Tuesday, August 21, 2018

8 Tips to Downsize and Upsize Successfully

Your children are grown and gone.   They call you an empty nester.  You are ready to downsize, move to smaller home.   Or perhaps, you're expecting your third child and living in a two bedroom condo.  Time to upsize, move to a bigger home. 

However, you have to sell your present home first in order to afford a new home.  Many people fear not being able to find the perfect new home after selling their present home.  So many people want to find a new home before trying to sell their present home.  Unfortunately, most sellers won't sell to a contingent buyer who needs to sell their home before they can afford to buy a new home when they are multiple  ready-to-go buyers.  The dilemma is who knows how long it could take you to sell your present home, delaying the purchase of your new home. 

When you are downsizing or upsizing, here are tips to insure you don't end up in a compromised position: 

  1. For those downsizing, one of the most difficult things is to downsize your belongings to fit in a smaller home.  This could take months, but needs to be done prior to putting your home on the market.  Once you are in escrow, you need to be prepared to move. 
  2. Next, you must get a loan preapproval to buy a new home. 
  3. Then you must sell your home and get into escrow with a strong, motivated buyer with the means to buy your home.  
  4. In the listing and purchase agreement counter offers, you must include that you have a Seller's Contingency for Buying a Replacement Property until you have released all of your contingencies, including inspections, loan, and appraisal on the replacement home.  
  5. Plan a 60 day escrow versus the standard 30 day escrow for your present home sale.   You will also need to remain in possession of your present house for 3 days after close of escrow, so that the proceeds can transfer from one sale to the next.
  6. You will also want to request that the buyers of your home have an appraisal ordered within 48 hrs, release their physical inspections contingency within 10 days, and release their loan & appraisal contingencies within 17 days.     
  7.  If your buyer is on track to remove all contingencies by day 17, then you can begin looking for a new home on day 14.   Once all of your buyer's contingencies are removed by day 17, if your buyer backs out, then they would lose their good faith deposit.  The purchase home seller will know that your buyer is solid at this point.   
    If by some chance it takes longer than expected to find a home, you can request for an extension from your buyer. If the buyer doesn't want to wait then they can back out.  But more likely, they won't want to because they have invested money at this point.  
  8. Plan to close consecutively.  Your present home would close.  The proceeds from your sale would be wired to the purchase property the next day. Escrows will work out the details for you.   You could start moving in the day the new home closes. So it is very important to be organized.  Clean as you box up your belongings. 

While it is challenging, it can be done.   Using an experienced agent and organization are key.  For more buying and selling tips see www.VirginiaHall.com.

Written by Virginia Hall
                   Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Four Reasons Why Selling a Condo is Different Than Selling a House

Listing a property requires experience, skill and finesse. From the initial marketing to the final price negotiations, everything needs to be tailored to the type of home being sold. However, because of their main differences, selling a condo versus selling a house is very different. 

Reason #1: The Homeowners Association or HOA
All condos come with some type of HOA, or homeowners association that handles the common areas like swimming pools, the exterior of the building, some insurance, and landscaping.  

However, all of this comes at a cost. The first is money; a HOA cannot operate or pay necessary expenses without charging residents a monthly fee. The second is freedom; most HOAs have rules called CC& R's that need to be followed.

When selling a condo, potential buyers will balance the costs of each HOA with the benefits.  When comparing the benefits to the cost, the value is very close.  If water is included in your HOA fee, the cost will be higher.  While the average San Diego County condo HOA fee without a pool or water included runs $275 to $350; with water and a pool, the fees run about $350 to $450.  However, downtown San Diego high rise condos have much higher HOA fees to cover the maintenance of the elevators, insurance, security, and the building itself in the $750 to $950 range. 

Reason #2: Real Estate Investors

When selling a condo, it's reasonable to expect a larger number of investors considering the property than when selling a house. After all, renting out condos is a big business.

As a result, selling a condo could mean a faster closing, a cash offer, or even competing bids if the condo is on prime property.  

Reason #3: The Type of Buyer

Different types of buyers look at a condo versus a house. For starters, condos are generally smaller, have a patio or small yard if any yard at all.  All exterior landscaping is handled professionally, and frequently come with amenities like a swimming pool or fitness center.

While a good majority of potential buyers with children would love a swimming pool with zero maintenance, they aren't willing to make the trade for a smaller space. This means that when selling a condo, potential buyers will generally be single adults, newly married couples, or retired professionals looking to downgrade to an easier property.

Reason #4: Location, Location, Location

Every real estate agent knows that one factor, above all others, is most important when selling a property: location. Being close to town versus far away from traffic, near downtown excitement versus in a quiet neighborhood, or near shopping centers versus on the edge of nowhere all come into play for a property's value and desirability.

Generally speaking, condos tend to be closer to urban areas, shopping, and entertainment. This also means that their price per square foot is frequently higher. As a result, owners looking to sell their condo should carefully consult with their real estate agent about the best way to market their property and a fair listing price.

Monday, May 14, 2018

15 Free Spring/Summer Events in San Diego County

Along with miles of natural coastline and sunshine for days, there are a number of street fairs, including the Santee Street Fair on May 26th, Santee Summer Concerts starting June 14th, Santee Fidofest June 9th  and
other cultural events taking place throughout the summer months. Here’s a glimpse of some other freebies:
1. Head to Lake Murray in La Mesa for free fly fishing lessons Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. They also have free equipment for your use, but arrive early. sandiegoflyfishers.com
2. Seaport Village offers hours of free entertainment, leisurely strolling, window shopping and picturesque waterfront views.  Fly a kite in the nearby park, and watch passersby or catch the ships and yachts sailing on San Diego Bay. seaportvillage.com
3. Soak up international flavor at the House of Pacific Relations in Balboa Park with the International Cottages’ Lawn Programs. Held each Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. throughout the summer, these free performances feature ethnic song and dance. 2191 Pan American Road W., San Diego. sdhpr.org

4. Enjoy free organ concerts June 26 to Aug. 28 during the International Summer Organ Festival on Monday evenings at Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ. Also enjoy the Organ Pavilion’s Twilight in the Park Summer Concerts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 19 through Aug. 30. balboapark.com
5. Visit the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on the third Thursday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m., when admission is free. 1100 Kettner Blvd., between Broadway and B St., downtown. mcasd.org
6. Hike to Potato Chip Rock at Mt. Woodson Summit near Poway for some Instagram-worthy photos and views of the Pacific Ocean. Pack plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. Dogs are welcome on the trail but must be on a leash. bit.ly/2twik7P
7. Cool down during those dog days of summer at Waterfront Park near the County Administration Center along the Embarcadero. This giant park features more then 830 feet of interactive fountains and a large grassy area perfect for picnicking or just relaxing.
8.  Stroll along downtown El Cajon to see the Cajon Classic Cruise Car Shows and enjoy the entertainment every Wednesday night weekly until October 28th.
9. Visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs and experience the natural beauty of San Diego’s desert region. The 600,000-acre park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States.
10. Hike along the bluffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve and enjoy the breathtaking views and indigenous plant life along the trails. torreypine.org
11. Catch a movie under the stars at Summer Movies in the Park held throughout San Diego County. You’re bound to catch one of your favorite flicks somewhere in the neighborhood. summermoviesinthepark.com
12. San Diego County is home to more than 500 species of birds.inaturalist.org Watch them in their natural habitats at one of the many wetland reserves, including the Santee Lakes, Tijuana Estuary, Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge or the Famosa Slough in Point Loma.
13. Visit Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, California’s first Mission Church, founded in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra. missionsandiego.org
14. Ride along the Historic Highway 101 from Oceanside to La Jolla through a string of charming beach communities, with funky little shops housed in everything from Victorian homes to old 1950s gas stations.
15.  On May 19th, join the 5th annual celebration of the American Spirit  with various cultures and historical groups along with the celebration of the Armed Forces Day at the America on Main Street in El Cajon in downtown El Cajon.
Some of these written activities by Carolina Gusman in the Union Tribune May 13,2018. 
Written by 
Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty;

Monday, May 7, 2018

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 6


One of the hardest things to decide on was the flooring.  Wood flooring is definitely in and I love the look.  However, there are so many types of wood-like floorings.  So much to choose from...Hardwood.... Bamboo...Laminate Wood...Engineered...Tile...Linoleum...Vinyl.
While many of these look like wood, some are darker or lighter than others.  As well as some are more durable. I had ruled out laminate wood flooring because this wood flooring separates if liquids sit for any length of time on it.  I seen flooring buckling in front of a refrigerator and sinks.  Since we have an older dog, I was also concerned about her scratching the floor as well as accidents. 

Then there was hardwood flooring.  Hardwood flooring is more costly but can be refinished and doesn't delaminate.  And then there is engineered hardwood flooring, a better quality composite wood flooring that is supposed to hold up better to everyday living, pets and children, when compared to pergo or other less expensive laminates. 

Keeping the trends in mind, I finally narrowed it down to a ceramic tile that looked like wood. With a pet, I finally decided that this would be most practical.  Tile is easier to clean and maintain.  When we went to choose the tile, I was pleasantly surprised by the selection of tiles available that looked like wood.  They even came in 6"X36" planks.  So I had the best of both worlds.

However, even with tile, you must clean up the spills.  With prolonged leaks, water can seep into small cracks and breakdown the bond.  I have seen older tiles lift as a result of water leaks.

Flooring decisions can be challenging, so do your homework.  Visit the HGTV website to get an idea of the different kinds of flooring.  Consider all the options before making a decision. 

Written by
Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 5

Counter Top Choices

After choosing the color scheme, next comes the counter tops.  You will want to keep your color scheme in mind when picking cabinets and counter tops.  If you choose light color cabinets, you may want to contrast with a darker counter top.  And vice versa, with dark cabinets a lighter counter top for the contrast.  

While we used the same color quartz on all of our counter tops and island, some people are changing it up with a different accent color on the island. 

While granite is in, we chose quartz because of less maintence and it is more durable.  Granite needs regular sealing to avoid scratches and damage, while quartz countertops are already sealed making them more user friendly.  Quartz is actually harder, nearly indestructable, compared to granite.  Quartz is not porous like granite making it a healthy choice since it is relatively bacteria-free.  However, you still need to use hot pads to protect both Granite and Quartz, because both can be damaged by excessive heat.  Price is about the same.  For more information about quartz vsgranite countertops, see this Forbes article from a geologist's perspective or the HGTV's website.

Your cabinet hardware is another choice of style and taste.  We chose a brushed nickle cup handle for the drawers and knobs for the cupboards to flow with the stainless steel appliances and faucet.  

Written by Virginia Hall
                 Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 4

Color Scheme--Shades of Gray

Now that we had decided on a contractor, the next decision was the color scheme.

When a seller tells me he has been watching HGTV, I can't help but cringe.  I vividly remember walking into my client's home, not long after he had purchased it.  He had invited me over to see what he had done.  He had been "watching HGTV".  I was shocked by a bright yellow entry wall and an orange accent wall in the dining room.   All I could think of, is one day I would have to sell this home, and how was I going to break it to him, without insulting him, that he would need to repaint it the walls a more neutral color.   Thank goodness, his sister broke the news to him.   Leave it to family to be brutually honest.

While HGTV and other designers have some great ideas about vibrant colors in the kitchen, if you are preparing to sell your home you want to consider a more neutral palette that appeals to the majority of buyers.  Even though contrast is important when decorating, colors come and go each year, so choose a neutral color for most of your walls and then decorate with accent colors that can easily be changed or removed. 

When shades of gray (nothing to do with the book) came in a few years ago, I was thankful to finally see something I liked other than "realtor beige" that covered our walls.  With smaller rooms, you are best to use lighter colors.  Just like clothes, dark colors make rooms look smaller.  So that narrowed down the search to a light neutral gray color.

While a white vanilla tones could have been an option,  I had already done that before and wanted something different.  However, I was not crazy about all of the now popular tones of gray either.  So I searched for a shade that would be light and more neutral.  Some people recommend choosing a couple of color shades and then paint splotches on a wall and make the final selection from there.    However, I found that Pinterest had some paint colors already painted on walls that I loved. So I opted for a neutral light gray, Sherwin Williams' "Agreeable Grey" to contrast with the white kitchen cabinets we had chosen.   My husband's comment was "how could you say no to Agreeable Gray."

To help the house flow better, we used the Agreeable Gray not only in the kitchen and dining room but throughout the livingroom and hallways.  The stainless steel appliances, brushed nickle faucets and cabinet handles and light accents along with the white doors, windows, and crown molding contrasted nicely with the color.
Written by Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty