In the home stretch: what you need to know about house permits

Navigating the waters of building permits is no fun. As a buyer, it’s crucial to know whether the home you’re purchasing includes permitted work. If not, it’s even more vital to figure out what risks you could face going forward and how you should go about remedying the issue.

In an effort to help you sort this issue out once and for all, we took the liberty of answering some of your biggest permitting questions so you’ll have a much better sense of where your responsibility lies.

Q: How do you know if a space is permitted?

Luckily, building permits are public information. That means that anyone can access them at any time, including potential buyers.

If you’re interested in a home that features some substantial improvements and want to make sure that the work was done to code, your best bet is to check in with your local government. If permits were pulled at the time the work was done, they’ll be on file with the building and zoning department. Alternatively, some municipalities may also offer the option to check public records online.

Q: What does it meant to have unpermitted work?

Accepting a home with unpermitted work — or choosing not to pull permits on your own home improvements — essentially means that you’re taking a risk. Building permits are put in place for your safety. They’re an assurance that the work was done by a professional who adhered to current safety codes. Unpermitted work is unregulated. While it may be just fine, there’s also a chance that the work was done improperly.

Aside from the structural risks to accepting unpermitted work, there’s a financial component to consider as well. Most homeowners insurance companies will not cover unpermitted features, meaning that if you ever have to submit a claim that includes the unpermitted area, it could get denied.

Additionally, you could face penalties on a local level. If your municipality finds out about the work, they could issue a fine or even demand you get rid of the feature entirely. In the event that your future home includes unpermitted square footage, you could be subject to back taxes on the added space.

Q: How can I get permits for work done on the property?

Fortunately, there are ways to pull permits, even if you’re not the one responsible for the improvement in the first place. Again, this can be done by getting in touch with your local building and zoning office. If you’re working with a licensed contractor, he or she will likely take care of this step for you.

However, getting a permit is not always the easiest process, which is why many homeowners decide to risk going without one.

Though the exact steps you need to take will vary, depending on where you live, there are a few similarities.

Usually, the process will involve paying a fee, submitting the plans for your project to be approved, and having inspections done during and after construction to ensure the work is done to code.

Be aware that these steps have a tendency to slow down construction considerably.

Additionally, if part or all of the project fails inspection, the necessary changes will have to be made at your expense. That said, most buyers find it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Q: Which home improvements require permits?

This question is tough to answer. Since permits are handled at a municipal level, there can be a huge amount of variance in what’s required. You’ll need to call your local building and zoning office for specifics.

However, as a general rule of thumb, any new additions to the property need to be permitted. For example, increasing the square footage, adding another bathroom, or putting a deck on the backyard. Anything that requires a specific skill set — such as redoing extensive amounts of electrical wiring — may also be subject to permitting.

Q: Will permits affect my financing ability?

That depends. While unpermitted work is often accepted by mortgage companies, the work itself will need to meet certain qualifying standards. Those standards will vary, depending on the type of financing you’re using.

The final determination is usually made by the appraiser. VA loans and conventional loans tend to have the loosest requirements. Often, as long as the work done doesn’t change the building’s zoning and is done to a “workmanlike standard,” it can be given a pass. FHA loans feature additional regulations on whether or not the work done significantly changes the property value and, strictest of all, USDA loans do not allow for unpermitted additions.

If you find that a property you’re interested in includes unpermitted work, your best bet is to talk it over with your loan officer. He or she can help you determine the specific guidelines in your loan program and assist in figuring out the best next steps.

I read this article at: Open Listings

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Testimonial of the Day – From Kenny

 

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“Sabrina and team are fantastic.  Responsive, honest, transparent and efficient.  She’s also well-connected in the real estate community on the peninsula – whether buying or selling, you can’t ask for better representation.  I highly recommned her!”

– Kenny H.

We had the pleasure of meeting Kenny through our clients.  I assure you he is one of the best lenders I’ve met and he quickly made it to our top lender list!  I was humbled to hear how highly he thought of us and thrilled to find this fantastic Yelp review.  Thank you Kenny – we think you’re fantastic as well.

Looking for a great lender – contact The Caton Team for a personal introduction!

To read all our testimonials visit The Caton Team Testimonials and Yelp!

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call | Text at: 650-799-4333

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

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The Caton Team Testimonials | The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat | The Caton Team Website |The Caton Team Advantage |How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

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Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

7 Tips to Make Your Relocation Easier

You just found out that you’re being relocated by your job, or maybe you were offered a job that was too good to be true in another state. Either way, you’ve got a big move ahead of you and there’s a lot to think about before you even start. Moving far away from home can ultimately be a hugely positive experience, even if it is a bit of a hectic process.You can do this, though. Roll up your sleeves, grab a box and get to it.

There’s Plenty to Consider When Relocating

Your big move is a big deal, don’t think it’s not. You’re going to need all the help you can get, so before you do anything else, contact a Realtor with a relocation specialty in the city where you’ll be landing. You’re going to need someone who knows the lay of the land and can help you find the kind of home you really need, as well as helping you arrange financing and ensuring that everything closes on schedule.

Of course, housing is only a small part of a bigger relocation picture. It’s a stressful time for man and beast alike, but these seven tips will help you survive the experience:

#1. Have plenty of money available. Of course, you know you’ll have to pay something for housing and put down a deposit to turn on the utilities at your new place, but there are often additional expenses that you might not be thinking about right now. For example, will you need help with childcare while you’re packing? Is it likely that you’ll need to stop on the trip to spend the night in a hotel?

Plan for your expenses, then add as much as you can to the pool. The more money you have to work with, the less you can stress if an emergency were to occur.

On this same note, be sure to ask your employer how any moving or signing bonuses will be handled. If you’re counting on that money to make the move possible, you could be in a sad state if your company waits until after you’ve started the job to pay this bonus out.

#2. Get everybody on the same page. Moving to a new place can give the average person plenty of room to let their imagination run wild. It’s important that you and your family get on the same page with respect to the details of your move and stay focused on it.

Have a family meeting, or a chat over dinner, and write down what everybody hopes to get out of the move. Then have a sober discussion about how many of those things are realistic.

Once all of that is knocked out, draw up a plan and give everyone a copy of it so there are no misunderstandings. This can be a time when emotions run high and exhaustion makes people do or say things they might not otherwise, having a neutral document to refer back to during arguments can help cooler heads prevail.

#3. Prepare kids for stressors. Even the most hardy of children is likely to have some kind of serious emotional reaction to moving from your current home. When they’re old enough to understand that you’re also moving far, far from their hometown it can get downright ugly.

Your child is going to understandably need to mourn the loss of their friends and nearby family members. But you can make moving easier for children of every age by trying to maintain some kind of routine during the run-up to moving day and maintain it as best you can until everyone is settled in.

#4. Give yourself twice as much time as you think it’ll take for pre-moving tasks. If you’re not planning on hiring a mover, or even if you’re doing your own packing to help the cost of the move, it’s important that you give yourself plenty of time. Decluttering, especially, can be difficult when you’re trying to figure out just what will fit on the moving truck. Depending on how quickly you have to get to your new job, you can get help from charities with thrift stores by asking them to pick up your used, but clean, furniture, excess dishes and pans and even fun bric-a-brac to save you trips back and forth. Plan your time and stick to the plan.

#5. Visit your family doctor one more time. Having a final visit with your doctor gives you an opportunity to discuss anything that has been problematic for you, as well as getting your medicine refilled so you’ll not run out before you find a new PCP. This is a great time to ask about getting copies of your records, too! Make sure to do the same for your children and pets.

#6. Stop by the shop. While you’re getting your own check up, don’t forget about the vehicle or vehicles that you’re taking with you. Drop in at your local mechanic, the one you use for everything and trust to do the job right, and have them inspect and repair anything that looks like it needs to be addressed. Ask if you need new tires, spark plugs or a tune-up. There’s nothing as stressful as getting into a car that’s fully packed and full of kids or pets only to discover that your car has a bunch of symbols on the dash lit up that were never lit up before.

#7. Keep your eye on the prize. Preparing for a move when you have to do it all in one go can be amazingly stressful on body and soul, which is why it’s ultra important that you remember the why of all of it. You’re moving for a better opportunity, good schools, a chance to use your degree for once — whatever your reason, it’s yours and it’ll help if you keep that front and center.

Need Help Packing, Unpacking or Transporting Your Treasures?

Just log in to the HomeKeepr community, where you’ll find all kinds of home pros, from movers to Realtors with relocation specialties. No more digging around the web for reviews on individual companies, HomeKeepr runs on recommendations — and if your future mover is highly recommended by your current Realtor, that’s one less thing to worry about.

 

I read this article at:HomeKeeper.com

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

A Caton Team Exclusive Lisiting – Shoreview San Mateo

Welcome home to this stunningly remodeled Shoreview home.  Luxury laminate flooring throughout the home is warm and inviting as you pass through the living room with wood burning fireplace and enter the contemporary dining room with garden view.  Designer lighting and fixtures can be found throughout the home. The exceptionally remodeled kitchen features white wood cabinetry with abundant storage, beautiful warm colored granite counter tops and deluxe stainless appliances including gas stove, dishwasher, refrigerator and built-in microwave.  The remodeled bath features pedestal sink with designer faucet and shower over tub with tile surround.  The front master bedroom is spacious enough for a king bed and the closet features an innovative barn door closure.  The rear second bedroom of the same size has views of the back yard.  Laundry and storage is located in the single car garage with access to the side yard and kitchen.  The front yard includes well manicured lawn, trees and shrubs.  The large back yard is perfect for family enjoyment and entertaining.  From the new patio wander through the tree-lined path to a rear entertainment or lounging deck.  A perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the day.  Storage sheds provide space for garden and yard equipment. The home is convenient to Bridgepoint shopping, Hillsdale Mall, Highways 101 and 92, and the San Mateo Bridge.  Employees of the new Coyote Point Facebook Campus will find an easy commute without driving on the freeway.  Not currently listed in the MLS, this home is available to preview by appointment. Offers will be considered at any time.  Contact us anytime for further information or a private showing.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Shoreview Home Information  |  PHOTOS of Shoreview on Facebook

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

 

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Bay Area housing market cools, but it’s still nuts – SF Chronicle

By: Kathleen Pender 

The Bay Area real estate market went into 2018 with a bang and out with a whimper.

In the first half of the year, the median price rose almost 17 percent to an all-time high of $875,000 in June. In the second half, it fell 10.3 percent from that peak, ending at $785,000 in December.

The December price was down 3.7 percent from November but up 4.6 percent from December 2017, according to a report Thursday from research firm CoreLogic. It includes all new and existing homes and condos in the nine Bay Area counties.

An earlier report from the California Association of Realtors — which includes only existing, single-family homes entered into a multiple listing service — said the Bay Area median price fell to $850,000 in December, down 6.1 percent from November and down 3.6 percent from December 2017. That was the first year-over-year drop since March 2012.

Any way you look at it, the market downshifted in the last three months of 2018. As the stock market plunged and mortgage rates rose a half percent to almost 5 percent, buyers backed off, inventory grew, price cuts surged, and price appreciation slowed from the double to single digits on a year-over-year basis.

The number of homes sold in December fell to 5,341 across all nine counties, down 13.2 percent from November and 21.6 percent from December 2017. That was the lowest sales count for a December in 11 years, CoreLogic said.

Many sellers, perhaps unaccustomed to a less-than-ridiculous market, took their homes off the market or let their listings expire. A total of 2,493 listings in the nine Bay Area counties were withdrawn or expired in December, compared with only 1,154 in December 2017 and 1,487 in December 2016, according to analyst Patrick Carlisle of the Compass real estate firm.

“December was rock bottom,” said Chad Eng, a Redfin agent in Silicon Valley. “Buyers are hesitating, on the sidelines. Sellers are still focusing on comps from six months ago.”

Instead of selling in days like they were earlier in the year, homes took weeks or even months to sell. Homes that closed in December had been on the market 29 days before getting into contract. That was up from 23 median days on market in November and 17 in December a year ago, the Realtors association reported.

Eng said things picked up around the middle of January, as the stock market recovered and mortgage rates fell back into the 4.5 percent range. “I wonder if it’s a sign of what we will see in the spring,” or just a normal seasonal rebound, he said.

Santa Clara County was the hottest market in the Bay Area — and most of the country — for the first part of the year as prices rose in the teens and 20s year over year. In February, its median price topped $1 million for the first time, rising to $1,080,000, up 27.8 percent.

That was the month a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 848-square-foot home on Plymouth Street in Sunnyvale sold for $2 million cash — making headlines as the height of Silicon Valley insanity.

That was and still is a record price-per-square-foot for Sunnyvale, said Doug Larson, a Coldwell Banker agent, who represented the seller. “Now with the softening market, I doubt that anybody will beat it, at least for a while,” he said.

After hitting $1.15 million in June, Santa Clara’s median price has fallen to $1 million in December, exactly where it was a year ago.

January is always a slow month for the real estate market, as sellers recover from the holidays and get their homes spruced up for the busy spring season.

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“Homes that sell in the winter are typically homes that have been sitting on the market awhile and have to take a price cut,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.

Right now, “buyers are in a holding pattern,” she added. “They don’t know if this is as good as it’s going to get, if prices come down or more homes come on the market.”

She noted that a slower market is good for buyers because “they have more negotiating power” and for sellers who are moving up to a more expensive home because “overall they are going to be saving more money.”

Fairweather predicts that prices will end the year about where they are now. “I would be surprised if they go down,” she said.

Nancie Allen, president of Bay East Association of Realtors, said the government shutdown in January made it hard to tell where the market is headed. The next two weeks will be a better indicator. The market now “is all over the place,” she said. Some homes in Fremont have been sitting on the market for a while, while one had 15 offers.

Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist with Zillow, said his data show that home prices in the last quarter of 2018 rose at their slowest annual pace for any quarter since 2010.

He predicts that prices will appreciate 5 to 6 percent this year in the San Francisco metro area and 7 to 8 percent in the San Jose metro area, assuming interest rates stay low.

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: kpender@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kathpender

I read this article at: SF Chronicle

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.