3rd Quarter Market Update for Sonoma County
2nd Quarter Market Update for Sonoma County
VA Home Loans and the Benefits for Veterans, Active Duty and/or Surviving Spouse
Benefits to VA home loans: Low Rates, No Down Payment Required, No Private Mortgage Insurance, Assumable……
Preparing for a Bidding War in Today’s Market
So, how to prepare for a bidding war when making an offer on a new home?? Today’s market can be tough, especially with low inventory. In Sonoma County we have the, unfortunate, change of events impact the real estate market as well as the work force numbers. 2017 we were hit with the Tubbs fire which burned over 3,000 homes to the ground. Building of the replacement homes started immediately. However, we had another big fire come around in 2019- Kincade fire. Sonoma County was not prepared at all for the Tubbs fire, but this go around with the Kincade was a different story. We did not lose nearly as many homes or structures but we had a lot of smoke damage form Kincade. This chain of events of evacuations, Warnings and then smoke damage evaluation and Restoration of homes, really halted the real estate market. And now with the 2020 Pandemic, along with some more lighting fires, we just can’t seem to catch a break. We are competing with each other AND the Baby Boomers moving from the city.
It is very important to go into every deal ready to go to war and bid! This is, also, where it is very important you have an experienced realtor on your side. A realtor that is experienced, but liked in the community and know to “get things done.” Keep in mind that sometimes the best offer is not just in price. You may go up against many offers and “bidding war” may be a serious of items that intrigue the Seller. Your experienced agent will do the homework on the sellers- their motivation to sell, the factors that they need for a smooth close, etc.
Get Preapproved for your home loan
Know what you can afford
To get you prepared for a Bidding War, we first get you pre-approved. Let’s see where you stand in qualification. You may only want to pay a certain price, but I always recommend getting approved for the max so you know what that payment looks like. Be prepared, on the event, you do have to go up in price- It is better to know right away if that option is even a choice for you. No delays, cut to the chase. Having a good lender is helpful here as well. Many programs for buyers and many strategies to put a good offer together. These different programs may allow a higher debt to income ratio, or lender paid MI into rate, etc. Lender has a job to find you the best program/price. When we prepare for a bidding war, we come in with a lot of ammunition. A few different price points and scenarios can help you feel prepared, in the event, the Seller counters your offer. At that time it is important to answer fast, before another offer swoops in.
Make Your Best Offer
Highest offer is not always the best offer.
Now for the offer- we look at timelines for seller and for yourself. We ask questions like “does the seller need a rent back” or “does the seller need a longer escrow.” All these question can help you understand the seller and relate to their situation. Is this the home they raised their children in? Is this the home that was a rental and no emotional connection? A letter to seller tugging at the heart strings could make a difference when offering on a family home. But, it may be worthless for an investment home. So many variables, but this is why choosing the “right” agent is important. I have been known to get an offer accepted just because I was the agent and the listing agent liked working with me. I have had listing agents share that they would rather not work with another agent, as that agent has had poor dealing’s and is always canceling his buyers for lack of preapproval, etc.
All great points when tying to prepare for a bidding war. Keep in mind when there are other offers, you need to come in with your best offer. Last thing that you want to happen is offer a little less “to see” and then they take a different offer that is lower than what you were willing to pay IF a counter offer came. In a bidding war there is NO GUARANTEE that the Seller will even issue you a counter offer. Sometimes there are too many offers and sellers just pick the best. So, ALWAYS, go in with your best offer….Especially, when you know there will be more offers. Seller will not always give you a counter offer.
Pick the “right agent,” experience a must!
The Tools to What Gets Your Home Sold Quickly and at the Price You Want
Sellers, It is time to list your home….Now what? What gets your home sold? First and foremost hire an agent that has the expertise to sell a home in any market. This agent has 10+ years and has been through the ups & downs of a volatile real estate market. Next, check the reviews of the agent, are they respected in the community, do they have listings in many areas, and what is the quality of their work. This leads me to getting Your home sold.
Of course, I will be talking as Your Expert Agent with 20+ years experience, good reputation and quality work! To get your home sold quick and at/close to the price you want you need to price it correctly. The idea to “price higher and then we can work our way down,” is not always the way to go. It’s a myth. Or pricing too low can “scare” buyers away- “What is wrong with the home.” A good agent, Me, will do a search of comparable homes in the area. And if you have a unique home or neighborhood with little turnover then there may be more steps for Me to come up with a price. But, once I come up with a price, it is a number that I feel, as the expert, is the price point that works to get the home sold. But, wait, that is not all…..What gets your home sold? Photos, Videos, Marketing everywhere. Seriously, Photos are key. It is very important to have good, quality photos taken for your home. A LOT OF PHOTOS! We want tot showcase all the things a Buyer is looking for, and not showcase what may hurt your sell (old fences, old roof, etc). In a perfect world, you would update the whole home completely and everything is perfect. That is not reality. Money may be limited, time may be limited, or resources may be limited. So, my job is to help you get the home “show ready” for the photos. Most buyers are doing their home searches on line. Some Investors will buy the home, based off photos and videos online, without evening seeing the home in person. Videos of the home are important as well. It may be a drone aerial still shot or a video entering the property showcasing the views, but they are important. An agent, like Me, is here to showcase your home and make it stand out above the competition. As the expert, I can guide you on how to de-clutter your home, how to add “pops of color,” and what needs to be hauled away. Or, hiring a professional stager is necessary- sometimes just moving your own items around can be enough.
