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Why Use a Realtor When Selling Your Home

October 20, 2016

Lisa Ashkins - Realtor


Selling a house can be a complex process. A Realtor can help you at every stage, from setting a price to marketing the property to closing the sale.

Setting the Price
The selling process generally begins with a determination of a reasonable asking price. Your real estate agent or Realtor can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in your local marketplace, as well as the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in marketing your home and selling it at the best price. Often, your agent can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of the property.

The next step is a marketing plan. Marketing exposes your property to the public as well as to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service, other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, and so on. In many markets, a substantial portion of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. The Realtor Code of Ethics requires Realtors to use these cooperative relationships when they benefit clients.

An agent will also know when, where and how to advertise — which medium, format and frequency will work best for your home and your market. Though advertising can be valuable, the notion that advertising sells real estate is a misconception. National Association of Realtors studies show that 82 percent of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts from previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts.

Providing Security
When a property is marketed with an agent’s help, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Agents will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

Your agent can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. Your agent can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

Monitoring, Renegotiating and Closing
Between the initial sales agreement and the closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, there are unexpected repairs that require the buyer to obtain financing, or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your agent is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing.

Getting the Realtor Guarantee
All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors are called Realtors. They proudly display the Realtor logo on their business card, website, and marketing. Realtors subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. Realtors are committed to treating all parties to a transaction honestly. An independent survey reports that almost 85 percent of home buyers would use the same Realtor again.

Getting Expert Assistance
Finally, consider the scale of your transaction. Selling your home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to solve it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the relatively small cost of hiring a Realtor and the large potential risk of not hiring one, it’s smart to find a professional to sell your home.

By Team – Ron Schmeadick

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 Smart Home Features That Are Really Taking Off

October 13, 2016
Image: Houzz

Image: Houzz

Remote-controlled window shades, voice-activated TVs, and door bells with high-quality video were once limited to sci-fi novels, Hollywood movies, and TV shows like “The Jetsons.” But the future has arrived, and more tech-savvy homeowners are installing smart home technology. Color-changing lightbulbs, anyone?

Nearly half of homeowners renovating their pads are adding new technology while they’re at it, according to a recent report from Houzz, a home remodeling and design website. About 45% of homeowners are putting in at least one new system or device that can be remotely controlled or monitored on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Houzz conducted its inaugural survey in August of almost 1,000 homeowners who completed a home renovation project in the past 12 months or are planning a home renovation project in the next 12 months. It partnered with home technology trade association CEDIA for the research.

Folks in the middle of a renovation are more likely to invest in smart home technology because they’ve already set aside the time and money to make improvements on their residences, says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz.

Renovators are “thinking about what would make their home comfortable, more convenient,” she says. “And some of them are thinking about the resale values of their homes.”

But homeowners are still reluctant to drop too much dough on these new technologies. About three-quarters of homeowners spent—or planned to shell out—$1,500 or less on these modern-day gizmos. Only 5% were dropping $5,000 or more.

Still, more than half of the home renovators are passing on the glitzy new technology. They aren’t interested (no one really needs a smartphone-controllable slow cooker, we guess), think it’s too expensive, or are worried about being spied on by their own home. Why, hello smart TV! Didn’t see you there.

Those who get on the smart tech bandwagon tend to purchase safety and security systems, such as fire and gas alarms and tricked-out cameras, according to the survey. They make up 25% of the installations, and these buyers are the most likely to hire a professional to set them up.

That’s because owners said they worried about safeguarding their castles against intruders while they’re both home and away, according to the survey. Plus it’s pretty fun to show your co-workers, bank tellers, restaurant servers, and just about everyone else live video feed of your home on your smartphone while you’re out.

Smart entertainment systems, such as smart TVs, speakers, and streaming devices, are the second most popular installations. They make up about 18% of purchases.

That was followed by climate control, at 14%, so homeowners can fine-tune the heating and cooling of their homes and save big on their energy bills. Lighting makes up 12% of the upgrades.

“Homeowners are interested in improving the comfort of their home,” Sitchinava says. “It’s just a matter of time before they adopt the smart technology.”

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. 

Boomers on the Hunt

October 6, 2016

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Real Estate for Boomers

5 things to discuss with your significant other before purchasing a home

September 29, 2016

5 things to discuss with your significant other before purchasing a home


By: Bpt Brandpoint


In a relationship, you count on your significant other to be there with you through the good and the bad. They are your best friend, your confident and your closest ally. And you count on being able to have important conversations with them as well.

One of those important conversations every couple should have focuses on money and each person’s respective financial goals, especially if you are planning to purchase a home. However, 33 percent of married or partnered adults have difficulty discussing money with their significant other, according to a Wells Fargo survey. “I think money is one of those topics most couples put off discussing because it can be sensitive,” says Arlene Maloney, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “However, if you don’t discuss money before entering into a major credit purchase, like homeownership, you open yourself up for potential problems down the road.”

Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments most people make in their lifetime. When two people decide to achieve the goal of homeownership together, it’s important to understand not only your own finances and credit profile but your partner’s finances and goals as well.

To help you broach this conversation with your partner, here are some things you should discuss before you move forward:

Where you will live and what you want to purchase. Do you want to live in the city or the suburbs? Are you set on a single-family home or a condo? Do you want to build your home or purchase an established property? Having answers to these questions will help you speak to a lender and learn more about how the type of home you choose may affect loan approval requirements or what options exist if you want to build your home. You’ll also learn if any bond or down payment assistance programs may be offered in the municipalities you are considering.

Your partner’s credit score. Lenders use customers’ credit profiles to help determine your ability to repay a loan. When purchasing a home with someone else, both of your credit scores are considered. In most cases the lowest middle score between the two of you will be used. If you or your significant other has a very low score this may not only impact the loan amount you receive but also the interest rate. It may even prevent approval. If one of the credit scores is very low, as a couple you might discuss only one person applying for the mortgage loan.

Have an honest conversation about debt. An important factor that lenders evaluate is your debt-to-income ratio. This varies by mortgage program but a good rule of thumb is to ensure your debt level is at or below 36 percent of your gross monthly income. Having an overabundance of debt could impact the amount of the loan or whether you receive mortgage approval.

How much money can you put toward the purchase? It isn’t necessary for you to put 20 percent down but most loan options require some sort of down payment. In many cases lower down payment options require mortgage insurance, which will increase your monthly payment.

Will one or both of you be on the note? If purchasing a home with someone else, each of you must qualify in order to be on the note, and both of you are responsible for the debt. If only one person is on the note, the other may not engage in any transactions regarding the loan, including refinancing, or application for modification. If one of you has less desirable credit, you may decide that only one of you will apply for the mortgage. You should also consult your state’s attorney general’s office to see if any community property laws exist in your state. Such laws could make a spouse legally responsible for any debt acquired by the other spouse after marriage. If such a law exists in your state, it’s important you are aware of it.

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and, for many people, a sign of success. But while you may want to rush out and start the shopping process now, take your time. Having a conversation with your significant other about the topics above beforehand will ensure you’re both on the same page and set you up to make the most of your future and the home it includes. To find answers to your other questions about credit and homeownership, visit Wells Fargo’s Smarter Credit Center or


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. 


Real Estate @ A Glance: September 2016 Edition

September 20, 2016




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.


Closed sales began to cool for much of the country last month, and conventional wisdom indicates that year-over-year declines are going to be present for the remainder of the year, given the low inventory situation in most markets. Demand is certainly present and has created competitive situations that have kept prices up. Rental prices are also up, which may lure more toward homeownership.

As inventory continues to drop, the contradictions of today’s market are evident. Sellers should feel confident enough to list homes at fair prices and receive meaningful offers in a healthy residential real estate and overall economic environment.

Median Sales Price: $505,000
Days on the Market Until Sale: 30
Housing Affordability Index: 2016-Q2: 26%
Months Supply: 2.3

Reportable Period:: August 2016 :: SAN DIEGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®




To view larger image, click here.

5 Newbie Mortgage Mistakes (and How Much Each Could Cost You)

September 15, 2016

How Much Will It Cost You


Can’t wait to cozy up in that cute Colonial, but anxious about signing up for your first mortgage? We get it. Buying your first home is a big stinking deal. But with a little know-how, it’s easier than expected to make smart mortgage moves and save big bucks over the course of your loan.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can put your home-buying butterflies to rest.

1. Finding Your Home Before You Find Your Mortgage

How Much It Could Cost You: Enough to send your future kid to college. Seriously, over the life of the loan, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more in interest and fees than you need to.

Why People Mess This Up: If you don’t have your financing buttoned up before you find your dream home, your desire to win the bid could influence you to offer a higher price and overpay on a mortgage because you had no time to shop around. Getting your financing all set before you feel the pressure to make an offer gives you time to qualify for a more attractive loan and gives you the confidence to make a fair offer because you’re a qualified buyer.

How to Avoid It: Start talking to lenders at least three months — maybe even a year — before you start house hunting. Time-consuming tweaks like paying down debt or improving your credit score can have a dramatic effect on overall mortgage costs.

2. Not Comparing Loans Correctly

How Much It Could Cost You: Just like No. 1 above, you could overpay by tens of thousands over the life your loan.

Why People Mess This Up: First-time buyers often get seduced by a low interest rate and don’t take into account the cost of fees. A lower-interest loan could actually cost you more than one with a higher rate because those fees can be steep enough to outweigh the interest savings.

How to Avoid It: Compare loans by the annual percentage rate, or APR, not just by interest rate. Each lender should give you a document aptly named “loan estimate.” The APR will be listed there (if it’s not, you don’t want that lender). The APR combines a home loan’s interest rate with closing costs and other fees like points (which is why it’s usually higher than the interest rate), then converts the overall costs to an annual percentage. This gives you an apples-to-apples comparison so you can understand what you’re paying over the life of the loan. You’re welcome!

3. Falling for Marketing Gimmicks

How Much It Could Cost You: More than enough to buy a good used car (or at least enough to cover Uber fees for a few years).

Why People Mess This Up: ”Lenders use advertising hooks like, ‘We pay your mortgage insurance,’ or ‘You don’t pay the closing costs,’” says Casey Fleming, mortgage adviser in Silicon Valley, Calif., and author of “The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage.” Don’t be fooled. “You still pay those costs,” he says. “If you’re not paying in cash, you’re paying it in the interest rate.” Fleming estimates those costs can add a quarter point to an interest rate, which as an example, translates to $9,203 (the difference between a 4% interest rate and one that is 4.25%) for a mortgage of $176,000.

How to Avoid It: Block out the noise. Shop for your mortgage according to trusted recommendations and reliable reviews, not slick deals that sound too good to be true.

4. Not Budgeting for Your Craft Beer and Yoga Pants

How Much It Could Cost You: Time and money for the things you love to do, like meeting friends over a pitcher of the newest session beer, then hitting the gym in the morning to work it off.

Why People Mess This Up: Lenders qualify you for what you technically can afford on a spreadsheet. They’re looking at your monthly debt-to-income ratio. They don’t look at what you spend your disposable income on: your passions and hobbies. So homebuyers often end up with a mortgage payment they can only afford by scaling back on the things they enjoy.

“One homebuyer may be a homebody, like to cook, and have no pets to pay for,” says Dave Jacobin, president of 1st Mariner Mortgage. “Meanwhile, a second buyer with the exact same income and debt situation might travel every weekend, enjoy fine dining, or shop a lot. Lenders can’t look at that.”

How to Avoid It: Track your spending monthly, so you really know how much you spend. Factor fun into your future when deciding which mortgage offer is the best fit. “Two years into your home purchase, you want to be happy you did it,” says Jacobin. “You don’t want to be mortgage poor.”

5. Not Knowing How to Eyeball the Paperwork

How Much It Could Cost You: Thousands of dollars in surprise closing costs.

Why People Mess This Up: Because the paperwork seems so freaking daunting. But good news: As of October 2015, new mortgage rules require lenders to send you paperwork that actually makes sense.

This new paperwork comes in two different documents. It’s much easier to scan and understand than the old paperwork, which used to be the model for everything bad about tiny legal print.

1. The loan estimate will come first. Here are some key things to look for:

The APR (see No. 2 above)
The interest rate
The monthly payment
The loan terms, such as a 30-year or 15-year mortgage, adjustable rate or fixed
The total cost of the loan
Cash amount you’ll need at closing

2. The closing document will come at least three days before you close. It should look just like the first document, but instead of estimates it will have final numbers. If you see any increases or additional fees you weren’t expecting, question the lender immediately. Because if it shows even a tenth of a percent interest-rate jump you weren’t expecting (say 4.1% instead of 4%) — and you don’t question it — that could mean a difference of almost $3,700 on a $176,000 mortgage.

How to Avoid It: Watch for those docs. Review and compare them. And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to speak up if you spot a surprise. Now, how easy was that?

Article from: ClientDirect


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. 


Time to Sell?

September 8, 2016

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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