Torrance, CA Real Estate News

By Mary Thomas BH,MB,HB, PV, Estates LA+, Mary C. Thomas Your Agent around the Globe
( Remax Estates Properties)
Now in California, it is a law that we have to make our clients aware of Private Real Estate Transfer Fees. What , never heard of them, either did I till last week, and I have been in residential for 28 years.What are they?A fee that is paid to the private party everytime the house is sold...Who would do that? Well it seems that some contractors use this as a way to pay their lost lawsuits.Where do you find them: On the Preliminary Title Search and who pays them? The Seller of the property depending on the Transfer Fee.Is your Seller aware of it, probably not but we now have to track them and disclose the private transfer fee to the Buyer and complete the new CAR form for 2008.Guess what the Party of the Private Transfer fee has to 2009 to record the disclosure but the realtors liabilit...
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By Mary Walker
(The Real Estate Group)
Hollywood Riviera is perhaps the most prestigious area of Torrance. Homes are more expensive, but if you can afford it, this is the place to be. The main reasons are as follows: Close proximity to Riviera Village, a smallish area where you can walk to a diverse assortment of shops, including restaurants, coffee shops, salons, galleries, and more. Very hip. Best schools in Torrance. While all Torrance schools score well, this area is at the top of the list. Partly located on a hill, many of the homes have spectacular views of either the ocean or the city below. Beautiful! If you'd like to view properties in Hollywood Riviera, please call me at (310) 508-8507 for prompt and professional service. I can set you up to receive automated property listings sent directly to your email!  
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Alert. If you do not have a FICO Score 680 or higher and cannot put down a sizable down payment you're being squeezed in the mortgage market.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are charging fees much higher than before to borrowers with lower scores and down payments of less than 30%. Unfortunately these are borrowers that were once considered "prime" credit applicants.  Mortgage insurers like MGIC and PMI Group are raising premiums on consumers who have low down payments and scores mid-to upper 600s.  Both penalties total thousands of dollars, payable either at settlement or in higher interest rates.  Example if you qualify for a loan for 300,000.00 and your credit score is 675 and your LTV (Loan To Value) is 75% with a 25% down payment the additional cost will be 2,250.00 per loan.  In today...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
With the mortgage industry struggling mightily here are 5 creative ways to fixing the mortgage market.  Shared Appreciation a few banks offered this mortgage in the 1970s, but the Internal Revenue Service never clarified whether the payments to outside investors could be view as tax-deductibles interest, which left homebuyers nervous.  The way it works a homeowner agrees to share the profit on the home if he sales at a profit.  This idea is popular in Australia.  Hedge with a short sale the homeowner would short a regional index of home prices.  The bank would hold the futures position in escrow; it could reduce its risk of losing money.  If the homeowner had to sell, he'd make enough on the short sale to cover the decline in value of his home.  Offer Puts the homeowner would buy insura...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Buying your next home at an auction can save you a huge amount of cash in your wallets.  First and foremost you set your OWN price when bidding on a home.  You are not at the mercy of a seller unrealistic "asking price".  Other benefits include:  No long negotiation period with offers going back and forth, huge selection of homes at rock-bottom auction prices.  The lenders at these auctions are very motivated to sell these homes as soon as possible; lenders are in the lending business not home ownership.  And to say the least these events are free, registration, pre-qualification, and admission are all included.  Go to http://www.ushomeauction.com/ for more details.  When you check in you must have a 5,000 cashier check (made payable to yourself) or (cash equivalent) and checkbook.  Kee...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Buying or selling a home (or other piece of real property) usually involves the transfer of large sums of money.  It is Important that the transfer of these funds and related documents from one party to another be handled in a neutral, secure and knowledgeable manner. For the protection of buyer, seller and lender, the escrow process was developed.  As a buyer or seller, you want to be certain all conditions of sale have been met before property and money change hands.  In part escrow functions work like well oiled machine.  One party engages in the sale, transfer or lease of real or personal property with another person delivers a written instrument, money or other items of value to a neutral third person, called an escrow agent or escrow holder.  The third party (the escrow officer) w...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Homebuyers beware. Please do not throw your debt ratio out of whack before the close of escrow.  Many deals fall through simply because of inopportune spending.  A mortgage that you were previously approved of by a lender before closing can drastically change due to excessive debt.  Lenders are pulling credit history and credit scores within a week of a buyer's schedule closing date just to make sure nothing major has change.  What the lender doesn't want to see is a huge run-up of credit-card debt or other loans.  Some lenders may require for you to sign a statement affirming that there has been no change in your finances and employment that will affect your ability to repay the loan back.  Accumulating debt before closing can cause your credit score to change and the lender may longer...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Make an extra mortgage payment. The extra interest you pay will be added to this year's mortgage interest by your lender, boosting your itemized deductions.  Donate to charity. It pays to be charitable, especially at the end of the year. Donating cash is always a good idea. You can also donate household goods, clothing, and other items.  Boost your business expenses. Business owners and independent contractors can buy office supplies, invest in new equipment, or pay bonuses to their employees.  Pay doctor bills, insurance premiums, buy eyeglasses, or stock up on prescription medications. You can take a deduction for medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.  Organize your financial records. Good record keeping can really pay off at tax time. Not only will it make yo...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Are you one of those who constantly think of ways to conserve energy and save more in the process? Here are a few options you can use to save more on your power bills. Heat or cool your home less. Drive or fly fewer miles. Run electrical equipment less and run less water since pumping water takes lots of electricity. Buy more locally grown food and goods that are manufactured nearby; they’re typically made with cleaner U.S. manufacturing processes, and companies use less fuel to transport them. For appliances buy the most energy-efficient devices you can afford. Look for appliances with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Label. Since 1992 the EPA says that is has help save Americans an estimated 14 Billion dollars on energy bills. The EPA has over four dozen types of prod...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
From CNN Money, Wall Street Journal to Forbes Magazine they all are reporting the fall in value of the U.S dollar.  Interest rates have been slashed in order to boost our struggling economy.  The sub-prime fallout from earlier this year is in full effect.  When you purchase a home so many entities feed off a sole purchase that churns our economy.   Example, when a homebuyer completes escrow and receive the keys to their new home, they often purchase items from dept stores for their home.  Landscaping, cable or satellite, pest control, home insurance you name it are all affected by foreclosure.  When you hear about these foreclosures that are taking place through out the U.S. so many people feel the crunch as well.  Moreover, lending has been extremely tightened which deepens the problem...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Solar energy is becoming more popular by the minute.  Besides providing electricity for residential homes, solar power is being used for water heaters to carports.  Die-hard conservationist for the most part primarily used solar energy.  There are examples of huge savings associated with solar energy.  Case in point:  A elderly couple from Long Beach, CA had solar panels installed at their residence.  They essentially cut their power bills from $400.00 a month to a mere $1.34.  California is one of the most aggressive states in offering consumer credits to use solar energy.  Solar Energy Industries Association trade group advise consumers to check out installers through their web site, http://www.seia.org/ and to make sure the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certi...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
Homeowners, if you want to makeover your home, but you're short on cash here are some ideas to consider.  Let's start with the yard. Landscaping does not have to be expensive, by replacing bushes and overgrown shrubs with colorful flowers will add value to your home.  Another way to modernize your home is to update your fixtures. Swapping out older light fixtures and faucets will bring a newer look; also you can save more using fixtures that support halogen light bulbs. You can save $500.00 to $600.00 by replacing your floors yourself.  Floating floors are options that can be installed on top of boards and linoleum floors this might come in handing in your rec and pantry rooms. One other way to add curb appeal to your home is repainting the trim and the front door of your home.  This wi...
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By Mary Thomas BH,MB,HB, PV, Estates LA+, Mary C. Thomas Your Agent around the Globe
( Remax Estates Properties)
The Portal opened last month in South Torrance. Before opening The Portal was refurbished with $150,000.00 worth of renovations.  All courtesy of the Coast Community Church.The Portal is for youth/teens from the ages of 12 years old to 17 years old.  The Portal has it's own Cafe with snacks, sandwiches and a coffee bar with a espresso machine.  Prices for snacks range from $.50 -$5.00.The Portal has a pool table,Video Arcade and 2 X Box 360's. Students just need ID to rent controllers for XBox.Best thing that us parents will like is that there is home work help available. The Portal will also be offering classes for boys and girls in Jewelry making,cooking computers and over 15 other classes.We are so privileged to have the community at Coast Christian funding this teen center.  Our you...
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By Julie Lockwood
(RE/MAX Execs- South Bay)
In order to achieve any goal, one must first have the Desire and Determination to reach that Goal.  We all have goals, whether we acknowledge them or not.  Everytime we say or think, "I wish ....."  "I'd like to ....." or "I want ..." we are creating a goal. Now, these goals can only become a reality if there is a desire (the want) and a determination (the belief in it) to make it happen.  Anytime a "wish" or a "want" doesn't come to pass, we can look back to our thoughts and feelings about the goal.  Did I really want that? Did I really believe in it?  The Secret is not to allow uncertainty and self-doubt to plague your mind. This can be much easier said than done.Let's say you want to retire with 2 million dollars in the bank.  You can either stuff $80,000/year under the matress for 2...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
We often take for granted how safe our home tap water is.  In reality it may be more harmful than you think it is.  EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) mandates that all drinking water suppliers provide an annual quality statement.  You can locate these reports at www.epa.gov.  If you can't find it there, then be sure to contact your local utility companies.  If you like to test your water for contaminants, contact your local health departments or call the Environmental Protection Agency hotline at 1-800- 426-4791.  These agencies will assist you in finding a state certified lab for water testing.  Private Laboratories charge from anywhere from $15 to more than $100 depending on how many contaminants you test for.  Households with small children or pregnant women should test their wat...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
The shakiest thing besides an earthquake is a preliminary title report. You can rely on these as much as winning the lottery with one dollar. These reports simply do not reveal encumbrances and liens that may be attached to the property, also they do not represent condition of title. A title insurer is not liable for inaccuracies a preliminary title report fails to uncover. In California a prelim title report is no more than an offer to issue a title insurance policy based on the contents of the prelim title report and any modifications made by the title company before the policy is issued. A prelim title report discloses special taxes, assessments, bonds, covenants, conditions, restrictions, easements, rights of way, liens and, any interest of others which may be reflected on public re...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
A reverse mortgage is a loan against the equity in the home that provides tax-free cash advances, but requires no payments during the term of the loan. Moreover, it doest not require an income or credit qualification. Basically all you need is to own your own home or condominium, and be 62 years of age or older. During the duration of the loan you will not have to make any monthly payments, meaning the balance will grow and equity will get smaller because the interest will accrue to your balance. Now if you decide to move from the property and it is no longer your principal residence, then loan will become due and payable. Other factors that can contribute to this are, the last surviving borrower sells or passes away. A reverse mortgage can used for everyday living expenses, such as hom...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
 I can’t over emphasize the importance of a Home Inspection Report. For sellers this report should be included in your listing package, for buyers this will provide a clear view of any defects the home might have. Home sellers this report should be attached to your TDS (Transfer Disclosure Statement), on receipt of the report, the seller act to eliminate some or all of the deficiencies noted in the home inspection report. . When you bring any defects to code a new report should be ordered immediately. Home sellers will be protected down the road, by demands to correct defects or to adjust the sales price in order to close escrow. The listing agent should order this report on the seller’s behalf. The listing agent will lose control over the marketing and closing process, and expose hims...
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By Julie Lockwood
(RE/MAX Execs- South Bay)
I want to share with you some business thoughts on whether this is a good time to buy or continue renting. First you must understand how basing your investment decisions on short-term results are detrimental to your long-term financial health. Let me explain:In South Torrance property values have doubled 5 times since 1970!Do you believe that prices will be higher in 7-10 years? I do.  Historically speaking, it is a known fact that properties values have gone up... and up... and up over time.  Take a moment to think about how much a home cost when you were a child. Or how much your grandparents paid for a home.  Let's assume you purchase a home for $700,000 today. We can assume in 10 years it will be worth $900,000. That's a $200,000 profit. If your down payment is 10% ($70,000) and the...
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By Larry Tolliver
(Keller Williams Realty)
As a realtor in today's market, my job has been hampered by the "bad market" cliché. Everyone seems to have the Chicken Little "the sky is falling" mentality. I definitely agree that lenders have tightened their lending criteria. However, there are still transactions being conducted on a daily occurrence. . When I prospect for clients the first question they ask me is "Is the market as bad as the experts say?" My reply is yes and no. Yes, because where foreclosures are high in numbers usually results in vacancies and short sales plunging the market south in depreciation. No, because there are markets that are high in demand and home appreciation is on the rise. Think about it, the two things that the United States government endorses is small business and home ownership. Lending across ...
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