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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 31

Hidden Backyard Deal Breakers That Are Lurking on Your Property

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Every time a prospective home buyer walks onto your Central Coast property, there are a few things that they will absolutely not put up with. These deal breakers can be anywhere in the home, but there is one area that we often forget about: the backyard.

The backyard is very important to family life, especially here on the beautiful Central Coast. After all, this is the place where children will enjoy their childhood and play in a safe and secured environment. Most home buyers prefer single-family dwellings solely because of the usable outdoor space! Take some time to focus on your backyard. After all, there are ways that you can update your backyard without spending money.

Pool in the Backyard

To many buyers, a pool can be seen as an expensive maintenance fee that they will have to pay for on top of the mortgage. Once they see a pool, they’re going to start doing some calculations in their head thinking, “Now how much is this going to cost me?” Whether it’s above or below ground, a pool can raise a flood of concerns over child safety. But then there are those like me who love pools and are prepared to maintain them. 

Size of the Plot

The appraisal of your home is typically made in two elements, the plot size and the actual value of the physical home. That said, the size of your yard comes into play so you want to make sure that you spend a generous amount of time prepping your backyard for visitors. Getting rid of clutter and opening up the yard to make your lot feel larger will help you when it comes time to sell.

Pet Products

Hide dishes, play toys, and photos of your pets as this may make the buyer feel like the home is dirty, especially for a homeowner that doesn’t like the idea of having pets inside the house. This will be a deal breaker if the buyer is allergic to cats and/or dogs.

Landscaping

With the price of water rising rapidly and droughts in California, grass isn’t as appealing as it once was. When frugal buyers see grass, they see a sky-high water bill that will eventually lead to a dead yard and a new project to be undertaken. Think about landscaping trends like xeric landscaping, native plants, and artificial turf to make your home more appealing to all home buyers.

Leaving Backyard Photos Out of your Listing

This is a rookie mistake. If you leave out photos of your backyard, homebuyers will think that you have something to hide. If you have a gorgeous yard, why wouldn’t you want to showcase it in your listing? Are you hiding any skeletons in the closet?

Noisy Neighbors

Now this may be seen as something outside of your realm, but it may be worth a knock on the door to let your neighbors know that you will be showing your house at a given time. Rowdy neighbors can be an instant turn off to potential buyers. Make sure your neighbors’ parties are held on a different day than your open house to give buyers a better peace of mind. After all, they will share a fence with these neighbors for an indefinite period of time.

So What Are Home Buyers Looking For?

A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that new home buyers are looking for exterior lighting, lots of trees, a deck or patio, and a fenced in yard. Beyond the basics, an outdoor amenity that is rapidly gaining in popularity is the outdoor fireplace/fire pit, outdoor kitchens, and the outdoor living room.

Investing in the backyard can net you some of the highest returns. Knowing what real estate appraisers (and home buyers) are looking for will help you sell your property faster. That said, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior of your home. Many people assume that the front and backyard aren’t crucial to the buying process so they overlook these pitfalls. Make sure that your backyard does not have any hidden deal breakers that could steer away new bids!

10 Ways to Make a Small Room Look Larger

by Bill Nelson


No matter how large your Central Coast home may be, there’s always one room that’s just a little too small. Luckily, with some quick design tricks, any room can appear larger. Try a couple of these suggestions and watch your room magically expand.

  1. Use lighter paint colors.
  2. Paint or wallpaper the ceiling in order to make a room look taller.
  3. Install wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling bookcases to make the ceilings look higher.
  4. Pull furniture away from the walls to create a feeling of spaciousness.
  5. Hang mirrors opposite windows to reflect light and make the room seem bigger.
  6. Keep knickknacks, framed photos, books, etc., to a minimum to create a sense of spaciousness.
  7. Use furniture that doubles for something else. For example, a lidded ottoman that’s also a seat that’s also a storage unit.
  8. Keep window treatments to a minimum to expose as much of the window—and therefore, light—as possible. Think sheer, white curtains. Or better yet, nothing at all.
  9. Stay away from bold prints and colors. Stick to smaller patterns and neutrals when it comes to rugs and upholstery.
  10. Deploy stripes, either on your walls or floors, which will make the walls look taller and the floors longer.

