Not to talk about the entire country - but the last 14 months have seen a lot of change with regard to the foreclosure filings and NOD's that are typically seen as a result of a "depressed" real estate market.

During the past several months, they have been on the decline and property prices have been increasing. In some of the Santa Clarita Valley cities - we see as much as an increase of 250k in Stevenson Ranch from April 2012 to today.

Most of the sellers that think they are in a "bad way" actually have equity.

Case and Point, we had a LAPD copper and his girlfriend call me last week. He was wanting to short sale his bachelor pad that he was currently renting.

After we did the numbers, we found that without discount on commission, he was able to sell at a profit.

Talking about "commission discounts", we have our line in the sand, a line which we will not go below. We offer this up front.

We don't do that "start at 6%" then reduce from there if we get any interference. I hate that and If I was ever to buy anything and after I were to ask the "salesperson", "Is this your best price?" and after they responded "Yes..", I'd walk to test the waters - if they stopped me and said they could budge more - I'd never do business with them again.

I could have easily thought to myself, "heck, they are ready for a short sale, why not up my commission so they will just break even?"

No, that is not how we operate, it is what it is and I would not be able to sleep with a clear conscious if I played that game.

There was another agent I ran into sometime ago that wanted Paris and I to join his team. This was back in 2002, we were up and coming, he was a successful commercial agent, and he said the following. "Why not, if the seller thinks their property is worth 200k, and you know it's worth 400k, why tell them. Sell it to me and we can re-sell it again and split the money..."

After he said it, I thought I must be hearing things. I thought he was kidding, I thought a lot of things. I had to decline and I have never had any business dealings with him again. Sad but true.

Check your equity, you can do this a few ways, one of which, if you want to keep safe, use our engine. You will get a detailed report in about 30 minutes of what your real estate is valued at.

The nice thing about that one is that you don't have to worry about your personal information ending up in the wrong (different or many) hands. :)