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Buying a Mobile Home

There are many differences between buying a mobile or modular home, and buying a stick built home or condo.

1) Financing- Most large banks won’t loan on mobile homes. If you are trying to get pre-approved for a mobile home loan, a local credit union would be a good place to start. Michael Fitzgibbons, with The Mortgage House, also can help with financing mobile homes. The interest rates will be slightly higher than the national average, and you should expect to pay 20% down.

2) Space Rent- Most parks in San Luis Obispo County are leased-land parks, which means that you own the mobile home, but not the land that it sits on. Rent can range from $300-$1100/month. The park will do their own credit check and background check. Some parks are Share Parks, where you own a share of the park and pay a monthly HOA due, usually around $100-$200/month. There are also Owned Land parks, where you would pay only HOA dues. You have 5 days after having your mobile home offer accepted to apply with the park management.

3) Taxes- Mobile homes on Leased Land are registered with the DMV, and it will cost you approximately $75/year to license the home. There is no property tax that needs to be payed in Leased Land parks. Mobile homes in Owned Land parks are taxed just like stick built homes, at approximately 1.1% of the sales price per year.

4) Age Restrictions- A lot of parks have restrictions on age, where at least one owner needs to be 55+. The parks are rarely flexible when it comes to this requirement.

5) Pets- Each park has different rules about what kind of pets are allowed.

6) Rent Increases- Space rent can increase as much as 4%/year for a home on leased land. If the park is rent controlled, the space rent increase is based on the Consumer Price Index, and last year was around 1.5%. The space rent increases 10% each time the home is sold.

7) Investment Potential- In most cases, mobile homes can not be rented out to non-family members. This means that if you want to live in the home for a few years, then rent it out to a tenant cover the mortgage payment later on, you won’t be able to do this. It would be a better idea to purchase a stick-built home or condo.

A few extra note-worthy items:

If you purchase a home in an age restricted park, and you want your children or grandchildren to visit, that is okay. They just can’t live there as a permanent residence unless they are approved by the park management.

You can remove an older mobile home, and put a new one in its place. There aren’t currently any empty lots available in any parks in San Luis Obispo County, where a new home can be put. (There almost never are empty lots available.)

We have mobile home specialists available to help you, if you decide that you are interested in purchasing a mobile home. Click Here for a link to parks in the area, some information about each one, and the homes that are currently for sale in each park.

Written by Tanya Knowles - Go to Tanya's Website/Profile

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Quick Fix Tips: Hot Water Heater

Did you know that many common system and appliance failures can be resolved with simple quick fixes? Below I’ve listed our quick fix tips for your water heater; if you’re still experiencing a problem, call us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

•Water heater makes a rumbling or clanking noise.

Chances are this is related to sediment build up. A “flush” of the water heater may be all that is required. 

Follow these steps to flush your water heater: 

CAUTION: The water is hot and there is danger of being scalded. Use caution and keep children and pets away from the area when flushing water heater. 

1.) Attach a garden hose to the drain valve (looks like a hose bibb) at the bottom of the heater. Run the garden hose either outside or to the nearest drain. 
2.) Open the drain valve, which will allow the water to drain through the hose. 
3.) When the water is running clear – after about 20 minutes – close the drain valve and remove the hose. 
4.) Turn on a hot water faucet in your home and let it run until all air bubbles are out of the line, then turn it off.

For more details on how to flush a water heater visit:

•Water heater is not producing enough hot water.

If the water heater runs out of hot water too quickly, increase the temperature on the water heater thermostat. If the temperature is set on the highest setting, flush the water heater according to the directions above.

•The unit is not producing any hot water.

Your pilot light may be out. Follow the instructions on the tank on how to light the pilot, or call your local gas company who will relight it for free! 

If the unit is electric, it may have a reset button on the tank itself. Depress the button and if that doesn’t help, try the designated circuit breaker in your electrical panel, it may have tripped.

~ Quick Fix Tips provided courtesy of Old Republic Home Protection, a leader in the home warranty industry, providing superior service, comprehensive coverage and competitive pricing.

For more information on the value and benefits of home warranty coverage or to order a home warranty (also available for investment/rental properties and homes not going through a resale transaction), please contact local area representative Amanda Wood, serving Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties:

Amanda Wood
Account Executive
Old Republic Home Protection
(800) 282-7131 ext. 1210

Written by Amanda Wood - Go to Amanda's Website/Profile

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A must read if you’re moving to SLO, “Best of SLO”

If you are moving to San Luis Obispo County you can get caught up to speed on the local hot spots pretty quickly by reading the New Times Best of SLO. The New Times is the Central Coast’s

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Rate Update

Housing Starts were much higher than expected, up 14.6% and Building Permits were up 2.5%. The Federal Housing Finance Agency Home Price Index showed a 0.4% increase in May, the second consecutive monthly increase. Year over year, home prices were still down 6.3%, and the index remains 19.6% below its peak in April 2007 and roughly equal to the level of January 2004. Unfortunately, housing data in San Luis Obispo County did not fare as well. Overall, home sales fell 1.9% in June from one year ago while the countywide median home price dropped for the second straight month in June, falling 16.8% to $333,250.

Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.250% (4.416% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.250% (3.560% APR). This is a busy week for economic news that includes the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index, Consumer Confidence, New Homes Sales, Pending Home Sales, Durable Goods, Jobless Claims, GDP, and the Fed’s Beige Book.

Written by Central Coast Lending - Go to Central Coast Lending's Website/Profile
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Central Coast Shakespeare Festival

The Central Coast Shakespeare Festival chose “The Comedy of Errors” and “As You Like It” as their two productions for this year. The shows alternate performance days, and can be seen weekend nights from now through August 13th.

You can Click Here to see more information about the show schedule, and the actors. This is the third year that the performances will be held at the River Oaks Amphitheater in Paso Robles.

Written by Tanya Knowles - Go to Tanya's Website/Profile

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San Luis Obispo Target- Now Open!

The new Target is open in San Luis Obispo! It is located on Los Osos Valley Road, across the street from the Costco shopping center.

The Mac Superstore, a locally owned store that sells a variety of Apple products, is moving from its location on Higuera St to a space next door to Target. The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, July 30th.


Written by Tanya Knowles - Go to Tanya's Website/Profile

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Rate Update

In spite of all the stuff going on with our government, and in Europe (or maybe because of it), mortgage rates continue to be low. Last week Moody’s and S&P placed the US on a negative credit watch thanks to the lack of political progress towards a debt deal, raising the odds for a credit downgrade. The current environment of high political uncertainty, in both the US and Europe, is particularly challenging for investors, as these political risks are surely among the hardest to forecast. This climate of uncertainty is conducive to more volatile bond markets, whether it is overnight or intraday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling and develop a budget that would narrow the deficit over time but not make drastic immediate cuts that could hurt the recovery. President Barack Obama challenged Congress to compromise and “do something big” to reduce long-term deficits. Government spending currently outpaces revenues by about 5% of GDP. Several options have been proposed to resolve the debt showdown, with Republicans leaning toward spending cuts and Democrats looking for increased revenues through tax increases. Some pundits argue it would make more sense to have them work on the deficit than focusing on the artificial debt ceiling limit that has been raised ten times in ten years.

Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.250% (4.416% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.375% (3.560% APR). This week’s economic news includes Housing Starts & Building Permits, Existing Home Sales, Jobless Claims and a couple of home price indices.

Written by Central Coast Lending - Go to Central Coast Lending's Website/Profile
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Thinking About a Real Estate Career?

It’s not that hard to get a real estate license. Pay an online school about $500 for the course, study the material, and take the test at the Department of Real Estate (Fresno is the closest office). But there are a lot of things that aren’t covered in the classes. You won’t learn about how the real estate industry works, how to negotiate, how to price a home, how to market a home, and how you’re going to find Buyers and Sellers. So for those of you that are considering getting your real estate license, here’s some info that I want to share.

When you get your license, you need to “hang” it with a Brokerage (unless you get your Brokers license and start your own Brokerage). You will be an independent contractor with the Brokerage you choose to hang your license, not an employee. You’ll have plenty of Brokerages to choose from since most will take anyone that has a pulse and a valid DRE license. The Brokerage hopes that even as a new agent you’ll have some sales to your “sphere of influence”. These would be friends, family, work, church, etc. that will pick you because they feel obligated to use you as their agent.

Picking a Brokerage these days is not too hard as most offer the same thing (which isn’t much). In the pre-Internet days, Buyers and Sellers would walk into a real estate office or call the office number. Agents looking for business will do “floor time” which is usually 4 hour shifts in the office waiting for a walk-in or the phone to ring (aka. up-call). But the Internet has created a smarter Buyer and Seller who knows if they walk into a Brokerage, the agent “on floor” may be a new agent looking for their first sale so the amount of walk-ins and up-calls have really dropped off for all Brokerages. This means you need to find your business yourself and not depend on the Brokerage to give you sales.

Since the chances are high that a new agent will make mistakes in their first 5 deals as they learn the process, it’s probably best if your first deals are with family or good friends who will forgive your newbie mistakes. But what you do want from a Brokerage is a smart Broker that will also spend time to help you when you need it and to keep you and your clients out of court. In addition to a responsive knowledgeable Broker, a Brokerage will give you a desk to work at (it may be a shared desk) and an Internet connection (but you need to supply the computer). You also get access to a fax machine and a printer, but most Brokerages will charge you for each page you print. The broker of record at the Brokerage is the one that is really responsible for the real estate transaction. So if there is a complaint, the Broker is liable. So, for the office space/connection and the Broker liability, the Brokerage takes a piece of the commission being offered on a home for sale. This is commonly referred to as the Brokerage Split. New agents will usually start out at a 50-60% split. Meaning the Brokerage will take 40-50%. Most commission plans are structured so when you reach a certain sales volume during the year, you get a bigger split. And then at the end of the year, the plan “resets” and you start back at the bottom commission again.

They’re are two types of Brokerages; franchise and independent. Franchise are the ones with the nationwide name. But if you choose to go to a Franchise Brokerage, you’ll need to pay to use the name. Typically it’s 8% of the gross commission (6% franchise royalty + 2% nationwide advertising fee). What a lot of people don’t know is that one parent company back on the East Coast owns over 5 of the brand names so what’s the worth in these names anymore? Last year, millions of dollars that local agents earned ended up leaving our local economy and went to these corporate franchisors. Independent Brokerages are ones that aren’t using someone else’s brand name so the agent’s don’t have to pay a franchise fee. New agents usually go to a Franchise Brokerage after they get their license as a lot of the franchise brokerages have new agent training. This will help in getting to know how to fill out a purchase contract correctly. Independent Brokerages are usually where an experienced agent will go to, so most don’t deal with new agent training to well.

Next, you need to know about the 80/20 rule. That’s the one that says 80% of the business is done by 20% of agents.

Here’s a realty check.

For the First Six Months of 2011:

– 52% of Agents that are members of the local MLS on the Central Coast haven’t sold ANYTHING. This means 52% of Agents have had to pay their $500 annual Realtor dues and $110/quarterly MLS fees but have not made a dime through June.
– 15% of Agents have sold between $1-$500K
– 12% of Agents have sold between $500K-$1M
– 8% have sold between $1M-$1.5M
– 4% have sold between $1.5M-$2M
– 2% have sold between $2M-$2.5M
– 2% have sold between $2.5M-$3M
If you add all those percentages up, you’ll know that leaves 5% above $3M.

Now let’s look at what an agent would make if they had $1 Million in Sales.

$1 Million x 2.5% commission = 25,000 (gross commission) (the commission % varies, could be 2%, 3% or something else)
60/40 Brokerage split = 10,000 (to Brokerage)
8% franchise fee = 2,000

Net commission to agent = $13,000 (doesn’t include Realtor dues, marketing expenses, errors and omissions insurance, gas and car use, and other expenses)

Divide that by 6 months, and that comes out to $2167/month. So the REALITY CHECK is that 79% of agents on the Central Coast have made less than $2167/month so far in 2011, with 52% making $0.0.

You need to think hard how you can be successful in real estate before you get your license. Sitting in a large real estate office on floor time waiting for the phone to ring won’t pay your bills. Everyone has a dream of making a killing as a real estate agent but it’s a very very small percentage that make a decent living at it.

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile

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