Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18

Lower Inventory Drives Jump in Homebuying

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

A jump in home sales this summer indicates that Orange County’s housing slump may finally be coming to an end. According to housing tracker DataQuick Information Systems, sales were up 25.7% in July 2012 compared to July 2011 – that’s the biggest percentage gain the local market has seen in approximately 40 months. And, the boom isn’t isolated to a single area. According to the data, home buying rose in 80% of Orange County zip codes.

Market observers speculate that lower inventory – particularly of distressed properties that have been discounted in price – is driving the jump in purchases. Foreclosures, for example, accounted for only 13.2% of recent Orange County transactions. When compared to a historical average of 26% per month for the past four-and-a-half years, this indicates a significant decrease in supply. And, it’s that lack of supply that’s likely driving up prices.

While demand is highest for homes priced under $300,000, the median price for an Orange County home was $450,000 in July. And, thanks to a stabilizing market, low interest rates, and an increase in “normal” (that is, non-distressed) sales and purchases, most experts expect the upswing in real estate sales and prices to continue.

"Homebuyer confidence has returned ... and low borrowing rates and rents are attracting investment at higher than normal levels," Orange County Association of Realtors President Maria Elena Banks told The Orange County Register. "Buyers are jumping off (the fence) to follow investors, lured by low rates and the sense that prices will rise in the future as the economy improves."

Based on the data, it seems now may be the best time to buy or sell a home in years.

Is Now The Time To Buy A Home?

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

U.S. housing permits rise for the third month in May 2012. The Commerce Department said builders broke ground on 3.2% more single-family homes and April figures revised up to 744,000 - fastest building pace since October 2008. 780,000 permits were requested by builders the largest number since September 2008.

South Florida has seen an increase in foreign spending on real estate and tourism, Canada, South America, and even Europeans have been actively buying properties in areas of distressed residential real estate.

Austin Texas homes prices rise 6.5%, home prices appreciating at a higher rate than the national average and this includes distressed sales according to a report by CoreLogic.

Las Vegas is beginning to see a glimmer of renewed hope with a 90.4 percent increase in building permits and new-home builders have started increasing their home prices by $1000-$5000.

 Arizona ranked third for construction job growth in May. It’s happening all over the country signs of renewed hope that the housing market is truly on the mend.

California, 44% percent of all properties sold had multiple offers this year. Orange County California, personally are sales are up, multiple offers, homes selling over listing price, and Open Houses with a continues flow of potential buyers. Inventories are at the lowest level in years. Brea California today: 44 active listings, 92 with offers to purchase accepted by sellers (pending sales or taking backup offers), and 141 closed home sales since the first of the year with an average of 26 per month.

Steady builder confidence in June good article atThe Natioanl Association of Home Builders (NAHB) webiste

Opportunities knocking, will you be the one to take advantage of it this time?

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, give us a call at (714) 726-3166 or send us an email to explore your options and to find out when is the best time for you to make a move. Texting ok

Just Found The Perfect Home on Zillow, NOT!

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

You just found the perfect home on Zillow and pick up the phone to call your real estate agent and boy are you excited you want to go see it now! Your agent says let me look up the property to call the home owner. Sign on to CRMLS to look up the property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and get the phone number and staring right at the top of the page is "PENDING SALE". Your shoulders visibly sag and you tell your client your dream home is already sold and everyone is disappointed.

I can’t tell you how many times this happens.  Unfortunately this is one problems looking for homes using internet homes for sale websites.  The only properties you can see on these websites are the active listings. What does the word active listing mean? An active listing is any property listed on our MLS that is NOT a closed sale.  Active listings include; Pending Sales, Taking backup offers, hold do not show,  properties do fall out after a contract is signed to purchase that is the reason they stay active. 

When you look at the chart on the right the first section “CRMLS” is the information out of our real estate Multiple Listing Service.  At that date and time these were all the active listings without; pending sales, taking backup offers, and hold do not show. When you look down the graph there are significant differences from the CRMLS making it impossible to really know what is active listing, doesn’t it., site works different that the rest. It shows: “ Newly listed within the past 15 days”. So anything active more that 15 days are not shown in the search results, but it still has all the pending sales, taking backups, and hold do not show properties.  So in the end it doesn’t show all the active listings in the MLS. 

Now, you can see why when looking on the internet for homes for sales it can be disappointing.  What it is good for is picking out an area you would like to live in, see how much properties are listed for in specific area, and find out about the city you want to live in. Beyond that there can be a lot of heart ache.  It’s always better to receive your home search information directly from a real estate agent.  It will be up to date and should be accurate.

Reference:  this is my opinion below I’m sure other agents may have somewhat of a different view.

Active Listing:  any property listed for sale on MLS that is NOT a closed sale.

Taking Backups:  A property for sale that has an accepted contract to purchase, but the buyer has not yet removed all the buyers’ contingencies. Home inspections, appraisal, final loan approval, disclosures haven’t been approved, etc.

Pending Sale:  All contingencies have been removed waiting for loan docs to be drawn, signed and then to close.

Closed Sale:  Everything is done and buyer can move in the property they have purchased.

CRMLS: California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. The member service I belong too.

If you are ready to start the process you will find our Home Buyers Guide Helpful

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, give us a call at (714) 726-3166 or send us an email to explore your options and to find out when is the best time for you to make a move. Texting ok

Choices That Will Affect Your Loan

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Mortgage term. Mortgages are generally available at 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms. The longer the term, the lower the monthly payment if the same amount is borrowed. However, you pay more interest overall if you borrow for a longer term.

