Home Shopping in the Age of Foreclosures

In this day and age, it is entirely likely that you will come across a financially distressed property during your home-buying adventure. There are some different terms and guidelines for these homes, and if you’re in the market, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with them.
 
Short Sale, or pre-foreclosure: This is the first step when a buyer is facing problems with their lenders. In this case, a borrower is in default of their mortgage and the lender is accepting reduced offers, in lieu of undergoing the foreclosure process. It saves the lender time and in turn, money, to get a qualified buyer into the home in place of the delinquent owner.
 
It can also benefit the buyer, because the lender will often accept a reduced price in order to avoid foreclosure. One big disadvantage of short sales though, is the extended period of time it takes to get a response from the bank, sometimes in excess of 90 days, just to find out if they accept your offer or not. This is because the offer must go through a loss mitigation department which weighs the offer against any losses the bank has incurred.
 
REO: Also known as lender- or bank-owned, property, this is when the borrower has lost possession of their home and the lender is the new title holder. At this point, they have listed the property with a real estate agent and are selling the home at fair market value in anattempt to recoup their losses. 
These homes are often sold in “as-is” condition, but the price should reflect any problems the home may have. You may see a few in rough shape, but it’s about potential and in the REO market, there is plenty of that. You can also expect quicker response times than with short sales because the property has already been gone through loss mitigation and the price has been established.
 
Hopefully this helps any of you that are in the market for a new home and if you have any more questions, I am Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

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Buying a New Home

Although discovering beautiful neighborhoods where you imagine raising your family is the most exciting part of buying a new home, it is not the most important thing you do when beginning your new home adventure. There are professionals in the mortgage and real-estate industry who are trained and highly qualified to help get you exactly what you want, for the best market price available, and it is important to consult us both before you begin.
 
It’s very important to speak with a trusted mortgage officer before you start looking for a home. Use referrals from friends, family and your real estate agent as a resource when shopping for one. Not only will they help you determine what your taste can afford, but they can also have everything prepared for when you do find the home of your dreams. How devastating to find the perfect home, only to find out that you are unable to meet the requirements for the loan, especially with REO (Real Estate Owned, or bank owned) properties because you may not get your down payment or earnest money back.
 
It is of particular importance these days, especially with the market as volatile as it’s been, that you prepare your offer with a pre-approval in your hands. These days the guidelines change frequently and what may have worked in the past, may not be the case today, so having a good mortgage officer who is current on the latest programs is integral to today’s buying experience.
 

As well, be sure to understand the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval. With a pre-qualification, the loan officer will usually just take your word on information such as income and debts, pull your credit, punch some numbers into a calculator and give you estimates on your limit and payment. Whereas with a pre-approval, this means they have actually run your information through a program and have a commitment from the lender securing your ability to obtain a loan and the necessary conditions that must be met.
 
With 34 years in the real-estate industry, I feel confident that my knowledge is invaluable to providing the best home-buying and selling experience possible for my clients. I am Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

Living the Southern California Dream

Are you living the dream? To live in the sunny San Fernando Valley of Southern California is to realize a dream that the rest of the world can only imagine. Not only do we have perfect weather and lush landscapes to enjoy virtually year round, but we also have some of the most world-renowned attractions just a jaunt away.

Termed “the Valley of the Stars,” San Fernando Valley is home to Universal Studios and most of the other big studio production lots like Disney and NBC, all of which offer year round tours. Cities such at Sherman Oaks, Reseda, Burbank, Studio City, Calabasas and Encino are contained within our community, putting us right in the mix of silver-screen central.

Also located within our beautiful area are the Los Angeles Zoo, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, the LA Equestrian Center, Lake Balboa, the Rose Bowl and the Hollywood Bowl.

To discover more about what our thriving community has to offer, I am at your service. My name is Carol Wolfe, and nobody does it better.

The Swift Residence

As a certified architectural specialist I am always on the lookout for properties with a unique character that don’t conform to normal standards, like the children’s game – which one of these things just doesn’t belong. These homes are obviously not for everyone, but for that special someone who likes to stand out in a crowd, and desires a home that reflects that sensibility.
 
In my cache of listings, I currently feature one of those homes. Truly a diamond in the rough, it is just waiting for the right person to come along and polish it up to reveal an architectural gem. The Swift residence was constructed in 1966 by William Laffin, understudy to A. Quincy Jones and is a single-level, mid-century modern in Tarzana, with 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, 2,962 square feet, and offered at $799,000.
 
A circular drive leads to a courtyard entrance with Spanish-tile roof. The grounds abound with thick foliage and mature trees that are evident throughout the property and make the surrounding nature as important an aspect of the design as the home itself. The highlight of this magnificent design are the prolific, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows that bring the lush outside in to virtually every room. 
 
As for the rooms, they are separated by screened partitions that slide away to give the home an open and inviting flow. There are also vaulted beam ceilings, fireplaces in the living room and den, as well as a built-in buffet in the dining area.
 
With just a few cosmetic updates, this home will become a beacon of ingenuity and individuality for the right owner. If revealing the masterpiece that is the Swift residence sounds like your kind of adventure, I would love to be your tour guide. I’m Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

Universal City Walk and Studios

Living in Encino affords residents the chance to enjoy all the lovely perks that Hollywood and its production companies have to offer, like studio tours, audience participation on your favorite shows, celebrity sightings and of course, Universal Studios. Located right off the 101 freeway, it’s a convenient and fun way to entertain the whole family.
 
