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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 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
May 11, 2008

Open Houses are NOT All the Same

For those of you that know me, know how much I dont like Open Houses - Traditional Sunday Open houses that is to sell Pasadena Homes.

They are misleading to the seller.

The secret that most Pasadena Real Estate Agents do not want you to know is that Open Houses DO NOT SELL homes- period!

 

 

 

Pasadena real estate agents hold open houses because its an opportunity to pick up home buyers and potential home sellers. Theres nothing wrong with that as long as home sellers are aware that selling their home due to holding it open is very, very low!

Do all Open Houses not work? NO

There are Open Houses that truly help to sell homes. They are:

  • Brokers Open House - it gives an opportunity for top Pasadena real estate agents to preview your home. Great exposure!
  • Neighborhood Open Houses - who better than to help you sell your home than your neighbors. Holding a Twilight Open House and inviting neighbors with a special invitation for an exclusive preview is very powerful. Usually, people that live in the neighborhood know someone who wants to live in the neighborhood.
  • First Weekend Open Houses - after your Pasadena home has been exposed to your neighbors and top real estate agents, holding it open the very first weekend after listing will give an opportunity for real estate agents to bring their clients or neighbors to tell their friends and family of a great opportunity.

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 10, 2008

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words AND a Fast SALE!

I have always wondered why in todays day and age of technology and digital cameras, there are still Pasadena homes listed for sale every day without a single photo. Digital Photo not availablecameras are inexpensive. They allow real estate agents to take a ton of home photos and then pick the best ones.

So, whats the problem? There is absolutely no excuse for not having a photo listed in the Pasadena Multiple Listing Service.

Pasadena home sellers, please make sure that you see your Pasadena Real Estate Agent snapping away photos after you have prepared your Pasadena home for sale.

Here's why?

  1. A photograph is almost always the first element that connects the buyer with your Pasadena home. It is the handshake, the first impression, the thing that cuts through the clutter to create an emotional connection with the buyer.
  2. Multiple photographs of your Pasadena home are needed for Multiple Listing Service (MLS) input, internet marketing, property brochures, flash presentations and print advertising. There is no way to avoid taking photographs to property market your Pasadena home.
  3. Many times, the buyer will decide whether or not to visit your home and the agent will decide whether or not to show your home based on the quality and presentation of the photos.

The California Association of Realtors  findings show that ˜Multiple photographs/Slideshows continue to be the online feature with the highest rating among all online features, followed by ˜Map/Directions.

Point2 conducted a study monitoring listings over a 30 day period and found that properties listed with only 1 photo generated 5 views while listings with 21 or more photos generate over 77 views. Thats quite a difference!

Another study compares the number of photos to the number of Days on Market (DOM). The findings show that listings with more photos sold faster. The findings are fascinating:

1 photo = 70 Days on the Market
6 photos = 40 Days on the Market
16 to 19 photos = 36 Days on the Market
20 photos = 32 Days on the Market

Also a fascinating find: listings with fewer photos sold for less.

1 Photo = 91.2% of Original Price
6+ Photos = 95% of Original Price

According to these findings, a $600,000 home, sporting only one photo, could sell for as much as 3.8% LESS or a loss of over $22,000, just because there was only one photo accompanying the listing. More amazing is the fact that only 12% of real estate agents posted the maximum 20 photos.

Pretty powerful statistics!

Multiple Listing Services are cracking down on real estate agents who do not post home photos when they list their properties into the MLS. Unfortunately, Pasadenas and Arcadias MLS services (ITEC and IMRMLS) do not have this policy yet.

So what can you do to ensure that your Pasadena home is presented in the best light?

  • When interviewing your Pasadena Real Estate Agent, ask how many photos they usually take and use to market their listings.
  • Ask to see samples of photos both in flyers and on-line. See how their home listings are presented. Look for quality photos focusing on best features on the house. Photos that create emotion!
  • Request to review the photos of your Pasadena home before they are added to the Multiple Listing Service.
  • Insist on the maximum number of photos that the MLS allows.

The Internet is the most powerful tool you can use when buying and/or selling your Pasadena home. According to results, photography does sell real estate. And when you choose to have high quality professional images for your marketing tools, you stand to gain by:

- Generating more interest for your Pasadena home
- Attracting more viewers/leads
- Entertaining higher offers/selling price
- Enjoying a faster sale of your Pasadena home

This all translates into less stress and a smoother transition to your new home!

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 7, 2008

Home Equity Loans are NOT what they seem

dollar signPasadena, CA - If you currently have a home equity line of credit, don't be surprised if you hear from your banker. Banks are reassessing the value of ALL Pasadena and Los Angeles County homes that have a Home Equity Line of Credit, otherwise known as HELOCs.

With Los Angeles County being considered by banks as a declining value market, banks are ordering new appraisals to see if the value of your home decreased.

Letters are going out daily to advise Pasadena home owners that their HELOC has been reevaluated to a lower amount. Some HELOCs have been lowered by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Can the banks do it? Sure. When you signed your loan docs for a line of credit, language was already built into it allowing banks to reappraise the value of your home.

Don't be caught unawares!

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email meor 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 7, 2008

Pasadena Home Buyers and Sellers Benefit from Buy Down Loan Programs

Last week, I wrote a post about buy down loan programs. What they are and how these buy down loan programs can be advantageous for both Pasadena home sellers and Pasadena home buyers.

Today, I wanted to give you an idea of the types of temporary buy down loan programs available.

 

 

One of the most common forms of buy down in use today is the 3-2-1 interest rate buy down. This is a temporary buy down, which would reduce the buyers overall interest rate by 3% in year 1, 2% in year 2 and 1 % in year 3.

For example, this buy down can reduce the buyers payments by up to $200 per month in the first year, $100 per month in the second year and $50 per month in the third year. The $200 per month reduction in payments is equivalent to giving the buyer an $800 raise in income for loan qualification purposes.

It will increase the effective income ratio from 28% to approximately 38% for the buyer. Probably more importantly, it gives the buyer time to build up to the higher payments.

The cost to the Pasadena home seller to provide the 3-2-1 interest rate buy down is approximately 5% of the sale price. Since many Pasadena sellers are willing to drop their prices by 5% or more to make the sale, this buy down is within the sellers capabilities.

The advantage is the Pasadena buyer will purchase the sellers house at 4% interest instead of 7% during the first year, giving the Pasadena seller a greater competitive advantage, while giving the buyer a greater perceived purchase value!

Read Also: Buy Down Loan Programs help Close the Deal

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 6, 2008

Pasadena CA Real Estate Buyers can get Downpayment Assistance

City of Pasadena has a great program assisting first time home buyers with down payment assistance. Herere the requirements:

Prospective applicants must be first-time homebuyers and qualify as Lower or Moderate Income:

#Persons In Family Lower Income Moderate Income
1 $42,450 $50,300
2 $48,500 $57,400
3 $54,600 $64,600
4 $60,650 $71,800
5 $65,500 $77,500
6 $70,350 $83,300
7 $75,200 $89,000
8 $80,050 $94,800
  • A minimum 3% down payment is required. Purchase prices may not exceed $425,000.
  • Monthly payments on the HOP (Home Ownership Opportunities) loan are amortized over the 45-year term but in certain circumstances payments during the first 5 years of the loan term may be waived.
  • Upon resale of the home or refinancing, the borrower is required to repay the outstanding amount owned on the HOP loan plus a potentially substantial share of the propertys appreciation in value.
  • Homes purchased with HOP loan assistance must be owner-occupied. Other criteria and restrictions apply.
  • In addition, interested HOP loan applicants must complete an approved NeighborWorks 12-hour homebuyer education program and be recommended for assistance by Pasadena Neighborhood Housing Services (PNHS)

Please contact PNHS at (626) 794-7191. The Program is undergoing modifications which are expected to be in place by July 2008.

For more information contact Aldra Allison, Project Manager at (626) 744-8314 or email aallison@cityofpasadena.net.

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to email me at Irina@Irina4RealEstate.com or call me at (626)627-7107. Thank you!

May 6, 2008

Exceptional Service in Pasadena

What makes one company stand out from the rest? Why do you use a particular service provider, real estate agent or go back to the same store time and time again?

As you purchase a product, at a minimum you'd expect to get a knoweldgeable salesperson, a hassle free experience and a fair price. But, what happens when something goes wrong after the purchase? I think what separates companies is how they address issues or problems as they occur.

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a grill at Barbecues Galore in Pasadena. My sales rep was knowledgeable and explained all the features. The sale went smoothly and I was anxiously awaiting my new grill.

The grill arrived and from the start, I encoutered problems. The cart was bent - no problem. It was replaced immediately. Next, I tried to rotisserie a chicken and the rotisserie burner would not light. After several visits by the repair man and a replacement of the grill with a new one, the rotisserie burner would still not light. So - two weeks later, a new, very expensive grill and it still doesn't work.

My husband and I went into the Barbecues Galore today to see what will be done by the store. Given the recent decline in service, I wasn't expecting much.

We met with the General Manager, LaRae, who immediately advised us that she was aware of the situation and asked for a few minutes of our time while she calls her District Manager to see what she can do to rectify the situation.

After a few minutes, she came back with not one, but three options!

  • Option 1: Full Refund
  • Option 2: Grill will be repaired and we will get a 50% discount
  • Option 3: Pick any other grill in the store - Lynx or Viking included

All I can say is that we were absolutely blown away. A major WOW factor. I can tell you that when it comes time for a new grill or any accessories for a grill, I will only go to this Barbecues Galore store. It's located at 30 South Rosemead just a bit south of Colorado Blvd. Try them out!

How do you handle difficult customer service issues? Can you set yourself apart from the pack? Curious to hear your stories about good or bad service.

Posted in Pasadena
May 6, 2008

Monterey Hills: Top 10 Tips when Buying a Condo

As most of my loyal readers know, I love Monterey Hills. I used to live there. My parents still live on the hill. And, what most of you do not know is that I started my real estate career, sort of, in Monterey Hills. I used to show the Monterey Hills condo models when Huntington Terrace and Hudson Terrace was first built back in the early 80s. I was...  yes... a hostess. :-)

Budd Weiner Park in Monterey Hills

So when you are ready to buy your first condo in Monterey Hills what should you look for?

  1. Amenities: each Monterey Hills condo complex has different amenities and its own history. Almost all have pools and spa, but some Monterey Hills condo complexes have a recreation room, steam room, sauna, gym and paddle tennis courts.
  2. Floor plan: In my experience, Monterey Hills has mostly 2 bedroom condos. Of course, there are 1 bedrooms and 2 plus den (which by the way some sellers try to convert and claim as 3 bedrooms - make sure to check the tax records) Mostly 2 bedroom floor plans come in two types: bedrooms on either side of the living room or together, on one side. Whats important to you? Do you have a small baby that youd want in a bedroom next to you? Or would you like more privacy and have the 2nd bedroom a bit away from you?
  3. Floor Location of the condo: what is your preference? Do you like to be on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd floor? Pricing wise, 3rd floor condos are a bit more expensive since you do not have anyone living above you. 2nd floor condos are least expensive since you have someone living above and below you. 1st floor condos can be as expensive as 3rd floor is they have large patios. Some of the Monterey Hills complexes have 1st floor condos with huge patios.
  4. Location of the condo within the complex: corner units are a bit more in demand. They usually have only one side neighbor, extra windows and better views.
  5. Architecture: some of the older Monterey Hills complexes have more traditional floor plans - clean lines and angles, four wall rooms, etc. The newer ones have more angles in the rooms - a bit more challenging to decorate, but very lovely nonetheless.
  6. Rules and Regulations: What are the quiet hours? Are pets allowed? Can you barbecue on your patio? Whats important to you? Review the Rules and Regulations carefully before buying your Monterey Hills condo.
  7. History of the complex: some of the Monterey Hills condo complexes have been modified and rebuilt over the years. Some have better reputations and are just more in demand.
  8. HOA Dues: HOA stands for Home Owners Association Dues. Each complex has their own dues. Most are based on the amenities and services provided like Post Security. For the most part, HOA dues are based on square footage of your unit.
  9. Management of the complex: as you walk around each Monterey Hills complex, you will have a pretty good feel about how this condo complex is managed. Does it look like it has some deferred maintenance? Is the landscaping taken care of? Is pool patio furniture clean and in good shape? Is the gym equipment up to date and the gym looks clean over all?
  10. Financial Health of the complex: Always ask to see the financial statements of the complex. Do they have a lot of money in reserves? Is the Association anticipating any special assessments? What are the HOA dues being spent on? Is there a trend of specific repairs that might affect your HOA dues in the future.

READ ALSO: Monterey Hills Neighborhood Overview

Make sure to hire a real estate agent that is familiar with the history of Monterey Hills and can guide you through the process of buying in the Monterey Hills.

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

Posted in Buyers, Monterey Hills
May 4, 2008

Tea Time at the old Pasadena Ritz

Back in October of 2007, Pasadena's Ritz Carlton was sold to Langham Hotels for $170,000,000 - yes... that's 170 MILLION! Many of us have happy memories of the old Ritz and were quite disappointed when the sale was announced.

Langham Hotel in Pasadena California

Every time, I drive down Oak Knoll Avenue to get to South Lake district, I pass the Langham Hotel and make a mental reminder to go in and visit and see the changes.

June 10th provides an opportunity to do just that. In celebration of Langham Hotels International anniversary of their flagship property in London, Langham Hotel in Pasadena will pay homage to the quintessentially British institution - the afternoon tea.

When The Langham London opened in 1865, the afternoon tea was served for one shilling, six pence.

To celebrate, Langham Hotels around the world will serve afternoon tea on June 10, 2008 for its original price in 1865, which was approximately 15 cents (USD).

Reservations are required since the afternoon tea is expected to sell out quickly. Please call Langham Hotel for more information at 626-568-3900 .

If I can be of any assistance with your Pasadena Real Estate needs, please do not hesitate to e-mail or call me at (626)627-7107 . Thank you!

Posted in Pasadena