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(760) 434-5000

Carmel Valley
(858) 560-7700
jim@jimklinge.com


Category Archive: ‘Tips, Advice & Links’

Best Seller Tip

What can a home seller do to help make a sale?

Respond to an offer in less than 24 hours.

Here’s what happens if you don’t:

  1. Once a buyer signs a contract, buyer’s remorse starts to set in. If allowed to fester for a day or two, buyers will talk themselves out of buying just because of the anxiety.
  2. There are just enough other new listings coming to market that the buyer’s wandering eye gets distracted easily.
  3. The longer it takes to get an answer, the lower the buyers want to counter.
  4. After about three days of waiting, buyers give up altogether.

On the other hand, when a seller does respond quickly, it gives the buyer the impression that the seller cares, and wants to make a deal.  Buyers respond more favorably to those!

I had buyers make an offer on Monday that was within 4% of the new list price (sellers raised their list price – our offer was $250,000 over their original list) and here we are on Friday with no answer.

In a different case this week, my buyers offered more than twice what the seller paid in 2002, and three days later it wasn’t good enough – the sellers had to have another $10,000.  This is a house that has been on the market for 100 days with no offers.

In both cases, we were sick of waiting around, and even a more favorable response wouldn’t have gone over that well.

Listing agents are notorious for not preparing their sellers on how to respond to offers.  You can predict the chances of a deal coming together purely by how quick the sellers respond.  If they are adequately motivated and the listing agent has their act together, you will get a response within 24 hours.

If not, there probably wasn’t much of a chance of buying it anyway.

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 2 comments

Pets and Real Estate

Animal Owners:

  • Ninety-nine percent of pet owners feel that their animal is part of the family.
  • Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said they would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations.
  • When finding a home, 95 percent of animal owners believe it is important that a housing community allows animals and 81 percent of U.S. households say that animal-related considerations will play a role in deciding on their next living situation.
  • Twelve percent of pet owners have moved to accommodate their animal.
  • According to REALTORS®, 61 percent of buyers who own animals say it’s very difficult or difficult to find a rental property or a home owner association that accommodates animals.

When it comes to selling, 67 percent of Realtors say animals have a moderate to major effect on selling a home. Approximately two-thirds of Realtors say that they advise animal owning sellers to always replace things in the home damaged by an animal, have the home cleaned to remove any animal scents and to take animals out of the home during an open house or showing.

Nearly half of all survey respondents, 52 percent, indicated that they had completed a home renovation project specifically to accommodate their animal. Of those who undertook projects, 23 percent built a fence around their yard, 12 percent added a dog door and 10 percent installed laminate flooring. Ninety-four percent of consumers indicated that they were satisfied with their renovation; 58 percent indicated they have a greater desire to be at home and 62 percent enjoy spending more time at home since completing their renovation.

https://www.nar.realtor/reports/remodeling-impact-animals-in-homes

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, This Is America, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

High-Tech Features for Your Home

You’ve torn out the old carpet and replaced the kitchen cabinets, and your renovation is almost complete. Before you put everything back together, consider including some high-tech features on your list of remodeling must-haves. Adding a few new smart devices is a cinch when you’re in the process of remodeling—why not make a little room in the budget for something that can make your life easier and help cut down on expenses overall?

Here are eight of the coolest smart devices to include in your home remodel.

1. Nest Cam

With its wide range of consumer-friendly smart products, Nest has made a big name for itself in the smart home industry—and this powerful little camera is one of the main reasons why. The Nest Cam records in crystal-clear 1080p resolution and streams 24/7, so you’ll never miss a thing. The Nest Cam Indoor also comes equipped with a speaker and a mic and will alert you if you’re not at home and it detects motion or conspicuous noises.

2. Philips Hue

Philips Hue LED lightbulbs are smart and energy-efficient, allowing you to control the lighting in your home while cutting energy costs. There are 16 million colors and a variety of smart controls to choose from, making your lighting system as subtle or dramatic as you’d like. Sync your lights with movies or music, set the ambience for concentration, or create a gentle morning lighting routine. With the Philips Hue Bridge, you can link up to 50 lights and other accessories, making a completely customizable lighting experience.

3. Vivint Doorbell Camera

Vivint’s sleek Doorbell Camera lets you see who’s at your door no matter where you are. With a 180-degree look at your porch and night-vision capabilities, you always have a clear view. The Vivint Sky app will send you a notification whenever someone rings the bell and allows you to turn the camera on and off and adjust your doorbell chime. You can also lock and unlock the door remotely, and speak to friends and strangers through the doorbell.

4. Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener

The Chamberlain garage door opener connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere. Chamberlain says it’s compatible with any garage door opener made after 1993: the only requirement is that it must include safety sensors at the bottom of the track. And prepare yourself—CNET called it a “smart-home gateway drug.”

5. August Smart Lock

August’s Smart Lock replaces the interior side of your deadbolt (so it doesn’t throw off the look from the outside), granting you the ability to lock and unlock your door with your smartphone. The Smart Lock doesn’t stop there, though. You can create virtual keys for your family and friends, granting them access as well. The August Home app will even auto-lock the door behind you and unlock the door for you as you approach—you don’t have to do a thing.

6. Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest’s Learning Thermostat learns your patterns as you use it—within a week it will adapt to your preferred temperatures and set itself to match your preferences. If you like your home cooler at night and warmer in the morning, for example, the Learning Thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature for you. It will also adjust to an energy-saving mode when you’re not home. The company says it can pay for itself in energy savings after just two years.

7. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

This Energy Star-rated refrigerator does things you never knew you wanted your fridge to do. For starters, every time you close the door, three cameras take pictures of the contents inside. You can then check what’s in your fridge from your phone, so you never have to wonder what you need from the store. If you’d rather not go to the store yourself, you can place an online order using Groceries by Mastercard, one of many included apps accessible right from the touchscreen on the door. You can also sync and display calendars and photos on the screen, leave notes, stream music—even watch TV.

8. Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is a 360-degree Bluetooth speaker featuring Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant. Alexa can stream music, tell you the weather, answer your questions, get traffic updates and sports scores—all the stuff you expect a voice assistant to do. The main reason it’s on this list, though, is that it can connect to a number of smart devices from other manufacturers, allowing you to control your lights, locks and thermostat with your voice.

These eight gadgets can add some serious value to your life and home. If you’re already remodeling, now’s the perfect time to try a few out and get a little taste of the future.

http://blog.rismedia.com/2017/8-high-tech-features-remodel/

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Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links | 4 comments

Tax Tips for Homeowners

Your home is your castle, and it is also a source of tax deductions. Yet, every year, Americans let these potential tax deductions pass by, not realizing how to take advantage of them.

IRS Publication 530, titled “Tax Information for Homeowners“, can fill you in on the deductions that are available to you for the 2016 tax year. Several of the most important tax benefits are listed below.

  • Mortgage Interest – This should be the largest home-related tax deduction that is available to you unless you purchased your home in the 2016 tax year. You can deduct interest payments on either primary or secondary homes, up to the limit of $1 million in collective mortgage debt if married and filing jointly. The limits are $500,000 for single filers or married couples filing separately.

The mortgage interest deduction applies to anything that meets the definition of a basic living space that you own. Condominiums, mobile homes, and even boats are included assuming that they meet the living space definition with at least one sleeping area, a kitchen, and a toilet. Details may be found in IRS Publication 936, “Home Mortgage Interest Deduction.”

  • Points – Any points that you paid at closing to lower the interest rate on your mortgage are deductible. Generally, the deductions must be amortized over the life of the mortgage, but there are circumstances where you may be able to deduct the entire amount of your points paid in the year of purchase. See Publication 530 for details.
  • Property Taxes – You can deduct real estate taxes that are assessed uniformly (no taxes that reflect a special privilege or a service granted to you). Property taxes associated with the purchase of a home may also be deducted.
  • Mortgage Interest Credit – Typically, mortgage interest is taken as a deduction. However, if you have a qualifying low income, you can claim mortgage interest as a credit instead. This subtracts the total directly from your tax bill instead of from your taxable income used to determine your tax bill. To claim this credit, you must have received a qualified Mortgage Credit Certificate from a suitable state or local agency. File Form 8396 along with your tax form to claim your credit.
  • Home Equity Loans – When you borrow against your home equity, either with a loan or a line of credit (HELOC), the interest may be deductible depending on how the loan is used, the amount of the loan, and the value of your home.
  • Forgiven Mortgage Debt – When a bank decides to accept a short sale for less than the value of a home and forgives the rest of the debt, that debt is usually considered as taxable income. In 2007, Congress created the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act to reclassify the forgiven debt as non-taxable income, saving already distressed homeowners from a huge tax burden. After being renewed several times, this tax relief measure expired at the end of 2016 and has not been renewed by Congress. However, the good news is that if you’re in the process of discharging mortgage debt and signed a written agreement with the lender in 2016, you’re still eligible for this tax exemption when you file your 2016 return. What’s no longer covered is any mortgage debt cancelled in 2017 or beyond.

Check the IRS publications and see if any of these valuable deductions apply to you. Take advantage of every tax deduction that you can. Otherwise, the government simply keeps more of your money.

http://www.king5.com/money/consumer/6-tax-breaks-for-homeowners/392496402

Posted by on Jan 28, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Short Sales, Short Selling, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Virtual Furniture

Do you want to add some pizazz to your listing, but don’t want to spend thousands on staging?  This company will add virtual furniture to your photos for $32 each:

http://boxbrownie.com/s/virtual-furniture-us

Buyers who see the virtually-staged photos and then visit the house in person are bound to be disappointed, but maybe they won’t remember?  It’s better than them not visiting at all.

I haven’t tried them yet – let me know how it goes!

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Posted by on Jan 22, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Home Security Tips

From realtormag.com:

http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/safety/article/2016/12/10-anti-burglary-tips-for-your-sellers

We spend a lot of time telling sellers how we’ll market their home, and while that is obviously important, we rarely address their true concern: how to keep their home safe while it’s open to the public.

Here are 10 anti-burglary tips:

  • Maintain your property. Especially in the wintertime, many people stay indoors and neglect issues such as peeling trim or an overgrown yard. But if the home looks unkempt, thieves may think it’s abandoned and, therefore, an easy target. Shoveling your walkways to clear them of snow and debris and removing holiday decorations and fallen tree branches in a timely manner will signal that the home is occupied.
  • Know your neighbors. Many people don’t really know their neighbors; it’s more than just saying hi and being friendly. Invite them over to see your home before it goes on the market, and introduce them to the people they may see regularly stopping by during this time (especially your agent). Then they’ll know who is and isn’t supposed to be at your home and can better assess when there may be a threat while you’re gone.
  • Assess your home’s vulnerability. Walk to the curb and face your house. Ask yourself, “How would I get in if I were locked out?” The first thing you think of, whether it’s the window with a broken lock or the door that won’t shut all the way, is exactly how a thief will get in. Think like a burglar, and then address the issues that come to mind.
  • Respect the power of lighting. Criminals are cowards, and they don’t want to be seen. The house that is well-lit at night provides a deterrent because thieves don’t want the attention and the potential to be caught by witnesses. It’s wise to invest in tools that make nighttime light automation easy. That includes dusk-to-dawn adapters that go into existing light fixtures and motion detectors. But beware of leaving your exterior lights on at all times, which signifies the occupant is gone for an extended period of time.
  • Use technology to make your home look occupied. In addition to lighting, smart-home technology has made it easier to make it appear like people are home, even when they’re not. Systems that remotely control lighting, music, and appliances such as a thermostat can help you achieve this. Though not considered smart-home tech, simple lamp timing devices available at hardware stores are also good for this purpose.
  • Yes, it has to be said: Lock your doors. It’s amazing how many people think they live in a safe-enough neighborhood not to have to lock their doors when they leave. Some facts sellers should know: In 30 percent of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an unlocked door or window; 34 percent of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22 percent use the back door, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
  • Reinforce your locks. A good door lock is nothing without a solid frame. Invest in a solid door jam and strike plate first, and then invest in good locks. Know the difference between a single-cylinder and a double-cylinder deadbolt. Double-cylinder deadbolts are recommended because they require a key to get in and out. For safety and emergency escape purposes, you must leave the key in when you are home. But double-cylinder locks are against regulations in some places, so check with your local police department’s crime prevention office.
  • Blare the sirens. Burglars are usually in and out in less than five minutes, and they know police can’t respond to an alarm that quickly. Their bigger concern is witnesses to their crime. For that reason, an external siren is invaluable, whether as part of a monitored security system or a DIY alarm. Even if you don’t have an alarm, it’s not a bad idea to invest in fake security signs and post them near doors.
  • Consider surveillance cameras. The Los Angeles Police Department started a program encouraging homeowners to install a device called Ring, a doorbell with video surveillance capability that allows homeowners to view what’s outside their door on their smartphone, in a neighborhood that was a target for burglaries. After Ring was installed in hundreds of homes, the burglary rate dropped by 55 percent, according to reports. Most state and local regulations require posting a warning that people are being recorded. (But again, this can be effective even if you don’t actually have the cameras installed!)
  • Mark your valuables and record details. Use invisible-ink pens or engravers to mark identifying information (driver’s license or state ID numbers) on items. Log serial numbers and take photos of your belongings. Check to see if your police department participates in the Operation Identification program. They will have stickers for you to place on doors or windows warning would-be thieves that your items are marked. These steps may prevent them from pawning or selling stolen items and can help you reclaim recovered belongings.

Posted by on Jan 12, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links | 3 comments

Watch the Dogs

How do you know if the market conditions are improving? There are the regular indicators to watch to judge whether market momentum is building:

General Market Indicators

Number of Sales is steady or rising.

Pricing is steady or rising.

Average Days on Market is low and dropping.

Months of inventory is tight and dropping (currently 3.0 in NSDCC)

Mortgage rates aren’t jumpy.

Bidding Wars.

The professor says so.

But those are mostly feel-good stats and known well after the fact.  How can we know which way the market is breaking in real time?

You can expect the well-kept, beautifully staged homes to sell, and most anything with an attractive price should go quickly too.  Those with a recent tune-up will be more popular, and having a hot-ticket item will help – great location, one-story, newer, top schools, culdesac, beachy, and walkable.

The best tell-tale signs of market momentum is how the inferior homes do. Make a note when you see a house in this category, and if a few of these go pending around you, then you know the market is starting to cook:

Homes in bad locations.

Houses with long market times (90+ days)

Houses in original condition.

Anti-staging – a house full of old furniture.

Funky floor plans.

Tough listing agent

A house listed for a price you think is ridiculous.

Wait until the sale is closed to confirm the actual sales price before jumping to any radical conclusions – maybe the sellers had to give one away.  Besides, it might only mean that a few weak, anxious buyers dived in too high, too soon, and their agents didn’t stop them.

If you see inferior homes starting to pile up – especially those who lowered their price with no luck – then you know the buyers are winning.  When you see a series of inferior homes sell for retail or close, then you can expect the sellers’ confidence to be brimming, and momentum on their side.

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Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, One-Story, Tips, Advice & Links | 2 comments

Getting Your House Ready to Sell

Great tips on improving your house to sell:

1. Boost curb appeal. This is something you always hear, and with very good reason. Many people thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:

  • Power wash siding and walkways
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers
  • Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
  • Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
  • Wash front windows
  • Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed

Read full article here:

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/07/29/21-staging-tips-for-selling-your-home-fast/

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Staging, Tips, Advice & Links | 5 comments

Homebuyer Turnoffs

smoke

Rarely do I smell cigarette smoke in houses for sale any more. H/T daytrip!

http://theweek.com/articles/659711/how-quitting-smoking-help-sell-home

Have you ever been touring a home as a potential buyer and known within a few minutes that the house was not for you? Something left a poor impression on you that nothing else about the house could overcome. Think about that experience when you are on the other end of the transaction, preparing to sell your house.

It can be hard to spot the weak points in your own home, so let this list of top buyer turnoffs help you realistically assess your home before you list it for sale.

Consider these turnoffs from a buyer’s point of view:

  • Dirt/mold — Many homebuyer turnoffs are a matter of taste, but absolutely no one gets a positive impression from a dirty or moldy house. Stained or moldy grout, unclean bathroom and kitchen fixtures, dirty walls and windows, musty/moldy basements and filthy floors all leave a terrible impression. Either give the house a thorough cleaning yourself, or pay somebody to do it professionally.
  • Pests — Similar to a dirty home, evidence of bugs or mice is an instant no-sale. Call an exterminator if you need one.
  • Odors — Smoking is listed as a top turnoff, because smoking odors are pervasive and very difficult to remove without professional help. Pet odors are a close second. It is very difficult to evaluate the odors in your own house objectively, so ask a friend for help (one who can give you the unvarnished truth). If you need to have the walls professionally cleaned and/or rip out carpet to get rid of the odors, do it. During the showing periods, you will need to refrain from smoking in the house and should consider relocating your pets for a short time… especially if they smoke.
  • Clutter/personal items — Buyers want to envision how they fit into the house and don’t need the distraction of your items, or the impression that the house is too small due to the evident clutter. Remove all unnecessary items before showing.
    This includes you. Nobody wants you hanging over their shoulder as they assess your house. Let the real estate agent do the work.
  • Outdated appliances — Any regular viewer of HGTV knows that buyers frequently reject million-dollar homes with outdated appliances, even if they could easily replace the appliances for the money they could save on the house. Buyers often can’t see past the aesthetics of the existing appliances. It may not make economic sense for you to replace appliances on a house you intend to sell, but for a higher-end home, it may make the difference. If you do replace appliances, stay generic but aesthetically pleasing. The homeowners are likely to replace it anyway, but they still need the initial positive impression to buy the home in the first place.
  • Outdated decor — Wallpaper, popcorn ceilings, shag carpet, or carpet over hardwood all tend to reduce appeal. As with appliances, these may or may not be worth changing prior to listing. If you don’t, be prepared for a lower price as buyers price in a renovation.
  • Bad landscaping — Make the best first impression possible by keeping the yard mowed, weeds pulled, and sidewalks edged. Fix any issues such as dirty or damaged brick and siding, peeling paint, or bent gutters. A daily spider web check is not a bad idea either (see pests).
  • Dim lighting — Dimly lit areas are not appealing. Open the blinds and deal with any poorly lit areas as best you can with floor lamps or other temporary lighting.
  • Specialized/converted rooms — Is your garage converted into a mancave? Has a spare bedroom been converted into a shrine to collectible plates or a likeness of Fenway Park? Any specialized rooms will have appeal to an extremely narrow group of potential buyers (and perhaps no buyers), but will be considered a conversion headache for most. Strip it down as much as possible to leave it as an empty template for the prospective buyer.

Who knows — perhaps after you do all this work, you may decide to keep your house! At the very least, you will have improved the likelihood of selling your house and reaping the rewards of your foresight and hard work.

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Posted by on Nov 12, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 1 comment