Friday, May 30, 2008

What is a promissory note in a short sale?

Short sales continue to be a fact in today's real estate market. For those who are just learning about the facts of short sales a short sale is win a property is sold for less than is owed on it. In other words the property is short of the amount needed for a full payoff to the bank. This money that is short has to be taken as a loss by someone and in most cases that is the bank. If you search on "Short Sales" on this blog or check out the related posts you will find more information.

On to the question at hand for today which is what is a promissory note in relation to a short sale.

A promissory note is simple a promise to pay. In some cases the bank decides that they don't want to write off the amount owed on the property and they determine that they want the owner of the property to take another unsecured loan and pay them back. They cannot do this in the case of a purchase money loan or a loan where you bought the house with the money but they can do this if the loan that is going to go short was a refinanced loan or equity line of credit. It also depends on what your loan documents said when you signed them.

So what can you do to avoid this? The bank can proceed with legal action against you and while most banks have decided not to do this there are a few who have decided to proceed against home owners. If a bank is deciding that they want you to take a promissory note you should seek legal counsel to see if there is anything that can be done for you. Do your best to negotiate with the bank yourself and see what kind of terms they can give you. There are no set rules for terms of these promissory notes so you may be able to negotiate terms that are favorable to you. The only thing you shouldn't do is ignore it. Even in foreclosure a bank can proceed with the same action so make sure you look at all of your options.

Related Posts

Thursday, May 29, 2008

blu condos in Long Beach - my experience

Blu is a new condo development in Downtown Long Beach near the City Place mall. As it was being developed it was difficult to tell how it would turn out so, like many, I was excited to see the inside to see how their initial vision came to life. Being developed by the same developer that was behind West Ocean LB, but yet having entry level prices definitely sparked my interest as I am always excited to share good deals from around town.

This past weekend was the first opportunity that people had to view it so I thought I would share some of my feedback as I was able to take a client through. Here is some of what you can expect.

  • Floor Plans - With 8 floor plans to choose from you will find something that meets your needs. Now, the flats (single level condos) provided for the best use of space. They do have a townhome model that is 1,332 sq ft, but I found the single level units allowed you to spread out a bit more and really capitalize on the square footage. Floor plans E and F (1,437 sq ft and 1,479 sq ft respectively), are there single level flats and were wonderful layouts that provided for ample kitchen space as well as good room size.
  • Balconies - Being in southern California and having a Long Beach Condo usually means you want to embrace the year round great weather. They took this into account with ample sized balconies that will allow you to put some furniture out there. There are some city views and keep in mind that with each floor it gets a little more expensive ($5,000 per floor until the top floor which is a $20,000 premium).
  • Community Areas - Now most people I speak to say they don't care what the community has to offer, but this development did a pretty good job providing some areas that people would actually use. They have a great out door area with BBQ's and a huge fireplace. Just next to BBQ's and fireplace they have putting green so you can get great with your short game. In addition to this you will also have a fitness sports center and a coffee bar area with plasma televisions.
  • Materials - The materials that were used to finish the units were done well. Granite counters were used in the kitchens and the bathrooms. The cabinetry uses the self closing drawers keeping your cabinets in great shape and reducing noise transfer between units. The flooring and tiles that were used in the models were nice so I am hopeful that they use the same types in the rest of the condos.
  • Odds and Ends - These units have inside laundry, are pre-wired for a flat panel TV in the living room and master bedroom. Pre-wiring is provided for ceiling fans in the master bedroom and 2nd bedroom. Units are also pre-wired for an alarm system.

I will say that overall the blu Long Beach condos really came out well and that the floor plans are functional while providing a strong value. With condos starting at $382,000 sales will probably start quickly.

You do have to schedule an appointment, and we are certainly happy to do so. Call us today at 562-989-7111 and we can set up a time to show you the properties available at blu.

Related Posts:

  • Blu Condos Update
  • One West Ocean Condos

Monday, May 26, 2008

Track the Value of Your Biggest Asset

Your home may very well be your largest asset yet keeping track of the value can be difficult. Now there are some websites like or Trulia that attempt to give you the value of your home but they are just getting values from different tax records, home owners, or appraisers. They even recommend having the advice of a real estate professional. Now contacting a real estate agent to give you an up to date value of your property would be a pain so we here at are launching a new tool for our readers to keep track of the value of their home. We have just launched the MLS Market Snapshot which will allow you to see sold homes, active homes, and the market in real time around just your neighborhood.

