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Tag Archives: antelope valley housing

August Housing Report

Unlike the month’s temperatures, July home sales cooled off from June’s highest year-to-date level. In the RE/MAX National Housing Report analysis of 53 U.S. cities, July sales fell in 49 markets by 8.8% from July 2015 and by 13.1% from June. Find more market and housing news at
Find the complete report here.

8 Tips for First-Time Sellers

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If you’re selling a home for the first time, it’s quite a different ballgame from what you experienced as a first-time buyer.

Ultimately, you’re in control of the process. You call the shots on prepping your home for sale, deciding on a listing price, accepting (or rejecting) offers, and a host of other factors.

But you might want to heed the following tips:

1. Hire an experienced real estate agent
A real estate transaction is filled with complexities and nuances that a professional, skilled agent can help you navigate. Ask friends and family to recommend an agent they’ve used and were pleased with, or search for a local RE/MAX agent.

2. Detach yourself from the process
You’ve made memories to last a lifetime in your first home, and saying goodbye is hard. But be careful not to let your emotional attachment get in the way of making sound decisions, particularly when it comes to staging and pricing your home. Try to see your home as a potential buyer would. Pretend you’re a potential buyer and walk through your home. Make a list of what you like about each room – and the things you’d change.

3. Don’t overprice
Some sellers might think that in today’s low-inventory market they can overprice their home and get top dollar. In reality, if you price it competitively, you’ll create a flurry of activity and (possibly) get in a situation where multiple offers are rolling in. Overpricing at the start hurts your chances of getting a quick sale, especially if numerous price reductions are needed.

4. Declutter and stage for a quick sale
Buyers who tour your home will have a hard time picturing themselves living in it if they only see paint colors or décor that fits your own unique style. Repaint the walls with neutral, earth-tone colors, and remove excess decorations from walls. Consider renting a storage unit to store large furniture that overpowers your main living areas; rooms should appear as spacious as possible.

5. Make the necessary repairs/upgrades
Ensure that all systems and appliances are functioning properly, as these items will come up in a home inspection that might cost you more money and, possibly, the whole sale down the road. The rule of thumb is to make improvements to your home that will help the property show well, but don’t put a ton of money into capital investments such as a basement refinish or high-end flooring, particularly if such upgrades aren’t consistent for your neighborhood. You likely won’t get that money back in the sale.

6. Give your home curb appeal
Your home’s front exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see when they drive by, and it’s likely the first photo that will appear in an online search. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, add some bright flowers to your entryway, and make sure that any cracks or major cement damage is fixed. Consider renting a pressure washer to get rid of the grime and buildup on the outside of your house, and definitely keep the yard mowed and tidy. A little elbow grease goes a long way to making a positive first impression on buyers.

7. Keep an open mind for negotiations
What’s more important to you: Walking away with your asking price (or more)? A quick closing time? Putting out as little up front cash in closing costs as possible? All of these are considerations you’ll need to make as you evaluate offers. Also, keep in mind that you have the ability to negotiate with counter-offers. Sometimes, you can sweeten the deal by offering to pay a buyer’s closing costs (if feasible), or leaving some appliances behind. A few concessions can go a long way in the negotiation process, and your Realtor can work with you to carefully evaluate and respond to each offer.

8. Get ready for closing
Once you’ve accepted an offer and signed a sales agreement, you’ll start prepping for a closing. Also called “escrow” or “settlement,” closing is the final meeting between the buyer, seller, their agents and a loan officer (or an attorney, in some states) where the buyer pays their portion of the costs to the seller and the buyer’s new title and any mortgage liens are properly recorded. The closing agent will calculate what monies are due to the owner and what credits need to be applied to the transaction, such as taxes, title fees and other closing costs.

Ready to sell? Find a RE/MAX agent today who can help you navigate all these steps.

9 Tips for Taking Photos That Help Your Home Sell

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1. Turn off the flash.
Open the curtains and try to use as much natural light as possible. Flashes can create unattractive shadows and distracting bright spots.

2. Think big.
Shoot from the doorway or from the corner to include as much of a room as possible. Rooms shot from an angle seem bigger.

3. Avoid photobombs.
Yes, your kids and pets are darling, but you’re not trying to sell them (hopefully). Keep them out of your listing shots.

4. No selfies.
To avoid starring in your photos, shoot mirrors from an angle.

5. Shoot from the hip.
Or chest. Shooting from a kneeling position helps make a room seem more spacious.

6. Go for a close-up.
Highlight architectural detailing, such as molding or tile work, with a close-up image.

7. Overcast is underrated.
Exterior photos have more depth when they’re taken on a cloudy day.

8. Take tons.
Take several pictures from each angle and in different lighting schemes to give yourself some options.

9. Use photo-editing software.
There are lots of free, easy-to-use photo editing tools available online that allow you to brighten your images and crop away distractions.

Your Realtor can help you pick the best images of your home, or find a talented pro to take some. Find a RE/MAX All Pro agent here.

Sellers: How to Decide Between Multiple Home Offers

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What a splendid dilemma! You’ve received several offers on your property. Which one should you choose? It’s not always the highest one.

Here are just some of the areas your agent could ask you to pay particularly close attention to as you’re weighing the options.

1. Do the math
This goes beyond simply calculating the dollar difference between the various offer prices. Before you do that, be sure to do all the math. Subtract things like closing costs, fees and potential repairs to determine the net proceeds of each offer.

2. Consider the financing
Can the buyer provide proof from the bank that there are funds to back the offer? Your agent can help verify this – and help you understand the terms of the buyer’s financing.

3. Motivation
Do the buyers have a baby-sitting parent in the neighborhood? A new job just around the corner? Buyers with extra motivation to purchase your home are less likely to press for concessions and more likely to work harder to close the deal. Some buyers even include a personal letter with their offer to explain why they want the home. These letters can be particularly helpful in multiple-offer situations.

4. Timeline
Note the closing date each offer proposes. You’ll want a closing date that best meets your needs. You can always counter a closing date, too, if the best offer doesn’t quite meet your timeline.

Weighing the pros and cons of each offer can be tricky. An experienced agent can help you clarify, calculate and secure the very best deal for you. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.

Ways to Help Kids Adapt to a Move

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We all know that moving can be stressful. Add to that the confusion and anxiety that a child may feel at leaving their familiar little world, and all of a sudden moving into that new place can be downright traumatic.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s a list of some things you can do to ease your child’s transition to a new home.

  • Look for children’s books about packing, moving and getting used to a new house. See what’s available at your local library, or search online for titles. There’s plenty to choose from.
  • Talk to your kids. Explain why you’re moving in an age-appropriate way. Keep it simple and clear. An older child will understand the concept of a job transfer but a younger child might find the idea of moving to a place with more room to play a more compelling explanation. Understanding the reason behind a move will help your child better absorb the reality.
  • Changing schools as the result of a move presents its own special challenges. If you have elementary-school age children, try to visit the new school with your child before he or she starts attending. Ask to meet the teachers, tour the classrooms, and maybe spend some time at the school with your youngster. Encourage your older children to do some online research into their new school; help them explore its academic opportunities, clubs and athletics.
  • Whenever possible, involve children in some of the decisions. If you’re looking at homes for sale together, ask them for their opinions. Ask where they’d place a bed and toys in their new room, or have them pick a new paint color.
  • You might be ready for new furniture and decor, but young children might have an easier time adjusting to a new home if some familiar pieces from the previous home stick around. So don’t rush to redecorate. Familiar items may ease your youngster’s transition.
  • Try to set up your child’s new room as soon as possible, even before the rest of the house is under control. Order, calm and your child’s favorite toys easily within reach will go a long way in making him or her feel settled.
  • If possible, revisit your former neighborhood or invite your child’s friends from there to your new place. That reconnection with the past, even if it’s brief, can help your child move forward.

5 THINGS TO WATCH IN HOUSING IN 2014

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It looks as though 2013, had two parts… At the beginning of the year, low housing inventory and interest rates promoted bidding wars. That in turn, escalated prices quickly. Then, mid year the bidding wars slowed down due to raised interest rates.

There are many speculations about the housing market in 2014 here are 5 things to watch for…

1. WILL INVENTORY RISE?

Prices go up when there is low inventory. Foreclosures are slowing and New construction hasn’t picked up. Traditional buyers aren’t listing as many homes. The consensus view is that price growth continues at a somewhat slower pace, but that consensus view could be wrong—for the third year in a row—if there aren’t more homes for sale.

2. WHERE IS THE HOME-CONSTRUCTION RECOVERY?

Some economists say new-home demand could remain muted because many move-up buyers don’t have enough equity to “trade up” to that new home. Key issues to watch here: What happens to household formation, and do builders begin to throttle back price gains in favor of selling more homes in 2014?

3. WHAT HAPPENS TO MORTGAGE CREDIT?

Even if it gets easier to get a loan—by no means a given—borrowing costs and fees could rise. Banks also face new mortgage regulations that could keep most of them cautious. Borrowers with more volatile or harder-to-document incomes, including the self-employed or those who make a lot of money on commissions, bonuses, or tips, could continue to face tough sledding.

4.  WHAT WILL INVESTORS DO WITH THEIR HOMES?

A handful of institutional investors have purchased tens of thousands of homes that are being rented out. Can owners perfect the expense management associated with maintaining and leasing tens of thousands of individual homes?

