Friday, February 28, 2014

Clean Up Your Title Report Before Escrow

Well, at least take a gander at the title report. In other words, when you talk with an agent about selling your home, sign a listing agreement, get a preliminary title report opened up so that there are no surprises once you are in escrow. Get your Statement of Information completed as well.

We don't get too many unusual things on them but once in a while there is an oddity on a prelim.

Any agent worth talking to should already know who's listed as owner for the property. They should know about what your mortgage balance likely is too.

Things that I've seen on a prelim? An ex-spouse still on title. An HOA judgement from a completely separate property. A loan that showed as open but was paid years ago. A tax lien for someone that didn't have any ownership rights to the property.

Normal stuff? Easements, CC&R's, Mineral rights, property taxes still due. Mortgages.

Just a quickie post today. If there is anything weird on your preliminary title report. See what you can do to clear it up before you have a buyer for your property. Don't want to scare them away nor waste any time during escrow if you don't have to.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

HOA Docs ~ A.K.A. The Info About The Home Owners Association

When you're buying a home, usually a townhouse or condo, that has a Home Owners Association (HOA), part of the sellers disclosures are the Docs, or documents from the HOA.

Included in those are the financials, the worth and stability of the HOA. The rules, yes lots of those, the Articles of Incorporation. The way the board of the HOA is set up.

And, my favorite, the Minutes of the Meetings....HOA meetings.

Your lender is usually concerned about the financial aspect of your HOA, so I generally leave that to them. The rules, yes, you better read those for sure. The board and articles....yeah, up to you.

But, those minutes? Great fun reading those! Usually there are a few months worth. Reading them gives you an insight as to the greatest concerns of the HOA. Which neighbors are the complainers, which ones are behind in their dues, that kind of stuff. As well as what the HOA's upcoming repair projects are, any special assessments coming.

When I've got a buyer in escrow I tell them to PLEASE read everything in those HOA Docs!! But, pay very close attention to those minutes as they can give you a pretty good feel about the community you are considering moving into.

If you find that Unit A, right next the the one you are buying, is 6 months behind in their may find they have other problems as well. If you hear that Unit C has a continuously problematic, lived there for 10 years, yapping dog....good to know, right?

So, don't just breeze through this information, read, read, read it!
 Even if it feels like an enormous amount of paperwork!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Rising Prices ~ Rising Inventory ~ Less Competition

I'm pretty sure any Realtor that has been working for a few years is noticing this even without having to read the news.

Inventory has almost doubled in my main area of expertise. Prices are up. Interest rates are up. Some buyers are still hoping for the 'deal of a century' to pop up. Yeah, keep waiting.

At any rate, this morning I read an article that talks about the obvious fact that with all of these points, it should get a bit easier for a buyer to find a home they love and not get beat out by 14 other buyers!

Maybe by one, or two, but not a dozen. That note needs to be brought to sellers attention as well. You won't have those 12-14 buyers writing an offer, sight unseen, the first day it goes on the market.

So, for my buyers, you'll find your home with a little less frustration this year. And, sellers? You best be pricing your home correctly from the get-go or you'll be in our MLS' Price Change category with a red arrow pointing down instead of a pretty blue arrow pointing up!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

California Sure Is One Expensive State To Live In

I'm on course number four of a five course pre-req to take my brokers license exam. I've been selling homes for twelve years, so I'm taking it to the next level for my clients.

The one I'm at now is all about California economics. My husband says 'Must be boring." No, it's quite interesting!

Read an article this morning, my textbook has been discussing it for about 100 pages already, the Housing Affordability of California....dropping yet again. Meaning less people can afford to buy a median priced home in the Sunshine State.

Fourth quarter of 2013, median priced home in Cali was $431,510. Up about 80k from one year prior. To purchase the 2013 home price, buyers need to be making almost 90k/year. The year prior it was under 70k. Needless to say, that's a lot of income to purchase a home.  So, only about 32% of Californians can buy that priced home. In the first quarter of 2012, the percentage of buyers in this western state that could buy a median home was 56%. Considered a record high!

My textbook showed it at one point under 20%. Awful. Absolutely awful. We are sure lucky if we make enough money to buy a home in this state. How many of you can afford to buy a median priced home in California?

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Few New Realtor Disclosures & Duties

I only bring the one that is important to ALL sellers, effective this summer....July 2014.

SB No. 652 ~ Regarding Construction Defects. The technical info is here:

Locally we have been disclosing this for years and years. Well, sellers are supposed to have been disclosing it!

It was approved by the governor last fall and sellers must adhere to in starting the first of July.

What's it mean? In short terms it means if you are aware, it's always if you the seller are aware, of any construction defects, litigation for same, anything of that nature. You must disclose it to the prospective buyer! Must! The reason for the litigation, the outcome of the litigation, the remedy from the litigation. Regardless if it's a house, condo, townhouse. always.....Disclose, Disclose, Disclose!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

HARP Home Affordable Refinance Program Extended to 12/2015

Fannie and Freddie, GSE's, have hit the 3 million mark for HARP refinances. Refi-ing homeowners who are current on their mortgage, but upside down. Note ~ CURRENT on their mortgage.

Your loan also must be held by Fannie or Freddie to use the HARP program but if you haven't looked into it, take a gander here: HARP Program Web Link, it's been extended to 12/2015! And, yes, you'll be able to tell if your loan is held by one of the GSE's right on this website.

It is dependent upon your Loan to Value ratio...yes. But, remember, many underwater homeowners earned a lot of equity in 2013 so your LTV may have changed enough that you can refi through this program!

That's my short reminder and enlightenment for the day!

Go find out if HARP is going to help you!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Lovely Santa Clarita Valley MLS Stats as of February 7, 2014

For so long we hovered around 300, now we've been hovering around 500.

As of just a moment ago, the MLS numbers for SCV ~ Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Fair Oaks Ranch, Santa Clarita, Saugus, Newhall, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, and Castaic.

ACTIVE ~ 531

Pending/Back-Up Offers ~ 469. Since I figured you'd be curious, only 60 are what we would call distressed sales...Short-Sales, Foreclosure.

SOLD in the last 30 days ~ 217

One of the interesting things I'm seeing, since I look 3,4, 5 times daily, in the MLS is the increase of sellers with a H.O.C. contingency. Home Of Choice. Means they won't sell you their home unless they can find an acceptable replacement.

I want you to get that beautiful home we finally found. You want to live in that perfect place to hang your hat. We all want everyone to agree. They, the seller, wants to find their new home as part of the deal.

Quite honestly, it's harder on the seller than the buyer. Boy oh boy, you better have a helluva an agent to dance through this scenario. Totally workable, don't be afraid. Just have an agent that knows how to work it!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2021 Predicted by MSN Writer For Peak Price Return

Quick article read this morning and she did the math for me. At the current anticipated price of appreciation she expects prices to be at the past peak by the year 2021. So, 7 down, 7 more to get back up.

She also noted it's time to stop comparing the value of your home now versus what it was worth in 2007. Honestly, unless you sold in 2007 that value doesn't mean a whole lot now does it.

So, let's start looking for a 3-5% annual appreciation. Do your math. When will your home be worth what it was in 2007? Or when will your mortgage be less than the value of your home? For my townhouse ~ looks like the math is right on!

Looking forward to tomorrow.....and to 2021!