Northern California & Sacramento Blog

Review Market Report and Local News on our Northern California & Sacramento Blog. Covering Sacramento, Placer, Merced, Stanislaus, El Dorado, Yolo, and San Joaquin areas, we KNOW Northern California and can keep you up to date!

Oct. 1, 2018

“How’s the Market?” What’s Ahead for Real Estate

 

While no one can predict the future with certainty, most experts expect to see modest growth in the U.S. housing market for the remainder of this year and next. Inventory will remain tight, mortgage rates will continue to creep up, and affordability will remain a major issue in many parts of the country.

So what does that mean for home buyers and sellers? To answer that question, we take a closer look at some of the top indicators.

 

CONTINUED GROWTH IN HOUSING MARKET

There’s good news for homebuyers! In many markets across the country, prices have begun to stabilize after a period of rapid appreciation. Nationwide, home sales experienced a slight decline of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, primarily due to higher mortgage rates and housing prices combined with limited inventory.

However, buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines in anticipation of a big price drop may be disappointed. Demand remains strong across the sector and prices continue to rise. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index reported a 6.2 percent annual gain in June, a healthy but sustainable rate of appreciation.1

In its latest Outlook Report, Freddie Mac forecasts continued growth in the housing market due to a strong economy and low unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.9 percent in July.

“The housing market hit some speed bumps this summer, with many prospective homebuyers slowed by not enough moderately-priced homes for sale and higher home prices and mortgage rates,” according to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “The good news is, the economy and labor market are very healthy right now, and mortgage rates, after surging earlier this year, have stabilized in recent months. These factors should continue to create solid buyer demand, and ultimately an uptick in sales, in most parts of the country in the months ahead.”3

 

INVENTORY TO REMAIN TIGHT, NEW CONSTRUCTION MAY HELP 

Experts predict that demand for housing will continue to outpace available supply, especially in the entry-level price range.

“Today, even as mortgage rates begin to increase and home sales decline in some markets, the most significant challenges facing the housing market stem from insufficient inventory accompanying unsustainable home-price increase,” said National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent release.

"The answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, and there is a good probability for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is addressed,” said Yun. Additional inventory will also help contain rapid home price growth and open up the market to prospective homebuyers who are consequently—and increasingly—being priced out. In the end, slower price growth is healthier price growth."4

With so much demand, why aren’t more builders bringing inventory to the market? According to the National Association of Home Builders, a crackdown on immigration and tariffs on imported lumber have made home construction more difficult and expensive. Those factors—combined with the rising cost of land and increased zoning requirements—have put a damper on the industry overall.5

Still, there’s evidence that a modest rise in the rate of new building projects may be on the way. Freddie Mac predicts new housing construction will increase slightly after a stall last quarter.2 And a recent report by Freedonia Focus Reports forecasts an annual increase in housing starts of 2.4 percent through 2022, led by an uptick in single-family homes.6 The boost in inventory should help drive sales growth and relieve some of the pent-up demand in tight markets.

While the current lack of inventory is generally preferred by sellers because it means less competition, a combination of high prices and rising interest rates has narrowed the pool of potential buyers who can afford to enter the market. Sellers should seek out real estate agents who utilize technologically-advanced marketing tactics to reach qualified buyers in their area.

 

AFFORDABILITY REACHES LOWEST LEVEL IN A DECADE

According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, Americans are paying the most in monthly mortgage payments relative to their incomes since 2008.7 And prices aren’t expected to come down any time soon.

"We believe that the current supply and demand environment will continue to push home prices higher, just at a decelerating pace," said John Egan, Morgan Stanley’s Co-Head of U.S. Housing Strategy.

Fortunately, economists aren’t concerned about affordability levels triggering another housing crisis, as lending standards are much higher today than they were during the run-up before the recession. According to credit reporting agency TransUnion, the share of homeowners who made mortgage payments more than 60-days past due fell in the second quarter to 1.7 percent, the lowest level since the market crash.7

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun agreed with this assessment in a recent statement. “Over the past 10 years, prudent policy reforms and consumer protections have strengthened lending standards and eliminated loose credit, as evidenced by the higher than normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage and near record-low defaults and foreclosures, which contributed to the last recession.”4

  

MORTGAGE RATES EXPECTED TO CONTINUE RISING

The Federal Reserve has taken measures to help keep the housing market—and the overall economy—from overheating. It has raised interest rates twice this year so far, causing mortgage rates to surge in the first half of the year.

Economists predict that the rise in mortgage rates will continue at a more gradual rate through this year and next. The U.S. weekly average mortgage rate rose from 3.99 percent in the first week of January to as high as 4.66 percent in May. Freddy Mac forecasts an average rate of 4.6 percent for 2018 and 5.1 percent in 2019.2

The good news is, mortgage rates still remain near historic lows and a whopping 14 points below the recorded high of 18.63 percent in the early 1980s.8 Buyers who have been on the fence may want to act soon to lock in an affordable interest rate ... before rates climb higher.

"Some consumers may be thinking that because mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, maybe I should just wait until rates fall down again," said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent speech. "Well, they will be waiting forever."9

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR ME?

If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, you may want to act now. A shortage of available homes on the market means prices are likely to keep going up. And a lack of affordable rental inventory means rents are expected to rise, as well.

If you buy now, you will benefit from appreciating property values while locking in an historically-low interest rate on your mortgage. Waiting to buy could mean paying more for your home as prices increase and paying higher interest on your mortgage as rates continue to rise.

And if you’re in the market to sell your home, there’s no need to wait any longer. Prices have begun to stabilize, and rising interest rates could decrease the number of available buyers for your home. Act now to take advantage of this strong seller’s market.

 

LET’S GET MOVING

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you have specific questions or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, let us know! We’re here to help you navigate this changing real estate landscape.

 

Sources:

  1. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release -
    https://www.spice-indices.com/idpfiles/spice-assets/resources/public/documents/766551_cshomeprice-release-0828.pdf?force_download=true
  2. Freddie Mac Outlook Report -
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20180827_strong_economic_growth.html
  3. DSNews -
    https://dsnews.com/daily-dose/08-28-2018/freddie-weighs-in-on-housing-market
  4. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/realtors-chief-economist-reflects-on-past-recession-whats-ahead-for-housing-300702632.html
  5. CNN Money -
    https://www.keyt.com/lifestyle/where-is-the-us-housing-market-headed-4-things-you-need-to-know/787471572
  6. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-housing-starts-to-rise-2-4-yearly-to-2022--300711989.html
  7. Business Insider -
    https://www.businessinsider.com/housing-affordability-slowing-market-sales-2018-8
  8. Value Penguin -
    https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/historical-mortgage-rates
  9. Times Free Press -
    https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/aug/14/despite-prospects-higher-mortgage-rateshousin/476979/
Posted in Market Report
June 11, 2018

Real Estate Relocation Guide: 7 Steps to a Seamless Move

Whatever your reasons are for relocating to a new area, the process can feel overwhelming. Whether you’re moving across across town or across the country, you’ll be changing more than your address. Besides a new house, you may also be searching for new jobs, schools, doctors, restaurants, stores, service providers and more. Of course you’ll need to pack, make moving arrangements, and possibly sell your old home. With so much to do, you may be wondering: Where do I start? In this guide, we outline seven steps to help you get prepared, get organized, and get settled in your new community. Our hope is to alleviate the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the exciting adventure ahead! 

