Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Drive while Driving?

No Texting While Driving!

I couldn't resist putting in my 2 Cents about texting while driving. Does anyone else think this is a little absurd that we have to dictate that we should pay attention to driving while driving? I think we all know by now that as of January 1st it will be illegal to text or read texts while driving. I never even thought of texting while driving but then this could be generational (am I giving away my age?).

I've heard studies say that hands free talking on the phone is as much of a distraction as holding a cell phone and talking. Hello everyone, we need to drive while driving. We can get away with it most of the time but there are situations that call for a quick response. And we need to be responsible about driving. It is a matter of life or death.

My 2 Cents - Try driving while driving and let voice mail do its job while we are on the road.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Morning Update

Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 237 active listings and 57 sale pendings

Gilroy has 307 active listings and 150 sale pendings

San Martin has 42 active listings and 8 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 566 active listings and 212 sale pendings


Inventory is continuing to go down which is typical for this time of year as are sales BUT not by much. Sales are actually holding pretty steady and we haven’t seen this low an inventory since April May of 2006. Interesting!

My 2 Cents - If you are serious about buying a home, you might take action sooner rather than later. Spring is going to be a more competitive time for Buyers especially when a perceived good deal comes on the market.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

P.S. I have been goofing off, I'm sorry! This is such a good time of year to take time off and I have been spending lots of it with my family. I will be back with regular, interesting and relevant articles to help you sort through your real estate decisions. I look forward to a great 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Morning Update


Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 248 active listings and 60 sale pendings

Gilroy has 309 active listings and 154 sale pendings

San Martin has 43 active listings and 8 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 581 active listings and 219 sale pendings

Inventory is continuing to go down which is typical for this time of year but sales are actually inching up on a regular basis all month long.

Interesting – Last year there were 663 active listings in Area 1 with only 50 sale pendings – ugh! It might still be a hard market but movement has definitely improved since last year.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Morgan Hill High End!



High Priced Listing in Morgan Hill!


We've looked at the low end so why not look at the high end of the market (just for fun)? This property at 2400 McDonald Lane has 7550 sqare feet with 6 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. It is a grand home, very elegant with more rooms that you can figure out what to do with. It is located on 21 acres (about half is usable). On the market for a mere $3,999,999 (recently reduced from$4,350,000).


While it is fun to look at what we call 'McMansions', it gives me pause about what we really value in our homes. If you could have anything in a home, what would you pick? Do you have a dream home? Do you know what your priorities are? Personally, having to clean a 7550 square foot home gives me the chills. But having 21 oak studded acres sounds very nice. So does a porch - my dream home has a big friendly porch looking over a beautiful vista! How about yours?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Have You Checkout Out the Interest Rates?

Record Low for Interest Rates!

Now is a great time to check in with your mortgage broker or banker and find out the current interest rates as it applies to you and your finances. Yesterday, my representative from Bank of America was offering 4.875% for a 30 year fixed with 1 point for a conforming loan (up to $417,000). Even Jumbo loans were being offered decent rates (6% for a 30 year fixed with 1 point).

Sue McAllister from the Mercury News wrote today that 'The Federal Reserve entered a new era Tuesday, lowering its benchmark interest rate virtually to zero - for the first time in its 95-year history - and declaring that it will now fight the recession by pumping out vast amounts of money to businesses and consumers through an expanding array of new programs.' Sue McAllister is the real estate writer for the Mercury and was the author of a great real estate blog that was recently discontinued (sad news for us).

Could this actually be good news (haven't had any in so long it's hard to tell). Keep watching the rates and I'll keep you posted on any changes as well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008



New Bank Owned Property in Morgan Hill

This single family home has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1177 square feet. Just new on the market and listed for $429,900. Looks like a nice home with good upgrades and worth checking out if this is your price range.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Real Estate Auctions


Buyer Beware!




I've heard a lot of stories from the 'old days' and read between the lines with the plethora of disclosures these days. I suspect that the current rules and regulations for the real estate auctions resemble what real estate was like when it was less protective of Buyers and more in favor of Sellers.


Why are people buying through auctions then? Well simply, it is the possibility of a good deal. IF you know what you are doing and IF you are in the right place at the right time, THEN maybe you are getting a good deal.

I have some clients that wanted to explore buying a particular property through an auction. It was a property they were interested in when it was listed on the market. We registered with the auction and began reading their paperwork and found out some interesting facts:


1) You can't thoroughly inspect a property. You can walk through with a contractor but you can't order the usual inspections once you are in contract the way you typically would.


2) No disclosures! Of course they don't really know the properties so they can't really disclose but they also don't preorder inspections or provide the typical 'JCP Report' which gives information about the natural hazards and environmental issues for that area.


3) You can't pick the title company. That isn't that unusual because the Seller (the Auction House) was paying for the title insurance but that's all they were paying for. Santa Clara County is a Seller Pay County and typically the Seller pays most of the transfer fees (Title, Escrow, County Transfer Tax, Association Documents & Transfer Fees, Home Warranty). Yes, all that is negotiable typically but not with an Auction. They pay the Title Fee and that's it folks. They do prorations for taxes but have a disclaimer in case they are in error that puts the responsibility back on the Buyer.


4) This one actually made my lender snort when she read about it in the contract - read on! You can use a different lender than the ones the auction house provides at the auction BUT you need to have an 'unconditional approval letter' from the lender. There is no way a lending institution is going to provide a letter without having an appraisal or looking at a prelim at the very least. Basically, you have to use their lenders unless you can buy a property with cash AND THEN you still have to go through their lender's approval process just for the hay of it.


5) There were more disclaimers as we read through the terms & conditions and the contract. It is important to know that although you might be bidding a certain price, once that price is accepted, the Auction House adds 5% on to that bid for the "Purchase Price". They did repeat that fact many times throughout their literature in all fairness to them but it was that kind of circuitous thinking that was important to follow.

6) My favorite - Apparently some of the homes aren't vacant and you might end up having to evict the tenants once you actually own the property. The Auction House does not guarantee they can get the tenants out.


By the way, the home we were looking at sold at market value (my clients did not end up buying the property). It actually sold for the same amount of money that a home down the street sold for recently. The Buyers could have bought it on the market and had their representation which they gave up by buying at auction. It was interesting to me that the home found the market value even at auction.


My 2 Cents - This is way too risky for the average person. Maybe a contractor or even someone who has carefully done their homework but the risks are great. Any of the homes in the really popular areas (Aptos, Los Gatos, etc) that sold ended up being bid close to market value. The good buys were ones that weren't as desirable.

Monday Morning Statistics

Good morning South County!

Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 259 active listings and 61 sale pendings

Gilroy has 326 active listings and 151 sale pendings

San Martin has 44 active listings and 8 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 608 active listings and 217 sale pendings


Inventory is going down but sales are actually holding steady and up a bit (rates are very good right now).

Stay tuned for regular updates! Tomorrow's blog will be on the Auction I went to on Saturday and what you need to know about auctions!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Real Estate Report - Local Market Trends

Santa Clara County Home Sales up Fifth Month in a Row

The following information is a concise look at the current status of our Santa Clara Market from The Real Estate Report. They do a good job of sorting and presenting the facts.

Sales of single-family, re-sale homes in Santa Clara County were up 24.4% in November compared to last year. Month-over-month, sales fell 23.9%. Sales continue to be concentrated in the lower-priced cities such as San Jose where yearover-year sales were up 72.7%, and Gilroy where sales were up 163.2%. Year-to-date, home sales are off 3.6%. Home prices continue to
be affected by the bankowned property that has flooded the market. The median price continued to slide, down 6.9% from October, and off 40% year-over-year. Inventory crept upward last month, rising 4.5% from October, but down 4.6% compared to November 2007.
The decline in home sales from the month before combined with the rise in inventory sent our Days of Inventory indicator up 59 days to 216 days. The sales price to list price ratio dropped 0.1 of a point to 98.8%. Condo sales rose 8% from October, but were down 19.6% yearover-
year. The median price for condos fell 17.1% month-overmonth, and was off 41.2% compared to last November.

