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$8000 first time home buyer tax credit extended…awaiting Obama’s signature

$8000 first time home buyer tax credit extended…awaiting Obama’s signature

The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 403 to 12 to extend and expand the home buyer tax credit.  The bill passed the U.S. Senate late yesterday and now will go to President Obama for his signature, where it is expected to be signed this week.

The tax credit will be extended through April 30, 2010, with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to the deadline.  First-time home buyers will continue to receive a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners will receive a credit of up to $6,500.  Existing homeowners will be eligible for the $6,500 if they have lived in their current residences for at least five years.  The bill also will increase the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively.  The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000.

Under additional provisions in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The bill maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.

Nationwide, more than 1.4 million first-time home buyers were given the opportunity to become homeowners as a result of the Federal Tax Credit for First-time Home Buyers.  According to C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors) research, nearly 40 percent of first-time home buyers surveyed said they would not have purchased a home without the federal tax credit, and approximately 70 percent said the tax credit was “the most important” or a “very important” factor in their decision to buy a home.


Posted on November 5th, 2009
Posted in Buyers
Posted by: Irina Netchaev


New Condo Complexes in Pasadena California – New Construction Sales

New Condo Complexes in Pasadena California – New Construction Sales

Recently, Pasadena has experienced quite a bit of growth in new constructions. We are especially seeing a lot of brand new condo and loft style apartments for sale. If you are looking for new construction around South Lake Avenue, Old Town Pasadena or downtown Pasadena, you’ve come to the right place. This post is in progress. I’ll be updating this information often, so please sign up to receive RSS updates to be aware of all available condos for sale.

Sabine on South Lake

633 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena California

Sabine on South Lake

If you love having Starbucks, Pete’s Coffee and Noah’s bagels right around the corner, this IS the complex for you.  Sabine markets itself as “An Exceptional Place to Live” and it sure is.  The location is next to some of the best restaurants and shopping in Pasadena.  You really do not need a car and can easily walk everywhere.

Sabine living roomThe units themselves are beautiful – 12 in total and are starting at $1.275,000.  As I was walking through these homes, the finishes and touches in each one were beautiful.  Crown moldings and wide plank (dark) hardwood flooring gave the living space a luxurious feel.

I loved the outdoor terraces looking out into the beautiful central courtyard with lush landscaping and the sound of water fountains permeating the air.  Some of the units have rooftop terraces with an outdoor fireplace perfect for a relaxing evening.

Sabine Master Suite with fireplaceThe townhomes are two or three story high depending on the model and are over 2,000 sq. ft.  Some have an in-home hydraulic elevator.

All Sabine residences have:

High Ceilings – 9ft  to 10 ft

Hardwood Floors

Energy Efficient Dual Pane casement Windows and Doors.

Fornt and Back Terraces

Fireplace in the Living Room and the Master Suite!

Professional Grade viking Appliances and Travertine Floors grace the Kitchen.

Lots of Closet Space.

White Marble  bathroom floors and Tub Decks and Travertine Showers.

Master Bathroom has heated floors – nice!

Private Garages

Pre-Wiring for Home Audio & Video, Cat5e

Inside Laundry

Delacey Place

Delacey Place Map

Marketed as the “Ultimate Address – Downtown Pasadena!”

Delacey Place Complex

Delacey Place opens in Old Pasadena featuring European architecture and design.  Built by Mike Balian, it has been carefully “value-engineered” for maximum efficiency and elegance.

Delacey Place Features:

  • 24 hour concierge service
  • Pool and spa on second level with translucent sections of German glass that allos natural lighting into the lobby below.
  • Wine cellars
  • State of the art gym
  • Spacious private parking
  • Storage areas

Delacey Place Interior:

3 to 4 bedrooms with imported Italian woods, tile and stone.  Gourmet kitchens with sleek state ofthe art Eruopean appliances from Bertazzoni and Gaggeau.

Delacey Pricing: Starting around $800,000 and up

Delacey Place sales are under way.  Please make sure that you get proper representation and do not go directly to the developer.  If you need additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 626-629-8439 or via email at sales(at)

Granite Park

Granite Park

This Pasadena condo developer bills this complex as “A luxurious way of living – coming to Pasadena” and they are right. In the heart of the South Lake Avenue shopping and restaurant district neighborhood, Granite Park offers an unparalleled lifestyle. It could be a great weekend getaway and is perfect for vacation home owners that love everything that Pasadena has to offer – museums, hiking, restaurants and boutiques.

