30-Year, Fixed-Rate Mortgages Dropped to Under 5%

Mortgage Analysis 5/26/2010 from http://www.bankrate.com

Tracking Mortgage Interest Rates With 33 years of experience selling real estate, Joannie Selman-Prince thought she had seen it all. That is until earlier this month when interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dropped to record lows.

Joanie Selman-Prince, Lodi Office (209)484-7321 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (209)333-8875 end_of_the_skype_highlighting email-jprince@c21mm.com

“This is a very unusual market,” said Selman-Prince, a Lodi-based Realtor with Century 21 M&M and Associates. “I don’t think we’ll ever see it again in my lifetime.”

She was commenting on the dynamics of the current residential real estate market, low prices and low-interest rates. “Usually when you have low prices, interest rates are high,” she said. “And when you have high prices, interest rates are low.”

According to Bankrate.com, in a recent national survey of large lenders, the average 30-year, fixed-rated mortgage dropped to 4.96 percent. The rate was the lowest recorded in the nearly 25-year history of Bankrate’s survey.

The record low rates don’t have people running to buy a home, in fact, Selman-Prince said her recent home sales have taken a dip.

“The rates have been low since the first of the year,” she said. “We’ve seen a drop because of the tax credit expiring.”

Gus Saar, Tracy Office (209)820-3306 email-GSaar@c21mm.com

The conclusion of the federal tax credit of up to $8,000, which created a rush to meet the April 30 deadline for a binding contract, has helped the working-class buyer, said Joseph “Gus” Saar, a Century 21 M&M Realtor in Tracy.

“With the tax credit gone away, it allowed FHA and VA buyers to get their loans accepted,” he said. “I had a couple of FHA and VA loans accepted on REO sales and that’s rare. Those primarily go to all-cash buyers.”

Sonny Nguyen, a Century 21 mortgage consultant, said FHA loans require a 3.5 percent down payment and conventional loans mandate 10 percent down. “Right now, both are under 5 percent interest,” he said.

Sonny Nguyen, Century 21 Mortgage (209)534-7211 email-sonny.nguyen @mortgagefamily.com

Nguyen said with the recession and real estate crash, many mortgage brokerages and agents did not survive. “The fall-out rewards the people that are still here,” he said.

John Anaya, Century 21 Mortgage (209)758-3948 email john.anaya @mortgagefamily.com

Today’s mortgage shoppers, having witnessed sub-prime loans and questionable lending practices, are much more wary, Nguyen said.

“Buyers are not just shopping for rates,” he said. “They’re looking for someone they can trust.”

Fellow Century 21 mortgage consultant John Anaya confirms the sub-prime era has made today’s buyer much more knowledgeable about the process and the importance of a good credit score. “Most of my clients have already been pre-qualified by real estate agents,” he said.

Feel free to ask questions, make comments or suggest new topics for this blog. Just use the Comment box below, or send an email to newsandviews@c21mm.com. Why not subscribe to this blog? Just enter your email address in the Email Subscription box (above and to the right), and you will be notified anytime we add new articles.

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May 25-31; Northern California Community Events and Festivals

Dixon –Thursday May 27, 2010 at 4:00pm-8:00pm – Farmer’s Market

Farmers Market

Celebrate the Bounty! The Downtown Dixon Business Association with the help of the City of Dixon brings the Pacific Coast Certified Organic Farmer’s Market to downtown every Thursday starting Thursday, May 20 through mid-September 2010, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Women’s Improvement Club Park next to the Dixon Public Library on the corner of North First and East C Streets.

Vacaville – Thursday-Monday, May 27th-May31st, starts at 10am – Vacaville Fiesta Days

Parade, Kick Off BBQ, Car Show, Diaper Derby, Carnival, Kid’s area, Music,
23,000 attendees expected. Located at Andrews Park, Main St. x Davis St., Vacaville, CA. Bands; SkynnynLynnyrd, Matty T Band, Strut-A-Various, Sapo Guapo, Saddleback Ridge, The Blues Tones, and 48 Straight.

Clovis –Friday, May 28, 2010 at 5:30-9:00pm – Farmer’s Market

Friday Night Farmer’s Market is in full swing in the heart of Old Town Clovis. Sample fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables, grown here in the nation’s finest agricultural region, each in the peak of season! Floyd VanLaningham and Classic Chevy Car Show, Old Town Clovis, Pollasky Ave.

Stockton –Friday, May 28, 2010 at 7:00pm – Summer Kick-Off with Colby O’Donis

Located at the Bob Hope Theatre, 242 E. Main Street, Stockton, CA. Tickets – $35 & $25, call (209)337-HOPE

Lodi – Friday, May 28, 2010 at 8pm – The Cash Tribute Band

The Cash Tribute Show featuring James Garner delivers the Man in Black’s music with conviction, accuracy, sincerity, and honesty. James Garner not only takes his audience through a musical journey of Johnny Cash’s biggest hits, but also on an expedition of the Man in Black’s legendary life. Located at the Hutchens Street Square, 125 S. Hutchens Street, Lodi, CA. Cost $20.00, call for info at (209)333-5550.

Chowchilla –Friday, May 28, 2010 at 1:00pm – 30th Annual Golf Tournament

Golf Tournament

1pm Shotgun start at the Pheasant Run Golf Course. Enjoy 18-hose on a first class golf course, player contests, dinner, and raffle. $75.00/player, 4-person teams. For more information contact the Chowchilla District Chamber office (559)665-5603 , or Brad Banks at the Pizza Factory (209) 559-474-3586.

Merced – Friday, May 28, 2010 at 7:30pm-11:00pm – Karaoke at American Legion Park

You to can be a STAR! Come and join us every Friday of the month for KARAOKE!
The fun starts at 7:30pm and ends at 11:30pm. Also, food will be served from 6pm to 8 pm! Located at 939 W. Main Street, Merced, CA. Suitable for ages 21+, call for info at (209)722-0940.

Modesto – Friday, May 28, 2010 at 4pm-9pm – Central Valley Knights, 4th Annual Car Show

This event is open to all cars and motorcycles – all years. There will be live music, huge raffle, food booths and more. Helping the veterans counseling center on Carpenter Rd. Admission to the event is FREE. Located at the Regal Theatre, 3969 McHenry Ave., Modesto, CA. For more info call Patric (209)526-6537.

Merced – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, May 28th-June 13th at 8:00pm – Bye Bye Birdie

At the Merced Playhouse, 452 W. Main Street, Merced, CA, call (209)725-8587. For more information go to www.playhousemerced.com.

Fresno –Saturday May 29, 2010 at 4:00-9:00pm – Suds in the City

Sudz in the city is a music and micro brew festival celebrating its 16th year at Chukchansi Park in Downtown Fresno. This festival show cases premier brews from brew masters all over California. Live music and a wide selection of mouth watering foods will be available. Tickets can be bought in advance for $25 with the purchase of a ticket you will receive 8 drink tickets and a collectible mug. Located at 1800 Tulare St., Fresno, CA.

Vacaville –May 29 – 31st, 2010 – Jelly Belly Bean Art Show

Jelly Bean Art

Come and view our world famous Jelly Belly Bean Art! See how thousands of Jelly Belly jelly beans have been used to create artwork that looks good enough to eat! Hours of operation: Monday – Thursday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 6:00pm Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm. Located at: Jelly Belly at the Nut Tree Market Pavilion, 1681 E. Monte Vista, Vacaville, CA

Modesto – Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 7:30am to 12:20am – Gourmet Farmers Market

Enjoy farm fresh fruits & vegetables grown and brought to market by certified growers. Just picked strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and other tree-ripened stone fruits; melons, grapes and citrus will be available at their peak during their annual seasons. Vine ripe tomatoes, eggplants, squash, peppers and spicy chilies, artichokes, sweet corn, gourds, and herbs are all coming fresh to you as they are ready to pick. Regional vendors will display farmstead goat cheese, locally produced variety olive oils, classic wine vinegars, fresh eggs, honey, sausages, fine meats & smoked salmon, and Pacific Ocean fresh-caught fish. Wholesome local dried fruits, fresh whole nuts, kettle corn, gourmet coffees & teas, donuts, breads, pastries, pies and more. Located at 10th Street between H & I, call for more info (209) 485-2323

