Thursday, December 17, 2015

Feds raise Key Interest rate ...

 The Federal Reserve raised the key interest rate (Fed Funds) from 0.25% to 0.50%. It's been a long time since this has occurred however they feel You will see that this sill start to cost you more for nearly everything you do ... Read the full story from the Associated Press ...

Friday, December 4, 2015

CVWD increases conservation programs, drought penalties

If you are like me at all, I have not been following the printed materials in my water bills recently because I switched to Desertscape. This was obviously a bad move because of several things. Check out this article from CVWD of November 10th ...

The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Board of Directors today committed additional money for rebate programs, adopted a ban on irrigation on certain days of the week, and increased drought penalties.
The new measures were adopted to help CVWD meet its state water conservation mandate. The state is requiring CVWD customers to reduce overall domestic water use by 36% when compared to the same month in 2013 or face penalties of up to $10,000 per day.

The board approved $2 million in additional conservation funding with most of it going to CVWD’s conservation rebate programs. In addition, a consultant will be hired to perform comprehensive water audits for some of the district’s largest water users, and academic consultants would be hired to perform targeted research and public education messaging to promote reduced water use.
The board approved new day-of-use restrictions for irrigation. Starting Dec. 1 and through March 31, outdoor irrigation for CVWD domestic customers will be prohibited on Mondays and Thursdays.
Drought penalties were increased for water use in tiers 3-5. The increased drought penalties will go into effect with December water use for bills produced in January. 

Under the increased drought penalties, residents who do not limit their outdoor water use to 36% below their monthly budget are subject to drought penalties structured as follows:

Water use in Tier 1:                             No Penalty
Water use in Tier 2, up to 64%            No Penalty
Water use in Tier 2, above 64%          Regular rate + $2.51/unit
Water use in Tier 3                              Regular rate + $5/unit
Water use in Tier 4                              Regular rate + $10/unit
Water use in Tier 5:                             Regular rate + $20/unit

About 76% of CVWD customers currently are meeting the drought budgets. As a result, about 5 billion gallons of water have been saved by CVWD domestic customers compared to water use in 2013.
Statewide mandatory water-use restrictions remain in effect, including prohibiting water runoff and irrigation during and 48 hours following rain. In addition, CVWD requires sprinklers to be fixed within 24 hours and leaks to be fixed as soon as possible.

CVWD continues to strongly discourage overseeding during the drought.

The state considers a month-to-month rolling average when considering a district’s conservation efforts. CVWD customers saved 21.3% in June, 40.6% in July, 26.5% in August, 16.4% less water in September, and 27.7%  less water in October. The average over the five-month period is 27%.

For conservation rebate programs, tips and additional information, visit
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation.

Monday, November 30, 2015

More Young Adults Live With Their Parents Now Than During the Recession

Very interesting article reproduced from The Wall Street Journal ...
Economist Jed Kolko says that the rise in children living with their parents is largely related to the fact that people are marrying and having children later, not to the weak economy and housing market.

Family togetherness isn’t just for Thanksgiving dinner. More young adults are now living with their parents than during the recession, according to U.S. Census data.
The share of 18-to-34-year-olds living with their parents was 31.5% as of March 2015, up from 31.4% last year, according to a report from the Commerce Department on Monday. In 2005, just 27% of young adults lived with their parents, a number that has climbed pretty steadily since then.
That the percentage at home has barely moved from last year is particularly notable because many economists expected young people to start moving out as the economy has improved and unemployment among young people has dropped significantly. The housing market is relying on those new households to drive future demand.
But the trend of young people continuing to live at home is unlikely to significantly reverse course any time soon, even as the economy improves, says Jed Kolko, an independent economist and senior fellow at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley.
Instead, Mr. Kolko says that the rise in children living with their parents is largely related to the fact that people are marrying and having children later, not to the weak economy and housing market. Single people without children are more likely to continue living at home much later.
Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center showed that more young women were living with their parents in 2014 than any time since the 1940s. Researchers noted that young women traditionally left home to get married, which they are now doing later and later.
Because young people aren’t likely to leave home in large numbers as their job prospects improve, the surge of pent-up housing demand they were expected to create will be more like a slow, steady trickle, Mr. Kolko said.
That helps explain why the share of first-time homebuyers remains low.
“What I think it means is that the boost to housing from young adults will come more slowly than people expect,” Mr. Kolko said. “The long-term demographic shifts suggest this might be the new normal, with young people living with their parents longer and more permanently delaying household formation and homeownership.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

El Nino follow up ...

