Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Selling Your Home? Here are some Suggested Repairs

Are you thinking about listing your home for sale? Before you do, take a good, hard look around and see what you need to change. Most homes need a little bit of TLC before they are ready to go to the market. Spending some time sprucing up yours will improve its appeal and even drive up the selling price. Here are some areas where it makes sense to spend a little time and effort as you prepare your home for the market.

Add a Coat of Paint

You'd be surprised how dingy your paint is looking. When you start to paint over it, you will realize how badly you needed to tackle this job. A new coat of paint makes the home look fresh and new, and adding a neutral color helps give your home a more universal appeal. Also, painting gives you the chance to address cracks in the paint or drywall that can make buyers wonder if the house is in good repair.

As you paint, keep these tips in mind:

  • Paint the ceiling: The ceiling needs to be painted along with the rest of the home. You are probably used to looking at your cleaning and no longer notice the grease spots and dust, but they are there. Buyers will notice, so give it a fresh coat of paint.
  • Remove or paint over wallpaper: Even if your wallpaper is tasteful and modern, your buyers don't want it. They want their own look for the home. Remove the wallpaper, if you have the time to do so, and paint the wall. Sometimes you can get by with painting over wallpaper, if it is not peeling, to freshen up the look of your space.
  • Paint wood paneling: No matter how much you like it, wood paneling is simply not in fashion. Coat it with primer, then paint it a neutral color to improve your home's salability. Remember that you can paint over fake wood paneling, too, with the right primer.
 Upgrade Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Buyers can overlook many things, but if the kitchen is outdated and the bathroom is ugly, they immediately see dollar signs as they consider the cost of these upgrades, and your home will lose potential value.
According to Zillow, mid-range bathroom remodels will bring back over 100 percent of the investment cost when you sell the house, while kitchen remodels will bring 80 to 90 percent, depending on the extent of the remodel. Yes, these improvements will be more costly than throwing on some new paint, but they will pay for themselves when you go to sell the property.
So what should you tackle? Consider these tasks:
  • Updating cabinets: Cabinets that are outdated don't have to be scrapped completely. If the shape and design is fine, consider resurfacing or repainting. Then upgrade the hardware for a more modern look.
  • Countertops: Affordable laminates can update outdated countertops, or you can opt to resurface and event paint these to make them look like marble without the high cost of replacement.
  • Lighting: Swapping out an outdated lighting fixture for something more modern will brighten up the space and improve the overall ambiance.
  • Sinks and faucets: Again, a modern sink and faucet will do wonders for these spaces, and these do not have to cost much.
  • Flooring: If the flooring is broken, stained or outdated, a simple laminate, which you may be able to lay yourself, can make a world of difference.
Spend Some Time Outside
Finally, take your home repairs outside. Curb appeal means the difference between drive-by buyers and buyers who stop and take a closer look. What needs to be upgraded in your home's exterior? Consider these things:
  • Replace or repair the roof
  • Improve the look of driveways and sidewalks
  • Add flowers or potted plants
  • Paint the exterior
  • Clean windows
  • Upgrade doors
  • Replace hardware
As you are looking, don't forget to trim up your bushes and cut the grass. A fresh layer of mulch in your gardens will do wonders as well to the overall look of your home.

Remember, as you consider the home repairs to make before selling, you have to think like a buyer. What will the buyer notice, and what will cause them to choose a different home? Make these changes, and enjoy a home that sells quickly and for a better value.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Five Ways Bargain Hunting For Homes Can Backfire

It's natural to want to save money when you're making a purchase as large as a home. You want to buy the best home in the best neighborhood at the best price, and to do that, you may think you have to shop in the bargain bin.

FSBOs (for sale by owner,) foreclosures, and short sales aren't as plentiful as equity listed homes -- homes listed with a real estate agent by the seller. You may even scour the MLS (multiple listing service) for signs of desperate sellers, such as homes priced AS-IS, or homes that have been on the market for months.

While some people are successful buying a bargain basement home, you may not be so fortunate, if you put price first. Here are five ways a low price can backfire on you:

The home doesn't suit your needs. A home is a good buy only if it suits your family's needs for space, features, comfort, and function. If you buy a home without enough bedrooms or baths, it's not as comfortable or functional.

A bad fit costs you later. To get out of a home that's too small, too old, or too far from where you need to be, you'll likely to pay more in transaction costs to sell the home and buy another than if you'd chosen more wisely in the first place.

Bargains are rare. If a home is priced lower than others in the area, there's a reason. Sometimes bank-owned home will appear to be a bargain compared to other similar nearby homes, but you may notice a real difference in the way it's been maintained. It's not much of a bargain if you find out that all the appliances have been stolen or all the copper wiring has been pulled out of the walls.

The home needs updating. A home priced below market value usually requires expensive repairs or updates. Are you willing to perform the work or pay someone else to do the work? Any remodeling you do will be at today's prices. Before you buy, get a home inspection and then talk to professionals who can help you bring the home up to today's standards.

You lose ground trying to lowball the seller. Just as you want the home you buy to appreciate in value, sellers purchased their homes as investments, too. They want to net as much as possible, because they've already taken on the risks of buying and maintaining a home. That makes sellers less willing to negotiate on homes that are well priced and well maintained.

If a home has been on the market for a long time without a price reduction, there's usually a good reason. You have an unmotivated, unrealistic, or upside-down seller, any of which could waste your time unmercifully.

An unmotivated or unrealistic seller simply won't negotiate to your level. For example, for-sale-by-owner homes are typically priced the same as listed homes, even though the sellers aren't paying real estate agent commissions, including for your agent, if you have one. Why would you pay the seller not to represent your interests?

Furthermore, a bank foreclosure or bank-approved short sale could take months to close. What if interest rates go up before you close? You may get the home at a bargain price, but the savings could evaporate in higher interest payments.

Right now, home prices are still below previous market highs. Mortgage interest rates are hovering near historic lows. And inventory levels are improving in most areas.

Under these circumstances, you're buying a home at a bargain already. The best strategy for today is not to try to beat the seller down, but to offer a fair price for the home you think is best for your household

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sleepy Hollow Charmer!!

This Home is truly one of a Kind in the peace and quite of Sleepy Hollow. This Home features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths on muilt levels. Home has been remolded and shows pride of ownership.There is gorgeous stain glass thru out the home and outside over the koi pond.The sale includes 2 lots #46 and #47 also no information regarding year build and square footage show up on property profile.

Great Glendora Townhouse!!

Beautiful Glendora Springs one of the largest in the complex new roof new appliance six month old. beautiful hardwood floors only one year old. Ceiling fans through out home. large kitchen w/duel pantry opens to family room with fireplace nice large backyard. Bathroom upstairs remodeled.

Baldwin Park FIxer Upper!!

This is a nice home that needs some TLC. It is conveniently located near schools, Walmart, shopping centers and the 10 freeway. It has a larger backyard with many different types of fruit trees, and a covered patio that accommodates well for entertaining your friends and family.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Purchasing a Condo or Townhouse? Read this!!

Condos were once thought of as homes that attracted singles or couples, often without children. But today, condos are growing in popularity and attracting families of all sizes.
Condos can be an excellent choice for the right buyers. Here are a few things that should considered before purchasing a condo. Most buyers start with the condo itself. That may be a good place to begin but, before they buy, buyers should also consider other factors outside of the condo.

Some developers are building condos that have a look and feel like single-family homes. These modern condos have great rooms and open, flowing floor plans that look and feel like a single-family home rather than an apartment or condo.

One of the major attractions of condos is the low maintenance. The community area is maintained by an association funded by the dues that homeowners pay into it.

That's why buyers' first consideration should be to explore the development and make sure they like the look and feel of the complex and surrounding community. There are codes and restrictions, often referred to as CC&Rs (covenants, codes, and restrictions) that buyers will have to abide by once they purchase a condo. Buyers should ask to review them before making an offer to purchase a condo. These regulations help ensure that the community maintains its general appearance and any necessary repairs of the external areas.