For more tips to make small spaces appear larger than they are, contact me today.

Expert Insights: How Do You Clear up Bad Credit?

by Bill Nelson - Broker

It is not easy but certainly doable with both commitment and time.

By law, any unfavorable information in your credit file can stay there from 7 to 10 years. Today, however, a creditor must remove credit blemishes in a timely fashion if you challenge them and they turn out to be false.

The first step in any recovery plan is to get copies of your credit records. You are entitled to free copies if you have recently been turned down for credit. Otherwise, request copies for a fee from the three major credit-reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union.

If you see any incorrect information, let the credit reporting agencies know. Also contact the companies that reported the negative claims against you.

If the credit report is correct, move immediately to take care of any outstanding delinquencies, tackling a little at a time until you get back on the right track. In fact, make an effort, if at all possible, to repay your debt in full and on time for six months to a year to prove you are working hard to repair any damage.

 

Give me a call if you would like to be connected with a local SLO County Lender who helps facilitate credit repair.

(Reuters) - New U.S. single-family home sales jumped to a seven-month high in February, suggesting the housing market recovery continued to gain momentum despite the challenges of high prices and tight inventories.

Other data on Thursday showed an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week. Still, the labor market continues to tighten, which together with the strength in housing, should underpin economic growth.

The Commerce Department said new home sales increased 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units last month, the highest level since July 2016. Sales have now recouped the sharp drop suffered in December.

Economists had forecast new home sales, which account for about 9.7 percent of the overall market, rising 0.7 percent to a rate of 565,000 units in February. Sales were up 12.8 percent compared to the same month last year, showing the housing market's resilience. 

Last month's sales were likely partially buoyed by unseasonably warm weather. Although mortgage rates have risen and may go higher, most economists see a limited impact on housing because a tightening labor market is improving employment opportunities for young adults.

Expert Insights: When Is the Best Time to Sell a Home?

by Bill Nelson

Paso Robles CA- The best time to sell here in San Luis Obispo County is when you are ready, or when you must. That is, when you have outgrown the space in your current home, or you prefer to trade down to something smaller. Perhaps your marital status has changed, which necessitates a move, or you need to relocate for a job.

Market conditions also play a role, as do seasonal conditions. For example, your chances of getting top dollar for your home are more likely in a seller’s market, when demand outweighs supply, than in a buyer’s market.

Local and national economic factors also may dictate when to sell. If a major employer in your area is laying off workers, it may not be a good time to put your home up for sale.

People will be cautious about buying when the future seems unpredictable or bleak.

Most agents agree the best time to sell is in the spring. This is when the largest number of potential buyers hit the market. Your home is likely to sell faster and at a higher price, although sales begin to pick up as early as February and start to slack off in July, the slowest month for real estate transactions.

 

 

Understanding Private Mortgage Insurance

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Hopeful Central Coast Buyers applying for a home loan; who aren’t able to put 20 percent down upfront may be hearing their lender talk about Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI. A PMI comes into play when a buyer, unable to come up with a 20 percent down payment, is seen as a risky investment. Instead of simply blocking the borrower from taking out a loan, the lender will require Private Mortgage Insurance to protect the investors.

Typically, the PMI payment is paid monthly along with the overall mortgage payment. While this may seem bleak, for some it is the only way to secure a loan without that pesky 20 percent down payment.

However, just because you have a PMI doesn’t mean you will need to carry it the length of your loan. To get rid of the PMI on the loan, the borrower can contact their lender and ask that it be removed after they pay down enough of principal to cover the 20 percent.

Really trying to avoid that PMI? You could also take out a smaller loan to cover the amount of the 20 percent down, although this usually comes at a higher interest rate.

