Friday, December 19, 2008

California Homes Sales

About 32,163 new and resale homes were sold in California in November. Down 24.0 percent from 42,293 in October and up 25.7 percent from 25,578 for November last year. Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis the last five months. California sales for the month of November have varied from last year's low to a peak of 60,326 in 2004, the average is 40,592. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.
The median price paid for a home last month was $258,000, down 7.2 percent from $278,000 for the month before, and down 37.7 percent from $414,000 for November a year ago. Around half the drop in median is due to depreciation, the other half due to shifts in the types of homes selling, and how those homes are financed.
Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity is at or near record levels, financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is near the all-time low, as is financing with multiple mortgages. Down payment sizes and flipping rates are stable, non-owner occupied buying activity appears flat but might be emerging, MDA DataQuick reported.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fannie Mae Will Halt All Foreclosure Sales

Fannie Mae has issued a Lender Letter announcing that it will halt all foreclosure sales on occupied single-family properties that are scheduled to occur between November 26, 2008 and January 9, 2009. This halt also applies to eviction lockouts of occupied single-family properties. During this period, lenders are encouraged to continue working with borrowers whose foreclosure sales have been halted to pursue possible workout solutions. What does this mean to you? Well, I may just be jaded but I think it will just mean the market will be flooded with new foreclosures after January 9th. Sure hope I'm wrong.
To read the entire news release go to the Fannie Mae site.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Warning!!!! Don't Be Fooled

Scam Alert – No Fee Necessary for Value Reduction

Various private companies are sending mailings to property owners offering their services to pursue a reduction in their property taxes. These companies may charge hundreds of dollars to file for a reduction in value on behalf of the property owner. We are aware of a company in California charging $171 for its services, even imposing a $67 late fee if the application is received late. Be aware that solicitations from private companies offering to pursue a reduction in property taxes must clearly indicate that they are NOT a government agency and that their services are NOT approved or endorsed by any government agency. Failure to provide such notice is a violation of California law. If you or someone you know receives an illegal solicitation, please contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs by phone at (800) 973-3370 or visit their website.

Friday, October 24, 2008

California Mortgage Default Filings Drop

Default filings totaled about 40,000 for each month from March to August. In September the number dropped to 14,995 filings as a new state law took effect early that month. It requires that in many instances lenders must try to contact homeowners delinquent on their mortgage payments, then wait 30 days before filing a default notice.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good News For Buyers

Home prices throughout most of California will decline next year, while sales of existing homes will continue to rise in 2009 this from "C.A.R.'s 2009 California Housing Market Forecast," released today. ."The current uncertainty about the financial system and economy is likely to persist over the next several weeks, and could extend into next year," said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. "Our forecast assumes that the financial system will begin to show signs of stabilization late in 2008 and into early 2009."The median home price in California will decline 6 percent to $358,000 in 2009 compared with a projected median of $381,000 this year, according to the forecast. Sales for 2009 are projected to increase 12.5 percent to 445,000 units, compared with 395,600 units (projected) in 2008."Sales in 2008 will be ahead of last year by 12 percent, with a further increase of 12.5 percent expected in 2009," said C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "However, the next couple of quarters in late 2008 and early 2009 will be marked by seasonal decreases in activity, with a pickup expected by the second quarter of next year."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Just in from C.A.R

Home sales increased 56.7 percent in August in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 40.5 percent, C.A.R. reported Sept. 25.

The Bail Out

If this bail out package passes will it be enough? I don't think it is going to help the guy set up to lose his house next month only the banks can do that. Why can't the banks just stop foreclosing on people that took and have been paying on that interest only for three years mortgage that is about to turn into some other monster. Extend the mortgage they can afford instead of upping the interest rate to 9% and forcing people out of their homes. Who is helping that guy?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Now Is The Time To Buy!

If you've been sitting back waiting to take advantage of this Buyer's Market now is the time.
According to The California Association Of Realtors the median price of a single-family detached home in California during June 2008 was $368,250, a 37.7 percent decrease from $591,280 median for June 2007. The June 2008 median price fell 4.3 percent compared with May's $385,840 median price.


Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.32 percent during June, compared with 6.66 percent a year ago. Adjustable-rate loans averaged 5.15 percent compared to 5.68 percent in June 2007.


The inventory dropped from a 10.2-month supply to 7.7 months.

This is the kind of market that makes people wealthy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Studio City....Home To The Stars

Emmy award winning director Todd Holland ("The Larry Sanders Show" and "Malcolm in the Middle,") and Scotch Ellis Loring, who was featured on "Desperate Housewives" and "Firehouse Dog," sold their Studio City house for about $1.66 million.
Songwriter Pamela Sheyne, who wrote "Genie in a Bottle" for Christina Aguilera, "He Loves U Not" for Dream and "Irresistible" for Jessica Simpson, and her husband, Nigel Rush bought the traditional style home. The home features 3 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms and 3,200 square feet. The home also boasts stainless-steel kitchen appliances, hardwood floors and a pool.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Does Someone Just Sit In A Room And Get Paid....

