Posts Tagged ‘Tracy real estate’

Title Insurance and You: Do You Need to Pay for It?

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Many people who don’t completely understand the what title insurance actually is might question this item when the closing costs are added up. It is, however, a very important thing to have. As the name implies, the function of this kind of insurance is to ensure the integrity of the title to your home at the time its title legally passes to you as the buyer. Title insurance is designed to protect you in case there are problems or unknown legal complications tied to the title on the property which were caused by the actions or failures of previous owners.

In other words, title insurance ensures that that your ownership rights to your home are protected from any kind of liability arising time before you bought. This is an insurance policy which insures the “before” period of home ownership, unlike ordinary homeowner policies, which cover the “after” period.

After you complete the purchase of your home, if it were to come to light that there had been a tax or mechanic’s lien on it, title insurance would keep you from a disastrous financial loss from the circumstance.

It is all too common that someone will purchase a property and then discover that it has an encumbrance against it because of something that happened with a previous owner. You surely do not want to find yourself coping with such a situation without having the security of a good title insurance policy. Uninsured, you would have been exposed to a financial liability, which could amount to anything from a petty annoyance up to a big debt leading to loss of the property.

Title insurance covers homeowners against any disputes that come up from situations related to the title of your home before you purchased it. For example, if you buy a home that was sold to you in as part of a scam or swindle with illegal documents, the title insurance policy would cover you against any loss you might incur as a result. If any disputes were to arise regarding the chain of ownership of the property you have just bought, your title insurance policy would give you the coverage you need in that situation.

What Title Insurance Is Not

It is not protection against things you might do to jeopardize your ownership. It is strictly limited to ensuring that you have a clear title to the home at the time that title transfers. If you fail to pay the property taxes and a lien is filed, you will still have to take settle the debt yourself. Title insurance will not give you any protection that.

As one last reminder, title insurance does not cover anything related to the belongings or the structure of the property. You also need to take positive steps to insure your home against perils such as fire, theft, and natural disasters with a good homeowners policy. When you purchase your home, both title insurance and homeowners insurance provide different kinds of coverage, and you most certainly must have both of them.

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who pays for title insurance

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010

Monday, July 19th, 2010

According to a new report by RealtyTrac, property foreclosures filings in the United States dropped 5% during the first half of 2010; this is due to lenders continuing to delay foreclosure proceedings so they can focus on short sales and load modification efforts.

The same report states that over the past six months, more than 1.6 million homes have received at least one filing, such as default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions. So while foreclosures filings were down slightly during the first half of the year, there is still an abundant amount.

There is growing concern that a backlog of homes in line for foreclosure could build up, which may result in a double dip in the market when said homes are dumped at some future date.

The chief executive of RealtyTrac, James Saccacio, contends that at the current pace, more than 3 million properties will receive foreclosure filings by the end of this year; leaving lenders to repossess more than 1 million of them.

“The roller coaster pattern of foreclosure activity over the past 12 months demonstrates that while the foreclosure problem is being managed on the surface, a massive number of distressed properties and underwater loans continues to sit just below the surface, threatening the fragile stability of the housing market,” Saccacio said.

Saccacio continued, “The second quarter was a tale of two trends. The pace of properties entering foreclosure slowed as lenders pre-empted or delayed foreclosure proceedings on delinquent properties with more aggressive short sale and loan modification initiatives. Meanwhile the pace of properties completing the foreclosure process through bank repossession quickened as lenders cleared out a backlog of distressed inventory delayed by foreclosure prevention efforts in 2009.”

For all the numbers and figures of the RealtyTrac report, visit PropertyWire.com: Property foreclosure filings in US down slightly in the first half of 2010.

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010
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Do Housing Prices Have Further to Fall?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Author: Ryan Moeller

In many areas market stability has not been restored. High inventory, high unemployment and high home prices will lead to further declines in home values. However, we are very close to hitting bottom and in many markets we already have. Remember, real estate is regional and you have to research not the entire country but down to the zip code, neighborhood, street and specific property. The article below sheds some light on Obama’s efforts and home values, a very interesting read. For more information, check out our Market Stability Report for info on your market and our Guide on Where to Invest.

