Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Does Your Realtor Suck Here in Los Angeles?

That's right...I thought I would complain a little about the quality of real estate agents out there. Though I like to treat everyone with respect, their are those agents who should not be in this business.

Here are a few poor behavior patterns you should look out for:

1. Never answers the phone even when you or agents call.
2. Takes more than 24 hours to return a phone call.
3. Never replies to your email or takes more than 24 hours to reply.
4. Puts your listing in the MLS with a poor description and horrible pictures.
5. Makes the property nearly impossible to show.
6. Takes the entire weekend off - every week.
7. Talks down to other agents, you, and the public.
8. Treats you horribly, yells at you, and demands you do things you don't want to.
9. Keeps the property as "Active" when their is an accepted offer.

Remember, if your thinking of selling your home, be sure to have an agreement with the agent that allows you to cancel the agreement anytime for any reason. Nobody likes to be in a unhappy relationship. I don't!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fixers for Sale - Encino, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Burbank

It's only natural that people like to buy a home at a great price. I set off to build some unique websites 6 months ago to help home-buyers here in the San Fernando Valley find what their looking for without having to look through hundreds of properties.

Two unique sites I build are http://www.bankowned.la/ and http://www.fixers.la/ . The bank owned sites instantly displays bank owned properties. The fixers site displays homes which are labeled as fixers. They could be light fixers or complete tear downs.

There are risk involves when purchasing a bank owned home. In most cases the bank will not pay for the Termite work, retrofitting and will also ask you to get pre-approved with them. Banks will also not make any repairs as the homes are sold AS-IS. Though these could be minor expenses, it's best for a home-buyer to have the work checked early enough to make a decision if they want to continue to purchase of the home.

On the other hand, buying a fixer from a seller can be less risky, and you are more inclined to negotiate on the credits even after the agreement has been signed. You can search for fixers in the San Fernando Valley by visiting: http://www.fixers.la/

One important note: No house is ever sold AS-IS. The California Residential Purchase Agreement give you the right to bring as many contractors through the home as necessary. If a problem is discovered, you can either ask for a repair, credit, or simply walk away from the agreement. It's your right! Also, purchasing a home without a professional home inspector is a mistake which can cost you a lot of money.

If your serious about buying a home here in the San Fernando Valley, work with a professional Realtor can make a big difference.

Sincerely,
Richard Johnston, RE/MAX OTB Estates
818-730-4128

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Credit Score & Credit Repair in Los Angeles

I know many home-buyers usually like to look months before they actually buy a home, so it's important to know what the credit scores are and also how to fix any inaccuracies that may exist. It's not easy getting a loan as it was 6 months ago here in the Los Angeles County area.

Having a good job, excellent credit, and some money down can make the difference between getting a great loan, expensive loan, or no loan at all. The rule of thumb when searching for your home is not to search first, but to get pre-approved first.

You definitely don't want to find your dream home and later find out that no lender will loan you the money to buy. Just imagine how heart broken you will be. To save yourself from this tragedy, I suggest everyone to not only know their credit scores, but to monitor their credit report daily.

Here are a few links I can recommend:
MyFice.com Credit Report & Monitoring Service. **FREE TRIAL **

What's your FICO Score


A great credit repair service for Los Angeles County is Lexington Law. They can help improve your credit report by repairing your credit reports legally and affordably.
LexingtonLaw.com - Start repairing your credit for only $39 a month.

Repair your credit - Increase your score

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Granada Hills Real Estate

I've noticed the number of homes labeled as a "Short Sale" has increased dramatically in the San Fernando Valley. If you don't know what a short sale is, it's when you owe more than what your home is worth and you would like to sell your home.

I randomly picked Granada Hills and wanted to display the number of short sales compared to bank owned homes and regular sellers.

Here is what I found.

Date: January 24, 2008
Time: 12:19am
Price: 400K-600K
Bedrooms: 3
Bath: 2
Status: Active
City: Granada Hills
Housing Type: Single Family home

Total # of properties: 118
Total # of short sales: 42

Wow! What this means is that 36% of the homes in Granada Hills are labeled as Short Sales. What most home-buyers don't realize is not only does the seller have to approve the deal, any lender who has placed a lien also must approve the deal - and their could be three. And lets not forget any mechanic liens or tax liens.

If your lucky and get everybody to cooperate, the success rate on a short sale can be slim at best. More problems can arise if your buying the home as an investor or if the owner files bankruptcy.

If your asking what happens to a home if the seller can't sell and ultimately can't afford the home, the answer would be the bank would foreclose on the home, then once listed with a Realtor, it would be displayed on the bank owned real estate site http://www.bankowned.la/ .

BankOwned.LA This site lists all available bank owned homes in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas.

The safest route is to either buy directly from a seller with equity, or directly from the bank. You can find bank owned homes by visiting this link: http://www.bankowned.la/ .

Monday, January 21, 2008

Timing the Market? But Can't Get a Loan?

I just ran into this article written by By Rex Nutting of MarketWatch and posted on the MSN Real estate website. Recently, some of my clients have been unable to get a loan because of what happened to the lending industry about 6 months ago.

Click this link to read the article:
http://realestate.msn.com/Buying/Article_mw.aspx?cp-documentid=5697915

From my past experience, I know many people who visit my websites searching for homes in the San Fernando Valley start looking even before they know what they can and cannot afford. That's OK, but if your thinking of moving within the next 3 months, you definitely want to know what you can afford, and possible you may need the time to correct any errors on your credit report.

If your thinking of timing the market for the bottom, I can suggest you visit my Los Angeles bank owned website for homes in the San Fernando Valley selling for up to 50% off market value. Here is the link: http://www.bankowned.la/

Here are some recent articles you may want to read:
Is it a good time to buy a home in the San Fernando Valley?
5 tips for first time home-buyers.
Short sales suck - agents walking away.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recent Questions I've Been Asked...

Recent Questions I've Been Asked...

Q. What is the difference between Lender Owned, Bank Owned, Bank REO, REO, & Foreclosure?
A. Absolutely nothing. It all means the same thing.

Q. What is a Short Sale?
A. It's when the owner owes more than the house is worth and is trying to sell it short. Some agents even call this transaction a Short Pay.

Q. Where can I find a free list of bank owned homes for sale?
A. Visit http://www.bankowned.la/

Q. How low do you think they will go in price?
A. This would depend on how long the property has been on the market, the agent/broker, the sellers motivation, how much equity is in the property. The bottom line is, you'll never know until you write an offer. Be sure not to low-ball to low as some sellers will discredit you.

Q. I want to buy homes at 50% off market value. Where can I find these homes.
A. Visit http://www.bankowned.la/

Q. Can I use my lender to buy a home?
A. Yes, but I always ask my clients to work with people I know and trust.

Q. Where do you think the market is headed?
A. I'm thinking the market is still in a correction till the 2nd quarter of 2008. I'm also predicting the market will flatten for up to 2 years from there and gradually increase on average of 3-6% a year. Hopefully, the government will raise the FHA limits to allow more Californians to purchase homes with little or no money down.

Q. Will the government bail out the real estate market?
A. I believe the FED will lower interest rates in the coming week. I'm also thinking the lenders will attempt to work with more troubles sub prime borrowers to stave off a long term drag on the economy. Also, raising the FHA loan limits will help.

Q. Do you specialist in bank owned homes?
A. Yes. Keep in mind to be patient when purchasing a bank owned home as the lender can take up to a week to respond to simple requests.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MLS Market Snapshot - Better Than Zillow & Trulia

If you own a home in the San Fernando Valley or Santa Clarita Valley, fill in the MLS Market Snapshot below and you'll instantly view available and SOLD homes near your home.



Here is why my Market Snapshot report is better than Zillow.com & Trulia.com...

Other services may provide a generalized, estimated market evaluation of an average home that has the same basic characteristics as your home. However, such an estimate is only one of many pieces of information you'll need to make the most informed decisions you can when selling your home. Real-Time Market Snapshots also include graphical analysis of important market trends that will place your home evaluation into perspective. These Snapshots give you:

- Real-time data on homes similar to yours in your area that have recently sold or are currently for sale.

- How long specific homes were on the market before they sold, as well as time-on-the-market averages for your area.

- Volume comparisons of recent sales, new listings and total listings.

- Percentages comparison of asking price to selling price for recent sales.

-Average, median and high/low prices for homes that have recently sold or are currently for sale.

This additional information is crucial in helping to price, position and market your home so that you get top dollar when you sell. Sign-up for Market Snapshot now! It's FREE and only takes just a few minutes!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bank Owneds Home Increase 30% in the San Fernando Valley

The number of bank owned homes has increased 30% in the past few months in the San Fernando Valley. Since Sept 23, 2007 the number of bank owned homes has increased 92%. Most notable are the areas that follow and their corresponding percentage increase in the past 2 months.

Woodland Hills Bank Owned Homes experienced a 60% increase in the number of bank owned homes.

Van Nuys Bank Owned Homes experienced a 53% increase in the number of bank owned homes.

West Hills Bank Owned Homes experienced a 116% increase in the number of bank owned homes.

Canoga Park Bank Owned Homes experienced a 76% increase in the number of bank owned homes.
Here is the graph:


There is a tremendous opportunity out there now to purchase bank owned homes in the San Fernando Valley & Santa Clarita Valley for up to 50% off market value. You only need a credit score over 680 and at least 5% down. If you qualify for an FHA Loan, you might qualify for a no money down loan or as little as 3%.

If I'm online, you can chat with me now. Just click the link

818-730-4128 mobile



Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 2008 Real Estate Update - San Fernando Valley

Here is a link to our January e-Newsletter

Don't miss this month's cover story: "SPECIAL TAX ISSUE"

Visit our January E-Newsletter online now by clicking the URL above. Then turn to Pages 2, 3, and 4 for more timely articles of interest to today's sellers, buyers and homeowners.

More Links: