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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 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
May 3, 2008

Pasadena CA Real Estate Home Sellers Use Buy Down Plans to Close the Deal

In my previous posts, I referred to Buydown Purchase Plans that Pasadena sellers should be aware of and use to help sell their Pasadena home in this changing real estate market.

Heres a primer on what a Buydown Purchase Plan is:

Buydown purchase plans or ˜buydowns are monetary subsidies given to a Pasadena home buyer to lower his effective interest rate, his monthly mortgage payments and help him qualify for the loan. In times past the homebuilder or seller of the property was generally the party who provided the funds necessary to provide the buydown from sale proceeds. Today, other parties in addition to seller or builder are allowed to participate in buydown plans, including relatives, employers, the buyers themselves, and in some instances investors.

Buydowns have been available for years but were generally permanent buydowns, that is, the buyers overall Interest rate was reduced between 1/2% and 1 % interest for the entire term of the loan. This permanent buydown resulted in the buyer saving $25-50 per month for the entire 30 year term. However, it was very costly to the Pasadena seller and it only resulted in a small decrease in the buyers monthly payments. Temporary buydowns came into being in the late 1970s as interest rates climbed dramatically, putting the payments out of reach for many would be homeowners.

The temporary buydown only reduces the buyers interest rates and payment for a short period of time such as 1-5 years but it reduces the initial payments much more dramatically for the homebuyer. Instead of a $25-50 reduction for the entire mortgage term, the buyers payments could be reduced by as much as $200 per month in the first year, $100 per month during the second year and $50 per month during the third year. This much larger reduction of the buyers payment puts more buyers in the position to be able to qualify for mortgage loans and make the required monthly payments. The temporary buydown is better suited to many Pasadena home buyers today because they will probably only live in their homes an average of five years, nationwide. As the subsidies are withdrawn the payments will rise but so will the average buyers income. Buydown purchase plans have many names such as discount point buydowns, proceed buydowns, pledged account buydowns, interest rate buydowns and many more.

Even though, the interest rates are at an all time low (or pretty close to it) the Pasadena home buyers can benefit from temporary buydowns since they make it easier to qualify for a loan and allow buyers to afford ˜more house, especially in the first few years of the loan.

The important thing to remember is that all buydowns can be divided into two categories, permanent buydowns and temporary buydowns.

  1. Permanent buydowns will reduce the buyers payment a small amount for a long time.
  2. Temporary buydowns will reduce the buyers payments a substantial amount for a short time.

Which is best for you as a buyer will generally be determined by the length of time the you expect to live in the home and how much payment you can afford to make.

READ MORE:  Pasadena Real Estate Guide - Buyer and Home Seller Articles and Advice

Fore relocation and community information, please visit Pasadena City Guide.

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!

Thanks to Jeff Eliass comprehensive guide for detailed information on buydowns.

May 2, 2008

Pasadena California Real Estate Market is in Chaos

I am not chicken little, but lets face it, the Pasadena real estate market has been pretty chaotic over the last several months.

We have a lot of different parties to thank for this activity, but mainly, I would say that for the most part, the lenders have given us this lovely gift.

After pushing ridiculously, whats the word that was used - oh yeah - ˜creative financing products on unsuspecting Pasadena home buyers, Pasadena home sellers AND buyers are now feeling the effects.

READ MORE:  Pasadena Real Estate Guide

So where is the Pasadena Real Estate Market overall now?

Looking at Altos Research statistics, there are currently 474 single family homes on the market in Pasadena California. These homes have been on the market for an average of 117 days. Half of these listings have entered the Pasadena real estate market in the last 77 days.
As you can see, the inventory of Pasadena single family homes is increasing dramatically and the median price is on the down swing. Price per square foot has moved from over $500 per square foot to $441 per square foot.

So here we are, going from the lenders giving anyone who is breathing a loan, to going to the other extreme and tightening the requirement to the nth degree.

Mortgage lenders now require:

  • A down payment to purchase a home - preferrably a minimum 10% down, most lenders want to see 20% down.
  • Minimum credit score of 680.
  • Debt ratios of 28/36% - a DEBT RATIO is the allowable percentage of debt in relationship to a borrowers monthly income, used to determine if the borrower is qualified for mortgage loans.

So, if you are thinking of selling your Pasadena home, you need to be creative in making it easier for the buyers to qualify for a mortgage. This, of course, in addition to correct pricing and marketing strategy for the sale of your home.

What can Pasadena sellers do to help buyers qualify for a loan?

  • Most banks and mortgage lenders allow sellers to pay up to 6% of buyers closing costs.
  • Instead of price reductions, consider helping the buyer with offering cash towards loan buy downs - stay tuned for a series of posts on the different types of buy downs available. A mortgage buy down is simply a subsidy paid to the bank to reduce buyers interest rate. This, in turn, lowers the buyers monthly payment and makes the home more affordable to the buyer. It also makes it easier for the buyer to qualify for the loan.
  • Consider a combination of cash towards closing costs and buying down the buyers interest rate.
  • Make sure that your Pasadena home buyers have a back up lender or work with a local, trusted professional that is recommended by your Pasadena real estate agent.

READ MORE: What are Buy Down Programs

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!

Posted in Buyers, Pasadena