4 Reasons to Buy Before Winter

Snow-GlobeIt’s that time of year, the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.2% (most pessimistic) and 27.8% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: “Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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Home prices are slowing, Case-Shiller index suggests

Home prices are slowing, Case-Shiller index suggestsBy Andrew Khouri
February 25, 2014, 7:13 p.m, Los Angeles Times

Home prices nationally posted their best year since 2005, but signs are growing that the housing rebound has stalled.

Prices in the 20 largest metro areas have dropped slightly for two months in a row, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, a leading national home price gauge.

Demand is waning because of higher prices and mortgage rates, and home buyers have only modest expectations for price appreciation, said Robert J. Shiller, a Yale economist and co-creator of the index.

Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages?

 

“It’s not a time of great enthusiasm for a home purchase,” Shiller said.

He even warned that prices could drop on an annual basis by the end of 2014 amid a retreat by institutional investors and a still-weak economy.

“I am not predicting that, I am saying it’s a worry,” said Shiller, who famously predicted last decade’s housing crash.

The downbeat assessment comes after prices rose rapidly for much of last year. Rock-bottom mortgage rates supercharged demand and pushed up property values in America’s biggest cities. Despite the recent slowdown, home prices in the 20 largest metro areas rose 13.4% over the year ending in December, according to the index.

The Case-Shiller data lag behind other indicators, which also have signaled falling demand. Home prices have risen far faster than incomes, pricing many buyers out of a market with few homes for sale.

In January, the National Assn. of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes plunged to the lowest level in 18 months, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The Case-Shiller data are not seasonally adjusted, so they reflect, in part, a typical winter slowdown.

Only six cities, including San Francisco and Las Vegas, saw prices climb in December from November. And 11 metro areas saw slower annual price increases in December compared with a month earlier.

Los Angeles posted a strong rise of 20.3% from December 2012 to December 2013, but that was smaller than L.A.’s November-to-November gain.

And December’s year-over-year gain across the largest cities was the slowest since September.

“The strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The price slowdown has been welcomed by many. As prices soared early last year, so did fears of another bubble. Many economists now predict continued gains in 2014, although at a slower pace.

Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries called 2013 “an undeniably great year in housing” and pegged gains this year around 3% — a level he called “more sustainable.”

“The market is gearing up for a spring home shopping season that should be a bit smoother for buyers, with less investor competition and marginally more inventory,” he said.

Some real estate agents say they have already noticed spring’s arrival. On Sunday, Amber Dolle held an open house for a three-bedroom in the San Fernando Valley priced at $499,000.

“We got two offers on it, and there must have been 70 people that came through,” she said.

There are signs sellers are increasingly placing their homes on the market. Inventory remains very tight, but more homes were for sale nationally and across Southern California in January than a year earlier, according to Realtor.com.

The Case-Shiller index, created by Shiller and economist Karl E. Case, is widely considered the most reliable read on home values. The housing index, which uses a three-month moving average, compares the latest sales of detached houses with previous sales, and accounts for factors such as remodeling that might affect a house’s sale price over time.

Some economists say a rapidly shrinking foreclosure crisis has distorted the index. With fewer foreclosed homes sold, recent price gains become exaggerated, they say.

Western cities — a favorite of deep-pocketed investors — continued to post the largest annual gains. Prices in Las Vegas rose 25.5% compared with December 2012; San Francisco 22.6%; and Los Angeles, which includes Orange County, jumped 20.3%.

“I am a little concerned,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “It’s hard for me to believe those price increases are justified by the fundamentals.”

Amid those higher prices, investors have recently shown signs of pulling back.

In Phoenix, prices fell 0.3% from November, the first decline after 26 consecutive increases. The spring home buying season should provide better insight whether first-time and move-up buyers can fill the void. Would-be home buyers face a tougher challenge to adjust to higher prices than last decade, when credit was loose and standards were low.

