Testimonials for The Caton Team, Sabrina Caton and Susan Caton

Testimonials From Our Clients

 

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.

 

To future clients of The Caton Team,

The Caton Team is made up of Susan Caton and Sabrina Caton, or as I like to refer to them as the Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They are trustworthy, honest, straight-forward, and experts in the real estate business. I might be a little biased, because of my friendship with them, but nothing will test a friendship more than the process of buying and selling a home. As everyone knows when you sell your home you want the most money for the least amount of effort and you want the process to be quick and smooth. The Caton Team will make sure you have all of the necessary information and knowledge to understand how to stage your home and what the process will be along with a realistic timeline of what you can expect. If you follow their directions and listen to what they say, your home selling experience will be painless and quick. For us this ended up being less than a week with our home selling for more than what we expected. The entire process from filling out the required paperwork to negotiating went smoothly and was overall painless on our end. At the end of the day we got more than what we wanted and were in a great position to start hunting for a new home.

This brings me to how The Caton Team helped us buy a new home for what we wanted, while making sure that we got the home that we wanted. Since we had already bought and sold our first home with The Caton Team, using them again to buy another house did not require much thought, actually required no thought. We went into the process wanting the best of the best in the best location, because who does not want that for themselves? They were kind enough to listen to our wants and desires and showed us what we could afford in the areas we were looking. It took a few homes to realize that our expectations were not in sync with the market, because currently in early 2015 homes are going like hot cakes and for more than what they are listed at by a fair amount.

This is when we sat down again and started looking at other areas that were just as nice, but we had ignored initially. The important part here is while they mentioned this information early on, they allowed us to realize it on our own that we needed to look outside of our ideal areas if we wanted our dream house. Once we realized what they were saying we expanded our search and found the home that we wanted. After our initial open house we contacted The Caton Team and informed them that we found the home that we wanted. This is when The Caton Team sprang into action, they immediately started requesting all of the disclosures from the seller’s agent and contacted the seller’s agent to gain any additional knowledge that might not be in the supplied paperwork. They then shared this information openly with us, as one would expect, and started laying down the groundwork of what we would need to do if we truly wanted this house. They supplied us with the tools necessary to make an informed decision and provided us with comparable sales (COMPS) in that particular area, so that we would have an idea of what houses were selling for and where the market was heading (spoiler alert, market was only going upwards). Their attention to detail and understanding of the market allowed us to make the best offer we could, while not overbidding or underbidding and making sure that we would have our offer accepted. As you have already guessed, our offer was accepted almost immediately and we are now homeowners of a home that we wanted in an area that is ideal.

If you have made it this far, then you realize why The Caton Team is really The Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They make sure you are provided with the proper tools and information to make the best decision for yourself. They will work tirelessly with you and will not be a 9-5 agent, they will be honest, trustworthy, and straight-forward. You will not feel like you are getting the short-end of the deal and at the end of the day you will feel great about your decision to work with The Caton Team.

-The Liere Family

 

“I worked with Sabrina and Sue a few years back and they were so professional. I was going thru a divorce and had to sell my condo. I was beyond upset. (Not because of the divorce but selling the condo) haha… Thru this difficult time they were so amazing and made me feel at ease. The housing market at that time was not the best but they did their best to make sure I got a good deal.  The condo wasn’t on the market for too long and I was able to sell it for a decent price. Thank you to both for making that transition in my life a little easier. Definitely will be using them again if and ever I can buy again.”

-Elena

 

“We had a great experience buying a house through the Caton team. Sabrina and Susan were patient in answering our many questions, and helped guide us in the offer process to help win a bid on our second offer even in this crazy market! They are easy to get in touch with over email, text, or phone, and detail oriented to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. We’d highly recommend them!”

-Katherine

 

Hi Susan and Sabrina,

I just thought I’d take a moment to write you both to say how much of a pleasure it has been to once again have had another successful property transaction come to fruition with you both at the helm (yay, three now)!

I can’t say enough how Victor and I have been so happy you’ve been our representatives in both our buying and selling transactions, and that your dedication and hard work, creativity and professionalism have always made a world of difference all throughout the process of buying and selling our homes. From the smallest details like your fantastic web page ads and captioning to your weekly and continuous updates and presence at the property for showings and repairs. You’ve left nothing to chance!