Understanding the Debt-to-Income Ratio

When applying for a mortgage, your lender will be looking closely at your debt-to-income ratio, also known as a DTI. But what is your DTI? It’s a calculation, and to get it, your lender will be dividing your monthly debt by your monthly income. Let’s look closer.

To start, first add up what you spend each month on the following: mortgage or rent, minimum credit card payments, car loan, student loans, alimony/child support payments, and other loans you may owe. The total amount is what you spend each month on debt.

Next, calculate your monthly income by adding up your yearly: gross income, bonus or overtime, alimony/child support, and any other income. Once you have this amount then divide your yearly income by 12 to determine your monthly income. Now all that’s left is to divide your monthly debt by your monthly income. While the base line changes, the typical ratio of what’s considered to be the healthiest debt load for the majority of people is 43 percent or less.

It’s also important to note that there are two types of DTI ratios: front end and back end. The front end DTI includes your housing-related debts. The back end DTI includes housing-related debts as well as other recurring debt payments (things like student loans, credit cards, child support, etc.).

 

If you would like to be connected to one of our team of lenders simply call us at (805) 462-3700.

Buying a Home When Your Spouse Has Poor Credit

by Bill Nelson

Buying a Central Coast home on two incomes can be difficult enough, and it can be even more demanding if one spouse has poor credit.

A poor credit score can make it difficult to qualify for a mortgage and can lead to a higher interest rate on a home loan. A spouse with poor credit could be left off the loan application entirely, requiring the other person to have a high credit score and a high enough income to afford the loan on their own.

If a spouse with poor credit does qualify for a loan, the lender could require a bigger down payment on the house.

FHA loans, for example, which are backed by the federal government, require a 10 percent down payment with a FICO credit score lower than 580, while a credit score above 580 only requires a 3.5 percent down payment.

A credit score is just part of the financial background a lender looks into. Income and a debt-to-income ratio are also considered, though a high income by itself won’t overcome a poor credit score.

Credit scores range from 500 to 850. A low score of 650 can be a predictor of making late loan payments, while a 550 score means you’re not likely to pay at all.

A couple’s credit scores aren’t averaged together in a home loan application. Lenders will use the lower of the two credit scores. If a husband has a 620 score and the wife has 700, then the lower score will be used in the mortgage application and an interest rate of three-eighths to half a point higher will be charged.

Options for those with poor credit

There are ways to get around one spouse having a low credit score. In the above example, the wife with the 700 credit score can get a home loan if she qualifies on her own.

Both spouses should be listed on the home’s title or deed, but only she would be listed as the borrower. The husband’s name could be added to the deed later when his credit score improves.

Buying a home on one income, however, can be difficult. The best solution is to improve the lower credit score, something that should be done months before applying for a loan.

Just a 10-point credit score improvement by paying down credit cards could be enough to get a better interest rate and can be done quickly.

Even minor credit improvements can take 30 days or more to fix, such as closing all but one credit card. Most fixes can take three to four months to show up on a credit report, so repairs should be made before applying for a loan.

For more information and connection with a Central Coast Lender Call Bill Nelson at (805) 610-8552.

Outdoor Redo Projects Both Valuable Now, and Later

by Bill Nelson- Past President NCAOR®

Remodeling your SLO County home? Add an outdoor redo to the project.

According to a report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), an outdoor renovation can add significant value to a home come resale. The most valuable updates, per the report, are:

• Seeding the Lawn (Reaps 417 percent of its cost)
• Implementing a Standard Lawn Care Program (303 percent)
• Sodding (143 percent)

An outdoor renovation can also up the enjoyment factor—the “Joy Score,” according to the report. The highest project on the Joy Score scale? A pool, though it is one of the least profitable at a 50 percent return-on-investment.

The most appealing projects following a pool, the report found, are an overall landscape upgrade and a new wood deck.

