Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Maintenance Tips for New Homeowners

Moving into a new home is indeed one of the most exciting times of your life. That’s why it’s important to start out on the right foot and start caring for your home—and protecting your investment—right away.  My clients often ask me what are the most important areas of a home to consistently maintain. Here are 10 key trouble spots home maintenance experts advise you regularly check on so that they don’t turn into larger, more expensive, problems down the road:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tips for Saving on Heating and Cooling

With the holiday season now in full swing, you are undoubtedly busy ... whether it's shopping for gifts, preparing for guests or gathering with friends. What you probably won't notice through the hustle and bustle of the season is your heating bills rise. Did you know that as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling? As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I can offer you some vital information that will help you make smart decisions about your home's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system...all of which can have a big effect on your utility bills -- and your peace of mind. Here are some tips from ENERGY STAR to help you increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system:

Friday, November 19, 2010

6 Ways to Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape

Understandably, the goal for any home seller is to sell their property quickly, while investing as little as possible in renovations. With a limited budget and a little effort, you can greatly increase your home's appeal by focusing on what prospective buyers can see on their first visit.  Consider the following advice from staging expert Kate Hart:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How New FHA Changes Could Affect Home Buyers

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently implemented changes to the premium structures for an FHA-backed mortgage. It's important that you know that these changes may make it more costly for home buyers to procure FHA loan products.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

7 Moving Mistakes that Can Cost You

Keeping your household organized is a challenge in the best of circumstances, let alone when you're in the midst of dealing with the disruption of moving.  I'd like to do all I can to help you experience a stress-free, successful move. Throughout my years in the real estate business, I've witnessed many common mistakes that people make during the course of a move.
Here are seven to avoid:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Remax is back in the heart of Rancho Bernardo!

Check out this video of our recent Open House.  Such great people to work with!  You won't see my smiling face in the video, but there are "signs" of me :)  It's great to have our office back in the heart of Rancho Bernardo again.  Stop by sometime and say hello!

Remax Grand Opening

Top 5 Ways to Sell Your Home More Quickly

If your home is on the market, or if you're planning to sell your home in the near future, you might be discouraged by the national media's rampant reports of increasing inventory and languishing sales.
While there is, indeed, plenty of inventory currently on the market, there are steps you can take as a home seller to ensure your home sells more quickly, while still garnering the maximum sales price possible. As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have learned a few strategies that really work toward securing a buyer more quickly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top 10 Green Design Trends for Your Home

As the green movement gathers steam, many homeowners -- and soon-to-be homeowners -- are exploring ways to become environmentally conscious within their living spaces. Greening your home is not only a responsible thing to do but can also boost your home's value when it comes time to sell.  These days, there are an increasingly wide range of products that purport to offer a variety of environmental values but fall short when it comes to style. As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, I have access to many credible sources on the subject, such as Robin Wilson, a pioneer in the eco-friendly design sector, and Vickie Gilstrap, vice president of color and design for Mohawk's Residential Business. They offer the following areas to zero in on when greening your home ... while, of course, being mindful of design.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mortgage Shopping 101 - Making Sense of the Mortgage Market

Shopping for a mortgage can be time-consuming and difficult for homebuyers, especially in today’s market where many buyers don’t know where to begin. The Federal Reserve Board has put together the following tips so that you can make sense of the mortgage market and be sure you are getting the mortgage that is right for you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Great Tips to Close the Deal

In our market, competition for buyers is high and sometimes the seller may need to look at sweetening the pot, so to speak, to get the deal done.  Sellers often ask me what they can do to help make their home stand out among the sea of homes currently listed. The following are five creative ideas that I believe might just help close the deal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Foreclosed Homes Trouble Spots

Buying a Foreclosed Home? Top Problem Areas to Look Out For
Today's real estate landscape offers some great buys for savvy real estate consumers, especially when it comes to foreclosure properties. Unfortunately, even though there are already a large number of foreclosures on the market, analysts are predicting that yet another wave of distressed properties will crop up in the coming months.

I've consulted with many clients seeking to capitalize on a foreclosure purchase. I always advise them, however, to weigh the pros and cons. While a foreclosure could represent your best chance to get a great deal, make sure you educate yourself about the potential pitfalls of purchasing a distressed property in advance - and what correcting those pitfalls might cost. In most cases, it's not so much about what damage occurred but rather the source of the damage and how long before the problem was addressed.
Here are the top 10 signs that may indicate trouble in a foreclosed home:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mortgage Factors When Buyng a Home

While many great deals exist in today's real estate market, securing the optimal mortgage is a critical part of your home purchase decision.  The most important things to take into consideration are: interest rate, points, mortgage type, closing costs and fees, and down payment and mortgage insurance. Here’s a closer look at each:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tips for Buying a Luxury Home

Despite the doom and gloom the media portrays regarding today’s real estate market, several unique opportunities exist for home buyers, in particular, luxury home buyers.

While home prices across the country have dropped or stabilized to varying degrees, according to my colleagues in the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, luxury home prices have been slashed, in many cases, as the market for such high-end properties has dwindled in challenging economic times. This presents a great opportunity, for those who have the financial resources, to purchase a luxury home that might have been completely out of their range six years ago.

Purchasing a luxury property, however, is unlike a standard home purchase. I advise all my luxury-home clients to consider the following before embarking on their search:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Looking for a Summer Remodeling Project? These Tips Might Help

Other than vacations, summer is the time of the year most popular for home improvement. The long days and warm, sunny weather make a great time to work on repairs and renovations without much of the hassles and delays that rain and other elements bring.  I have years of experience and understand how taking on a remodeling project is beneficial to you, both now and then later down the road should you choose to sell.
For these reasons and more, a good number of homeowners undertake home improvement projects, especially during the summer.

