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( Earl_Lee )

Comments made by Earl_Lee

Mello-Roos Law Allows Vote Of One To Decide On New Taxes

Sean,

Good points. I noticed the same type of thing when I was doing my due diligence. It just got me wondering where exactly is all the funds going and if anyone is auditing where the money is spent each year? Or if there is any oversight or accountability. That was my biggest worry.

I didn't look at CDF #6 so I can't speak intelligently about that one but I'll take you at your only $210,000 paid off from principle after 8 years.

My CFD #2 tax did go down actually the last two years due to refinancing at lower interest rates. I was happy to see that responsible action. But it got me wondering how many other CFD's are refinancing at today's insanely low rates.

June 19, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mello-Roos Law Allows Vote Of One To Decide On New Taxes

Great points tloc and I agree with you. No one has the obligation to buy in a CFD area.

Also, I do NOT think it would be fair for people not living in CFD areas and not taking advantage of things in those areas to collectively be taxed for these improvements in CFD areas.

If KPBS did a survey I'm sure they would have MANY homeowners saying it was worth it to pay CFD taxes.

If KPBS does follow up stories, I'd also love to find out why the city and various districts contract this out to third party agencies. For example, for CFD #4 PUSD uses Dolinka LLC. For CFD #2 they use David Taussig & Associates.

I was just curious, why isn't this all done "in house"? And how are these third party entities paid? Is it a flat fee or are they paid some other method?

If you do more follow up stories, I'd also love to see all of the third party agencies the various CFD districts use and how they are paid? And also what they have been paid to date since they started managing these CFD payments. Heck, I'd also love to read what all they do as well?

It wasn't a good feeling being charged $500 just to get a pay off quote for CFD #2. I'm not sure why in this day and age you can't have all of this organized so you can access it online? This can easily be accomplished very cheaply and affordably with software. Why make it so difficult and cumbersome to pay off your CFD obligation ahead of time?

Almost anyone I speak with that I tell them I pre-paid off my Mello-Roos they say they didn't even know that was a possibility. Obviously that isn't on purpose.

June 18, 2013 at 8:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mello-Roos Law Allows Vote Of One To Decide On New Taxes

I agree with deprotinator and SteveJ.

I posted a TON of comments in the comments section of Joanne's other story.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/12/...

I won't repeat all of it but I will say that I definitely find paying the Mello-Roos taxes well worth it. While NOT thrilled about paying CFD taxes, I knew going in about it and made a conscious effort to buy in a CFD area, just like most owners that ultimately bought in a CFD area.

I do appreciate the origins of CFD and while a bit disturbing that "one vote" could decide on having CFD taxes....ultimately that is a totally moot point. The facts remain it is what it is. There is a true need why they have to have CFD taxes in newer areas that lacked the infrastructure in the first place.

So a more important point is that there is accountability on what is being done with the annual taxes, what the interest rates are on the CFD taxes and if they have been refinanced at today's lower rates.

The MOST important point I think is under what circumstances can the CFD's have their bonds extended out further past their original target dates. It makes NO sense to tell the CFD property owners that they will have to pay it for 30 years only to have 30 years come and then have it extended out.

I'm not sure how anyone can in good conscience try to argue they didn't know about Mello Roos taxes before buying. That seems a bit absurd to me. Again, not to be harsh on anyone that didn't know about it but there is a bit of "shame on you" type thing if you bought in a CFD area and you didn't know about it.

I equate it to the home buyers during the bubble years that bought houses they clearly couldn't afford and then tried to blame the lenders for telling them that they really couldn't afford an $800,000 house on a $100,000 salary.

People need to take some personal and financial responsibility.

CFD's are not a bad thing if their stated goals and purposes are adhered to as originally planned. As well, if they are truly paid off and the homeowner's true obligation ends when they were told it would when they first purposed their home.

I'm looking forward to more of your stories Joanne.

June 18, 2013 at 5:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mello-Roos Law Allows Vote Of One To Decide On New Taxes

Grammie1991,

I'm sorry to hear this. But didn't your realtor talk to you about this? As well, didn't you look at any of the listing agreements or paperwork? Here in San Diego this is all disclosed.

I think your realtor sounds like he/she was HORRIBLE but you have to take responsibility as well for not noticing about this ahead of time before you bought the property.

I'm not fan of Mello Roos taxes but people can choose not to buy in a Mello-Roos area and buy somewhere else.

I know you probably don't want to hear this but you are also to blame for not noticing this ahead of time.

June 18, 2013 at 9:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mello-Roos Law Allows Vote Of One To Decide On New Taxes

Great Joanne! Looking forward to reading more about this. I think it's so wonderful of you to cover this topic. I missed the radio but hopefully it's somewhere online where I hear a re-broadcast of it. Thanks again.

June 17, 2013 at 12:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mello-Roos Law Allows Vote Of One To Decide On New Taxes

Thanks for taking the time to write more about these Mello-Roos taxes. However, I think that many of us already know these types of issues were murky to begin with. It doesn't sound like there is anything at all taxpayers can do once CFD's are established. So it would be great to focus on topics that taxpayers CAN do something about before it's too late.

If you plan any more follow up stories, I'd love to read about these sorts of things.

1) When is the original expected/planned pay off date of these Mello-Roos taxes in each district?

2) In what specific circumstances can these CFD taxes be extended out from their original targeted/planned pay off dates?

3) Which CFD areas have refinanced the bonds at today's record low interest rates? To note the CFD's that HAVE refinanced at today's record low interest rates? And list specifically why the ones that haven't refinanced at today's record low interest rates haven't done so already? If they haven't, is there any legal reason why they can't refinance at today's record low rates?

4) I'd love to see the original balance of each CFD tax along with a year by year balance of how much has been paid down each year and what the current balance is?

5) Are there any CFD areas where they can already project out that they will need to be extended past their ORIGINAL pay off dates?

I'm sure there are other interesting topics but many of us would appreciate if you did stories on these topics above. Thanks in advance and looking forward to reading your stories on these Mello Roos issues.

June 17, 2013 at 11:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Homeowners Overcharged Thousands In Special Property Taxes

Joanne,

I know many of us that live in CFD areas (or those thinking about buying in a CFD area) would LOVE for you to do some future stories on these topics below.

1) When is the original expected/planned pay off date of these Mello-Roos taxes in each area?

2) In what specific circumstances can these CFD taxes be extended out from their original targeted/planned pay off dates?

3) Which CFD areas have refinanced the bonds at today's record low interest rates? To note the CFD's that HAVE refinanced at today's record low interest rates? And list specifically why the ones that haven't refinanced at today's record low interest rates haven't done so already? If they haven't, is there any legal reason why they can't refinance at today's record low rates?

4) I'd love to see the original balance of each CFD tax along with a year by year balance of how much has been paid down each year and what the current balance is?

5) Are there any CFD areas where they can already project out that they will need to be extended past their ORIGINAL pay off dates?

I'm sure there are other interesting topics but many of us would appreciate if you did stories on these topics above. Thanks in advance and looking forward to reading your stories on these Mello Roos issues.

June 14, 2013 at 8:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Homeowners Overcharged Thousands In Special Property Taxes

You're welcome JeanMarc. Biggerpockets has some pretty good information on it. But I like sites like Piggington as they are local sites and most of the people are all local to the San Diego area. This way you get a much better feel of what is going on locally.

So much of real estate is local and drastically differs just based on each individual city.

I've met several people in person from that website and there are some smart 'cookies' on that website. Many of us on that website foresaw the real estate crash, exited and then subsequently bought at the bottom at 2011.

It's been fun talking to some of them and hearing their "aha moments".

June 13, 2013 at 6:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Homeowners Overcharged Thousands In Special Property Taxes

I think it's a bit hard to understand the true picture of what is happening as well. The #'s are a bit misleading. For example, while it's GREAT that people have more money for down payments (I'm not counting FHA, VA type programs that are still able to put down a ridiculous low down payment). I'm speaking about more mainstream mortgages.

I met a few people that recently bought. Funny Del Sur is mentioned because that is one of the areas where I met someone that bought in. He was an engineer that I met last year and he told me he closed on a house there. I think he had a decent down payment but it seems he spent his entire savings for his down payment to buy this house.

I ran into him the other day and he STILL hasn't furnished his house! He said he doesn't have the cash to furnish his place and other than a bed and some basic furniture he can't afford it as he blew all of his cash on his down payment.

Heaven forbid he have some life emergency or medical problem or even something happen with the house. It's VERY easy for people to fall behind the "8 ball" here in San Diego that may look ok from the outside of the house but once you step behind the curtains....it's an entirely different story.

JeanMarc - you can go to one of the respected real estate boards like http://piggington.com/forum which has a LOT of great real estate information and full of many intelligent real estate investors. You can read some of the posts there and you can learn quite a bit.

I wish you the best.

June 13, 2013 at 12:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Homeowners Overcharged Thousands In Special Property Taxes

Part 3

The key principles of buying real estate to me are long-term in nature. I look at real estate as a long term investment. And when you are buying a home to live in, you have to ignore some of the noise and always trying to "time the market" and stick to basic fundamentals of buying which are don't buy more house than you can comfortably afford. As well, don't blow your entire savings on a down payment. Emergencies come up and "life happens". As well, if you aren't sure you will be in the area for the longer term then buying might not make sense.

When I buy a HOME to live in and raise my family I look at it less of an "investment" vs. a "HOME" where I will raise my family. I don't get caught up in stuff like, "what is my house worth today". I don't honestly care what prices do in the short-term. Yes, it's a better feeling seeing a Zillow estimate higher vs. lower but it doesn't change anything for me and I can comfortably afford my monthly obligations (mortgage, insurance, property taxes, etc).

I believe you should be more looking at those things. As well, I KNOW people are going to have some buyers remise that are buying today. There is so few inventory out there that people are forcing themselves into buying houses they aren't in love with. They are jumping on anything even if they don't love it. That's a recipe for disaster.

Absolutely I don't believe we will NOT see the kind of low prices like what happened during the last crash. We were in such a unique situations with all of the derivatives and toxic waste being sold. I don't see it ever getting that bad again.

I feel sorry for today's buyers because it's a strange market where so many people still have negative equity or near negative equity and therefore aren't putting their properties for sale, interest rates are near an all-time low yet there isn't much on the market forcing prices upwards.

The banks and lenders actually played it VERY intelligently not releasing the "shadow inventory" on the market like so many perma-bears said was going to happen. That never played out. Some perma-bears are still waiting for prices to fall back like before and they will probably be waiting forever for that to happen.

But there ARE some severe problems out there in the world. Things have drastically improved with the economy, job market, stock market, etc. But part of the run up in real estate is a domino effect of the stock market. People feel/are much richer today with the recovery in the stock market.

Many people are liquidating some of their stock portfolios and putting it in real estate.

June 13, 2013 at 11:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )