New Home Tracts

This is a list of new home builders currently selling new homes.


Beazer Homes-Rolling Hills-up to 4000 sq. ft.- From the high $300,000- HOA $67.00- 1.9 Tax Rate
Centex Homes-The Lakes-Up to 4063 sq. ft.- From mid $300,000- HOA $50.00- 1.9 Tax Rate
D.R. Horton-Lexington-Up to 3746 sq. ft.-From low $300,000-HOA $133.00- 1.8 Tax Rate
Forecast Homes-The Grands- Up to 2900 sq. ft.- From mid $200,000- HOA $139.00- 1.25 Tax Rate
Meritage Homes-Sagemore- Up to 4041 sq. ft.-From high $200,000- HOA $25.00- 1.85 Tax Rate
Pacific Communities- Orchid 55+- Up to 2398 sq. ft.- From mid $200,000- HOA $68.00- 1.6 Tax Rate
Pacific Communities- Cottonwood- Up to 4812 sq. ft.-From high $200,000-HOA $35.00- 1.95 Tax Rate
Shea Homes-Red Rock- sq. footage not available- From mif $200,000- HOA $95.00- Tax Rate unavailable
Woodside Homes- Up to 2735 sq. ft.- From low $300,000- HOA $70.00- 1.9 Tax Rate

Sun City

John Laing Homes-Holiday 55+- Up to 2133 sq. ft.- From mid $200,000- HOA $152.00- 1.59 Tax Rate

Lennar Homes-Mystic Point- Up to 2636 sq. ft.- From high $200,000- HOA $80.00- 1.9 Tax Rate
Woodside Homes-Parklane- Up to 2730 sq. ft.-From high $200,000- HOA 70.00- 1.8 Tax Rate

Information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

Contact me for more information regarding these developments.

Rental Homes in Menifee - Where's the Best?

Menifee resident Kristi is having to short-sell her home and find a place to rent. She wants to stay in Menifee, but wants to ask readers if they advise a good community to rent in...
Ok so I visit your site everyday and love it. I have gotten so much information that I otherwise would not know. Now my question is- We are in the process of short selling our house and now have the fun task of finding a rental. I would like to ask residents where they recommend. Is Tierra Shores really as bad as I have read and not a place to raise a family? And what about Heritage Lakes, would anyone recommend it? I have three children that I would like to raise in a safe family oriented neighborhood. I need peoples experiences and input. I am ultimately looking for a place with a private pool or a community pool. Can you please get this out there somehow so I can get some help. I have lived in Menifee for 5 years and love it here. Just wondering if the private communities are all that. We could never afford the association dues but now being forced to rent it is do able. Please help! Thanks Kristi Sheehan-Pizillo

Any folks have recommendations for her?

My house is in Foreclosure! What happens next?

So, the time has now come for me to swallow my pride, and use my own misfortune to help many of you out there.

On August 18th, my home is going back to the bank; because on that day, a small group of people will be gathered on the courthouse steps at the Riverside County courthouse, be given the opportunity to buy my house for $483,000 ... and there will be no takers. Why? Because 2 weeks ago a house just like mine sold for $284,000.

Being an REO LISTING AGENT (fortunately), a LEASING AGENT (fortunately), and CURRENTLY LOSING MY OWN HOME (unfortunately), makes me kind of an expert in this area. And, oh... the stories I've heard! Many of which just blow me away, and I am amazed at how many real estate agents, attorneys and friends, trying to be helpful, are misinforming WAY too many of you.

So with my newly acquired expertise, I hope to offer understanding, some insight, and more importantly, solid information, to those of you going through the foreclosure process.

As local Leasing Agents, my team receives several calls a week from people looking for rentals because they are losing their homes to foreclosure, or, they are renting a house that is in foreclosure. Many times they are in major PANIC mode as they don't know how much time is left before the bank takes their home. Fortunately, as Real Estate Agents, we are able to look up tax records to verify Notice of Default and Trustee's Sale dates. Knowing these dates will help you to know when you should start looking for a Rental Home.

The following will help you understand the foreclosure timeline a little better.

California Foreclosure Timeline

After 1-3 missed payments
Lender considers property to be in Default

Day 1
Record Notice of Default

Within 10 Days
Notice of Default Mailed to Trustor (Borrower) and Special Requests for Notice

Within 1 Month
Notice of Default mailed to parties pursuant to California Civil Code 2924(c)

After 90 Days
End of 90 Days redemption period. Trustee’s sale date can be set.

25 Days Prior to Sale Date
Notice to the IRS must be given if required

At Least 20 Days Prior to Sale Date
Publish Notice of Sale, Post Notice of Sale on Door of House, Mail Notice of Sale to Owners

Within 10 Days From First Publication of Notice of Sale
Send beneficiary request for property directions.

14 Days Prior to Sale
Record Notice of Trustee’s Sale

5 Business Days Before Sale Date
Right to reinstate expires

Sale Date
Property Sold to highest bidder (or if no bids, goes back to Lender)

AND THEN... it is my personal experience that:

2-10+ Days after Sale Date
The Lender REO Listing Agent sends letter, or, comes knocking on door, to negotiate CASH FOR KEYS or RELOCATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. They will usually offer between $500 to $2500 and will require you to set a Move-out date to occur within 2-3 weeks. (Note: Some Lenders will also require you to show PROOF that all utilities have been paid up-to-date on Move-out date.)

NOTE: If you do not accept the Cash For Keys negotiation, or, if you ignore the REO Agent and the letters from the Lender's eviction attorney, EVICTION PROCEEDINGS WILL BE STARTED. You DO NOT want this to happen as this will GREATLY HAMPER your ability to RENT A HOUSE.

Move-out Date
Lender's Agent inspects property, verifies no appliances are missing, and that property has been left in broom-swept condition (including garage and yard). Owners give keys to Agent, Agent gives bank Check to Owners.

In simpler terms:

90 days* missed payments + 90 days redemption period + 21 days until Trustee's Sale + 7 days until REO Agent contact + 14 days to Move-out = 7.5 months approximately.


1. Save as much money as you can during these months of non-payment because you may be required to pay and ADDITIONAL deposit on a rental home. (First month + deposit equal to one month's rent + pet deposit (if applicable) + ADDITIONAL deposit equal to one month's rent = your move-in costs)

Do not count on the Cash for Keys to be part of your move-in costs, as if you do receive this, it will not be until AFTER you are fully moved out of your house.

Visit local websites and review Pennysaver ads to get a general idea of the rental homes and prices in our area. Start actively looking for a rental as soon as you get the Notice of Trustee Sale date.

Try to keep the rest of your credit under control. Most property management companies and landlords accept the current foreclosure situation of potential renters.

Start saving your paycheck stubs as landlords want to see documented income - usually at 3 times the amount of the rent.

Keep your bank account under control. Many times Landlords want to see your last two month's of bank statements.

SAVE SAVE SAVE... no one will understand a family coming out of foreclosure, having paid no house payment for over 6 months, not having enough funds to move into a new house. Once you find a rental, you need to be ready to give a full month's rent as a deposit for it to be held for you until move-in.

I hope this information helps many of you. Please feel free to call me anytime if you have more questions. I am always happy to be of help.

I know how sad it is to have to walk away from your home. I truly am so sorry for those of you going through this, the same as me. After being a homeowner for over 18 years, having dropped $80,000 on the home of my dreams 4 years ago, and now watching my American Dream go "POOF" right before my eyes... this is a pain I don't wish on anyone.

BUT... we must remember... this too shall pass. It is what it is, so get up, dust yourself off and get on with getting on.

There is tomorrow, and the hope that it brings, that we will again, one day, achieve that "American Dream".

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney, nor do I give legal advice. The above information is based on information from outside sources and my own personal experience. All Lenders move at different paces, individual time frames will vary. This simple time frame above is what I see to be the norm here in our area.

*The California Foreclosure timeline is applicable for California Non-Judicial Foreclosures under Deed of Trust. Foreclosures begin with the Trustor (borrower) not making the monthly payment to the Beneficiary (Lender). The first missed payment is technical default, but in practical terms, most Beneficiaries do not begin the process until the third payment is missed. If the Beneficiary cannot resolve the defaulted payment amount with the Trustor through Forbearance or other Loss Mitigation measures, the Beneficiary will instruct the Trustee to begin Foreclosure proceedings. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary, therefore, please consult a professional for specific advice.

Menifee Home Sales for June 2008

Here is some real estate sales data I found published on Housing-Kaboom, for June 2008. These numbers were calculated by DataQuick...

CommunityHomes SoldJune 2008June 2007% Change
Lake Elsinore119$245,000$385,000-36.36%
Sun City88252,500$328,250-23.08%

Probably most notable is Perris, taking a drop of nearly 42% on 134 sales. Ouch!

You can view numbers for other communities throughout the Inland Empire on Housing-Kaboom...

Menifee Real Estate is not a Buyer's Market or Seller's Market, it's a Banker's Market

Ah it is nice to be back in Menifee real estate blogland! I have been gone for the last couple months because the market has been all over the map. After diligent research, a complete lack of days off, and crazy marketing gyrations, I am back here to report to the citizens of Menifee, Temecula, Murrieta, and Wildomar on real estate.

To start off, my headline says it all. you guys next update report!

Ok, I am feeling a little silly today but you really have to have a sense of humor for this market because there is a lot of misconceptions floating around with Menifee real estate buyers and sellers alike. The biggest one is that this is a buyer's market. It was as buyer's market at the early part of the year. There were homes that actually were available and went at or under asking price.

That has changed quite a bit. For instance, this weekend I wrote 6 offers for 3 different couples trying to buy Menifee or Murrieta real estate. Each couple has already been burned at least once on trying to buy a home. This is happening for several reasons:

1) Pricing is artificially low - Banks have changed from an incremental, "lower the price until it sells", to an immediate "price it cheap and get multiple offers" strategy. This is painful because it creates a false sense of the real value of properties on the market. How do I explain to a buyer that the incredible pool home at $350,000 already has 7 offers on it and is really going for around $400,000?

Often buyers refuse to believe that because they can look online and see more properties priced the same. However, those properties also have multiple offers but are left active which is very deceptive. Once they close, you will see that they go for much higher. The banks love it because they get to pick the best candidate (all cash or big down) over a 3% FHA buyer. Trust me it happens. One offer I wrote this weekend was refused for being a VA loan. And the end result is all this artificial pricing creates a trust gap between agents and buyers.

2) Competition is hit or miss - the only competition for the bank properties are other bank properties and short sales. While short sales are a lot more work than Murrieta REO (otherwise known as bank-owned) properties, they are still getting multiple offers. Five of the six offers I wrote this weekend were on short sales. These are more often than not the buyer's heartbreakers. Personally, we need to do something with how agents are marketing the properties. The downside is it is really the banks that are dictating agent marketing strategies.

But the major rub is that very few tradional Menifee sellers can actually compete at these prices. So by default finding an actual "real" seller is a rarity. So it definately isn't a seller's market.

3) Banks just don't care and really can't afford to - Now, I sometimes really don't like banks. But that is because my expectation is that they care at times-which is my own flaw. They don't care about buyer's at all, they care about the bottom-line. They want multiple offers so they can pick the best horse so to speak. The people working at the bank are employees who have never owned or seen that home. At the end of the day they go home and live their life while buyers bite their fingernails about getting the perfect Menifee home.

It isn't really the banks fault, it is the economy. However, if you have a market where the main sellers could care less about buyers, you really can't refer to that as a buyer's market. And honestly, the banks are just about 90% responsible for the current woes in the housing sectors no matter how you slice it.

To sum up, a true buyer's market is when sellers are baking cookies to make the house smell delicious for the one buyer they have viewing their Menifee property on a Saturday. Yes, that really did happen at one point.

Those three points are my way of presenting the Menifee real estate market as it appears to me. Buyers are often misinformed on price, real sellers can't compete on price, and 98% of the market is bank-owned or short sale properties. So if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's a duck and we are definately in a banker's market right now.

This is all bad news Stefan, you are bringing me down! Not so, says I! There is plenty of opprotunity but you have to be able to see it and make it work for you....

The biggest battle in Menifee's real estate market today is both buyer and sellers need to understand the current market conditions and players and use that knowledge for their success.

If you don't know the game or the rules, it is very hard to play. But some smart investors, young couples, and large families have all played it well recently and will benefit significantly in the long run as interest rates start to climb.

I hope that this post was informative for you and I will try my utmost to give informative updates each month.


Stefan West
Diversified Realty
Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, and Wildomar Real Estate


Things are selling here in Menifee and Sun City. As of May 1, 2008 we have had 152 homes go into Escrow. In Menifee the low was 149,000 and the high was 570,000.

