How to Limit Spending When Getting a Home Ready to Sell

It is common for homeowners to think that selling a home is an expensive endeavor. From repairs to staging, the process can seem overwhelming. With the advice of a knowledgeable real estate professional, sellers often find there are ways to keep costs low and come out on top during the selling process.

WORK WITH A SEASONED PROFESSIONAL Those who are unfamiliar with the selling process may try to take on everything themselves, which can lead to errors regarding documents, home staging, repairs and inspections. While many individuals initially opt for the “go-it-alone” approach to save money, working with seasoned professionals can help avoid costly errors. A real estate agent can provide sound advice on current market trends, accepting offers and enhancing listings to attract more buyers. A home inspector is another seasoned professional you should take advantage of, and can also help to save money. Remember, buyers will likely hire their own inspector to examine a home and if they find significant problems, they may ask you to lower your asking price or walk away altogether. However, if you discover issues beforehand and have them repaired, you may be in a better position to price your home and mitigate potential problems.

KEEP IMPROVEMENTS TO A MINIMUM Minor updates to a home can be helpful in attracting buyers. However, going overboard on updates to sell a home may not give you the kind of return you are expecting. For example, adding on an office addition or turning the basement into a den may make a home more appealing, but buyers may be unlikely to pay a great deal extra for it, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Instead, you may benefit more from small touch-ups, such as repainting, adding new fixtures and hiring a landscaper to improve curb appeal. In some cases, if you have an outdated kitchen and/ or appliances, you may want to undertake a larger project such as replacing floors or countertops. If you decide to take on these renovations, stick to materials used in similar homes in the neighborhood.

Please give me a call at (408) 410-2060 or shoot me an email at nicole.emanuel@cbnorcal.com if you have any questions on preparing your home for sale. I’m happy to help!

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Bay Area Events Calendar – October

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The holidays are fast approaching and that means a load of fun Bay Area events are upon us! I’ve attached a schedule of great events for the month of October.  CLICK HERE – October Events Calendar

As always, if I can assist you or your friends or family with any real estate related needs over the holidays, let me know!

 

Nicole

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.

 

The 25 US High Schools With The Highest Standardized Test Scores

The 25 US High Schools With The Highest Standardized Test Scores

Included on this list are several Bay Area High Schools including Monta Vista, Lynbrook, Leland and Gunn!

Housing Outlook for 2014: Steady Sales and Higher Prices

Want to get an idea where the real estate market is headed in 2014? Check out this recent article (Housing Outlook for 2014: Steady Sales and Higher Prices) which discusses the speculations of NAR®’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun who forecasts existing home sales to hold fairly even in 2014 and the median sale price of homes to increase nearly 6% with inventory shortages being felt again this year.

Meanwhile, the Kiplinger Letter, in its annual economic forecast issue, calls for a 4% increase in existing home sales. The publication says new home sales are likely to jump about 16% next year after soaring 36% in 2013 and 20% in 2012.

That’s great news for sellers again this year and means that buyers may breathe a little easier in the search for a home with a slight increase in inventory.

If you have questions about the market and are considering a move in the new year, give me a call today to discuss your options!

 

Bay Area home sales, prices drop in September

Bay Area home sales, prices drop in September

Check out this recent Mercury News article with updates on today’s real estate market in the Bay Area. Higher inventory has led to a drop in sales prices making this a great time for buyers to jump back into the market. The real estate market seems to have shifted in the past few months – I had 25 offers on one of my listings back in March of this year and now buyers are often only competing with a few others for homes. If you were considering making a move in the real estate market, now is definitely the time! Give me a call today at (408) 410-2060 to discuss your options! 

How to Pick a Good Home Improvement Contractor: 10 Tips for Consumers

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1)    Check each contractor’s license. Licensing may be at the state, county, or municipal lever. The quickest surest way to find out who is responsible for licensing contractors in your area is to call your local building department, mayor city manager, or county executive office.

2)    Check with the local Better Business Bureau for any complaints filed against the contractor.

3)    Solicit proposals from a few contractors before selecting one.

4)    Beware of the lowers bidder. If a bud is more than 20% below the others, ask why. Make sure it’s not because the contractor is desperate for your business and deposit in order to finish another job.

5)    Ask the contractor for references and call them. Ask former customers what type of work was done, whether it was completed in a timely manner and on budget; if they would use that contractor again. Find out if the contractor maintained a clean and safe work area and whether the workman showed up when scheduled.

6)    Confirm that a contractor has at least a minimum insurance – including worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance – required by the state. If they don’t have any insurance, you the customer could be liable for injuries on the job.

7)    Make sure the contractor you choose is well established in your area. Find out how long they have been in the business; who are some of their major suppliers. Beware of those who only have a post office box as a place of business of no ongoing supplier relationships.

8)    Get everything in writing and avoid signing anything – even a bid – until all the terms area agreed upon. Contracts should include everything that has been agreed to. Before you pay, make sure that everything you are paying for was listed in the contract.

9)    Make sure contract proposals specify the type, and wherever possible, brand name, of the materials to be used.  This will help protect you from substitution of inferior quality materials.

10)  Keep a file on the home improvement job, including contracts, change orders, plans and specifications, bills and invoices, cancelled checks, and any other correspondence between you and the contractor or subcontractors.

It is very difficult – if not impossible – to recover money from dishonest contractors. The best way to avoid any problems with contractors is by doing your homework before signing a contract for the job. The extra work and organization upfront should give you greater comfort in the end.  (Article compiled by the Title One Home Improvement Lenders Association (TOHILA) )

If you are looking for a reputable contractor to assist you with a home improvement job, give me a call today at 408-410-2060!