Nevada City Virtual Tour

Monday, December 31, 2012

Loan modifications on primary residence now being treated as short sellers by Fannie Mae?

Just when it seems sanity is returning to the lending industry this gets dropped on us.
Homeowners receiving loan modifications for their primary residence (and noted on their credit report); are now being treated as short sellers by Fannie Mae…even if the homeowner was never late on their mortgage.

In other words: A responsible homeowner, who made their payments on time and received a loan mod for their primary residence will now have to wait three (at least) years before they can purchase their NEXT home (or refi their current residence).

The only exception to the rule: If a homeowner received a loan modification on an “investment property/second home” may receive financing on another property (primary residence only) on a case by case basis (underwriter’s discretion) within 2 years.

Here are the Fannie rules:

o Refinance transactions: On previously modified loans…refinancing is not permitted.

o New purchase transactions: When a borrower’s current residence (previous loan) was modified AND the property is being retained as a 2nd home/investment property…financing for another home…will NOT be permitted.

o New purchase transactions: ..When a borrower’s previous loan was modified AND the property is being sold…the borrowers loan application …should be treated with caution and reviewed for delinquencies and short payoffs.

o New purchases of 2nd home or investment properties: When a borrower’s current residence (owner occupied) has been granted a loan modification… financing for the next home will not be NOT permitted.
o Refinances where another property (not the subject property) has a loan modification should be reviewed with "caution" to ensure that there was no short refinance (treated as a short sale).

Friday, December 28, 2012

Short Sales just got harder because of new lender tactics

Short Sales just got harder because of new lender tactics!!!

Short Sale Process Complicated by "Loan Selling"
Hello Agents
Your job just got harder. A lot harder!!!!
The Real Estate Marketing Insider (La Jolla, CA.) has chronicled how the largest banks (B of A, Citi and Chase) are attempting to wiggle out of the National Mortgage Settlement that goes into affect Jan 1, 2013.
The nation’s largest banks are rapidly transferring delinquent mortgages to “mortgage servicers” resulting in the killing/ delaying current short sale transactions at the “11th hour”.
Usually the borrower is notified (via mail) their loan will be sold (usually within two weeks).
Editor’s note:As part of the National Mortgage Settlement banks are required to disclose impending servicing changes ONLY IF the owner makes a request(s)in writing).
Therefore it will be critical to regularly (approx. every 15-30 days) request
Agents (and the buyer’s loan officer) on both sides of the transaction must rush to close OR wait weeks until the change occurs and start the process from scratch with the new servicer.
The fallout can be catastrophic to the short sellers, who are often counting on cash incentives to move.
Loss of cash incentives will certainly result in many short sellers filing BK (delaying the sale for months) and even vandalizing/stripping the home.
Meanwhile, prospective buyers can lose patience with the transaction (hopefully not with their agent) or the terms of the sale can expire.

If a bank is not co–operative the seller can file a complaint with the Calif. Attorney Generals Office as a way of pressuring the lender to follow thru with the terms of the original agreement.
(Earlier this year it was California Attorney General Kamala Harris who held a hard line against banking lobbyists, forcing a more homeowner friendly settlement and reigning in abuses that have been commonplace from 2007-2011)
Editor’s note:As part of the National Mortgage Settlement banks are required to disclose impending servicing changes ONLY IF the owner makes a request(s)in writing).
Therefore it will be critical to regularly (approx. every 15-30 days) request it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yes, Housing Starts Surge, but Rentals Are the Drivers

Yes, Housing Starts Surge, but Rentals Are the Drivers

NEW YORK (CNBC) -- The headline number for housing starts was big, exceeding expectations and sending the home builder stocks on yet another tear.

Starts hit 894,000 (annualized) in October, over 50,000 more than the analysts forecast. Housing starts are now at their highest level since July 2008.

"We expect the builder equities will react positively initially, but then fade through the day once the report is fully digested as 'multifamily' was the key driver of the results," warned Stephen East at ISI.

There is no question that home builders are benefiting from tight supply in the existing home market and overall improved consumer confidence. That was apparent in the home builder confidence numbers released this week, which hit the highest level in six years.

Single family housing starts hit historic lows and are now just rising from the ashes. That is why some of the comparisons, like single family starts (up 35% from a year ago), sound so monumental and push the stocks higher.

But investors need to keep these numbers in perspective.

"Housing starts at 894,000 is near where they were at the depths of the 1981 and 1991 recessions and 60% below the peak in January 2006," pointed out Peter Boockvar at Miller Tabak.

The October numbers were driven entirely by multifamily apartment starts, up 10% month-to-month and up 63% year over year. Why are developers putting up so many more apartments when housing is supposedly recovering? Because there is still big rental demand and low supply.

"The consensus view on supply remains that it is not a threat to apartment fundamentals in the near term. Overall, demand for apartments (driven by household formations) should continue to rise with deliveries, especially in high(er) barrier coastal markets," analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald said in a note.
There has been a lot of talk of increasing household formation, but what some fail to realize is that household formation can be a single family owner-occupied home or an occupied rental unit. Younger Americans are in fact moving out of their parents' basements, but many are moving into rental units, and that is also a formed household.
Should investors be concerned about overbuilding in the apartment sector, given these huge jumps in starts coupled with the fledgling single family housing recovery? No.

"We've had four years of zero supply," said David Toti of Cantor Fitzgerald. "There's still a groundswell of demand. The shift from owning to renting is still moving in favor of the renter."

Multifamily starts are now above 10-year averages. In fact they officially crossed them in October, but home ownership levels continue to contract. As for apartment performance? Landlords are raising rents and occupancies, and that does not point to any weakness, for now at least.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top Tippner Homes and Land Picks of the Week

Enjoy exquisite panoramic Sierra views from this 3 bedroom 2 bath manufactured home on 4.7 acres with gated access and end of road privacy. Open floor plan with mirrored wall in living room. Kitchen features gas range (propane), dishwasher, serving bar. Master bath has both tub and shower. Detached 2 car garage + second single car garage attached with workshop rooms. Plenty of parking area for RV or boat. Public water. Special septic system with alarm. Fenced dog run. "As Is", bank owned sale.

This 3 bed 2 bath manufactured house has the feel and look of a stick built home with large family room. Wonderful secluded deck to spend your evenings enjoying the gorgeous pine trees. There is small granny unit with kitchen above the garage. This is a Fannie Mae HomePath property. Purchase this property for as little as 3% down. This property is approved for HomePath Mortgage Financing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Principal relief for stressed homeowners

Principal relief for stressed homeowners

A limited number of underwater homeowners in California will soon be able to get principal reductions of up to $100,000 apiece on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans through the federally funded Keep Your Home California program.

  • Although the federal agency that oversees Fannie and Freddie had previously refused to allow permanent principal reduction on loans they own or guarantee, in mid-September, the Federal Housing Finance Agency told servicers they could immediately begin accepting money for principal reductions from programs financed by the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, including Keep Your Home California.

  • The California Housing Finance Agency set up four programs under the Keep Your Home name to distribute California’s Share of the funds -- $1.9 billion. It allocated $772 million to principal reduction – enough to help an estimated 9,000 borrowers.

  • To qualify for the principal reduction in California, homeowners must live in the home, owe more than it is worth, be of low-to-moderate income, and be delinquent or have some hardship that puts them in imminent risk of default.

  • The balance on the first mortgage cannot exceed $729,750. Other rules apply, but there is no asset limitation. The maximum reduction is $100,000 per homeowner.

  • For more information on the Keep Your Home programs, visit

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Best US Housing Markets for Buyers and Sellers

Best US Housing Markets for Buyers and Sellers


NEW YORK (CNBC) -- As the overall housing recovery gains steam, local market divergences are growing wider. That is because one overriding factor - faulty and fraudulent mortgage lending - brought the market down; it will take varied local and national market drivers--jobs, income growth, consumer confidence, increased lending - to bring it back.
And that is why certain markets remain buyers' markets and certain ones have fast become sellers' markets.
Online real estate marketplace Zillow, defines a sellers' market as not necessarily one where prices are rising, but one in which homes sell faster, price cuts occur less frequently and final sale prices are close to or greater than list price.
Zillow ranked the top 30 markets and found that the formerly hard hit markets in California, Arizona and Nevada now rank as the top sellers' markets, which may seem counterintuitive, until you consider who the buyers there are now.
Top 10 Sellers' Markets
1. San Jose, CA
2. San Francisco, CA
3. Sacramento, CA
4. Las Vegas, NV
5. Phoenix, AZ
6. Riverside, CA
7. Los Angeles, CA
8. San Diego, CA
9. Seattle, WA
10. Washington, DC

"Much of that strength is driven by investor interest, as many distressed and non-distressed homes are purchased and transformed into rentals," says Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist, in the report. "This investor activity is contributing to very low inventory levels, which increases demand and helps drive up prices, particularly for less expensive homes in these markets."
The best buyers' markets are equally surprising, with Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia topping the list.
Top 10 Buyers' Markets
1. Chicago, IL
2. Cleveland, OH
3. Philadelphia, PA
4. Cincinnati, OH
5. New York, NY
6. Pittsburgh, PA
7. Baltimore, MD
8. St. Louis, MO
9. Columbus, OH
10. Charlotte, NC
These markets are still plagued by distress, despite the fact that their foreclosure numbers were lower during the worst of the housing crash. Investors are a far smaller share of buyers, as these markets don't offer the sun and leisure opportunities that the sand states do. Home prices are still suffering in these markets under still-tough local employment conditions. All that makes them less desirable for buyers. Stricter mortgage lending standards are also likely playing an outsized role, since most buyers in these markets would be owner-occupants.
The housing crash was the first fully national housing downturn in U.S. history. Usually housing downturns are local, spurred by some local phenomenon. Now that the overall economy is starting on the upswing, housing return to its roots and rises and falls on local factors again.

Top Tippner Homes and Land Picks of the Week

 Newer manufactured home on a large, level lot. Has detached garage. Close to shopping and regional park. The interior of the home is spacious with lots of storage. The open floor plan has both a living room and family room with a two sided fireplace

 Beautiful gentle upslope parcel overlooking rooftops of Lake Wildwood. End of road cul-de-sac for privacy. Great western sunshine for gardens or horse. A bit of rock outcroppings with manzanita and sprinkled with pines can make a lovely scene. The west portion of this property extends just below Riffle Box Court, down to Riffle Box Ditch; complete with the soothing sound of its cool flowing waters. Very private & quiet neighborhood. Seller may carry financing for a qualified buyer, w/reasonable down payment. Priced to Sell!

RARE FIND on 1+/- ACRE in a quiet Alta Sierra location. This floor plan is sure to please. Great room features fireplace. Large family eat-in kitchen. 3 generous bedrooms. 2 Decks. Hard to find affordability. The completely flat parcel is excellent for kids, gardening and/or rv, boat parking. Room for shop and/or pool. This is and �??as-is�?? sale. However, the house is in move in condition.

Great foothill cabin location!!! Kitchen has white tile counters. Large living room with beautiful wood floors and a stone hearth for the wood stove. Master is upstairs with a sliding glass door onto balcony. Views from every window. Secluded location with meadow setting, surrounded by dense trees. This is a fantastic opportunity!!

Knoll top - 10.78 Acres near Grass Valley, with easy year round access from Highway 49. Great solar orientation and level areas for your gardens, home and outbuildings. 15 GPM well & newly installed Septic & Leach Field System for a 3 bedroom home. Quiet neighborhood, paved road, power just across the street & East side of parcel borders several hundred ft of NID irrigation ditch. A Comprehensive Site Plan already on file with County. Possible Seller Financing with strong Down Payment. (i.e. Seller needs $80k+ as down payment to carry 1st TD.)

Look no further! Private and sunny parcel with year round creek frontage is a gardeners dream. Seperate large and fenced garden area completes the package. The home has been meticulously maintained and boasts vaulted ceilings and large kitchen with walk in pantry. Fresh carpet and paint make this home a true pleasure to show, and is sure to please. Sale includes a second vacant one acre parcel. Schedule your showing quickly, this opportunity will not last!

10 acres Sierra Foothill land with VIEW, Pine, Oak, Manzanita & other trees & natural landscaping. Paved access road, Rocked driveway to top of hill level area circles back down 2nd dirt access road. Private treated water district. Survey complete & corners marked. Electricity nearby. Private, peaceful hilltop, sloped, very nice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How To Invest As You Age

How To Invest As You Age
Financial investments should change as you move through the stages of your life. Consider these strategies to make better use of your hard-earned money.
During your 30s and 40s: These are years of increasing income and increasing demands for your money, particularly providing for your children.
·         Life insurance is relatively inexpensive at this stage of your life. Buying a policy also is a way of providing for your family’s future.
·         529 plans offer tax-advantaged savings for your children’s education. For details, which vary by state, go to
·         Annuities can be a good addition to an IRA or 401k retirement account, and usually have tax-deferred options and guaranteed life income.
During your 50s: Prepare for a well-funded retirement during these years.
·         Remove all risks from your retirement plan. Think about a retirement date and your ability to meet that date. Reduce investments in such things as your employer’s company.
·         Take advantage of slowing expenses. You are at the top of your earning power, and big expenses, like children living at home, are likely reduced. Consider paying off your mortgage or increasing your investments.

During your 60s and beyond: This is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
·         Test living on projected income before stopping work. If your expected retirement income will be 70 percent of your current paycheck, set aside 30 percent now and see what it’s like to live on the rest.
·         Apply for Social Security and Medicare. Visit these sites to help you make important decisions about these programs: and

Monday, December 10, 2012

As Home Sales Quicken, So Do Realtors' Pulses

As Home Sales Quicken, So Do Realtors' Pulses

 NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Positive reports on the U.S. housing market have moved from a trickle to a torrent as home values rise, inventories shrink and homes sell faster than at any point in the past four years.

Take San Diego, where the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors reports that the $400,000 median price of a home in the region is 13% higher than last year.
Smaller homes, especially townhomes and condos, have really taken off. The GSDA says that those prices are up 19% in the same period. Single-family home sales are up 10% on a month-to-month basis, and single-family home sales are up 34% from October 2011.
Those numbers have local real estate agents raving -- in a good way.
"There's really only positive, encouraging news in these new numbers," association board president Donna Sanfilippo says. "You can't help but feel good about what we're seeing in the San Diego County real estate market. Homes are moving and prices are increasing. If our recent first-time homebuyer clinic is any indication, which turned into a standing-room only event, San Diego is becoming a real estate town again."
It's not just San Diego.
Seattle-based Redfin, an online real estate broker, says U.S. home sales increased in October by 21.8% across 19 U.S. major housing markets. Additionally:
  • Home prices rose 8.4% from the same period in 2011 in those markets.
  • Inventories have slackened, as the number of available "homes for sale" across the U.S. slid by 29% (and have fallen 5% from September to October).
  • Lower inventories means U.S. homes are selling more rapidly, with the percentage of homes selling within 14 days of appearing on the market rising by 28%.
All in all, housing market reports these days are showing good if not great improvement and should encourage homeowners anxious over the value of their homes.
"With supply low, and the economy slowly improving due to record-low interest rates, demand has increased," notes Glenn Kelman, chief executive at Redfin. "Household formation is now at a record high, and high demand and low supply drives prices up."
"The $64,000 question is whether more people will list their homes for sale in 2013," he adds. "Based on the conversations our agents have been having with homeowners, we think they will. We also believe that demand among homebuyers will increase, though that prediction has become less certain late in the year. Almost no new Redfin customers are touring homes right now, fewer even than last year."
That trend could be changing -- and fast, Kelman adds.
"But those who have been touring are writing offers at record levels," he says. "Everyone wants to get married on the first date."
That obviously hasn't been the case for years among homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers.
But the housing market terrain is shifting, and in favor of a long-neglected group - the U.S. homeowner.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Number of low-price homes plummets in California

Number of low-price homes plummets in California

Competition for lower-priced homes in California is so hot that the number of cheaper homes available for sale has sunk more than 40 percent in the last year, pushing out many would-be buyers.

Grass Valley and Nevada City Home Deals of the Week

Grass Valley and Nevada City Home Deals of the Week that I found:
Ridge top chalet style home is priced for immediate sale! Hurry before it's gone. Listed price is considered opening bid price. Talk to your agent about the terms offered. Short Sale subject to bank approval. Note: of the 1,775 sq. ft. noted, apprx. 325 is in the finished basement - permitted as a "storage room"
land  views-views-views GREAT SOUTHERN EXP. WELLS IN, PERK & MANTE done. Drivway to bldg PAD, open & LIGHT, An opportunity to own a view lot for builders, investors & familly. Adj. 2 lots also available. call agt for info.
Beautifully finished home has the feel of a mountain cabin the moment you step into the foyer: warm wood interior, built-in hutches, stained glass accents, window seat, brick wood caddy next to the wood stove - and so much more (some repairs needed).Wrap-around deck, patio and pool are perfect for the active family. Don't miss the barn with room for horse stalls, hay storage.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

End is near for certain tax exemptions

End is near for certain tax exemptions

Currently, any debt forgiven by a lender in a short sale, loan modification, or foreclosure is exempt from federal taxation. However, that exemption is scheduled to expire Jan. 1, 2013.

  • Borrowers will have to count mortgage relief from lenders as income on their federal tax returns, if the exemption is allowed to expire. That means, for example, a borrower would have to pay taxes on a $100,000 reduction in principal owed on a loan, or a $20,000 write-off in the amount owed after a short sale.

  • An extension of the tax exemption – established under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 – is a strong possibility. But given that Congress will have to grapple with serious fiscal issues after the November elections, there is no guarantee the exemption will emerge from those negotiations intact.

  • The Debt Relief Act exemption applies only to canceled mortgage debt used to buy, build, or improve a primary residence, not a second home. The maximum exemption is $2 million.

  • Reinstating the tax would undercut the the effect of the National Mortgage Settlement reached earlier this year in the federal government’s investigation into banks’ mishandling of foreclosure documents.

  • Under the terms of the settlement, five of the biggest mortgage lenders must put some $17 billion toward debt relief that enables borrowers to stay in their homes. Smaller portions are reserved for short sales and refinancing.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grass Valley Home Deal of the Week

Grass Valley Home Deal of the Week

Hallmark’s “The Christmas Card” Showtimes

This November and December “The Christmas Card,” the Hallmark Channel’s highest-rated original film of all time, will be aired on the following dates :

*** be sure to check your local cable guide for the exact times - cable and satellite providers may have different times***

2012 Showtimes:
ChannelDate & TimeEpisode
HALMRK Sun, Dec 2
4:00 AM
The Christmas Card
HALMRK Sun, Dec 2
10:00 PM
The Christmas Card
HALMRK Wed, Dec 12
10:00 PM
The Christmas Card
HALMRK Thu, Dec 13
6:00 AM
The Christmas Card

For more information visit Hallmark Channel’s Website.

Experience the magic of Nevada City first hand at Victorian Christmas. This annual, family tradition takes place in December and features holiday activities for all ages: childrens’ pony rides, carriage rides, live entertainment, savory yuletide treats and libations, and of course, Father Christmas! The event is held in December, three Wednesday nights, and two Sunday afternoons. There is no admission charge.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Zillow has added foreclosures to its website

What You should know as you gain greater accessibility to foreclosure data

Zillow has added foreclosures to its website, giving the general public access to basic foreclosure information on all properties. Foreclosure is a complicated process and the availability of this information will create many questions about the overall foreclosure process and the status of specific properties. Although foreclosure notices have always been a matter of public record, this now makes it easy for the general public to see which properties are in foreclosure. Properties in foreclosure are not necessarily available for sale, and this will cause confusion for potential buyers and distress to homeowners in foreclosure as their situation has now become even more public.

Consumer-focused sites only provide limited foreclosure information, based solely on recorded notices, and without the daily updates on status and outcome that our professional users rely on. According to ForeclosureRadar, the number of notices of default issued in California was 14,090 in September 2012, up almost 2 percent from the prior month. The average foreclosure in California takes 282 days to close, and there are a number of changes regarding the status of a property that can occur during that time, which many consumers simply are not aware.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home Prices Continue Upward Trend in August

Home Prices Continue Upward Trend in August

Home prices in August rose across a broad swath of large American cities, adding further evidence that a housing recovery is taking shape. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index for the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the country rose 0.9 percent from July and 2 percent from August 2011. It was the fifth consecutive month-over-month increase and the third consecutive year-over-year bump. Nineteen areas tracked by the index posted gains over July and 17 posted year-over-year increases. The closely tracked index showed home prices down 29.3 percent from their July 2006 peak

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Worst mistakes by homeowners trying to sell their home


1. Leftover home owners

By far, one of the top offenses cited by buyer’s agents was home owners still lingering around when agents arrived with clients to preview the home. Awkward encounters ranged from buyers finding sellers taking a shower, asleep in the bed, to even the “stalker sellers” who liked to follow buyers and the agent all over the home to see what they thought.
With the exception of the “stalker seller,” many of the home owners who were still at home blamed their listing agent for not giving them enough advance notice about the appointment prior.

2. Pets and their messes

Numerous agents also cited the not-so-friendly dog and kitty encounters as a top offense. Even pets left in a crate can pose a distraction since they might make noise the entire time others are in the house. Plus, if they seem mean, the buyer might not even step in the room.
One buyers agent says she recently was given showing instructions from a listing agent who told her the family’s “friendly dog” would be at home. But when agent unlocked the front door with her client for the showing, a pit bull was staring down at them from the top of the staircase, growling. “We closed the door and left!” she says.

3. Bad smells

A displeasing smell can really turn buyers off. Common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, such as garlic, fried bacon, or fish. Also, watch for cigarette smoke and animal smells, agents say.
“Sellers get immune to the smell that their pets have embedded on their property. Anyone opening the door will smell it immediately -- even if there are air fresheners trying to cover up the smell. If you have a pet, there will be an odor. Don’t send your buyers away: Paint and clean the carpeting. Take the odor seriously and do what is needed, even if it means replacing the carpet.”

4. Critters running wild

Wild animals and pests roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. Agents described worms crawling on the floor and bats and raccoons lounging in the attic.

5. Odd home makeovers

Do-it-yourself disasters were also prevalent, like doors opening the wrong way or unprofessional paint jobs. Also, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can confuse buyers, such as an office being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet.

6. Dirt and clutter

There were a number of offenses cited when it came to cleanliness: Dirty laundry piles, unflushed toilets, dishes on the counter or in the sink, unmade beds, clothes scattered about, soiled carpets, dirty air conditioner filters, and overflowing trash cans.
“One of the worst things I have seen is piles and piles of clothes in every room, it was like an obstacle course trying to walk around the mess.” Toilet lids being left up is also no no.

7. Personal information left in plain sight

Sellers should be careful not to leave in plain sight important documents that may pique buyers’ curiosity. Some agents say they’ve seen personal information like bank and credit card statements—even mortgage payoff notices—left on the kitchen counter.
Buyers are nosey.

8. Too dark

Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light.
“Particularly [homes lit with] CFL bulbs. By the time [the bulbs] light up, the buyer is gone.” Energy efficient bulbs need time to warm up before they are at their brightest, so staging professionals usually recommend agents arrive early to a showing to turn on any light fixtures with CFL bulbs at least 10 minutes prior.

9. Keys missing from lockboxes

All too often, agents arrive at a listing appointment with their client only to find there’s no key to get in left in the lockbox.

10. Distracting photos

Watch the photos displayed on the walls too, agents warn.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Foreclosures fall in 62 percent of U.S. cities

Foreclosures fall in 62 percent of U.S. cities

Foreclosures fell in nearly two-thirds of the nation’s largest metro areas during the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac.

Friday, November 9, 2012

6 Ways to Get your Your Home to Sell This Fall

6 Ways to Get your Your Home to Sell This Fall

     Fall is second only to spring as the busiest time of the year for home sales -- and I see this autumn and winter as an especially good time to have your property on the market.

"Inventory is low, so if you have your house on the market and is priced well, it's going to sell," says Gary Tippner. Home sales in Nevada County and many other U.S. locales are rebounding this fall as low prices, improved consumer confidence and rock-bottom mortgage rates bring buyers out.

At the same time, many would-be sellers are either too discouraged to put homes on the market or are waiting for prices to rise, creating a shortage of available homes in much of the country. Add in the fact that many people travel to their hometowns for Thanksgiving and Christmas events and the like and Tippner believes it's a bad idea to keep your property off of the market this fall and even winter."People who've been thinking of moving back home will look at some houses when they come for a visit, and finding the perfect place will push them into action," he says. "But if your place isn't on the market, they won't see it."Houses that boast green grass and lush gardens in the spring, though, look a lot less inviting during the fall.Here are six things Gary Tippner recommends all would-be sellers do this autumn and winter to adjust for that and get a home moving: 

Give your home a cozy smell
Fall brings back childhood memories of hayrides and Thanksgiving dinners for many, and Tippner recommends maximizing your place's "homey" feeling this time of year.The Realtor always has spiced cider, fresh-baked cookies or other warm and friendly fare cooking up in during showings and open houses at properties he's listing."We take some big old pots and dump cider in them, then warm it up and the whole house smells good," Tippner says. "It's just a warm, homey smell that makes people feel good when they enter."He places cider and cookies ready for serving in a strategically out-of-the-way place visitors reach only after touring the house. That way Tippner has a chance to "pitch" the house to buyers while they snack. 

Rake up the leaves
You don't have to remove every single leaf as soon as it falls in your home's yard, but you have to keep the property's exterior looking tidy and well maintained."Leaves actually look nice as long as they have some color to them, " Tippner says. "But you need to make sure that your walkways are swept clear for safety purposes." 

Use seasonal decorations
Homes in most parts of the country lack the blooming flowers and grass that make their yards look particularly nice during warmer months. Tippner says you can give a property's exterior an attractive "harvest" feel by adding fall-themed decorations."You lose some of the curb appeal that goes along with [spring and summer's] nice landscaping, but something like a seasonal wreath on the door can bring some of it back,"he says.Also consider placing pumpkins and pots of mums on your home's front porch or portico. 

Maximize lighting
Shorter days and less-intense sunlight make good interior lighting more important than ever when showing a home during the fall.Tippner recommends opening all blinds and turning all lights on when you know a potential buyer plans to stop by -- even if you're leaving for work and the showing won't happen for hours."You have to make sure everything looks light and bright," he says.Another tip: Make sure all windows are sparkling clean inside and out. 

Hold earlier showings
Tippner doesn't bother at this time of year to schedule the evening open houses he often holds during spring and summer to catch house hunters on their way home from work.Instead, he typically hosts open houses on Saturdays and Sundays between 2 and 4 p.m. -- but also keeps other autumn events in mind when setting times."This time of year, we schedule our open houses around Cornish and Victorian Christmas in Grass Valley and Nevada City," he says. "We know what's going on in town and base our open-house times on when we think people will be around." 

Provide warm-weather photos
The beautiful grass and garden your home has in the spring might be long gone by the fall, but you still want would-be buyers to know it exists.Tippner suggests making photos of your home's exterior taken during the spring and summer available online, as well as putting out hard copies during showings.But you don't want to use spring or summer photos exclusively with an autumn listing."There's nothing worse than looking at a home's listing in the fall and seeing photos from the spring," Tippner says. "That immediately gets buyers thinking: "Gosh, this home has been on the market forever.'"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fast California Home Real Estate Market Facts

Fast California Home Real Estate Market Facts

Calif. median home price: September 2012: $345,000 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. highest median home price by region/county September 2012: San Mateo, $779,000 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. lowest median home price by region/county September 2012: Madera, $120,000 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. Pending Home Sales Index: August 2012: 118.9, up 2.7 percent from July's 115.8

Calif. Traditional Housing Affordability Index: Second quarter 2012: 51 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates: Week ending 10/25/2012 30-yr. fixed: 3.41% fees/points: 0.7% 15-yr. fixed: 2.72 fees/points: 0.6% 1-yr. adjustable: 2.59% Fees/points: 0.4% (Source: Freddie Mac)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wine and Harvest Open House November 10 Double Oak

Saturday, November 10, 1 – 5      2012

Help Us Celebrate our 27th Harvest & 16th Vintage!
Fine Wine ~ Tasty Food ~ Fine Arts & Crafts ~ Live Music
Talented Winemaker ~ Creative Artists & Artisans ~ Entertaining Musician
~ Enjoy tasting delicious Double Oak fine wines paired with savory gourmet hors d’oeuvres.
~ Take pleasure in entertaining music.
~ Delight in fine arts and crafts while meeting the artists and artisans.
~ Find unique gifts for your friends and family.
~ Tour the winery and vineyard with vineyardist and winemaker Bob Hilsman.
~ Take advantage of special Double Oak wine sales.
~ Stock up on Double Oak wine to share with your friends and family during the coming holiday season.

We are pleased that Jonathan Meredith will be joining us with his fine acoustic finger style guitar. He is playing a delightful mix of jazz, pop, blues and classical.

We have a great line-up of fine artists and craftpersons offering you a fine selection of paintings, photographs, collages, rock paintings, sculptures, weavings, fabric and wood creations.
The price of admission to this Harvest Open House is $5. (Wine Club members & their guests: $4)
Admission includes a free logo wine glass.

For directions and more information go to

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sales of previously owned homes rose

Contracts to buy previously owned homes rose less than expected in September, an industry group said on Thursday, but the data continued to point to an improving tone in the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in September, gained 0.3 percent to 99.5.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected signed contracts, which become sales after a month or two, to rise 2.1 percent after declining 2.6 percent in August.

"This means only minor movement is likely in near-term existing home sales, but with positive underlying market fundamentals they should continue on an uptrend in 2013," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

The housing market is steadily healing after collapsing in 2006, supported by modest job gains, increased job security and record low mortgage rates. Pending home sales were up 14.5 percent in the 12 months to September.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Like-Kind Property: Does Federal or State Tax Law Control?

Like-Kind Property: Does Federal or State Tax Law Control?

The Internal Revenue Service’s Chief Counsel Advice (CCA) #201238027 addresses the issue of whether state law characterizations of property as real or personal are determinative of whether property is considered “like-kind” pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 1031. Section 1.1031(a)-1(b) of the regulations notes that the words “like-kind” refer to the nature or character of a property, but not its grade or quality. Since state laws differ in how they characterize real and personal property, relying strictly on state law property classifications would result in federal tax law being dependent on state laws and state policies. This would be problematic for investors seeking Section 1031 tax deferral involving properties with different property classifications in different states.

The conclusion reached in CCA 201238027 is that federal income tax law preempts state law for determining whether exchanged properties are treated as like-kind for purposes of IRC Section 1031. Although state law property classifications are one relevant factor for determining if property is considered real or personal, the determination should ultimately be made under federal tax law by considering all of the taxpayer’s facts and circumstances.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Todays Hot Grass Valley and Nevada City Home and Land Deals

Todays Hot Grass Valley and Nevada City Home and Land Deals

18% of signed contracts on existing home sales were canceled

A housing recovery may be under way, but there’s an obstacle that appears to be slowing down the rebound: the unusually high number of buyers who walk away from their contracts.

An average of nearly 18% of signed contracts on existing home sales were canceled during the three months ending July, according to data released this month by Capital Economics, an independent research firm. That’s the highest all year and the most since May 2010, when that figure reached 23%; in the five years before the housing slump started, the average never went higher than 10%.

Separately, 36% of Realtors are reporting some kind of problem with a contract, including cancellations, delays and renegotiations of the sales terms, according to August data by the National Association of Realtors. That’s up from 30% earlier this year.

The latest setback comes as home sales are rising. Existing-home sales increased 7.8% in August from a month earlier and rose 9.3% from a year prior, according to data released this morning by the NAR.

Ironically, the recent pickup in home sales is contributing to rising contract cancellations. As more buyers compete over a limited inventory of for-sale homes, some are bidding aggressively to get the seller’s attention, but not assessing whether they truly want the house until they’re in contract, says Bryan Sweeley, a real estate agent in Santa Clara, Calif., with ZipRealty. This strategy could make it more likely that buyers will walk away from homes if red flags are raised in an inspection or the appraisal, he says. As we previously reported, appraisals have been derailing home sales in cases when the appraised value of the home comes in lower than the purchase price the buyer and seller had agreed to.

Tight lending requirements are also contributing to contract cancellations, says Paul Diggle, property economist at Capital Economics. As more buyers move off the sidelines to purchase a home, they’re finding they can’t qualify for a mortgage, he says. (Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that mortgage applications for home purchases have been relatively flat most of the year with some increases posted in recent months.) While buyers are encouraged to get preapproved for a mortgage before making an offer on a home, it’s not a requirement. But skipping this step opens them up to the possibility of being denied a mortgage on a property that they’ve already entered into contract on.

To be sure, contract cancellations don’t necessarily mean those buyers are leaving the market, experts say. In some cases they’re making offers on other homes or working on a new contract with new terms on the same property in question.

Still, for sellers, canceled contracts can range from a slight nuisance to a major setback. In most cases, they extend the time sellers spend trying to unload their home. It may also set them back financially if the seller has moved out of the property in anticipation of the buyer moving in.

But it’s buyers who can incur the biggest financial setback when walking away from a contract—which can include losing the deposit they’ve paid on the home. Upon signing the contract, buyers typically put a small percentage of the purchase price down to be held in escrow. Paul Howard, a buyer’s broker in Cherry Hill, N.J., says buyers should ask their agents to include contingency clauses in the contract that state the buyer can walk away from the home if financing falls through or if the inspection or appraisal of the home isn’t satisfactory. (Some transactions might require additional contingencies.) In most cases if they abandon the deal based on a contingency clause in the contract, buyers should be able to get their deposit back.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

10 Ways to Stop a Last Minute Collapse of Home Sale

10 Ways to Avoid a Last Minute Collapse of Home Sale

In real estate deals, there are two moments when everyone should be happy: when the contract is signed and when the closing is complete. Unfortunately, things sometimes go wrong and the second moment never arrives.

Sometimes bad luck gets in the way -- a tornado flattens the place. But derailed deals -- otherwise known in real estate parlance as "failed sales" -- can also result from bad faith, bad research or badly written contracts. Failed sales have been on the rise, too.

A failed home sale can be costly. At a minimum, one or both parties will have to start the process all over again. In more extreme cases, a broken deal results in monetary damages, like a buyer forfeiting a down payment. A seller who backs out for no good reason can be sued by the injured buyer.

Many deal failures are avoidable if buyers and sellers take enough care. Here are 10 simple steps to include in the home sale and buying process to avoid a last-minute collapse.

These days, the most common deal-destroyer is the denied mortgage, as lenders are very cautious amid the flood of foreclosures.

1. Require mortgage pre-approval
Sellers can minimize the risk of a denied mortgage by requiring buyers to furnish pre-approvals, which indicate the buyer meets the basic loan criteria. This is different from pre-qualification, which is a less "thorough" mortgage check that most prospective homebuyers go through.

2. Don't overprice the house
The seller should be careful not to over-price the home because, even if a buyer is willing to pay, the lender will balk if the appraisal says the home isn't worth enough to serve as collateral on the loan.

3. Specify mortgage terms
The seller can insist that the sales contract specify a buyer seek a mortgage with terms the lenders are likely to approve, such as a down payment of at least 20% and an interest rate that's not so low it will be difficult to find.

4. Allow plenty of time for mortgage approval
At least 60 day to 90 days is a good benchmark for making sure the mortgage approval process doesn't cause your sale to fail, instead of a 30 day to 45 day period.

5. Know your buyer's income source(s)
A self-employed buyer, or one dependent on bonuses or commissions, is less likely to get a loan than a salaried employee who's been with the same employer for many years.
Many of these precautions apply to buyers, too, like having enough time to secure a loan and not reaching for one that's too big for your income.

6. Buyers need to be careful to meet all deadlines
Most failed deals involve problems with the buyer, but occasionally, a seller will want out because he has a better offer or has changed his mind about selling. Buyers need to mind deadlines like the dates for the balance of the down payment or applying for a loan. If the loan-approval deadline is looming, deliver documents by hand.

The buyer also should scrutinize the contract for any provisions that will be hard to meet. It might be worth a few hundred dollars to have a lawyer look over the contract, and letting the seller know you've done so will show the seller you're not to be trifled with.

7. Both buyer and seller need to scrutinize contingencies
Special contingencies are conditions that must be met for the contract to be valid. The seller, for instance, should be wary if the deal hangs on the buyer selling a previous home.

8. Making the home appealing should never require hiding things
Because homes have been moving slowly, many sellers are feeling a bit desperate. Some will try to conceal problems with a quick coat of water-sealing paint or a well-placed picture or stack of storage boxes. Obviously, this can backfire by wrecking a deal when discovered, forcing the seller back to square one. Still, sellers do try to make their homes as appealing as possible, and buyers should hear alarm bells if any part of the living area, basement, attic or garage is inaccessible.

9. Don't try to "get away with" major structural flaws
Minor problems with the home can cause deals to fall through, so just imagine the impact of a major flaw. The seller should make sure the place is in good shape -- that the furnace or air conditioning system isn't about to blow, that there are no leaks and all the appliances work. To avoid surprises, both parties should attend all professional inspections.

10. Agree in contract to post-inspection remedies.

The contract should specify what happens if an inspector does find problems, like wobbly steps or a water heater that's on its last legs. The parties should agree that the deal will still go through if repairs can be done below a certain cost, typically to be born by the seller, such as $2,000. A higher number favors the buyer, a lower one the seller.

Deals do fall through, but both parties should remember that the contract is a legal document. Violate it and you could be liable for damages. You can never know exactly what's in the other party's head, but you shouldn't sign a sales contract unless you really intend to go through with it yourself.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Home Sales on Track to Hit 5-Year High

Real Estate

Home Sales on Track to Hit 5-Year High

Sales of existing single family homes and condominiums beat expectations for August, rising to the highest level since May of 2010, when the government's home buyer tax credit juiced sales temporarily. This time it could be argued that the government stimulus behind sales is record low mortgage rates, but that may not be all of it.

Close to one third of the homes that sold in August went to buyers using all cash, despite average rates on the 30-year fixed sitting around 3.6%. Rates appear to have less of an impact than hoped. Witness mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 4% last week, even as rates fell to record lows on the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly survey.

"The strengthening housing market is occurring even with difficult mortgage qualifying conditions, which is testament to the sizable stored-up housing demand that accumulated in the past five years," said the National Association of Realtors' chief economist Lawrence Yun.

With the August jump of 7.8% from July, Realtors now say they are confident that home sales for all of 2012 will hit their highest level in five years. They do warn that there are still "frictions" in the market, not the least of which are about 12 million borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. These so-called "underwater" borrowers are largely stuck in place, unable to cover their debt and unable to move up.

"Bottom line, housing continues to recover, but the bounce still has to be put into the perspective of how much damage was done," notes Peter Boockvar at Miller Tabak. "Looking specifically at single family homes, at a sales level of 4.30mm, it's back to where it was in 1998 and of course still well below the bubble high of 6.34mm in Sept '05."

As positive data begin to outnumber negative, analysts warn of a large pipeline of distressed properties that are still weighing down a potentially more robust recovery. Foreclosure activity increased in August, and states that had all but halted the process on thousands of properties, due to judicial challenges to paperwork, are now ramping up again. This will add lower-priced properties to an already low volume of homes for sale.

The question is, will that distress be absorbed quickly by investors and cease to have the negative impact on surrounding properties and consumer sentiment that foreclosures have had in years past? Investors, big and small, continue to move into this market, unafraid that rent prices will fall any time soon.

"The demand for rental housing is incredible," said former GE CEO and author Jack Welch on CNBC Wednesday. "The home rental idea is moving strongly."

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Friday, October 12, 2012

Don't Buy Your Dream Home?

 With interest rates at record lows, it's hard to ignore the constant "buy now" real estate pitches. If you're renting and thinking now is a good opportunity to see what house you can afford, you are probably also thinking about what you may have to give up to buy that house.
In a survey, renters said they are willing to contribute less to their 401(k) to buy their dream home.

"The problem we often face as planners is convincing folks to postpone the 'here and now,' including enjoyable things, and focusing more on the future," Kaplan says. "It is really difficult to live on Social Security, which never was designed to be the sole source of retirement savings."
Americans are just not saving enough for retirement. According to a recent BlackRock survey, 58% of all 401(k) plan participants were not saving the maximum with their plans. The survey also found that eight in 10 retirees regret they did not save more for retirement through their 401(k) plans.
"Contributing less to one's 401(k) could often mean sidestepping a valuable company match," Kaplan says. "It's OK to sacrifice for a home, but a better sacrifice would be to forgo the dream home -- gourmet kitchen, media room, etc. -- and retain 401(k) deferrals."
Instead of reducing or stopping your 401(k) contributions, Ron Howard, managing principal at Siena Wealth Management in San Jose, Calif., recommends reducing or eliminating some other expenses.
Even if you are buying a house you can afford, Howard says, you will still need to give up certain things you were used to doing or spending on as a renter. That's because on top of your mortgage, you will have to deal with many unexpected costs as a first-time homeowner.

Sure, you could afford the house, but what about the property taxes, homeowner insurance, carpet replacement, general maintenance of the home and landscaping? To pay for these, Howard says you may have to do away with exotic vacations, expensive technology gadgets, dining out regularly or going to a coffee shop every day. Now might also be a good time to give up smoking and reduce your bar tab.

With soaring demand pushing rents to an all-time high, homebuying is looking more attractive these days. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record-low 3.72% for the week ending Sept. 14, down from 3.75% the previous week.

To determine if you can afford to buy your dream home, use this rent vs. buy calculator. This tool would show you the fees, taxes and monthly payments to compare with your current rent. Use this mortgage loan calculator to see how much interest you could pay and your estimated principal balances.
"Another cautionary element here is folks buying more house than they can afford with an adjustable-rate mortgage. Interest rates may move much higher in the longer term, pricing some people out of the homes that seem more affordable now," Kaplan warns.
If you truly know that you can afford to buy that dream home, Howard says, go for it. But prepare to make lifestyle changes for the unexpected expenses that come with homeownership.

Just don't touch that 401(k), Kaplan says. "No home is worth jeopardizing future funding goals."

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hot Nevada County Homes Deals

Hot Nevada County Homes Deals
Investor and Rental Investments

Housing Market Update

After falling to depths not seen since the Great Depression, the U.S. housing market may finally be rising from the ashes.

It may not seem like a lot, but 27% of Americans believe the value of their homes will increase in the next year, according the CNBC All America Economic Survey.

That is the highest percentage since 2007 and the third straight quarter that such optimism has gained.

Home prices in the nation's top twenty markets rose 1.2% in July from a year ago, according to S&P/Case-Shiller.

All of those markets saw month-to-month price gains, while just four saw annual declines. Atlanta continues to see the largest drop, down just under ten percent year-over-year, but even its declines are easing.

In Phoenix, where distressed properties have made up the bulk of home sales, prices are up 16.6% from a year ago, due to big supply shortages of low-end homes.

Home prices are still down 30% from their peak in 2006, but just the prospect of a real bottom has some buyers finally getting off the fence. In addition, rising prices helped 1.3 million home owners to rise out of a negative equity position on their mortgages in the first half of this year, according to CoreLogic.

Nearly 11 million, or 22% of all borrowers, are still stuck in place, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, and an additional 2.3 million have less than five percent equity in their homes, making a move up unlikely.

The latest numbers, from existing home sales to earnings from the big public home builders, are fueling much-needed confidence in housing, but it would be naïve to declare that this industry is completely out of the woods.

. Suffice it to say, the housing market has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Mortgage-Backed Bond ETFs MightIncrease Your Net Worth

Benjamin Franklin said, “It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income.” Yet recent polls show that the majority of U.S. citizens do not believe candidate Romney’s 2011 effective rate of 14.4% was high enough. Apparently, not everyone seems to feel that one-tenth, or 10%, is harsh at all.
More famously, Mr. Franklin quipped, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Indeed, Franklin would be surprised to discover that nearly half of United States citizens pay zero federal income tax.
Taxes certain? Far from it. For instance, we may or may not witness a bevy of tax increases (a.k.a. the fiscal cliff) at the end of 2012. Moreover, it is incredibly unclear who will pay more, and how much more.
That said, there is one certainty involving financial matters. Ben Bernanke is guaranteeing that the Federal Reserve will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed bonds every month. It is an open-ended promise… meaning it has no foreseeable expiration… other than tangible improvements in the labor market and the economy as a whole.
Now, short of the federal government aligning itself with the natural gas industry, there isn’t going to be a significant increase in the labor participation rate; unemployment and underemployment will still weigh on corporate profits. And stock assets will see a great deal of choppiness going forward.
Should you buy the dips? You can… if you use one or more methods of protecting your downside risk.
But what if you want a Ben Franklin-like certainty in your portfolio? Then buy what Ben Bernanke is buying, mortgage-backed bonds. The easiest way to access them is with an ETF like iShares Barclays MBS Bond (MBB). Not only is there a 3.1% annual yield, but the Fed purchases (i.e., demand) should strain supply if the program continues beyond 12 months. In other words, expect some price appreciation as well.
There are several other ways to benefit from the bond buying bonanza. Vanguard also buys agency mortgage-backed securities issued by Ginnie Mae (GNMA), Fannie Mae (FNMA), and Freddie Mac (FHLMC). Vanguard Mortgage-Back Securities ETF (VMBS) even has a lower expense ratio than MBB (0.26%) at 0.15%.
The active PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND) has a large helping of mortgage-backed securities in its portfolio. This exchange-traded tracker has been a monster fan “fave” since its inception.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

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