Mortgage Market Week in Review – January 25, 2013

interest-ratesMORTGAGE MARKET WEEK IN REVIEW

This morning bonds & mortgage backed securities are suffering a big sell-off in response to stronger than expected US corporate earnings reports, stronger than expected news about the state of US housing, and stronger than expected economic news coming out of the European Union (which only a year ago was on the ropes).  All signs, at the moment, are pointing to an economic recovery which will drive rates higher.  If you are a buyer considering a purchase or an owner considering a refinance, the time to act is now.

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | JANUARY 25, 2013

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.500% (3.60% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.625% (2.73% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.875% (3.97% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.875% (2.97% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.750% (3.82% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.875% (2.97% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago

 

Infinity pool in Tiburon, CA - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

This article was reprinted courtesy of Gina Kemsley – Copyright © 2012 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

If you are thinking of buying a home or refinancing your mortgage to take advantage of today’s amazingly low rates, make sure to check my blog every week end for my weekly Mortgage Market Review courtesy of Terra Mortgage. And don’t hesitate to give me a call with any question or for a referral to Marin’s top mortgage professionals.

Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author:   The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Marin County Market Update – Year End 2012 Report

Housing-Market2-300x209 (300x209)Economic indicators

The economy has been on the mend and continued its steady improvement in 2012.  As we turn the corner into a new year, let’s take a snapshot of the key indicators of the U.S. economy over the past three years to track their progressive shift.  As major drivers of the recovery of the national real estate market, and our local Marin County market, these numbers tell an important story.

The all important Consumer Confidence Index improved significantly, rising from 52.5 in January 2011 to 64.5 in January 2012 and finally to 65.1 in January 2013.  As reported in my November market update, consumers nationwide displayed improved optimism in 2012, driving the consumer confidence index up to 73.7 in November–the highest reading since February 2008.  However, the cloud of uncertainty of the Fiscal Cliff dampened their enthusiasm in December, resulting in a drop in the index at the end of the year to 65.1.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased from 11,600 on January 2, 2011 to 12,200 on January 2, 2012 and finally to 13,400 on January 2, 2013.  For detailed historical information on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, click here.

Interest rates continued to make headlines, reaching historical lows, as they continued to be artificially supported by the feds in their effort to spur the housing market’s recovery.  The 30 year fixed mortgage rate slipped from 4.77% on January 7, 2011 to 3.91% on January 6, 2012 to 3.34% on January 5, 2013, according to Mortgage-x.com.

Finally the unemployment rate, after reaching a high of 9.7% as of January 1, 2010, improved steadily from 9.0% on January 1, 2011 to 8.3% on January 1, 2012 to 7.8% on January 1, 2013.

The Housing Recovery: A Case of the Chicken and the Egg

A housing revival is typically what spikes optimism about the broader economy and jobs. In every recovery since World War II, a strengthening housing market has powered economic growth. This was not so during the current recovery, because housing was ground zero for the economy’s problems.  Instead, the improved economic climate spurred the recovery of the housing market in 2012.  That being said, now that housing is finally getting its bearings, it will turn from an economic headwind into a tailwind and become a significant source of jobs. There will be more construction jobs, construction-related manufacturing jobs, transportation and distribution jobs, retailing jobs, financial services jobs and a range of service jobs from cable hookups to landscaping. A better housing market is the principal missing link to a better job market.

The Main Story in 2012: Strained Inventory of Homes for Sale

Feeling more optimistic about the economy and their job security, an increasing number of buyers who had been waiting on the sidelines jumped into the home buying game with a vengeance.  These prospective buyers however found that owners were in no rush to list their properties for sale in a market where prices have remained relatively flat for three years.  Those who bought during the market peak, or took most of the equity out of their home during the go-go days of easy mortgages, have not seen their values recover to the point where they have enough equity to sell.  Other would-be sellers were deterred by the lack of inventory and surging rents as they were finding limited options to buy their next home.  The drastic reduction in the number of distressed properties coming on the market in 2012 was also a compounding contributor to this shortage of inventory.

