Thursday, January 29, 2009
The benefits of a HomePath Mortgage Loan include:
-only 3% down required on a primary residence property
-no mortgage insurance required
-no property appraisal required
-only 10% down on 1-2 unit investment properties (this is huge)
-get up to 6% back in seller concessions
Only a very few lenders can do these loans, but Metrocities Mortgage is one of them.
One drawback is that there are just not very many Fannie Mae REOs in northern Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley. Search for Fannie Mae REO properties eligible for HomePath financing at www.research.fanniemae.com/reosearch.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Los Angeles Magazine interviewed me today for an upcoming real estate story about emerging neighborhoods in the area. Unfortunately, much of what I said won't be for attribution. However, here are some of the wheres and whys that we discussed:
- Magnolia Park in Burbank for good price points and excellent schools;
- Porter Ranch for brand new homes and decent prices;
- Shadow Hills for proximity to mountain trails and equestrian property;
- Studio City/Tujunga Village for great housing stock, Carpenter School and easy commutes;
- Arleta for decent housing stock at low prices;
- Adams Hill in Glendale for views; and
- South Pasadena and Linda Vista for all-around lovely neighborhoods.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Unless you're a move-up buyer, e.g., somebody who owns a home but would like to move to a larger house. Many move-ups need to sell their homes in order to buy a new one. Bridge loans are uncommon. And it's extremely difficult to pull equity of your existing home for a down payment, because so many people have suffered such equity erosion lately. Saving money and having a large nest egg for a down payment is a nice thing, but who do you know that has thousands and thousands of dollars sitting around for that?
To me, in my market, this is where the bottle-neck is. Lower-priced homes have been selling quickly to first-time buyers. It's the people who are trying to move up from their first-time purchase that are being stymied.
I think the solution will be for lenders to begin giving bridge loans again, if equity warrants it. Or even making 100% loans to buyers with excellent credit.
Condos - rates will be .5% higher than for single family homes
Duplexes - rates will be .75% higher than for single family homes
Cash-out refinances - rates will be .5% higher than for rate-and-term-only refinances.
While this is not necessarily good for buyers, rates are still low. It indicates a policy that favors purchasers who want to live in neighborhood family homes over investors.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Some clients contacted me last Friday about seeing short sale property that had just come on the market. The house is at 401 N. Brighton, Burbank, and the mls is S559692. The house is a 3+2, 1446 square feet, and is in a nice neighborhood. I was a little suspicious because the house was only listed at $420,000 and is not a fixer. That's really low, even in this market, for a house that size. I can't see a lender ever approving anything that low -- the comps are much higher. And, as we all know, the lender has to sign off before a sale can be concluded. Was the agent courting a bidding war?
I spoke with the agent late Friday afternoon. She confirmed the house was available.
I went over on Saturday afternoon. The key was missing from the lockbox. Being the breaking-and-entering Realtor that I am, I entered through the side garage door. The house isn't bad. It needs decorating, but it's workable. There were several other Realtors trying to show the house to clients while I was there -- no surprise, with a price that (artificially) low. I called the Realtor, told her the key was missing, and asked if it could be replaced by Sunday at noon. She said she'd try.
I met my clients there on Sunday. Alas, now the entire lockbox was missing, and the house was shut up tight as a drum. The listing agent's voicemail was full.
This morning, the house appeared on the mls as pending. As in under contract, not taking back up offers, in escrow, la la la.
Uh-unh. Most lenders won't approve a short sale until the house has been on the market for thirty days. This has been on for five days. Most lenders will not approve a sale unless the price is at least somewhat in line with the comparables. And lenders don't work on legal holidays (today is Martin Luther King day), let alone weekends. It would be almost impossible to get a written approval that quickly. And no escrow companies are open today, either.
So what's up? How can a house that's impossible to show get sold this quickly? Does the agent not want it shown because she has her own offer? Are the sellers and agent in league with each other to try to sell it to somebody they know for that low price? Or does the listing broker just not know the short sale process? Am I jumping the gun here with these suppositions? I don't think so, and most banks are getting wise to these schemes. Personally, I'm irritated to have wasted my and my buyers' time on this.
- Shoe Pavillion
- Linens and Things
- Vons on San Fernando (although I hear that Jon's is going in there)
- Empty grocery on Verdugo/Sparks/Olive intersection [Update 1/22/2009: I'm told Fresh and Easy is going in here.]
- Circuit City (well, not quite empty yet)
And although it's not exactly a store, Black Angus has filed for bankruptcy. If it closes, a Mimi's would be nice in that space. What will be next to close? Great Indoors, perhaps?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Burbank home and condo sales, 7/1/08-1/15/09:
Average price for 2 bedroom home: $498,500
Average price for 3 bedroom home: $620,700
Average price for 4 bedroom home: $714,800
Average days on market: 79
Studio City home and condo sales, 7/1/08-1/15/09:
Average price for 2 bedroom home: $655,000
Average price for 3 bedroom home: $955,000
Average price for 4 bedroom home: $1,395,000
Average days on market: 61
Please contact me if you'd like me to run the numbers on any other local areas.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Next. Macy's announced store closings. So far, the Burbank, Glendale, and Sherman Oaks stores are safe. Yah!
And finally, Jon's grocery store is going into where the Von's on San Fernando used to be.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I walked into my Bank of America branch today to ask about re-financing our home. Twenty minutes later, I walked out with a loan lock. The application was taken via computer. Not to sing BofA's praises, but it couldn't have been easier. And my rate is 4.375% plus 2-1/2 points. Total closing costs, including points, are running at 4%. Okay, that's high. But I'm only re-financing $91,000 (we bought a long time ago), and I'm wrapping the closing costs into the loan. It will add an additional $11 to my loan payment every month.
I was surprised to get a commitment without offering any documentation. This was all done with our credit scores. I'll report more as this processes and closes.
Monday, January 05, 2009
I spotted Jerry Ferrara at a Toluca Lake Starbucks this past weekend. For those that may not know, he plays Turtle on HBO's Entourage. He has very nice skin, for what it's worth. No, he was not with Jamie Lynn Sigler.