Archive for the ‘Home Sellers’ Category

5 Tips To Help Your Realtor Help You!

In the often confusing and overwhelming process of buying or selling a home, a real estate agent can serve as a guide, helping you to determine the best price at which to list your home and navigate complex documents and regulations. While most realtors are committed to serving you to the best of their ability, they are frequently busy juggling multiple clients and responsibilities. You can maximize your experience of working with a realtor by following some simple tips: 1. If you are a seller, be realistic about the listing price for your home. Any home that you have lived in for a significant amount of time is likely to hold sentimental value. Therefore, you may be prone to perceiving it as more unique than it is and overestimating its worth. Before agreeing on a sale price with your realtor, try to emotionally detach yourself from your property and view it objectively, as a buyer would. Since properties that are priced too high at the outset are likely to linger on the market and ultimately sell for less than properties that were priced appropriately, you will help your realtor make the sales process go as smoothly as possible if you are willing to accept a realistic listing price. If you are a buyer, avoid making lowball offers without justification. 2. While your home is on the market, keep it tidy and free of clutter. Consider hiring a professional stager or stowing excess belongings in storage until your home sells. Ensure that all necessary repairs are made and the yard is free of dead or overgrown shrubbery. By enhancing curb appeal, your realtor will be able to demonstrate your home s full potential when showing it to buyers. 3. Practice common courtesy. Most agents work with more than one client simultaneously, and will be deeply appreciative if you demonstrate respect for their time. By exercising simple courtesies like communicating when you are running late or cannot make an appointment, you will help lay the groundwork for a mutually respectful relationship. If you are a buyer, do not contact an agent until you are serious about making a purchase. If you have not quite reached the buying phase, consider going to open houses, conducting research about different neighborhoods, and making sure that you understand the limitations of your budget before you contact a realtor. 4. If you are a buyer, be clear about your expectations and desires, while being realistic about what you can afford. If you have a well-defined wish list that you share with your agent, he or she will be better able to help you find a property that meets your needs. Realtors understand that buying a home is a major decision and expect that you may change your mind about specifics during the course of your house hunt, but you will help your agent deliver the best possible results if you have a general idea of what you want and need before beginning the process. 5. Do not ask your agent to do anything illegal or unethical. Realtors are bound by laws and strict ethical guidelines that may not always be obvious to laypeople. For example, the Fair Housing Act prohibits agents from disclosing information about the ethnic make-up of a neighborhood or using certain words in advertising a property.

How Can I Avoid Or Get Rid Of PMI?

If you are looking to buy a home, but don’t have at least 20% as a down payment, you will likely have to buy private mortgage insurance — PMI. This insurance, which makes home ownership possible for so many home buyers, covers your lender in case you default, and it easily adds between $50- $200 to your monthly payments (depending on the purchase price). You may be stuck with it for now, but can you get rid of it?

Eventually, yes you can. After making enough payments, you reach a point where the bank basically sees that you have enough equity in the house so the insurance isn’t required anymore. Federal law actually requires banks to cancel PMI when you hit certain thresholds. This happens when the principal balance of the mortgage is less than 78%  of the original value of the property. This is referred to as the loan-to-value ratio — the outstanding loan divided by the value of the property.get rid of PMI mortgage insurance san diego

Even if you haven’t reached the 78% level yet, you can request cancellation at other times. The servicer is supposed to cancel the insurance at the halfway point — so, 15 years into a conventional 30-year mortgage.

Also, you have the right to ask for earlier cancellations — at 80 percent. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives instructions for doing this:

  • Your request must be in writing.
  • You must have a good payment history and be current on your payments.
  • Your lender may require you to certify that there are no junior liens (such as a second mortgage) on your home.
  • Your lender can also require you to provide evidence (for example, an appraisal) that the value of your property hasn’t declined below the value of the home when you first bought it. If the value of your home has decreased, you may not be able to cancel your PMI.

Of course, you should also have a clean payment history.

Look on the Bright Side

Even if you are not yet able to cancel you PMI, at least it’s tax-deductible!


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Why it’s a great time to sell your home RIGHT NOW!

The San Diego housing market is heating up fast for buyers and sellers. Homes are selling for more money and selling more quickly, but with LESS homes for sale. This is causing more multiple offers on the homes that are for sale.

But don’t take my word for it, the below housing market figures speak for themselves! For single family detached homes in San Diego, the median list price was $520,000 in April, a 6.3% increase from last year at this time. The median length of time that homes stayed on the market was 41 days, down from 47 last year. Finally, inventory levels (the number of homes for sale) went from 5,770 last year at this time, to only 5,055 currently.
 San Diego housing market stats for April 2015


Quite simply, the numbers above are the ideal formula for home sellers to sell their home quickly, and for the most money. Combine that with the best time of year to sell (late spring/early summer) and interest rates under 4%, and you can see what I mean.

Local Real Estate Trends

The chief economist at, Jonathan Smoke, has created a list earlier this month of the 10 hottest medium-sized and large housing markets for buyers and sellers right now. San Diego is #6 on this list nationally.

“Sellers are seeing listings move between 29 and 49 days more quickly than in the rest of the country and at an accelerating pace from just last month –- an average of five days faster. Meanwhile, these markets are especially attractive to buyers, as listings are viewed two-to-three times more often than the national average.”

  1. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  2. Santa Rosa, California
  3. Vallejo-Fairfield, California
  4. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
  5. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire
  6. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
  7. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee
  8. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan
  10. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

If you are considering selling your home, I would be happy to speak with you further to answer any questions you have. I will list your house for a total commission of only 4%! For further information, just GO HERE to find out more!

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How Do Condo Owners Increase Curb Appeal?

We all know curb appeal is important to buyers of single-family homes, but what if you are selling a condominium in a large building full of similar units? How do you make yours stand out from the rest? Here are a few tips for prompting that positive first impression that makes yours more memorable for potential buyers:

  • Make sure the entry way is clean, clear and clutter free. Clean or repaint the front door. Relocate bulky furniture that makes the entry seem smaller. Avoid coat racks and umbrella stands that jut out from the wall as well.
  • Perhaps place a fresh potted plant inside the doorway to bring the outside in. Just make sure it does not block the walkway and pick up any dropped leaves.
  • Clean the insides of your windows. If your HOA is responsible for the outside increase curb appeal condo in san diegowindows, ask that they be cleaned before you start showing your home or have an open house.
  • Make sure the hallway or walkway to your unit is clean. If you need to, just sweep it yourself. Pick up any papers or debris outside.
  • When your home is going to be shown, turn on all the lights, open the blinds, and have soft music playing. Make sure the temperature inside the unit is comfortable.
  • As with any home, make sure the counter tops and floors and clean and personal effects are out of sight. Consider placing a bowl of fruit or bouquet of flowers on the table to add some color and freshness.
  • If you have pets, consider taking them while your home is being shown, or ask a neighbor to watch them before the potential buyer shows up.

Most of all, call your real estate agent to learn what features to play up (or down) in your unit to maximize it’s potential!

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Tips To Sell Your Home This Spring

Inventory of homes is fairly slim pickings at the start of this spring’s housing season. But that doesn’t mean you are in the driver’s seat entirely. Today’s homebuyers are picky, recession-scarred bunch, and they want to get serious value for their hard-earned money. Sellers need to not only price their homes competitively, but to prepare their homes well while selling. Here are some tips to sell your home:

Curb appeal

First impressions are everything, and you want to make sure and make it a good one! Clean up the landscaping and freshen up the flowers. Take down any tacky tidbits and decorative flags, and consider some color updates. One new coat of paint on the front door can make a big difference.


To a point, buyer don’t want to see how you live and with whom you live. Take the wall of family photos down (or at least scale it back). The idea is to make potential buyers better able to picture themselves in your hotips to sell your san diego homeme. If you don’t have a generic taste in art, put it in storage. It doesn’t matter how pricy the pieces, buyers aren’t art experts, and their taste may not be yours.

