Posts Tagged ‘North San Diego Real Estate’

Real Estate Agent Responsibility When Showing Property

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Real estate agents wear many hats – from negotiator to chauffer to therapist, and that’s just for starters. A real estate agent often must take clients by the hand and walk them through the home search or listing process, as well as the subsequent purchase or sale transaction. But there is one thing that agents need to keep in mind during these busy and sometimes emotional times – responsibility for clients.

Responsibility for one’s clients as it relates to agency comes in many forms – some are spelled out in the ethics code (such as the duty to disclose), and some come from law (such as anti-discrimination, personal injury, tort and criminal law). But many situations with clients fall into a gray area when it comes to responsibility. One of those most important is the responsibility to accompany clients when viewing a property. If an agent does not do so there could be legal ramifications, say for example if an injury or property damage occurs.

Here are some tips to use when showing property to keep you and your clients out of harm’s way and avoid potential legal action:

1. Never let clients visit a property alone. While this seems obvious to many of us, I have read stories of agents giving clients one day lockbox codes or passing along entry instructions. As the representative of your clients you need to understand that this action can land you in hot water – unless you have been authorized by the property owners in writing to allow your clients to enter on their own (and I still would never allow that). Let’s just say there are a handful of legal issues here – from trespassing to other issues of someone gets injured or breaks something, or leaves a door/window open which could allow a thief to access the property.

2. Make sure you stay with your clients as they tour a property. Again, if you allow your clients to wander off it could cause problems. If it is a large property you especially need to stick with your touring clients. Make sure you and they have access to all areas of the property. If your clients have small children and there are potential hazards (steep or dangerous areas or animals, for example), make sure your clients do not wander off alone without permission and without you at their side.

3. Ask the owner or listing agent if you are allowed to access areas about which you are unsure. If there is a part of the property that you are not sure about, ask the listing agent or owner if you have permission to explore there. For example, a guest home, separate structure or animal pen, or flowing water. Oftentimes a listing agent will specify whether such areas are able to be viewed, but if not don’t ever assume.

The bottom line is that if your clients are not in your presence while touring a property, they could end up creating problems or suffering injuries to themselves or their property. If they were being careless and wandering around without permission, they likely will not have rights to recover for injuries suffered. Make sure to establish this right off the bat in order to protect yourself and your clients.

 

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Still on the Fence? U.S. Home Prices are Still Rising

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

The new housing report was released yesterday by Case-Shiller, indicating that U.S. home prices are still rising. Of course this is really area dependent, but if you are a potential buyer or seller you might feel worried, and justifiably so. Keep reading for important information and advice.

The report covers major metropolitan cities and states that prices in these areas rose by 5.27% in November – above expectations of economists, and also up from the previous month of 5.1%. What does this mean for buyers and sellers? Let’s take a look at some important considerations.

Local markets: Of course these studies are general and tend to focus on big cities, so it is important that you contact an experienced real estate agent in your local market to see what is going on in the area. But, the thing to take away from this data is that prices are not easing up. Combine that with the next factor…

Inventory is still very low: Again, your local market must be studied to get an accurate glimpse and set expectations (your real estate agent can help with this), but using my local North San Diego market as an example I know that this is painfully true. I have buyers who simply cannot find homes, and multiple offer situations in some categories – like properties under $600,000 – are still the norm. With low inventory and prices staying put or rising, a buyer does not benefit from waiting to purchase, especially considering the next factor…

Springtime is coming: Traditionally the “hot” season for housing, spring and summer are just around the corner. But in my view we are already in the heat of things. Hopefully more inventory will pop up as we head into that “busy” season, but honestly I think the entire last year and especially this Fall and Winter, can be considered busy in housing – at least here in San Diego. Waiting until Spring could put buyers in even more of a quandry, bringing an  increase in the buyer pool: more competition can drive prices up again.

The National Home Price Index also rose by 5.6% annually – up from 5.5% the previous month. High demand is causing these prices to continue on an upward trend. It is important to note, as some doubters or “bubble-talkers” as I call them, may believe, that these trends are NOT similar to those that occurred prior to the last housing crisis in the early 2000s.

How is this market different than that prior to the last crash?

1. Factors driving prices are not the same. Prior to the crash people were driven by speculation and anticipation of growth. Instead, healthy market factors like a strong job market and low mortgage rates are driving this market.

2. Lending is stricter. Lending requirements are not as loose as they were during the time prior to the last housing crash, so not everyone can qualify for a loan.

3. Demand is high but supply is not. Prior to the last market crash, there is a much lower supply of inventory in most areas. It is not so easy to find property to purchase. Many would-be sellers are afraid to sell, as they don’t know where they will move if there is such low supply and so much demand – so it’s a great time to be a seller if you have the time to wait it out on a subsequent purchase.

*****

The moral of all this information is that if you are a potential seller you are in a great position. But if you have to buy after selling you need to have a “plan B” in place – e.g. stay in a furnished month to month apartment or temporarily move in with a relative or friend will put these people in ideal situations to sell and wait for the right home. But buyers have it a bit tougher – the best advice I can give is to BE PREPARED. Get preapproved, start looking at everything in your price range and desired area – even those homes that may not be as upgraded as you like or in the exact neighborhood you wanted. Do your homework and be ready to pounce once you find that “right” home.

 

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New Listing: Upgraded Oceanside Townhome Close to Beach/Downtown

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Gorgeous upgraded end unit Windward townhome – largest model in complex with cathedral ceilings, patio, balcony, mountain views. Stunning kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel appliances including beverage fridge and refrigerator, custom paint, crown molding and 5″ baseboards throughout. Optional 4th bedroom/den/office downstairs, wood flooring on stairs, master bath with oversized spa tub – clean and gorgeous! Gated complex, ample storage, attached 2 car garage, blocks from downtown Oceanside and beach.

Features Include:

– 3 bedrooms plus optional 4th downstairs bedroom, 1776 square feet

– Largest model in complex

– Granite kitchen with stainless appliances, refrigerator and wine fridge, upgraded
cabinetry and fixtures
– Designer tile flooring downstairs, wood floors on staircase and upper hallway
– Large living room with fireplace and hidden storage area
– Gorgeous master bathroom with oversized jacuzzi tub and towel dryer
– Walk in closets in all bedrooms

– Custom paint throughout

– Crown molding, 5″ baseboards, high ceilings

– Tons of storage

– Views out to hills, mountains and canyons

– Downstairs patio and upstairs balcony

– Attached 2 car garage

– Gated, quiet  complex with pool, spa and clubhouse

– Low HOAs and no mello roos
– Washer, dryer, towel dryer and refrigerators convey
– Only a few blocks to downtown Oceanside and the beach
Please call Broker Rachel LaMar with questions or to schedule a showing at 760-310-9466. This is s short sale subject to lender approval. To view more photos and see a virtual tour please click here.
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FHA Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums Reduced

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

By Elvin J. Wesley, President and Broker of Ranch and Coast Mortgage Group

What a great way to start the week and 2017!!!

Monday morning HUD announced that it had achieved the balance of its statutory operational goals and as a result of that it requires a reduction of the Annual MIP charged. This exciting announcement from HUD yesterday morning that represents a 25 basis points improvement on most FHA Loans (not to interest rate, but to the Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium charged by HUD on FHA loans)

The Revised MIP schedule is effective for Endorsements of Mortgages with a Closing / Disbursement date on or after January 27, 2017. Closing / Disbursement date is defined as the later of the date of the signing of the Mortgage or the Disbursement of the Loan Proceeds as is entered in FHA Connection. Unlike changes in the past the change is effective based on the closing date and not the case number assignment date!
The Revisions applies to all FHA Title II Forward Programs excluding Mortgages insured under the National Housing Act section 247 (Hawaiian Homelands).

Here is a Summary of the changes

What does this mean in regards to $$…payment reduction when a buyer/borrower is purchasing a home?

Example:

Old – $550K base loan amount based on 0.85% MIP = $389.58 per month

NEW  – $550K base loan amount based on 0.60% MIP = $275.00 per month

That’s a $114.58 reduction in MIP payment, which means lower overall payment for buyers/borrowers and more BUYING power!

ALSO…..

On November 23rd the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017 will increase, which of cources has now taken place. This will be the first increase in the baseline loan limit since 2006.  In higher-cost areas, higher loan limits will be in effect as shown below.

This change has already taken place for FHA and VA loans limits as well.

2017 Conforming and High Balance Loan Limits-

SAN DIEGO NEW LIMITS $424,100 Conforming and $612,500 High Balance

LOS ANGELES NEW LIMITS $424,100 Conforming and $636,150 High Balance

ORANGE COUNTY NEW LIMITS $424,100 Conforming and $636,150 High Balance

*See attached spreadsheet for more counties and limits for 2-4 unit properties

Conforming:

 

Number of Units Maximum base conforming loan limits for properties NOT in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam & U.S. Virgin Islands Maximum base conforming loan limits for properties in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam & U.S. Virgin Islands
  2017 2016 2017 2016
1 $424,100 $417,000 $636,150 $625,500
2 $543,000 $533,850 $814,500 $800,775
3 $656,350 $645,300 $984,525 $967,950
4 $815,650 $801,950 $1,223,475 $1,202,925

 

High Balance/Super Conforming:

 

Number of Units Minimum/Maximum Original Loan Amount Properties in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam & U.S. Virgin Islands
  Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum
1 >$424,100 $636,150 >$636,150 $954,225
2 >$543,000 $814,500 >$814,500 $1,221,750
3 >$656350 $984,525 >$984,525 $1,476,775
4 >$815,650 $1,223,475 >$1,223,475 $1,835,200

 

Please refer to the full County Loan Limits list attached or just contact Elvin Wesley at Ranch and Coast Mortgage

(CA DRE license: 01316249, NMLS: 234795):

c 760.580.1733

760.230.2042

760.487.1295

f 866.683.5399 toll free

www.rcmloan.com

ewesley@rcmloan.com

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2017 San Diego Real Estate Market Predictions

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

If you are like me you are surprised we are at the end of the year already, but the good news is that the real estate market fared well this year, and will likely continue to do so in 2017. Here are my annual predictions for the market, at least here in San Diego County: index

1.  Home inventory will remain low. Due to a combination of factors – rising interest rates, expenses of moving up and difficulty of finding replacement housing, many potential home sellers will likely choose to remain where they are and not sell. This trend defined the market in 2016 and I believe it will continue. Until Americans see how the new President will affect the market I am betting on this.

2.  Prices will stabilize for the most part. 2016 saw prices still rising slightly in some areas, and higher in others (especially in summer months), but for the most part things seem to be leveling off. I think we will return to “normal” annual price appreciations of 5-7%. Of course this is always area-dependent so check with your local realtor for market statistics and area comparables.

3.  Market times will decrease or remain low for desirable homes. Due to the continuation of lower inventory levels I believe we will see desirable homes sell quickly. But I also think that buyers are very savvy and will not pay crazy high prices either – although in a multiple offer situation you never know.

4.  First time buyers could have a difficult time with competition. As interest rates rise, inventory levels decrease (or remain low) and prices remain high, many first time home buyers may find themselves in challenging situations when looking for homes to purchase. Competition will also factor in, especially in areas where there is an influx of repeat homebuyers who are moving up and are well qualified (with large downpayments). My advice is for those first time buyers to get preapproved and start looking now. Click here to read more on how to “win” that home you want.

5.  Interest rates will rise. This is inevitable and we have already seen the beginning of the end of the lowest interest rates in history. The new administration will also play a role in the interest rate rise as economic goals fluctuate.

The bottom line is that I believe the housing market will do well in the coming year. I do not predict any “bubbles” as some (very few) have done. I think here in San Diego County our market is strong and will continue to be as we head into 2017.

As I always say, if you are thinking of buying or selling in the future you need to do your homework and start early – even a year is not too early. Study the markets, visit homes for sale, get to know inventory, neighborhoods and floorplans. Talk to a mortgage professional and plan ahead. Find a great local real estate agent and let him or her keep you informed so you are ready to go when the time is right. Be prepared and have a wonderful new year!

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Happy Anniversary to LaMar Real Estate!

Wednesday, 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!

logo-2014

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New Beach-Close Carlsbad Listing: 824 Okra Court

Friday, 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?

Friday, 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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4 Reasons Why a Housing Bubble is Not Looming

Thursday, 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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6 Improvements that May Not Add Value to Your Home Sale

Monday, August 8th, 2016

It is common knowledge that upgrades and improvements add value to homes, and of course most people know that there are some upgrades and improvements that add more value than others, such as upgrading kitchen counters and appliances, or bathrooms. But some improvements do not truly add value in the sense that they will increase your sale price potential. Let’s take a look at some of these. contractor

1.  Pool: Pools can be highly desirable or completely undesirable (for example, if the buyers have babies or small children they may be seen as a danger). If you have a pool then of course you will attract buyers who want one, and if you do not have one but have a yard that will accommodate one you may attract buyers who are interested in adding one. But if you do not have one, adding a pool will not usually help resale value (there may be an exception if your home is located in a very warm environment like the desert, where pools are coveted and oftentimes expected). Speak with your agent if you are considering adding a pool and know you will be selling down the road.

2.  Yard improvements: These can be tricky. There are some improvements to yards that can actually add value, and some that may be a waste of money that sellers will never see at selling time (although they may make the home more appealing). For example, if you have a yard that is merely dirt and has no landscaping, it may make sense to put in sod and an inexpensive border with some greenery. But going overboard – fully landscaping and hardscaping – may not bring dollars to your pocketbook. There are ways to make yards look nice that do not involve spending lots of money.

3.  New construction landscaping: Most newly built homes do not come with landscaped backyards, and often also come without landscaped front yards. It is always a question whether to landscape if the home has to be sold prior to any being completed. Many buyers will not want to pay top dollar for dirt front and back yards. BUT one has to be very careful when landscaping, as it can become very personal and if a potential buyer comes along who doesn’t have the same taste and feels the need to rip everything out and start over it can actually be a detriment to the sale, rather than a benefit. It is important to speak with a knowledgeable real estate agent who can take into consideration the neighborhood, prices and other factors. If it is decided that some type of landscaping is a good idea, try to keep it simple in case the new buyer wants to add more (built-in BBQ, firepit, hardscape, etc.) Keep in mind that just because you spend the money, it does not mean you will get it back at sale time – in fact, you likely will not…BUT having a completed yard could also make your home more marketable (I know that is confusing so speak with an experience local agent if you will be selling soon after purchase).

4.  Garage conversions: These typically are on my “do not do” list, and if they exist I recommend converting them back prior to selling. Garage conversions require permits for one thing, and many people (at least in my years of experience showing these types of homes) do not obtain them. Most buyers want the garage space so unless there are many spaces in the garage if you have a 2 or 3 car garage it is preferable to NOT have one converted to a room. Most buyers will see it as something they have to “deal with” and may write your home off their possibility list.

5.  Room additions: This is a tricky one because it all depends on the home, lot and what is being added. If you live in a tract neighborhood and want to add a room it could be ok if you have a large enough lot such that you are not making the outdoor space smaller. If your addition makes your home the most expensive one on the block you need to beware, as most buyers do not want to own the highest priced home in a neighborhood. There is a lot to take into consideration when adding a room, so speak with an experienced agent if you are planning to sell down the road and are contemplating an addition.

6. Other improvements: There are many other improvements that could add value to a sale. I suggest inviting an experienced local area agent over to discuss any potential improvements prior to sale. Adding a new furnace or water heater is great if the ones you have are old – that will add some value an peace of mind for new buyers. New windows may be good in an older home as they help with insulation. New flooring could be a charm under the right circumstances, and paint – often the cheapest and best way to make a difference – is a great improvement. What you “should” improve will really depend on many factors, so consult with an expert agent in your area before spending any money.

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