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Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they ll give buyers the impression that the house isn t well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it s not in use.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they ll be to eliminate surprises.

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18. Leave the home. It s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

7.3 Million Boomerang Buyers Poised to Recover Homeownership in Next Eight Years

In 2015, the first wave of 7.3 million homeowners who lost their home to foreclosure or short sale during the foreclosure crisis will pass the seven-year window they conservatively need to repair their credit and qualify to buy a home. More waves of these potential boomerang buyers will be moving past that seven-year window over the next eight years corresponding to the eight years of above historically normal foreclosure activity from 2007 to 2014, according to an analysis by RealtyTrac.

While millennials have gotten a lot of attention lately as the generation whose below-normal homeownership rates are changing the landscape of the U.S. real estate market, the boomerang buyers — who are primarily Generation Xers or Baby Boomers — represent a massive wave of potential pent-up demand that could shape the housing market in the short term even more dramatically.

U.S. Census data shows homeownership rates for those ages 35 to 44 — roughly Generation X — were 11 percent below historical averages in the third quarter of 2014, while home ownership rates for the below age 35 cohort — roughly the Millennial generation — were 10 percent below historical averages.

RealtyTrac analyzed foreclosure, affordability, and demographic data to provide predictions of when and where these boomerang buyers are most likely to materialize. Nearly 7.3 million potential boomerang buyers nationwide will be in a position to buy again from a credit repair perspective over the next eight years.
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8 Reasons Why You Should Work With a REALTOR

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS . The term REALTOR is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are five reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR .

1. Navigate a complicated process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multipage settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

2. Information and opinions. REALTORS can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell

3. Help finding the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR to find all available properties.

4. Negotiating skills. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR , you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

6. Someone who speaks the language. If you don t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

7. Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS , on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

8. Objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security  it s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, homebuying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they ll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

CalHFA Homeownership Programs Divison

The CalHFA Homeownership Programs Divison provides affordable housing opportunities by offering below-market interest rate mortgage loans to very low-to-moderate income first-time homebuyers. The Program strives to achieve availability of mortgage funds 365 days a year, an equitable geographic distribution of its loans throughout the state, and an equal balance between newly constructed and resale homes. There are several unique features and programs offered which may fit the need of the prospective buyer.

CalHFA establishes partnerships with lenders, local housing agencies, builder/developers, real estate professionals, and other intermediaries in order to develop and deliver its programs. This collaborative approach helps expand homeownership opportunities by maximizing the collective financial resources available to borrowers.

The Homeownership Programs division offers information on:

Loans

  • Programs (CalHFA and Prop. 46 Programs)

Mortgage Loan Programs:

  • Homeownership Mortgage Loan Program
  • Builder-Lock (BLOCK) Program
  • Energy Efficient Mortgages
  • HomeChoice Program Information
  • Mortgage Insurance
  • Partnership with Southern California Home Financing Authority (SCHFA)
  • Self-Help Builder Assistance Program
  • Single Loan (SL) Process

Down Payment Assistance Programs:

  • Affordable Housing Partnership Program (AHPP)
  • California Homebuyer’s Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP)
  • CalHFA Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)
  • Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program (ECTP)
  • High Cost Area Home Purchase Assistance Program (HiCAP)
  • Homeownership In Revitalization Areas Program (HIRAP)
  • Oakland Teacher Program
  • School Facility Fee Down Payment Assistance Program (SFF)

If you are interested in a partnership with the Homeownership Division, call 916.324.8088, 800.789.2432 or visit their website www.calhfa.ca.gov.

HOUSING PRIMER

Tips for Making Sure Your Contractor Measures Up

10 Tips for Making Sure Your Contractor Measures Up…

  1. Hire only licensed contractors.
  2. Check a contractor’s license number online at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752).
  3. Get at least three bids.
  4. Get three recent references and visit them to see how the work was done
    from each bidder and review past work in person.
  5. Make sure all project expectations are in writing and only sign the contract if you completely understand the terms.
  6. Confirm that the contractor has workers’ compensation insurance for employees.
  7. Never pay more than 10% down of $1,000, whichever is less. Don’t pay in cash.
  8. Don’t let payments get ahead of the work.
  9. Keep a job file of all papers relating to your project, including all payments.
  10. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the job.
The Contractor may not be happy with these, but if they’re honest it won’t be a problem for them

 

What a Home Inspection Should Cover

Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase.

For more information, try the virtual home inspection at www.ASHI.org, the Web site of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Structure: A home s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

  • Doors and windows
  • Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Attached porches, decks, and balconies

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.

Heating: The home s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.

Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:

  • Walls, ceilings and floors
  • Steps, stairways, and railings
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Garage doors and garage door systems

Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.

Fireplaces: They re charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.

Source: American Society of Home Inspectors (www.AHSI.org)

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Housing Recovery Expected to Press On Despite Recent Volatility in Consumer Attitudes

Americans’ outlook on housing and the economy has fluctuated somewhat during the past few months, but the trend for most indicators remains positive overall, according to Fannie Mae’s February 2014 National Housing Survey results.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation increased from last month, to 3.2 percent.
  • The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months increased 7 percentage points to 50 percent, while the share who say home prices will stay the same decreased by seven percentage points to 38 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months increased 1 percentage point, to 56 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house increased from last month, up 3 percentage points to 68 percent.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation increased from last month to 4.3 percent.
  • Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, an increase of 3 percentage points from last month.
  • Forty-five percent of respondents thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, a 7 percentage point decrease from last month.
  •  The share who say they would buy if they were going to move fell 4 percentage points to 66 percent, and those who say they would rent increased to 30 percent.