The Real Estate Reports also posts the following statistics:

Median Price for Single Family Homes during November 2008 in Santa Clara County was $515,000 compared to last month which was $553,000 compared to last year which was $858,000 (ouch). There were 609 closed sales in November 2008 compared to last month which was 832 or last year at this time which was 509. Inventory was at 4500 single family home in November compared to October which was at 4358 or last year at this time which was at 4775.

The median price of a single family home in Morgan Hill in November was $582,950, there were 18 closed sales, 286 homes on the market and the average Days on Market were 103. For Gilroy, the median price was $390,000 with 50 closed sales, 413 homes on the market and average DOM in November was 119 days.

Feel free to contact me with any specific info or feedback.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interest Rates!

Update from Bank of America

I receive a weekly update from B of A regarding the current interest rates. Looking at it on a weekly (if not daily) schedule really helps put the market in persective. Right now, a 30 year fixed rate loan has an interest rate of 5.375 (5.549 APR) for a conforming loan (up to $417,000 loan amount). That is the lowest I've seen it in a long time. A 30 year fixed for an FHA conforming loan is going for 5.5% (6.029 APR). A 30 year fixed rate for a Jumbo Loan ($729,750 to 3,000,000 loan amount) is at 6.5 % (6.708 APR) right now. Also B of A is saying this is a good time to apply for a Veteran's Loans - they are lending up to 100% of the purchase price and as of right now, they are saying they can still close by the end of the year.

My 2 Cents - I would also advise checking out your credit unions or opening an account with a credit union. They have very competitive rates and they also have money. I recently did a transaction where my Buyer borrowed money from their credit union and it went very smoothly.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Morning Update!

Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 261 active listings and 59 sale pendings

Gilroy has 331 active listings and 146 sale pendings

San Martin has 42 active listings and 9 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 612 active listings and 213 sale pendings


Inventory is going down but sales are actually holding steady.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Life in Paradise!



New Listing in Paradise Valley -

This sounds interesting - 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath home with 2100 Square Feet located on nearly an acre at 13415 Sycamore Avenue. Sounds like the home is in decent condition - roof, gutters, heating & air conditioning, well, septic, gate, fencing and flooring all updated within the last 3 to 5 years according to the listing agent. Priced at $799,000 and it appears they are hoping for multiple offers. Don't laugh, it is happening in our area with well priced properties and this could be one of them. Located in a very popular area.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Silver Lining Update!

The gift of giving...

As of yesterday afternoon, my Intero office in Morgan Hill had collected over $1100 in donations for the little girl whose family was going through such hard times. In less than 24 hours, many agents called up and dropped checks off and said what they wanted for Christmas was a donation to Jammie.

I was going to let people know about Can Tree yesterday (but got side tracked watching the participation of agents on our company email) which is another fund raiser by realtors, only this one is sponsored by the South County Realtors Association (all the different real estate companies in our area). Every year we raise money and donate food to the local food banks. We donated over $4000 for the Thanksgiving Holiday and plan on doing the same if not more for Christmas.

My 2 Cents - I'm proud to be a realtor in this area where selling homes is closely tied to community and good works (and again, this hasn't been a great income earning year for most realtors). Happy Holidays everyone. Oh by the way, what do you want for Christmas?

New REO in San Martin



13155 Lincoln Avenue , San Martin


This is a bank owned property located on a 9,900 square foot lot in San Martin. The home has 1582 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. The kitchen has granite counter tops and nice cabinets. There is tile and laminate flooring throughout the home. Needs some TLC but could be a good deal for the right buyer (first time or investment property). The seller is offering $2,000 toward buyer closing costs. There is only one other property in San Martin listed for less (and it's also on Lincoln Avenue).


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Silver Lining!

Restore your faith in people and read on -

This year our office has decided to adopt three families for the holidays and have been collecting donations. We will take the money and go shopping soon so three families can have a Christmas with gifts and some breathing room. Even though this has been a hard year on most of us, we know that it is even harder on those who have less.

So when someone from my office sent the following email on top of the giving we were already doing, I wasn't sure what the response would be. Read on (this is the email from an agent in my office) -

Hello Intero Family,

I am not one to ask of my fellow agents unless I believe it's important.

I'm sending this email because I know the fabric of the Intero Family and that you will support this young lady in her need.

This is important. There's a young girl (12 yrs old) who's dad died last year and who's mom is currently fighting cancer. She's on the Morgan Hill Raiders Junior Midget Cheer Squad with my daughter and they just placed in the regional which means they will need to travel to Orlando Florida for the National Competition. It's tough on this girls mom to foot the bill and even though they do fund raisers etc she's still $500. short to pay her way. *****$500.***** separates this young lady from a trip that would mean so much to her and go a long way in giving her a brief moment in time to forget about all the tough things she'll be returning to when this trip is over.

A little background is important to know. Every year we have a company Christmas Party and do a grab bag with a Secret Santa gift. We pick names and buy a gift for the person picked.

Within minutes of the email posting, someone replied to all that she would appreciate a donation made to the little girl as her Secret Santa gift. Well, it was as if the dam broke and all night long there have been emails saying, 'count me in', 'donate my Secret Santa gift to Jammie', 'whoever pulled my name, please donate to this little girl' and on it goes. It's fun being on line and seeing the emails continually pop up. And this is a little girl who needs support. Her dad was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident last year and her mom is battling cancer. Her family was only able to fund raise $100 and the total cost of the trip is $1700. Her coach has contributed $600 but can't afford to pay for the whole thing as both her daughters are on the squad. I figure we have raised about $600 to $700 with more sure to come in as only about half the agents in my office have responded so far.

I know it's so easy to see the down side now more than ever but I believe people are good. I believe people want to be a part of something bigger and better than just themselves. I am proud today to be part of an office that can find money to help others in a year when there is not a lot to go around.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New on the Market


WELL PRICED CONDO FOR $280,000!

This condominium just came on the market in Morgan Hill. Located at 183 Del Monte Lane, it is a 2 Bedroom/2 Bath unit with 1365 Square Feet and 22 years old. The association fee is $370 (a little pricey for around here). Recent comparable sales were $320,00 closing 6/22/08 and $275,000 (bank owned which means usually doesn't show as well or is as well cared for) closing on 9/26/08. Seems priced right and if you are looking in this price range, worth checking out.

My 2 Cents - I expect this to sell soon (we shall see).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekly Update on our Local Market

Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 265 active listings and 57 sale pendings

Gilroy has 336 active listings and 149 sale pendings

San Martin has 43 active listings and 10 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 621 active listings and 215 sale pendings


Inventory is going down but sales are actually holding steady. Home sales increased 117.1% in October in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 39.9% reported by the California Association of Realtors last week. Looking back over this past year for Area 1, the median sales price of a single family home started at $580,00 in January and was $474,000 as of October of 2008.

My 2 Cents – What I question are the amount of sales being reported. While I see that the homes going into contract have greatly increased, the amount of homes actually closing are less than half. And I see that over the entire year. For example, Area one closed with 65 sales for the month (while there are 215 sales pending), San Martin closed 3, Gilroy 46 and Morgan Hill had 17 closed transactions. Don’t you think that is interesting? What is happening to all the sales that aren’t closing? I’m grateful that I do my own tracking and don’t depend on published statistics. Let me know if there is an area or specific statistic you are interested in.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Statistic Update!


Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 276 active listings and 56 sale pendings

Gilroy has 344 active listings and 154 sale pendings

San Martin has 44 active listings and 10 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 642 active listings and 219 sale pendings


Inventory is going down (maybe for the holidays and hibernation time) but sales are actually holding steady and up a little. We’ll see what happens this winter. Traditionally we slow down but I’ll keep you posted.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How to Get Rid of E-Waste

E-Waste Options

Where to drop off those electronic devices that no long serve us? Keep reading!

Cell Phones

· Best Buy and Office Depot in-store recycling kiosks
· Drop off old phones at AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile stores
· Free mail-back programs: Motorola (www.racetorecycle.com), Sprint (www.sprint.com/recycle), Nokia (www.nokiausa.com/recycle), LG (us.lge.com/recycle)
· Wireless Foundation’s Call to Protect donation program (www.wirelessfoundation.org)
Computers and peripherals
· Dell recycling (www.dell.com/recycle), Hewlett-Packard recycling (www.hp.com)
· The National Cristina Foundation donation (www.cristina.org)

iPods and MP3 players

· Apple in-store recycling (iPods only)
· Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation donation program (www.cellphonetradeins.com, iPods only; cell phones also accepted)
· eBay Giving Works, donation to a variety of local charities (givingworks.ebay.com, all MP3 players)

TV, DVD players and stereos

· My Green Electronics, to find local electronics recyclers as well as a data base for environmentally friendly products (www.mygreenelectronics.org)
· Freecycle, to find a local reuse group (www.freecycle.org)
Besides e-waste, you can go to earth911.org and enter the type of “trash” as well as your zip code to find places nearby that either recycle the material or dispose of it safely.

The above information is thanks to an article in this week’s Morgan Hill Times. I thought it was good information and worth spreading the news. Maybe if we make it very easy to recycle, it can become a life style out of choice (while we still have a choice).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chain Emails and Snopes.com

Chain Emails and Good Intentions!

The following information was sent to me by my good friend, Gretchen Merrick. I am often the recipient of chain emails and have looked for a gracious way to let folks know this isn’t something I want to participate in. Aside from the time element, I have never felt comfortable with the computer safety element in this day and age of computer viruses. So I was very happy to have the following information:

Advice from Snopes.com -

1) Any time you see an E-Mail that says forward this on to '10' of your friends, sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, good luck, or whatever, it almost always has an E-Mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and E-Mails of those folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' E-Mails to use in SPAM E-Mails, or sell to other s pam mers.

2) Almost all E-Mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of E-Mail is, is a way to get names and 'cookie' tracking information for telemarketers and spam mers - - to validate active E-Mail accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your friends and family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them; you will be providing a service to your friends, and will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam E-Mails in the future!

If you have been sending out (FORWARDING) the above kinds of E-Mail, now you know why you get so much SPAM! Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listings regardless how inviting they might sound!You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT in the long run. Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later! Plus, we are helping the spam mers get rich! Let's don't make it easy for them!

Also: E-Mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress or any other organization. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address of the person signing the petition. Read the full story here: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.asp

Let me know if you appreciated this information and any comments you might have!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good Faith Estimates

Final RESPA Reform Rule -

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published its final RESPA reform rule. Included is a new standard Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that lenders and mortgage brokers will be required to provide to consumers. The purpose of the standard GFE is to provide homeowners with clear loan terms and costs from different lenders that can be easily understood and compared. HUD also has created a new page on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement to help homebuyers better understand what they are being charged at closing and how these charges compare to the GFE issued by their lender. Unfortunately, this will not go into effect until the beginning of 2010.

My 2 cents - I understand loan charges and I have often been mystified by some of the good faith estimates I have seen in the past. I like the idea of a uniform estimate so consumers can easily compare different lenders. Also, ask your realtor to work up an estimated net sheet of your own for all your closing costs. This will reinforce the information you are getting from your lender as well as put perspective on all the costs involved.

Mortgage Workout Programs!

The California Association of Realtors has created several new resources for homeowners seeking information on existing mortgage workout programs. The main lenders that CAR has general guidelines for are the following:

1) HOPE for Homeowners
2) Countrywide Financial (Bank of America)
3) Citigroup, CitiMortgage
4) JP Morgan Chase & Co
5) IndyMac Federal Bank, FDIC
6) Federal Government Loan Modification (Participants include: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Banks, Hope Now participants, U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Wells Fargo.)

Consumer information sheets are available containing detailed information on specific programs. In general, the loan modification programs are intended for primary residences only.

It’s important to understand that mortgage loan modifications typically are handled on a case-by-case basis. Prior to calling a lender, homeowners should have the following information available:

1) Loan number
2) Income information and documentation
3) Most recent mortgage statement
4) Bank statements
5) Letter demonstrating financial hardship

If a lender is not listed above, homeowners may wish to contact their lender to determine if a workout program is available.

You may also want to contact a U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved counselor. For a list of HUD-approved counselors in California, visit the HUD Web site at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm?webListAction=search&searchstate=CA.

Hope this helps! I will continue to provide updated information as it comes my way. Also, feel free to contact me if you want any additional information concerning these programs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Statistics

Chicago Title Statistic Update –

There are currently 281 single family homes actively on the market in Morgan Hill. 58 homes are pending sale (currently in contract) equaling 17% of the market. Out of those totals, there are 54 Short Sale properties with 26 pending sales. REOs have an inventory of 33 listings with 17 pending sales.

Also, 3 transactions closed this past week in Morgan Hill. Out of those 3, 1 was a Short Sale and 1 was a REO.

There are currently 351 single family homes actively on the market in Gilroy. 145 homes are pending sale equaling 29% of the market. Out of those totals, there are 131 Short Sales with 62 pending sales. REOs have an inventory of 91 listings with 57 pending sales.

In Gilroy, 20 transactions closed this past week including 7 Short Sales and 8 REO properties.

Chicago Title has been my title company of choice for many years. They have provided me with the above statistics regarding the percentage of homes selling, including breaking it down amongst Short Sales (transactions where the loan amount is greater than the current value of a home) and REOs (bank owned property). These statistics are from this current week.

My 2 Cents once again – There really isn’t that much different in the numbers from a couple of weeks ago. Inventory is down a little but sales are up a little, at least in Morgan Hill. Traditionally, the market will slow down over the holidays.

I’ll keep you posted!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Update!

Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 286 active listings and 58 sale pendings

Gilroy has 355 active listings and 139 sale pendings

San Martin has 45 active listings and 10 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 664 active listings and 206 sale pendings


We are down a little in inventory but up a little in sales compared to last week.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bank Owned Property in San Martin













New on the Market in San Martin!



This ranchette has good square footage of 2605 with 5 Bedrooms and 2 1/2 Baths and is located on close to an acre in San Martin at 13985 Sycamore Avenue. It has hardwood floors and a newer roof, shared well and recently passed their septic inspection (according to their agent). As with most bank owned property, they are looking for an as-is sale. Has a bunch of out buildings and is near to 101 but priced at $744,900.

There were 2 recent sales of San Martin homes on about an acre selling. 14005 Harding had less square feet (1802) but better location and sold for $642,000. 1965 Gwinn Avenue also had less square feet but closer (2224) but did not show great and sold for $700,000.


My 2 cents - Could be there is some wiggle room in the price for this ranchette but still it is priced in its range.




The Real Estate Report

Santa Clara County Home Sales Up Fourth Month in a Row

The following information is from a group that publishes local market trends and is a good overall view of our market:

Sales of single-family, re-sale homes in Santa Clara County were up 44.7% in October compared to last year. Month-over-month, sales fell 8%. Sales continue to be concentrated in the lower-priced cities such as San Jose where the year-over-year sales were up 99.6% and Gilroy where sales were up 372.7%.

Home prices continue to be affected by the bank-owned property that has flooded the market.

The median price continued to slide, down 7.8% from Septemer, and off 35.8% year-over-year.

Inventory continues to decline, falling 8.1% from September, and down 12.1% compared to October 2007.

Condo sales tumbled 10.7% from September, and were down 19% year-over-year. The median price for condos, on the other hand, rose 5.3% month-to-month, but was off 28% compared to last October.

If you are in escrow with one of the new high-limit,conforming loans or you expect to buy a home before the end of th eyear, remember, the new, higher conforming loan limit of $729,750 expires at the end of the year. You must have your loan funded by then. Starting January 1st, the conforming loan limit will be $625,500.

The real estate market is very hard to generalize. It is a market made up many micro markets. For complete information on a particular neighborhood or property, feel free to contact me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poppy Jasper Film Festival V

Tonight is the opening for the Poppy Jasper Film Festival!

