January 2021 – Happy, Happy New Year!
I know, we were all chomping at the bit, weren’t we? So, we are here now, let’s make it a good year! Remember, from now on, hindsight is 2020! (I take no credit for this; it’s making the rounds on the internet)
Never have I been so grateful to go into a new year. Finally, we can shorten the date to ‘21 as in 1/1/21, instead of using the full “2020”. For a whole year I feared that someone would add another two digits behind the simplified ‘20 as in 1/1/20 and invalidate some important document by date of act. No, seriously! There are unscrupulous people out there.
With the upsurge of Covid-19 cases in LA County and until the vaccines become available to us down on the totem pole and the threat of contamination and quarantine recedes, our company’s first order of business is getting as many staff as manageable to work from home at least part time, if not full time. With all the technological tools at our fingertips, we will make the transition as smooth as possible and it will be doubtful any of our clients will realize. Even in the hidebound escrow industry changes are pushing through and the future is now!
What will the 2021 housing market look like? For those of you in the mortgage and real estate industry, let’s first do our hindsight look back at 2020, broken down month by month by HousingWire at this link. Yes, July was that crucial month when the Fed rates dropped so much and a frenzy of refinances started.
Now, for 2021. Regrettably, many, many companies and other industries are in dire situations and will not survive. If you are in the real estate/mortgage/title/escrow industry, count your blessings as we are very lucky that we have a cheerful forecast:
➔ Refinance market – still booming amongst those who still have a job. Yes, the newest addition to loan forms is the “Attestation” form – Borrowers have to acknowledge that they still have a job and the pandemic has not affected their income.
➔- It will be a Seller’s market, as Buyers scramble to find new housing and take advantage of the low, low interest rate.
➔- ADUs will become very popular. If you can’t afford to move but still need bigger space, or the pandemic close encounters of the familial kind are driving you nuts, try the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). The more I look online, the more webinars I attend, the more the subject comes up in mortgage and real estate trade publications.
➔ The transfer of the booming housing market from California to other states will also add to the Seller’s market. Migration of high tech – Hewlett Packard, Tesla and Oracle, to name the big ones, to Houston and Austin in Texas- will gradually affect housing in Silicon Valley as those who cannot work at home must relocate, alleviating the high cost of home purchasing in that area for those who stay. So guess where the next hot market will be?? By the way, you know that Texas has NO STATE TAX, unlike California, where we are taxed to death. And talk about taxes….
The woes of California’s Proposition 19. In the very, very near future, to February 16, 2021 in fact, a ton of people with multiple properties will be looking to transfer their properties to their children before California’s Proposition 19 comes into effect. Why? Because of property tax reassessment issues. Under the present law, a property can be exempt from reassessment if it is shown that it is a transfer from parent or grandparent to child. However, under Prop 19, after Feb 16, 2021, only the transfer of principal residences will be exempt. See this brief summary breakdown that one of our industry partners, Chicago Title, has allowed me to use. You can also go to the Board of Equalization – California’s Revenue and Taxation arm – for more information at this link. Time to make some financial planning decisions. Hurry, hurry!
Why have we been receiving numerous calls from Sellers, realtors, CPAs, attorneys and financial planners who are planning their clients’ transfer of properties’ issues? The reason is another pandemic related issue. The non-principal residence property transfer deeds may be signed and duly notarized, but if they are not recorded – made of public record and notification given to the County Assessors offices by such recordation – will the transfer be valid for exemption from reassessment pre-Prop 19? The issue is that the County Recorders are not open to the public. Documents to record are mailed in and will take over 30 days to find its way to recordation. Title Companies have agreements to do electronic recordations but are not willing to take on the liability or work of recording documents that do not pertain to their purchase or refinance transactions. There is no easy solution, at least not at time of print. The Los Angeles County Assessor’s office is also aware of the problem and are at a loss as to how to handle this quandary.
The New Year is starting with a bang, isn’t it. We asked for it, we voted, and we got it. Now we will live with it.
Finally, with all the food and drink from Thanksgiving to New Years, there is always this bit of remorse (I shouldn’t have had that last glass…). Gratefully I offer this article just in time. No guilt! Have that red wine and cheese. It’s going to help stop cognitive decline (it says) and that, you can assure yourself, means that you will have more years to be bright eyed and bushy tailed. Drink up and eat up!
For the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weekends I watched quite a few oldies but goodies movies. My choice was Bond, James Bond. And why not? Suave, debonair, in charge and in control. But, it doesn’t always happen that way, does it? Here, straight from YouTube, is a compilation of clips www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPYZaayC6fc of Bond men and their advertising of debonair and suave. Laugh out loud! Make your day!
You Have Questions? We Have Answers!
Juliana Tu, CSEO, CEO, CBSS, CEI, SASIP
“Escrow is my FOREMOST language!”
The opinions expressed in this blog are solely the author’s.
Your comments and viewpoints are always welcome.
Info @ VivaEscrow.com
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