Is it your first time? Because if it is, it just got easier! (Oh yeah, and if it’s not your first time, we can pretend)

Today Fannie Mae, a government entity that helps ensure that Americans can become homeowners, announced an improved option for qualified first-time home buyers, which allows them to buy with as little as a 3% down payment. On a $150,000 home purchase, that is less than $5,000 down and with today’s interest rates, your monthly payment would be around $1,000 (including Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance [PITI]). You still have to meet their standards of income and credit, and really, that’s just because they want you to be able to keep the home that you buy.

Two important things to remember; 1. A “first-time homebuyer” (in their eyes) is someone who has not had a mortgage in the past two years. (pretty cool, huh?) 2. The down payment can be a gift from a family member.

You can read more about the announcement here on Fannie Mae’s web site;

Would you like to search for your first home? Click the link below to search for single family homes between $125,000 and $175,000 in Southwest Las Vegas

Would you like to find out if you qualify for this 3% down program?

There are great 1 and 2-story houses for sale in “The Lakes” (89117) under $300,000

“The Lakes” is the first neighborhood I ever visited in Las Vegas.  In 1990, I drove here with my (then) girlfriend from Los Angeles to visit her father (that was 3 years before I moved to Las Vegas).  He lived in this amazing community.  The little lakes all through the community and the bigger lake on the east side of it made it so charming.  Well known builders made beautiful, sturdy houses and all of the amenities were nearby.  The best part (according to Lou)?  That the along West boundary (Hulapai) was BLM land and it would never have houses built on it.  Ok, well, that turned out to be wrong, and it is still an amazing community and you can buy great houses in there for well under $300K today.

Just click on the link below to see some;

Maybe you’ll find something you like!

You can still buy a home in Summerlin for under $300,000

Sure, Las Vegas Real estate values have “shot up” over the past 2 years (over 60% wow!). However there are more than 200 single family houses for sale under $300,000. Don’t believe me? See for yourself (click the link below);

And have you checked out the Gardens Park Farmer’s Market lately? It’s actually co-sponsored by The Summerlin Council.  Every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Gardens Park (Town Center Drive, between Desert Inn Road and Twain Avenue), you can find local favorites like tomatoes, herbs, and carrots available for purchase.  Of course, many regional items are also appearing weekly such as fresh strawberries, squash, cabbage, greens, stone fruits, melons and corn. And you can usually find great local merchants selling their homemade wares; last time I was there we found amazing hot sauces from VooDoo Child Kitchen!

To short sale, or not to short sale? That is the question.

First – What is a short sale? Many people know, but not everyone.

When a person owes more on a property than it is worth, and they ask the bank to accept less than is owed on the property so that they can sell it, this is known as a short sale. Like when you owed your friend $50, but you only had $30 of it and you said, “sorry Mike, I’m a little short” and Mike said, “don’t worry about it”.

Why not buy short sales?

There are a variety of reasons why short sales do not go through. Here are 4;

1. The process of dealing with the banks on a short sale requires skill, effort and knowledge on the part of the listing agent (the person the seller hired to sell the house). Many do not possess this trifecta of assets.

2. There must be a hardship. Many sellers just want to sell short because their neighbor did, but their neighbor lost their job, or was never earning enough money to afford the home in the first place. Just because you want to, doesn’t mean you can.

3. If they buyer does have a legitimate hardship, then, that buyer, who is already (typically) despondent over their current financial situation, is required by the bank to go through their finances with a fine tooth comb to prove that hardship. Many people just don’t have the stomach for it.

4. Patience (or lack thereof). Short sales often take a very long time to get accepted. I’ve seen them take more than 4 months just to get approved. Many buyers just aren’t that patient.

In the month of April, 2009 in Las Vegas, 36% of the properties listed for sale were short sales. Only 6% of the closings were. This shows that short sales can work, but often (1 in 6 times that month) they don’t.

The prices on Las Vegas bank owned homes are mind-boggling.  Don’t wait for the bottom.  You can’t predict it.  You won’t know where the bottom was until it’s gone.  Really.  What are you waiting for?  If you would like information about buying a home to live in or an investment property in Las Vegas, with no cost or obligation, please contact me.

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The Oxymoron in Las Vegas

I have heard that opposites attract, but how do you have multiple offers being presented on multiple properties in a buyer’s market?  Does that make it a seller’s market?  Or is it a seller’s-buyer’s market (like the color violet-blue, it’s kind of violet, but definitely blue)?  Or is it just that the prices have gotten so low, that none of the conventional reasoning applies?

I saw a house yesterday, in move-in condition listed for $26 per square foot!  Granted it was an older home that needed updating, and it was in a so-so neighborhood, but $26 per square foot?  By the way, it was listed for $26 per square foot, and the offers were multiple.  It sold for more.

I showed a home to a woman yesterday that was built in 2000 and was listed for $84 per square foot.  It was overall in good shape, but needed paint, carpet and some other minor cosmetics.  She really liked it.  This morning I learned that it already had 9 offers on it.  When I did a price comparison, I saw why.  It was priced too low, even for this market.  The banks are starting to intentionally under price properties so that they sell more quickly.

I had another client look at a home on Saturday that the bank had made real nice.  New carpet, fresh paint, a new sealed-burner gas stove and a matching dishwasher.  They had pulled it off the market while cleaning it up and then RAISED the price.  We joked that they should have put a refrigerator in if they really wanted to sell it.  Pricing is down to 1997 levels, and interest is high, especially in the under $300,000 range.

I’m not suggesting that the problems are solved. I was also on a street Saturday with about 15 houses and 5 were vacant, but the market is shifting again here. The question is, where is it going next? We still have a lot of inventory, so it’s not necessarily going up, but the dynamic is definitely changing.  Some banks are holding their ground a little more.  Sometimes they are squeezing the buyer, and that is not how a buyer’s market usually works.  The big key, is that while interest rates are low, you can buy a nice property for significantly less that you could buy the materials to build it and some of the banks are getting more and more competitive, creating all kinds of mixed market signals.  You could buy a lot of Las Vegas homes right now for about $500 per month.  Most renting Las Vegans are paying more than that.

The prices on Las Vegas real estate are just outstanding. Don’t wait for the bottom.  You can’t predict it.  You won’t know where the bottom was until it’s gone.  Really.  What are you waiting for?  If you would like information about buying a home to live in or an investment property in Las Vegas, with no cost or obligation, please contact me.

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Did Archimedes understand real estate?

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum strong enough I can move the earth.”  Archimedes said this hundreds of years ago, yet some people are afraid of using ANY leverage in this real estate market.  I have investors contacting me with $100,000 in cash and they want to buy $100,000 worth of real estate in Las Vegas because they don’t want to end up over leveraged.  I understand.  A large part of the reason we are in this mess is that we got overleveraged.  But some leverage is always good.

Let’s first look at values.  There are plenty of homes in great neighborhoods listed for $70 per square foot.  There are certainly a few listed lower like the one that came on the market today built in 2005 and in move in condition for $50/ sf (call me if you want to buy it).  So you buy a 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom rental for $100,000.  You have the money to pay cash and you don’t want to over leverage yourself. You collect about $900 per month in rent. OK, great!

BUT what if you decided to put down 50%, and buy 2 of them?  First of all, you should have no trouble getting the loans.  Second off, your monthly mortgage payment on EACH property is only about $315 per month (with moderate credit)!

Now are you SURE you don’t want to use at least a little leverage? C’mon! I’m not suggesting that you abandon your beliefs altogether or become irresponsible with your money, but that is reasonably safe, wouldn’t you say?

The prices on Las Vegas real estate are ridiculously low.  Don’t wait for the bottom to start investing here.  You won’t know where the bottom was until it’s gone.  Really.  What are you waiting for?  If you would like information, with no cost or obligation, please contact me.
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Is this the perfect storm?

My new partner has been a realtor in Las Vegas for over 15 years. He has never seen this many homes in escrow (or even close).  Right now there are almost 10,000 homes in Las Vegas under contract.  That’s crazy! Or is it? Right now we have 5 things happening in Las Vegas at the same time that are causing all of this demand for properties under $300,000 here.

1. The months from March through June are historically the best 4 months for real estate sales in Las Vegas.

2. Interest rates are at historical lows. 30 year fixed rates are under 5%

3. The $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit is causing people to believe that they can’t afford not to buy their first home right now.

4. The media is finally telling people that it is time to buy. Sunday’s Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper had an article called “Why houses look better and better” and that is just one such article of many across the nation.

5. The median price is down to $135,000 in Las Vegas.

So, is it the perfect storm? Well it is certainly having those types of results.  Right now in Las Vegas approximately 75% of the houses being sold are selling for full asking price or HIGHER.  Properties are hitting the market and being fought over by investors and would-be home buyers alike. Is it because there is a shortage of properties?  No, it’s because the banks are really desperate to unload these properties so they are pricing them below what the drastically reduced market sees as reasonable. 

The game is tricky though, and you need to be careful. For example, I know a condo complex where you can buy a 1 bedroom condo near the air force base for about $30K! The problem is that there are so many of them available, it still might not be a good investment. But if you are looking to live there, on an FHA first time home buyer loan, your principal and interest payment is going to be less than $150 per month!

Less than $150 per month!

Less than $150 per month!

Less than $150 per month!

Are you ready to get serious about buying Las Vegas real estate?  What are you waiting for?  If you would like help buying real estate in Las Vegas, whether for your personal use, or for investment, please call me.

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