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. 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:


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 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. 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!