Monthly Archives: May 2011

Homebuyers Assistance Program



Many direct lenders are offering down payment assistance to aid in the purchase of a new home.  Where are they getting this money you ask?  They are getting this money through grant programs via the good old federal government.

With the combination of remarkable housing prices and record low-interest rates, now is the time to buy.  If you do not have the cash for a down payment, then the Home Buyers Assistance Program may be your way to home ownership!


CHF Platinum Program Specifics:

  • Down payment assistance
  • For the purchase of primary residence in CA
  • New or existing properties are eligible
  • Program is NOT limited to first-time homebuyers

The program is available for the purchase of an owner-occupied single-family residence, approved condo or planned unit development located in the state of California.

This program can be used towards the homebuyers down payment and/or closing costs on a 30-year fixed-rate fully amortized FHA, VA or USDA mortgage loan.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri


Making the Right Offer


It is important for the home buyer to really understand the market in his/her area before making an offer.  We, as Realtors, can give you our input, but it is important to spend the time to educate yourself as well.

In the Sacramento area home prices are already at rock bottom, so putting in a low ball offer isn’t going to get you the house.  In fact, most of the time you don’t get the house unless your offer is above the asking price for traditional sales.  How much above asking price will depend on the number of offers, whether or not the house is in a highly desirable area, the home has designer or uncommon features, etc.   In many cases, it may not matter what the comps show.  Value is what you are willing to pay for the home, not necessarily what the home is appraised for.  And if your Realtor is doing their job, they should be on good terms with the listing agent to find out as much as possible about other offers, the seller’s bottom line, the seller’s motivation for selling, and the like.  Not all listing agents are forthcoming with information, but sometimes the buyer’s agent gets lucky if they build a good enough rapport with the listing agent.

To make matters worse, inventory is extremely low right now.  There are a lot of buyers out there looking at the same homes.

It may take a buyer losing out on several homes to realize that paying above asking price may be the only way to get the home they want.  When this happens, the buyer may lose out on that perfect home.

Bottom Line:

  • Know your market and understand how difficult or easy it is to find exactly what you are looking for.
  • Determine how much you are willing to pay to get the home you want.
  • Make sure you have a Realtor that asks all the right questions to all the right people.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri

Home Sweet Home!


What do you look for when buying a new home?  Is it a house with a pool, is it a big backyard, is it storage space, is it a nice kitchen, or is it an open floor plan?  Some people find their perfect home right away, while it might take others awhile because they are looking for very specific features that might be hard to find.  Regardless of what is on your wish list, it is important to keep in mind that you may not find exactly everything you want in a home unless you build it yourself–and even then you will find things you should have done differently.  That is why it is important to prioritize the things you really want in vs. things you can live without.  And if you don’t want to compromise, then you may need to spend more money to get exactly what you want.

As Realtors, it is important for us to really understand our clients needs and wants and then set the appropriate expectations.  If we don’t do this in the beginning, our client may jump ship and find another Realtor because they feel we are not doing our job. Sometimes we might have to show houses out of their price range to help them understand that they may need to adjust what they are looking for in a new home.

I had a client recently who wanted to find a home on 2 to 3 acres in the Penryn/Loomis area, but they only wanted to spend $240k which is pretty much impossible if any of you know this area.   In this example it was easy to immediately set the appropriate expectation, but that is not always the case.

Bottom Line

Realtors:  It is our job educate our clients on the market and ensure we understand our clients needs and wants and set the appropriate expectation.

Buyers:   Be realistic about what you are looking for in a home and make sure what you want matches what you can afford.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri



Finding the Right Realtor


I am amazed at how many Realtors provide poor customer service to their clients.  I hear it all the time from my clients about their experiences with a bad Realtor.  I wonder how they stay in business?  They give the rest of us a bad name! Not all Realtors are bad, but you want to make sure you choose a Realtor that has a proven track record of providing excellent customer service.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when working with a Realtor:

1) Is your Realtor good at follow-up?

  • Do they call you back timely?
  • Do they provide information to you in a timely manner?
  • Do they provide you with status updates frequently?
  • Do they make you feel important?

2) Does your Realtor keep his/her commitments?

  • Are they on time?
  • Do they keep their appointments, or do they always reschedule?

3) Does your Realtor have your best interest at heart?

  • Are they trying to push you into short selling your home without even understanding your options?
  • Are they pushing you to buy a home you are not 100% sure about?
  • Are they doing everything possible to ensure you are getting the best deal?
  • Are they working closely with the other professionals to ensure a smooth transaction (listing agent, buyers agent, lender, title company, inspections companies, etc.)?
  • Are they showing you various ways to save money in your transaction if you do not have a lot of money to spend?

4) Is your Realtor flexible?

  • Are they trying to accommodate your schedule?

5) Is your Realtor genuine?

  • Are they sincere in helping you get what you want, or are they more like a used car salesman?

Bottom line:  Make sure you interview several Realtors before you select the one you want to use.  After all, this is one of the biggest transactions you will ever execute!  You want to make sure you find someone you can trust.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri

Low Cost Updates That Add Value


Custom details add character and dollars. Follow these cost-cutting tips to give your home character without exceeding your remodeling budget.

1)  Add crown molding to any room to add more character.  If you DIY, you can save!

2) Use ceramic tile for your kitchen, bathroom or fireplace.  There are so many places these days to get custom tile which can really add to a room.  Mix ceramic tiles with a few more expensive tiles to create a custom look at a lower cost.

3) Vary lighting fixtures.  Choose pricier eye-catching fixtures to light one or two main areas, but opt for good off-the-shelf fixtures elsewhere.

4) Change your cabinetry and appliances.  Select midrange cabinetry instead of top-of-the-line cabinets. Spend the savings on appliances with higher appeal.

5) Color is a designer’s cheapest and most powerful element. Add color with paint, tile, or hardware.

6) Create multi-functional spaces.  Open shelves in the kitchen work perfectly for storage and display. This technique also works well in a small space because the openness keeps the room from feeling cramped.

7) Instead of buying expensive brackets to support kitchen fixtures, buy plain brackets and embellish them yourself.

8) Enhance the woodwork.  Architectural woodwork not only adds character, it disguises imperfections in old walls. Use simple woodwork, such as beaded-board paneling and corner rosettes, to dress up walls.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri