Buy Now – Buy Hard – Your Checklist for Todays Market

May 21st, 2012
Raj Qsar, Principal/Owner – Premier Orange County Real Estate

This may be the best time in the history of real estate to get off the sidelines and get into that home you have been dreaming about. Housing affordability is the best it has been in decades. Nationwide, home prices are about 33% lower than their peak in 2006. Most likely the cost to own is less than the cost to buy a comparable property. In fact, buying is cheaper than renting in 98 out of 100 major US market. Interest rates are at historic lows and you can lock those rates in for 30 years! In general, the mood of our economy seems to be improving with increasing employment, no signs of inflation and people are making more money! Is this the perfect storm? Here is our advice;
1. Find a buyers agent who is hyperlocal to the city & neighborhood you want to buy in. They often have the inside edge to homes that will be hitting the market.
2. Do your homework on the recent sales (active, closed and pocket-listings). Pocket listings are being sold all the time now and a home may sell without even hitting the market! Ask us about our pocket listings!
3. If “the one” hits the market be the first in to view the home and be the first to write a very strong offer.
4. There are more buyers at every price point than sellers in Orange County so it is likely you will be competing against multiple buyers. So be confident, work with your agent to create a strong offer and do not look back! Your team home awaits…

If you are curious to see what is currently for sale in Orange County please visit our website at www.RajQsar.com or connect with us on Facebook at www.fb.com/RajQsarRealtor

The Presidential Collection | 2558 Harrison Circle | Fullerton | 92835

Gorgeous Estate Home in The Presidential Collection in The Heart of Fullerton. Located On A Cul-d-Sac On A Pristine Approx. 9,000 sq. ft. Flat Lot. This Residence Boasts 4,300 sq. ft. of Living Space with 5 Bedrooms (one Bedroom on Main Floor with Private Bathroom and one currently used as Bonus Room) + Downstairs Office Suite with Custom Built-Ins, 4.5 Baths & Sweeping Staircase with Rod Iron Balusters. Gourmet Chef’s Kitchen with Granite Slab Countertops, Custom Cabinetry & Professional Grade Appliances. Imported Hand-Scrapped & Distressed Wood Floors & Imported Travertine Throughout Downstairs & Upgraded Custom Carpet Upstairs. Media Center Custom Cabinetry in Family Room & Cozy Fireplace. Opulent Master Bedroom & Bathroom with Dual Vanities, Jacuzzi Spa Tub, Dual Shower Heads, Crystal Chandelier and An Estate Sized Walk-In Closet. Front & Rear Balconies, Custom Wood Shutters & Crown Molding Throughout Home. Great Entertainers Backyard with Outdoor Kitchen with Stainless Steel BBQ & Beverage Chiller, Firepit, Covered Loggia & Grassy Area. Three Car Attached Garage. Minutes Away From Coyote Hills Golf Course, The Brea Mall, Parks, Restaurants, Movies & Easy Freeway Access. Do Not Miss This Opportunity To Live In This Fabulous Community. Call Raj Today For A Private Showing. This Home is A Must See!!!

Buyers Beware!!

Buyers BEWARE!

 

5 Signs To Watch For When Looking For A New Home

 

By:  Raj Qsar

 

Our team has the opportunity of working with many buyers across many different price points in The Orange County Real Estate Market.  We look at homes all day, every day.  And our first impression is usually on the internet via The MLS (Multiple Listing Service).  There are certain red flags we pay special attention to that can distract buyers and waste valuable time in a hot buyers market causing buyers to lose focus on the real market and what is truly available and really for sale.  Here are our Top 5 Signs to What Out For When Looking For A New Home;

1. What!  No pictures?

What agent who wants to sell a home does not post any pictures on the MLS, their website, all the social media websites & all the other public websites?  What seller who wants to sell a home would not allow an agent to post pictures.  Let’s face it.  Looks sell!!!  And if there are no pictures of a home that is for sale then you can bet that something is not right.  For an example of what great looks like check out these photos of an estate home we just sold in Yorba Linda.  The Crown Jewel Of Vista Del Verde.  Our team spent days preparing this home for the photo shoot and brought in professional stagers, design & layout guru’s, truck loads of furniture, hundreds of candles, landscapers, Fung Shui Masters and the list goes on & on.   I think you know where we are going with this!!!

2. What!  No description?

Once again, we are in the business of selling homes for our clients and we go to great lengths to make sure that every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed and that our description is an accurate representation of the home we are selling.  If a description simply reads, “great home for sale in a great neighborhood.”  Then you know to watch out!  Something is wrong here as well.  If a hired professional can not take the time to produce vernacular that is worthy of a home they are representing and in turn clients they are representing then what kind of sale is this going to produce and how smooth is this transaction going to be?  For an example for what great text looks like have a look at this home.  Fabulous in Fullerton

3. What is The Deal With That Price?

One question we are asked everyday is, “What are the comps like?”  When a buyer or seller is asking us this question what they really mean is the following; Over the last 3-6 months what have similar homes in similar neighborhoods with similar features within a 0.5 mile -0.75 mile radius sold for and what do you think my home is worth (or what do you think I can get this home for) and why? So as you can see a lot goes into pricing a home for sale (many of us in the industry would call it an art form) and also on the flip side preparing an offer for your buyers that resembles the comps or more importantly an offer that will grab the attention of a seller is so important in todays real estate market.  So if you are looking for a home in a neighborhood that has comps in the $900k range and a home lists in that same neighborhood, is a model match, has similar upgrades & features, similar location, similar outdoor amenities and lists for $1.3m then you know something is going on.  Or on the flip side that same home lists for $600k.  Something is wrong.  Why is that same home worth $400k more than similar homes in the neighborhood?  Why is that home priced at $600k?  Are they doing an auction? Is it a short sale? Is it on a seismic fault line?  Is the entire home laced with gold leaf wall portraits?  Is the chandelier hanging in the dining room imported from the South of France and made by small elves with no thumbs and took 10 years to make?  This does not make sense and you know you are in for a ride on this listing.

4. How Many Days On The Market?

Now we all know that you have to strike when the iron is hot and most homes gain the most attention or exposure the first 4 weeks on the market if priced right and in good shape (especially in a hot buyers market).  What do you do if you are searching for homes on the internet or if your agent is emailing you homes that are currently for sale and you keep seeing the same home show up over & over again.  You ask your agent, “why has this home been on the market for 600 days?  Don’t they want to sell?”  The response will probably be something like this, “That is a teaser.” Or “They are doing a Loan Mod.” Or “They are suing their lender.”  There is always a story of why, who, what, when & where with these listings.  So stay clear of these homes and you will be steps ahead of your competing buyers!

5. Multiple Agents.  Multiple Listings.  Multiple Photos.  Same House.

Once again, that same home is “Back On The Market” for the 4th time and with the 4th Brokerage (each broker given 90 days to sell at an impossible price).  Why, why, why you ask?  You as the buyer basically have this home engraved in your head as you have seen it on the internet over the past 12 months.  This would basically come down to a seller who has not come to grips with where the current market is today.  They are stuck in 2005 or 2006 thinking that their home is worth 2x more than the comparables and that their upgrades are worth more than their neighbors upgrades and that the dirt their home sits on is that much more valuable than their neighbors.  Once again, you may want to avoid this home and keep your blood pressure at the 120/80 mark!

 

Our team knows that there is no black & white in our real estate market and that these scenarios are a bit of fun on one side but could really help you save time, decrease your frustration level and increase your chance of success on purchasing that home of your dreams!  Call us today if you have any questions about the real estate market!  Or visit us at www.RajQsar.com to connect with us everywhere!

 

Real Estate Obsessed? 5 Signs You May Need Help

1. The Online House Hunting Tic. These are the folks who are always online, looking at listings, searching for houses — whether they are actually looking for homes or not! (Frankly, this is just an online extension of the behavior symptomized by an obsession with TV shows like “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International”

And there are several variants on this. Some people just want to know what’s on the market in their neighborhoods and their towns. Others take a more escapist approach, searching for homes in the areas they fantasize about living in, whether or not they actually have any sort of plan on moving. Life would be perfect if …

2. The Open House Tic. This is a hybrid online and offline version of the fixation exhibited by those who get online every Friday and Saturday to prepare their plan of attack for Sunday open houses. This behavior is completely normal and, even, advisable, in actual house hunters — people who are actually in the market to buy a home, or even home sellers who are (wisely) seeking to scope out the competition.

But it takes on a compulsive element when people who have just bought a home, or have no intention of buying a home anytime soon keep open-house hunting as a weekly habit.

To be fair, this goes on the list of relatively harmless vices, except to the extent that it signals or churns up that feeling of constant discontent, that sense that the home you have is never quite enough.

3. Interest Rate OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Chances are good that you know someone who suffers from these symptoms: obsessively checking online mortgage and news sites to see whether mortgage interest rates have gone up or down, often either (a) dropping an email to their mortgage broker afterward to see whether they’ve dropped low enough to warrant a refinance, or (b) freaking entirely out that they locked their interest rate or refinanced too soon to catch the very lowest rates.

Market conditions these last few years have only caused this epidemic to spread, as every time we think rates have gotten about as low as they ever have or ever will, it seems like a new “historic low” benchmark is set the very next week.

4. Amateur Appraiser Syndrome. The advent of home-value estimates on various real estate sites has caused some people to fixate on what the sites say is the value of their home. That’s not that strange, considering that our homes are our biggest assets and that they have taken such a hit in value of late.

However, it becomes a little strange when you leverage these sites to voyeuristic purposes, tackling your Christmas card address list or your friends’ and neighbors’ addresses to figure out what the algorithm says their homes are worth, and why you do or don’t agree with that.

5. Incessant Redecorating Syndrome. Typically, people suffering from Incessant Redecorating Syndrome tend to prowl celebrity home listings and luxury home sites, as well as home decor and furnishing sites, well, incessantly, even if they live in a fully furnished rental or just peeled the stickers off their new furniture at home.

And they often do these searches on their laptops, while watching home remodeling shows on television or flipping through home decor magazines.

It’s a compulsion.

These behaviors, which are actually smart and a great use of technology if you’re readying to make an actual real estate move, can become obsessive and even a distraction from other things you should be doing if you persist at it, allowing it to take up a large amount of your time, even when you have no intention or even the vaguest plan of making a move.

Written by:  Tara-Nichille Nelson via Inman News, January 23, 2012

 

 

Home Thermostats, Wallflowers No More

By FARHAD MANJOO

A COUPLE of months ago, a Silicon Valley start-up invited me to review its new home thermostat. I wasn’t expecting much.

Can you blame me? Thermostats are annoying. Many models require that you study a cryptic manual to set your heating and cooling schedule; on some models, even replacing the batteries can test your patience.

If you do go through all the trouble of setting up an ideal schedule, then when the weather or something else in your life changes (say, your cold-fearing relatives from Florida move in for a few weeks), the thermostat won’t adjust to your new circumstances. Then you have to program it all over again — or, more likely, forget about programming it and manually change the temperature a few times a day.

Over the last few weeks, though, I’ve become unreasonably excited over these devices. That’s because I’ve tested several new models that all offer much-needed improvements over the run-of-the-mill thermostats that most of us have on our walls.

Depending on the model, these new devices can accomplish several amazing feats. They connect to the Internet, which means they can be adjusted from afar, using the Web or your phone. The Internet connection also allows them to get information about your local weather and tailor their work accordingly.

Lastly, these thermostats all have more advanced, sometimes easier-to-use interfaces, to make programming less of a chore. Indeed, the device made by that Silicon Valley start-up, called the Nest Learning Thermostat, even promises to automatically create a schedule suited to your tastes.

Let’s start with the Filtrete 3M-50 Wi-Fi Remote Programmable Thermostat, made by 3M. The Filtrete sells for about $100. A basic thermostat is $20 to $60, but $100 is much lower than the price of the other high-end thermostats I tried — although this low price comes with a few disadvantages.

The 3M-50 does have the Web capability of the new crop of thermostats, but to connect it to your Wi-Fi network requires a special power cable that runs between your heating or cooling equipment and your thermostat. Many older homes, including mine, don’t have this wire; I had to repurpose another wire to get it working, but you may need a professional to install the device.

I also found the 3M-50 operating manual to be convoluted and the touch screen not very precise; sometimes when I was trying to press one button, I wound up engaging another.

The 3M-50 comes programmed with a schedule designed to save money on energy. I found this preset schedule fairly comfortable; I just needed a few tweaks to achieve an ideal temperature. The manufacturer promises that if I stick closely to the preset program, I could save up to one-third on my energy bills.

More costly than the 3M-50 is the Honeywell Prestige HD thermostat, which can be combined with several add-on components. The Prestige isn’t sold to the public; you must buy it from and have it installed by a professional contractor. It will cost $200 to $300, not including labor. And the added components — like sensors to read temperatures in different rooms or a module to control the device over the Internet — sell for more. Over all, the entire system can cost upward of $500.

My system was set up by Innovative Mechanical, a heating and air-conditioning company in the San Francisco area. Its technicians also installed an outdoor temperature sensor and an Internet module, and a Honeywell representative helped me program the temperature setting and showed me how to change it.

I liked the Prestige quite a bit. The touch screen gives you a general’s view of your home’s climate. The bright blue display and the readings of the temperature and humidity (inside and outside your house) make it look like a screen from the Weather Channel.

But my favorite feature was a small hand-held unit called the Portable Comfort Control.

When you set a standard thermostat to, say, 70 degrees, it will adjust the temperature until its own sensor reads 70 degrees. But in many homes, there’s a vast difference between the temperature at the thermostat and the temperature in far-flung bedrooms. The portable control solves this problem by having its own temperature sensor; by tapping its screen, you can set the thermostat to use the controller’s sensor as its main reading. If you set the thermostat to 70 and you bring the controller to your bedroom, the Prestige will see to it that your bedroom is heated to exactly 70.

This was a blessing for me. My home office, where I spend eight hours a day, usually gets much warmer than the rest of my house. Locating the portable control there during the day kept the heat off longer, saving energy.

My favorite of the new thermostats is the Nest. When I saw it, I swooned. A brushed-steel orb that resembles HAL from the film “2001,” the Nest looks like no other thermostat. Also unlike most of them, it promises to learn your temperature preferences, set itself up automatically, and, as your tastes change, strive to keep up.

The Nest costs $249 from the company’s Web site or from Best Buy, though you have to wait: When the Nest went on sale a few weeks ago, it sold out immediately. The firm has declined to say when the Nest will become available again, but you can fill out contact information on the site to get an alert when it does.

You can install it yourself, or pay $120 to a Best Buy installer.

I popped it in myself, and found it easy. The instructions were clear and the device ships with all necessary parts, including a built-in level to help you install it straight. The firm says that the Nest is compatible with most heating and cooling systems; to see if it works with yours, there is a handy guide on the Web site.

I installed the Nest in 30 minutes, with another 5 to set it up and learn how to use it.

This is the Nest’s best feature. Because it was designed by Tony Fadell, who headed the team that created the iPod, the Nest has a wonderfully intuitive user interface that even technophobes will quickly grasp.

You control the device by turning a wheel on its circumference, and you engage its main button by pushing on the face. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated; once you touch it, it will be obvious how to use it.

The Nest requires no programming. It has a host of sensors and sophisticated algorithms for learning your temperature preferences. For the first few days, you set the temperature yourself; as with the other new thermostats, you can control it from afar through the Web or an iPhone or iPad app (an Android app is coming soon).

A few days after my installation, the Nest reported that, from my initial manual settings and other sensors, it had learned the family’s habits and preferences. It would warm up early in the morning, cool down when my wife and son left for the day, heat up again in the evening, and cool down once more, at bedtime. This analysis was right on the money.

The Nest further encouraged efficiency through subtle persuasion: if you set your temperature to a slightly more environmental (and economical) setting, the Nest displays a leaf icon on its front panel.

The Nest also knows when you are traveling; if its motion sensor detects no movement, it enters “away” mode. Indeed, when we left for a week’s vacation, the Nest noticed our absence and lowered the heat appropriately. (What if your thermostat is in an out-of-the-way place that you don’t pass by often? It will figure that out, too — if it finds that you’re overriding its away mode, it begins to discount its own motion sensor.)

But when we had houseguests and I raised the temperature to make the guest room more comfortable, the device did not adjust to those changes. This forced me to manually tweak its schedule.

Because the Nest is connected to the Internet, though, the company says that it can periodically issue software updates to improve the thermostat’s ability to learn your preferences. This is an amazing possibility. Not only did the Nest start out working pretty well, it promises to keep improving.

First Thoughts – Trulia Mobile App for Agents

First Thoughts – Trulia Mobile App for Agents

Raj Qsar, Principal/Owner

Premier Orange County Real Estate

www.RajQsar.com

When Chris Smith asked if we would do a short review for Inman Next on the new Trulia App for Agents I was pretty pumped up!  It has been a few days now that I have been running with the new mobile app and here are my initial thoughts.  Easy to use navigation, extremely mobile friendly and there are a few cool features you may want to utilize as an agent when you are with clients or on a broker preview.  So here we go!

We love streamline in our office and we love it when mobile apps keep it simple.  And simple it is!  Six main buttons on the home screen once you log in with your Trulia information (see screen shot).  If you currently use Trulia to showcase your listings with Trulia Local Ads or Trulia Pro then log in with your Trulia account info and you will receive all your leads in one easy to find location (see screen shot).  All your contacts are seamlessly imported from your contacts on your phone (cool, but wish it would link with Facebook & Twitter contacts) and the GPS function seamlessly pulls up all homes for sale in your surrounding area (see screen shot).  Also, attached to ach individual listing is a “Neaby Amenities” GPS search with pulls up such hotspots as food, shopping, gas, schools & banks.

One of the new features on this app is the ability to “check in” to the listings that you visit (see screen shot), similar to foursquare or facebook places.  You can also see other agents who have “checked in” nearby to the same listing or nearby listings (so hurry up and write that offer)!  Trulia awards you with 10 points for checking into a listing and you can gauge your points on their leaderboard, which ranks the agents who have checked into similar listings.  My team is a big fan of checking into listings and we have actually coded our website and each listing to have a facebook place.  You can check it out our listing “The Crown Jewel of Vista Del Verde” or our listing at 4058 Hoosier Lawn Way in Yorba Linda and then click on the facebook place icon.  Checking In allows other agents, buyers and even the sellers to check into their own home on facebook and “spread the word.”  When you check-in on Trulia it stays on Trulia…bummer!  We would love a facebook integration of this check in so it could easily post to your wall or better yet your business page (but we are working on this now – see screen shot).

Overall, the new Trulia App for Agents is easy to use, mobile friendly and seems to be in its infancy but may be a step or two ahead of other big name real estate apps.  Dreaming for a GPS locator of recently closed sales, a “Hot Sheet” of recent “Just-Listed” homes and social media integration.

Raj Qsar

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Stop & think about this!

Stop & think about this! Friday December 16th, 2011 marked the 11th best day in the history of mortgage rates since the beginning of mortgage rates! Said another way, only 10 days of the last 29,200 days of mortgage interest rates have been better! Thinking about buying or doing a refi? This truly is history in the making!!  Give our team a call today and do not miss this opportunity!  www.RajQsar.com

Yorba Linda homebuying soars 14%

By Jonathan Lasner – OC Register Real Estate

2011-11-27 13:14:31

 

Yorba Linda real estate for sale looks up recently.

For the 22 business days ending November 8 — latest DataQuick stats — 89 residences sold in Yorba Linda vs. 78 deals closed in the matching period a year ago — a 14.1% increase over the past 12 months.

At the community level, for this period …

  • In ZIP 92886 — median selling price of $572,500 that was down 4.6% vs. a year ago. Homes sold were 56 — that was down 11.1% vs. a year ago.
  • ZIP 92887 — median selling price of $489,500 that was down 23.5% vs. a year ago. Homes sold were 33 — that was up 120.0% vs. a year ago.

Compare those trends with countywide data for the same period: Median selling price of $409,000 that was down 7.0% vs. a year ago. Homes sold in Orange County totaled 2,504 — down 1.7% vs. a year ago.


 

Loan limit increase finalized

Our team at Raj Qsar, Premier Orange County Real Estate, reported last week that bipartisan Congressional efforts passed HR 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 to restore higher FHA loan limits which expired on September 30, 2011.

This agreement (that came with riders) increased the maximum dollar amount of mortgage loans that can be insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) back to $729,750 after dropping the cap to $625,500 automatically after a temporary increase was issued for all loans insured by the FHA. The restored higher limit will remain in place through 2013 but does not include Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loans.

Representatives Gary Miller and Brad Sherman (R-CA) successfully got a measure passed that created a conforming loan limit cap of $625,000 in areas with median home prices over $417,000 before it was initially increased to $729,750 which expired and was passed by a 298-121 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and a 70-30 vote in the Senate.

Obama signs HR 2112 into law

HR 2112 has passed and President Obama signed into law HR 2112 late on Friday. The bill provides $128 billion in discretionary appropriations to provide funding for three 2012 appropriations bills (Agriculture, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Commerce-Justice Science).

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 provides $1.3 billion to HUD for administration, up $16 million from 2011 but down $18 million from the President’s request.

Take the Stress Out of Homebuying

  1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.
  2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.
  3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.
  4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.
  5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.
  6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.
  7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.
  8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
  9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.
  10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Call our team today to help you take the stress out of buying or selling your home!  Visit us at www.RajQsar.com.