Real Estate Blog

Real Estate Infograph-Buying Process          This is a simple breakdown of the process of buying real estate. In reality there are issues that can arise with many of the steps outlined. For instance, when you do inspections you may find issues that were not disclosed by the seller. This often leads to negotiating with the seller in order to compensate for the issues that are found. Sometimes a compromise cannot be reached and the deal falls apart, this is just part of the business.   Other times the appraisal may not come in at the contract purchase price, which means the lender will not approve the loan. Some lenders will allow the buyer to bring extra cash to the table at the closing to cover the difference of the appraised amount and purchase price, but this is…
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Since 2013 Oakland has been leading the nations housing recovery, after the mortgage meltdown in 2008. We have seen steady increases in prices as well as a shorter average days on market...which reflects a market with high demand. Although in recent months there has been a small decrease in activity, this is mainly due to seasonal shifts in the real estate market. Typically the market is more active in the spring and summer months, and less active in the winter months. 

Anyone who purchased real estate between 2009-2012 has seen an increase in value of anywhere from 25-35% depending on the area, which is evidence of how the market in Oakland has rebounded. One reason that prices have steadily risen is that we have in been a state of low inventory in

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There have been some recent changes to FHA mortgage insurance that will allow some buyers to save money at closing. As you may know, any mortgage that allows less than a 20% down payment will require mortgage insurance to protect the lender in the event of a default. Mortgage insurance is charged as a one time up front see, as well as a monthly payment that is tacked on to the principle, interest taxes and property taxes that constitute the majority of the mortgage payment. 

 Previously the up front portion of mortgage insurance was 2.25% of the purchase price. This is in addition to the 3.5% down payment minimum requirement due at closing. Now the up front portion of the Mortgage Insurance is home buyers can expect to save about 1.5% of the

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There is a new proposal coming out of Washington that if impemented would dramtically change the tax rules pertaining to real estate. Rep. Dave Camp is pushing for a new set of rules that would govern several aspects of real estate taxation. Part of the plan is to replace the current mortgage interest deduction with a new standard deduction, that would eliminate the need to itemize deductions. For home equity lines of credit, there would be no interest deduction unless the money was being used for home improvement.

Another major change would be to the capital gains exclusions for profit up to $250,000 for single people and $500,000 for married couples. Currently to qualify for this exclusion you need to have lived in the home for two out of the previous

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During the bubble years (2004-2009) many homeowners took out Home Equity Line's of Credit or (HELOC's) in order to take advantage of the sudden increase in equity due to rapid appreciation in real estate values. According to some analysts, as many as 75% of all HELOC's that are outstanding today were originated during these bubble years. Although real estate prices have been increasing, they haven't increased enough for many homeowners. One feature of the HELOC is that borrowers could choose to have a fixed interest only payment for say 10 years, and then then the payment would be adjusted to the fully amortized amount. This is what's known as the "resetting" of the loan, and in many cases in will mean that the homeowner will have to pay several hundred

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In what's being called an unprecidented action, the Federal Housing Administration announced that it is reducing it's maximum loan amount by $100,000 from $729,750 to $625,000. The change comes from FHA revising the way it looks at median home prices. Basically since 2008 the FHA has been using the median home price from 2007, which is when prices were at a peak. Many feel that this will have a negative impact, because it will prevent some potential home buyers from being able to purchase the house they want. A $100,000 difference is a pretty big one, and for some that will be the difference between being able to buy or not.

At the same time, in my experience most buyers who are looking in the above $500,000 range are not using FHA financing. Usually

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2014 could prove to bring an extra burden to some homeowners who planned on short selling thier home. Shortly after the real estate market started to head south in mid to late 2007, Congress quickly realized that the sheer volume of short sales was going to be so large that they had to enact legislation to help lessen the shockas much as possible. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act was one of the most important pieces of legislation in terms of helping to not make things worse than they already were for so many people.

This act prevented homeowners from incurring a tax liability for the amount the the lender let them off the hook for. Many homeowners were forgiven several hundreds of thousands of dollars, so the potential tax consequences could have been

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In 2007 Signature Properties completed the Broadway Grand Development, which houses Ozumo Lounge and Pican Restaurants. Although like many of the Condo developments in Oakland Signature struggled to sell the units which were completed just as the housing market started to tank. So they decided to turn the bulk of the units into rentals while they waited for the market to recover. And recover we have, with prices in Oakland up 25-30% in some areas in just the past year. Once the rentals were converted back into Condos, they sold 90% of what was available and now have only about 4 units left.

I was there recently showing some clients a few of the units there, and that's when I was told about a large expansion of the development which will include a

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After the mortgage meltdown, California District Attorney Kamala Harris authored what's known as the "Homeowners Bill of Rights". Some lawyers call the most massive change in real estate law in the past 100 years, and many financial institutions are on hight alert because of it. You may have heard of the giant lawsuit that was won against several of the largest lenders for improper forclsorure filings as well as Mortgage Fraud. Well part of the outcome of the lawsuit was a program called CityLift, which is designed to help right some of the wrongs that the lenders committed against borrowers. 

Basically it allows for a $20,000 forgiveable grant for first time home buyers to use toward the downpayment on their first home. As long as the borrower is a

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You may have heard about the City of Richmond and it's plans to take over underwater real estate mortgages. This would be a drastic measure, but who knows it just might be a good idea. Some Cities such as Richmond have seen property values drop so much that it truly has had a devastating impact. In many cases, homeowners feel that it would better for them to simply walk away from the home and let it get foreclosed on as opposed to staying in a home that is worth about half of what the ownwer owes on it. This is part of what lead to the dramatic decreases in values from 2008-2011. So many homeowners figured they would be better off walking that's what they did. This lead to record foreclosures, as well as decreased revenues for Cities and Counties

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