Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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 141 active listings and 108 sale pendings with 46 closed sales for July

Gilroy has 126 active listings and 199 sale pendings with 67 closed sales for July

San Martin has 33 active listings and 14 sale pendings with 14 closed sales for July

Area 1 (all of the above) has 299 active listings and 320 sale pendings with 115 closed sales for July

Been on vacation and back again but it's always interesting to take a break and see what is happening. Doesn't look all that different from when I left a couple of weeks ago. Plus interest rates aren't all that different from what they have been. They seem to be holding in a certain range. I'll keep you posted.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beware of Loan Modification Programs


The Department of Real Estate recently issued a fraud warning alerting consumers about loan modification scams and informing consumers of what they can do to protect themselves. The alert is available in both English and Spanish. Last July, the DRE had fewer than 10 complaints involving loan modification companies but today the department has 750 pending investigations. In addition, since last October, the DRE has filed more than 200 desist and refrain orders. A list of the companies and persons the DRE has filed an action against can be viewed at http://www.dre.ca.gov/cons_drs.asp.

It is worth noting that not all firms who collect advance fees for loan modifications services do so illegally the DRE said. In general, only licensed real estate brokers and attorneys operating within the scope of their license may collect advance fees. Real estate brokers must have their advance fee agreement reviewed by the DRE prior to its use to ensure it is compliant with real estate law.

C.A.R. advises members to carefully look at any program that may appear to have a government seal. C.A.R. is not aware of any government programs that have exclusive areas for which you have to pay to participate, and cautions all members to be on the alert for schemes seeking funds from Realtors or consumers with no value, or that may be misleading or unlawful.

The above information was provided by the California Association of Realtors web page.

My 2 Cents - Almost (but not really) unbelievable that there are so many people taking advantage of people who are already financially down but there it is. Check it out on line, with the DRE or with a trusted Realtor before you give away your financial information or money to someone you don't know. Use caution and common sense and get help from a trusted source.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Bank Owned Property in Gilroy


750 Carla Way
What a great price - $289,900 for a spacious 2 story home with 1924 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and located on a spacious lot with 7200 square feet. Home is older, 44 years old and needs some tlc but has potential. Has some of the charm of an older home with hardwood floors inside and covered patio outside. Located over by the Las Animas Park, this bank owned property should move quickly.
My 2 cents - Be aware that banks often add their own contract to the transaction which puts some of the terms in their favor and goes back to the era of 'buyer beware'. Often this means contingencies are removed automatically and any extension of close of escrow ends up costing the buyer. Read the fine print!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Leslie Appleton-Young speaks to Realtors

Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors Speaks Out

Leslie presented results from her recent survey of California homebuyers and sellers. Here are some of the highlights, insights that might aid you in your own decision making in navigating through the market:

1) Many of today's buyers and sellers are real estate rookies - 38% of buyers surveyed in 2009 were first-timers. That's up from 12% in 2002 and a historic high. 44% of sellers in 2009 were first-timers. That's a lot of people that have never been through a transaction. If you're anxious or confused about something, chances are the people on the other side of the deal are too. Be patient and recognize both sides are working toward the same goal of a closed transaction.

2) The market may be stabilizing, but buyer and seller expectations are far from matched. 70% of buyers surveyed in 2009 reported making one or more offers before closing on a property. 47% of buyers who had transactions fall apart cited seller unwillingness to accept comprises as the reason. If you're a seller this is yet another sign that buyers are out there - if you price right.

3) Buyers are not using the newspaper. Only 12% of buyers surveyed in 2009 used the newspaper to find their home. Moreover, a strong marketing plan ranked as the #1 reason sellers cited for choosing their agent. If you're a seller, don't get hung up on having your home in the paper - it's unlikely to make any impact on the sale of your home - but do make sure an agent has online bases covered.

My 2 cents - This market is still not quite settled back into balance at the same time the very nature of how homes are marketed and how consumers find them is changing. Keep an open mind and look toward a more efficient marketplace in the future.

Stay posted!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Morning Statistics

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 148 active listings and 109 sale pendings

Gilroy has 136 active listings and 199 sale pendings

San Martin has 31 active listings and 15 sales pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 313 active listings and 323 sale pendings

Looks like inventory came down a little last week and pendings sales kept the status quo. Could be the rise in interest rates is contributing to the slow down. However, Gilroy is showing a little more activity all around than the the rest of Area 1. I'll keep you posted.

Stay tuned for regular updates.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Bank Owned Property on the Market in Morgan Hill




New Listing located at 955 Barrett Avenue in Morgan Hill
I don't usually include maps of properties but this one is important as you can see because of the location of the house to the freeway. We all discovered in our current market, Buyers are not so forgiving of freeway noise, high tension wires or anything that makes a home less than perfect. So what might be a good deal at the moment could turn into a problem later on down the road when you decide to sell. This is a 5 bedroom, 3 bath home with 1673 square feet located on a 4356 square foot lot and is only 3 years old. Pretty home in a new neighborhood but make sure you plan on living in this area for a long time or the price of $424,900 might not seem like such a good buy. Also, check out the schools in terms of where this home is located as Buyers are also very concerned with schools and their scores.
My 2 cents - Make sure you are factoring in resale later on down the line to make sure you are getting what you want now as well as a home that will allow you to make movement in your life later on down the line.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Relocating due to new job?

How to make a good decision about buying a home in a new area...

With the current economic situation , many home buyers have emerged as well as people relocating for new jobs. Finding the right home which also has the best chance of holding or increasing it's value can be challenging. There has been some study about areas where homes retain their values best in tough times and what factors they have in common.

For example, working with Realtors who are experienced and knowledgeable about an area can help with a good decision. Living closer to an urban area (i.e. where the jobs are) can increase the value of a home. Long commutes with high gas bills not only take their toll on homeowners but studies have found that prices have depreciated almost double compared to areas located closer to where the jobs are located.

Towns where zoning regulations make it more difficult to build have experienced smaller price declines than towns that experienced huge building booms in recent times. "Prices are more likely to go higher if you can't expand supply," says Danie McCue, research analyst the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. Towns nestled against barriers such as large lakes or protected wetlands also usually limit expansion.

Buyers can call towns or county planning offices and ask how many acres of vacant land are in town, how much of it is zoned for residences and the maximum number of homes that can be built. Requesting a copy of the town's master plan also should tell buyers how much the housing stock is set to expand in the next 10 years.

Homes in towns with stores, banks, and movie theaters are more likely to hold value than those that are nearly all residential, as people like to live near these services and jobs and provide the town a stronger tax base to fund public service items.

My 2 cents - Do your homework and find a realtor you can trust!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Bank Listing in Gilroy







6320 Berrybush Court, Gilroy



Not your typical REO home, good condition without needing a lot of work or TLC. Single story, valuted ceilings, open floor plan with ceiling fans and light fixtures. 3 full bathrooms, indoor laundry room, back yard with patio, hot tub, storage sheds and room for garden. Only 11 years old and good location on the west side of Gilroy, near Gavilan Colleage. This is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with 2045 square feet and located on a 6098 square foot lot. Should get offers soon and change status within the week but I will keep you posted.

Just for information purposes, four homes came on the market in Gilroy yesterday (and this was one of them). I did promise to keep you posted on my predictions and the home I wrote about last week at 17200 Birch Way in Morgan Hill did go under contract and is due to close the 15th of August. Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eagle Ridge Sale


Sometimes Short Sales Actually Work!

