Sunday, December 30, 2018

Santa Clarita & Surrounding Communities ~ Sales Activity December 2018

It's Sunday morning, December 30th, 2018. 10:02 am to be exact. I've done my morning routine, well not all, still need to lift a few weights, do some squats, ab work too.....

But, sharing with you the home sales activity in my town from the last 30 days.

Everyone watching knows the inventory has climbed, sales have slowed down, interest rates are moving.

A comparison of sorts was wise so here you go! Yes, including Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Saugus, Valencia, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, and Val Verde.


Right now we have 609 homes active for sale. Townhouses, Condos, Single Family Residences. 2017 that number was 379.

Under contract, meaning in escrow, we have 274...same time last year? we had 413. Big difference, right?

Sold in the last 30 days, 236. In 2017, that number was 287.

When I first started helping people sell homes, you could stick a sign in the ground and it would sell. Over the last 17 years the market has changed a number of times & I've been able to help people through all the different challenges.

In 2019 the market will definitely continue to stabilize. I'm watching it with a magnifying glass, for your benefit.

But, and I say this with the utmost honesty, I help you when the time is right for you. I don't have clients chase the market. I have clients that sell for their own reasons, buy for the reasons that make sense to them. I work with families, single people, young, older (notice I didn't say old!), I help anyone that wants my help.

And, I will take care of my peeps like no other. My support staff is far above the rest. My ethics are equal to none. My shoulders have the strength of Aquaman to carry your stress during one of the most important times of your lives.



I'm here for you. www.KeepYourWitz.com. Lauren@KeepYourWitz.com. YouTube. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. I'm here, there, everywhere. Whatever it takes for you to find me and for me to take care of you.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Some Reasons Why A House Won't Sell in a Strong Market

As we approach the end of the year, many homeowners find themselves asking the question, “If we’re currently in a strong real estate market, why won’t my house sell?


Below are the 5 most common reasons why a listing contract will expire:

1. The Price

Sometimes when the market is hot, homeowners attempt to set their listing price higher. Their hope is that a motivated buyer will be willing to pay any price for a house in their desired neighborhood! Sellers must remember, though, that in today’s market a house must be sold twice; first to the buyer and then to their bank.
A buyer can agree to pay the homeowner’s asking price, but after the bank conducts their appraisal, the price might need to be adjusted. The bank will only give the buyer a mortgage for the value of determined in the appraisal.
Sellers must also keep in mind that today’s homebuyers are well-educated. Before they look to buy a house, they have already seen many houses online. They’ve done their research on the neighborhoods they are interested in, including information on the school districts in the area.
They will know if your house seems overpriced and will not waste their time considering it. This is why it’s so important to make sure that your home is priced right from day one on the market!

2. The Condition of the House

In many areas, builders are taking advantage of the lack of inventory of homes for sale by building new houses. These newly constructed homes create competition for existing homes in the market. For this reason, many homeowners are making renovations and updates to their homes to compete with the new construction in their marketplace.
Most agents recommend that homeowners declutter their houses before putting them on the market. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home instead of focusing on the current homeowner’s decor.
It’s important to take care of the small problems like dripping faucets and torn screens, while also remembering to remove any posters hanging in your teenager’s bedroom. Making sure your home is in perfect condition will make buyers fall in love with it and will ultimately help you get the right price for your house!

3. Seller’s Motivation

Why did the seller put their house on the market in the first place? Is the seller’s motivation still the same as it was when they first listed?
If homeowners are really motivated to sell, they will make sure their houses are both priced right and in good condition. The seller’s motivation will push them to consider all offers and help them make the right decision for their family’s future.

4. Marketing Plan

Having a marketing plan is important! According to NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 95% of buyers searched online for a home last year. The days of looking for a newspaper ad or yard sign in your preferred neighborhood are over.
If you want to sell your home, you need a real estate professional who understands your local market and knows how to promote your home online. Something as simple as using pictures taken by a professional photographer can make a huge impact in advertising your home!

5. Lack of Communication with Your Agent

Keeping an open line of communication with your agent is crucial in getting your home sold with the least amount of hassles, in the right amount of time, and for the right price! From the beginning, establish a continuous line of communication with your agent, and make sure you review your agreement often to see if any changes need to be made. For example, adjusting the selling price!

Bottom Line

There are houses selling every single day because they are listed at the right price, they have the right marketing plan, and they are staged for the sale. If for some reason your home didn’t sell and you’re still motivated to get it sold, let’s get together to figure out the reason your house isn’t selling!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Wire Fraud in Real Estate - From the Department of Real Estate

Everyone is getting this email that is a licensed Realtor. I've talked about Wire Fraud before but felt this was so detailed that is was definitely worth the Copy & Paste share!



Real estate transactions in today’s world often involve the wiring or electronic funds transfer (EFT) of money to complete a deal. Previous consumer alerts have referenced or covered wire fraud in timeshare transactions and fraud against seniors.

Wire transfers and EFT’s in real estate purchase transactions have become the targets of criminals who interject themselves into a real estate transaction by posing as a party in the transaction. In these cases, the criminal often takes on the identity of a title or escrow company or real estate agent in the transaction and provides legitimate-looking instructions directing the buyer where to wire or transfer funds. These instructions result in the wiring or transfer of funds to the criminal’s bank account, often overseas, and the immediate loss of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of dollars to the victim.

These are sophisticated, professional-looking attacks on your real estate transactions, and you need to be on the lookout. Cyber criminals may convincingly take on the identity of legitimate parties to your transaction, using authentic-looking logos and personal details in communications, in order to make you or your clients feel comfortable. It is best to be safe in how you respond, and to assume that your transaction is being targeted.
What can you and your clients do to avoid such criminal activity?

1. Whenever possible, use alternatives to wire transfers or EFT’s, such as cashier’s checks, and get a receipt. For smaller transactions, make the payment in person by check or credit card and get a receipt, as these payment sources provide you with proof of payment.

2. Obtain phone numbers and account numbers of real estate agents and escrow-holders at the beginning of the real estate transaction, and use those numbers throughout the transaction.

3. Even if it looks or sounds legitimate, do not act on a change of wiring or EFT instructions that you receive electronically (via e-mail) or via phone call. If your real estate transaction will utilize wiring or EFT of funds, and you (or your client) receive an instruction change about wiring or EFT of funds, call the real estate agent or escrow officer by phone at the known number you obtained at the start of the transaction and verify new instructions before sending money. Better yet, if there is a wiring or EFT instruction change, instead make payment in person using cashier’s check!

4. Do not send personal information (bank account numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and financial details) by personal e-mail or text. Take steps to use a secure, encrypted site to send personal information, or provide this information in person.

If you (or your clients) are victimized, it is critical that you or your client contact your depository institution and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) immediately in order to have a chance at halting the criminal transfer. File a report with the FBI by calling a local FBI office or reporting online at FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.  Their web site is: bec.ic3.gov

------------------

I, fortunately, have not had this happen during any of my clients home sales/purchase. I do, regularly, get fishing emails from scammers about real estate, my info is public after all! I do not click on their links. I do not open the attachments. If it looks familiar....I make a phone call. YOU SHOULD TOO!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Goal To Buy A House? - Ways To Get a Perfect FICO Score!

Well, the copy and paste below was from how to have a perfect 850 FICO score! Yeah, not interested. But, you can glean from this some ways to improve yours if buying a home is in your plan for 2019.


The picture is from FICO.com....depicting the things they use to determine that dang score of yours a lender will be looking at if you do want to buy a home next year!

Reading this post is great, reaching out to one of my preferred lenders is BEST! But, for a preliminary peek, read below, then.....reach out to me for lender referrals so you can work on whatever needs to be worked on for your dream home purchase!

"So how do American achieve these perfect scores? Here’s a few tips:

Mess up your credit: I know, it might sound off, or even ridiculous, but messing up your credit, while not doing you any favors in the short-term, could help you achieve that perfect score in the long run. The Bloomberg article explained that one consumer hurt their credit by applying for a multitude of credit cards. In the long run, however, these cards all worked to create a longer average credit history. (me again, sooooo don't recommend this!)

Pay down credit balance: While keeping card balances below 30% is recommended for a good credit score, one consumer reported keeping his balance below 5% to obtain his perfect score, the Bloomberg article states. In order to keep this low balance, Americans may even need to make payments to their card more than once a month. (me - doesn't everyone pay their cards off monthly?)

Don’t apply for new credit: One factor several consumers have in common is their pattern when it comes to applying for new credit. Many of them applied for several lines of credit at the beginning of their journey, which pulled their credit down initially, but gave it a boost later on when it boosted their average credit age. However, once they began to rebuild their credit, those with a perfect credit score didn’t apply for a new credit line, and instead applied to increase their credit limit when they needed a boost." (oh my, talk with one of my lenders about this please!)

Me again - my lenders will have plans just for you to help improve your credit score. You do NOT need perfection but any means. But, the better the FICO, the better the interest rate. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Family, Community, Giving, Biz....Goals for 2019!

Yep, I'm putting it out there. I was doing a super fast work-out this morning and thinking of the things I want to work on next year. And, of course, we all know that writing it down is the best start.



So, I'm sharing with you in hopes that you jot down some goals for 2019. Starting small is fine. Roads to larger things. And, your goals don't have to be huge. Just a few things you want to change, do, accept, work on. Anything.....here goes.


FAMILY - mine is blended. I love every one of them. Towards the end of 2018 my Big Sis and I started truly 'hanging out'. It's been really nice. Mums is up here so I see her a lot & back hurting or not, I'm still playing Rummikub or Mahjong every week! 2019? To continue what I'm doing but to add visits with Mike's mom and see Zack & Cristina more frequently too. Brandon is out of state, but make his visits here as loving and fun as possible! And, sorry Big Bro, I'm going to send you silly messages a bit more frequently too!


COMMUNITY - Mike & I work a lot, you guys probably noticed this. We have a couple days that we plan just for us. But, and he's on board, in 2019 I plan to spend more time involved with my community not just selling houses, but seeing pals at community events. I've been having a blast at all the holiday boutiques, so if you're following me on Facebook, be prepared....there will be more of those "Lauren is Interested In...." popping up in your news feed!


GIVING - I donate time and money to American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Walks, Our local Senior Center too. The Touch-A-Truck I work on but have missed the actual event the last few years. For 2019, Jennifer, Chuck, & Michel, I SWEAR I'm going to be at Touch-A-Truck! Sue, you know I'll see you in May at Relay For Life!


BIZ - I've been helping people in & out of homes for almost 17 years. I keep in touch with everyone, right? For the first dozen years or so, I helped about 10-12 families, couples, single people, buy & sell every year. About 5-6 years ago, that jumped up to 20 per year. At the end of 2016, I hired a transaction coordinator and my business life has changed, oh so for the better (why did I wait so long?)! For 2019, with the help of my fantastic team of affiliates, I will be working to help 30 families, couples, single people, move in and out of homes. Help them find a Realtor out of state, since moving out of California has been a big thing in my business. But, whatever peoples needs are, in Santa Clarita, or beyond, I'm ready to help them.

So, there you have it! I'll read this regularly so I remember. But, since I've been thinking about these things for a while....I won't forget. And, they are rather easy, and pleasant too!

Merry Almost Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays for whatever you celebrate!

Oh, and, if you want to send me your 2019 goals? I'll hang onto them for you & am happy to refresh your memory when you seem to be off track.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Airbnb Haters? - Don't Read This Blog Post!

First off, I've never even utilized the Airbnb concept. My eldest son and his girlfriend have. So has my Big Sis! I peeked at it once and was a bit overwhelmed by the available properties!

Today I had the moments to read an article that says the Airbnb company is getting into the home building business. Yes, you read that correctly....home building.



And, according to the article, it's really for heartfelt reasons.

It's called Samara:Backyard. No, they aren't planning on just building extra homes in someone's backyard! It's all about making homes adaptable for sharing with more people. They will start prototypes in the fall of next year. I didn't see where they were planning this interesting development though....

This project, the Samara:Backyard, will be determining how buildings can be targeted to "utilize sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and vast insight from the Airbnb community, to thoughtfully respond to changing owner or occupant needs over time."

I hope that they figure it out sooner than later. The amount of time it took typical builders to do the Gen-X living....a place for our aging parents to live with us but not in the same house...took way too long.

So, you go Airbnb! I'm excited at the possibilities!





Friday, November 30, 2018

Home Sales Activity ~ November 30th 2018

I'm working on a Client Appreciation Event for February but still keeping you informed on housing activity in our sweet Santa Clarita Valley!

In case you haven't been reading my blogs, I include Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Saugus, Valencia, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, & Val Verde.

At this second, we have 687 active listings. That's the number of homes available for sale. Houses, condos, townhouses.

Currently we have 359 in escrow. Sold in the last 30 days was 275.

Seasonal, interest rates, rising prices? Mostly seasonal effects on inventory right at this moment. But, we've still got people Selling & Buying!

Although, most of my associates & affiliates are telling me it's like crickets out there!

I'm looking forward to putting up holiday decorations, going to boutiques, tonight Descanso Gardens, and being with family.

I'm okay that I don't have anything in escrow right now. 2019 is going to rock!!!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thankful For Sweat Equity Down Payment Program With Freddie Mac

Quite honestly I had never heard of this program. I have utilized the FHA203k program, which allows the homeowner to borrow to purchase a home based upon what it will be worth after work is completed....after closing escrow.

This one is where people can do the work, prior to closing escrow. And then, the value that their 'sweat equity' brings to the property can then be considered part of their actual down payment!

Wowza! Yes, I do love that word.


(See, even Mark Cuban from Shark Tank likes Sweat Equity!)

At any rate, here is a copy & paste from the article that brought it to my attention about some of the guidelines:

Here’s more on how the program works, from Freddie Mac:
  • Sweat equity to be used for the entire amount of down payment and closing costs with maximum 97% LTV/105% total LTV (affordable seconds).
  • Sweat equity for manufactured homes up to a maximum LTV ratio of 95%.
  • Sweat equity as an eligible source of funds for:
    • All repairs and improvements to be completed by the borrower that are listed in the sales contract and included in the appraisal report.
    • Repairs or improvements that are reflected on the appraisal report that are outstanding at the time of the appraisal.
    • Credit for work completed prior to the original property inspection by the appraiser is not eligible for sweat equity.
I think we should all contact our favorite lenders and ask about this. 
Well, people that actually can do the work sure should!


Friday, November 16, 2018

Any of My Gal-Pals Wanting a 'She-Shed'??

I have a couple that we've been talking about selling their home on & off for 4 years now. They actually do have a 'she-shed'. Well, the husband may not call it that!

But, it's a great little detached building with no bathroom. I see it as super for guests, man-cave, work-out room, office, and....yes....the newest named craze....a She-Shed!