The great part is you get to check in as little or as often as you would like to determine your home value. The system is going to keep your personal website up to date as often as there are changes to the real estate market. Whether you plan to stay in your home for the next 15 years or are looking to sell in the next 24 months it is always a great idea to know what is going on in your neighborhood. If you have stock you like to know what it is worth and with this new tool you can monitor the value of your home. Get your own market snap short by clicking the image in this post or filling out the widget in the right hand side of the blog. This will allow you to see in real time what is happening in your market in your neighborhood.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Is Every Long Beach Neighborhood a Buyer's Market?

The Long Beach real estate market is said to be a "buyers market". Now since I do represent buyers this does make me happy, but not every neighborhood is truly a buyers market. For a buyers market to truly exist you need the following conditions:

  1. Abundant Supply - This would generally be categorized as over a 6 month supply of homes available. This means if no homes were listed it would take over 6 months for buyers to purchase the homes listed until there would be 0 properties available.

  2. Motivated Sellers - If sellers have time on their hands then they don't necessarily offer the discounts or price reductions that would truly make a buyer happy.

  3. Active Buyers - People have to want to want to purchase, whether it be for relocation, moving up or whatever, we need buyers to take action.

With these conditions in mind, let's look at a few neighborhoods here in Long Beach that might not be a buyer's market. Now it doesn't mean we can't find deals in these neighborhoods, but it does bear in mind that we probably won't "steal a home". Here are some of the areas in Long Beach that are holding strong and why.

  • Park Estates - This neighborhood is located just west of Cal State Long Beach. It traditionally has very limited inventory and the homes have a very low turnover rate. With a low supply it isn't a strong buyer's neighborhood, but now may be your best chance to find a deal as there are 7 homes available under $1,000,000 which is a rarity. You will get the best deals here if you are willing to do some upgrading.

  • La Marina Estates - This area is hard to find on a map, but locals to Long Beach know it well as one of the most desired areas to live. Located east of Cal State Long Beach this small tract of mainly custom homes has extremely low turnover. As of May 23rd, there are just 3 homes available in the neighborhood with the most affordable being $825,000.

Take a careful eye on the neighborhoods and what levels of supply are out there. Not everyone may be a buyer's market, but finding the right neighborhood shouldn't be difficult. Use the Long Beach MLS or contact us directly and we would be happy to learn more about what is most important to you.

Friday, May 23, 2008

5 Questions to Ask your Long Beach Real Estate Agent

As this market has been classified as a buyers market it is important to choose the right Long Beach Realtor to represent you in your purchase. As a buyer in this market you need to look for the agent who is the right fit and has the specialize that you need to achieve your goals. As I interview over 100 buyers each and every year I find that many don't have questions for me because they are new to the process so I thought it would be helpful if I put out a few questions that you could ask any agent in Long Beach to see if they are the right fit for your purchase.

  1. Do you specialize in buyers or sellers? - You will find that most agents actually don't specialize. Just as Doctors choose a specialization you may want to consider an agent who has focused on buyers for this market.
  2. How many individuals/families do you help each year? - The average is actually just 6 people a year. Asking this question can help you see their level of performance.
  3. Do you help more people purchase condos or homes? - If you are looking for a condo you may want someone who is familiar with the different Long Beach Condos because of potential HOA issues and more.
  4. How do you negotiate offers? - Here you will get a variety of answers, but check to see if they ask for closing costs, discounts on price, combination of both and more. This market provides many different opportunities to negotiate so check to see what they will do.
  5. How many clients are you helping currently? - Determining their work load will help you to see how much time you will get. They should tell you their process (when they will call, send listings, updates, etc) for helping you to find a property so this is a good one to check on.

Just asking these 5 questions will help you to learn more about the person you are considering having you help you with your purchase. Research the agent online and check testimonials of their past clients so you can see what it is like to work with them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Long Beach Real Estate on Sale for Memorial Day Weekend

With Memorial Day quickly approaching many people are looking forward to sales at the major retailers. Now, it may be tempting to use that stimulus check at Best Buy, but if you look carefully you can actually take advantage of some sales that are occurring with Long Beach real estate.

It may sound crazy that there are "sales" in real estate but they certainly are occuring. So who exactly is having the sales. Get your plans in place now, because there are just a couple of developments that have let us know they are ramping up to sell inventory this weekend.

  • Pacifica - Pacifica is a Long Beach condo development by Lennar in downtown on the Promenade. With 1 bedroom floor plans available that are under $300,000 (only 3 --> 1 bedrooms are left) now is your time to get some of the best deals in town. Now, they just aren't offering price, they are actually providing mortgages that start at 2.88% for year 1, 3.88% for year 2, and then fixed at 4.88% (5.3% APR) for 30 years! That offers quite a bit of savings over the life of the loan. This downtown Long Beach condo development is in a location that provides easy access to Pine St and the Blue line so you are in good shape for future growth. If you contact us directly we would be happy to walk you through the available units there and give you some great ideas on some upgrades to ask about.

  • Temple Lofts - With just 6 remaining Long Beach Lofts they are looking to sell them this weekend! In fact there is still a wonderful penthouse unit available with views south to the City Skyline. They were set to be closed on Monday, but if you ask us nicely we can get you in to see these units. Incentives are available if you get one under contract this weekend. Prices are aggressive and you can get over 1,800 sq ft for under $650,000, but you will have to act soon if you want to live in one of the most amazing adaptive re-use loft projects in all of Long Beach.
So exercise that urge to go shopping and go shopping for real estate. With some wonderful sale opportunities you can get the Long Beach Home or condo you have been wanting and you can get it for less. If you have heard about other sales around the city, please drop us a comment so we can share with everyone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Special Incentives on New Construction in Long Beach Won't Last

Finding new Long Beach real estate is certainly possible. New Long Beach condos are being developed with the majority of them being in Downtown Long Beach. With builders aggressively lowering prices and offering incentives on loans (and more) now has been one of the best times ever to take a look at some of the new developments.

What are some of the incentives?

  • Paid HOA Dues - Some of the builders are paying HOA dues for up to 2 years. With HOA prices ranging from $330-$500+ this can be a huge savings! Sure is nice to put $500 more bucks in your own account over the next two years.
  • Upgrades - In order to showcase what is possible in different models builders have put some flooring upgrades in different units. Find the one that already has the upgraded flooring and you just may get it for nothing extra :).
  • Loan Incentives - If you could get a loan that was over 1% lower than anything out there and fixed for 30 years, would that help? The builders thought so too! They have been offering incentives on financing like 4.8% fixed for 30 years. That makes for 30 years of savings.

How to you find the deals?

Many people think it is easiest to just drive around and speak to each developer. The problem there is you just don't know what you are walking in to (what's available, what incentives, etc). Talk to your local Long Beach Realtor to get the information on the developments. Luckily you get representation for FREE and with your own buyer agent and you can get the inside scoop on all of the developers.

Here are just a couple of the latest new developments, but we put more together on our website so you can see the latest new condos in Long Beach.

  1. blu - A new development in downtown Long Beach near the CityPlace mall. With close proximity to the blue line it provides for an easy commute and large floor plans.
  2. Pacifica - This new development was built by Lennar and is truly in the heart of Downtown on the Promenade. With models available from 1 bedrooms to Townhomes there is something for everyone.
Have fun exploring what is available and take advantage of the incentives before the developers change their minds! When you go to these developments we would love to hear your feedback on them so please post your comments.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Can you find a deal on a Long Beach condo?

Are you looking to find a deal on a Long Beach Condo? Well if you are let's make sure you have some facts as you move forward.

Now can you find a deal, absolutely, it just depends on your definition of a deal. Properties are not being sold for 25 cents on a dollar in amazing buildings but you can find some great opportunities if you look at what is going on. A word of caution though that the buyers who are willing to act are the ones being rewarded. Buyers who are sitting and playing the "Let's wait and see what happens game" just continue to wait and aren't buying anything. With that said let's look at the statistics and see what light we can shed on the current long beach condo market. In case anyone is wondering the picture today was taken by James Bridges of the lovely Harbor Place Towers.

  • There are currently just 625 condos available to be purchased. Now this is in the MLS. You can always search the MLS right here by clicking the FREE MLS link in the right hand side bar. Some of the new condo projects done by builders do not list all of their inventory in the MLS although they fully cooperate with those being assisted by real estate professionals.
  • The average condo available in the MLS is $391,000. So the market in long beach condos definitely hasn't collapsed or fallen apart. Now each area of the city has it's own unique market.
  • The most affordable condo in the city as of this post was $95,000. Now you do get what you pay for so take that into consideration as well.
  • Condos represent just 33% of the available inventory in the city. There are fewer choices of condos than there are homes in the city. This means if you see one you like you may have to act on it especially if it is at a price that looks like a great deal.

Make sure you take a look at what is available and if you want to keep up to date on what is happening in the long beach real estate market make sure you subscribe to this blog by inputting your e-mail in the box to the right. Your mail will never be sold or rented to anyone!

Friday, May 16, 2008

5 Year Trend of Sales in Long Beach in 3 Different Zip Codes

What is going on in each zip code in Long Beach? You know the saying "Real Estate is local." This is no more apparent then when you start looking at how many homes are sold in a particular zip code over a period of time. The chart in this post represents 5 years worth of sales in 3 different zip codes for the month of April.

There are some questions that may or may not be going through your mind at the moment and I want to add a couple more to the mix.

As they say if we don't learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. Let's see if we can get answers to some of these questions:

  • What can we really tell by one month?
  • What does this tell us about the future?
  • What does this tell us about the areas?

So what Zip Codes and areas are we covering? Well we are covering the following 3 zip codes in this report:

  • 90805 - This is referred to primarily as North Long Beach.
  • 90802 - This area includes most of downtown long beach and there is a high density of condos to choose from in this zip code.
  • 90807 - Known as Bixby Knolls just north of the 405 freeway off of Long Beach Blvd. To be fair there are many sub areas of Bixby Knolls that you should take a look at and you can see those at

What does it all mean?

  • The 90807 sales are up over 10%! There are construction projects and businesses making moves in Bixby Knolls.
  • 90802 - Sales in Downtown are down from 5 years ago. There is more inventory to choose from and buyers have new contruction and resales to choose from. The good news is that the sales from 2007 to 2008 remained flat.
  • 90805 - Sales in North Long Beach are up from last year and are on a pace with previous years. This area also has business and city development to assist with growth.

The future is not as bleak as it seems. It is funny how 5 years goes by so quickly. You want to make sure to look to the long term when purchasing a home or a condo. Take a look at the different areas at the MLS to the right or at to see what you can choose from.

Related Posts

  • Bixby Knolls Updates for May 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bixby Knolls Real Estate Update for May 2008

How many people have driven through Bixby Knolls lately? If you haven't you may have missed some of the changes that have been happening. New commercial developments (like the one at Carson & Atlantic) have been finished, first Friday of the month activities (for businesses in and near bixby knolls), and improvements to building facades (check out the corner of Long Beach Blvd and 36th). It is an exciting time in Bixby Knolls so you may want to take a look around. If you are coming from the 405 the easiest way to get there is head north off of the Long Beach Blvd or Atlantic exits to see what is happening.

So how does this affect the real estate in Bixby Knolls? Well let's look at what is going on in real time in the area to find out.

Bixby Knolls Real Estate Report for May 2008

We of course normally do these reports at the very beginning of the month or at the end but I thought we would go over what is happening today so everyone doesn't miss out on anything.
  • Active Properties - 130 - All residential properties for sale
  • In Escrow - 37 (Backup and Pending)
  • Months Supply - 3.5

So what does this mean. Well as we have covered in the past under 6 months of supply of property is a "sellers market". We have a very low 3.5 months so is Bixby a sellers market? Well in some cases it is. There are some fantastic opportunities for condos and a few homes that are worth checking out. Take a look at through the FREE Long Beach MLS on the site to check current properties. Homes and condos that are priced under the last sales are getting multiple offers and selling within days not weeks or months. It does require sellers to be aggressive in their pricing and selling a home right now in Bixby Knolls may not be right for all sellers so make sure you know the actual value of what your home would sell for before you put it on the market. If you want to know what your home would sell for in todays market get a free home evaluation from your real estate professional.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You snooze, You Lose....The House That You Always Wanted

For all of the media attention on the fact that it is a "buyer's market" and there are so many choices, when you get down to it, there might not be as many choices as you anticipate. With just 1,841 home and condo options available as of the end of April (see Long Beach Real Estate Statistics for last month), you need to dig carefully through the Long Beach MLS to find the property that is right for you.

Want a real life example of dissappearing inventory?

If you were looking in the Bixby Village complex just over 4 weeks ago, you had 5 different townhomes to choose from. You could choose from models just over 1,700 sq ft to the largeest ones in the complex that are over 2,000 sq ft. If you searched on May 12th though, you would find that you had 0 to choose from! Now, some of these properties has been on the market over the average days on market of 72, but with fewer choices, buyers have now picked them up. In fact if you searched for townhomes nearby you would find that you could only find them in next door Whaler's Cove.

Don't Miss Out

Although I think a real estate agent would be crazy to say that Long Beach real estate is hot again like it was in 2003 and 2004 it does show you that you need to keep a careful eye on the inventory. With historically low interest rates and inventory that is the best we have seen in years now is the time to keep a careful watch to find the Long Beach home or condo you have been waiting for, just don't wait to long!

Get up to the minute updates on the properties that meet your needs by using the Long Beach MLS.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Long Beach Golfer Has Amazing Day on National TV

For those who aren't into golf this may not be a story for you but if you love hearing about a local Long Beach resident have an amazing day then this may be a post with reading. For those who watch golf the Players Championship was this weekend on Mother's day. Normally you don't get to see a Long Beach Dirtbag hat on TV for 4 hours but that is exactly what happened on Sunday when local Long Beach golfer Paul Goydos was leading the entire PGA on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass.

When he is not on tour he golfs at Virginia Country Club . If anyone gets chance to read about Paul he is just a class act. There is a great article on ESPN about how he finished. He is a true sportsman and did Long Beach proud for sure.

If you want to see homes in and around Virginia Country Club where Paul golfs check out the free MLS link and see the homes that are available. Virginia Country club is located in Bixby Knolls just north of the 405 near Long Beach Blvd.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Postage is going up but do you even care

By now you may have heard that the price of stamps is going up to May 12th to 42 cents for a first class stamp. In care anyone was wondering the price went up to 41 cents last May 14th. Now my point is do you really care? I mean the amount of stamps that I send is next to none! So how does this all affect the Long Beach real estate market? Well it is a sign of the times that costs are rising and the costs of fuel and other necessities are driving costs up even for the post office.

So how do make sure that the price of stamps doesn't affect you or affects you so little that you won't even care? Let's look at a few ways to save the penny because after all pennies add up and you can use the difference to put into Long Beach real estate if you want to!

  • Online Bill Pay - I don't know if I even use 1 stamp a month to send bills. I pay them all online and thereby I am not affected at all. Check with your bank to see what services they offer and by the way they should be free!
  • E-mail - This has been taking away business from the post office for a long time. Send an e-mail and worry no more about having enough stamps at your home.
  • Bloggging - Don't want to spend your time on writing tons of e-mail to family? Set-up a blog for free at or and just let your family and friends know that they can check in for the latest updates.

So don't let the increase in the price of stamps get you down just find out ways to use less stamps!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Belmont Shore & Naples Report for April 2008

So the other day we made sure to let you know what was going on in Belmont Heights and Alamitos Beach. Today we thought we would take that look backward and see what is happening in Belmont Shore & Naples.

So let's see what we have in Belmont Heights and Naples as far as inventory and what has happened.

  • Active Properties Available - 83 wonderful properties to choose from
  • Total Properties in Escrow - 12 ( 5 in Pending, 7 in Backup)
  • Properties Expired - 7

This shows again that the markets close to the water continue to have sufficient buyer demand for the sellers that want to sell. There is a total of 6.9 months of inventory available and this isn't much at all to choose from.

