June 18, 2012
Monday Beach Report
According to the MLS, there are 23 beach front properties for sale. The majority of the listings are condos on the ocean side and 2 on the bayside.
My experience is listings in the summer get sold fast! Call me now if you want to own beach front property.
All My Best from the Beach,
April 6, 2012
Warren says...... Buy now!
Check out Warren Buffets interview on CNBC Feb 27, 2012
March 3, 2011
Cash purchases for homes hit record in state
March 1st, 2011 12:10pm
Californians purchased homes with cash at a record pace last month, and even in Sonoma County the rate was nearly double the average for the last decade.
Nearly 31 percent of all houses and condominiums bought in the Golden State in January were purchased without a mortgage, according to San Diego-based DataQuick Information Systems. That compares with nearly 29 percent a year earlier. DataQuick analysts suggested investors and other buyers were taking advantage of lower prices and less competition this winter, normally a slower time for sales.
In Sonoma County, cash purchases last month amounted to 28 percent of all sales, a fraction of a percent higher than a year earlier. The county’s cash purchases peaked in February 2010 at nearly 35 percent. For the past decade, the monthly average has been about 15 percent.
The state’s new monthly record follows a record year in 2010, when almost 28 percent of California homes were bought without mortgages.
For the past 10 years, the state has averaged monthly cash sales of about 14 percent. Buyers of many types of homes often pay cash because they can’t get conventional financing, said Andrew LePage of DataQuick. That includes property purchased for more than $1 million. Investors also seem to believe that the time is right to take their money and buy homes.
“They’re expecting better returns in real estate, at least in the long run, than in other investments,” LePage said.
The all-cash home deals involved transaction where DataQuick found no indication of a purchase mortgage publicly recorded at the time of sale. The buyers may have used some alternative financing or might intend to later take out a mortgage.
Distressed property made up a substantial part of the transactions last month. About 52 percent of the cash purchases were for homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 18 months.
Almost 52 percent of last month’s buyers asked to have the property tax bills sent to a different address. That is an indication that the buyer may be an investor or might have purchased a second home for vacationing. DataQuick cautioned that it can’t determine what portion of buyers bought the property for strictly investment reasons.
- Robert Digitale
May 28, 2010
Where to Start: Begin to Prepare your Home for Showing
“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” We’ve all heard this expression before. And now, while you are preparing your house to sell, it should not be far from your mind.
While logical factors such as price and location narrow the pool of houses a potential buyer will look at, the ultimate decision to buy a particular house is fuelled by a mixture of logic and emotion. And emotion often wins out. The same might be said for the process of selling a home. For this reason, Real Estate Agents, when they talk to you about buying real estate, will refer to your purchase as a “home.” When discussing the sale of your current home, however, an agent will refer to it as the “house.” This is a conscious choice. The agent knows that buying a house is often an emotional decision, while, when selling a house, emotion should be separated from the process.
Buyers are searching for a “home”—a place in which they will feel comfortable, secure, and happy, a place in which they can imagine settling down and raising their family. As a seller, your goal is to cultivate these feelings through the property you’re selling. Look at your house as a marketable commodity. A buyer’s emotional response is triggered early, so you want to ensure you have done everything you can to encourage a positive response to your house from the outset. Within minutes—even seconds—of pulling into your driveway, buyers have formed an impression that they will carry with them through the rest of the showing, and beyond. Keep in mind, this impression will not only influence whether or not they make an offer, but also what they consider to be the value of the property.
If you’ve ever visited model homes, you’re familiar with effective presentation styles. Have you ever walked into one of these homes and immediately begun taking stock, planning how to get your home to look that good? Well, now is the time to take some of these steps. Of course, there are ways to achieve the same effect in your own home without incurring model home costs.
When homes create this immediate type of emotional appeal, they tend to sell quickly—and for more money. Use the following step-by-step guide to get your house into selling shape before you put the property on the market, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful sale!
