Where is the Market Really Going, and What Does It Mean To Me?

Most of you are keenly interested in the lively real estate activity in your various communities. Local Realtors keep you well informed about the listing and sale prices of your neighbors’ houses. For some of you, it’s fascinating to see what your house is worth at the moment. But for anyone considering a move, it’s of critical importance. Here’s the state of the housing market.

Mortgage rates are still well within the low digits, which is wonderful news. Most economists agree that they will remain stable over the next few months, with the prime rate estimated to be about 6.75%. Now that the housing market is beginning to level offa bit, and we see increased balance between buyers and sellers, the Feds seem to be tying this status in with their judgments regarding long-term rates. Of course, there are count-less variables that impact the decisions of Mr. Greenspan and company, but they still seem to be pointing toward stabilized rates. Since housing prices are predicted to be fairly steady over the next few months, so are the interest rates.

Other than interesting data, what does this mean to me as a buyer or a seller?


If you have been waiting to list your home as the prices rose higher and higher, you can stop now. There is no prediction of a radical burst of the “bubble,” nor do we anticipate dramatic increases. After all, these are houses, not dot.coms. You have probably reached optimum equity for the time being, and it is well worth your consideration to go ahead and put your home on the market. Buyers are breathing a sigh of relief. They can now search for a home without the fear of skyrocketing costs in the near future.

Armed with confidence regarding housing costs and interest rates forecasted to remain stable and low, it ought to be a brisk market over the next several months — an excellent time to buy or sell property. For a complete personal analysis, please call us. Together, we’ll conduct a thorough assessment of your particular situation, and make informed decisions about what to do next.

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What’s the Latest Buzz on the Bubble?

Nationwide, we are beginning to see a slowdown in the median price of homes. The bubble has started to pop in Northern California, where Bay Area prices are down from their peak in June. But Southern California hit yet another new price peak in July. We are fortunate to live in the most desirable area in the country, according to a recent Harris Poll. However, popularity drives up housing costs. Many homeowners and speculators are now wondering how long the upturn will last, and about the future.

Real estate — unlike the dot com stocks — is a long-term investment and needs to be treated in that fashion. It is almost impossible to make predictions, or to “time the market.” From a real estate professional’s viewpoint, we can only provide suggestions for the here and now. If you are buying to realize a short-term windfall profit, you probably should not do so at this time. If you take the position that it would be a good idea to sell your house now, make a great profit, rent for awhile and then buy back in,it would also most likely be a poor choice. Here are several reasons why.

The costs involved in selling are high, the loss of the mortgage tax deduction is a great consideration, lost money in paying rent is a big factor, and buying back in will probably be at a higher interest rate. So you would not be making much — if any — progress in getting more for your money. Plus, you have inherent costs in moving out of your current residence, into the rental, and then back again when you buy your next house. Overall, it’s probably a losing proposition.

Buy real estate, keep it for as long as you can, and upgrade through tax-deferred exchanges, or refinance it and buy more if you want to get rich. Real estate is and always has been the true basis of wealth on this planet for a very basic and important reason: they aren’t making any more of it! Instead of guessing or predicting, get in touch with your realtor, ask questions, and together you can properly plan for the future.

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Moving to Thousand Oaks

When you move to Thousand Oaks, you are moving into one of the most desirable cities in all of California. Maybe even all of the United States. Thousand Oaks resides near the coast of Southern California, which in the sunny Golden State, provides a nice breeze even in the middle of summer. Obviously named for its richness of Oak Trees, Thousand Oaks, spans to almost 56 square miles. Most of which will never be used and left untouched for the wildlife and Oak Trees that still inhabit the area. Because of the open land, incredible views, and a sense of luxury, Thousand Oaks continues to persuade homebuyers from all over the country to relocate.

This high demand for property in Thousand Oaks not only suggests growth in the community, it greatly increases the price of homes. As more and more people decide to move to the area, the demand for property improves. Knowing this, sellers can keep raising prices and still attract those that are willing to pay. The average house for sale in Thousand Oaks goes for just about $860,000.00 with and average square foot of about 2,700. The range of property goes anywhere from $300,000 to $25,000,000.

To help keep Thousand Oaks a place of luxury with luscious landscapes, the City Council elected to stop further new purchases of open land within the city limits. A few current constructions will continue to take place and finish around 2010. After these constructions are finished, a contractor must spend $100,000 just so that he can get an appeal to the city of Thousand Oaks. Once he has done that, the citizens of Thousand Oaks can elect whether or not they approve of his contract. This decision from the City Council to stop further purchases of open land will also increase prices of current property for sale. There will be more of a demand to purchase some sort of land in this much desired area.

There are numerous people who think, “How crazy to spend that much for a piece of property.” The truth of the matter is, there are people out there that will. Combined with its location, landscapes and luxury, Thousand Oaks’ ability to attract generous buyers will continue to prevail.

Investing in Real Estate… For the Future

As time goes by, many homeowners observe their property values appreciating in a strong market, and wonder about further real estate investments. One product that financial anal-ysts predict will continue to hold value is a condo or townhome in a desirable retirement destination. If this is a good option for you, the likelihood of a positive outcome willgreatly improve when you seek guidance from a real estate professional. There are countless variables involved, and a long list of questions you might not think to ask.

A spacious home and yard are a wonderful current asset for your family, but might become an eventual headache when it’s time for retirement. We’ve all seen homes in our neighbor-hood that seem to say, “My owner is too old to take proper care of me anymore.” Why are long-term owners often reluctant to make a move? With housing prices currently at an all-time high, it is difficult for such an owner to reinvest in a new home after selling the one they currently inhabit. Even a condo or townhome is expensive. However, if that ownerhad selected a target retirement location some years before and had made a purchase, there would be little hesitation to sell their home when the time is right.

With an investment property in place, the transition is a fairly simple matter. The owner lets a tenant’s lease expire, then takes occupancy. Subsequently, the sale of a former dwelling — in many cases completely paid for — puts a significant amount of cash in the bank, and the retiree into a new home where the upkeep is minimal and the amenities are a blessing.

If this scenario applies to you, make an appointment with a real estate professional you already know and trust. Your agent will help you weigh two key issues in particular — finances and logistics.

Make a purchase that will provide you with positive cash flow until such time as you choose to occupy it. Even with the potential tax advantages of an investment property, a constant annual drain on your finances can make your investment a bane rather than a boon. Your agent will network with financial companies to help determine what’s best for you. Also, consult with your realtor to select reliable property management. Will you have the time to maintain an investment dwelling until you live there? What if it’s far away?

A dependable management company is worth its weight in gold when maintaining a long-distance property. Again, through professional networking, your real estate agent can make arrangements to select a reputable company.

Considering a retirement investment? A consultation with your real estate professional will help you make the perfect choice for you, your family, and your future.

Show Off Your Home

These tips can help your house make the best impression, every time it is previewed by sales professionals or shown to prospective buyers

EXTERIOR
• Remove toys, newspapers, yard tools and other clutter
• Mow lawn and trim shrubs
• Tidy up, pick up after pets
• Park vehicles in the garage or on the street: leave the driveway clear and garage door closed
• Add color to the entry way with flowers and potted plants
• Eliminate cobwebs from doorways; clean all debris

INTERIOR
• A clean house is attractive to buyers; consider a professional cleaning service to start
• Make beds, clean up dishes; empty wastebaskets
• Remove clutter throughout; organize closets and cupboards; put away toys
• Sleek and spacious sells – consider renting a storage unit for extra furnishings, boxes and clutter
• Set out “show towels” in bathrooms
• Freshen the air; potpourri or baked bread aroma; deodorize pet area; set comfortable temperature
• Do quick vacuuming and dusting
• Arrange flowers throughout
• Fire in fireplace, when appropriate
• Turn off television; play soft background music
• Open drapes and shades; turn on lights
• Repair leaky faucets, replace burned out lights and cracked windows
• Spot clean walls around door handles, light switches and other high-traffic area

Moving Checklist

WHEN YOU LIST THE PROPERTY:
* Let us offer suggestions on low-cost improvements that can increase the value of your home.
* Determine what cleaning, painting, landscaping or repairing needs to be done.

8 WEEKS OUT:
* Make sure heating, air conditioning and any appliances you’re leaving behind are in good working condition.
* Clean the garage.
* Get rid of anything you don’t want to move. Have a garage sale.
* Call three movers and get estimates.
* Make a list of everyone who needs to be notified of the move – friends, relatives, creditors, schools, doctors and dentists.

