The Rosario Falvo Blog

5 SURPRISING MAINTENANCE TASKS LANDLORDS AREN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR HANDLING

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Can You Afford That House?

If you’re considering purchasing a home, you’ve likely already considered how much you have available for a down payment, what an ideal mortgage payment would be, and how much home you can actually afford based on your monthly income. But what about your lifestyle?Have you considered how much wiggle room you need to leave in your home budget to enjoy life? Here are six life factors to consider when buying a home:

#1 Travel

Travel is an important goal for many people. Think about the travel goals you have for yourself:Where do you want to go?What do you want to see?How long are your ideal trips?How much money would you need on an annual basis to make your travel goals possible?Is this already factored into your budget or will you need to cut back on travel to fund your monthly mortgage payment and home expenses?There are no right or wrong answers, but it’s important to reflect on your priorities.

#2 Green Thumb?

Do you love gardening, being outside, and all things landscaping? If you purchase a home with a lawn and don’t enjoy the upkeep, you could be looking at an extra $100 or more a month for professional landscape maintenance. Are you willing to skip the lawn in favor of hardscaping to reduce costs?Bottom line: Factor hobbies and services into your monthly budget to see if the numbers still work out in the black.

#3 Pool Time
How dreamy would it be to buy a home with a pool!? Before the dream becomes reality, add up the costs of pool maintenance and servicing, energy, and insurance (along with liability if you have small children) and you may be better off heading to the neighborhood swimming hole.Pools can be a lot of fun, but they come with a lot of work. Factor time and money into your future plans when buying a home with this special feature and, once again, ask yourself if the numbers add up to support your other financial goals.

#4 Children
If you’re buying a home and plan to start a family in the next few years, don’t just consider the amount of mortgage you can afford under your current expenses. Factor in daycare costs and then determine what your cash flow will look like. You may have to adjust the amount of home you’re looking to purchase.

#5 Entertainment
Chances are you enjoy dining out, going to concerts and sporting events, and seeing movies. If you need to rein in these activities to make room for your mortgage, home expenses, and savings, aim to strike a balance that won’t leave you feeling restless.After all, you’re likely choosing a 30-year mortgage, and three decades is a long time to feel deprived. If necessary, reduce the amount of home you purchase so you can enjoy yourself in the ways that are important to you.

#6 Retirement
If you’re in your 20s, you should try to save 10% of your income; in your 30s, you should be saving 15%. If you need to cut back on your retirement savings to make a home purchase work, think hard about when you’ll be able to get back to your ideal contribution levels and how much you may be losing out on during that time.Although home ownership can help build long-term wealth, it’s important to also maintain retirement savings for future security.


5 TIMES IT DOESN'T PAY TO FILE A HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE CLAIM

Great insurance policies help homeowners sleep better at night. If something bad happens, at least you can call your insurance company, right?

Click HERE to read more.....


The Link Between Clutter and Depression

It’s been proven. Clutter is a bummer — literally. Click here to read the full article.


The 119th Ojai Tennis Tournament is around the corner. Click here to buy tickets or check the schedule


HOW'S THE HOUSING MARKET RIGHT NOW?

Yeehaw, the latest home-buying season is now in full swing! And if you're hoping to buy a house soon, listen up: The real estate market changes on a dime, so if you want to succeed in today's environment, you'll want to take its temperature and act accordingly.

And buyers are in luck: By and large, this year's home-buying season is a far better bet for buyers than in the past. So if you're craving some intel on what to expect—and how to use this to your advantage—here's the info you need to confidently buy a house right now.

The strong seller's market is on the wane

In the recent past, you weren’t altogether wrong if it seemed like buyers were offering their firstborn child in order for their offer to get a fair look—and often for houses that you would have snubbed in less-sizzling markets. But now it’s OK to breathe—and even sleep on it.

As inventory begins to rise, the strong seller's market that characterized last season's home-buying season is fading fast. In fact, many say we’re back into what can be considered more of a buyer’s market, where the seller doesn’t hold all the cards, says Brad Cox, a real estate agent at the Vesta Group of Long & Foster Real Estate, in Lutherville, MD. That means you’re going to have some wiggle room to negotiate.

“While you still want to prepare a competitive offer, your time window is likely to expand—meaning you can think it over before rushing in with an offer," Cox says. "And you aren’t going to have to include some of the riskier elements, such as waiving financing or inspection contingencies, that were a hallmark of past years."

But what you face still varies by the Big L

You’ve heard the adage "location, location, location," but it will definitely be a huge factor in 2019's home-buying season, Cox says. Because while bidding wars are out in most markets, real estate is still very neighborhood-driven.

“While you might see a softening market in some areas, others may still be in a strong seller’s market," he explains.

He says the key metric to look for is “days on market,” which means how long a property has been waiting to sell. If you’re hoping to buy in an area where days on market are staying low, you’ll have to be prepared to act a little faster. But in areas where this number has started creeping up, you might be able to look around a little more.

