Friday, March 31, 2006

Second Homes

Here's an interesting stat:

According to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, 36 percent of all homes purchased in 2004 were second homes.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thought for Today

"The man who leaves nothing to chance, will do few things badly, but he will do very few things."

- George Savile Halifax

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bernanke Raises Fed Funds Rate

Just in case you've been hiding under a rock for the last few days I wanted to confirm that Bernanke raised the Federal Funds rate to 4.75%, just as expected. The saga continues as bets are on if this is the last of a series of quarter point raises in the target rate.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Expected Fed Funds Rate Hike

Today is Bernanke's first meeting as Fed Chair. He is expected to flex his muscle and hike rates .25%.

What does this mean? Well, it doesn't necessarily mean doom and gloom for home loan rates. Bond prices and home loan rates often improve after a Fed rate hike, since the Fed is acting to keep inflation at bay and the hike is anticipated by banks. So if the Policy Statement holds no surprises, home loan rates may enjoy some slight improvement this week.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Closing Costs

Everybody's heard the term closing costs, but what exactly makes up closing costs? For buyers it consists of all the fees charged by title, escrow, and the lender. You'll have fees such as the escrow fee, along with loan fees like points and the appraisal fee. In addition, you'll have prepaid interest on your loan, any property taxes due at the close, and the cost of your homeowners insurance policy. So, if you are a buyer, closing costs are everything except your down payment.

For sellers, it's much the same, however, you won't have new loan costs. You will possibly have commission costs to sell your home, the cost for pest control work (termites!), title and escrow, interest charges on your existing loan and the principal payoff, and any unpaid property taxes.

Your escrow agent can give you a pretty close estimate of your total closing costs once you've opened escrow. If you haven't opened escrow yet, your real estate agent or lender can give you a rough estimate.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Trying to Find a Bargain House?

With the market shifting to more of a buyers market, there is now a possibility to get a house or condo in our area with what Realtors call a "Lowball" offer. There are some tricks to doing this:

1. Make many offers on several homes - a person who makes offers on many homes is more likely to find a willing seller.
2. Look for motivated sellers - a home that has been on the market a longer time than normal may accept a discount offer, or someone who has a life changing event such as job transfer or marriage.
3. Give the seller a reason to accept your offer - offer incentives. Offer to do the termite work yourself, guarantee the sellers you won't ask for any other repairs, be ready to go with your loan,get pre-approved.
4. Get someone to represent your interests - Don't think the sellers agent will give you a better deal. Listing agents have a duty to get the best possible price for their seller. The sales commission is set when the seller employs the listing agent to sell their house. Buyers need someone who will work for them and their interests. Call someone from this list! We would love to help you.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Interest Only Loans

There's been alot of whispering lately about adjustable and interest only loans. With interest rates heading up, many are worried about all those home owners that squeezed into the market with hybrid loans. However, there are some valid reasons to consider an interest only loan:
  • You can count on having a higher income in a few years - maybe your family is young and your wife (or husband) stays at home with the kids but plans to return to work in a few years.
  • You have good use for the monthly savings - are you diciplined enough to invest the monthly savings for a higher return? Or, maybe your paying college tuitions for your kids.
  • You plan to move or sell soon - Are you retiring soon? Expanding your family?

As you can see, there are times when it makes alot of sense to go with a loan other than the standard 30 year fixed. Talk with a trusted financial planner that can help you decide if an interest only loan might help you acheive your long term goals.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

School API Scores

Since we were talking about school boundaries, I thought I'd throw in another resource that I like to give to my clients when they are looking for homes in new areas. This site will give you the Academic Performance Index for Ventura County Schools.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday Best Buy!

Check this Ventura Condo out! Priced well below many of the comparative sales in Todd Ranch, this might just be an opportunity to gain some sweat equity. It's got 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and a 1 car attached garage. $429,900

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

New Listing in Camarillo

Open Sunday 2pm - 4pm
Come check out what you get for $449,000 in Camarillo. This is an end unit with lot's of light, 2 master bedrooms, 2 baths, a fireplace, private patio, 2 car garage, and it's move in ready. The complex has a beautiful pVisual verificationool and spa, as well as tennis courts. Central Camarillo location is close to everything.

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Interesting Statistic

The National Association of Realtors reports that 21 percent of recent home buyers are single women, while 9 percent of single men recently purchased a home.

I wonder what we can deduct from this statistic? Anyone? Anyone?

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Monday, March 13, 2006


This home is huge! With 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, bring the whole family!!
Two story with 3 bedrooms down and 2 bedrooms and a family room upstairs, it is perfect for separate spaces. The kitchen looks out over the large, private fenced rear yard. This home is priced well below other homes of this size at $685,000. Just needs some TLC! Check out more pictures on my website.

Janis Calkins
California Oaks
80 218-7016

Friday, March 10, 2006

Home Improvements

Thinking about doing some home improvements? Hardwood Floors seems to be at the top of most buyers wish list. They warm up a home and are long lasting. Also on the wish list is solid surface countertops in the kitchen. They don't need to be granite, but no grout lines, please. If you think you might sell at some point in the future, consult with your Realtor about what improvements make the most impact with buyers.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pending Home Sales Decrease

The California Association of Realtors reported that the the number of pending homes (transactions that have signed contracts, but have not yet closed) decreased in January for the 5th straight month. The index used by the association stands at 116.3. An index reading over 100 generally indicates a high level of home sales activity.

This is another sign of the market cooling off, or that predicted soft landing.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Real Estate and the Internet

The National Association of Realtors reports that 76% of homebuyers and sellers use the internet as an integral part of the process of buying or selling a home. This is up from last years 62%. The NAR also reported that even though use of the internet is rising, 90% of buyers and sellers are using a Realtor to guide them through the process of buying and selling.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Open House Saturday 2-4

Lowest priced 3 bedroom Todd Ranch!

Large bedrooms, newer tile, french doors off the kitchen lead out to a patio and small fenced yard area. One car attached garage. Low homeowners dues. Check out this great opportunity on Saturday from 2pm - 4pm at 1367 Iguana Circle, off Ramelli and Telephone Road in Ventura.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Business and Blogging

I thought you might like to check out an article in the business section this morning about business and blogging. I was interviewed for this article a couple of weeks ago. Of course, if you still get the real paper, just go to the business section of todays paper. If you don't receive the paper daily, like me (saving trees?), just click on this link at the Ventura County Star. You may need to register before accessing the article, but then you'll be able to come back anytime you like.

I'd love to hear from you with whether or not you think any of the information here is helpful. Just click on the envelope next to comments at the end of this post.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Insurance Inventory Software

We all know we should have a detailed list of the things we own in case something happens. I've been meaning to get around to it myself, but just haven't found the time. There's a cool website that let's you download software that helps you create an inventory list complete with pictures.
Check it out at Know Your Stuff
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