Top 10 Real Estate Tips

High demand and low interest rates drove housing sales in 2016, and 2017 is shaping up to be another good year, albeit with a few minor caveats.

While home prices for starter-to-midrange homes are pushing upward toward pre-recession peaks, especially in secondary markets, they’re stabilizing in higher-priced areas.

Prognosticators see the robust markets of Seattle, Portland and Denver as 2017’s top performers, with 10 percent to 11 percent price growth. If mortgage rates rise modestly as expected in 2017, sales elsewhere may normalize with smaller price appreciation, especially as housing starts rise to fill the inventory breach.

But it sure looks like another seller’s market again in 2017, and likely in 2018, with a few localized exceptions such as the overwrought Atlantic City, New Jersey and Detroit urban markets.

As we march into the latter part of the decade, homeownership remains a practical long-term hold and self-enforced savings plan.

Here are 10 tips to adapt to the latest market conditions.

1. First-time homebuyers: Get that starter home now

Well, you’d best gyrate into action. And we mean now! More than half of the home sales (52 percent) in 2017 are expected to be to first-time buyers, and mostly to the millennial set (19 to 34 years old), many moving from urban rentals, research by the National Association of Realtors shows. That means competition — and bidding wars — could become fierce in the spring for such “starters” in desirable areas.

While there’ll be less inventory this winter, there’ll also be less competition per unit and a higher percent of motivated sellers.

2. Sellers: Hire the right agent

Oftentimes, the best investment a seller can make is time spent researching agents. A bad hire can cost sellers tens of thousands of dollars and months of worried waiting.

First, look at an agent’s’ online marketing material and listings. Is there good photography or video? Does it “pop”? Are descriptions accurate and complimentary without seeming exaggerated?

Then, look at profiles of the agents on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media; and be sure to read web reviews. What kind of vibe is an agent sending out?

Narrow your search to three agents and interview each, ideally in person. Ask for sales-activity reports, existing listings and time-on-the-market averages, plus the requisite local comps.

A seasoned listing agent also will know the best times for open houses and how to initiate a price war if the market allows. Never consent to a listing contract of longer than 90 days in a seller’s market. You can always extend.

3. Buyers: There’s more loan money out there

Those who couldn’t get mortgages during the downturn because they didn’t have 20 percent to put down can find affordable financing again.

Borrowers with FICO scores as low as 690 are now getting conforming mortgage loans (those under $417,000).

One telling sign: About two-thirds of mortgage refinancing were getting approved in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to just one-half of those at the end of 2014.

However, borrowers without a 20 percent down payment will still likely pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until they hit the 20 percent to 25 percent equity mark.

The best rates go to those with 800-plus credit scores, though 750-plussers are getting virtually the same terms.

Unfortunately, those seductive interest-only loans are also on the menu again. Avoid them. They’re affordable at first since you’re not paying principal, but then years later, well … see the Great Recession of 2008.

4. Sellers: It may be a seller’s market but …

Home sellers can do several simple things to enhance appearance, increase buyer interest and boost their home’s profile:

  • Renew selectively: Instead of wholesale renovations from which sellers recoup maybe 60 percent on investment, do light makeovers everywhere, with an eye on the kitchen and bathrooms. They’re far more cost-effective.
  • Clean, clean and clean some more: It’s hard for buyers to picture themselves living in a dirty house. Scrub floors, baths, kitchens, windows and walls, and be sure to clean, vacuum and deodorize rugs. This is simple but effective.
  • Depersonalize, declutter: Show the space, not the contents. Box up family photos, kids’ school papers and excess art, and store bulky and worn furniture. Organize your closets to make them look half empty.
  • Illuminate: Think bright and cheery. Open drapes and add brighter light bulbs in dark areas. Repaint where needed but use neutral colors.

5. Renters: It might be time to buy

In many cases, rents are rising faster than home values, yet mortgage rates remain low. That, and the fact that renters now account for 37 percent of households (the highest level in 50 years), seem to indicate an imminent coming-out party for renters-turned-buyers, especially if they plan to stay put for five to 10 years after buying.

