Monday, March 31, 2008

Long Beach Home Auction, Part 2

So are you ready for an auction? In the last post we spoke about the upcoming auction here in Long Beach. In today's most I want to cover 4 things that you absolutely must to prior to walking into that auction.

4 MUST DO Items that you need to do prior to attending an auction
  1. Pre-approve with a lender you know - I know that the auction company conveniently allows you to pre-approve through their lender. While that is all well and good you want to pre-approve through someone whom you have used in the past or been referred to.
  2. Inspect the property ahead of time - That's right most auction companies don't allow you to inspect after you bought it but they do allow you to take a look prior to the auction. The one coming up in Long Beach,CA has a day where you can get into the properties through various open houses.
  3. Consult Your Real Estate Professional - Now I am not saying this because I happen to be a real estate broker but you should consult an expert in the area you are buying and preferably one you have used in the past or one that has been referred to you. Remember the auction company wants the most for the property not what is in YOUR best interest. Some Realtors will work as a consultant for you for auctions as most auction houses do not pay commissions to Realtors. Some Realtors charge a flat hourly rate for the time at the auction while others charge a flat fee. Make sure they help you analyze the properties you want to bid on ahead of time.
  4. Know the Rules - This is very important. Some auction company's have a buyer premium that is 5% or more on top of your final bid. Make sure you factor this in to what you will pay and make sure you know if you have financing contingencies or any other real estate protections. Not knowing the rules could cost you big $$$$.

Remember the auction is coming up on April 5th. To see more details on this auction refer to part 1 of Long Beach Home Auction.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Home Auction in Long Beach, CA Part 1

Have you ever attended an auction? If you haven't attended you are truly missing out on an adventure. There is a home auction taking place in Long Beach, CA where around 220 homes will be sold to the highest bidder. Does this sound interesting or scary now? Well it should be a little of both. This is part 1 of posts that will be doing as a series leading up to the home auction in Long Beach on April 5th 2008. Make sure to check back in for details about the auction process, what to watch out for, and how best to protect yourself.

Here are some items to consider:

  • No one represents you! - You have to look out for yourself. No one is going to make sure that things are done right for you. They are interested in getting the highest bid possible and getting rid of what they consider a problem.
  • Read the fine print - We will speak more about this later but make sure you know what is
  • Don't get caught up with emotion - Buying a property at auction can be exciting and entertaining. You need to make a business decision ahead of time before getting caught up in the moment.

So where is this auction in Long Beach taking place? Details of the event and a link to the auction company website are below:

When: April 5th 2008
Where: Long Beach Convention Center
Number of properties to be sold: 220+
Auction Company: Real Estate Disposition Company

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

5 Tips to Ensure a Successful Foreclosure Purchase

The news media is constantly reminding all of us that "foreclosures are up". Well it shouldn't be a surprise that foreclosures are up considering we had the hottest real estate market in the past 30 years with historically low foreclosures during that time period. Currently Long Beach foreclosures are less than 5% of the total real estate market. So although they are a small amount of the market, it is important to be aware (and prepared) of what you need to purchase a foreclosure property.

Here are 5 items you need to know to be prepared for the purchase of a foreclosure:

  1. Offer Preparation - Each bank is different and may require different information, however it would be a safe bet to have the following: copy of a check, proof of funds to close, pre-approval letter, copy of FICO scores. Know that if you do not have this ready they listing agent will probably not even submit your offer to the bank because the bank only wants to look at complete offers.
  2. Contracts - Understand your contract! Most banks will have you sign an "Addendum" to the traditional real estate purchase contract. This Addendum usually overrides aspects of the real estate purchase contract and can shorten important items like inspection periods.
  3. Discounts - The banks aren't in the business of giving away their assets. So, even though you are just positive it is a "buyers market" the bank is unlikely to take 50 cents on the dollar. Have your real estate broker show you the active inventory and the closed sales so you can see how well it is priced.
  4. Don't be late! - The banks want to sell their property and they don't care that you couldn't get your paystubs over to your lender in time :). The banks will usually charge $100+/day for every day you run late on your escrow so make sure you are prepared with all items dealing with your loan.
  5. The leaky faucet isn't getting fixed - You are getting a deal so know that those annoying items that came up on your inspection report aren't getting fixed. The bank complies with items like water heater strapping and smoke detectors (usually), but don't think they are changing the carpet for you.

Keeping these items in mind will help you to have a successful process. Foreclosures are out there, you just have to hunt, use the Free Long Beach MLS and pour through the inventory to see what is there, or contact your local Long Beach real estate agent so they can set you up a customized search.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Interest Rate Projections

Here's a snapshot of this week's activity and where interest rates are currently at:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finding information on Long Beach real estate can sometimes be challenging. With Long Beach being the 5th Largest city in the state of California there is alot to learn about the many different neighborhoods that are available. In fact SoCal MLS (the MLS system that covers Long Beach) being the 2nd largest MLS in the country stated that Long Beach has the most neighborhood definitions! So where do you find information on the different neigborhoods?

The website of Lovely Long Beach Homes has been re-designed and more neighborhood content has been added to help everyone find the area in Long Beach that is right for them. From historic craftsman homes in Belmont Heights to the Virginia Country Club we have documented the city so you can your new home. We have also upgraded the property search feature so you can search the Long Beach MLS without having to sign in!

Here are some of the information you can find:

  • Belmont Heights - From learning about the craftsman homes in the area, to finding out where the historic district is located you can get the information you need to find the place in Belmont Heights that is right for you.
  • Bixby Knolls - Many people don't know there are 9 neighborhoods within Bixby Knolls. Take the time to learn about Virginia Country Club, Bixby Highlands and more.
  • Free Long Beach MLS - If you are tired of websites that mandate you sign-in in order to search for homes in Long Beach, you have come to the right place. Search the properties that are available from every real estate broker and you can even save your search if you want to be updated on the latest inventory!

Have fun learning more about Long Beach or just dig right in to search for that home you have been wanting!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Belmont Shore Real Estate Sales for March 2008

Belmont Heights Sales for March 2008

OK so the month is not over yet but we thought for St. Patrick's we would give an update on an area that we get tons of questions on and happens to be located close the the water and in high demand.

So what is going on in Belmont Heights in Long Beach this March? Well we currently have 66 active homes listed for sale and 8 properties that are in some stage of escrow. What does all of this mean?

  • 12% of the properties are in some stage of escrow. This is quite good for not only the time of year but in comparison to other areas of the city.
  • We have a 8.25 months supply of homes. This would put Belmont Heights not quite in a sellers market but in an even market for sure.
  • List to sales price ratio continues to stay above 96%. This is the average discount that a buyer is receiving which is just above 4%. This is great for both the buyers and the sellers.

Belmont Heights continues to draw attention as a highly desirable place to live in Long Beach. At a recent open house in the area over 150 people went through a house on Mira mar 3 weeks in a row! Real estate is local to the area not just the city and Belmont Heights continues to be in demand.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Los Angeles County Condo Sales for January 2008

Have all the condo buyers disappeared? Well I don't think so but let's take a look at what is happening across Los Angeles County. The chart to the left represents sales of Los Angeles county condos for January of this year, 2008, and compares it to last years sales in January. So purchases of condos in January of this year was down over 50% from the same period last year.

While we don't have it in the chart condo sales last year were also down from 2006. So what, if anything does all of this actually mean? Well let's discuss a few points and see what others have to say about the values, sales, and number of condos that will or won't be sold this year in Los Angeles County which includes the fine city of Long Beach.

  • 2006 was a record year for real estate transactions and condos were no exception to this so the fact that 2007 was down from 2006 should not be a big surprise.
  • January is typically a slow month for sales of real estate and there were more market concerns this year than the previous year. In my opinion many over reacted to how bad they felt the market would be.
  • Values are not down 50%. That is HUGE news. Many thought things would fall apart but while sales volume is down 50% the prices of the condos in Los Angeles County are not down 50%.
  • Condos are still being sold. The number is 1 or 2. We still had 758 homeowners find qualified buyers to sell their condos to.

Condos are going to continue to be sold. Many see them as a first time place to own. Others see condos as a great place to go for retirement. Still others see them as a place that gets them closer to the areas that they work in the downtown's of Los Angeles County. While condos are seeing some pressure on price there is still room for buyers to get a square deal and for sellers to find a buyer for their place.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Construction in Long Beach Offers Surprises

Looking through the Long Beach MLS is a great way to get a good understanding of what is available. Often though there are properties that are not listed in the MLS that your local Long Beach real estate agent can help you to discover.

One of the best surprises of late has been the willingness of builders to work with customers. Often new builder inventory is not listed in the MLS. Understanding which builders do have inventory available and what incentives they are offering is key to helping you make your decision on which Long Beach property is right for you. As we have been around the city quite a bit this week (and in particular tracking some of the new developments) I thought it would be helpful to mention some of what is being offered out there:

  • Temple Lofts - The Temple Lofts, located at 835 Locust Ave, are down to their final 9 units. With just 9 left they have been giving buyers $50,000 to use anyway they would like. This can entail reduction in price, closing cost credit, or even paying your HOA in advance. We have helped a number of clients move in here recently and they have just loved the building.
  • Pacifica - This building, built by Lennar once had just a small sales office to sell out of. Looking at the 3D renderings of models was tough, but now they have the real deal available! They have staged units to look at and they are paying 2 years HOA (along with they have had a great price reduction from their initial offerings).
  • AQUA - List prices can be tricky :). Although the builder is down to their remaining 34 units the prices seem a bit on wishful side. Don't let that stop you though. Going with your real estate agent has it's advantages. The sales staff is more than willing to work out a deal - everything from a price reduction to upgrades. Ask to see what you can get!
  • Blu - This new development across the street from City Place Lofts offers a great style and some very functional floor plans. They have updated their pricing to be in-line with the current market and their sales staff is very professional.

Understanding the inventory from the traditional resales to the new construction in Long Beach will help you to find the right home. Financing options are many and the builders may even help lower your interest rate with a buy down. Have fun shopping using the Long Beach MLS and your Long Beach Realtor.

Related Posts:

  • Special Incentives on New Construction in Long Beach
  • Blu Condos in Long Beach

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Los Angeles County Home Sales for January 2008

Well it is the time to start reporting on what has been happening so far in real estate in 2008. We are approaching the end of the first quarter and there are some things that everyone should pay attention to. For today I thought everyone might want to know how the sales this year stack up to last year. The graph to the left illustrates what is happening.

So what does this all mean?

  • Los Angeles home sales are currently down over 50% for the same period as last year.
  • There are opportunities available for buyers who are looking to purchase a home.
  • Homes are still selling it just may been accepting a lower price than the seller originally wanted.
  • The conforming loan limits has been raised which will help more people purchase a conforming loan than ever before.
  • Homes are still selling!

So it is not all doom and gloom. Homes are still available for sell and people are still looking. In fact right now you probably have the most motivated buyers and sellers out there so match them up and you have a win!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Top 10 Foreclosure Avoidance Tips

Foreclosures and Short Sales seem to be the buzz words for 2008. Today's segment covers 10 Foreclosure Tips for homeowners and how to possibly avoid one. I can't stress to anyone thinking about this to act immediately. Think of Cancer...the longer you wait the worse it's going to get. If you catch is quick enough you might be able to save yourself from a painful process. Please feel free to contact us if you think you might need help in finding the right professional to help you out. We are happy to refer you to one of the many respectable professionals we know.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Appraisal: For What It's Worth

If you've just purchased your first home, you probably have a pile of paperwork on your house. Within it you might see a large packet entitled "Appraisal." What in the world is that? An appraisal is an estimate of your new home's value. Conducted by an appraiser, it ensures that the lender is not loaning more than what the home is worth and that you, the buyer, are not paying more than what you should.

When conducting an appraisal, the appraiser will inspect the size, condition, quality and amenities of a home and compare them to those of other homes in the area. They will then create a report of those features and determine the home's value. The value will generally reflect what other properties in the neighborhood are selling for. However, there may be some variations. Homes with four bedrooms, for example, will generally be valued higher than homes with three bedrooms, while homes that have recently been updated will generally be valued higher than those that haven't.

Sometimes an appraiser may determine the value of the house to be less than the asking price. If this occurs, the seller will either have to lower the price or the buyer will have to increase their down payment to make up the difference. Of course, as with anything else, mistakes can be made, so if the appraisal comes in too low, double-check that the appraiser did not make any miscalculations.

Remember, an appraisal is an estimate of value. It is not, and should never be, a replacement for a whole-house inspection. If you are purchasing a home, you will be required by the lender to have an appraisal and you should arrange to have a whole-house inspection. The inspection may uncover problems that the appraiser did not notice.

An appraisal generally costs between $200 and $500, but the price is worth it just for the protection it provides for both the lender and the buyer. For just a few hundred dollars, you can save thousands of dollars later.

Where are the home sales occuring in Long Beach?

Despite the fact that the media is overly negative on the housing market, there is still some wonderful activity here in the Long Beach market. With currently just 1,795 available homes and condos throughout the city we don't have as much inventory available as even a few months ago. With 112 sales occuring in February properties are moving, but which ones?

I won't paint a rosy picture as sales have slowed, but I thought it would be appropriate to mention what activity is occuring in the market place.

  • Open Houses Near the Beach - Homes in Belmont Shore and Belmont Heights are still getting attention. With limited inventory under $1,000,000 (just 35 homes in Belmont Heights) buyers have been looking to find that right home. In 1 open house on Mira Mar this past weekend there were over 130 buyers through in a 2 day period (6 hours total of having the house open), now that is some activity!
  • Entry Level Condos - Condos for the first time buyer that are in good condition are still not easy to get your hands on. In one instance in the past week a buyer actually lost on 3 different condos due to the fact there were multiple offers. This occurs particularly on condos under $300,000. There are still choices available in Downtown Long Beach, Bixby Knolls and more, but if you don't want to wait for a short sale your options will be smaller in number.
  • Foreclosures - Although the media paints a picture of abundant foreclosures we aren't seeing them in every area. In particular neighborhoods like the Westside and North Long Beach we generally have more available than in areas like the Plaza. Foreclosures have provided for some great opportunities but act quickly as they are generally priced aggressively and don't last long. Right now they account for just about 5-7% of the total market.

With aggressive interest rates and some pricing pressure you can certainlly find the deal for you using the Long Beach MLS or contacting your Long Beach real estate agent. Have fun finding the property for you!