FHA Mortgage Insurance premium to be reduced

Great news for home buyers, especially those that just have enough for a down payment. President Obama will announce tomorrow that he is reducing the insurance premium from 1.35% to .85% on FHA mortgages. What does this mean to a home buyer that is getting a $400,000 mortgage? They save $167/mo. This will also allow the home buyer to qualify for more home and be more competitive to get the house they want….or just have a lower housing expense. Great news.

Wild Week on Wall Street

Well the stock market finally had the snap back that was expected for a long time. Will there be follow through to the down side. I think there will be but we’ll have some people in there continuing to buy the dips because thats what they’ve been conditioned to do.  There will be a few pops, like today, but there’s some bumps ahead. The government has hypnotized the public and the “Experts” into complacency. But when the market does have another bad week the government will come to the rescue and prop it up again. On to the Good news….

The GOOD NEWS: Oil prices have come down quite a bit and should allow us to trim our gas expenditures until next spring.

The GREAT NEWS is that the Bond market has again defied the “Experts” and has produced lower mortgage rates for us. 30 Year Fixed rates could be taken down at 3.99%. Fantastic for home buyers and those looking to refinance again.


   10 Year chart



Two things we really liked about Jim’s approach were his knowledge of the market and his attention to detail. He recommended a perfect price to sell our home by doing the research and using good, sound strategy to get the best possible offer. He was willing to go above and beyond when it came to the little details that may have slipped through the cracks during the sales process. We ended up selling our home quickly, efficiently, at a price above our expectation and with no hiccups in the process. We would definitely use Jim again and would recommend him to our friends – the best form of recommendation we know.”

Bruce Kirkpatrick – Former Bettencourt Ranch Resident

Its always nice to get a great testimonial of the work that you did for a client. Thats my goal with every client. Thanks Bruce and Nancy!

For more testimonials click on the tab above.

Contact me for my unique marketing program.

August 2014 Inventory Numbers

Latest Inventory / Sales Numbers for the Tri-Valley Area.

Current statistics and trends of the market over the last 3 years.

Click on the city link for the detailed statistics.


San Ramon Detached 08-14

Average Sales price dropped  .86% Year over Year (YOY) to $920,200.

Danville Detached 08-14

Average Sales price increased  14.5% % Year over Year (YOY) to $1,187,500.

Dublin Detached 08-14

Average Sales price increased  7.5% Year over Year (YOY) to $879,250.

Pleasanton Detached 08-14

Average Sales price increased  14.8% Year over Year (YOY) to $1,144,000.

Livermore Detached 08-14

Average Sales price increased  18% Year over Year (YOY) to $723,700.

Overall, the numbers have treated the East Bay homes very well. If you would like additional information on attached homes please let me know.

If you would like numbers on the attached properties please contact me.

If you’re interested in receiving a complimentary evaluation of your property, please contact me.

YELP?? Should you trust the ratings?

Seems everywhere you turn you hear about checking out a businesses ratings before going there. It is almost a religion with the Millennials. And they base many of their decisions on it. When you’re a business owner this is could mean life or death as our way of consuming and commerce evolves.

A couple of weeks ago there was a ruling from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco,  about a lawsuit against YELP. The lawsuit was based on the facts and testimony of business owners that YELP would remove good ratings if they didn’t use the “Paid Advertising” to share their businesses with YELP viewers. To simplify what happened. If the businesses on YELP wanted to keep their good ratings they would need to pay for it. Even though the good ratings were organically created through the YELP viewers giving the business a good review and rating. If they didn’t pay YELP what they wanted (the business to advertise on YELP), the rating may be removed. Does exhortation come to mind. Great business model…as long as everyone goes along with it.


WELL, not to the judge. “As Yelp has the right to charge for legitimate advertising services, the (alleged) threat of economic harm … is, at most, hard bargaining,” and not extortion or unfair business practices, Judge Marsha Berzon said in Tuesday’s 3-0 ruling.

The court upheld a federal judge’s dismissal of a proposed class-action damage suit by small-business owners who claimed Yelp’s sales representatives told them their ratings would depend on their decision to buy ads.

So next time you see the ratings of a business, be clear and  know that they may not be accurate because they didn’t succumb to, what many may feel is, extortion of the sales staff…. and the proof is right here in this story. Continue below to read the testimony of some that have apparently been face to face with the New Extortion of the Modern Day. For the rest of the story, continue with the story below.

Oh by the way…if you want some organic, old fashion testimonials about our business at Realty World – Homes & Land, directly from our past clients visit me at  http://jimhitcher.com/testimonials/.

“I’ve got hundreds of people who have called me with this problem: When they stopped advertising with Yelp, their good reviews got stripped out,” the business owners’ lawyer,Lawrence Murray, said after Tuesday’s ruling.

“What does it take, to have a gun to their head? … This is extortion in any other setting.”

Yelp said it’s not true and couldn’t happen, because its review-filtering software doesn’t distinguish between advertisers and non-advertisers.

“For years, fringe commentators have accused Yelp of altering business ratings for money,” said the San Francisco company’s litigation director, Aaron Schur. “Yelp has never done this, and individuals making such claims are either misinformed or, more typically, have an ax to grind.”

One plaintiff, Boris Levitt, owner of a furniture-restoration business in San Francisco, said several five-star ratings disappeared from his Yelp page two days after he refused to buy ads. Tracy Chan, a San Francisco dentist, said a Yelp sales representative offered her “lots of benefits” for advertising, then removed nine five-star ratings from her page a few days later – ratings that were restored after she signed an advertising contract.

Cats and Dogs Animal Hospital of Santa Barbara said Yelp offered to “hide negative reviews” in exchange for ad sales. The owner of Wheel Techniques, a Santa Clara auto body shop, said he asked Yelp why a competitor had a higher rating and was told that the rival company bought ads.

Such claims, if credible, might tarnish Yelp’s own ratings with the public. Like the businesses its users rate, Yelp must work hard to maintain its own credibility with consumers, said Gartner Research Director Brian Blau.

“On the surface, you’d think this news would be an endorsement for Yelp,” Blau said Wednesday. But it could leave consumers wondering, “If Yelp is permitted to do this, will they? They said they aren’t, but will they in the future? That’s going to be the bigger question.”

In this case, the appeals court said the plaintiffs failed to show that the company violated their rights or broke any laws, even if they proved all their allegations.

Yelp’s ratings, based on reviews by members of the public, are within its discretion, Berzon said – a “benefit” the company chooses to provide. Because the company’s ads also have value, she said, “any implicit threat by Yelp to remove positive reviews absent payment for advertising was not (legally) wrongful.”



Renovation! Can’t find everything you want….need?

Buyer’s are having more trouble getting everything they want or need in a new home. If they want a large yard they may have to sacrifice on the interior part of the house. The sacrifice may be accepting dated bathrooms or kitchen. However, with a little bit of effort you may be able to get just what you want. RENOVATE. Renovation mortgages are available and they are not a huge obstacle when buying a property.
Theres a few good resources in mortgage financing that can help you with this. Not every bank does them, but we can guide you in the right direction. The Renovation part won’t be a snap of the fingers, but the process for getting the renovation financing is nearly that easy. Contact me for more information.
Heres a little cheat sheet to give you a better idea of where to spend your money if you did choose to buy and then Renovate.

Mortgage Rates remain very attractive for buyers

Freddie Mac : Mortgage Rates fall 2 basis points (0.02%) to 4.12%


For the sixth time in 9 weeks, and the twentieth time this year, 30-year mortgage rates are down across all mortgage loan types including FHA loans, USDA loans, VA loans, and conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Mortgage rates have moved to a 14-month low; and 15-year fixed and adjustable-rate mortgage rates are down, too.

It’s an excellent time to comparison shop today’s mortgage rates. Many U.S. homeowners are “in the money” to refinance.


According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell 2 basis points (0.02%) this week to reach 4.12%. The rate is available to borrowers paying 0.6 discount points at closing plus a full set of closing costs.

It’s a small change from the week prior, and consistent with how the market has moved since May.

Over the last 12 weeks, 30-year rates have changed by an average 2.3 basis points (0.023%) per week, marking the longest period of time in history through which rates have remained this steady. Comparison shopping is simpler during periods of mortgage rate stability.

The average 15 Year Mortgage Rate fell last week, too, easing 3 basis points (0.03%) to 3.24%.

Rates are based on a weekly survey of more than 100 U.S. banks. The survey has banks submit to Freddie Mac their “going rate” for a prime mortgage borrower.

A prime borrower is one with a credit score of 740 or higher; with a purchase downpayment of twenty percent or more; with a debt-to-income ratio which meets mortgage guidelines; and, with ample reserves to support a mortgage approval.

Loans for prime borrowers are loans made against single-family residences which includes detached homes, certain town homes and attached properties; and, condos which meet minimum eligibility standards.

The Freddie Mac survey and figures are for conventional loans only.

Since reaching a multi-year high of 4.57% in September, conventional rates have made a sustained run lower. Rates are at their low point for the year, and just two basis points above the lowest rate of the last 60 weeks.

Many lenders now quote rates in the threes.

At 4.12%, today’s 30-year fixed rate mortgage is cheap. It’s less than half of the 30-year loan’s historical average, and the number of discount points required to get a 30-year loan are few fewer than it was even last decade.