5309 Corvo Way, Salida, CA 95368

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Welcome to 5309 Corvo Way at Fattoria Manor. This 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home has almost 1,300 s/f of living space and has been updated. This home features gorgeous laminate and tile flooring, cozy paint colors, ceiling fans, remodeled bathroom and kitchen, open layout, enclosed utility room for washer and dryer (less noise), covered patio in the backyard, lots of storage space and many more. Centraly located near schools, shopping, parks and free-way access. Traditional Sale!

205 Johnson St, Modesto, CA 95354

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205 Johnson St, Modesto, CA 95354

Welcome to the tree-lined neighborhood of Johnson Street. This stunning two-unit residence measures approximately 1,700 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and has been completely remodeled to keep its old world charm combined with modern amenities. Beautiful new flooring throughout, granite counter-tops, stainless-steel appliances, updated bathrooms, and new paint gives the interior a very comfy feeling. Over-sized windows provide the perfect amount of natural light. Manicured landscaping, large wrap-around deck and spacious backyard is perfect for entertaining or a nice get-away.

Centrally located in the heart of Modesto Johnson Street is close to downtown restaurants, shops, boutiques and tourist attractions. Just a few minutes drive to highway 99 will give you access to the Bay Area and highway 120 to the East will bring you to Yosemite National Park. Come see this one of a kind property located in one of Modesto’s established areas. Come, see and fall in love with Johnson Street.

Offer Above the Asking Price

Offer Above the Asking Price - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

Offer Above the Asking Price – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

Offer Above the Asking Price

How often were homes sold more than the asking price?

2013 saw an all-time high of 50%! That’s the highest ever recorded.

Why Now is a Great Time to Sell

Why Now is a Great Time to Sell - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

Why Now is a Great Time to Sell – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

Why Now is a Great Time to Sell

Top Reasons for Selling

19% The home is too small

15% Job relocation

13% Want to move closer to family or friends

10% The area has become less reliable

10% The home is too large

Motivated buyers are competing for limited inventory

How Did Home Sellers Handle Multiple Offers

How Did Home Sellers Handle Multiple Offers - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

How Did Home Sellers Handle Multiple Offers – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

How did home sellers handle multiple offers?

Average number of offers received from buyers:

In 2013, 98% of sellers received multiple offers.

3.1 offers in 2012

5.9 offers in 2013

How did sellers respond?

77% took the highest offer

47% took the best mortgage-qualified buyer

39% took the offer without contingencies

23% took the all-cash offer

14% took the offer because of the buyer’s ability to close fastest

Modesto Real Estate Featured Listings for 03-27-14

The Water Crisis

The Water Crisis - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

The Water Crisis – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

The Water Crisis – Where are we wasting?

A Typical three-bedroom, single-family home in California uses approximately 174,000 gallons a year.

Where do families use the most water?

57% Landscaping

17% Shower

9% Kitchen and bathroom faucets

9% Over-watering

4% Clothes washer

4% Toilets

California Senate Bill 407

By Jan. 1, 2017, all residential properties in California that were built prior to 1994 will be required to retrofit with:

Toilets that use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush

Shower heads with flow rates of no more than 2.5 gallons per minute

Other interior fixture that use less than 2.2 gallons of water per minute

What Do You Want in a Neighborhood?

What Do You Want In A Neighborhood - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

What Do You Want In A Neighborhood – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

What do you want in a neighborhood?

There are several thing that are important to home buyers when selecting their neighborhood.

68% Easy access to the highway.

65% Public transportation within walking distance of your home.

66% Established neighborhood with older homes and mature trees.

65% Short commute to work.

86% Privacy from neighbors.

74% High-quality public schools.

66% Living in a community with people at all stages of life.

80% Sidewalks and places to take walks.

55% Living in a place that’s away from it all.

69% Walking distance to places such as schools and shops.

How to Decorate a Bathroom on a Budget

Learn how to decorate a bathroom on a budget from interior designer Blanche Garcia in this Howcast video.

So bathroom on a budget sounds like it might be a little easier said than done. Because you really want to think about the quality of the items that you’re choosing. You know the style is easy to do. It’s more the functionality and putting the quality into those type of efforts that are really the most important things.

So you want to make sure that your sink, your faucet, your toilet, your tub area, that you’re putting most of your money towards there. When you’re done with that, I mean how much money do people have left over for tile and everything else? So the tile you want to keep basic, right?

If you keep the basic floor color and then you do a nice same color, even an accent color in the wall tile, but keep it plain. Where you want to spend a little bit more money is in the border tile. The border tile is an accent decorative tile that will really surround the upper rim of like the chair rail. So if you have it coming up about four to five feet, then you have an accent border going around in the tile.

That tiles going to be more money than some of the basic tile that you’re using for the floor and for the walls. But it’s okay, because you’re only using one band to go around the room. You save on money and it saves on material. Then a color on the walls that is really vibrant. It’s cheap.

It’s paint, so when you add a nice warm vibrant color it’s going to make it seem like you spent more. A really pretty light fixture and you can get that at a nice big box store. You don’t have to go crazy for that. It will make the space seem finished and you know, just completed. Then I think as a nice added touch, is just make sure that your towels have a really nice thread count.

Again, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a really plush hotel looking towel. Keep it white, white makes people feel like it’s clean and they don’t have to worry about where they’re putting their faces when they wash their hands or clean their face. When you’re finished with all of those steps, you’ll not only have a bathroom that looks beautiful, but it won’t break the budget either.

Let the Salonga Brothers help you find your dream bathroom.

Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099 | eric@TheSalongaBrothers.com

Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398 | jay@TheSalongaBrothers.com

How to Decorate Your Bedroom

Pick up some home decorating ideas for the bedroom from interior designer Blanche Garcia in this Howcast video.

Let’s get to basics, especially in the bedroom. This is a space that is really different from the rest of the house. The reason I say that is because you don’t have to go overboard in the bedroom. The bedroom, there are some simple things that you need to pay attention to. One is that you want to make sure it’s comfortable above all else that it’s comfortable. So everything, texture is very important. The carpeting under your feet when you wake up in the morning.

The bedding, sheet thread count, you want to make sure that you’re probably above a 350, but you don’t really need to go above a 700. When you go above 700 you really can’t feel the difference. So comfort is really important in the bedroom. Lighting is really important in the bedroom, so you want to make sure you have, maybe dimmer switches on all of your light fixtures. Sometimes you can add those really easily from the hardware store, for a couple of dollars on all of your lamps.

Because who wants really blaring light at you, when you’re trying to relax and go to sleep. Another thing that you want to consider is storage. Why is that important? Because you don’t want all of your things just thrown all over the room. You want make sure that your nightstands aren’t covered with tons of books and everything is all messy, so you want everything to be put away in it’s place. If you keep it like that and then maybe some lighter colors, it’s always going to be serene and soothing. Those are some bedroom basics, so that you’re always assured that your bedroom is a warm and welcoming place when you come home at the end of the day, and also where you wake up in the morning.

Let the Salonga Brothers help you find your dream bedroom.

Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099 | eric@TheSalongaBrothers.com

Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398 | jay@TheSalongaBrothers.com

How to Decorate Your Kitchen

Pick up some home decorating ideas for the kitchen from interior designer Blanche Garcia in this Howcast video.

So the kitchen is the heart of the home, so everybody says. But it really is true, because the kitchen is the first place anybody looks, if you want your resale value. It’s the first placed everybody hangs out in when there’s a party or there’s guests over and the whole family congregate there. So some of the things you want to pay attention in the kitchen are counter tops. I love stone, when possible. It is not only durable, but it looks amazing. Stainless steel or upgraded appliances, like your stove and your refrigerator, and you don’t have to go crazy, because you can get these second hand. You don’t have to buy them brand new.

Kitchen cabinetry is a place where you can either go really simple and just keep it elegant or if you want to add pops of color, maybe do a darker tone on the bottom of your cabinetry, but the upper cabinets, maybe you keep a lighter tone. So you don’t have to keep them the same. Other areas are tile. So let’s say you want the floor tile to be just fade away. Always go for a larger floor tile, maybe a 20 x 20 or a 24 x 24, it’ll make your space seem bigger, less grout lines and will cost less. But your back splash, add your personality into.

You can do anything from a very small mosaic, to a really large title that just shows like “This is me and this is my kitchen.” Then the last thing that you want to pay attention to is lighting, because you want to make sure you have lighting in your ceiling, maybe some recessed cans, and that lighting is going to make sure that when you’re doing tasks, such as chopping vegetables or cooking, that you can pay attention to that. So lighting, materials, scale, all very important when doing your kitchen, and looking for not only where you live now, but also for resale value.

Let the Salonga Brothers help you find your dream kitchen.

Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099 | eric@TheSalongaBrothers.com

Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398 | jay@TheSalongaBrothers.com

Rupert Murdoch buys $57 million Manhattan condo

New Manhattan digs for News Corp mogul

Rupert Murdoch

A spokesman for Rupert Murdoch confirmed that the media mogul purchased a $57 million condo at a new building at the base of Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Last year, the News Corp billionaire signed over a Fifth Avenue residence to his ex-wife in a divorce settlement.

Soaring Manhattan market


With large lots hard to find or assemble, New York developers have turned to building thin towers taller than most commercial skyscrapers. They contain some of the most expensive condos in the world. One Madison is just a block away from one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the 21-floor Flatiron, built in 1904.

Triplex penthouse


The price of the condo, most of which is raw space, works out to be more than $5,000 a square foot. The main entertainment area is double height with windows that cover nearly the entire wall.

“The sale reflects the appeal of the custom materials, grand amenities and specialized services offered in the building,” said Leslie Wilson, senior vice president of the developer,

Plenty of room


The penthouse alone has more than 7,000 square feet of space and Murdoch purchased another full-floor apartment right below for a total of more than 10,000 square feet. From the wraparound terrace, there are 360-degree views encompassing lower Manhattan, New Jersey, Long Island and Midtown.



The condo occupies the top four floors of a 60-story building at the base of Madison Avenue. The north windows face Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, and offer a close-up of the campanile of the old MetLife tower, once the tallest building on earth.

Pool and club


The building offers amenities such as a pool and spa for residents only. There’s also a club with entertainment space and a “butler-staffed catering kitchen,” according to Related.



A discreet back building entrance opens onto a modern lobby of marble walls, wood columns and a water feature. Art work chosen especially for the space will remain there permanently.

The building’s location near the center of Manhattan is a short limo ride from both the Midtown and Downtown office building districts.

California’s Home Financing Trends

California's Home Financing Trends

California’s Home Financing Trends

California’s Home Financing Trends

In 2013, the majority of California home buyers obtained 30-year fixed-rate loans.

91% buyers who had no problems with their appraisal

85% buyers who obtained a 30-year loan

83% buyers who obtained a fixed-rate loan

The Average down payment was 25%

New Listings for Stanislaus County for 02-21-14

New Listings for Stanislaus County for 02-21-14

Call The Salonga Brothers for more information

Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099 eric@castle-re.com

Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398 jay@castle-re.com



New Listings for Stanislaus County for 02-19-14

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New Listings for Stanislaus County for 02-19-14

Call The Salonga Brothers for more information

Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099 eric@castle-re.com

Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398 jay@castle-re.com



It Pays to Use a Realtor

It Pays To Use a Realtor - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

It Pays To Use a Realtor – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

The typical For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home sold for $46,000 LESS during the past year than homes sold with the assistance of a REALTOR.

On average, FSBO homes sold for $184,000.

Homes sold by a REALTOR during the same period sold for $230,000.

The most difficult taks for FSBO sellers:

Understanding and performing the paperwork

Setting the right price

Preparing/fixing up the home for sale

Attracting potential buyers

Helping buyer obtain financing

Selling within the planned length of time

Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale.


4501 Kentucky Ave, Oakdale, CA 95361


This 3 bedroom, 1 baths house located at 4501 Kentucky Ave, Oakdale, CA has approximately 1,224 square feet. It is currently listed for $204,500 and has a price per sqft of $167. Properties near 4501 Kentucky Ave, have a median listing price of $325,000 and a median price per sqft of $156. For a private showing call The Salonga Brothers — Your Key to the Central Valley.

4501 Kentucky Ave, Oakdale was built in 1951. It has 1 parking spots in a 1 Car Attached.

4501 Kentucky Ave is part of the Riverbank neighborhood located in 95361 and is part of the Riverbank Unified School District school district.
Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

2313 Catamaran Way, Stockton, CA 95206


This 4 bedroom, 3 baths house located at 2313 Catamaran Way, Stockton, CA has approximately 2,555 square feet. It is currently listed for $239,000 and has a price per sqft of $93. Properties near 2313 Catamaran Way, have a median listing price of $189,000 and a median price per sqft of $117. For a private showing call The Salonga Brothers.
2313 Catamaran Way, Stockton was built in 2007. It has 2 parking spots in a 2 Car Attached. The kitchen includes Space in Kitchen, Microwave B/I, Dishwasher.
2313 Catamaran Way is part of the Stockton South neighbourhood located in 95206 and is part of the Stockton Unified School District school district.
Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

5743 Wild Cat Ct, Riverbank, CA 95367


This 4 bedroom, 2&1/2 baths house located at 5743 Wild Cat Ct, Riverbank, CA 95367 has approximately 2,784 square feet. It is currently listed for $319,500 and has a price per sqft of $114. Properties near 5743 Wild Cat Ct, have a median listing price of $284,900 and a median price per sqft of $133. For a private showing call The Salonga Brothers — Your Key to the Central Valley.
5743 Wild Cat Ct, Riverbank was built in 2005. It has 3 parking spots in a Tandem Garage. The kitchen includes Disposal, Dishwasher.
5743 Wild Cat Ct is part of the Riverbank neighborhood located in 95367 and is part of the Riverbank Unified School District school district.
Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

1991 Superior Ct, Tracy, CA 95304


This 4 bedroom, 3&1/2 baths house located at 1991 Superior Ct Tracy, CA 95304 has approximately 3,054 square feet. It is currently listed for $499,999 and has a price per sqft of $163. Properties near 1991 Superior Ct, have a median listing price of $410,000 and a median price per sqft of $184. For a private showing call The Salonga Brothers — Your Key to the Central Valley.
1991 Superior Ct, Tracy was built in 2000. It has 3 parking spots. The lower level has Downstairs Bedroom. The kitchen includes Space in Kitchen, Ice Maker B/I, Gas Plumbed, Disposal, Dishwasher. The home-owners association fees are 100.00 Monthly.
1991 Superior Ct is part of the Tracy Central neighbourhood located in 95304 and is part of the Tracy Joint Unified School District school district.
Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

335 N 2nd Ave, Oakdale, CA 95361


This 3 bedroom, 1 baths house located at 335 N 2nd Ave, Oakdale, CA has approximately 1,264 square feet. It is currently listed for $149,500 and has a price per sqft of $118. Properties near 335 N 2nd Ave, have a median listing price of $325,000 and a median price per sqft of $156. For a private showing call The Salonga Brothers — Your Key to the Central Valley
335 N 2nd Ave, Oakdale was built in 1916. It has 1 parking spots in a 1 Car Carport. The kitchen includes Disposal, Dishwasher.
335 N 2nd Ave is part of the Oakdale City neighborhood located in 95361 and is part of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District school district. The closest school is Magnolia Elementary School in Oakdale, CA.
Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

California Median Home Prices


California Median Home Prices - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

California Median Home Prices – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

No matter your price point, California really does have it all.


