Is this what I really want to communicate? If not, take time to consider what it is you truly want prospects and clients to understand about you and then change those items to reflect that message. Make every single part of you and your business move clients and prospects to the outcome you’re seeking.


I hope you’ll take time to become more of a student of communication. I promise, anytime you spend on becoming a better communicator will be time well spent. I also think you’ll be amazed at how much your confidence grows, how much your passion intensifies and how much your sales rocket.

2. Get and use feedback. Feedback can come in many forms. One form, of course, is getting someone to share his or her impressions about how you communicate. A coach, for example. You might be surprised how much you learn about yourself when you find the right person to share feedback with you. A few tweaks here and few tweaks there can make a huge difference. I’ve seen people blossom into full-blown top producers within weeks. Also, I suggest videotaping your listing presentation. It’s simple and easy, and I promise you’ll find ways to improve after you watch yourself. Think about the tone and pitch of your voice. Look for the “ums” and “uhs” and work to eliminate them. Also, fine tune the words you’re using in the presentation. See where you can add words that generate more emotion in prospects. 3. Learn about mirroring. One of the best ways to establish a strong relationship with someone you don’t know well is to simply mirror their movements as you speak with them (make the same body movements they make). Social psychologists know that we like people like ourselves. If you’re mirroring a prospect, you’ll be much more likely to establish rapport and get that person’s attention and respect. But practice first so that you can do it subtly.

Let me hear from you: What did you learn from this article? Is everything around you communicating the message you want to share? What areas of communication do you feel you can improve on? What will you do beginning today to improve? Please send any comments or questions you have to or http://www.

Bubba Mills is chief operating officer and managing partner of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential broker or agent’s existing practice. We look forward to hearing from you. Sign up TODAY for your complimentary business consultation.



Six Traits of Teams That Produce Profuse Profits


’m going out on a limb here to predict the 2014 Super Bowl. No, not the winner, but the winning team’s traits. No matter who hoists the trophy, I guarantee the newly crowned champion will have the six characteristics I’ll be covering in this article. The prediction isn’t that tricky because all winning teams (sports or non-sports) have them. Does your team have them? If not, you have some work to do. So here you go, winning teams … 1. Have exceptional leaders. Are you exceptional? Are you leading by example? Are you motivating and inspiring your team to achieve the extraordinary? Commit today to think big, to set strong and vivid examples, to walk the walk. Challenge yourself to greatness. Be a role model and mentor for your team. 2. Communicate extraordinarily well. Communication is a two-way street. First, get your team on board by sharing your vision. Talk about where you’ve been, where you

By Bubba Mills are now and where you’re going. Show them how they fit into the big picture, and regularly reiterate the reasons why you all can and will be successful. Provide feedback often. And second, let them talk and then just listen. Team members are closer to problems and solutions, so let them help you. Stay ahead of problems by offering plenty of ways for your team to communicate with you. 3. Get recognized for stellar performance. Ask how they’d like to be rewarded and then do that. Nourish your team. The key question on the mind of every team member is this: “Am I valued?” If they can answer with yes, they’ll stay and work hard. Team members who feel cared for and honored will perform all day long. Support work/life balances. Recognition matters more than the salary you provide. 4. Have mutual respect. Recognition leads to another important element: Respect. When you acknowledge your team members in a public way, respect emerges among cohorts. Set the tone for respect. Treat them like the pros they are. Relationships build true motivation.



5. Have lots of opportunities to grow. Show me someone who doesn’t want to get better and I’ll show you a corpse – or at least someone you don’t want on your team. Humans want to improve. Let them by giving them plenty of technical and professional training. Meaningful results are impossible to achieve without professional development. Invest in your team members and they’ll take care of business. 6. Have a relentless desire to improve and to be the best. One of the key reasons winning teams have members who show this desire to be the best is because of leaders who have ensured that the first five traits are in place. It all leads to this relentless desire to succeed. And that’s what it’s all about. Keep that desire red hot by realizing their success is your success, and always asking your team members how you can help them be more successful. I’ll finish with another prediction: that winning teams always face challenges. Just because a team is good doesn’t mean it won’t face adversity – it’s how teams handle the adversity that sets them apart. I once saw a bumper sticker that sums this up: “Life isn’t about avoiding the storms. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” So because you’ve stuck with me till the end, I’m going to reward you. Send me an e-mail at and I’ll send you a free worksheet on how to resolve challenges for your team. Let me hear from you. Does your team have all of these traits? If not, which are missing and what will you start doing today to add them? What challenges is your team facing now? How can you overcome those challenges and achieve your goals this year? Please send any comments or questions you have to Article@ or http://www.


Bubba Mills is chief operating officer and managing partner of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential broker or agent’s existing practice. We look forward to hearing from you. Sign up TODAY for your complimentary business consultation.


The Nuevo Latinos… and their blueprint for conquering politics, business and media in America by Gary Acosta If it seems like something big is happening with Latinos in America, – something is. A handful of revolutionary trends driven by American Latinos are subtly setting the stage for the most powerful social and economic movements of the 21st century. Interestingly, a small but potent group of Latino influencers that have big ideas and even bigger ambitions are, in part, guiding this shift. My friend and colleague, Ernie Reyes, used to say, “If Hispanics ever got their act together (we) could rule this country.” What he meant was if Latinos could ever get beyond the artificial barriers that have kept us a fragmented and underachieving group, the sky would be the limit for what we could accomplish, especially when it comes to business and politics. With explosive population growth, a significantly younger median age and a passionate commitment to family and culture, Latinos are poised to become one of the most historically significant segments of our population since the baby boomer generation.

Until recently, however, it seemed Latinos might be destined to go down in history as a massive group of unrealized potential – a faction of largely hardworking but apolitical individuals whose modest ambitions and fixation with internal rivalries created limitations to their collective progress. I believe things are changing.

An Unlikely Latino Leader Over the next several months I will share a series of my personal perspectives about the social shift now underway within the Latino community in America. I am not a writer or a sociologist. Instead, I am a small business professional who became an unlikely Latino business leader over a decade ago. My viewpoints are not based on surveys or academic research but rather on first hand observations and experience. In 1999, I co-founded (with Ernie Reyes) the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). NAHREP is a business trade association that supports Hispanics in real

estate. We started NAHREP on a shoestring budget. Today our organization has 40 local chapters and 20,000 members who all are active real estate industry professionals serving Hispanic homebuyers from across the country. My position with NAHREP has provided me with an extraordinary vantage point as Latino attitudes have evolved, particularly in politics and business. Over the last 13 years, I have had contact and personal relationships with Latinos from every walk of life. At NAHREP, for example, our leadership team is a strong and cohesive mix of leaders of Cuban, Mexican, Colombian, and Nicaraguan origins. Three are U.S. born and two are immigrants; one came to the U.S. as an undocumented child and another doesn’t speak any Spanish. NAHREP is one example of how I believe Latino businesspeople from starkly different backgrounds are beginning to interact with one another more effectively.



I refer to myself as an “unlikely” Latino leader because although I was raised in a fairly traditional Latino household in the suburbs of Los Angeles, I do not speak Spanish (at least, not well) and prior to NAHREP had never been affiliated with an organization, club or association that had the words Hispanic or Latino anywhere in its name. I believe this is significant because 25 years ago my linguistic limitations would most likely have prevented me from being accepted as a legitimate Latino leader. This leads me to the concept of Nuevo Latinos and what I believe is the new blueprint for Latino ascendancy in America.

Somos Latinos: Reducing the Barriers of Assimilation and National Origin “We are a people united by a language but divided by beans,” a Goya Foods executive. Over a decade ago Nely Galan,


a successful businesswoman in the entertainment industry, stated publically that she did not consider herself to be Hispanic or Latino. She preferred to be known simply as a “Cuban.” Nely, who has always been someone I admire, was most likely attempting to separate herself from some of the less than positive stereotypes that plagued Latinos at that time. Today, however, if you listen to one of Nely’s powerful keynote speeches, she almost exclusively refers to herself as a “Latina.” A few years ago, Latinos in my personal circle, as well as many of those in the public eye, began to act differently when it came to one of the most divisive issues for Latinos in America: National origin. So what changed? In the last decade, social and professional networks like NAHREP began quietly breaking down barriers. Soon Mexicans from East Los Angeles were connecting with

Cubans from Miami and Puerto Ricans from Chicago, who enjoy communicating with one another about business, music, food and other passions. Because these networks were no longer defined or confined by neighborhood boundaries, relationships evolved through common interests, values and beliefs. Within these networks national origin is becoming an anecdote and a secondary priority. One might argue that organizations like NAHREP have existed for decades – and a 2012 Pew Research study suggested that 51% of Latinos typically identified themselves by country of origin rather than as Hispanic or Latino. Both may be true but the trend is changing. The tipping point today is that Latinos, especially younger ones, are taking their cues from notable public figures like Eva Longoria, Soledad O’Brian,

REAL ESTATE Marco Rubio, and Pit Bull, who have clearly recognized the market potential of reaching beyond the artificial barrier of national origin and now generally refer to themselves simply as “Latino.” Let’s get real: when Marco Rubio refers to himself as “Latino” he is immediately connected by heritage to 53 million Americans, but when he calls himself “Cuban” he is connected to less than 2 million. It’s a no brainer for the future presidential candidate and the marketing machines behind Rubio and other prominent individuals also understand this perfectly. As more Latinos achieve national prominence the more this trend will continue. When Oscar De La Hoya was at the peak of his career as a professional boxer, one of his rivals, Fernando Vargas, along with some hardcore Mexican boxing fans declared him “not a real Mexican.” Oscar, in Fernando’s view, was soft. He avoided the type of brawls in the ring that made Vargas and other Mexican boxers famous. Oscar was polished, good looking and enjoyed many of the luxuries and benefits success afforded him. Oscar was assimilated and in the eyes of many Latinos he was not a true Latino. Oscar didn’t see it that way. He entered the ring wearing a sombrero or some other symbol of his ethnicity. He held his ground and never equated his ethnic pride with his boxing style and never

apologized for his wealth. Today, Oscar is a wildly successful businessman with businesses primarily focused on serving the rapidly expanding Latino marketplace. Despite some personal setbacks he is embraced and respected by his community with a growing empire that includes boxing promotions, real estate and charter schools. Oscar is a symbolic leader to another growing group of Latinos who are in transition – assimilated Latinos that are experiencing a renaissance of their culture. The prominence and recognition of Latinos in politics, business and pop culture is attracting Americanized Latinos into the mix as well. Like me, many of these folks do not speak Spanish and, therefore, for years may not have felt as connected to their gente. A few weeks ago, I met a successful fortyish Latino in New Jersey who told me that until recently he had never thought of himself as anything but American. However recently, he has been receiving positive attention from his employer (a major real estate firm) who wants a bigger piece of the Hispanic market. In his words, being Hispanic at a Fortune 500 company has created an unexpected career opportunity for him. He went on to say that he and his wife are enjoying “being Hispanic” more today than at any other time in their lives. This trend in particular is a

big deal because assimilated Latinos are, not surprisingly, some of the most educated and wealthy. Getting beyond the pointless argument about what make a “real” Latino is a major milestone. Nely Galan, Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Rubio, Eva Longoria, Soledad O’Brian, Pit Bull and the leaders of NAHREP are examples of “Nuevo Latinos.” They are successful in the mainstream yet openly celebrate their culture. They understand the potential value that their Latinism creates in today’s economy and are unabashedly comfortable using it to their advantage. The Nuevo Latinos are making it cool to be a Latino in America and their success is inspiring millions of Latinos like my own teenage children to connect and reconnect with their culture. It’s a paradigm shift when Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, immigrants and assimilated peoples uniformly refer to themselves simply as Latinos. In my view, this exciting development is a major piece in the new blueprint for Latino ascendancy in America. Somos Latinos!

Gary Acosta, CEO NAHREP 858-622-9046 591 Camino Del La Reina Ste 720 San Diego, CA 92108


Because nicematters

Being kind not only enhances your character and personality, it is good for your business. Let’s face it, we have all come across “difficult” clients and/or colleagues. While most Realtors “bite their tongue” with clients (because they are who is paying them!), many Realtors become abrasive with their colleagues…KNOCK IT OFF! We are in a cooperative industry, and it is important to be nice, even to the intellectually challenged ones! Things You Should NEVER Do as a Realtor: 1. NEVER refuse to answer questions about a property- even though we have put detailed notes in the MLS, for example, “this complex is not FHA approved”. Inevitably, a “challenged” Realtor will call you to ask if the condo is FHA approved. Just smile and answer. 2. NEVER write in the MLS in all caps…that is the equivalent of yelling. Writing “DO NOT CALL” is rude and goes against the very premise of a cooperative listing service. 3. NEVER “bad mouth” a fellow Realtor. It only reflects poorly on you. 4. NEVER roll your eyes! This action says more than words!

REAL ESTATE Things You Should ALWAYS Do as a Realtor: 1. Always return phone calls promptly, whether it is a client or a colleague…they took the time to reach out to you, give them a few minutes to help them out. 2. Answer your phone with a smile. You will brighten someone’s day when you sound happy. If you are not happy, fake it until you actually feel happy. Even if the caller was in a bad mood or angry, your happy voice will disarm them. 3. Be appreciative. Thank the other Realtors/ clients for their time and interest. This particular transaction may not work out for them, but they will likely remember your kindness and call you in the future. 4. Make sure your words are sweet…you never know when you may end up having to eat them! Please don’t get me wrong, I have come to these conclusions by making mistakes…I have given a “smart mouth” answer when I knew I was right. It felt really satisfying for about three minutes, and then I felt horrible. My words made another person feel inadequate. I decided at that moment that I could be right or I could be happy- hopefully, the two will come together and eventually I will be right AND happy.

Jill Rand 661-510-2112 661-284-7544 27201 Tourney Road, Suite 200E Valencia, CA 91355



Are You Ahead of the Curve


How many of us were just cruising along, buying and selling real estate for our clients, when all of a sudden…crash. I remember the last “normal” sale I made was Dec of 2006. Then my phone didn’t ring for almost six months. I even called AT&T to make sure my phone was still working, it was, but I wasn’t. Then in May 2007 I got a call from a friend who said he was getting a divorce and needed to sell his home. I was never so happy to hear a friend was getting divorced. So I went over and did my comps and listing presentation and called his bank for a payoff. Lo and behold he was upside down. What to do? So I called his bank and tried to negotiate my first short sale. It took about three months, but we closed it and my short sale career took off. I have since listed over 500 short sales and negotiated many more for other agents who did not want to negotiate their own. And I am still doing it today. So why the story? I told myself I would pay better attention to the market and never get caught offguard again. I have volunteered for many real estate trade organizations and read everything I could to stay ahead of the curve. The hardest thing is to realize and remember that the market is fluid, always has been and always will be. My job is to stay aware and move with the market. So, are you an REO agent waiting for the market to come back? Are you a short sale listing agent wondering where all your listings went in 2013? It is time or past time to make sure you survive the


next change by evolving your business. Are you and should you be doing, standard equity sales, short sales, short sale lease backs, lease option purchases, property management, buyer’s agent team, new home sales, reo’s, commercial short sales investors purchases/flips or note sales. The answer is YES! Real Estate is Real Estate. Do not focus on one thing no matter how good it is for the moment. What if I told you that you could and should pass out 26,100 flyers door to door this year. All by yourself. What would be your limiting beliefs? Not enough time, what would I pass out, how would I remember which houses I already did, what message would my flyers give? Let me answer these one at a time. 1. Not enough time… There are 365 days in the year, taking away holidays and weekends you have 261 “work” days. Pass out 100 flyers a day and there you have it 26,100 flyers passed out in a year.


2. What should I pass out? Anything, everything‌ Buy a newsletter, write your own, use door hangars from a vendor that offers free coupons to something. But the real answer is just put something out, often, with your name and face on it. 3. How will I remember which houses I did? This one is easy. Use Map My Run app available on droid and apple products. It will do an awesome job tracking your route, how long it took and how many houses you covered. In fact, the Map My Run app is how I tested my theory on the flyers. I used it for a month and went for an hour a day. My average was 100 per hour for the month and I passed out 2000 flyers. The next month I got a little help and passed out 3000 flyers. We both used the app so we did not cover the same streets twice. You need to own that farm, so get out regularly and often. I know there are many other subjects to cover so I will keep writing in hopes my own experiences will help you in your career. Be diligent in your approach, cautious in your decision and you will be successful in the end.

Bob Irish is a local Real Estate Broker who specializes in Residential Luxury Sales & Short Sales. You may w him at (951) 313-6080 or (951) 343-3606 Lake Hills Realty BRE#01364068





rices for Real Estate in the Metro- Detroit area are on the incline and expected to continue rising. In August 2013, prices for Metro Detroit area homes were 16 percent higher than prices in August 2012. The surrounding Detroit area Market (suburban area) is seeing a significant increase in prices, but not so significant in the City of Detroit. Ailing factors that include but are not limited to the maintained high unemployment rates , the public school district challenges, and the bankruptcy that the City filed in July, are all contributing to the standstill, rather, the slow incline of home prices in the City of Detroit. We can see that in the Metro Detroit area, the inclining prices are being driven by the low supply and high demand. Available homes on the market in Metro-Detroit have plummeted 17 percent just in the past year. We are noticing a slow trickle of the properties that the banks are releasing to the market, though the banks still have considerable numbers of properties in their inventories. As long as the trickle remains slow and steady, prices are expected to continue to rise. Market recovery signs also include a decline in the amount of days on market, substantial raises in median sales prices, and fewer short sales. Most banks have incorporated more stern lending restriction processes and higher down payments, making it more difficult for first time


home buyers to qualify for lending. However, this has not negatively affecting the market conditions. Cash purchases are dominating and made up 33% of sales in September. Between the low supply of properties available and anxious cash buyers, it is not uncommon to enter into multiple offer situations in which the purchase price is driven above and beyond the actual asking price. Price increases, though rising, are also expected to slow up a bit as banks release properties from inventory at a faster pace. The market in Metro Detroit is not ideal, however, we can notably foresee a rise. The City of Detroit Mayor elections present possibilities of new leaders with fresh ideas to restore the city. The Health Care industry, new developments, neighborhood revitalizations efforts, reform projects, the buzz of midtown attractions, and the low costs of living are becoming the allure of buyers. New home buyers and current homeowners await the rise in property values as projected. Real Estate professionals are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel here, and it sure is bright. Slowly but surely the Metro Detroit Area’s Real Estate Market is on the rise.


Real Estate and Economic Recovery

– Stalled for Most Black Americans Analysts, pundits and Wall Street-watchers cautiously proclaim that the U.S. economy is in a state of rebound. A top-line look at the statistics might, in fact, corroborate their declarations. However, if taking a more critical look at the housing market, a different story emerges. Black Americans and other people of color are far from experiencing the benefits of economic recovery. The issuance by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) of the groundbreaking report, The State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA) illustrates for the first time in one place, how government policies, manipulation of mortgage lending practices, and extended unemployment, now reported to be more than 13 percent for Black Americans continue to retard economic recovery in communities of color. Economic recovery for Black Americans indeed has stalled, if not reversed as exampled by what NAREB believes is an unconscionable fact – Black American homeownership gains from a 20-year high in 2004 of 49 percent have eroded to just above 43 percent now. As startling, the research-based Report indicates that from 2005 to 2009, Black American and Latino households lost 53 percent of and 66 percent of their net worth, respectively, while non-Hispanic white households lost just 16 percent.

While the current outlook appears dim, the NAREB network of more than 90 chapters, along with our growing number of advocacy partners, view these economic conditions as the rallying point for substantive public policy change generated by focused citizen action. The mobilization and “Call to Action,” occurred at the conclusion of NAREB’s Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Forum, “Real Estate Recovery: Is It REAL for African Americans.” Expert after expert speaker pointed to government policies, job loss, and discriminatory mortgage lending practices as primary causes of the previously unimaginable loss of wealth among Black and Hispanic Americans due to home foreclosures and the resulting community blight. At the same time, each speaker from their informed perspectives offered possible solutions designed to rebuild wealth and regain confidence that homeownership could once again be the stepping stone to personal economic stability.


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Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) member of the powerful House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee stated during his presentation that the SHIBA Report would be instrumental in his efforts to get housing finance reform and job creation legislation that “helps people get a job so they can afford a home.” Meeks went on to say that the loss of African American homeownership is having “intergenerational consequences” because, “Black wealth is more concentrated in homeownership than any other asset.” Another member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) called the SHIBA Report, “a vital document” for CBC members who “want the federal government to be an asset and partner and not obstructionist,” in assisting with homeownership which is an “economic engine.” NAREB’s determination to establish a reversal of fortunes for Black communities nationwide captured the attention and active interest of legendary civil rights leader and co-founder with Russell Simmons of the Hip Hop Summit, Dr. Benjamin Chavis. “Housing has become a civil rights issue,” and went on to tell the nearly 500 people attending the Forum, “It’s time to make legislators feel us… [there’s a need] to influence decision makers in Congress and state legislators and even the CBC members have to be mobilized” with facts and data. Dr. Chavis went on to issue a veiled warning that the goal of the home equity movement is, not only to generate and educate supporters and advocate on behalf of legislation, but also to elect or oppose lawmakers who vote against home equity proposals that adversely affect people of color and their communities.

NAREB’s plan of action is underway with the launch of the “Reclaim the Dream: Building Economic Prosperity Through Jobs and Housing” campaign. The citizen-activated mobilization campaign on major social media sites and throughout NAREB networks is aimed at getting one million Black Americans involved in lobbying lawmakers for equitable homeownership and mortgage lending legislation, and fair industry practices that will help economic recovery and the rebuilding after the home foreclosure disaster. NAREB is solution-focused and encourages participation in the campaign. A downloadable version of the SHIBA Report can be found at where visitors can sign up for action alerts and join “Reclaim the Dream” campaign. Information can also be found on other social media sites including @Realtist_Nareb or on the Facebook page “Empower the Dream.” NAREB’s time-honored credo, Democracy in Housing holds as true today as it did in 1947 at the association’s founding. This time, the fight for equality has some new soldiers and new tools ready to win back our right to fair treatment in the homeownership and employment arenas.

Donnell Spivey Office: 301-552-9340 Fax: 301-552-9216 Call or Fax Us 9831 Greenbelt Road Lanham, MD. 20706



Survive & Thrive:

5 Principles to Building Vital Professional Relationships by Marion Napoleon


he housing market debacle of early 2006 is referred to by the media as a “bubble”; however, to most of us, it was a shockwave. When I started in the real estate industry in 2000, the living was easy! The market was hot; new construction was at an all-time high and just about anybody could get a loan to purchase a house. I was a Top Producing Agent working at an established, nationally-respected real estate firm. My days were filled with a steady stream of individual clients and corporate relocations from one coast to the other. Perhaps, much like you, I loved being in real estate, was good at my job and proud of my accomplishments. In 2006, when the subprime market changed overnight and the pipeline emptied, I learned a valuable lesson: humility. But I learned how to adapt and battle through the tough times. Markets come and go and industries change but it is the entrepreneur with an aggressive, active mindset and a vibrant network of business relationships who keeps their


business on the cutting edge. Since that drastic change in the market, I have discovered five principles that are vital to survive and thrive in a challenging and changing industry. 1. BECOME LISTENING




When business went south, I quit talking and started listening. I soon learned that listening effectively is essential for two reasons. First, listening to others builds trust, understanding and rapport. We all want to impress others, telling them about our accomplishments and what we can do for them, but you’ll quickly find that being a good listener is much more appreciated. Listen attentively and earnestly with your body language and your eyes. Reiterate what you hear and check what is being said for clarity and understanding. The better you listen, the more you will learn about people, potential business opportunities and new perspectives to build rapport and relationships.

Second, listening means you’ll hear change coming. As I consulted with industry experts, bankers, colleagues and paid attention to news of the economy, I began to see shifts in the industry itself, from a Buyer’s market to a Seller’s, from an open market to an REO market, from an REO market to a Short Sale market and so on. When you look and listen, you learn new strategies to build your business or, in some instances, shift your focus to the direction of the market. 2. BUILD A REPUTATION WITH HUMILITY, HONESTY & INTEGRITY Humility and integrity are easy when you are experiencing a financial overflow and there are no temptations. During challenging times, you will be tempted. When business is tight and the competition is strong, your reputation may be the most valuable asset you have. Because solid relationships are essential for business, base your reputation on your word and your deeds.


It is important that during these times, we keep the fiduciary relationship to the client at the forefront of our mind and remember “we have to put the client’s well-being ahead of our own.” Be willing to encourage constructive feedback—from clients, vendors, and those around you. It can help you improve. And when you do receive it, be sure the first words out of your mouth are, “Thank you.” A commitment to honesty and integrity will encourage people to appreciate and respect your values, decisions and opinions, and their trust in you will grow. 3. BUILD A SOLID SYSTEM FOR COMMUNICATION & DOCUMENTATION Through the years, I have seen many marketing software systems that they claim to enhance your business and bring substantial gain— and I believed them. But then I realized it was not the software, but the implementation and consistent use of my personal system of discipline that would keep me connected with people on a regular basis. I recommend using a simple contact management

database or an email tool that enables you to stay on schedule with those you know and new people you meet. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. The implementation of a system is also an incredible resource for documenting and organizing everyone with whom you meet and work. You can track conversations, people’s interests, important dates, as well as positive and negative feedback. You can also track the websites, articles and industry updates you want to share to keep your network in-the-know. It also aids in building a database on each experience and customer.

Most real estate professionals build and market within their own communities and surrounding areas. Studying stellar competitors and staying in-the-know will help you find strategies to think and build globally. Sharing what you learn through social media and personal websites can also increase your company’s brand and exposure on a global scale. Social platforms also enable you to continue dialogue and build vigorous business relationships.


Attending conferences, training, industry functions, reading industry publications and daily conversations with business partners and competitors will keep you abreast of the industry. Sharing your information can help others, as well.

A very important step in building dynamic, robust and quality relationships is to continually give. Listening to others’ needs and looking for ways to meet them where they are can bring miraculous results. As you get to know others – your clients, vendors, local business owners, and competitors – keep their needs and interests in mind.

Use your knowledge of those with whom you are building relationships to share information specific to their interests, which lets them know you are thinking of them and understand their concerns. Keeping yourself in-the-know, and sharing what you learn, is a sound business practice you must make time for every day.


REAL ESTATE 5. BUILD BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS Any time you work with businesses, clients or customers outside your company, you inadvertently build a networking structure. Don’t overlook your providers or business partners when it comes to building valuable relationships. Contractors, Builders, Loan Officers, REO companies, Banks, Property Management companies and Title companies all offer opportunities for more business when they know you value them. Working with new businesses allows you to build relationships within your community, state and other industries. Building a dynamic partner network is essential to your day-to-day business and it provides opportunities for you to highlight their expertise and your work together. Find Win-Win situations wherever possible. Perhaps a business partner will serve on a panel you host to discuss best practices or industry issues and you can do the same for them. Trusted business partners are worth their weight in gold. IN CONCLUSION Always think and look outside the box to continue building vital relationships. Offer new


or innovative ways to learn and grow and share with your clients, business partners and vendors these new and exciting ideas, industry changes and trends. With every relationship, don’t forget to practice the following: 1. Listen attentively and earnestly. 2. Build a reputation with humility, honesty and integrity. 3. Put a solid system in place that will allow you to stay connected and engaged. 4. Don’t always look to your clients and network to give; share insight and exciting information that can help them grow their businesses as well. 5. And most importantly, build strong partnerships with other companies, clients and competitors, and offer free education or industry information that will place you in the driver’s seat as an industry expert. There is nothing more powerful, in the face of challenge and change, than knowing you have a built a strong foundation to get you through. Be attentive, be tuned-in and build your business on one solid relationship after another. You never know who you can help or who can help you. There’s no-telling how far your success will take you!

Marion Napoleon is the Manager of Training for VRM University at VRM Mortgage Services. She is also an accredited, licensed Real Estate Instructor and Real Estate Broker with more than 13 years of successful experience in the marketplace. Marion has experienced success through the economical downfalls of the market, and now shares her expertise and industry knowledge with VRMU students by helping them achieve success in their own businesses. She also brings over 30 years of expertise as a trainer, coach and motivator. Learn more at


Policy Issues for the Asian American and Pacific Islander A

fter struggling for years, the U.S. real estate market is improving and quickly headed towards a steady recovery. At the heart of this recuperation in the U.S. economy is the increasing demand for housing created by the rapidly growing minority population. The dynamic growth of this minority market, particularly the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) segment, has buttressed the fragile housing market over the past several years and now is poised to propel the overall housing market for the foreseeable future. As policy makers continue to deal with restoring confidence in the U.S. economy and supporting the real estate market towards a path to full recovery, the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) firmly believes that a combination of common-sense immigration policy, greater access to mortgage credit, and the elimination of cultural barriers to housing access are critical in order to maintain the strong housing demand being created by the rapidly growing minority population. In this article, these three policy issues and their solutions will be addressed and explored as they relate to the AAPI community.

Immigration Policy In the coming months, the topic of immigration will continue to occupy a large amount of debate in Washington D.C. as the current administration pushes for reform. Despite politically charged statement made by both sides of the aisle, what is really at stake for in this discussion is the long-term health of the U.S. economy. In an increasingly interconnected world, U.S. lawmakers must pursue immigration policies that preserve the competitive edge of the United States on the world’s economic stage. In order for the U.S. economy to remain competitive, policies that favor growth, such as the EB-5 Visa program, must be prioritized. This program grants foreign nationals the opportunity to live in the United States if they have invested at least $500,000 to $1,000,000 (depending on the market) in a new commercial enterprise or troubled business and have provided at least 10 jobs to the U.S. economy. Because of this program, a large number of wealthy industry leaders in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea have been able to invest in the U.S. economy. Although this program has been mandated to last only until 2015, many legislators are now considering the possibility of making this a permanent fixture of U.S. immigration policy. Propositions like these represent sensible and rational immigration policies that the AAPI community recognizes as essential to U.S. market revitalization.


REAL ESTATE QM, QRM, and Access to Mortgage Credit In the wake of the global financial meltdown, caused in part by the collapse of the housing market, lawmakers enacted the comprehensive Dodd-Frank Reform Act. A key part of this legislation was the establishment of a national standard for mortgage loans, known as Qualified Mortgages (QM) and Qualified Residential Mortgages (QRM) that ensure borrowers have loans compatible with their financial resources. To determine this criterion, Dodd-Frank mandated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to rule on the defining characteristics of these loans. In early 2013, the CFPB released its first ruling on how these loans, particularly QM, would be implemented. This ruling establishes a set of minimum requirements to determine the abilityto-pay element of QM and QRM including factors such as income, employment status, and other financial obligations not related to the mortgage. This ruling also specifies that these types of mortgages will enjoy certain legal protections under a “safe harbor� statue where they will be legally entitled the presumption that the borrower has satisfied the ability-topay requirements. With this ruling as well as the ones that are set to be released in the following months, significant changes in mortgage lending practices will be produced. With the establishment of these lending guidelines, policymakers must place access to mortgage credit as a top priority. To ensure that both lenders can supply an adequate amount of credit in the market and all qualified borrowers are able to secure reasonable mortgages, the CFPB must continue to provide dynamic and flexible rules and modifications to the underwriting of QM and QRM lending.

lender and borrower can be difficult. Prospective homebuyers with limited English proficiency (LEP) try to remedy this by relying on an informal network of family and friends who have a greater grasp of the English language and U.S. business culture for guidance and clarification on documents such as mortgage agreements, which puts an unnecessary strain on the homebuying process. With government effort focused on providing in-language educational materials in mostly Spanish, the problems with LEP in AAPI communities goes largely unnoticed. With a diverse range of languages and cultures, Asian Americans face a staggering amount of LEPrelated problems. To accommodate for these unique challenges, government on both the state and local level levels must allot a higher portion of its budget towards providing prepurchase housing counseling, reading materials in a variety of translated languages such as Hindi, Laotian, and Hmong, and foreclosure mitigation counseling. Once these LEP barriers are removed, a path will be cleared to responsible homeownership for many AAPI families. With an array of issues that the AAPI community faces, it is an important time for community activists to come together to mount a unified fight on the behalf of multicultural homeownership. As an organization, AREAA understands that many of policy positions are shared with a number of other trade associations that fight for sustainable homeownership for various ethnic and cultural groups around the United States. With this in mind, AREAA realizes the importance of not only speaking on behalf of the AAPI community, but for all responsible prospective home buyers in the United States.

