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Considering An Early Mortgage Pay-off For Your Los Angeles Home?

by Eileen Walsh

With interest rates so low and economic uncertainty so high, it is no wonder that many owners of Los Angeles homes are considering paying off, or at least paying down, their mortgages earlier than expected. The topic is a controversial one, however, with real estate and financial experts vociferously arguing about both the advantages and disadvantages of such a move.

dollar houseProponents of early pay-offs cite benefits such as a strong sense of financial stability, added housing security, and financial flexibility, whereas opponents point out the loss of liquidity and investment opportunities.  Both sides agree, however, that you should pay off high interest loans first, establish a comfortable emergency fund, and utilize a mortgage calculator to analyze financial gain or loss incurred in the early pay-off of the mortgage on your Los Angeles home.

In the event that you decide that you do wish to own your Los Angeles home free and clear now—or in the near future-- there are steps you need to follow.   First, the process is the same whether you obtained your loan from a bank, a credit union, or a mortgage broker/banker. You signed a promissory note and a deed of trust (or mortgage) which was recorded among the land records in the jurisdiction where your property is located.

Before you send in a check, contact your lender and get a written payoff statement, which will include a per-diem interest. Remember that interest accrues daily, and you have to pay the lender up to the date it actually receives your check.( Many title attorneys actually send the lender a few more days' interest just to be on the safe side. Legitimate lenders will refund any overage.)

After you have paid the lien off, some documentation (release or satisfaction) must be recorded among those same land records reflecting that the loan has been paid in full. Talk to your lender as to its procedure. Most will take care of recording the release for a nominal fee; some will send you the promissory note and deed of trust marked "paid and canceled" and ask you to handle the recording.  Be sure you get the original documents back from the lender.

You should also (1) advise your insurance carrier in writing that you no longer have a mortgage; (2) request the real estate taxing authorities in your jurisdiction send you the original tax bills; and (3) stop any automatic payments with your bank.

Learn all about Los Angeles neighborhoods!     Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

Los Angeles Foreclosure Trends - February 2013

by Eileen Walsh

There are currently 10,015 properties in Los Angeles, CA that are in some stage of foreclosure (default, auction or bank owned).

In February, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Los Angeles, CA was 16% higher than the previous month and 56% lower than the same time last year, according to RealtyTrac.com.

Los Angeles Foreclosure Status Distribution

los angeles foreclosure

 

 

Los Angeles Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Los Angeles foreclosures were 0.02% below national statistics, 0.03% below California numbers, and 0.02% below Los Angeles County figures in February.

los angeles foreclosure

Los Angeles Foreclosure Activity Compared To Interest Rate

los angeles foreclosure

Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price.

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

Tips For Avoiding Hidden Dangers of DIY Projects

by Eileen Walsh

Spring is often when we get the urge to make improvements to your Los Angeles home. Homeowners who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and who want to save money should keep in mind, however, that not all toolshome projects are as simple as they may seem. Experts caution do-it-yourselfers to be realistic about their skills. If you don’t have the knowledge to complete a project, it could lead to additional costs and — even worse — injury.  Be it painting, refinishing floors, or landscaping, you need to become knowledgeable about the project--and its hidden dangers---before embarking on your adventure.

Chemicals: Every Los Angeles home renovator should consider the dangerous chemicals or substances that a person may come into contact with during a home renovation.

  • Avoid exposure to asbestos.
  • Handle mold and mildew properly when removing by wearing loves, aspirators and protective clothing.
  • Test to determine the presence of radon where you’re working.

Skin irritants:

  • Certain kinds of oil-based or solvent-based liquids can be serious DIY dangers that do lasting damage. Keep your hands protected while you work, and practice smart clean-up.  Check the label of any product you'll be using and wear heavy rubber gloves. Wipe your hands clean with canola or peanut oil to displace any particulate matter or toxic irritants; Do not wash your skin with kerosene, mineral spirits, or solvents!
  • Read all labels and warnings on bills of sale to learn of possible dangers in seemingly harmless substances.

Tools and equipment:

  • Each year power home tools are involved in as many as 110,000 emergency room visits. Over 65% of these injuries involved power home workshop saws.  Read and follow instructions, take your time, and exercise caution at all times.  Click here for specific recommendations before using power tools in your Los Angeles home.
  • Get into the habit of putting on protective glasses (and perhaps a mask) whenever there's even a small chance of flying dust.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes when working with electricity.
  • Keep a chemical fire extinguisher ready at home and never try to put out an electrical fire with water.
  • Use ladders safely. For every four feet of height, your ladder should sit at least one foot from the vertical surface upon which it is leaning.  Never step on the top two rungs of a ladder.

Learn all about Los Angeles neighborhoods!     Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

 

Getting a Mortgage Even With Employment Gaps

by Eileen Walsh

Maybe you elected to leave your job to take care of your children or an ailing relative, or perhaps you are a victim of a job layoff or downsizing.  Whatever the cause for your current unemployed status, you should plan money puzzleahead for the day when you’ll be able to consider purchasing a Los Angeles home.  The following information should be of help to you in your quest for a mortgage after a period of unemployment.

