Top Evanston online news and event sources


There are some excellent ways to get news or information online about Evanston Illinois. Is print dead? I don’t know and I am not judging today but here are a few I use to keep updated:

Evanston Now

Evanston Review (also known as the old Pioneer press paper that you can still  buy or subscribe to:

The Evanston Round table one of my favorites:

Topix has one too:

First  Ward news there are other wards but this has some interesting content

Daily Northwestern

The City Of Evanston!

All News Evanston

If you have more let us know.

Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker Evanston
Toll Free (800) 858-7917
Office (847) 316-8529
Fax (847) 939-5636
On the web:
Real Estate Specialist Chicago-land and Suburbs
Licensed Illinois real estate agent

The Impulsive Traveler: Hitting the beach in Evanston, Il

By Julia M. Klein

“We don’t do beach,” said my cousin Bob, who lives less than four blocks from the alluring lakefront of Evanston, Il.

But he’d been warned. Every summer I visit the Chicago area to see friends I know from a mid-1990s fellowship year at Northwestern University. And ever since discovering three years ago, to my delight, that I had cousins living in Evanston, I’ve been dragging them to the beach.


The Impulsive Traveler: Details, Evanston, Ill.

Klein is a cultural reporter and critic in Philadelphia and a contributing editor at Columbia Journalism Review.

Foreclosures may be back on the upswing


In the second quarter, more homes entered foreclosure than in the same period in 2011 — the first increase since 2009. The $25 billion mortgage settlement earlier this year means banks are processing more foreclosures, which could hurt home prices.

By Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate

Delinquent borrowers take heed: The number of homes entering foreclosure has picked up after last year’s slowdown, when banks were forced to overhaul their foreclosure practices.

Foreclosure-data firm RealtyTrac said 311,010 properties started the foreclosure process in the second quarter, a 9% increase from the previous quarter and a 6% increase from the second quarter of 2011 — the first year-over-year jump since the fourth quarter of 2009. Moreover, the trend was fairly widespread, with 31 states posting year-to-year increases. (Bing: How many foreclosures are there in your area?)

Since the $25 billion mortgage settlement earlier this year, “Lenders and servicers are slowly but surely catching up with the backlog of delinquent loans that under normal circumstances would have started the foreclosure last year,” RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore said in a statement.

This uptick in foreclosure processing will mean more short sales and bank repossessions later this year and early next year, which will dampen home prices slightly, said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics.

The numbers
Overall foreclosure activity dropped 8.21% from the same quarter in 2011, with more bank repossessions replaced by short sales, or sales in which the banks agree to take less than the debt owed.

For the first half of the year, 1.05 million U.S. properties posted some kind of foreclosure filing – from notice of default to bank repossession — a 2% increase from the previous six months but down 11% from the first half of 2011.

Foreclosure activity, however, did increase from the six-month period a year ago in 20 states, including:

  • Indiana: 32% increase
  • Pennsylvania: 24% increase
  • South      Carolina: 23% increase
  • Connecticut: 23% increase
  • Florida: 23% increase
  • Illinois: 22% increase
  • “Things got bogged down last year, as lenders were caught red-handed with improper processing procedures,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president, who oversees the quarterly report.
  • Now, with the landmark $25 billion mortgage settlement among the country’s largest lenders, state attorneys general and federal government behind them, lenders are moving on the estimated $1.5 billion in loans that are 90 days or more past due.
  • Read: 5 tips for snagging a foreclosure

State by state
In the first half of this year, Nevada posted the highest foreclosure rate of any state, with 20,618 houses or one in 57 homes reporting a filing. This came despite a 61% decrease from the same period a year earlier. Foreclosure starts also surged 61% from the first quarter to the second quarter, after lenders adjusted to a state law that took effect in October that requires homeowners to have access to any documents used in the foreclosure process.

Arizona had the second-highest foreclosure rate. Its 49,157 properties with at least one foreclosure filing in the six-month period represented one in every 58 homes. That was a decrease of 37% from the same period in 2011 and a 6% drop from the previous six months. Still, foreclosure starts were on the rise in the second quarter, increasing 11% from the first quarter.

Georgia had the third-highest foreclosure rate in the first half, boosted by a 23% increase in foreclosure starts from the same period in 2011 and a 5% uptick between the first and second quarters of this year. In the first six months of this year, 65,342 Georgia properties had at least one foreclosure filing, a rate of one in every 60 homes.

Read: Can your city seize your mortgage?

California posted the fourth-highest foreclosure rate in the first half with 213,988 properties or one in every 64 reporting a filing. An 18% year-over-year uptick in foreclosure starts in the Golden State in June, however, boosted its foreclosure rate for the month to the highest level nationwide — one in every 288 homes. This is the first time this has happened since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

Regulators and lawmakers across the country will watch California’s foreclosure situation. A new bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Wednesday, which takes effect in January, has written much of the mortgage settlement with the five major lenders into law and expands it to encompass all lenders.

It is the first state legislation to force banks to end the practice of “dual tracking,” or proceeding with the foreclosure process while homeowners are negotiating a modification with their lender. It also requires a single point of contact for homeowners regarding their delinquent home loan. If the lender violates the law, a homeowner can sue.

It could be used as a model for foreclosure reform in other states and is likely to increase the number of short sales and modifications, Blomquist said.

“In an effort to avoid the possibility of such a lawsuit, the lender will be less inclined to repossess the property,” he said.

Impact on the housing market
Properties that enter foreclosure still take some time to complete the process, however. In the second quarter, foreclosures took an average of 378 days — the longest time since 2007 — to move from the initial notice to the completed foreclosure, up from 370 days in the first quarter. (Bing: Get help avoiding foreclosure)

In several judicial-foreclosure states with the biggest backlog of foreclosures, such as New York and New Jersey, the time to completion actually decreased slightly

Once banks took back a property, it took an average of 195 days from the date of foreclosure to sell, RealtyTrac said, up from 178 days in the first quarter. Properties with delinquent loans that sold before the foreclosure was complete — namely, short sales — took an average of 319 days to sell from the time of the first notice, up from 306 days in the first quarter.

Zandi said he expects another wave of distressed properties to hit the market by the fourth quarter, when the market is typically slow. This distressed inventory will dampen prices, though not by much, he said, given the investor demand for these homes and the large number of expected short sales, which typically sell for more than real-estate-owned properties.

“I expect home prices to fall 1% this year and rise 1% next year,” Zandi said. “We are not home free [with the recovery] yet.”

Blomquist and others said it’s a healthy thing for these distressed properties, which have hung over the housing market, to be added to the available inventory now, especially given the short supply in many areas.

Kim Drusch, a real-estate agent with Century 21 Award in San Diego, said she agrees. With just two months’ supply of available houses listed in her area, she’s seeing multiple offers for any decent property that pops up.

“We need that inventory now,” Drusch said. “The REOs are not coming out, and people have nothing to purchase. We’ve got multiple offers on everything. I’ve never seen a frenzy like this.”

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Early Life & Career


Thanks to WTTW the Chicago PBS channel & Shanika Gunaratna I am thrilled about this:

The Frank Lloyd Wright you may not know — young, inexperienced, and trying to find his way in the vast city of Chicago. A new exhibition takes a rare look at the architect’s early years. Tim Samuelson joins us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.

Samuelson is curator of the Wright’s Roots exhibit and the City of Chicago’s official cultural historian. Read an interview with him about the exhibit and view a photo gallery of Wright’s early sketches.

What’s most exciting to you about this exhibit?

We wanted to portray a part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career that no one expects. Frank Lloyd Wright has become a legend – known as someone who pursued purely new, modern architecture. But in trying to find himself in the late 19th century, he experimented with different historical styles.

It was both his knowledge of the past and his idealism for modernism that made him the great architect he was. We tried to juxtapose his early and late buildings.

We’re not trying to say Wright was thinking of the future when he did these early works. But they show his sensibilities. In some way he was the human Google – able to absorb a lot of things and pick the best from that.

What kind of feedback have you gotten – especially from those who might have a more rigid, set view of Wright as modernist?

The response has been positive. People have been surprised. I don’t think this story has been left out of biographies of Wright, per se, but people just didn’t pay much attention. I wondered if people would be offended – but I think this history is a positive aspect of his evolution.

How do you tell a new story about Frank Lloyd Wright when Chicagoans know his story so well?

I was interested in this for a long time. I went through old, architectural journals and photographs that weren’t explored that much.

I visited some of these buildings while they were still standing. And if you haven’t experienced the actual building, you don’t know it. It’s a challenge to recreate this sense. His buildings are modern, vital, useful, and appeal to the human senses of light, motion and space.

I never find architecture exhibits very successful or satisfying because you don’t get a sense of the buildings. Thus, we made the images very large. We’ve positioned the gallery walls so you go around the corner and suddenly – you encounter a building.

We have actual fragments. In my exhibits, you can touch these pieces; in a typical exhibit, you don’t because you’re supposed to protect the artifact.

How to convey architecture in an exhibit? It’s part photograph, part storytelling. You have to let your own subjective pick out what’s wonderful about these buildings.

Who was this aspiring, 19-year-old architect?

He comes to Chicago as idealistic. He has little experience – just brief schooling at the University of Wisconsin. He came from a staunch Unitarian family on his mom’s side – they believed in powerful creative expression. His family experimented with different educational methods.

