Home Seller Tips
Appraisers…..we love to hate them. They scrutinize your house, call your ‘baby’ ugly, and they tell you it isn’t worth as much as you would like. But they are a critical part of every real estate transaction when you’re getting a loan, so we have to learn to speak appraisal language. What does an appraiser do, anyway? In a nutshell, appraisers determine an unbiased price your property is worth at any particular moment in time. They do this by pulling ‘comps‘ or comparable properties near you, and then factoring in upgrades and features to nail down a property price. The bank hires an appraiser to confirm the loan they are about to give you is on a safe, solid, properly priced property. This week we had the pleasure of hearing long time Laguna Beach appraiser Mary “Vicky” Wilson tell us how we can get closer to the right numbers. As an agent in the business 11 years, some of this info was totally new to me! I’m sure you’ll learn a few things too – so read on :)
First off, appraisers take a completely factual and non-emotional approach. So to get on the same page with them…you’ve gotta use your head, not your heart. Every price adjustment and comparable property needs to be validated with a series of facts behind it, not just thoughts or feelings.
Basic guidelines Orange County Real Estate appraisers follow:
- **Appraisers do NOT NOT NOT use a price per square foot average.** Don’t even try to value your property like this. You may be able to justify it to the buyers agent, buyer, and yourself, but the appraiser isn’t buying it, and they give the bank the green light needed to lend the money needed & close this deal. Now, lots and land are an exception to this rule, but the main dwelling is NOT.
- Comps must be reasonable substitutes. ie single level properties vs 2 story properties are NOT comparable. Read that again because it takes a minute to sink in. SERIOUSLY?? The 2 story that is 3 doors down is not a comp if you’re a single story??? Notsomuch in the eyes of the appraiser. Be careful not to price a less desirable model in a neighborhood the same as the most desirable if they differ in stories.
- To follow along these lines, lenders don’t want an appraiser to compare properties that are 15% plus or minus in size. If you are the smallest model, you may not be a comp with the largest, and vice versa.
- Lenders require 4 closed sales AND 2 backup or pending sales that support the value opinion & your price tag. Pay attention to active, pending, & backup listings because the appraiser is! They are looking for upward or downward trends in your local market. One high closing in your area won’t help you, remember FOUR closed properties are needed, plus 2 more that are under contract.
- Did you know there are only 17-20 line items on an appraisal? Appraisers stick to the cold, hard facts.
- L O C A T I O N is the #1 consideration. Location also trumps distance from property. So if you are the only ‘ocean view’ in your community, an appraiser may go to a neighboring community to pull other ocean view comps instead of other non-view properties in your same neighborhood. Same would go for a ‘corner lot’ or ‘end unit’ location.
- Time is of the essence. Appraisers like 3-6 month old closed comps, not more than 1 mile away. Pull up this data before you price your property so you are in line with the realities of today’s market.
- No, your converted detached garage, pool house, or Mother In-Law suite is not part of the square footage of your property. Ever. Rule of thumb: If you have to walk outside the main structure and have air or water or wind touch you then it’s not part of the square footage :( Furthermore, to be considered square footage, permitted improvements must be above soil grade & under the main roof. Sorry, but your cool casitas or underground grow and wine rooms can be appraisal line item adjustments, but NOT included in the square footage.
- .75 bath (toilet, sink, shower) is counted as a full bath in appraisals!!!! .5 baths with no tub or shower, on the other hand, are only noted as .1….so if your property is 5 full and 3 1/2 baths… it’s a 5.3 on the appraisal; not 6.5.
- Appraisers only have 48 hours to send their appraisals in, and they get paid less than $500 per report. Banks have high expectations and short timelines, so this is where a good agent comes in to assist your appraiser in understanding your home’s true value, quickstyle. More agent tips coming if you keep on reading….
- The market will *usually* pay back 50-60% of what you spent on upgrades!!! Sellers who try to add the entire price of remodels or upgrades into a purchase price always end up disappointed. Remember this ratio and come to terms with it now.
- If you do have an unpermitted addition, appraisers will ask: Does it have intrinsic value to the property? Is the addition positive or negative to the overall home? How is the condition? Remember, non-permitted additions won’t count toward square footage, ever, but it can be added as a line item to the overall valuation.
Tips for Realtors and homeowners to better work with appraisers:
- Be present at the appraisal appointment with a comp packet. Or email it early. The appraiser is in the field NOW, not in 3 hours when you get back to the office and your email. Don’t expect appraisers to drive back to see your comps. Make sure to support upward and downward trends with comps and a possible market report, too.
- Inform – appraisers need to know what was upgraded and how much was spent. Readily offer full access to everything.
