7 Pricing Myths to Stop Believing If You Ever Hope to Sell Your House

7 Pricing Myths to Stop Believing If You Ever Hope to Sell Your House

By Cathie Ericson

Pricing your own home is hard, what with all the history and hopes this magic number entails. Of course, you want to make a profit. Of course, all that money you spent installing a swimming pool or a half-bath will be recouped, because you’re leaving your digs in better shape than when you bought it, right? Right?

Well, not necessarily. Too many home sellers fall prey to myths about home pricing that seem to make sense at first, but don’t jibe with the reality of real estate markets today. To make sure you haven’t bought into any of this malarkey—since the buyers you’re trying to woo sure haven’t—here are some common pricing myths you’ll want to rinse from your brain so you kick off your home-selling venture with realistic expectations. It’s time to get real, folks!

1. You always make money when you sell a home

Sure, real estate tends to appreciate over time: The National Association of Realtors® estimates that home prices will jump 5% by the end of 2017 and continue rising 3.5% in 2018. But selling your home for more than you paid is by no means a given, and your return on investment can vary greatly based on where you live.

The NAR also found, for instance, that the cost of single-family homes increased in about 87% of the metros it studied, but prices actually dropped in 23 markets. So don’t assume you’ll walk away with a profit until you’ve examined what’s up in your area first.

2. Price your house high to make big bucks

We know what you’re thinking: “Hey, it’s worth a shot!” But if you start with some sky-high asking price, you’ll soon come back to Earth when you realize that an overpriced home just won’t sell.

“While the payday might sound appealing, you’re actually sacrificing your best marketing time in exchange for the remote possibility that someone will overpay for your home,” says Kathleen Marks, a Realtor® with United Real Estate in Asheville, NC.

While certain buyers might be suckered in, this becomes far less likely if they’re working with a buyer’s agent who will know all too well when a home is overpriced, and advise their client to steer clear. And this can lead to problems down the road (as our next myth indicates).

3. If your home’s overpriced, it’s no big deal to lower it later

Sorry, but overpricing your home isn’t easily fixed just by lowering it later on. The reason: Homes that have lingered on the market for months—or that have undergone one or more price reductions—make buyers presume that something must be wrong with it. As such, they might still steer clear, or offer even less than the price you’re now asking.

Bottom line: “Price your home appropriately from the beginning for your best shot at having a quick and easy sale,” Marks recommends.

4. Pricing your home low means you won’t make as much money

Similarly, sellers are often leery of pricing their home on the low end. But as counterintuitive as this seems, this strategy can often pay off big-time. Here’s why: Low-priced homes drum up tons of interest, which could result in a bidding war that could drive your home’s price past your wildest dreams.

5. You can add the cost of any renovations you’ve made

Let’s say you overhauled your kitchen or added a deck. It stands to reason that whatever money you paid for these improvements will be recouped in full once you sell—after all, your home’s new owners are inheriting all your hard work.

The reality: While your renovations might see some return on investment, you’ll rarely recoup the whole amount. On average, you can expect to get back 64% of every dollar you spend on home improvements. Plus that profit can vary greatly based on which renovation you do.

Check out this list of common renovations and their return on investment to know what you can actually expect.

6. A past appraisal will help you pinpoint the right price

If you have an appraisal in hand, from when you bought or refinanced your house, you might think that’s a logical place to start to price your home. It’s not!

An appraisal assigns your home a value based on market conditions at a specific date, so it becomes old news very quickly. In fact, lenders typically won’t accept appraisals that are more than 60 days old.

“Since lenders know markets can change in six months’ time, it’s important for sellers to understand that a previous appraisal is never a reliable source for the current value of a home,” Marks says.

7. Your agent might overprice the house to make a bigger commission

Don’t even go there, says Realtor Raena Janes of RJHomes in Tucson, AZ.

“While it’s true that an agent’s commission is based on the selling price of a house, the disparity will end up being negligible,” she says. For example, the difference in commission between a $300,000 house and one that’s $310,000 is about $150.

“No real estate agent is going to lose a sale for the sake of a couple hundred dollars,” she explains.

 

Selling a home takes knowledge and resources.  Contact the Caton Team for a free consultation.

The Caton Team is comprised of Susan and Sabrina Caton – a mother/daughter in law team.  We are full time, local Realtors with over 25 years of combined Real Estate experience.  How can The Caton Team help you?

I read this article at: https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/home-pricing-myths/?identityID=9851214&MID=2017_0908_WeeklyNL&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2017-0908-WeeklyNL-blog_1_homepricingmyths-blogs_sell

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnap: http://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page:  http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

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Check Yourself: 7 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle in September

Hello again – thought I would share this great article to get your home ready for Fall and Winter!

