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Free Fresno short sale training event this Wednesday

FREE Short Sale Training!

The short sale market is BOOMING! Learn new marketing strategies to get more short sale listings AND more importantly, get insider tips on how to get them closed!

Text “srgliz” to 90210 to RSVP or reply by email!

Lee Honish presents a 3 hours course Fresno short sale sale marketing course that is sure to boost your business in 2012. This is a FREE short sale training event hosted by Summit Realty Group Fresno but seating is limited! Text “srgliz” to 90210 or email us to RSVP to secure your seat to this FREE short sale training event.

Bring your stuck short sale files for FREE one-on-one short sale coaching from industry leaders on how to get them closed!

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Day: May 9th, 2012
Time: 1-4pm
Location: 4741 W Spruce Ave, Suite 104, Fresno CA 93722

Plus…get Monster Marketing from Lee Honish for over 60% off the retail price on the day of the event!

Text “mobilerealtors” to 90210 to Enter to win a Free Sprint Tablet from Summit Realty Group!

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Small Repairs That Can Raise Your Sales Price

Leaky faucet

If you’re actively preparing to list your home for sale, resist the temptation to make major home improvements. Nationwide, home improvement projects recoup just 58 cents on the dollar, says Remodeling Magazine.

Rather, for a better return on your time and money, focus on the minor projects instead. It’s the smaller projects in San Marcos that tend to have a bigger, long-term payoff.

So, how do you determine which projects are the “smaller ones”? It’s obvious when you think like a buyer.

Consider : Home buyers don’t always notice when your home is in working order. In fact, they expect it to be that way. What they do notice, however, is when things are “broken”. When a buyer sees torn screens in your windows or burnt out light bulbs, it makes him wonder what else in the home has not been cared for.

This is one reason why — especially during warmer months — it’s sensible to hire an exterminator prior to selling your home. If a prospective buyer uncovers bugs in your bathroom, it can leave a lasting, negative impression — one that won’t likely lead to a purchase contrast.

So, with “small repairs” in mind, here are 5 simple projects that you can tackle in a weekend, and that will help your home show better. Each is low-cost and high-impact:

  1. Repair or remove torn screen doors
  2. Fix all leaky faucets and toilets
  3. Touch up holes and cracks in paint, interior and exterior
  4. Apply a lubricant to squeaky doors and cabinets
  5. Get “clutter” into storage and physically out of the way

In addition, you’ll want to pull weeds from your yard, seed any bare spots you find, and lay down fresh mulch, where appropriate.

You won’t need to spend big bucks to get your home ready for sale but the time spent on repairs will have a pay-off in the end. Homes that show better often sell much faster, and at higher prices.

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Planning For A Memorial Day Closing

Memorial Day ClosingsPlanning to close on your home at the end of May? Plan ahead. Memorial Day is coming and the holiday may delay your closing.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and the 3-day Memorial Day weekend is a popular vacation time in real estate-related industries.

Real estate agents tend to take time off because fewer of their clients are actively home shopping on a holiday weekend; mortgage lenders are closed because banks don’t operate on a federal holiday; and, title agents are often away from the office because the former two groups aren’t working.

But what’s supposed to be a 3-day weekend is actually a 4.5-day one. This is because many people leaving for a Memorial Day vacation will not go to work on the Friday before the holiday, and then getting back into the “work groove” on Tuesday can be a half-day affair.

Therefore, if you’re under contract to buy a home in Carlsbad , or to sell one; or if you have a refinance in progress that’s expected to close at month-end, there are some steps you should take to get pro-active with your closing. If you’re going to lose 4-and-a-half days at the end of the month, you’ll want to try to make those days up while the month is still young.

Here are 3 quick tips to speed up your closing and approval.

First, get your homeowners insurance policy picked out. Do your comparison shopping, select an insurer, and then prepay your first year of insurance, effective your closing date. Pay by check and not credit card, if possible, to avoid harming your credit score.

Provide your proof of payment to your lender immediately.

Next, if you’re using a Power of Attorney, have your documents signed by all interested parties and submit them to your lender for review. Don’t assume that your attorney’s Power of Attorney documents will be acceptable to a bank — banks require specific verbiage. If the documents are rejected, make the requested fixes and resubmit.

Banks do not compromise on Power of Attorney letters.

And, lastly, if you’re accepting gifts or using retirement funds for your downpayment, be sure to have your paperwork reviewed and on file with your lender as soon as possible. Do not wait to withdraw funds until just before closing, either. Have everything in the proper checking account at least one week in advance, and ready for your closing.

There are other steps you can take, too, to make sure your end-of-May closing goes smoothly and they all amount to “preparedness”.

When you’re asked for paperwork, provide it quickly. When you’re asked to sign a document, sign it on the same day. When you’re needed to attend a home inspection or an appraisal, do it during your first available opening.

Just leave as little as possible to the “last minute”, and everything should go well.

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Make A Mortgage Rate Plan Ahead Of The Jobs Report

Non-Farm Payrolls 2000-2012

Been shopping for a mortgage rate? You may want to lock something down. Tomorrow morning, mortgage rates are expected to change. Unfortunately, we don’t know in which direction they’ll move.

It’s a risky time for California home buyers to be without a locked mortgage rate.

The action begins at 8:30 A.M. ET Friday. This is when the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its April Non-Farm Payrolls report.

The monthly Non-Farm Payrolls report is more commonly known as “the jobs report” and provides a sector-by-sector breakdown of the U.S. employment situation, including changes in the Unemployment Rate.

In March 2012, the government reported 120,000 net new jobs created — half the number created during the month prior, and the third straight month of declining job creation. The Unemployment Rate fell one-tenth of one percent to 8.2%.

For April, economists expect to see 160,000 net new jobs created, and no change in the national Unemployment Rate.

Based on the accuracy of those predictions, mortgage rates in Oceanside are subject to change. If the actual number of jobs created in April exceeds economist expectations, mortgage rates should rise. Conversely, if the actual number of jobs created falls short, mortgage rates should drop.

Job growth’s link to mortgage rates is straight-forward. Jobs are an economic growth engine and mortgage rates are based economic expectation. Therefore, as the number of people entering the U.S. workforce increases, so do Wall Street’s growth projections for the economy. When that happens — especially in a recovering economy such as this one – mortgage rates tend to rise.

So, for today’s rate shoppers, Friday’s job report represents a risk. The economy has created jobs for 18 straight months, a winning streak that has added 2.9 million people to the U.S. workforce. If that winning streak continues and expectations are beat, mortgage rates are likely to rise off their all-time lows, harming home affordability in Ranch Del Oro, among other areas.

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Join Summit Realty Group for free LinkedIn training

Free LinkedIn for real estate agents this Thursday April 26th!

With over 150 million users and 2 new users coming on every second, Linkedin has positioned itself as the #1 Social Media site for Professional Networking and Business Development. In this engaging 60 Minute talk, Doug Taber with LinkedAid will discuss Linkedin concepts that will improve your Business Development results and help you to build your network.

• 3 Steps to STAND OUT with your profile
• How to MAKE IT RAIN with Linkedin
• Live Linkedin Sessions
• Interactive Q&A

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/623442831

 

Date:Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Time:10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT

 

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

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Home Values Start The Year Strong

HPI 2007-2012

Home prices started the year on an upswing.

According to the Federal Home Finance Agency’s Home Price Index, home prices rose by a seasonally-adjusted 0.3 percent between January and February 2012. The index is up 0.4% over the past year, offering a counter-story to the Case-Shiller Index’s assertion that home values are sinking.

Last week, Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index said home values had dropped more than 3 percent in the prior 12 months.

As a home buyer or seller in Carlsbad , data showing “rising home values” or “falling home values” may be of interest to you, but we can’t forget that most home valuation trackers — including both the government’s Home Price Index and the private sector Case-Shiller Index — have a severe, built-in flaw.

Both used “aged” data. Today, the calendar reads May. Yet, we’re still discussing February’s housing data.

Data that is two-plus months old is of little value to everyday buyers and sellers wanting to know the “right now” of housing. And, even then, characterizing the data as “two-plus months old” may be a stretch. This is because the home values used in the Home Price index and the Case-Shiller Index are collected from actual transactions, but at the time of closing.

Considering that most purchases require 45-60 days to close, we can know that when we look at the Home Price Index and Case-Shiller Index reports for February, what we’re really seeing is a snapshot of the housing market as it existed two-plus month plus 60 days ago.

Data that’s 5 months old is of little relevance to today’s buyers and sellers. Today’s market is driven by today’s economics.

The Home Price Index is a useful gauge for economists and law-makers. It highlights long-term trends in housing which can be helpful in allocating resources to a particular project or policy. For home buyers and seller throughout California , though, it’s much less useful. Real-time data is what matters to you.

For that, talk to a real estate professional.

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Mortgage Guidelines Resume Tightening Nationwide

Senior Loan Officer SurveyDespite an improving U.S. economy, the nation’s banks remain cautious about what they will lend, and to whom.

Last quarter, by a margin of 3-to-2, more banks tightened residential mortgage lending standards for “prime borrowers” than did loosen them.

A “prime borrower” is defined as one with a well-documented credit history, high credit scores, and a low debt-to-income ratio. The insight comes from the Federal Reserve’s quarterly survey of its member banks.

Last quarter, of the 54 responding banks :

  • 0 banks tightened mortgage guidelines considerably
  • 3 banks tightened mortgage guidelines somewhat
  • 49 banks left guidelines basically unchanged
  • 2 banks eased mortgage guidelines somewhat
  • 0 banks eased mortgage guidelines considerably

By contrast, in the quarter prior, not a single surveyed bank reported tighter residential mortgage guidelines. The period from January-March was a step backwards, therefore, for the fledgling U.S. housing market.

Overall, getting approved for a mortgage is tougher than it used to be. Banks enforce higher minimum credit score standards; ask for larger downpayment/equity positions; and require higher monthly income relative to monthly debt obligations.

It’s one reason why the homeownership rate is at its lowest point since 1997.

Another reason why homeownership rates may be down is that prospective home buyers believe the hurdles of today’s mortgage approval process may be impassably high. That’s untrue.

There are many U.S. homeowners and renters — even here in Carlsbad — that were approved for a home loan last quarter — prime borrowers or otherwise. Some had excellent credit, some had modest credit. Some had high income, some had moderate income. Many, however, took advantage of low-downpayment mortgage options such as the FHA’s 3.5% downpayment program, and the VA’s 100% mortgage program for military veterans.

Despite a general tightening in mortgage standards, loans are still available and banks remain eager to lend.

It is harder to get approved today as compared to 5 years ago, but for those that try and succeed, the reward is access to the lowest mortgage rates in a lifetime. Mortgage rates throughout California continue to push home affordability to all-time highs.

If you’re in the market to buy a new a home or refinance one, your timing is excellent.

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How To Clean Your Outdoor Gas Grill In Less Than 30 Minutes

Keep a clean grillRegardless of your hometown’s climate, outdoor gas grill cooking can be a four-season endeavor. Just remembe to keep your grill clean.

According to Weber’s annual GrillWatch Survey, less than 40% of grill owners clean their equipment with any bit of frequency, and 6 percent admit they’ve never cleaned their grill at all.

There are three main reasons to keep a clean grill. The first is that a clean, well-maintained grill will have a longer useful life than a dirty, sloppy one. Grills can be expensive and it’s often less costly to maintain them than to replace them.

The second reason to keep a clean grill is for sanitary reasons. Over time — especially when exposed to the elements — a grill’s finish can deteriorate and/or retained cooked foodstuffs. This can create a breeding ground for germs and disease.

And, lastly, a clean grill helps cooked foods taste better.

So, whether you’ve cleaned your equipment recently or never at all, it’s always a good time to freshen up your grill. Here’s how to do it, quickly :

  1. Remove the grates. Soak them in soapy water. Scrub foodstuffs using a wire brush. Allow to dry.
  2. Remove loose debris from bottom of grill.
  3. Using soapy solution, scrub grill’s surfaces, grill pans, and grease trays. Don’t forget the lid.
  4. Clean outside of grill with mild soap solution, treating rust areas with cooking oil.
  5. Look for broken, cracked or faulty equipment, specifically burners and ignitors. Replace as necessary.