While you are thinking about the possibilities, check out this Red Cross site of checklists for numerous situations, in particular:  Winter Storms, Thunderstorms, Power Outage, Earthquake and when you think you are done, check again for your littlest members of the family - Pet Safety

Everyone is warning us that this is an El Nino year ... Are you ready?

Don't say that nobody warned you ... We've been hearing it for weeks and a great article appeared in the LA Times about a month ago which I include for your review ...

Friday, October 23, 2015

Changes you need to know that can affect your Sale or Purchase of a home

I provided some information a week ago on the changes in Mortgage Disclosure laws of August 2015 that finally took effect October 3, 2015 (and we hear of extra dispensations for Lender's conformity). These changes affect you whether you are buying or selling property.

Buyers/Borrowers are affected because they must receive notice of loan costs within 3 days of application for loan and they must be in the new required format. If there are any changes during the loan approval process, the Buyers/Borrowers must be newly apprised of the loan costs which must be in the new required format. Depending on the changes and acceptability to the Buyers/Borrowers, a new 3 day waiting period starts. During this period, several things may occur including but not limited to the escrow not closing on time per the contract or the Buyers/Borrowers could refuse the loan if it does not fit in with the parameters set forth in the contract. Having said this, these two things are how Sellers are affected also. If escrow does not close on time, many things can be affected: Payoff can be late resulting in an additional charge, insurance policies might expire, acquisition of a replacement property may be delayed, etc.; and obviously everything stops with a cancellation.

These are the changes would trigger a new 3-day waiting period. They are:
  1. A change which renders the APR inaccurate;
  2. A loan product change causing the disclosed information to become inaccurate; or
  3. The addition of a prepayment penalty to the loan.
This is pretty straightforward, but there is some confusion surrounding a change in the APR - tbd.
So this sounds horrible right? Understand that it is unlikely that you might find yourself in of these situations but it could happen. The best thing in your arsenal is to select not an experienced agent but an experienced Realtor to stay on top of developments in a contractual period to ensure a smooth closing.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Americans Think Homeownership is a Sound Investment

WASHINGTON (October 14, 2015) — A vast majority of Americans believe that buying a home is a solid financial decision, and most believe they could sell their home for at least its initial purchase price, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors®. The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a preponderance of Americans think that now is a good time to buy a home.
The survey, which measures consumers' attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that more than eight in 10 Americans believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision, and 68 percent believe that now is a good time to buy a home. Seventy-one percent believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it, a jump of 16 percentage points from 2013.
When asked for reasons about why homeownership matters to them, respondents’ answers did not change significantly from past years. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top three reasons to own a home.
"Homeownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities," said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. "Realtors® believe that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream in a safe, responsible way, which is why NAR advocates homeownership issues and educating potential buyers about achieving their property investment goals."
The number of renters who are now thinking about purchasing a home has increased since the last survey in 2013, up from 36 percent to 39 percent. Sixty-one percent of renters stated that owning a home is a priority for their future.  According to the survey, 80 percent of respondents believe that pre-purchase counseling programs and classes are very or somewhat important. Forty-five percent of homeowners who said they did not take a counseling program, reported they would have taken part in one had it been easily available to them.
Attitudes about the housing market have improved in recent years. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they feel activity in the housing market has increased in the past year, compared to 44 percent in 2013 and 12 percent in 2011. Eighty-nine percent expect home sales in their area to either increase or remain the same. Concern about foreclosures has also declined, with only 15 percent of respondents indicating that foreclosure is a major concern.
In addition to improved attitudes about the housing market, survey participants also showed an improved outlook regarding the economy. Only 36 percent think that job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem, a substantial drop from 45 percent in 2013.
Perceived obstacles to homeownership have remained mostly unchanged compared to recent years; 78 percent of respondents point to college debt and student loans as the main obstacle to making a home purchase affordable. Seventy-six percent of participants said they have a full-time job but still did not make enough money to purchase a home. Seventy-four percent believe they do not have enough money for a down payment and closing costs.
As the market has improved, concern about the cost of housing has increased. Two-thirds of survey participants said that home prices are more expensive than they were a year ago. There is additional concern over the lack of available housing; 41 percent said the lack of affordable homes is either a very big or fairly big problem in their area, an increase of 9 percent points from 2013.
For adult millennials under the age of 35, the burden of student debt is their chief concern, with 86 percent of respondents naming college debt as an obstacle to homeownership. Over half reported that their housing costs are a financial strain on their budget, 65 percent are concerned about high rental prices, and 60 percent are concerned about high home prices. However, millennials tend to have a more upbeat and positive view about the future of the nation than older Americans, with 42 percent of millennials saying that the country is headed in the right direction compared to only 20 percent among those aged 50 and older.
The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program. The telephone survey polled 1,000 adults nationwide in the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. An additional 250 interviews were conducted with millennial adults (born after 1981) from the same geography. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. (Jane Dollinger)

Friday, October 16, 2015

2015 Mortgage disclosure laws have changed ...

Getting a mortgage may take longer under new rules ...

