Adjustable Rate Mortgages – Making a Comeback

When I read this article, I knew I had to share it. After the real estate bust – so many people turned conservative. But now with prices steadily rising on the San Francisco Peninsula – we’re seeing the adjustable rate mortagage make a comeback – enjoy this article…

Adjustable-rate mortgages regain popularity as prices, rates rise
In November, 11.2% of homes bought with loans carried adjustable-rate mortgages. That’s double the rate of a year earlier.

When Michael Shuken recently bought his family’s first home, a four-bedroom in Mar Vista, his adjustable-rate mortgage helped them stay on the pricey Westside.
For now, his interest-only loan costs him about 35% less per month than a 30-year fixed mortgage, he said. But he’ll have a much bigger monthly bill in 10 years, when the loan terms require him to start paying off principal at potentially high rates.
“What is going to happen if I can’t restructure my loan and extend it? Are interest rates going to be 7%, 8%?” the 43-year-old commercial real estate broker said. “The home is big enough for me to grow into. The question is, will I be able to?”
Adjustable-rate mortgages, which all but vanished during the housing bust, are again gaining popularity. Home prices and interest rates rose last year, and adjustable mortgages can help keep the monthly payment affordable — at least temporarily. Such mortgages offer a lower initial rate, but that rate can rise over time with market changes.
More homeowners in Southern California were willing to take that risk last year. In November, 11.2% of homes bought with loans carried adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs. That’s double the rate of the same month a year earlier, according to San Diego-based research firm DataQuick.
“You saw a big swing in people taking adjustable versus fixed rates” when prices and rates shot up last year, said John Ciolino, a senior loan consultant with Luther Burbank Mortgage.
With interest rates expected to rise this year, the proportion of ARMs could increase further.
“Generally, as rates increase ARMs become more popular,” said Guy D. Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.
Last week, lenders offered, on average, a 3% interest rate for a 5/1-year ARM — which means a borrower receives that rate for five years, before the loan starts to adjust annually with the market. That’s compared with 4.48% for a 30-year fixed loan, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Mortgage brokers say borrowers who plan to move after a few years, or those with considerable, but irregular, income could be well-suited for an ARM.
“A big percentage of my clients are freelance employees in entertainment,” Ciolino said. “So they are going job to job, and they are concerned with having a higher mortgage payment.”
ARMs have been most popular in the region’s higher-priced communities, such as Newport Beach, La Jolla and Pacific Palisades.
That’s a contrast to last decade’s housing bubble, when lenders flooded working-class communities with extremely risky mortgages. One such product — known as the option ARM — allowed borrowers to pay even less than the interest owed, swelling the size of the loan as unpaid interest was added on to principal.
In the first three quarters of 2006, the 16 ZIP Codes with the most ARMs were all in relatively affordable, working-class communities in the Antelope Valley and Inland Empire, according to DataQuick. Many borrowers bet home prices would continue to rise, allowing them to easily refinance or sell before the first adjustment. Many got burned when home prices plummeted, preventing any refinancing.
It’s unclear whether such thinking has changed, but the loans have. The crash stung lenders as well, making them skittish about offering the riskiest products.
Largely gone are option ARMs and loans with very low “teaser” rates that quickly exploded into payments that borrowers couldn’t afford. Lenders during the bubble years also qualified borrowers based on teaser rates, increasing the likelihood of default.
“The ARM products that remain in the marketplace today … are really venerable, long-dated products,” the most popular of which is the 5/1-year ARM, said Keith T. Gumbinger, vice president of financial publisher HSH.com.
New federal regulations taking effect this month should further curtail some of the riskier ARMs, including interest-only products and those with balloon payments.
Adjustable-rate loans may work for some buyers, such as a family in which one parent will return to work after staying home with the kids, said Gary Kalman, an executive vice president with the Center for Responsible Lending.
“I don’t think the product, in and of itself, is inherently a bad product,” he said.
Of course, rates could adjust downward in favorable market conditions. But ARMs are still riskier than fixed-rate loans — especially when rates remain at historical lows but are expected to rise.
Shuken, the Mar Vista borrower, says he understands the risks. He plans to pay down some principal before such payments are required, he said. And he’ll start planning years before the interest rate adjusts to either restructure the loan or sell the house.
“If people aren’t thinking about that,” he said, “they need to.”

By Andrew Khouri
I read this article at:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-arm-loans-20140102,0,3920478.story#ixzz2pdrofw8K

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The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors
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Want to Sell Your Home? The Spring Selling Season May Be Coming Early This Year

I enjoy sharing articles instead of writing my own just so I’m not stuck up on my soap box.  But this article really got my blood pumping.  The local San Francisco Peninsula Real Estate Market has been amazing to watch this year.  San Carlos is one of the hottest cities on the Pen and it’s amazing how quickly homes are selling right now.  So if you are thinking of selling – give The Caton Team a call, and if you’re thinking about buying – we’re here for you as well.  Enjoy this and let me know your thoughts!

 

Want to Sell Your Home? The Spring Selling Season May Be Coming Early This Year

 

If you’re considering selling your home in 2014, now is the time to get ready. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. Right now.

Why? Because buyers are already on the hunt.

The Internet is the new curb appeal
Last month will likely be remembered for polar vortexes, widespread snow, and historic traffic jams. Lost in the shuffle is that while American’s were sitting inside trying to stay warm, they were looking at houses for sale on the Internet.

Experian Marketing Services released its monthly most visited real estate website rankings earlier this week for web traffic in January. The results are eye popping.

Web traffic to real estate websites was up 25% from December to 364 million visits. Zillow (NASDAQ: Z  ) led the way with over 57 million visits and Trulia (NYSE: TRLA  ) limped into second at over 30 million visits.

If you’re considering selling and your home is not yet online, then every day you’re missing out on thousands (or even millions) of potential buyers viewing your home.

Even more incentive for buyers
Spring is coming, and that is certainly driving a lot of the interest in homes currently listed for sale. But there are other factors at play.

Mortgage rates have declined over the past month and are currently trending back toward 4% for traditionally structured, well qualified loans. This is a significant development for buyers, as interest rates are a huge driver of home affordability.

For example, a traditional 30 year, $150,000 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $760. If rates declined to 4.25%, the payment would change to $738.

For borrowers on the edge of qualifying for a mortgage, that $22 per month savings could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not. Over the life of the loan, that 0.25% difference saves the borrower $7,963!

For buyers, the time is now!
Buy low and sell high, right? For buyers, the time to buy low is quickly ending, creating a sense of urgency to buy now before prices rise too high or interest rates return to more historically normal levels.

According to CoreLogic and reported by Realtor.org, home prices in 2013 saw the largest percentage increase across the board since 2005, north of 11% as of December. The appreciation was most pronounced in the states that were hit hardest in the real estate collapse: Nevada rose 23.9%, California 19.7%, and Michigan 14% rounding out the top three.

Buyers are ready. Are you?
The spring selling season will be in full swing sooner than you think. Rates are low, there is urgency to buy now, and buyers are already coming out of their winter slumber. If you’re planning to sell you home in 2014, you need to be ready now. Don’t miss out on the perfect, well qualified buyer because you waited a moment too long.

 

I read this article at:  http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/15/want-to-sell-your-home-the-spring-selling-season-m.aspx

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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

 

Ever had a Crush on a House?

Ever had a Crush on a House?

Realtor.com® Survey: Men, Women Dig on Digs Differently

So, you’ve got it bad for “the one” — you know, the one that keeps you awake at night fantasizing about the day when you can be together.

Wait a second. We aren’t talking about that one — we’re referring to a different kind of love affair: a “home crush.” If you’ve found yourself swooning over a house you just can’t get out of your head, you’re not alone.

In a new realtor.com® survey, 69 percent of the 1,000 people who responded said they have had a “home crush” – a home they liked so much that they were drawn back to looking at it more than once online or in person.

“We conducted the survey to see how searching for ‘the one’ in real estate correlates to searching for ‘the one’ in love, and we found that they are very similar,” said Barbara O’Connor, chief marketing officer at realtor.com®. “Buyers have to evaluate crushes based on turn-ons and turn-offs and whether the home is in their league, so they often find themselves spending a good amount of time checking out their crush online.”

But what do you do when you’re pining for that perfect dwelling? Just as in romance, men and women respond to their home crushes quite differently, the survey found. Women were more likely than men to have a crush on a home that was out of their league financially, while men moved from one home crush to another more frequently than women.

Men and women tend to fall for the same things when it comes to houses, though. Of those surveyed, 54 percent of women and 46 percent of men said they tended to fall in love with outdoor living spaces. Women also swooned for open floor plans and appliances and fixtures, while men’s hearts raced over a good garage and curb appeal.

“Whether it’s love or real estate, having a short list of deal breakers is critical for finding ‘the one’ to help buyers weed through the crushes to find the home of their dreams,” said Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist at realtor.com®.

Majority of all surveyed consumers report having a home crush:

69 percent of those surveyed said they have had a house crush

31 percent said they have not had a crush on a house

Women are more likely to cultivate crushes on homes that are out of their league financially:

Of the women included in the survey…

41 percent revealed that their home crush is out of their price range

59 percent reported that their home crush is in their price range

 

Of the men included in the survey…

30 percent indicated their home crush is out of their price range

70 percent shared that their home crush is in their price range

 

I’ve had my share of home crushes – for myself and my client.  Have you?  Please share!

 

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/news/men-women-dig-on-digs-differently/?cid=EML301887&MID=2014_02_BoB_2013_ROLLOUT&RID=9851214#.Uvvp9Xl4wpE

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

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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

 

Feng Shui and Real Estate

I have to say – Real Estate introduced me to the art of Feng Shui 10 years ago.  I was walking through a home that didn’t feel right.  My client mentioned it had bad Feng Shui as she looked out the window to the intersection that was heading straight at them home.  Before she even finished her sentence she was out the door.  I looked Feng Shui right away and have been reading about it ever since.

When we were remodeling our home, I took out my trusted Bagua to choose colors.  When I look at homes I consider the front door, the homes position etc.  I have truly enjoyed learning about Feng Shui.  Enjoy this article I read through the California Association of Realtors.

8 Staging Tips Using Feng ShuiThe ancient Chinese art of feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is over 3,000 years old, and has been known to help many REALTORS® sell homes when applied to their listings. This method of arranging inner and outer environments so they consistently support the possibility of all the good things in life encourages health, wealth, great relationships, career, and wisdom – just to name a few. Karen Rauch Carter, author of the bestselling book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, works with many REALTORS® who swear by her techniques. Here are a few easy fixes to help prepare your listings for sale the feng shui way.1. Create a happy front door. According to feng shui principles, the easier it is for people to bring opportunities to your front door, the more you’ll have.  Make the walk from the car to the front door a delightful experience. That means no thorny plants nearby, no sidewalk trippers, and no cobwebs to walk through.  Next, add details that draw people to the front door, such as a welcome mat and flowers.  You might even consider painting the front door a shade of red to attract positive energy, especially if it’s positioned in shadow or under an overhang or porch.  Make sure the doorbell and outdoor lights are in good, working order. Clean the door and stoop thoroughly — shine the metal on the knocker, wash any windows — make it the prettiest front door on the block!

2. Fix the leaks. This is, of course, basic common sense, but in feng shui leaking water is equivalent to leaking money. When a leak is fixed, the money stays, and you may just end up selling the home at a higher price.

3. For every room, a true function. When buyers see a treadmill in the bedroom, a computer on the kitchen counter, or a bike in the hallway, it may appear that the house doesn’t seem to have enough room for all the necessary functions. When staging a home, make sure every object in the room matches the room’s function.

4. Manage outdoor plants. Plants, especially dead ones, can block positive energy when physically touching the outside of the house.  When the limbs of a tree are in direct contact, they may even transfer negative energy into the home. Remove worry and excess debris, and the house may sell faster.

5. Place furniture in a commanding position. This means different things for different rooms, but the feng shui basic premise is that furniture should be arranged so the back and head are protected. Don’t have your back to a door or window when you’re on a couch, chair, or bed, and avoid directly facing a wall, especially when sitting at your desk.

6. Keep the energy flowing.  Doors and windows are the entry points for energy to enter or escape, so make sure all are in good working order to encourage positive energy flow.  All doors (including closets) should open freely with nothing blocking their way.  Windows should be easy to open – make sure none are painted or nailed shut. If they’re stuck, you might get stuck with a listing that’s hard to sell.  If possible, open curtains and blinds before a showing to invite energy into the home.

7. Let the buyer find the view. When a home is designed to give you that big WOW view upon entering the front door, consider creating a bold, dramatic design statement to compete for that attention somewhere inside the home. This may seem counter-intuitive, but if buyers are immediately drawn outside, that means nothing inside is holding their attention. The more you can keep attention INSIDE the house before the eyes slip outside, the better energy and “greater likeability” you are creating.

8. Employ the power of red. Homes lacking a fire element may be more difficult to sell. This problem can be addressed with a quick fix of adding red or hot orange colors where appropriate.  Place a vase of red flowers on the counter, or toss a few red throw pillows on the couch or bed if the décor allows. A bowl of red apples is another easy solution. Pointy, triangular shapes are also considered fire elements in feng shui, so consider filling a vase with flowers like birds of paradise. Animal prints can also provide a fire element, as can actual fire, such as candles. Try adding a few splashes of red here and there, and see what it can do for your next listing.

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

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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

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

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Eight Ways To Improve Your Home Appraisal

When I read this article I had to share it.  The Caton Team always provides comparable properties for our buyers appraisal.  But when you are refinancing on your own – don’t hesitate to call us – we’ll provide comparable properties for you!  What can the Caton Team do for you?

Eight Ways To Improve Your Home Appraisal

When Kellie and Michael May decided to refinance their home in the New York suburbs, they wanted to take advantage of historically low interest rates. But before landing a new 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, they had to get through a home appraisal.

“It was a major stumbling block,” says Kellie May, who has owned the 4-bedroom, 3-bath colonial for seven years. Not that she and her husband were unprepared; they’d been through an appraisal for another refinance in 2010, so they knew to point out improvements they’d made to the 3,400 square foot home, and supply prices for other neighborhood properties that had sold recently.

But the appraisal came back roughly $70,000 less than the $1,230,000 the Mays were expecting, and too low to support their new loan.

They responded with a paperwork arsenal aimed at their lender, asserting that the appraisal had been based on faulty recent sales data. The loan squeaked through, after the bank crafted an exception for the Mays. It was able to do that because their loan was a jumbo loan, not subject to the more rigid underwriting standards they would have encountered if it were a conventional loan aimed at secondary buyers like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Low appraisals are becoming a bigger problem for many would-be buyers and refinancers as home values have started to stabilize and rise in some markets.

In Leesburg, Florida, for example, low appraisals have caused the cancellation of as many as 15 percent of home sales for local real estate broker Gus Grizzard.

“We are seeing higher price appreciation and are starting to run into appraisal problems,” said Charlie Young, chief executive officer of ERA Franchise Systems, a firm with a national network of real estate brokerage offices, including Grizzard’s. The National Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday that inventories of homes were low and the median price a home resale was, at $180,800 in December, up 11.5 percent in a year.

Appraisals are based on recent sales prices of comparable properties. And in rising price markets, those sales prices might not be high enough to support the newest deals. Young said there were many places in California reporting appraisal problems.

On Friday, the federal government issued new rules aimed at improving the appraisal process as it pertains to high-interest mortgages on rapidly appreciating homes.

But those rules don’t go into effect for a year, and don’t apply to most conventional loans. It pays to protect your own loan before the bank even thinks about sending that guy with the clipboard over to your house.

“The reality is that the appraiser is only there for 30 minutes at most,” says Brian Coester, chief executive of CoesterVMS, a nationwide appraisal management company based in Rockville, Maryland. “The best thing a homeowner can do to get the highest appraisal possible is make sure they have all the important features of the home readily available for the appraiser.”

Here are eight ways you can bolster your appraisal:

MAKE SURE APPRAISER KNOWS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD – SOOOOOOO IMPORTANT

Is the appraiser from within a 10-mile radius of your property? “This is one of the first questions you should ask the appraiser,” says Ben Salem, a real estate agent with Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, California.

He recalled a recent case where an appraiser visited an unfamiliar property in nearby Orange County and produced an appraisal that Salem said was $150,000 off. “If the appraiser doesn’t know the area intimately, chances are the appraisal will not come back close to what a property is really worth.”

You can request that your lender send a local appraiser; if that still doesn’t happen, supply as much information as you can about the quality of your neighborhood.

PROVIDE YOUR OWN COMPARABLES – Call The Caton Team – We’d be happy to help you!

Provide your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable properties. You will save her some work, and insure that she is getting price information from homes that really are similar to yours.

Websites including Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia offer recent sales prices and details such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in a home.

KNOW WHAT ADDS THE MOST VALUE – Not sure where to put your money?  Call The Caton Team – We’ll help!

If you’re going to do minor renovations, start with your kitchen and bathrooms, says G. Stacy Sirmans, a professor of real estate at Florida State University. He reviewed 150 variables that affect home values for a study sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. Wood floors, landscaping and an enclosed garage can also drive up appraisals.

DOCUMENT YOUR FIX-UPS – Keep those receipts!

If you’ve put money into the house, prove it, says Salem.

“Before-and-after photos, along with a well-defined spreadsheet of what was spent on each renovation, should persuade an appraiser to turn in a number that far exceeds what he or she first called out.”

Don’t forget to highlight all-important structural improvements to electrical systems, heating and cooling systems – which are harder to see, but can dramatically boost an appraisal. Show receipts.

TALK UP YOUR TOWN

If your town has recently seen exciting developments, such as upscale restaurants, museums, parks or other amenities, make sure your appraiser knows about them, says Craig Silverman, principal and chief appraiser at Silverman & Co. in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

DISTINGUISH BETWEEN UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTAIRS

Many homeowners covet that refinished basement, but that doesn’t mean appraisers look at it the same way. “Improvements and additions made below grade, such as a finished basement, do not add to the overall square footage of your house,” says John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage Services in New York. “So they don’t add anywhere near as much value as improvements made above grade.”

According to Remodeling magazine, a basement renovation that cost $63,000 in 2011-12 will recoup roughly 66 percent of that in added home value. That’s not as good as an attic bedroom, which will recoup 73 percent of its cost. Even similar bedrooms typically count for more if they are upstairs instead of downstairs.

CLEAN UP

Even jaded appraisers can be swayed by a good looking yard. “Tree trimming, cleaning up, a few flowers in the flower beds and paint touch up can all help the appraisal,” says Agnes Huff, a real estate investor based in Los Angeles.

That advice holds true indoors, too. “Get rid of all the clutter in your home,” says Jonathan Miller, a longtime appraiser in New York. “It makes the home appear larger.”

GIVE THE APPRAISER SOME SPACE

Don’t follow the appraiser around like a puppy. “I can’t tell you how many homeowners or listing agents follow me around in my personal space during the inspection,” he says. “It’s a major red flag there is a problem with the home.”

And while you’re at it, make the appraiser’s job as pleasant as possible by giving your home a pleasant smell. At a minimum, clean out the litter box. Baking some fresh cookies and offering him one or two probably won’t sway your appraisal, nor should it. But it couldn’t hurt.

I read this article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/22/us-usa-housing-appraisals-idUSBRE90L0ZE20130122?VBd0T4I3F0KvenaC7w1NXQ=1

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Reality of Real Estate Reality TV – by Sabrina Caton

The Reality of Real Estate Reality TV

Aside from my passion in real estate, I love writing and learning about movie and TV production.  A while back, a high-school friend of mine, Robin, was on one of the popular Real Estate Reality shows that so many of us are addicted too.  As soon as I finished her episode I was online asking her questions about her experience and how it all worked out.

The truth behind “real estate reality” TV was as enlightening as it was awesome.  Why?  Because the truth set me free!  It confirmed it’s an entertainment show and not a true reflection on how buying a home really works.

Robin told me the episode is shot backwards.  They had already purchased their condo, they had spent plenty of weekdays and weekends house-hunting with their agent and doing the real work.  However, after they closed escrow on their new home, the production of the show started.  They walked through their future home and pretended to shop it.  Then the producers found two other properties, ones they may or may not have seen prior to buying and they walked through those too – pretending to pick it apart or discuss their likes and dislikes.

Then at the end of the show, they reveal which unit they bought and it’s all smiles and a shot of signing a one-page contract.  So not a true picture of what it takes to buy a home!

The relief spilled over me.  Of course, I knew these shows were for entertainment.  Going on 10 years as a Realtor myself, I’ve rarely showed a home, drew up a contract, got the contract accepted and closed escrow in 30 minutes, minus the commercial spots.  But the people, the real buyers, are watching the show and not thinking about it as entertainment as much as following a buyer’s journey.

That’s where the hard part starts for us Realtors!  Get a new client in the car, ready to show some homes and they tell you – we only want to do this for about a month. Scrape my jaw off the floor and break the truth to them.  In today’s real estate market, at least here on the SF Peninsula – you’ll be house hunting for months!  Some people can handle it some cannot.  I guess it’s one of those moments where you separate the men from the boys.

So I thought I would write a blog about it and share my ‘Ah-Ha’ moment.  Because we, (myself included before I became a licensed Realtor), would sit down and enjoy these shows and in the back of our minds we believed it was that easy.

In the last year or so, the SF Peninsula has switched from a buyers market, with plenty of inventory in various price ranges and condition, to a sellers market, with limited inventory and even the trashy properties receiving multiple offers and over bidding.

Real estate, as all things are, is cyclical.  What goes up, goes down, then up again.  That’s when I remind my buying clients that life is not like those TV shows, not even close to the ones branded as Reality TV.  If you truly want to own a piece of the Silicon Valley, it is going to take work, patience, and flexibility.  And the view from my drivers seat is fantastic.  There are opportunities out there for each buyer, they just have to open their eyes and their mind – and drop the ‘reality’ from those TV shows.

So get off the couch and in my car – we’ll take you on a real Real Estate journey – just a bit longer than 30 minutes.

Thanks for reading!  Sabrina
Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.
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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:
Thanks for reading – Sabrina