Aptos Foreclosure Fixer Upper

sebfreyBlog, Distressed Properties

Need a nice fixer upper project? How about a big, fat house on a good sized lot? I’ve got just the place for you – and did I mention it’s less than a mile to the beach (as the crow flies, anyway)?   Plus it’s got swimming pool, detached office room, and an indoor basketball court (yes, really!). Check out the video below: 2816 Estates Drive, Aptos, CA Please let me know if you’d like to get in to tour this amazing opportunity. Yes I know it’s over $1,000,000 (asking price, but we can surely negotiate that down) and it needs a lot of work – but it’s only $380/sf or so which is really cheap for the area.  You can see all the listing details here. Listing courtesy of John Lee, MRL Group, Inc

Santa Cruz Foreclosure Cash Cow

sebfreyBlog, Distressed Properties

Been looking for the unicorn of real estate in Santa Cruz, the cash cow?  I’m always talking to folks who are looking for great real estate investment opportunities.  It’s hard to get more than a 5% cash on cash return with most properties that are in the reach of the typical real estate buyer. I was recently turned onto the business of running residential assisted living facilities for senior citizens and the disabled.  This kind of business can be extremely lucrative, especially if you have a house that’s pretty big. Lo and behold, a 10 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom, 4,500+ sf house hit the market recently.  It’s a bank-owned REO foreclosure property, and was most recently used as a licensed residential care facility.  This is a tremendous opportunity for the right buyer!  I took a video below: 1106 Darlene Drive Santa Cruz Video Please let me know if you’d like to get in to tour this amazing opportunity.  You can see all the listing details here. Wondering how you can turn a property like this into a money making cash cow?  I encourage you to head over to the Residential Assisted Living Academy.  They’ll give you all the training and information you need to make an incredible business for yourself, while providing a critical service to our senior citizen community. Listing courtesy of Chantel Henson, Vanco Real Estate Executives

A Homeowner’s Guide to Foreclosure in California

sebfreyDistressed Owners

Homeowner's Guide to Foreclosure

The California Department of Real Estate (now the Bureau of Real Estate) put out a guide to foreclosure for California homeowners in 2010. It’s about 70 pages long, and contains a wealth of information for anyone facing foreclosure in California. The guide includes information on a wide array of topics: Notice of Default (NOD) Notice of Sale Modify or Restructure the Terms and Payment Schedule of Your Existing Loan Refinance: Pay Off Your Loan with a New Loan on Better Terms Pursue a “Short Sale” Sell Your Home to Access the Available Equity Offer a “Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure” to Your Lender rather than Proceed with a Foreclosure Sale The Foreclosure Procedure Timeline Post-Foreclosure Option for the Former Homeowner Resources from Federal, State, and non-profit agencies The guide can be downloaded using this link. They have also provided a version in Spanish, which can be downloaded here.

Five Worst Home Improvements for the Money

Seb FreyCommentary

Five Worst Home Improvement "Investments"

Now that more homeowners are looking to create housing wealth by way of the remodel, it bears mention that not all home improvements are created equal. True, some upgrades not only increase a home’s marketability and reduce selling time, but they return more that their cost in increased home value. These types of repairs are good in every way, and also are a great alternative for sellers who are stuck in their current living situation, and would prefer to make the best out of their circumstances by optimizing their home to fit their needs. Yet other “repairs” are more like upgrades. They are pricey, do little to increase a homeowner’s enjoyment, and to make matters worse, don’t provide any kind of return on the investment when it comes to selling. Check out this list below of the Five Worst Home Improvements for the Money: 1. Home office conversion – Average cost: $28,888 – Average percentage recouped at the time of sale: 45.8% Typically, buyers would prefer to just have a plain ‘ol bedroom. What’s more, marketing a home as having an office invokes thoughts of actually having to work, something a buyer may prefer not to consider while making their decision. 2. Sunroom addition – Average cost: $75,224 – Average percentage recouped at the time of sale: 48.6% Often times, sunrooms are “additions”, which change the footprint of the. This not only can be costly, but drastic changes such as these can deter many buyers. Given the cost, the potential value associated with a sunroom simply … Read More

The Incredible Shrinking Housing Market

Seb FreySilicon Valley Real Estate

The Incredible Shrinking Housing Market

Some new housing data was released, revealing the incredible shrinking housing market. For starters, 31% of all homes sold in Q2 of this year were either short sales or bank-owned foreclosure sales, which together are collectively known as “distressed sales”. The percentage of overall market activity that was distress-driven actually went up from 26% year-over-year, even thought the total number of distressed properties sold went down. More about that in a moment. One finding that deserves a good long look is the discount at which distressed properties are purchased. According to these findings, REO sales and short sales, on average were purchased for 32% less than comparable non-distressed properties. 32% is no chump change, by any means. The fact that he number of distress sales has dropped off yet they have gained market share can only mean one thing; that fair-market sales have dropped off further. This is indeed the case, as non-distressed homeowners are refusing to list their homes. This is due on part to the hit that their equity has taken over the last few years, but that is merely one part of the story. Fair-market listings are being undercut on price at every turn, meaning that even if they are listed, in many cases they are less attractive to buyers and don’t make it to the closing table. This is important to note because fair-market sellers have a special role to play in any healthy housing market. In many cases, fair-market sellers sell their home, and buy another, more expensive home. The mid-high … Read More

