Weekly Real Estate

Welcome to our weekly blog, dedicated to the wild world of real estate! We've had many different adventures with our clients as we've helped them to achieve their real estate goals. Without a doubt, we've encountered some unique situations! We hope you enjoy our posts and that you will share your experiences with us, too.

 

June 4, 2018

How To Make Your Home Show It’s Best

   

Have you ever gone out to view a home and something felt off? Something just didn’t quite feel right when you went out to view the home, it may not have been the home itself, but something just kind of turned you off immediately.

These are the things that make a huge first impression and there are a few key things the seller can do when they're going to put their home up on the market for a buyer when they come in and view your home. In many markets, it is customary for the buyer's agent to tour a listing without the listing agent present, and they expect the seller to leave the house. If you are selling your home as a For Sale by Owner, though, you may need to show the home yourself. The primary item that is overlooked is the front yard being properly landscaped or just manicured well. A nice curb appeal will always stand out to buyers who are looking for a house.

One of the other main things you can do is being able to have some sort of scents in the home, whether that’s an air freshener or a plug-in perhaps. Things like that will really help out if you have any odors in the home or perhaps pets. Oftentimes, and I’m a pet owner myself, we will get used to the smells of our home but when someone else comes in your home, they may smell odors right away that we typically do not. That’s because we live there, it's our home, that's what we’re used to, but it really does make a big impact to a buyer. It helps them to fall in love with the home and makes it a more positive effect when we walk in and they are not put off by animal smells or chemicals from cleaning or things like that.

One of the other main things that you can do on the interior is just organize so they look cleaner. Oftentimes we'll walk into a home, we’ll see everything kind of shuffled and it looks like someone just tried to run out of the home. There are many cases where the showings can be on short notice but if you really organize those things in advance, it really does make a bigger impact overall. It's something that is pretty significant to a buyer.

The last thing that I recommend for showings is to leave your home. Oftentimes when a seller is there they want to be able to make a good impression of the home, point out different features and give a grand tour of the home. I can tell you nearly every time buyers are a little bit nervous about this. They want to be able to walk and view the home freely, not rushed or feeling pushed to one direction or the home or another, while not necessarily feeling like they're being hovered over. As a seller, you may not be doing that at all because you're trying to point out the features and benefit of the home. But this can have a little bit different perspective from the buyer and you may see or point out different parts of the house that they may have a different vision for.

So when you're looking at listing your home for sale, make sure to have everything set up well for the showings and that will definitely help once you are in escrow for both of you and the buyer.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
May 28, 2018

Some Moving Tips For Sellers At The End Of Escrow

As a seller, when you finally get to sell your home and you're finally at the end of the escrow process with your home about to close, you're going through the moving process and you're trying to get all of your belongings out trying to get them perhaps to your next home of course; but one thing that often is asked is what really needs to be done before they closed the deal and hand over the keys to the house.

In the contract for every transaction, when a home buyer is purchasing your home they're expecting to close in on the home that is in substantially the same condition as when they made the original offer. They expect to see no major differences, damages or anything like that with the house. When you are moving and you do cause those kinds of damages as you are packing, try to be polite and repair those in advance knowing that that's going to be an issue for the incoming buyer. Also keep in mind that having to deal with those problems is not something you would want to run into in your next home either. It just makes it a little bit easier for the buyer to keep that in mind.

Something else you can do as you begin to pack up your belongings and are exiting the home is to just generally clean the home. Although oftentimes buyers come in and have the home cleaned before they move in as well. While not required, cleaning the house before would leave a great impression on the buy and make things that much smoother as they move in.

If you are looking to sell your home and you're trying to get to that last little bit moving out and wondering what you really need to do just, make sure you're correcting any damage of the home and repair anything that goes wrong and then just clean the home to make sure it's a nice first impression for the next buyer. If you have additional questions, make sure you reach out and I’d be happy to help!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
May 21, 2018

When You Sell Your Home, How Soon Do You HAVE To Move?

 

“How soon do I really have to move out of my home?” This is the question most first time home sellers ask.

Often times when we successfully go through the home selling and escrow process, the seller will wonder when is the absolute last day they have to move out of the house. It is convenient for a buyer to be able to coordinate everything with the seller concerning their moving day and that is something we, as realtors, along with a seller try to put into careful consideration when we're also accepting an offer.

Typically, if you’re the seller, your home is going to be on the market anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or months depending on the market. In that length of time, it can be anywhere from maybe a couple of days of to a couple weeks to get that offer and then once your home has accepted an offer, you are already in escrow! Most offers are going to take about thirty to forty-five days from the time of accepting that offer to the time you need to move out and turn over keys. Now the end of that thirty forty-five day escrow period is when you're going to be giving the keys to your house over to the buyer, the new homeowner, and that's when you need to vacate the property and have all of your belongings packed up and transported to a new location or middle ground you plan to stay at.