- Don’t approach an appraiser negatively or with an attitude if you don’t agree with their valuation.
- Don’t say: “You should have no problems with the value”. Famous last words.
- During follow up: don’t ask the value, they can NOT tell you the number directly. Instead ask: “Did you find any problems with the home that may be an issue?”
Wanna Ask the Appraiser more specifics?
Want an Orange County Market Report and professionally pulled comps?
Contact the AskAngie team and we’re happy to help! You can reach Angie direct at 949-338-7408. Or just email Angie@AskAngie.com or tweet @AskAngieTeam so we can help you get the research you need to sell your biggest asset for top dollar!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Want to buy a home, but don’t know where to start? Or are you trying to sell your home, and everything is going wrong? Have an interest in investing? Then you came to the right place. All your questions can be answered On March 29 2014 at the Southern California Home Ownership Day located at University Drive Orange, CA 92866 !! This event is a do not miss opportunity.
The Southern California Home Ownership Day
California Home Ownership Day is hosting. Some of the seminars include Buying after a Short Sale Foreclosure, Steps to Buy Your First Home, The Escrow Process, What to Expect With Your Home Inspection, and Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill. Each class is taught by a well educated instructor.
Do you want to be an Automatic Millionaire Homeowner?
The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner seminar is a slow play way to become a millionaire in real estate. I am teaching this class, please click on this link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ochomefairclass01). You can also enter to win a free raffle to win the book The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner by David Bach.
The best part of this event is that it’s FREE!! But you need to hurry and register a seat for the classes you would like to attend. Don’t know how? To learn more about this event visit http://www.OCHomeFair.com or Contact me at (949) 338-7408 or Tweet me @AngieWeeks
)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
If you are interested in what is to come in Orange County real estate, then listen up as Leslie Appleton Young has provided us with some great insights. We had the chance to attend one of Leslie’s recent luncheons, and she gave us great information we needed to know for the upcoming Real Estate shift.
As mentioned in our recent video summary on YouTube (embedded below), Leslie stated California Realty is a “Bright Spot in the California Economy; and that the bottom has been reached and is on its way up.” We also found demand is starting to grow, big time! 83% of Real Estate investors are buying to hold. 57% of homes in Orange County are recieveing multiple offers of more than asking. There are an average of 4.3 offers per property!!! Homes are flying off the market right now as well – the average days on the MLS is cut in half from a year prior. Southern California Median home prices are up 14.3 %. Things are looking much better for Orange County and California real estate in general…great news!!
Are you ready to get your Orange County home on the market and upgrade? Call The Weeks Team…877-230-3211
|SFH Resales (000s)||441.8||546.9||492.3||497.9||523.3||530.0|
|Median Price ($000s)||$348.5||$275.0||$305.0||$286.0||$317.0||$335.0|
f = forecast
The Weeks Team
949 – 338 – 7408
Happy Memorial Day!! We hope you have a nice and relaxing long weekend planned :) Here’s an interesting email we received about homebuyer recovery from the folks at FirstTuesday.us and Barry Zanck, one of our preferred lenders. What do you think?
California Home Buyer Recovery
2005-2009 California economic development stagnates.
2007-2009 The Great Recession
2009-2010 The Federal Reserve takes direct control of long-term interest rates – all new mortgages are Fed funded by bonds.
2009-2016 The Lesser Depression, characterized by persistent slow job growth and low demand from home buyers, while dominated by speculators.
2010-2015 Home sales remains on a “bumpy plateau” recovery approximating their 2010 numbers. The state’s homeownership rate drops below 55% (state’s historic point of stability) to near 50%. Collectively, short sales, foreclosures sales and REO resales remain high.
2012-2013 The most likely bottom for home sales volume to users, followed by an extremely gradual sales volume recovery for lack of user demand. Apartment construction begins to rise noticeably in response to tenant demand.
2014-2015 Prior low pricing and low interest rates spark a bounce in home sales volume. This bounce is short-lived, as the Federal Reserve raises rates to control the pace of recovery and prevent momentum buying. Property prices keep pace with the rate of consumer inflation. Speculators holding SFRs acquired two or three years earlier begin to dump them
2014-2016 Home sales stabilize. Shortsales, foreclosures, bankruptcies and REOs remain high. 300,000-400,000 new jobs are created annually for a return to the December 2009 peak level. Generation Y begins to come of age and buy homes.
2016-2017 Full recovery mode for employment, home sales, then pricing. SFR construction rises, though no where near Boom-time heights.
2017-2018 Interest rates rise again.
2018-2020 Excess inventory of vacant homes finally returns to pre-recession levels. Generation Y begins to pick up homebuying activity en masse. Homeownership in California is at 50%.