Wise Words to Aid Home Buyers

Seb FreySilicon Valley Real Estate

Happy Buyers

Sometimes the reporting on the world of real estate gets so caught up in the rapidly changing landscape that the elements of buying and selling real estate that are most important for the public are not given the attention they deserve. Yesterday a great article in the San Jose Mercury News came out where a series of industry professionals gave wise words to aid home buyers. Since the article is basically a series of quotes, it seems most fitting to just go ahead and list our some of the best ones, one-by-one. While they are pretty self-explanatory, they are very easy to lose sight of once buyers get into the process. Jim Walton, vice president of consumer credit with MetLife Bank in Irving, Texas “There is more to home- ownership than a housing payment. Homeownership requires a commitment to a property and to a community.” “A lender can tell you the maximum mortgage you qualify for, but financial experts recommend that you determine your own upper limit for a housing payment.” “Buyers should take a disciplined approach to saving for a down payment, and then they need to be able to continue to save after they buy, for home maintenance and emergencies.” “A rent-versus-own calculator can be a good resource, but generally these will show you the maximum mortgage you qualify for at the best rates.” “Buyers need to factor in maintenance costs which can run from 1 (percent) to 4 percent of the home value per year.” Marc Schindler, a certified financial planner in Bellaire, … Read More

Santa Cruz Foreclosure-Buying Seminar

Seb FreySanta Cruz Real Estate

Confessions of a REO Agent

I do work with a few buyers , because I enjoy working with them and it gets me out to see a lot of the inventory I otherwise wouldn’t see, and helps me stay up on the market and to be a better Realtor overall. I work with a variety of banks and “REO outsources” (asset management companies) from across the nation, and I list and sell their properties in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey Counties – from San Jose to Salinas, from Boulder Creek to Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Pacific Grove, and everywhere in between. … Several people told me it was the best presentation they saw at the expo. presentation.jpg This year, it seems there was no housing expo – but I think there is now perhaps more interest than ever in buying foreclosure real estate. … I won’t talk (much) about short sales, for example – this will have a solid focus on the process of buying a foreclosure property on the “retail” market, and is aimed at the average buyer just looking to buy an affordable home here in Santa Cruz.

Caveat Emptor for Watsonville Investors

Seb FreySanta Cruz Real Estate

They are not looking to speculate on real estate – that’s how so many people ended up getting foreclosed on in Watsonville, and in California, and in many other places throughout our glorious but fading homeland . green_eyeshades.jpg A Speculator is someone who is placing a bet – they put some money down, and there bet is that the value of whatever they buy will go up. … These clients of mine are probably not what you would call professional real estate investors – but they want to buy real estate as if they were – and after they do buy a few properties, and if they keep with it, hey, before you know it – they will be professional investors, after all, every professional has to start somewhere. … What this means for my clients is that the amount of money they can afford to pay for a property, given their higher interest rate and lower rental rates means that they can offer less for a property than they had first thought – in order to make that 10% (or near 10%, anyway) return on their investment. … And, of course, the unemployment rate in Watsonville is reported to be at 25% – that’s huge, and I think it means a lot of people are going to be sharing housing, families living with families, rather than each family having their own individual place as I’m sure they’d prefer in many cases but owing to the weak economy cannot afford to do so at the moment.

Santa Cruz Real Estate Great Debate

Seb FreySanta Cruz Real Estate

You really need to look at the year before to see how the market performed – and from the statistics, we can see the median home price, county-wide, is actually down 33.5% in April of 2009 compared to a year ago. … Honestly, I am mystified how people can take a few anecdotes, completely ignore the state of the economy and the housing market as a whole, and now herald, with strident authority, that we are now at the bottom of the market and THIS, TODAY is the time to buy, or you will miss out on the chance of a lifetime. … Well, that’s not true – short sales can also occur at those prices, and some people who have had their homes a long, long time may have enough equity in them to compete with all the REOs and short sales. … Personally, I think it’s going to put increased pressure on the bottom of the market, as many people who were looking at buying a lower-priced “starter” home may now be thinking of stretching to go for one of these “premium” foreclosures which I expect we’ll be seeing.

Santa Cruz Real Estate Deathmatch

Seb FreyCommentary, Santa Cruz Real Estate

Whether you think the current housing crisis is a cause of a symptom of the economic meltdown in the United States and abroad, there’s no denying that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about how long this recession will last , how deep it will cut , and what this means for people looking to buy a house in Santa Cruz today. deathmatch.jpg I’ve said it several times in various postings to this blog, but I think it bears repeating: I think home prices in Santa Cruz county will continue to drop for the foreseeable future – and by that, I mean the rest of this year, at least. … It’s not a new thing – as I mentioned a blog entry or two ago, this multiple-offer feeding-frenzy has been going on at least 18 months, I don’t see that it is more common today than it was a year or so ago – but perhaps it’s being talked about more in the media, as there is now more effort into talking up the economy rather than talking it down. … I had seen it when it had come up (I send myself e-mails from my automated system for every bank-owned home that hits the market), but at the moment, I had a number of deadlines I was working to meet so I didn’t look at the particulars to see that it was really an incredible deal. … Actually, when it started out, I don’t think it was a short sale – but as the months went by, the price was reduced until finally the owner owed more on it than the market would pay.