manhattan beach
DRE # 01098580


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New Sales Strategies Drive Bargains

To help get the housing market rolling again, some real estate agents want you to get on the bus.

Call it the "F" Line.

The "F" is for the growing number of foreclosure properties that have become bus stops along motor tour routes designed to put home sales on the fast track.

The Keenan Carter Group in Pismo Beach, CA, became the darling of the bus tour set when its version was featured on "Good Morning America" on ABC-TV and a segment with Neal Cavuto on Fox News.

At $20 a seat, the tour bus also becomes a school bus between stops, serving up information packages on each property. Riders get spreadsheets on mortgage payment options, potential rental income properties could yield and refreshments.

The special focus on marketing foreclosures is not surprising, especially in California where the number of foreclosures exceeded the number of sales in January, according to foreclosure figures from and sales numbers from DataQuick Information Services.

Other bus tours are driving into Florida, Las Vegas and other hard hit housing markets that have been flooded with foreclosures.

Driving a bargain on a bus isn't new, but using the strategy as a vehicle to move foreclosures is part of a current trend in special marketing designed to help turn the housing market around.

In Silicon Valley, April 13 will become "The Biggest Open House Day Of The Year," as sellers queue up to offer incentives and accommodate -- on the spot -- buyers who make an offer that day.

Home shoppers should also be on the look out for some financing flash likewise designed to give buyers an edge in a market they already rule.

Quincy Virgilio, president elect of the Santa Clara County association, says expect to see a return to equity sharing.

The creative financing strategy includes two parties -- one who occupies the home, another, an investor, who foots the bill for the down payment.

The symbiotic relationship has flourished during past periods of buyer-seller separation in the housing market.

Las Vegas-based Creative Real Estate Online publisher, J. P. Vaughan, also a trial lawyer and real estate investor says everyone can benefit from the strategy.

Cash-short but income-rich, one person becomes a homeowner without money down, the investor can get a joint venture-like return on his or her money and a seller, in a slow market, could become the investor or otherwise use the technique to quickly seal a deal, says Vaughan.

Credit Scores Remain Misunderstood

Too many consumers still don't get it when it comes to credit scores.

And what you don't know about credit scores can hurt you when it's time to buy a home -- especially in a tight credit market.

Only 28 percent of consumers are aware they need at least a 700 credit score to qualify for a low-rate mortgage.

Three of every four consumers incorrectly believe that credit scores are influenced by income.

And even more, 79 percent, erroneously believe that credit scores can be obtained for free once a year. (They're probably think about their credit report, instead.)

Those are among the findings of a new report, "Consumer Understanding Of Credit Scores Improves But Remains Poor" commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu).

First, your credit score is a number assigned to your creditworthiness.

Your credit score indicates how well or how poorly you'll repay a debt. The higher the number, the more likely you'll repay on time.

Your bill paying information on credit reports provides the basis for your credit score.

Consumers who take the time to obtain their credit score, for only about $15 under most circumstances, are more likely to have a better understanding of the scores.

That includes knowledge that mortgage lenders rely heavily upon credit scores to approve or reject home loan applications.

Informed consumers also know they can generally raise their credit score by consistently paying bills on time every time; by paying off debt and closing those paid off accounts; by not coming close to maxing out credit cards and by regularly checking their credit reports to make sure they are accurate.

Your credit report is free from AnnualCreditReport.Com. For more information about your credit score go to

The study also found that consumers could save $28 billion a year in lower finance charges if they improved their credit scores by 30 points.

"Lack of consumer knowledge about credit scores not only increases the costs of their credit and insurance, but also reduces the availability of these and other services," said CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck.

The study's findings include:

  • When asked to define "credit score," only 31 percent correctly identified the answer "risk of not repaying the loan" in a multiple choice question that also included "financial resources to pay back loans" (21 percent), "amount of consumer debt" (16 percent), "knowledge of consumer credit" (15 percent), and "attitude toward consumer credit" (9 percent) as other options.
  • Consumers typically fail to understand that a credit score reflects only how they use credit, not factors such as income and age. Significant percentages incorrectly believe that credit scores are influenced by income (74 percent); age (40 percent); marital status (38 percent); the state in which they live (29 percent); level of education (29 percent); and ethnicity (15 percent).
  • Majorities correctly understand that they can learn their credit scores if they are denied a mortgage loan (72 percent) or declined for a credit card (65 percent). But, an even larger group, (79 percent), incorrectly believes that credit scores can be obtained for free once a year. Only credit reports are free every year.
manhattan beach
DRE # 01098580
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