Tag Archives: Buying and selling a home

Running for Real Estate – 10 Tips on buying a home sight unseen!

When I first came up with the name of my blog, I felt pretty good about it and even gave myself a pat on the back for it. How appropriate! I love real estate and running, so running for real estate was created.

RUNNING FOR REAL ESTATE

 

Last weekend, I had the chance to literally run for real estate. I ran from home to a house in Carmichael that one of my out of town buyers was very interested in. I put my MLS key inside the pocket of my water hand held bottle and off I went all giddy at the thought of putting the title of my blog into practice. I felt like an inventor who is about to test his/her own creation after all the hard work that went into it. I felt like being a runner and real estate broker with a bigger purpose. I felt like a super efficient business woman mixing work with running. It was great to be able to do that.

Once I arrived at the house, I took a great video of the neighborhood and the house for my pre-approved buyer who was looking to move to Sacramento.  Later that day, we made an offer on the house, but the buyer did not accept the seller’s counter offer, so we’re looking for other homes.

Speaking of running, good shoes are always a necessity. My company Dynamic Real Estate is the proud sponsor of Soles4Souls and we collect shoes that get sent out all over the world. Many thanks to everyone who donated and please keep the donations coming so that people all over the world can explore their environment in their new shoes.

 

10 Tips on buying a home sight unseen:

 

  1. When buying rental properties, it is easier to buy something based on capitalization rate, as it is all about return on investment. Thus, having your agent take a video of the area/neighborhood and the house will be enough to help you with the purchase.
  2. Videos can be great, but doing your own research regarding the neighborhood, schools, freeway access, shopping, public transportation, and parks is key when deciding to make an offer on a house that you have not personally seen inside.
  3. Make sure your agent is honest and can share his personal opinion about the house, as if he/she were to purchase the house for themselves.
  4. Ask your agent the following question: “Would you purchase the house if you were me?” “Why? Why not?”
  5. Ask more questions about the location of the house, such as busy street, proximity to shopping, transportation, etc., because the video is just not enough  in making the decision.
  6. If making the offer first and then seeing the house inside once the offer has been accepted, which is not recommended for buyers planning to live in the house, unless they are very familiar with the neighborhood and floor plan, be open-minded. Reality is sometimes different than a short video.
  7. If making an offer on a house just like I helped many international and out of state investor buyers without seeing the house till after close of escrow, make sure you obtain a thorough home, pest, and roof inspection to know what’s in store for you. Even with those inspections, there might be items such as the roof, or heating and air that will require work, so be prepared for future repairs/remodeling.
  8. Make sure you hire a good property management company that will get you a good tenant and help with the maintenance and repairs.
  9. Arrange to see your investment property shortly after close of escrow if possible. I helped my mom buy a house this way in Savannah, GA and she only got to see the house a year later. Luckily, she liked the house and was happy with her investment property.
  10. Enjoy the adventure and find trustworthy professionals who can help you purchase the right property.

 

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!

Running and Real Estate- 6 Reasons Location Can Make or Break Your Fitness

Are buyers super tired of hearing about the importance of “location, location, location” every single time they work with a real estate agent like myself?  Do we agents sound like a broken record, or is there more to these three repetitive nouns?

I have to be honest and tell you that when my husband and I bought our home in Carmichael, CA, I was not much into exercise and I was definitely not a runner. All my husband and I knew was that we wanted to live in Carmichael – the rural feel and yet the central location of Carmichael appealed to us. We loved playing tennis and we did notice that the house we bought was within walking distance from Carmichael Park, which made us happy. Good location!

Since I became a runner, I go to Carmichael Park to play tennis or run. I also go for walks with our kids and play Pokémon Go, because we are close to it and it is convenient to get there.

 

IMPORTANCE OF LOCATION

 

I have been in real estate for 17 years and I always try to educate my buyers about the importance of location for two reasons:

  1. Buying a house on a cul-de-sac, one of the most desirable locations, because of reduced traffic, next to a beautiful park, golf course, bike trail, etc. can enhance the property value of a home and the well-being of its occupants, as it is convenient to  exercise.
  2. Buying a house next to railroad tracks, close to an airport, or on a busy street can decrease the property value of one’s home by as much as 20 percent. http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/slideshows/8-types-of-roads-that-can-have-a-big-impact-on-home-sales

Therefore, buyers who are more nature, outdoor, and fitness enthusiasts might want to work with an agent who understands the importance of location when it comes to easy access to the bike trail, a public track, close proximity to a fitness club, nature parks, and so on.

Sacramento has one of the best multi-purpose trails in the country. Jedediah Smith Memorial Bicycle Trail, known as the bike trail,  or  the Parkway,  stretches along 32 miles of parkway from Old Sacramento to Folsom Lake.
Ancil Hoffman Park, where one can watch deer, coyotes, and turkeys while exercising. The nature center and golf course are one of Carmichael’s hidden gems and treasures.

 

FITNESS CHECKLIST

 

As a real estate broker and fitness fanatic (I am an avid runner and tennis player), I recommend buyers the following checklist to make sure their new home will enhance their easy access to exercising whether it is biking, running, playing golf, tennis, etc.

  1. Use Google maps to determine the walking distance from your new home to the above-mentioned locations.
  2. Create your walking/biking/running routes and see how conveniently located you are from your new gym, for instance. I am 1 mile away from two of the gyms I belong to. I love to run or ride my bike there, which makes me feel that I kill two birds with one stone, because I get my run in and do strength training, or take various classes there.
  3. Rate all the homes you visit based on the exercise convenience factor. For instance, five stars rating means extremely easy access to parks, nature preserve areas, golf courses, tennis courts, and fitness clubs.
  4. Be realistic about the importance of your fitness goals and the convenience of achieving them based on the location of your home and decide if you can settle for anything less than three stars. Let’s say your new home is close to fitness club, tennis courts, and parks. That is a pretty good location, but as you go lower in stars, you need to decide if you need to keep looking for that three stars or higher fitness house.
  5. Be very clear and specific with your agent about your fitness goals and the location of your new home and make sure that you do not waste time looking at homes that are far from your desired criteria.
  6. After having your offer accepted and while in escrow, try some of your routes to make sure that your new neighborhood has a high walking score. Additionally, use this website to find the walking score of your new home https://www.walkscore.com/

To sum things up, I believe buyers should take the fitness factor seriously when buying a home. Analyzing a home’s curb appeal and all the remodeling should be done in connection with your ability to walk many places around your new home/neighborhood. Happy house hunting! Happy feet and happy to help you find that perfect FIT home of your dreams.

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!

The Future of Sacramento and Real Estate Market – Meeting with Mayor Darrell Steinberg

Today at our monthly Sacramento Association of Realtors meeting, we had the honor to listen to Mayor Steinberg talk about Sacramento’s future as a growing city.  He was engaging, informative, funny, and invested in making Sacramento not just a government town, but also a destination city.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg talking at our monthly meeting at the Sacramento Association of Realtors

Some of his immediate items to address as a newly-elected mayor were:

 

  1. Working on our city’s image and transforming Sacramento into a more sophisticated and more visited city. A few ways to attract more visitors would be through the Kings Arena, a world class Science Museum and Exploratorium, an Aquarium, increasing the visibility of arts, opening up the water promenade, and connecting West Sacramento to Sacramento.
  2. Working on providing more shelters and programs for the homeless.
  3. Passing an immediate law regarding teenagers who will be paid for their summer work (just for a certain amount of hours). They will also be employed and paid for two months in their line of work right after college and paid. This will create a more robust work force and will help young people compete fairly in an already competitive market.
  4. Encouraging and expanding the housing market with a variety of newly-built projects, such as the L St. lofts, I St. studio, as well as other ones that are being marketed and that I can help you show and purchase.
  5. Creation of more jobs.
  6. Keeping the real estate market affordable by increasing the supply through building new homes and condos.

https://www.facebook.com/cmicsa/videos/1384150288304380/

To sum things up, Darrell Steinberg’s speech and presentation emphasized the need to increase Sacramento’s positive image, as well as continue to have a robust real estate market while keeping things affordable in our growing city.

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!

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!