Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2008 Midyear Housing Market Video by NAR

Watch the Midyear Housing Market Update Video. 2008 NAR President-Elect Charles McMillan and Chief Economist Lawrence Yun provided Midyear Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo attendees with news on the housing market and when we can expect a recovery.
Watch the Video - click here.

Short Sale Homes in the San Fernando Valley - Warning Signs

Short Sale Homes in the San Fernando Valley - Warning Signs!

Is a short sale home right for you? That would depend on your level of risk and time.

In most cases, short sale homes are also in the pre-foreclosure process. What this means is not only does the home-owner owe more than the home is worth, the owner is also not paying their mortgage payment. When the home-owner has not paid their mortgage in the last 3-4 months, the trustee will file a Notice of Default (NOD) on title. Because NOD's are public information, everybody who monitors foreclosure activity in the area will know this homeowner is in financial trouble.

If after several months after the NOD is filed and the home doesn't sell, the trustee will then file a Notice of Trustee Sale (NOT) which means the property will most likely be foreclosed on in the coming few weeks.

As a buyer, you definitely want to avoid any property with a NOT filed on title. Usually, the listing agent might not even be aware of the NOT and will continue to market the home in the MLS. I would consider these properties repossessed by the bank. It's important that your agent knows the status of the property before you write an offer. A preliminary title report can also provide more information on the foreclosure status.

As a home-buyer buying a short sale home, you want to minimize your risk by taking the following actions:

1. When writing an offer, give the listing agent no more than 30 days to receive a written approval of your offer from all lenders on title. After your offer has been approved, then place the initial deposit in escrow.
2. Do not place more than $500 in escrow in case the property gets foreclosed upon or the seller decides to abandons the home and becomes unreachable.
3. Make sure the owner is responsive and cooperative with the listing agent, bank, and you.
4. Have an addendum drawn up where if one party is unreachable after so many days or if the property is repossessed, that any deposit in escrow to be refunded to buyer.
4. Do not deposit any more money into escrow until your loan has funded.

The only monetary risk which is unavoidable is your home inspection and appraisal fees. Be sure not to initiate these activities until you have received a written approval from the lenders that they have accepted your offer.

Keep in mind that sometimes it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months to receive a response from the bank. In the meantime, keep actively looking for a home. You might find a bank owned home or a home selling from a sellers with a lot of equity.

If you need to make a move within the next 30-90 days, I suggest you avoid short sale homes and pre-foreclosure home.

As always, make sure you are working with a professional short sale specialist.

Written by: Richard Johnston, Remax
San Fernando Valley

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Burbank, Encino Condos & Townhouses

I new real estate site I recently build instantly displays all condos and townhouses in 42 different areas covering the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Conejo & Simi Valley.

The unique aspect of this condo site is you can instantly view the condos without having to sign-in or register. The list is updated daily so bookmarking the site and visiting often will help keep you updated on the townhouse and condo market in the San Fernando Valley.
The largest concentration of condos and townhouses are in the following areas:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Burbank Short Sale - Single Family Home

Burbank Real Estate

2520 W. Pacific Ave., Burbank, CA

Updated Burbank home with 2 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms. Great starter home! Master with attached bathroom, landscaped front yard, updated kitchen with plenty of cabinet space and counter-top, kitchen nook, dining area, living room with fireplace, sliding mirror closets, central A/C, New windows. Property includes two storage sheds.

Corner of Pacific Ave & Frederic St.

Call Richard Johnston, RE/MAX OTB ESTATES

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Low Priced Homes in San Fernando Valley Selling Quickly

Single Family homes in the San Fernando Valley with a list price from $250K to $399K are selling extremely quickly. These are 3 bedroom 2 bath homes in areas of North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys East, Van Nuys West, Reseda, Lake Balboa, Tarzana, Winnetka, Canoga Park, North Hills, West Hills, and Panorama City real estate.

I haven't seen this much activity for homes priced in this range for a very very long time. Bank owned homes and homes being sold by sellers with equity (not short sales) are selling extremely fast. I'm predicting the average days on the market to be no more than 18 days and have as much as 5 offers each.
These homes were priced from $500K to $650K about a year and a half ago. It's not uncommon to see a home priced at 50%-60% off its market value a few years back.

I've also heard that home-buyers can purchase a home in the San Fernando Valley with no money down. This would include applying for an FHA home loan and having the seller or bank credit 3% for the minimum down payment and another 3% for closing costs.
Be prepared for multi-offer situations if you intend on buying homes in the San Fernando Valley in this price range.
If you're a first time home-buyer, this is the perfect opportunity to buy a single family home. If you are intending on waiting for the bottom, you can expect even more competing offers and over-bidding.
Specializing in helping first time home-buyers here in the San Fernando Valley.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who is Most Likely to Buy Foreclosures

Who is Most Likely to Buy Foreclosures

Interest in purchasing a foreclosed home is rising rapidly, according to a survey conducted in April by Harris Interactive for Trulia.com, a real estate Web site.

