Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Is It In A Safe Neighborhood?

When I'm working with buyers that are not familiar with the neighborhood and are concerned about safety...or what the neighborhood is like?

I drive them all around the 'hood'. Drive them in the ugly and pretty way. Drive them out, and around, for several blocks to make sure they see everything they can. Drive past local supermarkets, shopping, restaurants.

But, if I get asked, "Is It A Safe Neighborhood?" I always tell them to check with the local law enforcement. My idea of safe may be entirely different than their idea. They may mean the complete opposite from what I may be thinking.

So, this morning I have a text conversation with a buyers agent that is out of the area from one of my listings. She has out of state buyers. Wants a video of the listing, not just the virtual tour. She asks the loaded question..."How's The Area? Is It Pretty Safe?".

I've been there at least a dozen times. From when we bought it a few years ago, visiting my client, and now prepping it for sale and an open house. To me, it's totally safe. But, that's me. To my Seller, totally safe...I've never been afraid to be there. My Seller has not been broken into nor vandalized.

But, one persons safety level is another persons fear level.

I would never feel like an expert in the safety of any neighborhood, not my job, not my specialty. That's what the police department is for. To provide you info about the security of any particular neighborhood.

Just food for thought. Driving around an unknown area is wise, but investigating on your own is wiser!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Don't Forget About Your Front Yard!

Summer seems to be nearing an end...finally! So done with the heat! Are you??

And, now it's the time where you may enjoy a beverage on your front porch instead.

Looking through Houzz this morning brought these great before and after pics of front yard makeovers!

In Santa Clarita Valley we have a lot of HOA's, so make sure you can do what you want to do before you do it! Just sayin!



Before.....very cute to start!

After......talk about 'curb' appeal!

Before....apparently on a busy street per article.

After........, great way to enjoy your busy street front yard!

Whaddya think??

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lies? Or Just Not Thorough?

Just a story of the week. But, it reminds me of my first broker.....when I complained about an agent that lied to me.....'Welcome to the World of Sales'. My chin hit the floor.

Got an offer in on one of my listings. Did my due diligence, checked out the lender, the agent, asked for proof of funds. Spoke directly with the lender to verify that he had in fact reviewed income documentation and 2 additional documents as the borrowers had a couple specifics that had to be met.

He said yes, all good. Confirmed, or so I was told, that he had the items needed to make it happen. Even ran the numbers again for a higher purchase price.

And, then, the buyers agent sends me an e-mail, as we're waiting for our counter offer to be signed, that one of the specifics needed wasn't able to be provided.

At first, I sorta wondered if they just blamed the lender and didn't really want to move forward. But, the agent is trying a different lender under a different loan program....so, all things point to.....

You guessed it, Pinocchio, aka Liar!

Definitely not thorough enough, and then couple it with lying to me and saying he had the specific documents?

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to know if he was lying in the beginning. There is private info on the 2 docs I asked if he had, and some amount of trust needs to happen, but the most important one? He most definitely did.....not....have it.....turd!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Home Loan Rates September 5, 2017

Thanks to some of my local lenders, me keeping up with current interest rates for home loans is a simpler task than finding Buyers a home!

Not everyone will be able to get these rates due to FICO's, debt, etc. But, here's a nice baseline to keep handy.

  • 30-year fixed conventional loan - 3.875% (3.944 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 =$1994.28
  • 15-year fixed conventional loan - 3.250% (3.370 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 =$2980.02
  • 5/1 ARM - Fixed for 5 years and then becomes variable - 3.375% - (3.480 APR) Loans up to $424,100.00 = $1874.93
  • 7/1 ARM - Fixed for 7 years and then becomes variable - 3.500% - (3.619 APR) Loans up to $424,100.00 = $1904.40
  • 10/1 ARM - Fixed for 10 years and then becomes variable - 3.750 - (3.871 APR) Loans up to $424,100.00 = $1964.07
  • 30-year fixed FHA loan - 3.500% (4.534 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 = 1937.73+ $305.66 PMI= $2243.39
  • 30-year fixed VA loan - 3.500% (3.723 APR). Loan amounts up to $424,100.00 = $1904.40 (VA Funding Fees is not added)
  • 30-year fixed Jumbo loan - 4.125% (4.131 APR). Loan amounts up to $3,000,000.00 = $14,539.49

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

This Might Work ~ But, Doubtful....Unless You Use The Last Suggestion.

How to win during a multiple offer situation....against an all CASH buyer?

That's hard. It's really, really hard.

From a listing agent standpoint, cash is king...if it's a reasonable offer. No waiting for an appraisal, no waiting for loan approval. No waiting for much of anything past the inspection. Just less hands in the cookie jar as mums used to say.

Read an article this morning that suggested these 5 things to beat out a cash buyer....only the last one will truly work though.....IMHO. Let me know your thoughts!