Check Yourself: 7 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle in September

By Holly Amaya

For most of the country, September signals the end of summer’s dog days and a return to fuzzy sweaters, chilly evenings, and, of course, pumpkin spice everything (this is America, after all).

But before those first autumn leaves begin to fall, it’s crucial to take a few steps to stave off any cold weather home breakdowns. Luckily, we’re here to make it as easy as possible for you with our handy checklist of home maintenance chores to tackle this month. These quick, relatively painless tasks can potentially save you major repair costs down the road.

1. Check walkways for cracks

“Before the grass is covered with snow, or it’s too cold to venture outside, check walkways for cracks and loose paver material,” says Ryan Williams, general manager of 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric. “Fix walkway and entryway areas before slippery weather can cause a tripping or falling accident.”

DIY: Small cracks can be fixed with simple epoxy and shouldn’t take more than a few hours.

Call in a pro: Serious cracking and concrete damage will require professional repair—expect to spend north of $1,000, although exact costs will depend on the severity of damage and cost of materials and labor in your area.

2. Clean and repair the siding

“After a long summer, siding can become dirty or mildewed,” says Chris Granger, vice president and general manager of Sears Home Services.

September is a great time to use a pressure washer to clean it up—and inspect for more serious problems before winter comes. Check first for rotten or warped areas, and inspect your caulking, which can shrink and crack over time.

DIY: You don’t necessarily have to shimmy up a ladder for a close-up of your siding; the pros we talked to recommend using a smartphone camera or drone to zoom in on problem areas. Inspect the butt joints where two pieces of siding meet and, if you spy cracks, consider tackling the job yourself.

How? A day ahead, thoroughly wash your work surface with soapy water. Once the area is completely dry, squeeze a bit of caulk into the gap in the siding, then smooth it with your finger. Wipe it once more with a damp sponge to even out your work.

(Pro tip: Be sure to never caulk the underside of your siding, which could prevent the boards from expanding and contracting during changing weather.) Once you’ve fixed any problem areas, let everything set for a few days. Then follow up with a good pressure wash (you can rent a machine for around $35).

Call in a pro: If your siding has seen better days (think missing, bent, or cracked pieces), consider replacing it. As a general rule, fiber cement siding is priciest, followed by wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Replacing vinyl siding on an average 2,200-square-foot home will set you back more than $6,500 (in addition to the cost of removing existing materials). If you choose wood or fiber cement siding, you’ll likely spend twice that. For an expert pressure washing, expect to spend $100 to $300.

3. Check and repair leaky faucets

“Before the temperatures start to dip, examine leaky faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room locations,” Williams says. “Most likely, whatever time and money you spend now will be considerably less than a broken pipe in the dead of winter.”

DIY: Just turn on the faucet, turn it off, and watch for any telltale dripping. Your fix might be as easy as replacing the washers on the faucet’s knobs, or you might have a worn cam washer, valve seat, or spring. We have you covered with our step-by-step guide to fixing a leaky faucet.

Call in a pro: If you’d rather not deal with it yourself, you can always hire a plumber. Estimates for fixing leaks vary, but expect to spend at least $100.

4. Make sure windows are sealed tight

All double- or triple-pane windows should have a tight seal around their perimeter that separates the individual panes of glass and traps inert gas between them, providing a break between the temps inside and outside your home. If you notice that your windows are frequently foggy, that’s likely a sign of a failed seal.

DIY: Try cashing in on your windows’ warranty first; many companies will cover failed seals for a decade or longer.   

Call in the pros: If your warranty won’t cover a total replacement, check out a professional window defogging company. These pros will reseal the window’s perimeter and replace the gas between the panes for an average of $300 (depending on location and the number of windows).

5. Sweep the chimney

When temperatures finally fall, you’ll want to be ready to light your fireplace. But before your first toasty blaze of the season, make sure your chimney has been cleaned.

“Built-up soot in your chimney can increase your risk of a chimney fire, and a clogged chimney can also increase the presence of carbon monoxide in your home by not allowing it to escape when you have a fire burning in the fireplace,” says Lindsey Pasieka of ConsumerSafety.org.

Call in the pros: No DIY here—leave this (dirty) job to a pro, who’ll charge an average of $225 for an inspection and sweep.

6. Change the air filters and tune up the furnace

This one really should be a maintenance task you do every month, Granger says. Dirty air filters can lead to higher energy bills and irreparably damage your HVAC system.

DIY: Changing your air filter is a fairly straightforward task—just be sure to check the size of your existing filter before you hit the hardware store. Pros also recommend removing all vent covers and vacuuming pet dander, hair, and other debris that can accumulate and gunk up your HVAC system.

Call in the pros: Take things a step further by hiring a professional to tune up your unit before winter arrives. A good contractor will ensure your thermostat is working properly, fix loose electrical connections and gas connections, and check your unit’s blower motor and heat exchanger. Expect to spend $80 to $150.

