Friday, March 29, 2013

What's Selling In SCV?

It's Friday afternoon and I'm taking the time to give you the stats of this last month.  Real Estate in Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valley's has been hopping!

SCV is the focus of this blog post as that's where I live and help most homeowners. But, yes, I do have two personal escrows in the larger valley right now too!

This little MLS stat report includes all homes, condos, and townhouses in Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Fair Oaks Ranch, Mint Canyon, Saugus, Newhall, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Westridge, and Castaic.

ACTIVE : 267 ......Yes, only 267....from Acton to Castaic to Stevenson Ranch......267 
homes/condos/townhouses for sale.

Of those 26 of them are Short-Sales and only 19 are noted as REO's. Shocking, isn't it?!?!

PENDING/BACK-UP: 888. Over 1/2 of those are Short-Sale waiting for approval (476) and a measly 76 are REO's.

99 were short-sales and 27 were REO's.

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, questions about mortgage, short-sales, foreclosures...anything about the process....feel free to pop me a line or give me a jingle. I'll help in any way I can.

For now, I'm off to do some work on my current escrows and new buyers/sellers. That way I can be saying congrats to all that have found their dream home or have collected their check from closing escrow!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shut Up Already ~ You'll Never See These Rates Again!

I did a YouTube video about this too but I think it's funny so I am sharing in the written format as well.

I've had 3 standard sale listings hit the market this past week. Needless to say all of them are already under contract. Last one just yesterday evening.

All of them had multiple offers. Two of them I hosted open houses for.

One of the open houses a lovely couple came through that had done a short sale on their prior home a few years ago due to relocation necessity. They are now struggling to find a replacement property and she was chatting with me about how hard it is right now to find a home with the low inventory. Words were released via her mouth about rising prices....and she was whining a bit about it.

Any client that works with me knows that I tell it like it is. I tell you the truth in all scenarios. I don't mince words.....well, I try to lace them with a smile, but the reality of them still can sting a bit.

So, in my very truthful manner, I told her "Really? You're complaining? House prices are lower than they've been this last decade, interest rates are lower than I've seen in MY entire lifetime and you're bothered by that?" She seemed a little surprised to hear me not commiserate along with her.

Sheepishly she said she guessed I had a valid point there. And, honestly, I'm telling all buyers that right now. You are getting a smoking deal right now. You wouldn't have been able to afford anything like what you are eligible to buy now just a few years ago. Nor, even when home prices were at current levels and interest rates with at 8%!

So, drop the pity party! Save your dinero, put your best foot forward to make yourself a better, more attractive buyer, because that's what makes one persons offer get accepted over anothers. It's putting your money where your mouth is. And your mouth better have a lot of money coming out of it....instead of complaints!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Interest Rates Are Staying Low....So They Say!

Yep, here it is, almost Friday night date night in one of the busiest weeks I've had in a while! But, I can't leave the Friday calendar without the information I read this week about interest rates and mortgage buy-backs continuing!

The Federal Open Market Committee voted 11 - 1 to stay status quo. To 'maintain downward pressure on longer term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodatve'. (I don't think that really is a word!)

At any rate, based upon the article with small economic growth projected. Small reduction in unemployment predicted...they felt that continuing along the path of buying securities and pressing down interest rates would be in effect through 2015.

This time period keeps extending, and I'm glad. As prices creep up, it would be nice to keep rates low for buyers that are struggling to find homes with this low inventory.

Feel free to chime in!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Anticipated Housing Appreciation?

I was with another buyer last night and it was their first time writing an offer on a home. There are so many documents required for signature and every one must be explained so the client understands completely what they are signing.

One of the newer forms is the Market Conditions Advisory (MCA). The California Association of Realtors makes new forms, changes old forms, deletes ones that just don't function properly any longer. All based upon the conditions of the market and as laws change.

The MCA really is more of a CYA (Cover Your Ass) form for us Realtors. But, in the roller-coaster housing market we've been in this last few years it was an important one to publish and use for clients buying or selling a home.