The Poppy Jasper Film Festival will be celebrating it's fifth year of giving exposure to young cinema artists and showcasing up and coming talent. The films will be shorts in various genres that are 30 minutes or less in length. The festival not only shows a selection of high quality short films, it also provides workshops on screenwriting and short film making that are open to the public. Also included is a "Women in Film" panel that will include prominent female filmmakers as well as various workshops and filmmaker receptions. You can find the films at the Cinelux Theater at 750 Tennant Avenue and also the Community Playhouse (next to the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center) at 17000 Monterey Street. You can go to http://www.poppyjasperfilmfest.org/ for more information. Come and take advantage of this wonderful cultural opportunity right here in Morgan Hill!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Update on the San Martin Incorporation Struggle

San Martin the City?


I love San Martin. There is a certain charm unique to this area where you constantly encounter surprises such as a field of sunflowers, a growth of beautiful wild roses entwined over a fence, pygmy horses, alpacas or even llamas amidst the constant contrast of new construction and old farm homes. There is a lot of charm and personality to be found here in San Martin. But more than the charm, there are a lot of people who live in San Martin who want to be in charge of their own destiny and turn San Martin into its own city.


According to a recent article in the Morgan Hill Times, San Martin cannot incorporate because it is not financially self-sustaining. The county won’t consider paying for its road maintenance or allowing its independence to further drain county coffers as it seeks cityhood. LAFCO, which stands for the Santa County Local Agency Formation Commission, has been discussing San Martin’s plans to being a city since February 2007. If incorporated, the majority of its revenue would come from property taxes and transient occupancy taxes (hotel taxes) as well as vehicle license fees, sales taxes and a proposed utility user’s tax. Not surprisingly, the issue seems to revolve mostly around money. The county’s general fund could stand to lose $870,000 per year if San Martin incorporates. However, there is a strong contingent in the form of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance who feels strongly that the people of San Martin will do a better job of preserving the real character of the town than the county will.


The latest update from the Morgan Hill Times reports LAFCO voted 4 to 1 to stop all work on the incorporation process at a public hearing last Friday as well as to prepare a resolution to deny the incorporation based on the proponents failure to pay staff fees. However, supporters of the incorporation are not giving up. You can learn more about what they have to say by going to http://www.smneighbor.org/ and hearing their side of the story.

Any comments?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Gilroy Bank Owned Properties and Update!

















Here are the more to follow -
9155 Desiderio Way (near Church Street) is a beautiful 3 year old 5 bedroom 3 bath home with 2783 Square Feet on a 5662 Square Foot lot. Most bank owned property sales are "as-is" which means you can still (and should) inspect the property and do your due diligence but the Seller will not be responsible for any repairs (which is basically the price of a good deal these days).
The property on the right is on 860 West 8th Street (near Orchard Drive) and is a 5 bedroom, 2 bath home with 2014 Square Feet on a 6930 Square Foot lot (and is 33 years old). Neither one of these homes jumped out at me as 'screaming deal' but we'll see how long they stay on the market.


Update from Chicago Title this week says Gilroy has 356 active single family homes on the market with 136 currently pending sale. There are 132 short sale properties with 54 in contract and 90 bank owned properties with 54 in contract. I think the following is more significant - 20 transactions closed this past week with 4 of them being short sales and 8 being bank owned properties.
The reason I think this is more significant is although the number of sales has increased throughout the year, the percentage of transactions actually closing is much less than those going in contract to begin with. I will publish those figures on a monthly basis and feel free to comment or contact me if you have any questions.

New Bank Owned Properties in Gilroy













New Bank Owned Properties on the Market


These 2 properties just came on the market this week. The one on the left is located at 8741 Church Street (near Ronan Ave) and is only 10 years old with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and 1829 Square Feet on a 3920 Square Foot lot. This home is in good condition and has high ceilings and hardwood floors and is listed for $397,500 - worth checking out. The property on the right is located at 515 Ronan Avenue (near Wren Avenue) and is 14 years old with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, 1380 Square Feet on a 5662 Square Foot lot for only $319,900. The home is a single sotry in good condition with a nice side and rear yard with patio - seems priced well.


There were a few more new listings that popped up this week that are also bank owned to follow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Changing Loan Limits

Did you see the article by Sue McAllister in the Mercury News regarding loan limits?

A little history – For a long time, loan amounts have been broken down into conforming and jumbo loans. Right now, a conforming loan amount is under $417,000 and usually gets a better interest rate. And yes, you guessed it, jumbo loan amounts are larger than $417,000. Earlier this year, as part of the economic stimulus bill that was put into effect around February of 2008, a conforming jumbo loan amount was created for loans from $417,000 to $729,000 which gave a better rate than jumbo loans but not as good as conforming but provided more opportunities for Buyers.

The conforming jumbo loans will expire December 31st. In Santa Clara County, the maximum for loans backed by Fannie and Freddie will drop to $625,500 as of January 1st, 2009. The new limits are affecting Buyers even earlier than January because many lenders won’t accept applications for conforming jumbo loans unless they can be closed by mid-December. Lois Jones of Bank of America here in Morgan Hill, says if you are depending upon a conforming jumbo loan, you should close your transaction by December 10th of 2008 at the latest.

Feel free to comment or contact me for additional information.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wake up with Monday Morning Statistics for South County!

Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 287 active listings and 56 sale pendings

Gilroy has 357 active listings and 139 sale pendings

San Martin has 48 active listings and 9 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 669 active listings and 203 sale pendings


We are up a little in inventory and a down a little in sales compared to last week. Last year at this time there were 726 properties on the market in Area 1 with only 67 sale pendings (and only 33 closed sales for the month of November).

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What Buyers Want!

Survey of California First Time Home Buyers


California Association of Realtors conducted 500 telephone surveys with California consumers who purchased a home within the past six months. What I found interesting about the survey was the Buyers’ perception of their real estate agents and what they really wanted from an agent.

The three top reasons for selecting their agent had to do with competence (no surprise) – the real estate agent seemed like they would be the most aggressive on their behalf, the agent seemed like they would obtain the lowest price and they were the best prepared. The areas most Buyers needed the most help from their agent was price negotiation, determining what comparable homes were selling for, finding the right home to purchase and negotiating the terms of the sale.


When asked one thing the Buyer would like to change about their home buying experience, most Buyers wanted a better understanding on where the market is going, have their agent negotiate better on their behalf and have escrow close on time. The three top reasons Buyers were happy with their agent were that the agent worked hard on their behalf, was always quick to respond and listened to what they needed.


This is interesting – Advice to Give to Real Estate Agents to Improve their Service:

1) Improve the quality of your communications
2) Provide references for lenders who will perform
3) Provide Buyer references
4) Show how you can negotiate aggressively for the Buyer
5) Provide references for lenders who will recommend the best product for them
6) Improve the speed of communications
7) Listen to their needs better
8) Provide quality information on where the market is going and why
9) Find out about listings before they do
10) Pre-qualify homes before showing them
11) Provide information on where interest rates are going


I’d love to hear your experiences or advice – feel free to comment!

Friday, November 7, 2008

More Statistics (Current & Local)

Chicago Title Statistic Update –

There are currently 288 single family homes actively on the market in Morgan Hill. 57 homes are pending sale (currently in contract) equaling 17% of the market. Out of those totals, there are 54 Short Sale properties with 25 pending sales. REOs have an inventory of 36 listings with 16 pending sales.

Also (and I think this is very important to note), 14 transactions closed this past week in Morgan Hill. Out of those 14, 3 were Short Sales and 7 were REOs.


There are currently 358 single family homes actively on the market in Gilroy. 148 homes are pending sale equaling 29% of the market. Out of those totals, there are 131 Short Sales with 59 pending sales. REOs have an inventory of 87 listings with 55 pending sales.

In Gilroy, 32 transactions closed including 8 Short Sales and 16 REO properties.


Chicago Title has been my title company of choice for many years. They have provided me with the above statistics regarding the percentage of homes selling, including breaking it down amongst Short Sales (transactions where the loan amount is greater than the current value of a home) and REOs (bank owned property). These statistics are from this current week.


My 2 Cents once again – I think it is important to note that although there has been a healthier proportion of homes going into contract, there is a smaller percentage that are actually closing. I have been monitoring these numbers for several years and was struck by the discrepancy. I was mostly reporting them to my clients on a monthly basis but it’s interesting to see it on a weekly basis as I’ve shown here.

Bank Owned Property New on the Market!





Interesting Bank Owned Property in Morgan Hill




This looks like an interesting piece of property. Located on a 12,632 square foot lot which according to the listing agent is zoned for more than one unit. There is a very small home currently on the property (and when I say small, I'm talking 725 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath) and a garage currently being used as a studio. And the price is right - this property came on the market at $259,9000. It's located over on Edmundson Avenue near the newer Safeway and movie complex. This could be a good investment property or perfect for a contractor owner.

More from Leslie (and my 2 cents)


Facts & Forecast!


In looking over the numerous notes from Leslie Appleton-Young’s update (what else would you expect from an economist?), the main factors driving sales up in 2008 were:

Declining prices equaling improved affordability
Bargains equaling great deals and distressed sales
Favorable rates for qualified buyers such as found with FHA and VA loans (we saw a substantial increase in these types of loans this year)
First time buyers getting younger
Declining inventory in 2nd half of the year
More investors showing up
International buyers showing up


She also gave numbers for the sub-prime arm resets in 2008 and estimated for 2009 and 2010. I think this is where it gets interesting because this is a big factor in pulling down home values (resulting in numerous short sales and foreclosures). The average % to reset in 2008 was estimated at 44% but will go down to 17% in 2009 and 7% in 2010. I think this is very good news although it will need other factors in the economy to cooperate. However, it is a good sign.



Her forecast for 2009 includes a weak GDP through the second quarter of 2009 and an improved outlook in the second half of the year. She sees a weak job picture with the unemployment rate going up. Inflation will be a concern (duh!) but in check and we are likely to see a stimulus package in early 2009. Her critical concern is how soon will financial systems stabilize and enable economic activity to return to normal.



My 2 cents – It’s hard for me to separate my own joy at Obama being elected president but perhaps the folks who backed the republican way of thinking are feeling cautious about whether they will be getting the support they want (and are used to) from this upcoming administration. We are still in a wait and see situation until we all have a feel for how we will “play together”.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Leslie Appleton-Young speaks to Intero!

Market Info Update!

Most homeowners want to understand how the current housing situation affects them and the value of their home. Recently, Leslie Appleton-Young (the Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors) spoke at an all company meeting for Intero. I’m not going to review everything she said (which was substantial) but some of the highlights which might be helpful to put your own property in perspective.

First of all, we all know that home sales in California were a record high in 2004 and hit bottom in 2007 but have recovered somewhat in 2008. The median price of a home in California decreased in value by 44% between 2004 and 2007. No surprise here, consumer confidence has also greatly decreased during those years. However, sales of existing detached homes are up 12% over 2007. We see the biggest changes in sales in the price range under $500,000 (which actually has a 72% share of the current market)) and from $500,000 to $999,000, which has decreased in sales significantly (a little over 20% of the current market). The change in home prices over $1,000,000 is not as dramatic (consists of less than 10% of the market). The median price of existing detached homes is down 40.9% as of September 2008 and new housing permits are down 45.1% year to date.

The median price of existing detached homes in the Bay Area as of September 2008 is $554,730, down 29.2% year to date. The median time on the Bay Area market is 53.0 days with an unsold inventory index of 6.3 months. The median price of existing detached homes in Santa Clara County alone is down 29.0% year to date.

Closer to home, the median home sales price in Morgan Hill dropped 20.7% between August 2007 and August 2008 and in Gilroy dropped 37.4%.

I’ll have more tomorrow on the highlights of her housing market survey and predictions for the coming year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

Obama is the next president of the United States!

I probably can't separate my political leanings from my excitement and pride towards my country. It was only four decades ago that we were spilling blood over civil rights. We made history last night when we elected our first black president. I was impressed listening to both McCain and Obama and heard their call for us to work together as a country. I could feel my hope grow as I listened to the words of Obama calling us to action and they brought back the words of Kennedy - "Ask what you can do for your country". I am so proud of us and hopeful for our future!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Out There and Vote!

Don't Forget to Vote!

I imagine it would be hard to forget to vote today but just in case, today is the day! Go cast your votes and participate in our election process.

My husband and I stumbled upon an old tape of West Wing shows which we've been watching again. It used to be one of our favorite shows. It brings back to me that sometimes, we are a group of people agreeing to disagree and that's OK. Maybe that is more than OK. Maybe that is a lot of what we as Americans are about.

So let's all of us (not just the folks who agree with me) get out there and make a difference (and believe that you can)!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekly Statistic Update!


Monday Statistics

Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 287 active listings and 59 sale pendings

Gilroy has 353 active listings and 153 sale pendings

San Martin has 43 active listings and 9 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 662 active listings and 220 sale pendings


We are down a little in inventory and sales compared to last week. For the month of October, there were 24 closed sales in Morgan Hill, 52 in Gilroy, 1 in San Martin and a total of 75 closed sales in South County.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Low Priced Bank Owned Property in Morgan Hill



Cute little home - bank owned!


This 3 Bedroom/1 Bath Home is bank owned and at a really low price of $321,900. The lot is small at 3510 Square Feet and the property is located on a busy street but close to downtown and within walking distance to businesses. Home has an undated roof and dual pane windows and worth checking out.


Let me know what you think. I'll have more on good deals in Gilroy and San Martin soon!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sorry I Just Couldn't Resist!

Zillow Update

America is in one of the worst housing crisis in history, yet 49% of U.S. homeowners believe their home's value has increased or stayed the same over the past year, according to Zillow's Q3 Homeowner Confidence Survey.

In reality, 74% percent of homes have lost value in the past 12 months, according to preliminary findings in Zillow's Q3 Real Estate Market Reports, which will be released Nov. 12.

(As a realtor, I just couldn't resist sharing this information. In my experience, almost every homeowner has an inflated view of the worth of their home because of the value of their home to them - which doesn't always translate to the current market. Isn't it interesting that even with all the media, people still think it doesn't apply to their home. I have to tell you folks, this is one of the number one reasons I have a job. We can't be dispassionate about our own homes, which is probably a good thing.)

Even More Statistics?

Interesting (and a little more detailed) Statistics

There are currently 286 single family homes on the market in Morgan Hill. 66 homes are pending sale (currently in contract) equaling 23% of the market. Out of those totals, there are 50 Short Sale properties with 27 pending sales equaling 54% of the Short Sale market. REOs have an inventory of 34 listings with 18 pending sales totaling 53% of the REO market.

There are currently 358 single family homes on the market in Gilroy. 158 homes are pending sales equaling 45% of the market. Out of those totals, there are 122 Short Sales with 67 pending sales equaling 55% of the Short Sale market. REOs have an inventory of 88 listings with 59 pending sales totaling 67% of the REO market.

Chicago Title has been my title company of choice for many years. They have provided me with the above statistics regarding the percentage of homes selling, including breaking it down amongst Short Sales (transactions where the loan amount is greater than the current value of a home) and REOs (bank owned property). These statistics are from this week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Playing Hookey!

Taking a Day Off!

Yesterday, instead of going to the all company meeting or just working for that matter, I "played hookey". At least, that's what we called in my day when we didn't go to school when we were supposed to (but then that is probably dating me more than I would like). I went on a field trip with my daughter's high school fashion design classes. We went to 2 fabric stores, one in San Jose called Hancock Fabrics over by Oakridge Mall which has a good selection of patterns and fabrics and kudos to the day manager who spend extra time to get us authorization to give students the weekend sale prices. Then we went to Fabrics R Us over on Berryessa and King which is like Christmas for people who like to sew - literally bolts and bolts of beautiful fabric. It was fun being with teenagers and their enthusiams and endless energy. Great time with my daughter (yes, priceless) and nice to be away from work for the day. I highly recommend you all try it sometime.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Got Twitters?

Are you twittering yet?

I don’t know about you but I never thought I would be operating at the level of technology which has become a daily part of our lives. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I even started working on a computer. Don’t believe anyone if they tell you it’s going to save you time. It’s not! However, it will connect you to a much bigger world that seems to expand all the time. I just learned about a new website call Twitter.

I’ve heard it referred to as a “micro-blog” or as a post-it note (only it’s posted on the Twitter website as opposed to your refrigerator) that can be shared and responded to. You sign up with a name that you designate. Then you either find people you know and/or are interested in following. Twitter accounts are identified with at @ symbol in front (i.e. @your name). You can view anyone’s notes (or “tweets”) and anyone can sign up to view yours. And you will receive an email letting you know every time someone follows you.

Twittering can be a lot of fun and a good way of building community. You can connect with people totally focused on one thing. However, it can be very addicting and you might find yourself spending a lot of time with literally very little (sorry – couldn’t resist a twitter joke) to show for it.

Try it out! Be playful and have fun and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Resources for Foreclosure Help

Foreclosure Help!


There are a lot of people struggling to find solutions that will allow them to stay in their homes. There is information and help available. Listed below are some of those agencies working in Santa Clara County to provide information, solutions and relief. You can call direct and speak to someone or go online to get a sense of what the agency is about.

The State of California Consumer Home Mortgage Information website can be found at http://www.yourhome.ca.gov/ and offers a ‘Guide to Avoiding Foreclosures’ as well as specific information on finding agencies working with foreclosure prevention. You can also contact the following agencies directly:

Consumer Credit Counseling Service –
Call (800) 540-2227 or try their website at http://www.gotdebt.org/

Neighborhood Housing -Call (408) 279-2600 or go online at http://www.nhssv.org/

Project Sentinel -Call (408) 720-9888 or go online at http://www.housing.org/

These are a few of the local resources. If you or someone you know needs help in another California county, or elsewhere in the United States, go to the HUD website to find lists of “housing counseling agencies” by state.

Foreclosures and Notices of Default reached new highs in the second quarter in Santa Clara County and in California (per Data Quick Information Systems). There are a lot of people in need of the right information and help. Let me know if you have other suggestions for people to get the kind of help they need.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Morning Statistic Update!

Monday Statistics


Good morning South County! Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 289 active listings and 67 sale pendings

Gilroy has 357 active listings and 158 sale pendings

San Martin has 43 active listings and 8 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 667 active listings and 232 sale pendings


We are up a little in inventory and sales compared to last week. Just for fun, I double checked what was going on last year at this time and there were a total of 735 active listings in Area 1 and only 66 sale pendings.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Enough Doom and Gloom!

Are you ready to get where you want to go?


I was reading the Wall Street Journal yesterday and in their real estate section, there was a blurb about Hillary Swank purchasing a 3.5 million dollar townhome, part of some new construction in New York. What struck me about this multi-unit building was that all the homes were selling and there was only one available to date. Without discounting today’s harsh realities, can’t we shed a little light on the fact that there are people with money (and not just movie stars), with cash, with the ability to get loans (at good rates) and there is much more selling & buying & even lending going on than the media would have you believe. It’s a great time to find a home and get a loan at a great interest rate. Right now! Right now there is a good selection of inventory, good interest rates and not a lot of competition from other Buyers. Although I hear that is changing in some areas and situations and we are seeing more multiple offers in our markets. For those of you still fencing sitting, no one is going to ring a bell when the market hits bottom! You have to figure out for yourself what is a good deal and what it is worth to make change in your life and get where you want to go.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Amy Grant in Morgan Hill?





Amy Grant Lead Me On Tour




Last night, my family and I listened to Amy Grant as she performed her celebration of the 20th anniversary of her Lead Me On album (which she jokingly referred to as her ‘old stuff’). The concert was held at the amphitheater at the Morgan Hill Community Center for an ‘Evening Under the Stars with Amy Grant’. Kudos goes to the kids at the Sobrato Conservatory of the Arts who sponsored the event in an effort to raise money to support their art program (you can go to http://sobratoarts.org/ for more information about what they are up to). It was a great evening and although I was surprised to find myself at a rock concert in downtown Morgan Hill, it was made even more special by knowing Amy Grant is only performing 20 of these concerts and only 2 in California. The weather was perfect and in fact, so was Amy Grant. My 2 girls had some resistance to being at a concert with their mom and dad but were soon rocking out to the music along with the very receptive crowd. Thank you Sobrato Art for a very special evening!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Credit Information and Resources

CREDIT REPORT RESOURCES

If you are looking for more information about your current credit status, then the following agencies are good resources for updated information. You can contact the following agencies for more credit information (recognized as the top three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies):

1) Equifax – http://www.equifax.com/ or 1-800-685-1111


2) Trans Union – http://www.transunion.com/ or 1-877-322-8228


3) Experian Information Solutions – http://www.experian.com/ or 1-866-200-6020


Fair Isaac & Company invented the FICO credit risk score that lenders started using in the 1960s. This approach to lending enabled financial institutions to improve their business performance and expand consumers’ access to credit. Today Fair Isaac’s FICO score is widely recognized as the industry standard for lenders. Myfico is the consumer division of Fair Isaac.

4) Fair, Issaac & Company – http://www.myfico.com/


Under the FACT Act amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to one free Personal Credit Report in a 12 month period. To request this free annual report online, by phone or mail, visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ (does not include FICO scores).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bank Owned Homes!















Bank owned property in Gilroy and Morgan Hill


The property on top is located at 1060 3rd Street in Gilroy, is bank owned and just came on the market. This 3 bedroom/2 bath home has 1424 square feet and is located on a 7035 square foot lot - current listing price is $299,900! This is a very active price range right now in Gilroy and some homes at this price are getting multiple offers.


The property on the bottom is located at 1310 Meadow Court in Morgan Hill and came on the market about a week ago. The previous owners started to do some remodeling and then stopped. This would be a good home for a contractor or someone handy who likes to work about the house and in the yard. It is currently listed for $419,900 and has 3 bedrooms/2 bath, 1160 Square Feet and a 7840 Square Foot yard. There aren't too many single family homes that are on the market in Morgan Hill which are less than the asking price on this property.


Both properties need work but that is pretty common for bank owned properties. They look a little sad but if inspections show them to be structurally sound and not in need of major repairs, then it's all cosmetic from here.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What the heck are FICO scores anyway?

Your Credit Score

Fair Isaac & Company invented the FICO credit risk score that lenders started using in the 1960s. This approach to lending enabled financial institutions to improve their business performance and expand consumers’ access to credit. Today Fair Isaac’s FICO score is widely recognized as the industry standard for lenders.

What is your score specifically designed to tell you?

It predicts the likelihood that your borrower will get a 90 day late on any trade line, within the next 24 months.

What is the range of credit scores?

Generally 300 – 850 (850 being perfect credit)

What is your score comprised of?

35% Payment History
30% Balances
15% Credit History
10% Type of Credit and number of each type
10% Inquires

Payment History

Recency – The most heavily weighted factor in the entire score model. When did it happen? 0-6 Months – Your score can be hit over 100 points. 7-24 months – Slightly hit (25 to 50 points). 25+ months – Not much of an effect.

Frequency – Being frequently late is weighted into the score.

Severity – Public records, judgments, tax liens are more heavily weighted.

Balances

Balances that exist on revolving charge accounts (Visa/MasterCard) are weighted more than high balances on installment loans.
If you have charged in excess of 50% of your credit limit, your score will go down at least 100 points.
If you have charged in excess of 75% of your credit limit, your score is dropped drastically.
If you keep less than 10% of your credit limit, you actually earn more points than paying them off completely.

Credit History

Your credit history is the length of your credit.
30 years history is considered excellent credit.
Three to five trade lines is best.

Type of Credit and Number of Each Type

Counts open and closed trade lines.
Finance company installment account, i.e. Levitz Furniture, affects your credit negatively.

Inquiries

Depending upon your credit and length of credit, inquires affect your credit differently.
Someone with a short length of credit history will get 30 points deducted off their score, versus someone with a longer credit history will get 10 points deducted and be allowed more inquiries.
Promotional inquiries do not affect your score.


I plan on providing more information about credit agencies as well as help that is presently available for consumers. Feel free to comment and let me know exactly what kind of information you are interested in having available!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Statistics!

Good morning South County!

Here are your weekly updates on what is happening in your neighborhood. Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. As of this week:


Morgan Hill has 288 active listings and 68 sale pendings

Gilroy has 369 active listings and 154 sale pendings

San Martin has 45 active listings and 6 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 682 active listings and 226 sale pendings


We are up a little in inventory but sales are staying pretty consistent with last week. Just for fun, I double checked what was going on last year at this time and during the third week of October 2007, there were a total of 732 active listings in Area 1 and only 58 sale pendings.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gorgeous Victorian in Morgan Hill!















Victorian Home in Morgan Hill


395 West Main Avenue –


You can own a piece of Morgan Hill history and charm with this beautifully restored Victorian home, now on the market for $935,000. This 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath home has 2500 square feet and is located on a large 21,000 square foot landscaped lot on the corner of West Main and Peak Avenue right next to P.A. Walsh Elementary School. The home shows beautifully with spacious rooms, gleaming wood floors, antique light fixtures and built-ins, stained glass windows, impressive wood burning fireplace and a great wraparound porch. No doubt about it, it’s well done and fun but maybe not meant for everyone. However, if you have a place in your heart for Victorian homes, check this one out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Biscotti Recipe!

This coming Tuesday, the Morgan Hill office of Intero is having our yearly celebration of "Italian Day". Due to a large number of our group with an Italian heritage, we spend one day celebrating by eating great food and drinking great local (and Italian) wine. This has been a tradition for many years and as long as I have been a part of our gang. I must have some Italian in me somewhere, somehow, because I am famous for my biscotti. I usually make them around the holidays and always on Italian Day (this year being no exception). And they have their following! Since they are very time consuming and I spent about 6 hours baking today, I am sharing my recipe with you. It's not really difficult, it just takes time and love.



HARRIET'S BICOTTI


INGREDIENTS:

6 eggs
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 lb butter (melted and cooled)
1 1/2 tsp anise seed (I usually use 1 Tablespoon)
6 oz nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds)
6 oz raisins (I like golden raisins)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 lbs flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Separate six eggs and beat yolks with 1 1/4 cups sugar. Beat whites stiff and fold in 1 1/4 cups sugar gradually. Fold into egg yolk mixture and add 1/2 lb butter. Blend anise, nuts, raisins and stir in vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and fold into egg mixture gradually. (At this point I usually fold enough flour into mixture to keep it together and then I dump it all on the counter and knead it. It is too unwieldy in a bowl at this point and you really don't want to over work the dough either.) Roll dough into cylinders (1 1/2" by 8 to 10" long - I usually end up with four and bake two at a time.) Put on buttered baking sheets at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or just beginning to be lightly browned. Remove and cut 3/4" wide at 45 degree angle. Bake 5 to 10 minutes (I bake them on each side for 5 minutes but be careful not to overcook them).

ENJOY!

Friday, October 17, 2008

California Association of Realtor's Forecast

People are constantly asking - what is going to happen next, where is the market going and how should they make those important and necessary decisions about their lives. The California Association of Realtors have their predictions which I have included for your edification along with a detailed forecast by their Chief Economist, Leslie Appleton-Young.


C.A.R. FORECAST CALLS FOR PRICES TO LEVEL OUT AND SALES TO RISE IN 2009

Home prices throughout most areas of California will post declines next year, while sales of existing homes will continue to rise in 2009, according to C.A.R.'s "2009 California Housing Market Forecast," released today during CALIFORNIA REALTOR® EXPO 2008 (www.realtorexpo.org), running through Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach."The current uncertainty about the financial system and economy is likely to persist over the next several weeks, and could extend into next year," said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. "Our forecast assumes that the financial system will begin to show signs of stabilization late in 2008 and into early 2009."The median home price in California will decline 6 percent to $358,000 in 2009 compared with a projected median of $381,000 this year, according to the forecast. Sales for 2009 are projected to increase 12.5 percent to 445,000 units, compared with 395,600 units (projected) in 2008."Sales in 2008 will be ahead of last year by 12 percent, with a further increase of 12.5 percent expected in 2009," said C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "However, the next couple of quarters in late 2008 and early 2009 will be marked by seasonal decreases in activity, with a pickup expected by the second quarter of next year."The 2009 California Housing Market Forecast is now available on car.org at http://www.car.org/media/pdf/econpdf/10-15-08EXPOForecast-Final.pdf.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lowering your Tax Basis or Proposition 8

Proposition 8


I was surprised by the Mercury News publishing an article about Proposition 8 right around the deadline to have your taxes re-evaluated for the current tax year. Almost as if they were saying, “look at what you can’t have!”

Based on Proposition 8, you can submit a request form to have your taxes re-evaluated based on declining values. Important - the Assessor will only consider the market value of your property as of the lien date (which is January 1st). It is also important to know that the deadline to make this request is September 15th. After that date, all requests will be applied to the next tax year.

Proposition 8 passed in November 1978 and amended Proposition 13 to reflect declines in value. Prop 8 reductions in value are temporary reductions which recognize the fact that the current market value of a property has fallen below its current (Prop 13) assessed value.

If want to know more about Proposition 8, you can go online to http://www.sccassessor.org/portal/site/asr/ which will take you to the website for the Office of the Assessor in Santa Clara County. Type Proposition 8 in the search engine and it will take you to the information you will need.

I’m recommending to my clients who are interested in lowering their taxes to wait until next January when we can look at the market value at that time and how those values compare to their current tax basis.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ed Tewes, Morgan Hill City Manager speaks at Realtor's Meeting

Morgan Hill City Manager, Ed Tewes, Speaks at South County Realtor’s Meeting

Today at our weekly County Realtor’s meeting, Ed Tewes, the City Manager for Morgan Hill spoke on several issues:

1) Downtown – City’s goal is to improve downtown by creating more residential opportunities and creating better retail spaces. There will be a vote on whether to allow 500 units to proceed (downtown) without having to compete with other building projects (right now with the controlled growth in Morgan Hill, only a limited number of building projects are allowed). There are currently two new restaurants in downtown Morgan Hill and one new retail place. Downtown is being promoted as a place to meet your neighbors.
2) While today’s population is about 39,000, the projected goal for 2020 is 48,000.
3) There are three fully funded projects to build the city infrastructure including:
a) Tenant Avenue will be widened at the 101 interchange with 4 lanes over the freeway (clover leaf). This is scheduled to start in 6 months and be completed within the year.
b) Butterfield Blvd will be extended south to Watsonville Road near Monterey and subject to a Citywide Traffic Analysis as to whether 4 or 6 lanes are needed. The Analysis should be completed by January 2009.
c) Santa Teresa is also subject to the Analysis as to whether there should be 2 or 4 lanes in the development from Spring to Main Avenue. There will be neighborhood and community meetings to discuss these projects.
4) There is currently 8 ½% unemployment in Morgan Hill
5) Measure G will be voted on in the upcoming election as the whether to add a 2% utility tax to increase police staffing.
6) There will be discussion about the annual competition for building projects which previously allowed 250 units and is now at 225 units and must be spread over various categories. The Housing Element Task Force will discuss the breakdown and the needs of the community. They will be meeting this Thursday at 6:45 PM in the El Toro Room at the Community Center. They will examine whether to reduce the cost to housing fees and relax the requirements of Below Market Housing opportunities. This is open to the public.

For more information about the City of Morgan Hill, you can go to http://www.morgan-hill.ca.gov/ and explore their website. Ed visits our Realtor Meetings a couple of times a year to give up updates.

REO Property


560 West Dunne Avenue

This is a very good price for a home that has charm appeal. Priced at $365,000, this bank owned home has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and 1176 square feet. It is located on a decent sized lot with 7840 square feet, near a busy street but with a long driveway. Good sized kitchen, spacious living/dining room, remodeled bathroom, large laundry room – this property has potential. Located on the west side of Morgan Hill near lots of good places to walk including downtown.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Adventures of Realtor Mom


Mountain Lions in Morgan Hill?!!!

