Archive for June, 2012

Location has always been a deciding factor when buying a property. Investors prefer the right neighborhood because they normally generate the most interest from prospective tenants and a premium on rents. Buyers favor the first-rate location for the same reasons other families have chosen to live in those neighborhoods. Rather it’s the luxury of excellent schools, the convenience of nearby shopping or the quiet cul-de-sac, every buyer has location at the top of their laundry list. While the Internet is certainly an easy way to get a feel for a particular neighborhood, nothing can replace actually seeing it in person. Just remember you can’t judge a book by its cover, nor a neighborhood by its look. Here are a few tips.

Word Of Mouth::If you’re new to a community, start out by visiting realtor open houses and use their expertise in identifying the best areas. Talk to other buyers that know the good and bad neighborhoods. Drive around and talk to neighbors that can give you an honest assessment.

Pride Of Ownership: Are the homes and lawns well maintained. Owners feel obligated to maintain their home when everyone else on the street shows the pride in their own curb appeal.

Any Additional Cost: Are there Homeowners Associations or assessments and bonds within that subdivision. This can raise your monthly out put drastically and could be a detriment to the resale value.

Owner Occupancy Ratio: This is where your local realtor comes in handy. Find out the ratio between owner and non owner. Stable neighborhoods usually translates to more homes being occupied by owners.

Contact The Police Department: This maneuver is strictly a peace of mind approach. Find out if there are any crime in that location. Even petty crime can disrupt your lifestyle. A peaceful neighborhood is high up on the checklist that defines a good neighborhood.

Power Of Schools: Schools have always been a powerful magnet for families with kids. Even empty nesters benefit from good school districts because property values have less fluxiation than areas within bad school districts. You can check the local school ratings online.

There are so many factors that exemplifies a good neighborhood and every family has their own definition. As they say, one size does not fit all. Location should be a high priority for every home buyer. Visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.


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With the drop in home prices and mortgage rates, home buyers must feel as though they have hit the jackpot. Many have and will take advantage of the bonanza that buying a home now represents. Even with those two factors working in favor of the buyer, there are still an additional steps that can save a home buyer more money. By shopping for a home loan with multiple lenders might take time, this approach will ensure the very best loan possible. Contact at least five mortgage brokers or banks. Let each know of your intentions to comparison shop. Allow no one to pull your credit report at this time. Request a Good Faith Estimate from each. The estimate is a list of all cost and fees attached to the loan. The buyer can then compare the loans and ensure themselves of getting the best loan available.

Perform a home inspection and any other specialized inspections. Nothing’s worse than moving into a home and find out your air conditioner is defective or realize during the next rain, the roof has leaks. A home inspection can run about $500, heat and air and roof inspections are under $150 a piece. The money spent can end up saving a family thousands later on. Order a one year home warranty that will protect you during the first year of ownership. This covers most components inside and outside the home.

This next suggestion will be difficult in the current environment, stay away from bidding wars, It seems almost all well priced homes now have more than one offer and following this advice might be impossible, especially when you find a home that meets all your requirements. The multiple bid brings up the eventual purchase price and the stress level of the prospective buyers involved. Any comments from buyers with horror stories involving their multiple offer scenario would be greatly appreciated?

Staying away from a fixer-upper is sound advice, unless you’re a contractor. These homes can drain a bank account quicker than a trip to Las Vegas. Mcmansions are a thing of the past and can also cost more with daily up keep than a less exorbitant property. Those homes will be less desirable for future resale as families move toward less lavish properties. These are just a few mistakes that can cost home buyers. Please visit my website at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities including pre foreclosures.

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The tough economy has created a lot of anxiety and tense moments for both home sellers and buyers. During the boom era, sellers were in control and called all the shots. Buyers were accommodating  and compliant. The downturn reversed the fortunes for both parties and buyers were in charge. Now that the housing market has shown some signs of stability and neither buyer or seller are in full control and has now turned into a battle of the wills in many cases.

With so much loss of appreciation, sellers are now attempting to recoup that deficit by selling their property in its present condition. Unless the home is a tear-down, this approach could end up costing the owner thousands. It’s human nature for a buyer to assume there are more issues with this particular property than there truly might be. An “as is” sale limits the amount of buyers that would be attracted to your home and gives the buyer a leg up during negotiations. Defects in a home is always elevated when it comes to the actual cost, especially looking through the eye of the buyer.

Testing the market with an inflated price is another mistake that can cost sellers thousands. The first few weeks of marketing are the most important. As weeks pass by and showings dwindle, owners will normally make price adjustments. Unfortunately by that time, most buyers have moved on to other homes that were priced correctly from the start. As time goes by, perception over rules reality as many buyers have already concluded this property to be overpriced. Even if by chance a buyer is willing to over pay for your home, the lenders appraiser will not be amicable. The moral of the story, price it right at the beginning and limit your losses.

Believing all realtors are the same. With all the intricate details and critical decisions to be made concerning your home sale, should you rely on anyone but a top producing professional? Many friends and family members have been estranged as a result of failing to meet expectations. Your home sale is a time-consuming, effort related, difficult task. Maximize your profit by utilizing a professional. With so much tension today between buyers and sellers, having an experienced advisor on your side can be the difference between success and failure. Visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home and easy access to view local area homes in Davis, California and the surrounding communities, including pre foreclosures.

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The word duped is probably not the most appropriate word, maybe just a coincidence that two parcel taxes that citizens unanimously approved have both led to a loss of jobs for teachers and two more positions were eliminated within the parks department. Measure C had overwhelming support from Davis residents, which meant more than 100 school district employees who would have otherwise received pink slips. The measure, which will provide $6.5 million over five years, was passed with 72.3 percent voting yes. That’s 12,435 yes votes and 4,756 no votes. Voter turnout was just under 40 percent.

Measure D, the parks maintenance tax was soundly supported by 84% of the residents and then two tree trimmers were immediately laid off. Like most residents that voted yes on Measure C and D, we assumed this would necessitate the need to layoff teachers and park employees. Davis prides itself on our high quality schools and impeccably maintained parks. Each tax was going to pass regardless of the loss of jobs within the school district and parks department. There was no reason for the pro measure crowd to create the ruse that jobs would be lost without the passage of both measures.

As the overall economy continues receiving dire news, now we have a current school board member proposing a new school tax. We all want whats best for our schools, but will more money truly fix the problems that currently exist locally and statewide. When you have school administrators making multiple times more money than our under-paid teachers, that’s an issue that more taxes can’t fix. School administrators should be paid fairly, but not at such an exorbitant scale above our teachers. More money will not solve what ills our school issues. Davis residents can not naively continue approving parcel tax after parcel tax in hopes this will save jobs or give our kids a better education.

The entire state is deep in the red and many residents are taxed to the hilt. More taxes are not necessary but deep cuts starting at the top would make a difference. In our own personal life, we would not be able to continue charging on our credit cards when they are maxed out. That same philosophy should apply to state and local agencies. State and local schools have been financially mismanaged by administrators for years, as if they were drunken sailors on leave. California schools are nothing to be proud of and tossing more money at the problem is not merited. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com  for helpful tips on buying or selling a home.

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Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That statement has never been more pronounced than describing the last dozen years in real estate. We went from yearly double-digit appreciation and no hassle loan qualifications for everybody that wanted to buy a home, to plunging home prices and lenders making loan qualifying very unpleasant and unobtainable for most consumers. Just as the housing boom was unsustainable, so shall be the housing downturn. Hopefully we will see neither of these polar opposites again.

The Past: Timing is everything in real estate. When we hear about those outrageously low home prices our parents and grandparents paid for their homes back in the day, the word envious comes to mind. During the 70’s, interest rates went as high as 18% during the latter part of that decade. The 80’s and 90’s had a few down years, but on average had a two to three percent yearly appreciation. Those two decades had a fluxiation in mortgage rates, but other than the first five years of the 80’s, rates stayed in single digits. Time Magazine called the first ten years of the new century, the decade from hell. Home values rose at an alarming rate from 2000 through 2006 and then took a nose-dive.

The Present: Stability in the housing market is what we are thriving for now. After years of foreclosures, short sales and diminished home prices, the worse is over.  Many communities are still being encumbered by bank-owned homes and those pesky short sales. The lowest mortgage rates in history have helped stabilize the market and been a guiding force behind the demand from prospective home buyers.  Traditional homeowners are still competing against distressed properties. Buyers are out in mass, competing against each other for well priced homes.

The Future: Interest rates will slowly increase as our economy improves. Employment will play a big part in how quickly the market progresses. The progression will lead to a more traditional standard of home appreciation of 2% a year. Lenders will still demand good credit scores and some source of a reasonable down payment. The inventory of homes will stay low, as homeowners attempt to recoup some of the value that was lost. The goal of all involved should be to learn from the past and create an environment that will wipe-out those indiscretions that caused the boom and the downturn that followed. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home and easy access to view local area homes for sale, including pre foreclosures in Davis, California.

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In our small town there’s a popular phrase, shop local. From buying near-by honey for allergy sufferers to those weekly shopping excursions to eating at our restaurants. This approach will not always save money, but patronizing locally is admirable. That philosophy truly works for a family considering buying or selling a home. It’s a proven fact that by using the valuable expertise and knowledge of a local realtor will positively end up saving a family money more often than not.

From the sellers point of view, what does an out-of-town realtor know about the nuances of selling a home locally. Can they advise their clients about that local toxic cleanup site around the corner, the different tax rates that apply to each subdivision or the condition of the property that just sold across the street. Does an out-of-town realtor have a vested interest in keeping property values stable around the home they are representing or are they just interested in getting that home sold as quickly as possible, regardless of the negative effect under pricing that home has on the neighborhood.  A local realtor can market a home within the realtor fraternity and might have 20 to 50 agents in their office that’s also aggressively marketing that property. More bang for the buck. A community realtor has built up a laundry list of in-town contractors and inspectors that can be available on a moments notice. Use a local realtor and save money.

From the buyers point of view, it’s just as vital in choosing a realtor locally. Every real estate office always begin marketing their listings within their own office and then to other in town realtors. By the time a buyer using an out-of-town realtor gets wind of that new listing, it’s probably already sold. Just as I know little regarding the San Francisco market, that also applies to those agents knowing next to nothing about our housing market. It’s human nature for realtors to prefer negotiating with buyers being represented by a local expert. The listing agents would prefer not having to school another agent regarding the intricacies of selling a home in that locale. If a home has two equal offers, the buyer using the services of a local realtor carries weight. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my informative blogs and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California including pre foreclosures.

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It’s fairly easy to read a prospects interest in a home just by their facial expressions and body language. That’s the emotional aspect of buying a home. It’s the wow factor that catches the eye of the buyer. Home buyers are choosing homes that are better maintained and need less deferred maintenance down the line. When you consider 39% of the average americans wealth has disappeared in just the last three years, it’s understandable that home buyers would be apprehensive about buying any home in disrepair. A new roof could cost $10,000 or more. Remodeling a kitchen and bathrooms could easily run that amount or more.

Location has always been the defining factor for the majority of home buyers. A quiet cul-de-sac near shopping and other desirable amenities is idyllic, but property condition has almost over taken location in stature. Consumers intent on buying a home can handle the minor nuisances as long as the property is not in a debilitating state. Many buyers are still using loans such as FHA that require little down payment. Some of these mortgages can have repairs built into the loan such as the 203K, which eliminates the necessity of dealing with deferred maintenance.

With the cost of everything rising from food, gas through college tuition, families are now looking for ways to conserve at home. For those homeowners that are considering selling in the future and are contemplating the best money-saving improvements to make that will attract the eye of the buyer. Look first at energy conservation. Dual pane windows certainly fits in that category and the cosmetic look adds to the attractiveness. A tankless water heater is another feature that will catch the buyers eye and help keep their hard-earned money in their pocket. Make sure there’s sufficient insulation is another low-cost feature that can cut down on our high energy bills.

Today’s economy prevents most families from making those major improvements like new Central H/A or adding an expensive Solar system. A high-grade coat of paint can do wonders for a homes appeal. You can eliminate the labor expense by painting yourself, for no more than the cost of the paint. If you have a two-story property, maybe do the interior and hire a paint crew for the more difficult exterior. Replacing appliances adds luster to a kitchen and those dated cabinets can be brought back to life by refinishing and staining. Replacing bathroom sinks and toilets are not expensive, but will make the bathroom more captivating to the buyer. There’s an endless array of small improvements that can make a huge difference in the bottom line. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home and easy access to view local area homes for sale including pre foreclosures in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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