7. Service the yard equipment

Autumn—not spring—is actually the best time to show some love to your lawn equipment before you put it away for winter.

“It’s harmful for equipment to sit all winter long with old oil in the case and dirt on the other components,” says Lisa Turner, author of “House Keys: Tips and Tricks From a Female Home Inspector.”

DIY: Change your oil and filter, replace air and gas filters, and install new blades if necessary. Then perform the lubrication and adjustment maintenance required by your equipment’s manual. But you don’t want to drain the gas tank completely, Turner says. Instead use a premium gasoline without ethanol but with a gas preservative. Just before you store it, fill the tank with this mix.

Call in the pros: If your unit won’t start or turn over, the cost for a lawn mower repair pro will run about $35 to $115. If your lawn mower’s engine needs to be replaced, you could shell out $800 to $900 for a new engine.

The Caton Team is comprised of Susan and Sabrina Caton – a mother/daughter in law team.  We are full time, local Realtors with over 25 years of combined Real Estate experience.  How can The Caton Team help you?

I read this article at: https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/home-maintenance-checklist-september/?identityID=9851214&MID=2017_0908_WeeklyNL&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2017-0908-WeeklyNL-blog_2_homemaintenancechecklist-blogs_trends

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnap: http://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page:  http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

Is Mortgage Insurance Really Worth It?

Is Mortgage Insurance Really Worth It?

If you’re considering a low down payment mortgage—less than 20%–you may have heard you’ll need to pay mortgage insurance (also known as MI, private mortgage insurance or PMI, and mortgage insurance premium or MIP) in addition to your monthly mortgage payment. While it adds another monthly payment to your mortgage, it may also help you get in a home sooner. Let’s look at your options and some hidden benefits of MI.

What is mortgage insurance?

MI helps manage risk for your lender and protect them if you fail to repay the mortgage, making the loan safer for investors. Investors have set parameters that loans must meet before they are purchased. One key parameter is that the mortgage has a loan-to-value ratio of at least 80%, meaning that the borrowers have made a 20% down payment.

MI was created to help more buyers get over that hurdle and afford to buy a home. With MI, you can put down less than 20% and still become a homeowner.

But, is MI really worth it or should you wait until you have 20% down?

Benefits of mortgage insurance

Before you write off mortgage insurance, let’s look at how it may provide valuable opportunities and options to you as a homebuyer.

Increased buying power. Say you’ve saved $20,000. You can use that cash to put 20% down on a $100,000 home OR you could make a smaller down payment on a more expensive home — for example, 10% down on a $200,000 home.

Expanded cash-flow options. Using MI to finance your mortgage, you can elect to put less money down and still have funds for home-related purchases and repairs or investments. For example, rather than putting 20% down ($40,000) on a $200,000 home, you could put down 10% ($20,000) and use the other $20,000 to remodel.

Lower monthly payments. If you have good credit, you may be eligible for lower borrower paid MI rates.

Predictable monthly payments. A fixed-rate mortgage with MI provides you with a locked-in monthly payment that will not increase and that will be reduced when MI coverage is cancelled.

Mortgage insurance may be cancelled. On most loans with MI, coverage must automatically be cancelled by the lender when the loan reaches 78% of original value through amortization. MI also may be cancelled when extra payments bring the loan below 80% of original value. Contact your loan servicer for a full description of cancellation requirements.

FHA or Conventional loan?

FHA is known for their low down payments for first-time homebuyers, but consider all your options. Many conventional fixed rate loans offer lower than FHA’s 3.5% down. Plus, when you use a fixed rate loan and borrower paid MI, you can cancel your mortgage insurance when you reach 20% equity in your home. With FHA, you must continue to pay MI for the life of the loan.

Down payment programs can give you a boost

Don’t overlook the homeownership programs available in every community. These programs offer grants and loans that can fund your closing costs and down payments, helping supplement your down payment savings and get you closer to that 20% threshold faster. Find out what programs may be in your area.

How do you pay for MI?

Talk to your lender about MI plans available. There are borrower paid and lender paid plans. If you have a higher credit score, you may get a reduced rate with a borrower paid plan. With lender paid plans, the MI premium is usually built into the mortgage interest rate or the origination fee. If a lender says they have a “no MI” option, look at all the fees and ask how MI is calculated.

Should you buy now or wait?

Take some time to evaluate your personal situation. Interview multiple lenders and shop your loan. It’s important to get your financing locked down before you begin shopping for homes. MGIC, a mortgage insurance provider, offers a calculator that can help you assess whether you should buy now or wait.

Contact The Caton Team any time with all your Real Estate questions.

The Caton Team is comprised of Susan and Sabrina Caton – a mother/daughter in law team.  We are full time, local Realtors with over 25 years of combined Real Estate experience.  How can The Caton Team help you?

I read this article at: http://downpaymentresource.com/mortgage-insurance-really-worth/

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnap: http://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page:  http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

5 Home Design Fads That Are Out in 2017

5 Home Design Fads That Are Out in 2017

With selling season upon us – if you’re thinking of selling – take a look around… What would you like to see fade away?  What home trends are you looking into for 2017?

 Shiplap and white-on-white kitchens may finally be falling out of favor. The two trends have dominated home design in recent years, but realtor.com® says they’ll be fading fast in 2017. Here are some of the home design trends realtor.com® predicts will fall to the wayside in the new year.

  • GRAY:  Once the hottest color, gray is now looking gloomy. “It’s been overdone,” says Tanya Campbell of Denver-based Viridis Design Studio. “Diversity in the palette will strike a contrast. We may even see a transition from gray color palettes to warmer mochas and taupes.”
  • THE GLAM LOOK:  This style’s signature is bold whites, bright silvers, and deep blacks, which have been popular in kitchen and bathroom designs. “We’re going to leave the glam era behind. That slick, stark, severe minimalism will be replaced with warmer elements,” says interior designer Bea Pila. “At the end of the day, we’re seeking a deeper comfort level in our personal spaces. That perfect showroom feel we were once into doesn’t make this possible.”
  • SHIPLAP:  Shiplap surged to popularity as Joanna Gaines, host of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” turned to it as her go-to remodeling piece. But realtor.com® notes: “If you’ve ever wondered what 2016’s version of tacky wood paneling would be, look no further than this trend that seems to have overtaken TV design shows.” It’s difficult to remove, and designers now say it often makes little sense to use, particularly in a Colonial or Tudor home style.
  • WHITE-ON-WHITE KITCHENS:  White everything in the kitchen — from countertops to cabinetry and even the floor — is fading fast. “It’s just too much,” says Sara Chiarilli, a designer at Sarasota, Fla.-based Artful Conceptions. “This trend started to go in 2016, but you will find it completely gone in 2017.” That said, Chiarilli predicts that whites will stick around, but they will take on more depth and tones in kitchens in the new year.
  • COPPER:  Expect to see less of this heavy metal in 2017. Copper fixtures are another trend on the chopping block in the new year, realtor.com® notes.

Personally – DO WHAT YOU LOVE!!!! Enjoy your home!  Make it yours.  When the time comes to sell, call The Caton Team – we’ve got a plan!

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2016/12/30/5-home-design-fads-are-out-in-2017?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYZs0sB9W3kUB$&om_ntype=RMODaily

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnap: http://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street

This article peaked our interest since the Caton Team is working with auction buyers.  Fascinating the properties that come through the auction block – but this one – OMG! Take a read from the SF Chronicle!  

Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street

Thanks to a little-noticed auction sale, a South Bay couple are the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco — and they’re looking for ways to make their purchase pay.

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill. They outlasted several other bidders.

Now they’re looking to cash in — maybe by charging the residents of those mansions to park on their own private street.

 

Those residents value their privacy — and their exclusivity. Past homeowners have included Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her financier husband, Richard Blum; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi; and the late Mayor Joseph Alioto. A guard is stationed round the clock at the stone-gate entrance to the street to keep the curious away.

So imagine the residents’ surprise when San Jose residents Cheng and Lam wound up with the street, its sidewalks and every other bit of “common ground” in the private development that has been managed by the homeowners since at least 1905. That includes a string of well-coiffed garden islands, palm trees and other greenery that enhance the gated and guarded community at the end of Washington Street, just off Arguello Boulevard and down the hill from the Presidio.

“We just got lucky,”said Cheng, a real estate investor.

The homeowners, however, are crying foul and want the Board of Supervisors to negate the sale.

The couple’s purchase appears to be the culmination of a comedy of errors involving a $14-a-year property tax bill that the homeowners association failed to pay for three decades. It’s something that the owners of all 181 private streets in San Francisco are obliged to do.

In a letter to the city last month, Scott Emblidge, the attorney for the Presidio Homeowners Association, said the group had failed to pay up because its tax bill was being mailed to the Kearny Street address used by an accountant who hadn’t worked for the homeowners since the 1980s.

Two years ago, the city’s tax office put the property up for sale in an online auction, seeking to recover $994 in unpaid back taxes, penalties and interest. Cheng and Lam, trawling for real estate opportunities in the city, pounced on the offer — snatching up the parcel with a $90,100 bid, sight unseen.

Since the purchase in April 2015, the couple have been quietly sitting on the property, talking to a number of land-use attorneys to explore their options.

“We were looking to get title insurance so it could be marketable,” Cheng said.

He and his wife see plenty of financial opportunity — especially from the 120 parking spaces on the street that they now control.

“We could charge a reasonable rent on it,” Cheng said.

And if the Presidio Terrace residents aren’t interested in paying for parking privileges, perhaps some of their neighbors outside the gates — in a city where parking is at a premium — would be.

Unsurprisingly, the residents were more than a little upset when they belatedly found out what had happened.

They didn’t learn that their street and sidewalks had been sold until they were contacted May 30 by a title search company working on behalf of Cheng and Lam, said Emblidge. The title search outfit wanted to know if the residents had any interest in buying back the property from the couple, the lawyer said.

“I was shocked to learn this could happen, and am deeply troubled that anyone would choose to take advantage of the situation and buy our street and sidewalks,” said one homeowner, who asked not to be named because of pending litigation.

Last month, the homeowners petitioned the Board of Supervisors for a hearing to rescind the tax sale. The board has scheduled a hearing for October.

In addition, the homeowners association has sued the couple and the city, seeking to block Cheng and Lam from selling the street to anyone while the city appeal is pending — a move residents fear could complicate their efforts to reclaim the land.

The residents say the city had an obligation to post a notice in Presidio Terrace notifying neighbors of the pending auction back in 2015 — something that “would have been simple and inexpensive for the city to accomplish.”

Treasurer-Tax Collector Jose Cisneros’ office says the city did what the law requires.

“Ninety-nine percent of property owners in San Francisco know what they need to do, and they pay their taxes on time — and they keep their mailing address up to date,” said spokeswoman Amanda Fried.

“There is nothing that our office can do” about the sale now, she added.

Fried said that as far as she knows, the Board of Supervisors “has never done a hearing of rescission” — and that because it’s been more than two years since Cheng and Lam bought the property, it could be tough to overturn the sale now.

As for the threat to charge them for parking, the residents suspect it’s part of a pressure campaign by the couple to force the homeowners association to shell out big bucks to buy back the street.

The couple, however, say they’re in no hurry to sell.

“I’m a first-generation immigrant, and the first time I came to San Francisco I fell in love with the city,” said Lam, an engineer in Silicon Valley who was born in Hong Kong and came to the U.S. for college.

“I really just wanted to own something in San Francisco because of my affinity for the city,” Lam said.

There’s a bit of irony in the couple’s purchase. Until a 1948 U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning the enforcement of racial covenants, homes in Presidio Terrace could be purchased only by whites.

“The more we dug into this,” said the Taiwan-born Cheng, “the more interesting it got.”

San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX-TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or email matierandross@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @matierandross

The Caton Team is comprised of Susan and Sabrina Caton – a mother/daughter in law team.  We are full time, local Realtors with over 25 years of combined Real Estate experience.  How can The Caton Team help you?

I read this article at: http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Rich-SF-residents-get-a-shock-Someone-bought-11738236.php?cmpid=email-premium

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

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5 Most Common Home Buyer Regrets

5 Most Common Home Buyer Regrets

You can imagine the importance I felt when I came across this article on Realtor.com. I never want my clients to experience buyer’s remorse. I know the key to preventing that is education and a game plan. The Caton Team is dedicate to educating our buying clients every step of the way. Please enjoy this article and my 2 cents in italics. – Sabrina

Half of recent home buyers say that if they could repeat the homebuying process, they’d do something differently, according to a survey by financial website NerdWallet.com. Respondents indicate that their biggest source of regret when buying a home was not preparing enough financially for homeownership. Here are some of the most common reasons for buyer regret, according to the survey.

  1. Purchasing a home that’s too expensive.Millennials and Generation X members were more likely than baby boomers to say they overspent on their home purchase, according to the NerdWallet survey. A 2015 MacArthur Foundation survey also found that more than half of consumers had to make sacrifices in order to afford their mortgage or rent. About 20 percent said they took an extra job, 17 percent stopped saving for retirement, and 14 percent accumulated credit card debt, according to the MacArthur survey.

Especially in the Silicon Valley where our real estate prices are 300%* higher than the average. So yes, those buyers had to bite the bullet if they wanted to stay in the Bay Area. However, they probably already have equity! Truly, for a first time homebuyer – getting into the first home is always a challenge, it is always costs more initially but in the long run – investing in real estate is a solid investment – where else can you live in your investment and gain equity!

  1. Purchasing a home that doesn’t fit their needs.About 5 percent of respondents to the NerdWallet survey say their home didn’t align with their homeownership goals. Housing experts recommend avoiding common homebuying mistakes like forgoing a home inspection, ignoring commute time, or choosing the wrong neighborhood. Also, consumers need to know what amenities they need. That’s not always easy: 7 percent of buyers say the amenities and features they valued most changed after buying a home.

Ouch – that is a tough one. I see this happen during the buying journey. Truthfully, in our experience, what a buyer wants when we sit down for our first appointment is often very different from the house they actually buy down the road. The key to not buying a house you do not need is to truly write down what you want in your home, what you feel you need in the home and then compare it to your price point and what homes in that area and price offer you. Then re-evaluate. Sometimes you don’t need the extra bedroom today – perhaps a smaller home in a better neighborhood will fill your needs today and down the road. You’ve got keep an open mind; you’ve got to evaluate every step and be open and honest with your communications to yourself and to your Realtors. Together – we’ll figure this out!

