Friday, April 29, 2005

Home Prices Continue to Rise

The California Association of Realtors just released March figures and the median home price in the state was just shy of a half million dollars at $495,400. This is a 15.7% increase over the last year. Looks like we're still going strong!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Condo Market on Fire

We've always heard that it's better to invest in a single family home. That advise is being challenged these days. There has been tremendous growth in the prices of condos over the last several years. In some cases, more than single family homes. Why? I suspect it's because of the high price of homes. Many buyers want to own real estate and gain equity, but biting off a $600,000 mortgage doesn't feel comfortable. Both investors and first time home buyers are finding solid investments that they can later build on by trading up to a bigger condo, or a single family home.

As evidence of the condo craze, the Ventura County MLS is showing only 19 active condos in the city of Ventura this morning. The lowest price condo is $236,460, however that is a low-income condo with restrictions on income. The next lowest is $297,000 for a Peppertree condo.

Relax, sell your lawn mower at the yard sale, and join the crowd!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Preparing Yourself for a Supplemental Property Tax

When purchasing a home, buyers do not often realize they will be receiving a Supplemental Tax Bill. This is a one time tax that is the sole responsibility of the buyer to pay and is not pro-rated in escrow. It is intended to capture the difference between the old tax base that the seller was paying and the new tax base on which the buyer will be paying. The bill is pro-rated based on the date of change of ownership within the fiscal year. The County Assessor will reappraise the property as of the date of change of ownership at Market Value and the buyer will subsequently receive a Supplemental Notice and Tax Bill.
Something for a buyer to consider, for budget reasons, is how long has the prior owner lived in the home to be purchased? If the prior owner has lived in the property for many years, they probably have had a low tax base under Proposition 13. This means that the buyer will more than likely have a higher Supplemental Tax to pay. A buyer might even take this into consideration when making an offer on a home.

Janis Calkins
(805) 218-7016

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are rising. NOT! Mortgage rates have fallen this week to their lowest level since February. Check with your morgage broker or lender for actual rates.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Fast Facts

These are Fast Facts published by the California Association of Realtors as of April 21, 2005.

Calif. median home price - Feb. 05: $471,620 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. affordability index - Feb. 05: 19 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region - Feb. 05: S. Barbara So. Coast $1,200,000 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region Feb. 05: High Desert $257,320 (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates - week ending 4/14:30-yr. fixed: 5.91%; Fees/points: 0.7%15-yr. fixed: 5.46%; Fees/points: 0.7%1-yr. adjustable: 4.30%; Fees/points: 0.6%

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Office Exclusive

You won't find this one in the MLS. It's an office exclusive at California Oaks. It's on a quarter acre lot in the heart of Ventura with hardwood floors and a 2 car detached garage. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Capital Gains

Profits made on the sale of property are subject to capital gains taxes. The current federal limit on how much profit you can make on the sale of your principal residence before being required to pay capital gains tax is $500,000 for a married couple and $250,000 for a single homeowner. This tax break applies if the owner has occupied the property as his/her primary residence for at least 2 of the past 5 years. If the property in question is used as an investment, capital gains taxes may be deferred using a 1031 tax exchange.

Currently, there are some exceptions to the 2 year rule if you are moving due to job relocation, a change in health, or some other unforeseen circumstance. There are some limits, so it is advised that you speak with your tax advisor. In addition, the IRS and Treasury department have put the finishing touches on new, less strict regulations about who can avoid capital gains taxes when they sell a home. These new regulations could help property owners who are forced to move before living in there home for 2 years because of "unforeseen circumstances", such as divorce or the need to care for a sick parent. For more information, please consult your tax advisor. You can also get tax information at

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Home Availability Very Low

It's home buying season and buyers are out in force. However, home inventories in the area continue to be very low. According to the Ventura MLS, the number of available single family homes in the city of Ventura under $700,000 stands at 29 this morning. Camarillo has 26 homes available with that same criteria.
If you are a home buyer, be ready to pounce. Some homes are listing and selling in a matter of days. Some are receiving multiple offers and some of those are selling for more than asking price.
Happy Home Buying!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Selling Your Home?

Have you decided to sell your home? Do you need to find an agent that you can trust to sell your home quickly and for your asking price? Recently, Inman News printed an article with the following questions that you may want to ask your agent.
  • How long have you been selling homes in my area?
  • What are the names, addresses and phone numbers of your three most recent home sellers?
  • Do you have a written marketing plan for my home?
  • Do you sell real estate full-time?
  • How many listings do you currently have (beware of agents with too many listings who won't have personal time for your home sale)?
  • Do you have any office assistants (if so, will I be dealing with you or an assistant)?
  • Which days of the week do you take off and which agent covers for you when you are gone?
  • Do you plan to take any vacation during my listing period?
  • How long will it take to sell my home?
  • What is your sales-commission fee schedule?

If you don't like the answer to one question, consider the agent's other qualities, which might be compensating strong points. For example, suppose you interview a relatively new but very enthusiastic agent. He or she might have more time available to concentrate on your listing than an experienced agent who has 20 or 30 listings. Or a part-time, but very successful agent who is a local school teacher, might have lots of contacts with prospective home buyers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Possible Prop 90 Changes

In April 1992 the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a Proposition 90 ordinance. (The measure provides anyone over the age of 55 with relief from Proposition 13 by allowing them to move from one county to another without undergoing a change in their basic property taxes as long as their new residence is equal to or lesser in value than the original property.) The Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday, April 26 meeting will be reviewing and deciding whether or not the ordinance should be continued. According to the county's figures over the past three years 220 to 230 seniors have benefited from the ordinance and if the ordinance were discontinued, it is estimated the county's general fund would benefit annually by $90,000.

What do you think?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Electronic Signatures

I recently signed up with a company that processes electronic signatures. This is very useful in real estate transactions with clients that either live out of town, or are away on vacation or business during a transaction. The service allows you to package the documents, such as a purchase contract or disclosures, and email it to the client. They electronically sign it, never needing to print it, and email it back to you. There is a charge for the service, however, I find it much less expensive than overnighting a package to them and having them overnight it back to me. In addition to being less expensive, it's also much faster! If you'd like more information on this, visit

Friday, April 08, 2005

Did Someone Say Tax Savings?

Tis the season! Are you one of those grumpy people mumbling under their breath about meeting with your accountant to prepare those taxes. Is your pen ready to write that check and send it off on April 15th?

There are numerous tax benefits of homeownership available to filers, according to a Research Briefing Paper released by C.A.R.'s Research and Economics Dept. In addition to home equity gains that can be shielded from income tax through the sale of a home, there also are interest and property tax deductions available to homeowners when tax time approaches.According to the paper, the purchase of a single-family home in California today at the current median price of $471,620 would generate a property tax deduction of approximately $4,700 each year -- about 1 percent of the property value. Over a 12-month period, mortgage interest paid would total $21,420, assuming a 20 percent downpayment and a mortgage interest rate of 5.71 percent. That translates into a total tax savings for homeowners in the 25 percent tax bracket of approximately $6,500 for the first year of homeownership.

Since we live in an area where the prices are even higher, your savings should be even greater!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Condos Appreciating Faster than Homes?

Say what? Traditionally, we've been told that investing in a single family home will bring higher appreciation than a condo. I've suspected that to be untrue lately and now the California Association of Realtors says this, "Though condominiums represented just 16 percent of California home sales in 2004, about the same share as in recent years, the California condominium market is going strong, according to a recent C.A.R. report. Annual sales of condominiums were 20 percent higher in 2004 compared with 2000, and annual price appreciation of condos has surpassed that of detached homes in all but one of the past five years. With lower sales prices -- the median price for condos is generally 75 to 80 percent of the median for detached homes -- condos tend to appeal more to first-time homebuyers, who accounted for 37 percent of all condominium buyers in 2004."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Spring Buying Fever!

It's here. Daylight Savings Time, Spring, Allergies, and Multiple Offers! It's buying season and the buyers are out in force. Many desirable homes that are priced well are receiving multiple offers, some over list price. Don't let that discourage you, though. Your dream home might be one of those homes.
What happens if you make an offer and you receive a multiple counter offer back? A Multiple Counter offer means that other offers for the home have also received counter offers. The other counter offers do not necessarily contain the same items. If you accept the multiple counter offer, the home is not necessarily yours, yet. The seller may wait to receive all the multiple counter offers back, then decide which one to take.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Now is a GREAT time to buy!!

No April fools about it, Now is a great time to buy real esate!

When is not a good time to buy real estate? I would venture to say that there never is a bad time to buy real estate. In fact, long-term mortgage interest rates fell Tuesday, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield decreased to 4.58 percent. The real estate market is just starting to heat up again and with the decrease in mortgage rates it is a perfect time to make offers on real estate.

I also want to mention that the 30-year fixed-rate average slid to 5.65 percent, and the 15-year fixed-rate fell to 5.24 percent. The 1-year adjustable decreased slightly to 3.86 percent. I feel there are more buyers looking for homes which may start the multiple offer craze we saw last spring. The market is not going to take a downward turn any time soon. We all know or feel that housing prices are high, but homes are still moving on the market with no downturn in the near future. With the recent decrease in rates and homes with shorter days on market now is the best time to make an offer. What do you think? I would like to invite some discussion and comments about this.

Ryan Kerzner