Language and Cultural Barriers One of the most challenging obstacles for the AAPI community to traverse in the realm of homeownership is cultural and language barriers. Because of these linguistic challenges, achieving a clear line of communication between the

Asian Real Estate Association of America 5963 La Place Court, Suite 314, Carlsbad, CA 92008 760.918.9162



BROKER SCHOOL Today’s Lesson: “The Real Value of an Agent”


aking the transition from being an agent to being an Owner/Broker and having your own office is much more difficult than most individuals realize. It is not really about selling houses any longer as that is now the role of your agents. Your role is now about running a profitable real estate office and recruiting agents. If you are reading this, then you are most likely already a successful real estate agent. You probably know everything you need to know about listing and selling houses, as well as how to get a deal closed. However as a broker/ owner you are no longer in the business of listing and selling houses. You are now in the business of recruiting and managing agents who list and sell houses. It is a simple enough premise – the dollars to a real estate brokerage come from transactions and transactions come from agents. Therefore if you want more transactions (dollars) you have to have more agents. But how many agents do you really need to be profitable and how do you calculate their worth to you? This is one of the basic fundamentals of owning a real estate office. A top producing agent understands they must prospect for listings and by that same reasoning a profitable broker must prospect (recruit) agents to be successful in their business. The analogy that we like to use is that an agent recruiting appointment should be treated as importantly as a million dollar listing appointment


- for the simple reason that they are worth about the same amount of income to you. (And you should be just as enthusiastic and excited about it!) We actually go into greater detail in our online video lessons (see link below), but for now, here is some simple math to help you calculate the value of an agent to your firm. Once you have this you can also start to calculate your breakeven points and how many agents you require to be profitable. We start with the average agent production which is typically about 6 transactions per year a/k/a PPA “Properties per Agent” = 6 Next we determine the average company revenue per transaction: a/k/a CCI “Company Commission Income” CCI can in the form of a split – such as an 80/20 (80% agent – 20% company) in which case the CCI portion would be 20%. More commonly now the CCI takes the form of a flat per transaction fee. We will use the flat fee for our math purposes but if you are running a split shop you can easily calculate your own CCI per transaction Most offices also charge some sort of monthly fee – whether they are charging the agents by split or by transaction and this should be included here. The last item that should be included is Lead Generation /referral fees – which are by far your largest revenue stream as a broker and the one that you should always be most focused on.

REAL ESTATE There is more detail on this in the video version of this lesson as constraints do not permit us to delve into it here, but suffice to say that if you as a broker/owner are not using “Lead Gen” as a profit center – you are missing out on the easiest and most profitable area of your business. (This area is so important that we actually have several video lessons just on this subject alone) We now have everything we need to calculate the average annual revenue for an agent in your firm, which is the main component of agent value. We will keep the assumptions both conservative and simple for our purpose here today: • • • • •

6 transactions per year per agent Average sales price of $150k $100 monthly fee $295 Transaction fee 30% referral fee from our company lead gen. with 1/3 of transactions from company leads (typically higher)

The math now looks like this: Average Annual revenue per agent: • • • •

Monthly Fees: 1200 Transaction Fees: 1770 Referral (lead) Fees: $2700 Revenue per agent: $5670

We now have the first part completed to determine the value of an agent as we now know that our average annual revenue per agent is: $5670 The final part in determining the value of an agent, is understanding that each agent has a lifecycle with your firm. Agent lifecycle is simply how long the average agent stays with your company. This varies greatly as some agents don’t last long and others may be with you for life… but will typically this will average out to about 4 years

across your entire agent population. We now have what we need to understand the value of an agent to our company. Annual Revenue per Agent X Lifecycle of Agent = Value of Agent In this example that would be: $5670 x 4 = $22,680 You really need to think of each agent that you recruit (hire) as an annuity that will pay you $22,680 over the next four years. That is their real value to you. You should now also be seeing why an agent interview is to be treated as if it were a Million Dollar Listing Appointment! The dollars that you will make from each are very similar. We go into a great deal more detail in the video version of this lesson, including how to use this information to calculate your break even and profit points. You may view the full lesson by clicking here: Insert video link One final note and probably the most exciting one! - Agents are annuities! When you start recruiting agents and set up a decent recruiting program you will find that your average cost to recruit an Agent is about $1000 per producing agent. (Yes - there is a Broker School video lesson about this as well) So the question becomes: Would you invest $1000 to get $22,680 back over 4 years? Congratulations! – You now understand how a real estate brokerage really makes money!

There is more great information available to you for FREE at: BROKER SCHOOL EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BUT THAT NO ONE ELSE WILL TEACH YOU! WWW.RIOGENESIS.COM / RIO Talks/ Broker School



New Mortgage Servicing Regulations Managing Reputational Risk with Occupied Properties



Managing occupied properties amidst the current sea of new regulations and compliance requirements can be a daunting task, which is magnified as borrowers become more educated due to the increased accessibility of information. Servicing a default mortgage portfolio assumes additional responsibility with the implementation of various initiatives such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) and Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (“PTFA”). Exponentially increasing the complexity of these requirements is the diversification among state and local regulations that limit the eviction of tenants and/ or dictate strict habitability duties and obligations in occupied assets, which vary based on the jurisdiction of the property location. Mandated reformation has triggered numerous revisions in servicing procedures, additional documentation requirements, increased accountability within management platforms and software, and the need for realigned staff and restructured responsibilities. On January 17, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) published new mortgage servicing standards to be applied in January 2014 for regional and national banks

that service more than 5,000 mortgage loans. Although exceptions are made for those servicing fewer than 5,000 mortgage loans, these initiatives were established in order to educate, protect, and provide resolution tools to borrowers and consumers when working with mortgage servicers per the CFPB. In an effort to ensure transparency to homeowners either facing foreclosure or in the midst of the foreclosure process, these rules implement certain provisions of the DoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act with respect to mortgage servicing. These parameters have already begun to be implemented on a state-by-state basis, such as in California with the January 1, 2013 California Homeowners’ Bill of Rights initiative. Specific to managing occupied properties, mortgage servicers must ensure compliance with numerous policy acts, including the SCRA, which is designed to provide protection to those who are on active military duty, deployed, or wounded servicemembers, and to provide Servicemembers and their dependents the ability to maintain their home while undergoing financial strain. The PTFA requires service of a 90-day notice to quit to tenants with “bona fide” leases that commenced prior to the

foreclosure sale before an eviction is initiated. Mortgage servicers must also comply with local tenant habitability initiatives, such as the City of Los Angeles’ Rent Escrow Account Program (“REAP”) to ensure that habitability standards are met for tenants occupying bank-owned assets. Disputes surrounding the classification of occupants, e.g. whether they qualify as “bona fide” tenants as defined in the PTFA as well as the validity of their leases, can arise with the restructured policies and regulations as they pertain to the National Mortgage Settlement’s three-year injunctive period. For example, occupants with invalid leases or those classified as “squatters” may be provided the 90-day vacate period applicable to “bona fide” tenants in order to avoid compliance issues. SCRA protection may be extended to the families of deceased Servicemembers in order to avoid even the appearance of violations which would result in severe statutory penalties. Managerial practices can and must be implemented to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations when servicing an occupied asset. For example, it is imperative that the servicer promptly obtain a copy of the



lease in order to review fair market rent comparables pursuant to United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) guidelines. In addition, verification that the tenant previously paid a security deposit on a bona fide lease will greatly assist in ensuring compliance, as the refund to a vacating tenant must be timely made and accounted for in many jurisdictions regardless of whether the foreclosing lender actually received the security deposit from the prior owner/ mortgagor. In instances where a lease does not specify a dollar amount or is unavailable, other documentary proof of consistent rent payment, such as paid receipts, bank statements or canceled checks, should be obtained from the tenant. In light of the various challenges of managing occupied properties which may require the interpretation and construction of numerous policy regulations, an alternative solution may be to sell the asset occupied. Whether an asset should be sold occupied must be determined on a case-bycase basis, depending on such variables as the cooperation of the tenant, the property


condition, and the applicable local eviction restrictions and/ or habitability standards, as well as the investor’s threshold for loss severity. Liquidating an occupied property may present a beneficial resolution by removing the asset from the mortgage servicer’s nonperforming portfolio and allowing the purchaser to negotiate a long-term performing strategy with the tenant. In such instances, risk is allocated between the buyer and seller, primarily by the agreed-upon selling price. Because complete access to the property cannot be guaranteed, disclosure of the interior condition may not be possible. The risk to the seller includes the loss severity with respect to the sales price and the income tax ramifications, balanced by the purchaser’s assumption of risk with respect to the condition of the property and the rights of tenants in possession. With regulations and policies continuously evolving, especially regarding their interpretation and application, the above summarizes many of the challenges a mortgage servicer may encounter

during a process that presents vulnerability in reputational risk and exposure. For any questions surrounding the management of occupied properties, please contact one of the following Keystone personnel:  

Ryan Hennessy Executive Vice President Direct: 267-308-9256 This article was prepared by Keystone Asset Management’s Marketing & Business Development in collaboration with Robert Rosenthal and Michael Zeff of The Law Offices of Rosenthal, Withem & Zeff: Robert Rosenthal, Esquire Senior Managing Partner Rosenthal, Withem & Zeff Phone: 818-789-7711 ext. 103


Vacant Property Registration Ordinances A trend on the rise Are you in compliance?


s the default mortgage industry continues to conform in the newly adopted regulatory environment, compliance remains at the forefront of mortgage services when managing a distressed portfolio. Among the many evolving trends, vacant property registration noncompliance can now result in violations and liens placed upon properties by municipalities. Vacant property registration ordinances (VPRO’s) have become increasingly common in the wake of the financial crisis, often touted by local governments as an effective way to address blight against the community while also generating funds to assist in combating neighborhood issues which arise when properties remain unoccupied for an extended period of time. To speak to this trend, consider the following: there were fewer than 20 of these ordinances in place in the year 2000, less than 100 at the end of 2007, and today, there are more than 1,000 local VPRO’s across the United States. Success, on the part of communities, has been justified by the increase in overall awareness of vacant dwellings, as well as in an observed increase in overall safety; however, VPRO’s have put yet another potentially burdensome and costly requirement on mortgage servicers. Throughout history, the vast majority of registration requirements have been enforced post foreclosure sale. However, in recent years, a transition has come to light wherein the registration requirement can now trigger upon vacancy rather than upon completion of foreclosure proceedings. This may often occur when the loan is seriously delinquent but not yet in the process of foreclosure. In other words, registration requirements can arise prior to the financial institution or investor taking full ownership of a property via the foreclosure process. This brings the question to mind: if the financial institution or investor does not own the property at the time of registration requirement, can they still be held liable for property issues? The unfortunate trend for financial institutions and investors is that yes, they can be liable for properties requiring registration in the midst of the foreclosure process. From a broad viewpoint, there are several considerations: (1) reputational risk and exposure of having a property sit vacant and unmaintained, (2) in certain states, VPRO’s and nuisance abatement liens are given “super priority” and (3) the population of distressed loans increases significantly. As the VPRO’s are modified and continue to evolve, it becomes imperative that those institutions servicing distressed assets surround themselves with educated partners at both the national and local level throughout all stages of the foreclosure process, as opposed to postponing awareness until the property enters the real estate owned (REO) stage.



Collectively, there are three common models of VPRO’s: (1) Vacancy & Abandonment Model, wherein the property must be registered after it stands vacant for a pre-determined length of time, (2) Foreclosure Model, requiring registration at the initiation of the foreclosure process, and (3) Hybrid Model, where registration may be either vacancy or foreclosure-related. Though the model may vary, fees are often associated with each registration and vary by municipality and their initiatives. In addition, fines and penalties, which can be criminally referred, may be accrued by the financial institution or investor for noncompliance. Within the first model, Vacancy & Abandonment, the focus tends to be on acquiring a point of contact at the mortgage servicer’s office in the event of issues with the property. Contrarily, the Foreclosure Model’s focus is on notifying local governments that a property within their jurisdiction is in foreclosure, in addition to obtaining a point of contact. In conjunction with the variety of VPRO models, state and municipality requirements differ, further complicating compliance requirements.

For instance: In Michigan, the trend has been to move the responsibility for the registration process to the mortgage servicer earlier than in prior years. Previously, the mortgage servicer was not held responsible for the registration until the foreclosure deed recorded. However, new developments have altered the process, potentially requiring registration upon the initial notice of default. Though this is the overall trend in Michigan, the city of Jackson, employs a policy more similar to that of the Hybrid Model. The registration requirements are based on the chronological order of the notice of default or the vacancy causing the precipitating event to vary based on whichever occurs first. In addition to property registration, a common trend and requirement is to ensure that the property is secured and properly maintained to prevent neighborhood blight, as mentioned initially. Securing property is of a more focused importance in areas that have been affected by high rates of foreclosure activity in recent years. For instance, in the City of Detroit, Michigan, owners of vacant



or abandoned properties must obtain an Exterior Certificate of Compliance, which covers a diverse collection of compliance items, including grass and weed height, garbage accumulation, snow removal, and security panels windows and doors. The aforementioned items are in addition to the prior requirement to conspicuously display a weather protected notice naming a local contact person for the property and how to reach them.

minority and is, therefore, applicable to the majority of properties within a given portfolio. It may also help struggling communities better understand the long-term effects of vacant, or soon to be vacant, properties and their impact within a neighborhood. For any questions surrounding compliance with vacant property registration ordinances, please contact one of the following Keystone personnel:

Another area where enforcement is applied prior to the transfer of ownership is in Broward County, Florida, where a mortgage servicer is required to inspect residential properties in default to determine occupancy. If a property is confirmed vacant, the mortgagee must enact the abandonment clause within the mortgage contract, submit the property registration and $150.00 fee to the county within ten (10) days, and immediately begin securing and maintaining the property according to program standards. Failure to comply with this ordinance results in civil penalty fees. One emerging trend that is encouraging for mortgage servicers is that of statewide vacant property registries. Currently, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and New Jersey have chosen this strategy. That increases communication with local code enforcement in addition to creating a standardized process which can be more efficiently managed than the wildly varying multitude of city and county ordinances. Regardless of where a servicer’s portfolio is geographically concentrated, VPRO’s and their enforcement pose a threat of noncompliance and the accompanying potential penalties, which can accumulate over time. Implementing a manageable process to stay informed of the ever-changing requirements and taking a proactive approach towards compliance is essential. Embracing this trend is less than the


Ryan Hennessy Executive Vice President Direct: 267-308-9256 This article was prepared by Keystone Asset Management’s Marketing & Business Development in collaboration with Robert Rosenthal and Michael Zeff of The Law Offices of Rosenthal, Withem & Zeff: Robert Rosenthal, Esquire Senior Managing Partner Rosenthal, Withem & Zeff Phone: 818-789-7711 ext. 103


Reflecting on Lessons Learned From the

Housing Crisis Roger Beane is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LRES Corporation. Mr. Beane leads an extraordinary team of professionals committed to providing realworld solutions that impact the operational efficiency and institutional profitability of LRES client organizations. With 20 years of experience, Mr. Beane possesses a deep understanding of the banking, real estate finance and default management sectors. He is a proven leader with extensive executive management experience and a solid understanding of business. Mr. Beane is a frequent speaker at national conferences and a noted contributor to national publications in the mortgage industry. A native of California, Mr. Beane is a Licensed California Real Estate Agent with a degree from California State University, Long Beach.



ow that the market is beginning to stabilize with interest rates still historically low and home values rising, we are becoming increasingly optimistic about the housing recovery. While the industry breathes a collective sigh of relief, we should reflect on lessons learned and how we can maintain this positive momentum moving forward and avoid ever making the same mistakes again.

