Welcome To My Blog!

I hope you enjoy my articles. My goal is to provide you with honest, valuable current information with a little sparkling humor sprinkled in. I'd love your feedback as well as your ideas on topics you'd like me to write about. Enjoy!

What Is The Deal With This Housing Market!?

March 30, 2019

I think we all began 2019 not quite sure what to expect, but predicting  a slow start, prices to be in favor of buyers and a general slow down due to high interest rates. Hmmm, not so fast:


2019 Market Predictions

We ended 2018 with low confidence in the housing market. Sales were down double-digits and price growth remained near the lowest level since early 2012.


Why? There was stock market volatility, fixed rate mortgage rates surpassed 5% in November but then declined slightly as the year closed. Let’s not forget about the government shutdown that caused economic uncertainty and affected buyers with closing delays and lost deals due to delayed government backed loans such as USDA, VA and FHA.


I had read several reports expecting a recession and a housing market downturn by 2020.


What were the predictions for 2019?

California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) California Housing Market Forecast predicted a modest decline of homes sales at 3.3% and that would-be buyers who are concerned that home prices may have peaked will wait on the sidelines until they have more clarity on where the housing market is headed.


Where are we now?

Well, interest rates have been on the decline. In fact, we closed the week with 30-year fixed rate conforming at 3.875%. The Feds behavior and outlook suggests we've seen the highest rates we will see in this current economic cycle back in November in 2018 and we will continue to see rates create affordability opportunities for buyers and homeowners.


According to C.A.R., as of February, unit sales are the highest in 6 months, yet still down 9% YTD and 5.6% YTY.


My Opinion you ask?

From a “boots on the ground” perspective, the greater Sacramento market is fast moving and competitive up to the price range of about $475k. Beyond the $500k price range, I am observing homes sitting on the market longer with more negotiation room.


We are in very interesting political and economic times, which means we could see dramatic changes quickly….. or not.


I’m looking forward to sharing the March results with everyone very soon………….

Getting Your Kid Into That Coveted High School- The Hard Truth.

April 5, 2019

It’s that time of year again, school registration- either confirming your child will indeed return to their “home” school….. or the dreaded time where you need to file that first district transfer form or renew it and hope for the best. This may be a very stressful topic for some folks, especially those with kids that are in 8th grade and are trying to get into that coveted high school with highly desired athletic programs, specialized academic offerings and electives and high college acceptance rates.


Of course, every district has somewhat different policies and requirements. Living in the Del Oro High School (“DO”) zone, I see this story unfold time and time again with parents and kids who have participated in academic and athletic programs that are feeder programs for DO but don’t live in the district. Then uh oh…. All the sudden your kid is in 8th grade and its GO TIME! Because this is such a common theme for my fellow Placer County locals, I’ll focus this particular article on the DO Zone, but you should assume you may run into similar obstacles in whatever district you live in.


So now what the hell do you do!? Where do you start? Surely you can get a transfer or use a friend’s address, right? No big deal, we got this……………..right? Don’t be so sure.


First off, you can call me and I can help you sell your current home and I’ll help you buy the perfect home in the DO Zone. And for those of you who don’t know, there are other areas in the zone than just Loomis proper: All the way to the fringes of unincorporated Auburn, right down to the fringes of rural Lincoln. But enough of that……………


Here is what you need to know.


The simplest method: Be a resident. You can find the Del Oro Attendance Zone here. You can find the residence verification form on the Placer Union High School District (“PUHSD”) website. I am going to be blunt here……for those of you that think you can just use someone else’s address, think again. You have to have 2 forms of verification, such as property tax bill, rental/lease contract, etc. that are current. I also have heard stories of school/district employees showing up at reported addresses to verify residency of those they may be suspicious of. (Total hearsay, but wouldn’t that suck!?)


Transfer. There are two types of transfers. You can find all related information, applications and policies here: PUHSD Parent Resources


Intra-district, where you are in the High School District, but transferring to another high school within that district. For PUHSD, you must prove a hardship in order to be considered for transfer. AND THEN, as part of the process the parent/guardian and student must meet with a district representative to discuss the hardship. Also, there must be room for the student at the desired school.


