Working with The Caton Team…

Or what I like to call it – The Caton Team Advantage…

 

I’m on hold at the moment.  Waiting to hear how many offers are coming in on my clients dream home.  Wondering if we offered enough.  Oh the joys of Real Estate in the Silicon Valley.

This isn’t the first time I’ve waited on hold, nor the last.  Though this is the first time I’ve waited long enough to start a blog post – so that tells you something.  Tenacity.  I’m not hanging up until I know.

You see, once I find out where we stand, I can call my clients and update our strategy.  Because it isn’t over until it’s over – and if we’re not the best offer – well gosh darn it – we will be.  Or try to be.

– I know Yoda – there is no try.  But I tell you – it doesn’t hurt to try.

When The Caton Team has the trust and confidence of our clients – we can do anything…

… As soon as the lovely agent concierge gives me the latest news.

I am so proud to say – that in 2017 – sellers left money on the table to work with The Caton Team buying clients.  That says something.  Furthermore, there were no side deals, no commission re-negotiations, nothing but a good clean offer and our Caton Team offer package.    Because The Caton Team knows what it takes – good old fashioned hard work.  Because when I say – sellers left money on the table – I mean – our buyers didn’t offer the most money for property in Silicon Valley – BUT – we had the best offer package and the hustle to ensure – we will close escrow.  That’s the name of the game.  You can offer all the money in the world and it doesn’t mean a thing if it doesn’t close escrow.

As my mother always told me.  Talk is cheap.  It’s all about the action.  Her words ring true today.

I’m still on hold…

I’ve been a Realtor for a lucky 15 years now, Susan for 20.  However in the past decade give or take, Real Estate has changed dramatically.  In fact, the past 5 years have been a revolution if you’ve been in the thick of it.  I was able to see how the internet – wait – mobile devices – single handedly changed everything.  It’s amazing.

By the looks of commercials, just a push of a button will summon someone to open the door and show a home.  That’s perfect – that’s grand!  I wish I could offer such amazing services, thing is – I’m probably across town showing homes and meeting inspectors for the pre-sale checklist – that I can’t drop everything to – well – literally just open a door.  So I wonder…

Do people still need Realtors?  Or is there an App for that?

In my humble opinion, the answer is YES, professional Realtors are still needed, relevant and imperative – especially in the Silicon Valley Real Estate Market.  As long as we are human, making one of the largest financial decisions in our lives, and for as many algorithms and apps with data we have – there are some things you cannot replicate.  Experience,  knowledge and the ability to navigate a contract in a market that moves so damn fast.

Not every Realtor is the same mind you.  I’m speaking on behalf of myself, Susan and a bountiful handful of awesome Realtors who get it.  We offer so much more than just opening a door.  There’s an app for that – what The Caton Team brings to the table is knowledge, experience, negotiations skills that turn our buyers into homeowners.

The Silicon Valley Real Estate Market is on par with New York now as one of the hottest Real Estate Markets in America and it also happens to be in our back yard.

Though this post was dedicated to our Buying clients in this hot market – Selling a home is just as challenging.  It’s not just putting a sign in the yard or a link on the net.  Alas – that’s a blog for another day.  Because….

…I’m off hold – so it’s back to work!

– Thanks for reading,

Sabrina

 

The Caton Team has 35 years of combined, local Silicon Valley Real Estate experience.  Both of us born and raised in San Carlos – The City of Good Living.  We know what it takes to become a homeowner in the Bay Area, we know what it takes to prepare your home for a successful sale in Silicon Valley.  If you’re interested in working with The Caton Team – please reach out at your convenience.   Desk (forwards to cell):   650-568-5522 | Email:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

 

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

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

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

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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The Wish List of Your Future Buyers: Gen Z

The Wish List of Your Future Buyers: Gen Z

Many within today’s generation of teens, 21 million strong, say they’ll be willing to give up modern luxuries for a more mainstream view of the American dream of homeownership, according to a new study from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, which reveals the home ownership wish lists of the children ages 13 to 17, part of Generation Z.

Eighty-nine percent of Gen Z teens surveyed say owning a home is part of what they believe the American dream is, followed by graduating from college (78%); getting married (71%); and having children (68%).

They’re optimistic that they’ll become home owners one day, too. Ninety-seven percent say they’ll own a home one day, and they say they’d even be willing to make some unusual sacrifices in order to put them on the path to home ownership. For example, 53 percent say they’d be willing to give up social media for a year or would be willing to do twice as much homework every night in order to become a home owner one day. Forty-two percent would go to school seven days a week, and 39 percent would even be willing to take their mom or dad to their prom if it meant they could be a home owner one day, the survey showed.

“We have a clear view of tomorrow through our millennial consumer research; now it’s time to look at the day after tomorrow,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “Today’s teens are fiscally literate and realistic when it comes to their future. It’s quite profound that a generation that has never known a world without social media is willing to give up such a staple in their modern lives to achieve their dream home.”

Among other findings from the study:

  • The majority of the Gen Z teens surveyed say they are aiming to own their first home by age 28, which is three years earlier than the median age of first-time home owners. But before they purchase their first home, they expect to have an advanced college degree (60%), gotten married (59%), own a pet (58%), and have children (21%).
  • Of the 97% who say they will own a home one day, they estimate paying an average $274,323 for their first home.
  • 95% of Gen Z teens surveyed say they believe they would start their future homebuying process online. They would view home listings and take virtual tours, but 29 percent also say they’d expect to be able to video chat with real estate agents.
  • 59% say they believe they will undertake the search process for their future home with a real estate professional’s help.
  • 47% of respondents say they’ll likely pick their future home in a suburban neighborhood, followed by 23 percent who say they’ll choose a city and 20 percent who say they’ll live in a country or rural area.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

 

I like the sound of that!

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/09/10/wish-list-your-future-buyers-gen-z?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BUEI4dB88V4GC6&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

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

VISIT OUR NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

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/ Office BRE# 0149900

 

Why Millennials Are Having Trouble Buying Homes

Why Millennials Are Having Trouble Buying Homes

This topic is near and dear to my heart of two reason – the cost of real estate on the San Francisco Peninsula – and the fact I’m experiencing the same frustrations!

There are many reasons why the millennial generation – young adults in their 20s and early 30s – are either having trouble buying a home or have decided to delay their purchase. Recent troubles in home purchasing have left many millennials feeling discouraged and wondering if they will ever become homeowners. Many experts are also worried about the lack of homes being purchased by millennials, because the housing market is fairly dependent on young first-time homebuyers.

The census bureau has reported that only about 36 percent of Americans below the age of 35 have become homeowners. Despite the fact that this number is so low, at least 90 percent of millennials would rather buy a house than continue to rent. If the percentage of millennials that would prefer to own their own home is so high, then why is the percentage of actual homeowners so low?

Why millennials are not buying

One major factor is the trickle down of expensive college educations. As the price of college continues to rise, more students are forced to take on the load of student debt. Millennials rack up student loans throughout their college career, not realizing that it will one day affect their ability to purchase a home. This is especially sad because the mortgage on an average priced home is cheaper than renting an apartment in most cases.

While student loans provide recent graduates with the advantage of establishing their credit history, they can hurt them when it comes time to apply for a home loan. Lenders consider an applicant’s debt to income ratio as part of the loan application. A hefty student loan can greatly hurt what the bank views as an ability to make payments on a mortgage.

This is particularly true for someone that has private student loans, because private loans tend to have higher interest rates and shorter payment terms, meaning that their monthly payment is much higher than that of someone who only has government student loans. Another problem that people run into is multiple student loan payments. If you are making five $70 dollar payments to separate lenders as opposed to one $150 dollar payment to one lender, you weaken your ability to prove that you can afford to take on a mortgage payment.

If that is not enough to worry about, there is still the fact that you have to save for a down payment. Many millennials barely have a savings account, much less a 20 percent down payment. Those who do decide to buy will rely on their parents and other family members to help with the expense of their down payment.

Another reason why millennials are having trouble buying homes deals with the job market. The country is finally making its way out of one of the biggest recessions we have seen in a long time, and finding a job can still be difficult for some people, especially for those who are new to the job market and lack experience. While a college degree can help get one in the door, it still does not warrant the pay level that many millennials need in order to cover their student loans and a mortgage.

It might take a little time, but, hopefully, we will start to see more millennials buying homes sometime in the near future. If you have trouble buying a home and would like credit counseling and loan information, contact The Caton Team

I read this article at: http://activerain.trulia.com/blogsview/4486707/why-millennials-are-having-trouble-buying-homes

My two cents – I’ve been able to work with several millennial buys who have either saved their pennies or were given investment assistance. It can be very discouraging on the San Francisco Peninsula to be a 1st time buyer – but options are out there – If you think outside the box and open your mind. Curious how you can become a homeowner – contact The Caton Team and we can come up with a plan to turn your dreams into Realty!

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 OUR NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

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/ 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/

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 OUR NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

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/ 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

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

VISIT OUR NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

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/ Office BRE# 0149900

Buying a Home After a Short Sale or Foreclosure Just Got Easier!

Home buyers qualify for FHA loan despite short sale or foreclosure

Mortgage borrowers may now qualify for an FHA mortgage under new guidelines established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to Eli Younes of Viking Realty Group in Pembroke Pines on Tuesday.

As a result of the housing collapse, many homeowners experienced a serious reduction in income or lost their jobs due to the crumbling economy. Some mortgage borrowers were forced to file bankruptcy or short sale their home to avoid foreclosure.

Others were not so lucky and lost their home on the courthouse steps.

The new HUD rules allow borrowers whose credit was damaged due to a temporary loss of employment or income to qualify for an FHA mortgage if they have substantially recovered from that situation and maintained a positive credit history for at least 12 months.

Borrowers who recently experienced a bankruptcy, foreclosure, short-sale, loan delinquencies, deed-in-lieu, debt collections or other situation negatively impacting their FICO credit score may now be able to qualify for an FHA loan.

Recognizing that any number of events may have impacted a borrowers’ credit rating, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) believes that such catastrophic event does not mean they are not financially stable or unable to make a mortgage payment.

As such, the previous 3-year waiting period required by the FHA on financing a new home has been revised.

“Referred to as the ‘Back to Work’ initiative, this program is designed for borrowers who lost their home through foreclosure, short sale, bankruptcy or deed in lieu and also suffered a 20% or more loss in household income,” Eli Younes of Viking Mortgage told Examiner. “As with most FHA loans, this program only requires a 3.5% down payment and is applicable for all purchase loans other than the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.”

In order to qualify for a mortgage under the “Back to Work” initiative, there are several steps that must be taken to prove an “Economic Event” that was beyond the borrower’s control.

Employment Requirements:

The lender must verify that the borrower lost at least 20% or more in household income – or became unemployed – for a period of six months prior to the foreclosure, short-sale, or deed-in-lieu. To verify loss of income, the lender must request a written Verification of Employment to show the termination date or loss of income, receipt of unemployment compensation, or signed W-2’s and tax returns detailing the reduction in earnings.

To demonstrate a loss of income for part-time or seasonal employment, the borrower must prove a 2-year history in the same field prior to loss of employment. Borrowers will also be required to prove that they have fully recovered from their hardship, increased earnings and have maintained other credit obligations for a period of 12 months following foreclosure, short sale, bankruptcy or deed in lieu.

Credit Requirements:

When evaluating a borrower for the “Back to Work” initiative following a foreclosure, the lender may deem the borrower eligible if:

1.) The borrower’s credit report is free of any late housing payments within the last 12 months;

2.) All other mortgage accounts must be current for the last 12 months, even if the loan was previously modified to avoid a foreclosure action;

3.) The borrower’s credit report contains no more than a single 30-day delinquency on payments due other creditors; and

4.) The borrower’s credit report contains no current collection accounts or public records. This condition may be waived in instances of identity theft or borrower’s with medical collections.

Bankruptcy Filings:

1.) Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: One year must have elapsed since the bankruptcy discharge. Proof must also be shown that the bankruptcy filing was the result of an “Economic Event” covered within the FHA program guidelines.

2.) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Most lenders will require that the bankruptcy filing be discharged with all payments required under the agreement having been made on time. For borrowers currently in bankruptcy, written approval from the court allowing them to enter a new mortgage contract is required.

Housing Counseling Requirement:

For purposes of establishing satisfactory credit following an “Economic Event,” mortgage borrowers’ under the “Back to Work” initiative must:

1.) Receive homeownership counseling or a combination of homeownership education and counseling, at a minimum, one hour of one-on-one counseling from HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, as defined at 24 C.F.R. §214.100; and

2.) Be completed a minimum of thirty (30) days but no more than six (6) months prior to submitting a loan application to a lender, as application is defined in Regulation X, implementing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 24 C.F.R. §3500.2(b).

The housing education may be provided by HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, state housing finance agencies, approved intermediaries or their sub-grantees, or through an online course. It may be conducted in person, via telephone, via internet, or other methods approved by HUD, and mutually agreed upon by the borrower and housing counseling agency.

Rules for Renters:

Under certain circumstances, renters may qualify under the “Back to Work” initiative. For purposes of establishing satisfactory credit, mortgage borrowers must:

1.) The borrower’s credit report is free of any late rental payments within the last 12 months;

2.) The borrower’s credit report contains no more than a single 30-day delinquency on payments due other creditors; and

3.) The borrower’s credit report contains no current collection accounts or public records. This condition may be waived in instances of identity theft or borrower’s with medical collections.

A foreclosure, short-sale, Chapter 13 bankruptcy or deed-in-lieu will continue to plague a borrower’s credit report at the Equifax, Experian and TransUnion consumer reporting agencies for a period of seven years. A discharged Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on the credit report for a period of ten years.

“With the housing crash, many homeowners experienced unemployment or depreciated home values and for one reason or another were not able to make their mortgage payments,” Carlos J. Reyes, a foreclosure defense attorney with the Reyes Law Group in Fort Lauderdale, told Examiner. “The recent changes in the FHA guidelines have finally recognized the financial hardship faced by many borrowers and is allowing them to once again reach for the American Dream through homeownership.”

The new guidelines are in effect immediately and will be in force through at least September, 2016.

 

This is truly great news for people who faced economic hardships during our market down turn.  You have a chance to be a homeowner again.  

 

I read this article at: http://www.examiner.com/article/home-buyers-qualify-for-fha-loan-despite-short-sale-or-foreclosure

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 OUR NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

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/ Office BRE# 0149900

4 Money Musts Before Listing Your Home

Selling season is coming upon us – if you are thinking about selling your home – contact us sooner than later.  Much to do!  650-568-5522 or info@TheCatonTeam.com

4 Money Musts Before Listing Your Home

If you’re planning to sell your home, chances are good that you’re seeking a lifestyle level-up: you want to bring your home’s size, shape, features, location, maintenance and financial obligations into better alignment with your life – or your future. Making sure that you execute a home sale that actually does align your home with your life requires a lot of prep work.

For most home sellers, it’s the property preparation work that is top of mind. You’ve gotta pick an agent, let them come and tell you all the junk that has to go, pack up that stuff and then let the painters and housekeepers do their job. Then, and only then, the stagers can begin, telling you to pack up all the rest of your stuff so they can create a really clutter-free, updated, neutrally-chic vignette of an irresistible life in your home for the next folks. (Be forewarned – sellers have been known to love their post-staging house so much they question their decision to move!)

But there are a number of financial prep steps that also need to happen to ensure your home’s sale actually does improve your life the way you hope it will, without creating any surprise dramas or burdens. Here are four of those money-do’s to add into your list of home sale prep steps:

1. Get clear on your current credit status. I know, I know – checking credit is an ever-present item on a home buyer’s prep checklist. But if you’re selling a home, chances are good that you’ll want to buy a replacement one. The best time to spot credit glitches and hitches – bills you need to pay down, rogue errors and the like – is not when your current home is on the escrow countdown. If you’re thinking you want to sell your home this year, now is the time to check your credit, spot issues and begin fixing them.

Some credit rehabilitation projects take months, even a year, to complete – so the earlier you get started, the more time you’ll have on your side. And this advice is for everyone – even if you think you have stellar credit, check your reports far enough in advance that you can spot and dispute any erroneous information that might have found its way there. Get started by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com – and revisit this post for an even deeper dive into what you’re looking for, and what you need to do.

2. Scope out your minimum desired decrease – or maximum tolerance for increase – in housing costs. Often times, we eyeball these things: rates are still good, you just got a raise, you can well afford your current payment, looks like your home is worth more now and those houses up the hill don’t cost that much more – time to move up, right?

Maybe so. But maybe no. There’s a lot more to account for in this equation. You need to factor in what the actual increase in your mortgage payment will be, but also how much you’ll net on your home, how much cash you’ll need to close on your next one, and how much your utilities, property taxes, insurance and other home-related expenses might increase if you move up.

Same with downsizing: if you downsize from a home you’ve live in for decades to a brand new, but smaller, condo – you could actually see an increase in property taxes in some areas and get an HOA bill you never had before, to boot. By no means does that mean it’s not the right move to make: the increased bills might be offset by decreased heating, cooling and maintenance, and the fact is that the smaller, new place might just be the right size and style for the next stage of your life.

But you can’t know that’s the fact until you have clarity about how much you can truly, sustainably, wisely afford to spend on your next move. To get this clarity before you list, you’ll need to enlist

▪   your agent – who can help you understand what sort of downsize or move-up property you can get at various price points

▪   your mortgage broker – they can help you understand various financial scenarios for purchase prices, down payments and monthly payments – including property taxes

▪   your tax advisor – who can help you understand the differential impact of various next-home scenarios on your income tax situation, and

▪   your financial planner – if you don’t have one, it might be worth engaging one to help you make a wise financial move as you carry out your next home move.  A fee-based financial planner can help you get clarity around your current income and expenses, your debt, as well as your savings and investments – this insight allows you to wisely time your move vis-a-vis your other life and financial goals.

3. Get inspections and key reports in advance (then read them). The potential for big, bad financial surprises is the scariest element of any real estate transaction. And when you’re selling your home, that potential comes in the form of surprise property problems that complicate your sale, surprise liens and taxes that must be paid to close the deal and even surprise HOA problems that don’t manifest fully until the buyer gets HOA disclosures.

One way to limit your financial exposure to these sorts of surprises is to simply decide not to wait to gather this information until a buyer is on the hook. In many markets, it’s now standard operating procedure for sellers to actually have home, pest and/or roof inspections – and any governmentally-mandated inspections – conducted before the house even goes on the market. This empowers you, the seller, to either begin conducting repairs or to fully disclose what needs doing and list your home in as-is condition. You might not get the same price for it as you would have without the reports, but you will minimize the likelihood of tense negotiations and falling out of escrow – things that are common when a buyer gets a mid-transaction surprise of negative property condition reports. Ask your agent for advice about whether obtaining any or all of these inspection reports in advance makes sense in your situation.

Additionally, work with your agent to get early copies of your home’s preliminary escrow report and HOA disclosures. If you have outstanding liens or there are HOA issues that will make it difficult to carry out a sale, better to know – and solve for – them sooner than later.

4.  Create a financial plan for your home’s sale. “It takes money to make money,” they say. What they didn’t say is that it also takes money to turn your home into the cash your equity represents. So I’ll say it:

  • When you bought your home, the seller paid both agents’ commissions. Now that you’re selling, it’s your turn – make sure you calculate the average 5-6% of the purchase price that you’ll need to cover your listing agent’s work, and the buyer’s agent’s, too.
  • Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than a few thousand getting it market-ready, whether you decide to do a DIY-fix-it sweep or to hire the best stager in town to showcase your showplace.
  • Depending on how much financial margin you have – or need – and on what your advance inspections revealed (if you did them – see #3, above), you might want to build in a line item for a repair credit to offset the cost of any repairs that come up during escrow.
  • Your agent can help you project other costs of selling your home, like property transfer taxes and paying for the buyer’s home warranty – costs customarily covered by the seller vary widely state-by-state, and even across counties within the same state.  Your escrow holder and agent can also get you up-to-speed on precisely how much of your home’s sale price will go to pay off your mortgage(s), property taxes and any other liens.

Your final money-do is to actually document your financial plan and budget for selling your home. Many agents will sit right down with you and help you do this; if yours will, take them up on the offer. It also creates a perfect time and space to get educated about the flow of the home selling process and standard bargaining practices in your area. The goal is to get a clear, concrete understanding of the dollars that will flow in and out during this major life change, so you can make clear, calm decisions throughout the process that set you up for success long after closing.

SELLERS: What money-dos did you fail to do before you sold your home?  Any advice for sellers-to-be?

I read this article at:  http://www.trulia.com/tips/2014/01/4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home/?ecampaign=cnews201401C&eurl=tips.truliablog.com%2F2014%2F01%2F4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home%2F

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