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.

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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

 

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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

Housing Crisis to End in 2012 as Banks Loosen Credit Standards (Maybe)

While I certainly don’t expect to see any major improvements in the local housing market this year (with respect to average sales prices or price/sqft), I also don’t anticipate any drastic declines. Elk Grove currently only has 238 Single Family Residence listings available on the market (this includes equity sales, short sales, and bank owned homes- one house on one lot).  Couple this with the fact that there are currently 855 Elk Grove Single Family Residence listings in contract (this includes homes listed as short-contingent, pending, and pending/bring backup), and you’ll realize that we are actually seeing the pendulum swing back in the direction of this being a seller’s market! This is NOT to say that prices will sky-rocket. However, the simple laws of supply and demand still apply. There are more buyers out there looking to purchase homes in Elk Grove than there are listings. We’re seeing a lot more bidding wars over competitively priced homes and the average “Days on Market” time before listings are going into contract has dropped substantially.  Dare I say it? Stabilization may be on the horizon.

01/24/2012BY: KRISTA FRANKS Printer Friendly View

Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit.

The analytics firm notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is 700. While this is higher than scores required prior to the crisis, it is constant with requirements one year ago.

Additionally, a Fed Senior Loan Officer Survey found credit requirements in the fourth quarter were consistent with the past three quarters.

However, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability.

Banks are now lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. This is up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.

Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.”

In contrast to a low of 74 percent reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV.

While credit conditions may have loosened slightly, some potential homebuyers are still struggling with credit requirements. In fact, Capital Economics points out that in November 8 percent of contract cancellations were the result of a potential buyer not qualifying for a loan.

Additionally, Capital Economics says “any improvement in credit conditions won’t be significant enough to generation actual house price gains,” and potential ramifications from the euro-zone pose a threat to future credit availability.

 

See Actual Article Here.

‘Tis The Season!

Christmas is coming!!! One of my family’s most favorite holiday traditions is to drive around town checking out Christmas Lights/Displays.  We normally do this around the 23rd- But why wait?! Elk Grove is full of folks who just don’t disappoint!

Check out This Website for a *map* of light displays for you and your family to visit 🙂

What’s the DEAL with Short Sales?!

This is a question I hear on a daily basis.  It’s important to understand and accept that a short sale will take longer than a straight equity sale, and even a bank owned home in most cases.

Here’s a quick break down of the overall process, and why it seems to take so long.

  • Once an offer is made it has to first be accepted by the home owners.  This is usually not a difficult step, as the average home owner is not overly concerned with the net sheet because it’s ultimately not that person’s net loss.
  • After the homeowner accepts the offer, their agent then submits it to the bank(s).  In the best case scenario, the subject property will only have one mortgage, and in turn one bank to negotiate with.  We’ll assume that this the case for now, and then go over the possible differences at the end of my spiel.
  • Normally, the agent will put together a short sale package containing a myriad documents that are requested by the bank to go along with the offer.  Each bank has its own requirements, but almost all banks will ask for the following:
  1. Listing Agreement
  2. MLS history for the property
  3. Comparable Listings to justify the list price (usually 3 active, 3 sold, and 3 pending if possible)
  4. Executed Purchase Agreement
  5. Pre-Approval letter or Proof of Funds for the buyer making the offer
  6. A HUD-1 Statement for the purchase (this breaks down the banks expected net loss from the sale after all fees are accounted for)
  7. Financial Statements for homeowners applying for the short sale including but not limited to: bank statements, retirement accounts, investment portfolios, pay stubs, evidence of other income, a signed 4506-T granting the bank access to your tax returns, a completed budget worksheet which breaks down the homeowner’s end-of-month net after all necessary expenses are deducted from their gross income, etc.
  8. A well written, one page hardship letter explaining what event(s) have occurred that have left the homeowners less able to pay their monthly mortgage payment than they were on the day they were approved for their home loan.  It’s important to note that being upside down in itself is not generally accepted as being a true hardship for the purposes of a short sale.  There must be an extenuating circumstance that lessens your ability to afford your regular payment, i.e. loss of employment, death in the family, unexpected medical expenses, an adjustment in your ARM loan, reduction in income, or some other catastrophic event.
  • When your agent submits this well organized package to the bank, there will be an administrative person who receives it from the bank’s short sale department in most cases.  This person’s function is to ensure that the package is complete and ready to be reviewed for negotiation. If your package is not complete, it will not be sent to a negotiator’s desk, so make sure everything is done right the first time around.
  • Once your file has been reviewed and accepted as a complete package it will then be assigned to a negotiator.  This alone may take two to three weeks.  Keep in mind that yours is just one of many files on the negotiator’s desk, which will absolutely mean a delay between the time he/she receives your file and the time he/she actually begins reviewing it.
  • The negotiator’s job is to protect the bank financially.  He/she needs to examine the numbers and ensure that the net loss on the short sale will overall be less expensive than a foreclosure would potentially be.  He/she also needs to determine that foreclosure is eminent if a short sale is not approved (this is where all of those financial documents and hardship letter come in).  Keep in mind that in most cases the bank sells off mortgage debt to third party investors which means the bank must be able to justify any losses to those individuals.

