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Irvine Real Estate

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Closing Costs

One of the areas that borrowers ask about most often, and find the most confusing,  is closing costs. Most people will not understand what the items are that make up the closing costs -much of which is estimated. Some people have had negative experiences where they found that the actual closing costs were a lot higher than they were led to believe.  Luckily, and hopefully,  our latest California real estate laws have made this a much easier to understand and more accurate process.

Closing costs are designated by four categories:

  • 1) non-recurring closing costs

    2) points

    3) recurring closing costs

    4) fees associated only with purchase transactions

For a  list of costs and which category they fall into, please visit Closing Costs Explained

We specialize in residential properties in Irvine California and the surrounding neighborhoods. We are here to help! Contact us by email or phone 949-275-6544 for assistance.



Location No-Timing Yes!

This was posted in 2008 but is still relevant today!

Consumers who watch the real estate market like investors watch the stock market -can buy and sell homes like a shrewd day trader. But as day traders know, it’s not quite as easy at it sounds. It takes time, practice and patience. You won’t make a killing over night, but over time you will enjoy the security of a roof over your head which can double as an investment with hefty returns. Track the Market: Every month, follow the five key indicators. Start logging them. Use a spreadsheet to chart them. One or two months doesn’t make a trend. Trends develop over the long term.. At this point you might want to look backwards! So what are those five key indicators? One indicator alone does not make a trend or a decision to buy or sell. The key indicators to watch are: · Interest Rates. Rising interest rates have a depressing effect on real estate prices. Falling rates help generate demand. That helps prices go up. · Building Permits. When demand is strong, builders pull more building permits so they can build and sell homes. Builders reduce the number of permits when demand drops. · Home Sales. Simple principles of supply and demand affect home sales. When buyers buy prices rise. When buyers retreat so do prices. · Loan Defaults. Defaulting home owners are having job or money troubles or both. That signals a weakening economy. · Foreclosure Sales. Foreclosures signal even deeper consumer money troubles and a worsening economy. It also signals dropping home prices. It might be of interest to note that in some communities inventory is dropping rapidly. Somewhat usual for the holiday season but if the trend continues along with lower interest rates could be an indicator of change to come. Unforeseen and unexpected events can suddenly throw any market into shooting star or falling star status — earthquakes, war, terrorism, floods, hurricanes, insurance industry pull back, a real estate bubble? Should I add bad loans, bank failures, and wall street greed? No matter what’s going on in the nation or the world, usually a real estate market that changes over night is rare. Our current crisis has been building over a couple of years with little intervention to curb or prevent our current dilemna. It comes down to these vital signs -take into account imbalances between supply and demand. What is moving the market. When the demand for housing drops we see existing home prices falling, building permits decreasing and delinquencies start rising and foreclosures will be the last domino to fall. I think we are there! Watch our indicators for signs of change. Currently inventory is decreasing due to sellers unwillingness to sell in this “buyers market” , banks willingness to modify loans to help homeowners stay in their home, less foreclosures and available bank sales ( largely due right now to moratoriums)and interest rates decreasing and predicted to continue to decrease. The most important thing to watch closely is where it is taking prices! It doesn’t matter what is happening. What matters is what direction it’s taking prices.

The real estate market is currently experiencing the lowest inventory we have seen in several years.  Currently we have just over 4 months worth of inventory.

Determining the Listing Price

 Pricing  your  home  is  an  art  — not a science.

 Achieving the optimal price  is  the result of both objective research into similar properties and  instinct in  determining how much a buyer will be willing to pay for  your  home.  The  right  price  will  attract  showings,  which  will generate offers.

The  unfortunate  fact  is  that  price is  the  number  one  factor that most  homebuyers use to determine which homes they want to view. It’s also important to remember that although you and your Realtor set the asking price, the selling price is determined by the buyer.

The Correct Price Will:

  •  Expose the property to more buyers
  • Result in a quicker sale, with less inconvenience to the seller
  • Increase Realtor response
  •  Generate more ad calls
  •  Prevent your listing from getting “stale” or “shop worn”

 Typically  homes  that sell more quickly, sell closer to or sometimes over asking price.

 Some Common Reasons for Overpricing

  • Over-improved property
  •  Original purchase price too high
  • Desire for “negotiating room”

 Overpricing Pitfalls

  •  Most  of  the  activity on  your  home will occur in the first few weeks.
  • Pricing ahome properly creates immediate urgency in the minds of buyers and agents.
  •  There  is  a  pool  of  buyers  who  have  seen  most  available homes  in  theirprice  range and are now only waiting for new listings  or  price  reductions.  Abuyer  that has been waiting, may fail to see your home if it is priced too high.
  • Sometimes, a price  reduction  may  be too late, as interest by both buyers and Realtors, may have waned.

 Buyers and  their  agents are very aware of the length of time on  the  market, the most  common  question  continues to be: “How  long  has  it  been  on  the  market?”  Often buyers are reluctant  to  make  an  offer  on  a home that has beenon the market  for  “awhile”  thinking  that there is something wrong with the home.Unfortunately,  overpriced  listings  frequently help you to sell your  neighbor’ reasonably  priced  home,  making  it appear that their home is priced very well.