Contra Costa (Central) $786,930

Napa $528,410

San Francisco $896,740

Solano $280, 360

Alameda $652,070

Santa Clara $782,500

Marin $942,070

Sonoma $463,820

San Mateo $895,000


San Bernardio $191,570

Orange $660,890

Los Angeles $405,260

Ventura $463,820

Riverside $306,350

San Diego $473,360


Santa Barbara $558,330

San Luis Obispo $486,510

Monterey $420,000

Santa Cruz $666,000


Madera $160,000

San Benito $380,000

San Joaquin $233,070

Merced $151,540

Kings $171,670

Fresno $193,020

Tulare $161,000

Placer $361,160

Glenn $150,000

Stanislaus $198,400

Kern(Bakersfield) $190,000

Sacramento $246,900


Yuba $210,000

Humbolt $239,280

Shasta $207,560

Tuolomne $212,500

Del Norte $135,000

Tehama $180,000

Yolo $283,330

Mendocino $300,000

Calaveras $215,000

Lake $143,330

Amador $212,500

El Dorado $361,860

Siskiyou $166,670

Butte $255,950

Sutter $206,000



New Listing in Modesto 2533 Fiedler Way Modesto, CA 95355

New Listing in Modesto 2533 Fiedler Way Modesto, CA 95355

Hey Central Valley, here’s a new listing that just hit the Modesto Real Estate Market. It’s not our personal listing but we thought it’s still worth mentioning. If you or anyone you know is looking for a house in the Symphony Park Estate subdivision, give us a call.

Listed for $269,500
3 bedrooms
3 bathrooms
1,887 square feet
0.11 acres

Call the Salonga Brothers for a private showing.
Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

The Salonga Brothers – Your Key to the Central Valley

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New Listing in Modesto 1613 Linnea Ln Modesto, CA 95355

New Listing in Modesto 1613 Linnea Ln Modesto, CA 95355

Hey Central Valley, here’s a new listing that just hit the Modesto Real Estate Market. It’s not our personal listing but we thought it’s still worth mentioning. If you or anyone you know is looking for a house in the Adriana subdivision, give us a call.

Listed for $259,000
2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
1,469 square feet
0.11 acres

Call the Salonga Brothers for a private showing.
Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

The Salonga Brothers – Your Key to the Central Valley

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New Listing in Modesto 608 Avanel Dr Modesto, CA 95356

New Listing in Modesto 608 Avanel Dr Modesto, CA 95356

Hey Central Valley, here’s a new listing that just hit the Modesto Real Estate Market. It’s not our personal listing but we thought it’s still worth mentioning. If you or anyone you know is looking for a house in McHenry Estates subdivision, give us a call.

Listed for $254,900
3 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
1,993 square feet
0.22 acres

Call the Salonga Brothers for a private showing.

Eric Salonga (209) 480-3099
Jay Salonga (209) 985-2398

The Salonga Brothers – Your Key to the Central Valley


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Home Improvements



Home Improvements - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

Home Improvements – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate


1. Remodeling the Kitchen 60%-120%

You can expect to recoup 60%-120% of your investment on a kitchen remodel, as long as you don’t go overboard. You should never make your kitchen fancier than the house, or the neighborhood.

2. Bathroom Addition 80%-130%

If your home only has one bathroom, you can recoup a large chunk of your investment by adding another one. It is estimated that you can recoup 80%-130% of whatever you spend adding a bathroom.

3. Adding Square Footage 50%-83%

Adding more sqaure footage to your home with a new room can be an encredibly expensive project. However, you can typically recoup between 50% and 83% of your initial investment. Just make sure you keep costs under control.

4. Deck Addition 65%-90%

If you make your deck and your backyard more appealing, your house will be more appealing to prospective buyers when you decide to sell. Homeowners can recoup 65%-90% of their investment by adding a deck.

New listing in Modesto 2009 Maid Mariane Ln Modesto, CA 95355

New listing in Modesto 2009 Maid Mariane Ln Modesto, CA 95355

Hey Central Valley, here’s a new listing that just hit the Modesto Real Estate Market. It’s not our personal listing but we thought it’s still worth mentioning. If you or anyone you know is looking for a house in the Freedom Park area, this is the house for you.

Listed for $299,900
4 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
2,219 square feet
0.14 acres

Call the Salonga Brothers for a private showing.
Eric (209) 480-3099
Jay (209) 985-2398

What Buyers Like The Most

What Buyers Like The Most - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

What Buyers Like The Most – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

What Buyers Like The Most About Their REALTORS



52% Found them the best home.

48% Worked hard.

37% Was quick to respond.

26% Negotiated a good deal.

19% Listened to their needs.


5 Home Improvement Projects To Avoid

5 Home Improvement Projects To Avoid - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

5 Home Improvement Projects To Avoid – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate


If you plan on movig in two to three years, don’t invest money in home improvement projects that won’t oncrease the resale value of your home.


Costly kitchen additions don’t pay off when you list your home for sale. In general, too much customization in a home turns buyers away.


Potential buyers will not pay extra for a newly installed whirlpool bath. In addition, the costs for installing a whirlpool tub can be prohibitive and raise energy bills.


The average home office renovation costs around $28,000, and you will recieve about a 46% return on an investment for this pricey remodel.


Homeowners who build a garage typically only see a 62% return on an investment that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Not a good idea if you plan to sell soon.


Creating an over-the-top backyard paradise won’t add to your asking price. so, if you plan to sell your home in the next few years, you won’t recoup the cost of expensive landscaping in the sale.

Top 10 Turnaround Towns

Top 10 Turnaround Towns - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

Top 10 Turnaround Towns – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

Based on indicators such as inventory, median list price, days on the market, and search listing activity, these towns are leading the nations housing recovery.

1. Oakland, Calif.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +41.3%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -53.1%

2. Orange County, Calif.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +29.4%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -43.3%

3. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +34.3%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -30.9%

4. San Jose, Calif.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +25%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -64%

5. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +17.2%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -55.8%

6. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +30.3%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -27.2%

7. Detroit, Mich.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +37.8%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -25%

8. Portland, Ore-Vancouver, Wash

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +12%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -45.8%

9. San Diego, Calif.

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +21.1%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -26.4%

10. Reno, NV

Quarterly YtY change in median list price +26%

Quarterly YtY change in days on market -32.3%


How to winterize your home for comfort and energy efficiency

Lou Manfredini discusses ways to winterize your home. Tips include: getting a professional furnace inspection and tune-up; replacing old, drafty windows and doors with quality, energy-efficient products from a manufacturer such as Marvin; weather stripping your home; insulating the attic; and getting a programmable thermostat.

Congratulations Ron Inocelias

Ron InoceliasCongratulations Ron Inocelias on your new home in Stockton. May this new chapter in your life bring your family happiness and fond memories.


Congratulations Gina and Doug

Dinner with the Adcocks

Help us in welcoming Gina, Doug and Junior to Modesto.  After years of living in the crowded Bay Area, they have relocated their family to our small yet humble Central Valley.  Thank you for letting the Salonga Brothers be a part of your journey.  May your new home bring lots of joy and memories.  Congratulations Gina and Doug





Congratulations Marilu and Ulysses

photo 1


It’s been a long journey and at times frustrating, but we finally closed. Marilu and Ulysses are the proud owners of a home in Turlock, CA.  Please help us in congratulating their family.  Congratulations Marilu and Ulysses!

What Buyers Don’t Want

What Buyers Don't Want - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

What Buyers Don’t Want – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate


It’s important to know what you want in a home, but it’s also important to know what you don’t want. According to a recent survey, buyers do not want these features in a new home.

Elevator 70%

Just a shower stall in the master bath 51%

Wet Bar 41%

Laminate countertops 40%

Outdoor kitchen 31%

Glass-front cabinets 31%

Ceramic tile countertops 30%

Buyer Optimism Is Way Up

Buyer Optimism Is Way Up - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

Buyer Optimism Is Way Up – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate


While the market slowly but surely chugs into recovery mode, buyer optimism about the future of home prices is growing.


Will prices increase in 5 years? YES!

2013 60%

2012 41%

2011 46%

2010 52%

2009 35%

Will prices increase in the next year? YES

2013 36%

2012 25%

2011 21%

2010 23%

2009 8%


What Features Do Buyers Value In a Home?

What Features Do Buyers Value In a Home? - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

What Features Do Buyers Value In a Home? – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate


A home that is cable, satellite TV-, and/or internet-ready.

An ensuite master bathroom

An in-law suite

An eat-in kitchen (Buyers were willing to spend more money for this)

A laundry room

A den or home office

Extra Storage space

65% of home buyers consider certral air conditioning very important

39% of buyers consider a walk-in closet in the master bedroom very important

Top 10 Overlooked Questions To Ask When Buying A Home

Top 10 Overlooked Questions To Ask When Buying A Home - The Salonga Brothers - Modesto Real Estate

Top 10 Overlooked Questions To Ask When Buying A Home – The Salonga Brothers – Modesto Real Estate

1. Where is the seller’s discloure?

Even if you’re in love with a home, be aware of all its flaws.

2. What is the home’s zoing guidelines?

This is especially important if you want to make any structural changes to the house.

3. What home inspections are available?

To avoid costly problems down the line, get as many types of inspections as you can.

4. Why is this house for sale?

This simple question may provide useful insight when writing your offer.

5. Has the property been tested for radon?

This is another question that can be a life saver, literally.

6. Are smoke detectors properly installed and located?

Make sure you account for this crucial detail.

7. Has this home ever had a mold inspection?

If so, looking at the inspection may provide important details about the home’s history.

8 What is the neighborhood’s crime rate?

This can be easily looked up online, but getting a local’s take may be even better.

9. What is the neighborhood’s noise level?

It’s important to learn, before you buy, if you love next door to a nightime drummer.

10. Are there many kids or dogs in the neighborhood?

This will either be a positive or a negative, depending on your home buying desires.

4 Reasons You Should Sell Your Home Right Now

4 Reasons You Should Sell
Your Home Right Now

Provided by Eric Salonga with The Salonga Brothers

Email: eric@thesalongabrothers.com Phone: (209) 480-3099


4-reasons-sell-now-ebookIn 2006, you saw the housing bubble completely crash and burn, which put buying and selling homes at a near standstill.  Homes were being foreclosed on, even people with good credit couldn’t get loan approvals and sellers who were getting offers on their properties stood little chance of selling them for their true worth.

As a result, many folks who had their properties up for sale at the time that everything went awry decided to make a hasty exit from such a hostile and unpromising environment.  They had hope that better days would eventually arrive, and that they would be able to sell their homes for a fair price.

As a real estate agent, I still see people eight years later still waiting to put their home up for sale.  The main reason for this stalling is that they’re terrified to try and re-enter the housing market at the wrong time.

Perhaps you are one of these very people who decided to cut your losses and stay in a home because it seemed that fate had forced your hand.  Or, you might even be one of the many that are fresh to the home selling scene and are ready to move on to the greener pastures of a new home.  Either way, it’s likely that you have wondered if now is the right time to sell, or if you should hold out for the economy to improve just a wee bit more.

I won’t misguide you.  There are many of my colleagues who would say that holding out a little longer would serve you well.  However, I have a good bit of data to back up my belief that now is the perfect time to get your house on the market.  Following, I have disclosed this data and compiled four solid reasons that you should absolutely sell your home as quickly as possible.  Making a move immediately will most definitely work for you rather than against you, my friend.  Now is the time.


Reasons You Should Sell Your Home Right Now #1:  Interest Rates are on the Rise

rising-interest-ratesOver the last several years, we have seen record low interest rates on mortgages.  This was primarily in an effort to allow folks to continue to afford to buy properties and promote growth.  The lower rates have allowed for the housing market to begin the slow process of healing.  However, the past few months have seen interest rates gradually begin to increase.  Further, these rates are projected to continue to go up steadily over the next year, and beyond, by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Check out the following figures.

  • November 2012 boasted a record low interest rate on a standard 30-year mortgage loan at 3.31%. (businessweek) A 30-year mortgage is often the go-to loan for new homebuyers because they offer a low and affordable monthly payment plan. This lower payment allows buyers to purchase a more expensive home than they possibly could with a 15-year mortgage loan.
  • As of February 1, 2013, that rate increased to 3.53% for the same loan. Obviously, this is not a huge hike, but the increase isn’t following the trend of the past few years by going back down. Rather, this interest rate is holding steady with projections to creep up even more. (businessweek)
  • The same 30-year mortgage loan is predicted to rise to 4% by the second quarter of 2013.  For a proper perspective, it is important to realize that with the exception of just a few weeks, comparable mortgage loan rates have not risen over 4% for over a year. (usatoday)
  • By the end of 2013, a 30-year mortgage loan’s interest rate is anticipated to be around 4.4%. (businessweek)
  • These same loans are likely going to carry rates of approximately 4.6% by the close of 2014. (businessweek)

At first glance, this may not appear to be staggering figures.  You’re probably wondering what I’m going on and on about, but please, hear me out.  In reality, this seemingly small 1.29% rate change estimation could potentially cost homebuyers literally tens of thousands of dollars over the life of their loan.  I don’t know about you, but I could think of quite a few adventures I could take and investments I could make with that kind of cash.  Here, let me help you see what this 1.29% really means for homebuyers.

Let’s say that a buyer takes out a 30-year home mortgage loan for $300,000 in December of 2014.  This is opposed to the first quarter of 2013 when interest rates are approximately 1% less.  That seemingly insignificant 1% or so will cost that home buyer $3,000 more per year in interest payments.  Yes, that is correct.  That 1% difference will accumulate to cost a homebuyer in this situation around $90,000 over the life of their loan.  That caught your attention, didn’t it?


How Rising Interest Rates for Buyers Affect Your Bottom Line

But wait!  You’re selling your home, not buying it!  What difference does all of this make to you?  It’s really quite simple, friends.  If you sell right now, the people who are in the market to buy want to do so quickly before interest rates creep up any higher than they already have!  They want to take advantage of an opportunity to get more home for less money in the long run.  Buyers just need homes to snap up!

Additionally, by making a purchase now, buyers can afford to pay you more money for your home.  You see, the lower interest rate makes their monthly payment more affordable right now.  See how that works?  A lower interest rate translates into buyers being able to pay more to you presently.  That won’t be the case next year.  Now is the time for you to act and get that baby up for sale.

Keep in Mind…

It will also benefit you to keep another little detail in mind.  If you are planning to purchase a new home once you have sold the one you’re currently living in, it would be simply grand for you to take advantage of this prime, low interest rate situation, as well!  Not only could you make more money on the sale of your property, you could also come out with a lower monthly mortgage payment on your new home!  In the event that you are both a home seller and a future homebuyer, these are important facts to consider.


Reasons You Should Sell Your Home Right Now #2:  Payroll Taxes Affect Future Sells

payroll-taxIf you bring in less than $113,000 annually, you’ve probably already felt the squeeze on your paycheck since the beginning of 2013.  This is when the payroll tax that provides funding to Social Security was reinstated to its 2010 high of 6.2%. (csnbc) Families of lesser incomes are feeling the pinch far more than those of higher revenue.  This can have a huge, negative effect on your chances of selling your home for top dollar if you continue to wait to get back out in the market.

Right now, we’re just in the beginning stages of this payroll tax.  However, over time, potential homebuyers are going to start looking for ways to cut corners and ease their financial burdens a little.  This kind of tax has a way of only feeling more and more burdensome with time.

With that being said, people who are in the market right now are willing to pay a higher price for your property than they might be in a few months.  By then, this payroll tax burden really begins to take its toll.  Take advantage of the opportunity to sell your home at top dollar right now.  You’ll also be helping current homebuyers get the benefit of cashing in on the current low interest rates, too.


Reasons You Should Sell Your Home Right Now #3:  Simple Supply and Demand

Supply and demand is an economic principle that is at work in the real estate market today.  After the housing market collapsed in 2006, there was a huge surplus of homes up for sale, but there were few consumers demanding to buy them.  New construction projects came to standstills, many of which have never been completed.  Foreclosures skyrocketed, and people who were asking a price that their home was actually worth were routinely shot down in favor of a deal.

There were just too many houses and not enough eligible buyers to turn the market around quickly.  This is the negative side of supply and demand.  When there’s too much supply (in this case I’m speaking of homes) and not enough demand (or sellers to buy said homes) prices on the supply drop exponentially.  Nearly anyone serious about selling a home at that time had to let their property go for a deal, or be stuck with it indefinitely.

Thankfully, that trend is beginning to turn around now, some seven years later.  You should absolutely take advantage of the beginnings of a prime supply and demand situation for you, the seller.  While 2006 and the immediate time thereafter worked against sellers, the market environment right now is leaning toward the seller’s favor!

Demand is High

According to the Existing Homes Sales Report, which is provided by the National Association of Realtors, there is much for you to be hopeful for if you put your home on the market right now.  According to their report, our economy hasn’t seen houses move as swiftly as they currently are since 2007.  Actually, annual sales rose from 2011 to 2012 by 9.2%!  What does that mean for you?  It means that you need to get yourself in gear, put your home on the market and get it sold.  There is a surplus of buyers waiting to just snatch it up!

Supply is Low

On top of their being more buyers who are serious about purchasing your property, there is also a huge shortage of homes actually available on the market.  Practically everyone is waiting for the big market turn around that will get them the best price for their effort…in theory.  In reality, right now is the time to move.  Less competition is great for you as the seller!  Can you imagine?  There literally hasn’t been this few homes available in eight years. (kcmblog)

Let’s Break This Down, Shall We?

  • Think about the little fact that there are fewer homes up for sale right now than there have been since 2005. Okay, have you absorbed that bit of information?
  • Combine that knowledge with the well-supported information stating that there are more buyers gobbling homes up than there have been since 2007 for just a teensy weensy minute.
  • Ding-ding-ding-ding! Did you get?  As the seller, supply and demand is currently working in your favor. Buyers want homes, but there aren’t many to choose from. You just won a ton of more interested viewers simply because there isn’t near as much competition as usual.
  • You might even be able to demand more money for your home in this kind of situation, not to mention that there is the distinct possibility of selling it more quickly.
  • Buyers are shopping for homes, and you need to take advantage of the situation by selling your little piece of heaven to them soon!


Reasons You Should Sell Your Home Right Now #4:  Low Interest Means Buying Power

buying-powerAlthough all of the above points are compelling reasons to sell your home right now, they are not the most convincing argument to support your cause.  Actually, the fact that the current low interest rates provide homebuyers far more buying power is the single most important reason to put your house on the market immediately.

You see, when interest rates are low, potential homebuyers have the ability to get approved for bigger loans far more easily.  The reasoning behind this phenomenon goes a little something like this; the borrower will have less money for interest costs pushing their monthly bill up, so they can afford to get a loan for a larger amount.  A little more simply stated, the lower interest rate a buyer locks in on, the bigger the loan they are actually able to obtain.

Let’s see if I can make this a little more clear with an example.  Keep in mind that this is an approximation, and not at all accurate down to the penny.  However, it can give you an idea of the way that your interested homebuyer’s buying power greatly affects the price that you are able to get for your home.

Let’s presume that you agree to take $280,000 for your home, and that this is a price your home will stand for.  Right now, your buyer could quite potentially obtain an interest rate of 3.3% – 3.5%, which is a little higher than the lowest we’ve seen in recent years, but still quite low as compared to the 1990’s and incredibly low compared to the 1980’s.

Surprising Facts

  • During the 1990’s, 6% – 7% interest rates were considered rock bottom.
  • However, in the 1980’s buyers were tickled pink to get a rate of 12%, and a 20% rate wasn’t uncommon for a home mortgage loan. Wow, right. (ohioprettyhomes)

Example of a Current Borrower’s Buying Power

Okay, back to the scenario at hand.  Your buyer’s just got a loan approval for $280,000 at a 3.3% interest rate over a 30-year mortgage loan term.  Of course, they offered a 10% down payment, as well.  This will give them a house payment of approximately $1,100, which is well within their budget.  Great!

Example of a Borrower’s Projected Buying Power in 2014

Now, let’s look at this same scenario, but let’s pretend that we’re looking at the projected interest rates for 2014 at a rounded figure of 4.5%.  Everything else surrounding your buyer’s loan is the same.  They are seeking a 30-year mortgage loan, and they need their monthly payment to be affordable at $1,100 per month.

Well, the only way to make that happen at this point is for you to drop your home’s fair price from $280,000 to $240,000.  That 1% interest difference means that you’re either going to have to wait for more buyers to come along who can actually afford a payment higher than $1,100 per month.  On the other hand, it could mean that you make $40,000 less profit than you would if you sold your home in today’s market.  And to think, you and your buyer could have benefited if only the move to buy and sale had been made sooner.  (ohioprettyhomes)

I highly recommend that you go ahead and put your home on the market while a borrower’s buying power is strong and steady.  More than anything else, a strong buying power is going to assist you in getting the very best price for your home.

By moving forward with your sale, your buyers win because they have a great home that is worth the price they are paying.   Likewise, they can actually afford to make their mortgage payment without too much sweat, blood and tears.  You win because you didn’t have to drop your asking price exponentially just to get it to sell, and you were able to make a sell quickly because your buyers knew they were getting a deal.  Everyone is happy and you all benefit from this situation.

I know that trying to sell a home after the horrific debacle the market has been through is quite frightening, but what I am presenting to you is backed by solid, trusted facts and projections. I understand your concerns, and simply want to see you make the best of an excellent money making situation.

Even if you haven’t had luck in the past selling your property, I can most assuredly help you to get your home moved in the here and now.   Please, feel free to contact me in the event that you are ready to take advantage of this great time for selling your home quickly and for a great price. Thank you!


Tardy mortgages decline; Fannie Mae profits rising

Tardy mortgages decline; Fannie Mae profits risingTardy mortgages decline; Fannie Mae profits rising

The improvement of housing prices, coupled with steady low interest rates, is allowing delinquent homeowners to sell out of their mortgages and avoid foreclosure.  Following the infamous housing bust of 2007, millions of families were hit hard due to unemployment rates skyrocketing and the amount of jobs available being nearly nonexistent. After years of housing market being jammed with foreclosed properties that forced down selling prices, things finally seem to be improving.

Proof of an upturn in the industry can be found within the mortgage monarchy. Fannie Mae reportedly made a profit of over 10 billion dollars in the second quarter, doubling the profit it made only one year ago. This is a much different scenario for the institute who had to have a government funded bailout of billions of dollars just to stay in business only 5 years ago. Fannie Mae predicts a lucrative future and the ability to pay taxes again very soon. “We had a strong second quarter,” stated their CEO “By Sept. 30 we will have paid $105 billion in dividends to the Treasury.”

With record low interest rates and a competitive housing market, home buyers are taking advantage and making that switch from rent to own. However, lenders are much more cautious with who they approve for these rates and loans.  Only a potential home buyer with a stellar credit rating can hope to be approved of rates as low as 4.4% fixed on 30 year mortgages and 3.43% fixed on 15 year mortgages.

Although unemployment is down, the crippled economy is still only recovering at a slow pace. We hope that the market will stay profitable for buyers, but as we’ve learned the hard way, things can change at the drop of a hat. Now would be an opportune time to take advantage of these historically low rates.

President requests the shut down of Government Sponsored Enterprises

President requests the shut down of Government Sponsored EnterprisesPresident requests the shut down of Government Sponsored Enterprises

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

-Robert Frost

Government sponsored enterprises (GSE’s) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in danger of being nonexistent institutions, due to Barack Obama calling for the demise. He is quoted as stating it’s “to bring private capital back into the mortgage market.” Having been established since the Great Depression, these two entities were began to aid bank lenders. Being able to come to Freddie or Fannie to sell their mortgages meant they could receive the cash equivalent of the loan directly, build back their net worth, and in turn be able to give out more loans. The two mortgage supernovas also offered an opportunity for large institutions to invest in hundreds to thousands of loans at once. Unfortunately, this well intended design not only collapsed during the Great depression, but also only a few years ago. In order to avoid the loss of the entire housing market, the federal government had to make good on their promise of protection against default and this promise came at taxpayer’s expense.

Fast forward to present day, Freddie and Fannie are finally back on their feet and looking to make a full recovery and the President wants to end them all together. Frankly, it just isn’t as easy as that. There are important questions to be answered before anyone should say if this idea is the way to go or not. These two institutions were created for a reason. There was a specific design to why they were needed. The effects on private home buying need to be addressed as well as who will fund these 30+ year loans with low interest rates if the major investors pull out of purchasing these types of loans. Could personal banks really lend over all this money to only a few loans and still be expected to have enough capital to enter into more mortgage loans? Would the long term lending agreements, as we know them, become a thing of the past? Is that really a wise move to make in this ever shaky economy?

When you break it down between typical lenders and hard money lenders, it’s easy to see how much a home buyer would be affected. While typical home loans only require a small amount of equity and maintain reasonable interest rates, an investment lender can require equity as high as 35% or more. Also, their interest rates seem to run fairly high from 5 to 10 percent (with 20% down payments). These are not stipulations most home buyers are able to contend with. Without secondary investors, where will this leave the buyer and the housing market? Obviously, lending would almost definitely cease to exist. Those few individuals financially secure enough to handle these rates would be hit with not only much larger down payments, but also higher borrow cost.

This would definitely be a hard hit for real estate agents, lenders, investors, home builders and several others. Even if the GSE’s were to disappear, some other type of conglomerate would have to be founded to shoulder the market functions that Freddie and Fannie were designed to do all that time ago.

However it may be developed, one thing is for certain; the most productive outcome will be brought forth by a bipartisan agreement. Conservatives will need to be happy with being out from under the government’s thumb and into a private investment situation, while the liberals will need the comfort of some of the older promises (i.e.: the stimulation of lending to underprivileged  communities and minorities). This all sounds well and good on paper, but would we really be able to convince those corporations with the type of capital it would take to make this work, that it is indeed a safe move on their part? It’s really not easy to predict where this would leave us.

The fence is there for a reason. We should know exactly what lies beyond it before we start to tear it down.

Creating the perfect summer getaway right in your own backyard

Creating the perfect summer getaway right in your own backyardCreating the perfect summer getaway right in your own backyard

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry  James

Summer relaxation is forever in the forefront of our minds; the perfect afternoon of lounging in the great outdoors with a cold fruity drink, while enjoying warm sunshine and cool afternoon breezes. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Well, with a few simple design tips, you can turn any outdoor sitting space into a summer oasis for you, your family, and your friends. It’s time to get it to have a place to sit back and truly enjoy summer.

Your new space needs to feel like an extension of your home, an outdoor living area, and it needs to be just as comfortable as your indoor living room. With some nice furniture, accessories and lighting, this will be easy to achieve.

Have a seat!

First, choose your furniture. Everyone’s style is a little bit different, so it’s good that there are choices as far as patio furniture.  There’s your standard wicker, your all weather resin, your basic metal, and your different types of wood. What you choose is clearly a personal choice, but keep in mind that resin and metal require less upkeep in the maintenance department.

The amount of space you have to work with can also influence your furniture choices. If you can’t fit a standard patio set, be creative! Benches, ottomans, and even hammocks are great choices for those lacking area in their oasis. Remember, no matter what you have to sit on, your objective is comfort and relaxation.


Nothing will bring your outdoor paradise to life like a little bit of style and a few personal touches. Let your outdoor area reflect your personality while keeping it inviting.

Keep in mind your desire for the outside area to be an extension of the inside area. What do you have inside that can be incorporated outside? How about pillows, cushions and rugs? All of these are available in beautiful bright colors and brassy bold patterns. It will be no problem to pick something that just screams “YOU!”

Cushions should be bought with remove able covers that can be laundered and changed out for each season. Rugs should be water, dirt, mold (and every other pesky outdoor problem) resistant. You can also opt for a rubber material slip resistant “rug” that just needs to be washed down and air-dried from time to time.

Mother Nature!

Of course in the great outdoors, we are naturally surrounded by nature. However, your summer getaway may benefit from a little addition here and there. It’s always pleasant to be encompassed by beauty.

Potted plants and flowers in exotic arrays of varying hues can really freshen up your sitting area. Pinks, reds, blue, and yellow totally engulfing your senses. Plus, don’t be afraid to go against conventional pots by using more eclectic choices. Old watering cans, faded teapots, colorful cracked pitchers, and assorted glass bowls are all amazing choices.

Lights! Camera! Action!

As the sun slowly sets beyond your spot of relaxation, now comes a perfect time to incorporate some special effects lighting to add a certain ambience at night.

Lots of little tea light candles or a few standard candles work well to create a natural light to hinder the darkness. Other good choices are Chinese lanterns or tiki torches. A nice fire pit can also offer much needed light on those cooler summer nights.


Your newfound summer refuge can easily go from a family sitting area to an entertaining area for your guests. Keeping it clean and tidy at all times will help you transition your friends from indoors to out whenever the mood strikes.

When you have guest over, a small table (antique is beautiful) would make a nice place for serving cocktails. Add a few colorful strings of light and a radio for background music, to make every gathering feel more like an occasion.

With a few minor touches, your relaxation haven can be a place of beautiful memories for every summer to come. Enjoy!

Positive changes in the world of real estate

Positive changes in the world of real estatePositive changes in the world of real estate

Things seem to be looking up for those of us in real estate and development! Sources at the Commerce Department report that the housing market for new homes in July escalated by almost 6%, due in part to an uprising in the development of apartment buildings and multifamily units. Contracted building of these types of dwellings increased over 25%. In contrast, single family homes dropped off by over 2%.

With construction of these large projects on the rise, relief seems to be eminent for our housing market, which began floundering after the economic decline of 2007. Due to a plethora of foreclosed homes on the market caused by this slump, sale prices have been bottomed out and financial strain has plagued both buyers and builders. Fortunately, this scenario looks to be slowly improving. The economy is definitely on a slight upturn with employment increasing by a moderate percentage. That, paired with the record low interest rates that are still in place, has people out home buying and business is, therefore, increasing.

Despite the current monopoly being claimed by apartments and multi homes, there is some evidence that single family home construction will improve in the months to come. Although things seemed to have stalled out for the moment, building applications exceeded single family home starts in July. That, in itself, is a positive factor pointing toward a slight rise in the last quarter of this year.

After four back to back months of housing gain, and an enthusiasm for new home purchases, builders are the most confident they’ve been since 2005. The increase of motivated buyers inquiring about housing has them feeling sure enough that they now can see a glimmer of hope for the housing market. It may actually be fixed in the near future. Housing prices are stable, the amounts of available homes for sale are down, and the need for building new dwellings is rising. Conditions are definitely better than they were just one year ago.

There’s also great news for the potential home buyer. According to mortgage mogul Freddie Mac, interest rates have hit a momentary stalemate. At only 1.1% above their lowest record set in November of 2012, and after a slight rise in the early and middle part of this year, current mortgages on a $200,000 purchase are only up $125.00 a month, making it an opportune time to invest in a new real estate property.

5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Improve your Home for Sale

5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Improve your Home for Sale5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Improve your Home for Sale

Prepping your current home for addition to the selling market is vital. Buyers are more apt to appreciate and remember a home that has had a slight makeover. The expenses of upgrading with professionals could run you into thousands of dollars. Fortunately, with a little elbow grease and imagination, it is possible to spruce up your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers on your own.

The first step is to take care of the outside of your property. When it comes to touring homes, buyers can, and will, “judge a book by its cover”. I personally learned this when shopping for my own house. If your property is overgrown with vegetation, has faded paint, and crooked shutters, no buyer is going to even give the inside a chance. I’ve had clients, who upon first glance at a property didn’t even take the time to get out of the car. You have to beautify your area to draw the proper attention.

-Keep your lawn cut and your shrubbery cut back. Make sure it doesn’t block the view of the outside of the home, or the view from the inside through the windows. Plant fresh flowers or keep them in a pot by the front door. This will brighten your entryway and make it very appealing.

-Pressure- wash all outside surfaces to remove dust and mildew. Wash the windows and light fixtures to make them shine. Straighten your shutters and put new knobs and locks on the doors.

-Paint where it is needed. If those previously crooked shutters are faded then add a coat of exterior paint. Do the mailbox if it’s weathered or opt to buy a new one that’s relatively inexpensive.

-Put out a nice new mat to welcome guests into your home and have the number of your address neatly painted or hung for easy viewing. You can purchase numbers to be displayed at local home improvement stores rather cheaply.

Once you’ve completed the outside projects, the second step is to move indoors. It’s time to clean it out! No one wants to enter your home and find a cluttered unkempt mess.

-Remove excess furniture to open up your rooms and make them appear larger. Rearrange all storage areas (pantry, linen closet, bedroom closets, etc.) and keep them in an orderly fashion. It wouldn’t be good for a buyer to open a closet door upon inspection, only to have mountains of your things come crashing down.

-Hang up beautiful pictures, but remove personal photos.

-Repair damaged walls that have nail holes. Putty kits and sandpaper are what you need to make this look professional and they are very inexpensive.

Your third step will be to paint the inside of your home. Nothing sells better than a few coats of neutral toned paint. You want those walls to stand out, but you don’t want them too dark or too light (white). Most buyers want to purchase a home that will be “move in ready” as far as paint and repairs. It’s one less thing they’ll need to contend with.

-Make sure every room is painted that same neutral color.

-Skip painting the ceilings. It gives the appearance of more height when the two colors contrast against each other.

-Be sure to buy paint for the trim or banisters. Years of fingerprints and grime can be hard to clean off. Painting it will help bring life back to drab colors also.

This leads us to step four, cleaning. It is imperative to keep your home spotless when it’s on the market. You can hire people to clean your home from top to bottom, but that’s going to cost you a lot of money. With a few simple touches, your house will look and feel like new again.

-Dust your furniture and ceiling fans intensely. I’ve seen homes that had 2-3 inches of dust on the surfaces and the fan blades. It’s not attractive at all. Scrub your floors and clean your grout. If people think you were lax about cleaning, they’re more inclined to think you were the same with all other upkeep.

-Carpets! Carpets! Carpets! The first thing a buyer usually inspects is the carpeting. I can not stress enough how important it is for you to steam clean them. You can rent a machine and try to do it yourself, or you can hire a carpet cleaning company if it’s especially dirty. Either way, you will come out much better than replacing all the carpeting in the house.


Step number four is usually the easiest. Special little touches in the bathroom can go a long way! The most expensive thing to be done here would be replacing a stained up toilet. You can do it yourself though, and on the low. Stained showers can usually be remedied with a special cleaner to remove lime and rust.

-Update you lighting and bathroom counter. Choose dual bright lights above the sink and a vanity color that works well with the neutral colored walls.

-Buy new towels, wash cloths, shower curtains and liners to enhance a feeling of newness.

-Keep your toothpaste, mouthwash, hairspray and other toiletries under the sink and out of view.

-Give your bathroom an oasis appeal. Candles, bubble bath and bath beads visible in delicate glass containers, and fluffy towels displayed in wicker baskets should do the trick. Make it a place they can imagine themselves slipping away to after a long day of work.

The fifth and final step could cost you the most depending on what needs to be done. An updated kitchen is essential in any home. It needs to be warm and inviting while also conveying a modern feel.

-Update your lighting. Make sure to use fixtures that bring brightness into the room. This is especially important if you don’t have a lot of natural light entering through the windows.

-Repaint or stain older cabinets and install new knobs and hinges to breath fresh life into your kitchen.

-Replace leaky faucets and sinks.

-If your countertops are really outdated they must have a facelift of sorts. If you can’t afford to buy a new granite slab, then redo the grout in a fresh color or cover the countertops in a new tile.

Revamping your home with professionals may be out of the question, but a few do-it-yourself projects can save you plenty of cash. Have your agent do a walk through when your repairs are complete and see what a difference there is in her opinion of your home. This way you’ll know if you’ve done enough to liven up your house or if you need to add a little more zest.

An easy to understand guide to home buying

An easy to understand guide to home buyingAn easy to understand guide to home buying

When you finally make the decision to buy a home, you need to get informed on how the whole process takes place. Gaining knowledge will leave you feeling knowledgeable and in control. It helps to settle nerves and doubts if you know exactly what you are entering into beforehand.

Is buying a home the right choice for you?

Some people are meant to be homeowners and some aren’t. It’s really a decision made by you. Are you comfortable having an obligation to pay a set mortgage amount, on the same home, to the same lender for the next thirty years? Or do you feel like renting is less demanding and a better option for you? It’s best to figure out exactly what you want at the beginning and not when you’re already under contract on a new home.

Get your finances into tip- top shape

You need your credit to be at its best before attempting to buy a home. Have your credit report pulled. Catch up any delinquencies, pay down balances, and dispute any problems. Having a spotless credit report will increase your home buying success and lower your interest rates. Contact a lender and ask about current rates and fees.

Decide what an acceptable down payment is to you. The higher your down payment, the less your monthly mortgage payment will be. Keep in mind though, that the type of loan you get can also affect the down payment. If you go with an FHA the interest rate and the down payment can be considerably lower than a standard loan. When you know which type of loan you qualify for, get a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender stating exactly how much you can be financed for.

Hire a real estate agent to lead the way

Real estate agents have volumes of experience in their field. They will lead you on what decisions to make and what mistakes not to make. Interview different agents and find the one you are most comfortable with since you will be working closely with this person through the duration of your buying process.

Know how to haggle before you make an offer

In order to get a good price on a home, you need to know how to negotiate. Often times, an initial offer will receive a counter offer. This is an offer made in response to your first offer, which for some reason wasn’t acceptable to the seller. A counteroffer changes your initial offer (usually making it more agreeable for the seller.) Responding with a counteroffer allows the seller to decline your first offer, while allowing negotiations to move forth.

Get inspections and disclosures

Have the home inspected and know which disclosures you are legally entitled to receive (for example, the disclosure of lead based paint and major structural defects). Have a final inspection done prior to closing as added protection. You want to make sure that everything is still the same as when you agreed to purchase the house.


Closing usually occurs 1-2 months after your offer was accepted by the seller. Have your movers ready to go and the insurance company with the best rate picked out. The time leading up to closing can seem to take forever, but once it finally arrives; things start to happen very quickly. Do yourself a favor and be prepared in advance.

Selling your home? Have a plan in place.

Selling your home - Have a plan in placeSelling your home? Have a plan in place.

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

We as human beings tend to act on impulse. We throw caution to the wind and go for it. It can make life worth living and instill a sense of thrill into the every day normal grind. We need to realize though, that there is a time and place for such a nonchalant attitude. The home selling process is not one of these times. You need to be focused and have a selling plan in place before you make any moves with your real estate. Put a plan into action where you set forth conditions that you will follow prior to listing your home for sale.

Know why you want to sell your home first. Is it because you want to buy another house? If so, then research the neighborhoods where you have interest and compare the homes with yours. Are they older? Do they cost more? Is the neighborhood as pleasing as your current location? Be serious with your decision. Don’t just have a wild idea to sell one day and run with it. Make a list of pros and cons for moving and then see what your options are.

If selling your home still sounds like the thing to do after you’ve deliberated for a time, meet with listing agents in your area. Interview a few and see how they plan to help you sell your property. Like you, your agent also needs a plan. They should be able to sit down and inform you exactly how they will sell your home while answering any questions you might have. A good listing agent will be able to tell you what repairs are a priority, how you can make your home more “buyer friendly”, and what is a reasonable asking price. Don’t get caught up in agent bidding wars to represent you and sell your home. Houses that are priced too high will sit for longer periods of time and eventually sell for less than their market worth. The price that you ask for your home isn’t necessarily going to be what you get.  Have a number in mind that is the absolute lowest you would take on your home. Contact your current lender to find out what your payoff amount is and stay comfortably above this figure.

Every home buyer needs a preapproval letter from a reputable lender. Be aware of current interest rates, lender fees, and loan types. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. Also, be sure to sell your current home before you try to enter into a contract on a new home. Having patience will save you a lot of headache in the long run.

Ornamental grasses spruce up your garden

Ornamental grasses spruce up your gardenOrnamental grasses spruce up your garden

“The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly”. –William Wordsworth

Most new gardeners choose to incorporate an abundance of plants with colorful flashy flowers into their design. Albeit beautiful, flowering plants only bloom for a month or two out of the entire year. To keep your garden attractive during the rest of the time, look to ornamental grasses for a vibrant contrast that requires very little maintenance. The longevity of ornamental grasses will keep the area interesting for 3-4 seasons during a year.

Ornamental grasses come in a wide variety of colors. From basic green to black, orange, brown, red and blue; there’s nothing mundane about the hues of this grass. Color isn’t the only appealing feature though. The texture of these grasses usually differs a great deal from other plants in the garden. They truly stand out amongst large bold leaves and small fine leaves, with their long narrow blades. The feel and visual enhancement would definitely help to add a new and exciting texture. Experiment with placing ornamental grasses next to your other shrubs and bushes. Pairing dark against light and mixing colors can create quite a dramatic effect in gardening. The results are absolutely stunning. Whether you decide to use them alone as a focal point for your garden or in a mass group to give the feel of a gentle meadow, ornamental grass can be a nice addition to your space.

The 10 top ornamental grasses:

Blue fescue- Thin blue blades with flowering that is slim and blue-green

Blue oat grass- Stiff bluish blades with wheat hued flowers

Feather reed grass- Green with silvery bronze to purple flowers

Fountain grass- Dark green with large rose colored flowers

Indian grass- Blue-green leaves which turn purplish-blue amid golden and burnt red flowers

Japanese forest grass- Golden stems with a red/pink tinge

Japanese blood grass- Bright green leaves at the bottom and deep red from the middle to the top with silver/white flowers

Maiden- Tufts of green with silvery pastel pink/brown flowers

Pampas grass- Medium green with silver flowers tinged with pink or purple

Switch grass- Green or metallic-blue leaves with purple/green flowers

Tips to know before you purchase short sale property

Tips to know before you purchase short sale propertyTips to know before you purchase short sale property

When interested in buying short sale property it is always wise to be realistic. Although not impossible, the odds of actually having the purchase go through are as little as 0.1%. Property listed as a short sale isn’t for sale through a bank. The owner’s of the property are trying to offer their home at a low cost to get out of their mortgage obligations before foreclosure. Even if the house is listed way below value and seems “for sale”, that’s not exactly the case. The original lender has to approve an offer first. If you’re not going to enter into the process with a practical bid, then it’s best to not even bother.

Some short sales are priced so extremely low that it’s laughable. At 20-30% of the mortgage loan, these homes usually receive numerous offers from different buyers. The bank has no intention of accepting any bid at this amount. If you are prepared to come into negotiations with a fair price that’s close to current market value, you still may still have a chance to buy the short sale.

The first and most important step to buying a short sale is to do your research. Find out how much the seller still owes on the mortgage and how many liens are against it. Be sire to hire an agent that is an expert in short sales. The agent will be able to tell you who the lender is for the mortgage and how willing they may be to accept a short sale offer. Some banks are not as willing to participate in this type of sale. Others don’t have a problem with it. The short sale agent will be able to tell you which type bank you’re dealing with.

Your personal agent will not be allowed to communicate with the bank on your behalf. The listing agent for the short sale will submit all your information and your offer. If the listing agent isn’t familiar with short sale, it may not be a good idea to go forth with the process. Without experience, you risk the chance that your offer will be denied.  The listing agent should have all financial paperwork from the seller in their package ready to be presented. This includes a hardship letter, bank statements, tax returns, check stubs and W-2 forms. When the listing agent doesn’t have these documents available from the beginning, you should consider that a red flag. Either the seller isn’t working with the agent to get their documents in or the agent isn’t familiar with the short sale package and hasn’t told the seller they need to be turned in.

Once it’s been determined that all documentation is accounted for and things are moving in the right direction, find out how many offers have been made on the short sale property. Short sales usually have an offer that is way below what the seller asked, an offer that is exactly what the seller asked for, an offer that is slightly higher, and one that is tremendously more than asking price. Although you won’t know the terms of these offers, it’s good to know how many they have so you are aware what you’re competing against. Your offer needs to beat theirs, but still stay under current market value.

It’s important to understand that even if your offer does go before the bank, waiting for short sale approval takes time, and someone could come along and outbid you. The agent representing you should be made aware if you are willing to raise your offer, so they can then pass that information on to the seller.

Is my security alarm a good idea while my home is on the market?

Is my security alarm a good idea while my home is on the marketIs my security alarm a good idea while my home is on the market?

Certain situations may cause your home to be vacant while it is for sale and on the market. It may seem like a good idea to arm your security system in order to avoid burglars and for added protection, but it could become quite a hassle to agents who are trying to show your home to interested buyers. Many occasions of setting off the alarm have arisen from agents who failed to follow simple directions. Whether it is a lack of understanding of how to work the alarm, or not reading far enough into the listing to see a security code is needed, current false alarms are not likely to sit well with responding armed security or the police department. You can try to label the property as being shown only by appointment. Yet, overzealous agents are still apt to not pay any attention and enter the property anyway, setting off the incessant beeping and alerting the authorities.

So, what exactly should you do?

Reasons to set the security system

Only you as the seller know the current conditions and the crime rate of the area that your home is located in. If there is a high chance of someone breaking into your home, then by all means, set the alarm. If it causes you anxiety to know that your home is obviously unoccupied and you can’t relax because of it, it may be better for your sanity to know that it is set.

Reasons to pass on setting your security system

All of the false alarms are likely to become a problem, either for the neighbors, your agent or even for you. Some companies and cities charge a fee for false alarms that go over a certain limit. If every Tom, Dick, and Harry is tripping your system every other day, that could get extremely expensive for you! Also, realize that once your code is out there it isn’t 100% protected like when it was just you who knew it. If it gets posted on your listing, anyone who is with the showing agent could see it. There are honest people in the world, but that doesn’t mean everyone who sees your home is. It opens doors for those people, or even people that they may know, to be able to reenter your home with out an agent.  You can’t protect your password either. If an agent sets off the alarm and has to give your password to the security company, guess who just heard what it is? That’s right, the same people who could reenter at a later time…..and now they don’t need the code if they didn’t see it. Of course, you can always make your agent be present at every showing. That isn’t very feasible when your agent has a schedule and life of her own. Potential buyers may be turned off if they can’t see the home when it’s best for them. Some of them may decide to just bypass being shown your home altogether and cost you an actual sale.

Security and protection of your belongings is, without a doubt, very important. Just remember the problems listed here before you make a final decision about your alarm.

You Signed The Listing Agreement – What Next?

You Signed The Listing Agreement – What Next?

You Signed The Listing Agreement – What NextSigning the listing agreement when selling your home will set into motion a chain of events that you need to know about. You cannot expect buyers to come rushing just because you asked a real estate agent to help you sell your home. There are various things that take place after you sign the listing agreement. Though there may be some variations depending on the state you live in, here is an overview of what usually happens.

Before Showing the Home to Buyers

Your agent will be one busy person after you have signed the listing agreement. The agent is responsible for guiding you to improve the appeal of your home to make it more attractive for potential buyers. It is quite likely the agent will provide you some tips on how to do so. Moreover, the agent will also confirm the details about the home, discuss financing options, make sure there are no encumbrances, and also take pictures of the home if necessary. Only when the agent gives you the go-ahead can you show your home to interested parties.