Values shouldn’t drop, though, said IHS Global Insight economist Patrick Newport. Few homes on the market and a depressed level of new construction will continue to support price increases, he said. “We are just not building enough homes.”

And although Shiller expressed concerns prices could fall, he, too, predicted gains this year — just not as stark as buyers recently experienced.

The recent price run-up is small compared with what Americans saw last decade and homes aren’t as expensive, Shiller said.

“I am less worried,” he said, “than I was back in 2006.”

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6 Things Sellers need to know before they list FOR SALE

sellers-need-to-know
The information contains an agent perspective, but nonetheless it’s good content for all those folks looking to sell in 2014.

In a market where home inventory is low and demand is soaring, your sellers may think that their home will move in mere minutes–and at a price that defies even the loftiest expectations. When left untethered, these dreams of big prices and warp speed sales can spell disaster–and major disappointment–for you and your clients.

Don’t worry! You’re not doomed to this fate. With a few smart, premeditated steps you can head-off seller miseducation and common misconceptions and start your client on the path to a successful sale from the get-go. Here are six scripts and simple talking points that your sellers need to know before their home hits the market.

 

1. Staging matters–big time!

Every agent knows the old adage, “Homes that don’t show well don’t close well.” But still, time and time again we see sellers rail against the time and cost associated with staging a home. Afterall, if they love their home as it is, why shouldn’t everyone else? This is a situation where sometimes showing trumps telling. If you have a particularly stageing-averse client, take them on a two-home showing; one where the home is staged and one where the home is not.

Be sensitive, but firm. Their decor may be a beautiful expression of their personality, but sometimes less is more. You can also download and share Trulia’s 10 Hardcore Staging Tips for Sellers so that they can reference it before every open house.

2. The market sets the price, not the owner. 

It’s understandable that many home sellers think that their home is above the price that the market dictates. Sentimental value often translates into an inflated sense of the home’s worth,  but when it comes price, the winning opinion is always the market’s opinion. You know it’s impossible to effectively price a home without taking into account the competition. Unfortunately, too many sellers don’t.

First, it’s essential to determine how much the seller thinks their home is worth. If their expectation is wildly inappropriate, it may be worth taking the clients to see a home that is on the market and priced at their expectation. Then, take the seller to a comparable home that is priced similarly to where you feel their home should be priced. Take the time to both educate them on the competition and give them expert home pricing tips to help them understand your pricing strategy.

Need more resources:

  • Download and share Trulia’s home pricing tips handout
  • Send the seller their Trulia home estimate report, which uses market data to create a customize report.

3. Small renovations may mean big bucks later

In many cases, the cost of a home repair is less expensive than a potential buyer perceives the cost of the repair to be. If buyers over estimate the cost of fixing the problem, it may negatively impact the offer amount and end up costing the seller more in the long run. Be upfront with your seller clients when you spot unsightly blemishes that could cost your clients the deal.

Before you list and start marketing the property, counsel your sellers on the improvements you know will make a difference when it comes to price. If you need a starter list of simple ways to boost a home’s value and its showing potential, download our guide on the 10 ways to boost your home’s value.

4. Incentives can help close the deal faster.

Offering practical incentives might not sound sexy, but those that fill legitimate buyer needs have the power to differentiate a listing from the competition and attract just the right attention needed to get the home sold for the right price.

Talk to your sellers early about how they might be prepared to sweeten the deal if the right offers don’t come rolling in. Talking incentives early and building them into the marketing plan can arm both agent and seller with the ammunition to jump potential marketing hurdles and beat out the competition for a fast sale.

If you need help deciding what incentives help sell homes check out this popular home seller handout on the Top 4 Incentives that Sell Homes.

5. Serious buyers never stop the hunt.

Too many sellers see the winter months as the slow season. The reality is, there are plenty of upsides to listing and marketing a home when everyone else is taking a break.

Check out and share our free agent download 5 Unexpected Upsides to Off-Season House Hunting to show your clients that holding off on listing could ultimately make selling harder than it has to be.