  • Potential lenders often review your employment history when considering your loan application, and relatively recent gaps in employment can hurt your chances for approval. Mortgage lenders typically like to see you've had continuous employment, preferably with the same employer, for the previous two years. Lenders equate job stability with personal stability, which is an indicator you'll be able to continue making payments over time.
     
  •  Based on current guidelines, which are subject to change, most lenders require that a gap of employment longer than three months be followed up by at least six months of employment before your income can be considered toward qualifying for the Los Angeles home loan.
     
  • Most lenders have a two-year "same line of work" requirement; the employment gap doesn't disqualify your  income from counting so long as you’ve been in the same line of work for at least two years.  Even then, the lender will likely use only your base salary to count toward your loan qualifications. Commissions, overtime, bonuses and other employment compensation beyond the base salary cannot be counted toward your ability to repay your mortgage without a two-year paper trail documenting the extra income.
     
  • If you are looking to change lines of work, you will need to prove that you’ve been in the field for two years before your income will count. Time spent enrolled in an educational course does count toward the two-year "same line of work" requirement
     
  • Obtaining a home mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration is a meticulous process, so it pays to familiarize yourself with its policy on employment gaps before applying for a purchase or refinance loan for your Los Angeles home. The FHA underwriter evaluates the "four Cs" of borrower credit: credit history, capacity to repay, cash assets, and collateral. To determine whether you are capable of making monthly payments on-time, the underwriter analyzes your employment history and the income it generates, also known as effective income.

Learn all about Los Angeles neighborhoods!     Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

 

Tips for Investing in Los Angeles Real Estate

by Eileen Walsh

The word is spreading in the world of real estate—“Now is a good time to invest in Los Angeles real estate.”  The reasons behind this advice appear to be both numerous and sound and include justifications such as low home prices and interest rates, an increased demand for rental property, strong signs of a recovering real estate market, and the continuing volatility of the stock market.

los angeles real estateThink that you might like to invest in Los Angeles real estate and become a landlord?  Then continue reading.  Investment gurus and experienced Realtors have many sage pieces of advice for you about property selection, financial considerations, and building a team.  Among them are:

  • Find the right piece of Los Angeles real estateThe Internet can be your best friend when searching for houses to buy, so remember to use the net to check out homes and neighborhoods. Investigate current rental rates, average salaries, and unemployment figures for that area.  Be alert to homes that are in mortgage default and about to be foreclosed on. You may want to consider properties in pre-foreclosure if you have ample time to wait. Look for properties that don't need major fixes but will benefit from quick, low-cost improvementsChoose a knowledgeable Realtor who is experienced in investment properties.  Think about joining a real estate investment club to meet a wide variety of professionals.
     
  • Run the numbers:  Get every last expense figured into your calculations, and be sure that you will have positive cash flow from the start. Include repairs, mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance, management, HOA dues, utilities and reserves.
     
  •  Hire your own professionals:  You may think it would be easier to just utilize the inspectors or appraisal professionals selected by the seller, but it will hurt you in the long run. No one likes spending money on something they could get for free. Nevertheless, it is good to hire individuals that you can truly trust.

It is important to realize that investing in Los Angeles real estate is not a get-rich-quick scheme and that it does require some work on your part. While appreciation will occur over the long term, you don't know how long that will be. In the meantime, you want to be able to make a profit, or at least not lose money every month.

Learn all about Los Angeles neighborhoods!     Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

 

Putting On The Green In Your Home Office!

by Eileen Walsh

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th to honor the patron saint of Ireland. It is a time for shamrocks, leprechauns, and corned beef and cabbage—and for thinking about going green in our Los Angeles homes, and not only in our kitchens and bathrooms.  While these are certainly high-impact areas that should be made more efficient, there’s also much potential for going green in your home office. Check out these simple suggestions:

  • shamrocksPaper:  Look for paper made with the highest amount of recycled content. When you can, print on both sides of the paper. If you need to shred documents, keep use those shreds when sending packages or even for storing fragile items such. To recycle paper on a regular basis, have a small recycling box under the desk in your Los Angeles home office.
     
  • Printer cartridges:  Every year hundreds of millions of cartridges are used in this country--and 70 percent of those end up in landfills. However, cartridges are actually easily refilled and/or recycled, and you can also get paid to turn in used ones. There are a number of online sources that will supply a pre-paid shipping label to mail accepted cartridges in exchange for cash. Or you can turn in your used cartridges for recycling at some office supply stores and earn a credit for them.
     
  • Power strips:  Get a single power terminal that connects to all the ancillary gadgets that run with the computer in your Los Angeles home office. This way the moment you are not using the computer, they can be turned off, too. Keeping the computer and its accessories on through the night consumes more than 30% of the total power consumption when in use.
     
  • Computer hardware:  In addition to being convenient, laptops are said to consume less than 1/8th the power of a regular desktop. With laptops now more affordable, it is advisable to switch to a laptop in your next purchase.  Likewise, LCD and LED monitors use about half the energy compared to a traditional CRT monitor.
     
  • Used manuals and electronics:   Recycle unneeded computer manuals and “how-to” guides by donating them to local workforce development groups and charity organizations.  This also applies to old laptops, printers, and other office equipment. And don’t forget used batteries, cartridges, PDAs, and obsolete cell phones.

Learn all about Los Angeles neighborhoods!     Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

 

Everything You Need To Know About HOAs

by Eileen Walsh

Before you sign on the dotted line to purchase a Los Angeles single-family home, townhouse, or condo that has a homeowners association, you should be aware of the particulars of that governing board in terms of covenants, restrictions, services, fees, assessments, and fines.  The purpose of this organization is to provide a los angles homecommon basis for preserving, maintaining, and enhancing homes and property.  Since most homeowners' associations are non-profit corporations, they are subject to state statutes that govern such groups.

Covenants, conditions, and restrictions:  The HOA sets down covenants, conditions, and restrictions (also known as CC&Rs) that govern the use of property within the community. A wide variety of items can be controlled by these restrictions, including exterior paint color, the number of vehicles that may be parked at the residence, the age of the residents, and the use of common property.  Since CC&Rs vary greatly, especially in terms of scope, strictness, and enforcement from one community to another, it is important that you are familiar with (and accepting of) them before agreeing to buy a particular Los Angeles home.

Fees and assessments:

  • HOAs charge a monthly fee that must be paid by property owners. HOA fees are almost always levied on condominium owners, but they may also apply in some single family neighborhoods. The fees each unit pays are applied to annual operations such as landscaping, water, insurance, property management, pool maintenance, and the like.  Any excess HOA fees that exist after paying for pertinent services as described above are stored in an account and are called reserve funds.  HOA fees can vary widely depending on factors such as community amenities and how effectively the reserve fund is managed.
  • Occasionally, homeowners associations need to levy what are called special assessments. Special assessments are a one-time required expense to pay for significant maintenance or repairs (i.e. a new roof for the building, façade brick repainting, etc.). Low monthly HOA fees, or inadequate reserve funds, have the potential to lead the owners of Los Angeles homes into a situation where a special assessment is necessary to cover large expenses.
  • Failure to pay the required fees and/or assessment will most likely result in fines, liens, or even, in extreme cases, foreclosure.

It is important that you know how HOA restrictions and fees will impact your finances and your life. Click here for tips on dealing with such organizations.

Learn all about Los Angeles neighborhoods!     Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

 

Ways to Reduce Your Los Angeles Real Estate Taxes

by Eileen Walsh

The purpose of real estate assessments is to fairly distribute a municipality’s tax burden among all property owners based on the market value of their property.  Los Angeles real estate is assessed (generally annually) taxesso that the costs associated with area schools, fire and police protection, and other necessary services and infrastructure can be allocated in proportion to the market value of individual properties.

Even as property values are on the decline, property taxes are on the rise nationwide, and, according to the National Taxpayers Union, as many as 60 percent of properties across the country are over-assessed.

So what is the owner of Los Angeles real estate to do?  According to those “in the know”, there are steps you can take to reduce the assessment of your property’s value.  Since the evaluation process begins in the spring, you would be wise to begin to take action in the following ways now:

  • Request Your Property and Tax Record: you can request copies of your tax records at any time to check for a poorly conducted assessment or misinformation. To obtain a copy of your property tax records, simply visit your local planning board.
     
  • Don't Build:  Any structural changes to a home or property will increase your tax bill.
     
  • Limit Curb Appeal:  in spite of strict guidelines for the actual evaluation process, the assessment still contains a certain amount of subjectivity. Thus, more attractive homes often receive a higher assessed value than comparable Los Angeles real estate that is less physically appealing.
     
  • Research Comparable Properties: you have the right to know what similar homes and lots are being assessed for each year. (Check your municipality’s public records,)  If you see a major difference in the amount you are paying, it’s time to find out why.
     
  • Appeal any Discrepancies in Your Tax Bill:  check measurements, location, property value, or structures of your home and lot. Take the time to legally appeal your bill and request that it be adjusted if you find errors.
     
  • Investigate exemption eligibilitymany states offer generous property tax exemptions to both older homeowners and the disabled.  Certain military veterans and owners who install energy-efficient systems may also qualify.  It pays to check with your local tax assessor’s office for other exemption categories.

The bottom line.  Don't assume that your tax bill is set in stone. A little homework and due diligence can help reduce the burden.

Learn all about Los Angeles neighborhoods!     Search all Los Angeles homes for sale.

Eileen Walsh has a reputation for tough, yet fair, negotiation, and for facilitating real estate transactions to a successful close. She has earned the loyalty of repeat clients who rely on her for all of their real estate needs. Eileen's goals are to ensure Los Angeles real estate sellers that they receive top net dollar for their properties in the shortest amount of time and to help Los Angeles homebuyers find the property which best meets their objectives at the fairest price

Empowered with the appropriate people skills, market knowledge, deal-making track record and dedication to her clients, Eileen has shown that she is THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE to represent you in your next Los Angeles real estate transaction.

For more information about buying or selling your Los Angeles home, please call Eileen direct at 310-738-3807 or via email at eileenwalsh.realestate@gmail.com.

 

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