Via Coma

Via Como LLC developed an 18 unit chunk of ArrowCreek on Via Como, Via Solano, Via Verona, and Via Ponte.  They received a NOD today on their last 4 unsold properties (10044, 10058 and 10072 Via Solano and 10142 Via Verona).  The finances on this project are a real mess and shows that the developer who drank the Kool-Aid can suffer just as much pain as the individual buyer. 

–  10/11/2004 – Construction loan for $7,224,000 on the $5,634,000 land purchase price.

–  1/12/2005 – Second loan of $1,070,000.  Reconveyed 5/4/2006.

–  1/24/2005 – Construction loan modified to $9,510,000.

–  4/22/2005 – 3rd, 4th and 5th loans for $396,000, $700,000, and $1,131,000.   All appear to be from the developer or related parties, and the loans are subordinate to the construction loan.  The 4th and 5th were reconveyed 10/9/2009, which may be news to the construction lender.

–  3/1/2006 – Construction loan modified to $12,382,499.

–  7/20/06 – 6th loan for $4,286,585.

If no more of these loans were payed of, there is a total of $17,065,084 in loans out on the project.  Here’s how the sales have gone:

–  9/30/2005 – 10212 Via Como sold for $738,019.  Current loan balance is $1,227,000.

–  11/2/2005 – 10198 Via Como sold for $1,206,410.  A NOS was filed last week, and the house is listed at $630,000.

–  1/4/2006 – 10240 Via Como sold for $1,270,410.  Loans total $1,050,000.

–  1/10/2006 – 10282 Via Como sold for $1,393,770.  It closed as a short sale in October for $580,000.

–  1/19/2006 –  10296 Via Como sold for $1,050,000.  Loans total $840,000.

–  1/27/06 – 10114 Via Ponte sold for $1,010,170.  loans total $784,000.

–  4/25/2006 – 10310 Via Como sold for $1,132,500.  loans total $1,019,000.

Then sales stopped dead for almost 2 years and more inventory was built.  When sales started up again, prices were greatly reduced, and the buyers were cash or at least 50% down:

–  2/27/2008 – 10086 Via Solano sold for $720,000.

–  3/21/2008 – 10044 Via Ponte sold for $625,000.

–  4/16/2008 – 10086 Via Ponte sold for $850,000.

–  5/14/2008 – 10072 Via Ponte sold for $745,000.

–  5/30/2008 – 10030 Via Solano sold for $740,000.

–  6/18/2008 – 10058 Via Ponte sold for $732,350.

–  7/24/2008 – 10100 Via Ponte sold for 739,000.

Total sales of $12,942,356 on over $17,000,000 in loans plus however much equity the developer originally put into the deal (it may have been the $5.4M land purchase).  The holder of the $12,382,499 first construction loan filed the NOD, so they haven’t been made whole, though the amount due is not referenced in the NOD.  All other lien holders will end up with zero.

The first wave of sales has already seen resale at 42% of original price, and a second short sale pending for at  52% or less .  Everyone else is seriously under water.  They will never in their lifetimes be able to sell their houses for what the paid for them.  Never.  The second wave probably thought they were getting steals in 2008, and have probably each lost at least 15-20% in value.

I’m sure there is a lot more to this story that I can’t glean from public records, so your background comments will be much appreciated.  Como / Coma.  Tomato / Tomahto.


About Mike McGonagle

An architect, business owner, and compulsive public records hacker, Mike reads the tea leaves of the local real estate market from a unique perspective.. A former Chicagoan, Mike earned his MArch from Harvard University. Mike can be reached at or 775-345-7435. His continued musings can be found on the blog.
This entry was posted in Developers, Developments, Foreclosures, General. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Via Coma

  1. Avatar MikeZ says:

    RE: “1/10/2006 – 10282 Via Como sold for $1,393,770. It closed as a short sale in October for $580,000.”

    WOW. A 60% haircut. The houses in that neighborhood are huge, but packed in like sardines.

