Menifee CA Real Estate and Foreclosure Update

Happy Holidays to all the wonderful people of Menifee!

It has been a busy month for all of us and this is my first chance to post in a bit. While the Menifee real estate market has been tough, there are a lot of things to be grateful for. I am grateful for my two wonderful boys, my fantastic wife, and have been blessed with incredible clients over the years! So Merry Xmas if any of you happen to read this!

Whenever I do an update of any sort, I try to show a market trend via some actually meaniful "end result" real estate statistics and then cross check that with my personal level of business. Usually, my business level is more indictive of the market then the statistics since they follow the cycle.

Statistically, in Menifee real estate there have been the following closes in the 4th Quarter:

Oct. 2007 - 34
Nov. 2007 - 45
Dec. 2007 - 30 (so far through the 28th)

I imagine that we will end up closing 35-40+ homes in December since there are over 50 deals currently pending. There is a lot of pressure on Menifee bank owned homes to close by year end, although many will spill over into the new year.

So the level of production has been pretty consistent from that statistic. However, my business has been climbing aggressively over the last month. Many of the Menifee bank owned homes are dropping to all time lows, pricing them on the same level as rentals. If you can rent or buy, people tend to buy.

So, there is quite a bit of activity going on right now, believe it or not. There is also a hot zone in pricing. For instance, the $250k price point in Murrieta and Temecula real estate is interesting. When a property hits that level and is even remotely decent (1300+ square feet, 3 bed, 2 bath, etc) it goes in a matter of days, usually with multiple offers coming in.

The banks are behind many aspects of this Menifee real estate market. From failed loans to foreclosure properties to generating eligible buyers. Now that the banks have gotten more aggressive with house pricing, things are starting pick up.

However, in contrast to attractive pricing, the banks are making it harder and harder for Menifee real estate buyers to qualify. I just had a buyer ready to go, in escrow and the bank changed the program days before his close, ruining the deal and making us start all over.

In many respects the Menifee real estate market is in the hands of the banks. They control a majority of properties (and thus pricing) on the market in terms of Menifee foreclosures and short sales. So when they lower prices it redefines the market. And by restricting more and more buyers, they control both the supply and demand. The average homeowner is going to be a spectator for a while unless they are in a short sale or foreclosure situation.

Many of you have heard the Federal Reserve is working on different methods to get things improved. The main one is the lowering of interest rates which has helped. Another is them pouring more money into the system to give banks more to work with. However, until the banks are willing to loosen up it is simply a hose turned on full but kinked by the bank's foot shutting down the flow.

I think that things will be tighter in terms of lending for the next couple months and pricing will go a tad lower as the banks completely liquidate holdings. The new legistlation will help reduce future Menifee foreclosures and once the banks lighten up on Menifee real estate they can start relaxing a little more in lending. In many ways, they are continuing to shoot themselves in the foot and will figure that out sooner than later.

The Menifee real estate market will probably begin to see more properties moved as the price lowers enough that people can qualify for loans and buy instead of rent. Depending on the banks, we could start to see pricing holding water in the Spring.

So going into the new year, I believe we are nearing a bottom from what my own business is seeing. I deal with dozens of clients each month and there are certain patterns that seem to click. I think Menifee real estate has a little way to go but we are finally getting there. I don't like the price drops but I do like seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope this information is useful to you. If you know anyone that is considering buying, please have them speak with a broker knowledgible in the Menifee real estate market. There are some great opportunities right now. And please, if they are considering buying from a builder, they absolutely must talk with a experienced broker first! There are way too many mistakes being made on this front lately!

Happy Holidays and New Year - May 2008 bring you and your family the very best!


Stefan West
Diversified Realty, Broker

October home prices post record decline

NEW YORK - U.S. home prices fell in October for the 10th consecutive month, posting their largest monthly drop since early 1991, a widely watched index showed on Wednesday.

The record 6.7 percent drop in the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index also marked the 23rd consecutive month prices either grew more slowly or declined.

"No matter how you look at these data, it is obvious that the current state of the single-family housing market remains grim," said Robert Shiller, who helped create the index, in a statement.

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CALHFA Recieves $100 Million for Home Buyer Program

The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) recently received an additional $100 million to help fund the California Home Buyer's Down Payment Assistance Program (CHDAP). The funds are made available through the passage of Prop. 1C, approved by California voters in 2006. To date, more than 18,000 California families have received CHDAP loans since Prop. C's passage. An additional $145 million in down payment assistance loans have also been made available since the passage of Prop. 46 in 2002, which also funds the CHDAP. That figure includes roughly $30 million in recycled funds and interest payments.

permission to reprint content from C.A.R. Newsline.

With prices as low as $225,000 in Menifee for a 3 bedroom home and 1st time home buyer programs, now may be a good opportunity to get into a home.

Anna Hill
Century 21 Executive Properties

Foreclosure Homes in Menifee CA

I get asked about Menifee foreclosures homes quite a bit lately, so I thought I would take the time to address them from a buyer's perspective. One of the most common things that happen in a down market is foreclosures and short sales. I say down market rather than buyer's market because there are many ways to create a buyer's market - short supply of homes, interest rates, etc but few ways to create a foreclosure market.

To create a Menifee foreclosure market there needs to be an approximate loss of 10-25% of home values across the board which we have seen. It is this significant drop that creates a charged foreclosure situation. In southern California that kind of drop is pretty rare and usually offers a great buying opportunity. And that can result in a buyer foreclosure frenzy.

This frenzy gets a lot of people searching and asking about me Menifee foreclosures. They assume that if they can buy one it will, it will automatically be a fantastic deal. This is not always the case and people need to make sure they take off the blinders and really learn about foreclosures. When dealing with foreclosures in Menifee there are three things to be done to insure you get a good deal:

  • Pros and Cons of specific property
  • Have your financials ready
  • Good and knowledgeable representation

First, examine the pros and cons of the individual property closely and their added value. Pros to consider: Does it have a better than average lot? Is the neighborhood superior? Are the schools top-notch? Is the property in good shape or have other benefits such as RV parking, 3-car garage, view, home theater, etc.?

Some cons to consider would be - does the foreclosure property need work? Is the Menifee house situated on a small lot or tract location? Are the neighbors and surrounding homes rough? Do you hear dogs barking? And has the house been vandalized, had any insurance issues, etc?

The reason to examine these first off is to stop a buyer from seeing a foreclosure at a good price and look for a home that would be appealing to someone in the future. Buyer's often see a Menifee home that is 50K under the last couple sales in tract and think they are getting a great deal. But if it needs work, has a sub-standard lot or location in the tract with people looking in the back, it is not good. To sell a home costs money and I wouldn't consider such a house a good deal unless it was about 75k+ under the market.

However, if the foreclosed home is the popular single story model in the tract, has a torn up yard but with an enviable view, and shows only so-so on the inside, then I am interested. But are some high quality schools within walking distance or is the home on a cul-de-sac? If so, then I might be even more interested. With the Menifee market the way it is, I can convince the bank to work on price and realize the home will be worth a lot more with just a little invested. That is a good deal and one I would recommend to my clients.

That takes care of pros and cons but are we ready to make a deal? The good deals, especially a great deal on a Menifee foreclosure, go FAST. So you need to be ready. And ready means getting your money in-line, your loan person on board, and being ready to act when an opportunity presents itself. You should know the payments on the loan and be comfortable with them. Otherwise, you may find a deal first and lose it the same day when someone who is ready to move enters the pictures.

Lastly, you need good representation in the form of a knowledgeable Menifee real estate agent or broker. In fact, this should perhaps be your first step since they can help you with finding foreclosure homes. They will have the resources to check out all details and also ride shotgun on the lending side to make sure everything is in alignment. When you are buying a home their service is completely free, so take advantage of it. Just make sure they have foreclosure and short sale experience.

So when I get asked, "Are foreclosure homes in Menifee a good deal?", I answer, "the RIGHT Menifee foreclosure can be a GREAT deal!"

This market cycle we are in is just as rare as the one that preceded it. In fact, many of the big investors are salivating over the trifecta of low home prices, desperate banks, and low interest rates. They have been waiting for this cycle for years. If you want to find a great deal they are out there. Just make sure you don't lose your head over excitement and instead keep your focus on doing the deal right!

How to sell in a buyer's market

You've got to be proactive on price, marketing and more. Here are 10 steps to take before you plant the "for sale" sign.

If you're selling your home this year, be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint.

In most places, those heady days of putting a property on the market, receiving multiple bids, getting more than you expected, and accepting an offer in just days or weeks are over.

Now, for most houses in most parts of the country, it's a buyer's market. That means that more houses are for sale, there are longer stretches on the market, and prices have slowed, plateaued or, in some places, decreased.

Sellers "need to be prepared for a sustained effort," says Colby Sambrotto, chief operating officer of

Homes are staying on the market for about four months, according to the most recent averages from the National Association of Realtors.

If you plan to plant your "for sale" sign, here are 10 things you can do beforehand
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Temecula Valley & Menifee Real Estate Update

Last week I went to a Title company get together where they host agents, provide food, update on stuff, and overall work to get our business. What I learned there is what I would like to share and thereby give people reading this blog an inside peak at my business.

The biggest thing I learned is that business is VERY slow. Now I realize that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, however, I didn't realize how slow. First, I was told for all of the something like 5500 registered agents in our South Riverside community, only 182 deals were closed in August. Now that is a serious shocker, especially since I closed 100 of them myself --- just kidding!

I realize that many of those 5500 agents may have been gone a long time already or are only part time and won't realize success in this career at this time. But while I was mingling around, I talked to two other major agents that I know there and they are going to be lucky to make a third of what they did last year.

I also learned that several title companies and escrow companies have launched recent cuts. The overall feel is that the Real Estate industry is stridently trimming the fat and getting lean and mean. The new agents and the part timers are gone. The happy, go lucky internet crowd are gone. And the loose referrals to unknown agents are gone.

The only agents or brokers that seem to be doing well are going back to the basics and are the hardcore fulltimers like myself that understand the market, the service we offer, and the importance of long term thinking.

Another tidbit I picked up was that people are trying to avoid short sales which I actually go after. I thought that was a odd but more and more agents are unaware how they work or just feel they are too much trouble, which many times they can be. However, short sales are something the right buyer should go after since they often offer the very best deals available on the market.

The end sum of my blog today - Sellers, things are tightening up and deals are few and far between. The Menifee homes that are selling are ones that make a fantastic first impression and show a willingness to negotiate. Buyers - what a time to make a purchase. And if you want to work a really good deal right now, investigate short sales since they seem to be a black sheep yet in my opinion often offer you an amazing deal that many times beats foreclosures hands down.

Short sale properties are often being actively maintained, the seller is relaxed on price point, and is a segment many people ignore. If you don't know what one is, now is a great time to learn as we turn in the traditional slow season.

Speaking of slow season, I will offer some positive news for sellers. I am actually busier now than I was this summer. It seems like more properties are reaching a point where they are going off the market and thereby reducing supply which is still very high. I am working with more buyers right now than I have in several months. With the reduction in loan rates hopefully to continue, AND the passing of the debt forgiveness policy (fingers crossed) things seem to be working towards a more balanced market.


Stefan West
Diversified Realty
Temecula to Menifee Homes


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New Construction with scheduled completion for Fall of 2008! Newport Commons Professional Center is ideal for medical and professional office uses. Setting Newport Commons apart will be the ascetically pleasing design. The buildings incorporate the use of natural elements, such as stone, wood, neutral colored stucco and a monument sign with a unique water feature.
Location Description:Located in the heart of the Menifee Valley, Newport Commons offers easy access to the I-215 freeway. Newport Commons has over 200 feet of frontage on Newport Road, the only major east-west thoroughfare connecting Lake Elsinore and Hemet. Newport Road is considered an Urban Arterial Highway and will be expanded to a 6-lane road in the near future. The property is surrounded by numerous residential and commercial developments. The Menifee Valley is considered to be the fastest growing area in Riverside County. With impending cityhood, the addition of the aquatic center and numerous residential and commercial expansions, Newport Commons will be in the center of it all. Found on

Selling in todays market

Selling your home can be exciting, but it also takes work. Make sure to fix all those little problems you let go for so many years and clean, clean, clean. And you need to be patient! Selling your home can take some time.

Clean up the outside.
Curb appeal is the first impression of your house. Keeping the grass cut and the area clean will help make a great first impression.
Paint or wash the exterior of the house.
Paint the front door if needed and replace hardware if old and worn.
Wash the windows inside and out.
Check the gutters and chimney.
The buyer will be spending time looking around the front of your home while the Realtor gets the key from the lock box.

Touch up the interior.
Put a fresh coat of paint in the most used areas of the home. This will clean as well as brighten up the rooms.
Wash all floors and bathroom tiles.
Shampoo dirty carpets.
Get rid of clutter. Clean out your closets, garage, basement and attic. Use self storage if necessary.
Remove all clutter from your kitchen counters and small appliance's you don't use.
Replacing air filters will help keep the dust down.

Replace bathroom and kitchen fixtures that are worn or leaking.
People will notice a leaking or worn-out faucet. By replacing these items, you will give a new look to the room.
Replace outdated lighting. You can find inexpensive lighting that can really update your home, remember the will be turning on every light in your home.
Clean under the sinks. If there is any leaks fix them.

Get rid of any bad smells in your home.
Pay attention to pet or cigarette odors. Do not smoke in your home!
When a realtor brings a buyer over, put a batch of cookies into the oven for a great aroma, remove the cookies from the oven a make sure you leave ( the buyer doesn't want to have a seller looking over there shoulder).

Anna Hill
Century 21 Executive Properties

C.A.R.'s California Housing Market Forecast for 2008

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 10) – Home prices throughout most of California will post modest declines next year while sales of existing homes will stabilize from the precipitous decrease experienced in 2007, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) "2008 California Housing Market Forecast" released today.

The forecast will be presented this afternoon during the CALIFORNIA REALTOR® EXPO 2007 (, running from Oct. 9-11 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The trade show attracts nearly 12,000 attendees and is the largest state real estate trade show in the nation.

The median home price in California will decline 4 percent to $553,000 in 2008 compared with a projected median of $576,000 this year, while sales for 2008 are projected to decrease 9 percent to 334,500 units, compared with 367,500 units (projected) in 2007.

"Tighter credit standards, affordability concerns, and a continued standoff between buyers and sellers will contribute to continued weakness in the market going into next year," said C.A.R. President Colleen Badagliacco. "Now is not the time for homeowners to 'test the waters' - only serious sellers should put their homes on the market in what will continue to be a challenging sales environment."

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Passage of Mortgage Cancellation Tax Relief

The National Association of Realtors® praised the U.S. House of Representatives for today's passage of the Mortgage Cancellation Tax Relief Act, H.R. 3648, by a vote of 386 to 27. Since the early 1990s, NAR has advocated for repeal of the current law, which forces individuals to pay an income tax when they have had a loan forgiven or have had to foreclose because of their inability to pay their mortgage.

"Congress made a good decision today that will affect many Americans who find themselves in a truly bad situation," said NAR President Pat V. Combs, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt. "Changing the IRS code is an issue of fundamental fairness. It would relieve a tax burden at a time when an individual or family has experienced a true economic loss arising from the sale or loss of their home. These families are already in financial distress and are most likely unable to pay additional taxes."

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America's fastest-growing suburbs

Of the 100 suburbs most speedily spreading, California has the fastest, Arizona has the biggest and Texas has the most.

Los Angeles is sometimes called the "Sultan of Sprawl." But you wouldn't know it by looking at the country's fastest-growing suburbs. Not a single one falls in the L.A. metropolitan area.

Instead, Angelenos are packing their bags and heading 60 miles east to San Bernardino, where 12 of the country's 100 fastest-growing suburbs are located. Leading the pack? Beaumont, which has grown 130% since 2000.

It's easy to understand why. Home prices in the Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area are 30% less expensive than in L.A., and household incomes are comparable.

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How bad will the 2007 housing market be?

Economists predict that next year will be tough, but say some metro areas will hold up nicely and the future may not be as gloomy as some fear.

Americans are increasingly nervous about the real estate market in 2007. They have good reason to be. But the news isn't all bad: Interest rates will remain at historically low levels, homebuyers will see more opportunities, and, best of all, for those planning for the long term, 2009 could be primed for a comeback.

To gauge what the next 12 months might look like, though, asked economists at leading real estate research firms to provide their outlooks for the housing market in 2007. The less-than-festive consensus: Home prices will continue to fall in some markets, and the rate of price appreciation will slow in most places. Declines in homes sales, which directly influence price trends, will set the stage for another year of price decreases in 2008. Foreclosures will continue to increase. For those struggling to hold onto their homes, their net worth will shrink as these homes lose value. Long-term mortgage rates will rise. Housing starts will see double-digit depreciation, the sharpest decline since 1991, the worst year for housing starts on record.

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Lost Your Home? You may owe the IRS

If you thought a foreclosure ended the financial miseries associated with your former home, think again. You soon could be hearing from the IRS about taxes due in connection with the residence you no longer own.

"You can walk away from the big house payment, but not from the potential tax implications," says John W. Roth, senior tax analyst at CCH in Riverwoods, Ill. "And if you couldn't afford the mortgage, you probably can't afford the taxes."

As the lending crisis continues to shake out, more homeowners, particularly those who used creative mortgages to buy their houses, could be in this predicament. Even longtime homeowners who refinanced their properties based on increased value when the real-estate market was hot could find themselves in tax trouble if they lose their properties to the bank.

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Let me introduce myself........


My name is Stefan West and I am real estate broker for the Temecula Valley area. The main part of my business encapsulates Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee and Wildomar. I also continue to work in the North San Diego County communities as well.

I moved to Wildomar in 2002 to start a family and grow my business for the long term. I have achieved both those goals as I am now the proud father of two crazy boys (3 1/2 and 1 1/2 years old) and have had the pleasure to meet many new families moving to the area. It has been a real treat to introduce people coming from San Diego, Orange County, or Los Angeles County to our wonderful community and I enjoy my job immensely.

Over the last two years, I would say 35%+ of my business has been in Menifee. It is a great community that offers growth, excellent values, good schools, and wonderful neighborhoods. I think this growth will continue to expand as more commercial centers move in and realize the patronage of the large Menifee population base. So I am thrilled to share my thoughts and excite about the Menifee real estate market here.

My goal with this blog is provide some important information to help people coming into and leaving the community. Often, I will post some home buying or selling tips, market updates, or recent transaction stories that will help provide useable information to the readers. Also, please feel free to contact me should you have a particular question or situation that you would like an opinion on. I can be contacted at or directly at

It is very nice to meet you and I look forward to our future discussions :).


Stefan West

607 Active listings

There Are 607 Active listings in Menifee on the MLS ranging in price from $139,900 - 5,000,000 as of 10/4/2007. The average days on the market for for these active listings is 89
Status: ACTIVE (607)

List Price: All (607)

Min list price 139,900 ADOM 1 BR 2 BA 1.00 Year Built 1799 SqFt 720 Lot SqFt 3,154

Max list Price 5,000,000 ADOM 454 BR 6 BA 14.00 Year Built 2007 SqFt 5,000 Lot SqFt 408,592

Avg List Price 414,432 ADOM 89 Br 4 BA 2.69 Year Built 1999 Sq Ft 2,319 Lot Sq Ft 16,173

Sum 251,560,085

Anna Hill
Century 21 Executive Properties

About Menifee Homes

Menifee Homes publishes news, information, and insight on the real estate market in Menifee, California.

Targeted towards homeowners, buyers, sellers, in the greater Menifee Valley area, it's written by practicing and licensed real estate agents working in the Menifee Valley.

People looking to relocate to Menifee, California will also benefit in getting to know more about the marketplace here before buying.

Menifee Homes is a sister publication to Menifee 24/7, a source of news and information about Menifee, California. Both are publications of Clear Digital Media, Inc.