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!

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 "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
License # BRE 01186358
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Want to Sell Your Home Fast? Get My Free Guide
Preparing your home for sale can make the difference between getting the price you want - or ending up disappointed.

Discover some easy things you can do by requesting my free guide, "50 Tips to Prepare Your Home for a Speedy, Top-Price Sale."
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

Quick Quiz
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What environmental condition causes cold germs to travel farther?

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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Posted in News
Nov. 7, 2017

Multigenerational Households May Be the Answer to Price Increases

Multigenerational homes are coming back in a big way! In the 1950s, about 21%, or 32.2 million Americans shared a roof with their grown children or parents. According to an article by, “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is now living in a multigenerational household – a household with two or more adult generations, or grandparents living with grandchildren – a level that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since 1950.”

Another report that proves this point is the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers which states that 13% of home buyers purchased multigenerational homes last year. The top 3 reasons for purchasing this type of home were:

  1. To take care of aging parents (22%, up from 19% last year)
  2. Cost savings (17%)
  3. Children over the age of 18 moving back home (16%, up from 14% last year)

Valerie Sheets, Spokesperson for Lennar, points out that,

“Everyone is looking for the perfect home for any number of family situations, such as families who opt to take care of aging parents or grandparents at home, or millennials looking to live with their parents while they attend school or save for a down payment.”

For a long time, nuclear families (a couple and their dependent children) became the accepted norm, but John Graham, co-author of “Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living,” says, “We’re getting back to the way human beings have always lived in – extended families.”

This shift can be attributed to several social changes over the decades. Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living; “Data suggest that multigenerational living is more prevalent among Asian (28%), Hispanic (25%), and African-American (25%) families, while U.S. whites have fewer multigenerational homes (15%).”

Additionally, women are a bit more likely to live in multigenerational conditions than are their male counterparts (12% vs. 10%, respectively). Last but not least, basic economics.

Valerie Sheets brings to light the fact that home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years. She says that, “As home prices increase, more families tend to opt for living together.”

Bottom Line

Multigenerational households are making a comeback. While it is a shift from the more common nuclear home, these households might be the answer that many families are looking for as home prices continue to rise in response to a lack of housing inventory.

Posted in News
Oct. 11, 2017

Sacramento Housing Market Update October 2017

A Cooldown in Housing? Not This Season

The Market continues to be a sellers market for Sacramento Metro area homes.  Since early spring the number of homes for sale have balanced out with demand in the $350,000 and above price ranges.

The number of homes for sale vs under contract is closer to balanced in prices for move up home owners.  During September the number of homes going under contract was 2386 out of a total of 4541, or 52.5 % under contract.

For sellers the price range of $350,000 to $600,000, homes are on the market an average of 26 days vs 22 for homes under $350,000.  prices have increased an average of 8.1 % over the past 12 months.  This is the largest segment of the market at 43%.

The first time buyer segment is the most competitive if you are attempting to purchase a home in this price range.  With 29 % of the homes in the segment, often homes go under contract the first week on the market.  the average days on the market is 22 and prices have increased by 10.7 % over the past 12 months.

The Luxury home segment in the price range of $600,000 to $950,000 represents 17.5 % of the market, selling on average in 47 days.  Prices have increased 3.4 % over the past 12 months.

Estate size properties, above $950,000 is 9.4 % of the market.  Average days on the market is 81 and prices have increased 4.5 % in the past 12 months.

The graphs and summary information gives additional information about the Sacramento Metro housing market and trends over the past 15 months.

 September 2017 is a Seller's market*

Home For Sale in September 2017: 4541 units.

Up 0.2% compared to the last month
Down 5.9% compared to the last year

Home Closed in September 2017: 2386 units.

Down 16.1% compared to the last month
Down 7.7% compared to the last year

Home Placed under Contract in September 2017: 2663 units.

