Category Archives: Buying a Home

Janet Jackson Puts Central Park Apartment Up For Rent For a Cool $35K/Month

A lesson in buying vs. renting, and the benefits of positive cash flow.

She’s the younger sister of the late “King of Pop” Michael Jackson who has had a pretty incredible career in her own right. Top selling smash hits and records, and star of

Photo courtesy of Andy Liang
Janet Jackson

feature films Janet Jackson has done very well for herself. Not only does she have an estimated net worth of around $150 million, but she’s married to billionaire business tycoon Wissam Al Mana.

It’s been reported that Ms. Jackson…er…Mrs. Al Mana…has decided to rent her Central Park apartment. Of course, this isn’t your typical cold water walk-up. It’s located in one of the most desirable areas of Manhattan, and the upgrades are pretty incredible. However this apartment sits at just over 2,000 square feet of living space, and has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. Not quite what you’d call a mansion, but larger than most standard apartments in Manhattan. Asking price per month? $35,000. Oh yeah, did we mention it’s located in the Trump International building? Continue reading Janet Jackson Puts Central Park Apartment Up For Rent For a Cool $35K/Month

Santa Clarita Named Second Safest Mid-Sized City

Another great reason to move to the SCV!

Good news for Santa Clarita as it was named the second safest mid-sized city in America by Movoto.com. Here is the complete ranking of the top ten safest cities:Santa Clarita named 2nd safest city in America

  1. Glendale, CA
  2. Santa Clarita, CA
  3. Sunnyvale, CA
  4. Naperville, IL
  5. Cary, NC
  6. Thousand Oaks, CA
  7. Oxnard, CA
  8. Aurora, IL
  9. Huntington Beach, CA
  10. Thousand Oaks, CA Continue reading Santa Clarita Named Second Safest Mid-Sized City

Study Shows Real Estate Agents Are Still Best Source For Buyers Searching For Homes

National Association Of Realtors Report Shows More Buyers Trust Agents To Help Find Home Than Any Other Source

A recent study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that 87 percent of Real Estate Agents were viewed as a trusted and useful information source for buyersWhy it's important to use a real estate agent when searching for a home for sale. you used an agent when searching for a home.

The comprehensive report, titled 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, detailed nearly all aspects of the real estate experience from the perspective of the home buyer and seller. The 120 page study also focused on the home search process, the buying and selling process, and real estate financing.

Why It Is Important To Use a Real Estate Agent When Beginning Your Home Search

It’s understandable that many potential home buyers are unsure of their goals when first considering purchasing a property. Unfortunately, so many go about it the wrong way when they do their best to avoid contact with a licensed real estate professional. The Internet has made it much easier for buyers to search anonymously, but in most cases, they may not know much (or anything) about the areas or neighborhoods where they are searching. Even worse, they haven’t begun the loan qualification process to assess their spending power. Continue reading Study Shows Real Estate Agents Are Still Best Source For Buyers Searching For Homes

Another Reason To Buy a Home Now: FHA Loan Rates Dip Below 4%!

Home mortgage rates continue to drop as 2013 nears an end.

Home buyers were in a bit of a struggle over the summer. Not only did interest rates take a 1 percent jump, but available housing inventory for sale was still pretty scarce. Mortgage interest rates once again on the declinePrices rose due to such a high velocity demand from not only buyers who wanted a residence to live and/or raise a family, but investors were still snatching up properties as well.

With the considerable rebound in housing prices, it’s no wonder that buyers are back in the game. Knowing that the investment they make will begin to grow equity almost immediately whetted the whistle of those looking for homes, and sellers took complete advantage. Many home sellers experienced multiple simultaneous offers, putting them completely in the driver’s seat as far as price, terms and conditions against the buyer whose offer was finally accepted.

A slight shift in the real estate market that turns into a win-win for both buyers and sellers.

As interest rates rose over the summer, housing sales began to level off slightly, bringing about a slow rise (VERY slow!) in available houses for sale. While inventory is still low in Santa Clarita, it has raised a few hundred units from around 300 at the end of summer, to around 500 in October. Now, this is typical as the year winds down and the holidays near. Many sellers consider holding off listing their home until after the new year, although there are many who are serious enough about selling that they will continue to offer their homes to buyers straight through. Continue reading Another Reason To Buy a Home Now: FHA Loan Rates Dip Below 4%!

Looking For a Tax Break? Buy a Home!

Mortgage Credit Certificate Tax Credit Program can reduce potential tax liability.

There are many advantages to buying a home. From the security and satisfaction of owning your own property, to increased investment value in the form of equity, home ownership provides us with opportunities that go beyond just having “a place for our stuff.”

Many renters eventually realize they are paying money to a landlord or property manager every month without any kind of benefit, nor do they receive any kind of tax incentives as non home buyers.

One of the biggest draws for home buyers is the idea of being able to reduce their tax liability as a benefit of owning property. Credits and deductions can usually be taken for items such as paid property taxes (Check with your tax professional or accountant for a full list of homeowner deductions and credits). One of the most attractive tax “pluses” is the Mortgage Credit Certification Tax Credit. Continue reading Looking For a Tax Break? Buy a Home!

New FHA Guidelines Aim To Give Recession Victims Another Chance At Home Ownership

Federal Housing Authority changes wait time for bankruptcy filers and short sellers from two years to one.

