Should you sell in a down market?

Home prices are falling in many places. Is it time to throw in the towel before things get worse?

Q: Is now a good time to sell my house, before it loses more equity, or should I wait until house prices go up again? What’s the best time of year to sell?

A: You didn’t say where you live, so I’m going to hop on my “all real estate is local” soapbox and proffer a broad response. As I’ve already implied, home-selling potential always comes down to the nuances of local markets, specific ZIP codes and even specific blocks.

A great location can trump factors such as unemployment rates, low or high mortgage rates, mortgage access and other variables.

For example, a classic home on a tree-lined block near a prestigious university will always be in demand, despite the economy.

The same goes for a quaint house that overlooks a lake or forest or one with a mountain view.

As for “losing more equity,” odds are good at this point in the cycle that your home has lost most of the value — and equity — it’s going to lose, give or take a few percentage points. But again, that value is only what someone is willing to pay for it, not market averages.

Markets in most parts of the country are closer to turning around than tailing off, with some notable exceptions. So I wouldn’t let the anticipation of further losses force your hand. If you’re resolved to wait for a vigorous run-up in value akin to what we saw in the middle of the previous decade, however, your wait could be long and futile.

Again, don’t mistakenly base your marketing strategy on the health of the overall market. Things such as comparative sales or “comps,” investment potential, mortgage-lending standards and interest rates are important in determining your potential homebuyers. But the product on hand — your specific address — should be the chief focus.

An accomplished agent can help you identify your home’s relative strengths and show you how to emphasize them. But hire carefully.

As for the best time of year to sell your home, the stock response is still spring because that’s when most buyers emerge. This is largely because a spring purchase allows families to plan moves that won’t uproot their kids from their schools in the middle of the term.

Today, “spring” really means “late winter.” If you want to sell next year, have your house on the market and ready for showings by mid- to late February. Many potential buyers are starting searches as early as possible because they also must sell their current home to make the purchase work.

There will be plenty more foreclosures and short sales emerging on the market in the spring, however.

Another option: If you are happy where you’re living and aren’t tanking under a top-heavy mortgage, you could simply choose to sit tight for another year or two for additional clarity. After all, a home is a shelter first and an investment second.

It’s a fine line you must walk.

Please contact us for a free analysis of your home’s worth!

First-Time Home Buyers Prepare for Best Buyer’s Market in Recent History

While affordable housing prices, ample inventories, and historically low interest rates signal ‘buyer’s market’ for investors or move-up buyers in many U.S. markets, inexperienced first-time buyers may not know if the time is right to make a move into real estate.

“It’s not about timing the market. It’s about time in the market,” says Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer at Move, Inc., a leader in online real estate. “Once you know how long you expect to own a home, look at the historical value performance of properties in the neighborhood. Be confident about your own job security, down payment resources and tolerance for upkeep, as well as the lifestyle you want today and in the near term. While homeownership may not be for everyone, it is the right choice for hundreds of thousands of people. Today’s housing market, especially for first-time buyers, makes it almost impossible not to think about the possibilities.”

To help first-time buyers know if they’re ready to look for the home of their dreams as we head into this year’s home-buying season, the experts at Move have created a ‘reality checklist’ designed to help them decide if the time is right.

Get your financial house in order
Before you decide to buy a home, it’s essential to make sure your credit is in good shape and repair any damage previously done. Know your credit score: thirty-five percent (35%) of successful buyers recently reported they didn’t know their credit score when they went house shopping, according to a national survey fielded for Having enough money set aside for a down payment is a key component to making sure you are ready to purchase a home. Also, it’s important to not put all of your money in the down payment as other fees or unexpected expenses often arise after closing.

Don’t fall in love with a house you can’t buy
Find out how much you can afford: establishing your purchase power upfront, including how much money will be required for a down payment and closing costs, is a must for first-time buyers. Look for special loans available from FHA and government sponsored loans for first-time home buyers that reduce the amount of money required to get into a home.

Learn the lingo
Since first-time buyers are new to the market and will finance a significant portion of their purchase, it’s important to get familiar with the processes and terminology associated with home-buying. Here are a few key terms from to add to your vocabulary:

Bait rate: Misleading mortgages with low rate promises and no contingencies generally for those with extraordinary credit. Rates are based on: credit, debt-to-income and loan-to-value ratios, the size and type of loan, property location and the day you lock your rate, etc. The loan isn’t locked until the application is accepted. By then, it may be too late to find a better rate from another lender.

Basis point: A term used in the mortgage industry which simply means 1/100th of 1%.

Closing costs: The fees required to process and close your loan. They’re a cash obligation running from 3-5% of the purchase price. Motivated sellers might pay a portion of these costs.

FHA: Federal Housing Administration, the Federal Government Agency that oversees the U.S. Housing market. FHA Loans are loans insured by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

FRM and ARM: A Fixed-Rate Mortgage Loan (FRM) is a loan where your interest rate stays the same for the life of the loan. ARMs are Adjustable-Rate Mortgages with variable interest rates that fluctuate based on an agreed-upon index.

GFE: The Good Faith Estimate (GFE) is a document explaining all costs involved in getting a loan.

TIL: The Federal Truth-in-Lending Form is a document that spells out the costs and fees of the loan.

Lis pendens: An official notice that there is a pending lawsuit over real estate.

Per Diem interest: Interest you pay per day, from the day you close to the last day of the month.

Underwriting/underwriting fees: Underwriting is a process the lender performs to qualify a borrower for a loan and the fee is what you pay the lender at closing to cover evaluating the risk involved with loaning you money.

Warranty deed: A legal document guaranteeing the seller has a right to sell a property, which is very important if you are considering a distressed or discounted property.

Mortgage Knowledge
While national rates on 30-year-fixed-rates mortgages have risen slightly this year, they are still at historic lows not seen since 1980, according to Freddie Mac. “Buyers who prepare themselves financially before they start looking for a home will have a better chance of succeeding,” says Sue Stewart, senior vice president for Move, Inc. “If you want to land the best mortgage that fits your needs, start early, educate yourself on your financial situation, get your documentation together and find a lender you trust.”

Find a REALTOR® and go shopping
For those ready to buy,® has the tools and tips to help you find a REALTOR® and, ultimately, the right home. Finding a licensed real estate professional in your area will make the process smoother and easier to understand. Once you find an agent, share your realistic budget and what you’re looking for in a home. Stay in constant contact with your agent and look for homes whenever you have a spare moment.

First-time home buyer resources
For more tips designed to help the first-time buyer navigate the home buying process, the experts at Move have provided an abundance of helpful information that’s just one click away:
-Reality checklist – Are you sure you’re ready to buy? Here’s how to know.
-How-to Guide: Buying Your First Home – Everything you need to know about buying a home
-Get Prequalified Now – Get prequalified for a mortgage before you begin shopping Blogs– Connect with REALTORS® to help you navigate the market News – Answers questions about finances and mortgages Home Finance – Equips first-time buyers with tools, guides, advice, and more

If now isn’t the right time, prepare for your future purchase
If now isn’t the right time to buy a home, make a plan with a target date for when you expect to be ready. Improving your credit, paying down debt, stabilizing your work history and calculating exactly how much you can afford, are the best ways to prepare for your future home purchase. It’s also important to refrain from making any new large purchases or applying for new credit.



Source: RIS Media

Just Listed! 3455 Scadlock Ln. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Fantastic Sherman Oaks Hills House! Great Opportunity to Buy!


Updated House in the Sherman Oaks Hills. Lovely home featuring a bright, open floor plan with tons of natural light. Floor to ceiling windows and skylights throughout. Updated Kitchen with granite counter tops, 3 newer bathrooms, 2 extra bedrooms are nicely sized, lots of closet and storage space. Master bedroom is quite large with room for sitting area, tons of closet space, great master bath, and unbelievable views!!! House has been vacant and needs a bit of TLC, but overall this is a great opportunity to buy in this desired neighborhood. Please call listing agent for details/showings. Great schools, close to shopping, entertainment, and restaurants, easy access to the City and The Valley. This is a short sale subject to lender approval.  Asking Price $699,000 – to be approved by lenders.

3455 Scadlock Ln. Sherman Oaks Hills, CA $775,000 Short Sale


Lovely Family Home in Sherman Oaks – Offered at $775,000 – this is the price that was previously approved by the lender because this property is being sold as a “short sale”. The location is great, nice well maintained neighborhood, quiet, and serene with views, and also close to all that Ventura Blvd. has to offer. The house itself has a great open floor plan, tons of windows and light, really just one of those homes that has a great vibe! The kitchen and bathrooms have been updated and it just needs a few minor touch-ups to move right in. Please contact me for showings or more information at (310)402-8181.