Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Real Estate and Politics...

Yes, Real Estate is very political, no way to avoid that.

Part of my yearly dues to be a member of the National Association of Realtors, and of the California Association of Realtors (not all agents are members, and it makes a big difference. Members in particular adhere to a code of ethics that is much more stringent), go towards political action aiming at protecting the rights of homeowners, and preventing unnecessary involvement into the real estate transaction, with unwanted fees and requirements.

As such, here is a little news from that front:

C.A.R. leadership meets with members of Congress

Next week, C.A.R.’s Leadership Team will be in Washington, D.C., meeting with members of California’s Congressional Delegation, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHFA, FHA, and other real estate industry groups. C.A.R. will be advocating on members’ behalf on housing policy issues such as
- protecting the mortgage interest deduction,
- improving short sales,
- reforming the mortgage finance system, and
- modifying the FHA condo rules to encourage more FHA certifications.
C.A.R. also will voice its concern with a proposal to sell large blocks of Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-owned foreclosed homes to large investors and ask the GSEs to increase the number of loans to small investors.

useful links

Current Mortgage rates

Monday, February 27, 2012

A 3.8% tax on all real estate transactions?

Some of my clients have been asking me now about a "tax" that is supposed to be imposed on all real estate transactions soon, in order to pay for a (small) part of the health care reform law of 2 years ago.

I thought I would post this link to the National Association of Realtors web site article that clarifies this concern.  This is a very limited tax event, if and when it applies.


PS: I recently posted a link to the "Full Circle Farm Glean Team" in Sunnyvale, for those who have extra fruits to give away, extra fruits growing in your backyard.  A friend of mine pointed out to me that in Mountain View there is also the CSA where you can donate extra fruits in the same manner:  Our Community Services Agency who says:
Backyard Gardeners: Bring in homegrown produce to CSA "

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Local zip codes ranking by wealth ...

How do the local zip codes rank by wealth, as compared with all zip codes nationwide??

Just for mere curiosity, here is a short list of most of the local ones, sorted out by median disposable income, in 2010:

Atherton - 94027 - ranks # 1
Los Altos - 94022  - ranks # 4 nationwide
Portola Valley - 94028 - ranks # 7
Saratoga - 95070 - ranks # 18
Los Altos - 94024 - ranks # 23
Los Gatos, 95030 - ranks # 43
San Jose - 95120 - ranks # 65
Palo Alto - 94301 - ranks # 138
Cupertino - 95014 - ranks # 194
Palo Alto - 94306 - ranks # 329
Sunnyvale - 94087 - ranks # 458
The complete list appeared in the December 2 issue of the Business Journal.


useful links

Current Mortgage rates

Friday, February 10, 2012

What is considered a bedroom?

Little question, big answer... 
The question often comes up in real estate as to what is considered a bedroom.  In fact, sometimes the County records even have it wrong, and the answer lies in fact with local building codes, and health and safety requirements - which can usually be accessed at your City Hall's building department.

Without going into the details of exact dimensions, which of course make a big difference, we can say that the following characteristics have to be there, at the very least:

- there needs to be heat, and electricity
- natural light, and ventilation,
- a smoke (- and possibly a CO) detector,
- a sufficient way to exit directly to the outside of the house (door or window), also called ingress and egress --a little note here, think "firefighters".
- and a bedroom cannot have direct access  to a garage (either a window or a door) because of possible toxic fumes.

There are a few more requirements, like the size of the windows, spacing of the electrical outlets, a minimum of heat, but among all these criteria, believe it or not, a closet is not a must, although it is often considered such by real estate agents ...  A good source of info is always your local building department.
Have more input on the matter, or a story to share?  Feel free to chime in, I love stories...


useful links

PS: worthy cause: have you considered donating your extra fruits this season (if you have fruit bearing trees)?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Facebook and the Silicon Valley Market....

Everyone is speaking of the effect of the Facebook IPO on the real estate market around here.  This is an interesting article that I wanted to share:
Coldwell Banker "Table Talk".

I have already experienced in all my activity in Palo Alto a definite "tightness" of the market.  Several of the offers that I have placed recently met with many other offers, most of them very strong (like in: - cash! and very much over asking price).

useful links

PS: worthy cause: have you considered donating your extra fruits this season (if you have fruit bearing trees)?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Silicon Valley Luxury Home Prices Jump in December ...

Silicon Valley Luxury Home Prices Jump in December, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Reports.

Luxury home prices in Silicon Valley moved higher once again last month as the region’s high-end market continued to gain momentum, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the South Bay’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

The median sale price for a million-dollar-plus home in Santa Clara County reached $1,471,000, up 8.9 percent from a year ago and 6 percent from November, when it stood at $1,387,000. ....
....Turley said the challenge for the South Bay’s real estate market continues to be a shortage of homes for sale, not lack of buyers.

“I think it’s important for sellers to get the message that the market is getting better in many areas and there are buyers willing to pay competitive prices for homes,” he said. “If you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the market, you shouldn’t wait any longer. It’s time to jump in.”  .....

See the full article on this Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Report.