Archive for October, 2011

As fall settles in and winter just around the corner, homeowners need to pay special attention to specific details in order to set themselves apart from the crowd. Buyers pay more attention to every aspect of a home during the fall and winter season. Sellers have to understand the buyer’s perspective if they want to sell their home before the holidays.

It’s more vital now than spring and summer to make sure your home is priced at or slightly below comparable homes in that neighborhood. During the cooler weather, don’t turn the buyer cold because of the price of your home. With interest rates still hovering at historical lows, there are still a surplus of serious buyers looking during the fall season, take advantage of the situation.

Your landscape maintenance is part of the curb appeal factor. Even though homes in Davis, California do not have the freezing weather, yardcare is not something a seller should overlook. Flowers aren’t flourishing this time of year but homeowners should make the most of what they have. Adding fall flowers such as mums to the front porch adds to that all important curb appeal. Make sure the lawn is cut at least once a week and leaves should be cleared as often as needed.

Keep your home pleasant by controlling that thermostat. Buyers can be turned off by a cold house. Buyers should be comfortable and your house  is more inviting when the thermostat is set in the upper 60’s. On the other hand, you do not want your home being too warm for obvious reasons including the exorbitant utility bills.

Let the sunshine in. If your home is shown during the day, open blinds and drapes. If not, make sure lights are on in each room of the house, this is even more important during those overcast days. Taking everything into consideration, the fall of 2011 should be an excellent opportunity for sellers to get that property sold. Visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home and easy access to view homes in Davis, California and the surrounding communities. Please contact me with any questions at 530-219-1518


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What do a worn carpet, multi-colored walls and unruly pets have in common? They can make your home less desirable to prospective buyers and possibly prevent agents from showing your home in general. Davis, California real estate agents have a list of things clients do or don’t do that can make it more difficult to sell their homes, often without realizing it. But in today’s tough economy, sellers simply cannot afford to neglect anything that makes their house less attractive.

It might sound simple, but real estate experts strongly encourage sellers to be anywhere but home when potential buyers come to take a look. In the past, location was the only factor buyers might consider when deciding on their Dream Home. Now other criteria is also vital, like pristine condition, nice curb appeal and price rank high on the buyers laundry list. People shopping for a home like to envision themselves in their new home, which might be difficult, if  the homeowners are lingering around, buyers may be hesitant to really look around and may feel hurried.

Another piece of advice, don’t forget the buyers sensitivity toward odors. Smells will bother not only potential buyers, but potential brokers as well. I have personally had buyers walk into a home and right out because of the unpleasant odor. The biggest culprit of a smelly house are mildew, mold, pets and cigarettes. These odors can prevent a sell or limit the seller from realizing maximum value.

In today’s market, a small repair to a homeowner can represent a huge burden to a buyer. Things a seller walks by everyday, like missing trim around a door, damaged countertops or peeling paint can even be a deal breaker in some cases. Buyers always over-estimate the cost of repairs. The buyer wants to be compensated handsomely for defects, that should have been fixed, are now negotiating tools that a buyer will use toward reducing the price or requesting credits at closing time. Buyers want to make a smooth transition and the home to be move in ready. It’s much easier spending $5000 toward home improvement, than reducing the price by $25,000.

Homeowners should get rid of junk and declutter, buyers can find it difficult to imagine themselves in a home that’s cluttered. Purging your home of years of memories can be painful, but it’s necessary for those hard to please buyers. Declutter your home,  it will appear more spacious and is strongly recommended by experts. Following these steps will make the difference, whether your home sells or not. Please contact me at 530-219-1518 or visit my website at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling your home and easy access to view all local area homes for sale.

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There are a number of ways that will improve a sellers prospects of getting their home sold. Some improvements, overtime, help to increase a homes value while others are done more for your own pleasure. Working with Davis,Ca homes for sale and homeowners in the surrounding areas, most have realized home improvements increase your sales prospects if your home is on the market. Some of the easier and less expensive improvements include:

Kitchen– Cabinets should be stripped, then either stained or painted, this will give the kitchen that fresh look buyers are looking for. Your appliances are more appealing if they coordinate in color and scheme and will increase the appearance factor in your kitchen. Most small appliances are reasonably inexpensive.

Bathroom– Update that toilet, old toilets tend to show their age and are a lot harder to keep clean. if you can’t replace the whole toilet, at least replace the toilet seat. It gives the impression of a new toilet. Also, bleach your grout. Replacing grout is hard work, however there are bleaching products in the marketplace that does a good job at restoring your grouts natural color. Another good suggestion would be adding storage in your bathroom. You can increase storage by adding shelves or a medicine cabinet. These are cheap, easy to assemble and hang.

General Improvements– Lighting, update your light fixtures, using energy-efficient fittings. Consider replacing your ceiling fans, there are many attractive styles available. If you have rooms that are painted plain white or dark colors, consider a coat of neutral paint. White is boring, while dark colors can make a room feel very close and uncomfortable.

These are not earth-shaking improvements, you will be surprised at the impression these small improvements will make with potential buyers. In the meantime, enjoy the nice improvements until your home sales. Please visit my website at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com to view my other blogs, helpful tips on buying or selling a home and easy access to view all local area homes for sale

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As home prices have plunged by almost a third since 2005 and homeownership rates are falling at the fastest pace since the 1930’s. Great news for buyers, two measures now suggest it’s an excellent time to buy a house, either to live in or as an investment property. The nation’s ratio of home prices to average rents is almost to its prebubble numbers. When the historical low-interest rates are taken into consideration, houses are the most affordable they have been in many years.

Whether buying is a better deal than renting is a changing condition that depends on the difference between prices and rents, the financing cost and other factors. But the math is absolutely turning in the buyers favor. For most home buyers, mortgage rates are a key determinant of their total cost. Rates are so low now that houses in most areas look like bargains.

The 30-year mortgage rate rose to 4.12% this week compared to 3.94% last week. The latest rate is still less than half the average since 1971. As a result, house payments are more affordable than they have been in decades. Interest rates were over 6% in 2005, the peak of the housing market. Let’s take homes in Davis,Ca as an example. A home purchased for $400,000 with a 20% down payment and a 4.12% interest rate, a buyers monthly payment would be about $1500, rent for a comparable home in Davis, California would be $1400 to $1700.

There are other loan programs that will allow less than 20% down payment, the FHA loan requires 3 1/2 percent down payment, so there are many opportunities, regardless of the immediate funds that a buyer might possess upfront. Lenders are more strict than they have been with their lending practices and rightly so. According to Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. “If you have good credit, a job and a down payment, you can get a mortgage”. There’s more paperwork and scrutiny involved than five years ago, but things are much like the 80’s and 90’s.

A few caveats are in order, even in low-priced markets, buyers should shop carefully and prices could dip slightly. Most analyst are predicting prices to fall about 3%, before bottoming early 2012 and rising slowly thereafter. From that point if home prices start a normal trend of a 2% appreciation on a home purchase of $400,000, that would be an $8000 increase the first year.

When prices are low, loans are cheap and plump stock yields are scarce, buyers should jump before home prices and interest rates start rising. Please visit my web site at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com  to view Davis,Ca homes for sale and helpful tips on buying or selling a home.

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Back in the heyday of real estate when homes in Davis,California were being sold with multiple offers and in a few cases, sight unseen, there was never any issues with appraisals, as a matter-of-fact, if appraisers did not justify the values, many lenders refused to use their services in the future. Now that the housing market has changed, so have appraisers opinions.

What to do when the appraisal on your Dream Home comes in below the price of the offer the seller accepted, in some cases as much as 10-20% difference. If raising the cash amount yourself to purchase the home is not an option. You’re not the only buyer in Davis,California who has hit the low appraisal snag. This past June and July, sixteen percent of real estate pros reported a cancellation in a sale, mostly due to low appraisals.

You can fight back, you have options and chances are you can make the deal work without increasing your down payment. Appraisals are largely based on prices recently paid for comparable local properties. Over the last decade, finding “comps” that accurately reflect values has been a challenge, not just for homes in Davis but throughout the United States. Here are four steps you can take to save your Dream Home.

Get the seller to lower the price: This is the easiest solution especially if your appraisal comes in less than 10% of the contract price. Demand is soft and time is money. Your seller, particularly, if they are selling to buy another home could be in a real bind if they are forced to back out and put their home back on the market.

Ask the seller to carry a second mortgage for the difference: This solution does not cost the seller anything but the buyer does incur more debt. If the buyer really wants the home but cannot come up with the cash, then making payments or a lump sum payment at a later date to the seller can keep the escrow intact.

Dispute the appraisal: Is the contract sales price a fair assessment of the property value. Have your Realtor prepare a Market Analysis and use values the appraiser might have overlooked. Disputing the value may sound a little aggressive, but you might be the victim of a poorly prepared appraisal.

Ask the lender for a new appraisal: If you find you have a good case and the first appraiser will not budge, ask your lender for a second opinion, which you might be charged for. Depending on how convincing your argument is, your lender has the ability to override the estimate.

If these tactics fail and you cannot make up the shortfall, you may find yourself moving on to another property. If is was meant to be, it will be, is a good philosophy in this instance. Please visit my web site at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home and easy access to view local area homes for sale.

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As a Davis,Ca realtor who deals with Short Sales and have sold many during the last 15 years, I have experienced euphoric highs of successfully completing the Short Sale and a few cases where the bank decided to foreclose. About 30% of the homeowners nationwide that apply for a Short Sale are approved. This percentage is slowly increasing with some pressure from the federal government and many banks now allocating some of the grunt work to outside entities like Equator.

Over the years I have had a few Short Sales in Davis,Ca and the surrounding communities close escrow in as little as 60 days but the majority can take six months or longer. My job as a Short Sale Specialist is the same with any home I market… get it SOLD. That means finding a buyer that will pay fair market value and willing to wait the time it takes for bank approval.

Part of getting a Short Sale to the closing stage is knowing the proper nuances and protocol. Unfortunately, there are many realtors getting involved with Short Sales that are clueless and are putting the seller at a financial risk for their own monetary gain. Here are a few mistakes that I see repeated by some realtors that could prevent the Short Sale from being approved  1) Submitting unsigned offers to the lender 2) Submitting low-ball offers to the lender that has no chance of being accepted 3) Allowing contingencies after the Short Sale approval 4) Not submitting required documentation in a timely fashion.

There are a few realtors that understand the Short Sale puzzle and know how to successfully navigate the waters. Short Sales that have more than one lien holder tend to be more difficult to get done than if there are only one lender involved. When there are multiple lenders, you need approval from both for the sale to take place. There are occasions where the 2nd lien holder has chosen to foreclose instead of granting Short Sale approval.

Here’s the scenario… a home is on the market for $350,000 and has a second for $50,000. The seller is financially unable to keep his mortgage current. A buyer makes an offer at $340,000, which has been determined fair market value. The seller accepts this proposal and the offer is then sent to both lien holders. The first lien holder accepts this offer and the second lien holder is offered a  payoff of $3,000, in order to approve the Short Sale. There are cases where the second will refuse this payoff and the home forecloses. Even though it appears the second will not benefit monetarily, it is still conceivable they could foreclose. The agent should build a relationship with both lien holders at the beginning of the process in hopes of curtailing this possibility.

The above scenario is why it’s imperative you have a Short Sale Specialist that has been challenged and succeeded with the  rigors of Short Sales. There are times when it is too late or virtually impossible to make the Short Sale work but having an expert negotiator on your side improves the odds. Please contact me with any direct inquiries or visit my web site at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home and to view all local area homes for sale.

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A $1 investment in the S&P 500 index at the beginning of 2000, was worth 91 cents ten years later after ” The worst decade in stock market history”. What made the Lost Decade so bad wasn’t just the crash of 2008, but also the dismal years from 2000 through 2002. In order to earn an overall 7% return on stocks for the first 40 years of the 21st century, an investor would have to earn an average 10% return from now through the next three decades.

The other side of the pendulum would be the housing market. I’ll use my area of expertise ( Davis,Ca.) for the illustration. Our average home sales price in the year 2000 was $262,000. The sales price for 2010 was $496,000. Using the stock comparison for every $1 spent on your real estate investment, the return would be $1.89. There are no guarantees with any investment, but even though both markets ( housing & stocks) had declines throughout the last decade, the better investment by far was the real estate investment.

There are even more benefits now with mortgage interest rates at an all time low of 3.94%. How these rates are beneficial over the long haul are magnified by calculating the difference of just a 1% increase to 4.94%. Based on a purchase price of $400,000 with 20% down, you would pay an additional $70,000 over the life of the loan. A 2% increase and you would pay approximately $140,000 more over the loan life. Rest assured rates will go higher.  There’s no better investment than real estate, now and into the future.

” Learn the past, watch the present, and create the future”, a great quote to live by. Please visit my web site at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, check out my other blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale.

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