One day a couple of years ago, I took the afternoon off to have some quality time with my two young daughters. We took our bikes over to Coyote Creek Parkway (which if you’ve never been you need to go – it’s a real find and I’ll tell more). I have one daughter who is always off & away and another daughter who is very thoughtful & careful about everything. So I told my older more active daughter to stay close in case she saw a mountain lion. On our way back from our ride, my older daughter (who didn’t stay as close as I would have liked) comes ripping around a curve, dropping her bike screaming, “Mom, Mom, a mountain lion”. Sure I thought, convinced that I had suggested it and she was seeing things so I peaked around the curve and sure enough, there it was (still a good ways away) but definitely checking us out. At which point, my daughter Jennifer started running towards me, looked over her shoulder and saw the mountain lion begin to come her way. “Mom, Mom, it’s coming after me!” Where upon my younger daughter who was staying close to me, starts screaming in a way I didn’t know she was even capable of. Time stopped for me while my thought process went a mile a minute. What could I do to protect my girls, what if something happened to me and they were left alone? They should stay close and get out while they could. I began to say, “If anything happens to me…” where upon both daughters started screaming even louder “What’s going to happen to you”. At this point I actually had a mommy Zen moment – I was going to have to throw myself on the mountain lion to keep them safe. In other words, I was dead! I tried to make myself look tall and scary and held my girls behind me but in the end I think it was the screaming that turned off that big cat. It must have thought my slender Jennifer was a deer but when the screaming escalated, it knew we weren’t worth the trouble and took off. However, it took off in the direction of our going home and there was no way my daughters were budging let alone going in the direction of the mountain lion. Luckily, I had cell coverage and called CHP to come rescue us (which they did along with a park ranger) in a remarkably short period of time (thanks guys). We rode back to the visitor center, drove home with a stop for 2 pints of ice cream and once home I put them in front of the TV with a spoon and a pint each. And to think I took the afternoon off to have quality time with my girls.


However, if you want a great place to ride a bike or take a long walk, then the Coyote Creek Trail is a great place and our adventure aside, I believe it’s very rare to see mountain lions. This is one of the places I went to train for my Avon Walk and I did many long walks to San Jose and back. Another place I loved to hike is the Harvey Bear Ranch out in San Martin. This is a great complement to the Coyote Creek Trail which is very flat and paved. I’ll tell you more another time when I give the details about the Bull at Harvey Bear who blocked our way. More later!

Go to http://www.parkhere.org/portal/site/parks/ for more information about the great parks that surround us here in South County.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What is Really Going on Anyway?!!!

Monday Statistics


I have issues with statistics. While they are necessary, they can also be misleading. Years ago I became dissatisfied with depending upon others for information. Every Monday morning, I track what is going on in my areas. Looking at this information week after week gives me a better perspective and helps me to better understand other statistics that come my way. The following is based on single family homes:


Morgan Hill has 284 active listings with 68 sale pendings

Gilroy has 367 active listings with 151 sale pendings

San Martin has 41 active listings with 6 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 673 active listings with 223 sale pendings


For the month of September, there were 30 closed sales in Morgan Hill, 57 closed sales in Gilroy, 2 closed sales in San Martin and 89 closed sales in Area 1. At the end of September, the average priced home in Morgan Hill was $757,613 and the average priced home in Gilroy was $430,219. The median priced home in Morgan Hill was $644,400 and the median priced home in Gilroy was only $384,900.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Harriet's Picks

Good Finds in Morgan Hill

We had dinner at Creasian this past weekend and I was remembering when we would go to San Jose for sushi. Creasian Cuisine is located at 207 West Main Avenue not far from downtown Morgan Hill and serves excellent sushi with grace. Another favorite of ours is Vietasia at 1295 East Dunne Avenue where you can eat delicious Vietnamese salads, soups and entrees at very reasonable prices. Plus you can walk over to I Love Gelato after dinner for a sweet treat (grapefruit sorbet maybe?). Another pleasant surprise is El Rincon on East Second Street in downtown Morgan Hill. It is so small that the night we were there, the host, waiter and chef were all the same person! The chef trained at a restaurant at Santana Row and the quality is excellent. Sometimes you just need something fast however and we are not fast food folks. For quick and excellent, try Super Taqueria at 15840 South Monterey Road. We have joked about getting a job there just to figure out how they make their beans and wonderful salsas. Did you know that Morgan Hill has a wonderful Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning at Depot Street at the train station? Make sure you check out the wonderful produce, great baked goods and great energy! I’ve yet to check out D’Vine Jazz & Wine over at 775 Cochrane Road where you can listen to music while you sip good wine. However, I’ll keep you posted on my picks in South County.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why Work with a Realtor?

How to choose the person who is going to represent you on one of the biggest financial transactions of your life?

I have been amazed throughout my career as a realtor, at the different ways people find us. I guess what amazes me is the casualness in which a lot of people pick their realtors such a calling a sign, calling a company and speaking with whoever happens to be answering the phone at that moment or responding to an ad written by that one and same person. So the question I ask, is why work with a realtor at all?

A good realtor can help you navigate through the pitfalls of real estate and protect you from a lot of common (or uncommon) problems as well as advocate on your behalf in many ways. Your realtor can help you determine your buying power and refer you to a qualified lender (they know many lenders). They also have many resources that can assist you in your home search. They can provide objective information about the market, negotiate on your behalf, provide due diligence during the evaluation of the property, manage the transaction and guide you through the closing process. And they are still there as a resource after closing!

Choose wisely! Ask them about their experience and their background. Ask them to tell you about their market area and expertise. Ask them about their buyer and seller strategies. Ask them their level of technology.

The entry point for my profession is not very high. It is very easy to get a real estate license. But there are a lot of us out there who are working full time, constantly updating our knowledge about the market and our profession, dedicated to doing the best for our clients. Find us! Get a referral (or two). Ask for references. Do your homework.

Do you know the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent (i.e. sales associate)?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lowest Priced Home in Morgan Hill!



17644 Crest Avenue is located near West Main Avenue and P.A.Walsh Elementary School. This 2 bedroom/1 bath Home has 916 Square Feet and a 2613 Square Lot. This is a bank owned property and is currently listed at $259,900! This is the lowest priced single family home is Morgan Hill!

More Real Estate Facts!

Statistics can be misleading. Years ago I decided I wanted a better perspective on what the numbers mean. Every Monday I update my statistics on the local market. I’ll share my Monday update as well as other statistical information that comes my way.

Today’s info comes from news headlines:

August pending home sales jump 7.4 percent: NARWednesday October 8, 10:05 am ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pending sales of existing U.S. homes unexpectedly jumped in August to the highest level in over a year, data from a real estate trade group showed on Wednesday.
The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in June, rose 7.4 percent in August to 93.4 from an upwardly revised index of 87.0 in July.
The August reading was 8.8 percent higher than a year earlier, and the highest level since 101.4 in June 2007.
Economists polled by Reuters ahead of the report were expecting pending home sales to drop by 1.8 percent.
The association's senior economist Lawrence Yun said home buyers responded to improved affordability, with home prices low and mortgage rates down after the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Making Personal Sense of the Market!




I made a personal decision last year. With all the bad news coming at us on a daily basis, I wasn’t going to see the glass half empty all the time. Even though the market was depressing and getting worse daily, I didn’t want to only focus on the negative and how it affected me. I knew there were places that I could give my time and attention and affect something positive.

I made one of the best decisions ever. I signed up for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and committed to the training and fund raising involved. I was captain for a great group of local women and together we raised over $25,000. At 55 years old, I was in the best shape ever and oh yes, for a short period in time I really could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight (stress short period of time)!

Plus on a daily basis, I would walk in the mornings and come into the office feeling positive and strong. I had the camaraderie of good people throughout the year, great exercise and the walk itself was a high. For two days we were surrounded by great community and the determination to achieve something big – no more breast cancer!

Once again I am reminded how much I get back when I focus on something bigger than myself. You can go to www.avonwalk.org (under San Francisco 2008) if you would like more information about my walk.