Interest Rates Matter!

THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEREST RATES.

Last year if you bought a home for $690,000 (the house on the bottom) with $150,000 downpayment, your monthly mortgage payment would be $3,600. Average sq. ft 1658. Average 4 beds & 2 baths. 
FAST FORWARD to today. That same downpayment and same monthly mortgage payment now buys you a $750,000 home (the home on the top) Average sq. ft. 2146 Average beds 4 & 3 baths. 
So in this scenario you can now buy 500 more sq. ft and an extra bath. 

Buyer’s don’t need a brick house to fall on their heads to understand the significance this makes in both short term ability to purchase and long term benefits of perhaps not needing to buy again for a long, long time. Perhaps, instead of purchasing the entry level home, a couple can purchase the home in which they want to raise their family for the next twenty years or so, eliminating the need for an additional move.

And for the entry level buyer this is huge. The buyer that may not have been able to get into the market last year may very likely be able to this year at these interest rates. (That possibility increases with first time buyer lending products)

But, this is not your low interest rates of past years. In previous times, as much as we wanted to use those low interest rates, the competition among buyers, and the low inventory kept the first time buyer shut out. Multiple offers drove up prices and some buyers found themselves giving up. At this time, however, we are flush in inventory so buyers have choice, not as much competition with other buyers. And because of the swelling inventory, not only are sellers having to compete in the marketplace with listing price, they must now negotiate with powerful buyers.

It’s a great time to buy!

So, what does this mean for sellers? As noted above, this is not the frenzied market that a year or two ago would have brought every home multiple offers that drove up the sales price for the seller. As good as those days sound, there was really only one type of seller that market benefited. The seller who benefited was the one who was cashing out, selling his/her last home to move to a retirement community or across country to a home a third the price of a California home.

This is the golden time for sellers who want to purchase their next home. That would be the dream home or the move-up home or empty nester who wants to stay in California. The reason obviously, is that seller is also a buyer. He/she has more inventory available, more negotiating power and fabulous interest rates. In addition, the seller probably has lots of equity because California house prices remain strong even in this market that is more equitable for buyers and sellers.

It’s all relative

From twenty years of observing and working within real estate market patterns, I know that these times that are great for both buyers and sellers come along every three years or so. That’s not to say we should take these moment for granted. California housing prices are constantly inching up, even when they’re not soaring up. Three years from now could see housing prices another 20% higher than today.

Now is a great time!


Interest rates matter. To buy while interest rates are on your side, call me today! 714 310 3591
**This example represents averages of homes sold recently in Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Placentia and Brea**

750.jpg
690.jpg

Top Tasks to Prep Your Home for Sale (If Home is Where the Heart Is, I’m Ready for a Transplant)

curb-appeal-landscaping-photo.png
 

“Home is the nicest word there is.”

-Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

People sell their homes for many reasons. Some folks move on due to job transfers and others are left with too much space after the children have left the nest. Some sellers may have additions to the family, like a newborn or an elderly mother-in-law. Whatever the reason, when you decide to sell, you’ll need to do a careful and honest evaluation of what ought to be done in order to have your home market ready.

 

FYI: This is not a sprint. Touching up the paint and boarding up your teenager's room three hours before the open house is not going to get you a quick sell, or top dollar.

With years of experience as a realtor helping families buy and sell homes, I've listed top tasks to tackle when getting your home ready for the sale.

 

Curb Appeal Is the Number One Selling Factor

Surveys indicate most buyers make up their minds about a house the moment they pull up to the property. You can forget about getting top dollar with your dolphin-shaped tub spout and faux-finished powder room. Those internal pricey extras won’t change a buyer's perception.

So what do the real estate pros say? "If the curb appeal’s lackin’, don’t bother packin’."

Like your mother said, you only get one chance to make a good impression. What this means is the outside of your home should be appealing and not peeling paint. Reattach any loose shutters and repair torn screen doors. The rich and famous may spend ridiculous money on faded, ripped jeans, but generally don’t like their new home to look distressed. Buyers are in the market for their dream home, not your nightmare.

 

Purchase a New Garage Door

The garage door is one of the first items a prospective buyer sees when approaching the front door. If your garage door is dingy, dented, and in need of a makeover, definitely invest in purchasing a new one.

According to bankrate.com , when it comes to the exterior, garage door replacement ranks as the number one curb-appeal factor.

·         Average cost of new garage door: $3,611

·         Average resale value: $3,520

·         Cost recouped: 97.5 percent

A good-looking garage door tops the list when it comes to getting cash back on your investment when you decide to sell your house, according to the 2019 Cost vs. Value report. The estimate for this job is based on the cost of removing and disposing of an existing 16-by-7-foot garage door (or two-car garage door) and replacing it with a new four-section garage door, with heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks, assuming the motorized garage door opener is compatible. This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back almost every dollar you spent on it when you sell your house.

 

Fescue to the Rescue

Is your grass looking green and healthy or does it look patchy, like you traded in your lawnmower for a toothless goat? Does the yard appear neat and tidy? Are the hedges trimmed? My home-selling friends, Jurassic Park is a movie, not a landscaping theme. Hand your teenager some shears. He may stomp and growl like a T-Rex but is harmless. You’re welcome.

Purchasing a home is a huge emotional and financial decision. Make sure when a buyer is waiting at the front door, everything around them sends a clear message that yours is the most inviting home on the block.

 

As a seller, this idea should be repeated when prepping your place to sell: Home is a place where memories are created. We loved our home. We hope you will love it, too.

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

What’s the first thing a potential buyer sees when they walk through the front door? If it’s the life-sized stuffed giraffe you won playing Bingo, please move it to the garage. Clean and uncluttered is your mantra. Watch a few episodes of “Hoarders” a week prior to open house. When your stomach has settled, have a garage sale. Less is more, right?

 

Always Put on a Fresh Coat of Paint

One of the easiest ways to spruce up your home when you’re ready to sell is a full-house repaint. Why? Painting interior walls is relatively inexpensive, can be a DIY project, and will instantly improve the appearance of your home. A clean palette with light, neutral colors is best. Please contain your urge to suddenly become Picasso. Bright and airy are your buzz words. Live by them.

 

Invest in Flooring

I know what you’re thinking. Replacing flooring sounds like it’s going to cost me money. You are correct, but it will be money well spent. The nicer the house, the finer the upgrades, the higher the asking price. The more a home is well-maintained, the less a buyer will nit-pic. Don’t give them any ammo.

Try to look at your floors through the eyes of a buyer and seriously evaluate their condition. If your den still has green shag carpet from the 70s, replace it. If you walk in the home and it looks and smells like a crazy cat lady lived there, do we have to even discuss it? Just replace it. Fresh paint and new carpet will make buyers smile. You want buyers to smile.

Use good judgement if you're thinking about replacing old flooring with hardwood. Tile, stone, and grout can be easily cleaned and are a less-expensive alternative. If you want to keep original hardwood flooring, consider hiring a professional to refinish the floors. Laminate flooring is cheaper than hardwood and holds up well to spills and scratches. With flooring, you have many options, so do a little research and purchase wisely.

 

Backyards are for Barbeques

People love backyards. Homeowners love to barbeque, entertain, play with pets, and lounge in the sun. A well-tended backyard can swing a deal. Decks, if there’s enough room, are great selling points. Re-read the above section on Curb Appeal. Duplicate those actions for prepping the backyard.

A Realtor's Most Frequently Asked Question

What interior upgrades will give me the biggest bang for my buck when preparing to sell?

The answer is: It’s not in your remodeled, professional chef's kitchen with built-in juicer or the Galaxy GX49 Entertainment Spa in the backyard. The biggest bang for your buck is best spent remodeling the master bath.

 

Draw Me A Bath (Yes, Please)

If you’ve never seen a buyer’s face light up when they see an awesome master bedroom suite, it’s a sight to behold. Make sure to invest some coin in revamping the master bathroom.

Here are a few excerpts from an article by Michele Lerner, entitled, The Latest Trend for Bathrooms and Kitchens is Where High-tech Meets Low Maintenance, found in The Washington Post.

·         The Smart toilet is here. Technology has tackled one of the most basic fixtures in the house.

·         Whether you choose to replace your old toilet or retrofit your existing one with an LED night light, an automated sensor to open and close the lid, seat warmers and a cleanser that iodizes the bowl, high tech has taken over the bathroom

·         Most homeowners surveyed say they plan to remodel to expand their shower to make room for multiple sprays.

·         There are many tile options, including porcelain, natural stone and ceramic. Some people are using large slabs of stone for the flooring and walls and using a variety of tiles in the shower. Even if they are using all white tiles, they can add interest with different textures.

 

Closing Thoughts

As your guide in the home-selling process, my suggestion to you is invest in upgrades that will bring you a higher selling price, but don't go overboard. Banks won't lend money if your home's price is markedly higher than the comps in your neighborhood.

 

My job as a realtor is to inform, educate, and serve my clients. When you're ready to purchase or sell, remember, no one knows homes like Jones knows homes.

-Carla Jones, Reliance Real Estate

 

P.S. Buyers can tell the difference between weeds and a drought-resistant garden. Gotcha.

The week that was!

This writing, Nov 13 2018, looks back at an incredibly eventful week. The elections, witnessed nationwide, were just a fraction of what took place in California.  Yet, all that took place in California this week touches upon national and global concerns.

California leads the way and will continue to do so in the new conservation economy.  California remains the place to be and the economy to invest in.  Our recent fires remind us of the need to manage our resources, protect our environment and foresee possible challenges.  All of this combines to make us the leaders in the world for production of efficient energy and environmental conservation. 

Come to California to put your innovative industry at the forefront of global economics

Export your product worldwide from one of the largest port states in the world. 

Enjoy the sunshine, the prosperity, the culture of one of the most beautiful places on earth. When looking for a home to love, call me to help you find the dream home in the dream state.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Being a realtor has absolutely nothing to do with being thankful for my home. We are all aware that there are those, for many different reasons, who do not have a home.  

Today, I am thinking of them.  I know that feeling guilty about my good fortune will not help those who are without a home.

But I do know that my sincere thankfulness will help them. The awareness of the blessing of beauty and security that a home provides expands my being and makes me better able to be of help to those who do not currently enjoy this basic life gift.

So, joyously thank the heavens for home today, Thanksgiving day and every day.  The energy derived from this thankfulness will spill into the lives of those you may not even know.

Have a joyous Thanksgiving!

Viewing Homes To Purchase ~ A Few Do’s and Don’t’s

rasidantial-locksmith.jpg

No matter what the market is like, a seller’s market or a buyer’s market, there are a few do’s and don’ts when viewing for the purpose of buying.

Some of these have to do with etiquette and some have to do with winning strategy.

After you’ve ascertained from your lender what your price point is and you start looking for homes that fit financial and aesthetic criteria, see as much as you can.  That means the good, the bad and the ugly.  Why?  Because if you only view what’s beautiful, you may have the misperception that beautiful homes are the norm and that you can take your time or low ball.  This only leads to having to make many offers on many homes.  If you see a beautiful home and it’s $40,000 more than a below grade home, it’s hard to appreciate the value of the beautiful home if you’ve never seen the below grade homes.  It just increases the learning curve and frustration  to have a narrow view of what’s available.

Don’t criticize the home with the seller in earshot.  I know this cramps the buyer’s ability to communicate freely and a listing agent should educate the seller to be away when there’s a showing. We want buyers to have freedom to speak frankly to their realtor and each other. But, sometimes it can’t be helped.  In addition, sometimes buyers think that if they find fault with the home and express that to the seller, they can get a lower price.  This rarely is the case.  Owners have pride in both their homes and themselves.  Criticism of the home just creates resistance.  When making the offer, the agent and/or you will express how much you really like the home and wish to Iive there and that based on comps you hope the owner views your offer as a fair market offer.

Even at Open Houses, be discreet in comments among your party.  Other buyers are present and it’s a courtesy to the seller not to be negative about their home.  Even though it’s an open house, guest rules still apply.

Saving most important for last.  If you’re serious about buying for a home, don’t just wait for weekend Open Houses. A serious buyer views a prospective home at first opportunity. All the other buyers are waiting for the weekend.  Be ahead of them.  In addition, don’t just wait for the new homes that come on the market; view or revisit some of those homes that have been on the market a while.  Maybe the seller is willing to negotiate.

Viewing homes is fun and when viewing with intent to purchase a few strategies can win the day and the home of your dreams! Happy shopping!

Want a new home?  Call me!  I’m here for you with many resources to make it a joy!