There are programs from local or county agencies where they will help out with down payment funds to help needy buyers bridge the gap to homeownership. Some of these are loans and some of the loans have to be paid back right away while others are “silent loans” that don’t have to be paid bac… Read more

INTEREST RATES – Mortgage rates had been hovering around historic lows in the mid to low 3% range the last few years. Then in 2018 they started increasing to nearly 5% with fears that they would continue to climb. But surprisingly in 2019 rates drifted back down to the high 3% range again. R… Read more

If you are in the middle of a real estate transaction, you have a target on your back for cyber-criminals because a large chunk of money gets transferred at the end of the transaction. They know you’ll have a lot of details to keep track of that you don’t normally do so it’s a perfect opport… Read more

We are seeing multiple offers on some properties. There are no rules set in stone for how sellers and their agents deal with this situation. Sometimes they will just accept the highest offer, or they will counter the highest offer on price or other terms. Another strategy that is very common… Read more

The number of homes for sale (what we call “inventory”) is still very low across East Contra Costa County. The reports that I’m seeing from some of the third-party companies I subscribe to show that we have a little more for sale than we did this time last year and about the same as the year… Read more

Your credit score is a number that summarizes your credit report. It is the end result of a very complicated formula that takes into account how well you pay your bills, how much debt you have, how “maxed-out” your credit cards are, etc. Lenders are relying more and more upon your credit sco… Read more

I noticed a small article last week in one of the real estate trade publications that really caught my eye. It was talking about the projections for an increase in the number of HELOCs (Home Equity Line of Credit) over the next few years. The chart showed that from 2012-2016 there were 4.8 m… Read more

Potential home buyers often incorrectly view an inspection report as a mandatory repair list for the seller. The fact is, sellers are not required to produce a flawless house. They have no such obligation by law or by contract. Read more

When a listing receives multiple offers, my buyer clients will ask me, “If we aren’t the highest, offer, they’ll counter us, right?” Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. There are no hard-and-fast rules in how agents handle multiple offers. Sometimes they go through several rounds of c… Read more

Let’s say you’ve been renting out a home for several years to a tenant. They approach you about buying the property and you are interested. There are some things to consider. Read more

The real estate industry has been worried for a while now that the mortgage interest and property tax deductions and/or the generous exclusion on capital gains from the sale of your principal residence would go away. There are some tweaks but most of these will stay about the same for the av… Read more

Most of time, a home buyer will obtain a home inspection during their contingency period before they purchase a home. If something major is discovered, what we call a “health and safety” item(s), the buyer will usually ask the seller to repair those items or for a credit towards those repair… Read more

A long time ago, real estate was sold under the idea of “buyer beware.” This meant that the seller didn’t have to disclose anything, and the burden was on the buyer to find out what was wrong with the property. We’ve come a long way since then, and there are now legal requirements for seller… Read more

The roots of trees that grow from one yard into a neighbor’s yard have been a point of contention for many neighbors. The roots can damage fences, patios, foul sewer lines, etc. But can you just cut back any roots that wind up on your side of the fence? Maybe, or maybe not. Read more

Our standard contract calls for property taxes to be pro-rated between Buyer and Seller as of the date of close of escrow. That part everyone understands, but HOW that is accomplished can be pretty confusing. The County Tax Collector only accepts full payments for each installment, so the ti… Read more

Last week I wrote about the challenges associated with writing an offer contingent on selling your home when your home isn’t even on the market yet. I often hear people say that they don’t want to put their home on the market until they find the home they want to buy. Their concern is that t… Read more

I know of many people that would like to move, but don’t really HAVE to. They don’t want to put their current home on the market until they find the “right one” to buy, but because there isn’t much for sale, they continue to wait. And even when the “right one” comes on the market they find t… Read more

I received an offer on one of my listings recently, and when I presented the offer to my client, they asked why there was a financial contingency in the contract if the buyer was already “approved” for their loan? I explained that there are different types of approvals, and different levels … Read more

If you are thinking of selling an investment property and you’ve heard that you can delay paying income tax on the gains by buying another investment property, this article is for you. This is called a 1031 exchange. In years past, you could only sell and then buy “similar” properties. For e… Read more

Vacations can be expensive and travel with an RV is considered as affordable and is becoming more popular. With the increase in fuel costs, the affordability is carefully being removed even more. In order to decrease the expenditure, there are tips you can follow to save on fuel costs. Read more

The most common solution in a divorce is to sell the house and split the profits. It’s common to split the profits 50/50, but that can change due to a myriad of reasons like a pre-nuptial agreement, one party wants to keep their retirement account in place, etc. Read more

Some buyers pay cash for their homes. It doesn’t happen in our area as much as the Silicon Valley, but it still happens enough to talk about it. Some buyers pay cash and never intend to get a loan on the property. But other buyers pay cash just for negotiating purposes, and then they’ll take… Read more

Zillow is the most popular real estate site. Their most famous (or infamous) feature is their “Zestimate” of a home’s value. Their computer looks at the public records information about a house and then make adjustments based on recent solds. It’s just a ballpark figure, but some buyers and … Read more

Heritage Baptist Academy is looking forward to starting a new school year. We get what feels like an extra long summer because we start the Wednesday before Labor Day each year. School starts September 2, 2015. Time to enjoy the last 38 days of summer before the school year starts! Read more

Seed of Faith Christian Fellowship church is having Vacation Bible School the week of August 3rd thru 7th, 2015. The theme this year is Camp Discovery - Jesus at Work through Us. All are welcome. Classes and activities focus on age groups beginning with nursery to Adult. The evening begins w… Read more

Just this past week the National Association of Realtors announced that resale home sales are way up, as are prices. And there was much rejoicing! Well, the buyers weren’t rejoicing, but homeowners were rejoicing! Especially the ones that need to sell their homes. The rest of the homeowners … Read more

California is still suffering from a major drought and people are really starting to take it seriously. Last summer I saw a few brown lawns, but most people weren’t quite ready to let theirs die. Now it seems like there are more brown lawns than green ones! Last year my advice to homeowners … Read more

I’ve had some people tell me they’d like to move, but they think they have to wait for their two year anniversary before they can sell to avoid paying capital gains tax on the sale of their principal residence. Read more

It seems like we’ve been talking about Greece defaulting for a LONG time. Things are coming to a head again quickly and there are renewed concerns that this could be the start of another worldwide economic implosion. People are asking if a Greek default is our new “Lehman moment,” harkening … Read more

Using the same agent to represent both buyer and seller is 100% legal, as long as all parties are made aware and agree to this BEFORE signing a contract. While it is legal, that doesn’t mean that it will always be in your best interest. Read more

In the past, all real estate agents worked for the benefit of the Seller. This was called “sub-agency.” If you told your agent, “Let’s offer $450,000, but we’ll go $460,000 if we have to,” that agent had a LEGAL duty to tell the Seller that you would go $460,000. Luckily, sub-agency was done… Read more

In our area, it used to be customary to have the Seller pay for a termite inspection of the property. Recently our standard contract changed to where it doesn’t mention this report, so the Buyer either pays it, or has to amend to their offer asking the Seller to pay for it. This small change… Read more

How well do you negotiate? How well does your Realtor? Negotiation is the key to a successful agreement, especially when dealing with a large transaction, typically for the average person, such as a real estate purchase or sale. Read more

Do you have an FHA loan where the rate is higher than today’s market rates? Then there is good news for you! Rates are still very, very low and it’s not too late to take advantage of them. And if you happen to have an FHA loan, there is a program you need to know about. Read more