5 WEEKS OUT:
* Contact your insurance company to make sure your belongings are covered during the move. If not, find out what the mover covers. Their basic insurance probably insures items by the pound, which is not enough.
* Have an appraisal of expensive items you want shipped by the mover.
* If you’ve refinanced recently, make sure everything has been recorded with regard to that mortgage.
* If you’re selling one property and purchasing another and you need money from the sale for the purchase, talk to your mortgage company about the time frame. They have programs that allow you to borrow against the sale if you take out the new mortgage with them.
* If you’re flying to your new location, book your flight and arrange for the mover or someone else to ship your car. Arrange for a rental car if necessary
* Vacant house – if you have to move before you have sold your house, check your insurance company for any insurance requirements. Insurance companies don’t like to insure vacant houses.

4 WEEKS OUT:
* Start packing anything you don’t want movers to pack.
* Give away plants – most movers won’t take them. Movers also won’t take flammables, paint, ammunition, chemicals, and similar items.
* Be prepared for closing. Talk to us for guidance. We’ll help you understand any fees, commissions, taxes or points you may have to pay.

2 WEEKS OUT:
* Arrange to have utilities and phone service shut off, or transferred. Remember, movers need light, so wait to have power cut off after moving day.
* Make arrangements for a place to stay if closing day is after you vacated the house.

1 WEEK OUT:
* Close safe deposit box. Important papers, jewelry, etc. should be kept with you for the move.
* Close savings accounts but keep your checking account active until you open a new one in your new town.
* Get a cashier’s check for the movers.

MOVING DAY:
* Review the bill of lading very carefully.
* If the house isn’t sold yet, make sure that a relative and we have keys.

CLOSING DAY:
* Have reading glasses handy if you wear them. You’ll have plenty of papers to sign before getting the check for your property!

Don’t Pay Rent!!!

Through the years, your rent payments add up fast.

Why rent, when you may be able to buy your own home?

For example, if you pay close to $1,200 a month for rent, you are actually paying $432,000 over the course of 30 years. Which, in some areas, is the amount of a decent size home. If you pay $1,700 a month you are actually paying a total of $612,000 over the course of 30 years. 30 years is the average amount of time one takes out a loan for.

You can calculate this with any kind of rent payment. In my example I will use the rent payment of $1,000. Please follow these steps…

Take your rent payment….$1,000 Multiply it by 12, for the 12 months in a year which equals $12,000. This is how much you pay per year in rent!!! Multiply your yearly rent ($12,000) by 30, for the course of 30 years which equals $360,000. Now you have how much you would be paying for rent over the course of 30 years.

Why pay rent when you could possibly own a home for the same amount of money? When you rent, your money goes straight to the renting office and you will never see it again. When you own and pay monthly payments on your mortgage, you KEEP that money in your equity. So not only are you owning your home, you are making and earning money on your growing investment. Begin to enjoy the personal and practical benefits of being a homeowner. Get more information on the affordable loan programs that enable renters to become homeowners.

Your Home, Your Investment

According to current real estate market trends, existing home sales still remain historically high. It’s been fascinating to watch the percentage increase in recent years, well into the double digits in our area. The figures are based on data analysis from single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums. No matter what you call home, these statistics mean good news for you.

With other investment opportunities, it’s difficult to make decisions. Savings accounts? Mutual Funds? Bonds? CDs? The variables and the risks are often overwhelming. But buying a home is an automatic, wise investment. Because of the strength in the housing market, most owners have gained considerable equity in a home they might only have owned for a relatively short period of time.

You probably don’t study real estate market analysis, but you probably DO take a look at the flyers you receive from local realtors, letting you know about home sale activity in your immediate area. It’s exciting to see how the value of your property has increased! If you crunch the numbers as far as relative investment performance is concerned, it’s unbeatable.

Many homeowners have opted to put their equity to work for them now, while they are still living in their homes. A very popular product, but one still unfamiliar to many owners, is the home equity line of credit.

Mortgage rates are on the rise, but property values still remain strong. Current high loanto- value rates are an excellent incentive to apply for an equity credit line sometime soon. If you shop for the proper loan, you will only be paying interest on the amount of money you actually use. It’s good to know that you have a strong line of credit that you can take advantage of whenever you like. It’s a prudent move towards future security.

You may then use your line of credit for anything you choose, including making improvements to your home. If you elect to improve your dwelling, you’ll increase your property’s value and therefore, your equity. That’s a positive cycle.

Because a home equity line of credit is technically a real estate loan, the annual interest is deductible. And the interest rates are usually a fraction of those on retail credit cards or other loans, such as financing a car. Owners frequently use these loans to consolidate debt and reduce their monthly payments. So whether it’s near-term or long-term, the equity you accrued in your home is a definite plus. Living in your investment? It doesn’t get much better than that.