Pasadena Real Estate - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Buying or Selling Your Home in Pasadena!

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 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
May 1, 2008

Property Tax Increases on Your Pasadena Home

The following question was received from Veronica M. in Pasadena California:

Can the Los Angeles County Assessor reassess my Real Property Taxes?

There are only four events that can cause a reappraisal of your Pasadena home by the Assessor. They are:

  1. A change in ownership. For example you sell your Pasadena home or inherit your Pasadena home.
  2. Completed new construction.
  3. New construction partially completed on the lien date (January 1)
  4. A decline-in-value - READ MORE: Proposition 8

Change in Ownership Appraisals will take place when a publicly recorded transfer occurs. The assessor will receive a copy of the deed and will then determine whether a reappraisal is required under the California State law.

Transfers of Pasadena property between husband and wife does NOT cause a reappraisal for property tax purposes. This includes transfers resulting from divorce or death. Also, the addition of joint tenants, whether related or not does not result in a reappraisal.

In most cases, transfer by irrevocable trusts are re-appraisable. Keep this in mind if you inherited a property via trust.

New Construction Appraisals are done when an assessor receives a copy of building permits.

Rule of thumb:

New buildings, additions and other structures REQUIRE a reappraisal.

Structural repairs and/or replacements would NOT REQUIRE a reappraisal in almost all situations.

For more information, please visit the Los Angeles County Assessors Office or call them at 213.974.3211.

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)627-7107. 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 1, 2008

Pasadena CA Real Estate Property Taxes

How much will I pay in property taxes when I buy my home in Pasadena? How are property taxes calculated on an existing Pasadena home?

I've been getting a lot of property tax questions lately and decided to write a quick post about how consumers are affected when they buy a home in Pasadena or surrounding cities.

In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 13. As a result, the Los Angeles County Assessor can not exceed more than 1% of a property's maximum assessed value plus any additional bonds and other city specific taxes.

What this means to the Pasadena home buyer is that when you purchase your Pasadena home, the assessor will base your home's property tax bill on approximately 1.2% of the price that you paid for it. 1% for Los Angeles County and a little less than .2% for city bonds, taxes, etc.

For example, if you paid $500,000 for your Pasadena home expect your annual property tax bill to be around $6,000 or $500 per month.

Ongoing, the Assessor will raise your property tax bill due to annual inflation which can not exceed 2%. Going back to our previous example:

Year 1 - Pasadena Property Tax Bill = $6,000 appx. annually

Year 2 - Pasadena Property Tax Bill = $6,120 appx. adjusted for inflation

Year 3 - Pasadena Property Tax Bill = $6,242 appx. adjusted for inflation

And so on...

READ MORE: Proposition 8 and how it helps Pasadena owners save property taxes

There are some exemptions that are available to Pasadena homeowners that you should be aware of:

  1. The most common is the Homeowners' Exemption: if your Pasadena home is your principal place of residence (Assessor always looks at January 1st, i.e. if you are living in your home as a principal residence on Jan. 1) you may apply for an exemption of $7,000 from your assessed value. The assessor made it pretty easy for home owners and will automatically send an exemption application. Please beware of companies out there that will send you an official looking document asking you to pay for them to file the exemption form on your behalf. They are out to take advantage of you. This exemption will save you, the homeowner, approximately $70 per year on taxes. Once you file this exemption, you do not need to refile it.
  2. Veterans' Exemption: If you are a veteran or a surviving spouse of an eligible veteran, you may apply for a $4,000 exemption applied to the assessed value. You do not need to reside on the property for this exemption. There are asset requirements that apply. Please call Assessor's office for more information on their guidelines at 213.974.3399. This exemption must be filed each year.
  3. Disabled Veteran's Exemption: If you are a disabled veteran who is blind in both eyes, has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled as a result of injury or disease incurred in military service, you may be eligible for an exemption of up to $150,000 of the assessed value of your home.

Please feel free to email me with additional questions regarding property taxes or use the comment section to ask them. Hope you find this information useful.

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!

Read More:  Pasadena Real Estate Guide - All You Need to Know about Buying or Selling Your HOME!

Latest Pasadena Homes for Sale:


READ MORE:  Pasadena real estate update 2012 – see luxury home sales.


Irina is a Top Realtor and the founder and President of Pasadena Views Real Estate Team™. She is available to assist you in all of your Real Estate transactions. Email or call her today at (626)629-8439.

Are you relocating to Pasadena?  If so, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® .  Call us at 626-629-8439 to schedule a time for your free home buyer or home seller consultation!

Posted in Buyers, Pasadena
April 30, 2008

Pasadena CA Real Estate Buyers and Sellers Understanding Short Sales

Pasadena, CA - there's a lot of talk about Pasadena"short sales" and foreclosures lately. It's in the news. Books are being published about short sales. There are even radio commercials talking about short sales.

I think most people have a pretty good idea what a foreclosure is, but there's still quite a bit of confusion on what a short sale is.

A short sale simply means that a bank is willing to accept less money than what the owner owes on the property because the house can not sell at a price high enough to cover the mortgage fully.

Here is a quick example:

Home was purchased for $500,000

1st and 2nd Trust Deed (mortgage) is $495,000

House is now worth $450,000

Bank agrees to accept $450,000 less expenses in leu of the full amount owed $495,000

Why would a bank agree to accept less than what is owed?

To avoid the costs and a lengthy process of foreclosure and further loss of home value.

Why would a Pasadena seller consider putting their Pasadena home on the market as a short sale?

In essence, you sell the house for whatever you can get and the lender agrees not to go after you for the deficit that is owed on the property. Even though your credit might be affected, it will not be to the same extent as a foreclosure.

Also the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 amends the IRS code to exclude from gross income amounts attributable to a discharge of the debt incurred to acquire a principal residence.

READ MORE:  Short Sale Deficiency Protection Extended

A short sale doesn't mean that it's a fast sale.

It's actually more of a long sale meaning it takes on average 3 to 5 months (depending on the bank) to close escrow on a short sale.

Why should Pasadena buyers consider short sales if it takes such a long time?

Simply said - to get a better deal.

There are not too many short sales homes available at this time in Pasadena. There are many Pasadena homes that are regular sales which are certainly worth exploring and you can also get a great deal without the hassle of a long wait and too much uncertainty!

REQUIRED READING:  Pasadena Real Estate Guide - Everything You Need to Know about Buying Your Next Home!


READ MORE:  Pasadena real estate update 2012 – see luxury home sales.


Irina is a Top Realtor and the founder and President of Pasadena Views Real Estate Team™. She is available to assist you in all of your Real Estate transactions. Email or call her today at (626)629-8439.

Are you relocating to Pasadena?  If so, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® .  Call us at 626-629-8439 to schedule a time for your free home buyer or home seller consultation!

Posted in Buyers, Sellers
April 29, 2008

Monterey Hills - Huntington Terrace

 

4000 Via Marisol - Huntington Terrace

Huntington Terrace is a condominium complex in Monterey Hills adjacent to South Pasadena.  It consists of 3 stand-alone, 3 story buildings 4000 Via Marisol - 4040 Via Marisol - 4080 Via Marisol.

Huntington Terrace condo units are one level and depending on where the condo is located, you can have someone living above and/or below you. Laundry hook ups are inside each unit as well as coin operated machines on each floor.

Some of the Huntington Terrace condo units have gorgeous city views. The complex is surrounded by beautiful mature trees. All units have balconies or patios. The patios on the first floor can be quite large which can be great for pets or children.

Huntington Terrace was built by J.D. Carley & Associates in 1981 and has four floor plans. A one bedroom condo, two plans of two bedroom condos and a two bedroom plus a den condo.

 

Parking is in a subterranean garage. Usually, 2 spaces have been assigned to each Huntington Terrace homeowner. Some parking spaces are side by side. Others are tandem. There is plenty of guest parking spaces in the complex and easy street parking.

Amenities in this complex include a pool, spa and a recreation room.

 

As of April 28th 2008, there's one condo available for purchase:

4000 Via Marisol #102 2 BRS + DEN 1,495 sq. ft $439,000
       

 

 

 

 

Last year, there was a total of 5 sales in the Huntington Terrace complex ranging from $350,000 to $417,000.

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!

Here's a sample of Monterey Hills condos for sale:


READ MORE:  Pasadena real estate update 2012 – see luxury home sales.


Irina is a Top Realtor and the founder and President of Pasadena Views Real Estate Team™. She is available to assist you in all of your Real Estate transactions. Email or call her today at (626)629-8439.

Are you relocating to Pasadena?  If so, take a look at our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® .  Call us at 626-629-8439 to schedule a time for your free home buyer or home seller consultation!

Posted in Monterey Hills
April 27, 2008

Pasadena Home Sellers - Important Real Estate Agent Interviewing Tip

Earlier today, I had an appointment with a home seller in Pasadena. He had his home listed on the market and in the period of two months had only a few showings. His listing expired and he is now in the process of interviewing to find a Pasadena real estate agent that he can trust to handle the sale and marketing of his home. A very smart move on his part given the diversity of experience in the Pasadena real estate market place.

His previous real estate agent entered his home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Thats great, right? NO¦ The problem is that his real estate agent added his listing in the wrong MLS. The Multiple Listing Service that provided listings of home in Los Angeles NOT Pasadena.

Pasadena Home Seller Tip:

 

When interviewing your Pasadena real estate agents find out WHICH MLS they are members of and WHICH MLS your home will be listed in.

Your Pasadena Home should be listed in the following MLS services:

  1. ITEC (Pasadena Foothill Association) - covers all Pasadena and surrounding cities - West San Gabriel Valley.
  2. IMRMLS (Arcadia Association of Realtors) - covers all Pasadena, surrounding cities - East San Gabriel Valley)
  3. CLAW MLS - Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors - covers mainly the West side.
  4. SoCAL MLS (encompasses CRISNET) - San Fernando Valley and Orange County

Remember that the goal of marketing your Pasadena home is to get as many "eye balls" on your lisitng as possible. If your Pasadena home or condo is listed in all four of these Multiple Listing Services, it will have a lot more exposure.

In this sellers case, since his Pasadena home was listed in CLAW, 99% of Pasadena area realtors were not aware that it was for sale. This seller just lost 2 months of active marketing in a down trending market.

Dont make the same mistake. Ask the right questions. After all, you want to hire the best Pasadena Real Estate agent to selli your Pasadena area home.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Pasadena Seller Mistakes

READ ALSO: Pasadena Real Estate Agent Tells All - Sellers Beware

READ ALSO: What Does Your Real Estate Agent Do For 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.

 

 

April 25, 2008

Lacy Park in San Marino CA - A Hidden Treasure

Lacy Park in San Marino California

Every morning, for the last 2 weeks, I get up at 5:25 am to take my daughter for her cross country practice at Lacy Park. I am not much of a morning person, but I am beginning to look forward to greeting the day in the beauty of this hidden park.

I say hidden because even though Lacy Park is located in San Marino, California, for the most part, only the residents of San Marino truly know about it. Even the residents of Lacy Parks next door neighbors - Pasadena, San Gabriel and Alhambra are sometimes not aware of its existence.

Its located between Virginia and St. Albans, just North is located h of Monterey Road. It occupies 30 acres - thats 30 acres of open green areas with many varieties of trees and shrubs.

Fewer people still know that the open center area of the park used to be a lake - Wilson Lake in 1875. City of San Marino purchased the lake and the land in 1925 and dedicated it as a park.

lacy park rosesIf you enter from the back entrance, off of St. Albans, you will see the Boy Scout huts and the most amazing Rose Abor. Theres also access to the San Marino Tennis Club which in itself has an interesting history. It was started by 3 local Huntington Middle School moms to encourage kids to love the game of tennis.

The main entrance of the park is off of Virginia. It will take you to the two loops that circle the park. The outer loop is about 1 mile in length and the inner loop is about 3/4 of a mile. As my daughter runs her five miles, I get to walk around the outer loop at least 3 to 4 times - not too bad, given I need my exercise. :-)

Theres a really nice playground for kids and picnic tables. During the summer, YMCA and City of San Marino have their youth summer programs which are absolutely fantastic.

The park is open 7 days a week - free Monday through Friday. On weekends, there is a nominal charge for non-residents.

The park is surrounded by stately San Marino homes. The home prices in the area around Lacy Park is considered San Marino hills and has beautiful estates starting at $1.8 million and up.

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

If you are ever in the area, please stop on by and visit.

April 25, 2008

Pasadena CA South Lake District - Urban Living at its Best!

One of the trendier areas of Pasadena, CA is unarguable the South Lake Avenue District. Lake Avenue is a beautiful tree-lined street that features 10 blocks of top retailers, smaller boutiques and fantastic restaurants. It is also the heart of Pasadena's financial district.

South Lake Avenue District runs from Colorado Blvd to the North, to California to the South, Hudson Avenue to the West and Mentor Avenue to the East.

The history of South Lake district dates back to 1947 when Bullock's (now Macy's) opened its doors. Prior to that, this was a residential neighborhood with homes lining both sides of the street. "The Store of Tomorrow" as Bullock's was called was designed by a renowned architect Welton Becket. His goal was to create unity both "inside" as well as the "outside" of the building and to achieve an atmosphere of a "home" or an "exclusive country club".

The elegance and prestige of Bullock's opened the door to further development of upscale shops and boutiques, as well as national retailers and restaurants. In the 1950s, South Lake Avenue gained fame as one of Southern California's most exclusive shopping areas. There's a courtyard behind Williams Sonoma that features working London-style phone booths and complement the district's predominately European style.

Today, the stores include Macy's, Border's Books & Music, Williams Sonoma, Ann Taylor, Talbot's, Anthropologie, Gymboree, Abercrombie Bartholomew to name just a few. Trader Joe's (which is a necessity for me!), numerous electronics & music stores and fabulous restaurants make this area a pleasure to visit.

The financial district began developing in the early 1960s and continued its growth through the 70s and 80s. This brought many professionals and the thirty something crowd. Streets are full of people and the sidewalk cafe and bakeries like Wheatberry's are thriving.

By the way, if you haven't been to Wheatberry's, you absolutely have to give them a try. The pastries are delicious and their croissants are better than the ones I had in Paris last year. They serve breakfast, lunch and an assortment of baked goods and cakes. UPDATE - September 2008: Drove by Wheatberry's and saw that they're out of business.

Pasadena's Visitors and Convention Bureau, as well as www.SouthLakeAvenue.com have additional historical information about South Lake Avenue if you are interested.

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 Pasadena
April 24, 2008

Moving into a Pasadena California home? Pasadena Occupancy Inspection is Required.

Do you have a rental property in Pasadena, CA where the tenant moved out and youre getting to ready to lease it again?

Are you in the process of selling your home or condo?

Maybe, you are a Pasadena home buyer or renter getting ready to move into your new Pasadena home.

If so, did you know that prior to moving in, you have to comply with the city ordinance requiring an occupancy inspection?

Standardly, its common practice in Pasadena, California, the seller or the landlord will file an application with the city to order an inspection and will pay the necessary fees.

 

Here's what the City of Pasadena says:

Occupancy Inspection Program

The Occupancy Inspection Program is designed to ensure the quality and maintenance of the Citys single family homes, duplexes, and condominiums. This is achieved by conducting inspections of these dwelling units at the time of sale or change of occupancy. If, at the time of inspection, a dwelling unit is found to be in violation of the Housing Code, the property owner is notified of the violations and given a reasonable time to correct them. Upon correction of the violations, a Certificate of Occupancy is issued and remains valid until the dwelling unit is again sold or rented.

Typical items checked during an Occupancy Inspection include the electrical, plumbing, and heating systems, structural hazards, and other health and safety items. In addition, Zoning concerns such as illegal building additions and the conversion of garages, attics, and basements to dwelling spaces are also checked.

The Occupancy Inspection Program is administered by the Code Compliance Section of the Planning and Development Department, located in the Pasadena Permit Center at 175 N. Garfield Ave.

Application and fee schedule are available at:

Permit Center
Hale Building, 175 N. Garfield Avenue
1st Floor, Window #1

For further information, please call (626) 744-4633

Posted in Buyers, Pasadena, Sellers