4 Things You Really Wish Your Seller Knew

You don’t want to hurt your clients’ feelings. But undoubtedly there are a few things that pop up in the course of transactions that you wish sellers already knew, so that you could avoid having some awkward conversations with them. Real estate pros chime in at realtor.com® with some of the top things they wish sellers knew about selling a home, including:

Your home decor isn’t always perfect for selling.

“While your home may be beautifully decorated, it still looks like your home, not the buyer’s,” Teresa Stephenson, vice president of a residential brokerage at Platinum Properties in New York, told realtor.com®. Clutter, in particular, can make a home feel cramped. “You don’t have to pay to have your home staged, but if you don’t buy into the concept that ‘less is more,’ you’ll pay when it comes time to sell,” Stephenson adds.

Stop being so secretive with your agent.

Sellers need to disclose any problems with the property, like a broken air conditioner, leaky faucets, water damage, or termite infestation. “Don’t keep any of your home’s flaws from your agent because you are scared it might hurt your sale,” says Karen Elmir, founder and CEO of the Elmir Group in Miami. The listing agent is on the homeowner’s side, but she must be aware of what needs to be fixed or what could become an issue in a transaction going forward.

Remodeling doesn’t guarantee a price uptick.

While remodeling projects may enhance a property, the projects homeowners take on are never a guarantee of payback at resale. “An ROI, or return, on a home’s upgrades does not necessarily increase value,” says Michael Kelczewski, a real estate pro with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Delaware and Maryland. The payback will greatly depend on what type of home improvement was completed. (Read more: The Remodeling Impact Report)

Be ready to fix some things.

Sellers may have to spend a few bucks to get their home ready to sell. For example, they may need to “replace the trim the dogs scratched up,” says Katie Messenger, a real estate pro with Bello Dimora Real Estate Network in Kentucky and Cincinnati. “Clean the scuff marks off the walls. Power-wash the algae off the vinyl siding. To you, it’s totally normal because you’ve lived with these issues for years. To buyers, these will look like expensive repairs, which means they’ll have to lowball you, or not make an offer at all, because your house ‘needs a lot of work.’”

Read more things every real estate agent wishes sellers knew at realtor.com®.

Source: “9 Things Every Real Estate Agent Wish You Knew About Selling Your Home,” realtor.com® (Sept. 20, 2017)

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After Equifax Breach – Freeze your Credit – Here’s How!

Read the full article from the Washington Post below and see if you were possibly affected and what you need to do to protect yourself from this point forward…..

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/09/09/after-the-equifax-breach-heres-how-to-freeze-your-credit-to-protect-your-identity/?utm_term=.6d1daccabfbd

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Thinking About Selling Your House Yourself?

6 Awful Reasons for Not Hiring a Real Estate Agent

lighterside-staff-authorBy Lighter Side Staff  |  Read More

There are millions of homes bought and sold every year, most of them with the help of a real estate agent. However, there is still a segment of the population that chooses to go it alone when it comes time to sell or buy a home.

There are different reasons for this, many of which aren’t very good. The only good reason might be if you’re an agent yourself, and even then, it might be better to work with another agent so that you’re not letting your own emotion cloud your judgment. Here are some of the worst reasons for not hiring a real estate agent:

1. To save some money

You might think you’re guaranteed to save yourself money by not hiring a real estate agent, but that’s not true. It’s very likely that it will cost you money during the process because of all of the potential pitfalls that you’re not even aware of. There are multiple points in a real estate transaction where making the right decision, or knowing what to look for will save you thousands of dollars. A real estate agents know this.

2. Because you think you’re a great negotiator

You probably think you’re a great negotiator, and you might be, but you also might not be as good as you think. In fact, there are many billionaires and CEO’s who openly admit that they aren’t good at negotiating, and oftentimes have other people negotiate on their behalf. Again, understanding real estate, and what factors may affect price are things that a real estate agent knows that can help with negotiation, and will get you a much better deal.

3. You read about a bad experience someone had

Of course there are horror stories on social media and forums about people’s experience buying and selling a home. This shouldn’t deter you from hiring an agent to guide you through the process, because you’re much more likely to find yourself in a nightmare scenario if you go it alone. There’s an important thing to remember about the nightmares you see online; people are much more likely to post about their negative experiences than their positive ones. There are lots horror stories about hospitals, restaurants, and hotels too — that doesn’t mean you’ll never leave the house again, right?

4. Because you saw a real estate show on HGTV

We all love real estate shows. It’s a lot of fun to sit back and watch a shockingly good-looking couple flip a home and make a $50,000 profit in less than 30 minutes. But it’s important not to confuse television with reality. You can’t learn everything you need to know from watching tv, otherwise this country would be full of expert martial artists, race-car drivers, and stand-up comedians. Hire someone with real-world experience to help you along.

5. You think you’re the only one who knows how much your home is “really worth”

You love your home, and it’s likely that you love it and appreciate it more than anyone else does. It’s completely natural to not only develop a sentimental attachment to where you’ve spent years of your life, but to also appreciate all of the repairs, upgrades, and other special details that you know and love. But just because you believe your home should be priced a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s what the market will bear. Having a business-minded, detached approach to pricing and selling your home is critical to a successful real estate transaction.

6. Because… “How hard could it really be?”

Some lessons in life are only learned through experience. Real estate agents have studied, been through it, and know that conducting a real estate transaction can be a potential minefield if you’re not careful. As a buyer or seller, it’s important not to minimize the difficulty and effort that goes into closing on a home. Hire a real estate agent, and let them worry about the difficult aspects, you’ll be glad you did.

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What do you NEED to know about CREDIT SCORES?

Information straight from the California Association of REALTORS® to help clarify the credit score myths!

Credit Scores

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Why Everyone Is Talking About Mortgage Rates

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2015 Source: Freddie Mac
Borrowing costs got even cheaper for home buyers and refinancers this week, as mortgage rates continued to descend.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent this week, the lowest weekly average since May 23, 2013, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. What’s more, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped below 3 percent, also for the first time since May 2013.
Read more: Loan Demand Posts Biggest Leap in 6 Years
“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week as oil prices plummeted and long term treasury yields continued to drop despite a strong employment report,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6 percent, the lowest since June 2008.
This marked the third consecutive week that mortgage rates lowered as bond yield continued to drop despite a strong employment report, Freddie Mac reports.
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 15:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.66 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.73 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.41 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.98 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.05 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.45 percent.
5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.90 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 2.98 percent average. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.10 percent.
1-year ARMs: averaged 2.37 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 2.39 percent average. Last year at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.56 percent.

I have excellent lenders standing by to give you a free analysis of your current financial position and help you decide if now is a good time for YOU to refi. Call me. 408-923-7758.

Posted in FHA & VA Loans, Lenders & Loans, NAR-National Association of REALTORS®, Personal Opinions, Real Estate - Sellers & Buyers, REALTOR® | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SAFETY FIRST – When Your Home Is Listed For Sale….

With all the warnings for REALTORS® in the news today, I wanted to share this one page flyer with you also.  No one can be too careful about safety issues and being aware of your surroundings.

SAFETY FIRST-JAN 2015

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California Association of REALTORS® Homeowner Legislative Facts

Since so much of what the California Association of REALTORS® does in the legislative arena protects not only REALTORS®, but our clients as well,  C.A.R. has created Homeowner Legislative Facts, a monthly compilation of articles about laws and legislation that you may find valuable.

As new updates are received I will post their information page for you.  This update is as of 6/24/14.  Dawn

Pro-Consumer, Anti-“Shill Bidding” Bill Considered in Senateupdated 6/20/14

Real estate auction companies increasingly are being used to sell real estate.  Some lenders require homeowners to agree to use an auction company to see if the property fetches a higher price at auction before a short sale offer will be accepted. One aspect of the auction that is not commonly known is that the auction company may place a bid on behalf of the seller – or a “shill” bid – to artificially drive residential and commercial property prices up.

The California Association of REALTORS® is sponsoring AB 2039 (Muratsuchi), which would prohibit “shill bids” and make clear that only legitimate bids may be placed on behalf of a seller; otherwise, the seller bid must be disclosed to the all bidders as a bid which cannot be accepted to complete the sale of the property.  The measure has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee but faces stiff opposition from the auction companies.

Legislature Reviews Bill to Allow Seniors and Disab led to Postpone Property Tax updated 6/20/14

Until 2009, the Senior Citizens and Disabled Citizens Property Tax Postponement Law allowed the Controller to postpone payment of property taxes for those qualified property owners who applied for the program. AB 2231 has been introduced to re-establish the Senior Citizens and Disabled Citizens Property Tax Postponement Fund within the State Treasury. AB 2231 provides individuals who are on a fixed income, such as senior citizens or disabled individuals, a program to which they can turn for assistance with paying their property taxes, allowing them to stay in their homes.  Beginning on July 1, 2015, qualified individuals with at least 40% equity in their home may file a claim with the Controller to postpone the payment of their property taxes. Applications will be accepted until January 1, 2016, and the postponed tax amount will be filed as a lien against the property. AB 2231, which is supported by the California Association of REALTORS® is being considered by the state Senate.

Bill Introduced to Prevent Homeowner Associations from Imposing Unnecessary Document Feesupdated 6/20/14

Often, when purchasing a home in a common interest development (CID) like a condominium, the Home Owners Association, in an attempt to generate more revenue, will “bundle” unnecessary documents with those that are actually required and then charge excessive fees for the “bundle.”  AB 2430 (Maienschein) will provide more specific document delivery and disclosure standards and tighten the anti-bundling provisions in connection with condominium sales and HOA document delivery requirements so that those buying or selling homes in CIDs aren’t charged for more documents than are required. This bill is sponsored by the California Association of REALTORS®.

Legislature Considers Bills to Prevent Fines for Underwatering Landscaping updated 6/20/14

Under current law Homeowners Associations (HOAs) can create rules and regulations dictating the responsibilities of separate interest owners to maintain their yards and can impose fines if these rules are not followed. Two bills currently being considered by the state legislature, AB 2100 and SB 992, would prohibit an HOA from imposing fines for under-watered lawns and plants during a period for which the Governor has declared a drought emergency.  Proponents of the measures believe residents of HOAs in CIDs should be permitted to undertake landscape modifications that foster more efficient water usage without risking a monetary fine by the HOA. The California Association of REALTORS® supports these measures.

Homeowner Tax Proposal Abandoned – updated 6/1/14

The proponents of a bill that would have imposed a new tax on homeowners has declared defeat and has abandoned the bill for the year, vowing to try again next year. The bill would have created a tax that would be imposed on homeowners who need to record certain documents with their counties This $75 per document tax would have been imposed on a variety of documents, which would include, for example, documents related to refinancing properties, taking properties in and out of trusts, making lot line adjustments, obtaining constructions loans and upon the death of a spouse. The tax also would have applied to foreclosures (the owner would be responsible, not the lender) and filing mechanics liens. For instance, it’s not untypical in a refinance, for six documents to be subject to the new tax, resulting in a tax of $552, in addition to current recording fees. If a spouse dies, up to five documents need to be recorded, creating a tax of $440 on top of existing recording fees.

The California Association of REALTORS® is opposing this bill.

IRS Further Clarifies Stance on Forgiven Debt in a Short Sale – updated 6/1/14

Last fall, the IRS and the state Franchise Tax Board issued letters stating that California families who have sold their home in a short sale are not subject to either state or federal income tax on the forgiven debt. Recently, the IRS, claiming that its original letter had been “too broad,” issued another letter to clarify that under some circumstances (e.g., cash out equity lines)  the debt forgiven in a short sale is still taxable. Homeowners who have sold their home in a short sale are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional to determine what, if any, tax they owe.

In a short sale, homeowners sell their homes for less than what is owed. If a lender agrees to the sale, the lender is forgiving a certain amount of the loan principal. Before these clarifications, requested by Senator Barbara Boxer and Board of Equalization Member George Runner on behalf of the California Association of REALTORS®, it was not entirely clear that homeowners wouldn’t lose their homes and then be faced with a large tax bill as well. Homeowners with questions about taxes and short sales should contact their tax professionals.

Mortgages to Remain More Affordable – updated 6/1/14

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the federal agency that sets the maximum mortgage loan limit for what are called “conforming” loans, typically the most common and often the most reasonably priced loans. “Conforming” loans are those loans that meet certain federal guidelines and therefore enjoy the benefit of lower interest rates. The vast majority of mortgage loans – over 64% of mortgage loans obtained nationally – are “conforming” loans.

Late last year, the previous Acting Director of FHFA had indicated that the agency would be substantially reducing the loan limits, forcing many home buyers to obtain loans with higher interest rates. The National Association of REALTORS® and the California Association of REALTORS® both aggressively fought the proposal.

