COUNTY BANS SMOKING IN YOUR OWN HOME

COUNTY BANS SMOKING IN YOUR OWN HOME

Paul Stewart, SAMCAR Governemnt Affairs Director

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has voted 4-1 to enact a second hand smoking ordinance that, among requirements, bans smoking in ownership units. Only Supervisor Don Horsley stood up for private property rights. Irrespective of one’s stance on smoking, imagine having to tell a buyer who just paid $862,000 for a townhome—which for purposes of illustration is 20% less than the median price of a home in San Mateo County—that they are barred from smoking (or performing any other legally allowed activity) in their own home? Now you will.

What was exempted:

  • Detached, single-family residences.
  • Detached, single-family homes with a detached or attached in-law or second units (approved pursuant to code)

What was NOT exempted:

  • Townhomes – whether owned or rental.
  • Condominiums – whether owned or rental.
  • Apartments

The ordinance will be enforced by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department and the San Mateo County Health Department and is designed as a ‘complaint driven’ regulation (i.e., incidents of people smoking in their own home will be investigated only when neighbors complain; smokers will supposedly not be under surveillance by the Sheriff’s Department or the Health Department.)

How the voting emerged:

  • Supervisor Carole Groom has supported the ordinance as proposed since its introduction. She made the motion to approve.
  • Supervisor Tissier noted that when she met with SAMCAR, she noted the key was consistency in the application of the regulations… and that she prefers consistency “the other way and supports adoption of the ordinance as presented.” (She also seconded Groom’s motion.)
  • Supervisor Slocum stated the notion of private property rights is important but “I am swayed by the testimony of the health hazards (of second hand smoke) and can support the ordinance as proposed.”
  • Supervisor Pine said he favors the ordinance as proposed but was struggling with the ownership issue. He added that owners (townhomes & condos) who are troubled by smokers cannot move as easily as renters, so such activity “actually has impact outside your private property.”

Gratitude on this issue goes to President-Elect Michael Verdone, Peninsula Government Affairs Committee Chair Michelle Velez, SAMCAR stalwart Tom Thompson and TCAA GAD Rhovy Lyn Antonio, who were present at SAMCAR’s meetings with the Supervisors on the prohibition of smoking in a person’s own home.

 

I read this article at: https://www.samcar.org/posts/county-bans-smoking-in-your-own-home-264.htm

 

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

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

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

 

Study: Greener Neighborhoods Make for Healthier Babies

Study: Greener Neighborhoods Make for Healthier Babies

 

Pregnant women living in “green” neighborhoods are more likely to deliver healthier babies, suggests a new study from researchers at Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia.

What makes a neighborhood green: the presence of trees, leaves, grass, and other greenery. Mothers who live in such greener spaces are more likely to deliver at full-term and have babies born at higher weights compared to mothers who live in urban areas that aren’t as green, according to the study recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“This was a surprise,” says lead author Petty Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist at the College of Public Health and Human Services at Oregon State. “We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures, such as air pollution and noise. The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.” Researchers controlled for factors such as neighborhood income, exposure to air pollution, noise, and neighborhood walkability.

Between 1999 and 2002, researchers tracked more than 64,000 births in Vancouver, British Columbia. They found that when mothers lived in greener neighborhoods, pre-term births were 20 percent lower, and moderate pre-term births were 13 percent lower for infants. The study also found that infants from greener neighborhoods tended to be of a healthier weight: They weighed 45 grams more at birth than infants from less-green neighborhoods.

Why the link to healthier pregnancies and green neighborhoods? More research needs to be done to determine if green space opens the door to more social opportunities and enhances a woman’s sense of belonging in the community, or if it has a psychological effect in reducing stress and depression, Hystad says. The study also was not clear on what type of green space is most beneficial to pregnant women, but Hystad says that adding a planter to a patio or a tree to a sidewalk wouldn’t make a large difference in birth outcomes.

The study is one of several recently that shows the health benefits of green space, Hystad says.

“We know a lot about the negative influences, such as living closer to major roads, but demonstrating that a design choice can have benefits is really uplifting,” says the study’s senior author Michael Brauer of the University of British Columbia. “With the high cost of health care, modifying urban design features, such as increasing green space, may turn out to be extremely cost-effective strategies to prevent disease, while at the same time also providing ecological benefits.”

Source: Oregon State University

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/09/11/study-greener-neighborhoods-make-for-healthier-babies?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BUEfE1B88XY4RJ&om_ntype=RMODaily

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

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ Office BRE# 0149900

 

What Does Name “Drysdale” Mean

Our CEO announced our new DBA will be Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | Drysdale Properties – and we all wondered what it meant.  Well, now that I know the meaning – I am proud be to a Drysdale.  The meaning truly falls in line with The Caton Team and our business ethics.

 

What Does Name “Drysdale” Mean

 

You are strong in material matters, determined and stubborn. You have good business ability. You are a good worker, steady and practical, a builder who takes responsibility well. These qualities may bring you a position of authority and power. You are a doer, down-to-earth, serious-minded, reliable, and self-disciplined; have good power of concentration. You are inventive, intuitive and extremely methodical. Since your will is so strong, you are hard to convince. You also dislike advice. You love beauty and philosophy, and you desire achievement. You have a strong need for freedom – physical, mental and spiritual.

You are very intuitive. You have a reservoir of inspired wisdom combined with inherited analytical ability, which could reward you through expressions of spiritual leadership, business analysis, marketing, artistic visions, and scientific research. Operating on spiritual side of your individuality can bring you to the great heights, and drop you off if you neglect your spiritual identity. You are always looking for an opportunity to investigate the unknown, to use and show your mental abilities, to find the purpose and meaning of life. You want to grow wise and to understand people and things. You need privacy to replenish your energy. You have a unique way of thinking, intuitive, reflective, absorbing.

I read this at: http://www.sevenreflections.com/name/drysdale

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

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

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

 

Why 20% of Households Are Throwing Away $11,500

 Why 20% of Households Are Throwing Away $11,500

About 20 percent of households who would benefit from refinancing are not doing it — and they could be losing out on lessening their mortgage payments by thousands of dollars over the life of the loan, according to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In analyzing a large random sample of outstanding mortgages from December 2010, researchers found that the median household could save $160 per month over the remaining life of the loan, amounting to a total savings of about $11,500.

“Despite the large stakes, anecdotal evidence suggests that many households may fail to refinance when they otherwise should,” according to the report. “Failing to refinance is puzzling due to the large financial incentives involved.”

The report found that borrowers may fail to refinance because they are unable to calculate the full financial benefit to them, they fail to see the benefits over time, or the high amount of upfront costs may deter them.

“Our results suggest the presence of information barriers regarding the potential benefits and costs of refinancing,” according to the NBER report. “Expanding and developing partnerships with certified housing counseling agencies to offer more targeted and in-depth workshops and counseling surrounding the refinancing decision is a potential direction for policy to alleviate these barriers for the population most in need of financial education.”

 

If you are looking for a reliable lender – let The Caton Team know and we can connect you with the best in the business.

 

Source: “Here’s Why Some Home Owners Throw Away $11,500 a Year on Mortgage Payments,” HousingWire (Sept. 10, 2014)

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/09/11/why-20-households-are-throwing-away-11500?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BUEfE1B88XY4RJ&om_ntype=RMODaily

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

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

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

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ Office BRE# 0149900

Low Mortgage Rates Are Lingering

Low Mortgage Rates Are Lingering

 

The average percentage rates for fixed-rate mortgages inched up slightly this week, but continue to hover near yearly lows.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Sept. 11:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.12 percent, with an average 0.5 point, up slightly from last week’s 4.10 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.57 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.26 percent, with an average 0.5, rising from last week’s 3.24 percent average. A year ago, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.59 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.99 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 2.97 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.22 percent.

1-year ARMs: averaged 2.45 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 2.40 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.67 percent.

 

My 2 cents – Talk around the water cooler is interest rates will rise since the market has recovered. So if you’re thinking about investing in real estate – the Spring/Summer rush has cooled and Autumn is a great time to find investments with not as much competition. If a property is for sale over the holidays it needs to sell – and we’ve assisted several clients buy homes during the off season for a great price compared to earlier this year.

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/09/12/low-mortgage-rates-are-lingering?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BUEz4EB88ZKvTn&om_ntype=RMODaily

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

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Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

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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/ Office BRE# 0149900

 

The Caton Team is proud to announce that Prudential California Realty – Pearson Properties will soon become Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – Drysdale Properties

Well it is official – Warren Buffet has blessed his Real Estate Company with his brand name. Prudential California Realty – Pearson Properties will soon become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties. We couldn’t be happier to have Warren Buffet as our new boss.

Our broker selected the name Drysdale for the following reason…

What Does Name “Drysdale” Mean

You are strong in material matters, determined and stubborn. You have good business ability. You are a good worker, steady and practical, a builder who takes responsibility well. These qualities may bring you a position of authority and power. You are a doer, down-to-earth, serious-minded, reliable, and self-disciplined; have good power of concentration. You are inventive, intuitive and extremely methodical. Since your will is so strong, you are hard to convince. You also dislike advice. You love beauty and philosophy, and you desire achievement. You have a strong need for freedom – physical, mental and spiritual.

You are very intuitive. You have a reservoir of inspired wisdom combined with inherited analytical ability, which could reward you through expressions of spiritual leadership, business analysis, marketing, artistic visions, and scientific research. Operating on spiritual side of your individuality can bring you to the great heights, and drop you off if you neglect your spiritual identity. You are always looking for an opportunity to investigate the unknown, to use and show your mental abilities, to find the purpose and meaning of life. You want to grow wise and to understand people and things. You need privacy to replenish your energy. You have a unique way of thinking, intuitive, reflective, absorbing.

The Caton Team is definitely Drysdale material and we look forward to this change.

When Warren Buffest invests in real estate – the world listens. We knew for some time that “The Rock” which is Prudential California Realty wanted to get out of real estate and focus on selling insurance. Mr. Buffet took this opportunity to put his money where his mouth is and bought Prudential Realty – you will soon see new signs pop up in the area – and know we’re the San Francisco Peninsula’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Team!

The Caton Team is excited to be part of the Berkshire Hathaway Brand and we look forward to the positive changes in the market place. Stay tuned!

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

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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/ Office BRE# 0149900

Resources for Lower-Income Homebuyers – YEAH!!!!!!!!

Reading the paper this morning – it was refreshing to see information to help local want-to-be homeowners find some assistance.  Enjoy this article I found in SF Chronicle.  If you have questions – email me anytime at info@TheCatonTeam.com

Resources for lower-income homebuyers

Programs available to give low-income people a chance in difficult market

By Carolyn Said at SF Chronicle

San Francisco — Wakeelah and Andre Davis “always wanted to own a home and had been saving up,” said Wakeelah, an AC Transit bus driver. Like many first-time home buyers, especially those of modest means, they were consistently outbid by investors who could pay all cash.

“I kind of gave up for awhile,” Wakeelah Davis said. Then she came across a Richmond two-bedroom. The online listing said it would only be sold to people who wanted to live in it. The listing asked, “Tired of being beat out by cash offers?

“That sparked my interest to come back and try,” she said. “I thought maybe I’ll have a chance.”

The ad had another unusual requirement: It asked prospective buyers to write a letter about themselves, their house-hunting quest and their ties to the community.

“I told them I was born and raised in Richmond and I love the area. I graduated from Kennedy High and that’s where my son wants to attend,” said Wakeelah, whose son Dre’onn, 13, is now in middle school.

Even though theirs wasn’t the highest offer, the Davis family was selected to buy the house.

The seller was a nonprofit with a mission to buy, renovate and resell foreclosed houses only to owner-occupants under the unwieldy name “Foreclosure Recovery and Asset Building Management Project.”

“We want to help low- to moderate-income families get into homeownership so they can increase their self-sufficiency,” said Nicole Taylor, CEO of the East Bay Community Foundation in Oakland, which provided seed money for the program as a project of Self-Help Community Development Corp. “The idea was that maybe we could help families turn around their lives by providing them with an opportunity to buy this key asset that can grow in value.”

The mission also includes boosting local communities.

“We seek families who have roots in the community so they can maintain their family ties and help neighborhoods by having more stable families,” said Paul Staley, vice president of Self-Help Community Development Corp.

Pilot program

In operation since 2010, the program has handled just 18 homes, mainly in Contra Costa County, although it’s branching into Oakland. Taylor sees it as a pilot program and hopes to find funds to expand.A variety of similar programs exist that buy, fix and resell foreclosures to homeowners. Some use funds from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which was set up to help communities hard-hit by foreclosures and blight but is winding down.

But all such programs “are just a drop in the bucket,” said Maria Benjamin, executive director of Community Housing Development Corp. of North Richmond, which provides financial education to prospective home buyers, including those in the Self-Help program. “They are few and far between; there just isn’t enough money.”

Besides the resold-foreclosures programs, there are a variety of resources for low- and moderate-income people seeking to buy homes (see box). Though not enough to meet demand, it behooves prospective home buyers to learn about them, experts said.

Some advocates say the government should be doing much more to encourage and support lower-income homeowners.

Sasha Werblin, economic equity director at Berkeley’s nonprofit Greenlining Institute, which tries to extend opportunities to people regardless of race or income, listed several policy areas where she hopes legislators and regulators will take action.

They include pushing banks to create “sustainable mortgage products that work for middle- and low-income borrowers,” she said, adding that it’s critically important that borrowers demonstrate income to pay back loans, to avoid a repeat of the subprime lending disaster. Another step would be a bank-backed pool of funds for down-payment assistance, she said. She’d also like to see lenders pay closer attention to borrowers’ payment history, giving credit for a history of on-time rent and utilities payments – something that current credit scoring systems don’t take into account.

“We’d like the administration to take a more comprehensive and proactive stance about homeownership for everyone,” she said.

Wish list for help

Sheri Powers, director of the homeownership center at Oakland’s Unity Council, works directly with prospective home buyers. Her wish list for government help includes a way to urge banks selling foreclosures to sell to owner-occupants rather than investors.

“If they are serious about stabilizing communities, giving preference to buyers who want to occupy homes would make a huge difference,” she said. “Right now, they just want to sell as fast as possible. If an investor has cash, they’ll just lap it up – even if it’s $20,000 or $30,000 lower” than financed offers that take longer to close.

Resources for home buyers

A variety of programs provide help for low- and moderate-income home buyers, ranging from advice to money. Each program has different criteria.

Counseling and education

Find an agency near you for home-buyer education workshops and information on financial-assistance programs.

Neighborworks agencies, www.nw.org/network/nwdata/homeownershipcenter.asp

— HUD counseling agencies, www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm?&webListAction=search&searchstate=CA

Down payment and financial assistance

Most programs have income and/or geography requirements. Many large cities – including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Alameda, Hayward and San Leandro – offer programs. Do a Web search of your target city and “down payment assistance.”

— California Home Financing Agency (CalHFA), www.calhfa.ca.gov/homebuyer/programs/chdap.htm, provides a deferred-payment junior loan of up to 3 percent of the purchase price.

— Wells Fargo East Bay CityLift, www.unitycouncil.org/citylift-main-page-2/L. Down-payment grants of $20,000 are available for about 150 home buyers in nine participating East Bay cities.

— California State Teachers’ Retirement System, www.calstrs.com/home-loan-program. The retirement system is working to restart its down payment assistance program for teachers.

— CHF Platinum www.chfloan.org. Down payment assistance for low- and moderate-income borrowers in California; works only with FHA loans

— WISH (Workforce Initiative Subsidy for Homeownership), www.fhlbsf.com/community/grant/wish.aspx. Federal Home Loan Bank runs through participating banks. Provides 3-to-1 match for down payment funds. Must be used in conjunction with a local down payment assistance program, for instance from a city, county or employer.

— IDEA (Individual Development and Empowerment Account) www.fhlbsf.com/community/grant/idea-profile.aspx. A matching loan for households that participate in a home buyer education and savings management plan.

— Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC), www.calhfa.ca.gov/homeownership/programs/mcc.pdf. This federal program allows qualifying homeowners to deduct a larger portion of their interest payments from their tax bill. Lenders are willing to account for this in calculating borrowers’ income.

Low-down payment loans

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and VA (Veterans Affairs) loans are two key sources for people with lower down payments. Counselors recommend a couple of other options for lower-income borrowers that do not require the extra cost of mortgage insurance.

Union Bank Economic Opportunity Mortgage, www.unionbank.com/EOM

— CitiBank HomeRun, www.citibank.com/citimortgage/employee/lowdown.htm

Homes for sale

Neighborhood Stabilization Program, hudnsphelp.info/index.cfm?do=viewGranteeAreaResults The federal NSP program, which gives money to local governments to buy, fix and resell foreclosures, is winding down. This site details local grant recipients, some of which may still have homes for sale.

— Freddie Mac lets home buyers subscribe to lists of its foreclosed homes for sale in their area, www.homebase.homesteps.com

— Fannie Mae has an online database of its foreclosures for sale, www.homepath.com

— Several Bay Area cities offer “below-market-rate” units for sale to lower-income homeowners. Search the city’s name and “below market rate.” San Francisco’s program is at http://sf-moh.org/index.aspx?page=299

— Homes from the self-help program are listed at East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation www.ebaldc.org/ and Community Housing Development Corporation www.chdcnr.com/

Read more: http://www.sfchronicle.com/realestate/article/Resources-for-lower-income-home-buyers-4512719.php#ixzz2TJ1Xx5Rt

I read this article at:  http://www.sfchronicle.com/realestate/article/Resources-for-lower-income-home-buyers-4512719.php

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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