The highlight of Universal Studios is the rides. They are spectacularly produced and action-packed, just like the movies they embody. Some of the classics are Terminator 2: 3D, Jurassic Park The Ride, featuring a 50-foot T-Rex, and an 84-foot plunge, and Backdraft which blasts visitors with 10,000 degrees of entertainment. New rides include the highly-acclaimed Simpsons Ride and The Adventures of Curious George which are sure to blow the kids away!

Studio tours are another exciting facet of Universal studios where you can visit the special effects stages, ongoing movie productions and even television sets like Desperate Housewives. Expect to run into some of your children’s’ favorite characters at the park too, such as Dora, Shrek, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, SpongeBob and Curious George. 
 

For a night on the town that doesn’t require a park fee, (although you still have to pay to park) there is also Universal City Walk. Visitors will discover a breathtaking array of shopping (flagship stores of your mall favorites), dining (from Panda Express to Wolfgang Puck Cafe), movies (including the 8-story IMAX theatre), live music (street acts and headliners in the Gibson Amphitheatre), and nightlife (Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood and the Rumba Room). Upcoming concerts include Mary J. Blige with Robin Thicke on October 19.
 
Ticket discounts can be found online and for Southern California Residents, annual passes are also available for a great price. If you are not a resident, I’d be more than happy to help you change that. I’m Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

Halloween Happenings!

The Valley is bustling with events this time of year but one of the local favorites is the Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College because there truly is something for everyone, from families, to teenagers, to grownups on a romantic date.
 
Activities abound for children including live shows, a pumpkin patch where you pick out your own pumpkin, a giant slide, bounce houses, train ride, carousel, petting zoo, hay rides, rock climbing, bungee bounce, pony rides, bumper boats, haunted house and corn maze. If you manage to make it through all that with your little troopers, you can count on an early bedtime – you may even want to pack their PJs in the car!
 
For the big kids, things get a little spookier after sunset. The festival turns into the Fright Fair Screampark featuring the Factory of Nightmares – an industrial haunted house sure to produce industrial screams. For a little extra, you can take a terrifying tour of the Creatures of the Corn haunted maze with nothing but a flashlight to guide your way – and hope that you make it out again before sunrise.
 
And for a romantic evening with your significant other (or a potential one!), this place sets the perfect mood. Bundle up in your favorite sweater and enjoy quintessential carnival food underneath their twinkling lights while picking out the perfect pumpkin. Then take a stroll though the haunted maze where you can cling to your partner for dear life, or protect your partner for dear life – either way, snuggle up for safety!
 
Located at 20800 Victory Blvd. in Woodland Hills, just off the 101 freeway at the DeSoto Ave. exit. This year’s festival runs through November 2 and is open daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., until midnight on the weekends. For more information and directions, go to www.halloweenharvestfestival.com.
 
Be sure to make time for this event, you won’t regret it. And if you don’t live in the area, give me a call and we’ll try to change that. I’m Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

Hayvenhurst Heaven

Are you looking for the perfect home? Among the homes I currently have available, there is one that epitomizes what southern California style is all about – the magnificent 5,619 square foot, Hayvenhurst Estate.

This seven-year-old, gated, Mediterranean home features the lovely white stucco, tiled-roof look that dominates much of the skyline, but it is the attention to detail and luxurious touches inside that set this home apart.

The entry way stuns with a curved, wrought-iron staircase and wide-plank, hard-wood floors. The living room includes a wet bar with granite counters and butler’s pantry, with two-story windows that look out onto the private, perfectly manicured grounds and stone-edged pool.

The kitchen features the latest in modern amenities, highlighted by stainless counter tops and glazed concrete floors that extend into the family room. The high ceilings throughout are accented by grand columns, adding to the drama of the home. There are six bedrooms, and a romantic master suite, with two-fireplaces, a balcony overlooking the backyard, a separate retreat, and a lavish marble bathroom with raised tub.

Other features of the home include, granite counters in the laundry room, central vacuum, three car attached garage, and a security system. Nestled in Encino, this property allows easy access to Ventura Blvd. and the Westside so you don’t have to travel far for anything and everything your heart desires.  It is also located in the highly desirable Lanai Road School district.

For those looking to live out their California fairy tale, this home is where happily ever after begins. I am Carol Wolfe and nobody does it better.

The Secrets to Encino’s Good Life

No matter where you live within Encino, there are a handful of benefits unique to its residents. For those who are considering a move to this area, you too, could be privileged to share in the wonderful amenities our community has to offer.

Our location amongst greater Los Angeles makes it easy to navigate the area thanks to the 101 and the 405 freeways. We are in the San Fernando Valley, just moments from the Burbank Airport, between Glendale and Calabasas.

Another advantage is the abundance of lush landscapes thanks to the main aquifer that runs directly below our community. This allows us to be close to the urban lifestyle of Los Angeles, while enjoying the outdoor benefits of green hills and foliage-filled parks.

We are moments from Topanga State Park which contains 36 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, as well as breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Within our own borders, we also boast the Anthony C. Beilenson Park, an 80-acre water recreation facility featuring Lake Balboa, a special treat for boating enthusiasts.

For more information on Encino and surrounding real estate please feel free to contact me. My name is Carol Wolfe, and nobody does it better.