Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fannie & Freddie Rolling Out New Appraisal Comparable Sales Guidelines

Appraisers have had to be ultra careful over the last few years. When I first started selling homes it seemed like you could wink at an appraiser and they would bring in the value for a purchase. Those days are long gone. We couldn't hardly speak with them for a few years. Now at least we can chat with them, point out improvements, give them our comparable sale information.

All good, right?

Well, be prepared. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are bringing to the table (January 26th) what they call Collateral Underwriter. It's an okay concept, but it will likely make the appraisal process more costly and lengthier.

A computer program will generate up to 20 comps. They will be categorized by risk factors. The appraiser will be questioned about their comps used. The ones with the least risk factors will be preferred over the higher factored ones. HOWEVER, the lower ones may be in a completely different neighborhood.

Here in Santa Clarita Valley, we use tracks to find our comparable sales. We sometimes go outside the immediate track and look for others that are same age, size, amenities, and such.

In San Fernando Vally, Los Angeles, etc., we use Thomas Guide map numbers, neighborhoods, boundaries, age, size, amenities, etc. It's an older community that originally were tracks for sure!

At any rate, there is suggestion that we will be running into some appraisal value issues due to this new guideline.

Just truly a beware. Buyers and Sellers alike. It will affect both sides. Costs, time, lower values.

Just a little wrench thrown into the mix!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

More New Decorating Ideas For.....Yep, The Good Old Kitchen!

I play around on Facebook like a lot of you surely do as well. I keep seeing this one house decorating site go by and periodically I peek at something that catches my eye.

The most recent one? Painting your old hardwood floors.

I think it could be a great idea for a fairly quick and inexpensive makeover. BUT, I also think that it will get chipped away a lot faster than paint on a wall. We do, after all, walk on our kitchen floor. Drop things on our kitchen floor. Wash our kitchen floor, over, and over again.

I had a client this year that had older blond laminate flooring and we had discussed painting that. Not done, mostly because the Googling of info told him that it would just not last at all.

But, I suppose if you've got real wood, the old thick planks (not wide but deep) it'd take more to painting. Say you didn't like it? You'd have plenty of wood on the old floor to sand the color off and try something different.

I have engineered wood flooring, and 3 dogs
Nope, painting my floor is not going to work for me at all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finding A Realtor Out Of Your Current Area

Let's say in the year 2015 you are moving to another city, state, or even another country. How the heck do you find a great Realtor to help you buy in a different location if you don't know anyone where you are moving to?

Ask me! As a local Realtor in Southern California I do sell homes for people moving out of the area. I also help people buy homes moving into the area.

Let's say I find a great agent in Wisconsin? One that came highly recommended by my buyer here? Well, see, now I can help you find a great agent if you want to move to Wisconsin!

Whoops, what if you need an agent in an area I haven't worked with one before? One that hasn't been recommended by a client? That's what networking with my local associates helps with. I'll look to see if someone knows a great agent in New Jersey, let's just say. I don't know anyone that wants to move to New Joysey though!

Now, let's go further. You are moving to an area that no one knows anyone. Yikes! Ask me! I'll check with the local associations, view their credentials, their sales history. I'll even phone interview them for you. I know if you trust me, feel comfortable and confident working with me.....I've got to find someone very similar.

Keep this in mind when you're worried about finding a great Realtor in another area. If you don't know someone that you trust to refer an agent to help you.......check with me, I can usually find the perfect match!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Under Eight Percent Of Home Owners Still Under Water

In 2012 that percentage was 33.5. Four times what it is now. Equity has come back for so many. I'm still a bit underwater but I'm paying it down as fast as I can. I borrowed it, I'm paying it back.

A few years ago were tough years for many homeowners and Realtors. Our income reduced dramatically as our home values depreciated dramatically. A lot of people were hurt by the housing bust. I continued to pay my mortgage. Cut back on several things, well actually had to cut back on many things, to be able to pay. I was definitely one of the fortunate.

But, we are so far away from the bust. So far away from 33.5 % of people being underwater with their home loans. It's a good thing.

Some day soon we will look back and think of these last few years as a distant memory. I'm hoping that we've learned enough not to make the same mistakes. We likely haven't all learned as much as we should. And, of course, there will be new buyers to make the same mistakes we did. New bubbles that will rise. Just praying that the bubble doesn't get so big again. So big that when it starts to deflate it doesn't lose air so rapidly that we have a repeat of our recent burst!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Selling Your Home Over The Holidays?

All the same prep techniques do apply. A bit of staging, the right pricing, the appropriate cleanliness, and more. But, what about your holiday decorations? Should you, or shouldn't you?

People shopping for homes over the holiday season expect a bit of decorations. Should you go all Clark Griswold with the exterior decorations? Um, yeah, no....probably not.

What about the inside decorations? You definitely need to refrain from some indelicate types of displays:

This would be in the NOT appropriate type of holiday decorating
 when selling your home!

Don't forget, you can take your home off the market for special dinners, events, etc. during the season that you are selling. No worries, that's my job.

But, please don't put too much in the way of showing restrictions on selling your home any time of the year for the best possible net sale........holiday time or any old other time!!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Santa Clarita Valley MLS Stats Today December 5, 2014

A super quick info only post!

Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Saugus, Newhall, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Val Verde....the towns that I consider Santa Clarita Valley......MLS stats today.

Active listings: 598

In Contract: 489

Closed Sales in last 30 days: 291

Anyone that is following my blog knows that's about the same number of closed sales in a 30 day period we've had for a while.

Down to 2 months of inventory.

Let's get us some listings!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sorta Real Estate Related ~ California Public Schools Poised To Get Some Nice Funding!

Schools impact Real Estate. Good schools make for happier families. Adequate funding makes for better schools. Desirable neighborhoods generally have excellent schools! Win-Win, see?

So proposition 98, passed way back (LOL, really not that way back in my eyes) in 1988, voted in a rule that when the states coffers fill up with tax dollars, schools will get the single largest portion of the cash.

Newest report indicates that in the budget year ending next summer, public schools are expected to show increased funding in the amount of 2.3 Billion dollars. I know, that will dwindle down. I've not done the math as I don't know how many schools California has in K-12. Do you? I suppose you or I could Google it. (I looked, about 10,000 schools).

But, the good news doesn't stop there! The following fiscal year it's supposed to be about 2.6 Billion, and another 2.2 Billion the year after that. That's a whole lotta money. Again, it will never likely be enough, but every little extra bit is better than none.

Many teachers out here spend much of their own money on their students. Seems particularly so in the Elementary schools. I appreciate that, very much, and I thank you teachers everywhere!

If the prop 98, that we voted in, gives a bit more cash to each and every public school in California, I'm hoping it has a nice impact on the students they service and the teachers that teach them.