Down 4.2% compared to the last month
Up 6% compared to the last year

*Buyer's market: more than 6 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Seller's market: less than 3 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Neutral market: 3 - 6 months of inventory based on closed sale

September 2017 Average Sold Price per Square Footage is Appreciating*

Average Sold Price per Square Footage in September 2017:$229 

Up 0.9% compared to the last month
Up 10.6% compared to the last year

*Based on 6 month trend - Appreciating/Depreciating/Neutral

September 2017 Average Continuous Days on Market trend Remains Steady*

Continuous Days on Market in September 2017: 30 

Up 7.1% compared to the last month
Down 11.8% compared to the last year

September 2017 Sold/Original List Price Ratio is Falling*

Sold/Original List Price % in September 2017: 98% 

0% compared to the last month
Up 2.1% compared to the last year

*Based on 6 month trend - Rising/Falling/Remains Steady

September 2017 is a Seller's market*

Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales in September 2017: 1.9 

Up 18.8% compared to the last month
0% compared to the last year

*Buyer's market: more than 6 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Seller's market: less than 3 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Neutral market: 3 - 6 months of inventory based on closed sales


Posted in Market Report
Aug. 18, 2017

Assessed Value vs Market Value

Real Home Value Calculator: Assessed Value vs Market Value

Understanding a home’s true market value is about more than pictures, software assessments and price-per-square-foot. Whether you’re a current homeowner thinking of selling or are house-hunting, it’s crucial you understand what factors affect home valuation. By partnering with a local market expert, sellers will avoid pricing their house out of the market (the kiss of death in real estate) and buyers will ensure they get a good deal on their next home. 

So, how do you accurately calculate a home’s value? After all, the value a home is assigned by its town or county and the one it’s given when it’s listed are often dramatically different from one another. Which one is accurate and what does it all mean? Read on to learn more. 

Assessed Value vs Market Value: What’s the difference?

When it comes to home value, you’ll often hear two terms, assessed value and market value

A home’s assessed value is often the lower number of the two, and is the value given by your municipality or county. Investopedia defines assessed value as “the dollar value assigned to a property to measure applicable taxes.”1 Although property tax laws vary, assessors commonly arrive at this number by taking into account the following: 

?       What comparable/similar homes are selling for in your area.

?       The value of recent improvements.

?       Income from renting out a room or space on the property.

?       How much it would cost to rebuild on the property. 

A home’s market value, or Fair Market Value, is the price a buyer is willing to pay or a seller is willing to accept for a property. A skilled real estate professional will arrive at the value using a variety of metrics, including: 

?       External characteristics, such as lot size, home style, the condition of the home and curb appeal.

?       Internal characteristics, such as the number of rooms and their size, the type and condition of the heating or HVAC system, the quality and condition of construction, the flow of the home, etc.

?       The sales price of comparable homes that have sold in your area.

?       Supply and demand; that is, how many buyers and sellers are in the area.

?       Location; that is, the quality and desirability of your neighborhood and other community amenities. 

Why are these values often so different? An assessor usually estimates your property’s market value during a reassessment or if you make a physical change or improvement to it.2 As a result, a property may not be reassessed for many years. While your home’s market value may fluctuate with the market, your home’s assessed value is more likely to remain steady.3 

What Determines a Home’s Value?

You’ve likely heard the motto of real estate: “Location, location, location.” This means a home’s value relies on its location. While the home and structures on the property will likely depreciate over time, the land beneath it tends to appreciate. Why? Land is in limited supply and a growing population puts increased demand on the housing supply. As a result, values increase.4 

Other factors that affect your home’s value include the function and appearance of the property, how well the home and other structures are maintained and whether the home is a lifestyle property, such as a ranch style with mountain views or beach bungalow. 

Ultimately, the best indication of a home’s value is the overall supply and demand of the market. This is why we recommend you partner with a real estate professional who takes all of these factorsthe assessed value, local market conditions, home features and has physically walked through and experienced your home into consideration to determine the most accurate market value. 

How to determine if a property is comparable to yours.

Both assessed value and market value are partially determined by the sales price of similar, or comparable, homes in the area. To determine if a home is comparable to yours, look for the following characteristics: 

?       Lot size

?       Square footage

?       Home style or similar architecture

?       Age

?       Location 

While you may not find a home with the same exact characteristics as yours, you’ll likely find a few that are close. To account for any disparity, adjust the sales prices of the comparable properties. Look at the differences between your property and the one in question and determine if the differences increased or decreased the sales price and by how much. For example, if your home has two bathrooms and a similar home only has three, estimate how much that extra bathroom increased the sale price of the similar home. The adjusted sale price is the estimation of what the property would sell for if the properties were exactly the same.2 

Where can you find comparable sales?

Fortunately, you can find comparable home sales in a variety of places.2

?       Your local assessor’s office is able to provide a list of recent sales you can browse and compare or a sales history of a particular house, home style or neighborhood.

?       Your municipality. Many cities keep local sales information in their offices or post it online.

