Our Government is shutting down… again! Whaaaat….. does that even mean???

Our government is facing another shut down on April 28th? What does this mean?

Well, homebuyers and sellers could be subject to more headaches than usual before their deals close.

Any borrowers applying for an FHA or VA mortgage could run into delay if workers from those departments are sent home, and there’s no one available to assist in processing the loan. In fact anyone applying for a home mortgage could be in trouble as federal workers from say the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration may not be available to verify important home loan documents. That’s often required if something in an application doesn’t match the information associated with the loan or the credit report, even if it’s just a typo. If the lender tries to verify his numbers and no one is at work to answer the phone, that borrower could be out of luck.

And yes, this does happen. In fact it happened in 2013 when Republicans like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin shut down the government because they didn’t understand how the debt ceiling worked. Remember? Then they got mad because out national parks and monuments were closed.  Yes. That actually happened. And yes, it halted and delayed thousands of home loans. In fact, during that government shutdown, according to a December 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors, roughly 17 percent of home sale closings were delayed.

I know firsthand. I was able to get my client into a HUD property just days before the last shutdown way back in 2013 when you could still find a 2 bedroom condo for $220,000 and  little known brokerage called Shorewood Realtors dominated South Bay real estate.

Need a realtor that knows the ins and out of a transaction and can foresee obstacles up ahead. Call me… 310-722-5959.

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~I open doors… even when the government shuts them.

 

 

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Is now a good time to buy?

Do you want to move?

Do you want to move?

The number one question I probably get asked the most is, “Is now a good time to buy?” to which my response is, “That depends. Do you want to move?”

Really, that’s all it comes down to.

But, let’s take it a step further. Allow me to ask you a few questions. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s simply your opinion and what knowledge you have of the market. Try to answer as honestly as possible.

  1. Over then next few years do you think housing prices will be going up, going down, or staying right where they are?
  2. Over then next few years do you think interest rates will be going up, going down, or staying right where they are?
  3. Do you know anyone in the South Bay/Beach Cities area that has owned a home for ten years or longer who has NOT made a profit?

After answering those questions. Do you think… now is a good time to buy?

Do you want to move? Call me today to start the process 310-722-5959.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Chaves

DRE# 01893036

Click “follow” and “like” at the top of the page to subscribe to L.A. Real Estate 101, and stay on top of the L.A., and National, real estate markets.

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Swimming with sharks

"Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked." ~Warren Buffett

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” ~Warren Buffett

The real estate season has officially begun!  What does your real estate portfolio look like at the moment? What do you want it to look like? The next wave is surging. Are you still watching from the beach. Or are you ready to ride this wave with me?

Here are a few things I’ve noticed in our local real estate market as of late.

  1. Demand from buyers continues to remain high.
  2. Last year, investors were buying and flipping and beating out nearly every offer with cash, quick closes, and no contingencies.
  3. We still have 1st time buyers aggressively moving into the market with confidence as the investors have begun to reel back.
  4. New construction is back on the rise.
  5. Retail inventory is slowly increasing.
  6. Interests rates are moving.
  7. Everyone ELSE is waiting.

Fortunately for you, I don’t do what everyone ELSE does, which is why the secret to real estate isn’t much of a secret to me. In fact,  it’s easy. Here it is: When everyone ELSE is buying,… SELL. When everyone ELSE is selling,… BUY. That’s all there is to it. Don’t chase the crowd. Let the crowd chase you. 

You know who else knows this formula? Warren Buffet. Buffet, the second-wealthiest person in the country and one of the world’s top investors, has noticed a trend and guess what he’s been buying lately… real estate brokerages.

Just last year, Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, expanded its Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties division to over 3,200 agents in over 60 offices across Southern California and the Central Coast. San Diego-based Prudential California Realty became the first brokerage to relaunch under the HomeServices franchise. Since then, nearly 30 brokerages affiliated with the Prudential brand have agreed to transition to Berkshire Hathaway. The franchise now plans to expand across the U.S. and eventually overseas.

What Warren Buffet and some sharp investors (Just last week, my former brokerage, Shorewood Realtors, was purchased by the Denver real estate holding company, Herman Group.)  have had the foresight to recognize is that, by the end of 2014, the real estate “recovery” will be over.

Once the recovery has ended the market will stabilize and people will feel comfortable to start wading into the waters once again.  However, with price stabilization not only does consumer confidence go up, but so do interest rates.

