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By Julie Kryukova | Agent in 90069
  • Five Things You Need to Know About Foreclosure Properties

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in West Hollywood, Home Buying in West Hollywood, Foreclosure in West Hollywood  |  March 14, 2012 1:08 PM  |  237 views  |  No comments

    Buying a foreclosed house—that’s a house repossessed by the bank because the owner defaulted on the mortgage payments—is not for the faint of heart. The fact is that the buying process is more complex and generally takes longer than the usual house-for-sale deal. But with some pre-planning, you can have it all: a good house and a good deal.

    1.  Start with the money. Get pre-approved for a mortgage before house hunting begins. Good deals can go so quickly you won‘t have time to arrange for a loan. Also, money is power. Knowing you can get a mortgage as well as how much you will have gives you an edge during negotiations.  Having your pre-approval, proof of funds, and credit information ready is crucial in scoring a great deal.  Chances are if it’s a great property, someone else is also interested!

    2.  Find a real estate agent who understands foreclosures. Their insight into the process, including time frames and bank requirements (which are frequently and frustratingly revealed one at a time) along with professional contacts such as house inspectors and contractors, is invaluable. Plus, it’s nice to have someone hold your hand during negotiations.

    3.  Do your research. During the house search, check out neighborhoods and going sale prices as well as the usual due diligence legwork (school systems, recreational activities, etc.) before making an offer. This will be your home for many years and these are things you probably won’t be able to change, unlike wallpaper or bad carpeting.

    4.  Know your budget.  Many foreclosures are not sold in turn key condition.  It’s important to plan how much money you have in order to make the necessary improvements in order to move in so that you don’t get in over your head.  Most of these properties are sold “AS IS”, meaning the seller, in this the bank, will not be making repairs.  A lot of the time the best deals are the ones that need a little TLC, so don’t shy away from easy repairs such as paint, flooring, and cosmetic updates that can be taken care of over time, but will bring value to the property, as well.   

    5.  Finally, don’t settle.  If you don’t want a fixer-upper (remember to consider those costs when making an offer) but do want or need a four-bedroom two-bath house, look until you find one in an area where you want to live and at price you can afford. It’s out there, but no house is perfect.  I would suggest making a list of things you would like in a home and another list of non-negotiables, so that when you have to make a quick decision, you will know what you can and cannot sacrifice.


    Please feel free to contact me for more information at www.juliekproperties.com or jkryukova@gmail.com (310)402-8181.

  • It could cost FHA buyers considerably more to buy a house after June 1st!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in West Hollywood, Financing in West Hollywood  |  March 5, 2012 11:52 AM  |  232 views  |  No comments

    If you're interested in FHA financing, please read this blog!

    The "other shoe" dropped Monday when HUD announced that mortgage insurance for FHA loans will increase April 1, 2012 and again June 1, 2012. Mortgage insurance, similar to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranty fees, protect one party from the risks of the borrower becoming delinquent of going into foreclosure.

    FHA loans have two tiers of mortgage insurance.

    As FHA mortgage insurance exists today, there is an up-front mortgage insurance premium equal to or 1 percent of the loan's amount. Upfront MIP can be added to closing costs, or borrowers can finance it by adding it to the loan amount.

    There is also an annual MI premium that varies by loan type. For 30-year fixed rate mortgage, annual MIP is equal to 1.1% of your loan size for LTVs of 95% or lower. For everyone else, annual MIP is 1.15% of the loan size.

    Annual MIP is paid monthly. The formula is (Loan Size) * (MIP Rate) / (12 Months) = Monthly MIP payment.

    So what the does the FHA's new mortgage insurance rates mean to FHA buyers?

    Starting April 1, 2012, Upfront MIP for loans raises from 1.000% to 1.750% of the loan size. Annual MIP fees change, too, climbing by 10 basis across the board, and by an additional 25 basis points for loans between $625,500 and $729,750.

    $729,750 is the largest FHA loan limit. It's reserved for high-cost areas like the Washington, D.C. Metro area, New York City, and many parts of California.

    If your clients think they'll want an FHA loan for their next purchase, the best way to avoid the new FHA fees is to have your FHA Case Number assigned before the new FHA MI premiums go into effect April 1, 2012. All existing FHA mortgages will use the "old" MI rates.

    If you're looking to buy, sell, or lease please contact Julie Kryukova at (310)402-8181 or jkrykova@gmail.com .  www.juliekproperties.com 

    For all financing questions, concerns, and pre-approvals please contact Lyndi Mallory at lyndi@lyndiforloans.com.

  • The Importance of Staging to Get Top Dollar

    Posted Under: Home Buying in West Hollywood, Home Selling in West Hollywood, Design & Decor in West Hollywood  |  February 13, 2012 10:34 AM  |  262 views  |  2 comments

    The answer to the real estate question “to stage or not to stage” a house for sale is a resounding: do it!

    Higher prices is one reason. On average, a staged house commands a 17 percent higher final sale than a non-staged house. Faster sales is another. According to a Real Estate Staging Association report from 2010, homes that were not staged stayed on the market an average of 181 days (before owners gave in and had their homes professionally staged) as compared to 35 days for staged homes.

    The why is pretty straightforward. Most homes are less than perfect, and staging can direct attention away from flaws in a room or throughout the house. In fact, even the best looking house can use a little help. For example, staging helps buyers focus on particular elements in the house—directing the eye to value such as a fireplace, custom woodwork, etc.

    Although often confused, decorating and staging are very different. Decorating is personal; staging is business. In decorating, the goal is to make a house reflect the owners’ personality while staging takes personality out of the house but keeps it warm and inviting. Buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in your house. Think about walking into a fine hotel: it’s not personal but you want to go in and stay a while. That’s staging.

    Staging does cost money — anywhere from $300 to $5,000. But according to the 2011 HomeGain Home Improvement Survey, home staging produced an average of 299 percent return on investment, with sellers spending an average of $550 and seeing a $2,194 sale price increase.

    Home staging is one of many low cost home improvements that can make a substantial difference in getting top dollar for your home.


    If you’re interested in listing your property and need a valuation or staging suggestions, please contact us any time.

  • Financing Game Changer to Affect all buyers and sellers

    Posted Under: Home Buying in West Hollywood, Home Selling in West Hollywood, Financing in West Hollywood  |  July 12, 2011 3:58 PM  |  305 views  |  No comments

    If you’re a buyer or seller on the fence about making a move, October 1st could be a game changing date.

    Starting October 1, 2011 “Conforming” (think Fannie and Freddie) and FHA loan limits are set to be lowered nationwide as the federal government looks to lessen its footprint in the business.  This means the current loan limit of $729,750 in Los Angeles that we’ve gotten used to in the past several years will be reduced to $625,000 this fall. So why does that matter to you? Since most buyers rely on the low rates, smaller down payment requirements and the easier underwriting guidelines offered by these government backed loans, the market is going to lose a tremendous amount of its purchasing power. When purchasing power decreases it puts downward pressure on sale prices. For sellers in certain price ranges this means less qualified buyers this fall. For buyers this will put many properties out of reach. For example:  With the conforming loan limit at the current $729k the average buyer with 20% down payment can buy a $910,000 house.  When the conforming loan limit decreases back to $625k, the average buyer with 20% down payment can only buy a $780,000 house using conforming financing. Today an FHA buyer with the minimum 3.5% down payment has the power to buy a $755,000 property. After October that max purchase price drops to $646,000. If you’re planning on buying or selling you may want to accelerate your timeline.   Of course there is and will continue to be financing far above these loan limits. However, these “non-conforming” or JUMBO loans may have higher interest rates, are more difficult to qualify for, require a larger down payment, and require more post closing cash reserves by the borrower.

    It’s also important for you to know that this is not being backed by the government so in turn the Jumbo loan product varies significantly from one bank to the next and one lender to another. It is not “one size fits all” when it comes to jumbo loans. That’s why it is so important to have a mortgage consultant who is skilled in jumbo financing, not only understanding the different programs and guidelines but having access to all of those choices. Please don’t hesitate to call for any additional information on these upcoming changes or any property sales questions you may have.

  • Why are families flocking to Sherman Oaks?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Sherman Oaks  |  July 12, 2011 3:55 PM  |  193 views  |  No comments
    As a Realtor in Los Angeles and also a native of the city, I know how expensive and even out of reach buying a proper family house can be in Los Angeles.   By proper family house – I mean 3 -4 bedrooms, good living spaces, a nice sized yard, and a kitchen with that large island all the kids can gather around – most moms dream of this and I can understand why! Unfortunately hard working parents all over this city are finding themselves unable to afford that dream because the LA market, even in this recession, is incredibly expensive when compared to the rest of the Country.  In Dallas…you can have a 5 bedroom house for $450,000, in the suburbs of Minnesota you can own a 4 bedroom house on a lake with a huge yard for $350,000…it just seems like the American Dream is so much more realistic everywhere but Los Angeles.  This brings us to Sherman Oaks, a beautiful part of Los Angeles that offers good public schools, easy access to freeways and canyons, as well as great parks, shopping, and entertainment.  As a Realtor who works with many families and often times families who are relocating or expanding – I believe Sherman Oaks is a great place to invest! In the $850,000 range you can get over 2,500 square feet,  at least 3 bedrooms, that great big grassy yard, and large kitchen you’ve been dreaming of.  Ventura Boulevard is now filled with tons of trendy coffee shops, restaurants, and stores for kids, clothing, art, and antiques.   It’s just plain simple – Sherman Oaks is upscale and accessible – but it’s also affordable! You get more for your money just over the hill and it’s a great place to raise your family! If you’re looking for a great family house in the area or looking to sell a property you currently own – please feel free to contact us!
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