E-Notary……Not Yet

E-notary companies are out there….can we close a sale with one now?

There still needs to be at least one personal interaction with a stranger to be able to finance the purchase of a house in San Diego County, says the boss at First American Title today:

Good morning – sorry, the county recorders are still not accepting a document notarized remotely. The county still requires wet signatures and original notary seal.

Cash buyers wouldn’t need a signature notarized if purchasing as individuals, and not in a trust.

Tips for Working From Home

working-from-home-tips

Here are tips for those who don’t regularly work from home:

Prepare and Get Job-Comfortable

Get ready for work every morning like you are going to physically go into work. Dress up, do your hair — whatever you’d normally do. This puts you in a professional mindset. Try to find yourself a dedicated and comfortable spot to work that you can associate with your job and leave when you’re off the clock — that means get off the couch, and definitely out of bed.

Set Ground Rules With Others

Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. Children need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. Additionally, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you will always do it. If that’s how you choose to divide up the domestic labor, that’s fine, but if you simply take it all on by default because you’re home, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer.

What About The Kids?

If you are working from home with kids in tow, you’ll need to make a plan for education and entertainment. Stock up on books and puzzles. Also, it’s OK to use streaming services (here are good recommendations for kid-appropriate content).

Repurpose Your Commute

A major perk of working from home is ditching the commute. Use this time in the morning for a workout, self-renewal, or family time.

Create Lists And Plan Your Day

Every morning, create a list of what you will deliver by the end of the day. If it’s helpful, scribble these down the night before so you can dive straight into work in the morning.  If you don’t have a physical notepad handy, use the “Google Keep” in G Suite. Keep offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.

Stay Off Social Media

Social media is designed to make it easy for you to open and browse quickly. To counteract your social networks’ ease of use during work hours, remove them from your browser shortcuts or log out of every account. You might even consider working primarily in a private or an incognito browser window. This ensures you stay signed out of all your accounts and each web search you conduct doesn’t autocomplete the word you’re typing.

Phone Calls

We don’t talk on the phone as much these days, and if working from home requires phone calls in place of your regular face-to-face meetings, then warm up first.  Make a couple of less-important calls, or at least talk out loud for a minute before making the most-important calls.  We call it, “getting the marbles out of your mouth”.

Show Your Face

When possible, use video over the standard conference call to help create more interactions and avoid loneliness. Checkout video-conferencing resources such as Zoom, BlueJeans, Skype, or Lifesize. For those unexpectedly working from home who are also trying to reduce face-to-face contact, set up a video call with your colleagues or manager once a week to check in.

Bring The Outdoors In

If you do not have any greens in your designated work from home location, consider adding some indoor plants to create a more inviting and creative space. Plus, they make your home’s air healthier!

Move Around

Don’t get stuck at your computer for long lengths of time – schedule breaks. Walk around the house, or around the block – get some fresh air!

Listen to Music That Inspires

During the week, music is the soundtrack to your career (cheesy, but admit it, it’s true). And at work, the best playlists are diverse playlists — you can listen to music that matches the energy of the project you’re working on. Video game soundtracks are excellent at this. In the game itself, this lyric-free music is designed to help you focus; it only makes sense that it would help you focus on your work as well.

Stay Out of The Kitchen

When you’re in your own home, it can be tempting to spend time preparing a really nice breakfast and lunch for yourself, chopping and cooking included. Don’t use precious minutes making your food the day of work — cook it the night before.  And don’t let the virus be a reason why you add 10-15 pounds!

Where to Move

Would more people leave California if they just knew where to go?

Here are my favorite links to get your research started:

Best Places to Retire – 2020:

https://realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-retire

Best Places to Live 2020:

https://realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-live

Money Magazine, Best Places to Live in the U.S., 2019:

https://money.com/collection/best-places-to-live-2019/

Best 100 Places to Live, 2019:

https://livability.com/best-places/top-100-best-places-to-live/2019

Sunset Magazine, Best Small Towns – 2018:

https://www.sunset.com/travel/travel-tips/best-small-towns-to-live-in

 Charming Small Towns Across America:

http://www.countryliving.com/life/travel/g2294/must-visit-small-towns-across-america/

15 Best Small Towns in California

http://101usa.com/top-15-small-cities-in-california/

Best Towns in California to Raise a Family:

https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-families-in-california/15993/

Widowed Sellers and Taxes

Widowed taxpayers.

If you are a widowed taxpayer who doesn’t meet the 2-year ownership and residence requirements on your own, consider the following rule. If you sell your home within 2 years of the death of your spouse and you haven’t remarried at the time of the sale, then you may include any time when your late spouse owned and lived in the home, even if without you, to meet the ownership and residence requirements.

Also, you may be able to increase your exclusion amount from $250,000 to $500,000. You may take the higher exclusion if you meet all of the following conditions.

  1. You sell your home within 2 years of the death of your spouse;
  2. You haven’t remarried at the time of the sale;
  3. Neither you nor your late spouse took the exclusion on another home sold less than 2 years before the date of the current home sale; and
  4. You meet the 2-year ownership and residence requirements (including your late spouse’s times of ownership and residence if need be).

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p523

Remodel Assistance By Donna

With prices so high now, everyone knows that it’s smart to fully upgrade your house before selling – at least when possible.  But not many sellers do, so buyers get as close as they can and then deal with the rest.  My general rule-of-thumb still applies – expect to spend another $25,000 to $50,000 for upgrading any house you buy!

We are happy to assist our buyers with those upgrades too!

Here are photos of a newer but normal tract house that our buyer thought needed some pizzazz, so Donna coordinated the work before our buyer moved to town.

The TV was on a large, barren wall, and adding an electric fireplace gave it a traditional feel.  But instead of installing it flush, let’s build it out to add some dimension:

This electric appliance kicks out steady heat and has 50+ color combinations!

The kitchen had an off-white antique finish to the cabinets, which looks dirty after a few years. Let’s paint those light gray, change the cabinet pulls, add some modern stools, class up those pendant lights, and install a built-in fridge too:

The master bathroom was base grade:

Let’s ditch the basic wall mirror/medicine cabinet and combo them up instead – with lighting!

How about this new closet by Top Shelf Pull Outs for about $6,500!

Note to self – always take two photos in case someone has their eyes closed!

 

No Mistakes

Remember before the last crash when buyers and sellers were far more cavalier about their real estate decisions?  Why was that?  Because if they needed to move again, there were always a reasonably-priced house down the street or around the corner for sale.

But things sure have changed.

Selling/buying/moving is no longer just something you do casually.  Because of the difficulty, you are probably only going to move if, and when, you decide to make a permanent lifestyle change.

Look at the differences just since this blog has been around:

NSDCC January through September:

Year #Detached-Home Listings Percentage Over $2M Percentage Under $800,000
2005
4,487
19%
28%
2019
3,960
33%
5%

The noteworthy:

There Are Fewer Homes For Sale – In particular, there are fewer high-quality homes for sale that would make it worth it for existing homeowners to move up or down.  In spite of having loads of equity, trying to find a home better than your current home is a major obstacle.

Home Prices Are Higher Than Ever – If you can find a house that suits your needs, the price will be higher than ever.  You have to pay more, qualify for more, and be willing to eat higher recurring costs like property taxes too.

Cost of Moving is High – Gone are the days when you could throw everything you own into a U-haul and move in a day.  Commissions, closing costs, packers & movers, home upgrades, and new furniture will cost you $50,000 to $100,000 or more in any house you buy around the NSDCC.

Competition is Stiff – As a result of the three items above, buyers are very picky and holding out for the highest quality.  Staying on the edge of your seat 24 hours a day can take its toil!

It’s a Market For The Affluent – With only 5% of the NSDCC houses priced under $800,000, it means home buying is only for those who have real horsepower – and regular folks are priced out, unfortunately.

The stakes are high, and making any mistakes now will be very costly.  The worst part is that home prices are moderating (except in Solana Beach), and without an increase in their equity position, those who need to sell shortly after purchasing could incur a substantial hit.

We are in the No-Mistake zone. Get good help!

P.S. The Solana Beach house on Rios that set the all-time non-oceanfront price record in March at $8,250,000 was relisted for $9,750,000…..and it went pending today!

How Will Kids Afford A House?

This new post about millennials and their housing/lifestyle expenses outlined by a Compass realtor in Houston made me think of the budget above which is more applicable to those of us in Socal.

https://notorious-rob.com/2019/10/the-truth-about-millennials-and-housing-with-nicole-lopez/

The takeaway? You should buy a house for each of your kids, just in case they can’t!

The Truth About Millennials and Housing with Nicole Lopez

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