  1. Gather Information If you’re unfamiliar with your new area, start by doing some research.1 Look for data on average housing prices, demographics, school rankings and crime statistics. Search for maps that illustrate local geography, landmarks, public transportation routes and major interstates. If you’re moving across the country, research climate and seasonal weather patterns.Check out local newspapers and blogs for information on political issues and developments that could impact your new community. You may also want to search for online forums and Facebook Groups relevant to your new area. These can be a great place to find information, ask questions and just observe local attitudes and outlooks. If you’re relocating for a job, find out if your new employer offers any relocation assistance. Many large corporations have a designated human resources professional to assist employees with relocation efforts, while others may contract this service out to a third party. Some employers will also cover all or a portion of your relocation and moving costs. By gathering this information up front, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions down the road.
    Let us know if you’d like assistance with your information gathering process. We have a wealth of knowledge about this area, and we keep a number of reports and statistics on file in our office. We would be happy to share information and answer any questions you may have.
  2. Identify Your Ideal Neighborhoods Once you’ve sufficiently researched your new area, you can start to identify your ideal neighborhoods.The first step is to prioritize your “needs” and “wants.” Consider factors such as budget; commute time; quality of schools; crime rate; walkability; access to public transportation; proximity to restaurants, shopping, and place of worship; and neighborhood vibe. If possible, visit the area in person to get a feel for the community. If you’re comfortable, strike up conversations with local residents and ask about their experiences living in the area. Still not sure which neighborhood is the best fit for you and your family? Contact a local real estate agent for expert assistance. It’s usually the most efficient and effective way to narrow down your options.
    We provide neighborhood assessments and advice as a free service if you’re relocating to our area. Or, if you’re moving out of town, we can refer you to a local agent who can help.
  3. Find Your New Home (and Sell Your Old One) Once you’ve narrowed down your list of preferred neighborhoods, it’s time to start looking for a home. If you haven’t already contacted a real estate agent, now is the time. They can search for current property listings that meet your needs, typically at no cost to you.Create another list of “needs” and “wants,” but this time for your new home. Include your basic requirements for square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, but also think about what other factors are important to you and your family. An updated kitchen? A large backyard? Double sinks in the master bathroom? Narrow your list down to your top 10 and prioritize them in order of importance.2 This will give you a good starting point to begin your home search. Unless you have an unlimited budget, don’t expect to find a home with everything on your list. But having a prioritized list can help you (and your agent) understand which home features are the most important, and which ones you may be willing to sacrifice. If you already own a home, you’ll also need to start the process of selling it or renting it out. A real estate agent can help you evaluate your options based on current market conditions. He or she can also give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one. Your agent can also advise you on how to time your sale and purchase. While some buyers are able to qualify for and cover the costs of two concurrent mortgages, many are not. There are a number of options available, and a skilled agent can help you determine the best course given your circumstances.
    We would love to assist you if you have plans to buy or sell a home in our area. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your unique needs and devise a custom plan to make your relocation as seamless as possible. If you’re relocating outside of our area, we can help you find a trusted agent in your new city.
  4. Prepare for Your Departure While everyone considers packing a fundamental part of moving, we often overlook the emotional preparation that needs to take place. If you have children, this can be especially important. Communicate the move in an age-appropriate way, and if possible take them on a tour of your new home and neighborhood. This can alleviate some of the mystery and apprehension around the move.4 Allow yourself plenty of time to pack up your belongings. Before you start, gather supplies, including boxes, tape, tissue paper and bubble wrap. Begin with non-essentials—such as off-season clothes or holiday decorations—and sort items into four categories: take, trash, sell and donate/give away.5 To make the unpacking process easier, be sure to label the top and sides of boxes with helpful information, including contents, room, and any special instructions. Keep a master inventory list so you can refer back to it if something goes missing. If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. To ensure an accurate estimate of your final cost, it’s best to have them conduct an in-person walkthrough. Make sure you’re working with a reputable company, and avoid paying a large deposit before your belongings are delivered.6 If you plan to drive to your new home, map out the route. And, if necessary, make arrangements for overnight accommodations along the way. If driving is not a good option, you may need to have your vehicles transported and make travel arrangements for you, your family and your pets. Lastly, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule final get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes.
    Looking for a reputable moving company? We are happy to provide referrals, as well as recommendations on where to procure packing supplies in our area.
  5. Prepare for Your Arrival To make your transition go smoothly, prepare for your arrival well before moving day. Depending on how long your belongings will take to arrive, you may need to arrange for temporary hotel accommodations. If you plan to move in directly, pack an “essentials box” with everything you’ll need for the first couple of nights in your new home, such as toiletries, toilet paper, towels, linens, pajamas, cell phone chargers, snacks, pet food and a change of clothes.7 This will keep you from searching through boxes after an exhausting day of moving.Arrange in advance for your utilities to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity and gas. (And while you’re at it, schedule a shut-off date for your current utilities.) Update your address on all accounts and subscriptions and arrange to have your mail forwarded through the postal service. If you have children, register them for their new school or daycare and arrange for the transfer of any necessary records. You may want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. And if you plan to remodel, paint or install new flooring, it’s easier to have it done before you bring in all of your belongings.8 However, it’s not always feasible without someone you trust locally who can supervise. Another option is to keep a portion of your things in storage while you complete some of these projects.  If there are no window treatments, you may need to install some (or at least put up temporary privacy film), especially in bedrooms and bathrooms. And if appliances are missing, consider purchasing them ahead of time and arranging for delivery and installation shortly after you arrive. Just be sure to check measurements and installation instructions carefully so you aren’t stuck with an appliance that doesn’t fit or that requires costly modifications to your new home. If you own a car, check the requirements for a driver’s license and vehicle registration in your new area and contact your insurance company to update your policy.8 If you will rely on public transportation, research options and schedules. 
    If you’re relocating to our area, we can help! We offer “VIP Relocation Assistance” to all of our buyer clients. Contact us for a list of preferred hotels, utility providers, housekeepers, contractors and more! 
  6. Get Settled In Your New Home While staring at an endless pile of boxes can feel daunting, you should take advantage of this opportunity to make a fresh start. By creating a plan ahead of time, you can ensure your new house is thoughtfully laid out and well organized.If you followed our suggestion to pack an “essentials box” (see Step 5), you should have easy access to everything you’ll need to get you through the first couple of nights in your new home. This will allow you some breathing room to unpack your remaining items in a deliberate manner, instead of rushing through the process.7 If you have young children, consider unpacking their rooms first. Seeing their familiar items can help them establish a sense of comfort and normalcy during a confusing time. Then move on to any items you use on a daily basis.10 Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favorite toys, treats, food and water bowl, and a litter box for cats. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.11 As you unpack, make a list of items that need to be purchased so you’re not making multiple trips to the store. Also, start a list of needed repairs and installations. If you have a home warranty, find out what’s covered and the process for filing a service order. Although you may be eager to get everything unpacked, it’s important to take occasional breaks. Have some fun, relax and explore your new hometown!
    Need help with unpacking, organizing or decorating your new home? Contact us for a list of recommended professionals in our area. And when you’re ready to start exploring local “hot spots,” we’d love to fill you in on our favorite restaurants, stores, parks and other attractions!
  7. Get Involved In Your New Community Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. People who have recently moved tend to be isolated socially, more stressed, and less likely to participate in exercise and hobbies. However, there are ways to combat these negative effects.12First, get out and explore. In a 2016 study, recent movers were shown to spend less time on physical activities and more time on their computers, which has been proven to lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, get out of your house and investigate your new area. And if you travel by foot, you’ll gain the advantages of fresh air and exercise.12 Combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship or volunteer for a cause. Don’t wait for friends to come knocking on your door. Instead, go out and find them. Finally, be a good neighbor. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbors, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it. Once you’ve developed friendships and a support system within your new neighborhood, it will truly start to feel like home.
    Want more ideas on how to get involved in your community? Contact us for a free copy of our report, “Welcome Home: 10 Tips to Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Hometown Haven.”

LET’S GET MOVING While moving is never easy, these seven steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one step at a time. And don’t hesitate to ask for help! In a 2015 study, 61 percent of participants ranked moving at the top of their stress list, above divorce and starting a new job.13 But with a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—it is possible to have a positive relocation experience. We specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and “less-stress” relocation. Along with our referral network of movers, handymen, housekeepers, decorators, contractors and other service providers, we can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give us a call or message us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation , 916-749-5577! 

Sources:

  1. You Move Me - https://www.youmoveme.com/us/blog/105-tips-for-a-successful-relocation
  2. com - https://www.houselogic.com/buy/house-hunting/must-have-items/
  3. Livestrong - https://www.livestrong.com/article/436651-the-effects-of-sunlight-fresh-air-on-the-body/
  4. Parents Magazine - https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/buy-a-house/make-moving-easier-on-you-and-your-kids/
  5. The Spruce - https://www.thespruce.com/starting-to-pack-for-your-move-2436470
  6. com - https://www.moving.com/tips/hiring-quality-movers/
  7. The Spruce - https://www.thespruce.com/unpack-your-entire-home-2435815
  8. com - https://www.houselogic.com/buy/moving-in/before-you-move/
  9. HGTV - https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/moving-checklist
  10. com - https://www.moving.com/tips/how-to-unpack-and-organize-your-house/
  11. ASPCA - https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/moving-your-pet
  12. Psychology Today - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/is-where-you-belong/201607/why-youre-miserable-after-move
  13. The Daily Express - https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/574171/Divorce-stressful-moving-home
Posted in Home Ownership
May 12, 2018

Staging Your Home For A Quick Sale

According to the National Association of Realtors, staging a home prior to listing it can result in a faster and more profitable sale.1 In fact, the Real Estate Staging Association estimates that professionally staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market, receive more foot traffic, and typically sell for more money.2

picture1 Source: National Association of Realtors  

Following are 10 tips you can use to get your home “show ready” prior to hitting the market. These easy and cost-effective ideas will help your house look its best—and help buyers visualize themselves living there. Even if you’re not currently in the market to sell, you can use these tactics to breathe new life into your existing home decor. To get a plan customized for your particular property, give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to share our insider knowledge of the buyer preferences in your neighborhood … so you’ll know where to focus your time, money and energy to maximize your results.

1. REMOVE CLUTTER

Decluttering is typically the first thing we tell clients to do to prepare their home for sale. And according to the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 93 percent of agents agree.1 Decluttering is the act of removing excess “stuff” from your home to make it appear clean and spacious. Overflowing closets and cluttered countertops can make your house feel small and cramped. In contrast, sparsely-filled closets and clear countertops will make your home appear larger and assure buyers that there will be plenty of room to store their belongings. Don’t neglect drawers, cupboards and even your refrigerator in your decluttering efforts. Serious buyers will check out every nook and cranny of your home, so pack up anything you don’t use on a daily basis and store it off site. The same goes for jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medication, firearms and other items of value. Store them in a locked safe or storage unit before opening your property to buyers. Make sure any items that remain are clean, tidy and well organized. The good news is, when it comes time to move, a large portion of your packing will be done! 

