Capitalizing on a third-quarter residential real estate boom, Van Nuys-based Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce held its annual real estate panel on Oct. 21.
The virtual panel, which attracted more than 40 attendees, focused on the theme “Make Money Moves: Your Home, Your Asset” during a quarter when the San Fernando Valley saw home sales and prices soar to its highest heights since June 2018, according to Southland Regional Association of Realtors.Guest speakers discussing various home valuation improvements included Henry Chen of Burbank-based lender Get Assured Inc.; Espie Agbayani of Sherman Oaks-based Espie Realty; and Celeste Rose Monderin of Chatsworth business Custom Hardwood Flooring.Chamber President Emeritus Gerry Pelon led the residential real estate panel while Director of Events Lois Klavir oversaw the virtual talk.“We discussed the benefits of home ownership, refinancing opportunities due to low interest rates, getting the most value from your home improvements and leveraging your home for retirement,” Klavir, vice president at Chase in Encino, told the Business Journal. “All three speakers are board members and have their own real estate-related businesses.”Chen, who in 1992 started his own mortgage company, launched the JIR Foundation in 2006 with his wife Monica, board director of the Asian Real Estate Association.“Our home is our most valuable asset, both financially and emotionally,” Chen said, before explaining how advantageous it is to buy a home this year. He noted that a buyer doesn’t need a lot of money and mortgage rates are in the 3 percent range.“I see a lot of people who prefer to rent than to own,” he continued, but added that a renter has no tax benefit. Homeowners also gain pride of ownership, privacy and, of course, the appreciation of property value, which is higher in California than in the rest of the country.A broker since 1988, Agbayani echoed Chen’s sentiments as she discussed ways to leverage one’s real estate in today’s market “so you can retire in style.” Her prescription included a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM loan, a government-backed program which is exclusive to homebuyers of a certain age.“Proposition 60/90 allows a person over 55 to sell his or her principal place and transfer to a replacement dwelling of equal or lesser value that is purchased or newly constructed within two years of the sale,” she explained, adding that there are 10 counties in California which allow for the 60/90 move.“You can (downsize) your present home to smaller living space with less maintenance and cost,” Agbayani said, suggesting that one could invest a part of one’s home equity for future monthly cash income via a reverse mortgage in combination with Prop 60/90.The year 2020 is also a good time for home renovation, as explained by Chatsworth-resident Monderin, marketing director and the co-owner of Custom Hardwood Flooring, an enterprise she shares with her husband, Chief Executive Uri Vaknin.
“Many people are doing home improvements now because they’re home all of the time,” Monderin said.She added that, during this year, general contractors have been “more budget friendly because of the pandemic.”This was not the first time the Filipino-American Chamber has held a real estate panel, according to Klavir.“We do this once a year to highlight our members in real estate,” she said. “Last year, we held ‘The Real on Realty’ at (Mambo International Kitchen in Northridge).”Considering the virtual year that the organization has had to endure, she added that the panel went very well.