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  • Date: 3/2/2017

  • Date: 2/17/2017

    What are your Investment Options?

    Cash Flow

    This option looks at the return based on the rent collected.  We will typically aim for a return of certain percentage based on the area of investment and the condition of the real estate market.  For example, I would typically look for 30% return in Stockton in 2009 or we’re looking for about 8-10% in currently in Hayward.

     Appreciation

    This type of investment focus on the potential for appreciation of the property.  It is typically carried more risk (but potentially with higher return) due to uncertainty in forecasting future real estate market.  However, there are other factors that may reduce those uncertainties and lessens investors’ liabilities.  For example, this community in Milpitas (already sold out) has a high probability for short term appreciation due to its close proximity to the newly constructed BART station and the Santa Clara light rail station.  Furthermore, purchasing during an early phase of the project is beneficial because the builders will only increase the price as further phases were released for sale.

     Flips

    As its name inferred, this type of investment involves buying fixer-uppers for below market value, make necessary repairs and sell for profits.  Investors will usually have sufficient time to organize and manage these projects.  Obtaining conventional financing are typically not viable due to the property condition and thus either cash or hard money financing are needed.  The risk, if well managed, are minimal as contrary to conventional wisdom. 

     Opportunistic

    There are properties that may need some slight adjustments to increase its value.  Examples include:

    • -updating County records to correct the square footage and/or number of bedrooms or bathrooms
    • -tree trimming and/or addition of the perimeter fence to increase privacy and the usable lot area
    • -look out for bargains on properties that have been sitting on the market for a while
  • Date: 10/13/2015

    YES, BUY NOW! 

    Here’s a nice summary of the Bay Area’s Economy, Population and Housing: 

    http://reports.abag.ca.gov/sotr/2015/section3-changing-population.php#section3_1

    Here’s a another report that project Population to 2040: 

    http://planbayarea.org/pdf/Draft_Plan_Bay_Area/02-Bay_Area_in_2040-Key_Demographics.pdf

    You can actually predict the housing prices moving forward by your opinion of the factors above.  Do you believe that the Bay Area job market will continue to improve for the next 3-5 years?  Are you seeing a lot of job postings at your company and those around you?  If you answer yes, then home prices will continue to improve as well.

    To give you a hint, since I also manage properties for investor clients, more than half of current potential renters here are moving from outside of California or the US.  According to the ABAG report above, the Bay Area has added about 5,000 people per month since 2010 to present.  This trend will continue with our technology and bio-science sectors continue to innovate and improve.

     

    So the short answer is:  YES, BUY NOW!  I have also purchase another property few weeks ago as my investment home.

  • Date: 4/22/2015

                 

    Fridge or Freezer Recycling Incentive While it Lasts!

    Incentive has been increased to $50 when you recycle your old refrigerator or freezer (while funds last). Only available for refrigerators and freezers.

    • Contact JACO Environmental, PG&E's recycling partner to schedule a pickup. Online or call 1-800-299-7573.
    • You must be a customer of PG&E with an active electrical meter at the address where you're recycling appliances.
    • Commercial refrigerators do not qualify.
    • Your refrigerator or freezer must be 10 to 32 cubic feet in size, empty and operational at the time of pickup.
    • There is a limit of two refrigerators or freezers per customer, per year.
    • Property Managers of commercial properties or multi-unit complexes may submit more than 2 units per year. (Must Phone-in Reservation).
    • Requirements for Program Participation
      1. You must be a current PG&E electric customer.

      2. The unit must be in working condition and meet the following size and configuration requirements:

        • Size requirements: 10-32 cubic feet.
        • Configuration requirements: The below configurations are eligible for the program.
  • Date: 3/13/2015

    SCAMMERS ARE CALLING PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY SENIORS, ON THE PHONE.  THEY SAY THINGS LIKE:

    “This is the IRS.  You have been charged with tax evasion, and you will be arrested immediately if you don’t clear this up.  Send us $$$ for bail so you won’t get arrested.”

    These are scammers who pretend to be the IRS, saying you owe money, and need to pay immediately to avoid being incarcerated, etc. DO NOT fall for their scam. Best way to handle this situation is to hang up and report them to your local District Attorney’s Office and call your local IRS department and inquire about it yourself.

    PLEASE NOTE THAT THE IRS NEVER CALLS YOU, THEY COMMUNICATE VIA USPS MAIL! So call, or better yet visit your local IRS office if you need to update or pay your taxes. 

    Other similar scams will sound like:

    “This is your grandson, I’ve been arrested, I’m hurt, please bail me out and don’t tell my parents.  Send me money.”

    OR

    “This is Superior Court, you failed to show up for jury duty.  This is a very serious matter.  There is a warrant out for your arrest.  Pay $3000 for bail to stop your arrest.”

    OR

    “You have won a prize or award.  Use a Green Dot card to send us $$ to claim your prize.”