As could be expected, the combination of high demand and low supply resulted in fierce competition among buyers and frequent multiple offers on the most desirable properties.  Many buyers brought all cash offers to the table, making it challenging for buyers with a more traditional financial profile (i.e. those getting a mortgage and putting down 20-25 percent) to prevail.  Prices increased only slightly, as the appraised value of homes frequently fell short of their contracted sales price when buyers bid up prices above recent comps.’

For an excellent analysis of the housing market, please read the Washington Post Article: Housing Renaissance Could Lead an Economic Recovery, penned by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

According to a recent report from the California Association of Realtors, here in California the positive fundamentals resulted in strong housing sales, especially in the fourth quarter.   “Sales for 2012 rose 5.4 percent, reaching 525,120 for the year as a whole, slightly above our projection, said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.  She added: “With sales in the higher-end market remaining strong throughout the year, the price gain at the state level surpassed our expectations, increasing 11.6 percent from $286,040 in 2011 to a preliminary $319,340 in 2012.”

Our local Bay Area economy remains strong, its growth fueled by our proximity to Silicon Valley, the biotech industry and the influx of 700 new startups in San Francisco in the past couple of year.  In 2012 all markets in the Bay Area regained some of the value they had lost during the recent recession, with San Mateo ranking the highest in its median price increase at 30.3 percent year to year in December.  In comparison, the Marin County market was a bit softer as we don’t benefit from the tech industry and the start ups as much as Menlo Park or San Francisco, but we had a very robust market and healthy increase in activity and values in 2012.

MARIN COUNTY MARKET

What a difference a year makes! 

While there is typically a lull in activity during the holiday season, this past December buyers in Marin County did not take a break.  Despite the very limited number of properties on the market in December—280 vs. 547 last year—179 buyers wrote an offer to buy a home in Marin vs. 156 in December 2011.  Typically in January we experience the lowest level of inventory of the year – this year it is record-breaking low.  Today there are only 282 active listings on the market, compared to a low of 431 in January 2005 at the height of the market and a high of 1,107 in January 2009.  This achingly low inventory (the lowest since records have been kept starting in 1985) is causing quite a feeding frenzy for new properties, swamped open houses on brand new listings and quick, multiple offers.  A stunning contemporary home listed at $2,999,000 by Frank Howard Allen in Mill Valley went “pending” on its first day on the market, which means the buyer made an offer with no financial or inspection contingencies!

You can take the pulse of a real estate market by looking at the percentage of listings in contract:  64 percent of all active listings were in contract in December 2012, compared to 29 percent in December 2011, a 124 percent increase and a clear reflection of the low supply and high demand in our market.  A balanced market is generally considered to be around 25-30 percent in contract.

A total of 221 homes were sold in December, barely down from 226 in November.  2,980 homes were sold in Marin County in 2012, up 19 percent from 2,503 homes sold in 2011.  Looking back, 2012 sales were the highest since 2005 when they reached 3,419.  A look at annual sales back to 2005 illustrates the timing of the market crash and the slow, steady recovery starting in 2010: Marin County annual sales were 3,419 in 2005, 2,852 in 2006, 2,509 in 2007, 2,080 in 2008, 2,173 in 2009, 2,325 in 2010, 2,498 in 2011 and finally 2,980 in 2012.

The median price paid for a Marin County home in December was $705,000, down 1.8 percent from $718,000 in November, but up 29.35 percent from $545,000 in December 2011.  The low point of the current real estate cycle for a Marin County property was a median of $542,000 in January 2011, while the peak was $996,000 in May 2007.  Please keep in mind that the numbers are skewed by a significant shift in the market mix: the substantial increase in price was due in large part to a significant increase in the number of higher-priced properties, while inventory constraints continued to constrict sales of lower-priced homes.

As such, it would be premature for you to jump to the conclusion that your home is worth 29 percent more today than it was a year ago.

Price increases are not expected to continue at such a high pace into 2013.  Once lost value has been regained through bidding wars and low inventory, rapidly increasing property values will likely be tempered by rising interest rates–they will eventually come up.  Furthermore, as values go up, inventory will increase to a more normal level as more sellers are encouraged to finally list their home for sale.  When supply and demand are in balance, the market should go back to a more “normal” and sustainable property value appreciation of around 3 to 6 percent per year.

