Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Market Update for San Jose Homes

When running sales statistics of home sales for San Jose homes, I was pleasantly surprised to see prices up across the board from last year. It’s interesting that the media is still telling the world how bad everything is in our area. When I look at inventory, it appears that there is less than 5 months of homes for sale in Santa Clara County. Less than 6 months reflects a seller’s market while over 6 months reflects a buyer’s market. I suppose that since we’re not seeing homes go up at a 20% per year clip, the media thinks of it as a bad market.

Anyhow, another factor soon to be playing a role: The stalling of foreclosures being repossessed by the bank. According to Steve Goddard, President of The California Association of Realtors®, certain banks in the state have ceased their foreclosure process to ensure that they are complying with certain laws and processes. In the short term, that may limit the number of homes coming on the market thereby increasing prices. Over the longer term, I suspect it will take until the end of 2011 for a large price surge, but it is coming. Take a look at the appreciation chart on my website. To see it, click on the link on the left that says “Appreciation by Area”. For the top 10 ways to get the most money when selling your home, call or click Gary Nobile at http://www.garynobile.com/ or (408) 247-4029.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How to Protect Your Identity When Selling Your Home

How to Protect Your Identity When Selling Your Home
Most experts agree that the most important piece of personal information that identity thieves attempt to steal is your social security number. When selling a home in California, a seller is required by law to complete a form commonly referred to as “FIRPTA” (Foreign Investment and Real Property Tax Act). The form lets the title company and the buyer know if the seller is not a U.S. citizen. Not being a U.S. citizen will require certain withholdings from the seller’s proceeds, but that’s a story for another time. One of the pieces of information that can be asked on that form is the seller’s social security number.
When representing buyers, it never ceases to amaze me that some seller’s agents do not safeguard this information. As part of the disclosure process, I have been provided with a copy of this form (typically via e-mail) with the seller’s social security number in plain view. As the buyer’s agent, I must review this document with the buyer and have them sign at the bottom to acknowledge that they’ve received it. Then I provide them with a copy of what they signed. I like to think that all the clients I work with are honest and ethical. But what if they accidentally leave their folder of documents at a coffee shop? Things happen. Do e-mails always reach their intended destination? As careful as I try to be, sometimes I get an e-mail address wrong. What if that seller’s agent sent this form to an unscrupulous thief? That’s when the trouble starts.
As a seller, here’s what you can do protect this from happening. One thing the California Association of Realtors did right was change the form so there is no longer an area for the seller’s social security number on the form. Unfortunately, I still see plenty of the old forms being used by seller’s agents. As a seller you are asked to sign a ton of forms and while you should read everything you sign, you usually rely on your Realtor to tell you what the forms mean. But when it comes to filling in your social security number, stop! There is another preventative measure you can take so you can meet the requirements of selling your home and not run the risk of your social security number being advertised on the internet.
There was a little known law passed a year or two back to prevent this type of activity from occurring. As a seller, you can provide your social security number directly to the title company’s escrow officer instead of giving it to your agent. Under the new law, the escrow officer is a qualified 3rd party that can legally acknowledge the FIRPTA form for the buyer without the buyer actually seeing the form. The title company will need to record the sale and will need your social security number anyway so this saves you time and helps protect your identity.
For the top 10 ways to get the most money when selling your home, call or click Gary Nobile at www.GaryNobile.com or (408) 247-4029.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Don’t Skip the Vacant Home Insurance

Don’t Skip the Vacant Home Insurance
Often times homeowners are caught unaware that when a home sits vacant for an extended period of time it can trigger a ”vacancy clause”. This means that your home is now excluded from certain insurance coverage. Many homeowner policies specifically state that if your home is your principle residence (the one you live in) it must be occupied. The reason is that vacant homes are more likely to be vandalized. Are you selling a home that is vacant? If so, check with your insurance professional to make sure you’re covered. For the top 10 ways to get the most money when selling your home, call or click Gary Nobile at www.GaryNobile.com or (408) 247-4029.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Buying Foreclosures - Leave Extra Time For Signing

