Category: real estate


 

I cant tell you how many times I get asked this question, and contrary to prior belief we do not just sit back and collect paychecks all day! My typical work week is 60-70 hours, 6-7 days a week. As a Realtor taking the weekend of is not an option.  So, here is a short list of what a typical day might entail.

 Previewing property for potential clients, holding an open house, door knocking or passing out flyers in your farm (chosen neighborhood), attending a seminar to learn new legal rules or client incentives, meeting with an inspector for a home inspection, writing an offer for a buyer, new buyer consultations, going on a listing presentation, follow up with guests from open houses, mls searches for buyers, inputting a new listing in the mls, taking pictures of a new listing for the mls, writing a description for a new listing, final walk through for a new home purchase, reviewing preliminary title reports for potential red flags, attend local board of realtor meetings, coordinate with loan officers, coordinate with title companies, create newsletters and postcards, create marketing material for new listings, coordinate with escrow officers to ensure escrow will close on time, PROBLEM SOLVE FOR CUSTOMERS!,  advise clients, sign documents, run comps, go to city hall to review permits, inform sellers of activity and marketing for their home, meet with appraisers, review escrow instructions, attend office meetings, get keys made for lock boxes, install signs, show buyers homes, and some of us like to write blog posts 🙂

This are just a few of the things that I can think of off the top of my head. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to work with amazing people and help them make their dreams come true!

Buying your first home? Selling your house? Looking to relocate? Give me a call, Carlos J. Amador at (562) 833-4292   
  
RE/MAX North Orange County   

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Great news for first time buyers with less than stellar credit and little cash on hand, the credit score requirements with some lenders have become more favorable! Two of the largest lenders recently announced (with very little publicity) that the “overlay” requirements (lender mandated requirements that supersede FHA guidelines) on fico scores.

The two participating banks are Wells Fargo and Quicken Loans, and the new minimum requirements are a 580 fico score and 3.5% down payment.Let me repeat that: THE NEW MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS ARE A 580 FICO SCORE AND 3.5% DOWN PAYMENT!!!! That is down considerably from a previous minimum fico of 620.The reason lenders had gave prior for imposing higher guidelines was that they need an extra cushion of protection to shield them from borrows with a higher risk of default. The “overlays” contributed to the cost of obtaining a loan in the form of points and fees.

As everyone knows, many have gone through financial difficulties over the past few years, which has affected credit scores and decimated bank statements. It is refreshing news to hear that some lenders are willing to take a calculated risk, and present a scenario where both the borrower and lender win.

Buying your first home? Selling your house? Looking to relocate? Give me a call,   Carlos J. Amador at (562) 833-4292 or visit my website http://www.carlosjamador.com. For a no obligation free consultation.Free first time home buyer information for Fullerton, Anaheim, and Brea.

 

Buying your first home? Selling your house? Looking to relocate? Give me a call,   Carlos J. Amador at (562) 833-4292 or visit my website http://www.carlosjamador.com. For a no obligation free consultation. Free first time home buyer information for Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles residents. Real Estate information for Fullerton, Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Home Sellers in Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

Two separate industry reports released Thursday show that mortgage interest rates across the board retreated this week, beginning the new year slightly lower than levels seen at the end of 2010, and still well below where they sat at the beginning of last year even with the sharp run-ups witnessed during November and December.

Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, says the downward movement, however slight, “should help aid the recovery in the housing market.” Nothaft is expecting long-term mortgage interest rates to hold below the 5 percent threshold throughout 2011, although some degree of ups and downs is likely over the course of the year.

Freddie Mac’s latest rate survey found that for the week ending January 6, 2011, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.77 percent (0.8 point). That’s down from 4.86 percent the previous week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 5.09 percent.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage came in at 4.13 percent (0.8 point) in the GSE’s study, down from 4.20 percent last week. By comparison, during the first week of 2010, the 15-year rate was reported to be 4.50 percent.

Short-term rates also dropped this week in Freddie Mac’s survey. The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) fell from 3.77 percent last week to 3.75 percent (0.7 point). The 1-year ARM slipped from 3.26 percent to 3.24 percent (0.6 point). Both were above the 4 percent mark this time last year.

Freddie Mac’s weekly rate survey is based on data gathered from about 125 lenders across the country. A separate study released by Bankrate Thursday, which derives its figures from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 U.S. markets, also showed declines for both long- and short-term loan products.

According to Bankrate’s survey, the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed-rate fell back to 4.94 percent (0.42 point) for the week ending January 6. That’s down from 5.02 percent reported the week before.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage retreated to 4.32 percent (0.41 point), falling from 4.39 percent last week, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate dropped from 5.64 percent to 5.59 percent.

Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly lower, as well, with the average 3-year ARM sinking to 3.9 percent and the 5-year ARM dipping to 3.99 percent in the tracking company’s study.

“After a sharp run-up in mortgage rates that started in early November, mortgage rates have spent the past month bouncing back-and-forth over the 5 percent mark,” Bankrate noted in its report. “While mortgage rates stayed range-bound through the holiday season, the tone of economic data has been decidedly better and a looming jobs report could push mortgage rates higher if it shows evidence of increased hiring.”

Bankrate surveys a panel of mortgage experts each week to gauge which direction they think rates will head. Half of the panelists this week said they expect mortgage rates to climb over the next seven days, while 31 percent say they’ll remain essentially unchanged.

 

Buying your first home? Selling your house? Looking to relocate? Give me a call,   Carlos J. Amador at (562) 833-4292 or visit my website http://www.carlosjamador.com. For a no obligation free consultation. Free first time home buyer information for Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles residents. Real Estate information for Fullerton, Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Home Sellers in Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

Source: Dsnews.com

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▪ Mortgage rates will stay low. Even with rates climbing — maybe to as high as 6 percent by 2012 — they are still well below where they have been historically.
▪ Tax cuts could help. Extending the tax cuts could encourage a more rapid recovery for the economy.
▪ Americans want to be home owners. A recent Fannie Mae survey showed that Americans still believe a home is a safe and desirable investment.
▪ Builders are about to begin building. Home builders have been sitting on the sidelines. This year, they think pent-up demand will create an appetite for new homes.
▪ Homes are shrinking. Homes are getting smaller, which has made them more affordable.

Buying your first home? Selling your house? Looking to relocate?
Give me a call,   Carlos J. Amador at (562) 833-4292 or visit my website http://www.carlosjamador.com. For a no obligation free consultation. Free first time home buyer information for Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles residents. Real Estate information for Fullerton, Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Home Sellers in Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

Source: Investopedia, Michele Lerner (12/24/2010)

FINANCIAL SERVICES CENTRE

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Average rate on 30-year mortgage up to 4.86% http://usat.me/42082250

 

1.  Reality check yourself . . . before you wreck yourself (and the sale of your home, that is). The age-old real estate advice to wanna-be sellers is to get real about pricing – and like my sweet Grandma’s advice about always rinsing the cake batter out with cold water, never hot, the caution against overpricing is advice that will stand you in good stead. (And that cold water trick works, btw – rinsing with hot starts to cook the batter to the bowl!  But I digress)  Before you even get to pricing, though, first you should get real about what your goals really are. Why do you want or need to sell?  And how badly – how important is it to you?  What would it take to make selling make sense?  If you even think you may want to sell your home next year, get clear on these items in your own head before you even talk to anyone outside of your household. Your very next step is to look at your mortgage account statement online and find out what you owe, and find out what your payoff amount would be.

Step 3? Get a reality-based idea of what your home is worth – by talking with several local real estate agents who have a strong, recent track record of succesfully selling homes in your area; these are the folks who’ll have a strong idea of what recent sales are the most comparable to yours, and what a local buyer would agree to pay for your home, as well as what it might appraise at. If 3 agents give you one range, and one gives you a bizarrely higher number, be skeptical about the outlier; there are rare bad apples out there in the agent world who will tell you whatever it takes to get the listing.  Get real and stay there – don’t fall prey to the fallacy that your home is worth more than others, for no substantive reason beyond the fact that, well, it’s yours.

Then, move toward making a decision about whether selling actually makes sense for you. Whatever you do, don’t let your mental GPS steer you anywhere near that fantasyland where all your plans for selling, moving, etc. rest on the hypothetical that you can get 25% more than your home’s actual fair market value. That sort of magical thinking costs you and your agent the time, inconvenience and money it takes to try to conjure up a sale that just ain’t gonna happen, and that doesn’t even count the opportunity costs of other things you could be doing with those resources. If your home’s current value is bizarrely less than you want or need to move on, consider a short sale and price it appropriately or consider staying put and sprucing up your home so it better suits your needs – but don’t price it at your “wishful thinking” price and set yourself and your agent up for failure.

2.  Figure out the lay of your local land.  National blogs and media outlets offer all sorts of useful advice about whether, how and when to sell your home, but there’s one thing that sort of advice cannot convey: what’s going on in your local market. Get active in Trulia Voices, ask questions and read blogs in your local market and start talking with the real estate brokers and agents from your area who are actively blogging, listing properties and answering questions. They can give you the hyperlocal essentials you need to knows.  Sure, it’s a buyer’s market nationwide, on average.  But if you live in Omaha, that may mean that homes sell at or near asking in 45 days or less; in Mesa, Arizona, your home could stay on the market 6 months and sell for 30% below asking.  In my neck of the woods, it’s not bizarre for homes to sell at 5 percent above asking, in two weeks – and that’s still a buyer’s market compared to the 20% above asking sales that were common in 2006.  

Every market is different, and you can neither know what to expect when you list your home for sale, nor implement smart strategies for getting your home sold without knowing what’s going on in yours. 

3.  Tour nearby Open Houses. Your job, as the seller of your home, is to present a compelling package to buyers – compelling enough to make them sign away 30 years of their lives and the vast majority of their worldly possessions in exchange for your home (kinda ups the ante, doesn’t it?). To do that, it helps to get inside the minds of your home’s target buyers.  And to do that, you need to think how they think and see what they see.

Visiting the other homes your target buyers will also see online and/or in real life will give you a sense for how your home’s price and condition will measure up to the competition.  Go view other homes that are for sale in your area, making sure you see at least a few that fall into each of these categories: (a) properties in your neighborhood or similar neighborhoods, (b) homes in your home’s general price range, all around town, and (c) homes that have similar numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms and square feet – no matter what the price. You’ll likely end up seeing homes in a wide range when it comes to price and condition; know that your home, to sell, will need to beat these on one or both measures. Also, if you try to go to at least a few open houses, rather than just asking your agent to show them to you at your convenience, you’ll also get a sense for what sort of buyer traffic you can expect from open houses, and you can even chat with those home’s listing agents about local market dynamics and what factors they believe may help or hurt that particular listing.

4.  Formulate a plan: in A-B-C order.  Collaborate with your broker or agent to put an action plan in place.  Make sure you address: list price, list date, showing arrangements and the property prep work (see #5, below) that your agent recommends you do prior to listing the place. To minimize the stress of a somewhat inevitably stressful experience (i.e., selling your home!), work with your agent on Plans B and C now, too!  What is the average number of days a home stays on the market in your area before it sells (DOM)?  (Hint:  don’t look at the ones that never sold, because you don’t want to be part of that group!)  Decide up front if your home sits on the market for X number of days with no offer, you’ll lower the price to Y.  Also cover alternative marketing plans/vehicles for your home, and even calendar when you might start to offer transactional incentives, like closing cost credits, interest rate buy-downs, throwing in personal property and even making reverse offers to buyers who have expressed an interest but can’t seem to get off the fence. At some point along the timeline, include a pause where your agent can interview buyer’s brokers who have shown your home to collect buyer feedback, so you can course correct your pricing, marketing or staging strategies accordingly.

5.  Do your prep work – fix and pre-pack.  If you are sure you’re selling in 2011, and want to put your holiday vacay time to good use, make a list of all those little repairs you’ve been wanting to do forever, call up your neighborhood handyperson and get ’em done. Loose knobs and handles, double-hung windows that are painted shut, the frayed carpet on the steps, that broken bathroom tile – fixing those things can give your place just the patina and polish it’ll take to compete with the ample, low-priced competition you’ll have next year.

It may be tough for non-distressed home sellers to compete with foreclosures and short sales on price.  But one area where individual home sellers usually can best the competition is CONDITION! Your home can present to buyers in tip-top  condition in a way that most foreclosures and short sales cannot.  And this includes staging – most foreclosures will be shown vacant, and/or with the debris of the former owner’s lives tragically littering the premises.  Short sales are usually (but not always) a bit better, but are most often shown fully occupied, furnished and cluttered – just as the owners live in them, because of the distressed nature of the sale.  As a non-distressed home’s seller, it behooves you to ensure that your home’s curb appeal is at it’s best and that throughout the interior, the buyer is able to visualize the lovely life they can, scratch that, WILL live once they buy and move into your home.  Depersonalizing and decluttering are essential to this staging effort- put most of the personal items that make your home yours in a box, like you’re getting ready to move (which you are!) and leave your place in as close to model-home move-in condition as possible.

Buying your first home? Selling your house? Looking to relocate? Give me a call,   Carlos J. Amador at (562) 833-4292 or visit my website http://www.carlosjamador.com. For a no obligation free consultation. Free first time home buyer information for Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles residents. Real Estate information for Fullerton, Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Home Sellers in Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

Source: Tara-Nicholle Nelson of trulia

Real Estate = Big Money

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Kathleen O’Reilly of Re/Max Horizon in Elgin, Ill., should get a medal for showing houses.

A recent client looked at 45 houses before deciding on one. And you guessed it: The buyer settled on the first one O’Reilly had shown him. The place had everything the buyer wanted, the Illinois agent says, but he looked at 44 others before feeling confident that he was getting the best deal possible.
“Buyers have read a lot about foreclosures, short sales and how desperate sellers are,” says Sarah Ritter, a Re/Max Properties agent in nearby Western Springs, Ill., who is working with a couple who have looked at more than 40 houses and have yet to make an offer. 

“They feel there is this fabulous deal out there, a mansion with all the bells and whistles,” Ritter says. “They are convinced the next house they look at will be a better deal, and with so much inventory now on the market, they keep looking and looking.”

It’s not just a northern Illinois phenomenon either. It’s happening all across the country. Agents use words like “petrified” and “paralyzed” to describe “unsure” buyers. And who can blame them? After all, no one wants to buy a house now only to see it drop in value as soon as they move in, or maybe even before they take title.

At the same time, though, people are buying houses, and according to the latest figures from the National Assn. of Realtors, first-timers are leading the charge. Rookie buyers now account for a record 50% of all sales.

How can buyers find their way through a mountain of distressed properties and regular old houses for sale? Here are some suggestions:

•Be committed. If you want to be successful, says Roberta Baldwin, an agent with Keller Williams New Jersey Metro Group in Essex County, N.J., you need that same sense of urgency that buyers exhibited during the real-estate run-up.

Today’s buyers “just aren’t committed to the search in the same dogged ways buyers were in the high market, when they thought if they didn’t catch the wave, they’d never see another one,” Baldwin says. Her advice: Stop fitting in the house hunt only when you have some extra time. Rather, make it a priority.

•Be ready. With lenders making it difficult to obtain a mortgage, it’s more important than ever to line up financing in advance. “It’s not a buyer’s market; it’s an able buyer’s market,” points out Beverly Meaux of Towne Realty Group in Short Hills, N.J.

Besides, knowing in advance how large a loan you qualify for will prevent you from looking at houses you can’t afford, even if you expect to be a hard negotiator.

•Do your homework. Smart buyers in today’s market “have already studied the market and are ready to jump on a good deal when it comes along,” says Juan Vazquez of RSVP Homes Realty in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Meaux agrees. She has had clients who have purchased after seeing only two or three houses. But they were ready only because they “have been researching for about a year and going to open houses,” the northern New Jersey agent says.

•Have a plan. Know what you want in advance. Identify the key features you need — the number of bedrooms, for example, or the number of bathrooms — and then refine your search. That way, you will be able to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer number of houses that are available, says Christina Holmes of Re/Max Real Estate Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

When one of Kent Dover’s clients becomes immobilized because of the sheer number of houses that seem to fill his bill, the Hot Springs, Ark., broker helps him create a list of “musts” and “wants.” Such a wish list “has been very effective in keeping buyers on track,” says Dover, of ERA Rushing McAdams Polychron.

•Get organized. Holmes in Tennessee points out that technology lets buyers preview properties online without ever leaving their living rooms. You can see pictures, videos, satellite views and then venture out to actually visit the three or four you like the most.

On the other hand, many agents say buyers can’t look at too many houses. For example, Julie Holden of JB Goodwin Realtors in Austin, Texas, suggests that buyers take advantage of the buyer’s market and “see everything.”

If there are two dozen places that meet your criteria, Holden suggests you “drive by every single one of them, take notes, compare details, and make an informed choice. It’s terrific that buyers have this luxury.”

•Start the process. Be ready to begin the negotiations. Otherwise, you could miss out on a great opportunity.

O’Reilly, the Elgin, Ill., agent, encourages her clients to make an offer when they find a house they like, even if the first number is well below the asking price.

“At worst, the seller won’t negotiate,” she says. “But in this market, that is unlikely. Sellers don’t want a viable buyer to walk away.”

Avoid distractions. Don’t be diverted by media reports that prices are still falling. They may well be, but perhaps not where you want to buy. All real estate is local, so find out what’s going on where you are looking.

Buying your first home? Selling your house? Looking to relocate? Give me a call,   Carlos J. Amador at (562) 833-4292 or visit my website http://www.carlosjamador.com. For a no obligation free consultation. Free first time home buyer information for Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles residents. Real Estate information for Fullerton, Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Home Sellers in Fullerton, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

Source:  Lew Sichelman/ Los Angeles Times