While the Home is Listed

The next stage begins when the home is officially listed for sale. At this point, you will have to go through a mountain of paperwork. Most of it is related to information about the home. You will need to share any information that may influence the decision of a potential buyer. You might also be required to disclose whether the neighborhood the home is in is safe and ideal for living. The agent will be in constant contact with you to make sure the paperwork is duly completed. You can also expect some potential buyers to check out your home.

After the Offer

The last stage is when one of the interested parties makes a formal offer for purchasing the home. Needless to say, this is the thing you would have been waiting for. However, a common mistake sellers make is selecting the buyer who makes the highest bid. You need to keep in mind that the highest offer may not necessarily be the best. If you only get one offer, you don’t need to think much. In case there are multiple offers, the agent will guide you towards selecting the best one. You can respond by accepting or rejecting the offer outright, or making a counter-offer with a higher price. It is up to you to negotiate the best price for your home.

These are the 3 stages the selling process of your home will go through once you have signed the listing agreement. Be prepared so that you can sell off the home without any hassle.

Selling a Home – Reasons You May Not Find Any Buyers

Selling a Home – Reasons You May Not Find Any Buyers

Selling a Home Reasons You May Not Find Any BuyersWhen putting a ‘For Sale’ sign in your front yard, you may assume that it won’t take long for your home to be sold off. However, you never know, it may take a few months before anything substantial takes place. The problem with houses that have been listed for a while is that no one really wants to buy them. In your mind, you may have the most wonderful home on the planet and you left no stone unturned to make it perfect for impressing potential buyers. Yet, you get no luck at all. Why is it so? There can be a number of reasons for this.

The Price Tag Is Way above the True Value

For you, your home may hold special emotional value, particularly if you have lived there for some time. For the average buyer, the price tag should reflect the true value of the home rather the value you attach to it. Be realistic and fair and charge a price that is based on the real value. This way, you will have a better chance of finding a buyer.

The Price is High Considering the Neighborhood

Through no fault of your own, the price of your home may appear high to the buyer. This is often the case when the price you are asking for is above the general level in the neighborhood. You have to make sure there isn’t a huge gap between your asking price and the prices of the homes surrounding it.

The Design Doesn’t Make the Grade

In your opinion, décor of the decades gone by may have been the best but considering a buyer’s perspective, he/she would have to spend a substantial sum of money to redesign the home. You will have to take the fall for an outdated home design.

The Home Is Cluttered

A big turn-off for buyers is to inspect a home where there is too much stuff belonging to the owner. This doesn’t just include the furniture and fixtures but also the pictures on the wall. Make sure you move as many of your belongings out of the way as possible before showing off your home to an interested party.

These are the factors that you can control to a certain extent. Making the necessary adjustments will make it easier for you to find a buyer. However, there are some things that are beyond your control. For instance, you cannot do much if the house is in a bad location or was designed poorly by the architect. You also have to keep in mind that the real estate market has been in a state of turmoil since 2008 when the bubble burst. That may also prove to be a factor.

Sometimes, it may be beyond your reach to influence buyers to show interest in your home. But if you can, make sure you do make the necessary changes required to improve your chances of selling the house.

Purchasing a Home – The 3 Stages After the Offer Is Signed

Purchasing a Home – The 3 Stages After the Offer Is Signed

Purchasing a Home The 3 Stages After the Offer Is SignedPurchasing a home can be a complex process, especially if you are not prepared for what’s coming. The most important step is when you sign the purchase offer after viewing the listing and discussing it with your real estate agent. You can never be certain of how the seller will react unless you make an offer that is beyond their wildest expectations. Since that is unlikely to happen, let’s look at the other possible scenarios.

The Seller’s Response

The first thing you need to consider is the seller’s response once you sign the purchase offer. He/she can do one of three things. First is to simply reject the offer, in which case there is nothing left for you to do. Secondly, he/she can make a counter-offer, which is usually with a higher price tag attached to the home. You can decide whether or not you want to pay the increased price. Lastly, your offer may be accepted there and then.

This does make things simple as you know the deal is going through. At this point, the escrow kicks in to ensure you stay true to your word. There are 3 stages to follow till you get complete ownership and possession of the house.

Getting the Contingencies Out of the Way

Contingencies are factors that may influence your decision to purchase the home. They may include financing, home inspection, hygiene tests, etc. You have to specify a date at which you will complete the activity that gives you a formal answer as to whether the contingency has been dealt with or not.  Unless the contingencies don’t meet your expectations, there is no way the deal will fall through. In case one of the contingencies requires more time to complete, you can ask for an extension.

The Home Appraisal

The home appraisal can prove to be the make-or-break stage of the process. In case both agents (yours and the seller’s) agree on the value of the home, there is no reason why the appraiser will think differently. However, it is also possible he/she puts a value on the home that is lower or higher than the listed price at which you agreed to buy it. Though the higher value goes in your favor, a lower appraisal will make it difficult for you to borrow money. After all, you are paying more than the house is worth. In this case, you can either arrange the cash or ask the seller to lower the price. Or else, just walk away.

Sealing the Deal

The final stage is when the sale is being closed. You have little to do at this stage. You will only need to sign some papers and purchase homeowners’ insurance. Your agent will take care of the rest. Also, you will be required to participate in a walkthrough of the home to assure you that the home is in the same condition as when you selected it for purchase.

It is only after these 3 stages are complete that you will become the rightful owner of the home!

The Disadvantages of Purchasing Foreclosures

The disadvantages of purchasing foreclosures

The disadvantages of purchasing foreclosuresPeople are often lured in by the extremely low prices on foreclosures that fill oodles of online and television ad space. They often believe that they can stroll into a public or private auction and bid immensely low offers on these homes. The problem with this belief is that a majority of the properties are not allowing inspection prior to purchase. If one can get the foreclosure for an unheard of low cost, it may actually be worth the overhead of repairs to return it back to market value. Unfortunately, there’s no “what you see is what you get” when there is no access to view the inside of the home. Stop and consider these disadvantages before you commit to buying any foreclosure.

Who is the property occupied by?

When someone lives in the foreclosed property it will ultimately be left up to the buyer to evict the occupants. These could include friends, relatives, or renters of the previous owners. Often times, eviction can turn into a rather unpleasant experience.

  • Always have legal representation before starting an eviction process if you aren’t 100% sure of how eviction works.
  • When a forced eviction is unavoidable, the current occupants may react by damaging the property.
  • You may actually get a more positive response by offering cold hard cash to get them to move out without incident.

Non-owner occupant homes

Non-owner occupant homes differ from owner-occupant homes in that they tend to have lower risk credit characteristics, but also weaker incentives to maintain mortgage or rent payments when properties go into foreclosure. This can sometimes lead to motions of deficiency judgments being filed against the seller. A deficiency judgment is an unsecured money judgment against a borrower whose mortgage foreclosure sale did not produce sufficient funds to pay the underlying promissory note, or loan, in full.

Foreclosed property conditions

When owners are forced into foreclosure on their property, it isn’t unheard of for them to go numb, so to speak, with their responsibilities of upkeep on their home. They simply don’t care to spend money looking after their property anymore.

  • Some owners will sell everything that can be removed. (From light fixtures to kitchen appliances. Sometimes even the kitchen sink, if they can get it out!)
  • Owners quit putting forth any money or effort to fix things that have broken or need repairing.
  • The extent of the damage that can be caused by a disgruntled homeowner is astounding! There are cases of destruction being so extreme that walls are torn down, rooms are flooded, and pipes or wiring are stripped out.
  • Some of the most vindictive owners have even gone so far as to lock their “pets” or other animals inside the home to die and decompose.

Buying foreclosures should be entered into with caution. It is not a process for first time buyers to enter into and should only be tackled by the most seasoned of professionals. Sadly, these are the worst case scenario, hard core facts of foreclosures. Be sure to take them to heart.

Writing offers that win foreclosures

Writing offers that win foreclosures

Writing offers that win foreclosuresUnder priced Reo foreclosures will often bring in multiple competitive offers. If you are in the market for this type of property, there are a few things you can do to ensure the best possible (winning) offer is submitted.

1.       Find out the history of the foreclosed home

Use an agent to help you find out what the original mortgage price was in the current foreclosure and compare that with the asking price that the bank has now. Try to choose an offer price as close to the middle of these two amounts as possible. This is usually the amount that the lender will be willing to accept.

2.       Compare the foreclosure with market value prices

  • Active listings will help other interested buyers figure out the price that they will ultimately offer. Do your own comparing to be prepared.
  • Find homes that are already under contract, and have your real estate representative try to find out what offer price was accepted by the lender. (Sometimes an agent can find this out, and sometimes they won’t be able to.)
  • Check the last few months of sales in the foreclosures neighborhood to deduce market value. You should be able to compare the home with similar properties to find it’s actual worth.

3.       Figure out the listing agents foreclosure selling strategies

  • Have your real estate rep search for the agent on the MLS website.
  • Type in the agents name in the website search engine in order to pull up their last quarters listings.
  • Find out how much more the sales price was for these homes versus the list price. If the sales price is a certain percentage higher than the list price, then you may need to raise your offer a few percent as well.

4.       Inquire about the amount of offers on the REO foreclosure

  • The higher the amount of offers on this foreclosure, the higher you will probably have to bid to have a chance at purchase. Multiple offers usually drive the sales price higher on highly sought after foreclosures. Also, realize that when there are an abundance of offers, that some of them may be for straight cash, which banks love. In order to finance, you might need to raise your offer quite a substantial bit in order for the bank to consider it. (On positive note, though: If there are no other bids on the foreclosed property, you can actually put in an offer that is less than the asking price.)

5.       Get a letter of preapproval in advance

  • You obviously need a preapproval letter in order for a lender to take you seriously about purchasing a home. An even better preapproval letter is one that comes from the listed lender of the foreclosure themselves. Of course, don’t plan to use this bank for financing of your loan. Just know that the lender will trust it’s own loan department before any other.

 6.       Offer a shorter period of time for inspection

  • What this basically means, is that you are going to beat the other potential buyers in terms of time. Let’s say they ask for 20 days to have the home inspected. That’s when you come in with a low ball number and offer to have it done in 9.

 7.       Repairs and inspections

  • Don’t expect the REO lender to pay for having the home inspected or for any repairs that need to be made prior to you having your offer accepted. Only then, can you resubmit a proposal for having the repairs made.

 8.       Splitting costs with the bank

  • Sweeten your offer by splitting fees with the lender. These include fees associated with transfer, escrow and title. It’s a good rule of thumb to work closely with the lender if you want your offer accepted.


However you decide to bid on a foreclosure, it is imperative that you keep ion mind that appraisal will play a key part in this process. When you make an offer for more than the home is listed for, the appraisal has to be in agreement with that offer. When the appraisal comes in low compared to your offer, don’t worry. That means it will come in low for the next financing buyers in the bidding war, too. That leaves you time to make a new lower offer and renegotiate.

Short sale or Foreclosure? That is the question.

Short sale or Foreclosure That is the questionShort sale or Foreclosure? That is the question.

Many factors will influence the decision seller’s make of whether or not to try a short sale on their home, or just allow it to go into foreclosure. Each situation is unique for each individual. Seller’s must take into account the condition of the property, how much debt is still owed, and a time frame to meet all requirements in. (Someone suffering from illness or going through a divorce may need to unload their property more quickly). As an interested investor or buyer, you can help them make this decision by discussing the following lists with them.

Why Short Sale Is a Good Idea

  1. They won’t be required to pay rent or mortgage payments while living in the home during the short sale process. This allows time for them to stash a little money back and build the amount in their bank accounts.
  2. If the short sale is done in a timely matter, no payments will be missed on the home.
  3. The sellers could actually come out not owing anything at all. (The difference of what was owed on the home versus the selling price.)
  4. Short sales are on the rise and process has gotten easier.
  5. If their home debt is forgiven, they may not owe any taxes on the property.
  6. Automatic qualification for short sale is not out of the question.
  7. Moving money may be supplied to them for up to $30,000.
  8. The property will sale “as is”, requiring no effort on their part to fix or renovate before it’s sold.
  9. Short sales aren’t such a hard blow to a seller’s credit report.

Why Short Sale May Be a Bad Idea

  1. Major lenders may be picky and turn down what you consider to be a reasonable offer.
  2. It is not an easy process to undergo on your own when you don’t have proper representation to lead you.
  3. Without this representation that knows the ins and outs of short sale, the bank could ultimately try to obtain money from you later. You have to know which rights to waive.
  4. Foreclosure of the property could occur anyway. Such as, if a buyer has a change of heart and decides to retract his offer.

Be sure to mention that it’s always best to know the laws and legalities of your own specific area. For example, some states have statues that protect a homeowner in a foreclosure, but not in a short sale. You need to know the exact rules that pertain to your situation.

What you, the buyer, should tell the seller

  1. That you know this a short sale and are more than willing (and able) to pay cash for the property.
  2. You are well educated in the short sale process and would like to communicate with them on a regular basis. This promises that you want the sale to go smoothly. Let them know you are serious about buying this home.

What the seller and/or Listing agent should tell you

  1. What the valuation of the property is and when it was done.
  2. If the seller is willing to be cooperative with a short sale.
  3. If the title has been pulled.
  4. The names of the lenders on the home.
  5. The stage of the process they’ve reached with the lender.
  6. If they are behind on any homeowner’s association dues.

It’s to your benefit to find out as much information as you can. This allows you to decide if it’s better to pass over this property and go on to another one.

Reasons For You To Buy Short Sale

  1. Not everyone knows how the short sale process is conducted. This may lead to a home buying opportunity on homes that other people have passed by.
  2. It’s possible to purchase a short sale more than 15% below market price.
  3. You could have a large say so in the price that the home will sell for.
  4. You can keep involved with the property even without supplying Earnest Money.
  5. You can make offers on multiple listings without having to close on them all at the same time.

Reasons Not To Buy Short sales

  1. If you plan to rent or lease the home, you could have to hold the property for 1-4months, costing you a loss in profit.
  2. Emotionally charged sellers may damage the property before the final signing. You would then be responsible for paying for all repairs that resulted from them.
  3. Even after all your hard work and time, the property could still go into foreclosure in the end.

In conclusion, you can try to help make short sales a viable choice for motivated sellers. Yet, at the same time, you must go over the pros and cons of the specific short sale yourself to see if it’s the right one for you.

To lease or not to lease?

To lease or not to leaseTo lease or not to lease?

Leasing back to a seller in a turnkey rental sounds like a perfect scenario for a short sale situation. In actuality, this isn’t the case at all. It’s rarely the easy road that one may think they are taking. It’s full of potholes, rocks, and washouts. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

These people are human beings; human beings who are often hurting and extremely emotional since the short sale was due to impending foreclosure. It may seem like a kind act to offer to rent them this house (and it really is kind), but you must keep in mind that this was THEIR home until just recently. They worked with the bank who was trying to take their home away from them to help you purchase what they probably worked very long and hard for. It may start off graciously with everything running smooth, but this can be a short lived situation that eventually ends in bitterness and resentment.

You must also take note that once you enter into that short sale contract with the bank lender that you are legally obligated to abide by their rules and contingencies. These may be placed strictly on you, or between you and the seller. Read over all of your paperwork very carefully. Many lenders will specify quite clearly that you CAN NOT rent the house back to the previous borrowers. It is always best to follow their stipulations so as not to risk getting your short sale cancelled or get faced with serious charges for breech of contract.

There are many ways to find renters with no sentimental attachment to your new property. You can place ads previewing your home on websites to see what kind of feedback you get. You can pass out flyers or talk with neighbors to see if they know anyone interested. (This is a plus, by the way. Most people would love the opportunity to help pick their neighbors). Keep the names and numbers of interested parties and leads. When you finally do reach closing, you’ll have a plethora of possible people to rent to right at your fingertips.

