Burglary Prevention Tips

BurglaryOne of the crimes most frequently reported to the police during the holidays is residential burglary
It’s also the most preventable. It doesn’t take much or cost much to out-smart most burglars. They’re usually not professionals, but rather people taking advantage of an easy target. Burglars may do more than steal things. If they’re surprised by someone coming home or if they choose a home that’s occupied, someone may get hurt.

Tips on Safeguarding Your Home

  • Make sure all exterior doors have good locks-at least dead-bolt locks with a 1″ throw.
  • Always lock up when you go out, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with bars or locks, or put a broom handle in the door track.
  • Make sure your windows have good locks, especially those at ground level.
  • Make sure all porches, entrances, and outside areas are well lit.
  • Trim any bushes or trees that hide doors or windows.
  • Maintain your yard and keep ladders and tools inside when you’re not using them.
  • Don’t hide your keys under the doormat or in a flowerpot. That’s the first place burglars look! It’s much better to give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.
  • Mark your valuable property like TVs, VCRs, computers, cameras and stereos with your driver’s license number.
  • Keep a record of your property in a safe place.
  • Install an alarm system for summoning emergency help.
  • If you park your car outside, never leave a garage door opener in the car.
  • Install a monitoring device such as a Ring Video Doorbell or Chime Doorbell. Easy to spot cameras are also a good choice.

When you go away

  • Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers, and offer to return the favor.
  • Put an automatic timer on at least two lights and a radio. Consider photoelectric sensors to turn outside lights on and off automatically.
  • Tell a trusted neighbor when you’re leaving and when you’ll return. Include an itinerary and phone numbers where you can be reached in an emergency.
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How to Know if a Neighborhood is Right for You

Neighborhood

Before you buy a home and make what’s likely to be one of the biggest investments of your life, you owe it to yourself to receive quality information on your new neighborhood. Getting a deal on your dream home can quickly turn sour if the neighborhood doesn’t meet your expectations. Here’s how to research a neighborhood before you buy a home.

LOOK INTO THE CRIME RATES

In addition to the U.S. Census Bureau’s city profiles that list crime statistics, you can try sites like CrimeReports. com, which offers local maps where you can access crime data in near-real time (the site has partnerships with more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies). You might also visit the local police department to ask about crime statistics and what neighborhood watches or alerts are in operation.

CHECK SCHOOL REPORT CARDS

Even if you don’t have children, you should spend some time investigating the area schools (school districts are typically the largest beneficiaries of your property taxes). The reason for this is simple: good schools tend to attract a higher demand for homes, which can affect the value of surrounding properties. One way to research schools in your new neighborhood is to visit the GreatSchools website, a non-profit national organization, where you can find valuable information from local preschools to colleges.

REVIEW MUNICIPALITY AND PUBLIC SERVICES

It can be easy to focus on the condition of your prospective home, but you should also consider the general condition of the streets, sidewalks and parks in your new neighborhood. Take some time to research your new municipality (start with the official website) and the services offered. Don’t be afraid to call your local clerk’s office and ask questions if you can’t find answers on the website. Things like trash collection, street cleaning and general public maintenance can affect your property’s value over time, especially if these services suffer a sharp decline due to budget cuts.

WALK THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Visit the neighborhood at various times of day and on different days. The nature of a neighborhood changes from day to night and from weekday to weekend. Make sure the activity and noise levels are to your liking. If you see residents out doing yard work or walking their dog, ask how they like the neighborhood and tell them you’re considering buying in the area. Sometimes “insider” feedback can give you the real sense of a neighborhood.

When you’re in the market for a new home, it can be easy to get distracted by what lies within the walls. By following these home buying tips, you’ll be much better prepared to make an informed decision about your new neighborhood. That way, a sweet deal is less likely to turn sour. Please call me if you’d like help in further exploring a new neighborhood.

Steps to the Home Buying Process

Reaching For A Home

Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting and important decisions. In addition to being a historically strong investment, owning a house provides comfort and security for you and your loved ones. If you are thinking of purchasing a home this year, there may not be a better time in which to buy. Attractive interest rates and lower prices are helping more first-time home buyers enter the real estate market today than ever before. So if you are thinking of making a move this year, here’s how to get started:

  • Select a professional Realtor®. Choosing a Realtor is one of the most important factors in buying a home. It’s important to select a Realtor who has experience, a strong pulse on the local real estate market and the neighborhoods you are looking in, and who you feel will do the best job in communicating with you. You are going to be working with this person a lot so your comfort with and confidence in the professional are key.
  • Get pre-approved. Getting pre-approved with a proven lender will allow you to understand how much home you can afford before you begin your home search. Coldwell Banker has an in-house mortgage banker, who has a reputable track record and can help you determine your purchasing power before you start looking. A qualified loan officer from the company will show you a variety of different types of financing and will determine how much you qualify for with each type, as well as what your monthly payment will be so you can make an educated decision that’s comfortable for you.
  • Determine what you are looking for in a home. Is location most important to you? Do you have to have a swimming pool in your yard? Will you only look at homes that have a formal living room? Understanding your preferences and what you are willing to compromise on will help your Realtor in their search for properties that most closely match your criteria. Remember, unless you are building your dream home from the ground up, there are often compromises involved when deciding whether or not you will be satisfied with a given property.
  • Be proactive. While your Realtor will keep you apprised of any properties that hit the market matching your criteria, it’s important for you to be proactive in your search too. By keeping tabs in the neighborhoods or cities in which you are looking, you will have a better understanding and knowledge of the local market and home prices so that when you are getting ready to make an offer, you can be educated and confident in your decision. Websites such as CaliforniaMoves.com and Realtor.com are both updated frequently and are among my favorites for home buyers.
  • Have an open mind. Remember that the first house you purchase is probably not going to be perfect. If you have been looking for a home for weeks or even months, maybe it’s time to reconsider homes that you’ve already viewed or make a few concessions. Chances are that if there are homes that have been sitting on the market for weeks, the seller may be willing to negotiate more on price and you may be able to purchase your first home for a lower price than originally thought – giving you extra money in the end for home improvement projects.

I hope you found this information useful.  If you are thinking of taking your first steps towards purchasing a home, I’d be pleased to meet with you to give you an update on the local real estate marketplace and your buying opportunities. For more information, contact me today.

 

Just Listed! Remodeled Craftsman Style Home Near Japantown in San Jose

Remodeled Craftsman-style Home Near Japantown!
674 E. Empire
Street, San Jose

 

Nicole Emanuel (Culbertson)

Direct: (408) 355-1512

Mobile: (408) 410-2060

CA DRE# 01899594

Nicole.Emanuel@cbnorcal.com

674 E. Empire Street, San Jose
2 bedroom + bonus room & 1 bath
Approximately 1,000 (permits unknown)
$495,000

Welcome Home! Recently remodeled craftsman-style home incorporates original charm with modern day finishes! Features bamboo flooring, french doors, gourmet kitchen with granite, remodeled bath, renovated back yard and 2-year old roof! Third room can be used as an office, baby’s room or a sitting room. Home is approximately 1,000 square feet – permits unknown (assessors office 884). Located across the street from a park and a short walk to Japantown and Watson Dog Park!

©2013 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Office Is Owned by a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. All rights reserved. This information was supplied by Seller and/or other sources. Broker believes this information to be correct but has not verified this information and assumes no legal responsibility for its accuracy. Buyers should investigate these issues to their own satisfaction. If your property is currently listed for sale, this is not intended as a solicitation. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. DRE License #01908304

Economists Predict Gradual Improvement for the Housing Market and Economy in 2012

Check out this months Reality Check which takes a look at economists predictions for the housing market in 2012. Some notable highlights from this report:

  • Some top economists predict the worst of the downturn may be over and expect to see a gradual improvement in home sales and prices in 2012
  • Housing affordability is as good as its been since 1970 with reduced home prices and record low interest rates
  • Favorable market conditions and an improving economy are expected to lead to a 4-5% increase in home sales in 2012 according to National Association of Realtors (NAR) economists
  • Consumers should expect to see home prices gradually rise this year with inventory declining in many areas

Given  affordable home prices and historically low interest rates, buyers should consider jumping into the market right away before rates go up and lack of inventory causes prices to rise, which some speculate could happen in the second half of the year.

What is my Home Worth? The Truth About Internet Home Estimates

With the internet playing such a large part in the real estate market these days, it is important to understand the accuracy of the data provided by vendors such as Zillow and Trulia. Take a look at this interesting video from the Wall Street Journal that provides a frame of reference for home value estimates online. Estimates can be as much as 20% – 50% off given gentrification of a neighborhood or upgrades owners have made that don’t factor into the complicated algorithms these websites use to assign a value to a home. While nationally, the median error rate for Zillow is 7.9%, its important to note that these are called estimates for a reason and a consultation with a real estate professional or a property appraisal specialist is necessary to get an accurate assessment of your homes value.

Video: Wall Street Journal – The Fuzzy Math of Home Values