Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Home Loan Shopping & When To Do It

I'm working on closing an escrow right now. All was going along smoothly until the Buyer changed his lender to get a better interest rate.

I'm all for finding the best rate, but there is a time to do it. And, it's BEFORE you open escrow!

There are a ton of lenders out there, tons I tell you. We, listing agents, always prefer to have a buyer present an offer with a local lender that we've done business with. One that we know their track record. One that we trust. It's part of the puzzle when an offer is presented.

What's written on paper is important, but the agent that is represented by the buyer, and the lender, play a huge role.

If you are looking at buying a home, a trusted Realtor will be happy to refer a couple of their preferred lenders to you. Reach out to them, or any others, and determine who has the best rates, terms, costs, and who you feel confident in working with.

But, once you submit that offer? Don't change lenders. Do your due diligence well before you submit an offer. It'll save everyone a lot of headache.

We're all busy, we all want to save a few bucks on a monthly mortgage. But, if you haven't taken the time to 'shop' for the best rate and terms before you get an offer accepted......you're playing a dangerous game that can lead to additional costs just to get escrow closed.

Food for thought today. Food for thought. And, one more morsel for ya.....don't let your credit report be run frequently. Ask one of your lenders their opinion on that one!

Friday, January 26, 2018

FICO Scores & Your Offered Interest Rates

I did a post recently about how Google just doesn't teach you everything experienced agents teach you.

On another note.....I have lender pals who get frustrated when other lenders send blanket info about interest rates and people with less than stellar rates don't understand why they can't get the same rate.

So, just briefly, I snagged this from one of the articles I read recently:

Now, hope you realize, obviously it's not perfect either!

The point of this? The interest rate on your loan can vary greatly from someone else. If you're buying an attached home, it will likely be a bit higher. If you're putting less down, same...higher rate. If your debt to income ratio is different than your friends, so will your interest rate. If you're buying investment property vs. owner occupied, higher rate. More & more reasons as well!

It's a lot about risk. Lenders risk. How much risk is there on the loan they are making you? The higher the risk, the higher the rate. 

Anywhohow, the graph is good, but not right for all. Just a tid-bit of reminder info really. Talk to a couple of lenders, find out who will offer you the best rate....once they know your true/real financial picture.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Santa Clarita Valley Home Sales Activity ~ January 23, 2018

I honestly can't believe January....of 2018.....is coming to the end already!

But, it is, and soon enough it will be Summer again!

Back on home sales though....

In Santa Clarita, and our surrounding communities, we still remain at very low inventory. Of course, the calculations are covering part of the end of year holidays!

So, Acton to the East, Newhall to the South, Stevenson Ranch to the West, and Castaic to the North, with every neighborhood in between, are all included in these numbers. Properties are single family residences, condos, townhouses.

Active at this very moment ~ 398.....a measly 398.

In contract ~ 315. Means we had 315 people want to buy a home recently.

Sold in the last 30 days? ~ 235. Yes, that's about a 100 less than we've been selling on a monthly basis. Holidays do skew these numbers, obviously.

If you have questions about any Real Estate in Southern California, just holler. My specialty area is definitely Santa Clarita Valley, but in 15 years, I've sold all over Los Angeles & Ventura counties!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Talk To Me If You Really Want To Buy A Home - Stop Googling Already!

I'm talking with a lender pal today about a buyer I referred quite some time ago.

I'm hating Google right now because of the strong likelihood that this buyer has been using Internet search info vs. info that I can provide and/or this lender can provide.

So, I'm yelling at my client...in my head of course....STOP GOOGLING already!!

Now, I'm all about googling for recipes, stats, maps, images....all kinds of stuff.

But, you can't Google for the knowledge an experienced Realtor &/Or Lender has. No, you can't.

But, sorry Millennials, kids these days! They google for 45 minutes to an hour or more to find something out. Unfortunately that something may not be related to what they really want to do. It may be something that doesn't relate to the area they live in or want to live in. It may have zero to do with lender qualifications. Quite honestly, until you've talked to me.....you're Internet search is pretty useless. And, if you think you'll find out more online than what 15 years of experience has taught me......agh! Forget it, you absolutely will not.

So, if you think you want to buy a home Millennial.....call me, meet with me, listen and trust what I tell you. Don't try and create a new way of doing something based upon what some guy in Arkansas said or did. Or, in Washington for that matter.

Your Realtor has sold tons more homes than you have. TONS!

Okay, I'm done now. 

Maybe I'll go Google a new carb free cauliflower recipe now......

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

California Association of Realtors offers a Skill for Alexa Echo on Amazon

Yep, you can now say this to your Echo: 'Alexa, ask California Realtors for a news update.' Or how about, 'Alexa, ask California Realtors for mortgage rates.' And, oh my, so many more.

Just click on the link directly below to take you to Amazon to download it:

Hey, there are even ways to listen to PodCasts & more! Look at this description I found on Amazon:

Are you interested in the California housing market or trending real estate news? The “California Realtors” skill has you covered, courtesy of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

• You can ask for general news, legal updates, or official releases:
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for a news update"

• Stay on top of interest rates or origination fees:
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for the interest rates"
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for the origination fees"

• Track the housing information (total sales, average home price, average days on market, average sale to list ratio) in your area: 
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for the housing information"
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for the housing information for Fresno" 
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for the average home price for 90034"

• Play the housing matters podcast:
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® to play the podcast"

• Get contact information for C.A.R./Caller Wait Times:
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for their contact information"
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for the caller wait time"

• For a quick real estate tip: 
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® for a tip"

• Test your real estate knowledge with our quiz game:
"Alexa, ask California REALTORS® to play a game"

If you forget any of the skill’s abilities, just ask California REALTORS® for help and Alexa will remind you!

I love it, but, of course, you can always ask me too!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Empty Mall Converted To Housing?

Sometimes I miss a great article. This one was written a couple weeks ago and landed in my e-mail where it sat....waiting for me to find it.

And, so the thoughts of finding a use for empty malls was read about just this morning.

I walk with a dear friend almost every week. If the weather is beautiful, we walk at the park. If it's too hot, rainy, freezing, we walk at the mall. Great exercise and chat fests.

During school holidays or holiday shopping, the mall is pretty crowded. Other times.....I wonder how the tenants keep up their rent. I know it's not cheap.

It was noted, by the author, that a report was done which indicated that as many as 25% of America's malls would be 'shuttered' by 2022. Wow........

The article that I finally read mainly talked about re-purposing malls for housing. Had some great reasons for doing so too. Close to main thoroughfares for easy transportation. Maybe some of the restaurants and shopping would remain open and being so close to your 'house' you'd continue to shop there vs. online with Amazon.

I honestly prefer in person shopping but, boy oh boy, I do know some that have their Amazon Prime membership for a reason!

Now, of course, you can't just throw a kitchen in an old Gap store and call it a home. No taking up residence with your futon in a closed up Sephora, but you would have all the mirrors you need for the bathroom!

Plans would have to be made, zonings adjusted. But, damn, I think it's a super idea for these properties. Why waste good structures? And, honestly, the idea of walking out your front door and being able to go to Victorias Secret (if it's still open)....what guy wouldn't want that in his next pad?

And, with a little watering,
 maybe you'd even have some nice landscaping to see again too!

What do you think about this?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Inexpensive Ways to 'Color' Your Kitchen

I'm curious which ones people will like. But happy that, for the most part, these are super inexpensive ways to change up your kitchen with a different splash of color.

I don't exactly have room in mine for art. Could, if I wanted add a pretty valance. I'm considering different color appliances....but not sure if I'm willing to be that bold. Well, I did want my next car to be red...suppose the appliances could suffice that urge. But, hey, the colored lights? Wow, I totally could do that!

I hadn't seen a baby blue fridge before. Or is this really turquoise?
And, yes, just one appliance change would add a much needed splash in this kitchen.
I'm still thinking red for mine!

This is a great place to showcase a nice piece of art.
We frequently 'decorate' our counters or above cupboard space.
If you've got an empty wall, use it!

See? Different colored lights are pretty cool to jazz up your bland kitchen.
And, of course, you can change them at whim!
Mine are recessed......I'm going to have to check out Home Depot & Lowe's to see what they've got!

I used to be a sewer. Made maternity clothes many moons ago.
This one, any crafty people, can be made...of course to your taste...really cheap AND it can certainly be tossed out for a new splash of color you're feeling some time in the future!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Considering a FSBO?

Story of my week. Oh, yes, I'm sick like the rest of Southern California. But, Real Estate doesn't stop for germs.

Maybe a stall, but not due to germs!

Talked for 45 minutes with a prospective Seller a couple weeks ago on the phone.

Met with same Seller, for 2 hours, a week later. Agreed to list with me, and I started to arrange the necessary marketing.

Set up the paperwork for review & signing....followed up....sicker than a dog....with Seller day before photo shoot to make sure there were no questions and were they ready to sign on the dotted line.

Um, well, someone that knows someone that knows another someone may be interested in my home. I asked who is going to protect/represent you? A pause....I asked if they were considering doing it as a FSBO...For Sale By Owner. Yes, why yes they were. I knew that if I sat there on the phone for another 15 minutes explaining the perils of a FSBO, it would likely go to deaf ears. And, it would also likely sound like all I wanted to do was save my earnings. Tough to teach the downfalls to a prospective Seller if they don't have home selling experience for 20 + years. I don't care how smart they are! And, this one, this is one smart cookie!

At any rate, they met with prospective buyer who's father was their lender. First red flag in my book. Buyer was supposed to be pre-approved for significantly more but still hadn't managed to snare a property. 2nd red flag. 3 hours later I called Seller as I didn't want to leave my photographer hanging. Left message on home and cell. Finally another hour or so went by....and I shot a text message to which I got a response that they were discussing price still.

I gave her a time deadline so I could alert my photographer as he was doing me a New Years Eve photo shoot favor.

She then called me just before deadline and said she told the buyer to forget it. She made me even happier when she told me she used the F word when she said that! Love!

At that point, I said who was the lender? Didn't know. What kind of loan was buyer doing? Not sure. What was their down payment? Not a clue. Any contract written? Nope, just talking back and forth. And, when the buyer agreed on a price then asked for a 10k credit towards closing costs? That's when she dropped the F bomb.

The price paid for a Realtor to represent you the Seller is priceless. I can't even begin to list all the other things that I do to protect my clients and help get from listing to close as seamlessly as possible.

Just a little chat about FSBO's here....on a personal level.