In the last few weeks, Melvin Watts, the new Director of FHFA, has announced that the agency will not be reducing the loan limits, helping make homeownership accessible to more families.

Legislature Proposes Limits on Going out of Business – updated 6/1/14

Existing law prevents local governments from forcing rental property owners to continue in the rental business. SB 1439, a bill proposed by Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, would require that a rental property owner have owned the property for five years before the property can be converted to another use. For instance, if a homeowner owned an apartment building and needed to move aging parents into a unit, they would be unable to do so unless they had owned the property for at least five years. SB 1439 does not take into account individual families’ financial or personal circumstances. SB 1439 was recently passed by the state Senate and now will be considered by the Assembly. The California Association of REALTORS® is fighting this attack on private property rights.

Legislature Considers Tax on Homeowners – updated 3/25/14

The state legislature has been considering a tax that would be imposed on homeowners who need to record certain documents with their counties This $75 per document tax will be imposed on a variety of documents, which will include, for example, documents related to refinancing properties, taking properties in and out of trusts, making lot line adjustments, obtaining constructions loans and upon the death of a spouse. The tax also applies to foreclosures (the owner would be responsible, not the lender) and filing mechanics liens. For instance, it’s not untypical in a refinance, for six documents to be subject to the new tax, resulting in a tax total of $552. If a spouse dies, up to five documents need to be recorded, creating a total tax of $440 including existing recording fees.
SB 391 is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is opposing this bill.

Draft Tax Plan Would Limit Homeowners Tax Deductions — updated 3/25/14
Rep. Dave Camp, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, recently unveiled a large-scale plan to overhaul the federal tax code. Included in his draft proposal was a significant limit on the mortgage interest deduction. Over four years, the amount of mortgage principal on which interest is deductible would be reduced from the current $1,000,000 to $500,000. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, this would apply only to new loans.  In many areas of California, homeowners who would have struggled to purchase even the median priced home would be unable to take the full deduction for their mortgage interest and therefore might be priced out of the market. The draft plan also calls for the elimination of the deduction for property taxes.
The plan is currently in draft form, meaning that no bill has yet been introduced in the House of Representatives.

For more information, see the following opinion editorial published in the US News and World Report: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/2014/03/19/tax-reform-plan-goes-the-wrong-way-on-housing

President Obama signs Flood Insurance Bill into law — updated 3/25/14
On March 21, 2014, President Obama signed the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act” into law. This law repeals FEMA’s authority to increase premium rates at time of sale or new flood map, and refunds the excessive premium to those who bought a property before FEMA warned them of the rate increase. The bill limits premium increases to 18 percent annually on newer properties and 25 percent for some older ones. Additionally, the bill adds a small assessment on policies until everyone is paying full cost for flood insurance.
Homeowners with questions about flood insurance should contact their insurance agent.

Short Sellers Won’t Be Taxed on Forgiven Debt — updated 3/25/14
In a short sale, homeowners sell their homes for less than what is owed. If a lender agrees to the sale, the lender is forgiving a certain amount of the loan principle. The IRS and the state Franchise Tax Board have recently issued letters clarifying that California families who have lost their home in a short sale are not subject to either state or federal income tax on the forgiven debt. Before these clarifications, requested by Senator Barbara Boxer and Board of Equalization Member George Runner on behalf of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, it was not entirely clear that homeowners wouldn’t lose their homes and then be faced with a large tax bill as well. Homeowners with questions about taxes and short sales should contact their tax professionals.

Law Requiring Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures Goes into Effect — updated 3/25/14 A law calling for the replacement of older plumbing fixtures with water-conserving ones went into effect on this year. The law says that, as of January 1, 2014, when improving a property new water-conserving toilets, showerheads, faucets and urinals must be installed before the local building department will issue a certificate of final completion and occupancy. The plumbing fixtures that will need to be replaced are: any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons per flush; any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute; any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute and any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush. Homeowners with questions about their individual fixtures are urged to contact the manufacturers.

Register to Vote — updated 3/25/14
Recently moved? Don’t forget to re-register to vote. Those elected to federal, state and local office make decisions that affect you every day, from the taxes you pay to the quality of your schools. Many races are decided by just a handful of votes so it’s essential that all those eligible to vote do so. California’s primary election is June 3, 2014 and the deadline to register to vote is May 19.  You can register to vote here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm

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