Monday, November 17, 2014

Thinking about painting your home? Invest a few dollars in some sample paint first!

Now that the majority of the interior projects are complete on the house we bought this summer in Del Paso Manor, my husband and I painted the exterior of our home a couple weeks ago. And probably much like anyone else who decides to paint their home, we spent some time collecting paint chips from a few paint stores before narrowing down our selection.

We wanted to paint the body of our house blue, the roof eaves and trim white, and add some red accents. And we picked out some paint that we thought would look amazing on our home.

If you are planning to paint your home, or even just a room, I'd highly suggest getting a few actual samples to actually paint on your home first, before you invest several hundred dollars in paint. Thankfully, we spent $10 and purchased a small sampling of the three colors we chose, and painted a section of the side and some trim near our front door. Because if we had purchased 20 gallons of what we had picked out, we would have ended up with "that house" on the street that our neighbors refer to as "that Southwest Airlines house."

Once we decided those were not the colors we wanted, we went back to the drawing board and got some more samples with a little more color variety. Ultimately we decided to paint our house a richer, darker blue, with a richer, darker maroon accent. Thankfully my husband was willing to get his hands dirty and take on the exterior painting project, so we rented the equipment...and he and I spent the better part of a couple weekends prepping, masking, and painting the house. There's still a little touching up to take care of, but overall we are happy with the results. I'm hoping that our next home improvement project isn't until after the new year...it's a lot of work!

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's time to 'Check Before You Burn' in Sacramento...

It's that time of year again...I had the first fire of the season just this last weekend. And as per usual between November and February, in Sacramento, I had to check the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District website - luckily it was ok to burn that day.

If you are not already in the habit of checking before you burn - you need to do it!

Sacramento County residents and businesses are restricted, or potentially prohibited from using indoor or outdoor fireplaces, wood stoves, firepits and chimineas that burn wood, pellets, manufactured logs or any other solid fuel, when fine particle pollution is forecast to be elevated. And if you burn on a "no burn day" there are penalties. First time violations will result in a $50 fine or an option to complete and pass a wood smoke awareness course. Fines for subsequent violations are higher. Call 1-877-NOBURN-5 (1-877-662-8765) to get the daily burn status, check online, or you can subscribe to a daily "Air Alert" as I have, where the air forecast is emailed to you.

Monday, November 3, 2014

City of Citrus Heights Downpayment Assistance Available

If you are looking to purchase a home within the City of Citrus Heights in Sacramento County, then you may want to find out if you qualify for their Home Buying Assistance Program. If you want to purchase a home but need assistance with coming up with the down payment, you may be able to apply for a low-interest loan for up to $40,000 through this program so that you can essentially finance your downpayment. The basic qualifications for this program are
  1. The home must be located within the Citrus Heights city limits. Generally, if you are searching online this would be homes located in 95610 or 95621.
  2. The property must be a single family home, condo, or half-plex. Unfortunately, duplexes and such are not eligible.
  3. You must be an owner-occupant. No investors can use this program.
  4. This program is for First-Time Home Buyers - so the buyer must not have owned a home within the last 3 years.
  5. Your household income must fall within the income guidelines. For example, for a household of 1 (that's a solo person, no spouse, no kids), the max allowable annual income is $38,550. For a household of 4 (so for example, a married couple with 2 kids), the max allowable annual income is $55,050. The max allowable income for a household of 8 is $72,700.
  6. You also must complete home buyer education.
Sounds great, right? If you would like me to connect you to the program administrator to see if you qualify for this program, I am happy to assist. You will also need to qualify for your loan as well, and I can point you in the right director for that as well...and then let the house hunting begin!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department volunteers will do "Vacation Checks" while you are out of town...

When you're on vacation or away from your home for an extended period of time, would it give you peace of mind if someone was checking your house occasionally to make sure it is secure? I know I sure would love that at my house!

Do you live in the Sacramento County area? 

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and its "Volunteers in Partnership with the Sheriff" (VIPS) provide a free service to do "vacation checks" for Sacramento County area residents. They will visit the home while residents are away and perform periodic checks that the property is secure. You can find out more information about this program or sign up for this service at a local Sacramento Sheriff Service Center near you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FHA Short Sales must now be marketed in MLS for a minimum of 15 days per new HUD guidelines...

Effective as of October 2014, some new Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines per their Mortgagee Letter 14-15 now require agents to have a FHA short sale property listed on the Multiple Listing Service (aka, the MLS) for a minimum of 15 days before any purchase contract can be reviewed by the servicer.  This 15-day requirement starts when the property began listing on MLS at the appropriate price in relation to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) "as-is" appraised value. Keep in mind FHA short sale sellers, this is NOT the date of the listing agreement, since usually listings are entered into MLS at a later time after the listing agreement is signed and dated. My guess is that this is in response to short sale properties not being marketed open and fairly to generate the highest and best offer for the short sale...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wanted! (Possibly) your home for one of my buyer clients...

And continuing with my buyer clients "wants and needs" series of blog posts -- here are what some of my buyer clients are looking for...are you (thinking about) selling a home that would meet any of these buyers' needs?

"Buyers A" are very well-qualified pre-approved buyers. I just closed the sale of their home and they are staying with family as they look for their next home. They would like to live in the Arden or Carmichael area as close as possible to the intersection of Watt Avenue and Whitney Avenue. They are looking 3+ bedrooms, and 1.5+ bathrooms, decent closet and storage space, and a 2-car garage. They do not mind something that needs updating. A large side yard or a separate living room and family room would be a plus. Their max purchase price is $260,000.

"Buyer B" is a very well-qualified pre-approved investor buyer seeking a duplex, triplex, or fouplex. He ideally would like a property in the Citrus Heights, Arden, Carmichael, or nearby Sacramento areas. He does not mind a property that needs TLC. He may or may not do a tax deferred 1031 Exchange. His max purchase price is $400,000.

"Buyers C" are very well-qualified pre-approved first time buyers. They ideally would like a newer or remodeled home in Elk Grove or South Sacramento. They would like 3+ bedrooms, and 2+ bathrooms, and 1,400sf or more. A built-in pool is a huge plus. Their max purchase price is $275,000.

"Buyers D" are very well-qualified pre-approved buyers. They ideally would like home in West Sacramento in Ironworks or in Downtown, Midtown, or East Sacramento. They would like 2+ bedrooms, and 1.5+ bathrooms, and 1+car garage. His max purchase price is $400,000.

If you own a home that seems to meet any of this criteria and are thinking about selling (or know someone who is), please contact me -- I may have a buyer for your home! If you need to do a short sale, I can certainly facilitate that as well, and am happy to talk to you to see if we are a good fit to work together.

On another note, I am working with numerous other buyers who are looking for homes in several other Sacramento area neighborhoods -- please contact me if you would like more details, and look for future posts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Productive time spent at the fall meetings for the California Association of Realtors last week...

Last week was a long week...I arrived in Anaheim for the fall California Association of Realtors committee and Board of Directors meetings on Monday evening, and left on Saturday afternoon. It was a busy week...I spent most of my time in windowless rooms in committee meetings, roundtable discussions, and educational forums. It was a productive week...as usual, I got to represent the Sacramento region and talk about issues affecting property owners, private property rights, and real estate transactions -- AND be part of the conversation to fix what's broken, streamline what's already working, and brainstorm the next great things. It's been an honor and a privilege to serve Sacramento in this capacity since 2010, and my appointment to this position continues through 2015.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sacramento Real Estate Statistics - September 2014

As the summer home buying season in our area winds down and we get ready for autumn, it's nice to see that the median home price is holding firm. Again last month, we saw the Sacramento County median home price increase ever so slightly to $275,000. As I have said this year, It's nice to continue to see a healthy leveling-off of home prices with modest value appreciation. In the last 12 months, Sacramento home values have increased just about 9.4%, If you look at this graph, during the same time period as last year the market dynamic looked much the same -- just bumping along with slight increases. You'll notice as winter approached, the prices decreased a little but bounced back in the spring...I anticipate a similar trend as we go through autumn and winter. These are seasonal norms -- based on many buyers suspending their home searches, going into hibernation mode during the holidays and then reinvigorating their home searches again in the spring. All good stuff...no crazy spikes, just nice, normal, and mellow. It's been nice not to have a frenzied market for one reason or another. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts!

Many of my transactions lately have involved folks selling their home and purchasing another. With the mellow tenor to the Sacramento real estate market right now, this has proven to be an opportune time to upsize, downsize, move to a different neighborhood, etc.

While we have more inventory (homes on the market) right now than we saw in Sacramento this time last year, this level of available homes for sale is still LOW. We have about 2.8 months of inventory in Sacramento County in September. This is not a lot. A market with buyer/seller equilibrium is 5-6 months of inventory. Homes are taking an average of 40 days to sell as of September. I'm seeing more price reductions in the market...it seems that some sellers still want to test the market and they are trying to get a lot more for their home than the last comparable sale. BUT, as you can see, statistically that's just not happening in our Sacramento home market right now. With prices holding steady, sellers need to price homes realistically.