Tag Archives: Rancho Santa Margarita

service event

Kids Around The World

Kids Around The World Service Event

Sunday, May 21st from 2-4pm

Event Info

RSVP below and help package food!

Sunday, May 21 from 2-4pm at Mandeville Park, Laguna Hills

*arrive anytime, stay as long as you can*

Kids welcome!

Questions? Call/Text 949-416-6833

Watch this video to see what the event will be like!

Half of the world’s population of children is in poverty—victims of war, natural disasters, injustice, and economic stress. Many of them die from malnutrition, or are physically and emotionally stunted. Over 66% of the world’s population can’t read, learning instead through spoken word. They feel hopelessly trapped within their socioeconomic boundaries, without vision for the future.

OC Housing Report July 13th, 2015

Orange County Housing Report: A Summer Shift

The Spring Market is now in the rearview mirror, making way for a whole new season in selling: summer.

Read more in this OC Housing Report. top Pic

The Summer Shift: The expected market time has increased by two weeks longer since the prime Spring Market.

Housing tends to follow a similar cycle every year. This time of year is no different. It started a couple of weeks ago with graduation. The market slowed a bit; many houses were not selling as rapidly as they were in April and May. The explanation from the real estate trenches was that it was due to graduations and the end of the school year.

Then there is our national holiday, the Fourth of July. Not as many buyers tour homes as they turn their focus to playing in the sun, barbecues, and fireworks. In housing, the holiday turns into a distraction of grand proportions and the lingering effects can be felt for a week.

As Southern California experiences summer heat waves, many will turn to the oasis known as the community pool, and others will flock to cool off in the welcoming, crashing waves of the Pacific. The heat will also distract the real estate market from performing on all cylinders.

Finally, the slower housing scene will be blamed on the family vacation. From Hawaii, to the East Coast, to the ultimate family destination, Orlando, it is the season for summer vacations. Camping, airplanes, house boats, motor homes, and road trips, just about everybody has plans. It is hard to tour homes or conduct real estate transactions when you are checking in to a Hyatt and touring the Empire State Building.

Many will blame the slower housing market on graduation, the 4th of July, hot summer days, and family vacations. It is, quite simply, the Summer Market. It happens every year. For sellers and buyers in the real estate trenches today, they are all experiencing the shift in the housing market already and we are just a couple of weeks into the official start of summer.

A Summer Approach for Sellers: with buyer traffic down and the expected market time rising, it is now more important than ever to NOT get too far ahead of the market by overpricing. Multiple offers can still be attained, but only for those homes that are priced at, or very close to, their Fair Market Values. Here’s a quick refresher for determining that value: take the most current closed and pending sale activity and carefully adjust for upgrades, location, amenities, and condition. The Fair Market Value is not determined by arbitrarily pricing a home out of thin air. Ignoring the fundamental shift in activity during the Summer Market will result in many homes being overpriced with absolutely no success; instead, they will waste valuable market time during the second best time of the year to sell.

A Summer Approach for Buyers: although competition dips a bit during the summer, buyers must respect the fact that it is still a seller’s market. Buyers are not able to call the shots. Sticking to paying the Fair Market Value determined by recent market activity is key. Also, knowing the local or neighborhood market conditions is extremely important as well. It may be the case that a certain neighborhood is a bit hotter than another and when a home comes on the market that is priced well and is in great condition, buyers must be willing to push the envelope a bit in terms of value. Paying a few thousand dollars more than the last comparable sale may be the winning strategy that will allow a buyer to beat out the competition. Grossly overpaying is not advised. Sometimes waiting for the next shift in housing, the Autumn Market, may be a wise approach as well.

For both buyers and sellers, the Summer Market shift means a new approach to the market is crucial in order to find success. Realistic, level headed, patient buyers and sellers will be rewarded from now through the first few weeks of August. From there, the housing market will experience another shift, the Autumn Market. Stay tuned…

Active InventoryThe inventory increased by 2% in the last couple of weeks.

The active inventory increased by 113 homes in the past two weeks and now totals 6,647, a 2% gain. Since the end of March, the inventory has grown without pause, adding 1,218 homes to the active listing inventory, a 22% gain. While the underlying market is hot, a rise in the inventory means that homes are not flying off the market regardless of the price; instead, homes that are overpriced are staying on the market and not generating offers. These overpriced homes are accumulating and the inventory is rising. While pending activity is strong, more homes are coming on the market than are being placed into escrow. The rise will continue through the end of August; and, if homeowners ignore the slower Autumn Market and place their homes on the market despite the slower season, the inventory may continue to rise through October. That occurred in the autumn of 2013.