 The Role of a Real estate Agent in Pricing

 Provide  you  with  a  comparative  market  analysis,  which  is a comparison  of recent  homes  with  similar  amenities  that  are available, in escrow and sold. There  is  no  “exact price”; your home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay. The  market  determines  value;  together  you  and  your agent determine asking price.

  Realtors  have no control over the market, only the marketing plan. The  seller  determines  the  asking  price.   Never  select  an  agent based on price. 

If you’re serious about selling and not just listing your property, call me today. I will give you an honest evaluation of what it is going to take to get your property sold.

Double Dip?

There are many predictions about the state of our economy. There is definitely a school of thought for the double dip recession. Some of the signs that are used to predict the future are not faring as well as everyone hoped including housing construction. We have seen some improvement over the last few months. Home sales were up until July when they took a definite plumet. The last I heard a few days ago was 27%. Ouch! Still prices in California overall continue to rise. It was just reported that San Bernardino was up 10% which is helpful to hear since that area was hit very hard in price decreases.

Some outspoken analysts fear housing may drive us back into recession. Over all though, it would seem that households and businesses are all in a period of thrift and cautiousness right now. Some are calling it a “pause” which seems appropriate to me. Only time will tell and the next 6 to 12 months should be critical. 

I am still hoping for the best! We are all very tired of recession and it would be nice if we could “Eat, Drink and be Merry! This is the theme at the Pageant of the Masters this year and it seems very appropriate. Good show if you can catch it. It will be over soon!

Back Up offers

If you are actively searching for a home on the mls you may come across a status that states “back up” offers. This status is referring to a home with an accepted offer to purchase and indicates an active escrow. However, since our current contracts allow 17 days in which to look over all disclosures, obtain loan approval, etc. and to then sign off all contingencies the seller will often be looking for back up offers. This allows for an offer to be submitted and possibly accepted under the condition that it is in back up status and will only be considered upon the cancellation of the current escrow.

Homes are selling very quickly right now so best to check the status for “active” to be sure you have a good chance of purchasing the home  or you could be wasting valuable time waiting only to find out the escrow will not cancel. Not to discourage anyone from putting in back up offers because sometimes escrows fail for one reason or another but best not to count on it too heavily. If you are interested in finding a home you might want to register your search for the email update program. This will notify you by email if a new listing comes on the market that matches your search and give you the best odds of submitting your offer quickly.

Clouds on Title

Distressed property sales are becoming a significant part of the real estate market landscape. Wall Street took our mortgages to a new level with Credit Derivatives’ and MERS. These are now poised to bring potential problems with the chain of title.  Here is a thought-provoking article written by professor of real estate, George Mantor, which uncovers some of the potential title pitfalls with foreclosures and short sales and the impact it could have on the home buyers and Realtors.


If recent court decisions are any indication, we are headed for an explosion of litigation in this area.


And now, Massachusetts Courts have revealed the possibility that unlawful foreclosures, dating back to 1989, might be invalidated and that buyers of foreclosed properties and short sales may have clouded titles.


The implications are enormous for title companies, bankruptcy attorneys, real estate agents, those facing foreclosure, and those who have lost their homes


To read the full article please follow this link



“Good Deal” or No Deal?

Recession is a terrible thing to waste. In any downturn someone is having an upturn. For many it is a time of opportunity! Buy low-Sell high.  That is the typical advice for the stock market. However we know that is not what most people do. It is a natural instinct to sell when prices are falling. And it is usually what everyone else is doing! The same idea applies to real estate. Most people will actually wait until prices are well on their way “up” because they do not want to miss the “bottom”. Problem is the bottom goes by without any notice and suddently the news will be “prices are rising”. 

What is a good deal anyway? Is it just about getting a lower price than the asking price? Do you consider how much lower the price is today than it was at the peak of the market just 3 years ago and caclulate the savings? Do you consider how much the price will likely increase over the next several years and calculate the rewards?  If you are not considering these points when looking for a “good deal” you are probably not getting any deal. Many buyers are writing multiple low price offers and consisently losing out. This results in No Deal! No deal is not a good deal! 

Is the glass half empty or half full? Even if your home is worth less (and it surely is) this is a great time to “move up”.  Home prices have fallen across the board making that dream home you have had your eye on much closer to reality! And if you move up now instead of waiting you stand to improve the amount of your increased profit considerably in the next upturn since homes in the higher price ranges appreciate at a higher dollar per percentage. Couple that with the chance of interest rates increasing (inflation always follows recession) than the price of that new home could be considerably more if you wait

Inventory has decreased dramatically over the last few months. With the spring season just beginning the scene is set for a possible “sellers market” I know it is hard to believe but it could happen.  If you see your self in any of the above scenarios and would like some assistance with your real estate plans please give me call or visit my web site to start your search for your next home. I look forward to hearing from you!

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