The Granite Park complex will feature a concierge and valet service to see to your daily needs. There will also be a professional landscaping staff, someone to arrange catering and help you plan a party or just put together a day of sight seeing and historical outings.

If your car needs attention, detailing services will be available. And, let’s not forget laundry service.

There are two distinct design packages to choose from when selecting the interior finishes of your lusurious home.  They are Granite Park Traditional or Granite Park Contemporary.

Granite Park Features:
Granite Park Outdoor Living



71 Exclusive Private Residences

  • Large Private Terraces up to more than 1,400 sq. ft.
  • Concierge Service with 24 hour security
  • Viking Professional Series Appliances
  • Premium Kohler Fitures
  • Secure Underground Side by Side Parking
  • Irving Gill Inspired Architecture
  • Dennis Hopper curated photography gallery in the Lobby
  • Lush & Evocative Old California Style Landscape
  • Private Walkways, Mediation Areas, and Gardens
  • Resort-Style Pool and Spa
  • Barbeque Area
  • Putting Green

Granite Park Pricing:

Pricing starts from $1 million to over $2 million for 2 to 3 bedroom residences.  Work/Live unit is also available at around $800,000.

Projected Move-Ins:  Fall of 2009

Granite Park sales and reservations are under way.  Please make sure that you get proper representation and do not go directly to the developer.  If you need additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 626-629-8439 or via email at sales(at)

Read Also:  Luxury Pasadena Condos coming to Pasadena – Granite Park in South Lake District

See all condos for sale in Granite Park below:
(Feel free to click on the slider and it will take you to a detailed page with price history, google map, mortgage info, and detailed information on each of these luxury condos for sale”

Hudson Terrace

Another Mike Balian development and a Toledo Homes project.  Hudson Terrace is right next to South Lake Avenue and is billed as “One Square Mile Living!”  ONE block to work; One block to shopping; One block to entertainment and One block to fitness.

A homage to Bauhaus design, Hudson Terrace is defined by large custom glass elements set between massive towres.  The structure’s 21st century rain wall technology allows the building to breathe while assuring water tight integrity, high efficiency, dual-glazed custom-made metal framed casements adn awnin windows allow for natural ventilations.

Community Features

  • Subterranean parking with 2 parking spaces per unit
  • Private storage rooms in garage
  • 80 foot long water feature traversing the contemporary landscaped courtyard
  • Eco-friendly rainwater recycling and storage system provides irrigation for landscaping

20 Residences Featuring:

  • Private patios
  • Fireplaces
  • Recessed lighting throughout
  • Surround sound system wiring with high quality speakers in living room and master bedroom
  • Italian closet systems designed Dall’Agnese
  • Gourmet kitchens with Bosch refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher and microwave, Bertazzoni stainless steel wall mount hoods or Bosch island hoods; Bertazzoni stainless steel ranges, cabinetry from Italy.


I have written several posts about Lake@Walnut and still strongly believe that it’s one of the best priced, best built new construction condo complex in downtown Los Angeles.  The selection of units is quickly dwindling since condo buyers are realizing what a great deal this condo development is.  When I was there yesterday, October 1st, Lake@Walnut had only 4 2-bedroom, 1-level condos available.  They still have a nice choice of bi-level 2 bedrooms with fantastic views and some fairly large 1 bedrooms available.

Lake@Walnut built by Pacific Standard Homes bills itself as the Hip Urban Oasis since it’s truly in the heart of Pasadena.  This development is right next to the Playhouse District,  about a 1/2 mile away from the South Lake Avenue District.  They are next to the Gold Line Metro Station, Ralph’s is right across the street, Pasadena’s Central Park and Old Town are a bit to the West and Paseo Colorado is pretty walkable.

