Timing is Everything!

MarchRealityCheck

They say timing is everything in life. And that’s particularly true when it comes to real estate. If you’ve been thinking about selling your home but are not sure if this is the right time, think again: There may not be a better time to sell than right now.

We are experiencing a severe shortage of homes for sale in our area. Our inventory of listings is at the lowest level it has been in many years. Buyers are out there each weekend scouring the neighborhoods for homes to buy; buyers are ready to make a move when they find a house to buy.

With so few homes available in this market, if you were to sell your home now you could potentially get the highest price since the downturn of the housing market. With buyers far outnumbering available homes for sale, sellers are often getting multiple offers – sometimes a dozen or more – often closing at a price that is significantly more than their asking price.

We’re not alone here in the Sacramento/Tahoe region. The low inventory of for-sale homes is creating a seller’s market throughout the country, according to an article by the National Association of Realtors®. NAR reported that “Buyers and Agents are literally waiting for the next house” to come on the market in many cities.

According to NAR, the supply of existing homes for sale reached nearly an eight-year low in January. Nationwide, there is a 4.2-month supply of existing homes for sale and it could take some time before we reach a more balanced market. There are a number of reasons for the shortage of listings. The number of distressed houses for sale is decreasing as the foreclosure crisis recedes. New home construction is improving but still at low levels in most areas of the country. And many homeowners still believe they are too underwater on their mortgage or may not have enough equity in their property to buy their next home.

But you may be surprised at how much the tide has turned in the last year.

Multiple offers and bids over the asking price are pushing up home values in many areas. Properties that looked like they would have to sell as a short sale have ended up pricing out as a traditional equity transaction with homeowners walking away with cash from the sale. We are experiencing this change in the market every day.

In a recent Money magazine article, reporter Beth Braverman said homeowners might be wise to sell now rather than hold off. “It’s tempting to postpone selling to hold out for a better price,” she said. “But if you want to move to a larger place, act sooner rather than later.”

While you might be able to sell your home for more if you wait, there’s no way to tell what the future will hold. When more homeowners eventually decide to come into the market, the balance of supply and demand could change in favor of buyers once again. And even if prices go up in the future, the appreciation on a trade-up home could be even greater.

As we travel through life, housing needs evolve. You may have outgrown your starter home and need more space now that you have children. Perhaps you want to move to a similar home on a quieter street. You’ve decided to downsize now that the kids are on their own and you are empty nesters. Or you’re just tired of maintaining that big yard in your current home.

Whether you’re moving up, across or downsizing, whatever the reason for your move, it’s important to work with a well-qualified professional Realtor® who can help make the transition a success.

In order to get the best possible price for a home, you must expose it to the largest number of potential buyers. Start by hiring an Agent from a reputable firm who specializes in your local area.

Your Agent must be able to showcase your home in a variety of traditional and online media including professional photography, direct mail, property flyers, listing syndication, social media, and electronic communication to area Agents.

Additionally, your Agent should also identify the key selling features of the home and actively promote the property to other Agents during the brokers’ tour and to potential buyers during an open house.

Your best choice is to start by hiring the Sacramento/Tahoe region’s leading real estate services company, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Our proven marketing plan will showcase your home to the widest possible audience of qualified buyers and net you the best price possible for your property.

Selling your home can be a complicated and stressful process. But it doesn’t have to be, especially when you are working with the best. As a full-service company, we are with you every step of the way, keeping you informed about the entire transaction.

As your professional Realtor®, I can help you navigate through the process of selling your home and even help you find your next home that fits your current situation. Contact me today for a private consultation and to learn more about my comprehensive marketing program.

As they say, timing is everything.

This Reality Check is brought to you by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the leading provider of real estate services in Northern California. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is home to more than 3,600 Sales Associates of the region’s most successful real estate professionals.

Advertisements

Reality Check | Homebuyer Growing More Optimistic

HomebuyersOptimistic
A new homebuyer/Agent sentiment survey by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s parent company has found a growing sense of optimism among buyers as the nation’s housing market continues to improve. In particular, buyers are becoming more confident about the stabilizing and increasing value of home prices.The annual homebuyer survey, which drew 5,865 responses, was designed to discover what was behind the recent increases in buyer demand. The key finding here seems to be a growing optimism about improving prices, which appears to be driven by an extreme shortage of homes for sale in many markets.

While low interest rates and change in life situation were cited as the two highest factors motivating buyers, expectation that home prices will rise – a very new sentiment among buyers – came in a very close third. This optimism over values grew the most over the last 12 months (61 percent) closely followed by “increased optimism around selling” (51 percent).

Dan Barnett, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s parent company, said there is a very clear correlation between a growing optimism over prices and buyer frustration over the lack of homes for sale. The graph below depicts results by various NRT local operating companies:

GroiwingChart
Despite increased buyer and seller optimism overall, there still does not seem to be a big increase in move up buyers. About 42 percent of Agents said move-up buying was increasing “modestly” and only 7 percent said it was increasing significantly.Below are the results of the survey:

What is motivating buyers to look now (factor is “very motivating” or “motivating”):

83% Low interest rates
60% Change in life situation
57% Expectation that home prices will rise
51% Job relocation
46% Real estate investment value
43% Confidece in personal economic outlook
42% Increased optimism around selling
37% Rising rental prices

Which factors have become more important now than a year ago:

61% Expectation that home prices will rise
51% Increased optimism around selling
44% Low interest rates
35% Real Estate investment value
34% Confidence in personal economic outlook
28% Rising rental prices
27% Change in life situation
22% Job relocation

What are buyers complaining about:
(% saying “frequently” or both frequently and “more often than not”)
41% (69%) Lack of inventory
19% (52%) Uncertainty in economy
11% (44%) Home affordability
19% (43%) Difficulty with mortgage appraisal
18% (42%) Difficulty qualifying for a mortgage

How do buyers cope with limited inventory (Agent could pick more than one):
87% considered expanding the geography they would consider
85% prepared to pay more
74% considered distressed properties
70% stopped looking
54% considered buying new construction
54% considered foregoing a move

What is happening in the overall market:

Prices:
63% of our Agents found that home prices were increasing, with larger increases identified on the west coast. Half of the San Francisco Agents described home prices as increasing significantly.

Inventory:
78% of our Agents found inventory to be decreasing. Atlanta, Florida, Hawaii and Sacramento are feeling the most constrained by low inventory.

Transaction volume:
Agents report that transactions are up somewhat – 40% – with the most activity being reported in the Midwest and West.

Buyer confidence:
60% of Agents report that buyer confidence is increasing, across the board. Sacramento and Harrisburg, while generally positive, lag the nation.

So what does all this mean for you? Every day, both buyers and sellers are growing more confident as the housing market continues its steady rebound. If you have been thinking about buying a home, you shouldn’t wait too long. We have a good window of opportunity right now when interest rates are low and prices are still very affordable. But that won’t last forever, as history has shown us. Even a small jump in mortgage rates could significantly change how much you’ll end up spending on a home. If you’ve been considering buying a home, there may not be a better time than now. I’m ready to help you find the home of your dreams today. Let’s get started!

©2013 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Office Is Owned by a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. DRE License #01908304

Good News for Underwater Sellers! And the Rest of Us Too!

Many sellers have anxiously counted down the days to the end of 2012 and the expiration of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act which prevented sellers from having to pay income tax on debt forgiven in a short sale. They watched in horror as the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve and panicked because their sale hadn’t yet recorded and no deal had yet been struck! Was it too late to cancel the contract? I mean it’s better to have a foreclosure than a $20,000 tax bill, right? Can you even file bankruptcy on tax debt?! Let the spiral continue.

Well, never fear because The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (affectionately referred to as the Fiscal Cliff Deal) which passed late last night has upheld the debt forgiveness law as suggested in this Housing Wire article excerpt:

“One of the more watched provisions of the fiscal cliff was the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which was set to expire on Dec. 31.

The fiscal cliff deal extends it for another year, meaning homeowners who experience a debt reduction through mortgage principal forgiveness or a short sale are exempt from being taxed on the forgiven amount.”

Good news for sellers and great news for our economy!

See the full article here. The settlement will also extend a law that expired in the end of 2011 which allowed for the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums. Additionally, capital gains rates are to rise from 15% to 20% for high-income earners. However, capital gains rates on the sale of principal residences will remain unchanged and continues to exclude the first $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples.

What You Need To Know About The 3.8% Tax!

Most importantly- Don’t freak out! It’s probably not going to affect you (or the sale of your home). Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way you can check out the short video below and the National Association of Realtors’ “Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax” for more specific details.

 

 

See original article here

Learn the most important takeaways for REALTORS® when it comes to the 3.8% tax that’s part of health care reform:

  1. When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will not be subject to this tax.
  2. The 3.8% tax will never be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll never pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.
  3. You’ll never pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.
  4. If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will not pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.
  5. The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).
  6. The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.
  7. In any particular year, if you have no income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll never pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.
  8. The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will always protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would never be imposed on more than $1,000.
  9. It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. But: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.
  10. The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

The Ultimate Guide to Winning the Battle Against Mosquitoes

The Ultimate Guide to Winning the Battle Against Mosquitoes

August 14, 2012
Posted by Lindsay Listanski in Tips for Home

 

21

modqqqs The Ultimate Guide to Winning the Battle Against Mosquitoes

One of the ultimate buzz kills of a backyard BBQ is having party crashing, ankle biting, blood sucking mosquitoes as your “uninvited guests”. In addition to leaving their gift of an itchy bite in the most uncomfortable and hard to reach places their bites also leave a possibility of disease transmission. Take a look at these helpful hints for limiting their habitat on your property and other repellent options.

Remove Standing Water

Mosquitoes LOVE water because they require it to breed. This is why a rainy spring often leads to a mosquito filled summer.About.com suggests these four tips:

Drill holes in the bottom, not the sides, of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors. Holes on the sides still allow enough water to accumulate in the bottom for mosquitoes to breed.

Keep gutters clean and unclogged. Be sure your downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles in the drainage area. You may need to reroute your downspouts or add extensions to carry water away.

Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use. Homeowners who go on vacation without chlorinating their pools may return to a veritable mosquito hatchery.

Dump anything that holds water twice per week if it has rained. Birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, footbaths, garbage can lids, and pottery will all attract breeding mosquitoes. Remember to empty the saucers under your flower pots, and don’t leave water in pet bowls for more than two days.

Choose Your Lighting Wisely

Replace outdoor lights with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to mosquitoes. Products such as tiki torches, citronella candles, and lanterns will keep the pests away from the immediate area where you’re dining al fresco. (ivillage.com)

Guard Your Body

While some prefer to spray mosquito repellant others prefer an all-natural pest repellent. If you aren’t a fan of sprays like Off or Repel there are many natural DIY alternatives you can make yourself. One trick that has worked for me is sticking a Bounce® brand dryer sheet in each pocket. Something about these fabric softener sheets repels them…and bonus…it smells awesome!

Don’t Bother Trying These

According to Wayne J. Crans, Associate Research Professor in Entomology at Rutgers University, these often-touted mosquito solutions are not worth your time or money.

Bug zappers. Though the satisfying sizzle you hear from this modern day insect torture device will convince you it’s working, don’t expect much relief from backyard mosquitoes. According to Crans, biting insects (including mosquitoes) generally make up less than 1% of the bugs zapped in these popular devices. Many beneficial insects, on the other hand, do get electrocuted.

Citrosa plants. While citronella oil does have proven mosquito-repellent properties, the genetically-modified plants sold for this purpose do not. In tests by researchers, the test subjects bitten as often while surrounded by the Citrosa plants as without them. In fact, mosquitoes were observed landing on the leaves of Citrosa plants during the study.

Bats and/or purple martins. While both bats and the colonial purple martins will consume mosquitoes, the offending insects make up a small percentage of their natural diet. Assertions about these insectivores being effective mosquito controls grew out of misrepresented and misinterpreted data from unrelated studies. While providing habitat for bats and purple martins has its value, don’t do it if only to reduce your mosquito populations.

Electronic devices that transmit sounds to mimic male mosquitoes or dragonflies do not work. Crans goes so far as to suggest “the claims made by distributors border on fraud.”

Learn the Facts

Every kid remembers an adult trying to console them in the midst of an itching episode with “they like your blood because you are so sweet” but I always wondered if mosquitoes actually have a preference for their victims. I found this Are You A Mosquito Magnet Infographic pretty interesting and hope you do too!

Minfographic The Ultimate Guide to Winning the Battle Against Mosquitoes

What steps do you take to keep mosquitoes away from your yard?

Related posts:

  1. The Ultimate Entertainment House
  2. Outfitting the Ultimate Lego House

Happy Mother’s Day Ladies!

Mothers Day 
A Mother loves right from the start.
She holds her baby close to her heart.
The bond that grows will never falter.
Her love is so strong it will never alter.
A Mother gives never ending Love.
She never feels that she has given enough.
For you she will always do her best.
Constantly working, there’s no time to rest.
A Mother is there when things go wrong.
A hug and a kiss to help us along.
Always there when we need her near.
Gently wipes our eyes when we shed a tear.
So on this day shower your Mother with Love.
Gifts and presents are nice but that is not enough.
Give your Mother a day to have some peace of mind.
Be gentle, be good, be helpful, be kind.
Happy Mothers Day. 
Carol Matthews 

#ChuckLoses 5/9/12 Because All the #CoolKids are Doing it ;o)

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris checks HIS closet for KRIS VOGT- Future 2012 LLS Man of the Year. http://www.facebook.com/berelentless2012Chuck knows that any man who runs 24 hours in the name of curing cancer is NOT a man to be messed with.

We’re inviting everyone in the Twitterverse to join us in supporting Kris Vogt’s 2012 LLS Man of the Year Campaign at Chevy’s on the water on Wednesday, May 9th from 5pm-9pm. Chevy’s has generously agreed to contribute 15% of all proceeds from food and non-alcoholic beverages to LLS in support of Kris Vogt’s fundraising efforts.

This is where philanthropy meets partying- bring a friend and take this opportunity to meet some of your favorite twitter folk!

Register Here

Breakfast with The Bunny Tomorrow Morning in EG

ImageElk Grove is one of the coolest towns around for families with young children! Enjoy a pancake breakfast with the Easter Bunny. This Breakfast is co-sponsored by the Pride of Laguna Creek Lions Club.  Fees: Children 2 and under $1 / $5 in advance / $7 at the door (all members of the party must pay).

http://www.mapquest.com/embed?hk=Huo8BN

If you’re looking for a fun and budget-friendly way to spend time with the kiddos tomorrow, you should definitely check out this fun EG Event. You can go to the 8am, 9am, or 10am depending on your schedule 🙂

 

 

 

March Reality Check

 SFSellingTodaysMarket
As the Sacramento area’s housing market continues to bounce back from the recession, more and more buyers have decided they can’t wait any longer – now is the time to get back into the market to find their next home.While the real estate market still has its challenges, things are very different today than they were in 2009, 2010 and even early last year. Buyers are generally more optimistic about the future, ready to purchase, much better qualified for a loan and, in many cases, are paying big down payments or even all cash for their next home.

Indeed, the scales of supply and demand are once again moving back in the direction of home sellers after being out of balance for several years. While countless buyers are out there pounding the pavement for a home, the problem now is that there just aren’t enough sellers to meet the demand in many communities.

As the economy continues to improve and with a shortage of attractive properties in good neighborhoods, buyers are once again paying good prices for properties rather than simply looking for distressed homes at bargain basement prices. And in some cases, properties are even getting multiple offers, driving up the sale price above the asking price.

So if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now may be an ideal time to do so while buyers are eager, interest rates are still low and there isn’t as much competition from other sellers as there usually is this time of year. Here are several suggestions on how to get started and the best way to get top dollar for your home in today’s market.

  • Pick the best agent for the job. Selling a home is never easy, but in today’s complex real estate market it’s particularly challenging. So it’s more important than ever to find an experienced professional Realtor to help you get the job done. This is no time for amateurs. Start by interviewing several agents to see who has a proven track record of successfully marketing properties in your area. Ask them about their marketing plan, including print media, social media and online marketing via major real estate websites. Find out how well networked they and their brokerage are to other agents with potential buyers. Do they have offices beyond your city limits and even outside the state? Today’s buyers are just as likely to be relocating from across the country as they are from across town.
  • Go online and be visual. Remember the days of sticking a sign in the front lawn and taking out an ad in the local paper? Those days are long gone. Nearly 90 percent of buyers start their search for a home online, according to the National Association of Realtors. So you must be there in a big way to compete for the attention of buyers. Work with your agent to put up lots of high-resolution photos and as much information as possible. Make sure to show photos of all the major areas of your home and yard to give buyers as much of a sense of being there as possible. If not, buyers may wonder what you’re hiding. And strongly consider using video and virtual tours. Such marketing tools are no longer just for luxury homes.
  • Price your home competitively for today’s market. Just because a house comparable to yours sold for a certain price before the recession doesn’t mean you will be able to get the same price today. A lot has changed since then. And while prices are firming up, it’s still important to realize the new realities of today’s market. Talk with your Realtor to determine the appropriate, competitive listing price for your home based on current market conditions. You may even choose to have an appraisal done in advance of setting the price. Remember that in this market, homes that are priced aggressively attract the most buyers and – in some cases – multiple offers that push your final sale price even higher.
  • De-clutter and de-personalize. De-personalizing and de-cluttering a home before putting it on the market can help make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves living there – a crucial step in the selling process. Take down family portraits, personal collections and knickknacks. Homebuyers are looking for a home they can picture their family living in, not yours. Removing these items will also eliminate clutter and ensure that people are looking at the house itself, not at the photos from your last family vacation.
  • Update, freshen up. Keeping in mind that some buyers take move-in condition to be important, put your home in its best light. Possibilities include replacing outdated kitchen and bathroom fixtures, applying a fresh coat of paint and/or refinishing the kitchen cabinets. Replace worn carpet or fix broken tiles. Many cosmetic touches are surprisingly affordable but may yield much higher sale prices. The less work buyers have to do when they move in, the faster they may be willing to make an offer.
  • Conduct a full home inspection. If a professional home inspector determines that there are negative issues with the home, consider repairing the problems before buyers show up at your door. Potential buyers will cast an extremely critical eye over your home if it needs too many repairs – especially if they are trying to decide between your home and another one without problems. Be sure to have the home inspection report available for prospective buyers along with an itemizing all of the repairs that have been made and the associated cost for each to demonstrate the investment you’ve made in your home.
  • Make your home and yard picture perfect. As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. When a buyer sees your house for the first time, a positive impression can make or break the sale. You can maximize curb appeal by trimming trees, planting flowers and even rolling out a new lawn if needed. A fresh exterior coat of paint might also prove valuable. And consider having a professional “stage” your home to make it even more attractive for buyers by rearranging what you have and/or bringing in other furnishings and accessories.
  • Be patient and flexible. You’ve done all the right things to put your home in the best position to sell. But there will undoubtedly be bumps along the way. A buyer may have difficultly securing financing. The appraisal may come in lower than expected. The escrow period could drag on longer than you thought before the deal closes. It’s not unusual to have occasional issues pop up. After all, buying a home is the single biggest financial transaction most of us will ever make in our lives. Through it all, remember that your Realtor is there by your side. He or she will be there with you every step along the way, managing the tough issues so you don’t have to and helping you achieve all of your home selling goals in today’s market.