Real Estate Information Archive


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Our perspective on the real estate headlines

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain
 Many people have asked us about the current real estate headlines and what they mean to buyers and sellers. Keep in mind that the media has been making dire predictions about real estate for decades:
To be newsworthy, a story must be immediate. That’s why the current real estate market is such a hot media topic and why the long view doesn’t get much ink or airtime. That’s too bad, because that’s where you’ll find the most compelling real estate story of all.
1969 “The goal of owning a home seems to be getting beyond the reach of more and more  Americans. The typical new house today costs about $28,000.”- Business Week
1977“The median price of a home today is approaching $50,000. Housing experts predict price rises in the future won’t be that great.”-National Business
1985 Median Home price $152,720 “The golden-age of risk free run-ups in home prices is gone.” -Money Magazine
1996 Median home price $194,382. Defense cuts have triggered steep home price declines. “A home is where the bad investment is.”-San Francisco Examiner
 In the three years following the last statement, California home prices rose 19.7% wiping out the losses of the early ‘90s. Ending the decade with a net gain of 9.35%.
The media continues to play up bad economic news, including real problems in the lending marketplace. The truth is, a home remains the most enduring investment most of us will ever make.
That’s because the return goes so very far beyond financial rewards. To own a home is to make a priceless investment to our lives—and a confident affirmation about our future.
After 37 years it should be obvious Orange County real estate always goes up. Go ahead wait if you want to believe all the doomsayers on the TV, newspapers, and magazines. If you smart you will look around and see how low home prices are today, excellent interest rates, and a selection homes we haven’t see in 12 years. Buy Now! Or you can wait like so many people did in the year 2000.
 Californina Existing
Single Family Home*
Annual Average Sales Price
1985 $119,860
1995 $178,600
2000 $241,350
2001 $252,350
2002 $391,600
2003 $316,130
2004 $371,520
2005 $450,990
2006 $556,640
We would like to here what your impressions are of the current market.

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.

10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

1. Be picky, but don’t be unrealistic.  There is no perfect home.

2. Do your homework before you start looking.  Decide specifically what features you want in a home and which are most important to you.

3. Get your finances in order.  Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your downpayment and your closing costs.

4. Don’t wait to get a loanTalk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage before you start looking.

5. Don’t ask too many people for opinions.  It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion.

6. Decide when you could move. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area?

7. Think long-term.  Are you looking for a starter house with the idea of moving up in a few years or do you hope to stay in this home longer? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that suit you best.

8. Don’t let yourself be “house poor”.  If you max yourself out to buy the biggest home you can afford, you’ll have no money left for maintenance or decoration or to save money for other financial goals.

9. Don’t be naïve.  Insist on a home inspection and, if possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects within one year.

10. Get help. Consider hiring a REALTOR as a buyer’s representative.  Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you.And often, buyer’s reps are paid out of the seller’s commission payment.




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

Reprinted from REALTOR

10 Things to Take the Trauma Out of Homebuying

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

1. Find a real estate professional who’s simpatico. Homebuying is not only a big financial
commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the practitioner you choose is
both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, any more than there’s a right time to sell. If
you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market
by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur 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 will make it much harder to make a decision.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you
and 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 may lose you the home you

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—that you forget such issues as amenities,
noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it’s like to live in your new home.

7. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage,
investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an
offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-homebuying budget. Even if you buy
a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home

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 commitment, but it also yields big benefits.

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 from 1998 to 2002, a home’s
most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.



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

5 Common First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and miss out on the best deal.

2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

3. They don’t find the right real estate professional who is willing to help you through the
homebuying process.

4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look good to a seller.

5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in
a home for four years.




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

7 Reasons to Own Your Own Home

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

1.  Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, property taxes you pay, and some of the costs involved in buying your home.

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


2. Gains. Between 1998 and 2002, national home prices increased at an average of 5.4 percent annually. And while there’s no guarantee of appreciation, a 2001 study by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS found that a typical homeowner has approximately $50,000 of unrealized gain in a home. 

3.  Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4.  Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5.  Predictability. Unlike rent, your mortgage payments don’t go up over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will rise.

6.  Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and be able to benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity. To calculate whether renting or buying is the best financial option for you, use this calculator  

courtesy of Ginnie Mae: Rent Vs Buy Calulator






Questions to ask a Home Inspector

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

 Reprinted from REALTOR


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

1. What are your qualifications? Are you a member of the American Association of Home Inspectors?

2. Do you have a current license? Inspectors are not required to be licensed in every state.

3. How many inspections of properties such as this do you do each year?

4. Do you have a list of past clients I can contact?

5. Do you carry professional errors and omission insurance? May I have a copy of the policy?

6. Do you provide any guarantees of your work?

7. What specifically will the inspection cover?

8. What type of report will I receive after the inspection?

9. How long will the inspection take and how long will it take to receive the report?

10. How much will the inspection cost?


Web Site Resources for Consumers

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain
Provides an easy way to assess energy use and get quick tips on saving energy.
Environmental Protection Agency,
A one-stop shop for advice on testing for and mitigating pollutants, from lead paint to radon to mold.
A source of credit reports.
Experian (formerly TRW),
A source of credit reports.
Offers a list of consumer articles about home sales, financing, and maintenance.
Ginnie Mae, http://
Provides advice to buyers on affordability and homeownership, including calculators.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, http://
Offers advice to buyers on finance, fair housing, and more.
Provides links to contractors and architects for remodeling projects for buyers and repair services for sellers. For a small charge, buyers can use the site’s Estimators to determine how much renovating a property they’re considering would cost.
Helps buyers and sellers with packing tips and timetables, online mover links, and places to store belongings so that homes look less cluttered. click here to go to
Offers consumer information for buyers and sellers as well as home listings and links to service providers. click here to go to
Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), http://
Offers a homebuyer’s kit with useful information and checklists.
Trans Union Corporation,
A source of credit reports.

8 Steps To Getting Your Finances in Order

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

1.  Develop a family budget. Instead of budgeting what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget for what you actually spent over the last six months. One advantage of this approach is that it factors in unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, illnesses, etc., as well as predictable costs such as rent.Reduce your debt. Generally speaking, lenders look for a total debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. Since this figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 percent and 28 percent of income, you need to get the rest of installment debt—car loans, student loans, revolving balances on credit cards—down to between 8 percent and 10 percent of your total income.


3. Get a handle on expenses. You probably know how much you spend on rent and utilities, but little expenses add up. Try writing down everything you spend for one month. You’ll probably see some great ways to save.

4. Increase your income. It may be necessary to take on a second, part-time job to get your income at a high-enough level to qualify for the home you want.

5. Save for a downpayment. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with only 5 percent down—or even less in some cases—you can usually get a better rate and a lower overall cost if you put down more. Shoot for saving a 20 percent downpayment.

6. Create a house fund. Don’t just plan on saving whatever’s left toward a downpayment. Instead decide on a certain amount a month you want to save, then put it away as you pay your monthly bills.

7. Keep your job. While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.

8.Establish a good credit history. Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills. Pay off the entire balance promptly.

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







6 Ways to Afford a Home

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

6 Creative Ways to Afford a Home

If your income and savings are making homebuying a challenge, consider these options.

1. Investigate local, state, and national downpayment assistance programs. These programs give loans or grants to cover all or part of your required downpayment. National programs include the Nehemiah program ( and the American Dream Downpayment Fund from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (

2. Get the seller to provide financing. In some cases, sellers may be willing to finance all or part of the purchase price of the home and let you repay them gradually, just as you do a mortgage.

3. Consider a shared-appreciation, or shared equity, arrangement. Under this arrangement, your family, friends, or even a third-party may buy a portion of the home and thus share in any appreciation when the home is sold. The owner/occupant usually pays the mortgage, property taxes, and all maintenance costs, but all investors’ names are usually on the mortgage. There are companies that can help you find such an investor if your family can’t participate.

4. Get help from your family. Perhaps a family member will loan you money for the downpayment and/or act as a cosigner for the mortgage. Lenders often like to have a cosigner if you have little credit history

5. Lease with the option to buy. Renting the home for a year or more will give you the chance to save more toward your downpayment. And in many cases, owners will apply some of the rental amount toward the purchase price. You usually have to pay a small, nonrefundable option fee to the owner.

6. See if you can qualify for a short-term second mortgage to give you the money to make a higher downpayment. This may be possible if you have a good income andlittle other debt.




Reprinted from REALTOR

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

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10

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