Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!


Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2009. May your real estate dreams come true!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

IRS to Subordinate Federal Tax Liens

If you are refinancing or selling your home, and have a federal tax lien against your property, the Internal Revenue Service is offering help to you. The IRS has announced that they will subordinate the tax lien.

This new program should help what IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman calls "financially distressed homeowners". It does not forgive the taxes due, however.

To read the IRS tax briefing, and to get more information, go here

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mortgage Rates Cause Refinances

Mortgage rates went up slightly this week according to Bankrate.com's weekly survey. But, rates are better than last year.

As of December, 24th, Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 42 basis points, to 5.84 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.31 percent; four weeks ago, it was 5.97 percent."

The favorable mortgage rates have spurred an increase in refinances. Bankrate.com also references the Mortgage Bankers Association, stating "Almost no one is getting an ARM nowadays. Adjustable-rate mortgages accounted for 1 in 125 loan applications last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association."

So - we went to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) website and found their press release here. The MBA reports that "The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 83.2 percent of total applications from 76.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 0.8 percent from 1.1 percent of total applications from the previous week."

To read the Bankrate.com article, go here

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

National Real Estate - Home Sales

Yesterday we commented about California home sales.

Today we get a report from the National Association of Realtors® (N.A.R.) regarding existing home sales for November, 2008 across the United States. Not surprisingly, NAR reports that the number of existing (not new) home sales has declined "... 8.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate¹ of 4.49 million units in November from a downwardly revised level of 4.91 million in October, and are 10.6 percent below the 5.02 million-unit pace in November 2007."

As for prices, the National Association of Realtors reports that "The national median existing-home price³ for all housing types was $181,300 in November, down 13.2 percent from November 2007 when the median was $208,800."

To read the entire press release, go here

Monday, December 22, 2008

California Real Estate - Home Sales Report

The 2008 California real estate market had it's share of ups and downs. The California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) has released it's "State of the California Housing Market 2008-2009".

The report cites an increase in the number of sales,a decrease in prices and a statistic that one out of five escrows cancelled during the year.

The C.A.R. is predicting that the median home price in California will decline in 2009, and that the California real estate market will level off in 2009.

We think you will find the report very interesting. To read the press release: C.A.R. 2008-2009 Housing Market report.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So Calif Real Estate-Nov Home Sales

Southern California real estate is selling! Dataquick reports that November home sale numbers actually exceeded those of November, 2007. This is the fifth consecutive month that the 2008 home sale numbers exceeded the 2007 home sale numbers.

According to Dataquick, the median sale price of a Southern California home " ... was $285,000, down 5 percent from October and down a record 34.5 percent from November 2007. Last month's median was the lowest since it was $298,000 in April 2003, which was the last time the median was below $300,000. November's median stood 43.6 percent below the peak $505,000 median reached in spring and summer of last year."

What's moving the Southern California real estate market? Foreclosures, which accounted for over half of November's sales. The greatest concentration of foreclosures in Southern California is in Riverside County and San Bernardino County.

To read the press release, go here DQNews.com December 16, 2008 press release

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fed Lowers Federal Funds Rate!

"The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to establish a target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 1/4 percent." In addition, the statement says " ...the Committee anticipates that weak economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for some time."

Have they ever announced a "target range"?

Read the press release here: Dec 16, 2008 press release

Friday, December 12, 2008

Real Estate - Mortgage Rates Drop

Bankrate.com reports that "The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 12 basis points, to 5.8 percent ... One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.17 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.39 percent." It is also reported that refinance applications have increased. To read the press release, go here

Remember that as you apply for a refinance of your current mortgage, you will have to qualify for the new loan, and the property will likely have to be appraised. You may want to have your local realtor review the market value comparables with you so that you understand the current market value of your property in preparation for the refinance application. We do know of people who are trying to refinance their loan, only to have a problem because the property did not appraise at the value necessary for the refinance loan.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Property Taxes due

If you live in Los Angeles County, the first installment of 2008-2009 property taxes are due and must be received or postmarked on or before tomorrow, December 10, 2008 to avoid penalty.

For more information: Los Angeles County Tax Assessor

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Real Estate Blog - mobile version

The Real Estate Blog has a mobile subscription. Simply click on the "Mobile Version" icon in the right-hand column, and have updates sent to your mobile device.

The mobile version of The Real Estate Blog is very readible, and loads quickly on your mobile device. It's familiar - you'll recognize the color scheme!

Would you like to get mobile updates? Then, click here: The Real Estate Blog - mobile version

Friday, December 05, 2008

Use Smudging to sell real estate?

Selling real estate? Have you tried "smudging"?

What's "smudging" you ask? It's a Native American ritual used to cleanse spaces, clear the "energy".

There are many reference to smudging online.

About.com
calls it "spiritual house cleaning".

In today's real estate market, home sellers and real estate agents are looking for new ways to market a home, and for ways to "re-energize" their marketing efforts.

While not a traditional marketing method, perhaps "old ways are best" applies in this case, and you might want to try smudging to give your home a fresh energy and spirit.

Have you tried smudging or any other interesting way to market a home? Let us know! Send us an email with your experience, and we will post the responses on our Blog.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

La Canada Flintridge Open House

4318 Bel Aire Drive, La Canada Flintridge

Open Sunday,December 7 from 2 to 4 pm

Offered for sale at $1,495,000

This four bedroom home has been remodeled, with gourmet kitchen, hardwood floors, and amenities galore! Great yard with pool and spa. Prepare to fall in love!

For additional information, including photos and a virtual tour, please go here

For further information, feel free to call us at (818) 952-0077

Monday, December 01, 2008

California Home Sales UP in October

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) released home sale statistics for the month of October.

The numbers show that sales of "existing, single-family detached homes" in the state of California were up in October by 117.1% over last year. Sales were up 9.5% over September.

However, the median price of an existing home in California over last year was down over 39%. The median price was down 1.9% from September.

Attributing the increased sales numbers to areas with "distressed sales" (our translation: foreclosures and lender short sales), the Association also states that "C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in October 2008 was 5.9 months, compared with 15.2 months (revised) for the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. "

So --- some good news in the numbers. We have noticed that our Sunday open houses have been busier lately with potential buyers seemingly a little more willing to discuss home buying. At least, that's our opinion.

You can read the press release here.