Lake@Walnut Amenities:

  • Club Room
  • Gym
  • Gated and Assigned Parking
  • Ground Level Retail Stores
  • Beautiful Courtyard with a BBQ Grill, Fountains and an Outdoor Fireplace
  • Security Building
  • On-Site Builder Management for 1 Year to take care of any Warranty Items

Lake@Walnut Interior Features:

  • Energy efficient, dual glazed windows
  • hand-set ceramit tile flooring at entry, kitchen, baths and laundry
  • Plush carpeting throughout living and bedroom areas (if you are on the first two levels – hardwood selection is available as another flooring option)
  • Laundry area in all units (high appliances are standardly included in price)
  • Recessed and soffitted lighting
  • Central A/C and heating systems
  • Kitchens include granite countertops with decorative tile backsplashes.
  • KitchenAid® Architect Series II Appliance Package in Stainless Steel including gas cooktop with four sealed burners, electric self-cleaning oven, builtin microwave, energy efficient, multi-cycle dishwasher.
  • Kitchen cabinetry,  all wood Shaker-style,  come in three different colors – java, nutmeg and natural.
  • Each condominium comes with in home alarm system and multimedia outlets in livign areas, bedrooms and office/tech areas.

Lake@Walnut Pricing:

With 12 floor plans or residences to choose from, there’s a nice variety of homes available starting at $399,000 and going up to over $1 million

Posted on September 7th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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Social Networking and Real Estate

Social Networking and Real Estate

social networking and real estate

There has been a lot of talk about social networking in the media recently.  When I was talking to my friends and family about Twitter last year, I’d get the weirdest looks.  Twitter, what’s that?  Now… it seems like every time you turn on the news, there’s a rolling banner of tweets on the side.  What’s the fascination?

Facebook is one of the social networks initially focused on reconnecting with friends, school mates and family, and just generally staying in touch and updating your sphere about your personal activities.  Now, facebook is geared more towards business professionals where fan pages are created with personal URLs (web addresses) that allow real estate and other professionals to promote their home listings or business ideas.

Users do this by creating postings, uploading photos and sharing links and videos. With over 200 million members worldwide, Facebook truly is a global market. And it’s not just people who have profiles and networks. Places, products, companies, services, stores, restaurants, etc., also have profiles and networks. For example, Starbucks Coffee Company has a profile and a network with 3,385,090 fans; Lamborghini has 807,270 fans.

LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with professionals who you need to work with to accomplish your goals. LinkedIn also has some proprietary business tools. Polls is a market research tool that allows business professionals to collect data from your connections on LinkedIn. Results to research questions can be broken down by company size, job function, age and gender.

So what is this about Social Networking and Real Estate?  Why is

it important that your real estate agent has a strong presence on these and other social network sites?  Simply said – EXPOSURE.

Selling a home is ultimately all about getting as many “eyeballs” to look at your home.  Of course, you need to prepare a home for sale, price it correctly, analyze the current real estate trends, understand your competition and more…  BUT to give it that extra, special nudge, your realtor also needs to have an established presence on these and many more social network sites.


Pasadena Real Estate Guide – everything you ever wanted to know about buying or selling your Pasadena home.

This is an additional marketing avenue.  This type of marketing exposes your home to international buyers, other real estate agents that are local as well as the ones that have clients relocating to your area, and the computer literate new generation with deep pockets.

So… when it comes time to interview your Pasadena Real Estate Agent include the following question – Which social network platform do you participate in and how many followers do you have?

And, if you are on any of these following social networks, please connect with me, I’d really like to get to know you!

Connect with Irina on the following networks:

Irina Netchaev on Twitter

Irina Netchaev on Facebook

Irina Netchaev on Flickr

Irina Netchaev on LinkedIn

Irina Netchaev on Google

Irina Netchaev on Trulia Real Estate Voices


Irina Netchaev on Utterli

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Irina Netchaev on Plaxo

Irina Netchaev on Technorati

Posted on July 10th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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Is my Pasadena Home being reviewed for a Decline In Value by the Tax Assessor?

Is my Pasadena Home being reviewed for a Decline In Value by the Tax Assessor?

Home values in Pasadena California have declined over the last year and a half.  We started seeing home price decreases in 2007 and they have continued through 2008, but if you own a home or condo in Pasadena, you still wrote a healthy check to the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor for your bi-annual taxes which were due on April 10th.

READ MORE:  Pasadena Real Estate Housing Analysis for the Last 5 years (2003 to 2008)

I wrote about the tax assessor proactively re-evaluating properties which were purchased between July 1, 2004 and June 30th, 2007. Now, the LA County Tax Assessor has made it even easier to find out if your home property taxes are under review.

If you click on the link below, it will take you to a page where you will be able to enter your home’s property tax identification or AIN number OR type in your Pasadena home address to see if your property’s tax status is under review due to the “decline in value”.


You can also check the status of your application if you submitted one for reassessment by entering your street address or Assessor Identification Number.

You can also see if your property automatically qualifies for a decline-in-value review under either one of the following conditions:

  • The property is a single-family home or condominium purchased between July 01, 2003 (2000 in some areas based on economic conditions) and June 30, 2008.
  • A property is subject to annual review of a temporary decline-in-value reassessment granted for the prior assessment year (2008).

Pasadena home owners of properties other than single-family or condominium (residential-income and commercial/industrial for example) may file a decline-in-value APPLICATION on or before December 31, 2009.
While you may check and monitor the status of a potential or existing decline-in-value review, the details of this review can be obtained by contacting your Los Angeles County District Office.

ALSO READ: Property Tax Increases on your Pasadena Home

How are Property Taxes calculated in Pasadena California

Get your Property Reassessed by the LA County Tax Assessor

To see what Pasadena homes are selling for right now or to start your Pasadena home search, see our Pasadena Homes for Sale site.

For more information on the current health of Pasadena’s real estate market, please visit Pasadena Real Estate Housing Reporting and Statistics site.

Posted on April 15th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev


A New Breed of Real Estate Agents

A New Breed of Real Estate Agents

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I’ve been getting multiple phone calls from home buyers finding my real estate websites and contacting me for more information on homes that they are interested in.

That’s great! Except for, most of these home buyers are doing research for their part time real estate agents. The phone call goes something like this:

Scenario #1

Home Buyer: Hi, I wanted to get more information on 1234 Main Street. I saw it on your website and wanted to see if you can show it to me.

Me: That’s great. I would love to help. May I ask you, are you currently working with a real estate agent?

Home Buyer: mmm… yes… but, my real estate agent doesn’t have time to show me the home. He or she is very busy. Can you please schedule an appointment for me.

Scenario #2

Home Buyer: I was driving through an area and saw a house that I liked. There’s a sign for XYZ company, but they’re not returning phone calls. I googled the address and your site came up. Can you please give me more information.

Me: Same answer – see above.

Home Buyer: Yes… I’m working with an agent, but your site is so informative and you seem so nice. You wouldn’t mind giving me more information about this house, would you?

Scenario #3

Home Buyer: I would like to get more information on a Pasadena home that you have on your website. I called my real estate agent and he said that he didn’t have access to the MLS, can you pull this up for him.

Me: SHOCKED… trying to think fast of an answer that will not offend.

Scenario #4:

Home Buyer: Hi, I’m calling to see if you have any short sales in Pasadena, Temple City or Arcadia.

Me: Sure… there are many homes available that are in the “short sale” process. Are you currently working with an agent.

Home Buyer: Well… I’m actually a lender looking for my client.

Me: Okay, no problem. Is your client working with a real estate agent?

Lender on behalf of Home Buyer: Silence… well… I’m doing all the pre work for my client. Just collecting information.

Me: That’s great. But, isn’t your client working with a real estate agent to help him buy a home?

Lender on behalf of Home Buyer: You see… once we find a home, I will represent him.

Me: Do you have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)? All the information on short sales is there.

Lender on behalf of buyer: silence and hang up

Okay, so I’m getting a little frustrated here.

Let me set the record straight. Real estate agents work on commission.

Minimum real estate agent responsibilities:

We explain the home buying process.
We ensure our clients are pre-approved and understand what they can and can not afford.
We find the right homes for our home buyers.
We negotiate the best price and terms.
We oversee all transactional details during the escrow process.
We close escrow.
Home buyer is happy and we get paid.

The best real estate agents will only work with 3 to 4 buyers at one time. Their time is limited because their focus and attention is devoted to their clients.

If you are a home buyer working with a real estate agent that is unable or unwilling to provide you with the attention that you deserve – switch agents. But, please, I beg you, do not call me and ask for information and cut into my time with my clients. It’s simply disrespectful.

If you are a lender who is trying to make some extra money on the side dabbling in selling real estate. Let me tell you. It’s not easy. If you’re not equipped and trained and experienced to do it correctly, just don’t. Save yourself and your clients the trouble. Refer your home buyers to a great real estate agent.

And, if you are a part time real estate agent that does not have the time for your clients because you have another full time job or do not have the money to invest in the MLS and other needed tools, well… you know what NOT to do…

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

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$8,000 Credit Explained

$8,000 Credit Explained

There are a lot of questions around the $8,000 tax credit that is part of Obama’s stimulus package. Here’s a more detailed explanation:

The $787 Billion stimulus bill is made up of tax cuts and spending programs aimed at reviving the US economy. Although the package was scaled down from nearly $1 Trillion, it still stands as the largest anti-recession effort since World War II. One of the major benefits of the plan is a tax credit for new homebuyers.

According to the plan, first-time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit.

A first-time home buyer is defined as someone who has not owned a primary residence for the last three years.

It’s important to remember that the $8,000 tax credit is just that… a tax credit. It’s a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if you were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, you would owe nothing.

Better still, the incentive is refundable, which means you can receive a check for the credit even if you have little income tax liability. For example, if you’re liable for $4,000 in income tax, you can offset that $4,000 with half of the tax incentive… and still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!

Who Qualifies?

The $8,000 incentive starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000 and is phased out completely at incomes of $170,000 for couples and $95,000 for single filers.

To break down what this phase-out means, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:

Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phase-out threshold is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer incentive to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

Example 2: Assume that an individual homebuyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible to reduce the tax liability by $2,800.

Remember, these are general examples. Borrows should consult a tax advisor to provide guidance relevant to their specific circumstances.

What Type of Home Qualifies?

The tax credit is applicable to any home that will be used as a principle residence. Based on that guideline, qualifying “homes” include single-family detached homes, as well as attached homes such as townhouses and condominiums. In addition, manufactured homes and houseboats used for principle residence also qualify. Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.

Posted on March 9th, 2009
Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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$100 Million in Tax Credits is Available to Californians

$100 Million in Tax Credits is Available to Californians

My friend, Mike at Cafe Pasadena, just sent me information about the new incentive plan that the State of California is offering to encourage home buyers purchasing new home construction.

This tax credit is obviously not being promoted by the state of California since I’m hearing about it for the first time. But, here at the Pasadena Real Estate blog with the help of our friends, we are able to bring you the scoop!

$100 million has been allocated and is available on a first come, first served basis. So if you are thinking of buying one of the new Pasadena condo developments like Granite Park or Lake at Walnut , make sure to take the opportunity to apply for this credit.

Here are the California tax credit rules:

  • It is only available for NEW HOME PURCHASES.
  • This tax credit is only available for qualified buyers who purchase a qualified residence between March 1, 2009 and March 1, 2010 and only until the tax credit allocated amount lasts.
  • The property purchase must never have been occupied before, i.e. new construction!
  • The buyer must reside in the new home for a minimum of two years immediately following the purchase date.
  • Be eligible for the property tax homeowner’s exemption under California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 218.
  • California Tax credit amounts

    California allocated $100,000,000 for this tax credit. Buyers must apply for credit allocation from us. Applications will be reviewed and credit allocations will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Once $100,000,000 has been allocated, the tax credit will no longer be available.

    Total credit allocated to date by California: $0

    Remaining credit available: $100,000,000

    To check how much Tax Credit Allocation is available, visit the Franchise Tax Board New Tax Credit for New Construction Home Buyers Page.

    California allows qualified new home buyers a total tax credit amount equal to either five percent of the purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less. Taxpayers must apply the total tax credit in equal amounts over three successive taxable years (maximum of $3,333 per year) beginning with the taxable year (2009 or 2010) in which the new home is purchased.

    How to apply

    Within one week (seven calendar days) after the close of escrow:

  • The seller must complete Part I of Form 3528-A, Application for New Home Credit, certifying that the home has never been occupied, and provide a copy to the buyer or escrow person.
  • The buyer will complete Parts II & III of Form 3528-A.
  • The escrow officer on behalf of the seller and buyer will fax the completed Form 3528-A to FTB at 916.845.9754, and provide a copy to the buyer.
  • Fax is the only delivery method that will be accepted and considered for credit allocation by FTB (Franchise Tax Board), as the date and time stamp on the fax will determine the order in which credits are allocated.

  • Fax only one completed application per residence with all qualified buyers listed. Do not include information on nonqualified buyers. An incomplete application may delay or prevent credit allocation.
  • Do not fax the application to FTB before escrow closes.
  • Do not fax the application to FTB more than once. We will process the applications in the order received as quickly as possible.
  • Escrow companies should only send one application per fax transmission.
  • The buyer keeps a copy of the completed Form 3528-A for their records.

    Don’t miss your opportunity to take advantage of this tax credit for new construction homes!

    UPDATE: The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently announced that the $100 million allocated by the state in new home tax credits will soon be gone. The FTB has received more than 9,800 applications, claiming nearly $95 million as of June 17, and plans to accept 12,000 applications to allow for duplicates, revisions, or invalid applications.

    This tax credit is available for qualified buyers who, on or after March 1, 2009, and before March 1, 2010, purchase a qualified principal residence that has never been occupied. The buyer must reside in the new home for a minimum of two years immediately following the purchase date. To apply, an application for new home credit must be completed by the buyer and seller within one week after the close of escrow and faxed by the escrow person to the FTB at (916) 845-9754.

    The FTB will continue to report the certificates issued on a weekly basis until the full $100 million has been allocated. FTB expects to complete processing all certificates in August. Each applicant will receive a notification indicating the amount of credit allocated or denied.

    Posted on March 2nd, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev


    Non-Jumbo Loan Amounts Extended for Pasadena Home Buyers

    Non-Jumbo Loan Amounts Extended for Pasadena Home Buyers

    For those who are considering taking advantage of the $8,000 tax incentive for first-time homebuyers which is included in the president’s economic stimulus bill, there is some more good news that could make doing so easier and more accessible.

    An extension is now officially in place on the higher loan limits for mortgages in the tier that lies just below what is considered a “jumbo” loan.

    First established last year, and now extended through the end of 2009, limits on this additional tier provide opportunities for many who are looking to either refinance or, better yet, take the plunge into first time home ownership and grab a piece of the highly publicized $8,000 tax incentive.

    Here are some key points about this higher loan limit extension, announced by the Fair Housing Finance Agency this past week:

    The non-jumbo, middle tier of home loans begins at loan amounts greater than $417,000 for single-unit homes.

    The top end for this tier is $729,750 for single-unit homes.

    The rates for these loans will again be slightly higher than conforming loan rates, but less expensive than the standard “jumbo” loan rates.

    This higher limit on the non-jumbo tier is available in Los Angeles and 249 other counties across the United States.

    If you are not sure if you if you can take advantage of the $8,000 tax incentive, here are some examples to help you better understand the income limits and phase-out structure.

    The $8,000 incentive starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000 and is phased out completely at incomes of $170,000 for couples and $95,000 for single filers.

    To break down what this phase-out means, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:

    Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phase-out threshold is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer incentive to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

    Example 2: Assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible to reduce the tax liability by $2,800. Remember, these are general examples. Borrows should consult a tax advisor to provide guidance relevant to their specific circumstances.

    Posted on March 2nd, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

    No Comments »

    Changes in the Tax Break for New Pasadena Home Buyers

    Changes in the Tax Break for New Pasadena Home Buyers

    Last week, I wrote about the $7,500 tax credit when purchasing your new Pasadena home.

    With the new stimulus package there have been some significant changes. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 allowed first time home buyers to receive up to $7,500 tax credit which would then need to be repaid over the next 15 years.

    Obama’s Stimulus package raised this amount to $8,000, BUT this tax credit does not need to be repaid.

    Here’s a quick summary of the Stimulus Bill credit:

    The tax credit in the Stimulus Bill has been scaled down to $8,000 from its previous level of $15,000, or 10% of the value of the home for any first time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November.

    It starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000, and Pasadena home buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.

    Obama’s administration is still trying to come up with a new program to subsidize mortgages to fight the credit crisis. The plan would seek to help homeowners before they fall into arrears on their loans, whereas current programs only assist borrowers that are already delinquent. There are no details yet on this plan, but I will be monitoring this news closely in the weeks ahead.

    Posted on February 17th, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev


    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?


    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

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