Posts Tagged ‘Rachel LaMar’
Monday, 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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
Welcome to 1138 Little Gopher Canyon Road, Vista
Offered at $875,000
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.
* 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:
* 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
Lower 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.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
A good real estate agent is golden when it comes to assuring that all your needs are met as a buyer – from searching for the right home to negotiating, to making sure all obligations are met as a buyer and that everything needed from the seller has been provided. It not just about getting to the close of escrow, but also about protecting your legal rights as a buyer and making sure there are no surprises once you do close escrow.
When it comes to the purchase of a new construction home many buyers end up using builder sales representatives, partly because they are there on site and make it easy, and partly because buyers do not know why this can actually be detrimental when it comes to their rights. Here are the top reasons why working with your own real estate agent can help you when purchasing new construction:
1. Dual agency dilemma: When you work with a builder representative, their first allegiance is to the builder. Once they represent you as well then dual agency comes into play. If you are a frequent blog reader you know how I feel about dual agency (click here to read more), and the dangers it brings. In the alternative, it is better if you have your own representation so that the allegiance is only to you – that person can look our for ONLY your best interests.
2. Extra set of eyes and problem solver: Once again, if you have your own representative Realtor to look over the new construction contract then s/he may point some things out to you that you might be able to alter to suit you better. For example, including items that do not come with the home, or extending deposit dates. A good real estate agent is there to assist you and make sure that you benefit. The builder does not care to whom it pays the commission – they just want to get the home sold. Even if you the builder uses its own contract (as opposed to state or local real estate association documents), your agent can still be with you while the documents are presented and help you decipher them.
3. No extra cost to you: Many buyers make the mistake of believing that if they work directly with a builder sales representative, they will save money on the purchase of their new home. This is not true – the builder takes into account the commissions when setting home prices. The builder wants to sell the home, and while it may (key word – “may”) pay out less commission to an on-site sales rep, most builders do cooperate with brokers and advertise such. A buyer is not going to gain anything by working with an on-site sales rep versus an outside agent. In fact, an outside agent who is a good negotiator may be able to help negotiate perks and price adjustments on your behalf. Either way the builder is going to pay a commission, so why not take advantage of independent representation – someone who has ONLY your interests in mind and not those of the builder. There is no cost to you as a buyer.
When looking at the possibility of purchasing a new construction home, make sure you are well represented. Your interests should be first and foremost.
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.
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.
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Welcome to 7205 Mimosa Drive in Carlsbad, offered at $839,000.
If you never thought you could fall in love with a home, wait until you see this one. This spectacularly upgraded home is where memories will be made, friends and families will gather, and long lazy days will be spent in the impeccably landscaped pool-sized backyard with ocean breezes and peek views of the stunning Batiquitos Lagoon. Lovingly updated with top of the line materials, gorgeous kitchen and fabulous loft with view balcony.
Enjoy distressed wood plank flooring, custom paint, new windows and doors, incredible chef kitchen with granite counters, custom cabinetry and stainless appliances. Updated bathrooms with extended Italian porcelain shower in the master bath, upgraded fixtures throughout, crown molding in bedrooms, cedar plank master closet, enormous rectangular yard with room for large pool, raised patio, putting green, vegetable garden and lagoon views from deck. RV parking, storage shed and large patio off the kitchen for entertaining. Huge bright and open loft upstairs with ocean and lagoon peek from electronic Sunsetter covered balcony, room off of loft – playroom, office, den, or add closet for another bedroom. Newer roof, garage storage and workbench, ceiling fans, and whole house wiring. Adjacent to Batiquitos Lagoon trails, and short stroll to shopping, dining, grocery store, library, movies and more. Carlsbad schools – blocks to Aviara Oaks Elementary and Aviara Middle School. Great neighborhood with NO HOAs or mello roos. Moment to beaches…come live the Carlsbad lifestyle.
– 3 bedrooms plus 1 optional, 2 baths, 1653 square feet
– Distressed wide plank wood flooring
– New windows and doors throughout
– Gorgeous kitchen with granite, stainless appliances, custom cabinetry, raised ceiling,
movable island counter, added window and updated fixtures
– Crown molding in bedrooms, plantation shutters
– Lovely master suite with French doors to the yard, cedar plank built-in closet
– Italian porcelain extended shower in master bathroom
– Upgraded fixtures and custom paint throughout
– Pool-sized yard: raised deck with lagoon views, putting green, vegetable garden,
storage shed and large patio off kitchen
– RV parking
– Big, bright, open loft upstairs with ocean peek view balcony, Sunsetter electronic shade
and recently redone deck
– Room off loft – office, playroom, den, or add closet for another bedroom
– Newer roof (8 years old)
– Garage laundry area, storage and workbench
– No HOA or mello roos
– Adjacent to Batiquitos Lagoon and trails
– Carlsbad schools – Aviara Oaks Elementary and Middle Schools are blocks away
– Stroll to shopping, dining, movies, coffee, grocery store, library and more
– Moments to beaches, transportation and everything Carlsbad has to offer
For more information and photos click here. Call Broker Rachel LaMar with questions or to schedule a showing at 760-310-9466. MLS# 160042727. OPEN SUNDAY, 8/7 1-4:00 PM
Thursday, July 21st, 2016
LaMar Real Estate is proud to welcome you to 1612 Avery Road, San Marcos. Offered at $489,000.
This beautifully upgraded, bright and open tri-level end unit townhome offers the largest floorplan in the complex, with great amenities and location. Features include a full bedroom and bathroom on the top floor, spacious kitchen with Corian counters and breakfast nook, custom paint throughout, designer tile flooring and carpeting, AC and attached 2 car garage. Gated front courtyard, mature trees and a wonderful community with pool and spa – located in the desirable Morgans Corner complex in the San Elijo Hills town center. Stroll to shopping, dining, parks and schools.
– 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 1740 square feet
– Bright and open floorplan
– Spacious kitchen with Corian counters, black appliances and breakfast nook
– Built-in tv/storage unit in living room
– Tile flooring and upgraded carpeting
– Attached 2 car garage
– Laundry room on second floor
– Gated front courtyard
– Refrigerator, washer and dryer included
– Category 5 wiring
– Air conditioning
– Ceiling fans
– Community pool and spa
– Award-winning San Marcos Elementary and Middle Schools blocks away
– Walkable community – shopping, dining, schools, groceries, parks, trails
– Thousands of acres of trails and open space
– Community parks, sports fields and dog park
For more information and photos, and to view a virtual tour, please click here. To schedule a showing or for questions, please call Broker Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. CA BRE lic# 01399682.
Open Sunday, July 24, 2016 from 1:00-4:00.
Thursday, July 14th, 2016
Welcome to 870 Ginger Avenue, Carlsbad
Offered at $449,000
Fabulous upstairs corner unit condo in coveted southwest Carlsbad, filled with upgrades and natural light, with a large patio to enjoy ocean breezes. Enjoy thick plank bamboo flooring, custom paint, wood blinds, granite kitchen tile counters, beautiful ceramic tile shower and remodeled bathrooms, upgraded fixtures. Move-in ready! See supplement for more.
Welcome to the coveted neighborhood of Carlsbad Crest. This home is turn key, with upgrades galore. Enjoy outdoor relaxation and ocean breezes from a spacious patio that has just been redone. The beautiful tree-lined complex features 2 community pools/spas, and just a short distance to shopping, dining and the beach. One covered parking space plus large storage closet come with the home, as well as the washer, dryer and refrigerator.
- 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths
- Bamboo wide plank flooring
- Granite tile kitchen counters
- Upgraded kitchen with recessed lighting, refrigerator included
- Custom paint throughout
- Wide baseboards
- Wood blinds
- Large patio recently redone
- Remodeled bathrooms with ceramic tiled shower
- Laundry closet with washer and dryer included
- Covered carport space and large storage closet
- Bright and open floorplan
- Updated fixtures and lighting
- Beautiful complex with 2 pools/spas and green areas
- Less than 1 mile to shopping, dining and beach
- No mello roos
- Carlsbad Schools
For more information please click here. For questions or to schedule a showing please call Broker Rachel LaMar at 760-310-9466. CA BRE lic 01399682
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
Recently I was contacted by home sellers who wanted to talk to me about their home sale – they were in escrow with another agent and were very unhappy. There were some legal issues and the agent was non-responsive and not representing them to the best of her ability. They had no idea that they may be able to fire the agent, so I thought it was a good idea to again share this tidbit with all the sellers and potential sellers out there – and also for buyers.
If you are a seller who is unhappy with your real estate agent, you may have the right to cancel your contract in the state of California if the agent is not adequately representing you. There are a few things to keep in mind though, as you make your decision:
1. Contractual Breach or Valid reason – If your agent is not representing you to the best of his/her abilities, your first step should be to contact the broker. You need to explain your concerns and desire to cease working with the agent. If you cannot agree to a mutual cancellation, you may need to prove that the agent is not performing her/his contractual duties or doing their due diligence (does not call you, does not explain paperwork or provide details on the sales process, etc.) or provide some other valid reason to cancel. Brokers may want to try to resolve the issue first, or may want to personally step in to make sure you are well cared for during the remaining time the contract is in effect. Check over your contract to make sure you understand specific duties and can show they are not being done.
2. Mutual consent – this is an easy way to cancel a contract with a broker/agent – say your circumstances have changed and you no longer will be moving – most brokers will allow a cancellation at that point (no one wants to market a home that will not sell).
3. Legal termination – if you have tried everything above and the broker/agent will not consent to a cancellation, you may need to seek a legal remedy to cancel your contract. Check your contract to see if there is a legal remedy specified therein, like mediation and arbitration. If not, seek the guidance of a real estate attorney.
There are some other things you need to keep in mind when considering canceling a contract with your broker/agent:
1. Agent may be entitled to commission for prior showings: If a buyer came along while the contract was in place and they make an offer after it has been canceled, the agent may have a right to a commission. You need to check the language on the listing agreement and see how long this period will be in effect. On the California Residential Listing Agreement this is a fill in the blank – most agents will write 30 days but make sure. This can apply to prospective buyers to whom the agent showed the property, or those who saw it with another agent.
2. Costs and Fees – Check your contract to make sure that you will not be liable for any costs and fees to the agent if you cancel the contract. Brokers or their agents would have to specify such in the agreement and most do not, but make sure you know if you will be liable for any.
3. Marketing materials will not convey. Any marketing materials procured by the broker – photographs, flyers, advertising, etc., are the property of the broker. If you start all over with another broker/agent you will have to start all over with marketing as well (unless the prior agent agrees to let you use their materials, but that is doubtful if you are firing them.
My best advice is to make sure when you are entering into these contracts that you have a way out if you are not happy with the service provided. I tell ALL my potential clients that they can fire me at any time, so long as they first communicate with me any unhappiness so I can try to rectify it. But I would never force a client to remain under contract terms if they are unhappy – I don’t want anyone to be unhappy because that not only makes me feel bad but also affects my business.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
Attention home buyers and sellers: home inventory is growing. Over the last few years we have seen decreased inventory in many areas, including here in San Diego County. This has made it tricky for many buyers as supply has not met demand, but has been positive for sellers as the seller market picked up speed. But inventory appears to be growing and there are many extenuating circumstances that make now a good time to sell or buy real estate.
Home ownership holding period – Over time most homeowners have tended to occupy their homes on the average for about 6-7 years before selling. But over the last few years this number increased and many sellers were staying in their homes 9-10 years due to economic factors. However, there has been a trend downward lately due to equity increases and market conditions.
Equity – The last few years have brought equity gains to many homeowners, and low interest rates make it a great time to buy – this combination is positive news for housing. But like any market there will be a correction in time, where equity stops rising as quickly. Here in San Diego County we are starting to see slight slow downs with sales – sales prices are dropping slightly and many homes are sitting on the market longer.
Seller Market – It has been a seller’s market for some time now, due to lack of inventory in many housing markets, combined with a healthy demand. but with external changes on the rise more sellers will likely consider selling due to strong market conditions and other economic factors that may make them question how long the equity rise will continue. As inventory increases it may turn into a buyer market so long as demand is still prevalent and supply increases.
Economy – There are several economic factors that may influence a seller or buyer, and moving forward these will likely play a role in decisions to buy or sell. For buyers, low interest rates and international economic conditions that affect our US economy could play into the decision- making process. As markets are cyclical most buyers and sellers know that low rates will not last forever. The looming Presidential election could also factor into housing, as well as international situations like Brexit and terrorism.
The bottom line is that no one has a crystal ball. Many predictions abound and feeding into them can make a buyer or seller crazy. Each individual has to consider their own factors – equity, supply, prices, external and personal economic factors. Talk to your accountant and an experienced real estate professional – but don’t wait too long because the market will change at some point.