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May 27, 2008

Luxury Homes in San Marino California

An average price of a San Marino CA home for 2007 is $1,750,000. With San Marino Real Estate prices being so high, are all homes in San Marino considered luxury homes?

It's hard to come up with a definition of a luxury home. What's luxurious to some is just average to others.

Real Estate Agents in San Marino California and the rest of the country usually agree that a luxury home is usually at the top 10% of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) prices for a particular area.

Looking at the last 136 home sales in San Marino, it's clear that if we apply the definition above, the luxury price point in San Marino starts at $3,000,000.

Currently, there are three luxury homes in San Marino California that fall into this category:

Oxford_Road

1390 Oxford Road, San Marino

Offered at $2,980,000 (a little below the $3 million point, but by just a touch.

courtland

2065 Courtland Avenue, San Marino

Offered at $4,530,000

1385 Old Mill Road, San Marino

Offered at $9,300,000

READ MORE: What can you buy for $9.3 million in San Marino

For a list of luxury homes or estates in San Marino California available for sale today, please click the link below:

SEARCH SAN MARINO LUXURY HOMES AND ESTATES HERE

To start your dream home search in San Marino, California, please call Irina at 626-629-8439 or email me.

Posted in San Marino
May 26, 2008

The Memorial Day 2008 Super MEME

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

I woke up this morning to an email from Laurie Manny of Long Beach Real Estate informing me that I've been tagged for the Memorial Day 2008 Super MEME.

Read Laurie Manny's MEME here - Laurie's Memorial Day 2008 Super MEME

A MEME is an idea, a contest, a survey, a fun fact that is repeated from person to person. Yes... it is sort of like a chain letter. This particular MEME is a way of to get to know the person being MEMEd by having them answer questions about themselves.

This Memorial Day 2008 Super MEME was started by Mary McKnight of RSS Pieces. She decided on a MEME with a theme of 8. I agree with Mary, the number 8 has been a powerful number throughout history. If you lay it on the side, it signifies infinity and has been associated with the myths around the Knights Templar and other historical figures. Katherine Neville wrote a book titled The Eight - a fascinating read!

Read Mary McKnights's MEME here - Mary's Memorial Day 2008 Super MEME

Given that I can't say no to Laurie and I still have a few minutes before I have to make breakfast for my kids, here we go:

1. Who is your favorite musical artist? (post a youtube video)

This one is easy. Don't laugh now, but I LOVE ABBA! It's a European band that has been on the number 1 charts all throughout Europe for years. It hasn't been as popular here in the states.

There is nothing like being 17 and discoing the night away to ABBA.

 

Of course, with Mamma Mia, the musical and the upcoming Mamma Mia, the Movie, I'm in heaven!

2. Who is your favorite artist (post a flicker photo)

Vincent Van Gogh

I was fortunate enough to visit Vincent Van Gogh's museum last year in Amsterdam. His work is just breath taking. His colors and compositions are spectacular.

 

3. Who is your favorite blogger?

It would have to be Seth Godin.

4. If you could meet anyone (alive or dead), who would it be and what is the most interesting thing about them?

I'll have to pick two people. I can change the rules, can't I?

The first one would have to be my grandfather. He died pretty young, before I was born and I always wondered what he would be like. I'd love to have a conversation with him and talk about his life and his challenges. Why he married my grandma? What he wanted to accomplish in his life, etc.

The second person would have to be Robert T. Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I love the way he challenges the conventional thinking and approach towards money by the wealthy vs. the average Joe. Fascinating! Hopefully, one day I'll have an opportunity to meet him.

5. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Seriously though... I wanted to be a great traveler. I wanted to have the freedom to travel around the world and see how people live, meet new people, try different foods and just have fun.

6. What is the most interesting piece of trivia you know?

I find the similarities between J.F.K and Lincoln fascinating. Below excerpt taken from www.USATrivia.com

ONE HUNDRED YEARS
Abraham Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives in 1846; John Kennedy, 1946. Lincoln failed to win the vice presidential nomination in 1856, Kennedy in 1956. The republican conventions of 1860 and 1960 were held in Chicago. Mr. Lincoln was elected to the presidency in 1860, John Kennedy in 1960. Lincoln defeated Stephen Douglas, born in 1813; Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon born in 1913. John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, was born in 1839, Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy in 1939.

Both presidents had vice presidents named Johnson. Andrew Johnson served in the House of Representatives in 1847, Lyndon Johnson, 1947. In 1860 and 1960 both VP's were serving as Senators. Andrew Johnson was older than Lincoln and was born in 1808, Lyndon Johnson, born in 1908, was older than Kennedy. Even though Lincoln was a republican, both vice presidents were democrats. Andrew Johnson was defeated for re-election, Lyndon Johnson elected not to run for a second complete term. Andrew Johnson died of a stroke; Lyndon Johnson a heart attack.

OTHER SIMILARITIES

  • Both presidents won their respective elections with less than fifty-percent of the popular vote.
  • Each was concerned with the issue of civil rights.
  • Both presidents while in their thirties, married women in their early twenties.
  • Both wives suffered the death of a child while in the White House.
  • Lincoln and Kennedy repeatedly spoke of, and had dreams regarding, assassination attempts.
  • Each was subsequently warned by advisors not to attend the events that led to their death.
  • Lincoln and Kennedy were shot from behind, in the head.
  • They were killed on a Friday, and in the presence of their wives.
  • The assassins, Booth and Oswald, were southerners who favored unpopular ideas.
  • Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and was captured in a barn, a warehouse. Oswald allegedly shot Kennedy from a warehouse, the depository, and was arrested at a theater.
  • Lincoln was killed in Ford's Theater, Kennedy was killed in a Ford automobile; a Lincoln.
  • Both Booth and Oswald were killed before going to trail. The popular belief is that the two presidential tragedies were conspiracies with subsequent governmental cover up.
  • The names Lincoln and Kennedy contain seven letters.
  • The names Stephen and Richard, their political opponents have seven letters each.
  • The name Johnson contains seven letters.
  • The fathers of the presidents, Thomas and Joseph respectively, each have six letters.
  • The names Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Johnson each contain 13 letters, as do the names of their wives, Eliza McCardle and Claudia Taylor.
  • The names John Wilkes booth and Lee Harvey Oswald both total 15 letters.

7. If you could live in any point in history what would it be and why?

I've always been fascinated by Egypt and Cleopatra. I'd live - just for a day - mind you in Cleopatra's time around 45 BC.

8. What is the most interesting job you have ever held?

Okay, this is totally off what you would probably expect my answer to be, but I'd have to say being a MOM. Since both my kids were born, my outlook on life has changed. It opened my eyes to the mysteries of life. So... yes... it would have to be being a "mom." Pretty boring, I know.

Now... it's the time to nominate the next 8 unsuspecting victims. This means that you are required as Mary McKnight says by "meme law" to answer the same 8 questions above and then tag 8 more bloggers.

Richard Bolen - Lake Tahoe Real Estate

Lynda Eisenman - Orange County Real Estate

Faina Sechzer - Princeton New Jersey Real Estate

Ted Mackel - Simi Valley Real Estate

Jeff Dowler - Carlsbad Real Estate

Ricardo Bueno - Industry Report (World Wide Credit)

Cyndee Haydon - Clearwater Real Estate

Diane Aurit - Lake Norman Real Estate

Posted in Fun Posts
May 26, 2008

San Marino California Real Estate - Corner of Twin Palms and Sherwood

Twin Palms and Sherwood

Today, I want to focus on a beautiful pocket of San Marino, California behind Huntington Middle School - the corner of Twin Palms and Sherwood. Earlier this month, we looked at the "San Marino real estate home prices". Average price per square foot in San Marino is currently running at $593.

 

The San Marino real estate around Twin Palms and Sherwood seems to be on fire. A few homes came up on the market recently and sold within a manner of several weeks.

Here's the activity within a 1/4 mile radius of this intersection:

Address: Bed/Bath List Price Sales Price $/Sq.FT Date Sold
1845 Carlisle Dr, San Marino 4/3 $1,495,000 $1,535,000 $655 04/17/07
1806 Twin Palms, Drive, San Marino 4/4 $1,925,000 $1,700,000 $551 11/29/08
1842 Twin Palms Drive, San Marino 3/3 $1,795,000 $1,800,000 $607 04/30/08
1841 Sherwood Drive, San Marino 5/4 $2,185,000 $2,100,000 $628 05/15/08

One home in the area is currently available for purchase and just had a price reduction. This San Marino home can be found at 1846 Lorain Road and is offered at $1,950,000. It has 4 bedrooms/4 baths and is close to 3,300 sq. ft. per assessor.

This San Marino pocket is very desirable since it's right next to Huntington Middle School, Valentine Elementary School and the new San Marino Public Library - Crowell Library.

It's also just minutes away from the local Starbucks, The Ice Cream Shop and a variety of San Marino restaurants.

San Marino City Hall and Fire Department are also minutes away making this corner of Twin Palms and Sherwood a very desirable San Marino location.

For more information about San Marino, California Real Estate and San Marino homes for sale, please give me a call at 626-627-7107.

May 24, 2008

FHA Advantages and Disadvantages

To continue with my series of FHA posts, today, we're going to look at advantages and disadvantages of getting an FHA loan.

ADVANTAGES:

  • LOW CASH OUTLAY - Pasadena buyers can get an FHA loan for as much as 97% of Pasadena home purchase price. Only 3% down, not a bad deal.
  • FHA LOANS ARE FULLY ASSUMABLE. Yes, you read it correctly. These loans are assumable as long as the new buyer qualifies and is not an investor.
  • FHA LOANS DO NOT HAVE A PREPAYMENT PENALTY. FHA loans do not have penalties for paying off all or part of the loan before the scheduled term. This feature also gives the FHA buyer the opportunity to refinance the loan to lower interest rates if rates decline (with some additional costs involved in refinancing).

DISADVANTAGES:

  • SOME SELLERS FEAR FHA APPRAISALS: There are some sellers and real estate sales people who would prefer not to sell their homes to buyers seeking new FHA loans. This stems from past appraisals which were lower than the sale price or had extensive repair requirements. While the appraisals still may be a roadblock in some areas of the U.S., FHA now uses independent "fee" appraisers rather than FHA "staff" appraisers, which has eliminated many of the discrepancies.
  • LOAN PROCESSING TIME: FHA loans generally take about 2 weeks longer to process and close than conventional loans. Normal FHA processing time is 4-6 weeks, compared with 2-4 weeks for conventional loans. However, many FHA lenders are now approved for automatic loan approvals which can speed up processing substantially.

READ MORE: What YOU need to know about FHA Loans - Part I

What YOU need to know about FHA Loans - Part II

Distressed Market and FNMA Announcement

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email me or call me at (626)629-8439. Thank you!

Interested in more information about Greater Pasadena Area cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® page.

Thinking of selling your home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Southern California Real Estate Market.

May 24, 2008

Pasadena California Sellers: What you NEED to know about FHA Loans Part II

Yesterday, I outlined FHA NON Allowable expenses for a seller to be aware of when considering an offer from a buyer using FHA financing.

READ MORE: What Pasadena Sellers need to know about FHA Loans - Part I

Today, I wanted to provide both the Pasadena sellers and Pasadena buyers with a list of items that FHA ALLOWS buyers to pay for. So, with no further ado, here it is:

  • BASE Escrow Fees
  • Title Insurance ALTA
  • FHA Appraisal Compliance Inspection Fee
  • 1% loan Origination Fee
  • FHA MIP premium
  • Loan Discount Points
  • Credit Report Fee (Actual Cost)
  • Appraisal Fee (Actual Cost)
  • Interim Interest
  • Hazard or Flood Insurance Premiums
  • Reserves for Taxes and Insurance
  • Notary Fee $10 per signature
  • Recording Fees - Actual Fees
  • Termite (Initial Inspection is okay, but no repairs unless approved inwriting by lender)
  • Home Warranty - only if stipulated in escrow instructions and with prior approval of lender
  • Amortization Schedule Fee
  • Real Estate Commission (if prior approval in writing by lender)
  • Broker Fees (if prior approval in writing by lender)
  • Tests or Treatments required by HUD (if prior approval in writing by lender)
  • Compliance Inspection Fee

Questions? Please comment.

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email me or call me at (626)629-8439. Thank you!

Interested in more information about Greater Pasadena Area cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® page.

Thinking of selling your home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Southern California Real Estate Market.

May 22, 2008

Pasadena California Sellers: What you NEED to know about FHA loans

FHA loans have been in the news recently due to the increase in the FHA mortgage limits, up to $729,750 for single family homes and the fact that buyers can get an FHA loan with a much smaller down payment - as low as 3% down.

READ MORE: Distressed markets and FNMA announcement

If you are a Pasadena home seller, it is critical to be aware of the following:

  • Pasadena home buyer with less than 20% down in almost all instances will need PMI insurance (Property Mortgage Insurance.)
  • PMI rates are going up quickly and making it more expensive for home buyers which in turn makes the home that they want to purchase NOT affordable. Most home buyers are not aware of these changes in the lending/mortgage industry until they are already in escrow.

FHA loans have very specific requirements for home buyer expenses. These fall into allowable and NON-allowable expenses. Non-allowable expenses are usually paid by the SELLER!

To qualify for an FHA loan, Pasadena home buyers can NOT pay for the following expenses:

  • Sub-Escrow Fee to Title Company
  • ALTA Endorsement Fees
  • Some Inspection Fees
  • Recording Assignment Fees
  • Processing Fees
  • Document Preparation Fees
  • Tax Service Contract
  • Any Messenger Fee including Overnight Delivery
  • Loan Tie-In Fee
  • Bring-Down Fee
  • Title Binder
  • Tax Stamps/City Transfer Tax Charges
  • Homeowner Association Transfer Fees
  • Repairs or work required on FHA appraisal (unless approved in advance by lender in writing)
  • Home Warranty Program - (unless stipulated in escrow instructions and approved by lender in writing)
  • Photo Fee/Photo Inspection Fee
  • Reconveyance Fee
  • Preliminary Change of Ownership Report
  • Commission
  • Transaction Coordination Fees

If you are a Pasadena Home Seller and you receive an offer from an FHA home buyer or are in escrow with an FHA home buyer, please be aware that these fees will most likely come out of YOUR pocket.

FHA loans offer a very viable financing option for many buyers and I think that we will see more home buyers with FHA financing in the coming months, but Pasadena home sellers need to understand the financial impact to them.

Make sure that your Pasadena Real Estate Agent provides you with an estimated closing costs statement so that you know your home sale bottom line.

Remember information is KING!

Questions? Comment below.

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email me or call me at (626)629-8439. Thank you!

Interested in more information about Greater Pasadena Area cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® page.

Thinking of selling your home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Southern California Real Estate Market.

May 22, 2008

Wall Street Journal declares that the Housing Crisis is Over

Here we go again... another media proclamation - The Housing Crisis is OVER!

Read all about it HERE

A quick excerpt from the article:

How can this be? For starters, a bottom does not mean that prices are about to return to the heady days of 2005. That probably won't happen for another 15 years. - CYRIL MOULLE-BERTEAUX

I said it before and I will say it again - REAL ESTATE ACTIVITY is LOCAL!!!!

So my questions are?

  1. Do we have a housing crisis now? If so, from whose perspective buyer's or seller's?
  2. And, do you believe that Cyril Moulle-Bereaux's opinion about the market bottoming out applicable to Pasadena real estate?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

May 21, 2008

San Marino CA: Crowell Public Library - Before and After

I love the new San Marino Public Library, now known as Crowell Public Library.

Living in San Marino, one of our family's most favored traditions has been our Saturday morning visit to the library. I have to admit that we do not go each Saturday as we used to when the kids were little, but we still try to go as often as we can.

The library always offered a world of never ending mysteries, travel, romances and answers to any questions that I had as a kid and as an adult. Finding a book to read and the anticipation of the read is just one of those little pleasures in life. My hope was to relay my love of reading and the library to my kids and I think I did a pretty good job of it. :-)

As I get a lot of questions from home buyers looking to relocate to San Marino, I thought that it would be great to share a couple of great videos SCBarr about the San Marino library - the old and the construction of the new one.

It's really mind boggling that our new library was built so quickly in just a year or so.

Here's a couple of videos that I think you will enjoy.

This first video was posted on YouTube only a year ago - May 11, 2007. Take a look, it has some nice history of San Marino, as well as some aerials. A nice reminder of the library we had before. Way cool and Kudos to director.

This video captures the Topping Out of the San Marino Library.

Unfortunately, we don't have a video of the new Crowell San Marino Library, but for now here's a photo courtesy of www.Flickr.com and Daryl Chan.

Crowell_Library

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in getting more information about San Marino real estate, you might find the following post interesting: May 2008 San Marino Market Report

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email me or call me at (626)629-8439. Thank you!

Interested in more information about Greater Pasadena Area cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® page.

Thinking of selling your home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Southern California Real Estate Market.

May 20, 2008

When Opportunity Knocks, Are You Listening?

Or, are you just listening to the white noise?

As I was getting ready to go to work this morning, I overheard a news report that my husband was watching about the real estate market. What struck me as odd was not that it was yet another "chicken little" report about the downfall of the Los Angeles real estate values. Let's face it, there's nothing like fear to get viewership.

No... what struck me as odd was that immediately after that dreaded real estate "for sale" sign, there was an image of a No Vacancy sign and a discussion about the difficulty renters are having finding good housing at a reasonable price.

So let's see... the prices are going down and the rents are going up, does anyone see an opportunity here? Savvy investors do.

It's common sense, isn't it?

There's an opportunity for investors to get into properties at a reasonable price and get them rented quickly. Demand is there!

Now is also a great time to purchase that investment property at pretty decent interest rates.

Finance costs will rise as the economy recovers, so trying to time real estate might not pay off - Justin Sullivan / Getty

Let's take a look at the price of homes in its relationship to the price of financing:

Scenario #1 - Price of a Pasadena home decreases 5% and interest rates increase .5%

Scenario #2 - Price of a Pasadena home decreases 10% and interest rates increase 1%

 
Today Scenario #1 Scenario #2

Home Price:

$600,000

Home Price: - 5%

$570,000

Home Price: -10%

$540,000

Interest Rate:

6%

Interest Rate: +.5%

6.5%

Interest Rate: +1%

7%

Your Mortgage Payment:

$2,878

Your Mortgage Payment

$2,882

Your Mortgage Payment

$2,874

The assumptions for the above scenarios are 20% down and a 30 year fixed mortgage.

As you can see, even if the prices go down 10%, but the interet rate goes up by only 1%, your monthly payments will be about the same. Interesting relationship between prices and rates.

With the rental prices going up, interest rates still being historically low and the home prices more affordable, the time could be right to buy a Pasadena home or investment right now.

The question is, is the time right for YOU to buy a Pasadena home right now? I don't know. It depends on YOUR individual needs.

What I would suggest though, is that you get together with a Pasadena Real Estate agent who can sit down with you and take a look at your long term personal or investment plans. Someone that can provide FACTS not conjecture and then make a decision that is right for YOU.

Also, there's an interesting article in Times Magazine that provides a level look at the housing market - see it here.

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email me or call me at (626)629-8439. Thank you!

Interested in more information about Greater Pasadena Area cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® page.

Thinking of selling your home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Southern California Real Estate Market.

May 19, 2008

Monterey Hills, CA - Fremont Villas Townhomes

Fremont Villas header

Built in 1981, as part of the original Monterey Hills residential community plan, Fremont Villas is a 45 unit townhome complex. It is accessed off of Via Marisol and sits next to Vallejo Villas.

 

With beautiful views of rolling hills towards South Pasadena, Fremont Villas offers Spanish architecture with cozy porches, clay tile roofs, and lush landscaping. As I drive through this complex, the birds are singing and the tree branches are rustling and the feeling of serenity is in the air.

 

Fremont Villa's amenities include a recreation room, pool and spa, a sun deck, and easy guest parking both inside the complex and on Via Marisol.

For the most part, these are 2 and 3 bedroom homes with attached garages and balconies.

As of the date of this post, there is one unit for sale - 707 Fremont Villas #24 offered at $499,000. This town home is 2 bedrooms and 3 baths and is in move in condition.

READ ALSO: Top 10 tips to buying a condo in Monterey Hills

READ ALSO: Monterey Hills Neighborhood Overview

Last year, in 2007, there were two sales - both 3 bedroom units which sold for $548,000 and $550,000.

 

Of course, the beauty of living here is that you're close to everything - South Pasadena, Pasadena, Alhambra, Highland Park and downtown LA. Come check it out, you'll be surprised with what you find in this hidden area.

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email me or call me at (626)629-8439. Thank you!

Interested in more information about Greater Pasadena Area cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® page.

Thinking of selling your home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Southern California Real Estate Market.