Friday, November 2, 2012

Highest 9K lot value sale in North Santa Monica and Palisades sale 300K over asking

After taking a hiaturs since the housing crash, builders are back in droves looking for potential projects especially in areas like Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica where profits of $800K-$1M can be had in a hot market. The builders are also competing with end users who are sick of trying to find the right house and willing to build.  Without much inventory the price for desirable land is skyrocketing and the end user willing to pay a little bit more tends to be winning the majority of these battles.  

702 21st Street- Word is an end user won a tenacious multiple offer battle featuring 12 bidders for this Gillette Regent lot. The fixer/tear down property was listed for $2.2M and ended up selling in a cash deal with no contingencies for $2.650M  on October 29th.  This is the highest recorded price for a 8,900 Gillete Regent lot that was priced to sell for land value.  $450K over asking! On the heels of this sale...

221 18th Street- This charming vintage Spanish boasts 2,000 sq. ft. with 2 bed/2.50 bath on a 8,925 sq. ft. lot.  Located on one of the premier streets North of Montana, it also garnered a lot of initial interest with 11 parties initially bidding on the home with a list price of $2.2M.  They ended up countering six parties and rumor has it the winning bid was all-cash around $2.4M with a 21 day close.

The Palisades is not far behind...

1342 Charmel Place- Marquez Knolls is not the easiest location to find in the Palisades but it does boast incredible ocean views and a complete escape from the city. This property provides the perfect landscape for a designer/architect to take full advantage of breathtaking views.  The 4 bed/3 bath, 2,808 sq. ft. home on a 12,455 sq. ft. lot (only about 7,500 useable) sold for $2.002M, just over $350K above the list price. 

Two homes sell $100K over asking on Dewey in Mar Vista!

Check out these two recent sales on Dewey. The Westide is on fire and don't be surprised if Mar Vista is up over 20% by the end of the year.  We have seen a significant jump in the past three months as buyers desperate for properties are doing whatever they can to get a foot in the door...especially for a home in excellent condition.

12673 Dewey St- Being located right next to the Santa Monica Airport didn't phase buyers looking for a modern architectural that was recently completed.  The 1,900 sq. ft. home (2,400 if you include the finished garage that is used for living purposes) received over 6 offers and sold for $1.425M, which is $130K over the list price of $1.295M .According to public records the house sold for $580K in February before being reconstructed in its current condition.

The house had a strong emotional appeal for someone seeking an architectural style home but with only a 5,483 sq. ft. lot the back-yard is tiny and backs up to a public walk-way. The neigbors must be estatic with this sale at $736 a sq. ft and yet another example of how quickly the market has changed.

12114 Dewey St- This custom architectural created quite a buzz. Located in the Mar Vista Elementary school district, young families were clamoring over this 3 bed/3 bath, 2,187 sq. ft. home on a 5,850 sq. ft. lot. Rumor has it they received over 12 offers at the $1.397M list price. The property ended up selling for $1.501M with a 30 day escrow period.  This home has a higher quality feel compared to 12673 Dewey and the kitchen and master bedroom areas are more spacious.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

North Santa Monica Party House Causing Quite the Ruckus

 The old Kathryn Grayson Estate on La Mesa Drive overlooking Riviera Country Club was sold in 2010 to a high end designer for $7.7 Million  and it has become quite the rave lately...literally.  After being extensively remodeled, the owners have tried to think outside the box and have large parties attracting the Los Angeles elite with the goal of trying to get someone drunk enough or high enough to overpay to the tune of $20-25 Million Dollars for the home. The parties have been happening on a frequent basis attracting in upwards of 400 people and driving neighbors on the normally quiet street nuts.  Reports of naked people sleeping in cars and open drug use on the street have been circulating around town.

Tonight at the Santa Monica City Council meeting, an emergency ordinance that prohibits homeowners from hosting more than 150 people at one time for the purposes of selling a home.  Please see the article below for more detailed information.  The attorney representing the owners is threatening a lawsuit against the city if the ordinance is passed...I just have one question: Do the owners realize who the neighbors are that they are driving crazy? Growing up in the neighborhood my answer would be they are not the type of people you want to make enemies may win a small battle but in the long run you will lose the a big way.

