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Real Estate @ a Glance: April 2015 Edition

April 7, 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 :: March 2015 :: SAN DIEGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

All expectations in 2015 are for a healthy and energetic selling season. National stories have been highlighting an increase in new construction sales and pending sales, but national stories are not always readily applied to the local scene. All the same, if ever there was a year to list or purchase a home, wider economic factors seem to indicate that this is the one.

 

Closed Sales increased 3.4 percent for Detached homes and 4.4 percent for Attached homes. Pending Sales increased 27.8 percent for Detached homes and 22.2 percent for Attached homes. Inventory decreased 15.6 percent for Detached homes and 17.9 percent for Attached homes.

 

The Median Sales Price was up 6.0 percent to $519,540 for Detached homes and 15.4 percent to $348,825 for Attached homes. Days on Market decreased 6.4 percent for Detached homes and 8.7 percent for Attached homes. Supply decreased 13.8 percent for Detached homes and 15.4 percent for Attached homes.

 

On average, more people are employed and making more money than they were at this time last year. The jobs picture, as a whole, looks promising. Employment drives home-buying activity, so it is ever critical to watch labor statistics as a key indicator for the residential real estate market. Coupled with the mostly positive jobs picture, it is widely expected that mortgage rates will remain as they are for at least the first six months of the year.

 

Median Sales Price: $460.250
Days on the Market Until Sale:  43
Housing Affordability Index: 31%
Months Supply: 2.4

 

 

Total Market Oveview

 

 

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Buyers Offer More for a Staged Home

April 3, 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.





BuyersOfferMoreForAStagedHome

The Green Moving Movement: Q and A with Spencer Brown

March 27, 2015

GreenMoving

Realtor.com Move | By: Erik Gunther

These days, it’s easy to be green in many aspects of your everyday life. However, there’s one industry that’s a bit of a straggler when it comes to going green—the moving biz. Yet the green moving movement is picking up momentum.

Obviously, it’s tough to be easy on the environment when boxes and packing materials are essential and wind up accounting for the bulk of moving waste. However, there are solutions on the horizon for green moving.

We spoke with Spencer Brown, CEO—and self-proclaimed Chief Treehugger—at rentagreenbox.com for his perspective on green moving and how moving can evolve to become environmentally friendly.

Hi Spencer. What are the advantages of a green move?

Moving green is cheaper, faster, and easier than a traditional cardboard move. For consumers, it will cost them half as much. For movers, they save hours of expensive labor because they can pack, load and unload our Green Boxes faster. Our boxes are designed to be crush and tear proof, preventing breakage and damage. In most cases, they eliminate insurance liability claims for the mover.

Why should a consumer consider green moving?

Moving green makes sense—you can save up to 50% of the cost of your move by using green boxes. Instead of wasting time building cardboard boxes that usually end up in the landfill after a few uses, you can order the exact amount for your move and when you’re done there’s no waste or added disposal costs. When your move is over, the boxes are removed, cleaned, sanitized, and then rented to the next client.

Other than renting green boxes, what are other ways consumers can do the green moving thing?

One of the best ways to green a move is to purge and donate household goods to a local charity. Instead of these products going into a landfill, their product life cycle can be extended. Another great way to go green on a move without doing much work is use old bedding and towels to wrap breakables. Old linens serve a double purpose—they protect high value items and reduce the need for additional packing materials.

Why do we still rely on cardboard for so many moving tasks?

Americans have been using cardboard to move for the last 100 years without understanding the total economic and environmental impact. No one brought this issue to light until we started our company a decade ago.

At that time, movers made money selling boxes to consumers, and they were motivated to protect this huge profit and revenue stream. Movers laughed at us when we introduced a green moving box to the marketplace. When consumers saw that they had a cheaper, faster, and easier green choice, they supported our products. If consumers are given a choice, they will do the right thing and go green.

What will be the tipping point to get us away from cardboard?

We saw a massive exodus away from cardboard in 2011 when moving companies lined up to buy our packing and moving products. Supermarkets also started using our boxes to cycle their products between distribution centers, which eliminated piles of free cardboard boxes. Based on the increase in our product sales, we think cardboard is on the way out across America.

What are the environmental savings of using green boxes over cardboard?

The average move that uses 50 of our boxes can save 20 trees, 40 gallons of fuel, 150 gallons of drinkable water. More importantly, it removes over 150 pounds of hard to recycle plastic from the landfill and prevents cardboard and packing materials from entering landfills. When you think about all of the moves across America, just having 3% of the moves go green is a massive reduction in trash.

What will it take for the moving industry to adopt more green policies?

This one is easy. Consumers will continue to demand green and will vote with their pocket books every day and on every move. Every customer that buys our products becomes an unofficial eco agent and promotes our products to their friends and family.

At this point, it’s a just a matter of time. We’ve been at this for 10 years and created, built, and led this moving industry green and we also know consumers are doing the right thing—buying green and buying American

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.

9 Easy Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes

March 20, 2015

Tax-Real-Estate

 

 

Disclaimer:  This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.

By: G. M. Filisko, ClientDirect

 

Don’t rouse the IRS or pay more taxes than necessary — know the score on each home tax deduction and credit. As you calculate your tax returns, be careful not to commit any of these nine home-related tax mistakes, which tax pros say are especially common and can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep.

1. Deducting the wrong year for property taxes
You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014. But that’s irrelevant to the feds. Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date is on your tax bill. Dave Hampton, CPA, a tax department manager at the Cincinnati accounting firm of Burke & Schindler, has seen homeowners confuse payments for different years and claim the incorrect amount.

2. Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid
If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill. Your lender will adjust the amount every year or so to realign the two. For example, your tax bill might be $1,200, but your lender may have collected $1,100 or $1,300 in escrow over the year. Deduct only $1,200 or the amount of property taxes noted on the Form 1098 that your lender sends. If you don’t receive Form 1098, contact the agency that collects property tax to find out how much you paid.

3. Deducting points paid to refinance
Deduct points you paid your lender to secure your mortgage in full for the year you bought your home. However, when you refinance, you must deduct points over the life of your new loan. For example, if you paid $2,000 in points to refinance into a 15-year mortgage, your tax deduction is $2,000 divided by 15 years, or $133 per year.

4. Misjudging the home office tax deduction
The deduction is complicated, often doesn’t amount to much of a deduction, has to be recaptured if you turn a profit when you sell your home, and can pique the IRS’s interest in your return. But there’s good news. There’s a new simplified home office deduction option if you don’t want to claim actual costs. If you’re eligible, you can deduct $5 per square foot up to 300 feet of office space, or up to $1,500 per year.

5. Failing to repay the first-time homebuyer tax credit
If you used the original homebuyer tax credit in 2008, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years.
If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then within 36 months you sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, you also have to pay back the credit. The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

6. Failing to track home-related expenses
If the IRS comes a-knockin’, don’t be scrambling to compile your records. File or scan and store home office and home improvement expense receipts and other home-related documents as you go.

7. Forgetting to keep track of capital gains
If you sold your main home last year, don’t forget to pay capital gains taxes on any profit. You can typically exclude $250,000 of any profits from taxes (or $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly).So if your cost basis for your home is $100,000 (what you paid for it plus any improvements) and you sold it for $400,000, your capital gains are $300,000. If you’re single, you owe taxes on $50,000 of gains. However, there are minimum time limits for holding property to take advantage of the exclusions, and other details. Consult IRS Publication 523. And high-income earners could get hit with an additional tax.