Inter-district, where you are transferring away from your district and entering another. To start this process for PUHSD, you must first complete a transfer form from your current district of residence and also provide your student's most recent grades, attendance, and discipline notes, if any, upon receipt of the Inter-district application being sent to PUHSD. I highly recommend that you review all the regulations, policies and CIF rules related to this type of transfer. Especially the CIF rules if you are transferring for athletic purposes.


I hope I’ve armed you with valuable info and prepared you to take the necessary next steps. If you are ready to make the move, call me for real estate services. If not, I’m always here if you need an ear to bend or any advice. I have a ton of local resources that can help as well.


Until next time friends…………..

How to Achieve Your Dream Of Home Ownership Using First-Time Buyer Programs- Start Building Your Wealth Today!

April 12, 2019

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS SEGMENT! We are going to discuss how absolutely profound it is to become a homeowner and the simple steps to getting started as a first-time home buyer. We will also hear from my friend and trusted colleague, Jack Arney, with Infinity Financial Mortgage on the California first time home buyer programs available to you.


Folks, get ready for some straight talk…. Becoming a homeowner is one of the BEST and SMARTEST investments you can make, and is a major milestone to building your wealth.


Read that again…….


Real estate provides the highest returns and the greatest value with minimal risk. It’s permanent, profound, its exciting, its powerful and it really is your ticket into financial growth. And guess what, with the right plan, it IS attainable for ANYONE. It is really not as complex as you might think.


One of my favorite real estate quotes: “Real estate is an imperishable asset, ever increasing in value. It is the most solid security that human ingenuity has devised. It is the basis of all security and about the only indestructible security”. ~Russell Sage


I am so passionate about this and really hope you feel my excitement about home-ownership coming through. I could write an entire dissertation on this………..but before I lose your attention, I’ll break it down simply……………


First off, let me just throw some salty wisdom at you:

  • Everything does not need to be perfect in your life. Just get started.
  • This is so important: Your first home does not need to be your dream home, don’t get hung up on finding your dream home at this point- this is your start to building wealth. It’s a starter home that you can live in for a while, build equity then sell, or better yet- hold it and rent it out- and then you upgrade. Just get in the game!
  •  You MUST get your loan in order before you start house hunting. Otherwise you are completely wasting your time and everyone else’s time.

Your very first steps should be:

  1. Identify your goals and make sure they align with reality. Make a list of what matters to you and check the boxes. What area do you want to live in, what type of property do you want to purchase? Does it have good schools (for your family and/or resale value)? Are there Mello Roos or HOA fees that will add to your payment? Can you realistically afford that area?
  2.  Find a trusted Lender to work with:
    1.  Understand your credit score and how credit ratings work
    2. Determine what amount you qualify for, estimated loan fees and down payment requirements
    3. What loan type is best for you and what down payment assistance programs are available
    4. Get pre-qualified, and if you can, try and get full underwriting approval
    5. Find a REALTOR® to work with and get shopping!

So, what first time buyer programs are available in California? Jack Arney provides us with the following information:


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First, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to address this important first step in buying your first home because for nearly all first time homebuyers, financing is the key to that dream and not as difficult as I think many think.


In speaking to most new buyers, one of the things that holds them back is they think they wouldn’t be able to get a loan in today’s environment due to the perception it is hard and they wouldn’t qualify. The reality is, they likely can and just don’t about the programs available to them.


The two biggest sources of their concern, I find, is the challenge of saving enough for a down payment & closing costs and their credit score.


Let’s talk about the most common ways we can address a lack of down payment:


VA (Veteran’s Administration) Loans: Many borrowers don’t know that if they are a veteran, they can get 100% financing using their VA benefits on a VA loan. I love this program because the rates are great, it provides 100% of the home’s value on the purchase, and the purchase can be structured to help cover closing costs if they can get the seller to help cover some or all of the closing costs in the contract. This is a powerful tool and can be leveraged in most situations.


USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Loans: Also offers 100% financing in more rural areas of the United States. Outlying areas of the Sacramento region are often considered rural, so homes in those areas would be available for the USDA program. They offer great rates like VA and can be a great program for first timers. You can check the US Department of Agriculture rural development website to see if a home is in their area or call me and I will let you know.


Gift Funds: One of the other popular ways to purchase a home when you are short on money saved, is to use gift funds from relatives. Lenders will allow 100% of the down payment for a home to be from gift funds. This is a popular way for parents to help their young adult children to get started and to buy their first home. I’ve seen this a lot over the years and it works great for all involved and for me it’s fantastic because I get to work with the buyers and their parents, which makes it a family life event!


There are also programs with down payments as low as 3% and 3.5% that will fit with some borrowers. These low down payment programs are very popular and a great way to buy your first home without the traditional 20% down.


In many cases though, even coming up with a 3% down payment let alone closing costs is challenge for many.


So, what do you do?


Well, there are programs out there available to many first time borrowers that offer down payment assistance. I am a big fan of CAlHFA. With CalHFA (California Housing Finance Agency), you can use their down payment assistance program along with their closing costs assistance along with the 3% down Fannie Mae program, FHA, or VA and in many cases buy a home with almost nothing out of pocket with the possible exception of an appraisal.


What CalHFA does is provide low interest loans to cover your down payment and closings costs and you don’t have to pay it back until you sell the home or refinance it down the road.


It’s a fantastic program and even if you have owned a home in the past, but not in the last 3 years, you can still take advantage of this program. While it won’t fit for everyone, it does fit for many.


I am really excited about all the opportunities that exist out there for new buyers and am really glad to have been able to share it with you so you can help let everyone know their dream of owning a home may not be as daunting as they originally thought.

**********

Thank you, Jack, for the valuable info!


Now that you are armed with information, I want you to take MASSIVE ACTION and get started today!


Call Jack for any questions you have on the lending process and first-time home buyer programs and definitely call me for all your real estate services. Don’t forget, I’m offering a $1,000 credit on all closed escrows before August 31, 2019! You can use this however you choose, including closing costs.


I look forward to hearing from you and helping you make your goals a success! I’m always looking for topics to write about, so I’d love to hear what real estate matters matter to you.


Until next time friends…………

Do you really know what your property taxes are and how they affect your property long term?

April 18, 2019

Folks, I am about to shed some light on something none of us like to think about: PROPERTY TAXES. No one likes to think about it, but my goal here is to get you thinking about it and how it can affect your mortgage payments, property values and operating income on investments. It might scare you a little bit, but I want to educate you and make sure you are set up for success!


I have a client, whom I admire greatly, for her steadfast commitment to checking all the boxes on her list of wants and not settling for something she really does not want or is against paying for. She is a total boss, stubborn as hell and has presented me with many “opportunities” to learn new things.


One of the things she is vehemently against paying too much of is Mello Roos, but she wants a newer home. This has forced me to take a deep dive into every tax bill on any home she is interested in, and calculate the overall long-term effect of the direct charges so she knows what she is actually paying for the home. In other words, for all the Mello Roos/Direct Charges she has to pay over the next X years, is she really paying $500k or $600K for this home?


This has caused me to uncover some shocking truths about our property tax bills, which as a REALTOR, homeowner and investor myself, I even tend to gloss over in the grand scheme of things because, it’s taxes, it really is what it is, right?


BUT what if I told you that we SHOULD be paying attention to the “other charges” on our tax bills, the ones besides just the basic property tax rate? Because guess what, this could change your decision about where to purchase, the resale value of your home, your operating income on your investment and even the way you consider voting for certain measures.


Raise your hand if you actually read your tax bill when it comes…….. Or do you just stick it in the file cabinet and let your lender pay it when it’s due? Like most of us, your answer is probably “yeah, straight to the file cabinet”.


Do you know how to break down what you are paying for? AND did you know that in some areas (and I am going to dig into this later) that your community specific Mello Roos can escalate each year!? Not kidding ya’ll I recently called an agency to understand when a particular charge would end and I found out it ends in 2034 and escalates 2% per year!!! These charges are already between $2,600 and $3,600 annually in this area depending on your home. The tax payments are going to be enormous over the next 15 years, and mortgages will be unaffordable in this particular area. And guess what, the sales prices of these homes are already affected by these taxes. (More later on this.)


Did I fire you up? Good! Here is how to break down your property tax bill (In California):


Every County is a little different in the way they break down charges and the terms that they use to describe charges. Also, some county websites are more user friendly. For example, in Sacramento County, I can obtain general information on line such as total tax bill amounts and recent payment history, but I have to call the county to get more specific info. Placer county, I can look at the actual tax bill on line by entering the parcel number.


In general, here is what it looks like:


County Values, Exemptions and Taxes: This portion typically provides you with your assessed land values and any exemptions you may have, as well as your tax rate. This is your base property tax bill- just based on your assessed land value.


Then you get into the fun stuff and where the real $$ pile up: Voter approved taxes, taxing agency direct charges and special assessments and fees. What does this mean? Hang on to your hats!:


Voter Approved Taxes/Agency Taxes: All those school bonds that got voted in…... It will describe each bond voted in, your basis per your assessed land value, your tax rate, then your total cost per year for each bond.


Direct Charges/Special Assessment Fees: This is for specific city charges, specific county charges, and specific community charges or Mello Roos.


In some of the newer communities in Folsom, Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, these charges can be almost the same amount, and one day may be more than, your basic property tax.


There is a phone number next to each of these charges. You can call this number and speak with a representative to understand how long each of these charges will last and at what rate they escalate annually.


Now, I am going to talk about one particular Mello Roos scenario that is near and dear to my heart and really burns my buns because I don’t think people are actually aware that this charge will KEEP GOING UP and their property values will decline while the surrounding areas will not: Lincoln Crossing.


This niche area in Lincoln, CA has beautiful homes and an amazing community of people that make it such an amazing place to raise a family. In its hay day prior to 2009, Lincoln Crossing had enormous plans for parks and schools and shopping and dining, etc.- then the housing and lending market crash of 2009 happened. Everything stopped! However, the Mello Roos that were all part of those grand plans were still being charged to homeowners, even while things were on hold. This area was one of the hardest hit by foreclosures and short sales. As the economy, housing market and lending institutions restabalized, Lincoln Crossing slowly but surely rebounded and is now back in full swing with parks being built, businesses moving in and long-awaited schools breaking ground.


Based on my personal research, housing prices in the greater Sacramento area are right back to where they were just pre-crash. Are salaries in the area commiserate with these housing prices? I don’t think they have completely stayed parallel……. Unfortunately, the Mello Roo costs in Lincoln Crossing have also continued to climb over time, at a rate of 2% per year, adding to the overall mortgage costs to homes in that area. I see homes priced lower in Lincoln Crossing than the surrounding Lincoln and Rocklin neighborhoods because of the Mello Roos. Soon, the tax charges on these homes will double the amount of mortgage people are paying for these homes.


Get this, the City of Lincoln Crossing direct charge (that’s the name of the charge on the tax bill) will run until 2034 and will escalate 2% per year until then!! These folks know there are Mello Roos, but do they actually add this up and understand just how much this will cost them over time? I didn’t when we lived there. And there are other direct charges, I’m talking about JUST the LC Mello Roos here.


I did some reviews of tax bills in Lincoln Crossing. The average annual tax bill is anywhere from $7,000 up to over $10,000 +. Let me break down the $10,000 bill for you:


  • Total Annual Taxes in 2018: $10,270.26!!
  • Base Property Tax: $5,336.00
  • Agency and Direct Charges: $4,934.26!! Of that, City of Lincoln Crossing alone (one year mind you) is $3,362.36


By 2034, their Lincoln Crossing Mello Roos alone will be $4,523.46 per year. Folks, that Mello Roos bill ALONE for the next 15 years totals $59,285.64. Take a minute to read that again…… That should scare the hell out of you.


I hope you learned something new and valuable today. Please make sure your agent and lender have your best interest in mind and that you are checking those tax charges so you know how it affects you and your family long term. I’m always here to help you find the info and run calculations.


Until next time friends…….