Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Spring Sales Heating UP!

Some good news was reported from the California Association of Realtors:
The median price for an existing single-family home in Ventura County during March was $678,850, up 7.9 percent from $629,130 for the same month last year. The number of sales were down from a year ago, but spiked 60.8 percent from February.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Doing Home Improvements?

If you've got some home improvement plans, chances are, you're looking to hire a competent contractor. Here's a few suggestions:
  • Ask for referrals from friends and neighbors - first hand knowledge of craftsmanship and work habits is crucial.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau online or call the Chamber of Commerce - How long have the company been in service and are there any complaints or suits filed.
  • Ask for references - talking to past customers can give surprising results sometimes.
  • Ask for a written estimate - no surprises here.
  • Check to make sure their license is current - make sure it hasn't been suspended for any reason. You can go to www.contractors-license.org
  • Ask about Liability Insurance - you don't want your homeowners policy to be the only protection.
  • Also make sure they have Workers Compensation Insurance - you, the homeowner, could be held responsible if the one of the workers are injured while working on your house.

It's a little more work, but well worth the time.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Best Buy!

If you are like most buyers today, you want the best value for your money. It's difficult to know what the best price for a property is. Of course, working with a Realtor that is knowledgable about the market, the neighborhood, and the past sales is a start. Another way to weed out some of the over priced homes is to look for a seller that is truly motivated to sell their property. These sellers tend to price their homes aggressively because they need to sell their home. A good example is this home on Kodiak Street in Ventura. The seller has already purchased another home out of state and is on a time line to get their home sold. The last sale of this model, in this tract, sold for $635,000. This is a good value!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thought for Today

"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things."


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More Ways to Advertise Online

If you thought the only way to search for real estate ads online was through Realtor.com, company websites, and agent websites, think again. Here are a few of the websites making a splash in the online real estate ads pool: Oodle.com, Yahoo! Classifieds, craigslist, sell.com, Google Base, and eBay. Check 'em out!

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Best Buy!

Attention all bargain hunters!

If you are looking for your first home and condos are on the list, homeowners dues should be a careful consideration. How much are they, and what do they cover? Here's a Camarillo Townhome with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and about 1185 square feet of living space. It has a two car attached garage with an opener, laundry area, balcony off the master bedroom, and a wonderful fireplace in the living room. Great central Camarillo location. It's priced at $447,000 with homeowners dues of $170. The homeowners dues cover a beautiful pool and spa, tennis courts, maintenance, trash, water, sewer, and hazard insurance. Add all that up if you were to pay for it seperately, not a bad deal! Check around town. Many HOA's are nearing $300 per month, and they don't always include as much as this place.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Ventura County Median Home Price

According to the California Association of Realtors, the median home price for a single family home (no condos) in Ventura County is $684,070 as of February '06. This is a slight increase over January's figures at $682,250. Compared to last year at this time (Feb '05), the median was $632,320. This is all good news as our housing market here in Ventura returns to a more balanced scene. Expect more of the same, very small increases in value with longer marketing times.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Preparing Your Home to Sell

Make it Sparkle!
There's change in the air and you can no longer count on throwing your home on the market and having it sell immediately! Some preparation is in order. Even if you can't afford to do more expensive recommended fix ups, you can probably afford a little elbow grease:
  • Paint is inexpensive when you do it yourself. Give the interior of your home a fresh coat of neutral paint.
  • Make that kitchen shine! Wipe down cabinets, scrub the grout lines, and don't forget the baseboards and floors.
  • Bathrooms are important to buyers, scrub, scrub, scrub. If you have moldy caulking, remove the old caulk and re-caulk for a fresh look.
  • Don't forget the windows! Clean them, including the tracks, sills, and screens. If they have blinds, shutters, or drapes, make sure those are cleaned as well.
  • Get the buyers to stop with curb appeal. Manicure that lawn, pull the weeds, and trim the hedges. Paint the trim and front door if needed. The front entry should be clean and welcoming.

None of these items are expensive, they just take a little time. But, the time you spend on these items will save you days, even weeks of waiting for your home to sell!

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New VantageScore Credit Scoring

Have you figured out how your credit score works yet? I haven't either. Around the middle of March a new credit scoring was rolled out aiming to be more consistent. Instead of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion using their own formulas to generate credit scores, they will now all use the same formula in the VantageScore to get one consistent score. The score will range from A to F (and you thought you were through with ever worrying about what your grades were again)! The scores in relation to the letter grades will look like this:

A= 901-990
B= 801-900
C= 701-800
D= 601-700
F= 501-600

Businesses will have a choice on whether or not they want to use this new scoring system. On first glance, I had a few thoughts about whether or not it might fly and become the new standard for credit scoring. First, by todays credit scoring, a score of 601 and 700 are miles apart when it comes to granting credit by most morgage lenders. However, in this system they are the same score, D. Another observation, a score of 700 is a D? I've also seen a lot of credit scores in the past 7-8 years and I've only seen one score over 800 and none over 900. I suspect (hope!) that the new scores have nothing to do with the old scores and someone who might have had a 700 score in the old system would now have a 810 score in the new system. I know change can be a good thing and I'm hoping it will be on this one. But, for now, I'm confused about credit scores!

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