Why Hire a Buyer’s Agent?

Why hire a Buyer’s Agent

why hire a buyer's agent, buying a home, 1st time home buyer, real estate professional, buyer's agent,relocation, vacation homes

Hiring an agent can make the biggest difference on your chances to buy a home. Home buying is a serious business, as a 1st time buyer or seasoned buyer, relocating or buying a vacation home, a reliable buyer’s agent will work in your favor, protecting your interests and making sure your home dreams does not become a home nightmare. If you are ready to house hunt be aware: It’s a jungle out there: Prepare for a flurry of paperwork, stampedes of buyers competing for the same digs, and other challenges before you get your hands on those house keys.

 

We won’t lie: The process can be complex and stressful—which is why having a pro by your side can make all the difference. You might have heard of buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, listing agents, and so on. You’re a buyer, so what is a buyer’s agent? True to their name, buyer’s agents assist home buyers every step of the way; they can also save you tons of time and money on the road to home ownership.

 

We will guess that since you are serious and ready to buy, you’ve probably spent the last few years of your life working hard and sacrificing so you can save up and achieve “The American Dream”.

 

Buying a home is a huge milestone in every person’s life. A home is more than just a place to find shelter and safety from the elements. It is an investment that can potentially pay out large returns in the future. Thus, it is an investment decision where you should seek out valuable advice. That is just one reason why you should hire a Buyer’s Agent to represent your interests. So why hire a Bueyr’s agent?

 

A Buyer’s Agent is a licensed real estate agent professional who represents the buyer in a real estate transaction. Whether you are a first- time home buyer or not, hiring a Buyer’s Agent will always be a smart decision when it comes to real estate property investment. A Buyer’s Agent specializes in making sure buyers find the home they’re looking for and catering contracts to legally protect home buyers’ interests. Unlike a listing agent, a buyer’s agent’s first priority is making sure that you, as the buyer, get the best deal for the best home.

It is a common belief that using the listing agent will assure the buyers a “better deal” when buying a home. A common way tho enter a dual agency situation is if you visit an open house before you’ve have decided to have an agent to represent you as a buyer, then express to the listing agent, interest in the house and are told by the agent for the sellers that writing an offer will be no problem.

 

Before entering into any of these types of dual agency agreements, however, Buyer’s need to understand the legal implications and how it might affect your ability to get the best possible deal in buying a home.

 

Generally, a seller’s goal is to get the highest possible price for a property, whereas a buyer’s goal is to pay the lowest possible price. How, then, can a dual agent properly represent the competing interests of both a buyer and a seller?

 

An agent for the seller is supposed to obtain the highest and best price for the seller. An agent for the buyer is supposed to obtain the lowest and most competitive price for the buyer. When an agent owes a duty of loyalty to two parties who have opposite, competing interests, the agent may have difficulty advancing the interests of either party, or worse, end up choosing the interests of one party over another.

 

While a Buyer’s Agent can be expected to advise you whether the listing price is reasonable, whereas the dual agent (listing agent), who originally worked with the seller to establish the listing price, will be more likely the defend the listing price.

 

Dual agents do not (or should not) share the other party’s confidential information. You might think that it’s a great idea to work with the listing agent because you may find out things like how low a seller is willing to sell for, or what would motivate the seller to accept a lower price. However, under California law, a dual agent may not disclose to the buyer that the seller will accept an offer for less than the listing price, unless the seller specifically agrees to this disclosure.

 

A dual agent who is receiving both the buyer’s and seller’s agency commission may be over-incentivized to close the deal no matter what it takes. This could create ethical (and legal) issues where an agent may be tempted to not disclose a relevant fact for fear of ruining the deal, and losing out on a large, double commission, potentially creating issues for both buyers and sellers.

 

Another point to remember is that Dual agency reduces your legal options if a problem arises. If you need to file a lawsuit, and you used a dual agent, you have only one broker’s office to sue, and thus only one broker’s insurance company that will step in and assist in paying any damages

 

So, now that have a better understanding that working with the seller or directly with the listing agent will give the buyer’s a deal might really not be such a great idea, let’s focus on what your Buyer’s Agent can do for you.

 

Here are 10 reasons why you should hire a buyer’s agent.

 

1. IT’S FREE

As the buyer, you will not have to pay your agent’s commission. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay both the listing agent and buyer’s agent a commission. This is agreed upon signature of the Listing Contract before the house becomes available for sale. Dealing directly with the listing agent, while may lead you to believe you will get a ‘discount’, only means that either the agent will be making a larger commission or the seller will pay a little smaller commission and make more money on the sale, not that you (The BUYER) will be getting a ‘deal’. Basically, you have the opportunity for free representation. Take advantage of it.

 

2. CONSULT ON THE PROPERTY MARKET

Many first- time buyers rely on the Internet for information. While there is a wealth of information available on the Internet, not all of these are reliable.Some of the information you come across could be outdated. Second, with today’s easy access to the internet, there are many cyber-scams praying and taking advantages of uninformed or inexperienced buyers and sellers. Third, while reaching out to the listing agent identified on the website sounds like a good idea, remember that you will be consulting with a person who represents the seller and the listing agent has the sellers best interests at heart, their job is bring the most possible money to their employer – “The Seller” not to you – “The Buyer”.

 

3. HELP YOU UNDERSTAND FINANCING OPTIONS

 

Finding the best mortgage for your situation is the key to being a successful homeowner. It could mean the difference between being able to afford your mortgage payments and finding yourself underwater or foreclosed. Your Buyer’s Agent will be able to help you find a great lender.

 

4. PROVIDE YOU WITH LISTINGS TO MEET YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS

One of the first things a Buyer’s Agent do is to sit down with you, listen, learn and work on identifying your wants and needs in a home or a neighborhood. Be very specific with your Buyer’s Agent. Make your Buyer Agent aware of all that you are l9ooking in a house: how many rooms you want, the size of the garage, the number baths, the availability of a garden and other details on your prospective home and neighborhood are important to you and your family. An experienced Buyer’s Agent will provide you with listings on homes and neighborhoods that meet your wants and needs. He or she will also schedule the site visits and appointments at your convenience. A Buyer’s Agent can even arrange for transportation and prepare an itinerary so you can visit as many houses as time would allow. If the houses and neighborhoods shall prove to be beyond the limit of your budget, your Buyer’s Agent will sit down with you and reassess the situation. The idea is to arrive at a compromise so you can have a home that would meet most of your wants and still stay within the budget.

 

5. KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN HOMES

Buyer’s agent regularly helps buyers find homes therefore, he or she will have an experienced eye when attending walk-throughs. Tell-tale signs of damage or modifications will stand out to buyer’s agent and he or she will pass that information to you. Armed with what the buyer’s agent’s trained eye has noticed, you’ll be able to make an informed choice.

 

6. MARKET KNOWLEDGE

A buyer’s agent will know how much the homes you are looking for should cost. They will have experiencing putting together a CMA, or comparative market analysis, so you can also know how the market is behaving. Remember, a buyer’s agent can be expected to advise you whether the listing price is reasonable, while the listing agent, who originally worked with the seller to establish the listing price, will be more likely the defend and justify their listing price.

 

7. LOCAL LISTING AGENT CONTACTS

The best way to get the best deal on a house is to know about it before it hits the market. Buyer’s agents use their network of listing agents to locate homes that match your needs. Some will also be able to draw from their company’s research tools. We have access to a properties that are not yet listed in the multiple listing service (MLS).

 

8. EMOTIONAL FILTER

Buying a home is an understandably emotional time. Having an agent who is not emotionally attached to the purchase will ensure you have a voice of reason when you fall in love with a home’s layout and don’t notice a decaying roof. Your buyer’s agent will also help you make sure you find the home you need instead of getting side tracked by wants.

 

9. ASSIST YOU IN THE BUYING PROCESS

Entering into a real estate contract is legally binding and not to be taken lightly. The buying process in real estate can be tedious and confusing at times. There are documents to be submitted, fees, payments to be discussed and dates to be honored.

 

A buyer’s agent has written and reviewed purchase agreements before. He or she will make sure that it includes contingencies in the right places to allow you to walk away from the contract to purchase if you are not satisfied. You also have to be certain that you will be getting your money’s worth on the house you intend to purchase. It may look good outside and inside and the owner could appear condescending but that doesn’t mean the house is everything that it seems to be.

 

A Buyer’s Agent has the experience and contacts to make sure you will get what you plan to pay for. He or she can arrange for the house to be inspected by a licensed inspector and other professionals as needed. The findings of the professionals including recommended repairs and improvements should be factored in the cost of buying the house. At the very least, these repairs and improvements should be negotiated with the home owner.

 

10. PROFESSIONAL NEGOTIATION

 

Regardless of your price point, negotiation is going to factor into buying a home. Since most homes are listed with a listing agent experienced in negotiating, you want to make sure your financial interests are equally represented in the negotiations. Aside from straightforward negotiations, buyer’s agents employ certain acquired skills over time like offering or receiving concessions to make sure you come out ahead or happy, depending on the current market’s behavior.

 

Negotiations in the sale of a property can be difficult. There are many parties whose respective interests are at stake. These parties include the seller, the listing agent, you and your Buyer’s Agent. He or she knows how to maneuver through the negotiations so you can be in the best position to get the best price the market allows. A reputable and trusted Buyer’s Agent will also advice you if the final offer price is worth taking or is best left at the negotiation table. A reliable and trustworthy Buyer’s Agent must be not just be willing but ready to advise you to walk away if turns out that the property you have chosen turns out not to be one that will work in your best interest.

Conclusion

While becoming a homeowner is an exciting life step, and one you should prepare for, making an oversight anywhere in the buying process could cost you more than a new car. While most homes have a listing agent (Dual Agent) that will help you through the home buying process, their first priority is the home seller. To make sure that your interests are protected, hire a buyer’s agent to represent you.

 

Protecting yourself against any unseen problems with your future home and to make sure you get the best deal on the best house is top priority for the buyer’s agent you hire. Interview a couple of them and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t make the mistake of entering into a contract without a professional to guide you through the nuances.

 

Contact us to learn how we can be your personal guide or reach out and we’ll match you with a top agent in your neighborhood (Nationally and Internationally). Cell: 714-698-9655 or email Noemic@sevengables.com


Posted on February 5, 2017 at 2:53 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Buyer's Advice, Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , ,

The Bistro

A French Menu That Won’t Get Lost in Translation

RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARISTA BENNETT

french

A French Menu That Won’t Get Lost in Translation

Traditional French cuisine is earthy, flavorful, and fairly simple to prepare. It can also be quite hearty, which is perfect when you’re faced with a holiday table full of hungry diners. For this menu, I’ve taken a few classic French recipes and given them a bit of a twist. The Mini Croque Monsieur aren’t grilled, but rather placed in a baking dish and heated in the oven for ease of preparation. Salad Lyonnaise gets a contemporary addition of baby spinach.

Click on the link below to get great recipes: http://article.homebydesign.com/pages/article/HBD_DEC_16_03/97637/index.html


Posted on December 17, 2016 at 4:50 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Just for fun | Tagged , , ,

Look for the Fed to hike interest rates this week and to ignore the elephant in the room

By GREGROBB – SENIOR ECONOMICS REPORTER

Getty Images

Federal Reserve Bank Chairwoman Janet Yellen will hold a news conference Wednesday.

You can expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this week, but look for it to shy away from the bigger question looming for financial markets: How does the shock outcome of the presidential election change the economic landscape?

The Fed is widely expected to announce an increase in the target range for its federal funds rate to between 0.5% and 0.75% when its two-day meeting wraps up Wednesday, analysts agree. It will be the first increase of 2016, a year once expected to produce at least a couple of rate adjustments. The stock SPX, +0.65% and bond markets TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.22% have a quarter-point move baked in the cake.

At the same time, Fed officials are expected to duck questions about how the incoming Trump administration’s plans for fiscal, trade and regulatory policies will impact the economy and the central bank’s policy outlook.

“I would expect them to keep as low a profile as humanly possible,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist for Standish Mellon in Boston. “They don’t want to be seen as influencing policy, either as cheerleader or expressing doubts.”

The Fed has already exhibited a preference for staying out of presidential politics. It included no mention of the election in the minutes of its September or November meetings, Reinhart noted.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen wants to avoid the recent experience of Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney, who came under fire from Brexit supporters for comments he made during, and after, the referendum campaign that ultimately ended with a vote for the U.K. to split with the European Union.

And the Fed doesn’t want to whip up Republicans in the House and Senate who are eager to clip the central bank’s wings, analysts said.

Fed officials are not likely to change their economic forecasts or their projections for interest rates over the next three years, economists said. At the moment, the central bank is penciling in two rate hikes in 2017, followed by three rate hikes each in 2018 and 2019. Markets scan the Fed’s “dot plot” to extract a snapshot of Fed thinking on economic and policy projections.

Any forecasts beyond mid-2017 will be basically ignored by the market, analysts say. By the middle of the year, the Trump administration could have put its initial stamp on the central bank, filling the existing two vacancies on the seven-member Fed board of governors.

At the moment, the market does not expect another rate hike until June.

But there are growing expectations that higher interest rates may be needed, perhaps sooner. Bond yields and the dollar DXY, -0.03% have risen in the wake of the election in part due to expectations of a more active Fed.

Congress is expected to press ahead with tax cuts next year, and rate hikes could be needed to keep this stimulus from becoming inflationary.

“The market reflects optimism about the future for economic growth, but the Fed is going to be overly cautious of latching on to that reality,” said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies in New York.

For Yellen, the end of her tenure at the Fed is only 14 months away. Republican insiders think it is highly unlikely Trump would offer Yellen another term at the helm of the central bank.

Analysts think Yellen won’t leave early and will follow her policy instincts until the end.

“She’s got a pretty stiff spine. She’ll stand up to any tweets or commentary,” said Kevin Logan, chief economist at HSBC Global Research.

With two hikes foreseen next year, the Fed is likely to space them out from June to December, Logan said. “The general plan is to gradually move the rate up as appropriate, given the data they are faced with,” he said.

 


Posted on December 14, 2016 at 1:10 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Buyer's Advice, Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , ,

Does Your Home Have Lead Paint? How to Find Out

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Of all the things you have to worry about when you’re buying a home, paint really shouldn’t be one of them. The problem is, if you’re looking at an older home, the topic can shift quickly from “Why did they choose that color?” to “Welcome to the danger zone”— all due to the existence of lead paint.

Lead was a popular ingredient in house paint for years before scientists discovered that this element—if eaten or inhaled as dust in the air—could cause a wide range of health problems, from anemia to seizures to death, particularly in children.

Bottom line: This is not something you want hanging around a home once you move in. Thankfully, there are ways to check for lead paint and get rid of it.

Which homes have lead paint?

The federal government banned the sale of lead-based paint in 1978, giving many people the impression that a house built after that time is free and clear. But that is not always the case.

“Many painters loved lead-based paint,” says Welmoed Sisson, a Maryland-based home inspector with Inspections by Bob. It tends to be glossier, more lustrous, and it holds color better. “Once they learned the ban was going into effect, many of them stocked up on a cache of lead-based paint.”

And since the government made it illegal only to manufacture and buy the paint, using what you already had was a gray area that lasted for years. “I’ve talked to inspectors who’ve found lead-based paint in homes built in the ’90s,” says Sisson.

Signs of lead paint

Unfortunately, like with most things that spell disaster for a potential dream home, you can’t definitively spot lead-based paint just by looking at it. However, you can get a good idea that it is there based on one telltale sign.

“When the paint deteriorates it creates a pattern that looks like scales. It’s actually called alligatoring,” says Sisson.

Finding these series of cracks along walls can be a good indication that you’ve entered into lead territory, but most homeowners aren’t going to just leave crumbling paint on the living room walls, so you might need to put on your investigative hat.

“Look inside closets, along baseboards and basement window sashes,” says Sisson. “Anywhere were painters might overlook a spot.”

Alligatoring: a sign of lead paint
Alligatoring: a sign of lead paint

Flickr/See1,Do1,Teach1

How to test for lead paint

Walls can also be tested for surface lead using a paint testing kit available at your local hardware store. For the test, you rub a solution on the wall. If the solution turns pink, you have lead. (Though, it will also stain the wall if it turns pink, so maybe it’s not a great idea if you’re just lookingat a property.)

The problem is, the test has limits. It finds lead only on the surface. If the lead-based paint was covered up by new paint, the test won’t work. And while covering (or encasing) lead-based paint is one way to limit its danger, it isn’t the best way.

“When painters encapsulate lead-based paint, they can miss spots,” says Sisson. “Common spots like around windows can still have exposed lead, which can cause lead dust to disperse throughout your house when you touch the area.”

Lead test
You can buy a lead paint testing kit at your local hardware store.

Inspections By Bob

Should you hire a home inspector to test for lead?

To really tell if a home has lead-based paint, you’re going to need a serious test.

“When lead is suspected, inspectors use an X-ray to look through the paint layers to the base wood of the wall. X-rays can’t pass through lead, so it is easy to spot,” says Sisson.

Many home inspectors will check for lead paint, but not all—so be sure to ask. If not, you can hire a certified lead inspector by entering your address and other info on the lead abatement page of EPA.gov. If lead paint is found, a certified inspector can also remove it, although it will cost you.

According to the EPA, you’ll spend about $8 to $15 per square foot, or about $10,000 for an average-size home. In the end, walking away from the house of lead might be the better option, but if you love the place you should take heart that there are ways to make it safe.

Angela Colley lives in New Orleans, where she writes about buying, selling, and renting news for realtor.com. Her passions include animal rescue, photography, historic homes, and Southern architecture.

Posted on December 4, 2016 at 12:35 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Buyer's Advice | Tagged , , , , ,

How Much Does Home Staging Cost—and How Much Will You Gain?

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Home staging—where you decorate your house in an effort to entice buyers to bite—may seem counterintuitive at first blush: Why spend money on a place if you’re moving out? Simple answer: because it can get you more money for your home sale. And evidence shows it’s usually well worth the effort. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged ones, which is nothing to sneeze at. But just how much does home staging really cost? Here’s the scoop, so you can decide if it’s worth the investment for you.

How much does staging cost?

File this one under “obvious”—but the pricier the home, the more it costs to stage. As a general rule of thumb, most stagers charge $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per room. “Therefore, a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month,” explains real estate professional Crystal Leigh Hemphill. Most professional home stagers also require a three-month minimum contract, “even if you sell the home in 24 hours.” That could bring your final bill to $7,200.

What can cost extra?

Most stagers work with the knickknacks and art that the homeowner already owns. But sometimes they “need to purchase new accessories, fresh towels, flowers, and/or fruit, as these small touches make a big difference,” says Sheila Schostok with Your Home Matters Staging and Redesign. which serves Chicago and southeastern Wisconsin. And those new purchases will add to the overall cost of the project.

The layout of your home could also add a ka-ching to a stager’s price tag. A job that requires heavy lifting in a multistory house usually means hiring additional help to move furniture, says Schostok.

And if you’re listing a completely vacant home because you’ve already moved out, you’re looking at the additional expense of renting every stick of furniture and all decor items.
Conversely, if you inherited a ton of antiques (or have a One King’s Lane addiction), you may need to put excess belongings into storage, tacking that monthly rental onto your overall staging costs.
A final expense, an important one that can help ensure staging success, is the price of painting a room. A fresh coat in a 12-by-12 square foot room will cost a DIYer around $200, or $400 to $700 if left to the pros.

How to save on home staging

You don’t have to stage your entire house from basement laundry room to attic storage. “A great way to save money when staging is by only focusing on the main areas of a home,” says Schostok. These are the rooms you spend the most time in—your kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom. Another wallet-friendly option is to limit yourself to a consultation with a home stager. When Schostok tours a home with the owner, offering suggestions to maximize the potential for each room, “the price is far less, $125 for 90 minutes.”

The biggest savings? Selling your home faster, at a better price, and without months of carrying costs—because your house was properly staged and buyer-ready.
Margaret Heidenry is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Boston Magazine.
If you are looking to sell Noemi Cardoso offers a FREE home stager consultation for advises and an estimate of cost what a whole or partial professional staging would cost. Call me at 714-698-9655 or email me at noemic@sevengables.com.

 


Posted on December 2, 2016 at 7:19 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , , ,

How to Buy an Apartment and Ditch Renting for Good

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Sooner or later most renters are bound to ask themselves: Shouldn’t I stop throwing my money away on rent for my apartment and see if I can buy one instead? Good question. Owning property can make a whole lot of sense, financially and otherwise. Still, the nuts and bolts of how to buy an apartment may seem daunting at first. Never fear—just check out these steps to get started.

Check where you stand in the rent vs. own equation

First things first: Whether buying or renting is cheaper depends on market conditions where you live—and how long you will stay there. One way to crunch all these numbers at once is with our rent vs. buy calculator, where you can enter your ZIP code or town and/or how much you’d anticipate paying to own or rent in your area.

Let’s say, for instance, that you pay $1,000 to rent, but buying an apartment will cost $200,000. Upfront, of course, buying will seem pricier, because you’ll have to cough up as much as $48,000 for a down payment and closing costs. But as long as you stay put for at least five years, the balance tips, making buying the cheaper option.

The reason: After five years, you’ve built equity in your home rather than tossing your money away on rent. So be sure to compare costs in your area and see what makes sense for you.

Figure out how much apartment you can afford

Another calculation you need to make is how much you can afford to pay for an apartment. Check out our home affordability calculator, where you can plug in your income, debts, and down payment savings.

Let’s say, for instance, that you have an annual income of $70,000, pay $250 a month to credit cards and other debts, and have $40,000 saved toward a down payment. That means you could afford an apartment worth about $263,000, for which you’d pay $1,575 per month. Knowing these numbers is important, because they will help you narrow your apartment hunt to your desired price range.

Educate yourself on co-ops vs. condos

If you’re looking to buy an apartment, you might likely encounter both condos and co-ops. So what’s the difference?

“A condo is similar to buying a home where you are actually getting the deed to the unit, and generally if you ever want to rent your unit out, you will be able to without any stipulations except, of course, that the new tenant must qualify through the condo board,” says real estate agent Lila Nejad of Douglas Elliman.

“A co-op is buying a share in a building, where you own the unit, but there are more board requirements to qualify for purchase and non-U.S. citizens are far less likely to get into most of these buildings. The subletting policies are also generally much stricter, often with limitations of only two years, or no third-party renting at all.”

Decide on your must-haves

When starting the hunt for your dream apartment, it’s important to narrow the playing field, so to speak.

“While we all want great space, closets, and a premier location, I always ask my first-time buyers what they love about where they currently live and what their top three must-haves are for a new apartment,” says real estate agent Elena Sarkissian of Douglas Elliman. “For example, double vanities in the master bath, floor-to-ceiling windows, higher ceilings, a washer/dryer, or morning light could be essential to some buyers.”

This is also the time to think about where you’d ideally like to live (i.e., what part of the city fits your lifestyle) and how far you’re willing to commute to work. The more specific you can be upfront, the easier it will be to isolate potential listings.

Find the right real estate agent

Buying a home is hard, but buying an apartment might be even harder. The competition is tough in densely populated areas where apartment dwellers congregate, so it’s more important than ever to have a trusted buyer’s agent fighting by your side.

“An apartment buyer today needs to have a real estate agent who has the market savvy and experience to advocate for the buyer and properly position him or her in these multiple-bid scenarios we are experiencing today,” says Sarkissian.

Not only can a knowledgeable agent help you find the right apartment, but she can also position you to lock down the deal and guide you through the process. A good agent will also know the right questions to ask, like about the building’s pet and subletting policy, so you aren’t blindsided later. So, don’t just take the first agent that comes along; contact a few and ask them questions (like how long they’ve been in business and what neighborhoods they specialize in) to know whether they’re the right agent to guide you through this tricky process.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a writer who lives in a tiny apartment in New York City, where she loves decorating and dreaming about gorgeous dwellings.

When you are ready to buy a home, give me a call and let’s find out what are the features and amenities which makes you feel giggling inside. Call me at 714-698-9655 or email Noemic@Sevengables.com


Posted on November 30, 2016 at 7:26 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Buyer's Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

6 Essential Steps for Selling a Home With Pets

We love our pets, whether they be dogs, cats, hamsters, capybaras, hedgehogs, or pygmy goats—but that doesn’t mean that they want to see said pets (or any evidence of them) when looking at a home they’re thinking of buying.

“Pets are either an attractive distraction, so cute they distract prospective buyers from looking at the real estate, or completely the opposite—smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting,” says Diane Saatchi, an East Hampton, NY, real estate broker with Saunders & Associates.

Don’t want your precious property to be known as “that dog house”? Well, you need to pet-proof your place when preparing and showing it for sale. Here’s how, in six simple steps.

1. Check your insurance

Although you know your pets would never hurt anyone, they could scratch or bite a potential buyer whom they mistake for an intruder on their territory. You could be held liable for any harm your pet causes, so make sure your homeowners insurance covers you for incidents like these.

However, some insurers will not cover anyone who owns what they deem vicious or aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls; and if they do provide coverage, it could be expensive. If you have such a dog (and even if you don’t), it’s best to keep him out of the house during a showing.

2. Prepare your yard

Buyers will walk around your yard, a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop or turn an ankle where your dog likes to dig.

Perform a poop patrol before each showing. Double-bag the waste before disposing, so your garbage cans don’t smell when buyers walk by. Fill all holes and sprinkle grass seed on top.

Before putting your house on the market, make sure your yard is a green oasis—not a brown-and-yellow dustbowl created when pets pee on grass. You can try to aerate and seed bare spots. But if that doesn’t work fast enough, you can replace ugly patches with new sod. Then, train Travis the Titan Terrier to use an out-of-the-way spot for his business. Or take him for very long walks.

3. Remove the odors

Removing the odors pets leave behind is one of the biggest challenges. It’s easy to clean and tuck away kitty’s litter box. But it’s way harder to erase years of piddle from rugs and hardwood.

If a bacteria-eating pet odor remover doesn’t banish all traces of cat or dog urine, you might have to hire a professional service to clean carpets or rugs. (Perhaps you should consider this whether you are selling your home or not.) Often, however, the odor returns, so if a carpet continues to reek, replace it before buyers trek through.

Clean turtle, hamster, and guinea pig cages frequently, to prevent odors. And make fish tanks sparkle; a daily swipe with an eraser sponge will do the trick.

4. Clean up the hair

Not only does a layer of pet hair on floors and sofas make your home look messy, it can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door.

Before each showing, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander. Or, consider buying a vacuuming robot (such as a Roomba) that you can schedule to suck up hair several times a day. They actually work.

If your pet sheds, brush him frequently outside, so the hair doesn’t fly around the house. Bathing can help minimize shedding, too.

5. Hide the evidence

Like kids, pets (or rather, their caretakers) tend to accumulate lots of stuff—leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, food, cute sweaters, and costumes for Christmas and Halloween (ladies and gentlemen: It’s canine Ken Bone!). But no matter how adorable you may think it all is, to buyers, it’s just clutter.

Make sure you stow pet paraphernalia in a cupboard or closet. Put dry food bins in a laundry or mud room. Wash pet beds to remove odors and dirt, and only display them if they’re attractive.

6. Say goodbye to your pets (just for a while!)

If you decide to leave your dogs or cats at home, either crate them or confine them to a special area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows where they are. Keep them busy with interactive toys or long-lasting treats, says Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, based in Livonia, MI.

“Even purchasing a new exciting toy or treat just prior to company coming may keep them more preoccupied,” he says.

But it’s best for everyone if you can find a playdate for your pet before a showing, or to send him to Grandma’s for an extended stay. But remember that pets have emotions, too—especially when it comes to change in their routines.

When you stow their toys, move their water bowl, or put them in a crate when strangers inspect their home, some pets will feel confused and anxious. So before making any major changes in the life of a dog or cat, talk to your veterinarian, who can help you ease your pet’s transition to a temporary new home.

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning writer who’s covered real estate and home improvement for realtor.com, Yahoo, AOL, Popular Mechanics, and HouseLogic. When she’s not writing, Lisa’s fly-fishing on catch-and-release streams.

 


Posted on November 28, 2016 at 7:16 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Seller's Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Buying vs Renting

Buying vs Renting

rentorbuyIf you’re thinking of buying a home, you have probably already asked yourself ‘Can I afford to buy?’ Another good questions to ask is, “Can I afford to continue renting?”

No matter what you are currently paying for rent, your total cash outlay over a period of several years, will probably add up to a much higher total than you may have realized. The following chart shows how quickly the rent payments you are making adds up. We are no counting what you would have earned if this money was invested instead just added your monthly rent for the different period of time:

With the money you are currently spending on rent, you could be building equity in your home. Keep in mind, too, that over the years your income most likely will increase faster than any increase in your mortgage payment. Rent payments, on the other hand, tend to increase, right along with your paycheck if not faster.

Other points to keep in mind when you own a home: Homeowner Tax Advantages and Home Value Appreciation.

You can make ownership a reality

Take a good look at your personal financial situation in comparison to housing price trends and mortgage plans available in your community. You will probably discover that you are closer to home ownership that you had realized. Buying a home is probably one of the biggest investments you will ever make.And when it’s your first home, it is specially important that you seek qualified assistance. Your local real estate agent or broker has the experience and expertise to guide you through the maze and help you find, and purchaser, the home of your dreams. A true professional will also have a network of reliable service provider such as credit counseling and credit repair, mortgage brokers, inspectors and everything you might need before, during and beyond the process.

For any of your real estate needs feel free to contact us for a private and confidential appointment to find out where you are, where you want to be and how we can connect the points to bring you there.

Noemi Cardoso
Seven Gables Real Estate
Cell: 714-698-9655
www.agentwithanaccent.com
Cal BRE# 01988945

Providing value to Buyers and Sellers since 2005


Posted on October 22, 2016 at 7:00 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Buyer's Advice | Tagged , , , , ,

3 ways to protect Home Exteriors

guttersMost siding material require little to no upkeep. Brick, engineered wood, stone (both natural or manufactured), and fiber cement are thought to last for the life of a home, according to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America, “Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components.”  But Frank Leash, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, offers some pointers to be shared with home owners to help them protect their siding from damage including:

Keep foliage away: Make sure no plants are growing on the siding. “Plants can trap moisture and allow insects and animals to infiltrate,” Leash says. “You want the siding to be exposed to the elements.”

Watch where water may be getting in: Check areas around the windows and doors to see if water is getting in. Moisture can linger and eventually cause rotting or fungal growth. Make sure those areas have been properly caulked or tuckpointed to prevent seepage.

Keep the gutters cleaned:  Many home owners think they only need to check for clogged gutters in autumn when leaves are falling. A neighbor’s stray tennis ball, a bird’s nest, or even squirrels stocking up for winter can quickly become a serious problem. If water backed up in your gutter, it could damage your siding too, Lesh notes. Have gutter checked at least twice a year. Or better yet, clean them four times a year to prevent back-ups.

 

 


Posted on October 19, 2016 at 7:00 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Home Improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What Is Fair Market Value? How Much a Home Is Really Worth

house drawn on chalkboard with dollar signs. What is fair market value?

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, one question that’s always front and center is the price: How much is a home worth? That’s a tricky question to answer, but probably the best starting point is to know a home’s fair market value, or FMV.

A home’s fair market value is the price it would sell for in a perfectly logical world—one where both buyer and seller are acting of their own free will (in other words, they aren’t desperate to strike a deal), are reasonably aware of a home’s good and bad points, and could just as easily choose a different house that suits their needs better.

In such a world, market forces reign. Buyers and sellers negotiate up or down from their various positions and agree on a home’s price. Deal done. All is good!

Fair market value vs. market value

A home’s fair market value is similar to a home’s market value—what it would fetch on the open market—but is used in specialized circumstances where the concept of fairness is important to evoke so that the home’s price carries more weight.

“FMV is typically brought into the real estate conversation whenever a sales price is being scrutinized,” says Robert Pellegrini, a real estate lawyer in Boston. Here are some circumstances where you’ll likely hear about a home’s fair market value:

  • Property tax assessments.
  • Home insurance claims—if a house suffers damage from a fire, flood, or other disaster, the insurer will look to FMV to determine compensation.
  • Refinancing a home loan—the bank will typically use a home’s fair market value as a measure of how much the home is worth to determine refinancing terms.
  • Estate sales—if the homeowner has died and a relative wants to purchase the property, the court will look at FMV to determine a price.
  • If the government wants to “buy out” a homeowner to use that land to, say, build a highway or school, the owner is typically entitled to be compensated at fair market value.
  • Short sale—this is when a home is worth less than the owners owe on their mortgage. In this case, the owners must persuade the lender to let them sell the home for some amount that is less than the balance of the home loan they still owe. “When a bank does allow this, the bank wants to make sure that the short-selling purchase price is at least FMV for the property,” says Pellegrini. Because, of course, no one likes a total loss!

 

How is fair market value determined?

“Let’s be clear about one thing: There is no exact mathematical formula that calculates fair market value,” says mortgage lender Michael Sema, CEO of Get a Rate. “Information is key, and the best way to obtain a home’s true FMV is … by hiring a professional licensed appraiser.”

To determine fair market value, a licensed appraiser gathers and measures the qualities of a home, such as its size, condition, neighborhood, and other factors. This information is used by lenders, attorneys, insurance companies, and other agencies to help determine a fair price.

All that said, no one ever proclaimed that life (or the housing market) is fair—which is why homes may often sell for an amount far different from this figure.

If, say, a family is desperate to buy a certain home because it’s in a coveted school district and their twins are entering kindergarten that fall, they might be willing to pay substantially over a home’s fair market value. Or if a home seller has fallen ill and has to sell quickly to cover medical bills, he or she might be willing to settle for less than a home’s FMV.

But in an ideal world, fair market value is the benchmark, and probably the closest number to what a home is truly worth.

At its heart, fair market value helps prevent home sellers and buyers from being taken advantage of, and is a good thing for both parties. And it’s worth knowing the term in case you feel like someone’s stance on a home’s price is off base. Just point out, “I think that’s pretty far above/below this home’s fair market value.” Who knows? If you’re right, this argument could persuade the seller or buyer to budge.


Posted on October 12, 2016 at 7:31 am
Noemi Cardoso | Posted in Buyer's Advice | Tagged , ,