Then, as a last step, re-assemble your grill and turn its burners to high for 10 minutes. This will burn off excess water in the grill and help to sanitize it.

Cleaning a gas grill is a 20-30 minute process. The results, however, are long-lasting.

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Pending Home Sales Index Crosses The 100 Barrier

Pending Home Sales 2010-2012

After a series of worse-than-expected data last month, the housing market appears to be back on track.

The Pending Home Sales Index posted 101.4 in March, a four percent gain from the month prior and the index’s highest reading since April 2010 — the last month of that year’s federal home buyer tax credit.

A “pending home” is a home under contract to sell, but not yet closed. The Pending Home Sales Index is tracked and published by the National Association of REALTORS® monthly.

The March report marks the index’s first 100-plus reading in nearly two years.

To home buyers and sellers throughout California , this is statistically significant because the Pending Home Sales Index is normalized to 100, a value corresponding to the average home contract activity in 2001, the index’s first year of existence. 2001 was an historically-strong year for the housing market.

The March 2012 Pending Home Sales Index, therefore, puts current market activity on par with market activity from 2001.

You wouldn’t know it from reading this week’s papers, though. There have been stories about how the Case-Shiller Index put home values at new loans; and how the Existing Home Sales figures unexpectedly dropped off; and how the New Home Sales report was a laggard.

But this is why the Pending Home Sales Index can be so important.

What makes the Pending Home Sales Index different from those other data points is that the Pending Home Sales Index is a “forward-looking” housing market indicator.

Unlike most data which aims to tell us how the housing market performed at some point in the past, the Pending Home Sales Index attempts to tell us how the housing market will perform at some point in the future.

80% of homes under contract close within 2 months. Many more close within months 3-4. Therefore, on the strength of the March Pending Home Sales Index, we should expect a strong April and May nationwide

If you’re shopping for homes right now, consider taking advantage while the market remains somewhat soft. Mortgage rates are low and home prices are, too. It can make for a good home-buying conditions.

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A Simple Explanation Of The Federal Reserve Statement (April 25, 2012)

Putting the FOMC statement in plain EnglishThe Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within its current target range of 0.000-0.250 percent Wednesday.

For the fifth consecutive month, the Fed Funds Rate vote was nearly unanimous. Just one FOMC member, Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker, dissented in the 9-1 vote.

The Fed Funds Rate has been near zero percent since December 2008. It is expected to remain near-zero through 2014, at least.

In its press release, the Federal Reserve noted that the U.S. economy has been “expanding moderately” since the FOMC’s last meeting in March. Beyond the next few quarters, the Fed expects growth to “pick up gradually”.

This key phrase will likely be repeated by the press. It suggests that the economy is no longer contracting; instead moving along a path of slow, consistent expansion.

In addition, the Fed acknowledged that “strains in global financial markets” continue to pose “significant downside risks” to long-term U.S. economic outlook. This is in reference to the sovereign debt concerns of Greece, Spain and Italy, and the potential for a broader European economic slowdown.

The Fed’s statement included the following notes :

  1. The housing sector remains “depressed”
  2. Labor conditions have “improved in recent months”
  3. Household spending has “continued to advance”

Also, with respect to inflation, the Fed said that the higher oil and gasoline prices from earlier this year will affect inflation “only temporarily”, and that inflation rates will return to stable levels soon.

At its meeting, the Federal Reserve neither introduced new economic stimulus, nor discontinued existing market programs. The Fed re-affirmed its intentions to hold the Fed Funds Rate at “exceptionally low” levels through late-2014, and to buy mortgage-backed bonds in the open market.

Immediately following the FOMC’s statement, mortgage markets improved slightly, pressuring mortgage rates lower in Oceanside and nationwide.

The FOMC’s next scheduled meeting is a two-day event slated for June 19-20, 2012.

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