[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="http://4salebydonna.com" name="Real Estate Agent Donna Baker" description="Real Estate Agent showing homes for sale and available real estate in Monrovia, Pasadena, Arcadia the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California." city="Monrovia" state="Ca" postalcode="91016" email="donna@4salebydonna.com " phone="(626) 408-7766 "]

The Key to Happiness…

Success is the not the Key to Happiness

It is a pleasure to help people sell and buy homes! I love what I do!

Real Estate Prices in Perspective

Putting Real Estate Prices in Perspective

Whenever you are getting ready to buy or sell a residence, taking the temperature of the local housing market is part of how you prepare to engage. When real estate prices are on the rise, bargain hunters know they’ll have to scramble. When prices are flat or on the downturn, spotting good value in the local listings is easier. A slow market means that those sellers who are impatient to move on will be willing to reduce their asking price. They will tend to “find the market” more quickly, rather than waiting it out.

Our local real estate prices are seldom in exact lockstep with the national market—but when it moves, the impact is felt sooner or later, although typically California is the first to experience higher prices and the last to be affected by distressed property prices. Of all the national barometers that are out there, the pre-eminent one is the research done by under the Case-Shiller banner.

The latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index again confirmed the uptrend we’ve been seeing for nearly 3 years now. No surprise there: nationally, residential real estate prices continued to rise at the moderate clip that we’ve grown accustomed to. The only standouts were in the 20-City Composite (the single month rise of .5% was the largest increase since July) and in Denver and Dallas—both of which have now actually surpassed the peaks registered at the height of the real estate price bubble (which might have Coloradans and Texans wondering if it was a bubble at all)…

But what was unusually interesting were some observations published at the end of the Case-Shiller report, in the Analysis section. It noted that the data marked the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains, and that home real estate prices “continue to rise and outpace both inflation and wage gains.” It pointed out that, nationally, average residential real estate prices are within 10% of the “housing boom peak.” And then it came up with an insight that puts things in perspective in a way that hasn’t appeared elsewhere. This by S&P Dow Jones Index Chairman David Bitzer:

A better sense of where home prices are can be seen by starting in January 2000, before the housing boom accelerated…”

Looking at inflation-adjusted numbers, the latest U.S. real estate prices as registered in the Index rose just a touch under 30% from January 2000 to February 2015. In other words, when you remove the whole statistical bulge—the “bubble” phenomenon—out of the picture, residential real estate prices have risen at an annual 1.7% rate. That’s real appreciation, adjusted for inflation. Slow—but “steady as she goes!”…and for the past three years or so, it’s more than doubled that long-term gain.

San Gabriel Valley homeowners whose stress levels went up and down with the extreme price rise and fall would have been a lot more comfortable had they just snoozed through the whole affair, confident that the long-term history of real estate demonstrates, as the name implies, just about the most ‘real’ investment you can make.

"In other words, when you remove the whole statistical bulge—the “bubble” phenomenon—out of the picture, residential real estate prices have risen at an annual 1.7% rate."

“In other words, when you remove the whole statistical bulge—the “bubble” phenomenon—out of the picture, residential real estate prices have risen at an annual 1.7% rate.” Has such a good Monrovia investment ever looked so cute?

Freedom from Financing Fear!


If you’re planning the purchase of your first home, you’re probably experiencing two conflicting emotions – excitement and apprehension.  The positive energy from your excitement is an asset in your home search, but the negative energy from your fear of the unknown is a liability you can leave behind once you’re armed with some basic information.

Paramount to buying your first home is understanding how much you can afford.  You can start with any number of online financial calculators, and once you’ve established a budgetary picture, take the all-important next step – get pre-qualified with a lender.

Pre-qualification may sound intimidating, but it’s a great way to find your “comfort zone” and build your purchasing confidence.  When a lender interviews you and reviews your financial documentation, you’ll know right now how much home you can afford.  Be sure to consider, however, that what you qualify for and what you’re comfortable paying for a mortgage may be two different things.  A lender could tell you that your income qualifies you for an $800,000 house, but you may not be comfortable making the payments associated with that kind of purchase.  Ask the right questions!

Once you know that magic number, you can easily weed out homes above your budget, which will save you loads of time (and disappointment) during your home search.  Then once you’ve found a home you love, you can rest assured that your offer will be taken very seriously, because your financing has already been conditionally backed by your lender.

I am happy to help you get started! I can connect you with some excellent lenders who will walk you through the process and get you on the track to purchasing a home within your budget.

After that, the next step is the fun part…. brainstorming your dreams with a local, experienced agent who can help you take those first steps toward ownership.  I would love to hear from you.

Could this be your new first-home kitchen?

Could this be your new first-home kitchen? It all starts with taking the steps to find out about financing.

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