Posted by: terryorealtor | January 8, 2008

Condos,Townhomes vs Single Family Homes…

Is a condo,townhome is the best choice for you? Depends. If you are a professional with little time to do outside work and maintenance or whose funds are limited for repairs etc a condo or townhome may be your best choice.

Single family homes will definitely retain their value longer and higher than condo’s and townhomes with a few exceptions in terms of location and closeness to easy commute access.

Most HOA’s and you must read HOA documents carefully will maintain the outside and common areas. That is one less expense for a person to consider in home ownership.

Most HOA’s and again not all, will have community pools and spas. Less liability for a person who wants easy access to such but not the responsibility. Look for a condo or townhome with garage when possible and/or secure parking. Is always a big resale factor.

Most HOA’s has hazard insurance for the building and the buyer or owner of unit just needs to dovetail with a renters type insurance to protect their personal belongings. Another huge savings.

In terms of HOA fees being excessive you need to look at the whole picture. Some HOA’s pay for trash and water, many  HOA’s do not.

Single family home you are entirely responsible for all utilities, liability, upkeep, repairs and replacements. Are you prepared financially for that?

In choosing a condo or townhome you need to observe the grounds and the buildings to assure there is proper maintenance and upkeep. You need to READ the HOA documents for the stability of the HOA. Check their reserve status. Look at the minutes to see if new assessments are coming up and for what. Check to see if any lawsuits are pending.

There are some really great condos and townhomes with great HOA’s out there to satisfy many buyers needs and wants. There are some HOA’s in trouble and you need to watch out for that. What has the resale value been in the area you are seeking? Do your homework, hire a great Realtor(R) and remember the rule of thumb to make money or break even is to live in a home or condo for at least 5 yrs. Obviously, that rule is subject to overall economic conditions. Historically the real estate market goes up and it goes down.

Any Questions: Contact me at 925 627 3006.

Posted by: terryorealtor | October 19, 2009

Pet Friendly Rentals & How to Find Them

Not everyone is in the market to purchase a home. Many are seeking lease rentals and many have pets. How do you go about seeking rentals that will allow pets?

Well, you have several avenues. Network with friends, family and co workers. Check out Craigslist. Just be aware there are many rental scams going on and you do need to perform due diligence in reviewing and investigating any lease rentals found on Craigslist. Having said that there are many legitimate lease rental listings.

Above is a link to a Property Management leasing company that usually has various rentals available that are pet friendly. You will need to check whether you have dog or cat and know that each property they manage may have separate requirements, number of pets and size of pets etc.

As a pet owner I understand the urgency to locate a place that will allow a roof for our furry friends and kids.

When I moved to California in 1990 I entered the state with 2 dogs and 2 cats. I was told I would never find a place for them. I said I did not bring them across country to dump them. I did find a homes that would rent to me with them not once but twice and within  a relatively short time.

I know this is a real issue and I made a vow since I entered real estate to assist whenever I can those in need of housing for their pets. Many homes on the MLS do not accept pets. That is why it is important to have various avenues and contacts and to network to access the available properties that are pet friendly.

Another source is the link above. Again you have to input dog or cat or both.

These are just a few links. There are certainly more out there you can tap into. Let me know if I can be of any assistance with lease rental and/or purchasing a home.

Posted by: terryorealtor | October 17, 2009

Investors and buying in this market…..

Just about everyday I hear someone say I want a good deal in a home. You find me a good deal and I will buy.

Reality , at least in our area, if you are seeking the BEST deal for a home, go buy on the Auction steps……..

Why? When REO’s or bank owned properties come back on the market , they are priced at or near the market value. Depending on the amount of work that needs to be done will depend on just how much of a bargain you are getting. If you are seeking investment or flip properties then the Auction steps will be the best avenue to go….However you do need cash.

The amount of work needed to bring to livable condition is another key factor.

Know what you are buying….There are many crack houses for sale that have not been decontaminated and must be according to the state standards before reselling.

Depending on whether you are an investor or buying to live in the home will depend on the best strategy for you.

