sellling a home

Home values rise for first time in 5 years

Here’s a great CNN article I just read that does a good job spelling out what is happening in the market. Home prices hit a bottom and are finally bouncing back, according to an industry report released Tuesday. Nationwide, home values rose 0.2% year-over-year to a median $149,300 during the second quarter…

Click here to read full article

Your house as seen by….



It is property tax time, so I thought you could use a little bit of humor to get you through it….






Your Buyer

...Your Buyer

Your Lender

...Your Lender







Your appraiser

...Your Appraiser

The tax assessor

...The Orange County Tax Assessor's Office!

Letter of Recommendation from Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo & Santa Ana Client

Mammoth Highest Price in over a yearLet me tell you about my recent experience working with Jenean Hill. After making the difficult decision to sell my house, I wanted to be sure I picked the right agent. There were many things to consider when choosing an agent. Like anyone else, I wanted to get as much as possible and sell my house quickly, but I didn’t want to pay to fix it up only to find that I would have to settle for selling it for less than what I was expecting. After meeting with other seasoned agents, I met with Jenean and knew that that my search was over.

First of all, she listened and understood what was important to me. She was very honest in letting me know what she could do for me and what it would take to sell two homes and to purchase a new one. That’s right.  Jenean helped me with THREE different homes in three different cities. With that much on the line I was not about to trust in just anyone.  She also showed me that with the push of a button on the MLS, I could compare the track records of other ‘top agents’ along with hers.  After seeing that very telling ‘visual aid’ and hearing Jenean’s dynamic marketing plan, I knew that selecting Jenean Hill was the absolute right choice.

Mammoth LROther agents had recommended that I sell my properties quickly and ‘as is’.  I told Jenean that that was my plan.  Although Jenean was willing to do it my way, she was slowly able to convince me that, for a very small investment of time and money, she could sell the homes for, what turned out to be, a total of $200,000 more. Jenean then provided the expertise needed in the repairing, cleaning, packing, and staging of the homes. With her many connections in the industry, she was able to line up painters, gardeners, handymen, electricians, stagers, carpet cleaners, and window washers. Each of these providers was given a calendar of events showing all the work that would need to be done and their deadline for having the homes ready for market. By sharing this information and holding them accountable, we were able to complete all of the work on-time and under budget. I can tell you that it is because of Jenean’s reputation and their desire to do a good job for her client that these many providers were willing to work so hard. There is nothing quite as nice as having an agent who has that kind of influence on others.

Mammoth Sign Accepting OffersAll that hard work paid off on ‘Grand Opening’ Open House day! Jenean’s marketing generated over 300 guests and dozens of offers, with most of them from qualified buyers and significantly ABOVE my asking price. We were able to accept the most qualified offer for each home within 4 days of the open house. Because of the volume of qualified buyers willing to pay an extraordinary amount for my homes, the appraisers had no choice but to bring in the value indicated on the offers as the home’s appraised value.

Next, it was time for Jenean to help me secure a new home for my family. Once again, she LISTENED to my needs and desires. We did not waste a lot of time looking at houses that I could not afford or that would not suit my needs. Jenean showed me eight homes that were wonderful and all within my budget. She also insisted on showing me one home that I was not interested in seeing. What do you know!  That was the home I decided was perfect for my family.  Neither Jenean, nor I wanted to get into a bidding war and I didn’t want to lose this home to another buyer so she worked quickly to position my offer in its best light.  Her offer writing expertise was made evident by the fact that our offer was accepted within an hour of our submission.  It also bumped an offer that was in the process of being countered by the seller. By the way, my offer was actually lower than the seller’s asking price, so I did not pay over asking price to secure my new home. Rather, thanks to Jenean’s skillful negotiation, I made a fair and qualified offer that the seller was able to recognize as such.

When I share my stories of how Jenean was able to assist me, people are amazed at all that she was able to do for me and often wonder what her secret is. While it is true that she is very organized, knowledgeable, experienced, hard working and committed to serving her clients, more than anything else, she cares about her clients. I came to realize that she doesn’t try to be all things to all people but that if she thinks she can help you, she will put everything she’s got to help you realize your dreams. 

I can wholeheartedly recommend Jenean without reservation, and hope that you too could work with Jenean so that you could see how excellence is being redefined by her.

Ever Grateful,

Marion Fuget & family

Which is best for the borrower?

A couple weeks ago, I shared an article from Bob Hunt about the bottom of the market. Recently, he published another great article that posed the question: Short sale, Foreclosure or Deed in Lieu: Which is best for the borrower?

With a large percentage of the homes in Orange County still falling into these 3 categories, I thought it was an important topic to cover.

Here are Bob’s thoughts:

If only the President’s foreclosure-prevention plan worked as well as “cash for clunkers”. But it hasn’t. When the Administration announced the Making Homes Affordable plan in February of 2009, officials said they hoped it would help 4 million distressed homeowners to stay in their homes. As of [the beginning of August], the Administration has acknowledged that there are only 200,000 trial loan modifications under way.

Clearly, lenders have been reluctant to modify loans. (Moreover, there are good reasons for their reluctance according to a recent study by the Boston Federal Reserve.) Also, many borrowers have turned out to be ineligible for the programs or – because they are so far ‘under water’ – uninterested. Whatever the cause, the result is the same: a distressed borrower typically needs to choose between (1) a short sale (where the lender agrees to take less than the amount owed) in which, among other things, a commission (paid by the lender) is generated. (2) a foreclosure, or (3) a deed in lieu of foreclosure (where the borrower ‘gives back’ the property to the lender without a foreclosure proceeding). Which is better for the borrower?

Many real estate agents will say and advertise that a short sale is clearly preferable. In support of this view, two claims are usually asserted. (1) A short sale is less damaging to the borrower’s credit than a foreclosure. (2) A short sale provides the borrower with a shorter ‘waiting period’ until the borrower will be able to purchase a home again.

It is important to note that these are two different claims. For example, in a period of time a borrower could become eligible for a purchase loan under Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines, but he or she might still not have sufficient credit or income to qualify for the loan.

While many say that a short sale is less damaging to one’s credit than is a foreclosure, documenting that claim is another story. This writer has looked hard, but can’t find any verification from Fair Issac (the developer of the FICO scoring system) or any of the major credit providers. That is probably no surprise, because their systems are proprietary. Nonetheless, one wonders what might be the source of the claim.

On the other hand, people who apparently should know deny that there is any difference. Greta Guest of the Free Press ( quotes John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for Atlanta-based Ulzheimer spent seven years at Fair Issac. “The credit bureau sees those all as equal,” Ulzheimer said. “They are all essentially in the eyes of FICO a major delinquency.” Elizabeth Razzi wrote in the Washington Post (July 20, 2008), “A foreclosure and short sale inflict equal damage to your FICO score, according to Fair Issac…” though she provides no specific citation.

Moving on from the credit score issue, there is the question of being again eligible to buy. More precisely, it is a question of when, in the future, the defaulting borrower could get a loan that would be purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The issue is dealt with in Fannie Mae Announcement 08-16, released June 25, 2008.

When it comes to foreclosures and deeds in lieu of foreclosure, the policy distinguishes between events that were precipitated by extenuating circumstances (e.g. job loss, major illness) and those that were not (e.g. financial mismanagement). If you’ve had a foreclosure without extenuating circumstances, you can’t purchase with a Fannie Mae – backed loan for five years. However, if there were extenuating circumstances, it drops to three years. Suppose you chose the deed in lieu of foreclosure option. If there were no extenuating circumstances, the period would be four years, but with such circumstances, it drops to two. Fannie Mae doesn’t draw the distinction when it comes to short sales: the period is two years, the same as doing a deed in lieu with extenuating circumstances.

May 15, 2009, the Treasury Department issued an update to the Making Home Affordable plan. Among other things, it provides for financial incentives (e.g. a $1,500 moving allowance) to distressed borrowers who meet the general eligibility requirements for a loan modification and who will engage in an approved short sale or who will give a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Distressed and underwater borrowers face a minefield of options for resolving their problems. Not the least of their problems is the vast amount of misinformation floating around. They need to step very carefully.

I think that Bob makes some extremely valid points, and the key being whichever you choose, to make sure that you go with a REALTOR® that you trust to ensure the best results.

Another Open House…Another Frenzy!

Mammoth Front PSed squareHere’s an update of what happened to the 2,975 sq. ft. Mammoth Circle listing I told you about 11 days ago.

The seller originally wanted to sell it in its current condition. It was a MESS and would have scared people off if it was priced any higher than $449,000. Messy House imageI asked him if he would at least order a construction-sized dumpster so we could clear a path through the home. I could hardly see the brown wall to wall carpet due to the amount of furniture and junk covering it. After the dumpster arrived, I asked if the seller would do one more thing. He agreed to re-install missing walls and ceilings. I asked if he would get lighting and electrical working and gave him the name of an electrician right down the street. He did it! Next I gave him the name of a HVAC man. Within a week we had air conditioning. Once we completed the new walls, I asked if he would paint part of the home. He agreed. Now the rest of the house stood out like a sore thumb so he agreed to have the whole house painted. It was time to re-price the house with a range price from $449K to $549K.

The next day we hired house and carpet cleaners. I discovered that the carpet was actually a very attractive raspberry/burgundy color. The seller agreed to professionally stage the home around the carpet color. Staging and whole house painting was completed 5 minutes before we opened the doors for the Grand Opening Open House. At this point, I felt that we should receive offers above the top of our range.

I had invited 1,200 households to the open house and purchased an Enhanced Listing Subscription from that allowed me to showcase 25 photos of the home and the community. At noon, there was a line beginning at the front door and people began to pour in. Linda from SeaPointe Construction was there to talk about kitchen and bath upgrades. Rudy, the rehab-mortgage specialist was there to talk about wrapping upgrade costs into the loan. I had display boards around the house to educate buyers on the benefits of the community and familiarize them with other available homes and comps.

It was a mad house and that was the plan! We had as many as 30 people in the home at any given time and a total of 400 visitors by 2:30pm on Sunday. Marketing a home to attract a large number of buyers and agents to the open house adds tens of thousands to the perceived value of the home and ultimately to the sales price!

Mammoth Sign Accepting OffersBy Monday, the agent calls and offers were streaming in. I told all of them that they needed to write their highest and best because the seller wasn’t looking for a bidding war. When it looked like we were going to have at least 6 offers, I changed the MLS to notify agents that the seller would be reviewing offers in person Tuesday evening at 7:00pm. This is the old fashioned way of doing things and is the exact courtesy that I request when I am representing a buyer. I made big signs and Gary placed them all around the community announcing the event. I arrived and set up a card table with a 4 square foot Godzilla Pizza and soda.Godzilla Pizza

Agents showed up with their buyers, signed in and grabbed a bite to eat. Beginning at 7:00 we invited agents into the home one at a time to “give it their best shot”. Each one had 10 minutes to convince the seller why he should accept their buyer’s offer. Saturday’s open house lender was there to review the buyer’s financials on the spot. The agent’s buyers who were still convinced that the market is filled with ‘deals to be had’ were released to go home upon reviewing their offer . The agents whose buyers were in reality (as evidenced by their offer prices) were invited to stay while we completed the offer presentations.

Sometime after 9:30 we had completed the review of 12 offers. One of the offers had been submitted by an agent who was unable to attend and we had questions about it. We dismissed the remaining groups and told them that we would have to get back with them the following day. By Tuesday evening, we had all the information that we needed. We phoned the ‘lucky’ agent and gave him the good news. Today, the home entered escrow just below $600K. This is the highest sale in this community in the last year and I have one happy seller on my hands. In three and four weeks I am going to do the same thing for two more homes. Watch my blog so you have a chance at them before they are gone.

Thinking of selling? Would you like to experience your own buyer feeding frenzy in your front yard and sell your home for more than your neighbors have been attempting to sell theirs for? It’s time to call 949-583-1331.