Thursday, March 31, 2005

Home Buyers Using the Internet?

Homebuyers who used the Internet as an integral part of the homebuying process increased to 62 percent in 2005 compared with 56 percent the previous year, according to C.A.R.'s "2005 Internet Versus Traditional Buyers Survey." Nearly two-thirds of all first-time homebuyers used the Internet as a significant part of the homebuying process, while less than half of repeat homebuyers did so.Close to six of 10 Internet buyers said the information they gathered from the Internet was less useful than that provided by their REALTORS®, and none considered the information gathered from the Internet to be more useful than that obtained from their REALTORS®, according to the survey. "The Internet has complemented, not diminished, the REALTOR®'s role in the homebuying transaction," said C.A.R. President Jim Hamilton. "Homebuyers ultimately turned to their REALTOR® for both interpretation of information gleaned from the Internet, and for their REALTOR®'s expertise and judgment throughout the homebuying process."

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ventura Beaches

If you're looking for beach property in Ventura, get in line. There are only 3 properties available under a million dollars, and just 2 properties over a million.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Open House on Easter Sunday

Well, here's an experience for the books! I obtained a new listings last Tuesday and scheduled an Open House Sunday completely forgetting it was Easter Sunday. My client said nothing - just go ahead and have the open house. Friday I realized it was Easter Sunday but it was too late to pull the ad. So I went ahead and did the open house from 1 -4 pm. The first hour and a half was dead - no one. Then about 2:30 people started to show up. I was surprised at the number of people that came - 6 different couples! Who would have guessed!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Just sold a mobile home

Hey, guys. Just wanted to let you know I sold the new listing for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath mobile home at 11100 Telegraph Road #50. The owner of Space #105 purchased this home and has put her home on the market. SO now we have a 2 bedroom, 2 bath plus den available for sale for $120,000 with space rent of $419 per month.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Affordable Housing: 8 Developments in Ventura

Did you know there is a possibility you can afford to purchase a home when you did not
even realize that you could? Consider this as an alternative. There are 8 Affordable Housing Developments located in the City of Ventura. You may qualify for one of these homes! Your income is analyzed based upon the combined adult income for the total number of people residing in the household.

Number in household Income Unit
1 $59,600
2 $68,100
3 $76,650
4 $85,150

The new 2005 maximum housing prices for Moderate Income Limited Housing are as follows:

1 bedroom $277,531
2 bedroom $312,345
3 bedroom $346,963
4 bedroom $422,857

It is best to prequalify before making an offer to purchase one of these homes. However, if you do open escrow, the City needs to have verification of your income within 10 days of the opening of the escrow. If you would like to know more about this program or think you are interested in purchasing a home in an Affordable Housing Area, give me a call! There is a 4 bedroom currently on the market.

Janis Calkins, Realtor
California Oaks
805 218-7016

Ventura County Median Home Prices

The California Association of Realtors reported that the median home price in Ventura County is $638,130 as of January of 2005. Wow! If you own a home here in Ventura County, you must be smiling!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Ever Changing Real Estate Market

At no time in my long and successful career has it been such a confusing real estate market. Multiple bids on properties at one moment, to a flood of properties causing price reductions, and back again. Yes, the shortage of properties is back in style, the brief buyers market over, and it is advantage seller all over again. Will it last? If I had the answer to that I would be chugging margaritas in the Bahamas, never to work again. Only one thing is absolutely sure, that with a marketplace changing on a dime, the only sure and predictable thing is that investing in real estate will ALWAYS pay off! Maybe not in the short run, but real estate was never for the meek, unsure or the nervous. But i t is always a sure thing in the long haul. I ask you as a homeowner, what did you pay for your real estate, and when, and what is it worth now? The very question and its answer is its own proof.
So what to do in this ever changing market? Buy if you can, as much as you can, and the sooner the better. I feel truly bad for those who have been convinced that if they wait, prices will drop. The only thing that will drop is their chances of buying at the best time...and that time is now.
Also, sellers need to be alert in this ever changing market. Beware of cut rate commissions that place your property in the exclusive hands of a few, and check and double check the comparable sales in your area. Nothing makes as little sense as paying a smaller percentage to sell and losing the true value of the property. The old adage that you get what you pay for is almost an oxymoron, for you don't get what you pay for if you trip over the dollars to save pennies.
All in all this an exciting time. Interest rates are still low with a multiple of loan programs to fit almost everyone. Never has being an entrapeneur been so available to so many. Come join their ranks.
Happy hunting

