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Is Refinancing Your Pasadena Home in Your Future?

Is Refinancing Your Pasadena Home in Your Future?

Are you thinking of refinancing your Pasadena home or buying a new one, but think the mortgage rates are still going to move down?

AVOID THIS COSTLY MISTAKE
If you’ve been following the financial news, you’ve probably heard that the Fed’s been buying Mortgage Backed Securities and will continue to do so as needed. Unfortunately, some media outlets have picked up on the news and mistakenly reported that these purchases will continue to cause rates to drop lower into the summer.

But is that really what it means? No.

The truth is, the Fed has been buying Mortgage Bonds. BUT… more precisely, they’re buying a lot of FNMA 30-yr 5.0% and 5.5% Bonds. Many of the mortgages in these pools are outstanding home loans with rates between 6.0% and 6.5%, as the rate that a borrower pays is different than the coupon rate given to an investor buying into that mortgage pool, with the difference being taken by Wall Street firms and government agencies. The loans in these pools the Fed is buying hand over fist are likely be refinanced and paid – because current rates make it very attractive to refinance a loan over 6.0% – and thus giving the Fed a quick recoup on some of their investment.

Bottom line: The Fed’s purchase of higher rate coupons will not necessarily help rates to move lower, as their actions do not impact the loans being originated at today’s low rates.

The Problem Is…
Many Pasadena consumers are in situations where they can refinance now and save hundreds of dollars a month on their mortgage payments. But when they hear the media throwing around teases of lower rates ahead, they decide to hold off on making the decision to save, in the hopes of gaining a few more dollars of savings per month if a lower rate came their way. Of course, while they’re waiting, rates could turn higher – and this window of opportunity could pass them by entirely.

Here’s the Clincher:
Even if consumers are ultimately able to time the market perfectly and save another few bucks per month, they could still end up losing. That’s because while they delayed, they lost the savings each month they could have gained by taking action sooner. In other words, they may have lost hundreds of dollars for every month they waited. So even if they got lucky and obtained the rate they were looking for, it could take years to make up what they lost by waiting.

READ MORE: Pasadena Real Estate and Economy Review for week ending Feb. 8, 2009

I don’t want anyone to miss an opportunity by either waiting or misunderstanding the media headline. Let’s talk further on this. Call or email me, and let’s discuss what this might mean for you.

Posted on February 8th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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Pasadena Offers Help to Residents Impacted by Job Losses

Pasadena Offers Help to Residents Impacted by Job Losses

Ann Erdman, Public Information Officer for the city of Pasadena, wrote a great article titled Looking for Work? We’re Here to Help.

Ann’s post outlies various resources available to Pasadena residents including a Career Services Division where you will find computers connected to CALJOBS which matches applicants to available jobs, various free library activities and workshops focusing on essential skills and more.

Give it a read… it might help you or someone you know!

Posted on January 27th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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What does the Federal Reserve do Anyway?

What does the Federal Reserve do Anyway?

WHAT DOES THE FEDERAL RESERVE DO ANYWAY?

With the economy in the news every day, more attention is being focused on the Federal Reserve than ever before. Let’s look at some of the facts, and understand exactly what they do and how they do it.

The Federal Reserve System was created on December 23, 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson to act as the central bank of the United States. It was created to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary, banking and financial system.

The Federal Reserve System is made up of twelve Federal Reserve Banks, overseen by the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors is located in Washington DC and is comprised of just seven members, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The full term of each member of the Board of Governors is 14 years, and the appointments are staggered such that one term expires on each even-numbered year. This system ensures that “fresh blood” will be brought to the Board every two years. When your term is up as a Board Governor, you are done, and cannot be reappointed. But if a member leaves the Board before his or her term expires, the person appointed to fill the remainder of the term can be reappointed for another full term. The terms for the Chairman and Vice Chairman are four years, but may be reappointed for additional four-year terms. The current Chairman, Ben Bernanke, and Vice Chairman Donald Kohn lead the Board of Governors.

So What Does the Fed Do on a Daily Basis?

The main responsibilities of the Fed include:

  1. Researching US national and regional economies
  2. Providing financial services to depository institutions, the US government, and foreign official institutions
  3. Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety of the nation’s financial system and protect the credit rights of consumers
  4. Conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy (i.e. hiking or cutting the Fed Funds Rate, as they did recently) in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates
  5. Communicating information about the economy via publications, speeches, seminars and websites

But the communication method that typically grabs the attention of most individuals is the statement given by Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke, following the eight formal meetings that take place about every six weeks throughout the year. At these meetings, the Fed has the opportunity to make changes to the Federal Funds Rate, and make their decision by reviewing economic and financial conditions. They can also make adjustments to the Fed Funds Rate outside of these meetings, but rarely do so because they don’t want to deliver a surprise that could rattle the financial markets.

Overall, the Fed’s main responsibility is to keep the economy growing at a steady pace by keeping inflation stable and rates moderate.

When inflation is low and stable, businesses and households can spend, knowing that their purchasing power can remain strong.

Teaching Moment for Children…

While you’re watching the news on television or listening to it on your car’s radio, your kids can probably hear–but not completely understand–the news too. That means now’s a perfect time to turn the current economic news into a lesson on money and finances. One terrific website can be found at www.federalreserve.gov/kids, which gives a very simple overview of the Fed and what they do, including a great definition of inflation that any small child can understand.

Posted on January 18th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

4 Comments »

Can a Pasadena home escrow be cancelled by seller?

Can a Pasadena home escrow be cancelled by seller?

An interesting question was just posed on Trulia. A home buyer was told by her real estate agent that the realtor representing the home seller was going to cancel escrow since loan and appraisal contingencies were not released. The question was – can the seller cancel the escrow?

Absolutely!

When you make an offer to buy a Pasadena home or any California property, your realtor will discuss with you the three main contingencies of the home purchase. These contingencies are:

  1. Loan Approval Contingency:  A home buyer can back out of the escrow and NOT lose their earnest money deposit if that home buyer can not qualify for a home loan within the contingency time period.
  2. Appraisal Contingency:  A home buyer can cancel the escrow if the home doesn’t appraise to the full purchase price offered. 
  3. Home inspection:  A home buyer has an opportunity to hire a home inspector to check the property condition.  Don’t forget that sewer inspection!  If the inspector finds issues that the home buyer was not aware of before and the buyer is unable to negotiate repairs with the home seller or is unwilling to purchase the house after learning of these issues, the buyer can cancel the escrow.  This home inspection contigency would also include any reports that have been provided to the buyer by the home seller.  If it’s a condominium or a townhome, a review of the financial statements and other relevant information about the complex is done at the same time.

These contingencies are in place to protect the home buyer’s earnest money deposit.  In essence, it’s a free look at the property for the buyer without any penalties.

READ MORE:  The fastest way to lose your earnest money deposit

For a home seller, this contingency period or a “free look” is a period of uncertainty.  The deal is not sealed unless and until the home buyer signs off and releases all contingencies.

A good real estate agent representing the seller will ensure that all contingencies are released within the contractual time frames allowed and agreed to.  Usually, the buyer will have anywhere between 7 to 17 days to complete their inspections, get approved for the loan and get the appraisal completed. 

If home purchase contingencies are not released within the agreed upon time frames, a Notice to Perform is sent to the buyer by the seller and if the buyer still does not sign off and releases the contingencies than a home seller is totally in their right to cancel the escrow and move on with the marketing of their Pasadena home.

READ MORENine Stupid Things Buyers Do to Mess Up their Home Purchase

Posted on January 13th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

7 Comments »

Pasadena Real Estate Outlook for 2009

Pasadena Real Estate Outlook for 2009

A lot of folks are happy to see 2008 come to an end.  It’s been a difficult year for many given the financial crisis and the natural disasters that occurred making it one of the deadliest years on record.

Is there a reason for optimism in Pasadena for 2009?

There’s an interesting overview of what caused the financial crisis by Barry Habib of Mortgage Success Source which provides an easy overview of the “whys”, “hows” and “whats” coming up in 2009.  Here’s his perspective:

The financial crisis we are in today was not caused by mortgages or housing, although they were both catalysts. The real reason was an accounting rule called “Mark to Market” (also known as FASB 157).

Few people have a strong grasp of this rule, and even those who do have a tough time explaining it on air due to time restrictions. So let’s take a few minutes to break it down, so you can have the inside track on this very important concept and understand why it represents some great opportunities.

Why does ‘Mark to Market’ exist?

Let’s go back to the stock market crash, which occurred between 2000 and 2002. With the S&P down 49% and the NASDAQ down 71%, many people lost much of their life savings and they were very angry.

Companies like Enron and Arthur Andersen were able to find ways to make their books looks more attractive, which was reflected in an artificially inflated stock price.

Both the public and Congress had a call for more transparency in business and hastened the passage of “Mark to Market” accounting.

This is the notion that all assets should be valued as if they were sold on a daily basis. Under the letter of the law, failure to do this conservatively can now result in jail time.

So what’s the problem?

Before we get into what this means for banks, let me make a quick analogy using a scenario that should make perfect sense to you.

Let’s imagine that you own a house in a Pasadena neighborhood where all of the houses are priced at around $300,000. Unfortunately, your neighbor, who owns his home free and clear, falls ill and needs emergency cash quickly. Because he is under duress, he must sell the home for $200,000 in order to get the cash he needs right away, even though the home is worth considerably more.

 before-and-after-house

Now would this mean that your home is now worth the same $200,000 that your neighbor sold his for? Of course not, because you are not forced to sell under duress. It just means that your new neighbor got a great deal.

However, if you were a publicly traded company and had to abide by Mark to Market account rules, you and the rest of your neighbors would now have to say, by law, that your home was worth only $200,000 – not the $300,000 you would get for it if you actually sold. So what’s the big deal? Read on.

So how does this principle apply to banks?

Let’s say we decide to start a bank . . . call it XYZ Bank. We raise $2 Million to open our doors. Remember that our capital account is $2 Million. Banks make money by taking in deposits and paying low rates of interest to those depositors (maybe throw in a toaster too). We then take that money and make loans with it at higher rates. We keep the difference.

So, we turn that money into $30 Million worth of loans. This puts our ratio of loans to capital (our Capital Ratio) at 15:1 ($15 Million in Loans to $1 Million in Capital). This level is acceptable, as long as we can shoulder some losses and recover.

Because we are very conservative here at XYZ Bank, the loans we make require a minimum down payment of 30%, a credit score of 800 or better (that’s nearly an 850 which is perfect), proof of income and assets, a reserve of at least two years of mortgage payments (normal is two months) and income requirements that only allow 10% of monthly income to cover all expenses (normal is 40%).

bank-before-and-afterWe do this and our loans perform perfectly. We make lots of money. Nobody is paying late and our clients are sending us holiday cards. They love us . . . it’s a party. You and I are celebrating as we see our stock price soar.

But real estate values decline and, even though all of our loans are paying perfectly, we must re-assess the loan portfolio to account for the decline in real estate values, which leaves us with less of an equity cushion. We had a minimum 30% down payment, which means the loans were 70% of the value of our assets – until we account for the decline in the market. Now, our position goes from 70% to 90%. That’s riskier and, therefore, worth less than when our loans had a 70% safety position.

Our accountants tell us that we must “Mark to Market” or risk jail. They say our value is now reduced by $1 Million. Whoa!

We must take (or write down) this loss against our capital account. It is a paper loss – we don’t write a check, we have no late payers, no defaults, no bad business decisions. Still, we must reflect this $1 Million paper loss in our Capital Account, which drops from a $2 Million to $1 Million in value.

Here’s where things get problematic.

At this level, with $30 Million in loans outstanding, we now have a capital ratio of 30:1. At
this level of leverage, alarms begin to sound.

Our ratios are out of the safe zone; we could go under with just a few losses, deposits are in jeopardy. Hello FDIC examiner, we are on the watch list, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is asking questions and our stock starts to tumble. The business networks are showing coverage of our now troubled bank. We are in big trouble.

The problem, we are “over leveraged”. The solution? We have to “de-lever” . . . and do so
quickly. But there are only two ways to do that, and one of them isn’t really an option.

The first way is to raise capital, but that’s not going to happen when our ratios are out of whack and we are in serious trouble as well as on the FDIC watch list. It is unlikely that anyone will be willing to invest cash in XYZ Bank.

The other option is that we can sell assets, like the outstanding loans, which are increasing our capital ratio. Like your neighbor, who owned his home outright but needed cash for medical bills, we are now under duress. The paper we are holding has a lot of value, but we have to sell it quickly and, because of that, cheaply. So, we offload the loans at a loss, which exacerbates the problem because those losses further reduce our capital account.

Very quickly, like a flushing toilet, things start to spiral – we are going down.

The problem multiplies

 

The problem doesn’t stop there. The fire sale we just had on our loans makes things worse – even for the banks that bought them up and thought they were getting a great deal.

bank-workflow

 

Under Mark to Market, the loans we just sold must be included in the comparables that other financial institutions use to value their assets. This is how the problem spread and got so bad so fast. Other good institutions, with good loans, have to mark down. Just like us, they become over-leveraged. It’s a chain reaction, all triggered by a well intentioned, but over-reaching accounting rule.

Financial institutions fold, sell, or freeze. Credit – the life blood of our economy – is cut off at the source. Because of a lack of available credit, home sales and refinances crawl, auto sales drop and jobs are lost. Additionally, the economy enters a recession.

During the last recession in 2001, the economy recovered relatively quickly thanks to $3 Trillion worth of home equity withdrawals. But, more restrictive programs, a lack of available credit, and lower home values will make it difficult for us to use home equity to help pull us out of a recession this time around.

Fixing the problem

The Federal Reserve has passed a rescue plan, which, over time, will provide some level of help. Some banks will get money to infuse into their capital accounts. Others can sell some assets to the government in an effort to “de-lever”.

But, the big thing that is not talked about, not well understood, is the part of the rescue plan that traces this financial crisis back to the source.

The US Congress has given the SEC its blessing to modify “Mark to Market” accounting. And by January 2, SEC Chairman, Chris Cox has to get back to Congress with ideas, if any, on how to fix Mark to Market accounting.

It won’t be eliminated, as we will not want to go back to the Enron days. But he is likely to adjust the Mark to Market provisions.

Here’s one potential solution – even rental or commercial real estate properties can be valued two ways:

1. The comparable sales method, which determines the value based on what other assets have sold for, which is the way Mark to Market work currently.
2. A cash flow method, which values the property based upon cash coming in.

If we see Mark to Market modified to use cash flow to value assets, without requiring a large percentage discounting mechanism – wow! What a shot in the arm that would be. We’d likely see the stock market rally, with financial stocks leading the uphill charge.

Consider that, in today’s market, fund managers are holding 27% of their assets in cash, compared with just 3% they held in cash when the stock market peaked in October of 2007. That means there is a lot of money on the sidelines that can push stock prices higher.

Additionally, think about the redemptions from hedge funds that eventually need to be put
back to work. That’s another reason to be optimistic about stocks in the first quarter of 2009 – provided that Chairman Cox modifies Mark to Market accounting in a meaningful way. And a good stock market helps individuals feel better about purchasing homes.

Additionally, stronger balance sheets for financial institutions will allow them to lend more money.

The bottom line

With some potentially very good news around the corner, there might be reason for optimism as we head into 2009.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens and we’ll keep you updated on the changes to the Mark to Market accounting rule.

In the meantime, I’ll take this opportunity to take my 2009 crystal ball out and share my Pasadena real estate market predictions with you:

  1. Pasadena mortage rates will remain under 6% through the 2nd quarter of 2009 and will begin to rise in the 3rd quarter of the year.
  2. We will see an influx of REO (bank-owned) properties hit the Pasadena real estate market around March and April of 2009. 
  3. A lot more Pasadena sellers will try to negotiate a short sale with their banks which will provide opportunities for first time buyers and real estate investors.
  4. Pasadena housing units available for sale will begin increasing as more foreclosures and short sales hit the real estate market.
  5. Pasadena SFR (single family homes) have seen a drop of 10.5% in price per square foot from 2007 to 2008.  I believe the market will continue to see a decline in prices through June of next year of another 4 to 5%. 
  6. We will start seeing a turn around in the market place by July of 2009 with the changes in the Mark to Market rules, additional first time housing programs and availability of conventional programs.

READ MORE:  Pasadena real estate market comparison between 2006 and 2007

What do you think of my Pasadena real estate predictions?  Agree or disagree?  Put your 2009 predictions in the comments below.

Would love to hear from you.

Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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Foreclosure vs. REO (Real Estate Owned) property

Foreclosure vs. REO (Real Estate Owned) property

This question comes up quite often these days – “What is the difference between a foreclosure property and REO (real estate owned)?

A foreclosure is a legal process in which, against the wishes of the owner, real property is sold to satisfy a public or private debt for which the real property has been pledged as security.

Real Estate Owned (REO) is real property that has been foreclosed by a lender and is now owned by the lender.

There’s a lot of confusion between a foreclosure and REOs.  When real estate buyers call me asking about foreclosures in most instances, they are really inquiring about REOs and here’s why?

  • A foreclosure property goes through a foreclosure auction which is usually held on an assigned date on the steps of a local court house.
  • Foreclosure property buyers need to be able to purchase the property for ALL CASH.
  • Foreclosure property buyers inherit all unpaid liens, including mortgage debt, taxes, construction loans, home equity lines of credit, and possibly a second or third mortgage.

On the other hand, an REO property is:

  • REO property is already owned by the bank.
  • Home buyers are able to get a regular mortgage or loan on that property.  All cash is not needed.
  • REO properties in most instances come with clear title.

Five things to look for when purchasing REO or already foreclosed homes:

  1. Work with your Pasadena realtor and the Title Company representative to ensure that the title to the Pasadena home you’re buying is free and clear.
  2. Understand that most foreclosures occur in a down-trending marketFactor in falling home prices into your purchase offer.  Look at the current local market conditions and historical trends prior to submitting your offer to the bank.
  3. Banks do NOT provide many disclosures, so be prepared for surprises.  Ensure that all home inspections are completed – don’t forget a sewer line inspection – prior to close of escrow.
  4. Look for neighborhoods that are not overrun with foreclosures.  Neighborhoods with many foreclosures might offer better prices, but will take a lot longer to turn around and the home prices will continue to depreciate.
  5. If you are looking to buy an already foreclosed property as an investment, be aware that lenders charge higher interest rates on 2nd homes and investment property.  Speak to a lender and get fully approved prior to making an offer.

Below is a list of REOs or already foreclosed homes in San Gabriel Valley including Pasadena and surrounding cities:

Interested in discussing if a foreclosed home is right for you?  Give me a call at 626-627-7107.

Posted on December 16th, 2008
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

3 Comments »

Staying Sane in an Insane Real Estate Market

Staying Sane in an Insane Real Estate Market

Pasadena real estate market is changing daily and is becoming more of a buyer’s market than ever before.  Home sellers are having a very hard time trying to keep up with these changes and need a strong real estate agent to guide them along.

So how do you stay sane in a home buyer’s market?  First, let’s define what a buyer’s market is.  A buyer’s market is when home prices are declining and the inventory of homes is increasing.  Usually as an area starts getting close to six months of inventory, that real estate market is considered a buyer’s market.

Here are some strategies that can be employed to ensure that you are ahead of the other home sellers:

Selling Your Pasadena Home QUICKLY is CRITICAL

In a buyer’s market environment, pricing and marketing  will make or break your home sale.  The best real estate agent will be able to demonstrate the wisdom of selling NOW vs. LATER.

Ask your realtor to calculate the holding costs of your Pasadena property.  The holding costs include your normal costs of the property plus the amount the property is declining in value.  For example, if prices are declining 1 percent a month and your home is worth $500,000, it costs you, the seller, an additional $5,000 per month to hold on to your home.

Do NOT Overprice Your Pasadena Home

In a buyer’s market, if your home doesn’t sell within the first 30 days when you usually have the greatest number of showings, your home can end up staying on the market for months.  You will end up “chasing the market down” by overpricing your home.  This means that even though you lower your price, you haven’t lowered it enough to keep pace with the declining market.

In most cases, you’re better off pricing your home a bit under market (1% to 2% lower) which will create excitement with buyers and local real estate agents and generate additional showings and offers – sometimes, multiple offers.  This will result in the maximum net amount and a quick sale to you, the home seller.

Hire a Real Estate Agent with an AGGRESSIVE Marketing Plan

Look for Pasadena real estate agents who have an aggressive marketing plan and who are selling their home listings despite the bad real estate market conditions to net the most from your home sale.  Make sure that your real estate agent uses the cutting edge, latest internet marketing along with the traditional marketing techniques.

You may need to pay a HIGHER commission

To attract buyers’ agents to show your property first, you many need to pay a higher commission.  Now is not the time to be asking for commission discounts.  Real estate agents have a number of homes to choose from when they are setting up appointments for their clients, commission is a nice incentive to ensure that your home gets to be shown FIRST!

STAGE your home

It is critical that your home looks inviting and feels comfortable. Buyers buy homes on emotion. Look at homes that are for sale in your neighborhood.  What does your competition look like? Make sure that your home sparkles and shows better than any other homes currently on the market.

Remember, a home seller will always be better off in a buyer’s market to realistically price their property.  This is NOT the time to test the market with a higher price.  When you are in a declining real estate market, each month you wait to sell means less money for you at closing.

Buyers’ market is also a great opportunity to trade up to a bigger home.  Yes… you will receive less fro your existing property, however, the trade-up property will cost you less.  This also helps with your property taxes!

As you interview Pasadena real estate agents, ask them about what they are seeing in the market place.  What kind of incentives are other sellers offering?  Be competitive and do whatever it takes to sell your Pasadena home as quickly as possible.

Read More: 

Top 10 Home Seller Mistakes

Real Estate Agent Interviewing Tips

Posted on December 7th, 2008
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

No Comments »

Pasadena Mortgage Rates Update: Great Opportunities for Home Buyers and Owners waiting to Refinance NOW is the TIME!

Pasadena Mortgage Rates Update: Great Opportunities for Home Buyers and Owners waiting to Refinance NOW is the TIME!

 

Mortgage Rate - Special Announcement

I just got off the phone with my personal mortgage consultant – Mondie Pic’l at Wells Fargo.  Today, Pasadena mortgage rates have hit the lowest that we’d seen in quite some time.  I have asked her to lock the mortgage rate for me and will be refinancing my home.

The opportunities are tremendous TODAY to refinance your existing loan or to lock in a mortgage rate on your Pasadena home purchase.  We’re seeing rates as low as 5.75% with NO points for a 30 year fixed loan.

If you’d like to reach Mondie to discuss your mortgage options, please call her at 909-912-1847.

Don’t miss this one!

Looking for more information about Pasadena California – see Pasadena City Guide.

 

Interested in more information about Pasadena and surrounding cities, check out our City Guides below:

Alhambra City Guide

Altadena City Guide

Arcadia City Guide

Eagle Rock City Guide

Monterey Hills City Guide

Pasadena City Guide

San Gabriel City Guide

San Marino City Guide

Sierra Madre City Guide

South Pasadena City Guide

And, if you are interested in fun activities to do in Pasadena, take a look at our 365 Things To Do in Pasadena® page.


Thinking of selling your Pasadena area home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call Irina Netchaev at (626) 629-8439 to discuss what is happening in today’s Pasadena Real Estate Market.

Posted on November 25th, 2008
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

No Comments »

Leslie Appleton-Young, Chief Economist for C.A.R. (Realtor Association) speaks to Pasadena Realtors

Leslie Appleton-Young, Chief Economist for C.A.R. (Realtor Association) speaks to Pasadena Realtors

This week, I was privileged to attend a presentation by Leslie Appleton-Young.  Leslie is the Vice President of California Association of Realtors and their Chief Economist.

I have never heard Leslie speak before and was surprised with her vibrant personality and down to earth style.  it’s always hard to deliver bad news to a room full of Pasadena realtors, but she did with style and ease.

It turns out that Leslie is a resident of Pasadena and has been living in our community for the last year and a half.  Pretty exciting for me since I’m hoping that I’ll run into her one day at Pete’s and will have an opportunity to pick her brain a bit.  -D

I will be writing a post over the next few days to share my thoughts on real estate market expectations for 2009 in Pasadena, but in the meantime, here’s what Leslie shared with the real estate community.

Personal Consumption:

American consumers have been spending more and saving less.  For the first time since 1992, personal consumption dropped.  Simply, this means that people buy less which causes employers to cut back jobs.

California is losing more jobs on average – California’s unemployment rate in August 2008 was 7.7% while United States as a whole was 6.1% in September 2008.

California Housing Permits:

New Housing Permits are down by 45.1% year to date in California – under 50,000 units compared to over 100,000 in 2007.  Builders are waiting for the existing inventory to be absorbed.

National Economy Outlook through 2009:

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE – ORIGINAL POST ON THE STATE OF PASADENA CALIFORNIA HOUSING MARKET

Posted on November 21st, 2008
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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What Can You Expect from a Great Pasadena Real Estate Agent?

What Can You Expect from a Great Pasadena Real Estate Agent?

I was reading a post earlier today by Jennifer Allan about the definition of a good real estate agent. Jennifer is an author of five books about the business of selling real estate. She is a real estate coach and contributes regular articles on real estate related subjects to many different on-line venues.

I run into many different real estate agents on a daily basis. Some Pasadena real estate agents have tons of experience and others are just starting out. The prevalant change in the Pasadena real estate community is the change from being egocentric to customer focused.

To this day, many real estate agents flaunt their “multi-million” dollar status, being a top producer, being in the top % of their real estate company, etc. Not too many Pasadena real estate agents talk about how they can help their real estate consumer, what a real estate agent does for his or her customer to ensure that they’re delighted with their service, etc.

Receiving and reviewing real estate purchase offer contracts, it is clear that the training for the majority of real estate professionals is not stellar. If you are or were a real estate seller, all you have to do is look at the real estate purchase counter offer to see how many items a great real estate agent would need to address or “clean up” prior to acceptance – and I’m not talking strictly about the price.

So… forgive me for going on about this, but it’s a sensitive subject that is near and dear to my heart. One Pasadena real estate agent can create an impression on countless potential real estate consumers. As they say, perception is reality!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HANTJ1JlNbc[/youtube]

Here’s a list that Jennifer put together when she was asked about “what makes a good real estate agent”.

A Pasadena Real Estate Agent should:

  • “You know your market, your systems and your contracts.
  • You are a good negotiator.
  • You put your clients’ needs above your need for a paycheck.
  • You know how to properly price a home.
  • You know what your seller needs to do to get his home ready for market.
  • You know how to build rapport with your seller so that he trusts you.
  • You know how to take decent photos.
  • You know how to write an appealing MLS description.
  • You return phone calls promptly.
  • You preview listings so you don’t waste your buyer’s time.
  • You know how much it costs to replace a 50 year old furnace.
  • You have a handyman, a cleaning service and a good HVAC contractor.
  • You’re pleasant to other agents so they’re happy to show your listings or accept your offers.
  • You keep your brochure boxes full.
  • Your lockboxes work…”
  •  

    My additions to her list:

     

    A great real estate agent writes clean contracts.

    A great real estate agent strategizes with their client on how to make their offer stand out – price AND terms.

    A great real estate agent takes educational classes and strives to continually learn as the industry is changing.

    A great real estate agent networks with other real estate agents locally and throughout the country to share best practices.

    A great real estate agent should respond to emails immediately.

    A great real estate agent should know how to market a home they’re selling on the web

    A great real estate agent should be in touch with the changing real estate marketing techniques… Old school is good, but not enough… need to incorporate new and exciting techniques in helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs.

    A great real estate agent creates dynamic on-line presentations to market homes.

    A great real estate agent is not afraid to say “I don’t know”, but I will research and get back to you.

    A great real estate agent is honest and ethical!

     

    There’s a lot more that I can add to this, but you get my point, right?

    Old school where it’s all about me is OUT! New school – all about the real estate consumer is in.

    Is your Pasadena real estate agent, a great real estate agent?

    Posted on September 3rd, 2008
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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