Saturday, March 24, 2007

3 Things to do before you sell your home!

These three things will help you prepare your home for sale and will end up making you more money on your sale of your long beach home or long beach condo.

  1. Price your long beach home or long beach condo correctly - This is truly the #1 mistake that we see from sellers. Make sure that before you decide on a price of your property you consult your realtor to see what is on the market. Right now in long beach real estate it doesn't matter what things sold for last year it matters what they are selling for now. Don't price your home based on the neighbor who has had his or her long beach home listed for 98 days. You want it based on what is in escrow now or what has sold within the last 90 to 120 days maximum.
  2. Make sure your house is clean - This may sound obvious but you need to have your long beach home or long beach condo clean like a very important person is coming over. Make sure you have all items put away, candles or other items to make it smell better, and make sure there is fresh paint if at all possible.
  3. Don't be present when people are viewing your property - let your realtor have a lock box or let people in. People do not feel as comfortable talking about a property if the owner is there. Whatever you do try and not be present or at the very least don't comment or hover while prospective buyers are viewing your home. It will help you sell your long beach home or long beach condo much better.

These 3 tips cost sellers the most money and it is about netting the most at the end. We wish you the best of luck.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

5 Things to do before you sell your Investment Property!

Often we get asked what should we do to prepare our property for sale? When people are preparing their primary home for sale there usually isn't much that people don't know about doing. We know we have to have a clean yard, clean up the clutter, make sure the paint looks good, and make sure things smell good. So since everyone knows about those we thought it would be good if we spoke about how to get your investment property ready for sale. Let us know what you think. There is an investing section on the following website that is helpful as well at investing in Long Beach.

Investment Property Prepareness list

  1. Make sure you have all of your repair records in order - This is critical to your escrow going smoothly and no surprises being found. Make sure that any and all repairs that you have done you have a record for it. After all you should be taking repairs as a deduction against your income. Even if you have purchased small items don't hide anything.
  2. Make sure that you are in compliance with all local mandatory city ordinances - We never like to see transactions blow up because someone didn't check to see that the city requires wired smoke detectors instead of just the battery ones. Check with your city website they will let you know. An great example at: http://www.ci.la.ca.us/ or http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/. Both cities give plenty of information and phone numbers.
  3. Make sure you have signed lease agreements and copies of them for prospective buyers - If you aren't using a lease of any sort we recommend that you do. You can purchase sample ones at Staples and other office stores. Please make sure everything is accurate and never misrepresent anything!
  4. Get a preinspection of the property completed by a certified inspector - We recommend knowing your problems ahead of time. An inspection of $500 and repairs ahead of time could save you thousands in a transaction. Make sure they are certified by an organization like http://www.nachi.org/ or one endorsed by your state.
  5. Make sure you know what you are going to do with your proceeds - We always advise clients to plan ahead of time. If you are going to be doing a tax deferred exchange (Commonly referred to as a 1031) plan ahead for where you are going to go and don't wait till the last minute. Make sure your realtor presents you all of your options.

There are more things one can do but these top 5 things to do before you sell your investment property will save you lots of headaches! Let us know what you think!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What's happening in Downtown Long Beach?

Long Beach, CA is a large city. I mean to us it is. The total population is just over 500,000 and as a result has many different areas located within this fine city. The 2000 census reported 461,000 so I am adding an increase in the population. As a result we want to make sure that everyone is aware of what is happening in the different areas of this city. So today we thought we would discuss what is happening in downtown long beach. Hopefully everyone had a chance to read the last blog on the monthly statistics for February. If you didn't please do and let us know what you think. More information on downtown can be found at www.LovelyDowntownLongBeachCondos.com in case you wanted to know more about the area. We will discuss today the statistics and what that means for the market. Another great website to find out what is happening in Long Beach as a whole is http://www.longbeach2030.org/. This website is run by the city and will definitely keep you up to date on the future of Long Beach.

Please note that all statistics are pulled from the MLS and that in the MLS system downtown is also associated with nearby Alamitos beach. For our purposes we will use the MLS defined area so if you ever run into other statistics they will more than likely be the same.

Statistics in downtown long beach for February

Closed Sales - 40 - This means that the property actually changed from 1 owner to the next
Number of condos - 24 of the closed sales in downtown long beach were condos
Number of homes - 16 of the closed sales in downtown long beach were homes
New listings - 52 - This means that 52 sellers chose to put their home on the market in downtown long beach in February
Total amount of properties going into escrow - Both Backup & Pending Status - 30
Total properties Expired - 32 - Where contracts expired on the property
Total Active Listings - 291 total properties available in downtown long beach

So now that we have our data out there what does this mean. One of the numbers that is used to judge the health of a market is the number of homes available on market in comparison to the time it would take to sell those properties. Now that is referred to as days on market. For more explanation on this please see the post on February statistics.

