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Diane Gross, DRE Lic. #01217299
Realtor/Interior Designer
    Years of Experience: 21

    Re/Max Hall of Fame Award Recipient

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Selling a Short Sale

Orange County, CA’s Flagship Community Newport Beach Current Real Estate Market

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Given the Newport Beach area, including Corona del Mar and Newport Coast in Orange County, CA tend to cost over $1 Million, my initial thought based on what I’ve seen in other communities is that this community probably is not seeing that much of an uptick yet.  Upon further study of the MLS I found the following:

Realtors report lots of lookers at open houses and lots of transactions did stem from those buyers.  Brokers are saying days on market are down and inventory is down lending toward multiple offers on homes like in most areas of Orange County, CA.  I was particularly struck by homes between $2-3 Million.  There are only 102 currently Active homes.  Of those 35 have reduced their price, only 4 have raised them.  The good news is 43 homes are at their originally listed price.  Of the four homes that have raised their price, 3 are in Newport Coast and only 1 is a short-sale.

The largest amount of inventory in the Newport Beach, CA area is priced between $1 – 2 Million.  There are 166 available ‘Active’ homes.  So far, 62 of those have reduced their price, 7 have raised their price and 97 homes are holding steady at their listed price.

The lowest price point in Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and Newport Coast, California in Orange County, CA has only 104 available ‘Active’ properties.  In this price point, the area around the Bluff’s is the best performer.  At this price point, Corona del Mar has had 5 of 9 listings reduced, but in the higher price point, Corona del Mar performs well.

For homes exceeding $3 Million in Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and Newport Coast in Orange County, CA, there are 154 available ‘Active’ properties.  Surprisingly, I found of those 3 had raised their price and only 48 had lowered their price during the listing so far.  Also, there are only 3 distressed sales at this price point!  Not just that, but the days on market average only 159 days!  There are only a handful of homes that are kicking this number up significantly.  Without those, the number would be far less.

I have two observations that way in my decision as to whether the pricing is really going up in this area.  One, I typically look at the number of price increases while listed and I’m seeing very few of these at all price points and in almost all areas.   Two, I look for the number of those in ‘Back Up’ or ‘Pending’ to have fewer homes with reduced prices, and I’m not seeing that over the last 90 day period.  I typically look heavily at the past 30 days.  Since the last 30 days were mostly during August/September, I would expect not to see much difference because those months are typically the slowest months of the year due to kids going back to school and the end of summer vacations.

I have many more numbers to substantiate what I’ve reported here, so if you would like to discuss further, do not hesitate to contact me through this site, or my website by clicking here.

Feel free to sign up below to receive further Orange County, CA community Real Estate market analyses and more about the Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and Newport Coast, CA areas.


Orange County, CA Aliso Viejo Community Prices Moving Up!

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Holly Cow!  There are only 60 listings available in Aliso Viejo, California, a smaller community of mostly newer homes in Orange County, California.

It seemed as though Aliso Viejo, CA’s housing market has been coming back faster and sooner than most other Orange County, CA communities.  But, right now, as far as ‘Active’ listings go, there are only 5 homes out of the 60 currently listed (both condos and single family residences at all price points) whose prices have increased while actively on the market. Is this because their homes have been going up for a while, so the listing prices were already increased?  A review of the the homes in ‘Back Up,’ ‘Pending’ and recent ‘Solds’ might tell the story…

Of the 139 properties in ‘Back up’ 17 had their prices increased; however, 14 of the 17 are short-sales.  Maybe a more tell-tale sign is there are only 14 distressed listings out of the 60 ‘Active’ Listings and 99 of the 139 ‘Back Up’ Listings are distressed sales.  Not only does this speak volumes, but so does the fact that of the 40 non-distressed listings in ‘Back Up’ half have been on the market under 30 days!

Of the 16 ‘Pending’ sales in Aliso Viejo, California, none have had a price increase or decrease but only 4 have been on the market longer than 34 days!

Going back only 3 months and only ‘standard sales,’ there have been 126 properties closed in Aliso Viejo, California. A phenomenal 51 homes out of the 126 sales sold above asking; and often Realtors will re-list the home for the higher price so not to show that it sold for over the asking price so there could well have been more!  On the other hand, 56 of those same 126 closed sales had reduced their price while listed.  When bringing back in all closed sales during this same three month period, there were a total of 268 closings, so a huge number of 142 distressed sales finally closed over this past three month period.  And, just an aside, out of the 142 distressed sales 47 raised their price while listed.  Unfortunately, though, that’s usually a sign of the listing agents under-pricing short-sales on purpose and the selling bank required a higher sales price.  On the other hand, it might also indicate that prices went up so quickly while they were listed that multiple offers kicked up the price.

And, just so you know, there are only 27 detached homes out of the 60 ‘Active’ listings in Aliso Viejo, California.

WOW!  All in all, Aliso Viejo is still a wonderful Orange County, California community to live in.  Most of the homes are newer and the schools are highly considered.  In fact, some areas of Aliso Viejo, California attend Laguna Beach schools.  There’s hardly anywhere else you can live and attend Laguna Beach schools at these prices!

Overall, there are still good deals to be had in Aliso Viejo with all those distressed sales still available; however, they’re becoming fewer and farther between and prices are definitely rising in Aliso Viejo, California.

For more questions about Aliso Viejo and Orange County, California be sure to contact me through this site or visit my website by clicking here.

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As always, I’d love to hear your comments!

Irvine, CA, A Community of Orange County, CA Current Real Estate Market

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Can you believe it?  Inventory is way down and so are distressed sales in Irvine, CA! Following is a breakdown by individual tracts/subdivisions.

I’ve been watching the MLS for a specific sign to tell when the market/pricing is really moving up.  For me, that is when the prices start going up while they are still listed as ‘Active’ and if they are going up, whether they are short-sales or not.  In a quick look at what is happening with Real Estate in Irvine, CA, there are only 266 “Active” properties up to $1 million!

The first thing evident was in the Airport Area with 22 ‘Active’ listings.  New Condos that were completed in 2011 have just been placed on the market 1-2 days ago priced in the upper $700-900,000 and the price of another new listing already ‘Active’ was raised.  There are 4 properties in the $300-500,000 range that all have dropped their price and only 1 of those is a short-sale.  There is one condo priced at $999,000 that is a standard sale and it was reduced.  That makes 15 homes with prices in this area that are holding steady.

Oh, another ‘Active’ just went into escrow.  Now there are only 265 ‘Active’ properties.

There are only 2 ‘Active’ listings in Columbus Grove,Irvine, CA.  Their prices are unchanged having only been on the market 7 and 9 days.  On a quick glance I cannot identify whether the prices are higher or lower than the previous sales of those models.

In the El Camino, Irvine, CA area, there are 11 ‘Active’ listings.  Two in the $300,000 range have raised their price and both are standard sales.  There are no price reductions so for 9 listings the listing price has held.

In Laguna Altera, Irvine, CA there are 5 listings.  The price on two have held and three have been raised.  This probably indicates the newest of the new homes, all built in 2012, are raising their prices!

Regarding Northpark and Northpark Square, Irvine, CA on the face of things, it does not appear to be performing as well as a whole.  When separating out Northpark from Northpark Square I found 8 properties in each area and it’s a bit of a mixed bag. In Northpark of the 8, three have reduced their price.  In Northpark Square, four are down and one is up. Only 3 are distressed sales.

One home was added and three just went into escrow! Now there are 263 ‘Active’ Listings.

Wow! There are 40 ‘Active’ listings in Northwood, Irvine, CA!  Three have gone up in price while listed and none of those are distressed. Fifteen have had price reductions, at least one that was listed almost 50% too high to begin with. Considering the great schools in Northwood, that’s a nasty reality. Is it the age of the homes?  Are they not updated enough?

Now there are only 262 ‘Active’ Listings… they’re dropping like flies!!

Oak Creek, Irvine, CA has 8 ‘Active’ listings and only 1 has gone up in price. Four have reduced their prices and none are short-sales.

Orange Tree, Irvine, CA have only 5 listings and all are holding on their price.  These are priced $300-450 and their days on market are all under 19 days.  Three are 1 day on market!  That’s a hot commodity, and these prices are higher than previous sales though not raised while on the market.

There are 19 ‘Active’ listings in Portola Springs, Irvine, CA. Though a newer area, it’s proximity in Irvine sometimes hampers sales as is evident in the following numbers: 3 home listing prices have been raised and 10 have been lowered. This is probably the highest price lowering rate we’ve seen, especially among newer homes. Two of those with pricing up are brand new homes and the 3rd is a short-sale. Surprisingly, there are only 2 distressed sales.  Is this the end of short-sales… finally? One can only hope!

There are 6 properties in Quail Hill, Irvine, CA. One has lowered their price and all but one are standard sales.

There are 5 in San Joaquin, Irvine, CA and 3 have lowered their price. One is a short-sale.

Stonegate, Irvine, CA has only 1 home listed and the price was reduced to $849,900. This goes against the trend.

In Turtle Rock, Irvine, CA there are 21 homes available.  Would you believe it, 15 have had price reductions, only 1 increase and only 1 distressed sale. If you always wanted to live in Turtle Rock with excellent schools, now’s the time!

There are 5 Turtle Ridge, Irvine, CA homes, again newer homes for those of you who are unfamiliar with Irvine, CA.  Only one has reduced their price and there are no distressed sales.

In University Park, Irvine, CA there are 9 listed and 3 have been reduced (some near freeway) and one of those three is distressed.  Considering the age of the area, performing very well. Probably because of the high school and being a more affordable area.

Only 3 properties in University Town,Irvine, CA 2 have been reduced and none are distressed sales.

There are only 2 distressed sales in Woodbridge, Irvine, CA out of 29 ‘Active’ listings and while there are 4 homes that have had price increases, there are 12 that have been reduced.  This follows the trend of the similarly aged homes in Northwood and Turtle Rock, except for the fact that there are 4 listings whose prices have gone up. Let’s see if they sale at that increased price…

Shockingly, when considering the desirable age of these homes, Woodbury, Irvine, CA is still taking it’s sweet time catching up with the market.  Out of 13 ‘Active’ listings, 9 have dropped their prices.

West Irvine, Irvine, CA continues to shock me with a steady as she goes trend, even beating Oak Creek that has many of the same floor plans.  Of 9 total ‘Active’ listings, only 3 have been reduced and no distressed listings.

It’s a bit inexplicable but both Walnut and Westpark, Irvine, CA have 11 and 13 ‘Active’ listings respectively. Each have 1 with an increased price and 2 with decreased prices. Westpark has 2 distressed sales and Walnut has 0.

Overall, based on this study, it would appear that there are still deals to be had in Irvine, California due to all the price reductions and not many increases.

Should you have further questions about Irvine, CA, I’d love for you to contact me. Be sure to check out my other BLOG entries and my website by clicking here. Be sure to sign up below for emails announcing future entries of other Orange County, CA community studies below.


As always, I look forward to your comments and questions… just ask.

Goal Setting when Buying a Home in Orange County, CA

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Have a plan!

If you watched the Olympic swimming races, you recognize even an 100th of a second can mean the difference between winning and losing (in this case, that home you’re hoping to buy or sale).  Just how long should one take to figure things out?

Today’s sales meeting was about just that.  In fact, Nike and many others that propose the same thing had it right — ‘Just Do It!’  Follow your plan and let nothing hold you back.  It really doesn’t matter what your goal, having a plan and continuing to move toward that goal in measured, decisive and predetermined steps will best get you what you want.

I was reviewing my facebook site today after the meeting and a couple of postings hit home for me as regards this very subject:

On many occasions Buyers will say we have to pray on it, or discuss it tonight with my loved one or a million other reasons meant just to keep them from moving forward.  The best deal or your perfect home probably just went to someone else.  If you don’t think we’re right back in this mode of home shopping, think again.  Know exactly what you want, find a Realtor who can help you locate it; and choose quickly.

Another facebook entry:

No explanation is needed for this life lesson.  It ties into Real Estate because many are ‘afraid’ to make an offer when other offers are already on the table.  Do not let that hold you back.  In most cases you have the same chance as anyone else if you listen to your Realtor’s suggestions on how to go about making your offer.

Also often considered is whether this is the right time to buy a home.  I’ve said it before and now again: Now is Always the best time to buy; but, you can hardly beat what’s happening today:  the lowest interest rates and prices already beginning to go up.  In Orange County, CA when you purchase right you can again put money into your pockets.

Life Lessons

I treat everything I do as a life lesson and then I apply it to the business.  I think the most beneficial suggestion I heard today was to go to sleep every night saying “Do It Now” 50 times and to wake the next morning doing exactly the same.  Can you imagine a more explosive way to jump out of bed?  You won’t even give NO a thought.  You won’t have time to think it.  All you’ll be thinking is “Just Do It!”

Choose the Right Realtor!

Several years ago, I attended a Tony Robbins seminar where Tony suggested you choose a mentor who is successful at doing something and you do it just like they do it and you’ll be equally successful.  He chose someone from the audience who had absolutely no problem exercising every single morning.  What became obvious to me is this person heard the alarm and didn’t even stop to think that they might not go exercise today.  Their behavior was on auto-pilot.  The alarm started going off and they were already tying their shoes and going out the door before the alarm stopped.

When you are ready to buy a home, you first need to become qualified and next to select a Realtor who works on auto-pilot to help you locate the best home for what you have shared with them that you want.  You choose a good Realtor that you can trust and leave the rest to them.  Remember, in most cases Realtors do not get paid until you close on your home.  That’s a huge motivator.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about just finding you any home.  Realtors also survive on referrals.  How many referrals would a Realtor get if they just put you into any home and were on to the next?  That’s the second biggest motivator.

Choose a Realtor who knows their job so well that they’ll be on Auto-Pilot.  They listen well and know how to make one of the toughest tasks you’ll face into one of the smoothest!  I’d sure like to do this for you!!

If you like what you’ve read, visit my website by clicking here; and be sure to sign up below for pre-notice of future blog entries. 


Attn: Buyers and Sellers in Orange County, CA

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Is it too soon to evaluate the 2012 housing market?  How about the economy?  Signs are pointing to … up.  WAIT!  Don’t stop reading just because you don’t agree!  Did I mention?  After the holidays, keyword after, the movie lines were all the way across the parking lot.  The wait to be seated at CPK for dinner was 20 minutes and that was before 6 pm!

I believe there is a willingness for people to go back out and spend again.  They got a taste of it during the holidays and it didn’t stop afterward.  Yes, some businesses are laying off … many are hiring.  And, several are hiring in large numbers.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s definitely still a mixed bag – 2 steps forward 1 step back. but that’s better than the other way around.

What does this have to do with the housing market?  Lots.  Unfortunately, for the consumer, what is one’s politics determines how one feels about the economy.  Also, it determines one’s outlook on life.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again – you must be in the middle of it to know exactly what is going on.  This is the time of year in the normal ebbs and flows where real estate begins to pick up.  If my readers/clients insist on reading other people’s projections, make certain who you are listening to and that they are not just saying what you want to hear because they’re matching your own belief system.  In other words — know your source!  Is the writer really in the field and literally out there working with Buyer’s and Seller’s all over Orange County, California?   The fact is, what I’m saying won’t be the case everywhere; and this is why you need your Realtor; but, here goes:

This is what I’m already seeing this year:

  • Inventory is down.  Check!
  • Buyers are out there.  Check!
  • Interest rates are low.  Check!
  • Pricing is down.  Check!
  • Multiple offers abound.  Check!
  • People are tired of waiting.  Check!

Sounds to me like a comeback…

If you agree; and you’re ready to begin working toward either a sale or a purchase of Real Estate, visit my website by clicking here!

As always, I’d love your feedback; and, to receive notice of my future postings, sign up below.


Orange County, CA Housing Market

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I Want to Give You Helpful Information…

Why don’t you take me up on it?

I’ve just reviewed my Google Analytics Report to see what type of information I provide is reaching the majority of my readers.  There were two articles I wrote that received the most attention from you:

1)  SB458 Didn’t work the way it was intended, and

2) You can still buy a condo with only 5% down.

As a Realtor, I perceived all of my other topics to be extremely helpful information to both buyers and sellers alike; and, according to the comments received, they were found to be well written and good information.  However, for whatever reason, they are not causing you to spend a lot of time on my site when compared to those two topics above.  Does this indicate that the majority of the information I provide is not useful to you?

Next month, I complete 20 years of working as a Realtor.  Having been in the industry all that time, I should have the ability to communicate to you just about anything you would want to know about Real Estate.  And, what I don’t know, I can find out for you.  The time I spend writing my Blog is significant and it should count for something.  I’d certainly like to have an open dialogue about my topics, and want to hear from you about what information you would be most interested.

So that you can track how successful this request is in receiving my reader’s suggestions, or to get an answer to your own burning question(s), sign up below to receive an automatic notice of new Blog entries.


If you’re interested in allowing me to assist you with your Real Estate needs, don’t hesitate to contact me at 949-929-6343 or, click here to see how I work.

SB458 Causes Havoc in Orange County, CA as Predicted!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

A few months ago, just when doing a short sale in Irvine, CA, was getting a little more organized, SB458 was voted on and passed.  You may need to read my post just previous to this one wherein I predicted issues regarding SB458. 

To recap, SB458 is Senate Bill 458 and seemingly, but not in reality, it was designed to help borrowers complete short sales on their homes and come out of it without owing any remaining deficit to either the First or Second mortgage, or Equity line holders. Unfortunately, the outcome of this Bill, because it did not address deficits should the home owner in Orange County be foreclosed on, allows the Second mortgage and/or Equity line holders to ask for so many dollars during the short sale that the First mortgage holder could not possibly agree, whereby forcing the home into foreclosure!  In reality, this is the result the Second mortgage and/or Equity line holders want.  This way, they can make agreements with the borrower to have their debt paid in full, if so desired.  And, why wouldn’t they want this?  So, in reality, the SB458 is having the exact opposite effect that was intended.

First some good news:  It’s my understanding, though not confirmed yet, that SB458 will be edited, hopefully, as soon as the end of September.  Probably before lots of people called in, I was originally told it could be the end of the year before it is edited.  Honestly, I don’t care how long it takes as long as Governor Brown freezes foreclosures until SB458 is edited appropriately.

It’s my guess that SB458′s edit will include some protection for those that will be or have been foreclosed on and it will be retro-active similarly to the original writing of SB458; and, the edit will encourage the banks’ work together to make short sales happen, and happen more quickly. Somehow, everyone is going to have to come to agreement on some percentage, I say 10%, that the First Mortgage will set aside for the Second or Equity Line.

Now the bad:  As I see it, if foreclosures are not frozen and homes do foreclose between now and the edit, borrowers may have to hire attorneys to go against the Banks that rushed the foreclosure to beat the edit.  Attorneys may also be required to adjust borrowers’ credit to show the sale as a short sale in lieu of foreclosure.  First mortgage holders will be out additional funds it costs to do a foreclosure in lieu of a short sale, and those banks could even go after the other banks for reimbursement.  The Realtors in Orange County, CA caught in the middle who have listed the home, sometimes for years at a time, will not be paid for work performed to save the Borrowers; and as what probably happens all the time, the Realtors with the Buyer can go directly to the bank with that ready, willing and able buyer and help them purchase the home directly from the bank, cutting out the Realtor that did all the work.

I wonder if the California Government recognizes that short sales are already being halted on homes that were already approved by its lien holders because of omissions made on SB458 now giving lien holders the right to pursue their debt by way of a foreclosure?

The saddest part of all of this, as the negotiator put it at USAA, is that Veterans, who have already been through enough, are now losing their homes, their credit, and therefore, as I understand it, their ability to achieve security clearances.  In addition, all those buyers, Buyers’ Agents and Listing Agents currently waiting on a short sale to be approved are waisting their time.  At this point, it’s doubtful they will close unless their chosen property only has one loan, or possibly if both loans are at the same bank.  And, just when we don’t need it, more foreclosures will lead to BIG price reductions and contribute to a further weakening of our economy.

We can avoid all of this IF Governor Brown would Freeze Foreclosures until this issue is settled.  This needs to happen today!  Please help me get the word to Governor Brown. It’s very important we get this message in front of Governor Brown today!

To discuss this further, do not hesitate to comment, or contact me at 949-929-6343. To see how I work visit my website by clicking here.

California’s SB458 Works Opposite of Intent

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Ut Oh, California’s new SB458 bill that was passed a couple of weeks ago was intended to keep borrowers from having to repay their deficiencies on both their First and Second or Equity Line loans in the case of a short sale.  Unfortunately, it appears that it will work in the reverse.  Instead of protecting consumers from having to repay deficiencies after a short sale; it appears the banks will shut down negotiations for short sales altogether and opt for foreclosure instead.

The bill’s written perfectly for those that sold short already.  It’s no longer limited to purchase money loans; and it no longer excludes Second loans or Equity Lines of Credit.  SB458 specifies, in my interpretation (though you should discuss this with your attorney), for any lender on a property of 1-4 units whose loan is solely collateralized by the property is compensated by means of a short sale; they are no longer able to seek remedy for the deficiency afterward.

Just when some of the major banks like Bank of America; and now Wells Fargo, or any bank utilizing Equator as an organizational method, have finally hired (almost?) enough staff and stopped losing paperwork; and are actually accomplishing the completion of short sales in a more reasonable amount of time; this law unintentionally cut everyone off at the knees.

In Southern California, it’s customary for the First Loan to offer the Second an approximate $3,000 settlement for short sales; and, in most cases, it was accepted. I’m guessing this was because the Second/Equity Line of Credit holder could eventually pursue compensation through the courts with a deficiency judgment.

The author seemingly missed an unintended loophole.  A foreclosure still allows the lenders to seek a deficiency judgment.  What would be the incentive for either the First or the Second/Equity lender to choose a short sale any longer when they can still go ahead and foreclose and still have the right to pursue a deficiency judgement.  Unless this previously unnoticed omission in the Bill is quickly corrected to include protection for the consumer against a deficiency judgment in the case of a foreclosure, we may well have seen California’s last short sale.  The only way around this, to my knowledge, would be for these homeowners to take bankruptcy.  Then no one is the winner.  It leads to the consumer having ruined credit (worse than with a short sale); the Realtor’s are out of business unless you have an in with the banks to sell foreclosed properties (don’t even get me started on this); the banks expenses go up as a foreclosure is more expensive to close than a short sale; and my understanding is the banks are not allowed reimbursment of a deficiency judgment.

One can only imagine what this would do to the housing market, eh?  I’m working on a short sale right now.  After losing seven buyers all for different reasons, we finally have someone who will stay in the deal.  Unfortunately, the First and Second loans are not at the same bank.  Even though the First is offering $10,000 to the Second, the Second wants $27,000+.  I wonder where they think all that money’s coming from!  They already cut the Realtor’s commissions, they’re getting more from the First than usual and the Seller doesn’t have the money.  Unfortunately, these Seconds think the Buyers should pay it on top of the purchase price.  Does anyone out there think the home will appraise for those additional funds on top of the purchase price?  Even if the Second had incentive before the new law, they certainly don’t have any now.

Maybe all those folks that keep saying the banks have these stockpiles of foreclosed properties they’re waiting to release will be right after all…  YIKES!!

If you’d like to review SB458, click here.  To sign up to receive notice of future blogs, be sure to sign up below.


As always, I’d love to hear from you on how you feel about this topic and any other.  To see how I work or to hire me as your Realtor click here.

Robo-signing Still Happening!

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Evidently Robo-signing of mortgage documents is still occuring. For an up-to-date report on this topic go to:

Be sure to make note of a long list of banks, including some of the largest, that have been caught Robo-signing mortgages when they were bought on the resale market. For those of my readers that do not know what this is, or have not heard this is going on; when mortgages were being sold and then purchased in bulk, they either were not signed at all or they were all signed with one person’s name on it, supposedly while working at multiple different banks at the same time.

From what I learned on CBS’s 60 Minutes, these banks were hiring many 16 year olds, paying them $10/hr. to sign someone else’s name on mortgage documents as if that person had reviewed and approved the documents. If you’re in the middle of a short-sale or foreclosure, you want to follow the directions as presented in the Reuters article where to look to see if the signature is valid.   It may be that your bank already settled a lawsuit involving the same and that monies might be due to you.  If you have any questions, be sure to contact your trusted Real Estate Attorney.  If you live in the Orange County, CA or Irvine, CA areas, don’t hesitate to contact me for a couple good Real Estate Attorneys.

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