Tag Archives: real estate sacramento

Understanding Today’s Home Buyers


Home buyers used to have it easy – all they had to consider when buying a home was price, condition and location. Getting loans was a snap, and reselling the home was never a worry.

But today’s recessionary market is throwing home buyers a curve. They’re not so certain home buying is a good investment, and neither are their bankers.

If you’re a home seller, you need to know what buyers are facing in today’s real estate market, so you can do the one thing that will help the right buyer buy your home.

Price it to sell.

  • Buyers begin their search for a home with prices. Buyers may search many neighborhoods or look at homes out of their price range to get an idea of the marketplace. But, when it comes to serious shopping, they know their price and use it to see which homes they can afford.
  • Buyers are prequalified by their lender. A serious buyer will not be satisfied with day dreaming for long. They’ll share their financial information, and get prequalified by a lender who will tell them exactly how much they can afford. Is your home in the right price range?
  • Buyers work with real estate professionals. Once they have a green light, buyers start shopping. They ask their real estate professionals to start gathering and presenting homes they might like. If your home is priced too high, your best, likeliest buyer will never see it. Is your home overpriced compared to the competition?
  • Buyers have incredible sources to compare homes. Videos, virtual tours, feature sheets and multiple photos are the eye candy. They quickly sort through what’s available to a short list of the most appealing homes in their price range. Did you de-clutter, clean, stage and update your home?
  • Buyers choose homes based on bang for the buck. As buyers walk through listings with their real estate agent, they’ll quickly make snap decisions based on size, condition, and location as compared to price.  Does your home offer the most bang for the buck?
  • Buyers use the same comparables you do. Just as you and your real estate agent have examined the market, buyers and their agents do the same. They know which homes are overpriced, and they’ll assume that an overpriced home comes from either an unmotivated or unrealistic seller.  They’ll make their offer to the seller whose home offers the most for the money and who appears most reasonable to an offer. Do you appear negotiable?
  • Buyers’ banks confirm prices with appraisals. Today’s appraisals are strict. New codes of conduct require banks to avoid pressuring appraisers to “hit the numbers.” Appraisers are required to go back as long as one year, to determine if your home is in a “declining market.” If so, the appraisal can come as much as 5% under your list price. If the appraisal is under the list price, the bank won’t lend. Are you prepared to lower your price to make the deal go through?
  • Buyers face unprecedented banking challenges. Banks no longer offer non-conforming loans with abandon. Many banks are balking at offering conforming loans, and those are government-guaranteed. They require stricter proof from buyers that they are able to repay their loans, often qualifying them at much lower levels. Are you willing to help your buyer by paying down points?
  • Buyers are scared. They have to have a good reason to buy a home, and news of declining prices hasn’t provided much incentive. Help them by  showing them all the ways your home has rewarded your ownership. Show them how much you pay in property taxes, how much you get as a homestead exemption, how much you’re able to write off your income taxes as a homeowner. Are you willing to share what buyers need to know?
  • Buyers don’t have to buy. They want to buy. They want the joys of homeownership, and it’s your job as a homeowner to provide them with the tipping point they need – the best home at the best price. Is your home priced to sell?

Current Sacramento Area Real Estate Statistics


Here are your real estate statistics for the Sacramento area!

Information Source:  MetroList

Article by:  Sheri Negri, Realtor


Selling Tips in a Buyer’s Market


A buyer’s market means it’s the seller’s turn to be flexible, especially with sale terms. Purchase price, closing dates, move-in dates, storage, appliances, window treatments, points and fees may all require a little negotiation. Whatever the terms, don’t let personal feelings stand in the way of a good deal.

Selling in a soft market

The basics

In a buyer’s market, curb appeal, cleanliness, overall good condition and updates are especially crucial. Any little flaw should be taken care of before the first buyer drives up.

  • Attend open houses in your neighborhood to see what “sell-ready” really looks like. If you’re shy, ask your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate sales associate to walk you through a few sell-ready examples.
  • Back home, start with the exterior to ensure you’re making a good first impression. Reseed or throw down some turf on lawn patches, change the lights in the lamppost, and if necessary, reset the walkway stone.
  • Clean the interior beyond your standards. Even if they are impeccable, rent an industrial carpet cleaner or hire a professional cleaning service. Brighten the interior ambience with light fixture updates, as new lighting is one of the most inexpensive and noticeable improvements you can make prior to listing.
  • Fix leaky faucets and make sure the water pressure is strong in both the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • If necessary, a great way to improve the appearance of your home is to paint. Use only neutral colors that can easily lend themselves to different décor and styles of furniture.

Don’t reject low offers; negotiate

  • Don’t dismiss lower-than-expected offers. Instead, consider buyer incentives that help you meet your asking price. Offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs, moving costs or loan origination fee. These can help the buyer with upfront costs. As well, you may consider offering a limited home warranty that covers HVAC systems and some appliances for a definitive period of time.
  • Be careful of purchase offers that are contingent on the buyer selling their home first. Their home may be in a softer market than yours and you could be in for a long wait. Be sure that the purchase agreement includes a contingency-release clause. This way you’ll be able to sell if another buyer comes along.
  • Work with your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate agent to find creative solutions to make a deal come together. The purchase price is just part of the deal. Anything that makes your property stand apart from the competition will give it an edge in a buyer’s market.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri

Remodel vs. Buy


We see it all the time. Homeowners come to us needing more space for their growing family or desiring home features that their current home just doesn’t have.  So the question is should they remodel or buy a new home?  This is a tough question to answer because there are many things that need to be considered.

Interest rates have never been lower (not even in the 60’s).  House prices have also dropped considerably.  In some cases it may very well be better to buy a new home, but that is not always true.  The cost to remodel vs. buy really depends on how much remodeling you would like to do.  If you are on the fence, here are some things to consider:


1)  First, do you have the money needed to remodel your home?  If you do not have the money, can you get a small loan to pay for the work?

2) If you have the money, you will then need to find an architect and general contractor to do the work.  Make sure you shop around to find a reputable firm.  Also make sure that the contractor is licensed!  If you start with an architect, they can usually give you an estimate of how much the remodel will cost before you hire a contractor.

3) Remodeling can take a while and can also be very messy, so you have to consider whether or not you are up for the challenge.  Remember that it usually always takes longer than what they tell you due to delays in getting materials, etc.  Projects are rarely completed on time and within budget, so you may also need to be prepared to spend more than what was originally quoted.

4) Once you understand the costs of a remodel, talk with a Realtor to see what the cost would be to buy a new home that has everything you want.  Unless of course, you really want to stay in your home–then it doesn’t matter.

5) Consider cost of remodel vs. value.  What it cost to remodel or improve, is not necessarily what you might get back in return if you sell your home.  In fact, it is rare to get 100% return on your investment, so just keep this in mind when you decide how much money you want to spend on your remodel.

Whatever you decide, remember to be wise in the decision process. Consult as many professionals as you can. Visit with an architect, a real estate agent and loan officer. Now is definitely a great time for low interest rates and competitive contractor bids if you decide to remodel.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri

Loan Mods


Did you know that over 80% of loan modifications are in default again within a year?  Borrowers have good intentions, but the problem is that what got them in trouble in the first place still exists.  And coupled with the fact that there are some lenders out there trying to scam borrowers out of their money which they didn’t really have in the first place just causes more issues.   According to DRE Commissioner Jeff Davi, now that so many people are struggling to stay in their homes, foreclosure rescue and mortgage relief scams have risen dramatically.  DRE is issuing consumer alerts to help consumers, but that will only go so far in getting rid of this problem in my opinion.

The other issue is that some lenders make more money off of foreclosures than doing a loan modification, so borrower beware!  The lender may just be dragging you along until it’s too late.  I am not saying this is true in all cases, because there are people who have been successful at doing a loan modification.

That being said, there’s no reason a homeowner can’t complete a “loan mod” on their own if they are cautious. Here are some tips that might help homeowners trying to negotiate a “loan mod” on their own:

(1) Do a reality check on your monthly budget before applying for a loan modification. If juggling credit card payments is the only way you are able to afford your mortgage every month, hoping to drop your mortgage payment low enough to afford all your credit card payments is probably not going to work. If you can’t pay everything, prioritize your debt based on what’s most important to you. If you’ve already applied for a “loan mod,” paying your credit cards from the extra money created by your reduced mortgage payments may lead to a foreclosure if you are denied.

(2) Loan modifications are designed to lower your mortgage payment down to 31% of your gross income. If your mortgage payment is already lower than 31% of your gross, you probably won’t qualify.

(3) If you decide to do a “loan mod,” don’t pay an internet marketing company to do it for you. Your desperation makes you vulnerable to being scammed. Even if you get lucky, there’s nothing they will do that you can’t do for yourself. If you want help, call your local HUD office for the telephone number of a HUD loan modification counselor near you or call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). They will help you for free.

(4) You might think providing all of the required documentation in a timely fashion is enough, but that just gets your foot in the door.  You and the other few hundred thousand homeowners waiting for the same answer. Assume your bank is overwhelmed, will lose your paperwork and not return your phone calls as a means of controlling the number of “loan mods” it has to actually consider. Don’t take it personally. The clients that succeed have a bulldog persistence and aren’t shy about contacting their bank on a regular basis. Keep a copy of everything you provide the bank.

(5) Don’t get any more than 60 days behind on your mortgage unless you are ready to give up your home if you aren’t approved for a “loan mod.” If your bank insists that you have to be more than 60 days behind before being accepted for a loan modification, ask them to put it in writing and file a complaint. Try to bank the money saved by not paying your regular mortgage payment, or the “loan mod” process may leave you in a worse position than you were before applying.

(6) Keeping in mind that most banks have several “loan mod” programs available, you should make sure you’ve exhausted all the alternatives before accepting “no” for an answer.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri


Short Sale vs. Foreclosure


Many people are getting conflicting information about the pros and cons of doing a short sale vs. foreclosure.   It is our job as Realtors to ensure our clients get the right information to make the best decision possible for their situation.  This means making sure our clients consult with an attorney/CPA prior to engaging with their Realtor as they are experts in their field.  Once our clients have met with an attorney/CPA, we can provide supporting documentation and scenarios to educate them prior to our first meeting.

Knowledge is power, and by this time your client will have all the pertinent information to begin a discussion about how to move forward with their Realtor!  Of course, we can share our experiences of what our previous clients have done that worked, but every situation is different.  I would hate to give advice that negatively impacted my client for years to come!

Posted by:  Sheri Negri


Using QR Codes in Real Estate


I learned about QR codes about a month ago at a NAR seminar here in Sacramento.  I consider myself to be technically savvy, and this was the first time I had ever heard about QR codes.  I finally had the opportunity this week to play around with QR codes, and it was a lot of fun.  And the great thing about this technology is it’s free!

Some of you may be wondering what the heck a QR code is?  Well, it is basically a barcode that can be scanned by a QR code reader from your smartphone.  QR stands for Quick Response.

QR codes where originally created by a subsidiary of Toyota to track vehicle parts.  Now this technology is gaining popularity in many different areas including real estate!

The basic concept of the QR code is that you can link information to a QR code for marketing purposes whether it be text, email, video, website and the like.   How cool is that right???

One of the best uses I see for the real estate industry is placing a QR code on a listing flyer and/or open house flyer to showcase the inside of a home.  QR codes can also help market you as an agent!  Of course, your potential customer must have a QR code reader on their smart phone to take advantage of this technology!  There are a number of QR code readers out there for the iPhone, Andriod and newer Blackberries.  I did a bit of research and ended up loading NeoReader for my iPhone.   Other popular apps I found online include QuickReader, I-Nigma, BeeTag, MobileReader.  There are a lot of them out there, so do your research to find out which one is best for your smartphone.

Helpful hints:
I used goo.gl (a google tool) to generate my QR code because I wanted to link one of my youtube videos to a QR code.  I know there are other tools out there to link text, etc.  Once the QR code is created, you can copy and paste it into anything you want!  I highly recommend taking the time to research and play around with this technology.  You will not be disappointed!

Posted by:  Sheri Negri