If I had that much room, and lots of young children still running around, I'd want a She-Shed too! It's a great escape from the clutter of the house. Stepping in the full-on female softness and quiet of an all girly shed would be sweet.

I'd need a small fridge, a heater & A/C, plus I'd need a little bath so that I wouldn't have to go inside the main house for long periods of time! LOL


That's pretty darn cute....but looks too much like an outhouse for my taste!


I don't want a ladder in my She-Shed, but love the crispness of this one!


My absolute fave. Love the total girlishness, 
but I'd want glass covers over that beamed roof so I could be out there in the rain.


Sweet, kinda cabinesque!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Amazon Didn't Pick My Home Town For HQ2 ~ Is That Good Or Bad?

As a matter of fact, they didn't come anywhere close to California! Let alone Los Angeles or my sweet Santa Clarita Valley.



Amazon’s HQ2 is expected to bring 50,000 jobs with an average salary of $100,000 over the next 15 years, plus more than $5 billion in investment over the span of 17 years.....and some are already complaining about what it will do to housing and infrastructure in those communities that were the winning bids.

Because, it did have quite the effect on Seattle. Home prices rose at a significantly higher rate within 5 miles of HQ1 vs. further away communities.

Well, no kidding. 

When location, location, location is what it's all about, and, all of a sudden your location becomes more desirable....prices will go up more so than other neighborhoods.

Infrastructure? Here's to hoping there are some new schools, roads, shopping, and restaurants are planned around HQ2. Without that, those communities that are on the sidelines will likely be hurt.

Thoughts? I'd love some opinions on this one & if you live near me....did you want HQ2 here?


Friday, November 9, 2018

It's a Love/Hate Relationship For Sure!

Preface this to say I hide nothing from my clients! I want them to see everything I see. I want them to be informed.

And, I don't want them to be misinformed ..... ever.

Realtors have long had a love/hate relationship with Zillow. The Zestimates were so horribly wrong for so long. (misinformation) Those are better. They contact us over & over again to buy 'Premier' status spots. Yes people, those are paid for. They started Zillow Instant Offers.....I don't care. But, now? They have spent 65 million dollars to get into the mortgage business...yes, you read that right....SIXTY-FIVE MILLION.

So, the tell-tale test will be to see if mortgage lenders will still pay to advertise on their site for leads.

See, Zillow doesn't do this for free. They 'borrow' all of our information from the local MLS's. They pile that into their site, then they work on Realtors & Lenders to get placed in higher positions for lead generation by paying Zillow.

Yes, of course, you knew that right?

Really not sure how the lenders will take this. Instant offers doesn't really affect Realtors the way this mortgage business will.

Question now? How much more than the 65 million will it cost Zillow if Realtors & Lenders finally say....Enough....I'm done with the big Z and not paying for leads anymore....

Time will tell...... For my peeps? I always say feel free to play on Zillow, do your actual searching on Realtor.com though...that's where the real homes for sale are.

Monday, November 5, 2018

I Sent That Two Years Ago.....

Sometimes it feels like that in Real Estate....well, at least for me.

Unashamedly I am a bit OCD. When I send someone an e-mail or a text, I expect a timely response. In everything related to Business. Leave a voice message.....same. Personal stuff can be longer of course.

I messaged an agent just before 7 am today. Zero response. Messaged her again about 3 hours later, got an immediate partial response so I immediately responded with more of my original questions. Four hours later, I'm still waiting for her reply. So, I messaged her again......and I'm waiting yet again.

It's a good thing I didn't hold my breath waiting, right?

Another agent I'm working with? My assistant and I have requested return of our documents 3 times now. Once mid last week, again this morning by both of us. Me, just another message since we didn't get any response from any of the other messages.


(Sheesh, it feels like this all too often!!)

I've missed a message or two when I'm in my car and/or wearing my fit-bit thingy. I look at my list of texts pretty regularly during the day just to double check. I check my e-mails all day long. I re-fresh my voicemail to make sure nothing got stuck in voice mail hell.

We all get busy....but as a professional, selling someones most valuable asset? We need to be more diligent.

No one is that busy.....and, as I've said before, if you are....get an assistant.

Off that soap box now.



Friday, November 2, 2018

Thinking About Moving Up, or Down, But Not Quite Sure How It Works?

For the last few years, it's been a bit challenging to move for many people.

Tons moving out of California, so they usually go temporary somewhere for a bit. Figure out exactly where they want to be, then purchase in the new state after they determine the right location.

For many here in our sweet little Santa Clarita Valley, and all of Southern California, with the low inventory we've had for years...compounded with low seller equity....it's been a challenge to move for many.

However.....this is about to be the time!


When inventory is too tight, many prospective buyers don't want to wait for you to find your replacement property. They shy away from that seller contingency. For sellers, they are reluctant to put their home on the market until they had found a house they want to move into. And, for even more sellers.....they really didn't want to take an offer from a buyer that was a seller on another property. Oh, and don't forget a lot of sellers didn't have much equity to financially be able to consider a move!

All of that make sense?

At this time though....inventory is growing. The opportunity to make a smooth transition from your old home to your new home will definitely be getting easier. More for you to look at for sure, which means buyers that love your home know you'll find a replacement property easier.

One caveat? There aren't quite as many buyers out right now, but they'll be back. And, any that are out right now? Those are the ones you want. They are not the lookie-loos if they are house hunting in this chillier season. These are the people that want to buy. We LOVE these buyers.

Questions about how selling and buying at the same time works? Just holler....I'm a wealth of experience & information, happy to share.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My Beautiful Home is Worth WHAT???

Just a reminder story....since it happened yesterday.....figured I'd share!

Dear pals referred a seller to me. Seller had attempted to sell a few times. Several different reasons why the home did not get sold.

When I see something like that, I usually think it's the Seller's fault. This one was quite possibly not, well, not completely.

But, with that said, I had to ask a few questions, review the comparable sales, take note of location and the homes' amenities. And, then, sight unseen give the Seller a value opinion.


I offered to come view the home in person but from what Seller told me, and the photos in the MLS from prior listings for sale & lease, it was pretty apparent that his value thoughts were significantly higher than this professional opinion.

Ah, my dear sweet Zillow pal. Who, does not know what location does to a model match. Now, mind you, they have gotten better, but their 'computer' does not know the neighborhood as I do. Does not get in the car with Buyers to learn what they like & don't like.  Has not sold homes and seen values change from one model match to another.....just a few houses away.

My honesty may have cost me a listing, but a listing that is over-priced is not generally worth the headache and marketing expenses I put out to get my Sellers' homes sold.

Of course I followed up with a message this morning.....but, I'm thinking someone said they could get his price....and, that's who will get the listing.

Honesty hurts sometimes....in Real Estate & in real life!


Friday, October 26, 2018

Changing Up Kitchen Islands

If you read my blog regularly, you know I love sharing some ideas from Houzz!!

I've been doing a few house projects this year. Have a couple more on the list to do. One is replacing kitchen counters. Probably not for another year or two still, but, I am attracted to articles that show pretty pictures with new ideas for kitchen makeovers. Sheesh, who isn't, right!?!?!?

This one was just focused on kitchen islands. And, since my pal that made my custom doggy gates mentioned a custom cabinet build he did with a toe-kick slide out doggy eating station, one of them definitely caught my eye!


Not sure if I'd be willing to give up cabinet space. 
But, nice to not give up floor space I suppose!


I really liked this one!
The idea of one counter with two different surfaces is very appealing.
And, the warmth of the wood to eat on is awesome!


This was in the article too, and it was a big fat no for me.
I am too klutzy, and that section of the vise that sticks out?
I'd be bruised on my hip forever! 



Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Santa Clarita & Our Surrounding Communities Home Sales October 2018

Just keeping you informed.

Santa Clarita was incorporated many moons ago and some of these areas aren't really part of the city, but we still include them in our activity as when we are selling SCV, we are selling these areas too!

Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Saugus, Valencia, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, and Val Verde.....all 'considered' to be part of SCV. Remember, this includes Condos, Townhouses, Single Family Residences, and Manufactured homes not in parks.

Active as of this morning ~ 789


(cool Chevy, right?)

Under contract/In escrow ~ 397

Sold in the last 30 days...as in closed escrow..... ~ 283

The closed escrow number is about 10% less than what we had been averaging. But, yes, the holiday season is coming.

If rates & inventory continue to climb, the market will continue to change. We still currently have just under 3 months worth of housing inventory. Once we are at 6 months, and if we continue to grow inventory after that landmark, we will definitely be in a buyers market....again....finally.

Should you wait to buy then? That's entirely up to you. What I'm seeing shows that you will be paying the same-ish monthly payment due to rising interest rates...why wait? Why continue to throw money into a landlords pocket vs. building equity in your very own home? I wouldn't.

Just reach out to me and I'll try and answer every question you have. If I don't immediately have an answer, I'll tell you...and, then I'll find the answer. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Home Price Vs. Interest Rates

I have several lenders that I trust & refer my clients to. I've worked with many, but I keep a handful that I know will always get the job done and treat my peeps with kindness and respect.

So much talk about the changing of the market. How much of a correction, when, interest rates, etc.

I definitely expect a correction. As inventory grows, prices don't escalate. Sellers get a bit anxious and price reductions are a plenty.

As interest rates climb, buyers get a bit timid.

Millennial buyers have never seen the interest rates over 5% in their adult lifetimes. They don't remember the adjustable 8.5% loans that we got excited over. They have no real knowledge of a 12% mortgage rate. Nor do they have the concept of a house costing only 27k or 70k, or a 2500 sq ft home in Valencia for 263k.

But, for today's blog, it's about now. Where the prices are likely going & the other half, where interest rates are apparently going as well.

The copy & paste below is from one of my preferred lenders. Just so you realize I'm not the only one talking about this future market happening .........


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lately we’ve been getting quite a few questions regarding the state of the market, and if we believe that values are going to drop significantly.
While no one has a crystal ball, we’ve definitely seen a shift from the seller’s market we were in for so long, to more of a buyer’s market in latter part of 2018.
What we’ve also seen is a consistent rise in interest rates, that when combined with rising prices, and concerns of a correction, have made for nervous prospective buyers!
While no one can guarantee the direction of home values (or interest rates), we thought a mathematical comparison of rates vs. cost might be helpful to some folks still unsure of how they’d like to proceed

Here’s our hypothetical scenario-
$600,000 purchase price
$60,000 down payment
$540,000 loan amount
5% interest rate
$2,898 Principal and Interest payment

Now, let’s take a look at what happens should values fall 10%, but rates rise by 1%-
$540,000 purchase price
$54,000 down payment
$486,000 loan amount
6% interest rate
$2913 Principal and Interest payment

As you can see, a lower price doesn’t help much for affordability, if the cost to borrow has risen.
Although market trends are subject to change, a 6% 30 year fixed doesn’t seem far-fetched, given the Fed’s stated plan of five rate hikes between now and 2020; as a matter of fact, 6.5% doesn’t seem too far-fetched, when looked at through that lens.
If you’re still on the fence, remember to consider the cost to borrow when doing your math; in all likelihood, that may be increasing significantly, soon.

*****************************

Me again. So, expect these changes & talk with me, + my lender(s), to decide if you want to quit paying rent today and start the benefits of owning your own home tomorrow.



Sunday, October 7, 2018

Vampire Power!

We are in one of my favorite seasons in Santa Clarita. Fall, Autumn, whatever, it's not over 100 degrees every day. The mornings are cool, the clouds are spectacular. Days are warm but not hot. And, the evenings....ahhhh, so delightful. Yep, I said delightful!!!

Now too, we are not running that A/C what feels like 24/7. Well, I'm an energy freak since husband has a dozen aquariums in our house and garage for pleasure & business. So, I have my A/C set at 78 during the day, 80 at night. Ceiling fans are going. Shades are drawn. LED lights are in our sockets. Fireplace doors are closed too.

But, I am also a bit of a nut about Vampire power!
Drives the hubby a bit crazy...well, at first it did....but he puts up with me looking for ways to save energy.

I don't unplug my computer or TV stuff as I'd have to climb around on the floor and not gonna do that a couple times a day.

But, coffee maker is only plugged in when brewing. Zero counter appliances are left plugged in for maybe using. Cell phone cords get unplugged as soon as I see they are fully charged. Lamps not being used daily but still look pretty? Unplugged.

So, you look at that vampire pic and think, well that's not that much.....but, it is. And, it's easy to do. 

We put up solar panels to save energy. And, then used more! So, back to conserving we went and our bill was noticeably lower with the vampire power changes.

Oh, and for sure....don't do your laundry or run the dang dishwasher until after 9 pm or just on the weekends. HUGE saver!!! 

See, I don't always talk about just Real Estate! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Oh My ~ Solar Panels on Condos???

I own a townhouse....it's a rental. Yesterday I got some updated information about our Architectural Guidelines for the newest change....putting solar panels on our roofs!

Well, only an owner can do it. But, sheesh, that's going to be quite the challenge for the installers, owners, and us Realtors when we go to sell them.

Solar panels have always been a bit of a challenge during a sale escrow. If they are owned outright, no biggie. Anything else and it can create a tad of a roadblock.

So, my complex in Westridge Valencia is allowing owners,
 with approval, to put panels up.


Purpose of this post? To think long & hard before you put up solar panels on your condo or townhouse. There are so many complexes that aren't approved by FHA for sale which limits the number of buyers that can buy those units. Putting panels up will likely limit more buyers as they won't necessarily qualify for the extra payment.

Our market is seemingly leveling off.....don't make yours any more difficult to sell when it turns, and it will, into a full-on buyers market. Well, unless you buy the solar panels outright....that would be a plus then!

Just sayin......

Monday, September 24, 2018

Some New-Fangled Loan Programs Coming Around

There's been a program for teachers (if I'm recalling correctly) that they can do 100% financing. Another that buyers can do 99% financing.

Once of my fave lenders sent me some info a week or so ago about a silent second, sorta, type of loan program.

And, now....a little behind in my reading....I see another that is doing 3% down, offering 1500 in closing costs 'grant' money & a gift certificate to Home Depot for $2000.00!


Not quite sure why I'm seeing this, but I DON'T think it's going to create the fiasco we had a decade ago. I think, my opinion here, that the lenders are looking for any way to get additional business.

I'm don't really think they are being heroic to help First Time Buyers....I think they just want their business...IMHO.

But, that's okay with me. Whatever can help a buyer get into their home...as long as they aren't over-extending...I'm all for it.

So, please, no "Interest Only or Adjustable Rates" for the newbies....I don't think they have the experience to deal with those!

If you need the name of a great lender, I've got a few!!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

YES! It Really Is Allllll About Location!

One of my favorite clients bought a home that is up against the mountains almost a decade ago. The home itself is simple. A single story with a pool. Nothing flashy, not in a flashy neighborhood. Not a speck of granite in the whole house.

But, look at the location here:


See that pool, slightly off to the left with the 3 large trees behind it? That's my clients home.

It has a few upgrades, but the kitchen & bathrooms are completely original. We call it 'original charm' in marketing materials. LOL

But, you just can't beat that location. The street is beautiful, the sounds are of nature, the rear of the home is looking at those mountains.

We put it on the market on Friday, had a ton of showings, got multiple offers. Needless to say we had a few investors that wanted to buy, fix, flip. The winning offer was higher than all others, and the buyer wanted to live in the home. She's definitely planning on some revamping...but, yep...she loved the location!

Got a couple buyers in escrow on a property in Valencia too. We've got some issues from home inspection & termite guys findings....but, again, the location can't be beat for their family situation.

Location, location, location. Just a couple validating stories....in case you were wondering.



Friday, August 31, 2018

Tired of Accent Walls for Decorating The Wall Behind Your Headboard?

We have a wall of about 30 different small mirrors behind/above our bed. All shapes & sizes. Purchased from a ton of different places. Yes, all are Earthquake stuck to the wall for our safety. I know, not the best, but it does look pretty!

At any rate, Houzz posted some pretties that I wanted to share with you. Lots do a large piece of art above their bed. Some may have a cabinet/shelf type system. Others paint that as their accent wall.

Well heck, lookie here:


Not supposed to have your bed under a window either,
 but I do like the warmth of this one.


I supposed instead of keeping a note pad on your nightstand
 this would work for those midnight thoughts keeping you awake!


I've been called a hippie, or lover of the bohemian style...but, nope, 
I do not like whatever is going on here......


And, Ta-Da, instead of painting an accent wall....a wild wallpaper instead?
So many options!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Blokable Container Stacked Housing

It actually sounds great for what this company says they are doing. "Housing Development As A Service" Working with non-profits, religious groups, etc. to develop ways to create housing for people that can't afford traditional homes.

They did a 70 container type stacked units development in Puget Sound Washington as their first try. Apparently that's very high priced housing there.

So, I read the whole article....thought it sounded genuine. The containers are steel, can be studio's, 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms. Exterior is the same, interior is what can be changed. All are tech savvy for utilities. They are connected and can go up to 5 units high.


It didn't say how the unit owner got to a top floor,etc, but it could be a great idea. 

My two concerns: (1) The price per square foot is 150-350 (350 is no incredible bargain where I live for a real house) & (2) Since they are containers.....what's the 'shelf' life? They are steel framed, are they like my camper? Because, if they are....well, that's SUPER expensive even if at 150 sq ft. And, we know campers don't last as long as a 'brick & mortar' home.

So, more to be investigated, but wanted to share with you as I thought it was kinda cool!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I Still Love The Newbies!

I work with Sellers, Buyers, re-sale, new construction. Whatever my peeps want, that's what I help them navigate to get in or out of a home.

But, there's still a special spot in my heart for those Newbie Buyers. You know, the ones that have never, ever done anything like this before? The ones that put all their trust in you to find the perfect home that fits their budget?

I just started the preliminary work with a new couple. We've been talking for a couple months, but now we're actually trying to get approved and focus on neighborhoods.

She sends me stuff she sees online. My Realtor eyes tell her the good, bad, ugly, fabulous. Funny is, one particular one she sent me I sent back 'Let's Buy This One!' and she said that was their favorite too!

But, I don't just look at pretty for my peeps, that's what they have a tendency to do already! I look at traffic, surroundings, commutes, upgrades that still need to be finished, pricing, property taxes, and more. I've even gone and done satellite views of the street to see if the neighbors are keeping their properties in good shape or if they all have iron window grates for safety!

I treat these buyers....well, honestly all my clients....as if I was the one buying or selling....or my kid, sister, brother. My clients are like family when we are together. Just ask any of them. I don't say YOU, I say WE when we are working together. It's always WE.

And, those Newbies? They definitely do better with WE than just YOU.


I'm here for you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August 2018, What's The Market Like?

The common question all Realtors get asked!

The market has stalled a bit here in So Cal. But, it is freaking ridiculously hot, could that be it? People would sure as heck rather be in the ocean, lake, or pool than sweating it out looking for a home...right? I sure would be!

At any rate, just keeping you informed. I am including Acton, Agua Dulce, Santa Clarita, Canyon Country, Saugus, Valencia, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, and Val Verde in these numbers.

Currently we have 773 active listings.


(FYI, that's some tennis shoe apparently!)

In escrow? 453.

Closed in the last 30 days, the number hit 343.

Adding to that information is that I'm seeing quite a few more reductions in list prices. Of course, when the inventory goes up...so does the competition.

I talked with a couple of associates recently, they are seeing a lull in buyer activity too.

I'm happy that the inventory is growing. BUT, as hard as the market was when it crashed....wanna know what's even harder?

A balanced market. Where listings take a couple months to sell and sellers are frustrated. Where Buyers have more to choose from so take longer to choose.

I'm READY for it!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Dual Agency is Hard...If You Do It Right

Story of the week.....

I have an old high school friend that I hadn't seen in years. Re-connected via another old high school friend and helped him buy a beaut of a home 5-ish years ago.

Fast forward to 2018 and the family is moving away and needs me to sell their home.

Do all my prep work, suggest a list price, they want to list higher. We have a super busy open house, no offers. Two weeks in, no calls from any agents to show property. Zero, nada, zilch. We do a price adjustment.

A few days later a random buyer calls me and wants to see the home. They want to write an offer. They want me to represent them. Eeeeeck. They want to offer $xyz amount. I let my Seller know that they say they want to write and for what. He says that's great.

I prefer NOT to do a dual agency. A lot of agents love to earn the extra commission, but that's not my gig. I want to make sure I do a great job for all of my peeps, buyers & sellers.


I want them to be so happy with my service, they will hire me again.

So, I do my due diligence as if I wasn't working with the Seller as well. Send the Buyer all the comparable sales, the property profile, agent MLS sheet.

The Buyer comes back and says we want to write for 5k less. I tell Seller, say you can certainly counter offer, he chooses not to and accepts their offer.

Open escrow, Buyer chooses home inspector and termite inspector. Lots of termite work shows up, hasn't been tented in 20+ years so wasn't surprised. A few things on home inspection.

Buyer wants to ask for, in my experience, an excessive credit. He changes his mind after discussions with me. We ask Seller for a credit, he's still a bit annoyed about the 5k change in offer and now a large credit too? So, we work through that and Buyer & Seller come to an agreement on amount.

This is an all cash buyer, no appraisal, no loan. I've got all the disclosures ready, title, zone reports. Everything is ready, get through inspections, negotiations.

Smooth as silk...for the most part. Wonderful clients on both sides AND I know what's going on without having to chase another agent down. That, quite honestly, is the best part!

Am I making more money since I'm representing both parties? Yes. Am I working twice as hard? Yes. Do I have to pay my brokerage twice as much? Yep. My transaction coordinator for a double file? Yes again.

Did I give any credits to Buyer & Seller? YES!! But, I was happy to do it. Why? Because I could, and it makes them happy. That's what it's all about. Making the client happy, providing them the absolute best Real Estate experience I can. Doing my due diligence for both parties. Getting a Seller moved out & a Buyer moved in.

Tis what I do.....and, 16 years later....I still love doing it.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Where Are All The Front Porches?

When I was a kid we visited my grandfather in Brooklyn. He had a porch. We talked with the neighbors from that porch. We yelled across the street. We saw the people playing.

My mom's house has a porch. My sisters boyfriend used to climb in her window from that porch. My mom sat and watched the people from the porch. I kissed many a boyfriend goodnight on that porch.

My first house in Valencia I was determined to create a front porch. We put up a little fence, some redwood chairs, a little table. But, it never quite had the ambiance I was looking for. Didn't have any shade, and no one wanted to sit out there with me either!

I don't see many porches in the Santa Clarita valley. But, enjoyed seeing one yesterday. Went to go visit an old friend that is getting ready to sell their home. I was tickled pink to see a real wrap-around porch on this home.

Needless to say...it's not a new track house. It's a custom home with some spectacular touches....and I fell in love. Right from the start of that front porch.

Any of you got a beaut of a front porch?
I love these!

This is kinda what I saw yesterday....LOVE.


This is like my moms when I was growing up.


This is huge and is screened in.


I like this one too, not love, but definitely 2nd runner up!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Real Estate Lying....Bad All Around!

It's from an article that was stuck in my email from about 3 weeks ago!

But, since I abhor lying and can generally tell when someone is lying, in blue below is what a broker out of New York says are the 5 most common lies Realtors tell their clients & he posted it on that Reddit site.

The one that I have to agree with is number 5. When I see listings that are sold without MLS exposure...in house, in a network group, any way that does not give it full exposure...I strongly agree that the listing agent has done a disservice to their client.

The rest.....nah, I don't think that is really happening too much here in our sweet So. Cal market....do you?????

1. They know the value of your property.
The reddit user claimed brokers do not do any real analysis, and simply enter square footage, income and expenses into a software program to determine the value of the property.
2. They are experts in the market, with many transactions to their name.
While some brokers may have years of experience, others just starting out will bulk up their expertise by claiming their company’s transactions as their own, even if they had nothing to do with it.
3. A large brokerage devotes more resources to advertising your property.
The former broker says the opposite is actually true, and large brokerages typically have a more formulaic approach to marketing their properties.
4. The listing price they give you reflects their opinion of the market value.
Even after submitting the info through their software, brokers may not always give the best price opinion since, if they quote a higher list price, they are more likely to win over the seller, the reddit user explained.
5. Decent brokers need an exclusive listing in order to market your property properly. It benefits you because it allows them to create an auction for your property.
Simply put – this is not true. In fact, the user explained exclusives provide very few benefits to the owners, and only weak brokers who lack investor relationships need an exclusive to conduct business.