Holly Kay
Broker Associate
Prudential Canyon Lake Realty

"You Snooze... You Lose!" Deal of the Week

(yes that's a pool you see)

7601 Ethan Allen Way, Sun City
(cross-streets: McCall/Chatham)
5 bed 3 baths
2,209 sq. ft
Built in 2000
List price: $249,000
Sold price: $258,250
Days on the market: 2
Last sale price: $540,000 on 12/6/2005
Granite kitchen countertops, 3 car garage with epoxy flooring, RV Parking, Swimming Pool and Spa (and artificial turf - no water "run-off" tickets here!)
Can you say "SCORE!"

Do Short Sales Sell?

As 90% of the families that I talk to in Menifee, who are looking for rental homes, are going through foreclosure, I am frequently asked questions about the foreclosure process and asked to explain about Short Sales.


A Short Sale is the sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. In lieu of the house going into foreclosure, some lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale and forgive the rest of what is owed on the mortgage when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments.

For a more in-depth clarification about Short Sales, this is a good article:


In my opinion, not as often as they should.

Today I reviewed 100 Menifee homes for sale on the MLS, price ranged $185,000-$244,000. Of these, 40 were Bank Owned, and 53 were Short Sales.

Next I reviewed the 51 MLS properties sold in Menifee from 5/1/2008 - 5/26/2008. Of these, 43 were bank owned (REOs), and 3 were Short Sales.

Based on the above, speaking speculatively, if 50 in 100 Menifee homes for sale are Short Sales, only 6 in 100 actually end up selling.


Back in October I had a Short Sale listing, 2 bed/2 bath house, 1040 sq' in Rustlers Ranch. We had an offer in at $205,000. The owners owed less than $250k. It took the lender, Nationstar, almost 8 weeks to verbally counter back at $250,000. I sent the bank comps which strongly confirmed that $205k was a good offer, but Nationstar didn't listen. Well, of course the buyers backed out, the property went back to the bank in December, my clients negotiated a Cash for Keys, and the house came back on the market on 2/20/08 at $185,000.

Here is the kicker. 97 days later, this Nationstar property STILL has not sold, and is currently listed at $179,000.

Some lenders get it, some don't.

Here are three MENIFEE SHORT SALES THAT SOLD this month:

28535 Heather Green Way, Listed at $289,000, Sold at $287,000, 58 DOM
29322 Rock Vista Drive, Listed at $199,999, Sold at $258,950, 54 DOM
28700 Sunridge Court, Listed at $240,000, Sold at $292,000, 97 DOM

For more details on these Menifee Short Sales, go here:
For more details on Menifee homes sold this month, go here:

Short Sales do sell, and although the current numbers are low, I personally believe that the lenders and buyers will start responding better to these Short Sale listings. Not all properties and/or owners are good candidates for Short Sale. A Realtor, who is EXPERIENCED in Short Sales would be an excellent resource in determining this.

A big advantage in buying a short sale, is that you usually don't have to compete with multiple offers. I truly believe there are great buys to be had in the short sale market. If you want to buy a Short Sale, though, above all, you need PATIENCE. Patience, and hope, that good things come to those who wait.

Cynthia Aina
New Vista Realty
REO & Leasing Specialist

Did the Crime... gonna do some Time!

"Law enforcement Wednesday night arrested William J. Hutchings, his wife Xiaoke Li, Edgar Martinez and Diego Gil Gil", reported Kelly Bennet at

An arrest warrant was issued and is still outstanding for another defendant, Shawna Landis, Hutchings ex-wife. (Ding dong lady does not remember why she divorced him in the first place?)

So folks, basically, this was the scam:

Hutchings program would put the property in a land grant, and as such, the land would be given back to the government. That would keep the bank from being able to take the property. Hutchings company would keep the property in a protected state for 4 years while the homeowers lived in it, paying a monthly rent to Hutchings company. After four years the bank would have to release the mortgage debt and the homeowner could buy out Hutchings share and own the house free and clear.

Sounds great, eh?

Ok, well the foreclosure process wasn't thwarted and some of the homeowners from that night have already lost their homes and whatever rent they paid in the meantime.

The defendants are thought to have pocketeded "hundreds of thousands of dollars", and fortunately have had their assets frozen for restitution to the victims of this scam.

Two of these jerks were arrested in the middle on one of these seminars, while 50 potential victims sat in shock and amazement, this last Wednesday.

178 properties in San Diego County had been deeded over to just one of the LLCs -- Federal Land Grant Company LLC -- just since March 7, according to the County Recorder's Office. The defendants face more than 100 felony charges so far.

For the full story go to:


Recently, on one of my bank-owned listings, I negotiated a Cash for Keys with a really nice family, and helped them get into a nearby rental.

Apparently, this family had been "helped" by a different company who told them that filing bankruptcy would save their home. They had the family pay their mortgage payments to them stating they would in turn pay the bankruptcy Trustee, which would keep the bank from taking their home.

Well, it did not work, and after paying over $4,500 to this company, the bank took the house anyway. I have not been able to determine if this company pocketed the money or if they did pay the money to the bankrutpcy Trustee, and just didn't really know what they were doing.

This is the problem: when reaffirming a debt in the bankruptcy process, you need to PROVE to the Trustee and the Bank that you can afford the payment. The Bank can file a Motion to Lift the Automatic Stay (on the bankruptcy) and take the property anyway stating the debtors could not show proof of ability to reconfirm and pay the debt.

My point of this whole article is to BE CAREFUL! There are ways to try to save your home, but using a third party to help you do this is very, very scary.

Work directly with your lender in trying to get a loan modification, where in some cases they will reduce your interest rate and add your current deficiencies onto the end of your loan, and you get a fresh start.

If you cannot work out a loan modification, list your house with a Real Estate Agent experienced in Short Sales and try to sell your home. This can help save your credit score and enable you to buy a home again a lot sooner than having a foreclosure on your record.

Cynthia Aina
REO & Rental Specialist

"You Snooze... You Lose!" Deal of the Week

29635 Peacock Mountain Dr., Menifee
(Cross-streets: Camino Crystal/Menifee Rd)
Menifee Lakes Golf Course in your Backyard!
3 bed 2.5 baths plus a loft
2,255 sq. ft built in 2005
List price: $210,900
Sold price: $210,900
Days on the market: 4

April home sales up in So Cali

(Per info from article by Eliot Spagat on The Associated Press)

Southern California homebuyers stepped off the sidelines in April, snatching up foreclosures and homes priced under $500,000 at a rate that was 22 percent higher than in March but down 19 percent from April 2007 and the lowest level since 1995, according to DataQuick Information Services.

Keep this in mind. . .

-The median home price for the six-county region was $385,000, unchanged from March but down 24 percent from an April 2007 peak of $505,000. April marked the first time in eight months that the median price did not decline.

-Sales were strongest in areas hit hardest by foreclosures: Riverside County (where sales increased month to month for the first time in two years), Lancaster, Chula Vista, Anaheim, Lake Forest and Victorville experienced the strongest rebounds. Two-thirds of homes sold during the month in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties were priced under $500,000. About 38 percent of the homes sold were in foreclosure at some point during the previous year, up only 2 percent from March but sharply higher than the 5 percent reported a year ago.
In Riverside County, 53 percent of sales involved troubled properties.

-The credit crunch, potential for a recession, and uncertainty over when foreclosures will peak caused DataQuick analysts to remain cautious. Lack of financing for high-value homes continues to be an issue and could forestall a recovery if the trend persists. In April, only 15 percent of Southern California home loans were above $417,000, down sharply from the same period a year ago.

To read the full story by Elliot Spagat, please click here:

Menifee & Sun City Info (From Dataquick )

             # sold           avg price        last year avg   difference

MENIFEE 98 $277,500 $390,000 -28.85%

SUN CITY 98 $241,750 $339,250 -28.74%

To see info on all California cities:

GMAC Insurance Phone Solicitors

Just got a call today from a girl representing GMAC, regarding some kind of disability insurance, which helps you make your house payments should you get injured and can't work.

She was using a really sneaky tactic.

She started off by saying that she wanted to send me some material about this program, and proceeded to describe what it is, and what it's benefits are.

Then she read off my mailing address and asked if that was my correct address. I said, "yeah". Then she verified my first and last name, and I said, "yeah". Then she asked me for my place of birth, and I said, "ok, what's that got to do with sending me something in the mail?"

She explained that it was some kind of security measure, to make sure that I'm really the same "Steve" represented in their records. So, I answered her question.

Then she started reading off a bunch of stuff, saying that the program costs $24.90 per month, is added into our mortgage payment, Then she said something that worried me, "after 60 days, you can choose not to continue with the coverage..."

I said, "wait a minute, why did you say that I can choose not to continue coverage?"

She reiterated the same baloney.

So I said, "That means by sending me this material, you're actually signing me up for coverage, aren't you?"

"No" she said. "You're not under any obligation. After 60 days, you simply cancel the coverage by submitting the cancellation form."

I said, "But I don't want coverage. You told me that all you wanted to do was send me some material, and verify my address. I never gave you authorization to provide me with 60 days of coverage".

Then she said, "But sir, you said you wanted to go with the 60 days of free coverage..."

I stopped her immediately, "No I did not say any such thing. YOU said you wanted to send me some material. You didn't say ANYTHING about initiating coverage. I don't want any coverage!"

She said, "Ok, I see there's a misunderstanding here." Then she ran off a bunch of stuff, gave me her toll-free telephone number, and hung up before I could say anything else.

So there you go. If any of you have a mortgage through GMAC, watch for telemarketers calling you about a disability mortgage insurance. They'll tell you that all they want to do is send you some material, when in fact they're going to initiate an actual policy that will add $24.90 to your mortgage payment.

Menifee Home Values Drop 31%

Zillow, an online home valuation service, says that home values in Menifee (zip code 92584) dropped 31.1% in the first quarter of 2008, compared to the first quarter of 2007.

Compare that to national figures which show single-family home values decreased 7.5% while condo values declined 9.0% during this same period.

Sex Offenders Cause Home Values to Drop reports that having a registered sex offender living in your neighborhood will cause your property value to drop...
A 2002 Wright State University study concluded that homes within one-tenth of a mile of a registered sex offender sold for an average of 17.4 percent less than comparable houses elsewhere. It also noted that homes one-tenth to two-tenths of a mile away sold for 10.2 percent less and homes two-tenths to three-tenths of a mile sold for 9.3 percent less.
This is quickly becoming an issue because homeowners around the country have been able to convince their county tax assessors to lower their property taxes due to the presence of a nearby sex offender.

To find out if you have a registered sex offender in your neighborhood, visit this link...

No More Dead Grassroots Movement

According to Wikipedia, a grassroots movement... is one driven by the constituents of a community.

Walking out to my car on a warm Saturday morning, I am thankful to my neighbor who had started a grassroots movement of his own... what I'm going to call the "No More Dead Grassroots Movement". For almost 6 months, my awesome neighbor, Frank Veloz, has mowed, watered, and tended to the garden and the front lawn of the house abandoned next to his.

Finally, just last week, the bank has taken possession, and thankfully, has turned the water on and started landscaping service. I say thankfully, because as you can clearly see driving through your neighborhood, sometimes the banks/realtors will go this extra mile, and sometimes they won't.

Unfortunately, things are going to get worse before they get better.

Recently, Joseph Ascenzi with reported

"One in every 38 houses in the Inland region received a foreclosure notice of some kind during the first quarter of this year, the second-highest foreclosure rate per household of any metro market nationwide during that time."

Mr. Ascenzi goes on to report, "In all, 37,239 foreclosure notices - default notices, auction sale notices or bank repossessions -- were issued on properties in Riverside and San Bernardino counties during the first three months of this year, a 230.8% increase compared with the first quarter of 2007, according to RealtyTrac in Irvine, which charts foreclosure rates throughout the United States. The activity represented a 39.1% jump in foreclosures compared with the fourth quarter of 2007, RealtyTrac found."

"Unfortunately, I think we're looking at the tip of the iceberg," said Steve Johnson, director with the Riverside office of Metrostudy, a housing information and consulting firm based in Houston. "Because of the jobs we've lost and the other economic problems we're having, I think we're going to see a lot of foreclosures for at least nine more months. I believe this has become an economic issue, not just a subprime issue."

The "tip of the iceberg"? 9 more months? And although the article is saying 1 in 38, I don't know about you, but the ratio is much higher in my neighborhood. Yikes!

To minimize the damage to the asthetics of our neighborhoods join me, and caring neighbors like Frank, in supporting a "No More Dead Grassroots Movement" here in Menifee. Here are some suggestions:

1. If you are losing your home, stay in it and take care of it until the house goes to bank sale. (The banks really do want you to stay until they take it. By doing so, the property has less chance of being vandalized, the landscape stays green, and you can take advantage of the bank's "Cash For Keys" program. If you don't know how long before the bank sale, your friendly neighborhood Realtor can usually get this info from the MLS Realist website.) Note: this also applies to Renters in foreclosure homes.

2. When you do move-out, keep the eletricity and the water on for at least a couple of weeks. That will give the Realtor time to switch over service.

3. If your neighbors move out unexpectedly, do what you can to help maintain the front yard of the property. Do not assume that the bank will immediately take over the maintenance of the property. Get together with your other neighbors and take turns mowing and watering.

Although we, as a community have no control over the number of foreclosures each neighborhood will see, we DO have control over the way our neighborhoods look.

I know there are other Frank Veloz' out there, and if you have one of these in your neighborhood, PLEASE show your appreciation to him or her and POST A COMMENT on this blog.

Just Say NO... to Dead Grass!

Update on Menifee CA Real Estate and Surrounding Markets

Tomorrow brings around a once in 4 year event - mainly February 29th, better known as leap year. In my household this means my newly crowned 4 year old will be chortling for birthday presents while his little brother attempts to steal at least one new toy to play with. What has this to do with Menifee real estate? - Honestly, not much except....

Tomorrow also brings the end of February and the warm up to the buying season in Menifee CA real estate, or so we all hope. The economic news has not been fantastic BUT the news and political awareness of it is driving key changes that could really start to take effect this spring and summer.

For instance, this week alone I have received more calls from first time home buyers than I have over the previous 2 months. Wall Street saw some headlines about finally reaching bottom and the Fed is still planning on further reducing rates. This is all vital news for Menifee real estate as well as Murrieta and Temecula.

Due to the increase in real estate activity we are experiencing, I plan to bring on a couple additional agents in my company.

The key challenge remains the banks. They are very tight right now and absolutely devastating the market with pricing drops necessary to move Menifee foreclosure properties. But I will say that investors are out and aggressively looking. If I didn't have a huge, expensive birthday party this Saturday (ok, its not that expensive - I am a conservative soul), I would be out working this entire weekend straight with buyers.

One new thing I have seen in Menifee real estate is investors approaching me on Short Sale properties with the intention of buying it and perhaps even renting directly back to the sellers for a couple years lease option. This is dependent of course on the investor feeling good about the seller's viability to pay a lower payment consistently. And the seller doing the necessary credit repair, but the end result is the seller stays in the home and the investor can make a decent profit when they sell it back in a 2-3 years.

The seller is happy because they get the property at a lower price in the future without having to move their family. However, it isn't as turn-key as it sounds since a lot of seller see what is out there and perhaps want to find new Menifee homes in the near future that are now within their reach financially with some credit work done.

To sum things up, the Menifee real estate market remains very challenging right now but I am directly seeing much more buyer activity. We are reaching a peak point where the banks really need to lighten up on real estate but need to start lending again as well. As we move into Spring and then Summer I hope to see a solid reduction in properties on the market. Below are some sales figures picking up from my last post.

December 2007 Sales - 46
January 2008 Sales - 34

Have a great leap year everyone and let's hope Spring and Summer start reducing the amount of properties on the market.

Capital Pacific Homes Offers Price Guarantee

The Orange County Register reported today that Capital Pacific Homes, which is building some home developments here in Menifee, is offering a price guarantee against falling home prices when you buy a one of their homes.

Under the plan, buyers can back out of deals and get their deposits back if the home loan appraisal issued about 30 days before closing shows that the home value is less than the price tag.

I'm not certain 30 days before closing is enough time to prove that your home value has lost its value. I'm sure you'd have to hire an appraiser to just before taking ownership to prove this, and I don't most think will fork over money to hire one.

Moreover, when buying a new home, buyers have already invested themselves into that home by picking out tile, carpeting, outlets, cabinets, and so on.

Also, I don't think home buyers are putting off buying homes for fear of falling home prices. Most people buy homes based on need. Investors, on the other hand, are staying from certain homes.

Capital Pacific Homes is currently building the following communities in Menifee...

Calder Ranch (link)
Marsden (link)

Home Prices Hit Four Year Low

The North County Times reports today that home values in Riverside County have hit a four year low, averaging $331,500, it's lowest level since July 2004....
Prices continued to plummet across Southern California, with Riverside County's median sale falling to $331,500, its lowest level since July 2004, according to the monthly report by DataQuick Information Systems.
I just looked at my home's value on, and it pretty much reflects the same trend.

The article went on to quote Gene Wunderlich, a Realtor in Wildomar, that we're going to see more depreciation. I tend to agree.

I'm not a real estate expert, but everything I've read so far about our economy says that 2008 is going to just as bad as 2007. It doesn't look like the economy is going to get better until 2009.

Countryside Marketplace is supposed to open its first stores in September 2008. That should help create more demand for Menifee homes. But any demand that gets created here will be swallowed up by new home builders.