Real Estate


GRAND OPENING OPEN HOUSE  at 25256 Baja Mar in Lake Forest-


This Saturday, I will be holding a Grand Opening Open House from 12-4pm on a beautiful Dual Master Suites Townhome with a huge backyard in a beautiful community of Lake Forest. 

What would be better than owning a home where you drive past beautiful lakes, forests & mountain views before pulling into your own garage each day?…locking in all of this AND an ‘Off Peachwood’ address!  You will love the setting of this highly desirable Cape Cod-style Hillview community. This large 2-bedroom, (Dual Masters) 2-1/2 bath, 1317SF, 2-car direct access garage townhome feels like a SFR! Kitchen has granite counters & breakfast nook.  Formal dining area has French doors that lead to expansive backyard patio – one of the larger yards in the community!  

Living room has vaulted ceiling, plantation shutters romantic fireplace. Upgrades include Berber carpeting, large travertine-like tile & wide-planked real hardwood floors, Your family & pets will love being surrounded by community and recreational parks, pool, tennis and creek-side walking/horse trails. Irvine Spectrum, local shopping and eateries are minutes away.  It just doesn’t get any better.  Ranged priced at $275,000 to $300,000.  With the calls I am already getting on it, I predict it will sell at the top of the range.

If you know someone for this home, have them drive by it (they can even walk around the back to see the yard) and then call my partner, Tom  Testerman at 949 422-4497 right away.  I will be tied up for a few days.  He will get them on track to have the best chance at this home.


Are Home Prices Headed Up or Down?

Yesterday I received an email from a client who is on vacation in another country.  He said that he heard that prices were still going down and was concerned about the value of the Orange County condo he was about to close escrow on.  I wrote him sent him the MLS printout of two model match homes which closed escrow in the last two weeks.  They were not as nice as his and sold for the same price he was buying his for.  I reminded him that prices are not only local, but they vary by price range and style of home.  For an example, $800,000 homes in Orange County may be falling while 3-bedroom $290K to $450K homes are stable and may be slightly climbing.  One bedroom condos are a deal as buyers can often skip 1-bedroom housing and go straight to 2 or 3 bedroom properties because of the current extremely low prices.

First Team’s  friends at Keeping Current Matters bring home the point that news on the real estate market can be conflicting and confusing.  It also brings to light once again that real estate is extremely local and that you must get to know your market place by talking to a professional that knows what the local trends are.  That’s what I specialize in. Stats can even vary from city to city and complex to complex, so before you jump to conclusions about the state of real estate – dive deeper into the story and get the facts so you can answer the question…Are Home Prices Headed Up or Down?

Here are two headlines that appeared in print last week:

LA Times: Case-Shiller Home Price Index Hits New Low 

Forex: CoreLogic: Home Price Index Increased 0.7%

In the Los Angeles Times story, David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, was quoted as saying:

“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation. Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight.

In the secomd article, Forex quotes Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic: 

“While the economic recovery is still fragile and one data point is not a trend, the month-over-month increase based on April sales activity is a positive sign.”

The Case Shiller and the CoreLogic price indices are both very well respected. How can they come to seemingly opposite conclusions? There are two reasons for this. 

1. Each Index Has a Different Lag Time

Each report is actually looking at data from different periods of time. Therefore, they are not technically comparing apples to apples.  Read the rest of the story:

Grandpa Knows Best

Knowledge is Power.  There is a flurry of activity in the news about renting vs. buying.  It really boils down to whether you are thinking short versus long-term.  We are watching this closely.  The fact remains; it has never been a better time to purchase a home – or a second home as an investment.  So who do you listen to?  Our friends at Keeping Current Matters may have hit upon the right source…Grandpa.

 There are those currently debating the financial advantages of owning a home. Some are looking at studies and reporting that homeownership has never really been a great investment.

One of these people is Jack C. Francis, a former Federal Reserve economist and professor at Baruch College. He said in a recent CNBC article:

“For generations, parents and grandparents have been telling us that the way to get ahead was to buy a house and keep making payments with a fixed interest rate and after 20 or 30 years it would be way up in value and that was your nest egg in old age. You could either live in it rent free or sell it and use the proceeds to rent an apartment.”

The article goes on to explain the rest of Mr. Francis’ comment:  

That was good advice until 2006 when home prices collapsed, he says, and it “may become good advice 10 years from now, but right now it’s not.”

Mr. Francis bases his conclusions on a study he completed which covered the years 1978 through 2008. In his study it showed that home prices increased annually by 5.7% and that the S&P 500 increased by 10.8%. Based on this information, Mr. Francis gives the following advice:

To students who come to him for guidance on whether to buy or rent in the near term, however, Francis has one word of advice: wait. “I keep telling them this is not the time to buy,” he says.

Let’s take a closer look at this conclusion.