Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The latest news from Fran and Rowena

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Fran and Rowena, real estate agents

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

California Homeowners "Keep Your Home"

California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) is participating in a program aimed to help California homeowners keep their home.

According to the website, "The Obama Administration has directed CalHFA to submit program proposals to assist California homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments."

Funded with nearly $700 million through the U.S. Treasury’s Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund, the proposed programs are not yet available to California homeowners. The proposed programs have been submitted to the U.S. Treasury, and CalHFA is awaiting approval. It is anticipated to take between six to eight weeks from the submission date of April 16, 2010.

California homeowners should check the official CalHFA website here: Keep Your Home California

Program eligibility is spelled out on the website, explaining that "The eligibility criteria are designed to assist those who have been most seriously impacted by the current housing crisis."

In addition to borrower eligibility, you can read about property eligibility requirements on the website, including general exclusions.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foreclosure activity up in first quarter

Realtytrac.com reports that foreclosure activity is up in the first quarter of 2010, increasing 7% over the same quarter of 2009.

The Realtytrac.com website reports that "... its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for Q1 2010, which shows that foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 932,234 properties in the first quarter, a 7 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 16 percent increase from the first quarter of 2009. One in every 138 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter."

The top ten states for foreclosure filings in the first quarter are (in order): Nevada, Arizona, Florida, California, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, and Colorado.

An interesting report. You can read it online here: Realtytrac press release on first quarter 2010 foreclosures

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

National Home Sales Promising

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports that pending home sales for the month of February were up.

According to the NAR, "The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 8.2 percent to 97.6 from a downwardly revised 90.2 in January, and remains 17.3 percent above February 2009 when it was 83.2."

A sign of a busy real estate market this spring? Possibly. In our opinion, favorable home prices, low interest rates and government tax credits are certainly encouraging buyers to consider buying this year.

To read more: NAR press release

Monday, April 05, 2010

Second Installment Property Taxes Due

It's tax time - including property taxes!

The second installment of the annual property taxes is due on February 1st, and will be accepted without penalty, if payment is received or postmarked on or before April 10, 2010. Since April 10 falls on a Saturday, the deadline is 5 pm on the next business day, or April 12, 2010. After then, the 2nd installment becomes delinquent and is subject to a late payment penalty and cost(fee).

For more information including payment options, obtaining a copy of your tax bill:

Los Angeles County Property Tax Website

Ventura County Tax Collector

Orange County Treasurer Tax Collector

San Diego County Treasurer Tax Collector

San Bernardino County Treasurer Tax Collector

Santa Barbara County Treasurer Tax Collector

California State Board of Equalization - Property Tax

Sunday, March 28, 2010

California Real Estate News

By the numbers ... California Real Estate:

The California Building Industry Association reports that new home sales in California were down 12% in January when compared to the same month in 2009.

Read more here: Press Release - California Building Industry Association

The California Association of Realtors reports that median home prices increased 14.1% in February when compared to the same month in 2009. However, home sales decreased 11.7% when compared in February year-over-year.

Read more here: Press Release - California Association of Realtors

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Zillow's "Zestimate" Studied

The Winter 2010 edition of "The Appraisal Journal" contains an Abstract titled "Zillow's Estimates of Single-Family Housing Values", comparing Zillow.com's Zestimate of the value of single family homes with the actual sale price of homes sold in Arlington, Texas covering data from 2006. The results are that on average, the Zillow estimate overvalued the studied properties by 10% when compared to the sale price.

There's sure to be a lot of interest in the study.

Read the Appraisal Institute Press Release:
Zillow Values No More Accurate Than Homeowners' Estimates

Read Zillow's explanation: What is a Zestimate?

In our opinion, valuing a property is so much more than just how many bedrooms it has, number of baths, square footage of the house, lot size, updates, etc. While as a Realtor we call it an "estimate" (because we are not licensed appraisers, and therefore, it is not an "appraisal" of value), we know that there is a certain amount of subjective value, intuitive value and value based on external factors that provide us with conclusion of our value estimate.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Station Fire La Canada Flintridge - Reforestation Volunteers Needed

You can help repair the damage to the Angeles Forest caused by the Station Fire.

The US Forest Service has estimated that over 11,000 acres of the 168,000 that burned in the Station Fire will not regenerate naturally, and will have to be replanted. And, it is important that proper plantings be used.

TreePeople and the US Forest Service have formed a joint effort in this regard, offering training classes for volunteers who would like to help in the reforestation effort. The Refestation Supervisor Training class is next weekend. It's a one day class offered on either Saturday, March 6 or Sunday, March 7 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm the San Bernardino National Forest.

Actual planting will begin in Spring of 2011. The Forest Service website states "TreePeople will recruit, train, and lead crews of volunteers in planting thousands of seedlings in the 2011 and 2012 planting seasons, as part of a comprehensive ecosystem restoration effort in the burned area."

Information about the March classes is here: Reforestation Supervisor Training

More information from the US Forest Service is here: Angeles National Forest - Volunteering

Press release: TreePeople to Coordinate Volunteer Tree Planting in Station Fire Burn Area

Your generous donation of time and energy will make a difference for generations to come.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Home Buyer Tax Credit Spurs Home Sales

The home buyer tax credit appears to be helping the real estate market across the United States. Real estate agents from coast to coast are reporting increased buyer interest, in part due to the home buyer tax credit. Continued low mortgage interest rates is another reason cited for buyers to "get off the fence".

Realtors from California, Utah, North Carolina, and New Mexico share their thoughts and experience in this article:

Home Buyers Tax Credit Helps Real Estate Sales Across the US

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Economy: What's the 2010 housing market outlook?

CBS Channel 2 in Los Angeles has a one hour special on this Sunday that will air after the Super Bowl (at approximately 8 pm). Titled "2010: New Decade, New Hope", it explores what this new decade may look like and how it will affect our lives.

As part of that timely special report, we were asked to sit down for an interview with veteran news anchor Paul Magers. Spending an afternoon with Paul and the skilled CBS 2 technical team, we covered many aspects of real estate --- sharing personal stories, and thoughts on real estate today, and in the future.

You can view and read the segment online here:
Economy: Is The Housing Crisis Coming To An End?

There's a web-extra 17+ minutes of interview - Paul Magers discussing the housing market for buyers and sellers with Fran and Rowena - online here:
Web Extra: Realtors Discuss Local Real Estate Market

It was an interesting discussion, to become part of a bigger picture on the economy. The hour-long special on Sunday should have thoughtful insights into what's ahead for all of us. With the economy weighing so heavily on us all, this program is a "must see".

So - set your TiVo, program your VCRs, hit the "record" button ... or just watch along with us on Sunday after the Super Bowl, around 8 pm on CBS 2 Los Angeles.

Paul Magers with realtors Fran and Rowena

Monday, January 11, 2010

Best Real Estate Agents in Los Angeles

We are proud to be named among the Ten Best Real Estate Agents in Los Angeles.

You can read the article online here: Ten Best Real Estate Agents in Los Angeles