Nothing Happens in a Vacuum There were a number of misguided lending practices that pushed our industry into the infamous housing bubble. Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARMs) resulted in an unfavourable game of Russian roulette for borrowers when interest rates sky rocketed and home values dropped, leaving many borrowers scrambling to make monthly payments and unable to refinance with lack of equity. Stated income loans also impacted the industry as they became available to just about anyone, although they were originally intended for self-employed borrowers. Borrower’s incomes were sometimes completely unverified, which increased the number of fraudulent mortgage loan applications hiding numerous risk factors that should have signalled they were at high risk for default.

REAL ESTATE Then of course there were the risky no-money down home loans that were offered to consumers with bad credit. This produced another wave of defaults waiting to happen for those borrowers who did not save money or budget and could no longer make payments. Subprime or B-paper/nonconforming loans, which were intended for borrowers with poor credit, also racked up a great deal of damage for the industry as this toxic offering was widely and haphazardly distributed to those with a high risk of default. Refinancing, paying off an existing mortgage to create a new one under different terms, was yet another practice being highly abused at the time. Properties should not be refinanced at more than 80 percent of the market value because homeowners ‘tap out’ of their equity. Refinancing is especially dangerous for aging homeowners who have minimal income and high medical expenses. There was nothing creative about “creative financing,” when real estate agents showed properties devoid of lender-approved letters that were clearly out of the borrowers’ price range of what they could afford. Borrowers quickly discovered they could not meet the expense of their monthly payments, and foreclosure rampantly occurred as a result.

The housing fluctuate. industry’s second chance: One cannot exclusively depend reflecting on lessons on their home for all their wealth. learned Borrowers should continue Aside from using extreme caution with the aforementioned lending practices, there are several key takeaways that every lending professional should heed. Education is paramount. Every borrower should fully understand the exact terms of the mortgage, specifically seniors if attempting to acquire a reverse mortgage loan. If utilized properly, reverse mortgage loans can be a wonderful tool and provide seniors with additional income as well as monthly mortgage relief. However, seniors should be wary of obtaining a lump sum, which is a common mistake because it is easy for the homeowners to run out of money. They should also fully understand the unyielding ramifications and harsh reality that if property taxes go unpaid, they will lose their home. Also, the industry can no longer be run by fortune tellers; this dynamic market simply cannot be predicted. In recent years, many borrowers have purchased a home with the expectation that it will quickly increase in value. In no subtle terms, the housing crisis taught us this is not always the case. Borrowers must plan for the long-term as market values unpredictably rise/fall and interest rates continue to

to build cash investments.



Realism and financial responsibility go a long way in promoting a healthier future for our industry. Homeownership is and will forever remain the American Dream, but borrowers must be realistic about their finances and be absolutely confident they can truly afford to take part in that dream. The housing crisis did not kill us; it only made us stronger…if we learn from the mistakes and take action not to ever repeat them. Our industry is slowly recovering and we should be thankful to be given a second chance. By acknowledging and preventing our past faults, we can take responsibility for future economic stability. Roger Beane is CEO of LRES, a national provider of commercial and residential valuations and asset management for the mortgage, banking, credit union and real estate industries. In 2011, LRES was the runner-up winner of two HousingWire’s Pinnacle Awards for best listing practices and best closing practices. For more information, visit



You are not compliant by Christian Broadwell


magine an agent making an offer on a property for a client of theirs. This agent represents a broker and that very broker trusts the agent has not made a single error and has thought about every possible outcome based on their interactions. Now imagine when that broker will ever see the offer being made, the one that was made through the agent’s email client or by fax. As we say ‘time is of the essence’. What does that mean? It means that not only is the receiving agent but also both managing brokers must review all contracts immediately to save their skins. On those brokers desks sit a large pill bottle of Xanax to keep the nervous system from sending them into a total breakdown. Now imagine another offer that is made to Fannie Mae or HUD, does the managing broker of that agent see the offer as it is sent to these sites? And if so when? Then at the same time the state decides to do a general walkin audit of a few files. If they stumble across any one of these files both managing brokers would have an auditor slapping fines against the brokerage for not following the regulations that state each contract must be reviewed within the time specified by state regulations. In some states it is $1000 for each infraction which can be each offer made. So if fifteen offers are made on one property that would be $15,000, oops!


One major point that has plagued the entire industry and has had very little press is the connection between the agent making an offer and the managing broker they represent. At my office, here at Realty Pilot, we have looked into the eyes of this beast and have solved that very issue with Offer Runway. One band aid solution we have seen are state regulations changing contract review timeline requirements for the broker so that the state does not fine the broker heavily by not reviewing the contracts in a timely manner. Unknowingly the biggest culprits in this space are Fannie Mae and HUD. Both require offers to be submitted to their sites and the managing brokers of both agents have no record at the time it happens. This relies on the agent to do the right thing and provide a copy to the broker during each exchange. The root of this process is not the agent but the process. So how do you solve the biggest issue plaguing our industry and tidy up the connection between the agent and managing broker?


By having an MLS integration, we have found that initializing the offer from the MLS by itself solves both issues because the MLS not only provides the offer management that notifies both representing brokers at the moment the offer is made but it also can write to HUD and Fannie Mae platforms so all parties involved are aware of the offer. Sounds great right? Not completely! Now we are left with security of the information. How do you trust an MLS to handle an offer with kid gloves especially when the board members are also in the same space as the agent making the offer? This easier said than done but we have presented a solution to the process by immediately involving the managing brokers at the time the offer is made and now must solve the security problems behind it. One way as we have done at Realty Pilot is to frame the offer management tool into the MLS or syndicate the offer button and place it on the MLS page. This allows the user (agent) to make an offer through a system that is not part of the MLS but only there as a clickable hyperlink tool. Ok so now we have hidden the information from prying eyes of the MLS but wait there is one other issue, Non Public Information (NPI). If the offer documents are uploaded to this offer management system how do you protect it from hackers? Unfortunately there is only one way and that is making sure

the offer management company is certified to handle NPI information. One of the few certifications such as the big five banks use is by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) organization with a SOC 2, Type 1 certification. This is not only very, very expensive but also time consuming where by an annual audit is necessary the company is compliant to federal rules for NPI material. In summary the offers made in our industry are the root of why many real estate deals are plagued with issues and can be solved if the managing brokers are made aware of the offers at the moment they are processed. Initialization, transparency and security all play a vibrant roll in improving our offer management systems in today’s real estate transactions. For more information about solutions please contact me.

888-732-5745 2929 E Camelback Rd Suite 236 Phoenix, AZ 85016




This paper is the introduction into a series on commercial real estate and lending. Commercial real estate is not an emotional purchase like a single family home but rather justified by a return on investment. As we progress will define the terms commonyl used.

real estate terms relevant to comprehension of the industry:

the lower the cap rate the higher the value.

• are operating and cash flow statements, • rent roll, balance sheet, • leases (NNN versus FSG)

Commercial Real Estate (CRE) business is comprised of debt financing, private equity, tenant representation, leasing, and property management. Commercial product types consist of multifamily/apartments, office, industrial, retail, hospitality, land development and specialty use. In a later series we will define the commercial

• Cap Rates (cap rate is an index investors use to measure risk on an investment). • Sale Price equals NOI divided by Cap Rate Rent • NOI equals Sale price times cap rate • Cap rate equals NOI divided sales price • The higher the cap rate the lower the value and

The national economy has been slow in its recovery and the future growth may be tempered by some anxiety of higher interest rates. Gross domestic product (GDP) is the main measure for economic activity. For the second quarter of 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has redefined it to include software, entertainment, original art work, and research and development. As per NAR, the outlook for spending for the second quarter for commercial buildings increased by 6.8 percent as the economy grew by $2 trillion from the previous quarter.


Some common formulas used to estimate the value of CRE:


The National Association of Realtors Market Survey for commercial real estate for the quarter ending July 2013 states that: • Sales volume grew by 12% from a year ago • Sales prices increased 2% on a year over year basis • Cap rates averaged 8.7% during second quarter • Rental rates increased 2% compared with the previous quarter • Financing remains at the top of the current challenges Even though commercial real estate has been slow, it was a record year for growth. Declining vacancies and rising rents provided fundamental strength. As usual multi-family apartments shined brightly as well as the industrial and the office sector. The retail sector has not been as productive. Although capital markets remain robust, with equity and debt easily accessible, what looms as a huge question

mark would be the scenario if banks decide to constrict their expansionary money policy. Due to the relatively easy access to the capital markets and higher liquidity has empowered REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) to perform better than other commercial real estate sectors. Analysts Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods stated that increased estimates for Starwood Property Trust, Colony Financial, Apollo Commercial Real Estate and Blackstone Mortgage Trust. Even in volatile and difficult times, the constant will be core real estate as a solid foundation for investors seeking yield and income investment vehicles.

• • • • • •

Estate (PERE) Commercial deal flow Single family Homes Globalization of Commercial Real Estate Sustainability Technology Analytics

The common theme is that commercial financing is difficult at best. In a very simplified manner, banks are required to hold reserves. In theory they are not allowed to lend money out of their reserves. If the economy increases then the potential for credit should increase.

The Deloitte Commercial Real Estate Outlook for 2013 showing the Top Ten issues are as follows: • MacroeconomicFundamentals • Commercial Real Estate Fundamentals • Commercial Real Estate Lending • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) Private Equity Real

Antonio Perez Jr Senior Vice President Crossline Capital Managing Partner Alternative Capital Lending



Introducing a new role for parents in supporting local schools By Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow


here is an impressive body of research around the correlation between parental involvement and student achievement. In short, the children of parents who are engaged and involved with their child’s education are more likely to be successful in school. Given that research, education leaders are increasingly interested in the transformation of their students’ parents from “supply” parents to “demand” parents. According to a May 2011 column in Educational Leadership by Dr. Rudy Crew, parents and caregivers generally play one of two roles when it to comes to their child’s education: supply or demand. As Dr. Crew explains, “… supply parents consider their role to be limited to handing their children over — in effect, supplying them — to the school. In contrast, demand parents actively participate in their children’s education,


provide ideas and feedback, and lobby to be included in decision making.” Project Tomorrow®, one of the nation’s leading national education nonprofits annually polls over 450,000 K-12 students, parents, educators nationwide about what is required to create truly 21st century schools. Our Speak Up National Research Project ( speakup) provides a unique glimpse into the views of these key stakeholders about the future of education in America at a time when education is directly linked to the economic prosperity of our nation. Of particularly interest is the new role that school and district administrators see for parents in helping prepare students for college and career. When asked about the types of school reform efforts that would have the greatest impact on student outcomes and achievement, over onethird (34 percent) of school

and district administrators believe that engaging parents as co-teachers would directly improve student learning. Education leaders are particularly interested in an emerging cohort of parents of school-aged children that we call the “New Digital Parents.” These new digital parents are particularly interested in being more engaged in their child’s education and sharing their ideas on the use of technology within instruction. Not surprisingly, these new digital parents also fit Dr. Crew’s description of the demand parents who are so highly valued by education leaders today. The Speak Up national data findings indicate that 37 percent of parents of schoolaged children match this new digital parent profile. Some of the characteristics of these new tech-savvy parents include the following:


February 2012 issue of Principal, the leadership magazine published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Nancye Blair notes that to successfully create a technologyinfused campus that meets the needs of the 21st century learner, leaders must “establish a shared vision” around the use of digital tools and resources that involves all stakeholders.

• Digital parents are interested in the use of emerging technology tools to improve school-to-home communications. • Example: 47 percent of digital parents want their child’s teacher to text them with classroom information. • Digital parents highly value the role of online learning within their child’s education. • Example: 73 percent of digital parents say a key benefit of online courses is that children can learn at their own pace. • Digital parents also see a significant role for mobile devices within their child’s learning environment. • Example: Almost 9 out of 10 digital parents want their child to be able to use a mobile device (laptop, tablet, smartphone or e-reader) in class for academic work. • Digital parents believe that teachers should be evaluated on how well they integrate technology within instruction. • Example: 89 percent agree with this concept – 37 percent strongly agree! While these data findings provide interesting new insights into parent perceptions of the value of different technologies, the true power of this information lies in using it to create a shared vision of 21st century learning between parents and a school or district. In the January/

Our nation’s school and district leaders face a host of perplexing challenges today including balancing the demands for higher student achievement with ongoing budget difficulties caused by the last recession. Increasingly these leaders, like their counterparts in other sectors such as healthcare, hospitality, banking, real estate and manufacturing, are looking to new technology solutions to address their challenges. In many school districts, the administrators are realizing that the parents of school-aged children may be their best ally in making the case about the value of digital tools to prepare students for the jobs of the future. Project Tomorrow is interested in what community members have to say about the value of technology within education. Your ideas are important to these critical discussions. To share your ideas, please visit and take the special Speak Up survey for community members before December 20.

15707 Rockfield Boulevard, Suite 250 Irvine, CA 92618 Main Phone: 949-609-4660 Fax: 949-609-4665


Looking for just the right place to call home? Ask a REALTISTb for help. Realtists know that homeownership is a big step and you need the right team.


We are trained real estate professionals who take pride in knowing your local market conditions and abide by a strict code of ethics. That’s what you can count on when you have a NAREB Realtist at your side.

National Association of Real Estate Brokers National Headquarters 9831 Greenbelt Road, Suite 309 Lanham, MD • 40212 (301) 552-9238

We’re the real estate professionals you can count on!



and the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation Rev. Mark Whitlock Executive Director of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement


ur nation cannot fully celebrate the freeing of slaves 150 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Black poverty, unemployment, poor health care, inadequate housing and a variety of social ills remain unaddressed. President Obama, however, has a unique opportunity to correct two of the greatest concerns of the Black community: shorter life expectancy compared to the general population and extremely high infant mortality rates. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, could have a positive effect on both issues. The act, which will go into full effect in 2014, has received overwhelming support from the Black community. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black life expectancy in America is nearly four years less than for Whites (78.9 for Whites compared to 75.1 for Blacks). The disparity between Black males and Whites males is even greater: 76.5 for Whites versus 71.8). As a result, the average Black male will only be eligible for five years of social security benefits compared with ten years for White males. Similarly, the infant mortality rate for Blacks was more than twice the rate for Whites and Latinos, and almost three times greater than the rate for Asian Americans at the time President Obama first took office. In very large measure, this disparity is attributable to a lack of focus on prenatal and early childhood healthcare. In contrast, more than a quarter of the United State’s $3 trillion annual healthcare costs are expended primarily on those in their 80s and 90s, during the last six months of their lives. America’s infant mortality rate is almost three times higher than in Japan and twice as high as nations such as Spain and Italy. Surprisingly, our nation’s infant mortality rate is 20 percent higher than in the underdeveloped nation of Cuba—and even higher than in our unincorporated territory of Guam.



Obamacare does not yet focus on the limited Black life expectancy rate or the gaps in our infant mortality rate. Many of our Black church leaders, however, believe that there is hope, particularly in the context of President Obama’s recent forceful speech on the need for upward mobility to eradicate these differences. Preventive care services within the larger health reform agenda must come from the back burner to the forefront.

nation’s 44 million Blacks, in a culturally sensitive fashion. Outreach is especially important, since our nation spends twice as much per capita on healthcare than any other nation in the world, including the almost thirty nations with higher life expectancies.

A growing church-led plan to enhance Obamacare aims to cut the Black infant mortality rate to the same level as in Japan: two per every one thousand. This plan also aims to increase Black life expectancy to Japan’s rate of 84 years. We have launched the Orange County Interdenominational Alliance along with pastors from different ethnic minority communities.

A third omission, and perhaps the most important, is the absence of a specific allocation to decrease infant mortality, enhance healthcare for mothers and young children, and aid our most vulnerable senior citizens. These objectives can be reached, along with far greater public support for Obamacare, by allocating as little as two percent of our $3 trillion annual healthcare budget—$60 billion a year over the next five years—to support this effort.

These dreams are realistic dreams. Life expectancy for Blacks has increased from 33 years in 1890 to over 74 years today. And, infant mortality for Blacks, which was 210 per thousand births in 1890, now has been reduced to just six per thousand. But we have more work to do. Our interdenominational alliance, led by Black, Latino, and Asian pastors, will benefit all Americans, since properly allocated health resources will increase the life expectancy for the entire population, including Whites. For example, life expectancy in America was just 48 years in 1890 for Whites but could soon be 84 years under Obamacare and thereby match the rate in Japan. (It is also important to note that for many years, the Latino and Asian American life expectancy rates have been higher and their infant mortality rates lower than for Whites.) As in any major national plan, Obamacare has omissions that can be corrected. The first issue is the need for effective outreach to the most underserved communities, such as to our

A second omission, to date, is the absence of a specific set of targets and goals.

As Dr. King stated at a times when Black life expectancy was less than 64 years and the average Black did not live long enough to qualify for social security benefits, “We Shall Overcome.” The President now has the opportunity to implement Dr. King’s dream of full equality in two crucial measures: increased life expectancy and decreased infant mortality.

Christ Our Redeemer 46 Maxwell Irvine, CA 92618 949-955-0014



Completion Counts

making a difference for Riverside students By Rusty Bailey Mayor of Riverside


ompletion Counts is Riverside’s partnership to raise college graduation rates… but just what does that mean? If we look at Completion Counts at its very most basic message it is this: educational completion really does count. Going to school is important, but school is more than just a social center. School is about teaching and learning. And, like any effort that is deemed a success, having the personal determination and direction to achieve the goal and graduate with valuable skills, does matter in our world. Riverside takes education very seriously. It is also a very personal issue for me. Before I became Mayor, I taught government and career preparation classes at Poly High School. At home, I read with my own kids and help them with their homework. Completion Counts started in 2010. The Bill & Melinda Gates


Foundation and the National League of Cities identified cities that could benefit from a threeyear, $3 million dollar grant, but who would also commit their own resources to sustain what the grant would help create. The four cities chosen for the Communities Learning in Partnership (CLIP) grants were New York, San Francisco, Mesa (AZ) and Riverside.

California Riverside and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce are the partners in the Riverside CLIP grant. Together, we took a hard look at how our schools and students were performing. We identified paths for improvement or innovation, and we set goals to measure the effectiveness of what we are all do together, over time.

The grant aimed to raise both high school and college graduation rates, and to smooth the path from high school to college – especially for students who would be the first generation in their families to attend college– to create a more skilled, educated and competitive workforce for the 21st century economy.

Tools we put in place include our website – a free resource that connects parents and students (including veterans and adult learners returning to college after time away) with FAFSA (Federal Financial Aid), college and university applications and the Career Cruising assessment program, among other features. We also opened the Completion Counts Welcome Center at RCC, open to any local student seeking guidance and answers about their options.

The City of Riverside, the Alvord Unified School District, the Riverside Unified School District, Riverside City College, the Riverside County Office of Education, the University of


Outside dollars allowed us to get teachers and counselors from both our public school districts talking with their counterparts at RCC. This resulted in an unprecedented alignment of important English and math classes that ensure our high school students are prepared for college entry. In May 2012, we proudly announced the RCC 2-Year Completion Contract for Riverside resident students from AUSD and RUSD. At a time when the state budget crisis is reducing class offerings, RCC is guaranteeing entrance and priority registration for serious, college-ready students. College starts with core math and English courses in a fulltime schedule. Students earn

the credits necessary to receive their associate degree, career certificate or transfer credits to university, in two years’ time. All of us involved in education cannot emphasize enough what a big deal this is for Riverside students! At a time when California youth have trouble just getting into college, and spend up to five years getting into classes they need, Riverside students have an extraordinary opportunity here. Both school districts and RCC promise that this pathway is “the new way we do business in Riverside.” We have an important message for all our students: It’s not too early

– or too late – to get serious about education and have serious talks with teachers and counselors about your future. All the partners have worked unbelievably hard to identify and overcome barriers to student success. That doesn’t mean classes have been made easier; that’s not what the 21st century economy is demanding of us. From curriculum to counseling to career training, being adaptable and working as partners, we are working smarter, together. This is what Completion Counts means – for students, for families and for our city. It’s important. Because this is true: completion counts!





t is unquestionable that the banking system failed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s: banks shuttered their doors, very few mortgages were made, and the home ownership percentages for all Americans decreased to below 46%. This banking crisis forced lenders to call “due” hundreds of outstanding mortgages. Refinancing was not an option to struggling homeowners, and many of them, now unemployed, were simply unable to make their mortgage payments. Consequently, in unprecedented numbers, properties were foreclosed, causing housing values to plummet. Very few new loans were issued and even fewer new homes were purchased. Standard bank financing at that time generally required down-payments of one-third to one-half of the total purchase price and interest-only monthly mortgage payments for 5-7 years, after which time the principal balances became due in full.


It is unquestionable that the banking system failed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s: banks shuttered their doors, very few mortgages were made, and the home ownership percentages for all Americans decreased to below 46%. This banking crisis forced lenders to call “due” hundreds of outstanding mortgages. Refinancing was not an option to struggling homeowners, and many of them, now unemployed, were simply unable to make their mortgage payments. Consequently, in unprecedented numbers, properties were foreclosed, causing housing values to plummet. Very few new loans were issued and even fewer new homes were purchased. Standard bank financing at that time generally required down-payments of one-third to one-half of the total purchase price and interest-only monthly mortgage payments for 5-7 years, after which time the principal balances became due in full. As part of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal”, the United States Congress passed the National Housing Act in 1934 which created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and implemented a mechanism to restore liquidity to the housing finance industry by providing borrower-paid federal mortgage insurance. This new method of insuring home mortgages revolutionized home ownership and served as the predecessor of our more complex current financial mortgage system. This new FHA loan program allowed for lower down payments (10%), fully amortizing loans, and longer terms (25 years). To the further detriment of already severely disenfranchised Black Americans, however, this new FHA also produced a lending structure that served as the impetus to a particularly insidious form of racial discrimination that still exists today. The underwriting handbook used by the FHA initiated the practice of “redlining”, which marked African-American neighborhoods as ineligible for FHA mortgages. The 1934 handbook incorporated “residential security maps” into its standards to determine the neighborhoods in which mortgages could and could not be made.

POLITICS The maps were based on assumptions about the community, not the ability of the individual households to satisfy lending criteria. HOLC appraisers divided neighborhoods by categories, including occupation, income and ethnicity: the color green marked new, emerging areas with no ethnic minority population; blue denoted older, yet still desirable areas with no or a very small minority population; yellow meant an area was sparsely populated, with few or no minorities, and typically bordered all black neighborhoods, while an alarming red line around a neighborhood indicated that the area was populated by low-income Blacks, considered to be the worst for lending. These maps paved the way for segregation and discrimination in mortgage financing, and arguably, set the original precedent for racial discrimination as an institutional practice. President John F. Kennedy signed executive order 11063, Equal Opportunity in Housing, on November 20, 1962. This order made it illegal for the FHA to discriminate based on race. Thanks to the efforts of many local, state and national elected officials and public and civil rights organizations, such as the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), FHA lending patterns improved and became more inclusionary. African-American home ownership percentages reached almost 50% at their highest in 2004, just 4 years prior to the housing crash. Indisputably, the housing crash and great recession of 2008 have had a catastrophic effect on African American home ownership. African Americans have lost over $1 trillion in wealth, mostly in lost homeownership equity and primarily the results of targeted predatory home mortgage lending practices. African American home ownership levels have dipped to below 43% and are predicted to fall as low as 40% or lower. In contrast, White home ownership has also fallen, but to a long time low of 73%. The gap, or spread, between Black and White home ownership percentages affects the well being of America as a whole.

In response to this more recent homeownership crisis, the FHA has increased down payment requirements, increased the cost of its premiums, added risk-based pricing, and effectively reduced the sources available to inner city residents to obtain FHA financing by increasing the capitalization and loan buy back requirements of participating FHA lenders. In fact, the cost of FHA financing has more than doubled since 2010. For example, a $200,000.00 FHA mortgage in 2010 had a monthly premium of $91.66; today, the same $200,000.00 mortgage insurance premium is $216.66, an increase of over 135%. There is also an upfront premium (MIP) of $3,500.00 which basically allows access to the program; this is in addition to origination fees and/or interest rate increases to accommodate risk based pricing models. These cost increases have eliminated thousands of would-be home owners, resulting in a further increase in the disparity between Black and White home ownership. Similar to the unrelenting demand and public accountability that NAREB and other civil rights organizations made upon and required of the FHA in 1962 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, we must again sound a clarion call insisting that the FHA address the true effect of its increased costs in underserved neighborhoods, and requiring the FHA to provide flexible mortgage products, including but not limited to, below market interest rates in African-American communities. After all, the Congress of these United States provided in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that there is a ‘duty to serve low and low to moderate income families’ in the housing finance marketplace’. While America works to recover from the fiscal disaster of the great recession, we must ensure that every American who dreams of homeownership is given the opportunity to realize that dream. A viable, affordable and fair FHA program designed and ready to serve traditionally underserved families is a mandatory ingredient in the recipe for this kind of healthy America.




5 o


A Balanced Life:

simple tips to help you have it all!


y friends often ask me over our weekly glass of wine, How do you do it? How do you balance work and home life?

My best friend is my iPad, I tell them. They laugh but I’m serious. It took me years to focus on doing the very best I can every day with the time that I have. The very word “balance” can feel like an unattainable goal in our busy hectic lives. One of the reasons I got started in real estate was because I wanted to be my own boss. Nobody tells you that this business can be all consuming. It’s most definitely not a 9-5 profession. Real Estate hasits own unique pressures unless you find a way to achieve balance at work and at home. Here are my 5 simple tips in the pursuit of balance. 1. Create a plan. Write it down. You don’t have to buy an iPad, a daily planner works just as well. Have a daily plan, weekly plan and set goals for your life. Even if it’s just to be home in time for dinner once a week. Be proud of your accomplishments. This takes effort on your part but it is worth it in the long run. It took me years to figure out how important it is to schedule family time as much as I schedule clients for my work day. Your family is just as important as your clients and you shouldn’thave to miss out on events just because you run your own business. 2. Delegate. This is something I’m still learning to do. The day I discovered online grocery shopping was a great day for me. Getting groceries was a difficult task for me but now


with just a few clicks of the mouse, I can order my groceries for the week. For the extra few dollars, I can save hours of my time pushing a cart around the store and spend more quality time with my family. 3. Be Social. My best friend has a saying; “ If you have good girlfriends your life works.” Create a circle of friends to share ideas with, to lean on and to laugh with. You don’t have to know it all just have friends who do. 4. 4. Find a hobby. That’s what work/life balance is all about. Take time to rediscover who you are before you take on all the other titles, wife, mother, friend & successful entrepreneur. For me, the hobby is cake decorating. I find it relaxing and this is coming from a woman who used her oven forshoe storage. It also provides a special activity that I can enjoy with my daughter. Plus my husband has a sweet tooth! I signed up for one class but liked it so much I continued taking classes for two years. Now the greatest compliment you can give me, is to ask; “where did you buy those cupcakes?” 5. Cut back on “escape activities”. These are the activities that we waste time on in life. The TV, computer games, mindless surfing of the net. I mean how many pairs of shoes does one person need! Instead walk the dog, have a long coffee with your spouse or sit down and play a board game with the family. In the end, it will make you a better person. These have been my experiences and I guarantee if you seriously consider one or all of them it will enhance your life experience. Carla Elfeld 646-541-1172


Freeing Our Families from

Generational Poverty P.S. Perkins

How many of these statements have you heard or said:

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “I’m not made of money.” “Rob Peter to pay Paul” “I don’t have any money.” “A paycheck away from poverty.” “Living hand to mouth.” “When I win the lotto.. ” “I am just waiting for my ship to come in.” “Do I look like Santa Claus?” If your childhood was anything like mine, you grew up hearing the same clichés about money day in and day out. This is especially true if you grew up in a family or community where money was a consistent issue of concern. Personally, I consider myself one of the more fortunate individuals; at least my mother and father tried to discuss their financial hardships away from the impressionable ears of us kids, but we still were not spared the burden they felt trying to “make ends meet” or “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Take a moment to listen to those around you. Listen to yourself and the discussions you have concerning money. Is your communication concerning finances poverty driven? Are you speaking yourself into financial wealth or financial


death? True, we are living in hard times, but when have times not been hard for marginalized groups or the working class poor of America, the majority of the world for that matter? However, even the rich have bills and financial concerns. Therefore, the issue becomes how we break the cycle of generational poverty plaguing our communities. This article seeks to examine just one area, but an important one concerning the question of the perpetuation of poverty within our families.


According to the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2012 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), the source of official poverty estimates cited by the U.S. Census Bureau, poverty rates remain higher and increasing for Blacks 27.2 percent (24.5 percent in 2007, before recession) and Hispanics 25.6 percent (21.5 percent in 2007). The poverty rate decreased for non-Hispanic Whites 9.7 percent (8.3 percent in 2005, down from 8.2 percent in 2007). For those identifies as White Americans 12.7 percent and Asians 11.7 percent below poverty line. Highlights of the study confirm: • In 2012, the official poverty rate was 15.0 percent. There were 46.5 million people in poverty. • For the second consecutive year, neither the official poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty at the national level were statistically different from the previous year’s estimates. • The 2012 poverty rate was 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession. • In 2012, the poverty rate for people living in the West was statistically lower than the 2011 estimate. • For most groups, the number of people in poverty did not show a statistically significant change. However, between 2011 and 2012, the number of people in poverty did increase for people aged 65 and older, people living in the South, and people living outside metropolitan statistical areas. • The poverty rate in 2012 for chil¬dren under age 18 was 21.8 per¬cent. The poverty rate for people aged 18 to 64 was 13.7 percent, while the rate for people aged 65 and older

was 9.1 percent. None of these poverty rates were statistically different from their 2011 estimates.1 The data presented here are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), the source of official poverty estimates. The CPS ASEC is a sample survey of approximately 100,000 household nationwide. These data reflect conditions in calendar year 2012. Obviously, race and class are contributing factors to these numbers. However, the question remains; How do we break the cycle? Is it really a “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps answer in the current economic reality?” We all understand that education is a key factor in uplifting any individual out of unemployment and underemployment. We also understand that it is vital to save and create nest eggs for our retirement and children’s future. We have heard the value of buying real estate, creating 401K’s, IRA’s, Stock Portfolio’s and other financial planning safeguards. However, how many of us are really getting the urgency of financial planning? In addition, do we talk about these issues at home with our children? According to an article written by Tom Abate entitled, “Americans Saving Less than Nothing…”, “Kevin Lansing, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, tracks the personal savings rate -- the Commerce Department’s measure of how much consumers have left after spending is subtracted from income. In November 2005, the savings rate was a negative 0.2 percent.” (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8/2006) These statistics reflect our nation as a whole. So what is the solution?



For those of us who were born into a mentality of poverty, I want to suggest that we start to SPEAK WEALTH! We need to change our language concerning money in our homes, in our churches, in our communities. We need a NEW financial attitude! We need to completely refrain, STOP talking about what we do not have, what we wish we had, and how broke we are! We expend too much negative energy on thinking and talking about money. Many of us are acquainted with the bible scripture that states, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Now, I am not trying to preach “prosperity ministry.” What I am speaking about is the understanding that you cannot achieve what you cannot believe! It is a fact. Too many of us speak poverty and expect riches. Have you ever stopped to think that your thoughts are energy? Everything, I mean everything ever created was first a thought that became a word, which then became a thing! Why do you think so many of the wise sages and teachers of our past and present placed so much emphasis on teaching us to guard our mouths? “In the beginning was the WORD.” We ALL possess this creative power. The universe DOES answer every deep thought and desire. The “Law of Attraction” is a real principle that works like any other universal principle. I assert that the major factor perpetuating poverty within our households is the absence of positive energy towards thinking, communicating and working towards wealth.


Think about it. How do you communicate about money with your children? What is your general attitude concerning finances? I am sure if you take a close look and start to monitor the way you think and speak about money, you may find that it is the mentality of lack (which directly affects productivity) that is keeping you and your family impoverished. Yes, it all begins in the mind, even the effort it takes to redesign your life. Finding work, going back to school, finding a new job, building a dream – IT ALL TAKES POSTIVE THOUGHT – FAITH! We need to break the cycle of poverty in our homes that will then ripple out into our communities and into the society-at-large. “Free your mind and the rest will follow.” It only takes a word – YOUR WORD!

P.S. Perkins, CEO Human Communication Institute, LLC Author: The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace, Wiley Publishers, 2008


Have You Paid Your D.U.E.S.? P.S. Perkins

I can remember countless times receiving this advice from my grandparents, parents, mentors and like-minded friends – “to whom much is given, much is required” – you must pay your D.U.E.S.! For the most part, I understood this to mean, work hard and be patient. This admonishment was often shared during some type of major challenge where a need, want, or desire was delayed according to my limited point of view. I had grown weary of waiting for my “just rewards.” My grandmother would offer words of comfort and wisdom, using such proverbs as, “You will understand it better, by and by.” Have you paid your D.U.E.S.? You know the ones everyone says you must pay before your ascent to greatness. No matter the mentoring advice or the success books, you read one piece of wisdom that acts as a consistent thread through each voice, the necessity of paying your D.U.E.S. Most concur that hard work over time is a part of every worthy achievement. But, why was the dream taking so long to materialize?

“All great achievements require time.” Maya Angelou 94 | TPIN MAGAZINE

Sound familiar? How many times have you arrived at a juncture in your journey where feelings of impatience, discouragement, and doubt encouraged you to turn back from your dream? At that moment, you were convinced it was a waste of time; just not worth it; a cruel hoax designed especially for you by the always-demanding, nevergiving universe. You arrived once again at the crossroads of turn back or keep on keeping on, though your feet felt encased by concrete. Then fear cries out, “What if it is just a game; a waiting game with no guarantees that I’ll win?” Often, you start to feel isolated as if no one could possibly understand the suffering you are going through. There must be something terribly wrong with you or the formula, right? It just cannot be this hard!

“Before success comes in any man’s life, he’s sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That’s exactly what the majority of men do.” Napoleon Hill

Yes, you have arrived, as so many before you, at the defining moment of your destiny. And while we all arrive at this juncture along the road of life, more than a few turn back. What about you, right now, right at this moment? Is this a paying your D.U.E.S. moment in your journey? Encarta Dictionary recognizes the phrase “pay your dues” and defines it as “to gain a privilege or position through hard work or pain.” Athletes can especially relate to this “no pain, no gain” philosophy of life. We greatly admire and respect the well-defined bodies and precision we witness in competitive sports. We quickly acknowledge the hard work that goes into becoming a top athlete. Why should our passions be any different, require any less diligence, drive, or time?

LIFE COACHING What about this thing called time? It appears that time and paying your D.U.E.S. is inextricably connected. Most have heard and come to understand “time” as an illusion of the material world. Many discipline themselves to stay in the present moment so that they will not give into the illusion of time. But as aware as we may be, the minutes tick by into days, the days into months, the months into years and time often takes its toll. The waiting game becomes solidified by our ever-demanding desires. But why shouldn’t we expect quick results in a society that urges us to expect immediate gratification of our “good” deeds (not the “bad” ones of course). Never mind the poor decisions, the mishaps, or the detours taken that often stretch out the road before us. Growing up, we are told that there are tools essential to success. We spend the time building our dreams following the “manuals” of life with the tools life offers. We read the books, follow the dogmas, take the classes, acquire the degrees, and engage in the apprenticeships all in our quests to achieve our “just rewards.” These processes appear to go on for a lifetime and THEN we wait!

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” Benjamin


Have you noticed that no one is immune from this conditional law of success? What

sometimes appears as “instant success” is usually a lack of clear insight into what went on behind the scenes of victory. We just witnessed the amazing accomplishment of 24-year-old Olympic champion Michael Phelps. Phelps won eight goldmedals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and holds seven world records in swimming! But he’s so young! Surely, he had to be the luckiest person on the planet or born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth affording him all the best life had to offer. Well, let’s take a closer look. Michael was diagnosed at an early age with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. He began to swim at age seven as a way to engage this energy and join his sisters in their passion. His parents divorced when he was nine years old. His coaches share that he trained daily for nine years straight in order to prepare as an Olympic athlete. Nine years, everyday – holidays, birthdays, EVERYDAY! Yes, he paid his D.U.E.S.

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” Michael


Examine the political and life struggles of President Abraham Lincoln; the multitude of times Moses exhorted Pharaoh to let his people go; the determination of Harriett Tubman to free slaves through the Underground Railroad; and the drive of Tiger Woods to become the greatest golfer in world history! They are more

than their stories. They are the ones that stayed the course through the illusion of time and failure. They all paid their D.U.E.S. Greatness, true freedom, and real genius requires it of everyone desiring to travel the road of self-discovery to his or her destiny.

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” Lao


Maybe it is time for you and me to reexamine the resistance we often feel and express when it comes to paying our D.U.E.S. Maybe its time to embrace the lessons, the wisdom, and the glory that comes with time, patience, and endurance. No matter the goal, the desire, the dream, or the passion, be ready to Discover Understanding Essential to Success! Your genius is waiting to happen, but it is a journey of discovery. It is a journey into understanding. It is a journey essential to your success! So go ahead, have the courage, the determination, and the faith to pay your D.U.E.S.!

P.S. Perkins, Author The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace



Technology Trends Leads to Full Service Solutions Written By: John D. Reyes Social NetworX Inc. President

Real estate professionals are finally getting it‌ social marketing and mobile technology are valuable resources that will ultimately affect their bottom line. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have probably noticed a tremendous increase in the overall use of mobile technology from both buyers and sellers. In fact, there are countless reports to support the notion that real estate consumers have aggressively adopted technology. Because technology has had such a significant impact on business, both agents and real estate brokers are clamoring to get their hands on helpful resources. I run one of the most successful technology training organizations in real estate and we have noticed a tremendous spike in overall use within the last 60 days. Our phones have been ringing off the hook with requests for us to speak at various industry events. And I personally believe this is all because real estate professionals have either heard about or personally witnessed the benefit of adopting technology in business. Important technology data 75% of sellers found their agent online 75% of senior home buyers search online 74% of sellers use social media to communicate 70% of buyers found their agent on the Internet 60% of buyers Googled their agent 42% of homes purchased are found online



Although we see a remarkable push for the real estate community to personally become more technically savvy, there’s a new trend emerging. That trend is for busy professionals to outsource and hire qualified companies to do the work for them. I’d like to stress the importance of the word, qualified. Unqualified companies entering the market place and selling worthless services is a trend all in its own, but for the sake of time and our sanity we won’t go there just yet. Our company recently released one of the most exclusive programs of its kind and it’s literally taking the real estate industry by storm. And I hate to use such an overly generic common cliché, but I feel that it’s fitting for the situation. First of all, in order to deliver a service that truly gets the attention of the industry you must first solve a problem that resonates with the majority. And that’s exactly what we did. Problem Identified The biggest problem is that we have a much more technically savvy real estate consumer and the real estate industry has been slow to incorporate mobile technology into their daily business practices. As a result, the agent or brokerage firm that engages with technology more aggressively tends to be more of a standout simply because of the enhanced value offering that comes as a direct benefit by way of either submitting offers on an iPad or releasing a virtual tour video on the world wide web.

If a broker or agent wants to engage with technology many times they don’t even know where to start. Chances are trainings that they have received in the past were less than subpar and in many cases they may have tried to unsuccessfully implement learned techniques only to fail in their endeavor. This is defeating and in many cases moralizing for the real estate professional. And as a result, it has now lead to an obvious solution – hire a professional and qualified real estate firm to handle your social marketing business. A quote that I commonly use when introducing this super exclusive service goes a little like this, “Mr. or Mrs. Broker, technology is now more important than ever before. Respectfully you haven’t figured it out yet and chances are that you’re not going to figure it out in the very near future. The good news is that your competitors haven’t gotten it either.” We now offer an exclusive service that allows us to designate a specific market and we then develop the most comprehensive, aesthetically pleasing real estate website to ever hit a specific market. We then take this beautifully developed site and we drive traffic to it with the most strategic organic SEO campaign offered in real estate. By offering this to only one broker per territory, it allows us to focus on driving leads to one client.



Art Acosta is known as one of the most seasoned real estate professionals in the business. In fact, Art has been a pioneer in the business and he has successfully run his own brokerage firm for more than 20 years. Art is nationally recognized as one of the most successful REO brokers and he often shares his experience and expertise by speaking at industry events across the country. Despite the market ups and downs, Art has been impressively successful by always staying ahead of the trends. “The writing is on the wall. As the president of ERA Regency and Open Door Institute, I have a close network with thousands of successful real estate professionals. And it seems to me like they are all saying the same thing. Technology is just one of those things that we have to figure out. That’s the reason why I decided to partner with the very best tech company in the business, Social NetworX Inc.” – Art Acosta Art has teamed up with our firm to develop, manage, and maintain a site for his market in Southern California. The purpose of this article is


to keep you ahead of the curve and let you know what’s around the corner. I am on a mission to help as many real estate agents as possible and I know that educating yourself is one of the most important things you can do. I look forward to sharing even more with you in the very near future, but at least we can end this story by emphasizing that technology is something that you can run from, so why not run to it.

John Reyes 7375 Day Creek Blvd. Suite 103 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739 Office: (909) 786-2107 Facsimile: (909) 583-9818

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ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM The California African American Museum (CAAM) researches, collects, preserves and interprets for public enrichment the history, art and culture of African Americans. Chartered by the California State Legislature in 1977, CAAM is a state supported institution and a partner with the 501(c)(3) non- profit organization Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum. In addition to its permanent collection of more than 3,000 objects of art, artifacts and historical documents, CAAM presents 13 exhibitions and 85 programs annually. CAAM also houses a research library containing more than 20,000 volumes, employs and trains high school students through its Young Docent program, and hosts in-house curated exhibitions and traveling exhibitions on a regular basis throughout California and the nation. California African American Museum | 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037 213-744-7432 /

A MEMOIR IN FOUR MOVEMENTS: CARMEN DE LAVALLADE & GEOFFREY HOLDER November 21, 2013 - May 5, 2014 CAAM proudly presents A Memoir in Four Movements: Carmen de Lavallade & Geoffrey Holder, a survey exhibition devoted to the four “movements” of Theatre, Art, Dance and Design that comprise the prodigious artistic output of Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder as actors, dancers, choreographers, teachers and designers. This exhibition of paintings, sculptures, photographs, costumes, books, and designs provides an intimate look at their artistic legacy, and highlights the many significant contributions they have made, and continue to make, to American culture both as individual artists and collaborators. This exhibition was originally curated by the DuSable Museum and has been reorganized for presentation at CAAM.

SOUL STIRRING: African American Self-Taught Artists from the South: through April 6, 2014 The late, renowned, self-taught artists honored in this important exhibition created stirring artworks with a variety of media. The absence of formal training and lack of funds did not stifle our honorees’ creative spirits or diminish their commitments to their communities. The originality and intensity of their artworks vividly establishes their indelible contributions to American art.

AFRICAN AMERICAN MILITARY PORTRAITS FROM THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: Selected Images from The Library of Congress Collections: through December 29, 2013 Extended by popular demand, this exhibition commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, capturing the courage of mostly unknown African American soldiers and sailors. It also serves as a stunning reminder of the pride, determination, and sense of destiny that filled these men who, at enormous personal sacrifice, sought their rightful place in the fabric of this nation for an entire people. Reproduced in large format from the original hand-sized photographs, these images are from the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs and the Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs, both at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

THE LEGACY OF THE GOLDEN STATE MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY: More Than A Business: through December 29, 2013 When Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company built its new corporate headquarters, designed by renowned architect Paul R. Williams, it commissioned two extraordinary murals by Charles Alston and Hale Woodruff. Eventually, GSM amassed one of the largest corporate collections of African American art in the U.S.

Clementine Hunter | Cotton Crucifixion, 1970 Oil on board | Gordon W. Bailey Collection from Soul Stirring: African American Self-Taught Artists from the South

THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON: A Tribute, 50 Years Later: through February 23, 2014 It is estimated that 250,000 men and women, black and white, young and old, traveled significant distances to converge on the mall of Washington, DC to raise their voices in unity to demand jobs, freedom, and equality for all Americans. The August 28, 1963, March on Washington became one of many watershed moments in the struggle for Civil Rights. CAAM celebrates this historical event with an exhibition featuring borrowed photos, artifacts and other ephemera from CAAM’s History Collection in tribute to the thousands of “foot soldiers” who made a tangible difference in the lives of future generations, impacting our society for the betterment of all.

AFRODESCENDIENTES: Photographer Roberto Chile in Guanabacoa, Cuba: through November 15, 2013 Afrodescendientes was originally mounted by celebrated Cuban photographer and documentarian Roberto Chile in Madrid’s Casa de América. This visual journey illustrates the sublime beauty of certain aspects of Afro-Cuban culture while inviting you into the emotional intimacy of daily life.

DIVERTED DESTRUCTION 6: through January 19, 2014 This collaboratively created exhibition of assemblages, made from cast-off objects, is presented simultaneously at CAAM and at The Loft at Liz’s at 453 South La Brea Avenue. CAAM Artists on display include Dale Brockman Davis, Derrick Maddox, Rosalyn Myles, Joseph Sims and Richard Turner.

California African American Museum 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037 213-744-7432 /


Movies that Inspire and Entertain

“The Butler” by Tanya Freeman


many of the transformational decisions made by those presidents in that 34 year span and how those presidents affected change for our nation and for blacks.

This amazing film was based on an article, featured in the “The Washington Post. “ written by Wil Haygood, entitled “A Butler Well Served by This Election,” When comparing the article to the film, there are some remarkable differences. First of all the, Eugene Allen’s name was changed to Cecil Gaines, with an outstanding performance given by Forest Whitaker. Secondly, Mr. Allen only had one son in real life.