Following are tips and projects—both large and small—for homeowners looking to spruce their homes up this summer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First-Time Home Buyers: What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Home Search

With historically low interest rates persevering and prices starting to creep back up, more and more renters are grappling with the question of whether to buy now or keep renting.  I can confidently tell you, yes! Now is a very opportune time to purchase your first home.

First-time home buyers across the country have taken advantage of today’s market conditions to go from renter to homeowner. That said, the ability to move into homeownership is very dependent upon the overall health of your finances. Buying a home not only takes having the necessary cash on hand for the deposit and closing costs, but also the financial wherewithal to convince a bank to lend you 80% or more of the purchase price in the form of a long-term mortgage.

Here are some other important points to be aware of before embarking on a home purchase:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Expand Outdoors, Increase Your Home's Value

With many Americans experiencing a financial pinch these days, there is a growing trend among homeowners, especially in San Diego, to look to the outdoor areas of their own property for not only relaxation and entertainment value, but to also expand their living space and thereby, increase their home’s value.  I have learned that homeowners across the country are spending more time at home and showing an increased interest in outdoor living areas. By sprucing up your patios, porches and decks, you are making your home more livable now and more attractive to future buyers.

Stylish patios and outdoor rooms with comfortable furnishings and convenient cooking and eating areas provide new opportunities for recreation and relaxing family times. Some homeowners are foregoing expensive vacations in favor of putting in a swimming pool. But the reality is that you do not need to make a major investment to improve your outdoor living areas. Here are five quick additions that will make an immediate difference:

1. Outdoor lighting units
2. Gas grills with cooking and food preparation surfaces
3. Outdoor fire pits or fireplaces
4. Patio heaters
5. Mosquito/bug eliminators

In any market, financial planners all agree, real estate is the best investment one can make. Increasing the value of that investment with features that extend and enhance the outdoor experience is always a wise decision. For more information and ideas, feel free to e-mail me…and be sure to pass this on to family and friends who are ready to explore the “great outdoors.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why You Should Buy a Home Now...Even After the Tax Credit

While much press coverage has been given to the recent first-time and move-up buyer tax credit, there are many time-sensitive factors that make the current climate an exceptional time to buy a home even without the tax credit.

Over the years, I have seen many real estate markets come and go, and I know for a fact that the many outstanding opportunities that exist for home buyers today will not be around forever.

Besides mortgage interest rates that have been hovering at near-record lows, homes in many markets have become more affordable. Prices have moderated from the highs of the housing boom that occurred in most of the country, especially in major markets where they had increased significantly.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Do You Know What Impacts Your Credit Score? Take This Quiz and Find Out

According to credit experts, 42% of U.S. consumers have credit scores between 550 and 699. As a result, these consumers typically don’t qualify for preferred interest rates and, depending on their overall credit profile, they may not even qualify for certain loans and credit cards.

I have worked with clients who have seen first-hand how credit scores can wreak havoc on securing a favorable mortgage. Most people don’t have a clear picture of what impacts their credit profile and, more importantly, don’t know what steps they can take to help improve it. I find this short quiz, from credit consultants, to be immensely helpful when it comes to understanding how your credit profile works. Take a few minutes to see if your credit knowledge is up to par.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What to Consider When Buying a Home

Thanks to the perfect storm of low prices and affordable interest rates, this continues to be a lucrative time to invest in a home, whether it be a first home, a move-up home, or a second home.

Choosing a home is no easy process, however, and many factors must be carefully weighed before making your selection. I advise my clients to pay careful attention to a few details in particular when considering a home—these important details will significantly impact your long-term happiness in the home as well as the home’s appreciation over time. So, as you begin to consider properties in our neighborhood, here are a few issues to think about that may help you find exactly the right home for you and your family:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to Avoid a Huge HVAC Mistake...and a Big Expense

As things heat up in our area, I wanted to take the chance to remind you of the importance of regularly caring for your HVAC system.

Failing to properly maintain your HVAC can cost you thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, I’ve had clients confronted with HVAC nightmares due to lack of consistent maintenance. I understand how important it is to keep your home’s value intact…especially in today’s market.

The good news is, while the cost to replace an HVAC system can be in the $10,000 range, simple maintenance is not costly at all. A filter is usually less than $10 and replacing it monthly keeps your air cleaner and your house less dusty.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Checklist for Improving Indoor Air Quality

June not only marks the commencement of the summer season, but more importantly for homeowners, National Home Safety Month. While our thoughts turn to smoke detectors and child safety locks when considering a safe home, many homeowners often overlook the risks of poor indoor air quality—especially important as the temperature and humidity rise with summer.

Many people suffer from health-related issues due to poor air quality in their homes. Yet rarely do people think about the quality of their indoor air. Service experts recommend using the following checklist to ensure your air is as healthy as possible:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Easy Ways to Cut Summer Energy Costs

With summer officially upon us, many homeowners will be confronted with rising electric bills as fans and air conditioners kick into high gear in an effort to keep cool. Demand for electricity can also increase if you have house guests or children home for the summer.

There are lots of great ideas for planning ahead to control energy costs this summer. The following tips are from the experts at Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G):

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fact: All Real Estate Headlines Are Not Local

None of us are immune to the constant stream of negative news about the real estate market. There’s no denying the fact that the market has suffered, along with our country’s economy, over the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, this has created a serious dilemma as many consumers unwittingly base their real estate decisions on national media reports. Those of us in the industry live by the term “all real estate is local,” and as a consumer, so should you—otherwise, you run the risk of making an irreversible real estate mistake.