Hot, Normal and Cold Markets

When most people decide to buy or sell a home, they don’t take into account what the market is doing and how it will affect your ability to buy/sell. Take a look at the following market temperatures to figure out when you should list your home or go hunting!

Hot Market

Image result for hot market This is an extremely competitive market and is advantageous to the seller. Sometimes, homes will sell as soon as they are listed or even before homes are listed. Typically, during a hot market, multiple offers will be made on each home and more often than not, homes will sell for more than the asking price. It is even more crucial to be prepared and to be ready as a buyer when the market is hot. It can be easy to get caught up in the bid for a home, but if you are prepared (pre-approved, solid in price range, realistic about your needs), it is easier to remain focused on your housing needs and price range.

Normal Market

Image result for normal market real estateIn a normal market, there is a fairly large number of homes available and an average number of buyers. This market does not necessarily favor the buyer or the seller. A seller may not have as many offers on their home, but he or she may not be desperate to sell either. Again, it is the buyer’s responsibility to be prepared. During a normal market, the chances to negotiate are higher than in a hot market. As a buyer, you can expect to make offers at lower than the asking price and negotiate a price at least somewhat less than what the sellers are asking.

Cold Market

Related imageIn a cold market, houses may be listed for more than a year and the prices of houses listed may drop considerably. This market is advantageous to the buyer. As a buyer, you have the time to make an offer that works to your best interest. It is not uncommon to low-ball and to find that sellers are accommodating to meet your needs. Keep in mind that even though this market is a great time for buyers, you do not want to lose your dream home by being unrealistic. Your goal is to get your dream home at the best possible price.

 

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San Diego Neighborhood Highlight: Scripps Ranch

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Scripps Ranch is a charming neighborhood suburb in the northeast part of San Diego County. Though inland, it’s still only about a half hour drive to the beach and close to many booming companies and attractions.

History

Scripps Ranch, like many things in Southern California such as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Scripps College, was named after the Scripps newspaper family. E.W. Scripps at first thought he was building a vacation home to get out of Illinois’ frigid winter.  He bought 400 acres of land, gave part of it to his sister, Ellen Browning Scripps, and built a ranch there at the site of where the members-only Scripps Ranch Swim and Racquet Club a community hub, now stands. He also built a castle, called Miramar, where the community of Miramar is today.

Real Estate

Scripps Ranch is considered one of the premiere neighborhoods of San Diego County. With a population of 29,000 and home values at a median of around $700K, Scripps Ranch is a desirable area for families. It has top-rated public and private schools and a variety of public parks and open spaces. 

The outlook for real estate here is good, with a 9% increase in home sales over last year.  Houses here retain their value in an area that has very few vacancies. While there are many single family homes, there are also a lot of condos and townhouses for sale, too, at prices well below $500K. If you’re looking for well-maintained and clean houses, Scripps Ranch is the perfect San Diego neighborhood for you!

Commuting

Scripps Ranch is home or close to many large high tech companies in the area. Among them, Intuit, one of the region’s largest employers, is located in nearby Rancho Bernardo. Broadcom is also close by, as is Fitbit.

If you work on the northwest side of the county over in UTC and Sorrento Valley, the commute’s not bad either—less than 10 miles. The commute to downtown San Diego is a bit longer at 18 miles.

Things to Do

There are lots of things to do in Scripps Ranch. Whether you have a growing family or you’re single, activities abound. Hoyt Park hosts Symphony in the Park, a concert series that has most sessions during the summer, but since San Diego is so mild, it also has a couple of concerts in the fall and winter. There’s a farmer’s market on the site of Innovations Elementary every Saturday, with produce from local growers, as well as kid-entertainment like face painters and balloon artists. Vendors also serve a variety of different foods for breakfast and lunch.

The Scripps Ranch Theatre is a popular and well-regarded community theater run by all volunteers, putting on many different shows, including those written by local playwrights. The Erin Hanson Gallery sells California impressionist paintings created by the local artist; there are frequent shows here open to the public.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly the Wild Animal Park, is a few minutes up Interstate 15 in Escondido. At this massive zoo,  you can ride a tram through wild animal habitats, take a behind-the-scenes tour, sleep overnight in the park, take a hot air balloon ride, or zip line.

Scripps Ranch also offers many opportunities for hiking in and around the area. Black Mountain Open Space Park has a variety of trails where you can hike, stroll, or horseback ride. Mountain biking is also a popular pastime in these parts with many options.

Golfing is another big thing around here, with several different courses to choose from. In this area, there’s the executive course, Oaks North; the course at the Rancho Bernardo Inn; and, in nearby Poway, the Maderas Course, the top-rated course in San Diego County.

Restaurants

Despite Scripps Ranch being a suburb rather than a city spot, there are dozens of different restaurants in and around the area. Some of the most popular local spots include Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese grill where you can barbecue your own food at the traditional grill right at your table—including s’mores.

Ballast Point Brewing is a local brewery that’s become popular worldwide in recent years. The kitchen serves Californian cuisine. Cutwater Spirits Tasting Room and Kitchen serves up burgers, sandwiches, and its signature vodkas, whiskeys, and gins made on the premises. You can even get a distillery tour at the same time.

Shopping

Scripps Ranch has a few different shopping centers with grocery stores, including Scripps Ranch Marketplace,  which includes a bank, a Starbucks, and other standbys. By 2020, a project called Watermark will bring in a Whole Foods, a movie theater, more restaurants, and a Marriott hotel.

Only a few minutes further away is Mira Mesa, which has many more shops and a movie theater. Mira Mesa Market includes this, as well as the region’s largest Barnes and Noble bookstore, and many different chain restaurants.

Scripps Ranch is a family-oriented, quiet area that nevertheless has a lot of different activities to keep you occupied. Whether you want a local brew, a nature run, or a relaxing round of golf, Scripps Ranch has it all.

3 Things Sellers will Love This Spring

For many home sellers, there’s no better time to list than the spring, and for good reason: This is peak home-buying season, folks! Buyers turn out in droves once warmer weather finally arrives, bringing people out of hibernation mode, and bidding wars abound as buyers look for ways to one-up their competition.

 

 

All the demand

While home sales decline in the winter (chalk it up to bad weather and holiday obligations), many home buyers blitz the housing market in spring, says Dossman. To meet that pent-up demand, many sellers list their homes at this time of year. It’s no surprise, then, that the lion’s share of real estate agents say March, April, and May are the best months to sell a home. With so many buyers competing for homes, sellers may be in a stronger position to spark bidding wars.

 

Selling in warmer weather

Open houses are often more successful during the spring than in the winter, says Dossman, since the nicer weather makes buyers more willing to emerge from the comfort of their homes to shop for houses. Another boon for home sellers: Daylight saving time gives buyers more time to look at houses, which means your property can potentially be seen by more people, says Dana Hill, vice president of Buyer’s Edge Realty in Bethesda, MD.

That said, “Sellers still need to do some prep work before holding an open house,” Dossman adds. To make sure your home is ready to be seen, do a thorough cleaning, remove such personal belongings as family photos and religious artwork, and trim your lawn for maximum curb appeal. Pro tip: Take a hike for a few hours during the open house. Buyers will feel more comfortable asking questions of your agent if you’re not hovering in the background.

 

The higher valuations

When your home’s value is assessed by a home buyer’s appraiser, the appraiser will look at data for comparable homes (or “comps”) that were recently sold in your neighborhood. The good news: With more homes selling in the on-season, the comparable data tend in your favor, Hill says. In other words, your house is more likely to pass the home appraisal, assuming that you’re selling it at around its fair market value.

 

 

5 Spring Home-Hunting Tips for Buyers

Spring is just around the corner and not only flowers are popping up everywhere, houses are also being prepared for the spring selling season.  Home owners typically sell during spring, and buyers are taking advantage of this huge opportunity to get the best home. There is competition among buyers who want to get the best pick.  In this adrenaline-driven situation, it pays to follow these 5 house hunting tips so you would will not be left behind.

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1. Canvass your dream house, the old-fashioned way. Close your laptop and go to open houses. Online listings are good sources of information, but nothing beats seeing the house with your own two eyes. It’s a great idea to go online, research the house you want and set up alerts so you know when a new house is being put in the market. However, if you really want to find your perfect house, you have to get up from your desk and get on your feet. The spring season means higher demands for houses, therefore buyers should always be in the position to decide quickly.

2. Research market trends. Housing trends are forever changing. What’s ok now might not be good tomorrow and what seems to worthless today could be worth a fortune in the coming years. As a buyer, you have to be informed of what’s happening in the current market as well as the past trends in the housing industry. This would give you a chance to compare and formulate marketing predictions that would help in your decision making. Take note that these trends have a huge impact on house prices so the more you know, the better chances for you to get a good price. Don’t forget to research both local and general markets.

3. Take advantage of low mortgage rates. Act now while mortgage rates are historically low. Having low interest rates allows you affordable payments for a long time. Mortgage rates are very unpredictable so you have to take action the minute it goes down.

4. Build your team. Everything is fast-paced today with the market on hype due to spring season. As a buyer, you have to make sure that everyone you are working with is ready to go so you’ll have a smooth and fast transaction. Your home buying team should include a knowledgeable real estate agent, lender, lawyer and inspector. To save time, make sure you get pre-approved first so you can quickly submit your bid once you find the right home.

5. Prepare deal-breakers. In a bidding war, you will come across other buyers who are also well prepared. In order to win, you have to sweeten your offer to entice the seller to choose you. How do you do that? You can offer a higher down payment or even forego some contingencies (consult with your team first).

However, the most important advice is BE PREPARED. When that perfect house or opportunity comes up, make sure that you are ready to grab it.

Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2019

Few people are predicting that 2019 will be a record-breaking year for home prices.

Relatively speaking, 2019 might seem to be the best time for you to put your house on the market especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next.

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Home price growth slowed in the second half of 2018, with fewer buyers entering the market, at least partially due to rising interest rates issued by the Federal Reserve. In 2019, consumers shouldn’t expect homebuyers to flood the market again and drive prices through the roof, but it’s also unlikely to be a crisis for home sellers.

If you’re weighing your options to sell, considering selling this year or maybe the year after, don’t play the waiting game.
Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2019:
  • New buyers are still entering the market.
  • Interest rates are still on the lower end.
  • You have high equity.
  • Selling now will be better than waiting till 2020.

New Buyers Are Still Entering the Market

With available housing inventory remaining low, even with rising interest rates, buyers who are ready to make a purchase will still shop for homes. The biggest wave of new homebuyers will be among millennials, who are mostly first-time buyers. According to Trulia, more than one-fifth of Americans between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to buy a home within the next 12 months. Already, millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 36 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, which released the number in March 2018.The bottom line: While houses may sit on the market for a few more days on average compared with 2017 when the market was white-hot, buyers remain active and it’s still possible to profit from your home sale.

Interest Rates Are Still Low-ish

Mortgage interest rates have been on a bit of a bumpy road over the last few months. Interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage reached their highest level in over seven years in November 2018, when they hit 4.94 percent, according to Freddie Mac. As of the end of February 2019, however, interest rates are down slightly to 4.35 percent, which is much lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981.
It’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates tend to mirror the Fed’s interest rate activity, mortgage rates are based on the market in that moment, your financial status and the property you’re looking to purchase.
A sudden leap in mortgage interest rates is unlikely in 2019, though rates are predicted to continue to climb.
If you’re looking to get the lowest interest rate possible on your next house, try to make a deal sooner rather than later.

 

You Have High Equity

Homeowners who bought during the recession or shortly after benefited from historically low interest rates and, up until around 2015, lower home prices that were still in recovery mode. If you fall into that category, your home equity has risen with nearly every mortgage payment, each renovation you made to the house and all the other houses on the block that sold for a higher price.
The higher your equity in your home, the more you net from the sale, which can easily go toward the down payment on your next house. The larger your down payment, the better you look to lenders and the lower your interest rate will be, and the less likely you’ll need to increase monthly payments with private mortgage insurance.

Selling in 2019 vs. 2020

If not selling your home in 2019 means putting your house on the market in 2020, the sooner option is the best one. In a survey of 100 U.S. real estate experts and economists by real estate information company Zillow, released in May, almost half expect the next recession to occur in 2020. Another 14 percent believe the recession will hold out until 2021, while 24 percent of panelists expect the recession earlier – sometime in 2019.
Whether you believe the recession is imminent or a long way off, current real estate patterns indicate a sudden upswing in activity or prices is unlikely in the near future. Real estate markets tend to operate on a cycle of their own, the length of which varies by market but can be between 10 and 16 years total and flow from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market with a period of balance in between.

Tips for Finding the Right Seller

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The best seller is one who is highly motivated. A highly motivated seller is more likely to sell at a price that is less than his or her house is actually worth. And it matters that you find out why. Learning the reason why can help you get the price you want and help the seller get what they want: a timely sale.

When given the opportunity to meet with sellers, ask them why they are selling. The reason could be anything, such as a job change to a new location or financial problems. If you can solve their problem, whether it is cash related or time related, do so. For example, if the sellers are highly motivated because they need to move quickly, give them a fast sale – and a lower price. If you can make an offer, even a low one, that gives them cash in a short time, they are more likely to accept.

There are also some sellers that you should avoid. Not every seller is as genuinely motivated as they make themselves to be. Some possible hints:

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  • they stall on having the home appraised or inspected
  • they are unable to clear up liens against their property
  • they do not own 100% of their property
  • they push back the move-out date
  • they do not have a replacement property or back up plan
  • etc.

It is impossible to find the perfect seller. But it is possible to find out which sellers are legit and which ones aren’t.

Understanding Foreclosures

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It is an unfortunate commentary, but when economic activity declines and housing activity decreases, more real property enters the foreclosure process. High interest rates and creative financing arrangements are also contributing factors.

When prices are rapidly accelerating during a real estate “bonanza”, many people go to any lengths available to get into the market through investments in vacation homes, rental housing and trading up to more expensive properties. In some cases, this results in the taking on of high interest rate payments and second, third and even fourth deeds of trust. Many buyers anticipate that interest rates will drop and home prices will continue to escalate. It is possible that neither will occur and borrowers may be faced with large balloon payments becoming due. When payments cannot be met, the foreclosure process looms on the horizon.

In the foreclosure process, one thing should be kept in mind: as a general rule, a lender would rather receive payments than receive a home due to a foreclosure. Lenders are not in the business of selling real estate and will often try to accommodate property owners who are having payment problems. The best plan is to contact the lender before payment problems arise. If monthly payments are too hefty, it may be that a lender will be able to make some alternative payment arrangements until the owner’s financial situation improves.

Let’s say, however, that a property owner has missed payments and has not made any alternate arrangements with the lender. In this case, the lender may decide to begin the foreclosure process. Image result for foreclosure processUnder such circumstances, the lender, whether a bank, savings and loan or private party, will request that the trustee, often a title company, file a notice of default with the county recorder’s office. A copy of the notice is mailed to the property owner.

If the default is due to a balloon payment not being made when due, the lender can require full payment on the entire outstanding loan as the only way to cure the default. If the default is not cured, the lender may direct the trustee to sell the property at a public sale.

In cases of a public sale, a notice of sale must be published in a local newspaper and posted in a public place, usually the courthouse, for three consecutive weeks. Once the notice of sale has been recorded, the property owner has until 5 days prior to the published sale date to bring the loan current. If the owner cures the default by making up the payments, the deed of trust will be reinstated and regular monthly payments will continue as before.

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After this time, it may still be possible for the property owner to work out a postponement on the sale with the lender. However, if no postponement is reached, the property goes on the block. At the sale, buyers must pay the amount of their bid in cash, cashier’s check or other instrument acceptable to the trustee.

A lender may “credit bid” up to the amount of the obligation being foreclosed upon. With the recent attention given to foreclosure, there also has been corresponding interest in buying foreclosed properties. However, caveat emptor: buyer beware. Foreclosed properties are very likely to be burdened with overdue taxes, liens and clouded titles. A buyer should do his homework and ask a local title company for information concerning these outstanding liens and encumbrances. Title insurance may or may not be available following a foreclosure sale and various exceptions may be included in any title insurance policy issued to a buyer of a foreclosed property.

Your local title company will be happy to provide additional information.