One main item you can do in advance is to negotiate a rent back period when you are reviewing offers. This will allow you to stay in the home longer if you are needing the time to move or if you're looking for another home and you need to sell your home in between. This can be negotiable, however, it's not always guaranteed. When you're looking at selling your home, if you're not going to be moving for quite some time, you may want to line up the selling of your property a little bit closer to the date of your purchase just so the timing goes a little bit smoother. You can try to negotiate a rent back or a longer escrow but that's not always the case so make sure that you're keeping these things in mind and always playing it smart with your next move.

 

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
May 14, 2018

The 3 Main Things That Determine A Home’s Value

“That is NOT what my home is worth"! I hear this often from sellers who are looking to list their home but they're trying to figure out how you really determine the proper value of the home.

When evaluating a property, one of the first things you need to do is determine its approximate value. In today’s market that may be easier said than done. With the differences two properties have, they can often have completely different values. Failing to determine an accurate property value will impact the rest of the process when marketing your home. While estimating property value can be tough, there are indicators that will help paint a clear picture. By recognizing what they are and what they mean, you will be able to come up with an accurate value. Here are 3 of the most important factors that will help you determine a property’s value.

Location, Location, Location! As it turns out this really does make an impact. If we have a home in certain areas of Sacramento compared to other parts of Sacramento, there are significant differences in prices of similar types of homes. Most often when looking at different areas, it’s primarily the location that you are paying for.

The condition of the home. Has a home had substantial upgrades, is it all original, or has it had to some deferred maintenance where things need to really be repaired on the home, to really make it so the home can sell? Those are the main items to take into consideration because when you're looking at a home that may have sold for one price and you're trying to compare your home to that, and then make sure that your home’s condition and upgrades make sense with both homes. When looking at pricing, the condition is generally the second biggest factor when determining the price.

Lastly, the size of the home and lot size. Is the home the same size as other homes in the area? Is it three hundred square feet bigger or is it a thousand or two thousand square feet bigger? This will really make a significant difference in terms of pricing and values and it also holds true with the size in a lot. Are we looking at an extremely small lot or are we looking at one acre or two acres where we're sitting on a much larger parcel? This has a different value because it can be used for different things and for a different buyer that has a different value.

Make sure that when you are looking to price your home that is within reason. Most buyers are pretty educated on the market and if they see a home under or overpriced for the area, they generally have a good idea of that already. If you are looking to get the value of your home or narrow down pricing, please feel free to reach out!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
May 7, 2018

What Is Real Estate Marketing?

Have you ever been scrolling online or on social media and ran by some piece of advertising that caught your interest? It may have been something about the product itself, what they were selling or maybe just something entertaining but just caught your interest in general? It made you click on their ad, perhaps go to their website, or requests information to follow up. That's the key difference when you're marketing your home. A very large portion of real estate agents will put a sign in your front yard and put it online in our Metrolist system but that's it. There are many additional marketing strategies they can do to really make a home stand out and make the marketing really work while it's bringing buyers to your listing to make sure that your home stands out to all the other buyers that are available.

Why is your home so important and what makes it so special? It may be similar to the other homes in the neighborhood. It may be a tracked home in a regular development. Or it may be a very unique home and may be custom built with some unique features. The main objective when we're highlighting a property with our marketing is getting traction, getting eyes on your home and getting great exposure for your home and ultimately getting buyers in the doors. There are several different ways we can do this and several different ways we can push out but the main goal is getting it in front of the buyers who are interested and can afford your home.

One of the more common ways we can do it is through social media and advertising online. Oftentimes your home will go out to all of your major websites such as Zillow and Redfin. You can also advertise it to different places like Craigslist and other smaller listing services but it's often times the use of social media marketing, that's making a significant difference and getting the homes sold.

Many folks are on social media and when you're doing this of marketing and getting this kind of exposure, it really helps drive traffic to your home. It really makes a significant difference to other all buyers. When they see your home, they want to be able to view your home and when they view your home, we try to set things so that they'll enjoy your home as soon as they drive up to the curb. If you do have questions and if you're talking to an agent about marketing and listing your home, make sure you ask them what are they doing other than putting the property up on our Metrolist system and putting a sign in the front yard. If you do have questions or are looking to sell your home, make sure you reach out!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
April 30, 2018

Want To Buy A Home At The Same Time As Selling Yours?

Am I going to be homeless? Am I going to move twice? These are the questions I often get from the clients who are selling their home and trying to purchase another home at the same time. Many people are stressed with these kinds of questions. After all, who wouldn’t? Buying a home while selling a home and trying to close all at the same time is difficult in just about any market.

Believe it or not, we do this pretty frequently and it's usually a pretty smooth process. Generally speaking, we are able to put your home on the market, while marketing and in escrow we make offers to purchase a home at the same time and coordinate to have them close essentially around the same time period. The funds from the home you're selling can be used as a down payment on the home you're purchasing as well.

We're working with two separate transactions to make it into a simple process when we're selling your home; first, we look at doing a rent back with a buyer who is purchasing your home, who will allow you to close on your home and stay in for an extra period of time (an extra week to a couple of months) so it gives you a little bit more time to be able to move and not to worry about moving twice. This also makes it much easier for you to get your belongings packed! The second process is purchasing and closing on your new home and having the time to be able to get moved into your new home comfortably.

When you’re ready to buy and sell your home at the same time, you’ll work with several professionals through the process. The main important component when you're purchasing a home and selling your home at the same time is just to communicate all the stuff that is going on, including all the details. Let the agent know about the appraisal and inspectionson the home you're purchasing and about what is happening on the home that you're going to sell. Having clear communication with both the seller and buyer always makes the work a lot smoother.

So, if you want to sell and purchase a home at the same time and you don't know if you're going to be able to purchase a home and at the same time you don't want to be homeless, make sure you let me know and we can make the process very smooth for you! That is the main thing to consider that can give you some piece of mind when you're looking to buy and sell your home at the same time. If you have some additional questions about selling and purchasing a home, let me know, I am happy to help you!

 

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
April 23, 2018

When Is The Right Time To Buy A Home?

Buying a home requires a lot of time and attention because it is a major financial commitment in which you have to consider some factors before rushing into the property market. When is the right time to buy a house? Is it now? Six months from now? A year? Five years? Has the time already passed? I'll be honest with you, there's no real “best time” to buy or sell a home. Right now we're seeing the interest rates increasing for home loans and your overall loan environment has been changing in terms of the loan programs, interest rates as I mentioned, different guidelines, and the home values have also been increasing.

However, if we do see the prices decrease, which sounds better to a buyer, then your monthly payment will likely increase due to the interest rate still increasing, meaning your monthly payment will actually still be higher. Sometimes you're not really getting a whole lot of bang for your buck in that regard, you may be paying less for the home but you're still paying about the same in the long run for the home.

When you're looking at home prices and waiting for them to come down, is it always the best strategy to also watch the interest rates and loan programs available. When is the best time to buy a home? The time is typically right when it makes financial sense. If you're renting right now and the rent has just gotten too high, then it may be time to purchase a home. If the monthly payments of purchasing a home are less expensive than that of renting, buying a home will make a lot more sense. However, if you have a rental that has a lower rent amount and it’s below market value, then it may not make sense to purchase a home.

When you're also looking at selling your home, it may be more beneficial to try to wait for the peak of the market so you can get the most money you can on your home, which makes sense to most people. However, if you have to purchase a home at the same time as you’re selling one, the market is still going to be a bit challenging since you are balancing both. You are still going to have different interest rates and different loan programs for you use compared to when you first bought your home.

Many factors create a different environment overall in the real estate market which makes it tougher to say: "This is the best time to sell" or "That will be the best time to buy." If you're thinking about when is the best opportunity to buy or sell a home, you should really consider time--the time that makes the most sense to you, to the loan programs available to you, and ultimately to your goals.

If you do have questions if you're trying to decide where you are, where the markets are at, or what programs you can available, make sure you reach out. I'll be happy to help out and will give you a little bit more direction!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
April 16, 2018

Your Zestimate

When we talk about real estate, one platform that commonly comes to mind is the online real estate company called Zillow. Zillow has been a leading real estate and rental marketplace for millions of renters, home buyers, and sellers. However, an online company that gives out estimate prices of a physical property might turn out not as reliable as an estimate given by a professional.

“How much is your home worth on Zillow?” I get this question a lot. Well, Zillow says my home is worth this much. It's often tough to work with Zillow because they actually have in their own Zillow disclosures that their estimates are off. I’ve had seen some within a realistic ballpark but typically the will say it is a little bit higher or sometimes lower. We do see them off, quite a bit even from home to home when they are right next to each other with no significant differences. The main issue is nobody from Zillow is coming out and viewing your home, seeing the upgrades and the condition it's in and any differed maintenance. Those items plus many more can have a significant impact on the value of a home. Therefore, when you're looking at Zillow's estimate, it's really not that accurate for your home is actually worth. On the other side, we often have clients who want to make an offer on a home, they say that it's listed at this price and then Zillow has it at another price. The only thing is that it is still going to be off unfortunately and as a seller you want to get the most amount of funds you can and as a buyer you want to not overpay for a home.