1. Work closely with your lender:
I mean very closely – to the point of having their cell phone number memorized. Your lender is a vital piece of this puzzle – make sure you know exactly what you need to have to make a complete bid.
2. Get fully approved for a loan:
Being pre-qualified is not enough in a competitive market, where waiting several days – or even hours, in some cases – to get fully approved for a loan can cost you the home of your dreams. So before you bid, get your loan approved contingent on appraisal of the home value. Taking this one extra step will put you on the same footing as cash bidders in the eyes of the seller’s agent, who will see your approval ‘as good as cash.’
3. Have your lender call the seller’s agent to give them peace of mind about your bid:
A phone call immediately after bid submission from your lender can go a long way in reassuring the seller that your loan-backed bid really is as good as cash, especially if it is coming from a trusted, certified third party.
4. Write a personalized letter to the seller expressing your interest in the home:
When you have a seller who is attached to their property and interested in seeing it go to the right buyer, a personalized letter could be the strategic advantage that gets you a winning bid. In many cases, cash offers are made by investors looking to either flip the home or convert it to a rental property. If you are a couple looking to raise a family in that home, stating that intention in the letter could appeal to the seller’s emotional side and close the deal in your favor.
5. Submit a complete, clean contract:
The less work you make for the seller’s agent, the better, so please, send a contract with legible writing, complete responses and all the necessary information. If you can resist, don’t ask for closing costs or home warranties, and don’t leave anything unanswered – if an agent is confused or delayed by your contract, they’ll simply move on to the next in the pile.
6. Give a higher offer than the listing price – and cash bid.
If you can afford it, offering between $5,000 to $20,000 on top of the asking price may be the most surefire way to close the deal against a cash bidder. In the end, money talks – no matter what form it’s coming in.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I'm Always Bothered When I Have To Disappoint Another Agent.....

Every once in a while I have to disappoint another agent, usually when I am representing the Seller....and, then of course, they are representing the buyer.

But, I've always got to do what's best for my client....no matter what!

Story of the week.....

Buyers are out of town, so their agent comes to view property on their behalf. I've done it. Actually have a buyer in escrow right now that I had viewed property on their behalf. That's another story though!

So, their agent says it's the perfect home for them. Says he's done several transactions with them and he knows they will love it in person. They are contingent upon the sale of their home but it's in escrow. They live out of the area, so does their agent, and the lender is also the Realtor. I'm still AOK with this scenario. Reviewed all documents, MLS, his licensing too.

The photos on this particular property really are beautiful. But, this home is even more lovely viewed in real life. There's a first for everything, right!?!?!?

Continue story here.....so buyers sign an offer the moment they are back in town and set up an appointment to view home a few days later.

We submit a counter offer, teeny-weeny....minuscule...no change in price, just 3 clean-up items. That goes out on a Friday. On Saturday we get an offer from another buyer. Good offer, non-contingent, clean, local agent, local lender. First buyers are due to view Sunday at 9 am.

My Seller says he feels it's best to wait til the original offer people view the home and let them know they have to sign that counter offer immediately or we are going to look at the other offer more seriously. I was in total agreement, felt it was fair.

I let the 2nd buyers agent know, and she says....her buyers are willing to go to full price if sellers accept before the other ones come to view.

Remember, these buyers are non-contingent.....and they bumped up to full price....and they are local, live in the area, agent and lender are in the area too. All of those add up to a problem for the first buyers.

Because they did not quickly sign off on our teeny-weeny counter offer. Because they couldn't get to the home in a short amount of time. Because, because, because.

I hated making the call to the first agent, his buyers were very disappointed. I reminded him he would have done the same if he were in my shoes.

My job is to get my Sellers the most amount of money, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of stress possible.

With the 2nd buyers, that's much more likely to happen.

So, welcome buyer one...to disappointment. But, remember this...'what's meant to be will be'....I swear by it. Welcome buyer two...to one helluva a lovely home!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Earmarking Money for AFTER Closing Escrow

Everyone saves to buy a home, right? Well, or you sell a home and buy another with the proceeds. Yes, I suppose you could have an inheritance and use that as your down payment.

Whatever the way you are buying your first, next, or last home...keep in mind, it's not just the 3.5 to 20% (or more) down that you need. It's not just that extra money for closing costs either.

It's money for a rainy day you say? That is super important for sure.

BUT, it's the money you need to have earmarked for allllll the stuff you want to buy for your new home once you move in!

Furniture, appliances, drapes, plantation shutters. Not just talking about the kitchen remodel you want to do and have stashed the appropriate cash for that.

It's the everyday things, the new house has one extra bedroom to furnish. The couch you made sure would fit in the new house just looks unappealing in it's new surroundings. That white fridge you had? Doesn't quite go with the appliances in your new kitchen.

One more thing to consider? Ask your trusted Realtor if any of the things you are thinking about upgrading in your new home are going to be a benefit or a detriment to re-sale value. You likely won't stay there forever and it just may be a waste of big dollars and not get the ROI you were hoping for.