Last year the inventory totaled 7,550 homes, 903 more than today, with an expected market time of 3.05 months, or 90 days. It was the first time in 2013 that the housing market had reached balance, not favoring buyers or sellers. We probably will not reach a balance until the autumn, right after school starts.

Chart1

DemandDemand decreased by 4% in the last couple of weeks.
Demand, the number of new pending sales over the prior month, decreased by 125 homes in the past two weeks and now totals 2,969 homes. This is quite typical for this time of the year as the market transitions into the summer. This is the season of distractions that place house shopping on the back burner for some. Kids are out of school, the smell of  barbecue is in the air, dazzling firework shows light up the sky, and pools and beaches are bursting at the seams. It is still a fantastic time to sell a home and to tour neighborhoods in search for a home, just not as hot as the spring.

The expected market time for all of Orange County grew from 63 days to 67 days in the past couple of weeks. The hottest price ranges are homes priced below $1 million, with an expected market time of 52 days. The upper ranges, all homes priced above $1 million are really beginning to slow, with an expected market time of 154 days, over five months. The higher the price range, the slower the market.

Last year at this time there were 492 fewer pending sales, totaling 2,477.

Chart 2

Distressed Breakdown: The distressed inventory decreased by one home in the past couple of weeks.

The distressed inventory, foreclosures and short sales combined, decreased by one home. Year over year, there are 20% fewer distressed homes today. In June, only 2.5% of all closed sales were short sales and only 1.2% were foreclosures, leaving 96.3% that were good ol’ fashioned healthy sellers with equity in their homes. With the market humming on all cylinders for the past several years, the distressed market in Orange County has become nothing more than a footnote to the current housing story.

In the past two weeks, the foreclosure inventory decreased by 15 homes and now totals 58. Less than 1% of the inventory is a foreclosure. The expected market time for foreclosures is 46 days. The short sale inventory increased by 14 homes in the past two weeks and now totals 153. The expected market time is 48 days. Short sales represent just 2% of the total active inventory.

Have a great week.

Chart3

Chart4

Chart5

Chart6

 

Do You Know How Your Credit Stands? Protect Your Identity With These 3 Steps

Do You Know How Your Credit Stands? Protect Your Identity With These 3 Steps

 

 

When was the last time you checked your credit score?  As real estate professionals we need to be mindful of the genuine and useful resources available regarding identity theft.  These tools can help our clients id-theft-penguinslessen the impact of identity theft, limit exposure of their non-personal private information and, most importantly, show you how to form security barriers to protect your privacy and credit — all for free.

1.  Be aware that identity theft is a long-standing and pressing problem
Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the past 15 years.  In 2014 alone, the FTC received 330,000 complaints from consumers who were victims of identity theft.  Data breaches involving millions of us through Anthem, JPMorgan Chase, Target and Home Depot, and government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, to name few, are evidence that no one is immune from identity theft.   Just recently, the Office of Personnel Management, a government agency with a mission of recruiting, retaining and honoring a world-class workforce to serve the American people, was highlighted as a victim of cybercrime.  Furthermore, a recent study by FICO, the creator of the FICO score, shows that from January to April of this year, the number of compromised incidents at bank teller machines increased by 174 percent. And there has been a frightening 317 percent increase in compromised incidents at nonbank ATMs compared to the same period in 2014.

2.  Get an instant response to basic credit questions
Last month, the FTC launched a mind-blowing new resource, identitytheft.gov, which makes it easier for victims to report, manage and recover from identity theft.  The program has an easy-to-follow format, with step-by-step interactive checklists on what to do after receiving a data breach notice or experiencing full-blown identity theft.  The site offers specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, including tax-related and medical identity theft, and provides sample letters and other helpful resources.

3.  Employ a credit freeze rather than an extended fraud alert
A security freeze prevents thieves from opening new accounts; it also prevents the three credit reporting firms from selling or sharing people’s information.  Except existing creditors, no one will have access to a frozen credit file so that no new accounts can be opened.  And most importantly, the identity theft protection provided by a credit freeze is undeniably unmatched.  Do be aware that you should never suggest a credit freeze before close of escrow, as that will delay the mortgage process.

A credit freeze will make it near impossible for a thief to open a new account because creditors will generally not extend credit unless they have access to a consumer’s credit report.  Blocking access effectively blocks new accounts.  Fraud alerts are also a useful tool but do not necessarily block new accounts. Fraud alerts require the potential creditor to take reasonable steps to verify the debtor’s identity but do not necessarily block new accounts.

Help eliminate fraud by reporting a scam when you see one
The FTC’s mission is to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices.  It and other law enforcement agencies fight fraud by learning about scams from victims who report them.  Fraud in the real estate and lending industries is abating, but it is not completely gone, so much more needs to be done.  You can help bring scam artists to justice by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) when you spot suspicious activities.  You can also sign up with the FTC to receive alerts about ongoing scams.

Helpful contact information for our clients
For fraud alerts

  • Equifax: 1-888-766-0008 (equifax.com)
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742 (experian.com)
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 (transunion.com)

For credit freezes

  • Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872

Clients can also visit the firms’ websites to learn the process for placing a fraud alert or securing a credit freeze: equifax.com, experian.com and transunion.com.

As real estate professionals, being vigilant about reporting scams and educating our clients about how they can protect their identities allows us to provide significant added value that benefits both our industry as a whole and the individuals that we serve.

Understanding Mello-Roos

Some home buyers run screaming when they hear the words Mello-Roos during a purchase on home for sale. It’s time to dispel the fear and the not so ugly truth behind these special taxes. Many home buyers are scared by the term Mello-Roos, but it’s not that scary. Once buyers know the facts, they realize Mello-Roos is not a problem. If you’ve decided to invest in a home in an area where there is Mello-Roos, it’s probably because you fell in love with the award winning schools, convenient amenities and location. Not to mention the fact that South Orange County is ranked among one of the safest counties in the entire country. It was Mello-Roos that helped make these areas such desirable places to live.

What is a Mello-Roos District? A Mello-Roos District is an area where a special tax is imposed on those real property owners within a Community Facilities District. The district has chosen to seek public financing through the sale of bonds for the purpose of financing certain public improvements and services. These services may include streets, water, sewage, and drainage, electricity, infrastructure, schools, parks, and police protection to newly developing areas. The tax you pay is used to make the payments of principal and interest on the bonds.

Are the assessments included within the Proposition 13 tax limits? No, the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 severely restricted local government in its ability to finance public capital facilities and services by increasing real property taxes. The “Mello-Roos Community Facility Act of 1982” provided local government with an additional financing tool. The Proposition 13 tax limits are on the value of the real property, while Mello-Roos taxes are equally and uniformly applied to all properties.

How long does the tax stay in effect? The tax will stay in effect as long as it is needed to pay the expenses of service or until the principal and interest on the bonds are paid off along with any reasonable administrative costs incurred in collecting the special tax, but in no case shall exceed 40 years.

What are my Mello-Roos taxes paying for? Your taxes may be paying for both services and facilities. The services may be financed only to the extent of new growth, and services include police protection, fire protection, ambulance and paramedic services, recreation program services, library services, the operation and maintenance of parks, parkways and open spaces, museums, cultural facilities, floor and storm protection and services for the removal of any threatening hazardous substance. Facilities which may be financed under the Act include property with an estimated useful life of five years or longer, parks, recreation facilities, parkway facilities, open-space facilities, elementary and secondary school sites and structures, libraries, child care facilities, natural gas pipeline facilities, telephone lines, facilities to transmit and distribute electrical energy, cable television and others.

What is the basis for the tax? Most special taxes levied on properties within these districts have been structured on the basis of density of development, square footage of construction, or flat acreage changes. The act, however, allows for considerable flexibility in the method of apportionment of taxes, and the local agencies may have established an entirely different method of levying the special tax against property in the district in question.

How much will the Mello-Roos payment be? The amount of tax may vary from year to year, but may not exceed the maximum amount specified when the district was created. In the case of the purchase of a new house with a subdivision, the maximum amount of the tax will be specified in the public report.
The Resolution of Formation must specify the rate method of apportionment, and manner of collection in sufficient detail to allow each land-owner within the proposed district to estimate the maximum amount that he or she will have to pay.

How is the special tax reflected on real property records? The special tax is a lien on your property, essentially like a regular tax lien. The lien is recorded as a “Notice of Special Tax Lien” which is continuing to lien to secure each levy of the special tax.

What happens if a general tax payment is not made on time? By purchasing an interest in a subdivision within a Community Facilities District you can expect to be assessed for a Mello-Roos tax which will typically be collected with your general property tax bill.

How are Mello-Roos taxes affected when the property is sold? The Mello-Roos tax is assessed against the land, but is not based upon the value of the property, therefore the possible increased value of the property is sold. The amount of the tax may not exceed the original maximum amount stated in the Resolution of Formation. Any delinquent payments must be satisfied before the sale of the real property since the underpaid amounts are a lien against the property.