Are Your Clients Prepared for Home Inspection?

Please Check out some Tips by Courtney Soinski from The Real Estate Blog…

As a real estate professional, it is very important that you fully prepare your clients before meeting with a home inspector.

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Here are some of our favorite tips that REALTORS® can provide their clients for a successful and smooth home inspection.  You’ll be happy to know that these can be done at little to no cost!

1.  Clean out dirty gutters or debris from the roof.

2.  Trim trees, roots and bushes back from foundation, roof, siding and chimney.

3.  Seal asphalt driveways, if cracking.

4.  Clean or replace HVAC filter.

5.  Test all smoke detectors to ensure they are in safe working condition.

6.  Don’t do quick cheap repairs.  You may raise questions that will unfairly cause great concern to buyers and inspectors.

7.  Ensure that all doors and windows are in proper working condition, including repairing any cracks.

8.  Check and fix any leaks on plumbing fixtures.  Apply caulk if needed.

9.  Have clear access to attic, crawlspace, heating system, garage and other areas that will need to be inspected.

10.  Make sure all utilities are turned on if the house is vacant.  This includes water, electric, water heater, furnace, air conditioning and breaks in the main panel.

 Hope That Helps!

THE INMAN TEAM

What’s Next for Housing in Your Town

NEW YORK (Money Magazine)

By Lisa Gibbs and Amanda Gengler | CNN MONEY

next town tampa

After years of dramatic price changes and sales stats that have vacillated from red-hot to moribund and back again, you could be forgiven for forgetting what a typical housing market looks like. This year, though, you may finally be in for a refresher course.

Researchers are predicting an average price gain of 4.2% — respectable, but a far cry from the 11% average posted in 2013, according to data firm CoreLogic. At the same time, the shortage of for-sale homes should ease, as more would-be sellers get off the fence and construction of new houses continues to pick up. Of course, in reality no market is truly average. Some areas are predicted to grow at more than twice the nationwide rate, while a few will barely tick up. Then there’s the specter of interest rate hikes, which could hit some places harder than others. READ MORE HERE… http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/02/real_estate/housing-market.moneymag/index.html

International Buyers like the Southern California Real Estate Market

Read this article we found in the Daily Breeze…

http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/20140403/international-buyers-like-the-southern-california-real-estate-market

Home buyers outside of the U.S. really like the Southern California real estate market.

A lot, according to the California Association of Realtors “2013 International Clients Survey.”

And they are especially high on Southern California, according to the association.

Of the homes purchased by international buyers last year in California, 35 percent were in L.A. County, 22 percent were in Orange County, 20 percent were in San Diego County and 14 percent were in Riverside County, the association said.

The international community is also a fan of our government and financial system, which I know some will find hard to believe.

Eight five percent of the buyers shopping for homes in the state last year said that they only considered purchasing a home in the U.S. because its stable government and financial system would guarantee their home investment.

Fifteen percent considered investing in other countries, including Canada, Germany, Mexico, China, Singapore, Sweden, and France.

Twenty percent of the buyers said they chose the U.S. for its desirable location and climate.

The survey also found that 69 percent of international buyers paid all cash for their properties, compared to 27 percent of traditional buyers who paid all cash and 32 percent who bought their home to live in.

The international set has an eye for style, too. Forty-four percent of the international home buyers purchased homes with designer kitchens, 26 percent purchased homes with a wine cellar, and 9 percent purchased homes with a sauna. Other home amenities that international buyers wanted include a private beach, putting green, heated floors and outdoor kitchens…

READ MORE HERE…

http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/20140403/international-buyers-like-the-southern-california-real-estate-market

Southern California Home Prices Surge

 Southern California home prices are surging as the spring buying season heats up, with the median price in March hitting $400,000 for the first time in six years.

But a deeper look at the market reveals a recovery divided between the rich and everyone else.

The market for high-dollar homes is hopping, with sales on the rise and buyers launching bidding wars. But sales of low- to medium-priced homes have plummeted during the same period — with many potential buyers priced out.

“Housing affordability is really taking a bite out of the market,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Assn. of Realtors. “We haven’t seen this issue since 2007.”

The median price across the six-county region jumped 4.5% from $383,000 in February, according to San Diego-based DataQuick — the first significant increase since prices stalled last summer after a sharp run-up. But the number of homes sold fell sharply from 2013, down 14.3%, to the second-lowest total for a March in nearly two decades.

Those declines came even as sales of high-end homes increased. Sales of homes costing $800,000 or more grew 12%, while sales of homes costing less than $500,000 fell at twice that rate.

A number of factors have sapped demand, Appleton-Young said. Lending standards remain much tighter than during the housing bubble of the last decade. With wage growth stagnant, most middle-income families aren’t seeing more money in their paychecks. Add in issues such as rising student loan debt, and the mortgage payment becomes that much harder to afford.

“I think first-time buyers getting financing is going to become more of an issue,” she said.

Carey Chenoski, a real estate agent in Redlands, said she has seen less interest in homes for sale lately as first-time buyers struggle to afford the new higher prices. There are more homes on the market than last year — which is keeping further price growth in check — but they’re not selling.

“Lately on Saturdays and Sundays, you see open house signs everywhere,” she said. “The houses that last spring would be gone in the first day are sitting maybe 60 days.”

That, in turn, is frustrating some sellers. Chenoski recently saw the price on a three-bedroom in Redlands reduced to $299,000 from $315,000 — and it still didn’t sell. So it was taken off the market.

It’s a different story in pricier pockets of the region, where high-end sales are climbing, all-cash offers remain common, and well-priced homes go fast.

“We’re getting multiple offers on just about everything,” said Barry Sulpor, an agent with Shorewood Realtors in Manhattan Beach, where he said there is a new wave of tear-downs and new construction in prime beachfront locations. “The market is really on fire.”

This imbalance between different slices of the market is a hangover of the housing crash, said Dave Emerson, a longtime agent in Lakewood who recently retired. The higher end suffered fewer foreclosures and returned to health faster. At the lower end, prices mostly bounced back. But amid tougher lending standards, a still-shaky economy and, more recently, rising interest rates, buyers haven’t necessarily followed….

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CONTINUE  READING HERE….

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-home-prices-20140416,0,4794538.story#ixzz2zBR9aE4t

Southern California median home price jumped to $400,000

 

Home prices in Southern California are at their highest level in six years, according to new data, though those gains may be taking a bite out of sales volume.

 

The median price of a house sold in Southern California rose from $383,000 in February to $400,000 in March, the market’s highest level since February 2008, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate data.

The figure is up 15.8% from the same month last year and is the first noticeable increase since the torrid run-up in prices last spring and summer.

At the same time, the number of sales fell on an annual basis for the sixth straight month as investors and cash buyers pull out in the face of higher prices, and more traditional home buyers hesitate to jump in. There were 17,638 homes sold in DataQuick’s six-county Southern California’ region, down 14.3% from last March and the second-lowest total for the month — the start of the key spring home-buying season — in nearly two decades.

“Southland home buying got off to a very slow start this year,” said DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage. “We see multiple reasons for this: The inventory of homes for sale remains thin in many markets. Investor purchases have fallen. The jump in home prices and mortgage rates over the past year has priced some people out of the market, while other would-be buyers struggle with credit hurdles. Also, some potential move-up buyers are holding back while they weigh whether to abandon a phenomenally low interest rate on their current mortgage in order to buy a different home.”

The data also show how the recovery is being felt differently at different segments of the market.

While prices have climbed fast on lower-priced homes, the number of sales has fallen sharply, suggesting a lack of homes for sale and buyers who can afford them. Sales of homes for less than $500,000 dropped 26.4% from this time last year…

Continue HERE…

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-southern-california-home-prices-20140415,0,6707626.story#ixzz2z08dOtsr

Condo Prices Up in L.A.

