Mortgage Delinquencies Lowest in 6 Years – Good News

Fewer Delinquent Mortgage Payments, Better for You

Reports out this week revealed that fewer U.S. homeowners are delinquent on their mortgage payments. The numbers indicate that the late-payment rate on home loans hit the lowest level in six years the third week in August, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion. All good news to report – in fact these latest mortgage delinquency numbers are down from the first quarter of this year, when they were at 3.61 percent.

Housing Market Recovery: It’s REAL

The steady decline in home payment delinquencies, which has been consistent over the past two years, indicates that the American housing market is absolutely in recovery. In case anyone is still leery of a housing bubble, and there are hold-outs, this fact — recovery that is— is further bolstered by the home sales rebounding while foreclosures are steadily declining. Newsday reports that the good news is due in part to a decline and slow elimination of the “bad” home loans of 2008 and earlier, many of which resulted in foreclosures. At this time, some of the delinquency improvement can be directly attributed to more and more of these “bad” loan accounts being closed—most of the homes from this era have been sold or foreclosed upon— and an improvement in job growth and the economy. For those who are still suspect, I should say that this was big enough news that all of the major reporting agencies picked it up as a lead story last week including the Associated Press. Notably, this is definitely not self-adulatory reporting from realty associations in an effort to promote home sales. These are real numbers.

What Does This Mean for Home Owners/Buyers?

What does this mean for you as a home owner or potential home buyer? Well, that’s the best part of this news. Mortgage rates are falling and home values are increasing as a result of fewer delinquencies. According to The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, U.S. Existing-Home Sales Up 2.4% in July, The National Association of Realtors released a statement last week. It read in part:

The U.S. housing recovery gained traction in July as sales of previously owned homes rose to their highest level in 10 months. Not only were sales last month at their highest level since last September, but fewer transactions came from short sales of underwater homes and foreclosures.

Chris Christopher, consumer markets expert at IHS Global, also spoke to Fox News Business last week in the wake of the recent positive reports. He said that many Americans have improved their finances now that we are out of the recession. making them more likely to make on-time mortgage payments. Added Christopher:

What you can see here are consistent improvements; American households are doing relatively better. Household net worth is improving and people who have been foreclosed on have worked their way through the system.

Christopher added that IHS predicts “disposable income will make strong gains in 2013” making everyone more financially comfortable.

Isn’t nice to read some good news for a change?

Lydia Gable is an experienced and respected real estate agent in Ventura and Los Angeles counties for over a decade. Lydia has been honored with the Platinum Award from Keller Williams International and a #2 Ranking Individual Agent in Keller Williams Westlake Village. Thinking of purchasing your dream home? Contact Lydia Gable today for consultation or call (818) 934-8902.

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Home Sales: Summer Isn’t Over Yet

It’s not too late to take advantage of the summer home-selling spree which typically amps up from May to August. Assuming you make the right choice by selecting an experienced real estate agent, you could be in a new home by summer’s end. Knowing how to out-list the competition and get your asking price is the first step. But there are many lesser known tips that can move the process long more expeditiously. A recent article in The Huffington Post, titled 6 Seller Secrets for This Summer’s Real Estate Market breaks down the summer home sale in a really accessible way. According to the article—next to choosing your real estate agent—the most important thing is to know your market and know your numbers. Said the feature:

Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August.

The article goes on to say that you have the best chance if you put your home on the market at the beginning of the season. However while that is mostly true, you do stand a better chance, I don’t think that it’s so crucial in certain regions like Southern California where the rules can be broken slightly. So sellers, if you want to take advantage of summer home sale season, there’s still time…

Incidentally, I use all of these tips in my work with clients. So I thought I would share. Here are a few of their secrets to the “summer sell”.

  • The Price is Right … Or Is It?

Price it right, price it right! I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing how to price your home. For this you must be willing to have a good, honest conversation with a realtor who knows first-hand what works in the listing area! I live and work in Westlake Village, so when I price a home, I know exactly what I’m talking about. The key thing to remember, says the article:

Look back no more than 60 days. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago.

  • Social Media Sells – Make It POP!

Make sure your listing pops on a computer AND on a smartphone. So many more buyers are looking up listings on their iPhone or iPad before they come out to buy. You can’t afford to skip this step. Ask your real estate agent if you can see other similar listings on your phone. Thu Huff Postpiece adds:

Great homes with mediocre quality photos will be quickly discarded and ultimately get less showings.

  • Manage Your Expectations

Don’t expect a bidding war on your home, says the author, Michael Corbett – they are not as common any more. But it is reasonable to expect your home to sell to one fantastic buyer for your desired asking price. While I still have bidding wars on “for sale” homes, he’s right it’s not the market of old. So really the ultimate goal is to SELL and sell well.

Lastly I would add, choose a realtor who knows the market and has weathered the rises and falls. And choose a realtor who really knows the area in which you are selling your home. There is no substitute for an experienced agent who walks the walk and talks the talk! You can’t teach experience…

Lydia Gable is an experienced real estate agent in Westlake Village with over a decade of experience. If you’re ready to sell your home, the real estate agent you choose could be a deciding factor in how quickly your property moves. In today’s world, the housing market is volatile and challenging. Choose an agent who will be with you every step of the way from listing to closing. Lydia Gable works strategically to position your home for sale right down to negotiating so you receive top dollar. Contact Lydia Gable today for a consultation.