?       Online databases, such as a real estate database

?       Your local newspapers may offer some real estate information in the form of quarterly sales reports in the business or real estate sections of the newspaper.

?       Our office. We regularly do Comparable Market Analysis of homes in our local area. 

How to calculate your home’s value.

By answering a few questions about your home, property and the local market, you can begin to estimate your property’s value. We’ve also included a worksheet for you below... 

Home Value Questions:

When was your home last assessed?

What was its CMA assessment value?

What is your area’s average sales price?

What is your area’s average price/square foot? 


?       Is the architecture and exterior structure of the home consistent, superior or inferior to other homes in the area?

?       Does the era or genre (Modern, Victorian, Ranch, Cottage, etc.) add a premium based on current design trends?

?       How does the floor plan and room size proportions of the home compare to other homes on the market?

Interior Structure:

?       How does the kitchen compare to others on the market?

?       Updated or outdated

?       Floor plan

?       Appliance packages

?       How does the Master Suite compare to others on the market?

?       Size

?       First/second floor

?       Updated or outdated

?       Access to Master Bath

?       How does the Master Bath compare to others on the market?

?       Updated or outdated

?       Shower and bath

?       Flooring

Outside Areas:

?       Are there views, outdoor living areas or recreational areas?

?       Pools

?       Ponds

?       Patios

?       How does the landscaping and hard-scaping compare to the market? (e.g., built elements such as walkways, patios, decks, etc.)

Overall Condition of Home

?       What is the level of repair needed to compete with other homes?

?       Does the home need to be staged? How does it show?

?       What curb appeal projects are necessary to be consistent with others on the market?


Home Assessment Worksheet

 If you want to accurately assess a home’s value, it’s crucial to know about the market activity of our local area. We can help! Give us a call to get the scoop on the local market. 

Sources: 1. Investopedia

               2. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance


               4. Investopedia,

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 18, 2017

Increase Your Home’s Value Up to 28% with These 5 Tips

Great curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighborhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbors, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal. 

1. Make your home’s exterior look like new.

For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house. 

Paint. Paint is the best way to make your home appear newer. While you can paint your home yourself, if it’s large or more than one story, consider hiring a professional. Painting is a fairly inexpensive improvement with between 60 to 100 percent return on investment.1 

Maintain your siding. Over time, weather and the elements can make your home’s siding appear dull and dirty. Use a pressure washer to clean stains, spider webs and accumulated dirt and grime, or use a soft cloth and a household cleaner to get into those small nooks and spaces. Although the average life expectancy of siding ranges from 60 to 100 years, depending on the material, extreme weather may reduce this number. If you need to replace the siding, you’ll enjoy a 77 percent return on investment.1 

Paint or replace garage doors. If your garage doors are in good condition, give them a new coat of paint. If they’re beginning to show their age, consider replacing them. Not only are new garage doors more energy efficient and better insulated than older models, they also have a 91.5 percent return on investment.1 

Maintain your fence. Replace rotted or worn posts and panels and freshen it up with a coat of paint. If you have a hedge that serves as your property’s border, keep it trimmed and in good shape. 

2. Pay attention to the small details.

The small details tie your home’s exterior together and help it stand out from others in the neighborhood. 

Paint front door, trim and shutters. This inexpensive improvement adds brightness to a home, whether you choose a bold color, a neutral tone or classic white. 

Install new door fixtures and be sure they match in style and finish and complement the style of your home. 

Update your house numbers. Make sure potential buyers and guests can find your home. If the numbers have faded or need an update, replace them. If choosing a metallic finish, make sure it matches the finish of your exterior light fixtures. 

3. Tend to your driveway and lawn.

Well-landscaped homes may sell for between 5.5% and 12.7% more than other similar homes and studies show it may also add up to 28 percent to your home’s overall value.5   

Place a border along your driveway or walkway made of brick, stone, pavers or another hardscape element to add visual interest to a plain driveway.           

Maintain your green space. If you have grass, a well-maintained, green lawn makes your home look inviting and picturesque. However, in many parts of the country, water conservation is becoming more important. Xeriscaped landscapes incorporate drought-tolerant vegetation that thrives in warm, dry climates, such as lavender, sage, wisteria and agave, with water-saving drip irrigation and mulch. Xeriscaping has a cost savings of 36 cents per square foot annually through reduced irrigation and maintenance costs.3 Additionally, these landscapes are virtually maintenance free, which makes it an attractive option for busy buyers. 