This sale closed last week in Eagle Ridge and I was the Selling Agent for this transaction. My clients and I wrote the offer which was accepted by the Seller early February. I have to tell you it felt like forever, living through the process. The hardest aspect of a short sale is the unknown. Even when you have a listing agent who is working with you and upfront, you don't know what is going on with the lender and their behind the scenes. Or if anything at all is going on with the lender. From an agents perspective, you see an incredible lack of organization and precedent that everyone is struggling with. Waiting for a short sale to come together is an incredible act of faith on the part of everyone but especially the Buyers. The market in February was very different than it is now when we have to deal with limited inventory, competitive situations, rising interest rates, time running out on the $8000 tax credit. Back in February we were still trying to decide if the market had hit bottom.

I remember showing this property to my Buyers. At one point they discovered the balcony on the master suite and that is where I found them with their arms around each other looking out onto the green and the views. Something clicked for me and it just felt like we had found their home. Although we never cut our options off and continued to look at the market and available homes, we stayed in there and never let go of the dream. This one came true and I have very happy Buyers who just happen to be great people.

Short sales can be tough, on everyone. There are ways to evaluate the risk and whether it makes sense to continue in the process but there is still an element of unknown that has to be dealt with. I know it was mostly hard work but I also feel there was an element of luck which I am very grateful for. It's a great feeling to be able to make something work and have a happy ending.

My 2 cents - Look at your short sale situation and weigh the pros and cons. Who is your lender, how many loans are you dealing with, are the agents being aggressive in the process or passive, are people communicating, do the agents know what they are doing, do you have all the available information. And don't cut off your options. Play it straight but make sure you are playing it smart and keeping your options open.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

138 Days Left on the $8000 Tax Credit!

$8000 Tax Credit for Home Buyers

Unexpected, unusual and great to take advantage of is the $8000 tax credit. You are eligible if you are a first time homebuyer or have not owned a principal residence in the last three years. This is an $8000 gift from the federal government. If you qualify and buy a home while the program is available, you'll get $8000 back with your tax credit. If your adjusted gross income is more than $75,000 (or $150,000 for joint filers), then your credit will begin to shrink, depending upon your income. Also, the tax credit is for $8000 OR 10% of the sales price (if you buy a home worth less than $80,000 then you'll get a credit of 10% of that price).

There is a clock ticking on this credit. Your purchase has to be completed within January 1st, 2009 to November 30th, 2009. You will receive the tax credit after you buy your home. You can't use it for a down payment or other closing costs. But, for example, if you close on a house next month, you can file an amended tax return and get the $8000 right away. You do not have to wait until next year!

The tax credit is available for principal home purchases throughout the United States but is only for primary residences (not vacation property). The Administration and Congress created the tax credit to motivate buying and get the economy rolling again. Approximately 30 years ago during another economic downturn, the government offered $2000 tax credits and it helped get the economy back on tract at that time. An extra $8000 can really mean a lot to people all across the country.

P.S. Don't forget - allow 30 to 60 days to finalize your home purchase before the November 30th deadline.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Statistics

Monday Morning Update!



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 157 active listings and 101 sale pendings


Gilroy has 132 active listings and 206 sale pendings


San Martin has 33 active listings and 15 sale pendings


Area 1 (all of the above) has 320 active listings and 322 sale pendings


Overall, last week our listing count increased while sale pendings decreased. I know two of my sales closed last week, one a home at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy (beautiful home on the golf course) and my La Bella listing in Morgan Hill. The Eagle Ridge transaction was a short sale which was accepted by the Seller in the beginning of February - it took 5 months to close! And my listing at 15665 La Bella Court (see photo) started out slow and then started to get multiple interest, which is indicative of any good listing right now. There is a lot of market activity right now and a lot of competition.



Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Bank Owned Property in Gilroy


Seven year old home at 8801 Zinnia Street in Gilroy just came on the market. This home has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 1892 square feet, is located on a 5343 square foot lot and is an attached home. Photos show it in good condition both inside as well as out. The price is very attractive at $341,900 - this is a very competitive price range and a good price for this home. So we'll watch and see how fast the status changes to pending. This bank is requiring proof of the earnest money deposit as well as a preapproval letter from a lender but is not requiring a buyer to use their lending department (some banks want a buyer to be preapproved with them but can't insist someone uses their company). Most banks will include an addendum with terms that protect the bank and limit the rights of the buyer - make sure your read the fine print! It usually applies to timelines for the buyer to perform and clarifies the limited knowledge a bank would have about a property. Transactions with banks are often as-is but I am told it doesn't have to be that way. Most banks will pay for repairs, just not up front so it depends upon whether the listing agent has the ability to deal with getting the money ahead of time.

My 2 cents - Make sure you read that addendum and don't be so quick to give up your rights.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Update on Tenant Information

C.A.R. Opposing Bill to Repeal Sunset on 60-Day Notice Requirement

Current law requires an owner of a residential dwelling to give at least 60-days' notice when tenants have been in occupancy more than 12 months, and at least 30 days' notice prior to terminations if any tenant or resident has resided in the dwelling for less than one year. SB 290 (Leno) would delete the January 1, 2010 sunset days on this 60-day notice mandate, which if left in place would repeal that requirement. C.A.R. continues to oppose SB 290 requesting amendments to require tenants to give the same 60 Days' notice that is currently required for residential rental property owners. SB 290 is currently pending on the Assembly Floor.

My 2 Cents - I think this is good information for landlords who need to be updated about the current laws. Stay tuned for more updates and changes regarding this law.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

C.A.R.'s 2009 Survey of California Home Buyers

Favorable home prices, record-low interest rates, and the belief that rates will rise in the near future were the primary motivators leading home buyers to purchase in 2009 compared with last year, according to C.A.R.'s '2009 Survey of California Home Buyers' released this week. Sixty-eight percent of buyers said price decreases motivated them to buy a home, while 39 percent reported low interest rates helped them move to a better location. Twenty-three percent claimed the likelihood that rates will move up as the motivating factor.

"After back-to-back years of sharp declines, home sales in California rebounded in 2008 and early 2009," said C.A.R. President James Liptak. "The increase reflected the combination of favorable prices, low mortgage rates and home buyer tax credits, fueled primarily by sales of distressed properties that accounted for more than half of the state's transactions. Housing affordability has improved dramatically in response to the decline in home prices along with historically low mortgage rates, creating a tremendous opportunity for home buyers in California."

Forty-nine percent of all buyers purchased a home through a traditional market sale, while 38 percent purchased a REO/bank-owned property, according to the survey. Reflecting the difficulty in closing short sales -- properties selling for less than the loan amount -- only 13 percent of buyers purchased a short-sale property. Home buyers who purchased a REO or bank-owned property experienced the highest level of difficulty in obtaining financing, compared with a more traditional transaction. They rated the level of difficulty as 8.9 (on a scale of 1 to 10 representing the greatest level of difficulty in obtaining financing) compared with a 7.7 for home buyers with a traditional market sale and 7.6 for short-sale home buyers.

My 2 Cents - Thought this would be interesting information provided by C.A.R. although most of the above is not surprising. The 13 percent for short sale transactions does surprise me because of the volume of contracts written on short sales as opposed to the actual closed sales. Puts some perspective on the frustration of dealing with this kind of transaction.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Home Sweet Home


Another New Morgan Hill Listing
This home is located at 17200 Birch Way in Morgan Hill which is over in the Greenleaf subdivision. 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths with 1220 Square Feet on a 7020 Square Foot lot. Looks like a cute, modest home with good use of the backyard, large rear yard with pergola and lawn. Home has pride of ownership, dual pane windows and tile floors and is located in the Nordstrom attendance area (careful of this - location doesn't always guarantee placement). Worth checking out but seems a little high compared to the listing at 155 Foothill Court which we looked at yesterday. Right now there are 108 homes under contract and pending close, healthy amount of buyer activity. I'll keep you posted on these homes and let you know when they sell. This is the price range that is moving right now as entry level buyers have opportunities due to lower prices and great interest rates (even with the recent increases) along with some of the current loan programs and tax breaks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Listing in Morgan Hill



New Listing at 155 Foothill Court in Morgan Hill





This 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath home looks cute with 1463 Square Feet on a 7440 Square Foot Lot. This is an older home of 46 years but has been well maintained and updated - hardwood floors, crown molding & base, ceiling fans, attic fan, remodeled bathrooms, wood burning fireplace, double paned windows, recessed lighting, newly covered patio, newly painted interior & exterior. This is a good price range for this market and sounds like it has been very well maintained. The only negative that I see right off is the location which is right by the cemetary which turns a lot of people off (but not all). I'll keep you posted and let you know how long it lasts on the market. Right now it's been on less than a week. Also, this is not bank owned or a short sale - which is a plus in this market.

Monday, July 6, 2009

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 147 active listings and 109 sale pendings

Gilroy has 125 active listings and 212 sale pendings

San Martin has 33 active listings and 12 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 303 active listings and 303 sale pendings

During the month of June, there were 50 closed sales in Morgan Hill, 55 in Gilroy, 6 in San Martin and 111 for the whole of Area 1 – that’s more activity and closed sales than we had in May, still pretty good and holding strong. Inventory continues to decrease and the quality of the listings in general is not that good across the board. Entry level homes are getting multiple offers and the market is some places (and some price ranges) are very competitive. There is a lot of activity in the market right now even with the rise in interest rates. More news to come - keep watching.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Short Sales Anonymous

Hello, my name is Julie and I've been in a short sale since January...

Sometimes what is very obvious from the perspective of an agent, is not obvious at all to a Buyer. I recently experienced the isolation of my Buyers who are participating in short sales which feel as if they are going on forever. And some of them are.

I don't know exactly what it looks like from the Bank's perspective, but I suspect it's a system overwhelmed and overworked, hit hard by an avalanche of work without efficient systems to make sense of the work load. There are probably a lot of people getting blamed and repremanded for situations beyond their control, living under a daily barage of criticism and abuse. With all the public scrutiny, there is no time to say stop and let's take a breath and come up with better systems and solutions to this problem.

But from a Buyer's perspective, from someone who has written a contract and a sizeable check, made the commitment to buy that home and go through the transaction, it just doesn't make any sense at all, not only for how long a time it takes but the lack of communication which also feels like a lack of professionalism and just basic good manners. It's like being stood up for something really important or being in relationship by yourself.

I won't speak for the banks by any means as I am not in their shoes and do not know everything that goes on behind the scenes. But I will say to Buyers, you are not alone. Not only do other Buyers share your frustration, but also the Agents who are working much harder than anyone ever sees are working against a tide of disrespect and lack of cooperation and communication and even financial compensation.

It's a situation that needs to be addressed. And unfortunately, we are in it together. Mostly what we can offer you as agents is our hard work and compassion and communication. Stay in touch with your agents and use information to make educated decisions about your short sale and whether the risks make sense and whether you can end up with a really great home at a really great price. I wish you the best!

Monday Morning Update (and on Monday!)


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 170 active listings and 121 sale pendings

Gilroy has 128 active listings and 230 sale pendings

San Martin has 36 active listings and 12 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 332 active listings and 362 sale pendings

During the month of May, there were 29 closed sales in Morgan Hill, 51 in Gilroy. 4 in San Martin and 84 for the whole of Area 1 – that’s a little less activity and closed sales than we had in March and April but still pretty good and holding strong.

Inventory continues to fall and sales continue to increase. Rates went up last week so we’ll see whether they stay up or will go back down soon and how that affects the market. Rates are still good but not as good as they were which will be a problem for some Buyers. Also, rumors abound about another wave of bank owned properties coming on the market, always the fear getting in the way of what will make us happy.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nice to be back again!

Monday Statistics (well actually Tuesday)

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 182active listings and 121 sale pendings

Gilroy has 142 active listings and 222 sale pendings

San Martin has 35 active listings and 12 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 357 active listings and 354 sale pendings

Inventory continues to fall and sales continue to increase. Right now we are almost neck in neck with active and sales in Area 1. Certain price ranges (under $400,000) are hot right now with multiple offers. The quality listings that are priced well are selling quickly. Buyers should be ready with their prequalification letters from their lender and an understanding of what is going on in the market. Although, within the next 30 days, we will be seeing an influx of bank owned property coming on the market that could slow things down a little. Short sales seem to be getting tougher and are not necessarily the great deals we once thought.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Friday, May 22, 2009

FALLING DOWN

And getting back up

Last month, I was taking a horseback riding lesson with my daughter when I was bucked off my horse. I did not land gracefully. Well maybe gracefully isn’t the point, I was badly hurt and in a lot of pain and to be honest, I was also scared about the extent of my injuries. I was on the couch for several weeks and doing the bare minimum to survive. This did not include writing on my blog. Sorry.

However, I have not really been connected to my blog this winter for several reasons. One is I have been very busy with real estate and there are just so many hours in the day. But I miss writing on my blog and keeping you all in touch with the latest updates and all the many changes going on in real estate. I found working on articles about new legislation, writing my thought processes about property I had been viewing and sharing my experiences in real estate sharpened my senses and helped me fine tune my real estate knowledge.

It’s fun. I love what I do and I like to share my insights and experiences and hope that it helps, adds to the education of a public that has an overload of information without the tools to process them in a practical way that benefits them. That’s my job. To protect you, help you make good decisions and sometimes help you to get out of your own way.

So onward to more blogging, more information and hopefully more courageous (and interesting) reporting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday (oops, Tuesday) 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 192 active listings and 106 sale pendings

Gilroy has 188 active listings and 213 sale pendings

San Martin has 35 active listings and 19 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 414 active listings and 338 sale pendings

There is a serious decline in inventory number and quality. A lot of what is currently on the market (not all, of course) are not the most desirable properties. As a realtor, I am seeing a lot more activity with my listings and multiple offers on properties, a lot more activity in the market in general.

According to the Daily Real Estate News on April 20, 2009:

Fed Officials: The Worst Is Over

The worst of the economic crisis is over, according to U.S. officials speaking at a financial conference Friday at Vanderbilt University.Frank Nothaft, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, said housing sales have just about hit bottom and a third of home sales are now foreclosed properties.Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, warned that the declining commercial real estate market still poses a risk to the economy.New York Fed chief William Dudley complained that the programs the government has put in place are being undermined by public perception that they are unfair to average taxpayers and that has made some potential investors fearful that they would be the focus of public outrage if they profit from the programs."It is worth emphasizing (that) actions that lead investors to shun taking risk, especially in this environment, are ultimately detrimental to the ability of households and businesses to secure credit at reasonable borrowing rates," Dudley said.Source: Reuters News, Ros Krasny and Kristina Cooke (04/18/2009)

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Monday, April 20, 2009

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 202 active listings and 96 sale pendings

Gilroy has 192 active listings and 207 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 17 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 432 active listings and 320 sale pendings

Inventory is at the lowest we’ve seen in a while with an increase in sale pendings. Also, there is a lot of listings out there in need of some TLC and not on the A list. If you are a serious buyer right now, be prepared to act fast. The market is changing once again.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Monday, April 6, 2009

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 211 active listings and 83 sale pendings with 29 closed sales for the month of March

Gilroy has 212 active listings and 202 sale pendings with 55 closed sales for March

San Martin has 39 active listings and 16 sale pendings with 3 closed sales for March

Area 1 (all of the above) has 460 active listings and 301 sale pendings with 87 closed sales in March

Inventory continues to decline but pending sales are on the increase and closed sales have also improved. Short sales, which seem to take forever, are complicating the numbers. It’s hard to tell what is actually selling and who’s sitting around waiting to hear from the lender.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Monday, March 30, 2009

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 219 active listings and 78 sale pendings
Gilroy has 214 active listings and 202 sale pendings
San Martin has 41 active listings and 16 sale pendings
Area 1 (all of the above) has 473 active listings and 296 sale pendings.

There is a lot of activity in the market right now especially in Gilroy and the lower end of the market. A lot of people are taking advantage of the great interest rates and low prices to own their first home. Inventory and sales are holding pretty steady.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We did it!




Historical Society of Morgan Hill sponsors the El Toro Spring Walk
We don't always have the time in our busy day to do the things which renew us. Yesterday was a beautiful day and there was a great turnout for the El Toro Walk. This year there were two times to go up - one at 8 AM and one at 10 AM which made it a lot more organized (and safer) than last year. There was the geologist speech before the walk (OK, El Toro is not a volcano and Poppy Jaspar is special to Morgan Hill), as well as the usual walkers and after walk treats. I was trying to remember how many years we have been doing this and I think it has been almost ten years. Last year it was much easier to get up the hill because I was in training then for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. This year I did it but maybe a little less gracefully.
My 2 Cents - Enjoy your community. There are always special events and people to enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Scams!

Far be for people not to take advantage of each other during tough times but that seems to be the case in several situations.

1) The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers that they could get stung by economic stimulus scams, perpetrated on the Web and through email, by enticing consumers to provide personal information or a small payment. Beware of email messages and web sites asking for bank account information, asking for a small payment which will allow credit card information to be made available and links that will download malicious software or spyware. Some web sites are using deceptive names or images of President Obama and Vice President Biden to give the appearance of being legitimate while they are not.

2) California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. is warning consumers that scam artists are using the forged letterhead of major lenders to con worried Californians into paying thousands of dollars for non-existent loan modification services. Consumers can take steps to protect themselves from loan modification fraud by going to http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1697&.

3) I have had several clients who have received letters from groups claiming they can reduce their property taxes for a small fee. We did some follow up and believe this is also a fraud. You can log onto the county's assessors' office and actually apply to have lower taxes simply by filling out an online form. You might need some help in filling it out but the information is pretty basic and is out there (at no cost).

My 2 Cents - If it sounds too good, it probably is. Ask someone you trust before you jump in and be very careful of who you let see your private information.

Monday, March 23, 2009

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 213 active listings and 80 sale pendings

Gilroy has 235 active listings and 194 sale pendings

San Martin has 41 active listings and 15 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 488 active listings and 289 sale pendings.

Inventory is declining which is very unusual for this time of year. I believe a lot of people don’t want to put their home on the market right now and a lot of people can’t because their equity is gone and they owe more than the current market value. The last time the inventory was this low was two years ago (end of March in 2007). However, pending sales are up as well as closed sales. There are a lot of people out there looking for homes right now - be prepared for some competition if you are one of them.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gilroy Leads in February Sales in Santa Clara

Mercury News Article

I don't always agree with the Mercury about the real estate market but I thought Sue McAllister had some right on things to say in Friday's edition. Yes, I agree that Gilroy is the hot market right now with excellent deals not only in the very low range but also in some of the higher end homes like those located at Eagle Ridge on the West Hills of Gilroy. If you are a Buyer and looking in Gilroy, do your homework and make sure you have a great agent - this is a competitive market and there are many multiple offer situations. Note - the good deals are not a secret and if you can figure it out, so can the other Buyers on the look out for a good deal.

Bank Owned Properties and Short Sales are not without their cost even though the market value is usually a good deal. Banks often want to use their own contracts which heavily favor them and in short sales, the Bank makes all the decisions and both insist on as-is sales (no repairs).

The article in the Mecury also talks about the median price being lowered throughout Santa Clara county and part of the reason is the run on lower end homes (it's not only happening in Gilroy, we're having multiple offers on low priced homes in Morgan Hill also and I hear in San Jose as well). But the other piece of the puzzle is high end homes involve risks on many levels. Lenders are just not that excited about jumbo loans (which limits the amount of Buyers). These are also the people dealing with losses in stock values and concern about job stability. Put those factors together and you have a median price home 41% lower than a year ago.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Annual Spring Hike Up El Toro on Saturday, March 28th


Spring Hike up El Toro in Morgan Hill
My daughter and I have been participating in the hike up El Toro for years. Our first hike was years ago when I had to help her up our "mountain" the first year we went up. But I was quickly humbled the year after when she was one of the first folks up the hill and so it has been for many of the following years. Last year I was in the middle of training for the Avon Walk and it felt good (relatively speaking) to hike up the hill. This year all my best laid plans to stay in shape have fallen by the wayside and I think I better take it slow!
I was glad to see they have scheduled the hike in two parts - one at 8AM and one at 10AM. Last year there was only one time and it was very challenging at the top. The problem is the last stretch of the hike which is very steep with hardly any traction. Every year the Boy Scouts volunteer their time and set up as well as monitor ropes for us to use. With only one time to hike last year, people were coming and going at the same time and it was challenging.
Remember to bring gloves - you'll really need them to get up the ropes and wear good hiking shoes. Peter Anderson will give a talk about the formation of El Toro before the hikes at the Morgan Hill Library which is where the walk starts. For more information, call (408) 779-5755 and many thanks to the Boy Scout Troop 799 for helping us get up that last leg.
I look forward to seeing you there - this is a wonderful community event with some interesting history thrown in for good measure!

First Time Home Buyer Program

What is the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program anyway?

The MCC Program provides financial assistance to first time homebuyers for the purchase of single family homes, townhomes and condominiums. It is a dollar for dollar tax credit against the borrowers federal income taxes - currently15%. The remaining 85% remains a standard tax deduction.

Eligibility is for first-time Homebuyers who have not owned a home in the past three years, are purchasing a home in a participating city within the country, plan on living in the home and meet the income and purchase price limits.

The Borrowers income cannot exceed $97,000 for 1-2 persons or $112,470 for 3 or more (no co-signers allowed for this program).

The maximum purchase price is $570,000 for existing units and $630,000 for new construction.

If the borrower sells the property within nine years there may be a recapture tax penalty.

This program is only available with participating brokers and funding lenders. Applications are processed on a first come, first serve basis with an application fee of $275. For more information and details about this program to www.sccgov.org (go to affordable housing).

My 2 Cents - Make sure you are working with a mortgage broker up to date on all the programs currently available.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Bank Owned Properties





NEW BANK OWNED PROPERTIES ON THE MORGAN HILL MARKET

Beautiful home in gated community at 14545 Atherton Circle is a good buy at $950,600 with 5 bedrooms/3.5 baths and 3784 square feet - great views but needs some TLC. 19139 Legend Court over in Coyote Estates is an attached home but what a price at $512,900! 4 bedrooms/3 baths with 1989 square feet and mountain views. These two bank owned properties are worth checking out with their locations and price points.