In Chicago, he came across interesting people: an architect whose houses were symmetrical, his exteriors going in and out in every direction; [Louis] Sullivan, who helped develop his ideas of architecture as an extension of nature. Chicago was his creative incubator.

Wright was unique in that he could think in three dimensions before setting a pencil to paper. In studying architectural history, he learned what helps trigger beauty and proportion – and he adapted those.

Suddenly, he gets more confidence in himself. He uses his full name. He builds his studio in Oak Park. That’s when our exhibit ends.

Tell me about Wright’s relationship with his mentor, Louis Sullivan, who tried to push him out of certain drafting habits.

Sullivan drew freehand, blending geometry with leaves and swirling forms, while Wright used geometric projection. Sullivan would see this and encourage Wright to draw freehand, unbridled by his tools. He’d try, though he was uncomfortable.

As time went on, Sullivan became more accepting of his approach and eventually adopted some of this in his buildings.

To what extent did Frank Lloyd Wright consciously construct his own public image?

In telling his own story, Frank Lloyd Wright doesn’t talk about these early experimentations with style. He claimed he was just trying to get work to feed his family during this period. But when you look at his work, he had certain consistent habits. He was truly searching.

He’s become a public legend – larger than life. He didn’t try to cover these things up necessarily. But still, people don’t realize this history is there.

Wright’s Roots will appear at the city-run Expo 72 gallery (72 E. Randolph St.), across the street from the Cultural Center, through September 30. Admission is free.

Related Links:

More on Wright’s Roots exhibit

More on Tim Samuelson

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust

Short Sales Are a Long Shot for America’s Home Buyer’s

A National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents Home Buyer Report

Short Sales Are a Long Shot for America’s Home Buyer’s

51 Critical Things Buyers Need to Understand about Short Sales

Short sales have become commonplace in the American housing market. Many real estate buyers do

not understand all that goes into processing a short sale transaction. This report will describe many

of the buying complications that home purchasers have had to go through to buy a short sale home.

Note that this report does not constitute legal advice. Consult a local real estate attorney for answers

to specific legal questions.


The term short sale is defined by the Nolo Legal Dictionary as “A sale of a house in which the

proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage.” This means that the lender must

agree to take less than the amount that is owed on the mortgage to release their lien on the home. If

the lender thinks they will lose less money by letting the home go into foreclosure or by pressuring the

homeowner to continue to make payments, then they will not authorize a short sale.

The Seller’s Preparation:

To better understand the short sale purchase process, it is helpful to review what a home seller

typically does to prepare for a short sale. A seller will need to get the help of a title company and a

real estate professional. Sometimes a short sale negotiator or attorney will also be involved. Lenders

typically want to see the property listed with a realtor and typically will not approve a short sale

without having a purchase offer in hand from a buyer. Also, a seller’s lender often will not consider a

short sale unless the seller has been delinquent on their mortgage payment.

A seller will need to write and gather the following additional documents to provide to the lender:

1. A history of the listing, including asking price changes and information on any other offers that

have been received.

2. A current printout from the Multiple Listing System.

3. An appraisal, Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) or a Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO).

4. A letter detailing the seller’s hardship in making payments on the home.

5. A budget detailing the seller’s income and expenses.

6. Two years of the seller’s tax returns.

7. The most recent two months of the seller’s bank statements.

8. The most recent two months of the seller’s pay stubs.

9. A copy of the seller’s listing contract with their real estate brokerage.

10. A release that allows the lender to discuss the transaction with the real estate professionals


11. A history of their mortgage delinquency, including all correspondence they have had from the


These items are often referred to as a “hardship package” and they need to be updated and

transmitted to the seller’s lender once a purchase contract is in hand. These days most lenders have

“short sale packages” already prepared to help homeowners get started.

Once these steps are taken the real challenge begins: that is waiting to see if the seller’s lender

responds to the offer. Often a lender will feel very little motivation to even respond to a short sale

proposal. Since some lenders get hundreds of short sale proposals each week, they often do not

have the time to carefully consider any individual transaction.

On The Buying Side:

On the buying side, a short sale starts just like a regular home purchase. Often a home is advertised

without disclosing that it is a short sale. This is like advertising a home that is not really for sale at

all because, at this point in the vast majority of cases, the seller does not have the ability to sell the

home at the advertised price.

At some point, a buyer sees the property. Once they find out it is a short sale they may decide they

still are interested in it enough to want to make an offer. The negotiating process is a little different

with a short sale in that the seller will not be taking any funds from the sale, so they may not care that

much the amount of the short sale offer. It is really up to the lender to decide if they want to proceed

with an offer.