Despite Obama’s Best Efforts, Housing Prices Have Further to Fall, Says Glenn Tongue

Posted Mar 10, 2010 01:23pm EST by Peter Gorenstein

What a difference a year makes. This times last year, the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and White House were scrambling to do whatever they could to prevent home prices from falling off a cliff and thereby dragging the banking system down with it.

Now the Obama administration is set to launch a program on April 5 to encourage short sales. The plan will give homeowners and banks money if they sell the house for less than the mortgage is worth. The homeowner gets $1,500 to leave the house quickly and the bank gets $1,000 for going through with the transaction.

Time will tell whether or not it will be more successful than the struggling $75 billion mortgage modification program. Regardless there are still fundamentals in the marketplace the government can’t solve. “The inventory is too high, prices are slightly too high and unemployment is really quite high,” say Glenn Tongue, Managing Partner of T2 Partners and co-author of More Mortgage Meltdown.

Tongue tells Aaron, in the accompanying clip, home prices still have another 5-10% to drop before hitting bottom. And, though he admits “a year ago the situation was a lot worse” he’s still wary of investing in housing and financial stocks related to housing. In fact, his hedge fund is still shorting several companies in that business, though he would not name names, citing compliance rules.

Unlike last year, Tongue no longer finds the big banks attractive and instead focused on only a few specialty financial companies including Fairfax Financial and Resource America.

Real Return Real Estate™ for years has bought property at extreme discounts, sells and rents with tremendous cash flow. We also provide FREE tips, articles, guides and Educational Webinars. Visit our site http://www.realreturnrealestate.com for all the helpful resources.

[Article Source]

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City Of Tracy To Spend $2.75 Million Revitalizing West Valley Mall

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Calling it a “calculated risk,” the City of Tracy is looking to spend $2.75 million to help bring a Macy’s department store to town in an effort to revitalize the suffering West Valley Mall.

On Thursday June 10th City Manager Leon Churchill said city employees will present the City Council with a plan on how the money will be spent on fixing up the anchor space of Tracy’s West Valley Mall, left empty by Gottschalks last year. The plan is to have Macy’s move in and open its doors sometime in October – in time for the holiday shopping season.

The voting will be held during a special meeting after the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday June 15th.

The Tracy Press Reports:

Churchill said the $2.75 million would come from the residential specific plan fund, money set aside years ago after a settlement with developers. The money — which amounts to developer impact fees and is not tax revenue — can’t be used for things like the fire or police departments, Churchill said. It can only be spent on one-time projects.

“Every so often, the city has to take some calculated risk if it wants to create a better end result. I think this is one of those opportunities,” he said.

…The declining state of the mall is one of the reasons the city manager gave for the city’s courting of Macy’s. He said having a high-end fashion store in the vacant Gottschalks property could have a lasting benefit for the entire mall, in addition to the city and its residents.

…According to city projections that Churchill called “conservative,” the $2.75 million investment should be repaid through sales tax receipts within 10 years of Macy’s opening its doors. He said that timeline could be accelerated, depending the store’s success — Tracy takes in via taxes about 1 percent of all sales, and the future Macy’s is “conservatively” supposed to generate between $15 million and $22 million annually.

That’s compared to Gottschalk’s best sales year of $11 million, Churchill said, adding that Macy’s worst sales years should be far better than Gottschalk’s best.

Churchill said partnering with General Growth and Macy’s is a chance for the city to make a statement and respond to numerous calls for increased economic development.

“I think the community has been asking for some action on the city’s part,” Churchill said, “and I get the impression that this is the sort of thing that’s been asked of the city.”

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macys tracy california
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How To Make Perches For A Hummingbird Feeder

Friday, March 26th, 2010

How to Make Perches for a Hummingbird Feeder

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

The best hummingbird feeders are easy to disassemble and clean, and have perches for the birds to sit on while drinking nectar. The most commonly available hummingbird feeders have a base and a removable nectar reservoir, but no perches. You can get more enjoyment out of your hummingbird feeder by adding perches. The birds will be much more likely to stay for several minutes, and you’ll have better luck seeing and observing them. Heavy coated wire can be used to make an inexpensive but effective perch for the birds to sit on.