For an accurate pricing picture, look only at the latest comps

Both buyers and sellers rely on comparables, aka comps, when determining a fair price. But that can get tricky as the market starts to turn, because sellers might be remembering a months-ago heyday and pricing accordingly.

“Buyers should only consider the most recent comps, which means the last three months, because that is the most accurate reflection of where the market is,” says agent Jed Lewin of Triplemint in New York City.

But don’t forget that it’s still very easy to insult a seller

Yes, the house might have been on the market a few more days than it would have been last year and the comps might be sliding, but that doesn’t mean you can expect that anything goes when you’re buying a home in 2019.

“I am seeing far more buyers starting to make very aggressive lowball offers in an attempt to test sellers’ appetites, even if they’re totally serious about a given property,” says Lucas Callejas, an agent at Triplemint. But in places where the market is still warm, that can turn sellers off—and turn their attention to the next offer that comes along instead of yours.

You may be able to get a better interest rate than you think

One of the big stories of 2018 was rising mortgage interest rates—but while they ticked up precipitously by the end of last year, they’ve fallen a bit again, so you could be in a good spot, says Beatrice de Jong, director of residential sales at Open Listings, in Los Angeles.

Bottom line: Now is the time to lock in a great rate, since today’s appealing numbers might not last long.

“Interest rates are predicted to rise in 2019 and 2020, so buyers would be wise to shop for and lock in their interest rate as soon as possible,” de Jong says.

Increasing rates can make a huge difference, she points out, noting that the difference between a 5% interest rate and 5.5% interest rate is $93 a month on a $300,000 mortgage loan, which can easily derail a buyer’s budget.

So even if you are trying to improve your credit or save a few more bucks for the down payment, you might be better off just wading in and locking in the rate, says Jason Lerner, vice president and area development manager for George Mason Mortgage, in Lutherville, MD.

“You might work for three months to burnish your credit, and then find that the rate has risen so much that it doesn’t make a difference,” he adds.

Your credit score might be better than you thought

Two recent developments in credit scoring may help would-be buyers: One is the new UltraFICO, which takes into account how you manage your checking, savings, and money market accounts, in addition to your credit cards and consumer loans. And the second is Experian Boost, which adds your utility and cellphone bills into the mix.

But even if you have a stellar record in all those areas, there’s no guarantee these will be your golden ticket, cautions Lerner. That’s because it’s still early days for these initiatives: UltraFICO is currently available only in a pilot phase in certain areas, and Experian has yet to launch the booster product, although it is taking sign-ups. But as these products become more widely available throughout the year, home buyers may reap the benefits.

“A difference in 10 or 20 points to your credit score can make a difference between approval or denial—and can lower your rate, which can save thousands over the life of a mortgage,” Lerner points out. He also predicts that requirements will loosen a bit in 2019: “You might not think your credit is good enough for a mortgage, but it’s worth talking to a lender to see if there is a program out there that can help.”

 

 


The Perfect Accessible Home for You in the Golden State

There’s a reason so many people say the West Coast is the best coast. States like California have a lot to offer in recreation, travel, scenery and culture. With some patience and investigation, you’re certain to find the perfect home for you. If you’re looking for details on how to find an accessible and safe home and make moving as stress-free as possible, look no further. This article will discuss the importance of finding the right location, choosing the right home, moving, and making your house your home.

Location, Location

 

Finding the right home can be a lengthy process, but it’s not impossible. Always start with finding the right location. If you start by looking for the right home right out of the gate, you will become overwhelmed and it will feel as though you are looking for a needle in a haystack.

Limiting your home options to one geographical location will make your hunt manageable. Employ online resources and realtors geared toward house hunters with disabilities to narrow your search and provide you with details and insights. Once you have limited your house hunt to a single location, it’s time to find the right home that meets your needs.

Good Bones

Unless you are building a home from the ground up (which may be an option if you find the right space and have the funds), you need to look for a home that meets most of your needs and with a little work can be made into the perfect space. If you have difficulties with walking, balance, or energy, then a one-story home with few to no stairs would be a perfect option.

If you or a loved one require a wheelchair or similar equipment, then wider doorways, hardwood floors, lower bathroom fixtures, accessible switches and ramps would be essential; but those are cosmetic features that can be added later. The key is to find the right bones on a house, which includes a sturdy foundation and a solid structure.

Moving Made Easy

Finding the right home is a mix of feeling excited and overwhelmed, but once the right home is found, for many, the move is the most dreaded part. A professional packing and moving company can make your life and your move 100 percent easier. Not all packing and moving companies are created equal. Search reviews, call for quotes, and check out companies in your proximity. Using a professional will ensure you’re not struggling to get your belongings moved and you can rest assured it’s handled quickly and efficiently.

Once the transfer of the property is complete and you get the keys to your humble abode, you should immediately change the locks to ensure your safety and security from unwanted guests. Scheduling an appointment with a local locksmith right away will enable you to rekey your house quickly so you can move on to getting settled.

It’s Your House, You Can Do What You Want to

Depending on your needs, you may need to make certain improvements, adaptations and alterations before you move in, while others can wait until you’re all settled. To allow for improved mobility and to help prevent accidents, you may need to install hardwood, laminate or pergo floors prior to the big move.

You also may need to have an electrician come in to install new lighting switches and outlets that are height accessible. A plumber could install the right-sized toilets and bathroom fixtures. Depending on your needs, ramps and rails could be installed prior to move-in or after. After you move in, then you can make your yard more accessible with pathways and raised beds.

While finding accessible homes can often be difficult and overwhelming, California is a great place to consider. Utilize online resources and realtors to choose a location, and pick a house with good bones that can be modified to meet your needs. Finally, consider hiring professional movers to make your experience less stressful, and make any modifications necessary for your home to be comfortable and safe.

Photo Credit: Pexels


Tax Changes for 2019 Change the Landscape for Home Owners

Tax season is upon us once again, and to make it even more interesting this year, the tax code has changed — along with the rules about tax deductions for homeowners. The biggest change? Many homeowners who used to write off their property taxes and the interest they pay their mortgage will no longer be able to.Stay calm. This doesn’t automatically mean your taxes are going up. Here’s a roundup of the rules that will affect homeowners — and how big of a change to expect.

Standard Deduction: Big Change

The standard deduction, that amount everyone gets, whether they have actual deductions or not, nearly doubled under the new law. It’s now $24,000 for married, joint-filing couples (up from $13,000). It’s $18,000 for heads of household (up from $9,550). And $12,000 for singles (up from $6,500).Many more people will now get a better deal taking the standard than they would with their itemizable write-offs.For perspective, the number of homeowners who will be able to deduct their mortgage interest under the new rules will fall from around 32 million to about 14 million, the federal government says. That’s about a 56% drop.“This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll pay more taxes,” says Evan Liddiard, a CPA and director of federal tax policy for the National Association of REALTORS® in Washington, D.C. “It just means that they’ll no longer get a tax incentive for buying or owning a home.”So will you be able to itemize, or will you be in standard deduction land? This calculator can give you an estimate.If the answer is standard deduction, you’ll be pleased to know that tax forms are easier when you don’t itemize, says Liddiard.

Mortgage Interest Deduction: Incremental Change

The new law caps the mortgage interest you can write off at loan amounts of no more than $750,000. However, if your loan was in place by Dec. 14, 2017, the loan is grandfathered, and the old $1 million maximum amount still applies. Since most people don’t have a mortgage larger than $750,000, they won’t be affected by the cap.But if you live in a pricey place (like San Francisco, where the median housing price is well over a million bucks), or you just have a seriously expensive house, the new federal tax laws mean you’re not going to be able to write off interest paid on debt over the $750,000 cap.

State and Local Tax Deduction: Degree of Change Varies by Location

The state and local taxes you pay — like income, sales, and property taxes — are still itemizable write-offs. That’s called the SALT deduction in CPA lingo. But. The tax changes for 2019 (that’s tax year 2018) mean you can’t deduct more than $10,000 for all your state and local taxes combined, whether you’re single or married. (It’s $5,000 per person if you’re married but filing separately.)The SALT cap is bad news for people in areas with high taxes. The majority of homeowners in around 20 states have been writing off more than $10,000 in SALT each year, so they’ll lose some of this deduction. “This is going to hurt people in high-tax areas like New York and California,” says Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA and expert for TurboTax in California. New Yorkers, for example, were taking SALT deductions averaging $22,000 a household.

Rental Property Deduction: No Change

The news is happier if you’re a landlord. There continue to be no limits on the amount of mortgage debt interest or state and local taxes you can write off on rental property. And you can keep writing off operating expenses like depreciation, insurance, lawn care, and utilities on Schedule E.

Home Equity Loans: Big Change

You can continue to write off the interest on a home equity or second mortgage loan (if you itemize), but only if you used the proceeds to substantially better your home and only if the total, combined with your first mortgage, doesn’t go over the $750,000 cap ($1 million for loans in existence on Dec. 15, 2017). If you used the equity loan to pay medical expenses, take a cruise, or anything other than home improvements, that interest is no longer tax deductible.Here’s a big FYI: The new rules don’t grandfather in old home equity loans if the proceeds were used for something other than substantial home improvement. If you took one out five years ago to, say, pay your child’s college tuition, you have to stop writing off that interest.

4 Tips for Navigating the New Tax Law1. Single people may get more tax benefits from buying a house, Liddiard says. “They can often reach [and potentially exceed] the standard deduction more quickly.” You can check how much you’re likely to owe or get back under the new law on this tax calculator.

2. Student loan debt is deductible, up to $2,500 if you’re repaying, whether you itemize or not.

3. Charitable deductions and some medical expenses remain itemizable. If you’re generous or have had a big year for medical bills, these, added to your mortgage interest, may be enough to bump you over the standard deduction hump and into the write-off zone.

4. If your mortgage is over the $750,000 cap, pay it down faster so you don’t eat the interest. You can add a little to the principal each month, or make a 13th payment each year.


What are Granny Pods?

