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Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

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How's The Housing Market Right Now?

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Cathie Ericson

Yeehaw, the latest home-buying season is now in full swing! And if you're hoping to buy a house soon, listen up: The real estate market changes on a dime, so if you want to succeed in today's environment, you'll want to take its temperature and act accordingly.

And buyers are in luck: By and large, this year's home-buying season is a far better bet for buyers than in the past. So if you're craving some intel on what to expect—and how to use this to your advantage—here's the info you need to confidently buy a house right now.

The strong seller's market is on the wane

In the recent past, you weren’t altogether wrong if it seemed like buyers were offering their firstborn child in order for their offer to get a fair look—and often for houses that you would have snubbed in less-sizzling markets. But now it’s OK to breathe—and even sleep on it.

As inventory begins to rise, the strong seller's market that characterized last season's home-buying season is fading fast. In fact, many say we’re back into what can be considered more of a buyer’s market, where the seller doesn’t hold all the cards, says Brad Cox, a real estate agent at the Vesta Group of Long & Foster Real Estate, in Lutherville, MD. That means you’re going to have some wiggle room to negotiate.

“While you still want to prepare a competitive offer, your time window is likely to expand—meaning you can think it over before rushing in with an offer," Cox says. "And you aren’t going to have to include some of the riskier elements, such as waiving financing or inspection contingencies, that were a hallmark of past years."

But what you face still varies by the Big L

You’ve heard the adage "location, location, location," but it will definitely be a huge factor in 2019's home-buying season, Cox says. Because while bidding wars are out in most markets, real estate is still very neighborhood-driven.

“While you might see a softening market in some areas, others may still be in a strong seller’s market," he explains.

He says the key metric to look for is “days on market,” which means how long a property has been waiting to sell. If you’re hoping to buy in an area where days on market are staying low, you’ll have to be prepared to act a little faster. But in areas where this number has started creeping up, you might be able to look around a little more.

For an accurate pricing picture, look only at the latest comps

Both buyers and sellers rely on comparables, aka comps, when determining a fair price. But that can get tricky as the market starts to turn, because sellers might be remembering a months-ago heyday and pricing accordingly.

“Buyers should only consider the most recent comps, which means the last three months, because that is the most accurate reflection of where the market is,” says agent Jed Lewin of Triplemint in New York City.

But don’t forget that it’s still very easy to insult a seller

Yes, the house might have been on the market a few more days than it would have been last year and the comps might be sliding, but that doesn’t mean you can expect that anything goes when you’re buying a home in 2019.

“I am seeing far more buyers starting to make very aggressive lowball offers in an attempt to test sellers’ appetites, even if they’re totally serious about a given property,” says Lucas Callejas, an agent at Triplemint. But in places where the market is still warm, that can turn sellers off—and turn their attention to the next offer that comes along instead of yours.

You may be able to get a better interest rate than you think

One of the big stories of 2018 was rising mortgage interest rates—but while they ticked up precipitously by the end of last year, they’ve fallen a bit again, so you could be in a good spot, says Beatrice de Jong, director of residential sales at Open Listings, in Los Angeles.

Bottom line: Now is the time to lock in a great rate, since today’s appealing numbers might not last long.

“Interest rates are predicted to rise in 2019 and 2020, so buyers would be wise to shop for and lock in their interest rate as soon as possible,” de Jong says.

Increasing rates can make a huge difference, she points out, noting that the difference between a 5% interest rate and 5.5% interest rate is $93 a month on a $300,000 mortgage loan, which can easily derail a buyer’s budget.

So even if you are trying to improve your credit or save a few more bucks for the down payment, you might be better off just wading in and locking in the rate, says Jason Lerner, vice president and area development manager for George Mason Mortgage, in Lutherville, MD.

“You might work for three months to burnish your credit, and then find that the rate has risen so much that it doesn’t make a difference,” he adds.

Your credit score might be better than you thought

Two recent developments in credit scoring may help would-be buyers: One is the new UltraFICO, which takes into account how you manage your checking, savings, and money market accounts, in addition to your credit cards and consumer loans. And the second is Experian Boost, which adds your utility and cellphone bills into the mix.

But even if you have a stellar record in all those areas, there’s no guarantee these will be your golden ticket, cautions Lerner. That’s because it’s still early days for these initiatives: UltraFICO is currently available only in a pilot phase in certain areas, and Experian has yet to launch the booster product, although it is taking sign-ups. But as these products become more widely available throughout the year, home buyers may reap the benefits.

“A difference in 10 or 20 points to your credit score can make a difference between approval or denial—and can lower your rate, which can save thousands over the life of a mortgage,” Lerner points out. He also predicts that requirements will loosen a bit in 2019: “You might not think your credit is good enough for a mortgage, but it’s worth talking to a lender to see if there is a program out there that can help.”

Photo by PhotoMix Ltd on Pexels.com

Burglars Begone

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Save The Sale

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Remodeling Regret

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Market Report: San Mateo County Real Estate Report

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Here is an updated Market Report summarizing recent real estate activity. Please keep in mind that the values represented are based on current, detailed information from the regional Multiple Listing Service. If you need clarification on any of the figures or if you wish to take additional steps toward property ownership, please let us know. We are happy to help you.

 

The Homeownership Dream

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

The Stress Of Surprise Repairs

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Get Your Home Ready for the Spring Market

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

If you’re planning to put your home on the market during the busy spring selling season, you’ll have plenty of company. Here are a few things you can do to make your home stand out from the crowd, appeal to more buyers and sell quickly.

Clear the clutter. Do you have a closet or two where you stuff rarely used items, or a room that’s hard to navigate because it’s packed with furniture? Take some time and clean things out to make your storage seem more expansive and your rooms look more spacious. To help potential buyers focus on your home instead of clutter, go through each room and decide which items to keep, donate, sell or toss.

Depersonalize. Buying a home is an emotional experience and prospective buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in yours. That’s hard for them to do if your walls, dressers, shelves and tables are covered with family photos, sports memorabilia and personal knickknacks. Removing these items will help buyers envision your space becoming theirs.

Make improvements. Let’s face it, every home has room for improvement. So, go through yours and think about what minor repairs and changes – such as replacing caulk or grout in bathrooms, updating old ceiling fans and light fixtures or changing doorknobs and switch plates – could make a big difference.

Time to clean. A sparkling clean home will give potential buyers the impression your house is well taken care of. That means deep-cleaning from top to bottom, including windows, window treatments, ceiling fans, countertops, cabinets, appliances, faucets, carpets and floors.

Repaint in neutral colors. While you may love bold, bright colors or be perfectly fine with builder-grade white or beige walls, they will turn off some buyers. To appeal to a broader audience, repaint your walls in warm neutral shades.

Focus on the exterior. Many people drive by a home and decide in seconds whether it’s worth seeing the inside. That’s why it’s so important to make your home’s exterior enticing. Here are a few simple ways to boost curb appeal: touch up paint or repaint if needed; pressure-wash the driveway, front walk and patios; clean out gutters; trim trees and shrubs; weed and freshen mulch and plant new flowers.

If you are considering listing your property this spring, contact a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage independent agent today or visit ColdwellBankerHomes.com. A Coldwell Banker® affiliated agent can provide guidance and advice as you prepare to sell your home.

5 Home Remodeling Projects With Top-Dollar Returns

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Your home is in the perfect location, came at the perfect price, with the perfect lot. (Yay southern exposure!)

But the home itself? Perfect isn’t the adjective you’d use. But you knew that moving in, and now you’re ready to start making it just right.

But where to begin? How about with data? Data is that friend who tells you like it really is.

Because while any home improvement that brings you joy is priceless, not all add as much home equity as you might expect.

The “Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has tons of data on how much improvements cost — and how much of those costs you can recoup.

Here are the best seven home remodeling projects with equity-building might:

#1 New Roof

If you find yourself sprinting for the buckets when it starts to sprinkle, getting a new roof should be your No. 1 to-do. Measuring rainfall from the indoors isn’t cool.

The cost: $7,500

The return: 109% at $8,150

Considering it’s what’s between you and the elements, it’s a no-brainer.

Not sure if you need a new roof? Signs you might include:

  • Shingles are missing, curling up, or covered in moss.
  • Gritty bits from the asphalt shingles are coming out the downspout.
  • The sun’s shining through your attic.
  • You notice stains on ceilings and walls.
  • Your energy bill is sky high.

#2 Hardwood Floors

You flip on the TV to see that your fav home reno-ing duo is it at again, flipping a ranch that’s stuck in the ‘80s.

They make it to the living room, pull back the dingy carpet to reveal hardwood floors in great condition. They’re psyched — and for good reason.

Hardwood floors are a timeless classic. Refinishing is a no-brainer. Neither will you regret adding new hardwood floors if you have none.

The cost to refinish: $2,500

The return: 100% at $2,500

The cost to buy new: $5,500

The return: 91% at $5,000

#3 New Garage Door

No surprise that a garage door replacement project made it onto this #winning list — a new garage door provides a big boost for your home’s curb appeal at a relatively modest cost.

The cost: $2,300 (for a two-door)

The return: 87% at $2,000

There are options galore, too. A host of factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel, and glass window insets are just some of the possibilities that’ll give your doors bankable personality.

#4 Better Insulation

Insulation is tucked out of sight, so it’s often out of mind — that is, until you’re forced to wear your parka indoors because it’s sooo darn cold.

The cost: $2,100

The return: 76% at $1,600 (plus the added savings on heating and cooling costs!)

#5 New Siding

In any color! And never paint again.

Those are two of the three benefits of vinyl siding. The third, of course, is your home’s value.

But if long-time homeowners look at you funny when you mention vinyl siding, just tell them that today’s vinyl is way better than what they remember because of fade-resistant finishes and transferable lifetime warranties.

The cost: $13,350

The return: 75% at $10,000

Want fiber-cement siding instead? It also shows a strong payback of 83%. Although it’s the pricier option — you’ll spend about $18,000 with a payback of about $15,000 — it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

And quality matters. In a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “quality” was the one of the most important traits that home.

Photo by Alturas Homes on Pexels

 

Market Report: San Mateo County Real Estate Report

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Here is an updated Market Report summarizing recent real estate activity. Please keep in mind that the values represented are based on current, detailed information from the regional Multiple Listing Service. If you need clarification on any of the figures or if you wish to take additional steps toward property ownership, please let us know. We are happy to help you.

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 414

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The Rain Team
CA# 01169588 | CA# 01125976 | CA# 01908304
248 Main Street, Suite 200
Half Moon Bay CA 94019
Michael: 650-888-6361
Kathy: 650-888-6903
Fax: 866-396-0207

Kathy and Michael Rain of Coldwell Banker provides real estate services in the San Mateo County, California area including the surrounding communities: El Granda, Half Moon Bay, Montara, Moss Beach, Pacifica and San Mateo. Search for homes in San Mateo County. We list and sell residential real estate, investment properties, vacant land, lots for sale in the San Mateo County, California area.

Licensed in the State of California

Kathy Rain - CA BRE# 01169588 | Michael Rain - CA BRE# 01125976 | Coldwell Banker - CA BRE# 01908304  

Email: therainteam@coastal-realestate.com
Cell Phone: (650) 888-6903 * Direct Phone: (650) 712-0411
San Mateo County Real Estate and Homes for Sale

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