Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Business and Blogging

BusinessWeek online recently published an article talking about the popularity of Blogs. It goes on to say, "But you cannot afford to close your eyes to them, because they're simply the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. And they're going to shake up just about every business -- including yours. It doesn't matter whether you're shipping paper clips, pork bellies, or videos of Britney in a bikini, blogs are a phenomenon that you cannot ignore, postpone, or delegate. Given the changes barreling down upon us, blogs are not a business elective. They're a prerequisite. (And yes, that goes for us, too.)"

From my point of view, it has been easier than the traditional website to get bits of information out about the real estate climate here in Ventura. I'm a believer.


Sunday, May 29, 2005

Breaking News!

I wasn't planning to post to the blog today, but I couldn't help myself when I read the news. The Peterson home in Modesto has sold for over list price! I wonder what makes a home with such a mysterious tragedy surrounding it, such a hot property? If you'd like to read more, go to realtor.org. This might be the true definition of a seller's market.

I hope you are having a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. The sun peeked out from beneath the June Gloom, for an afternoon. Enjoy!


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Is a 1% rate right for me?

As a consumer, you are bombarded with commercials on the radio and television, as well as those pesky postcards and mailers - from lenders that seem to come out of the woodwork promising to lower your mortgage interest rate and payment. One of the most commonly asked questions that I receive is "how can a 1% rate be real?". Well, in this case, it is. However, this is a payment rate, not the actual note rate. The payment rate is all that is required by the lender to be paid, while the interest rate is what is actually due on the note. This loan program is popular here in Ventura County, where our property values are so high. It is also the loan of choice for most investors, as it reduces the negative cash flow on rental properties. BUT THERE IS A DOWN SIDE!! When you make a minimum payment, you may be deferring a portion of the actual interest that is due, and that results in a term called NEGATIVE AMORTIZATION.

Know the facts before you choose the loan program that is right for you!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Stocks v. Real Estate

The great thing about investing in a home instead of stocks is simple: Even if you are wrong with your timing and the price paid, you get to live in it! Try that with an Enron stock!


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Intergalactic Home Search

If you're searching for a home these days, you may need a bit more than a newspaper. Homes are selling so fast that you may need to be ready to do battle with the evil empire (also know as the seller and their agent). Be prepared by completing your Jedi training (comparatives in hand) and have that light saber ready! We are in the the thick of the home buying season and there are many more buyers out there than homes to buy. Multiple offers, and over list price offers are very common right now with many homes selling within a day or two of listing. Working with a Jedi (Realtor), not a Sith Lord, is the best way to ensure that you get the information and the home you have dreamed of.

May the force be with you!


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Feeling Squeezed!!

It takes a half million dollars to call sunny California your home! In April, an existing, single-family detached home in California had a median price of $509,230, a 12.5 percent increase over last years figures according to the California Association of Realtors.

The median price of a home in Ventura County increased to $649,210 in April. Could be the squeeze from Santa Barbara at $1,285,000 and Calabasas at $1,225,000. Yikes!


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Buyer's Corner

If you are considering home ownership in the near future, becoming pre-approved is the first step. I specialize in zero down/interest only loans to make it easier for you to qualify. Call me today to set an appointment for a FREE credit report and individual loan consultation. Find out how your tax benefits may help you qualify for more!

Conveniently located in Oxnard at the between Rice and Rose exits. Countrywide Home Loans offers hundreds of competitive loan programs. Put my 20 years experience to work for you!
Judy Friedrich
Loan Consultant
(805) 981-6110

Monday, May 23, 2005

Quote of the Day!

"Home is what catches you when you fall - and we all fall."

I'm not sure who said this, but I like it!


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Choosing A Good Real Estate Agent

I read a newspaper article today that mentioned a quality that I feel is the key to being a good real estate agent. The article stated that "there are very few agents that have the ability to make the consumer feel comfortable about the process and the ability to make them feel good."
I continue to realize that being a good real estate agent is not just about doing the paperwork correctly and closing the deal. It is really more about helping your client get through the process.
A good agent must be responsive, knowledgeable, and have great negotiating skills to solve problems and address issues that arise. Attitude plays a huge part. Managing the issues with clarity and calmness and guiding your client to a decision are paramount. Compassion and caring about all the people we deal with in these transactions is a very vital part of becoming and staying successful!


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Just Listed!

Open House Posted by Hello
Sunday, May 22 1pm - 4pm
6725 Partridge Drive
Ventura, CA 93003
This could be one of your last chances to snag a nice home in the city of Ventura for under $600k. This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a courtyard entry and a large corner lot. The rooms are spacious and it has an eat in kitchen. Exclusively offered at $589,900.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Open House Sunday, May 22!

Open Sunday 1-4 Posted by Hello
200 Carr Drive
Ventura, CA 93001
Cute home 3+1 with hardwood floors. Nice size back yard with detached 2 car garage and mountain view! You'll like this one. Come by and see it. Office Exlusive.
California Oaks
Janis Calkins

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Homeowners Insurance

It looks like the insurance industry is tightening it's belt again this spring. With all the rain and subsequent water damage claims this winter, many companies are requiring extra steps to approve your home for coverage. Homeowners are required to disclose claims within the last 3 years when they go to sell their home. Insurance companies are requiring a 3rd party home inspection to be submitted to the insurance company before considering a home with claims to be covered. This means homebuyers need to call their insurance agent at the beginning of the escrow and inquire on coverage. This way, if extra steps are needed to approve the home, there is plenty of time. No need for scrambling at the end of escrow!


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Open House Sunday!

Open Sunday 1pm - 4pm Posted by Hello
151 S. Coronado Street
Ventura, CA 93003
Hosted by Hope Goss

Charming midtown home in need of repairs. Large living room with fireplace and hardwood floors. Newer copper plumbing, forced air heating, and composition roof. Two car garage accessible by alley. $574,900


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Santa Barbara

Did you know that the median(half sold for more, and half sold for less) price of a home in Santa Barbara now stands at $1,150,000 according to the California Association of Realtors? Wow! No wonder that 30 mile stretch of 101 freeway is a bit crowded these days!


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Why is a 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchange so popular?

Normally when you sell property, you must recognize gain or loss in that transaction. If it is a gain, it is subject to tax. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, however, provides an exception to that rule. A 1031 exchange allows the deferment of capital gains tax which would have been owed on the sale of the property. Tax deferment is leverage and leverage creates wealth! You must take specific steps to qualify for a 1031, including using a qualified Intermediary or "Accomodator". It's not as hard as it sounds and the benefit is great! You should check with a qualified accountant to find out more information. If you would like a 2005 informational booklet explaining more about this, however, you can call me or email me and I will be happy to mail you one.

Janis Calkins, Agent
California Oaks
(805) 218-7016

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

For Sale By Owner

Thinking of selling your home yourself? According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, the median selling price of a home sold by owner was 15.4 percent less than agent assisted transactions. When you do the math on this one, you still come out ahead when you hire a professional!


Monday, May 09, 2005

More on Capital Gains

Can a couple take a $500,000 tax exemption on the sale of their principal residence even if they are not married? The answer is yes, as long as they are both on title to the property. Please check with your tax professional for all the details.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

A House Isn't A Home........

Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow Moms out there that make a house more than a home. They make it a place that their families feel safe and loved. The value of a home is more than what the last comparative on the block brought. It's in the hearts of the family that live there.

Enjoy your day, Mom!


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Why Hire an Agent to Sell?

Ever wonder why it is so very important to hire and pay a reputable, full service, real estate agent to sell your home? Here are just some of the services provided to you as a seller:

  • Assists in determining the Fair Market Value of your property by providing a FREE Comparative Market Analysis specifically created for your home
  • Suggests ways to improve salability of your home
  • Locates qualified buyers through many sources such as Multiple Listing services, advertising, agent contacts, flyers, websites
  • Keeps you the seller informed every step of the way
  • Highlights showing of your home by presenting its best features to buyers
  • Holds "Open House" for you while you can relax and enjoy the day
  • Presents an objective third party viewpoint in the transaction
  • Qualifies and counsels serious buyers & or their agent toward a decision. Buyers need answers to countless questions regarding your property, financing, payments, insurance and title clearance
  • Keeps up to date with the best financing available to buyers
  • Synchronizes the seller/buyer transaction
  • Assists the seller with necessary disclosure forms, termite requirements, repair requests.
  • Handles any and all complications that occur throughout the selling process
  • Works full time, ALL THE TIME, for the seller

Believe me, it is definitely worth letting an agent make this process as easy & stress free for you as possible. Think about hiring a reputable, FULL SERVICE, agent when selling!

Janis Calkins, California Oaks Real Estate


(805) 218-7016

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Something to Think About

With the rocket rise in prices over the past few years many homeowners are left holding a treasure chest of equity in their homes. That's great, right? Of course, it is. However, if they are thinking of moving, for whatever reason, the $250,000 gain for a single homeowner, and $500,000 gain for a married couple may not be enough to stop them from needing to pay both federal and state capital gains. Gains in some areas have put many homeowners well over that threshold. Some homeowners are choosing to to do 1031 tax deferred exchanges. They are converting their principal residence to a rental, and at some later date, selling their home and purchasing a new home in a 1031 tax deferred exchange. The new home is then rented for a period of time (usually a minimum of 6-12 months) and then converted back to a principal residence. If you are thinking of doing this, check with your tax specialist for all the details.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

'Tis the Season!

'Tis the season of multiple offers and over bids. Yesterday, one of my buyers looking to spend up to a million dollars was considering a few homes for their family. Two out of three homes sold before we ever got there to look at them. The listing agents shared with me that they had received multiple offers and had already chosen one of the offers, as well as a second back up offer. The 3rd home had one offer so far, but they hadn't accepted it yet. We rushed over! My client had to decide whether or not to buy the home in less time than they would spend picking out a new couch. What a day!