The price per square foot of a new condo downtown climbed 6% in March from February to $656, according to a new report from the Mark Co., which tracks downtown real estate.

The number of condos for sale, meanwhile, fell sharply as buyers snapped up units at downtown’s lone new condo building: the Barker Block on Hewitt Street.

At month’s end, Mark said, there were only 27 new units for sale downtown, and the inventory of existing condos for sale would burn off in less than three months — half of what’s considered a healthy supply. Prices for condo resales slipped in March but remain 23% higher than a year earlier, at $534 per square foot.

“There is a dearth of condos,” said Alan Mark, the Mark Co.’s president. “People are not even selling existing condos because there’s no place for them to buy.”

The tight for-sale market contrasts sharply with a boom in apartment building.

After the housing market tanked in 2008, some downtown projects that had originally been designed as for-sale switched over to become rentals. And big institutional investors, desiring a safe, stable return, shifted their money into high-end apartments, helping to fuel a building boom that has 5,000 rental units now under construction, and 3,000 more units approved by the city.

That surge in rental supply may lead some apartment owners to flip their buildings back to condos, but Mark said he doesn’t see that happening yet. The numbers don’t quite pencil out, and the wounds from the downturn are still too fresh.

“There are definitely people circling, trying to figure out does it work and do they have the wherewithal to put 200 or 300 units on the market for sale,” he said. “Some developers still feel the scars of the recession.”

As for new construction, that could happen — there’s one 38-story condo tower in early development on 9th Street north of Staples Center — but it’s going to take a while.

“To build any building that’s sizable, it’s 18 months to two-and-a-half years to deliver,” Mark said. “You just don’t see this thing changing soon.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-downtown-condo-market-20140408,0,873943.story#ixzz2ytsQzLTR

What Does Sale Pending Mean?

Posted by Justin in Buying A HomeHomebuyers Tips | RealEstateCommunites.com

http://realestatecommunities.com/what-does-sale-pending-mean/

You’ve come across a beautiful house and it looks picture perfect from the outside – mature trees, beautiful exterior, shiny windows, maybe even a small pond. You check the sign, wanting to give the realtor a call to schedule a tour but much to your chagrin you see a “Sale Pending” sign on to of the realtor card. Does this mean that the home is sold? Does this mean you shouldn’t bother trying to bid on this house? Let’s find out!

Subjects, Contingencies and Pendings, Oh My!

Anytime you see a “subject to” or “contingent upon” but in an ad, that means that the sale isn’t final. The seller can’t accept the buyer’s bid for real until they meet those terms – one of the most common of these is a financing contingency. If the buyer can’t get financing to buy the home, they’ll be off the hook and the seller can search for another buyer instead.

The Seller May Still Entertain Other Offers

But just because a home has an offer doesn’t mean it’s off the market. Sometimes the buyer could back out at the last minute. Sometimes the offer just falls through and they have to find another buyer – but it’s important to remember that once they enter the fulfillment period during the time the home is appraised, inspected or where they’re fulfilling a contingency, they won’t be able to entertain other offers.

What Does Sale Pending, Mean, Anyway?

If the seller is still trying to meet all of those terms before the buyer’s (or buyers!) offer is accepted, they won’t be able to entertain other offers. This means that you can’t swoop in with a better bid, skip the financing contingency or even just offer to put down an earnest money deposit to skip ahead in line. It all just depends on what province you reside in and what their rules are, so make sure you talk with your realtor before you get your hopes up!

But you CAN submit a bid, if you really want to. You may not see anything come of it, and you’ll have to go through an appraisal process, a home inspection to make sure if there are any lingering issues you can get them fixed up before the sale is final and slap that financing contingency onto the home so if your financing falls through, you’re not on the hook.

If You Really Want the Property, It’s Worth it

But if you really want to buy a property, it’s well worth it to explore all of your options. Don’t let that sale pending sign scare you away, especially if you’re willing to go the distance to own this home. Spend some time, talk to your realtor, find out what a reasonable expectation for this home will be maintenance wise, cost-wise, even just the amount of energy you’ll spend chasing it. If it’s had people locked in a bidding war for a few weeks, you might be better just walking away.

 http://realestatecommunities.com/what-does-sale-pending-mean/

Why Wait To Buy Your First Home Till You Are Married

In my parents generation it was easy, you dated, got engaged, got married, then bought the house. Lots of little check marks on the list and very few deviated from the norm.

In my generation it was a bit more difficult. You still did the dating part, but we typically added the living together part before the marriage or even the engagement. It was practical, and a bit controversial, but we did it.

Now our children are facing another change in the equation. Young couples are buying homes together before they get married.

Coldwell Banker has come out with a new survey that shows 24 percent of millennial couples are buying the house before they get married. Now part of this is because these couples are waiting much longer to tie to the knot, but for those in the real estate industry it is a trend to watch.

Especially as we see the housing industry start to recover. If these numbers were growing in the recent housing recession I think they will explode as the market takes off.

So remember when you want to go back into your personal history to predict future events in real estate, odds are you will be mistaken. The world is changing, fast, and the smart and successful agents are watching these trends and using them to their advantage.

Survey Trends: Love, Marriage and Homebuying

New Homes for Newlyweds: More than one in three married homeowners (35 percent) purchased their first home together by their second wedding anniversary.

Cold Feet? Not These Couples: 17 percent of all married couples surveyed purchased a home together before their wedding day.

Millennials are Less Likely to Wait Until Marriage: 24 percent of married homeowners ages 18 to 34 bought a home together before they were married, compared to 14 percent of those ages 45 and older.

Southerners Take Their Time: 72 percent of married Americans in the South waited until after they were married to purchase a home, compared to 60 percent of Americans in the Northeast.

To Have and to Hold … and to Own: Only 16 percent of married U.S. adults have not purchased a home together with their current spouse.

Impact of Homebuying on a Marriage

  • 93 percent of homeowners who purchased their first home while married always planned on owning a home after marrying.
  • 80 percent said purchasing a home with their spouse did more to strengthen their relationship as a couple and family than any other purchase they have made together.
  • Over one-third of married homeowners (35 percent) wish they had taken the plunge (into homeownership) sooner than they actually did.

How to refinance your mortgage

Here are six tips to consider if you’re looking for refinancing options outside of HARP by MSN Real Estate

By Juliette Fairley of MainStreet | MSN

http://realestate.msn.com/how-to-refinance-your-mortgage

1. Shop around. The job of the consumer is to find the best APR and the lowest fees. “They vary the most in the mortgage financing industry,” said Steve Nakash, national retail manager with Nationwide Direct Mortgage.

2. Maximize your time. Mortgage brokers can check five or six banks to obtain the best rates of the day. “Bigger banks like Bank of America only have access to their own bank rates,” said Tim Lucas, a former loan officer and editor of mymortgageinsider.com.

3. Protect your credit report. Narrow your choices down to three lenders before having your credit report pulled by any one of them. “If you get your credit report pulled too many times, it affects your credit score,” Nakash said. “If you are not doing business with a particular bank, don’t allow them to pull your credit.”

4. Determine your mortgage options. “Credit unions are good for short-term fixed-rate mortgages at 10 or 15 years, but for a mortgage more than a million dollars, consider a private bank, especially for a 10-year or seven-year ARM, because the private banking departments of big banks have competitive rates for larger mortgages,” said Michael Moskowitz, president of Equity Now, a direct mortgage lender.

 5. Seek continuity. When refinancing with an online lender, request to be handled by only one account representative to avoid being passed around from one rep to another. “Most online lenders will accommodate that,” said Nakash, who services eight states online including California, Colorado and Washington.

6. Pay attention. When the loan-to-value ratio is more than 80%, secure mortgage insurance. “If you have a $375,000 loan, 80% would be $300,000,” Moskowitz said. “Mortgages of more than 80% must include insurance, according to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA requirements.”

http://realestate.msn.com/how-to-refinance-your-mortgage