  1. Not putting enough money down.Low-down-payment loans can help buyers without robust savings get into a home, but some may later regret not saving more before taking on the costs of homeownership. Twenty-eight percent of millennials and 27 percent of Gen Xers say they wish they had saved more before buying their house, according to the NerdWallet survey.

The down-payment can me the hardest money to save! Having at least 20% is ideal– a buyer will avoid Private Mortgage Insurance with 20% down. (Although there are loans where you can bring in less that 20%, take out a second mortgage avoid PMI.) So don’t give up right away. Saving for the down is important but you most also factor in your current real estate market. If you cannot save money as fast as the market appreciates – then we have some strategizing to do. It’s best to get the most information you can before you start house hunting. The Caton Team offers our buyer clients an free, initial consultation to help you through the journey.

  1. Not being organized.Many home shoppers say they wish they had gathered paperwork before the mortgage application process and developed a system for keeping it organized. That includes W-2 or tax return forms, profit-and-loss statements for business owners, brokerage statements, proof of Social Security income, and evidence of child support payments. Home shoppers also need proof of their assets, such as documentation of down-payment gifts and copies of bank statements, as well as information on outstanding debts.

When you jump into buying a home, the first step is getting a home loan. That requires copious amounts of paperwork. And!!! That same darn paperwork will need to be sent, multiple times throughout the journey. I could go on and on about the paperwork. So let me be frank for a second. Buying a home will feel like a second job. There is only so much your Realtor and your Lender can do FOR YOU – most of the work must be down BY YOU. You will need to have your documents in order and easy to access. You will need to know your budget, your boundaries. It is a lot of work, it is your journey but let me assure you – it’s the best journey!

  1. Not shopping around for a loan.Half of borrowers take the first mortgage that’s offered to them, according to a survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But shopping around for a mortgage with an interest rate that is even half of a percentage point lower can result in tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the mortgage. Home buyers should compare more than interest fees, including the cost of private mortgage insurance and the loan’s APR (which is the interest rate, points, fees, and other charges all rolled into a yearly rate).

Here’s more work for the Buyer – but doing this work – this research – will pay off in the end. When The Caton Team meet with new buyers, we give them a list of our best lenders. Once you start applying for your home loan, you have 30 days to shop different banks and institutions. A Buyer will want to compare the Interest Rate offered (requires a formal loan application and credit check [Credit checks can cost the consumer money]), the fees charged by each bank, (loan fees, appraisal fees etc) and compare which is the best. Don’t forget to take into account customer service. The Caton Team would hate to see a deal fall apart because a buyer hired the cheapest lender they could find who didn’t respect the contract of the time lines. Time is of the Essence in the contract – it is even part of the contract. So don’t’ forget you get what you pay for.

 

Buying and Selling Real Estate is our Full Time Job – so if you have questions – we have answers. What can The Caton Team do for you?

 

Source: “The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying a Home,” CheatSheet.com (June 14, 2017)

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/06/14/5-most-common-home-buyer-regrets?tp=i-H43-Bb-Eg-32lY-1p-EHi7-1c-31VF-kLfrQ&om_rid=725620%20&Om_ntype=RMOdaily&om_mid=910

 

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnap: http://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

One in Three Recent Homebuyers Made an Offer Sight-Unseen

When I came across this article – it stopped me in my tracks.  Would you buy a home sight unseen?

One in Three Recent Homebuyers Made an Offer Sight-Unseen—Up from Nearly One in Five a Year Ago

Written by Rachel Musiker on June 28, 2017

Yet many would be hesitant to move to a place where people have different political views; more than half of Arab, Asian and Latino respondents said immigration orders influenced their moving plans.

In May 2017, Redfin commissioned a survey of 3,350 U.S. residents in 11 metropolitan areas who in the past year bought or sold a home, attempted to do so or plan to do so soon. The purpose of the survey was to better understand the perspectives and experiences of people who were recently in the market to buy or sell a home, and to reveal trends over the past two years since we began commissioning similar surveys.

Following are six major findings:

1) Thirty-three percent of people who bought a home in the last year made an offer without first seeing the home in person. That’s up from 19 percent a year ago.

2) Affordable housing was the most prevalent economic concern, cited by 40 percent of buyers; 21 percent said rising prices led them to search in more affordable metro areas.

3) Forty-one percent of buyers would be hesitant to move to a place where people have different political views from their own.

4) Orders restricting immigration influenced the buying and selling plans of 52 percent of Arab, Asian and Latino respondents; 45 percent of minority buyers felt that sellers and their agents may have been less eager to work with them because of their race.

5) Buyers remain resilient amid the prospect of rising mortgage rates. Just 5 percent said they’d cancel their plans if rates surpass 5 percent.

6) Fifty-one percent of buyers and 46 percent of sellers saved money on real estate commissions.

“Millennials are already starting to set trends in the real estate industry,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “They are three times more likely than Baby Boomers to make an offer sight-unseen, and they’re more likely than older buyers and sellers to negotiate commission savings. Despite their tech-savvy confidence, politics are seeping into Millennials’ decisions about where to live; nearly half cited hesitations about moving to a place where their neighbors wouldn’t share their views.”

1. More buyers made offers on homes sight-unseen.

One-third of people who bought a home in the last year said they made an offer on a home without first seeing it in person. That’s up from 19 percent last year and from 21 percent two years ago. Millennials were even more likely to have made an offer sight-unseen, with 41 percent saying they had done so, compared with 30 percent of Gen-Xers and 12 percent of Baby Boomers.

The abundance of photos–including interactive 3D photography like Redfin 3D Walkthrough that lets people virtually walk through Redfin listings–and other information available online about homes for sale helps buyers feel comfortable bidding on a home they haven’t set foot in. But the strong prevalence of sight-unseen bids this year is likely due in great part to the record-fast speed of today’s highly competitive housing market. The typical home that sold in May went under contract in just 37 days, a week faster than homes were selling a year ago and the fastest pace on record since at least 2010 when Redfin began keeping track.

This statistic shocked me.  I know virtual tours can help sell homes, I truly didn’t expect them to replace walking through homes.  However, my buying clients work so hard and such long hours I can see how hard it is for them to see a home during daylight and sometimes waiting till the open house is too late.

2. Buyers’ most common economic concern was affordable housing; one in five said rising home prices caused them to search in another metro area.

Affordable housing was the economic concern most commonly cited by people who bought or tried to buy in the last year, with 40 percent selecting that issue, followed by the income gap between the rich and the poor (38%) and the federal budget deficit (27%). Low on the list of concerns were the trade deficit (13%) and restrictive immigration policies (15%).

With affordable housing a frequent concern, rising home prices drove more than one in five (21%) people who bought or tried to buy a home last year to search for homes in another metro area where homes were more affordable. When asked how high home prices affected their search, buyers were more likely to say only that they searched in more affordable neighborhoods (32%), searched farther outside the city center (26%) or that they considered smaller homes (23%) or fixer-uppers (22%).

3. Many buyers reported hesitations about moving to a place where most people have political views different from their own.

Despite the fact that so many people were relocating for affordability and even making offers on homes they hadn’t seen, many buyers were wary about moving to a place where their neighbors were likely to vote for an opposing candidate. Forty-one percent of people who bought or tried to buy a home in the last year said they would have hesitations about moving to a place where most of the residents do not share their political views. This is largely unchanged from December. Like in the December survey, Millennials were more likely than their elders to be hesitant about this, with 46 percent indicating they had some or significant hesitation, compared with 29 percent of Baby Boomers.

If this trend continues, it would put our neighborhoods at risk of becoming more politically segregated, which could have implications for the electoral map. Redfin recently began reporting on U.S. migration patterns using data on where its website users were searching for homes, and from where they were searching. One of the most salient migration trends in the first quarter was movement from expensive metros like Los Angeles and the Bay Area in the blue state of California to more affordable metros in red states like Texas, Georgia and Arizona. Redfin analysts are conducting further research to reconcile the migration trends seen in its user data with this survey finding and to predict whether these migration patterns could ultimately play a role in future election outcomes.

4. More than half of Arab, Asian and Latino respondents said recent immigration orders influenced their buying or selling plans; 45 percent of all minority respondents thought sellers or agents may have treated them differently because of their race.

Forty-one percent of all respondents indicated that their home-buying or selling plans were affected by the recent executive orders on immigration and visa holder policies, with 6 percent saying they cancelled their home-buying plans indefinitely, and another 12 percent saying they took a step back from homebuying and plan to re-enter the housing market when there is more certainty. Nine percent said they were less likely to sell because of the orders’ possible effects on buyers in their area. The uncertainty also caused 13 percent to sell their home, worried about the possible effect the orders could have on their job or their ability to stay in the country. Meanwhile, 14 percent of respondents said they are more likely to buy, saying the restrictions would improve job prospects and the economy in their area.

Respondents who identified themselves as East Asian American, South Asian American, Arab American or Latino were more likely to have been affected, with more than half (52%) saying the orders influenced their plans, including 9 percent who cancelled their buying plans indefinitely, 16 percent who took a step back from homebuying, 20 percent who were selling because of the uncertainty and 10 percent who said they were less likely to sell because of the orders’ effects on buyers. Thirteen percent among this group said they were more likely to buy because they believe the restrictions will improve their job prospects and the economy in their area.

