Lee Sells and Speaks More...

Lee Ginsburg is an award-winning Realtor with 30 years experience in Peninsula residential real estate. With the utmost attention to detail, Lee delivers expert marketing, negotiating, and management of all financial matters. With a strong commitment to honesty, fairness and hard work, Lee has successfully helped first time home buyers, move up buyers and investors.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

It’s Working and Working Well!!!

You might ask, what is working and working well. I am speaking about the $8000 Home Buying Credit. A recent home buyer brought up the $8000 credit and told me that was the motivating factor for him and his wife purchasing a home. The termination date creates urgency and action. Low prices are motivating but not the cause of action. Many think they can time the market. Good Luck to them. People in the business think the lowest interest rates in 40 years should be creating urgency. It certainly makes people think but low rates is all many of these young first time buyers know. I purchased a home in 1982 at 14% interest and that was considered good. Today’s 5% and below interest rates are like the “After Christmas Sale”. But still does not create the urgency since many believe it will last forever.


The $8000 federal tax credit was extended and now sounds like it will really terminate April 30, 2010. Now that creates urgency! OK; the credit created a home sale and that helps stabilize pricing. Let’s not forget all the mouths a home sale feeds: the realtor, mortgage broker, title people, escrow company, termite inspector, home inspector, city tax coffers, and more. Now let me show you all the mouths my client fed by spending his credit on: landscaping, painting, double pane windows, window coverings, furniture and more. Others may remodel a kitchen or bath, carpet, appliances, roof, etc. My client purchased the home from a flipper who must have put $50,000 into the home. Add that up, and the $8000 quickly turns into over $100,000 of added income to local people. That feeds lots of mouths. Being employed in Real Estate and related fields, as Americans and Smart business people we should be ecstatic. I know I am. I am a believer.

One might think that I support the credit going on forever. No, I am a realist and understand the affect will diminish over time and a firm termination date is what makes the credit successful. I think April is a good time to terminate the credit as the Real estate Market historically picks up in late spring and summer. I am hoping that will help smooth the transition and continue the market stabilization and slight appreciation.

A quick mention of the Current Home Owner Credit of $6500. Although in the Bay Area the $800,000 home purchase limit puts a damper on things it is a great opportunity for Condo Owners to step up and for others to scale down. Many people may not realize that they do not have to sell their current home to receive the $6500 credit. They can keep it and rent it out. The new purchase must be a primary residence and it must be below $800,000.

Enjoy Spending your credit!



Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Thoughts for Real Estate in 2009 in San Francisco and the Peninsula

The year began with home prices free falling and no end was in sight. In April we, in the business began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Homes in the starting price points began selling and inventory started to stabilize. Banks were pricing their homes on the low range and were receiving multiple offers. I consider single family homes under $700,000 to be the starting price point on the peninsula. Homes over a million dollars were having trouble due to the higher interest rates for loans of that size and the lack of lenders willing to loan. Loans under $729,750 were backed by the government and hovered around all time lows all year. Loans were broken up into different categories. Rates for loans under $417,000 were below 5%; rates for loans between $417,000 and $729,750 were slightly higher. Above that they took a jump. Finally we are now seeing the rates for the larger loans fall into line. Today rates are below 4% fixed for five years for under $417,000. That could be the right loan for many people. Many people took advantage of these record lows to purchase, their first home, investment property and to refinance. During the summer, sales began to increase as compared to the month before and the year before and are still moving along quite well. Prices are showing increases over the previous month but not over the previous year. The appraisal policy changed and that added to a longer time in escrow plus many properties not appraising. Many appraisers were favoring the conservative approach and it has affected many sales. I can’t talk about 2009 without mentioning Short Sales. This occurs when the home is worth less than what is owed on it. The bank has to agree to accept less than they are owed. Not too easy but possible. Often it is 2 different banks. As the economy went bust; The Short Sales and Foreclosure were only in the starting price points. As the year comes to a close it has spread like the swine flu into the higher priced areas as well. Interesting how the table has turned. The Short Sale process seems to be going much smoother and a little quicker, from 6 months down to 3 months. I must give credit where credit is due. Wachovia Bank has come out with a 14 day short sale process. If you have a Wachovia loan and are having trouble making payments give me a call. Also when speaking of 2009 I must call it the “Year of FHA”. Federal Housing Administration guaranteed loans for buyers with low down payments. They guaranteed loans with only a 3.5% down payment allowing many first time home buyer the opportunity to take advantage of the market and achieve the American Dream of Home Ownership. These buyers do have to pay mortgage insurance but it is still a great opportunity. The new tax code allows Mortgage Insurance to be deducted. 2009 has put a strain on many Home Owners Associations. Many individual owners and sellers are not making the monthly HOA payments causing increases for the people making the payments. When a bank forecloses they will make the payments but nothing prior to taking title. I believe legislation should be passed giving HOA dues priority over other liens just like property tax is. I must also give credit to our government. The $8000 tax credit given to anyone whom has not owned a home in 3 years has been a huge boom. As of this writing they just extended it to April 2010 and are allowing the move up buyer, (anyone who has owned their home for 5 of the last 8 years) $6500. If you would like to take advantage of the credit or would like more information please give me a call at 877-Lee-Sells (877-533-7355) Inventory in some starting price point areas is less than a month’s supply, but in the higher price areas it is up to a year’s supply. Three months supply is considered normal. More makes it a buyer’s market and less is a seller’s market. Pricing the home right the first time has become the big key to a home selling in 2009. Overpriced homes even slightly overpriced homes are not getting seen, and by the time it is reduced the property has become stale and winds up selling below the market. Homes must be priced comparable to the bank owned and short sales because that is the market today. Overall many homes have sold in 2009 but at lower prices than the years prior. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to know about a specific area.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Shoe is on the Other Foot Now