What gets your home sold?? A really good agent, Mandy Corriea 🙂
Fixer Upper Money Pit
Cosmetic or Bones? Fixer Upper can mean different things for many:
Want a fixer upper? I meet clients, often, looking to buy and “flip” or want a deal on a Fixer Upper. Looking for the deal of the year. I am not against this but it does take a level of sophistication to make this happen, successfully. First you need to determine a budget. Then what you would like to net from the deal? Be sure to have a buffer in the budget for those items that show up while you are doing the demo. A cosmetic fixer is pretty much going in and making the home look pretty. Update floors, bathrooms, paint inside and out. A “real” fixer upper is a “gut job.” You will need to be aware of what is or could be behind those walls, under the house and under those sinks. A good agent can help assist with this. But, keep in mind a lot of these types of homes have no reports on file and you, usually, need to make an offer BEFORE you get inspections. However, don’t get discouraged. Just use your resources so you know what you are getting into. An agent will run comps based off the home being improved at that time. We get a contractor in the home to give us a bid. Most contractors will leave a “buffer” or “pad the budget.” They, too, know that once they open up walls, etc, more problems or repairs could be exposed. When thinking about getting into the “flip” business, think about end result. Almost any buyer is going to get inspections completed and it will expose anything you try to hide, so don’t. If you purchase a Fixer Upper, then do just that….Fix it Up! And don’t go at it alone. A realtor is one of your good resources. They have the relationship with the listing agent and they can communicate the concerns. Don’t be afraid of purchasing a Fixer Upper, but be aware and informed. Call me to help you!
Sell now??? The infamous question.
I get this question everyday:
Should I sell my house in the Winter wait until Spring?
My answer is always different. Are you selling and buying a replacement home? Are you selling for hardship purposes. Are you selling for convenience of a new marriage or out of necessity like a divorce or death? Are you selling to improve cash flow?
So, too many variables to have just one answer. But, when you plan to sell because you are purchasing a replacement home, then the answer is YES, sell now. Remember, when you sell low, you buy low. And, when you sell high, you buy high.
Now, if you plan to sell because you are ready to dump this asset and you have another home to go to, then that answer may be No, let’s wait to see how the winter comps play out. If you try to get top dollar and have the time and resources to make it happen over a period of time, then your agent, ME, is there to assist in gathering data. Past sales, Active listings, days on market, amount of inventory similar to your place, and so on. So, should I sell in the Winter or wait for the Spring? CALL ME!!
During a distressed sale: divorce, death, financial issues, etc I will help you make the decision. It may be not a good time, but there may be other sources that you could explore in order to not sell during a slower time. Sometimes a refinance, equity line, AirBNB, long term rental, can all be resources to help the situation at hand. Again, call the expert who can connect you with the resources needed to help make this decision.
Mandy Corriea, Broker Associtate
What is happening with the Windsor Real Estate Market?
Windsor….how does it hold up to the other cities it borders?
Our market has been very interesting, especially with the late winter we had. I put a listing on at the beginning of the year and got some real good action, but it all came to a halt when we got our first rain…uh….storm. We had so much rain we flooded in a lot of areas around us. And with rain comes house problems: roof leaks, blown down fences, leaking windows, etc. No one was looking at houses. We had a couple of open houses and we basically had neighbors stopping by. But, then we got some great weather….for about a week! Next storm came rolling in, and another and another. Spring Break got our market moving again, along with the Sun!! Sold that home within a week. People were motivated to get out of their homes and start the search. Also, spring break, gets those motivated to Sell knowing school gets out in less than 2 months! Families like to sell homes and moving during the summer so their is no disruption with school. This trend I have seen in my 19 years in the business and it still holds strong today. SO…how are we doing? Well, we are doing great. Average days on market is less than 30 days, since May 1. And if your home is “turn key” reading to just unpack your belongings, those are on market even shorter. I have, also, seen homes going quick with entertaining backyards: lights, grass, fire pits, out door stoves, established flowers & trees. Welcome to 95492, where the medium price range goes quick. If you are looking to Sell, it’s not too late to put your home on market. If you are looking to buy, be sure you are pre-approved and ready to ponce as soon as that house hits the market!! Not much time to “think about it.” My take is that even with all the inventory out there, we still just don’t have enough Medium Priced homes for the active buyers out there. -Mandy Corriea, W Real Estate
Not all Home Improvements are Created Equal
This list I agree with, but I would add an updated kitchen and bathrooms really seal the deal. One thing I recommend is having the work done by a professional, or in a professional manner. Buyers and their inspectors can see through any fluff. Don’t put lipstick on the pig. Make sure when you remodel or replace/repair that you do not cut corners. Be prepared when creating your budget that you have a cushion for those unseen problems hiding behind those walls. And, if you are fortunate enough to not find any issues when remodeling, then you get to use the “cushion fund” for more improvements! Good “bones” in a home is way more attractive then a janky flip home any day!
If you are not in a position to remodel a home to improve the ROI, then I suggest going through the home and making sure the home is in tip top shape. Perform maintenance on furnace, clean out dryer vents & gutters, check for leaks under the house, etc. These are all items that a home inspection report can address. For a fee of around $450 you can get a report on your home as a guide to help with those repairs. It is worth it so you know of any active issues that you can take care of or watch to prevent a bigger issue. When it is time to sell your home you will be prepared to price it with the lack of improvements. But can be confident the homes “bones” are in tact. No hidden surprises for you or your pocket book.
I would combine the Survey Fee and Application fee and round up to about $900 for admin/lender fee. There could be added costs if you choose to impound your taxes & insurance. Lenders require a few months of each to set that account up. I say budget about $8,000-$10,000 in closing costs depending on price of home. There are some great programs that can help with down payment and closing costs. Let me get you in touch with those lenders. With rents as high as they have been, you might be better off Owning…I know you will!!