Redfin agents from many parts of the country reported that when the orders were first introduced at the beginning of the year, several of their buying customers who are originally from other countries backed out of the market due to the uncertainty of their ability to stay in this country long term. However, these departures were most often characterized as temporary, with affected buyers typically saying they were going to wait and see what would happen. In recent weeks, agents have reported that some of these customers have returned to the market, while other buyers have not. A Redfin agent in the Chicago area said this week that two of her buying customers in the country on H1B visas who had backed out of the market at the beginning of the year both recently returned to the market after finding out they’d be able to remain in the country for at least a few more years. Both are now under contract. She also reported that she just listed and sold a home for customers who were not able to renew their H1B visas.

Meanwhile, there was a slight drop in the prevalence of the perception of discrimination among minority homebuyers from December to May. In May, 45 percent of minority respondents who bought or tried to buy a home in the last year said they felt that sellers or their agents may have been less eager to work with them because of their ethnicity or race. That’s down from 49 percent in December, when still nearly half of minority respondents reported they may have been treated differently. The portion of self-identified white respondents who said they may have been discriminated against was largely unchanged from December (28%) to May (29%).

5. Few buyers will stop their search if mortgage rates top 5 percent.

Mortgage rates are expected to rise due to the Federal Reserve’s June 14 announcement that it would raise its benchmark interest rate. We don’t expect to see much of a reaction in the market.

The survey asked people who said they were still looking for a home to buy and/or plan to buy one in the next 12 months about the effect a mortgage rate hike above 5 percent would have on their home-buying plans.

A quarter said it would have no impact, while nearly as many (23%) said they would increase their urgency to buy before rates went up further. Twenty-nine percent said they would slow down their search and see if rates came back down; 18 percent said their urgency wouldn’t change, but they would look in other areas or buy a smaller home. Just 5 percent said they would cancel their home-buying plans altogether.

These results are similar to the breakdown of responses collected from buyers who were asked a similar question in December about how they would react if mortgage rates rose above 4 percent.

6. Half of buyers and sellers saved on real estate fees.

Just over half (51%) of buyers (excluding all those who worked with a Redfin agent) received savings from their agent in the form of a commission refund, a closing-cost contribution or another type of savings. That’s up from 49 percent in December and from 46 percent a year ago. Millennials were the most likely to receive savings, with 59 percent indicating they did, compared to 47 percent of Gen-Xers and 29 percent of Baby Boomers.

Sellers are not far behind. The portion of all (non-Redfin) sellers who successfully negotiated their listing agent’s commission to a lower price rose to 46 percent in May, up from 44 percent in December and 39 percent a year ago. Millennials were also the most likely generation of sellers to have negotiated their listing agent’s commission down, with 63 percent getting a discount, compared to 44 percent of Gen-Xers and 16 percent of Baby Boomers.

This follows a decades-long trend toward declining commissions, according to Real Trends, which reports that the national average real estate commission was 5.12 percent in 2016, down from 5.26 percent in 2015, and from more than 6 percent in the early 90s.

Consumers are likely paying less for real estate brokerage services in part because of the increasing prevalence of companies like Redfin that offer lower-cost alternatives to the traditional real estate model. In 2016, real estate tech companies received more funding than ever before, meaning the options for new, alternative and money-saving ways to buy and sell homes have never been more abundant, and the choices for consumers are likely to grow. Millennials’ expanding role in the housing market–paired with their increased tendency to save on fees–will likely drive a shift in the real estate industry toward these tech-reliant, non-traditional brokerage models.

Affordability continues to shape American communities and the real estate industry

As Millennials continue to enter the housing market, they are likely to drive changes in the way neighborhoods in our cities across the country look and feel, as well as in the way most people buy and sell homes. We now know that issues surrounding affordability and inequality drove major change in our government. The results of this survey reveal how these issues are affecting the way that segments of people are spreading themselves out geographically–with some people driven to new communities in search of affordable homes, others avoiding places where the neighbors would disagree with their politics and still others holding off on putting down roots due to the uncertainty of their future status in this country. If these trends continue, our cities will become less diverse. More inclusionary local zoning policies and builder incentives to create more affordable housing within desirable neighborhoods and near job centers would make these places more accessible to and welcoming of people of all racial, social and economic backgrounds. By enabling more different types of people to live comfortably in the same great neighborhoods, we may begin to narrow the gaps between these diverse groups that, joined together, are the essence of American society.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BUYING A HOME SIGHT UNSEEN?

I read this article at: https://www.redfin.com/blog/2017/06/one-in-three-recent-homebuyers-made-an-offer-sight-unseen-up-from-one-in-five-a-year-ago.html?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1001830_Blogs&utm_source=strongmail

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnap: http://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page:  http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008