Choosing the Right Community for You

If you are buying a home, one of the first things your real estate professional will do before taking you on home tours is interview you to determine the type of house you want such as a 2,000-square-foot four-bedroom, split level with a formal dining room and two-car garage. But just as important is the type of community you want to live in. Knowing what your requirements are will help narrow your home search and save time.

To expedite the house-hunting process, start by making a list of the dream home factors that are most important to you and your family’s lifestyle. Consider style, location, proximity to work and schools, yard size, children in the community and, of course, price.

Price and location generally are the key factors you’ll use to identify the communities that best suit you. If you are moving within the same city, you may want to start your community search by getting in your car and exploring. There are also resources on the Internet that let you compare communities.

You’ll want to ask yourself critical questions, such as: Do you dream of something quaint and charming that can only be found in an older area? Or, do you prefer everything new? Are you willing to sacrifice size and space for architectural detailing? What about drive and commute time to the office and schools? Will you forgo the number of bedrooms and a big yard for proximity to a lake or other recreational areas?

Whether you have children or not, buying a home in a community with good schools is important. It not only adds value to your property, but also is an attractive feature when and if you decide to sell. There are plenty of resources available to get information about schools within the communities you are considering. Various Internet sites offer school reports and profiles. They provide statistical data such as graduation rates, college-bound percentages, and standardized test scores. You can also learn about special programs the schools offer. In addition to these reports, many schools have their own Web sites you can peruse. And of course you can always talk to people in the area or take a tour of the school.

Additional factors you’ll want to consider during your community search are crime, recreational activities, proximity to shopping and restaurants, and other specific family needs.

Once you’ve narrowed your search to two or three communities that fit your price range and lifestyle, make comparisons of price and sales activity. Your real estate professional can help you determine which communities are most sales-worthy at present, and which are more likely to continue to be.

There are many factors involved in selecting the right community for you and your family. Discuss your options with your real estate professional. This will provide the information he or she needs to help you find property listings to tour. Remember, a targeted approach to house hunting is less time consuming, less expensive and more efficient.

Why Wait to Buy?

Are you on the fence about whether or not to wait for prices to come down to purchase a home today?

Even if prices fall 5%, waiting to buy may result in higher monthly payments due to the likelihood of rising interest rates as illustrated in the examples below.

Comparison
  NOW! WAIT?
Purchase Price $450,000 $427,500
Loan $360,000 $342,000
30-Yr. Fixed 6.375% 7.375%
Payment $2,246/mo. $2,363/mo.

Example #1

Comparison
  NOW! WAIT?
Purchase Price $750,000 $712,500
Loan $600,000 $570,000
30-Yr. Fixed 6.50% 7.5%
Payment $3,792/mo. $3,984/mo.

Example #2

In the first example, you saved $23,000 up front by waiting it out. However, you will end up paying $117 more per month. If you do the math, $117 over the course of 30 years (360 payments), equals $42,120. So if you “WAIT?” for the purchase price of $427,500 and you add on the extra payments of $42,120, this equals $469,620. That is more than what the house is worth “NOW!”

The same can be said in example two. You save $37,500 up front. But that is a $192 difference in monthly payments. Which equals $69,120 more over the course of 30 Years. Again, the total is more than what the house is worth “NOW!”

RVing – The Ultimate Road Trip

Written By: JOAN GENTER

Have you ever wanted to hit the road for an extended period of time? Do you often wonder what is beyond the horizon or around the bend or over the next mountain? That is exactly what my husband and I wondered about and wanted to do when we both retired, buy a recreational vehicle (RV) and hit the road. Many of you have probably had similar thoughts and a desire to see this beautiful country of ours. When we were raising our children we took many vacations over the years but always had to be home in a week or two for work and school. We just never seemed to have enough time to really enjoy a long road trip. Well, one day while holding one of my listings open, I saw a book on my client’s bookshelf called Full-Time RVing. Between visitors to the house, I started reading the book. When my clients came home at the end of the open house, I asked them about the book. They told me that they were selling because they were buying a large RV and were going to live in it full time and travel the country. They asked me if I would like to borrow the book and of course I said yes.