  2. Avatar Reno Ignoramus says:

    Thanks yet again Mike for another fine thread. Nobody in Reno has documented the collapse of the bubble better than you have with your series of threads describing specific projects and properties. I agree with your assessment that those who bought in 2008 on the first leg down and thought they were making a killing were sadly mistaken. Yes, there really is such a thing as catching a falling knife.
    I have said many times over the years on this blog that watching this bubble collapse is going to be like watching paint dry, and this project is the perfect example of that. Four years into the collapse of “Via Coma” and it is far from over.

  3. Avatar RED says:

    I’ve been a lurker for years on the RRB. For my first post, I post doom & gloom. I didn’t know I was on that side of the fence. Anyway, here it is:

    Late Monday, Fannie Mae (FNM) said serious delinquency rates in its conventional single-family-home mortgage portfolio rose to 4.98% in October from 4.72% the previous month. A year ago, the rate stood at 1.89%.

    The source:

  4. Avatar Grand Wazoo says:

    So I ask – what is the future here in Reno?

    Buy something now, watch it go down the tubes, no matter how diligent you researched the sale?

    Stay put here in Reno, ignore the real estate disaster, smug knowing you’ve got a bullet-proof rental, yet at the same time your employer (the university system) appears to be driving off a cliff with the rest of the state financial system?

    OR – maybe it is time to pack up, give up on all this area has to offer, and realize this state (Nevada) is another Michigan in the making. The difference is Michigan took 20 years to hit the skids like this, while Nevada did it in three.

    What do you think?

  5. Avatar Downtownjunkie says:

    I’ll go with option A right now. It makes no sense to buy a once $500K house when I can rent it for $1,200/month. In fact, it would make no sense to even buy if it were still worth 500.

    I here Montana is really nice..

  6. Avatar michiganman says:

    Grand Wazoo, I would like to know your basis for believing Nevada has turned into Michigan. Jobs have been disappearing Michigan’s main economic base (the big 3 auto makers and their suppliers) for two decades as a result of competition from foreign auto makers, technology, and manufacturing moving to other states and countries due to lower cost. These jobs will never come back to Michigan, and that state was too slow to diversify into other businesses to replace these lost jobs. I understand the real estate market got way ahead of itself and is in a major correction in Nevada, but I guess my question to you is does this lead to long term job decline in the state? I am confused by your comparison of these two states, please explain.

  7. Avatar smarten says:

    Downtownjunkie states, “It makes no sense to buy a once $500K house when I can rent it for $1,200/month.” Putting aside the fact that I’m not aware of too many former $500K Reno SFRs [were there any in Sparks?] that can currently be rented for $1,200/month,

    If I used this litmus test, it would make no sense to buy nearly anything on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore; the San Francisco Bay Area; nor much of anything in Reno/Sparks. Nor has the “phenomena” you point to been any different for at least the last 8 years [in Reno/Sparks], nor the last 30 years in the Bay Area.

    So what’s the difference now?

    Please don’t tell me that Reno/Sparks isn’t any Lake Tahoe nor San Francisco Bay Area city. That’s not the point. What is the point is that it has nearly always [at least in my adult lifetime] been less expensive to rent versus own. When it comes to one’s home, most people will pay more to own versus rent because it’s generally not a straight business/investment proposition. The question is generally, how much more?

  8. Avatar Jay says:

    One completed short-sale at a very nice price and a second short-sale pending.

    On my current short-sale, they just assigned a new negotiator, and ordered a second BPO (broker price opinion).

    Why did they need a new negotiator and a 2nd BPO?
    Was the first BPO too low, and the bank wanted a second and higher price? I put the offer in on Sept 3rd.

  9. Avatar Sane Economist says:

    Smarten, you are not correct.
    Generally, and I use the term in it’s broadest sense, it is cheaper to own than to rent. This is an economic fact, as house prices are ultimately determined to rental equivalent.
    It is true that this dynamic has changed recently, but already things are basically back to “normal”.
    In the Bay Area, this dynamic only changed in the late 90’s. Today, in most places it is cheaper to buy than rent.

