Friday, 19 August 2011

Our Stats....

so....doing a little analysis, determined that our typical time to get one of our listings sold is just over a month!--not bad!...and, the average sales price is VERY close to asking! glad we're doing a good job for our sellers!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

U.S. Mortgage Rates Hit 50-Year Low

U.S. Mortgage Rates Hit 50-Year Low

Prospective home buyer Robert Street, right, follows realtor Phyllis Jackson to look at a home for sale in Chandler, Arizon. Photographer: Joshua Lott/Bloomberg
U.S. mortgage rates fell to the lowest in more than half a century as concern that the global economic recovery is faltering spurred demand for bonds that guide home loans, according to Freddie Mac. Photographer: Phelan M. Ebenhack/Bloomberg
U.S. mortgage rates fell to the lowest in more than half a century as concern that the global economic recovery is faltering spurred demand for bonds that guide home loans, according to Freddie Mac.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 4.15 percent in the week ended today from 4.32 percent, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage financier said in a statement today. That was the lowest in more than 50 years, Freddie Mac said. The average 15-year rate fell to 3.36 percent from 3.5 percent.
The decline followed a slide in yields for 10-year Treasury notes, a benchmark for consumer debt including mortgages. The yield touched a record low today of 1.9735 percent, after Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for global growth and concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis may deepen. Lower mortgage rates have done little to boost home demand as the housing market stagnates.
“Low interest rates are helpful at the margins but it’s indicating a lot of concerns about the economy,” said Scott Brown, chief economist for Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. PetersburgFlorida. “The move into Treasuries is driven by fear.”
Housing demand is depressed as the U.S. unemployment rate sticks above 9 percent and lenders tighten standards. Sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly dropped in July, according to a report today by the National Association of Realtors. Purchases fell 3.5 percent to a 4.67 million annual pace, the weakest since November. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase in sales.

Weak Demand

“The low rates are doing absolutely nothing to stimulate the market for existing homes,” saidPatrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “It’s a combination of tight credit and weak demand coming from uncertainty and housing prices falling.”
Freddie Mac records dating back to 1971 show the previous low for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.17 percent in November. Data from the Bureau of Economic Research measuring Federal Housing Administration loans indicate that long-term borrowing costs are the lowest since the 1950s, said Chad Wandler, a spokesman for Freddie Mac.
The lower mortgage rates are helping to boost refinancing as homeowners seek to lower their monthly payments, Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in the statement.
A Mortgage Bankers Association index of refinancing jumped 8 percent in the week ended Aug. 12, the Washington-based trade group said yesterday. The share of applicants seeking to refinance climbed to almost 79 percent, the largest since November. The group’s purchasing gauge declined 9.1 percent to the lowest level in a year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in New York at

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home

from Tara Nelson@Trulia

great!) for buyers right 
now - interest rates are bizarrely low, lots of inventory means lots to choose from, and the cost of renting has increased in a lot of markets. But just because the market’s good doesn’t mean it’s the right time for everyone to buy. The decision whether to buy a home is a very personal one; you need to carefully examine your own situation to determine whether it’s right for you.

So, what are the questions you need to answer in deciding whether you’re ready to buy? Here are some of the big ones:

1. Do I have enough money for a down payment?
And how much, exactly, is “enough?”  Today’s minimum down payment requirements range from 3.5 percent on an FHA loan to 10 or even 20 percent for conventional loans. That means coming up with anywhere from $7,000 to $40,000 on a typical $200,000 house. While there are still programs that can give you a down payment assist (see last week’s post, 5 Insider Secrets for Coming Up With Cash for Down Payment), much of the heavy lifting here will need to come from you - in the form of saving up your hard earned cash. And keep in mind there are also closing costs you’ll probably have to pay in cash, which can run as high as 3-4% of your total purchase price.

Talk with a real estate pro and a mortgage broker in your areas to start wrapping your head around how much “cash to close” (i.e., down payment + closing costs) will run, approximately, on a local property that would meet your needs. Can your savings cover this? If not, where will you get the money - what’s your plan for coming up with it?   Putting down as much as you can a) makes you more attractive to lenders, so you might qualify you for better loan terms and b) gives you additional purchasing power, either decreasing your monthly mortgage payment or increasing your purchase price limit for a home.

2. Can I handle the not-so-glamorous aspects of homeownership?
If you can’t even fathom the prospect of having a home maintenance crisis without having a landlord to call to fix it, you might want to reconsider homeownership - or at the very least, buy a lower maintenance condo or townhome in great condition, and make sure you get a home warranty!  As a home owner, after all, you essentially are your own landlord. Pipe bursts in the middle of the night? Guess who’ll be up fixing it or calling (and paying) the plumber? (Hint: you.)

There are also some less-than-glamorous bills you’ll have to deal with in your new role as a homeowner that you never laid eyes on as a renter: property taxes and hazard insurance, to name two. When you go from renter to owner, you also need to account for the cost of appliances and maintaining the property’s roof, windows, and landscaping, among other things.

3. How long do I intend to stay in the house?
If you think you might move out of the area next year, then you really shouldn’t be thinking about buying a house (unless of course, you want to play landlord and rent it out after you leave - a prospect which requires its own risk/rewards analysis). For your home purchase to pencil out as a good deal, financially, you’ll shouldn’t buy unless you’re comfortable staying in the house at least 5-7 years - even longer, if you’re buying a home in a foreclosure hot spot or an area with a sluggish job market.. This gives you some time to build up equity and make up for the costs of buying, selling and moving.

4. Are my job and finances stable?
Maybe you just went through a major career change and are in the process of working your way back up from the top. Or maybe you work in a field that has been hit really hard by layoffs and cutbacks. The worst case scenario is to find yourself in a spot with mortgage payment you have no way to make, when you could have avoided that by seeing the writing on the wall. If you feel like there’s a real chance you could lose your job or income tomorrow, you may want to hold off on buying a house - that has the added bonus of giving you the geographic freedom to move, if needed, to get a new job.

Is there really such a thing as 100 percent job security in today’s economy? Probably not. But the best practice is to be confident that your finances could handle a temporary loss of income and still make your mortgage payments, before you buy. One way to do this is to have enough money in the bank to cover 4-6 months’ worth of living expenses, calculating them to include your mortgage payment - before you deem yourself ready to buy. That way, even if you lose your job with no warning at all, you’ll at least have a reasonable window of time to find a new one without digging yourself into a hole - or worse, losing your home altogether.

5. What are my real reasons for buying?
Buying a home is a long-term commitment that will have massive impacts on your lifestyle, your family and your finances. In other words, don’t do it unless you’re really sure you want to and are ready for the lifestyle change - don’t let someone else talk you into it. Worthy reasons renters with homeowning readiness give for their decision to buy include some or all of the following:

  • You want to build equity instead of paying a landlord. Fact is, if you get a fixed rate mortgage and make the payments for the full term of the loan, you'll eventually pay it off. That's not possible when you're renting.
  • You want a place to call your own, where you can paint a wall purple, add a pottery spinning studio or build your dogs an obstacle course (oops - that's my reason for homeownership!), because it's your prerogative.
  • You want the tax advantages of homeownership.
  • You want a stable place you and your family can live for as long as you'd like.
Ask yourself these questions, and be honest with your answers. If you really want to buy, but your answers to these questions today don’t weigh in that direction, it doesn’t mean you’ll never own a home. It’s usually just a matter of strategically timing your purchase out a year or two when your savings, your career and your lifestyle are in alignment with the implications of ownership - consider working closely with a real estate broker and a mortgage professional to get an action plan in place and start working that plan.

Monday, 15 August 2011

6 Reasons to Google Your Address

1. To See if Megan's Law Registrants Live Nearby
2. To Find Crime Reports and Data For Your Home and Environs
3. To Detect Scammers Trying to Rent or Sell Your House
4. To See What Your Neighbor's Place Sold For and Possibly Lower Your Property Taxes
5. To See Your Home's Property Records
6. To See Your Home's Google Street View

Click here for more detailed information courtesy of!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Natalie's Top 3 Listing Picks of the Week!

Two beautiful La Fayette Square mansions and a Contemporary Mediterranean duplex situated between Venice and Washington, just minutes from the 10!

Looking to buy?...The Time is NOW!  Let's contact these Listing Agents and make your dream home a reality!!!

1.  1626 Wellington Rd, Los Angeles, CA  90019
Wonderful Spanish Rivival Style home in historic Lafayette Square which is one of LA's hidden jewels. Very safe and quiet gated neighborhood with many notable and influential residents. Beautiful hardwood floors thoughout with brand new copper plumbing installed for the kitchen and all bathrooms. Has a full size in-ground cement pool. This home has wonderful period accents throughout and is turnkey.  6 bed, 4 bath.  
Listed by Marlon Dorsey at 323-299-8634,, MLS# S11086511MR.    

2.  1675 Buckingham Rd, Los Angeles, CA  90019

Short Sale Approved! Easy to show! The Crenshaw House is the Historically Significant Original Model Home and is in a Prime Location within Gated La Fayette Square, A HPOZ. La Fayette Square is LA Magazine's Dec. 2004, one of the "10 best neighborhoods in LA". This property boasts approx. 6700 sqft and has been renovated and upgraded with the finest materials. The detailed craftsmanship shows off extensive beautifully restored oak, mahogany and maple paneling and flooring. This home features a remodeled kitchen, updated plumbing/electric, wired for internet, custom landscaping, refurbished built ins, Batchelder fireplace, amazing grand staircase and detached guest house that has been beautifully renovated as well. Current Mills Act Real Estate Tax annual amount of $4,292.00. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity!  
Listed by Andrew Storey at 310-204-8975,, MLS# 11-511935

3.  2030 Clyde Ave, Los Angeles, CA  90016

Regular Sale!!! Gorgeous custom dream home has it all!  Duplex built in 2006, features main house with 4 bd, 4.5 ba, plus separate unit with 2 bd, 1 ba--great for extra income or possible in-law set up!  Beautiful paver driveway and professional landscaping leads you to this amazing home featuring: custom entry door, designer tile & hardwood flrs, crown molding, volume ceilings, game room, two fireplaces, wet bar, two view balconies, gourmet granite kitchen and dining room perfect for entertaining!  Huge master suite with custom tiled spa tub and walk-in closet.  Rear yard offers BBQ center, gazebo and wishing well.
Listed by J. David Silva at 323-392-4937,, MLS# 11-545493.

More Americans consider renting--good time to buy income property!!!!

Fannie Mae survey shows more Americans consider renting
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011, 7:51 am

About 70% of Americans interviewed for Fannie Mae'sJuly consumer survey said they are growing more pessimistic about the direction of the economy and they expect home prices to fall even further.
Some 23% of respondents to the national poll believe the economy is moving in the right direction.
"The impact of recent financial market volatility on household wealth has been a setback to consumer confidence, which we're seeing in our survey results and in Americans' continued restraint in their willingness to take on additional financial commitments," said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae.
Only 11% of respondents said it's a good time to sell a home, while most of those surveyed expect home prices to decline from a year ago.
More Americans plan to rent in the future, even though they anticipate rental prices to increase over the next 12 months. The number of Americans who said they will buy their next home went down 5 percentage points, while rentals are up 3 points.
Personal finance also remains a sour spot with only 35% of respondents expecting finances to get better, down from 40% of respondents in April.
Write to Kerri Panchuk.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Bungalows HPOZ In Jefferson Park, An Elegant Early Street Car Suburb

Jefferson Park
Jefferson park house 2
Often referred to by locals as “The Bungalows,” the Jefferson Park neighborhood is perhaps one of the City’s finest examples of both an early street car suburb, and the proliferation of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s, in the form of simple, yet elegant, single-story bungalows for the growing middle class. Fanciful eaves, intricate wood work, turrets, stone, masonry and shingle are displayed in ways that defy the modest scale of these houses and make the many streets of this vast district instantly charming. A significant number of Jefferson Park houses were built using prefabricated kits or plan books produced by the likes of Sears and Pacific Ready-Cut Homes. In addition to its celebrated architecture, Jefferson Park has long embodied the ethnic and cultural diversity for which Los Angeles is known. Upon the elimination of racially restrictive covenants in the 1940s Jefferson Park found instant favor with African American and Japanese American families and while the neighborhood demographics today are substantially more diverse, many of the business and institutions along Adams and Jefferson Boulevards and Western Avenue, within the HPOZ, reflect the contributions of these predominant communities.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

a little about me....

Natalie Neith has 22 years of experience in Los Angeles real estate and is a consistent top producer
for the John Aaroe Group.  An expert in marketing historic and architecturally distinctive properties,
Natalie has served some of LA’s most distinctive neighborhoods - Historic West Adams, Larchmont,
Hancock Park, Miracle Mile, West Hollywood, Country Club Park, Hollywood Hills, Silverlake, Echo
Park, Glassell Park, Leimert Park, Highland Park and the Westside. From vintage mansions to
contemporary condos to everything in between, she has sold hundreds of homes in the LA area,
representing celebrity sellers, repeat customers, investors and first-time buyers alike.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

California Car Registration changes-- not real estate, but important

For your iinformation, in case you didn't know.
Subject: Calif. car registration changes
As of July 1, 2011, California DMV is no longer required to mail out advance notices for upcoming vehicle registration. They are balancing that change with an additional grace period of 30 days before penalties would be applied. They are also adding $12 to the registration fee. I understand the state is trying to cut back on the costs of mailing out the notices and trying to increase revenue with the increased fee as well as hoping that many of us simply forget to pay our registration on time, thereby adding even more through penalties. 
Key here is that if we don't remind ourselves with post-it notes or iPhone alarms, we will pay extra for our vehicle registration.
Check the tag on your plates. It will tell you what month you must renew.....  Who will be the first in the family to forget and say,,, "I didn't know."  ?
See website for more info and on-line re-registration :
You might want to pass this one on to your friends in California...

John Aaroe Group--Architectural Properties Division

L.A.'s Architectural Moment #8

This 1960s building by Edward Durell Stone, FAIA, featured in the Spring 1965 issue of "Architectural Digest," should look familiar as it's on the SW corner of Wilshire & McCarthy in Beverly houses the Beverly Hills office of the John Aaroe Group. The 1960s interiors were completed by the venerable firm of Cannell & Chaffin...(and yes, nephew & prolific television writer Steven J. Cannell would hammer-out scrips during his lunch hour there.) 

Bret Parsons
Founder & Managing Director, Aaroe Architectural

Monday, 1 August 2011

Newly Remodeled Echo Park Gem With Backyard Views of Downtown LA!

Beautifully Remodeled Echo Park Stucco House, 3+2 with avocado, fig, lime & orange trees in backyard plus great views of Downtown LA!  Built in 1932 on a lovely hillside near Sunset & Beaudry btw Downtown and Dodger Stadium. 
APX 1468 sq. ft. on 4500 sq. ft. lot!

Interested Buyer?  Call me and we'll set up an appointment with the Listing Agent! Standard Short Sale/REO delays!!!  Let's make an offer fast before it disappears...

MLS #: K11086722MR  LA: Graciela Jacques,

The Catbagan/Neith Team
The John Aaroe Group/aaroe+williamson323 317-9696 Phone
849 So. Broadway, Ste 704213 417-9135 Fax
Los Angeles, CA 90014323 595-9414 Cell

STATUS:  ActiveADDRESS:  979 Marview Avenue , Echo Park 90012LP:  $449,000


STYLE:  CraftsmanSUB:  
APN:  5406-017-003ZONE:  

ADP:  VU:  Yes



REMARKS:  Beautifully remodelled 1932 home. New Stucco, new paint, new doors, new landscaping with sprinklers, new central heat, new flooring, new kitchen, new bath. Home in Echo park near Dodger Stadium , down town and freeway close

ROOMS:  Basement,Family
EQUIP:  Garbage Disposal,Microwave
AIR:  NoneHEAT:  Central
FLOOR:  LaminateLAUNDRY:  Room
FIREPL:  Family RoomROOF:  Composition,Tile
PARK:  Garage & AttachedSPA:  
SEC:  FIN:  Submit
SEWER:  In StreetPOSS:  Close Of Escrow
DISC:  Seller Will Pay Sec. 1 TermiteSZONE:  

Major Lenders Offering Perks on Short Sales

Major Lenders Offering Perks on Short Sales

The nation’s leading mortgage lenders are extending extras for short sale transactions employed as an alternative to foreclosure – both in the form of monetary incentives for borrowers and streamlined procedures for real estate agents.
Wells Fargo  says it has been making “enhanced financial relocation assistance offers” that can be as much as $10,000 or $20,000 to certain borrowers who choose to go through with a short sale or transfer the title back to Wells via a deed-in-lieu.
This extra incentive is being offered to distressed borrowers in Florida and other states where the foreclosure process is lengthening, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo explained. The exact amount of the relocation funds provided to individual borrowers varies based on a number of factors, the company says.
Wells Fargo noted that this type of additional relocation assistance is only available on first-lien loans that the company itself owns – which represent only about 20 percent of the loans Wells Fargo services. The company must follow investor guidelines for the remaining loans it services.
JPMorgan Chase  is also offering a range of incentives to borrowers that agree to a pre-foreclosure sale “because if we can’t work out a modification, a short sale is a better result for the borrower, the servicer, the investor, and the neighborhood than a foreclosure,” the company said in a statement.
Chase says the amount of the offer “depends on a number of factors” but declined to share specific details on how much money it’s been providing to short sellers.
One agent in Florida confirms that he has indeed received a letter from Chase offering $20,000 to a borrower he’s representing in a short sale transaction.
Another agent in California says he closed a short sale with Chase where the borrower was paid $30,000 at closing for cooperating with the short sale.
“I have closed over 200 short sales and this was the most I have seen paid to a borrower,” the agent said.
Citi  has confirmed that its average incentive offer is currently $12,000 for borrowers in cases where Citi owns the loan.
“Incentives are offered to customers experiencing financial hardship who need funds to proceed with the short sale,” a spokesman for the lender explained.
The amount, which is agreed upon upfront, varies according to the borrower’s individual circumstances and loan characteristics, Citi said. It is disbursed to the homeowner when the short sale is completed.
Bank of America  says it is “committed to improving the short sale process” and has made procedural changes to cut some of the red tape for agents working with the bank on pre-foreclosure sales.
The lender now allows real estate agents to submit a backup offer on a transaction if the original buyer has walked away from the sale.
This means that agents no longer have to initiate a new short sale if the buyer changes, Bank of America explained. Instead, agents can move ahead with the original transaction in the Equator  system, BofA’s short sale technology platform of choice, and continue to work with the same short sale specialist.
Bank of America says this policy change  will save its agents time by not having to repeat a number of process steps.