Beyond the Headlines

San Diego Union-Tribune

Should you buy a home during the holidays?
Once Thanksgiving is over, the real estate world typically starts to wind down for the holidays and doesn’t usually reawaken until after New Year’s.  But potential home buyers who are prepared to close in today’s competitive market may want to keep house hunting while everyone else is waiting for spring.

Making sense of the story

  • REALTORS® especially recommend that serious home buyers continue shopping if they have repeatedly lost out on deals because of a limited and continually decreasing supply of homes.  Buying intensity typically cools down at the start of fall through early January, which could increase the odds for those with more patience.
  • Would-be buyers historically have bowed out during the winter season because they are overwhelmed by holiday spending and commitments.  There’s also the aversion of moving in the middle of a school year.  Consumer interest typically picks back up again in the New Year and peaks in the spring.
  • Certain buyers may be well-served to buy during the winter because of sellers who must move for various reasons including a job change or transfer or the possible sunsetting of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which lets certain home sellers get tax relief on mortgage debt forgiven by lenders.  The possible expiration has pushed home sellers to list and short sell their homes before year’s end.

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In other news …
Los Angeles Times

Consumer confidence rises to highest level since 2008
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index edged up to 73.7 in November from 73.1 the previous month.

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San Francisco Chronicle

U.S. housing market’s fragile recovery
When banks pulled back on foreclosures two years ago following a government investigation into allegations of faulty practices, market researchers, academics, and Wall Street analysts said that a surge of delinquent homes would deluge the U.S. market once lenders resolved the claims and worked through backlog, driving down prices for years to come.

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Los Angeles Times

Foreclosures down in October as housing market continues healing
About 1.3 million homes, or 4.2 percent of all U.S. homes, were in any stage of the foreclosure process in October, down from 1.4 million homes in September, according to data released by CoreLogic.

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Mercury News

Loans for uninsured disaster repairs
After a natural disaster, homeowners and renters often discover insurance doesn’t pay for repairing all the damage of their dwellings and possessions.

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Los Angeles Times

Home prices show biggest jump in 6 years in October
Home prices increased 6.3 percent in October from a year earlier, the biggest year-over-year gain since 2006, according to CoreLogic.

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Short sales jump ahead of tax hike 
A soon-to-expire tax break for troubled homeowners is helping drive a spurt in “short sales.”

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Talking Points

  • Homeowners should be wary of anyone selling home security systems door-to-door.  According to the state Dept. of Consumer Affairs, the salesperson could be breaking the law and trying to scam homeowners.
  • The department warns homeowners that anyone selling home alarm systems door-to-door in California is required to have passed a criminal background check and have been licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.  Unfortunately, the consumer agency says that many sellers have done listening and recommends that before listening to the pitch, homeowners should ask to see the salesperson’s state registration card.
  • Homeowners also should be cautious of anyone pressuring them to sign a contract immediately.  Homeowners are sometimes pushed to sign overpriced alarm contracts that last for as long as five years, automatically roll over to a new term, and give limited opportunity to cancel, the department said.  Some contracts stipulate an early termination fee of several thousand dollars.
  • It’s important to note that legitimate alarm companies also sometimes sell door-to-door.    Consumers can call (800) 952-5210 to check whether a business or person is licensed and see whether any complaints have been filed.
  • State law gives consumers a three-day window after signing to cancel a home security contract and get their money back.  Deliver the cancellation letter in person or send it by certified mail.  To lodge a complaint against an alarm company, visit click on “File a Complaint.”


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