Monday, May 4, 2020

How to Keep Your Home Primed for Last-Minute House Hunters

                                Image courtesy of Unsplash

When you put your home on the market, you want to avoid turning away house hunters whenever possible. You just never know when that last-minute call will be the one youve been waiting for. Heres how to keep your house in prime condition so you never have to turn away a tour.

Pare Down Belongings

If you are struggling to figure out how, exactly, to clean and declutter, these links have some practical advice that can get you cleared out in no time.

Set a Great Stage

Your homes appearance is more important than you might think. From making it a welcoming environment to showcasing it from the street, this is how to set the stage for selling success.

Address Daily Details

Unless your home sells on day one, you have to pay special attention to how it looks until
youve accepted an offer. Here are some ways to do just that without adding stress and strain to
your day.

Getting a house ready to sell can be nerve-wracking. However, with a few smart strategies, you can take last-minute calls in stride. Do some paring down, clean thoroughly, and tidy up daily, and soon you’ll get that offer youve been waiting for!

Compliments of Alice Robertson

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

How to Sell a House and be Safe-- COVID-19 Precautions

Selling a home during this challenging time, may seem daunting but the California of Realtors (C.A.R.) has outlined steps to protect you and your buyer while selling your home. 

C.A.R. has released two new forms to help clarify how to protect the seller and buyer: One is a Listing Agreement Coronavirus  Addendum or Amendment (RLA-CAA) for sellers and listing agents to sign, and the other is a Property Viewing Advisory and Declaration (PEAD) that is to be given to and signed by the seller, buyer, agents and anyone else who will be entering a property.

Seller should expect Buyers and their should follow the steps that were previously discussed agents in How to Safely Buy a House--COVID-19 Precautions.   Other guidelines that Sellers should follow: 
  1. The written approval of the seller for all pre-marketing activities must be obtained by the listing agent. No third party can enter the property if they have not agreed to follow CDC, Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Guidelines. Even for contractors and workers, gloves and other protective gear are mandated, as is the declaration that they are asymptomatic and agree to follow the CDC guidelines.
  2. Listing presentations and staging should be done virtually.
  3. Virtual photography using a video-based system. Keep in mind that the usual copyright  considerations governing photographic images still apply.
  4. Shoe covers, gloves and hand sanitizer should be located near the front door.  If hand sanitizer is not available, soap and water at a designated sink should be made available. 
  5. Sellers should be gone during all showing appointments that are scheduled for individual parties, one set of clients at a time. 
  6. No open houses, broker tours or broker previews should be held. A virtual open house or showing scheduled for a specific time with the Seller's permission, can be scheduled; however, no one will be present other than the listing agent holding the virtual open house.
  7. REALTORS® CANNOT BE conducting any face-to-face marketing during the COVID-19 related declaration of emergency.
  8. Flyers will be posted on the on-line multiple listing service.  No paper flyers at property.
  9. After each showing, the agent or seller should clean doorknobs and counter tops with disinfectant wipes and follow the CDC's Cleaning & Disinfecting Guide recommendations.
  10. All negotiations and discussion regarding the property will be done by phone or virtually.
  11. All transaction paperwork will be done by electronic signature systems. 
  12. For HOAs, he seller should obtain a copy of any new rules that may govern showings of common areas or entry to the property.

Using these COVID-19 precautions, sellers should be able to safely show and sell their home. 

Written by 
Virginia Hall, CRS, ABR, CNE, SFR
Keller Williams Realty


Monday, April 20, 2020

How to Safely Buy a House-- COVID-19 Precautions

While Realtors are considered an essential business, they are taking special precautions to protect their clients.  The California Association of Realtors has laid out the best practices to protect buyers and sellers with new forms and procedures in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Buyers and their agents should adhere to the follow precautions:

  1. To avoid unnecessary home viewings, buyers will provide proof of funds, as well as be fully pre-approved for a loan.
  2. Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible.
  3. Buyers will have no signs of cold or flu, fever, cough, shortness of breath and understand the risks of showing and visiting properties.
  4. Buyers and their agent must electronically sign the Property Viewing Advisory and Declaration form prior to the showing appointment. 
  5. Showing appointments must be made with the seller. 
  6. Buyers should meet the agent at the property.  
  7. All persons visiting a property will agree to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer prior to entry. 
  8. Buyers should be instructed not to touch anything and/or to wear disposable rubber gloves and protective face masks, if available; and to dispose of them after leaving the property.  Bring your own sanitizers, and gloves — don’t rely on others to bring them. 
  9. Only a single agent and two people maximum will enter the home at the same time while maintaining a six foot social distance with masks on.
  10. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after leaving the property.
  11. Discussions after the showing with the buyer should be conducted through electronic means such as email, telephone, Zoom or FaceTime, rather than in person, as maintaining a conversation while adhering to the social distance guidelines is difficult.  Offers and all transaction paperwork should also be discussed over the phone and signed electronically.
  12. Further more, if anyone who enters the property is later diagnosed with COVID-19, the person who is diagnosed must immediately inform the listing agent, who will then make best efforts to inform everyone who entered the property after the person diagnosed, of that fact.

Using these COVID-19 precautions, buyers should be able to safely shop and buy a home. 

Written by 
Virginia Hall, CRS, ABR, CNE, SFR
Keller Williams Realty


Friday, February 28, 2020

Simple Home Changes That Can Affect Your Family's Health

Your home is meaningful in many ways; not only is it a place where you and your loved ones can relax and feel safe, but it’s also a spot that affects your health on a daily basis. Allergens in the air, fall hazards, and mold are all things that can be exacerbated by a home that doesn’t meet your needs. Whether you’re single, a young parent, or an older adult, it’s important to make some simple changes throughout your house that will help you stay healthy. Here are a few ideas.

Remove Excess Moisture from the Air

Depending on where you live, the type of weather your city experiences, and the way your house is designed, your home may experience more moisture than others. It may sound innocuous, but excess moisture can lead to mold, mildew, and dust mites, all of which can contribute to health problems (especially in children and older adults). Mold, especially, can be hazardous and can cause breathing problems and chronic illness. It’s most prevalent in basement areas and bathrooms but can occur anywhere in the home. To make the air more stable, it’s a good idea to invest in a dehumidifier, which essentially removes moisture from the air and deposits it into a receptacle. There are several types on the market, so read reviews before making a purchase so you can get the right one for your needs.

Pull Up Your Carpet

Many people don’t give their carpeting a second thought outside of how clean it looks, but deep down in the pile lurk allergens, dust, dirt, pet hair and dander, and dust mites. Vacuuming regularly can help, but if your vacuum doesn’t have a HEPA filter, you may be throwing those things back into the air every time you clean. Pulling up your carpet is a much cleaner solution; you can lay down hardwood or the more cost-effective laminate, which will not only improve the air quality in your home but will also boost its value.


Your home may be the place you go to relax and unwind, but it may be contributing to your stress without you realizing it. Clutter and disarray can leave you feeling anxious or depressed, so get organized. Declutter, utilize storage solutions for books and other large collections, and, if possible, turn an extra room into a relaxing space to practice yoga, meditate, or read quietly. Having such a space in your home can help boost your mental health, especially if you’re feeling the effects of stress at work.

Go Green

Going green — or living a more eco-friendly lifestyle — can accomplish many things, and there are several ways to get started. Changing out your old light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones will save you money on your utility bills while reducing your carbon footprint; changing the landscaping around your home to one that conserves water will also save money while helping the environment at the same time. There are several health benefits to going green, as well; starting a vegetable garden can help you eat healthier, whereas riding a bike or walking rather than driving or taking public transportation can reduce emissions and help you stay fit. Think about the easiest ways you can be more eco-friendly and figure out ways to get involved.

Making simple changes to your home and lifestyle in order to be healthier can help you feel and look better, and in some cases, it can help you become more Earth-conscious in your daily life. Think about which modifications make the most sense for you and your budget, and keep your family involved so they can feel better, as well.

Written by Natalie Jones
Photo by Pixar

Thursday, December 19, 2019

5 Questions to Help Downsizing Seniors Deal with Their Current Home

Are you downsizing to a smaller home for your retirement years? Before you start settling into a new home, you need to figure out a plan for the old one. You have a lot of options when it comes to handling your current home and buying a second property, so it makes sense to take your time making this decision and to ask yourself the right questions along the way.

How Much Will You Need for Your New Home?

The best way to figure out what to do with your current home is to budget properly for the new one. After you use online tools to determine your new home price range, you can better determine what sort of profits, proceeds, or financial options you will need to help pay for the new property. Be sure to factor in things like a down payment or accessibility upgrade costs into your overall budget so that you will have a solid plan to guide the rest of your home decisions. Once you have a budget, be sure to stick to it when shopping for smaller homes for retirement.

When putting together a budget, there’s one particular aspect that many people forget to include: the cost of professional movers. If you intend to bring in the pros, you need to set aside some cash for this service. The average cost a moving service tends to run between $25 and $50 per hour, though this can easily jump to approximately $1,000 per room if you intend to move out of state. Therefore, you need to take this expense into consideration when you’re formulating your budget — you don’t want to come up short if you need help moving!

Does Selling Your Old Home Now Makes Sense?

When you are moving to a smaller home, the first option you may consider when deciding how to handle your current home is to sell it. This may seem like a straightforward process for many retirees, but there are a few factors to consider before you decide to sell your home right away. Are homes currently selling like hotcakes in your local real estate market? If so, then listing your home now could be a wise financial move. Are you still paying off a mortgage on your current home? If you haven’t built up a lot of equity, you may want to hold off on listing your home.

Could Renting Your Home Help Your Retirement Savings?

If you need to build more equity in your current property or if you want to add some additional income to your retirement budget, owning rental property could be a solid financial bet. There are some definite perks to owning investment property in retirement, but there can also be some decided financial cons. So, be sure to weigh your options and consult with a financial advisor, to see if turning your current home into an investment property makes sense for your retirement.

Could Turning Your Home Into a Vacation Rental Be an Option?

Residential rentals can provide a steady stream of income during retirement, but renting your home out long-term may not make sense if you plan to split your time between two places. So, if you are planning on this sort of living arrangement for your retirement, it may make more financial sense to rent to vacationers when you are not using your home. Short-term rentals can be easily managed through sites like Airbnb or VRBO, and you may even be able to help pay off both homes if you take the right steps to attract travelers to your homes while they are vacant.

Does Keeping Your Home Fit into Your Retirement Budget?

Buying a second home and keeping the first one can be a big financial commitment, but it can also be the right choice for many retirees who want to keep a home in their family. Downsizing seniors who choose this option may need to get creative with financing since lenders tend to be more restrictive when it comes to providing mortgages for second homes. Plus, they need to factor in taxes, insurance, and other routine home expenses. If your home will be vacant for most of the year, you should also consider using property management services to keep it maintained and secured, especially if your homes are far apart from one another.

Downsizing can be freeing for seniors. You have to create a plan for your old home before you can begin to enjoy all of the perks of downsizing. Selling or renting can help your retirement savings, but holding onto your old home may be the best choice for your situation. So, weigh each choice and choose the one that will help you make the most of your retirement!

Written by Jim Vogel
Photo Credit: Rawpixel

Friday, July 26, 2019

Don't Be Surprised by the Supplemental Tax Bill

After buying a home, the last thing a buyer wants is a surprise bill.  So when the supplemental tax bill arrives in the mail in 6-12 months after closing, hopefully it is not a surprise. 

While reviewing the disclosures about the home, an experienced agent understands the important of disclosing the Supplemental Tax Bill.  When I mention the supplemental tax, new buyers already in disclosure input overload give me a puzzled look. "What the Heck is that?"  When I begin to explain the complicated tax, some people get a glazed look in their eyes and even tune out until they hear it may be a few hundred or few thousand dollars.   That always seems to catch their attention. Then I begin to repeat what the tax is all about, with their full attention.

The San Diego County Treasurer-Tax collector's office has an excellent video explaining the Supplemental Tax.

When you buy a house, you normally buy it at higher price than the seller did.  The price that the seller bought the house at is the base price that property taxes are calculated for in escrow.  So part of the closing costs, are the buyer's prorated portion of the property taxes, again based on what the seller paid for the property. 

Once the home closes, then the tax assessor reevaluates the taxes based at the higher value.  So the supplemental taxes can vary depending on what the difference in the price is.  If the seller owned the home for 30 years, then there can be a big difference in the original versus the new value, creating a large supplemental tax.  Where if the seller bought it only a few years ago, there may not be much difference at all.  The San Diego Tax Assessor's office has an online supplemental tax calculator that a buyer can access online to calculate what the difference due should be. 

Since Loan impound accounts do not include money to cover Supplemental Tax Bills, it is important to be prepared, and save some money to cover it.   Don't be surprised by your Supplemental Tax Bill. 

For other Buyers information, go to the Buyers tab at

Written By Virginia Hall
DRE License #01409760
San Diego East FootHills
Keller Williams Realty