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San Diego Real Estate Market Finding Balance

By Chuck Buxton | August 15, 2014

The San Diego housing market continues to come into balance, with price hikes that hit double digits a year ago leveling off this summer.

The median price of $445,000 for a home sold in San Diego County in July was about 7 percent higher than the median for July a year ago, but was actually down from the median of $450,000 in June, according to figures reported by CoreLogic DataQuick.

The trend of a market that favors neither borrower nor seller is reflected in reports from the San Diego Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.

In San Diego County, while price appreciation has moderated and interest rates remain low, the number of homes for sale remains virtually unchanged and tight lending restrictions are still holding back the market. The realtors’ association reported in July that while new listings increased 3.7 percent to 4,944, pending sales were down 3.6 percent to 3,183, and inventory remained about the same.

A separate quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors said that home-price growth continued to moderate in many metropolitan areas across the country and national year-over-year price appreciation is now at its slowest pace since 2012. “National median home prices began their most recent rise during the first quarter of 2012 but had climbed to unsustainable levels given the current pace of inflation and wage growth,” said Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist. “At this slower but healthier rate, homeowners can continue steadily building equity. Meanwhile, for buyers, increased supply with moderate price gains is giving them better opportunities to choose.”

While income levels are generally higher in California and in the San Diego area, home prices in California’s major metropolitan areas rank as some of the highest in the nation.
San Diego County was the nation’s fifth most expensive housing market behind San Jose, San Francisco, Anaheim-Santa Ana, and Honolulu. The median cost for a single-family home in the period of April-June was San Jose, $899,500; San Francisco; $769,600; Anaheim-Santa Ana; $691,900; Honolulu; $678,500; and San Diego, $504,200.

Chuck Buxton

Topics: Buying Real Estate, Real Estate, San Diego Home Sales | No Comments »

“Home Buying by the Experts” Now Available as eBook

By Chuck Buxton | August 7, 2014

The national bestselling book, Home Buying by the Experts, is finally an eBook on Amazon.

Want to find your dream home at the best price possible? Want to understand how the San Diego housing market works so you can make an informed decision? Listen to the eight of the nation’s top real estate experts, including San Diego Realtor Brian Yui, founder and CEO of HouseRebate.com.

For those who have been searching for the right home or have just begun their journey to buying their first home, this book is the place to start. Throughout the book, real estate experts reveal the inside scoop on San Diego home sales. The inventory of houses and condominiums is on the upswing, prices appear to be leveling and interest rates remain low. Whether you’re a first time buyer or seasoned veteran, get practical, step-by-step advice from planning your home purchase to maneuvering through the maze of financing options.

You can download Home Buying by the Experts at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MG9RR86

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Mortgage Serves as Inflation Hedge for San Diego Homeowners

By Chuck Buxton | July 31, 2014

San Diego homeowners often think of their mortgage as a monthly payment and little more.

But it has a hidden financial benefit if inflation, which has been dormant for many years, starts to awaken and consumer prices start to climb across the board. The value of real estate tends to move up with the rising tide of inflation. And that’s when owners of San Diego homes and condominiums could find that they are doubly protected by their mortgage – especially if it has a fixed rate. The payments remain the same even as inflationary forces drive up interest rates. This means you repay the loan with dollars that are worth less.

Holders of adjustable-rate mortgages won’t reap the same benefits because their interests rates would likely be adjusted upward. Still, with today’s sharper focus on consumer protection, there typically are limits on how much and how fast those rates can rise.

The Consumer Price Index, which is  a measure of inflation, continues to be under control. But the most common mortgages cover 30 years, and it is valuable to know that as that debt shrinks over time, it also serves as a potential hedge again the long-term economic cycles that could bring inflation, push up interest rates and drive San Diego home prices.

– Chuck Buxton


Topics: Buying Real Estate, Real Estate, San Diego Home Sales, U.S. Economy | No Comments »

San Diego Home Values Hit Seven-year High

By Chuck Buxton | July 18, 2014

The median price for San Diego home sales and condominiums reached a near seven-year high in June, rising to $450,000, up 8 percent from June a year ago.

But the pace is slowing as the number of San Diego foreclosures shrinks and interest rates tick upward, a combination that still bodes well for individual homeowners while potentially discouraging investors who have played a major role in San Diego real estate over the past decade.

Real-estate tracker DataQuick reported this week that while home sale values continued their rise over the past year, the increase was less than that 24.1 percent jump from June 2012 to June 2013. A major factor was the slowdown in investor-related sales of foreclosure and short sale properties.

Statewide, single-family home and condominium sales during June increased 2.8 percent while sales of distressed properties fell 9.1 percent. “June marks the sixth consecutive month that sales have been lower on a year-over-year basis,” said Madeline Schnapp, Director of Economic Research for real estate tracking company PropertyRadar. “The lack of distressed property inventory and rapid increase in median prices has definitely taken a toll on demand.”

Inventory, while still tight, is increasing. In the first six months of 2013, there were 46,146 active listings in San Diego County, up from 26,294 last year, the San Diego Association of Realtors reports. This month, inventory surpassed 8,000 for the first time since February 2012.

Topics: Buying Real Estate, Foreclosures, Real Estate, Short-Sales | No Comments »

New Web Site Gives Immediate San Diego Home Prices

By Chuck Buxton | July 1, 2014

A new home-pricing tool is available to San Diegans who want instant information on the value of their home or condominium.

Just go to HouseandCondovalues.com. Put in the address and it will take you to a page that already includes property details and an aerial view of the home’s location. The site gives an estimated valuation and a range of possible prices from low to high in the San Diego real estate market.

“The market for San Diego homes and condominiums has changed dramatically in the past several years as prices have gone up, and every homeowner should have up-to-date knowledge of the value of their home,” said Brian Yui, CEO and founder of HouseandCondovalues.com and CEO of HouseRebate.com.

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Many San Diego home and condo owners face property tax hike

By Chuck Buxton | June 3, 2014

During the real estate slump that bottomed out about five years ago, homeowners experienced a depressing decline in the value of their home. About the only good news was that in many cases, their property taxes went down.

But now, especially after property prices went up on average about 17 percent last year for San Diego home and condominium owners, more than a quarter of the county’s homeowners could receive letters this summer from the assessor’s office alerting them that their property taxes are going back up.

That’s why it’s important for you to know the current value of your home. The assessor, just like an appraiser determining the value of a home up for sale, compares nearby home sale records to determine the value for the current tax year as of Jan. 1. To get a free unofficial estimate, you can go to www.houseandcondovalues.com, a home-pricing tool sponsored by HouseRebate.com, a full-service discount real estate broker.

Here’s how it works, as explained by Jeff Olson, assessments chief for the San Diego County Assessor’s Office.

When the sweeping property tax reduction initiative Proposition 13 passed in 1978, it set the home valuation for property tax purposes at the sale price and provided for an annual reassessment not to exceed 2 percent. What it didn’t do is provide any rule or guideline for what to do if the value went down. To fix this, voters approved Proposition 8 in the November election (not to be confused with another Proposition 8 that banned gay marriage.) It provided that if the market value of your property falls below its assessed value, based on Prop. 13, the assessor can “temporarily” reduce that value.

Think of it this way. If you bought your home in 2008 for $500,000, that established its value for tax purposes. But for many people, prices dropped, and by 2010 your San Diego home or condo might have been worth $400,000. Prop. 8 gives homeowners a chance to appeal, and the housing crash was so widespread that the assessor’s office in 2009 looked at all properties sold between 2003 and 2008 to determine if the value had dropped.

Today, 28 percent of all San Diego properties (90 percent of them homes and condominiums) have a temporary reduction. That’s 278,000 properties out of 981,000 in San Diego County. Last year was the first year that the assessor started making “partial restorations,” increasing the valuation, but not all the way.

Olson describes the process as being like a staircase. When you started out with that $500,000 home purchase, property taxes went down a few steps because of the drop in home prices and subsequent decline in valuation. But Prop. 13 builds in a potential 2 percent a year inflation adjustment, so for example, the valuation in 2008 of $500,000 would increase to $510,000 in 2009 and go up the staircase each year after that.

By this year, many homeowners have not only recovered the purchase value of their home, but  have seen it go up substantially beyond that. Under Prop. 13, the potential assessment for tax purposes is the “stair step” total of the sale price plus the annual step increase.

So be prepared. The assessor is required to notify San Diego taxpayers by July 15 if there is going to be adjustment. The assessor has not finished the number crunching, but estimates that about a quarter of  San Diego County properties could see a tax bump on their bills due in December and next March.

Topics: Buying Real Estate, Loan Modification, Real Estate, Tax Information | No Comments »

Find YOUR Ideal Home in YOUR perfect location

By jharris | February 28, 2011

Start your search right from your computer! At HouseRebate.com’s website, www.houserebate.com, you can search for homes within your specified ideal setting for your lifestyle – giving a new meaning to location, location, location. Need to be close to work? A particular elementary school? Day care? Physical Therapist?

HouseRebate.com’s new search goes beyond selecting a particular city or zip code. The new search now includes a lifestyle option giving home buyers an opportunity to search for homes with neighborhood criteria such as schools, dining, shopping, places of worship, entertainment, health and medical, finance, transportation, and personal services such as fitness and child care. Home buyers even have the option to put in customized fields for their searches.

Home buyers can get more of what they need from HouseRebate.com’s new search without even getting into the car, saving them time and money. Try it the search for yourself: http://sandiego.houserebate.com/CommunityInfo.asp

And, of course, home buyers still receive a rebate of up to 1% of the home’s purchase price in cash at close of escrow by using a HouseRebate.com agent.

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2011 Tax Relief for Individuals

By jharris | December 23, 2010

President Barack Obama signed new tax legislation for 2011. Below is some helpful information about the changes and/or extensions for 2011 that impacted individuals. The information below should be considered strictly for informative purposes and guidelines only.?? Please consult a tax professional about how each of the below can or will impact you.

The current income tax rates will be retained for two years (2011 and 2012), with a top rate of 35% on ordinary income and 15% on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains.  Employees and self-employed workers will receive a reduction of two percentage points in Social Security payroll tax in 2011, bringing the rate down from 6.2% to 4.2% for employees, and from 12.4% to 10.4% for the self-employed.


A two-year AMT patch for 2010 and 2011 will keep the AMT exemption near current levels and allow personal credits to offset AMT. Without the patch, an estimated 21 million additional taxpayers would have owed AMT for 2010.


Key tax credits for working families that were enacted or expanded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will be retained. Specifically, the new law extends the $1,000 child tax credit and maintains its expanded refundability for two years, extends rules expanding the earned income credit for larger families and married couples, and extends the higher education tax credit (the American Opportunity tax credit) and its partial refundability for two years.


Many of the traditional tax extenders are extended for two years, retroactively to 2010 and through the end of 2011. Among many others, the extended provisions include the election to take an itemized deduction for state and local general sales taxes in lieu of the itemized deduction for state and local income taxes; the $250 above-the-line deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers; and the research credit.


After a one-year hiatus, the estate tax will be reinstated for 2011 and 2012, with a top rate of 35%. The exemption amount will be $5 million per individual in 2011 and will be indexed to inflation in following years. Estates of people who died in 2010 can choose to follow either 2010′s or 2011′s rules. Additionally, as of January 1, 2011, there will be a $5 million gift tax exclusion. This increased exclusion is available for two years; unless it is extended, the gift tax exclusion will revert to $1 million in 2013. This two year window may be a wonderful opportunity to make additional gifts in your lifetime free from gift tax liability and is something we will be happy to discuss with you further.


The provision that permits tax-free distributions to charity from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) of up to $100,000 per taxpayer, per tax year was also extended. Individuals also will be allowed to make charitable transfers during January of 2011 and treat them as if made during 2010.


The new law extends for an additional year (i.e., through 2011) the rule allowing premiums for mortgage insurance to be deductible as qualified residence interest.

Source: RPR Partners, LLP eNewsAlert Dated 12/22/2010


Required IRS Disclosure: Please note that this written advice is not intended, or written by the practitioner to be used, and cannot be used by the taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. In addition, there is no limitation on disclosure of the tax treatment, or tax structure, of the transaction that is the subject of this written advice.

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No Short-Sale Deficiencies for First-Trust Deeds in California

By jharris | December 16, 2010


Have concerns about deficiency judgments when doing a short-sale in California? Put your mind at ease and read on…

Starting January 1, 2011, a new California law will prohibit a seller’s first trust deed lender from obtaining a deficiency judgment against the seller after a short sale. Providing written consent to a short sale shall obligate the first trust deed lender to accept the sales proceeds as full payment and discharge of the amount owed on the loan. This law will generally apply to first trust deeds secured by one-to-four residential units, but will not limit a lender seeking damages for fraud or waste by the borrower. Senate Bill 931

Please keep in mind when looking to do a short-sale. This California law is strictly for first-trust deeds. For more information about the law, please visit: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0901-0950/sb_931_bill_20100930_chaptered.html. For more information about short-sales in San Diego, please visit: http://sandiego.houserebate.com/shortsales/

Topics: Real Estate, Short-Sales, Tax Information | No Comments »

No Short Sale Deficiencies

By jharris | October 17, 2010

Starting January 1, 2011, a seller’s first trust deed lender cannot obtain a deficiency judgment against the seller after a short sale. Providing written consent to a short sale shall obligate the first trust deed lender to accept the sales proceeds as full payment and discharge of the remaining amount owed on the loan. This law applies to first trust deeds secured by one-to-four residential units, but does not limit the lender from seeking damages for fraud or waste by the borrower. Senate Bill 931. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed Senate Bill 1178, our sponsored bill, which would have extended California’s anti-deficiency protection to refinance loans.


Topics: Real Estate, Short-Sales, Tax Information | No Comments »

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