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Is Water Availability an Elemental Concern?

Sally Lawrence REALTOR®,, 661.375.7325I’ve written before about what a great place Stallion Springs is to live. I’ll stand by all my previous praise.

One of the things that makes Stallion Springs such a great place is the willingness of its residents to join together and fight for what they believe to be right.  Here’s another one of those opportunities that is galvanizing folks on both sides of the issue.

Stallion Springs is in danger of losing its water supply. Perhaps that sounds a bit overly dramatic, but read on to see what’s going on.

Where does Stallion Springs water come from?  Stallion Springs draws most of its water from the Cummings Valley basin.  In addition to Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs, Fairview Ranches, CCI (California Corrections Institute) and a number of agricultural users also draw their water from the Cummings Valley Basin.

In recent years the water usage within the basin has approached the published “safe yield.”  In at least one year, usage has exceeded the safe yield.

Why does it matter?  Users within the basin are able to draw water without having to recharge the basin.  Stallion Springs and Bear Valley Springs have to recharge the basin for the water that they draw out.

As a result of the virtually unrestricted pumping allowed within the basin, the water table has dropped by 50 feet in the last decade.

If things continue unabated, it is possible that Stallion Springs could indeed lose its affordable water supply.

Sally Lawrence REALTOR®, HomeSalesSally,, 661.375.7325What is an alternative?  Recurrent Energy had proposed a solar project for 300 acres within the Cummings Valley.  That project would reduce the ground water pumping for those 300 acres to an insignificant amount.  Even better for Stallion Springs, the proposed solar project is located near the wells that Stallion Springs owns in Cummings Valley.

My personal take as a Stallion Springs resident is that I would prefer to see the Cummings Valley left pretty much as-is.  Unfortunately, I don’t see that as a reality.  It seems to me that the valley will continue to change and that a solar project may actually be a better use of those 300 acres than unrestricted water pumping by an agricultural user as we had before.

What can you do?  If you are a resident, or just interested in the outcome of this important issue, please contact Zack Scrivener, the 2nd District Supervisor by, phone his office at 661-868-3660 or fax 661-868-3666. Let him know that keeping water available in Stallion Springs is important to you.

Please forward this to everyone you know.  If you like the content, subscribe for free on the right.

Finally, I’d appreciate it if you would copy me at on any correspondence to Mr. Scrivner so that I can keep track of the interest level.

As always, thanks for reading.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 661.375.REAL


5 Reasons to Sell Your Tehachapi House Now

If you plan on moving anytime in 2011, you should strongly consider selling your Tehachapi area house now rather than waiting. Here are five reasons why:

1.) This is when your house will get the most exposure

The spring, and particularly the month of May, is when most buyers enter the real estate market, especially in rural areas. This surge of buyers dramatically increases the exposure for your house . The best chance of getting quality offers (perhaps even multiple offers) is RIGHT NOW!

2.) Foreclosures and short sales will increase in about 90 days

The good news is that the number of people paying their mortgage on time is increasing. This will lead to less distressed property sales later this year and throughout 2012. The not-so-good news is that there is still a large inventory of existing foreclosures and short sales that will still be coming to market.

As an example, LPS reported in their latest Mortgage Monitor that:

  • There are still twice as many loans going 90+ days delinquent as are starting foreclosure
  • There are almost three times the number of foreclosure starts as there are foreclosure sales
  • Distressed property inventory levels are almost 45 times the rate of monthly foreclosure sales

This means that there is a backlog of properties which will start coming to the market in about 90 days as banks clear up their paperwork challenges. These properties sell at dramatic discounts. They will be your competition. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recently discussed the magnitude of this challenge.

This is especially true in the Tehachapi area.  We have seen a dramatic decrease in distressed properties since January first.  Unfortunately, this approximately 10% decrease is apparently the result of paperwork issues that have kept lenders from foreclosing.  As those issues are corrected, we will see more distressed properties in the Tehachapi real estate market.

3.) Interest rates have risen over the last six months

Interest rates have stabilized recently. However, in the last six months, interest rates have climbed over 1/2%. Every time the rates increase 1/4%, approximately 250,000 buyers are eliminated from qualifying for a mortgage. In an environment of volatile rates, waiting could mean that there will be fewer buyers eligible to purchase your house. It also could mean that you will pay a higher rate on the next home you buy.

Not only are those buyers being priced out of the market by interest rates, but the ones that remain will be fighting hard to get the lowest possible sale price for your home.  That means less profit for you if you are able to secure a willing, ready and able buyer.

4.) Qualifying for a mortgage is about to get even more difficult

Besides increasing rates, there are other factors that will hinder a buyer’s ability to qualify for a mortgage as we move forward. Lending standards have been getting tighter over the last year. And as the government debates the new proposed guidelines (QRM), banks are gearing up for even more stringent standards.

Morgan Stanley recently stated:

“Recent developments in issues such as GSE reform, Dodd-Frank securitization rules, and foreclosure settlement issues suggest a tighter and more expensive environment for mortgage credit.”

This may impact any potential purchaser for your property and may also impact your next purchase.

5.) It’s time to get on with your life

Probably the most important reason to sell is so you can get on with your life. You placed your home on the market for a reason. Do not allow a less-than-stellar housing market prevent you from reaching your goals as an individual or as a family. Think about the reasons you decided to move in the first place. Are these reasons still important to you? If you have to take less than you were originally hoping to get for your house, your family has a question to ask each other: Is the dollar difference in sales price worth putting off our plans? Only you and your family know the answer to that question.

Bottom Line

If you plan to sell this year, the reasons above prove that selling now makes more sense than waiting to later in the year. If you are considering selling your Tehachapi area home, let’s schedule a time to sit down today and discuss your best options.

Call me, Sally Lawrence,  at 661.375.REAL (7325) or email me for the fastest response.

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If this is a buyer’s market why hasn’t your offer been accepted?

Everyone keeps talking about how this is a buyers’ market.  Sellers often feel that they are being beat up, especially over price.  But Tehachapi buyers complain that their offers are being rejected.  What drives this?

Inventories are high and prices are low so it really should be a buyers market, right?  Buyers’ offers are often being rejected because sellers really can’t lower their prices.  How many sellers are facing a situation where even if they don’t owe more than their home is worth, they may just be getting out with a break-even at the listed price.

Although there is lots of inventory, much of it is really not very attractive.  That is to say that there are an awful lot of “fixer-uppers” on the market now.  For traditional buyers, that presents the same problem it always has — you may be able to afford to buy the house, but you can’t afford to fix it up.  In many cases, even if you can afford both to buy and renovate the house, investors are outbidding and paying cash.  That’s pretty hard to compete with.

So what can buyers do to have a better shot at getting their offer accepted?

  • Get pre-approved and include the letter with your offer. This may seem really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many folks overlook it.  If you are lucky enough to pay cash, include proof of funds.
  • Use the right forms and sign all of the appropriate places in the offer. Again, this may seem obvious, but this is one of the primary areas where costly mistakes happen.  Skipping the Wood Destroying Pests addendum for example leaves huge questions as to whether the buyer or seller is paying for pest infestation related damages.  From the sellers’ perspective this could be a red flag of unexpected costs to come.  From the buyers’ perspective, it could leave you open to a huge repair expense if you really want the house.  This is just example of many similar issues.
  • Forget about the listed price. Base your offer on current comparable properties.  Just because a house is advertised at $200,000 doesn’t mean it’s worth $200,000.  If it’s only worth $175,000, then that’s what you should offer.
  • Offer a fast closing date. Most sellers are anxious to get the transaction over with and move on with their lives.  If you offer a fast closing date both you and the seller get to move sooner.
  • Include a summary page with your offer. By the time you complete all the documents necessary to make a purchase offer, you will have a stack of paper that’s somewhere between 12 and 25 pages.  It’s hard for a seller to wade through all those pages to see what the offer really is so they depend on their agent to distill the essential points.  Make it easier not to overlook the benefits of your offer by providing a summary of the price and terms on a single sheet.

If you follow these five tips, it should help to get your next offer accepted.  Interested in buying or selling real estate in the greater Tehachapi or Kern County area? I’d be happy to help.  Call me, Sally Lawrence, at 661.375.REAL or email me to discuss your needs.

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Thanks for reading!

Sally Lawrence

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Free Lunch?

People say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Well, there is at least a chance for one.    You can definitely get a free drink to go with your lunch (or dinner) at Blue Ginger Pho.  Just print out the coupon below.  You may also be able to get a free lunch.  Watch the short video for details.

Blue Ginger Pho

Blue Ginger Pho

Click on the images above to open the coupons in a new window for printing in full size.  Remember, if you have a business card, you can just leave that to enter for the free lunch drawing.  Don’t forget to share with your friends!  “Like” our Facebook fan page, too!

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