Buying Foreclosures - Leave Extra Time For Signing
When buying a bank owned home, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that banks are looking for ways to cut closing costs. One of the ways they do this is by having one title company handle all their transactions throughout any given state. When buying San Jose forecloses homes, for example, it’s common to work with a title company from Southern California to get your home closed. Why should you care? When it comes time to sign your closing papers, you will need to have the title company send the documents to a local notary in order for you to sign. It’s really nor practical to travel to L.A. to sign to buy a new home, unless you’re looking for reason to get out of town during the week. After the documents are brought to San Jose and you sign them, the notary must send them back overnight mail to the title company. This extra step can cost an additional couple of days in your schedule. Keep in mind that many foreclosure home purchases include language that states a buyer can be penalized $100 per day for every day the buyer is late closing. So it pays to plan ahead and schedule your signing as early as possible. For up to date info on the local real estate market go to www.GaryNobile.com or call Gary at (408) 247-4029.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bank Owned Homes - A PASSIVE approach Can Cost You

Bank Owned Homes - A PASSIVE approach Can Cost You
When a buyer purchases a Bank Owned Home, it’s common that the bank will require the buyer to sign addendum prior to accepting the buyer’s offer. One of the clauses I typically find in these addendums is in regards to passive contingency removal. What this means is that time, not a written waiver, determines if buyer removes their contingencies. For example, if a buyer submits an offer and signs the bank’s addendum, the buyer automatically agrees to remove their contingencies as of a certain date. This differs from a typical real estate transaction where the buyer must provide a written notification to the seller in order to remove contingencies. Who cares, you may ask? If a buyer finds a problem with the home during an inspection phase and fails to provide written notification to the bank by the date specified in the addendum, then that constitutes acceptance of that item. If it’s a significant issue, like a major foundation or roof issue, then the buyer can still walk away from the transaction but the bank will likely keep their deposit! Know the clauses, or have an expert Realtor know them for you.
For up to date info on the local real estate market go to www.GaryNobile.com or call Gary at (408) 247-4029.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Condition, Location are Key for FHA Home Buyers

Why Condition & Location is Key for FHA Home Buyers
Now that FHA loans are again a hot item, particularly with first time home buyers, there are a few things you should be aware of. First, the condition becomes very important. In order to obtain an FHA loan, the property must be appraised by an FHA appraiser. An FHA appraiser must disclose any “inhabitable conditions” in his/her appraisal. Once and inhabitable condition is disclosed, it must be repaired prior to the close of escrow before FHA will fully approve your loan.
Here’s a practical example. Let’s say you found a house for sale in San Jose but it was missing a toilet or a light fixture (I took this pic while recently previewing a home for an FHA buyer). This would be considered inhabitable and would have to be repaired before closing on the purchase of that home. Another inhabitable item an appraiser would cite (and I’ve had this happen to me while working with other FHA buyers) is a missing cabinet door in a kitchen. I’m not sure how they consider this inhabitable, but they didn’t ask me my opinion but merely gave me the rules to abide by. Where it can get sticky is when you want to buy a home but don’t’ know what will be called out in an appraisal. You make an offer that the seller accepts only to find out that repairs need to be made that were not part of the original contract. If a repair agreement cannot be reached with the seller (and if your offer was properly prepared) you should be able to walk away from the deal and get your deposit back. Unfortunately, that money you spent for the appraisal or any inspections is gone.
Another issue that pops up on home purchases with FHA loans is the location. If you are buying condo, the complex must be FHA approved. There are places you can go to find out if the complex you are interested in approved, but always check with your lender before writing an offer because condo complex FHA approvals can and do change. I would recommend to buyers with FHA loans that you understand what you can and cannot do BEFORE you start investing in appraisals and inspections. For more info send an e-mail to me through my website http://www.garynobile.com/.

Gary Nobile has been a licensed Realtor in Santa Clara County for over 20 years and serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. (408) 247-4029

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient and Save $$$

Here's a few tips you can use to help the environment and save money.

1. Plug air leaks • Fixing poor insulation and reducing drafts and other air leaks can save you up to 20% on your utility bills. CONTACT ME FOR SPECIALS CERTAIN SERICE PROVIDERS ARE PROVIDING FOR FREE!!
2. Program your thermostat • For every degree you turn the heat down in the winter, you’ll bring your energy bill down by as much as 5%.
3. Repair plumbing leaks indoors and outdoors • 5 – 10% of American homes are losing 90 gallons of water a day through water leaks.
4. Clean green • For about $20 per year, you can replace every cleaning product in your house with a safer, nontoxic, biodegradable homemade version using ingredients like baking soda, club soda, vinegar and salt.
5. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) • CFLs use 75% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
6. Unplug unused appliances • Americans spend about $4 billion a year on electricity for things they’re not using.
7. Be a smart landscaper • Strategically planted trees and shrubs that shade your home can lower surrounding air temperatures during summer months by up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit and can reduce your wall and roof temperatures by 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping your home naturally cooler.
8. Switch from bottled water to a refillable plastic water bottle • In 2006, North Americans spent $15 billion on bottled water and nearly 9 out of 10 of the bottles were thrown away rather than recycled.
9. Use recycled paper products in your home • By buying recycled paper products for your home, you could save approximately $40 per year and contribute to the preservation of 19 million trees.
10. Use reusable bags when grocery shopping • Six bags of groceries a week using reusable bags could earn you up to $31 in “bag credits” and help reduce the 30 billion plastic bags that end up as litter each year worldwide.
As always, I'm never too busy to help someone you know looking to buy or sell a home. Particularly, I am helping first time home buyers and seniors over 55 looking to donwsize or relocate. Thank you! www.GaryNobile.com 408.247.4029

Friday, March 26, 2010

Schwarzenegger Signs New Homebuyer Program

Governor Schwarzenegger today signed to authorize $200 million for home buyer tax credits. The bill allocates $100 million for qualified first-time home buyers who purchase existing homes and $100 million for purchasers of new, or previously unoccupied, homes.
This is different than the current federal program that expires in April. This program begins May1, 2010 and ends December 31, 2010.
This credit is equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000, taken in equal installments over three consecutive years. Under the bill, purchasers will be required to live in the home as their principal residence for at least two years or forfeit the credit (i.e. repay it to the state). Please contact me for questions on how to take advantage fo this valuable program.

For up to date info on the local real estate market, simply look at my website www.GaryNobile.com or call me at (408) 247-4029.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Warren Buffet Housing Prediction

Warren Buffet, the famed CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has made a bold prediction about the residential real estate market. In Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Buffet was quoted as saying:

“[Within] a year or so residential housing problems should largely be behind us, the exceptions being only high-value houses and those in certain localities where overbuilding was particularly egregious. Prices will remain far below “bubble” levels, of course, but for every seller (or lender) hurt by this there will be a buyer who benefits. Indeed, many families that couldn’t afford to buy an appropriate home a few years ago now find it well within their means because the bubble burst.”

Mr. Buffet is known for bucking the conventional wisdom with great success: Anyone who held a $10,000 stake in Berkshire Hathaway at the start of 1965 has about $80 million today. To see the full article, go to:


For up to date info on the local San Jose real estate market (and surrounding areas), simply look at my website http://www.garynobile.com/ or call me at (408) 247-4029.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interest Rates Rising, Tax Refund Running Out

My mortgage professionals gave me the bad news this morning. At least it's bad for borrowers. The Federal Funds interest rate went up 0.25% today. Rates are still very low, but no one likes to pay more than they have to on loans. Mortgages immediately jumped up by about the same amount, but expect them to settle down in about a week (all other things remaining equal). Expect others types of lenders to follow suit sometime soon. Stay tuned.....

The First Time Home Buyer tax refund program is set to expire on April 30, 2010. That means that qualified first time home buyers only have a couple of months to find their home and have a deal agreed to in writing with the seller. Then they will have until June 30, 2010 to close escrow. By doing so, qualified first time home buyers lock in a an automatic $8,000 tax refund from the federal government. I sure wish this was available when I bought my first home. My first home purchase was kind of like Charlie Brown's Halloween. If you weren't a refugee from another country, all you got was a rock. Anyway, the same time lines are set to expire for repeat home buyers as well. Qualified repeat buyers will receive a $6,500 tax refund. For more questions about the market, contact me through my website www.GaryNobile.com or (408) 247-4029.

Friday, February 5, 2010

In Santa Clara County, sales of luxury homes down in 2009

In Santa Clara County, sales of luxury homes down in 2009
Sales of homes for $1 million or more slumped in Santa Clara County and the state last year, as home values dropped and buyers avoided confronting a difficult mortgage market. Loans above $729k have been difficult to obtain. I find that when someone is buying a $1M home that they put at least $275k down. When you look at home sales above that, buyers need to put down an increasing percentage of the property value in order to obtain a loan. Since getting above $1M oushes the down payment figures considerably, it has caused a ripple effect on home sales. The interesting thing is that one would think it would be much worse than the data suggests. This may indicate that while sales are down in many high priced areas, the values available are getting home buyers to respond. Premier locations with excellent school districts will always command premium prices.
Five South Bay ZIP codes bucked the statewide trend, posting more sales of high-end homes in 2009 than in 2008.

In the county, million-dollar-plus sales fell 22 percent, from 3,055 in 2008 to 2,378 last year. San Mateo County's sales of luxury homes dropped 21 percent, from 1,696 to 1,344, according to MDA DataQuick, which gathered the information from public records.
In the nine-county Bay Area, a total of 7,261 homes sold for $1 million or more in 2009, down 27 percent from 10,006 sales in 2008. Several Peninsula and South Bay areas made the list of the state's top 25 ZIP codes for high-priced home sales. Leading the statewide list was Hillsborough, where 261 $1 million-plus homes changed hands last year, down from 274 in 2008. In Santa Clara County, Cupertino had the most sales for $1 million or more, with 215. That was down from 263 in 2008.

In Los Altos' 94024, sales increased to 211 from 204 in 2008. In Los Altos Hills' 94022, sales rose to 174 in 2009 from 157 the previous year. In Palo Alto, three ZIP codes had an increase. In 94301, sales increased from 125 to 126; in 94303, sales went from 122 to 137; and in 94306, sales rose from 134 to 145.

The most expensive confirmed sale in Santa Clara County last year was of a 6,654-square-foot, five-bedroom house on Barton Court in Los Altos Hills for $9.95 million. San Mateo County's priciest was in Atherton for $13.85 million, a five-bedroom, 2,550-square-foot place on Polhemus Avenue.

The most expensive confirmed home sale statewide last year was for $26.5 million in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. The house has nine bedrooms and is 22,721 square feet, DataQuick said. Statewide, 18,621 homes sold for at least $1 million in 2009, down 24 percent from 24,436 in 2008, DataQuick said. Total sales, meanwhile, of homes of all price ranges rose 17 percent from year to year. A total of 460,166 homes sold in California in 2009, up from 393,703 in 2008. One in 25 homes sold for $1 million or more last year, compared with one in 16 the previous year.

Sales of homes are excluded where no price or loan information was available. That could mean some high-priced local sales were omitted because buyers of expensive homes sometimes arrange to "hide" the transfer tax they pay from publicly filed documents, and data-gathering firms use the transfer tax to calculate the purchase price of the home.
-Gary Nobile, Realtor (408) 247-4029 www.GaryNobile.com

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Market Comparison - Santa Clara County

To see my most recent market update of single family homes in Santa Clara county, go to:


You will see all micro markets within the county and changes of sales over time. You will see some revealing information!

Gary Nobile
(408) 247-4029

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Video Real Estate Sales Trends 2009 and 2010

Please click on this link to see the latest real estate sales trends for Santa Clara County.

Oh, by the way... I'm never too busy for your referrals!