6. Real estate is a local business.

The last few years have turned real estate headlines into high-profile news. Home prices are on the rise. In fact, last month home prices were up 11.9% over the year past. While this is great news for the country as a whole, be sure to remind your sellers that real estate is a local industry and that asking price isn’t everything.

To do this, consider posting your own local market updates on your personal real estate blog. In addition, check out and use these tips for showing your clients the difference between asking and listing price in your local market. For many sellers, seeing the numbers is just the ammo they need to agree to the right price.

$30.00 Starbucks giftcard drawing

Update…. 11/01/13.  Congratulations to Monica Ortega. She won the $30.00 Starbucks gift card. Her son is Austin Rothenbeck. He plays for the Freshman team.   STAY TUNED FOR NOVEMBER’S  DRAWING FOR TURKEYS!!

starbucks winner

Update….Last day to enter $30.00 Starbucks gift card drawing!! Take 2 minutes of your busy day to enter and enjoy coffee for week on us!! Good luck!

starbucks

Happy October!!

Enter to win our  October drawing for a FREE $30.00 Starbuck’s  giftcard. Winner will be chosen October 30th, 2013. All entrants will be notified of winning entry via email.  One entry per family.

 

$30.00 Starbuck's giftcard drawing

Complete all boxes and click SUBMIT. Good luck!

4 Ways to Know Whether to Sell or Stay Put

Sell or stayEvery real estate market creates its own buyer and seller personas, or profiles. When the market is slow and prices are low, it brings out ‘the wheeler-dealer’ and ‘the lowballer,’ as well as the ‘paralyzed panicker’ in some buyers.

But sellers aren’t immune.

And in a warm or hot market climate, the rise in home prices makes some sellers wonder whether they should exercise the freedom of finally having some home equity and make a move, or if it’s a better idea to stay put in hopes they can sell for more, next year or later.

Truth is, whether any given person should sell their home or stay put at any given time is a highly personal decision. Market dynamics should come into play, but that should be considered in the context of your personal life, career, family and financial plans.

Trying to figure out whether to sell or stay put? Here are four ways to know which decision is right for you.

1.  Sign You Should Sell: You frequently crave a neighborhood upgrade. I have known people who have liveed in “up and coming neighborhoods” for 20 years, and are still waiting for it to up-and-come. Others own homes on streets or in subdivisions they used to love that have changed dramatically because the city has been built up in a different direction, the area was rezoned, or because a school, freeway, commercial development, airport or train station was brought in. And still other home owners fall out of love with their neighborhoods because their job has moved, making their commute a pain.

In any event, if your home’s location is seriously misaligned with your life or your tastes, that fact is one you face all day, every day, for the duration of the time you live in the property. It can become a serious source of life dissatisfaction and resentment that rears its ugly head every time you make your monthly mortgage payment. As I see it, dissatisfaction with your neighborhood or a serious neighborhood-life disconnect can be a strong reason to sell and move, assuming you can make a move to a neighborhood that would better serve your life in a financially responsible way.

2.  Sign You Should Stay:  You can totally afford a new house – if you sell a kidney. A few years back, a friend of mine wrote a book called Life Would be Perfect if I Lived in That House (Vintage 2011). In it, she told how her mother was so addicted to the grass-is-greener promise of moving to a new home that she would actually take her family Open House hunting, even when they were visiting towns they had no interest in moving to! She went on to relate her inherited real estate addiction to the national trend of “moving on up,” so to speak, with financial recklessness – the trend that many believe led to the Great Recession.

There’s nothing wrong with being a real estate aficionado, but it’s important to watch to make sure grass-is-greener-at-that-house syndrome isn’t motivating you to make a financially unwise decision to sell and move.

If you are considering selling your home and moving up, do your own financial home work. Run your own budgets, income and expense reports and other financials to understand what level of increased financial obligation, if any, your household finances can afford to take. Consider whether you might want to set up some savings, investing or debt elimination targets before making a move. Work with your financial planner, tax professional and your real estate and mortgage pros to fully understand all the financial implications, short- and long-term, of selling and moving before you put the sign up in the yard.

3.  Sign You Should Sell: Space-wise, your family is too close for comfort. (And things will get worse before they get better.) I marvel at how much stuff the smallest infant seems to need.  I once went to a baby shower that generated so many strollers, packable playpens and sheer gear that it took 2 SUVs and a station wagon to cart it all home – for a kid that ultimately weighed in at 6 pounds and some-odd ounces.

If you have very young children and you’re already tripping over each other, chances are good that their space needs will grow as they do, even after all the baby gear is gone. School-aged kids and teenagers develop their own hobbies and need space for studies and sports – and on top of that, many parents of young children can realistically anticipate moving their own parents in at some point in time.

If you’re struggling to find a space for everything (and everyone), project your space needs out five years into the future. If you think you’ll need less space in five years (e.g., because your kids will likely move out in that time frame), it might not make sense to buy a bigger home now. But if it looks like you’ll need more space before you need less, that can be a sound rationale for making a financially rational move.

4.  Sign You Should Stay:  You could fix what ails your home with relatively modest remodeling projects.  If your home is bothersome primarily because things don’t function very well or its aesthetics are out of whack with your style, you might be tempted to sell and move.  Here’s a tip-off: your “dream home” is the Open House one block over that is nearly identical to your home in location, size, architecture, bedrooms and baths, but is impeccably decorated and updated. If you find yourself in this situation, you might very well be able to resolve your issues by investing less than you would spend on the transactional costs of selling and buying another home into some small-to-medium-scale remodeling projects on your current home.

On a budget, painting, landscaping, replacing exterior trims and interior hardware and updating your kitchen appliances will likely give you the biggest boost in home love for your buck. Similarly, you can get a major enjoyment boost out of your home for very little money by bringing a handyperson in to fix all those niggling little items that make a home seem worn out, including:

  • drawers that stick
  • handles you have to jiggle
  • drafts that need stopping up, and
  • scrapes and scuffs that make a place look rundown.

That said, when you consider what you would spend on commissions and closing costs to sell one home and buy a nearly-identical new one, you might be able to justify a larger updating/upgrading budget. If you have a little more dough to spend, consider a kitchen or bath remodel, having some custom organizers built in, or putting in the wood floors or deck you’ve always wished for. You might be surprised how fast home hate can turn to love when you start pampering your property.

Sellers: What factors influenced your decision to sell?

Latest Brea News & Events

Brea City Manager report

The latest City Focus is now online and available for viewing.

 

Curtis Theater

Posted on: November 26, 2013

Seussical the Musical Makes Its Curtis Debut

A new production for Brea’s Youth Theatre will be onstage from January 16 through February 1, 2014. Seussical the Musical promises colorful, imaginative fun for the whole family. Tickets go on sale on December 17, 2013. Act fast to get yours!

More Curtis info

Downtown Brea News

New Color BDOA logo

BREA DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES

 

SHOPPING/SERVICES 

Bath & Body Works

Chico’s

Color Me Mine

Destination Maternity

J. Jill Clothing

Kaitlyn Clothing

Loft

Massage Envy

Old Navy Clothing
Salon 5150

Sarah Bain Gallery

SUO Boutique

The Pretty Kitty

T-Mobile

Visual Effects Optometry

White House –

Black Market

Zen N Fit Yoga

DINING

 

 Berkeley Dog

Brunos Trattoria

Bruxie

Buffalo Wild Wings

Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen

Crepes de Paris

Daphne’s Greek Cafe

Farrell’s

Flame Broiler

Fresca’s Mexican Grill

Gyu -Kaku

JoJo’s Pizza

Merely Sweets

Octopus Japanese Fusion

Red Brick Pizza

Starbucks Coffee

The Barrel Room @

Two 40 South

The Melting Pot

Yard House

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

Edwards Theater 10

Edwards Theater 12

The Improv Comedy Club
 Brea Trolley
More trolley
Holiday Route
Monday-Friday
Dec 4 – Dec 19
* Two tours a day, with a third tour on Thursdays and Fridays
Get into the holiday spirit on this special, seasonal tour.  Ride the trolley to see local lights features Brea Downtown, Ash Street & Eagle Hills.
Contact 714/990-7100

Brea Downtown
Owners Association
330 W. Birch St.
 Suite 203
Brea, CA  92821
New Color BDOA logo

714/674-0801
714/674-0809 Fax
For more information
please visit our website:

Come Join Us
 For Our
  Holiday Festivities
 Birch Street & Brea Blvd, Brea, CA

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Bonus Day
 Brea Downtown

 Sunday, December 1st

 

Spend $100 before tax to receive a gift bag with gift cards and coupons for various Downtown Restaurants and Businesses.

Receipts must meet the following requirements:

  • Purchases must be from the Brea Downtown Merchants listed below
  • For purchases made on December 1, 2013 and before 3pm.
  • Total may be a combination of one or more receipts, but must equal $100 (before tax)
  • Redeem at the Information Booth on Birch St in Brea Downtown between 10am and 3pm to receive certificate.
  • Limit 2 Gift Bags per person.  While supplies last
Click here for a list of eligible businesses

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Operation Santa Claus
Toy Drive
Sunday, December 1st
12 noon to 3pm
The Brea Fire Department will be collecting unwrapped toys and

gift certificates on Birch St in
Brea Downtown.  Look for the big red Brea Fire Truck!.

Street Decorations

The downtown streets will be decked with thousands white mini-lights, garlands, candy canes and our landmark 35 ft Christmas tree along with our nine ft Christmas ornaments and topiary reindeer

    Street-side Performers
Thursdays – Sundays in December
  Performances include vintage carolers,
 choirs, and bands.
.

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  Photos with Santa

In front of giant Christmas tree

Saturdays and Sundays in December
starting December 1st
12 noon to 5pm
  
Hosted by
 Knights of Columbus

Photos by

ImageWorks Photography

Brea City Council

 

BREA CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS
City Council Meetings take place at the Brea Council Chambers at the Brea Civic Center, located at 1 Civic Center Circle, City of Brea.  Regular Council Meetings are scheduled the first and third Tuesday of every month starting at 7 pm.

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To view a live meeting on-line, click the Live tab below. If you would like to see a meeting that was broadcast within the past two years, please select the City Council Archived Meetings tab.

Viewing City Council Meeting Agendas
The complete City Council Agenda is posted on this website the Thursday prior to the scheduled Tuesday meeting. The agendas for the current/upcoming City Council meeting and the immediate past meeting are available below. If you would like to access archived agendas and minutes (when posted), you can do so on the city’s Online Document Library site.

CITY VIDEOS
To view videos on a various City programs and projects, select the City Videos tab.

Name Date
City Council Regular Meeting – Upcoming December 3, 2013 Agenda
City Council Regular Meeting – Past November 19, 2013 Agenda

Brea Gallery News

Watercolor Demonstration with Frank Eber

Frank is an award-winning watercolor artist and Signature member of the National Watercolor Society. He was recently accepted as an artist member by the…… Read on

Date Dec 15 — Dec 15
Time 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location Brea Art Gallery
1 Civic Center Circle
Brea, CA 92821
Cost $25 per person per demonstration, $100 for the whole series of 5 demos.

 

Posted on: October 16, 2013

2014 Exhibition Schedule Announced!

Our 2014 Exhibition Calendar is filled with exciting new shows and returning favorites! Click the link to view the full exhibit calendar. Additional events, workshops, and programming that coincide with the exhibits will be announced within the coming months.

2014 Exhibition Calendar

Watercolor Workshop with Tom Fong: Fast, Spontaneous Painting, Studying Gestural Strokes and Shapes

Watercolor West Opens this Saturday, October 12th!

The 45th Annual Watercolor West International Juried Exhibition opens this Saturday, October 12 with a FREE reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.… Read on

November 02, 2013 09:30 AM

Watercolor Workshop with Tom Fong: Fast, Spontaneous Painting, Studying Gestural Strokes and Shapes

This workshop will encourage students to paint free and loose through the creative spirit of intuition and improvisation. Be free to explore and let it lead your…… Read on

Date Nov 02 — Nov 02
Time 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location Brea Art Gallery
1 Civic Center Circle
Brea, CA 92821
Cost $75 materials not included (see supply list). Includes admission to Watercolor Exhibit on 11/16/13.

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Headshot cropped 200    Compliments of:

    Roy Hernandez & Associates
   “Where Clients are Roy-alty”
   TNG Real Estate
   949-922-3947
   RoyaltyAgent@gmail.com

O.C. homes for sale double in 6 months

mtyqaj-thomasinventorysept262013Homes for sale in Orange County have nearly doubled in six months, rising to 6,298 listings as of Thursday, Steve Thomas of ReportsOnHousing.com said in his latest report.

 Listings in the Realtor-run multiple listing service were up 98 percent since mid-March, a low in almost nine years of data.

“Orange County housing is moving away from a sizzling hot seller’s market with rapid appreciation to a cost conscious cooler market with restrained appreciation,” Thomas wrote in his latest report.

As listings increased, the number of contracts signings began dropping, falling 25 percent since mid-June, he said.

“The market was starting to cool as values began to dramatically recover from their recession lows a few years ago,” he added. “What looked like a total deal and had attracted a wave of investors had lost a bit of its allure and luster. Investors started looking elsewhere. Homes began receiving fewer offers and buyers shied away from grossly overpriced homes.”

Last year at this time there were 4,416 homes on the market, 1,882 fewer than on Thursday, Thomas reported.

Thomas’ report shows further:

  • The biggest increase in listings occurred in the $250,000-to-$750,000 price range. Listings in that price bracket jumped 144 percent to 3,386 homes for sale. That category accounted for just over half off all listings.
  • The next biggest increase was in the $750,000-to-$1.5 million price range, which was up 97 percent to 1,536 listings. That group accounted for a fourth of all homes for sale.
  • Listings for $1.5 million and above — accounting for 17 percent of the market — increased 39 percent to 1,054 homes.

“Demand continues to drop as we make our way through the autumn market,” Thomas said. “This is cyclically a slower time of the year. … But the downshift is a bit more pronounced this year.”

Article compliments of Johnathan Lansner and Jeff Collins, OC Register.

Home prices up 23% for year ended in August

Orange County home prices rose 23 percent in the 12 months ending in August, the biggest annual percentage gain in almost nine years, CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index shows

August’s price, however, increased just 1.5 percent from July, a sign that the pace of price gains is slowing as the housing market enters its offseason, CoreLogic said.

CoreLogic’s index showed the biggest gain among three home-price reports out for August. DataQuick reported earlier that Orange County house prices jumped 20.7 percent; the California Association of Realtor’s August report showed a 17.1 percent gain.

Nationwide, home prices were up 12.4 percent year over year in August, and they increased in all 50 states, Irvine-based CoreLogic reported. California had the nation’s second-highest home-price appreciation rate – up 23.1 percent, trailing only Nevada, which saw prices jump nearly 26 percent.

Orange County’s gain was one of the highest among U.S. metro areas. The Inland Empire had the nation’s highest rate among large metro areas, with home prices up 23.4 percent in August. Los Angeles County ranked third – after Orange County – with a 22.5 percent increase.

Orange County’s August appreciation rate was the largest since home values rose 25 percent in November 2004. It’s also the 21st straight month of improving home prices, the index shows.

Article compliments of Johnathan Lansner and Jeff Collins, OC Register.

5 Tips to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

Despite the recent slowing market conditions, homes are still selling and some homeowners have been able to successfully
beat the odds and sell for top dollar. To model the success of these savvy homeowners, let’s take a look at five
tips to sell your home for top

1. Price your home aggressivelyhouse image
Setting the right price for your home is the single most
important decision you will make when you decide to sell.
Go too high and you risk turning off every buyer in the
marketplace, go too low and you leave money on the table.
One simple but powerful technique for pricing your home
aggressively is to spend the day looking at your competitors’
homes. By doing so you will be seeing the world through
the buyers’ eyes. Be tough and honest with yourself.
Compared to the competition what would be a price that
would position your home as the best value proposition for
buyers in your marketplace?

2. Hire an aggressive listing agent
Not all listing agents are created equal. To find an
aggressive full time agent, take the time to research
the market, talk to friends, neighbors, and colleagues about
who they recommend, and interview multiple agents before
making a hiring decision. Don’t hire an agent just because
they tell you what you want to hear. Make sure your agent
gives you a true picture about values in your marketplace,
even if you don’t want to hear it. In addition, be sure to come
to an agreement about a specific, documented marketing
plan before signing a long term listing agreement.

3. Stage the home & use curb appeal
Buyers won’t pull the trigger unless they become emotionally
invested in your home. To help build a stronger first impression,
start from the outside first by working hard to improve your
home’s curb appeal. Remove the weeds, plant fresh flowers
and spruce up your exterior paint if needed. Next move
inside and stage each space by creating a focal point and
a story for each room. A set dining table, a book by the bed,
or a game in the kids room are all simple examples of staging.

4. Offer incentives & pre-paids
A buyer who has narrowed their search down to two or
three top choices may need a little push to motivate
them to take action. To encourage buyers, many sellers
offer incentives like buying the interest rate down on the
purchaser’s loan, paying for closing costs, inspections,
or repairs, or providing allowances or credits for home
upgrades after closing. In addition, many sellers prepay
for services like internet services for a year, taxes,
homeowners association dues, or even golf
club memberships.

5. Get pre-inspections
Many sellers do pre-inspections of the home to provide
buyers with a clear whole home inspection or pest
and dry rot inspection. (A word of caution: anything
discovered during a pre-inspection will likely need to
be disclosed whether you fix the issue or not).
It’s often easier and cheaper to do needed repairs in
advance than trying to negotiate them later with
an emotional buyer.

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5 Things Consumers Should Expect From Housing Market In 2013

   In 2012, the national housing market finally turned a corner. We’ve now experienced 13 straight months of home value appreciation. Sales were up significantly over 2011 as buyers returned to the market, boosting demand.

   So what will 2013 have in store? Here are five things consumers can expect to see in the housing market next year:

    Up, Up and Away

  • The national housing market hit bottom in October 2011, and home values have since risen 5.3 percent from that trough. The most recent Zillow Home Value Forecast calls for 2.5 percent appreciation nationwide from November 2012 to November 2013.
  • According to a recent Zillow survey of more than 100 economists and analysts, respondents predicted home values (based on the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index) to rise 3.1 percent in 2013, on average.
  • Most markets covered by Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports have already bottomed out, with only 10 of 255 covered metro areas not projected to hit a bottom within the next year.

   Bottom Line: Homeowners looking to sell in 2013 can largely rest assured they won’t be selling at the bottom, and many will find themselves in a sellers’ market. Potential buyers in 2013 may be more motivated to get a deal done while affordability is still extremely high and mortgage rates continue to be historically low.

   Real Estate Is Local Again

  • According to the Zillow Breakeven Horizon, buying beats renting when staying in the home for three years or more in roughly 60 percent of U.S. metros. The areas where it might make more sense to buy (if you’re planning on staying for three-plus years) are clustered in the Southwest and Southeast. If you won’t be staying put for at least a few years, consider renting in the Northeast, where buying often doesn’t make more financial sense until five years or more.
  • The goal of Zillow’s Buyer/Seller Index is to determine where buyers have the most leverage in a sale, and where sellers might have the upper hand. In general, we determined that metro areas in the West and Southwest – including the Bay Area, Las Vegas and Phoenix – are strong for sellers. Metros in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic – places such as Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia – are best for buyers.

   Bottom Line: The housing market recovery has remained true to the old real estate axiom of “location, location, location.” How your local market is faring today – and if it makes more sense to buy or rent, to sell now or to hold off if possible – is largely determined by unique, local factors and fundamentals. Arming yourself with timely and comprehensive local market information is good advice at any time, but will be even more important in 2013 as buyers continue to seek bargains and sellers look to maximize returns.

   Coming Up for Air

  • In the third quarter of 2012, the percentage of homeowners with a mortgage in negative equity – or “underwater,” owing more on their mortgage than their home was worth – fell below 30 percent for the first time since Zillow began tracking that data using an improved methodology in early 2011.
  • Still, 28.2 percent of homeowners with a mortgage remain underwater. Because underwater owners have a far more difficult time selling their home, a large number of homes that otherwise might end up on the market aren’t getting listed. As a result, inventory in many areas is incredibly tight, leaving buyers to fight it out amongst themselves, which in turn can help drive up prices. This, among other factors, has led to tight inventory in many of the hardest-hit cities around the country.

   Bottom Line: As home values continue their upward march in 2013, more homeowners currently trapped underwater will begin to surface. This will be good for buyers exhausted by limited inventory and intense competition in markets such as Phoenix and Miami, but it will also have the effect of cooling price increases. As a result, in 2013, we predict home value appreciation in many areas will look more like a series of steps, characterized by cycles of price spikes and plateaus. Price spikes will free some homeowners from negative equity, allowing them to sell, thereby easing supply constraints and dampening prices until the cycle is repeated.

   Historically Affordable

  • Mortgage interest rates have been hovering at or near historic lows for the past year, and the Federal Reserve has taken concrete steps to ensure they stay low for at least the foreseeable future.
  • At the same time, home values – while recovering nicely – still have a long way to go to reach their pre-bubble levels. Overall, national home values in November were still down 19.4 percent from their peak in May 2007, according to Zillow.

   Bottom Line: Between 1985 and 2000, Americans spent, on average, about 20 percent of their household income on mortgage payments. That percentage increased to more than 24 percent by 2006, before falling to just 13 percent by the second quarter of 2012. If you can qualify for a home loan, the combination of low rates and low prices means your home-buying dollar will continue to take you farther in 2013 than in recent years, even for buyers on modest budgets.
Mortgage Interest Deducted?

  • Changes to the mortgage interest deduction (MID) may be a key element of any “grand bargain” reached by politicians in order to avert the year-end fiscal cliff. If adopted, any measure to limit or repeal the MID will result in some home price impacts over time and by market segment.
  • Home values at the high end of the market will likely be more negatively impacted by MID changes than home values overall, according to a recent Zillow survey of economists. For example, in the event that the maximum MID-eligible mortgage amount is reduced from $1 million to $500,000 and the deduction allowance for second homes is eliminated, the majority of respondents said they expect high-end home prices to fall while U.S. home prices overall experience little or no price impact.

   Bottom Line: Real estate lobbying groups have long fought against changes to tax rules allowing for the deduction of mortgage interest, arguing that any changes will impact or eliminate some of the historic financial advantages of owning a home. But unless you’re buying a proportionally more expensive home or are buying in a more expensive area, the impacts of MID changes will likely be muted. The decision to buy or sell a home is highly personal and dependent on a number of factors, only one of which is potential tax implications. In 2013, make your decision to buy or sell based on your own informed opinion and your unique situation.

   Click here to contact Roy for more information or questions concerning your real estate goals.