There are limitless buy-versus-rent calculators like Bankrate’s calculator for renters to compare affordability. But no gauge accounts for human behavior, such as reluctance of renters to re-invest what they’ve saved from not paying property tax, insurance, upkeep, etc. Homebuying basically enforces that discipline.

6. If you’re a buyer, don’t believe the house is yours

Don’t bank on a done deal or other verbal promises from listing agents until you sign a contract.

In heated markets across the country, sales agents are giving buyers false hope and using their offers to bid up the price for preferred buyers who they think can pay more and close faster. Have other homes in mind.

Strategies such as preapproval (versus prequalification), proof of funding, closing flexibility and the always-risky practice of waiving inspection and repair contingencies can help sway buyers.

For added clout, tell sellers you’re willing to “escalate,” or exceed all offers to a certain limit. Some agents even advise buyers to write so-called “love letters” to sellers, telling them how much the home will mean to their families.

7. Sellers: The grass is always greener …

… in yards with a “sold” sign. Major presale upgrades typically aren’t needed, but a little greening outdoors is a must.

Surveys show that strong curb appeal can increase prices by 10 percent or more. Greener grass, whether derived from new sod or fertilizer and water, is a must.

New shrubs, plantings and flowers also project a welcoming feel. Sellers typically enjoy a 100 percent return on the money they put into curb appeal.

Another form of green, sustainable landscaping has become a value-add for buyers. Native plants, native grasses and perennials that require less water and attention fill that bill.

Do some local research or ask your local home-and-garden pro for simple “greening” tips.

8. Sellers and buyers: Know the state of your market

A balanced housing market is defined as one with an average inventory of 6.5 months, according to Texas A&M University Real Estate Center research. When inventory remains below equilibrium, sellers enjoy more control over prices and terms, and the area becomes a seller’s market.

When inventory lingers well above stasis, you have a buyer’s market where sellers must get more serious about price reductions, credits and throw-ins. Of course, these averages don’t necessarily reflect demand in certain desirable and undesirable submarkets.

Go to Realtor.org for such market home sales data by state or to a local agent, business journal and daily newspaper you can read online. In 2016, the U.S. housing inventory average was under five months.

9. Sellers: House going on sale in the spring?

Do some prep work now. First, grab your camera or smartphone and do an exterior autumn photo shoot, with the leaves changing colors.

It’s a much better way to showcase your home than to wait until late winter when everything is still dead and brown and mucky. Also take some landscape shots after the first snow, ideally on a sunny day, to show how cozy your place looks in winter.

Take a preliminary inventory, too. Look through your attic, closets, basement and garage to see what stored items you’ll want to keep, give away or sell in the spring. This will help you determine whether you’ll need a storage unit when your home is on the market and if there are any problem areas that need repairs or attention.

It’s also a good time to start discussing financing options with a local lender and interview prospective listing agents who also might provide additional preparation tips.

10. Buyers: Relocating near a waterfront?

You’d best consider weather and insurance realities. Major hurricanes and floods of the past dozen years, particularly Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, have pushed the National Flood Insurance Program into a $23 billion hole, forcing flood-insurance rates to spiral.

FEMA flood-map changes are aggressively expanding flood zones, especially along the East Coast and Gulf Coast, forcing hundreds of thousands of homeowners to buy flood insurance for the first time and others to pay thousands more annually.

Parts of Florida saw 20 percent increases in 2016 and will likely see similar hikes in 2017. Insurers also are imposing coverage caps so there’s no guarantee you’ll be made whole post-catastrophe.

Some home sellers and their agents are conveniently not disclosing these realities, so buyers will have to ask pointed questions and do their own research. Go to FEMA.gov for more info.

By • Bankrate.com

 

New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home

New Year!  Happier Home!

2017 is here! Your personal new year’s resolutions are a great way to become a better you, but what about your home? Here are a few resolutions to make for your home to get it looking and functioning its best for this new year.

Get Rid of Excess

The new year is the perfect time to streamline and get rid of unnecessary things in your house. One-by-one, go through each room in your house and take a look at the items in every closet/drawer/box/etc. Put the things you no longer need or want in a bag to donate, throw out or recycle broken things. When you shop this year, think twice about the items you’re about to buy. Will it just accumulate as stuff to donate at the end of the year? Or can you see this item long-term in your home? This will help you cut down on clutter in your home over the course of the year.

Make Space for Entertaining

Want to make more time for family and friends in 2017? Then you will need a great space for entertaining in your home. Freshen up your family room by de-cluttering and adding small but effective new décor, like pillows or a lamp. Feeling up for a project? Paint an accent wall to bring new energy into the room.

Start a DIY

Is there a certain DIY project you’ve been wanting to start or something that you meant to do last year that just didn’t happen? Make time for it this year! Start by gathering all the necessary supplies, then set a date and commit to the project. You can also get your family involved with the project and spend some quality time crafting and constructing together.

Clean Out Your Fridge

Trying to get your family to live a healthier lifestyle? Take the opportunity to clean out your fridge and pantry to get rid of food you haven’t eaten or will not eat this year. Donate any food that hasn’t perished to your local food bank. Reorganize your fridge so healthy snacks are easily seen and accessible for your family.

Practice Safety

Accidents can happen at any time, but the key is to be prepared when they do happen. Take some time to remind your family of the plans in case of an emergency. Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers around your house to make sure they are functioning properly.

Create a Greener Place to Live

Make an effort to reduce your bills and your carbon footprint this year by reducing the amount of energy you use. Simple steps toward a greener home include, turning off lights when you leave the room, installing low-flow showerheads, hanging clothes to dry outside (weather permitting), turn off power strips and unplug small appliances when you leave the house for an extended period of time.

 

from Summit Funding

Holiday Fire Facts

  • One out of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

 

  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.  On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires.

 

  • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.

 

  • Two out of five home decoration fires are started by candles.

 

  • One-third of all candle fires start in the bedroom.

 

*Facts provided by the U.S. Fire Administration

Where to Retire?

ARE YOU READY TO RETIRE BUT NOT SURE WHERE TO GO??

DO YOU WANT TO GET AWAY FROM TRAFFIC?  CONGESTION OF PEOPLE AND NOISE WHEREVER YOU GO?

THEN CONSIDER SUSANVILLE  IN LASSEN COUNTY WHERE THE AIR IS FRESH. ABUNDANT WITH NATURE AND TRANQUILITY BUT OFFERING  MODERN CONVENIENCES AND PLENTY OF THINGS TO DO.

My mother in law moved here when she was 86 years old and found friendly people wherever she went. She has quickly become a part of the community, involved in a local sorority, a scrap booking club and is delighted with our Susanville Symphony comprised of our talented musicians who work and play here.

Susanville and the surrounding areas has agolf course, many walking trails, hiking trails along the Susan River and bike trails. Is within 15 minutes from the Lassen National Forest and provides easy access for all.

IT IS WITHIN 30 MINUTES OF LAKES AND CAMPING AREAS, OFFERS RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES, WITHIN MINUTES FROM HOME!

ENJOY PEACEFUL LIVING WITH WONDERFUL MOUNTAIN AND MEADOW VIEWS FROM YOUR OWN PROPERTY.

LUXURY HOMES ARE AVAILABLE HERE AT MUCH LOWER PRICES THAN IN METROPOLITAN AREAS. CUSTOM HOMES ON SMALL OR LARGE LAND PARCELS RANGE FROM $300,000. – $700,000. ON PARCELS RANGING FROM 3 ACRES TO 21 ACRES OR MORE.

CONTACT ME FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE WONDERFUL, SERENE LIFESTYLE OFFERED HERE WHERE NATURE ABOUNDS AND COMMUNITY WELCOMES YOU.

WHERE PEOPLE APPRECIATE THE MANY PLEASURES OF LIFE. HEARING BIRDS SING, CRICKETS CHIRPING AND SEEING THE EVENING SKY LIGHT UP WITH MORE STARS THAN YOU KNEW EXISTED. WHERE YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE MILKY WAY AND OTHER CONSTELLATIONS.

COME WHERE YOU CAN ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE THE QUIET NIGHTS AND GLORIOUS SUNRISES WITHOUT THE DRONE OF TRAFFIC AND CITY SOUNDS. IT WILL AMAZE YOU AS IT DID ME MANY YEARS AGO.

THE CLIMATE IS DRY. NO HUMIDITY HERE. BUT NOT EXTREMELY HOT OR COLD.

SOMETIMES WE GET SNOW, BUT NOT OFTEN. MOST OF OUR DAYS ARE SUNNY.

SUSANVILLE AND SURROUNDING AREAS IN THE PINES AND OAKS…A WONDERFUL PLACE TO EXPERIENCE LIFE AT ITS BEST.

Secluded Country Charmer

PENDING

This wonderful country setting is complete with rolling lawn, lush meadow, seasonal creek, mature pine and oak trees and gorgeous panoramic views on a secluded 5 acres. Owners have been making substantial improvements including new subfloor in the loft/bedroom, new plumbing fixtures and high-end faucets, new commercial grade kitchen sink and bathroom sink upstairs.  Interior and exterior of home has just been painted and new carpeting was installed this week.  The extra large kitchen has solid Hickory cabinets, plenty of counter space plus an island.  Beautiful arched windows above the kitchen sink provide light as well as nature’s beauty.  The super efficient wood stove keeps this home warm and toasty though there is electric heat also.  Large paddock and workshop garage.

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Fall is Here! Get your Home Ready

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We still have quite a few weeks left of warm weather, but those chilly months are right around the corner. I mean, it’s already mid-October! While the temperatures are still in the upper 80s, you can start prepping your house for the cooler season.
We’ve got six tips that will give your house some TLC before the crisp, fall months are here.

Cozy Bedding
It’s time to take out those down comforters, cotton sheets, knits and shake the dust off. Give them a good wash and store them in a convenient closet, so when the icy nights come, you’ll have your blankets ready to go. There’s nothing worse than roaming around at midnight, half asleep looking for your warmest blanket.

Fireplace & Chimney
Ah, the fireplace. The cornerstone of family hangouts during the chilly months. For my family, there was never a fall or winter month when we weren’t around the fire at least once a day. Now is the ideal time to schedule a chimney cleaning to avoid chimney fires. Give them the love they deserve, because they’ll be working around the clock come fall!

Stock Up on Firewood
Speaking of fireplaces, now is a great time to start your firewood pile. When the winter months roll around you’ll be glad you did. Make a firewood rack outside and a carrier to transport the wood inside. Look at all that DIY-ing.

Check the Furnace
Whether you have a furnace or a boiler, it’s good to make sure everything will run smoothly this fall when the temperatures drop. Get it inspected and make sure to change the filters on a furnace regularly throughout the fall and winter. This will help keep energy costs down and wallets happy.

Plant Bulbs for Spring
There are a variety of flowers to plant in the fall that will bloom in the spring, so get some fall gardening done before the ground freezes. Consider planting these bulbs during fall for spring flowers: tulip, iris, daffodil, hyacinth and lily.

Winter Tool Box
Now is a great time to rummage through your garage or shed and get all your fall and winter tools in one, easy accessible location. Nothing is worse than trekking through the snow in search for a
snow shovel.

For fall: leaf blower, broom, rake, gardening tools (bulb planting!)
For winter: ice scraper, ice salts, snow shovel, snow blower

Once you’ve rounded up all the essentials, clear out a space in the garage or shed and store them. You’ll be thankful you did when the next snowstorm hits!

Sources: Summit Funding, HouseLogic, hgtv.com, Real Simple

Perfect for Nature Lovers…

This 10 acre secluded property in Janesville offers magnificent panoramic views of the valley and Thompson Peak.  The peaceful solitude and spectacular sunrises and sunsets sets this property apart.  If you love birds and other wildlife this place has it in abundance with over 85 identified different bird species.

Home has a large sun room perfect for eating, reading or just watching the snow fall.  Several patio areas encourage you relax as you enjoy observing nature amidst the beautiful outdoors.

Custom split-level home with 1772 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  Also has a 2 car garage, 2 bay shop and 2 carports including an RV spot with full hook-ups perfect for having family and friends come for a visit.

$346,000

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Top 5 Reasons You Need A Realtor

Not sure if you really need to work with a realtor?  Check out these top 5 reasons why it’s a good idea.

5ReasonsYouNeedaRealtor

OOH LA LA!!

BON JOUR MES AMI !

Yes, that is French for Good Day My Friends!  I’m happily back at work and busy as ever after a wonderful two week trip to Paris, France in December.  I have such great memories and pictures to share if you’re interested!?  My friend, an art teacher, invited me to spend two weeks in a rented apartment she books there every year. It is located in the Latin quarter and was built in the 1600s and is 4 blocks from Notre Dame Cathedral and 2 blocks from the river Seine.  I was blessed to have my very own tour guide and art history teacher accompany me while exploring the art museums and Gothic structures there !  We had fun walking the cobblestone streets along the River Seine.  The city is so picturesque  and exciting.  There is too much to see in only 2 weeks and I look forward to a return visit someday.  The history is amazing and the bridges, streets, monuments, statues and original paintings are awesome to behold.  It was a dream come true for me. I spoke French and English at home for many years with family and it was a thrill to speak it again.

The currency is in Euros however,  which computes out these days to about $1.40 US dollars to their 1 Euro! Quel damage!!!  Real Estate prices are much higher comparatively speaking.  So is gasoline and pretty much everything else.

SPEAKING OF REAL ESTATE…..

Prices in Lassen County are still coming down because of the foreclosure market and this IS the time for investors who wish to buy rental properties to contact me for some very excellent buys!

If you are a seller, know that your property will have the best visibility on the internet, being syndicated to more than 800 websites, promoting and exposing your property nationwide, including the top 10 websites for online real estate search. Today, 90% of homebuyers use the internet to search for their new home. That is why Realty World spends a majority of the advertising dollars online-giving your property the most exposure possible.  Of course, I will provide you my expertise in marketing and contractual knowledge, stressing integrity first.

First time home buyers are able to take advantage of special, low down payment programs to help get into a home before prices and interest rates go up again. .  If you are a buyer who has lost a home due to the economy, call me, as there are loan programs available to assist you in a sooner purchase of another home in spite of your loss.

Please call me on my cell at 530-310-0727 if you are interested in having your own personal tour guide in the area. I can tell you from personal experience, it makes all the difference in the world!!

If you call me, we can get started with establishing what you are seeking and what price range you wish to stay in.  I’ll ask a few personal preference questions to help me zero in on what you are looking for and which areas would be amenable to that life style.  I’ll then become your professional researcher in the area and will send you a list of data sheets on a variety of properties that might suit your needs.  The next part is easy and fun.  Looking, comparing and choosing which property is right for you.

I’ve been in the real estate profession since 1968 and truly enjoy putting people and places together. I know how important it is to find an agent you can depend upon and trust.

The Right Agent makes all the difference in the World!!

 

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Fall is a Great Time to Buy because……

Many sellers wish to sell before the end of the year and are willing to negotiate more.  More properties are entering the marketplace and prices are still very, very low.  Interest rates are holding right around 4% which means lower payments allowing buyers to qualify for a higher priced home than anticipated.

Closing an escrow involving a loan process usually takes from 45 to 60 days  which would allow most buyers to be in before the holidays.

I’ve seen some fantastic sales this past year on properties located in Susanville and the Honey Lake Valley.

Remember, it’s still a buyer’s market and home prices have really come down.  It’s a great time to shop around and see what’s out there.  Who knows when the interest rates will start climbing!!!