Tuesday, December 21, 2010

San Fernando Valley Bank Homes

Are you looking for a list of available bank homes for sale in the San Fernando Valley?  Visit San Fernando Valley Bank homes for a daily updated list of available bank owned homes.  Keep in mind that bank owned homes are also labeled as foreclosures and REO. 

If you are ready to actively search for bank owned homes for sale in the San Fernando Valley, call Richard Johnston at 818-730-4128.
Bank Owned Homes List

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

5431 Cedros Ave., Sherman Oaks, CA 91411

Sherman Oaks Home on
5431 Cedros Ave., Sherman Oaks, CA 91411

Listed at $550,000

I just listed a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home in Sherman Oaks.  You can learn more about this new listing in Sherman Oaks by visiting this link:

You can also call me for a private viewing: 818-730-4128. 
I'm the listing agent for this home.
Richard Johnston
Exclusive Estate Properties, Inc.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Armenian Pop ► Razmik Amyan feat. Lilit Hovhannisyan - Qonn Em Darcel [P...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tiko Asatryan

Friday, November 19, 2010

Credit Score Requirements Stifling Borrowers

Despite record-low interest rates, an increasing number of Americans can’t afford to buy a house.

The nation’s two largest mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., have raised the minimum required credit score on FHA-insured loans to 640 from 620.

Requiring a 640 credit score excludes about 15 percent of FHA borrowers, FHA commissioner David Stevens said.

Such a high limit will further delay a recovery in the real estate market, says Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of REALTORS®.
Source: Bloomberg, Jody Shenn and John Gittelsohn (11/17/2010)

Brentwood Notary - Mobile

A notary in Brentwood is an impartial witness.  A notary may never notarize his/her signature or notarize for a spouse or domestic partner if the notary has an interest in real property.

A signer must appear in person before the Notary Public for every notarization.  Please be sure to sign the document in front of the notary.  A notary in Brentwood may not take an acknowledgement if the document has blank spaces (incomplete document).  The signer should label spaces that doesn't apply as "N/A". 

When hiring a notary in Brentwood, it's important to work with a competent notary in order to minimize any future potential issues.  Call 1-888-810-4054 for a Brentwood Notary now.  Same day service is available at no additional cost. 

Written by: Richard Johnston, Notary Public
I also serve areas of Santa Monica, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Century City, Beverly Hills and more!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HUD1 Short Sale

When dealing with a short sale, once a agreement has been reached between a buyer and seller, the escrow company will prepare a HUD1 which will need to be submitted with the short sale package to the lender(s) for approval.

Because it can take anywhere from 4-6 months to get an approval on a short sale, many things will happen.  For one, the late payments will add up including late fees.  Second, the seller might also stop paying the property tax and HOA monthly fees.

When the lender does finally approval the short sale, the HUD1 will need to be updated to reflect the additional fees, late payments, etc...  In most cases, the bank will absorb these charges.  In some instances, the bank will not pay the late HOA fees.  Every situation is unique and will require a skilled short sale negotiator to facilitate communication between all parties.

Written by: Richard Johnston
Short Sale Specialist
San Fernando Valley
818-730-4128 Mobile

Friday, November 05, 2010

[02] Elon Sarafian - Karotel Em Qez

Monday, November 01, 2010

Van Nuys Notary

It's strongly recommended that if your government issued ID (Driver license) has expired or has incorrect information (address change), you should go to your local DMV to update the information as soon as possible. 

 If your ID has expired and you need to have a document notarized in Van Nuys, you will need a whitness to certify that you are who you say you are and sign my notary book.  This person is putting their good name on the line.

Contact a Van Nuys mobile notary service 1-888-810-4054

Monday, October 25, 2010

File for Bankruptcy, Save Your Home?

By defaultresearch Published: October 25, 2010

There is a lot of advertisement and talk about how, if you file for bankruptcy, you will be able to save your home and avoid a looming foreclosure. While this may seem like a good plan, it very well could be the law offices that are touting it more than anyone else, because it brings them a lot of business in this current economy. Even so, it is worth exploring, if you are in a position of needing to take action that will save your home from foreclosure.

When it comes to filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is important to realize that this route is one that still has you paying off all your debt. So, if not being able to afford all your bills was an issue, then this route may not be all that helpful. This form of bankruptcy is for individuals and businesses, and allows the person to propose a repayment plan on all their debt.

While it will usually save the debtor money in the long run, it does not eliminate any debt that they may have. All in all, Chapter 13 bankruptcy could help to save a person’s home from going into foreclosure.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an option only individuals can file for, will eliminate outstanding debt so that the person never has to pay it off. However, not everything is included in that debt, some things, such as school loans for example, cannot be included, so those will still need to be paid off. When it comes to the person’s home, some states do allow for a home exemption, which would keep the home from being lost in the bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy, whether Chapter 13 or 7, is not a perfect system. For those who are considering this option as a way to save their home, the best route is to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to explore the options. The bottom line, however, is neither will save a home if a mortgage continues to go unpaid.

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« U.S. Pending Home Sales Rise 4.3%

Saturday, October 16, 2010

30-Year Mortgage Rates

Freddie Mac reports that the average interest on 30-year fixed mortgages slipped to an all-time low, for the third consecutive week, to 4.19 percent.

At the same time, 15-year fixed-rate loans and the five-year adjustable-mortgage rate both also hit record lows. Rates on the former were 3.62 percent, while the latter averaged just 3.47 percent.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nathan Becker (10/15/10)

Richard's Notes:  Appraisers need to wake up and stop appraising homes below market values.  I've seen countless times home-buyers writing offers on homes and the seller taking the best and highest offer only to find out later the house is not appraising for such an amount.

It's important that sellers choose an offer with a buyer who has a decent amount of money down in case the house doesn't appraise.  This deal can still be made because the difference could either be covered by the buyers down payment or the seller can reduce the selling price to help accommodate.  Either way, with a buyer with a reasonable down payment, their can be some level of negotiation. 

When a buyer is only investing the minimum 3.5% FHA loan down payment, if the appraisal doesn't come in at what the buyer is willing to pay for, the lender is NOT going to loan the money.  This is also important for listing agents to price the home accordingly and work with offers that are reasonable.  Taking the market conditions into account, choosing the highest offer is not the smartest choice.

Work with a professional real estate agent in the San Fernando Valley can make the difference between selling your home or listing your home.  You don't want to list your home, you want to sell it, right?

Written by: Richard Johnston, 818-730-4128

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Westwood Notary

If your loved one is in the hospital and needs to sign important documents ( Power of Attorney, Affidavit, etc...) in order to transfer their right to you in-case they might have a life-threatening emergency, it's important to have those documents signed in front of a notary as quickly as possible.

Be sure the signer has a valid picture ID or they are two identifying credible whitnesses with a valid picture ID.  A few of the hospitals I've performed notaries are at Sherman Oaks Hospital and the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Hospital in Westwood Village, CA. 

Time is of the essence when it comes to having important documents notarized.  If the signer is unable to communicate or is unaware of what is going on, the notary can refuse to notarize the document(s).  Luckily, the notary I performed today in Westwood, CA had a signer who was aware before her surgery. 

If you're looking for a Westwood Notary, call 888-810-4054.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Michaels Arts & Craft Encino

I Stopped by the Michaels Arts and Craft Store today in Encino after showing a few million dollar homes in Encino. What a great store! 

I was walking through their picture frame isles and was suprised at the quality and selection.  This place puts Aaron Brothers Art Frame to shame.  They have a 40% off frame sale going on.  The quality is excellent and you get alot more for your money.  I bought two frames.  Increadible deal!

I believe they just opened their store a few months ago at this present location.  The place is very clean and well organized.  Plenty of sales associates to help out.

Here is their address:
17230 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91316-4008
(818) 783-7970

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Northridge Notary

Finding a reliable Northridge notary can be a challenge.  On one hand, you need the documents notarized correctly.  On the other hand, you need someone who can get there within 30 minutes. 

If you have been putting off having your documents notarized in Northridge, your wait is over.  Travel fee can be waived for six or more signed documents.

To find a Northridge Notary, call 1-888-810-4054.

Monday, October 04, 2010

WalkScore - Why It Helps You Choose the Right Home

72 is the walkscore out of 100 for my home here in Sherman Oaks, CA.  On average, I would have to walk a few blocks to get to the local supermarket, gas station, pizza store, etc...

To test the walkability of a few addresses near my home, I discovered homes which are located closer to supermarkets, gas stations, and coffee houses fared a higher score than those further away from me.  The closer home to the supermarket received a WalkScore of 78. 

WalkScore estimates that a score of 70-89 is considered very walkable.  What exactly this means is probably you can walk to the local supermarket or any store catoring to the general public within a few blocks or less.

What is WalkScore? Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address.

You can see what your WalkScore is by visiting this site: http://www.walkscore.com . By the way, all the available properties for sale on my San Fernando Valley real estate site has a WalkScore automatically inserted. 

Banks Stop Foreclosures - Review Documents

It appears that the major banks have put foreclosures on hold....

Improper foreclosure procedures are throwing another curve ball at the troubled mortgage industry.
Regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have told seven major banks to review their foreclosure procedures after Bank of America and Wells Fargo joined JPMorgan and GMAC (now known as Ally Financial) in freezing their foreclosure processes.

Banks that regulators contacted include HSBC, Citigroup Inc., PNC Financial Services Group Inc., and U.S. Bankcorp (USB).

Simultaneously, title insurer Old Republic National said Friday it would stop insuring the sales of homes foreclosed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. or GMAC Mortgage until questions about documentation are cleared. An inability to get title insurance could bring home sales to a halt.

Source: The Wall Street Journal (10/01/2010) and Reuters News (10/03/2010)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Close Escrow in a Week in San Fernando Valley

Are you planning on buying a bank owned or short sale home with an all cash offer?  The great news is that you can close escrow in as little as a week.

There are many benefits to being an "All-Cash" buyer.  The first and best is that the seller might accept your lower offer knowing you can close in a week and without the issues of an appraisal and difficult underwriting guildlines a lender will have.

Here are some of the benefits...
  • No appraisal inspection/appraisal review issues or delays
  • No loan or underwriting issues or delays
  • Parties having the option to waive certain reports or inspections that they are not interested in paying for, that a lender may require as part of the loan process
  • The buyer paying less money in closing costs

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stop Paying that Second Mortgage

If you're upside down on your home and have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, it would be smart to stop paying all the loans on your home including the second mortgage.

Usually, it's the second mortgage who has taken a higher risk and in return, they have jacked-up the interest rate above 9%.  I've seen some home-owners paying over 11%.  They are the lender who is most likely to walk away with nothing if you foreclose and the same lender who will strong-arm everyone involved to get some of that money back if you decide to short sale (Usually 10% of loan amount).

Like most people, if you've tried to modify your home loan but have failed repeatedly, your alternative is to hire a local real estate agent to short sale your home.  If you continue to pay the second loan, you are actually making it harder for your agent to present a case that you can't afford the home.

It's usually the second mortgage holder who is usually doing the most threats.  I've heard them all.  Keep in mind you have rights in Los Angeles County and nobody can throw you out of your home without first going through the foreclosure process.  

Don't wait until it's too late to have a successful short sale.   You're still okay up to 4 months of non-payment but if you wait to long, then you run the risk of not being able to have a successful short sale.

If you're thinking of short selling your home in the San Fernando Valley, call Richard Johnston 818-730-4128.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Los Angeles Notary

It took over three months, but I'm now a Los Angeles certified notary.  Years ago when I applied for my notary license, it took about one month to get my certificate and then order the stamp.  Now, expect about 3-4 months delay. 

I really didn't expect it to take this long.  There was no mention about how long it would take to get our test results, commission number, etc..  Not even the Secretary of State website made a mention to the time frame.  I had to call and ask and most times the number was busy.  I was notified my email about three weeks after I took the notary exam that I had passed.  Expecting to get the documents in the mail within a few weeks, it took another few months.

With all the budget cuts, an alternative would be to raise the price or have those who need their notary license ASAP pay an additional amount.  This way, those notaries will not have to wait as long as the others who may do notary signing a few times a year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Los Angeles River - Horibble Smell

If you've driven or walked over the Los Angeles River, you probably have smelled this horrible stench.  What in the world!!!  Is this really a river?  More like an outdoor sewer dumb disguised as a river. The stench is really bad and the smell isn't just when you're close to the river.  I can smell that river 200-300 feet away. 

I mean, I have to cover my mouth when I ride my bike anywhere close to that river.  What in the world can be in that water?  People need to stop dumbing!

If you don't know about the Los Angeles River, click this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_River

The river generally borders the 101 freeway and starts in the San Fernando Valley.  I wonder which got built first?  The concrete river or the 101 freeway.  Nonetheless, living next to the river or freeway can decrease the value of the home.

Because this is a real estate blog for homes in the San Fernando Valley, I must let you know that if you are thinking of buying a home near the Los Angeles River, you must know that the river has a stench which increases during certain months of the year.  Actually, the river smells bad all year long.  One way to get an idea of how much the river smells is to talk to people who live next to the river.

Generally speaking, homes close to the Los Angeles River are sold at a discount.  When buying a home in the San Fernando Valley, it's important to discuss what situations can lower the price of the home.  You may be buying in a strong seller's market and disregard some potential future issues.  These issues can have a financial effect if you decide to later sell in a buyer's market. 

Please consult with your local real estate agent for professional real estate advice.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Most Fiscally Irresponsible Government in U.S. History

Friday, August 27th, 2010, 11:04 am

Source: US News

There is an instinctive conclusion among the American public that President Obama's stimulus package has failed to create a sustained recovery.

Unemployment has increased, not declined; consumers have retrenched; housing starts have crashed along with mortgage applications; and there is a fear that a double-dip recession may very well be in the pipeline.

The public perception, reflected in Pew Research/National Journal polls, is that the measures to combat the Great Recession have mostly helped large banks and financial institutions, and that's a view common to Republicans (75 percent) and Democrats (73 percent). Only one third of either political leaning thinks government policies have done a great deal or a fair amount for the poor.

Read more here...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are You a Renter? Here are the Facts

Report finds one quarter of renters never plan to own a home

A new report by Trulia.com finds that 27 percent of renters surveyed indicated they do not plan to ever purchase a home, while 68 percent said it would be more than two years before they do.

Of the 68 percent of renters who plan to someday purchase a home, nearly 80 percent said there are factors that could inspire them to purchase within the next 12 months. Factors cited included: Able to save enough for a down payment, 47 percent; got a new job, 28 percent; interest rates stay low/get lower, 27 percent; decide it makes more financial sense to buy instead of rent, 24 percent; got a promotion/raise, 23 percent; and local real estate market stabilized, 9 percent.

According to the study, 72 percent of American adults still believe home-ownership is part of their personal American dream. Additionally, 23 percent of those surveyed said their attitude toward owning a home has grown more positive over the last six months.
Source: Trulia.com
Richard's Notes: I'm sure you know of someone who has lost their shirt in the real estate meltdown thanks to the government who was asleep at the wheel and the greedy banks who didn't bother to check the paperwork they lent money on.  There are many reasons to jump ship and buy your first home but only after speaking with a real estate agent.  Because most all agents are on commission, if you want the best insight without the pressure, offer to pay the agent for their professional advice.

Pretend and Extend

Pretend and Extend

Pretend and extend has been the game of the federal government and the banks for several years now concerning the housing market.  It's not unheard of to meet home-owners who have been living in their home RENT FREE for over two years.

But this pretend and extend game has encompassed even those home-owners who have stopped paying their mortgages long ago.  The real game is being played with people lives, emotions, and families.  These so called modification programs which were originally designed to help home-owners stay in their home has FAILED.  The plan was to modify their loans to affordable levels to keep the home-owner from walking away or short selling their home (short sale).

In my opinion, the home affordable modification program has failed.  The biggest reason is that the modification does not reduce the principal balance of these loans.  This is crucial to fix the housing market as most of these homes will still be in the red a decade later.  Think about that for a minute.  There is a large chance your home will still be in the red (negative equity) a decade from now.  Who likes to throw good money at bad?  Not you I hope!

Banks and the federal government love the Pretend and Extend game.  Here's is why:

1. Banks are slow to foreclose and even during modification (HAMP), they are asking for some monthly money.  They don't show a loss on their books so that really misleads the public who thinks this housing market is turning around.

2. The less they foreclosure, the less homes are on the market.  This prevents homes from losing more of their value thus causing a more sever downward spiral on home-prices.  Agents who list bank owned properties are notorious with playing with people's time and money. 

3. The government who in my opinion, has forgotten to govern.  I don't understand why they are encouraging people to apply for failed modification plans which they know that the whole system is a plow to pretend and extend.

Listen, if you've tried to modify your home-loan and find yourself running around in circles with lost paperwork, failed modifications, failed promises, rude and disrespectful bank employees, you have two choices:
1. Stay in your home as long as possible to play the pretend and extend game.  Where the bank proceeds to foreclosure, hire an attorney so you can pretend and extend the game a little longer.

2. Hire a local real estate agent to help you get off the pretend and extend game and into reality.  Let's face it, your home isn't going to go up in value like it did several years ago.  Why throw good money at bad and find yourself in a short sale situation years from now with a home that's still worth less that what you bought it for.  Stop extending the problem and solve it today.  Better now than later.

Thanks for reading.  If you or someone you know is tired of the pretend and extend game, give me a call so we can work on solving your problem today.

Richard Johnston
Exclusive Estate Properties

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Santa Monica Mobile Notary

If you're planning to buy a home in Santa Monica, it's important to work with a local Santa Monica Mobile Notary specialist to help get your loan documents signs quickly and efficiently.  A mobile notary can pick up the loan documents from the Santa Monica escrow office and later drop them off signed and complete. It's that simple and it will not cost you any more than what the escrow office will charge you.

Notary.LA caters to homeowner and businesses of Santa Monica.  They are locally based and can meet you at your home or office in Santa Monica and nearby areas including Brentwood, Malibu and Century City.

The cost to have a document notarized is $10 a page per signature.  It's important to have a valid picture ID. 

Friday, August 06, 2010

Foreclosure program's failure disappoints

July 30: Chris Hayes highlights the utter failure of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in helping to alleviate the foreclosure problem in America.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Los Angeles Real Estate News

In the news...

Credit rescoring can help you qualify for a mortgage
Rapid rescorings by independent, legitimate firms use procedures approved by the three major credit bureaus and can help correct errors or omissions that are dragging down your scores.

Sellers should ensure that condo projects are on approved list for FHA mortgages

Condominium owners who are trying to sell in today’s agonizingly slow housing market should make sure that their community is on the Federal Housing Administration’s approved list. Ditto for someone who is thinking about refinancing a condo
Talking Points

Federal foreclosure-prevention programs have been expanded to encourage delinquent borrowers to avoid foreclosure by streamlining the short-sale process. In the new program, participating lenders now are required to advise eligible sellers of the minimum amount they will accept for the short sale prior to the house being listed for sale. If the seller secures an offer for the agreed price and meets the lender’s terms of the short sale, the lender must approve the proposed sale within 10 days.

Another component of the new streamlined process requires the property to be listed with a licensed real estate professional who works in the community where the property is located. However, homeowners should be aware that because short sales require the bank to accept an amount less than the amount due on the mortgage, lenders may not approve a short sale, even if the price is comparable to recent sales in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Luxury Homes for Sale in the San Fernando Valley

Luxury Homes for Sale in the San Fernando Valley

Burbank Luxury Homes - Starting Price is $3,400,000

Calabasas Luxury Homes - Starting Price is $25,000,000

Encino Luxury Homes - Starting Price is $7,495,000

Glendale Luxury Homes - Starting Price is $2,990,000

The luxury real estate market has taken a big hit this past year with home-prices dropping fast and hard.  Wealthy individuals are considering strategic defaults in order to escape their money losing asset.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Notary in LA

Are you looking to get your document notarized in Los Angeles? 

A traveling notary is unique in which they come to you.  It will save you time, money, and best of all, you'll get it done.  Keep in mind not all notaries work on the weekend or after hours.  A traveling notary can meet you after work, at work, home, coffee shop, etc...

It's best to try to schedule a traveling notary a day in advance.  Some notaries can meet you within 30 minutes if they are in the area.  Be sure to ask if a short notice will result in any additional fees.  Currently, a notary can only charge $10 a page per signature.  If two people are signing one document, the charge would be $20. 

There are only two documents a notary can certify.  A notary cannot certify a copy of a driver license, social security card, passport, etc...

From experience, popular areas that request traveling notaries are Burbank, Encino, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Granada Hills. 

Call 1-888-810-4054 for a San Fernando Valley Notary.

Short Sale Secrets - Los Angeles Short Sale Homes

The short sale process is very complex, and I recommend only a licensed real estate agent (Realtor) handle your short sale.  Run if anybody asks for money upfront to handle your short sale in Los Angeles.

Listing your home on the market is important because the objective to getting the short sale process started is to find a buyer willing to pay market price for your home.  The word 'Market Price' is very important.  Let me explain...  Once your real estate agent puts a short sale package together and sends it to your lender(s) for short sale approval, they will eventually hire an appraiser to appraise your property.

It's important to choose an offer which will come close to what the home is really worth.  If the buyer tries to act smart by offering more than what the home is worth, then you'll both run into appraisal problems later.  Your agent, through experience and market knowledge, should price and accept offers which come close to what the home is really worth and going to sell for.

Obtaining this information is easy for a real estate agent (Realtor).  Realtors have access to real estate information not yet available to the general public and it's usually the same information an appraiser will see.  An appraisal will view three comparable sold homes near your home, one active, and one pending (in escrow). 

The most important objective is getting an offer in and having your agent submit the offer to the bank(s) for approval.  It doesn't really matter if that buyer decides not the buy your property later, you want to get the offer in and the process started. 

Later if the buyer decides not to buy your home for whatever reason, you have an approval from the bank and you'll know their bottom line as to what is the lowest offer they will take.  That's golden information which your real estate agent can use to relist your home as a short sale approved home.  At that point, finding another buyer will be quick and the home will most likely be sold in 45 days or less.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

North Hollywood Short Sale Homes

There are many strategies involved when writing an offer on a short sale homes.  The most important step is to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who has sold many short sale properties for both buyers and sellers.

What you want to remember the most is that even though you write an offer on a short sale home and the seller accepts, it doesn't mean the lenders will approve your offer or the deal will every happen.  Write an offer and move forward.  Don't hang yourself up on one short sale home.  

A professional short sale agent will structure the offer in such a way to protect your interest and money in-case the deal falls through.  For one, don't do a home inspection or appraisal until you have a written confirmation from all lenders on title that the offer will be accepted. A short sale addendum protecting your interest should be used.

I've seen many buyers and sellers work with agents who don't know the ins and outs of selling a short sale home.  If you've found yourself homeless after many attempts with your current agent, call me for a free consultation.

Richard Johnston
Exclusive Estate Properties

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

18183 Sundowner Way ,Unit 846, Canyon Country, CA 91387

Just Listed!
3 bedroom - 2 bath condo in Canyon Country

Only $140,000 - GREAT INVESTMENT - FHA Approved

Thursday, April 22, 2010

$10,000 California Tax Credit May Go Fast!

The $100 million allocated for California's first-time homebuyer tax credits may be depleted in about 10 to 20 days or sooner, according to C.A.R.'s Economics team. California's Franchise Tax Board (FTB) plans to begin accepting applications on May 1, 2010 for tax credits up to $10,000 for first-time homebuyers and for homes that have never been previously occupied. However, the total tax credit allocation for all taxpayers is $100 million for first-time homebuyers and $100 million for new homes, both on a first-come, first-served basis.

C.A.R.'s forecast of 10 to 20 days to deplete the $100 million allocation for first-time home buyers is based on estimated May sales figures and other parameters. It does not take into account the possibility that buyers scheduled to close escrow in April may delay closing until May to take advantage of the tax credit. If a shift in closings from April to May occurs, the first-time homebuyer tax credits may be depleted even more quickly than indicated above.

Applications for the California tax credit must be faxed to the FTB after escrow closes. The FTB will update its website when the 2010 application form and other information become availablee.

Please consult with your tax advisor for more information.

Search for Homes in LA

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Homes in LA

Is your company relocating to Los Angeles and you need a real estate agent? 

Here is a list of available single family homes for sale in Los Angeles. 

You can instantly view available homes for sale. Visit: Homes.LA

Monday, April 12, 2010

Short Sale Success Secret for Los Angeles Homes

Here is a list of short sale success tips for Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley...

1.  If you are short selling your home, it's important that you are very cooperative with your real estate agent.  Your agent will need to request documents from you in order to prove to your lenders that you are in a distressed situation.  Time is of the essence!  Better short sale than have your home foreclosed upon.

2. Tell your real estate agent how many loans you have on the home.  It's also important that your San Fernando Valley real estate agent order a preliminary title report just in case there are liens on title that you are unaware of.

3. You will need to list your home on the market in order to find a buyer willing to write an offer.  Once an offer is written, your agent will prepare a short sale package and with your written permission, send over the package to your lenders for approval. 

4. After a few months, the lender will send a appraisal or another real estate agent to perform a broker price opinion (BPO) on the property.  It's important your agent is there to make sure the appraiser can get a clear picture of the home so the home doesn't have any appraisal issues.  Keep in mind to not under-price the home or that buyer is going to be upset they have to pay more!

5. Your real estate agent, that would be me :-) , would have to follow up on a weekly basis for updates and coordinate everything.  If you don't want your house foreclosed on (ruin your credit and chance to buy another house in a few years) listen to your agent.

Above all else, it's important you choose the right San Fernando Valley short sale agent.  That's where I come in!  I specialize in short sale homes and home-owners who are in a financial mess.  No need to panic.  Life is too short.  Give me a call so I can understand your situation and offer sound advice.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Valley Glen homes - Foreclosures, Short Sales - Bank Owned

Valley Glen Homes

Here is the latest market information for Valley Glen including the number of bank owned and short sale homes for sale.

There is a total of 30 active homes for sale in Valle Glen.  The lowest price home is listed for $175,000 and the most expensive home currently is on the market for $999,999.  A 3 bedroom 2 bath home in Valley Glen generally sells in the high $300,000 to low $400,000.  Homes priced up to $650,000 are selling quickly in Valley Glen.

If you're thinking of moving to Valley Glen, it's important you speak with a Valley Glen real estate agent for an update on market activity in this area of the San Fernando Valley. 

Thanks for reading!

Richard Johnston, ReMax

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

North Hollywood Homes for Sale

North Hollywood Homes for Sale
Real Estate & Market Update

Are you thinking of moving to North Hollywood? North Hollywood is located east of Van Nuys / Valley Glen, and North of Valley Village (part of North Hollywood). Studio City is just south of Valley Village but in reality, North Hollywood borders Studio City and Burbank is on it's east.

Homes located in Valley Village are priced higher than other areas of North Hollywood because of it's close proximity to Studio City.  You can search for Valley Village homes for sale to get an idea on the difference between homes for sale in Valley Village and North Hollywood.

There are currently 137 active homes for sale in North Hollywood.  Active homes are homes which are still available for you to purchase.  Homes labeled as back-up are sold and in escrow.  So if you view a home labeled as back-up, keep in mind the home is sold and the agent is looking for another offer in case the first offer falls-through.

There are 136 home in escrow in North Hollywood.  That's an amazing number but it shows that homes are sold but not closing escrow quickly enough.  In the last three months, only 125 properties have sold.  In the past one month, only 31 homes have actually sold.  Homes generally take 30-40 days to close.  Because of the number of short sale homes, it's taking anywhere from 4-6 months to close. 

Monday, April 05, 2010

Los Angeles Notary

Los Angeles Notary Service - Notary in LA

We recently expanded our professional notary service to cover Ventura County and parts of Los Angeles.
Here are the new areas we provide mobile notary service too.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Foreclosures and Their Effects on Home Owner Associations (HOA)

As more and more people default on homes, HOA or Homeowner Association's continue to remain under funded as defaulted homeowners cannot pay their fees. Generally speaking people will stop paying their HOA fees before they stop paying their mortgage. As the foreclosure process proceeds, arreared HOA fees can add up for months. As more and more property owners are unable to pay their HOA fees, the association must dip into their reserve account to cover their costs.

Many associations are now facing fast depleting or already depleted reserves. This is a very large problem for existing homeowners and prospective purchasers. To cover their costs, HOA must increase their dues to cover this gap and rebuild their reserve. To further compound this problem, reserves are to be used to cover regular maintenance of lawns, pools, facilities, buildings, etc. But due to fiscal shortages, much needed renovation and maintenance is not being done, leading to mosquito infested pools, non functioning elevators and even power loss in common areas due to unpaid electric bills.

The moral of this article... Be sure to know that the HOA of your new property is in good fiscal health before purchasing.

Written by Default Research Inc.

Richard's Notes: If you're considering purchasing a condo or townhouse in the San Fernando Valley, it's important to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who will inquire into the health of the association and assessments which may impact you as a buyer in the near future.

Richard Johnston
San Fernando Valley Condos and Townhouses

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

$18,000 in Combined Homebuyer Tax Credits for a Limited Time


Californians have a brief window of opportunity to receive up to $18,000 in combined federal and state homebuyer tax credits. To take advantage of both tax credits, a first-time homebuyer must enter into a purchase contract for a principal residence before May 1, 2010, and close escrow between May 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010, inclusive. Buyers who are not first-time homebuyers may use the same timeframes to receive up to $16,500 in combined tax credits if they are long-time residents of their existing homes as permitted under federal law, and they purchase properties that have never been previously occupied as provided under California law.

Under the federal law slated to soon expire, a first-time homebuyer may receive up to $8,000 in tax credits, and a long-time resident may receive up to $6,500, for certain purchase contracts entered into by April 30, 2010 that close escrow by June 30, 2010. Additionally, under a newly enacted California law, a homebuyer may receive up to $10,000 in tax credits as a first-time homebuyer or buyer of a property that has never been occupied. The new California law applies to certain purchases that close escrow on or after May 1, 2010 (see Cal. Rev. & Tax Code section 17059.1(a)(4)). California law generally allows buyers of never-occupied properties to reserve their credits before closing escrow, but buyers seeking to combine the federal and state tax credits will not be able to satisfy the timing requirements for such reservations (see Cal. Rev. & Tax Code section 17059.1(c)(1)(A)). Other terms and restrictions apply to both tax credits.

Don't miss-out on this money!  Start your home search by visiting: http://www.homes.la/

Still Homeless? How to Buy a Home in Today's Market!

Why you still don't own home...

If you find yourself homeless even after writing many offers on homes in the San Fernando Valley, the problem is not the market but you.

Here are the steps you need to take if you plan to get into a home priced below $550,000 in today's real estate market:

1. Have a pre-approval letter from a direct lender.  A direct lender is a major bank: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc...

2. You need to have 20% down payment or more.  Being approved for a conventional loan is better than being approved for an FHA loan.  Money talks in this market so if you have none, you'll find yourself outbid every time.  Listing agents are more likely to favor offers from big cash down buyers and all cash down buyers.

3. You need to have an open mind. One thing you cannot change is the location.  If the location is good and the layout of the home is okay, write an offer.  Being picky is not going to get you into a house.

4. Depending on your price range, you will need to have flexibility with your loan approval.   If you are maxed out at a price range and the homes are selling for more even if they are priced below, you'll never get into a home. 

Things to know...

1. You'll never know the true market dynamics by sitting in front of your computer searching for homes.  It's a different ball-game when you are out there in the trenches. 

3. The asking price could not be in line with reality.  Any agent who under-prices a home more than 10% is not serving the seller well and is causing confusion in with home-buyers.

There are strategies...

Not every San Fernando Valley real estate agents works the same.  If you are a ready, willing, and able buyer ready to buy now, call me 818-730-4128.  I'm serious about your success in getting you into a home and you should be too.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Moving to the San Fernando Valley? Special Offer!

Are you moving to the San Fernando Valley?  You're definitely going to want to buy a home through me for the month of April. Besides the $8,000 first time home-buyer tax credit, I'll be paying for your home inspection and appraisal too.  Wow!

The appraisal and home inspection together can cost anywhere from $700 to $1000 - depending on the home*.  Please call me for details as this offer will expire on April 30, 2010.  That's also when the $8,000 tax credit expires too.

To start searching for your next home, visit: http://www.homes.la/

Sunday, March 28, 2010

San Fernando Valley Homes Under $500,000

You've waited for the right moment to purchase your dream home.  Guess what?  The San Fernando Valley real estate market is HOT and homes priced under $500,000 are selling within days.  Multiple offers and over-bidding is the norm.  If you are an FHA home-buyer, you'll be competing with buyers with conventional loans and investors who are paying all cash.

Chances are, the seller is going to take a non-FHA loan if all else is equal.  An FHA loan has some drawbacks including the house has to pass their inspection and the home needs to get appraised. With all the over-bidding and offers, the chance of having the deal fall-apart for an appraisal that doesn't come through is high for an FHA home-buyer in the San Fernando Valley.

Some home-buyer thought by waiting after April 30, 2010, which is the deadline to have a deal signed by buyer and seller to get the $8,000 tax credit, the real estate market would tank.  Unfortunately for them, the Governer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, passed a $200,000,000 million dollar tax credit for first time buyers who purchase a new or an existing home (older home).  You can read more about it here: http://estatesla.blogspot.com/2010/03/governor-schwarzenegger-signs-10000.html

I do believe that banks have too many non-performing assets that need to be sold asap.  This shadow inventory, which I believe is the end result of all the failed loan modification attempts, will add a lot of foreclosure inventory to the marketplace.  But with buyer demand strong, those homes would be sold quickly.

Also, what you read and hear can be very different when you actually start viewing homes and writing offers.  Call me for a free real estate consultation at my real estate office in Tarzana.

Richard Johnston, ReMax

Friday, March 26, 2010

Governor Schwarzenegger Signs $10,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit Legislation

Governor Schwarzenegger Signs $10,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit Legislation

The state of California has re-established and extended a $10,000 homebuyer tax credit.

The new law, AB 183, signed today by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, allocates $200 million to the credit for homes purchased between May 1 and Dec. 31, and between Dec. 31 and August 1, 2011.

AB 183 was passed by the legislature on March 22 and gives the Franchise Tax Board authority to extend a total of $200 million in tax credits to California homebuyers; $100 million for buyers of new, unoccupied homes and another $100 million for first-time buyers of existing homes. The credit will be extended from May 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. The tax credit will be available to buyers on a first-come, first-served basis and is applied in equal amounts over a period of three taxable years. To qualify, the buyer must not be a dependant and must purchase a home that does not belong to a relative.

Learn more here... http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/14712/

If you are relocating to the San Fernando Valley, I'll work hard to find you the right home. Call me anytime and let's make your next move a smart one.

Thanks for reading!

Richard Johnston, ReMax

Win/Win Situation for Fixer Properties in the San Fernando Valley

The credit crunch has made fixing and upgrading a home difficult in the San Fernando Valley - especially for equity sellers.  A few years back, asking the bank for a $100,000 loan was easy. Most people simply used the money to make some home repairs and upgrades, but in reality most used the money to take vacations and purchase expensive personal items.

Today, walking into the local bank to ask for money to fix your property for resale may be difficult if not impossible to get.  Banks have been cutting lines of credit without notice for the past few years leaving some home-owners with unfinished construction projects around the home.  The amount of time and paperwork needed for a loan can be exhausting and tedious.

A solution is to pair up with a local contractor who will agree to do the work and get paid after escrow is closes.  This is a win/win situation for the contractor and for the home-seller.

Homes which haven't been updated for years can benefit the most from this collaboration.  Contractors will only work with home-owners who have substantial equity and not with sellers who are upside-down on their home (short sellers).

 The first step is to speak with a San Fernando Valley real estate estate agent (that's me!).  I'll stop by the home and give you an idea on what improvements and upgrades you should do now to get the most return on your investment.  In most cases, you will make more money.  I know what buyers are looking for in a home.

If you own a home in the valley, visit this link for a real estate market analysis of your home.  Here is the link: http://value.homes.la/ .  Be sure to pass on this link to family and friends.  The information is accurate and updated daily.

Thanks for reading!
Richard Johnston, RE/MAX

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Simi Valley Homes for Sale

Are you interested to move to Simi Valley?  Simi Valley is located in Ventura County and just minutes away from Chatsworth, Northridge, West Hills, and Granada Hills.  These other areas located in the San Fernando Valley.

There are currently 263 available homes for sale in Simi Valley.  You can see the newest homes on the market by visiting this link: http://www.estates.la/idx/city/simi-valley/

Simi Valley is one of the largest cities in Ventura County.  The 118 freeway runs right threw Simi Valley.  You can get more about Simi Valley by visiting this link: http://www.ci.simi-valley.ca.us/index.aspx?page=33

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Home Loan 5% down avoid FHA for Condo & Townhouse

If you're searching for a condo or townhouse for sale in the San Fernando Valley, chances are the community is NOT FHA approved.  What this means is that if you are qualified to purchase a home with an FHA loan,  the number of available properties you can write an offer on has decreased substantially. From what I've seen, 70-80% of communities in the valley are not FHA approved.  That sucks!

Lucky for you :-) You can now buy a condo and townhouse for only 5% down - conventional loan.  Isn't that great!  No more wondering if the building with qualify.  No more asking your agent (that would be me) if the building is FHA approved.  They're all approved!

So what do you do now? You should find your way to my San Fernando Valley condo site and look at the available properties for sale.  Keep in mind the market is super hot as many first time home-buyers are trying to get their hands on the $8,000 tax credit.  $8,000 is a lot of money so don't think you can do without. 

I previewed some great Encino condos and Tarzana condos yesterday.  You can find really good deals especially on the bank owned properties and equity sellers (standard sale).  A few I looked at had a starting price of $195,000.  Compare that to around $300,000 a few years ago.  You'd be crazy not to buy!

The first step is to get qualified before doing anything.  Why?  You need to know what you can afford.  I have the best loan officer on the planet in the San Fernando Valley.  If you don't call my guy, I cannot guarantee you'll get the home.  If you need a recommended San Fernando Valley loan officer, call Tom Cortesi with Home Services Lending / Wells Fargo Bank.  Here is his info:

Tom Cortesi with Home Services Lending at 818-817-4261 office or 323-791-8145 mobile.

Here is Tom's website: http://www.homeloans.com/tom-cortesi

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Northridge Homes for Sale

There are currently 259 available homes for sale in Northridge.  Of these, 11 are bank owned homes and 36 are short sale homes.  2010 is being considered the year of the short sale.  That's a big reason that you'll notice a lot fewer bank owned homes on the market.  I do believe that as the year progresses, we shall see an increase homes homes being foreclosures on in Northridge.  Lenders can only wait so long to foreclose and the .

The $8,000 tax credit is creating a mad rush of home-buyers looking to purchase in Northridge.  It seems any home priced under $550,000 has multiple bids and overbidding is the norm.  That statement might confuse most home-buyers who are unfamiliar with the current market demands.

To understand the market without speaking with a Northridge real estate agent can lead you to believe otherwise.  What surprises me the most is that buyers have a huge misconception as far as what's going on in the marketplace. Buyer's think that low-balling and 50 cents on the dollar is going to fly.  I beg to differ.

Northridge is located between Granada Hills and Chatsworth.  Homes located north of Rinaldi are considered to be located in Porter Ranch.  This high end location of Northridge features guard gated communities with million dollar homes and views of the entire San Fernando Valley.

You can view homes for sale in Northridge by visiting this link: http://www.estates.la/idx/city/northridge/

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Studio City home

Studio City is by far the most popular area to live in the San Fernando Valley.  Studio City borders Toluca Lake, Burbank, North Hollywood, and Sherman Oaks. 

What I like most about Studio City is the close proximity to the entertainment studios where many of our favorite t.v. episodes are filmed.  Sorry Jay Leno fans, his show is filmed in Burbank.  Universal City is a few minutes away from Studio City.  If you're planning to visit Universal Studios and City Walk, be sure to stop by Studio City and walk down Ventura Blvd.  Lot's of restaurants and unique boutiques to see.  Anywhere between Colfax and Laurel Canyon is great.  Check it out!

The only place in the Valley with a nightlife is Studio City.  Be sure to stop by Firefly's at 11720 Ventura Blvd.  I've been to this bar/restaurant several times.  The atmosphere is active and people are generally friendly.  There is a bar when you walk in, and a lounge area to your left.  An open courtyard for fine dining, and another bar at the back with a outside sitting with a fireplace.  Nice :-)  Call me if your relocating here.  I can recommend some really great places to eat. 

Studio City is the place to live - if you can afford it.  Condos and townhouses in Studio City are the most expensive.  If I was thinking of buying a townhouse, I'd love to live on Hoffman Street and Guerin Street.  They've got the best condos and the location is excellent.  Prices are high but if money is no option, then this is the place to be.

If you're searching for Studio City homes for sale, be sure to give me a call so I can help you with your online home search.  I know the Studio City area very well.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sherman Oaks home

Sherman Oaks is a very desirable area of the San Fernando Valley.  Located just north of Beverly Hills, it is considered one of the most popular locations in the San Fernando Valley.

You are just minutes away from Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air, West and West Hollywood. Seconds away from Studio City, Burbank, Toluca Lake, Encino, Tarzana, Valley Glen, and Valley Village.  Wow!

Lots of fine restaurants and boutiques line up Ventura Blvd.  Homes located South of Ventura Blvd are considered to be in a 'prime' location.  Wealthy people love to live up in the Hills even if they don't have a view.  I guess it's harder for the homeless to push their carts up the mountain to collect cans.

One fast food place I like to occasionally eat is at Pita Grill.  Their lemon chicken plate is the best.  Been eating at Pita Grill for the past 13 years and they have another location in Woodland Hills, CA.  Their lemon sauce rocks!

If you're looking for some authentic Mexican food, head on over to Casa Vega.  I've been there many times.  They know what they're doing!  Another Mexican restaurant I can recommend is Don Cuco's in Toluca Lake.  Just 5 minute drive from Sherman Oaks. 

The great part about Sherman Oaks is the location.  Getting to Woodland Hills or Glendale is a 10 minute drive.  But getting from Woodland Hills to Glendale is a 25 minute drive.  You see what I mean? 

Getting back to real estate (because that's what I do) :-), you can see what's new on the market by visiting this link: Sherman Oaks homes for sale .  If you are thinking of relocating to the San Fernando Valley, call me first.  Things go smooth when you work with the best!  I've got a great loan officer who doesn't make you angry, and a great Sherman Oaks real estate agent (that's me) who can unlock the door to your next home.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Latest Pending Home Sales ** VIDEO **

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Burbank Notary - Mobile Notary Service in Burbank

Before you take possession of the home, you're going to have to make an appointment with the escrow company to sign legal documents.  Here is when a notary comes into play.  Usually, the escrow company will have an employee become a licensed notary in order to expedite loan documents for closing.

One issue I've faced over the years of being a Burbank real estate agent is having the escrow company schedule a convenient time for my buyers or sellers to sign the final documents needed to close. 

A way around this and to ensure a quick close of escrow is to have a local notary pick up the documents from escrow, drive to the clients house or work, sign the documents and return back to escrow.  This helps ensure that the loan documents being signed are overlooked by a notary who is also a loan signing specialist.

Over the years, I've counted on a excellent Burbank notary to get the job done for me.  If you are looking for a notary for the areas of Burbank, Toluca Lake, Studio City, Glendale, Pasadena, Hollywood, then I can recommend you visit this notary site: http://www.notary.la/

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Burbank Real Estate & Burbank Homes for Sale

Are you looking for the newest homes to hit the market here in Burbank, CA? If your looking for a specific home, you can sign-up to receive daily property updates of Burbank, CA homes listed in the Realtor MLS system.  You can also search by our map to pinpoint exact real estate locations in Burbank.

Burbank is one of my favorite cities in the San Fernando Valley.  Burbank borders North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village, Glendale, Toluca Lake. 

View the most current list of Burbank homes for sale now.

BTW, you can find Burbank bank owned homes for sale at huge discounts. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Scam - Forensic Loan Audits for Los Angeles, CA

This is a reblog from Gene Wunderlich Temecula and Murrieta Real Estate Agent:

We continue to warn people about loan mod fraud - yet people continue to be victimized. I know people are desperate but sometimes you also have to be just a little bit naive and/or stupid to buy into some of these scams.

But the coalition formed by our Attorney Generals office, the Department of Real Estate and the State Bar of California keep trying to protect us from these scamsters and ourselves. I posted here some months back when they initially formed the coalition and were effective in passing legislation that required loan mod specialists to register with the Attorney Generals office and post a $100,000 bond (SB 94 Calderon). The same bill made it illegal for anybody to charge an up-front fee to modify, or attempt to modify, a loan. Yet in spite of shutting down hundreds of these scam artists and acting on 1,000's of complaints, the problem continues.

So once again, AG Brown, the DRE and the State Bar have today submitted the following press release:

Brown Warns Homeowners to Avoid Forensic Loan Audits

Los Angeles-Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) and the State Bar of California in warning Californians to avoid forensic loan audits, the loan-modification industry's latest "phony foreclosure-relief service," in which homeowners pay up-front fees for a forensic review of their lender's practices, but are provided no actual foreclosure relief.

"Forensic loan audits are yet another phony foreclosure-relief service hawked by loan-modification consultants trying to cash in on the desperation of homeowners facing foreclosure," Brown said. "The foreclosure-relief industry continues to be long on promises, but short on results."

Individuals and businesses who offer forensic loan audits use inflated and misleading claims to convince homeowners to pay up-front fees for services that produce no actual foreclosure relief. Homeowners are encouraged to pay for an audit of their mortgage loan file to determine their lender's compliance with state and federal mortgage-lending laws. This audit is pitched to homeowners as a tool they can use to gain leverage and speed up the loan-modification process.

In truth, there is no evidence or statistical data to support claims that forensic loan audits-even if performed by a licensed, legitimate and trained auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer-will help homeowners obtain loan modifications or provide any other foreclosure relief.

"The State Bar is committed to dealing with all aspects of loan foreclosure fraud involving attorneys," said State Bar President Howard Miller. "We will continue to work with all the other government agencies to prevent fraud and to move for disciplinary sanctions against attorneys who violate their obligations to their clients."

By law, all individuals and businesses offering mortgage-foreclosure consulting, loan-modification and foreclosure-assistance services must register with Brown's office and post a $100,000 bond. It is also illegal for loan-modification consultants and businesses to charge up-front fees for their services.

Brown has sought court orders to shut down more than 30 fraudulent foreclosure-relief companies and has brought criminal charges and obtained lengthy prison sentences for dozens of deceptive loan-modification consultants.

In 2009, the DRE investigated more than 2,000 complaints involving loan-modification scams. Nearly 350 individuals and companies received a Desist and Refrain Order to stop illegal activity.

"The DRE has aggressively pursued loan-modification scammers who prey on vulnerable and financially stressed homeowners, and those peddling false hope by promising mortgage relief with a forensic audit will be scrutinized," stated Real Estate Commissioner Jeff Davi. "With consumer education efforts and warnings, we hope to keep consumers from falling victim in the first place."

As part of today's consumer alert, Brown offered the following tips to homeowners:

- Don't pay up-front fees. Foreclosure consultants are prohibited by law from collecting money before services are performed.

- Don't ignore letters from your lender or loan servicer. Responding to those letters is your best bet for saving your house.

- Don't transfer title or sell your house to a "foreclosure rescuer." Beware! This is a scam to convince homeowners they can stay in the home as renters and buy their home back later. It could also be part of a fraudulent bankruptcy filing. Either way, a scammer can then evict you and take your home.

- Don't pay your mortgage payments to anyone other than your lender or loan servicer. Mortgage consultants often keep the money for themselves.

- Never sign any documents without reading them first. Many homeowners think that they are signing documents for a loan modification or for a new loan to pay off their delinquent mortgage. Later, they discover that they actually transferred ownership of their home to someone who is now trying to evict them.

Non-profit housing counselors certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provide free help to homeowners. To find a counselor in your area, call 1-800-569-4287.

If you are a homeowner who has been scammed, you can contact Brown's office at 1-800-952-5225 or file a complaint online at: www.ag.ca.gov/consumers/general.php. You can also learn more about avoiding scams and obtain a complaint form by visiting the DRE's web site at: http://www.dre.ca.gov/ 

If you have a complaint against a lawyer, contact the State Bar Complaint Hotline at 1-800-843-9053. Complaint forms and an explanation of the attorney discipline system are available online at: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/

In 2009, California accounted for 22 percent of the nation's foreclosure activity, with 632,573 homes in foreclosure statewide. This is an annual increase of more than 20 percent in foreclosure activity from 2008 and a 150 percent increase from 2007.

For more information on Brown's action against loan-modification fraud visit: http://ag.ca.gov/loanmod

Richard's Notes: If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payment here in the San Fernando Valley, please call me 818-730-4128 so we can discuss your next move.  There is no fee or charge to discuss your situation with me.  I can provide you a comparable market analysis report of your home.  You can also get your homes value report now on my website: http://value.homes.la/

You have the right to short sale your home if you are unable to continue to pay your mortgage(s).  Be sure to work with a licensed San Fernando Valley real estate agent who specializes in short sale properties. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Searching for Your New Home

Buying a home in the San Fernando Valley is not difficult.  In fact, it should be fun and exciting especially when working with the right real estate agent.

Real estate agents are not create equal.  Some are more fun to work with than others.  Some have powerful online tools to make searching for your next home fun. 

Here are the tools I've implemented on my websites to make your next move an enjoyable one:
1. Search for Los Angeles homes on your cellphone.
2. View all available homes for sale in the San Fernando Valley.
3. San Fernando Valley home appraisals.  Know what your home is worth.
4. Search by map.  Zoom into specific areas to see what's available for sale.

Plus, you'll want to stay in touch with what's going on in the marketplace. 

Follow Us on TwitterJoin Us on FacebookView Pictures on FlickrRead Our BlogLet's Network on LinkedIn

If I was a home-buyer, I would like to work with an agent who is responsive to me and also to other agents. 

Richard Johnston, RE/MAX

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

San Fernando Valley Short Sales - Encino, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, Burbank

2010 is planning out to be the year of the short sale.  A lot of home-owners who are attempting to modify their home loan in the San Fernando Valley will soon find out, it doesn't work!  The Federal Mortgage Modification Program is failing to deliver - thank you Mr. Obama!

The other day I spoke with a client who wants to lower their monthly payment in North Hollywood.  Their home has fallen 40% in value during the past few years.  The problem (which is not really a problem) is that their income has risen during the same period.  Their lender refuses to even consider modifying their loan because they are not in any kind of hardship.  What are they to do???

The clients above did invest money when they purchased their home.  So it's a lot harder for them to just walk away.  But for others who purchased their home with no money down and seller pays closing, the situation is different.  These home-buyers really have nothing to lose - except their credit for a few years and eventually a home they never invested in.

So what do you do if you can't or don't want to pay your mortgage payment?  I recommend you take the following steps.
1. Call the lender(s) and explain your situation.
2. Try to modify your loan(s).
3. If #2 doesn't work, call me. I'm a Short sale specialist in the San Fernando Valley 818-730-4128
4. Pay all your other debts on time.
5. Don't give any money to people claiming they can help.  It's against the law!  I'm serious!
5. Don't panic!  It's not the end of the world.

I've seen some home-owners live in their home for over 18 months without paying their mortgage before they have to leave.  So, if you haven't paid for a few months, their is no reason for you to panic.  Just don't wait. Also, you won't pay any capital gains tax when you sell short

If you are considering buying a short sale home, all I can say is have a lot of patients.  The process is long, tedious, confusing, mind-boggling, plain dumb, but it does work when you work with a short sale specialist like me :-).  I do have a strategy to get you into a short sale home.  My objective is to get you into a home, not just to write offers.

If you have written a hundred offers on short sale homes and still find yourself homeless, call me 818-730-4128.  There is a difference when you work with a professional short sale specialist.

Here are my list of short sale homes for sale in the San Fernando Valley.

Also, before you go, be sure to sign-up for my San Fernando Valley mobile real estate search.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

HARP: Could It Save Your Home?

Find out now what your San Fernando Valley home is worth!  Visit: http://value.homes.la/ for an instant home evaluation. You will currently see what homes are available on the market near your home and recently sold homes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

FHA Insurance Premiums going up, be informed

Those Who Wait Will Pay Thousands More This Spring

Waiting a few extra days or weeks to purchase a home this spring could cost buyers thousands of extra dollars as the office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implements several changes for loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).

This is what's going on:

On April 5th, the cost of required up-front mortgage insurance for loans guaranteed by the FHA will increase from 1.75% to 2.25%. For a borrower purchasing a $200,000 home with a $7,000 down payment, the up-front mortgage insurance will increase by $965. Up-front mortgage insurance is typically financed in the final loan amount so the impact to a monthly payment will be minimal but overall, the increase is still borne by the borrower both upfront and monthly.

It is important to note that in order to be eligible for the lower cost up-front mortgage insurance, a lender has to order a case number from the FHA before April 5th. A case number can only be generated for loan applications where a property is involved and a fully executed purchase contract exists. Home buyers who have been pre-approved but are not under contract will not be eligible for the reduced premium effective April 5th.

If that's not enough:

Seller paid closing costs will be reduced from 6% to 3%. The reduction in these "seller concessions" can increase the amount of cash a buyer will be required to pay at closing by $6,000 for a home purchase of $200,000.

There is only one way to avoid being affected by all of these costly changes that lie ahead - submit all FHA mortgage applications by the last week of March.

Information provided by Joe Cook Minnesota : Carver County : Chanhassen Mortgage Broker - Lender
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