This should be one of your first steps when you begin preparing your house to sell. Over the years, a home inevitably becomes tattooed with the owners’ lives, covered with touches that have made it that special place for you. At this point, however, you want buyers to recognize it as a property they could make into their unique place. When a homebuyer walks into a room and sees these personalizing touches—such as photos on the walls or trophy collections—their ability to picture their own lives in this room is jarred, impairing a positive emotional response. So, your first step will be to remove all the family photos, the trophies, collectible items, and souvenirs. Pack them all together, so you’ll have everything you need at your disposal when it comes time to personalize your new home. For the time being, rent a storage space and keep these items there. Do not simply transfer these items to another place in your house. Do not hoard them away in a closet, basement, attic, or garage, as the next step in preparing your home is to minimize clutter—and these areas of your house will all be targeted.
2. Remove all clutter.
The next step on the list is to purge your house of the excess items that have accumulated over the years. This is the hardest part for many people, as they have an emotional investment in many of these things. When you have lived in a house for several years, a build-up of personal effects occurs that is often so gradual that you don’t notice the space is becoming cluttered. If you need to, bring in an objective friend to help point out areas that could stand to be cleared. Try to stand back yourself and see your house as a buyer might. Survey shelves, countertops, drawers, closets, the basement—all places where clutter often accumulates—to determine what needs to go. Use a system to help you decide: get rid of all items, for example, you haven’t used in the past five years, and pack up everything that you haven’t used in the past year. Although getting rid of some things might be hard, try to do it without conscience or remorse. You’ll be forced to go through this process anyway when you move, and with each box you eliminate, your storage space—and the room in general—begins to look larger. We’ve broken down the process into specific areas of your house to help you concentrate your efforts:
The kitchen is an ideal place to begin, as it’s easy to spot and eliminate the type of clutter that tends to accumulate here. Homebuyers will open your drawers and cabinets as they’ll want to check if there will be enough room for their own belongings. If the drawers appear cluttered and crowded, this will give them the impression there is not enough space.
· First of all, remove everything from the counters, even the toaster (the toaster can be stored in a cabinet, and brought out when needed).
· Clean out all the cabinets and drawers. Put aside all of the dishes, pots and pans that you rarely use, then box them and put them in the storage unit you have rented (again, not in the basement or a closet).
· If you, like many people, have a “junk drawer,” clear this out.
· Get rid of the food items in the pantry that you don’t use. Begin to use up existing food—let what you have on your shelves dictate your menus from now on.
· Remove all extra cleaning supplies from the shelves beneath the sink. Make sure this area is as empty as possible. You should thoroughly clean this spot as well, and check for any water stains that might indicate leaking pipes. Buyers will look in most cabinets, and will notice any telltale signs of damage.
· Go through all clothes and shoes. If you don’t wear something anymore, get rid of it. We all have those clothes, too, that we wear only once in awhile, but can’t bear to give away. Box these items and keep them in the storage unit for a few months.
· Go through all other personal items in the closet. Be ruthless. Weed out everything you don’t absolutely need.
· Remove any unsightly boxes from the back of the closet. Put them in storage if need be. Get everything off the floor. Closets should look as though they have enough room to hold additional items.
· You may want to tour a few model homes in order to gauge the type of
furniture chosen by design teams to create a spacious, yet comfortable atmosphere. Note how that furniture is arranged to cultivate a certain feeling.
· After having armed yourself with some ideas, stand back and look at each
of your rooms. What will you need to remove? Remember, most homes contain too much furniture for showings. These are items that you’ve grown comfortable with and that have become incorporated into your everyday routine. However, each room should offer a sense of spaciousness, so some furniture will likely need to be placed in storage.
· Basements, garages, attics, and sheds: these are the “junkyard” areas of
any given home. It is possible to arrange simple clutter into a certain order, but junk is sent packing to these often-hidden rooms. First, determine which of these boxes and items you actually need. Can some of it be sent to the dump once and for all?
· Hold a Garage Sale. You’ve heard the saying, “One person’s trash is
another’s treasure.” Let these items go to a better home.
· Transfer some items to the rental storage unit. You’ll want to clear the
storage areas in your house as much as possible, in order for them to appear spacious to potential home-buyers. Buyers want the reassurance that their own excess belongings will find places for storage in their new home.
May 24, 2010
Top Legal Mistakes to Avoid
The process of buying or selling a house seems to involve a million details. It is important that you educate yourself on as many parts of this process as you can—this knowledge could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in the long-run. The legal issues involved in the process are often particularly intricate, ranging from matters of common knowledge to subtle details that might escape the untrained eye. Any of these issues, if not handled properly, could develop into larger problems
With so many legal issues to consider, your first step should be to seek out experienced professionals to help educate you and represent your best legal interests. Begin with an experienced real estate agent, who can help guide you through the initial hoops. S/he should also be able to point you in the direction of a reputable local real estate lawyer to assist you in all legal matters involved in the purchase or sale of your house.
While there are countless legal details involved in a real estate transaction, some seem to pose larger problems than others. We’ve outlined two legal clauses that are commonly misunderstood and may cost you money if not worded correctly. Handle these carefully and you will be on track to a successful sale or purchase!
- Home Inspection Clause
Some real estate transactions have been sabotaged due to the wording of the home inspection clause. This clause originally allowed that the buyer has the right to withdraw their offer if the home inspection yielded any undesirable results. However, this allowance was known to backfire, as Buyers took advantage of it, using some non-issue stated in the inspection as an excuse for having changed their minds. Of course, this was unfair to the Sellers, as they’d poured time and money into what they believed was a sure deal. Not only might they have missed out on other offers in the interim, but their house might also now be unfairly considered a “problem home.” Additionally, they’d now have to shoulder the costs of continuing to market the property. All of this adds up.
In order to remedy this potential problem, the clause should indicate that the seller has the option of repairing any problems the home inspection might point to. With this slight change in the clause, both buyer and seller are protected.
To ensure this clause is fair from one side of the bargain to the other, work closely with a lawyer experienced in these transactions and all the nuances that may affect the outcome for you.
- Survey Clause
It is the right of a home buyer to add a survey clause to the real estate contract on the home they’d like to purchase. If you are on the selling end of the contract, be aware. If you have added an addition or a pool to your property since the last survey was produced, your survey will no longer be considered up-to-date and the Buyer may request that a new one be drawn up—the cost of which you will incur. The price of this process will run anywhere from $700 to $1000.
Your real estate agent has the responsibility to provide you with the most recent survey of your home. It is then the Buyer’s right to decide if it is acceptable. An experienced agent should offer you reliable counsel if you encounter an issue with this clause, but it is advisable to talk to your lawyer if you’re unsure at all of the potential ramifications involved. Remember, the wording of this clause could cost or save you thousands of dollars.
May 10, 2010
One for the Money, Two for the Show: Prepare the Inside of your House for Showing
Once you’ve minimized the clutter in your home, clearing out excess items and furniture, you’ll be ready to concentrate on repairs, cleaning, and decoration. Your goal is to get each room looking its sharpest and most fresh—the better your house looks, the greater your chances that it will sell quickly and for top dollar. Concentrate on the following areas to get your home into selling shape.
Walls and Ceiling:
Examine all the ceilings and walls for water stains or dirt. We don’t often look closely at the walls that surround us, so be careful—there could be residual stains from leaks that have long been fixed, or an accumulation of dirt in an area you hadn’t noticed.
Painting the walls may be the best investment you can make when preparing your home to sell. You can do it yourself, and relatively inexpensively. Remember, the colours you choose should appeal to the widest range of buyers, not just to your own personal taste. A shade of off-white is the best bet for most rooms, as it makes the space appear larger and bright.
Carpet and Flooring:
Does your carpet appear old, or worn in areas? Is it an outdated colour or pattern? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you should consider replacing it. You can find replacement carpeting that is relatively inexpensive. And always opt for neutral colours.
Any visibly broken floor tiles should be replaced. But make sure you don’t spend too much on these replacements. The goal isn’t to re-vamp the entire home, but, rather, to avoid causing any negative impressions due to noticeable damage or wear around the house.
Doors and Windows:
Check the entire house for any cracked or chipped window panes. If they are damaged in any way, replace them. Test all windows, as well, to ensure they open and close easily. Try spraying WD40 on any with which you’re having trouble. This should loosen them up.
The same can be done with sticking or creaking doors. A shot of WD40 on the hinges should make the creak disappear. Check to make sure each door knob turns smoothly and polish it to gleaming.
Begin by airing out the house. Chances are, you’d be the last person to notice any strange or unpleasant smell that may be immediately apparent to visitors.
If you smoke indoors, you’ll want to minimize the smell before you show your home. Take your cigarettes outside for a period of time before you begin showing. Ozone sprays also help eliminate those lingering odours without leaving a masking, perfumed smell.
Be careful if you have a pet. You may have become used to the particular smell of your cat or dog. Make sure litter boxes are kept clean. Keep your dog outdoors as much as possible. You may want to intermittently sprinkle your carpets with carpet freshener as well.
Plumbing and Fixtures:
All sink fixtures should look shiny and fresh. Buy new ones if scrubbing fails to get them into shape. Replacing them can be done fairly easily and inexpensively. Check to make sure all hot and cold faucets are easy to turn and that none of the faucets leaks. If you do find a leaking faucet, change the washer. Again, this is an easy and inexpensive procedure.
Finally, check the water pressure of each faucet, and look for any stains on the porcelain of the sinks or tubs.
Once you’ve covered all these bases, your house will be in prime shape for its time on the market. Congratulations—you’re ready to begin showing!
May 7, 2010
Know the Market Before You Buy a Home
The asking prices of most homes on the market indicate the current state of the market, and usually mirror the prices for which other similar homes in the area have recently sold. In deciding upon a selling price, a home-seller must establish a balance between the desire to draw the highest offer and finding a price that will be reasonable enough to attract an appropriate pool of prospects, and competitive offers. While most selling agents counsel their clients to consider this equation when pricing their home, keep in mind that some homes are not properly priced.
It’s important to educate yourself about the current market before approaching the purchase of a home. The market will always influence a property’s value, regardless of the state of a home, or its desirability. Here are the types of market conditions and how they may affect you:
- Seller’s Market:
A seller’s market is considered a “hot” market. This type of market is created when demand is greater than supply—that is, when the number of buyers exceeds the number of homes on the market. As a result, these homes usually sell very quickly, and there are often multiple offers. As a buyer, you need to consider that many homes will sell above the asking price; in other words, you may have less room to negotiate, and may encounter competing offers. Though most buyers want to get a home for the lowest price possible, reducing your offer could mean opening the door for another buyer instead.
- Buyer’s Market:
A buyer’s market is a slower market. This type of market occurs when supply is greater than demand, the number of homes exceeding the number of buyers. Properties are more likely to stay on the market for a longer period of time. Fewer offers will come in, and with less frequency. Prices may even decline during this period. As a buyer, you will have more selection and flexibility in terms of negotiating toward a lower price. Even if your initial offered price is too low, the seller will be more likely to come back with a counter-offer, so you can begin the process of negotiation.
- Balanced Market:
In a balanced market, supply equals demand, the number of homes on the market roughly equal to the number of buyers. When a market is balanced there aren’t any concrete rules guiding whether you should make an offer at the higher end of your range, or the lower end. Prices will be stable, and homes will sell within a reasonable period of time. You will have a decent number of homes to choose from, and may encounter some competition for offers on the home of your choice, or none at all.
Before you make an offer to purchase a home, establish whether the current market is a Buyer’s, Seller’s, or Balanced market. Also, evaluate the price similar properties have sold for in the area, and the length of time these properties spent on the market. Determine how the home you’re considering compares to these other sales. Is this one over-priced, under-priced, or a fair price? By establishing this information prior to making an offer, you will be in a position to negotiate the best price for the home and be prepared for any additional opportunities that may come your way.
April 30, 2010
Selling a House? Try to Avoid Zeros
Published April 16, 2010
If you're selling a house now, there's reason enough to want to seal a deal quickly. House prices have bounced a smidgen since last summer, but the latest numbers suggest the momentum is fading. Meanwhile, a government program awarding cash bonuses to house buyers expires after this month. The number of house foreclosures hit a record in the first three months of this year, RealtyTrac reported Thursday. And the Urban Land Institute recently issued a gloomy report on the demographics of housing in America.
Don't panic. Houses are nowhere near as overpriced as they once were. Prices have fallen close to 30% nominally (and several percentage points more after adjusting for inflation) since April 2007, when I argued that renting had become a much better financial deal than homeownership. A reworking of the numbers last July convinced me that affordability was nearly restored and that houses in some markets were cheap.
If you're a seller, then, don't rush to cut your asking price. In fact, if you're looking for a slight advantage over the competition, you might try raising your price just a little -- from a rounded number to a precise-looking one.
Most of us think of numbers as describing quantities, and nothing more. Four is more than three; case closed. However, numbers have aesthetic qualities, too. There's a reason an estimated two-thirds of items on retail shelves have prices ending in nine. It's good for sales. Researchers have known about this nine-ending effect for nearly 80 years. Many theorize that such numbers simply look smaller to buyers, especially in cases where the far-left digit is reduced ($2.99). Of course, the appearance of cheapness can backfire. Upscale restaurants should sell the wild boar ravioli for $18, never $17.99. (Ideally, they should banish dollar signs from the menu, too.)
Wal-Mart (WMT: 53.64, -0.06, -0.11%) seems not to play by these rules. For example, a recent look at personal care products listed on its web site showed a razor for $6.47, a hairbrush for $5.88 and a nose hair trimmer for $11.86. Why do the prices at America's largest company by revenue look so precise?
Perhaps because precise prices look low -- even lower than those ending in nine.
A Cornell University study published recently in the academic journal Marketing Science looks at buyer attitudes toward precise numbers, both in the laboratory and the marketplace. Subjects sorted into groups and asked to make flash decisions on where a string of large numbers ranked on a magnitude scale of 1 to 9 consistently assigned higher magnitudes to round numbers than to precise, slightly higher ones.
For example, they judged $510,000 to be slightly higher on the scale than $511,534, and they saw $400,000 as considerably higher than $401,298. The researchers theorize that people aren't used to discussing large numbers with precision, so they tend to associate precision with smallness. They call this tendency the precision heuristic (a heuristic is a type of mental shortcut that humans use to make decisions quickly, but not always wisely). The habit seems to be learned, not hard-wired; the researchers found that they could retrain subjects through additional demonstrations in which the obviously large numbers were precise and the obviously small ones were rounded.
That's all well and good in the lab, but would the precision heuristic work in real life? It already has, apparently. The researchers studied thousands of real estate transactions in South Florida and Long Island where houses sold for less than the asking price. All else held equal, houses that were originally listed at precise amounts sold for about three-quarters of one percent more than those that started with rounded prices. On a $500,000 house, that's $3,750.
Jack Hough is an associate editor at SmartMoney.com and author of "Your Next Great Stock."
Read more: Selling a House? Try to Avoid Zeros - Personal Finance - Real Estate - SmartMoney.com http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/real-estate/selling-a-house-try-to-avoid-zeros/#ixzz0mcRpoEta
April 26, 2010
U.S. existing home sales rise 6.8% in March.
The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday
that U.S. existing-home sales rose 6.8 percent in March for the first time in three months.
Even though buyers seeking to take advantage of the Homebuyer Tax Credit have until April 30 to go under contract, closed transactions in March increased to an annualized rate of 5.35 million.
"Sales have been higher than year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's Chief Economist.
All 54 metro areas included in the AP-RE/MAX Monthly Housing Report showed positive growth in sales for March. Year-over-year, inventory was down 13.15 percent while prices increased by 7.76 percent.
