Informed Investor Alliance
As an Orange County Realtor, I can’t technically offer advice on taxes, but I always try to network and meet great tax professionals who can help our clients! Today I sat in on a great session by Irene Mack, CPA, and I wanted to share some notes and insight with you. Irene’s website is http://www.oc-cpa.com if you have any particular questions – she is always happy to talk taxes with you
Homeowner Tax Benefits
- Mortgage debt relief on up to 2 million loss ($1M if married / filing separate)
Will California extend our debt relief? The answer is still up in the air, but there is a bill on the table. This concerns many homeowners who are thinking about a short sale, so be sure to contact your legislators and let them know you want an extension!
Energy Tax Credits for Homeowners
- many have a $500 max lifetime credit
- some include on site installation costs, some don’t, so be sure to check
- must be on principal residence
- includes central air
- allows tankless water heaters
- energy star
California Short Sale Tax Benefits
Sb931 focuses on 1st Trust Deed, and ensures lien holders can’t come back to homeowners for deficiency judgement after the short sale.
Sb458 focuses on 2nd trust deeds, and this law came a little after sb931 to help homeowners steer clear of judgements from 2nd mortgages and HELOCs.
Equity Sale Tax Benefits
- No taxes on $500k profit for married couples
- No tax on $250k profit for single filers
Capital Gains Taxes
Will you be taxed if you sell for a profit? Yes, unless your profit is below the $500k/$250k mentioned above.
- Long term (1 year and one day+) is determined on your tax bracket
- It’s best to keep your home ‘long term’ when it comes to taxation
First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit
- 2008 credit – when your home is no longer your personal residence, the balance of repayment becomes due immediately instead of over 15 years, so be careful!
-2009-2010 credit – 36 months of primary residence is required, most of you are almost ready to move up with no penalties
Wow!! Taxes are confusing!!! Make sure to consider your tax benefits and / or penalties when you go to sell your home in Orange County. Irene’s number is 714-957-6936 if you’d like more info.
Remember The Weeks Team is here to help you navigate through tough real estate waters. Be sure to call 877-230-3211 or comment here if we can help you in any way!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
If you are interested in what is to come in Orange County real estate, then listen up as Leslie Appleton Young has provided us with some great insights. We had the chance to attend one of Leslie’s recent luncheons, and she gave us great information we needed to know for the upcoming Real Estate shift.
As mentioned in our recent video summary on YouTube (embedded below), Leslie stated California Realty is a “Bright Spot in the California Economy; and that the bottom has been reached and is on its way up.” We also found demand is starting to grow, big time! 83% of Real Estate investors are buying to hold. 57% of homes in Orange County are recieveing multiple offers of more than asking. There are an average of 4.3 offers per property!!! Homes are flying off the market right now as well – the average days on the MLS is cut in half from a year prior. Southern California Median home prices are up 14.3 %. Things are looking much better for Orange County and California real estate in general…great news!!
Are you ready to get your Orange County home on the market and upgrade? Call The Weeks Team…877-230-3211
|SFH Resales (000s)||441.8||546.9||492.3||497.9||523.3||530.0|
|Median Price ($000s)||$348.5||$275.0||$305.0||$286.0||$317.0||$335.0|
f = forecast
The Weeks Team
949 – 338 – 7408
Mission Viejo Real Estate is selling like no other! Homes come on the market and are off just like that. Here are some of the stats for Mission Viejo Real Estate, but 1st I will allow you to view the meanings of each before anyone is confused as to what each stand for…
- Active - indicates the property is on the market and accepting buyer offers.
- Backup – means the home has technically accepted a buyer offer and is sold, but the buyer is still in his/her contingency period of due diligence investigations and full loan approval. California buyers get 17 days after offer acceptance to complete all contingencies and inspections.
- Pending – implies all contingencies have been removed on this listing and its only a matter of time until close.
- Closed – entails the buyer’s loan has funded, and title has officially recorded in the new owner’s name.
There are a few other status’ you may see:
- Hold – property is on hold and not being shown to new buyers for various reasons. (there are 36 of those right now)
- Cancelled – means the property listing was cancelled by the owner before a sale took place.
- Expired – indicates the listing agreement on the home for sale expired before a sale occurred.
- Withdrawn – similar to cancelled status, this property has been withdrawn from the market.
Current Mission Viejo Real Estate Statistics
Back Up: 154
Closed (last 30 days): 114
Now lets compare these stats with last years Mission Viejo home statistics.
Average Sale Price in Mission Viejo 1 Year Ago: $416,951
Average Sale Price in MV in the Past 30 Days: $428,500
Avg. Square foot price 1 year ago: $231.31
Avg. Square foot price Today: $280.77
Avg. Days on Market 1 year ago: 93
Avg. Days on the Market Now: 76
We are currently moving towards a seller’s market in Mission Viejo. There are an average of 4.5 offers for every one property, and we are seeing properties sell in 1 day or even before they hit the MLS!! Now is a perfect time to move up and get more square footage for less than ever before. If your interested in upgrading your home, or adding to your Mission Viejo real estate portfolio, please contact The Weeks Team 888-281-7665 for more info on how you can take advantage of this ideal real estate opportunity!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Happy Memorial Day!! We hope you have a nice and relaxing long weekend planned :) Here’s an interesting email we received about homebuyer recovery from the folks at FirstTuesday.us and Barry Zanck, one of our preferred lenders. What do you think?
California Home Buyer Recovery
2005-2009 California economic development stagnates.
2007-2009 The Great Recession
2009-2010 The Federal Reserve takes direct control of long-term interest rates – all new mortgages are Fed funded by bonds.
2009-2016 The Lesser Depression, characterized by persistent slow job growth and low demand from home buyers, while dominated by speculators.
2010-2015 Home sales remains on a “bumpy plateau” recovery approximating their 2010 numbers. The state’s homeownership rate drops below 55% (state’s historic point of stability) to near 50%. Collectively, short sales, foreclosures sales and REO resales remain high.
2012-2013 The most likely bottom for home sales volume to users, followed by an extremely gradual sales volume recovery for lack of user demand. Apartment construction begins to rise noticeably in response to tenant demand.
2014-2015 Prior low pricing and low interest rates spark a bounce in home sales volume. This bounce is short-lived, as the Federal Reserve raises rates to control the pace of recovery and prevent momentum buying. Property prices keep pace with the rate of consumer inflation. Speculators holding SFRs acquired two or three years earlier begin to dump them
2014-2016 Home sales stabilize. Shortsales, foreclosures, bankruptcies and REOs remain high. 300,000-400,000 new jobs are created annually for a return to the December 2009 peak level. Generation Y begins to come of age and buy homes.
2016-2017 Full recovery mode for employment, home sales, then pricing. SFR construction rises, though no where near Boom-time heights.
2017-2018 Interest rates rise again.
2018-2020 Excess inventory of vacant homes finally returns to pre-recession levels. Generation Y begins to pick up homebuying activity en masse. Homeownership in California is at 50%.
2020-2025 Negative equity homeowners who refused to strategically default finally work their way out of debt and return to a stable financial status, the poorer for it.
2025+ Home prices return to peak levels of 2006. The lessons of the Great Recession forgotten, and home sales hedonism returns. The mistakes of the past are repeated and the cycle continues.
We agree that we are probably at the bottom right now, as we’re already seeing an uptick in California homebuyer interest, and a decrease in inventory. We disagree that interest rates will stay low until 2017…..although wouldn’t that be nice???! We also agree (unfortunately) that the lessons of the past will be forgotton by 2025, and the market will again cycle. It always does!
What do you think? Please comment below or tweet us @angieweeks or @weeksteam. Should you be interested in buying ‘at the supposed bottom’, please call us at 877-230-3211, and we’re happy to show you homes over this Memorial weekend!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Just got back from OCAR’s annual meeting held at the beautiful Aliso Viejo golf course. I thought I would record a video update for you
I know you have comments, let ‘em fly!!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Mission Viejo Book Signing – ‘Making the Most of Your Money’
Last week I visited the Mission Viejo Library to get a copy of what is supposed to be the best personal financial planning book on the market right now. Entitled ‘Making the Most of Your Money’, it was written by Jane Bryant Quinn. Honestly, I had never heard of Jane Bryant Quinn until recently, but she definitely is a highly respected voice in the money management community.
Jane got off to a light start, joking that she almost named her book ‘Making the Most Out of What’s Left of Your Money’. She agrees that the economy is in a bad place, adding that the government needed to step in in order to prevent a full-on depression. But this cloud has a silver lining – the economy is recovering. Nevertheless, we’re still feeling some economic aches and pains, which is why keeping our finances in mind and tightening up our ship is such a good idea.
Jane covered quite a bit of financial planning territory. Regarding our current bull market, she recommended diversifying accordingly. She also touched on inflation, predicting that fortunately this monster won’t go very high.
For the U.S. government’s role, Jane pointed out that Congress may soon be restoring the Paygo law, which is intended to control government spending. This, along with a tax increase, could significantly help our budget.
So how do savers and investors pick their way through the current financial wilderness?
First and foremost, according to Jane, get OUT of consumer debt. “Debt is like feeding your dollars to squirrels.” Do NOT make it normal. Debt and credit are not glamorous. Sure, they seem fun at first, but when it’s time to retire and your mortgage is soaring, the debt beast will likely bring you to ruin.
In the Real Estate arena, Jane cautioned that we shouldn’t expect the height of where we were in 2007 for many, many years. OK fine. Thanks for that. In general, home prices follow the inflation rate. Currently, consumers aren’t thinking of their homes as investments. But that’s OK. Because when all is said and done, according to Jane, it STILL PAYS to OWN a HOME!!!!!! But watch those HELOCs. Let’s get back to that concept of paying down our mortgage, people. Jane also advised don’t take a reverse mortgage until you’re in your 80′s, even though you are allowed to in your 60′s.
If you’re underwater on your rental investment, it’s probably a good idea to lower your rent to keep your tenants. You must be prepared for losses for years and years if you are a serious real estate investor. Make sure you have liquid cash flow. You can also consider short sale or foreclosure if the property is a huge drain. Talk to a professional Orange County financial planner and / or consider some by the book investment education.
As for stocks, Jane mentioned that she talked with many of the top financial masterminds all over the nation. Apparently, the majority of them have the bulk of their own funds in a broad market index, something like S&P…
She added that for young people, lifestyle funds are a good idea, even though they’ve received a bit of a bad rap.
Jane also stated a good formula for your retirement fund risk is this: subtract your age from 110. Whatever that number is, that’s the percent you should be investing in stocks. As you get older, this formula helps you safely transition into a majority of bonds and a lower risk portfolio.
There are so many valuable insights in this book, it was THICK! I’m sure ‘Making the Most of Your Money’ is truly a valuable guide to sound financial planning. But seriously, no matter how many books we read someone, who does financial planning for a living will always be better than we are, IMO. You should have a professional on your side. Just like you should in real estate!!
Speaking of property, if you would like your diversification strategy to include owning some Orange County Real Estate, I’m happy to help. Contact me at 949.338.7408 or email@example.com. Or follow me @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam. Happy investing – feel free to post what has and has not worked for you here!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
First let me wish a ‘Happy New Year’ to all. Yes, folks, 2010 is here. And with the new year, there promises to be a wealth of new opportunities emerging in the bustling world of Orange County Real Estate. So get up off your comfy couch and do what you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Don’t let opportunity pass you by. Add that to your list of New Years resolutions right now.
So maybe you’re thinking about buying your first home. Perfect! If you’re an Orange County first time home buyer, the time has never been better. A major reason for such bright prospects is that there currently are a number of available incentives created to improve your overall experience.
If selling your home for the first time is on your mind, optimism is in order. Buyers are returning to the marketplace. So sellers rejoice! The market is definitely moving in the right direction. In fact, there are a number things going on that will make selling easier, from listing to close. If you’re worried about Uncle Sam taking a chunk, be aware you might be able to reduce your tax obligation with a few easy and yes, legal steps.
Perhaps you’re opting to make your first Real Estate investment. Believe it or not, there are well-focused ways to improve your financial future without getting an advanced degree from the school of hard knocks.
Indeed, the door of opportunity is opening wide in 2010. If you’re ready to learn more about the diversity of emerging Orange County Real Estate opportunities, I’ll be happy to help. Contact me at 949.338.7408. Or follow me @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
So, you can’t find any decent REO’s, or you’re getting outbid.
And there’s not enough equity sales.
You want the 8k homebuyer credit.
You find youself here, fishing in the sea of short sales in Orange County.
You’ve already read our post about what every buyer needs to know about a short sale.
But you’re still stuck! Short sales won’t close in time for the 8K first time buyer credit, right?! Honestly, probably not 80% of them. But a small percentage will. What clues should you look for?
1. Check for the word “approved” in the notes. Short sales that have been approved by the bank can many times sell within 30 days. Its getting the bank’s approval that usually takes months.
2. Look for experience / feel of the listing agent or team. Do they respond? Are they on top of things? If the listing agent doesn’t know how to deal with the bank it can add months to the process. Go ahead, Google them.
3. Do you see Short Sale – Notice of Default on the MLS report ? This means the property is in process of foreclosure and the bank has filed a notice of default on the property. You’d think notices would be filed immediately, but many times the bank waits for 3, 6, or 9 months of no payments until filing the NOD. After the notice is filed, stats are very high that a foreclosure will occur within the next 90 – 120 days. On short sales with a NOD the bank has a little more motivation because they aren’t receiving any money from the current owner, and they are being offered in essence, a settlement and solution with your offer.
4. Check for Short Sale – offers submitted – this indirectly tells you the current owner has submitted the hardship package, because it usually needs to be submitted with the offer. That being said, I have seen this status used when agents had a lowball offer in hand but NOT submitted to the bank. It depends on the agent, and their ethics. This status is better than a short sale with no offers submitted, but you are still probably looking at at least 60 days and multiple offers when here. Not worth chancing for your 8K credit, we need to find you an approved short sale or one close to foreclosure. PERIOD!
5. Check notes for only one mortgage! We’re currently STILL WAITING for an answer to one of our “approved” short sale offers that was literally submitted in JUNE. (Its Sept.) The first “approved” the price, but the second loan had not approved their settlement, and the agent didn’t notate that detail in the listing.
Short sales are complicated, but we can help. Mostly by having the best Orange County MLS searches so you get new REO and equity listing emails the DAY they come on the market! We still recommend buying foreclosures or equity (normal) sales to have the best experience with today’s market.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Thought you’d enjoy this real estate update from Suze Orman – feel free to post questions below!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
We love selling Laguna Beach homes! Today is absolutely GORGEOUS, and I am sitting at 637 Loretta Drive in Laguna Beach. The view of Catalina island is completely unobstructed… I can also see South Laguna, North Laguna, and Newport Beach from the wrap around balcony. Its so beautiful, I promise my treo pictures don’t do it justice but I will post below anyway.
Alright, alright. I’m big on views. I’m sure you want to know about the property… Its immaculate :) The trilevel offers 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 car attached garage and 2700 square feet. EVERYTHING is upgraded, Hardwood floors, granite counters, a nice corner fireplace and wonderful dining/living area to entertain, patios and balconies off of EVERY room, master bathroom with a perfect view of the ocean…definately somewhere you would want to check out.
Laguna Beach is ON SALE right now, there’s 3 active listings on Loretta alone. One is going for 4.2M, the other for 1.6M, and the one I am holding open today is asking 2.4M. What a range, huh? This is one of the reasons its so important to work with a Realtor, we can help you understand why the house next door is twice as much.
I’ll be here for another hour if you want to come and check it out – or I can schedule an appointment to show you any afternoon. I recommend to come check it out around sunset…it will be spectacularRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Special thanks to William Jordan, our favorite Orange County financial planner, for taking time out from his hectic week to help educate our clients on what is REALLY going on with the economy right now. Mike & I highly encourage all of you to call your financial advisors this week, and if you don’t have a financial advisor, go and talk to William at his Laguna Hills office - he rocks :)
It’s an earthquake!
This week, the financial markets were shaken with an earthquake unlike almost anything we have seen in our lifetimes! The one similar example is the infamous “black Monday” on October 19th, 1987. On that one day, the stock market dropped over 500 points for the first time ever. A decline of more than 25% which dwarfs the declines we saw this week.
So what do we do? Panic? Run for the hills? Convert your cash to gold and start buying ammunition? Of course not. But to hear it discussed in some circles, that’s exactly what should happen.
On Monday evening, I was interviewed on CNBC in the midst of the “AIG crisis”. Yet another massive financial firm experiencing financial duress. I was asked what my counsel was to people who have been told to “buy and hold”. The point I made was that this is a call to arms for people to get their financial houses in order. Too many people have been speculating financially, and the results are as we have seen.
For many people, including most of my clients, this was an expected though unwelcome event. We know that bear markets and financial downturns will happen. In fact this bear market has currently been less severe than the average bear markets we have seen in the past! It certainly doesn’t feel like it, but it’s true.
So what do you do? For starters, do a complete financial physical on where you are at. You need to examine your assets as well as your debts. Look in detail at your investment holdings, and decide if you need to make changes. Don’t make changes for just any old reason, but with a practical and well thought out plan.
As I pointed out in a separate CNBC appearance a month ago, this is a great time to sell highly appreciated assets and pay capital gains. Those tax rates are still very low historically, and are likely to rise in the future. You can use the proceeds to pick up some excellent investments that are trading well below their values.
Bottom line is, like in any earthquake, don’t panic! Stop and pick up the pieces. Make new plans moving forward, but make them with a clear mind and well thought out options. It’s a perfect time to meet with your financial planner if you have one, or find a new one if yours isn’t up to the task.
Earthquakes happen. Those who are prepared and don’t panic will be okay.
William Jordan, President of The Sentinel Group, Inc, is a well respected speaker and media resource for quality financial advice. He’s been interviewed by CNBC, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and was a featured financial expert in Kiplinger’s September cover story. You can reach William Jordan at (949) 380-8600 or visit www.SentinelOC.com.
Yes, this is a blog about Orange County real estate. But this week Mike and I have invited a couple guest bloggers to get involved, because you can’t get real estate without financing and loans. Right now the media is all over what happened with IndyMac bank, and Fannie and Freddie. We want you to hear from local mortgage and financial EXPERTS, not just the media, what is really going down, and how it may affect you and your current home loan situation. The following info has been provided by Derek Beisner, one of our trusted OC CERTIFIED Mortgage Specialists. We encourage your comments, rants, and other expert opinions on this post too!!
Uncertainty in Financial Markets Could Cause Dramatic Rise in Existing ARMs at Next Adjustment
If you or anyone you know has an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, this is an important point to consider. Many ARM loans are tied to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). In fact, there are six million loans in the United States that use LIBOR to determine the interest rate and as the name suggests, many banks use this rate to lend money to each other.
But, today, banks lack confidence that the money they lend will be paid back. In light of what has happened with Lehman Brothers, IndyMac Bank and others, as well as AIG, banks are requiring much higher rates on LIBOR to offset the added risk.
The Federal Reserve Left Rates Unchanged but…
The Federal Reserve met yesterday leaving the target rate unchanged at 2.00% but just like LIBOR the actual rate being charged by banks to each other is closer to 6.00%. This again suggests that those with ARM loans should consider a refinance into historically low fixed rates.
Financial companies have been under attack. IndyMac was the largest bank to falter in twenty years. What brought IndyMac down was their exposure to defaulting loans. This sapped investor confidence and drove down the stock price until they filed for bankruptcy.
Following IndyMac, we saw Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch succumb and were either forced into conservatorship, to close their doors, or to sell themselves. AIG, the world’s largest insurance company was also impacted, forced to make a deal with the U.S. government to stay in business.
What You Can Do Now?
ASK AN EXPERT! DON’T try to figure out this complicated situation yourself!!!! I’d be happy to go over your loan situation and help you understand how the recent events may affect you, and how you can best be protected. Additionally, chaotic times like these often present opportunities. I look forward to hearing from you.
Certified Orange County loan advisor
The Orange County Real Estate market is moving. What direction? Many. What are we seeing? Good deals, strapped homeowners. What are we hearing? Happy stories, Sad stories. There’s a positive and a negative in every environment, and we always encourage you to look at the glass as half full.
BUT….if your house is on the market right now….are you chasing the market down? What if your Realtor is doing it for you? Are you AND your agent strong enough to take the truth? I read this sad story on a popular Realtors ”hub” online, its from a Realtor working out of Florida.
OC Sellers and potential sellers, you often choose to work with the agent who says your home is worth the most money. I want to encourage you to question the pricing method, not just get “sold” on potential dollar signs. Question the marketing strategies, your agent better have the money to do traditional marketing or they better be able to kick butt online. ASK how many contacts they have in their database, how many listings they have had expire, how many buyers they have searching on their website. If the agent at your listing appointment has a dog and pony show, and you buy into that without question, it could be a nightmare for everyone in the end.
Also, expect to be QUESTIONED yourself. A good agent is mostly questions, tayloring their strategies to your specific needs and situation. A good agent will listen to and really hear what you have to say, but they will also be strong and smart enough to TELL you things you may not want to hear.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
For those of you upset your home prices have declined, we have a little good news for you. If you purchased a home prior to 2006 during the “hot” OC market, here is your chance to save some extra money.
It’s tax time, and your property tax bill is one of many. Because the market went down, your taxes can go down, too. To see if you are eligible, do a few simple things:
1. Contact the Orange County tax assessors office at 714.834.5400.
2. Let them know you purchased before 2006, and you are requesting to have your bill reviewed, for this year. REMEMBER, if you want THIS year’s bill reduced you MUST CALL BEFORE APRIL 1st. http://www.oc.ca.gov/assessor/pdf/RequestForInformalAssessmentReview%203-08.pdf
3. The assessor will initiate a re-assesment of your property, and hopefully lower your taxes – saving you potentially thousands of dollars!
There are some circumstances in which this can not be done, however if you think your taxes on your property are too high, then you are probably right. Its worth giving it a try – you can comment on how it works out!
By going to the following link and filling out the form, you can start working on reducing next year’s bill right now.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
Hello Friends!! For all of you who are looking for information regarding the Orange County housing market (like who isn’t?)…here is the Economic Forecast from Gary Watts. Gary is one of the most respected Real Estate forecasters in the nation. His conferences fill up where ever he speaks and his insightful information is beneficial for all types of investors.
Please enjoy the report.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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