Real Estate Information Archive


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Successful Open House

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

On Sunday, May 19, 2013 we held an open house at 441 Valley Crossing Rd Brea CA 92823. Home is located in Olinda Ranch (Lambert Rd and Valencia Ave) in the Van Daele homes. Blue skies and light breeze couldn't have made the day any better for the open house. We arrived at 11 a.m. and people started showing up right away by 11:30 a.m. it started to slow down and I ran out and picked up a sandwich and drink from Togo's for my wife and I. When I got back there were several families in the home asking questions and looking about. I put the sandwich and drink on the counter and thats where it stayed it was non-stop families coming through the home. We had planned to close up at 3 p.m. but families kept stopping in and it was 4:30 p.m. before I was able to go out and take our signs down. We must of had over a hundred people through the home and I am not kidding. It was the best open house we have had in 27 years of selling real estate. We even received an offer from a very nice you couple with 2 little boys. Things have changed radically it's a great time to sell your home NOW! Call us if your are interested in selling your home. 714-990-2200 or 714-726-3166/txt

Description of the home: Beautifully upgraded Van Daele home in Olinda Ranch. Canyon view home with designer colors, hardwood floors are throughout first level. The kitchen has been totally remodeled with granite counters and pull out drawers in the cabinets. There is a walk-in pantry and a butler’s pantry. The large family room has a fireplace and is adjacent to the gourmet kitchen. The formal dining room and formal living room have hardwood floors. All baths have been remodeled and have granite counters and stone floors. The master bath has been remodeled with a stone surround shower, separate soaking tub , dual sinks, and a large walk-in closet. Master bedroom is approx. 15X20 and has inset cabinetry with shelves for TV. Work space area off upstairs bedrooms for doing homework. Small alcove at top of stairs would be great place for a home office. Great canyon and sunset views out the back of the house. Good sized yard with patio. Separate laundry room off the garage, has plenty of cabinets for storage. Three car garage with third car a tandem.  Lots of cabinetry for your storage. Home is truly a turnkey home, it all has been done, nothing left to do but move on in. 

Why Zillow, Trulia, and Suck for Home Buyers!

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Home Buyers love Zillow, Trulia, and These sites have all the homes for sale! They also have a lot of old information.  That is wherein the problem lies. Carol loves working with buyers and has for 27 years. She is just as excited about finding the “right home” for her buyers now as she was when she first started selling real estate in 1986. The single biggest waste of time for her is looking up properties that buyers have found on one of three mentioned websites above, just to find out that they are either in escrow or have closed escrow, and some of them even months ago.

 I looked up properties for sale in Brea on Zillow this morning (May 14, 2013, 6:20 AM) and it said there were 220 properties (results). Now when I go on our local MLS board (CRMLS) we have 33 properties that show as active listings for sale (May 14, 2013, 6:23 AM).  Zillow shows 7 times more properties for sale and 7 times more the disappointment for buyers when they call on a property and find out it’s either in escrow or has sold months ago.

No wonder buyers are confused and don’t know who to trust when looking for a home.  The buyer calls an agent about a property or properties only to find out it’s sold. I know I would begin to wonder who’s telling the truth, or why an agent doesn’t want to show me these homes. Sit down with the agent you are working with and have them look up properties for you on the websites above and then on his or her local MLS provider.  You will be shocked at the discrepancy; I guarantee it will be an eye opener.

Buyers, don’t give up hope, most agents have links to their local MLS providers where the information is up to date. On our website ( all property searches will have a listing status:  Active, Taking Back Ups, Pending, or Hold do not show.  If the listing status is active the odds are pretty darn good you can make an offer on the property.  A listing status of “Taking Back Up” and “Pending” means that an offer has been accepted by the seller and it is under contract and in escrow. A “Hold Do Not Show” status means that the property is effectively off the market for any of a number of reasons and thus, not available for an offer.

If you are looking for a great agent in Brea or North Orange County CA I highly recommend my wife Carol Chamberlain at or 714-726-3166/text

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

How to Claim Your Home Buyers Tax Credit

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

The IRS has clarified what documentation is needed to claim your first time buyers and move-up buyers tax credit.

You are still required to fill out a 5405 form but is NOT requiring all buyers and sellers to sign the HUD-1 settlement statement. If you live in an area where it isn't common for the all parties to sign the HUD-1 its OK.

The IRS says: " in areas where signatures are not required on the settlement document, the IRS has clarified that it will accept a settlement statement if it is completed and valid according to local law. The IRS encourages those buyers to sign the settlement statement prior to attaching it to the tax return."

So if you live in Southern California where it’s uncommon for buyers and sellers to sign the HUD-1 make sure you the buyer(s) sign your HUD-1 statement before mailing it in with your tax return.

If you are a move up buyer or repeat buyer, the IRS is requiring documentation that proves you lived in your last home 5 of the last 8 years. Items the IRS will consider as proof are: tax records, mortgage interest statements, and home owner’s insurance records.

Securing a jumbo: No small task

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Qualifying for a jumbo loan—those with loan amounts higher than the conventional conforming loan limit of $729,750 in high-cost areas—is more difficult than it was a few years ago.

While rates on jumbo mortgage historically have been higher than rates on conforming loans, jumbo loans still are available, but often come with stringent underwriting requirements. Prior to the credit freeze, borrowers of jumbo mortgages could qualify for loans with a 5 percent down payment, credit scores of 620and enough money in the bank to cover two months of payments. Now, borrowers typically must have six months’ reserves, a 700 credit score, and a down payment of at least 20 percent.

HUD: Tax Credit Can Be Used on Closing Costs

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

This article of was worthy of re-posting from Realtor Magazine Online. Important information for buyers! Jim C 

Daily Real Estate News  |  May 29, 2009  

FHA-approved lenders received the go-ahead to develop bridge-loan products that enable first-time buyers to use the benefits of the federal tax credit upfront, according to eagerly awaited guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on so-called home buyer tax credit loans that was released today.

Under the guidance, FHA-approved lenders can develop bridge loans that home buyers can use to help cover their closing costs, buy down their interest rate, or put down more than the minimum 3.5 percent.

The loans can't be used to cover the minimum 3.5 percent, senior HUD officials told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.

Thus, buyers applying for FHA-backed financing with an FHA-approved lender that offers a bridge-loan program can get a bridge loan to bring down the upfront costs of buying a home significantly but would still have to come up with the minimum 3.5 percent downpayment.

There remain many sources of assistance for buyers needing help with the 3.5 percent downpayment, including many state and local government instrumentalities and nonprofit lenders.

In addition,  some state house finance agencies have developed their own tax credit bridge loan programs (None in California yet), so buyers in states whose HFAs offer such programs can monetize the tax credit upfront to cover all or part of their downpayment. These programs are separate from what HUD announced today.

The first-time homebuyer tax credit was enacted last year--and improved upon earlier this year--to help encourage households to enter the housing market while interest rates are low and affordability is high. The credit is worth up to $8,000 and is available to households that haven't owned a home in at least three years. The credit does not have to be repaid, and is fully reimbursable, so households can get their credit returned to them in the form of a payment.

Learn more about the credit, including how to apply for it this year even if you've already filed your taxes, at

Source: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine Online

HUD: Homebuyer Tax Credit Loans Still on Track

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Daily Real Estate News  |  May 21, 2009  |

HUD: Homebuyer Tax Credit Loans Still on Track
News reports that the federal government is backing away from its plan to permit eligible borrowers to monetize the first-time homebuyer tax credit are off the mark, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says.

"The technical details are still being finalized and will soon be published in a mortgagee letter and posted on our Web site," Lemar Wooley, a HUD spokesperson, told REALTOR® magazine Wednesday afternoon.

Under the guidance that's under development, state agencies and other HUD-approved entities would be able to provide short-term bridge loans that households could use to help with their downpayment. The loans would be repaid with the proceeds from the households' federal tax credit.

The loans were announced on the opening day of NAR's 2009 Midyear Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C., last week. In his announcement, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said guidance would be issued shortly.

When the guidance is released, it is expected to cover eligible lenders and set parameters for loan terms and repayment.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine Online

$18,000 First Time Buyer Tax Credit

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Buyers have an opportunity to save big between March 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009. The State of California is offering a $10,000 credit for newly built homes. The property will have to be your principal resident and you will have to live in it for 2 years or you WILL have to repay the tax credit.

Plus the Fed is offering a $8,000 tax credit and you take advantage of both the State & Fed tax credit for a total savings.$18,000 don't miss this one time opportunity.

If you are buying a resale home you still can take advantage of the Fed credit until the end of the year. I wouldn't wait much longer before buying a home in the last 3 months distressed homesellers down 16% over the last 3 months. The amount of distressed homes keeps reducing either by loan modification of resale home sale.

What To Do With Hazardous Waste

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain
Don’t know what to do with old paint, computers, monitors, compact fluorescent light bulbs and yard chemicals, etc. There are four locations in Orange County; Anaheim, Irvine, Huntington Beach and San Juan Capistrano. Click Here for a Flyer that will give you information on hazardous waste accepted, requirement to use the collection centers, hazardous waste not accepted and hours of operation.  There are several locations in Southern California to dispose of business hazardous waste; Vista, Ontario, Paramount, Carson, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, and Pasadena CA. Click Here for a flyer with phone numbers and websites. For more information call the hotline at 714.834.6752 or visit their web site at

New Credit Card Scam

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

The crooks are really getting good. says  this is true.  

Link to this scam:

This one is  pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except  the one piece they want.

Note, the callers do not ask for your  card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading.  By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card  Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

One  of our employees was called on Wednesday from 'VISA', and I was called  on Thursday from 'Master Card'. The scam works like this: Caller:  'This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud  Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been  flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify.  This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank).  Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a  Marketing company based in Arizona ?'

When you say 'No', the  caller continues with, 'Then we will be issuing a credit to your  account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range  from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags  most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to  (gives you your address), is that correct?'

You say 'yes'. The  caller continues - 'I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you  have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the  back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.'

You will  need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6  digit number. 'Do you need me to read it again?'

Here's the  IMPORTANT part on how the scam works.
 The cal ler then says, 'I need to verify you are in  possession of your card'. He'll ask you to 'turn your card over and  look for some numbers'. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of  your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers that verify you  are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use  to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will  ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3  numbers, he'll say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the  card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card.  Do you have any other questions?' After you say No, the caller then  thanks you and states, 'Don't hesitate to call back if you do, and  hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they  never ask fo r or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on  Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we  glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam  and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to  our card.

Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and  closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number.
 What the scammers want is the  3-digit PIN number on the back of the card Don't give it  to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly  for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that  they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the  information sin ce they issued the card! If you give the scammers your  3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by  the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you  didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to  actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable  is that on Thursday, I got a call from a 'Jason Richardson of Master  Card' with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't  let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by  VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily!  They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is  happening.


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 45

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