Finally, The market is heating up!

Realtors are starting to see a rapid rise in California‘s housing market. Homes sales jumped 83% in February compared to the year before, according to the California Association of Realtors.

Home Sales Heating Up

It’s been quite a while since we heard the term “bidding war” used about the housing market but there’s a change in the air — for the good.
Bargain basement prices are generating a feeding frenzy from buyers. A home in Mountain House (San Joaquin County) that used to be worth $640,000, is now listing for $355,000, a discount of nearly 45 percent.
“But across the board, more people are purchasing homes regardless of the nature of the community,” noted David Stark of the Bay East Association of Realtors.  “Whether it’s an urban community or a suburban community, people are just flat out buying more homes.”
That’s especially true in Mountain House, a Bay Area bedroom community once known as the underwater capital of the country.
Last year, 90 percent of the borrowers living there owed more than their home was worth.
But now home sales have nearly tripled and Mountain House seems to be at the epicenter of a recovery that could reverberate across California.
In fact, home sales there are heating up so fast that some realtors are actually starting to use a term that hasn’t been heard in years: bidding war.
“Oh yes, we’re getting multiple offers on our houses,”  gushed a local Realtor. “We’re getting a lot of buyers through. The average buyer I think is writing about 3 or 4 offers on a house before they get one.”
And there are plenty of reasons.
“First time home buyers can get a very competitive interest rate,” said the president of the Bay East Association of Realtors. Interest rates are below five percent in some cases, but the biggest factor is affordability.
One potential buyer said “I think the prices are so incredible right now,” they said. “A lot of people who thought they couldn’t afford it a couple of years ago now are able to buy a home.”
That’s because so many foreclosures flooded the market that prices had to drop. But now it appears that prices may have bottomed out.  Your best bargains, according to the California Association of Realtors, are in Merced County, where single family home sales jumped 204% compared to last year, followed by San Benito (200%), Monterey (179%), Solano (178%), Riverside (122%) and San Diego (121%).
In the Bay Area, the hot spots include Pittsburg with a nearly 400% spike in sales activity, going from 25 units sold in February 2008, compared to 124 units in February 2009. Richmond’s numbers rose 285% (from 33 units to 127 units ) during that same time span, while sales in Hayward were up 189% (from 38 units to 110). And there’s good news for Oakland, with a 126% increase in sales over the same 12 months (from 93 units to 210 sold), according to the Bay East Association of Realtors.
The bottom liine is, this may be the best time to buy a new home in years.
Or as one realtor put it, “If you’re renting, why pay someone else’s mortgage?
laughed before they adding, “Pay your own.”

Scams Target New Loan Aid

The Obama administration is prodding mortgage companies to reduce the monthly payments of millions of Americans at risk of foreclosure, but danger lurks for people trying to grab that lifeline.  Thousands of firms have popped up to charge fees – often more than $1,000 – to negotiate with banks for easier mortgage terms.  In many cases, though, these firms take the homeowner's money but fail to deliver on that promise.   Other firms charging these fees may be legitimate, but there is an alternative:  free advice from counselors certified and subsidized by Uncle Sam.   "Borrowers don't need to pay anybody," says William Apgar, a senior advisor to Shaun Donovan, President Obama's new secretary of housing and urban development.  Borrower's should first try calling their loan services (the firms that send out their monthly bills) for help with their loans, suggests Jack Guttentag, a retired finance professor who offers free mortgage information at his website, www.mtgprofessor.com.   If that does not work, they can try to get a free, government-approved counselor.  Find someone by calling the mortgage industry's "Hope Hotline" at 888-995-4673 or by clicking on www.hopenow.com.  No one has found a way to determine which of the fee-charging firms are legitimate. 

Mortgage Rates Sink to New Record Lows!

Rates on 30 year mortgages plunged to record lows this past week after the Federal Reserve launched a new effort to prop up the housing market.  You can now get a conforming 30 year fixed rate loan for 4.5%!  The guidelines have tightened so you will still need a good FICO score (think over 720) along with other strong qualifying factors.  Many lenders, after laying off workers in droves, don't have the capacity to keep up with a refinancing boom.  Most lenders are already swimming in applications so many consumers will need to be patient.  For the best service, please contact Jim Black at Countrywide Home Loans in Danville, he can be reached at 925-285-4898.

It’s The Law!

Effective Jan. 1, 2009, a new law went into effect.   TEXTING WHILE DRIVING – This new law makes it an infraction to write, send or read text based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle.  Previously this was only illegal for individuals under 18 years of age, but now has been expanded to all drivers.
 
The fine for a first offense is $20 and $50 for each subsequent offense.

What is a short sale & how can it benefit you???

“What is a short sale?”
Simply put, a short sale is a real estate transaction where the homeowner owes their lender more than what their property is worth and they need to sell. In a short sale, the lender must approve and accept less than what they are owed as full payoff (this means they may settle for $600,000, even if you currently owe them $800,000…even if the loss is hundreds of thousands of dollars).

Are you facing a financial hardship that you know will decrease your income?

Are you getting behind on your mortgage and you’re not sure if you can catch up?

Or do you just need to sell quickly but your home is worth less now than when you bought it?

If you are facing any of the situations above, and you think a short sale might be your best option, then read on.

Don’t worry.  It’s not your fault…
You must remember, we’ve all had our ups and downs in life and a lot of other good people are also in the same tough spot as you. Life seems scary when you’re facing the reality of foreclosure and I know how you feel when you just don’t want to answer the phone any more… 

We all agree that we’re in the middle of a national mortgage and economic crisis and that, in many cases, homeowners who have bought or refinanced in the last few years have been seriously abused by unethical lending practices!!

You bought your home and hoped (like we all did) that it would increase in value (and some folks were even promised it would!), but most likely the harsh reality is that now your home is worth less than when you bought it and the value is still declining sharply.

We have helped many homeowners in this position get the help they deserve. 

It’s sad but true!
Did you know that nearly 90% of the homeowners nationwide who try to “short sale” their home will end up losing their home to foreclosure due to an uneducated or lazy Real Estate Agent?

Don’t allow this to happen to you!
I hate to say this about my fellow agents, but the majority of them that are “trying to help” have not been properly trained and sadly, they are misinformed as to how to even negotiate with lenders. Some even get so far as to submit your ’short sale packet’ and then just sit back and wait for a response! In the end, they simply don’t know how to help you and you will become one of those “90%” that were not helped.

“Short sales are not easy!”
…unless you seek the help of an expert agent with a proven track record. We have been personally trained by a former Chief Loss Mitigator who is a career loss mitigator and asset manager with 20 years in the business (he is ultimately the guy at the bank who accepts or declines short sales). We are now helping save even more folks from foreclosure.

We have successfully negotiated short sales for many families and as you can see from our recent approval letters below (we swap out some of our recent approvals every couple months, so you will notice these are up to date) we actually get the banks to say YES to our short sales. Before you agree to have an agent help you sell your home, ask him/her to show you just one short sale approval within the last 6 months… I doubt they can.

Now it’s up to you…

We are ready to go to battle for you. Are you ready to take a serious look at your options and see how a short sale can help you:

  • Avoid paying TAXES on the money the bank loses at foreclosure! (Yes, you may have to pay taxes on the amount of loss to the bank if the home goes to foreclosure!)
  • Save your credit from the “Foreclosure” ding
  • Avoid Bankruptcy
  • Avoid Foreclosure
  • Relieve the stress that this financial burden has become
  • WITH NO OUT OF POCKET FEES OR ANY UP FRONT COSTS OF ANY KIND!  …or in other words, you pay us nothing and if we do our job and save you from foreclosure, only then will we get paid by the lender!

Sunday Open House Success at 7973 Iglesia Drive, Dublin

Even the rain could not stop over 35 visitors from coming to my first open house at 7973 Iglesia Drive in Dublin yesterday. Since we anticipated high traffic due to the home being so unique (it offers a complete and fully contained second home on the property), I had 2 team members with me so we were able to talk to each person coming through the home.

The response was terrific and everybody really thought the home was incredible. The kitchen of this home was designed by Jeff’s Kitchen in San Ramon. The rich Cherry wood looks fantastic with the the Black Galaxy granite. The current owners have really put their heart and soul into this home and it really shows.

It was interesting to see the trend continue of more and more buyers coming from the Peninsula and from the South Bay. Let’s face it, the homes are more reasonably priced than what you are going to find on the Peninsula and much newer too!

Frazzano Team Presents – 7973 Iglesia – Dublin

Two Homes  – One Lot!  A Rare Find!

Main house consists of 4 bedrooms, 2 baths with custom crown molding and wainscoting, interior designer window treatments with Hunter Douglas treatments in family room, kitchen, dining room and living room.  Custom plantation shutters in all 4 bedrooms. New carpet in dining and living room.  Hardwood flooring throughout entry, hall, kitchen and family room.
 
Newly remodeled kitchen with cherry cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances consisting of:
-Kitchen Aid refrigerator
-Dacor range (gas/electric/convection)
-LG dishwasher (ultra quiet)
-GE Profile microwave

Fully landscaped front and rear yards with landscape lighting and automatic sprinklers and light controls.  Back yard has 3 areas of entertaining consisting of great views of the Tri-Valley area.
-Main house has large Patio with newly built  trellis.
-Second smaller round patio with Patio cover near the smaller home.
-Wrap around redwood deck on smaller home.
-Lawn, fountain and raised vegetable garden area.
-Outdoor electrical outlets located throughout yard.
 
2nd Home – One bedroom one bath – Could be a used for rental income or for an au pair. 
-Full kitchen, custom cabinets and granite countertops.
-Range, microwave
-Dishwasher
-Bathroom/laundry area with washer and dryer
-Bedroom
-Outdoor electrical outlets
 
Fin out more here: www.7973iglesiadrive.com

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Questions Answered Regarding Credit after a Short Sale

FHA treats short sales, deeds in lieu, etc all the same as foreclosures when it comes to guides and they require 3 years before a borrower can qualify for a loan. Fannie has the new short sale guideline that requires 2 years before a borrower can qualify and 5-7 years for foreclosures. Speaking of FHA, remember that Mortgagee Letter 2009-07 establishes the new FHA loan limits set forth by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009. Things to note: new loan limits are for FHA loans that receive approval in calendar year 2009, not farther out; changes apply to the 203b (basic loan), 203h (disaster victims), & 203k (rehab loan); the national FHA floor limit remains at 271,050; the FHA ceiling for high value areas is 729,750; lastly the national reverse mortgage limit increases from 417,000 to 625,500. For the limit in your area, check https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicostlook.cfm
 
This morning the US GDP number (the sum of all goods and services produced by the economy) was expected to be -5.4%. It actually fell at an annual rate of 6.2% in the 4th quarter, the deepest slide since the first quarter of 1982. It should be no surprise that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of domestic economic activity, dropped at a 4.3 percent rate, the biggest fall since the second quarter of 1980.  This, combined with stocks being hit by the Citi news, has brought the 10-yr yield back down to 2.93% and mortgage prices better by roughly .125. Later on we’ll see the Chicago Purchasing Manager’s Survey for February, expected to slide further after January’s decline, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Confidence Survey – as if that is going to be positive and move the market.