5.  WHEN DOES HOUSING HIT A TIPPING POINT ON AFFORDABILITY

On the one hand, rising prices are giving many homeowners equity in their homes again—an extremely positive development to the extent it means these borrowers are less at risk of foreclosure.
But price inflation is making housing less affordable. This will be a bigger problem if cash buyers retreat from the market in 2014 and/or if interest rates rise in a meaningful way.

Read full article BY NICK TIMIRAOS:  http://blogs.wsj.com/five-things/2014/01/07/5-things-to-watch-in-housing-in-2014/

Escalation Clause: A Helping Hand in Bidding Wars

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Are homes for sale snapped up right and left in your targeted neighborhoods? That’s the case in some real estate markets today, and it often leads to that dreaded house hunting reality: bidding wars.

If you’re considering buying a house in an area where bidding wars are common, talk to your agent about including an escalation clause as part of your offer. It can become an important tool in a multiple-offer situation.

An escalation clause means that your offer is automatically increased by a certain amount in response to a competing buyer’s higher bid, with a maximum offer price stated in the contract.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you’re offering $120,000 on a house. In your escalation clause, you specify your bid can automatically go up by $2,000, for example, with a maximum offer of $135,000. When another buyer bids $122,000, your lower offer doesn’t lose out right away, because the clause automatically escalates it to $124,000.

There are some important considerations to make regarding escalation clauses. Your real estate agent might advise against it based on the homebuying climate in your local market; it might be that some sellers won’t consider an offer that contains the clause. On the other hand, your agent might see it as the leg up you need in your area.

Also, you’ll need to ensure your mortgage pre-approval amount allows for those increases – and you can afford the higher monthly payments that come with approaching your maximum buying power. It’s smart to talk it over with your agent and run your plans by your lender before deciding to use an escalation clause.

The point: Low inventory and bidding wars don’t have to discourage you from making an offer on that dream home. You have options. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can discuss all of them with you.

Obama Says, ‘Let’s Allow Everybody to Refinance’

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It was encouraging to hear that housing is solidly on the Obama Administration’s radar. The president confirmed this during a live online interview August 7th.

Of particular note were his comments about HARP 3, the proposed third version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP was first introduced in 2009 to help struggling homeowners reduce their mortgage payments by refinancing their government-secured loans (mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

HARP 3 would make it easier for all homeowners, whether they have a government-secured loan or a private one, to refinance their mortgage.

Despite all the great news in housing (there’s plenty of it in the RE/MAX National Housing Report), the truth is that there are still many homeowners who are underwater or who haven’t regained all of the equity they lost during the recession. Most of the people this pertains to probably bought their homes at the peak of the market, when home values were inflated and interest rates were closer to 7 percent.

If homeowners were able to take advantage of the amazing interest rates right now (about 4.5 percent!), they’d be able to regain equity more quickly; they wouldn’t be paying as much interest at the same time that their home’s value is inching higher.

HARP 3 would be good for homeowners, for neighborhoods, for the housing market, and for the overall economy. And it’s especially good that there’s buy-in all the way at the top.

As President Obama noted, if more people are able to refinance their homes, they’re more likely to feel comfortable taking on something like a car loan. When consumer confidence is high, that’s when the economy is at its strongest.

If you think a HARP 3 program would be good for the United States, let your congressman or congresswoman know.

If you’re a homeowner who’s struggling, contact a RE/MAX All Pro Agent who can help you reach the best resolution.

The Antelope Valley; Labor, Lifestyle, & Los Angeles All Within Reach

The Antelope Valley; Labor, Lifestyle, & Los Angeles All Within Reach

The communities and local economy of the Antelope Valley are growing strong for a number of reasons, mainly affordability of housing. Antelope Valley residents enjoy a pleasing quality of life in

these family-oriented communities; there are just so many choices for recreation, shopping and dining right around the corner. It’s been said that within these communities, one may realize the American dream. Public safety, health care, transportation, education, and recreation are all important priorities within the following communities. The Antelope Valley offers a wide variety of family activities. From taking a stroll through Apollo Park, to hanging out in Downtown Lancaster.Movie theaters,shopping, weekly Farmer’s Market and Lancaster Performing Art Center are just the beginning in Downtown LancasterWhether you’re a current resident looking to relocate, or you’re looking to make the Antelope Valley your new home, you’ll find the information you need right here. Visit All Pro Agents online for more information about the communities within the Antelope Valley

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The Antelope Valley in CaliforniaUnited States, is located in northern Los Angeles Countyand the southeastern portion of Kern County, California, and constitutes the western tip of theMojave Desert. It is situated between the Tehachapi and the San Gabriel Mountains

The valley was named for the pronghorn antelopes that are said to have roamed there until being eliminated by hunters and bad weather in the 1880s.The principal cities in the Antelope Valley are Palmdale and Lancaster.