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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD SAFE?

Here in the South Bay we feel pretty safe and secure about our
neighborhoods.  We know the most important thing to consider when purchasing a home is always, location, location, location. 

But, what about other neighborhoods we may be considering for income property, vacation homes or helping one of our kids find their first place?   

Today, with the amount of information available online, crime statistics can be easy to find if you just know where to look.  Here are some helpful places to start...
 
Sex Offenders: Thanks to Megan's Law, determining if there are registered sex offenders in the area has never been easier. Simply Google "Megan's Law, (your city), (your state)," and you should see a list of available resources. You should be able to enter the address, neighborhood, town, ZIP code, or other identifiers that will allow you to see if there are any registered sex offenders in the area. Be aware that process may vary by state, and if you don't have any success with the keywords "Megan's Law," instead try "sex offender, (your city), (your state)."
 
Drugs: Has a property been used for drug sales or drug production? Was it ever a meth lab? It may be a bit tougher to find all the information you want, but there are options:
 
Google the address. If a crime had been reported there, some details may show up in the search, especially if it made the local paper or news channels.
 
Drive by in the evening or weekend (when people are most likely around) and talk with neighbors. They can often be the best source for what happened in that home before it went on the market.


 Justice Dept. website Click on the map to view a list of counties and addresses where drug labs have been found.

Crime: Want to find out about stolen vehicles, robberies, and more? Below are three sites to help your buyers do that (besides the Daily Breeze, of course.) 


Trulia: To get an understanding of the overall crime statistics in the area, Trulia can be a good place to start. After entering the address in the search field, scroll down to the "Local Info" area and click on the "Crimes" tab. This information is also available for larger areas using the "Local Info" tab in the search area.
 
CrimeReports: This site allows you to see the types of crimes that occurred throughout the area. By clicking on the icons, you learn what type of crime was committed, where it was committed, and when it occurred.

SpotCrime is another site that works similarly to CrimeReports, though you may find more details on the CrimeReports site depending on the area.
 

Of course, call me for information on any property in Southern California.  I'd be more than happy to help you research and find a safe place to live, vacation, relocate or check out for the kids.  
Charlie :)
Team South Bay Realty

24214 Hawthorne Blvd. Suite B
Torrance, CA 90505
310-534-3940



Sunday, June 2, 2013

GOT THE CREDIT REPORT BLUES?

 
MY CREDIT IS ALL MESSED UP! 

I hear complaints everyday from my clients about issues with their
credit reports.  The worst time to start dealing with these issues is when you are in the process of making a purchase.  It makes sense to check your credit report at least once a year and handle the mistakes as they come up.  The following information from one of my mortgage brokers should be helpful to get the ball rolling ... 
the process just got EASIER and FASTER. 
 
To get you FREE Credit Report you can check either of these two sites:
 
AnnualCreditReport.com
CreditKarma.com

After reviewing your credit reports, if you find any errors or discrepancies, you must first notify each of the credit bureaus in writing.  Then you can begin the process below. 
 
The Consumer Finance Credit Bureau (CFPB) now allows consumers to “directly dispute” misinformation by directly uploading their complaints on line.
 
"The Bureau has the power to conduct (costly) administrative reviews, levy fines and provide information to consumer rights attorneys for the sake of class action lawsuits".
 
To begin the complaint process click here CFPB 
Below are the most common examples of misreporting:
 
a) Information is “not creditor’s
b) Belongs to someone else, identity theft, fraud, etc.
c) Account terms are reported wrong
d) Creditor name/info, balance, payment, etc.
e) Account status
f) Paid bill on time, account closed, etc.
g) Wrong date of birth, address, etc.
h) Inaccurate public records (Bankruptcy, judgments, etc).
i) Reinserted (previously deleted) information
j) Credit Reporting company's investigation was flawed
 
To dispute an issue, the consumer must first order a credit report from each bureau and file a dispute for each derogatory item with the specific credit reporting bureau.
 
Once the bureau has reviewed the filing, they must (within 30 days) inform the consumer the results of their investigation.
 
Assuming the investigation is negative, the consumer should appeal to the CFPB for relief.
 
The uploading of any supporting documents online directly to the agency expedites ('starts" the clock ticking") the process by bringing pressure on credit bureaus, collection agents and credit vendors.
 
It's just easier for all involved to delete a consumer's derogatory item rather than risk sanctions.
 
Those documents are (but not limited to):
 
a) Incorrect part of credit reports, payment records, cancelled checks, court documents, birth certificates or other identity verification documents.
 
b) To add pressure I recommend the borrower/ buyer includes a cover letter (and subsequent purchase contract) explaining the sensitivity and timeliness of a quick response.
 
All too often unethical bill collectors target and pressure innocent borrowers and borrowers with common surnames, to pay illegitimate debts just to raise their credit scores.
 
Collection agents coldly calculate the pressure of losing an earnest money deposit (and the home) to bully innocent buyers into paying an (unjust) outstanding balance just to close escrow.
 
NOTE: If the debt is legit it’s CRUCIAL that the debt be paid ONLY thru escrow.

 

Charlie Hoffmann

Team South Bay Realty
310-378-4440

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

THE MARKET AWAKENS

Nothing stays the same forever, especially the real estate market.  Just like the stock market, what goes up eventually comes down and so goes
the circle of life. 

This month we've seen some great improvement in South Bay home prices.  We're slowly moving away from the Foreclosures and Short Sales (although we still may see more to come from the "shadow inventory" some of the banks are holding.)  Meantime, we're holding our breath - anticipating a interest rate hike - long overdue.  A lot of folks are still not convinced that now is the time to roll out their plans for moving into bigger homes or selling the family home which they've outgrown for something more manageable.  I suggest that NOW is the time to start moving forward.  We have a perfect blend - lowest interest rates in history accompanying comparatively modest home prices.  If you are trading up, the money you save on your "up leg" will more than make up for any lag in increased value for your present home.  It's all numbers. 

I'm sending out Market Update Profiles to all my clients over the next few months.  If you're not in my current database, call me and I'll do the same for you.  My job has always been to provide information so you can make an intelligent informed decision.  That starts with looking at the big picture and narrowing it down to how it will play into your life and family plans.  My husband teases me with my own mantra ... if you fail to plan you plan to fail!  We are now in a transitioning market.  Take advantage of the window and watch how these changes play into your goals and dreams. 
Of course, I can help you visualize and project whatever you have in mind.  Then when you're ready to move forward, I can help you make it all happen.  That's my job - your Real Estate Consultant For Life and all it brings...


Meantime, I have a little girl looking for a "forever" home.  She's a sweet 4 year old English Bulldog.  She plays with all my dogs (and cats) and has taken up a post as the best watchdog ever to earn her keep.  She needs someone who will walk her (she loves walks) and give her some attention (not that much but a little.)  She will return those favors ten fold.  Let me know if you or someone you know would like to adopt this wonderful companion pooch.  It's good Karma you know - doesn't hurt to pay it forward. 

Have a great month and please feel free to call me with any of your real estate questions. I'm here to help. 

Charlie :)
Team South Bay Realty
24214 Hawthorne Blvd. Suite B
Torrance, CA 90505
310-378-4440