As the real estate market recovers, many previous homeowners who were either forced to give up their homes due to foreclosure or short sale, and/or filed for bankruptcyFHA changes guidelines for home buyers as a result of the economic issues surrounding the “Great Recession.” In many cases, those issues were temporary and many who had previously been affected by the negative economic impact of a few years ago have since rebounded. However, the minimum wait time for any former homeowner who fell victim to the conditions described above has been at least 24 months to be approved for a loan backed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).

Recently the FHA sent a letter to mortgage lenders regarding changes they have made to help put former home owners back into the real estate market by announcing that, under certain conditions, they will back mortgages that will reduce the wait time from 24 months to one year. These conditions include:

  • Buyer must prove that an economic hardship was suffered beyond their control, such as experiencing job loss or a negative financial impact that was a result of the conditions brought on by the recession. These hardships must be documented in writing.
  • Buyer must also prove that they have since recovered economically and are able to qualify for a home loan. Lender may review credit scores and information that may qualify the buyer as a candidate for a mortgage. Also, the buyer must be able to show that they had excellent credit PRIOR to the events that created their negative economic situation.
  • Qualifying factors for loan approval include buyer proving cash reserves, loan-to-value ratio at or below 90%, and debt-to-income ratios.
  • Buyer must agree to HUD approved home buyer counseling. Continue reading New FHA Guidelines Aim To Give Recession Victims Another Chance At Home Ownership

Southern California Home Prices Jump Over 28% In June

Housing prices in the Southland rise to a new year-over-year record.

RealtyTrac, the company that collects and reports nationwide statistics and trends for the real estate industry, recently reported that housing prices in Southern California Housing prices take a sharp turn upward in Southern Californiajumped 28.3% in June 2013 over June of last year. According to RealtyTrac, this is the largest jump in housing prices since they began generating data in 1989. This includes double digit jumps for the Santa Clarita housing market as well.

Los Angeles County had the largest price jump at 30.8 percent year-over-year, with Riverside County a close second at 30.4 percent. Locally, Santa Clarita housing prices have seen an 18% rise.

The real estate market has returned, but will it last?

We’ve seen a tremendous turnaround in the real estate market in the past few years, dramatically so from the dark days following the economic issues that sparked the so-called “Great Recession” back in 2008. Interest rates remained steady, and even dropped to historic lows thanks in part to the Federal Reserve guaranteeing mortgage backed securities to the tune of $85 billion per month. With the economic rebound came more qualified home buyers who were ready to take advantage of the low mortgage rates. This, coupled with “boomerang buyers” (Home buyers who may have left the market a few years earlier due to short sale or other methods of avoiding foreclosure), have led to a buying surge. Of course, lower than normal housing inventory for sale sparked what turned into a seller’s market, which has helped spur the dramatic rise in home prices. Continue reading Southern California Home Prices Jump Over 28% In June

Rising Mortgage Rates Affect Re-fi’s, But Not Home Sales

While mortgage rates are back on the rise, they are still phenomenally low for home buyers.

After years of continually dropping to historic lows, mortgage interest rates are slowly on the rise. That being said, as of this posting they are still hovering below 4 percent.Team Avalos Real Estate

While rates are rising, it’s important to note that home sales, as well as prices, are also still on the rise.

Santa Clarita has experienced an 11 percent jump in home prices for both single family residences and condominiums in the past year, and overall the market has improved into the double digits across the country as well. Most people know and understand a lot about trends in real estate sales, such as supply and demand, economic conditions that drive prices down and/or up, and indicators for growth and expansion, but how is it that interest rates have remained so low during the so-called “Great Recession,” and what are some of the factors driving them upward again?

Mortgage Backed Securities and the Federal Government

We saw many bad things happen in 2007 and 2008 with the fall of banks and lending institutions deemed “too large to fail.” So much so, that by the Fall of 2008, the Federal Government stepped in to buy up Mortgage Backed Securities to the tune of $85 billion per month. Mortgage Backed Securities (Also known as MBS) are loans bundled into packages and sold as stock options whereby money is based on the principal and interest payments on the packaged loans. That’s the definition in its simplest form, however MBS can be much more complicated than that based on the offerings and desires of the investor. Since November of 2008, government backed MBS have helped keep interest rates low since the Fed will guarantee a return on the investment.  Continue reading Rising Mortgage Rates Affect Re-fi’s, But Not Home Sales

Home Buyers: What Do You REALLY Know About Your Home Mortgage Loan?

Educating yourself about your loan options during the home buying process Home mortgage loan myths: How much do you know about your home loan?can save you money and frustration.

A recent Zillow survey showed some interesting statistics about what home buyers actually know (Or don’t know) about obtaining a home mortgage loan. Out of 1,000 current and prospective homeowners, it was discovered that:

  • 34 percent don’t know what the term “APR” means
  • 31 percent don’t believe it is possible to obtain a home mortgage loan with less than 5% as a down payment
  • One in four believe that they must close escrow using the same lender who originally pre-approved them for their home loan

Let’s clarify these home mortgage myths, shall we?

What does APR stand for? Continue reading Home Buyers: What Do You REALLY Know About Your Home Mortgage Loan?