Why Attend Open Houses in Sacramento

Why Attend Open Houses in Your Neighborhood?

Is your neighbor’s home for sale? I bet you are curious and want to go look as soon as they have their first open house, right? It’s a good idea, even if you aren’t buying or thinking of selling because it can be a wealth of information you may need to gauge your own interest.

A Good Agent Welcomes Visitors

Real Estate Agents know that not everyone who attends open houses are looking to buy. Having the neighbors come check out the house can be a great advantage for the agents, as it gets everyone invested in selling the home next door. In addition, many times the neighbors provide a lot of insight as to what they love about the area.

4 Reasons to Check Out Open Houses

Here are 4 opportunities that open houses present if you put on the brakes when you see an open house sign and stop in.

  1. Get the listing agent’s perspective. You check out the open house to not only see what is for sale and the price of comparable homes but also to learn about the local housing market. Talk to the listing agent. Pick their brain about the inventory available, affordability, and home values in the area.
  2. Check out design current trends. Getting your home ready to sell isn’t always a quick task. Sellers generally want to have their house perfect so they can demand the highest price possible. So, they may do a few upgrades to make it more desirable and therefore, sellable. Even if you aren’t considering selling at the moment, you might get design inspirations to make your home feel like new again, and keep it current. There is a point when you have to make a decision to Move or Improve.
  3. Get referrals. If they did upgrades or staging, you can check out the quality of the work. Although getting referrals from friends and family is always a great idea, seeing the finished product at an open house can provide you with a sneak peak as to the quality of work they would do for you. If you are impressed, you can ask the listing agent to get the contractor’s information from the Sellers.
  4. Food for thought. For those of us that are dedicated house hunters, always browsing the listing sites, attending open houses may just fuel that need. Plus, keeping abreast of the market in your area and the home values just might give you the information you need to pull the trigger on getting into homeownership or reselling your home to move up.

Most realtors won’t mind you coming through the open house, even if you aren’t looking to buy. You just never know when you may get inspiration to do some upgrades, redecorate, or even to list your home. Well that’s my tip for this week. Give me a call if I can help with a consultation for a preapproval or refinance to use the equity for those upgrades. Have a great day.

Flipping is on the rise in Sacramento

House Flipping is on the rise in Sacramento

Do you watch the TV shows like Fixer Upper Starring Chip and Joanna Gaines? Or Flip or Flop? What about House Hunters Renovation? These TV shows make it look easy, but they also come across a lot of “unknown” issues that can be costly. I know a local real estate agent that actually is like having our own Property Brothers type transactions here in Folsom, CA.

Flipping is Making a Comeback!

The trend of buying a fixer-upper is making a return to real estate markets. More than 6% of home sales last year were “flips”, according to a new report from Trulia. That’s the highest number in 10 years, before the real estate bubble burst and the financial crisis of 2008. When the economists see flipping reach ten-year highs, they start to get a bit concerned about another bubble and crash.

Although, this time is different more flips are value-added improvements that investors are making to the home, rather than speculative flips. Plus, home prices are steadily rising. The price increases in 2016 were the quickest in about 3 to 4 years which gives flippers a possible layer of protection. Flips of lower priced homes can contribute to the first-time home buyer inventory, alleviating some of that availability while managing affordability.

Flipping High-End Homes

Although, most of the flipping reported is among luxury properties that have aged out of style, but if brought current, can demand higher prices. Many of these properties were foreclosed on during the housing crash as folks were in over their head with properties they couldn’t afford. Bringing these properties up to date to be put back on the market is a higher risk than the median price range home. The luxury market has a higher inventory level, therefore the potential for the home to sit on the market for longer is likely. If you are flipping luxury homes, you have to be prepared for the time it may take to sell.

Flipping Has Risks

Flipping can be a risky business. If you are getting into flipping homes, do your due diligence. Get a thorough home inspection, pest inspection, and perhaps, even a constructional engineer to investigate the property. The big ticket items you may not see nor show up in an inspection, can take all of the profits out of that flip. Foundation issues, electrical problems, mold, plumbing, roof leaks, etc… all could potentially eat up your expected profits. The whole idea of flipping real estate is to make a quick profit. It’s called speculation, but in this environment of low housing inventory, the flippers are contributing to the demand.

Build Long Term Wealth Through Real Estate

Real estate is a good way to build long term wealth. Flipping can bring immediate payoffs but it is a much larger risk for those that don’t know what they are doing. There are local folks here in Sacramento, Folsom and the local area, that can be used as a resource, so if you need a referral for advice, give us a call.

6 Things to Do with Credit Card Debt

6 Things to Do if Credit Card Debt Sneaks Up

Your credit score has a significant meaning to your lifestyle. You may think everything is going smoothly but then you start having car issues, so time to trade it in. If you’re debt is high or your credit score is marred, you will pay much higher interest rates, if you get that car at all.

Intentions are Not Always Enough

Credit card debt can creep up on us, even if we have every intention of paying them off every month when we make that purchase. Our intentions are good, but not always feasible. So, your balances start creeping up and you’ve lost control over your finances. Don’t freak out, just breathe and fix it.

Here are 6 things you can do if that happens to you:

  1. Put your spending on a diet. Start by cutting out all unnecessary expenditures, while postponing essential purchases for as long as possible. Then, look for ways to save money on all your essential purchases. Eating out frequently can add up fast.
  2. Increase your monthly payments. One of the worst mistakes that you can make with your credit cards is to only pay the minimum balance. You should be paying as much as you can every month.
  3. Make your payments before the due date. Credit card interest is calculated based on your average daily balance, so you will save money by making your payments as soon as you can.
  4. Make a payment with every paycheck. When you do this, you will reduce your average daily balance with each payment, which will lower your interest charges.
  5. Use alternative ways to pay for essentials. Temporarily store your credit cards in a secure place and temporarily start using cash, checks or debt cards. Put your credit cards on a time out until the balances are down and you can easily pay the balance each month.
  6. Look at the 12-month interest-free offers. Consider transferring the balance on a card to a temporary interest-free card while you are paying it down, to decrease the amount you have to pay in interest.

Set a Goal and Keep Eye on the Prize

Getting a handle on your credit card debt before you need to can give you a piece of mind and may even prevent a crisis when you need credit. Set a goal as to what you want your credit score or FICO Score to be and work to get it there. Debt to Income Ratio (DTI) is an important part of qualifying for any type of loan, and can be a huge impact on the interest rate you get. Credit is king when it comes to living your life, so care for it like you do your family! Well that’s my tip for this week. Remember to stay on top of your debt, as you never know when you will need the credit! Buying a home is a great example! Folsom real estate is still affordable, along with the Sacramento Housing Market, so give me a call if I can help with a preapproval or refinance. Have a great day.

Kids Born in 2017 Will Never Know

12 Things Kids Born in 2017 Will Never Know

On my Facebook news feed, I often see friends welcoming the new baby into the family. A monthly profile picture of the growing baby bump the mom’s like to post. Grandparents beaming with great pictures of new little ones they get to spoil, with probably more zest than when they had their kids!

Our Lives Are So Transparent Today

In this social media age, we get a glance as we scroll through our news feed, into so many peoples’ lives as they navigate adulthood. Many of my friends in Folsom and Roseville, CA, have kids graduating college that I knew when they were welcomed into this fast-paced world! Two of my three boys are already taller than I am, in high school and already pretty independent. I know it is trite to say, they grow up so fast, but it is true. I always get a kick out of them when I talk about something from the past and they have no clue. They call me “old school” for having a land line on my desk at work! Oh boy, so many things have changed and so many more will change!

The Top 12 Things They Will Never Know

Well, this all got me smiling inside this morning. Watching a new generation being born made me think of all the things kids born this year will never know. So I compiled a fun, tongue-in-cheek, list for thought…

  1. Landline phones
  2. How to spell and write in cursive
  3. What a fax machine is
  4. Dial up connections
  5. TV with rabbit ears and dial
  6. How to read a map
  7. Circus elephants
  8. Reading a newspaper in the morning (or the newspaper funnies)
  9. How to write a paper check
  10. The # (hashtag) is really the pound sign
  11. Talking to the people you are sitting with at dinner
  12. David Bowie, Prince and George Michael

More Thoughts to Ponder…

  • If they don’t teach cursive writing in elementary any more, how will they learn to sign their name?
  • What ever happened to Saturday morning cartoons?
  • Now they have 24/7 cartoon networks but do they still have Bugs Bunny or the Roadrunner?
  • What about singing 100 bottles of beer on the wall in the car to pass time (and drive your parents crazy)?

Past, Present, and Future…

  • What other things will be distant memories when the babies of today start coming of age?
  • What memories has your parents shared that are long gone?
  • What would you like to see come back?
  • What gadget to you foresee replacing a common tool of today?

Is the American Dream still alive?

According to the experts out there, this new Generation Z, 8-18 now, will have a strong sense of the American Dream and will aggressively go after it. That is great news, as the generations ahead of the, like Gen Y and Millennials, have suffered from debt, preventing them from building wealth through real estate. They are just now getting into the game, with the FHA low down payment options. Owning a home is our single biggest asset for most of us. Before you buy, check out my tips on 8 Things to do Before You Purchase. The Sacramento Housing Market is still an affordable area to purchase and an awesome market to sell to move up into that forever home!

Share your memories and predictions in comments below or on our Facebook page. Well that’s my deep thought for this week. Give me a call if I can help with a consultation for a preapproval or refinance to use the equity for those upgrades. Have a great day.

Redfin’s 2017 Housing Predictions

Redfin’s 2017 Housing Predictions with New Administration

The Redfin leaders predict what the 2017 housing market will look like, under a new president, administration, and policies.  The Trump administration touts three major policies that could significantly the U.S. real estate market: infrastructure spending, tax cuts and changes to immigration policy.

Recently, action was taken to deregulate the CFPB, or mortgage industry. But, as these policies take shape, they will primarily affect new construction and mortgage rates. They still see strong buyer interest, with more access to credit and a slight increase in inventory, yet home prices will continue to rise at a steady, controlled pace.

Here are 5 of their predictions:

  1. The housing market will continue to grow at a slower pace. Baby boomers will be less relevant as the largest generation of Americans, referred to as Millennials, will continue to become of home-buying age. It’s hard to believe they outnumber the Baby Boomers! The strength of sales by area, will depend on the inventory of starter homes, that will meet the demand from millennial homebuyers. In the Sacramento area housing market, construction is abundant on the South 50 corridors, along with areas of Roseville, Auburn, Elk Grove, Granite Bay, and Rancho Cordova.
  2. 2017 will be the fastest real estate market on record. In 2016, nationally, the typical home stayed on the market 52 days, which is the fastest market since they have been tracking this data. In the Sacramento Housing Market, the median time on the market in December was just 22 days, and in some areas like the Folsom Housing Market, a mere 17 days!
  3. Nationally, new-construction growth will slow due to the lack of workers. Nearly 1 in 4 construction workers are foreign-born, so stricter immigration policies can make the problem worse. This is the number one issue in the Sacramento home construction industry. Their workforce is only at 40% of the pre-housing crash construction boom. This also attributes to the lack of affordable starter homes for first-time buyers.
  4. Mortgage rates will increase slightly, but not too much or too fast. Redfin says no higher than 4.3 percent on the 30-year fixed rate, but we are almost there already. Many experts are predicting the mid to high 4s. Although, there are many factors that can move this needle higher or lower, so this one is truly a “wait and see.” Mortgage rates are tied to Bond Markets, which can heavily be affected domestically and internationally. The history of mortgage rates can be viewed here.
  5. More people will have access to home loans. The government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie will increase the loan limits to $424,100 from $417,000 in most regions of the U.S. Those loans are generally through FHA. You can view the FHA series here. Conventional loans also allow lower interest rates with Private Mortgage Insurance, see the conventional loan product here. With the current efforts to modify Dodd Frank and the CFPB, the qualification requirements could be relaxed. If the HUD effort to decrease the Mortgage Insurance percentage is back on the table, it could have an effect on affordable mortgages.

You can read the entire article on the Redfin website for more of their predictions. The bottom line is “wait and see” what this new administration holds for the mortgage and real estate industry as their policies take shape. Thanks for joining me, feel free to comment, and have a great week.

Curtain Rings with Clips

Multiple Uses of Curtain Rings with Clips

Is the kid’s bathroom tub or shower always a mess? Each one has their own shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, scrubby, etc… and they are all over the sides of the tub, floor and making a mess. Not to mention tub toys! It looks cluttered, sloppy and messy. Well, we found this great bathroom shower organizer hack that will fix this problem! And it is inexpensive!

What You Will Need:

To get started, you will need three commonly found things:

  1. A tension shower curtain rod, found in most department stores or home stores for about $10.
  2. Curtain rings with clips… about $8 for a pack of them at Home Depot or Target. You can also find them on line.
  3. An over-the-door mesh shoe organizer from the dollar store, or you can get a more expensive one that will last longer.

How to Assemble:

First, put the rings on the tension rod. Next, install the tension rod across the back of the tub or shower, placing it at the height it can be easily reached by the littles too. Now you can hang your products on the clips or put them into the pockets of the shoe organizer! This works well for bar soaps, bathtub toys, or just about anything that belongs around the tub or in the shower. Plus, it’s easy for the kids to use!

In some homes, the main bathroom that the kids use, is also the guest bathroom. In this case, it becomes even more important to keep it organized and clean for when those guests drop in! I know that can drive my wife a but whacky, or at least cause anxiety, I should say! When you have kids in sports here in Folsom, CA, the whole team and neighborhood seems to be in and out of the house at any given time!

That’s actually one of the reasons we love this area, the family friendly neighborhoods! Most of the greater Sacramento area has awesome communities with family friendly neighborhoods, like Granite Bay, El Dorado Hills, Roseville, Auburn, Elk Grove, and many more. If you love the neighborhood you live in, email me and tell me what it is that makes it family friendly and why you love it. It’s great to have family friendly neighborhoods to recommend in this real estate market! Thank you for reading my blog this week. Happy house hunting if you are shopping! If not, perhaps I can help you with a preapproval if you are considering a purchase! Give me a call to get started. Have a great day.