  10. Avatar MikeZ says:

    RE: “…realize this state (Nevada) is another Michigan in the making. The difference is Michigan took 20 years to hit the skids like this, while Nevada did it in three.”


  11. Avatar billddrummer says:

    To MikeZ,

    When you can say that the population in NV is down 50% from its peak…

    When you can say half of Las Vegas’s homes are abandoned…

    When you can say the tourism and hospitality industries have shrunk by 50% since the peak…

    When you can say half the hotels on the Strip are closed for good…

    Then you might be able to say that NV has turned into Michigan.

    I for one don’t think it has. What we’re experiencing now is a bad hangover after a long binge.

    Take some aspirin and get a nap. We’ll be OK in time.

    And Happy New Year!

  12. Avatar Martin says:

    I would agree that Nevada’s problems are not quite “Michigan-esque” in dimension.

    However, I think that to say Nevada just has a bad hangover after a long binge understates the problem, which is serious.

    Nevada has more than a hangover; it got alcohol poisoning. That can be fatal, but will not be in this instance. But it can make one very sick, and Nevada’s economy today is very sick. The patient is not going to die, but there is a long hard recovery period ahead.

  13. Avatar billddrummer says:

    To Martin,

    I like your analogy, and your diagnosis, better than mine.

    So I guess the first step in recovery is admitting we had a problem?

    Overexuberant borrowing and wild spending.

    We recognize that we were powerless.

  14. Avatar GrandWazoo says:

    I appreciate the comments to my conjecture that Nevada is turning into Michigan-West.

    I lived in Michigan my entire adult life until four years ago. I was born in Detroit. I’ve seen this exact same movie play out over time – “things are bad but when it turns around we’re going to be better than ever”. The problem is Nevada, like Michigan, is not a diverse economy. Here it is gaming and real estate development/construction. Gaming has been going downhill for quite some time, and the very idea that Nevada is going to lose (instead of gain) population next year is previously unthinkable.

    Nevada’s budget shortfall going into the last legislative session was, on a percentage basis, the highest in the nation – even higher than California and (cough, MikeZ) Michigan. Revenues have gone backwards since then.

    Jim Rogers, the previous chancellor of the state university system, was quoted recently in the Reno News & Review that the Nevada state finances were a Ponzi scheme based on the idea that the state will forever expand, and the current population were being financed by the ongoing development triggered by newcomers. Think about this obvious truth for more than a moment – what happens when the influx of people (like me) stop coming? No more new houses? No more big ticket purchases to outfit the new digs? No new car to fill out that new three car garage? That’s all sales tax, and between that and gaming revenues, that’s what runs most of Nevada’s budget.

    So there it is. Convince me I’m wrong and I’ll buy you lunch.

  15. Avatar Steve Herschbach says:

    “Think about this obvious truth for more than a moment – what happens when the influx of people (like me) stop coming? No more new houses? No more big ticket purchases to outfit the new digs? No new car to fill out that new three car garage?”

    Well, I’m not out to convince you of anything so you can keep the lunch!

    I live in Alaska and have just started shopping for a place in Reno. Lots of reasons why but the primary one bears mentioning here. A couple years ago I liked Reno but the housing market was obviously out of whack. But now all of the sudden my money has value in Reno. There appears to be price support under $200,000.00. The high end still needs to come down. So I’m looking in the $300,000-$350,000 range where I can maybe get a good deal but without a ton of downside. I’d say there still is a lot of air to be let out of the Reno market. But I’d risk that to lock in some historic low interest rates.

    The best I think Reno can hope for is for housing to stabilize. Forget about appreciation for a long time. We had an oil driven housing bubble here around 1980 and when it collapsed it was every bit as bad as what you guys are seeing. But we survived, prices eventually stabilized and recovered – but it took twenty years! The fact though is that people who could afford to buy here when things seemed worst are still telling stories of the great deals they got.

    So bad as it may be I’m seeing some opportunity to get a good deal in Reno. And as the overall economy recovers and confidence builds Reno may become known for having good deals and affordable housing. It will take time but perhaps that will turn the tide eventually.

    So that’s my premise with me as living example. Tail end of the boomer generation, looking to eventually downsize, looking for good value. I’ll pull a house off your market without adding one. I’ll pay my taxes on it. I’ll take care of the property and probably even get a small car to put in the garage for when we come down, benefitting a Reno car dealership. I’ll do my bit for your economy for years before ever moving there.

    So maybe that’s the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m choosing to hope there is not a serious second leg down, but that surely can’t be discounted. For now though I’m betting on a long, painfull unwinding of this mess.

    Steve Herschbach

    P.S. Ever wonder about the willfull blindness to real estate bubbles? They are rather obvious (just look for parabolic price curves) but I guess with everyone making money nobody seems to have an interest in tamping them down. I guess it is because the people who ultimately pay the price are not the ones getting rich off the bubbles. Looks like China is next up to bat in the big game of popping real estate prices.

  16. Avatar Martin says:

    The $300-$350K and above price range in Reno comprises about 4% of all sales. 96% of all sales are under $300K. There is still massive delusion and denial above $300K. Most of these people still think of a $300K house as a ‘moderate’ priced house because they still think the high-end starts at $700K. They are in absolute denial of the reality that there is no market above $700K at all, and that $300K, which represents 5-6 times median household income in Washoe County, now defines the upper edge that most will never be able to afford.
    I think anybody who buys above $300K today is basically assured of locking in some value depreciation in the years to come. Because even if only half of all these sellers above $300K are serious about selling, they are going to have to drop their price. Just my $0.02.

  17. Avatar SkrapGuy says:

    Yep, even the Oracle of Wingfield Springs, faux commodities trader on margin, cashed in at a loss and sold his “$300K house” for $229K. Then bought back in at $142K.

  18. Avatar FutureRenoHomebuyer says:

    Steve H,
    I value your comments from the Great White North. I, too, live out of the area (out of the county, in fact). I, too, see some great values in Reno home prices right now.

    The only thing that may stop me from getting a place in Reno next year is the job market. I can either take a substantial pay cut and get my teaching credential and live off my wife’s salary, or I can make over double or triple a teacher’s wage in: San Diego, Colorado Springs, northern VA, or D.C in my current profession.

    So, while I share your interest in Reno, I believe that high wage jobs are not going to be available for quite some time, representing a pretty significant headwind for the >$400k market.

    In short, I agree with alot of what you’ve written and think that your objective, unemotional views are a good thing for this blog.

  19. Avatar Steve Herschbach says:

    Hi Future,

    Yeah, jobs is a biggie. Luckily I do not need one so that puts me in a different boat although I may start a business in Reno when I finally move there.

    Martin, I value your thoughts on the $300,000 range. My thought was to target those non-moving properties and see if we can get someone to accept realitiy and therefore less money. So while we are looking at the $300,000-$350,000 properties that is not what we will be offering. If they will not budge, nothing lost on my part. I’m in no rush and I’m seeing plenty for under $300,000 that we would find acceptable.

    I’ll let you all know what happens. Just got my house here paid off and am getting pre-qualied, etc. You have all been a great source of information. It is a bit of a quandary but one thing I know is it is almost impossible to pick the bottom of a market. Since I am buying a property I will own twenty or more years from now some short term depreciation is not too scary. It is not that big of an investment for me.

    I just bought my wife a new car. It is worth less now that we drove it off the lot. So what – we have a new car! So if I get a place in Reno and it drops in value I won’t exactly freak out. Let say I got that $300,000 property and it dropped another 20%. Oh well, so it goes. Now if it dropped 50% I’d be telling myself how stupid I was and I’m not unknown for being stupid now and then. But it would not be the end of the world.

    But if I like the house and the neighborhood then it really is just a number on paper. It will be paid off in a couple years.

    So if I buy and the value of the house goes down, can I expect to pay lower taxes? Or will the state and local government figure a way to squeeze more taxes out of declining property values? One thing I like about Nevada is the low tax rates but it would seem that will have to change.

    Anyway, again just throwing out one little point of reality to consider. I’m not a real estate investor. I’m a home owner. I just have to like what I can get. OK, that is not true. My wife has to like what I can get!

    Steve Herschbach

  20. Avatar smarten says:

    I too applaud your forthrightness and reasoning Steve. I think that at a $350K price point, you have a lot of options. You also, IMO, have a healthy outlook insofar as the possibility of future price declines. If you factor them into the price you ultimately pay, you’re protected. I think you’re being very smart in pre-qualifying for purchase money financing. I wish you the best of luck and hope you’ll share your progress with the blog. I always admire people [even Derrick] who actually act on their instincts as opposed to those who are arm chair quarterbacks!

  21. Avatar FutureRenoHomebuyer says:

    Perhaps a bit off-topic, but I was just surfing some of my favorite RE sites (Trulia in this case). I came across a few very surprising data points.

    As per Smarten and a few other regulars, I’ve come to believe that price/sq.ft. is one of the more important stats regarding the state and trend of the market.

    Further, I consider Las Vegas to be somewhat of a “tell” for northern Nevada. Its bubble was like Reno’s x 2, IMHO. So, whatever happens in Vegas, seems to be mirrored at least in some way in Reno.

    So, I was a bit surprised when I noted today that $/sq.ft in LV for 3 and 4 BR is down to $87/sq.ft. and $84/sq.ft., respectively. 5 years ago levels were at/around $200/sq.ft.

    Today, Reno is at $109 and $124/sq.ft for 3 and 4 bedrooms, respectively, down from ~$180/sq.ft 5 years ago.

    I’ve been operating on the premise that Reno properties are well priced @~$125/sq.ft., based upon replacement costs. Looking at LV data, however, makes me wonder if I should wait until Reno median is south of $100/sq.ft. before buying a place. If you think that Reno RE is well correlated to LV, it’s at least worth consideration that Reno could experience more than a little more downside.

    Food for thought, FWIW… Happy New Year!

  22. Avatar Steve Herschbach says:

    Hi smarten,

    Well, like I said, thanks for all the great info everyone posts on this blog. It has been very helpful. Especially the clash of opposing viewpoints. Good stuff.

    The reason I posted here was to tell you all I live far away, I have some money, I’ve looked around for several years, and I’ve decided to put down some cash and buy in Reno. If I’m an isolated case it makes no difference. If I represent others out there then maybe there is a real estate marketing opportunity to be taken advantage of.

    My perception of the Reno area from far away prior to visiting and what I found exploring the area revealed a huge disconnect. You might be amazed by what people never visiting the area might think as opposed to what one sees when visiting. Reno could do a lot better job in advertising itself and as a marketing nut I could go on for pages on that subject.

    Once I buy maybe I will. Got to prop up my property value you know!!

    Steve Herschbach

  23. Avatar GrandWazoo says:


    My advice to you is to look very carefully at what you intend to do in northern Nevada for a living, as strictly opposed to what housing prices are, if you chose to move here after retiring from an earlier career.

    You mentioned getting you are looking at getting a teaching certificate – my (not well received) gloom and doom predictions for the state budget will, if they turn out to be correct, have a very serious impact on public and higher education salaries and benefits in the state, as well as future hiring plans – that last bit may be important to you or others like you.

    That said, I’m looking forward to heading to Mt Rose tomorrow and spending a few hours at what I consider one of the most fabulous places on earth – and for everyone reading, if you haven’t been to the new Winter’s Creek Lodge on the “Slide side” of the ski area yet, you haven’t quite lived. Perched on the edge of the abyss, 3000+ feet straight down to the Washoe valley, the bar at the new lodge is beyond spectacular. You don’t have to ski to enjoy what the Mt Rose crew have constructed. It really is something.

    Happy New Year all.

  24. Avatar Reno Ignoramus says:

    A couple of thougths Future……

    LV had what will likely turn out to be the biggest bubble in the country. Recall that in 2004 alone, the median price of a house in LV increased 64%. (There may be a few places in Florida that will be very close to LV.) Taking into account the well documented tendency of a bubble to over correct, it may be that because LV had the biggest bubble, it will also have the biggest overcorrection.

    Prior to the bubble, back in normal times, Reno always was a more expensive housing market than LV, by about 25%, at least for production builders. Big builders like Centex, for example, could build and sell the exact same house in LV for about 25% less than in Reno. The difference was in the cost of the raw land. The bubble skewed that traditional discrepancy because the cost of land bubbled up enormously. Recall the now (in)famous BLM land autions in LV in 2005-2007.

    It may be that Reno’s prices will not ever go as low as LV for these reasons. I’m not making a prediction, but I offer these thoughts for your consideration.

  25. Avatar Reno Ignoramus says:

    Wazoo, your predictions of Nevada’s budget woes may be doom and gloom, but they are dead on accurate doom and gloom. Anybody thinking of moving to Nevada and seeking out a public employee job, from teacher to secretary to park ranger to public health nurse, had better spend a lot of time and attention learning about this state’s huge budgetary problems. Public employment in Nevada is going to be under immense financial constraints for years to come. This is not just doom and gloom; it is the obvious reality for anybody willing to look objectively.

  26. Avatar MikeZ says:

    re: MI vs. NV

    Michigan’s biggest problem right now is a hostile business and earner climate. Look at the tax burden in MI: ~10% of income. NV: ~7% (as is TX, which is doing quite well).

    10% v. 7% is a tremendous economic advantage when it comes to attracting new businesses and workers.

    Is unemployment bad in NV right now? Yes, it is. Is the future of NV as bleak as MI? No, not even close.

  27. Avatar Tom says:

    Illustration — reliance upon school district budgets and teaching jobs…

    The wife of one of our partners was a public school teacher, with a Master’s degree, and with the necessary teaching certificate. Due to District budget problems, thousands of teachers were laid-off in late 2009, including this lady. Seniority with the District controlled, not who might have been the most motivated and effective teacher. The principal wanted to keep her, but her junior status gave her the heave-ho, and the long-timers stayed, productive or not, in some cases. If you had only a few years in, you were in jeopardy. So now she and legions of others like her are competing for periodic substitute teaching calls, essentially day work.

    The private schools are laying off educators, as well, since parents whose incomes are down or at risk are pulling their kids from those costly schools.

    Lesson: This suggests that one should think hard about moving to a new city in reliance upon gaining employment as a teacher.

  28. Avatar Harley says:

    Re: public employment jobs in Nevada.

    There is a coming bloodbath at all levels of public employment, state (including UNR and UNLV), county, and city by June 30 of this year. Positions will be made vacant and they will remain vacant for years to come. There is a systemic change underfoot in what public jobs will be filled. Anybody thinking of moving to anywhere in Nevada and seeking a public sector job needs to have his/her eyes very wide open.

  29. Avatar DownButNotOut says:

    nvmojo -Thanks for the link. It shows coming up with the number is much more complicated than I thought.

    Shadow inventory will be the #1 factor in predicting a comeback in the housing market.

  30. Avatar inclinejj says:

    Sale Date/Time: 5/10/2010 11:00 AM
    Status: Active
    Estimated Debt: $8,441,531.95
    Bid Amount: $1,764,000.00
    Sale Amount: N/A
    TS Number: 09-00889-4
    APN: 152-493-02, 152-493-03, 152-493-04, 152-500-12
    Priority #: 691243

    Property County: Washoe, NV
    Property Address: 10072, 10058, 10044 Via Solano & 10142 Via Verona, Reno, NV 89511
    Google Map

    Sale Location: At the So. Virginia St. entrance to the Washoe County Courthouse, 75 Court Street, Reno, NV

  31. Avatar billddrummer says:

    Trustee’s Deed #3886256 recorded 5/27/10 for $1,764,000.

    APN: 152-493-02, 152-493-03, 152-493-04, 152-500-12.

    Property Address: 10072, 10058, 10044 Via Solano & 10142 Via Verona, Reno, NV 89511.

    and OBTW, the bank that financed this deal, Alliance Bank out of Culver City, CA, was taken over by California Bank & Trust.

    So not only did the developer and the previous purchasers lose out, the originating lender did too.

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