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Are you looking for an experienced agent to help you buy or sell a home? Contact Jim the Realtor!

Jim Klinge
Cell/Text: (858) 997-3801
klingerealty@gmail.com
701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite 300
Carlsbad, CA 92011


Category Archive: ‘Tips, Advice & Links’

Why A House Isn’t Selling

Even though our market has been red hot, less than 70% of the homes listed for sale actually sell.  Hat tip to Charles for authoring this list of reasons why:

When you first put your house on the market, you might be hopeful for a quick sale—especially if you’ve put a lot of money into improving the house over the years and if the neighborhood is one that has historically attracted a lot of buyers.

While you shouldn’t panic if the house doesn’t sell the moment you list it, you should begin to worry if the months start flying by without any real offers. If this is the case, here are 11 reasons why your house may not be selling.

  1. You overvalued your property. If your house is overpriced, it’s simply not going to sell. Compare your property to similar properties that recently sold within your area to get a better idea of its true value. An experienced real estate agent can give you an accurate value of your home. Additionally, don’t make the mistake of tacking on the cost of any renovations you made. You can’t just assume that the cost of a renovation translates to added value.
  1. Your listing is poor. If the listing of your home includes a poorly written description without any images, a lot of buyers are going to skip over it. Make sure you and your REALTOR® put an effort into creating a listing that attracts the attention of buyers. Make sure to add high quality photographs of both the interior and exterior of your home. Don’t forget to highlight unique features as well.
  1. You’re always present at showings. Let your agent handle your showings. Buyers don’t want to have the seller lurking over their shoulder during showings, especially during an open house. This puts unwanted pressure on the buyer, which will make them uncomfortable and likely chase them away.
  1. You’re too attached. If you refuse to negotiate even a penny off your price, then there’s a good chance that you’ve become too attached to your home. If a part of you doesn’t want to sell it, or you think your house is the best house in the world, odds are you’re going to have a lot of difficulties coming to an agreement with a potential buyer.
  1. You haven’t had your home professionally cleaned. A dirty house is going to leave a bad impression on buyers. Make sure you have a professional clean your carpeting and windows before you begin showing your house.
  1. You haven’t staged your home. If you’ve already moved out, then don’t show an empty house. This makes it difficult for buyers to imagine living in it. Stage your house with furniture and decor to give buyers a better idea of how big every room is and how it can be used. You want the buyer to feel at home when they are taking the tour.
  1. You kept up all of your personal décor. Buyers are going to feel uncomfortable touring your house if you keep all of your family portraits up. Take down your personal décor so that buyers can have an easier time imagining themselves living there.
  1. Your home improvements are too personalized. You might think that the comic book mural you painted for your child’s room is absolutely incredible, but that doesn’t mean potential buyers will agree. If your home improvements are too personalized, it can scare off buyers who don’t want to pay for features they don’t want.
  1. Your home is too cluttered. Even if your home is clean, clutter can still be an issue. For example, maybe you simply have too much furniture in one of your rooms. This can make the house feel smaller than it is.
  1. Your home is in need of too many repairs. The more repairs that are needed, the less likely a buyer will want your house. Many buyers simply don’t want to deal with the cost or effort of doing repair work, even if it’s just a bunch of small repairs, such as tightening a handrail or replacing a broken tile.
  1. You chose the wrong real agent. In my opinion, choosing the right real estate is simply the most important decision you make in selling your home.  A good REALTOR® makes all the difference in selling your home within a reasonable time.

All these things can be fixed once you realize your mistake; however, the longer your property stays on the market, the less likely it will sell at listing price. One of the best ways to avoid making these common mistakes is by working with a professional real estate agent.

Link to article

Posted by on Jan 17, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment

Buying A Flipped Home

With the lack of new homes available, the flipped homes have become a substitute for buyers who don’t want to do any repairs or improvements.

Here are four good questions:

Question #1: Have the Renovations Been Permitted?

Question #2: Were the Sub Contractors Licensed, Bonded ,and Insured?

Question #3: Can I See the Before Photos?

Question #4: Do the Windows Have a Double-Lifetime Warranty?

A good article on the details:

Click to article

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links | 8 comments

Real Estate Descriptions

While we await the final vote on tax reform……

We’ve heard some pretty delusional ways to describe architectural features over the years. There are always certain less-than-desirable elements to any home and it makes sense to soften the bad things by lying… er— circumventing the truth. So what are the most common euphemisms we’ve come across? Read on:

“Cozy”

Nice try, this means tiny.

“Old world”

Means just old.

“Garden level”

Don’t be fooled, this means basement.

“Charming”

Small/weird.

“Shabby chic”

Usually more shabby, less chic.

“Open concept”

This is a studio where your bed is in the living room.

“Flooded with light”

It’s a nine-story walk up (you’re up so high though!).

“Full of character”

There’s a toilet in the kitchen.

“Funky”

On a good day, funky means interesting and cool or it might just mean super smelly.

“One of a kind”

Maybe there’s a reason they only made one?

“Rustic”

Run down

“Eclectic”

Random, haphazard layout and finishes.

“Comfortable”

This means worn in (if you’re lucky) or (more likely) nearly threadbare.

“Original”

No one’s bothered to update it.

“Great location/close to nightlife”

You live above a bar.

 

LINK

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links | 8 comments

Master Bath Remodels

Thumb through any home decor magazine, and you’ll see a master bathroom with a soaker or shower as the showpiece. Ta-da!

Homeowners, it turns out, are splurging to scrub up, according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Ninety-one percent of homeowners in the study added a spacious shower to their master bathroom (after tearing out the tub), and many added on deluxe features, like a body sprayer or rainfall showerhead, for an improved, spa-like space.

The average cost for a large-scale remodel of a master bath (sized over 100 square feet) was $21,000, shows the study. Master bath renovations cost more in pricey markets, however. In San Francisco, Calif., for example, a major remodel averages $34,100.

Accompanying a luxury shower is a soothing gray and white color palette, according to the study. Nineteen percent of homeowners installed white countertops in the master bath, and 40 percent painted its walls white. Fourteen percent added gray cabinets, as well, to complete the tone-on-tone look. The majority of homeowners (90 percent) changed the overall style of the room, some to contemporary (25 percent), some to transitional (17 percent), and some, still, to modern (15 percent).

  • Statement showers; lose the tub : Showers are the top feature to splurge on during a master bathroom renovation (42% of renovating homeowners). Of those making master shower updates (81%), more than two-thirds increase its size. Many homeowners remove their master bathtub (27%) to make room for a larger shower (91%).
  • Aging in place drives spend: Homeowners 55 years old or older spend nearly twice as much as those under 35 on renovations of master bathrooms over 100 square feet ($22,800 vs. $12,500, respectively). Older homeowners are significantly more likely to integrate accessibility features, as three in five have no plans to move in the next 10 years.
  • Millenials crave more space: One quarter of homeowners opt to increase their master bathrooms. Many of those who are keeping the bathroom size as is find it too small for their needs (30%). Millennial homeowners (ages 25 to 34) are more likely to increase their master bathrooms than are other homeowners and are more likely to be unhappy about the size when not changing it.
  • San Fransiscians spend the most on remodels: Among the top 20 U.S. metro areas, homeowners in San Francisco spend the most on a master bathroom remodel, averaging $34,100 for a major remodel of a larger master bathroom (over 100 square feet), compared with $21,000 nationally. Overall, costs vary significantly by scope of remodel, size of master bathroom and regions.

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects, Tips, Advice & Links | 2 comments

Selling Strategies That Can Backfire

Good tips from realtor.com:

When you’re selling your home, you might imagine you hold all the cards. And you do—sort of. But it’s easy to become overconfident in a seller’s market. If  you don’t do a reality checkpronto, you could end up sabotaging your sale. So much for that straight flush!

Here are six common home seller negotiation tactics that can totally backfire if you don’t approach them carefully.

1. Starting a bidding war

Bidding wars are the stuff of home sellers’ dreams. And there’s nothing wrong with fueling a little competition among buyers in order to get the best deal for you. But this tactic can easily backfire if you bungle it.

“If mishandled, people may assume the worst, and the best offer may walk away,” says Sep Niakan, owner/broker at Miami-based HB Roswell Realty.

Common bidding war bungles include the following:

  • Not clearly explaining upfront how you intend to handle multiple offers.
  • Giving an offer deadline that is too many days away. Some buyers might not want to wait for you to make a decision, especially if other homes are in contention.
  • Already having a strong offer on the table, but then insisting that all potential buyers come back with their highest and best bid. There’s no guarantee buyers will play ball and, if that strong offer walks, you’re stuck with lower offers to choose from.

Bottom line: Proceed with caution before turning up the heat on the competition, lest you risk losing out on a dream deal.

2. Haggling over repairs

What if the buyer completes an inspection and comes back with a long list of requested repairs? If sellers get too tough here, they might send a buyer walking.

The sellers should consider how good the overall package is for them before refusing to do repairs, says Lucas Machado, president of House Heroes in Miami. “When the buyer’s offer is high, and the seller tries to negotiate away from legitimate repairs, the buyer may feel the seller is taking advantage of them.”

3. Threatening to put your home back on the market

If negotiations aren’t quite going your way, you might be tempted to call the buyer’s bluff. Hey, if they don’t want to ante up, you can always put your home back on the market and find another eager buyer to squeeze.Right?

Yes, you might find another taker quickly. But beware of this move—it might not go according to plan.

That’s because there’s often a stigma associated with putting a home back on the market, and it might be harder to get buyers to take a second look, says Realtor® Michael Hottman, associate broker at Keller Williams Richmond West in Richmond, VA.

“Exercise caution with this tactic, because real estate markets can change quickly from hot to cold, leaving you without all those buyers you were expecting,” Hottman says. “And the ones who you had initially thought were legitimate prospects may have moved on to other homes in the time between your property originally going under contract and now coming back on the market.”

4. Being stubborn on the closing date

You’ve decided you’re not going to allow the new people to move in until (insert future date) because that’s when the closing date is on your new home. Or, they can’t possibly take possession this spring because your kids are still finishing school.

Guess what? Your buyers have scheduling issues of their own, says John Powell, chief development officer at Help-U-Sell Real Estate in Tucson, AZ.

“Sellers need to understand that they may have to move twice, since buyer and seller schedules seldom work out perfectly.”

5. Getting greedy over what comes with the house

Planning to take your beautiful custom light fixtures with you? Not so fast, Hottman warns. Often, he finds that sellers have expensive fixtures in place to show the home, but plan on taking them when they move. And that can cause trouble at the negotiating table.

The buyer “might have decided to buy the ceiling fan, and the house happens to come with it, or they get so upset that a fixture they fell in love with is now missing that they won’t buy the home,” Hottman says.

Avoid this confusion by replacing anything that won’t be staying with the house before you show it. If that’s not possible, be prepared to leave the prized fixture behind, or negotiate a comparable replacement.

6. Refusing to pay closing costs

So, you’re coming down the home stretch and this deal is almost done. Congratulations! But the buyer asked you to cover their closing costs.

Before you say “no way,” consider it this way: Buyers sometimes roll the amount of those closing costs into their offer. For instance, let’s say your home is listed for $200,000. A buyer might then submit an offer for $204,000, but ask you to cover the $4,000 in closing costs.

“Some sellers will hold firm at the $204,000 offer and refuse to pay the closing costs because they want this higher price the buyer offered,” Hottman says. “Some sellers can’t see the net is nearly identical between a $200,000 offer with no closing costs and $204,000 with $4,000 in seller-paid closing costs, and they miss out.”

A good deal comes down to doing the math, keeping your ego in check, and putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. After all, when you sell your house, you’ll probably be buying one, too.

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Capital-Gains Tax

tax

Examples of capital-gains tax – let’s use this as a marker in case the Trump plan goes through:

Dear Liz: We are in the lowest tax bracket. If we sell a capital gains asset worth several hundred thousand dollars, does that put us in a higher bracket and we pay 20% or do we remain in the lower bracket and pay 15%?

Answer: In the two lowest federal income tax brackets, the capital gains rate is actually zero. For a married couple filing jointly, taxable income below $18,550 in 2016 would put you in the 10% tax bracket, while income between $18,550 and $75,300 would put you in the 15% bracket. Both 10% and 15% income tax brackets pay no federal tax on long-term capital gains.

But capital gains count as income in determining your tax bracket. So a big capital gain can push you into a higher bracket, which means you would pay a higher capital gains rate.

Let’s say your normal taxable income is $75,000. You sell an asset with a $25,000 capital gain. Now you’re in the 25% tax bracket with taxable income between $75,300 and $151,900, which means your long-term capital gains rate will be 15%.

High-income taxpayers – those with taxable income above $466,950 – are in the 39.6 percent federal tax bracket, and pay a 20 percent long-term capital gains rate at the federal level, plus a 3.8% tax (in support of the Affordable Care Act for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes over $250,000 for married couples and $200,000 for singles). The surtax is applied to the lesser of the taxpayer’s net investment income or the amounts over those limits.

It means a taxpayer at the highest federal tax bracket could pay as much as 37.1 percent — 23.8 percent federal plus 13.3 percent state — on a long-term capital gain in California.

There may be ways to alleviate or spread out the tax hit. You could sell losing investments to offset some or all of the gain. Another option for some assets is to sell a portion at a time over several years, or use an installment sale. A tax pro can walk you through your options.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-montalk-20160605-snap-htmlstory.html

Posted by on Oct 22, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links | 12 comments

Reclaimed Wood

From Dwell:

Wood in general is a beautiful, evocative natural material, and when it’s saved from a landfill and reused, it has even more character, history, and sustainability.

Reclaimed wood can be recovered from a wide variety of sources, but it most frequently comes from timber framing and decking used in old barns, factories, and warehouses. Some tell-tale signs of reclaimed wood include nail holes, manufacturer stamps, and markings.

Other unique qualities, like variation and depth of color or unusual patterning, can be a result of it being stored in vessels like wine barrels, beer casks, and other containers. Additionally, reclaimed timber is usually cut from strong, mature trees (unlike the younger, weaker trees used today for lumber), and is less prone to splitting. Because of these aspects, many designers choose to use reclaimed wood rather than virgin timber in their projects.

Here, we take a look at eight different projects that incorporate reclaimed wood in distinct ways:

https://www.dwell.com/article/8-beautiful-home-projects-using-reclaimed-wood-a2e764e1

Here’s where you can find reclaimed wood locally:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2015/12/14/timber/

Posted by on Oct 21, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Price Reductions

It’s the time of year when we see some price adjustments by agents who have tried everything else, to no avail.  But how much do you need to reduce the price to cause a sale?

Ideally, it needs to be enough to cause buyers who have already seen the house to come back – that’s how you know for sure that the new price is working.

But have you noticed that every price reduction is advertised as ‘Huge’?

Price-Reduction Guide:

‘Huge’ = 10% or more reduction in price.

The minimum effective reduction = 5% reduction.

Typical reduction = 1% to 2%.

Fake reduction = moving the value-range goalposts.

Buyers are already thinking of knocking off more than 1% or 2%, and to be effective, a price reduction needs to create some real urgency in the buyers – to make them think that if they don’t react immediately, somebody else might beat them to it.  The 1% or 2% reductions aren’t enough to create any extra urgency, and as a result, are just throwing money away.

In addition, a new, lower list price will be cross-referenced by the buyers with the days-on-market.  They expect at least one decent price reduction per month to keep them interested.

Want it to work?  Lower your price by an amount that makes you cringe!

Posted by on Oct 20, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 1 comment

San Diego Water-Conservation Rebate

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/City-To-Offer-Up-To-17000-Rebate-To-Replace-Lawns–450681053.html

The City of San Diego is offering a lawn rebate, $4,250 for residential owners and $17,000 for commercial owners to replace their grass, in an effort to encourage water conservation.

The City’s Public Utilities Department water customers can receive a rebate by removing their water-thirsty grass and installing water-wise material and efficient irrigation systems.

“This rebate will allow customers to become empowered in their efforts to save money on their water bills,” said Halla Razak, Director of Public Utilities.

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 23, 2017. There are limited funds for the rebate, so applications received within the application submission period will be selected through a lottery process until the funding runs out.

Grass lawns are estimated to use up to 44 gallons of water per sq. ft. per year. Water-wise landscapes can use 70 percent less water, the city said.

To apply, click here. 

Customers can also call 619-533-7485 for more information.

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Tips, Advice & Links | 2 comments

Interactive School Map

A new school map from VOSD – the high schools show the percentage of students who scored above 1500 on the SAT:

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/parents-time-to-choose-a-special-map-of-san-diego-schools/

Last year, when California education officials were finalizing a plan to create a new school accountability system, parents and advocates had one big concern: The system wasn’t being set up to help regular families compare and contrast local schools.

Here’s a sampling of coverage and commentary from 2016:

From Edsource: “Parents on Thursday said they needed a simpler way to compare schools and understand how their schools are doing overall.”

From Innovate Public Schools: “Right now, the system makes it very difficult to compare schools, whether you’re a parent trying to find a school for your child or an elected leader trying to figure out which schools in your community need more help to improve.”

From the Union-Tribune editorial board: “(Gov. Jerry) Brown dismissed (Assemblywoman Shirley) Weber’s bill as “unnecessary” and duplicative of efforts of the State Board of Education, which recently adopted its own vague, confusing system to gauge school performance.”

Our staff was frustrated with the limits of the new system, too.

So we created this interactive map that incorporates the state’s data – along with other publicly available info – and presents it in a way that makes it easier to compare and contrast local schools.

San Diego Unified’s school choice window is currently open. It’s the period of time during which parents can apply to send their kids to a school other than the one that’s closest to them. If you’re a parent, explore the map to get a better sense of what each school offers, so you can feel confident you’re making an informed decision.

Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments