7 Ways to Reduce Stress During a Move…

Having just sold my home last year, I remember the hair pulling stress of packing and moving and working and living.  Enjoy this article from Trulia.  And always get a friend to help you pack your kitchen!

 

7 Ways To Reduce Stress During A Move

 

Congratulations! You decided to accept that new job offer in another city, found the perfect apartment or finally closed on the home of your dreams. And while you’re excited about taking that next step, you’re facing a huge frustration: You need to pack all your belongings into boxes, and lug it into another home.

Moving is crazy and stressful. But there are ways to survive the process without prematurely growing (more) grey hairs.

Here are seven ways to manage your stress before, during, and after you’ve boxed up your whole life.

#1: Purge.

Clutter is stressful. Minimize the junk that’s clogging your closets, and you’ll automatically breathe a sigh of relief. Clear the clutter from your home by organizing things you no longer need into three piles: Sell, Donate, and Toss.

Put big-ticket or valuable items in the “sell” pile. Then snap some photos and list them on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook. (Alternately, if the weather’s nice, hold a massive yard sale.)

Score a tax deduction by donating non-saleable items to Goodwill or any other local thrift stores. Or brighten a friend or family members’ day by giving them your old hand-me-downs.

Throw away or recycle any items that are so far gone, even thrift stores wouldn’t accept it.

Here’s the most fun part: Eat through the contents of your refrigerator and pantry. Spend the weeks prior to your move creating “oddball” meals based on whatever happens to be in your cupboards. And don’t forget to drink all your booze!

#2: Clear Your Calendar.

The most stress-free way to tackle the rest of your packing is by blocking off a chunk of time in which you can focus exclusively on that single task. Find a babysitter who can watch your children. (Or save money by asking a friend or family member to watch your kids, and promise to return the favor in the future.)

Request a day off work, or clear your schedule for the entire weekend. You’ll achieve more by packing continuously for several hours than you will by packing in short bursts of time.

If possible, bribe some of your friends to help. Promise that you’ll buy them dinner and drinks, or offer some other treat, if they’ll donate a few hours of their time to helping you pack and move.

#3: Accumulate Boxes.

For several weeks prior to your move, start accumulating a stack of newspapers and boxes. You probably read your news electronically, but don’t worry – print newspapers still exist, and you can usually pick up free copies of community newspapers outside your local grocery store. (Think of those tabloid-layout weeklies that list what’s happening around town.)

Ask your friends if they have any extra boxes from their previous moves. Or visit local grocery stores and retail outlets, walk to the back (where the employees unpack the inventory), and ask if you can walk off with a stack of boxes. CostCo and Trader Joes’ both keep a steady supply of boxes in-store.

If you’re willing to splurge, however, you might decide to buy boxes from shipping and packing stores, or your local home-improvement store. The benefit to buying boxes is that they’ll all be a standard size (they’re usually sold in 3-4 sizes, ranging from small to large), which makes them easier to stack and load.

#4: Plan.

Don’t start packing without a strategic plan. One of the most efficient ways to pack your belongings is to methodically move from room-to-room. Pack everything in the family room, for example, before moving onto the bedroom.

Keep one suitcase per person in which you store the items that you’ll need to immediately access, such as clean underwear, socks and a toothbrush. In other words, “pack a suitcase” as if you’re going on vacation, and then pack the rest of your home into boxes.

Clearly label each box based on the room from which it was packed. This way, when you unload boxes into your new house, you know which room you should deposit each box into – “bedroom,” “kitchen,” etc.

#5: Protect Your Valuables.

The last thing that you need is a nagging concern in the back of your mind that you can’t find your wedding ring and passport. Those worries will stress you out more than almost any other aspect of moving!

Store your valuables in a well-guarded location, such as on your person (inside of a money belt that’s worn around your hips, as if you were traveling), inside your purse (which you’re already trained not to lose), or in a bank safe-deposit box.

#6: Build Yourself Ample Time and Deadlines

Nothing is more stressful than knowing that you can only start moving into your new home at 8 a.m., but you need to be out of your apartment at 12:00 noon that same day.

Avoid this situation by building yourself ample time to make the transition. Yes, this means you may need to pay “double rent” or “double mortgages” for 2 weeks to one month. But this will allow you the benefit of time — and that will work wonders on your stress levels.

In addition, though, create mini-deadlines for yourself. Promise yourself that you’ll pack up one room per day, for example, or that you’ll unpack for 2 hours per night after you move into your new home. This will prevent you from lingering in limbo for too long.

#7: Delegate.

Finally, the best way to reduce stress is by outsourcing and delegating. Use online resources like TaskRabbit and Craigslist to search for people who can help you pack and move. Before they leave, ask them to help assemble furniture and get the big stuff done first.

As the saying goes, many hands make light work. And when you’re moving, you need as many hands on-board as you can get.

 

I read this article at: http://www.trulia.com/tips/?ecampaign=cnews&eurl=tips.truliablog.com

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

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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

How Generational Differences Are Drive Housing Preferences

I find this information very interesting, the difference between generations when buying their home – enjoy this article I found.

Generational Differences Drive Housing Preferences?

Younger home buyers tend to view their home as a strong investment, more so than older buyers who tend to view their homes as a match to their lifestyle, according to the 2014 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, based on a survey of more than 8,700 responses from buyers and sellers.

The survey provided an in-depth look at the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers.

The largest group of recent buyers is millennials, those under the age of 34, who comprised 31 percent of recent home purchases, according to the NAR survey. Generation X buyers, born between 1965 and 1979, accounted for 30 percent of recent purchases, and younger boomers, born between 1955 and 1964, accounted for 16 percent.

“Given that millennials are the largest generation in history after the baby boomers, it means there is a potential for strong underlying demand,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Moreover, their aspiration and the long-term investment aspect to owning a home remain solid among young people. However, the challenges of tight credit, limited inventory, eroding affordability, and high debt loads have limited the capacity of young people to own.”

The median age of millennial home buyers is 29 and the median income is $73,600, according to the NAR study. They typically purchased an 1,800-square-foot home costing about $180,000.

In comparison, gen X buyers’ median age is 40 and median income is $98,200, and they tend to purchase a 2,130-square-foot home costing $250,000.

Among some of the study’s other findings:

  • 87 percent of buyers age 33 and younger consider their home purchase a good financial investment compared to 74 percent of buyers 68 and older.
  • Millennials were more likely to buy in an urban or central city area than older boomers.
  • Younger buyers tended to place higher importance on commuting costs than older generations. Older generations tended to place more emphasis on energy efficiency, landscaping, and community features.
  • Millennials plan to stay in the home for 10 years while the baby boom generation plan to stay for 20 years.
  • Younger buyers tend to move to larger, higher-priced homes, but “there is a clear trend of downsizing to smaller homes among both younger and older baby boomers and the Silent Generation (those born between 1925 and 1945),” according to the study.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

What are your thoughts on the future of home buying?  I know – the price of homes listed on this article is the national average – NOT the San Francisco Peninsula where nothing is priced that low.  But I did find this article interesting – especially the differences between Generation X and the Millennials. 

I read this article at:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/03/12/generational-differences-drive-housing-preferences?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BTII85B84y54x2&om_ntype=RMODaily

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

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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# 01499008

Shut Out of the Housing Market? First-Timers Dwindle…

The 1st time buyer is the cornerstone to the housing market.  Enjoy this article – I would love to hear your thoughts!  I added my 2 cents at the bottom.

Shut Out of the Housing Market? First-Timers Dwindle

First-time home buyers are particularly being hit hard by rising prices and tougher credit standards — and their decreasing market share proves it.

The National Association of REALTORS® reports that first-time home buyers accounted for 26 percent of purchases in January, down from 30 percent a year earlier. It’s also the lowest market share for first-time buyers that NAR has recorded since it began measuring it in 2008.

The falling number of first-time home buyers has the potential to slow the pace of the recovery, Bloomberg reports. The decline of first-time home buyers is hampering home sales, which dropped 5.1 percent in January compared to a year earlier, NAR reports.

“It’s a huge problem,” says Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of REALTORS®. “We have a ladder of home ownership and need first-time home buyers beginning the process of owning, building equity, and trading up to have a healthy housing sector.”

Some housing advocates are blaming investors for pushing out home buyers, particularly where first-time home buyers are being outbid by investors offering all-cash offers. Nearly 80 organizations are calling on federal regulators to address investors pushing potential home buyers out of the market, reports the California Reinvestment Coalition. They argue that federal housing agencies conducting bulk sales of foreclosed homes and distressed mortgages have heightened the problem.

“We’re ringing the alarm bell now and asking regulators to act,” says Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “Wall Street and other cash investors are making it harder for families to buy their first house, for renters to stay in their communities, and for neighborhoods to recover.”

The housing advocates are asking for greater oversight from federal regulatory bodies, such as with more oversight of new investor landlords and ensure that banks aren’t favoring investors over home buyers with FHA loans in REO purchases. The group is also asking for greater research on the disparate impact of REO properties on various communities, particularly the impact to minority communities. Read more about the housing advocates’ stance at the California Reinvestment Coalition website.

Source: “Americans Shut Out of Home Market Threaten Recovery: Mortgages,” Bloomberg Businessweek (March 5, 2014) and “80 Organizations Ask Federal Government to Address Investor Cash Flooding Into Neighborhoods,” California Reinvestment Coalition (March 4, 2014)

Read More

Study: Student Debt Holds Buyers Back, But Doesn’t Need ToNew Low for First-Time Home Buyers

My 2 cents.  When prices were as low as they were going to go – I remember contacting all the buyers I met 10 years ago to let them know there were homes in their price ranges.  Sadly, offer after offer, the 1st time buyers, with loans, were being outbid by investors – or underbid, but out timed by cash investors.  I watched homes sell so darn low to investors, foreign and domestic, my heart hurt.  Here was the opportunity for 1st time buyers, who planned on staying put for 10 years and working on their home – and they couldn’t buy because of the competition.  Now there are plenty of rental properties, but here in the Bay Area the rents are just as high as the mortgages.  I’m sad to see 1st time buyers forced to move away just to buy a home.  And that is no good for growth or our area or our housing market.  Without a first time buyer – there is no second time buyer and so forth.  It will be interesting to see how this effects us.

I read this article at:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/03/06/shut-out-housing-market-first-timers-dwindle?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BTGMphB84q$cpc&om_ntype=RMODaily

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 LinkedInhttp://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

Law Requiring Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures is in Effect

Law Requiring Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures is in Effect

Just a re-reminder, state law calling for the replacement of older plumbing fixtures with water-conserving ones went into effect on January 1 of 2014. The law says that when improving a property (based on certain standards and thresholds), new water-conserving toilets, showerheads, faucets and urinals must be installed before the local building department will issue a certificate of final completion and occupancy. The plumbing fixtures that will need to be replaced are: any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons per flush; any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute; any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute and any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush. Homeowners with questions about their individual fixtures are urged to contact their city or county building department.

 

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/

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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

Think You Cannot Afford to Buy in the Bay Area – Think Again…

When the SF Chronicle published that in order to buy a home in the Silicon Valley a buyer needs to earn a minimum of $150,000 a year, the groan was heard across the Bay Area as 1st & 2nd time homebuyers cringed when they looked at their w-2’s.  Trust me – I know the feeling.  Born and raised in beautiful San Carlos I knew it was only a matter of time before our property values would tip $1,000,000.  Of course I was just 16 when I made this prediction and sadly no one listens to the young.

Now that I am a professional Realtor, going on 11 years in this competitive industry, people start to listen.  Finally!

Yes, in order to buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath home on a 5000 sqft lot in just about any town on the peninsula it is going to take a lot of pretty pennies.  But before the 1st and 2nd time homebuyers give up – lend me your ear for just a second.

As a 2nd time homebuyer myself.  (Just sold my 1st place last year), I’ve been saving my money like crazy – and it doesn’t seem to add up to much when homes in the area are selling for over their listed price with multiple offers.  Trust me, I feel the sadness so many buyers are feeling right now.  However there is hope!  We just need to change our goals.

So the Silicon Valley is getting very very pricey.  When clients think about buying their first place, they often think of buying the home they plan on living in for the next 10 years.  Which is a wise plan, but if you are not raking in the $150,000 income – don’t think you cannot buy.  Just think outside the box.

I recently sat down with my broker to chat about my plans to buy another property and the sentiment I’ve heard from prospective home buyers around the peninsula.  His advice – buy investment properties.  Maybe not in the immediate area, but down South or the East Bay where there are MANY well-priced opportunities to buy.  So you might not be planning to live in Antioch – but there are many people who are and buying an investment property gets your foot in the Real Estate door.  Yes, you will become a landlord with home responsibilities.  But then again, if you wanted to buy a home in the first place you are pretty much signing up for a lifetime of being your own landlord and caring for any property you purchase.  So the flip side here is – you are the landlord and you reap the benefit of INCOME on your investment property.

That income can be used to buy another property.  Once you become an investor, you can 10-31 exchange one investment for another, convert it to a primary residence (consult with your tax advisor for restrictions) or simply continue to pay the mortgage and keep collecting your income.

Don’t have enough money to invest by yourself?  Find other like-minded individuals with capital and form an investment group.  There are some restrictions so I do advise you consult a Realtor (I am always available)  and a Real Estate Attorney to draft an investment agreement.

The benefits of buying your first investment property are similar to buying your own home.  There are tax incentives and there are headaches.  But in the game of Real Estate – the only way you can advance is to become a player in the game.

What are your thoughts on investing in Real Estate or forming an Investment Group – I’d love to hear YOUR opinions!

I wrote this article – thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

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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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:  LinkedInhttp://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# 01499008

7 Signs of An Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

I truly enjoyed this article – had to share…

7 Signs of An Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

Live in a town large enough for a time long enough, and you’ll undoubtedly be made privy to a story of the one that got away. The neighborhood that got away, that is – the neighborhood that all the locals saw as down for the count, pshawing away little sprouts of area upturn, until one day the formerly downtrodden district was teeming with new businesses, new residents, new life – and newly high property values, to the advantage of those few brave souls who decided to go all in before the place actually arrived.

Maybe you’re a first-time buyer trying to squeeze every iota of value out of your precious house hunting dollars, or you just love the prospect of being an early settler in your city’s Next Big Neighborhood. In any event, it can be daunting and even scary to try to figure out whether a neighborhood is up-and-coming or down-and-out. Home value increases are an obvious indicator, but by the time values are up it’s often too late to get in on the early advantage of buying in a neighborhood before it’s potential has been realized.

If you’re ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of buying in a diamond-in-the-rough type neighborhood, here are some signs to look for before property values shoot through the roof.

1. On-trend businesses are moving in. In my neck of the woods, when a co-working space, a Whole Foods or a Blue Bottle coffee moves into the neighborhood, it’s a sign that the nature of things might be changing. This is just as true for small, local businesses that attract people with disposable income as it is for businesses that sell the basics with flair. In fact, most larger businesses do a fair amount of economic research and projections on the neighborhood before moving in. Watching big industry and business moves can be a great way to spot emerging areas with strong fundamentals way before you might otherwise be able to see them yourself.

2. Uber-convenient location in a land-impacted metro. If you live in a densely populated metro area – especially one that is coastal – or an urban setting with intense governmental restrictions on building, demand for homes will continue to grow as the population does, but the supply will remain somewhat limited. In many of these situations, neighborhoods that have been downtrodden but have very convenient proximity to employment centers, public transportation, freeways and bridges tend to be prime for whole-neighborhood remodeling in times of population growth or rapid real estate price rises in already-prime areas.

3. Downsides have an expiration date. If there’s one major issue that has caused an area to be less desirable for decades, and that issue is being eliminated or ameliorated, it could set the neighborhood up for a turnaround. For example, striking crime decreases or a major employer moving into the area where none were before can spark a serious real estate renaissance in an area which has some of the other desirable features on this list.

Also, keep in mind that a new generation of home buyers has a new set of values, and might simply not be concerned or deterred by things their parents might have viewed as turn-offs. Living above a commercial unit might have been a deal-killer for my parents, but my son thinks it’s cool – even desirable, depending on the business on the ground floor. Similarly, gritty and urban might not be the descriptors of your dream home, but some twenty-something first-time buyers in major metros are seeking exactly that feel.

4. Architectural themes with a following. Many up-and-coming neighborhoods find themselves pulled by aficionados of the particular type of architecture that characterizes the neighborhood. Often, down-at-the-heels neighborhoods that are riddled with Tudors, Victorians, Spanish-style homes or even Mid-Century Moderns will see a surge of revitalization when a fresh generation of frugal home buyers falls in love with the style and realizes the deals that can be had there vs. other, already prime areas in town.

5. At least one major economic development is brewing. Never underestimate the power of a major economic development to overhaul a neighborhood’s fate. From Google and Microsoft building cloud storage data centers in Des Moines to a new light rail station going live in Denver, one large-scale employer or infrastructure development can be a very early, very strong sign that an area will see it’s real estate fortunes rise. (That said, areas dependent on one near-obsolete employer or industry can see their fates decline rapidly. Look for industry-wide investment in an area, vs. a single company’s investment.)

6. Fixing is in the air. When you see that an area long known for its rundown homes has a number of homes being renovated and rehabbed from the inside out, this can be a sign of fledgling neighborhood turnaround. If you spot these sorts of projects visually, it might be worth taking a trip down to the City Building Permit counter to see whether the staff has seen the same uptick in individual owners’ investment in the area, and if so, what they think the story of the neighborhood might be – or might become. City staffers often have a wealth of information at the ready, everything from pending commercial development applications that could change the whole landscape of an area to projects the city itself has funded or will prioritize due to its own development initiatives.

7. Slow but steady decrease in DOM. Ten years ago, I listed a charming, pristine home on a not-so-charming, less-than pristine street – the location was its fatal flaw, and the place just lagged on the market as a result. Now, Millennials buying their first homes are salivating over that precise location, for its mix of urban feel; new trendy restaurants and yoga studios; and complete convenience to both the subway and the Bay Bridge. In between now and then, though, those who were watching carefully would have noticed how homes that once took 90 days to sell gradually were selling in 45, then in a couple of weeks – and would have noticed that this decline in the number of days an average listing stayed on the market (DOM) occurred way before the home prices themselves increased. A slow, steady decrease in DOM is a smart, early sign that a neighborhood might be poised on the precipice of up-and-coming status. Ask your agent to help clue you in as to where precisely those areas might be, in your town.

BUYERS: Are you looking to move into an up-and-coming neighborhood? If so, what’s your motivation?

SELLERS: Was your neighborhood an up-and-coming one? Share your experience!

I truly enjoy sharing these articles – hope you did too – would love to hear your input!

 

I read this article at: http://tips.truliablog.com/2014/01/7-signs-of-an-up-and-coming-neighborhood/?ecampaign=cnews201401D&eurl=tips.truliablog.com%2F2014%2F01%2F7-signs-of-an-up-and-coming-neighborhood%2F

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

 

New VA Loan Limits

New VA Loan Limits

The Department of Veteran Affairs announced new Veteran Administration (VA) loan limits effective January 1, 2014.

VA loan limits are determined by the median home price in each county as reported by the Federal Housing Administration. For 2014, some limits increased, some stayed the same and a few decreased.

VA loans can help eligible borrowers purchase owner-occupied homes often without requiring a down payment or private mortgage insurance. A variety of VA home loan guaranty programs, including a refinancing option, are offered for active duty servicemembers, veterans, surviving spouses of veterans who died in active duty or as a result of military service, and National Guard and Reserve members.

VA Loan Benefits Include:

Cash Out Refinance Loans let buyers take cash out of their home equity to take care of concerns like paying off debt, funding school, or making home improvements. Learn More.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL), also called Streamline Refinance Loans, can help buyers obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing an existing VA loan. Learn More.

The Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program helps eligible Native American Veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land, or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan. Learn More.

Adapted Housing Grants help Veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability to purchase or build an adapted home or to modify an existing home to account for their disability. Learn More.

Other Resources: Many states offer resources to Veterans, including property tax reductions to certain Veterans. Learn More.

I read this article at: Ray Avanzino of Prospect Mortgage

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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

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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

The Importance of the 1st Time Buyer

The Importance of the 1st Time Buyer

 

The first-time homebuyer is the cornerstone of the real estate market.  Without this highly motivated individual – there would be no real estate market.

Why you ask?  Growth and market recovery starts from the bottom.  And there is no better foundation to grow upon than the hopes and dreams of the first-time buyer.

This group of determined individuals fuels the market.   These people are the movers and the shakers of the world.  Why?  Because they have determination.

There is no greater want than the security of a home.  Home is where the heart is, because that is where your family lives.  That’s why I became a Realtor – I digress.

The first-time homebuyer faces the most challenges.  First – you gotta nail that great paying job so the saving can begin.  Those who truly want to own a home will start saving aggressively.  They will need money for the down payment, the closing costs, not to mention about 6 months of emergency funds the bank likes to call “reserves”.  The prospective first-time homebuyer may need to cut back on the dinners out, vacations, new cars, etc and start to squirrel away enough dough to make it happen.

God Bless the first-time homebuyer.

When someone can buy their first home, it is the first rung to financial security.  When people can buy their first home, the sellers, who now have earned equity since they bought it – well now they can sell and move forward in their real estate journey and buy their second place.  So on and so forth, as a dear friend and client would say.

I love working with the first-time homebuyer because of the passion behind their eyes.  So much to learn and see – it’s exciting to go on this journey together.

So all you potential first-time buyers out there – keep saving your money, cut some corners and live your “mortgage” budget – because 2014 is primed to be a wonderful year here on the peninsula.

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

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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/ 01499008

 

3 Costly Cases of Hot Market Wishful Thinking – Fabulous Article

I truly enjoyed reading this blog because I’ve been faced with this challenge in my own Real Estate career.  It’s one of the hardest conversations to have.  Please enjoy – and I added my 2 cents in italics.

 

3 Costly Cases of Hot Market Wishful Thinking

 

“Oh, how I wish. . .” started no wise real estate decision ever. There’s a reason they call it real estate, folks. That’s because we’re dealing with the most tangible type of property around – land – and the buildings that, formally speaking, represent improvements to that land.

Attempting to apply fantasy-realm wishes to real-life, real land situations is never a setup for success. But when the market is hot and you have a goal or a timeline, engaging in wishful thinking is not just foolhardy – it can be costly.

As evidence, here are three common, costly cases of wishful thinking that tend to arise in areas where the market is hot, offers are plentiful and prices are rising. Consider these red flags and take heed in the event you find yourself engaging in any of them:

1. Wishing the house you’re seeing was in a different neighborhood. You’ve seen 2 dozens houses, and put in offers on a dozen. No dice. And your agent keeps pushing you to look in a lower price range, assuring you that you can find what you want. And then they show it to you: safe neighborhood, good school district, good commute to work, just the house you wanted, really – but not in the tony hills or hot downtown district you’ve been trying to get into.

Wishing that you could “pick the place up and set it back down” in your desired neighborhood will not make it so, no matter how many times you say it. The reality is that when you have been outbid a double-digit number of times, something about your approach is not working. You either have to downgrade your specs in terms of the property you seek, maybe looking for something smaller, a condo instead of a single-family home or something in less-pristine condition or you need to shift your location criteria – and that can mean a neighborhood change.

Part of the reason this wish is dangerous is that the white-hot markets in many towns are hyper-localized in the Most Desirable Neighborhood in Town. That’s where the competition among buyers and bidding wars are the most intense. If you’re not prepared to house hunt for homes quite a bit lower than your top dollar to set yourself up for success, or if there simply are no homes in that neighborhood listed below your top dollar, you might need to face the reality check that you simply can’t afford to buy there now.

Stop wishing the home you can afford were in a different neighborhood, because if it were, chances are good you wouldn’t be able to afford it, either! Understand that you’ll be able to level-up your neighborhoods as time goes on and you buy your next home – and the one after that – and don’t let your inflexibility paralyze your house hunt so long that prices all over town rise even more.

A friend once told me – if wishes were horses – we’d all be riding.  Don’t be the buyer on the horse.  Buying in the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the hardest markets to get in to and catch up with.  If you cannot buy where you thought you wanted to live – look around – we’re still in the Bay Area and as prices increase – it will increase across the board.  Talk with your Realtor to find the next up and coming area.

2. Hoping that perfect house gets no other offers, even though every other house you’ve bid on has had 54. There’s a fine line between wishing something were true and denying the reality of what actually is true. Facing reality, even when it’s painful or means you can’t have what you want, allows you to make your own action plan for getting the best possible results with the resources you have – or a plan for getting more resources, whichever route you choose to go.

As a buyer in a seller’s market, actually as a buyer in any type of market, it’s ultimately up to you and only you how much you offer on a home. Your mortgage broker can try to get you qualified as high as your income will allow, your agent can get you the comps and give you strategic advice on the average list price-to-sale price ratio, but you are the be-all and end-all decision-maker on offer price, and that’s as it should be.

But if you wield your weighty decision-making power to make lowball or at-asking offers in situations where you are virtually guaranteed to run into high levels of competition, that’s a poor use of your powers. Not only do you set yourself up for failure, you do so at the near-certain likelihood of adding to the demotivating, depressing, discouraging momentum of the times when you get overbid despite giving it your legitimate best efforts. That frustration often leads to analysis and calling a house hunting time-out. And that, in turn, often leads to buying at a time when prices are even higher, and getting ultimately even less home for your money.

I have heard this exact comment and was speechless for a moment.  You cannot wish away the competition.  And asking your Realtor to find a house no one is bidding on – is nuts.  Stop wasting your time and that of the professional you hired and own the fact that you want to buy a home and so does everyone else.  Instead of beating yourself and your Realtor up – think outside the box.  The Caton Team has several offer strategies to set your offer above the rest.  

3. Wishing prices weren’t going up so fast. Here’s the deal: when prices were flat or falling, buyers were (understandably) stressed at the prospect of buying a depreciating asset. Now that they’re ascending, it’s not at all uncommon to hear buyers bemoan that, too. The fact is, the moment escrow closes and your Facebook status changes from house hunter to home owner the fact that prices are rising, and fast, will shift in your mind’s eye from curse to blessing, quick-like.

Rising prices and a recovering market might be what emboldened you to buy, empowered you to sell a formerly underwater home, and certainly have been inextricably intertwined with the increase in jobs. If prices weren’t rising, many of these other things might not be materializing, either, and that wouldn’t be so great.

Wishing prices weren’t going up so fast contributes to a costly form of denial – denial of the reality that they are. This can cause buyers to persist in making lowball offers and wasting their precious time on homes they can’t compete for within in their budget range, all while their smart targets are appreciating rapidly – and that’s how people get priced out of the market, right under their noses.

Don’t let your home buyer dreams fall prey to this costly wish-based pitfall. Work with your agent to stay in the loop about how prices are trending throughout your house hunt, and use that knowledge to power your decision-making about what price range to house hunt in and what price to offer for target properties.

Prices rising means recovery is in full swing.  I totally agree with Tara, it was interesting to watch buyers hang on the fence instead of buying during the bust.  Homes were so cheap – low competition – and there was so much inventory.  But it was scary for some people.  Me, I was born and raised on this blessed peninsula – so I always knew we’d recover.  Jobs, culture, weather – all the factors are here.  So, if you want to buy a home, give your Realtor a call – don’t have one?  Call The Caton Team.  We’ll sit down and review your plans and help you come up with a path to attain your goals.  650-568-5522.  

ALL: What are your real estate wishes, and how do you ground yourself in reality?

Thank you Tara for another great read!

I read this article at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/taranelson/2013/11/3_costly_cases_of_hot_market_wishful_thinking

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

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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/ 01499008

 

New Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mortgage rules to reduce buyer purchasing power

New Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mortgage rules to reduce buyer purchasing power

A New Year’s gift from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: higher mortgage rates!

Fannie and Freddie recently announced a 10-point increase in the guarantee fee paid by lenders for loan commitments, effective on mortgages with commitment dates on or after April 1, 2014. The fee isn’t directly charged to homebuyers, but you can bet lenders are going to pass the extra cost along in the form of higher interest rates.

Plans to increase Fannie and Freddie’s guarantee fees have been loosely imminent since 2012. Still, the implementation of higher fees comes at a bad time for California’s housing market, which is still reeling from:

▪ a mid-2013 hike in mortgage rates that continues to hold on; and
▪ too-high home prices, brought about by rampant speculation in 2013.

Of course, Fannie and Freddie’s reasons for raising fees is sensible: they want more money to offset the risk associated with their business of guaranteeing home loans (made all the riskier in the aftermath of the housing crash and following foreclosure crisis). More money means becoming independent of U.S. taxpayers sooner. But their timing is questionable.

Buyer purchasing power is at an all-time low as of December 2013. Homebuyers qualify for 10.4% less principal when purchasing a home with the same income compared to a year ago, due to higher mortgage rates alone.

This is not only bad news for homebuyers in 2014, but it’s just another headwind facing California’s slow, bumpy plateau housing recovery.

Congressman Mel Watt, who replaced Edward DeMarco as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) earlier this week, is pushing to delay the increases until later in the year. If he’s successful, he’ll kick the can down the road a ways – but it’s coming.

What can agents do with this news?

First, educate your homebuyer and seller clients about the coming rise in mortgage rates. Knowing that rates will rise in the coming year may give them a needed push to buy or list before the rate hikes arrives and reduces buyer purchasing power further.

Second, caution your homebuyer when the inevitable temptation to turn to adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) arises. ARMs are not for everyone, though the low teaser rates they offer lure homebuyers to look past their drawbacks. Generally, buyer incomes cannot keep up once the teaser rate expires and the new ARM rate increases – and it’s just the beginning of the next 30-year cycle of climbing mortgage rates.

Interest Rates we cannot control – and it is frustrating to see our clients purchase power diminish with each increase. We are not kidding when we say the market is constantly changing. If you are on the fence about buying, come in and chat with us. The Caton Team is happy to answer questions and simply help you make the right decision. Because we cannot control interest rates increasing, or demand increasing, but you have control over your finances and the ability to work your dream into a reality.

I read this article at: http://journal.firsttuesday.us/new-fannie-maefreddie-mac-mortgage-rules-to-reduce-buyer-purchasing-power/31671/

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