A Big Thank You!

January 8th, 2013

We want to acknowledge and send a huge thank you to all of the following people for their continued support throughout 2012. We are grateful for the opportunities provided, the on-going trust and confidence you have given us, and most especially, the friendships that have developed.

Here’s to a prosperous 2013 with all of life’s blessing for our friends, our family, and to all our clients, past, present and future!
Rob & Amber purchased a beautiful new home for their growing family.

Gordon & Jessica purchased their first home complete with pool

Darren & Hannah bought their first home to welcome their first baby.

Carrie sold the townhouse that no longer worked for her.

Mel & Judy sold their 2 story home and moved into a single story in their preferred neighborhood.

Darryl & Fenny purchased a larger home just in time to welcome their newest addition to the family.

Dane & Vinca sold their gorgeous pool home for full price.

Shaun & Emily found the perfect first home for their young family

Ronald & Zoe sold their large 2 story rental property over list price.

Chuck & Vicky closed escrow on their former family home after a long and difficult escrow.

Jay & Jade sold their first home in preparation for purchasing a second home out of the area

Scott found a pool home in his first choice neighborhood and has completed the gorgeous newly upgraded kitchen.

Thank you all and here’s to a wonderful 2013 for all!

Ten Things You Gotta Know When Buying a House

November 24th, 2012

Ten Pieces of Advice

Hello World…here I am, about to post my first blog ever! Got to admit, although a fairly competent writer when looking at the oldie but goodie, “the blank piece of paper,” entering the 21st century is a bit intimidating…..be kind and in return I will post articles of interest, what’s happening in the ever changing world of real estate, information for buyers and sellers, homeowner tips, thoughts and opinions, helpful tips, personal stories and of course, the essential piece of humor.

Whether right or wrong, I have decided to approach this new experience with the same welcoming warmth & casualness as I would if we were sitting around the kitchen table, sharing information, debating the pros and cons of your next steps in real estate or simply having a quick laugh together. So please visit often and let me know what you are thinking!
So here’s my first opinion piece, inspired by our wonderful daughter, Emily & son-in-law Shaun who have just purchased their first home.
I must admit that although they purchased out of the area and were represented by a local agent, I learned a lot from the “naive” eyes of these first- time homebuyers. Maybe it was because we didn’t represent them or perhaps because they are family, but whatever the reason they seemed quite comfortable in freely sharing buckets of the worries, fears and confusion they were struggling with. These guys are intelligent, informed, successful people so it made me wonder, did other first-time buyers have these same concerns but didn’t feel the freedom to let it all hang out?
If so, here are my ten best pieces of advice for every new home buyer (or for those of you that purchased so long ago that the contract was only three pages long and the interest rate was at 15%).

  1. Get pre-approved.  You’ve heard it before and will hear it often. There is nothing more discouraging than to find the perfect home only to discover it just a little out of reach. After that, buyers either give up or feel like they have to “settle.”
  2. No matter what the bank says you are qualified for, make sure the payments are in line with your life style. Sure you might be able to buy a little more house but are you comfortable with what you might need to give up?
  3. Buy as much house as you comfortably can. Remember, it is more expensive to sell a house then to buy one, so stretching with a bigger/nicer home at the beginning may save you dollars over the long term. This may seem contradictory to number two but if you think about it both can co-exist comfortably.
  4. Spend some time thinking through the “must haves,” “not essential” and “negotiable” features. Think of your immediate needs and long-term plans. One way that has worked for many of our clients is figuring out what works and doesn’t work for them in their current home. Need more storage, a bigger yard, better neighborhood, closer to work, more space, another bedroom…you get the idea. Then add in what is in your imagination of the perfect home…fireplace, pool, eat-in kitchen…these could be the list of preferred but not essential. Voila—now you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for and how much you want to spend.
  5. Trust your agent – most of us are pretty good folks wanting nothing more than to help you find what you are looking for. Yes, we get paid to do this but by the seller, not by you. This is important since it is not which house, but the right one that we want to focus on. Armed with your “must haves” and your budget, spend some time with your agent reviewing the inventory to confirm that your expectations are reasonable and in line with the market. This is easy to confirm by searching the MLS for homes that match what you are looking for…how do the prices look? Now search for homes within your budget…..do they fall short of your needs or exceed them?
  6. Speaking of agents…..choose one. Be deliberate and intentional. Yes, family members are important and Joe Agent was sooo nice at the open house but you deserve much more. The “Accidental Agent” can cost you plenty.
  7. You got it all together….budget, needs, great agent…..it’s off to view your best picks. How do you tell the agent/spouse that this property is so far away from what you are looking for…..even if on paper it’s right. People are sometimes uncomfortable with blunt honesty or have difficulty communicating how they really feel…..”it’s all right” may be what how it feels but what does it mean? Try this easy scoring system….a score of 1-there is no blanking way; 5- let’s go write up offer! This allows husbands & wives to get a quick insight on how the other is feeling and is invaluable for the agent when previewing additional homes. The ones that are close can be further discussed…..why waste time on the “why” for those not in contention. Remember buying a house is a process of elimination not of selection.
  8. Although difficult, avoid drawing conclusions based upon decorating style and taste of the seller, after all what’s not to like with the metallic wallpaper in the entry? Allow your objective eye to evaluate room size, floor plan, neighborhood, costly repairs/upgrades and storage capacity. It is often the simple cosmetic stuff that turns it into your home….
  9. When you find a home that offers 80% of what you are looking for it is probably your new home. I have yet to meet anyone that is 100% satisfied with everything…you may lose if perfection is a requirement.
  10. Once you have identified your home and written an offer is when the uncertainty begins. Choosing the home is relatively easy compared to everything that follows. Will my offer get accepted? Will the home pass inspection? Will it appraise? Will I get my loan? How much money do I need? And for goodness sake when will we close ever escrow? Please be assured you will feel all of this and more! Everyone does! It is your agent who will help you off the cliff, will be the sound of reason and assist in managing the whole process for you. We do it all the time!

I will be writing more about each of these so look for future blogs.