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Few people are able to walk into a home, like what they see and then pay for a house in cash. In the vast majority of home purchases, mortgage…

Real Estate Topics

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My answer to this question has changed over the years, I used to tell my clients, “Oh, don’t bother. It won’t matter. The appraiser is just going to look at your square footage and your upgrades.” But I’ve changed my mind on this one.

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Rising mortgage rates may be cooling the market slightly, but inventory is still low and there are still more buyers than sellers. Multiple offers are still common on the best-priced properties in the best locations. It’s still nearly impossible to have an offer accepted contingent on sellin…

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When discussing what is worth fixing or not fixing on a house going on the market, my normal rule of thumb is to spend as little as possible, but still get the job done. My thought process here is that you don’t want to spend money on items where you won’t get your money back. For example, i…

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Last week the Federal Reserve raised the Federal Funds Rate by .25%. This is the first rise in over 3 years. The Fed had been drastically slashing rates in response to the COVID pandemic in an effort to stimulate the economy. They have been warning for a while now that they will be raising r…

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If you sell a property and your gains exceed any allowable exemptions, you will likely owe Federal capital gains taxes, at least. It’s true that California does not have their own special capital gains tax RATE, but that doesn’t mean you won’t pay state income TAXES on your gains. Your taxab…

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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.

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Now that prices have risen so dramatically, people are asking me about capital gains taxes again. There are a lot of myths out there on this topic.

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Most everyone is familiar with the idea that a buyer writes an offer and then the seller can accept the offer as it’s written, reject the offer entirely, or send back a counter-offer if they agree with some terms but want to change something else. But what if the seller receives more than on…

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If you are getting a loan to purchase a property, your lender may require an “impound account” on your loan. An impound account is simply a forced-savings plan for you to make sure that there is money available to pay your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance premium when they come due. …

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The number of homes for sale in our area is still VERY low. As in historical lows… I’ve been tracking the number of homes for sale for over 23 years now and it’s hovering down as low as I’ve ever seen it.

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Real estate prices are up, way up, from just a few years ago. I’m hearing people wonder if we are in another housing “bubble” that is about to pop. One of the key factors to track is how “affordable” houses are. One way to measure “affordability” is a function of household income, home price…

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The short list of the major factors that impact our real estate market is household income, mortgage rates and household formation. One common definition of a “household” is that a household consists of all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship. All of the following wou…

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My last few articles have discussed both sides of the argument whether the real estate market is about to crash or continue to appreciate. This week I’ll continue the case why the market seems likely to hold up.

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Last week I listed the reasons why our current real estate market looks like the one in 2008 that crashed. This week I’ll give some of the reasons why it doesn’t feel like the same scenario. (And if you are wondering, no, I don’t always say that real estate prices go up. I warned buyers prio…

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Real estate prices have risen tremendously over the past year and a half, but some people think prices are due for a major correction in 2022. I know of many buyers who are sitting on the sidelines, patiently waiting (and hoping) for the “bubble” to burst.

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If you are thinking of buying a home, one of the first major decisions you will need to consider (besides location) is whether you will consider resale homes, or brand-new, or both. This decision may be made for you by your budget, as most new homes in our area tend to be at the higher end o…

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INTEREST RATES – Mortgage rates had been hovering at historic lows in the mid to low 3-4% range over the last 5-10 years. They rose back in 2018 but then dropped back to the low 3% range when COVID hit and the government wanted to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve is worried about t…

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There is an old saying that if you lend money to a friend or family member, you will likely lose the money or the relationship, or likely both! Co-signing is very much the same. It may seem like you are doing a “good thing” for someone by co-signing a loan for them, but be sure you go into i…

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The number of homes for sale continues to decline. Brentwood is especially low in the mid to low 30’s as I write this. Oakley and Discovery Bay are also very low.

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If you own a home, you should have insurance to protect it. If you have a loan, your lender will require proof that you have adequate insurance on the property before they will release the loan proceeds, and they’ll check to make sure you keep it up to date. If you paid cash for the property…

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In years past, I would tell people that unless they REALLY need to be moving in January, you normally don’t want to put your home on the market in the week around Thanksgiving, or the last two weeks of December. Normally, people are busy shopping, traveling to visit family and just thinking …

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Question: When is the market good for buyers who need to sell their home first? Answer: Never! When the market is slow, sellers don’t want to take a chance on a buyer that needs to sell their home first because it may take a long time to sell the buyer’s home, or maybe they can’t sell it at …

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So lately I’ve been battling “low battery chirp” with multiple smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at home and my office. I’ve learned a LOT about these detectors that I didn’t know before! I woke up at 3 am a few weeks ago due to a smoke detector chirping, and of course it was a super-high …

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When I first started in real estate and someone asked me what school their kids would go to for a particular home, I struggled to answer their question. At that time, the school boundary maps were closely-guarded secrets (at least, that’s what it felt like...). Eventually I was able to obtai…