UPDATE: The Santa Monica City Council had a split vote on the emergency ordinance and will be revisiting this situation at the next meeting. 

Article: North Santa Monica Party House

Friday, October 19, 2012

3rd Quarter Market Stats...Upward Momentum Continues

For the past few weeks I have heard seasoned real estate professionals state they have never seen a market like this. The recovery in home values on the Westside this year has been dramatic and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.  This is a real life case of Econ 101 with lack of supply+high demand equaling upward price movement. 

Most of the U.S. is seeing a strong rebound this year but high-end areas butting up against the coast like Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades are getting an even stronger kick thanks to Santa Monica, Venice and the Marina being commercially robust due to major technology companies flocking to the area thus giving it the nickname Silicon Beach.

Please click on the link below and have access to the Partners Trust single family and condo reports where we compare this year's 3rd quarter to last year's 3rd quarter.  The comprehensive report stretches all the way out to the valley and some eastside locales.  Besides strong increases in the average price sold the number you really want to pay attention to is how the average month of supply of inventory has decreased dramatically.  The lack of inventory is bordering on historic levels.

North Santa Monica is seeing 2007 prices with moderately sized nice homes going for over $1,000/1,150 a square foot.  Santa Monica in general is up 28.67% with the monthly inventory dropping 57.75%...Pacific Palisades is up 26.72% with monthly inventory dropping 30.14%. More moderately priced locales like Mar Vista are up around 10% and seeing montly inventory dropping alomost 60%.  Please remember these numbers are only comparing specific quarters and can be skewed a bit. 

Please check out:

Even the bubble bloggers acknowledge market strength

From the Santa Monica Distress Monitor: “I started this blog over 5 years ago. A lot has happened over the past 5 years but I am increasingly convinced that this blog and "bubble blogs" as a whole are largely irrelevant now. Yes there is still "uncertainty", but there always is. The recovery may be choppy at times but I think it is pretty obvious that we are well into recovery territory. At this rate I won't be surprised to see quality Westside properties at or very near all time highs over the next year or two.  Real estate is boring now, and that's a good thing. But it also means less blogging. I'm not ready to pull the plug just yet, but from now through the end of the year I anticipate less posting.

Source: SM Distress Monitor

Two significant articles from a national perspective

Article: U.S.families' debt loads decline to pre-recession levels

Overall, households today are paying less than 16% of after-tax income to cover debt payments and lease obligations, the smallest share since 1984, Federal Reserve data show.

September existing-home sales fell slightly from the previous month, but remain well above year-ago levels as prices continue to escalate on new demand in key real estate markets.

September numbers are up 11% from the 4.28 million units sold a year ago.

**Articles both from LA Times

Mortgage rates hovering near all-time lows

Mortgage rates hovered near their all-time lows this week, with the average 30-year fixed loan at 3.37%, down from 3.39% last week, Freddie Mac said in its latest survey of what lenders are offering to solid borrowers.

The record low of 3.36% was set two weeks ago.

Freddie said the average offering rate for a 15-year home loan was 2.66%, a new record low. Borrowers would have paid an average 0.7% of the loan amount in upfront lender fees and points for the 30-year loan and 0.6% for the 15-year mortgage.

Source (article and chart): LA Times

Monday, August 27, 2012

Westside Market Stats

One of the many things I love about Partners Trust is the market research provided to agents and our clients.  We have a market research team who know the micro markets that make-up the Westside better than anyone.  Click the link below for our latest quarterly market stats for single family homes and condos.  Across the board we have seen healthy price increases through 2012. If you would like specific information about a zip code or area, please feel to contact me and we can make it happen!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mortgage rates rise for third straight week

Fixed mortgage rates rose for the third straight week after setting all-time lows, with the typical 30-year rate on a loan below $417K increasing from 3.59% to 3.62%.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note closed at 1.8% Wednesday after bottoming out at 1.4% on July 24. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate, hit an all-time low of 3.49% that same week. These rates are based on loans to solid borrowers who have 20% or higher downpayments or 20% equity in their homes if they are refinancing. Borrowers typically paid 0.6% of the loan amount in lender fees and discount points.

Source: LA Times

Southland home prices hit four year high + other articles you should read

LA Times: Southland home prices hit four year high

LA Times: Bank coffers swelling from mortgage sales

CNN: Mortgage closing costs fell 7% for homebuyers

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sale price above list price?! Such is the case for Mar Vista in July

July 2012: # of sales: 38 DOM 20, SP vs. OLP 100.87%/ SP vs. LP 101.07% SP: 874K

July 2010: # of sales: 30 DOM 32 SP vs. OLP 97.11%/ SP vs. LP 99.37% SP: 844K

(Abbreviation key: DOM= Days on Market; SP vs. OLP= sales price versus the original list price. This calculates the sale price from the beginning it hit the market even if a new agent takes on the listing or it was in escrow for a period of time.; SP vs. LP= sales price versus list price at the time of the sale.)

The Skinny: 24 of the 38 sales sold for at or over the original list price with most of those 24 sales receiving at least 3 offers.  Even though the numbers in terms of sales price vs. list price and DOM in Mar Vista were strong in July 2010, this past months activity was quite a bit stronger. An average of only 20 days on the market coupled with a sales price above the list price shows the strong demand for homes in this quiet community bordered by Venice, Santa Monica and Culver City. Mar Vista has developed a strong niche on the Westside with young families seeking a home with a more palatable entry price point than Santa Monica/Palisades while still having solid elementary schools (Beethoven, Mar Vista and Clover). 
3534 Mountain View
3534 Mountain View Ave, a 3 bed/2 bath, 1,604 sq. ft. home sold for 15% above the list price at $1.135M.  3565 Colonial Ave, a 5 bed/4 bath on 3,642 sq. ft. home also sold for 15% above the list price at $1.375M.  Colonial was a short sale and in 2004 was purchased for $1.5oM.

Market trends of the week and random noteworthy thoughts

Trending: Multiple offers in all price points from $500,000 up to $5,000,000 is the reality of the moment. And yet, as wonderful as that sounds, proper pricing is critical to achieving robust interest in any home. We are not in a market climate that can absorb overpricing. Bottom line: Buyers need to be pre-approved for loans because you are competing with “all cash” offers and Sellers need to be sensitive to recent comparable sales to create the optimal pricing strategy. 

Million dollar home sales continue to climb statewide: According to an article in the LA Times last week, Million-dollar-or-more home sales statewide surged in the second quarter to the highest level since the third quarter of 2007 as the economy and mortgage availability improved.  The 7,763 homes sold at $1 million or more from April to June represented an 18.5% increase from the same period last year. It was the most sales in this price range for a quarter since 2007, when 10,946 closings were recorded.  Though this is good news, we are still at less than half of the highest quarter number of sales for $1-million or up houses which was the third quarter of 2005, when 15,898 homes changed hands.

Be weary of what you read on the internet: I monitor many real estate blogs, especially those that have been bearish about Westside real estate over the past eight years.  They provided good information that I could pass along to my readers, especially from 2005-2010, but many of them have either stopped posting or are providing erroneous information to try and prove the market is unhealthy.  As late as last month one site tried to claim the 90402 zip code is down over 20% compared to last year when in actuality it is up around 10%.  On the end of the spectrum, I appreciate sites like the Santa Monica Distress Monitor who started off writing about inflated real estate prices but has adjusted with the market and gives a balanced look at the market.

Information from a great realtor is key: Some people are weary of hearing information from realtors thinking it will be jaded and that is understandable as some in this business do not have great ethics, but you are far better off finding a trustworthy professional who provides real time info so you can make the right decision.  The media is usually a few months behind what is going on and that difference can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and/or missing out on a wonderful home.

Appraisals causing headaches for refinances and purchases…what can be done to help?

