Friday, March 16, 2018

New Listing - 137 Mike Gartrell Circle, Sacramento, CA 95835

Spacious single story 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,733sf home in Regency Park Natomas! You will love the custom interior paint, vaulted ceilings, lots of natural light and open feel, formal dining area, kitchen with stainless appliances, 5-burner gas stove and convection oven. Large master suite with walk-in closet, ensuite bathroom with double sinks, large sliding door leading to the backyard. Close to recreational bike trails, parks, restaurants, retail, freeways, and Sacramento International Airport. Don't wait! Offered at $375,000 subject to lender approval of short sale. For more photos and a virtual tour visit 137 Mike Gartrell Circle, Sacramento, CA 95835.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

How to fill out a Short Sale Addendum

I have a new short sale listing coming on the market in the next few days, and it seems that over the last few years, other agents and buyers have forgotten how to do them. In the time period from 2007 - 2012 or so, it seemed like ALL my listings were short sales. I know them backward and forward, how different types of short sales work, how different mortgage companies and banks process them, and more. Short sales are not a huge part of our Sacramento real estate market anymore...but they are still out there.

So - here is a primer on how to fill out a Short Sale Addendum (C.A.R. Form SSA) and what it means to buyers and sellers.

First, this form must accompany any offer on a short sale listing. This document establishes that the property is being sold subject to the mortgage company's approval of a payoff for less than the amount owed, defines timelines and other parameters in conjunction with the Residential Purchase Agreement. Generally, the SSA discloses that there is no guarantee of approval, that the buyer and seller pay incur costs that are not recoverable in the event the mortgage company(ies) does not approve the transaction, and that the parties may want to obtain tax or legal advice. Aside from that, there are three fillable components that may change the dynamic of the short sale transaction that I want to cover.

Paragraph 1A: SHORT SALE APPROVAL - this timeline indicates the period in which the buyer is willing to wait for the mortgage company to provide written approval for the short sale. This timeline commences upon the seller's acceptance of the offer, and the buyer MUST wait during this timeframe for a response from the mortgage company. In other words -- the buyer CANNOT cancel prior to the timeline in this contract simply because the buyer gets tired of waiting. There may be other contingency timelines that permit cancellation before this period expires, but otherwise the buyer is in contract with the seller and is obligated to wait it out. For a seller of a short sale, you want this timeline to be as long as possible. As a short sale listing agent, I like to see a minimum of 60 days. Ideally the short sale will not take that long for mortgage company approval, however short sale timelines are a bit of a moving target.

Paragraph 2: TIME PERIODS - this indicates when the buyer's contractual contingency timelines will begin. Checking the box for "shall begin as specified in the agreement" is what I prefer as a listing agent. This means that buyer investigation contingencies, appraisal contingencies, loan contingencies, etc. all would begin once the seller accepts the offer (which is BEFORE the short sale mortgage company consents to the short sale). As a short sale listing agent, I want the buyer to conduct inspections, appraisal, loan underwriting, etc. right away. If this box is unchecked, then the buyer's timelines do not start until the mortgage company has issued short sale approval. The sooner the buyer removes contingencies, the better. If timelines do not start upon seller acceptance, then it is possible for the buyer to walk away after we have short sale approval. We do not want to get several months into a short sale and lose the buyer over something relating to condition of the home. If a buyer cancels we want that to happen early so we do not have to take too many steps backward before moving forward again.

Paragraph 3: BUYER'S DEPOSIT CHECK - this indicates when the buyer's initial deposit should be held in escrow. Checking that box for "as specified in the agreement" is what we want to see. This means that within 3 business days of seller acceptance, the buyer's initial deposit is held in escrow (which again is BEFORE the short sale mortgage company consents to the short sale). As a listing agent, I want to see this for a few reasons. One, if the buyer is willing to do this, it indicates they are serious buyers! Two, if the buyer gets sick of waiting and wants to move on, they will want their deposit back. If escrow is not holding a deposit, the buyer can move on and simply never tell us. That would be bad. Three, holding the buyer's deposit upon seller acceptance looks fantastic to the short sale mortgage company. Four, if the buyer removed contingencies (as we discussed in paragraph 2) and then decide before the timeline in paragraph 1A is over, then the seller may have the right to retain the deposit.

Not all buyers of short sales are willing to do all three of these things I recommend. In non-competitive situations, many buyers will not agree to do all of these multiple-offer situations, often buyers will agree. It is all negotiable. Hope that helps!

Monday, February 26, 2018

New Listing - 6308 & 6310 Blackstar Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95621

Excellent real estate investment opportunity with this well-maintained Citrus Heights duplex. Convenient and high-demand location. This property is a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom/1-car garage and a larger 2 bedroom/2 bathroom/1-car garage duplex. Spacious units flow nicely with lots of living space, open layouts, big bedrooms, ample storage, and private backyards. 6308 has brand new flooring and fresh paint. Reports, income/expenses, and maintenance records available. Located near shopping, public transportation, parks, schools, and I-80. Offered at $345,000. For more photos and detail, please visit 6308-6310 Blackstar Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95621.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

New flooring and fresh paint can be a huge improvement and help maximize your selling price when preparing a home for sale...

Often, I list property for clients where the home has been occupied for many years and then is vacated before the listing goes on the market. Perhaps the seller purchased another home first, moved out, and then listed the home. Or in other scenarios, the property was occupied by tenants who did not leave the home in stellar condition. Whatever the case, sometimes after a long term occupant, a vacant home will not look or smell its best.

Case in point: in an upcoming investment property listing, the tenants vacated the property after living there 8 years. I viewed the property while the tenants were still living there and thought to myself that once they moved out the unit would probably just need a deep cleaning and would ready for market. It became clear after they moved out though, that the unit needed more than a deep cleaning. Their possessions masked the rips and stains in the carpet, and there was a distinct pet odor that remained. Also, after 8 years the white walls were really dingy. 

My sellers live out of the area, so I met my go-to contractor at the home and he bid replacing the flooring and repainting the interior, among a few other repairs. The before and after differences are amazing! The unit is now ready for occupancy, whether by a new owner occupant or new tenant. 

It does not always make sense to make improvements to a home before listing it though...depending on numerous variables, such as the target buyer for the property, overall condition of the home, the location of the property, and overall market conditions, a seller might be better off selling the property in its current condition. I of course help advise my clients accordingly. It is my goal to maximize the return on any pre-sale repairs or improvements, and sometimes that means it does not make sense to do much, if anything. Or, as in this case, spending some money up-front should yield a three-fold return on the investment with a much higher selling price

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

New Listing - 2616 Cleat Lane, Sacramento, CA 95818

Popular, sold-out floorplan in The Mill at Broadway is available! 2 bedrooms + den, 2.5 bathrooms, 1,451sf detached home in cool newer Land Park community! You will love the kitchen with quartz counters, stainless appliances, built-in wine fridge and bar area, high-end laminate flooring, stylish light fixtures, downstairs den or possible 3rd bedroom, upstairs loft, both bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms. Energy saving features include 1.5kW owned photovoltaic solar system, tankless water heater, ductless HVAC. 2-car attached garage, big patio and large upper balcony. HOA dues $90/month. Newer construction from 2016 within close proximity to Land Park, Broadway District, Bike Dog Brewing, Selland's, transportation and more! Offered at $469,900. For more photos and information visit 2616 Cleat Lane, Sacramento, CA 95818. Don't wait!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Do you have a home for these buyers?

It's January in Sacramento. And it is that wonderful time of the year when home buyers decide to jump-start their home searches, and sellers start to prep their homes for sale...the perfect storm when buyers are ready to go, but there is very little housing inventory on the market for buyers to choose from. Which brings me to today's you have a home that you would like to sell that my buyers would like to buy? I am working with some really well-qualified (pre-approved!), amazing people...

Buyer A
Seeking a home in the Arden/Arcade or Carmichael areas. Ideally 4 bedrooms (3 bedrooms could also work if there is a separate living and family room, or home office space), 2 or more bathrooms, and 1,800sf or more. Energy efficient features are a plus. A swimming pool would be a huge plus, though not a must have. They would also like a home with good southern exposure to add solar (or could assume an existing solar lease). They are pre-approved for up to $540,000.

Buyer B
Seeking a home in the Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, or Orangevale areas. Ideally 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,400sf or more. They would like a decent-sized yard and are not afraid of something that is dated or needs a little cosmetic TLC. They are pre-approved up to $300,000.

Buyer C
Seeking a condo in the Pocket/Greenhaven, Elk Grove, or South Sacramento areas. Ideally 2 bedrooms, 1 or more bathrooms, and 900sf or more. They would prefer an attached or detached garage, but covered parking is also ok. They are pre-approved up to $180,000.

Buyer D
Seeking a home in the East Sacramento, Land Park, Elmhurst, or Midtown Sacramento areas. They would prefer something with architectural character. They would love a 3 bedroom home, but would be ok with a 2 bedroom home. They would love a second bathroom too but realize that's a tall order. Off street parking is a must, and a garage is a huge plus. They are pre-approved up to $460,000.

So anyway, if you own a home something like what I have described here, drop me a line at or 916-342-1372! My buyers would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What does the new Tax Reform Bill mean for home buyers, sellers, and homeowners?

A few weeks ago, right around Christmas and just before the end of the year, the president signed the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The legislation -- two separate bills -- was advanced in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate pretty quickly, then elements of the two bills were blended together (via a process known as "conference"), resulting in a final bill...

Regarding tax implications for homeowners, several items were on the table for pretty significant changes in both bills. And for a while it was difficult to determine what actually made it into the final bill that was signed into law.

Now that the chips have landed -- here is a summary of what is in the final bill that will affect residential home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners.

Capital Gains Exemption on the Sale of a Primary Residence
The good news here for sellers is the final bill had NO CHANGE. For as long as I can remember, the law has been that up to $250,000 (for individuals) or $500,000 (for married couples) of  the gain (aka profit) from the sale of a primary residence is exempt from capital gains tax, provided that you have lived in the home for at least 2 out of the last 5 years. Both of the original House and Senate bills sought to change this timeline for exemption to 5 out of the last 8 years. This would have placed a huge hardship on many homeowners. Life happens, and many people look to sell and move into larger homes, downsize, or relocate after a short time in a thankfully that change was not part of the final bill, and homeowners can still sell and take their equity with them, untaxed to those amounts, after 2 years.

Mortgage Interest Deductibility for Primary Residences
The good news here is that the final bill only capped tax write-off for mortgage interest at loan amounts of $750,000 or less. The original House bill sought to cap the mortgage interest deduction at loan amounts of $500,000 or less (in fact you may recall I made an appearance on the KCRA News when the original bill was announced). Overall this is still a reduction from the $1,000,000 cap that had been in place for as long as I can remember...though at $750,000 that will not affect too many people purchasing homes in the greater Sacramento region. Our current median home price in Sacramento County is in the mid-$300k range. For those with pre-existing home loans between $750,000 - $1,000,000 -- you are grandfathered in and may still write-off that mortgage interest. Also of note is that interest on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) is no longer deductible, however it is still deductible on home equity loans (aka, second mortgages). Clear as mud, yes?

Mortgage Interest Deductibility for Second Homes
The good news here is that the final bill did not eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for second homes! The original House bill would have completely eliminated the mortgage interest deduction for second homes (aka vacation homes).

So that is enough information to use as a guideline. The National Association of Realtors also published a detailed Q&A which you can refer to here. Please be sure to confer with your CPA to determine how these things apply specifically to your situation.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Lady Bird - Greta Gerwig's love letter to Sacramento (and did you notice she visited a Dunnigan Realtors open house!?)...

I have seen the movie Lady Bird twice...and not only is it a great movie, it paints a lovely portrait of Sacramento. What Sacramentan doesn't love the Fabulous 40's neighborhood? The McKinley Park Rose Garden? The Tower Theater? Gunthers Ice Cream? The Raven? You know you love the dirty bird. I could go on...

I am a little older than the Lady Bird character, who was a senior in high school in 2002 (I graduated in 1996), but I can totally relate to wanting to get out of Sacramento at that age. 

I didn't, and ended up attending California State University, Sacramento and graduated in 2001. I left Sacramento as soon as I graduated from college though, and moved to San Jose, CA for exactly one year (a 12-month lease where I rented a 10x10 room in a house for $800/month...I hated it there) before moving back as quickly as I could in late 2002. Thankfully my employer at that time allowed me to telecommute from my Sacramento home. I obtained my real estate license a couple years later and the rest is history. And Sacramento has grown up a lot in that time. Candidly, I love it here.

One scene in Lady Bird that caught me completely off guard is that they visit a Dunnigan Realtors open house! I loved that. So cool and unexpected. 

It was also cool to watch the Golden Globes this evening, see Lady Bird win Best Musical/Comedy, Saoirse Ronan win Best Actress Musical/Comedy, and to hear Greta Gerwig thank Sacramento for giving her wings was the icing on the cake.