Monday, January 30, 2006

Denver weather in January

The real estate activity in Denver has been up this January due to beautiful weather.

Does that affect your market? Often we have folks who think houses do not sell during the winter as "folks just do not go out to look". Frankly, this tends to be true, right up through the super bowl weekend in Denver, then Katie bar the door. Cabin fever hits and the rag tops come out and the motor cycles. People who have been cooped up since Thanksgiving start coming outside and implementing their plans to get a move on.

Check with your top agent to see how their market responds to the "last legal holiday-SuperBowl Sunday". Do they have an increase in showings? The Denver market as a whole surely does.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese New Year

Chinese New year starts today and it is the year of the dog.If you were born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982 or 1994, you were born under the dog year.According to the Chinese horoscope dog people are loyal and honest and can keep secrets. They have sharp tongues and may say things to you that hurt you. They are cool-tempered people and do not mix well at parties. They always seem to have money.Chinese New Year is a good time to settle debts and it is good to begin the year with a fresh start. That means you will see the Chinese out looking at real estate in the next few days with their friends and relatives.Gung Hay Fat Choy! (Happy New Year)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Florida’s Existing Home Median Sales PriceRises 27 Percent in December

Florida’s Existing Home Median Sales PriceRises 27 Percent in December

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 25, 2006 -- The median price for existing single-family homes in Florida continued to rise in December, reaching $247,000 -- an increase of 27 percent compared to the statewide median price of $194,000 in December 2004, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

In December 2000, the statewide median sales price was $116,200, which is an increase of 112.5 percent over the five-year period, according to FAR records. The median is the midpoint, which is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes was $213,500 in November, which was 13.5 percent higher than November 2004, according to the National Association of Realtors®. In California, the statewide median price in November was $548,400; in Maryland, it was $302,822; in New York, it was $280,000; and in North Carolina, the average resales price was $215,160.

Statewide, a total of 17,505 homes sold last month compared to 20,592 homes sold in December 2004, for a drop in the sales pace of 15 percent during the holiday period. Realtors across the state reported that inventory levels appear to be on the rise following months of tight supply in many markets.

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.27 percent last month, up from the average rate of 5.75 percent in December 2004. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among Florida’s larger cities, the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported gains in both sales and median price in December compared to the same month a year ago. A total of 1,356 homes changed hands last month compared to 1,261 homes sold last year for an 8 percent increase. The market's median sales price rose 20 percent to $190,400; a year ago, it was $158,900.

Kay Seitzinger, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and assistant manager with Watson Realty Corp. in Ponte Vedra, said a strong local economy fuels housing activity in the area. "Businesses are continuing to relocate to the Jacksonville area," she says. "The growth is phenomenal. The military and service sector are our strongest two industries, but we're gaining a lot of diverse small businesses. Job opportunities are here and land availability allows for continued growth and development."

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral MSA was another larger market reporting strong sales in December, with a total of 1,084 homes sold for a 24 percent increase. The area's median price rose 46 percent to $322,300; a year ago it was $221,200. According to Brett Ellis of the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group, 2005 capped a great year. "Historically, the best on record. We did see some slowdown heading into the 4th quarter of 2005 which will carry over to 2006. Inventory levels have risen dramatically, and sales are down compared to similiar periods over the last several years. We think the market is taking a bit of a beather as many have been priced out of the market. Investor activity has slowed dramatically and many are cancelling contracts when they find out they can't resell for a profit. It all depends when and what price you got in. We've been saying for well over two years ultimately the end user will drive this market, and we're at that point now. Going forwrad, absorption of existing inventory will be determined mostly by the end user, and not the investors. We're back to normal supply and demand."

As for the state’s smaller markets, the Ocala MSA reported a 4 percent increase in the number of homes sold in December, with a total of 559 homes sold compared to 540 homes sold during the same time last year. The market's median sales price rose 44 percent to $162,700; a year ago, it was $113,300.

Wilbur Van Wyck, president of the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Riverland Realty in Dunnellon, says that the area's scenic beauty and leisurely lifestyle attract buyers.

"The secret is out about Ocala and that it's a great place to live," he says. "This is a beautiful area that offers less traffic congestion, a friendly community and still laid-back lifestyle, creating a strong demand for homes here."

A chart showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs is available by click here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Top 10 Tips for making your home burglar-proof

About half of home burglaries are committed with force. Burglars are opportunists, they don't spend more than 60 seconds trying to break into a home. If you're sitting in a home with cheap locks and a bare-bones alarm system, chances are an intruder could blow through your door and take off with your valuables and be gone long before the police arrive.

