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6 Myths about Credit Scores

June 11, 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: June 2015 Edition

June 3, 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 :: APRIL 2015 :: SAN DIEGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Median Sales Price: $462,500
Days on the Market Until Sale: 40
Housing Affordability Index: 34%
Months Supply: 2.5

HousingStatisticspg15-page-001

To view larger image, click here.

How to Save Water in Your Home

May 28, 2015

save water san diego

From the City of San Diego 

Most people aren’t aware of how many gallons of water the average household uses each week. In San Diego, a typical household uses around 14 hundred cubic feet (HCF) of water a month (more in the summer, less in the winter.) One HCF of water is equal to 748 gallons, so a typical household uses about 10,472 gallons a month.

Here are 24 simple ways to help you save water.  Whatever your conservation goal is – 15 percent, 25 percent, or more – the more of these steps you take the more water you’ll save. The more water you save, the more money you’ll save on your water and sewer bill.

In The Bathroom
While waiting for hot water to come through the pipes, catch the cool, clean, water in a bucket or a watering can. You can use it later to water plants, run your garbage disposer, or pour into the toilet bowl to flush. (Can save up to 50 gallons a week per person.)

Replace your regular showerheads with low-flow showerheads. (Can save up to 230 gallons a week.)

Keep your showers down to five minutes or less using a low-flow showerhead. (Can save up to 75 gallons a week per person.)

Turn the water off while lathering-up in the shower. Then turn the water back on to quickly rinse. (Can save up to 75 gallons a week per person.)

Take shallow baths, no more than 3 inches of water. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week per person.)

Replace your older model toilets with new ultra-low-flush models. (Can save up to 350 gallons a week.)

Check your toilets for leaks. Drop a dye tablet or a teaspoon of food coloring (avoid red) in the tank. If color appears in the bowl after 15 minutes, you probably need to replace the “flapper” valve. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week for each toilet repaired.)

Flush the toilet only when necessary. Never use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. (Can save up to 50 gallons a week.)

Never let the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving. (Can save up to 35 gallons a week per person.)

In the Kitchen
Hand wash dishes just once a day using the least amount of detergent possible. This will cut down on rinsing. Use a sprayer or short blasts of water to rinse. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week.)

If you have a dishwasher, run it only when you have a full load. (Can save up to 30 gallons a week.)

Scrape food scraps off dishes in the garbage can or rinse them off with very short blasts of water. (Can save up to 60 gallons a week.)

Never use hot, running water to defrost frozen foods. Plan ahead and place frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or use the microwave oven. (Can save up to 50 gallons a week.)

Rinse vegetables and fruits in a sink or a pan filled with water instead of under running water. (Can save up to 30 gallons a week.)

Run your garbage disposer only on alternate days. (Can save up to 25 gallons a week.)

Around The House
Repair all leaky faucets, fixtures and pipes both inside and outside your home. (Can save more than 150 gallons for each leak.)

When doing the laundry, never wash less than a full load. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week.)

Outdoors
Set lawn mower blades one notch higher since longer grass reduces evaporation. Leave grass clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.

Mulch, compost and wood chips are available at the Miramar Greenery.

Never hose down your patio or balcony, always use a broom or blower. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week.)

Don’t allow children to play with the hose. (Can save up to 10 gallons a minute.)

If you have a pool, use a cover to cut down evaporation. This will also keep your pool cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals. (Can save up to 250 gallons a week.)

Take your car to a car wash that recycles its wash water. If washing your car at home, use a bucket of water and sponge. Rinse quickly at the end.

Never allow the hose to run continuously. (Can save up to 150 gallons a week.)

Water your lawn and landscaping before dawn or after the sun sets when there’s less evaporation. Adjust your sprinklers so they don’t spray on sidewalks, driveway or street. (Can save up to 250 gallons a week.)

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.

How to Survive a Bidding War

May 21, 2015

bidding-war-real-estate

Let’s face it, the home-buying process is stressful. Factor in incredibly competitive market conditions and you may need to book a week at the spa just to get through the next open house.

Never fear, here are a few tried-and-true tips that have helped clients’ offers come out on top — even in the most serious bidding wars. (That said, if your offer falls significantly short cash-wise, even the most-savvy tips might not help.) However, when similar offers are on the table, there are some strategies that can help you squeeze out the winning edge.

Remember that not everything is about cash

Seasoned agents know that one of the best ways to land a deal in a competitive market is to appeal to the sellers’ nostalgia for their home. Including a short personal letter with the initial offer can make all the difference. It almost seems too simple, but sharing details in an honest and heartfelt introduction letter about how you would enjoy living in the seller’s property may secure your dream home.

Even though the homeowner is moving on, she probably still has a sentimental attachment to the property — so promising to maintain the architectural heritage of a historic home, for example, could make you a more compelling buyer.

Time is money

When a seller considers offers, she views each one holistically. Make yours more attractive by shortening contract timelines. For example, maybe your offer is $3,000 less than other buyers’, but your proposed inspection period is five days shorter. This aggressive timeline shows the seller how serious you are about purchasing her property.

The worst-case scenario for a seller is waiting out a number of days with no forward movement toward closing and then having the buyer back out. Shortening the contract timelines reduces a seller’s risk, adding an incentive for her to accept your offer.

Show them the cash — upfront

Another way to make your offer attractive without burdening your bottom line is to showcase just how earnest you are to purchase the home. Earnest money is a deposit made to a seller showing the buyer’s good faith in a transaction. If a generous earnest money deposit in your market is a set amount of $20,000, then exceed it by another $10,000.

Put yourself in the seller’s shoes and get creative to make your offer stand out. All of these little details add up and can push your offer to the top of the pile.

Calm down …

“I’m so stressed out with this competitive market that I can barely sleep.”

Whoa. Slow down and take a deep breath. If you’re stressing yourself out to exhaustion about every single house you put an offer on, you’re likely to totally burn out and end up agreeing to a less-than-ideal contract detail just to end the process.

At the end of the day, even with fast-paced market conditions, purchasing a new home is fun and exciting! So relax, let your agent work his or her magic, and start planning your housewarming party.

Robyn Woodman spent several years as a real estate broker in the Seattle area, helping investors build their residential property portfolios. Based in the Pacific Northwest, she is an independent consultant; her writing has been featured on Refinery29, All Things Real Estate, and Modern Loss.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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.

Why Are Closing Costs SUCH a Big Deal?

May 14, 2015

closing costs real estate

It’s important to understand the closing costs you’ll be responsible for when you sign the dotted line.

Buying a home is stressful — period. The searching, the paperwork, the negotiations, and then your carefully accumulated savings, gone in a flash. While the down payment is the primary cost most pay attention to when buying a home, there are other pesky fees to consider, namely, closing costs.

You may have heard the term thrown about in conversation, but what exactly are closing costs? And why are they such a big deal?

Closing costs are lender and third-party fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. Typically paid with a cashier’s check, they range from 2 percent to 5 percent of the purchase price. Understanding and educating yourself about what closing costs you can expect to pay is the best way to avoid a headache at the end of the transaction.

Closing costs fall into two main categories: recurring (or prepaid) and nonrecurring. Recurring costs are ongoing expenses that you will pay as a homeowner, with a portion due upon closing the transaction; nonrecurring are one-time fees associated with borrowing money and services required to purchase the home.

While not an exhaustive list, the information below is meant to serve as an explanation of the standard items provided on your HUD-1 Settlement Statement. (The HUD-1 is a detailed summary of closing costs provided by your attorney or escrow agent 24 hours prior to your closing date.)

Recurring closing costs

These items are prepaid expenses due at closing and deposited into your escrow account. Think of it as a forced savings account for your upcoming home expenses. The specific costs can include everything from your fire insurance premiums to homeowners association dues, but these are the most commons ones.

Property taxes: The seller is responsible for the taxes on the home until the day of purchase, then the buyer assumes the tax liability from the date of purchase to the next billing cycle. The sum varies, but the average amount of property taxes deposited into your escrow account can be anywhere from one to eight months’ worth.

Homeowners insurance: Typically, the total annual premium is due at closing. Additionally, another two to three months of payments are deposited in your escrow account with the lender.

Prepaid loan interest: A prorated amount due at closing that includes your loan interest until your first payment the following month.

Nonrecurring closing costs

Lender fees continue to rise, which means shopping around for a good deal is a must. Often, these fees are negotiable — especially when they can be attributed to high administrative costs. Don’t be afraid to ask for the best deal possible and walk away if you feel the cost is unreasonable.

What types of fees can you expect to fork over?

Discount points: Paid upfront to lower your interest rate.

Origination fee: Charged by the lender to process your loan.

Document prep fee: The cost of preparing your loan file for processing.

Appraisal fee: Paid to have a professional estimate the market value of the home.

Survey fee: Charged for verifying a home’s property lines.

Underwriting fee: Covers the cost of evaluating and verifying your loan application.

Credit report fee: The cost of pulling your credit scores.

Wire transfer fee: The cost to wire funds from the lender to escrow to purchase the home.

In addition to lender fees, a number of costs associated with your closing will need to be paid to your escrow closing agent or attorney.

Courier fee: Covers the delivery of paperwork.

Title insurance: This policy is a MUST. It protects you in case the seller doesn’t have full rights and warranties to the title of the property; the amount depends on the purchase price of the home.

Recording fees: Government fees assessed for recording the new land records.

Notary fee: The cost to notarize the Deed of Trust.

Escrow fee/Settlement fee: Paid for the services of the escrow agent.

Closing costs are far from simple
In fact, they can be downright confusing and complicated. Lender guidelines, state-specific charges, and vendor rates are tailored to individual transactions. Rather than exhaust yourself with specifics, use this information to help you have informed conversations with your REALTOR® and mortgage broker. These professionals are your advocates and will be more than happy to help guide you through the process!

Robyn Woodman spent several years as a real estate broker in the Seattle area, helping investors build their residential property portfolios. Based in the Pacific Northwest, she is an independent consultant; her writing has been featured on Refinery29, All Things Real Estate, and Modern Loss.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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.

Keep Your Home Sale from Falling Apart

May 7, 2015

 

 

mistakes in real estate home sales

Finding a buyer for your home is just the first step on the homeselling path. Tread carefully in the weeks ahead because if you make one of these common seller mistakes, your deal may not close.

Mistake #1: Ignore Contingencies

If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If the buyers make the sale contingent on certain repairs, don’t do cheap patch-jobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes weren’t done properly.

Mistake #2: Don’t Bother to Fix Things That Break

The last thing any seller needs is for the buyers to notice on the pre-closing walk-through that the home isn’t in the same condition as when they made their offer. When things fall apart in a home about to be purchased, sellers must make the repairs. If the furnace fails, get a professional to fix it, and inform the buyers that the work was done. When you fail to maintain the home, the buyers may lose confidence in your integrity and the condition of the home and back out of the sale.

Mistake #3: Get Lax About Deadlines

Treat deadlines as sacrosanct. If you have three days to accept or reject the home inspection, make your decision within three days. If you’re selling, move out a few days early, so you can turn over the keys at closing.

Mistake #4: Refuse to Negotiate Any Further

Once you’ve negotiated a price, it’s natural to calculate how much you’ll walk away with from the closing table. However, problems uncovered during inspections will have to be fixed. The appraisal may come in at a price below what the buyers offered to pay. Be prepared to negotiate with the buyers over these bottom-line-influencing issues.

Mistake #5: Hide Liens from Buyers

Did you neglect to mention that Uncle Sam has placed a tax lien on your home or you owe six months of homeowners association fees? The title search is going to turn up any liens filed on your house. To sell your house, you have to pay off the lien (or get the borrower to agree to pay it off). If you can do that with the sales proceeds, great. If not, the sale isn’t going to close.
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who wanted a successful closing on a Wisconsin property so bad that she probably made her agent rethink going into real estate. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics. Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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.

Top 10 Home Projects to Recoup Costs at Resale

April 30, 2015

I am 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.

Top10HomeProjectstoRecoup

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