Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

We pay tribute to those who have died fighting to defend our nation.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Looking To Get Your Best Deal?

There are 5 questions home buyers should ask and use to their advantage when buying a home.
To help home buyers negotiate their best possible sales price and terms, here are the five key questions home buyers should ask. The answers to these questions will help you determine how much negotiation you may have on any given home.

1.) WHY ARE YOU SELLING THIS HOME? The primary reasons the home buyer needs to know why the seller is selling are to (1) tailor a purchase offer that will meet the seller's needs, and (2) determine if the seller is highly motivated to sell.

2.) HOW MUCH DID THE SELLER PAY FOR THIS HOME? In most communities, this information is a public record, which the buyer's agent can easily obtain. The reason smart home buyers insist on knowing this vital information is it shows how much negotiation room the seller has.

3.) WHAT DEFECTS DOES THE HOME HAVE AND HAVE THERE BEEN ANY RECENT PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTIONS?In most states, home sellers must now provide buyers with written home sale disclosures revealing any material facts that affect the home's market value or desirability.

An open-end question like this will remind the home seller of any problems that, hopefully, have been corrected.

If you don't have school-age children, it's easy to forget this important question. But top quality schools contribute to home values and future market value appreciation. Families prefer to buy in communities with superb public schools and are willing to pay extra for the privilege.

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rents are truely rising!

Here's a quote from a USA Today article by Noelle Knox called "Renters Will Dig Deeper in 2007". The article begins with the words...renters be warned...rents will rise about 5% this year and since the beginning of 2005, rents have increased 14%.

Renters - are you sure it's not time to consider home ownership?

Call me -call anyone one this list. We are here to help you.

(805) 901-8805

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Down Payment Assistance

The City of Ventura has a home buyer assistance program that offers buyers down payment assistance for the purchase of their first home - up to $80,000. Go here to get some of the specifics. If you find this is something that you'd like to learn more about, contact me for more information.

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Alternative to the traditionally built home

How about a modular home? Look at this

picture of the breakfast bar looking into the kitchen. Does this look like a modulat home? Well, it is. It was built in 2003 and is located in Ventura. It is in an all-age park off of Wells and Telegraph Roads. Asking price is $225,000. Call Lorraine to schedule your appointment to see it. More pictures at:



Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Benefits to Current Market

Lawrence Yun, National Association for Realtors senior economist, says one benefit for the current market is the disappearance of speculative behavior, which contributed to abnormal price growth. “Home buyers today are purchasing for the long term, generally with a realistic expectation of modest gains over time,” Yun says. “Housing first and foremost is shelter. Second, it’s a long-term investment that slowly builds the greatest amount of wealth for most families. It’s good that we’re getting beyond the tendency of some buyers to view housing as a temporary asset to accumulate short-term wealth, which is not to be expected in a normal market.”

Search the MLS for Homes in Ventura County at:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fixer Caves In

The dreams of a young San Francisco couple to renovate a fixer-upper collapsed last weekend — literally. Bill Zhou and his wife spent $525,000 for an 870-square-foot cottage built in 1910. The house was a bargain in a city where the median price is $755,000. They planned to do the renovation work themselves. But Sunday afternoon the house caved in. No one was injured. Before the crash, the home was the subject of a story in the The San Francisco Examiner, which labeled it as the cheapest house on the market. According to the story, the real estate practitioner who handled the sale had warned potential buyers to "enter at your own risk."

Source: The Associated Press (05/07/07)

Search for Fixers and other Ventura County Real Estate at:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pricing Your Home RIGHT!

When a market levels or begins trending downward, as ours has now, be sure to get in front of the trend. This is even more important than an upward market if you don't want your house sitting on the market. Every week you wait you literally lose money, sometimes thousands of dollars each week. Don't wait! When prices trend downward, sellers must forget what their neighbor's sales price two months ago, it has no bearing the day you receive your contract.

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Here's to all you mothers out there, hoping you have a very maternal Sunday! Aren't sleeping babies beautiful?
Need a new crib?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Single Family Home for UNDER $400k

This one is NOT a fixer. Beautiful hardwood floors, brand new kitchen, new triple pane windows, new ductless heating and air conditioning, and more......Nice size lot in a quiet location.


Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Friday, May 11, 2007

No-Fee Mortgages available Tuesday

May 7, 2007
Bank of America Rolls Out No-Fee Mortgage

Bank of America on Tuesday will begin offering nationally a no-fee mortgage, which will eliminate most of the charges that add a few thousand dollars to every closing. Bank of America, which is the nation’s second largest lender by assets, has been offering this mortgage in Washington state since September. In February, it expanded the program to eight additional states. Tomorrow, it will begin advertising the “No Fee Mortgage Plus” nationally.

The loan also eliminates private mortgage insurance and the bank is guaranteeing its customers the best deal on interest rates and an on-time closing. Borrowers must put down at least 5 percent. The loans aren’t available to subprime customers.

Floyd Robinson, Bank of America's president of consumer real estate and insurance services, says the loan eliminates, on average, $3,350 in closing costs on a $200,000 loan.No other major bank appears to be offering similar loans. Robinson says the bank is able to make money by cross-selling new products. "This is about a relationship more so than about a single product sell," he says.

