Dec 28, 2009

Land Banking: Time to re-Start ??

Happy Holidays Neighbors!

May 2010 bring you health and prosperity.

Tomorrow, Jenny and I are going to look at vacant land in a couple of the resort areas in California's Plumas County. We've been watching that area for 11 years now. Jenny's family has owned property there for at least 25 years.

That market has bottomed, and it's time to consider "land banking" an investment lot or two for the near future. Property in some of these locations are selling at less than 20% of market value from a few years ago. If you can sit and fund the HOA dues, this should create healthy returns four or five years out.

This isn't nearly as risky as the "Winchester" development outside of Auburn, California. We've done background checks on their financials and market plans.

Call if you want to discuss.

Again, happy holidays from everyone at Neighborly!

- Jim

Dec 17, 2009

Movies! Watch these Videos on Loans

Hello Neighbors,

The Neighborly Financial team is at it again.

Home financing is a tough process, especially in this market. The NF team recently created a few new YouTube movies to help educate and inform.

Take a look when you get a moment.

How To Get the Best Interest Rates:

Pre-Qualify for a Loan:

Choosing the Right Lender:

Our video production staff is top notch, but our budget isn't - so please be kind !!

Many thanks, and enjoy the videos. Please do share with friends and family.

Should you need more information (or want to talk to our in-house movie star), John can be reached at 916.799.4336

- Jim

Dec 16, 2009

New Consumer Help Web Site from the National Association of Realtors

Hello Neighbors,

This just out from NAR (the National Association of Realtors). The new web site is still in beta (test) mode, but try it if you'd like and share your feedback. We've linked it to the blog via the section to the right called "TOOLS".

Here's the site:

Here's its purpose:

To bring ideas and content to homeowners - and future homeowners - for improvement projects, clean living, energy savings ideas, tax savings, refinance concerns, and a variety of different topics.

NAR is trying to make home ownership an better understood process, and provide solutions to those who need a hand in projects that involve your own real estate.

My thoughts:

I like the content around tax breaks and energy / green alternatives. The "manage a project" engine is interesting, but time will tell if you find it useful (let me know!).


- Jim

Dec 15, 2009

Home Sales Up Again - 2010 Looks Promising

Hello Neighbors,

GOOD news from our friends at NAR (the National Association of Realtors). They posted this content recently, and we thank them for their insight.

"Pending" ("used" homes, not new construction) home sales have been up for 9 months in a row now. 2009 is almost done, and I think we will look back on it as the start of the recovery - or at least the end of the slide.

Impacts to you?

Buyers? 2010 could be competitive.

Sellers? 2010 will see stability in your home values, and increases in value for certain price ranges / market segments (especially first time buyer homes).

Here is the NAR report:

Nine Consecutive Gains for Pending Home Sales

Washington, December 01, 2009

Pending home sales have risen for nine months in a row, a first for the series of the index since its inception in 2001, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in October, increased 3.7 percent to 114.1 from 110.0 in September, and is 31.8 percent above October 2008 when it was 86.6. The rise from a year ago is the biggest annual increase ever recorded for the index, which is at the highest level since March 2006 when it was 115.2.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales are experiencing a pendulum swing. "Keep in mind that housing had been underperforming over most of the past year. Based on the demographics of our growing population, existing-home sales should be in the range of 5.5 million to 6.0 million annually, but we were well below the 5-million mark before the home buyer tax credit stimulus," he said. "This means the tax credit is helping unleash a pent-up demand from a large pool of financially qualified renters, much more than borrowing sales from the future.

The PHSI in the Northeast surged 19.9 percent to 100.2 in October and is 44.2 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 11.6 percent to 109.6 and is 36.6 percent higher than October 2008. Pending home sales in the South increased 5.4 percent to an index of 115.4, which is 31.6 percent above a year ago. In the West the index fell 11.2 percent to 127.7 but is 21.9 percent above October 2008.

Yun cautioned that home sales could dip in the months ahead. "The expanded tax credit has only been available for the past three weeks, but the time between when buyers start looking at homes until they close on a sale can take anywhere from three to five months. Given the lag time, we could see a temporary decline in closed existing-home sales from December until early spring when we get another surge, but the weak job market remains a major concern and could slow the recovery process.

"Still, as inventories continue to decline and balance is gradually restored between buyers and sellers, we should reach self-sustaining housing conditions and firming home prices in most areas around the middle of 2010. That would mean broad wealth stabilization for the vast number of middle-class families," Yun said.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity from 2001 through 2004 parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months. There is a closer relationship between annual index changes (from the same month a year earlier) and year-ago changes in sales performance than with month-to-month comparisons.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales.

Existing-home sales for November will be reported December 22 and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be on January 5; release times are 10 a.m. EST.

Many thanks,

- Jim

Thinking of Selling in 2010? Use a Certified Negotiation Expert !!

Hello Neighbors,

2010 feels good. OK, it's not here yet, but it sure feels like it has promise.

If you need to sell next year, do your best to protect your family and your financial interests - higher a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE).

The CNE is the designation recognized by the National Association of Realtors as the premier training mechanism for negotiation strategy.

Need a compelling reason to call? How is this statistic: To date, only 7,000 Realtors and Brokers across the United States (of the 1,300,000 Realtors nationwide) are CNE trained. That’s less than 1% of the Realtors out there.

Do you want to work with the best 1% in the business, or the other 99% who treat your sale – your most important financial step in life – as simply another transaction?

Make sure you use a CNE! To learn more about the CNE credentials, click here:

I've had over 7 years of formal business school (BS and MBA degrees). NONE of those programs covered negotiation as well as this certification program.

When the time comes to sell, or if you know someone who is thinking along these lines, make sure to consider hiring a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE).

Let's make 2010 great,

- Jim

Planning to Purchase in 2010? Try to Act before April 30th - TAX Credits !!

Hello Neighbors,

If you are planning to buy a home (your first, or a "trade up"), you may want to start the process before April of 2010.

Tax Credit for First-Time Homebuyers

FTHBs (that is, people who have not owned a home within the last three years) may be eligible for the tax credit. The credit for FTHBs is 10% of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $8,000.

Single taxpayers and married couples filing a joint return may qualify for the full tax credit amount.

Tax Credit for Current Homeowners

The tax credit program now gives those who already own a residence some additional reasons to move to a new home. This incentive comes in the form of a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified purchasers who have owned and occupied a primary residence for a period of five consecutive years during the last eight years.

Single taxpayers and married couples filing a joint return may qualify for the full tax credit amount.

What are the New Deadlines?

In order to qualify for the credit, all contracts need to be in effect no later than April 30, 2010 and close no later than June 30, 2010. Those in the military do have some special extensions on the timelines available.

What's So Important About a "Tax Credit"?

The benefit of a tax credit is that it's a dollar-for-dollar benefit, rather than a "tax deduction", or reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if a first-time homebuyer who qualified for the entire benefit were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for a tax credit of $8,000, she would owe nothing.

Better still, the tax credit is refundable, which means the homebuyer can receive a check for the credit if he or she has little or no income tax liability. For example, if a first-time homebuyer is eligible for a tax credit of $8,000 but is liable for $4,000 in income tax, she can still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!

Home financing is never an easy thing to wrap your head around. It seems like there is an ocean of financing options available for buyers these days, and it's incredibly hard to figure out which option is right for you. Not every financing option works for all people, it's important to have a trusted and experienced real estate team leading you through the home buying process. There is no doubt in our mind we can guide you through your home financing and provide you with the best options.

We would love the chance to talk about what it takes to buy a home in today's marketplace and what sort of financial options are available to you. Neighborly Realty's partner "Neighborly Financial" has access to loan products from dozens of lenders. When the two companies are able to combine services for the same client, the savings to that client are in the THOUSANDS of dollars.

Please call or email with any questions or concerns or just to talk about your real estate options. We look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Holidays,