Jun 29, 2009

How Quick Can We Sell? How About 3 Offers in 10 Hours?

Hello Neighbors,


You use this site to keep up on the latest market activities. No spin, just good solid data.

Here is an example of how insane the markets are right now, from one of our own listings (in Marysville, CA).

We listed a house in Marysville for $79,800 at 11:00pm on Saturday the 20th. Within 10 hours, we had 3 written offers. We had more verbally promised offers, but those don't count (unless we see it in writing, it doesn’t exist).

Amazing market conditions if you are selling - and IF you are at the right price point.

Before going into escrow (roughly 7 days after listing) we had 13 very solid offers. Some were all cash. Most were above list price. 13 written offers.


Competition in the entry-level housing markets is incredible. Foreclosures continue to dry up. Short Sales continue to take forever - although some lenders are getting better.

Now What?

If you are a family and need to sell - we can get it done for you, and quickly AS LONG AS YOU PRICE ACCORDINGLY and you are in the "entry-level" price points. If you are at the very top of the high end market segments... we may not be able to sell. Those purchase dollars are still missing in action. Sorry Jan and Dave!

Wild times indeed.

- Jim




Jun 15, 2009

Join Us in Insider Pages!

Hello Neighbors,

If you need a hand, this site will show you a map of our main office.

Read reviews of Neighborly Realty on Insider Pages!

Read reviews of Neighborly Financial on Insider Pages!


- Jim





New Foreclosure Laws Take Effect in California Today

Hello Neighbors,

The real estate market continues to shift, with the help of legislation.

This just in from our friends at the Sac Bee (thank you Sacramento Bee)!

Foreclosure rates are going to continue to be low. GREAT for the homeowner! TOUGH for the first time Buyer who is still trying to get their hands on a bank owned property.

We have seen this in action on a daily basis. Here is today's example: I called on a listing today for a client on an Orangevale house that is on a probate sale. List price is $159,000. Surprisingly, the listing agent called me back! In MLS it says “no showings until June 16th” I called to get the OK to show tomorrow, and she told me she had 4 offers already – all above list price, sight unseen. WOW. But expected. That's the way the market is running right for first time Buyers. The competition is tough. It requires "clean offers" and QUICK action if you want to be a part.

Here's the article from the Sac Bee:

By Jim Wasserman
Published: Saturday, Jun. 13, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 6B

After a severe economic storm of more than 365,000 California foreclosures since early 2007, the state's long-awaited 90-day foreclosure moratorium law goes into effect Monday.

But it doesn't mean foreclosures will stop.

Supporters acknowledge the state is likely to see thousands more foreclosures before the crisis subsides. The law, indeed, goes into effect as lenders are ramping up repossessions following expiration of earlier moratoriums, according to housing trackers.

But the California Foreclosure Prevention Act, passed as Assembly Bill X2 7 by lawmakers in February and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, raises a new hurdle in the foreclosure process.

Backers say it will make lenders try harder to keep borrowers in homes. Starting Monday, loan servicers must prove to the state they have comprehensive loan modification programs in place – or be denied rights to foreclose on their own schedules.

"You have voluntary programs that they don't have to do," said Assemblyman Ted Lieu, a Torrance Democrat who was the author of the bill. "This creates an enforcement mechanism to force them to do it. The hammer is the 90-day foreclosure moratorium, which they all hate."

The law will largely press lenders to follow the Obama administration's Making Home Affordable Program that began in March. That encourages lenders to cut interest rates or rewrite loans to 40-year terms to get payments below 38 percent of a borrower's monthly income. Other options include reducing principal and tacking missed payments to the back of the loan. Under the law, California officials also can encourage short sales or deeds in lieu – options in which banks accept less than owed – for borrowers who want to leave or don't qualify for modifications.
"The vast majority of large servicers should have no trouble complying. They have already complied with similar requirements at the federal level," said Dustin Hobbs, spokesman for the California Mortgage Bankers Association.

As the nation's first statewide moratorium law of its kind, according to Lieu, hopes are it will "slow down the rate of foreclosures."

"For some people there's not much that can be done," said the lawmaker. "But there are a fair number of people on the bubble … if they can get some assistance, they can stay in their home."

California Department of Corporations spokesman Mark Leyes said the state can't force or guarantee loan modifications. But the law is rooted in another state power that gives it leverage with lenders.

"What we do have control over is the legal process by which foreclosure is executed in this state," he said. Hence, adding 90 days to the process for those that don't comply.

Lieu said, "Not all banks are doing it at the same level. Some have good (modification efforts), some have bad ones and some have none."

Lenders have received widespread criticism for being overwhelmed by the foreclosure crisis and slow to rewrite loans despite receiving billions of dollars in federal assistance. Borrowers and nonprofit loan counseling agencies alike have complained of frustrating delays and snafus in the process.

On the front lines of the crisis it's easy to be wary about yet another new law or program.

"We're hopeful it will help, but in reality, time after time these things come out and the results are the same," said Pam Canada, executive director of the nonprofit counseling firm NeighborWorks Homeownership Center of Sacramento.

The new law represents a third evolution of California's response to a housing crisis that has severely damaged the economy and devastated local and state government budgets. In late 2007, Schwarzenegger entered into a voluntary agreement with subprime lenders to modify more loans.

Last summer, he signed Senate Bill 1137, which temporarily slowed banks' foreclosure machinery, making them work harder to contact borrowers and offer alternatives.
But foreclosures, while down in recent months, have continued in hard-hit California, especially in the capital region.

The region suffered almost 4,000 new foreclosures in January, February and March, and another 12,000 households are well behind on payments, according to Bay Area tracker ForeclosureRadar.

In summary, here's what will happen starting Monday:

• Lenders will submit applications to the state outlining their loan modification programs. That gives them a 30-day exemption from a moratorium.

• If the state OKs a lender's program, the firm is permanently exempt from the 90-day delay on foreclosures.

• If the state rejects the program as inadequate, a lender has 30 days to upgrade it and be reconsidered.

Leyes said consumers will be able to see a list of lenders that comply with the state's requirements by mid-July.

Thanks Neighbors (and Sac Bee),

- Jim





Scratch Location, Location, Location - it's now PRICE, PRICE, PRICE

Hello Neighbors,

Interesting times.

Houses below the $250,000 price point are absolutely "flying off the shelves".

Property above the $600,000 price point? As "stale" as can be. Those properties are moving at a very, very slow pace. Often times sitting on the market for over a full year.


We see it every day – offering on homes below the $250,000 price point for several of our families – you MUST take immediate action to compete. We are now offering on homes – sight unseen – within a day or two of the home hitting the market. …and our completion? Doing EXACTLY the same thing. A properly priced home will have a dozen offers on it during the first few days on the market. It’s challenging, but it can be done. Of course, if your offer is complicated – and it is competing against “clean” offers – than you will lose. Do everything you can to structure a clean offer and you will have a shot at getting in a home now.

To validate what we are seeing, we looked to the NAR (National Association of Realtors) economics team for some insight. Take a look (and thank you NAR for the data!)

Record low mortgage interest rates boosted pending home sales for the third consecutive month, with some benefit now from the first-time buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,1 a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in April, rose 6.7 percent to 90.3 from a reading of 84.6 in March, and is 3.2 percent above April 2008 when it was 87.5.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said buyers are responding to very favorable market conditions. “Housing affordability conditions have been at historic highs, but now the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit is beginning to impact the market,” he said. “Since first-time buyers must finalize their purchase by November 30 to get the credit, we expect greater activity in the months ahead, and that should spark more sales by repeat buyers.”

The Pending Home Sales Index in the Northeast shot up 32.6 percent to 78.9 in April and is 0.8 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 9.8 percent to 90.4 and is 11.1 percent above April 2008. The index in the South slipped 0.2 percent to 93.0 in April but is 3.5 percent higher than a year ago. In the West the index rose 1.8 percent to 94.8 but is 2.9 percent below April 2008.

NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said there are numerous buyer assistance programs around the country. “Some states are offering bridge loans that allow first-time buyers to use the tax credit for downpayment and closing costs, but there are many other local government and nonprofit programs available to buyers, depending on location,” he said.

“Just last week, HUD announced that qualifying buyers can use the tax credit for closing costs on FHA loans, to buy down the interest rate or make a larger downpayment. Buyers who are wondering about their options should contact a Realtor®, who can advise consumers on the housing assistance programs and resources available in a given area.”

NAR’s Housing Affordability Index2 is in record territory. The affordability index rose to 174.8 in April from an upwardly revised 171.9 in March, and was the second highest monthly reading on record after peaking at 176.9 in January of this year. The HAI is a broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, which examines the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income; tracking began in 1970.

A median-income family, earning $60,900, could afford a home costing $296,800 in April with a 20 percent downpayment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest. Affordability conditions for first-time buyers with the same income and small downpayments are roughly 80 percent of that amount. The affordable price was well above the median existing single-family home price in April, which was $169,800.

Yun cautions that the reporting sample for pending home sales is smaller than that of existing-home sales, so it is subject to greater variability. “In addition, the relationship between contracts on pending home sales and closings on existing-home sales is taking longer than in the past for several reasons,” he said. “Mortgage processing time has increased, it is taking many months to close on those homes requiring short sales with lender approval, and some sales are falling through at the last moment.”

The total number of existing-home sales is expected to improve but with dramatic local market variation in the timing of recovery. “The market has already bottomed in some areas, but this is an unusual housing cycle with some areas improving rapidly while others languish or decline,” Yun said.


First time buyers are ruling the marketplace.

Some don’t even care where the home is – they just want to get into something soon before interest rates change too much, or the market takes off again.

Location, Location, Location? While still very important – it seems that “PRICE, PRICE, PRICE” is absolutely ruling the day.

- Jim





Jun 12, 2009

Are Low Mortgage Rates Gone for Good ??

Hello Neighbors,

This article from John Graham, the Neighborly Financial manager:

In light of the recent run-up in mortgage rates, one has to ask if the low rates are gone for good. After all it was hard to imagine rates being at 4.75% for a 30 year fixed loan. At this time, I think these rates are gone. Why? Well, everyone is now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the recession. Stocks are up over 25% from the March '09 lows, with confidence growing. People are selling bonds with relatively low yields - moving to higher yielding stocks. As people sell bonds, the interest rates move up.

Add to this all the federal spending that will be pushed into the economy in the coming months. Money that will generally not hit the economy till it's too late. Think of it as giving stimulants to a hyperactive person - not a good outcome....

This is the outcome everyone is worrying about now. How do we keep the economy from getting out of control on the other side - with runaway inflation the primary fear. The main weapon in controlling a runaway economy is interest rates on various financial instruments.

As people sell bonds, and the fed is deciding how high and how fast to raise rates, mortgage rates are the first to suffer. After all the fed had a program to buy mortgage backed securities, to artificially drive these down. Now in light of the changing economic times, they are backing away from this program in the first step to let rates rise.

So.... what does this mean to the average borrower? Get ready for higher rates. If you have not refinanced, and if it makes sense, do it now! Remember, any rate below 6% is still a good rate.

see us at http://www.neighborlyfinancial.com/

- Jim




Jun 11, 2009

Activerain - GREAT Insight for all Real Estate & Loan Needs

Hello Neighbors,

Are you familiar with "Activerain"?

It's a professional networking tool for Real Estate professionals.

It is also A GREAT source of information for the consumer - real estate or financing.

If you would like to check it out, give it a shot:

Jim Harris (Neighborly Realty & Neighborly Financial): Real Estate Agent in Rocklin, CA

It's very much like a "LinkedIn" (networking tool for all professional disciplines). A bit like "Facebook" (networking tool for connecting with friends and family).

Good information, updates on market conditions, insight on financing and selling, and access to several hundred thousand real estate professionals around the world.


- Jim




Jun 10, 2009

Neighborly is Twitter-ing (Tweeting) !

Hello Neighbors,

Join us in Twitter now too!

You've been hearing the buzz for months now. We've taken the leap.

Here you go: https://twitter.com/NeighborlyJim


Another way to keep our neighbors informed.

Enjoy, and happy Twitting, Tweetering, Tweeting,

- Jim




Jun 6, 2009

Newest Neighborly Team Member

Hello Neighbors,

It is with great excitement that we announce the newest addition to the Neighborly Realty team roster: Holden Nicole Harris. Born June 4th, 2009. 9 pounds 6 ounces. 21.25 inches long. 10 fingers, 10 toes. Outstanding.

- Jim



Jun 3, 2009

Loan Modifications - Are They Right for Your Family?

Hello Neighbors,

Is a Loan Modification the right answer for your family?

We've made a new web site available at www.LoanMod.CashOutoftheBayArea.com to help you answer that question.

If you would like, you can also call our toll free 24x7 information line at 1-800-960-0860 and enter extension 1611 and listen to a recorded message.

Many thanks, and let us know how we can help.

- Jim



Jun 2, 2009

Foreclosure Homes - We Can Help!

Hello Neighbors,

Find us now on the Foreclosure.com Broker Network!

Just another step in getting you connected with the latest opportunities in our markets!

Many thanks!

- Jim



Jun 1, 2009

Professional US Wide Real Estate "HEAD HUNTING" Services!

Hello Neighbors,

EXCITING NEWS. We’ve formalized one of our most important activities.

For the last couple of years, we’ve been helping home sellers in different US states find good Listing Agents for their homes as they prepare to sell and move to our area.

Conversely, we’ve been helping our clients who sell a home here – when they need to find a good Buyer’s Agent in their new city and state. We’ve helped Buyers and Sellers all over the United States… New York, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, …….really, all over the United States!


We’ve become your favorite real estate HEAD HUNTERs!

By getting on the phone and interviewing agents all over the US – and finding the best real estate professional to help our clients – no matter where they are moving to or from!

We spend hours on the phone screening these people, to make sure our clients get the best service available. It is an enjoyable process, and one that we feel really good doing.

So Now What?

We’ve opened that service up to everyone! Yep, the policies and procedures are in place to do this on a greater scale.

We’ve created a new website for your use (two actually) to see how these programs and services work. Take a look at:

* www.CashOutoftheBayArea.com and

* www.CashOutofCalifornia.com

Behind each web site?

Information, tools, forms…. And most importantly, recorded audio script - available 24 x 7 through our new toll free 1-800-960-0860 service.

Call today and listen to these helpful topics:

Extension Number & Topic

0011 Who Are We?
1001 How Does this Head Hunting Service Work?
1101 What Does it Cost You?
1201 What Makes a Good Listing Agent?
1301 What is a Buyer’s Agent?
1401 How do we Screen Listing Agents for You?
1501 How Will we Find You a Good Buyer’s Agent?
1601 Will a Loan Modification Work For You?
1701 Where Can We Help You?
1801 Why Should You Use This Service?
1901 Can You Help Me with a Purchase Loan?
1911 Can You Help Me with a Refinance Loan?
1921 Can You Help Me with an Investment Loan?
2001 Really, You Charge No Fees?

We couldn’t be happier to have rolled this program out for you. The feedback on our Head Hunting efforts has always been positive. Now we bring it to you!

Enjoy, and Happy Head Hunting (with us)!

- Jim