Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Do you want a pot dispensary in your Sacramento neighborhood?

Do you live in or near Land Park, Curtis Park, or Hollywood Park? If you follow me on Facebook, then you will already know that the Sacramento Community Development Department has received an application to open a marijuana dispensary at 2216 Sutterville Road, right across from Sacramento City College. I urge anyone who is interested in weighing in on this proposed addition to the neighborhood to call Remi Mendoza with City Planning asap, before 4/25/14 at 916-808-5003 or via email at or your city councilman and tell them this is not a positive addition to the neighborhood. I did this morning, and Remi "logged my comments in his staff report." There will likely be a public hearing sometime in the future.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Do you have a Sacramento home to sell that one of my buyer clients might like?

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 first-time home buyers. They would like to live in Garden of the Gods or a nearby neighborhood in the Arden or Carmichael area. They are looking 3+ bedrooms, and 2+ bathrooms, decent closet and storage space, and a .15ac+ yard. Real hardwood flooring and a 2-car garage are both "must haves", and they do not mind something that needs updating. A large side yard or RV access would be a plus. Their max purchase price is $350,000.

"Buyer B" is a very well-qualified pre-approved investor buyer seeking a duplex. He ideally would like a property in the Citrus Heights, Arden, Carmichael, or nearby Sacramento areas. He would prefer 2+ bedrooms on each side and rents in the $800/month+ range for each unit. He is doing a 1031 Exchange. His max purchase price is $250,000.

"Buyers C" are very well-qualified pre-approved buyers. They ideally would like a newer or remodeled home in Arden Park, Carmichael, Land Park, East Sacramento or Pocket/Greenhaven. They would like 4+ bedrooms, and 3+ bathrooms, and 2,000sf or more. If a 2-story home, they must have a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. Their max purchase price is $750,000.

"Buyer D" is a cash buyer seeking a single family home, condo or half-plex.  He ideally would like home in the South Land Park, Hollywood Park, or Pocket/Greenhaven neighborhoods. He would like 2+ bedrooms, and 1+ bathrooms, and 1+car garage. A fixer or turn-key property would be ok. His max purchase price is $225,000.

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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

May is Bike Month in Sacramento 2014!

If you have been reading my blog for a while or following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you will know in the last year or so I have gotten really into cycling. Given my profession as a Realtor, I'm not really able to do much bike commuting to and from the office, and it's not practical for my clients to look at homes while riding bikes around Sacramento (though if any of my buyer clients want to, I am DEFINITELY up for it!). So most of my cycling is recreational and for fitness, and all that. I don't like to skip dessert so cycling allows me to burn off a few extra calories. =)

Well for the last few years -- May has been dubbed "Bike Month" in Sacramento. I think this is really cool! Sacramento is really becoming quite the bike-friendly city.

Want to challenge yourself or a friend to ride a bike more during May? Visit the Sacramento Bike Month website here. I have signed up to ride 300 miles next month...I am thinking this is an attainable goal for myself, considering on May 17th I will be attempting my first Davis Double Century (a 200-mile ride -- yikes!). 

There are several events for Sacramento Bike Month -- and you can view their calendar here. Events include things like clinics how to change a tire or do regular bike maintenance, organized group bike rides, beer bike crawls, "Energizer Stations" to stop for water or electrolytes, checking out the Amgen tour, and more!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Every home owner starts as a first time home buyer at some point...myself included!

I vividly remember when I purchased my first home in 1998. I was young; a full-time college student, working a full-time job, and I had a small chunk of money that my parents told me I should use as a downpayment on a home. Homes were not really advertised on the internet at that point, and I looked through the newspaper for homes that looked interesting. I found my Realtor by calling about one of his listings. He was the only agent who took my inquiry seriously...others had blown me off. I didn't know where to start in the process. I just knew I wanted to buy a house.

Sound familiar?

This Realtor had the patience of a saint. I was not a big time client looking to spend lots of money but he still took time to work with me. He walked me through the home buying process from start to finish, and answered all of my questions. I had no idea what I was doing, and figured I might only go through the process a couple times in my entire life. He matched me to a great loan officer and helped me get pre-approved for a loan, listened to what I wanted, and showed me properties that matched my criteria. My Mom tagged along as we looked at property and helped me ask questions. After a couple months, and looking at a dozen or so properties, I ended up buying a bank-repo condo in Fair Oaks. It wasn't perfect - I immediately repainted many of the walls, and replaced the HIDEOUSLY UGLY electric blue laminate kitchen counters with white tile. But it was all mine.

That's me in the photo up top, the day I closed escrow, standing in front of my unit holding a housewarming gift. The other photo is at my housewarming party when my friends helped me break in my new BBQ. I was SO excited! Little did I know at that time -- years later -- I would get my real estate license and help first time buyers on a daily basis. Remembering my first home buying experience, I vowed to be like the agent who so patiently helped me with my first purchase.

So, if you are reading this -- know you are on the right track. The first steps involve reaching out to a Realtor and finding someone who is a good fit to help you with your home search. In conjunction with connecting with a Realtor, you will need to find a great lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. I work with several outstanding loan officers I can refer you to who also work with lots of first time home buyers in Sacramento. The loan officer will help you establish your home purchase budget based on your income, explain all of the different loan programs available to you, see if you qualify for any downpayment assistnance, let you know how much your downpayment, closing costs, and monthly payment will be. Your Realtor will help you establish which neighborhoods you are interested in, what kind of home you are looking for, and what features are important to you.

Once you have laid the ground work for your purchase, the fun begins and you can start house hunting...there's a lot more from there that your Realtor and loan officer can review with you in person.

Just remember -- have fun, ask questions, get advice when you need it, and know that your home is out there. You just have to go find it. =)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Listing - 1121 Mariemont Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95864

Elegant "Cape Cod" style estate in a secluded private setting. This lovely home near Arden Park Vista is 5-6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, 8,467sf on 1.5 acres.You will love the high coved box-beam ceilings, gourmet kitchen w/secondary prep kitchen, large pantry. Master suite w/separate jetted tub & multi-head shower. Hallway bedrooms have attached bathrooms & separate living area. Upstairs library/home office w/bathroom & deck. Remote bedroom & bathroom w/separate entrance. Custom lighting & woodwork throughout. Lush landscape, gardens, park-like yard, RV access. Amazing home for entertaining. Don't wait! Offered at $1,999,900. For more photos and detail, visit 1121 Mariemont Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95864.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sacramento County Real Estate Statistics for March 2014

It's nice to see a stable, leveling off of home prices. As you can see from the graph to the left, the median home price for March 2014 in Sacramento County increased to $261,000; up ever so slightly over February 2014...the home buying season in Sacramento is definitely underway. I have several buyer clients who are aggressively looking for a home so that they can be ready to move in as their kids' school year comes to a close. The weather lately has certainly cooperated with that. Our dry and early spring we are experiencing here is helping spur buyer enthusiasm along.
Take a look at the huge spike in pending sales last month! It's a great time for sellers to list their homes as well...prices are strong and seemingly stable, and the buyers are ready to buy!

Friday, April 4, 2014

2014 David Lubin East Sacramento Garden Tour coming up in May!

It's almost time yet again for the 2014 East Sacramento Garden Tour! May 10-11, 2014 you have the rare opportunity to tour seven amazing residential gardens in East Sacramento’s “Fabulous 40s” neighborhood! Stroll along serene tree-lined streets and beautiful homes to view a variety of lush and creative gardens. Then enjoy a delicious luncheon at the Tea Garden at Sutter Lawn Tennis Club. Lunch will be catered by Curtis Catering, and this year food trucks will be parked at David Lubin Elementary School. All proceeds benefit academic and arts enrichment programs at David Lubin Elementary School.

Garden tour tickets are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 on the day of the event. Luncheon tickets are $15.00. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ask Erin: Should a home seller get inspections before listing a home?

Surprises during a real estate transaction are usually pretty expensive for someone. I hate surprises. This is why I suggest to sellers that it is a good idea to get certain inspections done on a home in advance. These inspections augment the disclosures that a seller fills out about their knowledge of a property.

I have a theory that I like to impart to my seller clients: it is better to provide "disclosure" before a the start of a transaction than give the buyer the ammunition that comes with "discovery" during the transaction.

Let me paint two similar, but remarkably different scenarios for you.

Scenario one: A nice Sacramento home is listed for $350,000. The house goes live in MLS, and within the first week or so they receive 3 offers. The seller accepts the best offer for $355,000. The seller is ecstatic. The buyer is thrilled! The listing agent provides the seller disclosure forms to fill out. The seller fills them out, and the listing agent provides them to the buyer's agent within a few days. The buyer does a home inspection and a termite inspection. The termite inspector finds dryrot and termite damage under the house and bids $10,000 to do the repairs. The buyer submits a Request for Repairs and asks the seller to repair the dryrot and chemically treat the termites before closing. OUCH. That's a $10,000 repair price tag that comes out of the seller's sales proceeds. The seller is faced with paying for this expensive repair, or putting the house back on the market and having to disclose this termite report to other buyers who wonder what scared the first buyer off. So the sellers repair the damage and ultimately get less money than what they had initially thought when escrow closes.

Scenario two: A nice Sacramento home is listed for $350,000. Before the home goes on the market, the seller does a termite inspection and fills out the disclosure forms. The termite inspector finds $10,000 in dryrot and termite damage under the house. The house goes live in MLS, and the listing agent has uploaded the disclosures and reports into MLS for buyers to review before seeing the house. Within the first week or so they receive 3 offers. These buyers have had the chance to review disclosures and reports, and are making an informed decision, during a competitive offer situation, to purchase the house as-is with full knowledge of the dryrot and termite damage. The seller accepts the best offer for $355,000. The seller is ecstatic. The buyer is thrilled! The buyer does a home inspection, and that inspector finds a few things that need repair, but that buyer has already agreed to purchase the house as-is. Escrow closes and the seller gets their $355,000. The buyer can then do whatever repairs they wish after closing.

Do you see the difference in these two scenarios? Both have many of the same variables, but vastly different outcomes. I have seen this dynamic play out again and again over time. The more disclosure a seller can provide to a buyer IN ADVANCE, the better.  A buyer can make an informed purchasing decision, know what they are buying, and the element of discovery and a secondary negotiation for repairs or a price reduction is eliminated from the equation.

I almost always suggest that sellers obtain inspections in advance for this reason.