Showing posts from August, 2018

In Orange County the Active Inventory Grew by 2% in the Past Two-Weeks.


The active listing inventory continued its climb in the past two-weeks ending August 26, 2018, adding 108 homes, or 2%, and now totals 7,001, eclipsing the 7,000 level for the first time since September 2016.

This may be the peak for the active listing inventory for 2018. From here, housing transitions into the Autumn Market with fewer homes entering the fray and many sellers throwing in the towel and pulling their homes off the market after not finding success in both the spring and summer. Although it is technically not autumn until Saturday, September, September 22, the Autumn Housing Market starts now, as the kids go back to school, and runs to Thanksgiving. From there, the market downshifts further and transitions into the Holiday Market when even fewer homeowners opt to sell their homes.

Last year at this time, there were 5,862 homes on the market, 1,139 fewer. That means that there are 19% more homes available today. The year over year difference continues to grow …

Pricing is Critical for Sellers for the Rest of the 2018 Year.

With both the Spring and Summer Markets in the rearview mirror, many sellers realize that the best time of the year to sell is now in the past. For the remainder of the year, carefully pricing is absolutely crucial. There will be more homeowners this year who will not be able to isolate a buyer willing to purchase and their contracts to sell will expire. In the real estate trenches, they are called “expired listings.” Expect the number of expired listings this year to spike compared to the rest of the housing run.

Sellers have a choice: price their homes according to the Fair Market Value or throw in the towel and pull their homes off of the market.

Buyers need to be aware that while it is no longer a hot seller’s market, it is not a buyer’s market either. Looking for a “deal” is a waste of time. They too need to look at offering to purchase at a home’s Fair Market Value. Anything less, and they will not be successful in securing their piece of the “American Dream.”


5 Home Improvements You Can Do for Less Than $250 Courtesy of The Deem Team

While you might have some-day plans for redoing the kitchen or finishing the basement, while you’re waiting, you can chip away at smaller improvements around the house that are well within your budget, yet will make a big difference in your daily life. Plus, these projects can be done in a weekend and won’t cause a lot of mess and disruption. Try one of the following:
Paint a room. Nothing makes a dramatic change more quickly than painting a room...or two. A couple gallons of paint, rollers, tape and drop cloths will be well within your $250 budget.Install new cabinet hardware. When it comes to interior design, it’s all in the details. Shop around for new knobs and drawer pulls for your kitchen cabinets. Depending upon your taste and the size of your kitchen, this project can fall within your price range.Plant a tree or some shrubs. Improving your home happens on the outside, as well. Invest $250 in drought-tolerant evergreen shrubs or bushes to beautify your landscaping f…

Distressed Home Sales Are Almost Gone in Orange County

Distressed homes, both short sales and foreclosures combined, made up only 0.8% of all listings and 1.6% of demand. There are only 21 foreclosures and 37 short sales available to purchase today in all of Orange County, 58 total distressed homes on the active market, down by one from two weeks ago. Last year there were 82 total distressed homes on the market, 41% more than today. DRE#01266522

Demand dropped in Orange County by 2% in the past couple of weeks.

In the past two-weeks, demand, the number of pending sales over the prior 30-days, decreased by 44 pending sale, 2%, and now totals 2,350, the lowest demand reading for this time of the year since 2007. This year the emphasis of a supply problem, not enough homes on the market, has evolved to a demand problem, not enough pending sales. With higher mortgage rates and higher values, buyers are not as excited to purchase as they have been over the past 6-year run.

Last year at this time, demand was at 2,825 pending sales, 20% more than today, or 475 additional pending sales.

The expected market time, the amount of time it would take for a home that comes onto the market today to be placed into escrow down the road, increased from 86 to 89 days in the past two-weeks. Last year, the expected market time was at 62 days, substantially hotter than today. DRE#01266522

Facebook Makes Ad Changes Following HUD Fair Housing Complaint

Less than a week after a complaint was filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Facebook has announced it is removing 5,000-plus ad targeting options this fall that "relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion."

