A Winning Combination!

Coldwell Banker and Jessica Hays….
A Winning Combination

I am honored to announce that I have joined forces with Coldwell Banker, one of the most widely respected and trusted real estate names in the nation.

I am certain that my progressive approach to marketing, dedication to perfection and uncompromising service, combined with the unparalleled resources available through Coldwell Banker will create a winning combination.

Together, we are poised to deliver the highest degree of service through our unmatched global network, nationally acclaimed marketing resources and knowledge of the local Elk Grove market.

Please feel free to count on me to be your real estate resource. I am happy to keep you informed with up-to-date market information, and will continue to answer any questions you may have. For expert representation in buying or selling your home contact me today.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor; From the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options… I am here for you.

Rand on Real Estate: Why Now Has Never Been a Better Time to become a Landlord

RISMEDIA, Tuesday, June 21, 2011— Greg Rand, CEO of OwnAmerica.com hosts “Rand on Real Estate” on 77WABC Radio in New York, where this week’s discussion comes from a caller from Orange County who does not believe that this is a time to buy real estate. Rand addresses a question about the effects of shadow inventory on the market and gives his recommendation to buy now, noting it has never been a better time to become a landlord. Rand also tackles the issue of high taxes making it difficult to turn profits from investments from a caller in New Jersey.

To see more clips on Rand on Real Estate, click here.

Greg Rand is the CEO of OwnAmerica, a company dedicated to teaching real estate professionals and consumers how to build wealth in American housing. “Rand on Real Estate” is a weekly video series where Rand offers his expert insights into how to grow wealth in the current real estate market. OwnAmerica also offers a web-based certification course for real estate agents who want to capture the residential investor market. Learn more about the course, “OwnAmerica Real Estate Investment Certification Program,” (OICP) by visiting OwnAmerica.com for details.
RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to:realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

*Credit RISMedia

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.


Did you know…?

As of July 1st 2011 all homes in the state of California are required to have carbon monoxide detectors in them!  I highly doubt that the government will be sending any inspectors to your homes to confirm that you’ve complied.  I mean, how often to you hear about men in black suits knocking on random doors to verify a property has smoke detectors or that their water heater is properly braced to the wall? BUT, if you are selling your home and you will record after July 1st, you will need make sure that you have these detectors before you record to ensure that your property is up to code.  If you’re not selling your home any time in the near future, you may want to consider picking up a few of these detectors anyways… You never can be too safe, right?  As always, From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.


Short Sale Frequently Asked Questions

What is a short sale?
A short sale occurs when a mortgage lender allows a financially distressed homeowner to sell his home for less than what he owes on the mortgage. The short sale process varies by state, so it’s very important that financially distressed homeowners who are considering a short sale contact a qualified real estate agent in their area.

Who qualifies for a short sale?
Typically the homeowner must suffer a financial hardship that has prevented him from making his mortgage payments and lacks the financial means to correct the situation; the homeowner is in or facing foreclosure; and the homeowner has little equity, no equity or negative equity in the property. Investment property owners may also qualify for a short sale as long as an acceptable financial hardship is involved. Ultimately the lender will decide whether a homeowner or investor qualifies for a short sale and each lender has their own method for determining whether a property owner qualifies for this type of sale.

What are the benefits of a short sale?
The homeowner is able avoid foreclosure, which is a stressful process that can have a significant negative effect on one’s credit score. Depending on the terms of the short sale, the home seller may also be able to mitigate his financial obligations if the lender “forgives” the difference between the property sale price and amount owed on the mortgage. This would allow the home seller to walk away from the transaction free of debt related to the mortgage. Lenders also benefit from short sales because often times they are less costly and less work than the foreclosure process. The buyer also may benefit because a short sale is a distress sale and he may be able to purchase a property at a discount.

How much does a short sale cost the home seller?
The closing costs and real estate commissions are typically paid by the lender; however these details are finalized in the short sale contract between the home seller and the lender. In some cases, the lender may require that the home seller pay the difference between the property’s sale price and the amount owed on the mortgage. Usually, if the home seller can afford to pay the difference, the lender will require that they do pay the difference.

What do buyers need to know about purchasing a short sale property?
Buyers interested in a short sale property must be patient. One way to expedite a short sale purchase is to be a cash buyer, but this isn’t always possible. Being well-qualified with a substantial down payment and preapproved are second best. Buyers should also know that banks don’t like to negotiate repairs or other contingencies. It’s important that buyers considering the purchase of a short sale property hire a real estate agent who is very experienced at closing these types of transactions. Experienced agents can help alleviate much of the stress related to the short sale transaction by knowing what to look out for and how to best communicate with the lender.

How long does it take to complete a short sale?
It depends on the complexity of the sale. Short sales can take several months to process – sometimes up to 120 days or longer. Banks aren’t structured to efficiently sell properties. Financial institutions have many regulatory procedures that must be completed before a short sale can be closed. Oftentimes it’s just a matter of cutting through a lot of red tape following the lender’s various short sale policies, which usually include many people reviewing and approving specific aspects of the sale. If more than one lender is involved, the short sale can become more complicated and time consuming.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

Community Garage Sale Coming Up!!! 5/22

Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate is proud to announce a series of 1st Annual Community Garage Sale Events throughout Elk Grove – Sponsored by Jessica Hays, Diana Martinez, and Courtney Ellison.  These events will be the largest block sales Elk Grove has ever seen!  We will do all the advertising and organizing, and with the combined efforts of our neighbors, it will be a great opportunity for buyers and sellers alike!

  • Are you ready for some Spring Cleaning?
  • Do you have just a little too much stuff in your garage?
  • Could you use a little extra cash?
  • Looking for great deals?
  • Do you enjoy having fun with your neighbors?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we need you!  We are looking for people that would like to sell or donate items around their house.  This is not just an invitation for you to shop, but an opportunity to clean up, clear out, and make some cash!  Best of all, the morning after each event all unsold and unwanted items that are left on the curb will be picked up by the Salvation Army at no cost to you!

Jessica Hays will be hosting a Community Garage Sale Event in the Rancho Laguna Community of Elk Grove near Kloss Park on Sunday 5/22/11.  Register Here

Diana Martinez will be hosting a Community Garage Sale Event in the Laguna Creek South community on Bellaterra and the surrounding streets in Elk Grove on Sunday 6/5/11. Register Here

Courtney Ellison will be hosting a Community Garage Sale Event in the Arcadian Village community of Elk Grove on Sunday 6/12/11. Register Here

About Us:

The Right Mortgage for You

If you’re considering buying a home, securing a mortgage loan is a key part of the process.  However, you’re probably wondering: how do I find the best mortgage loan for my financial needs? Generally speaking, there are two types of mortgage loans:

  • A fixed-rate mortgage offers a rate that stays the same over the life of the loan. This type of loan generally has a longer term and may be good if you plan to own your home for a long time.
  • An adjustable-rate mortgage offers an interest rate that adjusts based on market conditions (it goes higher or lower) after a specified time period. This type of loan may be good for people who need an initial lower monthly payment.

man laying down

Consider the following factors to help you gain insight into the kind of home you can afford, and the type of mortgage that will best fit your financial situation:


How long do you plan to own the home?

  • Some loans have longer terms (from 15 to 40 years) that typically work well when you plan to stay in the home for a long time. Other loans have lower interest rates for a shorter term, and may be attractive if you plan to move in five to seven years.
  • CONSIDER: How many years do you plan to stay in the home? Will you move within seven years, or is this the place to “settle down?”

How much can you afford as a down payment?

  • 20% of the cost of the home is standard for the down payment on a conventional loan, but there are loans that allow you to put down as little as 5 or 10%.
  • The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be.
  • CONSIDER: How much can you realistically afford as the down payment?

What is the general price range for other homes in your neighborhood?

  • How many homes are for sale in the area? How are they priced? Do you have a list of comparable properties?
  • Are there other neighborhoods that catch your eye? How are the homes in these other areas priced?
  • CONSIDER: Which area/home features the best combination of location, quality, and cost for you.

Which of the following is more important to you?

  • To have low monthly payments?
  • To pay less over the life of the loan, even if monthly payments are high?
  • Some loans offer lower monthly mortgage payments over a long period of time. Other loans are designed to be paid in a shorter time frame, but have higher monthly payments.
  • CONSIDER: Which situation would work best for you? It helps to be clear about your financial goals and resources.

Your credit history

  • Mortgage lenders will look at your credit history and credit score to determine your track record for paying off debt.
  • CONSIDER: Do you have a good credit score? Review your credit report to find out.

Mortgage Market Update from Our Expert

You all know by now that I like to keep you well informed on the goings on of the mortgage market by keeping you posted with what Monica Jones, Certified Mortgage Planner with RPM Mortgage, has to say about it.  Below you’ll find her notes on the market for this week.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.





Last Week in Review: Our hearts and minds – as well as the markets – were moved by the tsunami in Japan and unrest in Saudi Arabia. Read how both impacted Bonds and home loan rates!

Forecast for the Week: Double dose after double dose hits the news wires this week. Find out what to watch and why!

View: Discover the pros, cons, and interesting tidbits about Daylight Saving Time, which begins this week.

Last Week in Review
“And now… the rest of the story” – Paul Harvey. With his famous line, Paul Harvey pointed out for years that there’s more to every story – and often those hidden details influence what happened. With that in mind, let’s look at the “rest of the story” behind last week’s news items, which had alternating impacts on Bond prices and home loan rates. 

First, let us start by sending our thoughts and prayers to the families affected by last week’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The earthquake was a magnitude of 8.9 – the strongest in 140 years. The earthquake in Japan and its damage created some counterintuitive market reactions.

One would think that US Treasuries and Mortgage Bonds would have traded much higher, as often is the case with devastating natural events that drive money into “safe haven” trades. But that wasn’t the case. Why? The answer is that buying of Treasuries and Mortgage Bonds as a safe haven trade was offset by the Japanese selling some of their own massive holdings of Treasuries and Mortgage Bonds, in order to repatriate money back to their country during the time of emergency. Considering that Japan is the second largest holder of U.S. debt at $877 Billion, selling just a tiny position of their holdings has an impact on Bond prices.

In addition, Bond prices traded in very volatile fashion last week after getting jockeyed around on news out of Saudi Arabia that police had opened fire on protesters with rubber bullets. Let’s look at how this influenced the markets in a different way than one might at first imagine.

Like other recent uprisings in the Middle East, Saudi protesters are looking for more democracy, the right to elect public officials, greater civil rights, freedom of expression, more women’s rights and a higher minimum wage. Interestingly, however, oil fell last week, despite the news. Why? Shouldn’t unrest in Saudi Arabia – the world’s largest oil producer, push prices higher? Yes, but that news was offset by the earthquake in Japan. That’s because Japan is a huge importer of oil… and the market senses that the earthquake and subsequent tsunami may create an economic slowdown and diminish the demand for oil.

Seeing that Mortgage Bonds are lower – even in the face of weak Stocks and enormous uncertain global news – tells us that the gains in Bonds are not coming with a lot of conviction and Traders are selling into this strength. This is because a lot of headwinds remain for Bonds – like inflation abroad, rising government debt and continued QE2 purchases.

This is a good example of why it is important to work with a mortgage professional that understands not only what was reported in the news, but also how the many cross currents may have alternating effects on everything from Bonds, Stocks, Oil to the US Dollar.

Forecast for the Week
“Double dose!” is the phrase of the week, as we’ll see multiple reports this week focusing on the same segments of the economy: 

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see by the arrows in the chart below, Bond prices experienced some up-and-down volatility last week, but ended the week near where they began – meaning home loan rates are still near historic lows.

So what should you do if you or someone you know is in the market for a new home?

The bottom line is that even if housing were to drop a little further in some areas, the affordability coming from today’s rates serves as a backstop against any moderate price reduction. Remember, housing will likely be in a much better position in the second half of the year and at that time rates could be a bit higher. Now’s the time to take advantage of the combination of low rates and affordable housing. Call or email today to get started.

Japanese Candlestick Chart


Sping Forward Beginning March 13

Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on Sunday, March 13, 2011. The way we refer to time zones also changes. For example, Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

But remember, some areas of the United States don’t use DST, such as Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

Benefits of Daylight Saving Time

Despite some concerns, Americans overwhelmingly like Daylight Saving Time. There is simply more sunlight in the evenings to enjoy the outdoors and get things done. Plus, additional hours of daylight can help save energy on a national scale – as much as 100,000 barrels of oil per day according to some estimates.

And brighter is safer. Studies have shown that the DST shift reduces traffic accidents. Additionally, a study by the US Law Enforcement Admin also determined that crime is consistently lower during DST, with violent crimes down as much as 10% to 13%. For many crimes, like mugging, darkness is a factor–so more light in the evening hours reduces these types of crimes.

Cons of Daylight Saving Time

Not everyone benefits from DST. For example, many farmers say that DST has a negative impact on their livestock’s natural schedules. The airline industry also reports that it costs millions of dollars to adjust time schedules – and even then, airlines report numerous problems with international flight connections during the transition time since DST isn’t followed uniformly around the world.

Interesting DST Facts

  • A man was actually able to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War using a Daylight Saving Time loophole. When he was born, it was just after midnight, DST. When he was drafted, he successfully argued that in his home state of Delaware, standard time – not DST – was the official time for recording births. So he was technically born on the previous date – which had a much higher draft lottery number – and he was able to avoid being drafted.
  • In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time, while Israel had switched back to standard time. A group of West Bank terrorists prepared some timed bombs. Unfortunately for them, they misunderstood the time change and the bombs exploded early – killing the terrorists themselves rather than the intended victims, two busloads of innocent citizens.
  • In the 1950s and 60s, each state and locality was permitted to choose start and end DST dates as they desired. During 1965, Minneapolis and St. Paul – which are considered one metropolitan area – didn’t agree on start dates, and for a period of time, these Twin Cities had a one hour time change between them. And on one Ohio to Virginia bus route, passengers technically had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles!
  • To keep to their published timetables, Amtrak trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So when the clocks “fall back” in the fall, all trains that are running on time actually stop at 2 am – the official time of DST change – and wait one hour before resuming their routes. In the spring, the routes instantaneously become one hour behind schedule, but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time.

Finally, since many electronic devices and computer programs are set to adjust to DST based on the old dates, they may not change automatically on March 13. So, you’ll want to double-check all of your devices and confirm that the time is correct.

Economic Calendar for the Week of March 14-18, 2011

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

Economic Calendar for the Week of March 14 – March 18

Economic Report
Tue. March 15
Empire State Index
Tue. March 15
FOMC Meeting
Wed. March 16
Housing Starts
Wed. March 16
Building Permits
Wed. March 16
Producer Price Index (PPI)
Wed. March 16
Core Producer Price Index (PPI)
Thu. March 17
Index of Leading Econ Ind (LEI)
Thu. March 17
Capacity Utilization
Thu. March 17
Industrial Production
Thu. March 17
Core Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Thu. March 17
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Thu. March 17
Jobless Claims (Initial)
Thu. March 17
Philadelphia Fed Index

What to Research as a Home Buyer

As a buyer, the reality is that you’re not looking for a house. You’re looking for a home, and more-a space where you and your loved ones can feel secure, stimulated, and comfortable. This latest stage in your life requires gaining a perspective that goes beyond your front door to one that encompasses and understands what’s available in the community features in the way of other residences, schools, shops, and athletic and artistic centers. In short, you need to take a closer look at what’s available, and that’s what our “Look” section is all about!

When it comes time for you to make a move you’ll want to do your research.  Ask yourself if you’re satisfied with the community and all it has to offer.  Make sure the schools are adequate if you have school aged children.  Look into the market trends and make sure you understand them.

I personally love living in Elk Grove, California.  We have beautiful tree-lined streets, excellent schools, countless parks, and fabulous community events year round.  Check out Elk Grove’s Housing Trends, Schools, and Community info.

If you’re more interested in moving to another community, Click Here to start your neighborhood research.  I’m happy to help you find your dream home, wherever it may be.  Feel free to call on me for all of your real estate needs.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.