Source: The Associated Press, Ieva M. Augstums (05/07/07)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Note About Homeowner's Insurance

Be sure to check with your insurance agent early on when you are planning to buy a home or investment property. Many factors go in to determining whether or not a property is insurable and at what rate. Some of these factors are location, past claims by either yourself, or against the property you are looking to insure. In addition to finding out the requirements for insuring your new property (such as a home inspection, or required safety upgrades), you want to make sure you are able to afford the policy.

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Your Property Tax Bill May DROP!!

Yes, your property tax bill may be lower this year!

Here's a brief overview of the assessment process: The assessment value of homes and other property is usually linked to fair market values and determined by local government. The assessment is made up of two components – the improvement or building value and the land (or site) value. The person with overall responsibility for accurately assessing the current value of properties in a local jurisdiction is the tax assessor. S/He's the public official who must set the value of properties for the purpose of apportioning the tax levy.

The assessor's office usually maintains inventory information about improvements to real estate, and creates and maintains up-to-date tax maps. The assessed value of a home is normally determined by one or more accepted methods of valuation. Assessments may be given at 100 percent of value or at some lesser percentage.

In most cases, the determination of value made by the assessor is subject to some sort of review, if an appeal is instituted by the property owner. Taxes are based on fair market values of individual properties. The local assessor then applies an established assessment rate to that fair market value. By multiplying the tax rate by the assessed value of the property, a tax due is calculated.

If you feel the property tax bill you receive is too high, you can always appeal for reconsideration. Be prepared to document why you believe your property is over-valued by the assessor. Contact your local assessor's office for information about their appeal procedure. Contact your Realtor for an up-to-date Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your property for your documentation.

Lorraine, Realtor
Visit my web site at
I can also supply you the CMA for free!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What is a Lock Box?

So, what is a lock box, and why do I need one? If you are selling your home, it's an electronic box that is secured to your home and a key to your home is stored in it. Today, easy access to your home while it is on the market is key to having it seen by as many potential buyers as possible. Homes that do not install a lockbox may take longer to sell, and since they are not seen by as many potential buyers, may not sell for as much. In our current market, it may even be the reason your home doesn't sell. With the inventory of homes for sale growing, your home may be passed by for a showing because there are plenty other homes with easy access. Your Realtor will install it and monitor the access, if necessary. The box is programmed to allow access only between particular hours, such as 8am to 8pm. In addition, each Realtor that uses the box is verified on a daily basis, and it records their information. Ask your Realtor for more information on this useful tool to sell your home.

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Monday, May 07, 2007

Food Drive this Saturday!

Stamp Out Hunger food drive, Saturday May 12

Just leave non-perishables out for your postal carrier to pick up on Saturday. How much easier could it be? Ventura County Foodshare will be involved to distribute the food to folks in need, right here in Ventura County!

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Open House 1 to 3 today Sun 5-6-07

Come on by and say "Hello!". I will be holding 217 Youmans Drive in Ventura Open House today from 1 to 3 pm in Ventura. From Telephone Road (by Barnes and Noble Book Store/Shopping Area) turn toward the 126 freeway on Portola. Turn right on Thille. Turn left into Imperial Mobile Home Park. First street (immediately after you turn in) is Youmans - turn left. Come around the park to the first stop sign. House is on the corner across from the stop sign -park across the street next to the wall. Asking price $135,000. Lorraine
See more pictures at:


Friday, May 04, 2007

Don't Get Pre-Qualified, Get Pre-Approved!

Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller. In years past, we have always recommended that buyers get "pre-qualified" by a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. Sellers are aware that such certificates are worthless, and here's why! None of the information has been verified! Unknown problems can surface for example: recorded judgments, child support payments due, glitches on the credit report (due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately), down payment funds that have not been in the clients' bank account long enough, etc. So the way to make a strong offer today is to get "pre-approved". This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It's VERY POWERFUL and a weapon we recommend to all of our clients to have in their negotiating arsenal.

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fast facts on home prices and mortgage rates

Fast Facts from the C.A.R. Newsline (Wed. May 2, 2007):

Calif. median home price - March 07: $580,090 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region March 07: Santa Barbara So. Coast $1,200,000 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region March 07: High Desert $320,830 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index - Fourth Quarter 06:25 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates - week ending 4/26:30-yr. fixed: 6.16%; Fees/points: 0.5%
15-yr. fixed: 5.87%; Fees/points: 0.5%
1-yr. adjustable: 5.43%; Fees/points: 0.7%(Source: Freddie Mac)

Call me with any of your real estate needs.
Visit my web site at

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Buying Strategy - Sell First, then Buy!

If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! Let's pretend that I go out looking for the perfect house for you. I find it and you love it! Now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that's a risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN'T have to sell a house while he's waiting for you. So he says OK, he'll do the contingency but it has to be a full price offer! So you see, you paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency. Now you have to sell your existing house, and in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the dream house! So to sell quickly you might take an offer that's lower than if you had more time. The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars. I always recommend that you sell first, then buy. If you're concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that, then put your house on the market. Another tactic is to make the sale "subject to seller finding home of choice". Adding this phrase to the listing means that WHEN YOU DO FIND A BUYER, you will have some time to find the new place. If you don't find anything to your liking, you don't have to sell your present home.

Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New on the Market!

Just Listed! Nice Ventura home in the Bird Tract (tweet tweet) with a new kitchen (very cool silestone counters and stainless steel appliances. Polished concrete floors for a very modern feel. Still needs some touch ups and fixes, but a very good start. $559,000
Search the MLS for Ventura County Real Estate at: