valley (10)


After the election I started watching Bloomberg TV instead of the news/opinion channels I had been watching.  I guess I just got tired of all the yelling, in addition to the fact that I felt the need to try and get some clarity on what might happen to the economy, and more specifically the Silicon Valley housing market.


Besides the much needed civility I found on Bloomberg, I quickly came away with the understanding that no matter who the different reporters and commentators said they thought would be winners and losers in a new political environment, there was one thing everyone agreed on. Interest rates are going up. PERIOD, end of story. Janet Yellen was going to raise interest rates anyway, due to the favorable economic environment. But added to what would have happened, regardless of the election outcome, everyone agrees that we appear to be headed for an inflationary period.


I am old enough to have purchased my first home when interest rates were 19% and the most valuable homes were those that had assumable mortgages as 13% or less. Hopefully we are not going back to those days.


But we are going from interest rates in low 3% to now over 4% and presumably still rising. So what does this mean to the Silicon Valley housing market?


Common wisdom is that as interest rates go up housing prices go down since the ability for a borrower to pay also goes down. We have seen this in the past, but the decrease in price is not always proportional to the increase in rate.


Take this example.


A Million dollar loan: 30 year fixed


At 4.150%:  $4861 a month


At 5%:  $5368


At 6%:  $5996


At 7%:  $6653


The difference for each jump of 1% in interest translates into about a 10% increase in monthly payment.


For a conforming loan of $400,000 30 year fixed


At 4%:  1910

At 5%:  2147


At 6%:  2398


At 7%:  2661


Again, the difference for each 1% in increased interest rates equates to about a 10% increase in monthly payment.


So, in order to make waiting a money saver, If interest rates go up 1% pt. housing prices must go down over 10%. At a 2% pt hike housing prices must go down over 20%, and at a 3 pt climb they must go down over 30%.


Do we expect this to happen in the Silicon Valley housing market in the near future?


No one can say for sure, but let’s look back at housing rate drops during the big crash of 2008-2010/2011 in some different neighborhoods.


These are average prices for all residential real estate. Some segments fell more than others, but on average I looked at what the mean sale was for single family homes, town homes and condos in four locations: Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, 94087 (Sunnyvale west of El Camino), and Willow Glen.


Palo Alto


High before crash:  $1.3 million


Low after crash       $1.2 million



East Palo Alto


High before crash:   $628,000


Low after crash:       $295,000





High before crash:    $779,000


Low after crash:        $717,000



Willow Glen


High Before crash:     $793,000


Low after crash:         $637,000




What so these numbers tell me about the Silicon Valley housing market, and by extension you?


If you are planning on buying in one of the areas where prices held up fairly well during the crash, then waiting for prices to drop as interest rates rise may not be to your advantage.


If you are planning on buying in a location that did not hold up well during the crash then an increase in interest rates may get you some savings in the long run or maybe bigger, better property.


My only concern would be that places like East Palo Alto that suffered so badly during the crash may not drop as much with higher interest rates since the location is so convenient to Facebook and Google. That may put enough pressure on these east of 101 neighborhoods to keep the prices supported more than they were in the crash.


I believe the same may be true in San Jose as companies like Google and Apple move south where there is more available space. In neighborhoods like Alum Rock or South San Jose where there is a lot of investor activity it may be better to wait until prices fall.


If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in the Silicon Valley please feel free to contact me.


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Great news for people who need to short sell their Blossom Valley

or Silicon Valley home!

If you have a hardship, loss of job, divorce, change in financial circumstance from medical or family issue, etc, you can now be considered for a short sale even if you have not missed a mortgage payment.

Freddie and Fannie will now have the same requirements and procedures, which was not true in the past.

This is great news, especially for people who have a sudden change in their circumstances and can no longer afford their mortgages, but do not want to have their credit ruined in order to be able to sell their home.

So, if you have a change in your circumstances which will change your financial picture, and you want to sell your home without ruining your credit, you may have a way to do this.

Be sure to work with professionals who know what they are doing. In short sales, there is no substitute for experience.


If you have any questions about short sales in Santa Clara or San Mateo County please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


D.R.E. 01191194

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Silicon Valley Home Prices are on the rise. Inventory is low, and there are plenty of buyers out there making multiple offers the norm, not the exception. Investors have been a big factor in the market since the crash, but now it may be time for a change if you are an investor.

For the last few years investors were gobbling up foreclosed homes, short sales, and other bargain priced properties. These were often rehabbed and resold quickly. While there was often competition from other investors, it was manageable for many investors.

The landscape has changed. The inventory is so low, and the interest rates are not only low, but loans are a little easier to get than right after the crash. This along with a very high employment rate, and skyrocketing rents, has sent first time home buyers flocking back into the market.

As a result, the chance to buy a home for a low enough price to rehab and resell while making a 30% profit is not working in the investor's favor. It may happen occasionally, but not often.

However, there is still plenty of money to be made investing in real estate. Maybe it is time to look into a buy and hold strategy. It will not make you money overnight, but in the long run will bring in more money than being able to snare the occasional flip.