More info

5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score.

Credit scores range between 200 and 800, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage.

The following factors affect your score:

1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time If they were late, then how late Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.

2. How much you owe. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.

3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer’s oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and only one in 20 consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.

4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.

5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it s desirable to have more than one type of credit  installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, visit www.myfico.com.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Accessing Funds for Rental Assistance Programs

To access funds for rental assistance programs, Housing Authorities respond to Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) published in the Federal Register. Each NOFA identifies allocation areas, amounts of funds available per area, and the selection criteria for rating and ranking applications.

Public Housing Authorities are given at least 30 days to submit applications. Interested households apply for assistance through their PHA. A federal program of interest is HUD’s HOME program. It provides grants to state and local governments, which may use them to offer rental assistance. The program’s flexibility allows States and local governments to use HOME funds for grants, direct loans, loan guarantees or other forms of credit enhancement, or rental assistance or security deposits. Visit the HOME Investment Partnership Program page for further information.

Proposition 46 The State of California approved a $2.1 billion dollar bond measure that provides funds for the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of affordable rental housing, emergency shelters and homeless facilities. Proposition 46 has five rental programs. See Table 1.

There are two programs that directly help tenants become homeowners. REALTORS should be aware of these because they constitute valuable tools that renters can use to achieve the dream of homeownership.

Section 8 Public housing vouchers for homeownership: Homeownership vouchers can be used to assist first-time homeowners with their monthly homeownership expenses. Families must meet certain income and employment requirements of eligibility. These vouchers are a solid step to help public housing voucher recipients to become homeowners.

Pay Rent Build Credit: This is a new national credit bureau that tracks rent payments and helps renters build a credit score, thereby overcoming one of the most common obstacles that many renters face: the lack of credit.

REALTORS can participate in any rental assistance program in different capacities:

  • Direct Provider  Develops, administers and manages the program. Activities such as fundraising, publicity, recruiting both tenants and landlords, and screening are part of the daily job. In other words, it requires the creation of a formal rental assistance non-profit organization. This is a time-consuming process that requires a long-term financial and organizational commitment.
  • Partnership with an existing organization  Raising public awareness, fundraising, interviewing, education, financial sponsorship and publicity are some of the forms in which REALTORS can help an existing organization in its efforts to either set-up a new program in the community or support its on-going labor. This has the advantage that limited resources can be used towards a worthy cause.
  • Government Programs Advocate  Championing the use of existing resources towards rental assistance programs and specially those that lead to homeownership. Local officials and housing advocates should be aware of existing financial resources to help renters and use them.

Finally, once the level of participation is decided, REALTORS need to contact any of the following for information, advice or for establishing a partnership:

  • Local shelter organizations. Local groups such as the apartment association, church charities or other housing and homeless support groups.
  • Local housing authority. The city or county housing authority. A very good source for finding the local housing non-profit organizations. They are also the primary source for finding government funds.
  • Local business community. They might be interested in echoing the efforts of a rental assistance program.
  • Local rental organization. Many of these organizations have educational programs.

HOUSING PRIMER

Understanding California Short Sale Rules

We are hearing more and more about the realities of short sales. Making the latest headlines are the concerns addressing the changing California short sale rules. Short sales options by California property owners represent about twenty percent of that regions housing inventory.

In general, a short sale is when a property owner has fallen several months behind in their payments on that property, and there is a new agreement made between the lender and that property owner, to settle the property for less than is owed. The remaining balance is pardoned by the lender, so that both parties can move forward from this irreconcilable relationship. But is it a true move forward?

Click Me! To Find Out Everything
You Need to Know About
Foreclosures and Short Sales

California short sale rules implies that the seller will still be ultimately responsible for the difference left between the money owed on the property and the new purchase price agreed to the new owner. This will still remain a problem for the original owner, after suffering through the lengthy, stomach wrenching ordeal, of the entire process.

The California Association of Realtors are franticly warning realtors that California property owners may be in danger of severe tax consequences if they decide to chose short sale over foreclosure, even if the lender agrees to allow the short sale to proceed after several road blocks, and so forth. The lender can still be instrumental in pursuing judgment against the previous property owner.

While the California short sale rules are still not clear, the possibility for government involvement to pursue wage garnishments for property owners believing that a short sale was their way of putting a bad experience behind them is very real. It is till being debated and reviewed in congress, but a solid decision is not coming fast enough.

Some say that it may be smarter to take the credit hit now and let the foreclosure happen versus try and save those few credit points, and still be subject to the ultimate financial ruin anyway. Either way, there will be some credit damage. Your final decision must be something that you are willing to live with long term. No easy solution, but there is a way to make the best choice for your particular situation.

For Californians, there are several non profit foreclosure counseling organizations, as well as some reliable real estate lawyers available that can help interpret the current California short sale rules for you and help you decide the best course of action to take. Be sure to make a check list. Strategy and planning will also aid you in being able to live with your final decision.

When reviewing the California short sale rules with your counselor, ask if it there is a possibility of owing the California Tax Board as well, as the IRS. You may want to bring up capital gains as well as if there are other work out plans in addition to the ones you may have to create a hybrid plan, and if so what are the long term effects on your credit?

Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
California Short Sale Rules…what rules? Visit http://www.nphsrealestate.org/Short-sale/California now, to get all the rules and facts on Short Sales in your area.

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Daniel Andrade, REALTOR® DRE #: 01849983
Century 21 My Real Estate Co
7825 Florence Avenue, Downey , CA 90240
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