||1 Mo Diff
||1 Year Diff
||1 Mo Diff
||1 Yr Diff|
1. March Inventory: 3.58M, +1.5% from February and -1.8% from March 2009
2. Months Supply: 8 months, down from 8.5 months in February.
March Practitioner Survey:
1. Distressed properties made up 35% of all sales. (unchanged)
2. First-time buyers purchased 44% of all homes sold. (up from 42% in Feb)
3. Investors accounted for 19% of all transactions. (unchanged)
Mortgage Interest Rates:
1. March 2010 = 4.97%
2. February 2010 = 4.99%
3. March 2009 = 5.00%
(National average commitment rate from Freddie Mac)
Posted 4/22/10 on Remax.net
April 14, 2010
7 Things to Look for in a New Neighbourhood
Whether seeking solace, activity, schools, churches, or green space, every homebuyer looks for a different combination of attributes in a new community. Choosing a neighbourhood that suits your needs and wants is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the home-buying process; your choice of environment will affect the way you experience your new home. This is a very personal decision, influenced by countless unique factors colouring your own lives, but you should always keep the following in mind:
- If you’re considering buying a home in a community that is unfamiliar to you, get to know its lay-out, offerings, and ambiance. Take some time to walk or drive through the neighbourhood, both during the day and at night, familiarizing yourself with the sights, sounds, and smells.
- What amenities does the neighbourhood have to offer? Is public transportation readily accessible? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children.
- What is the nature of the job market in the area? Keep in mind that if area employers are producing more jobs, you can expect property values to increase, especially if the jobs offered fall within a higher salary bracket.
- Speak with the neighbours. Ask questions. They can offer you a wealth of information, from an inside perspective.
- How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Drive the route between the new neighbourhood and your office during the appropriate times to gauge the volume of traffic you could expect to encounter, and the amount of time you’d need to put aside for daily travel.
- Contact local land-use and zoning officials to determine existing development plans or potential for development in the area. A strong agenda for neighbourhood planning and local zoning will increase the value and draw of a neighbourhood. Keep in mind that any large, tree-covered area may be a target for future development in popular communities.
- Determine whether financial resources have been put in place to support infrastructure projects in the area. These construction projects might include building, replacing, or improving anything from schools to roads, and are usually part of a city or town’s long-term plan. While disruptive, construction could also be a benefit to your experience of a community, influencing the long-term value of the area.
March 18, 2010
Amazing homes and offices built from shipping containers
Not just for resourceful squatters, container architecture is taking the world by storm. Recycled freight containers bring efficiency, flexibility and affordability to innovative green buildings, from small vacation cabins to movable cafes, schools and skyscrapers.
Invented more than five decades ago, the modern shipping container is the linchpin in our global distribution network of products. In the containers go toys from China, textiles from India, grain from America and cars from Germany. In go electronics, chocolate and cheese.
While a number of resourceful people have converted shipping containers to makeshift shelters at the margin of society for years, architects and green designers are also increasingly turning to the strong, cheap boxes as building blocks. Shipping containers can be readily modified with a range of creature comforts, and can be connected and stacked to create modular, efficient spaces for a fraction of the cost, labor and resources of more conventional materials.
Discover some of the exciting possibilities of shipping-container architecture, from disaster-relief shelters to luxury condos, vacation homes and off-the-grid adventurers. See what makes them green as well as cutting-edge.
March 9, 2010
How to Set an Offer Price
There is no set equation to determine how you’ll reach an offer price. Rather, the process involves a range of research and comparison that will vary with each situation. You’ll need to look at sales of comparable properties, and factor in additional data such as the condition of the property, the current market, and seller circumstances. With this information in hand, you will be able to determine a fair price range and, from there, establish the price you’re willing to offer.
Concentrate on the following areas to help you determine an offer price:
- Compare prices of homes that are similar to the property you’re considering in the following areas: number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, lot size, type of construction, and garage space.
- The most comprehensive and in-depth information can be accessed through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Your Realtor, who will be working closely with you to set your offer price, can help you navigate this service.
- Observe how the property compares to the rest of the neighbourhood. Is it average, above average, or below average?
- Look at structural condition: walls, ceilings, windows, floors, doors.
- Pay close attention to: bathrooms, bedrooms, condition of plumbing and electricity.
- Also check the fixtures: light switches, doorknobs, drawer handles, etc.
- What is the condition of the front and back yards?
- Cosmetic changes can be largely ignored, but any major improvements should be taken into account.
- Take special note of: room additions (especially bedrooms and bathrooms).
- Items such as swimming pools may be taken into account, but usually won’t affect your offer. Your Realtor can offer your guidance in these matters.
A seller’s market is considered a “hot” market. This type of market is created when demand is greater than supply—that is, when the number of Buyers exceeds the number of homes on the market. As a result, these homes usually sell very quickly, and there are often multiple offers. Many homes will sell above the asking price.
A Buyer’s market is a slower market. This type of market occurs when supply is greater than demand, the number of homes exceeding the number of Buyers. Properties are more likely to stay on the market for a longer period of time. Fewer offers will come in, and with less frequency. Prices may even decline during this period. Buyers will have more selection and flexibility in terms of negotiating toward a lower price. Even if your initial offered price is too low, Sellers will be more likely to come back with a counter-offer.
In a balanced market, supply equals demand, the number of homes on the market roughly equal to the number of Buyers. When a market is balanced there aren’t any concrete rules guiding whether a Buyer should make an offer at the higher end of his/her range, or the lower end. Prices will be stable, and homes will sell within a reasonable period of time. Buyers will have a decent number of homes to choose from, so Sellers may encounter some competition for offers on their home, or none at all.
Comparable sales information helps you establish a price range for the home you’re interested in. Adding in the additional factors mentioned above will guide your decision of whether you consider a “fair” price to be near the upper or lower limit—or the middle—of that range. Keep in mind, this price should be the one you’d be happy with once all negotiations are said and done. The price you decide to begin with depends on your particular style of negotiation. Most Buyers begin the negotiation process with a number lower than the “fair” price they’ve come up with.
February 23, 2010
Buying a Home: What Expenses to Expect
Budgeting for a new home can be tricky. Not only are there mortgage installments and the down payment to consider, there are a host of other—sometimes unexpected—expenses to add to the equation. The last thing you want is to be caught financially unprepared, blindsided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day.
These expenses vary: some of them are one-time costs, while others will take the form of monthly or yearly installments. Some may not even apply to your particular case. But it’s best to educate yourself about all the possibilities, so you will be prepared for any situation, armed with the knowledge to budget accordingly for your move. Use the following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring your budget:
- Purchase offer deposit.
- Inspection by certified building inspector.
- Appraisal fee:
Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property. The cost of this appraisal is your responsibility.
- Survey fee:
If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your lending institution may request an updated property survey. The cost for this survey will be your responsibility and will range from $700 to $1000.
- Mortgage application at your lending institution.
- 5% GST: this fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations.
- Legal fees:
A lawyer or Broker should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork. Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire.
- Homeowner’s insurance:
Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution. You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan.
- Land transfer (purchase) tax:
This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary greatly.
- Moving expenses.
- Service charges:
Any utilities you arrange for at your new home, such as cable or telephone, may come with an installation fee.
- Interest adjustments.
- Renovation of new home:
In order to “make it their own,” many new homeowners like to paint or invest in other renovations prior to or upon moving in to their new home. If this is your plan, budget accordingly.
- Maintenance fees:
If you are moving to a new condominium, you will likely be charged a monthly condo fee which covers the costs of common area maintenance.
January 8, 2010
A new year means new beginnings!
....and new homes! The real estate market is back in business and in full swing! Call me today if you're interested in finding your own San Diego dream home!
December 11, 2009
Rainy days = no open houses!
What a cold and rainy day it was today in San Diego! Good thing these days only come around about 10 times a year around here!
The forecast is predicting rain most of the weekend...It's too yucko out for a nice open house on the beach this weekend, sorry folks! 2790 Bayside Walk won't be having an open house, but be sure to call or email me if you would like to check out some properties!
December 3, 2009
Bayside Walk Considering Price Reduction
New update -- My clients at 2790 Bayside Walk are considering a price reduction to $2,995,000 on their beautiful bayfront cottage home! If you are interested, now is the time to move on this great deal!
December 1, 2009
7 Holiday Events to Better Your Community
Create holiday traditions that build community spirit and strengthen your neighborhood.
Make friends and influence your property values by creating neighborhood traditions.
The winter holidays provide the perfect excuse to march up to your neighbors’ doors and invite them to a holiday event that brings neighbors together and builds strong community bonds.
