Category Archives: Covenant Hills Real Estate

Feb 17
3 Market Trends Expected for 2015

The housing market improved slightly in November. The Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.8 percent to 104.8. This is 4.1 percent above November 2013, marking the third consecutive month the index has posted year-over-year gains. Every region of the country saw improvements but the Midwest. Sales in the Midwest decreased 0.4 percent, which is 0.5 percent below last year’s sales. In the North, sales climbed 1.4 percent, 7.0 percent above November 2013. The index also posted monthly gains of 1.3 percent and 0.4 percent in the South and West, respectively. Year-over-year sales in the South are up 5.1 percent, and sales in the West increased 4.9 percent. National home sales for 2014 should hit 4.94 million, a 3.0 percent drop from 2013.

Low Down Payments
Many buyers believe they need a significant down payment to purchase a new home. The National Association of Realtors’ 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers proves otherwise. For first-time buyers, the median down payment averaged six percent, while repeat buyers had a median down payment of 13 percent.

Sales Expected to Increase
The next twelve months should make up for 2014’s drop in sales. The expanding economy and improving job market should lead to an increase in the demand for homes. Meanwhile, home prices have risen by an impressive 25 percent over the past three years, giving current homeowners the equity they need to afford their next home purchase. And new mortgage products with incentives like low down payments will draw first-time buyers into the market. With all these factors in play, NAR economists believe sales could climb to 5.30 million by the end of 2015.

Rates Low but Expected to Climb
Sliding bond yields led to a drop in fixed mortgage rates at the start of the New Year. For the week ending January 8, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.73 percent. This is the lowest rates have fallen since May 23, 2013, when the 30-year fixed averaged 3.59 percent. Despite the decrease, economists still project rising interest rates over the coming months.

Slowing Home Price Growth
Home price growth is expected to slow down over the next twelve months. Two years ago, existing-home prices climbed 11.4 percent. Last year, prices rose 5.6 percent, with the national median existing-home price reaching $208,000. Economists believe the pace for 2015 will be between four and five percent, a more reasonable price growth that makes home ownership more affordable for more Americans.

Jan 23
Positive Signs from the Housing Market

newConstructionThe national housing market is continuing to stabilize. According to Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), half of the markets across the country are showing positive gains. While the national MiMi value of 74.4 indicates a weak housing market overall, the index posted a 0.51 percent improvement from August to September. Year-over-year, the index is up 3.68 percent. Since the market’s all-time low of 59.8 in September 2011, the market has rebounded 24.4 percent.

More Construction
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is on the upswing as builder confidence climbed four points on the index to 58. Builders are more confident in today’s market because consumers are more confident. Low interest rates, reasonable home prices, and an improving job market make home buying not only an attractive option but a viable one. As a result, builders are seeing more committed buyers walking through their sales centers and signing contracts. The news is welcome after the slow start to 2014. For the past five months, the HMI has stayed north of the 50-point mark. Economists with the NAHB expect builder confidence to continue to climb in the new year.

How Low Can They Go?
At the beginning of December, mortgage rates dropped to the lowest levels of the year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.89 percent, the lowest rate posted since May 2013. At the same time last year, mortgage rates were 4.46 percent. Economists have long maintained that mortgage rates will increase, and they predict that rates will climb to five percent by the end of 2015.

Good News for Most
For the second straight month, existing-home sales rose in October. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales climbed 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million. For the first time in a year, sales are above year-over-year levels. Most areas of the country experienced gains in sales. In the Northeast, existing-home sales rose 2.9 percent month-over-month and 4.4 percent year-over-year. Sales climbed 5.1 percent in October in the Midwest, a 2.5 percent increase over October 2013 sales. The gains continued in the South, where sales jumped 2.8 percent from a month earlier and 5.3 percent from a year earlier. Only the West posted a drop in existing-home sales. Month-over-month, sales declined 5.0 percent; when compared with October 2013, sales are down 3.4 percent. NAR economists believe existing-home sales will continue to improve. Low interest rates, stabilizing price growth, and an improving housing supply should convince buyers that now is the right time to purchase a new home.


Source: Alliance West Mortgage, INC

Nov 18
As a part of our Community Care program …


… we have created offers quick communication among Ladera residents in case of emergency, when every minute counts to make a difference. 

This free service was created in an effort to communicate vital information quickly and efficiently via cell phone texts, to inform/organize the community to help resolve local emergency situations as quickly as possible. 

For more information and to sign up. visit

You can also read the recent OC Register article about our community effort:

Aug 25
Does Buying in a Good School District like Ladera Ranch Matter?

Whether or not you have kids, living in a good school district can be a big deal. It’s not only about better teachers, better books, and better test scores. It’s also about preserving home values and ensuring faster resale rates. So the quality of school districts should play a critical role in your home-buying decision.

Ladera Ranch is a community with excellent public and private schools. As a matter of fact, our Ladera Ranch schools are among the very best in California.

Parents hoping to both land a good home deal and give their kids a high-quality education have several costs to weigh. Pricier homes in a strong public school district like Ladera Ranch may actually be better bargains than affordable homes in private-school heavy districts.

Of course, many buyers already name school districts among the key factors in their home-buying decision. Among adults who live with children, nearly two thirds (63%) said a neighborhood’s school district would be among the most important considerations (aside from the home’s price) when searching for a home.

But just because a neighborhood has a poorly ranked public school district doesn’t mean that the overall quality of education there is poor. In such areas, parents are more willing to pay for private schooling in the name of a good education. However, private education needs to be factored into the cost of living in such an area, which runs well into the thousands per year.

Even for buyers without children, investing in a home in a good quality school district can also pay off with consistently higher resale values, as homes there tend to sell faster, and during tougher economic times, home prices are more stable in better school districts.

On the downside, these homes tend to be more expensive. Buyers here will be paying higher property taxes, and much of that money will be allotted right back the schools. For childless buyers, that’s no tax bargain.

But in general, buying in a good school district does matter, with more stability in home prices and more savings from costly private school education. So you can be assured that your Ladera Ranch estate will not only provide you a beautiful home, but one that will provide all the benefits from our excellent Ladera schools.

Aug 19
5 Good Reasons to Buy a Home Instead of Rent

Many people are hesitant to lock themselves into a mortgage or to put all of their savings into a down payment. Committing to living in one place for a long time might also seem unwise. However, there are several reasons why buying a home rather than renting remains the wiser financial choice. Here are five good reasons why buying a home is a better investment for your future.

1. Buying a home is a long-term investment.
Mortgage payments may be expensive and stressful in the short term. However, paying for a mortgage now will lead to a time when you’re not struggling to come up with monthly payments. If you rent instead of buy, you will always have to worry about making monthly rent payments.

2. Rental rates will only go up.
Mortgage rates may be subject to some increases, but never as dramatically as rental prices. For instance, if you take on a mortgage, you are only subject to fluctuation for the duration of your mortgage. If you rent, you are subject to housing price increases for the rest of your life. Buying a home now means you won’t have to worry about a sudden upswing in rental prices when you’re living off of a fixed income.

3. Monthly payments build equity.
Unlike rental payments, money put into a down payment and mortgage is never really lost to you. Instead, it goes into building your equity. In other words, it remains a financial asset in your ownership that can be liquidated, transferred to your children, or used as collateral. Rent money, however, is good for one month before it’s gone forever.

4. Homeowners can make improvements.
Renters have little control over things like outdated fixtures that waste water, in-efficient heating systems and outdated lighting, but they are usually responsible for the utility bills. Homeowners can update heating, cooling, and water systems and make their money back over the long-term by saving on energy costs.

5. Homeowners can be landlords.
Buying a house as a rental property can provide a source for monthly income. For those who are willing to share housing, renting out spare rooms can cover the cost of a monthly mortgage payment. Owning a home means having a roof overhead, and it can also be a good investment.

Source: Alliance West Mortgage

Apr 6
Is this a good time to sell? 5 Crucial Considerations


If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve undoubtedly seen headlines stating markets are bouncing back and that real estate prices are on the rise. In a few housing markets, it’s booming! So, if you’ve been on the fence, waffling about whether or not to sell, consider these 5 things:

Equity Advantage
During the housing bust, a huge percentage of home owners saw their equity evaporate as home values dropped; many owing more than their houses were worth. Who wants to sell when it requires writing a check to the bank or listing as a short sale? And owners with equity definitely didn’t want to list knowing that lower sale prices would have eaten it all away. If you’ve been waiting to sell for this reason, chances are you now have a bit more positive equity in your home, thanks to recent market upswings. Maybe now is the time to consider that long-awaited sale and hopefully walk away with some equity intact.

Too Big for Your Own Good
You’ve grossly outgrown your current home – the house you’re in is either way too small after that 2nd or 3rd child, or an elderly parent has moved in. If you’re in a home that’s too small for your immediate – and future – needs, this is the time to consider the jump to something a bit larger. Sale prices are solid, the spring selling season is upon us, and you can take advantage of current interest rates before they start to climb.

Incredible Shrinking Family
Maybe your oldest child has headed off to college, and you’ve realized it’s time to pack up that extra bedroom and ditch all that square footage. Selling now and downsizing has many perks – lower costs and less cleaning and maintenance, to name a few – so go for it, and take advantage of a move that enhances your new lifestyle.

Interest Rates Could Light a Fire
Interest rates aren’t going anywhere but up, so if you’re wondering when it would be the best time to get a good mortgage for a new home once you’ve sold your old one, the answer is NOW. Rates are at historic lows and aren’t likely to go anywhere but north in the foreseeable future. Sell now, buy, and get in on those low rates for the long term.

Sell When You Need to, Don’t Chase the Market
When it comes to selling advice, the bottom line is: List when you need to. If you really need to sell your current home for a specific reason, including job changes, divorce, children, health issues, marriage, etc., don’t try and chase the market in either direction. When you sell and subsequently buy another house, there’s good news: if you’re selling low, then you’ll be buying low. And if you’re selling high, well, then you’ll be buying high. It’s a wash. Come to terms with the current market, and sell your home for its current fair-market value. And when you move on, be sure to buy a house you can afford, both now and in the future!

Of course, in addition to any of the above, each individual seller has its own unique constellation of reasons to buy or sell. If you are not sure if this is a good time to sell and/or buy for you, please call us @ 949.444.9694 for an informal chat. We will be happy to ethically consult you on the best solution for you.

Source: Trulia

Mar 5
Covenant Hills Custom Homes on the Rebound

If you have recently visited the custom home area of Covenant Hills, you have noticed quite a bit of construction activity.

This, of course, is the first sign of the Southern California’s luxury housing market rebound. In 2013, homes costing $1 million or more soared 45 percent to their highest level in six years, and many markets enjoyed record level sales.

The luxury home market has always been unique, responding to its own set of economic factors. It is refreshing to see the construction activity in Covenant Hills and would like to welcome our new neighbors to this fantastic place to live.

Mar 5
Ladera Ranch and it’s Top Performing Schools

Congrats to Oso Grande Elementary, Ladera Ranch Elementary and Ladera Ranch Middle School to achieve the 2013 CBEE Honor Roll Schools awards. Thank you to all the leaders, teachers and staff for creating such a nurturing learning environment.

Also congratulations to Ladera Ranch Middle School for earning a gold medal with the number 2 ranking in  the OC Register 2013 list of best middle schools, and for being in the top 10 for at least 4 times in the last 5 years.

87 public middle schools were ranked on the strength of their academic programs, as well as other factors, including physical fitness, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and student-teacher ratio.

Ladera Ranch Middle school has consistently climbed the Register’s rankings since 2009. It was ranked No. 24 four years ago, jumped to No. 9 the following year, then to No. 7, then No. 3, and now No. 2.

“I really attribute it to the positive connection and relationship-building between staff and students,” said Ladera Ranch Middle School Principal Karen Gerhard. “Even though we’re a large school, we have a small, intimate community sense at our school. The kids really feel we care about them.”

Feb 15
Ladera Ranch Real Estate Event



On Friday, February 14th 2014, the Britschgi Real Estate team and Wells Fargo held a joint Real Estate event at the Antonio/Crown Valley Wells Fargo branch. We would like to thank John C. Math, Home Mortgage Consultant, for making this event a big success.

We feel honored that among all the Ladera Ranch Real Estate agents, the Britschgi Real Estate Team was chosen to co-host this event and consult the attendees on their real estate needs.

Feb 1
What to expect with Dodd-Frank as a home buyer or seller

Passed as a response to the late 2000s recession, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform is the most significant change to financial regulations in the United States since the reform that followed the Great Depression. This new reform, in regards to real estate, was written to protect the industry from predatory lenders, unqualified borrowers, and to hold banks more accountable by increasing their due diligence work.

As a logical consequence of the Real Estate crash in 2008, the pendulum of loan lending shifted. All major banks, to eliminate risk, are since exclusively underwriting loans through the government sponsored organizations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As mortgage funds are provided from these institutions, the banks are subject to their strict underwriting rules, and eligibility requirements for these mortgages have now changed as of January 10th, 2014.

The guiding principle behind Dodd-Frank is to ensure the borrower has enough financial strength to fulfill the loan’s obligations. The borrower must prove a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less (must be fully verified), loans must not exceed a 30 year term, must be amortized and points and fees are not to exceed 3%.

The Good News

How these changes ultimately impact the housing market has yet to be seen. With certainty we can state that it is generally harder to qualify for a loan, resulting in less qualified buyers.

However, it is not all bad news. While these new rules are restrictive to lending, the impact on real estate transactions is expected to be minimal, as

  • Lenders have pro-actively adjusted long before the regulations took effect.
  • Already 95% of the pre-Dodd-Frank loans are compliant with the new regulations.
  • Private mortgage lenders are not subject to these new regulations and can underwrite loans according to their own comfort level.
  • Banks are starting to once again underwrite non-compliant loans, especially for their high net worth clients.

What You Can Do

If you are in need of a loan, you are well advised to work with a lender early in the process. This will set realistic expectations and ensure a smooth process.

You can always take advantage of our lending network. Please contact us for more information and to connect with a highly qualified loan officer.