What About Holding an Open House in a Tenant-Occupied Property?

When a landlord decides he/she is selling a tenant-occupied property, there are certain requirements on both parties. The landlord has the right to sell the property and find a prospective purchaser
open house
under normal and customary market conditions of the area, and that usually includes open houses and prospective buyer visits to the property with proper notice. Tenants are understandably not anxious to participate in the selling process, but landlords and their REALTORS have certain tools for handling the situation. 

The law permits a landlord to hold open house, since a 2013 decision in Dromy v. Lukovsky which allows open houses on weekends with "reasonable" notice.  This case said that there should be no more than two a month, and 10 days advance notice should be given to the tenant.  The tenant may propose alternate days within 48 hours of receipt, which the landlord should consider.  The judge in the above case approved an open house on either a Saturday or a Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm.  The agent must be present, and the tenant may be present.

If a tenant is not cooperative with these terms, a landlord should try writing a letter (REALTORS have sample forms also) explaining possible eviction, costs and attorneys fees and a possibly a negative credit report entry from the entire process. 

Another method is to provide a 3-day notice to quit (check with your REALTOR).  The landlord may have to consider eviction if neither of these work.

However, many tenants do see it in their own best interest to cooperate because an income property may be sold to another investor who would like to retain good tenants. 

For more specific information on this issue, please contact me via email on best procedures to follow when listing your income property with tenants.


Sales in Los Angeles County: Prices Still Continuing Upward in 2017

The median price of an existing, single-family detached Los Angeles County home rose in April 2017 to $595,000 from $570,000 in March. The March 2016 median price was $542,000.  All data comes from CoreLogic. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general change in values.
The median price of an existing, single-family detached Los Angeles County home rose in April 2017 to $595,000.
But while prices are going up in the County as a whole, sales volume has decreased in the Spring:
the number of single family homes sold in April 2017 was 4,524; in March, 2017 it was 6,051; in March 2016 homes sold was 6,329.  This is a lower but similar sales volume compared to the same time last year.

The 2017 sales volume for Orange County is a similar picture, but with much lower sales numbers: total SFR sales thus far are 1772 and 2469 for April and March, respectively, with median price at $745,000 for both months.

Less inventory means much more competition for buyers in Long Beach.  In the past month, the lower price range under $500,000 sells on average in 25 days on average (overbidding and multiple offers is common), while properties in the $1,000,000-plus range are on the market for 62 days on average.

While housing prices continue upward, housing affordability in California is increasingly a topic of concern.  Another indication of housing prices is that investors are buying fewer single family and multi-family properties.  California Association of Realtors 2016 California Investor Survey found 10 percent of real estate investors purchased more of the other types of properties, such as commercial, land, and mobile homes, in the past year compared to previous years.

Lack of inventory continues, especially in Southern California, and is still an issue for sellers who want to move on--but for those moving out of the area, or for those who have all cash for a purchase, the ability to move on may be much easier, and would bring more housing inventory onto the local market for sale. From that standpoint, it's a good time to sell while interest rates are still low. 

Please contact me for a customized report on home value for your property! And while most people are little uncertain about them, reverse mortgages as a new purchase can be a good purchase tool for the right buyer 62 and over.
 (See the 2016 post on this:  https://longbeachrealestate.blogspot.com/2016/04/sales-volume-in-los-angeles-county-is.html)


Long Beach's Past: The “Cougar” Countess and Long Beach’s Blackstone ...

Here is the fascinating history of the Blackstone in downtown Long Beach, written by my friend Claudine Burnett, formerly a librarian for the Long Beach Public Library system.  The Blackstone, located at 330. W. Ocean Blvd., was at one time a hotel and is now an apartment building which was granted landmark status.

Built by a woman who had inherited wealth from her first husband, she was one of the many people who came to Long Beach in earlier decades and left her mark on local architecture.


"What did this new property Kate now owned look like inside? 

 "The Blackstone had 70 rooms on the second and third floors and 75 apartments on the other floors. Rooms and apartments were finished either in mahogany or ivory.  On the second floor there was a ballroom (dancing was held there every Saturday afternoon and evening), billiard and card rooms. Each of the 8 floors had a sun parlor. Furnishings included floor lamps and table shades and over-stuffed furniture.   In the basement there was a garage for 75 automobiles, shower and dressing rooms for the use of guests returning from the beach. It was quite a luxury to be able to step from one’s car, catch an elevator and go directly to one’s apartment or hotel room. Single apartments rented from $85 to $150 ($1200-$2,120) per month; double apartments $165-$225 ($2330-$3,180) per month; a room started at $2.00 ($28.30) a day.  It opened for business on July 1, 1922."


Long Beach's Past: The “Cougar” Countess and Long Beach’s Blackstone ...: Postcard Long Beach History Collection


A Time to Sell in Long Beach Real Estate

Whether you have a condo, house or residential units (1-4) that you use for income property, I can help you with market value, seller disclosures, and capitalization rates and market rental rates on income property.

"It takes all kinds of sellers for all kinds of buyers", and in a city with such diverse housing opportunities, there are buyers for every part of town.  Contact me or look at my website www.juliahuntsman.com.  See more at NewsReal 2017 and Realty Times.


Being a Prepared Buyer in a Seller's Market

I am encountering, over and over, a situation where a buyer contacts me to see properties, but I have no information about this person at all.  Besides some safety issues that could be involved, and precautions I must take, I otherwise have no information about what kind of fit, financially and otherwise, this person actually is for the property he/she is interested in.

It seems that it can never be said enough that in this very tight market, the buyer must be prepared.  How can a Realtor take a buyer to show properties without having information? Very few buyers prepare themselves before contacting me to see a home.  If they contact me because they don't know where to start and are looking for a Realtor's help, then that is exactly what I'll do, which means getting started with loan pre-approval while getting to know their hopes and aspirations about what type of home they would like, and then fitting in their loan scenario with homes available to show.

Here is the mantra, as very well stated by a Realtor in New York:
“Time kills deals,” says Andrew Sandholm of BOND New York Properties in New York. “Dragging your feet means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property altogether.” Buyers need to be ready with their paperwork, such as bank statements, a preapproval letter, and documents supporting proof of funds, from the day they begin house-hunting mode. That way they can pounce quickly with an offer when they do find a home they like.
Yes, folks, time kills deals.  You think you won't find something right away, and that you're not prepared.  So think at a minimum:  LOAN PRE-APPROVAL, PROOF OF FUNDS whether financing or all cash, and PRE-APPROVAL LETTER.  These things should be available at a moment's notice, and please keep in mind that providing this documentation to your Realtor is a normal part of your home search, and next, it's required in the contract.  Realtors do much much more than get the door key out, they make sure that you eventually get the key to the door you want.

You may believe that you have have plenty of time, but I know better. You think you're not ready to buy yet, and you're right if you've done nothing to prepare.  But you may also be wasting your own time.  Your Realtor has the ability to help you find the right home, but you're wasting that Realtor's professional expertise if you don't do these basic things.

This is a multiple offer environment for many homes in multiple cities and states, and while I've never thought it wise for the buyer to waive all their usual contingencies in order to beat out another buyer, it's important for buyers to present a very reasonable offer.  The article about making an offer states very good points to keep in mind for buyers.


How Much Property Information Does An Agent Have?

It's not unusual for members of the public, including a Realtor's client, to think that the listing agent probably knows all there is to know about a property. There are indeed certain obligations an agent has, especially with the sale or lease of residential property such as houses, condominiums, or any property that legally is considered to fall within a 1-4 unit configuration. 

Realtors are required to do a visual inspection of the property, which means walking around and noting conditions that are visually accessible, and this requirement also includes disclosure of defects known to the broker but unobservable to the buyer.  The California Civil Code also says  that the required inspection "does not include or involve an inspection of areas that are reasonably and normally inaccessible . . .".  An agent therefore is not required to go under the house, or into the attic space, or know the condition of walls within a locked closet if there seller has not given access. This also includes personally researching the property, although the agent should be able to point the client to outside resources for a buyer's due diligence during escrow, for example. An agent's duty of inspection also does not include the common area or other units of a homeowner association when the buyer is being provided all relevant HOA information required by the contract with the seller. So the Realtor may have no knowledge about the pool or spa and is not required to go inspect it, but if the agent has done previous transactions in the HOA, then perhaps that agent has some knowledge learned from prior transactions, and should disclose that information.

Both the buyer agent and listing agent are required to do a visual inspection and give a copy of their report, referred to as an AVID (Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure) to both the buyer and seller.  Neither agent is required to interpret the reason or source of a dark stain on the wall, for instance, but only to make a note of its existence in order to advise all parties.  It is up to the buyer to inquire further of the seller or hire a professional to get further opinion on such an issue.  Nothing in the law "relieves a buyer of . . . the duty to exercise reasonable care to protect himself or herself, including those facts which are known to or are within the diligent attention and observation of the buyer...".  So the buyer has the obligation to inspect the property, and all the conditions as spelled out in the contract, to his/her own satisfaction.

If an agent does learn "material facts" about a property, whether or not by visual inspection, ie., or if listing agent makes a disclosure to the buyer's agent, or other information was disclosed in the multiple listing service about lack of permits, then the agent is certainly required to disclose that information to the client.   So sellers, when the listing agent starts walking around your property to take a look, this is because they need to do this to help you get your property sold.

Back to the beginning paragraph -- I have heard some members of the public say that they chose to use the listing agent to represent them as a buyer because the listing agent must know more about the property.  But nothing could be further from the truth, because the listing agent probably hasn't crawled under the house either, and whatever significant information the listing agent does have, is required to be shared with the buyer.  


Which Projects Are the Right Ones for Your Home?

When selling or buying, it's always good to think about remodel or fixup projects and how they fit with the home.  The return may vary with the region in the country, but there is a trend on what used to bring higher returns which may be lower now.  For instance, garage door replacements didn't used to be at the top of the list, but as kitchen remodels have become more common, other home features are getting more attention. For instance, vinyl windows are, in my opinion, a good investment whether house or condo--they block noise, keep a home better insulated and add attractiveness.


Long Beach Market Prices for Houses and Condos Feb. 2017

Long Beach prices Feb. 2017
The average sales price for a house in Long Beach in February was $672,000 (an increase of 7% over same time last year); the average price for a condo was $413,000 (an increase of 8% over same time last year.)

What is going to happen to interest rates?  For a while they were predicted to go up to 5% this year, but today (Friday), they are 4% or 4.125% depending on the loan level for conventional loans, and 3.75% or less depending on loan level for FHA/VA loans.  What will happen in the future depends on a lot things that are currently going on in Washington DC, and predicting the future is not a sure thing.

One of the biggest problems is still lack of inventory, as one can see on this report, it's gone down from last year (it can't get much lower, by the way), and it's not just the case in this city, this is across the board.  This has made the market get much more competitive (who thought it could get worse?), and the days on market figures are showing that, less time on market means the properties are getting snapped up faster and there are multiple offers.  The chart shows average figures, they vary greatly according to price range and location.  A $450,000 house in excellent showing condition will not last, but the $1,000,000+ range offers more selection and more time: there are 75 active listings in CRMLS in Long Beach over one million, and days on market is also 75.  Apparently, in Arcadia, per a conversation with a fellow Realtor this morning from that area, it's the $5,000,000 properties that are hot and moving fast.  Every market is different.

Lakewood: Average SFR selling price - $546,000; Condo $401,000.
Cerritos:  Average SFR selling price -  $743,000; Condo $335,000.
Huntington Beach: Average SFR price - $906,000; condo $510,000.

If you're thinking of making a change, please contact me


Help for Buyers Who Want a Condo

California Association of REALTORs Housing Affordability Fund’s Homeowners Association Grant Program will provide qualified first time California homebuyers up to six months of HOA dues, not to exceed $2,500.  C.A.R.’s Housing Affordability Fund has allocated one million dollars towards this program.

How to  qualify?
• Homebuyers must use a California REALTOR® in the transaction (REALTORS® must apply on behalf of their client)
• Purchase a primary single family residence* in California with the intent to occupy the property as your primary residence for 2 years
• Be a first-time homebuyer*
• Buy a home with applicable HOA dues/fees
• You must have used financing to purchase the single-family dwelling
• The purchase price of the Single-Family Dwelling* must not exceed 150% of the mortgage limit set by the FHA for one-family units in the county in which the Single-Family Dwelling* is located

Please note: HAF must receive all program requirements no later than thirty (30) days after closing escrow.
Want to know more? Please contact me by phone or email


New Credit Reporting Policy Change May Affect Many Consumers Positively

Equifax, TransUnion and Experience will, as of July 1, 2017, require tax lien and civil judgment data to contain three of four information requirements in order for that information to be included in an individual's credit report.  The consumer's name, address, and either a social security number or a date of birth must be included, and current data not reflecting that information will soon be removed from credit reports.  According to Mortgage News Daily, many liens and most judgments don't currently include that information, and their removal, although sparking a controversy, will probably be viewed as happy news by many consumers.  Already, other types of negative data have been addressed in settlements of lawsuits:
It appears that the changes announced by the credit reporting companies are at least partially in response to a recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). 
* * * *
The Wall Street Journal reports that settlements of lawsuits brought by various states have already pushed the credit reporting companies to remove some categories of negative data from reports such as information related to library fines and gym memberships, and required changes to the timing of medical collections information.

The net effect is that many consumers will have an increase in their FICO score, perhaps an upward boost of about 20 points.


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