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Windermere Homes & Estates
6965 El Camino Real, Suite D-107
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-672-5034 cell 866-605-3669 efax
CA BRE Lic. 01327989
I love referrals! My business is built on referrals. I would be happy to help you and will give you and your friends and family the same attention and service as I have given all my clients and friends. I am available to help with all real estate needs for you or people, friends, and family you may care about and would feel comfortable referring to me. Personalized advise, consultation, what my role is and what I can do for you!
TestiTestimonials and Recommendations:
"Susan was very easy to work with, and the service during and after the sale was superb. She worked with us on every aspect of the sale; inspection, escrow, termite eradication and wood repair. She found us a termite repair service that was half the original price. My daughter (now the occupant)and I would highly recommend Susan. She has become a family friend. Nothing has changed, we think highly of Susan, great to work with and very helpful. She's above average and honest. Saved us big bucks on services. "John
"I feel so lucky to have found Susan Schweiker, I gained a beautiful home to spend the rest of my years in and a friend. Where most agents are out to just sell a home, Susan was the only one I truly felt ?got it? and knew me, because she listened. Within the first hour that I met her, she was already busy modifying lists of prospective homes that were worthy as if I looked them up myself. Her soft caring demeanor was sincere and realistic, she never gave up on me and my dream and made sure that I stayed true to myself and not what others would have tried to sell me. She is all about the client and it shows. Susan went above and beyond to make my family happy before, during and after the purchase of our home. Her up to date knowledge of the market and areas paid off. She is a true angel in a world of sharks. I want to thank you for what you have done for our family." Eve
"We found our home during a time when the real estate market was moving quickly and competition was fierce. We found the house on the first day the house was offered for sale. There were 4 offers made on the house that day and because of Susan's ability to read the seller's situation and act quickly, she was able to convince the seller that we were the best people to buy her home. It wasn't the money or the deal that made the difference, it was her letter to the seller that convinced them to choose us. We are very happy in our home and know that we wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for Susan. Susan takes a personal interest in her clients and fights to get them the best home she can for the best deal. I would recommend her to anyone looking to buy a home." Very Satisfied customer, Carol
"I have been a friend of Susan's since 1992. Over the years, I have seen her performance in the real estate field and in 2006 I made a choice to use her expertise. I bought a beautiful home in Old Creek Ranch in the Larkspur Heights development. Susan helped me through the entire process and now I am the owner of a beautiful home in the North County. New home sales are different than resale homes, so I was very pleased to have her expert help in this transaction. The sale went through without a flaw, and now I have a beautiful view to San Elijo Hills" Robert
"I am so happy that we bought our house, I have this big house and I realize its only because of you Susan. I can't say enough to express our appreciation of Susan! She went above and beyond to help my husband and I buy our first home for our family! Susan is a no-pressure real estate salesperson who truly cares about her clients wants and needs in purchasing and selling homes. She is honest, respectful and makes you feel as if you are her only clients. She works diligently to answer all your questions right away and ensures you are going to get the best deal you can get when making such a huge purchase! Her negotiating skills are excellent and although she has an extremely calm and peaceful demeanor, she is not afraid to play hardball when needed to ensure her clients are getting the best deal! We referred our good friends to Susan when they started looking to buy this Summer and they immediately loved her and bought their first home within a couple of months! I will recommend Susan over and over to anyone looking buy or sell! Thanks again Susan!!" Haley
"We are so glad you are our realtor, you send us more info. than anyone else, and make us feel more comfortable, of course you can let the others know how satisfied we were/are with your services!We are so glad that we met you, Susan! Philippe and I said it several times to each other, that we think without you, we would not have been able to buy this house. We had never thought, that it is so complicated to buy a house in US. When Mark recommended us to contact you, he was already very enthusiastic about you. And we can only confirm. And Philippe was also so grateful for all the time you spent with him to look to all these houses. Thank you so much, Susan!" Angelika
"We were very happy and grateful for your help to find a home here from France. Your efforts showing the homes and researching the markets for us and staying in constant communication helped us feel much more comfortable even when we were not here to close the transaction in person. Thank you for being you, we appreciate your help so much and would gladly recommend your services to others!". Philippe
"I have worked Susan in he past and will continue to use her expertise in the future.
