Did you know…?

As of July 1st 2011 all homes in the state of California are required to have carbon monoxide detectors in them!  I highly doubt that the government will be sending any inspectors to your homes to confirm that you’ve complied.  I mean, how often to you hear about men in black suits knocking on random doors to verify a property has smoke detectors or that their water heater is properly braced to the wall? BUT, if you are selling your home and you will record after July 1st, you will need make sure that you have these detectors before you record to ensure that your property is up to code.  If you’re not selling your home any time in the near future, you may want to consider picking up a few of these detectors anyways… You never can be too safe, right?  As always, From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

  

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Happy Easter!

Hello All,

Spring is here with full force and I’m seeing the buyers finally starting to come back into the market.  Obviously, this isn’t a great market to sell if you’re looking to take a profit.  However, if you’re in a position where you need to sell it’s definitely better to put your property on the market while buyers are looking.

If you’re curious to know how much your property is worth in the current market, feel free to give me a call.  I’m more than happy to work up a comparative market analysis on your home free of charge.

Regardless of whether or not you’re looking to buy or sell, I hope you have a fantastic Easter Weekend filled with great food, lots of love, and the company of family and friends.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

Remodeling ROI: Low Price, High Return Renovations

Putting some sweat equity into your home can do wonders when it comes time to sell. But before dropping big dollars on a major home makeover, consider a few smaller changes that may just give you a bigger dollar-for-dollar return.

man with level

A few cosmetic changes go a long way

Tearing apart your old kitchen may be the cause of countless daydreams; however, first consider a cost-effective facelift. Things like changing fixtures, fresh paint, updating cabinetry handles or adding a decorative backsplash are simple and relatively inexpensive ways to modernize your kitchen and give buyers a better sense of the room’s true potential.

Getting that stain out

Before ripping out every square inch of carpet, consider a steam clean. Find the least toxic method and get rid of all the splotches and stains and see what can be salvaged. Oftentimes, cleaning a carpet using a professional cleaner or a rented steam machine can give it a new lease on life and help save a few dollars that can be better invested in other parts of the home.

Bold may not always be beautiful

Start with the basics: kitchens and bathrooms. According to Remodeling Online / Hanley-Wood, renovating your kitchen can generate an approximate 71 – 88 percent return on investment, as most buyers like these areas to be in move-in condition. Avoid custom cabinetry in favor of something contemporary and neutral. The idea is to generate maximum appeal and increase the value of your property for the broadest possible audience.

All things relative

Keep in mind that no matter how beautiful, a $35,000 bathroom does not belong in a $100,000 home. While bathrooms generate the same return as a new kitchen, a renovation will only get you what buyers can afford. Consider re-glazing the tub for a few hundred dollars before spending thousands on a complete remodeling. Changing the vanity can also give you the updated look buyers are searching for. Adding new faucets or a new mirror can be a dramatic improvement and can be relatively inexpensive.

Consistency is key

One of the questions few renovators ask themselves is whether or not their changes match. Keeping the look and feel consistent will add continuity to the home and allow buyers to see where your improvements could lead them long term. Don’t neglect the outside of the home in favor of fixing the interior. Ensuring things stay consistent throughout the property gives buyers a sense that your property is worth top dollar.

Ask your agent

A Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate sales associate can provide you with some quick and easy advice that is often overlooked when preparing your house for sale. An experienced sales associate can supply you with the latest trends and local supplier knowledge that you may not be familiar with.

The Right Mortgage for You

If you’re considering buying a home, securing a mortgage loan is a key part of the process.  However, you’re probably wondering: how do I find the best mortgage loan for my financial needs? Generally speaking, there are two types of mortgage loans:

  • A fixed-rate mortgage offers a rate that stays the same over the life of the loan. This type of loan generally has a longer term and may be good if you plan to own your home for a long time.
  • An adjustable-rate mortgage offers an interest rate that adjusts based on market conditions (it goes higher or lower) after a specified time period. This type of loan may be good for people who need an initial lower monthly payment.

man laying down

Consider the following factors to help you gain insight into the kind of home you can afford, and the type of mortgage that will best fit your financial situation:

 

How long do you plan to own the home?

  • Some loans have longer terms (from 15 to 40 years) that typically work well when you plan to stay in the home for a long time. Other loans have lower interest rates for a shorter term, and may be attractive if you plan to move in five to seven years.
  • CONSIDER: How many years do you plan to stay in the home? Will you move within seven years, or is this the place to “settle down?”

How much can you afford as a down payment?

  • 20% of the cost of the home is standard for the down payment on a conventional loan, but there are loans that allow you to put down as little as 5 or 10%.
  • The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be.
  • CONSIDER: How much can you realistically afford as the down payment?

What is the general price range for other homes in your neighborhood?

  • How many homes are for sale in the area? How are they priced? Do you have a list of comparable properties?
  • Are there other neighborhoods that catch your eye? How are the homes in these other areas priced?
  • CONSIDER: Which area/home features the best combination of location, quality, and cost for you.

Which of the following is more important to you?

  • To have low monthly payments?
  • To pay less over the life of the loan, even if monthly payments are high?
  • Some loans offer lower monthly mortgage payments over a long period of time. Other loans are designed to be paid in a shorter time frame, but have higher monthly payments.
  • CONSIDER: Which situation would work best for you? It helps to be clear about your financial goals and resources.

Your credit history

  • Mortgage lenders will look at your credit history and credit score to determine your track record for paying off debt.
  • CONSIDER: Do you have a good credit score? Review your credit report to find out.