Win-Win Solution Blog


Demystifying Foreclosure Myths

I have been helping homeowners in foreclosure since 1995, and my colleagues call me “the Queen of Short Sales.” But I recently came across a statistic that caught me completely off guard: 70% of homeowners in foreclosure still don’t know their options and alternatives.

Browsing the Internet and watching television, I noticed lately an abundance of information about foreclosure , but instead of helping educate homeowners, it seems to be adding to their confusion and frustration. Troubled homeowners often believe that they are alone with their challenges, and the information they receive often provides conflicting advice on how to proceed.

In San Francisco, over 209 homes entered foreclosure in March, up 30 percent from January. In January of this year, 30% of homes were taken back by the bank. This is NOT acceptable for the community I serve. Here at the Ildiko Pali Team, we are local homeowner advocates. We have created a FREE report to HELP that 70% of homeowners called “Stopping Foreclosure, Understanding Your Options.” This detailed report throughly educates homeowners on their options, providing various alternative solutions that examine the short and long term consequences of homeowners that want to KEEP, RENT, or SELL their property.

Click the link to download and print your FREE report. Below, I’ve compiled the Top 3 Foreclosure myths debunked to sprinkle a little clarity on the recent foreclosure information storm.

Top Three Foreclosure Myths:

  1. Myth: Lenders will not accept Short Sales unless the homowner is behind on their payments.
    Truth: This is simply not true. In most cases, we have successfully completed short sales for clients who haven’t missed a single payment. The homeowner must show a valid hardship, which could be out of area job transfer, loss of income, dwindling savings that will be used up by a certain date in the near future and can not hang on to the property any longer.
  2. Myth: Homeowners must be late on their payments to try for a Loan Modification.
    Truth: Many banks suggest homeowners can try for a loan modification once they are behind on their payments. However, once they are behind the bank moves the property into foreclosure, and then the homeowner often runs out of time and doesn’t have enough money to cure the loan. Look into your options before you even get behind of payments. We can also refer you to reputable Loan Modification consultants if needed.
  3. Myth: Homeowners can save their home by paying off mortgage payments with their credit cards.
    Truth: Using a credit card just borrows the debt from one place to another, while adding 18 percent of interest. This is not a solution!

How WE can HELP: At our FREE consultation, we review all your options, looking at various alternative solutions, and show you the short and long term consequences of each. We will then design a plan and backup plan with step by step guidelines on how to implement it to accomplish your goals.

How YOU can HELP: If you have an acquaintance, a loved one, or know of a business professional with a client that could benefit from this information, please forward our post!

Seller’s Secrets: Who Should Negotiate My Short Sale?

A past client of the Ildiko Pali Team, Eddie, a lawyer living in San Francisco, tried to negotiate a loan modification on his condo in the Mission District of San Francisco, while still paying his mortgage and honoring the system. After a year and a half of fighting the bank’s maze of bureaucracy, he gave up on that course of action.

Eddie was then referred to SFforeclosure, given their extensive experience in Short Sale transactions since 1995. There is a common misconception that only people in foreclosure can submit Short Sales, but Eddie was without deficiency. He simply had to get relocate and sell his home with huge negative equity.

There are many lawyers who call themselves as a better option over real estate agents to take on Short Sale transactions given their legal knowledge. However, that work often comes with high upfront costs for homeowners that not everybody can afford. Real estate agents, on the other hand, work for free until the close of the transaction and are then paid their commission by the lender. On either end, a qualified representative must have extensive knowledge and expertise in the field in order for success.

The Ildiko Pali team was able to demonstrate Eddie’s genuine financial hardship, negotiate a successful discounted payoff with the lender, and successfully close the transaction. Sometimes, a qualified real estate agent can do what an attorney can not in this housing market. Just ask Eddie.

Interviewed by Christine Meade.

Christine: Tell me a little bit about your experience with Short Sale and working with SFforeclosure. What property were you selling?

Eddie: I was selling my loft condo at 2130 Harrison St. [San Francisco]. I bought it in 2005, and because of financial reasons, I was trying to sell it. I was very fortunate that over a period of time we were able to do a short sale.

Christine: How did you hear about SFforeclosure and the Ildiko Pali Team?

Eddie: Through referrals from friends. This was my first time selling. I had heard that Ildiko was great.

Christine: What was it like working with Ildiko?

Eddie: It was fantastic. Ildiko takes care of everything and made the process as painless as possible. She is very thorough and followed up on a lot of details. She explained the process to me very well from the beginning, letting me know what it would entail and what to expect. She explained what would happen very accurately, both the challenges and the successes.

Christine: Where there any challenges during the Short Sale process that you faced?

Eddie: First, locating a buyer was very hard. The buyer’s offer came in so low it was scary. The place looked nice, and they [Princeton] did a great job showing it, but the market was so bad. Once they did locate a buyer, they were able to keep the buyer interested, even though it was a long process and the buyer could walk away any time.

Christine: What was the best part of the selling process?