If you are serious about investing, you need to consider what is happening in the areas you are seeking to purchase.

In some areas, that means, hanging on to the properties for several years before selling or flipping for profit.

Graphs and figures can be adjusted to meet anyones presentation. Know the areas, the population, the employers, ease of commute as well as the community.

Having stated all of the above, if one remains diligent, does their research there are some good deals out there.

Posted by: terryorealtor | September 14, 2009

Foreclosures in the Bay Area

Expect many more homes to come on the market in the near future and for at least a couple more years as bank owned…. There will be varying price ranges.

Whether an investor or owner occupant buyer I can send you a free list of available bank owned homes in various cities in the Bay Area.

Not all bank owned homes are great bargains. There is much to be considered. Do not expect the banks to pay for repairs or replacements. The banks usually want all contingencies removed within 10 days. They will allow for inspections for information only.

In some areas saturated with foreclosures the banks or investors are a little more lenient and may consider repairs etc.

Obviously all cash buyers or those buyers with at least 20% down are considered more often than not over those with FHA loans. Having said that with the FHA 203K Rehab loan it is all in how your offer is presented that may get the attention and acceptance of the bank and /or asset managers.

I can assist you in the purchase of any bank owned home of interest in a wide range of Bay Area Cities.

Posted by: terryorealtor | September 13, 2009

Have Wachovia Loan?Need to do a short sale?

houseprofessionalIf you have a Wachovia loan and need to do a short sale please contact us to assist you in listing and marketing your home.

We have worked with Wachovia and their system and Wachovia is very amicable to allow for a quick short sale.

Wachovia will typically release you from any further obligation.

Experienced short sale specialists. NO upfront fees. Our Commission is paid at close of escrow and is part of the settlement costs the sellers lender allows..   Contact Catherine or Terry

Posted by: terryorealtor | September 13, 2009

Thinking of writing an offer on bank owned property?

Remember this, many banks or investors have addendums they want you to sign. PLEASE read them carefully and/or take to an attorney. These addendums HAVE NO BENEFIT to the buyer nor any protection for the buyer. The addendums are solely for the protection of the bank, asset management company or investor and/or all of the prior mentioned. NEVER give up your rights to inspections and review of disclosures. Many have changed the active removal of contingencies to passive……. Many indicated a $100 a day penalty if you do not close on time….. ALWAYS make sure you have in writing a SIGNED RATIFIED contract and do not base your time periods or inspections based on a verbal agreement. Bank owned properties may or may not be the best choice or value…….. It is not atypical for some banks to get you ratified contract several weeks after the fact……while still reviewing and possibly accepting another offer thereby knocking your purchase offer out of the running…… Just be aware, never assume and always get something in writing…

Posted by: terryorealtor | June 6, 2009

FHA 203K Loans

The FHA 203K renovation  loans is an excellent resource for buyers seeking a home that needs improvements or repairs and the buyers do not have the cash to do so.

I am working with a great loan officer who can assist you in applying for these loans and I can help you find a home that will qualify for such.

If interested email me at  or call and leave message on my direct line at 925 627 3006. I will get back to you.

Posted by: terryorealtor | June 6, 2009

Real Estate News Updates

Short sales are still in process and will continue for quite awhile. Most short sales are closing……Remember Short Sales are not short in duration. Still taking anywhere from 3-6 months from start to finish.

Concord, Has seen in the lower end housing, multiple offers. One home in particular last week had 40 some offers on it.

San Ramon in the Gale Ranch area had 51 Offers on a home last week.

East County is continued to be plummeted with shortsales, Bank owned properties and lower prices.

Overall we have seen a decline in housing inventory in various areas. Calm before the storm?

Such a dichotomy when we have homeowners losing homes to foreclosure.

If you are a seller in distress, PLEASE INVESTIGATE your options. You are in a fragile state and there are wolves in sheeps clothing promising you the world , taking money from you up front, and laughing all the way to the bank.

You DO NOT NEED to pay for loan modification. Your LENDERS want to work with you personally to come to a resolve. Email me if you want a list of the items your lenders would expect you to present to them.

Posted by: terryorealtor | March 20, 2009

Looking for options on your home?

In mortgage distress? Looking for Options? How do I determine what is my best choice? Can my home be saved from foreclosure? I receive mail that says they can help me if I pay them x amount of money. Are they for real? **If something sounds too good to be true , it is….** Contact us today to see how we can assist you in finding the best solution for your particular situation. We are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. However we do try to provide our clients with as many resources as possible to ensure our clients can make an educated decision. Not based on emotions , Not based on idol promises. When Experience Matters….we are Experienced Real Estate Professionals. Contact info is below:

Terry Osburn-Broker Associate

Catherine Myers-Realtor Associate

Alain Pinel Realtors

925 627 3006

Posted by: terryorealtor | February 14, 2009

What about Loan Modifications?

We are definitely starting to see more lenders work with homeowners to perform loan modifications…..the caveat we have seen so far is it appears that banks that retained the notes(Did not sell to Investor’s) are working more closely with the homeowner.

Understand you may have a bank that has your loan but they may be the servicer NOT the holder of the note.

What also appears to be the case, those homes listed as short sales takes twice as long to come to an agreement when investors are involved vs when the bank solely retains the note.

Perhaps our government should come down on the investors to play ball as well in order to bring about some sanity to this spiraling economy.

If you are a homeowner in distress call your bank. Do not take NO for an answer until you get maybe 5 or more  solid no’s.

Call back  and call back again. Ask to speak to a manager. Ask to speak to the office of the president if that does not work.

I realize the hassle and emotions involved but TAKE consistent action until you know you have exhausted all means.

Most of those individuals answering the phones up front are unskilled, cheap labor hired to screen and be a barrier to getting further into the system. Many have absolutely no people skills and absolutely no knowledge of what they are speaking about. They read from computer screens.

You may have to go to google and look for specific numbers. If the bank is local , walk into a branch and ask to speak to someone in charge about your situation.

If  loan modification fails, first speak to a Real Estate Tax Attorney or qualified CPA before making a decision to do a short sale and/or foreclosure.

If a short sale is  indicated as the best option and you live in the Greater Walnut Creek , Ca area and surrounding communities , then give us a call.

We  are experienced short sale specialists and will be more than happy to list your home , procure a buyer and oversee and negotiate a short sale of your home.

Posted by: terryorealtor | February 14, 2009

“Well, I will just walk away from my home…”

How many times we have heard those state who are in distress”Well, I will just walk away and be done with it…..” Unfortunately, a foreclosure may not be the answer and walking away will present another slew of problems. Catherine and I have echoed and I will reiterate again-You really need to touch base with a Real Estate Tax Attorney and/or qualified CPA before making a decision to do a short sale and/or foreclosure. In some cases, foreclosure is the best option while in other cases a short sale will be the best option . Example: We were recently called to list a home in the Richmond area. The owner had not spoken with a Real Estate Tax attorney. Due to the particular circumstances surrounding this home I really stressed the need for them to obtain legal counsel. They insisted I go ahead and list the home. In the meantime they decided to seek advice of an attorney that I had forwarded to them. We received an offer. HOWEVER after speaking with the attorney it was determined that they would indeed be better off in terms of penalties and taxes to allow to go into foreclosure. So we pulled the house off the market immediately and had to cancel out the buyer. Had they proceeded with left the homeowner facing a huge penalty. In another case, we have a couple that was so overwhelmed and being harassed by the collections dept they were ready to walk away. Again after speaking to a real estate tax attorney they discovered that a Short Sale would be their best option to reduce their penalties so we have proceeded with a buyer. There are several factors involved in determining overall what is the best decision. We are not qualified to make that decision but if a short sale is determined to be the optimum route we are more than happy to work with you to list and procure a buyer for your home and oversee the short sale process. Knowledge and educating your self about the process is paramount. If you find yourself in distress and unable to pay your mortgage PLEASE seek legal counsel. This is not the time to base your decisions on friends or families points of view UNLESS of course they are real estate tax attorneys and/or qualified CPA’s.

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