Real Estate

If a Realtor were 'tweeting' ...

As in haiku, words of real-estate wisdom can be expressed in 140 characters ... or less

Rates: Loan rates are the lowest since the early 1950s. However, getting money is more difficult than it has ever been. Get pre-approved.

RIPs: NINJA loans (No Income No Job or Assets), multiple offers on $5 million homes, mortgage brokers, new home builders.

Jobs: Lack thereof will continue to drag on the real-estate market in California. Social networking is the new engine driving growth in SV.

Rents: As the job market has improved, rents have increased. Oddly, rents declined steeply after the Y2K recession, but not this time.

Prices: Buyers are waiting for a double dip. In Silicon Valley that is available at several up-and-coming gelaterias but not in real estate.

Best deal: The house you can afford in the area you want to live. Still one of the best opportunities to save money and build wealth.

Real estate marketing: Websites for each listing, Twittering for clients, open house parties, Facebook networking and Craigslist.

New law: Lenders and Realtors providing longer and more confusing disclosures than ever, leading most borrowers and buyers to skip reading.

Staging: Buyers are starting to laugh at the napkins in wine glasses. Sellers are less willing to pay for staging homes that will take months to sell.

Remodeling: The profession of all contractors that are left. More unlicensed contractors looking to do it for cheap. Watch out, this is illegal.

Building permits and fees: Going up significantly. Cities that are scrambling for money will require you do a site plan to install a new toilet.

New disclosures: High pressure gas line locations, high-speed rail, foreclosures in the neighborhood, decline in City services.

Sales volume: Down 30-40% this year versus 2006. Returning to normal levels historically as bubble-level sales are a thing of the past.

Passe': 6% commissions, team agents, Zillow's Z-value, McMansions, spec builders, bidding more than list, moving up.

What's hot: Downsizing, home automation, solar cells, xeriscaping, renovation, 15-year mortgages, refinancing, home gardens and LEDs.

J. Robert Taylor, J. D., a real estate attorney and broker for more than 20 years, has served as an expert witness and mediator and is on the judicial arbitration panel for Santa Clara County Superior Court. Send questions to Taylor c/o Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA, or via e-mail at btaylor@taylorproperties.com.

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