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Whittier Home Ownership and the American Dream

by The Domis Team

As the Whittier, CA housing market continues to improve, home buyers are finding bargains in all price ranges and reaping the benefits of low mortgage interest rates.

Yet even as the real estate recovery takes hold in California, some would-be home buyers still wonder if now is the right time to purchase their first home.

It all comes down to your reasons for owning a home!

During the housing boom, value speculation played a large role in buyer motivation. Today, we're seeing a return to the fundamentals of home ownership, as evidenced by a recent TIME.com article.

TIME pointed to a home ownership survey with these insights:

  • 85% of Americans always dreamed of owning a home
  • 95% of Americans think it's important for their children to own a home someday
  • 78% of homeowners say that owning a home is one of their greatest achievements
  • 71% of homeowners say that the home is an expression of their identity

The survey also included how renters felt about home ownership:

  • 89% of renters say home ownership is still part of the American Dream
  • 83% of renters want to own a home someday 

The emotional benefits of home ownership are the strongest motivators today, with buyers seeking homes that provide a good quality of life for themselves and their families. 

The Whittier housing market has much to offer! We have a blend of contemporary and historic homes, along with a vibrant uptown district with plenty of shopping and dining! Our community is close to big city culture while having a friendly, small-town feel. 

At the Domis Team, we're happy to help you with your Whittier home search and your home ownership goals! Whether you're ready to buy, or just getting started, contact us today for the local expertise you can count on! 

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Real Estate Update for Whittier Home Sellers!

by The Domis Team

There’s some good news for Whittier home sellers: according to the California Association of Realtors, median home prices statewide increased to $308,050 during April 2012. This is a price increase of 5.7% from the prior month, and an increase of 4.7% from a year ago.

California median home prices have not been above $300,000 since December 2010.

One of the drivers behind price improvement is the reduction in distressed properties.Short sales and bank-owned properties accounted for 42% of total home sales in April 2012. A year ago, distressed properties accounted for 47.7% of the market.

Here in Los Angeles County, total sales activity increased 1.3% from a year ago, though the median home price of $289,700 is a bit softer than the California average. The average time a home spends on market has improved, with homes showing 54.8 days on market for April 2012, down from 55.5 in April 2011.

We are also seeing a reduction in the number of homes on market from a year ago, and shrinking home inventories have contributed to firmer prices. On the average, demand is highest for homes listed under $500,000. Current statewide inventories are running just under a 4 month supply in this price range. Last year, we had about 5 and ½ months of supply. In all price ranges, inventories have declined from a year ago.

The tighter supply, combined with a reduction of distressed properties and an improving economy, have real estate analysis optimistic about the housing market. However, the fact that distressed properties still account for 42% of the market is a reminder that future home prices will have a very gradual rise. Much depends on the volume and handling of distressed properties that remain in lender’s pipelines.

What does this mean for Whittier home sellers? The value of your Whittier home is always affected by the most recent sales of similar homes in your neighborhood. As your Whittier real estate professionals, we can show you the latest market data and evaluate your home value. When you decide to sell, you can trust our local market expertise for a sales strategy that works!

If you are thinking of selling your home, or you just have a few questions, contact us today! Our friendly real estate professionals are ready to help you!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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New "CoreScore" Could Affect Whittier Home Buyers

by The Domis Team

Whether you are buying a new home, financing a car or consolidating debt, you might be surprised by what your credit report can unearth these days. And while it’s no secret that lending practices have become cautious, you may not realize how much of your financial history is under scrutiny.

Several months ago, the data mining company CoreLogic  announced that it would partner with credit tabulator FICO to create a new consumer score. The product of the joint effort, called a “CoreScore,” does not replace the traditional credit histories available through Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Instead, it supplements them, using transaction histories not previously amassed. 

Here is what your CoreScore may include:

  • Rent payment and eviction history
  • Child support judgments
  • Utility payment history
  • Record of payday loans
  • History of property tax and HOA payments
  • Record of all real estate property owned
  • Record of property owned with negative equity

The CoreScore became available to lenders, employers and insurance companies as of March 30, 2012. While the CoreScore may make credit more accessible to those lacking traditional credit histories, it may also cause lenders to ask more questions about your financial past.

As a Whittier home buyer, should you be worried about your CoreScore? Unless you have negative events in these histories, you probably don’t need to worry. Even then, remember that the CoreScore is not replacing normal credit reporting; instead, it adds another layer of data to your consumer profile. 

You will able to pull your CoreScore report later in 2012, through annualcreditreport.com. You can file disputes and request corrections on your CoreScore report, just as you can with your traditional credit history.

We want you to be prepared for your home purchase and we hope this information helps you! If you are thinking of buying a home, there are wonderful homes for sale in Whittier and we’d love to show them to you! We also have information about mortgage financing to help you prepare for a successful home purchase.

Contact us for the latest Whittier market information, and for the best in friendly, professional service

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty

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Will Debt Relief End for Whittier Short Sales?

by The Domis Team

Our prior blog from April 24 talked about changes to the short sale process and how it could help the Whittier real estate market. However, the clock is running out on an important benefit of short sales. The 2007 Mortgage Debt Relief Act is set to expire at the end of December 2012.

Unless Congress takes action to extend the law, home sellers with closings in 2013 would have to count any forgiven mortgage debt as income for tax filing purposes.

The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows taxpayers to exclude “income” from the discharge of debt on their primary residence. Debt reduced or forgiven via mortgage modifications, short sales and foreclosures generally fall into this description. The tax break is considerable, as it allows up to $2 million in forgiven mortgage debt to be exempt from income tax. This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012.

The IRS sees forgiven debt as “taxable” because you received the benefit of the loan and use of the proceeds, but were released from the obligation of paying it back in full. To the IRS, the difference between what you borrowed and paid back is a monetary benefit, and therefore considered income. Without the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, the impact of the housing downturn would have been much more severe for homeowners and the economy as a whole.

What does this mean for Whittier home sellers? If you are selling your home and it has negative equity, you need to take action now while the Mortgage Debt Relief Act could protect you. Of course, there’s the possibility that Congress will extend the law, but there are no guarantees. Visit the IRS.gov website to find out more, and see your professional tax preparer for guidance.

If you’re thinking of selling your Whittier home, now is the time to get the information you need in order to make the best decisions. Contact us today for the very best in local expertise and friendly, professional service! We will provide you with the latest Whittier market information and evaluate your home

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Talent Takes Center Stage at Whittier Idol Competition!

by The Domis Team

Music lovers, take note: the 2012 Whittier Idol finals take place at the Whittier Center Theatre on Saturday, May 5! A total of thirteen talented contestants will compete for cash prizes. The winner will also enjoy local fame, with future performances assured at two city concerts.

The outstanding vocalist for 2011 was only ten years old! Erika Estrada won it all last year with her soaring rendition of Beyonce’s “Listen.”

The Whittier Cultural Arts Foundation supports Whittier Idol as part of their ongoing mission to advocate the visual and performing arts in the greater Whittier community. Outreach efforts include raising funds for the arts in all public and private sectors. They also assist schools in making the arts part of an essential education.  

You can help the arts thrive in Whittier by becoming a member or by volunteering during events! 2012 memberships will start this July and run for twelve months.

In the meantime, enjoy the wonderful vocal talents of our local, up-and-coming stars at the Whittier Idol finals! For tickets and more information, call 562-567-9400.

A strong cultural arts program enhances Whittier’s quality of life and attracts new residents. If you are thinking of buying a Whittier home, we will be happy to tell you more about our vibrant community! There are beautiful homes on the market today and we would love to show them to you.  Contact us today for the best in local real estate expertise and friendly, professional service!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Linda & Ryan Domis - The Domis Team
Keller Williams Realty
16310 E. Whittier Blvd. Suite F
Whittier CA 90603
Cell: 562-884-5373
Cell:562-458-6947
Fax: 562.902.5158
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Linda Domis - DRE #00571375 | Ryan Domis - DRE #01969771
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