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A Snapshot of the Best Places to Live SoCal

Agoura Hills

Agoura Hills is a beautiful and affluent community about one half hour outside of Los Angeles which makes for an easy commute. This Los Angeles County city is home to a state-of-the-art civic center and offers a variety of cultural and outdoor activities for the whole family including horse riding and trails – some of the best. One of the faves is Malibu Riders in Agoura Hills. Take advantage of the 2 hour Malibu Creek ride! Agoura Hills is a very family-friendly community not to mention it boasts 200+ sunny days each year, so of course outdoor activities abound! Some other fun choices offered here include, pee-wee yoga, hiking, fencing, and even senior socials. So if you have an elderly loved one living with you, this is a community where they have options to get out and enjoy. The weather is great and there are fun activities to enjoy. Additionally Agoura Hills is consistently ranked one of the safest cities in the country. Most recently ranked 14 out of the 50 Safest Cities, according to Safewise, “the FBI’s Crime Report states that authorities were made aware of just three robberies in 2011.”

Calabasas

Situated in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley, Calabasas is not only beautiful with a temperate climate, but it’s also a leader in the green movement. Made famous by its one-time residents, the Kardashians and Justin Bieber, it’s so much more than a celebrity haven. Families enjoy its quaint community feel while still being a stone’s throw from the Malibu beach or a short ride to Los Angeles. Another city that consistently makes the “safe” list and ranked 13 out the 50 Safest Cities, Calabasas, according to the latest FBI Crime Report as reported by Safewise, only had three robberies reported to authorities in 2011. Also, for those who care about environmental issues, you will undoubtedly be impressed with all of the green initiatives offered by the city. Lastly, as a resident, you will have the privilege of enjoying sunset concerts at Calabasas Lake, tennis and swimming at the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center, or day trips to the many parks in the community.

Westlake Village

A little lakeside community surrounded by a golf course and situated between Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills, Westlake is the perfect affluent, Southern California community in which to settle down. Upscale dining and shopping at The Promenade or boating and fishing at Westlake Lake – take your pick! It’s all here. But whether you choose this area for investment or to purchase your dream home, residents have access to North Ranch Country Club and the award winning Westlake Golf Course not to mention it’s only a short 30 minutes to the city of Los Angeles and a short drive to Malibu. Additionally, the public schools are ranked some of the top in the country. According to GreatSchools.com, Westlake Village on average spends $12000 + per student. Several Westlake Village public elementary and high schools ranked 9 out of 10 on their list with 10 being best.

Lydia Gable sells and lists homes in Agoura Hilla, Westlake Village and Calabasas. Even better she lives, works and plays in the Westlake Village. If you need a realtor with years of proven experience and a real appreciation for the community in which you’ll purchase or sell your home, contact Lydia Gable today.

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The ‘Buffett’ Approach to Real Estate Investing

Warren Buffett recently penned a letter for the benefit of those who are interested in real estate investing. Of course I think anyone—not only real estate investors—could find value after reading it just by virtue of his expansive knowledge. Interestingly enough he refers to the experts, the pundits as offering nothing but impediments to success, mere chatter. He implies that you don’t need to be a real estate expert to invest well. The irony is, at least in my humble opinion, that he sounds every bit the expert—which obviously he is—in his attempt to make it accessible for every wo/man. As a realtor, I thought of course that I should share some of what Buffett believes are contributing factors to his own success. It’s an interesting read – I’m neither endorsing it nor refuting it. My aim: simply to share the information.

‘Expectations Proved Out’

As reported by Fortune Magazine, they state that in an “exclusive excerpt from his upcoming shareholder letter, Warren Buffett looks back at a pair of real estate purchases and the lessons they offer for equity investors.” In the letter, Buffett’s annual letter: What you can learn from my real estate investments, Buffett cites two of his early investments—a farm and an NYU property— which he describes as good lifetime investments and both of which he says in terms of the gains, “won’t be dramatic [but] will be solid and satisfactory holdings for my lifetime and, subsequently, for my children and grandchildren.”

Of the 400 acre farm investment which was made in 1986, he says that he had no unusual intelligence to conclude if it was a good or poor investment. He knew nothing about the industry. But he had a son who loved farming, and so he calculated some costs v. ROI numbers. He figured “both how many bushels of corn and soybeans the farm would produce and what the operating costs. Then he held these numbers up against a calculation of the normalized return from the farm which he figured at about 10%. He also thought productivity would improve over time. He says, ‘Both expectations proved out.”

‘Recognize Your Limitations’

Mainly Buffett cites these examples to show that he needed no unusual knowledge or intelligence to conclude that the investment had no downside and potentially had a substantial upside. Almost 30 years later the farm has tripled its earnings and is worth five times more than the original price. He stresses however it was based on his own analysis and business sense not so called fear chatter from experts which seems to be the big takeaway from the letter. Finally he offers these takeaways which I believe are very valuable for any real estate purchase:

  • You don’t need to be an expert. But if you aren’t, recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well. When promised quick profits, respond with a quick “no.”
  • Focus on the future productivity of the asset. If you don’t feel comfortable making a rough estimate of future earnings, forget it and move on.

Know Your Gut and Your Realtor!

Essentially it boils down to this: Do your homework, know what you like, trust your gut and don’t bail on an investment because you listened to other people’s fear. Before you bail, give it time, there will always be less than favorable markets, but trust your own sense and that the market will return.

Many real estate investors could have used his letter a couple years back. Of course it’s easy to have confidence in your investing decisions when your name is Warren Buffett. But none the less, we all have to start somewhere. But I would add one last small note to his infinite wisdom…find a Realtor that can help you figure out your gut!

For information on any information covered in this blog or list a home or view listings in the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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