Over the next several weeks, my husband and I poured over the book and began to dream of an extended period of time traveling. My husband was retiring in a couple of months but I wasn’t sure that I could tear myself away from real estate, a job I dearly loved. However, after much discussion between ourselves and our children, we decided to take the plunge. I made arrangements with several of my real estate peers to take care of my business. We put our home on the market, put our items in storage that we wanted to keep, made arrangements for our mail, banking and a number of other loose ends, bought an RV big enough to be comfortable to live in and hit the road. Our first trip was a six month road trip to Alaska on the Alaskan Highway. Boy, what an adventure we had. We have never looked back. I also have learned that I can have both worlds, RVing and Real Estate, thanks to technology and my two great partners, Linda and Ryan Mills.

If you are interested in RVing I highly recommend The Good Sam Club and Escapees. They are a must for anyone that wants to enjoy the RV lifestyle, whether you are part-time, seasonal or full time. Their websites are www.goodsamclub.com and www.escapees.com. Almost anything you would want to know about RVing can be found on these two websites. You can even chat with fellow RVers on line.

If you feel that you might want to travel extensively and see this wonderful country, give us a call. You may be thinking of selling your home or renting it out and becoming a full time RVer; or you may want to continue to live in your home and take extended trips. Whatever your plans we can help you with some of the logistics of making RVing part of your life.

Bottom’s up: This real-estate rout may be short-lived

Home sales and prices may be down, foreclosures may be mushrooming and the blowback from the subprime mortgage crisis may be threatening banks and secondary mortgage lenders, but there are some early signs the real estate market is trending in a more positive direction — although you may not know it if you rely on the mainstream media for your real estate news.

The full article by JONATHAN R. LAING can be found at Barron’s

Camarillo Average Price – June ’08

This is a comparison of average prices for the area of Camarillo, CA, between 2007 and 2008.

Camarillo
June 2008 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $530,573 $501,543 -5.47% 80
June 2007 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $659,607 $639,389 -3.07% 74
Diff. ’08/’07 % List Price Sold Price   DOM
  -19.56% -21.56%   8.10%

All information is gathered from the Ventura County MLS and is deemed reliable but not always accurate.

Moorpark Average Price – June ’08

This is a comparison of average prices for the area of Moorpark, CA, between 2007 and 2008.

Moorpark
June 2008 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $524,508 $511,050 -2.57% 82
June 2007 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $657,119 $636,904 -3.08% 68
Diff. ’08/’07 % List Price Sold Price   DOM
  -20.18% -19.76%   20.58%

All information is gathered from the Ventura County MLS and is deemed reliable but not always accurate.

Simi Valley Average Price – June ’08

This is a comparison of average prices for the area of Simi Valley, CA, between 2007 and 2008.

Simi Valley
June 2008 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $506,605 $492,443 -2.80% 89
June 2007 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $613,230 $603,028 -1.66% 77
Diff. ’08/’07 % List Price Sold Price   DOM
  -17.39% -18.34%   15.58%

All information is gathered from the Ventura County MLS and is deemed reliable but not always accurate.

Westlake Village Average Price – June ’08

This is a comparison of average prices for the area of Westlake Village, CA, between 2007 and 2008.

Westlake Village
June 2008 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $1,095,146 $1,037,450 -5.27% 91
June 2007 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $1,338,638 $1,290,460 -3.35% 107
Diff. ’08/’07 % List Price Sold Price   DOM
  -18.19% -19.61%   -14.95%

All information is gathered from the Ventura County MLS and is deemed reliable but not always accurate.

Thousand Oaks (West) Average Price – June ’08

This is a comparison of average prices for the area of Thousand Oaks (West), CA, between 2007 and 2008.

Thousand Oaks (West)
June 2008 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $627,707 $600,752 -4.29% 72
June 2007 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $722,665 $698,442 -3.35% 65
Diff. ’08/’07 % List Price Sold Price   DOM
  -13.14% -13.99%   10.77%

All information is gathered from the Ventura County MLS and is deemed reliable but not always accurate.

Thousand Oaks (East) Average Price – June ’08

This is a comparison of average prices for the area of Thousand Oaks (East), CA, between 2007 and 2008.

Thousand Oaks (East)
June 2008 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $574,441 $552,212 -3.87% 100
June 2007 List Price Sold Price Diff. LP/Sp % DOM
  $767,263 $748,241 -2.48% 57
Diff. ’08/’07 % List Price Sold Price   DOM
  -25.13% -26.20%   75.44%

All information is gathered from the Ventura County MLS and is deemed reliable but not always accurate.