Ryan Blanco San Diego real estate agent

Sell Your Home Faster With Staging!

With the coming of spring, more potential San Diego homebuyers will begin hitting the streets. Homes that make a good first impression are the most likely to make the biggest impressions on potential buyers.

So how do you make a great first impression? That’s where home staging comes in.

home staging sell home faster

Before & After Staging

Homebuyers find professionally decorated properties easier to visualize as a future home. Home staging companies normally take a minimalist approach, by not cramming the home with a lot of furniture, and thus making the home feel bigger and more open. All the decor tends to be on the neutral side as well. Staged homes typically sell much quicker-normally within 30 days. Additionally, staging usually leads to a higher final sales price.


Stagers first conduct a home assessment, examining items to be removed and refurbished. They neutralize decor to appeal to a majority of buyers while maximizing both indoor and outdoor space. In turn, this generates positive impressions of the home’s features. Mixing conflicting styles and accessories can put off homebuyers, which is where staging can really help bring a streamlined flow to the home.

Additionally, staging and repairs offers the appearance of home upkeep, both in the real world and online. Photos are an essential part of marketing because nearly all buyers will preview a property online first.


Sellers who decide that staging is the way to go will likely want to hire a professional staging company. Most real estate professionals can make recommendations. Expect to spend $1,000-2,000 for this service, which will reward you when the offers come in!


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9 Things To Consider Before Getting a Mortgage

Applying for a mortgage can be a daunting process for new homebuyers. The best way to prepare for it is to know exactly what lenders want from you — as well as what they don’t want. With that in mind, here are 9 things to consider before getting a mortgage.

1. Your credit score

Any prospective lender will run a credit check, and all lending programs have minimum credit score requirements that depend on how much you’re putting down, how much you have in savings, and other factors.FICO credit score

Conventional mortgages require a bare minimum FICO of 620, and FHA requires a 580 if you’re only putting 3.5% down. Some lenders impose higher standards than these minimums. It’s certainly worth checking your FICO scores before applying, and if your score isn’t stellar, check with your lender to find out their minimum requirements. If you don’t meet them, then it’s time to start working to improve it. Even if you do qualify for a mortgage, it may be worth waiting a year or two while you raise your credit score; this will allow you to qualify for a lower interest rate, which could save you thousands of dollars throughout the life of the loan.

Be sure to check your FICO score from all three credit bureaus. Lenders typically pull all three and use the middle score. I’ve bought three homes in my life, one with an FHA mortgage and two with conventional loans, and this method was used all three times.

2. Black marks on your credit report

In addition to your FICO score itself, lenders take a closer look at the information on your credit report. If you have collection accounts or unpaid legal judgements, for example, your lender may require that you pay these off, or at least document a valid reason why they exist.

The same goes for things like foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales, previous late mortgage payments, and any other information suggesting that you haven’t always kept up with your debts. Even if you qualify based on your FICO score, these things could get in the way of a smooth mortgage approval process.

job income3. Your income

As you might expect, lenders want to know that you earn enough money afford your payments. Lenders will divide your expected mortgage payment — including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance — by your income. The result is known as the front-end ratio, and the industry standard is 28% or less, although many lenders will approve applicants with higher housing costs, especially in high-cost-of-living areas. If a mortgage would put your front-end ratio above 28%, then you should probably apply for a lower amount — or spend some time working to raise your income.

4. Excessive debt

In addition to your income, lenders will consider your other debts as well. Specifically, any monthly obligations, such as car loan payments, student loan payments, and the minimum payments on your credit cards will be considered, just to name a few.

This is added to your expected mortgage payment, and the sum is divided by your income to calculate your back-end ratio, a.k.a. your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders traditionally like to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less, but it’s possible to get approved with much higher DTI ratios. In fact, a recent rule change allows for DTI ratios of up to 50% in certain cases, specifically to allow consumers with high student loan debt to buy homes.

5. Your employment history

Your lender wants to know that you have a steady stream of income to make your payments with, and they also want to see a consistent employment history. Generally, a lender will want to see at least two years of continuous employment, preferably in the same field. In other words, if you’ve hopped between several different jobs over the past couple of years, or if there are significant gaps in employment (think a few months or more), then it could work against you.

Also, if you were in school more recently than two years ago, you’re typically exempt from this requirement, although your lender will want to see a steady employment history since you graduated.

6. New debts after you applynew car debt

This is one of the most common reasons you could be denied a mortgage after you’ve already been approved.

When you get a mortgage, your lender will typically pull your credit report and score at least twice — once when you initially apply for the loan, and again shortly before closing. Any significant discrepancies between the two can create a problem, especially if the recheck shows that you’ve opened new credit cards, charged large purchases, or done anything else that could significantly raise your debt-to-income ratio or lower your credit score.

There are several big expenses that typically come with buying a new house, such as furniture. Wait until after closing to finance any of them.

7. A too-small down payment

It’s a common myth that you need 20% down to buy a home. However, although you can qualify for a much smaller downpayment, paying 20% down can certainly make things easier for you in the long run. You can obtain a conventional mortgage loan with as little as 3% down or an FHA loan with as little as 3.5% down. However, unless you are planning to get a VA loan, USDA mortgage, or some other type of special loan, you’ll probably need to put something down.

The closing costs are another up-front expense that will typically cost anywhere from 2% to 5% of the home’s selling price, and a lender will want to see that you’ll have enough money for your required down payment and any closing costs. In addition, you may be required to show that you have some money in reserves — six months’ worth of mortgage payments is a common threshold.

8. A lack of documentation

Even if you have more than enough income, a rock-solid employment history, and tons of money in savings, none of those will help you obtain a mortgage unless you can adequately provide documentation. If you work for an employer, and you keep your money in a savings account, this shouldn’t be an issue, but for self-employed individuals (especially who deal in cash often) and in certain other situations, it can be tough to thoroughly document everything.

9. Issues with the home itselfmold in home

Finally, another common reason for mortgage denial is a problem with the home itself. Lenders want to make sure the home is actually worth what you’re paying for it so that in the unlikely event that you fall into foreclosure, the lender has an asset it can easily sell to recoup its money. Therefore, if the home doesn’t appraise for enough, it can create a problem. You may need to put more money down or try to negotiate a lower selling price that’s in line with the appraisal.

Condo buyers can be denied because of HOA concerns — specifically, when not enough of the units are owner-occupied. And if the property you plan to buy is simply in poor condition, it could be a cause for denial.

The bottom line here is that there are several potential roadblocks you can face when applying for a mortgage. Some of these can be dealt with fairly easily, while others could be immediate deal-breakers.

San Diego Housing Market Update-September 2017 Sales

San Diego Housing market update for home salesBelow is my monthly analysis of the San Diego housing market. It will show many different metrics to help us get an accurate “feel” for what is happening in our local real estate market!

Every market is unique, yet the national sentiment has given rise to the notion that housing markets are stalling. Although desirous buyers are out on an increasing number of showings, there remains a limited number of desirable listings. And although mortgage rates have remained enticingly low, home prices have reached unaffordable levels for many new entrants into the housing pool at exactly the same time that established owners are proving to be less interested in moving.

Activity Snapshot:

One-year change in closed sales

One-year change in median sales price

One-year change in homes for sale




Closed Sales decreased 12.7 percent for Detached homes and 16.8 percent for Attached homes. Pending Sales decreased 3.2 percent for Detached homes and 2.1 percent for Attached homes. Inventory decreased 27.0 percent for Detached homes and 18.1 percent for Attached homes. The Median Sales Price was up 8.0 percent to $610,250 for Detached homes and 11.9 percent to $414,000 for Attached homes. Days on Market decreased 14.3 percent for Detached homes and 17.2 percent for Attached homes. Supply decreased 25.9 percent for Detached homes and 11.8 percent for Attached homes. Last year at this time, the national storyline was about how high demand was propping up sales and prices despite low inventory and months of supply. That has actually continued to be a familiar refrain for many months in 2017 and now for the past couple of years. But with the likes of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, different employment outlooks, disparate incomes, varying new construction expectations and potential housing policy shifts, regional differences are becoming more prevalent and pronounced.


The San Diego Association of Realtors analyzes housing market data for San Diego county every month. Below is their monthly report for home prices. The figures represents ALL property types.

August 2017 San Diego housing market stats and update


According to Bankrate.com, interest rates have continued to stay near the 4% level, despite the Federal Reserve Bank finally raising the fed funds rate to .75%. They are currently at 3.99% for a 30-year fixed loan (they were at 3.85% at this time last month). This is well below the historical average of 6% or so, which is great for home buyers. To calculate your potential mortgage payment or see what you can afford, go HERE.

Ryan Blanco-Realtor-San Diego Real Estate BlogAbout Me: I am a full time agent and I dedicate 100% of myself and my time to my valued clients in addition to the San Diego communities that I serve. It is imperative that I continuously evolve with local and national trends in addition to always looking ahead of the industry. It is a must to always provide the best service to my clients, their families and friends.




A Fixed Rate Mortgage Doesn’t Always Mean Fixed Payments

With mortgage rates still near historical low levels, it’s one of the best times to get a fixed-rate mortgage. A fixed rate simply means that the mortgage lender charges you a fixed rate of interest that doesn’t ever change over the life of the loan. However, your monthly payment can still change!

If you get a fixed rate of 4.00 percent, you will be paying four percent in interest until you sell or refinance the home. The longer you make payments on a fixed rate loan, the more interest you pay down. The bulk of your interest payments is front-loaded into the beginning years of your loan schedule. This is best illustrated in an amortization table (see below). So the longer you own your home and pay on your mortgage, the greater percentage of your monthly payment goes to reduce principal. When you reduce principal, you build equity! san diego amortization table

Even with a fixed rate mortgage, your monthly payment can change in other ways. You may decide to roll the costs of your mortgage into your loan, in which case you’ll be paying the APR rate because the loan amount is higher, yet is still being compressed into the same loan term (in years).

Another way your monthly payment can change is by having private mortgage insurance (PMI). If you put less than 20 percent of your home’s purchase price as a down payment, lenders will require that you pay for PMI. Rates on PMI vary, but you can expect your payments to rise slightly over time.

Finally, if your mortgage payment includes homeowners insurance and property taxes, this can also change. You should receive a statement from your insurer when it’s time to renew your insurance, and your lender will divide the annual amount into monthly payments.

Your tax assessor’s office will send you a new statement annually. Your initial tax basis will be based on the purchase price of the home. After that, the assessor’s office will make adjustments to your home’s value as they feel is accurate. Of course, a change in value means a change in your property tax amount.

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3 Reasons Why Buying Is Better Than Renting

Traditionally, a huge part of the American dream was home ownership. Many people have worked towards that goal. Following the recent housing colapse, many people began to question whether buying a home was actually smarter than renting, with some advocating that home ownership came with lots of risks and not enough rewards. That couldn’t be further from the truth! There are many advantages to buying your own home, and several of them are below.Raasons why buying a home is better than renting

  1.       Tax breaks. It’s been said that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes – so why not get a break on how much you owe each year?? One of the major benefits of home ownership is the tax deductions. There are tax advantages and tax breaks whether you are a home owner with only one primary residence where you live, or whether you also own investment properties that you rent out. Home owners are eligible for tax deductions on the mortgage interest they pay, for thousands in savings. These tax deductions reduce your total taxable income, as long as you itemize your deductions. Lower taxable income results in a lower tax owed to Uncle Sam and more money back in your pocket at tax time.
  2.       Homes are valuable assets. When you own your own home, every month you’re be making a payment directly towards a tangible, valuable asset: real estate. When you rent, you hand your money over to someone else, who will eventually own land and a building that has no mortgage on it (thanks to your monthly rental payments). The owner could choose to live there, “rent free” (minus taxes, insurance, and other normal living expenses), or they could continue to earn income on it. Although real estate values can certainly fluctuate in the short-term, in the long-term real estate is nearly always a winning move. There’s also something nice about the idea of owning a home where you know you’ll stay, where your kids will grow and maybe even where your grandkids will come and visit. That home will be a built-in part of family memories.

3.      Home ownership gives you freedom. With most rentals, you’ll be subject to a lease and all the rules, terms and conditions of that lease. You likely won’t be able to personalize it with paint, carpet, hardwood, or new kitchen appliances. You may not be able to own pets, or you might be limited in the type and number of pets you can own. You may even be restricted to who can visit and how long they can stay. But when you own your home, you have the freedom to make a house your home because it is 100% yours!

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Here’s Why It’s Still A Good Time To Buy A Home!

Here are four great reasons buy a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.0% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

A recent Freddie Mac survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage 

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.why you shoud by a home and not make landlord rich

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?


4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If purchasing a home for you and your family is the right thing for you to do this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Ryan Blanco-Realtor-San Diego Real Estate BlogAbout Me: I am a full time agent and I dedicate 100% of myself and my time to my valued clients in addition to the San Diego communities that I serve. It is imperative that I continuously evolve with local and national trends in addition to always looking ahead of the industry. It is a must to always provide the best service to my clients, their families and friends.




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