IF the homeowner can be financially interpreted on paper as being able to afford the mortgage payment, then there is no real reason for the bank allow that person to do anything less than what was agreed upon in their contract- which is pay the full amount due, with interest, as promised .

IF though, that person’s financial situation has drastically changed and it’s clear through their financial records and hardship letter explanation of their circumstances, that there is just no possible way for them to continue paying the loan payments, regardless of whether or not a short sale is granted, and if it isn’t granted then the home will in all likelihood end up in foreclosure (an expensive process in itself), then the bank will be more likely to negotiate for an acceptable loss.

  • Usually the negotiator will calculate a “Magic Number” so to speak that the bank needs to be able to net in order for it to be financially sensible for them to accept a short sale, but of course they will not normally share this number with the agent until the very end of negotiations (if at all) in an effort to maximize their earnings from the sale.  They will then take the difference between that number, and the number at hand with the given offer on the table and attempt to trim costs as necessary.  They may do this any number of ways.  For example: it’s very rare that a bank will pay any non-essential fees, or costs that could potentially be passed on to the buyer (i.e. home warranty, closing costsexcessive commissions, etc.)
  • Once all of this back and forth has been handled you might be ready to close!  UNLESS THERE ARE SECONDARY LIEN HOLDERS OR MI COMPANIES (and there often times are).
  • IF the property has mortgage insurance, a 2nd mortgage and/or a HELOC you will need to negotiate a payoff with them as well.  All of the same rules that come with negotiating with the 1st bank will apply to the other bank(s) involved in the financing.  Other possible lien holders include Home Owner Associations, or government entities for unpaid tax liens.  Each secondary lien holder will have to be settled independently of each other.  Once the secondary lien holders have agreed upon their respective payoffs, your agent will then add their payoff amounts to the HUD-1 to be paid through escrow once the home is sold.  The bank that holds the 1st mortgage must agree to the payoff amounts for each secondary lien holder, and each secondary lien holder must be paid through escrow.  It is ILLEGAL for a buyer to pay a secondary lien holder outside of escrow!

If all the payoffs have been negotiated and approved by the 1st lender, AND if the remaining balance after those payoffs are made is still enough to satisfy the 1st mortgage’s previously mentioned “magic number” THEN you will have the makings of a successful short sale.  Of course all of this is dependent upon a very strict time table, because in many cases there may be a looming foreclosure on the horizon.

Bottom Line? Short Sales are complicated, and time consuming, and stressful.  That’s just part of the deal.  They are also a means of salvation for the struggling home owner under water who is looking to minimize the long term damage to their credit so that they can start rebuilding towards future home ownership.  AND they are often competitively priced because of the added frustration that comes along with the process, which means a golden opportunity for buyers on a budget!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns specific to your situation that I may be able to address for you.  Before you consider a short sale, I highly recommend you speak with a real estate attorney to determine the possible consequences that may or may not apply to your unique situation.

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.

 

 

You Have Seven Options…

As a three-time certified Short Sale “Specialist,” my specialty is helping struggling home owners avoid foreclosure.  If you’re upside down on your home and you need to make a move you essentially have 7 options to choose from.  More often than not people find that a short sale is ultimately their best solution, however, it’s important that you educate yourself on all of your available options before choosing which is best for you.  If you have questions about how all of this might apply to you, please feel free to give me a call and set up a consultation.  I’m more than happy to discuss your unique situation in person.

Your 7 Options to Choose From Are:

  1. Pay down your mortgage, and sell the property.  This is an option if you have money to spare.  We can sell your home and you pay the difference between what your house sells for and what you owe your lender(s).  The positive to this is you can keep your credit intact.  The negative is that you need disposable dollars to do this with.
  2. Short Sale your property.  A short sale is where we sell your home for less than what you owe.  We need to negotiate with your lender(s) to accept less than what you owe.  Note: There can be tax ramifications depending on if you have a recourse or non-recourse loan. I can explain the difference if you give me a call.  The positive is that you can pay off your loan(s) without any money out of your pocket.  It’s important to realize that in the state of California, there is a law in place (SB458) that protects the home owner from any further recourse/liability once the lender(s) have accepted a short sale, AND you cannot be required to provide a cash contribution as a condition of acceptance of your short sale. The negative depends on how many payments you missed.  It can reduce your credit score 50-150 points.*
  3. Walk Away and allow your property to be foreclosed.  This is a situation where you just walk away from your house.  You can still have negative tax consequences and it can affect your credit by approximately 250 points.  In most cases, a short sale is a better option.*
  4. Bankruptcy.  Sometimes you will be advised to file bankruptcy.  In a lot of cases, people will suggest this because they do not know about other options as mentioned above.  This should be a last resort.  It can affect your credit by approximately 400 points and your credit for for the long-term.*
  5. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.  This is a situation where you basically hand the keys over to your lender.  In most cases, the last thing your lender wants is the property back, and if they do, it is normally prior to foreclosure.  At this point, your credit is probably already negatively affected by multiple missed payments.  If you were current with your payments, why would your lender take the property back?
  6. Loan Modification with your Lender.  This is a situation where you want to stay in your property, but can’t afford your current payment(s).  The lender might renegotiate interest rates or reduce your payment and add it on to the back end of your loan.
  7. Rent.  You can rent your property out until the market turns upwards.  In most cases, there will be a negative between the rent you’re able to collect and your loan payment(s).  Most of the experts feel this market will take 2-4 years to turn-around, though I feel those figures may be overly optimistic.  You should be prepared to rent out your property long term and create a budget worksheet to see if you can realistically afford to be compensating for the difference in your mortgage in addition to the cost of rent for your own home stead.

*Reductions to credit scores are estimates only.  Individual situations will produce varying results.

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.


Are you paying too much in property taxes?

Do you know how much your home is currently worth? Is that amount lower than the assessed value of your home on which you are taxed?  As it turns out, Sacramento County allows its residents to apply for reassessments based on declines in market values via Prop 8.  Prop 8 reassessments are temporary reductions in the assessed value of your home.  Here’s how it works:

Property owner provides Assessor with facts they feel justify a reduction in value and requests a review of the property’s value. (The Assessor may initiate the review if the problem is discovered independently*.)

Appraisal staff reviews market data, estimates the property’s market value as of January 1st and then compares this market value to the property’s current Prop 13 factored base year value.

If the January 1 market value is below factored Prop 13 value, then:

  • Assessed value is lowered to market value for next fiscal year.
  • Owner is notified of reduced value.
  • New tax bill is based on lower value for next fiscal year.
  • The following year, Assessor repeats process and enrolls the January 1 market value at that time or Prop 13 factored value, whichever is lower.

If January 1 market value is higher than factored Prop 13 value, then:

  • No change in assessed value is made, and
  • Owner is notified that value will not be reduced.
  • If owner still feels value should be reduced, then owner may file an assessment appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board, from July 2nd – Nov 30th each year.
  • Appeals Board hears evidence from owner and Assessor; the Board then determines proper assessed value

*The Assessor may also initiate the Prop 8 process without a request from an owner.

THERE IS A DEADLINE! All applications must be filed by 5:00 pm on November 30th to be considered.  There is a non-refundable $30 application fee.  You’ll need to fill out THIS FORM to apply.

Need help figuring out your current assessed value and/or market value? Give me call! I’m happy to be your real estate resource.

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

Jessica Hays
Mobile: (916) 208-4347  Fax: (916) 684-7706
Email: Jessica.Hays@cbnorcal.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/JessSellsHomes  DRE: 01878401

What Should You Expect from Your Real Estate Agent?

I am committed to providing you with more than just a successful real estate transaction.  I believe my clients are entitled to an experience that is convenient, stress-free (or as close to- as possible!) and remarkably satisfying.  Here’s how I do it:

  • Constant Communication. Communication is a key factor in every real estate transaction.  I make a point to ensure that my clients are well-informed with the progress of their transaction from start to finish.
  • Personal Attention to Every Detail.  Real estate transactions are complex by nature.  It is imperative that your agent have the ability to multitask in an organized manner so that nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Price your home competitively.  I have a deep understanding of this marketplace, and always conduct thorough research before suggesting a listing price.  In pricing your home too high, you may be essentially pricing yourself out of the market.  When buyers search for a new home, their paramount search criteria often revolves around pricing.  Even your home fits all of their other needs to a T, they will never see your listing because of the price.  Of course, the risk of improper pricing is a double-edged sword.  Under pricing your home could lead to your receiving an offer quickly, but it could also mean a missed opportunity, or worse- it could mean the bank rejects your sale in the case of a short sale.
  • Help find the right buyer for your home.  I market every listing actively, meaning I do everything possible to ensure the maximum number of prospective buyers see your listing during their search.  In cases of multiple offers, I assist my clients in deciphering the differences between them.  Most people have a natural inclination to assume that the highest offer automatically gets the property.  However, depending on the seller’s needs, price may not always be their first concern.  If the sellers are anxious to move as soon as possible, they may want to consider an all cash offer that’s slightly lower than an FHA funded offer.
  • Problem solving skills backed by experience and a strong brand name.  There are often bumps in the road to success.  Knowing how to navigate through them is key.  I pride myself on being an expert in my field.  In cases where I feel a second opinion is necessary I need only look to my amazing team.  I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Coldwell Banker Elk Grove Office- one that is highly trusted and respected, with more than 100 years of experience that I can draw upon in supporting you, the client.

If you’re in the area and looking for a real estate agent, please consider contacting me first.  If you already have an agent, make sure that person is servicing your transaction completely and thoroughly.  Please feel free to contact me if there’s anything I can do to assist you.


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.


A Winning Combination!

Coldwell Banker and Jessica Hays….
A Winning Combination

I am honored to announce that I have joined forces with Coldwell Banker, one of the most widely respected and trusted real estate names in the nation.

I am certain that my progressive approach to marketing, dedication to perfection and uncompromising service, combined with the unparalleled resources available through Coldwell Banker will create a winning combination.

Together, we are poised to deliver the highest degree of service through our unmatched global network, nationally acclaimed marketing resources and knowledge of the local Elk Grove market.

Please feel free to count on me to be your real estate resource. I am happy to keep you informed with up-to-date market information, and will continue to answer any questions you may have. For expert representation in buying or selling your home contact me today.

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.