2015 Market Outlook – One Quick Perspective

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The housing market continues to recover and home values are predicted to continue to rise, but at a slower pace.

Zillow forecast calls for a 2.4 percent appreciation for 2015 for the nation, which is less than half the appreciation rate seen for 2014.

As we in the Bay Area know, our market operates a little differently than the rest of the country.  However, we too will most likely see a slower pace which will help bring more balance to the market, as more previously sidelined sellers decide to list their homes, and more buyers enter the market – particularly younger buyers. These buyers will find themselves with more leverage in the market, after years in which sellers largely held the upper hand in negotiations.

We tend to have multiple offers when the inventory is low.  Last year, the buyers were out in full force the first week of January and it took the sellers until March to get on the market for the “spring selling spree” whens buyers got a little relief from the 30% price increases they saw the first quarter.  From all indications, Kristin forecasts this year sellers will get a jump on listing sooner and it will create a more balanced real estate market.  Those who list in the first couple of weeks of January will most likely see the most offers and get to choose the strongest buyer.  Here is to 2015!

~Kristin

When observed calmly, all things have their fulfillment.”  Basho Matsuo

Motivated Buyers

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This is what happens when somebody’s rent is going up from $2500 to $2800 – why waste it on rent, when you can own…

Met clients for the first time on 12/31 @ 2:30 spoke about the market, their needs and how I work – showed them 3 properties, drove by 2. They liked one and decided to sleep on it.  I got an email on 1/1 saying they would like to write up an offer.  We met on 1/2 at 3:30 after I found out their lender could not do the financing.

I set them up with JVM Lending, who was so efficient and top notch, they got fully approved that afternoon, so we wrote the offer and it was ratified at 10:30 the same night – whew! I would like to do that every week. I love motivated buyers.

~Kristin

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.” Basho Matsuo

Home Equity Line of Credit (H.E.L.O.C.)

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Home Equity Line of Credit (H.E.L.O.C.) are popular once again, because borrowers have now more equity in their homes. They also come into play for buyers with 80/10/10 financing, which allows borrowers to put 10% down and avoid paying PMI. That happens because they have an 80% loan-to-value (LTV) first mortgage and a 10% combined LTV HELOC or 2nd mortgage.

How dos it Work? Here it is:
– Rate: Prime +1.99%
– Payment: Interest only for 10 years – but you can pay it off sooner
– Draw Period: 10 years
– Repay Period: 20 years

Here is why I like them – if it is a small amount, (i.e. similar to a car purchase), it can be paid off in a relatively short time – especially if someone gets bonuses, their income is steadily increasing or they are stock rich & cash poor (IPO). It avoids paying mortgage insurance, and if you pay it off, you can use it down the road for remodeling.

The only concern is they are not a fixed rate and are tied to the prime can climb significantly and we all expect rates to rise, however we as an industry thought that would have already happened. It might just be a great option one buyer, but it isn’t for everybody.

I like to have these discussions with my buyers so that they are informed and can make the best decision for their needs & situation. Options are a beautiful thing….

~Kristin

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Tips of the Trade – Common Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A Home

I am not a big fan of things stated in the negative, so I will translate each point to a positive Do.

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1. Do understand the local real estate market to determine pricing and location options – go to open houses, look at Zillow & Trulia for ideas on prices and what you get;

2. Narrow your search to what is available in your price range – having said that, it is best to get a pre-approval upfront so you know what you qualify to purchase and what your monthly payment will be. Give me a call if you would like a reference for some great lenders;

3. Do obtain a proper home inspection to identify problem areas that could prove expensive – everything is negotiable until you remove contingencies, know what you are buying;

4. Do identify all available financing options based on your monetary situation – the lending environment has loosened up ever so slightly and you can now get a conventional loan for as little as 3% down. Know your options;

5. Look for the best home for your family’s needs – The “perfect” home does not really exist. If your agent has not sat down with you to discuss what you are looking for in lifestyle, commute, future and top 3 most important features, then it may take you longer to sort that stuff out. A good agent helps navigate that process;

6. Familiarizing yourself with local schools, shops and other neighborhood amenities – school borders can be tricky, consult your agent and ask where you can verify the information. I have seen out of area agents note a home is in the Walnut Creek School District when it isn’t, but they make the assumption because the house is in Walnut Creek;

7. Consult your lender before making a major purchase or changing jobs – moving money around or purchasing a new car could affect your credit rating or ability to purchase the home; &

8. Do buy with resale in mind.

Call or email me to learn more about how I can help you with a home purchase.

~Kristin

Congratulations to Scott & Shenine!

After a long search and some soul searching on what was important, they found a very cute 2 bedroom 1 bath Craftsman Bungalow built in 1916.

What a great starter home for a young couple!!

No HOA dues, a yard and when the time comes, if they plan accordingly, they can buy up, keep this home and use it as rental income – now that is the way to build wealth!

If you are a first time home buyer or a parent who would like to help get their child into a home and would like more information, give me a call!

Signing final documents to close – very excited!

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SOLD! Their first home.

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~Kristin

And The Color Of The Year 2015 Is…

Marsala – yes, like the wine!

The impactful, full-bodied qualities of Marsala make for an elegant, grounded statement color when used on its own or, I like it as a strong accent to many other colors. It can add to any room by incorporating the hue in accent pieces, accessories and paint.

Marsala’s plush characteristics are enhanced when the color is applied to textured surfaces, making it an ideal choice for rugs and upholstered living room furniture. Here is another article on Marsala that my stager Cathy Lee shared with me. What do you think about this color and how would you use it?

Use the new ‘it‘ color on your Furniture,

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On your House Accessories,

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Or simply paint a strategic Wall!

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Here are more tips on how to use this beautiful color

~Kristin

 

Wanna Cozy Up Your Home?

So, Reclaimed Wood is Totally In!!!

From Horizontal Gardens to your Bedroom wall, it’s just the right way to go when the idea is to add a stylish and yet ‘Home Sweet Home’ feel to a room.

It creates a warm environment with an unique and unsettling sophistication to wherever it’s installed. There are vendors at the Alameda Antique Fair who create furniture from reclaimed redwood that is absolutely gorgeous.

Check some of these Great Ideas:

Horizontal Garden

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Garden Pathways

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Bedroom Walls

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Living Room Wall Panel Style

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Did You Absolutely Love it?? So, dive deeper into the subject by checking this great Houzz post!

~Kristin

 

A Buyer’s Happy Ending

 

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Susie’s home search is proof to trust the process – fate will work things out in the end. Beginning her search in December, she had submitted one offer, but did not quite have her financing in line. She found the perfect home for her, but unfortunately, someone had beat her to it. Shortly after, the offer fell through and Susie jumped on the opportunity to step in and landed her ideal home. During the process, we all learned a lot about the new flood insurance laws. We were delighted when the elevation tests revealed the flood insurance would be less than the current owner’s.  Her original quote was $2600 , found a different insurance company at $2200 and once the elevation test was done it became $300!

Just Listed! 3100 Justin Way, Concord.

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4br/2bth.Spacious home, nicely maintained with fresh paint and an updated eat-in kitchen. Entry space can be used as formal dining area, bonus/family room. Backyard is a clean slate ready for your “green” thumb. Located on a court with only 2 homes, tress for shade & patio to lounge. Inside laundry, close to shops & walking distance to downtown Concord.

Move in & enjoy!

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