In short, layman's  language, it says we don't guarantee what the home will be worth in the future. Takes two pages to state it, but that pretty much sums it up.

My views on the current market is that we will continue to see appreciation til the end of this summer, then it will go flat. And, I'm guesstimating that we will then get into more normal appreciation at about 2-3 % per year.

Now, the article I read today was based upon an Industry Expert panel. A group of economists, Real Estate know-it-alls, investment and market strategists. They felt that we would see approximately 22% cumulatively by the end of 2017. Just under 5% for this year and next. Dropping to between 3.5 & 4 % for the few years after that.

So again, the MCA is a CYA, 
as realistically we don't know what's going to happen now, do we?

Anyone wanna wager?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Exclusive Or 'Pocket' Listings Are On The Rise

With inventory as tight as it is in Southern California, I am definitely seeing a huge rise in listings that aren't released to the MLS until they are already under contract between buyer and seller.

A few different thoughts on my end, and would love to hear yours as well.

We all discuss, network, and share our new listings within our company, our professional groups, and our personal data base. All good, right? Yes, and no. When it hits the MLS, and it's already in many disappointed buyers are seen. Ones that haven't even been given the opportunity to present an offer to the seller(s).

To serve our sellers, we market it in as broad an area as possible, right? To get them the most amount of money, right? If it's not released to the MLS, I don't feel that we are.

If the funds are tight for seller proceeds, we reduce commission and market it ourselves to bring in a buyer. Okay, that's a great reason for an exclusive. Or, if the seller has personal reasons for not releasing it to the MLS.

If we put it on the MLS, present all offers, and the agent we network with brings the best? That's the one we should guide our seller to accept, right? I believe so.If it really is the best.

True, we as agents, may have to wade through a lot more offers if it goes on the MLS allowing all buyers to view and write offers, but that's our job, is it not?

I may piss off a few of my associates, but I'd like to see a lot less listings be entered in the MLS with a Pending status, when it was only in as Active for a mere second or long as it takes to hit the keystrokes required to change from Active to Pending.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When the Federal Reserve Talks, We Listen!

When Elizabeth Duke, Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, speaks at the Mortgage Bankers Association, it's worth listening to. After all, she's got good vibes to report.

She feels that our housing recovery does appear to be sustainable. That we've seen price gains in unusual times. Duke also believes that with the shrinking number of underwater homeowners we will see more sellers coming on the market, which will create more buyers of course, but supply and demand will continue to inch housing prices upward.

Her comments on any shadow inventory? "I do not believe that a flood of houses on the market from households that are currently underwater or from bank REO's are likely to materialize or to be sufficient to outpace growing demand." She does point out that the judicial foreclosure states will have a longer period of clearing them out. Again, California is a non-judicial state.

About 10 million mortgages are still underwater and as of the 3rd quarter of 2012, 1.4 million have risen out of negative equity, according to Core Logic's recent estimate. Good stuff here.

And, regarding investors? As prices continue to creep up, those would-be investors will continue to leave the market. But, at some point, may elect to start selling their holdings too.

She does state that for the housing recovery to really get in full swing the demand for housing among owner-occupiers must increase. And, she points out that it is these buyers that have the especially tight credit conditions.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Calling All New Homeowners ~ Don't Forget Your Property Tax Exemption!

AND, don't forget to check once you've sent in your Claim for Homeowners' Property Tax Exemption!

You can find the form here: L. A. County Assessors BOE 266 Form You can fill it in on-line, then print it out for mailing. Easy Peasy.

As a new homeowner you may get a notice from a legal looking company! You don't have to pay to complete this document, it's free on-line at the above noted link.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a jingle. I've done it, but I'll have to do it again because for some reason I don't have it on my tax bill. My title rep warned me about this so I'm warning you too!

You can check your property tax statement to see if you already have the 7000.00 exemption. It shows up near the lower right. Says EXEMPTION just to the left of the amount. It will only save you about 70 bucks, but why throw it away for filling out a simple piece of paper!

Isn't it nice to have another way to save some money on your home?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Knew The Chocolate/Turqouise Would Depart Soon!!

Copied and Pasted From a Realtor.Org Article!


The Worst Colors to Use in a Home

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Emerald may be this year’s color of the year and hot hue, but which colors should you avoid?
Color research tells us some colors to avoid. Colors that can be considered, as some researchers note, “eye irritants” and can even cause headaches or mess with your vision.
According to color research, the worst offending color:
Yellow as a “pure bright lemon.”
“More light is reflected by bright colors, resulting in excessive stimulation of the eyes,”researchers note. “Yellow is an eye irritant. Babies cry more in yellow rooms, husbands and wives fight more in yellow kitchens, and opera singers throw more tantrums in yellow dressing rooms.”
That said, yellow is the first color the human eye tends to notice so in small doses it may be effective. It can help you draw attention to an item when used as an accent color. Also, using yellow in softer tints or in small quantities may not be such a turn-off.
A recent article at (“Paint Color Trends to Avoid”) pinpointed trendy color combos that may have once been a turn-on that are now becoming a turn-off in home interiors. San Francisco color expert Kelly Berg recently weighed in at about some trendy color combinations to avoid, such as:
  • “Greige”: The gray and beige combo in a space to create a monochromatic effect. Instead, Berg recommends pulling in some accent colors, like grassy greens, to make the space more warm and inviting. She also recommends mixing in reflective surfaces, such as glass and metal, to lighten up the room since gray tends to absorb more light than other hues.
  • Chocolate brown and blue: This trendy color combo of a chocolate brown and Tiffany’s blue may be growing tiresome in home interiors. Berg recommends freshening up the look by adding a third color to the mix, such as hot pink, coral, or metallics in silver or gold.
  • Red, Gold and Green: This go-to rustic color pattern also may be beginning to grow stale in interiors. Berg recommends avoiding using all three colors in equal portions when you have a tri-color scheme in a home. She also recommends keeping the saturation levels of the color similar, but not exactly the same to liven up the look.
  • The all white kitchen: A kitchen all in white can look fresh and clean, but the look may be getting overdone and growing dull. Liven it up by pulling in some color from an adjacent space or pull a color from the dishes, Berg says. For example, if the home owner has blue dishes, you might try using deep indigo as an accent color.
Have you found any color combos that are big turn-offs in a space? Weigh in on what you think works–and doesn’t–with color!
So, my decision to use fresh lemons as only an accent color in one of my upcoming listings was really, really, good!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Strategic Defaulters Now Want To Buy?

Well, 80% of the ones surveyed sure do! 

That, of course, means that they admitted to a strategic default for them to be counted in the survey, right?

I'm annoyed by this. Can you tell?

So, let's see here. They could afford their home, but didn't want to continue to make the payments because the market had dropped out to well below the bottom. So, they defaulted. Many, with the opportunity to sit, not paying their mortgage, for many months. But, they chose to not pay back the money they borrowed from someone (okay a large banking institution) because their home wasn't worth what they paid for it.

When the home is worth twice what they paid for it does the bank come and take it back? Nope, would they continue to make their mortgage payments. Yep. Ugh, it really ticks me off.

In the housing crisis, when it first started, I remember seeing news, articles, posts about people saying "Why should I continue paying when my home isn't worth it?" Pissed me off to no end.

Yes, if you can't afford your home, in ANY market, you sometimes make the difficult decision to walk away. If you can't afford it.

Who are these peoples parents that taught them it was okay to borrow large amounts of money, promise to pay it back....then just decide not to.

I mean, really, I charge my credit card for new clothes. Should I not pay it back just because they aren't the latest trend anymore? See?!?!?

Okay, I'm done venting. Just know that I feel anyone that can be classified as a strategic defaulter should be given a 15% interest for their next home loan....if given the opportunity to buy again.....EVER!

Feel free to ask my opinion on other housing topics.....but be prepared for a heated answer on several.