In conclusion, don’t take what appears to be an “easy” route. If it’s too good to be true, most of the time it is. Ina worst case scenario, renting to short sale sellers could leave you legally, emotionally, and financially broke.

Buying “inexpensive” foreclosures

Buying inexpensive foreclosuresBuying “inexpensive” foreclosures

Let’s be honest. Everyone would love to find a sweet deal on a foreclosed home. Most people, buyers and investors, are under the impression that it’s fairly easy to do so. They often want a top dollar home for very little foreclosure money. Unfortunately, that’s not how foreclosures work in real life.

People think this is an everyday occurrence due to popular ads that they see everyday. It’s advertised all over television and the newspaper. They pop up every time you log onto the internet.

“Foreclosed homes take over the housing market!”

“Banks bombarded with thousands of foreclosures!”

“There’s never been a better time to buy! Own your new foreclosure for as little as $500.00!”

Obviously, these statements are very false. The main stream media ads will leave you to believe that you can just about name your own price on these foreclosures. All while, the bank president is feeding you grapes and begging you to take these properties off of their hands. Um, that’s not actual or factual, my friend.

Things aren’t always the way they appear to be

Foreclosures are, of course, going to be less expensive than when they first sold, but the banks are NOT selling them for less than retail value. It may seem like you’re going to score a foreclosed home for 50% below what it’s worth, but the market is what sets the pricing. Therefore, ALL the homes in that same neighborhood are now valued at similar prices, not just the foreclosures.

Finding reasonably cheap foreclosures

When you’re searching in MLS for foreclosed homes, keep in mind that these prices represent the current market value for that area. The homes have been appraised by professional real estate agents whom the bank brings in to tell them a realistic asking price. Once the home is listed, other agents become interested for their own clients. An all out bidding war can begin. This usually leads to multiple offers on that one foreclosure, and that leads to rising sale prices. It can actually boost a foreclosed home sale price over current market value.

Don’t despair. There are a few places that may help you meet your desire for a cheap foreclosure.

  1. 1.       At a public auction.

There are always listings for public auctions in newspapers and online. There are even websites dedicated solely to them (although you may be charged a fee for using those). You can even call your local sheriff’s office to see if they have any information on upcoming auctions in your area. If you decide to go with a public auction, be sure to hire a title company before you make a bid. They will make sure that the title is clean, with no liens, back taxes, or defaulted dues. Should there be any of those issues and you purchase the home, those debts then become your responsibility to pay for.

  1. 2.       At a private auction.

Private auction houses will typically allow financing on cheaper foreclosures (versus the usual cash policy of public auctions).  You can find these listings through the web or in your local paper. On a side note, it’s always a good idea to take a buyer’s agent or legal representation with you when you go to place a bid.

  1. 3.       Straight from the bank.

In certain situations, you may be able to contact a lender directly to offer a bid on an existing foreclosure. This may be an easier job for an investor than a regular buyer though. Banks tend to prefer multiple foreclosure purchases if you’re buying straight from them with no middleman. So, if you’re going to try to go this direction, you may want to have quite a few offers for quite a few homes in your pocket. This is the best way to be taken seriously by the foreclosure lender.

What you can do to try to stop Foreclosure

What you can do to try to stop ForeclosureWhat you can do to try to stop Foreclosure

No one wants to deal with foreclosure, but it does happen everyday. The owner’s lose their home and the bank loses its money. It’s not a pleasant situation to say the least. Some banks will work with a homeowner to try to do a “short sale” before foreclosing. This means the owners have to negotiate with the current lender to have them accept a new Buyers offer to purchase the property being foreclosed. The bank and the seller would settle with the buyer’s money for less than what the seller still owed. Hmmm. Yes, it’s as complicated as it sounds, and it’s also a long shot considering some areas allow foreclosure on a home in as little as 30 days past a missed payment.

HOWEVER, there are a few tips for slowing down that foreclosure and postponing the foreclosure date. As an investor, these are key to a successful purchase in this type of situation.

If the Property Has Equity

  1. 1.       Fill out a 3rd party authorization form through a major lender website, and yes you have to use their forms. Once the seller has signed and faxed it back with the contract and proof of funds, call the loss mitigation department in 24 hours to follow up.
  2. 2.       Have the contract signed and executed with earnest money to the title company asap. This will allow you a receipted contract for the major lender and it will bring you one step closer to a closing. The loan number should be displayed at the top of every faxed document to avoid loss and to show you are striving to close this deal.
  3. 3.       Allow a full day (24 hours), before you call to follow up. You may be transferred around from person to person a good bit, so state that it isn’t a short sale and that you need to know a payoff price.

Dealing With a Negative Equity Property

  1. 1.       In order to postpone foreclosure in this type of situation, you need documentation of a short sale. Find an agent who specializes in this area to help you. That is usually required anyway. You will still need the 3rd party authorization.  In addition to that, the homeowner needs a hardship letter, and to fill out a completed package that’s provided by the major lender along with their financial information. Fax all of this immediately to request a short sale.
  2. 2.       The bank will require a 3rd party inspection of the home for valuation purposes. Your local market value on current homes will determine this price. Be sure to list all repairs needed in full detail with photographs for documentation. This helps to back up a lower offer. Send in the list immediately. Submit all paperwork (signed, executed, and receipted with financials) and don’t forget the loan number topping each and every page.
  3. 3.       You must follow up on a daily basis. Many factors can affect the time it takes to finally get a response. It may come rapidly or it may take what feels like forever. Remain persistent and calm throughout the waiting period. Once you’ve followed each step relax and remember that it is quite possible to delay and stop foreclosures.

7 Effective steps to being a successful home buyer

7 Effective steps to being a successful home buyer7 Effective steps to being a successful home buyer

Let’s be honest, shall we? The process of buying a home is enough to drive even the most level headed of us completely insane! It can cause you to loathe every person involved with complete disdain at least once. So, before you start pulling your hair out, I’m here to help. I’ve compiled 7 steps to help you keep your cool, get the job done, and end up with the home you want.

#1 Getting pre-approval of your loan

It is vital that you get pre-approval with a mortgage lender before you even start to look at homes for sale. You have to know what price range a lender will approve you for and the type of mortgage they recommend for you. Some areas don’t even allow you to make an offer without a pre-approval letter, and why would you want to? In order for a seller to take your offer seriously, they need to see that you are backed by a credited financial institution for your loan.

As was the case in my situation, my buyer agent was able to send us to an excellent lender. We were lucky enough to be comfortable with them and how they directed us from the start. Unfortunately, that may not always be the way it works out. Feel free to visit with several lenders until you find the one that meets your needs most efficiently. It would be a nightmare to be stuck with a lender you aren’t pleased with, and then have to try to find a new one in the middle of the buying process. Be sure your lender will back up your decision of how much you want to spend and not how much numbers and paperwork say you can spend.

#2 Know your priorities

It’s not always feasible to tell your agent a generic search preference. Such as saying you want 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms somewhere in this town. Today’s local market may bring up thousands of matches depending on your city, and half of those may already have a sale pending. It’s best to narrow it down and be as specific as possible.  You may want to say something along the lines of:

“We’d like a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, two story, detached brick home with a fireplace, gas appliances, bonus room and 2 car garage between $275,000 to $300,000.”

This will shrink the results down dramatically! Now, instead of sifting through thousands of homes (which is impossible), you will be shown a reasonable amount of listings.

Also, keep in mind, there is a difference in what you’d prefer to be in your home versus what you absolutely must have, no questions asked. Another great idea is to go one step forward and decide what you definitely DON’T want in a home. (Maybe you don’t want a pool because you have small children or maybe no stairs because you have bad knees. Whatever the case may be, your realtor will thank you for that information). Then again, you may not even know what your priorities for a home are yet. You may have to look at homes and get to see different features firsthand. That will definitely help you to see what makes a home great for you and what doesn’t. Eventually, you will decide and be able to narrow the search even more.

#3 Keep your head out of the clouds

Everyone has seen the pop-ups for “5 bedroom homes with 4 full baths on 5 acres of land, for only $500.00!” Not only are they giving it away, but did I mention it’s “in a gated, private, upscale community”? Why isn’t everyone buying these houses you ask? Um, because they don’t exist for these prices. Banks are in the field of making money, not giving away homes like they’re free puppies. Would you list your home like this for $500.00? Of course, you wouldn’t. You want market value just like any financial institution does.

Sometimes buyers run into the problem of expecting too much. You may want stainless steel appliances and a marble fireplace in a house built in the colonial era. Maybe it exists or maybe it doesn’t. Something meeting that standard may be few and far between. Don’t expect perfection in a previously owned home. Every home will probably need some work or upgrading. Even brand new homes run into their fair share of problems during the inspection process. The point is, stay positive and realistic. Nothing’s ever truly perfect.

#4 Have flexibility

You really have to know how to bend in home buying. The odds that you will walk into a home that is what you’ve always dreamed of from top to bottom, both inside and out, is about 0.00000000002%. (Or so I’m guessing). Cosmetic issues can be changed at a later time; walls can be painted, carpet can be replaced, and new light fixtures can be hung. What can’t be changed is the negative impact you may have on a seller if your list of demands to reach an ideal “perfection” is outrageous. If it’s something that really matters to you about the house, then stick to your guns. On the other hand, if it’s something unimportant, it may be better to let it go and move forward.

#5 Read up on the process of buying a home

You wouldn’t go rock climbing without taking a safety course first, right? You wouldn’t jump in a pilot’s seat without knowledge of how to fly a plane first either, would you? Obviously, you would not. So, why would you enter into the stressful and time consuming world that is home buying without at least a little understanding? Your agent will know the ins and outs, but you will benefit from preparation for yourself. You want everything to go smoothly.

Know your part in the process. You are the buyer and the other person/financial institute is the seller. The home may be a traditional sale or it may be a short sale. Know the key words, time constraints, and contract obligations. You will be legally binded to comply with your contract when you sign your John Hancock on the dotted line. It could cause grave and costly consequences for failure to do so. Read articles on escrow. Look for blogs about appraisal. Check out a book that explains the lending process. Ask questions! Do whatever it takes to gain knowledge of fundamental terms and conditions. Protect your desire for a successful closing on your new home.

#6 Realize that YOU are responsible for YOU!

There is no one person who is responsible for your staying “pre-approved”, but you. Keep your credit score up during this process. Don’t go on a shopping spree with your credit cards or make big purchases while trying to obtain a mortgage. Believe it or not, they are still watching you and your creditworthiness until those final papers are signed! Follow the advice of your lender and agent. Don’t sabotage your own opportunity.

Also, treat others with the respect that you would want. Don’t take your frustrations out on the people trying to help you, and be courteous when entering and observing a seller’s home.

#7 Don’t worry, Be happy!

Yes, it’s stressful yes it’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Yes, it is a life changing event. Home buying isn’t all roses and rainbows. However, it is also one of the most exhilarating experiences you will ever go through. Enjoy looking at beautiful homes. Laugh with your lender and be up beat. Befriend your agent. Just take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. It’s one you’ll never forget.

What does it all mean?

Basically, you don’t have to feel like someone is driving bamboo sticks under your fingernails when you’re trying to buy a home. Gain knowledge of the process, smile when you feel like screaming, enjoy yourself, and know that you WILL finish this. I can’t guarantee these steps will make your experience a pleasant success, but if you follow them, you may increase the chance that it will be.

Fannie and Freddie Do It their Way

Fannie and Freddie Do It their WayFannie and Freddie Do It their Way

Short sale and foreclosure home buying has become quite the norm after the real estate world hitting rock bottom a few years back. Some agents have gained more hands on experience dealing with these buying processes than they ever could have imagined. Usually, when all steps are followed, things go as planned. Everyone, from the buyer-to the seller-to the lien holder, is happy. Agents get the job done. Lately, however, there seems to be something sour in the milk.

A mini epidemic seems to be in the midst for being turned down on a short sale, despite following all regular guidelines. The investor, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, are totally dropping the ball due to irrelevant reasoning. Obviously, “big business” can call their own shots these days, but shouldn’t they be expected to consistently follow mandated guidelines, at least? I mean, the buyer, seller, agent and lender all have to adhere to these regulations. Right?

Having everything in place and ready to roll, only to be derailed due to “issues” from Fannie or Freddie, seems very unfair. People are not even getting the courtesy of a reply when F&F have tons of people waiting on them. This is not only bad business, it leads to declined offers and foreclosures being pushed through. It also appears that Fannie is intentionally turning down honest cash offers while overvaluing these homes. They’re basing the value of distressed properties on the sales of traditional homes within the last year. It’s not supposed to work this way. Foreclosures and short sales are comparable with other foreclosures and short sales, and usually they go back in the public records a maximum of 6 months to do this comparing. So, why the sudden change in procedure?


Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Business?

Well, quite frankly, most of the general public. Not only are Fannie and Freddie a government backed entity since their 2008 taxpayer bailout, they still control all but 1/3 of America’s mortgages.  Would you really want to take them on knowing that? Me either. They are both currently out of the red in their financial departments due to a recovering housing market and plan on paying out the $153,000,000 settlement from 2004 in the near future. So, let’s go over that one more time. They are in the black, yet they don’t know exactly where these funds for settlement payment will come from. I think I might know. Recent history suggests that taxpayers get ready to open their wallets once again.


There’s been an abundance of discussion on the new “normal” in this industry when dealing with the “M’ sibs. Google it and you’re bound to pull up hundreds of articles and blogs. While no agent or investor has an inside scoop into this big corporate world, they are experts in their own fields seeing these changes happen first hand. It seems Fannie and Freddie are back to being self-driven and out for themselves versus trying to help and benefit the public who saved them. There’s been talk that the two will be merged into one soon. Also, they could possibly become fully ran by the national government. What kind of gaps will there be in the system if this happens? Unfortunately, we’ll all have to wait and see.

Short Sales: Questions that need to be asked of the agent

Short Sales Questions that need to be asked of the agentShort Sales: Questions that need to be asked of the agent

Short sales are not a walk in the park. Actually, it’s more like a walk through a demilitarized zone. Even with extensive certification through a highly reputable company, there’s no replacement for first-hand experience. When looking for a short sale agent, try to find one that’s represented both sides of the fence. (Both the buyer AND the seller in these situations) Find one that’s gotten their hands dirty in the world of short sale and foreclosure on numerous occasions. No one said it better than the great C.S.Lewis:

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

Here are a few questions for you to ask to see what they have learned.

  1. What is your experience with short sales?

Finding a listing agent with a knowledge and understanding of this type of process should be your #1 priority. You don’t want to waste time, money, and energy dealing with someone who has never bridged this ever changing gap of constant rules, regulations, and expectations. The short sale agent should be on a first name basis with many lenders, have a realistic understanding of procedures, and they should also know the “How? When? And Why?” of foreclosures.

  1. Where’s the financial package?

Any short sale agent should know the first step of the process is getting short sale packages from major lenders filled out immediately and sent back, like, yesterday. There has to be proof of finances, check stubs, bank account information, tax returns, and the promise of your first born son. (Well, maybe not that one, but it sure feels like it.)

  1. Are there multiple lenders and liens?

If, in fact, there are multiples, then get ready for quite a long journey with that agent. All parties involved will have to come to an agreement on how much money they will receive. This isn’t often an easy feat. It will be the agent’s job to get them all to reach an agreement amid the squabble.

  1. Which offer will you submit to the lender?

Lenders DO NOT want to sift through mountains of submitted offers. Only one executed contract should be sent to them along with an HUD-1. Quite frankly, the only offer should be the best offer! The agent should know this, and if he/she doesn’t you may want to move on to someone else.

Depending on the agent and their knowledge, this process could be very easy for you or extremely hard. Ask the questions listed above and be sure to find the agent who knows the answers. They will be right for you.

Hey, Landlord! Can you hear me now?

Hey, Landlord Can you hear me now“Hey, Landlord! Can you hear me now?”

A recent poll was conducted to find out what every tenant would love for their landlord to hear.  Responses were, quite frankly, very entertaining……..

  1. My rent IS late, but only by ONE DAY! When you start hiding in the shadows waiting for me like a serial stalker after one day of being late, it’s not making me want to pay you any faster! I will pay you the money, but geez, BACK OFF!
  2. When you tell me you’ll have something fixed that isn’t working, actually send someone to fix it please. I’d like cold A/C before the snow arrives. (You know, during the SUMMER).
  3. There’s a little invention by Alexander Graham Bell you should learn to use properly. It’s called a telephone. It actually does more than just make calls to me 2 seconds after the rent is due. Do you hear that ringing sound? That’s me! Pick up the phone!
  4. I lived with my parents for over 18 years. Your property is NOT an extension of their home or that time, and you are definitely not an extension of them. You didn’t raise me, I’m a grown person, and yes….I do know how to control the noise volume AND pick up my trash.
  5. The rules you set forth for tenants are stricter than the ones for a high security prison. Do you really think you can tell me how often to flush the toilet and what time I need to wait for before I turn on the lights? I’m sorry, did I move to 1980’s Cold War Russia without realizing it?
  6. If you were going to freak out about pets, then you shouldn’t have advertised as “pet friendly”. Simple as that.
  7. When something falls apart in YOUR house, it is YOUR job to deal with it. That’s why I pay you that coveted rent money, isn’t it?

The responses from the landlords polled were even more amusing!

  1. I do not, nor have I ever, had “Bank of Big Pimping Money” stamped across my forehead. I’m on your case about MY rent money because I actually have my own mortgage and bills to pay. I’ll be glad to forward the people I owe money to your phone number, so you can tell them where exactly their money is.
  2. I am not the know-all, see-all guru of reliable repairmen. I realize there are delays with getting whatever is broken fixed. Yet, I don’t have a crystal ball in which to see who’s good, reliable, affordable, and prompt. (Of course, that would be the ONLY way I’d ever see one like that.)
  3. If I am not up to par as a responsive, courteous landlord who cares for meeting reasonable needs more than getting my rent money, please, feel free to fond another one. (Notice, I said “reasonable needs”. You NEED a radiator that works, you do not NEED granite countertops.)
  4. I’m not your mom. I’m not your dad. You’re not my kid. This IS your own space, so chill. And yes, I also know I can trust you to keep it down and pick up your trash.
  5. Everyone wants to test limits sometimes, so I have to include every asinine rule I can think up to put in the lease. (Slip-N-Slide in the kitchen anyone? Oh yeah, you’d be amazed.)
  6. I am actually “pet friendly”, and that’s why I asked for a pet deposit. Professional cleaners HAVE to be called in every time someone with a pet moves out due to dander and allergies.
  7. Um, yeah, I don’t want YOU to attempt to fix anything in MY house. I also don’t want YOU to wait until the floor is rotten and falling out before you decide to tell me about that “tiny” leak in the bathroom. Do me a favor, CALL ME when it really is tiny. I just might hear that ringing sound after all.

Why shouldn’t I use the Listing Agent?

Why shouldn’t I use the Listing AgentWhy shouldn’t I use the Listing Agent?

You’re thoroughly searching for homes and a listing finally jumps out at you. You want immediate information and notice a listing agent’s photo with a phone number. You make a call and he/she is very helpful.  They assure you this can be your last stop for an agent. They can show you the home, be your agent through the process, and even submit your offer for you.

Now, do you:

  1. Accept their proposition and use them as your agent.


  1. Run like the wind, Bullseye!

Well, the answer is actually:

  1. It’s a free country and you can choose whatever agent you’d like to represent you, BUT I’m going to tell you why you DO NOT want to use the listing agent as you real estate representative.

“I can show you this house!”

Most houses that are currently for sale in our local real estate market have signs out front displaying different real estate agencies. These homes also have lock boxes on the front doors to discourage unwanted guests. Note that just because a certain agency is on that for sale sign, doesn’t mean it’s the only agency that has access to the home. Any licensed agent can show any home at any time, as long as it shows “for sale” on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Don’t take the initiative in attending open houses, or walk- throughs , or even going through “show” homes without first getting YOUR own personal agent. If you use that listing agent you may end up liable for commission payment that the seller usually ahs to pay for at the end of the home buying process.  This is due to an issue called “Procuring Cause.” This is when “interactions occur between a prospective client and a real estate agent that entitles the agent to a commission percentage upon your purchase of the home.” If a buyer has worked with multiple agents during the search for a home, it can lead to disputes over which agent is ultimately responsible for helping the buyer obtain the home. Using a listing agent to show you a home that you eventually purchase (even if you don’t stick with them as your agent) almost always leads to a claim of procuring cause.

“I can represent you and start on writing an offer today!”

Ok. Um, a listing agent works for the seller first and foremost. If the agent is out to get the most money he possibly can for his seller, how is he supposed to get you an offer for the least amount of money that you want to pay out?

Simply stated, he isn’t. It’s not going to happen. It’s not even possible.

OF COURSE, they will want to represent both the buyer and the seller. Who wouldn’t want a double commission pay day? KA-CHING! Are you starting to understand better? You’d need your own representation in a court of law, and you need your own representation in the area of home buying.

There’s obviously only one option for you. Get your OWN real estate agent. The realtor you choose could even be in the same company as the listing agent, just not the exact one. (Although I don’t think I’d even be comfortable with that situation). The best thing to do is find your real estate agent before you even begin your search. Find an agent before you start looking through real estate web sites. Find an agent before you call to inquire about a for sale sign in a front yard. Find an agent before you stop and grab a flyer from the little plastic box. FIND YOUR AGENT FIRST!

It isn’t difficult to find quality representation. Agents are available in an abundance right in your own area. You can try the phone book, websites, or even a park bench. (Hey, they advertise everywhere!) Call a few you think you might like and chat with them a bit. See who you have the most chemistry with. You’ll know the real deal real estate agent when you find him or her. Let the agent work for you in guiding where you need to be. Just make sure it’s ONLY you they are representing about the home.

We all know that Money Talks, but when you’re buying a home is the seller even listening?

We all know that Money Talks but when you’re buying a home is the seller even listeningWe all know that Money Talks, but when you’re buying a home is the seller even listening?

Anyone purchasing a home has probably done it. You read all the real estate articles, ask as many people about it that you can, and over hear other potential home buyers ponder over it , as well. You sit there perplexed and ask yourself:

“How did they put in an offer for asking price, and not get an agreement from the seller?”

Even stranger to some is:

How did their offer get accepted when it’s so much lower than the one we made?”

Most people enter into buying real estate with a competitive attitude. “My offer will win over the others because I will offer the highest!” Unfortunately, this belief is often compounded by agreement from an agent/realtor. Of course, price is a high priority with getting a home off the market quickly (in our local market and all across the country, but sellers have many other items that they often consider when the offers start pouring in.  It is often the first step toward disappointment when you believe that offering asking price on a home makes it a done deal. Keep these key points in mind to better your chance of a successful purchase on your dream home.

The first item a seller must consider is “a deposit paid by a buyer to a seller to demonstrate intention to complete the purchase.”  In other words, this is good faith money or Earnest Money. This step is going to let a seller know exactly how serious you are about purchasing their home. The more earnest money you are willing to pay to the seller, the more trust you’ll gain from him. The seller wants to know that you have the funds to back up any offer that you make to him, and that you can complete your end of the deal with no problems before closing. It’s really security for the seller’s piece of mind.

Earnest money needn’t be confused with a hefty Down Payment. After years of a failing real estate market, sellers feel the need to be reassured. They have to consider:

“Can you be approved for a mortgage?”

“Is my house going to sit off market when I accept this offer, only to learn that the buyers can’t even get a loan for it?”

“Can they close this deal or will I end up wasting my time and my money?”

These are legitimate questions. In our local market alone, dozens of contracts fall to the wayside because a buyer can’t get mortgage approval. If this were to happen, the seller is left with nothing to show for months of waiting and negotiations. He’d have the same house back on the same market and have to go through the same process the next time. So, a large down payment is security, security, security! Once the seller is comfortable with your ability to produce funding for the home, you may feel the need to breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, he still has more to consider.

Your Method of Financing is another item at the front of his mind. It’s easy to see why. The type of loan you apply for will directly affect how much money the seller may have to pay. For example, while FHA’s and VA’s may be very beneficial for the buyer, they can rapidly add to the out of pocket expenses applied to the seller.  The seller is looking to make the most for their home sale, not pay out piles of money at closing. One way to smooth his trepidation is to meet his Requested Closing Date.

If the person selling their home is still an occupant of the home, he may want to sell later rather than sooner. In most cases though, the home is unoccupied, or not leased and therefore not bringing in any funds to the seller. This type of seller will want to close as quickly as possible. It is important to know the seller’s situation and to close when it makes him the most comfortable.

Now, you will especially need to agree to a seller’s terms for closing and everything else I’ve mentioned so far if you have a little thing called Buyer’s Contingencies in your contract. These contingencies can range from having to get bank funding to having to sell your home you have now first. This can drastically slow down an otherwise smooth process. Sellers, most often, are not going to want to wait for you to sell your home that you occupy now before you can close with them. That’s putting their money off and reads as a big question of, “What if they can’t meet the contingencies on time?” that’s why it’s sometimes too big of a pill to swallow for sellers.

Next on the list of things sellers will consider is a Buyer’s Motive for purchasing this home. Seller’s can become extremely attached to their house, and almost feel as though they are losing part of their family at closing. These sellers are looking for a buyer who is going to nurture and love this home, taking time to perfect every minute detail and turning it into a forever home. Meanwhile, other sellers have no emotional attachment and don’t care if the house is resold, used as a rental property, lived in, or even torn down. These types of sellers will fare well with investors a lot of the time. Investor’s want the home quickly, so they can make minor changes and resale for a high return. You may need to feel your seller out on this topic because everyone is different and everyone’s reasoning isn’t the same either.

Another big factor for decision making to a seller is Local Market Conditions. The local market affects both a buyer and a seller. A buyer will, of course, benefit in a buyer’s market. Things, such as, the number of foreclosed homes in the area, low bank APR (interest) rates, and new home discounts are just a few perks to buying in this type of market. On the other hand is the seller’s market which benefits the seller tremendously. When the housing market is booming, APR (interest) rates are up, and houses don’t stay on the market very long before there is a bidding war between potential buyers, then the seller easily calls the shots. Do your homework and know your local and national market beforehand.

Of course, if you’re in a buyer’s market and have an excellent buyer’s agent (an agent who works strictly for the benefit of the buyer) you can often find out a Seller’s Motive as to why he has decided to sell his home to begin with. This could be very good for you! Let’s say a seller needs to be out of the real estate game in a hurry due to job relocation, they may be more likely to take a quick close offer or a lower price offer versus an asking price offer that would take a long time. This is usually a well kept secret by listing agents though. They don’t want their seller to be undersold. You may have to have your buyer’s realtor do some investigative work on this one. Good luck.

Finally, be willing to comply with Negotiations. Very rarely is a buyer going to hold the Ace of spades up their sleeve and control the direction on the contracted deal. The seller feels in charge. They have what you want. And, in a sense, they do often have the upper hand. Don’t let your deal fall through over issues that are really trivial in the long run, but don’t be a doormat and get walked all over either. You know what’s important to you and where you’ll draw the line. Know your happy median when in negotiations. Sometimes, you have to give a little to get a little. Keep that in mind.

So, now you’re asking yourself how you’ll know all of this when the time comes to make an offer. You’ll be wondering what type of seller he is and what type of buyer he’ll want. Unfortunately, you really won’t know. That’s why coming up with best possible offer on a home is so important. It may seem like a bunch of smoke and mirrors designed to trick a buyer, but really it’s not. The point of this article was to give direction and advice. Just don’t get caught up into thinking that meeting asking price is the only important matter. Work with a good buyer agent and mention all of the areas I’ve touched on above. You’ll feel more confident and in control, and you’ll be headed in the right direction for home buying.

Selling with Equity

modesto selling with equitySelling with Equity

The home you own is a risk-free investment that offers financial stability and a considerable return on investment. What is considered as capital gains on the sale of a home is now available as home equity. The primary goal behind selling a house is the profit acquired from home equity. In the real estate market, the term ‘home equity’ is the difference between the value of the house in the market and the amount of mortgage owed on it.

Now there are two types of equities: positive and negative. When you earn a profit from the sale of your house, you obtain a positive equity; but if the house is sold for less than what you owe, then you may taste the bitter experience of negative equity.

When to Sell For Positive Equity in Modesto?

In general, it is better to wait till a positive equity has accumulated before selling your house. This would enable you to walk away with a fat profit from the sale. If unfortunately you are forced to sell your house with a negative equity, you will find the task not only distasteful, but rather difficult. You would also need the permission of your lender for selling.

Equity Improvement

You can take several steps to improve the equity situation of your home such as home improvements. The term may sound fancy and expensive, but generally it is not. Home improvements require upgrading plumbing, cooling and heating, installing an electrical system, fixing the roof when necessary, and a bit of this and that. Homebuyers generally require assurance that the house is in a good and livable condition before purchasing it.

Quick Equity Improvements

Valuable improvements go a long way in improving your home equity, but there are certain improvements that don’t deliver a satisfactory return. For example, most kitchen replacements only provide a 50% return on what you originally spend on them. A quick way to frequently improve your home equity is a quick paint job every now and then, brightening up doors and cabinets. This works more than anything else. Home equity is additionally improved by cleaning up exteriors, repainting and tidying up the landscape.

Major Improvements

Major improvements are big tickets to boosting your home equity. A complete remodeling of the kitchen followed by the replacement or addition of a bath make huge home equity improvements. Homeowners generally spend a lot of time in their kitchens, and buyers with children tend to look for houses with additional baths and stuff. Remodeling and renovations definitely add more value to home equity.

So, keep this information in mind to be able to sell your property in a profitable way.

Call the Salonga Brothers – Your Key to the Central Valley

Eric (209) 480-3099 eric@castle-re.com

Jay (209) 985-2398 jay@castle-re.com


The Impact of Rising Interest Rates on Modesto’s Real Estate Market

modesto-rising-interest-ratesThe Impact of Rising Interest Rates on Modesto’s Real Estate Market

The past few years have seen interesting developments in the Modesto real estate market. . All those who have been active participants in this market must have noticed along the fall in the interest rates. Just as the market was expected to rebound and the interest rates to increase, both fell even further. In fact, never before has the market seen mortgage rates as low as 3%.

Real estate investors couldn’t have asked for more after the incredible cash returns they were able to achieve with favorable financing. Wouldn’t it be a dream to just sit back and contemplate low interest rates and low prices for years and years to come? It certainly would, but unfortunately it is also farfetched from reality. The past year has seen a major increase in the real estate values toward the pre-recession values, and it wouldn’t be incorrect to assume that an increase in the interest rates in the years to come is on the cards.

So what’s the impact of the increase?

There are many serious investors in Modesto who are watching the increasing values in the market with a growing sense of urgency. The reason behind their action is that they want to invest while the deals are still favorable. However, it wouldn’t do any harm to remember that while prices are important to watch, it is equally, if not more important, to keep a check on the rising interest rates. Interest rates are comparatively difficult to predict, especially as they tend to move in either direction at lightning speed without any prior notice.

The slightest change in market demand or policy can affect the mortgage rates or the investment returns in the blink of an eye. Just look at it from a cash flow perspective. An increase of 1% in interest rate is equal to an increase in the property value; and if you were able to acquire a loan at 4%, the principle and interest payment will be the same as the loan interest.