You are not alone if you are in the process of getting your home refinanced or are purchasing and the appraisal is lower than what it should be.  Many people are stuck in the same boat with appraisals trailing the market 3 to 6 months and reluctant to accept the recent upward momentum of Westside real estate.
If you are in the refinancing boat and as long as rates stay low as anticipated, you will be in a solid position to get a higher appraisal in the next 6-9 months so staying patient is key.

Another important aspect with refinancing and purchasing is working with a lending representative with local knowledge.  Banks randomly assign appraisals and you can end up with an appraiser without local knowledge or an understanding of the Westside/South Bay markets.  

A lender with local ties might have a sense the appraiser assigned might not understand the area as well and help you figure out ways to get a different appraiser before they come out to the property.

In terms of a purchase appraisal, it is extremely important the listing agent meets the appraiser at the property and provides them recent comparables and neighborhood tidbits that add value.   Some appraisers will not engage in these conversations but most appreciate the info, especially when it comes to off-market activity. 

Please let us know if you have any questions related to this topic as we know of some excellent loan representatives at different banks we would be happy to put you in touch with.

Traffic nightmare near: California Incline rebuild project approved

The Santa Monica City Council voted in July to move forward with a construction project that will replace the aging California Incline Bridge connecting Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue.  Construction is expected to start sometime in the fall or winter of 2013!

A major access point into downtown Santa Monica, it is a major artery into the heart of the city.
Under the proposed project, the existing structure will be replaced by a 750-ft.-long by 52-ft.-wide concrete bridge and will require a 12- to 18-month closure of the popular connecting byway.

City staffers are asking that construction take place from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. They estimate the extended hours would expedite construction by about 25 percent above the option of working during standard city construction hours.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom promised an open dialog with residents, who have aired concerns that construction will bring traffic neighboring areas to a complete standstill.
Articles to read on the topic:
Major redo of California Incline Approved - Santa Monica Patch

Palisades Post Article on Impact of California Incline Construction

*Sources: Santa Monica Patch and Palisades Post

Friday, June 1, 2012

Multiple Offer Mayhem Part III: Pacific Palisades

Like Santa Monica and Brentwood, Pacific Palisades also finds itself in a strong market with quite a few listings going out in auction like fashion:

1147 El Medio - 3 bed/3.50 bath, 3,144 sq. ft. Mid-Century on a 12,820 sq. ft. lot. The low list price of $2.365M created a ton of interest in the property with the listing agent receiving 16 offers. The captivating ocean and city light views combined with recent updates helped push the final sale price of this home to $3.080M, 700K over the asking price and at 979.63 per sq. ft. Rumor has it that counters were issued to the six highest original offers.

745 Swarthmore - 4 bed/2.75 Bath, 2,477 sq. ft. Traditional on a 9,000 sq. ft. lot. Located blocks from the village and recently renovated, this home with a desirable open floor plan received 4 offers and sold just above the $2.495M list price at $2.5M. The final price per square foot= $1009.29

1039 Las Pulgas Road - 3 bed/2.50 Bath, 2,021 sq. ft. Traditional on a 11,425 sq. ft. lot. This Marquez area home provides a great example of the current marketplace and what has been happening over the past 5 years. In 2007, this home was completely remodeled with a gourmet kitchen and providing great indoor/outdoor flow and sold for $2.150M in multiple offers. The house resold 3 years later off the market on 9/23/2010 for $1.759M, representing just over an 18% drop in value. On March 21st of this year, the home was listed at $1.759M and immediately received over 6 offers and sold for $1.825M, about a 4% price increase and it would probably have been 6% if it the market in the past few weeks.

Multiple Offer Mayhem Part IV: Brentwood

How about 35 offers on one house followed by a neighboring house coming on weeks later and receiving 15 offers! What about almost a million over asking? Here we go-

1750 Westridge Road- 3 bed/5 bath, 4,754 sq. ft. Traditional on a 32,246 sq. ft. lot - Fellow Partner Scott Carmody had a firestorm of buyers on his hands with a $2.195M list price. The property received around 8 offers for the rare opportunity to build or remodel on a lot this size and that rarity apparently drove some to bid over $2.5M (350K over asking) for the property. The escrow is still very young so we will be tracking this one.

117 South Medio- 4 bed/5bath, 5,365 sq. ft. Traditional on a 8,000 sq. ft. lot - This stunning traditional home created an unbelievable buzz when it first hit the market due to a ridiculously low list price of $3.295M. Many agents felt the property was worth over $4 million and it ended up selling for $4.251M almost $1M over asking! In total they received over 11 offers and countered back to 6 of them. Congrats to Partner Vicki Driscoll for helping her client see the value of the home in this marketplace despite the deceptive list price.

1353 Beckwith- 3 bed/2 bath, 2,259 sq. ft. Ranch on about a 9,000 sq. ft. lot - The polo fields of Brentwood are getting a ton of attention but no one expected the property to garner 35 offers at the $1.495M list price. This major remodel/teardown is rumored to be in escrow between $1.650-$1.7M with an all cash buyer.

 On the heels of 1353 Beckwith going into escrow, fellow Partner Richard Stearns listed 1341 Beckwith a tear-down with an 11,140 sq. ft. lot at $1.595M. The trust sale was only open for the broker caravan and garnered 15 offers and an offer was accepted this past Thursday.

Low Mortgage Rates Attracting More Short-Term Borrowers

As mortgage rates sink deeper into record territory, homeowners are refinancing into 15-year loans at a pace not seen in a decade, aiming to pay off their debt in time for retirement.
Check out the LA Times article.

National News: Short Sales of Homes Soar 25% to Three-Year High

From the LA Times:
“Financial institutions are agressively seeking to move through their inventories of homes in default or scheduled for auction,” said Stuart A. Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. “This is a positive sign in the sense that clearing out this shadow inventory is a precondition for the full healing of the housing sector.” 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Westside Experiencing a Strong Seller’s Market

As I reported in the Skinny last year the real estate market was showing signs of strength thanks to low interest rates, tightening inventory and an influx of new wealth into the area thanks to the Silicon Beach phenomenon and the Westside always being an attractive second home destination for the international elite. In late 2011 many well respected financial analysts were touting this as a strong buying opportunity calculating that if you take the current interest rates combined with the drop in value of the past five years in actuality you have more like a 40-45% drop in Westside real estate value from the market heights.

Even knowing all of this, it would have been difficult to predict what the Westside market has experienced this year despite all of the worldwide economic turmoil. With inventory getting even tighter and interest rates continuing to drop to new lows the market flipped in almost overnight fashion and we are seeing double digit appreciation in many areas and price points over last year with multiple offers being presented on the majority of properties priced at market value. Make sure you read the Multiple Offer Mayhem posts below providing you with the inside scoop of what is going on.

Why so few properties? 

 Despite this strong value increase, many Westside owners are still underwater thanks to buying at the peak and then refinancing themselves to an even greater debt before the nation’s economic collapse. Many seller’s who are not in economic trouble are unwilling to take a significant loss to the property they currently occupy and even if they wanted to sell the tight inventory has left those looking for a home at a higher price point with very few options.

Standing out in a crowded pack of buyers

Agents are back to advising clients looking to purchase to do anything they can to create attention to their offers in a positive way. Ideas that were employed at the height of the market (personal notes written with flowers or baked goods, removing financing and physical inspection contingencies, picking up seller’s costs) are back in vogue as desperate buyers do whatever they can to get their hands on a property. Furthermore, agents must also present a clean and professional offer package with all the documentation along with having a solid reputation for the offer to be taken seriously.

Numbers tell the Story

In the highly coveted North of Montana market (90402) in Santa Monica, the number of days on market has dramatically shortened from 85 to 38 days and median sales has climbed to $2.694M compared to $2.441M in 2011. Further supporting the Seller’s market is the high listing to sales price ratio for the area – currently 97% and climbing higher. In a Seller’s market, this ratio hovers close to 100% and in a declining or Buyer’s market, the ratio can drop below 90%.

Patience is Key

Frustrated buyers need to stay patient and be ready to move on a property right away. The non-existent inventory should improve in the coming months with seller’s seeing this as a potential opportunity to get a price they didn’t think possible a year ago along with a presidential election looming. Though the Westside does not have nearly the amount of bank owned properties as other areas that are still struggling mightily, the banks still have properties they need to unload and that should provide a little relief as well.

Multiple Offer Mayhem Part I: Santa Monica

Per my recent post about the Westside real estate market in general, Santa Monica is red hot and here are some prime examples. Enjoy some of the behind the scenes info and chatter:

534 10th Street- 4 bed/2.5 bath, 3,554 sq. ft. Mediterranean on a 7,500 sq. ft. lot - This beautiful Mediterranean revival earned rave reviews when it was on caravan and the rumored sales price of almost $300K over the $3.288M List price confirms that. The property received 9 offers within the first week of showings and word on the street is it went to an all cash buyer. The list price sq. ft. was $925.15 and a sales price of around $3.550M lifts that # to around $1,000 per sq. ft!

709 10th Street- 4 bed/3.5 bath, 3,326 sq. ft. Craftsman on a 7,500 sq. ft. lot - Just like 534 10th, this contemporary craftsman with a stunning second story with a beautiful great room across from a sizable master suite hit the market with a $2.495M list price. They received 9 offers and sold for $2.6M on May 18th.

339 20th Street- 4 bed, 3.5 bath, 2,760 sq. ft. Spanish on a 8,940 sq. ft. lot - At first glance this home felt like a tear down and immediately went into escrow as such well over the $2.095M list price which surprised some of us who didn’t see the market turning so quickly. However, it was listed on the City of Santa Monica historic inventory list immediately turning it into a major revitalization project. Usually this can hurt the value of a property in the eyes of a developer which might have been why it originally fell out of escrow. However, another buyer quickly stepped in and paid 200K over the ask price and it closed at $2.320M. Congrats to fellow Partner John Hathorn for orchestrating the deal at this price point.

 2418 Washington- 4 bed/2 bath, 1,716 sq. ft. Traditional on a 5,060 sq. ft. lot - The caravan and 1st open house combined for over 200 visitors thanks to a great North of Wilshire location and a floor plan that could easily work for a young family seeking Franklin Elementary school. The house definitely needs some work done in the coming years but that did not keep at least five people from offering and bidding up the house to around a rumored $1.35M sale price over the $1.298M list price.

 2401 31st Street- 3 bed/2.75 bath, 2,116 sq. ft. remodeled traditional on a 6,000 sq. ft. lot - A beautiful Sunset Park house that definitely is the jewel of the street apparently received upwards of 7 offers with a $1.299M list price and went out somewhere in the mid to high $1.3 range. The quality of the remodel appears top notch and appealed to the fussiest of buyers.

Multiple Offer Mayhem Part II: Mar Vista

One of the best kept secrets in Los Angeles, located just south of Santa Monica and east of Venice, Mar Vista has been a multiple offer factory lately:

12425 Indianapolis Street- 3 bed/2 bath, 1,487 sq. ft. Mid-Century modern on a 5,700 sq. ft. lot - Listed for $799K and received 6 offers right away and it is rumored to have sold for $860K. The home was remodeled in the past year and had a nice feel to it appealing to buyers who do not want to deal with a project.

Down the street and a few weeks later… 

12624 Indianapolis Street - 4 bed/3 bath, 2,391 sq. ft. Contemporary on a 7,150 sq. ft. With a list price of $1.179M they received 4 offers with the accepted price coming in around $1.240M.  The final price will probably come in lower due to the request for repairs and other reasons. The house was completely remodeled and expanded on in 2006 and has some very nice architectural features.

3631 Barry Avenue- 3 bed/2 bath, 1,853 sq. ft. California Bungalow on a 7,800 sq. ft. lot - Listed at $1.050M and received a ton of interest right away. The spacious and open floorplan appealed to a wide range of buyers and the word on the street had this receiving 5 offers and going well over asking.

3437 Halderman- 4 bed/3 bath, 1,882 sq. ft. Contemporary on a 7,323 sq. ft. lot – The disappointed bidders on 12624 Indianapolis immediately flocked to this property with a similar lot size and in great condition with a phenomenal indoor/outdoor flow. With a $1.199M list price they apparently received five offers and went out around $1.240M.

 3664 Boise- 3 bed/2 bath, 1,534 sq. ft. Traditional on a 5,767 sq. ft. lot - Despite the house needing some updating that didn’t keep buyers away thanks to the great lay-out and location. With a list price of $799K they received multiple offers and are reportedly in escrow above the list price.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

30 Year Mortgage Hits New Record Low at 3.79%

The LA Times reports that "30-year mortgage rates have fallen below 3.8% for the first time to average 3.79%, down from a then-record 3.83% a week ago.

The 15-year fixed loan also hit another new low, falling from 3.05% last week to 3.04% this week.

The start rates on adjustable mortgages rose slightly in the survey. Quotes are for solid borrowers with 20% down payments or equivalent equity in their homes if they are refinancing.

The borrowers would have paid 0.7% of the loan amount on average in upfront fees and discount points to obtain the fixed-rate loans, and slightly less for adjustable-rate loans."

 (*source LA Times)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Proud Partner at Partners Trust

A few weeks ago I officially became an associate partner at The Partners Trust real estate brokerage & acquisitions group based out of Brentwood which also has offices in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.  I am extremely excited to be with Partners Trust and believe the collaborative environment and level of service is unmatched in the industry.  As I get situated and familiar with the technological and statistical advancements, clients will see positive advancements with the Skinny on Real Estate blog and continued advancement with customer service.

At Partners Trust, the objective is to present clients with the most professional, successful and ethical real estate associates in the business and represent clients with care, confidentiality and the utmost attention to service. 
Since the company's inception three years ago they have experienced exponential growth and are on pace to do over $1 billion dollars in sales in 2012 with just 80 agents.  In the past year, almost 40% of the sales at Partners Trust were "off the market" (meaning not on the MLS) which is another testament to the tremendous collaborative environment.   According to the MLS numbers, our company's sales volume is up 144% since this time last year, making us the fastest growing independent real estate company on the Westside.  Needless to say I am very excited about being part of this success!

If you are not familar with the Partners Trust web-site, I invite you to visit and please feel free to e-mail me at

Mortgage rates again at record lows

Mortgage rates are again at record lows, with lenders offering 30-year loans at an average of 3.84%, Freddie Mac’s weekly survey shows.

That's down from 3.88% last week and a previous record low of 3.87% in February. All of the rates would have seemed unimaginable as recently as 2008, when the 30-year rate averaged more than 6%, or 2009, when the typical rate exceeded 5%.

The 15-year fixed mortgage also dropped to a new record, showing the typical lender offering rate was 3.07% this week, down from 3.12% last week and its previous low point of 3.11%, set April 12.

Interest rates are at rock bottom because of the state of the economy and the inflation outlook.

The widely watched Freddie Mac survey, which has tracked 30-year rates for more than 40 years, presumes the borrowers have solid credit and 20% down payments or equity in their homes. It asks lenders what rates they are offering on loans of up to $417,000 to these borrowers assuming they pay less than 1% of the loan amount upfront in lender fees and points.

Borrowers with good credit who shop around frequently obtain slightly better rates than those in the survey. They also can obtain lower rates by paying additional discount points to their lender upfront.
Source: LA Times

Trampolines: a possible home insurance issue

Even though trampolines can be a great source of exercise and fun for children and adults a like, if you Google the words "trampoline" and "liability," you'll see that not only are trampoline injuries a very common cause of severe injuries, they are also the source of a full-blown body of law around homeowners being responsible to cover the costs and other damages related to those injuries.

In fact, just last month, New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain suffered a career-pausing ankle dislocation while jumping on a trampoline.
Many homeowners insurance and hazard insurance policies are actually voided by the installation of a trampoline on the home.

I strongly suggest that if your are thinking of getting a trampoline that you reach out to your insurance representative to fully understand the impact of having one and whether they will cover it and what the increase in your insurance will be.

Info source: