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.

 

May 21, 2019

How To Make Homeownership Affordable

          

A new home is a dream place for many people. Many of us want to have a house we can call our own, but it's unfortunate to say that not everybody can achieve this dream. Just like the adage, "all fingers are not equal", it also applies to this scenario of owning a home. It is important to note that in discussing topics like this, many points come to one's thought. None can be taken as irrelevant, but we have to take points we feel more relevant to us and what applies best. To make homeownership more affordable:

                   

Consider your budget when determining the kind of home you want

The size of your budget goes a long way in determining the type of home one can buy, putting in mind that the bigger the house, the higher the cost. From the information obtained when viewing different homes, a clear picture of how we want our home to look would have been formed. Ask yourself some questions, what kind of home are you aiming for? Is it a place that will accommodate only you and your immediate family or a place that can accommodate lots of people often? Are we looking at a bungalow, duplex, mansion, semi-detached house or a condo? Making use of low aesthetics helps in cost reduction while considering the budget. Why not go for ordinary flooring instead of being adamant on making use of tiles?

Get a right real estate agent with lots of experience

An experienced real estate agent is essential in your goal towards having a home of our own. They must be reasonable and be good listeners. Talking with a few agents and choosing the one that suits you best is truly the way to go. After making a decision on which to go with, ensure that they understand your budget and why you may need certain accommodations. Many first time home buyers also do not understand that the agent you are working with, can either make your home buying process very smooth or can make it a tough situation at every turn. Make sure you feel confident in the agent you hire!

 

Partake in work yourself:

                

Nobody is at all a jack of all trades, but the willingness to do some of the work saves a lot of money that would have been spent on hiring professionals. There are little things that could be done ourselves, but the main thing is knowing the skill, having the knowledge of how to do that kind of work. Doing the job without having an idea about the expertise or knowing how to do such a task could only cost us more and would jeopardize our aim of saving money. When doing such work, it must be to the best standard that will be required from a hired professional.

Preserve some materials for reuse:

Preserving materials entails keeping materials that were previously used in the home. Some materials might be needed later on during other construction works as well. Construction works create material wastes that can be beneficial in other areas. Do whatever you can within your capacity to make sure you get these materials. Do not allow any contractor mislead you into discarding any of these materials if they can be salvaged. If those materials cannot be kept, it can be sold. Sell them and make use of the money in buying other things needed.

In conclusion, homeownership can be quite affordable. Being a conserver is a great way to save money and also reuse materials. When constructing your home, it's fine to be a conserver but does not always need to go to an extreme. Everybody wants to enjoy the comfort of living in a house of their own, but if one does not live within one's budget, has it really been achieved?

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
May 7, 2019

Pros And Cons Of Homeownership

               

Do you intend to own your house? If yes! You will find this helpful. Owning a house to most people in society is a dream come true since acquiring a home is expensive and can be viewed as a status symbol. Before owning a house, you should take a look at the pros and cons of owning a home.

 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of owning a home versus renting. You should consider the pros and cons of homeownership before deciding what's best for yourself of course.

 

Some pros of homeownership include:

 

                                   

 

 Financial Stability

Owning a house with a reasonable mortgage will cost less than renting an apartment and paying your landlord every month over the long run. The rent paid is a wasted the expense that cannot help in building one's financial status. When you own your house and move into it, you can use that higher rent payment towards other expenses.

 

Home Equity

 

 

Over the years that you own your home, you will historically see the value increase and create equity in your home for you. You can use this to do a refinance, reverse mortgage and have other options that renting simply does not provide.

 

Flexibility

When you acquire your home, you can turn it into your home with your taste, which you cannot do in a rented apartment. You can decide to create a garden, remodel your interiors, keep pets, have a pool and many other personal touches as well as the pride of ownership.

 

Control Of Your Property

As a homeowner, you have total control of your house. When you are paying rent, your landlord is in control. This can put you in a position of being afraid of getting you and your family kicked out by your landlord.

 

 Social Benefit

 

Owning a house also creates social benefits that include neighbor relationships to community involvement and educational opportunities for children.

 

Personal Wealth

Owning a home offers a long term benefit of potential growth in your wealth. Your mortgage payment is shared between the principal and the interest paid on the money borrowed. Every dollar you spend towards principal is a dollar paid for ownership. Your home can also serve as a source of emergency money if financial and health issues arise unexpectedly with any equity you’ve built.

 

Tax Benefit

The interest and property tax portion of your mortgage payment is a tax deduction.

 

 There are also some factors to consider while shopping for a home and owning your home. Owning a house to the majority of people is one of the most significant financial decisions you could make in your life. Before owning such a home, you should take into consideration the following factors before owning your home.

 Location

Whenever you are buying a home, you look at the location and general area. A great location will be an excellent asset for you in the future, no matter how much the real estate market fluctuates in the future. It is also great to own a home near your work and family, which will save you time and transportation cost.

 

The Neighbourhood

Before owning such a home, you should review the community to find out whether the city is friendly towards the activities you plan to do. Whether you are looking for more recreational activities or plan to stay home more often, it’s important to know the area.

 

Home Inspection

Checking the house critically before buying is a must. You have to check out if the house will require renovation and maintenance cost that is not expected. These must be calculated and considered because these will be costs you will have down the road sooner or later.

                             

 

Whether you decide to buy or rent, you are making a significant decision

It affects both the money you have left at the end of the month as well as your lifestyle and the money you acquire over the years. Considering the discussed pros of owning your own home, it generally makes sense to become a homeowner!

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
April 23, 2019

Pros and Cons of House Flipping

House flipping sounds good, right? Transform a home and give it that fresh new feel, but how would you know that you are gaining and not wasting your money? You might notice in some TV shows where they show “house flipping” and thought “I can do that, it's so simple and easy”. These programs often show one side of the story and not the whole story of house flipping. For example, the person working behind the scene are professionals with big budgets and the audiences including you rarely see the dirty work.

 

If you are planning to buy a home to flip, you might want to keep in mind the pros and cons of house flipping.

 

Beware of money pits when buying the home! That’s the main reason why most folks are into real estate flipping. Even some companies and individuals find flipping homes a profit-making venture and if done correctly the returns might be achieved in a very short period of time.


The experience you gain! Although house flipping might take a lot of time and money, there is a lot of valuable experience you can learn throughout the process such as subcontracting to help you advance your negotiating skills. You will not also learn about construction and real estate investing through the process of balancing a budget and ensuring a project is still profitable.

 

House Flipping is Gratifying, especially seeing the project to the end. Although your main intent in flipping houses is to make a profit, you’ll also learn that there are many things you can gain in flipping houses and not just money. When you rehabilitate and sell an old home, you’re not just selling it but also giving it a new life. You take all the unnecessary stuff and change it into something new for the new family to make new memories in. That is the most gratifying reward you might ever receive.

 

There is, of course, the other side of house flipping. There can definitely be risks and stress involved in the process and it’s not a 9-5 job. Here are some risks or disadvantages of house flipping.


You can be putting your money at stake. You can’t achieve something big without taking the risk. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to making a property flop instead of flip. One of the contributors to this loss is the unexpected expenses, even with careful caution and planning, with just a small cracked foundation, need of new plumbing, contractor delays, change of weather, and unplanned materials that you didn’t expect. All of these will quickly add up and may consume the potential profit. A change in the real estate market is also a problem in flipping a house. If you’re not able to sell the home ( assuming that there’s a mortgage on the property) you will have to pay the mortgage, taxes, and insurance. This will also take a huge part of the budget, after the renovation and the property is ready to sell, the longer the property is in your hands, the more money you lose.

 

There will be stress involved! You can’t run and hide from it, especially if your business is flipping houses. You will get stress with things like delays, the plan didn’t go as to what you expect it to happen, overdue deadline, finding the right property, contractors, buyers and etc. But the bright side is, the more things like this you run into, the more experience you have and the wiser you will be on the next project.

 

If you are considering flipping homes, make sure you reach out and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction with properties!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
April 15, 2019

The Top 3 Things To Do On Social Media for New Homeowners

 

In today’s generation, we just can’t help but share some exciting news on social media, especially when you have your own new house! Who wouldn’t want to share that kind of achievement on social media?! Buying a new home is a huge deal for anyone, particularly first-time homeowners. The feeling of satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment is riled up inside and you just can’t wait to tell everyone about it. Before clicking the share button and sharing your home with everyone, we have some information for when and how to use social media wisely.

 

Share all the great photos of your new place. You don’t have to be a professional photographer when capturing your favorite spot of the house. Keep it simple and beautiful at the same time. Maybe show off some of your home’s unique and cool features.

 

Use Pinterest, Houzz, Google or any other creative sites for some photo inspiration. If you want your home to turn out amazing with your personalization, you can look for inspiration on the internet. From cute arrangements to what angle is best for the final photo are small details that make a huge difference when showcasing your new digs. Just don’t get too attached in the perfect arrangement you see online and get disappointed thinking about why yours is not the same as the one on the image. It’s good to see amazing homes and how they are set up but it’s also amazing to put your own unique spin on it. Remember that decorating your home is a story you want to write and tell people about it. 

 

Name your house! Yes, you read that correctly. Naming your house is not a weird thing to do. House naming is a normal thing these days and if you want to sell your house in the future a great name for it might even help you sell it. House names, for example, can be a name of your favorite movie star, a unique catchphrase, or after your favorite vacation place, it doesn’t matter because it’s yours!

 

Make sure you have fun on social media but also make sure you are using it to your advantage once you have your new home. It can be a fun place to express yourself and also share your new space with friends and family!

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
March 20, 2019

Are Sacramento Real Estate Appraisals Going to the Robots? Edging Toward Automation

Some predictions for New Year 2018 may be controversial, but one trend is beyond question: almost every sector of everyday life in Sacramento will continue to be transformed, either incrementally or massively, by automation of one sort or another.
Hordes of self-driving cars and trucks aren’t likely to take over Sacramento streets this year, nor will Robocops start patrolling our neighborhoods. But one area that’s being affected more quickly than expected comes in the realm of Sacramento real estate appraisals.

Needless to say, since Sacramento appraisals establish the collateral value of any piece of real estate, that’s a change that could affect both Sacramento home buyers and sellers. Our human expert appraisers won’t soon to be out of a job, but when it comes right down to it, the semi-governmental duo of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are now beginning to tilt toward accepting a robot’s word for it. As The Washington Post headlined, “Fannie and Freddie say appraisals are not always necessary.”

Without getting too far into the technical ins and outs of home appraisals, Fannie and Freddie have been rolling out versions of ACE (Automated Collateral Evaluation) models for transactions that qualify for certain mortgages. They say it calls on “big data and advanced analytics”, buzzwords that signify machines that promise to be smarter than we are. Since they are able to integrate more than 40 years of historical data, they might have a point.

In practice, a buyer in qualifying transactions is offered the option to purchase a house without having to pony up hundreds of dollars for a human-generated real estate appraisal. If the offer is accepted, an automated evaluation is produced electronically.

The upside is that not only is the appraiser’s fee avoided, but closing times can be reduced by as much as 10 days since the services of Sacramento real estate appraisers are always in high demand.

The downside is that the buyer is not afforded the protection that comes with an in-person visit by an experienced Sacramento real estate appraiser, whose eyes and ears aren’t duplicated by a data-only approach. As you would expect, the Appraisal Institute takes that view, arguing that Fannie’s and Freddie’s programs “create unnecessary and unacceptable risks for taxpayers and homeowners

If you are concerned about how your appraisal is being completed and the necessary of having an in person valuation of a home, make sure you reach out and I’d be happy to guide you through the proper channels.

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
March 6, 2019

Phone vs Professional Photos

Hi there! I just want to share some useful information for all my homeowners out there that are thinking about possibly selling their home in the future.

As a realtor, I scroll through Metro list all day to look at homes and I go see them in person. The interesting thing that I notice is that the photos of the homes for sale leave the biggest impact to the buyers.

When buyers look online for the homes they want to buy, the first thing that they will see are the photographs of the different homes in which only the most appealing leave a great first impression to the buyer. And in this business, first impressions are very important because it can ultimately lead to deals being created between the buyer and seller. Photos of the homes that are posted in the market can be a buyer’s only basis in assessing about a home and can potentially encourage them to look at in person.  They are the second most important part of selling your home after picking the right price. Therefore, when folks seem like they are just driving around the neighbourhood, they are most likely looking online and trying to find out if the homes they see are actually for sale. With that being said the photos are going to stand out for them in a huge way. 

Most sellers or listing agent are tempted to use their mobile phones in taking the photos of their homes because of course it’s easy and almost everybody has one. However, using it is not very suited for your marketing piece. This is because when compared to professional photos, phone pictures can have a lower quality especially when used by an amateur. I often see a good portion of photos that are done on cell phones come out blurry, too dark or too light. You'll see a lot of different common issues on them. So one thing that we could do to prevent this from happening to your home and to really make sure that your home is marketed in the best light that we possibly can is to hire a professional photographer. 

