Another video I did for potential buyers – these were tract homes that sold in the $300,000s back in the early-1990s. This just closed for $2,400,000:
Carlsbad was named as one of the best cities to live in America for 2019, according to rankings released by Niche, that ranked the city as No. 21.
The “Best Places to Live” rankings include cities, city neighborhoods and suburbs. Niche defines a “place” as a “non-rural town” with a population of 1,000 or more, including neighborhoods, suburbs and cities. Niche also separately ranked the best cities, neighborhoods and suburbs in which to live.
Carlsbad received an overall Niche grade of A+, with the following Niche scores by category:
- Public Schools: A+
- Crime & Safety: B
- Housing: C
- Nightlife: A-
- Good for Families: A+
- Diversity: A-
Carlsbad also ranked as No. 7 for Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, No. 11 for Best Cities to Retire and No.13 for Healthiest Cities in America.
The top 10 Best Suburbs to Live in California are:
- Santa Monica
- Mountain View
- Manhattan Beach
- Palo Alto
- Solana Beach
- Los Altos Hills
- Hermosa Beach
The top 10 best places to live in America are:
- Bluemont, neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia
- Carmel, Indiana
- Overlake, neighborhood in Redmond, Washington
- College Terrace, neighborhood in Palo Alto, California
- Davis Island, neighborhood in Tampa, Florida
- Rose Isle, neighborhood in Orlando, Florida
- Colonial Village, neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia
- Okemos, Michigan
- Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania
- Radnor/Fort Myer Heights, neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia
Niche released its “Best Places to Live” rankings on Monday. The publication says its goal is to “provide accurate, comparable and thorough evaluations of places.” Using data from government and private sources, Niche grades the places evaluated for the rankings on factors like public schools, crime and safety and housing.Link to Patch
Those who pay their bills on time will cringe at how people can work the system successfully. Hat tip to SM who sent in this story told by a mortgage rep in Orange County:
My client had both a first and second mortgage on his Southern California home. He fell on hard times back around the Great Recession days. He filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011.
Meanwhile, he got back on his feet income wise and credit wise. He made timely payments on the first trust deed, but never paid one penny of his remaining $250,000 second trust deed balance in eight years.
He contacted me about refinancing both his first and second loans into a single new loan. He also had negotiated a $140,000 reduction of the second. So, $250,000 owed turned into a $110,000 second mortgage payoff.
A very sharp underwriter looked more closely at the circumstances of this file. She was able to approve my client on a new Fannie Mae fixed-rate loan with a whopping $545 lower house payment because Fannie’s loan had an interest rate that was 1.875 percent lower than the non-prime loan we were seeking. Hallelujah!
It used to be that mortgage underwriting guidelines were absolutely against any borrower who was perceived as somehow stiffing the lender. In this instance, non-payment and a reduced payoff.
“I’m pleased to see a lightening of the guidelines,” said Susan Ashton, sales manager at Plaza Home Mortgage. “It’s really a positive thing.”
So, let’s dig a little deeper.
While bankruptcy discharge protects borrowers from having to reimburse lenders for missed house payments, it doesn’t protect them from foreclosure, according to Newport Beach bankruptcy attorney Michael Nicastro. Hence, borrowers typically continue to make their required house payments.
Mortgage lenders cannot demand payment on unpaid debts. So, post-bankruptcy, lenders do not report borrower late payments or delinquencies to credit bureaus.
Often the second mortgages are underwater — meaning the value of the house is less than the sum of the first, second, and accrued interest, etc. So, there is no point in foreclosing.
Those lenders typically sell the non-performing seconds for pennies on the dollar to what is known as “scratch-and-dent” investors. These scratch-and-dent investors hope to collect when the property value comes back.
Nicastro points out that the lender can send to the borrower a 1099-C (Cancellation of Debt), reporting the unpaid balance as income to the IRS.
“Check with your CPA,” Nicastro said. “If debt is canceled in bankruptcy, it’s possible that there is no taxable impact.”Link to Article
Statistics can be quirky, or maybe St. Patrick’s Day is a real holiday? The new listings dropped off 18% this week, just like in the 3rd week of March last year!
In 2018, the number of pendings hit a peak in the third week of March, and then dropped four consecutive weeks. But it’s probably more a result from so many closings from the initial surge of activity following the Super Bowl.
The average LP/SF is hanging tight. We are at, or near, 12-month highs in all categories, and I don’t expect any change. Sellers aren’t motivated enough to really drop their price, instead they will just wait.
We had that story about the open-concept (great rooms) going away, due to them being too noisy and less private.
But Susie disagreed, and sent in a couple of photos of her new 2,321sf house in Boise, Idaho that cost $491,000 (for those who might be thinking of moving).
I will never go back to walls to divide my living room, kitchen and dining room. And the more windows, the better – Our new home has 40 windows, and still attains a HERS rating of 70 energy efficiency.
The builder also surprised her with this tiled feature wall:
This was her previous house – Boise might be worth a look!
Builders didn’t get the memo about great rooms not being as popular either.
I think we can expect the great-room trend to stick around a while longer!
Saturday is the grand opening of One Paseo, the master-planned community in Carmel Valley that has been 13 years in the making. Here is my video, and their video which includes a cameo of Becca from Bachelorette Season 14:
Home sellers have a lot to worry about: Will anyone want to buy their property for its full asking price? How long will it take to find a buyer? Is it really worth the expense and trouble of staging a home to boost its desirability with buyers?
“Heck yes” is the answer to that last question, according to an overwhelming number of buyer’s agents polled for a recent National Association of Realtors® report. About 40% of the agents surveyed said that staging had an impact on most buyers, while 52% said it affected at least some of the folks interested in the abode.
“Buyers’ expectations have changed and risen. They want to see the types of homes they see on TV in person,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of research.
Styling a dwelling with some well-placed furniture makes it easier for buyers to imagine the home as their own, according to 83% of the buyer’s agents surveyed. And home shoppers are more likely to visit a property in person if they liked what they saw in photos online.Link to Full Article
The percentages are quite a bit higher this year. The title of the graph could be ‘Sellers Who Are Having No Showings’ because most are (overly) optimistic this early in the selling season and hold tight on price until later. Something must be rattling them – like no showings.
An excerpt from the UT article:
Home price reductions are still common when the market is red hot. It is sometimes a selling tactic — although not usually considered a good one — to price a home higher and then come down so the buyer feels like they are getting a deal. But, the number of reductions recently shows a big change.
For instance, 8.5 percent of homes had price reductions in November 2016. In November 2018, there were 29.4 percent.
Jason Cassity, a real estate agent based downtown, said the industry has a problem shifting when there has been a big change — such as a downturn in sales at the end of last year. He said some agents are operating like there will still be a bidding war.
“If you continue pricing like it is 2016, it is going to sit on the market a long time,” he said. “Or you are going to be one of those 20 percent (in February) that have to price reduce.”
He said a lot of the reductions he has seen were listings marked up too high out of the gate, something a lot of agents could get away with for years. He said sometimes homes are priced overly high just to meet sellers’ expectation of a huge payday, not the actual value.
Cassity said he presents news articles about the real estate market to clients before they decide on what price they are going to market with.Link to Full Article
Let’s examine what happens when a hot new listing gets taken by one of the big real estate teams in 2019.
What qualifies as a hot listing?
I think we can say that 70% to 80% of listings are priced at full retail or higher, so the rest are either priced attractively or have unique features that propel them into the ‘hot’ category – great location, newer, remodeled, one-story, etc.
First, let’s note that the leaders of the big real estate teams have hired several newby agents to carry the load. The leaders do their best to train and supervise, but once the system is up and running, everyone gets too busy to pay much attention to how the sausage is made.
The lead agent takes the hot new listing, and hands it off to the assistants.
- They start the selling process with the Coming Soon round, which lasts for days or weeks. While the bosses intend this to be a pre-marketing campaign, if a buyer contacts the assistant-squad during the Coming Soon period and wants to buy it….well, then, heck – let’s make a deal. If an outside agent wants to show or sell it, they are told to wait until it’s on the open market.
- If the Coming Soon round is unsuccessful, then the listing goes into the MLS and onto the open market. The quality of the remarks and photos can tell you a lot. If they are brief, it’s another sign that the squad is trying to couch the listing so outsiders might miss it.
- Now the games begin. This happened to me this week. Following the showing instructions, I call and text the agent, but no response. I persist, and finally catch a squad member answering the phone. He says “the occupant needs more notice to show”, even though I had begun my inquiry six hours prior, to which there was no response. He says he’ll get back to me once he can schedule something with the occupant. This goes on for two days, until he finally answers his phone again…..and you know what’s coming. “Oh, we just accepted an offer on that one!”
The team leader insulates himself from the gritty details by not publishing his phone number. For showings, they list a separate phone number in the MLS so they know it’s an agent calling. Then the squad gets just a little too busy to call back those inquiries.
The seller has no clue how the squad’s actions denied him the chance to get more offers – heck, he’s just glad it sold quick. The broker doesn’t supervise that closely and really doesn’t want to know, and the team leader looks the other way, because this was part of the recruiting process to build the squad, and take more vacation.