Include trees and shrubs to create texture and add interest to your landscape. Planting a few types of trees and shrubs of varying heights, widths and flowering times boosts your home’s curb appeal year-round. 

4. Make it feel inviting.

It’s no secret that emotions play a role in a person’s decision to purchase a home. Stage the outside of your home to evoke warm feelings. 

Stage your porch. If you have a front porch, make it feel more inviting by including seating, such as a chair or loveseat, an outdoor rug and a small table. If space is an issue, incorporate small decorative touches, such as a festive wreath or potted plant. 

Hang flower boxes on your front porch railings and/or below your windows. If you don’t want to affix flower boxes to your home, purchase nice planters and containers and place them around your porch or on your front steps. 

Choose flowers and plants that bloom at different times of the year for year-round appeal. For example, bulbs not only bloom all spring, they also multiply and come up every year. Perennials often flower for most of the year and will prevent you from having to replant them every year.           

If you don’t have a green thumb, choose low maintenance plants and flowers. Flowers such as lavender, rosemary, and zinnias are a few low-maintenance and drought-tolerant options.           

5. Boost Your Online “Curb Appeal.”

For those interested in selling, it’s important to know the effect online curb appeal has on a home. The better impression your home gives online, the more likely buyers will want to see it in person. Here’s how to get your home ready for its listing debut. 

Stage your home. Staging shows your home in its best light and helps potential buyers picture themselves living there. 

Hire a professional to take photos. A photographer has the skills and equipment to shoot your home in the best light and make it look its best. 

Include a short video tour of the home. Videos are becoming a popular way to give buyers a glimpse of the home before they step foot in it. 

Before you start a home project, keep these four things in mind:

1.         Why are you renovating? In other words, is your intention to update your home and get it show-ready or do you want to sell it for more money? Don’t fall into the trap of undertaking major renovations that may not pay off when you sell. If your home is in good shape, a few inexpensive updates may be enough to make your home attractive to buyers.

2.         The style of the neighborhood. Whenever you renovate your home, make sure the project fits with the style of the neighborhood and rules of the homeowner association. For example, an HOA may limit the choice and number of trees you can plant on your property. Similarly, a tall hedge border may not fit in in a neighborhood of low, picket fences.

3.         Permits. If you’re planning an extensive exterior renovation, you may need a permit from your municipality or other authority.

4.         Budget. A budget keeps your project’s costs and scope in check. Make a list of the improvements you’d like to make, set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you’d like advice on improvements you can make to boost your home’s curb appeal, give us a call. 

Are you thinking of boosting your home’s curb appeal or renovating your home before you list? Do you want help making your home more appealing to potential buyers online and in-person? Give us a call and we’ll help you present your home in its best light. 

Sources: 1. Remodeling, 2016 Cost vs Value Report

               2. Realtor Mag, September 22, 2016


   4. Houzz, Houzz & Home-U.S., June 2016 


Posted in Selling Your Home
March 21, 2017

It's a Seller's Market! Should I Downsize Now?

Downsizing, Time to sell

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process. also addressed downsizing in an article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profits from the sales of their current homes and splitting it in order to put down payments on smaller homes in their current locations, as well as on vacation/retirement homes where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values which makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 78.9% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let's meet up to help guide you through the process.

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 8, 2017

Thinking of Selling? Why Now is the Time

Best months to sell your home

It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year.

The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring, as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months in which most people listed their homes for sale in 2016. Here is a graphic showing the results:

Thinking of Selling? Why Now is the Time | Simplifying The Market

The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,820,000.

That number spiked to 2,140,000 by May!

What does this mean to you?

With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer.

Bottom Line

It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home today.

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 8, 2017

Thinking of Selling? Do it TODAY!!

Time to sell your home?


 That headline might be a little aggressive. However, as the data on the 2017 housing market begins to roll in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!

The February numbers are not in yet, but the January numbers were sensational. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, said:

“Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home. Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate…”

And CNBC says consumer confidence in the economy is fueling the market:

“U.S. home resales surged to a 10-year high in January as buyers shrugged off higher prices and mortgage rates, a sign of growing confidence in the economy.”

The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 7.1% from the same time last year.

Bottom Line

With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together and discuss the inventory levels in your neighborhood to determine your next steps.

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 8, 2017

Housing Market Expected to “Spring Forward”

Spring is here


Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.

Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2016 all fell in April, May or June.

Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your home in 2017, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market.

Posted in Selling Your Home