2. DEEP CLEAN AND DEODORIZE

From carpets to bathrooms to appliances, having a clean home is a MUST. If you’ve ever checked into a dirty hotel room, you can imagine how buyers can be turned off by a home that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned. If you have a large home, or are short on time, you may want to invest in a professional cleaning service. And if you have carpet, we generally recommend you rent a steam cleaner or hire a company to clean your carpets for you. In addition to cleaning, it’s equally important to neutralize odors in your home that can be off-putting to buyers, especially pet smells and cigarette smoke. If the weather allows, open your windows and let in fresh air. Empty the trash frequently, and especially before a showing. Avoid cooking any strong-smelling food such as fish or heavy spices. You may need to clean (or remove) drapes and upholstery if odors are particularly strong. Try to keep your home in clean, show-ready condition while it’s on the market. You never know when a potential buyer will want to drop by for a viewing.

3. DEPERSONALIZE

Your family photos and personal mementos are often your most treasured possessions. For many of us, they are what make a house a home. However, buyers will have a hard time envisioning themselves living in a place if it feels like YOUR home. Pack up any items that are personal to you and your family, such as photos, books, children’s artwork, travel souvenirs and religious items. Collectibles and excessive knickknacks can be distracting to buyers. Instead, keep your decor items minimal and generic to appeal to the largest number of buyers.

4. NEUTRALIZE YOUR COLOR PALETTE

Along those same lines, bold color choices may not appeal to all buyers. By incorporating a neutral color palette throughout your home, buyers can better visualize the addition of their own furniture and decor, which may contrast with your current color scheme. But don’t limit yourself to white and beige. Incorporating earth tones and midtone neutrals—like mocha and “greige” (grey-beige)—can add a touch of modern sophistication to your decor.3

One of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to neutralize your home’s decor is with paint. Walls painted in dark, bold or bright colors can turn off buyers. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color like greige (try Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter) or warm white (such as Kelly-Moore’s Rotunda White) offers a clean palette upon which buyers can visualize adding their own personal touches.4 If your sofa is worn, stained or has a bold pattern, consider purchasing a neutral-colored slipcover. Dated or overly busy window coverings should be taken down or replaced. Instead, bring in tasteful pops of color with throw pillows and accessories.

5. INCREASE YOUR CURB APPEAL

You only get one chance to make a first impression. According to a 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of home buyers drove by a property after viewing it online but did NOT go inside for a walkthrough.5 That means if your curb appeal is lacking, buyers may never make it through the door. Walk around your home and look for any neglected areas that might seem like “red flags” to buyers, such as missing roof shingles or rotted siding. Trim trees and shrubs if needed, and make sure your lawn and flower beds are well maintained. Add some colorful flowers to your front beds and/or flower boxes to brighten up your landscaping. Make sure the exterior of your home is as clean as the interior. This can often be accomplished with a simple garden hose. But if your siding, walkway, or driveway are stained or dingy, you may want to rent a pressure washer. Thoroughly wash windows and screens, and remove and store dark solar screens if you have them. Open shutters, curtains and blinds, which will not only make your house look more inviting from the outside, it will brighten the inside. Consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door, trim and shutters. And small, cosmetic improvements like new house numbers, a colorful wreath and a clean front doormat can have a big impact.6

6. FRESHEN KITCHENS AND BATHS

Kitchens and bathrooms will show better and appear larger if all items are cleared from the countertops, except for one or two decorative pieces.7 You should have already packed up non-essentials during your decluttering process, and the remaining items should be neatly stored in pantries and cupboards. If your cabinets are dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to make them modern and bright. Consider purchasing new shower curtains, bath mats and towels for the bathrooms and new dish towels for the kitchen. Before each showing, make sure kitchens and baths are spotless and trash cans are empty and out of sight. To add a comforting aroma, try baking cookies, or in the fall, simmer some cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot of water before you leave the house. In the spring, try a vase of fresh cut lilacs.7

7. SET THE TABLE

Buyers often imagine hosting family gatherings in their new home, and the dining room plays a large role in that vision. If your dining room chairs are stained or outdated, you may want to recover them or use slipcovers. In most cases, an imperfect table can be camouflaged with a neutral and stylish tablecloth. Be sure the table is centered underneath the chandelier and on the area rug if you’re using one. If your dining room is small, remove all other furniture and leave only four chairs.8 Dress up the table using nice tableware and cloth napkins or a table runner and centerpiece. For a long table, try lining up a series of small vessels down the middle.

8. REARRANGE FURNITURE

Start in your living room and think about what you want to emphasize (and de-emphasize) about the space. For example, do you have a beautiful fireplace or a stunning view? If so, arrange the furniture with that focal point in mind. Use a symmetrical seating arrangement to create a cozy conversation area adjacent to the focal point. If the room is small, consider removing some of the furniture to make it feel larger, especially oversized pieces. That includes oversized television sets, unless it’s a designated media room. Pulling furniture away from the wall can make the room feel more spacious, and placing your largest furniture piece in the far-left corner (as opposed to near the entry) can create the illusion of a larger space.9 For small bedrooms, remove all the furniture except the bed, bedside tables and a dresser. If it’s a large room, add one or two chairs and a table to create a seating area. Place lamps on the bedside tables and seating area if you have one.10 Make sure each space in your home has a clearly defined purpose. For example, if you’ve been using an extra bedroom as a catch-all storage space, stage it as a guest room or office instead. Turn an awkward alcove into a workstation or a reading corner. Help buyers imagine how they could use the space themselves.3

9. LIGHTEN UP

Lighting can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of a home. Few buyers seek out a dark house; most prefer one that’s light and bright. Make sure windows are clean, and open curtains and blinds to let in the maximum amount of daylight. Each room should have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (such as a reading lamp or under-cabinet light), and accent (such as a floor or table lamp). Aim for a goal of 100 total watts per 50 square feet.11 If your mounted light fixtures are dated, replacing them with something more modern is an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can have a big impact. Strategically placed landscape lighting can add a dramatic effect to your home’s exterior. Welcome evening visitors with a lighted walkway, or use a spotlight to accentuate trees or other landscaping features. Solar lights require no wiring; simply place them in a sunny spot and they will turn on automatically at dusk.

10. HIGHLIGHT YOUR BACKYARD’S BEST FEATURES

While your home’s interior often takes center stage, don’t forget about staging your home’s outdoor areas to help buyers imagine how they could utilize the space. Even a small patio can become a selling feature with the addition of a cafe table and chairs. Add a tray of plates and coffee cups to help buyers envision a peaceful breakfast on the back porch. Place chairs and wine glasses around an outdoor firepit or hang a hammock with a book in your favorite shady spot.3 These small, simple additions can help buyers visualize the possibilities your backyard has to offer.  

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

 If you’re in the market to sell your home, this list provides a great starting point for your preparations. But nothing beats the trained eye and expertise of a real estate agent. Before you do any work, we recommend consulting a professional for advice about your particular property. We offer free, no-commitment seller consultations and will walk through your home with you to help you assess which projects and upgrades are worth your time and money, and which ones you can skip. As local market experts, we are intimately familiar with buyer preferences in your area. We’ll run a comparative market analysis to find out how your home compares to others currently on the market, as well as those that have recently sold. Then we’ll tailor a custom plan to suit your particular property, budget and needs. Please call or email us today with questions or to schedule a free consultation! Sources:

  1. National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/migration_files/reports/2017/2017-profile-of-home-staging-07-06-2017.pdf
  2. Real Estate Staging Association – http://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=164548
  3. Houzz – https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2661221/list/sell-your-home-fast-21-staging-tips
  4. HGTV – https://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/10-curb-appeal-tips-from-the-pros-pictures
  5. National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/reports/2017/2017-home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends-03-07-2017.pdf
  6. The Spruce – https://www.thespruce.com/must-try-neutral-paint-colors-797983
  7. HouseLogic – https://www.houselogic.com/sell/preparing-your-home-to-sell/home-staging-checklist/
  8. StageMyOwnHome.com – http://www.stagemyownhome.com/staging-the-dining-room.html
  9. Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/small-living-room-staging-tricks/
  10. SFGATE – http://homeguides.sfgate.com/stage-master-bedroom-34573.html
  11. HGTV – https://www.hgtv.com/shows/designed-to-sell/15-secrets-of-home-staging-pictures
Posted in Selling Your Home
April 24, 2018

New listing Rocklin CA

4606 Midas Ave, Rocklin, CA

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
3 BEDROOMS | 2 (2 full ) BATHROOMS | 1778 SQUARE FEET

MOVE-IN READY ---- FRESH, CLEAN, open living home with fresh paint and new flooring throughout. Bright kitchen with nook closeby, around the corner from the cozy family room with wood-burning fireplace. Living room and dining room are open, making for spaciousness. Bedrooms are large with wardrobes, and bathrooms are updated with granite. A large utility room, with separate entrance, is versatile for an office, hobbies, crafts or exercise equipment. 

 
Posted in Rocklin
April 21, 2018

HOUSE CARE CALENDAR: A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home

From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home’s maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1

The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family ... and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1 You just need to know where and how to spend your time.

Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the year. It's applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who you think could benefit, no matter where their home is located.
Spring

After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.

Inside

  • Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
    Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out clutter and clothes you no longer wear, and toss old and expired food and medications.
  • Shut Down Heating System
    Depending on the type of heating system you have, you may need to shut your system down when not in use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper procedures.
  • Tune Up A/C
    If your home has central air conditioning, schedule an annual tune-up with your HVAC technician. If you have a portable or window unit, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper maintenance.2
  • Check Plumbing
    It’s a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. Check your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it’s working properly.3
  • Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.4


Outside

  • Inspect Perimeter of Home
    Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.
  • Clean Home’s Exterior
    Wash windows and clean and replace screens if they were removed during the winter months. For the home’s facade, it’s generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. A simple garden hose will work in most cases.5
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts
    Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.6
  • Rake Leaves
    Gently rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. Too many leaves can cause an excessive layer of thatch, which can damage the roots of your lawn. They can also harbor disease-causing organisms and insects.7 However, take care because overly vigorous raking can damage new grass shoots.
  • Seed or Sod Lawn
    If you have bare spots, spring is a good time to seed or lay new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the remainder of the year. The peak summer heat can be too harsh for a new lawn. If you miss this window, early fall is another good time to plant.8
  • Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
    While a healthy lawn is the best deterrent for weeds, some homeowners choose to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to minimize weeds. When applied at the right time, it can be effective in preventing weeds from germinating. However, a pre-emergent herbicide will also prevent grass seeds from germinating, so only use it if you don’t plan to seed or sod in the spring.
  • Plant Flowers
    After a long winter, planting annuals and spring perennials is a great way to brighten up your garden. It’s also a good time to prune existing flowers and shrubs and remove and compost any dead plants.
  • Mulch Beds
    A layer of fresh mulch helps to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. However, be sure to strip away old mulch at least every three years to prevent excessive buildup.9 
  • Fertilize Lawn
    Depending on your grass type, an application of fertilizer in the spring may help promote new leaf and root growth, keep your lawn healthy, and reduce weeds.10
  • Tune Up Lawn Mower
    Send your lawn mower out for a professional tune-up and to have the blades sharpened before the mowing season starts.11 
  • Inspect Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, check that it’s working properly and make repairs as needed.
  • Check the Deck
    If you have a deck or patio, inspect it for signs of damage or deterioration that may have occurred over the winter. Then clean it thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of stain if needed.
  • Prepare Pool
    If you own a pool, warmer weather signals the start of pool season. Be sure to follow best practices for your particular pool to ensure proper maintenance and safety.
     

Summer

Summer is generally the time to relax and enjoy your home, but a little time devoted to maintenance will help ensure it looks great and runs efficiently throughout the season.

Inside

  • Adjust Ceiling Fans
    Make sure they are set to run counter-clockwise in the summer to push air down and create a cooling breeze. Utilizing fans instead of your air conditioner, when possible, will help minimize your utility bills.
  • Clean A/C Filters
    Be sure to clean or replace your filters monthly, particularly if you’re running your air conditioner often.
  • Clear Dryer Vent
    Help cut down on summer utility bills by cleaning your laundry dryer vent at least once a year. Not only will it help cut down on drying times, a neglected dryer poses a serious fire hazard.
  • Check Weather Stripping
    If you’re running your air conditioner in the summer, you’ll want to keep the cold air inside and hot air outside. Check weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure a good seal.

 

Outside

  • Mow Lawn Regularly
    Your lawn will probably need regular mowing in the summer. Adjust your mower height to the highest setting, as taller grass helps shade the soil to prevent drought and weeds.
  • Water Early in the Morning
    Ensure your lawn and garden get plenty of water during the hot summer months. Experts generally recommend watering in the early morning to minimize evaporation, but be mindful of any watering restrictions in your area, which may limit the time and/or days you are allowed to water.
  • Weed Weekly
    To prevent weeds from taking over your garden and ruining your home’s valuable curb appeal, make a habit of pulling weeds at least once per week.
  • Exterminate Pests
    Remove any standing water and piles of leaves and debris. Inspect your lawn and perimeter of your home for signs of an invasion. If necessary, call a professional exterminator for assistance.

Fall

Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.

Inside

  • Have Heater Serviced
    To ensure safety and efficiency, it’s a good idea to have your heating system serviced and inspected before you run it for the first time.
  • Shut Down A/C for the Winter
    If you have central air conditioning, you can have it serviced at the same time as your furnace. If you have a portable or window unit, ensure it’s properly sealed or remove it and store it for the winter.
  • Inspect Chimney
    Fire safety experts recommend that you have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned periodically. Complete this task before you start using your fireplace or furnace.
  • Seal Windows and Doors
    Check windows and doors for drafts and caulk or add weatherstripping where necessary.
  • Check Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    If you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the spring, they are due for another inspection. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so it’s time to replace them again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.3

 

Outside

  • Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
    Fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees, shrubs, cool-season vegetables and bulbs that will bloom in the spring.12 It’s also a good time to reseed or sod your lawn.
  • Rake or Mow Leaves
    Once the leaves start falling, it’s time to pull out your rake. A thick layer of leaves left on your grass can lead to an unhealthy lawn. Or, rather than raking, use a mulching mower to create a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
  • Apply Fall Fertilizer
    If you choose not to use a mulching mower, a fall fertilizer is usually recommended. For best results, aerate your lawn before applying the fertilizer.13
  • Inspect Gutters and Roof
    Inspect your gutters and downspouts and make needed repairs. Check the roof for any broken or loose tiles. Remove fallen leaves and debris.
  • Shut Down Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, drain any remaining water and shut it down to prevent damage from freezing temperatures over the winter.
  • Close Pool
    If you have a pool, it’s time to clean and close it up before the winter.

Winter

While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.

Inside

  • Maintain Heating System
    Check and change filters on your heating system, per the manufacturer's instructions. If you have a boiler, monitor the water level.
  • Tune Up Generator
    If you own a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. Make sure it’s working before you need it, and stock up on supplies like fuel, oil and filters.
  • Prevent Frozen Pipes
    Make sure pipes are well insulated, and keep your heat set to a minimum of 55 degrees when you’re away. If pipes are prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly overnight or when away from home. You may also want to open cabinet doors beneath sinks to let in heat.

Outside

  • Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
    Before the first freeze, drain and shut off outdoor faucets. Place an insulated cover over exposed faucets, and store hoses for the winter.
  • Remove Window Screens
    Removing screens from your windows allows more light in to brighten and warm your home during the dark, cold winter months. Snow can also get trapped between screens and windows, causing damage to window frames and sills.
  • Service Snowblower
    Don’t wait until the first snowstorm of the season to make sure your snowblower is in good working order. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance or have it serviced by a professional.
  • Stock Up on Ice Melt
    Keep plenty of ice melt, or rock salt, on hand in preparation for winter weather. Look for brands that will keep kids and pets safe without doing damage to your walkway or yard.
  • Watch Out for Ice Dams
    Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that can build up along the eaves of your house. They can do major damage to gutters, shingles and siding. Heated cables installed prior to the first winter storm can help.14
  • Check for Snow Buildup on Trees
    Snow can cause tree limbs to break, which can be especially dangerous if they are near your home. Use a broom to periodically remove excess snow.15 

While this checklist should not be considered a complete list of your home’s maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide. Systems, structures and fixtures will need to be repaired and replaced from time-to-time, as well. The good news is, the investment you make in maintaining your home now will pay off dividends over time.

Keep a record of all your maintenance, repairs and upgrades for future reference, along with receipts. Not only will it help jog your memory, it can make a big impact on buyers when it comes time to sell your home … and potentially result in a higher selling price.

Are you looking for help with home maintenance or repairs? We have an extensive network of trusted contractors and service providers and are happy to provide referrals! Call/Txt 916-749-5577 or email davidav@kw.com and we can connect you with one of our preferred vendors.

Sources:

  1. com –
    https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/value-home-maintenance/
  2. Home Advisor –
    https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/servicing-your-air-conditioner/
  3. Keyes & Sons Plumbing and Heating –
    http://keyes-plumbing.com/things-to-check-in-spring/
  4. Allstate Insurance Blog –
    https://blog.allstate.com/test-smoke-detectors/
  5. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/17268616/list/how-to-wash-your-house
  6. Angie’s List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/why-gutter-cleaning-so-important.htm
  7. Angie’s List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-thatch-and-how-does-it-impact-my-lawn.htm
  8. HGTV –
    http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/lawns/top-spring-lawn-care-tips-pictures
  9. This Old House –
    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/more/may-mulching
  10. Lowes –
    https://www.lowes.com/projects/lawn-and-garden/fertilize-your-lawn/project
  11. The New York Times –
    https://www.nytimes.com/guides/realestate/home-maintenance-checklist
  12. Better Homes and Gardens Magazine –
    https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/garden-care/what-to-plant-in-the-fall/
  13. The Spruce –
    https://www.thespruce.com/late-fall-fertilizing-2152976
  14. This Old House –
    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-get-rid-ice-dams
  15. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/55572864/list/your-winter-home-maintenance-checklist
Posted in Home Ownership
April 12, 2018

Spring Home Sales Starting Early This Year



April 2018 Home Market Summary compared to April 2017:

Prices are up 8.8%
Homes for Sale up 8.4 %
Homes Under Contract up 9.5 %
Months of Inventory 1.4 Months, up 7.8%
Days on the Market 34 days

Based on the 6 month trend, the Average Sold Price trend is "Appreciating"


 
Market Trends For April 2018, Sacramento Metro Area, Including El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo Counties


April 2018 is a Seller's market! CLICK HERE to read the full report.



What if you had to move tomorrow … would you be ready and able?

According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, one of the top limiting factors preventing buyers from closing on a home is difficulty in obtaining mortgage financing. Whether you plan to buy a house in the next few months or years, it’s never too early to start preparing financially for your next home purchase.

Even if you have no plans to move, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. You never know what surprises life has in store! That’s why I’ve attached our latest report: The Home Buyer's Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready. It outlines three simple steps to help you lay the groundwork for your future home purchase.

Looking for even more information? Check out our blog for additional tips and insights: Link to blog post on our website.



Tips for Preparing Your House for Sale This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC]  MyKCM


Searching for a new home or wondering what home prices are doing? CLICK the boxes below and search all areas and values.



"Thanks for stopping by! Call me at 916-749-5577 with any questions, we are here to assist you with all of your Real Estate needs."


BRE # 01186358

Posted in News
March 28, 2018

Are You Ready to Get Your Mortgage?

 The Home Buyer's Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready

Don’t wait until you’re ready to move to start preparing financially to buy a home.

If you’re like the vast majority of home buyers, you will choose to finance your purchase with a mortgage loan. By preparing in advance, you can avoid the common delays and roadblocks many buyers face when applying for a mortgage. 

The requirements to secure a mortgage may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But we’ve outlined three simple steps to get you started on your path to homeownership.

Even if you’re a current homeowner, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance so you don’t encounter any surprises along the way. Lending requirements have become more rigorous in recent years, and changes to your credit history, debt levels, job type and other factors could impact your chances of approval. 

It’s never too early to start preparing to buy a home. Follow these three steps to begin laying the foundation for your future home purchase today! 

STEP 1: CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE 

Your credit score is one of the first things a lender will check to see if you qualify for a loan. It’s a good idea to review your credit report and score yourself before you’re ready to apply for a mortgage. If you have a low score, you will need time to raise it. And sometimes fraudulent activity or erroneous information will appear on your report, which can take months to correct. 

The credit score most lenders use is your FICO score, a weighted score developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation that takes into account your payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%).1

 

 Source: myFico.com

 

Base FICO scores range from 300 to 850. A higher FICO score will help you qualify for a lower mortgage interest rate, which will save you money.2 

By federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion). Request your free credit report at https://www.annualcreditreport.com. 

Minimum Score Requirements 

To qualify for the lowest interest rates available, you will usually need a FICO score of 760 or higher. Most lenders require a score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage.3 

If your FICO score is less than 620, you may be able to qualify for a non-conventional mortgage. However, you should expect to pay higher interest rates and fees. For example, you may be able to secure an FHA loan (one issued by a private lender but insured by the Federal Housing Administration) with a credit score as low as 580 if you can make a 3.5 percent down payment. And FHA loans are available to applicants with credit scores as low as 500 with a 10 percent down payment.4 

Increase Your Credit Score

 There’s no quick fix for a low credit score, but the following steps will help you increase it over time.5 

1. Make Payments on Time

At 35 percent, your payment history accounts for the largest portion of your credit score. Therefore, it’s crucial to get caught up on any late payments and make all of your future payments on time. 

If you have trouble remembering to pay your bills on time, set up payment reminders through your online banking platform, a free money management tool like Mint, or an app like BillMinder. 

2. Avoid Applying for New Credit You Don’t Need

New accounts will lower your average account age, which could negatively impact your length of credit history. Also, each time you apply for credit, it can result in a small decrease in your credit score. 

The exception to this rule? If you don’t have any credit cards—or any credit accounts at all—you should open an account to establish a credit history. Just be sure to use it responsibly and pay it off in full each month. 

If you need to shop for a new credit account, for example, a car loan, be sure to complete your loan applications within a short period of time. FICO attempts to distinguish between a search for a single loan and applications to open several new lines of credit by the window of time during which inquiries occur. 

3. Pay Down Credit Cards

When you pay off your credit cards and other revolving credit, you lower your amounts owed, or credit utilization ratio (ratio of account balances to credit limits). Some experts recommend starting with your highest-interest debt and paying it off first. Others suggest paying off your lowest balance first and then rolling that payment into your next-lowest balance to create momentum. 

Whichever method you choose, the first step is to make a list of all of your credit card balances and then start tackling them one by one. Make the minimum payments on all of your cards except one. Pay as much as possible on that card until it’s paid in full, then cross it off your list and move on to the next card. 

 

Debt

Interest Rate

Total Payoff

Minimum Payment

Credit Card 1

12.5%

$460

$18.40

Credit Card 2

18.9%

$1,012

$40.48

Credit Card 3

3.11%

$6,300

$252

 4. Avoid Closing Old Accounts

Closing an old account will not remove it from your credit report. In fact, it can hurt your score, as it can raise your credit utilization ratio—since you’ll have less available credit—and decrease your average length of credit history. 

Similarly, paying off a collection account will not remove it from your report. It remains on your credit report for seven years, however, the negative impact on your score will decrease over time. 

5. Correct Errors on Your Report

Mistakes or fraudulent activity can negatively impact your credit score. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your credit report at least once per year. The Federal Trade Commission has instructions on their website for disputing errors on your report. 

While it may seem like a lot of effort to raise your credit score, your hard work will pay off in the long run. Not only will it help you qualify for a mortgage, a high credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate on car loans and credit cards, as well. You may even qualify for lower rates on insurance premiums.6 

STEP 2: SAVE UP FOR A DOWN PAYMENT AND CLOSING COSTS 

The next step in preparing for your home purchase is to save up for a down payment and closing costs. 

Down Payment 

When you purchase a home, you typically pay for a portion of it in cash (down payment) and take out a loan to cover the remaining balance (mortgage).  

Many first-time buyers wonder: How much do I need to save for a down payment? The answer is … it depends. 

Generally speaking, the higher your down payment, the more money you will save on interest and fees. For example, you will qualify for a lower interest rate and avoid paying for mortgage insurance if your down payment is at least 20 percent of the property’s purchase price. But what if you can’t afford to put down 20 percent? 

On a conventional loan, you will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20 percent. PMI is insurance that compensates your lender if you default on your loan.7 

PMI will cost you between 0.3 to 1.5 percent of the overall mortgage amount each year.8 So, on a $100,000 loan, you can expect to pay between $300 and $1500 per year for PMI until your mortgage balance falls below 80 percent of the appraised value.9 For a conventional mortgage with PMI, most lenders will accept a minimum down payment of five percent of the purchase price.7 

If a five-percent down payment is still too high, an FHA-insured loan may be an option for you. Because they are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans only require a 3.5 percent down payment if your credit score is 580 or higher.7 

The downside of getting an FHA loan? You’ll be required to pay an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) of 1.75 percent of the total loan amount, as well as an annual MIP of between 0.80 and 1.05 percent of your loan balance on a 30-year note. There are also certain limitations on the types of loans and properties that qualify.10 

There are a variety of other government-sponsored programs created to assist home buyers, as well. For example, veterans and current members of the Armed Forces may qualify for a VA-backed loan requiring a $0 down payment.7 Consult a mortgage lender about what options are available to you.

 

TYPE

MINIMUM DOWN

ADDITIONAL FEES

Conventional Loan

20%

Qualify for the best rates and no mortgage insurance required

Conventional Loan

5%

Must purchase private mortgage insurance costing 0.3 - 1.5% of mortgage annually

FHA Loan

3.5%

Upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.75% of loan amount and annual fee of 0.8 - 1.05%

 Current Homeowners

If you’re a current homeowner, you may have equity in your home that you can use toward your down payment on a new home. We can help you estimate your expected return after you sell your current home and pay back your existing mortgage. Contact us for a free evaluation! 

Closing Costs 

Closing costs should also be factored into your savings plan. These may include loan origination fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title searches, title insurance, surveys and other fees associated with the purchase of your home. Closing costs vary but typically range between two to five percent of the purchase price.11 

If you don’t have the funds to pay these outright at closing, you can often add them to your mortgage balance and pay them over time. However, this means you’ll have a higher monthly payment and pay more over the long term because you’ll pay interest on the fees. 

STEP 3: ESTIMATE YOUR HOME PURCHASING POWER 

Once you have the required credit score, savings for a down payment and a list of all your outstanding debt obligations via your credit report, you can assess whether you are ready and able to purchase a home. 

It’s important to have a sense of how much you can reasonably afford—and how much you’ll be able to borrow—to see if homeownership is within reach. 

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is one of the main factors mortgage companies use to determine how much they are willing to lend you, and it can help you gauge whether or not your home purchasing goals are realistic given your current financial situation. 

Your DTI ratio is essentially a comparison of your housing expenses and other debt versus your income. There are two different DTI ratios that lenders consider: 

Front-End Ratio 

Also called the housing ratio, this is the percentage of your income that would go toward housing expenses each month, including your mortgage payment, private mortgage insurance, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and association dues.12 

To calculate your front-end DTI ratio, a lender will add up your expected housing expenses and divide it by your gross monthly income (income before taxes). The maximum front-end DTI ratio for most mortgages is 28 percent. For an FHA-backed loan, this ratio must not exceed 31 percent.13 

Back-End Ratio 

The back-end ratio takes into account all of your monthly debt obligations: your expected housing expenses PLUS credit card bills, car payments, child support or alimony, student loans and any other debt that shows up on your credit report.12 

To calculate your back-end ratio, a lender will tabulate your expected housing expenses and other monthly debt payments and divide it by your gross monthly income (income before taxes). The maximum back-end DTI ratio for most mortgages is 36 percent. For an FHA-backed loan, this ratio must not exceed 41 percent.13 

Home Affordability Calculator 

To get a sense of how much home you can afford, visit the National Association of Realtors’ free Home Affordability Calculator at https://www.realtor.com/mortgage/tools/affordability-calculator. 

This handy tool will help you determine your home purchasing power depending on your location, annual income, monthly debt and down payment. It also offers a monthly mortgage breakdown that projects what you would pay each month in principal and interest, property taxes, and home insurance. 

The Home Affordability Calculator defaults to a back-end DTI ratio of 36 percent. If the monthly cost estimate at that ratio is significantly higher than what you’re currently paying for housing, you need to consider whether or not you can make up the difference each month in your budget. 

If not, you may want to lower your target purchase price to a more conservative DTI ratio. The tool enables you to scroll through higher and lower price points to see the impact on your monthly payments so you can identify your ideal price point. 

(Note: This tool only provides an estimate of your purchasing power. You will need to secure pre-approval from a mortgage lender to know your true mortgage approval amount and monthly payment projections.) 

Can I Afford to Buy My Dream Home? 

Once you have a sense of your purchasing power, it’s time to find out which neighborhoods and types of homes you can afford. The best way to determine this is to contact a licensed real estate agent. We help homeowners like you every day and can send you a comprehensive list of homes within your budget that meet your specific needs. 

If there are homes within your price range and target neighborhoods that meet your criteria—congratulations! It’s time to begin your home search. 

If not, you may need to continue saving up for a larger down payment … or adjust your search parameters to find homes that do fit within your budget. We can help you determine the right course for you. 

START LAYING YOUR FOUNDATION TODAY 

It’s never too early to start preparing financially for a home purchase. These three steps will set you on the path toward homeownership … and a secure financial future! 

And if you are ready to buy now but don’t have a perfect credit score or a big down payment, don’t get discouraged. There are resources and options available that might make it possible for you to buy a home sooner than you think. We can help. 

 

"Want to find out if you’re ready to buy a house? Give us a call, 916-749-5577. We’ll help you review your options, connect you with one of our trusted mortgage lenders, and help you determine the ideal time to begin your new home search." 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs. 

Sources:

1.      Quicken Loans Blog –
https://www.quickenloans.com/blog/how-does-your-credit-score-affect-your-mortgage-eligibility

2.      myFICO –
https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-report-credit-score-articles/

3.      Bankrate –
https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/what-is-a-good-credit-score-to-buy-a-house/

4.      Bankrate –
https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/7-crucial-facts-about-fha-loans-1.aspx

5.      myFICO –
https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/improve-your-credit-score/

6.      The Balance –
https://www.thebalance.com/having-good-credit-score-960528

7.      Bankrate –
https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/how-much-is-a-down-payment-on-a-house/

8.      Bankrate –
https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/the-basics-of-private-mortgage-insurance-pmi.aspx

9.      Bankrate –
https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/removing-private-mortgage-insurance.aspx

10.   The Balance –
https://www.thebalance.com/fha-home-loan-pitfalls-315673

11.   Investopedia –
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/closingcosts.asp

12.   Bankrate –
https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/why-debt-to-income-matters-in-mortgages-1.aspx

13.   The Lenders Network –
https://thelendersnetwork.com/fha-debt-to-income-ratio/

 

Posted in Home Financing
Feb. 28, 2018

Find out where the Real Estate Market is headed in 2018!

 

As we head into a new year, the most common question we receive is, “What’s the outlook for real estate in 2018?” 

It’s not just potential buyers and sellers who are curious; homeowners also want reassurance their home’s value is going up. The good news is that a strong U.S. economy, coupled with low unemployment rates, is expected to drive continued real estate growth in 2018. However, changes on the horizon could significantly impact you if you plan to buy, sell or refinance this year. 

 

HOME VALUES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE 

Get ready for another strong year! U.S. home values and sales volume will continue to rise in 2018. 

Experts agree that home prices will increase in 2018, but predict a slower rate of appreciation than 2017, which clocked in at nearly 7 percent nationwide. National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts a growth rate this year of 5.5 percent,1 while Freddie Mac’s September Outlook Report forecasts a rate of 4.9 percent. Either way, all indicators point towards continued growth in 2018.2 

What does it mean for you? If you’re a current homeowner, congratulations! Real estate proves once again to be a solid investment over the long term. And if you’re considering selling this year, there’s never been a better time. Contact us to request a free Comparative Market Analysis to find out how much you can expect your home to sell for under current market conditions. 

If you’re in the market to buy this year, there’s good news for you, too. Although prices continue to rise, the rate of appreciation has slowed. Still, don’t wait any longer. Prices will continue to go up, so you’ll pay more six months from now than you would today. Call us to setup a free, no-obligation property search and get notified about listings that meet your criteria as soon as (or before) they hit the market. 

NEW CONSTRUCTION WILL MAKE REAL ESTATE MORE ACCESSIBLE


Lack of inventory in the housing market has been a primary impediment to homeownership for many Americans. “Ten years ago, the problem in the housing market was lack of buyers,” says Yun. “Today, the problem is lack of sellers. Inventory levels are near historic lows.”3 

Yun also notes, “The lack of inventory has pushed up home prices by 48 percent from the low point in 2011, while wage growth over the same period has been only 15 percent. Despite improving confidence [in 2017] from renters that now is a good time to buy a home, the inability for them to do so is causing them to miss out on the significant wealth gains that homeowners have benefitted from through rising home values.”1 

The good news? Yun expects a 9.4 percentage point increase in single-family new home construction starts.4 

Economists at Freddie Mac make a similar prediction. “Existing home sales are unlikely to increase much going forward. Limited inventory will remain a consistent problem … Growth in home sales will be primarily driven by new home sales, which should continue to grind higher with single-family construction.”2 

Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, agrees. "The markets that are going to grow are ones where builders can add that entry level product."

What does it mean for you? If you’ve been frustrated by lack of inventory in the past, 2018 may bring new opportunities for you to find a budget-friendly home that suits your needs. Give us a call to discuss options for new construction in our area. 

MILLENNIALS WILL MOVE TO THE SUBURBS 

The new entry-level construction will come with a catch though … it will be located in the suburbs, where the availability of land and fewer zoning requirements make it more cost-effective to build. Economists predict that’s where millennials and first-time buyers will flock for the greater variety of homes at affordable prices.6 

Rising home prices, a sluggish job market, and an increase in student loan debt made homeownership largely unattainable for many millennials in past years. However, there’s significant evidence that this trend is turning around. For the fourth year a row, the National Association of Realtors' 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey found that millennials were the largest group of homebuyers.7 

As millennials age, they are settling down and having families, which has prompted an increasing demand for larger but affordable homes. Thus, many are flocking to the suburbs, with 57 percent of millennial buyers opting for a suburban location. 

What does it mean for you? If you’re a millennial who has been priced out of urban living, or is looking for more space for your growing family, a number of suburbs in our area have a lot to offer. We can point you towards the communities that will best meet your needs. 

And if you’re a suburban homeowner with plans to sell, give us a call. We know how to market your home to millennials … and can help you sell quickly for top dollar by appealing to this growing market segment! 

BOOMERANG BUYERS WILL RETURN TO THE MARKET 

“Boomerang buyers” comprise the nearly 10 million Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales during the housing recession of 2006 to 2014. 

According to MyFico.com, a foreclosure remains on a credit report for seven years. It takes many boomerang buyers at least that long to raise their credit score and save up enough cash to qualify for a new mortgage.8 

With this “seven-year window” in mind, RealtyTrac predicts that the largest wave of boomerang buyers – more than 1.3 million – will be eligible to re-enter the housing market in 2018.9 

Markets likely to see the highest influx of boomerang buyers are those that had a high percentage of foreclosures AND have remained affordable. The majority of boomerang buyers are middle-class Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. Expect to see even more competition for entry-level homes in those markets. 

What does it mean for you? If you’re a boomerang buyer, we understand your unique circumstances. We can help you navigate the real estate process and write competitive offers that will play to your strengths. Contact us to discuss your options. 

NEW TAX LEGISLATION WILL IMPACT HOMEOWNER DEDUCTIONS 

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” passed at the end of 2017 nearly doubles the standard deduction, so far fewer Americans are expected to itemize this year. For those who do, however, it could mean less homeowner deductions are available than in the past. 