The number that we use is the number of properties that went into escrow in the month in both a backup or pending status. Using closed would mean a property would have to be bought and sold in the same month which is usually not the case as escrows are traditionally 30 days.

What this means is that in downtown long beach we have a 9.7 month supply of homes and condos. A sellers market is 6 months or less and a buyers market where the supply is over 12. What this means is we are just fine in downtown right now. We are an even market. As long as sellers price appropriately they should average the 62 day average stay on market prior to receiving an offer. I would recommend pricing more aggresively to attract more buyers.

In all things are not as bad as the media would like us to believe. I do believe both buyers and sellers must be realistic. I don't think that is such a bad thing. Let's here what you have to say.


As usual, you decide the truth!
You be the judge of the real estate market!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

5 reasons why Long Beach Real estate will be just fine in 2007?

You know it is interesting that with all the doom and gloom surrounding the lending industry and the stock market and everything else that we tend not to look at the positives that are occuring in our very own market. I thought it would be great if we had some reasons why Long Beach real estate will be just fine in 2007. So here is our top 5 reasons why things will be ok!

Top 5 reasons in Reverse Order

  1. There are currently only 1,450 residential properties on the market! With over 200 sales a month this means we have just over 7 months supply of properties on the market. 6 months or under is a sellers market so I think we are doing just fine!
  2. The median home value in Long Beach is below the Los Angeles average of $525,000. Below the average is a good thing in this case because it means that more people will be able to afford the property!
  3. First time home buyer programs still work in Long Beach! There are programs that still give the buyer a free $12,500.
  4. You can get a condo for under $225,000! Now this alone should be the best reason. People can still get a place to live for below the national average!
  5. It is the cheapest city on the water in southern california. People will always want to live near or on the beach and Long Beach has the most affordable ocean views around!

I would love to hear what others have to think on why they choose to live in the City of Long Beach. Let us know as we would be glad to hear it!

Monday, March 12, 2007

How many homes sold in March in Long Beach CA?

We thought that it would be a good idea to post the vital statistics of the housing and condo market that happens every month. This way everyone can see what is happening and we can all discuss what is good, bad, or indifferent for the Long Beach, CA market.

For this blog article we have not broken up the difference between homes and condos. We will be doing that in the future though so stay posted. The statistics only include residential housing so no multi-family properties are included in the statistics. There may be a possibility that a duplex is included in the statistics if it was listed under the heading of residential properties.

All of these statistics came from the MLS(Multiple Listing Service). We did do the searching so it is as accurate as possible. All information is based on data from 02/01/2007 to 02/28/2007
So here we go.
  • Total residental properties available: 1,264
  • Total new properties that came on the market: 407
  • Total properties that went into escrow (Both Pending & Backup Status) - 237
  • Total properties that Expired - 137

So what does that mean. Let's take a look and then hear what people have to say. At the current pace of sales (237) a month that means Long Beach as a whole has 5.3 months of inventory. Now in different areas of Long Beach this sometimes means the level of inventory is beyond 6 months and in others it is below 6 months.

The reason I mention 6 months is that below 6 months of inventory a market is considered a sellers market, between 6 months to 12 months the market is considered a level field for buyers and sellers, and above 12 months the market is considered a buyers market.

Now I don't think that this is a seller's market and seller's should just rush out there and price to the sky. What I do believe this data is telling us is that the market is becoming more balanced and that Long Beach as a whole is not experiencing a massive fallout as the media has been saying is across the country.

So upcoming we will continue to post more statistics about the different areas of Long Beach so that homeowners in all areas can see what is going on in their particular area.

As usual, you decide the truth!

You be the judge of the real estate market!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Where is the Long Beach, CA Real Estate market going to finish for 2007? - Part II

Ok, here we go in Part II of our analysis of the Long Beach market. This again is taken from the article in the Long Beach Press Telegram. You can find the full article at http://www.presstelegram.com/outlook/ci_5290043.

Please see the Part I post for more information on where things left off. This time we will focus on the remaining experts that the press telegram has interview for this piece.

The next expert that they cover is Tammy Newland who is the owner of Los Alamitos Keller Williams. Full disclosure, James and I are both agents for Keller Williams Realty. We are not part of Tammy's office. Now this won't stop me from my opinion on Tammy's outlook but I want everyone to know.

I believe that Tammy actually gives a far better picture of what is going on in the market. We are in fact based on supply and demand and I, like Tammy, believe that the market has to flatten out because wages have not risen fast enough to continue to demand curve act increasing prices.

Randy Smith of C21 is the next expert. He is stating an 11% drop in the number of closed sales from the previous year. This just means less closed sales have occured. Randy has not provided the reader with any indication that there have been dramatically less listings or any other figure that would help us gauge the effectiveness of his statement. I am not faulting Randy just saying a few more figures would have helped.

He brings up a great point about negative amortization loans. These loans are set-up in a way that if an owner chooses the lowest payment option they will be adding a balance to their loan. These loans can cause problems if owners are not educated properly on how to use them. In some cases sellers are not even aware they have this loan which is sad.

In all Randy points out we will have a slight appreciation. I tend to agree with this point. What do you think?

The last expert is Rose Voss who is a consultant to Coldwell Banker. Now Rose comes up with a figure that the last market had 30% speculators involved in it. This is a great statistic that I am not sure can be proven false or true. I would love to know where it came from. Rose continues with how the return has been for buyers in the last few years. We know it has been good what we care about is the future. Her predictions aren't over whelming and she isn't risking much with her comments so I won't even bother commenting on them.

In all I believe that Randy and Tammy provide a nice view of where the Long Beach market is going to be. In future blogs we will be posting the stats by month so we can all see what is going on. We believe that this will be a year in where if sellers want to sell they can get it sold provided they price accurately. Buyers who are focused and motivated can get that first time or trade up property they couldn't get two years ago. There is still room for everyone and we don't believe that the market is going to fall apart.

As usual, you decide the truth!
You be the judge of the real estate market!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Where is the Long Bech Real Estate market in 2007? - Part I

The $1 million question in real estate today is where is the residential market in 2007 going to finish. You could say that it is the $525,000 question which is the median price in Los Angeles county. The article we are discussing today is good and I think deserves a two part blog so this is going to be part 1 of 2.

A great article entitled "Market experts tell the real story" in the Press Telegram by Don Jergler which can be found at http://www.presstelegram.com/outlook/ci_5290043 tells a side of what will come in Long Beach.

First, the good news is that more jobs were added in the southern california area. In fact there were 63,400 new jobs added last year. I would like to believe that because jobs are being added that we will continue to have demand for housing. It just means what kind of demand. We will have purchase or rental demand. The article makes it appear that this number will hold it all together. I am not sure about that. What I know is that having jobs never hurt.

Now we get into the core of the article where they talk to some real estate experts locally. Now our goal is always to make sure to get to the heart of issues and to make sure to let you know what is going on. I believe some of the individuals quoted in the article do and others are just talking about the numbers their company is doing which I don't think benefits Long Beach home owners in understanding where the market is going. So here we go.

The first expert quoted is Bruce Mulhearn. So ignore ignore the commercial that is done by Bruce Mulhearn. He only bothers to tout his companies numbers which of course does nothing to tell readers what is going on. No offense to Bruce but home owners in Long Beach don't care if your company did $133 million in a month or $150 million in a month. That just means he made a huge chunk of change.

What does this mean for you? The market did appreciate in 2006 which is great news for all local home owners. Condos and are still going to be in demand because they exist far below the median price.

The rest of Bruce Hulhearn's points such as the demand for luxury homes has of 6 homes has just about nothing to do with the overall market as a whole. 6 homes and the demand for those is no indication on where the market is headed considering homes over 1 million are a fraction of the overall market.

At the end Bruce is predicting that appreciation will be at 6 to 8 percent a year. So let's look at this. We have had record appreciation year over year at over 20% and now Bruce thinks that we are going to go at 6 to 8%. I don't really believe this is feasible. This would mean that homes would continue to outpace the growth of wages and destroying inflation. If homes continue at Bruce's rate we will only increase the affordability problem that we currently have here in California which is that less than 24% of the population can afford to purchase. This is of course based on a 30year fixed mortgage.

So that is the conclusion of Part I. Look for part II to follow-up shortly.

As usual, you decide the truth!
You be the judge of the real estate market!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Is the worse over? - for the housing market

Well as you know we always try and bring the latest information to light. A great article in the Long Beach Business journal appeared in the Real Estate section by Thyda Duong. The article is entitled "The Worst is Over" As Housing Market Begins to Stabilize.

So how are things in Long Beach, CA. Well I can tell you that our average price in December was $514,000 for a single family home. That is up 5% from 2006! Those who don't think 5% isn't a great return please not that the 5% was on rouhgly $500,000 which means the average Long Beach, CA homeowner made $25,000 in appreciation. I am not sure about everyone else but I know these two bloggers think that $25,000 is quite a bit of money!

That also means that at $514,000 we are still below the Los Angeles County Average of $525,000. We believe that this puts Long Beach in a nice position to continue to rise or at the very least maintain value. It is still the most centrally located city for those commuters who have a family where one goes to Orange County and the other to Downtown Los Angeles.

In all the outlook for 2007 looks to maintain at where we were for 2006. The interest rates are still extremely low considering history and there are still quite a few things for buyers to buy.

Let us know what you think!