How to “Win” That Home in a Tough Market

November 28th, 2016

If you have been looking for a home recently you may realize that doing so has become tougher: there is less inventory out there and when a great home lists there are often multiple offers. So how does a buyer get ahead to secure a home when many others are in the same situation? Here are some tips. home-wrapped

Hire a great real estate agent. This is above all the number one way to find a home in a tough market. Not only can your agent give you advice about what price and terms may get you that house you love, but they are also locally connected, which can make all the difference in the world.

Here is an example – After losing out on a few multiple offer situations I found buyers a home through my connections with other local agents – one that had not gone on the MLS yet. In another situation, I notified buyers of a home that was about to come on the market (they lost out on purchasing my listing in the same neighborhood), and they got into contract prior to the home going on the MLS. Some say this is unfair for the other buyers out there as they never had a chance to see or bid on the home, but many real estate sales work this way. Those of us who work particular areas often stay in touch and know when there is a listing coming up. Having that on your side as you search for a home is priceless.

Be Paperwork Ready: There is no better advice than to be ready to make an offer. This means you need to be preapproved with a lender (the lender should have all your paperwork so s/he is ready to go once you write an offer, and you should have a preapproval letter). Have a copy of your latest bank or investment statement showing proof of funds for your downpayment, in order to submit with your offer. Your offer should be as strong as possible so speak with your agent to determine what needs to be in there and what may be left out in order to avoid a multiple offer situation.

Know what you want: Often this is difficult when one is focusing on multiple areas or neighborhoods, but if you really know those you prefer, including floorplans and other amenities, you will be able to act quickly to see the home and make and offer. Even if multiple offers do come in, being first to present can often be helpful. Start looking at areas and homes before you are ready to purchase – the more information you have the better and more prepared you will be when the time to buy is right.

All in all, buying a home in a low inventory market can be tough. With interest rates rising every day counts – if you can lock in a rate prior to another rate increase that is great – and it just means you need to be ready when that right home becomes available. Of all the above tips, having a great buyer’s agent is the best advice I can provide. Many people think they can find a home without an agent, but a good agent is worth her weight in gold when it comes to finding the right home.

Happy home shopping!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23rd, 2016

thanksgiving2

From my home to yours, I wish you a wonderful

Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

Count your blessings, as there is always something

for which to be thankful.

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Buyers, Sellers & Agents: Make Sure Your Sale Is Legal

November 16th, 2016

There is something important that all home buyers, sellers and agents need to be aware of and it is very easy to discover: making sure all parties on title have signed the listing agreement and the residential purchase contract (and of course all further documents that relate to the sale).  th

It is extremely important that all listing agents check the property deed prior to having sellers sign a listing agreement. It is not hard to do and takes only a call to the title representative.  You cannot rely on what the seller(s) tell you, as they may not even realize that there is another person on title. Recently I sold a home on behalf of my buyer clients. I pulled up the tax records and saw there were 2 sellers named as owners. I drafted the offer with both names. Due to complicated circumstances one party was going to sell and the other was going to sign an interspousal deed transfer, but that was not signed yet. We got around it but it was a very strange situation and a bit risky.

Another home I sold recently had 3 sellers, but only 2 were named in the tax records; however the deed showed there was a third party on title (parent of one of the sellers). The listing agent was not aware of this and we had to get the third seller’s signatures on all paperwork after the contract was accepted. Luckily that third seller was cooperative – this may not always be the case.

If someone who is on title does not sign all paperwork then technically there is no contract, as the law states that all owners on title need to agree to a sale. You can imagine the legal repercussions down the road if things are done  improperly! The good news is that the title company will catch this and it can be corrected, but not if the other person who has not signed decides to be uncooperative.

If you are an agent, this is something you should know, but believe it or not many agents have listing agreements signed without checking with their title department to assure that all parties on title sign the agreement. Similarly, buyers agents need to check the deed before writing offers to make sure this is the case. If you are a buyer or seller, you should ask your agent to make sure s/he has all the correct information at the time of listing or writing an offer.

 

 

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Time to Fall Back!

November 5th, 2016

Don’t forget to set your clocks BACK one hour tonight when you go to sleep…Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday.

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Happy Anniversary to LaMar Real Estate!

November 2nd, 2016

It has been 6 years since LaMar Real Estate officially started helping people with real estate needs in North San Diego. I am blessed and so lucky to have been given this gift, and for all of the AMAZING people who have helped make this business so successful! Thank you to ALL my wonderful clients, agents, business associates, title and escrow folks, home inspectors, lenders and others who have made the last 6 years absolutely wonderful (and the last 14 years for me in the business)!   th

Happy Anniversary to us! We all look forward to continuing to help buyers and sellers with their real estate needs, always with integrity and with a continuous pledge to provide stellar service with that extra benefit of legal experience in the contract and real estate law fields.

Thank you and here is to another 6 incredible years!

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New Beach-Close Carlsbad Listing: 824 Okra Court

October 21st, 2016

This wonderfully upgraded Sea Cliff home is located on a cul de sac with views of the lake and pool area. 2 Master suites plus an optional third bedroom downstairs provide ample living space, and the private backyard patio offers fruit trees and tranquil views. Upgrades include granite counters, stainless appliances, travertine flooring, designer carpeting upstairs, new fixtures, remodeled fireplace and bathrooms, new water heater, epoxy flooring in garage, air conditioning, custom paint throughout, and more. 8_8424857_79462_ea-79462-108

Features include:

  • 1681 SF, 2 bedrooms + optional bedroom, 3 bathrooms
  • Patio views to lake and pool/spa
  • Quiet cul de sac location
  • Upgraded kitchen with granite counters
  • Stainless appliances (refrigerator included with sale)
  • 11_8424867_79462_ea-79462-111Travertine flooring downstairs
  • Designer carpeting on stairs and second floor
  • Dual master suites and a third optional bedroom downstairs
  • New lighting and fixtures throughout
  • Remodeled bathrooms
  • Custom paint throughout, wide baseboards
  • 2 car garage with epoxy flooring and built-in storage
  • New water heater
  • New washer and dryer (included)
  • Air conditioning 16_8424872_79462_ea-79462-116
  • High ceilings
  • Gated community
  • Community pools and spas, tennis courts, clubhouse, lakes, walking paths
  • Less than a mile to the beach
  • Stroll to shopping, dining at Poinsettia Village Center
  • Carlsbad School District
  • Low HOAs, no mello roos

Sea Cliff is one of Carlsbad’s secret havens: a gated community with tree-lined walking paths, lakes and ponds, tennis courts, pools and hot tubs, gazebos, places to sit and enjoy nature, plus a fully equipped clubhouse where there is always something going on. Located only 1 mile from the beach, and moments to shopping, dining and entertainment in sunny Carlsbad, North San Diego.

For more photos, information or to schedule a showing, click here or contact agent Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. LaMar Real Estate. BRE# 01993682

1_8424849_79462_ea-79462-101 3_8424850_79462_ea-79462-103 5_8424856_79462_ea-79462-105 gate

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Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down?

October 7th, 2016

It has been an interesting time lately in the real estate market, and it is difficult to figure out exactly what is going on – is it slowing down, is it still hot…many people are confused. It really depends on your specific area, but there are some interesting things going on in my local markets…let’s take a look. dreamstime_988060

Multiple offers – still?! Yes! There are still some of those crazy multiple offer situations going on out there, and believe it or not they make it look like a seller’s market in the heat of summer. But this is not happening everywhere. It seems – at least in my neck of the woods in North San Diego – to be happening with condos and towhhomes that are very nicely upgraded, in good areas, and priced up to $550,000. Just last week I wrote an offer on a townhome for clients. The offer was super clean, priced over asking price, which was already stretching the appraisal potential, and a quick close in 30 days. We received a multiple counter offer asking us in essence to come up higher, remove the appraisal contingency at the outset, reduce all other contingency periods, and specifying that the sellers would make no repairs. We lost that one (I would never allow a buyer to remove an appraisal contingency unless they insisted, after being fully aware of the consequences).

