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By Gregory Masi - 310.622.7488 | Agent in Los Angeles, CA
  • Westwood 90025 Single Family Homes--What were the 2011 Market Statistics?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Los Angeles, Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles  |  January 18, 2012 11:32 AM  |  600 views  |  No comments
    As we enter 2012 and begin to see buyers jump back into the market, I thought it would be interesting to see how different parts of the city fared in 2011.  In this market statistic update, I'm focusing on 90025 single family homes.  90025 encompasses a significant portion of Westwood and West LA, with its boundaries ranging from Centinela west of the 405 to Century Park W on the east side of the 405.  It's northern boundary varies between Santa Monica Blvd and Wilshire Blvd, and the southern boundary is jagged but centered around Olympic Blvd.

    In 2011 in 90025:

    55 homes sold.

    44 days was the average time on the market.

    The average price was $897,214

    The highest sold price was $2,000,000 (and asking price for this property was $2,195,000).

    The average size home was 1,799 square feet on a 6,064 square foot lot.

    The average sold price was within 2.55% below the asking price.

    I think the last statistic is the most interesting.   Many buyers do not realize that homes selling in Los Angeles, particularly on the Westside, often sell for close to the asking price.  The reason is that these homes are priced appropriately for the market place, thereby attracting the largest group of buyers and competition.  It keeps the price close to, and in some cases, over the asking price. 

    If you are curious about how your zip code performed in 2011, shoot me an email or a phone call and I'll run the numbers.
  • Are you REALLY pre-approved for a loan?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Financing in Los Angeles  |  September 14, 2011 2:18 PM  |  730 views  |  No comments

    You are a buyer in today's real estate market, visiting open houses, and each Realtor is asking the same question--Are you pre-approved? You respond that you know getting a loan will not be a problem.  After all, you have a great credit score.  Well my friends, a great credit score is only one piece of the crazy lending puzzle.  Answer yes to the following 5 questions and then I can say that you have a strong, legitimate pre-approval and that you are ready to make an offer.

    google map to real pro systems1. Has your lender verified and sourced your down payment?  

    Down payment requirements vary depending on the loan program you are pursuing.  Remember, you will need enough money for your down payment AND closing costs.  Additionally, the funds in your bank accounts must be seasoned funds or at least meet guidelines set forth by the lender.

    2. Has your lender reviewed your tax returns and paystubs?

    Lenders want to verify that you have current income and are gainfully employed.  They also want to see your past earnings.  Many buyers don't realize that they've taken certain deductions that can affect their ability to qualify for certain loans. 

    3. Does your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) meet lender guidelines?

    In other words, is your revolving debt vs. your income at a ratio that is acceptable to the lender?  If not, are there any debts you can eradicate to help you qualify for a loan?

    4. Was the pre-approval finished recently?

    Pre-approvals do have a shelf life.  Buyers' jobs, income and bank accounts may change.  Once you establish a relationship with your mortgage broker or lender, you can easily update your pre-approval to satisfy any seller's concerns about a buyer's ability to qualify.  If your pre-approval is old, then get back with your lender and spruce it up.  Update your info with your lender and you will be good to go. 

    5. Do you have a good FICO score?

    This is the proxy that most buyers use to self-qualify for a loan.  Yes, it is important but clearly, this is only one part of the big picture.  Each loan program will require a minimum FICO score.  Furthermore, the credit report will show any potential problems that could inhibit your ability to qualify.

    My advice to those thinking about buying?  TALK TO A LENDER OR MORTGAGE BROKER FIRST!!!  Find out if you can get the green light to buy.  If not, figure out what steps need to be taken so you can qualify for a loan in the near future.

    For a list of mortgage professionals, please feel free to email me at Gregory@GregoryMasi.com.  For more blogs like this one, visit me at LA Distinguished Homes.

  • Top 5 Most Expensive Los Angeles Homes Sold This Year

    Posted Under: General Area in Los Angeles, Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles  |  August 18, 2011 6:08 PM  |  892 views  |  3 comments
    There's no denying that Los Angeles is home to some of the highest priced real estate in the world.  Out-of-towners are often sticker-shocked when they see a million dollar home in LA is a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom traditional home of 1700 square feet.  Well out-of-towners, prepare to be really shocked.  Look at the list of some of the most exclusive, high-end sales to happen this year in the Los Angeles area.

    For a list of addresses, prices, and info on the top five highest priced sales in Los Angeles, click here.
  • Los Angeles Rental Market Is HOT!!!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Los Angeles, Home Buying in Los Angeles, Rentals in Los Angeles  |  July 28, 2011 4:00 PM  |  935 views  |  No comments

    Over the past month, I've negotiated 5 different leases for landlords and tenants.  My active stance in this rental market has brought me to the realization that our rental market is on fire!  Almost as quickly as a rental unit is listed for lease on the web, a prospective tenant is submitting a rental application.  Part of this activity is symptomatic of this time of year, a traditionally active time to lease, but the levels of lease activity are still anomolously high. 

    I'm not alone in my instincts that leasing activity is increasing.  A Los Angeles Times article mentions the propensity for builders and investors to participate in the development of rental communities in today's market.  Real estate developers and associated parties are feeling that there is money to be made in real estate apartment communities. 

    What does this mean for you and me?  It means that rental prices will continue to go up!  As monthly rents rise, economic uncertainty diminishes, and people get past the fear of the housing market, I anticipate the pendulum will once again swing back into an increased demand in BUYING over renting.  In other words, the injection of life into the lease market could be foreshadowing to a real estate sales market where appreciation returns to its normal levels.

    For more articles like this, please visit my personal blog.
  • High Balance Loan Limits Expiring?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles, Financing in Los Angeles  |  May 24, 2011 4:07 PM  |  1,129 views  |  1 comment

    The Facts:

    Something many buyers are not aware of is the possible reduction in high-balance loan limits.  In the Los Angeles market, the current high balance loan limit is set at $729,750.  At this point in time, it seems likely that the loan limit will be reduced to $625,500 on October 1, 2011. 

    The Consequences:

    If you want to take advantage of the loan programs accessible through the high-balance loan limits, it is possible to buy an $810,000 home with only a 10% downpayment in the amount of $81,000.  After October 1, that buyer will need to put down an additional $104,250 to be within the high-balance loan limit.  In other words, the buyer will need to put down a total downpayment of $185,250 on the $810,000.  This amount equals nearly 23% of the purchase price.  The alternative is to secure financing through a jumbo loan, but often times, the jumbo rates are significantly higher than the high-balance 'agency jumbo' rates. The ultimate outcome?  The borrower/buyer ends up paying more money to borrow.

    The Disclaimer:

    The reduction of the high-balance loan limit is not official as of today, but many mortgage brokers and lenders feel that the reduction is likely. 

    The Opinion:

    Depending on the buyer's price range, the upcoming change in rates could no effect on the buyer.  That being said, buyers who are tallying up monthly costs based on a high-balance loan near the current limit may want to research the direct consequence to their mortgage payments......Click here to read the rest of the article

  • Housing Slumps 3% Quarter Over Quarter? Really?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Los Angeles, Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles  |  May 9, 2011 3:23 PM  |  585 views  |  1 comment

    I caught a snippet in today's Wall Street Journal that said prices dropped 3% quarter over quarter and over 1% in the last month.  Whoa.  Well, these are the facts--ACCORDING TO ZILLOW!!!

    Don't get me wrong.  I think Zillow is a great resource to buyers and sellers and presents a great forum for anyone with questions about real estate.  When I read that the Wall Street Journal was reporting facts from Zillow, I wanted to see how Zillow arrived at these numbers.  It is easy to find.  Go to Zillow, select local info for 'Home Prices and Values' and then look specifically at the United States as a whole and ta-da, there are the numbers--3% drop in prices quarter over quarter, 1.1% month over month, and over 8% year over year. 

    Let's look at this a little closer.  These numbers are based on the 'Zillow Home Value Index,' which by definition is the 'mid-point of Zestimate valuations for the US. Half the Zestimates are above this number and half are below it.' Digging deeper, I looked up the Zestimate definition, which is 'Zillow's estimated market value, using a proprietary formula.'

    When I learned that Wall Street Journal's article and reported numbers were essentially based off of the Zestimate, I thought it would be important to know how accurate the Zestimate REALLY is.  Well, a quick look at the Zestimate accuracy report shows that 50% of the United States Zestimates are accurate to within 12.3% of the Zestimate price.  In other words, if a Zestimate is at $1,000,000 for a particular house, then 50% of the time the actual selling price of that house will be between $877,000 and $1,123,000. That is a large range!  And only 50 percent of homes will be within that 12.3% of the Zestimate!!!  This means the other 50% of homes are even FURTHER off from the Zestimate.  Are we beginning to lose faith in the power of the Zestimate?  I am.

    Click here to read the rest of this article...

  • Number of Home Sales UP on Westside Year-Over-Year

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Los Angeles, Home Buying in Los Angeles  |  May 4, 2011 2:01 PM  |  404 views  |  No comments
    A fellow real estate agent copied me on an email about a Realtor.org article that projects a BIG jump in new US households.  To summarize the main points, new households stood at a record low of 357,000 in the year that ended in March 2010.  For the 2010 calendar year, the new household sales were 586,800, and they are expected to rise to 648,000 this year and to 900,000 in 2012.  All this increase is due to a combo of factors, but mainly the pent up backlog demand of buyers who wanted to buy over the past couple years but did not because of the sagging economy.  This fact, combined with an improvement in the employment sector, has lead economists to project the 'big jump' in new US households.

    What about us?  What is happening on the Westside of Los Angeles?  I did a quick analysis of the number of homes sold since 1/1/2011 and compared this number to the same period in 2010.  I concentrated on single family residences sold in West LA, Brentwood, Westwood/Century City, Santa Monica, Palms/Mar Vista, Marina Del Rey and Venice.  From 1/1/2010 to 5/4/2010, 349 homes sold.  In that same period of this year, 2011, we saw 387 homes sold.  In other words, nearly an 11% increase in the number sold, and this happened when the 'First Time Buyer Credit' was no longer in effect (as it was in 2010).   

    Perhaps that anticipated rise in sales is already in effect?  Is our housing market 'revving' up? I can only speak from experience, but I'm definitely feeling an uptick in buyer activity and therefore, it FEELS like we will see a jump in sales in 2011. 
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