So if you have $500,000 to spend, why not look for 2-3 homes you can purchase, get a positive cash flow, and sell in 5 years for a great profit if the market has appreciated, or keep holding until your profits are at an acceptable level. With a buy and hold strategy the investor should be looking more at appreciation potential than getting the best price or not buying. It is still number crunching, but the set of numbers being crunched is different.

If you have any questions about buyer or selling investment properties in San Mateo or Santa Clara counties please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


DRE 01191194

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In Portola Valley from Jan 1, 2012 until June 30, 2012 there were:

0 closed short sales

1 closed bank owned homes

Total sales during this time period were 32

Total % Short Sales: 0%

Total % REO Sales: 3.2%

Total Percentage  Portola Valley Distressed Properties: 3.2%

Obviously Portola Valley is not a hotbed of distressed property activity. The one foreclosure was on a small house on Aliso in Ladera which sold for $1,075,000, a great price for that neighborhood. It is however a fabulous place to look for a home if you want a large lot, an incredible community feel, and plenty of local services as well as recreational activities.

If you have any questions about short sales or foreclosures in San Mateo County please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


DRE  01191194

Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto, Ca. Specialist in Short Sales and Trust and Probate Sales

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The landscape for short sales is changing. As the inventory of homes for sale stays at historically low levels all over Silicon Valley, short sales are gaining in popularity for buyers. Added to that is the fact that short sales, while not a sure thing, are getting approved at increasingly higher rates.

Short sales can still be time consuming and frustrating, but when there are so few choices for buyers they begin to look better. So if you are thinking of selling your home as a short sale here are some tips to make things smoother.


2. Price your home realistically, not at a rock bottom price. The market is already hot and and appreciating. Banks are not stupid. If the home is worth $600,000 and you list it for $400,000 and get an offer for $500,000 it is unlikely to get approved.

3. Have the buyer put the deposit in escrow upon acceptance by you, not at acceptance by the bank.

4. If possible get inspections before you put the home on the market. It will make the transaction go much smoother.

5. Talk to your lender before putting the house on the market. find out what they need for the short sale and get it ready to send as soon as you get the accepted offer.

6. Enjoy your short burst of popularity. In this market everyone loves a seller, even a seller of a short sale, so enjoy.

7. Hopefully in 2-4 months you will hear the words from your agent, "Congratulations, you are off the hook."

If you have any questions about buying or selling a short sale in San Mateo or Santa Clara county please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


D.R.E. 01191194

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Just got approval on another short sale in San Jose with Chase. They are getting to be one of my favorites!

This was not straight forward. Client lost his job and was not able to make payments. He tried a loan mod but did not qualify due to having too much in retirement account. Client is close to retiring.

Put condo on market and got 13 offers. The San Jose inventory for small affordable condos is quite low. Accepted an offer 30% over asking price, cash, with no appraisal contingency. Asking price was market value at the time of the listing. Last 2 sales in the complex were within 5K of listing price.

6 weeks later get approval from Chase but buyer, who was an investor, dropped out.

I start to worry because none of the other 12 offers were over 10% over list price and I am afraid Chase (or actually Freddie) will want more since first offer was so high.

Submit a back up offer for 10% over list price, cash with no contingencies. 4 weeks later get approval.

Everyone is happy!!!

So fortunately the first offer which was so high did not taint the the process, and since there was no foreclosure date set there was not a danger of losing the condo to a foreclosure. But this is a risk in short sales in the Silicon Valley. The inventory is low. There are many investors and first time buyers in the market competing with each other. Sometimes people make ridiculous offers which they later regret.

How do you know what is the best offer? Is it the highest, is it the owner who wants this home more than anything, is it the person who puts the most money in escrow, has the least contingencies?

This is a complicated question that deserves its own blog. But my best advice to sellers of short sales is start by picking an experienced agent who knows how to analyze offers from a short sale perspective. This is not the same as a traditonal sale perspective. And understand that sometimes things go south, so be prepared for some bumps in the road to finally get to the magic words:

Congratulations: You are off the hook!

If you have any questions about short sales in San Mateo or Santa Clara County please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


D.R.E. 01191194

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It's the beginning of the year so time for the round-up of last year's distressed property sales in Sunnyvale. So here's what happened:


Single family and condo townhomes :

Total sales:  835

Short Sales: 111

REO:            73

Distressed sales as a percentage of total sales: 22%

Compare to 2010

Total sales:   849

Short Sales:   106

REO:            89

Distressed sales as a percentage of total sales:  23%


My conclusion:

The percentage of distressed properties in Sunnyvale is virtually the same in Sunnyvale between 2011 and 2010. This percentage is starting to have an effect on prices, east of El Camino. However in the 94087 zip code there were 11 short sales and 3 REOs in 2011 compared with 4 short sales and 2 REOs in 2010 out of 295 sales in 2011 and 307 sales in 2010. While short sales almost trippled in 2011 the percentages are still very low compared to the other zip codes in Sunnyvale. 

If you have any questions about short sales or bank owned homes please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


D.R.E.  01191194

Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto, Ca. Specialist in Short Sales and Trust and Probate Sales

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It happens every year. Agents tell their sellers that they should wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market. They say no one is looking during December so don't bother. Translation: Agent wants much needed and deserved time off during the holidays, or seller has a lot of family coming and does not want people traipsing through their home with all of the activity going on.

Other side of the equation: Very busy professional gets some down time the last two weeks of the year. Or, out of town relocation buyers are coming to the area to look for a place to live in the new year.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the problem. The only inventory left on the market at this time of year tends to be overpriced or weird which does not help the buyers who finally have time to look. 

I was with one of these too busy for the last 3 months buyers today. You would not believe some of the weird stuff we saw in San Carlos today. A house with a kitchen with gorgeous newer cherry cabinets, and a tiled blue stone counter that would hold bacteria in its many ridges forever. Why someone spent the money to tile a kitchen counter with these impossible to keep clean tiles when they could have put a slab of granite on for the same price is beyond my comprehension. this same home had replaced the asbestos wrapped heating ducts in the entire house, except for about 5 feet under the house. Why? If you are going to spend the money to remove asbestos on yards and yards of ducting why leave a few feet undone? Another home had 7 different kinds of flooring, on a 1400 square foot home.  A third home had removed the bathtub from the main hall bathroom and installed a double vanity. They then added a full bath with tub in the family room completely on the opposite side of the house from the bedrooms.

I was with a pre-approved buyer who can afford a million dollars with time on his hands to buy a home, and there is nothing for him to consider. 

I know I am not the only one frustrated by this disconnect between buyers and sellers.

So I am putting my money where my mouth is and putting a short sale condo in downtown San Jose on the market on Dec 26th. It is not overpriced or weird.

So sellers, next year put your home on the market in December if you want to attract hard working qualified buyers who have time to look.

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in Santa Clara or San Mateo County please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto, Ca. Specialist in Short Sales and Trust and Probate Sales

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Seems like a bizarre question doesn't it? Well guess what, it is not.  If you are selling your home as short sale the bank may have the right to send a property preservation company to the house and "secure it" if they feel the house is vacant and abandoned. But it is still my house, right?

Yes, it is still your house, even if you have stopped making payments, but here is the catch. Many loans contain clauses that say if you abandon your home the bank has a right to secure the property to preserve their interest in the home while they are waiting to re-posses it.

So here is the typical situation.  Owner has a home that they need to short sell.  They have already left the home, often to take a job somewhere else, but maybe for some other reason.  The short sale is initiated and the bank finds out the property is vacant. They do not want any damage to the property so they send out a property preservation company to secure the house.  The company changes the locks and may even board up windows. There are even some instances where the property preservation company employees help themselves to some things that were "abandoned" in the home that do not belong to them. The realtor listing the property may not be given the key and other agents may not be able to get in until the mess is straightened out.

What is the solution?  There is no fool proof solution but there are some things you can try.  If you are selling an empty home for what ever reason the best thing to do is to hire a realtor who can stage it for you. (I do this for all my listings) Once the home is staged, or even if that is not possible, take pictures. Show the bank the house is being cared for by the realtor, that the windows are not broken, and that there are locks on the door.  Take pictures of all the fixtures to show what is in the house.  Send these pictures to the bank along with the initial short sale authorization and then again with the short sale package to show that the home is not abandoned and in case there is any question about things going missing.

This may not stop the the bank every time from "securing" an un-abandoned house, but it should help.

If you have nay questions about short sales in San Mateo or Santa Clara counties please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


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My Week in Silicon Valley Short Sales

This was not a terrible week for me with short sales. In fact, it was pretty good. Here's the summary:


1. Closed a Menlo Park Short Sale with Bank of America, I represented the buyer.  It was smooth, and took 3 months start to finish.

2.  Another buyer is buying a short sale in Sunnyvale.  The file had been lost in bowls of HAFA, (government assisted short sales), but the listing agent managed to find it, get it back to a tradional sale, and we are waiting for a negotiator to be assigned.  we are 6 weeks into it.

3.  My Menlo Park Short Sale Listing with Chase has been in and out of escrow 4 times now.  the investor for Chase wants more money than the house is worth based in its condition.  After being with the latest negotiator 6 weeks we got another response from the investor asking for more money now than what they approved last time.  The buyer has now agreed to the previously approved price and we are waiting to hear back from teh negotiator.

4.  My Santa Clara Short Sale Listing was submitted 5 weeks ago.  It finally got a negotiator this week.


So all in all it has not been a bad week.  Short sales are still long, and can have problems, but all in all there are a lot of yeses so they are worth pursuing if you can not keep your home and want to avoid foreclosure.

If you have any questions about short sales in Santa Clara or San Mateo County please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


D.R.E.  01191194


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1. You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender [or servicer]. If you reject the offer, you do not have to pay us. If you accept the offer, you will have to pay us commission as agreed to in listing contract for our services.
2. Marcy Moyer of Keller Williams Realty is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender; and 
3. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.

Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto, Ca. Specialist in Trust and Probate Sales


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