Monday, December 28, 2009

Northridge Homes for Sale

Are you interested to view just listed homes for sale in Northridge?  Here are the most up-to-the minute information on availability.

There are currently 108 single family homes for sale in Northridge and 31 available condos for sale in Northridge.  Of these, 19 are considered Northridge bank owned homes and 41 are Northridge short sale homes.

Purchase a bank owned home is very easy in Northridge.  When writing an offer, keep in mind that the price you negotiate upfront is usually the price you will end up paying.  The home is being sold as-is unless something seriously defective is found with the home. 

On the other hand, buying a short sale home in Northridge can be difficult and time-consuming.  Hopefully, some new regulations will take affect which will shorten the short sale approval process. 

There are currently 12 Northridge luxury homes for sale starting from $950,000.  The most expensive Northridge home currently on the market is $2.3 million. 

An exclusive area of Northridge is called Porter Ranch.  To schedule a time to view available homes for sale, contact Richard Johnston, RE/MAX.  818-730-4128.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)

The U.S. Dept. of the Treasury recently announced the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), which provides instructions for lenders and servicers participating in the Making Home Affordable Program and Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The purpose of HAFA is to create an alternative to foreclosures for homeowners unable to successfully modify their troubled mortgage under HAMP, and to streamline the short-sale process.


A short sale is when the lender agrees to accept less than the amount owed on the mortgage instead of foreclosing. Many homeowners and REALTORS® have expressed their frustrations in the short-sale process, criticizing lenders for the amount of time it takes to process and approve a short sale. The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® listened to members’ concerns, worked with other industry groups, and responded by helping to create provisions to streamline the short-sale process.

The HAFA program simplifies and encourages short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure. It will permit pre-approved short sale terms before a property is listed; release borrowers from future liability for the debt; provide financial incentives to borrowers, servicers, and investors; and prevent servicers from attempting to reduce real estate commissions established in the listing agreement as a condition for short sale approval.

Under terms of the program, the borrower and/or listing broker have three business days to submit an executed purchase offer and related documents to the servicer on a short sale, and the servicer has 10 business days to respond to an executed purchase offer.

The servicer also will determine the minimum net proceeds for a short sale. If an offer presented to the servicer by the borrower or listing broker meets the net proceeds requirement, then the servicer must accept it.

The program currently is available only for non-Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-owned loans up to $729,750 and is scheduled to take effect April 5, 2010. However, C.A.R. expects that many lenders will choose to implement it before the deadline.

Learn more...visit:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just Listed Homes for Sale in the Valley

Here is a cool new site which lists just listed homes for sale in the San Fernando Valley.  You can instantly view just listed homes in the following areas:

Sherman Oaks homes for sale

Encino homes for sale

Tarzana homes for sale

Woodland Hills homes for sale

Studio City homes for sale

Monday, December 14, 2009

Selling Tips for the San Fernando Valley

The best chance for selling your property is within the first seven weeks. Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less the seller will net. Listed below are the five main factors to accomplishing this goal.

Pricing Factor: It is very important to price your property in the San Fernando Valley at a competitive market value right when you list it. The market is so competitive that even over-pricing by a few thousand dollars could mean that your house will not sell. Exampe: Instead of listing your home at $310,000, price the home at $299,000.  It's interesting, but your first offer is usually your best offer. Here are reasons for pricing your property at the market value right from the start in order to net you the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.

An overpriced home:

Minimizes offers

Lowers showings

Lowers agent response

Limits financing

Limits qualified buyers

Nets less for the seller

*New for 2009 & 2010 - Won't get appraised!

Access Factor - VERY IMPORTANT!!!

Top selling agents will not show your home if both the key and access are not readily available. They do not have time to run around town all day picking up and dropping off keys. They want to sell homes.  The harder you make it for an agent to view your home, the less you will net. 

Friday, December 04, 2009

When will Banks Finally Start Foreclosing?

I wonder when banks will start to foreclosure on homeowners?

I  know five home-owners here in the San Fernando Valley who haven't made a single payment to their mortgage companies for the past 15 months and are still living in the home - payment free.  No payment, no taxes, no HOA fee!  Who doesn't like a free ride at the expense of others? How is this possible? 

Thanks to the government and all the money they threw at the banks, banks are in no hurry to recoup the governements their losses.  It's gotten so crazy that Bank of America is returning the governments money because they don't like the restictions being imposed on them.

Read this story about how Bank of America is returning the government's $45 billion.

Nonetheless, I believe there are so many home-owners in default that if the banks moved quickly to foreclosure, home-price would plummet to 1995 levels.  How about a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for sale in Sherman Oaks for $250,000?  Down from a high of $800,000 just a few years ago.  It definitely would have been a reality if the government and politics did not step in.

Who wouldn't walk away?  What level-headed person would continue to pay for a home-loan who's value has fallen drastically and in which the purchase-price may never happen even after 15 years.  I wouldn't!!!

Richard Johnston
RE/MAX Grand Central

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Woodland Hills Homes for Sale

Woodland Hills Homes for Sale
Market Update

There are currently 137 available homes for sale in Woodland Hills, CA.  The lowest priced single family home in Woodland Hills is $306,900 as of November 24, 2009.  The lowest priced Woodland Hills condo is $199,000.

The median sold price in Woodland Hills has fallen 6% from October '08 to October '09 to $482,000.

The monthly supply of inventory has fallen 70.6% during the same time frame.

There are currently 16 available bank owned homes for sale in Woodland Hills and 38 Woodland Hills short sale homes. There are 40 Luxury Woodland Hills homes over $950,000.

Source: Homes.LA & Terradatum

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Toluca Lake Real Estate & Homes for Sale

Are you looking to buy a home for sale in Toluca Lake, CA?  Toluca Lake is a very desirable neighborhood hear in the San Fernando Valley.  Bordering Burbank and Studio City, many celebrities live in Toluca Lake because of the close location to Hollywood and the Burbank studios.

Here is the most recent real estate statistics for Toluca Lake.

There are currently thirty-two properties for sale in Toluca Lake.  Of these twenty-three are single family homes in Toluca Lake and nine are condos and townhomes for sale in Toluca Lake

There is one Toluca Lake short sale home

Average days on the market has fallen 18% since October '08 to October '09.  The medium sold price has increased 3% from October '08 to October '09.  During this time period, the number of homes under contract has increased 143%.  The number of new properties listed per month has decreased 61% from the same time period.

If you own a home in Toluca Lake and want to see what's has sold near your home, visit our Toluca Lake home value report page.  Thank you.

Source: Homes.LA & Terradatum
Toluca Lake Mobile Notary

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mortgage delinquencies hit record high

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reseda Homes for Sale

Are you looking for Reseda homes for sale?  There are currently fifty-three single family homes for sale in Reseda and twenty-three Reseda condos and townhomes for sale.

There are nine bank owned homes in Reseda and thirty-five short sale homes in Reseda.  Bank owned homes are classified as homes which have been repossessed from the previous owners and now is owned by the bank.  Short sale homes are homes which the owner owes more than the home is worth.   Keep in mind that short sale homes are mostly likely pre-foreclosure homes in which the owner has stopped paying the mortgage payment.  Usually the home-owners are still living in a short sale home.

If you own a home in Reseda, you can find the Reseda home value report here.

Reseda Notary Service

Sunday, November 15, 2009

San Fernando Valley Luxury Homes

Are you looking to buy a luxury home here in the San Fernando Valley.  You can use the following links to view million dollar luxury homes.  Prices start from $950,000.

Encino Luxury Homes and Estates
Sherman Oaks Luxury Homes and Estates
Tarzana Luxury Homes and Estates
Studio City Luxury Homes and Estates

To view more areas, click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HomeBuyer Tax Credit Plan - Los Angeles

HomeBuyer Tax credit plan

The homebuyer tax credit expansion measure includes these provisions:

• Extends the $8,000 first time Homebuyers Tax Credit and creates a new $6,500 tax credit for homeowners buying a new home by July 1, 2010.

• Homebuyers with contracts as of April 30 qualify for the credit so long as they close the transaction within 60 days.

• The full credit is available to homebuyers with incomes of up to $125,000 for a single return or $225,000 for a joint return.

• Not available for homes costing over $800,000.

• Homebuyers who already own a home are only eligible if the home they are leaving has been used as a principal residence for five consecutive years in the last eight.

• Provides authority to the IRS to provide greater oversight while processing the return and requires that the taxpayer claiming the credit be 18 or older.

• Members of the military, military intelligence and foreign service who are on qualified extended official duty are not subject to the recapture fee and individuals who have been deployed overseas for 90 days or more in 2008 or 2009 can claim the credit through April 30, 2011.

“Realtors® appreciate the swift action by Congress to extend the homebuyer tax credit and expand it to some current homeowners,” NAR President Charles McMillan says.

“The substantial rise in home sales we’ve seen over the past few months proves that the tax credit is working and is being used by buyers who were waiting for the right opportunity to get into the market,” McMillan says. “This important incentive is helping to stabilize the housing market, stimulate the economy and create new jobs in communities all across our great nation. Extending and expanding the home buyer tax credit will enable even more families to take advantage of current low interest rates and affordable prices to invest in their future through homeownership.”

Please consult with your tax professional for tax advice.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Burbank Homes for Sale

Burbank Real Estate & Homes for Sale

There are currently 101 active homes for sale in Burbank.  Of these, 8 are Burbank bank owned homes and 16 are Burbank short sale homes. There are 10 luxury homes in Burbank priced over $950,000.

Burbank real estate statistics:
The montly supply of inventory from October '08 to October '09 is down 61.4% for single family homes in Burbank, CA

The average days on market has decreased 21% during this time frame to 47 days.

The number of homes for sale has fallen 52%.

From the graphs above, the supply of homes available for active buyers has been reduced dramatically because more homebuyers in Burbank are in the marketplace.

Source: Homes.LA, Terradatum


Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended

Obama Signs Extended Tax Credit into Law

Expected to contribute approximately $22 billion to the economy, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan measure this week extending the $8,000 home buyer tax credit to April 30, 2010.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tarzana Real Estate

Here is the latest real estate market update for Tarzana, CA.  Monthly supply of inventory for single family homes in Tarzana is down 67% from a year ago.

The median sold price for single family homes in Tarzana has jumped 76% in the last year to $825,000.

According to Homes.LA San Fernando Valley Real Estate web-site, there are a total of 88 active single family homes for sale in Tarzana

Quick Links:
Tarzana Luxury Homes and Estates
Tarzana Short Sale Homes / Pre-foreclosure
Source:, Homes.LA

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is it a Good Time to Buy a Home?

Is it a good time to buy a home here in the San Fernando Valley?

That would depend.  It's hard to lump sum all buyers into one category when everyone is different, and what might be a good time for one buyer might not be for another.

If you're a first time home-buyer looking to buy a home in the San Fernando Valley, you probably have already missed the boat.  Why?  Because the number of available bank owned homes is down dramatically, and short sales homes are taking 4-6 months to close with multiple offers. 

It's important to note that the bottom end of the market, single family homes priced between $250K to $400K, has already compacted and going up in price.  In fact, I believe there are 15 buyers for every home in this category.

Homes priced between $400K to $729K are about to bottom out if not already done so. If you're a buyer looking to buy a home in the San Fernando Valley in this price range, you better move fast.

There appears some flexibility of homes priced over $729K. 

If you own a home here in the San Fernando Valley, be sure to get my market snapshot report. This free report details active and sold homes near your home in the San Fernando Valley.  Plus, you'll get updated every few weeks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Encino Real estate Market Report

Here is the market update for Encino Real Estate .  The number of homes for sale in Encino has fallen 37% since September of '08.  Median sold price has fallen 14% to $683,500 from $799,000 during this time period.  The number of homes in escrow has risen 18%.  Average days on market for a home in Encino is around 38 days.

Here is the breakdown of active home for sale in Encino:
Encino Luxury Homes and Estates - 75 active homes
Encino Short Sale Homes and homes in pre-foreclosure - 23 active homes
Encino Bank Owned Homes - REO and Foreclosures - 3 active homes
Encino Single Family Homes - 97 active homes
Encino Condos and Townhomes - 39 active condos

Currently there is a total supply of 136 active homes for sale in Encino.

If you own a home in Encino, visit Encino home values to get your free market snapshot report.

Source: Terradatum, Homes.LA, Realtytech, SOCALmls
Data as of October 27, 2009
Encino Notary

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Home Sales on the Rise

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Los Angeles Notary

If you are in escrow and can't make it to the escrow company to sign your loan documents, you can have a Los Angeles Notary pick up the documents from the escrow company and meet you at your home or office. This helps save time, money, and best of all the cost is the same.

A great notary I can recommend is Swan Johnston. She provides professional mobile notary service in the areas of Encino, Burbank, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, and most of Los Angeles County.

Call 818-694-9777 for an instant quote!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The Los Angeles City Council has approved the boundary changes which will move a section of Van Nuys into Sherman Oaks. This change was approved by the Council on July 15, 2009. The boundaries are as follows:

Eastern Boundary - North side of Burbank Blvd., West side of Hazeltine, North side of Califa/Tiara.
Northern Boundary - North side of Califa/Tiara This boundary includes the residences on Vesper Street which may have addresses on Oxnard Blvd. Califa St is located along the western end of the north boundary. The street does not have passage through to Sepulveda Blvd. which is the western boundary. A boundary line is extended from the northwest corner of the intersection of Califa and Halbrent to Sepulveda Blvd. to the west.
Exclusion - East and West side of Van Nuys Blvd., consistent with the current exclusion from Magnolia Blvd. through Burbank Blvd.
Western Boundary - East side of the 405 Freeway.

Sherman Oaks Real Estate
Van Nuys Real Estate

Friday, May 29, 2009

Housing Prices Pick Up in California

As the biggest residential property market in the United States, California often serves as a bellwether for the nation's economic health. And new research from that state suggests that housing prices nationally could start to rebound relatively soon.

The latest data, including two consecutive monthly gains in the median price of existing homes, has some industry officials hopeful that the state housing market has finally reached a bottom and is poised to recover from a prolonged period of declining residential values.

In April, California's single-family median home price rose 1.4 percent to $256,700. While that is still off by more than 36 percent from April 2008, the 540,360 homes sales on a seasonally adjusted annual basis reflect an increase of almost 50 percent over the same period, according to the state’s REALTORS® group.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Jim Carlton (05/29/09)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

$8000 Tax Credit Can Be Used As Down Payment

Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday said that the Federal Housing Administration is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.
Previously, most buyers wouldn't receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Condos and Townhouses for sale

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Valley Village Real Estate

Valley Village Real Estate Market Update
April 30, 2009

The number of homes for sale in Valley Village is down 37% compared to a year ago this March for single family homes. What this means is that home-buyers are starting to purchase single family homes in Valley Village. The graph below indicated this trend.

The number of homes under contract (pending-in escrow) in Valley Village has increased 56% compared to a year ago this March for single family homes in Valley Village. This is the result of home-buyers writing offers on Valley Village bank owned homes and Valley Village short sale homes. The graph below illustrates this trend.

There are currently 48 available homes for sale in Valley Village. Of these homes, 12 are considered Valley Village short sale homes and 7 homes are Valley Village bank owned homes.
Also, there is a total of 21 condos and townhouses for sale in Valley Village.
If you are interested to purchase a home in Valley Village, it's important you work with a Valley Village realtor. A Valley Village real estate agent will know the area and can help you pinpoint your next dream home. If you are a home-seller in Valley Village, be sure you sign-up for my Valley Village Market Snapshot report. This report lists Active, Pending, and SOLD homes near your home.
Written by: Richard Johnston, Rodeo Realty
Valley Village Real Estate Realtor Professional
Graphs by Terradatum
Valley Village Notary Service

Monday, April 27, 2009

Granada Hills Real Estate

Granada Hills Real Estate & Market Update
Granada hills is located in the San Fernando Valley, North of Los Angeles. Granada Hills borders the north and south of the 118 freeway and left of the 405 freeway. Northridge / Porter Ranch borders to the West.
Half of the homes in Granada Hills are in some stage of pre-foreclosure. When buying or selling Granada Hills distressed homes, be sure you are working with a professional.

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 24, 1915 - Armenian Genocide Day

Today we remember the Armenian Genocide day - April 24, 1915 where close to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire now known today as the Republic of Turkey.

To learn more about the atrocities committed against the Armenian people, visit:

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's Your San Fernando Valley Home Worth?

What's Your Home Worth in the San Fernando Valley?

Instantly view Active and SOLD homes near your home now. This services is directly tied into our MLS system so you will receive the most accurate information available.

Friday, April 17, 2009

California Home Prices Looking Steady

Median home prices in California slipped less than a half percent in March compared to February, a sign that the state’s troubled housing market is stabilizing, according to MDA Data Quick, which tracks housing prices.

The firm said the market was similarly stable in January and February.

"History suggests that these are the kinds of signs you see when a market is approaching stabilization in terms of pricing," Data Quick spokesman Andrew Lesage says. "Are we at the bottom? That's not clear."

Source: The Associated Press, Jacob Edelman (04/16/2009)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Under-Priced Homes in the San Fernando Valley

It's getting quite obvious that homes are being priced considerably below market value in order to drum-up offers and a quick sale on homes in the San Fernando Valley. REO agents are notorious at pricing bank owned homes at ridiculously low prices then selling for considerably higher amount.


To generate a quick response and multiple offers from buyers in order to sell the home quickly and for a higher amount. The belief is that if you price the home below market value, the number of buyers will increase considerably driving the selling price above what the home would have actually have sold for if it was priced at market value.

Why should this affect me?

From what I've personally seen, home-buyers still have the perception that the prices listed can be negotiated below the list price. This may be true on homes priced above $600,000, but on homes below that, it's not uncommon to see multiple-offers and over-bidding. In most cases, it takes a quick phone-call for a status update on a home and an idea of what the home will probably sell for.

As in any market, you need to be realistic as far as what's happening in the marketplace. A professional San Fernando Valley Realtor will be able to educate you on what to expect based on your price range, location, and amenities of the home (bed, bath, pool, etc...). Please listen to your real estate agent for professional advice.

As the triangle graph illustrates, more buyers purchase their properties at market value than above market value. If you price your property at market value, you are exposing it to a much greater percentage of prospective buyers and you are increasing your opportunity for a sale.

Northridge Real Estate

Northridge Real Estate Market Update

Here is the most up-to-date market update for the Northridge area.

There are currently 186 available homes for sale in Northridge, CA. Of these homes, 29 are Northridge bank owned homes and 84 homes are Northridge short sale homes. Short sale homes are also considered pre-foreclosure and distressed homes.

Additionally, there are 33 condos for sale in Northridge and 16 Northridge luxury homes priced from $950,000.

Homes north of Rinaldi are considered Porter Ranch homes.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Has the Market Bottomed Yet? Yes & No!

It's becoming an all too familiar question. Any time I talk to someone about the economy, it always brings the question, "When will the real estate market hit bottom?"

Based on what I have seen during the past 10 months, the lower end of the housing market did bottom out in the 4th quarter of '08. What this means is that homes priced between $250,000 to $400,000 have bottomed out and the number of buyers looking to purchase homes in this price range far outstrip supply. Multiple offers and overbidding are the norm in this price range for the Valley. Bank homes are selling within days and short sales have multiple offers.

BTW, it's not uncommon to now see cash buyers. Yes, that's people who are paying all cash.

Homes priced above $400,000 to $600,000 are starting to bottom-out as more buyers are entering the marketplace. If you fall into this price range, you better hurry-up and buy a home now as the number of buyers will increase greatly. Interest rates are around 4.75% with 20% down.

I believe homes priced above $950,000 to $2Million will probably decline in value another 10-20% before bottoming out at the end of the year or 1st quarter of '10. If you fall into this price range, I suggest starting to look for a home around Thanksgiving and purchasing by the end of the year. You can view these San Fernando Valley luxury homes here.

Overall, the San Fernando Valley real estate market seems to be in a lot better shape than last year. We have an excellent tax credit for first time buyers, low interest rates, and only 3.5% down needed to purchase a home with an FHA loan.

As always, don't believe everything you read or hear. Real estate markets are local and comparing all of Los Angeles or California will not help you to understand what is happening in the local market (Sherman Oaks, Encino, Tarzana, etc...).

Written by: Richard Johnston, Rodeo Realty

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Stated Income Update by Jeff Fink, LA Mortgage

Studio City Luxury Homes & Estates

There are currently 64 Studio City luxury homes and estates for sale priced from $950,000. Currently, the most expensive home on the market in Studio City is priced at $9,995,000 for a 7 bedroom, 10 bath home.

The graph above displays that the number of Studio City luxury homes is down 32% in March '09 compared to a year ago. What this means is that more home-buyers are entering the marketplace and snapping up luxury homes.

The number of homes in escrow is down 9% in March '09 compared to a year ago. The number of homes in escrow has increase over 70% during the past 4 months. This indicated that the luxury home market in Studio City might be turning around because of the low 4.75% 30 year fixed interest rates.

Do you own a home in Studio City? Instantly view active, pending, and sold homes in your neighborhood now. Don't be left wondering what your neighbors house sold for in Studio City.
Visit this link:

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Top 10 Home Buyer Tips for Short Sales

Top 10 Home Buying Tips For Short Sales – A Guide To Understanding Short Sale Foreclosure Real Estate by Todd Foust and Jennifer McNamara

Modern homebuyers will inevitably come across one or more properties currently classified as a short sale. A short sale is an attempt by the current owner to sell a home in lieu of the bank taking it back through foreclosure proceedings, thus partially salvaging their credit rating and lifting the burden of heavy mortgage debt. The entire short sale process hinges on the hope that the bank will take a loss now, approve the sale, and eliminate the costly process of foreclosing, clearing, and reselling a home. Obviously, this is a big hope on behalf of prospective homebuyers as well and they need to understand some things in order to lessen the chance for disappointment of unapproved short sales. This is what they should know:

1. Price is usually set by the agent & seller, not bank:

The agent and seller often create a very low asking price in order to attract buyers. The bank is normally unaware of the asking price; however, the bank has the final say in what an acceptable offer will be. Since the bank has the power to ultimately accept or deny offers, their lack of price awareness often leads to the process taking longer than anticipated. The bottom line is that the buyer needs to remain positive and patient throughout the entire process, sometimes even for months.

2. Loans owned by 1 bank usually better than 2:

If the seller has loans owned by two different banks it is a lot more difficult to approve the short sale. This is something the agent or the buyer cannot control; it simply depends on the willingness of the bank or banks involved. While the reasons are beyond the scope of this guide, buyers should know that when the seller only has loan(s) with one bank the short sale often becomes more buyer-friendly. A savvy Realtor can let you know this type of information.

3. Lowball offers get slow or no response:

Remember that the bank is typically unaware of the pricing during a short sale. When lowball offers stream into the bank they are often scoffed at and rejected, giving the prospected buyers little or no feedback. Surprisingly, it may also take painstakingly long to hear back even on good offers due to the high volume of transactions lenders are inundated with these days.

4. Agent must check comparables before submitting offer:

The agent must be sure to check recent home sales in the area to give buyers a better idea of the properties that are selling. This will give the agent and the seller appropriate grounds for an asking price that will be more likely to be approved by the bank. Checking comparables will also give the buyer a better knowledge of what price homes in the neighborhood are selling for and ultimately make them a more informed homebuyer.

5. Don’t hang your hat on the property:

Short sales aren’t necessarily "short." It can sometimes be a very long process. Don’t get your hopes up for just one property, keep your options open and continue to actively look at multiple properties. Buyers must remain optimistic, the right property will come along. In most areas it is completely legal and risk-free to have multiple offers out at any given time with the proper contingencies.

6. Sellers with other properties or too strong of financials may not qualify for short sale and/or may be asked to pay the difference:

Sellers that own more than a handful of properties or have an extremely large net worth will probably not be eligible for short sale. In some cases the seller will be asked to pay the difference of the sale. The seller might even need to sign a promisary note stating that they will pay back all or most of the debt. This has virtually no effect on the buyer as long as the seller cooperates.

7. "Approved" prices are quickest:

It is important to remember that short sales are not always timely; however, making an offer on an "approved short sale" can be a quicker process. An "approved short sale" has a price that has already been given the green light by the bank. This could be due to the fact that another interested buyer made an offer that was approved, but didn’t end up buying the property. These types of short sales are some of the most highly desirable.

8. Some banks look want strongest buyers, some want strongest offers:

The bank has all the power in approving short sales. The bank can pick the most appealing buyer, which may mean different things to different banks. Some banks may prefer the buyers with large down payments while others just want the highest price regardless of down payment. Many buyers want to know if they will get a deeper discount for an all cash offer. This is very hard to predict and one will never really know until they make an offer. As long as the buyer is surrounded by a good team we would advise them to do just that.

9. Repairs are seldom done, credit is more frequent:

If there are improvements that need to be made on a home, even if they are necessary to get a loan, it is often unlikely that they will be done. Typically there is some sort of credit issued and the buyer must take the responsibility of fixing anything that is broken.

10. When you get approval, must close on time:

During a short sale there is no leniency with the closing escrow date as there often is in a traditional sale. During a short sale, exceptions are rarely made and the buyer must close on time. Because of this, it is important to take care of all loan paperwork immediately after opening escrow. We’d advise buyers to be extra prepared and try to have the loan finalized a few days in advance of the closing date. If there is going to be an issue that will prevent closing on time, a request for an extension will need to be made immediately. If the request is made early enough, many banks will grant an extension but don’t just assume it will happen.

Short sales can be a great opportunity to find your new home at a competitive price. A Short sale could also be a major headache that lasts for months. It is important to have a good understanding of the factors that lead to a successful short sale to make it an enjoyable and profitable experience. We hope that these tips will help you to remain positive and optimistic throughout the process.

To view exclusive short sale homes in the San Fernando Valley, be sure to visit this link:

Friday, April 03, 2009

2009 Homebuyer Tax Credit

The homebuyer tax credit is one of 10 key provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama into law on Feb. 17, 2009.

The bill provides for a $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

San Fernando Valley Luxury Homes

San Fernando Valley Luxury Homes

Are you in the market to purchase a Luxury home in the San Fernando Valley? You can instantly view the most exclusive homes for sale in the valley.

Click the link to view available homes for sale priced from $950,000

Sherman Oaks luxury homes and estates

Studio City luxury homes and estates

Encino luxury homes and estates

You can also view available Tarzana luxury homes and Toluca Lake luxury homes and estates.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Northridge Real Estate Market Update

Here is the latest market update for Northridge, CA. Currently there is a total of 230 Northridge properties for sale. Of these homes, 38 are Northridge bank owned homes and 119 and Northridge short sale homes. Short sale homes are also in some stage of pre-foreclosure.

There are currently 41 Northridge condos and townhouses.
Here are some graphs to illustrate the level of activity for Northridge.

The graph above illustrates the number of for sale properties in Nothridge. In the past year from March '08 to March '09, the number of homes for sale per month has fallen 39%. Home-buyers are taking advantage of the current market conditions and buying homes at prices last seen in '03.

The graph above illustrates an increase of homes under contract by 54% from March '08 to March '09. This is the result of buyers taking advantage of the current market conditions.

If you are interested to purchase a home in Northridge, call Richard Johnston with Rodeo Realty at 818-730-4128.

If you own a home in Northridge and would like to see active and sold homes near your home, visit:

Graphs provided by: Terradatum

Market Update - Recent Quotes by Industry Professionals

Housing affordability has soared in recent months, while mortgage rates have sunk to at a record low.

Here are some recent quotes concering the real estate industry:

“Prices are so low, we’re starting to see that," says Marc Savitt, President of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. “In our area, you’re at the bottom.”

“There are encouraging signs that we're near a bottom,” says Nomura Securities Chief Economist David Resler.

“We're seeing a tremendous uptick in activity.” says Savitt, who estimates business is up 50-60 percent from a year ago.

“The hardest hit areas—California, Florida—hinting at a bottom,” says economist David Jones.

“There’s a lot of good sentiment in the air,” says David Olson, a former head of research at Freddie Mac who founded Access Mortgage Research, which provides data to lenders. “I talk to them everyday.”

We are close to the bottom,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. ”Once home sales begin to rise that could boost home buying confidence and get others off the sidelines.”

"Home sales had been surging in California, thanks to steep price declines and foreclosure sales." says Diana Olick CNBC. "I do believe that buyer traffic is picking up, and if we believe the reports, so are sales."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some "Stimulating" Thoughts

Some "Stimulating" Thoughts
By Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR Research

January home sales were down, no doubt due to worsening economic conditions. Job losses have accelerated, household wealth from home values and stock markets has tumbled, and consumer confidence was dismally low. In addition, with so much discussion about the stimulus package since the November election, some serious buyers have been holding back for clarity and certainty regarding the stimulus package before acting.

Now that the stimulus package is passed, home sales, perhaps, will begin to turn around. We are very pleased with the housing stimulus measure of the up to $8,000 home buyer tax credit for first-time buyers. This clean tax credit (without the need to repay) can lift home sales by 300,000 before it expires in December 1st. The additional sales to first-time buyers will also trigger a chain reaction of trade-up and trade-down buyers. Furthermore, the restoration of a higher conforming loan limit means that more people can have access to low mortgage rates. The greater use of TARP funds for TALF operations will also help to keep mortgage rates at historically favorably levels. These policy measures - now certain - should bring buyers to the market.

Supply Inventories generally increase in January after the holiday the season, but they declined 2.7 percent to 3.6 million from 3.7 million in December. The pace of new fresh listings has been dropping, so even with a decline in sales pace, the total listings on the market fell in January. Despite fewer homes on the market, the lower sales activity pushed up the months' supply to 9.6 months. But the 3.6 million homes for sale is the lowest inventory count in two years.

Foreclosure moratoriums in several states and by several major lenders may have contributed to the decline in addition to sales consistently being higher than the new fresh listings showing up on the market since the peak inventory at 4.6 million in July of 2008. A sharp cut back in homebuilding is also lessening inventory build-up. Higher sales resulting from the stimulus could bring months' supply down to 8 months before year's end - which would be consistent with home price stabilization. We should not expect an immediate bump because home buying process takes 3 to 5 months before getting the keys to the house.

Prices: As far as home prices rising, that will likely take longer. The current home price is the lowest since March 2003, but we should careful in reading the data. The high prevalence of distressed home sales and of those in the lower price range has skewed the median price markedly lower than under normal market conditions. Distressed sales, as defined as foreclosed properties or those requiring lender mediated short sales, account for about 45% of all sales. The inventory of distressed properties is much lower -- about 25% of listings. This indicates that buyers are fighting over deeply discounted prices associated with distressed properties. Our internal preliminary analysis suggests that non-distressed properties are holding their value much better. In either case, however, prices and interest rates are reasonable, and housing opportunities have become quite attractive.

One thing is for sure. The economy will not be able to recover in a sustainable way without home price stabilization. As long as home prices continue to fall - that is, if they over-correct significantly beyond what can be justified by fundamentals of mortgage rates, income, and rent metrics - the economy will hemorrhage. Housing demand must first rise to help clear the inventory, which will then help stabilize home prices. Stable home prices, in turn, will lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth and job creation.

It Will Take Time: It is a buyer's market for sure. Buyers have everything going for them: 50-year low mortgage rates, wide inventory selection, tax credit for first-timers, and a record high affordability index. The only thing they lack is confidence. Even so, rising affordability has been associated with rising home sales even in times of recession because about 90 percent of the workforce would still have jobs. Assuming 20 percent of the households with jobs are filled with anxiety about losing those jobs, that still puts us at 70 percent of the workforce with stable employment who can respond to housing incentives. But the home buying process requires several months, from Internet searches for homes, to visiting open houses, to finding the mortgage, to conducting a home inspection, and a myriad of other related activities. Therefore, the kick from the stimulus will not show up in the data until at least May, for which the data will be reported in June/July.

A Potential "Fly" in the Ointment: While most of the media chatter has been about the provisions in the stimulus package, there is another issue on the table. There is a proposal to limit mortgage interest deduction among very high income households, supposedly in order to raise tax revenue and reduce the size of the budget deficit. NAR's position is that this is a wrong-headed policy that will worsen the U.S. economy and thereby lower U.S. tax revenue. Falling home prices beyond the levels that can be justified will lead to consumer spending contraction, rising foreclosures, rising re-default rates on modified loans, and further destruction in the bank balance sheet. Neither the stock market nor the economy can recover in a sustainable way without home price stabilization. Any changes to mortgage interest deduction will apply more pressure for home prices to fall.

NAR has completed a white paper on the impact of the proposed change in the mortgage interest deduction. The bottom line is that middle-and- lower income homeowners will get hit, along with higher-income households in terms of additional destruction in housing equity. Yes, the federal deficit must be addressed. But trying to go after a sector that is hurt and down is a wrong-headed measure yielding counter-productive results. The lawmakers must focus on reviving the housing sector from significantly over-correcting in order to get the economy back on track.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Distressed Homes

Underwater Owners May Keep Walking Away Housing economists are growing increasingly worried that home owners whose properties are underwater will stop trying to pay their mortgages and just walk away.

In all, the total value of U.S. residential properties fell to $19.1 trillion in December 2008 from $21.5 trillion in December 2007. About 52 percent of Nevada mortgages are underwater, followed by 32 percent in Arizona and 30 percent in both Florida and California, according to researcher First American CoreLogic.

"Should the downward spiral in home prices, neighborhood condition, and equity deterioration continue, more and more mainstream borrowers are likely to walk away from their homes," Credit Suisse said in a December report.

Source: Reuters News, Lisa Baertlein (03/17/2009)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

FHA Home Loans in the San Fernando Valley

FHA Loans Become Popular Choice Newly discovered FHA loans, which require low down payments but charge higher interest to borrowers with lower credit ratings, have quickly become a wildly popular choice for home buyers.

The loans require a down payment of only 3.5 percent, while conventional loans require down payments of 10 percent or higher.

However, the products also are drawing some unfavorable comparisons to now-abolished subprime loans.

Finance professionals, however, stress that unlike the infamous subprime mortgages of years past, FHA lenders go out of their way to verify income and ensure that they are not approving "liar loans."

Source: Palm Beach Post (Fla.), Jeff Ostrowski (03/16/09)

Richard's Notes: Getting an FHA home loan is like a double-edge sword. One one hand, the home-buyer can qualify for a home-loan with a minimum down payment of 3.5%. On the other hand, FHA offers are being pushed-aside by sellers who prefer to sell their homes to buyers who have at least 10% down.

Homes priced between $250,000 to $400,000 are selling very quickly in the
San Fernando Valley real estate market. If you are a first time buyer or investor, expect multiple-offers. Bank owned homes are selling within days with multiple offers, over-bidding, and cash offers.

If you are considering purchasing a home with an FHA home loan, the chance of having a successful purchase increases if you are purchasing a home over $450,000. For a professional consultation, please call me.
Richard Johnston, Rodeo Realty

Monday, March 16, 2009

Foreclosure and Renters

Foreclosures Can Be Real Nightmare For Renters

The National Association of Home Builders says nearly 40% of today's foreclosures involve residential properties that are being rented out by their owners. That means many renters are now at risk of losing their leases and being forced to move with little warning.
Learning the status of a property you are about to rent is important before you sign a rental agreement. One approach is to ask the landlord to show you a recent statement verifying up-to-date payments.

Another approach: While the landlord may ask for permission to run a credit check on you, you can also ask for permission to check his or her credit report showing payment history.
Still another way to ensure you won't be forced out of your home: Buy your own! Give us a call to find out how far your rent check would go toward purchasing a home. It's just a call -- no obligation! Contact Richard Johnston , Rodeo Realty 818-730-4128

Granada Hills Homes

Granada Hills Real Estate
There are currently 195 homes for sale in Granada Hills. Of these homes 101 are Granada Hills short sale home and 58 are Granada Hills bank owned homes.
Granada Hills is located in the San Fernando Valley. Home prices range from the mid $200k's up to $1.8 million. The area most desirable to home buyers is north or Rinaldi. If you are looking for Granada Hills condos and townhouses, we have those too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Amestoy Estates

Amestoy Estates in Encino

Here is a list of homes in Encino, CA which are located in the Amestoy Estates area. The list below is updated daily or you can bookmark this post.
To view more Encino homes for sale be sure to click here.
Some history about Amestoy Estates in Encino.
Largely tucked away from the hustle and bustle of its major boundaries — White Oak Avenue on the west, Ventura and Balboa boulevards on the south and west, respectively, and Killion Street on the north — the one-square-mile area is shielded by trees often reaching 80 feet high, and devoid of signs, creating an aura of anonymity. The privacy is heightened by interior streets, many ending in cul-de-sacs.
What stands out about the roughly 575 properties (excluding the apartments and condominiums on the periphery) is their scale and the typically large lots. Sprawling ranch-style homes are the norm, built with facades of stone, brick and wood, and three-car garages.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Burbank home for sale - Market Update

There are currently 145 properties for sale in Burbank as of March 9, 2009. Of these homes, 14 are Burbank bank owned homes and 36 homes are Burbank short sale homes. There are currently 50 Burbank condos for sale.

Burbank is one of the most popular areas of the San Fernando Valley. Are you looking for a Burbank realtor? Call Richard Johnston, Rodeo Realty 818-730-4128

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bankruptcy or Foreclosure?

The Obama housing plan may have some unintended consequences: some people may decide to choose bankruptcy over foreclosure. CNBC's Diana Olick has the details.

You can save your credit from foreclosure by choosing to short sale your home. You can view available short sales in Burbank, Studio City, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, and Sherman Oaks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Housing Assistance Plan for the San Fernando Valley

Expect to Hear More on Housing Assistance Plan The Obama administration is considering plans to subsidize mortgage payments for owners facing financial troubles and allow underwater homeowners to refinance. Plans are likely to be announced Wednesday.

The refinancing proposal is expected to include a test that troubled homeowners could use to prove eligibility before their mortgage becomes delinquent.

The administration also is expected to endorse a cram-down plan that will allow judges to modify mortgages during bankruptcy procedures. And it will push for legislation that will remove obstacles that prevent mortgage servers from modifying troubled loans.

Mortgage giants Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. have halted foreclosures until Obama announces details on these plans.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Deborah Solomon and Robin Sidel (02/14/2009)

Short sale homes in pre-foreclosure in the San Fernando Valley
Bank Owned homes in the San Fernando Valley

Thursday, February 12, 2009

$7500 Tax Credit - San Fernando Valley

Stimulus Advances With Tax Credit Changes
The $790 billion stimulus package hammered out by House and Senate conferees late yesterday afternoon drops the repayment feature on the home buyer tax credit

Foreclosures on Hold While Stimulus Crafted
Home foreclosures are slowing as lenders wait for Congress to approve the stimulus package.

Richard's notes: I do believe that the number of San Fernando Valley foreclosures (bank owned homes) is 10-15 times greater than what is displayed in the Realtor MLS system and what is considered available 'Active'. What this means is that REO agents have been instructed to not expedite the eviction process thus reducing the number of available bank owned homes on the market.

I believe the banks with the financial backing of the government, are preventing home prices from falling further by not saturating the marketplace with bank owned homes. Realtors seem to be gunning for bank owned homes rather than short sale homes because the success of a closed escrow is higher.

Real estate agents who specialize in listing bank owned homes (REO agents) seem to be pricing the homes to sell within a week.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


The Los Angeles County Assessor's office is alerting homeowners that various private companies are sending mailings to property owners offering their services to pursue a reduction in the owner's property taxes. The companies may charge hundreds of dollars to file for a reduction in value on behalf of the property owner. Some companies also are imposing late fees if the application is received after an arbitrary deadline. 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.

In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that allows a temporary reduction in assessed value when a property suffers a "decline-in-value." A decline-in-value occurs when the current market value of your property is less than the assessed value as of January 1. The assessed value is the value shown on a property owner's most recent property tax bill. Typically, an application from the property owner is required to initiate a review of the property's value by the Assessor.

What's Your Home Worth? Find out instantly now!
San Fernando Valley & Santa Clarita Valley Home-Owners Only.

Senate OKs $15,000 Bonus for Home Buyers

Senate OKs $15,000 Bonus for Home Buyers Housing could get a big boost from the latest addition to the mammoth stimulus bill working its way through Congress.

Senate legislators unanimously approved a proposal Wednesday that would allow a tax credit for home buyers of 10 percent of the value of new or existing residences, up to a $15,000 limit. Current law provides for a $7,500 tax break but only for first-time homebuyers.

"It is time to fix housing first," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-G.

Isakson's office said the proposal would cost the government an estimated $19 billion. In all, the stimulus is now topping an estimated $920 billion.

In an op-ed that appears in Thursday’s Washington Post, President Barack Obama painted a dire picture if Congress fails to move quickly to pass the stimulus bill.

"This recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse," Obama wrote in the op-ed titled, "The Action Americans Need."Source: The Associated Press, David Espo (02/05/09)

Buy a bank owned home in the San Fernando Valley.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Banks in Real Estate

Banks in Real Estate

Let's first thank the banking industry for putting this country in a hole, then asking the country to give them more money to put them in another hole. That's what makes America great.

I can remember in the not to distant past that the banking industry was trying to get into the real estate industry. Aren't we glad they didn't? Just imagine the chaos we would be in today. Home values would probably be worthless and we would be in a great depression.

These local banks are still trying to flex their muscle in the real estate industry today. By asking buyer's to get pre-approved with their loan officers. Another word, if the bank owns the home, then they will ask the buyer to get pre-approved with their loan officer at the local bank.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Home Owners Association (HOA) San Fernando Valley

A potential risk I recently encountered was two folds. One was the building was build and the units sold during the height of the real estate market and the other issue was the building had construction defects and the HOA had hired an attorney to address these issues with the builder.

Because most lenders are now requiring a condo cert, the chance of the home-buyer to obtain a home loan was zero. The list of problems the building had was large including water leaks and mold. Also, I was told that one-third of the home-owners where no longer paying their association fee because of pre-foreclosure or foreclosure.

Even if my buyer was able to obtain a loan on the condo, it's possible the home-owners would have been assessed a specific amount to cover lost HOA fees from owners who no longer were paying their monthly dues. There could also be a large assessment for costs to cover the damage to the property until the issues where resolved with the builder (can take years).

If you are considering purchasing a condo or townhouse in the San Fernando Valley, it's important you are working with a professional who can foresee potential problems quickly.

One way to avoid getting yourself into a situation where you might be assessed is to purchase a condo or townhouse in an older building. Another way to protect yourself is to ask questions from other home-owners in the building.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Encino Bank Owned Homes - REO

Market Update for Encino

There are currently 141 properties for sale in Encino. Of this number 27 are Encino bank owned homes and 36 are Encino short sale homes .

Encino is considered the Beverly Hills of the San Fernando Valley. Sherman Oaks is located to it's East, Tarzana to it's West, and Van Nuys / Lake Balboa to it's North.

If you are looking to purchase a condo in Encino, you can view a free list of condos and townhouses for sale in Encino. There are currently 46 condos and townhouses for sale in Encino.

To recieve market and school reports in Encino, visit this list:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Surprise! The Market is HOT!

If you are a first time home-buyer, you better get prepared as the bottom end of the real estate market in the San Fernando Valley is hot and only getting hotter. Single family homes priced from $250,000 to $400,000 are selling quickly and in most cases with multiple offers.

With interest rates hovering at 5%, we can expect more buyers to enter the marketplace.

Waiting for a short sale to be approved is a lose-lose proposition for any home-buyer. You must continue to write offers on other short sale homes or you run the risk of never purchasing a home. It can take anywhere from 2-4 months for a short sale to be approved.

With new homes entering the marketplace every day, it doesn't make sense for anyone to sit and wait. The best bet is to write an offer on a bank owned home. The benefit of purchasing a bank owned home is that you'll know within a week if the home is yours or not.

If you owe more than your home is worth and are interested in selling, be sure you are working with a short sale specialist. I've seen many deals fall apart because the listing agent has no clue on what they are doing and this could cause the home to be foreclosed on and a lose-lose situation for everybody involved.

Written By: Richard Johnston, Rodeo Realty
Short Sale Specialist

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sherman Oaks Real Estate Homes

There are currently 252 properties* available in Sherman Oaks as of January 16. There are ninety Sherman Oaks condos for sale and thirty Sherman Oaks Bank owned homes .

Sherman Oaks is one of the most popular areas of the San Fernando Valley. It is bordered by Studio City to it's east and Encino to it's West. Van Nuys or as some would like to call it "Valley Glen" borders it's North.

An exclusive area of Sherman Oaks is called Chandler Estates. If you happen to drive through Chandler, you will notice some of the nicest and most expensive homes in Sherman Oaks.

Another prime area of Sherman Oaks is homes located south of Ventura Blvd. For those of you who don't know where Sherman Oaks is located, Sherman Oaks is located behind Beverly Hills.

* Information obtained from

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Crooked REO Agents

In today's market, lots of home-buyers are searching for a great deal on a bank owned home. But what most don't realize is that the listing agents on these bank owned homes are trying to double-end the deal so they can profit from not only the buying side but also the listing side.

It's a shameful act that REO agents are putting profits ahead of their clients (the banks). Though I'd like to point out some names here on my site to expose these crooks, I go by the belief that what comes around...goes around.

If you believe that the listing agent is putting profits before their clients best interest, you can file a compliant at our Southland Association of Realtors website:

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