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.

4 Hacks Every Pet Owner Needs

4 Hacks Every Pet Owner Needs

Pet owners love their pets. In the U.S., 44% own a dog and 29% own a cat. Only 3% own other pets, like parakeets, snakes and hamsters. As much as we love our pets, they can create challenges in maintaining a home.

Four-legged Family Member

Most folks that have indoor pets, love their pets like a member of their family. We have clients that consider the needs of their pets as part of their home search in buying a home. They want a big yard for their larger dogs, or they want a laundry room large enough to set up a pet feeding station… One family only wanted a single-story home, as their aging dog had a difficult time with stairs. Yes, it’s true! That’s how much pet owners love their four-legged family member!

Indoor Pet Hacks for the Home

Owning a pet is a lot of responsibility. I’ve had friends that wanted to get their child a dog so they could learn to be responsible by feeding, bathing, walking, etc… Most end up doing it all themselves, as our kids grow up and have a busy life between school, activities, sports and socializing! So, keeping on top of the pet ownership job can help free up time. So, here are my 4 hacks that every pet owner needs to know:

#1 – Repurpose an old cabinet as a hidden cat litter box. Remove any shelves and add a hinged door on the front so you can get in and out of it easily. Paint it, install a cat door on one side, and there you have it… a cool looking piece of furniture and no litter box in sight.

#2 – Store dog or cat food in large plastic pitchers. It will stay dry and be easier to pour into the food bowl.

#3 – One of the biggest downsides of pet ownership is the never-ending collection of hair that piles up on furniture and carpeting. Eliminate fur from carpet and upholstery by scraping the surfaces with a squeegee.

#4 – Make your own pet odor eliminator… mix ½ cup each baking soda and 20 Mule Team Borax. Now add 20-25 drops essential oils or 1 teaspoon of cloves or cinnamon. Now put into an empty parmesan cheese container and sprinkle it on your carpeting and furniture. The cloves also prevent moths. Also check out the homemade Fabreze recipe here!

These hacks should help with the chores that pet ownership brings. Pets bring us a lot of unconditional love and joy, so not having a pet because of the extra work would be a shame. There is always a solution to every problem, right?

If you have other ideas, be sure to email me and I’ll share them too. When you are house shopping and looking for a home that suits your family (including Fido), we can get you preapproved so you know how much house you can afford! The housing market is hot in Sacramento, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Roseville, and Elk Grove, like many of the areas within the Counties, so let’s get in the game! Rates are still near historic lows, so get in while the getting is good! Well that’s my tip, and I hope it helps you keep your home cleaner. Enjoy your 4 legged family member! Give me a call if I can help with a preapproval or refinance. Have a great day.

6 Laundry Organization Tips

6 Laundry Organization Tips


Taking care of household laundry can be grueling if you let it pile up and take over your life. Especially with kids, school, sports, and work! When life gets crazy, going here, going there, and family time is precious, doing household chores can be overwhelming. We have three boys, all in school and sports, primarily soccer, here in the Folsom area. That means a lot of sweaty, dirty, stained clothes. In my household, it is important to stay on top of this dreaded chore and keep it organized. So I wanted to share these laundry organization tips with you, as they just may help ease this household job.

6 Tips for Laundry Organization

Just like most tasks, setting up a process, getting organized and staying on track, will make the laundry chore much easier to manage as a family. So, here are 6 ways to organize your laundry duties:

  1. Teach your kids how to do their own laundry. You can assign one day of the week for each one to get their laundry done. Also, include stripping their bedding once a week. They aren’t going to do it perfect, but giving them responsibility helps them grow in many ways. This is a life maintenance skill your kids will eventually need anyway, so they will thank you when they go off on their own.
  2. When you have same sex kids and close to age, it truly helps to color code each kid’s towels and sheets. It will make it easy to know where they go and who’s they are! Plus, you will know who’s are left in the dryer!
  3. We all know that the dryer is a black hole for socks. So, keep a mesh bag in every laundry basket and have them put their socks and underwear in the bags. You won’t have to worry about pairing the socks and figuring out who’s is who. This can be a huge time saver.
  4. Use laundry sorting bins if you like to do whites and colors separately.
  5. Make sure your laundry room is well organized and equipped. Not everyone has the luxury of counter space for folding, but if you do, make sure to keep it clear for the next load coming out of the dryer. Having a trash can for lint next to the dryer is essential. Add some fun elements like a penny jar for loose change, a bin for single socks, and maybe a small tub for emptying pockets for each person.
  6. My favorite is to keep extra hangers in the laundry room for hanging clothes right out of the dryer, and prevent ironing! No one likes to iron! And it’s not necessary if you hang them up right away. Having that steam feature on the dryer is nice if they do sit for a bit but it never gets all the wrinkles out.

Family Citizenship

Teaching our kids how to participate in getting jobs around the house done, is teaching citizenship. That lesson starts in the home. It also helps them to be more independent as they mature and need to know how to do these things. Getting their cooperation at first can be a hassle, but worth it for everyone in the long run. And, household chores aren’t a favorite way to spend a weekend, but I do have to say, that when the laundry is kept up and put away, it feels good. Well that’s my tip, and I hope it helps you keep your sanity with all of the laundry chores. Give me a call if I can help with a preapproval or refinance. The Real Estate Market is taking off strong this year here in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Counties. Watch for my next blog on The Real Truth About Rent vs. Buy. You’ll have a better picture of that age-old debate. Thank you for joining me. 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.

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.

Clean Hard Water Spots

Clean Hard Water Spots from Dishes

For many reasons, you should remove hard water stains from glasses and dishes. Not only the dirty appearance it gives, but it can affect the health of your family.

What are Hard Water Spots?

Hard water is water with a high amount of mineral deposits like lime, silica, and calcium. When the water dries, the deposits are left behind, leaving unsightly spots on glass or ceramic surfaces, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens. Depending on the type minerals left behind, they can be harmful to your health as well as ugly! So, keeping these spots off your glassware and dishes can be important for your family’s’ health, too. We are lucky in the Folsom, CA area, where our water comes from Folsom Lake. Roseville, Granite Bay and other Sacramento area communities get water from Folsom Lake as well. Our water is considered “moderately soft” with very little mineral deposits.

Water Quality by Community

If you want to know where your water comes from and the quality of your drinking water, you can find out through your local governmental agencies. Here are a few of the local municipalities that manage the local water supplies:

Hard Water Spots Are Embarrassingly Ugly

Yes, those unsightly spots can be embarrassing when you are serving your guests a great wine in a glass with spots… or that beautiful table setting is marred with stains on your beautiful plates. Plus, they can be difficult to remove no matter how many times you wash your dishes. So, I came across a method for removing hard water from your dishes. For this method, you will need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Cold water
  • Paper towels

Here’s How to Remove the Spots

First, be sure to buy a one-gallon jug of distilled vinegar to ensure that you have enough. Next, soak the dishes in a sink with half vinegar and half cold water between 3 and 4 hours. Take the dishes out one at a time, being sure to dunk them several more times in the sink before putting them in a drying rack. Use paper towels to wipe them all dry. You should repeat this every few months to make sure you keep removing hard water stains on your dishes. This will keep them extra-clean and sparkling.

Well, that’s my tip for this week! If you want to know today’s mortgage rates, or have questions, please give me a call! I’d be glad to help. Thanks for joining me. Have a great day.

How to Pick a Mortgage Professional in Sacramento

How to Pick a Mortgage Professional

How to Pick a Mortgage Professional in Folsom, El Dorado Hills and Greater Sacramento

As you know, buying a home can be exciting and hopeful but it can also be emotional. The Mortgage Professional or Loan Officer you select to start the process can be critical. It’s advisable to team up with a Loan Officer in the very beginning, that is local to the greater Sacramento area, whether it is Folsom, Roseville, El Dorado Hills, and so on.

Getting Pre-Approved on a Home Loan in Greater Sacramento

Now, you have the advantage of getting preapproved and knowing just what you can afford. Sometimes, you may have to spend a little time getting your finances in order before you can be pre-approved, and a good Loan Officer can direct you on where to go or what your options are upfront.

Start Shopping for a Home Loan Expert in Sacramento

So, let’s say you are all set, you got preapproved and you know how much you can afford to spend. Great! Now, you can start shopping. You find the home of your dreams and are so excited to make that offer! How does your preapproval help in your home buying experience? Well, honestly, most real estate agents won’t spend a lot of time showing you homes until you are preapproved.

From the Realtor’s perspective, it can waste everyone’s time if you can’t qualify for a loan, or if they are showing you homes you find out later, you can’t afford. It’s also a huge benefit when you finally find that dream home and you go to make an offer.

Your Loan Officer will usually supply you with a preapproval letter for the amount of the offer you intend to make. This shows the seller you should qualify for the loan as long as nothing has changed financially for you. In today’s market, where sellers may be looking at multiple offers, having a strong preapproval can go a long way. A good Loan Officer may also call the listing agent and give them input as to how strong of a borrower you are. Now, you should have a very competitive advantage over other offers.

Now let’s talk about what to look for in a Loan Officer.

First, you want someone you feel like you can trust. Buying a home is a life-changing experience. Next, look for how they communicate…

  • Do you click with them?
  • Do they understand your needs?
  • Are they customer focused?
  • Are they knowledgeable about the Housing Market in your area?
  • Do they work alone or have a team?
  • Do they look for the loan scenario that fits your goals?
  • Do they have access to all of the loan products available?
  • Are they up to date on the guidelines?

Another question to ask yourself is, “If I need Down Payment Assistance, is this Loan Officer able to assist me through that process?”

Selecting a Loan Officer

Selecting a great Loan Officer isn’t like picking your BFF, its more about trust and competency, with a high sense of urgency to get the job done, right, and on time. Every Loan Officer isn’t right for every person. Here at Iron Point Mortgage, in Folsom CA, we have Loan Officers that work with a highly skilled team to get the job done, throughout the Sacramento area. One of them should be the right one for you! Remember, I’m here to help, so give us a call.  Get started right and have a great home buying experience.