After children grow up and leave the nest, their parents may enjoy their newfound freedom for a while. But as those parents grow older, they and their adult kids may think about living close together again—but in a way that preserves everyone's independence. Enter the granny pod, an affordable living solution for retirees wanting to downsize.

What is a granny pod?

Basically, a granny pod is a small modular home, typically between 300 and 500 square feet, that sits in the backyard of a main house. Think of it as an in-law unit that's designed to be easier to navigate for elderly folks who may have difficulties with mobility or vision.While the tiny space is ideal for one person, couples can certainly live in the space, too. Like a tiny house, each granny pod typically has a bedroom, living room, kitchenette, and bathroom. Also, the unit is mobile, so that if the whole family relocates, Grandma's pod can come, too.

Benefits of a granny pod

What makes a granny pod particularly suitable for seniors are the universal design features such as wide doorways (to allow wheelchair access), an open floor plan, and a walk-in shower.“For those needing more advanced medical care, some granny pods feature a virtual system that can track one’s blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate, and blood gases, and share that information with the occupant’s family and physician."Some systems are also equipped to verbally remind the occupant to take their medications.”Some granny pods are also designed with voice-controlled smart home features such as door locks, lighting, heating, and window shades. Others are built with more advanced medical amenities like pressurized ventilation systems to keep outdoor air from leaking inside if the resident has a compromised immune system.

How much does a granny pod cost?

The price of a granny pod can range from $40,000 to $125,000, depending on the size and the amenities included, and since you can't take out a mortgage for one, that will need to be paid upfront. On the other hand, the amount is comparable to a down payment on a regular home in some states This is not the case of Ojai where a median price is around $670,000. Also, since the pod will share water, sewer, and power with the main house, the property owners will likely see an increase in their utility bills.

Disadvantages of owning a granny pod

If you are considering a granny pod, it’s important to be aware that your property may not be zoned for the addition of an alternative living unit like a guesthouse or granny pod.“Although some communities have zoning laws which are pod-friendly, in most cases there are several restrictions to follow.” “Also, not all states will allow one to have a granny pod in their backyard. Therefore, be sure to inquire with your city planning office about the process of building on your property and the type of permits you'll need.

Granny pods and multigenerational living

Over the past several years more and more homeowners have expressed interest in them when looking for a home to buy.

Granny pods can keep the family together, eliminate high nursing home costs, and allow the elderly to keep their privacy and their dignity.

Thankful on Thanksgiving

May this day of gratitude bring the opportunity to break bread and share appreciation for the family and neighbors that make your house your home.


Ojai Market Update

Did You Know?

With the median home price of $860,000 in our market, you could buy 2,497 wireless Beats headphones. Take calls, control your music and activate Siri with the multifunction on-ear controls!

Funny, but also true. Click here to see where we got these numbers.

Meanwhile, in Oiai were sold 25 homes. The less expensive was located at 410 Church Road #53,  a little condo with 1 bed and 1 bath, 742 square feet listed at $380,000 and sold at $335,000, 187 days on the market.

Most expensive home was sold at 715 El Toro Road, 6 bed, 7 bath, 6089 square feet, listed at $6,500,000 sold at $6,265,000 92 days on the market.
Only 4 mobile homes were sold in October.
The less expensive was located at 1202 Loma Drive #67, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1248 square feet, Listed and sold at $129,000. Built on 1978 with a space rent of $735.00 per month. 

The most expensive mobile home was located at 133 Don Felipe Way, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1344 square feet, 29 days on the market, built in 2004. Listed and sold at $225,000. 29 days on the market with a rent space of $735.00 per month.


Home Sweet (And Smaller) Home: A Downsizing Guide For Seniors 
By Michael Longsdon

We’re not talking about your waist, but your home. According to recent data, the average home is 2,700 square feet, nearly twice that as homes built in 1970. And it’s not that families have gotten bigger, just our appetites for stuff. Evidence suggests, however, that living in a smaller home can make you happier. If you’re a senior, downsizing is a smart move for reasons that go beyond your happiness. For instance, less space means fewer hours spent cleaning. You’ll also pay less in taxes and utilities.

Easing in to the process

Once you have made a decision to downsize your home, your first task is to determine where you want to live. If you’re staying in your hometown, you likely already know the ins and outs of every neighborhood and the best location to put you in proximity to your friends and family. But if you’re moving more than just a few miles away, make sure to research your preferred area online to determine the average price of real estate, crime rates and the types of activities you can expect to find in your new hometown. For example, Ojai, California, which is a popular area for retirees, has an average selling price of approximately $694,000. When you narrow your target location down, consider spending a long weekend in the area. Alex Schechter of The Points Guy blog details how to do just that in Ojai.

Home type

Knowing which type of property you want is second only to location in importance and for quality of life. If you are on a budget or wish to live in close proximity to your neighbors, a condominium or townhouse is a wise choice. A single story, ranch-style home is a better option if you have mobility or visual impairments that pose a threat in stairways. Whichever type of home you choose, assess whether or not it has options and features that can help you age in place and enjoy your golden years safely.

Pack and prep

The packing, purging, and preparation portion of a move is perhaps the least pleasurable part of the process. If you start early, you’ll have more time to sort through the decades’ worth of belongings you no doubt have stored in every nook and cranny of your current home. Start with the areas that don’t typically see the light of day. This will likely be the garage, attic or basement, which often serve as the space things go to collect dust. After these areas have been sufficiently purged, you’ll need to consider getting rid of a few items that won’t fit into your smaller home. MyMove.com recommends looking at the rooms you won’t have and determining which items in those spaces can be sold, thrown out or donated.

Let go of heirlooms

It’s often hard to get rid of personal possessions. It’s even more difficult when these belongings have been passed down through your family. But now is the perfect time to bequeath family valuables to your loved ones. Your grandfather's fiddle, for example, may be a great gift for musically inclined grandchild. The most sentimental family heirlooms, photographs, recipe boxes, handmade quilts, etc., are the hardest part with. It’s these sentimental assets that also tend to cause the most friction. You can do yourself and your family a favor by personally giving these items now instead of trusting that your estate will be settled according to your wishes when you pass on.

Whether you’re moving out of necessity or for a fun change of scenery, it takes planning, especially when you’re purging a place you’ve called home for decades. Begin the process by researching online so you can make informed decisions regarding your living arrangements.


3 TIPS FOR HOME WILDFIRE PROTECTION

How do most homes ignite during a wildfire? A floating ember or piece of burning wood touches down on a roof, gutter, in a vent, under a deck, or on a porch and ignites leaves and debris, says the National Fire Protection Association. Or else, a surface fire simply takes the fast lane to your home via dry vegetation.

With that in mind, fortify your home like the castle it is with these 13 wildfire-repelling steps. But keep in mind that no product or technique is a failsafe against a raging fire.

#1 Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you don’t already have working smoke detectors or haven’t tested them recently, make that your No. 1 job. Now.

#2 Check Fire Extinguishers

And if you don’t have them, get them.

#3 Get a Bucket, Shovel, and Hose Ready

Have an easily accessible bucket, shovel (to dig a trench against encroaching ground fire), and connected garden hose to help you defend the area around your home.

#4 Invest in Rain Barrels

An extra source of water can’t hurt. And rain barrels save on your water bills, too.

#5 Clear Yard of Debris

Keep gutters, porches, and the lawn free of debris, leaves, and fallen branches. If a fire threat is imminent, remove furniture and decorations from decks and porches, including welcome mats.

#6 Plant Fire-Resistant Shrubs and Annuals

Like irises, rhododendrons, hostas, and lilacs, which have high-moisture content. Your local Cooperative Extension Office can advise you on an appropriate species for your area.

#7 Remove Tree Branches Lower Than 6 Feet

Fires tend to start low and rise. For that reason, don’t plant shrubs directly under trees; they can combust and cause the fire to rise up the tree. By the way, spacing out all plants and shrubs is a good practice, too.

#8 Remove Tree Limbs Near Chimneys

Keep them at least 10 feet away. Embers from burning limbs could fall in.

#9 Set Up a Protective Perimeter

Create a 100-foot perimeter around your home, free of dry leaves, grass, and shrubs that fuel wildfires. Keep petroleum tanks, cars, and wood piles outside of this safe zone.

#10 Use Rocks Instead of Mulch Next to the House

Lay a six-inch swatch of decorative rocks closest to the home and then use mulch from there. This also helps repel insects, like termites, (bugs like wood) and facilitate rain water drainage.

#11 Use Non-Flammable Fencing

If you have wood fencing around your home, replace any three-foot sections that attach to the home with metal or other non-flammable fencing material. A metal gate or decorative fencing piece is stylish as well as fire-friendly.

#12 Cover Chimneys and Vents With Flame-Retardent Mesh

And it’s cheap to do. They cost just a few dollars from hardware or home improvement stores.

#13 Check Your Siding

Fire-resistant or non-combustible siding like stucco or brick provides the best protection against fire. Make sure your siding, whatever type, is in good repair, because if the plywood or insulation are exposed, the home is more vulnerable to flames.

Some experts recommend spraying homes with fire retardants, which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the product, region, and size of the project. But some of the chemicals used to make flame-retardants have toxic properties. Although you might have less exposure to chemicals used on your home’s exterior than those inside, toxicity issues could still be a factor.

Most important, if a wildfire is on its way, evacuate. And have an evacuation plan worked out with your family before the worst happens.

 


Did You Know?

With the median home price of $699,500 in Ojai market, you could buy 2,331 one-way flights to Paris! Today is World Tourism Day, and France is the most visited country in the world with around 89 million visitors just in the past year!


Funny, but also true. Click here to see where we got these numbers.


Ojai Market Update
Homes sold in Ojai in August

        
With the median home price in Ojai of $641,000 you could buy 58,180 flying pig toys. Anything is possible when pigs fly!
Funny, but also true. Click here to see where we got these numbers.
Meanwhile in Oiai were sold 20 homes.
The less expensive was located at 848 Woodland Avenue, a little condo with 1 bed and 1 bath, 666 square feet listed at $269,900 and sold at same price $269,900, 40 days on the market.
Most expensive home was sold at 888 Baldwin Road, 5 bed, 4 bath, 3703 square feet, listed at $1,990,000 sold at $1,830,000 269 days on the market.
Only 4 mobile homes were sold in August.
The less expensive was located at 12135 South Rice Road #45, 1 bed, 1 bath, 800 square feet, Listed and sold at $82,500 built on 1964 with a space rent of $598.33 per month. 
The most expensive mobile home was located at 98 Don Carlos way, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1440 square feet, 69 days on the market, built in 1972. Listed at $217,000 sold at $235,000, 30 days on the market with a rent space of $598,29 per month.



6 Ways to Lose at Negotiating a House Price

You’ve looked at enough houses to fill an entire season of House Hunters and finally picked one to buy. Now you’re ready to make an offer.Your agent can help guide you through this nail-biting phase of negotiating a house price, but ultimately, you call the shots. Here’s how to negotiate like a boss.

Fail #1: Thinking House Price is All That Matters

That house with a price point $15k below your budget? It may seem like a deal — until you add on the costs of maintenance and replacing the aging appliances. Planning on repainting, remodeling, or landscaping, too? Suddenly the price looks a whole lot higher. When developing your offer, calculate in the costs that will go above and beyond a mortgage payment. Then you can negotiate with an eye on the total cost of owning the house, not just the sticker price. On the flip side, the price may not be all that matters to the seller, either. She may have to start a job on the other side of the country in a month and value a quick closing. Or she may be looking to rent from you for a bit after the sale until her next home is ready. Sometimes being accommodating is negotiation gold.

Fail #2: Refusing to Back Down on Small Repairs.

Before you draw a line in the negotiation sand over, say, a deck with some rotten boards, ask yourself if it’s worth losing the house over a repair that would cost less than a thousand dollars. Say the house price is $250,000, which makes that deck repair less than half of one percent of the cost of the house. There’s a lot of emotional energy at this point in the process, so give yourself a break rather than dickering over it. A house negotiation is not about winning for the sake of winning. It’s about getting the house you want at a fair price on good terms.

Fail #3: Waiving Formalities Because You’re So in Love With the House

Don’t be so blinded by house love that you do something silly like skip some of the formalities of home buying, such as the home inspection or the appraisal, in an effort to close the deal.Those steps, and others like a termite or septic inspection, are known as contingencies. They’re there to protect you from ending up with a six-figure money pit. Imagine how quickly the house-honeymoon would end if you found a termite colony or that the identical house across the street sold for much less? Besides, if you’re taking out a mortgage, your lender won’t let you skip an appraisal because they don’t want to loan money on a house that isn’t worth the loan amount. So even if you want to make it easy for the seller, your lender may stop you.There are other ways to sweeten your offer and get that house:Pay some of the seller’s closing costs. Offer a fast close If this is your first house, speed is an ace up your sleeve because you can move faster than someone who can’t buy a new house until they sell the old one (another type of contingency). And remember, while there’s a lot of emotion tied up in choosing a house, it’s still a business deal. 

Fail #4: Getting Hung Up on a Few Grand

You offered $198,000. The seller won’t budge from $200,000. Before you walk away, consider this: Two grand is a lot of money, but in the house-buying world it’s not so much. At an interest rate of 4%, with 20% down on a 30-year mortgage, that additional $2,000 will add just $8 a month to your payment. If you can swing it — maybe you can cut a small thing out of your budget each month — it could be worth it.

Fail #5: Folding Because the Inspection Turned Up Issues  A good home inspection is going to turn up something. Usually several somethings. That’s good. It means the inspector is doing their job. It’s a rare day when a home passes inspection with no problem at all.Plus, many things that turn up on an inspection are easily handled. You can ask the seller to do the repairs or knock some off the price so you can pay for repairs. And while some problems may seem scary at first, like a roof leak or plumbing problem, they’re almost always fixable and negotiable.

Fail #6: Offering Less Because the Décor is Hideous

The faux-Tiffany swag lamp and trippy orange-and-brown wallpaper make your eyes itch. So you’re planning on offering less — way less. Before you do that, know the market. If it’s a seller’s market, your offer may be seen as an insult especially if the home’s in good shape. And just like that, you’ve lost your dream home. When you’re ready to make that offer, look past the little stuff that you can easily change, and focus your negotiations on what matters, like the location and the bones of the house.



Did You Know?

Did You Know? With the median home price of $695,000 in Ojai, you could buy 28 Harley Davidson motorcycles. Harley Davidson is celebrating their 115 year anniversary today in Milwaukee, so there's no time like now to cruise on over and nab a deal on a new bike!


Funny, but also true. Click here to see where we got these numbers.


House-Hunting Tips To Avoid  
#Facepalm Moments

The only thing more exciting than shopping for your first house is the day you move into it. And in your eagerness to get to that day, there are a bunch of opportunities to botch the shopping.Here are some #facepalm moments and the house-hunting tips you’ll need to avoid them."

I Saw the House Online. It's Perfect — Let's Make an Offer Before It's Gone!" Buying a house sight unseen?!? Whoa. Online photos are a fun sneak peek — and that’s all.

Before you plan marriage after the house equivalent of swiping right, consider this:It’s the photos that aren’t in the gallery you should worry about. You won’t see the hastily patched cracks in the home’s foundation. Or the mold in the attic.Your other senses need to evaluate the place. There could be traffic rumbling by or a stinky recycling facility downwind.Three words: Wide angle lens. (They make small spaces look deceptively big.)So before you make an offer, tour the place. And the yard. And the neighborhood. It’s worth it.

"I Want to Buy This House. And Look, There's an Agent Right Here!"

While that might seem mighty convenient, it’s not in your best interests. The real estate agent at an open house most likely represents the seller.That means they’re obligated to work in that person’s best interest. If you start blabbing about how you’re pre-approved for $285,000, but you’d rather offer $260,000, you’ll compromise your negotiating position.As a buyer, you should contract with a buyer’s agent who works on your behalf. They’ll understand your wants and needs, counsel you based on your budget and priorities, and advise you through the negotiating process.

"I'll Rely On an Online Home-Value Estimator."

Google “home-value estimator” and you’ll get pages of tools that promise you a free estimate of home value. Plug the address into the tool, some algorithms do their thing, and in seconds you know what a house is worth.But unless that algorithm’s been poking around the basement with a flashlight, it’s a ballpark figure at best.Home valuation is both art and science. There are nuances within house and market that an online estimator just can’t see. What if the seller made major renovations last year? Or what if houses rarely turn over in the neighborhood, so there’s not enough data to work with online?Your agent knows current market conditions and the inventory of homes in the market — all of which help you make a nuanced offer.Use these fun tools as a guide, but don’t take them to the bank.

"I Don't Have Kids, So I Don't Have to Worry About School Districts."

Yeah … nope. School district matters regardless of your parenting status. Whether or not you have kids, a future buyer might. And neighborhoods with good school districts tend to maintain value and appreciate faster than those in other areas. People want to live near good schools, which leads to rising home values and better neighborhood amenities.

"If a House Doesn't Have Everything On My List, I'm Not Looking At It."

Definitely make your list. Your list is important. But use it as a starting point to help you prioritize. Because buyers who can prioritize have the most success.They turn that list into must-haves and nice-to-haves — and they also consider which of their must-haves could turn into will-dos.For example, you can switch laminate for quartz, but you can’t move a country home next door to your city office. Skip the listings that are in the wrong location, but why not check out the ones with the wrong countertops? Maybe the one thing you’d enjoy more than quartz counters are quartz counters you picked out yourself.

"I'll Figure out This HOA Thing After Closing."

Homeowners associations (HOAs) might just seem like a cute little neighborhood organization, but some have the power to limit your pets, restrict your parking, and pick your paint colors.Since how you live is likely as important to you as where you live, read and fully understand the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) before you buy. Restrictions that don’t fit your lifestyle could be as much of a deal breaker as a crumbling foundation.That’s not to say HOAs are bad. Oh no — they can be great at preserving neighborhoods, keeping home values high, and some give you access to amenities. But the benefits and drawbacks of each one vary, so take a close look.


Ojai Market Update.
Homes sold in June 2018

Housing Starts Fall 12.3 Percent as Tariffs Draw Increased Concern

Total housing starts fell 12.3 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.

The June reading of 1.17 million is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts fell 9.1 percent to 858,000 units. Meanwhile, the multifamily sector — which includes apartment buildings and condos — dropped 19.8 percent to 315,000.

Overall, permits — which are a sign of likely future housing production — dropped 2.2 percent to 1.27 million units in June, the lowest level of the year. Although single-family permits edged up 0.8 percent to 850,000, they remain at their second lowest reading of 2018. Multifamily permits fell 7.6 percent to 423,000.

Meanwhile, this is what happened in Ojai in June.

We had a total of 21 homes sold.

The most affordable home was located at 229 Apricot Street in Oak View. 2 bed, 1 bath 952 square feet with a lot size of 5650 square feet. Listed at $439,500 and sold at $427,500 after only 15 days on the market.

Most expensive house was located at 1420 Daly Road, 4 bed, 4 bath, 4240 square feet with a lot of 7.3 acres. Listed at $3,895,000 and sold after 756 days at $2,850,000. 

Total median price for the valley is $670,000.      Days on the market: 173 

Only 2 mobile homes were sold in the valley in the month of June. 

950 Woodland Avenue #12 (Family park) 3 bed 2 bath, 1536 square feet built in 1974, listed at $149,000 sold at $132000 after 96 days on the market. Days on the market: 85

1273 South Rice Road #95. (Senior park). 3 bed 2 bath, 1248 square feet. Built in 1989. Listed at $195,000 sold at $194,000 after 44 days on the market. 






Ojai Market Update, May 2018

A Home Sale Report for the Ojai Valley. Click to read more....


Are You Ready To Graduate From Renting to Owning a Home?

With graduation season in full swing..... To read the article click HERE....

How To Price Your Home

THE INS AND OUTS OF PRICING A HOME

Click here to read the full article


Ojai Market Update, April 2018

A Home Sale Report for the Ojai Valley. Click to read more....

118th Ojai Tennis Tournament

The Ojai Tennis Tournament is back. April 25 to April 29


WHEN IT'S TIME TO GET AN ACCOUNTANT TO DO YOUR TAXES

Federal law signed by president Trump may affect home ownership tax benefit. To read the full article click HERE....


5 Reason to Sell Your Home Early in 2018

Why should you sell your home early in 2018.

To read the full article click HERE...


Ojai Market Update, January 2018

A home sales report for the Ojai Valley. To read the full article click HERE.....


Did I miss this month mortgage payment?

What happen if we miss a mortgage payment?

To read the full article click HERE


An incredible interview by 

Sarah Howery

Click HERE to read the full interview


Local  Hero

One of Ojai finest interviewed by 

Sarah Howery

Click HERE to read the full interview


Should I use a mortgage broker or find my own lender?

This is a questions we ask ourselves so many times. To read the article click HERE


Ojai Film Festival 2017

80 films plus Johnny Jensen, Ed Asner and Cloris Leachman to be honored. to read this nice article written by Sarah Howery click here 


Ojai Day Celebration 2017

Are you ready for Ojai Day? To read the full story click HERE.....


The 7 Worst Habits Homeowners need to Break Now

To read the full story click HERE....


Ojai Market Update, August 2017

An other good month in Real Estate

click HERE... to read the full article


Have you Fallen Out of Love With Your House? Here is Why 

To read the full article click HERE.....


An interview with Rob Tucker, owner of Jim & Rob
By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article click HERE....


SELLING YOUR HOUSE? BETTER PREPARE FOR THE HOME INSPECTION 

To read the full article click HERE.....


Ojai Storytelling Returns  
By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article click HERE.....


Australian Native Plants Handling Drought

By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article click HERE...


Local “Horse Crazy Girl” Offers Happy Trails,Throughout the Ojai Valley
By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article click HERE....


Playwrights to Celebrate 20th Year in Ojai

By Sarah Howery Hart 

From August 6 to 13, the Ojai Playwrights Conference (OPC) will celebrate its twentieth anniversary, 

To read the full article click HERE...   


Fixer Upper House

Trying to decide whether to buy a fixer-upper house?

To read the full article click HERE.....

Ojai's Double Celebration: Fourth of July & Ojai's 100 Years
By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article click HERE...


Ojai Market Update June 2017 

To read the full article click HERE...


Ojai Valley Brewery Making Beer Local 
By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article click HERE


Art in the Park
By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article click Here...

Homes Sold in Ojai in April

Home Sold in Ojai in April. To read the article click HERE....

Mimi Milne's Thousand Acre World
By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the full article, click HERE...


Hackers are after your Downpayment 

To read this article click HERE...


Earth Week 

By Sarah Howery Hart 

To read the full article, click HERE...


Lavender Inn,
In Service to Others

By Sarah Howery Hart 

To read the full article, click HERE...


How Home Appraisals Work 

To read this article click HERE 


Jubilee Picnic to Commemorate Libbey Park's 100 Year 

By Sarah Howery Hart.                      

To read the full article, click HERE...


Merchant Promotes Home-Town Made 

From the "Ojai Monthly", an interview with Tinamarie Tuscano, owner of "Made in Ojai.

                     By Sarah Howery Hart.                      

To read the full article, click HERE...


12 hidden renovation costs that can sink your budget

To read the article click HERE.....


School of Herbal Studies

From the "Ojai Monthly", an interview with Carol Wade.

By Sarah Howery Hart

To read the interview click HERE...


Ojai Market Update

Home Sold in December. Click HERE to read more


New Dance Studio in Town.
Sarah Howery interviews Isha Ferraz, owner of Hamsa Dance Studio.
Click HERE to read the article...


7 mistakes that that cost home owners big money during cold water
Click Here to read more... 

The lowdown of the downpayment Click HERE


Colleen McDougal,
Ojai Local Cartoonist 
By Sarah Howery
Click HERE to read more


21 Ways to save on your Remodel

Click HERE to read more...

SHADOW BANKS’ ARE ON THE RISE FOR HOME LOANS: SHOULD WE BE AFRAID?

Where do home buyers go for a mortgage?

Click here to read more...


Market Update

Home Sold in October
Click here to read more..


Painting Dos and Don'ts

Click here to read more


Just Listed in Ojai
Click here to read more...

Outdoor tips and Market Update

Few ideas will transform your outdoor space

Read more....

Ojai Market Update 

Homes sold in June in Ojai. Read more....

Ojai Music Festival

You do not want to miss the next Ojai Music Festival.  Read more...

Rent or Buy?

New homes sales were up 10.8% in December  Read more...

Ojai Holiday Shopping Stroll

Be ready, mark your calendar.  Read more...

The New Libbey Park

We have a new and beautiful playground at Libbey Park. Read more...

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