Sales volume decreased for the third straight month, closing with 1,375 single family home sales. This is down 1.5% from the 1,396 homes sold last month. Month‐to‐month since July, sales have decreased 1,548 – 1,428 – 1,396 – 1,375, respectively. Compared with last year, the current figure is down .8% (1,386 sales). Making up this month’s total are 1,208 Equity Sales (87.9%), 83 Short Sales (6%) and 84 REO sales (6.1%). For the month, REO sales remained the same, short sales increased 17.6% and conventional sales decreased 1.1%.
Of the 1,375 sales this month, 256 used cash financing, 654 used conventional (mortgage‐backed) financing, 312 used FHA (Federal Housing Administration), 89 used VA (Veteran’s Affairs) and 64 used Other* types of financing. The average DOM (days on market) for homes sold this month was 37, while the Median DOM was 23. These numbers represent the days between the initial listing of the home as “active” and the day it goes “pending.” Breaking down the Days On Market, there were 816 listings that sold between 1 – 30 days, 293 listings that sold between 31 – 60 days, 148 between 61 – 90 days, 69 between 91 – 120 days and 49 sold after being on the market for over 120 days. This breakdown, as well as types of financing, is show in the graphic below.
The month‐to‐month median sales price decreased 1.1% from $275,000 to $272,000. The current level is 7.3% above the $253,500 median sales price of October 2013. The current figure is up 70% from the January 2012 low of $160,000. When compared to the all‐time high ($392,750/Aug. ’08), the current figure is down 30.1%.
Active Listing Inventory in Sacramento County decreased 2.7% for the month to 3,434 listings, down from the 3,529 listings of September. Year‐to‐year, the current number is up (29.1%) from the 2,659 units of October 2013. The months of inventory remained the same at 2.5 months.
With Californians being urged to cut water use as the state’s historic drought drags on, a growing number of local water agencies are enlisting the public to play water cop with their smartphones.
From Long Beach to Placer County, officials are rolling out apps that allow users to snap and send photos of homes and businesses that are violating watering restrictions or operating broken and wasteful irrigation systems.
The apps put more boots on the ground to spot waste and leaks that might go unnoticed, officials say. They say the high-tech citizen reporting programs are intended to encourage water conservation, and not to be used as evidence to fine offenders.
But at least one private company is taking things a step further. Creators of Vizsafe, a neighborhood watch app, have added a feature allowing users to map photos of water wasters — a practice dubbed “drought shaming” on Twitter and Instagram.
The company’s app provides people with useful information about their communities, said Peter Mottur, chief executive of Rhode Island-based Vizsafe. “People have a right to hold others accountable and that is what I think we are doing.”
Privately reporting excessive water use or leaks that have gone unnoticed is “fantastic,” said Karen North, a professor of social media and psychology at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
“But to the extent that people then publicly shame each other for that behavior,” she said, it could force “a lot of really solid compliance, but it can also lead to a lot of animosity.”
Matthew Kahn, a professor of economics at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, said the mere existence of the apps could increase conservation.
“While we all fear Orwell’s Big Brother,” he said, “we all try harder when we are being watched, even if that is a little creepy. You may need these social apps to motivate these behavioral changes.”
Long Beach’s water department released its first app to report water waste in 2010, but revamped it in August so users could add photos, said Melissa Keyes, a special projects coordinator who helped design the service.
The number of app-generated complaints initially increased five-fold, to about 25 a day, but has recently returned to lower levels, she said. “We wanted people to feel they had an outlet to get their frustrations out when they were doing their part and they saw others weren’t,” she said.
The anonymous complaints typically prompt a letter from the water agency to the property owner. Most complaints involve broken sprinklers or irrigation leaks, Keyes said, and often the owners aren’t aware of the problem. So far the city hasn’t seen fence fights erupt over use of the app, she said.
The water-waste app provided downtown Long Beach resident Sherry Ray-Von a convenient way to deal with a nearby apartment building resident who she said washed his car every day for months.
She tried to discuss the matter with the man, she said, but he shrugged her off.
When the upgraded city app came, she thought: “This is great. This is my chance to get this guy.”
She said she snapped a photo of the runoff, sent it to the water department and a few days later, the car washer stopped.
In Placer County, the water agency released a multipurpose water-saving app in May. It lets users report water waste, but it also features a shower timer that estimates how many gallons a person uses. So far, the agency has received 30 complaints, mostly about water runoff, said Matt Young, the agency’s director of customer services.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District forwards app complaints, most involving over-watering or irrigating outside permitted periods, to five water inspectors in the field, who remind offenders of the water usage rules, said spokesman Marty Grimes.
In Palm Springs, 67-year-old real estate salesman Victor Yepello said he used to see broken sprinklers and excessive watering when he biked around the city. But when he got home, he’d often forget the locations or to call the local water agency to complain, he said.
Then he discovered the Desert Water Agency’s new waste-reporting app. This summer, Yepello saw a small river of runoff coursing down Mesquite Avenue from a nearby house, so he stopped, snapped a photo and sent it and the address to the water agency.
Within a few hours, he said, an email came back telling him the problem was a broken irrigation line the property owner hadn’t noticed.
“I don’t see it as a way to snitch on your neighbor,” Yepello said. “If you spot something that is a real problem, report it.”
You have done the hard part in the home-buying process and chosen a lender and a real estate agent to work with. You have also gone out and found the home of your dreams! Best of all, your team has done a great job of negotiating the best deal for you.
Now, as a buyer, all you have to do is sit back and wait for your loan to close … right? Wrong!!
Getting a home loan these days is a very interactive process. I am always amazed by how many clients I work with who come to me unaware of all the pitfalls they face during the loan process. To help avoid any surprises while waiting for final approval, I provide my clients with a short list of “do’s and don’ts” to follow.
Let’s start with the “do’s” …
Do keep the process moving by responding to your loan officers’ requests for documentation as soon as possible.
Do make decisions as soon as is reasonably possible.
Do convey questions or concerns you
Do continue to make all of your rent or mortgage payments on time.
Do stay current on all other existing accounts.
Do continue to work your normal work schedule with no unplanned time off.
Do continue to use your credit as normal.
Do be prepared to explain any large deposits in your bank accounts.
Do enjoy purchasing your home but remain objective throughout the process to help make decisions that are best for you.
After you have been preapproved for your mortgage you will want to refrain from the following…
Do not make any major purchases (car, boat, jewelry, furniture, appliances, etc.).
Do not apply for any new credit (even if it says you are preapproved or “xxx days same as cash”).
Do not pay off charges or collections (unless directed by your loan officer to do so).
Do not make any changes to your credit profile.
Do not change bank accounts.
Do not make unusual deposits into your bank accounts or move money around from one account to another.
Follow these simple rules and you will help to make your loan closing as smooth and hassle-free as possible! Good luck!
Deciding how much to offer a seller for a home you’d love to own is rarely easy. Ideally, your offer price should not be above what you think the property is worth or what you can afford, but tempting enough to the seller that he can’t refuse to accept.
Arriving at that perfect offer price is harder in some markets than others, and it depends on a lot of factors that are beyond your control. For example, in buyers’ markets where there is a lot of inventory, you may find more realistic sellers who understand that they need to be flexible if they want to sell. In sellers’ markets where there are more buyers than sellers, you may have no choice but to offer more than the asking price if you hope to be the successful bidder.
The first step to arriving at an effective offer price is to find out how much properties similar to the one you’re interested in have been selling for recently. Look at the relationship between the list and sale prices of each listing. Did they sell for more or less than the asking price? How long did it take them to sell? Your real estate agent can provide you with this information. Ask for a Comparative or Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) for the listing in question.
Then ask your agent to talk to the listing agent and find out how much attention the listing is receiving. Are there any other buyers serious about writing offers? If so, you’ll have to offer more than you will if there is no other serious interest.
How much you need to offer to pique the seller’s interest will depend a lot on how long the listing has been on the market. A seller may snub a less-than-asking-price offer if the listing is new on the market. However, if the listing is weeks old and there are plenty of new listings coming on the market each week, you may be successful with an offer for less than asking.
How much a seller will negotiate usually depends on several factors: how long the property has been on the market, whether the seller is motivated (that is, he really needs rather than just wants to sell) and how realistic the seller is about the current value of his home.
HOUSE HUNTING TIP: You can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by asking your agent to have a heart-to-heart talk with the listing agent before you make an offer, particularly if you intend to offer significantly less than the list price. If the seller is adamant about his price, and there are plenty of other similar listings on the market, devote your energies to a seller who is willing to sell at market value.
Some buyers wonder if they should pay over asking in a strong market that could lose steam over the next year as interest rates rise. That depends on how the listing is priced. If it’s priced below market value, it could attract multiple offers. If the property will suit your long-term needs, it may be reasonable to pay more than the list price as long as it’s not more than you can afford now and for the long term. You won’t lose money unless you have to sell during a down market.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate if you’re not in competition. Some motivated sellers still can’t resist trying for a higher price. Several rounds of counteroffers back and forth could bring about a successful conclusion.
THE CLOSING: But, promise yourself to walk away if the seller doesn’t see the light.
(Article courtesy of “ClientDirect – by By Dian Hymer)
Styles of houses vary across the country. From the New England Cape Cod to the Victorians of San Francisco, the choices are almost endless. Knowing which style you prefer is one of the basic elements in your hunt for the perfect home.
Following is a quick guide to help you recognize and use the professional terms for many of the most prevalent house styles:
Ranch: These long, low houses rank among the most popular types in the country. The ranch, which developed from early homes in the West and Southwest, is one-story with a low pitched room. The raised ranch, which is also common is the U.S.. has two levels, each accessible from the home’s entry foyer, which features staircases to both upper and lower levels.
Cape Cod: This compact story-and-a-half house is small and symmetrical with a central entrance and a step, gable roof. Brick, wood or aluminum siding are the materials most commonly seen.
Georgian: Popular in New England, the Georgian has a very formal appearance with tow or three stories and classic lines. Usually built of red brick, the rectangular house has thin columns alongside the entry, and multi-paned windows above the door and throughout the house. Two large chimneys rise high above the roof at each end.
Tudor: Modeled after the English country cottage. Tudor styling features trademark dark-wood timbering set against light-colored stucco that highlights the top half of the house and frames the numerous windows. The bottom half of the house is often made of brick.
Queen Anne/Victorian: Developed from styles originated in Great Britain, these homes are usually two-story frame with large rooms, high ceilings and porches along the front and sometimes sides of the house. Peaked roofs and ornamental wood trim, many times referred to as “gingerbread,” decorate these elaborate homes.
Pueblo/Santa Fe Style – Popular in the Southwest, these homes are either frame or adobe brick with a stucco exterior. The flat rood has protruding, rounded beams called vigas. One or two story, the homes feature covered/enclosed patios and an abundance of tile.
Dutch Colonial – the Dutch Colonial has two or two-and-one-half stories covered by a gambrel roof (having two lopes on each side, with the lower slope steeper than the upper, flatter slope) and eaves that flare outward. This style is traditionally make of brick or shingles.
New England Colonial – This two-and-one-half story early American style is box like with a gable roof. The traditional material is narrow clapboard siding and a shingle roof. The small-pane, double-hung windows usually have working wood shutters.
Southern Colonial: this large, two-to-three-story frame house is world famous for its large front columns and wide porches.
Split-levels: Split-level houses have one living level about half a floor above the other living level. When this type of home is built on three different levels, it is called a tri-level.
These are just a few of the many styles of homes available across the country – some are more prominent in different areas than others. Knowing home style terms will help you zero in on the type of house that will fill your needs and suit your taste.
About Century 21 Real Estate LLC – Century 21 Real Estate LLC (century21.com) is the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization, providing comprehensive training and marketing support for the CENTURY 21 System. The System is comprised of approximately 7,100 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices in 74 countries and territories worldwide with more than 100,000 sales professionals. Century 21 Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services.
With the positive momentum in the market, more home owners are ready to put their homes on the market and make a sale. But beware—when prices are up and inventory is down, more sellers become overconfident and careless with their sale.
Here are eight of the top ways sellers sabotage their own home sale, and tips to save the day.
1. Refusing to Make Obvious Repairs Prior to Sale.
Agents tell sellers this everyday, all day: “You will lose money if you don’t take care of repairs before the house goes on the market.” Showing a house when there are leaking faucets, cracks in the walls, water stains on the ceiling, and a busted hot water heater are all ways to turn off potential buyers.
What Sellers Need to Hear: “Shelling out the money may seem like an extravagant expense—especially if you don’t think that the repair will add much to the value of your home. Trust me—time and time buyers over estimate the cost of a repair, so they are going to try to get what they think the repair will cost, and that’s going to cost you more in big credits or discounts!”
2. Ignoring the Backyard
Everybody knows that fantastic front curb appeal sells homes, but many sellers forget what’s out back. In the summer and fall months, everyone’s attention turns to the outside spaces, where they dream of warm summer nights and outdoor entertaining.