    Green Dot cards (and other types of cash cards) are cards that you can buy in order to transfer money.  You can buy a Green Dot card for a certain amount, it works like a gift card.  There are numbers on the card. Anyone who knows those numbers can get the cash that’s on the card.   The scammers tell the elders to go to a business that sells Green Dot cards, pay cash for a card, call the scammer back, and tell them the numbers on the card.

    If someone calls or emails you saying anything like these statements, and tells you to send money, DON’T!!  IT IS A SCAM!!!!!  Call the Santa Clara County’s District Attorney’s Office at (408) 792-2880; (408) 792-2525 immediately.

  • Date: 2/2/2015

    Are fixer-uppers good for me?

    In a competitive real estate market, fixer-uppers may become a good option for some home buyers.  Often times, fixer-upper units start with a lower listing price and they are not the most appealing to the majority of the competing home buyers.  However, the following should be taken into considerations when purchasing a fixer-upper property:

    If the property’s condition is too poor, you may not be able to obtain financing.  Even if you were able to find “specialty” lenders that will finance the loan, they may only offer 60 to 70% of the purchase price.  In that case, you will be coming up with a larger down payment up to 30 to 40% instead of 10 to 20%.

    • In order to make the unit habitable, you will have to hire a contractor to renovate the home. Therefore remodeling cost becomes extra cash required on top of the down payment.  Another option is to remodel on the “necessities” before you move in and continue with the remodeling process after you have moved in.  Apparently, a smaller amount of upfront cost will be required but probably you’ll be living in dust for the next year or two or until the remodel is complete.
    • Remodel process typically begins upon close of escrow. During the remodel process, you’ll probably be paying double mortgage until remodel is complete.
    • Last but not least, remodeling can be stressful and requires your time.  I am sure we all have heard horror stories from homeowners, friends and co-workers about dealing with the City and contractors.

     Fixers-uppers are not for the faint of hearts.

  • Date: 1/22/2015

    The cash is calling!

     cash

    You might have heard on the radio that Cash Call is offering interest rates as low as 2.75%.  So what’s the catch?  This program is actually legit provided that you’re looking for a 10 year fixed program (not 30 years fixed) and you’re not cashing out from your refinance.   Due to the fact that the monthly mortgage payment is much higher in the 10 year fixed as compared to the 30 year fixed, you’ll also need higher income to qualify.  Give me a call today if you have any questions regarding this program.

  • Date: 1/14/2015

    What will affect mortgage interest rate?

    Often times, I am being asked what factors will govern mortgage interest rate?  First of all, if your loan amount is higher than $417,000 and thus is considered “High Balance.”  High balance loans has slightly higher rate than conforming loan (amount less than $417,000).  Second thing to pay attention to is your “debt-to-income” (DTI) ratio which is an indicator on your ability to repay the loan.  If it is higher than 45% which is most lenders’ upper threshold of mortgage qualification, you may not qualify for the loan or your loan may have to go to higher interest rate.  In addition, in order to qualify for a conventional loan, most lenders require you to have a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of no more than 80-95%. The higher your home's value and the less you owe on it, the lower your LTV ratio. Lenders typically require two or more monthly mortgage payments in your bank account as reserves to cover your mortgage payment in case of unforeseen circumstances.  Last but not least, if you are short of reserve as required by the lender, your loan will go to another program which may result in higher in interest rates. 

  • Date: 1/12/2015

    1/12/2015

    Grant Deed Scams

     

    New scams are popping up everywhere these days.   Emails about winning money, theft of personal information, and insurance scams have unfortunately become present in daily news or conversation.  It is important for everyone to be aware of these scamming tactics and to learn how to identify them, especially because these extortionists have their eyes set on new home buyers.  Usually, there are a few tale-tell signs for this type scam:

    • You might have received an official letter in the mail from what seems to be a legitimate company
    • You are asked to pay anywhere from $50‐$250, or even more, for a certified copy of your Grant Deed.  
    • The letter conveys a scare tactic message.  For example, it may state that the Grant Deed is required to “protect your purchase from foreclosure in today’s market”.
    • The letter states that they will take care of sending a certified copy of your Grant Deed to you after they receive your payment.

    Never send your money to a third party company to receive a copy of your Grant Deed.  There are other affordable options readily available.  The Alameda County Recorder charges $4.5 (certified copy) for the first page, and $3.5 for every additional page.  Each county is different, so please remember to contact the county where your property is located.  Another helpful option is to give me a call directly.  I can get a copy of your grant deed for free from a title company.  The document does not need to be certified to show that you are the rightful owner of your home; the Owner’s Title Policy will suffice.   In addition, check your past mail.   After closing your purchase transaction; the county recorder mails the buyers the original Grant Deed.

  • Date: 1/11/2015

     

    San Jose condo/townhouse pricing continues to rise

    Here is the data from the past 12 months:

     

    Based on the median sale price change in San Jose for condos and townhomes, the prices have increased by 7.4% all of a sudden this month.  E.g., for a condo being listed at $349,000, multiplying this increase to the listing price, $349,000 x 1.074 = $374,826.  Therefore, if you were going to make an offer that will at least draw the seller’s attention, it should be $375,000.

     

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