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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy 2012 Holidays and Warm Season’s Greetings!



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To all our cherished friends, neighbors, family and clients – we are so proud to have been able to work with you and be a part of your lives! As we end this year and turn to the exciting time and events that 2013 holds, we just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you bring to our lives.

We have some really great plans in the coming year to bring more success to all your real estate endeavors. And with each transaction that makes it to the closing table in the coming months and years ahead – we know that there will continue to be new and exciting things to follow for all of us.

On behalf of the entire group – Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Peace and Joy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Market Update December 2012



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As we approach the end of the year, it is a good idea to take a snapshot view of our marketplace and see the progress we have been building in our local real estate market. There is some big news when it comes to inventory levels and the number of homes sold is also increasing steadily.


Low Inventory Points to a Strong Market
The number of active listings in our marketplace is declining. To help illustrate the stark change in just two years, consider that in November 2010 we had about 6,906 homes on the market for sale. At the same time in 2011 the number of listings on the market was 5,900. But this year in October we reported just 1900 active listings! This indicates a continued dwindling inventory, which coupled with increased sales definitely points to a stronger market.

Selling Activity Is On the Rise
Our sold properties are also increasing year over year. Once again looking at October last year we had 1421 sold homes versus the same time this year with 1715 properties that sold. With half the inventory as just a year ago combined with an increase in sales, despite the winter months we are seeing some very positive things happening.

Interest Rates Continue to Be at Record Lows
Just as we are seeing dramatic changes in inventory levels and steady upward trends in sales, interest rates also keep at their record setting lows. At this point, we are reporting interest rates as low as 3.25% for a 30-year fixed rate loan and even lower for shorter termed loans.

Great Time for Sellers
A year ago – low inventory and strong interest for new homes was definitely there but today we are in an even better position. In fact, we need more inventory to sustain the number of buyers out there looking to lock in today’s amazing rates. Fewer homes on the market usually translates to the ability to negotiate better terms for sellers plus of course multiple offers and high list-to-sale price ratios.
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If you would like to explore your options in today’s real estate market whether that means buying, selling, investing or just browsing the marketplace – contact us today. We are happy to help!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Set to Expire on December 31, 2012



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As we are on the cusp of a changing market, many homeowners continue to struggle with underwater mortgages as a result of the housing market crash back in 2007. In fact, the impact was so great that the government instituted a program called the 
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act in 2009 to help offset some of the hardships faced by millions of Americans. Today, that program is set to expire just two short months from now. That’s why it is critical to list your home and successfully short sale it prior to the Act’s deadline so you can save from being taxed on the forgiven or discharged debt.

If you are considering a short sale – it is important to keep this in mind. A short sale entails the bank receiving less money for the property than what is owed on it due to property devaluation and the discharged (or forgiven) debt is considered “income” by the IRS. With the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, homeowners are able to write off this discharged debt and avoid paying taxes altogether on this amount. In some cases, this can amount to a very significant number, forcing the homeowner into an even deeper situation of hardship.

It is important to keep in mind that the tax relief only applies to your primary residence and as long as the short sale is completed prior to the Act’s expiration date, you will not receive a 1099 from the government, nor you will not be required to pay taxes on the amount of forgiven debt.

Since this act is set to expire on December 31st unless the government extends this yet again, you only have two months within which you need to list the home, find a buyer, receive an offer, have the bank accept the offer and make it to the closing table – all before December 31, 2012. The National Association of Realtors is working hard to extend the deadline for the Act but until there is some concrete action, the December 31st date stands.

That means you need to start the process now.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, to learn more about short sales or anything else real estate related, I invite you to contact us today! We look forward to helping.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The First Buyer To Make an Offer Is Usually the Most Interested Buyer



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We’ve seen it time and again. A seller eagerly lists their home, finds a buyer with a serious offer but chooses to wait things out and see if other (better) offers come along. While it can happen and it does sometimes, the problem is that there is a process usually followed by buyers and along with it a pipeline. Here is a look at how they lead up to making an offer and how by the time the first buyer seriously considers your home they are likely the most viable one.


Buyers Are More Educated

With the advent of technology, the entire real estate industry has changed. Gone are the days when buyers would rely solely on their agent to find a home to suit their needs. Today, the Internet has taken over. In fact, studies show that over 90% of buyers spend weeks online searching for their perfect home before even talking to an agent.

So by the time a buyer is at your doorstep with an offer, there is a good chance they have thoroughly researched every aspect of the local market. They are fully aware of your competition, have weighed all pros and cons of your home and are seriously interested in your property. After countless open houses and obtaining plenty of education about the real estate market in their area, they know when they see a property that suits their needs. In many cases they are waiting for the perfect one to become available so the minute it does, they make an offer.

By the Time They Make an Offer, They Are Well Into the Process

Where sellers go wrong is to want to wait for more offers. In the process, those very serious buyers that have already made their interest in your home known will likely find another home to suit their needs. Buyers today are savvier than ever before – and with that education that they so readily find and absorb from various sources (the Internet, other publications, their peers, professionals) they have an acute knowledge of the market.

In the process of selling your home, it is critical to keep all factors in mind. Factors such as the condition of the market, your agent’s recommendations, current inventory levels, the number of days most properties remain on the market before being sold and of course prices. Putting all of that into play will change how you handle that first buyer but remember – the first buyer will almost always be your best buyer.
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For a consultation that is customized to your needs, contact us today. We look forward to serving you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Obama's Healthcare Tax Affects Many Secondary/ Investment Homes



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President Obama’s new Medicare tax on unearned investment income will be one that will change things for our marketplace. Though most of the American population will be unaffected by his new tax imposition, we feel that our area is one that will indeed feel it.

There is much debate about who will have to pay the additional 3.8% taxes on top of already existing capital gains taxes for properties that fall under specific criteria. But one thing is certain. Many of the properties and sellers in our area come will be impacted. To help explain it further, I’ve put together a couple examples after briefly outlining the guidelines for this new tax.

Tax Applicable to Secondary Homes and Investment Properties
The first thing to keep in mind is that this tax will not apply to homes sold that are primary residences. Since most of the properties in our marketplace fall in the other, secondary category, read the following points carefully to find out if you may be subject to additional capital gains taxes. There are some nuances to the tax law as well that have to do with whether or not the property is used for personal enjoyment, is rented out and how long it is rented out for during the year. These (and other) points are mentioned in this concise list of FAQs about the Medicare tax published by the National Association of Realtors.

Gains Over Specified Amount for Individuals and Couples Apply
If the total amount of capital gain exceeds $250,000 for individual sellers or $500,000 for married couples –then the 3.8% tax applies to the amount exceeding the normal capital gains limits. We deal with properties well over this amount regularly and in some cases these properties were purchased a while back, resulting in present day sales that yield significant capital gains.

Upper Level Incomes Are Impacted by New Real Estate Tax
As is the case with most of our clients in this area, the annual Adjusted Gross Income must be at $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly for the tax to be applicable. When these sellers have a capital gain on their property exceeding the capital gains limits mentioned above, the sale involves secondary or income generating properties and they have incomes starting at $200k/$250k, the tax will be applied. For married couples filing separately the AGI threshold is $125,000.

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It is important to keep in mind that both conditions (income and exceeding capital gains limits on relevant properties) must be applicable in order for the tax to be imposed. Here is another report published by the National Association of Realtors outlining additional scenarios where this real estate tax would be applied.

Scenarios to consider:



Example 1:
A property bought by an individual in 1990 for $200,000 that is now worth $700,000 sells accordingly. The capital gains that go above and beyond $500,000 would be taxed an additional 3.8% as long as the seller has an income of at least $200,000. Since the allowable capital gains before taxation for an individual is $250,000 – in this scenario, the amount additionally taxed would be $250,000. The healthcare tax for this property would be $9,500.

Example 2:
A home that was purchased by a married couple filing jointly with a combined income of $220,000 in 2000 for $350,000 and sold today for $800,000 would yield capital gains amounting to $450,000. Since this is $50,000 under the capital gains limit prior to taxation and they earn less than the required income level for couples, they would not have to pay the additional 3.8% tax on the sale of this property.

If you are considering selling your property and are unsure of whether you will be subjected to these taxes in addition to all the other expenses that go along with selling, contact us today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Home Inspector to the Rescue!



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You Better Give Sherlock Holmes a Ring!


No, you don't need the fictional detective inspector. However, you do need a home inspector! Think of this as a "pre-emptive strike" to maintain or increase your home's value before you put it on the market. Here are the benefits an inspector provides you:
Benefit 1: The inspector can uncover any problems that need fixing, and you can correct them before any potential buyers enter your home. Such an inspection can prevent your sale from falling through!
Benefit 2: With an inspection, you can show prospective buyers receipts to prove the work has been done. Buyers love proof! In reality and in their eyes, it underpins the value of your home and the asking price.
Benefit 3: You may be able to factor the cost of the inspection into the asking price for your home!
Benefit 4: When you have a pre-sale home inspection completed, you're able to estimate if the discount the prospective buyer is asking is reasonable. In other words, you can refuse unreasonably low offers if you know the value of your house, including the degree of its defects.
So, How Do I Find a Qualified Home Inspector?
I can recommend a certified home inspector who will do a great job for you. However, if you decide you want to do it on your own, make sure he or she is qualified!
Con artists sometimes pose as home inspectors, taking your money and giving you nothing but grief in return. Here's how to know if an inspector is the real deal:
Ask your friends for referrals. If they've had a good experience, go with that home inspector. I’d recommend you interview a minimum of two or three inspectors before choosing one. Make sure they’re full-time professionals conducting several inspections a year.
If possible, select a home inspector who’s a member of The American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors.These association members follow a stated code of ethics. In addition, they’re prohibited from having a professional interest in the sale, repair or maintenance of a property they inspect. They’re also forbidden from using their inspection business as a way to find customers for a handyman service that they “happen” to own. You may want to go on the Internet and use ASHI’s “Find a Home Inspector” link to identify potential candidates in our locality.

As part of the interview process, ask for samples of comprehensive reports (about 20-50 pages in length). The samples should be painstakingly done and backed up with complete details, including photos and diagrams. If an "inspector" refuses to give you a report or provides only a sloppily written 2-to-5 page sample, run the other way!

What Does a Home Inspector Cost?
Frankly, the rates vary. On a national level, the rates fall in the range of $200 to $500. As part of the interview process, I recommend you ask several inspectors for their rates so you can get an idea of the price range. In the end, keep in mind that while the cost of an inspection may seem high, it can actually add several thousand dollars to the value of your home! So, don't think of it as a cost; think of it as an investment!

What Exactly Does a Home Inspector Evaluate?
In general, he or she will look at the following areas:
- Electrical System Wiring, Service Panel and Service Capacity
- Energy Conservation/Safety Items
- Exterior Walls, Siding, Trim
- Floor, Wall, Ceiling, Roof Structures
- Foundation, Footings, Crawl Space, Basements, Sub-flooring, Decks
- Gutters, Downspouts
- Heating & Cooling Systems
- Insulation & Ventilation
- Interior Floors, Walls, Ceilings
- Moisture Intrusion/Mold
- Overall Structural Integrity
- Plumbing Systems
- Property Drainage/Landscaping
- Roof & Shingles, Chimneys, Attic
- Walks and Drives
 - Windows, Doors, Cabinets, Counters, etc. 

Should I Be Present During a Home Inspection?
You bet! A typical inspection takes three hours or more, so I recommend that you be present for at least the first 30 minutes to make sure the job is being done thoroughly. At the end of the inspection, the home inspector should give you a point-by-point summary of what needs to be corrected in order to add value to your home!
Hope you enjoyed this very useful information about home inspection! If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

8 Reasons Why This is the Best Real Estate Market



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For months, years now most agents have been calling out loud and clear to all buyers saying that it has been a good market. In fact, we have been able to witness a lot of changes during the past several years – with ups and downs in home prices, interest rates, average DOM and inventory levels. Well, today the marketplace has begun an unprecedented shift for the better, amounting to it being a fantastic real estate environment for nearly everyone.

Here are eight reasons why we are currently in the best real estate market that we have seen in a long time and why you should consider getting involved:

1. Lowest interest rates in the history of our market. Right now, at the end of July 2012, we are seeing a typical interest rate of about 3.65% on a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. Shorter terms can be even lower for qualified buyers.

2. Banks are eager to lend money. The stall we saw a couple years ago where banks were too cautious has now eased up, allowing most well qualified buyers the ease of a smooth financing process.

3. Very low home prices. This has been the case for a while now and it has helped buyers get great deals. But as buyers realize these interest rates may not stay low forever, the low prices work to help sellers too. Also when sellers do sell their properties they will oftentimes need to move elsewhere, making it a dollar for dollar trade up with the result of less taxes and lower borrowing costs.

4. Very low inventory. For the first time in a long time we are seeing inventory levels so low that it is encourage multiple offers and even bidding wars in some situations. Less competition is great for sellers and smoother transactions for buyers make everyone happy. Currently we are looking at a huge decline in active listings across the board.

5. More buyers have more buying power. For the first time, many potential homeowners are able to get into new homes with the availability of little to no down payment or other programs. With the expanded marketplace there is a lot more activity – a healthy indication of a recovering market.

6. Appraisers are being reasonable. Appraisers often hold the key to whether buyer and sellers can engage in a successful deal, especially since financing often depends on an accurate and acceptable appraisal. We are seeing more and more appraisers exercising less scrutiny in their process and working with agents plus lenders throughout their appraisal procedure.

7. The Presidential Election likely to strengthen the economy. One typical effect of a presidential election is the positive impact it has on the economy. This will of course generate further consumer confidence and of course increased real estate activity.

8. Rental rates are higher than ever before. Rents are probably as high as they have ever been, providing investors and secondary property purchases plenty of opportunity to embark on low cost purchases of property that will carry through rental income.

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If you know someone who could use this information right now,  do me a favor and forward this email, share the message with them. It helps get the word out there and I greatly appreciated it.
If I could ever do anything to help you with buying or selling or just making decisions on what you should do with you RE whether it be to hold & sit tight for a few years or just get the property sold now please give me a call and we can discuss your situation. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ten Questions Every Homeowner Should Ask an Agent



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As you embark upon what will be one of the most important transactions of your life – whether buying or selling a home – you should be absolutely certain that you are happy with the real estate agent you have hired to help you manage it. 

To help you with this all-important hiring process, here are ten important questions to ask an agent before you decide on whether or not to hire them:

Question #1
How Close Do You Get in Sale Price Related to Asking Price?
It is important to ask for this information as it relates to the past 60 days.  Given that many agents are not that active in the market, you would be best served to obtain the most recent information possible.  As a seller, your agent’s ability to come close to the asking price is a strong attribute and can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in your transaction.

Question #2
How Many Days on Average Does It Take You To Sell a Home?
What’s the average number of days on the market for properties listed by your prospective agent? Since this statistic can reach as high as six to nine months and in some cases and as much as a year, it is important to ask how your prospective agent ranks on the scale.

Question #3
What is the Rate of Homes Sold on a Monthly Basis?
Knowing the absorption rate of homes similar to yours that are on the market allows valuable insight as to how the market is performing for your particular needs.  Not only does it give sellers a glimpse into the system and how it would translate to their own sale but it also presents a broader view of the entire market in general.

Question #4
What Do You Do Differently To Get Homes Sold?
Especially with the current trying economic times, many agents have been faced with adversities trying to sell the homes on their list.  One of the best ways to learn whether your agent is a self-starter is to find out what they have done in the past when they were unable to successfully sell homes.  Ask why the agent feels the home(s) did not sell and then find out what they are doing differently to get them sold.

Question #5
What Percentage of Deals Do You Represent the Buyer Versus Seller? 
Some agents work primarily with sellers while others work mostly with buyers and still others are experienced with dual-agency deals.  Depending on your needs, you will benefit from an agent that specializes in one of the two.  It is important to ask which side of the fence your prospective agent tends to represent. 

Questions #6
How Many Homes Did You Sell Last Year?
Nothing speaks louder than numbers.  A very important statistic, ask what the total number of homes sold last year was and if possible try to get a more long-term picture of the agent’s performance in this regard. You can also ask for a month-to-month breakdown to see if there are certain stronger months.

Questions #7
Can You Provide a List of the Ten Most Current Clients You Have Worked With?
Rather than rely on the given list of referrals that many agents have handpicked, it’s a good idea to obtain a list of clients that are currently working with this Realtor.  It will provide a much-needed glimpse into the agent’s performance on various stages of real estate transactions.

Question #8
How Much of Your Work Day Do You Dedicate to the Real Estate Industry?
You want an agent that is 100% committed to their  job and if they are focusing more on a day job with real estate being a secondary thing, you run the risk of inaccessibility, lack of knowledge and experience plus lackluster motivation.  Find out how they feel about the real estate industry and whether they are passionate about their work.

Question #9
What is Your Style of Marketing – Proactive or Reactive?
What is your potential agent’s style of working?  Does he or she speak to a large number of people each day? Are they proactive or reactive in nature when it comes to marketing? See how this lines up with your real estate needs.  Are you in a hurry to buy or sell?  Does a laid back agent hinder your efforts? Or does slow and steady work better for you?

Question #10
What Does Your Daily Schedule Look Like?
The typical schedule of a real estate professional can be very telling.  By asking for a copy or general idea of how they conduct their day in terms of their work, you can get a good idea of how much time is devoted to the profession and what kind of business they are running.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Major Shift in Local Real Estate Market



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For the first time in eight years, we are seeing a tremendous shift in selling trends across the board. Our existing inventory of homes on the market available for sale is now forty percent lower!  What does this mean to you as a player in the game of real estate?  It means that now, as a seller, you finally have some leverage. A lot of leverage, in fact. Here are some of the things we are seeing as a result of this huge change toward the sellers’ favor:

Low Competition

Fewer homes on the market translate to fewer competitors to contend with. Wouldn’t you like to be the only house on the street that is for sale?  Often times a buyer will home in on a certain area and then seek to find the property of their liking within that vicinity. If your house is available for sale then imagine the type of interest you will receive if yours is among the very few listed in that neighborhood?

Multiple Offers

When you do factor in that many buyers are out there still trying to take advantage of the phenomenally low interest rates, sellers are clearly in a win-win situation. Buyers have no idea how long these interest rates will remain so low, so naturally they are scrambling to get theirs now. Sellers are being met with multiple offers now, with the leverage to be able to be choosy with the offers that come in.

Bidding Wars

Along with multiple offers comes another aspect of selling in a sellers’ market – bidding wars. Some buyers are so dead set on the home they want that they make an offer the seller can’t refuse. Usually all the buyers that are interested tend to make various offers within the fair market value range to start but then move up slowly in competition with one another.

Near or At 100% of Asking Price

The bidding wars almost always end up in the seller receiving top dollar. Whether this means achieving a number very close to the asking price or even above, the bottom line is that when there are more buyers vying for you property, you (the seller) have the edge.

Many Trading Up

A lot of sellers have more than just selling in mind; they are planning to buy in these phenomenal market conditions. Keeping in mind that it is currently a “dollar for dollar” market, what you receive in the sale of your home will also be translated into what you afford to get in a new home. That means that this is the perfect time to trade up while locking in very low interest rates in the process. The low cost of borrowing right now is ample incentive for many sellers to trade up nowadays.
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So here is the question I ask you: Would you like to drop your house into a growing pool of buyers or would you rather sit the market out and wait for it to change again?

Contact me today so we can get started on getting you a fantastic deal on your home!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation



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With summer fast approaching, you might already have vacation on your mind...so I wanted to share with you on this little video clip my favorite safety tips. In fact, I have multiple critical steps to prepare your home for safe keeping while you're away, to keep your nest safe and secure.

This is exactly what I did to prepare my home while I'm on vacation:

The best way to keep your home safe in your absence is to make it appear you are home, leaving absolutely no clue you're actually away. Light, time and noise are your greatest weapons to accomplish this. Follow these tips to ready your home and keep it safe:

- Ask someone you know and trust to keep an eye on your house.

For short trips, ask one of your neighbors to pick up your mail and your newspaper. If you are going to be gone longer, however, be sure to stop by the post office and have your home mail delivery stopped until you return.

Be sure to provide neighbors, friends and family members with emergency phone numbers so you can be reached quickly. It's a good idea to leave a spare house key with a relative or neighbor as well.

- At least a couple of weeks before you leave for vacation, decide what to do about your pets. You may want to have a friend or neighbor stop by each day to provide food, water and exercise. Or you may want to hire a professional pet sitting service or take the pets to a reputable kennel. This decision should be made well in advance so that proper arrangements can be made.

- Use timers on lights, televisions and radios to provide sound and illuminate the inside of your home.

- If you still have a home phone, change the setting on your answering machine so it picks up on the first or second ring—or just turn down the ringer. A constantly ringing phone is also a good sign no one is home.
- Keep shades up and blinds and curtains open to make it appear you're home.

- Keep bushes and shrubs near your home's entrance and walkway well trimmed. This will eliminate hiding spots for burglars.

- Keep the outside of your home well lit. Burglars won't go where they can be seen.

- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, occasionally moving his or her car indicate your coming and going.

- Leave the air conditioner on. A silent compressor on a hot day is a good indication you aren't home.

- Have the lawn mowed my a friend or lawn service if you are away longer than a week in the warmer months.

- This one is tough for those addicted to Facebook but posting to Facebook where you are at all times you are not only sharing this with your 'friends'. Those posts and photos allow others to find out when you are away and where you are. This isn't as concerning when you are local as you could post a comment or photo as you are ON your way home or just arrived but when your, say, at Disney World, those with ill plans regarding your trip away from home.

- Be sure to turn down the temperature on the hot water heater and unplug televisions and other appliances. These appliances will be drawing electricity whether they are on or not. Unplugging them will help lower your electric bill.

- Turn your thermostats down (or up) before you leave. There is no reason to spend money heating or cooling the home when you are not there.

- Don't forget about the plants. If you are having a friend or pet sitter care for your pets, ask them to take care of your plants as well. Simply soaking the plants with water before you leave is not enough. A better idea is to create a self watering system if you cannot have someone care for the plants. For small plants, make a self watering system by filling a plastic container with pebbles. Then fill the bottom of the container with water. This allows the plants to slowly absorb the moisture they need, without the danger of their roots becoming waterlogged. Larger plants can be mulched with a damp towel or newspaper to prevent the loss of moisture.

- When the day to leave for vacation finally arrives, try not to make that departure too obvious to those passing by. If you have a garage, be sure to pack the car with the garage door closed. If you do not have a garage, you may want to pack a couple of items a day in order to avoid broadcasting to the world that your home will be unoccupied.

- This last tip isn't a security measure for your house but for your credit (you know I always care about that as well) as you need to keep tight check over your credit in order to purchase or refinance your home!

With all the excitement of the upcoming trip we sometimes get carried away, plan only for the trip and security of our home for while we are away and leave for our stress-free trip. But wait!! You suddenly realize the day before you return the date! You've missed your mortgage payment, car payment, credit card, and utility due dates by a week or more! This happens more than I'd like to hear and the credit company doesn't accept this as a viable hardship excuse. :-) So ensure you plan ahead. Go on and sit down to make all the payments needed to be made in advance before your trip and all those due up till a few days after your return for good measure to ensure you don't get tied up with the return home and forget this very important task to protect your credit rating!

As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you jump in the car or on a plane for vacation. Use this checklist as a way of bringing peace of mind to you and your family. Enjoy your vacations without worrying about the safety of your home while you're away.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Real Estate Market Showings Lots of Positive Signs



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Though the biggest indication of a full-blown recovery is when housing prices begin bouncing back up – the current activity we are seeing is giving us lots of promise for a stabilized market. In fact, for the first time in a long time, there are almost as many homes (if not more in some markets) in escrow as there are listed for sale.


Inventory Is Very Low


One of the most prevalent questions we are fielding these days is “where are all the houses?” and the answer lies in a very ripe buying environment that is even further boosted with low interest rates. Trying to get in on the phenomenal record-setting low interest rates, many buyers are now actively seeking homes and as soon as they find something they are snatching them up. In many cases we are seeing homes selling in a matter of days – especially in the lower priced markets.


Another factor in the existing low inventory of homes is that banks are not releasing their properties. At some point it is expected they will release their REOs but until then, the inventory remains lower than usual in our current marketplace. Short sales remain a forum through which distressed sales are passed onward and banks are in fact streamlining their processes more. This is resulting in faster short sale processing times and in turn more homes being sold once again impacting inventory levels.


Homes Available Vs. Homes In Escrow


La Habra  currently has a total of 139 homes available on the market with 127 of them already in escrow.The ratio is even more tipped for homes in Yorba Linda they have 155 available for sale with 178 in escrow. Diamond Bar has 144 Available & 139 in escrow. San Dimas has 79 available & 81 in escrow, West Covina has 157 available with 196 in escrow, that’s 20% more homes in Escrow than there are for sale. Upland has 152 available with 159 in Escrow and in Rancho Cucamonga the ratio is much larger with 295 available & 416 in escrow that's 30% more homes in escrow than for sale.
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Without a doubt, this is an excellent time to buy a home. Though inventory levels are dropping, the market is still totally conducive to great deals for the right buyers. In fact, we have a number of buyers waiting for the perfect home right now. The time is also ideal to sell. If you would like to buy or sell, contact us today so we can work at achieving your goal quickly, effectively and smoothly while getting you the best price possible in the process!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seize That Window of Opportunity to Sell Now Before Prices Dip Further



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The last thing I want for my clients to have to deal with is the utter disappointment of not being able to get a decent price for the sale of their home. In fact, forget “decent” price, I want you to get a GREAT price!  But I can’t do that without your decision to list your home for sale.

Have you seen the popular TV show called “Love It or List It”? It’s a great show with the platform of showcasing two people that own a home – each with different views on whether they should love the home and stay in it or list it then literally move on. Well today, I am suggesting that as we sit on the brink of yet another change in our market, you should sit down and decide where you stand in the market as far as selling or keeping the home.

An Open Window of Opportunity That Might Not Last Long

Right now, as we are still in the midst of the best time of year to sell, there is a great window of opportunity for homeowners to successfully sell their homes. For the next two to five months, we can expect a flood of buyers that are out there ready and willing to jump into contract. The record-setting low interest rates are still going strong but how long will they remain?

Potential Rocky Road Ahead Will Change the Game

The big news that has not quite hit yet is about foreclosures.  In fact, you may even have heard of the term “shadow inventory”. As a flood of foreclosures is expected to hit the market soon, the result will likely be a further dip in prices, reduction in demand and an unknown impact on current interest rates. If you are contemplating selling your home you definitely want to avoid doing so at the helm of banks unloading countless foreclosed properties.

Strong Buyer Demand – But How Long Will It Last?

It is a widely known fact that as the warmer months approach buyers are more active in their quest to find the perfect home. But in today’s challenging market no one can accurately predict what might happen from one season to the next. One of the strongest driving forces that has propelled buyers’ interest in properties despite a down market has been the super low cost of borrowing money. Coupled with government programs to make owning a home more affordable, existing homeowners are able to refinance or get into something more manageable.

Sellers Striking the Market Before It Gets Too Hot or Too Hold

In the wake of the nation’s robo-signing scandal settlement, many sellers know that eventually there will be many more properties on the market competing with traditional homes. The foreclosed inventory that will likely hit the market in the next 6 months and beyond will not only drive prices further down but it will make it very difficult for sellers to receive offers, meet asking price or negotiate agreeable terms.
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Before it becomes too late – I urge you to consider all the factors and decide whether you really love your home long enough to ride this market out or you want to list it and move on while you can still get a good price on your home. Either way, I look forward to serving your real estate needs and strive to continue doing so with the utmost success!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Short Sales Offer Benefits for Sellers and Buyers – But Not Without Compromises



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Whether you’re on the buying side of the fence or selling, getting involved with a short sale might be the perfect situation for you.  Though they have been around for a long time it wasn’t until the housing market crash of 2007 that more and more distressed sales came up to the surface.  In fact, the influx of short sales that took place in our housing market skyrocketed after millions of homeowners suddenly found they owed much more on their properties than they were worth. 

But if you are careful and mindful of all the benefits and drawbacks of selling (or buying) a short sale, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.  Here are a few reasons to consider before making a decision:


Short Sales For Sellers

BENEFITS


Ability To Salvage Credit
When homeowners engage in a short sale as opposed to letting their home go into foreclosure they are causing much less damage to their credit than if they were to walk away from their mortgage commitment.  Not only do short sales harm a credit report less but they also demonstrate commitment, accountability and responsibility to your debt.

Can Purchase A New Home In About 2 Years

Homeowners that opted for a short sale are able to recover financially in far less time than if they had allowed foreclosure.  Where a foreclosure will remain on your credit report for up to 14 years, the negative impact of a short sale only lasts about 24 months, allowing the homeowner to recuperate and get back into a home relatively soon after the short sale.

Little or No Agent Fees

Given that it is a matter of distress, many agents will not charge any fees to process a short sale transaction.  In fact, these types of real estate transactions can only be performed by licensed, certified short sale experts.

DRAWBACKS

It May Take a Long Time To Sell the Home

Since banks are involved in every step of the process it can take many months to turn the sale around.  Even if you receive a good offer on the home, unless your bank processes the offer, accepts it and puts it through several approval procedures, you will not be able to sell the home as quickly as a conventional sale.

Banks May Not Accept Your Chosen Selling Price

Selling a short sale home entails the homeowner deciding on a price to list the home.  Even though most people utilize the services of a Realtor to assist with setting the list price, banks will not always accept the price.  Whether or not it will be accepted will be determined once an offer goes through the pipeline.

Complicated When Multiple Mortgages/Lenders Are Involved

In many cases homeowners facing foreclosure that are contemplating a short sale have taken out more than one mortgage on their property.  Going through a short sale when it involves multiple lenders can become tedious and complicated since moving ahead with the transaction requires the approval of each lender.

Buying Short Sale Properties

BENEFITS

Great Deal On A Good Home

The single most compelling reason to buy a short sale property is because it allows buyers to afford the home of their dreams at a very affordable price.  Though sellers of short sales are interested in getting as much money as possible for the property, the selling price is less than standard sales.  Also, since the homeowners still live on site in many cases, chances are the condition of the home will be better than what a buyer might find in a vacant foreclosure property.

Strong Potential For Solid Return On Investment As Value Will Go Up Eventually

Getting the house for a lower price amounts to being able to cash in on a greater return on your investment later on.  As long as the buyer plans to remain in the property for a while the home will appreciate eventually, rewarding them with a good financial return on their purchase.


DRAWBACKS

No Disclosure Statement

One of the first things short sale buyers must come to terms with is that the short sale home they are considering will not have a disclosure statement as is with standard sales.  This can be a difficult thing for buyers since they would have to rely on the home inspection and appraisal rather than the otherwise required by law disclosure sellers must provide to buyers in regular real estate transactions.

Unknown Processing Times

The most commonly asked question Realtors specializing in short sale transactions hear is “how long will the process take?” and the answer is always “it depends”.  If a buyer is in a hurry to get into their new home they should strongly consider whether a short sale property is right for them.  A lot of patience is required since it can take months to follow through with all the processes involved and to obtain approvals from each department involved at the bank.

Lots of Negotiating And Re-Negotiating

Banks may or may not agree or accept the offer made by a buyer so the result is a lot of going back and forth during negotiations.  This can add a significant amount of time to the transaction, end up in frustration possibly leading to the deal completely falling through.
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If you are in a tough situation and are considering putting your home up for a short sale to avoid foreclosure – or if you want to take advantage of the great interest rates coupled with lower home values right now, call us today and we will get your questions answered.  We look forward to helping you achieve the best outcome possible!

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation


If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.


The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.


Here Is the link for this one: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html

Doing the Right Thing


Many homeowners struggle with the spiritual or moral implications of walking away from their home and allowing the bank to foreclose if it is within their means to pursue another option.  Even though most homeowners are really sick and tired of their banks by this point, they still feel that they created an obligation when they signed the paperwork promising to pay back the loan.  A short sale is a way to meet that obligation in a way they can manage and in a way that is less painful to their creditor than a foreclosure.  In this case, a short sale is an excellent way to provide a win/win situation and prevent a family's financial demise in the process.


Whether it's through a short sale or a foreclosure, losing a house can be a very unsettling and upsetting experience. Still, the blow can be significantly softened by going the short sale route. When the pros and cons of each method are weighed, short sales always come out on top. If you’re serious about wanting to go the short sale route let’s have a conversation do the research so that we can get you approved for this attractive alternative to foreclosure.