Friday, December 30, 2016

Moving Into A New Year!

Here it is, Friday December 30th, 2016. Going out with my last client for the year this afternoon. A new client though, so we'll get something going for 2017! She already has a buyer for her home and wants to move into a larger home closer to the freeway. I can do that!

I work alone, no buyers agent, no sellers agent, no in house escrow coordinator or office manager. I did, finally, hire a freelance transaction coordinator this year. She has been a wonderful addition!

My business year was FANTASTIC. No complaints at all. With basically just little ole me, I managed to help 20 people move in and out of homes for 2016. Trust me, that's a lot!

So, I appreciate those that put their faith in me. Some were repeat clients, some old friends, some referred to me by people that have confidence in my skills as a Realtor.

I do surround myself with an excellent team of affiliates. My favorite escrow team, home inspector, title, home warranty, lenders. Without them I can't take care of my clients to the degree I, and they, expect!

Sunday starts 2017. Sheesh, I am in awe that we are already coming to that awe.

The reason for this post? Just to say Thank You to my clients, friends, family, affiliates. Those that have helped me through an extremely difficult personal situation, and still continue to know that I will never shirk my duty to them while we are working on one of the most important decisions of their life.

As I say, and my peeps know this, Onward & Forward. May 2017 bring all of us what we need & love. And, of course, if you know someone that wants to buy or sell in 2017, I'll take great care of the responsibility you bestow upon me when you give them my name!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Closets, Closets, Closets!

I don't know any woman that doesn't like a walk-in closet. Nope, not a single one. And, I've yet to meet a man that is not impressed with a well done & organized walk-in closet/storage system as well.

My townhouse has a spectacularly organized closet, complete with tie rack, belt holder, purse shelf, shoe rack, drawers, etc. Unfortunately I don't live there anymore. That's a rental property now.

Our current home has a huge walk-in closet....but just closet rods, shelves that were put in by the builder and a couple dressers we tossed in when we first bought our current home. I kept thinking I would do the super-duper closet storage thing....some day. But, alas, I still haven't....some day....maybe.....

But, I share with you some of the items I love in large, systematized, closets....for my dream closet!

We've all seen the center closet island. Love, yes
....but, love the windows more!

I don't wear a lot of make-up, but I do like this mirrored make-up station.

Right now I sit on the edge of my tub to put my shoes on, 
that little sitting spot is pretty sweet though.

And, instead of taking up space in the closet...
how about using the space between the walls for shoe storage near an exit door?!?!?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

First Buyer Escrow to Crash & Burn & More!

I've been at this for almost 15 years. I had two of my buyers withdraw their offers within 24 hours of acceptance years ago. I had a buyer cancel on my Seller once, after they had removed all their contingencies, long time ago on that one too. Yes, Seller kept the buyers deposit, that was part of the contract.

Last week, one of my clients had their lender fail in their duties to provide the loan they had pre-approved them for. Very late in the escrow....but, before my clients had removed their loan contingency.

It wasn't one of my preferred lenders, it was an on-line lender. Ugh. Last time I worked with one of those it was a challenge, but with a lot of pestering, we got it done. So, I told my clients I was up for the challenge!

The pre-approval seemed aok. They were just finishing up a refi, the lender had all their income documentation for that, right? I sure thought they did. Then, on the purchase, just before we should have been removing final contingencies...lender threw a wrench in the works & said we had to change loan programs to make this work.

Long story short, it did not work. 
So, Crash & Burn.....

Quite honestly, that's not the point of this post. The listing agent.....and the sellers selected escrow....that's the point. And, it's something a prospective Seller needs to be completely aware of.

So, here is the guts ~

1) Escrow was not contingent upon the Seller getting a replacement property. During the inspection, Seller told us she was moving out of state and, if my memory serves me, buying some land to build a home. Nice. Good for her, right? 

2) HOA Documents are in the contract as whomever is supposed to pay any upfront fee, does it within a specified time period. Well, the Seller didn't, her escrow company fronted the 500+ smackers to order the docs.

3) Listing agent did not follow the time lines in the contract....for our contingency removal. 

4) Seller apparently put a non-refundable deposit on an apartment and airline ticket....before we removed all our contingencies.

5) Now, since we crashed & singed, listing agents preferred lender tried to see if he could make it happen. Yesterday we found out he could not due to the amount of cash needed to close in his complete burn on this escrow.

The finale? Seller signed our contract cancellation instructions, escrow let us know about the fact that they paid the upfront fee, seller is apparently losing a few k cash, and my buyers deposit is being held until we get to some resolution of the HOA upfront doc fee. 

