Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Friday, June 30, 2006

One house to leave

I've seen this happen several times. An elderly parent dies and leaves the family home to various adult children, some or all of whom haven't gotten along with any of the others. To some degree, the children feel that the parent loved them after all. Then the fighting starts.

One of the siblings has actually physically cared for that parent and perhaps some other elderly relatives, and s/he is angry with the others for not helping out or even visiting. The other siblings feel that this one has managed to live rent-free for years. All have debts that need paying off, and the house is suddenly worth more than anyone dreamed of. The other siblings deliver an ultimatum to the one still at home: either buy them out or sell off and divide the profits.

At the height of the market, I've seen the caregiver forced to take out an insane loan for a house that is falling apart as no one had the wherewithall to keep it up while grandma or grandpa was dying. The other siblings took their share of the money and then promptly had to pay federal and state income taxes on it. The one sibling now has become a slave to a mortgage without any cash to fix up a property that is losing value in a stalling market. The others have perhaps lost perhaps half of what they sought to gain. No one is really happy.

While many parents want to love all of their children equally, it may be a good idea for them to sit down and figure out the greater need and even the greater merit ahead of time. Accusations will fly no matter what, so they might as well see to it now that the one who actually takes care of the sick and elderly doesn't end up homeless or in debt. Another possibility is to sell while the parents are still able and to put the money toward senior care with anything left over going into a trust fund for grandchildren and/or other minors.

Lastly, give your children your love, rather than debt and jealousy. All I want from my parents is memories and perhaps some of their photo albums.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Divorce and Foreclosure

I keep seeing this happen. Seemingly sane individuals call it quits as a couple and then somebody decides not to pay the mortgage. Don't do this to each other! At least, don't do this to your kids!

1. If you at least sell the place and share the profits (if there are any), you will have half of something (which could be fairly good as you'll have some control over the marketing, the condition of the house, the sale). If you let the bank sell it, you'll be forced out, the house will be in terrible shape, and you'll get half of whatever's left (which won't be much).

2. Yes, the other person's credit is ruined, but so is yours. And it's getting harder to rent with lousy credit, so don't assume that you'll get a decent rental (at perhaps twice what your mortgage was).

3. Your kids just lost their family, now their home, probably their school (unless you can find housing in the same district) and their friends along with it. Do you want them to forgive you any time soon? And they won't just blame the parent who didn't make the payments, believe me. They'll figure out that the other parent played a part.

So please, if you are contemplating divorce, stay calm and don't ruin the family. Keep an eye on the statements from the mortgage co. If it's been your spouse' responsibility to make the payments, and you see that stopping, do something about it before it's too late!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

These houses are for the birds

We were chatting with a retired couple we know and asked them what they've been up to. Well, it turns out that the husband has been making bird houses to sell at an upscale boutique in Orange County that marks them up a lot. I asked him if birds actually live in them, unlike a birdhouse we have, and he said that one time, he left the garage door open slightly overnight, and the next morning, he discovered that several birds had already begun moving in. He designs them using basic measurements that various birds require, and he's been told that birds like his houses in the Southwest and the Midwest as well as in California. So they're not only yard art, they're also great little homes. If only they made houses for people this way.

You can look at their website at:


Monday, June 12, 2006

Riverside road problems affect Moreno Valley commuters

The traffic has become really insane in Riverside and Moreno Valley in the last few years. As always, work on freeways and major arteries have been playing catch-up with all the new tracts and influx of commuters. The 60/91/215 interchange has been something of a disaster for several years now, but there are at least possible surface routes to avoid that construction mess. Moreno Valley, however, is getting rather cut-off what with the bottleneck where the 60 and the 215 converge, the endless construction near UCR, and now the planned work on Alessandro, which has been the major connection to Mo Val.

Alessandro has been something of a mini-freeway as it has a speed limit of 55. People coming from the 215 tend to race along it at speeds of 60 to 70. This is highly problematic given that there are stoplights along the way. I've seen some horrific accidents at the Communication Center. They've added a solar-powered speed monitor that starts blinking "SLOW DOWN" for the wanna-be race car drivers. As far as I can tell, it has no affect on their speed, much like the monitor they've added on the dead man's curve on Arlington just above Victoria.

When cars turn left from Alessandro onto Arlington, the speed actually goes down to 45 mph way before the the blinking yellow caution lights. After the Victoria light, the limit is 40, and by Target, it drops to 35. By Victoria Elem, the speed drops down to 25 when children are present. And where Alessandro becomes Central, the speed limit goes down to 40, again dropping to 25 when the kids are getting dropped off and picked up at Alcott. All of these factors combine to turn Alessandro, Arlington, and Central into parking lots at some hours of the day.

So the plan now is to widen Alessandro. This will help make it into a wider but possibly less long parking lot, at least until more people move into the new housing that they're building in eastern Mo Val. And the plan to put a much needed pipeline along Alessandro from Riverside into Mo Val will take care of the back end. Of course, the latter project won't go on forever. When it finally starts, after months of delays, there will at least be light at the end of that tunnel.

I'm recommending to people not to move deep into Mo Val if they have a long, daily commute westward. If they want a spacious, affordable home, they should do their best to get work closeby, so that they can actually spend some time with their families in that terrific house.

Real time traffic map at Press Enterprise site:

June 25, 2006 PE article on Alessandro projects.

Press Entrprise story from April on rejection of bill to declare state of emergency on local freeways.