A professional photographer is someone that does the best job in producing photographs that will best represent the greatest qualities of your home. They will come spend a couple hours in your home to capture multiple photos in multiple angles. They will then edit them for several hours to make sure that your home really stands out from the other homes on the block. I also attend these photo sessions to ensure they come out just right and to help adjust things. When it comes down to the actual marketing of your home, the photos are going to really help us to get a home sold! Using professional photos can draw more attention to your home and result in more potential buyers viewing your home. Although more potential buyers are seeing it, this does not guarantee a sale. Reaching more buyers with your home betters your chance of finding the right buyer. 

With all of the competition on the market, it is important to have professional photos especially if you will list the home is listed in a higher price bracket.

I always ensure and pay for professional photos for my clients to ensure they get the best marketing possible. If you do have questions, please feel free to reach out. I just wanted to share this bit of useful information for all my homeowners out there. I look forward talk with you soon. Thank you

 

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Feb. 16, 2019

What Will Happen During Inspections When Selling Your Home?

“What's going to happen to my home?!" A lot of home sellers often do not understand what’s going to happen during the inspections period of their Escrow period. Once you have an offer accepted, generally speaking, the buyer is going to have a certain time period to be able to do inspections and investigate the property further. This will include the general area and neighborhood, to find issues that you may not aware of and most home buyers are going to do anywhere from one to perhaps four or five inspections, depending on the type of property and area it’s located.

With that being said, each different type of home will require different type of inspections. Most homes are going to require at minimum a home inspection. This is one of the more intense inspections and an inspector will come out from anywhere from about an hour and half to about four hours sometimes longer depending on the size of the home. They're going to go through all the electrical systems including breakers and panels, as well as all of the plumbing. If there's any leaks, water pressure, certain valves, things like that that will impact the plumbing as a whole. They’re also going to inspect the roof, going up on top make sure there are no substantial issues and typically taking a picture to add to their report in case anything stands out as a concern.

One last thing we’re going to inspect is the overall exterior of the home to see if there are major issues such dry rot, siding, windows, any of the doors that are malfunctioning things like that. If the home has a crawl space, inspectors are going to go under the home and they're also going to be looking at the attic as well. That is usually going to be the more time-consuming inspections that we’ll have. From there, we’ll have pest inspection which is usually about a half hour to an hour.  The pest inspectors will look through the exterior of the home and interior of the home, they look at plumbing, the attic, and crawl spaces to look for any dry rot, termite or other pest issues. Depending on the age, area, and any concern with underground roots, there’s a sewer inspection. A lot of buyers will often opt for it especially with older homes or home a lot of trees on the property. This inspection can typically take a half hour or an hour.

Overall these are the main inspections you can anticipate and if you have the more unique property, there will be different and additional inspections, but overall, those are the ones you can expect to be able to have going into your escrow. These inspections are paid for by the buyer unless there are pre-negotiated contract to be paid for by the seller. Some loans will require inspections to be paid by certain parties as well so just make sure you communicate that with your agent.

If you have any question about the inspection process, please feel free to reach out.

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Feb. 2, 2019

Solar and Green Loans

Whether you are upgrading an existing home or designing a new home to become more energy efficient, it can greatly benefit a homeowner whether it’s for the purpose of selling the house or to improve their quality of living. This is because using different energy-efficient products can make a home more comfortable, durable, greatly maximize its energy utilization, minimize its negative effects on the environment, and help decrease its maintenance costs.

In an existing house, the first step is to conduct a home energy assessment. Sometimes this is referred to as an energy auditto find out how the home uses energy and determine the best ways to cut energy use and costs. This is also a good time to look into a renewable energy system that can provide electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling.

One way to upgrade a home without much hassle and stress, which is also very common and popular right now, is to do a secondary loanThis refers to a home equity loan or home equity line of credit — that is just what it sounds like, another mortgage on a homeowner’s home. Similar to their original mortgage, the second mortgage is secured by their home, meaning that if they don’t pay the loan, the bank can take their home. This is a common risk that is often overlooked.

The solar and green loans are loans under the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) loan included in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs which help homeowners pay for the upfront costs of green initiativessuch as solar panels or other energy-efficient, water-efficient and renewable energy products, which the property owner then pays back by increasing property taxes by a set rate for an agreed upon term ranging from 5–25 years. This allows property owners to begin saving on energy costs while they are paying for their solar panels.  Loans like these are a bit tricky because they do add onto homeowners taxes and increase their monthly payment just a tad bit but when they do go to sell their home. This has a greater chance of detracting more buyers due to having the additional loan that will either need to be assumed or paid off prior to closing.

Going green may not demand a complete remodel of your home. Energy-efficient green roofing and green windows can help dramatically lower your heating and cooling costs. If you live in a dry environment, consider switching over to green landscaping that uses native plants and flowers. Not only will you enhance your curb appeal, but you may significantly lower your water bill as well. We should strive to assist worthy social causes—and helping the environment through green energy initiatives benefits everyone.

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Jan. 23, 2019

The Squeeze on Buying a Home in Sacramento is Loosening its Grip

Because buying a home has long been a hallmark of the American dream, whenever that possibility seems to weaken for the average Joe, it comes as sobering news. Back in June, CNN Money ran a downbeat story focused on how the rising cost of housing had been “putting a major squeeze” on some Americans. For Sacramento home buyers who took it to heart, that kind of grim analysis could have been enough to cause them to reassess their own prospects.

But now there is evidence that the “squeeze” may be losing its grip.

The CNN story focused on what most experts agree is the maximum of monthly income that should be allotted toward buying a home. That number is 30%. The authors found that rising real estate prices had made that goal unattainable “for millions of Americans.” It pointed to nearly 19 million who were then devoting more than 50% of their income to housing costs.

Back in June, it did seem as if the nation’s economic prospects were showing signs of better news and since then, the consensus has brightened steadily. As one consequence, Sacramento home buyers are now likely to experience the affordability prospects that look a good deal different.

Last week, CNBC reported Fed data showing that household wealth rose a healthy 2% in the third quarter alone. That made it “near double the level it was during the financial crisis.” Particularly if wage growth continues to quicken, it’s a trend that, combined with continued historically low mortgage interest rates, should support a rosier affordability picture.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors composite Housing Affordability Index has been on the rise in every month since CNN’s June feature. If the NAR’s latest estimate of median mortgage payments for existing American homes is accurate (they have it at only 15 ½% of family income), that early summer housing “squeeze” may have already lost its grip on many families.

Buying a home in Sacramento should result in a more stable, predictable family housing budget and a bottom line that’s headed in the right direction. It’s one of the reasons it’s a pleasure for me to guide buyers through the home buying process. If you are looking to make your home buying process a bit smoother while being fully educated on the ins and outs of buying, call me!

Posted in Weekly Real Estate
Jan. 9, 2019

A Home What?

A home is the single largest investment that most people will ever make in their life, and the last thing that any new home owner wants to deal with is a costly repair or replacement of expensive or aging systems. This can be equally stressful for existing homeowners because they will eventually encounter the need to repair or replace their appliances and home systems such as their air conditioning unit, heating unit, or refrigerator in the future. And when that time comes, we don’t want to spend a lot of money buying a brand new item, I know I do not! The good thing is that there are home warranties available.

So, what are Home Warranties? 

The standard home warranty is a one-year service that protects a resale home buyer or current homeowner against the cost of unexpected repairs or replacement of major systems and appliances that break down due to normal usage. It provides repair or replacement coverage for issues on major systems and appliances. It can help homeowners have a peace of mind in managing their unexpected repair and replacement costs. It also provides protection and savings for sellers during the listing period and for buyers after the sale of a home. Both buyers and sellers should purchase a home warranty simply because warranty holders benefit from significant discounts on the cost to repair or replace name-brand system or appliances and can conveniently place claims and renew their warranty online at any time.

What is the COVERAGE of home warranties?

Although some of these home warranties are limited on some items, they can be very helpful when a buyer encounters issues moving into their home. The coverage of home warranties may differ from each home warranty provider but typically for buyers, coverage begins at closing or when the house title is transferred and payment is received, while for existing homeowners, coverage is effective around 30 days after receipt of funds. 

A home warranty provider will diagnose and repair or replace a covered item. Simple repairs will be made typically during the first appointment, while in some cases, parts may be needed to be ordered and additional visits may be needed to complete the repair or replacement. They may cover system or appliance regardless of age, provided, it is in a safe and working order before the start of your contract. So these warranties can definitely be helpful and they usually just require a service charge of them. 

The other thing that a lot of home buyers don’t realize is that they usually can negotiate to have the seller pay for the cost of a home warranty to ensure that your new home is covered in case issue arise.

A home warranty is definitely something that can benefit you in the long run so if you do have any questions or you want to learn more about how they cover or what items the home warranty providers cover specifically, feel free to reach out. I do have information on different companies and what they cover that can be helpful for any soon to be homeowner!

 

Posted in Weekly Real Estate