This film compelled me to recall the history of those turbulent and horrifying years which took place in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This time I felt different as those memories flooded my being as I realized how young people had been hurt and killed. As a mother, I cried for the children who had been leached and left hanging as examples. I cried for the children who had been bombed in Churches. I cried for the young teenagers of the Little Rock Nine. I cried for the Freedom Riders who were only 17, 18 and 19 years old. I cried for the parents of these young people also.

ee Daniels’ The Butler, from the Weinstein Company; is a powerful movie, which is based loosely on the real life of Eugene Allen and his wife, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. As a Butler in the beautiful and prestigious White House for thirty-four years, Mr. Allen faithfully and honorably served eight presidents from 1952-1986.

The film was filled with a star studded cast of performers such as: Cuba Gooding Jr., Jane Fonda, Mirah Carey and many more. Having studied the backgrounds and historic accomplishments of the eight presidents, I was moved in my emotions as I was reminded of


Today, history has recorded the facts of multiple events which took place in many cities in the south to bring the necessary changes. As I have traveled, I have seen signs of change and that healing has taken place with even a few monuments erected. Recently, I visited Little Rock, Arkansas and saw the Civil Rights

ENTERTAINMENT Memorial of the Little Rock Nine on the ground of the Capital and thought about the things those teenagers endured to integrate public schools. As I discussed the events with my own children, they expressed an enormous amount of gratitude for the bravery of those change agents throughout history. It was apparent there southern states were filled with fear and retaliation and that a new way of living came forth. Here’s your assignment! I would encourage readers and movie goers to take a closer look at history, research and have a discussion over dinner to share thoughts, ideas and strategies for continued progress. There is still so much work to be done, so let’s continue to move to action. Some recommended topics to research and are : • The role share cropping played after The Emancipation Proclamation how it was considered one step above slavery • The role and opportunities of the Civil Rights Bill and the Voting Bills • The type of people and professions who could afford Fisk University and Howard University • The understanding the hatred and undermining associated with the “N” word • The Little Rock Nine and where they are today • The Freedom Riders – remembering they were young kids 17, 18, 19 year old kids with determination, who later became heroes yet paid such a price • The changes in last 100 years as it relates to African –Americans • The life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the events that preceded his death. Become familiar with Dr. King’s educational accomplishments • The definition of middle class black in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The types of jobs, benefits, their character and the injustices tolerated by people in the middle class.

• Black Panthers, their beliefs and the California bombing • President Barack Obama, his life and his accomplishments During the 1960’s, the young leaders came on the scene with fearless determination, fresh eyes and new energy to move the agenda along. As I viewed the movie, I was reminded of the 2008 election as I watched a similar results oriented drive in action to accomplish a huge task, lead by young leaders. I was in Ohio on that very memorable day when one of the news station announced Barak Obama, the first African American to be elected President of the United State of America. I related to Cecil in the final scene with his joy, his excitement of the promise of better future for generations to come. In discussions about the years reflected in the film, it was brought to my attention that each generation has made tremendous progress, yet we all do a better job of transferring personal history of the from one generation to the next. For example sitting and talking about what it was like to grow up in the 1950’s and 1960’s expressing all the joys and all of the pains that were experienced. It could foster a greater appreciation for the events of the past and the life we currently get to enjoy. We can’t stop, there is still more work to be done.



“Baggage Claim” and Relationships Today

by Tanya Freeman The movie to be reviewed for this month is “Baggage Claim,”; is a film written and directed by David E. Talbert. It was released September of 2013. The movie gave us various view s into the power of relationships and how relationships can influence our lives both positively and negatively. It was a reminder of the significance of knowing and being true to the values one holds to be true and yet being bold enough to examine and challenge the areas of our lives and belief systems which are no longer working for us, and understanding why or why not. This takes honesty, vulnerability, trust, and a willingness to change. We act on our beliefs, customs and traditions which have been passed down for generations, and many times we never take the time to question ourselves. In the movie the main character, Montana Moore played by Paula Patton was trapped into a situation by a belief system that she truly felt had been handed down to her by her mother, Catherine Moore played by Jenifer Lewis. We later discover that the younger sister, Sheru Moore, played by Lauren London also deep down in her soul felt the same way as Montana. Montana Moore had so many good things going for her throughout the movie which always gave her an upper hand on things. She had friends who expressed: unconditional love , small acts of kindness, true acceptance and understanding toward her. Montana was a beautiful, loving and sensitive woman who was a flight attendant. Yet her mind was made up and she was determined to become engaged


before her younger sister’s wedding, which gave her thirty days to find herself a husband. The movie is all about how her friends, and coworkers manipulated the system to give her the “hook up,” to offer support and to connect her with eligible former boyfriends, one of which was a black Republican political candidate. The movie is filled with multiple disappointments, which ultimately bring Montana to understand and accept who she really is and what she ultimately desires for her own life. I found the movie to be entertaining. “Baggage Claim” also stars Adam Brody as Sam, Boris Kodjoe as Graham, Djrmon Housou as Quinton Jamison, Taye Diggs as Langston Jefferson Battle III, Jill Scott as Gail Best, and Derek Luke as William Wright, as her best friend. All of their roles make you think and relate to someone in your own life that would change the world for you if they could, and in this movie they can and they do. Relationships have been a part of the “Masterpiece” established before the beginning of time. A masterpiece is created by an artist and is considered to be unique, precious, rare, and priceless. How we appreciate and care for the masterpiece is up to us, as an individual and determines so much about the value it can bring into our lives. Our lives are the “masterpiece” or masterwork and yet, our beliefs about what we consider to be truth, determines how we relate one to another. These beliefs are foundational to how we feel about family, friends, loved ones and yes, even ourselves.


Relationships have been a part of the “Masterpiece” established before the beginning of time. A masterpiece is created by an artist and is considered to be unique, precious, rare, and priceless. How we appreciate and care for the masterpiece is up to us, as an individual and determines so much about the value it can bring into our lives. Our lives are the “masterpiece” or masterwork and yet, our beliefs about what we consider to be truth, determines how we relate one to another. These beliefs are foundational to how we feel about family, friends, loved ones and yes, even ourselves. Marriage is an amazing experience, especially when you decide that you have found someone to adapt and be flexible with in this life. From that decision a person will grow and have a better understanding of loving unconditionally. Years ago, families gave a different weight and value to the number of children and the gathering for the family during holidays and special events. The families gave great assistance to the rearing of the family and the next generation. Families are deep connections which travel into future generations. Was that the dream that Montana was chasing? Was the vision of a husband, large house and beautiful children a wonderful dream or an expectation set by someone else in her subconscious? Was Montana afraid that that she and others would consider her a failure without these things? Do we personally need these things to be a whole person? Do we deeply desire these things and feel we personally could contribute to the life of another and would be better off because of our love and desire to share our lives with others? Neither decision will give you a perfect life, because that does really does not exist. However, the masterpiece of our lives does provide an accumulation of ordinary moments, some memorable extraordinary experiences; then times of tears and sorrow where we grow

mature and trust. There are also beautiful times of laughter with friends and family which make our hearts smile with such joy. Our decisions are very important and will determine a course by which we travel. The great thing about life is that we have opportunities to make changes about our decisions and even our relationships. The movie made me think about my life and those around me; and how times have changed for women of my children’s generation. Could it be that the opportunities changed which allow our perception of what we want and need, to change? Have we allowed expectations, traditions and the beliefs of others to shape us to point to where our lives are not as fulfilling or accepting to ourselves and to our traditional families and friends? Today, take the time to be authentic with your parents, friends and relatives and to uncover the reasons you believe the way that you do and when and why their belief patterns were formulated. Many of our parents or grandparents were born during or immediately after the Great Depression or during times of War. They keep tons of food in their storage areas, add water to the ketchup to make it stretch, and many can make a cake using no sugar but using substitutions like jelly. Listen to their stories to better understand them and how they were able to survive during those times. Challenge yourself to be human and to uncover some of the foundations to your truths. It may change your life and many of the people that you love. Learn how to love them deeper for their things they endured and survived. That is what Montana Moore and her mother did. Love and communication are powerful in the presence of authenticity. Tanya Moye’ Freeman



How To Stop craving the

wrong foods Food cravings

Why Do Food Cravings Always Win?

You wake up each morning with every intention of eating “good” today. You’ll skip the drive thru line on your way to work. You’ll refuse to get fast food with co-workers at lunch. You’ll boycott the vending machine in the mid-afternoon. And you won’t even think about having dessert after dinner.

Let’s face it, we live in a world where food temptations are everywhere...which lead to cravings, which lead to you eating things that you shouldn’t. Again. And again. And again. Until you’re so fed up with your body that you don’t even know where to begin to get yourself back on track.

But then your cravings win.

Stores display the most tantalizing junk food items right where you could easily reach them. TV commercials for greasy, fattening foods portray them so scrumptiously that you literally salivate. Sugary snack items have full-page, glossy pictures in your favorite magazines. And as if all of these weren’t enough, the people in your daily lif are another, constant source of food temptation.

Your friend drops by with a big fluffy muffin and a latte for breakfast. A group of coworkers invite you to that greasy spoon down the street for lunch. Cake is passed around at the mid-afternoon staff meeting. And after dinner your honey surprises you with a bowl of your favorite ice cream. You tell yourself that tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow you won’t give in to food cravings. But then tomorrow comes with its own special circumstances, and cravings get the best of you once again.


To make matters worse, you’ve been conditioned since childhood to have a positive association with the act of indulging in your cravings. You use food as a reward. You use food as a source of emotional comfort. You use food as a way to relieve stress. And quickly these associations and uses of food become habit. A habit not easily broken.

HEALTH New Technique to End Food Cravings Food cravings don’t need to have the upper hand on you anymore. Here’s how you can fight back using your most powerful asset: your brain.

on a pedestal in your mind. As long as the wrong foods are on that pedestal you’ll continue to give into your cravings and will continue to gain fat.

Remember that your mind is an amazing thing. Once your mind is made up about something it’s nearly impossible to change it. Try This Powerful Mind Exercise: Imagine that you are peacefully floating down a river on a raft. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you are having a fun, relaxing time.

Take the wrong food off that pedestal by listing off everything negative about them... These foods make you unhealthy. These foods cause weight gain. These foods drain your energy. These foods kill your confidence. These foods lessen your quality of life. These foods damage your love life. Every time that you feel tempted to eat an unhealthy food, focus on your list of negatives. Kick the junk off the pedestal and put something healthy in its place.

You feel wonderful about the river because it’s making you feel happy. Now change perspectives for a moment. You’re now in a plane flying over the river and the raft. Instantly our eye is drawn to an enormous rocky waterfall. Then you look back to the person floating on the raft, having a wonderful time, headed straight for the treacherous falls. With this new perspective of the river, do you think that you’d agree to get on a raft and take your chances floating toward the falls? Laughable, right? You’ve seen the hidden danger of the river. You know it leads to pain and suffering. Now your n e g a t i v e association (watery death) with the river has replaced your initial positive association (relaxing fun). This is the key to overcoming food temptations and putting an end to food cravings: building negative associations in place of existing positive ones. I’ll break this process down for you in two steps: Step One: Create a STRONG Negative Association with Unhealthy Food You may not have realized it, but up until this point you’ve placed unhealthy, fattening foods

Step Two: Create a STRONG Positive Association with wholesome foods Now that your mental food pedestal has been cleared, put truly wholesome food items on it. Juicy fresh fruit, crispy vegetables and savory lean meats are the place to start. List off the things that you love about healthy food... These foods make you healthy. These foods promote fat loss. These foods boost your energy. These foods build your confidence. These foods improve your quality of life. These foods enhance your love life. I encourage you to immerse yourself into the world of healthy, wholesome foods. Browse the aisles of your local natural foods store. Stroll through a farmer’s market. Pack healthy snacks to bring to work. Clear your kitchen of junk. Use the technique above consistently and you will soon find that healthy, wholesome foods are your favorite. And craving the wrong foods will be a thing of your past.



The Secret to a Flat Stomach

(Not what you may think)

Your Flat Stomach Plan One of the most popular questions that I’m asked is, “How can I get great abs or a flat stomach?” You may have pondered this question at some time or another. Many people are frustrated by their waistlines, to the point of giving up after doing dozens of crunches with zero improvement. It’s time to forget everything you’ve heard about how to sculpt your abs. Quite simply, crunches alone won’t give you a sculpted, flat stomach. Doing crunches with the hope that it will transform your abs from flabby to muscular is to believe in one of the most widely held fitness myths. I’m talking about the spot reduction myth. Training one area of your body will not specifically burn fat from that spot. Are you training as if spot reduction worked? Doing dozens of crunches in the hopes that layers of fat will disappear? Sit-ups, crunches and planks will not cause your muffin top to disappear. But a drop in overall body fat will do that for you. So you want the secret to great abs and a flat stomach? The secret is a winning combination of fat burning cardio, resistance training and clean eating. It is fully possible for you to dramatically shape up your waistline. Yes, Y-O-U. My clients routinely lose weight and transform their bodies. You can do it too. Answer the following questions to see how your current routine measures up: How often do you exercise? If your answer was anything less than 4 times a week, then that’s the first thing getting between you and flat abs. How do you define a fat burning workout? A routine including intense cardiovascular training coupled with effective resistance training.



Do you do this? I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes isn’t a fat blasting routine. Neither is a leisurely 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. The truth is that you can dramatically increase your results while investing less time when you exercise right. Cardio exercise is all about maintaining an effective level of intensity. This doesn’t mean that you should be out of breath or gasping for air. It does mean that you need to push yourself. Resistance training is the second key part of a fat burning workout. This means working your major muscle groups against resistance in a way that stimulates your metabolism. Again the key here is to find the right intensity and to keep each muscle group guessing. Do you eat a clean diet? Diet is a big stumbling block for most people - especially as it relates to their midsection. Here’s a fact: If your diet is out of control then your abs will be too. You can’t trim your waist without trimming the junk out of your diet, regardless of how hard you exercise. Keep calories in check. Do you know

how many calories you eat? The best way to find out is to record everything you eat for a few days. Tally the number of calories that you eat each day and do an evaluation feel free to recruit me to help out with this part. Together we’ll chart improvements for your diet and adjust your calories for maximum results. Just say “No” to junk food. While this may seem obvious, your definition of “junk food” may need an alteration. Refined sugar is one of the biggest culprits in the junk food world it is found in soft drinks, blended coffee drinks, cookies, cakes, packaged snacks, and other sinfully sweet treats. Processed fat is another monster. As a rule of thumb you can safely view all processed or refined items as junk food. Eat more frequently. The key here is to never let your metabolism “crash” by going like 6 to 8 hours without eating. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to skip breakfast - as this is the meal that ‘breaks the fast’ that your body goes into each night. Stick with eating small meals every few hours and always avoid stuffing yourself. You

should now understand why you are better off not wasting time on crunches - while it is important to exercise your abs a couple of times a week, you won’t expect fat to fall of that area after 100’s of crunches. Remember: GREAT ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN! Meaning what you eat on a daily basis will determine how flat your stomach is. Do you want to flatten and sculpt your waist once and for all? Simply decide that you really want it. Commit to yourself - you deserve it. See me for fat-blasting workouts that deliver results. Together we will get you on a program that will melt the fat off your abs, exposing shape and definition.

Call or email me today to get started. (909) 214-9660 or



What type of neighborhood are you living in? Have you ever been shot before? What about shot at before? Have you ever been a victim of a violent crime? Do you know someone, perhaps a loved one that has been killed by a violent crime? Maybe you yourself, or someone you know, has been carjacked or mugged. Have you ever had your home broken into? Lived next to someone or heard of someone close to you that had his or her home broken into? Maybe you haven’t personally been the victim of something quite so bad, but what about harassed, sabotaged, had your property damaged? Perhaps your car has been “keyed” – ruining the paint, your tires slashed or punctured? What about a neighbor that complains about the violence in your neighborhood? No? If the answer to the majority of these questions is no, then it is likely that you are currently living in a pretty good neighborhood, but go on a journey with me for a moment. Transport yourself to an inner city neighborhood, a place where these types of violent acts occur on a daily basis. Get that place in your head. Now, walk into a town hall meeting. You can feel the fear, the anger and hear the sniffles and crying from a recent shooting. You look to the front of the room and these same questions are being asked. As each question is asked, you see hands go up all across the room. Soon, almost every hand is being raised to every question. Now these people are your neighbors, what would come to mind? What would likely come to mind is, “What is wrong with these people?! Why don’t they just MOVE?”, “Why don’t they just change their neighborhood?”, “Don’t they know that this is NOT normal?”. You would be thinking, it’s not normal to be shot at, it’s not normal to have your loved ones killed by violent crimes or it’s not normal to have your property damaged. The first thing you’d probably want to do is move yourself; you’d want to get you and your loved ones the heck out of there!



Let me change the questions a little bit. Have you or someone you love ever had cancer? How many people do you know, or know of, that have been impacted by cancer? How many people do you know that have been diagnosed with Diabetes? How many people do you know that have been debilitated by Diabetes? Have you ever lost someone to a heart attack? Do you know someone who has been debilitated by heart disease or stroke? Do you know someone who is tied to an oxygen tank because of emphysema? These are violent illnesses that have attacked our neighbors, the people we love or even ourselves. This is something we don’t even question. This is the neighborhood that we live in in our minds. We live in a neighborhood where, “Oh someone else has died of cancer? That’s tragic.”, “Someone else has gone blind because of Diabetes? That’s sad.”, or “Someone else is now on dialysis? That’s

unfortunate.” But we’re not doing anything to say, “This is not normal!” This is something we can’t stand for. We’ve got to move. We have to change our mental neighborhood. We have to stand up and say, “We are no longer going to be victimized.” Because all of these violent illnesses are preventable. Yes, preventable! They don’t have to happen to us. They don’t have to take the lives of our loved ones. They don’t have to cause us to live debilitating lives. We don’t have to become dependent upon drugs or pharmaceutical companies. We don’t have to set standards so low where this becomes our norm. It’s time to change the neighborhood we live in and become free of these violent, preventable illnesses that we’re plagued with. In future articles, we are going to analyze some of the top killers. We are also going to discuss how by simple lifestyle modification we can save our loved ones as well as ourselves from being victimized by these violent illnesses.



Beso is a magnificently sexy restaurant. As you step foot through the large imposing wooden doors, you know you have arrived in Hollywood. Beso is located on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue. Parking is horrible in this city so take advantage of the convenient valet service for a prepaid $10. Beso caters to famous celebrities and patrons who admire Latin cuisine. Actress Eva Longoria and Celebrity Chef Todd English deliver a contemporary Latin menu with eclectic dishes from around the globe. This star-studded décor is fabulous! The 150-seat dinning room has dramatic crystal chandeliers and candlelit tables with comfortable black leather overstuffed chairs. Beige crocodile wrap-around booths line the walls and upstairs seating overlooks the large dinning room. The open kitchen hosts a wood-burning oven that fills the air with delightful savory scents and their ceviche bar displays fresh fish. Although it’s a gorgeous restaurant, it is a tidbit dark inside. I started my meal off with one of their signature appetizer. I ordered the Beso Guacamole that was topped with corn and cheese and served in an avocado shell with crispy tortilla chips. It was good, however it did lack some real Mexican spices. After the appetizer we received our complimentary Flatbread with a Roasted Red Pepper Spread. This was one of the highlights of the night because it was insanely delicious.

I could have eaten the flatbread all night, it was that good! For my entrée, I ordered the Beso Paella with saffron rice, lobster, roasted chicken, shellfish, and chorizo. I have tasted paella before, but Beso Paella had a wow factor and the presentation was resplendent. It was definitely the best paella I had so far and when I go back to Beso, I will order it again. The waitress was very friendly and checked on us throughout the night. The cuisine at Beso is on the very pricey side. I think you are paying more for the ambiance and the famous name behind the restaurant. With that being said, it is worth coming here and trying the food. A fantastic place for a romantic dinner. If you’re not interested in dinning at Beso and you just looking for a place to meet beautiful people, well look no further. This restaurant transforms into a nightclub. In Spanish beso means kiss, so it was only fitting to name the nightclub Kiss. It gets packed with hordes of twenty-something looking to meet up. Whether you are searching for a place to have a romantic dinner or nightclub to party in, Beso is a definite must try experience. Plus you never know who you will meet. For information on Beso, please contact the restaurant at: 6350 Hollywood Blvd Hollywood, CA 90028 (323) 467-7991



All Aboard….

The Napa Valley Wine Train By Dede Davie

Napa Valley is approximately 47 miles from San Francisco. It usually takes about an hour to drive north from San Francisco to what is known as the world famous Wine Country. There’s plenty of wine & food pairing to experience in Napa Valley. I experienced the most relaxing wine tasting ride aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. No special occasion, just enjoying some great company, fabulous cuisine, good wine, and wonderful panoramic views of vineyards. The dining experience takes place inside a fully restored 1915-1917 Pullman Dining Car and 1952 Vista Dome car. The journey was a wonderful and relaxing threehour, thirty-six mile round-trip ride from the historic town of Napa. Guests can see five towns while abroad the train; Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and St. Helena. The Napa Valley Wine Train begins at the McKinstry Street Station in Napa. It travels north to the quaint village of St. Helena, where the locomotive disconnects from the north facing side of the train and reconnects to the south facing side of the train in preparation for the return journey. The tracks upon which the Napa Valley Wine Train runs were built in the 1860s. The track to Calistoga no longer exists, but the rest of the route is unchanged. I had the pleasure of dining in the Champagne Vista Dome. It’s located upstairs and is the only part of the train where you can see numerous wineries with panoramic views. As I boarded the train, my server took me to my table were I was greeted with a gorgeous table settings and a glass of Champagne. Throughout the tour our server educated us on over 40 different Vineyards, including the infamous Sutter Hills and Grgich Hills Wineries. The food was delish, I mean absolutely fantastic! By the end of the dinner, you will roll off of the train from satisfaction. Chef Kelly MacDonald has been the Executive Chef of the Napa Valley Wine Train for 12 years. He does a fabulous job of creating an exquisite menu and pairing the cuisine with the best wine available throughout the Wine Country. Wine tasting has been an extensive part of Chef MacDonald’s culture. When ask about pairing wine with the food, Chef MacDonald replied, “Wine is food, until it is served with food, at which time it becomes wine.” While dining in the Champagne Vista Dome, I enjoyed a five-course gourmet meal starting with a Pan Seared Scallop & Sesame Tuna on a Crisp Won Ton with three Aiolis. Following the Hors d’Oeuvre, I ordered the Soup du Jour, which is a creamy Mushroom Soup, filled with fresh mushrooms and spices.



My main course was a delicious Roasted Beef Tenderloin on Zucchini White Truffle Grits with Sautéed Spinach in a Cabernet Reduction. My meal ended with a Crème brûlée dessert, a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel and fresh berries. The sustainable food was freshly made and before each course the server gave us a meal choices and wine pairing from the menu. After dining, I decided to explore the Napa Valley Wine Train so I walked the different cars and learned the each one provides a different food & wine experience. In fact, in the “Zinfandel” Lounge Car there is a Wine Tasting Bar that guests can partake in. If you are in need of fresh air, just walk out to the observation deck and enjoy more amazing views of the Wine Country. The Napa Valley Wine Train serves over 100,000 passengers a year. Also, guests have the option of pre-purchasing a winery tour. Whether you are thinking about time with your friends, a romantic getaway or celebrating a special occasion, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers a fabulous leisure journey throughout the Napa Valley. Whatever the occasion, Chef MacDonald describes the wine train experience as, “beautiful views, excellent service, and a well thought out meal.” The Napa Valley Wine Train is one of the most unique restaurants that you will ever visit. Talk about good living! CHEERS to the Napa Valley Wine Train! If you are interested in dinning aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train visit their website at for more information.



Puerto Rico Are you looking to get away for the winter? Does the cold weather have you reminiscing about the summertime? If you answered yes to both questions, pack your bags, because I found just the place for you. Get your swimsuit and put away your winter coat and boots because it just so happens that this destination’s year-round temperatures range from 75° to 85°F. In a less than three-hour flight from Miami, you can be on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Now hold on, before you go boarding a plane it’s always a good idea to make proper preparations. This is especially true if you’re traveling to an exotic destination. If you are a citizen of the mainland, you don’t need a passport when traveling to Puerto Rico because it’s a commonwealth associated with the United States. However, I hope you paid attention when you took Spanish in college because although many Puerto Ricans speak English, Spanish is the everyday spoken language. It would be wise to brush up on your Spanish or bring along a Spanish phrasebook. Puerto Ricans welcome your efforts to converse with them in Spanish. There is so much to do and see in Puerto Rico. I want you to make the most out of your vacation, but before we get to the fun stuff, let me cover some of the basics. Puerto Rico consists of the main island and various smaller islands. It’s located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the


Dominican Republic and west of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south. The island has some of the most scenic drives in all of the Caribbean. It has 3,420 square miles of land and 1,900 square miles of water. The maximum length of the main island from east to west is 110 miles, and the maximum width from north to south is 40 miles. Puerto Rico was discovered in 1493 by a person you might know, Christopher Columbus. Apparently he has been more places then me! Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Eventually visitors started calling the island Puerto Rico. The capital of Puerto Rico is San Juan, which became the main shipping port. San Juan is an island barricaded by forts. The most momentous forts are the Fort San Cristóbal, La Fortaleza, and Fort San Felipe del Morro. The El Morro survived many attacks from foreign powers. Its last attack was during the 1898 Spanish-American War that ended with the signing of Treaty of Paris. Spain transferred ownership of the island of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines, and Guam to the United States. There is a lot of interesting history to divulge in Puerto Rico. Several historical buildings are located in San Juan and probing them is a must, but you might need a whole day to do so.


Now that your history and geography lesson is over, you’re going to want to know how to get around Puerto Rico. If you are staying in San Juan, having a car isn’t necessary. You can get around on foot, by taxi, public transportation, and in some cases a hotel minivan. If you plan to rent a vehicle, stick with major rental companies like Enterprise, Hertz, or Avis. Make sure you proceed with caution when driving on the roads, especially in the mountainous areas. The roads are poorly paved and some are too narrow for vehicles. If this is your first time to Puerto Rico, don’t cheat yourself. I highly recommend at least a four day visit to this tropical island. There is just so much to do here and your itinerary will fill up fast. First you need to establish what type of vacation this is going to be. I’m an outdoorsy type of person who likes to see and do it all. I find myself needing a vacation from my vacation, but that’s just me. Maybe you’re a beach lover and want to catch up on your sunbathing. After all, the beaches are the number one reason why people flock here. So what types of beach are you looking for, a place to swim, snorkel, a secluded beach, or a family beach? If this is a family vacation then Luquillo Beach is a great beach for families and tourist alike. It is easily located 30 miles east of San Juan. It’s best suited for children because of the calm clear waters, the showers, and the picnic area. Playa de Ponce is a great beach for swimmers. Also, the smooth Caribbean water makes this beach a good place for just about any water sports you could think of. The tide is calmer and you can expect clearer and easier to navigate tides. It’s located on the outskirts of Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second largest city. If you want to be amazed at the underwater world, the Playa Esperanza awaits you. Dip below the waves and you might

see a manatee or nurse shark. If you’re not into shark week and you just want to find a fantastic place to relax in the warm sun, head to Rosado Beach. This quiet little cove is great spot for some me time. All you need is some fine island rum and you can throw yourself a party! The location is hidden away and might be hard to find, but it’s worth the journey. And it’s the perfect place for romantic couples and honeymooners. If you have a wild side like me then you’re all about, say it with me...ADVENTURE! This is where the fun begins. Puerto Rico is an adventure in paradise. Its national parks are unlike the mainland. I mean where else could you go in the United States to zip line a hundred feet over a rainforest? The Rio Camuy Cave Park is caverns that are located in the northwestern part of Puerto Rico. The large limestone caves and underground waterways were carved out by the third-largest underground river in the world, the Río Camuy. The 268-acre park built around the cave system features tours of some of the caves and sinkholes, and is one of the most popular natural attractions in Puerto Rico. If you left the daredevil in you at home, El Yunque has a number of easy trails for the flora and fauna enthusiast. If you are a first-timer to Puerto Rico, check with your hotel for information on guided adventure tours. Let’s head back in time with a visit to Old San Juan. These streets are lined with open-air shops and more than a dozen art galleries and museums. Art galleries sell everything from pre-Columbian artifacts to paintings by well-known artists. When you’re museum hopping, note that many of the museums in Old San Juan close for lunch, so schedule your activities accordingly. Also, make sure you wear comfortable shoes when strolling down the cobblestone picturesque streets of Old San Juan.


TRAVEL After you’re done buying great gifts for your loved one, you probably worked up an appetite. Try sampling some of Puerto Rico’s traditional criolla cuisine. Puerto Rican cuisine has a unique blend of Spanish, Taíno, African, and American influences. Their authentic cuisine aromas come from adobo and sofrito blends of herbs and spices that give most of the Puerto Rican foods their distinctive color and taste. Bebo’s Café is a restaurant that a lot of the locals enjoy. It serves traditional Puerto Rican Cuisine and is very casual. José Enrique is a restaurant known for its creative upscale Puerto Rican food. Puerto Rico also has other global culinary restaurants. You can get anything from sushi, steakhouses, Italian, and Mexican cuisine. Check out the cafes and restaurant that are packed with locals or ask your hotel concierge about the best places to eat. My best advice is to dine where the natives dine. After a great meal, you are probably ready to rest your tired feet. But you can’t come to Puerto Rico without a little therapy. Shopping therapy that is! Corndada is a neighborhood in San Juan that is reminiscent of that in Miami. There are so many stores selling luxury items and designer fashions. Avenida Ashford is located in the heart of San Juan’s fashion district, and you’ll find plenty of high-end clothing stores there. Since the nightlife starts late in Puerto Rico, why not have a drink or two at Casa Barcardi. No it’s not a bar! It’s a factory where they make rum. You can take a free tour and learn about the history of Barcardi and the process of making rum. The tour is entertaining and you can smell and taste different types of rums that Bacardi has available. Here’s some trivia for you. Puerto Rico is the world’s leading rum producer, 80% of the rum consumed in the United States hails from the island. Rum is the national drink and you can buy it in almost any shade. Also, Puerto Rico is the birth place of the Piña Colada. Now that you have sipped some rum, danced salsa at a nightclub, or rolled the dice in one of


Puerto Rico’s casinos, you’re probably looking forward to seeing your hotel bed. When it comes to accommodations location, location, location is important. Hotels are endless in Puerto Rico. If you are going to spend more time shopping and sight seeing at historic sights, then a fabulous luxury hotel in Old San Juan is the perfect fit. Condado beach offers high-rise resort hotel that lie along the shore. Note that these hotels attract cruise ship crowds. Before you book your hotel, look for the many package deals that Puerto Rico has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a romantic hotel or a family hotel, you will find something that fits you. As you can see there is a lot to do and see in Puerto Rico and I only just scratched the surface. Hopefully you took good notes! Jus in case you didn’t, contact Puerto Rico tourism office at www. Once you visit Puerto Rico, you will be glad that you came. This little step may be the beginning of a great journey.

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THE ELUSIVE ECONOMIC AND HOUSING RECOVERY FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS DISCUSSION POINTS: The economy and housing market are exhibiting signs of recovery but that recovery is not being felt by the African American community.

Alexander E. Perriello President and Chief Executive Officer Realogy Franchise Group P: 973-407-5703

African Americas are also more likely to have dropped out of the labor market due to an inability to find work.

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African Americans are significantly challenged to secure mortgages outside of federal guaranteed loan programs. There are no meaningful policy discussions occurring at the national level to address the severe economic distress being experienced by Blacks.

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