Anyone who needs her expert back ground encompassing through and through local knowledge with responsive service and a personality to match can not go wrong in dealing with Susan and her skills.
Her updates and information concerning buying and selling through her periodic writings on the real estate environments have kept me informed and educated on the market. She's a professional that cares about you and your concerns." Jerry
"Susan is an amazing real estate agent. She has a keen sense in finding the perfect home for anyone. She is patient, reliable and knowledgable in the real estate market. She is someone you can trust; always keeping her clients best in mind. I would recommend her to anyone looking to purchase or sell a home." Adriana
"Susan Schweiker was my sales agent in 2006. she had been a neighbor so I slightly knew her and of her being a "good" neighbor. Since the market was beginning a free fall in sales, it took awhile to finally sell my home. However, during the sales time, Susan put a lot of effort in providing open houses, communicating with other real estate agents from other Real Estate companies, and communicating with me. It was important to me to feel like I was in the loop of what was happening in the real estate market. Susan helped me to understand the negotiating process better during escrow and was most effective when the buyer's agent became difficult with last minute demands. Susan was able to make the sale final with the buyer happy as well as myself and with an apology for the other sales agent no less! Susan will be there for you!" Happy customer, Serina
"Susan helped me with the sale of my San Diego home. I lived on the East Coast at the time and relied heavily on Susan's extensive knowledge of the San Diego housing market and her professional network to guide me thru the entire process. She answered all my calls in a timely fashion and connected me with an appraiser and escrow service agent that were equally responsive to my needs. I highly recommend Susan, especially for those requiring long distance services!" Tony
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Local market and real estate in including Carlsbad and North San Diego County, San Diego, South Orange County.
A Pre-Qual or Preapproval letter is required to submit an offer to purchase along with verification of funds.
Contact a lender today to get your Pre-Qual and see what you are able to afford and get approved to buy. It gives you more credibility and ability to purchase the home you want as well as find out your real buying power, payments and rates on mortgages are below historically low rates now! Low Prices on homes and low Rates equal Opportunity for Buyers!
San Diego's housing market at mid-year 2015
The costs of housing continued to rise in San Diego in the first half of 2015 both for renters and for owners.
The prices are outpacing wage growth, a trend that analysts say is only going to continue so long as the region sees its supply of housing remain tight. Mark Goldman, a loan officer and real-estate lecturer at San Diego State University, said home prices are appreciating faster than he expected.
“In the last year we’ve seen more and more positive news about the economy, and that could help to support the market,” he said.
Rents rose as the county continued to see high wage job growth, with developers responding with a new supply of high-end units.
Here’s a by the numbers look at San Diego County’s housing market for the first half of 2015:
$455,000: The median price for all homes sold in San Diego County in the first six months of 2015, up 5.8 percent from a year ago, CoreLogic reports. It’s the highest midyear median since it was $488,000 in 2007.
$1,575: The average rent in San Diego County in March, up 9 percent from the $1,445 average in 2014, according to Marketpointe Realty Advisors.
3,443: The average number of home sales per month, up 8.7 percent over 2014, CoreLogic reports. That average got a boost in June, when 4,467 properties changed hands. That was the most transactions in a month since June 2006.
6,335: The average number of active listings per month from January to June, a 2.9 percent drop from last year, according to the San Diego Association of Realtors. Given the number of home sales per month, that level of inventory represents less than two months of a supply. Most analysts consider six months of supply to be healthy.
3.77 percent: The average rate during the first six months of the year for a 30-year-fixed mortgage, according to Freddie Mac. That’s down from 4.29 percent in the first six months of last year. There has been speculation that the Federal Reserve open market committee will raise a key interest rate later this year, which would push up mortgage rates. However, rates most recently dropped as turmoil continued in Greece.
4.1: Percent of real-estate owned sales (similar to foreclosure resales) in San Diego County, down from 4.9 percent in 2014, CoreLogic reports. From winter 2008 to spring 2009, real-estate owned sales made up about half of all home sales in San Diego County.
24.3: Percent of cash buyers in San Diego County, down from 28.6 percent in the first half of 2014, according to CoreLogic.
34.1: Percent of monthly income San Diego County homeowners can expect to pay toward their mortgage, a bit above the 32.8 percent historic average, Zillow reports.
43.7: Percent of monthly income San Diego County renters can expect to pay on rent, above the historic 33.9 percent, according to Zillow.
$3,010: Minimum monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment at Strata, in the East Village, one of San Diego’s most expensive buildings.
$10,647: The amount a homeowner in San Diego pays per year in homeownership and maintenance expenses, according to Zillow and Thumbtack. The costs include property taxes and insurance, plus maintenance costs like hiring for yard care and carpet cleaning. Nationwide, the average cost was $9,477, says the study released in June.
$14.3 million: Price of the most expensive home sold in the first half of 2015, on Camino de la Costa in La Jolla, public records show.
$11.78 billion: The dollar amount in home sales in San Diego County in the first half of 2015, up 13.2 percent from $10.4 billion in the same period last year, CoreLogic reports.
Curb Appeal: Creating a strong first impression is imperative as buyers begin making assumptions about a home well before they step inside.
- Staging: A home stager can skillfully identify ways to highlight a home's best features and compensate for its shortcomings.
- Invest in Small Home Improvements: Both agents and designers agree that sellers should never invest in a major renovation before selling.
- Declutter: This sounds simple, but according to experts, it's the one of the most important things a homeowner should do before selling. A clean house feels more spacious and helps buyers easily envision themselves in the home.
- Granite Countertops and Stainless Steel Appliances: Most buyers are still requesting granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Sellers should keep in mind that most high-end finishes don't equal high-end returns. However, incorporating granite and new appliances can help catch a buyer's eye
The spring housing market is about to get into full swing. And while agents may be fully aware of the state of this year’s emerging housing market, your clients may not be. It’s your job to get your sellers up to speed with what the home selling season will bring.
Here are 6 market insights to share with your current or prospective clients that will give a head start when it comes to a successful sale this spring!
Plus! Download all this great information in this helpful handout for sellers and use it in your marketing and to help inform your clients and leads!
Right Now Is a Great Time to Sell
The winter home selling season was crippled by the polar vortex, especially in the east and northeast, so there’s pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been waiting for better weather to brave the house hunt. Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, so buyers ARE poised to buy and ready to hit the streets.
The Numbers Say Sell Now
Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August. Sellers who put their home on the market at the beginning of the selling season will up their chances of snagging a winning offer before buyers turn their attention back to school starting in September.
Price It Right
Many metros in the country have seen double-digit price increases in the past year. But this last quarter, prices started to slow nationally – and pricing is a critical component to getting a house sold. With this fluctuating market, sellers need to look at comps of similar homes in their area and rely on the expertise of their agent. Plus, remember, recency matters: sellers should look back no more than 60 days and depend on your agent to help you set the price appropriately. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago (or of homes that have yet to sell).
Bidding Wars Aren’t Back (Phew!)
Bidding wars were common in the summer of 2013, but we’re hearing less about them right now. Sellers can’t bank on fielding two or three offers at once. There is, however, a good chance that sellers will still get the one that will be a win/win for both the homeowners and the buyer.
It Pays to Be Ahead of the Curve
Trying to get a jump on the competition? Right now we’re on the cusp of prime selling and buying season, and sellers who list soon, will have less competition than those who put their house on the market in May or June, when more homes will flood the market. Since it’s still early, every home can have its ‘moment in the spotlight’ more than it will when inventory increases – and the buyers who are braving the cold to house shop are clearly motivated.
Make It Pop off the Computer (or Smartphone) Screen!
In this new mobile era, a huge percentage of buyers use smart phones (and Trulia’s top-rated consumer apps) to start their home search online. And that percentage is expected to rise this year as more buyers take advantage of easy access to the wealth of information online. Get in on this trend by making sure the home pops on those computer screens. Great homes with mediocre quality photos will be quickly discarded and ultimately get less showings. Sellers should heed the advice of their agent and take the time to beef up their online listing so the quality of the home jumps off the screen and gets buyers’ attention.
This post was originally written by Michael Corbett, Trulia’s real estate and lifestyle expert. He hosts NBC’s EXTRA’s Mansions and Millionaires. In additional to his regular segments on ABC’s The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY!
Freddie: 2015 to Mark Best Year for Home Sales
Freddie Mac economists are bullish on housing.
"This month kicks off spring home buying season," says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Between now and the end of June, we’ll see about 40 percent of all home sales for the year."
Spring Housing Market Outlook
REALTORS® More Confident for the Spring
Homebuilders Remain Cautiously Confident
It’s that optimism that has Freddie Mac forecasters expecting 2015 "to be the best year for home sales and new home construction since 2007, when total home sales were about 5.8 million for the year," according to their U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for March.
An improving job market is driving young professionals, ages 25 to 34, back to the labor force. The millennial age group now has 76.8 percent of its generation employed, as of last month, up from 75.9 percent last year.
Freddie Mac economists predict that rents will continue to rise at or above inflation this year, which will likely push more prospective buyers into home ownership. Rents rose 3.6 percent, on average, in 2014, and are up nearly 11 percent over the last three years, according to Freddie Mac’s report.
Meanwhile, Freddie Mac economists expect that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to rise slightly this year to a 4 percent average. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.86 percent this week.
Source: "Freddie Mac March 2015 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook," Freddie Mac (March 11, 2015)
Experience is key in negotiating you the best deal and helping to guide you through the process.
In today's competitive real estate market, timing is everything. Many good homes are sold before they are ever advertised.
Beat other home buyers to the hottest new homes for sale in Carlsbad and All of North San Diego County and South Orange County with my New Listings Notification.
If you own real estate that you're thinking of selling, I would be happy to provide you with a FREE Home Evaluation.
Why Use a REALTOR®?
All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR "®" logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®.
But if you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are a dozen more reasons to use one:
1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power -- that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders -- banks and mortgage companies -- offer limited choices.
2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.
10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
12. Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).
Southland December Home Sales at Six-Year Low;
Median Price Jumps
7 Warnings Your Buyers Need to Hear
Assumptions can be deadly, whether literally or to the pocketbook. While a real estate agent operating under the assumption that his or her client knows everything needed for a smooth transaction isn’t a life or death scenario, it is most definitely a sure path to a waste of time at best and a dereliction of duty at worst.
Do yourself and your clients a favor and figure out what they are most typically unaware of and then offer explanations during the initial meeting. Here are some of the most common things that buyers haven’t a clue about and smart ways to bring them up to speed.
1. Get preapproved or get disappointed
Versta Research (for a survey commissioned by Discover Financial Services) surveyed homebuyers last summer and 71 percent of them agreed with the statement “I’ve just started reviewing ideas, looking at homes, and exploring my options.” Only 22 percent of them had seen a lender.
So, most of them are just starting the process and the first step they took was to look at homes. Now, since 60 percent of them weren’t working with an agent at the time they were surveyed, it’s understandable they’d be going about it all wrong.
But, this wasn’t the first home-buying rodeo for more than half of the respondents, meaning more than half most likely worked with an agent in the past.
A good buyers’ agent understands the value of determining whether or not a potential client has visited a lender. A better one makes abundantly clear the ramifications of NOT seeing one — so clear, in fact, that by the time they’re buying their next home they remember.
Knowing how much they can spend is paramount, both in avoiding wasting your time and theirs. Then, there’s the fact that sellers want to see a preapproval letter. The one thing many agents don’t warn their clients about, however, is the danger of disappointment should the unapproved shop for homes, clueless about how much they can afford to spend or even IF they can get a loan.
Experienced agents know well the couple that fell in love with a house they found open on a Sunday afternoon only to learn later that it was way out of their price range. Nothing you show them after that will stack up.
2. Get to know the home loan process
In the aforementioned study only 41 percent of buyers had taken the time to figure out what they’d need for a down payment.
So, although it’s a given that agents should counsel their buyers that they need to see a lender before looking at homes, they also need to warn their clients about the out-of-pocket costs involved in the purchase of one.
Another warning that too many buyers don’t receive is about changes in their circumstances before they close. Sure, this should come from their lender, but it seldom does.
Remind your clients that it’s not a done deal until it closes. Changing jobs, making large purchases on credit and allowing credit inquiries after loan approval have all proven detrimental to many buyers. The lender’s soft pull just before closing should be explained fully to your buyers.
3. Make a wish list
This is the fun part of the process for your buyer but it’s actually a time saver for you. Sure, wish lists aren’t set in stone and we all know how quickly and drastically they can change. But, with your assistance, your buyers can create extremely helpful lists.
The best wish list is based not on their dreams, but on their fears. Find out what they despise about their current living conditions and, along with whatever other reason they have for moving, these items are good indications of why they want to move and what they truly want.
4. Don’t lack vision or buy into a manufactured vision
We’ve all had that buyer that can’t seem to look beyond ugly wallpaper, ratty carpets and even something as simple as dirty dishes in the sink. Before stepping foot in even one house, warn your clients that what they see may not necessarily be what they have to live with for the rest of the time they own the home.
On the other hand, you may want to warn them that what they see may not necessarily be what they get—especially if what they’re seeing is a model home. Staging adds the “wow factor” relatively inexpensively for the seller but at additional cost to the buyer. Caution to look beyond the sexy staging to the bones of the home.
5. Read and understand HOA docs
Ah, the HOA document package—at least a week’s worth of boring reading for people that aren’t prepared or qualified to read the legal jargon.
It’s all too easy for your clients to skim the docs or, worse yet, give up reading the minute the reading gets tough. As you know, what’s in those documents is information vital to both their budgets and their future comfort in their new home.
Their best bet is to pay an attorney to read everything and then explain, in plain English, the pertinent information. Counsel your clients to not sign anything until they fully understand the HOA documents. If they still insist on not reading them, or having an attorney read them, at least you’ve done your duty.
6. Make your offer in accordance with current market conditions
Most experienced agents are familiar with the buyer who feels that they have to bargain with the seller. Every home they make an offer on is yet another chance to lay on the “el regateo” like they’re in a bazaar, wheeling and dealing over a tschotske.
If you’ve explained current market conditions to your buyer, explain as well how these conditions impact their offer on a home. In other words, tell your clients not to lowball in a hot seller’s market, forget asking for too much in concessions and be willing to give a little bit.
The flip side should be explained as well— no matter how bad they want the house, if they’re in the driver’s seat (in a buyer’s market) they needs to slow down and avoid giving money away.
7. The inspection report may not be as bad as it looks
How about those humongous home inspection photos that make even the tiniest problem look massive? They’re enough to disturb even the most level-headed buyer.
Before the home inspection takes place is the ideal time to sit down with your buyer and explain the process. Let your clients know that the inspector is being paid to be nit-picky and, thus, the report may be quite lengthy and the photos may be frightening and misleading.
This simple explanation may just keep them from freaking out over the overly large photo of a wall plate-less electrical outlet. By the same token, let them know that many larger problems can be dealt with through negotiations with the seller.
Working with buyers is one of the more challenging aspects of being an agent, but it doesn’t have to be. Make it a point to have the right conversations at the outset. These discussions do more than ease your clients’ concerns; they pave the way to a smoother transaction. That’s good for all concerned.
Southern California home sales fell to a six-year low for the month of December as investor activity eased again and buyers struggled with a tight inventory of homes for sale. The median price paid for a home jumped to the highest level in nearly six years, the result of demand outstripping supply, declining distress sales and a slight increase in the share of sales in mid- to high-end areas, a real estate information service reported.
A total of 18,415 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 6.5 percent from 17,283 sales in November, and down 9.2 percent from 20,274 sales in December 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
December's sales gain from November is normal for the season, though it was weaker than usual. On average, sales have increased 12.4 percent between November and December since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin.
Last month's sales were 24.1 percent below the average number of sales – 24,254 – in the month of December. Southland sales haven't been above average for any particular month in more than seven years. December sales have ranged from a low of 13,240 in December 2007 to high of 36,865 in December 2003.
"Sales have fallen short of the same period a year earlier for three consecutive months now, and the pitifully low inventory is the main culprit. The jump in home values over the last year suggests we'll eventually see a lot more people interested in selling their homes, which would help ease the inventory crunch. More supply would put downward pressure on prices, as would rising mortgage rates. But there are reasons to believe we'll continue to see upward pressure on prices, too. Home building has risen but remains at relatively low levels, meaning no major boost to the overall supply of homes for sale. Meanwhile, demand is being fueled by a gradually improving economy. Also, some of the people who lost homes during the foreclosure crisis will be looking to own again," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county region last month rose to $395,000 – the peak for 2013 and the highest for any month since the median was $408,000 in February 2008. Last month's median was up 2.6 percent from $385,000 in November and up 22.3 percent from $323,000 in December 2012. Until last month the median had more or less moved sideways – ranging from $382,000 to $385,000 – since last June.
The median sale price has risen on a year-over-year basis for 21 consecutive months. Those gains have been double-digit – between 10.8 percent and 28.3 percent – over the past 17 months.
The December median stood 21.8 percent below the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007.
It appears most of last month's 22.3 percent year-over-year increase in the Southland median sale price reflects rising home prices, while a small portion reflects a change in market mix. This mix change consists of a significant increase in mid- to high-end sales over the last year and a big decline in sales of lower-cost distressed properties.
In December, the lowest-cost third of the region's housing stock saw a 21.9 percent year-over-year rise in the median price paid per square foot for resale houses. The annual gain was 19.7 percent for the middle third of the market and 12.7 percent for the top, most-expensive third.
Home sales in many middle and up-market areas continued to post year-over-year gains, while more affordable markets generally saw activity drop.
Last month the number of homes sold from $300,000 through $799,999 – a range that includes many move-up buyers – rose 1.7 percent year-over-year. The number that sold for $500,000 or more increased 11.9 percent from one year earlier, while $800,000-plus sales rose 5.8 percent.
In December, 34.5 percent of all Southland home sales were for $500,000 or more, up from a revised 32.7 percent the month before and 26.0 percent a year earlier.
The number of Southland homes sold below $200,000 last month dropped 45.6 percent year-over-year, while sales below $300,000 fell 38.0 percent. Low-end deals have fallen largely because of an inadequate supply of homes for sale. Many owners still can't afford to sell their homes because they owe more than they are worth, and lenders aren't foreclosing on as many properties, further limiting supply.
Foreclosure resales – homes foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 5.8 percent of the Southland resale market in December. That was down from 6.3 percent the prior month and was down from 14.2 percent a year earlier. Last month's foreclosure resale rate was the lowest since it was 5.4 percent in May 2007. In the current cycle, foreclosure resales hit a high of 56.7 percent in February 2009.
Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 13.2 percent of Southland resales last month. That was up slightly from 12.8 percent the prior month and down from 26.7 percent a year earlier.
Absentee buyers – mostly investors and some second-home purchasers – bought 26.1 percent of the Southland homes sold last month. That's the lowest share for any month since it was 25.1 percent in November 2011. Last month's absentee level was down from a revised 27.1 percent the month before and down from 28.7 percent a year earlier. The absentee share has trended lower almost every month this year since hitting a record 32.4 percent this January. The monthly average since 2000, when the absentee data begin, is 18.5 percent.
Last month's absentee buyers paid a median $323,250, up 1.0 percent from the month before and up 24.3 percent year-over-year.
In December 5.8 percent of all Southland homes sold on the open market were flipped, meaning they had previously sold in the prior six months. That's up from a flipping rate of 5.7 percent the month before and up from 5.5 percent a year earlier. Flipping peaked at 7.0 percent last February. (The figures exclude homes resold after being purchased at public foreclosure auction sales on the courthouse steps).
Buyers paying cash in December accounted for 27.7 percent of home sales, down from 28.0 percent the month before and down from 35.8 percent a year earlier. The cash share of purchases has trended sideways or lower each month since hitting an all-time peak of 36.9 percent last February. In December the cash share was at its lowest level since it was 26.2 percent in September 2010. Since 1988 the monthly average for cash buyers is 16.4 percent of all sales. Cash buyers paid a median $351,500 last month, up 1.0 percent month-to-month and up 29.9 percent from a year earlier.
In December Southern California home buyers forked over a total of $3.99 billion of their own money in the form of down payments or cash purchases. That was up from a $3.78 billion in November and down from $4.51 billion a year ago. The out-of-pocket total peaked last May at $5.41 billion.
Credit conditions don't seem to have changed much month-to-month but the difference from a year earlier is significant.
In December, 12.9 percent of Southland home purchase loans were adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) – double the ARM rate of a year earlier. Last month's figure was up from 11.3 percent the month before and up from 6.2 percent a year earlier. Since 2000, a monthly average of about 31 percent of Southland purchase loans have been ARMs.
Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 28.4 percent of last month's Southland purchase lending. That was up from 27.9 percent the prior month and up from 22.8 percent a year earlier. In the months leading up to the credit crunch that struck in August 2007, jumbos accounted for around 40 percent of the home loan market.
All lenders combined provided a total of $5.29 billion in mortgage money to Southern California home buyers in December, up from $4.93 billion in November and up from $3.62 billion in December last year.
The most active lenders to Southern California home buyers last month were Wells Fargo with 7.7 percent of the total home purchase loan market, Bank of America with 2.7 percent and IMortgage with 2.2 percent.
Government-insured FHA loans, a popular low-down-payment choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 19.6 percent of all purchase mortgages last month. That was down from 20.3 percent the month before and down from 23.1 percent a year earlier. In recent months the FHA share has been the lowest since early 2008, mainly because of tighter FHA qualifying standards and the difficulties first-time buyers have competing with investors and cash buyers.
DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.
The typical monthly mortgage payment Southland buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,594, up from $1,517 the month before and up from $1,139 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month's typical payment was 33.3 percent below the typical payment in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 45.4 percent below the current cycle's peak in July 2007.
Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and far below peak levels. Financing with multiple mortgages is very low, and down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.
The FHA has their own guidelines for loans they will accept and may be your best bet. Keep in mind that FHA is not a bank; it’s a government agency that insures loans from FHA approved lenders. While the FHA will have its rules, that change, a bank will also have its own rules as well. Most banks today are only willing to finance FHA loans with credit scores of 640 and above. The FHA however will allow loans with credit scores as low as 540 with 20% down. Additional requirements are as follows:
• Two Years of steady employment, preferably with same employer. Last two years Income should be the same or increasing.
• Credit report should typically have less than two thirty day late payments in last two years with a minimum credit score of 640 or higher…
• Bankruptcies must be at least two years old, with perfect credit since discharge.
• Foreclosures and Short Sales must be at least three years old, with perfect credit since.
• Your new mortgage payment should be no more than 40% of your gross (before taxes) income.
• You will need a minimum down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price. The down payment can be a gift.
• Social Security Card–many people don’t know where their card is. You will need it.
Conventional loans are typically for borrowers with 10-20% to put down and good credit scores. Most lenders in today’s market require a middle credit score of 660 or better to qualify for a conventional loan. To get your best deal you will need a credit score of at least 720. Since conventional loans are approved through underwriting engines created by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the higher your credit scores are the better rate you will get. Conventional loans currently require a minimum of 5% down.
Interview mortgage brokers and obtain recommendations from them to find the loan that works best for you. Your new mortgage broker will then be able to show you an entire suite of loan options and pre-qualify you for a home that you can afford with your income. In the mean time work with your broker on improving your credit score. You’d be surprised how much improvement you can make in a year or so.
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Homeowners should be aware of these tax breaks that they may be eligible to receive.
Mortgage interest: Homeowners are generally entitled to reduce their taxable income by the amount of mortgage interest they pay, as long as they itemize deductions on their tax returns.
Private mortgage insurance: Homeowners who are paying PMI likely will be able to fully deduct the amount, as long as their adjusted gross income is $100,000 or less ($50,000 for married taxpayers filing separately). Borrowers with incomes above $100,000 may qualify for a partial deduction.
Energy-efficient home improvements: If windows, doors, or skylights that meet the requirements of the federal Energy Star program were installed in 2011, homeowners can get a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the product’s costs.
Points: The charges a borrower paid in points to get a mortgage are generally deductible if it was a first mortgage on the property. In the case of a refinance loan, all or some of the point charges might be deductible, but it gets complicated.
Property taxes: The amount paid in property taxes is deductible as long as it is based on the assessed value of the property. If the mortgage company collects money for property taxes, the amount actually paid should be on the 1098 form lenders send out each January.