Buyers are not jumping as high: Yes, this may sound like it contradicts the above paragraph, but it is true in most cases that buyers are not giving into inflated prices any longer. Most buyers (with the exception being the above scenario) are taking longer to find the right home, and then trying to negotiate the price. Much of the real estate news I read follows this position – after a crazy summer with prices inflating many buyers who missed the boat (or even those who intentionally waited out the crazy buyer storm) are finding that they can negotiate prices down and for that matter do not mind waiting until homes have some market time to make offers. This to me indicates the slow approach of a buyers market.

Fewer listings, fewer escrows opened: As is normal after the end of the summer season, listings are not as plentiful. But even after a fewer-than-usual-listings summer the Fall numbers continue to drop. Fewer escrows were opened in the last month compared to summer months. If this continues – fewer active properties, steady demand – it could spur the seller’s market to stick around for a bit…which means we could see prices rise. Interest rates will play a big part in this equation, as of course will jobs – people have to be able to afford homes.

In a nutshell the market is a bit hard to predict right now and doing so requires focusing on the specific community in which you are searching. For those buyers out there who are ready, willing and able to purchase my advice is to not rush into anything (unless you find your absolute “must-have it” dream home – but even then you need to be careful), consult with an experienced real estate agent to make a plan,  stick to your budget and stick to your guns when negotiating price, repairs and other items.

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Lenders are Messing Up Real Estate Sales!

September 19th, 2016

I don’t know if it’s just bad luck, but I have been having MAJOR issues with lenders lately – messing up (and almost killing) escrows at the 11th hour. (I should say that these mistakes are not from MY preferred lenders, but from lenders whose clients are purchasing my listings). Here is what I know: lenders are held to high standards, most importantly they must check all paperwork and needed documentation during the buyer’s loan contingency process. Here are some of the dumb things that I have seen lately from buyers’ lenders: th

1. Not checking buyer documentation. I had a lender this past week that on the day of the loan contingency removal deadline realized that there were two parties to a trust for which they based funds going into the loan. Now I have to assume that they had a copy of this trust for 21 days, and that they vetted it to make sure their borrower qualified. However, on day 21 I find out that they “just realized” that there were 2 trustees, not one, and therefore the borrower actually had half of the money to his name instead of the whole trust amount, on which they based approval.

This is unacceptable folks! These are basic inquiries a lender needs to make when processing a loan! How could the lender not have known the borrower’s stake in the trust when it should have had that trust documentation, which clearly identifies trustees and is a vital document when funds are coming from it?! Unbelievable.

2. Sending over loan docs with a change in borrower names. Believe it or not, a lender this past week sent over loan docs to escrow to be signed by the buyers, with closing slated for the following day (which happened to be a Friday so there was no room for screw-ups). The problem was that the docs had DIFFERENT buyer names than the contract/escrow documents – they basically eliminated a buyer! Now, I don’t know about you but it isn’t rocket science –  it is pretty basic common sense that if you have a contract between parties, you cannot just change or eliminate the name(s) of a party without proper documentation (it also happens to be the law). Lenders KNOW this!

Suffice it to say that in this particular case escrow and I had to jump through hoops and the lender had to re-draw docs at the 11th hour. It was very stressful. This is absolutely unbelievable. The lender has copies of the contracts and all documentation relating to the purchase agreement. For them to do something like this is just crazy.

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The moral of my crazy lender scenario week is that there are often problems in a real estate transaction, so prepare for them. But those who are charged with qualifying borrowers need to be much more careful. Things like this should not be happening. This past week was officially named by me “lender screw-up week.” I sure am glad those lenders that I work with are so on top of things, and hope to never work with either of these particular lenders again.

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4 Reasons Why a Housing Bubble is Not Looming

September 8th, 2016

Many blogs and articles have alluded to the idea of a pending housing bubble, and some people even seem to be nervous. This kind of talk is always prevalent after a strong sales season, but how do we know how much credibility to give these claims, and could we be facing a housing bubble any time in the near future? house-bubbles

The answer in my opinion is a loud NO. In the July pending home sales index the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that pending home sales are now at the highest level since 2006 (the highest month was April 2016). But wait, you may say, it was not long last time between the strong sales season to when the market actually crashed. However, there are some differences between the last housing bubble and our current economic situation.

Here are some reasons why the housing market won’t likely crash,  nor any bubbles form in the near future:

1. Mortgage applications are up. While purchase activity dipped in August, there has been an increase in the last few weeks and the MBA reports a 1% rise in the last week alone. With rates still low many homebuyers are jumping off the fence.

2. Consumer credit is strong. Credit servicing continues to strengthen and Fannie Mae reports that the single family home delinquency rate continues to decline. Those home borrowers who are either 3 months or more behind in payments, or who are actively in foreclosure, has  dropped, with a total fall of close to 25% in the last year – resulting in the lowest level since 2008.

3. Mortgage availability has increased, according to the MBA. But credit is not as loose as before the last crash, when many people were given loans without being able to afford them.

4. Inventory is down/little or no new building – many active homes are now in escrow and with scarce inventory the chance of a bubble forming is slim to none. Unlike in 2007/2008, there is very little or no new home construction in most areas. As prices have risen many buyers have been priced out of markets. Eventually buyers will give up in many areas and prices will then be driven down. Population is growing in many areas, like here in San Diego County, faster than housing supply – this means that there is not likely a chance of a bubble.

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Gorgeous New Bonsall Community Listing: Acreage, Views, Well and Equestrian-Ready

August 31st, 2016

Welcome to 1138 Little Gopher Canyon Road, Vista

Offered at $875,000 DJI_0005

Perched atop a high hill with panoramic mountain and country views, this one-of-a-kind quality, custom built Bonsall community view home provides privacy and is designed for entertaining, relaxing and welcomes equestrian and animal lovers. Situated on 4.5 beautifully landscaped acres in the Bonsall School District, with stunning mountain views, this property has its own high production private WELL for irrigation, which saves lots of money and makes maintenance of the beautiful grounds a breeze. The home offers many upgraded features, including equestrian and small animal facilities, as well as recreation areas.

2_8374535_77977_BPO-77977-102Home Amenities:

* Grand living/family room with cherry wood paneling and custom cherry fireplace

* Formal raised platform dining area

* Breakfast nook with view to outside waterfall

* Billiard area

* Work-out room

* Custom wood cabinetry in kitchen with built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator, KitchenAid double oven and appliances, granite countertops, center island, reverse osmosis drinking water unit, breakfast bar and large custom kitchen window

*  Giant master suite with stone fireplace, master bath and dual walk-in closets. French doors with private patio and work-out room conveniently located off bedroom.

*  2nd bedroom with custom woodwork and new cherry cabinetry in the full bathroom

*  3rd bedroom includes custom oak ceiling with walk-in closet and private bath.  Sliding door to large wood patio and spa located off bedroom.

*  Whole-house high-end stereo system with outdoor patio speakers

*  Security system

* Exterior of home just repainted

* Bonsall School District

Surrounding Outside of Home: 16_8374538_77977_BPO-77977-116

*  Canvas covered large tiled patio off living/dining area with windows to regulate air flow with fountain, lighting and outdoor stereo for entertaining

*  Large rear wooden deck with built-in spa

*  Fabulous custom waterfall fountain that can be viewed from living areas and 2nd bedroom

*  Master bedroom private patio

*  Square raised gardens with roses and home-grown vegetables and herbs

*  4th Upper fenced corral

*  Beautiful mature trees including lemon and mulberry

46_8374572_77977_BPO-77977-146Lower Area of Property: 

* Cement stairway from top to bottom of property

* Huge wooden deck

* LED lighted sports court

* Restroom with storage for tack and supplies

* Professional style putting green

* 3 shaded 24×12′ horse corrals and large fenced turn-out area

* Custom large barbecue

* Separate animal enclosure pen for smaller animals with shade shed

* Retaining walls and curbs throughout with walkways and stairs

* Storage shed for hay

For more information and photos, please click here. Please contact broker Rachel LaMar with questions or to schedule a private showing at 760-310-9466. Lists on MLS and showings to begin Friday 9/2.

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