Real Estate Topics

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You may qualify for a tax credit if you meet certain qualification when buying a new residence in Contra Costa County. This is for “first-time homebuyers,” which generally means that you haven’t owned a home in the last 3 years, but there are other ways to qualify. [See my article last year …

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I recently noticed a significant change in how Zillow connects buyers and real estate agents. Zillow used to make it easy to contact the listing agent on each listed property. They were listed prominently on each listing with a way to reach out to them. Some buyers would think they were bett…

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Last week Governor Newsom extended the moratorium on evictions in California through June 30, 2021. This is not a blanket prohibition on all evictions, but it does stop evictions if the tenant is unable to pay all or part of their rent due to a COVID-related reason. The tenant is still respo…

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With more people working and schooling from home, they are finding out just how loud their home is. Barking dogs, your neighbor using a leaf blower, road noise, etc. were mild annoyances before COVID. But now that we are home more they are becoming major issues to be dealt with. Students are…

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A contingency is something that a buyer holds as a way to get out of the contract. The most common are inspection, financing and appraisal contingencies. The “standard” method of how contingencies are officially removed has changed quite a bit over the years. There are two main ways – passiv…

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Moving is hard enough, but if you make any of the following 5 mistakes, it will be even harder!

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The California Association of Realtors® has a new program that can provide qualified California homebuyers a $1,250 Lowe’s Gift Card to purchase appliances for their new residence. This is in effect as of January 8, 2021, but funds are limited, so it’s first come/first served.

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For many years buyers were looking for smaller homes closer to work. They weren’t spending much time at home anyways because they were either at work or commuting. And they wanted smaller homes just to have less to maintain and to keep it affordable. But now with so many people working and s…

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Trends come and go in real estate design, just like they do in fashion. These changes are driven partly by the whims of homeowners, partly by new technology and this year the pandemic is having an impact. If you want to keep up with current trends, making changes in décor, paint color and fl…

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There may be some government help on the way next year for some home buyers. It will likely be targeted towards buyers who meet any of the following criteria: 1. Have not owned a principal residence during the 3-year period ending on the date of the new purchase. 2. For couples, if one spous…

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As I mentioned last week, Proposition 19 passed last month. Below is a reprint of a handout from the California Association of Realtors summarizing the changes:

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There were several proposals discussed or put on the ballot this year in regards to state income and/or property taxes.

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So every year in the 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 ju…

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During the 2008 financial crisis, many savvy investors bought foreclosed properties to “flip” them for a profit or to rent out. These investors ranged from well-heeled individuals to large Wall St. firms. There is a new law in California that attempts to reduce the number of foreclosures tha…

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The more criteria you put in, the fewer results you are going to get, but when inventory is low like it is now, you’ll want to put in as few criteria as possible. If you plug in that you are looking for a one-story home with a 3 car garage and a pool and paid-for solar, you aren’t going to g…

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How does the financial crisis of 2020 compare to the crisis we had in 2008? Some of the 2020 numbers are far worse than 2008 (unprecedented rise in unemployment and the biggest drop in GDP since the Great Depression), yet the stock market and real estate markets are soaring.

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If you want to give a piece of real estate to your children, is it better to sign the title over to them now, or let them inherit the property when you pass away? This can be a complicated question, so you’ll want to check with your tax and estate planning experts. But in general, most of th…

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Most people have spent more time at home this year than at any time in the past due to the COVID crisis. Before 2020, many people viewed their home only as a place to sleep, but they did most of their “living” elsewhere. For years we have been seeing a move away from big, sprawling homes in …

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A frequent question I’m getting lately is about my prediction for what will happen to the stock and real estate markets after the presidential election. Many people have strong opinions that if one candidate wins, everything is going to crash immediately. Other people have the exact opposite…

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Thanks to COVID-19, many businesses are closed, some for good, whole industries are shuttered, and unemployment claims are sky-high. It’s no surprise that we are seeing an increase in mortgage delinquencies. Unemployment benefits and savings only last so long. There is a concern this will tu…

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I read a very long and thoughtful article recently that claimed that once the COVID crisis is over, people will flock back to their offices and office buildings will be full again in no time. I looked at the byline and it was written by one of the largest commercial real estate brokers in th…

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How do you sell your home if you have a lien on it? Well, it depends on what the lien is and how much. The definition of a lien is, “A legal claim on assets that allows the holder to obtain access to the property if debts are not paid.” By this definition, most homeowners already have at lea…

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The number of homes for sale in East Contra Costa County hasn’t been this low in several years. There are about half as many homes for sale right now compared to the last few years. More homes exist in our area than just a few years ago due to new homes being built, yet there are even LESS f…

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When you apply for a mortgage loan to buy a home, your lender will look at many factors. One of the most important is your debt ratio. There are actual two debt ratios they are concerned with. The first one is called the “front-end ratio” and is calculated by your mortgage payment including …

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I reported to you a couple of weeks ago about a new .5 percent fee that will apply to most refinances that was supposed to go into effect on September 1. It was going to add thousands of dollars to most refinances. There was a large hue and cry from the industry and consumer protection organ…