2020-2025 Negative equity homeowners who refused to strategically default finally work their way out of debt and return to a stable financial status, the poorer for it.
2025+ Home prices return to peak levels of 2006. The lessons of the Great Recession forgotten, and home sales hedonism returns. The mistakes of the past are repeated and the cycle continues.
We agree that we are probably at the bottom right now, as we’re already seeing an uptick in California homebuyer interest, and a decrease in inventory. We disagree that interest rates will stay low until 2017…..although wouldn’t that be nice???! We also agree (unfortunately) that the lessons of the past will be forgotton by 2025, and the market will again cycle. It always does!
What do you think? Please comment below or tweet us @angieweeks or @weeksteam. Should you be interested in buying ‘at the supposed bottom’, please call us at 877-230-3211, and we’re happy to show you homes over this Memorial weekend!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Many of you have heard of Home Staging and thought “OK, maybe, but does it really work? Is it really worth the money?”
Last night I got a call from a home-owner I worked with at the end of March to pick up some props. When I staged their house I left some items behind and told them to give me a call when the house sells so that I can pick them up. In today’s market houses usually sit for a few months before an offer is made so you can imagine my surprise when I got the call. What happened? Why did they ask me to come pick up the props? Surely the house could not have sold so fast.
Orange County home sells 4 Days after staging – accepted offer was above asking price!!!
Let’s look at how much this staging saved them. For each month that a house is on the market a seller has to pay mortgage, utilities, insurance, taxes and any other owner related bills. Assuming the average mortgage is around $2,000 that is a lot of money spent each month the house is on the market. Knowing that, how much would you be willing to pay for a service that can help sell your house faster? Would it be worth $1000 to save months of those expenses? My services for this house cost these owners well under $1,000 and we used only what was already there. The owners were still living in the house and had everything we needed on hand.
If you are considering selling your house make the investment in Staging. It will save you so much money in the long run, and get your house sold much faster.
For more information check out our website dedicated to Orange County Staging!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
If you’re involved with a short sale for an Orange County home, the last thing you need is a mountain of delays. Fortunately, there are 10 steps you can take to help minimize logjams and power through the sale at a reasonable pace.
- Make sure buyers, sellers, and agents are all on the same page as far as expectations go. Everyone needs to understand that the process is complex, and things don’t exactly happen overnight.
- Homeowners should complete all necessary financial hardship documentation. It is important to update these docs on a consistent basis.
- Get the sale property up on MLS and market the heck out of it.
- Come to an agreement regarding any external third party fees before submitting HUD (agreement should be valid for 60 days). Possible external fees include short sale negotiation, reconveyence, document preparation, and notary.
- Before submitting short sale documents and/or images, go over them with a fine tooth comb for accuracy.
- Lagers can cause some serious delays. So make sure customers and agents complete all necessary tasks in a timely manner.
- Do your best to get a purchase offer that reflects the best possible fair market value and highest return for investors.
- Submit fully executed purchase offers, making sure all addenda have been signed by buyer and homeowner. Provide any supporting documentation with offers.
- Get busy and obtain a release on outside liens as early in the process as possible.
- Be on the lookout for any of the following situations, as they invite delays:
a) A change in buyer, agent, or terms
b) Customer files for bankruptcy or divorce
c) Changes after approval letter is issued (please note expiration date)
If you’d like to learn more about short sale opportunities in the Orange County Real Estate market, I’ll be delighted to help. You can connect with me at 949.338.7408 or email@example.com, @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Keren Shamay of Shamay Staging & Redesign Inc. here. I am currently in AZ at Real Estate Investment school. Today’s topic? Fix and Flip. How to do it the right way. What are the hazards? What problems come up? During one of the discussions we ran across a house that had terrible pet odors. The kind that happen after years of more than 5 dogs living in a house, some of which never went outside. Imagine walking into that kind of house as a buyer.
Most home owners do no have that scale of problem on their hands. Many however do have a less offensive version of it. Most buyers may not say anything, but will definitely cross your house off the list of potentials to buy. So as a seller with a pet odor problem, how do you remedy it? The answer that will help the majority of homeowners is paint. Get enough paint to repaint the inside of your house. Go to a store that sells essential oils and get one vial of Cedar-wood and One vial of Orange. Mix 5 drops each of the oils per gallon of paint and paint your walls.
This should solve many of your problems. If it does not fix the problem, call a Stager who is experienced with this process for the next steps. You are at a point where you may need much more than basic staging advice. They will be able to help you resolve the toughest of issues. As a home Stager I am very familiar with this remedy, and the next steps should they be needed. No matter who you use, a Stager along with your Realtor are your best allies in getting your house sold.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
When looking for a new home and you want to keep your furniture but you’re not sure if it fits into your new room? Here’s a website that can help you out!
Take the measurements of the room and the measures of the furniture and your on your way to having a great fitting room for your new home! :)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Some say looks aren’t everything. But in the competitive world of Real Estate, appearance counts for a lot when your home is up for sale. We’re talking right up there with price and location. A properly staged home can make the difference between a timely sale and forever and ever on the market.
Mary Jayne Barnett, expert stager and owner of Revamp Your Home, has some fantastic advice on staging your home to look its irresistibly best, using only what you already have. Have a look!
If you’d like to learn more about staging your Orange County home to look its best, Mary Jayne will be delighted to help. You can connect with her at —
f 949.459.6118Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Disclose Before You Close
When it comes to selling a home, it seems that you just can’t disclose too much. Yes, certain details matter a great deal. In fact, from a legal standpoint, sellers must make these details available to prospective home buyers. And it is the responsibility of every agent to dig deep and make certain these facts come to the surface in a timely matter.
One of the facts that must be disclosed concerns a death that occurs on the property up for sale. The law states that a death must be revealed if it has taken place within three years prior to a home being offered for sale. This is an important piece of information to bring to the surface, is it potentially carries a lot of emotional weight for a would-be buyer. If you’re not sure about disclosing such an occurrence or any other fact you think might be relevant, it’s best to follow the simple, time-tested guideline of ‘when in doubt, disclose it out’.
I can’t stress the importance of over-disclosing facts such as these enough. I mean, think about how you would feel if you were on the other side of the fence and some important detail like this was left out of the picture. Remember, it’s an agent’s job to sell a property honestly – in all its aspect. So you as a home seller should disclose EVERYTHING to the person representing your property. Complete information will help your agent price your home appropriately for all matters involved.
If you’d like to learn more about California home sale disclosure requirements, I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact me at 949.338.7408 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to follow me @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Today I’m taking a few hours out of the busy day to listen to Allen Seelenbinder, a VP with Bank of America, tell Realtors how to work better with B of A to get our short sales closed quicker. Definitely good use of time, because short sales take waaaaay too long!!! For Realtors looking for Equator tips, check this post.
Allen said the goal of the bank is to help preserve homeownership, they WILL attempt to modify your loan & help you stay in your house if you want to. It’s part of being on the HAFA program, and you can even try multiple times if you get denied on your first loan mod request! Good news if you’re late on the mortgage & want to keep your home, but you have to keep communicating & trying.
BUT…Did you know 60 percent of all loan modifications fail in the first 9 months? Yikes, make sure you are working with a professional modification specialist so you are not a statistic! Most times if you default on your modification, you’re not going to get another one, and its time to short sale.
For those who can’t afford the mortgage, & don’t see light at the end of the tunnel soon, you have options…
1. Deed in lieu – leaving your home and giving the deed back to the bank willingly
2. Foreclosure – defaulting on payments until the bank is forced to take your property back
3. Short sale – selling your property for less than it is worth
Short selling your property will allow you to buy again sooner than if you get a foreclosure, so its a good option. BUT, its complicated, so you need a good Realtor who knows what they are doing to help.
If you’re drained on the process, please keep trying. If you allow foreclosure, your credit will have a huge hit, and you know how important your credit is! Allen warned many times employers are looking at your credit as a gage on your responsibility, fight to keep it in tact as best you can!!
Short sales are the new normal! Buyers, sellers, investors, Realtors, & banks need to work together :) There are over 6 million homeowners late on their mortgage right now, and many more projected in the upcoming months. Short sale will continue to be a household term for the next few years, unfortunately.
Why is the short sale process so long? Well…theres a lot of hoops to jump through:
- the process doesn’t begin until an offer is received, you could have a sign in the yard for months.
- an appraisal & bpo must be done
- the offer must reasonably meet current market value
- the buyer must qualify
- the seller must demonstrate hardship & provide documentation
- arms-length has to be proved (that means sellers aren’t in cahoots w buyers)
- the mortgage investor must approve the offer
- 3rd party approvals (mortgage insurance, helocs, second liens.)
Unfortunately, there is a lot of red tape to untangle. Buyers need to be prepared for at least 60-120 days for close, and agents from both sides need to constantly keep communication lines clear and all parties in the transaction updated.
What is financial hardship? Its better to say what it is not. Financial hardship is NOT that you are under water on the property, that is simply a bad investement. Its also not hardship if you can’t get a renter. If you are widowed, but have assets, death is not financial hardship, its emotional hardship :( there are a lot of people now trying to claim hardship when they do not have truely have one. You need to be able to show your hardship on paper.
One of the biggest challenges right now is getting 2nd loans, liens, and MI to reasonably come in line with the short sale loss. Sellers, be prepared for agents to ask questions about ALL loans & liens on the property, and please offer up front and honest answers. There’s going to be some back & forth necessary between the parties you owe $$ to.
Want to know if you are eligible for HAFA? Check bankofamerica.reo.com/hafa to make sure you qualify! B of A is also working on a program similiar to HAFA, but with better guidelines, called the Cooperative Short Sale.
B of A Cooperative short sale
Yes, its still in the works, but its pretty good!! It will:
- proactively outreach to customers
- offer preapproved short sale pricing
- promise offers reviewed/approved within 2 weeks
- be similiar to hafa, but wider scope
- rollout hopefully August 1st
Banks including B of A are all trying to make the best of our current market, and short sales are a huge percentage of it. Look for more posts (and videos!) soon to help you through the short sale process. If you or someone you know is late on their mortgage, The Weeks Team keeps everything confidential and we will be happy to discuss options! 877-230-3211 or email@example.comRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
First let me wish a ‘Happy New Year’ to all. Yes, folks, 2010 is here. And with the new year, there promises to be a wealth of new opportunities emerging in the bustling world of Orange County Real Estate. So get up off your comfy couch and do what you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Don’t let opportunity pass you by. Add that to your list of New Years resolutions right now.
So maybe you’re thinking about buying your first home. Perfect! If you’re an Orange County first time home buyer, the time has never been better. A major reason for such bright prospects is that there currently are a number of available incentives created to improve your overall experience.
If selling your home for the first time is on your mind, optimism is in order. Buyers are returning to the marketplace. So sellers rejoice! The market is definitely moving in the right direction. In fact, there are a number things going on that will make selling easier, from listing to close. If you’re worried about Uncle Sam taking a chunk, be aware you might be able to reduce your tax obligation with a few easy and yes, legal steps.
Perhaps you’re opting to make your first Real Estate investment. Believe it or not, there are well-focused ways to improve your financial future without getting an advanced degree from the school of hard knocks.
Indeed, the door of opportunity is opening wide in 2010. If you’re ready to learn more about the diversity of emerging Orange County Real Estate opportunities, I’ll be happy to help. Contact me at 949.338.7408. Or follow me @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Thought you’d enjoy this real estate update from Suze Orman – feel free to post questions below!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Orange County Real Estate market is moving. What direction? Many. What are we seeing? Good deals, strapped homeowners. What are we hearing? Happy stories, Sad stories. There’s a positive and a negative in every environment, and we always encourage you to look at the glass as half full.
BUT….if your house is on the market right now….are you chasing the market down? What if your Realtor is doing it for you? Are you AND your agent strong enough to take the truth? I read this sad story on a popular Realtors “hub” online, its from a Realtor working out of Florida.
OC Sellers and potential sellers, you often choose to work with the agent who says your home is worth the most money. I want to encourage you to question the pricing method, not just get “sold” on potential dollar signs. Question the marketing strategies, your agent better have the money to do traditional marketing or they better be able to kick butt online. ASK how many contacts they have in their database, how many listings they have had expire, how many buyers they have searching on their website. If the agent at your listing appointment has a dog and pony show, and you buy into that without question, it could be a nightmare for everyone in the end.
Also, expect to be QUESTIONED yourself. A good agent is mostly questions, tayloring their strategies to your specific needs and situation. A good agent will listen to and really hear what you have to say, but they will also be strong and smart enough to TELL you things you may not want to hear.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
For those of you upset your home prices have declined, we have a little good news for you. If you purchased a home prior to 2006 during the “hot” OC market, here is your chance to save some extra money.
It’s tax time, and your property tax bill is one of many. Because the market went down, your taxes can go down, too. To see if you are eligible, do a few simple things:
1. Contact the Orange County tax assessors office at 714.834.5400.
2. Let them know you purchased before 2006, and you are requesting to have your bill reviewed, for this year. REMEMBER, if you want THIS year’s bill reduced you MUST CALL BEFORE APRIL 1st. http://www.oc.ca.gov/assessor/pdf/RequestForInformalAssessmentReview%203-08.pdf
3. The assessor will initiate a re-assesment of your property, and hopefully lower your taxes – saving you potentially thousands of dollars!
There are some circumstances in which this can not be done, however if you think your taxes on your property are too high, then you are probably right. Its worth giving it a try – you can comment on how it works out!
By going to the following link and filling out the form, you can start working on reducing next year’s bill right now.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
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