Most of the removed options will be exclusion categories—such as "Passover," "Evangelicalism," "Native American culture," "Islamic culture" and "Buddhism"—used by advertisers to ensure certain audiences do not see their ads, Digiday reports.

For the past year, only advertisers offering housing, employment or credit ads were required to comply with Facebook's non-discrimination policy. Beginning in a few weeks, all U.S.-based Facebook advertisers will be required to comply by obtaining a non-discrimination certification via the Ads Manager tool in order to keep advertising on the social platform.

"We're committed to protecting people from discriminatory adver…

Housing in 2020: Construction Costs Grow, Mortgage Rates Slow


Where will housing be in 2020? According to the latest Metrostudy predictions, if all continues on its current track, construction costs could continue to increase, and mortgage rates could reel in.

While rates have increased in the last six months, impacting affordability, the rise is not significant according to historical trends, says Mark Bound, chief economist and senior vice president at Metrostudy, a provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and residential construction industries. In the long term, Boud predicts mortgage interest rates will top out at 5.8 percent in 2020 and 2021, eventually being pulled down by slower economic growth—and because of tighter lending practices, the market environment will not become as dire as the last housing bubble.

As for inventory, it is significantly under-supplied, while homes are increasingly overvalued; however, the risk of a price collapse is small due to the tight market, and Boud expects the cycl…

Mortgage Comfort Letters: No Need to Panic

By Liz Dominguez

What is a comfort letter and why do you need one?

The mortgage process when purchasing a home can be tricky—there's a ton of paperwork to read through and sign, so much that your hand might just cramp up from the vast amounts of signatures required. But don't worry if your mortgage lender requests that you write them a "comfort" letter—it's just a statement clarifying your financials so they can get you to the closing table with minimized risk.

What do they want to clarify? It can be a number of things:

Employment Lapses
Is there a period of time in which you were not working recently? The bank may ask you about this lapse so they can ensure you are still a stable loan candidate and are financially comfortable with paying back the loan once you close on the home. You may have worked freelance during this time, in which case the bank may ask for proof of income.

Large Bank Deposits
Did you recently come into a large sum of money? If you d…

Sweeping Credit Score Overhaul Points to Positive Outcome for Real Estate Industry

Have you checked your credit score recently? Millions of potential homebuyers could now have easier access to mortgages, following a change to the way the three largest U.S. credit reporting firms handle negative credit events.

That change is the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP). Launched by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the plan sets forth the goal of making credit reports more accurate for consumers and makes it easier for them to correct any errors they may find on their credit reports.

Between June 2017, when the plan went into effect, and June 2018, collections were removed from eight million consumers’ credit reports, which resulted in an average increase of 14 points to their scores, according to a recently released Federal Reserve Bank of New York report.

NCAP removes “from credit reports any previously reported medical collections that have been paid or are being paid by insurance,” according to the plan’s site. It also requires debt collectors to not…

How to Keep the Peace With Nosy Neighbors Courtesy of The Deem Team

While you may have taken all the steps necessary to choose the perfect home, unfortunately, you can’t choose who lives next door. Whether they’re too loud, too messy or too nosy, there are tactful ways to handle less-than-ideal neighbors. Try the suggestions for coexisting peacefully and enjoying your new home:

Start with courtesy. Be sure to start out on the right foot by being courteous and kind. Even if the neighbors don’t seem to be “your cup of tea,” do your best to get to know them and open up lines of communication. Doing so will allow you to be candid about serious matters if and when the need arises. If you haven’t established a friendly relationship from the outset, if a problem arises, things could get contentious fast.

Politely establish ground rules. If your neighbors are the type who like to pop in unexpectedly--and often--don’t be shy about politely setting some ground rules...and explain why. Let them know you need downtime after work to catch up with your s…

California Escrow Rules & Regulations Courtesy of The Deem Team

The escrow process is an important part of buying, selling and refinancing real estate in California. Although many people are experienced in the buying and selling of homes, the actual working of escrow can remain largely a mystery. Specific rules and regulations of California escrow must be adhered to by a team of experienced people to make real estate closings successful. These rules help to protect the public and minimize risk for individuals.

Providers – An escrow provider must be licensed by the California Corporations Commissioner. Providers must be a corporation and in the business of receiving escrow for deposit or delivery. Some exceptions exist, however. Certain entities do not necessarily need to be licensed to perform escrow services. These entities include attorneys with a client relationship to a principal of a real estate transaction, banks, trust companies, insurance companies or a savings and loan company. Also exempt from licensing are title companies or…

How to Know If You're Paying the Right Price for Your Home Courtesy of The Deem Team

In today’s real estate environment, where bidding wars are heating up in many markets, it can sometimes be tough to know if you’ve paid a fair price for the home you just bought. If you’re working with a real estate professional whose expertise and guidance you trust, chances are he or she has negotiated the best possible price for you. But here are some other ways to know if you’ve paid the right price:

Consider the neighborhood. Location really is everything when it comes to a good real estate investment, so if you’ve bought a home in a great area, surrounded by homes of comparable or better condition, odds are you’ve made a good investment and your home’s value will appreciate over time. Your real estate agent should show you comparables of what other homes in your neighborhood sold for and are valued at.

Pay attention to the inspection report. If the inspection report comes back with any issues that will require a major investment to repair, this should be reflected in …

Mortgage Rates Rewind—Will Buyers Find Relief?

Mortgage rates rewound last week, with the average 30-year, fixed settling at 4.53 percent, down from 4.59 percent the prior week, according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®).  The downtrend is now in its second straight week—but is it enough to impact sales?

"This stability in borrowing costs comes despite the highest core inflation rates since 2008 and turbulence in the currency markets," says Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Unfortunately, this pause in rates is not leading to increasing home sales."

On an annual basis, existing-home sales were 2.2 percent lower at the start of summer, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR); likewise, new-home sales sunk 5.3 percent.

"Purchase mortgage applications trailed year-ago levels again last week, and it's clear that in some markets the combination of ascending home prices, limited affordable inventory and this year's higher rates a…

Financial Lessons Boomers Can Teach Millennials

Despite being strapped with student loan debt, millennials are surpassing older generations when it comes to money management habits like saving and budgeting, a recent Bank of America survey shows.

According to the Better Money Habits Millennial Report published earlier this year, 63 percent of millennials (ages 23 to 37) are saving. Fifty-seven percent say they have a savings goal, as compared to the 42 percent of Gen Xers and 42 percent of baby boomers who also say they have savings goals. And the majority of millennials with savings goals are not all talk—67 percent meet their set goal.

“Young adults deserve more credit—from others and themselves—for the way they are handling their finances,” says Andrew Plepler, global head of Environmental, Social and Governance at Bank of America. “They’re on par with or even better than older generations, which defies common stereotypes.”

But to stay on the right track, there are financial missteps that millennials should learn to…

What is the difference between Proposition 60 and Proposition 90?

Provided certain requirements are met, California’s Proposition 60 and 90 are tax initiatives that allow senior citizens to transfer the trended base value from their current home to a replacement property.

What is the difference between Proposition 60 and Proposition 90?

Proposition 60 allows transfers of base year values within the same county (intracounty) while Proposition 90 permits transfers from one county to another county in California (intercounty) at the discretion of each county.

The following counties in California have  an ordinance enabling Proposition 90: 
Alameda, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Clara, San Diego, San Mateo, Ventura, and San Bernardino.  Be sure to call your assessor for verification as it could change  at any time. DRE#01266522

Which Home Improvements Deliver the Highest ROI?

You may not be able to tell a book by its cover, but consumers looking to maximize spending value in spot home improvement projects should focus on exactly that: the exterior "cover" of their home.

A new report from Remodeling Magazine shows the highest ROI homeowners can squeeze out of specific improvements comes from replacing or installing a steel entry door, your garage door, or installing manufactured stone veneer, either as an accent or across the full exterior of a home.

The report says these three projects, done individually, return just over 91 percent of cost for the entry door; 97 percent for the stone veneer installation; and a whopping 98.3 percent for the garage door change out.
On the flip side, the report points out that some more traditional and much larger scale improvements simply don't seem to warrant the cost unless they are absolutely necessary for quality of life, health, safety, or resale purposes.

The Remodeling Magazine's annual…

Protect Your Kids From Water Accidents at Home Courtesy of The Deem Team

For those with young kids, water can be deadly - and not just at the beach or pool. In 2014, a study showed that more than 50 children younger than 5 years old fatally drowned in and around the home, excluding pools and spas. About 90 percent of these drowning deaths occurred in bathtubs.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers safety tips to help prevent children from drowning in and around the home.

- Never leave a baby alone, or with young siblings, in a bathtub even for a second. Always keep baby within arm's reach. Children can drown quickly and silently.

- Keep the toilet lid down, and keep young children out of the bathroom when unsupervised. Consider placing a latch on the bathroom door out of reach of young children.

- Be sure all containers with liquids are emptied immediately after use. Do not leave empty containers in yards or around the house where they may accumulate water and attract young children.

- Always secure the safety cover on …

Stats Show 'Smart' Home Systems Dominate Consumer Focus

Smart home IT devices can handle nearly everything - from prepping your morning coffee and turning on lights as it gets dark, to activating smart cooking and cleaning appliances that prepare your dinner or vacuum the living room before you get home.

And these smart home practices are only growing; the advanced electronics industry is banking on the fact that a lot more of us are going to go high tech in the coming year or so.

According to the Consumer Technology Association’s report, U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts, artificial intelligence (AI), voice-recognition technology and fast connectivity – critical ingredients for smart speakers, smart home technologies and smartphones – will help spur overall U.S. consumer technology spending by six percent in 2018 (to $377 billion in retail sales).

Key categories projected to contribute significantly to overall unit and revenue growth include:

- Smart speakers are experiencing a meteoric rise not seen since tablets.…

Affordability Challenges Keep Millennials on the Sidelines

Affordability is fading fast—and although millennials are eager to enter the market, and succeeding, they're bearing the brunt of the challenge, according to recent research.

Sixty-three percent of millennials under 29 are challenged by the cost of homeownership, according to a CoreLogic and RTi Research study. The expense, in fact, is their No. 1 reason for remaining a renter.

"One-third of millennial renters reported feeling they cannot afford a down payment to buy a home," says Frank Martell, CEO/president of CoreLogic. "With home prices rising quickly over the past few years and supplies low, first-time homebuyers face ever-growing challenges to find and buy affordable entry-level homes."

According to CoreLogic's June Home Price Index, prices rose 0.7 percent month-over-month and 6.8 percent year-over-year. Despite existing inventory in June perking up, demand keeps streaming in, and the imbalance is taking a toll.

Additionally, affordabili…

Mortgage Rates Reverse

Mortgage rates reversed this week, with average 30-year, fixed rate at 4.59 percent, down from 4.6 percent the prior week, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The average 15-year, fixed rate, at the same time, decreased to 4.05 percent, from 4.08 percent the prior week, and the average five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate decreased to 3.9 percent, from 3.93 percent the prior week.

"This stability is much needed for home sales, which have crested because of the multi-year run up in prices, tight affordable inventory and this year's higher rates," says Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Going forward, the strong economy will support the housing market, but with affordability pressures mounting, further spikes in mortgage rates will lead to continued softening in home price growth.

"There continues to be a steady rate of job creation, but as we've seen throughout most of this economic exp…

Construction-Free Ways to a Bigger Bathroom Courtesy of The Deem Team

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5 Ways to Prep Your Lawn for Fall


Summer is winding down, and as your grass grows even greener, it's time to start thinking about how you can prepare it for fall, especially if you plan to stage your home for sale. Pay mind to the following tips on late summer lawn care.

Aerate the area. Late summer/early fall is a great time to aerate your soil so that oxygen, water, and fertilizer will better penetrate your grass' roots and support it as sunlight dwindles. 

Mowing matters. You'll want to keep mowing all summer and into fall, but as the days shorten, move your mower blade to the lowest setting to trim the grass tight and let more light reach the crown of the grass. Bonus: less length in your grass means less leaves to turn brown come winter. 

Weed, weed, weed. Take some time each weekend to weed your lawn all summer, to boost your grass growth and set it up for a healthy fall season.

Lose the leaves. Raking leaves can be hard work, but doing so will save the life of your grass. As leaves begin to…

Do I have to consider contingencies made by the buyer? Courtesy of The Deem Team

Q: Do I have to consider contingencies made by the buyer?

A: You can reject, accept, or counter any offer that is presented to you. Most offers include contingencies, which protect the buyer in case something goes wrong.

The two most common contingencies deal with financing, which makes the sale dependent on the buyer's ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender within a stated time period, and an inspection, which allows the buyer to have a professional inspect the property to their satisfaction. Other contingencies are appraisal, disclosures, insurability, title issues, and in some instances the sale of the buyer's property.

There really is no reason not to consider these contingencies because they are quite reasonable and standard.
However, think twice about a contingency that is predicated on you making expensive home repairs, such as a kitchen renovation. Now, if the roof is caving in, that is an entirely different story. You may need to spend money to replace it or lo…

Finding a Contractor Who Works for You, Courtesy of the Deem Team

There’s no place like home—until it’s ruined by a hellacious renovation. Before you start, hammer out these details. By Kate Ashford, excerpted from Money Magazine
So you’re standing in the yard of your new house--only it’s missing its windows, a shower is on the front porch, and there’s rainwater inside because of a hole in the roof the size of a sedan. Oh, and your contractor? Apparently he’s gone into the witness protection program.
The home improvement industry gets more gripes from consumers than any other group. Among the chief grievances are contractors who abandoned projects, did shoddy work or didn’t meet local building codes. There are the basic safeguards, of course: Get references from friends who’ve had similar work done, and don’t do anything without a contract. But there are other steps that can ensure you don’t wind up being the tool in this relationship.
When you call a contractor, grill him. You’d never buy a $30,000 car without doing some research--so why would you …

New Tools for Your Cleaning Arsenal Courtesy of The Deem Team

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New Home Clean-Up: Sparkling Kitchens and Bathrooms Courtesy of The Deem Team

Kitchens and bathrooms offer more hiding spaces for germs—as well as grease, grime and other unwanted substances—than any other rooms in the house. Read our bathroom and kitchen cleaning tips to get your home sparkling clean.

Bathroom Cleaning Tips
Clean all surfaces with an all-purpose disinfecting bathroom cleaner. Once you've removed all surface grime and soap scum, you'll be able to survey your fixtures to see if more intensive cleaning is needed.

Rust Stains. Mild acids, like lemon juice or white vinegar, can be very effective at removing rust stains. Another inexpensive cleanser is powdered lemonade. Sprinkle the powder around the rust stain and let it set overnight. You can also scrub the area with a soft brush and a professional strength waterless hand cleaner (like Goop).

Mildew Stains. Mildew is a common problem in bathrooms. Clean your tile grout with a mildewcide. If after several applications you are unable to remove the mildew, you may want to consider re-grouting.

Staging the Dining Room

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Don't Get "Locked Out" of Your Home by a Bankruptcy Scam Operator Courtesy of The Deem Team

Are you having trouble making your home mortgage payments? Are you facing foreclosure on your home? Get all the facts before you pay someone to help you work out your mortgage problems, says the U.S. Trustee Program.

"Bankruptcy foreclosure scams" target people whose home mortgages are in trouble. Scam operators advertise over the Internet and in local publications, distribute flyers, or contact people whose homes are listed in the foreclosure notices. Sometimes they direct their appeals to specific religious or ethnic groups.

These scam operators may promise to take care of your problems with your mortgage lender or to obtain refinancing for you. Sometimes they also ask you to pay your mortgage payments directly to the scam operator. They may even ask you to hand over your property deed to the operator, and then make payments to the operator in order to stay in your home.
But instead of contacting your lender or refinancing your loan, the scam operator pockets all the mone…

Protect Your Home From Summer Sun Courtesy of the Deem Team


Moving with Pets - Impossible or Possible? Courtesy of The Deem Team

With people moving worldwide for work, Boxers are going bicoastal and cats are clearing through customs on a daily basis. Moving isn’t just stressful for people, it’s equally stressful for pets. So when it comes to moving pets, pre-planning is very important as animals can be very sensitive to changes in their surroundings. So we went to the expert Rachel Farris, relocation specialist at Farris offered three top things to keep in mind as a pet owner moving with pets.

1. Make Friends with the Travel Crate-Whether you travel by car or by air, the crate your pet travels in will be his “home” during the trip and it’s crucial that your pet feels comfortable in it ahead of time. According to Farris, “As soon as you know you’re moving, it’s a good idea to get the crate,” Farris said. “That way, you can start getting your pet used to it well in advance. This will help your pet’s stress levels on your move date.” She also pointed out that many pet stores offer crate training…

How to Keep your Hardwood Floors Gleaming Courtesy of The Deem Team

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How to Brighten a Dark Room Courtesy of The Deem Team


How to Upgrade Your Entryway Courtesy of The Deem Team


Top Bathroom Renovation Tips That Can Add Value to Your Home Courtesy of The Deem Team

By Hannah Whittenly

A bathroom can be among the top selling points in a home. Upgrading your bathroom prior to listing the home for sale may enable you to sell it at a higher price point. Here are some of ways that you can improve your bathroom and get the highest possible return on your investment:

Add More Storage
There are many items that you want or need to keep in a bathroom at any given time. For instance, you'll likely want to keep extra rolls of toilet paper handy or have extra hand towels available. You'll also want to keep your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant in the bathroom. Adding a closet, a larger vanity or extra drawers underneath your current vanity, you provide plenty of space for multiple people to share the bathroom peacefully.

Add a Touch of Luxury
Buyers will have a harder time not putting an offer on a home when it has a luxurious feel to it. Adding a Jacuzzi to the bathroom will make a buyer feel as if he or she were about to buy a spa instead of a res…

Top 5 Factors That Put Your Home at Risk of a Break-in Courtesy of The Deem Team


What Is the Ideal Age to Buy a Home? Courtesy of the Deem Team

By Zoe Eisenberg

According to new findings, the ideal age for most Americans to buy their first home is 28. A recent Bankrate study touted this number as the sweet spot that those surveyed seemed to gravitate to.

Of course, not everyone agrees. A quarter of men surveyed believe the ideal time to buy a first home is prior to age 25, but only 12 percent of women concur.

And region matters, too: Nearly one in five (18 percent) of Northeasterners thinks the ideal age is over 35, twice as many as any other region. This makes sense, as the cost of living in the Northeast tends to be higher, on average.

Income also impacts mindset. With so many millennials stuck under the weight of massive student loans, buying a home by 28 may seem a bit unattainable. Fifty-two percent of those making less than $30,000 per year think first-time homebuyers should be at least 30 years old, compared to 32 percent of those who make $50,000 or more per year.

So are ideals matching up with reality? Not quite. While 28…