What you really want to do is either rely on either real estate agent or appraisal to be able to put together an analysis of recent home sales in that specific area. They'll give you a better idea of what the homes are worth in that direct area depending on the condition and upgrades that the homes have completed and they will give you a better idea of the overall price range.

If you're looking at doing a Zillow's estimate, if you're looking at using that as a list price for your home or thinking about using that for the price that you'll use to purchase a home, you should speak with a real estate agent first to ensure you are not leaving more on the table when selling or overpaying for a home when buying. We will help you get to us in the right direction and give you a much more accurate idea. If you do have questions, make sure you reach out to me I'd be happy to give you a better idea on some of the values in the area.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
April 9, 2018

Planning Your Picnic

 

What are you waiting for? That is my question for a lot of people who are waiting to purchase a home. Many folks want to ask “What is happening in 5 or 6 months?”, “What is happening in the year down the road?” “What is happening 5 years down the road?”

Really the main thing to consider is: what is happening right now! What we are seeing in the market currently can be a lot different than what we are seeing down the road and we have no way of predicting what the market will do in the future. A lot of people who are waiting to purchase a home or waiting to sell their home may not see home values at the same they are seeing them now. We may not see interest rates at the same rate or the flexibility in home loans programs that we are seeing now. There are going to be regulation changes that affect how much you can actually borrow in purchasing a home which we are already seeing that change. So if you do decide to wait, it oftentimes can increase your monthly payment and it will reduce how much of a home you are qualified to buy.

I had a client recently who is looking around the $400,000 price range that had their monthly payment increased by $250 over the past 6 months from just the increasing of interest rates, nothing else.

So if you are looking to buy but want to wait or you thinking about selling and you want to wait, the main thing you need to consider is, “It is great to wait but what is the future going to be like?” You can choose to have your picnic and wait to buy a home or wait to sell your home but you cannot choose the weather, or the environment it is going to be in with home loans, rates or home values. Whether it is going to be a rainy day and the market is not going to be so great or there is going to be a sun on the market and we will do fantastic, we truly never know. There are some good things that really need consideration when you are on the fence and if you really don’t have a reason to not wait, you really need to look at what the future will hold.

There are several factors and strategies that need to be well thought out when buying a home or selling your house. We do have interest rates increasing, that is going to increase your monthly payment as well as reducing how much you are able to purchase, which will have an effect on the type of home and quality of life that you want to have in that regard. Aside from the interest rates, we also have to tackle the pros and cons of buying or selling a home, the right home loans and timing. If you do have questions and would like to better understand the interest rates and programs, feel free to reach out and we can make sure you are making a smart move!

 

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
April 2, 2018

Should You Hire A Relative Or A Close Friend?

How many realtors do you know? I would bet you might be surprised. When I speak with people, I often hear they have a friend or close relative is a realtor and they would prefer to use them. That can often sound better, however, you may want to take a few things into mind before considering hiring them as your realtor. It might be challenging since you are looking for someone whom you can trust and someone who will guide you throughout the process for a successful real estate transaction. Choosing a relative or a friend as your real estate agent has advantages and disadvantages. 

One positive is there will be an immediate comfort level and you can contact them at all times. Often times you are able to communicate a little better because you know how the person outside of business. When you are looking, your agent will need to know some additional personal details and they are going to know a bit more about you in terms of your finances. That’s great, but I have also had many clients who are uncomfortable sharing that with a close relative or friend who is going to handle that down the road. They feel a little bit more comfortable sharing that with a stranger and I am okay with that.

 

One downside that is often overlooked is if you work with them and something goes wrong. Let’s say you are in escrow, your home purchase or your home seller is going great and then a hiccup happens. An issue comes up you can’t get pass, so you have to cancel escrow. How do you proceed from there? It can put a strain on your friendship or relationship. And it could become uncomfortable, considering that this is likely the largest transaction that you will ever make together. When you are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars compared to your friendship, that puts a pretty tough balancing act you have to pull off.

Another thing to be cautious about is their focus on helping you. Is your friend or relative a part time agent with another job or someone with a full time job that happens to have their real estate license? How do you know they will know the in’s and out’s of contracts and key negotiating points to ensure you get a good deal? Unfortunately we do not always know, but when it comes to being available and getting through any hiccups, it’s important to be available and help your client at any given moment.

If you are looking to hire an agent who is a relative or a close friend, make sure  you are taking these things into consideration because they are events that can realistically happen. If something happens in a negative way and can potentially fall apart and your transaction could be canceled, you could lose out on the home of your dreams and do you want to have that strain or you want to blame a close friend or relative. You would rather blame a stranger who you likely will just never have to deal with again. I can help be that buffer and help smooth things over as well. If you are looking to buy or sell a home with a relative or friend, take that into consideration and I look forward to being able to give you a second opportunity to talk to somebody else about your home search.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate