Friday, July 30, 2010

Up or Down:

Well, as the 'recovery' continues its slow, very gradual pace, we have any number of statistical reports to guide us in trying to figure out where we're going, when we're going there, and how long it'll take us to get there. Most still seem to indicate a continuing increase in value in the overall housing market. However, the main difference from one to another is the pace at which we're moving along to better values.
One of our main favorites, as any regular follower of this site knows, is the monthly Case-Shiller report. Covering the 20 largest metropolitan housing markets in the country, including San Francisco (defined in this case as the entire Bay Area), the general feeling is a positive one. According to C-S, trends continue on a general upward direction, with most of the twenty areas analyzed continuing to gradually climb. A few showed minor negative flows. For those of you located here in the Bay Area, the C-S news continues to be good. The SF area had the largest increase again, rising 18%.
So, for sellers, it may be time to again consider possibly putting your place on the market. Buyers also have a pretty good situation, as prices combined with historic low mortgage interest rates still present a very good opportunity to get that dream house for quite a bit less than you'd have paid just three years ago.
Good luck, If anyone following this blog has any direct questions, please feel free to drop us an email: .
See you next week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some More Encouragement:
Once again, we have seen some statistics indicating a continuing trend of rising prices in homes. As in the recent past when we reported such information, we have to emphasize that it is not by any means a cased of prices rocketing upward. Rather, it is a trend of very gradual and small increases in prices. The trend is being felt nationally, and there are some areas that are not benefiting from the rise. However, here in the San Francisco Bay area, we are in one of those areas experiencing some of the largest gains on average of any metropolitan area in the nation.

So, where does that leave you as an individual buyer or seller. Well, if you're a buyer, you're still in great shape! Even with these rising trends, mortgage rates continue at or near historic lows, and appear likely to continue to do so at least through the 3d or 4th quarter of the year, if no longer. So homes are very affordable.
If you're a seller, while prices remain relatively low even with these recent increases, the fact that these pricing indices are climbing is encouraging news for you and valuable in helping make a decision about selling your property.
If we can help you with your decision, or anything else in real estate, please give us a call! We'd be pleased to assist.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Some Encouraging News:
We all know how a large percentage of buyers have decided to remain on the sidelines due to uncertainty in the economy. It's understandable that they are concerned if this is the time to buy a home, in many cases not knowing how much further they think the economy will fall, or if they'll remain among the fortunate employed. Well, there is another encouraging sign for those among you who've thought of selling, but held off worried that it isn't yet the 'right' time.

According to a survey just released by, more buyers and potential buyers were resuming the serious search for a new home, or preparing to do so. Those actually taking the plunge increased from 12% of potential mover/buyers in February, 2010 to 18% in June. That's a fifty percent jump in the number of those buying homes after a move to a new area.

There are similar increases in the same period of those who'd originally moved to a new area, but initially decided to rent due to economic fears, but have now begun the search to purchase in earnest.

Admittedly, analyzing those who change addresses because of a job transfer or a transfer to seek employment in a new area is only a segment of the overall market, but it usually is an important one in that once transferring buyers begin to buy in volume, it indicates the overall market is trending in a positive direction. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You CAN Afford That Fixer!
Have you been searching for a home that has everything (or almost everything) that you want, only to find that it needs way too much work to meet your standards or needs? Are you one of the many folks who found what they were looking for, only to find out that many of the details either didn't work or need major overhaul, and the resultant repair/replacement cost suddenly took the house out of your budget?
Well, take heart! There IS a way to buy the home, get the repairs done and not break the bank. It's an unfortunately not publicized enough mortgage program called the FHA 203K loan. What this is, is a combination of purchase loan and repair loan, all rolled into one transaction. The basic way it works is you make your offer for the home and, while in escrow, do your inspections and get bids for the necessary repairs from your contractor(s). You then include those bids with your application to your lender, specifically citing the 203K program. If your transaction meets the limits of the FHA's program (including max loan of $729,000 and a 3.5% down payment), you may end up getting your home and the repairs paid for from your mortgage loan. Check with your lender or mortgage broker to verify that your specific situation qualifies. In the event that your purchase is a higher Dollar figure that FHA regs allow, Wells Fargo also has a similar program for such situations. However, you will have to have a larger down payment as part of the qualifications. If any questions in this case, call your local Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultant. Another source of these Wells loans, as well as the 203K's is Mortgage Services Professionals. The folks at MSP are experienced mortgage experts and can be reached at the following numbers: Adam Wise: (415) 297-9473 or David Grose: (415) 359-4025.
Good luck and enjoy that home!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Well, today's blurb is, believe it or don't, about a segment of the real estate market that many have believed was dead, or, if not dead, then on serious life support. That segment is investment property. This is going in two directions, just as it had a few years back. One direction is buying and holding properties as rentals with the idea of letting them appreciate over a number of years before selling and moving on the the next one. As a Realtor, I am actually hearing from a small, but vocal number of buyers inquiring about buying such properties, their interest stimulated by the huge drop in the prices of such properties over the past 2-3 years. For folks who are still employed and have cash, or want to cash out an existing property and maximize the potential gains from this supply of cash, a careful acquisition may be the best investment you ever made. We can definitely help if this is your interest.
I said there were two directions investors were looking in. The second one is the traditional one of 'flipping' properties. This is beginning to be seen again in certain areas and price ranges. Unlike the early years of the decade, you have to use far more caution because the huge rapid gains just are not there for a flip. However, in the case of buying something that is well below market due to financial reasons ( foreclosure or short sale) that has good bones, there definitely are opportunities to be had. Keep in mind that lenders are much tougher on the financing for these acquisitions, so you have to really be very solid credit-wise. However, a cheap purchase, some basic cosmetics or small remodels, and you could make a nice profit. Be VERY CAREFUL, THOUGH! THERE STILL ARE NOT AS MANY BUYERS AS THERE WERE 2-3 YEARS AGO. So selling your flip may take longer than you expect and you'll have to carry it in the meantime. Make doubly sure you can afford it. Good luck!