I am responsible for selling my mother’s home.  Great I got an easy listing.  Well not that quick.  She lives in New Jersey. And they do things differently than we here in northern California and I am not licensed in New Jersey. They use lawyers instead of Escrow and Title companies. I pondered how a deal is ever going to close with two lawyers involved. The people I spoke with assured me they do. It seems radon gas is an issue in this part of New Jersey and the seller is responsible for mediating it. My mother lived in an adult community where Open Houses and For Sale signs are not permitted. No wonder as I drove the community I did not see any other homes for sale. I thought there was no inventory and I would receive multiple offers just like here in the San Bruno and South San Francisco. After doing additional research I come to find they have a year’s worth of inventory in the area adult communities.

I was recently in New Jersey and spoke with three realtors.  Prudential is not strong in the area so I went into a GMAC Realty office at the local shopping center and I made an appointment with the floor agent. Immediately she told me she will come with her partner. Good! Two for the price of one. She and her partner came very well prepared. They presented information on themselves and their office. After speaking with them for a while I could tell they were not very experienced. It comes out they were in the business for five years. They were very friendly, easy to speak with, extremely motivated and aggressive but not pushy, understood marketing but not to knowledgeable on the contract, (do they need be since an attorney will review it?), they were the only ones that came with complete information on solds, actives and under attorney review. They had scheduled to show my wife and me three active listings. There was one under attorney review listed in their office that I mentioned interest in seeing. I was impressed that one of them immediately called their office to verify that a lock box was still on. We were discussing painting the home and once again immediately called a painter they work with and got a ball park price over the telephone.

The second agent I spoke with was recommended by a friend. My friend did not have a business relationship only a personal relationship. I called him on a Sunday about 3 PM and returned my call at 9PM and we set an appointment for 9AM the next morning to meet my schedule. I already liked his response time. I will justify him being the least prepared with the fact he had the shortest time to prepare. He did have information on the market but no marketing information. He did discuss marketing briefly. His mother in-law lives in the same complex and he lives in the complex next door, so I felt comfortable that he was familiar with the area. He offered to paint a stained area himself to save money. I appreciate saving money.
We had a very good rapport I thought. We discussed our mutual friends, the Real Estate industry and Back home.

The third and final agent I found on the internet as a “Top Producer” for a local old time one office company.  She definitely knew the complex.  She said I should hire her because she is the best and her office is the dominating listing office. She showed me all sorts of stats. Not much at all with buyers. She told me the various websites she will list the property on.  She spent most of forty five minutes we spoke, discussing pricing.  She suggested that I offer 4% to the listing agent because there was over a year of inventory available. It is a thought that was shared by another realtor as well but I’m not a big believer in that. She was not warm and friendly but she was not cold either.  She was opinionated.

Real estate is very localized so before interviewing the agents I prepared a list of questions to learn about the area: market procedures, lock boxes, inspections, time frames, the attorney situation, inventory, Open Houses, marketing, availability, full time or part- time, experience, DOM, list to sale price, their mix of buyers to sellers, office activity and more.   Stress Could I hire all of them? Sales people are easy to sell. we trust everyone.  We don’t want to say no to anyone.  Each had pluses and minus. They were all pleasant.  Now I understand what our clients go thru. Let me tell you by the third agent in two days I was burnt out. Do I go with experience, relationship, motivation? I thought I would hold off my decision until I see how their follow up is.  I ask for your help; whom do you think I should hire? 


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is a Condo the Right Choice?

I recently showed a condominium in Redwood Shores to a young couple that was considering single family homes under $490,000. They grew up in a middle-upper class neighborhood and wanted to own in the same type. Most homes under $490,000 in San Bruno, San Mateo, Redwood City, South San Francisco were run down and needed some work. My clients made several offers on short sales and were overbid on at least 5 REO offers. I was concerned with the necessary work since they did not have much money in reserve. I did not want them to start something and not be able to finish it like many of the homes we were looking at.


They were not looking forward to doing yard work so I convinced them to look at condominiums. They were hesitant because of HOA fees but I explained the costs of ownership over a period of time were basically the same as of single family homes or.

I showed them a 3 Bedroom 1300 sq. ft. condo and the young bride’s face just lit up when we walked in. It was modern, spacious, laundry inside, views and more. They were sold but they had to convince their parents who were putting up a good share of the down payment. The parents were difficult to convince. They were concerned with appreciation. I ran some numbers for the State of California from 1990 thru 2008 single family homes appreciated 79% and condos appreciated 116%. In San Bruno from 2000 –2008 single families increased 20% and condos 28%. Still did not convince the folks. San Mateo it was 7% for single family homes and 5% for condos.

When purchasing a home. appreciation should be taken into consideration but that should not be the only consideration. Life Style should also be given major thought.


I believe Condominiums offer a life style that fits many needs: No exterior maintenance, security with a security force or proximity to neighbors, often many have recreational facilities, and large complexes offer social activities, more updates than similar priced single family homes. Buildings that were built as condominiums and not converted offer excellent sound proofing and insulation. They also have laundry in the units. I suggest if buying a condo today to review the HOA financials closely. Many are having severe problems and assessments could be inevitable.

Oh, the young couple are hoping to close on a short sale soon.



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Are They Comparing Apples to Apples??

When you and I purchase a new computer we compare the memory, the speed, the screen size: does it come with a camera, DVD player/recorder and more. A home the largest purchase most of us will ever make often is not reviewed with such detail by the people doing the lending and sometimes by the people doing the spending. Yes, they look at the square footage, the general condition, and the location. Appraisers often do not have any idea of the cost of section one termite repairs. The differential in repair costs could be 3%, 5% even 10% of the purchase price. Roofs costs could range between $5000 to $25,000. A home with a two year old roof should be valued higher than one with a 25 year old roof. Appraisers know roughly how old the roof is on the subject property but they don’t know the age of the comparables. Same with double paned windows and furnaces. A home with copper piping through out or or with upgraded electric needs to have additional value added to it. All this information does not show up in the MLS. The MLS shows if the kitchen or baths have been cosmetically remodeled but does not go into detail if the cabinets, floors, lighting was all upgraded and how much they were upgraded. Is the home landscaped and does it have automatic sprinklers? This could add $5000, $10,000 up to $50,000 or $60,000. So.. What am I saying. The government has put in all of these new laws to make appraisals non biased but we as an industry have to work together and help them compare apples to apples.

We need to add more info to our MLS data reports. Even comparing selling prices is not a fair comparison if you don’t have all of the information. So many purchases have a credit for closing costs and or repair costs. Whole neighborhoods will be overpriced real quick when just a few homes were compared to homes with 3% credit backs. I realize some MLS’s are more progressive than others and include some of this information now. Some appraisers call and get this information. We as agents, could make this a very simple process. I suggest we add the following categories to the MLS data: age of roof, furnace, type of plumbing and electric, Cost of section one termite repairs if not completed, Amount of credit back, type of financing. If we put this in an area only available to agents we will be more valuable to our clients and help the appraisers compare apples to apples.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Buyer’s Market?

Buyer’s Market?  You bet it is.  I will be speaking about the low end of each market area. On the Peninsula and San Francisco we talk about Single Family homes priced under $700,000.  In the East Bay it is below $400,000.  Buyer’s Market yes but not in the traditional way.  Today’s buyer cannot expect to purchase a home for 20% off the list price, but they can expect to purchase a home 30-60% off of 2004 prices.  Today’s buyer cannot expect the seller to take care of all necessary repairs, but the buyer can expect to receive an $8000 Federal Tax Credit and an extra $10,000 State Tax Credit if they are purchasing a brand new home.  Today’s first time buyer cannot expect to be the only offer, but they can expect to receive the lowest interest rates in 40 years.  I think it is just in a different way.  

The Real Estate Market in San Bruno, South San Francisco, Daly City, San Mateo is hot just like the weather. Prices are based on supply and demand.  Demand is strong as all smart people want to take advantage of the buyers market.  By the way the $8000 Federal Tax Credit terminates Nov. 30 of this year.  many people do not understand this credit.  It is a true gift.  When this concept was originally introduced the credit was really a loan and needed to be paid back.  In 2009 it became a true credit.  You could just amend your 2008 taxes and receive your check in less than 2 months is what many buyers have seen.  Other are choosing to claim it when they file 2009 taxes.    Inventory is drying up.  Please look at the chart.  We are seeing less homes for sale today than we had last month or last year.  If you remove the short sales that have received offers (maybe 25% of the homes available we are probably close to the inventory of the hot market in 2005.  Please not the difference in the higher end and lower end of the markets.


  Belmont Bur. D.C. F.C. Mill. S.Bruno S.Carlos S.F. S.Mateo S.S.F. S.M. Cty.
Jun. 09 Inv. 62 70 92 34 31 57 73 140 175 89 1554
May 09 Inv. 62 65 100 42 27 65 73 179 178 95 1619
Jan. 09 Inv 41 39 170 26 43 65 64 210 134 109 1452
Jun. 08 Inv 61 63 213 32 52 122 71 184 193 170 1957
Jun. 05 Inv. 36 41 84 15 26 46 42 372 96 61 1013
Jun. 09 Sales 20 18 37 13 12 18 25 178 50 36 420
May 09 Sales 14 14 31 9 8 14 16 139 41 24 321
Jan. 09 Sales 3 6 31 6 2 13 5 81 24 12 163
Jun. 08 Sales 20 21 31 11 18 21 29 275 40 18 376
Jun. 05 Sales 36 32 43 26 19 37 32 211 87 37  
Jun. 09 Av. Pr 888,175 1416438 506,145 955,541 910,308 530,588 963,773 995,024 950,807 559,887 945,717
May 09 Av. Pr. 831,250 1164000 493,419 1,004,555 944,875 525,142 963,509 973,483 877,318 933,698 933,698
Jan. 09 Av. Pr 813,333 1,330,208 510459 1,008,000 925,000 580,134 1,122,200 747000 778,124 526,416 683,900
Jun. 08 Av. Pr. 854,318 1,386,086 580,088 1,149,626 1,114,216 637,140 1,123,682 1,248,334 933,032 628,833 1,157,966
Jun. 05 Av. Pr. 987,373 1362750 751,485 1,104,995 981,107 749,864 1,059,218 1,210,739 985,005 756,017  

Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.


Monday, June 15, 2009

What shall it be; Loan Modification? Short Sale? Foreclosure?

You are among the millions underwater and over stressed. What shall you do.

Your credit will be most negatively affected with a Foreclosure, then a short sale. As long as you stay current on your loan, loan modification should not affect your credit. Your credit score weather it is right or wrong is used by potential employers before hiring, landlords before renting, insurance companies before granting insurance and etc. Depending on your individual situation maybe credit is not important.


My client’s father nearing retirement age could live in his son’s rental unit and will not be looking for another job said he might pass away before his home in Las Vegas is worth as much as as his loan. He opted for foreclosure.

I had another client, a family with parents and adult children living at home in South San Francisco. They came to me for a discussion on their options. They are still working and acquiring things so their credit score is important to them. Being an immigrant family losing their home, the “American Dream”, would be extremely emotional and their image amongst friends and family here and back home would be devastated. They struggled making payments, but after family members lost two part time jobs they couldn’t do it any more and came to me for help. They pondered the situation. Should they continue making payments on a home that they owe $250,000 more than it is worth. They purchased this home with no money down and realized they would probably never be able to save the 10-20% now required down payment to purchase another home. They opted for a loan modification. They were hoping for some debt forgiveness.

fingers crossed

Their bank would not hear from that. But with persistence similar to a short sale approval I was able to get the bank to modify their 6.5% fixed interest only loan to a Principal and Interest loan starting at 3% for five years, 4% for 1 year and 5% for the next 34 years. Before that, the second lender agreed easily to modify their 8.5% loan to .31% yes .31% not 3.15 but only for 1 year. We will follow up with them in a few months. With home ownership tax benefits their new payments are now about the same as rent would be. They are thrilled, knowing they will now be able to afford the “American Dream”. During these negotiations I had them apply and they were approved for a property tax reduction with annual savings of almost $3,000.

