Homeowner Tip Prior to Selling

When selling a home, homeowners need to address maintenance items as well as keep the home looking its best to get the highest market value. For maintenance items, a pre-listing home inspection (click for previous post) will help bring to light any issues that may affect desirability of the property. The homeowner then may choose how to address the items.

This post is more about sprucing up a home to look its best without breaking the bank. Aside from LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!, the curb appeal is another reason prospective home buyers will look at a property. A home seller can’t move the home, but the seller can improve the appearance of the home.

I learned this trick while showing a property to a buyer client. The subject property was a flipped property done by a large investment company from Los Angeles. Due to the increased competition for the limited inventory of properties that were able to be flipped for profit, the LA based company would work on sheer volume with ultra tight margins. The pictures looked great as the pictures showed the property had been upgraded. The exterior paint in particular looked great.

When my client and I previewed the property, I realized the exterior was not re-painted in whole. The investors paint matched the body of the property and touched up areas. They did however repaint the wood fascia and roof eaves. This translated to significant savings to the seller in reduced remodel costs.

Here are the steps to reduce your costs and make your home looking its best:

  1. Pressure wash the exterior of the home

  2. Patch and fix any wood damage or stucco damage

  3. Repaint the wood fascia and eaves to give it a pop

  4. Touch up paint to the body of the home as necessary

Keep in mind, some homes may look great with just pressure washing.

Happy Home Selling!!

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

December 8, 2014

DIY Tip: Cutting Dark Tile

Have you tried marking a dark colored black, brown, or blue tile with a marker and couldn’t see the line to make the cut? So you don’t need to guess while making your tile cut, you can put blue painter’s tape on the section where you’ll be making your cut. Mark your line on the tape with your straight edge. Once you make the cut, peel off the tape and you are done.

Hope this helps in your DIY home project!!

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

November 24, 2014

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VA Loan

The Veteran’s Administration (VA) Loan is an excellent loan with unique benefits listed below:

  • 100% Financing (although the more you put down, the lower the VA Funding Fee)

  • No PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)

  • VA Appraisal makes sure home is safe, sound, and sanitary

The VA Funding Fee is usually a cost that VA benefit holders are unaware of, but it is a fee that should be known about upfront. Most lenders will allow you to put the VA Funding Fee into the loan balance which still allows for a zero down payment. But don’t confuse zero down payment with no closing costs. You will still incur closing costs, but a seller credit or a lender credit may help offset those costs. If you are on active duty or a veteran,  the VA Funding Fee  for first time purchasers are as follows:

  • Less than 5%, Funding Fee is 2.15%

  • 5% to 9.99%, Funding Fee is 1.50%

  • 10% or more, Funding Fee is 1.25%

For Guard and Reservists, the fee is slightly higher.

An exemption to the VA Funding Fee exists for anyone with a 10% or more disability rating.

If you are interested in utilizing your VA Home Loan benefits, please contact us and we will put you in touch with a reputable VA Lender that will help you achieve your homeownership goals.

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

November 12, 2014

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For Sale by Owner

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics

  • FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2013. The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

  • FSBO methods used to market home:

    • Yard sign: 36%

    • Friends, relatives, or neighbors: 28%

    • None: Did not actively market home: 32%

  • Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers:

    • Understanding and performing paperwork: 18%

    • Getting the right price: 13%

* Statistics and chart from the National Association of Realtors

Seen from the chart, the percentage of sellers selling on their own has been gradually decreasing since 1991. The percentage has decreased by about 50%. With home searches starting online with buyers, sellers need to have their listing syndicated to all the major real estate sites such as Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc for maximum exposure to all potential buyers.

With litigation on the rise and real estate disclosures increasing and continually changing, hiring an experienced and qualified Realtor to guide and have the proper paperwork completed will lessen the burden that FSBO sellers expressed as the number one difficult task.

From a Realtor’s perspective, one reason not to sell FSBO (For Sale by Owner) is to avoid the onslaught of Realtors who will call and drop by your home to try and list your home. Realtors are a persistent bunch and generally do not stop until the home sells or gets listed with an agent. It is not uncommon for an FSBO to get more calls from Realtors trying to list the home than qualified buyers.

Another reason listing as a FSBO may not be the best idea is that buyers are aware that a FSBO seller is trying to save on the commission paid to Realtors and will account for that in their offer as they want a deal as a buyer also. Many FSBO sellers cooperate with the buyer’s agent and pay them for bringing in a buyer. If that is the case, then a FSBO seller is saving only half the commission that would be paid to a listing agent.

Wondering if there is any reason why a seller should consider being an FSBO when selling? There certainly is: If the seller already has a buyer lined up who is willing to pay fair market value, then selling FSBO may make sense. If that  is your case, I would be glad to put you in contact with an escrow officer to get your home sold without agents involved (this would apply to Ventura County properties).

Happy Home Selling!

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

October  16, 2014

Home Warranty

Typically, buying a home is the largest purchase people make. Whether new construction or a complete fixer, every property deteriorates with each passing day. So what can be done about it? For starters, buyers can ask the seller to pay for a one-year home warranty when an offer is submitted (this is renewable after the year). Sellers often agree to give a warranty as it assures the buyer and seller that issues that arise within the first year (be aware that home warranties have limited coverage) will be repaired through the home warranty company. If you are currently in escrow and already had your buyers’ inspection, you can request repairs be done on the property or ask for a credit based on what work you believe the home needs. The seller does not need to agree to any of the repairs, but it is smart to ask. Getting a home warranty is a good idea even if the sellers choose not to agree to one.

As you can see from the picture, this gas line has seen better days! My clients smelled gas within their home that they recently purchased in the Montalvo, Ventura area. The deteriorated gas line did not show up on the buyer’s home inspection report when my clients were in escrow. And to our knowledge, the seller was not aware of this issue. Due to the need to repair the gas line as soon as possible, my clients immediately had a plumbing contractor come out to fix the gas line. The home warranty reimbursed my clients for the repairs. Before you get a home warranty, it is important to verify that the warranty will reimburse you for covered items if you choose to use a specific contractor and pay out of pocket.

Although I do not recommend a specific home warranty company, here is a list of a few that I have seen purchased: American Shield, Old Republic Home Protection, Fidelity National Home Warranty, First American Home Buyers Protection, CRES Home Warranty by HISCO, and Buyers Protection Group.

When a seller does agree to pay for a one-year home warranty, it’s a win-win situation, as the seller knows items neither party were of aware of will be repaired. (Please be aware that home warranties are limited in nature, and it is recommended that buyers of the home warranty do their due diligence to their satisfaction.)

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

October 7, 2014

FICO Changes Credit Scoring

The Fair Isaac Corp, or better known as simply FICO, is making changes to their scoring system this year. FICO, after many discussions with lenders and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, plans on lowering its weight towards medical collections in hopes of increasing lending without creating higher credit risk. Historically, account collections significantly reduce consumers credit up to 100 points under certain circumstances. Even with a paid balance, it may stay on your credit up to seven years if no proactive steps are taken. With roughly 64 million consumers with medical collections, the new changes may come as good news. The change may help tens of millions of consumers get a loan and increase consumer credit up to 25 points without any changes done by the consumer.

The changes, however, may help consumers obtain credit cards and auto loans first. As for home loans, lenders typically trail and use prior versions before adopting the next version as the risk for lending on such a purchase has significant risks. If you are interested in purchasing a home in the Ventura County area, contact David Jaffe with On Q Financial or Miguel Viesca with Crossline Capital to discuss your specific home loan needs.

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

September 29, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: Waterproofing Your Shower

The original master bathroom of our 1960 Ventura Home was in need of a major overhaul by the time we purchased the property in 2013. Having been around plenty of construction for flips and property management, I had a good idea of what the project would entail.

Choosing the type and overall style of the bathroom was not the challenging aspect since my wife has always wanted a classic look that stays in touch with the style of the builder’s era. So we went with matte 4×16 white subway tiles laid in brick pattern.  For a modern touch, the shower floor is honed carrera marble but in a honeycomb pattern with matching 2×4 tiles for the two niches. The flooring for the rest of the bathroom will be a distressed antique white inspired by the surrounding rustic, country feel.

Now onto the the reason for this blog. I came across an excellent product that I am extremely happy with the results.  There are different ways to waterproof a shower; however, I gravitated towards the topical method. I think most people are familiar with Redgard which the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot carry. My contractor-friend, Scott Crawford from No Limits Construction, recommended the product called Ardex, which is a 2-part compound that you need to mix. Once the hardibacker was put up, we used Ardex on mesh for the joints.  Then, we proceeded with two coats of the product rolled on with a standard paint roller.  That simple.

If you are a DIY type, FloorElf.com has some good resources to complete your bathroom renovation. If not, I highly recommend Batt Brothers Tile from the Ventura County area.

Happy waterproofing!

Chris Chin |Broker & Owner

September 26, 2014