Category Archives: Sacramento sellers

Important Real Estate Question Answered for Buyers and Sellers – Sacramento Hot Real Estate Market

“How is our Sacramento real estate market?” is a question I get quite frequently when talking to friends, past and new clients. Before elaborating on this question, I try to start with a simple answer, such as : “Well, it is a seller’s market right now.” This straight forward statement is immediately understood, but oddly enough, I have come across seasoned agents who still do not explain our purchase agreements to their buyers correctly and honestly.

 

One of my listings that I have sold for my sellers in three days with multiple offers. Yet, the buyer asked for $5,000 credit for repairs following the home and pest inspections, even though the repairs were quite minor. Their intention was to renegotiate on the price after the inspections, which should not be a buyer’s focus or hope when making an offer.

 

I have recently sold properties in Auburn, Rancho Cordova, Carmichael and acted as the listing agent, meaning that I represented the seller. On all the listings, I received offers at or above asking price with no mention about repairs on them, which is why I want to answer and clarify the following question for future homeowners, as well as sellers.

 

  1. Is the seller obligated to do repairs for the buyer after buyer’s home and pest inspections to name just a few?

    The answer is: NO. The seller can certainly choose to do some repairs, all, or no repairs based on the “as is” clause, or paragraph 16 that is in our contracts. Yet,  most selling, or buyers’ agents do not bother to explain this clause to their buyers, who will get upset and frustrated later, if sellers do not agree to do repairs.

16. CONDITION OF PROPERTY: Unless otherwise agreed in writing: (i) the Property is sold (a) “AS-IS” in its PRESENT physical condition as of the date of Acceptance and (b) subject to Buyer’s Investigation rights; (ii) the Property, including pool, spa, landscaping and grounds, is to be maintained in substantially the same condition as on the date of Acceptance; and (iii) all debris and personal property not included in the sale shall be removed by Close Of Escrow.

With older homes there are more items that home inspectors point out on their reports. However,  our purchase contracts are written as is. You can always try to negotiate, but sellers do not have to agree.

 

The moral of the story for buyers and sellers:

 

  1. Buyers – Do not expect the sellers to bend over backwards to do repairs, or offer a credit. Be reasonable if you do ask for repairs and evaluate the repairs needed before making an offer in case sellers will not agree to do these repairs after your inspections.
  2. Sellers – I hope you will work with an agent who will fight for every dollar on your behalf and who will not make you do unnecessary repairs, especially if you are selling your home at a great price and have had multiple offers. Have your agents negotiate on your behalf, and feel free to refuse doing minor/petty repairs that come across on the famous, or most precisely, infamous Request for Repairs form. Yet, be flexible with repairs that are major or safety items, as it is not always easy to start with a new buyer and it will definitely delay the close of escrow.

 

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

Top 10 Tips to Tidy Up and Sell Your Home for More

Most sellers getting their home ready for the market have consistently heard one word from their agents: declutter. Why is clutter bad? It obstructs the view for your potential buyers, as well as it diminishes the size of the house. The solution to sell for top dollars and not hear about clutter anymore is outlined in a great and practical book I read recently.

I found many answers to this question by reading New York Times Best Seller The Life-Changing magic of tidying up the Japanese art of decluterring and organizing.

The author of this practical and powerful book is diligent to point out why people fail to declutter their homes using old methods of cleaning and organizing,,

 

TOP 10 TIPS TO TIDY UP & DECLUTTER

 

The book inspired me to get rid of too many clothes I don’t wear, like, or need anymore.

Here are my favorite top ten tips from Marie Kondo’s book, which I have enjoyed reading and has taught me a lot about cleaning, organizing, and decluttering, which I will apply to my own home.

  1. Kondo starts her book by pointing out that changing one’s habits depends upon changing one’s way of thinking.
  2. Her statement: “If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set” has come as a revelation, but also as an obstacle to people who really have a lot of stuff.  Kondo adds that by using this method, people are able to keep their space clean afterwards.
  3. Storage methods provide superficial answers to the clutter, so get rid of things and don’t focus too much on storing and re-storing.
  4. Another new concept to me, was tidying by category and not location/place.
  5. If we need to understand clutter and declutter, we need to apply Kondo’s astute remark to our daily lives and activities and really start discarding and disposing of things, instead of worrying that we might need them one day. Kondo says in her book: “Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. However, discarding comes first.”
  6. How does discarding work? Kondo believes that every item that does not bring us joy anymore needs to be discarded, unless we really use and need that object. When discarding, clothes are the easiest to deal with and photographs are the hardest. With this in mind, Kondo suggests that the order or sequence to tidying up should be: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and mementos.
  7. Since discarding makes tidying up a smoother process, Kondo says: “to truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” Great lesson to follow!
  8. Get rid of “Just because,” Kondo points out, which means that people live surrounded by clutter and things they don’t need out of fear that one day they might need them.
  9. When it comes to disposing of sentimental items, Kondo remarks that we cannot live in the past. Instead, the joy and happiness come from living in the NOW moment.
  10. And last, but not least, decluttering and tidying up, according to Kondo means to reset your life and settle your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.

 

As wonderful as this book is, sellers need to know one thing: declutter should not be a dreadful chore, even though it is not easy to tidy up. Instead, declutter should be a  means to attract more joy and  more buyers willing to pay top dollars for a tidy house that will be appealing and attractive.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Sacramento Hot Real Estate Spring Market – Difference between a Condo and Townhome

With our Sacramento real estate market getting hotter, many first time buyers and investors will turn their interests to condos and townhomes for a few reasons: they are more affordable, require less work, as some of the exterior and roof repairs are covered by the Home Owner’s Association, and offer more security features, especially the gated ones.  When I showed a condo to my cash investors last week, they asked me: “What is the difference between a condo and townhome?” Excellent question!

Just listed! Great condominium close to Sac State, Arden Fair Mall, and downtown!

 

CONDOS AND THEIR FEATURES

According to the article below from Realty Times,  “a buyer of a condominium owns his or her individual unit, plus a percentage of the surrounding property, including land and any amenities on the property (The word “condominium” is Latin, meaning “common ownership” or “common control”).

http://realtytimes.com/archives/item/20020-20000629_condotwnhome

  1. The condo shares more common areas.
  2. Common areas include stairs, driveways, walkways, hallways, parking lots, and Home Owner’s Association amenities, such as pools and club house.
  3. Only few condos have garages; most of them have shared carports.

TOWNHOMES AND THEIR FEATURES

 

As opposed to the condo, the townhome has a very distinct characteristic: owning the ground underneath the unit and having their own roof. Additionally, some townhomes look like a detached home and have garages, which is not that common with condos.

When I first got into the business, my first sale was a condo and then I kept selling quite a few others, so my nickname was “the condo queen.” I learned about each condo complex and sold a few townhomes, too. I am helping one of my clients who bought this condo with me 17 years ago. She used it as a personal residence and then turned it into an investment property. Thus, condos or townhomes can make great financial sense in a hot market, in which it might be hard to buy a home.

For more info on my new condo listing, check out the virtual tour, and feel free to call me for a viewing. This one will go quickly!

http://1520hoodroad.ihousenet.com/

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Sellers and Buyers Pace Yourselves When Deciding to Get the PACE Energy-Efficient Program- 2017 New Laws to Protect You!

HERO AND PACE PROGRAMS – ARE THEY REALLY HEROES?

Do you ever feel satisfied and happy when you obtain something so easily that it feels unreal? Of course, not! Satisfaction and enjoyment come from some resistance, hard work, and some challenge.  And yet, when it comes to one’s home, the biggest investment in one’s life, many people have jumped to obtain the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HERO_Program, which is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PACE_financing and continue to do so in order to retrofit their homes.

Types of residential and commercial retrofitting:

  • installing energy-efficient, water conservation retrofits
  • seismic retrofits
  • solar panels
  • energy efficient windows
  • energy-efficient heating and air systems
Installing solar panels is one of the most popular with homeowners

The PACE loan program was introduced in 2008 to finance energy and other retrofits with ease and very few requirements or disclosures. To qualify for this loan, homeowners need to have equity in their homes, so credit scores do not matter. It is also 100% financing with no money down from the homeowner. So far PACE sounds enticing and an amazing way to lower one’s utility bills by doing certain retrofits. Well, it really depends on your future plans, and if you have to sell the home, as this loan is designed to pass the debt unto the new homeowners, which might not make them happy.

HOW DOES PACE IMPACT BUYERS AND SELLERS?

 

  1. Due to the fact that repayments of the PACE loan are made through the property taxes.
  2. The house has higher property taxes than a similar home on the same street with no PACE loan on.
  3. Sellers will leave debt behind to the new homeowners who assume all these upgrades whether they want them or not.
  4. PACE is shown on the preliminary title report as a first lien.
  5. The property taxes will reflect the additional assessment fees incurred through the PACE loan.
  6. New owners assume the remaining assessment payments, or sellers are forced to reduce the selling price of the home to make the sale go through.
  7. Interest rates can be 3 to 4% higher than traditional loans.
  8. Having a PACE loan might be the only way for some homeowners to install a new HVAC system or new windows, but be prepared for the future impact when reselling the house, as it is not as easy to sell in comparison with a debt-free home.
  9. Are the upgrades worth it in the long run? Sure, they are, but think of how long you will live in that house before getting this loan.
  10. To sum thing up, pace yourselves when it comes to PACE and think of the future plans and the impact of trying to pass debt to the new homeowners. We all know that debt is not sexy!
Debt is a vicious circle

 

2017 NEW LAWS REGARDING PACE PROGRAMS

 

Under the new law, which took effect Jan. 1, entities that offer PACE financing providers are required to do the following:

  1. Provide homeowners with a standard written financial disclosure similar to the federal Truth in Lending Act disclosure.
  2. Give the applicants the right to cancel PACE contract within three days.
  3. It limits the amount a homeowner can borrow.
  4. It specifies that homeowners must own the property on which the home sits, be current on their mortgage and property taxes, and not in default or involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

When things sound too good to be true, most often they are, so be aware of the potential future hurdles when selling or buying a home under this program. Maybe try to qualify for a standard loan instead, as well as understand that it can take up to 20 years to break even on a solar system and that the money saved on energy bills is not that significant.

Do your homework, and let me know if I can answer any questions.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Pricing Your Home Right for Top $$$ in our 2017 market – Dos and Don’ts!

Buying and selling a home are both emotional events, but selling a house in our Sacramento real estate market and any other market is even more emotional, as sellers put their heart and soul into their homes, remodeling, improving, and leaving behind indelible memories. With our low housing supply inventory that will continue in 2017 sellers rejoice in their opportunity to sell their homes for top dollars with little hassle and even with multiple offers. Yet, pricing your home right in a hot market is still key and Realtor.com offers some great advice and six rules on pricing your home right. http://www.realtor.com/advice/6-rules-follow-pricing-home/

Pricing Your Home Right

DO PRICE YOUR HOME RIGHT! When it comes to pricing a home, the majority of the sellers feel that their house is worth so much more than the rest of the homes that have sold recently. https://www.houselogic.com/sell/how-much-is-my-home-worth/?cid=pm_ps_bing_cac

DON’T  FOLLOW YOUR FEELINGS; FOLLOW THE DATA! My duty as a real estate broker and professional is to present all the data, such as recent comps of other similar homes that sold in the neighborhood, statistics, and market analysis, which will help my sellers decide upon my suggested listing price. Thus pricing their home will be done based on carefully researched data and not emotions, feelings. By relying on the most current market data, sellers will avoid pricing their home too high. Also according to local appraiser Ryan Lundquist, it is important to http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2017/01/03/trends-to-watch-in-real-estate-in-2017/ choose similar homes to the one the seller has to sell, instead of focusing on the highest sold in the neighborhood and have appraisal issues later on during the escrow. Lundquist also points out that just because our housing inventory is low does not mean that sellers should command unreasonably high prices, which is also my position as a real estate broker. I like to be honest and upfront with my sellers during the listing appointment and not create false expectations.

Not all buyers will appreciate the older flushing system, so changing the toilet might be a great idea, giving buyers fewer things to nitpick.

Reasons Your Home is Not Selling:

  1. Home is overpriced.
  2. Home is outdated.
  3. Home is over-improved for the neighborhood.
  4. Home has been nicely updated and remodeled, but price is too high and buyers are not willing to pay for it.
  5. Few, or no showings at all is a clear indication of the house being overpriced.
  6. Plenty of showings, but no offers is also a sign that the house is overpriced.
  7. Price is king!

Top Cures for not Selling:

  1. Be proactive, not reactive, which simply means not waiting months and months before dropping the price and selling your home at what the market will bear.
  2. Do not wait till you receive a bunch of low ball offers; instead, adjust the price accordingly to attract those highly motivated and well-qualified buyers.
  3. Do not let too much time elapse in between price adjustments, or buyers will think there is something wrong with your house.
  4. Enhance the curb appeal on a budget and make things inviting, so buyers can feel at home.
  5. Work with highly reputable, honest, and experienced agents who can aggressively market your home and get it sold.
    Besides having a three-page marketing plan for my sellers, I also market their homes on the radio show Real Life Lending on 105.5 FM

     

    And least, but not last, remember that buyers today have so much more information at their fingertips and they are not willing to overpay for a house, so evaluate the recent sales and price your home to sell and you might even get more than asking price with the right marketing strategy.

    For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

A Quick Recap of Our 2016 Sacramento Real Estate Market and What to Look for in 2017!

2016 Sacramento Real Estate Market recap

As we are getting close to leaving 2016 behind and usher 2017, it will be helpful to look at our November numbers and stats to understand where we are heading and what the new year will have in store for us. These numbers deal only with Sacramento county, but if you need stats for other counties, please feel free to click on Ryan Lundquist’s excellent blog that I quoted below.

  1. The median price is the same as it was in August 2007.
  2. Housing inventory is 22% lower than the same time last year (there is only a 1.36 month housing supply).
  3. Sales volume was 17% higher this November compared to November 2015.
  4. There were only 36 short sales and 34 REOs in the county last month.
  5. Cash sales are down 11% this year.
  6. The median price is $325,000 and is down 2% from the height of summer and 12% higher than last year.
  7. The  average sales price at $349,659.

2017 Real Estate Outlook

 

So with these stats in mind, I know that you want to receive the answer to the what I call the crystal ball question: “So how will our real estate market be next year?”

My answer is evasive and honest at the same time. “We never know exactly what the new year will bring, but according to economists and Realtor.com, we will see a 7% increase in value.”

This might be exciting news, but as Ryan Lundquist astutely pointed out in his wonderfully written and researched blog http://www.sacramentoappraisalblog.com, this is what our market has been doing for the last two years, which means that Sacramento will continue on the same steady path. Additionally, even though the Sacramento Bee called Sacramento the 4th hottest real estate market in the country, just because median prices went up 7%, it doesn’t mean that actual values increased by that much.

Getting a Loan and 2017 Interest Rates

 

These are some of our predictions for 2017 together with the fact that interest rates will go up by about half a point, but they are still super affordable. Today I have also had the pleasure and honor to talk about this on Real Life Lending 105.5 FM radio show hosted by Eric Elovski McKay who is one of my preferred lenders due to his extensive knowledge of the lending industry, his hard work, dedication, and professionalism. To apply for a loan with Eric, just go to his website http://www.ericwillclose.com.

With Eric Elovski McKay, host of Real Life Lending

Another important report that helps us real estate professionals is presented by our California Association of Realtors. According their forecast the California median homes price, this is not just Sacramento, is forecast to increase 4.3 percent in 2017, representing the slowest rate of price appreciation in six years. C.A.R president Pat Zicarelli also predicts that “San Francisco Bay Area will experience a decline as home buyers migrate to peripheral cities with more affordable options.”

Overall, we all need to be excited and positive about the new year, and let’s prepare our Champagne glasses for a prosperous, better, and brighter 2017.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

Sacramento Real Estate Market Outlook for 2017- Prices Going Up or Down?

As the title of my blog is running for real estate, I am pleased to combine my passion for real estate with running. Moreover, rest assured that I will run and hustle to help you buy or sell a house the same way our bunny Peter runs up and down the stairs in this video! I believe in being quick and efficient in taking care of all your real estate needs, so never hesitate to call me with any questions. No strings attached!

 

 

As we approach the end of the year, almost everybody wants to know what to expect in the coming year, especially because of the elections and the rumors about interest rates going up, which are not just rumors. Interest rates will be going up a little bit in 2017, according to Oscar Wei, senior economist for California Association of Realtors.  During our monthly meeting at Sacramento Association of Realtors, Wei did a detailed presentation on our real estate market- see entire link and forecast below.

http://www.car.org/3550/pdf/econpdfs/09-29-2016_EXPO_Forecast_Final.pdf

10 Key Points to Remember as We are Heading Towards the End of 2016 and Ushering 2017:

 

  1. Real estate is still considered a very good long-term investment.
  2. Listings inventory is still low, making is more difficult for first-time buyers to afford to buy.
  3. Long-time homeowners are not moving that often and wait about 10 years to move, choosing instead to remodel their homes and stay.
  4. Boomers are not moving as often.
  5. Builders are still not building enough new homes, which contributes to a lower supply of homes.
  6. Interest rates are below 4% for now until the FED will decide what to do.
  7. Consumer confidence is 9-year high.
  8. Unemployment rates are 8-year low.
  9. Majority do not plan to sell their home when they retire.
  10. Most homeowners, as a matter of fact 92% of them, have equity in their homes, which is why we have seen a very low supply of short sales and foreclosure homes.

 

10 Key Points to Remember about 2017 Market Outlook:

 

  1. We will see a modest price increase in 2017 of about 3%.
  2. A 2% increase in sales.
  3. The American dream and homeownership is still very important for the Millennials.
  4. Investors buyers are dropping, but still active in the lower-priced market.
  5. Unemployment in California will be around 5.3%.
  6. Interest rate projected at 5% in five years.
  7. Home prices will grow steadily next year.
  8. Biggest challenge for buyers in 2017: lack of affordability.
  9. Buyers will need to educate themselves on our market, the various loan programs, and the down payment assistance.
  10. Pursue your dreams and find a way to build your own equity by stopping to rent and buying a home.

 

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!