What Sellers Need to Hear: “If you don’t maximize and capitalize on your backyard, you are missing a huge component of your warm weather living spaces. That back yard patio is not just for storage of old bikes and broken patio furniture that should have been thrown out years ago. In a buyer’s eyes, it can be the most important ‘room’ in the house. You need to stage your backyard and outdoor entertaining areas as beautifully as you would the interior of your home. Green grass, flowers and trimmed trees should be the same standard as your curb-appealed front.”
3. Hiding Problem Issues From the Buyers
Far too many agents have watched too many home sellers pay out big bucks because they didn’t “reveal it all.”
What Sellers Need to Hear: “Disclose! Disclose! Disclose! Once you have an accepted offer, sellers are required to fill out disclosure statements. If you did renovations to the house without a permit over the years, disclose. If there was a roof leak that damaged the attic two years ago, disclose. If the electrical blows every time you run the dishwasher and the microwave at the same time, disclose. You know the history of the home better than anyone, and we need to work together so that we know how to address any potential issues. The buyers will find out eventually. And if you knowingly have kept things from them, it sets the tone for an ugly and difficult closing. Not to mention that you are setting yourself up for the liability.”
4. Getting Egotistical When Negotiating
Every agent has had that seller who just simply cannot fathom that a buyer would even think to make such a low offer, but the truth is that most of the time, the buyer doesn’t mean to offend the seller. Heck, the buyer may even know that the home is outside of their price range, but they may just love it so much that they couldn’t resist making an offer. Too many sellers take negotiations personally and lose out on creating a win-win deal.
What Sellers Need to Hear: “Real estate transactions are business deals. Plain and simple. There is no room for ego here. If an offer comes in low, the mistake is to be insulted and not counter back. Always counter back and keep deals in play. Keep your ego out of the equation and put your head back into it. Remember your end goal: getting your house sold and having a smooth and successful closing.”
5. Using Lousy Photos (and Not Helping their Agent Get Great Ones)
Ninety percent of all home shoppers start their home search online, and nothing can tank a home sale like terrible listing photos. But sometimes sellers don’t understand the importance of fantastic listing pictures—and that can mean that agents need to resort to grabbing a few fast photos on a cell phone or on a rainy day. After all, the only thing worst than terrible listing photos are listings with no photos at all.
What Sellers Need to Hear: “Think back to when you were originally looking for a home. Even if you were house hunting when online wasn’t a huge thing, you probably remember that seeing a home told you more about it than any text ever could. Even in a sellers market, great photos can help draw in the best buyers—the ones who will be willing to make a big offer on this property.”
6. Holding On to Clutter and Junk
For as long as buying and selling a home has been a “thing” (so a very long time) there have been sellers that say, “Oh the house looks fine. Buyer’s will see right past all my boxes and collections of plaster cookie jars and shelves overflowing with nick-knacks.” Big mistake. Huge.
What Sellers Need to Hear: “It may sound like a good idea, but it’s not a smart approach. Believe me, I have seen homes come on the market that could have sold much faster, had the home owners spent just one weekend depersonalizing and removing all the extra things inside the home. Clutter makes your home seem smaller, ultimately eating equity and killing deals. Take inventory of all your possessions and think to yourself: should I save it, store it, sell it, or chuck it? It may seem like a solid amount of work, but one weekend of work could mean thousands of dollars come closing.”
7. Selling A House Via “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO)
When the market is hot, many people think that selling their home on their own is easily doable. “Who wouldn’t want to save on commission?” think many sellers. Despite the lure of not having to pay an agent a commission, sellers need the expertise and know-how of a professional, who can help navigate the stacks of paperwork, provide priceless neighborhood knowledge—and negotiate on the seller’s behalf.
What Sellers Need to Hear: “The numbers don’t lie: the typical FSBO home sold for $174,900, compared to $215,000 for agent-assisted home sales. There may be more to a home sale than you realize. Let me walk you through what type of service I can provide you with.”
8. Overpricing the Home
For agents, this is the one major seller mistake that we see the most frequently. It is a misstep that seems to rear its head whenever the market seems like it’s heating up.
What Sellers Need to Hear: “Yes, the market is hot. But not hot enough that you can push the envelope and price it for way more that the comps will support. Overpricing your home is dangerous —and you can end up burned in this ‘hot market.’ You run the risk that your home will sit on the market for weeks and months and become the stale listing that every home seller wants to avoid. Know the competition and set the right price—never overprice too high in hopes that someone will unknowingly overpay. Let me walk you through the data.”
There they are — the biggest selling mistakes of the season.