In many cases, the lender does not respond in a timely manner, and if the buyer actually needs

to move into a home on any kind of schedule, the buyer will withdraw their offer. Our members

report that nationally about one in four short sale purchase agreements actually moves through to

completion. Obviously that ratio will be different in each local market. A short sale usually saves

the lender from the additional losses that come with a foreclosure. It also saves the seller from the

extended financial entanglements of a foreclosure and it can provide a buyer with a nice home for a

fair price.

When our Association decided to publish a report helpful to home buyers, our committee decided

to identify the ten most critical factors that home buyers need to be informed about related to short

sales. However, when we surveyed our members, we determined that there where many more than

ten factors that buyers should know. This report is the result of that survey.

51 Critical Things Buyers Need to Understand about Short Sales:

1. Most short sale contracts do not close. The numbers are improving, but our members are still

seeing that the majority of short sale purchase contracts do not get to closing. Our members

estimate that about 50% of homes listed as short sales eventually sell as short sales. The

balance usually ends up in foreclosure or loan renegotiation.

2. Short sales usually take a long time to close and the timing is unpredictable. Again, the

numbers are improving, but it is still not uncommon for a short sale transaction to take five or

six months to get from purchase contract to closing. This often includes transactions where the

listing agent initially feels the transaction should close in two to three months.

3. There are many aspects to a short sale transaction that are completely out of a buyer’s control.

Even if there are potential legal remedies to a seller’s default on purchase contract terms, the

fact that they are in financial trouble can make it impractical to enforce purchase contract terms

in court.

4. Many lenders will not discuss a short sale with a seller without a purchase contract from a buyer

in place. This means buyers often spend time looking and negotiating on short sales without

any confidence a home is actually going to be available at the asking price, or if it is going to be

available to purchase at all.

5. Short sales are often listed at a ridiculously low price. Because lenders will not discuss a short

sale with a seller until a contract is in place, many listing agents will list a home for a very low

price to get a purchase contract. They do this knowing that the seller’s lender is not likely to

actually accept it, but at least it will get the process started. Listing agents who do this justify

it because even though it may be wasting the time of dozens of different home buyers, it is

potentially in the best interest of their client, the seller.

6. A seller will often agree to any offer, even an offer that has no chance of being accepted by their

lender. Because they will not receive any proceeds from a sale, a seller will often agree to any

offer, even if they know there is little chance their bank will approve it, just so they can begin

negotiations with their lender.

7. Often buyers who think they are willing to wait for a lender to approve a short sale get tired and

walk away from the transaction. Sometimes these listings later show up as a “Price Previously

Approved” short sale in the local Multiple Listing System.

8. Even if a price has been approved previously by the seller’s lender, there is still no guarantee it

will not take months to close or that it will close at all. Having a previous approval does show a

potential for a shorter transaction, but remember the seller’s lender is not obligated to approve a

new transaction at the same price and terms they approved for a previous transaction.

9. The seller may not be sufficiently motivated to do their own paperwork. Once a purchase

agreement is obtained, the listing agent or short sale negotiator needs to transmit the contract

along with an up-to-date hardship package to the seller’s lender. Getting that hardship

information requires the seller’s participation and we have seen many situations where the

seller delays the process at this point.

10. There are many additional risks involved in a short sale transaction. Along with losing time,

buyers often lose appraisal fees, lender application fees, inspection fees and legal fees. There

is often even additional risk with the earnest money deposit.

11. A foreclosure sale can take place at any time and kill the transaction, even after there is a

short sale approval from the seller’s lender. The vast majority of the time an approval from the

seller’s lender is not fully binding on the lender. Sometimes the approval is not even in writing.

This is quite different from buying a home from a private owner. Usually things work out when

a seller’s lender approves a transaction, but short sale contract provisions also usually give that

lender a path to back away from the transaction.

12. The seller’s lender’s rules can change during the process, killing the process or resetting the

time-line. Since short sales take a long time, it is not uncommon for the lender’s policies to

change during the process. These changes have negatively impacted many short sale buyers.

13. Since the seller’s lender is not the seller, they are not bound by the terms of the real estate

purchase contract. Many buyers are not clear on this. The homeowner is not the final decisionmaker,

the seller’s lender is, even though the lender usually has very little knowledge of the

actual home or the local market.

14. During the negotiations, the seller and the seller’s lender may come to terms on a loan

modification. Often, if the seller can get a loan modification, they can stay in the home, so this

side negotiation can totally derail a purchase transaction. Usualy neither the buyer nor the real

estate agents have any knowledge of this negotiation going on until it is too late.