Clean up

Don’t just make the beds, but de-clutter and minimize. You might like the stack of magazines on the table, buyers don’t. They aren’t interested in what you read. They might not agree with your fun pillow sayings. A little work and storage boxes can make a huge difference. If your house is already vacant, you might have a professional come in and stage your home with rented furniture and small touches. This typically runs $1000-2000.

Small projects = big returns

The big rule on selling-don’t do major renovations. You won’t get the money back in the sale price. Do some updates, especially in the kitchen and bath. Maybe you re-grout the tile, maybe it’s a new countertop or backsplash. Believe it or not, a new front door offertips to sell san diego home fix crackss one of the highest returns.

Check for cracks

Check the foundation, stucco, interior walls and any structural area. Inspectors will come through and red flag this to potential buyers. Odds are it will cost you a lot less to fix it now than later, and you don’t want buyers negotiating repairs into the purchase price.


Keep it cool

Make sure your home is comfortable. It’s it’s hot out, make sure the air conditioning is on. The more comfortable buyers are, the longer they will stay. The longer they stay, the ore likely they are to buy your home!


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You Can’t Always Trust Zillow’s Zestimates

Zillow is the most popular real estate website out there right now. Anyone that has been on their site has surely seen their “Zestimates.” A Zestimate is simply an automated property value estimate that appears alongside otherwise objective property information provided by Zillow.  They makes most of its money on advertising purchased by real estate agents who have supplied it with critical information (listings) in the first place.

san diego house value zestimate inaccurateReal estate agents frequently complain about these Zestimates, which — despite Zillow’s disclaimers — are often weighted too heavily by both buyers and sellers. (Typically, of course, the Zestimate is accorded such status when it happens to support the position of the concerned party. Buyers quote Zillow when the Zestimate is low, Sellers when it is high.)

Zillow makes it clear that Zestimates are not appraisals; rather, they are “a good starting point” or sometimes “just a starting point.” But what is that supposed to mean? Any number picked out of the air could be a starting point. Especially if we don’t even know if the Zestimate is liable to be high or to be low, how does that really help?

How is a Zestimate calculated and why can they be so inaccurate? Zillow takes public record characteristics (e.g. age, number of bedrooms, square footage), which can be wrong with unpermitted additions or simply inaccurate. With that information, they compare other similar homes in the area that are for sale or recently sold. This sounds great, but there are two problems that make Zestimates so inaccurate at times:

1. Zillow has no idea as to the condition of the property. They base their Zestimate on only the raw public records. They don’t know if there was $100,000 in beautiful remodeling upgrades or if the home is in total disrepair. The Zestimate tends to be a valuation for the “average” property in the area.

2. Zillow doesn’t take into account neighborhood boundaries.  We all know neighborhoods can change drastically by driving a few blocks away and this will also affect home values accordingly. Zestimates merely take a given “radius” around the subject property.san diego home market value zestimate

In my opinion, Zestimates are good for determining pricing trends for homes (taken as a percentage up or down), but the quoted home value should be taken very lightly.

So what’s the solution to the above problems with Zestimates? A professional appraiser will gladly come to the property to inspect it, and ultimately give a full blown appraisal report for around $400. The better option (at least for starters) is to have a licensed Realtor perform a CMA, or comparative market analysis for the home in question (most do this for free). While a CMA doesn’t go into as much depth as an appraiser does, they can be very accurate. Either way, these methods actually have a human (instead of  a computer generated system) analyze the subject home. They will know the condition of the home and if any additions or upgrades were done. These things obviously make a huge difference in what the property’s market value will be.

If you have a disagreement with a CMA, or even a full-blown appraisal, you have something in hand that you can work with. What comparables were used? What might have been overlooked? How much value was attributed to this feature or that? Are features of the comparables (e.g. view, street location) adjusted in an appropriate manner?

A Zestimate doesn’t allow for those questions to be asked. That is because you don’t know what data the Zestimate was based on; nor do you know how adjustments were made.

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