8 Ways to Prepare for a Fast Sale

8 Ways to Prepare for a Fast Sale

If you are looking to sell your home right now, you likely won’t have a problem getting it sold in Folsom, El Dorado County or most areas of Sacramento. It has been predicted that 2017 will be the fastest market in history. It’s a seller’s market right now in Sacramento, so houses are on the market one minute, sold the next. In the Sacramento Valley, we are seeing 48% of homes sell in less than 30 days. That is fast. So, if you plan on selling, there are a few things you will need to do to be prepared.

How to Prepare Your Home

  1. Get your preapproval out of the way so you can be ready to buy quickly and with confidence.
  2. Hire a good listing agent that knows how to market your home in a sellers’ market.
  3. Keep an eye on homes in the price range you are looking and in the area, you want to live in.
  4. Make a list of comparable homes selling in your area.
  5. Take care of any repairs your home might need.
  6. Clean and declutter, especially closets, bathrooms, and kitchen cabinets.
  7. Improve your curb appeal so potential buyers get the right impression at first glance.
  8. Be prepared to make your offer stand out from the competition.

Don’t Wait!

Having your preapproval ready before you put your home on the market is a very wise thing to do, so be prepared and get your preapproval! Getting your home looking the sharpest it can will help insure a quick sell. Just because it’s a hot seller’s market doesn’t mean your house will get top dollar if it is in disrepair, give a bad first impression, or appears to have storage problems. So, get ready, get set, and go! That perfect home is out there and waiting! Give us a call for a free consultation, and get your preapproval started. Thank you and have a great day.

Cozi Family Organizer

Cozi Family Organizer

Today I’m going to start off by painting a little picture for you. It’s Thursday, so in Folsom one kid has soccer practice at 4, and another has a game at 7 in Sacramento, CA. Oh, then you know you need to stop at the grocery store while you are in El Dorado Hills, but can’t remember what all you needed to get… does this all sound familiar? So many people run into this problem so we found the perfect solution, Cozi.


We rarely recommend apps to our viewers or readers, but we came across this one that I think can make your life so much simpler. It’s called Cozi Family Organizer. And it’s free. You can download on your laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android or any Windows platform. It helps coordinate and communicate everyone’s schedules and activities, track grocery lists, manage to do lists, plan ahead for dinner, and keep the whole family on the same page, even if they are in different places! One of the most convenient features is the shared calendar that also syncs to Gmail calendars. You can see what everyone is doing and where everyone needs to be, set reminders and send agenda emails so no one misses an appointment. Just think how organized your activities, meetings, school schedules, lessons, practices, and games will seem when they are all in one place. This will help you and your family be stress free, while knowing where everyone is or what to pick up at the store!

Honey, Don’t Forget the Milk

It also has a To Do List that can be shared like a honey-do list, or a chore list for the kids. The second most favorite feature is the Shopping Lists. Your spouse can just email the grocery list with one click if you need to pick up groceries on the way home! This app has many more features, like a messenger, meal planner, recipe keeper, contacts, birthdays, etc… Remember it’s free, so beta test it with your family and see how it works for you. There’s my tip, I hope it helps you keep your sanity and your family more organized.

The market is still very hot here in the Folsom, El Dorado, Placer, and Sacramento counties. If another thing on your to-do list is moving, be prepared and get preapproved to get the process started. We’re always here to answer any questions you may have or to get you started on your next journey, so give us a call and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.

5 Things the Seller Should Never Say

5 Things the Seller Should Never Say

Are you selling your house to move up into that dream home with more space and all the wonderful upgrades? It can be an anxious feeling, an unsettling feeling, not knowing how soon it will sell or where you will be next. It’s imperative that we put our home’s best face forward so its decluttered and looks perfect. Well, it’s also imperative to be smart about what we say and how we present our home’s condition.

Don’t Spill the Beans

When selling your home, there are certain things you should never say to you potential buyers! The last thing you want to do, is to alarm a buyer as to problems with the home, or to put expensive fixes into their head. Plus, you don’t want to create a potential liability by unknowingly give misleading or false information. This is one area where your Real Estate Agent is a great asset. Most folks that hire an agent never see or talk to the potential buyers, the agent does that! And your agent will advise you on what you must disclose per the law, and what you should disclose that may be found in the home inspection anyway.

What Not to Say

So, let’s talk about 5 things you should never say to people who come over to view the home:

  1. “We’ve always wanted to renovate that…” stop right there! Don’t indicate you are leaving because it’s cheaper than doing the renovations or moving a wall. This can make a buyer think there will be significant costs involved in making the home theirs.
  2. “This home is in perfect condition.” In your eyes, it may seem perfect, but the home inspection could reveal otherwise, so be careful about making claims that may not be true.
  3. “We’ve never had a problem with that…” You could set yourself up for potential liability on a problem you may not even be aware of, and it could translate into more than just an embarrassing moment upon inspection. So be truthful about what you know and admit what you don’t know.
  4. “We just need to sell, as it’s been on the market for X” No, no, no… This info is available on the home’s information sheet, and bringing it up can give sellers the wrong message. Either it’s a white elephant no one wants, or they may think they can get it dirt cheap.
  5. “We spent a ton of money on that…” The buyer doesn’t really care whether you spent $10,000 or $100,000 on upgrading your kitchen, they will only offer what they feel the home is worth. It may sound like you are trying too hard or are desperate to sell.

It’s No Longer Your Home

When you make the decision to sell, for whatever reason, your home is no longer YOUR home, it’s an asset you are selling. And, I’m sure you want top dollar. We all get it! Before selling, you go through the process of getting your home ready by decluttering, removing personal pictures and all the extras that make it your home. This helps take the emotion out of the transaction. So, this is the time to be realistic and open to offers within a reasonable range. Before you sell, be sure to get preapproved if you plan to purchase another home. Give us a call to get the process started so you are prepared with a strong offer when the time comes. Remember, the market in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Counties is hot right now, so be ready to go all in when you find that home you love.

FHA 203K Home Loan

FHA 203K Home Loan Folsom & Sacramento, CA

The FHA rehab loan program, otherwise known as the 203(K), has been requested more and more by our clients, so I think it’s a good time to talk about it here. The 203(K) is broken into two programs, the Streamline and the Full. This loan program can work with FHA or Conventional home loans. The streamline permits work up to approximately $35,000 including the contingency holdback, and the Full permits more extensive work over $35,000. One thing to note is that this programs is not for any work the FHA deems as a luxury item, such as a pool.

203(K) Streamline Loan

Let’s just talk about the 203(K) Streamline. The Streamline permits homebuyers and homeowners to finance up to $35,000 into their mortgage to repair, improve, or upgrade the home they want to purchase or refinance. The Full 203(K) can go much higher than the streamline. Now, this includes work such as a roof, carpet, kitchen, bathroom, paint, downspouts etc. It’s a pretty extensive list of repairs and upgrades, and you can really improve the value of the home. The actual loan amount is based on the projected value of the home with the repairs and upgrades. Which may mean you walk in with more equity than if you bought a move in ready home. This program may not be used to do major structural work such as adding a room, moving a load-bearing wall or for projects that that will take over 6 months to complete.

203(K) For Homeowners

Are you not sure if you should Move or Improve? If you own a home that needs updating or repairs, you may be able to use a 203(K) Refinance to either make property repairs and improvements, or prepare your home for sale. It’s a great way to make your home move-in ready by remodeling the kitchen, painting the interior or purchasing new carpet. Plus, you have a better chance of getting top dollar for your home when you go to sell, as well as, potentially, a quicker sale when its move in ready! This type of loan product can also help you increase your equity faster. You won’t know unless you check it out.

203(K) History

The mortgage must be a first lien on a one-to-four unit owner-occupied dwelling. Over the years, lenders have successfully used the FHA 203(K) loan program in partnership with state and local housing agencies and nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate properties. This program was critical to municipalities that needed to revitalize neighborhoods and reclaim them as desirable areas to live. This revitalization is also good for the homeowners in the area, that felt helpless as their neighborhoods fell into disrepair, taking their home values down with them.

Everything Good Takes Time

As a loan product, it takes a little extra time and work for all, but this program can be very useful for homebuyers that are interested in a property that needs a little TLC. Buying a property that needs work means you may often get it at a lower price so you aren’t paying for someone else to do the renovations. As a result…instant equity!

The Real Truth About Rent vs Buy

The Real Truth About Rent vs Buying in Sacramento, CA

In the United States, there is somewhere around $13.1 trillion in total value of the equity held by over 75 million U.S. homeowners, according to the latest estimates from the Federal Reserve Board. And that works out to almost $175,000 per owning household. This is undeniable proof that homeownership is a crucial part of household wealth. In large part, because purchasers were able to put a good chunk of money down on a house, and to qualify for a mortgage. Paying for a mortgage actually helps produce more wealth, by freezing payment amounts and building equity through forced savings over the life of the loan.

A Mortgage is a Beautiful Thing

Having an option for a 30-year amortized, fixed-rate mortgage is a beautiful thing, providing an affordable route to purchasing a home while locking in today’s cost of that home for the life of the loan. The traditional rent versus buy argument compares the total monthly costs of buying a home with a mortgage with the corresponding rent. Although, that doesn’t take into account the equity that is built over time with a 15-year or 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage. That simplistic  look at the dollar for dollar expenditure on a monthly basis, hides the fact that a mortgage is unlike a rent check. It’s really comparing apples and oranges, as they say!

A percentage of every monthly mortgage payment, after the interest is paid, goes toward the owner’s home equity. And over time, less of the mortgage payments go toward interest and more go toward equity, so the savings power is enhanced over the life of the loan. Whereas, if you continued to pay rent over the same 30 years, you end up with no asset and no equity at the end.  Even if the house only keeps pace with inflation over 30 years, which is a very conservative assumption, the forced savings built into a mortgage guarantees a homeowner is building wealth.

Building Equity in Your Sacramento Home

So it’s not just about the equalization of the monthly outlay of funds, it’s also the tax benefits, the principal paydown, and building equity. Just owning a home in the right neighborhood, that increases in value can build equity. Next, it’s what you can do with that equity… the smartest uses of equity are to put money back into your asset, your home, by keeping it maintained and upgraded, or to keep your debt at a low interest rate such as using it to pay for a kid’s college.

Now, that is the real truth about the power of homeownership over renting.

The Sacramento area, including Placer County, El Dorado County, and Yolo County is number 4 in the top Hottest Housing Markets in the nation, so now is a great time to buy or sell. So, check out the Home Buying University on the Resource Page to help you get started building wealth! Have a great week.

5 Tips to Start the VA Loan

5 Important Tips to Start the VA Loan

For military home buyers, the VA loans offer some unbeatable advantages, like a $0 down payment, no mortgage insurance, and more lenient credit requirements. This is a hard-earned benefit for those that qualify and isn’t all that different from buying with other loan products. Having the correct information and the right mortgage and real estate team in place can make a big difference.

The 5 Tips to Get Started

Whether this is your first VA loan or your 10th, you will want to have these tips:

  1. Start with the right Loan Officer – Not all mortgage professionals have experience and knowledge of the VA Loan. When selecting your Loan Officer, find out how many VA loans they have done in the past and if their team has experience in processing these loans. A lender that stays up on the VA requirements will facilitate the speed in which you can close your loan.
  2. Start with the right Realtor – To save yourself a lot of time, look for an agent who has VA experience, or is also a Vet. Buying a home isn’t any more complicated for veterans, but it helps to have someone who knows the ropes to negotiate your contract.
  3. Budget extra time to find the right home. – Do your research up front, to know what neighborhood you want to live in, the affordability of that area, and how much you can spend. Inventory can be tight in the most sought after areas. They may be experiencing multiple offers on homes in your price range. It may take several offers to get into contract. This is another reason, having the right Real Estate Agents is essential.
  4. Use technology to help your home search – If you are moving from out of state, you can do your home search online. Most Realtors will view homes for you and guide you in the decision-making process. Online searches will also be valuable in understanding what neighborhoods are attractive, school systems, and the median home prices.
  5. Be familiar with the VA rules on what homes are eligible – The VA has specific guidelines on what properties are eligible for VA financing. If you are looking for a condo, make sure it is on the VA Condo list. If it is a fixer upper, the VA appraisers require certain aspects of the property be in acceptable condition.

Great Benefit for Veterans

The VA Loan is an awesome loan product for Veterans and their families. It’s one of the only loans that requires zero down and doesn’t require Mortgage Insurance. It’s definitely a benefit you should take advantage of if you are an eligible Veteran. If you are unsure of your eligibility, give us a call and we can assist you with that as well. With the right lender and real estate agent, you can use this great benefit you deserve. I have an eBook on the VA Home Loan you can download. Thanks again for taking time to read my blog.

We love to serve our Veterans and our Loan Officers have experience in the VA Loan process. Have a great day.

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.