Warren Buffet once said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” And as fun as it is to swim naked, the point Warren is trying to make is that anyone can look good when the water is high and the money is flowing, but only when the water recedes and the money is gone, do you notice who wasn’t quite prepared, and who is suited up and ready for the next shifting tide.

As a former triathlete who had to employ shark strategy while in training and competition, I know that you can’t always out-swim the sharks, but you don’t always have to, as long as you can out-swim the guy next to you. Now that the investor sharks have begun to go away, it’s time to dive into water before the rest of the crowd even realizes the race has begun.

Now, I’ll ask again. What does your real estate portfolio look like at the moment? What do you want it to look like? The next wave is surging.  Are you still watching from the beach? Or are you ready to dive in and get a head start on the competition?

Call me today to set up an appointment, and get you out into the surf. 310-722-5959

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Showing off

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it count.

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it count.

Getting ready to put your home on the market? You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it count. Here are some guidelines on how to do just that.

1. When buyers are driving the streets looking at houses, don’t let an unkept lawn make them pass you by. Boost your curb appeal to cause them to stop and take a closer look. Keep that lawn freshly mowed and add some sod, mulch, plants and flowers to brighten it up. Also, be sure to pay attention to how your house looks at night. Installing new light fixtures and  making sure the bulbs are working, can really enhance the house’s appearance.

2. Does your house need painting? Paint it, but be sure to use colors that will appeal to largest amount of buyers. “Little Pink Houses” makes for a catchy song title, but probably isn’t the best color to use to attract a wide variety of potential buyers.

3. How does the door look? Inviting or marred? That’s the first thing the buyer is going to touch before they walk inside.  A new screen door, doorknob, or touch up paint may be all you need.

4. Once inside your property, the biggest influence to a buyer is cleanliness. Do a room-by-room cleaning and be sure to check the carpets. Do they need to be replaced or cleaned? If so, that may be a wise investment.

5. A cluttered house also makes for a poor impression. To make each room of the house look bigger, remove the furniture. “Less is more.” This also allows for the prospective buyer to decorate their new house they way they want it in their mind. And, just as you did with the outside, be sure to put new bulbs in each light fixture to brighten the interior.

6. The kitchen and bathrooms are very important rooms to potential buyers. Consider updating cabinets, counter tops and plumbing fixtures to make these rooms shine.

7. If you don’t have the budget for new fixtures or paint, keep in mind the little things can go a long way as well. New towels in the bathroom, colorful pillows that pop on the couch, and freshly cut flowers on the dining room table brightens any room and makes a nice impression. Wouldn’t that make you smile? It has that same effect on everyone.

If you’re ready to start the process of selling your house, I’m ready to help. Call me today to set up an initial consultation. 310-722-5959.

Lawrence Chaves
BRE# 01893036

Click “follow” and “like” at the top of the page to subscribe to L.A. Real Estate 101, and stay on top of the L.A., and National, real estate markets.

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Tips for First Time Homebuyers

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Buying a home can be a frustrating ordeal, especially when inventory levels are down and competition is fierce. Here are 10 tips to make the home buying process a bit smoother.

  1. Do your homework before looking at homes. Determine exactly what features you want in a home and which are most important to you.
  2. Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your area. Web sites such as Zillow, Trulia, and (my favorite) Listingbook can give you a general idea of what the houses in your market are selling for.
  3. Get your finances in order. Examine your credit report and be prepared for down payment and closing costs.
  4. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. while getting prequalified is the first step in the process and lets you know what your price range will be, getting pre-approved tells you EXACTLY how much of a loan you qualify for, and you’ll need the pre-approval letter when making the offer.
  5. Know your move-in date. When does your lease end? Are you allowed to rent on a month to month basis? Are you allowed to sublet if you find a house before your lease is up?
  6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter home, or something to stay in for years to come? This will influence the type of home you decide to purchase, as well as the type of mortgage that will work best for you.
  7. Don’t become “House Poor.” Buying the biggest home you can afford may leave no money for maintenance, décor, or renovations, and chances are you’re going to want to add your own personal touch to your new house in order to make it YOUR new home.
  8. Find out how much you’ll be paying in closing costs. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and escrow fees, taxes, homeowners insurance or even upfront homeowners association fees. Sometimes these fees can be placed on the seller, so don’t be afraid to ask.
  9. Don’t take chances. Obtain a professional home inspection and a home warranty plan from the seller to cover any defect within the first year.
  10. Be choosy, but realistic. You may never find the perfect home. In fact, nothing in life is “perfect.” Find a home that fits your needs and then make it the best home you can.

If you’re ready to start the process of purchasing your first or next home, call me today to set up an appointment. 310-722-5959.

Lawrence Chaves
DRE# 01893036

Click “follow” and “like” at the top of the page to subscribe to L.A. Real Estate 101, and stay on top of the L.A., and National, real estate markets.

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Ride this wave

The real estate wave is surging. Are you going to ride this one, or watch from the beach?

The real estate wave is surging. Are you going to ride this one, or watch from the beach?

I’ve been doing some reflecting and goal setting recently and remembered posting this picture along with a write up on my business page months back. In it I stated, “There are only 100 days left in 2012. There are only 47 days left until Election Day. What does your real estate portfolio look like at the moment? What do you want it to look like? These low interest rates and affordable costs will not last forever. A new wave is surging…”

Since then interest rates have gone up a full point, and in some cases are as high as 4.87%. See for yourself: http://www.bankrate.com/partners/sem/IP-mortgage-rates-v2.aspx

Sellers are now receiving multiple offers OVER list price, so much so that realtors are shutting off their phones, requiring questions be emailed in, and even setting dates that they will stop taking offers and present to their client, regardless of the expiration date written into the purchase agreement. They know that you’ll just rewrite the offer when THEY are ready. The market has indeed shifted….

Fortunately, I’m a Darwinist, and I adapt very well. Also, I am not a conformist. I don’t do what everyone ELSE does which is why the SECRET to real estate isn’t much of a secret to me. In fact,  it’s EASY! Here it is: When everyone else is buying,… SELL. When everyone else is selling,… BUY. That’s all there is too it. Don’t chase the crowd. Let the crowd chase you.

Now, I’ll ask again. Summer officially begins TODAY. What does your real estate portfolio look like at the moment? What do you want it to look like? The wave is still surging…. and it WILL crest in November. Are you still watching from the beach? Or are you ready to ride this wave with me?

Call me today to set up an appointment, and get you out into the surf. 310-722-5959

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Negotiation Tactics 101

Make your next move count.

Make your next move count.

We are in a very unique, time sensitive market these days that tends to sway from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market in the course of a weekend. Wondering whether or not you have the upper hand? Here are some indicators.

Generally speaking, if the sellers are under a time constraint or there are dozens of other houses on the market in the area, you may be able to negotiate a better price on a property. However, if more people are buying than are selling, supply goes down and demand goes up, as should your purchase offer.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when making your offer.

  • An all cash offer means there are no loans to fund, and no hoops to jump through with the bank. All cash, all done. This type of purchase usually means a quicker escrow and closing date, and is extremely inviting to the seller.
  • If the seller needs to sell quickly (i.e.  a job transfer out of state,  they are in danger of foreclosure, they just bought an upleg property and need to sell theirs) they may be desperate enough to take a lower offer.
  • If the home has been sitting on the market for a long time with no offers, that generally implies the listing price is too high. Whatever the reason may be, people have seen the house and it still hasn’t sold, this would be quite frustrating for the seller and they may be willing to negotiate that price a bit more.
  • A clean offer, or one in which there are few to no contingencies, is best. If you truly found the house you want, don’t mess up the offer by requesting minor repairs or including the fridge, washer/dryers and the pool table. Keep it simple and “clean.”
  • Add a human touch to your offer, maybe a picture of your family or a letter explaining how their house would be a perfect place to raise your children. Also, if possible, listen to the other party and understand where they are coming from. A seller is much more apt to hand over their home to someone they’ve met and like,  rather than someone trying to get the best deal.

In our current market, there is still very little inventory, but tons of buyers, and we are seeing multiple offers at or above listing price within days of the house going on the market. This would be a seller’s market. So, in this case, if you really want the house, your offer is going to need to be at or above asking price to stay competitive.

Anyone can, and may, make an offer. But do you want make an offer,… or do you want to buy a home? Be aggressive and act quick.

Next month I’m recruiting a guest author, my in-house loan officer, Josh Reikes, from Bank of Manhattan, to give you some tips on how to save tens of thousands of dollars on the purchase of your next home.  Josh is the man that literally wrote the definition on pre-approvals.  I posted it in Wikipedia myself. See for yourself here: Pre-approval.

If you’re ready to start the process of purchasing your first or next home, call me today to set up an appointment. 310-722-5959.

Lawrence Chaves
DRE# 01893036

Click “follow” and “like” at the top of the page to subscribe to L.A. Real Estate 101, and stay on top of the L.A., and National, real estate markets.

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