The Weekly Shortlist: Tuesday Edition

New Listings

$2,150,000
5 bed / 4bath
2144 Sq. Ft.

Enjoy DIRECT OCEAN VIEWS from this ocean front duplex and direct access to sand and beach! Find out more…

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Sold Listings

$6,500 / month
2 bed + loft / 2.5 baths
1,528 Sq. Ft.

Everything you’ve ever wanted in a beachfront home; oceanfront master bedroom AND living room, designer kitchen with Viking stainless steel appliances including gas range, wood floors, fireplace, side by side parking, and more!  Get the details here…

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New Escrows

$2,499,000
3 bed / 4 bath
4856 Sq Ft.
Incredible, canal front, beach compound like no other home on the Marina Peninsula with spectacular canal and ocean views! More info here…

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Open Houses

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 / 12:00 – 2:00pm

$5,900,000
9 bed / 7 bath
4390 Sq Ft
Incredible opportunity to own a piece of history! A Venice landmark since 1911, the Venice Beach House is now recognized by the National Register of Historical Places.  Find out more…

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$1,849,000
3 bed / 3 bath
2376 Sq. Ft.
Classic meets modern in this beautifully appointed Venice Beach Craftsman!  More info and photos after the jump…

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Sunday, March 11, 2012 / 2:00 – 5:00pm

$1,849,000
3 bed / 3 bath
2376 Sq. Ft.
Classic meets modern in this beautifully appointed Venice Beach Craftsman!  More info and photos after the jump…

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$250,000
1 bed / 1 bath
600 Sq. Ft.

Perfect penthouse condo for enjoying all that L.A. and Hollywood living has to offer! A quiet and sunny unit, just 1 block from Melrose! Get the details here…

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Real Estate News

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Down Slightly (Zillow)
FHA to hike premiums on mortgages (CNN Money)
Pending sales of existing homes up to nearly 2 year high (LA Times)
Touring Glen Irani’s First Hover House on the Venice Canals (L.A. Curbed)
Rental Housing 2011: The State of L.A. Rentals (Economic Roundtable)

Berman and Kandel’s NPR Cameo

This past Friday, Berman and Kandel’s own Deb Berman was featured in an NPR (National Public Radio) morning edition segment about the recent uptick in the real estate market.

According to NPR, “Rock-bottom home prices and record-low mortgage rates are tempting buyers back into the market. The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose nearly 19 percent last month over the previous year.”

As an industry veteran and local real estate expert, Debra’s commentary provided an insightful perspective on rising real estate activity, particlarly in the Venice, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Santa Monica, Culver City, and Playa del Rey areas.

Take a minute to listen to the full segment by clicking here.  You can also read the full transcript, which is available here.  We would love to hear any comments or reactions you may have

Making the Decision to Buy

If you are considering buying a home for the first time, there are a few factors to take under consideration when deciding whether or not you are ready to buy a home.

Stability

  • Renters are subject to rate changes every year.  As a homeowner with a fixed rate mortgage, you will pay the same monthly rate for the whole life of the loan.   You also don’t have to depend on a landlord or management company to address repairs or problems with the property.
  • Owning a home can provide families and communities with more stability.  Some studies suggest a connection between home ownership and higher graduation rates as well as lower crime rates.

Finances

  • Employment.   Are you steadily employed?  If you need a loan, will your employment history qualify you? Do you expect any changes in employment within the next couple years?
  • Credit.  Is your credit good?  Will you be able to afford the monthly payment with your new home?
  • Savings.  Do you have enough savings for a down payment?  Most loan types require a 20% down payment on the property.  Do you have reserve emergency fund set aside?  It’s a smart idea to have at least 6 months worth of reserve in the bank, enough to be able to cover all of your monthly expenses for each month.

Once you decide you’re ready, now is a perfect time to buy a home!

For more info and talk about your options, please feel free to email us at debraandpat@bermankandel.com, or visit our website here.

Short Sale: 101

The latest edition of the CAR’s bi-monthly magazine, California Real Estate, is focused entirely on understanding the short sale process.  One article in particular, “Anatomy of a Short Sale,” did an excellent job of breaking it down.  

“With nearly 1 out of every 3 homeowners nationwide owning homes that are worth less than their mortgages, the number of short sales tatewide is expected to increase as owners and banks seek a solution to the underwater market dilemma.”

Navigating a short sale  can be daunting and time-consuming process.  As a seller, the right agent–one with exceptional negotiation skills, who is overly-attentive to paperwork, and whose patience never seems to end–can make a WORLD of difference.

Experts in the short sale process advise that it would be wise for sellers to seek a Realtor with short sale training, “on the issues, options, and solutions involved in handling these transactions, which are changing from minute to minute in today’s economy.”

Step 1: Is a short sale right for you?

The 1st step in the process is determining whether or not a short sale is even the best option available.  Sellers should speak with a CPA or attorney BEFORE listing their home with an agent to determine the right course of action for their particular situation.

Step 2: Who is the lender?

The process for a conventional short sale will be different at every bank, while FHA loans will use the same guidelines every time.  Negotiating a short sale with Wells Fargo will be different from Bank of America, or Citibank.

“Sellers may also qualify for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program, a government-sponsored program that sets certain standards for the short sale process and provides financial incentives to lenders that participate. Requirements, however, are numerous. If a seller does not qualify for the HAFA program, short sale terms can still be negotiated with the lender outside of HAFA.”

Step 3:  Offer and Approval

In a short sale situation, the short sale involves the seller’s lender approving a loan payoff that is less than the balance owed.  Once the seller is presented with an offer that they subsequently accept, the offer and other paperwork–i.e. documentation of the seller’s financial hardship, status of their finances–are submitted to the lender to review.

“Unfortunately, that first offer is usually a teaser…The agent is forced to do this in order to find out what offer the bank will accept. If the bank counters with a price that’s higher than the buyer can afford, the agent will have to go through the process again, resubmitting all the paperwork with a new offer.”

As a Seller:

It is up to your agent to make sure that the bank receives all of your documents for submission.  Time is of the essence, and delaying at any point could seriously impact your short sale eligibility.  Ultimately, the sooner that you contact agents regarding a short sale situation, the better your position will be.

As a Buyer:

Waiting for a decision from the bank on a short sale can take a lot of time.  It’s not uncommon for buyers to continue seeing other properties even after the contract has been entered into.  In the interest of protecting the buyer,  the standard short sale contract will have a 45-day commitment clause, which allows the buyer to walk if, after 45 days, they see other opportunities.

You can find this month’s edition of California Real Estate in full here.

Hello from Deb and Pat

Berman and Kandel has finally joined the blogosphere!

After recently celebrating the 26th anniversary of our real estate partnership, the Berman and Kandel Team is thrilled to assume a new role as Real Estate Blogger Extraordinaire.  More importantly, however, we hope that we’ll be able to help you–the potential buyer or seller–by offering a unique perspective via the Berman Kandel blog.

Just as the local real estate market is constantly changing,  Berman and Kandel is constantly adapting so that we can continue to cater to the specific needs and goals of today’s buyer and seller.

As always, feel free to leave us any comments, questions, or suggestions you may have for us.