See for the complete post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Durango, Colorado Realtor Has The Method

This is not really a new idea, as I have been doing this for almost 10 years for my clients. The new twist, however, is the ability to have your IRA borrow money to help you in the acquisition of that real estate. This past May my Team along with The Bank of Colorado and Entrust New Direction IRA held a seminar at the college and we discussed this concept at length. I had the program videoed and would be happy to share a copy with you. Just send me an e-mail with your mailing address and we will get one right out to you. The very short version of how this works is this: (1) Your retirement account needs to be the type that allows you to hold real estate in it. That may require you to move it to a different company and we can help with that. (2) The property must be for INVESTMENT purposes. You cannot live in it, nor can your children or parents. Aunts, uncles or your brothers or sisters could be tenants, however. (3) It could be vacant land that produces no income, but is held strictly for appreciation purposes. (4) Especially good properties for this purpose would be “fix and flip” homes where you take a few months to fix and repair it, then sell it for a short term profit in a couple of months. Since the IRA holds the title and the IRA’s investments do not pay taxes at the time the profit is realized (there are some exceptions to this), you can see where this vehicle could be very helpful.

For additional information, please contact Rick Lorenz CRS, ABR Broker with Team Lorenz @ The Wells Group. website: or via e-nmail at or toll free at 1-800-955-0259.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Greater Kansas City Real Estate

Looking for a great real estate investment? Kansas City continues to be a prime location for both investors and homeowners. Values are steady, but still allow for buy and hold investors to have cash flow with most of their rental properties. Commercial real estate and multifamily apartment buildings are priced considerably less than many other major markets around the country. Heck, you can still find prime development ground at less than 5k-8k per acre.

The Korn Team is a team of top agents serving the Greater Kansas City area. Our website offers many tools such as searching our list of over 19,000 properties currently for sale. You can also tell us what you are looking for and we will connect your search with our MLS directly.

For more information about investing in Kansas City visit our blog site at

If you have further questions or wish to contact us directly, send an email to or call us at (816) 224-KORN (5676).

Top Agent Blog

Having just returned from the San Antonio CyberStar Summit, I was surprised at the Realty Times story talking about the number of real estate licenses in certain state versus last years totals, and their relations to the number of Realtors in those same states.

As an example of the increase Colorad had an increase of 24% to a total of over 52000. Those who are Realtors only number in the 25000 range. And to the public that is huge. Realtors have a code of ethics and therefore have a self regulating professional organization, which a licensee does not have. And the public now has a 20% chance of having a licensee that has one year or less of experience represent them.

One of the worst things that can happen to a buyer or seller is to be un-represented.

See for the complete post.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bleeding Edge?

I dropped my 650 one too many times and found myself with a device that only the screen worked. Strange but it seemed to happen the SAME DAY Verizon released the 700w. Well I was itching to try it and this was all the excuse I needed.
Ok so I plucked down the $ and switched to the dark side (verizon) and have been spending the last week trying this new device out. Here are my initial thoughts.
It is not for the first time pda/phone users just like a tablet is really not for first time laptop users. It is way more powerful, more intuitive, more versatile than the palm os version. I find I use the buttons and almost never take the stylus out. As most windows devices it is menu driven. As long as you think like that it works great. It has a few bugs. Yes. And I find that it still locks up for a few seconds at time as the little processor is trying to catch up. The web surfacing, ability to change font size, interaction with word, excel, powerpoint and most of all outlook. GREAT. The ability to find any third party software... None really, as of yet.
Overall I would recommend those on Sprint to wait the 6 months till they get it and it will most likely have the bugs out. Others that have been using Windows Mobile on another device and considering jumping to the 700 I highly recommend. Anyone on Verizon that has a 650. You will like the 700 better. Just like any device, plan on a bit of getting use to time. I for one find myself like a pc user on a mac. I know it can do it. I know there is a command or button... But I just can't seem to find it where I think it should be. Eventually I will get the full hang of it. Don't get me wrong. It has a lot of well thought of items. Example, when a caller calls and becomes a missed call you can call back that number or any others that are in the contact list. Just by using the center button you can navigate pretty much anywhere and the window button can take you back to the today screen(main starting point) no matter where you are at. You can also keep multiple programs open at one time... Though no recommended by this user. These are just a few.
I run outlook so this worked well for me. I have not experienced it on Top Producer, Agent 2000 (Online Agent) or the other real estate programs. Also out lockbox keys do not accept the palm system so I do not know if GE (supra) has a program for this.

I will post soon a month with the 700 to follow this up.

Sell High, Buy Low

In California where prices are high, we're encouraging our investor clients to sell high priced properties now and diversify. Since we're seeing the leading indicators of some California markets slowing down (for example, median number of days on market is increasing), then continuing escalation of California prices is no longer an easy bet.

Here are the highlights of what we're telling our clients who are investors or potential investors. At, you can find a more thorough explanation.
  • Diversification is recommended by many financial experts. We recommend diversification in real estate as well. For example, owning one high priced property may not be as secure against market changes and vacancy factors as owning several properties.
  • Choose a part of the country where they are experiencing a buyer's market (more homes for sale than there are buyer's currently willing to buy them).
  • Choose a part of the country where you like to visit so you can possibly deduct one trip per year to visit your property, after consulting your tax advisor, of course.
  • Make sure the agent you're working with in that area is a Cyberstar and has a local property management team to refer you to.
  • Sell a property in a high priced market, and buy several properties in one or or more of the areas experiencing a buyer's market. For example, some of our clients buy several properties in the same area, and other clients buy several properties in different parts of the country.

Being an investor is not difficult if you buy in areas where prices are low and especially if they're currently experiencing a buyer's market there. I'm in the process of buying a condo in Cary, NC for $56,000 where my down payment and closing costs are $6100. The agent I bought it through can be reached through

For help choosing an investing market, email

Affordable Residential Construction in San Antonio

Construction in San Antonio continues to grow. Jack Inselmann, new housing analyst with MetroStudy, noted that 2005 was another record year. The 16,340 houses built in 2005 blew the top off the previous year with a staggering 27 percent increase. The boom has not yet driven prices past the average buyer, another sign of its sustainability. Half of all production is in the $100,000-to-$150,000 price range. The Texas Real Estate Center estimates the median price for a house in San Antonio at $135,000. The center estimates the area median income is 61 percent above what is needed to qualify for a median-priced house with a conventional loan.

Christina Whipple

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rockland County Real Estate Market

Calls are coming in fast and furious from local homeowners. Many want to know, ‘when the spring market begins?’ In Rockland County, even with chilling temperatures and snow on the ground…the ‘early spring market’ is here. We are seeing more and more new listings on the daily hot sheets. Buyers are also starting to look at homes on the advice of their accountants or financial planners. Many have received a year end bonus and need to make a financial investment that will yield a tax deduction in the current year. From what I can see, we are in the midst of a transition… from a strong sellers market to a healthy balanced market. Most buyers are being more cautious and not making quick decisions and offers on properties right away. Many sellers are a bit frustrated that their homes are not selling as quickly as their neighbors. This is a sign of a changing market! If you would like to see what is for sale in your neighborhood, visit: Search Rockland Homes.

Naperville Real Estate 2005 by the Numbers

2004 Home sales in Naperville (Single Family, Condos & Townhomes)

334852$320,000 $354,484

2005 Home sales in Naperville (Single Family, Condos & Townhomes)


In 2005 the Highest Priced home sold in Naperville according to MLSNI (won't necessarily show custom builts and private sales) was a home for $2,850,000 and the lowest was a condominium for $90,000.

The average home in Naperville appreciated about 9% in 2005 compared to about 8.7% in 2004

We've spent some time compiling the 2005 sales in Naperville by subdivision. The file is large so I posted it here Naperville Real Estate 2005. A Caveat: Until 2006 there was no provision in our MLS for consistent subdivision/area input, so we have tweaked the data to correct misspellings and different opinions on what an area should be called, some license has been taken to try to make the #'s work.

All stats are compiled from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois, provided for informational purposes only... not guaranteed

Monday, January 16, 2006

San Antonio Growth Fuels Real Estate Market

Anyone looking for a rapidly growing real estate market need look no farther than San Antonio, Texas. As the nation's eighth largest city, San Antonio, is poised to move even higher in the rankings. The Alamo City had a 2004 population of more than 1.2 million, a four-year jump of 8 percent. The only other big city nationwide to gain more than 5 percent was Phoenix (Pop. 1.4 million). If San Antonio keeps growing at its current pace, it will pass San Diego, CA., to become the seventh largest city by 2010.

All this population growth means that the real estate market continues to grow at a steady pace as well. And, with the population predicted to double by 2020, real estate investments should continue to appreciate.

Christina Whipple

Friday, January 13, 2006

Birmingham Michigan Market Conditions

Residential Highlights ... Birmingham, Michigan

This is a great time to be looking for a home when the prices are reasonable. Oakland County Michigan's inventory is on the rise. The 12,498 active residential listings at the end of last quarter would last 12.34 months at the current rate of sales. Oakland county saw 3rd quarter 2004 sales of 4,160 homes Sold drop to 3rd quarter 2005 sales of 3,037 homes Sold. Sales dropped 26.99%.

Appreciation Not Continuing...Average sale prices didn't appreciate, but it went down very little. During the 3rd Quarter that ended with Sept. 2005 it was down 0.0762% from the 3rd quarter ending Sept. 2004 ($262,400 v. $262,600).

Mortgage Rates May Rise Due to China

China has recently signalled that it may diversify its investments in the US. Traditionally, China has been a large investor in US Treasury Bonds, which influences the price of mortgages as the 30 YR mortgages closely follow the US Treasury 10 Year note plus a premium.

If China backs out of buying US Treasuries, the 10 Year note yield could blossom, which could lead to higher mortgage rates. Higher loan rates could potentially power home sales forecasts, both nationally and in Southwest Florida.

Did you know you can listen to our weekly radio show in Fort Myers Florida over the Internet? You can, simply click here to Listen. You can also search for homes in SWFL using our free MLS search service. Be sure to check out out Lee County Florida Real Estate Blog for current information on the Fort Myers/Cape Coral and Southwest Florida real estate market.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Changing CA Market?

With the media virtually convinced of the doom of an impending real estate bubble, make sure that you get the facts.

We have a listing in San Pedro, CA, and we received an offer on it that was dramatically less than our asking price. The justification from the agent was, "because the market has gone down so much."

In preparing our counter offer, we included recent sales data. That data showed that, in fact, the San Pedro market has increased by 21% in the last year, and by 6% in the last 3 months. So, our property should not sell for less than the similar unit in the same complex that sold 6 months ago.

Whether you're a buyer, a seller, or an agent, make sure you're looking at accurate data and making your own conclusions, not simply believing hype from someone in the media industry trying to meet a deadline.

New Loan Limits for San Antonio

As of January 1, 2006, loan limits have changed for conventional, FHA, and VA mortgage loans in Bexar County (San Antoino) and the surrounding counties of Kendall, Comal, and Guadalupe.

The new loan limits for Conventional loans are:
  • Single Family - $417,000
  • Two Family - $533,850
  • Three Family - $645,300
  • Four Family - $801,950
The VA limit has changed to $417,000.

FHA limits have changed as follows:
  • Single Family - $200,160
  • Two Family - $256,248
  • Three Family - $309,744
  • Four Family - $384,936
This should allow buyers more access to properties in and around San Antonio.

Christina Whipple

Monday, January 09, 2006

California Real Estate Law Updates for 2006

Important Updates to be Aware Of

Some important new real estate laws have taken effect as of January 1, 2006 in California. Here are some highlights that may affect California property owners:

Disclosure of Supplemental Property Tax Bills
Selling or changing the ownership of California real estate will generally trigger a reassessment of the property tax bill. Many buyers don't realize that they may have to pay supplemental tax bills after they take ownership, and it comes as a big surprise in their mailbox. In order to protect buyers from this mailbox surprise, CA Assembly Bill 459 requires sellers of most residential properties, or their agents, to disclose to their buyers that supplemental taxes may be assessed.

Small Claims Court Amount Increases
Individuals may now file small courts claims for amounts up to $7500, up from the prior limit of $5000. This only applies to individuals, not to legal entities such as corporations or partnerships.

Notice to Terminate Tenancy Shortened to 30 Days
A 30-day notice to terminate month-to-month tenants is all that is required of landlords unless rent control or subsidized housing rules apply. Any existing laws that require a minimum of a 60-day notice will be sunset at the end of this year.

Meth-Contaminated Property Disclosure
The new laws require property owners to disclose in writing to prospective buyers or tenants if an order has been issued prohibiting the use or occupancy of a property contaminated by meth lab activity. Noncompliance with these new laws may result in a civil penalty up to $5,000 and other actions.

Looking for Santa Clarita or Los Angeles County California homes? Click here to check out the latest listings!

Linda Slocum