Monday, March 9, 2009

To reach excellence

To be a Real Estate agent these days is to be a friend, a psychologist, an economist, an advisor, a consultant, a political analyst, a financial and market analyst, a savvy investor, a mortgage and appraisal knowledgeable. I am conscious that I will need much more skills in the near future and will never stop learning as long as I want to help the community with the best quality services.
In order to practice well I have to open my mind to so many different situations, make the abundant documents understandable to everyone and have all the arrangements necessary in place for a smooth process.
Realize! This is very complicated, very demanding and intense. I have long days and I love it.

Christian Rousset

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Real Estate Lafayette - Real Estate Pleasant Hill

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According to the Media

According to the media, the world has ended. Sorry folks, everything crashed. There’s no more real estate. Banks are no longer issuing loans and no one is buying anything anymore. It’s over. Back here on the planet Earth however, things aren’t as gloomy as TV land. Sure, the real estate market isn’t what it was a few years ago, but homes are being bought and sold every day. Banks are still issuing loans believe it or not, and great deals abound for those looking to buy. Buy now. Why? You are no doubt familiar with the most basic rule of investing “buy low, sell high”. Well, the “buy low” part requires a period of time when prices are low, and that would be right about now. Waiting for the market to improve before jumping in? That’s when the prices will already have increased, and buying then goes against the simple rule we just mentioned. There is no doubt that the market will go up again (because, historically, that’s what the real estate market always does). We just don’t know when that will happen. What we do know is that now is a pretty good time to get started investing in real estate. Have a clear plan. Real estate investing is a business and should be treated as such, not as a hobby. Make a plan. Will you be investing for the long term (renting) or short term (fixing and flipping)? How much time can you set aside for your business every week? What work can you do yourself and what work will you need help with? What are your overall goals? Getting rich “overnight” usually takes years, so having realistic expectations is very important too. Line up financing. Getting pre-approved for a loan before you find a property is a must. Talk to several lenders, talk to your realtor and ask for recommendations. When you complete this step you will know exactly how much money for the down payment you will need, what the rules for seller-financing are, and what you can expect the loan process will look like. If you plan on purchasing a property to rehab, ask about loan programs that provide money for that too. Line up your own cash. You need to have cash in the bank for costs like repairs, or unexpected expenses, or for mortgage payments when your tenant suddenly leaves and you are not able to find another one right away. Not having enough cash reserves is perhaps the biggest mistakes real estate investors make, and it can cost you dearly. So how much in cash reserve you should have? There is no definitive answer. You have to do your homework in figuring out your debt service, your taxes, insurance, HOA, cleaning expenses. Three to six months of mortgage payments and expenses is a good rule of thumb, but again, situations may vary. Assemble your team. Once you are ready to get started, you don’t have to, and shouldn’t go alone. There are professionals that can help you along the way. First, you will need a good Realtor, and fortunately you already know one. The Realtor’s job is not only to help you find the property, but also to answer questions and guide you through the process. You will also need a good accountant who can answer real estate tax -related questions. Knowing a good property inspector is also a plus, as well as knowing a few loan officers who are familiar with investment properties. Acquire knowledge. First let me say this: you should invest in what you are already familiar with. This means the area you know well, like a particular neighborhood; it can also mean a type of property like a single family home, or a condo, or retirement community, or a fixer-upper if you are the handy kind. Forget about out-of-state pie-in-the-sky “opportunities”- Putting your money in something you don’t know usually means getting fleeced. Now, once you’ve decided what you are going to invest in, your job is to learn everything you can about it. Talk to the realtor who knows the Diablo Valley very well, talk to other investors and join our investors group, read books about all the different strategies. Run your plan and numbers through your accountant and see what he or she thinks. The more information you have at your fingertips, the better. It is the right time to buy real estate in the Danville, Pleasant Hill, Lafayette area, because of the accessibility of low prices, to what it once was in the late 80s, early 90s.

Christian Rousset

Friday, December 5, 2008

Diablo Valley Real Estate Customers

My goal is to help Diablo Valley customers to achieve their most successful real estate transactions. As an agent, I like to offer buyers or sellers, the accurate market analysis to reach the price they should pay for their dream home. I have never felt more strongly that anyone who has ever considered purchasing real estate should do it now. The strong influence of a relentless flood of foreclosures and a lackluster economy sets a very attractive buyers market. Still, a lot of Contra Costa residents are waiting for a lower bottom. I’d like to remind everyone that nobody has control over any kind of market, so when you find the right home , the right price for your budget, the right location, just BUY IT. In the mortgage corner, the new legislation was signed to bail out the financial industry. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) hopes that it will provide relief to homeowners struggling with foreclosure woes. It also hopes to calm the fears on Wall Street by offering support and financial relief to the beleaguered government-sponsored mortgage institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Homeowners with negative equity or who where behind on payments, had little or no option for refinancing into a more favorable loan, leaving foreclosure or a short sale as the only alternative. Under this act, the FHA can now refinance those homes at up to 90% of the current Value. The current lenders will forgive the remaining balance of the loans. The catch? Homeowners will be required to share in the future appreciation (50-100%) with the FHA and must meet a payment burden test to qualify. Uncle Sam will now issue a tax credit of 10% of the home purchase price up to $7,500, for first-time homebuyers through July 2009. The credit must be repaid over 15 years. The temporary loan limits were set higher at $729,750 until their expiration date on December 31, 2008. The minimum down payment for an FHA loan will increase to 3.5% from 3.0%. The media is all too happy to report on bad news, throwing gas on the fire and hurting the greater housing market. All the ingredients are in place for a housing rebound in the Danville, Pleasant Hill and the Lafayette areas (Lamorinda). There is just one missing ingredient: a series of media reports that buoys the confidence of all buyers waiting for signs that the bottom has hit.
Christian Rousset.

Here is a clock that I hand carved for the movie "The Bicentennial Man"

Pleasant Hill, quiet community of the Diablo valley, doesn't have anything glamourious like Hollywood, just is the location of my modest studio. Nevertheless some wood clocks for the movie, staring Robin Willams, the Bicentennial Man, were born here. After many drawings and real scale clay models, I had to move and execute my work in the San Raphael area.
What a thrill to use my art in the movie industry, tune Heart with Art with the challenge of everybody's different personality. Thank you to the entire staff and a special attention to Ann and Isaac, who gave me all the support and opportunity to realize this hand carving project all the way to the end.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why “ All Cash “ Is Not Always the Best Choice When Buying Real E state in The Diablo Valley.

With property values sinking, my phone has been steadily ringing with calls from new investors who are considering the purchase of rental property. And with prices on bank –owned single family homes starting at $75,000 in many areas, buying with cash and avoiding the mortgage process is an option there are considering. But before you jump and pay all cash for your next investment property, be sure to run the numbers first. You’ll discover one of the reasons why investing in Real Estate can be so lucrative. Here’s a real case study for a property that a client is thinking about purchasing. It’s a two bedroom, one bath single family home with about 900 square feet and a one car detached garage. The listing price is $95,000 and it will rent for approximately $1,200 per month. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll omit the price negotiations, repair cost, and closing cost details, pretending he’ll be purchasing the home for $95,000 with no other expenses. If my client purchased the home all in cash with no mortgage, his only expenses would be management fees, property taxes, maintenance, and insurance, totaling approximately $235 per month. With a monthly rental income of $1,200 per month, his net annual proceeds would be just over $11,000. That’s a respectable 12.20% annual return on his $95,000 investment. So what happens when we put a mortgage on the home? Common sense would say that the debt would increase the monthly expenses and thus lower the rate of return, right? Not so fast. Let’s run the numbers, first with 50% down and then again with 25% down. With a 50% down payment and a 30 year fixed mortgage at 6.75%, the monthly expenses go up to $542 per month, leaving the net annual proceeds at just $7,900. However, with a capital investment of only $47,500, the annual return actually goes up to a 16.62%. Holy cow! 16.62% return per year? Where do I sign up? Well, let’s save your excitement for a minute while we explore the smaller down payment of 25%. In this scenario, the monthly expenses increase to almost $700 per month, leaving the annual proceeds of just $6.000. But with only $23,750 total cash invested, the annual return climbs to 25.45%. Is anyone getting 25% in the stock market lately? Or in savings or CD’s? Me neither. That’s why leveraged Real estate is and continues to be one of the great American ways to invest.

Christian Rousset

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diablo valley has everything for your horse good life

Having horses on your property is enjoyable when you own real estate in the Lafayette, Danville area.
My older son used to love taking care of them, even late at night when the new born colt wanted to play.
Not only they fertilize the soil of your orchard or your vegetable garden, but what a saving on gas, and extreme pleasure, to ride your horse, go down the next valley to visit your neighbor and friend in the late afternoon. This is what I used to do in the early 80's.
The thing is I enjoyed so much talking about all our realization around the property and the community news that I got caught by the night. Lucky me it was full moon. So I decided to visit little bit longer with my friend. Finally just before midnight, it was time to go home. Sure enough, I was so tired that I fell aslip on my saddle. The next thing I remembered was waking up, on the horse, in front of my house.
Roxanne knew the way, and safely ended this journey.