Steps

  1. Prepare the feeder. Remove the base from the reservoir and place the base on your work surface.
  2. Make the anchor wire. Measure around the point where the reservoir attaches to the fee plus 1″ (2.5cm).
  3. Secure the anchor wire. Bend the last 1/2″ of each end of this wire into a little hook. Bend the wire into a circle and hook the ends together. Bend the wire a little more if necessary to make it round. Fit it over the feeder base. It should be a loose fit.
  4. Make the perch wire. Measure the circumference of a circle about 1″ larger than the circumference of the feeder base. Cut a length of the heavy-guage coated wire equal to this length plus 1″.
  5. Secure the perch wire. Bend the last 1/2″ of each end of this wire into a little hook. Bend the wire into a circle and hook the ends together. Bend the wire a little more if necessary to make it round. Lay it around the feeder base.
  6. Make the connector wires. Measure the distance between the two round wires. Cut connector wires equal to this length plus 1″. The number of connector wires you’ll need is equal to the number of feeder holes in the base.
  7. Use the connector wires to connect the anchor wire and perch wire. Bend the last 1/2″ of each end of each connector wire into a little hook. Hook each onto the anchor wire with the hook facing upward spacing them so that the connectors are between the feeder holes. Put the perch wire into the hooks at the other end of each connector wire. You will likely have to “play” with bending the various wires to get everything to fit together.
  8. Clamp it together. Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, use the pliers to clamp down all the connector wire hooks. The whole thing should look like two wheels connected by spokes. It should be rigid enough that if you pick it up, the various parts don’t rearrange themselves.
  9. Fill the feeder. Fill the feeder with hummingbird food, and hang it where you can see it.
  10. Enjoy visits from your new friends!


Video (see below)

The hummingbirds will use the perches, and stay at the feeder longer, increasing your chances of seeing them.

Tips

  • If your connector wires are too short, you can always bend the perch wire in a little bit where it meets the connectors.
  • If you don’t have a tape measure, you can just start bending the wire “freehand” around the feeder base and cutting the wire when you meet up with the end.
  • If the heavy wire is not very flexible, (i.e. it doesn’t flop or bend much if you shake it gently) you may not need to bend the ends into hooks. You can just “butt” the ends together bending the wire so that the ends are close together. Hummingbirds are very small and only weigh a few ounces so they aren’t going to bend the wire by sitting on it.
  • Use coated wire as some believe that birds do not like to stand on metal.
  • Don’t worry if it’s not perfect or beautiful — the birds won’t care. In fact, they’ll likely show their appreciation for your efforts by hanging around more.
  • Remember to clean and refill the feeder every few days. Perches won’t entice the birds to come if the food is moldy or the feeder is dirty!


Things You’ll Need

  • Hummingbird feeder with wide base and removable reservoir
  • Heavy-guage coated wire
  • Thinner wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure (optional, but helpful)


Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Perches for a Hummingbird Feeder. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Health Care Overhaul Bill To Go Before The Senate

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Another step has been taken in the fight over health-care reform and whether you agree with the historic bill or not, it cleared the House of Representatives last Sunday and is now on its way to the Senate, where lawmakers are expected to vote on a package of changes to the bill this week.

This package of changes on which Senators are preparing to vote, comes in the form of a “reconciliation” bill – amending the Senate bill that the House lawmakers just approved.

Some of the changes the Senate will be voting on include adjustments to at tax on high-value health plans and an extension of subsidies to buy insurance. When put together, both the Senate bill and House bill will cost $940 billion over 10 years; aiming to extend insurance coverage to 32 million more Americans.

Although Senate Democrats plan to approve the reconciliation bill by the end of the week when Congress goes out on recess, the Republicans are promising to load up the bill with amendments in an attempt to get it kicked back to the House and ultimately killed as a bill.

Republicans are also vowing to make the healthcare-overhaul bill an issue in congressional elections this fall; the Democrats are planning to fight back.

Late Sunday night President Barack Obama said the House’s vote on the Senate bill does not represent the end of the work that our country is facing; Obama will reportedly sign the main overhaul bill this Tuesday.

“The work of putting American families’ dreams back within reach goes on,” Obama said. “And we march on, with renewed confidence, energized by this victory on their behalf.”

When Obama signs the main overhaul bill that the Senate passed Sunday night, it will become law. The Republicans are attempting to weaken the overall legislation of the bill by pulling it apart via the reconciliation bill.

Since it takes just 51 votes for approval, Democrats are using the reconciliation process in the Senate to make changes to the main overhaul bill.

Obama’s party is using this tactic because it lost its 60-seat supermajority with the election of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass; Democrats cannot block the stalling tactics of the Republicans with only 59 votes.

Source: Action on health-care overhaul shifts to Senate – ‘Reconciliation’ bill teed up; Obama, Republicans pivot to campaign mode By Robert Schroeder, Market Watch

For more on the reconciliation process, read What the heck is reconciliation?

Health Care Reform Bill Senate

The Wrong Way to Invest in Real Estate

Monday, March 15th, 2010

By William Bronchick

“Real estate fever” . . . it’s hit the Country like a plague. Zillions of “newbies” are hitting the bandwagon, trying to make a profit where they lost in the stock market. I meet them all the time, and many are making big mistakes!

Mistake #1: Stock Market Mentality

You’d think after losing $7 trillion in the stock market people would have learned! Nope, they are making the same mistake, which is assuming what happened yesterday will happen tomorrow. Nine of ten new investors I meet say they are interested in real estate because they saw someone else make money from the rapid appreciation of the market over the last few years. But, buying real estate solely for short-term appreciation is often a big gamble! If you buy real estate to hold for 15 years or more, the chances are you will come out on top. If you buy a property and flip it in within a year, you probably are fine, too. And, despite the risk, many people can intelligently time the “boom” of a local market (or subdivision within a market) and make a profit. But, if you buy a rental property for full market price with break even or negative cash flow, you’d better have a backup plan if the market doesn’t keep going up. Investing is a lot like surfing… if you don’t know how to ride the wave, you will drown!

So, should you refrain from investing if you think the market has peaked? Absolutely not! You can find bargain-priced properties in every real estate market, even the hottest. You can find low-interest rate financing that will increase your cash flow so if values drop, you still are covered. You can plan short-term (six to 12 months), because real estate markets rise and fall slowly. And, if you keep a cash reserve for your business, you won’t sweat when the market tanks, because you know that in the long run, real estate markets virtually always come back.

Mistake #2: Investing Blind

You’d think after losing $7 trillion in the stock market people would have learned! Nope, they are making the same mistake, which is blindly buying real estate based on bogus advice or complete lack of education. Real estate is one of the few investments in which risk is directly proportional to knowledge. True, it has a higher learning curve than investing in the stock market, but there’s no proof that having knowledge of the stock market reduces risk (just ask your mutual fund manager).

I read a comment on a real estate discussion group on the Internet. In response to an inquiry as to whether a particular seminar or training program was worth the money, someone answered, “Why waste your money on that stuff? Just use your money as a down payment and learn as you go.” This is probably the worst advice you could ever give a beginner. Money for real estate deals is easy to find if you can find good deals. But, you won’t know what a good deal is without having first invested in your education!

The more knowledge of real estate investing techniques, financing, acquisition, negotiating and, of course, your local marketplace, the less risky your investments will be. A bargain real estate purchase will generally always be a safe investment; a bargain stock purchase isn’t – after all, who says the company you bought into will be in business next year?

Mistake #3: No Cash Reserves

Ask anyone in real estate long term (or any other business, for that matter) and they will tell you the two most important words for survival are: “cash flow.” Heck, even K-Mart failed to learn that valuable lesson!

In order to stay in real estate long term, you need cash reserves. Buying real estate nothing down is easy; handling negative cash flow, repairs and other expenses in the meantime is the trick. In fact, if you can handle the bad times, real estate will always make you come out on top. Lack of cash reserves puts unnecessary pressure on you to do substandard repairs, accept less than qualified tenants and give into tenants’ demands for fear of vacancy.