15. Sometimes when the seller’s lender approves a purchase agreement, they do not provide

adequate time to do inspections. An alternative approach is to do inspections before the lender


approves, but then you lose the money you spent on those inspections if the transaction is not


16. Your Earnest Money Deposit may be at additional risk if the home goes into foreclosure. In

many areas, a brokerage must have a seller’s agreement to return a buyer’s earnest money

deposit. Home sellers are often frustrated to the point of being uncooperative in signing

anything if they are losing their home to foreclosure, especially if they had previously had a

short sale approved. Our members have had situations where a seller’s lender approves a

short sale then decides to foreclose and the sellers take out their frustrations on the buyer by

not releasing claim to the earnest money deposit. The deposits usually end up being returned,

but not without additional legal expense and frustration for the buyer.

17. The extended timing of short sales can often cause contract deadlines to expire at

uncomfortable times during a transaction. Buyers should be extra vigilant in watching contract

dates and contingency provisions, since these can bind the buyer to the transaction.

18. Unpaid Home Owner Association (HOA) fees can kill a transaction. Unpaid Home Owner’s

Association Dues, utility payments, back taxes etc. can all derail a short sale transaction.

Normally, somebody has to pay them to clear the title. What can make it worse is that

sometimes these costs cannot be calculated until just before closing.

19. Having a short sale negotiator does not guarantee success. A new industry has started with

companies who claim to specialize in short sale negotiation. Unfortunately, these are often

national companies who are not familiar with local real estate practices. Also, there is really no

accreditation process for these companies so, without prior experience with one, it is difficult to

know if they are even likely to help the process. Additionally, a short sale negotiation company

still cannot guarantee a successful transaction.

20. Repairs may be required at the buyer’s expense. If the home has major defects, safety issues,

or has problems that violate the local building code, the buyer’s lender may require such items

to be repaired prior to closing. For obvious reasons, it is unlikely the seller or the seller’s lender

will pay for or make the improvements. In order to be able to close, a buyer may be tempted to

complete the repairs. Again, the buyer’s investment for such improvements is at risk if the deal

does not go through.

21. The seller’s lender normally will want two or three third-party opinions on a property’s value, any

one of which can upset a transaction. A valuation on the property can take the form of a formal

appraisal or an informal broker price opinion (BPO). A valuation coming back to the seller’s

lender that is higher than your contract price can kill your transaction. Additionally, sometimes

banks ask for new sets of valuations during the negotiation process. Since short sales often

take such an extended time to close, the valuation is sometimes a moving target.

22. The seller’s lender may not be aware of the condition of the home. A listing agent may not

forward your documentation showing the poor condition of the property to the bank. Thirdparty

opinions about the property’s value are often not detailed enough to show the mold in the

basement, or that the windows or roof need replacement. Many people who provide banks

with BPOs are not experienced enough to adjust for such factors. Additionally, some of the

valuations are just done as drive-by reviews, so they are sometimes quite inaccurate.

23. The seller’s lender may choose to foreclose at a greater loss than a short sale. Because of

favorable bank bail-out terms, sometimes a lender stands to make more money, even if they sell

the home at a loss through foreclosure, because they will be reimbursed for a portion of their

losses by taxpayers. This sometimes explains financial decisions a lender may make that seem

to be totally illogical.

24. The seller may have more than one lender involved. There may be more than one lender that

needs to approve the short sale. Piggy-back purchase loans were very popular during the days

of rapidly rising values. These loans had a large first loan and a smaller second loan, often from


different lenders. The second mortgage lender stands to lose everything if the home moves

to foreclosure, so they typically accept a smaller percentage of their original loan than the first

mortgage lender, but they still need to agree with the amount.

25. There may also be mortgage insurance companies and investors who need to approve the short

sale, in addition to the actual seller’s lender. Each one of these entities can have an impact on

the transaction.

26. You may never actually communicate to a person with authority to make a decision on the

transaction. This is also true for the seller and the real estate agents. The actual decision

makers at the seller’s lender are usually totally isolated.

27. The listing brokerage’s loyalties are sometimes confusing. In a short sale, the seller’s lender

has the authority to make decisions, but the listing brokerage has a legal obligation to represent

the seller, not the seller’s lender. This can lead to situations where the listing agent and seller

will give preference to a lower price offer if the other terms of the offer seem to make it more

likely to be acceptable to the seller’s lender.

28. A listing agent is not required to submit all offers to the seller’s lender. A listing agent is typically

required by law to present an offer to the seller, but there is no legal requirement to present an

offer to the seller’s lender. A listing agent will typically only send a signed contract to the seller’s

lender, but once that is done, they may submit no other offers or, worse, offers so that the first

contract seems good to the lender, or sometimes all other offers.

29. If later offers are stronger than the first buyer’s offer, the seller’s lender my reject or renegotiate

the previous agreement. Usually, once a decision has been made by the seller’s lender, they

will stick with it. However, since the short sale documents often do not obligate the lender to

complete your transaction, they sometimes will change direction, especially if they feel they can

recoup more of their loan through a different buyer.

