Acording to the latest info from the Census Bureau, California remains the most populous sate with 36.5 Million as of 7/1/06. For the period July 1, 2005 – July 1, 2006, California gained 303,402 people. Texas was the largest gainer over this period with and increase of 579,275.

As far as fastest-growing states goes, Arizona is #1 with a 3.6% change with Nevada at 3.5%. The other states in the Top 10 are Idaho, Georgia, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, Colorado, Florida, and South Carolina.

From MSN Money- National Averages(APR): Low – 5.41% Average – 6.15% High – 7.17%

With mortgage rates staying steady and prices settling down just a bit, are you chomping at the bit to buy a home? You may want to consider creative ways to purchase as payments are high with large mortgages. This article discusses many ideas in the creative realm. Just remember to be very cautious of the negative amortization loans as they can sink your financial ship.

Clink the link to read the full article.

Call Margie at Team Mortgage with your mortgage questions. 805-473-0309

Be careful of Photo enhancements!

With the improvements in digital photography and cameras, the photos of homes are getting better and better. Editing the photos in a program like Photoshop is also a tool that some marketing-savvy Realtors are using these days. But, some Realtors are crossing the line by removing power lines, road signs, fire hydrants, and other items from photos.

When I edit photos of a home, I fix shadows, colors, hues, and other things to make the items in the photo look their best. I don’t remove things that are part of the home or surrounding area. This would misrepresent the home and become a liability for the agent and homeowner.

Here’s results from a survey of real estate agents of what’s in and out for home buyers.

– online home valuations
– savvy buyers
– home offices
– upscale garages
– 2 home offices
– upscale showers
– snoring rooms (a 2nd bedroom off the master)
– structured wiring
– mixed finishes on kitchen base and wall cabinets

– “As-is” terminology in the marketing of a home
– buyer incentives
– endless Open Houses
– Over full-price offers
– glass kitchen cabinet doors
– bowl-shaped above counter bathroom sinks
– any shiny metal finish
– spiral staircases

Read the entire article here

With the decline in the number of transactions over the past 6 months, the size of the pie for Realtor commissions has become lots smaller. Some agents haven’t had *any* slices of the pie for months. I went to a Realtor conference in Southern California a few months ago and they showed a slide in one presentation of a decline in the number of Realtors. I haven’t heard any updated statistics on how many Realtors are leaving the industry. On the Central Coast, we saw a steep jump in the number of Realtors over the past few years to over 4200. This doesn’t count people with real estate licenses that aren’t Realtors.

I recently received my bill for 2007 membership for the Association of Realtors. To give you some inside info, it costs $484 to be a member of the Realtor Association. There is also an optional $197 for the Realtor Action Fund (a political contribution). On top of this annual charge, we pay quarterly fees to the MLS. This is for access to the MLS system plus use of the lockbox smart card. This works out to be about $400 annually.

My Association already sent out an email weeks ago asking who wasn’t going to renew their Realtor membership so they could see the impact on their budget. With dues payable by January 1st, I think that this will be the time when we’ll see many Central Coast Realtors leaving the association.

Make sure to ask a real estate agent if they are a Realtor and also a member of the local MLS. Their 2007 status may have changed.

We’re still seeing a good number of price reductions. In the last 5 days, there were 81 which is far less than what we’ve seen over 5 days periods the past few months. Most price reductions are around 2-5%. Some $million+ homes had a bigger drop. A Pismo home dropped from $2.295M to $1.999M (over 10% drop), a home in Templeton dropped from $1.69M to $1.5M (similar 10% drop), and a Los Osos propery dropped from $1.45M to $1.275 (almost 10%). This isn’t too surprising as it’s hard to price these type of homes because there usually aren’t many (if any) comparable Solds. The value is truely what the Buyer will pay and it looks like some of these may be priced too high for the Buyers that are out there looking.

I decided to stop by Best Buy in SLO yesterday mid-afternoon. The traffic congestion reminded me of the Bay Area. Line of cars to get into the shopping center and no parking places. I decided it wasn’t that important to get my shopping fix so I then dealt with getting out of the center. I thought if I went down Madonna to Los Osos Valley Rd, I’d avoid the Madonna/101 mess. Silly me!

I hope that this isn’t an indication of what it will be like when the Marketplace will be built. We really need that Prado Rd overpass.

I don’t know if it’s because the market has slowed or what but over the past 2 weeks, I’ve received 5 sales calls from Mortgage companies. Since my number is on the Do Not Call list, this shouldn’t be happening.

If you get a call that you think violates the Do Not Call law, make sure to note the company name, phone number, and time of call. Then go to this web page to report the violation. This law has been out too long for someone to plead ignorance. More likely, they don’t want to pay for the DNC list and do the cross check before they dial the phone number.

Check out the December issue of Central Coast Home & Outdoor. Not only is there a good article about what features homebuyers love, but there is also a featured article about Central Coast real estate from someone named Keith Byrd! 🙂