Eddie: I was always confident things would be taken care of. Ildiko was great negotiating with banks. Things just moved along and then we got the approval. I was just following along. As a lawyer, I knew nothing about Short Sales, and I learned all about it through Ildiko. It’s a very complicated subject area, and she instructed me very well through it.

Christine: Where to now?

Eddie: I'm still figuring out where I want to live. I might try a new city.

Christine: Any other comments on your overall experience?

Eddie: Kate [Fomina] and Ildiko are a great team. It was nice having someone on your side that knew what they were doing. It was comforting to not have to worry through whole process. They negotiated a better deal than I would have been able to do myself. I got the best from what I could have out of the situation.

The New American Dream

In the '60s, the American Dream was reinterpreted to include–along with world peace and Beatles records– the ability for everyone to own their own home.  Over the years, this dream was realized by millions of Americans. Around 2000, financing became easier than ever and our cherished ability to buy was overused. Because not everyone could realistically afford their own home, many found themselves buried under piles of debt.

In a recent Money Class on KQED, Suze Orman advised that we need to learn to live below our means, not within them. This means focusing to pay off credit cards, car loans, and high mortgages.  According to her, our weak economy is a sign that we need to rethink our values. She believes we have to once more reinvent the American Dream to center around family values and simplifying our life.

Orman recommends individuals take the time to plan how and where to invest their money.  In today’s real estate market, an individual needs 20 % down, ideally 8 months of emergency funding on reserve, and a plan to live in their home for at least 10 years said Suze. To live the New American Dream we need to stick around in our home for a while, and simply simplify.

At the Ildiko Pali team, we believe the New American Dream really isn’t that different from the old one.  Real estate has always been a long-term investment, it just needs to be an investment that makes sense financially. For those that can afford it, right now is the best time to buy while the market is saturated with low priced listings and low interest rates.

Our goal is also to help our clients simplify their lives when they are overextended, overwhelmed, ready for retirement, or just needing a change.  Our team is expert at getting rid of negative equity by negotiating short sales, discounted payoffs with lenders.

Are you ready to simplify your life and realize your New American Dream? Let us help! Email

Letting Go of Attachments

Often in business, I am asked how I deal with difficult clients and turn the experience into a success.

I don’t believe I have any difficult clients–I only have clients in difficult situations. As a real estate consultant, my goal is to find simple solutions to my client’s problems. One of the biggest difficulties my clients often come up against is their attachment to things or ideas, whether it be owning a particular home, driving the dream car, or living in a certain neighborhood. However, I have learned that sometimes the best and quickest way to a solution is to give up on our attachments.

A few years back, I was working with a client in Hillsborough. This couple had lost their business and was behind in their mortgage payments. In order to avoid foreclosure, they were considering selling their home, but they really wanted to stay until their children finished high school.

The couple owned a number of valuable antiques, and I recommended they sell one piece in particular, in order to use the money to cure their loan and remain in their home. It took them three weeks just to agree to my proposed solution even though their house was at stake. It’s easy to feel attached to the belongings or places we’ve accumulated throughout our lives, but sometimes the best things come out of opening yourself to detachment.

I found a buyer for their antiques, and it generated enough profit to allow them to remain in their home and their children to finish high school. Although I did not sell their home I’ve closed five transactions over the years from the referrals they’ve sent me. I still receive Christmas cards from the family every year.

What attachment have you let go in order to reach a better solution?

“Enjoy everything that happens in your life, but never make your happiness or success dependent on any attachment to any…place or thing.”  - Wayne Dyer

Heaven on Earth

The first time I stepped foot in San Francisco forty years ago, I was convinced I had found Heaven on Earth. I remained convinced of this notion until I spent seven weeks in Bali at the end of last year. My experience in this peaceful island paradise allowed me to see the world in a whole new light, where love, respect, duty and daily spiritual practice are the key principals of life.

I arrived in Nirarta in Sideman at the Living Awareness Centre in the foothills of Mt. Agung in December. The centre, created by Professor Peter Wryca from the UK, managed to create a utopia that I referred to as “East of Eselan.” Peter developed a beautiful, peaceful place to rest and quiet the mind of the world’s negative chatter. The centre reminded me how amazing it is that an individual’s fully-realized vision can create a place of Heaven on Earth.

In Nirarta, I was surrounded by the sounds of the river, birds singing, and the beautiful view of the mountains and rice fields. I watched the quiet Balinese people working on their much loved and respected land. I felt like I was at the ballet watching a beautifully choreographed dance between nature and the Balinese people, moving together in harmony to the sound of the river. This place was magical. God lives in places like this.

The Balinese sense of duty and dedication to their loved ones is to be greatly admired. In their culture, when it comes to the celebration of life and death, nothing else matters. All business comes to a halt. Isn’t that the way it should be?

We don’t have to travel to far away places to find beauty, peace, and harmony. It is all around us. We just need to open our senses to see and learn. Maybe it is right in our own backyard!

Where is your heaven on earth?

Poem by Rumi:
“I have shrunk beyond the smallest atom
Expanded further than the last star
All that is left of Rumi is only.
This garden laughing with fruit”