Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just Some RE Stories To Share & Show You're Not Alone.

I'm a bit of an OCD-er. No doubt about it. I expect things to happen in a certain way and will do my darnedest to make sure they do. But, I've learned as I've gotten older that you really just can't control everything, and sometimes you just have to go with the punches.

Story one ~ Short-Sale, two banks. One says no HAFA, the other says yes HAFA. So, no, no HAFA for you. Sellers were bummed, but they went with it. Same story, everyone said loan # 2 was going to be a hard one. So, I prepped the buyer ahead of time they might need to cough up some cash. They were ready when the time came. They said a.o.k., that's the way it has to be. Closing on time? Yes, ooops, no, we're going to need another few days. Oh, no, we closed on time. Roll with it. That's the way it goes.

Story two ~ 2 homes, 2 sets of buyers and sellers, 2 very different types of loans. What a fiasco. Agents got pissy, buyers and sellers got pissy....I even got a bit pissy....but just kept saying, we'll get it done. And, no matter how much pissiness (yeah, don't even know if that's really a word) was exhibited, it didn't expedite anything. Trust me, people can only do so much. The infamous you can't get blood from a stone....., or is it a turnip? We closed it, learned a lesson or two, but both homes closed and everyone is unpacking still.

Story three ~ Short Sale, tenant occupied. All going along, think we're getting loan docs. BIG road block, the lender tells us he just slammed into. Now here, here I got downright bitchy. But, I did apologize a couple of days later. We all were very stressed about that one. And, in reality, it was extremely unpleasant for about 5 days, but it worked out too. And I told this lender, who I've used for years for my own buyers also, 'You never have let me down', along with that apology I mentioned. Well we thought it was all worked out, until the water leak last night in the now vacant home. But, even when the buyers agent called me after the walk through....I said, we'd just deal with it and get it taken care of. Stressful, lots of extra phone calls, e-mails,etc., but it is what it is and it has to be taken care of.  Story not over yet...but the other agent did say thank you to me twice already. AND, she said my seller was lucky to have me. I asked her if she'd post that on my website! LOLOL

All working Realtors are having wild stories right now. It's a challenge out there, truth! But, how your agent handles the trials and tribulations, that's the key. Get them done, don't roll over and take it, but understand that everything will work out. Trust me, it may not be exactly what you expected, but it will work out. It doesn't need to happen with a lot of pissiness or bitchiness either.....because you can't fit a square peg in a round hole and you can't squeeze blood from a stone.........or a turnip for that matter.

Friday, January 25, 2013

California Foreclosure Numbers Continue To Drop

Great video chat on L.A. Times site this morning. We are at the lowest level of foreclosures here in sunny California since the final quarter of 2006! Almost a 40% decline in the last 3 quarters of 2012.

I am taking this right from their article as I love it:

"A steadily improving economy has helped. And the vast number of underwater borrowers — those who owe more on their homes than those properties are worth — have continued to pay their mortgages instead of walking away, leading to fewer home repossessions."

Buying is tough out there due to this lack of foreclosures. The few auctions that are happening at the court house steps are seeing major competition between the investors.  30% of homes are going to all cash buyers, whether at auction or once it hits the MLS. That's a lot of competition for regular buyers and all those FHA buyers trying to buy for the first time or buying after a SS or Foreclosure of their own 3 years ago.

California has several items in place to make foreclosure less likely now than just a few years ago.

Most banks are realizing that SS and loan mods are a much better choice than a foreclosure.

Many years ago we were all waiting for the avalanche of shadow inventory...it never came.

So, foreclosures are low, SS are working, loan mods are happening. Home owners are gaining equity.

Prices are going up, 
and I can't wait for those sellers that when their equity tips to the positive side, 
they call me to sell their home!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

3 Year History of SCV Home Sales

The Santa Clarita Valley home sales are strong. The inventory is weak, true, but sales are very, very strong.

Included in the following numbers are the Santa Clarita communities of Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Fair Oaks Ranch, Saugus, Valencia, Westridge, Castaic, Tesoro, Stevenson Ranch, and Val Verde Park.

A 3 year history follows:

In 2010, full-force into the housing crisis, 3435 housing units were sold in SCV. 998 of them were SS (Short-Sales), and 893 were REO's (Bank Owned)

In 2011, 3407 housing units sold. 1049 were SS and 996 were REO's

In just this 2012 year past, where we are all excited that we are climbing out of the housing crisis, here in beautiful Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding communities, we closed 3836 sales putting clients into new homes. The number of SS was up by about 50% at 1521, and the number of REO's shrunk just a tad to 831.

Sales are up, SS were up, REO's were down. Thank goodness we even had all those SS in the market or almost 1/2 of those homeowners would not have been able to purchase a new home at these great rates and low prices. So, be a little thankful for those dreaded Short Sales, for without them we'd be in a very different housing market.

It's all the way you look at things.....your perspective of the good, bad, and the ugly.

 And, my perspective has always been a bit brighter than most.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why You Should Sell Now If You Want To Move Up To A Bigger Home

So every Realtor I know here working in Santa Clarita Valley is banging on doors, dialing on phones, posting on Facebook, networking with their associates, and blurbing it on their blog....we need more listings.

I personally have 5 buyers that I'm working with trying to find anything for them to purchase. Everything even close is going out with multiple offers on the lower end purchases so I'm teaching those buyers patience and how to be a better buyer while we wait for homes to come on the market.

It's a bit different for the under 300 list price than the, let's say, 750k list price. Why you ask? Simple really, more people can afford to buy under 300 than around 750. So, the move up buyer will have lots of people running to write an offer for their home and a little more luxury in finding the replacement one.

With that said....a little bit of math for you.

A home worth $250,000 now, using a 30% depreciation factor, was worth about $350,000 a few years ago. So, we'll say that's about one hundred thousand dollars in price reduction, right? Now, using that same type of math on a home that is worth $750,000 now and it was selling for about $1,075,000 back in the hey-day. That, on the other hand, is about three hundred thousand dollars in, don't shoot me you who paid that million back then, savings on a purchase.

If you are considering moving up and are dismayed that you've lost 100k in equity in your home, don't fret as the house you wanted to buy a few years ago is now going to cost you 3 times less than what you have lost in your homes value.

So, with a little more math and of course, ignoring loans, let's just simply look at this:

1,075,000 - 350,000 = 725,000 
750,000 - 250,000 = 500,000 

At a minimum you are saving a quarter of a million dollars if you are selling and purchasing at this time in our fair little valley. Heck you could even buy a little investment condo (if you could find one for sale) with the money you are saving! 

Done with math and examples.  
If you have questions about selling, or buying, in Santa Clarita Valley and beyond, give me a shout. Lauren@KeepYourWitz.Com ~ 661-964-1600 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Don't Forget About the FHA 203K Loans

I haven't represented a home buyer in an FHA 203k Loan in quite some time but it landed in front of my face this morning so I wanted to remind home buyers that it is still out there! A way to buy a fixer upper and have the costs of fixing it up worked right into your loan.

It's been a challenge in the multiple offer situation but every once in a while there is a lone property that sits collecting dust due to the number of repairs needed to make the property livable.

The FHA 203K loan may be able to help here. The streamlined is the quickest, which allows up to 35k in repairs without having to jump through major hoops to get it.

Simple calculations for you:

Purchase Price $200,000.
Cost of Repairs $35,000.
Must get appraisal value of $235,000. ~ "valued as repaired".
Buyer has to be able to qualify for the 235 purchase price & two appraisals will be done.

For more information you can go on the HUD website here:

Some homes for sale in Santa Clarita Valley may qualify for this program. 
Don't forget about it. Ask me any questions and what I don't know, I'll find out for you!

FHA203K Loan ~ Is it right for you?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sell Mortgage Servicing Rights ~ Why?

A lot of us have been reading about banks doing the Service Release/Transfers. And, in the middle of a Short-Sale, we wonder 'What the heck would another bank want this loan for?'

As a Santa Clarita Valley/San Ferndando Valley Realtor, I have to read, understand, and share the information about what is going on in Real Estate in my community.

Top of the list is MSR, Mortgage Servicing Rights. To the specialists that are working with Short-Sales this is devastating....some times.....and confusing as hell!

When talking to my contacts at different banks, they just say it's a big upper management decision. The article I read this morning is a little bit clearer on the subject.

Let's face it, it's all about the profit in banking. That's the business they are in. If they can show their shareholders greater profit, that's always a good thing!

So, they jumble together a huge volume of mortgages, some performing, more not, and sell them to another servicer. Yes, sell them. For a lot less than it says, on paper, it is worth. B of A sold 215 Billion in MSR to Nationstar in a 1.3 Billion deal. Another 93 Billion in a 519 Million dollar deal. See why the new servicer buys these! A killer deal!

If they don't get rid of them, they may not be able to provide as much out in new loans as they would possibly have to keep more capital in the bank vs. out. As well, the values show lower for Mortgage Servicing Rights and therefore...unhappy shareholders.

A Bank of America spokesperson stated this: "By reducing the size of our portfolio, we improve customer service capacity and resolve legacy mortgage issues and reduce risk in our portfolio"

I'm certainly not sure how long this technique will be hampering our Short-Sales, but it is here now and we all have to be aware of it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Santa Clarita Valley Foreclosure Information

Took some time this morning to determine the number of homes, based on tax records, here in Santa Clarita Valley, that are in some phase of foreclosure.

Including Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Saugus, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Valencia, and Castaic.

Pre-Foreclosure ~ A Notice of Default has been recorded. Keep in mind that many banks do NOT file a NOD as quickly as they legally can. So many homeowners that are seriously delinquent in their mortgage may not be on this radar.

Auction ~ Means that a Notice of Trustee Sale has been recorded. That, of course, is the next step after the NOD, and prior to actual Foreclosure.

REO ~ Real Estate Owned. Now owned by the bank .... has been Foreclosed upon.

Reminder of the California Foreclosure Timeline can be found here: 

Pre-Foreclosure = 525 / Auction = 934 / REO = 377

Many of these homes are on our MLS already. 
And, of those that are coming, we've got the buyers!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Brief Note About What the D.R.A. Extension Means to Buyers!

I sent this short note to my buyers this evening and thought I'd point it out to anyone else that is losing patience on the home search journey:

Happy 2013!

I'm sending this same message to all of my current buyers! Seems like we haven't spoken in weeks what with the holidays and lack of any new inventory that seems worth even peeking at!

But, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act that was expiring 12/31/12 has been extended! This means that sellers will not be responsible for income taxes on the amount of mortgage that is forgiven by a short-sale, foreclosure, or loan modification. Through the end of 2013 at least.

For you, my buyer, that means, we will likely see more new listings coming on the market. One, the short-sale sellers that realize they still have time to take advantage of the tax savings!  And, two, those standard sellers that want to beat the short-sale competition that will most probably be listing a tad higher than we want, but still listing! They would have thought they were the only ticket in town, but short-sales are, in my humble opinion, still to going be had out there!

Just a check-in e-mail, for certain. Just a reminder that I'm happy to be helping you find your home!

Crossing my fingers, networking with my groups, hitting the phones....working for you!