“Realtors® know first hand the importance of curb appeal because when it is time to sell, a home's exterior is its first impression to potential buyers,” says North County Association of Realtors ® Past President Bill Nelson. “Realtors® also know that these projects—from flower beds to fire pits—can bring homeowners who have no plans to sell even more enjoyment and satisfaction in their home.

"Homeowners looking spend money on large, expensive outdoor projects should do it for themselves, for the enjoyment they and their family will gain from the finished results, and not only to improve the value of their home for when they sell,” Nelson cautions. “Smaller projects will bring potential sellers the most value back upon resale—and have the benefit of costing less up front.”

“Homeowners working with a landscape professional to embark on renovations—whether that means enhancing their turf and growing a lush lawn, rehauling their entire landscape, or incorporating new features like patios and exterior fireplaces—can rest assured that they are making a smart, worthwhile investment,” adds Nelson “Further, that investment is coupled with the immediate happiness received by beautiful landscaping and the long-term enjoyment of outdoor living spaces, which are priceless.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

The Best Way To Pick A REALTOR(R).

by Bill Nelson- Past President NCAOR®

Begin by asking someone that you know here on the Central Coast. Friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors who have recently purchased a home locally can give you a firsthand account and attest to their agent’s professional abilities. Pick agents who live here and work exclusively with buyers and sellers in SLO County. Once you have a list of names, interview at least three agents and ask questions about their community knowledge, professional experience, and commitment—some agents work full time; others only work at nights and on the weekends. Pick an agent that makes you feel comfortable and negotiates well with others. Remember that their negotiation skills are just as important as their marketing skills. Linda Sue and I receive several referrals from past clients per year. If a Realtor (r) does a good job for others and has numerous testimonials from past clients like we have posted on our website; then they are a great candidate for the job of listing your home. The company you list with is important too. In San Luis Obispo County there are several independent brokerages like Realty One Inc. that when combined with other independent brokerages; they outsell and maintain a higher market share than the big nationwide corporations. Quality customer service is agent specific and although many large firms have excellent Realtors(s) keeping it local may have even bigger advantages. Many local Realtors(r) like Realty One and others; support local community based non-profits, and charities that help enrich the lives on our neighbors here in San Luis Obispo County. 

What Agents Must Share from Real Estate Disclosures

by Bill Nelson- Past President NCAOR®

There’s a memorable phrase in the real estate profession of “Disclose, disclose, disclose. Those who don’t, don’t close, don’t close, don’t close.”

It’s a smart rule to follow, and not just to make a sale. The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics goes into some detail about what agents should disclose to clients, though there isn’t much about rules for real estate disclosures about a property’s condition.

An agent’s role in conveying the seller’s disclosure is pretty straightforward: Tell everything required by law, which vary by state and can go down to the city and county level.

The one area that federal law requires disclosure of is lead paint. If a home was built before 1978, it may contain lead paint and must be checked for it, and a disclosure form must be completed.

The state and federal regulations are meant to disclose known facts about a property’s condition, including problems that could discourage potential buyers. These include leaking windows, being in a flood zone and if a murder happened on the site.

While a home inspection should turn up most issues and could turn up new issues that no one knew about, it’s legally up to the seller to tell buyers about problems they already know about a home.

Most states require real estate agents and brokers to sign a disclosure form listing everything material about the deal, under penalty of perjury.

A real estate agent representing the buyer has a duty to disclose information that would allow the buyer to complete the sale at the lowest price and at the most favorable terms for the buyer, and these can include home defects that need to be fixed.

 Some issues may not meet current building codes but are working fine for the current owner, who isn’t obligated to disclose them, Wolfs says. These can include older windows, railings that are low, a driveway needing repair and improper grading.

Sellers and their agents may not have to disclose such issues, but revealing as much as they can in a disclosure statement is only in their best interest in the long run if they don’t want to be sued afterward for not alerting a buyer to something they knew about.

“Disclose, disclose, disclose.” Follow that mantra and you should be safe.

I hope you found this real estate information helpful. Please contact me for all your real estate needs today!

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 31