Sacramento – Saturday, Sunday, Monday, May 29-31, 2010, 10am-9:30pm – 37th Annual Sacramento Jazz Festival

Every Memorial Day Weekend since 1974, Old Sacramento, the Sacramento Convention Center and other downtown venues have drawn jazz fans to the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee, considered the top jazz festival in the West. Sponsored by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, the event features a 2010 lineup that includes about 60 bands from all over the USA and Canada, and from all over the stylistic map: traditional jazz, Condon-style classic jazz and swing, rockin’ blues, jazzy blues, New Orleans funk (street beat), Western swing, ragtime, salsa, zydeco, gospel, barbershop, and other jazz-influenced music. Note:event tickets not available at Convention Center Box Office (1301 L St); please visit http://www.sacjazz.com for pre-registration information or purchase at J St. box office (1400 J St) day(s) of festival. Located at the Convention Center, 1400 J Street, Sacramento, for more information call (916)372-5277 x 19.

Atwater – May 30, 2010 at 9am-5pm – Castle Air Museum Open Cockpit Day

Castle Air Museum

Helicopter Rides Available; 51 restored aircraft and other artifacts; many aircrafts open for viewing; see our Century Series Fighters; enjoy Bomber Burgers & Hot Dogs
Admission: Adults $12/Seniors, $8 Youth (ages 6-17) $5, Kids (5 & under) Free, Active Military Free with ID. Located at 5050 Santa Fe Dr., Atwater, CA, call for info (209)723-2178

Rio Vista – May 30, 2010 at 10am03pm – Farmers Market

Farmet’s Market @ Delta Club at Trilogy in Rio Vista. Open to the Public

Manteca – Monday 31, 2010 at 11:30am – Memorial Day Parade

Manteca Chamber Of Commerce presents the Memorial Day Parade, Free event, downtown Yosemite Ave. This years theme – “The Price of Freedom”, call for more information @ 209-823-6121

Stockton –Monday, May 31, 2010 at 7:00pm – Flatfoot 56

Rock, Celtic, Christian and Punk. Located at the Plea for Peace Center-630 East Weber Ave., Stockton, CA, call (408)395-0662.

Rio Vista – Monday, May 31, 2010 at 10:30am to 3:00pm – Parade, Memorial, BBQ

10:30 – Parade down Main St. to City Hall, 11-12 – Memorial Service, Memorial Day Addresses, and Recognition of Veterans, 12-3pm – Barbecue by Lira’s Supermarket with a portion of the proceeds being donated to RioVista VFW and American Legion.

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Century 21 M & M; The Inside Connection For Home Repairs And Service

The Century 21 M&M and Associates Connections program takes the worry out of selecting a firm to provide reliable home maintenance, service, repairs and recommendations.

Think of it as a trusted family member recommending to you a plumber they’ve used for years.

Lauralee Ensign, VP of Mergers & Acquisitions email Lauralee @c21mm.com

“It’s an excellent program,” said Lauralee Ensign, Century 21 M&M operations officer.  “It’s a way we can provide the best service for home buyers and sellers.”

The Connections program replaces guesswork with reputable, licensed and insured vendors.  The program provides Century 21 M&M buyers, sellers and agents with qualified service providers.

Monte Hoover of Gillespie’s Abbey Carpets & Flooring in Fairfield said it’s not easy to make the Connection’s exclusive list.  “They do a thorough background check and check with your customers,” said Hoover.

The long list of qualified services offered includes carpet care, painting, landscape services, electrical work and plumbing.  Other services include includes mortgage financing, property management, insurance and recommending doctors and dentists.

Jay Lloyd, Connections Admin. 707-429-2121 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 707-429-2121 end_of_the_skype_highlighting email Jaylloyd @c21mm.com

“It is working,” said Jay Lloyd, Connections director.  “The more it gets exposed, the better it works.”

Lloyd, based in Vacaville, said Connections taps into Century 21 M&M’s more than 750 associates for referrals and recommendations of quality businesses.  The businesses, which Lloyd calls “partners,” are then investigated, including confirmation of a business license and the proper insurance.

The firms that pass the investigation sign a one-year contract.  Lloyd said the one-year contract ensures the firm continues to produce quality work.  A provision in the contract also allows Connections to terminate the relationship if there is a decline in quality or service.

“We have had to remove some vendors in the past,” said Lloyd.

The high standards set by Connections makes it time consuming to build up a list of preferred contractors.  “We’re always looking for the right vendor,” said Lloyd.

While the program is well established in Solano County, it debuted in the Central Valley just three months ago.  Lloyd said the Central Valley has about a dozen vendors, with a goal reaching 50.

“We’re talking about a huge area — Lodi to Fresno,” he said.  “We need to have enough vendors to cover those areas.”

For more information on Connections, including a complete list of vendors, go on the web to www.C21mm.com and click on Connections Vendors.

Feel free to ask questions, make comments or suggest new topics for this blog. Just use the Comment box below, or send an email to newsandviews@c21mm.com. Why not subscribe to this blog? Just enter your email address in the Email Subscription box (above and to the right), and you will be notified anytime we add new articles.

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May 17-23, 2010 Local Community Events and Festivals

Century 21 M & M Real Estate has twenty offices in the Central and Northern California area. Most offices are located within one hour of the Pacific Ocean, and a little over an hour from the Sierra Mountains in the middle of some of the best agricultural land in the world. We are proud of our communities and want to share our community events and festivals. Here is a list of events happening this week, Monday – Sunday, May 17 – May23, 2010.

Clovis, Old Town Wine Walk – Saturday, May 22, 2010

Clovis' Old Town Wine Walk 2010Mark your calendars for this special event hosted on May 22, 2010 from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm. On that day, participants will meet at the ARBOR on Pollasky with your ticket and valid photo identification to receive a wine glass, map and ID bracelet which will allow sampling of wine at the participating merchants. Tickets are now available from the following Old Town Merchants: Hearts Delight, Vintage Rose, Goode Ol’Days Antiques and Dave Shivers State Farm. Tickets are $25.00/each. Call Wanda at (559) 326-4343.

Dixon, Grand Opening of the Farmers’ Market – Thursday, May 20, 201

The Dixon Farmers’ Market is back for the season! The Grand Opening is on May 20th, 4pm to 8pm, with all of your favorite producers bringing you their locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh-baked breads, olive oil, flowers, gourmet foods, and more. Market manager Greg Pursley says, ‘Come down for some fresh produce, a ribbon-cutting ceremony with your local city officials, fun kids’ activities, and great music. All season long we’ll be offering you the best produce, festivities, and more in a great location.

Madera Air Show – Saturday & Sunday – May 22 – 23, 2010

Dabuco, Inc is proud to bring you the 1st Annual Return of the Gathering of Warbirds! The new Madera Air Show 2010 will revisit the glory years of flying while thrilling spectators of all ages with exciting aerobatic performances. Ticket prices are where they should be LOW, LOW, LOW…Adults are only $10.00, Kids (6-12) are only $5.00, kids 6 and under are free and we offer Free Parking!

Modesto Amgen Tour of California (Stage 4)– May 19, 2010

The Lifestyle Festival, will be located near the finish line of the Amgen Tour of California Professional bike race. It is the place to be for all cycling enthusiasts, racing fans and spectators. There is no better place to experience the spectacle of race day than at the Lifestyle Festival. The festival will feature a health & fitness expo, cancer awareness education, cycling gear, family activities, bike safety, food, entertainment and more! With over 170 booths in downtown Modesto, there will be plenty to see and do for everyone in your family. The Lifestyle Festival begins at 11:00am. For more information call 209-526-5588

Modesto, Eleventh Street Jazz Festival – Saturday & Sunday – May 21-23, 2010

Now in it’s second year, Modesto’s 11th Street Jazz Festival will feature the extraordinary musical talents of Doreen Ketchens, Jon Faddis, Devil Mountain Jazz Band, Creole Jazz Kings, Blues Box Bayou Band, Bob (Sakoi) and Friends, Ernie Bucio’s Little Big Band, and Martin Martinez and Blue & Beige. New this year, is a day-long high school band jazz festival featuring some of the Modesto area’s top high school jazz musicians and jazz programs. This event will be staged at the Gallo Center for the Arts in conjunction with the 11th Street Jazz Festival. Tickets, $25 for either Saturday or Sunday; or $40 for the entire weekend, are available at Gottschalk Music Center, Barkin’ Dog Grill or the Gallo Center Box Office.

Stockton – Astronomy in the Park – Saturday – May 22, 2010

The Oak Grove Nature Center presents Astronomy in the Park, hosted by the Stockton Astronomical Society (SAS). Starting at 7:00 pm, join us inside the Nature Center for astronomy themed activities and crafts. SAS volunteers will provide telescopes for stargazing from 8:00 – 10:00 pm. Activities are free and open to people of all ages. Park entrance fee of $5 is required per vehicle. Stargazing will be canceled if it is too cloudy, but inside activities will still be held. Event held at Oak Grove Regional Park, 4520 W. Eight Mile Rd. (209)953-8104

Stockton – Haggin a la Carte – Saturday, May 23, 2010

The 22nd annual wine, beer and food tasting event—Haggin à la Carte—will serve as the opening reception for both the Bustles & Balustrades and California Impressionism exhibitions. This year’s event, will again feature food and drink from some of the area’s best restaurants, caterers, wineries and breweries. Event held at 1201 N. Pershing, Stockton, CA, members – $35.00, non-members – $45.00. (209)940-6316

Tracy, Wine Stroll Set for Friday – Friday, May 21, 2010

Local residents will have the chance on Friday to sample 37 types of wine in Tracy’s annual Spring Wine Stroll. Tickets are $20 before the stroll and $25 on the day of the event. They can be purchased at the Grand Theater Center for the Arts, 715 Central Ave.; The Great Plate, 714 Central Ave.; Nationwide Insurance, 821 Central Ave.; and The Salon + Spa, 20 W. 10th St. Tickets include admission for wine, food, entertainment and a drawing for a 35-bottle wine tree.

Investment Rentals; Cash Flow, Vacancies and Management

Last of a four-part series

It’s easy to buy investment property.  What’s hard is renting and managing the property.

Investors either hold properties for monthly cash flow and long-term appreciation, or they can “flip,” or immediately resale property for a quick profit.

While flipping has its own challenges, owning and renting rental property also has definitive challenges:

Cash flow ~ Vacancies ~ Management

Cash flow can be positive or negative.  Investors seek out properties with positive cash flow.  Positive cash flow occurs after all monthly expenses — such as mortgage payments, insurance, amortized property taxes, and management fees — are paid and there are funds left from the monthly rental income.

Ideally, positive cash flow allows an investor have tenants pay for his investment, while the property hopefully appreciates.

Negative cash flow occurs when at the end of the month, there is not enough rental income to service expenses.

Investors “run the numbers” before purchasing a property to determine with a property will have positive or negative cash flow.  Not even running the numbers can predict unforeseen expenses such as a leaky roof, a broken air conditioner or a deadbeat tenant.

Vacancies, from a deadbeat tenant or economic conditions, can be devastating to a property owner.  Positive cash flow suddenly is now negative.

Northern San Joaquin Valley rental properties are in the middle an economic downturn that has rents down, vacancies up and values down.  It’s a renters’ market, with landlords competing for a shrinking pool of renters.

In these tough times, the Stanislaus County unemployment rate is approaching 20 percent, renters double up, moving in with family or friends.

Scott Abell, Oakdale Office call (209) 765-7929 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (209) 765-7929 end_of_the_skype_highlighting email sabell@c21mm.com

Scott Abell, a Century 21 M&M and Associates Realtor in Oakdale, owns 10 income properties and isn’t fazed by the tough market.

“That’s where you get into the creative side of marketing,” he said.

He makes his properties standout from the competition by offering rent incentives that include a low initial monthly payment that progressively escalates to market rate.  He also seeks out a competitive advantage when purchasing investment property.

“All my units have a garage and laundry hookups,” said Abell. “I put in washer and dryers as part of the package.”

Some investors manage their own properties, while others hire professional property managers. The first time a tenant calls you to fix a plugged toilet in the middle of the night, professional management sounds like a good idea.

For a fee typically ranging from 5 to 8 percent, a management firm takes care of collecting the rent and order any needed maintenance and repairs.  There can be additional charges, such as interviewing and placing new tenants and evicting problem renters.

Feel free to ask questions, make comments or suggest new topics for this blog. Just use the Comment box below, or send an email to newsandviews@c21mm.com. Why not subscribe to this blog? Just enter your email address in the Email Subscription box (above and to the right), and you will be notified anytime we add new articles.

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Flipping Real Estate in Northern California

Third in a four-part series

Lauralee Ensign, John Melo, Richard Davidson-President & CEO of Century 21, Larry Matos. Read the article at "In the News" (see above button).

Some real estate investors like to play a high-risk game.  It’s called flipping.

“Flipping is very, very high risk,” said Ernie Ochoa, a Century 21 M&M and Associates Realtor based in Merced.  “It’s not for the average guy.  You can really lose money.”

You also can make money.  Flippers typically attempt to buy bargain-priced properties and after some repairs and maintenance, try to sell quickly and pocket a tidy profit.  It’s the classic “buy low and sell high.”

A 13-year realty veteran, Ochoa has been working with flippers for the past six months.  Much of his work is not done from his office, but from the steps of the local courthouse.

“We’ve been hitting the courthouse steps and picking up properties there,” he said.  “It’s very time consuming.”

The courthouse is where public foreclosures are auctioned off every weekday.  Termed “trustee sales,” the procedure is part of the foreclosure process.  There’s no shortage of inventory as the recession has pushed nearly 52,500 homes into foreclosure in Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties.

Ernie Ochoa, Merced Office Call-209-707-7653 Email-Eochoa@c21mm.com

Ochoa said the event generally draws a dozen or so bidders.  Each one is looking for a steal.

“You pay anywhere from 10 to 20 percent below market value,” he said.

The discount comes at a big price.  Bidders take a big risk as most properties are purchased sight unseen.

“We don’t know the house’s condition,” said Ochoa.  “They don’t let you look inside.  They’re usually locked or occupied.”

The “winning” bidder could be surprised by a house requiring a lot of expensive repairs, missing bathroom fixtures and stripped of copper wiring.

In addition, the courthouse auction requires the winning bidder to immediately pay — no loans or mortgages accepted — in cash or cashier check.  The all-cash requirement locks out most first-time buyers.

Then there’s the pressure getting caught up in the bidding.  “Sometimes you only have a minute to make a decision,” said Ochoa.

Flipping in the today’s recession market is less profitable than when housing sales were booming, said Ochoa.

“The profits aren’t huge.  You aren’t going to make 50 grand on a flip,” he said.  “They’re decent deals, they’re not great deals.”

Scott Abell, Oakdale CA, call 800-644-0899 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 800-644-0899 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Email-Scott@weselloakdale.com

Scott Abell, a Realtor at Century 21 M&M in Oakdale, concurred profit margins from flips were down from the peak in mid-2000s.  “You can’t make more than 20 percent on the flip,” he said.

Ochoa said very few auction properties are bid up to the minimum price and then are returned to the mortgage holder to become REO properties.

“You’d be lucky to pick up one or two a week,” he said.  “A lot are priced too high and go back to the bank.”

Make that lucky and brave.

Feel free to ask questions, make comments or suggest new topics for this blog. Just use the Comment box below, or send an email to newsandviews@c21mm.com. Why not subscribe to this blog? Just enter your email address in the Email Subscription box (above and to the right), and you will be notified anytime we add new articles.

NEXT FRIDAY: Managing rental properties

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