Previously, homeowners could deduct interest paid on the first $1 million of mortgage debt, but that threshold has been lowered to $750,000 for new mortgages. (Existing mortgages will not be impacted.) 

Additionally, taxpayers will no longer be able to fully deduct state and local property taxes plus income or sales taxes. The new legislation restricts this deduction to $10,000. It also eliminates the deduction for moving expenses (except for members of the Armed Forces) and interest on home equity loans unless the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.10 

It’s yet to be seen how the tax bill will impact the real estate market overall. While some economists predict a price reduction in certain markets, Republican lawmakers project the bill will increase take-home pay and stimulate the economy overall. According to Realtor.com Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner, “Some house hunters—particularly wealthy buyers—will see an increase in after-tax income, making an already tough housing market even more competitive. This increased demand could drive prices up even higher than they are already.”11 

What does it mean for you? If you’re an existing homeowner, be sure to consult a tax professional if you’re concerned about the impact the new tax bill could have on you. 

And if you’re planning to buy or sell this year, we can help you determine how the tax bill could affect demand in your current or target neighborhood and price range. 

INTEREST RATES WILL RISE


No one knows exactly what will happen with mortgage rates this year, but the Mortgage Bankers Association anticipates the Federal Reserve will raise rates three times in 2018, with Freddie Mac’s 30-year fixed rate mortgage reaching 4.8 percent by the end of Q4, up from around 4 percent at the end of 2017.12 

Kiplinger.com Economist David Payne also predicts interests rates will rise this year, with short-term rates outpacing long-term rates as the Fed aims to curb inflation in a tightening job market. He predicts the bank prime rate that home equity loans are based on will increase from 4.25 percent to 5 percent by the end of 2018. 13 

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy, act now. Rising interest rates will decrease your purchasing power, so act quickly before interest rates go up. Give us a call today to get your home search started. 

And if you’re a current homeowner who is considering refinancing or a home equity loan, don’t wait. We can help you estimate your property’s fair market value so you’ll be prepared before contacting a lender. 

2018 ACTION PLAN


If you plan to BUY this year:

 

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

 

  1. Call us for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it’ll also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property … and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. We can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

WE’RE HERE TO HELP 

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big-picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market, and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood. If you have specific questions, or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, please give us a call! We’d love to discuss how issues here at home are likely to impact your desire to buy or a sell a home this year.

 

Sources:

1.      Inman News – 
https://www.inman.com/2017/11/03/what-to-expect-from-the-2018-housing-market/

2.      Freddie Mac September Outlook Report – 
http://www.freddiemac.com/research/outlook/20170921_looking_ahead_to_2018.html

3.      Marketplace.org –
https://www.marketplace.org/2017/07/05/economy/tight-inventory-slows-housing-market-down-0

4.      National Association of Realtors Press Release –
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/existing-home-sales-to-grow-37-percent-in-2018-but-inventory-shortages-and-tax-reform-effects-loom-300549447.html

5.      Fox Business News –
http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/11/27/entry-level-buyers-drive-solid-new-home-sales.html

6.      Zillow Research  –
https://www.zillow.com/research/2018-predictions-17217/

7.      National Association of Realtors’ Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report  –
https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends

8.      MyFico.com - 
https://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/foreclosure-fico-score-affect.aspx

9.      RealtyTrac - 
http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosure-trends/boomerang-buyers/

10.   National Association of Realtors - 
https://www.nar.realtor/taxes/tax-reform/the-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-what-it-means-for-homeowners-and-real-estate-professionals

11.   Realtor.com - 
https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/tax-cuts-survey/

12.   Mortgage Bankers Association Economic Forecast  –
https://www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/research-and-economics/forecasts-and-commentary

 

13.   Kiplinger Economic Forecast  –
https://www.kiplinger.com/article/business/T019-C000-S010-interest-rate-forecast.html#iOf4mkSFvvTmi2wr.99

 

Posted in Market Report
Nov. 21, 2017

Ready to Make A Move? Now What..

 

Sell First, then Buy?
Buy First, then Sell?

Like the classic negotiating problem called the Prisoner’s Dilemma, there are trade-offs when trying to decide if you should sell your current home before buying, or buy before selling.


If you’re a home owner wanting to move, you face a classic dilemma. If you make one choice—sell first, then buy—you stand to lose one way. But if you make the other choice—buy first, then sell—you stand to lose another way. Which risk should you take? Here is a short guide to help you weigh the pros and cons of your choices.


The Ideal Situation

Ideally, you would sell your home and move into a new home at the same time. There would be a perfect cross over—you close the sale on your old home, walk the money over to the other office, and close on your purchase.

Except that 90% of the time, it doesn’t work that way. In most cases, the timing is off in one direction or the other. Your house sells before you’ve found a new home. Or you find the perfect new home, but haven’t sold your old house yet.

If you have to choose between these two undesirable options (and you do), which way should you go? Let’s look at the pros and cons of choosing whether you should sell first or buy first.

Your Choices (and You Do Have Choices)

You are sitting in your living room one day, and you realize how small it is. You hear the road noise outside, and you think it would be nice to be somewhere quieter. You decide it’s time to move to something larger, better situated.

You interview and select the perfect Realtor, let’s call her Debbie (but your Realtor is probably Bob or Tara, or something like that). You do all the things Debbie tells you to do to prepare your home for sale. You are excited when you see the sign go up in your yard. You’re ready for the offers to flow in over the next several days.

You call Debbie and ask if you can go look at new houses. Trying not to be a downer Debbie, she cautions you. She starts to present you with the options:

Option #1: Sell & Close before You Buy

The first thing Debbie says is, Wait until your home sells and closes before making an offer on a new home. Allow about 60 days after closing your old home before you’re able to move into the new home.

But, you say, if we sell first, then where will we live for two months? Where would we put all our stuff? We’d have to stay in a hotel. We’d have to store our stuff. We’d be moving twice! No way. We’re not going to do that!

Option #2: Have Two Mortgages

The next thing Debbie says is, Talk to your lender to see if you can afford two mortgages. Then you can buy one house before you sell the other. They might give you a “bridge loan” covering both mortgages temporarily.

Well, you say, we can barely afford this loan. No way can we qualify for two mortgages, even if we wanted them. We don’t have much equity in this home. Nope. We have to sell before we can buy. What are we going to do!?

Option #3: Sell at Rock-Bottom Price

Ok, says Debbie. How about if you Take your time, find the right home, make an offer, then put your home on the market at a rock bottom price. That way it can close quickly enough for you to close on the purchase of the house you made an offer on. By selling at a rock bottom price, you can get the best offer possible, maybe even cash, if your price is low enough.

Forget that, you say. We need the most money we can get out of this.

Option #4: Make an Offer “Subject to Selling”

Then Debbie suggests: Make an offer on your new home with a special clause written in called “subject to selling another home.” That would mean the sellers of the new home that you want would be happy to wait around while you find a buyer for your home, then close simultaneously.

That sounds great! You say.

But then Debbie puts you in the seller’s shoes. She asks you if you would accept an offer with a “subject to selling another home” clause written into it. She asks, what if the buyer takes six months to sell his home? Or what if the buyer gets less money than expected for his home and has to back out of buying your home?

Debbie points out that if a buyer makes an offer on your house subject to the sale of his house, you are shouldering his risk.

Once you accept his offer, you take your house off the market. Now you have to wait for him to get an offer on his house. You wait. And wait. A couple of weeks later he gets an offer. Hallelujah. So you wait a while longer, sure that it’s just a short time now until he closes and can close on your house. But then something goes awry with his buyer’s financing and the purchase falls apart. You’ve wasted weeks and weeks, perhaps months, waiting for a sale that now has to start over from scratch.

That’s silly, you say. We would never accept such an offer.

Debbie wisely says nothing for a moment while crickets sound in the silence. And of course you realize that if you would not accept such an offer from someone, what are the chances that someone else would accept such an offer from you? Especially in a seller’s market.

Option #5: Counter-Offer with a “Rent-Back” or “Replacement Housing” Clause

Debbie then says she has the best idea yet. Get an offer on your house first. Then counter the buyer’s offer with a “replacement housing” contingency. In this case, you get an acceptable offer, then you ask Debbie to write a counter offer that says you must find suitable housing before moving, and you’d like the possibility of renting back after closing for 15 (or 30, 45, even 60) days.

The risk is that you lose a buyer who needs to get into a house quickly, but you can always decide that at the last minute, since you only do this option after getting an offer on your house. You could lose the buyer at the counter offer, but you can reduce that risk by asking Debbie to make a note in your listing that you’d prefer to rent back.

Well, you say. That would mean paying rent on our own house. I wouldn’t like that. Still, it might only be for a short time. And since I can’t get a loan, it might be my only option. Do you have any more ideas?

Option #6: Take Your Chances

Debbie makes her final point. Take your chances and juggle time frames. When you get an offer on your home, your buyer has about 17 days to do inspections and get his loan approved. He can pull out any time in those 17 days on the flimsiest of reasons. You can do the same, so go ahead and make offers all day long. You can always say they didn’t clean their gutters regularly and now the roof will need to be replaced, so you don’t want to buy. NOTE: This is done all the time, but is not, strictly speaking, ethical.

Well, I guess we could do that. Should we do that? But can we still ask the buyer for that replacement housing clause?

 


Final Word

So where does that leave you? Sell first, then buy…or buy first, then sell?

Here is what you should do:

First or second, speak to your lender. Understand your financial situation and what kind of loan options there are for you. Can you have two mortgages? What can you afford in a new home? Get the facts.

Second or first, speak to your Realtor. Understand the market. Are homes selling quickly or slowly in your neighborhood? Would your home in its location and condition sell quickly or slowly at the price you want? What price could you get, and is it worth it to move at that price? What would your ideal replacement home cost? Can you get a new home you like for the price you can afford? Will you get enough out of your sale to make your new home affordable?

Third, make a contingency plan for living in temporary housing. Price out storage and moving trucks. Look around for friends with big basements where you can stay or store goods. Price out extended stay hotels. You probably won’t need this, but it’s good to have the facts.

Fourth, combine options:

·        Go out and look at houses in your new price range. Do the leg work now, because once you put your house on the market, you may have to make decisions quickly.

·        Put your house on the market and plan to ask the buyer of your house for a rent-back.

 

·        After you get an offer and the buyer accepts your rent-back clause, start making offers. If your buyer backs out during his inspection period, be sure you also back out of your purchase. Otherwise you might be locked in to buying the new home, but without a buyer for your old home.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Nov. 12, 2017

Sacramento Metro Home News and Lifestyle

 

 
 
 
 
Downsizing Happens at All Ages Now: Here's How to Ace It
 
Downsizing is often associated with empty nesters and retirees, but as it turns out, more and more homeowners of all ages - including millennials - are looking for smaller residential footprints.

As New York Real estate agent, Tyler Whitman, points out in a recent article in uexpress.com: "Downsizing isn't just for empty nesters. To meet their goals, many millennials must go through this challenging process too."

Downsizing dilemmas

Getting rid of belongings that won't fit in your smaller space is challenging. The upside - of particular interest to millennials - is the opportunity to dump old inherited pieces for trendy modern furniture.

Measure your new home before moving day, and decide what to take before you start packing. If there's a too-big item that you can't bear to part with, store it. But not at mom and dad's, say experts; they may be downsizing soon themselves.

Emotional attachment can make it hard to decide what you should throw out. Ask a straight-talking friend or family member to help with an unbiased second opinion on tough decisions - like whether your bookcase or king-sized bed is way too big for your new digs.

Once you've rounded up everything you won't be taking, have a garage sale. You'll feel less guilty about parting with so much, and you can make a surprising amount of money to help with moving expenses.

Trying to dispose of all the items you can't sell can be overwhelming. Hiring a pickup service for junk removal or to take to a charity can be well worth the expense.

 
 
How and What You Can Learn from Your Kids
 
Most parents will tell you that having children teaches you a thing or two. It tests your patience and your ability to go without sleep.

It teaches you how to change diapers, how to read storybooks like a comedian, and how to hold a 20-pound object while making pasta.

But that's not all - it turns out, kids are pretty wise, too.

Here are three of the most important things you can learn from your children:

There are different ways of doing things

Toddlers want to try things on their own. They don't want their parents to show them the "right" way; they want to see if their way works. Let's take a page from our kids. Once we learn one way of doing something, we rarely veer off course.

But experimentation is often key to growth and learning. Let's think outside our own boxes.

There's a world of possibilities

Kids wake up each day filled with anticipation. They're excited because they know innately that they've got a whole day to find fun and adventure. When we become adults, we lose that sense of excitement and anticipation.

And we may not want to face our day, because we're dreading the tasks ahead. But what if we think like a kid and try to see each day not as a list of things to do, but as a period of time we can shape and even enjoy?

We don't need much to be happy

Kids want things. They want toys, sodas, and TV shows. But they're also endlessly entertained by Lego or a big cardboard box or a day at the beach. Kids don't need much to be happy and entertained and, though we often forget it, adults don't need much either. Do as your kid does, and seek pleasure in everything, especially the small things.

We adults will be more excited, creative, and happier for it.

 
Your Smartphone Is Calling Your Name
Smartphones offer virtually unlimited access to information, entertainment, and other diversions, but researchers have learned that all this may come at a cognitive cost. A study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that smartphones may hijack users' attention - even when they're hidden away.

The study revealed that the mere presence of a mobile device can co-opt a person's cognitive resources and decrease available mental capacity, undercutting intellectual performance and leaving fewer cerebral resources available for other thinking tasks.

Study author and University of Texas psychologist Adrian Ward and his colleagues used memory and attention tests to find that, although powered off, smartphones still reduced volunteers' working memory and problem-solving ability.

It seems we just can't stop thinking about our phones, and even a vague awareness of them can sap our brain's energy. Given that smartphones are everywhere today, these findings have significant implications for learning, creativity, and other intellectual endeavors.

So put them away. Way away.

 
Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
 
How has the price of your home changed in today's market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you're wondering what's happening to prices in your area, or you're thinking about selling your house, I'll be able to help.

Just give my office a call for a no-fuss, professional evaluation.

I won't try to push you into listing with me or waste your time.

I'll just give you the honest facts about your home and its value.

And maybe I'll also give you the "inside scoop" on what's happening in the housing market near where you live!

Just give my office a call or reply to this email to arrange an appointment. Alternatively, stop by at the office.  Check your value now click below.


With prices going up and interest rates still down, now might be the best time to sell. Click here for a hassle free evaluation of your home's value!

Down Payments Depend on Your Mortgage Type
 
A question from home buyers, particularly first timers, is: "How much do I have to put down to buy a house?" The answer is: It depends. The most important of those factors will be your credit, followed by income.

Conventional loans

These mortgages are loans obtained through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If you have really good credit, you may be looking at a minimum down payment of 3%.

This is definitely something that first-time home buyers should be looking into when they start the financing process. With a down payment this low, you will require mortgage insurance, which, when certain conditions are met sometime in the future, can be removed.

Also, ask your mortgage professional about what is called the HomeReady mortgage program, obtained through Fannie Mae. This program caters to low-to-moderate-income borrowers and those purchasing in lower-income areas.

FHA loans

The minimum down payment with FHA programs is 3.5%. This program is ideal for borrowers whose credit scores may be on the low side.

While FHA is good for people who may be unable to qualify for conventional financing through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the challenge here is that these loans are generally more expensive to own. This is due to the fact that you will be required to have two kinds of mortgage insurance, and, unlike in conventional mortgages, the mortgage insurance will be in place for the life of the loan.

Keep in mind that, in addition to the down payment on both of the loan types listed above, you can expect to have other outlays of cash associated with the purchase, including closing costs and some type of escrow account.

You will still be able to get seller credits to help you with these other outlays, but note: seller credits can't be used to help you with a down payment.
 
 
David Vandermyden
 
David Vandermyden
Pacific Coast Group - KW

1420 East Roseville Parkway
Suite # 202
Roseville CA 95661

916-787-1200 Cell
916-404-2900 Office
 
www.sacramentoagents.com
 
Davidav@kw.com
 
License # BRE 01186358
 
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Preparing your home for sale can make the difference between getting the price you want - or ending up disappointed.

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Bring Your Home Up-to-Date with this Year’s Color Trends
 
Searching for a fast way to catch attention and bring out the best in your house? Go from drab to dynamic in just days with these hot color trends.

The colors

Without a doubt today's popular color trends reflect the warmth and beauty of nature – with a touch of elegance. Blue Iris, Caribbean Sea and Ochre are a few of the new offerings to be found on this year's palette. Close behind is green – in fact, green is so popular it is considered by many to be the new "neutral" color to be used in almost any setting. Search for natural hues reminiscent of flora and fauna tones.

The style

One of the newest color trends isn't the color itself but rather the location of color usage. Painted ceilings, floors and even cabinets are rapidly transforming ordinary rooms into extraordinary settings. Solve common design dilemmas by strategically using color to draw the eye upward or outward for narrow rooms or other common conditions.

The future

When it comes to trends, knowing what is "out" is nearly as important as spotting the next big thing. While you might be able to get away with a shade of green that is a little different than this year's selection, some colors are a pure liability. Make it a priority to paint if your home is still sporting pastels from the 90s, brown/beige combos from the 80s, or (gasp!) avocado green and harvest gold from the 70s.
 

Ask the Agent: This Month's Question

What do home inspectors do?

Before you sign on the dotted line, you should have an understanding of the current condition of the property you intend to purchase. A buyer can order a home inspection report to identify potential problems and then negotiate any repairs necessary before the sale is final. 

Typically, for a flat fee, a home inspector spends one to three hours reviewing the interior, exterior, and major systems of a home. He or she will prepare a written report, and may include photos or videos. 

The inspection will point out safety or potential barriers-to-purchase issues, such as sagging floors or an aging roof. However, the inspector can't break through walls or pull up floors, and also may be unable to access certain areas. For an additional fee, special inspection equipment can look further. 

A home inspection identifies items you may not have noticed about your home - and may well save you from making a big mistake.
 
 
  This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.  
 
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