8. Filing incorrectly for energy tax credits
If you made any eligible improvements in 2014, such as installing energy-efficient windows and doors, you may be able to take a 10% tax credit (up to $500; with some systems your cap is even lower than $500). But keep in mind, it’s a lifetime credit. If you claimed the credit in any recent years, you’re done. Installing a solar electric, solar water heater, geothermal, or small wind energy system can also make you eligible to take the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit. To claim the deduction, you have to use the complicated Form 5695, which can mean cross-checking with half a dozen other IRS forms. Read the instructions carefully.

9. Claiming too much for the mortgage interest tax deduction
Taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest on home acquisition debt up to $1 million, plus they can also deduct up to $100,000 in home equity debt.

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.

The Mortgage Challenge

March 13, 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.

 

The Mortgage Challenge

3 Reasons Sellers Shouldn’t Fear Disclosures

March 6, 2015
disclosure

 

By: Robyn Woodman, Trulia via Client Direct

 
There is no reason for sellers to stress about accurately and completely filling out disclosure statements

To disclose or not to disclose — that is the question. Actually, that isn’t the question. There should be no question in a seller’s mind whether to disclose an item or not. The short answer: If you’re aware of an issue, disclose it.

But first let’s talk about what exactly a disclosure is, and why, as a seller, it can be your best friend.

What is a disclosure?

A disclosure, in terms of real estate, is an opportunity for a seller to legally communicate any known property issues to prospective buyers.

Makes sense, right? A prospective buyer is ponying up some serious cash to buy a new home, and knowing its history and issues plays a key role in the selection process.

No pain, all gain?

Historically speaking, disclosing property flaws has been viewed by sellers as a pain point. (No surprise there.) Telling prospective buyers all the individual items “wrong” with a property goes against the natural inclination to display the property in the best light.

However, rather than view the disclosure process as an unpleasant task, sellers should eventually come to embrace the process.

Here are three reasons why there’s no need to be afraid to disclose your heart out.

1. Avoid potential legal action

Disclosure documents are a seller’s opportunity to tell all and paint an accurate picture of the property for sale. They also are a vehicle to protect yourself legally from any issues that may arise down the road. The more thorough the information, the better your protection.

Julie Sears, a recent seller in the Seattle market, experienced this firsthand. After accurately disclosing a leaky window in the living room and agreeing to a price reduction, she was surprised to be contacted by her broker after closing.

“The new homeowner was upset about water damage from a recent heavy thunderstorm and was seeking compensation for repairs,” says Sears. “Since I had disclosed the issue upfront, I was protected from any legal action regardless of the subsequent damage.”

This is a perfect example of the legal protection a seller can expect when accurately disclosing issues.

2. Give a sense of security

A disclosure statement that is barely filled in sends a message to the buyer — and it’s not reassuring: the seller is either uninformed about the property or unwilling to provide information.

Make it a point to sit down and thoroughly fill out your disclosure statement. Use this opportunity to convey your knowledge about the property to the buyer.

Accurate information provides the buyer a sense of security and demonstrates that you are upfront and thorough.

“Remember that no property is completely perfect. Revealing your property’s potential flaws will not drive away every potential buyer. The disclosure statement simply allows you to enter fair negotiations with buyers,” says FSSK, a Minneapolis law firm that specializes in real estate.

Disclosing flaws places them squarely on the table, allowing both parties to either work through them together or walk away. Whichever occurs, it gets you one step closer to finding a buyer and closing the deal.

3. Gain commitment

Closing a home purchase transaction is rife with small hurdles. Clearing each one is a victory as you proceed through escrow and nearer to the closing date.

Deliver your disclosure statement early in the process — preferably when you return a copy of the executed contract to the buyer. Overcoming this hurdle early places you that much closer to concluding a successful transaction.

If the buyer will not sign off on the disclosures and would like to terminate the agreement, it’s best to know this early so you both can move on.

Let’s be honest: all properties have flaws. But if you can embrace the process and work with prospective buyers to fairly negotiate, you’ll be able to close the deal more quickly and protect yourself from future headaches.

Both you and your karma will be glad you did.

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.

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.

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