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


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!