It’s clear that experience counts, and your research and broad-based knowledge of the local real estate and larger markets in general, have always provided us with a solid backdrop from which we could make our decisions. You’ve always provided us with good information, solid recommendations, and I’m grateful that we had you both as our representatives.

Additionally, I want to say on a personal note, that you are both so considerate and thoughtful, and I always feel that we are in good hands when you’re on the job.  Thank you again for this recent and very successful sale of our property, and we look forward to our continued relationship with you in future transactions.

I did not have your Broker’s contact information, but if you would please forward him/her this e-mail, I’d appreciate it, because I’d like them to know that you have permanent fans!

Thanks again,  Helen and Victor

 

“Susan and Sabrina, The Caton (Dream)Team –

Thirteen years ago, we met Susan Caton who so kindly helped us find our first home in the Bay Area.  She was mindful of our budget and attentive to our wish list.  We landed a great starter home fit to our needs and close to work.  In 2012, when it came time to relocate into a neighborhood with great schools, we once again called upon Susan, who now was partner with her daughter-in-law, Sabrina, to find the right house for our growing family.  First, Susan and Sabrina helped sell our house within 2 weeks time at a price within our expectations.  Then, they delivered BIG by helping us find our next dream home in a competitive market with little time to spare knowing Facebook millionaires would soon bring stiff competition to the housing market.  All along, even when our first two offers fell through, Susan and Sabrina helped us keep our focus and always had our best interest in mind.  Settling for less than our hearts desired was not the answer, and our patience combined with our trust in Susan and Sabrina paid off when we stumbled upon our dream home.  We can honestly say that working with The Caton Dream Team has been a true pleasure as it has enabled us to find a wonderful place to call home, not only once, but twice.  When the time comes, we will gladly call upon their services again, and we highly recommend them to anyone looking to find their first or next dream home.”

– Fredric and Heather R.

 

“I recently worked with The Caton team (Sabrina and Sue) to purchase my first home. I was referred to the team by a co-worker who had just purchased a condo with them. He had a great experience, and recommended them for their honesty, responsiveness and availability (even at night and weekends). I found this assessment to be 100% true.

I first met Sabrina and Sue when I was interviewing realtors. They recommended I come to their office for the interview. They were the only ones to recommend this, which already set them apart in my mind. During the interview they shared their process and approach and how our relationship would work. I decided to work with the Caton team for several reasons. 1) A great referral 2) Their open and honest personalities 3) Their sincere concern that I find exactly what I am looking for 3) Their combined years of experience and specialization in the peninsula.

After our first meeting, they set up their home search for the criteria we discussed. Part way through the search, my criteria changed, and they updated the search for the new criteria. Periodically, they would check in to see if I saw anything that I liked. We narrowed the search by going through what I liked and disliked about each listing that I reviewed online.

Sabrina and Sue answered all of my questions along the process. They came to the home inspection and to sign papers at title company. The title company representative that I signed papers with commented on how lucky I was to have my realtors there, looking out for my best interests, as a lot of first time buyers come alone, signing papers they don’t understand.

After receiving keys to my new home, the Caton team continued to support me. They referred me to painters their colleagues had worked with and found multiple contractors who would do the work I needed.

Sabrina and Sue are really easy to work with. It’s like talking with friends when I reach out to them. They are very approachable, trust worthy and hard working. They always answer questions I have or research to find the answers if they do not have them right away. I highly recommend them and will use them again for future real estate needs.”

– CJ T.

 

“The Caton team is awesome! Susan and Sabrina were an awesome fit for my husband and I as first-time homebuyers, but I highly recommend them for anyone at any stage of buying a home. They went above and beyond to help us locate a wonderful home and took us step by step through the often confusing short sale process. It felt less like we were working with realtors and more like we were working with good friends or family! Thank you, thank you, Sabrina and Susan!”

-Marie B.

 

“If anyone can get it done quickly it would be you two. By far the best Realtors west of the Mississippi.”

– Josh L.

