Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Where Are We At Just Before Turkey Day?

In our sweet Awesometown and surrounding communities, on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving day, 2017 we have 484 active listings. Yep, 484. In escrow...480. Sold in the last 30 days? 304. See? I tell ya, hovering around that 300 mark.

Now, in 2016...thought you might be interested...same time....we had 618 active listings, 588 escrows, and sold about 300 in that 30 day period.

Squeaked back to 2015 for ya as well....same time period....580 active listings. 560 in contract. Interestingly, only 248 closed in that 30 day prior window.

I started helping people in & out of homes in 2002, yep, 15 years ago. Our inventory then was about 1000 active listings every month. A few years later the market crashed...and it feels like we've been struggling with inventory since then...even though we have sellers with equity..finally!

What do I think will change the inventory? It's surely a catch-22 situation. Sellers with equity need to find replacement properties, we don't have a lot. We need more new construction, without special assessments would really be nice (aka Mello-Roos).

I have helped quite a few that are retiring in the last couple years....moving out of the area...so that's helped. But, that's only about 10% of my business.

So, current + a couple years history, mixed in with a bit of opinion.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and Who Wants To Sell Their House?


Friday, November 17, 2017

Wake Me Up Breakfast Nooks

If you read my blog regularly, you know I love the articles I get from Houzz!

This one was about breakfast nooks. And, decorating them to give you a wake-up buzz, maybe without the caffeine most of us need!

The article didn't say it, but I'm pretty sure you can decorate the heck out of your nook regardless of what the kitchen, and/or family room, decor is....well sorta.

As with any home, it's best if there is some flow of color, some continuity, to the house. It helps to create a feel good home.

But, with different pops of color, different textures, lighting....but still some symbiotic vibe....you can really wake up your breakfast nook.

Take a gander, let me know which one you think I like best & which one you like best!





Tuesday, November 14, 2017

From Meeting With Me, Listing Your Home, & Closing Escrow....What To Expect

When I meet with Sellers that choose to sell their home with me, the first thing we discuss....after list price of course....are the pre-marketing needs.

What do we need to do to make your home attractive to as many buyers as possible. Do it, whatever I ask, please do it. And, yes, "you have to pack it anyways"!

Get the home professionally photographed, get it on the MLS, get it blasted everywhere. Keep blasting it everywhere.

Wednesday weekly check-ins will be received from me regarding activity on your home, online and physical, & competition on your home.

When we get an offer, my job is to research the agent, the buyers, and most importantly their lender & their capability to close on your home.

You'll need to complete Seller disclosures of course. Depending on the type of market we are in, you'll either complete them prior to an offer received or after. Sometimes you'll need to do an addendum.....that's for me to advise.

Escrow? Once we open escrow you'll get a ton of paperwork. Thankfully a lot can be done electronically. I ask every client not to sign anything without talking to me first. I'm OCD that way!

Buyers will have a home inspection and an appraisal. Your home needs to be show-ready at both of those times.

After their home inspection they will do a Request for Repairs. Sellers can say Yes, No, Yes to some, etc. We'll work through that together.

Presuming the appraisal comes in at purchase price we move forward to getting the Buyers loan docs into escrow, them signing same docs, their lender doing a review. Then fund the loan and record in Buyers name the next day.

Sounds easy, right? LOLOLOL. Well, it will be pretty easy for you.....but if you only knew the things we all did behind the scenes to keep this moving efficiently along? You'd know why we're worth every penny of our earnings!



Depending on how we've set up the contract, you will need to be moving on pretty quickly.

If there is a home of choice contingency, don't fret, I'll work that out for you!

There's tons more to know, tons more that I'll guide you through. But, thought this quickie post would get you sorta ready for Selling your home with Witz Real Estate!

I'm always happy to answer every single question you may have! Feel free to text/call/e-mail. Contact info on the right >>>>>>>>>


Friday, November 10, 2017

How To Know If You Should Refinance Your Home Loan

I read an article this morning that VA borrowers are getting hit with refinance options from scoundrel lenders. Really, just them?

Seems like everyone gets offers, all the time, to refinance their mortgage for a better rate.

Small typed notes with asterisks at the bottom of their 'invite' will have stipulations, but there still may be some good, and not so good, reasons to refinance your home loan.


Things to consider when you get one of them and are pondering their offer:

1) How long will you be staying in your home?
2) How much will it cost out of pocket?
3) How many years will it extend your loan?
4) Will your mortgage balance go up if you refi?
5) Is it a reputable lender offer?
6) What's the monthly savings?
7) How long will it take to pay off the cost of the refi by the monthly savings calculator?

Ahhhhh, see? Some questions you may not have thought of. You may just think, wow that interest rate is less than what I have now. 

I have past clients call me all the time about a refi offer they received in the mail. I rattle off these questions, and more, before I have them even consider it.

Most I suggest contacting their current lender. The current holder of mortgage would probably love to keep their loan as that's how they earn money, on the loans interest of course.

But, I also have a few great local lenders that can give you some options as well. One of my clients just save a couple hundy a month. Very happily I might add.

Before you respond to any offer of refinance, consider the questions above. Roll them around in your head, make sure you have your homework done before you call anyone.

Or, just call me.....I'm happy to ask you those very same questions! 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Story of The Week - Fraud?

So, one of my sweet sellers has her home in escrow. Buyers are due to remove their final loan contingency and the lender starts to go silent as soon as I start asking if we'll be ready on time to do that.

Lender had been difficult to communicate with, but on Monday it went to radio silence when final contingency was due to be removed Wednesday.

After 6 attempts, + 2 to her branch manager, their Facebook group page as well....I finally got a call back and an e-mail back. The results? They were not allowed to speak with me. I said, excuse me? We need to know what's going on. Nope, they were instructed by borrower not to give me any info.

My escrow team is fantastic. They, of course, had been in conversation with the actual loan processor and got a very disturbing message that said the file was in their Fraud department. Escrow had received a message a few days before that they were waiting on a condition explaining something on one borrowers part.

I could share the full history with you, but it's intense to say the least. Lender said good to go, one condition that needed clearing would be easy-peasy....that was 3 weeks ago.

So, we send a Notice to Buyer to Perform, 2 days, shit or get off the pot as my mom always said.

We are at day 2 of that notice. Lender is only communicating with buyers agent. New lender doesn't want to confirm fraud, but the info from her....and the info escrow received from loan processor....plus the radio silence?

Something is amiss and we're not waiting. Back-Up buyer? Thank you for still hanging in there!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Scary Housing Market

I haven't done a Santa Clarita housing update yet this month so here it is....and, it's Scary all right! Remember I include Acton to the east, Newhall to the south, Castaic to the North, and Stevenson Ranch to the west.....with every home in between!


Active listings in all of our surrounding communities?
522, yep, only 522.


Under contract/In escrow?
480, almost as many as we have for sale!


Sold in the last 30 days?
319. Still hovering around that mark!

It's frightening how few homes we have for sale. But, I did see a memory in my Facebook feed that we only had 322 active at this same time a few years back.

Sooooooo, Happy Halloween, let's get through these holidays and get some more houses on the market as soon as we can.......sweet, pretty please, with sugar on top....and a piece of candy too?!?!?

Lauren@KeepYourWitz.com

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hands On Realtor & Staging Your Home

In 15 years of helping people in & out of homes, I've seen a lot of homes. I've watched which ones sell quicker & why staging does help.

One of the reasons I get referred to a new client is because of my hands on approach. I'm there with my clients every step of the way.

On the subject of staging, and yes, I have used professional stagers a few times. But, I have also found that a lot of sellers have items in their home that we can use to make their home pop a bit more.

I've seen that de-cluttering, moving furniture, changing their bedspreads, and adding decorative......colors that buyers want currently......to their home, changes the entire feel of the home.

Sometimes, we just need to shake stuff up. Now, I'm not going to kid you....I had one that there was sooooo much that needed to be done. Another that we took off the market and did a ton of stuff, back on the market it went. Yes, we're talking painting, grass installation, flooring, wall coverings!

But most, I can usually find what is needed in the Sellers very own home....or, and frequently this is the case....in my own home.

When I first met my husband I was pulling furniture out of my personal residence to stage someones house. He said, you're not taking our furniture. I laughed and said, Oh yes I am. He's gotten used to it almost a decade later!

I've pulled out chairs, couches, lamps, pillows, 'No Whining' signs, patio furniture, candles, linens, pots/pans, food (yes, coffee, spaghetti fixings, etc.) all in the name of selling my clients home. Can get a bit challenging when I've got several listings at the same time that allllll need some help!

I've got cabinets full of stuff...and I keep adding, whenever I see a good deal that would be great for my Hands-On Staging? I swoop it up and add it to the cupboards! I think my photographer must laugh when he sees the same bird bath iron piece at several listings. The No Whining one fits in so many places. A dog shaped cutting board my Big Sis gave me? In the staging collection! Sorry Big Sis!

So, while I can certainly refer you to a professional stager, my job is to make you the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time when we go to sell your home. And, that includes not having to pay for a professional stager. Just a professional hands-on Realtor....and, yes, no additional charge to 'rent' my goodies!


Just a few of my staging pieces that get shared. 
Quite a few are out at one of my listings right now.
If I took pictures of the items I pulled from my personal residence....you'd see my unmade bed & messy family room couch! LOLOL