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The Student Loan Debt Dilemma

How is the market in the Glendale area, Burbank, Pasadena, Altadena, Tujunga, Sunland, Toluca Lake, areas of Los Angeles, California 90265? MARKET UPDATES, 90-day Market Update & statistics for homes & condominiums for sale & sold in Malibu. Median Price, Inventory, Average Days On Market, Median Price Per Square Foot, Market Action Index. 91107, 91001, 91201

Now really…How is the market?
We get asked all the time, “How’s the market?”, and our response is, “Well, it depends. Are you looking to buy, sell, rent, or invest?”
Quite frankly, it is an awesome market if you are a Buyer – interest rates are truly at an all time low, and prices are low as well.
And it is an awesome market if you are a Seller – the good homes get scooped up fast and for top dollar.
And it is an awesome market if you are an investor – and are looking to either fix up and flip a property or hold it and place a renter in the home.
This past week we have helped clients sell their homes, and we have helped clients purchase new homes! The entire team has had their schedules “jam packed” with showings, inspections, and presentations. The phones have been ringing nonstop, and our emails are flooded.
So, how’s the market?
The market is fabulous. Don’t miss the opportunity this market is presenting to us all!
Visit our website at www.AramKarsian.com

Median Price,
Inventory,
Average Days On Market,
Median Price Per Square Foot,
Market Action Index

For a detailed 11 page report on specific information on How’s The Market in your specific area or for a FREE market analysis for your property, Please contact Aram Karsian 818.612.6555

www.aramkarsian.com

www.h2hrealtygroup.com

Are looking to buy a luxury estate, home, condominium or investment property?

Because the real estate industry is becoming more sophisticated and challenging every day, you need a professional that understands the industry and is positioned to stay ahead of the game.

We go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals. That’s why we constantly research the market and property values so your home is priced effectively from day one. We also make sure the public knows your home is for sale by using innovative advertising and marketing techniques to attract potential buyers.

House2Home Realty Group at Hall & Chambers Real Estate

Call or email us today!

8 Strategies for Investing in Real Estate

The rules of real estate investing

Investing in real estate, either directly or through funds or real estate investment trusts – or all of the above – can add much-needed diversification to your investment portfolio. However, real estate is a unique investment, so you can’t apply the same rules as you do to investing in stocks or bonds. Here, U.S. News contributors and Smarter Investor bloggers share their best advice for becoming a successful real estate investor.

Have an exit strategy.

Real estate strategies include buying rental properties and becoming a landlord as well as flipping properties, then hopefully earning a substantial profit upon their sale, writes Joel Cone, a business and real estate writer. “Like any investment, real estate investing requires an action plan,” he writes. Some real estate investors have found success with three-year lease options, for example. Think carefully about the characteristics unique to each investment that will make your strategy successful.

Join a local investment club, but don’t attend ‘boot camps.’

Real estate investors often become successful with guidance from other investors. That’s one reason it can be smart for novices to get involved in investment clubs. But be careful not to waste money on unnecessary boot camps or training courses, Cone writes. Browse a local bookstore for information on real estate investing, and avoid getting sucked into expensive seminars and camps.

Figure out what type of real estate investing interests you.

If investing directly in real estate, investors should “choose a specific target market and study it intensely,” Cone writes. “Next, set a goal, form a business plan and establish systems to achieve the desired goal. Lastly, investors should take small, common-sense steps daily toward achieving that goal, such as talking with sellers, owners and local real estate professionals.”

Insulate your portfolio against potential losses.

Investors should set money aside to act as a buffer in case the unexpected occurs. Once an investor has scaled out to a large portfolio of properties, it’s important to have enough cash on hand to rehabilitate 10 to 15 percent of those properties every year. “Be prepared. Plan for the best, but prepare for the worst,” Cone writes. “Insurance is true asset protection. Investors should insure themselves as if the world is coming to destroy them, and insurance is their only defense.”

Investing directly is very different from investing in a REIT.

If you are debating between investing in real estate directly or buying into a REIT or real estate fund, consider the tax consequences. “For many investors, tax deductions and capital gains taxes are integral to their expected return on real estate investments. Those factors are different from those you’d face investing in a real estate ETF,” writes Joanne Cleaver, a U.S. News contributor.

However, funds are a lower-maintenance approach.

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds can offer a lower-cost way to invest in real estate, writes Barbara Friedberg, portfolio manager and consultant. She points to Vanguard REIT Index ETF as an example of an inexpensive strategy for investing in real estate. “In one fund, the investor accesses a range of property types, including commercial malls, hotels and apartments … If you’re looking for income, REITs are required by law to pay out all earnings,” Friedberg writes.

Your house doesn’t really count.

It’s tempting to look at your own home as an investment. However, property taxes, homeowners association fees, maintenance, insurance and other costs offset appreciation in property values, Cleaver writes. You won’t earn income from your home as you would from other investments. “A real estate investment produces income or appreciates in value after all costs are calculated. Not so with your house,” Cleaver writes.

Look at where millennials are moving.

Millennials are the future of the real estate market, so it may be smart to track where they’re moving and where they’re buying homes. Many members of this generation are renting now, but that doesn’t mean their habits won’t change as they get older. Real estate experts say investors can make money by renting to millennials and then selling to them as they decide to become homeowners, Cone writes. Austin, Texas, Nashville, New Orleans and Denver are just a few of the cities where Generation Y is buying homes.

Selling Strategy

When selling your home, there are no guarantees that a buyer will simply walk through the front door. There are steps that you need to take so that your property receives maximum exposure to attract a ready, willing and able buyer.
The appearance of your home, a buyer’s first impression, and other considerations can also affect the sale of your home. Have you considered that home prices in your neighborhood and the value of your property are also factors used for pricing your home? In many cases you may have to bring your home to the buyer. Effective marketing will help ensure that your home is sold in a timely manner at the best price.

Below are some articles that you might find useful in the home selling process. Please feel free to click on one the links to read more.

Risks of Remodeling Without a Permit

Most cities require that homeowners obtain a building permit before making modifications to their residence. Which modifications require a permit vary by city. Also, some cities are more vigilant than others in enforcing permit laws.

In order for the homeowner to receive a permit, the homeowner or his/her designee are required to file plans and pay fees to the city. In addition, the improvements are given a value. If they increase the value of the property, this may result in an increase in property taxes. Inspections are often required, and this means having to schedule and then wait for inspectors to approve the work to be done. This process can be time consuming and inconvenient in the short run. It is for this reason that some homeowners skip the permit process.

If a permit is needed and you fail to get one, the city may discover this at some time in the future and getting a permit retroactively can frequently be significantly more expensive and much more problematic than having obtained the permit before work commenced. If work is not done in accordance with city procedures or if the inspector is unable to determine if the work has been done properly, the homeowner could be required to open walls, tear up floors, so that the inspection may take place. In addition, by law, work not permitted where a permit was required must be disclosed to any prospective purchaser. This may cause the owner to discount their sale price or perform costly or time-consuming repairs before title can be transferred.

For prospective buyers of a property, save yourself the future hassle and loss of money by researching whether all work on the premises has been done according to code and with the proper permits. You may obtain these permits by going directly to Building & Safety in the municipality in which the property is located or by hiring a “permit puller” who will research the permits for you.

What is a CMA and Why Do You Need One?

CMA is real estate shorthand for “Comparative Market Analysis”. A CMA is a report prepared by a real estate agent providing data comparing your property to similar properties in the marketplace.

The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is to inspect your property. Generally, this inspection won’t be overly detailed (she or he is not going to crawl under the house to examine the foundation), nor does the house need to be totally cleaned up and ready for an open house. It should be in such a condition that the agent will be able to make an accurate assessment of its condition and worth. If you plan to make changes before selling, inform the agent at this time.

The next step is for the agent to obtain data on comparable properties. This data is usually available through MLS (Multiple Listing Service), but a qualified agent will also know of properties that are on the market or have sold without being part of the MLS. This will give the agent an idea how much your property is worth in the current market. Please note that the CMA is not an appraisal. An appraisal must be performed by a licensed appraiser.

The CMA process takes place before your home is listed for sale. This is a good assessment of what your house could potentially sell for.

CMAs are not only for prospective sellers. Buyers should consider requesting a CMA for properties they are seriously looking at to determine whether the asking price is a true reflection of the current market. Owners who are upgrading or remodeling can benefit from a CMA when it’s used to see if the intended changes will “over-improve” their property compared to others in the neighborhood.

The Home Sale: Securing the Deal

Ready to close the deal? Maybe not.

Sometimes unforeseeable issues arise just prior to closing the sale. Hopefully, with negotiation, most of these have a workable solution. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. But don’t panic. Another buyer might still be found who is willing to accept the house as is.

Imagine that your prospective buyers are a couple with young children. They envision your unused attic as the perfect playroom for the kids but, before closing the deal, they request an inspection to see if it’s safe and also if they will be able to install a skylight to provide natural light to the new space.

This inspection reveals that under the shingles that are in good condition is a roof that will only last another year or two. The prospective buyers immediately balk, not wanting to incur the time and cost of replacing the roof. Their plans were to move in and only have to spend time and money renovating the attic. The additional cost of the new roof, they say, is just too much.

At this point, you sit down with the prospective buyers and calmly discuss the situation and how it can be solved to the benefit of all. First, you agree to get another professional opinion on what really needs to be done. Inspectors are only human, and are not infallible. Once the extent of the damage is agreed upon, you can jointly decide what to do about it. While the buyers hadn’t planned on that expense, you show them that instead of a limited roof life that they would get with most existing homes, they’ll have a new worry-free roof that won’t cost them in repairs for the next decade or so. Since the roof wasn’t in as good shape as you had thought, you agree to lower the purchase price to help offset the cost of the new roof.

By negotiating calmly and looking at all possibilities, what could have been a “deal breaker” can be turned into a win-win situation for both the buying and selling parties. In other cases, the most workable agreement for both parties might be for the deal to be called off. The seller can always find another buyer and the buyer can always find another home.

To protect yourself against last minute “buyer’s remorse,” make sure the purchase contract anticipates and closes as many loopholes as possible after all known defects have been fully disclosed.

copyright © Agent Image 2013

Advice For First Time Buyers

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You’ll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you’re interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
    1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
    2. A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper.
    3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
    4. Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
    5. Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don’t make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don’t forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
  • All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please email me or call me directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.

    copyright © Agent Image 2013

Real Estate Investments

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

While many investors get a rise when it comes to the potential profits in real estate, that doesn’t mean all properties rise enough in value to justify the commitment.

“Some people buy real estate expecting it to appreciate a lot over time,” says David Reiss, a professor of law and research director of the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School. “But it can be risky – or even foolish – to pay so much for a property that you’re losing money on an operating basis just because you think it will appreciate.”

The wisdom in real estate, then, applies just as it would with stocks, commodities or any other investment class: The variables are many, the can’t-miss propositions few. So where should the savvy money go? And how does real estate fit into your overall portfolio?

Here, experts and observers weigh in on the essentials that should guide your decisions, as well as the ways to guide your financial forays toward success.

Know your market well. If you pay market price for an investment property, you probably won’t see particularly robust returns. “It will make a market return, and if you want to do better than that, you have to pound the pavement,” Reiss says. “Look for deals that are underpriced for one reason or another. And you won’t know which deals are underpriced unless you have a good sense of how properties are priced.”

Luxury homes may hold a key. In 2014, the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for single-family dwellings rose roughly 4.5 percent. But Frank Symons, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the western region of Sotheby’s International Realty, reports that luxury homes appreciated 8 percent that same year. He cites Sotheby’s Global Luxury Residential Real Estate Report for 2015. “This is a healthy return on investment at a time when residential real estate is still recovering,” Symons notes. “As recovery continues, the rate of appreciation could gain momentum.”

Turnkey properties can unlock returns. With a turnkey investment, you’re buying a fully vetted, redeveloped property with tenants and a property manager. “It’s a lot like buying a take-and-bake pizza. All the ingredients are there, and all you have to do is buy,” says Scarlett Tassone, a vice president and mortgage banker with PrivatePlus Mortgage in Atlanta. The downside is that compared with other tenant properties, “they are not quite as lucrative and a bit more expensive,” she says.

Vacate vacation homes. Just because you can kick back at a recreational abode doesn’t mean profits will recreate themselves. “Vacation homes are nothing more than a whimsical retreat and a low-tier income option,” says Kurt Westfield, managing director of WC Equity Group, based in Tampa, Florida. “Seasonally, they do have the capacity to generate decent returns, but the vacancy and holding costs coupled with typically premium pricing tend to equate to a less-than-stellar rate of return.”

Give REITs a chance. A real estate investment trust is a company that owns, develops and redevelops real estate assets. “Publicly traded REITs and REIT funds offer liquidity and low investment minimums,” says Mike Papierski, national real estate practice leader at Northern Trust Company, based in Chicago. REIT mutual funds in particular offer high diversity. Just be aware that “performance tends to more closely align with stock market return and may not correlate with actual property values,” Papierski says. Overall, he recommends a 15 percent cap on real estate exposure in a portfolio.

Caveat rental. Yes, you can make money with rental properties. But if you have little experience in the game, expect a steep learning curve. “Bricks-and-mortar properties require expertise and intensive management, even with investment-grade properties,” Papierski says. “If the owner doesn’t have the expertise, he or she will need to hire someone to handle the leasing and day-to-day management.” And that fee generally runs between 4 and 8 percent of gross rents.

You might flip for flipping houses. In this form of investment, the goal is to get in short-term and sell properties at a markup. And while many investors make money this way, much depends on the neighborhood you buy and sell in, as well as hidden costs associated with renovating the property that can decrease its net return. “This type of real estate investment has more risk than owning rental properties,” says Rebecca Pavese, financial planner and portfolio manager with Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Atlanta.

Vacant property is a mixed lot. Vacant properties may hold tremendous potential in a neighborhood that’s gentrifying, or if the land sits in the path of a proposed water and sewage line. But investors will pay on both the buying and selling end. “As a development play, these have huge one-time upside,” Westfield says. “But the capital gains tend to be a hindrance. Personally, I avoid it.”

Increase your profit potential with an investment of time. Property development, management and administration often require an army of specialists. But if you’re adept at repairs, accounting or showing a vacancy to prospective renters, you can forego the fees associated with hired help. “Depending on your availability and your skills, these could be trade-offs that are worth making for you,” Reiss says.

It’s not just what you’re renting, but who’s renting. Veteran Atlanta Realtor William J. Golden, who works with RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside, tells how his onetime rental home became a house of horrors. One tenant painted an entire room black; another housed a stolen motorcycle at the property. And when Mr. Motorcycle wasn’t swiping mail from wealthy locals, he allowed his buddies to squat there. Lesson learned? Vet your renters thoroughly and check on them frequently. “I swear that house was cursed,” Golden says. “Interestingly, we’d purchased the home from a psychic, so I wish she could have given us a heads up what was in store.”

New report shows urban ‘donut’ shifting

The long-standing urban-suburban divide in education, income, race and other characteristics is being turned on its head as college-educated Millennials crowd into U.S. cities, new research shows.

Putting urban neighborhoods under a microscope, a University of Virginia researcher has concluded that the traditional urban “donut” pattern — a ring of thriving suburbs surrounding a decaying city center — is being replaced by a new pattern: a thriving urban core surrounded by a ring of suburbs with older housing, older residents and more poverty.

“For most cities, the downtown was the poorest, least educated place” a generation or two ago, said Luke Juday, a research and policy analyst at U.Va.’s Weldon Cooper Center Demographics Research Group. Now, he said, it’s the opposite. Call it a “new donut,” he suggested.

In findings released Tuesday, Juday found that in the USA’s 50 largest metropolitan areas and a handful of others, Census data from 1990 through 2012 showed striking changes. Among them:

• Since 1990, urban downtowns and central neighborhoods have attracted “significantly more” young, educated, high-income residents. In central Charlotte, for instance, the percentage of adults with a four-year college degree rose from 20% to 52%.

• In most cities, areas outside the urban core now show a decrease in income and education levels, with poverty growing significantly as well.

• Most growth in housing and population continues to come at the outer edges of cities. Residents of “outer ring” suburbs tend to be more educated and have higher incomes; they’re also likely to be older.

Since 1990, urban downtowns and central neighborhoods have attracted “significantly more” young, educated, high-income residents. In central Charlotte, for instance, the percentage of adults with a four-year college degree rose from 20% to 52%. (Photo: 2012 photo by Chuck Burton, AP)

The developments are happening for several reasons, said Juday, including policy shifts that moved public housing away from concentrated high-rises in city centers. Long-term trends such as lower urban crime rates and a rise in demand by Millennials for “walkable neighborhoods” have also had an effect.

This donut pattern is seen almost exclusively in the USA, Juday said. It’s largely a legacy of racial segregation, urban renewal and public housing policy. What’s happening now, he said, is in a way a correction of post-World War II white flight.

“In a way, I wonder if we’re self-correcting from having a lot of factors that created a strange situation,” he said.

Robert Lang, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas demographics researcher, said the donut model may not be the best one to describe what happens in most cities. Even the suburbs change at different rates, he said. Two inner Washington, D.C., suburbs — Bethesda, Md., to the north and Seat Pleasant, Md., to the east — are equidistant from the city center. But the former is thriving economically while the latter is struggling.

Lang suggested that another economic model — that of the “favored quarter,” in which a few areas benefit economically at the cost of others — affects neighborhoods as much as distance from downtown.

In inner-city Washington, he said, economic circumstances vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood. “There’s no donut in Washington. Both affluence and poverty reached the core of the city.”

 

Source USAToday

Mortgage Rates Edge Higher This Week

According to Daily Real Estate News, Mortgage rates inched upward this week, with

fixed-rate mortgages returning to averages at the start of the year, which follows several

weeks of dips, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

Still, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continues to average below 4 percent, a threshold

it has remained below since the week ending Nov. 13, 2014, Freddie Mac reports.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week

ending March 12:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.86 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.75 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.37 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.10 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.03 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.38 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.01 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 2.96 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.09 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.46 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 2.44 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.48 percent.

The interest rates are at their lowest historically and the home buyers are loving it!

 

Source FreddieMac.com