I was told during this process that each loan holder not necessarily the servicing bank has their own set of ratios and criteria for loan modification. This worked out to be win-win situation. Their lender will receive their full payment over a longer period of time rather than losing several hundred thousand dollars during a short sale or incur thousands of dollars for foreclosure expenses.

We have all read that more than 50% of loan modifications are defaulting. Maybe it depends on the modification. I recently reviewed a loan modification for a client from San Bruno, Ca.. She was was in default. In November her loan was modified from 8.4% to 7.9%. Maybe $100 reduction and then they had the nerve to add on another $550.00 per month to bring her current. Her payments were $400.00 more than before the modification. If I did not see it myself I would not believe it. What were they thinking? It is no surprise she is in default again only 4 months later.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

For 6 years I have been putting out over 500 American flags in the front yards of homes in the Crestmoor Park area of San Bruno on the Memorial Day Weekend. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed in May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. I think it is important to remember those that gave their lives for us; for our freedom. The Crestmoor Park residents appreciate the beauty the flags add to the neighborhood. After walking up one side and down the other side of the street putting flags in the front yards of all the homes I turn around and see the flags waving in the wind. “What a great sight”. Even with all of the problems we are having, I am very proud to be living in this great country. The wonderful fulfilling feeling surely outweighs the sore back from bending down and the sore legs from walking up and down the hills. Several agents from my Prudential Ca. Realty office have begun the same tradition in other parts of San Bruno and South San Francisco.



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Old School Pricing Is Out and Price It Right Is In

Many sellers are determined to set their listing price higher than they are willing to accept so they have room to negotiate. With the New Millennium buyers they unfortunately will not get any offers. Today’s buyers are more educated than any others. The internet gives the buyers the opportunity to research all public records. They know the price of all the homes in the area that sold recently and are on the market. They know the trends, the cost per square foot; they know what the seller paid for the home and how much they owe and sometimes the improvements the owner has completed. If a home is over-priced the “New” buyer is almost offended that someone would expect them to purchase it at the “Over Valued List Price” so they don’t even make an offer. Many don’t even waste their time to view the home. That is the old school pricing method. My parents would have done that. Back then information was not so accessible. With today’s buyer’s research and knowledge they are willing to pay over the list price because they realize they are not paying over the market price. They are just paying over the list price. The old school seller does not understand this new Price it Right philosophy. It is the responsibility and ethical obligation of the professional honest agent to advise the old school seller that their price is too high and to educate them to the New Pricing Philosophy. If not, the seller will not get maximum value. Although the Old School Seller will reluctantly reduce the price after a few weeks it is too late. That property is now stale. It quickly gets a reputation that something must be wrong with it mentality by the buyers and some agents. This property may not deserve the reputation but it sticks. When an offer does come in it will be less than the reduced price and less than the market value. If it was priced right at the beginning most likely they would have received several offers within a week.

SSF Home Price Right and received multiple offerstara lane

Buyers are out there. Homes in San Bruno and South San Francisco priced right are having 75-100 potential buyers view their home during the Sunday Open Houses. Homes not priced right get less than half that. I personally know of eight homes in San Bruno and South San Francisco that went on the market with the Price It Right Philosophy and within the first week received multiple offers and sold at above the Listed Price. Not by much but they sold while others not priced right are still on the market. Sellers must understand that for every week their home does not sell it is costing them .25% or more.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Buyer's Loss is Another Buyer's Second Chance

30% of Real Estate Deals Don’t Go Thru. Maybe it is more, maybe it is less, but that is a pretty good estimate. So what does that mean to buyers and their agents? It means the property you lost out to in multiple offers or just because someone was faster than you does not mean it is gone forever. We all know that a ratified offer on a short sale means nothing until the lien holders agree. Many REO’s and individual sales are falling through today. Many buyers, especially first time buyers get concerned when a property falls out of contract. They think there is something majorly wrong with the property. Properties fall out for various reasons today, some for financing issues, property condition issues and just plain “Cold Feet”.

One property that fell out and I was able to get into contract for my client was across the street from a school. An elderly couple’s offer was originally accepted on it and upon more thought said at their age they preferred not to be across from the school and cancelled the contract. For my clients being across the street from a school was a benefit. So you never know. Keeping in touch with the listing agent is not enough. It is important to watch the MLS I have found busy listing agents change the status in the MLS and do not call the previously interested agents. I made an offer on an REO. It fell out; I contacted the agent immediately and requested she submit my original offer. She said she had no record of my previous offer and please resubmit. It leads to wonder if my original offer was ever submitted. That is another subject.
In the past, after the two week contingency period is over we would consider it a solid deal. Not in today’s market. Banks are forever requesting more information, buyers continuously get nervous, lose their job or have an accident. One quick story: Two days before closing, loan docs signed and ready to fund the buyer gets a DUI, loses his license and cannot purchase the home because it was too far from his job. I felt like an ambulance chaser but my client jumped at the opportunity to purchase the property he thought was gone. Originally they were upset they lost this home and couldn’t get it out of their mind. They compared everything we looked at to that. When I called them with the news they were thrilled and couldn’t write the check fast enough. Inspections went smoothly also. I was a hero.
What to do as a listing agent to prevent deals falling out? Keep a record of every agent or buyer that makes contact with you concerning the property and contact them immediately after a deal falls through (maybe even when you get that feeling). When accepting an offer request to see proof of the down payment, question the lender how thorough they were in qualifying the buyer, question the agent as to how serious, motivated and experienced their client is. Have they made other offers? Are they homeowners? How long were they looking for? A listing agent can do and must do the above when they have multiple offers. Price is important but should not be the deciding factor. If you have no other offers ask some questions and keep your fingers crossed.




Thursday, March 26, 2009

Every Negative Has a Positive!!!

Every Negative Has a Positive
Positives of This Economy

1. Bay Area Housing Affordability has gone from 16% to 38%
2. Debt of Americans is Decreasing.
3. A Large Increase in People Volunteering.
4. A Large increase in Military Enrollment.
5. First Time Home Buyers can get an $8000 Tax Credit.
6. Buyers of California New Homes can get a $10,000 State Tax Credit.
7. People are able to modify or refinance their loans to an affordable payment.
8. Businesses have the opportunity to clean up their books and start fresh.
9. Great Opportunity to Purchase a new car or any other major purchase.
10. Tax on Debt Forgiveness is waived.
And one of my favorites; you can Buy any Foot Long Sub for only $5.00
Please add to this list of Positives


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Top 10 Reasons to Purchase Bay Area Real Estate in Today’s Market

1. Interest Rates are near 40 year lows. You can lock in your housing costs for the next 30 years if you buy not if you rent.
2. Property Values are at 5 year lows. Some areas have declined in value as much as 60%. Bay Area Real Estate has a long history of recovering and appreciating.
3. There is a large inventory of homes to choose from with Motivated Sellers. Individual owners and banks selling today must sell.
4. Getting a loan today is not difficult. It is easy. Just show you can make the payments.
5. Conforming Loan Limits have been increased to $729,750 allowing for low interest rates on these loans.
6. FHA has loan programs with a minimum of only 3.5% down. Veterans can take advantage of VA loans with no money down.
7. First time Home Owners will receive an $8000 Federal Tax Credit. (First time is considered not owning a home in the previous 3 years.) Income restrictions apply.
8. Any buyer regardless of income or ownership type will receive a $10,000 California State Tax Credit when purchasing a new home or condo. It is suggested to use a Real Estate Agent to assist you in negotiating even more with new home builders. First time New Home Buyers can combine both Federal and State credits for a total of $18,000.
9. Investors can obtain a positive cash flow in some areas with 25% -30% down.
10. You will be respected as a good and smart American doing your part to help our economy. You will receive a personalized Thank You note from Pres. Obama, Gov. Schwarzenegger, your Realtor and Lender. Oh! In 5 years you will take me for dinner thanking me for helping you make so much money. It is a Window of Opportunity. This is the Bay Area Real Estate’s “Perfect Storm”. It will not last forever!!! Don’t let it pass you by!!!
“It Is Better To Own Real Estate and Wait, Than Wait to Own Real Estate”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Buyers Stimulus Package -3Br/2Ba Condo- Only $499,000

Buyers Stimulous Package -3Br/2Ba Condo
Brittan Heights
3322 Brittan Ave. #4
San Carlos

  • Nestled in a Secluded Tree-Lined setting near the Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve in the San Carlos Hills.

  • Masterbedroom Suite with a large walk in closet

  • Remodelled Kitchen with Granite Counters, Maple Cabinets, Pergo Flooring, Stainless Appliances

  • Large separate Laundry room with Maple Cabinets and individual Washer and Dryer
  • included
  • 3 sets of sliding doors, opening to private areas, give the single family home feel

  • Ground floor end unit in a building built as a Condominium
  • Separate Dining area with pergo flooring

  • An inviting Living Room with a wood burning fireplace and built in custom book case

  • The complex offers 4 Pools, Tennis Courts, Barbecue Area, Car Wash Area, Clubhouse, good neighbors, quiet surrounding, and Good Professional Management

  • Conveniently located near the vibrant Downtown San Carlos with Shops, Cafes and Restaurants, Crestview Park, Hiking Trails and easy access to 280, SFO, Silicon Valley, and East Bay & San Francisco.
  • $8000 First Time Home Buyer credit



Monday, February 9, 2009

Housing Stimulus Package - An Open Letter to Politicians

To Congress Woman Jackie Spier, Senator Diane Feinstein, and Senator Boxer

I am a local realtor specializing in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties Real Estate. I do not think the $15,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit in Economic Stimulus Package is making best use of the tax payers money.
First and Foremost to stop and slow down the hemorrhaging of the Real Estate market we must try to limit foreclosures, short sales and strive to keep the homeowner in the home. A very common situation is a homeowner with a $700,000 mortgage on a home with a $500,000 value in today’s market. A loan modification of interest rate reduction will not do the trick. Debt forgiveness or I suggest debt set-aside will make more sense for both the owner and the mortgage holder and the market place. I suggest that the first lender modify the loan principal to the market value as long as the owner is qualified to make those payments. The remaining balance owed will be set aside until the property is sold. When it is sold the owner and lien holders will share in the increased equity 50/50 or maybe 25/75. The owner must be given some incentive to continue making the payments and maintaining the home. The owner is wining from the upside and having a place to live, the bank is wining by converting a non performing loan into a performing loan and also by saving a minimum of $50,000 in the foreclose and resale process, the American People win by having less distressed homes on the market bringing the prices down further. Other positives are homes are not abandoned, homes are maintained, property taxes are being paid, are just a few. The second lien holder may not be satisfied so possibly some money from the Economic Stimulus package could be used to satisfy them. I believe if these homes are held for five plus years all lien holders will get pretty much all of their money back. If not maybe the set-aside principal will follow the owners to their new home.
The present plan of a Home Buyer Tax Credit and waiving any payments after purchase is not a motivating factor to buyers. It is a bonus or a reward but not a stimulus. It is not helping more people purchase homes. If we cannot keep the home from foreclosure the following are suggestions I offer:
· Use money from The Economic Stimulus Package to let new homebuyers upgrade their home. Many of these distressed homes on the market have lots of deferred maintenance. Many homebuyers presently cannot purchase these homes because after their down payment they do not have money for repairs. Less people able to purchase homes brings values down more making even more homeowners owing more than the home is worth. Let’s assume the appraiser says the home needs a new roof or appliances a Federal Grant from the Stimulus Package is given to the buyer at the time of closing for this sole purpose. This might be difficult to monitor but it will add more equity to the property, upgrade neighborhoods, put contractors to work and allow more people to purchase a home.
· Use money from The Economic Stimulus Package to buy down interest rates creating lower monthly payments and allowing more people to purchase a home.
· Use money from The Economic Stimulus Package to add to buyers’ down payment adding equity and lowering the buyers’ payments allowing more people to purchase.

I do not support lowering loan qualification requirements.
I understand there is immediate urgency in getting a plan in place. The present plan as it stands will definitely help and we need that. Please do not delay passing a plan any longer. I might be late with these suggestions but please keep them in mind when a new or revised Stimulus package is discussed.

Lee Ginsburg CRS,SRES

Friday, January 23, 2009

Open House - Prestigious Monterey Heights

Pemier Open House
Sat. & Sun. Jan 24 & 25 - 2:00 - 4:00 P.M. (Refreshments Served)
Tue. Jan. 27 - 1:30 - 3:00P.M. (Refreshments Served)
Prestigious Hills of Monterey Heights, San Francisco
138 San Felipe Ave

· 3 Bedrooms and 2.5 Baths (1896 Sq. Ft.)
· Inlaid Hardwood Floors, Dual Paned Picture Windows, Shutters
· Exquisite Distinctive Old World Architectural Details & Crown Moldings
· Traditional Formal Dining Room with Views of the Pacific Ocean
· Inviting Living Room has a Charming Fireplace & Awesome Views
· Dramatic Sunsets & Sweeping Views from the 2 Top Level Bedrooms
· Newly Remodeled Private 3rd Bedroom and Bath on Lower Level
· Lovely Eat in Kitchen looking out on the Rear Tiered Yard
· Hand Painted Faux Walls and Mural
· 2 Car side by side parking, storage and laundry in the Garage
· Conveniently Located near the vibrant West Portal Village of Shops, Cafes and Restaurants, Mt. Davidson Park and easy access to 101, 280, SFO

Key for people who Love the City. This Gracious traditional home is located on the most picturesque street in the prestigious hills of Monterey Heights. This home premieres the most exquisite architectural details, hand painted faux walls, dual paned windows, and inlaid hardwood floors. Upon entering you are greeted with Magnificent Dramatic Sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, St. Francis Woods, Lake Merced, Hills and Trees. The wood foyer leads you to the impressive warm living room hosting a charming marble wood burning fireplace. Sip wine and enjoy this luxurious room with old fashioned “Parlor Charm”. An Arch entry way welcomes you to the traditional formal dining room. A forgotten elegance returns to mealtime where guests will dine not merely eat. A classic eat in tiled kitchen, views out to the large rear tiered yard. The two sumptuous upper level bedrooms overlook Lake Merced and the Pacific Ocean. The lower level is enhanced with a newly remodeled bedroom, its own full bath and a private entrance. Conveniently Located near the vibrant West Portal Village of Shops, Cafes and Restaurants, Mt. Davidson Park and easy access to 101, 280, SFO. Come and Compare!
Hope to see you there.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home Buying Seminar

Home Buyer Seminar
Wednesday February 4, 2009 - 6:00 P.M.
Location: 180 El Camino Real, San Bruno

Prudential Ca. Realty Bank of America
Lee Ginsburg CRS, SRES Shaveta Sareen
877-Lee Sells (877-533-7355) 650-358-4874
Complimentary: Parking, Dinner, Home Buying Guide
No Cost! No Obligation!
Please reserve at toll free 877-Lee-Sells (877-533-7355)

One Person’s Loss, Is Your Window of Opportunity!!!

Learn How to Take Advantage of Today’s Real Estate Market. Yea!
· REO’s, Bank Owned Property, Foreclosures, Short Sales
· Qualifying For a Loan in Today’s Market. It’s not that bad.
· Low Down Payment Programs. Try 3.5% Down!
· Understand the Home Buying Process.
· Learn Many Practical & Easy to Use Negotiating Points .
· Closing Costs, Inspections, Contingencies, Title Insurance.
· Real Estate Auctions.
· First Time Home Buyer Credits.
· Auctions
It is Real Estate Better To Own Real Estate and Wait, Than Wait to Own Real Estate


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Helping a Child Purchase a Home? Loan, Gift, Partner?

As parents we all love our children and only want to help them. In the Bay Area parents almost have to help with a down payment. Do you give your children a gift or a loan? Is it better to be a co-borrower with them? Maybe be partners. If you help one child, you have to help the others. California is a community property state and that creates other issues. It is difficult to bring it up but more than half the marriages wind up in divorce and gifting child money to purchase a home is possibly giving your child’s ex-spouse a very generous gift. Asking a child to sign a promissory note is not always comfortable. In many families Money is a “taboo” subject. I helped my son purchase a home with the idea he was to pay it back when he could. My wife and I always had a good relationship with my son so we did not see any need to have a signed document. Hope that does not come back to bite us. He got engaged a year later and married a short time later. A wonderful girl and we love her like a daughter. Before he got married I explained to him Community Property laws and advised him if god forbids he got divorced he still owed the money. I probably would not ask for the payment but I wanted him to understand the consequences. It is now almost 3 years later and we are very happy with our decision. I am writing this because most people are like me but some may not be as fortunate. A choice might be a loan and gifting the annual interest, another choice might be to be partners, or an outright gift. Whatever method of help you choose it will have tax and possible legal consequences for you and your child. I think anyone helping a child or any family member should speak with a lawyer and an accountant before loaning, gifting, or cosigning. I will close with what my father always told me; Don’t do as I do, do as I say. Wishing you and your children the best. www.leesellsmore.com