Archive for the ‘Communities’ Category

GOODBYE API

 | Comments Off on GOODBYE API

GOODBYE API

As most of us know the badly designed API system has been scrapped and at this time there is no replacement other than a totally stupid temporary process which can serve no purpose other than confusion.  This will produce a score for 2014 based on the average of the prior 3 years (2011, 1012, and 2013).

As the scores for each of these increased each year, it’s obvious that an average will be lower than the actual score for the latest year.

A typical parent is going to see that the score for 2014 was lower than 2013 and assume the school is going downhill.  WRONG.

To get a better feel for reality the parent should review the actual scores for the last 3 API years (2011/12/13), and if they show steady improvement it’s reasonable to assume that trend will continue.

Additional information is available from www.greatschools.org but, like the API method its scoring methodology is very simplistic and the user should read the guidelines for using its results and follow the advice they give.

MY ADVICE! Check out whatever scoring methods are available but assume that’s no more than 25% of the things you should do when evaluating a school. The rest, and most important activities, should be:

1.  Your personal visit to the school. They will welcome you with open arms.

2. Talking to parents in the area of the school.

NOTE: The final API replacement will be some variation of the Common Core Syllabus sponsored by the Federal Government. For the foreseeable future the details of this will be fought out by State and Federal politicians. It all reminds me of the description of a Camel as “A horse designed by a committee”.

CALIFORNIA IS NOT SILICON VALLEY

 | Comments Off on CALIFORNIA IS NOT SILICON VALLEY

English: This is one of the huge welcoming sig...

English: This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Google plex in the silicon valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CALIFORNIA IS NOT SILICON VALLEY

The Market Statistics fiasco

I’m continually answering client’s questions about mass media, or on line reports (Case Schiller etc) which claim to give “information” about the California Real Estate Market and which contradict the information I give them.

Here’s the reality:

REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL

Data covering the whole of California is totally useless to anyone considering Buying or Selling property in Silicon Valley.

To get useful information about a specific area why not go to a source which deals ONLY with that area, and has ACCURATE and RELEVANT information on it.

A competent and tech savvy Realtor has direct access to all relevant data bases and can easily provide accurate and current data for individual homes, neighborhoods, Cities, and Counties within minutes, at  no cost to a Client.

Much of this data is either not available to the general public, or costs inordinate time and money to an individual.

API Myths

 | Comments Off on API Myths

St. Clare School. Oldest Elementary School in ...

St. Clare School. Oldest Elementary School in Silicon Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heiwa elementary school %u5E73%u548C%u5C0F%u5B...

Heiwa elementary school %u5E73%u548C%u5C0F%u5B66%u6821 _18 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An increasing number of new home Buyers are using the API system as a major factor when choosing where to buy a home. 90 % of 1st time Buyers start by requiring that the Elementary School has a 900+ score. Given that this eliminates approx 95% of schools in Silicon Valley we have a problem.

The solution is to explain how to use the API System for what is is designed to do, not what they are being told by other uninformed parties.

First we clarify that API does not tell how good a school is. Specifically at the Elementary level it measures only 2 subjects: English and Math.

Whilst these are important i firmly believe there is much more involved in being a good school than teaching how to take tests in 2 subjects only.

An API FULL REPORT also gives the demographic make up in a given school, and how each group is scoring. For example, let’s just take a typical Silicon Valley Elementary school which has an API score 0f 860 and a total of 350 students, 50% White, 50% Asian, and 50% others. We will consistently see that the Asian student group has a 900# API, while the White group will be in the 800’s.

If I were an Asian Buyer I might see this as a good reason to save a huge amount on my home purchase by considering an 860 Total Score for such a school to be perfectly acceptable for my children. This decision could well allow me to buy a suitable house for $500,000 rather than the $600,000 it will cost in the next school district which is similar in all respects except the API score.

The 2nd and most important piece of advice is to find one or more suitable neibourhoods, then go and visit the local school(s) during the normal day. Every school I know is delighted to allow future parents to do this and thereby get a real life idea about the quality of the school.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

THE NEXT BUBBLE IS COMING

 | 1 comment

Global Real Estate Bubble

Global Real Estate Bubble (Photo credit: Ryan Harvey)

Zillow.com launches!

Zillow.com launches! (Photo credit: Billiard)

Housing forecasters remain optimistic that property values will continue to increase over the next several years and exceed pre-bubble rates by 2017, according to the first-quarter Zillow home price expectations survey.
Based on predictions from 118 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists, these respondents believe home prices will end 2013 up on average 4.2% and rise cumulatively by 22% over the next five years.
Similar to this year, survey respondents anticipate home values will escalate another 4.2% in 2014 before moderating somewhat to annual appreciation rates between 3.6% and 3.8% over the next three years. With an annual 4.1% prediction in housing unit prices expected between 2013 and 2017, this represents the first time the average annual growth rate has surpassed pre-housing bubble (1987-1999) since the Seattle-based analytic firm began its survey three years ago.
The most optimistic of panelists predicted a 6.1% increase in home values this year, while pessimistic economists projected for an average jump of 3%. Furthermore, through 2017, the outlook for cumulative home price change projections ranged from 34.2% among the most positive quartile respondents to 11.7% for the most discouraged housing forecasters.

NOTE: These predictions cannot be used to discuss any specific area.They are for the whole of the Country. In my area, Silicon Valley, these folks are about 2 years behind the times. In other parts of California, mostly inland areas, are only now seeing early signs of recovery.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

OWNER TO RENTER

 | Comments Off on OWNER TO RENTER

AT LAST, SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN A BANK.

Pilot programs of this kind have been running successfully inside a number of Banks. If implemented more widely this strategy will make a huge positive impact on thousands of families.

CitiMortgage announced the launch of the Home Rental Program, a program designed to provide an alternative to foreclosure and allow eligible borrowers to stay in their homes.
The Home Rental Program will be managed by Carrington Capital Management, LLC and Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC. CitiMortgage and Carrington developed the program as a pilot.
Under the program, the eligible borrower transfers ownership of the property to a vehicle established by Carrington Capital and its joint venture partner, Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. A lease will then be established for the property at a manageable monthly payment.
Lease payments will be determined by local market rates but are expected to be lower than the borrower’s mortgage obligation. Carrington will work with borrowers to establish a length for each lease.
The program will be tested in six of the hardest-hit markets to evaluate its effectiveness: Arizona, California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and Georgia. Carrington will contact homeowners who meet eligibility requirements.
In order to be eligible for the program, candidates must: Occupy the property; owe more than their home is worth; be delinquent for 120 days; and be unable or ineligible to receive an affordable loan modification while still having the resources to make monthly rent payments. In addition, candidates must have a loan in the pilot portfolio serviced by Carrington.
To implement the program, CitiMortgage has transferred the ownership of loans in its portfolio through the sale of $158 million in mortgages to the Carrington/Oaktree partnership.
“We’re looking forward to working on this important initiative with CitiMortgage and our partner, Oaktree Capital Management,” said Bruce Rose, founder and CEO of Carrington. “Offering alternatives for borrowers looking to stay in their homes and simultaneously relieving their distress is core to the operating principles of our firm and will help substantially in the overall housing market recovery.”

TIME TO BUY???

 | Comments Off on TIME TO BUY???

Are you a potential 1st time buyer living in Californias Silicon Valley, and expect to live in your new home for at least 5 years/? YES YES YES.

0. Prices in our Valley have pretty much stabilized.

0 Interest rates are at all time lows.

0 There are multiple 1st Time Buyer programs from Cities, Countys, State, and Federal Governments. These can provide down payment assistance, and significantly reduce the cost of owning.

If your answer to my 1st question is negative then the answer is probably NO NO NO.

If you believe that prices are going to drop further and you plan to wait and buy at the bottom, please let me know how you will be able spot that bottom before it has already happened.

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

FROM BUYER to FORECLOSURE to RENTER.

 | Comments Off on FROM BUYER to FORECLOSURE to RENTER.

Many strange things have happened these past few years but here’s one of the most interesting.

John Doe, his wife, and 4 children live in a small city North of San Francisco and had rented till around 2006 when they bought a nice house with more space than they had ever had. All was well till John lost his job in 2009, and 10 months later lost his house to Foreclosure.

He now lives in that same house as a Renter paying $1,800/month rent versus the $2,500/month and mortgage he previously paid as its owner.

This is the result of new type of Real Estate Investor buying multiple Bay Area foreclosed homes to be rented both for short term profit, and long term Capital Gains.

In this case the Investor is McKinley Capital Partners who have joined with a New York hedge fund who have so far bought about 300 homes and plan to add up to 500 more.

Some very basic research has shown me that this process is replicated in many other markets where the values have stabilized and an upward trend is very likely in the near future.

Conversation With A Buyer

 | Comments Off on Conversation With A Buyer

The following is a result of a recent inquiry from a subscriber to the Trulia Voices website. He wanted my opinion on a purchase he was considering. He had picked up a lot of useful information but did not have the experience of the actual steps involved which allows an expert to place multiple bits of knowledge into a clear context, and then into a plan.

                                                             ____________ — _______________

Hello James,

        You are obviously doing a lot of homework yourself, as I would prior to deciding on alternate strategies for a medical problem. However, in both cases accurate information is required in order to make the optimal decision.

I believe you have reached the point of needing accurate current data, placed in its correct context, in order to decide how to proceed.

For example, let’s look at the scenario you described in your question.

Purchase price – $360,000

Loan $288,000 – o.k.

20% down – o.k. but maybe not the best choice, as you are already aware.

6.00% interest – Wrong. Worst case is 5%. (A $200 per month difference in payment)

Property Taxes about $300 per month – Wrong. On $375,000 will be $390:63 per month. A $90:63 difference.

Hazard Insurance $100/m – Wrong. $60 per month is a good estimate. A $40 per month difference.

Just these few differences would allow you to buy up to $400,000 for the same monthly cost. This takes you into the Piedmont High School district with its much superior education system.

You’ve taken the time to build your knowledge and vocabulary well. Now you need real facts and numbers in order to become an educated buyer in a market place where getting it wrong can be very expensive.

I’m not going to base important decisions about my health on “free” research and advice from the Web. I want the alternatives to be explained by a professional, and specifically as they apply to me, not some mythical Mr. Average.

I suggest you take a similar approach and hire a Realtor who will explain the options available to you, and help you understand the pro’s and con’s of each one.

Sorry if this seems “preachy” but I feel very strongly about the mass of incorrect and misleading advice and information being spread throughout Radio, T/V, “News”papers, Magazines, and the Internet. These sources are not interested in supplying information relevant to you and your situation. Their sole motivation is to sell advertising.

Why not hire your own professional who can advise and inform you based on your unique circumstances, at this specific time, and with regard to your medium and loan term plans.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cupertino Schools Reputation-Co-incidence?

 | Comments Off on Cupertino Schools Reputation-Co-incidence?

Most Silicon Valley residents consider Cupertino schools are the reason why people will gladly spend more for their house than for a similar one in the surrounding Cities. I agree.

However, here’s a brief excert from a Mercury News Article discussing how different School Districts are handling the swinging budget cuts they are getting as the State works on cutting it’s huge deficit. http://www.mercurynews.com/cupertino/ci_15090121

“The exception to continued cuts is the Cupertino Union School District. A teacher union agreement to take furlough days, plus an unprecedented community campaign that raised more than $2 million, saved 107 teacher jobs and will preserve 20-to-1 class-size ratios in primary grades”.


Anyone aware of other school districts where all interested parties are co-operating to ensure the level of education is treated as the most important factor?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

MoneySavers

 | Comments Off on MoneySavers

In todays crazy world we all know people who are struggling to get by. Here is information about some sources of help not commonly known about.

There are many free, low cost, discount and income-eligible services offered by government agencies and trusted sources. This link will take you to many of them http://www.takechargeca.ca.gov/campaigns/free.shtml.

You can also obtain this list from the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Visit their website for information on a multitude of programs provided by the State for all of us.  www.takeChargeCA.ca.gov 

The list of free and low cost services help California consumers save money!  Want a free or low cost hair cut, or manicure?  Looking for help paying for a Smog Check, or just some basic coupons for household products or food?  It’s all there and much, much, more.