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What Stays With the House When You Move?

February 26, 2015

selling-home-what-stays

By Angela Colley, Realtor.com

 

When you’re selling your home, it is natural to assume that anything you can safely remove is yours to keep—like the light fixtures you painstakingly cleaned and repaired, or the appliances you bought last year—but the buyer may want some of those items, too.

Rather than keep everything, you should decide what you can keep and what you should leave as a way to entice buyers into making an offer. Here’s what you should consider:

 

What stays with the house?

Generally, certain items stay with the house when you sell and move. Here’s what to expect:

Built-ins: Built-in bookshelves, benches, and pull-out furniture generally stays inside the home.

Landscaping: Trees, shrubs, and any flowers planted in the ground should stay in the yard.

Wall mounts: If you have TV wall mounts or picture mounts that might damage the wall if you remove them, it is a good idea to leave them in place when you move.

Custom-fit items: If you have custom-made curtains, plantation shutters, or blinds, leave them on the windows and doors.

Hardware: If you upgraded the knobs and drawer pulls in your bathrooms and the kitchen, you’ll either have to leave those behind or install replacements before you move.

Alarm systems: Wireless alarm systems are designed to be removed. Otherwise, leave the alarm monitoring station attached and either relocate or cancel the monitoring service.

Smoke detectors: Smoke detectors and sprinkler systems should stay in the house, especially if you plan to move before selling the house.

 

What can you take?

While you’re expected to leave some items behind, in general your belongings are yours to keep. Here are some examples:

Patio furniture, lawn equipment, and play sets: If you have a wooden swing set in the backyard and a bistro table on the front porch, take those items with you.

Appliances: Some lenders require that a home have an oven installed before approving a loan, but for all other appliances, it’s up to you to decide what you will take and what you will offer as part of the home.

Some light fixtures: Generally, homeowners leave light fixtures behind, but if you’re attached to a certain fixture, you can make arrangements with the buyer to take it.

Built-in kitchen tools: If you can safely remove a mounted spice rack or the pasta arm, you can take it with you.

Rugs, basic curtains, wreaths: Small decor items like rugs or curtain rods that can be safely removed can be taken.

 

What should you consider leaving?

Some of your personal items can be used to help sell your house—or increase the asking price. Before you take everything just to take it, consider offering some hot items like the following:

Appliances: Homeowners, especially new homeowners, don’t always have their own appliances. Many buyers would be more likely to place an offer on a home if it came fully stocked with appliances.

Custom swing and play sets: If you have a swing set or playhouse your children have outgrown and you notice a potential buyer has children, offer to include the item with the deal.

Kitchen built-ins: Built-in spice racks, pantry organization, and windowsill shelves can really help sell a kitchen. Consider offering the items to an interested buyer.

Light fixtures, curtains, rugs, and other upgrades: If you’ve upgraded the light fixtures or have custom rugs in the entryway, a buyer may be willing to increase his or her offer to keep those items in the home.

If you’re not sure what would entice a buyer, ask your Realtor® to provide suggestions. 

 

I’m a Realtor®. Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Hidden Backyard Deal Breakers that are Lurking On Your Property

February 19, 2015
deal
By: Nick Caruso, RisMedia/ClientDirect

Every time a prospective home buyer walks onto your property, there are a few things that they will absolutely not put up with. These deal breakers can be anywhere in the home, but there is one area that we often forget about: the backyard.
The backyard is very important to family life. After all, this is the place where children will enjoy their childhood and play in a safe and secured environment. Most home buyers prefer single-family dwellings solely because of the usable outdoor space! Take some time to focus on your backyard. After all, there are ways that you can update your backyard without spending money.

Pool in the Backyard

To many buyers, a pool can be seen as an expensive maintenance fee that they will have to pay for on top of the mortgage. Once they see a pool, they’re going to start doing some calculations in their head thinking, “Now how much is this going to cost me?” Whether it’s above or below ground, a pool can raise a flood of concerns over child safety.

Size of the Lot

The appraisal of your home is typically made in two elements, the lot size and the actual value of the physical home. That said, the size of your yard comes into play so you want to make sure that you spend a generous amount of time prepping your backyard for visitors. Getting rid of clutter and opening up the yard to make your lot feel larger will help you when it comes time to sell.

Pet Products

Hide dishes, play toys, and photos of your pets as this may make the buyer feel like the home is dirty, especially for a homeowner that doesn’t like the idea of having pets inside the house. This will be a deal breaker if the buyer is allergic to cats and/or dogs.

Landscaping

With the price of water rising rapidly and droughts in California, grass isn’t as appealing as it once was. When frugal buyers see grass, they see a sky-high water bill that will eventually lead to a dead yard and a new project to be undertaken. Think about landscaping trends like xeric landscaping, native plants, and artificial turf to make your home more appealing to all home buyers.

Leaving Backyard Photos Out of your Listing

This is a rookie mistake. If you leave out photos of your backyard, home buyers will think that you have something to hide. If you have a gorgeous yard, why wouldn’t you want to showcase it in your listing? Are you hiding any skeletons in the closet?

Noisy Neighbors

Now this may be seen as something outside of your realm, but it may be worth a knock on the door to let your neighbors know that you will be showing your house at a given time. Rowdy neighbors can be an instant turn off to potential buyers. Make sure your neighbors’ parties are held on a different day than your open house to give buyers a better peace of mind. After all, they will share a fence with these neighbors for an indefinite period of time.

So What Are Home Buyers Looking For?

A survey conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders found that new home buyers are looking for exterior lighting, lots of trees, a deck or patio, and a fenced in yard. Beyond the basics, an outdoor amenity that is rapidly gaining in popularity is the outdoor fireplace/fire pit, outdoor kitchens, and the outdoor living room.

Investing in the backyard can net you some of the highest returns. Knowing what real estate appraisers (and home buyers) are looking for will help you sell your property faster. That said, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior of your home. Many people assume that the front and backyard aren’t crucial to the buying process so they overlook these pitfalls. Make sure that your backyard does not have any hidden deal breakers that could steer away new bids!

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Buyers’ Remorse in Real Estate

February 12, 2015

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

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Real Estate @ a Glance: January 2015 Edition

February 2, 2015

Better RE glance

Here is the most recent information on the San Diego housing market. For specific information on your neighborhood or a market analysis on your home, please send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Reportable Period :: December 2014 :: SAN DIEGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

It has been another recovery year in 2014 but not the same as 2013. With a broad pattern of rising prices and stable to improving inventory, the market has shifted from being drastically undersupplied to approaching equilibrium. Price gains are still positive but less robust than last year. The metrics to watch in 2015 include days on market, percent of list price received and absorption rates, as these can offer deeper and more meaningful insights into the future direction of housing.

Interest rates remained lower than anyone expected for the entire year. That trend snowballed with solid and accelerating private job growth to empower more consumers to buy homes. This coupled nicely on the governmental side with mortgage debt forgiveness and interest deduction preservation. Student loan debt, sluggish wage growth and a lack of sufficient mortgage liquidity still remain hurdles to greater recovery.

 

Median Sales Price: $445,000
Days on the Market Until Sale: 47
Housing Affordability Index: 30%
Months Supply: 2.4

TOTAL MARKET OVERVIEW 2015

 

To view larger image, click here.

FHA to Cut Mortgage Insurance Premiums: White House

January 21, 2015

craftsman-style-home

 

From NY Times.com – January 7, 2015

 

WASHINGTON — The Federal Housing Administration will reduce annual mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage point to 0.85 percent from 1.35 percent, the White House said on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama will discuss the action in a speech in Phoenix on Thursday.

The premium cut is the latest in U.S. government efforts to widen mortgage access against a backdrop of tighter lending standards since the financial crisis.

The FHA, which insures about one-fifth of all new U.S. mortgages, is a major provider of mortgages to first-time homebuyers. With an FHA-backed loan, buyers can put down as little as 3.5 percent of the purchase price.

In December, U.S. mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac launched programs to allow down payments as low as 3 percent of a property’s value.

“If you want to call it a tennis match between Fannie and the FHA, they just returned Fannie’s serve,” said Chris Freemott, an executive at Midwest Equity Mortgage in Oak Brook, Illinois.

In a statement, the White House said the reduction was part of President Obama’s efforts “to expand responsible lending to creditworthy borrowers.”

The administration also will be taking additional steps over the coming months to “cut red tape and clarify lending standards” to make mortgages more affordable and accessible to creditworthy families, the White House said.

Homebuilder stocks were among the top performers on Wednesday, with PulteGroup Inc and Lennar Corp each ending regular trade up 4.9 percent.

The FHA was forced to draw on $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds in 2013, for the first time in its history. The FHA has since returned to the black, in part by raising the mortgage insurance premium fees it charges borrowers.

However, its mortgage insurance fund’s capital ratio remains below the legal requirement and the FHA said in its latest audit that it would not meet this minimum until 2016.

Housing finance reform has so far proved a contentious issue in Congress, with Democrats encouraging moves to widen mortgage access to first-time and lower-income homebuyers while Republicans want to reduce the U.S. government’s role in the market.

Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, were sharply critical of the reduction.

“If President Obama follows through on today’s pledge, he will be increasing the likelihood that taxpayers will have to foot the bill for yet another bailout,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Peter Rudegeair; Editing by Bill Trott, Matthew Lewis, Richard Chang, Meredith Mazzilli and Steve Orlofsky)

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Seller Should Add to Their List

January 15, 2015

checklistBy Keith Loria, RISMedia.com

You most likely have a running list of resolutions racing around your mind at any given time. However, if you plan on selling your home in the new year, here are a few things you may want to add to your list.

1. Be Kind to Your Agent. If your house isn’t selling, and your agent suggests dropping the price, hiring a stager or something else they believe will help sell the home, don’t yell or threaten to leave them and find another agent. Your agent is there to offer advice and tips to ultimately get your home sold quickly, at a price you want. Therefore, remember that they’re not your enemy. Work with them and keep the lines of communication open and clear.

2. Have Reasonable Expectations. Gone are the days when you put a house up for sale and a bidding war would ensue. If you want the best chance of selling your home, understand what’s going on in your market, and take into account that you might have to wait a while for your home to sell. Also, don’t shoot for the moon with your pricing, especially if you’re looking to get out quickly.

3. Don’t Get Discouraged. It’s always stressful when a home doesn’t sell, but don’t give up just because no one is biting. Eventually, the right buyer will come along and you’ll be able to move on to whatever new living opportunity awaits.

4. De-Clutter Every Room. It’s the most common advice you’ll get from anyone associated with real estate: if you want to sell your house, remove the clutter and store anything that’s not essential in another location. That means packing away seasonal clothes, removing kitchen tools and small appliances you never use and packing up toys or collectables.

5. Paint. It never hurts to spruce up rooms with a coat of paint. While most people are quick to paint the living room and bedrooms, it’s also a good idea to remember the smaller rooms—even the closets. When it comes to painting, keep in mind that a little paint can go a long way.

Copyright© 2014 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission.

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac detail plans for 3% down-payment mortgages

January 8, 2015

first-time-buyers-can-now-get-a-mortgage-with-only-3-percent-down/

By: Dina ElBoghdady, The Washington Post

Some first-time home buyers will get a break on their downpayments through programs announced Monday (Dec.8) by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the firms try to jump-start the housing market by making it easier for more borrowers to get a mortgage.

Fannie and Freddie will soon allow for mortgages with a downpayment as low as 3 percent – instead of the 5 percent currently required — as long as one of the borrowers on the mortgage has not owned a primary residence within the past three years. The changes take effect Dec. 13 at Fannie, and March 23 at Freddie.

It’s too early to tell how many borrowers will apply for these loans, Fannie and Freddie told reporters Monday. But they also said they expect many lenders to offer them. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees both companies, said these low downpayment mortgages will probably be a small share of both firms’ overall businesses.

Since the FHFA first signaled its intent to change the downpayment policy, critics have cast the move as a return to the lax lending standards that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. At the height of that crisis, the government took control of Fannie and Freddie and started pumping taxpayer money into the institutions to keep them solvent.

The companies and their regulator insist that they are in no way encouraging a return to the shoddy lending of the past. They say only creditworthy borrowers who take out plain-vanilla, fixed rate mortgages will qualify for the new programs, and all of them will be carefully vetted to make sure they can pay back the loans.

“These underwriting guidelines provide a responsible approach to improving access to credit while ensuring safe and sound lending practices,” Mel Watt, FHFA’s director, said in a statement.

Fannie and Freddie do not make loans. They buy them from lenders, package them into securities and sell them to investors. For a fee, they guarantee the mortgages and pay investors if the loans default.

The companies and their regulator are now trying to do their part to help open up access to credit, particularly to low and moderate income borrowers. Since the housing market unraveled, lenders have turned away many potential buyers by demanding unusually high credit scores and imposing other harsh restrictions on government-backed loans.

As many as 1.2 million additional loans would have been made annually since 2012 if normal, pre-housing bubble lending standards had been in place, according to a recent analysis by the nonpartisan Urban Institute. The industry says it doesn’t want to take any chances on people with less-than-stellar credit. After the housing bust, regulators forced lenders to buy back billions of dollars in loans, and the industry said it is merely trying to insulate itself from more financial penalties and lawsuits.

To allay the industry’s concerns, Fannie and Freddie reached an agreement with lenders that would clarify the circumstances under which the industry is required to buy back loans. Fannie and Freddie, along with several industry experts, say that agreement has made lenders more receptive to the idea of granting 3 percent down loans.

“I’m confident that the majority of the lending community is going to take part in these programs,” said David H. Stevens, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “They’re more confident about the risks they face in extending these loans.”

These low downpayment loans will compete with the mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which requires at least 3.5 percent down. In some cases, the Fannie and Freddie loans will be cheaper because the fees on FHA loans have become very high

Both Fannie and Freddie had previously accepted 3 percent downpayment mortgages. Freddie stopped years ago, and it now insists that anyone who takes part in its new program must take borrower education classes. Freddie’s initiative is also open to current homeowners of low and moderate income, as defined by the company’s rules.Fannie stopped purchasing 3-percent down mortgages in late 2013 though it continued to buy them if they are made through state and local housing finance agencies.

Timothy Mayopoulos, Fannie’s chief executive, has said his company’s long experience with these loans shows that they perform well. The Urban Institute reached the same conclusion after analyzing low downpayment loans backed by Fannie in the recent past.

The analysis found that the default rate for loans with 3 percent to 5 percent down were very similar to the default rates on loans with 5 percent to 10 percent down. It also found that very few borrowers got the lower downpayment loans, and nearly all of those who did had top-notch credit.

Fannie and Freddie only buy loans with less than 20 percent down if they carry private mortgage insurance, so even if some of the 3 percent down loans were to default, taxpayers are not in line to take the first hit. The mortgage insurance companies are.

On Monday, Fannie also said it will allow borrowers to refinance their loans so that they cover up to 97 percent of their home’s value under a limited cash-out option. (Previously, 95 percent was the cut off.) It will permit borrowers to pull enough cash out to help pay for the closing costs, either 2 percent of the loan amount or $2,000, whichever is less.

Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

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