Borrowers are being advised to prepare for delays, have all paperwork ready before even starting the mortgage process, and possibly consider spending the extra money upfront for a longer lock term due to new rules for lenders that went into effect this past Saturday. The goal of the new “Know Before You Owe” process is to make the mortgage process much easier for consumers to understand. This has resulted in all-new paperwork and disclosure rules for lenders. The rules are designed to hold lenders accountable and protect consumers against what happened during the last housing boom.
Read the full story

Where are we headed in 2016? Inman says "...

California housing market won’t slow down in 2016

California’s housing market will continue to improve into 2016, but a shortage of homes on the market and a crimp in housing affordability also will persist, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2016 California Housing Market Forecast.”
Making sense of the story
  • The C.A.R. forecast sees an increase in existing home sales of 6.3 percent next year to reach 433,000 units, up from the projected 2015 sales figure of 407,500 homes sold.
  • Sales in 2015 also will be up 6.3 percent from the 383,300 existing, single-family homes sold in 2014.
  • C.A.R.’s forecast projects growth in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of 2.7 percent in 2016, after a projected gain of 2.4 percent in 2015.
  • The state’s unemployment rate should decrease to 5.5 percent in 2016 from 6.3 percent in 2015 and 7.5 percent in 2014.
  • The average for 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rates will rise only slightly to 4.5 percent but will still remain at historically low levels.
  • The California median home price is forecast to increase 3.2 percent to $491,300 in 2016, following a projected 6.5 percent increase in 2015 to $476,300.  This is the slowest rate of price appreciation in five years.
  • C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young commented, “The foundation for California’s housing market remains strong, with moderating home prices, signs of credit easing, and the state continuing to lead the nation in economic and job growth.”

Monday, August 31, 2015

FHA makes big moves with PACE and partnering with DOE for financing homes with solar power financing tax assessment.
HUD Press Releases
August 24, 2015

Guidance for Use of FHA Financing on Homes with Existing PACE Liens and Flexible
Underwriting through Energy Department’s Home Energy Score

Today, FHA announced anticipated guidelines for two new initiatives that will support borrowers
seeking to make energy efficient improvements to their homes, including guidance that will allow
borrowers to use Single Family FHA financing for properties with existing Property Assessed Clean
Energy (PACE) loans that meet certain conditions. FHA also announced its new partnership with the
Department of Energy (DOE) helping borrowers using Single Family FHA’s Energy Efficient Home
(EEH) program to take advantage of energy cost savings when measured by DOE’s Home Energy

PACE Guidance
PACE programs have the potential to increase the accessibility and affordability of energy saving
measures, consequently lowering energy bills to residents and reducing the environmental footprints of participating localities.

Single Family FHA supports responsibly expanding access to clean energy financing options for
creditworthy borrowers. Single Family FHA PACE guidance has the potential to allow homeowners to benefit from energy cost savings while preserving the marketability of properties with PACE loans.
In 2009 and 2010, many states adopted legislation allowing local governments to fund home energy
improvements that are repaid by assessments levied under their tax authority. While there are many
versions, PACE programs generally allow homeowners to finance energy efficiency improvements
for up to 20 years through tax assessments attached to the property. PACE allows homeowners to
benefit from the improvements immediately and spread the cost over time.

When the property is sold, the PACE loan may transfer to the next owner who is responsible for
repaying the loan. The ability to transfer the loan to the new owner allows for both the payment and the value of the retrofit to be transferred from one owner to the next.
Since in the event of default, the PACE loan as a tax assessment may have super lien status and/or take precedence over the first lien mortgage, some lenders have raised concerns. FHA is developing Single Family PACE guidance to overcome impediments in the purchase and sale of properties to which PACE loans are attached due to these concerns.

The Single Family FHA guidance will address the impact of PACE assessments on purchases,
refinances and loan modification options available to borrowers experiencing distress and will require
the subordination of PACE financing to the first lien FHA mortgage. The guidance will address the
eligible methods of subordination of existing PACE liens.

Taking into account the variety of types of residential PACE programs, FHA is developing PACE
guidance, which is also being informed by ongoing conversations with the Federal Housing Finance
Agency (FHFA), that at a minimum will include the following:

 Lien Position: Only PACE liens that preserve payment priority for first lien mortgages through
 PACE payment, structure, and term: PACE financing must be a fixed-rate, fully amortizing loan;
 Eligible Properties: PACE assessments must be attached to single family properties, as defined by
FHA, which are 1- to 4-unit dwellings, including detached, semi-detached and townhome
 Equity Requirement: PACE liens that preserve payment priority for first lien mortgages will be
eligible for financing that does not exceed FHA’s maximum combined loan-to-value (CLTV) ratio;
 Record Keeping: PACE liens must be formally recorded and be identifiable to a mortgage lender
through a title search;
 Additional Consumer Protections: PACE programs must comply with applicable federal and state
consumer laws and should include disclosures to and training for homeowners participating in the

PACE programs operate at the local level and vary widely. DOE PACE “Program Design Best Practice Guidelines” recommend key program requirements for acceptable PACE programs including the following:

 PACE programs should require notification of mortgage holders of record when a PACE
assessment has been placed on the property;
 PACE programs should finance PACE projects that are cost-effective and reduce the net energy
requirements as measured by approved DOE methods.

In finalizing guidance, FHA will work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, DOE, Treasury and other industry stakeholders to advocate for strong consumer protections.
New Standards for FHA Single Family Energy Efficient Home – Incorporating DOE’s Home
Energy Score

FHA has partnered with DOE on an initiative that allows consumers to qualify for a higher loan
amount due to cost savings associated with energy efficient improvements. Under the new FHA and
DOE partnership, FHA will provide flexible underwriting to recognize the reduced costs of utilities
when those costs are established with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Home Energy Score in areas where the Home Energy Score is available. DOE’s new Home Energy Score is a low cost, reliable method for estimating the energy use of a home. The score is the equivalent of an easily-understood “miles per gallon” label for homes. The score measures the energy efficiency of homes on a scale of 1–10. Homebuyers or homeowners who want to obtain an FHA-insured purchase or refinance mortgage for a single family home that receives a Home Energy Score of 6 or higher will be eligible to increase their income qualifying ratio by 2 percentage points above the standard Single Family FHA limit. This means that FHA borrowers will be able to borrow slightly more when they buy or refinance a more energy-efficient home through FHA’s EEH program.

Through this partnership, FHA is supporting efforts to provide potential homeowners with an easy
way to measure the energy efficiency of their homes and to identify the combination of investments that will help make their homes more energy efficient.

A Single Family FHA Mortgagee Letter with specific program requirements/details and an update to the Single Family Housing Handbook 4000.1 to address the guidance for both of these initiatives will be forthcoming in the next several months.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Oasis School Summer Update (8/21/15)

A week ago, fellow agents and I traveled out to Oasis School in Thermal to meet three of the four Fourth Grade incoming classes plus the Special Ed class.

Our office has been preparing for the trip since school let out at the start of summer when we bid a fond farewell to last years’ classes as they climbed the success ladder and prepared to graduate to Fifth Grade. That visit was an unbelievable success and I wish to take a moment and thank so many kindhearted folks in North La Quinta who found it in their hearts to search through their closets and garages for children’s books. These contributions from you, along with our own efforts, allowed us to give the nearly 100 kids a choice of three books each for summer reading. Books open the mind to a world of endless possibilities. The kids were so elated – it was amazing !!!

Back to this year, we conducted numerous events in the office to get prepared for the three Fourth Grade classes and Special Ed kids (For nearly 10 years, we have been sponsoring 3 of the 4 Fourth grade classes plus the Special Ed class). We also experienced many kindhearted agents in our office who’ve made separate donations in the interest of the kids. Our efforts provide a filled pencil box along with other supplies necessary for a successful start to the school year. The visit was a wonderful experience. It is always so rewarding to experience the enthusiasm of youth and such a pleasure to visit at the start of the year to see the new faces, find out who they are and share a little bit about ourselves with them. After all this, plus a cookie and a juice box, we bid them well and told them we’d be back to visit again. Some kids already knew and some were elated to hear that.

Our efforts towards enriching their Holidays’ experience started when we arrived back home from this visit … arms chock full of Thank You cards plus our hearts melting from a barrage of their thankful smiles.

We never would've believed that we could get so much from giving ... Each experience is very rewarding!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rebates for transition to Desertscape

Recently I started a project of my own and I want to share some information I learned in the process and after I got started ...

Rebates for conversation from lawns to desertscape are available from IID and some other water districts, as their funds may be available. IID requires an application to be completed online and you must have a sketch of the project available to upload. Response to your application can be anywhere from 3-6 weeks ... 

AND ... 

a new rebate is now available at: . This became available August 12th and must be applied for online as well. This rebate is up to $2.00/ft maximum (The IID rebate is $1.00/ft) and this rebate is not on top of any other rebate and solely covers the differences between any other rebate and the $2.00/ft maximum.

In addition, both entities offer toilet replacement rebates ...

Friday, August 14, 2015

City and IID need your help today !!!

Tustin Larson, City of La Quinta AGENCY
Hello Residents - IID has asked the City to pass on the following news release:
The Imperial Irrigation District is requesting a reduction in energy usage today during the critical hours of 1-7 p.m. as hotter temperatures drive energy demand.
“If energy usage is not reduced, IID may be forced to institute rolling brownouts this afternoon,” said Marion Champion, IID spokeswoman. “Our system was at peak capacity yesterday and with hotter temperatures in the forecast today we are asking all of our electrical customers to conserve.”
IID’s electrical grid sustained significant damage during a severe summer storm last week, and while the district has restored power to the area, it is important that the energy system is not overtaxed. IID asks customers to shift energy-intensive tasks – like laundry and dishwashing – to off-peak hours and conserve energy throughout the day. This will alleviate pressure on the system and help maintain reliability.
On Aug. 6, a severe summer storm damaged IID’s electrical system in the eastern Coachella Valley making more than 100 transmission and distribution poles inoperable and leaving hundreds of customers in the Mecca/Thermal area without power for as long as three days. Crews worked around the clock to construct temporary infrastructure and bring the power back on. Final repairs may take as much as one or two months.
The following suggestions can help reduce summer energy use:
Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher.
Develop a routine that allows you to avoid the use of major energy-consuming appliances like washers, dryers and dishwashers between the hours of 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Remember to have your air conditioner serviced annually and change filters monthly. Seal any leaks in your cooling ducts, install weather stripping around doors, and make sure your fireplace damper is closed so cool air doesn’t escape
Use floor and ceiling fans or an evaporative cooler to help keep your home cool.
Use awnings, solar screens, or trees to keep ultraviolet rays from hitting windows.
Close windows and doors when the cooling system is running.
For more conservation tips, please visit
Aug 14 in General to City of La Quinta

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July 2015


4th-Of-July-Image5 5


I look forward to exceeding your expectations in fulfilling your Real Estate needs.

Warm regards,

Roger A. Sullivan, Realtor

CalBRE# 01236680

direct: 1(760) 610-3245

office: 1(760) 564-9685

efax:   1(760) 459-2038

Windermere Real Estate

47250 Washington St. Suite B

La Quinta, CA 92253

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Everybody seemed to have a wonderful time including the volunteers ... Happy Easter 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

IID rate increase takes effect this Month

In November 2014, IID’s Board of Directors held public rate hearings to consider a proposed retail rate increase to its electric rate schedules. The overall average rate increase of 7.4 percent in retail electric rates to be effective January 2015 was approved by the board. It will cost the average family a little of $10.00 per month ... Read the full story here ...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

FHA reducing Private Mortgage Insurance premiums soon ...

FOR RELEASE Thursday January 8, 2015 FHA TO REDUCE ANNUAL INSURANCE PREMIUMS Reduction to increase credit affordability and reflects improved economic health of FHA WASHINGTON - As the nation's housing market continues to improve, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro today announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the annual premiums new borrowers will pay by half of a percent. This action is projected to save more than two million FHA homeowners an average of $900 annually and spur 250,000 new homebuyers to purchase their first home over the next three years. Today's action also reflects the improved economic health of FHA's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF). FHA's recent annual report to Congress demonstrates the economic condition of the agency's single-family insurance fund continues to improve, adding $21 billion in value over the past two years. "This action will make homeownership more affordable for over two million Americans in the next three years," said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. "Since 2009, the Obama Administration has taken bold steps to reduce risks in the mortgage market and to protect consumers. These efforts have made it possible to take this prudent measure while also ensuring FHA remains on a positive financial trajectory. By bringing our premiums down, we're helping folks lift themselves up so they can open new doors of opportunity and strengthen their financial futures." In the wake of the nation's housing crisis, FHA increased its premium prices to stabilize the health of its MMI Fund. In addition, the Obama Administration took dramatic steps to safeguard consumers in the mortgage market to ensure responsible borrowers continued to have access to mortgage capital as many private lending sources tightened their lending standards. Today's reduction will significantly expand access to mortgage credit for these families and is expected to lower the cost of housing for the approximately 800,000 households who use FHA annually. FHA's new annual premium prices are expected to take effect towards the end of the month. FHA will publish a mortgagee letter detailing its new pricing structure shortly.