Archive for March, 2014

davis_californiaIn housing it normally takes three years to create a trend. The local market is boiling right now. People often ask me if now is the time to sell. The simple answer is, without hesitation, “absolutely!”. Home prices have soared in Davis. The demand far outweighs the supply and it’s now common for properties to sell above asking price. With home prices up 15% year-to-date in Davis, many homeowners have delayed taking advantage of this price boon and have decided to wait until Spring or Summer to market their property.

After the nearly double-digit price gain last year, followed by this years increase, home buyers are feeling a great deal of angst to get into a home as quickly as possible. The problem they are experiencing is there’s not enough inventory to make up for the pent-up demand. That’s the main reason behind the multiple offers that are so prevalent in not just Davis but the entire region. Some of my recent open houses have had 30 or more visitors on any given day. I had nearly 40 families that came to my most recent open house and it rained for the entire 3 hours. Most seem to be serious buyers that have been searching for a home for many months. That’s the quagmire home buyers in Davis are now experiencing. They want to buy a home but the scarcity of inventory has kept many on the fence waiting for a home that fits the criteria of that given family.

Home sellers could be costing themselves by hesitating the marketing of their homes. Demand is high and supply is low and this puts the seller in control. Spring and Summer brings out more buyers but on the other hand, it also brings out more sellers competing for those buyers. At this time, there’s little competition from other home owners. beating the competition to the punch, in this case, getting your home on the market is a shrewd move for any Davis homeowner.

Will prices continue the upward trajectory and for how long? Will the rest of this year keep home values ramped up in double-digit appreciation? If you look at properties in pending status and use those to project the next few months, prices will stay near the current level. Please visit my website http://www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on selling or buying 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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home buyerWhen it comes to selling a home, almost everyone understands the value of working with a knowledgeable real estate agent. But buyers can often benefit even more than they might expect. We know the benefits a seller has working with a realtor, but home buyers also need the invaluable assistance that a professional can offer.

Find out the top reasons more buyers than ever choose to work with an agent when searching for their next home or investment property.

Saves Time

Undoubtedly one of the most commonly cited benefits of working with an agent when buying a property is the ability to save time. Real estate agents do the hard work for you by obtaining all the details and then showing you only those properties that meet your preestablished criteria.

Saves Money

Not only does working with an agent allow you to focus efforts on properties that meet your needs, but research also shows that it actually saves money in the long run. Sellers view agents as more objective during the negotiation process, and buyers that work with agents have access to the best deals. Remember, even in a buyer’s market, the best deals go fast. Many properties are already under contract by the time they make it into the magazines or online MLS listings, whereas many agents send out weekly or even daily updates of newly listed properties.

Reduces Stress

Real estate agents are able to work with lending officers, appraisers and others to streamline the entire transaction and keep things moving along by providing a single, reliable point of contact. Should anything go wrong, agents are able to access their network of contacts and expertise to assist every step of the way.


Some of the best buying opportunities never even make it to the MLS listings; instead, hip-pocket sellers, foreclosures, bank-owned properties and even government repossessions are often handled by specific agents. Likewise, agents are often aware of creative finance options or specialized programs that may benefit veterans, first-time buyers, investors or even small-business owners. These are just a few advantages why smart homebuyers should work with a real estate agent. Please visit my website http://www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips in 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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second-time-buyerIt’s very common for homeowners with no kids at home, now downsizing to a more manageable lifestyle, including taking on less home. These empty-nesters no longer need that four bedroom home with a large backyard. More families that were looking to keep up with the Joneses are now realizing the benefits of downsizing. Let’s face it, the more space you have, the more area you feel like you need to fill every square corner with! One of the beauties of downsizing your home is the ability to stop wasting money on furniture, electronics, appliances and home items that are used to fill space rather than to fulfill a function. Downsizing into a smaller home will help you prioritize your life and only bring what is necessary in your home. There are other benefits that come for those thinking of downsizing.

Lowering the Cost of Utilities
The cost of utilities is another big bill that’s easy to downsize if you move to a smaller place. If you’ve got less space to heat or cool, you should end up with more money in your pocket at the end of the month.

Cutting the Maintenance
Over the long-term, less space to maintain translates into less money spent. If you move to a smaller place, you can cancel the landscaping service and the pool boy, paint fewer rooms and resurface a smaller driveway. When things get old, dirty or need to be redone or replaced, you’ll save money by fixing the smaller roof, buying one furnace instead of two and laying 1,000 square feet of carpet instead of 3,000 square feet.

Downsizing Presents Opportunities
When you move to smaller place, reducing your expenses is just one of the opportunities that will become available to you. The other part depends on what you do with the money that you save. Just saving $500 per month for the next 10 years turns in to $6,000 per year. That’s $60,000 over the course of a decade, even if you just tuck the money under your pillow.

Tax Consequences                                                                                                                                                                                                    The other factor to consider is the tax savings that normally comes with a downsize. Moving into a smaller home can also bring a lower tax rate, depending on how long you were in the larger home.  Every owner has their own reasons for making a move to a more manageable smaller home. 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 in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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originalBuyers are often tempted to cut corners on things like home inspections to save money for fun items like furniture or a big-screen television. Don’t! A home inspection is one of the best investments you can make when purchasing a new home or other real estate. What’s the first thing you hear from your realtor after the acceptance of your offer, “Here are the names of a couple of home inspectors”.  The importance of a whole house inspection is boundless.

Learn how to use a home inspection to your advantage with these pointers.

Plan and Prepare

Think of a home inspection as a fact-finding mission. Having a complete home inspection performed is one step toward finding out everything there is to know about the property.

Go beyond the basics by having water, soil, electrical, HVAC, pest and other systems thoroughly tested in addition to the regular home inspection. Hidden home defects often become apparent, including poorly performed repairs, forgotten faults, structural damage or other potential pitfalls, that could transform your dream home into a nightmare.

Avoid higher insurance premiums or more stringent mortgage terms by understanding the full history of the property.

Save Money

Almost every property has a few defects – even new homes – and buyers are often surprised how seemingly insignificant items can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the price of a home. Having an independent inspection performed often saves more money than it costs, since the sellers are forced to fix the problem or negotiate the price based upon the new information. Remember, once a defect is known the sellers are legally bound to disclose it to all prospective buyers.


Motivated sellers may not have the time or interest to fix all the problems on a property.

If you have more time than money, a home inspection provides a strong rationale to lower the purchase price or work out other alternatives while the home is being repaired or renovated. The piece of mind that a home inspection brings a buyer and seller for that matter are a virtual must. Rather purchasing a fixer upper, newly remodeled or new construction, a top to bottom inspection should be performed. It’s much easier to negotiate a repair prior to closing than to negotiate after the fact in a court of law. Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips in buying or selling a home and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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Kitchen Sept 2013Many sellers make improvements to their home before selling and are not able to enjoy the benefits. It is suggested that a family give themselves a couple of years of enjoyment on those renovations before making a permanent move. Renovating your home is all about adding value to the property. But it can be a jungle out there. Following are seven ways to maximize the return on your renovation investment so that you see a payback and not a loss when you sell:

1. Make Your Kitchen or Bathroom Sing: A sparkling up-to-date kitchen or bathroom with high-end materials, lots of moving-around room and a neutral color scheme will net you a return of between 75% and 100%.

2. Change Up Your Surfaces: Painting the inside or outside or both is an inexpensive fix with a big payback of 50% to 100%. Even better, replace the siding. It’s an excellent way to add value to your home.

3. Install Hardwood Floors: Some experts say you’ll get a return of  only between 50% and 75% for taking up the old carpeting and laying down hardwood or high-end laminate, but anecdotally real estate agents say clients are looking for hardwood and  that old, stained carpets may be a deal breaker.

4. Renovating the Unglamorous: Replacing a furnace or roof actually pays off big-time, with a return of 50% to 80% of your investment.

5. Add-ons: Make the attic into a bedroom to die for, or add a family room. You could get back 50% to 75% when you sell. Turning an unused room into a home office can also raise the value of your home in the eyes of potential buyers.

6. Outdoor Living: Buyers are looking for beautiful outdoor spaces. The addition of a deck alone can net you a 50% to 75% return. A sunroom can also add square feet to your living space, but don’t forget to make the transition between indoors and outdoors positively seamless.

7. Pay Attention to the Don’ts: Don’t follow the latest trend when planning your renovation. Go for timelessness in paint, fixtures and countertops. But don’t add a $100,000 kitchen to a $250,000 house and expect to recoup your investment. A renovation that suits your house and is done well with quality materials will make your family happy while adding value for future buyers. 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 in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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vistosaWe are truly deep in the throes of a seller’s market. This is not a new revelation by any means, but what’s taken place over the last couple of months would seem to suggest that sellers are in complete control. We’ve been in a seller’s market for sometime, but what’s taken place this year is quiet unexpected.

In 2013, a sense of urgency drove traditional buyers hoping to take advantage of still-affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates. Buyers found selection limited and were often forced into bidding wars with investors and other buyers who paid cash. Sellers reaped the rewards in terms of quick sales, often above the asking price.

At the end of February property values had increased by 22% in Davis from last year. As of March 10th, home values adjusted to 17% year-to-date from 2013. These numbers will continue to fluctuate throughout this year and could equal or better last years 10% appreciation from 2012. This is not exclusive to just Davis, home values are up for the entire region and most of California.

A few homeowners have taken advantage of the circumstances presented by marketing their property in the beginning of this year instead of waiting for Spring or Summer. The meager supply of homes and the still strong demand from prospective buyers have created our current situation. Add in the fact that buyers are very much aware of the likelihood of a spike in mortgage rates and now you have that perfect storm for home sellers.

With so few homes on the market, sellers are using the auction strategy to sell their home. This involves putting your property on the market and reviewing offers on a specific date and time. Selecting a local, experienced agent that can tactfully and aggressively market your home works best using this approach. With multiple offers, there are less haggling over small issues and it puts even more pressure on a buyer to make their proposal as seller friendly as possible.

There are some issues that could have an effect on the rise in home prices, such as an increase in mortgage rates or sellers deciding simultaneously to sell their home, there by increasing supply and changing the dynamics of the supply and demand theory. It would take a lot to change the pendulum back in favor of the buyer anytime in the near future. 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 in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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gorgeous landscaping AugustWith water rates increasing in Davis, many families are cutting back on water usage by going with a low maintenance yard. Home buyers still like that luscious green lawn that says, ‘come inside!’

Creating an inviting landscape not only ensures a positive first impression with buyers but may also increase your home’s value and lead to a quicker sale.

You don’t have to spend a lot to make big improvements in your home’s curb appeal. Keeping your lawn manicured – mowed and edged – and trimming bushes and trees is an inexpensive way to make a positive impression on buyers. You’ll also want to remove any dead or diseased plants and ensure beds are weeded and freshly mulched.

Before beginning any landscape project, make a plan. And if you live in a neighborhood with restrictive covenants requiring approval by a landscape committee, be sure to follow proper procedures to avoid spending money on projects that you may be forced to undo later. A project plan will also help ensure that you make wise choices and stay within your budget.

Use color and depth to create visual interest, and select a variety of plants that bloom or change color throughout the year so your yard will be attractive regardless of the season. If your yard is open to neighbors’ yards, a street or public areas, consider screening to create a more private space. This can be accomplished with evergreen trees and bushes or with an attractive fence.

Sometimes what you remove from a yard can be as important as what you put in. If the front of your home is obscured by overgrown trees or bushes, remove them or trim them back to help buyers get a clear view of your home. Remember that the goal is to create a welcoming first impression that says, “Come in!”

Trends in landscaping

  • Low maintenance vegetation: less lawn to mow, helps keep weeds in check.
  • More trees: enhance beauty and provide shade.
  • Decks, patios and terraces: offer outdoor living space for dining, entertaining and relaxation.
  • Outdoor lighting: provides enticing views of your home and landscaping at night.
  • Irrigation system: costs more but simplifies lawn care and is attractive to buyers.
  • Please visit my website www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on selling or buying a home and easy access to view local area homes for sale in Davis, California and the surrounding communities.

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