Government-backed loans. Government-backed loans, sponsored by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration ( or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (, offer special terms, including lower downpayments or reduced interest rates—to qualified buyers.

Fixed or adjustable interest rates. A fixed rate allows you to lock in a low rate for as long as you hold the mortgage and is usually a good choice if interest rates are low. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is designed so that interest rates will rise as interest rates increase; however they usually offer a lower rate in the first years of the mortgage. ARMs also usually have a limit as to how much the interest rate can be increased and how frequently they can be raised. ARMs are a good choice when interest rates are high or when you expect your income to grow significantly in the coming years.

Balloon mortgages. Balloon mortgages offer very low interest rates for a short period of time—often three to seven years. Payments usually cover only the interest, so the principal owed is not reduced. However, this type of loan may be a good choice if you think you will sell your home in a few years.

Slight variations in interest rates, loan amounts, and terms can significantly affect your monthly payment. For help in determining how much your monthly payment will be for various loan amounts, use Fannie Mae’s  online mortgage calculators.

10 Questions to Ask Your Condo Board

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Before you buy, contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process, you’ll learn how responsive—and organized—its members are.

1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.

2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date can’t rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.

3. How much does the association keep in reserve? How is that money being invested?

4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.

5. What does and doesn’t the assessment cover—common area maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection, snow removal?

6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.

7. How much turnover occurs in the building?

8. Is the project in litigation? If the builders or homeowners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.

9. Is the developer reputable? Find out what other projects the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their perceptions. Request an engineer’s report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the roof, windows, and bricks aren’t in good repair, they become your problem once you buy.

10. Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you’re buying, may require separate assessments.

8 Ways to Improve Your Credit

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain


Credit scores, along with your overall income and debt, are a big factor in determining if you’ll qualify for a loan and what loan terms you’ll be able to qualify for.

1. Check for and correct errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone else’s poor financial management.

2. Pay down credit card bills. If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. However, transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

3. Don’t charge your credit cards to the maximum limit.

4. Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage. You’re penalized less for problems after a year.

5. Don’t purchase big-ticket items for your new home on credit cards until after the loan is approved. The amounts will add to your debt.

6. Don’t open new credit card accounts before applying for a mortgage. Having too much available credit can lower your score.

7. Shop for mortgage rates all at once. Too many credit applications can lower your score, but multiple inquiries from the same type of lender are counted as one inquiry if submitted over a short period of time.

8. Avoid finance companies. Even if you pay the loan on time, the interest is high and it will probably be considered a sign of poor credit management.

5 Things to Understand About Title Insurance

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

1. It protects your ownership right to your home both from fraudulent claims against your ownership and from mistakes made in earlier sales, such as mistake in the spelling of a person’s name or an inaccurate description of the property.

2. It’s a one-time cost usually based on the price of the property.

3. It’s usually paid for by the sellers.

4. There are both lender title policies, which protect the lender, and owner title policies, which protect you. The lender will probably require a lender policy.

5. Discounts on premiums are sometimes available if the home has been bought within only a few years since not as much work is required to check the title. Ask the title company if this discount is available.


Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

The neighborhood you choose can have a big impact on your lifestyle—safety, available amenities, and convenience all play their part.

1. Make a list of the activities—movies, health club, church—you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engaging in your most common activities.

2. Check out the school district. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, also consider paying a visit to schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Even if you don’t have children, a house in a good school district will be easier to sell in the future.

3. Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type—burglaries, armed robberies—and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?

4. Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but they do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?

5. See if you’ll make money. Ask a local REALTOR or call the local REALTOR association to get information about price appreciation trends in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good an investment your home will be. A REALTOR or the  government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood—like a new school or highway—that might affect value.

6. See for yourself. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there, and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside. Are they friendly? Are their children to play with your family?

Buyers Budget Basics Work Sheet

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain
The first step in getting yourself in financial shape to buy a home is to know what you make and

what you spend now. List your income and expenses below.


Take-Home Pay/All Family  
Child Support/Alimony  
Pension/Social Security  
Disability/Other Insurance  
Total Income  
Life Insurance  
Health/Disability Insurance  
Vehicle Insurance  
Homeowners or Other Insurance  
Car Payments  
Other Loan Payments  
Savings/Pension Contribution  
Credit Card Payments  
Car Upkeep  
Personal Care Products  
Food Prepared Outside the Home  
Household Goods  
Child Care  
Charitable Donations  
Total Expenses=  
Remaining Income After Expenses=  






10 Things a Lender Needs From You

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain


2. Copies of one or more months of pay stubs from every person signing the loan.

3. Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.

4. Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years.

5. Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, e.g., a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.

6. Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.

7. Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support, pension, etc.

8. Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts of any outstanding balances.

9. Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans—student loans, car loans, etc.

10. Addresses where you lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords, if appropriate.

1. W-2 forms or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.





Reprinted from REALTOR

® Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®  Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18

Contact Information

Photo of Carol and Jim   Real Estate
Carol and Jim
Preferred Home Brokers
3230 E Imperial Hwy, Ste 125
Brea CA 92821

Carol & Jim Chamberlain 714-726-3166 or 714-726-3144                  "Yes, We Can Be In Two Places At Once!"                                              BRE Lic Numbers: 00912962, 01015143