Real Estate Topics

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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…

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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…

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Last week I reported to you that the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) was considering a ban on pocket listings. (A “pocket listing” is where an agent lists a home for sale but doesn’t list it in the Multiple Listing Service and markets it through other channels instead.) The number of…

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A “pocket listing” is where a real estate agent lists a home for sale, but doesn’t put it on the Multiple Listing Service right away. This means it’s not exposed and available to all the agents and buyers looking for homes for sale in that area via the MLS. Some agents like to market their l…

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What’s a “bully offer?” That’s when a listing is advertised as accepting offers on “X” date, but an offer comes in before that date and the buyer insists it be presented ASAP, and their offer expires prior to the advertised offer date. They also usually claim that if their offer isn’t accept…

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Zillow provides an estimate of what your home may be worth called a “Zestimate” and they can be WAY off. Zestimates have created a lot of frustration in the industry for both agents and home sellers. Agents get frustrated when they tell a seller that their home is worth a certain amount, but…

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Nowadays many loan applications are initially reviewed and pre-approved by a computer program called the “Automated Underwriting System” (AUS). The potential borrower’s information is fed into the system and the “findings” come back fairly quickly. If the borrower’s information meets the cri…

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Last week I promised to show you how to estimate what your tax bill would be if you bought another home. You can get a copy of the current bill at the following website - https://taxcolp.cccounty.us/taxpaymentrev3/lookup/

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Last week I discussed the basics of how tax bills are calculated. As part of your due diligence before buying a home, it is a good idea to have a look at the tax bill for that new home, so you don’t get any surprises later. I described last week how most lenders and escrow officers use 1.25%…

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Some homebuyers find that their actual house payment is higher than what they were expecting. They find that their principal and interest portion are exactly what the lender quoted them, but their monthly tax impound is much higher than the original estimate. Usually when most people first s…

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LANDSCAPING – This is one of the most noticeable aspects of your home as the buyer pulls up for the first time. Grass should be green (even if that means bringing in new sod), all areas should be free of weeds, remove dead/dying plants, cut back bushes as needed, and add some fresh plants/fl…

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So, the big economic news last week was the “inverted yield curve.” This is when rates on long-term US treasury investments are lower than the short-term ones. Normally, the rates are higher for the longer-term. When it’s inverted, it usually means that investors are pessimistic about the ec…

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Below are some tips to prepare your house whenever you will be gone for an extended period.

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There is a big difference in how to handle selling a house during a divorce depending on the status of the divorce. If a couple is separating temporarily or in the early stages of a divorce and no divorce court order has been issued, then everything is pretty much negotiable between the two …

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First, there were smartphones, but now we are seeing more smartHOMES. Here are some popular devices that can make your life easier and maybe even save you some money.

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I’m seeing more and more “smart” products in homes. You can run your thermostat, lighting control systems, and audio/visual systems from your mobile phone. There are refrigerators that can order milk for you when you are low. And security systems that can notify you when doors/windows are op…

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There are many ways to hold title to real estate. Two of the more common are “Joint Tenants” and “Tenants in Common.” (By the way, ignore the fact that “tenant” usually means a renter as that doesn’t apply in this case.)

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Based on the boilerplate wording in our standard real estate contracts, “fixtures” stay with the property when it sells but the seller gets to take all of their personal property. A “fixture” is something attached to the property and intended to be a fixture. So, your HVAC system is obviousl…

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There are 5 things that can have a big impact on your home insurance premiums.

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Here are some tips to maximize your home’s curb appeal:

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Besides the front view of the house, the next most important area to focus on when trying to sell your home is the kitchen. Remodeling can be quite expensive, but here are some tips that are more cost-effective.

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It’s common knowledge the California has a housing affordability issue that is just getting worse. As home prices have rebounded the last few years, rents have also risen dramatically. For most people, these increases have been greater than their increases in income, which is putting a serio…

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MORTGAGE – If you have a loan(s) on the property, the title company will ask your lender(s) for payoff figures for your loan through the day of closing (plus a couple of days after to allow for processing time). If your payment comes due in between the time they ask for that statement and th…