To Find New Ways To Waste Our Tax Dollars????

Another Point-of-Sale Mandate!

AB 2204 (De La Torre), would require lawyers to review every deed, CC&Rs etc, and remove illegal, obsolete and unenforceable restrictions from historic title records in connection with a transfer of property. Guess who pays? You do because AB 2204 would add $500 - $1,000 in costs to transactions and for what.

Existing law already makes any provision in a deed of real property that restricts the right of a person to sell, lease, rent, use, or occupy the property based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, disability, source of income, or sexual orientation illegal and unenforceable.

Please contact Senator Sheila Kuehl TODAY to urge her to vote NO on AB 2204.

District Office (Los Angeles)
10951 West Pico Blvd.Suite #202Los Angeles,
CA 90064Phone:
(310) 441-9084 Fax: (310) 441-0724

The California Association Of Realtors Opposes AB2204 Because:

Current law already protects buyers and renters from discrimination. This bill ignores multiple existing responses to ancient unconstitutional covenants and deed restrictions (the latest of which was approved only last year), and instead attempts to impose a new program upon real estate transactions and Recorders. Existing mechanisms already deal with the issue effectively.

AB 2204 creates another financial burden for home buyers. Searching and purging old documents will cost literally tens of millions of dollars. These costs will be added to those which a buyer already must pay at closing, when they can least afford it.

AB 2204 would be very costly to counties. L.A. County alone estimates that it will have to read the documents related to 17,000 transactions every month! If there is only a single deed in each of these transactions that needs to be rewritten, it will cost L.A. County at least 27 new lawyers in legal costs alone. However, it is extremely unlikely that these transactions will have only a single document that needs to be rewritten since every deed and CC&R in the chain of title will have to be reviewed. Not every county is as large as L.A., but every county will have the same expensive problem. Counties will undoubtedly try to build the cost into increased recording fees, fees that will be paid by homebuyers.

AB 2204 diverts attention from critical real estate disclosures. Homebuyers are already faced with a daunting stack of disclosures and documents to sign. This bill proposes to add to that burden, but without any legal benefit.

AB 2204 seeks to erase history. Philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” Rather than pretend that such egregious discrimination never existed by attempting to “sanitize” the record, isn’t it wiser for the record to reflect what happened historically so society can continue to learn from its past mistakes?

Friday, August 1, 2008

What Does A "Buyer's Market" Mean?

More importantly, what doesn't it mean? Yes, we are officially in a buyer's market. Typically, when the inventory rises above a six month supply it is a buyer's market. There is currently an eight or nine month supply in the San Fernando Valley. What that DOES mean is that there are lots of homes for buyers to choose from and it does give buyers some advantage in negotiating a good price. What it DOES NOT mean is that the buyer holds all the cards and can walk all over the seller with unrealistic demands. No matter the market the home belongs to the seller and ultimately the seller has the last word.

This can be a real shock to buyers particularily those trying to take advantage of the huge supply of foreclosures. Buying from a bank has its own set of rules and if you are someone that likes to control situations then this is not for you. It is a game of "hurry-up and wait". Lately, I have had buyers write offers on short pays and foreclosures and then call me everyday yelling because the bank has not responded even though I have said over and over again that the bank moves at its own speed and has no attachment to the property. It can take a month or more for a bank to decide whether or not to accept a short pay offer and 80% don't get accepted. There is no one to call and push along, the person that answers the phone at the bank doesn't care if the property sells or not and the listing agent has no control over the speed at which the bank responds.

So, if you decide to take advantage of this market, and it really is the time to buy, understand that not every house on the market is going to be a great deal, that not all sellers are in trouble and HAVE to sell, and that the banks are not easy to deal with. The most common answer you will get from a bank whether you are writing a short pay offer or in escrow and asking for something to be repaired is "NO".

If you would like to learn more about buying foreclosed properties e-mail me now. To view Bank Owned Properties Click here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Record Price Decline

I found this interesting information on CNN Money and thought it worth sharing. This real estate market is not for the faint of heart.
The question is, "How long can this last?" if any one has the answer please let me know. So many people are upside down in their properties right now and wondering if it is worth waiting it out or is now the time to find a way out. Jingle mail is back big time. It is hard to think of making payments on a house that is not worth as much as your mortgage. When is one throwing good money after bad? Is there a moral issue in just walking away from your mortgage? How long does a foreclosure usually hurt one's credit and can you ever get another mortgage? If there are any accountants or loan brokers out there that would like to comment on this please, I welcome your post.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reverse Mortgages

I've had lots of clients ask me, "Heather should I sell this home or should I take out reverse mortgage on it?" and "How does the reverse mortgage work?". Well, first let's keep in mind that I am a Realtor not a loan broker but I will try my best to answer the basics.

1.) WHAT IS A REVERSE MORTGAGE? A "reverse" mortgage is a loan against your home that does not have to be paid back until you no longer live in the home, die or sell your home. With a reverse mortgage, you can take the equity out of your home and not have to worry about monthly payments. The cash can be paid to you in a number of ways:
  • A single lump sum of cash.
  • A regular monthly cash advance
  • As a credit line that allows you to control the amount available
  • A combination of the above

To be eligible for most reverse mortgages, you must own your home and be 62 years of age or older.


AARP has five questions you should ask yourself if you are considering a reverse mortgage. They are:

  • Do you really need a reverse mortgage?
  • Can you afford a reverse mortgage?
  • Can you afford to start using up your home equity now?
  • Do you have less costly options?
  • Do you fully understand how these loans work?

Before you decide whether to take a reverse mortgage or sell your home and rent read the article on the subject on the AARP website. Another good source for information on reverse mortgages is The U.S. Department of Urban Development (HUD).

These mortgages can be VERY expensive and one should give a lot of thought before taking one out. Always talk to a professional money advisor before making the decision.

Monday, June 23, 2008

FHA Lifts The 90 Day No Flip Policy

To help facilitate the sale of bank-owned properties, the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) has suspended its 90‑day rule against flipping properties until June 9th, 2009 for properties acquired by lenders. Under the anti‑flipping rule, the FHA will not insure a mortgage loan if the property was sold within 90 days of the sellers purchase of the property. Foreclosed homes are vacant/abandoned and can harm neighborhoods and delay an areas recovery.The hope of FHA’s new policy is to facilitate the sale of bank-owned properties. However, FHA still requires homes to be “safe, secure, and sound," which isn't always the case with REO (Real Estate Owned) properties.
For more information about the waiver of FHA’s anti‑flipping rule, go to

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Point-Of-Sale Update

BIG WIN FOR REALTORS® ON ENERGY AUDIT/POINT-OF-SALE BILL - The California Association of Realtors and thousands of REALTORS® won their fight in Sacramento. The author of Assembly Bill 2678 agreed to remove the requirement from the measure that would have mandated that homes and commercial property on the market in California undergo an energy audit at point-of-sale and forced completion of energy efficiency upgrades."This is a significant win for every REALTOR®, homeowner, and potential home buyer in the state," said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. "C.A.R. wishes to thank every one of its members who rallied behind our efforts to have these point-of-sale contingencies removed as a way to preserve housing affordability." Way To Go C.A.R.

Quick Facts From C.A.R.

Calif. median home price - April 08: $403,870(Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region April 08: Santa Barbara So. Coast $1,170.000(Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region April 08: High Desert $210,860(Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index - First Quarter 08: 44 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates - week ending 06/12/08 30-yr. fixed: 6.32% Fees/points: 0.7% 15-yr. fixed: 5.93% Fees/points: 0.6% 1-yr. adjustable: 5.09 % Fees/points: 0.6% (Source: Freddie Mac)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Getting A Mortgage In This Tight Market

I was having a conversation with one of my favorite loan brokers, Page Moseley of Premiere Financial and we got to talking about how tough it can be to get a loan in today's real estate market. He told me that "although mortgage rates are up this week, they are still near historic lows. But it is still a challenge to get a loan in this market. Jumbo loans can be a real challenge." Here are a few tips from Page to help you get the best loan in this credit crunch.

1. Figure out what you can afford and if this is a good time for you to buy a home. Mortgage calculators can be found all over the web. Be honest with your figures and you will get a good idea as to your purchasing power. My website has lots of tools and information to help.

2. Use a trusted source. Ask for a referral from a friend or someone who has recently gone through a purchase or refinance. Ask questions, a lot of questions and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

3. Things you are going to need:
· 1 months pay stubs
· 2 years Federal tax returns or W2’s
· 2 months bank statements on all accounts with money ie: savings, checking, money markets and all retirement type accounts.

If you have any questions give Page a call 818-761-6080.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Higher Loan Limits

The House of Representatives has passed reform proposals for FHA, Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae that include the increased loan limits of the economic stimulus legislation permanent. This is very important for states, like California, that have a high cost market. Increased FHA/GSE loan limits are providing a much needed infusion of stability, liquidity and security into the market. If the Senate doesn't insist on higher limits, the recovery will be thrown into a period of additional turmoil.
Don't let the Senate stop progress through inaction. Tell Senators Boxer and Feinstein that realistic and permanent loan limits help all areas of the country and are needed now.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Point-of-Sale Bill Passes Assembly

AB 2678 (Núñez) was passed by the Assembly on a 44-33 vote on Wednesday. Three votes more than the 41 needed to pass. AB 2678 will now go before the state Senate. As mentioned in my previous blog AB2678 would require that all homes and commercial property in California have an energy audit at point-of-sale, and that mandatory energy efficiency investments be made. The California Association Of Realtors strongly opposes the point-of-sale requirements in AB 2678 "because they are not necessary to achieve the bill’s objectives and such mandates will weaken the housing market." If enacted, AB 2678 could add thousands of dollars to the cost of purchasing a home, including up to $400 just to have the home audited.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Are we at the Bottom of the Bottom?

Mary Funk, President of the Southland Regional Association Of Realtors says that "...we may have passed the bottom of this cycle and the worst is behind us." Bless her heart, don't we all hope she is right....And she may well be if the trend keeps going as it has been.

416 single-family homes closed escrow during March, an increase of 16.2% from February. Though sales were down 46% from a year ago, activity has been up since October, March being the 3rd consecutive month with an increase in resale activity.

7,193 properties were listed in the San Fernando Valley at the end of March, up 26.6% from a year ago and up 1.5% from February.
The inventory represents over a twelve -month supply – so buyers it is still your market you should be gettin' while the gettins' good as my Grandfather use to say.

For more information on buying a home in Studio City, Sherman Oaks and the San Fernando Valley visit my Studio City, Sherman Oaks Real Estate web site.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Is an FHA Loan Right For You?

There are many reasons to consider choosing an FHA loan:

  • You are buying your first home.
  • You don't have perfect credit.
  • You don't have a huge down-payment
  • You think you may not qualify for a conventional loan.
  • You don't want high monthly payments
  • You worry about not being able to meet your monthly payment.
  • Down payment can be in the form of a gift from a family member or significant other.

First you should understand that the FHA (Federal Housing Administration)does not actually lend you the money to finance your home instead the FHA insures your loan against defaults. So interest rates and terms are not set and you should shop around for an FHA-approved lender and find the terms you can live with. Your lender/loan broker MUST be FHA APPROVED! You will be required to put down 3% of the purchase price. This can be in the form of a gift from a family member, employer, significant other or a grant. The seller can pay up to 6% of your closing costs but none of your down-payment. There is also a loan limit with an FHA loan another reason to contact an FHA Approved Lender before you start your search for your new home.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Avoid Foreclosure

More and more people in Southern California are seeing their homes being foreclosed on. Some have had the bank take their home and some have just walked away using the "jingle mail' method (mailed the bank the keys to the house). The worst part is that a large number of these people didn't even talk to the bank first. They became paralyzed and felt cornered and were afraid to pick up the phone and see if there were any options open to them. If you find yourself in this unfortunate position call your lender before you give up and mail them the keys. There are a few ways your lender may be able to help you stay in your home. They could set up a payment plan to give you time to catch up on the arrears or they might even be willing to modify the loan to reduce the monthly payment. Don't assume that you lender is the enemy....give them a call you may be surprised at their willingness to help. DON'T put your head in the sand and hope it will all just go away, it won't. For information on how to stop the foreclosure on your home visit How To Stop Foreclosures at my Studio City, Sherman Oaks Real Estate site.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

As if it doesn't cost enough to sell your house!

Your home has been on the market over 5 months and finally you get an offer you can live with. You have budgeted down to the last penny and are taking bottom dollar...a dollar less and you just can't afford to sell. This scenario is taking place every day in Southern California, Sellers that either bought at the top of the market or have already spent their equity by way of a second or a home equity line trying to get out of their homes without resorting to a short pay or worse, foreclosure are being slammed by the failing real estate market. Well, the government now wants to add to your problems by way of California legislation AB 2678 (Núñez) and Los Angeles County's Sidewalk repair program both of which are being rigorously fought by local and state Realtors.

AB 2678 will require ALL residential and commercial properties to have an energy audit at point-of-sale. So now when you sell your home you will have to among other things, replace the toilets with low flow, strap the hot water heater, put on a gas shut off valve, put smoke detectors in every bedroom and every hallway leading to a bedroom, put protective film over any sliding glass doors that aren't shatter proof and if Los Angeles has its way, repair any broken sidewalks in front of your home (see below). The cost of the just the audit is about $400 and if your house fails well that could set you back thousands. Don't get me wrong I'm all for anything green but could the timing be worse?

Program C.F.05-1853 is the point of sale sidewalk repair program - the city makes you repair the broken sidewalk in front of your home and pay for it when the home sells unless the damage was created by a city owned tree.

Feel free to let me know how you feel about this and visit my website for more information on Studio City Real Estate

San Fernando Valley Real Estate


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