April 16, 2020

Message About Covid19: We Are Here To Help

Home sweet home. Handmade home symbol with heart shape on wooden background with copy space
We are here to help
I just want you to know that we are here to help.
Our hearts goes out to our families with children with schools shut down, our seniors in assisted living, our neighbors at the hospitals, our local businesses struggling and anyone impacted by this pandemic.
I've been selling real estate for 15 years here in Southern California. I'm fortunate to know people you may be able to help you out for a trip to the grocery store, watching children, or even getting bills paid.
You'll be surprised how many good people are happy to help you.
Call me, again, if you need anything. My number is 562-900-9430 . It does not need to be about real estate. It can be a personal issue. I'll see if I can assist in some way.
Of course, I've been asked, "How's the real estate market?"
Homes are still selling. Interest rates are super low and there are home buyers trying to take advantage on these low rates. We have increased the use of virtual tours and other tools to help buyers and sellers stay safe during the home buying process.
March 5, 2020

What Does Our Housing Shortage Mean for Buyers & Sellers?


There’s a housing shortage in our market, and it means we’re in for a strong summer.

The supply of homes for sale in the Greater Orange County and Los Angeles area is very low. In my 15 years as a Realtor, this is one of the lowest levels I’ve ever seen. 

Specifically, there are about 2.1 months of inventory. As a reminder, this means if no one else put their homes on the market, it would take 2.1 months to sell all available homes. To put this into perspective, there were about 3.5 months of inventory during this time of year in 2019 and 2018. We saw really strong appreciation in the summer months of both of those years. 

A “normal” market (i.e., one that’s balanced between buyers and sellers) has between five and six months of inventory. Anything below that mark is considered a seller’s market, so at 2.1 months of inventory, you can see that we’re deep into a seller’s market. There aren’t enough homes for sale for all the buyers out there.

“As we approach the spring and summer, this lack of inventory means prices will likely rise quite a bit.”

What does this mean for you? It means our market is in for a strong summer. The summer is when we typically see the most buyers enter the market—the weather is nicer, the days are longer, families want to get settled in before the school year starts, etc. In general, summer is when we see the most homes bought and sold. It’s also the season where we see the greatest increase in home values. 

The bottom line is that as we approach the spring and summer, this lack of inventory means prices will likely rise quite a bit. 

If you’re thinking of buying or selling soon, be sure to check out our website. There, you can search for homes or request an online home valuation. If you’d like to start looking at homes in person or would like a more exact calculation of your home’s worth, feel free to call or email me. I can put together a customized home search and discuss our strategies to find homes that aren’t on the market. 

As always, if you have any other real estate questions, feel free to reach out to me as well. Make it a great day!

March 5, 2020

What Property Owners Need To Know About Rent Control Exemptions


This is just a reminder for California property owners to send out your exemption notices to tenants if you want to remain exempt from rent control in California.

Tenant-occupied properties like single-family homes, condos, townhomes are exempt from the new California rent control law. Additionally, duplexes where one unit is owner-occupied and the other is tenant-occupied are exempt as long as one of the units remains owner-occupied.

“Many people aren’t aware of the full extent of this new law change.”

Regardless, in order for these properties that are supposed to be exempted from the rent control law to stay exempt, the property owner must give an exemption notice to the tenants or they could become subject to rent control, which details both limitations on how much you can raise rents as well as how you can terminate a tenant’s lease. For example, if the tenant has lived in the property for over 12 months, the owner can no longer terminate that lease without just cause under the rent control law.

Many people aren’t aware of the full extent of this new law change. If you’d like, I’d even be happy to send you a full copy of the law so you can look it over yourself. You can also watch me discuss this topic in more detail at www.SoCalRealEstateTips.com

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you have about rent control.

Feb. 12, 2020

Can You Install an Electric Charging System in Your Condo Parking Space?

In California, HOAs can’t unreasonably restrict condo owners from installing electric vehicle charging stations in their parking spaces.

If you’re thinking of buying a condo, can you install an electric vehicle charging system in your parking space after you’ve purchased the property?

In California, Civil Code §4745 says that an HOA can’t unreasonably restrict or prohibit a homeowner from installing an electric vehicle charging system in their designated garage or parking space (you’d still need to pay for the installation, however). 

