Thursday, December 28, 2017

Strategies for Updating Your Kitchen: Part 3

The Contractor

After setting our budget,  I contacted Dave Magown (619)820-7732 whom I had met at our local Santee Chamber of Commerce several years prior to this.  He had worked at Home Depot in kitchen remodeling design prior to opening his own business for a number of years.  Prior to hiring Dave, I checked his Contractor's License just to make sure that there hadn't been any issues on his contractor's license.

Referrals from friends and family are a good source for  Remodel Contractors.  But always check the contractor license website for any issues.  The license insures that they are accountable and liable.  Also make sure that they carry liability and worker's comp insurance.

Then we began the process of designing the kitchen.  Dave met with us at our home to discuss how we wanted the kitchen to be laid out.

Then we met at his show room to choose cabinets and counter tops.  Once we had decided on what we were putting in, then we met at our house to go over the process and time frames, included in the contract.  Time frames are very important, especially when near a holiday.  On average remodels take 4-10 weeks.    Also included in the contract was the total cost, broken down into 5 payments planned  throughout the process. 

Once we had a basic floor plan, then we needed to pick out appliances, sink, and faucets to replace the dead dishwasher, leaking refrigerator
and faucet. The measurements for all of these items were necessary to move forward.

Once the cabinets were near completion, the time had come to begin demolition.  Once we started, it was important to know what time the workers plan to show up and leave.  The demolition and cabinet crew would show up consistently at 8am and the flooring workers at 9:30am.  Good to know for your schedule.  Stress that it is important that if they are NOT going to show up, that they would let you know the day before.  That way you can plan your day.

While your kitchen is being updated, you need to plan on where you will set up a temporary kitchen, i.e. in your garage, another room or on your patio, somewhere where you have water and ample electricity.

Also make a plan for your pets.  Introduce them to the workers and help them stay calm through the loud banging and noises and temporary displacement.

Then let the chaos begin.

Written by Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Monday, December 11, 2017

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 2

Now that I knew it was time for a Kitchen Remodel, as established in Part 1, the next step is to establish  a budget.


As a realtor, I have seen many updated kitchen and know the value of it when selling a home.  This is often the center of the home and people highly value updated kitchens and bathrooms.  But you need to consider your budget.

According to  Cost-vs-Value kitchen remodels can cost anywhere from $23,695 to $69,723 depending on the amount of work needed.   However, again if you are moving in the near future you will want to keep in mind that a minor kitchen remodel nets almost 96% of the cost and a major kitchen remodel only nets 75.1% of what was spent.   On the other hand, if you plan to remain in your home and enjoy the updates for a while, then you can add those special personal touches that can add up.  Otherwise, you want to research options for updating without gutting the kitchen, such as refacing cabinet doors, replacing only counter tops, removing ceiling mounted cabinets, paint versus expensive back splashes, reusing matching appliances that are only a few years old versus new, etc.  This is when a realtor and/or a kitchen contractor can help advise you.

One thing to keep in mind for your budget is to add 20% for additional change orders.  As the contractor begins to peel away things, your plans may change.   You may find that you need to add an electrical plug, add a gas line behind a wall, replace recessed lighting, etc.   Best to project extra these potential extra costs in the budget, so you don't find yourself short and unable to do the extra things you needed done while the opportunity presents itself.

The contractor will expect about 25%-30% upfront to buy materials and as the job progresses, they will expect partial payments and then a final payment at the end.  This should all be outlined in the contract.

Written by Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Monday, November 27, 2017

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 1

While I have always been a "fix-it" person and over the years had replaced several of the original kitchen parts in my Santee home, I found that everything seemed to be going out all at once.   It felt like a mutiny of the kitchen.  The dishwasher stopped working, the refrigerator occasionly leaked, the garbage disposal growled and moaned, and the oven temperature wasn't correct, as well as the weathered, separating cupboard doors that had survived 4 active sons.  However, the final blow, that pushed me over the edge, was when my sink faucet developed a couple of pin hole leaks from the inside out, spraying me in the face. 

No problem. My son, who is a plumber, could replace the faucet and help me squeeze a little more life out of it, or so I thought.  However, when he looked under my "life-time" sink, he broke the news that it had started rusting underneathe and that the whole sink would have to be replaced.  When I thought about replacing the sink, I had a vision of tiles cracking across the counter in a chain reaction.  It was time! 

So I duct taped the pin hole leaks, and began to do my research.  Besides looking at new housing developments, I scoured Better Homes and Gardens, San Diego Magazine, and Pinterest.  I found lots of beautiful options.  I wanted a kitchen that would be practical, modern and at the same time reasonably priced.  I began taking photos of kitchens that I liked, researching counter top materials, cupboards, and flooring.  With so many choices, I had to figure out what would work for my husband and I.  In the next 8 blogs, I will show you the before and after, going over the kitchen remodel, things to think about and consider:

    1. Budget
    2. Contractor
    3. Color scheme
    4. Counter Tops
    5. Flooring
    6. Cabinets & Hardware
    7. Sink
    8. Faucet

Written by Virginia Hall
                   Keller Williams Realty
                   (619) 258-8585

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Twelve Reasons Why Not to be a For Sale By Owner

Considering listing your home for sale, but wondering why use a Realtor when homes are selling so quickly? Why pay someone a lot of commission, when it seems so easy?  Here are 12 good reasons why not to sell your own home:

1. Personal Safety When you open your doors to strangers, you don't know who you are letting in the door. It could be a criminal scoping out your home for valuables or a predator planning to harm you. When buyers come with Realtors, they have normally been screened.
2. Buyers Who Shop "for Sale by Owners" Want to Save Money Most Homeowners who sell their own house sell them at 15% less than if they had used a Realtor.
3. Pricing Property Incorrectly Pricing properties is a science and an art. No one wants to give away their home, but at the same time if you price the home too high, it can increase the market time or lose a sale.
4. Screening Potential Buyers Often time is wasted on unqualified buyers. Sellers have difficulty getting the buyer's confidential information. Escrows tend to fall out at the last minute due to problems that crop up in escrow, that could have been discovered earlier.
5. Disclosure Duties Sellers are required to make all mandated disclosures without an agent to assist them.
6. No Representative for Negotiations The seller is vulnerable when dealing directly with the buyer. Emotions can get in the way of making good decisions and negotiating in your own best interest.
7. Appraisal Problems No one assists the appraiser to get the highest value.
8. Lack of Exposure and Longer Market Times Listing a property for sale with a quality Realtor exposes a property to thousands of real estate agents and their prospective buyers. With less exposure, comes longer marketing time.
9. Lack of Legal Assistance and Experience Most large brokerages have retained experienced real estate attorneys available to consult on challenging situations.
10. Advertising and Marketing The Seller is burdened with getting photos and advertising their home. Where do you begin?
11. Inconvenience and Time Consumption How valuable is your time? Are you available to answer calls and show the property during the week?
12. Quality and Savings of Support Services Selection of escrow, title, termite and other inspections' can be difficult for individuals to organize at reasonable rates.

For more Seller Tips see Sellers.

Written by
Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Saturday, October 28, 2017

September 2017 Santee Home Prices Up

September 2017 Santee California Home Prices are out from Corelogic.   53 detached resale houses sold with prices up +9.9% (median price $503,000) and 21 Condos down a bit -6.8%(median price $345,000) from a year ago. There are 42 houses and 23 Condos actively on the market. 

Lots of reasons to sell in the fall: 

  • Fewer houses on Market
  • Serious, highly qualified buyers already looking
  • Buyers want to be in before Christmas, before the end of the year
  • Decorating for the holidays helps with showings 
For more information about selling your home visit Sellers on Virginia

Virginia Hall 
Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

5 Tips to Successfully Navigating Multiple Offers

In the present Sellers' Market, if you price a property properly and it shows well, multiple offers are common. Here are tips to navigate those offers to get to the highest and best.

1.  Don't take the first offer you get.  Set a date to review offers and ask for the loan preapproval,  proof of funds and information about the buyers up front.  Usually a week is plenty of time to get the best offers with the most motivated buyers.  It can be noted in the listing.  This way you don't have buyers and agents panicked to get in and making impulsive decisions that they may regret later.

2.  Highest Offer isn't Always the Best.  When reviewing offers, consider the type of loans versus cash.  While buyers with VA or FHA loans may offer the highest offers, even above the asking price, remember if the appraisal comes in lower than the inflated purchase price, you may have to lower the price to match the appraisal since these buyers don't have a lot of cash reserves.   While buyers don't like to show you that they have lot of cash, you will want to look at the cash reserves if they are trying to outbid other buyers.   Strong cash offers can be the best.  They do not have to have an appraisal contingency and can close quicker.

3.  Increased Good Faith Deposit.  While the typical good faith deposit is 1%, some buyers are putting down more.  However, they don't take any risk of losing any of it, and at the most 3%,  unless they back out after releasing all of their contingencies in writing.  So the money that a buyer puts down in good faith shows motivation.

4.   Shorter Contingencies Time Frames.  Look for the shorter contingency time frames.  The motivated buyers can definitely shorten up their physical inspection periods.  Appraisal can be ordered within the first week.  With a full preapproval, loan contingencies can be shorten to 17 days.

5. Other Terms to Consider.   While having the sellers moved at the close of escrow is always best, sellers often need  more time to close up their old house before moving to the new one.    So a buyer may want to consider being open to allowing the seller to remain in the house for a few extra days to move their equity to close up their new home.

For other Home Seller Tips see  Home Sellers Don't Burned

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Thursday, August 3, 2017

10 Tips on Dog Etiquette When Buying or Selling a Home 

by Medina James

Buying or selling a home can be quite an adventure. You’re facing a big, exciting change and there’s so much to think about. So much, in fact, that it’s easy to get lost in the excitement and forget about the needs of your pet. This guide to dog etiquette when buying or selling a home will help give you peace of mind about your pup during the process.  


It’s really happening, you’re buying a home! You’ve spent hours looking at homes online, making a checklist of all the things you want in your new home - a breakfast nook, a porch, a fenced backyard for the dog. Now it’s time to start getting out and looking at properties. If you’re like a lot of people then your dog is part of your family and it’s tempting to want to bring them along when looking at properties, but that’s not a good idea.  

Here are five tips on dog etiquette when buying a home:  

                For more information:  
                1. Visit ​​ to find a drop-in pet sitter in your area 
                2. Visit ​​ for help with preparing your dog to socialize 
                3. Visit ​​ to learn more about escrow 
                4. Visit ​​ for more information on open house etiquette 
                5. Visit ​​ for more service-animal-related guidelines 


When you’re selling a home, there is a lot to consider as a dog owner: What will you do with the dog during showings? What’s the best way to get rid of pet odors and other signs of a pet? Are you okay with potential buyers bringing a dog into your home?  

The guide below offers five tips to help you prepare: 

               For more information:  
               1. Visit ​​ to find a place to board your dog 
               2. Visit ​​ for expectations on scheduling showings 
               3. Visit ​​ for other tips on decluttering 
               4. Visit ​​ for advice on eliminating pet odors 
               5. Visit ​​ to learn about other things to discuss with your realtor 

Buying or selling a home is so exciting! Armed with our guide to dog etiquette you’ll feel confident that your pet isn’t forgotten in the hubbub.