Saturday, June 23, 2012

Take Your Best Swing--Making an Offer in a Hot Housing Market

With the interest rates at all time lows, the San Diego County housing market for homes in the $400,000 and below is hot.  

Unless the house is ready to be leveled, Buyers should not waste their time with low ball offers.  Even though the economy is still sluggish, signs of recovery are on the horizon. The number of homes in San Diego County dropped to its lowest level in nearly 3 years combined with a 21.5% increase in the home sales from a year ago May.  In addition,  the number of Foreclosures and Short Sales fell 44.8% in SoCal, the lowest level in four years.   When the supply of homes is down and the demand is up, it is time to get serious with your offers.  

Investors and first time home buyers are competing for the chance buy in. If you love a house, write a good solid offer that will beat out others.  Even investors are competing for fixer uppers that can only be sold using cash.   If the home is priced appropriately for the condition, multiple offers are to be expected.   How can you make an offer stand out?

Offer a fair, reasonable price.  Now is not the time to low ball the seller.  You will begin to see more variable price ranges looking for a little higher than the most recent sales.   The price still has to be within a reasonable range for it to appraise for the loan. 

To avoid having the seller counter your offer, this is a good time for the Buyers' Realtor to contact the listing agents to ask if there is anything special they should know before writing an offer i.e.  How long of an escrow would the sellers want? (30 days is the standard, but quite often sellers need longer); What title and escrow companies would the seller like to use?   Make sure that all appliances,  listed in the multiple listings, are to indeed remain and only ask for those items.   Often houses have furnishings and potted plants that really work with the house, but this is not the time to negotiate furnishings.  These can be discussed at a later time once you have your offer accepted.  At the worst, you may have to find another piece of furniture or new plants, but at least you have the house.

In most standard traditional sales the seller pays for the inspection and work.   Sometimes in short sales, the termite report and work are covered and other times, like most Bank Owned Foreclosures, they are not paid for by the bank.  

The standard contract calls for all contingencies to be removed within 17 days.  You will definitely need the 17 days for appraisal and loans.  If the full loan approvals takes longer than 17 days, you can always ask for an extension.  However, it is not recommended that you request the loan contingency extends until the loan funds.  With no time limit on the loan approval, the lender may not feel the urgency to complete the approval in a timely manner and extend out the escrow.  Although, the contingency for the physical inspections and disclosures, can be shortened 10 days.   You will want to do the physical inspection as soon as possible to know if you want to proceed with the sale.

Quite often, in a market such as this, you will get identical offers.  How are sellers to choose?  Selling and buying a home is very emotional.  Since the sellers have a lot of memories tied in the home, they  want to like the people they are selling it to.  You may want to write up a positive short biography about yourself including a photo and anything that will make you stand out from the next buyer.

Now is the time to step up and take your swing. 

Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Friday, June 8, 2012

Greenscaping your Home

In case you haven’t noticed, in recent years, the “going green “ trend has really gained ground. It’s not wonder why. There are plenty of benefits no matter what you’re beliefs towards going green are. Obviously, going green has much to do with protecting the environment, but for those interested in putting a little more money back in their pockets, there are reasons to go green as well.

Going Green doesn’t have to mean moving to a commune and using only recycled soda bottles or living completely off of the land. Oftentimes, it simply takes a bit of foresight and necessary planning. The best ways to go green are to simply observe your consumption habits. The two most prominent categories for this, at least in your home will likely be electricity and water.

Let’s start with the larger of the two. Electricity powers just about everything in your home, but the biggest consumer is most often the air conditioning. There are plenty of ways to combat this annual battle. Knowing where the heat transfer occurs is key. If you have large windows, it is very important to bock these from letting in more sunlight than is necessary. This can be done in a few different ways, Blinds and shades are normally a good and aesthetically pleasing solution, while planting a tree to block the sunlight is a bit more novel of an idea. You should also check the edges around your windows and doors for cracks and leaks. Large openings such as those at the foot of your door often make it difficult to keep the air cool. Windows that won’t completely shut create the same problem. Luckily, these problems are easily remedied by a bit of weather stripping and caulk.

When it comes to water consumption, there are a few ways you can also be greener. The easiest fix of them all is to simply reduce your time in the bath or shower, but sometime that isn’t always an option. In this case, you should consider installing low flow faucet and showerheads. Many of these are designed t deliver the same pressure you are accustomed to, while reducing the amount of water used. Another great step you can take to reduce your water and electricity consumption is to buy Energystar approved and other appliances that promise a reduced consumption of water and electricity. Although a bit more expensive, buying energy efficient appliances will significantly reduce your utility bills and can increase the value of your house.

Of course, there are many other ways to greenscape your house, but to find those out, you’ll have to talk to a professional. For more real estate tips and advice, be sure to contact to Virginia Hall at 619.258.8585 or at today!