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 215 active listings and 71 sale pendings

Gilroy has 246 active listings and 181 sale pendings

San Martin has 42 active listings and 13 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 502 active listings and 265 sale pendings.


Market is holding steady but there is a lot going on behind the scenes that isn’t as obvious. One agent in my office had 12 offers on a property last week in the $400,000 range. Open Houses this past weekend were full of activity. Remember – no one rings a bell when we hit the bottom of the market!

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interesting Twist on Selling


Huge Price Reduction?


This looks like a very nice home in San Martin although the location is very close to Monterey Road. This 5 Bedroom/3.5 Bath home has 4400 square feet on 2.5 acres with a 4 car garage and is only 8 years old. Originally listed for $1,488,000, they just reduced it to $799,888 which puts it at about $181.79 per square foot. Sounds like a very nice single story with lush landscaping, iron gate, gourmet kitchen, hardwood floors & the works. If the location doesn't bother you then this is a great deal.


One thing to think about is resale. In this kind of market, Buyers are not forgiving about location, overhead wires, etc. so this wouldn't be a good buy unless you were planning on staying a while.

Market News Update

President Obama's new plan -

There is lot's of talk about the changes going on. The Obama administration’s first budget proposal included a provision to reduce the mortgage interest and local property tax deductions for those earning more than $250,000. Aargghhh! Maybe this makes sense in certain areas in our country but not in California where our costs of living and housing prices are much higher and inflated than other parts of the country. This law could negatively impact our housing market even further.

Refinancing -

Many mortgage professionals are advising clients not to wait to refinance. Stricter loan underwriting standards and declining property values could result in some homeowners becoming ineligible for the Obama administration’s “Making Home Affordable Refinance” program. As a result, many mortgage professionals are advising clients not to wait to refinance.
Refinances also are taking longer to complete. Whereas a refinance used to take three to four weeks to process, it now is taking as long as six weeks.

My 2 Cents -

I'm seeing a lot of people in distress who aren't clearly understanding the new laws. It's very important to obtain the correct information for your situation and not just trust to the new legislations to majically solve problems. Go to the sources and get updated information. Use your trusted professional to help you find those sources.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Morning Statistics

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 214 active listings and 71 sale pendings

Gilroy has 255 active listings and 180 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 15 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 507 active listings and 266 sale pendings.


Market appears to be holding steady with little change in the numbers. But I see a lot of people ready to buy. There is a lot of activity with showings in my listings and open houses. People want to buy homes and make movement in their lives. One day the “damn” is going to break and we are going to have a busy market once again.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Deal in Morgan Hill!



Single Family Home listed for $287,000


This is a new listing, bank owned and currently on the market for $287,000. It has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths with 1084 square feet. The lot size is small, only 3049 but the association is located on the east hills of Morgan Hill with an expansive feel plus the home backs up to open space with gorgeous mountain views.


My 2 cents - Not going to last long on the market.

Monday, March 2, 2009

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 225 active listings and 71 sale pendings

Gilroy has 244 active listings and 179 sale pendings

San Martin has 37 active listings and 15 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 505 active listings and 264 sale pendings.


Inventory continues to decline and pending sales continue to increase but closed sales are a lot less than the pending sales lead us to believe. For the month of February, there were 16 closed sales in Morgan Hill, 40 in Gilroy, none in San Martin and 56 for the whole of area 1. While pending sales are a much higher percentage, closed sales are running about 10% of the inventory.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Changes in Market

Home Prices Decline Nationwide in 4th Quarter of 2008

U.S. home prices posted record declines in the fourth quarter of 2008 according to a Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA's) House Price Index (HPI) report released yesterday. The FHFA seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index, based on data from home sales, was 3.4 percent lower on a seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter. The decrease was greater than the 2 percent decline reported in the third quarter, and the largest in the purchase-only index's 18-year history. Over the past year, seasonally adjusted prices fell 8.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 compared with the fourth quarter of 2008.

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

President Obama unveiled his plan to help stabilize the housing market and keep millions of borrowers in their homes. The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes two initiatives to help struggling homeowners. One is a refinancing program for homeowners with less than 20% equity in their homes, or who owe more than their home is worth. The second program attempts to lower monthly payments for homeowners at risk of losing their home. In addition, the plan includes a third initiative to support low mortgage rates by strengthening confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Many of the plan’s details are still being worked out and will not be announced until March 4.

Increases in FHA Loan Limits

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family loan limits have been revised as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and are now available online. The new loan limits, reflecting an increase from $625,500 to a maximum of $729,750, are effective for those loans for which credit is approved in 2009 and will remain in effect until Dec. 31.Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family loan limits have been revised as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and are now available online. The new loan limits, reflecting an increase from $625,500 to a maximum of $729,750, are effective for those loans for which credit is approved in 2009 and will remain in effect until Dec. 31. Go to https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicost1.cfm. for more information.

My 2 Cents - I see lots of movement even with all the "doom and gloom". With all the support going on looking for solutions, I think there will be more real estate activity in 2009 then there was in 2008. People are still cautious, as they should be, but want (and sometimes need) to make movement in their lives.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Viewpoint into the Current Market



Working with Buyers!

Sorry I haven't been as attentive as I would like but I've been out working (isn't that the point after all ?). But I do like giving people good information and I find I learn so much when I'm out showing. It gives me a totally different viewpoint than when I represent a Seller. Although it's usually a specific viewpoint.

I have several buyers interested in country property so I have been out and about a lot these days in South County. 2 days ago, the above bank owned property came on the market and my buyer and I ran over there to check it out. There was a buyer there before us and one waiting when we came out. This is a 3/2 1/2 with 2230 Square Feet and about 2.5 Acres with a barn and on the market for $792,900. When I check the recently sold properties for comps, I find out that country property is selling for an average of $334.32 per square feet. This property at 8880 Guibal in Gilroy is on the market for $355.56 per square feet. That tells me there are educated buyers out there (with money and ready to go). I think this property will be sold before too long.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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 223 active listings and 71 sale pendings

Gilroy has 266 active listings and 172 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 15 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 532 active listings and 257 sale pendings.

Inventory is holding steady and sales continue to increase. From my viewpoint, there is a lot of movement going on. I’m getting calls from clients all the time these days. I know there is a lot of people waiting and seeing right now but more and more people are taking action.

I heard a good one the other day – "Only one person buys at the bottom and only one person buys at the top."

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus Bill and New Plan in the Works!

Last week Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. which was signed by President Obama at the beginning of this week.

Among other things, the stimulus legislation resets the conforming loan limit cap at $729,750, up from $625,500 and reinstates these 2008 loan limits through Dec. 31, 2009.

The bill also increases the first-time home buyer credit from $7,500 to $8,000, and removes the requirement that the credit be paid back if the buyer stays in the home for at least three years. It also extends the expiration date for the credit from July 1 to Dec. 1, 2009. Homebuyers must have purchased a home after Jan. 1, 2009, and before Dec. 1, 2009, to be eligible for the $8,000 credit.

Earlier today, President Obama unveiled the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, which will offer assistance to as many as 9 million homeowners, while attempting to prevent the destructive impact of foreclosures on families and communities.The plan contains three main components, and only applies to primary residences.

1) The first component is directed toward homeowners suffering from falling housing prices who still have equity in their homes, but no longer have the 20 percent equity needed to refinance. Under the plan, homeowners who have conforming loans owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be allowed to refinance their homes, even if they do not have 20 percent equity left in the house.

2) The second component, known as the Homeowner Stability Initiative, is designed to assist homeowners who are “underwater” on their mortgages. The $75 billion initiative will bring together lenders, servicers, and the government so that all stakeholders share in the cost of the modification.

3) The final aspect of the Homeowner Stability Initiative is creating clear and consistent guidelines for loan modifications.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Market Update as seen by CAR

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Last Friday, the U.S. Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by a 60 to 38 vote. Earlier today, the stimulus package passed the U.S. House of Representatives in a 246 to 183 vote. Today’s votes followed several days of negotiations by the House, Senate, and White House, with the final tab for the stimulus bill coming in at $787.2 billion.

On the housing front, the good news is that the legislation resets the conforming loan limit cap at $729,750, up from $625,500. Numerous counties in California experienced a marked decrease in their conforming loan and FHA limits on Jan. 1, and the stimulus bill reinstates 2008 loan limits through Dec. 31, 2009.

The bill also increases the first-time home buyer credit from $7,500 to $8,000, and removes the requirement that the credit be paid back if the buyer stays in the home for at least three years. It also extends the expiration date for the credit from July 1 to Dec. 1, 2009. Homebuyers must have purchased a home after Jan. 1, 2009, and before Dec. 1, 2009, to be eligible for the $8,000 credit.

C.A.R. and NAR have long advocated for higher conforming loan limits. The conforming loan limit provisions and other housing elements in the stimulus package are a step in the right direction for our industry and all Californians.

The stimulus package also contains $308.3 billion in appropriations spending, including $120 billion on infrastructure and science and more than $30 billion on energy-related infrastructure projects. It also allocated an additional $267 billion for direct spending, including increased unemployment benefits and food stamps; and provides $212 billion in tax breaks for individuals and businesses.

Now that the stimulus package is approved and is on its way to President Obama for signature, it is our hope that Congress will turn its attention toward helping homeowners remain in their homes and will take immediate steps directed specifically at stemming the ongoing foreclosure crisis.

My 2 Cents - I like to hear what the "experts" say especially when it is in a consise form. I hope you appreciate this kind of information as well.

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 225 active listings and 74 sale pendings

Gilroy has 269 active listings and 166 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 14 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 530 active listings and 253 sale pendings

Inventory is holding steady and sales continue to increase. I am definitely seeing more sales in the market these days and more movement in general. With lots of inventory, good interest rates and good prices, I believe now is a good time to get what you want in a home. We are seeing more and more multiple offers, especially when a property is a good deal.

My 2 cents - Don’t wait around just to stand in line.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

New Homes in Gilroy at Mesa Ridge




New Dividend Homes at Mesa Ridge
There are several beautiful newly built homes on Cajon Way in Gilroy just south of Eagle Ridge off of Santa Teresa. I have been spending some time showing property in this area and I was very impressed with these homes. Especially since they were the similiar to the homes in Coyote Estates in Morgan Hill that were selling around $1,200,000 once upon a time ago. These Cajon homes are on the market for $624,000, $660,000 and $699,000 - around half of what they sold for in the past. And they are nice homes with a decent budget from the builder for upgrades. The risk is the area as they are just in their first stage. But the builder is a known and I thought the hills and the views and the area was lovely. Worth checking out if you are in the market for a new home. You can also go to mesaridgesales@dividendhomes.com or of course, contact me for more information.
Keep posted!

Monday, February 9, 2009

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 223 active listings and 67 sale pendings

Gilroy has 274 active listings and 156 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 11 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 533 active listings and 233 sale pendings

We are holding steady with some increase both in inventory and pending sales. I’m seeing a fair amount of activity on all my listings and active interest with my buyers. There is much more movement in the market than there has been for a while.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Loan Modication Explained

Loan Modifications

Loss mitigation encourages lenders though an attorney-based process to help create the best mortgage solution for troubled homeowners. Through this, homeowners can expect one of the following results to occur:
· Loan Modification
· Short Sale
· Deed in Lieu

What is loan modification?

It is renegotiating the terms of your existing loan. It is by far the most desired result in any loss mitigation process. Every client is assigned a personal real estate attorney and a professional loan negotiator, to effect a successful resolution through loan modification.

Results can include:
· Interest rate reduction
· Extended payment terms (up to 50 yrs)
· Principal reduction

Who qualifies?

You must have at least one of the following criteria:
· High Loan to value (90% or higher)
· Bad credit due to late payments on credit cards, mortgage, medical bills, etc.
· Adjustable Rate (has or will change in the future)
· Option Arm or pick-a-pay loan
· Temporary or permanent financial hardship ( i.e. job loss, divorce, income reduction, medical emergency, etc.)
· High Debt to Net income ratio
· Non-owner Occupied – Ok

The above information was provided to my company by Gary Foydle from The Loan Source. I thought it was good information and consise and hopefully, helpful. Let me know what you would like to hear about in the future.

FYI - If you are currently shopping for a home, rates are up at the moment (around 5.125% for a 30 year fixed). Although there are different lending options, I like to use the 30 year fixed as a sort of "measuring stick" for the lending market. Stay tuned for more updates!

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Bank Owned Listing in Gilroy


New Bank Owned Property in Gilroy
This five year old home in the North West section of Gilroy has 3314 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and is on a 7405 square foot lot. Large & Spacious Living Room, Separate Dining Room, Granite Counters in Kitchen, Upstairs Loft, Downstairs Bedroom, Corner lot. Priced at $659,900 which is maybe slightly higher than recent comps which have similiar homes sold at the low to mid $600,000's. Worth checking out.

Federal Stimulus Update

On Wednesday the U.S. Senate unanimously adopted an amendment to the tax portion of the stimulus package that would allow a tax credit of 10 percent of the value of new or existing residences, up to a $15,000 limit, for all purchasers, not just first-time homebuyers, in 2009 for a primary residence. Taxpayers would claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. It also seeks to prevent misuse by only allowing purchases of a principal residence and by recapturing the credit if the home is sold within two years of purchase. The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.

The House-passed version of the bill continues the current $7,500 credit for first-time homebuyers and eliminates the repayment feature of the credit, but only for purchases that occur between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009.

The Senate legislation so far does not include the loan limit increase for FHA and GSEs, but NAR is urging its inclusion. The House-passed bill reinstates and makes permanent last year's temporary FHA and conforming loan limits of $729,750, as sought by NAR. Limits currently are $625,500.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Message from the Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent

Dr. Alan Nishino Speaks to Realtors

Today at our County Realtor's meeting we were addressed by the superintendent of our school system. After sharing with us his passion for our kids and education, he addressed his reason for being at our meeting today. The school budget is so bad, it is at breaking point and they don't know how to make it work. We are at the bottom of the list of quality education throughout the United States and we need to change that. How to affect change? Money! His plea was to address the money we receive from property taxes and bonds and to support increasing these costs inorder to raise money for our communities and specifically education.

Guess what? I agree with him no matter how unpopular that might be. I think where we do spend our money (as well as our values) is often misplaced and there is no greater place than education for our kids. "Good schools make good communities" said Dr. Nishino and it has been proven over and over again. This is a growing community (currently there are 9 languages spoken here according to Dr. Nishino) and complicated times for our kids. Our responsiblity is to prepare our kids even better than we were prepared.

One of his points was that out of the 45% earmarked for Special Education, only 17% was received. This is especially poignant for me as I have a special needs kid who is not receiving the services she needs. As I struggle with the school system, I am enough of problem solver to know that they can't perform on the level they need to perform. For more information about this school system, go to http://www.mhu.k12.ca.us/

My 2 cents - We need to meet the challenges of these times and prioritize our values and our futures by supporting our kids and their education.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Donate Blood to the American Red Cross



Giving Blood

A lot of us feel like this market is bleeding us anyway, so why not do a good deed and give blood to the American Red Cross? I thought about this yesterday as I gave blood in my town of Morgan Hill and wondered why more people don't give blood. Like a lot of things, we just don't think about it. I do believe people want to help others and would do more with just a little encouragement.

Well, here it is! Give blood to the American Red Cross! They aren't hard to find and they probably come to your area every 8 weeks (that's the time period to give blood). It takes less than 1 hour and you're done. I think these are the times to think about the many ways we can give back to our community and support each other. This one doesn't even cost money. You do have to develop a bit of a thick skin to get through their process of making sure your blood is healthy but it's obviously for the greater good. When the Red Cross comes to my town, I know I'm in for an hour of rock & roll music, some cookies and kind words along with my civic duty.

Monday, February 2, 2009

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 220 active listings and 61 sale pendings

Gilroy has 273 active listings and 153 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 11 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 525 active listings and 223 sale pendings

We continue to be down in inventory but holding steady in sales. Interest rates are also holding steady with some fluctuation. Distress properties continue to drive home sales in Santa Clara County and other parts of the state. Countrywide we have about 30 percent of our inventory under contract as compared to the 12 percent at the same time last year. Although when I check the statistics on what is actually closing, the monthly figures are still pretty low. Last month, only 14 homes closed in Morgan Hill, 44 homes closed in Gilroy, 1 home closed in San Martin and 59 homes total closed in Area 1. So what is happening to the rest of the pending sales? Could be they are just taking a long time due to short sales and financing taking longer but it could also be that a lot of these pending sales aren’t closing. However, compared to last year the market definitely has more activity and closed sales.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Economic Recovery Package

$819 Billion Stimulus Package Approved!

Last week, the US House of Representatives passed the current Economic Recovery Package(HR 1). The California Association of Realtors totes this as good news, as the bill contains a number of issues critical to our industry including extending all 2008 Metropolitan Statistical Areas' Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan limits throughout the end of this year.

The extension prevents an MSA's 2008 loan limit from being reduced in 2009 for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. Language in the bill also specifies that if an MSA's loan limit is set to change, it can increase, but is prohibited from declining.

The proposed legislation also will eliminate an existing payback requirement on the first-time home buyer tax credit for qualified buyers who purchase a home between December 31st 2008 and July 1st 2009.

Next week, the Financial Services Committee will meet and review other housing issues.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FICO Update

Understanding FICO Scores -

We all know how important FICO scores are so here are some basics to enhance your FICO knowledge. Good borrower credit scores help make it possible to qualify at better rates. For those with lesser FICO scores, FHA loans are available as an option.

This is how FICO Scores are weighted and structured:

35% by Payment History
30% by Balances Owed
15% by Length of Credit History
10% by New Credit
10% by Types of Credit in Use

And the overall calculated ranges:

720 - 850 Excellent, A-paper credit, the "good-guy" rates available;
680 - 719 Good, not much of a compromise on rates;
620 - 679 OK or Fair, clearly in range for FHA consideration;
580 - 619 Low, bottom of the range for FHA consideration, "alternate credit" comes heavily into play;
500 - 579 Poor, truly nothing can be done without credit rehabilitation.

Feel free to contact me for more information.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Behind the Scenes with Interest Rates!

Loan Update

Today at my Tuesday office meeting, there were 2 mortgage brokers giving us updates on loans. Most rates these days are based on owner occupied purchases with 20% down, 720 or higher credit scores and 30 day pricing plus 1 point. Given that, a 30 year fixed conforming loan (under $417,000) is about 4.875% as opposed to a super conforming loan ($417,000 to $625,000) which is 5.625% and a jumbo loan ($625,000 to 3 million) which is 5.75%. Jumbo rates are currently down.

Gary Foydl from Loan Source, gave some behind the scene info on lending. #1 - Late last year the "Feds" began buying mortgage backed securities which resulted in lower interest rates. A lot of folks applied to refinance their homes which ended up clogging up the system which caused rates to go up. #2 - Lenders encouraged Buyers to pay at least 1 point (which can buy down an interest rate between 1/2 to 1 1/8 pts currently) and get more invested in holding onto their loans. #3 - As we know from getting a new loan, our loans are soon sold to other lenders in a package deal. Only 10% of those loans were able to be jumbo - which impacted the jumbo rates and availability. The result was to artificially raising rates due to clogged pipelines. Rates would vary due to timing.

Let me know if this is interesting or confusing. I like knowing the behind the scenes info - especially as it affects our market.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Good New Deal!


New Bank Owned Property in Morgan Hill


This 4 Bedroom home at 14855 Native Dancer just came on the market a couple of days ago and I don't think it will last very long. Located on a 20,700 square foot lot, this one story home has a formal tiled entryway, hardwood floors, bright kitchen with newer cabinets and tiled counters, brick fireplace, tiled bathroom floors and large master bedroom. On the market for $675,000 and priced well for this market. If you are looking for a one story with a large lot then this might be the home for you!


Feel free to contact me if you would like more info on this property.

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 223 active listings and 61 sale pendings

Gilroy has 285 active listings and 153 sale pendings

San Martin has 37 active listings and 13 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 536 active listings and 224 sale pendings plus 66 closed sales in the past month

We are down a little in inventory but moving up in sales. Interest rates are also still good although higher than they were. I’m seeing lots more movement in the market right now – good start to the year!

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bank Owned Duplex in Morgan Hill




Bank Owned Duplex for Sale!

Check out this duplex in Morgan Hill, located at 105 Spring Avenue for only $410,000 and includes 2 Bedroom/1 Bath unit on each side with updated kitchens and baths. Worth checking out for it's investment potential. Located on the west side of Morgan Hill and been on the market for a little over 3 months. I'll keep you posted on this and other REO properties.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tax Relief for Homeowners?

The following article is taken from my C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors) Newletter and I thought it was very interesting as well as worthwhile to know. I recently posted some information about loan modifications as one of the emerging solutions to our current economic issues but never expected the government to offer the following relief - read on!

IRS TO EXPEDITE TAX LIEN RELIEF FOR HOMEOWNERS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced it will expedite its process of providing relief from federal tax liens for distressed homeowners. With more than one million current federal tax liens against real and personal property, the IRS announcement should help REALTORS® and their clients resolve federal tax lien issues in their sale and loan transactions.

As background, a homeowner seeking to sell or refinance a property must generally pay off an existing federal tax lien. However, during the current economic downturn, many homeowners don't have the cash or equity to do so. Hence, for a refinance, the homeowner may request that the IRS makes its tax lien subordinate, or secondary, to the lien of the refinancing lender. For a sale, the homeowner may, under certain circumstances, request that the IRS discharge its claim. The IRS's processing time for subordination or discharge requests has been about 30 days. The IRS currently is working to expedite that time frame to help distressed homeowners. For IRS instructions on requesting relief from federal tax liens, go to IRS Publication 783 for discharges and Publication 784 for subordinations at www.irs.gov.

Monday, January 19, 2009

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 227 active listings and 55 sale pendings

Gilroy has 289 active listings and 151 sale pendings

San Martin has 37 active listings and 12 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 501 active listings and 214 sale pendings

We are holding steady in inventory but moving up a little in sales. Interest rates are also still very good. I’m seeing multiple offers and more movement during January than I’ve seen in a while.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beautiful Cordevalle Property!


Gorgeous Cordevalle Vineyard Estates Property

One of the fun aspects of my work is getting to see a variety of homes (including seeing how the other half lives). This is a beautiful home located at Cordevalle in San Martin. Located at 1285 Lions Peak Lane, some of the highlights include a French Clay Roof, Copper Gutters & Trellis, Vineyard, Stone Courtyard with Pond, Mahogany Floors & Cabinets, Gourmet Kitchen (of course), Master Suite with His & Her Bathrooms & Closets, Detached Gym, Oversize Garages plus more in this 4 Bedroom, 4 Bath Home with 4132 Square Feet and lot size a little over 2 Acres. Plus this Private Gated Community also offers Tennis, Gold, Spa & Fine Dining. Could be yours for $1,999,999! Some homes just have that special feel to them and this is one of those - shows beautiful with a comfortable, well thought out floor plan.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Loan Modifications

Great Article in the Mercury News



We are seeing the evolution of different solutions to our mortgage crisis. Lately you've probably been hearing more about 'loan modifications'. Loan modifications have evolved as another alternative to having a mortgage that is too much to handle. Lenders are renegotiating with some borrowerers in order to salvage what they can, making the loan affordable to the borrowerer and thus avoiding the foreclosure route.

Counseling is available by contacting the lender directly or going to a HUD approved non-profit counceling agency (might be the smarter first step). There are also private loan-modification services that will help with the process for a fee.

This article in the Mercury gives resources and some good common sense advice in dealing with options. To read more, go to: http://www.mercurynews.com/saturdayrealestate/ci_11355649

My 2 Cents - Let's not make the same mistakes that got us into this mess. Do your homework, do your research, ask trusted professionals and most of all - deal with it! Problems won't go away by not looking at them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

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 221 active listings and 53 sale pendings

Gilroy has 299 active listings and 149 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 9 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 541 active listings and 208 sale pendings

We are holding steady but moving up a little in both inventory and sales. I think a lot of people are waiting for the inauguration coming soon before they make any decisions.

Stay tuned for regular updates!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New & Interesting Bank Owned Property in Morgan Hill



Great location with beautiful views from this property!


I have been inside this home located at 397 Wright Avenue. It is surrounded by lovely large homes for the most part and has great vistas from the property. I know it needs work as well as updating but because of the location, could increase in value substantially given the right attention. Details - 4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths with 2910 Square Feet and located on a 28,440 Square Foot lot (mostly unusable). It is 31 years old and pretty much everything is original with its share of wear and tear. Priced at $802,900 - maybe a little high but I suspect it will come down in price before too long. This would be a great personal home for a contractor or someone who is handy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Investment Case Study on Gilroy Property




Investment Property Case Study by Gretchen Merrick


Gretchen is a colleague of mine who did a case study on my listing at 9110 Church Street in Gilroy. I thought it was not only interesting but well done and she has given me permission to reproduce this study on my blog. It is as follows:


It has been quite a few years since a Bay Area residence could be purchased for investment purposes and have a positive cash flow from the income received from rent. But with the large drop in real estate sale prices, it appears that not only will there be great potential for gains in equity appreciation, but that the property will have a positive cash flow.


Let’s look at an example case study on a real property currently for sale in Gilroy. I chose this property because the Multiple Listing Service states that it is currently rented for $1900/month. This property is located at 9110 Church Street, has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, is 1132 sq.ft. and is on a 5227 sq.ft. lot. The list price is $279,000 (originally $369,000), and this property is a short sale.


Although we are given the current rent amount, there are other assumptions that must be made in order to analyze this potential investment. Here are the assumptions that I made:


Purchase price = $250,000, 25% down payment = $62,500
Loan: 6% interest rate with 1 1/2 discount points, 30 year loan, monthly payment = $1124.16, total acquisition cost = $5000 (including closing costs)
Utilities paid by tenant
Self-managed (no property management costs)
5% vacancy allowance
Annual property taxes = $3125
Annual insurance = $800
Annual maintenance costs = $2500
Investor’s federal tax bracket = 25%, California state tax = 9.3%
Holding period = 7 years
Annual appreciation, average over 7 years = 3% (hopefully this is a very conservative number)
Projected sales costs = 7%


Using the above assumptions, the property can be analyzed as an investment, taking into account tax depreciation, cash flow before and after taxes. We will also look at the eventual sale of the property, looking at taxes due upon the sale and the after-tax rate of return.


Income - Vacancy Allowance = Gross Operating Income = $21,660
GOI - Operating Expenses = Net Operating Income = $15,235
Subtract Mortgage Payments = $13,490
ANNUAL CASH FLOW BEFORE TAXES = $1745

Looking at my assumption of selling the property in seven years with a conservative guess of 3% appreciation in value per year:

Projected sale price in 2016 = $307,468
Subtract cost of sale = $21,523
Add 7 years of cash flow = $12,215
Subtract remaining loan balance = $168,073
CASH OUT ON SALE = $130,087
Subtract initial investment of $67,500
TOTAL GAIN ON SALE = $62,587


This example shows a viable real estate investment in south Santa Clara County with a before-tax rate of return of 8.55% on the investor’s initial $67,500 investment. Please consult your tax advisor for more information regarding the tax implications of buying, leasing and selling investment real estate.
(Thanks Gretchen!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More Harriet's Picks - Gilroy this time!

Gilroy Favorites -

My last pick’s blog started with sushi and so shall this one. For a good sushi meal and fun atmosphere, go to Ninja Sushi, located at 715 1st Street in Gilroy. We’ve always had great food there and I enjoy the upbeat, friendly energy of the place. I also like finding (& telling people about) restaurants and places that would be hard to find on their own especially as someone new to a community. O.D.’s Kitchen is one of those places and it is “unassuming with no real atmosphere” but has great breakfasts and lunches with excellent burgers. It’s located at 28 Martin Street and it is a find. Also does take out. Victoria’s Mexican Restaurant can be found at 757 1st Street for excellent Mexican goodies. Although for super quick, we go to Super Taqueria which can also be found in Gilroy (and Morgan Hill and Hollister) at 401 East 1st Street. Their homemade beans and green & red chili salsas are excellent. Try a super burrito for a filling meal and good buy. I love a lot about Gilroy, but especially the feel of the wide streets and the mature trees. Also, there is also a lot of effort going into building up the downtown area. One of Gilroy’s big attractions of course is the yearly Garlic Festival. You have to go at least once especially if you are moving here because once you live here, you will probably end up volunteering for this event (it's a huge fundraiser for our communities). Coming this summer July 24, 25 & 26th and who doesn’t enjoy garlic? And speaking of coming soon, Gilroy will have its own Gilroy Dog Park. This is due to be finished this summer and will be located at the Las Animas Park.

Stay tuned for more area picks!

Monday, January 5, 2009

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 215 active listings and 54 sale pendings

Gilroy has 297 active listings and 146 sale pendings

San Martin has 39 active listings and 8 sale pendings

Area 1 (all of the above) has 532 active listings and 205 sale pendings

Inventory is continuing to go down which is typical for this time of year as are sales BUT not by much. During December 2008, closed sales were as follows:

Morgan Hill had 32 closed sales

Gilroy had 43 closed sales

San Martin had 4 closed sales

Area 1 had 79 closed sales

Compared to last year at this time, there were 696 active listings in Area 1 BUT only 63 sale pendings with only 40 closed sales for the month of December 2007.

My 2 Cents – I’m seeing much more buyer activity and multiple offers on the properties that are attractive in both price and condition and location. Time to get off the fence or you’ll be waiting in line.

Stay tuned for regular updates!