Linda Freeny

Linda Freeny, along with her husband, Bob, owns California Oaks Realtors, and` Seaward Mortgage.

Friday, March 18, 2005

California Homes Prices Still Increasing at Record Levels

Median price of a home in California increases 20.1 percent in January to new record, sales up 7.1 percent to all-time high, C.A.R. reports.

To read the entire article, go to

Thursday, March 17, 2005

New Loan Programs

Everyone has probably heard of the low start rate programs at 1.25% or thereabouts. These programs keep the payments low and allow a buyer to get a larger or better home than he would be able to afford on a typical 30 year fixed rate mortgage. These programs all require 20% down. On a typical $600,000 home, that's $120,000, something alot of homebuyers just don't have.

One of my buyers recently came to me with 10% to put down on a home. They were able to to get a low start rate 1st mortgage for 80% of the purchase price and a low rate second for the other 10%. This allowed them to purchase much more home for their growing family.

So, now with just 10% down, buyers can take advantage of those low start rate programs. These programs aren't for everyone, but for clients that are expecting growth in their income in the next few years, it may just get them the home of their dreams right now before home prices climb out of reach.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Myth About Discount Brokerages

There's lots of buzz about those companies that offer flat rate fees to sell your home. There might be a little more to this than the obvious. First, the flat rate does not include putting your home in the MLS. Most of us would agree that the more competion you create for an item that is in short supply, the higher price you will receive. That's the law of supply and demand. So, if you decide to go with a flat rate company, in addition to the flat rate, you will need to offer a commission to the cooperating broker. That commission is usually the same amount that full service brokerages offer in the MLS to the cooperating broker.
Next, we have the foundation that flat rate brokerages build their business on. Volume. An agent that's working on volume may not lose as much when one of their listings sits on the market for a few months. Even more, they are paid the same amount, even if you end up accepting an offer for $15,000 less than your listing price.
A full service agent is there to negotiate the highest price for you and sell your home in the shortest amount of time. After all, the full service agent gets paid based on the final purchase price of your home.
When choosing an agent, be sure you take everything in to account. You may save a few thousand dollars in commissions, but you may end up losing more than a few thousand at the close of escrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ventura County Housing Market Cooling?

The Ventura County Star reported today that the counties housing marketing is cooling slightly. The article reported growth dropping below 20% for the first time in over a year, according to numbers in January of 2005. You can see this article at,1375,VCS_121_3623771,00.html

I have a good feeling that when the March numbers come out, we'll be back over 20%. Just in the past couple of weeks we've seen single family homes flying off the market. We are seeing close to asking price, if not full price, and shorter marketing times. All of this adds up to short inventories of single family homes. This usually results in increasing prices.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Inventories Getting Dangerously Low

Inventories of single family homes continue to drop as we head in to the home buying season. The weather is getting nice and more folks are getting out to find a new home. As of this morning, there are 47 single family homes available in Ventura under $700k and only 30 homes available in Camarillo for under $700k. Since it is Monday morning, many sales that happened over the weekend may not be reflected in those numbers.
If you are a buyer, be prepared to act fast!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The PRE-APPROVED Buyers advantage!

Buy like you have cash! More than just getting pre-qualified, getting PRE-APPROVED means that you are good as gold, as solid as a rock, just like someone who is ready to pay cash!
Many homebuyers are applying for a loan and obtaining approval before they find the home they want to purchase. This is one of the best home buying moves you can make.

Here are some of the benefits:
  1. Your bargaining position improves as you literally become as powerful as a cash buyer.
  2. It narrows your search for a home to the right priced home for you.
  3. You may save money by dealing with a more comfortable and satisfied seller.
  4. The transaction will close quickly.
  5. You minimize the trauma of not knowing whether or not you will qualify for the loan.

If you would like to speak with a mortgage broker about PRE-APPROVAL or pre-qualifying for a loan, we will be happy to recommend a broker who will make this process easy. It will certainly save you both time and money!

Janis Calkins, Realtor (805) 218-7016

Increase Your Chances on Your Offer

Spring and summer are in the air. I know it may be foggy outside, but the real estate market is about to heat up again. The middle part of the year is the busiest in Real Estate. The inventory will begin to diminish and multiple offers will increase. It is of great importance that you position yourself to have the best chance to get your offer accepted.

You need to be open and honest with your REALTOR about what you needs are and where you are coming from so they can find the home of your dreams and help you write a competitive offer. Then it is up to your REALTOR to promote your offer to the seller and their agent.

Enhance your chance of getting the home of your choice by doing the following:

First, get pre-approved for the purchase. This takes very little time and is of great value. At this time, identify the price range for which you qualify and which fits your lifestyle.

Submit a strong, competitive offer. Submit the offer as if there will be multiple offers. Include substantial earnest money deposit. Acceptance of an offer is sometimes determined by the amount of the deposit. A larger amount may signify a bigger commitment to the seller.

Minimize or eliminate contingencies on your offer; the fewer contingencies, the stronger the offer.

Make a buyer profile available. Include time on the job, flexibility, and reason for purchasing seller's home. Tell your REALTOR about yourself, your family, and your reasons for choosing a particular home. This adds a personal touch and can paint a picture for the seller about who will be buying their home.

Be prepared to preview a new property quickly. Homes sometimes sell in hours. Be prepared to make decisions quickly and be accessible to change the terms instantly. Buyer and agent need to have instant communication access via office phone, voice mail, fax, pager or cellular phone.

Ryan Kerzner
California Oaks Real Estate
Direct: (805) 626.1111

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Is Now A Good Time to Sell My Property?

The weather is warming up and so is the market! The median home price in Ventura County in January, 2005 was $633,130 up 4.2 percent from December and 28.7 percent for the year.
Wow! Here are the reasons why now is a great time to let a California Oaks Realtor sell your property:
  • The rain has finally stopped! Everyone is ready to go outdoors and look at property
  • Homes show better when the weather is gorgeous
  • Flowers are in bloom and there is a delightful spirit in the air.....a buying spirit!
  • There is plenty of mortgage money and rates are low
  • Lenders aren't as busy with refinancing requests, so they can process loans faster
  • Job transferees are looking to make their moves
  • Many large corporations move executives during spring/summer months
  • The market in the Spring is better than ever
  • We want your business! We have a dynamic and aggressive minded real estate office which can sell your home while you sit back and enjoy the Spring!

If you have been thinking of selling..... now is the time. We would love to hear from you! Let us show you how easy it is.

Janis Calkins, Realtor Cell: (805) 218-7016

Questions To Ask Your Lender

When a buyer is talking to their Realtor ® they must remember that the Realtor ® is not licensed to give you loan advice or information. They are licensed to act as an agent in the transaction among other duties. Discussing loans and specifics about loan programs is for the buyer to talk about with a lender, not the Realtor ®. You can ask the Realtor ® to recommend several lenders for you to choose from, but it is the buyers decision to choose one. The following are some good questions to discuss with your lender when applying for a home loan. Feel free to print out this information and take it with you when you vist a lender.

  1. Are both fixed-rate and adjustable mortgage loans available?
  2. What is the interest rate?
  3. How long can I "lock-in" the financing at the current interest rate?
  4. Is a float down lock available in case rates drop after I have locked in?
  5. What are the other fees a lender may charge me in conjunction with my loan?
  6. Are funds for a second mortgage available?
  7. On adjustable loans, how often will the interest rate be adjusted?
  8. Is there a maximum limit on each rate change?
  9. How often will the monthly payment be adjusted?
  10. Is there a ceiling on payment adjustments?
  11. Can the term of the loan be extended?
    What is the maximum rate that can be charged over the life of the loan?
  12. Is there any potential for negative amortization?
  13. Is there a pre-payment penalty clause? This involves extra charges for paying off the loan before maturity. About 80% of all loans in the United States are paid off early. What is the "grace" period?
  14. How late can a monthly payment be made before a late charge is assessed?
  15. What will happen if a payment is missed?
  16. If you sell your house, will the new buyer (if he/she qualifies) be able to assume your mortgage at the same interest rate?
  17. Do you have to pay "points" to get your new mortgage? Usually lenders charge points for the cost of giving you a mortgage loan. A "point" is 1% of the loan.
  18. Will the lender require mortgage insurance?
  19. Is the loan serviced locally or is the servicing sold? Ask for a written "good faith deposit".
  20. Did you tell your lender who your exclusive REALTOR is?

Please post any comments or questions about this here or on my website. Thanks for reading.

Ryan Kerzner, REALTOR
Direct: (805) 626.1111
Cell: (805) 509.6333 Fax (805) 648.5584

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Establishing Market Value of a Property

Helping a client decide the market value of their home is really one of the most challenging aspects of our job! It is important to provide clients with a thorough Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) . This is usually presented at the listing appointment. This helps assure the client that when they do decide on the asking price for their home, the price will be a choice that will bring them the highest price they can reasonably expect, and also a price that will encourage a willing buyer. The CMA should contain the closest comparable properties to your subject property, that are either actively on the market, in escrow, or already sold. Sold properties are a sure thing, so I recommend that a number of sold properties always be included. Active and pending properties help to establish a trend direction if the market is rising or falling. These comparable propeties should be as similar in quality, size, location, lot size, age & amenities as possible to the subject property. Also, if possible, it is best when using sold properties to try to stay within a 90 day window of the current date. Otherwise, there is a risk in a fast paced market of not really establishing a "current" indicated value for your subject.
It is also very important to check out what I call "extra's" on the comparable properties. Items such as a pool, spa, guesthouse, utility shed, landscaping and views can make large differences in what a buyer is willing to pay. The comparables often need to be adjusted for all these differences to truly make them an indicator of what current market value is for your subject property. And last, but not least, is the big "condition" factor. Always take into consideration the condition of the comparable properties, as well as the subject property. It is good to remember that the seller might have to convince both a buyer and an appraiser that the sales price is truly the "Fair Market Value" of the property.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Mobile homes may not be an alternative

A lot of people are getting their income tax refunds back and hoping to buy a home. I get a lot of calls from people who think Mobile Homes are a less expensive alternative than regular houses or condos. They have their $10,000 and they figure they can purchase a mobile home easier than a house. But that is just not true. If you are trying to purchase an older mobile home (over 10 years old) the lenders require a 20% (of purchase price) down payment. In the case of a $150,000 mobile home, that is $30,000!!! Then you get to add closing costs, not to mention the monthly space rental. Mobile homes are not always a less expensive alternative to houses and condos. You have to have a lot of cash to get into one. That said, mobile homes are still a good alternative for some folks.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Low Inventories

I'm sensing a change in the market similar to last year at this time when it was hard to find a home for your buyer because inventories were so low. Well priced, desirable homes are selling very quickly right now. I've talked to other agents that are experiencing difficulty finding just the right home for their clients because of low inventories and because homes are moving very quickly right now. Buyers need to be ready to move quickly if they see something they like. That means have loan pre-approvals in hand and be ready to see new listings as soon as possible.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Ventura County Median Home Price $638,130

The median home price hit an all-time high of $638,130. The record figure is 28.7 percent higher than the median for the same time a year ago, but sales are down 13.7 percent, according to the California Association of Realtors. The median price is the point at which half the sales are higher and half are lower. CAR's monthly report includes only single family homes sold by a Realtor. These figures show a recovery from lower prices in the second half of last year. The last peak was $626,730 in August. January's median is up 4.2 percent from $612,460 in December.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Affordable housing in Ventura - New 2005 $ amounts

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The City of Ventura has just issued the new affordable housing prices on the Affordable Housing Program. The information will be up on their web site starting tomorrow (Wed 3-2-05) at .

This is very disappointing news to the residents of Northbank Greens, Seneca Highland, Los Cabos, La Paloma, Country Groves and Country Harvest Developments. Last year these residents were blessed with a hefty raise in pricing from the government. This year the 4 bedrooms have gone down and the 3 bedrooms have gone up (but not by much!).

I was told on the phone that the limit for a 4 bedroom moderate income home has dropped to $402,313. The 3 bedroom has gone up to $346,963. This is great for anyone trying to buy in these developments but terrible for the sellers who thought they would make much more money this year.

Loraine, Realtor

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Buyer Broker Agreement - The Informed Buyer

There is a contract that I feel is very important to both the buyer and the broker (including the agent) when representing the buyer. It is one that I know should be used more often. This contract is called the Buyer Broker Agreement - Right to Represent. I like to think if it as the equivalent to an Exclusive Residential Listing Agreement, when a broker represents the seller in the sale of their home. The Buyer Broker Agreement is for the buyer what the Residential Listing Agreement is for the Seller.

When a seller signs an exclusive listing agreement for a broker to sell their home, the seller has decided to list their home exclusively with a broker and give that broker compensation for the sale of their home. In return for the compensation, the broker then has a fiduciary duty to represent the seller, this can include, advertising, open houses, phone calls, arrange showing, and handling of necessary paperwork and many other tasks to make a smooth transaction for the seller.

The buyer broker agreement is the contract that lays out the brokers’ duties, obligation, and agency relationship to the client, the buyer. It puts forth how the buyers’ broker receives compensation. In most cases, the seller pays the compensation of the buyers broker in the form of a percentage of the sale price after the escrow closes, for representing that. This compensation to the buyers broker can also be in the form of a flat fee or hourly rate.

The agreement also goes over what the broker is allowed to do for the buyer and what they are not allowed to do. More specifically, it mentions that real estate agents are not lawyers, home inspectors, lenders, accountants, or city employees. This further advises the buyer that by signing the buyer broker agreement they agree to seek assistance from the appropriate professionals. Moreover, the buyer broker agreement explains to the buyer what the broker does in return for an exclusive relationship and compensation. This includes the authorization to represent the buyer, locate and select properties for the buyer, assist the buyer with the financing process including obtaining loan prequalification through a lender, assist the buyer in negotiating offers, order reports, schedule meetings with professionals chosen by the buyer, provide guidance to help the buyer with the acquisition of a property, and much more.

For all the services that we, as agents, do for our buyers, there is an agreement between the buyer and their broker that details that relationship. That agreement is the Buyer Broker Agreement - Right to Represent. Your agent/broker should inform you of it, including the scope of the buyer/broker relationship and the broker obligations.

Ryan Kerzner
California Oaks Real Estate

Forclosures Declining

I often get asked about forclosures and whether there are any available on the market. The California Association of Realtors recently reported that CALIFORNIA FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY FELL IN 2004. The number of mortgage default notices sent to California homeowners decreased by 32.9 percent in 2004, according to a recent report by DataQuick Information Systems. Strong appreciation rates and record home sales helped keep foreclosure activity to its lowest level in more than thirteen years. Lending institutions sent default notices to 56,125 homeowners in 2004, compared with 83,600 in 2003. Los Angeles and Ventura counties saw the strongest decline in foreclosures, decreasing 48.5 percent and 42.8 percent, respectively. "There's always going to be a certain level of financial stress out there," said DataQuick President Marshall Prentice. "People lose jobs, get divorced or have costly medical emergencies even in the best of times. Right now, though, because of increasing home values, virtually everyone can sell or refinance if they're really in trouble."