Friday, June 9, 2017

Be Realistic When Pricing Your Home

Just about the time we think we're "legends in our own minds".....along comes a client who has never heard of us or has no idea how long we've been selling real estate and could care less about all the awards and designations we have after our names.  They just want to know what we can do for them. And how we can help "them"...... sell their home or their parents' home.   And that is definitely ok.

For those of us who have been in the business for 35+ years,  I think it's good practice to bone up on your "presentation skills" and prepare a package for a client that actually "shows" them a written market analysis,   gives them names and phone numbers or email addresses for previous clients and tells them what you think should be done to the property in order to procure the best and highest price.  No dilly-dallying around showing them fancy flyers you'll prepare or photographs that will be taken....that's a "given".   If agents aren't doing photos and/or videos of their listings they're missing out.  With every property showing up on so many websites now,  it's amazing to see the number of "hits" the properties get that have videos.  People love looking at videos and that may show off an area of the property someone really has an interest a garden,  a pool or a beautiful kitchen.   You just never know. So it's just prudent to be prepared and more importantly, be very honest with the prospective seller.  Everyone likes to think their home is worth so much more than what a neighbors home sold for down the street......because "theirs" has new vinyl in the kitchen,  or a slightly larger backyard or fresh paint inside.  But it's in no one's best interest (especially not the seller's) to  take a listing that is over-priced.  If it's ever priced too low,  then WOW you get multiple offers!   If it's priced too high, though,  it sits there and sits there through minimal reductions until FINALLY you get an offer that is lower that what you should have started at!  You get less in the long run than if you'd priced it right to begin with.  I can't tell you the number of times I've repeated that sentence.  And it's always true.  Be realistic. Look at the comps. Compare amenities. Compare square footage.  Compare locations.  A buyer will.  An appraiser will.  The statistics and information we use from MLS is exactly the same information an appraiser will use once you procure a buyer.

Don't list with an agent just because they give you a price they think you want to hear.  Agents in the business refer to that as "buying" a listing.  Be "suspect" if an agent gives you glowing accolades even if you know your kitchen vinyl is old and deteriorated,  your hardwood floors need refinishing, and your kitchen needs major updating.  Don't be naive .... ask to see comps showing what other homes in the neighborhood sold for and whether they sold close to the asking prices.  And ask that agent to do a "net" sheet showing you how much you'd have in your hand when it sold.   I do this on a yellow legal tablet and hand it to my sellers at my listing appointment.  I also do another one when we get offers.....and 99% of the time, my sellers bring that same net sheet to the title company when we're ready to sign the final papers,  just to see how close that net sheet was to what they actually got.  And you know what?  It's almost spot-on every single time!

Most importantly,  expect your agent to be  honest with you about what  the price should be.  Priced correctly,  you'll have a timely sale and escrow.   Priced too high,  well,   we've all been there at some point during our career.  The calls from sellers inquiring as to why it isn't selling (the price),  asking if it's going to be held open again Saturday and Sunday, (14 open houses later and no offer)   asking if it's being advertised regularly (don't need to in this market) and asking if you can "re-arrange" the photos that appear in MLS......thinking all this is going to get them the price they want.  Sadly, probably not.

Start off right......get it listed, get it sold and get that money in the bank!

Monday, February 27, 2017



If you haven't noticed,  our real estate market is sizzling.....great market for sellers but "challenging" for buyers,  especially if buyers are in the "under-$400,000" range.   If a listing is priced right and shows well it sells instantly AND with multiple offers.  If it "doesn't" show well, but is priced below market,  it too sells instantly!  If you're a prospective seller,   be sure to have an impartial walk thru your home to make note of those scuff marks on the walls that may need attention,  weeds that need to be pulled,  rooms that need "de-cluttering"  and light bulbs that need to be brighter.  Sometimes we live day to day in our homes and really never notice what may need to be done if we're going to put our home on the market.  But a fresh coat of paint,  new vinyl or carpeting and clean windows can really make a difference!  I just planted some flowers in pots on my front porch and touched up a couple places that had some chipped paint AND added an American flag to my front porch and love the way it perks me up when I drive into my driveway!  Added color always livens up the front of a home to give it a little more curb appeal.  If you're unsure about how you can spruce up your home for very little $$$$,  ask your Realtor (or an unbiased and honest neighbor or friend) to come take a quick peek and give you some suggestions.  You might be amazed at how just a few minor changes can make a big difference.

When agents tour new listings on MLS tour or their office tour,  I am absolutely amazed when curtains are pulled and it's dark inside,  dishes are in the sink and weeds cluttering the flowerbeds.  It certainly doesn't give that good first impression.  Thankfully,  this isn't happening too much anymore.
We're seeing more and more homeowners who understand the value of "sprucing up" before going on the market.  No buyer wants to spend $400, $500,$600,000 and have to clean up the yard and refinish the hardwood floors or re-paint when they're spending that kind of money.  UNLESS, of course,  it's the least expensive home in the neighborhood and they're getting a fabulous buy!  In which case, they may be thrilled to take on this deferred maintenance.If you're thinking about making a move, "prepare"......especially if you want to get top dollar.

  Just last week when I went on a listing appointment for a seller who had recently passed away,  the heirs asked me what they could do to enhance the property in order to get the most money and make it as saleable as possible.  The home was built in the 50ies and was neat and tidy but "dated".  In this particular case, because there was not going to be a lot of equity,  I simply recommended they "streamline" the furnishings and remove a lot of the knick-knacks and family photos.  They had asked about perhaps remodeling the kitchen, but I recommended that they NOT do that, because the rest of the home had dated wallpapers and older carpeting.  You have to be careful not to take on a kitchen or bathroom remodel when you do nothing to the rest of the house.  Once you remodel the kitchen,  if there's old carpeting or old wallpapers in other rooms,  you'll feel like you need to re-do those rooms as well.  In which case you'll end up spending a lot more money than you may have budgeted or planned for.......not a good thing if your equity is limited.

There are lots of ways to enhance a property  within your budget.  So plan ahead and call your Realtor to see what may or may not benefit the sale. With springtime just around the corner,  more listings will be coming on the market and you'll want to make sure "your" home sparkles....when buyers come thru you'll want them to remember it.....for all the RIGHT reasons!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hot real estate market for Sacramento!

Newspapers say Sacramento will be one of the top 10 "hottest" real estate markets in 2017!

......which brings me to how "challenging" this market currently is and will continue to be if these prognostications are correct.  If you're a buyer in the say, "under" $400,000 range you can attest to how difficult it is to be successful at purchasing a home these days.  It seems every property in this price range either has multiple offers, all cash offers, or it sells in the very first day on the market! From the Realtors standpoint,  it's a lot of time and effort.    From the buyer's standpoint, it's nothing short of frustrating, to say the least.  You begin to wonder whether you'll ever get a property!  To further complicate things,  if you've got to sell your current home in order to buy the new home,  you're put at even more of a disadvantage......because sellers know they don't have to accept a contingency unless they're desperate or their home has been on the market a long time (perhaps because it's over priced?), in which case they may be thrilled to get a contingent offer.  But for the most part, if your home isn't yet on the market and in escrow, your chances are very slim.  However, IF your home has an accepted offer and is in escrow, your chances improve....especially if the buyer of your house has competed inspections and removed those contingencies.  AND, hopefully you were wise enough to counter that you reserved the right to rent-back for 30 days if you need to.  That gives you a little bit of breathing room in order to find your replacement property.

If homes are priced right and show well,  they're going into escrow lickity-split! Inventory is still low and sellers are getting "probably" more than they would in a "normal" market because of this lack of inventory.  In the coming springtime though,  I suspect our inventory is going to pick up and there will be more listings to choose from.  Hopefully.

IF you are a buyer, get your ducks in a row and get your pre approval from your lender.  If you have to sell your home, get it spruced up and ready to show.  Do everything you possibly can to make yourself a prime buyer or seller.    Talk to your Realtor.  He or she will have excellent tips to get you ready.

Our market is so hot and so busy right now, I just can't imagine how much more stressful it's going to be.  But be prepared and be ready!  Call your favorite Realtor to help you or call me anytime! I'd love to help you however I can!  

Patti Martinez (916)768-3157 cell or text......PATTIMARTINEZ.NET  website.

Monday, November 7, 2016

I would like to share a "product" with my "Senior" readers..... this past year I sold a Lennar home out in the Anatolia area off Sunrise Blvd. near Jackson highway.  When this project was first built, I wasn't that thrilled about the waaaaaaay out location and the lack of trees.  Then the development went through the "short sale" and "foreclosure" problems that many new home subdivisions I was even more relieved that I hadn't sold any in that development.  Now, many years later, I had the opportunity to take some clients of mine out to that area because they had heard good things about Lennar Homes and wanted me to represent them in a new purchase. I was hesitant, because of the location and also because I didn't know much about the builder, Lennar.  Well, long story short,  I was very very impressed.  There are no more short sales or foreclosures there, and trees are getting big and more than that,  I was very very impressed with the Lennar Homes!  Which brings me to share with you, another development I've been touring for my "Senior" buyers.

It's the Heritage @ Westshore in the Natomas area.  I've been out there with several of my clients and everyone LOVES IT!  I could live there myself if I ever left Land Park.  These homes at Heritage in Westshore compliment an active adult lifestyle and it's amazing what they have been able to provide NOT as upgrades, but as standard features!  Wide hallways, spacious doorways, expansive rooms, state of the art appliances and energy efficient elements all included at no extra cost.  They're beautiful homes AND prices start at an amazing $312,900.  The most expensive model currently, is just $334,000.  Unbelievable.....and the area is gated and association fees include a 22,700 sq.ft.   clubhouse with pool and spa and state of the art fitness center.   Their brochure says HOA's are $162 but their salesperson told me they are $215....+ Mello Roos to take care of street lights, parkways, etc.  Really impressive is  the beautiful exceptionally large walk-in showers.  I can really appreciate that kind of access being I broke my ankle last year and was in a cast with limited mobility for a couple of months!  What a blessing it would have been to have had access to a "flat" walk in shower that even has a seat and two shower heads.

If you've been considering a move into an adult gated community,  call or email me.  I'd love to represent you and Lennar cooperates with agents and brokers. But I must "register" your name with them before you go out to the development in order for me to represent you.  I have a few of their brochures if you'd like additional information....just call or email me.  I'd love to help you or answer any questions you may have.  I was very impressed with Lennar and I think you will be too.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Transfer your current property taxes to your new purchase!

There's a wonderful opportunity for you to transfer your current property taxes to your NEW purchase IF you meet the criteria for doing so.  I rarely hear anyone mentioning this and I would hope that Realtors who work with "Seniors" would make certain their clients are aware of this. It could be a wonderful tax savings!

Proposition 60 allows homeowners who are over the age of 55 to transfer his or her base year value to a new purchase, provided the replacement property is of equal or lesser "current market value" than the original property. (* "and" you meet other criteria)  Proposition 60 applies for transfers within the SAME county.

Proposition 90 allows for transfers from one county to another county within California and is at the discretion of each county to authorize such transfers.  As of November 20, 2014 there are currently ten counties in California that authorize inter county transfers. Those counties include Alameda, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura.  HOWEVER, it is recommended that you contact your assessors office for verification, as it could change at any time.

If you're an "empty nester" and are living in a home that's way too big for you now, but still want to own your own home but just need a smaller home, this may be the perfect answer! If you purchased your home in the last few years, this may not benefit you because your property taxes are probably 1.25% of what you purchased it for.  Thus, you may not have the least bit interest in transferring THAT amount....goodness no.   But,  if you've been in your home for many years and now find yourself rambling around in too much square footage,  this may be the perfect solution for you.

There are many ramifications for taking advantage of this savings,  so I am highly recommending that you click on the following link to familiarize yourself with these Propositions if think you might be able to take advantage of this opportunity.  The State Board of Equalization has 10 pages of information on these two propositions and answers at least 32 questions pertaining to who qualifies and how it works.  It's a great reference guide. Why not take advantage of this savings if you're eligible?!

If you're a "senior" and have been thinking about making a move, call or email me and I'd be happy to assist you however I can!

Click here for info on Prop 60 & 90

Monday, August 4, 2014

OK,   another reminder....IF you have a Trust,  don't forget to put your house in your Trust if you've forgotten to do that and that had been your intention ... and IF you don't yet have a Trust,  contact an attorney and talk to them about whether that's something you should do.  I can't give legal advice but I can suggest you speak to an attorney about that.  If you need a referral to one, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to suggest one.....I'm sure there must be many who will give you a free "consultation" so you can decide if that's something you need to do.

Now, another reminder about a Property Tax benefit you may or may not know about.

Under Proposition 60, any person 55 or older can sell a home eligible for the homeowners exemption and transfer that home's CURRENT property tax assessment to another home of EQUAL OR LESSER value  in the same county within two years before or after the sale of the original property.

Alot of people don't know about this little benefit,  but think about it!   Maybe you're an empty-nester and your home is too large for you but you don't want to rent and worry about a landlord continually raising your rent.  Soooooo,  here's a wonderful sell the home you're in and purchase a smaller home, as long as the purchase price is less than the one you're selling.  This works especially well if you've been in your current home for a long long time,  like I have.  I've been in my home since 1977 so my property taxes are very very reasonable.  You may be in the same situation.  And what a great opportunity.....maybe you just want a half-plex or a smaller home...or a condo.  Isn't this a great idea and great little-known benefit?

As a senior myself,  I'm always receptive to information that may benefit me and I hope you are too. If you have any questions about what is involved in selling your home...whether you're moving into a senior residence or into a smaller home to take advantage of this property tax break,  call me!  I'd love to help you.....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

If you think you may be selling your home in the coming months,  let's be prepared!   When I work with my "senior" clients, we take it a step at a time to make sure everything goes smoothly.  Sometimes when you haven't listed and/or sold a home in a long time, there are lots of questions you may have....and I have absolutely no objections whatsoever about answering each and every one of those questions.  It can be a smooth and easy "transition" so I don't want you to be worried or concerned about anything....I'll help you.   One of the first things I happened to think of today to mention,  is that IF you think you'll be selling in the coming months and IF your home is in a Living Trust,  one of the first things we will be doing is taking a copy of your Trust to the title company so they can verify who has authorization to actually sell the property.  That applies to whether you're the actual seller and Trustee....OR.....the Successor Trustee of a parent who may have passed away or is incapacitated.
But that's a good "first step".....