Home inspections are important but how important are they when buying a condo? The siding, roof and general frame of the property is all covered by the Home Owners Association, right? They can take care of that…. However, would you buy a lemon car that had mounds of problems even if the dealership promised to repair them? Probably not. This is why having an inspection of the condo AND the association is so vital to your purchase. [Read more…]
If you’re reading this article you’re probably already concerned with your carbon footprint. But, whether that’s turning off the lights when you leave the room or reducing your programmable thermostat when you’re not at home, telecommuting can still be a drain on your energy source. [Read more…]
We always want the best deal; and even better when we can find a great deal on a great house that we really love. If you’re ready to get into the real estate search game, know all you can about the business, the market and prepare yourself for getting a great deal. Here are 5 ways to get the very best real estate deal.
#1. Know the market.
The knowledge really is power and if you’re planning on getting the best deal, this is not something that you decide on a Tuesday afternoon and then put in an offer Wednesday morning. You need to do the research in order to get the best deal. Take some time; maybe even a month or two to really find out where you want to live, get a good list of communities, subdivisions or neighborhoods that you’d like to choose and then the research over the last six months for that area.
How is the market doing? Are homes increasing in value rapidly or gradually? Are homes dropping in value? What about the crime rate for a particular area? Are there good schools in the area, something to consider for resell value? Home selling quickly? If homes in a particular area are selling fast you may need to come up with an escalation clause or deal with multiple bids for the same property.
If there are 300 homes in a subdivision yet only two or three are listed at a particular time, chances are that’s a very popular neighborhood and you might end up paying more than the asking price in order to get the home. If there are dozens of homes in a smaller neighborhood, people may be moving for a particular reason. Is there new construction going to be happening in the area? Talk to the neighbors about why they’re moving. And of course, talk to your buyers agent about a particular neighborhood, why you want to live there and if they have any concerns or advice they can share about the subdivision, community or area in general.
#2. Set yourself up as an attractive buyer.
After you’ve done the research on a particular neighborhood and you have a good idea of the area you want to live in and the price range, set yourself up for homebuying success. This means doing the financial homework necessary in order to purchase a home. If your financing the property, talk to a lender about the type of loan that works best for your situation. Get a preapproval letter and set aside some funds either for a down payment and/or earnest money deposit. The larger the earnest money deposit the more serious sellers take you. They may be more inclined to accept your offer then another similar offer that has a lower earnest money deposit.
Another way you can be an attractive buyer is to minimize your contingencies. If you need to sell a particular property, have tough financing contingencies or too many conditions that need to be completed before you finalize the purchase, sellers just see you as a hassle and may decline your offer altogether. Of course we always recommend a home inspection but in a slower market you might consider a home inspection prior to making an offer. This could waive the inspection after the offer is accepted, speeding up the process and making you more attractive to the seller.
#3. Consider a foreclosure or short sale.
Foreclosures and short sales are still out there and they can be great deals. There are keys to look for though in a foreclosure or short sale property:
- Find the least attractive property in the best neighborhood. By doing so you can instantly gain equity once the home is fixed up, because it matches the rest of the homes in the area.
- Keep your eye out for mispriced listings. Overpriced properties will generally get very little interest and attention and could sit on the market for a long time. These are great properties to go for because they might be more inclined to accept a lower offer.
- Buy a foreclosure at the year or quarter end. This works especially well with cash buyers. If you make an offer at the end of a month, quarter or year, many banks will accept that offer in order to get the deal closed and off the books.
- Look for the diamond in the rough. Many real estate agents make it too many homes from banks and not have enough time to really research the property and showcase the best features. Check out these properties a little bit closer and if they meet your criteria for size and the neighborhood, check out in person and you might find great features that the real estate agent failed to mention.
#4. Negotiate with everyone involved.
You can negotiate pricing from just about every party involved in the real estate transaction. This could include your real estate agent, appraiser, lender, inspector, escrow and title company. You might be surprised at how much you can save simply by negotiating everybody’s fees in an amicable and reasonable way.
#5. Know When to Pull the Trigger.
Knowing when to pull the trigger is something that you and your buyers agent should discuss. Once you’ve done everything prior to this point, knowing when NOT to wait is crucial. By determining all the factors above, understanding the area and the market, you should be able to pull the trigger on an offer at the right time.
ALSO – know when to walk away. This is just as important as knowing when to go for it. Your agent will be able to talk you through the plan and when not to get your emotions too involved. Sometimes, buyers can get so wrapped up in the process, they overpay when it’s all said and done. Don’t let the idea of “winning” become the focus over getting the right house at the right time.
Ready to get started? Ready for step one? Let’s talk!
More Tips for Home Buyers:
A lot of my clientele are over 50 years old and many of them are moving to the Bay area to retire, enjoy the waterfront and a more laid-back, peaceful way of life. However, some homebuyers are still reluctant about purchasing a home later in life. Is it scary? Are there negative connotations? How easy is it to buy a home after 50? [Read more…]
When selling a property, chances are the main photo for the home will be the outside. Most multiple listing services require either the front of the house or the view from the house as the first listing photo, so, you better make sure that your landscaping and curb appeal is on point. Most buyers will decide within the first five seconds of looking at the home whether or not they’re interested, which is why your landscaping and curb appeal should never be neglected. Here are some serious landscaping and curb appeal hacks that will totally change the way people look at your home. [Read more…]
Selling? Maybe you just don’t want your house to look like a maple tree shed all over the property. Whatever the case, there are ways to spruce up your home’s curb appeal and landscaping regardless of the time or year. Here are some of our best secrets!
When it comes time to shopping for a mortgage, I would strongly encourage you to start with a local and trusted lender. – Jonathan Fox – Washington Post
You can’t get any clearer than that. Big business, large corporations, and big banks have been selling and buying mortgages for decades but when it comes to the individual homebuyer, going local, and going personal is always best.
It’s surprising how little value many homeowners, especially first-time homeowners, put into shopping around for the best home loan. They should be just as careful about this process as they are the home itself. However, many people simply go with whomever the real estate agent suggested or the local bank. While this might work out just fine, you can really benefit from shopping around for the best loan, the best rate, and the best terms. These really do change and you want to make sure that the lender knows you are shopping around. People get competitive when they know that they have others to compete against.
Terms, interest rates, and details of a mortgage loan are not always set in stone. You would be surprised at what you can actually negotiate with. Everything is important when it comes to dealing with contracts including inspections, timelines, and of course, who you are dealing with.
Mortgages in today’s society are getting easier but we still need to be cautious about applying for the right home loan and only applying for a mortgage we can actually afford. In order to avoid a housing bubble burst, living within our means is really the key to maintaining our home and living comfortably with the mortgage we have.
Large banks, credit unions, and even hometown banks can be a great partner in managing basic financial details such as your checking and savings accounts or even credit cards. But when it comes to borrowing money for a large purchase such as a house, finding a mortgage officer the deal specifically with this type of loan is essential to getting the best rate.
Competitiveness also plays a big factor in getting the right loan for your needs. Shop around to a couple of different loan officers or mortgage brokers as well as your own bank or credit union. Find out what terms you can expect and different programs that different mortgage brokers can provide. Housing markets are competitive so lender should be as well.
Terms and prices are not the only factors when it comes to choosing the right lender. Large banks that have multiple mortgage officers can tend to bog down the system, extending out timelines and deadlines that could cost you your home. Individual and private mortgage lenders and personal loan officers have more invested in the game, so they are more likely to pay attention to timelines and get things done in a timely fashion.
It’s Okay to shop around. Don’t worry about your credit getting hit. Having the loan officer run the numbers for you and then offer you the best plan and wait for your needs is essential to getting the right loan and saving you as much money as possible.
Feel free to give me a call as I have a lot of mortgage lenders in the Bay area and the Tri-Valley area that might work for you. Remember, shop around to get the best loan and the best deal for your needs.
We see them all the time these days; Fix It Or Flip It, Love It Or List It, Fixer Upper etc. This new trend of buying homes and flipping them is certainly not a new idea but broadcasting it on reality TV has only hit the airwaves in the last few years. More and more sellers and investors are watching the shows thinking they can definitely do it but when it comes to buyers, are buyers apprehensive about purchasing a flipped property? [Read more…]
If you have a home in Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore or surrounding Tri-Valley cities and towns and it’s not selling there could be a variety of reasons why. The central California real estate market is hot and prices are going through the roof and homes are selling fast but if yours is not there could be several reasons why. It’s time to step back, take a good look at your home and find out why your home may not be selling.
#1. Adjust the price.
It may simply be time to adjust the price. If you started at a decent price but your agent feels it may still be too high, it probably is. Real estate agents spend most of their time running comparable sales in the area, researching the market and have a pretty good idea of what will sell and what won’t sell. By adjusting your price to where it should be or even slightly lower, you’re more likely to get the right buyers in the door.
#2. Take a look at the photos.
Do the real estate photos really set your home apart from your closest competition? In today’s real estate market many real estate agents and homeowners are taking professional photos of their home in order to draw in the right buyers. Take a look at your home during different times of the day in different light. This can greatly affect the look and feel of your home. Make sure that the photos are professionally taken and really are sharp, clear and show your home in the best light. Also, take a look at the room in the picture; is a clean, neat and tidy? Are toilet seats put down, garbage put away and counters and tables cleared off? The picture might be of great quality but if what it’s showing is a mess, buyers still won’t want to come close.
#3. Does the condition of your home match the price?
Do you want top dollar for your home? Then you have to present it as such. Real estate agents will be honest with you and tell you that if you want a certain price, you need to make your house rise to the occasion. Does the home warrant a high price tag? Has it been updated? Is it clean, neat and organized? Is it professionally staged? All of these things can affect your price and if you don’t present your home in a way that matches your perceived value, you simply won’t get any offers.
#4. The location or layout is funky.
This may not be something that you can change at all but it probably will affect your ability to get an offer. That being said, the only way to compensate for an odd layout or bad location is to adjust the price. Unless you want to take the time to remodel your home, adjusting the price may be the only way to get an offer. I know that’s not the ideal option but emphasizing the positive features of the home is a great way to overcompensate for the negative aspects such as living by a busy road, or an odd layout such as a bathroom off of the kitchen.
There’s usually always something that is preventing a home from selling. Finding that out as soon as you can will help you adjust where you need to in order to get it sold.
Call me today to discuss home prices in your area and what you’re home may sell for.
For sale by owner or FSBO, as they are often referred to, is when a homeowner decides to list and market their own home for sale instead of going through a real estate broker or agent. Most homes are listed by real estate agents under a brokerage of some type but occasionally buyers come across the for sale by owner home. This may be someone you know or just a random listing in the newspaper or drive by a sign in the front yard. You might think this is an easy way to get a home without involving real estate agents but actually, it’s the opposite of simplifying the process. Conducting a real estate transaction with people that may not know the process or the legalities, can turn into a nightmare and make you and the seller liable for certain issues.
Here are five things to know before jumping into a for sale by owner real estate transaction. [Read more…]