30. An incompetent, unprofessional or untrained listing agent can make the transaction impossible.

Because of the large percentage of short sale transactions and the high turnover rate in the real

estate business, it is not uncommon to be involved with a listing agent’s first or second short

sale transaction. Buyers obviously can not choose the listing agent, but if things seem to be

getting off track, your agent can contact the listing broker to try to keep things rolling.

31. The seller may just be listing the home as a short sale to try to delay a lender’s inevitable

foreclosure. Sometimes a home will be listed, but the seller makes it very difficult to actually

show the home. This may be because the seller is not really motivated to sell, but is convinced

that by listing it as a short sale, their lender will postpone the foreclosure proceedings. This

can be an incredible waste of a buyer’s time. We have witnessed numerous situations where a

showing is scheduled and, when the buyers and their agent arrive, the seller is actually inside

the home, but will not come to the door to let the buyers and their agent into the home. This

seems to be more common now than it has been in the past.

32. The seller may get started with a short sale transaction but lose motivation and refuse to

complete it. The seller’s emotional state can have a significant impact on the process. There

sometimes is little benefit to them for selling, since they will not receive any funds from the sale

and their credit is usually already damaged.

33. The seller’s lender may require ridiculous terms in their short sale addendum. Some lenders

are adding absurd requirements to their short sale forms. These have included provisions to

make the real estate agents and brokerages parties to the contract, changing the terms of

both the purchase agreement and the brokers’ agreements, imposing duties on brokers that

are in conflict with each broker’s duty to their own client, and even requiring brokers to make

representations and/or agree to things over which they have no knowledge or control. In some

cases these addenda may even violate state license law.

34. The seller’s lender may have multiple decision makers and negotiators involved over the course


of the transaction. Because of the extended timeframe of short sales and the difficulty of

processing a large number of transactions, the short sale department of the seller’s lender may

be inconsistent in their decision making.

35. The seller’s lender may be very slow to respond to inquiries and contract modifications. As an

example, a lender approved a short sale subject to a $10,000 price increase based on their

appraisal. The purchasers were willing to move forward with the transaction if they could see

the appraisal. The lender took three weeks to respond to the simple request.

36. The seller’s lenders often lose documents that they have been supplied to them. Keeping

track of documents and resending documents is crucial to the success of the transaction. Our

members have been involved in purchases where the seller’s lender has lost documents as

many as four different times in one transaction.

37. Cooperation from the closing authority is also critical. The closing authority (a title company

in most states) is often called on to prepare draft closing statements early in the transaction

so the seller’s lender can get a clear understanding of how much money they will be losing if

they approve a short sale. If the seller chooses a slow or unresponsive closing authority, the

transaction can be needlessly delayed.

38. The costs to close often change while you wait for the seller’s lender’s response. A draft closing

statement supplied to the seller’s lender may be accurate when it is prepared and presented to

the seller’s lender, but by the time someone at the lender makes a decision on the transaction,

the numbers might have changed dramatically, typically because the homeowner is not making

mortgage payments. When this new number gets back to the seller’s lender, they may decide

not to move forward. This gets particularly complicated when there is a second mortgage,

because now there are two different moving targets.

39. A seller may be trying to have a friend or relative buy the home for them at a short sale price.

Sometimes a homeowner who owes more on a home than it is worth will try to cheat the lender

by having a friend or relative repurchase the home under a different name at the current market

value. This is mortgage fraud and an outside buyer could waste a lot of time on a transaction

that will never close.

40. A seller may ask you to pay them money outside of closing. This again is typically mortgage

fraud. The seller’s bank is losing a lot of money on a short sale. They feel it is not fair for the

seller to make anything on the transaction.

41. The seller’s lender may want to renegotiate the commission being offered in the listing to the

real estate brokerages. This is illogical considering short sales are typically a lot more work

than regular real estate transactions, but it is worth the effort to discuss this possibility with

buyer’s agents beforehand when considering the purchase of a short sale.

42. A property may not be a short sale when it is listed, but may turn into one by the time it sells.

This is potentially one of the most frustrating aspects of short sales. A seller and listing agent

may calculate that a seller has enough equity and assets to pay off a mortgage when a home

comes on the market, but by the time an acceptable purchase contract is actually negotiated,

the seller may not have the funds to pay off their lender. Thus, a conventional private-party

transaction becomes a complicated and time-consuming short sale.

43. The seller’s lender may not be willing to pay any of a buyer’s closing costs. This is typically a

concern with Veterans Administration loans and, fortunately, is becoming less of a problem, but

there have been times when a buyer’s lender requires some closing costs be covered by the

seller. In a short sale, the seller does not have any money so this obligation flows to the seller’s

lender. Sometimes the seller’s lender will have policies that do not allow payment of any closing

costs for the buyer. The result is often tremendous frustration for qualified military veteran home


44. The seller may reach an agreement with their lender and then change their mind when the final


numbers become clear. If the seller has an additional financial setback during the short sale

process, they may back out of the transaction or want to renegotiate. One of our members had

this happen on a short sale purchase recently and, when the seller started to back out of the

transaction, the second mortgage lender agreed to take a smaller payoff so the seller again

became comfortable and completed the transaction. Unfortunately, this delayed the transaction

by about two additional weeks.

45. If the sellers are going through other major life changes during a short sale, things can get

even worse. Sometimes a seller will declare bankruptcy or file for divorce during a short

sale process. We have even run into situations where a seller has passed away and the

seller’s estate is trying to negotiate a short sale with the lender on the home. Generally, these

situations make the process even more difficult and time-consuming.

46. Negotiating personal property is often impossible. Personal property like refrigerators, stoves,

washers, dryers and lawn equipment are often included in normal home purchase negotiations.

However, with short sales, since the personal property is not part of the transaction with the

bank, most home sellers will not include it in a purchase contract. They may as well give it

away. Home sellers will normally want to take the personal property with them to their next

home, or sell it locally so they receive some value for the items. So if you are buying a home

and you need appliances, it is often impossible to get them included with the home in a short


47. Short sale homes often have significant deferred maintenance. If a seller has the kind of

financial hardship that will convince their lender to agree to a short sale, they often do not have

the funds to do necessary maintenance on a home. It is critical for buyers to look critically at

the home with an experienced buyer agent before starting negotiation and to have a competent

and thorough home inspection once there is a purchase agreement in place.

48. You have less protection with respect to a home’s condition at the pre-closing walk-through.

Since the home seller is not receiving any financial benefit from closing on the home, they are

often less motivated to actually clean the home and leave it in proper condition at closing.

49. The seller’s lender may not allow a utility escrow. Often, for a property on city water and sewer

service, there is a chance that the final water bill is not paid to the date of closing. It is common

for the listing office or closing authority to escrow or hold on to a few hundred dollars of the

seller’s money to make sure the final water bill is paid. The seller’s lender in a short sale may

not allow that at closing, so the buyer has additional risk if the bill can not be paid at closing.

50. The seller’s lender may have a specific allowable contribution to closing cost made based on an

earlier estimate. Normally the exact closing costs can not be calculated until a few days before

closing. Often, short sale lenders will put limits on their costs based on approximations made

months earlier. Sometimes it comes down to the buyer making up for the difference or not

being able to close on the home after waiting for months.

51. A deficiency judgment could complicate the seller’s position. Some states allow a seller’s

lender to come after the seller after closing a short sale for the amount still owed the lender.

The chance of this happening or the last minute refusal of the seller’s lender to promise not to

come after the seller for the deficiency has sometimes derailed an almost complete short sale


Strategies to Survive and Benefit from Short Sales:

1. Think seriously before you consider looking at short sale homes. If you have a short timeframe

for buying or you need a predictable purchase process, short sales are probably not for you.

2. Work with a competent and loyal agent on the buying end. This can make a huge difference


if you decide to consider purchasing a short sale. You need someone who will be honest and

help you objectively evaluate the risk vs. the potential reward of purchasing a short sale. A short

sale home may not be worth waiting two to six months for just to save a few percent off market

value. When considering agents, an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent is usually the best choice, if one is


3. Consider contract provisions that will allow you to escape the transaction if the seller’s lender is

too slow or unresponsive.

4. Limit your earnest money deposit and/or have contract terms that require the release of the

deposit back to you without the seller’s approval if the home goes into foreclosure.

5. Have your contract contingency timing start when the seller’s lender approves of the


6. Take the time to thoroughly look at the home before you start negotiating on a short sale.

Again, note that this report does not constitute legal advice. Consult an independent local real

estate attorney for answers to specific legal questions. Additionally, some lenders are making efforts

to improve and streamline the short sale process and the federal government is considering new

laws to force banks to speed their processes. Talk to local home buying experts to learn the current

processes in your area.

If you are considering buying a home and are interested in expert advice and counsel, there are

Exclusive Buyer’s Agents in virtually all major markets, including Hawaii, Mexico and the Virgin

Islands. To find an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent to speak to about your home buying needs, visit



or call 800-986-2322.

We hope this brief report will help to make your home buying process more pleasant and profitable.

Good luck with your efforts!

Jon Boyd & Ben Clark

Past Presidents of The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (


The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents was founded in 1995 to help consumers become

educated home buyers. NAEBA is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to be the “champions

of real estate buyers’ rights and representation.” NAEBA has over 500 members worldwide. Starting

in the mid-1990s, savvy buyers wanted the benefits of a real estate representative working for their

interests exclusively. They turned to EBAs, Exclusive Buyer Agents, to do the job. NAEBA is an

industry group dedicated to supporting EBAs in serving clients to the best of their ability. NAEBA

offers industry standard certifications, ongoing education, client referral service, technology and

information sharing. The NAEBA Code of Ethics pledges undivided loyalty to real estate buyers only.

More information about NAEBA can be found at

$3 million worth of baseball cards found in attic

This has nothing to do with “The Evanstonian”  but I liked it and tonight is the all star game so something fun here.

As per the Chicago SuntimesImage

DEFIANCE, Ohio — Karl Kissner picked up a soot-covered cardboard box that had been under a wooden dollhouse in his grandfather’s attic. Taking a look inside, he saw hundreds of baseball cards bundled with twine. They were smaller than the ones he was used to seeing.

But some of the names were familiar: Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner.

Then he put the box on a dresser and went back to digging through the attic.

It wasn’t until two weeks later that he learned that his family had come across what experts say is one of the biggest, most exciting finds in the history of sports card collecting, a discovery worth perhaps millions.

The cards are from an extremely rare series issued around 1910. Up to now, the few known to exist were in so-so condition at best, with faded images and worn edges. But the ones from the attic in the town of Defiance are nearly pristine, untouched for more than a century. The colors are vibrant, the borders crisp and white.

“It’s like finding the Mona Lisa in the attic,” Kissner said.

Sports card experts who authenticated the find say they may never again see something this impressive.

“Every future find will ultimately be compared to this,” said Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator.

The best of the bunch — 37 cards — are expected to bring a total of $500,000 when they are sold at auction in August during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore. There are about 700 cards in all that could be worth up to $3 million, experts say. They include such legends as Christy Mathewson and Connie Mack.

Kissner and his family say the cards belonged to their grandfather, Carl Hench, who died in the 1940s. Hench ran a meat market in Defiance, and the family suspects he got them as a promotional item from a candy company that distributed them with caramels. They think he gave some away and kept others.

“We guess he stuck them in the attic and forgot about them,” Kissner said. “They remained there frozen in time.”

After Hench and his wife died, two of his daughters lived in the house. Jean Hench kept the house until she died last October, leaving everything inside to her 20 nieces and nephews. Kissner, 51, is the youngest and was put in charge of the estate. His aunt was a pack rat, and the house was filled with three generations of stuff.

They found calendars from the meat market, turn-of-the-century dresses, a steamer trunk from Germany and a dresser with Grandma’s clothes neatly folded in the drawers.

Months went by before they even got to the attic. On Feb. 29, Kissner’s cousin Karla Hench pulled out the dirty green box with metal clips at the corners and lifted the lid.

Not knowing whether the cards were valuable, the two cousins put the box aside. But Kissner decided to do a little research. The cards were at his office in the restaurant he owns when he realized they might have something. He immediately took them across the street and put them in a bank vault.

Still not knowing whether the cards were real, they sent eight to expert Peter Calderon at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, which recently sold the baseball that rolled through the legs of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series for $418,000.

Calderon said his first words were “Oh, my God.”

“I was in complete awe,” he said. “You just don’t see them this nice.”

The cards are from what is known as the E98 series. It is not clear who manufactured them or how many were produced, but the series consists of 30 players, half of them Hall of Famers.

The experts at Heritage Auctions checked out the family’s background, the age of the home and the history of the meat market. They looked at the cards and how they were printed.

“Everything lines up,” said Chris Ivy, the company’s director of sports auctions.

They then sent all the cards to Professional Sports Authenticator, which had previously authenticated fewer than 700 E98s. The Ohio cards were the finest examples from the E98 series the company had ever seen.

The company grades cards on a 1-to-10 scale based of their condition. Up to now, the highest grade it had ever given a Ty Cobb card from the E98 series was a 7. Sixteen Cobbs found in the Ohio attic were graded a 9 — almost perfect. A Honus Wagner was judged a 10, a first for the series.

Retired vintage sports card auctioneer Barry Sloate of New York City said: “This is probably the most interesting find I’ve heard of.”

In a measure of what baseball cards can be worth, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks paid a record $2.8 million for a rare 1909 Honus Wagner. Another version of the card brought $1.2 million in April.

Heritage Auctions plans to sell most of the cards over the next two of three years through auctions and private sales so that it doesn’t flood the market. In all, they could bring $2 million or $3 million, Ivy said.

The Hench family is evenly dividing the cards and the money among the 20 cousins named in their aunt’s will. All but a few have decided to sell their share.

“These cards need to be with those people who appreciate and enjoy them,” Kissner said.