Unity builds community
There are smart reasons to start a holiday neighborhood tradition that fosters good relationships with your neighbors. Higher property values, strong schools, and lower crime rates are tangible benefits of neighbors’ connecting with their fellow residents and their neighborhood, according to studies by Dennis Rosenbaum, director of the Center for Research in Law and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
There are also intangible benefits. “People feel better about themselves when their house becomes a home and their street becomes a neighborhood,” says Peggy Allen, author of Block Parties and Poker Nights: Recipes and Ideas for Getting and Staying Connected With Your Neighbors. “When you have some connection with the people whose yard you share and whose cars get parked next to yours on the street, you know they’re looking out for you.”
Ideas for holiday events
Organizing an event is easier than you think. “The key is to not jam an agenda down people’s throats,” says Allen. “Float your idea, make it as flexible as possible, and don’t be the only one who wants to do it.” Here are seven event ideas from your neighbors across the country:
1. Sing songs. “We’ve been caroling every year since 1967, and we missed only one winter because it was below freezing,” says Marge Othrow of the Clinton Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.
A few residents scout the route by identifying streets heavy with holiday decorations under the theory that those residents will be receptive to carolers. A community group donates the money to print flyers, and volunteers post the flyers and provide refreshments. “A lot of residents are expecting us,” says Othrow. “Sometimes we’re invited in, and some people even plan their parties so we’re the entertainment.”
2. Party with a purpose. New Orleans’ historic Strachan House is the site of the Coliseum Square Association’s annual Christmas party, where the highlight is an award ceremony honoring first emergency responders who’ve made a difference in the city’s Lower Garden District neighborhood.
“We want to thank our first responders,” says Matt Ryan, CSA president, “but the end result is that we’re building our community.” The CSA spends about $1,000 for the food and the several-hundred-dollar cash awards for the first responders.
3. Swap food. With a cookie or dessert exchange, no single neighbor bears the burden of providing food for the entire neighborhood. “We have an open house,” says Audra Krell of Scottsdale, Ariz., “and people bring one tray of any kind of dessert.” Krell relies on Evites and Facebook to spread the word, so her overall time managing the event is under 10 hours.
4. Organize a search party. Families compete in a neighborhood-wide scavenger hunt in Maineville, Ohio. “I come up with a list of holiday items, like tinsel and candy canes, and give everybody a half hour to collect them,” says Tracie Watkins. “The family that comes back first or has found the most items in that time gets a $50 gift card. Last year we had 15 to 20 families.”
5. Pay it forward.
The holidays are a great time to tap into feelings of goodwill toward others. Krell pairs her dessert exchange with a request for partygoers to bring toys to donate to needy children through Childhelp USA
In Logan, Utah, Jenny Johnson and 50-60 of her neighbors forego giving gifts and goodies to each other, instead purchasing Christmas gifts, food, and personal hygiene items for three to four needy families through the Sub for Santa
The average family’s financial contribution runs about $30, and the families get together at a neighborhood party to wrap the gifts they’ve purchased.
6. Feed your friendly neighbors. “We have a progressive holiday party at three houses on the Sunday before Christmas,” says Margee Herring of Wilmington, N.C. Each homeowner foots the food bill for about 100 guests, but you can share the cost by asking neighbors to sign up for a potluck dish. To create a twist, announce a different theme each year or ask homeowners to host the cuisine of a different country.
7. Light it up. Many neighborhoods come together to line their streets with candles on Christmas Eve. “We use plastic milk or water jugs,” says Herring. Costs include purchasing milk or water throughout the year and about $10 worth of 12-hour votive candles. Setup and removal takes 30-45 minutes. An alternative to luminaries is a holiday lighting contest in which neighbors vote on the home with the best holiday display.
November 24, 2009
Thanksgiving is near!
I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! I am very thankful for all your support and encouragement throughout the years and appreciate every one of my clients/associates, new and old!
Please have a wonderful and pleasant holiday...and let me know if you burn your house down cooking the turkey so I can help you find a new (hopefully safer) home around San Diego!