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By Kelly Camacho | Agent in Las Vegas, NV
  • Single-family home inventory down to six-week supply In Las Vegas

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Las Vegas, Home Buying in Las Vegas, Home Selling in Las Vegas  |  April 14, 2012 5:33 PM  |  344 views  |  No comments

    Single-family home inventory down to six-week supply

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    By Hubble Smith
    LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
    Posted: Apr. 10, 2012 | 2:02 a.m.

    The inventory of single-family homes available for sale in Las Vegas without a contingent or pending offer dropped to 4,901 in March, about a six-week supply at current sales level, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Monday.

    The total number of homes listed for sale in Las Vegas fell to 18,200 in March, down 18 percent from 22,184 a year ago when there were 11,334 homes available without offers.

    That means homes under contract grew only slightly, from about 11,000 to 13,000, in the past year.

    Several factors are contributing to declining inventory, starting with the robo-signing law that throttled notices of default filed by major lenders since October, said Dennis Smith, housing analyst with Home Builders Research.

    Going back to last year before Assembly Bill 284 became law, lenders were filing 2,700 to 5,700 NODs a month. Now it's about 300 a month. Bank repossessions are down to about 800 a month. That's the net effect of the law, Smith said.

    There also has been a sharp increase in short sales, or homes offered at less than the principal mortgage balance, which requires lender approval. Those homes may stay under contract for as long as six months, the analyst said.

    Smith does not see a wave of foreclosures materializing from the "shadow inventory" that was ominously projected to hit Las Vegas.

    "We will see some (foreclosure) inventory come onto the market, but not a big wave," he said. "Banks are trying new things like renting them back, and they're doing more short sales."

    Realtors sold 3,538 single-family homes in March, a 4.4 percent increase from the same month a year ago. The median price was $123,000, down 2.3 percent from a year ago, but up 1.7 percent, or $2,000, from February.

    The shortage of inventory is bringing multiple offers reminiscent of the boom years when people were overbidding list prices, said Kolleen Kelley, president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

    "Right now, we have to find inventory, and where we see this coming from is investors who bought for cash. They'll be able to sell and carry the note at 6 percent and get a higher return on their investment than waiting for appreciation," Kelley said.

    The Realtors association reported that 1,790 homes (40.7 percent) were sold as foreclosures, while 1,171 homes (26.6 percent) were sold as short sales. The median price for a foreclosure was $106,000, and the median short sale price was $121,000.

    Cash buyers represented 54.5 percent of all sales, compared with about 40 percent before the housing downturn.

    Robb Beville, president of Harmony Homes, said dwindling inventory of existing homes has helped push new home sales early in the year. Harmony closed 130 new-home sales in the first quarter, compared with 227 for all of last year, he said.

    A combination of things will work to keep resale inventory low, Beville said.

    "It'll be the rentals, the short sales, loan modifications. Foreclosure is the biggest loss the bank's going to have. Banks are starting to wise up. It's like an aircraft carrier. It doesn't change direction quickly or move very fast," he said.

    There were 854 sales of condos and townhomes in March, a decrease of 8.4 percent from the year-ago month, while median price remained unchanged at $61,000.

    Data from the Realtors association is based on sales through the Multiple Listing Service and does not necessarily include sales by builders, for-sale by owners and other transactions not involving a Realtor.

    Contact reporter Hubble Smith at hsmith @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0491.

  • NATIONWIDE OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND APRIL 28-29.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Las Vegas, Home Selling in Las Vegas, In My Neighborhood in Las Vegas  |  April 5, 2012 6:01 AM  |  353 views  |  No comments

    Find, Sell Your Home During Nationwide Open House, April 28-29

    Woman standing next an open house sign in a yard

    If you’re buying or selling, the weekend of April 28-29 offers a big opportunity. REALTORS® across the country will be holding open houses en masse, offering high visibility for your listing and a greater-than-average number of homes to tour. Opens are also a great time to talk to real estate pros about smart home improvements. To find opens, look for local advertising.


  • Clue Insurance Report...It matters..do you know what it means?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Las Vegas, Home Selling in Las Vegas, Home Insurance in Las Vegas  |  March 30, 2012 4:00 PM  |  505 views  |  No comments
    Clue Insurance Report Importance Of Clue Insurance Report

    Knowing what’s on your CLUE report will give you a sense of whether you’ll need to pay extra for homeowners insurance. Image: Rosanne Olson/Getty Images

    A tree falls on the roof of your house. You file an insurance claim with your agent, collect a settlement from the insurer, and fix your roof. End of story, right? Not quite. Every claim you make on your homeowners insurance is recorded in a widely used insurance industry database called CLUE, short for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange.

    Almost all insurance companies use CLUE to check on the claims history of prospective policyholders. The CLUE insurance report also includes claims made on your home before you even bought it. A-PLUS is another company that maintains a loss-history database. What’s inside these reports can affect your insurance premiums, or even prevent you from getting coverage.

    Your claims history lives on in CLUE

    The CLUE Personal Property report, which pertains to homeowners insurance, is divided into two parts: your personal record of claims (“Claims for the Subject”) and the claims on your home (“Claims History for Risk”). The number of claims in either section will affect whether you can get insurance for your home, how much coverage you can get, and how much you’ll pay in premiums. If you’re turned down for homeowners insurance because of information in your CLUE report, your insurance company is required to let you know why you were rejected.

    Since the database is used by most insurance companies, your claims history follows you from one insurer to another. Actual claims, as opposed to inquiries, remain in the CLUE database for seven years from the date you filed them. Both LexisNexis, the owner of CLUE, and A-PLUS advise insurance carriers not to report loss information just because you called to ask a question about whether your policy will cover a particular loss. Individual insurance companies may keep a record of inquires, though.

    How insurers use CLUE

    Insurance companies rely on CLUE reports because statistics show that if you’ve filed a claim in the past, you’re more likely to file one in the future, says Dick Luedke, a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance. The amount of a claim is less important than how often you’ve filed, he says. “We aren’t trying to make up for past losses, but to predict the risk of future claims.”

    Each insurance company has its own formula for calculating how much a claim will affect your premium, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group that provides information to consumers. Suffice it to say the fewer the claims the less you’ll likely be charged. State Farm gives a 5% discount if you haven’t filed a claim in the last five years, says Luedke. That’s $40 off an average annual premium of $804 (this varies by company). Ask your agent if a claim-free discount is available.

    Claims aren’t all that count

    Knowing what’s on your CLUE report will give you a sense of whether you’ll need to pay extra for homeowners insurance, or even if you run the risk of rejection. Unfortunately, even a pristine report doesn’t mean you can be sure of getting homeowners insurance at a great price. That’s because the claims on your CLUE report aren’t the only things that affect your overall insurance risk.

    Insurance companies also consider your credit score, which is based on such things as how much debt you carry, whether you pay your bills on time, and so forth. According to the Insurance Information Institute, studies show that how people manage their finances is a good indicator of whether they’ll file an insurance claim. The more likely you are to file a claim, the bigger risk you are to the insurance company. And more risk means a higher premium or denial of coverage. Other factors insurers consider include the location of your home and its type of construction.

    How to review your CLUE report

    If you do decide to check you CLUE Personal Property report, it’s a relatively easy process. Under federal law, you get one free CLUE report a year. The LexisNexis order page has information on how to order the report online, by phone, or by mail.

    Request a form to receive a Property Loss report from A-PLUS by calling 800-709-8842. There’s a charge of $19.95 to have the report mailed to you, according to the company’s website. This fee will be waived if you’re ordering a report because an insurer took an adverse action against you because of A-PLUS data.

    Your CLUE report will have:

    • Your name, home address, birth date, and Social Security number;
    • The number assigned to the report;
    • The name of your insurance company;
    • The type and number of the insurance policy;
    • The type of loss—fire, water, etc.—for each claim and the claim number;
    • The date of the loss and the amount of each claim;
    • The status of each claim: closed, pending, etc.

    The order page lets you view a sample report.

    The report also tells you how to dispute any errors you find. Because risk calculations vary by insurance company, it’s impossible to say exactly how a claim on your CLUE report will affect your premium. That makes it tough to decide just how much value checking your CLUE yields. Still, taking less than an hour once a year to order and review your report could pay off, especially if you find an error.

    Mariwyn Evans

    Mariwyn Evans has spent 25 years writing about commercial and residential real estate. She’s the author of several books, including Opportunities in Real Estate Careers, as well as too many magazine articles to count



    Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/your-insurance-score/your-clue-insurance-report-matters/#ixzz1qdybKNPV
  • How to fix a squeaky floor

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Las Vegas, How To... in Las Vegas, Property Q&A in Las Vegas  |  March 9, 2012 3:00 PM  |  924 views  |  1 comment

    DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

    Produced by Inman News

    March 9, 2012

    Sponsored by Lowe's

    A remedy for a squeaky floor

    Carpet replacement is perfect time to drive new screws into joists

    By Bill and Kevin Burnett
    Inman News®

    Share This

    Q: Our floors squeak when we walk on the carpets. What can we do to remedy this problem before we replace the carpets in two weeks?

    A: What perfect timing! You can put an end to the squeaking by screwing the subfloor to the floor joists after you remove the old carpet and pad, but before the new carpet is installed. You'll need to do a little work before the carpet layers show up, but you'll have a quiet floor when all's said and done.

    Your first order of business is to expose the subfloor by taking up the old carpet and pad.

    First, remove all the furniture from the room. Take a pair of pliers and pull the carpet from the tack strip in one corner of the room.

    Tack strip is nail-impregnated 1/4-inch-by-1-inch wood strips nailed around the perimeter of the room. The points of the nails in the strip are angled toward the wall. The carpet is hooked on the nail points, allowing the carpet to be stretched flat. Once the carpet is free from a corner, it's a simple matter to pull the rest of it from the perimeter of the room.

    The easiest way to remove old carpet is to cut it into strips. Roll the old carpet from the wall. Cut the backside with a utility knife into 2- or 3-foot-wide lengths, roll them up, duct-tape the rolls, and it's off to the landfill or better yet, the recycler. The carpet installers should dispose of the old carpet as part of the price of the new installation.

    Next, remove the pad. Carpet pad is light. It's usually 5 feet wide, so there's no need to cut it. Just pull it up, roll it and carry it away. The pad is stapled to the subfloor. Remove the staples or pound them flat with a hammer. Removal of the old carpet and pad is usually part of the installation price of the new carpet. It's worth a try to ask your carpet layer for a credit if you're doing it yourself.

    You're three-quarters of the way there. With the floors bare, it's easy to locate the floor joists. Simply look for the nail heads in the subfloor. This will give you the location of the floor joists. If the distance between joists (nail heads) is 16 inches or up to 19 1/2 inches for engineered joists, the subfloor is probably 3/4 inch thick. If it's wider (not likely, but possible) the subfloor can be up to 1 1/2 inches thick for a 36-inch span. The 3/4-inch-thick subfloor takes a 2-inch screw. A thicker subfloor takes a 3-inch screw.

    Use a heavy-duty drill to drive Phillips-head wood screws through the subfloor into the floor joists. Drive the screws approximately 8 inches apart. To make the job easier for you and the drill, we suggest that you predrill holes before screwing the subfloor down.

    Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw and keep the hole short of the length of the screw. In other words, if using a 2-inch screw, drill only a 1 1/2-inch-deep hole. This ensures that some of the screw gets full purchase on the joists. It also has the added benefit of making sure the screw is hitting the joist.

    Test your job by walking on it before the carpet installers show up. Once the new carpet is down, you'll not only have a fresh look, but a silent floor.

  • Is the home you are Renting in Foreclosure??

    Posted Under: Foreclosure in Las Vegas, Property Q&A in Las Vegas, Rentals in Las Vegas  |  February 28, 2012 5:53 AM  |  376 views  |  No comments
    Renters are hurt by the foreclosure situation, too.

    A law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama provides protections for tenants whose landlords fall into foreclosure. Under the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, tenants have the right to stay in their homes after foreclosure for 90 days or through the term of their lease. The bill also provides similar protections to housing voucher holders. The protections go into effect immediately and expire at the end of 2012.

    Many times, tenants who are on a fixed income and who are evicted on short notice may have a lot of trouble finding another place to live. Plus, they may not have the finances for the move. A tenant may have trouble coming up with the security deposit for a new place to live and they may never get back the security deposit from the foreclosed landlord. Some people have continued to pay the landlord rent even though the landlord does not own the property anymore.

    "Cash for Keys"

    To encourage tenants to leave quickly and save on the court costs associated with an eviction, banks may offer tenants a cash payout in exchange for their rapid departure. Thinking that they have little choice, many tenants -- even Section 8, protected tenants -- take the deal. Be wary of accepting this arrangement as the payout may not be large enough to cover the initial expenses associated with renting, and you will be competing to find an affordable new rental.

    Before you rent...
    • To find out if your rental is in foreclosure you can contact the Clark County Recorders Office at (702) 455-4336, or…

    • Know who you are dealing with: Get their first and last names. Verify they are the property owner (s). This is done through the Clark County Assessors web site: www.accessclarkcounty.com. Select Assessor Property records. Search by property address.

    • When you are sure the party requesting the lease and payments is the legal owner, you want to verify the property is not in the foreclosure process. Write down the APN. The parcel number is located at the top of the general information for the property. Return to Clark County’s home page. Follow: Public Records, Recorded Documents, Official Records, Land & RPTT Information, Search Records, Advanced, put APN with no spaces where requested and select detail data.

    • There are two (2) document types to look for; DEFAULT means the property owner is delinquent with the mortgage holder. And NOTICE OF TRUSTEE SALE means the property is in foreclosure.

    • The landlord may not charge more than the value of three (3) months rent as a security deposit per NRS118A.242.

    • Use a licensed professional property manager whenever possible. Property Management Companies must be licensed by the Nevada Real Estate Division. Visit the Real Estate Division at www.red.state.nv.us. The broker should keep the deposits in a trust account. The owner can request that the deposits go directly to him or her (owner), but you, as the tenant, have to agree to that in the contract. In order to protect the deposits, it’s recommended that you require that the deposits stay with the broker in the broker’s trust account. That money then becomes refundable to you if you are asked to vacate a foreclosed property – as long as any other terms or refund (i.e., cleaning deposit) are met.

    • For additional questions or help with this process contact The Real Estate Division (702) 486-4033.

    What else can you do to protect yourself?
    • According to the Las Vegas Sun, there is a tactic you can use to help ensure you are notified of the start of the foreclosure process, which usually takes about four months to complete.

    • “If the renter records the lease, with the parcel number affixed, in the county recorder’s office, the bank assuming that property through foreclosure proceedings should come across the document. Apprised of the existence of the renter, representatives of the bank would then be expected to notify the occupants of the ongoing proceedings. Recording the lease costs $14 for the first page and $1 per additional page, plus $25 if the documentation isn’t in the format required by the recorder’s office.”
       

     

     

  • What to do if you happen to break a CFL bulb..how do you clean it up?

    Posted Under: General Area in Las Vegas, How To... in Las Vegas, Property Q&A in Las Vegas  |  February 27, 2012 3:45 PM  |  443 views  |  No comments

    A broken compact fluorescent bulb isn’t cause for panic, but it is cause for concern. CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs typically contain a small amount of mercury, which can turn into dangerous mercury vapor if the bulb breaks.

    Cleaning up and disposing of a broken CFL properly is important, especially if you have young children, you’re pregnant, or the bulb breaks on a carpet.

    Don’t reach for the broom to sweep it up. That’ll disperse the mercury; your goal is to keep the mercury in one place and remove it.

    Follow these 8 steps to clean up and dispose of any CFL bulbs that break:

    Step 1: Contain the damage

    • Get people and pets out of the room.
    • Open the windows to let in fresh air.
    • Shut the door to the room and turn off your forced-air heat or AC to keep mercury vapors from traveling elsewhere in your home.
    • Avoid stepping on the broken glass or mercury powder as you leave the room.

    Step 2: Gather up cleaning supplies

    Stay out of the room for 5 to 15 minutes to give the mercury enough time to settle into little balls, but not long enough to disperse. Meanwhile, collect:

    • disposable rubber gloves
    • duct tape
    • a piece of stiff paper or thin cardboard
    • a few damp paper towels or baby wipes
    • a sealable container — a glass jar with a lid (best), a plastic jar with a lid (OK), or a zipper plastic bag (better than nothing)

    Step 3: Cleaning up your broken CFL

    • Put on the gloves and pick up the big pieces of broken glass.
    • Use the stiff cardboard to scoop up the smaller pieces.
    • Use the sticky side of the duct tape to pick up the smallest shards.
    • Wipe the area with your paper towels or baby wipes.
    • Put the broken CFL pieces, the cardboard, and the wipes in your container and seal it.

    Step 4: Double-check your work

    Look closely at the area where the CFL broke for any remaining powder, pieces of glass, or mercury balls. If you see any, repeat Step 3.

    You may vacuum the area, but use only the hose attachment and pay special attention to the disposal techniques in Step 5.

    Did your CFL break onto a carpet? If you have small children who crawl or play on the carpet, you may want to replace the area of carpet where the CFL bulb broke. A Maine Deparment of Environmental Protection Agency study says residule mercury left behind after you clean the carpet can be released as vapor when children play or sit on the carpet.

    You can avoid the problem entirely by using only LED or halogen bulbs in rooms where your kids play or sleep, and in your bedroom while you’re pregnant. Also, make sure you’re using CFLs appropriately to keep them from burning out too soon.

    Step 5: Take out the trash

    • Take the zipper bag or glass jar right out to the trash.
    • Toss out anything else the CFL broke on, such as bedding, fabrics, and clothing.

    If you vacuumed, take the whole vacuum outside before pulling the bag out of the machine. Seal the vacuum bag and put it in the trash. If you have a canister vacuum, empty the canister into your sealable container and wipe the inside of the canister clean. Put the cleaning rag into the container, too.

    Step 6: Clean yourself

    • If bits of glass or mercury got onto your shoes, use a towel or wipe to clean your shoes, then dispose of the wipe.
    • If mercury got onto your clothes, toss them out.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water.

    Step 7: Remove the debris from your property

    Your sealed waste container and contaminated trash need to go to a universal waste facility that handles all types of trash, including environmentally sensitive materials.

    Ask local government officials where to find one in your area.

    Step 8: Continue to air out the room

    Continue to air out the room and leave the HVAC system off several hours, or as long as that’s practical given the outdoor temperatures. If the CFL bulb broke on carpet, open the windows when you vacuum for the next few weeks in case vacuuming releases any mercury you didn’t already get out of the rug.

    Dona-DeZubeDona DeZube

    Dona DeZube has been writing about real estate for more than two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore 1970s rancher on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.

  • Nevada Hardest Hit Fund

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Las Vegas, Foreclosure in Las Vegas, Credit Score in Las Vegas  |  February 25, 2012 11:52 AM  |  3,769 views  |  No comments

    There is help for you out there, sometimes it is just a matter of knowing where to find it.

    This is a program for Nevada Homeowners...check it out and see if it is something that can help you.

    www.NevadaHardestHitFunds.org

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