Bonnie has a home in escrow in Silverthorne. I sold my brother a house up there in 2003 and he is still there. I live a very short walk (Knob Hill tract) from Wildhorse and my wife and I walk up there for exercise. I love both areas. I like being up on that end of Simi Valley in general. 1986 I bought my first home in Simi Valley I was in the Sinaloa Villas on the west end and then in 1994 I bought in central Simi Valley in the Kingsparks off Sycamore and Heywood.
My brother has really enjoyed Silverthorne an his only gripe is he would have rather bought a house with a pool. HOA is good about not letting residents leave garbage cans out and things like that.
The whole litigation thing at Wildhorse is an issue to be concerned with, unless you can get someone to guarantee that future liability will be limited to an assessment that low I would be careful. That issue on the flood control is not going to be a one time event. Make sure you get information that covers past, present and future liability on the issue up there so you can make an informed decision.
As far as fire insurance. There is a reason why companies like State Farm will write in those areas and the other carriers wont, which could be a whole topic in itself. Independent Insurance agents can save you a bundle on rates, but when it comes to difficult areas like wildfire zones or dog breeds - State Farm seems to be able to write those policies when others will not.
The link below is a market study I did on Silverthorne last fall.
I had a client that had very specific needs for horse property and I made a bullet point list and mailed out to the Bridal Path tract. They needed a certain width on the RV access and the Simi Valley Bridal Path builders really did a poor job when they parceled out the project with the side yard setbacks for RV. So that made for a very realistic request for specific property.
The problem with these mailing or even door knocking is there are many agents who use this as a "lost leader" meaning they really don't have a buyer. So I think the letters and the contacts many times are looked at with a healthy dose of skepticism.
At least twice a year I get letters at my home that state "I have a buyer looking for home in your area.......",
There are a couple of areas/neighborhoods in SImi of interest that we ultimately want to move to. We are not looking to flip a house or stay in one for a few years and then move. We are looking for this next house as the house we want to grow old in.
I had a listing in Woodland Hills Last year which closed the end of April 2009. My client moved to Pasadena, she rented - 4 offers and 3 escrows later she will be closing on her purchase mid June 2010. Not a fun process.
I would not completely rule out all short sales. Right now Wachovia has a program for World Saving and Wachovia Mortgages, that pretty much streamlines the process down to a 45-60 day time frame.
A short sale listing I took last Halloween 2009 in Simi Valley; we obtained approval with a 1st and 2nd (both with HBSC), the day before Thanksgiving and closed just before the end of the year.
I wrote about short sales here:
This is to Ted Mackel. We do live in Simi Valley although I grew up in Encino/Sherman Oaks area. We were already informed that a short sale property would not be the route for us to go even if there were no contingencies on our part. We don't have time to sit around and wait for a bank to respond.
We have impeccable credit and even without having to sell our current house have the ability to put over 20% down on a future house. I completely understand that our offer wouldn't be as "strong" as someone who didn't have the contingency of selling their property first but again with that said, we have been looking for over 4 months and haven't found anything that we would consider buying and are afraid that we will be stuck for a long time renting which is just not a good financial option for us.
Since this was posted in the Simi Valley section, I assume you plan to move to Simi Valley. If I'm correct in my assumption, I would like to run down a few scenarios so you can come up with some better planning.
Currently there are 327 homes active for sale in Simi Valley. Detached homes number approximately 259 with 24% being short sales and 9% bank owned. That means that one out of every three detached homes for sale in Simi Valley is distressed property.
Attached homes number approximately 68 with 30% being short sales and 13% bank owned. This is close to half of every town home and condo available being a distressed property.
Now add that 60% to 70% of all the sales in Simi Valley are going out with 20% down conventional financing and very few of those contingent offers, you can see the kind of competition your contingent offer is going to have.
Real estate markets are very very local and I can't emphasize "local" enough. What's happening in Encino is far different than Glendale or Northridge or Santa Monica or Compton or Anaheim or Simi Valley.
Your very real concern is trying to coordinate a contingent sale and purchase. With the number of distressed properties on the market these contingent purchases become very tricky and you have to plan for the worst if you move forward.
I represent a regional bank with their foreclosed properties in the West San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley. I can tell you right now my asset managers will put a contingent offer down at the bottom of the stack. They probably take the VA or FHA non-contingent offer first.
Short sales are very unpredictable. If the house you like happens to be a short sale you are now asking the buyer of your property to hang around and stay interested for months while you wait for the short sale approval on your purchase. While this is not impossible, it just makes it very much more likely that in order to keep your buyer on your property that you'll have to move forward with your sale and end up in temporary housing until you can complete your purchase. Yes, this means renting and putting your things in storage or you rent back from your buyers typically at their mortgage payment schedule.
Finding a replacement property in this market is not a bad move. Interest rates are low, prices are at the highest affordability levels in decades and I believe we're at a prolonged bumpy bottom that will have its ups and downs over the course of next couple years. What many of us are concerned with is that interest rates probably cannot hover around 5% range forever. So if you can make a move that puts you in a property with all the things you wanted, this is a good time. However because of the amount of distressed properties that are on the market you need to hope for the best and plan for the worst - Which means a possible rent and storage situation or rent back situation. Remember, though a rent back while you wait for a short sale completion is not any guarantee that you may not have to eventually move out and rent elsewhere and use storage if that short sale is prolonged or fails.
I grew up in the Valley, lived in Woodland Hills, went to high school in Sherman Oaks and one thing that is always constant, the closer you get to Ventura Boulevard prices go up and the closer you move down towards the Sherman Oaks area prices go up. So on the other hand, if you're planning to stay in the Valley, you might end up moving west of Encino.
This is an excellent question. In California, we use a Form COP (Contingency for Sale or Purchase of other Property). Item B, if checked, will make the agrrement between you and your buyer contingent on you entering into a contract to acquire a replacement property. It specifies the amount of time you would have after acceptance (you can choose even one year ? if that would make you fell more comfortable). Alternatively, if it's a shorter amount of time, say 60 days, you would just cancel your contract before the 60th day elapsed. Time frames for inspections, contingencies, and other obligations are also spelled out in this form. If your Broker did not know about this form, and inform you of it's benefits, I would be concerned moving forward in protecting your interests. Also, you will need to have a flexible BUYER for your current home.
Also, depending your financial status, you may need to close escrow on property "A" (your home) before you can BUY property "B" (replacement) -- as your lender will not qualify you to pay 2 mortgages (if that's the case).
Let's say you were to find the perfect home and wanted to move forward with the purchase. You entered an escrow contingent upon the sale of your property. You found 2 buyers at the same purchase price for your house. The only difference between these prospective buyers is that one does not have a contingency for the sale of another property, and the other must sell THEIR home before they can purchase yours. Which one do you choose?? The answer is obvious. It is nothing personal, it is good business sense to let the transaction flow without these types of contingencies. YOU need to understand that your offers will not compete as strongly (even at the same offer price of other prospective buyers) on the homes that you want for yourself. Take this advice from an expert negotiator- If you REALLY want to move, sell your home, rent month to month, and find the home of your dreams. Your offers will be that much stronger, your lending underwriter will give you a better rate, and you will be positioned VERY strongly in the long run. If you don't really want to move and just test the waters, you can wait 12 years for the next recession and give it a try then. Remember- reverse the roles and see what decisions you would make yourself. If you have any more questions, you can give me a call at 818-528-4410. Good luck. Paul Aragon
It's tricky if you have to find a home before you move,would you be able to stay for a period of time in a hotel or perhaps lease back you home in case you have trouble? As you have stated, you have already looked for 4 months, which is a long time to spend in a hotel with your belongings in storage. My advice is to keep looking until you find the right property...then..put your home on the market. It does take time to find the right home believe it or not 4 months is no uncommon in this market because of all the short sale and foreclosure property. A tip for you, look at normal sale property in nice areas, you will likely find a home you love.
How many have sold? At what price? In what time frame? So--basically--what's been the average days on market, and where were they priced?
But go beyond that. Of all those similar to yours that were listed in the past 6 months, how many of those listings expired? How many were withdrawn? Reason: The sales figures can look pretty good . . . especially if you exclude the ones that didn't sell. So you need the full picture.
Recognize, too, that any offer you make that would be contingent on the sale of your current home will weaken your offer. So you may stand less of a chance of your offer being accepted. Again, your agent can advise you on that.
One other suggestion: Have your agent run a list of rentals that match your criteria. Take a look at them. Then make an offer on any you like. It may be that there are some owners who are renting because they're afraid the market is too soft; maybe they'd really like to sell, but are waiting for the market to strengthen. Look especially at homes that have been on the rental market for awhile, and those that are vacant. One additional advantage you'll have by doing that is that you won't have any competition from other buyers. They aren't even looking at rentals. An extra suggestion: Have your agent also look for rentals that match your criteria that aren't even on the MLS. Lots of owners rent out their properties themselves--ads on Craigslist, signs in the front yard, that sort of thing.
Hope that helps.