 

“The Caton Team is A-Number-One in our book.  Susan and Sabrina are consummate Pros.  They do exhaustive research, they know how to price a home in today’s competitive market, and they know how to stage a home for maximum buyer appeal.  They’ve sold two homes for us, and we’re completely satisfied with everything they do.  You go, girls!”

-Russ & Elena H.

 

“I met Sabrina and Susan during our recent rental home search.  As we were not prepared for a move (current homeowners informed us that they were selling the house after 1 year of listing the home as a rental) we needed to act quickly and diligently to find our new home.  My initial communications were with Sabrina as she was hosting an open house.  Her emails were prompt and friendly and I got to know her a bit through email.  When I met up with her for the open house, she was just as friendly in person as was her partner, Susan.  They were welcoming throughout the process and provided wonderful thorough follow up on behalf of the homeowner.  Susan made herself available on a Saturday morning for the signing of the lease and has been in contact with us as we prepare for the move-in.  We have very much enjoyed working with the Caton Team and would recommend them for rental guidance and hopefully in the near future, home ownership!”

– Angela J.

 

“The Caton team has helped me find my perfect condo within a month of looking! And then later found me great tenants to rent it out. They work quickly and are very professional. Plus, these are just a pair of wonderful women to be around. They are very trustworthy and have their Clients’ best interest in mind. I will be using them again for all my real estate needs, and I recommend them to everyone else! Thank you so much!”

-Caitlin G.

 

“The Caton Team are the best. They are very easy to work with and know what they are doing. Made a very stressful time much easier! I would recommend them to all. First time buyers and people that have sold many times will enjoy working with these wonderful ladies!”

-Chris & Gary C.

 

“The Caton Team has helped us many times. Susan and Sabrina are wonderful and we will use them again when the time comes. They know everything about the bay area and never pressure you about making decisions. We couldn’t ask for a better team.”

-Elisa D.

 

“I’m pretty sure without The Caton Team we wouldn’t have been able to buy our house. We started looking right before the housing market crashed and was going back and forth on qualifying for a loan.   They made it happen-it’s a long story and I can make short and sweet. Please use The Caton Team for you house buying needs!  Really!”

– Nisi C.

 

“I can’t say enough about what an incredibly professional job Sabrina did; she went above and beyond the call of duty! We would not be in our house today were it not for her tireless efforts. She’s so knowledgeable and works tenaciously for her clients. 
Thank you Sabrina!

-
Rip R.

 

“Great working with you guys!”

-Aaron B.

 

“I have worked with many realtors during my 15 years as a mortgage broker and Sabrina Caton is by far one of the best real estate agents I have ever had the pleasure of working with on a number of purchase transactions over the years. She is upbeat and personable with a great sense of humor. She consistently works with her clients best interests in mind and is not afraid to tackle the tough deals. I have personally seen her negotiate to lower the purchase price by $25,000 after the contract was already signed when the buyers’ appraisal came in below the purchase price. You can count on Sabrina for high energy, professional real estate services!”

-Melanie Flynn – Windsor Capital

 

“Susan & Sabrina did an excellent job, I am very happy.  I highly recommend them.”

– Heidi & Robert M.

 

“Susan & Sabrina were great, very helpful, and understanding.  They were never pushy and made sure we were making the right choices at all times.  We would use them again for our next property purchase.”

– Anthony D. & Elisa L.

 

“Susan & Sabrina did a wonderful job, they are easy to communicate with, they were willing to put in extra time and work in getting our house ready to sell.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

 

“I knew I wanted to work with Susan   immediately because she actually         listened to our needs, and gave sound, practical advice and information without a sales pitch. I would recommend her to anyone. She was absolutely helpful and made the whole thing easy and painless. I didn’t worry about anything as long as she was working on it.”

– Alicia S. and John G.

 

“Sabrina did an excellent job, she went above and beyond from the beginning to the end of the transaction making sure we understood every detail. She made things very easy on us – we appreciate all her hard work. We used them for both our real estate deals.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

 

“When we need to sale our home – we definitely will call them again!”

– Loyda C. & Carol J.

 

“We loved working with Susan. I feel I have gained a new friendship. She was totally honest and trustworthy. She made selling our home a pleasant                   experience.”

– Ken & Elain S.

 

“Susan went above and beyond what she had to do. She was the only help I had getting my parents home cleaned and emptied so I could sell. I live in           Sacramento and didn’t have the time to get down to San Carlos. She truly was a “God Send”. She is FABULOUS! I can’t say enough about her! Please know you have one hell of a woman working for Prudential. Please make sure she receives kudos for a job well done!”

– Andrew R.

 

“Susan was always available to us, providing information and assurance during the selling process of our home. Thank You!

– Leo & Carlotta O.

 

“We felt very relaxed and trusted their personality.”

– William & Helen G.

 

“They did an excellent job and we would recommend them!

– Steve & Stacy G.

 

“Thank you – Flawless Service!”

– Danielle C. & Thomas G.

 

“Very honest.”

– Fredric & Heather R.

 

“I will recommend them to all my friends and family.”

– Diane S.

 

“We wanted to work with Sabrina. She was wonderful. She put up with lots of emotions / family dynamic around the sale of this home, as it was our families house. I appreciated her sensitivity and solid knowledge. We would be happy to work with her again and pass along any new clients as well.

– Nancy R.

 

“I highly recommend them!”

– Derek H.

 

“Susan helped us so much. She       advised us and “rode” with us though the entire ordeal. She is a very “real” person and shares concerns. She        advises and makes one feel extremely comfortable. I would recommend her to another person unconditionally. She is an excellent agent who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

– Russ & Elena H.

 

“They were great. They made the     entire process as fun and easy as it could be. Thank you!”

– Matthew S.

 

“Susan was extremely helpful in   making our first move in 44 years painless. It was a major undertaking. Thank you!”

– Betty C.

 

“Very thorough. Informed me of the newest listings. Made intelligent     recommendations and opinions on listings without being pushy. The attention given to me made me feel as if I were the only client. I am extremely satisfied with the service.”

– Toshinari K.

 

“They were very professional and helpful. We could not complete the   transaction without them.”

– Takeshi & Nana M.

 

“We selected Susan over two other agents because we liked her better.”

– Daniel S.

 

“EXCELLENT JOB! Lots of support throughout the process! Great             personalities and professionalism! Very responsive to our concerns during the sale – thank you!”

– Mike & Lynn A.

 

“Sabrina is a highly effective real-estate agent. She has in-depth of knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills and provides highly personalized service…she really listens to the needs of her client and delivers based on those needs.”

– Elif S.

 

“I was impressed with the attention to detail throughout the sale process. True Professionals!

– John K.

 

“We were very happy with Susan as she helped us through a difficult situation. Thanks is just not enough to say for what she did!”

– Donald & Roseanna M.

 

“Definitely an asset to your company!”

– Rosemary P.

 

“They are such real / genuine people. I felt I could lean and trust them               particularly with some very important but difficult to understand questions. They are WONDERFUL!”

– Patricia P.

 

“Susan has impeccable integrity, what a great individual. Thank you for a         wonderful transaction.”

– Pamela G.

 

“What a great experience. I live 4 hours away and shopping for rentals is not easy. The Caton Team made my shopping experience less stressful. Always ready to answer any questions I had, anytime I had them. I highly recommend this Team.”

– Julienne E.

Cost Vs. Value – What should I do to my home to improve its value?

Cost Vs. Value – What should I do to my home to improve its value?

One of my favorite questions as a Realtor revolves around fixing up the house.  There are two ways to build equity in your home (equity is what your home is worth, minus the mortgage).  One – sit back and wait for the real estate market to rise.  (Which it is steadily going these days in the San Francisco Bay Area)  And two – fix up your house.

The second method can either make or break your investment.  Let’s go with ‘break’ first.  A homeowner can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing up the wrong part of the house.  Or worse, remolding a place till it’s just ugly!  Unless you are living in your forever house, you want to be smart with your money by doing a smart remodel or addition.  That means picking finishes and fixtures that are contemporary and neutral.  I’ve seen one too many amazing kitchens and baths that fit the homeowner to a tee – only leaving potential buyers counting their pennies for the demolition.

The first remodel that comes to mind is the kitchen, then the bath; two fantastic ways to improve the value of your home if done right.  The pink grout to match the flamingo theme in the bathroom is not going to beg for the highest bidder.  So before you head to the hardware store – think three times, measure twice and cut once…

For more information and statistics surrounding home improvement and where you should invest your money – please visit the link below.  It’s a very interesting read.

I read this article at: For the San Francisco Bay Area visit http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2014/pacific/san-francisco-ca/

For national information please visit: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2014/

Remember to follow our Blog 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

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

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

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:   And yes – you can walk through my own Kitchen & Bath remodel as well.

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

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

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

 

Is Market Recovery Slowing Down? Great Article from SF Gate

Great article about our local Real Estate market – is recovery slowing down?  Or is supply holding back the reins?

Signs of possible slowdown in housing recovery


By: Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle & SF Gate

Bay Area home prices rose on a year-over-year basis last month, albeit at a slower pace than earlier in the year, while sales fell to their slowest pace for a December since 2007, DataQuick reported Wednesday.

It was another sign of a potential slowdown in the housing recovery.

On Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association lowered its forecast for 2014 mortgage originations, citing higher interest rates and uncertainty over new mortgage rules that took effect this month.
DataQuick attributed the sales slowdown to a lack of supply, not a lack of demand.
“Demand has been impacted by a roughly one percentage point increase in rates since spring. But we think the bigger deal is the lack of inventory,” DataQuick spokesman Andrew LePage says.
In the Bay Area, 6,714 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine counties last month. That was up 0.8 percent from November but down 12.7 percent from December 2012.
Sales are typically higher in December than November, but the seasonal increase is normally much higher – around 8 percent.
The December sales figure was the lowest for a December since 2007, when 5,065 homes sold.
The median price paid for a Bay Area home last month was $548,500. That was down 0.3 percent from November, but 23.9 percent higher than the same time last year. From April through August last year, prices rose 30 percent or more on a year-over-year basis.
More sales in spring

LePage says there will be more homes on the market in spring and summer, when the market typically heats up. Rising home prices will leave fewer homes underwater, so more homeowners will sell because they could make enough to pay off their mortgage. Also, there has been “a little more construction,” LePage says.
“Waiting (to buy a home) will get you more choice, but all bets are off on prices,” he says.
If the current rate of appreciation holds, “the typical home would be selling for $50,000 to $60,000 more by spring.

Perhaps twice that at the upper end of the market,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in a news release.

Tight inventories are also hurting the mortgage industry.

In its forecast Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicted that only $1.12 trillion in home loans will be originated this year, down 36 percent from $1.76 trillion in 2013. In October, it predicted that 2014 originations would drop by only 32 percent.

The forecast came out hours after mortgage heavyweights Wells Fargo and Chase announced big drops in fourth-quarter mortgage originations as part of their earnings reports.

The numbers “just kept getting worse through the end of 2013,” says Michael Fratantoni, the association’s chief economist.

The association predicts that home-purchase mortgages will rise just 3.8 percent to $677 billion this year. In October, it was expecting a 9 percent increase.

Refinance originations, it says, will hit only $440 billion, down 60 percent form last year. In October it expected a 57 percent drop.

Higher rates a drag

The main culprit is higher interest rates. Mortgage rates were around 3.5 percent at the beginning of last year but jumped by a full percentage point in May and June. They have been hovering around 4.5 percent since then.

The immediate effect was to slash refinance volume, but home-purchase originations also suffer from a low-rate “hangover,” Fratantoni says. The ultra-low rates that persisted before May “pulled forward some (purchases) that might not have occurred until six months or a year later. Now we are now we are seeing a bit of a payback in terms of lower activity.”

The association predicts that the average 30-year mortgage rate will be above 5 percent by the end of this year and above 5.5 percent at the end of next year.

It also predicts that fewer mortgages could be made this year as lenders narrow their product lineup to conform with the new mortgage rules designed to outlaw some of the abusive lending practices that led to the financial crisis.

The new rules give lenders some protection from borrower lawsuits if they make what is known as a qualified mortgage and the loan goes bad. A loan is not qualified if it has certain features, such as interest-only payments, or if the borrower’s total debt payments (including the mortgage and other debt) exceed 43 percent of gross income.
Over government limit

The new rules apply only to jumbo and other nonconforming mortgages, because all loans that could be bought or backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and other government agencies are automatically deemed qualified.

Government loans account for the vast majority of the mortgages nationwide but a smaller percentage in the Bay Area, where many borrowers exceed the government limit, which tops out at $625,500 for Fannie, Freddie and FHA loans in high-cost areas.

In the Bay Area, 15.4 percent of home-purchase loans exceeded $625,500 in the fourth quarter, but this number ranged from less than 0.4 percent in Solano County to 32 percent in San Francisco, according to DataQuick.

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Net Worth runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail: kpender@sfchronicle.com Blog: http://blog.sfgate.com/pender Twitter: @kathpender

I read this article at: http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Signs-of-possible-slowdown-in-housing-recovery-5146631.php
Remember to follow our Blog 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

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

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

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

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

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

How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.

1. Decide what you can do yourself

TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

*  Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.

*  Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer

*  Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.

If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.

Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

3. Check permit costs

Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.

Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.

Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work

If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems. 

Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.  Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

You’re getting it at a steep discount

You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem

You know the problem can be fixed

You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

5. Check the cost of financing

Be sure you have enough money for a down payment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings. 

If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity or home improvement loan:

*  Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.

*  Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.

*  Consider the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program, which is designed to help homeowners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation. The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans. A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).

6. Calculate your fair purchase offer

Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement. 

Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently re-carpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer

Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

*  Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.

*  Radon, mold, lead-based paint

*  Septic and well

*  Pest

Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with. 

If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

My words to the wise – if you get outbid – don’t fret – start again.  Each home you take the time to break down and understand the cost of repair – the better prepared you will be when the next opportunity arises.

We bought a condo as our first purchase – and though you mainly own just the paint in – we budgeted $10,000 in repairs only to spend $17,000 in the end.  Hind sight is always 20/20 – but now when we buy our next home, we’ll have the experience under out belt and a better picture of a budget and our limitations. 

By: G. M. Filisko

I read this article at:  http://members.houselogic.com/articles/how-assess-real-cost-fixer-upper-house/preview/

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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

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

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Keep Your Home Purchase on Track

Keep Your Home Purchase on Track

I love finding great articles to share – I’ve added my 2 cents in itatlics – enjoy – Sabrina

You’ve found your dream home. Make sure missteps don’t prevent a successful closing.

1. Be truthful on your mortgage application

You may think fudging your income a little or omitting debts when applying for a mortgage will go unnoticed. Not true. Lenders have become more diligent in verifying information on mortgage applications. If you fib, expect to be found out and denied the loan you need to fund your home purchase. Plus, intentionally lying on a mortgage application is a crime.

You might get away with your fib when you apply for your loan, but once you find a home and have an accepted offer.  Your lenders underwriter will comb through every bit of your financial life.  One fib will open a huge can of worms and you could find yourself in hot water.  Because not only have you harmed your chances at getting a loan – you’ve held up a seller who is working in good faith with you and has pulled their home off market waiting for you to remove your contingencies and close escrow.  DON’T LIE!

2. Hold off on big purchases

Lenders double-check buyers’ credit right before the closing to be sure their financial condition hasn’t weakened. If you’ve opened new credit cards, significantly increased the balance on existing cards, taken out new loans, or depleted your savings, your credit score may have dropped enough to make your lender change its mind on funding your home loan. 

Although it’s tempting to purchase new furniture and other items for your new home, or even a new car, wait until after the closing.

The only thing you should be doing is saving your pennies until you close escrow on your new home.  People of lost their dream home because they spent money before closing.  Not my clients though – I remind them constantly about the big picture!

3. Keep your job

The lender may refuse to fund your loan if you quit or change jobs before you close the purchase. The time to take either step is after a home closing, not before.

Amen – well said!

4. Meet contingencies

If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If you’re required to secure financing, promptly provide all the information the lender requires. If you must deposit additional funds into escrow, don’t stall. If you have 10 days to get a home inspection, call the inspector immediately.

There is a clause IN the Real Estate Purchase Contract (in California) that states – Time is of The Essence!  We are not kidding.  Time is contractual – do what you said you would do.  Your mother will be proud! 

5. Consider deadlines immovable

Get your funds together a week or so before the closing, so you don’t have to ask for a delay. If you’ll need to bring a certified check to closing, get it from the bank the day before, not the day of, your closing. Treat deadlines as sacrosanct.

We take each deadline deadly serious.  Could there be delays?  Yes of course, so much of the real estate purchase process is beyond your Realtors control – so make sure you’re doing what you should be doing when you should be doing it – it will streamline an already difficult transaction. 

By: G. M. Filisko

Got questions – I am here to help – call or click – info@theCatonteam.com

I read this article at: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/keep-your-home-purchase-track/preview/

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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

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

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

5 Inspection Problems Buyers Shouldn’t Ignore

I enjoy posting my own artciles and sharing others.  This one from the Real Estate Daily News is very share-worthy – enjoy – Sabrina

5 Inspection Problems Buyers Shouldn’t Ignore

Home buyers need to be extra vigilant about inspections in the early stages of a purchase because if problems are discovered too late in the process, it can “dash home owners’ dreams and budgets,” writes Yahoo! Finance in a recent article.

One home buyer in Long Island, N.Y., explains in the story that she didn’t discover the fixer-upper she bought needed $225,000 in repairs until after she purchased it.

Jonathan and Drew Scott, who educate viewers about transforming fixer-uppers on HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” offers up a checklist of five things buyers should look for to ensure they don’t buy a lemon.

  • Mold: Buyers should note any musty smells in the home and be on the lookout for any mold. Mold can be caused by improper air circulation as well as water leaks.
  • Pests: Termite damage can be widespread and costly to repair.
  • Outdated fixtures and wiring: Electrical problems in a home can cause fire hazards. Buyers should take note of any indication of faulty wiring, such as cable coming out of drywall.
  • Poor DIY jobs: Buyers should make sure that the previous home owner’s do-it-yourself projects were done correctly and are up to code. For example, poorly done flooring and painted-over wallpaper can be time-consuming and costly to fix.
  • Drainage problems: Sloping sod can cause flooding problems in a backyard, and a slow-draining sink could be an indication of a bigger problem. Buyers should test sinks and flush toilets to test for any potential problems.

Source: “Property Brothers: Don’t Buy a House Without Checking These 5 Things,” Yahoo! Finance (Aug. 19, 2013)

I read this article at:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/08/22/5-inspection-problems-buyers-shouldn-t-ignore?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BSFlH2B80sQKxz&om_ntype=RMODaily

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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

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

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/sunshinesabby

Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

FHA Trims Waiting Period for Borrowers Who Experienced Foreclosure

Great news for those who experienced hardships during the economic downturn!

FHA Trims Waiting Period for Borrowers Who Experienced Foreclosure

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is allowing borrowers who went through a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, or short sale to reenter the market in as little as 12 months, according to a mortgage letter released Friday.

Borrowers who experienced a foreclosure must wait at least three years before getting a chance to get approved for an FHA loan, but with the new guideline, certain borrowers who lost their home as a result of an economic hardship may be considered even earlier.

For borrowers who went through a recession-related financial event, FHA stated it realizes “their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.”

In order to be eligible for the more lenient approval process, provided documents must show “certain credit impairments” were from loss of employment or loss of income that was beyond the borrower’s control. The lender also needs to verify the income loss was at least 20 percent for a period lasting for at least six months.

Additionally, borrowers must demonstrate they have fully recovered from the event that caused the hardship and complete housing counseling.

According to the letter, recovery from an economic event involves reestablishing “satisfactory credit” for at least 12 months. Criteria for satisfactory credit include 12 months of good payment history on payments such as a mortgage, rent, or credit account.

The new guidance is for case numbers assigned on or after August 15, 2013, and is effective through September 30, 2016.

I read this article at: http://www.dsnews.com/articles/fha-trims-waiting-period-for-borrows-who-experienced-foreclosure-2013-08-19

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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

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

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/sunshinesabby

Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina