Protecting the Value of your Home
March, 2009 - Issue #53
With enough warning, you can protect your home from a flood or fire (or purchase insurance to do the protecting for you). But in today's real estate market, you can't put sandbags around your investment to prevent the value from rapidly declining.

For the past two years, I have advised home owners that if they were planning to make a move in the next few years that now was the time to do it. Many told me that they would roll the dice to try and milk more equity out of the market. Now, those homeowners can't sell their properties - at least not for a sum that seems attractive. The current foreclosure market has drastically and rapidly reduced the value of homes in Santa Clarita.

So what can you do? Well, you still may have options, but none as rosy as you'd probably like. For those homeowners with equity, you can still sell now even though you may end up with much less than you'd like. The good news is your home may sell quite quickly. My team is still selling most of our listings in under 30 days. For those without equity, there are plenty of options, like renting the home, selling and bringing money in at the closing, loan forbearance, loan modification, short sale, or short refinance.

SCV Real Estate Update
Current average sale price: $374,071
The average sales price is down approximately 23 percent from the same time last year.

Current average days on market: 64
Homes that have sold, on average, have been on the market 24 days less, or are selling 28 percent faster than this time last year.

Note: Currently in the SCV, we are seeing the average sales price continue to decline; however, there are still more sales and homes are selling faster than they did at this time last year.
Joshua "Dr." Suess is owner of The Focused On Your Family Team with Re/Max of Valencia; 702-4640

What is a Short Sale, Anyway?
A short sale is a workout plan to help homeowners and banks prevent foreclosure. A homeowner who is having financial difficulties sells their home for less than they owe, therefore avoiding the painful process of a foreclosure. The short sale process is when a lien holder or bank agrees to accept less (or short of) what is owed on the mortgage. The reason the bank may do this is to avoid the expense and time of a foreclosure. The seller will receive nothing from the sale, except debt relief and not having a foreclosure on their credit report.

A negotiated short sale will result in a discounted purchase price for a buyer. Short sales do take time and buyers must be patient. There are no guarantees that the bank will accept the short sale price that is presented. In most cases, by the time the bank does get around to agreeing on a sale price, the buyer has grown impatient and moves on to purchase another home.

Realtors are prepared to assist anyone who may be in a financial situation that may justify a short sale. We also are here to guide buyers through the challenges and complexities of purchasing these types of homes in the current market place. As realtors, we see our role as a contributing factor to stabilizing our local housing market. Not until the inventories of these distressed properties are sold to new, credit-worthy buyers will there be a return to market stabilization and housing appreciation.
Realtor/Owner Scott Thompson of Regal Realty of California; 295-8715
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