CITY BY CITY REPORT

 

With a large number of qualified buyers competing for fewer homes, the percentage of homes in contract remained very high overall in the county throughout 2012 and into 2013.  As of today, Fairfax has the greatest percentage of homes in contract with 76.19 percent.  Novato, at 67.94 percent, and Greenbrae, at 60 percent, come in second and third positions, respectively.  Ross is at a relatively high 50 percent with half of its inventory in contract.  Of course, there are currently quite a few off market listings in Ross, as is typically the case, which are not included in these numbers.

SALES ACTIVITY BY PRICE POINT

While the bulk of the activity remains in the below $1 million price range, the luxury market continued to improve with all price ranges up to $3 million at more than 30 percent in contract.  It is generally considered that a market with over 25% of its active listings in contract is a seller’s market.

If you are thinking of selling your home, feel free to contact me to discuss your particular situation.  If you are planning on selling your home in the spring, let’s sit down and discuss how to prepare your home for sale to get you the best possible price: it is never too early to start!

If you are thinking of buying, let’s sit down and talk about your needs and your goals.

I look forward to assisting you with your real estate needs in 2013!

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author:   The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : January 14, 2013

30-year mortgage ratesMortgage rates rose last week nationwide during a week of sparse economic news.

Thursday’s weekly jobless claims report showed 371,000 new claims, which was 1,000 fewer jobless claims than for the prior week. Wall Street expectations of 365,000 new jobless claims turned out to be too optimistic.

The semi-quarterly statement released Thursday by the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that the region’s inflation remains below its 2 percent ceiling as established by central banker. Economic weakness in the Eurozone is expected to persist into 2013 with signs of recovery becoming evident toward the end of this year.

ECB cited financial and structural reforms as essential to economic recovery, and noted that national governments within the Eurozone have been slow to implement such reforms. Without such reforms, Euro-area economies may continue to struggle, which would likely lead investors to seek a safe haven in the bond market, moving bond prices higher.

As bond prices rise, mortgage rates nationwide typically fall.

Also last week, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rising from 3.34 percent to 3.40 percent for buyers paying 0.7 percent in discount points plus closing costs. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from 2.64 percent to 2.66 percent.

Required discount points for the 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from 0.6 to 0.7 percent.

Import prices for December released Friday were reported at -0.1 percent, below the consensus estimate of +0.1 percent. This report measures the prices of goods purchased in the U.S, but produced abroad and is considered an important indicator of inflationary trends affecting internationally produced goods.

Inflation tends to harm mortgage rates.

Next week’s economic calendar is full of economic data and includes the release of the Producers Price Index (PPI), Retail Sales figures, the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Fed is also set to issue its Beige Book report, and the NAHB Housing Market Index and Consumer Sentiment report will be released.

Mortgage rates remain low, but are rising.

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | JANUARY 11, 2013

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.500% (3.60% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 2.625% (2.73% APR)
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.000% (4.09% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.000% (3.09% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 3.750% (3.82% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.000% (3.09% APR)
RATE TRENDS
Rates are FLAT compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are DOWN compared to one year ago
Seminary, San Anselmo

 

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Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my formidable internet and social media presence, proven systems, powerful marketing plan, strong negotiation skills and in-house staging capabilities.  Call me to find out about the innovative ways I use to market and sell Marin County homes.

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author:   The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Help Your Pets Adjust To Your New Home

Moving to a new home can be a difficult transition for everyone in the family, including the furry, four-legged members.

Dogs and cats develop a strong bond with their environment so when they are relocated from their territory it can cause them stress.

Here are some tips to ease your pets’ transition to a new home :

Keep Your Mood Calm
Pets are very tuned-in to your emotions and will sense your mood. If you are stressed throughout the moving process, your cat or dog will pick up on this and it will make him anxious. Try to remain calm and give your pet plenty of attention and reassurance during the process of moving.

Transporting Your Pet
A few weeks before the move, introduce your pet to his pet carrier so that he becomes familiar with it. It will be much less scary for him to be transported in a carrier, which already has recognizable smells and perhaps a favorite chew toy or blanket inside. When you are moving your pets to your new home, it is a good idea not to feed them for about three hours before setting off, as this can help to prevent accidents while in transit.

Upon Arrival
When you get to your new residence, place your pets in one room of the house and provide them with water, food, and a few familiar possessions. Keep them in a closed room while you move things in, as the process of moving boxes and furniture can be chaotic and doors can be left open. Once everything has been moved in, you can take the time to give your pet some one-on-one attention.

Dogs find routines comforting, so try to stick to the same schedule of feeding and walking in your new home. Cats will want to explore and rub their scent all over the house to claim it as their territory. A cat might attempt to return to its old home after a move, so keep it indoors for a few weeks at first.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to renew your pet’s ID. During a move, your pet is at a high risk of becoming lost. That’s why it’s essential to get new ID tags on your pets before you disconnect that old phone number or remember to update the ID tags with your permanent cell phone contact. If you use a tracking service or microchip ID, be sure they know where to reach you by updating your records with the registry.

If you’re going to need to change veterinarians, let the staff at the old hospital know and provide a working phone number in case anyone calls the hospital because of a rabies tag on a found pet. (Rabies tags usually have the vet’s phone number on them.) And finally, check with the animal control department in your new community to get new licenses and find out what regulations cover your pets.

These are just a few ways that you can make moving to a new home a better experience for your beloved pets. If you’d like more suggestions for helping your pets and family adjust to a move, call or email me with your questions.

My dogs snuggling up - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie Zolezzo

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Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my formidable internet and social media presence, proven systems, powerful marketing plan, strong negotiation skills and in-house staging capabilities.  Call me to find out about the innovative ways I use to market and sell Marin County homes.

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.


Sylvie Zolezzi www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author:   The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Housing Industry Spared in Cliff Deal

The housing market and the housing industry have escaped a potential blow on several fronts now that lawmakers have at least partially resolved Washington’s “fiscal cliff” budget morass, reports the Wall Street Journal in a January 2, 2013 Blog Post.

Whether you already own or are planning to buy a  Marin County home, you can breathe a sigh of relief as several tax provisions favoring the housing market dodged the bullet, at least for now, including:

1. The popular mortgage-interest tax deduction: it was spared in a last-minute agreement, allowing homeowners to continue deducting interest payments from taxable income.

The tax break has been in effect for 26 years, and several plans to reduce the federal budget deficit called for scaling back or eliminating the deduction. Economists and housing industry analysts countered that such a move could stop the housing recovery in its tracks.

The pact does restore some limits on deductions that had been in place in the 1990s. But they apply only for individuals earning above $250,000 per year and couples earning above $300,000.

These limits reduce how much high-income taxpayers can claim for mortgage interest and other deductions. For example, a couple with a combined income of $350,000 would see their total itemized deductions fall by $1,500. That results from a formula that reduces the amount that can be deducted by 3% of the difference between the taxpayer’s income and the deduction cap. (In this case, $1,500 is 3% of the $50,000 difference between $300,000 and $350,000.)

However, analysts still believe the mortgage-interest deduction could be altered as Congress continues to look for ways to save money.

2. The tax break on forgiven mortgage debt: chief among the spared tax provisions is one that provides an additional year of relief for troubled homeowners selling their properties. Without action by Congress, those homeowners would have faced big tax bills if they completed “short sales”—those in which the lender agrees to allow the borrower to sell the home for less than the outstanding mortgage amount.

In the past, forgiven debt has typically been considered taxable income. But in 2007, Congress exempted homeowners from treating some forgiven mortgage debt that way as part of an effort to encourage alternatives to foreclosure.

“An extension of the tax break is positive for home values by reducing the number of foreclosures and helping more troubled borrowers stay in their homes,” wrote Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities.

3. The tax deduction for mortgage-insurance premiums: Congress also restored the tax deduction for mortgage-insurance premiums that had expired at the end of 2011, including premiums paid to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and private mortgage insurers alike.

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Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my formidable internet and social media presence, proven systems, powerful marketing plan, strong negotiation skills and in-house staging capabilities.  Call me to find out about the innovative ways I use to market and sell Marin County homes.

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author:   The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


The Right Way to Accept a Gift Towards Your Down Payment

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to buy a home in Marin County in 2013?  Will you need to turn to relatives for assistance with your downpayment?

If so, you will be in good company.  A  New York Times article recently reported that in a National Association of Realtors survey of people who bought homes from July 2011 to June 2012, about a quarter of first-time buyers relied in part on gifts from relatives. “Typically, that’s the Bank of Mom and Dad,” said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the association.

If accepting a downpayment gift is part of your home financing strategy, though, recognize that there’s a right way and a wrong way to accept a cash gift for downpayment.  You can’t just deposit your parents’ money into a bank account.  There is a set of rules to follow, and you must follow them to the letter.

Mortgage lenders closely scrutinize cash gifts. That critical check from your parents may not count toward your home purchase if you can’t thoroughly document its source and intention.

The New York Times article is chock full of excellent information:

“Basically, the banks want to make sure that you’re not getting a second loan,” said Ray Mignone of the New York financial planning firm Ray Mignone & Associates. “If all of a sudden $50,000 pops into your account, they want to make sure it’s not a loan against the property that they’re going to put a mortgage on.”

How to pass muster with the lender?

First, it’s best if the gift comes from a close relative.

“It can’t be a friend or colleague, “ said Ace Watanasuparp, the president of DE Capital Mortgage, in New York. “And it can’t be your second cousin or something like that.”

Next, make sure that the gift comes in the form of a check or wire transfer — something traceable. Lenders are typically wary of gifts made in cash, Mr. Watanasuparp said.

Thirdly, the donor will also have to provide the lender with what is known as a gift letter.

Melissa L. Cohn, the chief executive of Manhattan Mortgage, said the gift letter should affirm that the money involved is indeed a gift from the donor and, more important, that repayment is not required. The donor should also specify the precise amount of the gift, and state his or her relationship to the borrower.

For good measure, Ms. Cohn added, donors should provide proof of their ability to give the gift — for instance, evidence of a stock sale, or a statement showing the withdrawal. Once the money is in the borrower’s account, the lender may also want to see proof of a deposit in the exact amount stated in the gift letter.  In a May 2010 blog post, I gave an example of a Gift Letter.

Just how heavily a borrower may rely on family largess to cover a down payment depends on the type of mortgage involved and the size of the gift.  With a conventional loan, lenders require that borrowers contribute at least 5 percent of their own money.  But this minimum does not apply if the borrower is getting a gift that amounts to 20 percent or more of the home purchase price, Ms. Cohn said.

Just how heavily a borrower may rely on family largess to cover a down payment depends on the type of mortgage involved and the size of the gift.  With a conventional loan, lenders require that borrowers contribute at least 5 percent of their own money.  But this minimum does not apply if the borrower is getting a gift that amounts to 20 percent or more of the home purchase price, Ms. Cohn said.

Borrowers using a loan from the Federal Housing Administration may use gifts to cover their entire down payment.

Mr. Mignone advises prospective buyers to deposit any monetary gifts into their account a few months before seeking a mortgage.  That way, he said, the bank is less likely to question them.

As for would-be donors, before writing a check, they should consider their liability under federal gift tax regulations. Individual gifts of $13,000 or less are exempt from the tax. This may sound like a low ceiling, but the gift allowed for is larger than it appears.  For example, if two parents want to give money to their newlywed daughter, each may give $13,000 to the daughter, and $13,000 to her partner, for a nontaxable total of $52,000.

Donors can spread more cheer into the next year — and double the amount to the same couple, to $104,000 — by timing the gifts for December and January.

“Write each check separately,” Mr. Mignone said. “Don’t lump them together.”

Gifts that exceed the $13,000 threshold are supposed to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.  Your lifetime gift total is applied toward any exclusion allowed under the estate tax after your death.  Lending institutions aren’t responsible for reporting large gifts, but individual donors are.  And while it might seem easy to skirt this requirement, Mr. Mignone doesn’t advise it. “It’s like anything with the I.R.S.,” he said. “If you get audited, you’d better have done it.”

In conclusion, I want to share that I have had clients who have experienced heavy scrutiny of their gifted down payment from their lender and almost could not get their loan funded at the 11th hour.  If you work with an experienced mortgage professional and make sure to carefully follow the above advice, you will greatly increase your odds of securing your mortgage while accepting a gift towards your down payment.

San Francisco Fog - Adrift - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie Zolezzi

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Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my formidable internet and social media presence, proven systems, powerful marketing plan, strong negotiation skills and in-house staging capabilities.  Call me to find out about the innovative ways I use to market and sell Marin County homes.

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.com About the Author:   The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 

 


How To Prepare for an Emergency in Marin County

Home Emergency KitWhile some natural disasters can be forecast — hurricanes, snow storms and, in some cases, flooding, 0ther disasters occur unexpectedly, such as tornadoes and earthquakes.

Preparedness is Survival

Marin’s disaster response professionals emphasize the critical importance that all Marin residents be prepared to survive for 72 hours, in their homes, following a disaster.  This first line of defense, called “Shelter in Place,” will save more lives than any other personal preparedness effort.  To help you prepare to Shelter in Place, Marin public safety agencies offer a two-hour course to teach you what to do before, during and after a disaster.   For more information, visit the New Get Ready Marin website.

Take a Get Ready! Class

The simple Get Ready training program takes only two hours, and can be completed at your local fire department, community center, or in your own home. Your family, your neighbors and your community all depend on individual preparedness to survive the inevitable disaster.  Sign up for the GET READY Disaster Preparedness Program or study online here .

Prepare an Emergency Kit for your Family

In the meantime, as a homeowner or renter in Marin County, it’s a good idea to prepare for disaster or unexpected emergency. Every home should maintain a ready, working emergency kit for such a time.

Here are some items to include in your home’s emergency kit :

  • Waterproof Container : Store items in a locking, plastic container
  • Battery-Powered Radio : A small radio can receive weather updates and emergency broadcasts. Pack extra batteries, or use a hand-crank radio, instead.
  • Light Source : Pack multiple flashlights and many spare batteries. LED flashlights are more expensive than “older” flashlights, but won’t lose battery power as quickly. Pack candles and matches or a lighter, as well.
  • Water : Pack bottled water, storing larger bottles in a cool, separate place. Add several bottles of sport drink for variety, if desired.
  • Food: Pack non-perishable food such as canned fruits and vegetables; protein sources such as peanut butter or canned tuna; nuts and dried fruits. How about some dark chocolate for energy? 🙂 Remember to pack a can-opener and some plastic utensils, if necessary.
  • Prescription drugs: you should have enough doses to last you a minimum of 72 hours.
  • Blankets : At least two blankets should be packed. Consider packing multiple sets of clothes, for different temperatures and seasons.
  • First-Aid Kit: A proper first-aid kit should include antiseptic, bandages, aspirin, an ace bandage, and allergy medicine for allergic reactions.
  • Emergency Contact List: Include a list of your local utility companies; phone numbers at which to contact friends and loved ones; and, your primary care physician’s number.

If you already have an emergency kit, you need to replace the water, food items, prescription drugs and the batteries periodically.  Now may be a good itme to make sure everything is in working order and up to date.  If you have children, you may need to pack clothes in bigger sizes for them: shoes especially.  Make sure there is a comfortable, warm pair of shoes with extra socks for each member of your family.

If you have pets, don’t forget to pack food for them too, a water bowl and a leash for your dog.

Finally, be prepared to keep your cell phone charged with a car charger and/or a special battery such as a Mophie Juice Pack to recharge your phone if there is no power.

After packing your emergency kit, make sure to store it in an easy-to-reach location away from power lines, power sources, and any place that may be “extra dangerous” during a crisis. For example, storing an emergency kit in a garage or a shed may be safer than storing it in a basement or in a bedroom closet.

In an emergency, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. Be prepared and be safe.

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Are you curious about your home or what’s going on with sales in your neighborhood?
Please give me a call (415-505-4789) or email me (Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) and I’ll be happy to give you feedback.

Thinking of listing your home?
I would like to believe I am one of the best home marketing solutions in Marin County – with my formidable internet and social media presence, proven systems, powerful marketing plan, strong negotiation skills and in-house staging capabilities.  Call me to find out about the innovative ways I use to market and sell Marin County homes.

Thinking of buying a Marin County home?

Put your search on FAST TRACK! I will help you find the perfect home and will make the process as fun and stress free as possible. Email me to receive my unique buyer’s ebook with a wealth of tips and information to help you understand and get prepared for every step of your home’s purchase.  And feel free to contact me with any questions at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.

Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author:   The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I attract clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs.  I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator.  My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County:  Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.