Saturday, October 23, 2010

Set Realistic Price From the Start

If you're considering listing your house and you're serious about selling, you're better off being realistic right from the get-go.

This is according to a New Zealand housing analyst whose study of online buyer habits echoes one done this year in the United States.

Alistair Helm, chief executive of, concluded that a property receives four times as many views in the first week online as it does a week later. His company looked at 1,100 New Zealand properties during a six-week period in July and August.

Helm told the New Zealand Herald that the "most important people in the market" are serious buyers who are searching online every day, and they're fully aware when a home that might meet their needs becomes available.

A few months ago, the online brokerage looked at traffic for listings in multiple markets.

The homes studied had gone on the market early this year and had been for sale at least 60 days, and the listings had been updated — had a price change or some other significant condition change — at least once. came to the same conclusion: Brand-new listings get four times as many online viewings in that initial week as they do immediately afterward.

If you're fishing for an unrealistic price, you may be blowing it, the company said.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mortgage Rates Hit Year’s 12th Record Low

Mortgage interest rates dropped to the lowest rate on record for a 12th time this year as a six-month case of the jitters continues to rattle the U.S. economy.
Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages have stair-stepped their way down by a full percentage point since April, according to Freddie Mac, which has tracked home loan rates for 39 years.

That’s equal to a $44,000 cut in interest costs on a $200,000 loan.

Observers say that the slide in rates began as investors sought the security of U.S. Treasury bonds, which influence mortgage rates.

“Mortgage rates have followed Treasury yields down,” Raymond James Chief Economist Scott Brown told Bloomberg. “I think the bottom line is they’ll stay low for quite some time.”

According to Freddie Mac, this week’s average rates were:

- Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage: 4.19% with 0.8 of a point (or 0.8% of the loan amount) paid up front. That’s the lowest in records dating back to April 1971. The 30-year home loan rate — which averaged 8.9% for the past 39 years — peaked this year at 5.21% on April 10. It has fallen 1.02% since then, equal to a savings of $123 in monthly payments on a $200,000 loan and $44,132 in total interest over the life of the loan.

- Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgage: 3.62% with 0.7 of a point, a low in records dating back to August 1991. The 15-year home loan has set 17 record lows this year, dropping 0.9% since April — equal to a savings of $90 off the monthly payment on a $200,000 loan and $16,281 in total interest.

- Five-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): 3.47% with 0.6 of a point. That’s tied with last week’s low in records dating back to January 2005. The five-year ARM has fallen to a record low 17 times this year.

- One-year ARM: 3.43% with 0.8 of a point, up from last week when it averaged 3.40%. The low for the one-year ARM is 3.36% set in March 2004 in records dating back to 1984.

The Associated Press reported:

“Rates have fallen since spring as investors shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds. That demand lowers their yields, which mortgage rates tend to track. The 30-year rate was 5.08 percent at the beginning of April (compared to 3.83% today) …

“Low rates haven’t helped the struggling housing market, which recorded its worst summer in more than a decade. But they have led to a surge in refinancing.

“And rates could fall even further in the coming week.

“The Federal Reserve is leaning toward buying more Treasury bonds to drive down loan rates and boost the economy, according to minutes of closed-door deliberations released Tuesday. Economists predict Fed officials will approve a bond purchase program at their Nov. 2-3 meeting.”

Information Provided By: The Orange County Register


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Prudential Voted #1 in Orange County

* Prudential professionals help stage your home for sale, including landscaping, paint, floor coverings and small repairs.
* Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services ranked first in seller satisfaction among all national full-service real estate firms in a J.D. Power and Associates survey.
* Prudential ranked first in relocation satisfaction in an annual nationwide survey conducted in August

Why they're No. 1: Prudential real estate offices in Orange County are affiliated with one of two companies. One is owned by Rich Cosner, and the other is owned by HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. "Our role is to give our professionals the support they need to provide an exceptional experience to our customers – from a responsive management team to the powerful resources of our parent company," said Jon Cook, president and chief executive officer of HomeServices. Cosner said, "The success of our company lies primarily with the experience level of our agents. Prudential doesn't work with new agents, we only hire experienced people. We work with them to grow their careers and take care of clients." Real estate has been challenging the last few years, he said. Five years ago experience didn't matter as much. "But now it takes skill to get these properties sold. Our agents have a higher level of sophistication. The market will continue to be challenged for another two years because of the California employment situation."

Claim to fame: "We have great managers who find those customers," Cosner said. "We market globally and have had success with that. Our system gets buyers into agents' hands." Cosner stays up on the facts and keeps graphs for his agents to let them know of strategic opportunities. Cosner said California is "on sale." It's an opportunity for first-time homebuyers as well. "They're in a great position," he said. "Banks made a lot of mistakes, and there were lots of people who got loans without really qualifying. But now the system protects those young buyers. Credit checks will no longer be cursory."

Fan favorite: "Prudential and our agent were professional in negotiating the deal. I'm a super-satisfied customer; their experience showed." – Juan Chacon, Yorba Linda

Fun fact
: Prudential agents in Orange County speak about 50 foreign languages, according to Cosner. Most overseas clients speak English, but others feel more comfortable dealing with business matters in their own language.

Information Provided By The Orange County Register


Saturday, October 2, 2010