If you look further at the price ranges in this area of Long Beach you see the following of what is available on the market:

  • Average Price: $1,434,375
  • Max Price : $5,000,000
  • Most Affordable In the area $399,900

So the high rent district so to speak of Long Beach hasn't been much affected by the overall real estate market. This is something worth watching and looking into if you desire a home in this area. Go ahead and check out the what is available on the MLS by clicking on the icon to the right.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Belmont Heights & Alamitos Beach Report for May 2008

Wondering how we can tell the future and report on May when it isn't even over? Trust me I completely understand. What I thought I would do today is report on what is currently available in Belmont Heights and Alamitos Beach. That way instead of looking back we can look forward and maybe get the information out to a few people who want to take some action in their lives and either buy or sell their Belmont Heights home or Belmont Heights Condo. We are going to be reporting on Alamitos Beach as well because according to how the MLS breaks up the areas Belmont Heights and Alamitos Beach are in the same area. If you want to see what is available you can always check out the free mls by clicking on the icon in the right hand side bar.

So let's see what we what we have going on so you can make a decision about what you want to do.

Belmont Heights & Alamitos Beach Report for May 2008
  • Total Active Properties - 119 Active Homes and Condos
  • Total Properties in Escrow (Pending & Backup) - 32 (16 in Backup & 16 in Pending)
  • Average Price - $702,000
  • Most Expensive: $1,799,900
  • Most Affordable: $210,000

So what does this all mean? Let's look at the fact that there are 32 properties in escrow. That means that there are only 3.7 months supply of property. That would be the Belmont Heights & Alamitos Beach market in a buyers market. Remember under 6 months is considered a buyers market. Now the great part is you can still get a place to live for $210,000 in a great area. You may not get to wait to make your decision as a buyer and as long as you are pricing your home competitively you will have a chance at a pool of motivated buyers.

Good luck and happy buying and selling in Belmont Heights and Alamitos Beach.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Find your Long Beach Condo by HOA Name!

As you are driving around the city of Long Beach you will find that there are many different condos that are possible. The hard part when you find a few buildings that look nice, is going back to the Long Beach MLS to find those properties. Sometimes you have the address, sometimes you just have the name of the building. We wanted to make it a bit easier for everyone to locate the buildings that you are driving by.

We have put together some of the Long Beach Condos by both address and HOA Name. Some of the Long Beach condos that you will find are:
  • International Towers - 700 E. Ocean - learn more about the famous "round building" in Downtown Long Beach.

  • Stoney Brook Villas - This is a popular complex next to CSULB where many parents and students purchase for their time at the university. There are 1 and 2 bedroom plans available.
  • Clark Terrace - This complex is known for having large pine trees and boulders providing a quiet environment. Located near the traffic circle it allows easy access to the freeways and great areas like Los Altos.
  • Villa Riviera - 800 E. Ocean - This downtown condo with the green roof is a historic complex that complies with the Mills Act so you can save a bit on your taxes.

  • Many more! - We are constantly adding to this page so you can have a great resource of information for condos available throughout Long Beach. Every area from Bixby Knolls to Downtown, to Belmont Heights is listed.

Finding the Long Beach condo complex that you have always wanted certainly can be easy. Using our Long Beach Condo by HOA page and the Long Beach MLS you can quickly locate complexes (and individual units) that meet your goals. Take time to read about each complex so you can find the right fit. If you want a short cut to get the help you need you can always call us directly at 562-989-7111 and one of our expert professionals can guide you to the condos that are the best for your needs and budget.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Long Beach Real Estate Statistics for April 2008

The Long Beach Market Report

It is the first of the month and like payroll checks we list the real estate sales statistics for Long Beach. So let's take a look and see what happened the previous month in Long Beach, CA.

The market is moving. Just this week a buyer purchased a very nice condo in downtown for $150,000!

So let's look at the activity in the Long Beach Real Estate market for April 2008.

  • Total Active Listings: 1,841
  • Total Expired Listings: 189
  • Total Listings Sold (Pending & Backup): 240
  • New Listings: 428

So the sales are moving up in the right direction. The fact is homes are selling and people are working together to get deals done. The overall inventory in Long Beach is not increasing at a dramatic level. In fact from March to April the Active inventory has actually decreased. So deals are happening you just have to put an offer across.

We will continue to report on the different areas of Long Beach so that everyone can see what their neighborhood is doing in the stat reports.

Related Posts

  • Belmont Heights & Alamitos Beach Report
  • Belmont Shore & Naples Report