Review the association's budget. It may be necessary to get the seller to provide this information because it may not be released to a non-owner who is only a potential buyer. However, in considering buying into a development, it's almost like going into business with the neighbors in the complex. It's important to make sure that the association is running properly and has enough of a reserve for necessary expenses and maintenance. The budget and CC&Rs will give an idea about how stable the association is and if increases in the homeowners' association dues are likely each year.

Find out how many owners in the development are delinquent on their dues. A condo complex that has a high level of delinquencies can cause problems for buyers when it comes time to get a loan or sell the condo. Some loans are not approved if delinquency rates are higher than 15 percent.
Review the minutes from the association's board meetings. They will reveal the day-to-day issues that occur each month and give an indication of how the development is run. For instance, lots of complaints and filings about noisy residents, loud parties, or dog droppings on the lawn reveal potential problems with neighbors. The minutes will also reveal if the development is engaged in any lawsuits.

Understand what your responsibilities are for the upkeep of the condo. Find out what the association takes care of and what the homeowners have to maintain. Look at the association's property management team and see how many times the association has changed management companies. Find out why. This will may reveal how responsive the association will be should residents need its assistance.

Ultimately, buyers need to ensure that when they purchase a condo they're not buying into any legal battles the association is in the middle of and that they will be able to live in their condo the way they want. Study the CC&Rs and do due diligence before buying.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Large, Newer, Single Story in San Bernardino!!

This single story 5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom Mountain View home is located near Cal State San Bernardino. This home offers a bright open floor plan. The main house includes a master bedroom with a large master bathroom and walk in closet, a junior master bedroom with private bathroom and walk in closet and 2 additional bedrooms with a Jack and Jill bathroom. The Castias also has a private bathroom. There are 3 AC unites (2 for the main house, 1 for the Casitas). The spacious kitchen includes granite counters, upgraded appliances, tile floor and lots of cabinet and counter space. The indoor laundry room has a utility sink and lots of cabinets. The casitas is perfect for a home office, a college student, a guest room or even a craft room.

Does Landscaping Increase Your Homes Value?

After spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on landscaping, how do you know if you'll recoup your investment? Homeowners may wonder if their efforts are worthwhile compared to interior projects. In actuality, landscaping comes back in resale value more than you may think.
According to a publication from Virginia Tech, a home landscape has been valued at around 15 percent of a home's total value. Furthermore, certain landscape aspects add more to the home than others, including:

Design: 42%
Plant size: 36%
Diversity of plants: 22%
The study cited that a $150,000 home could go from $8,300 in worth to almost $19,000 more with the addition of a landscape.
That's a lot for just adding a front yard to your home.
Here is more information about these elements and how to increase the value of your home.

Landscape Design

Photo courtesy of Jardin Passion Landscape Con

How you design the landscape is the first step in creating a beautiful and valuable front yard. If you plant shrubs, flowers and trees without a design in mind, you could run into maintenance issues down the road. This is why you might call in a landscape designer to help. Landscape designers have the knowledge when it comes to creating landscapes to match homes and climate conditions. They know which trees, shrubs and flowers mix versus which ones might be troublesome. The end result will be a manageable, uncluttered and beautiful landscape that you can enjoy for little to no hassle.

Plant Size

Photo courtesy of Applegate Landscape Co.

On a visual level, adding different plant sizes will make your front yard look more appealing. Adding different shapes and colors complements your home and the lawn. On a maintenance level, mixing small and big plants will cut down on clutter in your yard. If you have too many bushy plants, their roots and branches could get mixed together and cause maintenance issues. So plant different trees, shrubs and flowers to make your landscape colorful and varied to add onto your home's appeal and save on trouble.

Diverse Plants

Photo courtesy of M&M Garden Designs

Intertwined with the plant sizes you choose are how diverse they should be. You don't want to plant only shrubs and trees with leaves. Vary it up with fruit trees or shrubs that have flowers to add color to the front yard. You also might choose annual and perennial flowers to sprinkle across your yard. You will need to replace annuals every year, but that gives you the chance to try out different flowers. Perennials, on the other hand, will last for many years and can endure harsh winter conditions.


Whether you hire a landscape designer or decide to tackle the front yard landscape yourself, be sure to include these three elements. Adding them to your front yard will pay back dividends in your home resale value, and it will make your home more attractive to buyers

Friday, October 10, 2014

Don't Miss that Mortgage Payment!!

Consumers who are late on their mortgage payments have no idea how badly their credit scores can be affected, nor how long it takes to repair the damage.
FICO scores, the credit-scoring system used by the Fair Isaac Corporation to help banks and other lenders determine a borrower's creditworthiness, can fluctuate for many reasons. Your debt-to-income ratio, whether or not you make only minimum payments, how many inquiries you have, new credit cards, and other factors each play a part in determining your overall score.

But nothing impacts credit scores like a missed payment. Your payment history accounts for 35 percent of your FICO score. According to the Ask Experian Team, a missed payment will also have the longest lasting impact. The more recent the missed payment occurred, the greater the impact and the more missed payments you have, the longer it will take to restore your scores.

The most recent research on how badly late payments affect credit scores was performed by FICO's analytics executives back in 2011. However, the numbers still work. The researchers simulated various types of mortgage delinquencies and then ran the numbers using three credit bureau profiles. The consumer profiles scored 680, 720, and 780 respectively before they missed the first mortgage payment. If a borrower were 30 days late on a mortgage payment, their revised credit scores dropped between 600-620, 630-650, and 670 to 690.

For the best-scoring consumers, the drop in credit scores is the most punishing. The first consumer's credit takes 9 months to return to the 680 level, but the second consumer's score doesn't repair itself for 2 ½ years. And for the best-scoring consumer? It takes 3 years to restore scores to the 780 range.
In general, the higher the starting score, the longer it takes for the score to fully recover, says the researchers.

Not only does the information stay on your credit report for years, but if the delinquent homebuyer wants to buy another home, their scores may keep them from qualifying for good rates. Borrowers with poor credit may pay higher interest rates, or they could be refused a loan because they may not qualify for mortgage insurance. In addition, the borrowers will pay punishing interest rates for all credit, including car loans and credit cards.

Experian advises delinquent borrowers to make the account current as quickly as possible. Then they should continue to demonstrate a current history of on-time payments. Borrowers should use at least one credit card, paying in full each month to avoid finance charges. These on-time payments will add positive activity to offset negatives from the past.

Over time your credit scores will rebound. The length of time it takes to recover will depend on how serious any other negative issues were.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Great Whittier Starter Home

Charming 2 Bedroom 1 3/4 Baths. Home in a great neighborhood. Close to schools and shopping.The den could be turned into 3rd bedroom. Large yard with lots of parking and covered driveway.Dogs at property please be careful. The property has new windows except in the bathrooms and window in living room. The property has a spa but needs to be connected to the electricity.

What if you haven't owned your home for 2 years and you want to Sell it?

If you owned and lived in your home for at least two years before it is sold, the law -- today at least -- is clear: you can exclude from profit up to $250,000 if you are single or $500,000 if you are married and file a joint return.

But what if you have made a profit on your house, but sell it before the magic two years spelled out in the tax law?

In l997, when Congress enacted this favorable legislation, it had absolutely no inkling that the real estate market in the early 2000's would be so hot, and that so many homeowners would make such large profits on their home sales -- even if they did not own their property for the full two years. However, Congress did provide reduced exclusions if prior to holding the property for the full two years, the homeowner had to sell due to a change in employment, health reasons or "unforseen circumstances".
The IRS has established certain "safe harbors". If the taxpayer falls within one of these safety zones, they will automatically be entitled to the appropriate exclusion of gain.

Here are some of the "safe harbors":

Employment: If your new place of employment is at least 50 miles father from the residence sold than was the former place of employment, the homeowner who sells his/her home in order to be closer to the job can take a proportionate exclusion of gain. For example, if the homeowner owned the home for only one year, that homeowner would be entitled to exclude half of either the $250,000 or the $500,000 exclusion, depending on the marital and tax filing status of the taxpayer. According to the regulations, employment is defined as "the commencement of employment with a new employer, the continuation of employment with the same employer, or the commencement or continuation of self-employment."

Health: if a doctor recommends a change of residence for reasons of health, this will be a safe harbor. What determines "health"? According to the IRS, "if the taxpayer's primary reason for the sale is (l) to obtain, provide, or facilitate the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, or treatment of disease, illness, or injury... or (2) to obtain or provide medical or personal care for a qualified individual suffering from a disease, illness or injury." It should be noted that "qualified individuals" includes family members who are in need of medical assistance away from the principal residence.
The IRS made it clear, however, that a sale of the family home merely because it is beneficial to the general health or well-being of the taxpayer will not fall within the safe harbor.

Unforseen Circumstances: Congress passed the buck to the IRS to come up with definitions -- safe harbors -- under this amorphous category. The IRS rose to the challenge, by providing that the following events would be considered "safe harbors", on the condition that these events involve the taxpayer, his/her spouse, co-owner or a member of the taxpayer's household:
  1. death;
  2. being terminated from employment and thus eligible for unemployment compensation;
  3. a change in job status that results in the taxpayer being unable to pay the mortgage and reasonable basic living expenses for the taxpayer's household;
  4. divorce or legal separation;
  5. multiple births resulting from the same pregnancy;
  6. Involuntary conversion of the property -- such as a condemnation by a governmental authority, and
  7. destruction of the property because of a man-made disaster, an act or war or terrorism.
Additionally, the IRS kept the safe harbor door open by allowing the IRS Commissioner the right to expand these seven items should the need arise - either generally or in response to a particular situation involving a specific taxpayer.

Taxpayers who believe that they are entitled to claim an exemption because they fall into one of these safe harbors should immediately consult their tax advisors -- and preferably before you sell.

Determining the safe harbor is the easy part; calculating the applicable exclusion may require a graduate degree in mathematics. According to the IRS, "to figure the portion of the gain allocated to the period of non-qualified use, multiply the gain by the following fraction:

Total nonqualified use during the period of ownership (after 2008 for 2013 tax returns) / Total period of ownership

For more information, check out IRS Publication 523, "Selling Your Home", available free from irs.gov/publications.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Creating a Modern Master Bedroom

It's your haven. Your lair. Your hideaway. The one place you can kick back, relax, feel serene and sexy and, ultimately, shut out the world and slumber.
Only it's not much of a haven, it's certainly not a lair, and not only does the room exude the exact opposite of sexiness, it's also far more tired than you are. It's your bedroom, and if it isn't doing it for you, it's time for a contemporary re-do.

"When you picture a contemporary bedroom, you most likely think of pale woods, plenty of white sheets and lots of monochrome," said 1kindesign. "However, being contemporary doesn't mean you have to sacrifice charisma or personality."
Here are four ways to express yourself in a modern master.

Textured eclectic, with a bit of the exotic
It's a look that lets you expresses a worldly style and mix and match textures, patterns, and pops of color against a neutral palette.

Glam and personal
Touches of luxury make it feel high-end, while art and accessories make it feel yours. By staying with mostly neutral hues, you can get more creative with shapes without veering too far into contemporaryville.

You know how you always feel a little "more" when you're in a hotel? More sophisticated, more amorous, more luxurious? Turn your bed into a hotel-like space and you just might feel like that all the time.

Mismatched but complementary
It's the bedroom version of keep it simple, stupid. You don't have to do matchy-matchy as long as you retain elements in common. Here, again, it's the neutral color palette, along with the clean lines and low profile of the furniture.
You can see more examples of bedrooms in a myriad of styles on HGTV.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tips on Staging Your Home

Anyone who is in the process of selling their home wants to know the “tricks” on how to stage a home prior to selling. Home staging is crucial to the sale. Odors, appearance of pets and clutter can ruin a sale faster than you can say “gone”. Some people choose the route of having a professional home stager come in, but not everyone has the $150 an hour to invest in this type of consulting, and for most homes, it is unnecessary.

In general, when planning home staging, think: clean, impersonal, uncluttered, and open. Buyers do not want distractions that remind them that this is someone else’s house. They want to envision their furniture and their things in the home.

Here are some tips on staging your home before you sell:
  • Mulch, weed, cut your lawn, blow leaves out of the yard, and perform other “curb appeal” activities that will give the potential buyers the best possible first impression of your home.
  • Remove all items of personal nature. No pictures, no drawings, no embroidery—nothing that reminds people that a particular family lives there.
  • Move your pets out if possible, or if not possible put them in one area of the home and keep that area immaculate. Pet odor is one of the leading causes of people leaving a house walk through early.
  • Remove clutter, junk, and distractions. Keep in mind the “blank slate” rule. People want to see open spaces because it gives the brain an open invitation to imagine their own items in that room. Empty houses sell better than houses with people in them for this reason. Take 80-90% of the items out of every room, and put them in the garage or storage facility.
  • Paint rooms neutral colors. Painting shouldn't be that expensive, and is one of the single most used “tricks” by home stagers to sell a house quickly. The smell of fresh paint and the clean appearance is attractive to home buyers.
  • Clean your home from top to bottom and if you have the extra money have the home professionally cleaned, from carpet to cabinets. 
  • Whenever possible, have cookies baking or other nice food-based smells. People go back and forth on what “floral” scents they like, but most humans respond to the smells of baked goods.
There is no secret trick to how to stage your home when you are selling your house,just common sense approaches to creating an inviting experience for the potential home buyer. Remember: Clean, uncluttered, impersonal, and open.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Staging Your Garage helps sell your Home

If you were going on an important job interview, you'd dress to impress. That's exactly what you want to do with your home, too–dress or, rather, stage to impress and sell!

Selling your home requires a keen eye to make it appeal to a wide audience. That means you need to take time to make sure that your home is dressed up and ready to be shown off.

I've written a lot about curb appeal and fixing up your home so that it's ready to be listed for sale, but sometimes the garage is overlooked.

It's sort of an after-thought but it really shouldn't be. These days the garage can be a pivotal point for buyers. Garages are doubling as gyms, added storage space, home offices, and hobby areas as well as a place to park cars.

I've seen some home listings where sellers simply use the garage to store all their stuff that they plan to take with them or get rid of. While that might be convenient for the current homeowners, it's not very enticing for potential new buyers. They want to see what the garage really looks like and how it might suit their needs. Hard to do when it's jammed with boxes!

If buyers can barely walk into the garage, they'll likely skip it entirely and may feel a bit cheated. Or they may try to maneuver around all your stuff and could knock a few things over or, worse, get injured. No one needs that to happen.

Consider packing your boxes and either storing them in a storage space or at a friend's. Getting as much stuff out of the house as possible is very important. Don't underestimate the power of a clean, tidy, spacious garage.

Square footage counts and many people have plans to use that extra garage space for things you might not have thought of. A good-looking garage will attract buyers.

Do what you can to improve your garage but start with the basics. If your garage door is in shoddy shape, replace the hardware. Nothing worse than a buyer taking a look at your garage just as a spring breaks on the automatic garage door!
Then take a look around and see what things you can get off the floor and into shelves or cabinets in your garage. The less you have on the floor, the more spacious the garage will feel. If the new buyers have big cars, ample space for cars as well as storage space for household items will be very important.

If you find that your garage door system isn't working and you're planning to replace it, think about installing the latest technology. Smart homes are very appealing because they help simplify ordinary tasks. Today, with the proper technology installed, garage doors can be controlled with compatible apps that link to Android and iOS mobile devices and allow homeowners to check their garage door, and even open or close it once they've left their home. Another good feature is a battery backup system that will keep your garage functioning even during a power shortage.

A garage may not be the star attraction like the kitchen or master bedroom and bathroom, but it definitely has its own appeal especially when it's staged to sell.