Here's what the survey revealed about buyers who tend to be interested in buying a foreclosure:

About 60 percent of single/never-married adults are more likely to be at least somewhat interested in purchasing a foreclosure.

About 50 percent of men are likely to be at least somewhat interested compared with 51 percent of women.

Younger adults, ages 18 to 34, are the more likely than other age groups to consider buying a foreclosure with 69 percent expressing interest.

Only 32 percent of adults 55 and older are interested in buying foreclosures.

Source: Trulia.com (05/08/08)

View available foreclosures homes in the San Fernando Vally and Santa Clarita Valley.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Market Update from the National Association of Realtors

Here are a few recent articles from the NAR and other news sources:

NAR Joins in Call to Stabilize Markets
Permanent loan limit hikes needed in new stimulus bill, NAR says

Frank Aims to 'Unstick' Jumbo Loans
Investors are waiting for clarity on pricing before buying larger loans, lenders say.

Fed: Bank Tightening Up by Record
Only nine banks today are making subprime loans, survey shows.

Bernanke Wants FHA, GSE Leeway
U.S. economic health at stake if Congress doesn't act on housing, Fed chair says.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Burbank Real Estate & Homes for Sale

This week I'd like to focus on a very popular area called Burbank. Home to many studios and a hang-out for the entertainment industry, Burbank is a thriving community. Typically, a starter home which consists of 2 bedroom and 1 bath is valued in the low $500's. Keep in mind those homes which border the Burbank airport are priced 10-20% lower than other areas of Burbank.

Here are some real estate statistics for Burbank:
305 Active Properties in Burbank
74 Burbank homes in Escrow
43 Burbank homes have been sold within the past month

The explain the statistics better, active means homes which are available on the market. Escrow means homes which have an accepted offer, and SOLD means homes which have sold within the past 30 days.

The lowest priced single family home with 3 bedroom, 2 bath with 1050 square feet is listed for $398,000. The lowest priced condo in Burbank is listed for $279,000. In my opinion, Burbank is one of the best places to live in the San Fernando Valley. The location is key to the 5 freeway, 134 freeway and 101 freeway. You can also access the westside within a few minutes and Burbank is close to Studio City and Toluca Lake.

View all available Burbank homes for sale.

View all bank owned homes in Burbank.

View available short sale homes in Burbank.

Source: SocalMLS 5/4/2008

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Mortgage Rates Go Up

Mortgate rates went up this week 4/23/2008, but not by much.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 8 basis points, to 6.11 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Foreclosure Update San Fernando Valley

Opportunities highlight buyers’ market

There is much hand wringing, gnashing of teeth and off-the-chart hyperbole by the media and everyone on the backyard cocktail circuit about the current condition of the housing market.
At the risk of sounding incredibly Pollyannaish, Los Angeles real estate will always be in demand, no matter where we are on the up- or down-cycle.

In fact, even with what we believe are sky-high home prices, real estate here remains a bargain worldwide and most likely will resume its upward march in value once this cycle ends.

Just think about what it takes to purchase a home in Tokyo, Singapore or London. And, where some people despair at the end of yesterday’s out-of-control sellers’ market, others perceive opportunity in today’s buyers’ market.

True, first we must help keep people in their homes, sort out the excesses of the past, root out the shysters, and in the end it would be better for all if the housing market was balanced —where neither buyer nor seller held a negotiating edge.

But after years of a one-sided sellers’ market, it’s about time buyers held some leverage and had more choices.

Remember, there is no bell that clangs when the market hits the top or the bottom, so trying to time it generally is foolish.

Here are just a few of the reasons it’s a buyers’ market:

Interest rates are fantastic, down around 5.5 percent and falling, but who knows how long that will last.

• Liar’s loans and no documentation loans gratefully are gone, but lenders are still offering mortgages, especially to those with steady jobs, decent credit and a down payment.

• Jumbo loans of up to $729,750 soon will be available, which could bring some buyers back to the market. However, jumbo loan at the amount will be gone at the end of the year.

• While even now there are examples of properly priced properties attracting multiple buyers, today’s sellers are most agreeable, willing to please, eager to fix broken stuff, open to negotiations.

• Homes that a short while ago were out of reach of many buyers’ finances now may be in the realm of possibilities.

• It’s not nearly as large as what some people believe, but the inventory of homes for sale offers some great choices.

Yes, it may sound like irrepressible optimism to say that now is a great time to buy a home, but it also happens to be the truth.

View available bank owned homes: San Fernando Valley Bank Owned Homes

May 2008 Newsletter

May 2008 Newsletter

Tax Benefits of Homeownership
Fed lowers rates, hints cuts may be at end
Calif.bill requires lenders to maintain foreclosed homes
Mortgage Debt Releif Act
America's Fastest Growing Cities by Forbes.com
Selling Your Home in a Buyers Market
Low-Ball Offers? How Low Can You Go?

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