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Greater Pasadena real estate market trends, valuable news about market conditions, including foreclosure information in Pasadena and surrounding cities plus much more.

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May 19, 2008

San Marino Farmer's Market

There's some discussion about whether or not to allow a Farmer's Market in San Marino.

If approved by city council, San Marino will have yummy fresh fruit and veggies every Sunday morning from 9 am until 1 pm.

The location under consideration for this weekly Farmer's Market is on the North-West corner of Huntington Drive and Sierra Madre.

Some of the concerns include early morning noise during set up since there are homes close to the proposed site and clean up after the market.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to have a Farmer's Market in the area or are you okay driving to Alhambra or South Pasadena for your veggies?

Feel free to comment here or stop by the Public Meeting on this topic at San Marino's new and beautiful Crowell Public Library on Wednesday, June 4 at 7 pm. For more information, please call 626-300-0708 .

May 17, 2008

A Tale of Two Houses

Read this all the way through and let me know what you think!

House #1 A 20-room mansion ( not including 8 bathrooms ) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool ( and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400. per month. In natural gas alone, this property co nsumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern "snow belt" area. It's in the South.

 

House #2 Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house is 4,000 square feet ( 4 bedrooms ) and is nestled on a high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground.

 

The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes one-quarter the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000-gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the hou se. Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.

Now, for the clincher:

HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville , Tennessee ; it is the abode of the "environmentalist" Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford , Texas; is the residence of the President of the United States,
George W. Bush.

Is this an "inconvenient truth?"

You can verify it at:http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/house.asp

Posted in Fun Posts
May 17, 2008

CRISNET MLS takes a Step in the Right Direction!

Thank you CRISNET MLS for reading my post Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words and a Fast Sale! Well... I can't really prove that my post was a catalyst :-) , but as of May 13th, CRISNET MLS implemented the following rule:

Important MLS Rule Change

New MLS Rule Regarding Photo with Listing Submission:

Each residential* listing in the MLS shall have at least one photo, to be submitted within five business days of the listing submission.
Failure to comply will result in an assessment per the MLS Rules Assessment Fee Schedule.

*Residential includes residential income, rental, mobile home, single family and condominiums.

Good for CRISNET! Maybe next time, they will have a minimum of 5 or 6 photos vs. just 1, but one step at a time.

PFAR and IMRMLS - are you listening? I think it's time to implement a similar policy to protect home sellers from flaky real estate agents.

May 17, 2008

Distressed Market and FNMA Announcement

FNMA announced today that it's raising its Loan to Value (LTV) limits. This means that home buyers can put a lot less money down to buy their dream home.

It all sounds great, right? Fabulous news!

NOT Really!

Well it's not as it seems just like all the other announcements that have been made recently. FNMA is trying hard, but we need to look at other factors.

  • Yes... FNMA will allow you to get a loan with as little as 3% down.
  • Any loan amount or a combination of loans, if you're fortunate to find a bank that will offer a 2nd trust deed at this time, over 80% will require Property Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
  • Word in the banking industry is that there are announcements from PMI companies indicating significant mortgage insurance retractions that impacted a host of programs - meaning that beginning immediately it will be much more difficult and more expensive to get PMI insurance.

If you are a home buyer in the Pasadena and surrounding cities, be prepared to still come up with a significant downpayment between 20% and 25% down.

There are investors that are offering programs with less money down, but they require FICO scores higher than 700 and at least 6 months of payments in reserves.

Mortgage industry guidelines and programs are changing on a daily basis.

It is critical that buyers are speaking with a Mortgage Professional early in the process.

Sellers make sure that your Real Estate Agent doesn't just show you a pre-approval letter for a potential buyer, but gets on the phone and speaks with the lender to understand if the buyer is truly qualified and approved to purchase your home.

Be aware of the changes in the market place and stay tuned. I'll be posting more information on mortgage industry changes as it becomes available.

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 16, 2008

Be the FIRST to see ALL new homes for SALE in Pasadena

Every Thursday from 10 am until 2pm, Pasadena real estate agents showcase their new listings - homes that just hit the market. This is specifically for brokers to preview all new homes for sale for their clients.

Although serious buyers have been known to put in an appearance to get their first peek at the available homes.

If you are interested in being the first to preview these homes, send me a quick email and I'll send you a list of all Pasadena homes open at that time.

Thursdays are also Broker's Open House days for South Pasadena homes, San Marino homes, Alhambra homes, Arcadia homes, Sierra Madre homes, San Gabriel homes, Altadena homes and Monterey Hills homes and condos for sale.

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 15, 2008

Short Sales - It is About Forgiveness!

As I speak with different real estate agents and Pasadena home sellers considering going through a short sale process, I realize that there's a huge amount of disinformation. We all know that information is KING and lack of information can be disastrous especially to your financial health.

In my previous post about short sales, I've defined and explained what a short sale is.

Read More: Pasadena California real estate sellers and buyers understanding Short Sales.

Today, I'd like to address the biggest misconception that could affect you, the seller, who is in the middle of a short sale with the bank.

Once a bank accepts and agrees to a short sale, your debt (the difference between the negotiated amount accepted by the bank and the amount owed) is forgiven.

This is absolutely NOT TRUE!

The bank can and will go after you, the seller, for the difference UNLESS the seller receives a written statement from the bank stating that the bank forgives the debt on the NOTE (or notes if there's more than one - 1st and 2nd loan) for the amount equal to the unpaid portion of the NOTE(s).

Most sellers and real estate agents think that the bank will automatically forgive the resulting debt because California has "anti-deficiency" statues which will prevent lenders from trying to collect their losses. These California anti-deficiency statues apply mostly when the foreclosure takes place. Please refer to a California real estate lawyer for legal advice if you are facing a foreclosure.

Sellers that are going through a Short Sale do that to avoid foreclosure!

So, the morale of the story is:

Protect yourself by ensuring that the bank(s) gives you a written statement with the "forgiveness language".

Work with a reputable and knowledgeable real estate agent or a short sale negotiator who can ensure that this issue is addressed with appropriate legal language and forms.

Consult a California real estate attorney to ensure that you get appropriate legal counsel and advice.

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 15, 2008

7 Reasons to be at Lacy Park this Saturday Morning!

Come on out and support our San Marino Firefighters this Saturday at Lacy Park in San Marino.

This annual breakfast has become one of my familys favorite traditions.

Herere some reasons to be there:

  1. The San Marino firemen are majorly cute!
  2. Its for a good cause.
  3. Its only $5 for a great breakfast made by the cutest firefighters in San Marino. Oops, did I say they were cute again? :-)
  4. There are activities for the kids. In the previous years, we had hot air balloon rides, firetruck rides, raffles, etc.
  5. Pancakes are always yummy and somehow they taste so much better at Lacy Park. All that fresh air!
  6. You have a chance to see and encourage (words of wisdom are always welcome at that age!)cub and boy scouts who usually camp at the park the night before.
  7. Proceeds benefit Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, Quest Burn Foundation and varous other charities.

Breakfast will be served beginning 7 am. Tickets can be bought at Lacy Park.

Read More: Lacy Park - a hidden treasure!

Please call 626-300-0735 with additional questions or click here for the official flyer.

Posted in San Marino
May 13, 2008

The Fastest Way to LOSE Your Earnest Money Deposit

You are ready to buy your Pasadena home and you sit down to write a purchase offer with your agent. Prior to coming to the office, your Pasadena Real Estate Agent will ask you to bring your check book.

Hmmm... Why? The offer has not even been accepted yet, so what is up with the check book?

The reason is simple: Your Pasadena home seller will expect to see an earnest money deposit along with your home purchase offer to prove that you are a serious home buyer.

What you need to know about the earnest money deposit:

  • It is usually 3% of home purchase offer price in Pasadena, California. All California purchase contracts have a Liquidated Damages clause which states that if the buyer defaults on the contract, the home seller can keep up to 3% of purchase price. Hence, the sellers real estate agent will look for a 3% deposit from a serious home buyer.
  • Liquidated Damages clause needs to be initialed by both home buyer and home seller to take effect and it is customary in Pasadena real estate market to have that clause be part of the home purchase contract. Ill write a separate post regarding why you, a home buyer, should initial that clause.
  • Earnest Money deposits are usually tied to the contracts contingency periods. Contingency periods simply refer to time frames for performing specific tasks like getting a home purchase loan.
  • Once your purchase offer is accepted by the seller, your earnest money deposit needs to be deposited into escrow within 3 calendar days. This is a standard and expected time frame but can be changed within the contract.
  • The earnest money deposit is applied towards the down payment of your home and any incurred expenses.

What do you need to do as a buyer NOT to lose your deposit?

  • Work with a reputable and experienced Pasadena Real Estate Agent that understands California Purchase Real Estate Contracts inside and out.
  • Get a list of dates for contingency removal deadlinesspecifically
    • Verification of Funds
    • Loan Approval
    • Appraisal
    • Physical Inspection
    • Home Owner Association review and approval of docs like rules & regulations, CC&Rs, budget and minutes for condos and townhomes
  • Ensure that you have received and reviewed fully home seller's Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) and Seller's Property Questionnaire and all additional home seller disclosures.
  • Due your due diligence within your Physical Inspection contingency period. Drive around the area. Talk with neighbors. Go to the city hall to pull permits and ask questions about possible additions or changes to the house that you are considering making. Get a sewer line inspection. Get a roof inspection or a mold inspection if it is recommended by your home inspector or if you have concerns about these issues. Investigate, investigate, investigate!

Understand that once you release your contractual contingencies, you are legally binding yourself to purchasing that home. Should you change your mind later, your earnest money deposit will be in jeopardy.

Questions? Call us at (626) 629-8439

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.

Posted in Buyers
May 13, 2008

Monterey Hills, CA - Vallejo Villas Townhomes

Vallejo units

 

Vallejo Villas was built in 1981 and in situated on Via Marisol in the heart of Monterey Hills. It is surrounded by majestic trees and offers gorgeous hill and city views.

READ ALSO: Monterey Hills Neighborhood Overview

All units are built townhouse style - meaning that they are stand alone units with a common side wall. Most of these townhomes are two stories high. Each unit sports an attached two car garage, a balcony and some have back yard style patios.

 

Vallejo Villas has 58 townhouses with amenities including guest parking, pool and spa, a sun deck. It is truly very beautifully landscaped and it looks like the HOA (Home Owners Association) takes very good care of the complex. A true pride of ownership.

As of May 12, 2008, there are no available townhomes for sale in Vallejo Villas. But, keep checking the most current list of all Monterey Hills homes for sale right here or let me know if youd like for me to run a specific search unique to your individual needs.

In 2007, Vallejo Villas townhome sales were ranging in mid $400,000 for 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom units and mid $500,000 for 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom townhomes.

 

This complex is just minutes away from downtown Los Angeles, USC, Old Town Pasadena and South Pasadena.

Read More: Top 10 Tips for buying a condo in Monterey Hills

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.

Posted in Monterey Hills
May 12, 2008

Was Your Mom Mean?

Today, we celebrate Mothers Day! And though we call it Mothers Day, its really a day to honor any woman whos had a positive impact on your life a stepmother, an aunt, a grandmother, a sister.

This year for inspiration I did a search on the Internet for Mothers Day and found a number of websites.

There were many wonderful quotes, poems and stories, but I think my favorite find is this piece, entitled: Was Your Mom Mean?

I know mine was. My sister, brothers and I knew we had the meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too. Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. Youd think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said wed be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds. Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldnt let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us ever shoplifted, vandalized anothers property or was arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. Were doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was. I think that is whats wrong with the world today. It just doesnt have enough mean moms.

I laughed when I read this, thinking about all the mean things my mom did and how I now appreciate how she helped me become the person I am today. Celebrate all moms on Mothers Day and every day!

Posted in Fun Posts