Friday, December 29, 2017

Tax Reform & Real Estate

I kinda expected that everyone would have read about the changes. But, people are still asking me about it and one of my lender pals wrote a blog about how it's going to affect my clients.

He's a funny guy, that Mike Meena, so I just copied and pasted his's goes:

So the tax bill has been approved and it is not that bad, but it's not the end-all-be-all either.  Here are some of the key points and how Real Estate will affect your taxes going forward:
  1. All along they were going to change the Capital Gain Exemption from 2 of the last 5 years to 5 of the last 8 years and they changed it back this week to 2 of the last 5 years.  This means that you have to occupy your property for 2 of the last 5 years to get the $250,000.00 (if you are single) or $500,000.00 (married) Capital gain exemption. 
    1. This is the biggest win for Homeowners, and the country.  Real Estate is key to moving the economy forward and if they went to 5 years before you could sell, that would slow the economy immensely.
  2. There is a $12,000 personal Tax Exemption for individuals and $24,000.00 for couples. 
    1. This will cause more people to file short form taxes and take that exemption instead of filing the long form.  This may cause some people to say it is not worth buying, but I know I can convince them with numbers and the numbers don't lie and neither do I!  If they file the short form then they will not be able to write off charitable contributions, which will definitely hurt charities! 
  3. No more Interest deductions on a second home! 
    1. This stinks, but that doesn't hurt the middle class and I get it! 
  4. You can only write off $750,000.00 on all new mortgages taken after 12-15-2017. 
    1. Again, this is not a middle class issue in 48 states.  Sadly it is an issue here in California for the middle class, but they don't care about us because we have great weather! 
  5.  Property taxes and State income taxes can only be deducted up to $10,000.00.
    1. So you have Mello-Roos?  That stinks!  If you have a household income of $200,000.00 with the lower tax brackets and no state deduction aside from the 10k for property taxes then you would still save about $1800.00 in Federal taxes vs. last year! 
  6. The worst part about these tax cuts is that they are temporary and Congress would have to vote to continue them in 8 years, which means that they will probably go back up. 
    1. Is this where I say Yay?  Or shocker? 
Overall it will save most people money, but not everyone.  I know that I will be changing a few things to lower my tax liability, but most W-2 Employees don't have the same ability to do that.  I don't feel that the slight changes will have much effect on the Real Estate market or individual tax payers!  I am bummed about quite a few things personally, but I will get by. However, I'll need your help and here is my Go Fund me account!  Just kidding! 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Home Sales Activity

For anyone that doesn't think homes sell during the holidays...this post is for you! Well, and everyone else that is interested of course!

Santa Clarita Valley & all our little towns comprised of it:

Active right this moment is 379
In contract/escrow the number is 413. 
Closed escrow in the last 30 days is 287...a tad under our 300-ish norm....
but, really people, we are still selling homes!

And, whether your home looks as sweet as this or not....
priced right, every home will sell!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Week Before Christmas & The Offers Are Rolling In

Don't ever let someone say homes don't sell over the holidays!

I have a listing that went into escrow last week. I said, excellent, the rest of the year is tough.

Then, I had a past client refer their parents to me and we had to get their home on the market one week before Christmas!

So, they scrambled to do the pre-marketing needs, I used a different photographer since my regular one was on vacay, marketed the heck out of it with my networking groups.......and, the last 3 days have been a whirlwind, revolving-door type, wild ride of showings. I think my people were able to have breakfast, leave for showings, and then go to sleep at night in their home!

My phone was blowing up with requests to show, organizing with my clients, keeping track, following up.

And, then,....yes then, my e-mail started blowing up with offers. We have 5 now, expecting another one too.

Point of this post? 

Homes sell all year long.....and beautiful ones sell with multiple offers.........

Friday, December 15, 2017

Bitcoin in Real Estate?

So, my eldest son is all into the Bitcoin. He actually gave me some for my password he made up for me is so sweet! Husband and I watched an episode of Big Bang Theory last week that was talking about the dang stuff too!

In reading articles today I came across one that said that a brokerage in Texas did a full home purchase with the cryptocurrency! (my spell check program doesn't even know what that word is!)

At any rate, apparently another land purchase was done with Bitcoin as well. In Lake Tahoe for 1.6 million in Bitcoin in 2014. Yes, One Point Six Bitcoin.

Now, a rental management company is apparently adding payment options of Bitcoin for their tenants starting next year.

For those new to digital currency, Bitcoins are a long series of incredibly complex, military-grade encrypted alphanumeric characters that can be stored on a piece of paper, in a digital wallet or on an individual computer.
Bitcoin is subject to wild fluctuations in value as its value is based purely on supply and demand, unlike the dollar and other national currencies that have fiat value.
Currently, one bitcoin is valued at $17,742.10.
I am curious what some of you think of this stuff they call Bitcoin?
 Let alone if you own any Bitcoin yourselves?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ideas For The Back of Your Kitchen Island

Yes, the back. You know the part that everyone sees from the family room? The part that gets scuffed from feet accidentally kicking it while sitting on a bar stool chatting with you while you cook? Yep, that part.

I painted mine, same color as walls, just with a semi-gloss for ease of cleaning. Left all other areas white with the white cabinets..... and I thought I was being bold!

These are great though. Some other ideas from Houzz I didn't share. You know, bookshelves, built-in booth seating, painting (like mine), a wallpapered one I honestly thought was ugly. LOL

But check these out:

That is tile! Yes, tile! Super easy to keep clean and sooooo pretty!

This one is obviously wood, what a statement!

Well, this is a helluva bigger statement indeed!
Onyx....yep, back-lit too! Intense!

Nope, not wallpaper like I first thought.
It's actually metal. I dig it.

If I had to pick one for my house it'd be either the tile or the metal....but, who knows!
Which one did you like best?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Fires Don't Stop Real Estate

And, with that's the current loan rates from a lender pal of mine!

  • 30-year fixed conventional loan - 4.000% (4.066 APR). Loan amounts up to $453,100.00 =$2163.17
  • 15-year fixed conventional loan - 3.500% (3.615 APR). Loan amounts up to $453,100.00 =$3239.13
  • 5/1 ARM - Fixed for 5 years and then becomes variable - 3.375% - (3.478 APR) Loans up to $453,100.00 = $2003.14
  • 7/1 ARM - Fixed for 7 years and then becomes variable - 3.625% - (3.731 APR) Loans up to $453,100.00 = $2066.37
  • 10/1 ARM - Fixed for 10 years and then becomes variable - 3.750 - (3.868 APR) Loans up to $453,100.00 = $2098.38
  • 30-year fixed FHA loan - 3.750% (4.777 APR). Loan amounts up to $453,100.00 = $2135.10+ $326.56 PMI= $2461.66
  • 30-year fixed VA loan - 3.750% (3.955 APR). Loan amounts up to $453,100.00 = $2098.38
  • 30-year fixed Jumbo loan - 4.125% (4.131 APR). Loan amounts up to $3,000,000.00 = $14,539.49

Keep in mind that there are some issues with insurance coverage in some areas right now. Make sure you are in contact with your insurance company, particularly if you are in escrow!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's Just One Rental Company For Now....But Robotic Agents?

I read everything I can get my hands on that's Real Estate related.....some I share, some I don't. Some I presume it's such grand news you'll read it elsewhere.

But this? Nah, you haven't seen this.....have you? Lemme know! 
Click below and see what you think!

It popped up in one of my favorite RE news sites and I was like whaaaat? So, I watched the cute little video. It appears it's a licensed agent sitting in her office instead of coming to the property. 

Trust me, I've heard the nightmares from friends of mine trying to get a rental agent to show them this makes sense. But still, to me, lazy sense!

I don't believe a robotic agent will ever be able to replace a live agent to BUY a home. I believe there are way too many things that a Realtor needs to be educated/experienced on to help buyers (not renters), find their perfect home. 

I read another article today about out of town buyers trying to find the right home to purchase before they move into their next city. That's a super big challenge. I recommend, and feel free to use an AI Robot agent for this, that you get a rental in the area you think you want to be in. A year later, you may change your mind!

At any rate, go ahead and use a less than diligent agent to help you find a rental...but be wary of one when you are ready to buy a home.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Capital One Leaves The Mortgage Industry

I actually read about this a couple of weeks ago but saved it to share after the Turkey holiday. Hope you all had a wonderful one!

If you have a home loan with them, I do, don't fret. They will continue to be your home loan peeps!

They just aren't going to start any new loans. It's all about the money of course. The big dog stated that it was just too competitive in the mortgage industry to actually 'make money in the business'.

Really? Anyone else look at how much interest they earn over the life of your loan? You know, that amortization schedule? Oh, and if you have never looked at yours....ask your mortgage company for a will stimulate you to add a few bucks extra to your monthly payment!

Regardless, just a quickie post to let you know. As they are the mortgage company for a lot of people I know, since they got in the biz in 2009 when there was a lot going on.....a lot of us have them.

And, of course, it will impact quite a few employees but they are stating they will help them get re-hired elsewhere. Well, maybe they will put them in the Real Estate Investment, multifamily, and development, they are continuing...obviously that's where the bigger money is with less competition.

Any questions, just pop me an e-mail ~

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Where Are We At Just Before Turkey Day?

In our sweet Awesometown and surrounding communities, on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving day, 2017 we have 484 active listings. Yep, 484. In escrow...480. Sold in the last 30 days? 304. See? I tell ya, hovering around that 300 mark.

Now, in 2016...thought you might be interested...same time....we had 618 active listings, 588 escrows, and sold about 300 in that 30 day period.

Squeaked back to 2015 for ya as well....same time period....580 active listings. 560 in contract. Interestingly, only 248 closed in that 30 day prior window.

I started helping people in & out of homes in 2002, yep, 15 years ago. Our inventory then was about 1000 active listings every month. A few years later the market crashed...and it feels like we've been struggling with inventory since then...even though we have sellers with equity..finally!

What do I think will change the inventory? It's surely a catch-22 situation. Sellers with equity need to find replacement properties, we don't have a lot. We need more new construction, without special assessments would really be nice (aka Mello-Roos).

I have helped quite a few that are retiring in the last couple years....moving out of the that's helped. But, that's only about 10% of my business.

So, current + a couple years history, mixed in with a bit of opinion.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and Who Wants To Sell Their House?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Wake Me Up Breakfast Nooks

If you read my blog regularly, you know I love the articles I get from Houzz!

This one was about breakfast nooks. And, decorating them to give you a wake-up buzz, maybe without the caffeine most of us need!

The article didn't say it, but I'm pretty sure you can decorate the heck out of your nook regardless of what the kitchen, and/or family room, decor is....well sorta.

As with any home, it's best if there is some flow of color, some continuity, to the house. It helps to create a feel good home.

But, with different pops of color, different textures, lighting....but still some symbiotic can really wake up your breakfast nook.

Take a gander, let me know which one you think I like best & which one you like best!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

From Meeting With Me, Listing Your Home, & Closing Escrow....What To Expect

When I meet with Sellers that choose to sell their home with me, the first thing we discuss....after list price of course....are the pre-marketing needs.

What do we need to do to make your home attractive to as many buyers as possible. Do it, whatever I ask, please do it. And, yes, "you have to pack it anyways"!

Get the home professionally photographed, get it on the MLS, get it blasted everywhere. Keep blasting it everywhere.

Wednesday weekly check-ins will be received from me regarding activity on your home, online and physical, & competition on your home.

When we get an offer, my job is to research the agent, the buyers, and most importantly their lender & their capability to close on your home.

You'll need to complete Seller disclosures of course. Depending on the type of market we are in, you'll either complete them prior to an offer received or after. Sometimes you'll need to do an addendum.....that's for me to advise.

Escrow? Once we open escrow you'll get a ton of paperwork. Thankfully a lot can be done electronically. I ask every client not to sign anything without talking to me first. I'm OCD that way!

Buyers will have a home inspection and an appraisal. Your home needs to be show-ready at both of those times.

After their home inspection they will do a Request for Repairs. Sellers can say Yes, No, Yes to some, etc. We'll work through that together.

Presuming the appraisal comes in at purchase price we move forward to getting the Buyers loan docs into escrow, them signing same docs, their lender doing a review. Then fund the loan and record in Buyers name the next day.

Sounds easy, right? LOLOLOL. Well, it will be pretty easy for you.....but if you only knew the things we all did behind the scenes to keep this moving efficiently along? You'd know why we're worth every penny of our earnings!

Depending on how we've set up the contract, you will need to be moving on pretty quickly.

If there is a home of choice contingency, don't fret, I'll work that out for you!

There's tons more to know, tons more that I'll guide you through. But, thought this quickie post would get you sorta ready for Selling your home with Witz Real Estate!

I'm always happy to answer every single question you may have! Feel free to text/call/e-mail. Contact info on the right >>>>>>>>>

Friday, November 10, 2017

How To Know If You Should Refinance Your Home Loan

I read an article this morning that VA borrowers are getting hit with refinance options from scoundrel lenders. Really, just them?

Seems like everyone gets offers, all the time, to refinance their mortgage for a better rate.

Small typed notes with asterisks at the bottom of their 'invite' will have stipulations, but there still may be some good, and not so good, reasons to refinance your home loan.

Things to consider when you get one of them and are pondering their offer:

1) How long will you be staying in your home?
2) How much will it cost out of pocket?
3) How many years will it extend your loan?
4) Will your mortgage balance go up if you refi?
5) Is it a reputable lender offer?
6) What's the monthly savings?
7) How long will it take to pay off the cost of the refi by the monthly savings calculator?

Ahhhhh, see? Some questions you may not have thought of. You may just think, wow that interest rate is less than what I have now. 

I have past clients call me all the time about a refi offer they received in the mail. I rattle off these questions, and more, before I have them even consider it.

Most I suggest contacting their current lender. The current holder of mortgage would probably love to keep their loan as that's how they earn money, on the loans interest of course.

But, I also have a few great local lenders that can give you some options as well. One of my clients just save a couple hundy a month. Very happily I might add.

Before you respond to any offer of refinance, consider the questions above. Roll them around in your head, make sure you have your homework done before you call anyone.

Or, just call me.....I'm happy to ask you those very same questions! 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Story of The Week - Fraud?

So, one of my sweet sellers has her home in escrow. Buyers are due to remove their final loan contingency and the lender starts to go silent as soon as I start asking if we'll be ready on time to do that.

Lender had been difficult to communicate with, but on Monday it went to radio silence when final contingency was due to be removed Wednesday.

After 6 attempts, + 2 to her branch manager, their Facebook group page as well....I finally got a call back and an e-mail back. The results? They were not allowed to speak with me. I said, excuse me? We need to know what's going on. Nope, they were instructed by borrower not to give me any info.

My escrow team is fantastic. They, of course, had been in conversation with the actual loan processor and got a very disturbing message that said the file was in their Fraud department. Escrow had received a message a few days before that they were waiting on a condition explaining something on one borrowers part.

I could share the full history with you, but it's intense to say the least. Lender said good to go, one condition that needed clearing would be easy-peasy....that was 3 weeks ago.

So, we send a Notice to Buyer to Perform, 2 days, shit or get off the pot as my mom always said.

We are at day 2 of that notice. Lender is only communicating with buyers agent. New lender doesn't want to confirm fraud, but the info from her....and the info escrow received from loan the radio silence?

Something is amiss and we're not waiting. Back-Up buyer? Thank you for still hanging in there!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Scary Housing Market

I haven't done a Santa Clarita housing update yet this month so here it is....and, it's Scary all right! Remember I include Acton to the east, Newhall to the south, Castaic to the North, and Stevenson Ranch to the west.....with every home in between!

Active listings in all of our surrounding communities?
522, yep, only 522.

Under contract/In escrow?
480, almost as many as we have for sale!

Sold in the last 30 days?
319. Still hovering around that mark!

It's frightening how few homes we have for sale. But, I did see a memory in my Facebook feed that we only had 322 active at this same time a few years back.

Sooooooo, Happy Halloween, let's get through these holidays and get some more houses on the market as soon as we can.......sweet, pretty please, with sugar on top....and a piece of candy too?!?!?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hands On Realtor & Staging Your Home

In 15 years of helping people in & out of homes, I've seen a lot of homes. I've watched which ones sell quicker & why staging does help.

One of the reasons I get referred to a new client is because of my hands on approach. I'm there with my clients every step of the way.

On the subject of staging, and yes, I have used professional stagers a few times. But, I have also found that a lot of sellers have items in their home that we can use to make their home pop a bit more.

I've seen that de-cluttering, moving furniture, changing their bedspreads, and adding decorative......colors that buyers want their home, changes the entire feel of the home.

Sometimes, we just need to shake stuff up. Now, I'm not going to kid you....I had one that there was sooooo much that needed to be done. Another that we took off the market and did a ton of stuff, back on the market it went. Yes, we're talking painting, grass installation, flooring, wall coverings!

But most, I can usually find what is needed in the Sellers very own home....or, and frequently this is the my own home.

When I first met my husband I was pulling furniture out of my personal residence to stage someones house. He said, you're not taking our furniture. I laughed and said, Oh yes I am. He's gotten used to it almost a decade later!

I've pulled out chairs, couches, lamps, pillows, 'No Whining' signs, patio furniture, candles, linens, pots/pans, food (yes, coffee, spaghetti fixings, etc.) all in the name of selling my clients home. Can get a bit challenging when I've got several listings at the same time that allllll need some help!

I've got cabinets full of stuff...and I keep adding, whenever I see a good deal that would be great for my Hands-On Staging? I swoop it up and add it to the cupboards! I think my photographer must laugh when he sees the same bird bath iron piece at several listings. The No Whining one fits in so many places. A dog shaped cutting board my Big Sis gave me? In the staging collection! Sorry Big Sis!

So, while I can certainly refer you to a professional stager, my job is to make you the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time when we go to sell your home. And, that includes not having to pay for a professional stager. Just a professional hands-on Realtor....and, yes, no additional charge to 'rent' my goodies!

Just a few of my staging pieces that get shared. 
Quite a few are out at one of my listings right now.
If I took pictures of the items I pulled from my personal'd see my unmade bed & messy family room couch! LOLOL

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

'Orange' You Glad Paint & Pillows Are Cheap?

Okay, so I get it...there are 'new' colors all the time. Or, old colors that are re-used. An interior decorator told me once to buy somewhat plain furniture, not too crazy of floors either. Because....ya wanna know why? Because paint, pillows, throw rugs....all those can pop with color for a new statement and are relatively inexpensive to do. So, therefor easy/cheap to change again.

But, with that said......would you use Orange as a pop color??

Thankfully the side chair isn't orange!

Can those light fixtures be changed from Orange?

This I could do! But, I'd probably use Yellow!
(It's my favorite color and all!)

O....M.....G.....yeah/no....nuh uh.

I'm hoping the cabinet splashes are just painted Orange!

Again, if the cabinet could be repainted fairly easily, then the pop is cool!

Needless to say, PLEASE don't do this when we're getting ready to list your home for sale....Orange just is not for everyone! Is it??

Friday, October 20, 2017

Are You Worried About Mortgage Fraud?

CoreLogic, provider of consumer, financial, & property information to government and business, is watching for mortgage fraud risk.

In a recent article they said that it has increased. They say it's at it's highest level since 2010. But, they did say to keep in mind it was still at relatively very low levels.

Two main reasons? There have been more purchase applications. That's a no-brainer. And, there are more coming from wholesale, which is more likely to have a bit of fraudulent activity.

The likelihood of what types of fraud actions are being done you ask? In a purchase, someone saying they are occupying the property when they are not. Gives them a lower interest rate. Who's the agent doing this? A straw buyer, someone buying for another party because the other party cannot qualify themselves. Again, what agent does this??? And, then, the ever present, income fraud....which I believe is more on the shoulders of the lender, wholesale or not, to be reporting the valid income.

Now, my California pals....we are not in the highest risk for this assessment time by CoreLogic.

But, if we are lying on our contracts, lying on our applications, working with someone that lets you lie, or refers you to someone that suggests you fib, that's No Bueno!

Just my thoughts on this Fabulous Friday!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Student Debt Holding You Back From Buying A Home?

One home builder, Lennar, is working on a loan program to help with just that.

It's with a subsidiary of Lennar, Eagle Home Loans. Up to 13k of your student debt can be paid off, but of course, you have to buy a new Lennar home and use the Eagle lender.

Fannie Mae already has a student-loan cash out program, but home builder Lennar is getting on the bandwagon!

And now for the fine print on Lennars program:
According to Lennar, the homebuilder will contribute up to 3% of the purchase price of a new home to be used to pay down student loans incurred while attending universities, colleges, community colleges, trade schools and other certificate-granting programs.
The program is not intended for parents who took out loans to finance a their child’s education, Lennar said.
The program’s maximum loan amount is $424,100, but Lennar said that in addition to the 3% contribution to student loan balances, buyers may also be eligible for other incentives – such as credits toward closing costs.
According to Eagle Home Mortgage, the Student Loan Debt Mortgage Program is being offered on a trial basis with new Lennar homes nationwide.

I bring this information to you so that you don't think you have zero options,
 if you feel saddled with student debt. 
Don't just do on-line searching to try and figure out your home buying options. 
Talk to me, talk to a lender, ask questions. We do this a lot, we do this in real life. 
We are here to answer your questions, bring up other options, inform. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Choosing Your Home Inspector

I've been doing this a long time. I've seen a lot of home inspection reports. I've seen inspectors miss something. Note something incorrectly. I've seen short reports, long reports, quick inspections, lengthy inspections.

My favorite guy? Hasn't missed anything, that I've heard back on. Takes forever to finish his inspection. Sends over very detailed reports. Is always available to talk with my clients after the report has been received too.

How do you choose one? Well, to protect my ass, I'm supposed to give my client a few names and let them figure out which one to hire.....supposed to.

I've got the one I've used for 10 years now, and I've got another that I've seen his report a few times and he seems right on. So, do I say 'Here Mr./Mrs. Buyer, you choose one.'? Or do I, like we are getting paid for, tell them the pros and cons of each one. The experience I've had with them. Maybe send them a sample report?

It's my job, with any client, to make sure they are protected
 during the purchase and/or sale of their home. 

I want the inspector to find something, I want them to tell us if he thinks we need to have a roof inspection. I want him to say that black fuzzy stuff is a little disconcerting. I want one that is going to go back to their office and do any necessary research instead of sending the report out within 10 minutes of finishing their inspection. But, I also want him to remind buyers that we will find things wrong and some are easy fixes too!

And, quite honestly, if I'm working with a buyer that thinks I'm pushing my favorite home inspector on him so he doesn't find something? Then, that is a challenging buyer that doesn't trust me. And, if they don't trust me....maybe we shouldn't be working together on such an important purchase.

So, when choosing your home inspector for a home purchase......hopefully you'll trust the trusted Realtor you hired to find a trustworthy home inspector for you!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Thoughts About Paint In Small Areas

I started grabbing photos, but there were so many great ideas in this Houzz article I'm sharing the link to entire the article for you!

Click Here ~

We all have a tendency to paint most rooms, other than bedrooms, the same color. Maybe we add an accent wall, or a shade change. But, some of these are just super ideas!

I love the bookshelf.....

And, the closet? Once of my clients did this too!
So many of us just leave them the builder painted white.

And, the entryway? Who has thought of this?

Go back up and click on the link to the's got some fantabulous ideas!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Client Reviews Are Great ~ But Other Realtor Reviews Are Fantabulous!

We all, Realtors and every other business out there, are asking for reviews. Reviews from past clients that appreciate our business. Say we've done a great job. Preach our worthiness, expertise, and knowledge in an online place.

We share those reviews on social media, our website, Zillow. I've got 26 on Zillow. Yippee! I only started asking in the last couple of years!

With these days of people being so super busy, it's hard to get them to sit down and write one. But, I appreciate all my clients that have in the past and those that will in the future.

They tell an online story of who I am and what my people think of me as a Realtor.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, most other Realtor associates know me. They've worked with me, heard of me, so letting them know what other agents think about me isn't as important.

But, submitting an offer on behalf of a client, to an agent that's never heard of me? The strength of my buyer, of their lender, their purchase ability, of their offer, is vital...but letting them know what a handful of other agents thought about working with me during a transaction? Could be the final piece of the puzzle that gets my clients' offer selected over others.

Whatever works, right?

So, I share with you, just a few....of other agents thoughts on little ole me.
I love what I do!

Other Agent Referrals:

Justin Bonney (Seller):
It was a complete pleasure working with you.  We had a multi-leg transaction that worked its way through.  Teamwork approach and can do attitude made it fun to work with you.  A true pro!  When I have buyers looking in Santa Clarita Valley, you are a call I will make!

Denise Spicher (Seller):
Lauren is an excellent agent to work with – one of my favorites actually.  She was on top of deadlines for the entire transaction as we went along.  I myself, like to keep things moving and smooth and Lauren does just that.  The communication lines were always open which makes things so much easier and beneficial for both parties.  There were no games…just looking out for client’s and getting the deal done as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.  I love when I see Lauren’s name as the listing agent if I have buyers as I know I will get a good, honest, hard-working agent on the other side of the transaction.

Diego Saco (Buyer):
I would like to say that it was an absolute pleasure working with Lauren! Her professionalism and personality really made our transaction a fun experience. I look forward to many more transactions with her!

Shawn Shai Halahmy (Seller):
Working with Lauren is great! We just closed our 2nd transaction together.  I pride myself on getting things done right, in a timely manner and getting clients to their goals.  It is also unusual to find another agent who shares this view and practice as I do.  Lauren is one of these rare agents who I can say is great to work with.  She understands how important what we do is.  She gets it done, and done right.  I look forward to the next time we can work together.

Kevin Backes (Buyer):
Without Lauren at the other end of the transaction there is NO WAY this escrow would have gone as smoothly as it did.  Dealing with tenants in the home to be purchased, landlords that live out of state and buyer’s that had a home to close before they could buy my listing, this definitely was not an easy transaction.  Lauren and her team kept me up to date throughout the transaction, which gave my clients the confidence that their home would close on time.  I can’t recommend Lauren enough and would definitely welcome the opportunity to work with her again.

Lynneve Hays (Buyer):
Lauren is a pleasure to work with. Even though we have both been in the business for a long time, this was our first transaction together! I have nothing but good things to say about this lady and would love to work with her again. Thank you Lauren for being the kind of realtor that other realtors enjoy working with. J

Friday, September 29, 2017

'What's The Market Like?' ~ SCV Home Sales Activity ~ September 29, 2017

Husband and I went on vacation for 4 days. I didn't look at our local MLS the entire time!!! We actually were fairly off the grid...heavenly!

Back at it, went through over 250 homes to check listing activity last night!

Santa Clarita and our surrounding communities still on course!

ACTIVE right now? 580. Not enough people!

Under Contract, or In Escrow? 532.....that's a nice healthy amount!

The number of Closed sales in the last 30 days was pretty staggering! 380. WOW!

Needless to say, we still don't have enough inventory. But, as we hear, more new homes are coming on the horizon. That means more re-sale as people want to sell to buy new again.

I dub thee....."Santa Clarita, The Town of New".....LOLOL

Anywhohow, that's the skinny as of just a moment ago.

Now, who wants to sell their house? I know a great agent!! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Is It In A Safe Neighborhood?

When I'm working with buyers that are not familiar with the neighborhood and are concerned about safety...or what the neighborhood is like?

I drive them all around the 'hood'. Drive them in the ugly and pretty way. Drive them out, and around, for several blocks to make sure they see everything they can. Drive past local supermarkets, shopping, restaurants.

But, if I get asked, "Is It A Safe Neighborhood?" I always tell them to check with the local law enforcement. My idea of safe may be entirely different than their idea. They may mean the complete opposite from what I may be thinking.

So, this morning I have a text conversation with a buyers agent that is out of the area from one of my listings. She has out of state buyers. Wants a video of the listing, not just the virtual tour. She asks the loaded question..."How's The Area? Is It Pretty Safe?".

I've been there at least a dozen times. From when we bought it a few years ago, visiting my client, and now prepping it for sale and an open house. To me, it's totally safe. But, that's me. To my Seller, totally safe...I've never been afraid to be there. My Seller has not been broken into nor vandalized.

But, one persons safety level is another persons fear level.

I would never feel like an expert in the safety of any neighborhood, not my job, not my specialty. That's what the police department is for. To provide you info about the security of any particular neighborhood.

Just food for thought. Driving around an unknown area is wise, but investigating on your own is wiser!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Don't Forget About Your Front Yard!

Summer seems to be nearing an end...finally! So done with the heat! Are you??

And, now it's the time where you may enjoy a beverage on your front porch instead.

Looking through Houzz this morning brought these great before and after pics of front yard makeovers!

In Santa Clarita Valley we have a lot of HOA's, so make sure you can do what you want to do before you do it! Just sayin!



Before.....very cute to start! about 'curb' appeal!

Before....apparently on a busy street per article.

After........, great way to enjoy your busy street front yard!

Whaddya think??

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lies? Or Just Not Thorough?

Just a story of the week. But, it reminds me of my first broker.....when I complained about an agent that lied to me.....'Welcome to the World of Sales'. My chin hit the floor.

Got an offer in on one of my listings. Did my due diligence, checked out the lender, the agent, asked for proof of funds. Spoke directly with the lender to verify that he had in fact reviewed income documentation and 2 additional documents as the borrowers had a couple specifics that had to be met.

He said yes, all good. Confirmed, or so I was told, that he had the items needed to make it happen. Even ran the numbers again for a higher purchase price.

And, then, the buyers agent sends me an e-mail, as we're waiting for our counter offer to be signed, that one of the specifics needed wasn't able to be provided.

At first, I sorta wondered if they just blamed the lender and didn't really want to move forward. But, the agent is trying a different lender under a different loan, all things point to.....

You guessed it, Pinocchio, aka Liar!

Definitely not thorough enough, and then couple it with lying to me and saying he had the specific documents?

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to know if he was lying in the beginning. There is private info on the 2 docs I asked if he had, and some amount of trust needs to happen, but the most important one? He most definitely did.....not....have it.....turd!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Home Loan Rates September 5, 2017

Thanks to some of my local lenders, me keeping up with current interest rates for home loans is a simpler task than finding Buyers a home!

Not everyone will be able to get these rates due to FICO's, debt, etc. But, here's a nice baseline to keep handy.

  • 30-year fixed conventional loan - 3.875% (3.944 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 =$1994.28
  • 15-year fixed conventional loan - 3.250% (3.370 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 =$2980.02
  • 5/1 ARM - Fixed for 5 years and then becomes variable - 3.375% - (3.480 APR) Loans up to $424,100.00 = $1874.93
  • 7/1 ARM - Fixed for 7 years and then becomes variable - 3.500% - (3.619 APR) Loans up to $424,100.00 = $1904.40
  • 10/1 ARM - Fixed for 10 years and then becomes variable - 3.750 - (3.871 APR) Loans up to $424,100.00 = $1964.07
  • 30-year fixed FHA loan - 3.500% (4.534 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 = 1937.73+ $305.66 PMI= $2243.39
  • 30-year fixed VA loan - 3.500% (3.723 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 = $1904.40 (VA Funding Fees is not added)
  • 30-year fixed Jumbo loan - 4.125% (4.131 APR). Loan amounts up to $3,000,000.00 = $14,539.49

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

This Might Work ~ But, Doubtful....Unless You Use The Last Suggestion.

How to win during a multiple offer situation....against an all CASH buyer?

That's hard. It's really, really hard.

From a listing agent standpoint, cash is king...if it's a reasonable offer. No waiting for an appraisal, no waiting for loan approval. No waiting for much of anything past the inspection. Just less hands in the cookie jar as mums used to say.

Read an article this morning that suggested these 5 things to beat out a cash buyer....only the last one will truly work though.....IMHO. Let me know your thoughts!

1. Work closely with your lender:
I mean very closely – to the point of having their cell phone number memorized. Your lender is a vital piece of this puzzle – make sure you know exactly what you need to have to make a complete bid.
2. Get fully approved for a loan:
Being pre-qualified is not enough in a competitive market, where waiting several days – or even hours, in some cases – to get fully approved for a loan can cost you the home of your dreams. So before you bid, get your loan approved contingent on appraisal of the home value. Taking this one extra step will put you on the same footing as cash bidders in the eyes of the seller’s agent, who will see your approval ‘as good as cash.’
3. Have your lender call the seller’s agent to give them peace of mind about your bid:
A phone call immediately after bid submission from your lender can go a long way in reassuring the seller that your loan-backed bid really is as good as cash, especially if it is coming from a trusted, certified third party.
4. Write a personalized letter to the seller expressing your interest in the home:
When you have a seller who is attached to their property and interested in seeing it go to the right buyer, a personalized letter could be the strategic advantage that gets you a winning bid. In many cases, cash offers are made by investors looking to either flip the home or convert it to a rental property. If you are a couple looking to raise a family in that home, stating that intention in the letter could appeal to the seller’s emotional side and close the deal in your favor.
5. Submit a complete, clean contract:
The less work you make for the seller’s agent, the better, so please, send a contract with legible writing, complete responses and all the necessary information. If you can resist, don’t ask for closing costs or home warranties, and don’t leave anything unanswered – if an agent is confused or delayed by your contract, they’ll simply move on to the next in the pile.
6. Give a higher offer than the listing price – and cash bid.
If you can afford it, offering between $5,000 to $20,000 on top of the asking price may be the most surefire way to close the deal against a cash bidder. In the end, money talks – no matter what form it’s coming in.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I'm Always Bothered When I Have To Disappoint Another Agent.....

Every once in a while I have to disappoint another agent, usually when I am representing the Seller....and, then of course, they are representing the buyer.

But, I've always got to do what's best for my matter what!

Story of the week.....

Buyers are out of town, so their agent comes to view property on their behalf. I've done it. Actually have a buyer in escrow right now that I had viewed property on their behalf. That's another story though!

So, their agent says it's the perfect home for them. Says he's done several transactions with them and he knows they will love it in person. They are contingent upon the sale of their home but it's in escrow. They live out of the area, so does their agent, and the lender is also the Realtor. I'm still AOK with this scenario. Reviewed all documents, MLS, his licensing too.

The photos on this particular property really are beautiful. But, this home is even more lovely viewed in real life. There's a first for everything, right!?!?!?

Continue story buyers sign an offer the moment they are back in town and set up an appointment to view home a few days later.

We submit a counter offer, change in price, just 3 clean-up items. That goes out on a Friday. On Saturday we get an offer from another buyer. Good offer, non-contingent, clean, local agent, local lender. First buyers are due to view Sunday at 9 am.

My Seller says he feels it's best to wait til the original offer people view the home and let them know they have to sign that counter offer immediately or we are going to look at the other offer more seriously. I was in total agreement, felt it was fair.

I let the 2nd buyers agent know, and she says....her buyers are willing to go to full price if sellers accept before the other ones come to view.

Remember, these buyers are non-contingent.....and they bumped up to full price....and they are local, live in the area, agent and lender are in the area too. All of those add up to a problem for the first buyers.

Because they did not quickly sign off on our teeny-weeny counter offer. Because they couldn't get to the home in a short amount of time. Because, because, because.

I hated making the call to the first agent, his buyers were very disappointed. I reminded him he would have done the same if he were in my shoes.

My job is to get my Sellers the most amount of money, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of stress possible.

With the 2nd buyers, that's much more likely to happen.

So, welcome buyer disappointment. But, remember this...'what's meant to be will be'....I swear by it. Welcome buyer one helluva a lovely home!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Earmarking Money for AFTER Closing Escrow

Everyone saves to buy a home, right? Well, or you sell a home and buy another with the proceeds. Yes, I suppose you could have an inheritance and use that as your down payment.

Whatever the way you are buying your first, next, or last home...keep in mind, it's not just the 3.5 to 20% (or more) down that you need. It's not just that extra money for closing costs either.

It's money for a rainy day you say? That is super important for sure.

BUT, it's the money you need to have earmarked for allllll the stuff you want to buy for your new home once you move in!

Furniture, appliances, drapes, plantation shutters. Not just talking about the kitchen remodel you want to do and have stashed the appropriate cash for that.

It's the everyday things, the new house has one extra bedroom to furnish. The couch you made sure would fit in the new house just looks unappealing in it's new surroundings. That white fridge you had? Doesn't quite go with the appliances in your new kitchen.

One more thing to consider? Ask your trusted Realtor if any of the things you are thinking about upgrading in your new home are going to be a benefit or a detriment to re-sale value. You likely won't stay there forever and it just may be a waste of big dollars and not get the ROI you were hoping for.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Over 600! But, Only By One!

It's been over a month since I noted the sales activity in my home town of Santa Clarita and our surrounding communities.

We currently have 601 active listings. Acton to the East, Stevenson Ranch to the West, Newhall on the Southern border and Castaic up high in the North. Of course, all our sweet neighborhoods in between as well.

601 includes homes, condos, townhouses. That's it. And, like this building....that is up from a month ago...but not by much.

And, if it weren't for the closed in 30 day number at 380 and the number 583 representing currently how many homes are in escrow....we'd be okay. But, with only 601, and closing over 300 every month....that's only a 2 month supply....still.....

So, give us some more listings to sell you darn Sellers with equity. We want them, buyers want them....we need them!