This law also places time limits on how quickly the HOA must respond to your request to install the charging system. They have 60 days to either approve or disapprove of your request, although this time frame may be delayed by a reasonable request for additional information. 

“An HOA can’t unreasonably restrict or prohibit a homeowner from installing an electric vehicle charging system.”

In short, you absolutely can install an electric vehicle charging system, and HOAs are encouraged to act promptly to respond to your request. 

If you have more questions about this topic or you’d like help purchasing your condo, feel free to call or email me. I’d be happy to help.

Jan. 20, 2020

The Tenant Protection Act of 2019: What You Need to Know

Here’s how the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 applies to property owners.

How does the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 apply to property owners?

Essentially, this law limits the amount of money by which landlords can raise their rent each year. It also prevents property owners (with certain exceptions) from terminating a lease without ‘just cause,’ as the term is defined by the law. 

The annual rent cap is set at 5% plus inflation for a particular city. For example, if your city has an inflation rate of 2%, the maximum rent increase landlords can apply is 7%. Regardless of a city’s inflation rate, rent cannot be raised more than 10% per year. The rate of inflation is tied to the consumer price index for each metropolitan area (typically 2% to 3% per year). 

Keep in mind, this law does not override local rent control laws. Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and other cities throughout the state have their own rent control laws. Overall, this law applies to apartment buildings and multifamily buildings containing two or more units. This means single-family homes, condos, and townhomes are exempt as long as they’re not owned by a corporation, real estate investment trust, or limited liability company where one member is a corporation. It also exempts duplexes wherein one of the units is owner-occupied. 

“The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 limits the amount of money by which landlords can raise their rent each year.”

As I’ve said, even if a property is exempt by law, the burden is on the owner to send an exemption notice to their tenant. Otherwise, they may be subject to this law. In addition to the property types already mentioned, properties that were built within the past 15 years and vacant units are exempt as well. 

As far as terminating a lease goes, there are two types of just cause as defined under the law: an ‘at-fault just cause’ and a ‘no-fault just cause.’ An at-fault just cause is when a tenant fails to pay rent, has engaged in criminal activity, or breached a material term in the lease agreement. An example of a no-fault just cause is when the owner wants to move themselves or a family member into the home, remove it from the rental market altogether, or demolish it or perform substantial remodels. 

Some of the terms of this act are subject to judicial interpretation. For instance, it will be interesting to see how courts determine what’s considered “withdrawing a property from a rental market.”

If you’d like to know more about this law or receive a copy of the exemption notice, feel free to call or email my office. I’d love to help you.

Dec. 31, 2019

End of the Year Report 2019

Our end of 2019 report and the real estate market forecast for 2020.

I just got back from attending a renowned housing economist’s speech where they laid out how this year’s been for the housing market and gave some predictions for where they think it’ll be heading next year. I wanted to share a few of these things with you.

1It has been a great year for housing. It’s been a win-win for buyers and sellers. Right now, interest rates are around 3.5%, give or take, which is over 1% less than they were at this point last year. Homeowners have profited by refinancing to reduce their mortgage payments. Also, homebuyers have been able to take advantage because right now, the average home is $500 less in mortgage payments per month than that same home would have been had it been bought a year ago.

2The economy is strong. The unemployment rate is the lowest we’ve seen in a long time. Our GDP is secure, the overall economy is strong, and they expect that to continue.

“The unemployment rate is the lowest we’ve seen in a long time.”

There are always concerns to look out for as well. Moving forward, there’s the potential for trade wars, and interest rates may go up, but not by much. However, the forecast is to expect another great year in 2020. Expect a 2% to 4% appreciation rate. They foresee it to be another wonderful year for both sellers and buyers. 

I’m looking forward to 2020. If you have any questions about the housing market, feel free to reach out to us by phone or email. We would love to help you.

Jan. 3, 2019

What Are the Incentives to Owning Investment Property?

Over the past few years, many of my clients have made home purchases and are beginning to turn their attention to what’s next: saving for retirement, contributing to their kids’ college fund, or taking steps to reduce their taxes.

“Give it some time, and you’ll reap the benefits of great cash flow from your property.”

If you haven’t considered owning investment property as an option, maybe now is the time—doing so comes with some major benefits that can be a driver for a strong financial well-being for you and your family. There are four benefits, in particular, that I’d like to go over with you now:

  1. Wealth. Purchasing an investment property is great for wealth accumulation over time. Ultimately, you’ll own that property, and it’ll be an asset to your financial security.
  2. Appreciation. Though market fluctuation is a factor, the appreciation rate we tend to see year over year in California is 5%. Putting 20% down on, say, a $500,000 investment will actually yield a much higher ROI than that 5% appreciate rate would suggest.  
  3. Cash flow. Like property values, the cost of rent steadily rises at a rate of about 5% each year. As you’re charging that additional 5% from your tenants from one year to the next, the cash flow you’re collecting will also continue to grow. Give it some time, and you’ll reap the benefits of great cash flow from your property.
  4. Tax benefits. Often overlooked, an important thing to consider is that you’re able to write off depreciation—the physical attributes and structure of the property. By the time you own the property, this comes out to be about half of its value.  

If you have questions about what I’ve discussed in this video or about any other real estate-related questions, please reach out to me. We’d love the opportunity to assist you!    

Jan. 3, 2019

The Cost of Waiting to Buy Later Vs. Now

Should you buy now or wait? I have been asked this by potential buyers a lot recently because of how home prices have increased over the last 10 years. To help me answer this question, I have invited Steve Hankla of Doorway Home Loans to talk about what it costs today to buy a home versus what it may cost a year from now.

“Steve Hankla joins me to talk about what a home would cost you today versus what it would to wait a year.” 

I have provided timestamps so that you can jump to the section(s) that are of most interest to you.

0:45 – A background on our current market

2:05 – The factors you need to consider

2:40 – Looking at past rates and our potential correction

3:50 – The affordability investment analysis chart

5:20 – Why borrowing from your 401(k) could be a good option

6:05 – The tax benefits of buying instead of renting

If you have any additional questions for Steve, you can reach out to him at (714) 470-5626 or email him at steve@gotoloanpro.com.

And, as always, if you have any buying or selling questions, please feel free to call or email me. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Posted in Home Buying Tips
Dec. 5, 2018

Don’t Miss Out on These Great Holiday Events

What are your favorite holiday traditions? My family and I love to go and see The Young Americans perform at La Mirada Theatre; it really helps to put us in the Christmas spirit each year. If you’re looking for some great festivities to enjoy this winter season, check out our list or follow us on our social media pages for upcoming events that are guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit throughout December. Maybe you’ll find a new tradition you can look forward to every year like we do.

Long Beach Holiday Events:

Rancho Los Alamitos Open House - December 12-14
Bixby Knolls Holiday Party - December 14
Retro Row Open House
Rose Park Tree Lighting
A Baroque Christmas - December 8-9
David Benoit’s Charlie Brown Christmas at the Carpenter Center - December 15
Long Beach Ballet Presents “The Nutcracker” - December 15, 16
Naples Holiday Boat Parade - December 8

Click here for more holiday events in the Long Beach area!

LA Holiday Events:

CHILL At The Queen Mary - Open now-January 7th.
Holidays at Disneyland
Drive Through Christmas Tree Lane!
58th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration - December 24th, 2018
Holiday Light Festival Train Ride - Now through December 23, 2017, and from December 26 – December 28, 2017.

Click here for more holiday events in LA!

Orange County Holiday Events:

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony - December 5, 2018
Winter Wonderland - December 1, 2018
Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade - December 19-23, 2018
Crystal Cove Tree Lighting & Holiday Bazaar - December 1, 2018
Moreno’s Restaurant 6th Annual Christmas Boutique - Sunday, December 2, 2018
Annual Holiday Wassail Concert  - December 7 & 8

Click here for more holiday events in Orange County!

Posted in Events
Nov. 21, 2018

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving


The 2018 holiday season has officially begun! We hope you are as excited as we are.

We’d like to take a moment to express our gratitude to all of you this Thanksgiving. We have met some truly wonderful people, and we’re proud to have helped so many reach their real estate goals over the years.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without all of your support. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with all of your family and friends—that’s what we plan to do!

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any real estate questions. We would be happy to help you.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Tim Majka

Imagine Realty

Serving the greater Los Angeles, Orange County, and Long Beach area.