When you have a sufficient cash reserve, you act rationally. You hold out for a higher sales price. You hold out for a qualified tenant. You leave properties vacant rather than rent to low-lifes. You call a tenant’s bluff when they threaten to leave. You take care of necessary repairs and improvements on your properties. It’s a whole different ballgame than operating from a lack of cash. Like I said, buying properties with no money down isn’t hard; it’s handling the cash flow. In other words, you can buy real estate without money, you just can’t survive in business without cash reserves. Thus, consider accumulating cash reserves before investing in rental properties.

Mistake #4: Being Greedy

Many investors get started flipping properties to other investors, which is a good idea to generate cash reserves. However, you must be realistic about how much profit is in a deal. If there is a potential for a $20,000 profit in a rehab project, you can’t expect to make $10,000 flipping that property to a rehabber. A rehabber has a huge risk in embarking in such a project and wants a large enough profit to justify the risk.

For example, if a house needs $10,000 in repairs, the rehabber investor wants to make at least a $20,000 profit. If you find a deal with $20,000 in profit potential, how could you expect to get $10,000 for flipping the property if the rehab investor you flip it to is only going to make $10,000? You should be happy making $2,500 and moving on to the next deal. If you want to make more than $2,500 on such a deal, then you must find and negotiate a better bargain that has more profit potential.

Mistake #5: Treating Real Estate as Anything Other Than a Business

People are lured to real estate because of the quick buck that it promises. Don’t hold your breath, you won’t get rich quick. An “overnight sensation” usually takes about five years. More than ninety percent of the people who take a real estate seminar quit after three months.

Why the high fallout rate? Lack of action and unrealistic expectations. Real estate investing should be treated with the seriousness of a career. It takes months, even years for a business to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat real estate like any other business. Give yourself at least six months to see if real estate works for you. It may even take a year before you buy your first property. Maybe in the second year you will buy three or four properties. If you work hard at it and keep your eyes and ears open, you may even find your first deal in 30 days. Certainly, you will not make money by talking or thinking about it; you must go out and take action.

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Understanding Loan Programs – Fixed Rate vs Adjustable

Monday, November 16th, 2009

With a fixed-rate loan, the amount of your monthly payment of principal and interest remains the same for the life of your loan.

Your property taxes may go up, and so might your homeowner’s insurance premium part of your monthly payment, but generally speaking, with a fixed-rate loan your payment will be stable.

Fixed-rate loans are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes: 30-year, 20-year, 15-year, even 10-year. Some fixed-rate mortgages are called “biweekly” mortgages and shorten the life of your loan. You pay every two weeks, a total of 26 payments a year — which adds up to an “extra” monthly payment every year.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a much smaller part toward principal. That gradually reverses itself as the loan ages.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan if you want to lock in a low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can give you more monthly payment stability.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages come in even more varieties. Generally, ARMs determine what you must pay based on an outside index, perhaps the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the one-year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others. They may adjust every six months or once a year.

Most programs have a “cap” that protects you from your monthly payment going up too much at once. There may be a cap on how much your interest rate can go up in one period — say, no more than two percent per year, even if the underlying index goes up by more than two percent. You may have a “payment cap,” that instead of capping the interest rate directly caps the amount your monthly payment can go up in one period. In addition, almost all ARM programs have a “lifetime cap” — your interest rate can never exceed that cap amount, no matter what.

ARMs often have their lowest, most attractive rates at the beginning of the loan, and can guarantee that rate for anywhere from a month to ten years. You may hear people talking about or read about what are called “3/1 ARMs” or “5/1 ARMs” or the like. That means that the introductory rate is set for three or five years, and then adjusts according to an index every year thereafter for the life of the loan. Loans like this are often best for people who anticipate moving — and therefore selling the house to be mortgaged — within three or five years, depending on how long the lower rate will be in effect.

You might choose an ARM to take advantage of a lower introductory rate and count on either moving, refinancing again or simply absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate goes up. With ARMs, you do risk your rate going up, but you also take advantage when rates go down by pocketing more money each month that would otherwise have gone toward your mortgage payment.

understanding loan programs