Category: Blog (68)

My mentor, Brian Buffini, has a favorite quote from Coach John Wooden: “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”

Racecars on a trackBrian likens opportunity to NASCAR. Here’s what he says: “We’re using the analogy of the rolling start from NASCAR. When they have the car wreck everything comes to a screeching halt. They clean up the road, they get everything organized, then they put the pace car out in front and bit by bit warm up the tires, warm up the engine, get the engine revving. Go around the track a couple of times, and then when pace car pulls away, you’re going full speed.”

As interest rates remain low and the economy begins its recovery, we are in that rolling start, and it’s time to rev the engines.

Opportunity is, if not here already, it’s coming. Don’t be too late to prepare. Here’s how you can get ready to sell your house and find your dream home.

  1. Get a pre-approval letter from your lender. Pre-approval shows you are serious about finding your new home. It lets sellers know you are conditionally able to purchase a house, and may help you with your offer. It also narrows your field to what you can afford to look at and may speed up the purchase process.
  2. Get your current house on the market: Especially if you are doing a contingency offer. The market is great, but it’s tight, so you’ll need to be able to move quickly.
  3. Find an experienced REALTOR®: An experienced REALTOR® will know which neighborhoods are trending up or down, and help you get the best possible price on the property you want.
  4. Identify your prospective new home: Check the listings in your price range, make a list and drive by the homes you are interested in. This will help you select your new neighborhood and save you time while touring properties.
  5. Be selective: only look at properties you’ve selected during your drive-bys. As we ramp our economy back up, sellers may be nervous about letting people view their homes. Make sure you’re only looking at properties you’ve pre-selected.

Maybe your house is too big now that the kids have moved on, or maybe you want to live near your grandchildren. Whatever the reason, now’s the time.

Prices are not falling, mortgage interest rates are low, and inventory is moving quickly. If you have been thinking about selling your house and looking for your new dream home, give me a call at 775-309-7979.

And if you are a homeowner, you should definitely listen to Brian’s latest chat with National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun.  Topics discussed include why home prices are remaining steady, how agents are navigating the process and completing transactions, why real estate provides a hedge against inflation, and why the house is still a valuable asset in high demand.

Home appraisals are important and generally are part of the buying/selling process. I get asked a lot of questions about home appraisals and my clients often get nervous awaiting the appraisal report.

 

What is an appraisal?

It’s an expert assessment of the value of something – for real estate, it’s your home. Appraisals come in the form of a report by a licensed appraiser; anything else is just a price opinion. Lenders most likely require appraisals to assure the value of the home is not less than what they are lending, but sometimes these can be waived.

 

Appraisals can be used for purchasing, refinancing, estate planning, estate settlement, and tax assessment.

 

For what reasons can an appraisal be waived?

This is up to the lender. Generally, lenders like to have an appraisal done on a home you are purchasing. However, while refinancing your home, you may not be required to have an appraisal. It really depends on the lender’s requirements.

 

How much does an appraisal cost?

Here in Northern Nevada, an appraisal generally costs around $500, sometimes more. If you have an exceptionally larger home, it may take longer to appraise and cost a little more. Or if the home is in a rural/remote location there may be extra costs for drive time and mileage.

 

Who pays for the appraisals?

In a real estate transaction, the buyer pays for the appraisal, but sometimes it can be negotiated to be paid for by or split with the seller, usually paid as a reimbursement at closing.

 

How does an appraisal work?

An appraisal is the due diligence of the buyer and lender and tells the buyers the value of the home, and how much you will spend on the home. Once an offer is accepted by the seller, the contract then begins, the lender will order an appraisal of the home, and the buyer’s agent will schedule for any inspections.

 

What is a home appraiser looking for?

An appraiser verifies measurements and home specs, such as basements and attics, indoor and outdoor features, and additional buildings. An appraiser looks for upgrades and compares to comparable homes, establishes how your home stacks up with comparable sales in the neighborhood, checks the debits and credits back and forth between the comparable sales until they arrive at a final value.

 

How to prepare for a home appraisal?

Sellers should clean before the appraisal like you would for a showing. Don’t take on any major projects that won’t get completed before the appraiser arrives. Make any repairs to maintenance items such as light switch plates, fixtures, broken or damaged windows, missing electrical plates or leaking faucets, and tend to any home safety and health issues. These minor things don’t necessarily count against the home value but it can give the overall impression the home has not been maintained. Have a list of any repairs, updates or renovations that have been made – new roof, windows, upgraded HVAC, finished basement, kitchen remodel, flooring or carpet upgrade/replacement, bath remodels. These things can add value to your home.

 

An Appraisal came in lower than purchase price…now what?

By far, everyone’s biggest fear.

 

This doesn’t happen often but if it does, look for errors (use your agent to help), comb through the appraisal report, and make sure all looks good. Check the comparable sales. If they make sense, again, lean on your agent to help as they have access to MLS and the data appraisers use for comparables. Request another appraiser and get a second opinion if things look wrong, not just less than you hoped.

 

Renegotiate the contract, the appraisal is the reason expert pricing is important in the beginning of a real estate transaction. If you have your house priced too high, you might be looking at an appraisal that contradicts your pricing opinion. This is a great reason to trust that your agent is accurately pricing your home and not feeling pressed to list it higher because you think it should be worth more than the market can bear.

 

Appraisals are a common step of the process. An appraisal doesn’t have to be scary and it should be pretty easy to navigate. However, if problems arise, your agent can help!!

List of my top favorite local events and features in Carson Valley

 

Carson Valley is a beautiful valley tucked away in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range just east of Lake Tahoe and south of Carson City. We enjoy the beauty of all seasons here. Average snowfall in the winter 17-26 inches, the average number of sunny days is 251, and the beautiful spring blooms and fall leaves peeping are things we get to enjoy.

 

The Carson Valley is a small rural community of 8,656 residents made up of Minden and Gardnerville. While enjoying the rich agricultural land we also have amenities and shopping all around. You get that small town feel with access to everything you need without all the big city hub bub.

 

Summer

The summer months boast big name concert events hosted by Carson Valley Inn. The likes of Pat Benatar, Martina McBride, Loverboy, Joan Jett, Kenny G, Dwight Yoakam and more.

 

Our Annual Carson Valley days is held in Jun. The community celebrates with a 5-day event with a parade, a carnival, concerts and fun local activities.

 

Over at Heritage Park, the Town of Gardnerville hosts the family friendly event, Movies in the Park throughout the summer.

 

And we can’t forget the annual 4th of July celebration including a BBQ, music, and fireworks.

 

Fall

The Genoa Candy Dance is an annual festival full of crafts and food with live music and family fun. It’s a huge event that people from all over the region come to sell and shop.

 

One of my favorites is the Aviation Roundup every other October hosted by the Minden-Tahoe airport. The show is dedicated to the Veterans who have served our country.

 

Also, in the fall is the Harvest Festival at Corley Ranch featuring a petting zoo, the fun corn maze, pig races, food, crafts, and pumpkin picking!

 

 

Holidays

Carson Valley Christmas Kickoff! A family holiday tradition with a Christmas tree lighting, and Heritage Park Pavilion lighting, sleigh rides, fireworks, and pictures with Santa.

 

Don’t miss the Carson Valley Inn’s Candy Cane Lane and the parade of lights hosted by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce.

 

There is plenty to do for the holidays in the valley.

 

Winter

In January, anglers have the pleasure of joining the Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby New Year’s Day through mid-April where anglers catch tagged fish for cash and prizes.

 

Also, in January, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts the Gathering of Eagles and Celebration of Agriculture. The event hosts a photography exhibit, dinner and specialty photo tours.  This is a must see and participate event for any nature photographer or nature lover.

 

We are a busy little hometown year-round. So much to enjoy with a laid-back outdoor lifestyle and a small-town feel, right next door to the most beautiful lake of all and close to bigger city activities and resources. We pretty much have it all here.

 

Weather Information Resource: https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/minden/nevada/united-states/usnv0062

Here are some essential tips for sellers and aspiring home buyers. Make sure you also lean into your trusted real estate professional for additional insight and guidance.

SMART STRATEGIES FOR SELLERS

Putting a home up for sale can be stressful, and some owners have a hard time making objective decisions when it matters most.

Homeowners consistently overestimate the market value of their homes by 5 to 10 percent.1

PRICE IT RIGHT

Your listing agent will perform a current market analysis.Look closely at the sales of similar homes that have closed in the last 90 days and take the number of available listings into account when agreeing to an asking price.

Sources: 1. Smart Money Magazine, February 2, 2011

2. National Association of REALTORS, 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

KEEP IN MIND

Homes that have failed to attract a buyer in a reasonableperiod of time may be overpriced.

Foreclosures or short sales in your neighborhoodcan impact your home’s market value.

It doesn’t pay to set the price too high; mostbuyers will need financing and the bank will generally use an appraisal based onrecent sales to justify the amount.

Your agent may recommend  that you perform repairs to  correct visible flaws—or even  suggest staging your home so it  feels more spacious and potential  buyers can picture themselves living there.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF  YOUR MARKET DEBUT

Pricing your home competitively  from the get-go increases the odds  of a quick sale.

Nearly 43% of buyers looked online  for properties as their first step and  43% found the home they ultimately  purchased on the Internet.If your  home is priced too high when it hits  the market, you run the risk that active,  qualified buyers will scroll right past it.

New listings are called “hot” for a  reason—buyers get excited about  them. Showings are likely to cool  off noticeably after the first 30  days on the market.

When weighing an offer, make sure to consider the potential costs of holding on to your property longer than you want or need to (including the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.).

Get the home you want

Get Ready

Talk to your mortgage professionalabout your financial situation and credit history to determine your loan options. It’s important to know how much house you can afford based on your down payment and income. A strong letter of pre-approval can really add to your bargaining power.

Have a meeting with your real estate agent. Discuss your needs and preferences and establish the best method for your agent to send listings and communicate with you about available properties. Tap into his or her knowledge of the local market.  When it comes time to act, your agent will represent your interests in negotiations and work to ensure a smooth transaction.

Shop Smart

Expect to pay more for a showplace: if you consider a fixer-upper, judge structural deficiencies more harshly than cosmetic flaws. It can be costly to replace major components or to change the layout, but redecorating with flooring, fixtures or paint is relatively easy and sometimes offers instant equity potential.

Location is key. Even if the site seems perfect for you at the present time, think about whether it will appeal to a large pool of buyers if you should decide to sell in the future.

Go for It!

To write a winning offer without overpaying, look at the prices for comparable sales. Consider whether the property is in a high-demand area or if there is plenty of competition. Ask your agent to find out why it is for sale and if the seller seems motivated. If you accommodate the seller’s preferred closing dates or other terms, he or she maybe more flexible with the price.

Do Your Due Diligence

Schedule a home inspection after coming to terms. Many sellers expect to address issues related to safety or building codes, and additional repairs (or a credit) may be negotiated. Make sure all of your questions or concerns regarding the home’s condition are answered through the inspection process.