Simply stated, a 1% increase in interest rates portrays a difference in value in dollars along with a decrease of approximately 20% in monthly returns.  There is no other motivation for investors to finance properties before this incredibly bumpy ride settles down. While the opportunity still prevails, it would be smart to reap the harvests of financing in the range of sub 5% and make the most of the low interest rate.

Call the Salonga Brothers – Your Key to the Central Valley

Eric (209) 480-3099 eric@castle-re.com

Jay (209) 985-2398 jay@castle-re.com

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Buy a Home in Modesto

Modesto, CA

Modesto, CA

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Buy a Home in Modesto

Have you ever wondered why everybody you know wants to buy a home in Modesto? There are a number of logical reasons thatanswer this question. The most important reason of all is the real estate market of Modesto, which is currently flourishing. The real estate market is at its best right now, which makes it the perfect opportunity for you to invest in a house in Modesto right now.

Analytical individualsmight still argue over the wisdom of investing in a property in Modesto. So, here are three reasons to convince you thatbuying a home in Modesto right now is asmart thing to do.

1.     Forced Savings

If you’re living in a rented house, then the money you spend on monthly rent is going to waste as it will never cross your path again. However, buying a property works differently. Whenever you make a payment on a house you’re buying, part of the payment gets credited to your equity, which is basically money in the bank. You may consider it as a deposit in asavings account.

So, each time you make a payment, what you’re really doing is depositing money in your savings account. Granted that the entire payment does not contribute towards your savings, but a certain part of it is deducted as interestwhen the loan term begins.

2.     Appreciation

Appreciation is when the worth of your home goes up. Historically speaking, many homes have seen their values go up. However, with the recent freefalling, prices it doesn’t seem likely that the prices of homes will increase anytime soon. There is definitely hope that home prices will rise up in the next couple of years, but the good news is that you don’t have to entirely depend on the market. Here is where the term forced appreciation comes in.

It’s very simple. In forced appreciation, all you have to do is to make constant improvements on your home and force its value to rise. All that’s needed is a fresh coat of paint, regular upgrades, replacement of fixtures and whatever means necessary to make the house more attractive and user friendly. This will make your house the hottest catch in Modestoand will make its value soar sky-high.

3.     Tax Advantages

The greatest advantage among others is that thepayments of mortgage interests are tax deductible. The same goes for real estate taxes. So, when the time does come around, there will always be an extra bit of icing inside the refund check by the IRS.

Purchasing a home will help lower the bills even if you pay your taxes regularly every year. You may believe it to be some type of hoax, but purchasing your own house in Modesto will certain give you a raise. To add to the above, the income you make from your house through appreciation is completely tax free. Pure sweetness, isn’t it?

So what are you waiting for? Go get your hands on your dream Modesto home today and make all your financial fantasies come true.

Call the Salonga Brothers – Your Key to the Central Valley

Eric (209) 480-3099 eric@castle-re.com

Jay (209) 985-2398 jay@castle-re.com

A Short Sale Today is a Better Option Tomorrow

Modesto Short Sales

A Short Sale Today is a Better Option Tomorrow

Are you facing trouble paying off your mortgage? Fret no more. A short sale is the answer to your problem. If this is the first time you’ve heard this term, it’s about time that you find out what it is. After all, the term short sale has now become a very common phrase in the English lexicon.

So what is a short sale? It is the sale of a home in which the proceeds accumulated are less than the actual amount owed on the mortgage of the property. Another way to define it is by saying that it is a sale in which the lender agrees to accept less than the balance owed on the mortgage in order to avoid foreclosure.

Now banks have been practicing short sale for years, but it has only recently become a part of the public practice. This is because of the current state of the economy and the housing market.So why is short sale a better option for you? What would you obtain out of it? The following lines cover the answers of these questions and more.

If you think you will be able to foreclose your property and walk away with a clean slate and be done with the situation, then you are sadly mistaken. The reality is that you can’t possibly be farther away from the truth. In most situations, when an individual forecloses their property, they most often walk away with a tax liability and an outstanding due to the bank as well. However, you can alleviate your debt to the bank through a short sale. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

You may have heard that if you are denied a loan modification, you will be denied a short sale. First of all, the proceedings of a loan modification and a short sale are handled by two separate departments. These two processes have nothing in common whatsoever. If your loan modification is denied, it does not necessarily mean that your short sale would be denied too. In fact, in most cases it is easier to get a short sale approved faster than a loan modification because the latter are not usually successful in reducing the loans low enough according to the consumer’s income.

This is undoubtedly the best feature of a short sale and it’s guaranteed to make you swoon with delight. Besides, a short sale does not cost you any money. On the contrary, you may be able to get anything between $3000 and $30,000 for participating in a short sale. In addition, in most cases, a short sale places you in a better financial position than before the sale.

These aside, a short sale would also help you preserve your dignity and save you from suffering the social stigma caused by a foreclosure. Moreover, it would also make you eligible to purchase another property in the space of 12 to 24 months.

However, short sales aren’t easy to handle. This is why you need to get a specialized realtor to help you with this. So, don’t hesitate to hire a professional to get your short sale done quickly and effectively.

The Major Consequences of Foreclosure

Modesto ForeclosureForeclosure is a legal process in which a bank, a lender, a mortgage company or any other lien holder attempts to satisfy a debt by taking over the homeowner’s property. The lender or the bank may sell the property to pay off the debt or may take ownership. Whatever the situation, it is severely damaging to the homeowner in a number of ways.

Sadly, not many people understand the actual consequences of foreclosure, which is why they agree to undergo them. If you have this process looming over your head, you need to know the aftermath you’ll be facing in the future.

Effects on Credit Rating

Foreclosure is bound to hurt your credit score. The extent of its effects may vary, but bear in mind that each late payment will eventually show up on your credit report. Apart from that, when a property does face a foreclosure, an entry is made in the section that covers legal proceedings. In addition, if you have other debts falling behind – for example, credit card, billings and car payments – the effect will be doubly damaging.

Tax Consequences

There is often a tax penalty which people never realize. In certain situations, if a property sells for less than the amount owed, the balance of the rest of the loan is normally forgiven.  However, the IRS considers this balance as its income because the homeowner would have had to pay it but managed to weasel their way out of it.  As a result, the homeowner is taxed on the difference between the amount of the house sold for and the actual amount owed.

Stripped Wages

Even if the bank or the lender has foreclosed your property, you won’ be getting out of your bad spill for a long time. In fact, a foreclosure can result in stripped wages and your inability to purchase other real estate for yourself.

Loss of Home

Foreclosure not only puts you in a terrifying financial position, but also renders you homeless since you’re forced to give up your investments in your home. The prospect of homelessness also puts you in the need of coming up with funds for housing, which includes a deposit and a month’s rent in advance to move into a new place. Sadly, many people take out cash using their credit cards only to end up getting themselves into a deeper financial mess.

Because of these, it’s always better that you go for a short sale. Even your lenders will like this option since it means less financial burdens for them. However, to learn about short sales and carry them out, it’s always a good idea to have a professional help you. So, get in touch with an experienced real estate agent to help you avoid the aforementioned issues and get what you deserve.


How to Buy an Investment Property

real estate investment modesto

How to Buy an Investment Property

Low interest rates combined with low home prices make this the best time to make a real estate investment. Add to that the fact that the Modesto real estate market has begun to recover splendidly and you have yourself the best deal. To buy a sound investment property without any hassle, here’s what you need to do.

  • Seek Advice from a Property Finder/ Buyers Agent – Ask for advice regarding the type of property that will capitalize your investment. A buyer’s agent or a property finder is the best person to get advice from as they know the market better and are a valuable resource. They are also helpful in negotiating deals with property sellers and/or their agents.
  • Consult a Financial Advisor or an Accountant – It is necessary to discuss your current monetary situation with an experienced individual who can give sound advice on diversified investments. This will help you be sure whether a property investment will improve your financial situation and whether you can afford to make repayments without crossing your budget
  • Study the Mortgage Industry – Learn everything you can about the mortgage industry and about the Modesto real estate laws. It is good to have at least basic information before you begin negotiations with the lender.
  • Look for Properties Within your Budget – Once you know how far you can stretch your limit, you can begin looking for properties within the Central Valley, the Stanislaus County in the cities of Modesto, Turlock and Ceres.
  • Make an Offer – Once you discover a good opportunity for property investment, do not waste any time in making an offer formally. However, make sure that the offer is to be in writing. Once a price has been agreed upon between you and the seller, arrange to have the contracts written.
  • Sign the Contracts – Make sure you sign and exchange all contracts in the presence of a legal expert. Before putting your signature on it, have a lawyer check the contracts for any irregularities.
  • Organize Inspections of the Property – Contact agencies which carry out inspections of property. You may have to spend $500 to do so, but it is an essential process, especially since it can save you from spending thousands of dollars if the property reveals hidden problems later on.
  • Signature of Mortgage Documents – To receive the loan, you are required to sign the documents handed to you by your bank. Read the documents thoroughly first and make sure that you understand the interest rate, mortgage account and all the fees involved. In case of any errors in the documentation, contact your financial advisor or lawyer.
  • Handling The Settlement Process – Once your lawyer confirms that everything is in place for the buying process, the settlement date is to be confirmed. In case you don’t know what that is, it is the day when you obtain legal ownership of the property.

If you follow these steps, you will soon be the proud owner of a Modesto Real Estate property.

Is There Another Real Estate Bubble Heading This Way?

modesto real estate bubble

Is There Another Real Estate Bubble Heading This Way?

The real estate market is recovering so well that it might cause some to wonder whether a new bubble is in process. The fear of another real estate bubble blowing is completely unwarranted.  The reason is that even with the recent increase in prices, the prices of national home remain 7% undervalue. National home prices remain undervalued in connection to fundamentals and much lower than in the previous bubble. That is the reason why today’s price gains are not a bubble, but actually a rebound.

The fundamental value is above the prices vastly in a majority of the country. Even in those certain parts of the country that remain overvalued, they come nowhere close to the percentages that were seen in 2006-2007. For example, consider the most overvalued markets of today. In Orange County, the prices are overvalued by currently 9% whereas the prices of the same region in 2006 were overvalued by 71%. Austin is the second most overvalued market of today. The Austin prices were shown 12% overvalued at that time.The real estate prices did not skyrocket as they did during the last boom in many other parts of the country.

Prices remain undervalued in 91% of the markets today. Even those markets that remain overvaluedare nowhere close to the 2006-2007 bubble’s numbers. Despite the recently sharp increases in the prices, they are still relatively low enough for fundamentals to steer clear of the bubble levels.

If all that still hasn’t put you at ease, here are three reasons which ensure that another bubble won’t be affecting the real estate market any time soon:

  1. Increase in Supply – Prices have been caused to rise by a lack of inventory that has created a market of multiple bids. As revealed by the latest report of The National Association of Realtors, there has been an increase from 4.3 to 5.2 in the month’s supply of inventory.
  2. Certain Demographics Will See an Increased Demand – Over the last several years, a large part of the housing market was owned by investors. As the prices continue to increase, a definite percentage of these investors are bound to back off.
  3. Increased Mortgaged Rates Would Render Buyers Incapable of Affording More – An increase in the mortgage rates has been projected by the bankers association over the next year. Buying powers will slide down as borrowers would no longer be able to afford the same price position as a result of the increased monthly payments.

These are the three major reasons that render the collective fears of a rising bubble unfounded.

Why This is THE Time to Buy an Investment Property


Why This is THE Time to Buy an Investment Property

It is no secret that the Modesto Real Estate market is once again in the recovery mode. It has yet again to become a seller’s market, but the property market has showed signs of steady improvement. This is why people are starting to wonder if investing in a Modesto Real Estate property now would be a good idea.

The answer to that is definitely ‘Yes’. Investing in real estate at this point is perhaps the smartest thing you’d ever do, especially since the market is currently at its best as compared to the last thirty years.

Real estate professionals are capable of making the case possible for buying any time. However,now is truly a good time to purchase an investment property if you are in the market. Here are fourreasons why.

  1. Low Interest Rates – The interest rates have never been as low. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that it is unlikely the market will ever see interest rates as reasonable in future as they are now.
  2. Values Low – As the market is bouncing back to normal, home values are still moderately low. Low home prices and low interest rates make a perfect match for the perfect buying storm.
  3. More Pent up Sellers and More Pent up Properties Now – There are many distressed sellers present in the market right now. A distressed seller is a person with a property theydesperately want to sell off.  In reality, a lot of people may be struggling right now. Targeting such sellers is not going to be predatory; in fact you would only be helping them while helping yourself.

Another distressed aspect is a distressed property, which needs a little cosmetic work to make it marketable; for example you can consider landscaping and a little bit ofpaint to bring it up to par.  Distressed properties and distressed sellers both provide a lower price and the availability of creative financing options.

  1. Alternative Financing is More Available than Before – Many people think it is impossible to invest now because getting a loan is more difficult than before. It is true that most banks are not too lenient with lending anymore, but that does not put an end to investment opportunities for you.

The option of seller financing is more available than ever. It is just like it sounds. In this instance the seller, who is sometimes the owner, acts as the bank and provides the finance. In many cases, it is done for no down payment. This is a better alternative for newbieinvestors because the odds of getting a bank loan are even smaller for them as compared to an experienced investor.

So now that you know why 2013 is a good year to invest, do not miss out on the best opportunities to own a Modesto Real Estate investment property.

The Benefits of a Short Sale in Modesto

Benefits of Short Sale in Modesto

Benefits of Short Sale in Modesto

The Benefits of a Short Sale in Modesto

The crash of the real estate market and the economic downturn combined to pitch a number of owners in distress of losing their homes. However, the process of foreclosure can be a very lengthy, stressful and extremely damaging to the homeowner’s assets, savings and credit. If you were asked to go through the same, there’s a miraculously easy escape from the hassle of this process: arranging a shortsale. Not only does this procedure take comparatively lesser, the Benefits of a Short Sale in Modesto is also less damaging than a foreclosure.

If this is the first time you’ve heard about short sales, you need to understand that it is a transaction in which the lender allows the borrower to sell the house for less than the amount of mortgage owed. All the borrower has to do is find an efficient agent and put the house for sale on the market at a sizeable discount. Once the property is sold, the lender gets the amount the homeowner owes. As a result, the lender saves any expenses and prevents the pains associated with a foreclosure suit.

Now all of that may seem attractive to numerous people, but what about the homeowner giving up their property? What do they get?

To answer that question, homeowners benefit immensely from choosing short sales. Here are Benefits of a Short Sale in Modesto:

  • You won’t need to make any mortgage payments unless you voluntarily choose to make them.
  • You will get the chance to meet the new owners of your former home.
  • You will be eligible to purchase another property immediately if your credit report does not display a 60-day plus late pay.
  • A short sale protects credit. If you manage to short sell your home before it goes into foreclosure, your credit as a homeowner takes less of a hit. Looking at it from a lender’s perspective, it too is definitely better to recover a segment of the mortgage loan rather than face a total loss. Therefore, in lieu of a foreclosure, a lender preferably opts for a short sale as this allows both the homeowner as well as the bank to end up in a better financial position.
  • The average legal cost of a foreclosure, including any additional costs of a lengthy foreclosure process, can turn out to be the tip of a huge iceberg of financial burden to the homeowner. However, a short sale can drastically reduce the financial burden of the homeowner. After all, it can decrease the amount the lender or the bank may try to recover from the homeowner.

So, if you’re ever faced with a foreclosure, make sure to choose a short sale since it’s more homeowner and lender-friendly. Also, get a professional real estate agent to handle this for you since you may lack the experience required and don’t have the time to gain it.

For assistance on your short sale, contact Eric or Jay with the Salonga Brothers – Your Key to the Central Valley.