Top 10 Websites for Home Buyers, Sellers & Owners

Want to search for your next home without ever getting out of your pajamas? There’s a site for that. How much will the mortgage and taxes cost you each month? There’s a site for that. Or do you want to know approximately what your home is worth today? Yes, there’s a site for that, too. And once you move into that new home, there’s a site to help you find local schools, restaurants, even your next dentist.

Okay, with apologies to the iPhone app commercials, I thought it might be helpful to list 10 of my favorite websites for people interested in buying or selling a home, remodeling their existing residence, or just looking for local information on their new neighborhood. There are countless websites, of course, and I don’t claim to have the ultimate list – just ones that have good value for homeowners and those looking to become owners.

Here are 10 of my favorites:
• CaliforniaMoves.com. Okay, I admit I’m biased. But Coldwell Banker’s consumer website offers a myriad of tools for home buyers and sellers, including advanced search engines, tips on
buying and selling, relocation information, and even community facts, figures and links. • Realtor.com. In that same vein, Realtor.com is also a good consumer website, especially for those thinking about relocating to other regions or want advice on buying or selling, as well as hiring an agent. There are articles on the market, consumer tips, and even suggestions on gardening and remodeling.
• CaliforniaHome.me. This new blog, powered by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, is a non-stop feast of all things California. From luxury home features and design ideas, to California events and celebrations, the blog if filled with everything that makes the Golden State such an incredible place to live.
• Zillow.com. Who isn’t interested in what their home might be worth, or even better, their neighbors? This website offers property valuations. While I’m not convinced that their estimates are always on target, they do give homeowners some general idea of its value, as well as tax records and other useful info.
• Bankrate.com. Now that you’ve decided where you’re going to buy, this site will help you figure out how much you can afford. This is one of my favorite financial websites because it offers mortgage rate comparisons, links to lenders, and literally dozens of different types of calculators to figure it all out.
• Local.Yahoo.com. So you’re ready to move into your new home. Now what? Go to this site to find a plethora of useful links and information on everything from local restaurants and coffee shops to city offices and police departments to public utilities to get the water and gas turned on.
• Yelp.com. Another great site for newcomers to an area is Yelp, which features customer reviews and ratings on every imaginable local business. Sure there’s the usual restaurant ratings, but you’ll come here to find favorite dentists, veterinarians, gardeners and yes, even real estate agents.
• ServiceMagic.com. For those homeowners planning to remodel or just looking for a contractor to do some routine work, this website can be quite useful. Service Magic prescreens a wide variety of contractors and also incorporates customer ratings in order to provide a list of recommended businesses.
• HomeTips.com. Run by Don Vandervort, a host on HGTV and well-known author of do-it-yourself books, this site – as you might guess – specializes in articles on how to maintain and remodel your home. One of the favorite search engines helps the weekend warrior figure out how to do a wide variety of repairs and save money.
• SFGate.com, MercuryNews.com and SacBee.com. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include our local newspaper websites. Not only do they offer the latest news, sports and business, but also good restaurant and movie reviews, job search engines, and valuable community information and links for all homeowners.

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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

Beautiful 3 bedroom home near Rosegarden open today from 1:30 – 4:30!

Beautiful 3 bed home near Rosegarden open today from 1:30-4:30! Stop by and check out this wonderfully upgraded home, offered at only $688,888! http://goo.gl/6IBzH

What Your Lender Needs to Know (and what not to do during the home buying process)

buy-home1When you are buying a home the first thing you need to do is get pre-approved. This is different from pre-qualifying as it is a full loan approval instead of simply an opinion letter of your creditworthiness. Its is best that you take this step before looking at homes as finding out what you qualify for will help you look in the right price range and avoid disappointment. On the flip side, you might be able to look at more expensive homes than you originally thought possible.

Here are some things your lender will need (and need you to do or not to do) during the application and escrow process):

1) All funds used for the downpayment and closing costs need to be carefully scrutinized by your lender.

  • You must provide detailed and accurate information to show which accounts the funds are in and where the funds are coming from.
  • You must document the source of any funds that have been in your accounts for less than 2 months.
  • Any changes that occur to your financial condition will need to be explained to the lender.
  • Changes to your assets, employment, income or credit scores during the escrow process could jeopardize your ability to obtain a loan.
  • Provide complete documents – all pages!
  • Provide documents with names, addresses and account numbers.

2) Things not to do during the escrow process:

  • Do not transfer funds from one bank account to another.
  • Do not make unusual large deposits into your bank account or you will need to provide documentation for the source of any deposits.
  • Do not buy a car just prior to buying a house of during the escrow process.
  • Do not spend large sums of money buying furniture or appliances.
  • Do not change jobs.
  • Do not apply for new credit cards.
  • Do not close existing credit cards.

3) The lender is going to require a letter of explanation and/or support documentation for:

  • Recent inquiries on your credit report.
  • Derogatory items on your credit report.
  • Recent deposits into your bank account.
  • Recent transfers of money from one account to another.
  • Evidence earnest money deposit has cleared your account.

4) If you are receiving gift funds the lender will require:

  • A gift letter signed by you and the gift donor.
  • Evidence of the donors ability to gift the funds – a bank statement.
  • Evidence of the receipt of the gift funds – a copy of the check or wire.
  • Evidence of the funds being received into your account.

If you have questions or are looking for a wonderful lender, give me a call today at (408) 410-2060!

Why You Should Consider Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Star Christmas Lights Hanging from an Eave

 If you are considering a move during this holiday season but you are unsure how the market will react, read on. You may be surprised to find that some of the most serious, ready-to-go buyers are waiting in the wings during the holiday season to take advantage of the market while others are out holiday shopping. At an open house a few weeks ago, I had over 125 people through both Saturday and Sunday, proof that plenty of buyers are waiting for your home to come on the market!

WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER SELLING YOUR HOME DURING THE HOLIDAY

  • Holiday buyers are particularly serious, committed and focused.
  • The corporate executive transferees have more free time to shop for a home now than at any other time of the year.
  • Over the holidays there are fewer homes available, therefore supply and demand work in your favor.
  • Homes are seasonally radiant during the decorative holiday period.
  • The holiday season is a time of heightened consumer spending.
  • Some buyers purchase homes as gifts.
  • Interest rates are still attractive.

TO PRESERVE PRIVACY OVER THE HOLIDAYS, AT YOUR REQUEST WE CAN TAKE AN EXCLUSIVE MARKETING APPROACH

  • All showings are by appointment and only available to qualified buyers.
  • Take a low key approach to advertising your home, reinforcing its exclusivity.
  • Don’t include property address in advertising.
  • Consider not placing your home on the MLS during the holiday period.
  • No lock box.
  • No open houses for either public or Realtors® (unless homeowners request otherwise)
  • No for sale sign.

If you are considering selling, give me a call today at (408) 410-2060 for a FREE home estimate. Also, remember, if you buy or sell a home through me, or refer me to someone who does, YOU get a FREE 16GB iPad4! What a deal!

December Event Guide – San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for something to do in the Bay Area this weekend? Check out the link below for a list of some great holiday and seasonal events! From Christmas in the Park to holiday light shows, you will find a variety of events around the South Bay here December 2012 Event Schedule!

Have a wonderful December!

Top 10 Winter Energy Saving Tips

Whether you’re able to make a big investment into cutting your energy costs or just looking for a few free and simple ways to save money, here are 10 helpful tips for keeping your energy bills down this winter.

No Cost

  1. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. Your heating system will operate less and use less energy. By turning it down an additional five degrees at night, you could save up to $70 on energy costs each year.
  2. Set your water heater to 120 degrees. Your water heater won’t have to work as hard if it’s set to a lower temperature. In fact, each time you lower it 10 degrees, you’ll save 3-5% on water heating costs.
  3. Open window coverings on south-facing windows. This will help warm your house during the day. At night, cover all windows to help keep the heat in.
  4. Use cold water when washing clothes. Washing clothes in cold water could save you around $40 a year with an electric water heater and $30 with a gas water heater.

 

Some Cost

  1. Replace your furnace filter regularly. Dirty filters reduce air flow, making your equipment work harder. Replace your furnace filter monthly (unless it is a high efficiency filter) during the heating season to reduce heating costs by up to 5% or $35 a year.
  2. Install water-efficient showerheads and faucets. 1.8 gallon-a-minute showerheads can reduce your hot water consumption by as much as 10% and save $20 a year.
  3. Switch to compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs. They cost a little more but you’ll save about $40 over the life of just one bulb.
  4. Weatherize your home. You’ll save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs! Seal holes to the outside by weather-stripping doors and windows.

 

Larger Investment

  1. Insulate your home. By adding insulation to the attic, unfinished basement walls and crawlspaces, you could save 20% on heating and cooling costs. You may need to consult a contractor before taking on this project and I’d be happy to provide you with a referral.
  2. Purchase energy efficient appliances. Remember, items like refrigerators, washers, dryers, furnaces, TVs and computers have two price tags – purchase price and lifetime energy costs. Energy efficient appliances can save you up to $75 a year while helping save the environment.