Tag Archives: selling

California home prices are at a 4-year high

Persistently declining for-sale home inventory helped push the median price of California homes up to its highest level in four years in August, according to a report by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Closed sales of existing single-family homes in the Golden State also saw gains, rising 2.3 percent on an annual basis in August to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 511,240 units. That’s a 3.4 percent decline from July, but the fifth straight month to see a year-over-year increase.

“A lack of inventory remains an issue, as the housing supply fell more than 30 percent from last year,” said LeFrancis Arnold, the Association’s president, in a statement.

“Inventory levels are at the lowest levels we’ve seen in seven years, and we are starting to see the supply shortage conditions having a negative impact on sales in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, where REO (real estate owned) properties are in short supply.”

For-sale inventory fell to a supply of 3.2 months at the current sales pace in August, down from a revised 3.5 months in July and a revised 5.2 months in August 2011, C.A.R. said. A supply of six months is considered to be a “normal” market where buyer and seller demand is roughly equal. Last month, only homes selling for more than $1 million were in normal territory with a supply of 6.1 months. Homes under $300,000 had the lowest inventory, with a supply of 2.8 months.

home prices up in real estateIt took a median 41.1 days to sell a single-family home in August, down from 43.2 days in July and a revised 52.5 days a year ago.

The median price of an existing single-family home rose for the sixth straight month in August, up 15.5 percent year over year to $343,820. That’s a 3 percent increase from July, the largest annual price jump in more than two years, and the highest median since August 2008.

“The median price is gaining in part because of a shift in the mix of what is selling,” said CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young in a statement. “The increasing share of sales in higher-priced coastal markets at the expense of the inventory-scare distressed markets has been the primary factor in fueling the statewide median price.”

Higher-priced markets with a “robust economy” are experiencing strong demand and posting double-digit year-over-year price increases, but sales were stagnant or declined in lower-priced markets that rely more on distressed properties, Appleton-Young said.

Sales of homes under $200,000 saw a 13.6 percent year-over-year decrease in August, while sales in every other price range rose. Homes above $500,000 saw the biggest jump, nearly 30 percent.

Home seller pitfalls to avoid

Six years after the market peaked in 2006 and prices started to decline, many sellers are still in denial about the current market value of their homes. It’s difficult for most sellers to accept the reality of today’s home-sale market, whether they bought at or near the peak and will lose money selling today, or bought decades ago but are still stuck at 2006 prices.

One homeowner recently remarked that she was aware that home prices had dropped quite a bit over the last five years. But she felt that her home hadn’t lost any value.

It’s hard for homeowners to divorce themselves emotionally from a home they’ve enjoyed. But this is what sellers need to do so that they can make rational decisions about a list price that will actually result in a sale.

This decision should be based on listings that have sold in your area that could be considered somewhat comparable to your home. Some sellers go to open houses to evaluate the competition. If you’re still emotionally wrapped up in your home, the exercise can be futile. You return home feeling that the other homes aren’t as good as yours.

home sellersPut yourself in the buyers’ shoes. This is easier for sellers who are also buying in this market. They know what it’s like to want to make sure they’re getting a good deal. Your house needs to be listed at a price that is enticing to buyers because it represents a good value. In most areas, buyers are buying in a market knowing that prices may continue to decline before the market fully recovers.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Be wary of real estate agents who tell you that your home will sell for a higher-than-supportable price just to get the listing. Then they work on you over time until you reduce the price to market value. Agents refer to this as buying a listing.

It’s hard to resist the temptation of trying for a higher price than the comparable sales indicate. However, you won’t be happy if your home is on the market for months with no activity, and each time you drop the price it feels like too little too late. You can end up selling for less later if home prices in your area are still declining.

Refinance appraisals are notoriously inaccurate in terms of market value — either too high or too low. An appraiser is attempting to gauge what price a buyer would pay when there isn’t a ratified contract that states what a buyer will pay. A high refinance appraisal can leave the seller with a false expectation.

Listing your home based on what you want or need to net from the sale won’t motivate buyers to pay more. Buyers pay market value. They’re won’t overpay in today’s market.

Find out what buyers are looking for in your area and see how your home matches up to their expectations. Generally, today’s buyers are looking for a home that is well-located, in good condition and is priced right for the market.

If your home needs a lot of work compared with the competition, you’ll either need to have work done before selling, or discount your price accordingly.

Walkable neighborhoods are highly desirable in some areas. If your home doesn’t offer this amenity, you may have to make a price accommodation.

THE CLOSING: For best results, be realistic about the current market value of your home and what preparation it needs in order to sell successfully in today’s market.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and a nationally syndicated real estate columnist.

Taxes, real estate, and marriage: ’till death do us part

Taxes, real estate, and marriage: ’till death do us part

In the aftermath of tax day, specifically personal taxes, some people have a sigh of relief while some people are devastated. We cannot all avoid some emotion for this day whether we filed early, at the last minute, or are prolonging the agony with an extension. I would say that if someone is experiencing agony, their taxes are usually always postponed and prolonged. Why is this?

In marriage, with the highest divorce rates ever, is it not the same result as in taxes by delaying the inevitable if there is a problem? The procrastination of not addressing a problem or not thinking it is a problem when the other spouse does, spells disaster.

In real estate, I also see similar scenarios: with most people waiting ’till the last minute, whether trying to keep their home with a bad loan that’s worth more than the actual house, while days or weeks away from a foreclosure. Or with false hopes of keeping the property and thinking that they will get the modification done or that better yet, a miracle will happen and their loan will go away! While all these positive results are possible, isn’t it also possible to win the lottery? Your answer of “yes” is correct, but unfortunately the answer of “unlikely” is also correct. Unrealistic expectations rarely add up.

Anyone who has married knows they take a vow of “’till death do us part”, while taxes literally follow you until death and could even lower your estate in the process after death.  In real estate, some people have the notion that they will not leave their home unless they are dead! My take on this is that many people just do not see the big picture. I ask the question again: Why is this?

Everyone knows that life and everything on this earth is not forever–taxes, real estate, marriage–but still want to hold onto everything in it. We are all guilty of this, and yet we all know the reality deep down inside. If everyone told their friend going through the rough bumps in life that they knew of someone right here that could advise them on their situation, and has the experience and record to back it up, wouldn’t that make a difference in that person’s life?

I work with attorneys and accountants, and am a seasoned real estate professional that will handle your situation as if it were my own. Won’t you call? I am here to help 24-hours a day, your Realtor in Action–call now, or better yet: “Just Do It!”

– John A. Silva

(619) 890-3648

Are ALL Real Estate Agents Equal?

In light of the fact that there has been some shocking news regarding a certain local real estate agent from San Diego, along with his wife and staff, being accused of duping over $15 million dollars from banks, investors and homeowners, I understand that many people question whether all real estate agents are the same, in acting dishonestly.

The normal response for people who personally know an agent of integrity, whom they even refer to all their family and friends, will say this is just an individual, and is not a general reflection of the masses. Yet I read and hear on social media websites that this categorizes all real estate agents as being dishonest, even those who have toiled for years and been ethical and forthright for their entire careers being cauterized. These are the individuals who need an education because of bad experiences, and I now challenge them to a call to action, to interview an individual agent like myself, while developing a relationship with the right real estate agent at their disposal whenever the need arises. A good real estate agent will have a grasp of the law at all times in the ever-changing, complicated world and real estate market we now have, then go to people to support them in the legal arena.

Are all real estate agents equal?My philosophy has always been that if you don’t ever get to speak with and do business with the real estate agent who is representing you, BEWARE! Many agents in the housing market have large teams of individuals, while the service and experience levels are severely low, due to new and inexperienced agents who look for high-profit opportunities, because of the low pay they earn. These mistakes lead to poor service, complaints to local association boards and the DRE; but more importantly, thousands of dollars in losses from the client’s pocket book. This may well be the case with this certain individual that is now in trouble.

I have seen another certain individual always advertising on local television, as another example of this type of representation, while the results produced have been average at best, according to many people I have helped and their friends giving feedback about them. As the old saying does: Don’t be duped by the fast-talking, nice-dressed and loveable smile.

While I am not here to condemn any individual, I feel my duty is to educate the public masses in the regard of how to hire the right agent to assist you in buying or selling your home. As another cliche goes, bigger is not better, but seeing the overall picture of their track record, years in the business and levels of hands-on experience are paramount, while being able to work directly with that individual on an ongoing basis is a must.

As in all crimes committed by people in authority; such as police officers, teachers, politicians, doctors, etc–there is that huge feeling of betrayal, while the important question of how did this happen by an individual held in high esteem in many circles of the community and their peers?

I hope that the blue-collar hardworking real estate agents like me will once again shine through this mess that the small minority of high-rollers create to most importantly the benefit of you, the client.

Call me today (at 619-890-3648) for an evaluation of your property or home search, and the right direction you deserve.

Mortgage Reform, Refinance, Really?

My Thoughts on the Current Real Estate Market: Mortgage Reform, Refinance, Really?

With interest rates at the lowest rate in history, and foreclosures bursting through the ceiling still at this writing, I ask myself, why is this still happening?  How does the 1-in-4 upside-down homeowner out there, staring at their bank and scratching their head, get help to avoid walking away?

The empty promises, or the so-called “helping hand” being offered by the banks and the government, is still a joke to say the least. For the people who sold their home in recent years, they are in a position to buy or have already bought another home and recovered from that stress of “What do I do?” while taking advantage of the low interest rates and prices.

upside-downIt still is not too late to make that leap and start over–because the faster you do, the faster you will recover. Property values are not expected to go anywhere for at least two more years, and the laws for selling short sales that protect homeowners will expire at the end of this year. Laws allow a purchase after two years of selling a short sale. With a consultation with me and strategy, you could pay off most of your unsecured debt, while not paying your mortgage. This can only be done with someone who has had experience with this. I have done this with clients that have recouped while living in their home for over 3 years without paying a mortgage.

The latest reform laws are offering a glimmer of hope; however, when and how these guidelines are implemented by the banks and government is clear to not happen for awhile.  The state governments will have to also be on board. At this time, California is weighing the settlement being offered for unlawful foreclosure practices from five of the larger banks that have agreed to pay a settlement.

My opinion is that any settlement should accompany a mandate that the banks must reduce every upside-down property out there to fair market values, to allow the homeowner an opportunity to keep their home; granted that the home is not dilapidated to the point that the owner does not have the funds to repair the home or care for it after the refinance. This exclusion is warranted to the extent that a home that is in bad shape is only dropping or keeping the values low in the neighborhood and should be taken care of. In a perfect world, the banks would allow the homeowner funds after the refinance to repair the home–heck, let’s go for it all!

As always, my gratitude to you for reading my blog.  Please share your opinions or questions–I look forward to any questions I can answer or help I can give!

John A. Silva, Realtor

(619) 890-3648 | www.JohnASilva.com

4 ways to attract more buyers

Some buyers are looking for a home that’s located in a specific neighborhood. Others have more flexibility regarding where they live. But most buyers share one thing in common: They want a home that’s in move-in condition.

Start working on attracting buyers to your home by putting the property in good condition before it goes on the market. In most cases, it’s not a good idea to show your home to a prospective buyer before it’s ready to be shown. Photos should also wait until your home presents itself well.

homes for salePay attention to “curb appeal”; first impressions are lasting. Some buyers drive by without taking a look inside if they don’t like the way a house looks from the street. The yard should be clean and tidy. Replace the front lawn if it’s dead; the same goes for plants that have seen better days. Flowering plants make your home look festive and inviting.

Peeling paint should be touched up, if possible. If an entire exterior paint job is called for, consider changing the color scheme to enhance the appeal. One seller repainted the exterior of his home before selling without consulting his agent or a colorist. He repainted using the existing color scheme, which was out of date. The house didn’t sell quickly. When it did, the first thing the buyers wanted to do was change the color of the exterior.

Repair deferred maintenance, particularly if it’s visible from the street. You want to convey the impression that your home has been well maintained. If you can’t afford to repair and paint the white picket fence in front of your house, it would be better to remove it than leave it.

Houses that don’t have much architectural appeal can often be improved by the addition of shutters. Houses that don’t show much from the street can be enhanced with an architecturally intriguing gate or entryway. You want to peak buyers’ interest in seeing what they can’t see from the street.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: List with an agent who can provide wide exposure for your home, including extensive Internet advertising. The vast majority of homebuyers search for homes online. Buyers discount Internet listings that do not have photos, and they gravitate toward those with many photos and quality photos. Make sure that the agent you list with will not put your home on the multiple listing service or Internet without plenty of quality, representative photos — 15 or more is good.

The importance of Internet advertising should not be underestimated. The Internet is global and available 24/7. Buyers often find the listing they want to buy on the Internet before their agent has seen it. After surfing the Internet, some buyers decide to buy outside the area they were focusing on if they see something elsewhere that appeals to them.

Local marketing may work in some cases, but you wouldn’t want to cut yourself short. Broad exposure of your listing to the market is an integral part of selling.

Although the buyer for your home could come from anywhere, you do want it to be exposed to the local agents. Your agent should hold the listing open for real estate agents as soon as it’s ready to be shown. Repeat broker open houses may be necessary to make sure a representative number of agents see the listing.

Public open houses are good exposure. Some buyers still find the home they buy at an open house. However, they don’t pay off like they did during the bubble market. Encourage private showings, which require that you make it easy for agents to show your home to their buyers.

THE CLOSING: The best way to attract buyers to your listing is to price it right for the market. Otherwise, all of your efforts will be for naught.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of “House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide.” View the article here.

If you want to sell, I’m the Realtor for you! Give me a call at (619)337-3262!

ING Steps Up & NFCU Waives Promissory Note

This post is a follow up to my recent one (which you can view here) regarding a short sale with active military personnel.  Another military couple in a new transaction were forced to sell their home due to NFCU’s (Navy Federal Credit Union) refusal to help them keep their home.  NFCU then forced them to accept a Promissory Note when selling their home.

Navy Federal Credit Union logoING Bank, who held the first loan, did not require any money from the seller–after I demanded that the seller would provide no contribution. This references the new California Law, SB 458, which allows the lender to collect for closing costs to the transaction only from the seller. However, this is still a gray area and only an agent who has the necessary experience to negotiate with banks, like myself, is obviously worth more than his weight in gold to anyone who may need to sell (paticulary those with assets to protect).  Those agents experienced enough in this area will make sure that the seller or buyer will not be required to make any contributions. 

The buyer, who was also being forced to contribute in the same transaction to the second loan with Chase, was also permitted to not contribute because of my negotiating ability. Even the buyer’s agent, having seen my emails to the lien holder, confided that he couldn’t believe how much I was able to do on behalf of the buyer. 

The commission was reduced drastically as a result of my negotiations, but more importantly, the banks were able to save money by me negotiation an above-fair market price on the property.  My hope is that more people will realize that I do my utmost to keep buyers’ and sellers’ interests (and assets!) above my own–and if they believe that, that they spread the word that I strive to be the best of the best.

This new short sale with NFCU had a requirement: that to be considered for the short sale, the seller would be required to take back a promissory note (which in this case was $30K after the seller took out over $80K cash when the market was booming). A seller, in this sort of case, by letting their property go to foreclosure, may create a battle for a settlement on that second loan of over $80K, due to there being no equity in the second loan and the first loan being the foreclosing entity.  In cases such as these, a short sale becomes the best alternative to avoiding hiring an attorney to settle this.

On this transaction, this promissory note was approved prior to the passing of SB 458 (which allows no contributions from the seller to the loan that would pay it down, reflecting a deficiency judgment). My persistent communication with this lien holder resulted in a complete forgiveness of the total debt–saving the seller $30K!

Without a properly experienced agent working in the best interests of the seller and buyer, this would have spelled disaster.  Even with working with some of the more experienced agents out there.

For the Best of the Best to represent you–whether selling or buying–call me at (619) 890-3648.  Thank you for reading!

Successful Short Sale Closing Testimonial of a Current Mortgage

Here is a rare closing of a short sale that recently closed that 99% of all real estate agents can not accomplish.  The owners stayed current on their payments and the lender granted an approved short sale on a property that was an investment property.

While this is rare due to the reality that all short sales are only done if the borrower is behind in payments or, if the borrower is current, the mortgage company requires the borrower to stop payments in order for them to look at a short sale for the borrower, there are valid qualified situations that the banks will process the short sale. I have the knowledge and experience for accomplishing this task.

Since I have been doing short sales for 20 years and in two down cycle markets, you or someone you know will benefit dramatically from this result.  The benefits are that the homeowners credit rating will have little to no effect based on the credit reporting agencies guidelines.

testimonial letter

 
“Dear John,

We appreciate very much your assistance–and your crucial role–in both finding and selling the condo property at 4415, 38th in San Diego.  The latter was especially difficult in the current housing market.

We have found you to be hard-working, honest and reliable, alert as to what is going on in the area, and responsive to any of our concerns.  We would certainly recommentd you to prospective buyers and/or sellers.

Please accept the enclosed as a token of our gratitude.
Sincerely, 

Barbara S. K. and John B. K.

P.S. –And thanks for working with Katie.”

For more information and to schedule a private, no-obligation consultation right away, call me now!

 
Talk to me, an agent who has the experience that is helping people beyond what they ever thought was possible.