Monday, November 17, 2008

Hot Long Beach Real Estate Activity

Although the media continues to be grim on the housing market there are certainly some pockets of Hot activity here in Long Beach and nearby. I am certainly not saying that the entire real estate market is in good shape, but there is quite a bit of competition here in Long Beach depending on what you are looking for.

Where is the action the hottest? Let's take a look:

  • Homes in Lakewood - Looking for a home in Lakewood under $350,000 that is over 900 sq ft is a challenge. When homes are listed in this price range they will generally receive 2-6 offers within the first week of listing. Condition of the home can range from not s nice, to some mild upgrades.

  • Condos under $180,000 - Yes, they do exist and there are some nice ones too! Condos in this price range are generally not much more than local rents so they get quite a bit of attention from buyers who missed out since 2004. Generally these will be 1 bedroom properties but you can find 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom units under $200,000 if you look hard in some nice buildings. They tend to get an offer or two within the first 10 days of being listed.
  • New Condos under $350,000 - The builders that have adjusted their prices to amounts less than $350,000 are getting their choice of buyers. Some of the builders have been smart and instead of offering heavy incentives have been cutting prices and putting together loans that have low fixed rates for 30 years.

Despite the "wait and see" attitude that the media has these sectors are certainly hot. All cash offers are certainly getting some discount, but often just helping get the win on an already popular property. Keeping a close watch on the property that you want using the Long Beach MLS or our Hot List is a great way to get a deal on the Long Beach real estate you have been waiting for.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long Beach Real Estate Statistics for October 2008

As the news and the media keep pushing news about the failures and the economy one can only think that it is all doom and gloom out there. Let's see if there is a silver lining to all of the information that has been released by the major news media outlets.

So what kind of long beach sales happened in October? To be honest it looked pretty good for an October and looking at how everything was being reported it looks even better.

When we look at closings for a month or closed sales remember that those went into escrow 30 days or more prior to the month that they closed. So when we see a good month of homes or condos that sold it means that the previous month was where all of the real activity happened.

What kind of activity was going on in Long Beach?
In the chart above we listed what was happening as of the end of October in Long Beach. We wanted to make sure you could see what was happening in not just homes but in condos. We are only reporting on the residential market so let's take a look.

  • Total Active Homes: 1,615
  • Total Sold (Closed Sales): 298
  • Homes Still available at the end of October:965
  • Condos available at the end of October: 596

Normally we report on the months supply of inventory for homes and this month is no different although I caution everyone to look at it with a grain of salt. Based on the closed sales we have a 4.05 months supply of homes. It is not realistic though to assume that homes will continue to be sold at the pace of 298 sales every month.

We are coming into the slower months of the year (as far as sales go). This is the time of year where we have the most serious sellers and the most serious buyers. To be honest this is a great time to buy or sell because you have people willing to look and move during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So what does the chart really tell us?

It tells me that people are still buying homes. There are buyers out there looking for the right property and if sellers have the right one, for the right price, and the right condition they are getting offers, sometimes multiple offers within 30 days of a listing.

How do you tell what the market activity is like for your neighborhood?

Our market snapshot tool will allow you to track exactly what is going on in your neighborhood. Just fill out the information in the right hand side of this page to get your very own market snapshot. We will even make sure you keep up to date on the market value of your home every month.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A simple thank you on Veterans Day

Veteran's Day is wonderful day to say thank you to those who have served. I always find it odd that more people don't say thank you to those who have served. Our father served in the Air Force, and our grandfathers served in the Navy and Army so we are very thankful for their service.

We enjoy a great many freedoms here and often we forget how we have come to enjoy them. Even simple things like the internet where we can freely say what we want is not recognized. In China, the government edits blog posts, comments, and more to control their internet; that is certainly one place I don't want to be.

I was watching a special on the Medal of Honor put on by PBS. Make time to see it and you will certainly have a HUGE appreciation for what many have done to protect our freedoms. One of the most amazing aspects of this special was the humility of those who have earned this highest distinction. Not a single one ever called themselves a "hero". In fact most shrugged that title entirely and simply stated that they did what was needed at the time for their fellow soldiers and for their country.

Truly we don't have enough space here to write about what our Veterans have done. We have a great respect for the military and for those who have served. We try to say it everytime we meet a veteran, but it's worth saying again; Thank you. Thank you Dad, thank you Grandpa (x3), and thank you to all of those who have served.

If at first you don't succeed try, try, again

Have you ever wanted to get something done in a certain amount of time but kept being met with obstacle, after obstacle, after yet another obstacle? Well sometimes that happens when you are looking to buy a home or a condo.

We just finished helping Greg and Jeny purchase a home in Buena Park, CA. I know what some might be thinking "I thought this blog was about Long Beach real estate". It most certainly is about Long Beach real estate and our clients, Greg and Jeny, started looking in Lakewood which is right next door to Long Beach and where my brother and I call home.

So how do you go from Lakewood to Buena Park? Well you don't do it in 1 week that's for sure. Greg and Jeny are newlyweds and they wanted to get a home before their 1 year anniversary. I figured with 4 months prior to their anniversary date we would have plenty of time to make it all happen.

How did it all begin

The first step to buying a home or a condo is to make sure that everyone understands what we are trying to accomplish. This may sounds like an easy task but trust me you want to make sure that prior to getting into the car with any real estate professional that you sit down with them and go over everything that you are looking for so they and you understand your goals.

So a 45 minute buyers consultation later and we had a few things that we absolutely had to have and they were this:

  • Had to be close to both their works - this was doable as they both worked within 10 miles of Lakewood (Buena Park ended up within the range as well).
  • They were willing to do some work to the property and didn't have to be perfect.
  • The home had to have a yard. They wanted somewhere they could have a place to relax in.
  • They didn't want the home to be on a busy street - I thought that this was fair.
  • A two car garage was a must - Again another fair requirement.

Let's look at some properties

So we began our journey looking at properties. We of course rated every property on our 1 to 10 scale with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. We spend the first couple of Saturday's looking at properties in Lakewood and rating them and seeing what was working. We even submitted a few offers only to get outbid. That's right in this market we were losing offers on a regular basis. The offers we were submitting were not offers that were asking for 10% or even 20% off the price. We were offering list price on many of the properties but being outbid by 5 or 6 offers. These homes were aggressively priced and needed a little bit of work but we thought we had some chances at them.

We kept this up for several weeks but found the properties in our price range were getting bid out of our affordability.

Changing our direction (a little bit)

So after 6 weeks of looking in Lakewood we decided to expand our search to nearby Buena Park. For those unfamiliar with the location of Buena Park it is extremely close to Lakewood (only a few miles) and in our neighbor county of Orange County.

In Buena Park we had a few more choices available to us then we did in Lakewood. We were able to even be a little more picky as to what we were submitting on because we had a few more choices.

So the story would be easy if it just ended there. We ran into another round of losing a few offers. It was more than a few to say the least. Throughout all of our times we also kept focused on our goal of having a home before the 1 year anniversary.

We find a home we like

We found a home we like and we lose yet again. This one was harder to take than normal because we really thought we had it. The listing agent was nice though and appreciated how the offer was presented, the follow-up, and the effort we put forth so he let me know about another one of his listings that had just fallen out of escrow. Low and behold we go and see this home, submit an offer, and we open escrow!

30 days later

We finally get to start the escrow process and we are on our way to Greg and Jeny having a home. Throughout escrow, there were challenges, we were all happy we found a home that was worth it and was what we had set out to do. So did we make our deadline before the 1 year anniversary? Unfortunately we didn't make that deadline but we got close and most importantly we found a home that they can call home for many years to come.

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