Tag Archives: Sellers

“Where’s the Beef?” Sales are flat, Inventory Short.

“Where’s the Beef?” Sales are flat, Inventory Short.

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  Sonoma County selling and buying season here in the lovely “Wine Country” just an hour north of the “Gate” is flat with sales down 2% over last year but the bigger issue–Inventory! Usually March will signal the beginning of the “Selling” season by more homes coming onto the marketplace. March was a GOOD month but instead of being the beginning of an inventory surge–it was the end. March was our best month and inventory has been declining since. WHAT are the reasons? Below is a slide from the California Association of Realtors. I’ve added on the last three.

Reasons for LACK of Home Inventory  I think the “Off Market” or “pocket listings” is an issue but I’ve NOT seen any hard numbers on it. I’m waiting for CAR or perhaps Core-Logic, to come out with a study showing MLS sales vs. recorded sales. I know in our super tight inventory market, Realtors/Agents are always asking to see new listings not yet on the market. We hear of sales being made off MLS all the time. I keep waiting for the law suit which will define this isssue to apppear. Sellers and their Realtor/Agents who state, “They got their price.” really have no idea at how much that “price” could have been! The current disclosures by CAR, reflect this very issue which came out of the ’89 market scarcity.

Continue reading “Where’s the Beef?” Sales are flat, Inventory Short.

Buyer Top Tips on Dealing with Multiple-Offer Competition

Buyer Tips on Multiple offersHere in Sonoma County, California the real estate market is dealing with Homes attracting Multiple Offers from Buyers.  Here are Buyer techniques you might wish to try to standout from the other offers.

My last column addressed recommendations and a method of dealing with multiple offers from the homeowner’s perspective. Many of the buyers we are currently assisting asked, “Hey, what about us?” The big difference between the Seller and Buyer is the SELLER will reach their goals in quick order. Buyers, however, may be making an offer on their 5th property and getting a trifle disgusted with the process. Let us explore those strategies and tips we use with Buyers.

In my last column we discussed HOW to deal with multiple-offers are happening across the price spectrum but more importantly in the “hot” price points associated with various areas in the county. Any of the “entry-level” price points are STILL facing tight inventory with big demand. Many Realtors are advising Sellers to place the property on the market, have a general “Open House”, a “Broker’s Open House” and then set a date in the near future to “review all offers”. This is usually done 7 to 10 days AFTER a property hits the market. The question is how a BUYER submits an offer which will not only secure the HOME but stand-out and appeal to the Seller. Continue reading Buyer Top Tips on Dealing with Multiple-Offer Competition

Sonoma County Home Affordability….How Much Home Can You Afford…now, versus 2006

June 2 , 2013; Santa Rosa, Ca.

The change in the Sonoma County Real Estate Market was upwards of 60% in some areas of the county, from the height of the market in 2006, to the bottom in 2009.  But, in some Sonoma County cities homes have managed to hold their value amazingly well.  On today’s show we’ll tell you which areas, and why…..

And, We’ll talk about how much home you can afford now…

Tune in to The Real Estate Hour for this, and more local real estate news, every Sunday morning from 9-10am on 1350AM KSRO or streaming live at www.KSRO.com

 

 

 

 

The Forgotton Entrance – Is your Front Door Welcoming?

Sunday, May 26, 2013 – Sonoma County, Ca.

Creating a welcoming front entrance can add to your home’s curb appeal, desirability and value.  Your front door is the first impression your visitors (and potential buyers) get of your home. Make sure it’s a good one.

Your front entrance should be;

Welcoming; Your guest begin developing an opinion of your home as soon as they pull up to the curb.

Obvious ; Don’t make guests wonder which entrance they should approach

Light; Not just the front door, but also the path leading them there.

Safe; High fences and tall bushes can become a hiding place behind which to lurk. Make sure your guests feel safe at your front door.

Start at the curb. look at your entrance.  Walk the path your guests will use several times and think about the experience.  Is it Welcoming, Obvious, light and Safe? If not, make some changes.

 

This Week’s Show; Wildfires are Coming…Is Your Home Ready?

5/26/2013 Sonoma County, Ca. on The Real Estate Hour, 1350 am KSRO

Fire Prevention Battalion Chief, Ben Nicholls, joins us on the radio to discuss the steps homeowners in High Fire Areas (State Responsibility Areas, SRAs) should be taking to protect their homes from Wild Fire.

Did you know that, if you live in an SRA, you are required to clear a “Defensible Space around your home? Chief Nicholls will tell us what that means. Here’s a link to help you determine if you are in an SRA,    http://www.firepreventionfee.org/sraviewer.php

Also, great tips for everyone on fire safety in your home.

Join us at 9:15 for this informative and very important topic.

For more information visit; http://fire.ca.gov/

 

 

 

 

Eight ways to improve your home appraisal

Sonoma County, California Home Sellers AND buyers–get out of the Appraisers way! Let me start by saying there are many really good appraisers. Unfortunately, not all home appraisers are created equal.  Some make a genuine effort and others are just in a hurry to get this appraisal done and move on to the next one.

 

Some come from out of the area, and they’re not familiar with your particular neighborhood, and how it compares to the others nearby..  Low appraisals can be a real problem as scarcity of homes and multiple offers are driving up prices.

Appraisers are limited to looking back at recently sold properties within a limited radius of your home, not what homes are in escrow for today.  They need all the help they can get…although, some are not interested in anything you have to offer.  Your best bet is to have the information available anyways.  Here are some good suggestions for things you can do to improve your home appraisal; Thanks to loan officer, Kevin Long. http://kevinlongloans.blogspot.com/

Eight Ways to Improve Your Home Appraisal

1. Make Sure Your Appraiser Knows Your Neighborhood

There are pockets and micro communities.  If you step off the curb, you’re in a different zone.  So make sure your appraiser knows that just because you’re in one district doesn’t mean you’re in the same neighborhood as the places 3 miles down the road.

2. Provide Your Own Comparables

If you provide the appraiser with three solid and well-priced comparable properties, you will save them time as well as ensure that they have appropriate comparables rather then having them randomly pick some from the neighborhood.

3. Know What Adds the Most Value

Kitchens and bathrooms get the most value.  However, wood floors, landscaping and enclosed garages also increase appraisals.

4. Document Your Fix Ups

You’d want to do this for tax and insurance purposes.  But if the records are a little haphazard, take some time and organize it into different file folders, and make them available for the appraiser.

5. Talk Up Your Town

Has your town gotten any award, or award winning restaurants, museums, parks, colleges, etc?  Make your community seem vibrant as it will increase the  perceived value of your home.

6. Distinguish Between Upstairs and Downstairs

If you’ve remodeled and completely finished a basement or an attic, you will need to point that out to the appraiser, as these are often not counted in the square footage, and therefore the final appraisal.

7. Clean Up

Clean up and declutter where you can.  Put flowers out.  Have cookies baking.  Make your home seem clean, upscale, and organized.

8. Let the Appraiser Alone to Do Their Job

If you follow the appraiser around, they’ll be more focused on you then on the home, so let them know where you are if they have any questions.

Tale of two Price Points–Lack of Homes for Sale? Depends WHAT you’re SPENDING here in Sonoma County,Ca

Here in Sonoma County, California–Many Realtors are lamenting the LACK of inventory or homes for sale. I submit that it all depends on how MUCH money you wish to spend.  One of the most IN DEMAND price points is the 0- $250,000 price point. This has been the land of the REO (real estate owned) or bank foreclosed home. I fear this price point has “left the station” or is quickly disappearing. This price point is a natural for bank foreclosed homes AND Short-Sales. However, we only have 60 “Active” Short-Sales currently on the market. Take a look at the slide below and note we are DOWN -47% over last year at this time.  The question–is THIS the new reality of a surging market? We leave the lower price behind? Or is the market for this price point just stripping the shelves of all homes?  What’s going to happen to make this a stronger price point? MORE Short-Sales and REO’s. I can’t see a big wave of REO’s coming but Short-Sales can fill the need. We shall see if the consumer REALIZES they can SELL their homes short and get out from under a tough financial mess.

Now look at the NEXT slide–What a difference huh? Almost a 180 swing. The $1,000,000 price point is flush with listings having 40% MORE listings over last year at this time.  In between these two extremes we find a market still “starved” for inventory. The  next “range” of $250-$500,000 is down about -5% over last year but the next price point or the “mid-range” ($500-$750,000) which is gaining momentum is down about 21%.  The $750K to 1 Mil is +5%.  Knowing HOW the market inventory is before making an offer can determine WHAT you’ll offer and HOW you present your terms to the seller. KNOW your NUMBERS.   Feel free to call myself or Allison to give you analysis of YOUR price point.  707-799-3617.

Join us this Sunday, 2/12/12 as we unravel the latest mortgage relief effort…could THIS be the real game changer??

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Federal Government & Attorneys General reach landmark settlement with major banks

Roughly $25 billion in relief for distressed borrowers, states and federal government.

From the “NationalMortgageSettlement.com” website.

After many months of negotiation, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government have reached agreement on a historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest loan servicers:

The settlement will provide as much as $25 billion in relief to distressed borrowers and direct payments to states and the federal government. It’s the largest multistate settlement since the Tobacco Settlement in 1998.

The agreement settles state and federal investigations finding that the country’s five largest loan servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct.  Both of these practices violate the law.  The settlement provides benefits to borrowers whose loans are owned by the settling banks as well as to many of the borrowers whose loans they service.

  • About the Settlement: Learn about the settlement, who is affected and what claims may still be pursued against the banks. Find links to your state Attorney General’s Office to find state-specific information and contacts.
  • Help for Borrowers: Learn how to find out if your loan is affected by this settlement, the timeline for relief, how you will know if you are eligible. Find links to your state Attorney General’s Office to find state-specific information and contacts.
  • News: Read the national news release and find links to your state Attorney General’s Web site for state-specific news.
  • Loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are not impacted by this settlement.  You may visit the following websites to learn if your loan is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:

Here’s what the plan will do for homeowners in specific situations;

Mortgage underwater but current with payments. More than 10 million homeowners in the U.S. owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. The latest plan would enable people who have been making loan payments on time to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing with lower-interest loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration.

Mortgage underwater and behind with payments. More than $12 billion to be set aside to reduce principal for homeowners who are behind on their payments and owe more than their houses are currently worth.

Victims of foreclosure fraud. The plan will provide payments of about $2,000 a piece to approximately 750,000 families that have been the victim of improper foreclosure practices. Most commonly—routine electronic notarization of documents being transferred from one financial institution to another as part of the foreclosure process–a practice known as robo-signing.

This will most likely apply to people who lost their homes between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011.

January 2012 Sonoma County Market Update; Inventory’s down…”under contracts” up….

A month by month, year over year look at the Sonoma County, California Real Estate market. 

Sonoma County’s available home inventory is down 24% over last January…with properties ” in contract” a whopping 42% higher than last year at the same time.  January 2012 hit a 12 month high of 602 homes under contract. However, it’s important to note that about a third of those homes are Short Sales which will take on average 166 days to close. …and, some will not close.  But all in all, it’s a great indication that the combination of low prices, low interest rates, low inventory…and increased consumer confidence, have many buyers down off the proverbial fence.

This is good news for Mike and I as we are busy, busy, busy!!

Properties currently "on the market" by month

Properties entering the market down 10% over last January with a surge in April/May 2011, then a pretty steady drop throughout the remainder of the year.

62% of under contract properties are “bank influenced sales”…Short Sales, or REO (foreclosure) Unfortunately, this program does not distinguish between Short sales which take on average, 5 mos to close and sell at or slightly below market value,  and REOs that close in 30 days or less, and are typically priced low to move quickly. All bank influenced sales will affect market value to some extent, REOs much more so than Short Sales.

Properties under contract (In Escrow) with shaded "bank influenced sales" Short Sale/Foreclosure
Full market, Under contract (in escrow)

More good news…Sold properties up 17% year over year.

Sold properties by month

Still quite a gap between homes on the market and homes sold, but look at the difference between Jan 2011 and Jan 2012.

Supply and demand by month (on the market vs sold)

As we continue to make our way through the surplus of bank owned properties, most of which are in the lower end of the market(Under $350,000) , you can see where the strong market is. The median home price is exactly the same as last January at an even $300,000.  The median price means that half of the homes sold where under that price and the other half were above.  While we are seeing a good increase in activity in the mid range ($400,000-1million), sales are still sluggish. This is why the Median price for “on the market” homes is so much higher than the median “sold” price.

Median price ; "For sale" median vs "sold" median

What this market is missing is the “move-up”market. Those home buyers who, in a normal market, would be selling their “foot in the door” home and using the equity they gained to buy up. For the past 4 years, that equity “gain” is, for the most part, nonexistent.

However, with the strong medical and technology growth in Sonoma County, we’re seeing quite a bit of relocation into Sonoma County. This may be just the boost the mid-range market needs. …Stay tuned.

If you’d like any more information about the Sonoma County Real Estate market, or about your homes value, neighborhood sales data, etc. please take a minute to call or email Allison Norman at 707-799-3617, or Mike Kelly at 707-322-8503 ~ TheKellyNormanTeam@Gmail.com

HERS Energy Rating, Energy Audit, Energy Retrofit…SCEIP…what does it all mean??

Tune in Sunday 11/27/2011 ~ 9-10AM , 1350AM KSRO; www.KSRO.com, as John Sutter of Applied Building Science joins us again to explain

                                              

BIO: John Sutter, Applied Building Science (ABS Northbay)

Applied Building Science is the North Bay’s premier building performance contractor.  We assess, repair, replace, and correct building defects to enhance the comfort, healthfulness, durability, and energy efficiency of our client’s homes and businesses.

Among the services we offer are audits and assessments, air sealing, window replacement, insulation enhancement, crawlspace sealing, appliance replacement, furnace replacement, duct design and replacement, solar electricity and water heating, ventilation enhancements, and air conditioning upgrades.  We are also a full service remodeling contractor.

We are also proud to be an authorized PG&E Energy Partners weatherization contractor, and a dealer for the most energy efficient windows made in America, Serious Windows.

Among our many certifications are Build It Green Certified Green Building Professional, CHEERS Whole House HERS rater, BPI certified building analysts, and California Building Performance Contractors Association contractor.

To find our how ABS can improve the comfort, healthfulness, and efficiency of your home while reducing greenhouse gas emissions please contact us at:

Office:  707.528.3468   Fax:  707.528.3433  Email:  info@absnorthbay.com

1350 Central Ave. #6, Santa Rosa, CA  95401

What is a Home Energy Rating?

A home energy rating involves an analysis of a home’s construction plans and onsite inspections. Based on the home’s plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home’s design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index.

Upon completion of the plan review, the rater will work with the builder to identify the energy efficiency improvements needed to ensure the house will meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines. The rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index for the home.

Unlike a Building Performance Audit or a weatherization assessment, a home energy rating is a recognized tool in the mortgage industry. Home energy ratings can be used in a variety of ways in the housing industry. Since a rating quantifies the energy performance of a home, the HERS Index provides an easily understandable means to compare the relative energy efficiency of different homes.