Archive for November, 2008

Did you know… the history of 4 popular OC Cities!

Posted on November 22, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Maybe you know the Pillgrams arrived here to the New World on the Mayflower… but do you know the history and origin of these popular Orange County Cities?  Click the link after each city to discover a special value on an reo/bank owned home in these featured cities!

MISSION VIEJO
Although not a fledged city for too many years, Mission Viejo is steeped in a tradition that dates back to the vanishing days of men on horses driving cattle.
Nearly 25 years ago, the Mission Viejo Co. bought a 10,000-acre section of Rancho Mission Viejo from the O’Neill family, which once owned much of the land from Oceanside to El Toro.  An adorable condo, walking distance from the lake with low taxes and hoa, click here

IRVINE
Around 2000 years ago, the Gabrielino Indians inhabited what is now Irvine. Irvine is comprised of several villages, each of which was master planned by the Irvine Company. The first was constructed in the 1960’s and more are planned. The land, once granted to individuals by the Spanish and Mexican governments, was purchased in the second half of the 1800’s by James Irvine.
The Irvine, Flint and Bixby ranches were devoted to sheep grazing, although in the 1870’s tenant farming was permitted. In 1878, James Irvine acquired his partners’ interests for $150,000. His 110,000 acres stretched 23 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ana River.
James Irvine died in 1886. In 1893, his son, James Irvine, Jr., came into full possession of the ranch which he incorporated into The Irvine Company one year later. James, Jr. began shifting ranch operations to field crops, olive and citrus orchards.  A stunning townhome, reduced over $70,000!  Click here
LAGUNA BEACH
In early times, local Indians thrived on the rich coastal lands and freshwater canyon lakes that made up the area they named Lagonas, for ‘lake.’
By the late 1800s, visitors were making an annual pilgrimage on rutted trails through the canyons to camp at Laguna Beach each summer. By the time painter Norman St. Claire visited from San Francisco in 1903, Laguna already had become a popular tourist destination with a hotel: the Hotel Laguna.
Within a few years, Laguna Beach had a permanent population of about 300 people—half of whom were artists.
In 1918, artist Edgar Payne opened an art gallery that later became the Laguna Art Museum, one of the first art museums in the state.  A beautiful home with a spectacular view/click here.

HUNTINGTON BEACH
The area of Huntington Beach was originally occupied by the Tongva people, also known as Gabrielinos, whose lands stretched from what is now Topanga Canyon through Aliso Creek in Laguna Beach.  European settlement can be traced to Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres, which he named Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service.  The Stearns Rancho Company ran cattle and horses and raised barley crops on what is now the city of HB.  In the early 1800’s a portion of property was sold to Col. Robert Northam, who raised and sold barley to surrounding ranchers.  By 1889, the city was called Shell Beach and consisted of a small group of settlers.  In 1901, Shell Beach was changed to Pacific City when P.A. Stanton formed a local syndicate and purchased 40 acres along the beach with 20 acres on each side of Main Street.  Stanton’s dream was to build a town on the Pacific Coast which would rival Atlantic City on the East Coast… Huntington Beach!  A condo that is walking distance to the beach/click here

We at the WeeksTeam wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and want you to know we are thankful that you are our client.  Have a beautiful Holiday Season!

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What is an REO property and how do I find one in OC?

Posted on November 9, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

An REO or Real Estate Owned property is a home that’s been through the foreclosure process and is now held by the lending institution. When borrowers default on their monthly mortgage payments, lenders will start foreclosure proceedings beginning with the notice of default, through the pre-foreclosure stage and into the final foreclosure step of the bank taking possession of the home, or REO.

REO homes are often sold by banks at below market values in order to sell quickly. REO homes are expensive for banks to hold because they require maintenance and the bank may have to repay any liens against the property.

Foreclosures that are owned by banks are usually clear of any liens that may have been recorded against the property.
Since the seller of REO homes is also the lender, you may be able to negotiate with the bank to have them pay for all or some of the closing costs.

Bank-owned properties are usually vacant because the banks have evicted the previous owner, saving the investor or homebuyer time, money and emotional toll involved in the eviction process.

The first step is to determine your NEEDS and WANTS.  You NEED a 3 bedroom home, you NEED to be in a good school district, you WANT a yard for entertaining, you WANT to be close to shopping and have freeway access.  Don’t settle for less than what you really want just because there may be a good value on a home.  You and your family need to be happy and without regrets.  We have a reputable system that allows you to search for your dream home 24/7 and uses the latest technology to insure up-to-the-minute information.  Click the home search section on our website and create a search that insures all your NEEDS and WANTS are met.

Buying an REO can be a competitive process.  You want to be ready.  Speak with a mortgage planner prior to starting your search.  You will be pre approved and know exactly what you can afford, factoring in HOA dues, taxes and other fees related to buying your home.  A mortgage planner can assure you of these costs and get you pre approved.
Once pre approved, you can make that offer if you find your dream home.  Most Orange County REO properties are on the market less than 2 weeks, some as little as a few days. 

We can customize a search for you and let you know when an REO/BANK OWNED Property comes on the market that fits your criteria. 

There are amazing values here in Orange County and we at the WeeksTeam are skilled in making one of them your dream home!  We look forward to talking with you about your housing needs and finding you a home that satisfies all your wants and needs!

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Get out to VOTE and learn some fun facts!

Posted on November 3, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 will be a historic day in American History.  Thanks for doing your part and voting.  Here is a link to find your polling place in Orange Countyhttp://www.ocvote.com/

Now for some fun facts about the United States of America and how YOUR ONE VOTE COUNTS!

FUN FACTS

1.   The state that was the birthplace for the most former presidents is Virginia, with 8 former presidents born there.

2.   The religion to which the most former presidents belong is Episcopalian, with 11 former presidents.

3.   Four of our presidents have won the presidency but not the popular vote.  They are John Quincy Adams, Rutherford G. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush.

4.   Armored knights used to raise their visors to identify themselves when they rode past their king.  This custom has turned into the modern military salute.

5.   There are over 50 recognized political parties, though many are very small and many are based out of only one or a few states.

6.   Definition: Psephophobia: The fear of voting.

7.   You must be 35 years old to be president, 30 to be U.S. senator, 25 to be a U.S. House member, 18 to be Governor of Vermont and 18 to be a state senator of Vermont.

8.   The youngest elected president of the U.S. was John F. Kennedy, at 43 years old

ONE VOTE MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

1714: One vote placed King George 1 on the throne in England and restored the monarchy.

1800: One vote kept Aaron Burr, later charged with treason, from becoming president.

1839: One vote elected Marcus Morton as the Governor of Massachusetts.

1844: A farmer in Switzerland County, Indiana named Freeman Clark was seriously ill on Election Day.  He had his son carry him to the county seat so he could vote for David Kelso for state senator.  Clark died on the way home from the polling place.  David Kelso was elected state senator by one vote.

1844: Back when state senates elected U.S. senators, the Indiana state senate elected Edward Hannigan for U.S. senate by one vote; that vote was David Kelso’s.

1845: The U.S. Senate passed a convention to annex Texas by a vote of 27 – 25. One of the two critical votes was cast by Senator Hannigan from Indiana.

1850: One vote made California a state.

1859: One vote made Oregon a state.

1868: One vote saved President Andrew Johnson from being removed from office.

1876: President Rutherford B. Hayes was elected by one vote. Here’s the full story: His democratic opponent Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, but came up one electoral vote shy of a majority.  Twenty electoral votes were under dispute because political tactics were so shady. Congress appointed a commission of eight Republicans and seven Democrats to resolve the issue of the disputed electoral votes. The members voted along party lines, and so the Republicans, with a majority of one, voted to give all 20 of the electoral votes to Hayes, thus making him the President.

1889: One vote made Washington a state.

1890: One vote made Idaho a state.

1920: Tennessee ratified the 19th amendment, which allowed women to vote, by one vote.  Tennessee was the last state needed for ratification.

1941: One vote made the term for selective service 2 ½ years instead of 1.

We at the WeeksTeam look forward to helping you with your housing needs.  This remains a GREAT TIME TO BUY A HOME.

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A sign of relief from JPMORGAN CHASE

Posted on November 2, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Good news from JPMorgan Chase.  Read this article from www.businessweek.com

 In what may the biggest sign yet that banks are getting serious about attacking the nationwide wave of home foreclosures, giant JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced on Oct. 31 that it is sharply ramping up its efforts to restructure the loans in its massive mortgage portfolio. For the next 90 days, JPMorgan will not place any new homes into foreclosure.

The banking behemoth, which acquired troubled lender Washington Mutual on Sept. 25, says it hopes to modify terms for 400,000 homeowners, accounting for $70 billion in loans. Among the steps it is taking: eliminating toxic “pay option” loans, offering new loan terms to homeowners before they default, and hiring an additional 300 loan counselors to bring the company’s total to 2,500. “While Chase has helped many families already, we feel it is our responsibility to provide additional help to homeowners during these challenging times,” said Charlie Scharf, head of Chase’s retail financial services, in a prepared statement.

The JPMorgan Chase announcement comes as the U.S. bailout strategy seems to be shifting from the initial approach of having the Treasury Dept. buy $700 billion worth of troubled mortgage assets from lenders, to investing directly in big banks to spur more loans (BusinessWeek, 10/29/08), and now toward a coordinated effort to restructure loan terms for individual borrowers. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Shelia Bair has been pushing to have the federal government take a more active roll in loan restructurings (BusinessWeek.com, 10/30/08). The effort could be modeled after the fast-track mortgage modification program the FDIC put in place after taking over failed IndyMac bank in July.

More Than 2.2 Million Are 60 Days Late
The banking and mortgage industries have been criticized for not doing enough to prevent foreclosures and to modify the terms of troubled loans. According to the most recent data compiled by the Hope Now Alliance of lenders, counselers, and other industry players, lenders started the foreclosure process on 565,000 homeowners in this year’s third quarter. Some 265,000 homes were actually foreclosed on, nearly twice the number from the third quarter of 2007. Moreover, more than 2.2 million homeowners are more than 60 days delinquent in their mortgage payments, also a near doubling from last year.

The Hope Now Alliance was put together to keep borrowers in their homes. However, while Hope Now says it reached loan modification terms with 593,000 borrowers in this year’s third quarter, only 265,000 actually had the terms of their loans changed. The rest merely entered into payment plans, typically where the bank agrees to be repaid past-due payments and late fees over time. Mortgage industry critics say borrowers aren’t really out of danger unless the interest rates or principal is reduced, lowering monthly payments.

With IndyMac, the FDIC is reducing interest rates (BusinessWeek, 10/8/08), typically for five years, in an effort to keep borrowers’ payments to no more than 34% of their monthly income.

No More Pay-Option Mortgages
JPMorgan Chase says it’s reviewing its entire portfolio to determine which homeowners may be in trouble. The company says it will eliminate pay-option ARMs, a controversial type of adjustable-rate mortgage that allowed borrowers to defer part of their monthly payments, rolling the difference onto the principal they owed. Borrowers were often enticed to take such loans by the lower payments but now find themselves owing even more on their dwellings, even as home values have slid. A recent study by research firm First American CoreLogic found nearly one in five borrowers in the U.S. owes more on a home than it is worth.

New York City-based JPMorgan Chase also says it will proactively contact borrowers with prequalified offers to reduce their interest rates or loan principals and establish 24 new regional counseling centers to provide face-to-face help in markets with high delinquency rates. Many borrowers in trouble say it is difficult to reach lenders when they want to renegotiate loans. Many often feel they have to stop making payments to get a bank’s attention.

On Oct. 6, Bank of America (BAC) announced a settlement with attorneys general in 11 states that involved an aggressive loan modification program involving 400,000 borrowers and $8.4 billion in interest rate reductions. Bank of America’s Countrywide division had been accused by state officials of putting borrowers into loans they couldn’t afford during the boom just so it could resell those loans to Wall Street at a fat profit. Bank of America acquired Countrywide in July. 

We at the WeeksTeam feel this news from JPMorgan Chase is very positive and hope more banks follow in their progressive footsteps.  Contact your lender for more information on loan modification and contact us for all your housing needs.  It remains a GREAT TIME to buy a HOME. 

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    Orange County, CA Real Estate for hip first-time buyers and investors. Plus, fun things to know and do in OC.

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