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 currently......to 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 case....in 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 residence....you'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 fraud...at 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 article....it'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