So, prospective Sellers? Hire an agent that follows the contract & monitors the buyers contingency removals. Don't put up moolah on something else unless you know you're in a sure thing. Select an escrow that follows a contract as well.

Waiting for a finish, but as a courtesy, I've offered to pay 1/2 the fee......and, now....I'm doing my favorite thing....waiting for this to get squared away. I'm going to call the escrow company as soon as I finish publishing this to light a fire under their butts.

Can I get a 'Good Luck'?

Friday, December 9, 2016

SCV & Surrounding Communities Housing Sales Activity 12/9/2016

Good morning blog readers! Hope you guys are almost ready for the holidays. We're getting there!

Sales stats today? Acton to the east, Stevenson Ranch to the West, Newhall in the South, and Castaic up North. Those are the areas I'm talking about...and of course the hoods in between!

Active listings in our MLS as of this moment ~ 551

Under contract/in Escrow ~ 501

Closed Escrow in the last 30 days ~ 310

This includes homes, condos, townhouses. Well, anything that is classified in the MLS those ways!

Any questions about Real Estate in So. Cal, just ask!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I Found It Interesting, So I Share!

I'm presuming you've all heard of a 'Conforming Loan Limit'? The amount of a loan for a standard interest rate. Before it goes into jumbo status.

So, one of the lenders that regularly sends me info passed this along. I think it's very interesting, educational, and very cool.

I could have gone back and done the research myself, but Ta-Da, here it is for me & you.

Year over year, some decades, where the Freddie & Fannie Conforming Loan Limit sat....well, since 1990.


See how during boom times the limit jumped up? And, during times of housing stayed exactly the same? 

So, now that it's bumped up a bit, what does that mean? Well, I'd have to think, and so does the lender that sent it to me, our market is stabilizing, healthy, and can handle a bit of a bump!

Cool, I tell ya, very, very cool.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Throwing It In The Pot!

Working with another great group of agents, well me & the ones I'm in immediate contact with, on a home that was originally due to close on 12/6/16.

We will be closing late. But, everyone is working hard to get it closed.

I don't like asking other agents to give up any of their hard earned money. The listing agent on this one was uncomfortable about it too.

But, sometimes you have to throw some moolah,
in the communal pot, to make it happen!

Sellers are throwing in a bunch, listing agents are throwing in a bunch more, lender is tossing in a handful, I'm throwing in more, and my buyers are tossing in some their own way as well.

Because we all want the same thing. A home to sell from one to another. One to buy their replacement home, one to have their vacation home. Agents who want clients happy. We do what we gotta do. 

It's worth it. Absolutely, totally, worth it. And, remember, some negotiations are had practically til the end of an escrow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Well Now, Maybe That's Why They Stopped Pestering Me!

So, in case you haven't heard, Zillow is settling a labor dispute, a class action one. To the tune of 6M smackers. For not giving their employees the right breaks/lunches, stuff like that.

For almost 15 years I've been licensed to help people buy and sell Real Estate. I help people I know, they refer their friends to me, co-workers, you name it.....I very, very, very rarely work with strangers. Honestly don't have to. As a woman Realtor, I think it's wise not to.

So Zillow, for years, their employees would call me about their premier program. Paying for a zip code, a special spot, get client leads.

For years I said to take me off that list, I am not comfortable working with strangers, paying for client referrals. I work hard, have a great business, don't want to take the risk.

When I read the articles that kept landing in my e-mail about Zillow's settlement, I thought, well, heck, those people that kept calling obviously worked on some type of bonus system and were likely encouraged to work through lunch and not take breaks to make more money.

That is costing them in the long run. Needless to say........ they FINALLY took me off their call list!

Friday, November 25, 2016

I Am Thankful ~ 2016

While I was reading through all my real estate articles, downloads, websites, for a topic-maker subject, I realized I was very lucky to have the business that I have.

Well, quite honestly, it's not luck at all. It's hard work. It's treating people the way I want to be treated. With honesty, kindness, empathy, sincerity. All of those and more.

So, my quickie blog post today is just saying thank you. Thank you to the people that I've met along the way. The friends that are clients, the clients that are now friends. The people that allowed me to help them this year, years past, and the future years.

I am thankful to have you in my life. For a long time, for a short time, for whatever time you need me to be in your life.

I am smiling, I am thankful. 😍

Friday, November 18, 2016

Story of the Week ~ Rent-Backs & Real Estate

What's a rent back in Real Estate? When the Seller maintains possession after close of escrow. They pay the buyer the costs the buyer has for ownership during that time. The loan, any HOA fees, insurance, taxes. Utilities are paid by whomever is occupying the property.

Usually a rent back is for a short period of time. A week, 10 days. Sometimes, particularly when it's for 30-ish days, a security deposit is left in escrow. Just like when a tenant rents from a landlord. To cover any damage issues the occupant caused to the home.

So, back to the story after the explanation....

My clients are the buyers. Multiple offer situation, they agree to a 5 day possession after close of escrow, then an additional 30 days on top of that. To get the property, they say hell yes....but Seller has to, of course, pay the 30 days of buyers expenses to own the property. See description above if you're confused!

So, we do our final walk through that is the normal part of escrow...prior to closing. Seller agreed to several items to repair/correct/replace & receipts are to be presented to buyers same time. We find the door to be replaced does not all. There are no receipts presented, and the push button key-less entry has been replaced with a regular doorknob.

So, the seller says, he couldn't find the matching door. My buyers found it in 2 places, same day. Seller states he changed out the garbage disposal himself...even though the request for repairs asked for a licensed plumber, and he'll find the receipt. Seller states the push button key-less thingy didn't work so he removed it and put a regular door knob back in.

Needless to say, I'm calling some major BS here...right?

Doesn't matter, we calmly tell sellers agent that these things need to be corrected, per contract, etc. And, they do...well, so we think.

Fast forward, a few weeks after my clients finally take possession and it's about time to release the security deposit. I double check with them to see if there is anything amiss.....sadly it is determined that the seller did not install the new garbage disposal correctly. One fatal piece was not removed for that particular installation. And, damage to the kitchen cabinet was caused by the water going the wrong place. Ah, how we wish the seller had a professional installation done as agreed to.

At any rate, now we are waiting for an estimate to repair the cabinet. Buyer took apart the garbage disposal, read alllllll the directions, put it back together correctly, and the disposal is now working.

And, the sellers agent is not happy. Well, hell, neither am I or my buyers. So, security deposit will not be released until we get this resolved.

How's that for a story? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Decorating For Me Needs To Be Easy - Particularly For The Holidays!

I'm a minimalist, I don't like a lot of clutter. I add decorative items when I see something I like, but after a few additions, I have to remove other items....just the way I am.

So, Thanksgiving is next week already! WOW. Right around the corner. If you're also anything like me, you're super busy. It's hard enough to know which family is hosting what holiday, prepare the meal menu, organize the serving stuff....but decorate for the day too?  Yikes!

But, there are some very simple things we can do,
 that will make your home feel more turkey like, 
without having to go decoration crazy!

Throw a natural leaf on your table....or a few.....Hello Autumn!

Don't rake your leaves for the day.....Hello Autumn!

Use all those cream colored candles....with a few leaves....Hello Autumn!

And, super easy, add a few fall colored pillows to your couch....Hello Autumn!

Wishing you and your family a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday next week. No matter what, there is at least one thing in your life you must be thankful!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Two Years Ago.....What A Difference!

Two years ago this time I was helping a Veteran buy his family their first home. Fast forward and we're helping that same Veteran family complete the sale of that same home via a short sale.

A year into their home ownership, bills got away from them, financial life became difficult to manage. Family expenses changed.

So, regardless of if it's helping a Vet to buy their first home, or help them navigate through the challenges of selling their home, we still help.

The buyers were patient, their agent stepped up above and beyond, I put the homes' utilities on in my name when the homeowners moved away, my favorite escrow team was merciless with follow-through. Title rep stepped outside their box and cleared an item from the prelim.

I could tell you more about the process but this post is just about helping matter what.....doing the right matter what....showing matter all times.

That's it, I'll get off my soapbox, for today. 

Hoping one person that reads this today decides that helping people, 
and being compassionate towards them...regardless of if you think they did right or wrong.....that speaks volumes about who you are....those are the kind of people that I want to be with.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Housing Activity in Santa Clarita Valley Election Day 2016

Just a coincidence that I'm writing a blog post about housing activity during one of the most volatile elections in my life. But, yes, life does go on!

My housing activity report focus' on Santa Clarita Valley and it's surrounding communities. Acton to the east, Stevenson Ranch west, Newhall to the south, and Castaic to the North....and everything in between!

Currently we have only 618 active listings! 

We need more!

In escrow or under contract, 588.

Still closing a wee bit over 300 every month 
with a total escrows closed in last 30 days of 317.

Looking forward to getting more Sellers on the market soon!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Reading Today - Time to Close Blaming Appraisers?

It's funny.....when we're about to close an escrow there is always a last minute scramble feel about it. I actually blogged it a few weeks ago.

There is also the 'blame-game', lender blames escrow, escrow blames lender. Too frequently they blame each other for a delay in closing.

Whatever....let's just close it already.

Today I read an article that states the appraisal process is what makes a 2 week closing take 6 weeks. Oh pleeze. Maybe the actual lender, stated by the article, only works their borrowers file for a total of 2-3 days during the escrow process. But, we have many other pieces of a huge puzzle that needs to be completed to close escrow on a home. MANY, I tell you!

While the appraisal process is challenging, and trust me, we blame them sometimes too, the loan has other challenges. The inspection process can be challenging. Getting through disclosures can be challenging. Negotiating repairs is a pain sometimes too. Just getting the buyers and sellers to turn in their paperwork can be a long process! Trust me, I know this.

Yet, it's all part of what needs to be done to close an escrow. When you've got so many people working on a huge project, buying/selling a home is huge, take your time. Get it done right, let everyone do their job without rushing through it. Rushing causes errors that we then have to fix before we can close.

Stop the 'blame-game', at least for your escrow. 
Let's just work together to solve any issues, and finish up a clean, tidy, escrow!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Options When Your Appraisal Comes In Low

I'm in the midst of a low appraisal right now. It's a beautiful home. The comps that I evaluated with my clients showed that what we agreed to was a fair price. The appraiser didn't think so.

This problem is a mutual problem for buyer and seller but the argument for the value falls on the listing agent.

You have a few options on how to deal with a value problem, we're selecting the fight the value with appraiser option.

A real estate purchase agreement generally gives the buyer an appraisal contingency. If it doesn't appraise at agreed to purchase price, buyer can cancel the contract without penalty.

Now, most buyers and sellers want a contract to stay together. That's why the buyer made the offer and seller accepted, right? Buyers want to buy the home, Sellers want to sell the home.

Options if the appraisal comes in low ~

1) Seller reduces purchase price.
2) Buyer brings in extra cash to close.
3) Split somewhere in the middle, or a variation there of.
4) Cancel the contract, which leaves the Seller with a BOM (Back On Market, Ugh)
5) Dispute the appraisal.

Since the listing agent, buyers, sellers, and myself, all see the value on the purchase price....we've elected to dispute the appraisal.

I've seen the appraisers report, she used some odd comps, didn't use others. So, listing agent is preparing a mathematical argument to the appraisers value. Bringing in comparable sales that are more appropriate, noting the upgrades, or lack of, with each property.

The listing agent has been selling in this particular community for 30 years. I would have to call her and her partner experts in this particular market. They've listed, sold, or viewed, the majority of what is for sale or sold in the neighborhood.

It's taking time, but the fight is worth it. My peeps want the home, listing agents peeps want to sell the home.....the appraiser my stick her ground, but it's worth the fight for sure!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fun Designs for Siblings That Share a Bedroom

When my sister and I were little, we shared a bedroom.  We had bunk beds that we split at one point and each bed was on different sides of our room. I think we even put up a folding screen wall to try and separate our 'spaces'. LOLOL

When my two boys were little we had a special bed built for them. Very similar to one of the pictures here. A bed up high, another bed low, and places for a desk to work and floor to play.

Some of these are really great though. I love the chalkboard one best!

See, some separation with the one here!

I would have written my To-Do list if I had this by my bed!

Super sweet. What a great use of space.

I dig it. So mod! Similar to what my boys had.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Housing Market and The Winter Holidays

Just focused on Santa Clarita Valley and our surrounding communities in this post.

We've fallen below 700 active listings again. I checked yesterday and our total was at 677.

Prompted a thought to chat about this morning.

We didn't have an increase by the feds in September for home loan rates. Next meeting is in December, who knows what will happen.

What I do know is that buyers that are looking this last few months of the year are SERIOUS buyers. They aren't any type of lookie-loo, they are ready to buy now.

What I also know is that the new year will bring more listings on the market. Right? You all know this.

So, point of this blog post?

If you're thinking about selling in the next 6 - 12 months, consider listing now. You know the inventory is still low. You know that interest rates are still low. You know that serious buyers are out there. You know, right now, what your competition is.

Take a taste of the Winter 'snow', open your arms/homes to buyers, 
and let's get you moving!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Trended Credit Data Now A Reality

There's this awesome lender thing called a DU, or Desktop Underwriter for loans that are going Fannie Mae.

It tells lenders if their borrowers are good candidates for the loan program and if given to Realtors at offer presentation, we feel much more confident that a buyer can truly close on a loan to buy our Sellers home.

Nice news is that the latest DU release is allowing the use of Trended Credit Data now.

This is the mini-skinny on it:

Use of trended credit data in credit risk assessment
  • Considers the monthly payment amounts that a consumer has made on revolving accounts, such as credit cards, over the past two years
  • Offers lenders more insight into how a borrower tends to pay off their revolving credit lines each month, providing a more comprehensive risk assessment
  • Gives borrowers greater ability to control their credit evaluation, and benefits borrowers who regularly pay off, or pay more than the minimum required amount, of their revolving debt, increasing the likelihood that they will receive an “Approve” recommendation from DU

So, sounds like it's a good idea to make larger than just the minimum payments on your Credit Cards people! Happy to report that the DU is creating a more human-like experience.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Airbnb.....How Does This Relate to Home Sales?

I read an article this week that said it would affect the housing industry. Yes for rentals, no I don't think so for purchase & sales.

The Airbnb is a rental set-up for anyone that wants to rent to strangers. For a night, a weekend, a month, even just a room in their home.

The Internet has certainly changed the housing industry. Allowing buyers and sellers to see things much more easily. Neighborhoods, taxes, ownership, all sorts of good things. I like this.

But, as always, the Internet doesn't replace the Realtor. And, that my friend, is priceless. Well, I think I am.....priceless that is.

At any rate, will the way Airbnb change the way people rent? Sure, possibly. Until there is some scandal. Will it change the way people buy? No.

We've had FSBO's forever. For Sale By Owner. The percentage of people that try and go it alone is so minimal it's not even worth talking about.

But, a rental is much less valuable than a home for sale. A rental you're talking about a couple thousand. A sale is, obviously, significantly higher in value.

So, Airbnb, have at it with the rental market. Don't even worry a second that it will be part of the resale market!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

There Are Always Changes in a Transaction

Always. Just be prepared for it. Well, you can hardly be totally prepared, but know that there will very rarely be a transaction that doesn't have some type of glitch. Or need some type of 'adjustment'.

And, that's when we appreciate that all teams are going for the same goal.

 To get the property closed.

For the buyer to move into their new home & the seller to run off with their check! Frequently the goal doesn't get to easily.

Got one right now. Requires the sale of 2 homes and the purchase of another. One of the sale properties is about to close escrow. Yippee! That was the easiest of the 3 and the agent was slow at returning everything! Well, and our change on that one is just closing late. The purchase is the longest escrow, anticipated to be about 3 months and we'll be just about a week over on that one.

Now, the purchase one accepted our offer as a contingent upon 2 home sales by my buyer. The purchase one did not indicate they were contingent upon buying another property but we have found out that they definitely are purchasing after the sale of their current home.

Property 2 sale escrow is going along fabulous!

And now, comes the 'work through' of everybody closing, 3 lenders getting stuff done. 3 agents getting stuff done, 3 sellers getting stuff done, 3 buyers getting stuff done.

And, each wants their needs put first. Right?

So, I've talked with one lender, and 2 agents. Got a message out for another lender and another agent. All to juggle the closing as smoothly as possible. They have to communicate with their respective clients as well. We have to be aware of loan locks, movers, everyones' schedule!

Wish me luck!!! More coordinating to complete!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bathroom Sink Vanity A Bit Boring? How About These?

Anyone who reads my Blog, knows I love some stuff that comes down from Houzz!

Today I was reading about different pieces that can be turned into a bathroom vanity. And, from reading and perusing can pretty much turn anything into a vanity. Just use some imagination.

Keep in mind....going a wee bit crazy, or different with your choices, may not be so great for resale. But, enjoy some of these and let me know what you think!

I have a dresser in my bedroom that matches this one!

For people with grandmothers sewing machine!

An old student desk?

I guess I could re-purpose my file cabinet here!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Reconsider Earthquake Insurance

I had earthquake insurance for the '94 Northridge quake. I didn't use it, my deductible at the time was about 35k and I had less than 10k in damage. FEMA assisted us with that. Lots of paperwork, but they were very helpful.

One of the reasons I've never purchase the insurance again was the high cost to carry it and the high deductible if something were to happen.

California Earthquake Authority has just cut the price of the insurance. They are offering several options customized to your financial comfort zones. Your normal homeowners policy does not cover quake damage, and boy, are we overdue for one, right?

So, take a gander at their website again, California Earthquake Authority
Talk to your insurance broker as well of course. 
But, this may be something to look into!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Funny How Stuff Changes!

This is just a spew of my thoughts today.

I reach out to my data base, some call it a sphere of influence, every week day. To check in, to say hello, to see how the family is doing, all kinds of things. These are past clients, friends, people I love and adore as well. I love all my peeps, well, almost all of them!

I let them know about new listings, buyers needs, what's happening in my world too!

And, it's weird how it works. I could be working with a bunch of buyers at any given moment. During my contacting of my pals, I'll ask them if they know any Sellers to help my buyers? And, on the flip side, if I'm working with mostly Sellers, I'll ask them if they know anyone looking to buy a home.

Now, this is the weirdest part.......

I could be talking to the A - G section, say mentioning that I am looking for Sellers, right? Someone I know with a last name that starts with R, let's say, out of the blue tells me they want to sell their home. See? I know strange.

So, now? I am on the lookout for buyers! I've got 6 Sellers that I'm working with, but zero Buyers. Totally crazy for me. Usually it's pretty darn 50/50 after all these 14 + years!

Soooooo, if you know anyone considering a home purchase....feel free to give them my info. I'll help in any way I can to get them the home of their dreams.

Yep, that's representing me 'Looking for Buyers'!

Lauren Lefkowitz Greber
Realty Executives Valencia
(661) 313-5470

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sifting Through Multiple Offers - You'd Think It Would Be Fun, Right?

While for some the market has cooled a bit, for one of my listings, it's like it was the only available pool/view home!

Well, it is the only one that is STUNNING!!!

So, over a 48 hour period, we had over 2 dozen agents bring their clients.

And now, I am sifting through offers. Sorting out the details, looking at the lender info, the way the offer is presented, how it's written, what the terms are.

It's never just about price.....never.

While part of me is happy for my Sellers, the other part gets a wee bit annoyed at some of the offer contents. The way they are drafted tells me the kind of escrow we'll be going through.

But, I continue to weed through, make notes about important items.

And, I shall put on a Smiley face when I see my Sellers......oh, 
truth be told, they'll see my annoyed face as well! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Home Loan Rates ~ September 6, 2016

This information is just from one of the many mortgage brokers who sends me regular messages. Spoiler's dependent upon your FICO scores, loan amount, property type, and more!

But, this hit my e-mail this morning....on blog post I am sharing!

And, reminding you to check with a few trusted lenders about how to get the best rate, what your associated costs are, and any lender assistance they are willing to give as well.

Conventional 5 year ARM - 2.875
Conventional 10 year Fixed - 2.750
Conventional 15 year Fixed - 2.750
Conventional 20 year Fixed - 3.125
Conventional 25 year Fixed - 3.375
Conventional 30 year Fixed - 3.375
FHA & VA 30 year Fixed - 2.875
Jumbo 5 year ARM - 2.750
Jumbo 30 year Fixed - 3.750

I am not a risk taker, never have been. These rates are remarkable. We know where they are now, we don't know where they will be later.

So, Now or Later? You decide.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sometimes A 'Tiny' House is Not 400 Square Feet!

To each his own on what really is a tiny house or not. To some it would be anything under 2000 sq feet. To others it's less than 700.

For whatever you consider a teeny-weeny house....consider some of the options for getting the most space out of that little house of yours.....thank you Houzz for giving me this blog post idea!

Stairs that almost look like they go nowhere!

At least they create extra space above. 
This seems to be the common reason for the stairs in a smaller house.
I like these stairs better as you can use them for storage too!

I think the big window is super. So, you can get a 'spacial' feeling. 
But, you give up wall/furniture space doing this!

Now, that's some tiny space!
Notice the ladder on the left vs. stairs in other ones.

Designing the space for a tiny house must be extremely challenging. I think I'd want to live in it for a bit and change as I go along....nothing worse than putting stairs in the wrong place and regretting it later. Let alone that big window & not being able to put your TV where you want it! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Withdrawal of Offer. Twice In One Month!

The market has definitely changed!

I've been at this for over 14 years. Once, I tell you, only once in that time period did a buyer change their mind after writing an offer. And, that was one of my buyers. She was scared, to death, and it was understandable.

But, in the last month I've had buyers write offers on two different listings of mine and before we even opened escrow, they changed their mind.

Both times I was grateful that it happened before escrow opened and my listing was taken off the market. Having to BOM (put Back On Market) a property is not a great 'marketing' tool.

Second time though? I was really surprised! Was watching TV with my husband late last night and this text came across my phone:

Not what I was expecting while relaxing late at night!

Both times reviewed the entire contract, documents supporting their ability to purchase. Vetted the lender, agent, property they were selling, to buy my listing.

Both times.....I was shocked. Interestingly, both buyers were moving from different areas and practically doubling their homes' value.

Why do I think it's happening? Because buyers are frantic. Inventory is increasing. They choose because they think they have to. Then realize there is something else out there that may suit their needs better. Or, it could be an over-zealous agent as well!

Try not to be that buyer. Try not to present an offer for that buyer. Please don't bring me an offer from that buyer either!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Wahooooo! We Hit 700!!!

It's that time again....for you. I check 3,4,8 times a day! Always looking at inventory!

At any rate, as of this moment, 10:45 am on Friday August 26,2016, Santa Clarita & it's surrounding communities have an even 700 homes, condos, etc. available for sale!

Acton to the East, Stevenson Ranch to the West, Newhall to the South, Castaic to the North. All included in between.

Active right now - Yup, 700!

Under contract/In escrow - 660.

Sold in the last 30 days you ask? 357.

So, yes, we do have a 2 month inventory. And, it's creeping up. Just food for thought. Be careful with pricing and preparation. Be prepared for lookie-loos to come through. They have more to look at.

Whether buyers are spending 200k or 999k +, they have a right to make sure it's the right fit for them.

But for now. WAHOOOOOOOOOO ! 700 active listings!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stevenson Ranch, New Home Development Approved

102 homes....on the hills south of Pico Cyn in Stevenson Ranch, California.

They have lots of grading to do. It encompasses over 200 acres of hilly land. I am curious if it will have Mello-Roos, or something like it, or not. Lennar is the developer & it will be right across the street from the elementary school on Pico Cyn. Hopefully they will control the amount of dust and noise during construction.

There is another hillside community there. Not in love with it. Appropriately called Hillside Village. No Mello-Roos on that one. Big HOA that covers kinda nothing....steep hills that a childs' ball would likely be lost down onto Pico Cyn if slipped through fingers at the top of one of the hills. I should do a survey of the homeowners!

At any rate, it's in the works. This new one. Hoping Lennar does a good job with the acreage. That the open space and parks, etc., are lovely. It's going to be a great additional track for commuters.

It was approved last week and there was 10 days for anyone to object. Haven't heard about any objections.

We could use a few more homes out here. Again, preferably with a normal tax base and no additional assessments hidden in.

New Construction....Here It Comes!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Leap of Faith? Sometimes I'd Yes, Sometimes I'd Say No.

Real Estate is all about contracts, right? Everyone signs a contract and we're supposed to stick with it, correct? Part of the contract distinctly says 'time is of the essence'....just in case you didn't know.

Negotiations can occur during the process, but that's usually over repairs requested or an appraisal issue. It's not generally over the timelines of the contract. Well, if you need to adjust closing for some reason, yes.

Most important for a Seller? Disclose, and dude, disclose in an extremely timely manner. Trust me on this, you'd rather have the Buyer know about something asap, rather than a couple weeks before close of escrow.

Working with a less experienced agent and they did not provide a Seller report in a timely manner at all. Ran into some snags, yes indeed. Totally understand. But, we are 2 weeks beyond the due date and they were hoping we'd just move forward on a leap of faith.

Um, no, not gonna. Certainly my buyer makes the decision, but my experience is why they hired me. My suggestion was to not take that leap. Leap not taken!

Now, another leap of faith story. Buyer interested in a property. Just hit the market. Comps show that all in same track reduced price before going into escrow. They want to offer 6k less. I think that's okay. Writing offer tomorrow. Today I speak with agent. Says they got a full price offer in but that buyer wanted closing costs. I tell my client....take the leap of faith if you really want it and write full price. What's 6k in the long run right? Leap is going to happen!

You've got to trust your Realtor
 when they say to Leap or not to Leap!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Avulsion/Erosion Could Cause New California Coastline By The Year 2100?

Avulsion was a term I learned in Real Estate 101 back some 15 years ago. It really means a sudden fracture, as in the coast breaking off suddenly. Erosion sounds more appropriate for what's supposedly happening to many coastlines in the US.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 23 states may have a significant loss of homes that are currently coastal/beachfront properties, by the year 2100. That's only 84 years from now.

An old friend of mine posted a picture this week on Facebook from a Malibu beach. I remember her noting the loss of beach front in just about 6 months. Could be seasonal, not sure, but when I read the report that Zillow wrote using data from the NOAA, I thought I'd share it with you.

It says over 42k homes, that's just in California, could be underwater by then. A loss of almost $50 billion in homes.

Not that I'll still be alive in 84 years, but my grand-kids (if I ever get any!) certainly will.

Just some food for thought if you're thinking about investing, 
long term, in some beach property!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Drones & Real Estate

We've really just started to see some usage of drones doing aerial photography out here in SCV. One was so busy, felt like it was doing loop-de-loops while it was photographing the home, I actually got a mild motion sickness watching it.

For large properties, I do think it is a great tool to show the entire property before my clients and I even consider physically walking it in our tennies. For properties that are attractive to out of country or out of area buyers, a good drone virtual tour could be vital.

Appraiser usage? Just read an article on about drones and appraisals. While, obviously, the appraiser still has to go view the property, do their research, write the report, it does have some good ways that they too can bring the value on their report in front of the underwriters eyes......if there is any question of that value. Make sense?

Let's say there is more value since part of the property has a river....not just a tinkle of water, but a good river? Great drone op. A new roof? Yep, another. Proximity measuring? Oh, I'm sure that is going to be happening as well.

So, if you haven't already, say hello to the drone future in Real, who has a big piece of property that I can get some sample drone pics done for?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Story of the Week ~ August 2, 2016 ~ Gratitude!

This week is not about the news, this week is about my gratitude towards other agents. I've worked with some doozy's, some ditso's, some untruthful ones, but I'm so ever grateful for the bunch I'm working with right now.

#SandFire....yes, that caused such a dilemma for one of my escrows last week. Waiting for an appraiser to do a field review that got stuck in the middle of the fire mess.

It was the buyers that are purchasing my clients townhouse. But, because we were waiting on them to release all contingencies, we couldn't release ours on their replacement property purchase.

And, I am thankful here. The agents I've worked with only once before. Can barely remember that transaction, so it must have been pretty simple. I remember the bad ones!

We spoke about several negotiations throughout the process, both admitting that we are just the messengers, no ego arguments at all. But, when it came time to explain to their sellers that we had this delay and to please be patient? They were wonderful. They knew it would be a common problem. Knew that my clients were stuck, but that wanted that sellers property. Knew that the buyers on my peeps townhouse wanted the property as well.

So, I give thanks to all the really GREAT agents out there. The ones that know it's best to save a transaction with motivated buyers/sellers than to start over. To the ones that can communicate with their clients what is in the best interest for all.

Yesterday all contingencies were removed all around and everyone was thrilled! Patience pays off. Two sets of sellers get their home sold in a timely manner, two sets of buyers get their new home in a timely manner. All because we worked together.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Baby Cams & Real Estate

At one of my most recent listings the seller had a baby cam set up. It was for child safety purposes. She did however hear a Realtor ask their client if they had done their morning biz or not as the client was grouchy. Much more descriptive than I've written, but you get the idea.

The client, her friend and I, got a helluva laugh over that one.

Yesterday I was reading an article from about that very same subject.

While they may not be intended to monitor people viewing a home for sale, we agents should be more aware of them. As listing agents, note it in the MLS. As buyers agent, remind your client that there could be one in the home.

Last night went to meet with prospective sellers. Loved them....and super cute house. Can't wait to get them on the market!

We talked about that very same type of thing. Surveillance set-up, for one room in particular. We decided that would be a good idea, and definitely to note it in the agent remarks that one was set up.

People need to know if they are not enjoying complete privacy while viewing a home. It's one of the reasons we ask sellers to leave when buyers are they can truly talk about the home without offending the current homeowner.

But, with all this modern technology......that we've honestly had for years..... it is, however, best to let people know if "I'm Watching You" is in effect!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Santa Clarita 30 Day Sales Activity as of July 26, 2016

It's been a crazy few days with the #SandFire and it will continue to be crazy for a couple months out in our lovely Santa Clarita Valley.

Largest fire I can remember since I've lived here for over 23 years!

But, looking at the stats for the last 30 days, definitely time to share. I look at Acton to the East, Newhall to the South, Castaic to the North, and Stevenson Ranch to the West.

Active homes currently number ~ 660. Definitely moving up!

Homes in escrow ~ 679. Interesting, right? So close to the number of active.

Sold in the last 30 days ~ 365. That's a definite increase!

Our market is healthy....we were....and will be again once fire issues are settled.

Until that's all squared away, expect a crazy market, stressed out lenders, appraisers, buyers, sellers....and, oh, yes, stressed out agents to boot!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Good Realtors Are Aging Out of the Biz?

An older agent blogged that she felt like good Realtors were aging up and we'd have a serious decline in good agents helping people in buying or selling their home in the near future.

When the market is up we get more agents, when the market goes down, we lose agents.

Circle of life, right?

But some, like me, a 14 year veteran, keep working. I'm in my mid 50's, love what I do, so anticipate that I'll be still helping people in and out of homes for another 10-15 years.

Because.......I will live longer, as all of us generally are. And, a good Realtor, that loves what they do, will continue to help people even when some of the general public would consider retiring.

Planning is vital though. As I've been in the business longer, and am aware that I will at some point have to retire, I know that I want to have a younger person come in, teach them, and have them take over my clients in a manner that I want my clients to be cared for. The same way I treat them now, I want my successor to treat them as well.

So, if you're worrying that we older agents will 'age' out, fear not....the good ones will train more good ones to take care of you. To help you 'Keep Your WITZ About You When Buying or Selling Your Home'. That's my promise to you.