Nevada City Virtual Tour

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Insuring your Vacant Property

We’ve all been there; getting ready for a closing and the buyer has issues with the price of homeowners insurance or in some circumstances obtaining it at all.

 When a property becomes vacant, a standard homeowner policy may give the carrier the right to cancel mid-term, lower coverage levels or even deny a claim

Contact your agent when your property goes vacant!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Overpricing your home in Grass Valley

When setting the sales price of their home, many sellers are tempted to tack on a few percentage points to “leave room to negotiate”.

Overpricing a home can have many ramifications for a home seller.  It can limit the number of potential buyers who can afford your home, reduce showings and create an impression in the marketplace that the homeowners aren’t really serious about selling their home.  Serious homeowners who overprice their home often get caught in the trap of price reduction after price reduction trying to catch up to the market. Your home will also get considered stale by other agents and buyers who don't need to wait for you. Not good.
During the past year, U.S. home sellers slashed more than $24 billion from home listings on Trulia .com. Trulia’s Q1 Home Offer Report indicated that on average, most sellers will reduce their list price after 79 days on the market, choosing to cut their original list price by 8 percent. Following a first reduction, 35 percent of those sellers then will make a second adjustment. Maybe a third, then maybe weekly. And some more time passes..... How long do you want to wait? What if you are trying to buy another home? Can't if your home is not in a solid escrow. Your dream home is now being bought by somebody else.

Most home buyers look at least 10-15 homes minimum before making a buying decision. Because of this, setting a competitive price relative to the competition is an essential component to a successful marketing strategy.

Whenever I have a seller looking for more than their home is worth compared to the tremendous competition – I show them homes in that price range. Then I ask them what they would pay for their home – knowing what the competition is… If they still quote the overpriced number I would congratulate them and say “Well, you turned out to be the highest bidder on your home. Congratulations! You still get own it!”.  Then I ask them gently again if they would like to SELL it…  I know it sounds harsh. But pricing it right at the beginning is the most important thing of all to get something sold in a reasonable time frame. Doesn't matter what agent you have, how many open houses, how many ads, how much internet exposure, doesn't matter. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Upgrades Under $100 to Boost Your Nevada County Home's Value

You might assume that only big-budget home renovations will produce valuable results. But there's good news for homeowners on a budget. Plenty of inexpensive upgrades - like these - can pay off when it comes time to sell.
1.         Add a fresh coat of paint. At about $30 a gallon, paint is one of the least expensive ways to spruce up your living space. Add paint in neutral, earth-tone colors to bring out the best in each room.

2.         Explore energy updates. Evaluate your home's energy efficiency by going to the U.S. Department of Energy website. There, you can get tips to make improvements that sellers will appreciate.

3.         Fix minor plumbing and electrical problems. It's worth your while to take care of these problems before a potential buyer uncovers them during a home inspection.

4.         Add storage. Lack of closet space can be a deal breaker for some buyers. Adding a DIY wire or laminate system to all closets will give them the appearance of being more spacious and organized.

5.         Let light in. Ditch dark and heavy drapes for simple wood blinds and/or upholstered cornices. Update or add lighting fixtures - wall lights, lamps, ceiling fans with lights - to give the rooms a bright, more updated look.

6.         Give kitchen appliances a face lift. Mismatched appliances can make a kitchen look outdated - but that doesn't mean you need to replace them. Many appliances can be updated with new doors or face panels.

7.         Don't neglect the bathroom. Simple fixes can make a bathroom look more modern in no time. Get a new shower curtain, switch out the old toilet seat with a new one and replace drab or damaged flooring with vinyl tiles.

8.         Update your front door. It's the first part of your house that potential homebuyers see. Give it a fresh coat of paint and consider switching out your current lock-and-handle set for a sturdy, more modern piece of hardware.

9.         Power up. Rent a power washer - it's less expensive than hiring someone to do it - and thoroughly clean your house's exterior.

10.         Curb appeal. When it comes to your yard, definitely sweat the small stuff. Clean up clutter and have it hauled away or store it in the shed. Get rid of weeds and add some in-season plants and flowers to your walkway or in pots on your front porch. Make sure to mow your lawn as needed - potential home buyers frequently drive by unannounced.

Hope this helps! Contact me for more tips! These tips will also help investors get their rental properties rented out faster and for a better rent. If you need a good referral to a property management company in Grass Valley or Nevada County, please contact me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Timing Buying and Selling Your Grass Valley Home

Do I find a new place first, then List my place.?
Do I sell my place first then start looking? Yep, a typical "chicken & egg" question.

Suggestion: List your place 1st while beginning to very seriously look for another place. If you find a new place of your dreams, but have not sold your current place, you can try to purchase the new home contingent on the sale of your existing place. Historically, Sellers have not been all that interested is this type of contract, but the market has changed! A Contingent Offer is often viewed as better than no Offer. If another, non-contingent Offer comes along, you may lose the place, but you at least gave it a shot.

If you have an acceptable Offer on your place, but have not yet found another acceptable place:

* You could try to delay the closing on your current place as far out to the future as possible. This will give you more time to find a replacement.

* The Buyer of your place might be okay with Closing, taking title of your place, and then renting the home back to you for a month or two, while you find another place. Of course, you would be paying the Buyer of your place Rent, usually at market rates, or at least equal to the new Owners' carrying cost of owning the home. But there is a worry about the lender mucking this up.

Contact me for help with timing all this relocating.
Grass Valley and Nevada City and Nevada County.
Now covering Placer County.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Boxer claims White House mortgage refinance

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the major mortgage refinance program the Obama administration reportedly began developing mirrors her own.

According to The New York Times, the Obama administration is developing a plan to help more underwater borrowers refinance their mortgage, granting them relief under historically low rates.
Boxer and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) resubmitted S. 170 in June to eliminate refinancing barriers and fees for borrowers with mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's lack of participation in such major refinancing and principal write-down programs, under the direction of their conservator the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has left many underwater borrowers trapped in their current payments.

Boxer met with the head of FHFA in June in an effort to persuade him to implement the program administratively and without congressional action.

Currently, more than 8 million Fannie or Freddie loans carry an interest rate of more than 6%. The Boxer bill would target roughly 2 million borrowers for a refinance into today's lower interest rate loans, many with loan-to-value ratios above 125%. She claims the program would not cost the FHFA any taxpayer funds and would reduce defaults by keeping these borrowers from walking away.
"We’ve received the letter and will respond to the senator," an FHFA spokesperson said.

The Treasury Department declined to comment on the reported program.
Geez, somebody do something soon.... Been since June...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mortgage bond market activity, Obama, and Short Sale connection

The market for mortgage backed securities is increasingly volatile this week as a dour economic outlook fans speculation that our government will come to the aid of homeowners who have been unable to take advantage of record low interest rates.

Traders reported very volatile trading recently in some MBS (mortgage backed securities) amid speculation that the Obama administration would remove at least some hurdles to refinancing for borrowers with weaker credit and whose loans are underwater.
The administration has been weighing numerous options to stabilize the battered housing market–a key source of weakness in the economy.

So if you still have some kind of job, there might be hope. Let's hope something gets done here that the Placer and Nevada County housing market can actually use.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

REO and Short Sale properties selling at an even larger discount

The share of bank-owned homes and homes in some stage of foreclosure like short sales dropped 5 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter, falling from 36 percent to 31 percent, but was up from 24 percent in second-quarter 2010, according to a report released today by foreclosure data provider RealtyTrac.
And these distressed properties are selling at a larger discount these days. So better prices for buyers but regular sellers need to take this into account when pricing your home for sale. This is your competition. If you want your home sold, you have got to price it at least close to the average market. If you need help comparing actual sold home prices (homes you see listed at a certain price mean nothing... they might have been sitting on the market for many many months) please contact me for help in find market pricing for a home to get sold in this market.

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