What You Need to Know Prior to an Appraisal

If you need an appraisal when buying a home or refinancing a mortgage, you'll want to be aware of these things beforehand.

Want to sell your East Bay Home? Get a FREE home value report Want to buy an East Bay Home? Search all homes for sale
If you seek an appraisal to sell your house or refinance your mortgage, there are a few things about the process you need to know. To help me explain them, I'm joined today by Frankie Hartwelle of Midnight Appraisal Services. The first thing to expect is an invasive inspection process. As Frankie says, there's a lot of door opening throughout the entire property that happens so the appraiser can observe everything from the floors to the ceiling. It's a good idea to declutter the home so the appraiser can inspect everything in the home. Everything should be accessible to them. If you have the time, it's a good idea to make all the small repairs that make a house look average, like a door hanging off the hinges, for example. Fixing these items can take your house from the fringes of 'average' up to ‘good.’
The inspection process can be pretty invasive.
Since many people upgrade their house over time, having a list of the upgrades that have been done in the past 10 to 15 years is a great idea. This is especially helpful when you've upgraded things we can't see like insulation or the foundation. If you made a big home upgrade that might require a permit, it depends whether you should provide the permit. Many times, appraisers will come to a home to see an addition and the owner won't say whether it's legal for fear that its value won't be counted. The addition will always have some type of value; the lender just wants to know if there is a health or safety issue. If you have any questions for Frankie or you need an appraisal, you can reach her at 510-532-1755 or email her at Midnightappraisal@sbcglobal.net. As always, give me a call if you have any real estate questions or you're thinking of buying or selling a home. We're here to help!

Rivers Island Is Open for Homebuyers

If you’re looking to buy a home quickly in the $400,000 to $500,000 price point, River Islands has plenty of new home developments we’d like to tell you about.

Want to sell your East Bay Home? Get a FREE home value report Want to buy an East Bay Home? Search all homes for sale

Today we’re coming to you live from inside the River Islands Welcome Center to talk about new home developments that are for sale within the River Islands community. Specifically, we’re looking at four different brand-new neighborhoods: 360 Lakeside, Crystal Cove, Tidewater, and Summer House.

If you’re looking for a home in the $400,000 to $500,000 price point, there are many great options available in these locations. Starting prices will depend on the home’s square footage and the lot it sits on, and there is a huge array of different types of homes available. The lowest price point can be found in 360 Lakeside, which features 4,000 to 5,000 square foot lots starting in the low $400,000 range. Crystal Cove and Tidewater both offer homes starting in the mid $400,000 range. Summer House features homes as large as 3,000 to 4,000 square foot that start in the low $500,000 range.

360 Lakeside, Crystal Cove, and Tidewater all have lakefront property available, but the premiums are different for each because the lakes in 360 Lakeside and Tidewater are different sizes and Crystal Cove has a shared lake.
There are many great homes available in this community.
River Islands is a master planned community, which means there are all kinds of parks, lakes, and schools built around the houses. River Islands is 5,000 acres in total, and by the end of the project—which they estimate will take 20 more years—they will have 11,000 homes built. They will also have a town center which will include restaurants, retail stores, apartments, condos, a grocery store, and a gas station.

The first facility they built was The Boathouse at River Islands restaurant, which offers lakeside dining and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can also rent the entire place out for events like weddings and other parties.
If you have any questions or are interested in buying a home in this area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be glad to help you!

How Can a Buyer Consultation Help?

Our goal is to help our buyers prepare to be patient through the buying process. We do this through buyer consultations.

Want to sell your East Bay Home? Get a FREE home value report Want to buy an East Bay Home? Search all homes for sale
Many of the first-time buyers we work with are starting to feel like they can’t catch a break. To avoid this type of situation, we like to go over all the situations that frustrate these buyers in our buyer consultations. By explaining the process from beginning to end, we are able to help our buyers set realistic expectations. We’d like to share some of those tips with you today.
Limited inventory is just one thing frustrating buyers.
Limited inventory, pricing, and mortgage rates are just a few things frustrating buyers in our market. The goal of our consultations is to help our buyers prepare to be patient through the process and understand that some homes just aren’t winnable in the end. However, if they stick to the plan we discuss in the consultation, they will enjoy the benefits of being a homeowner at the end.

If you have any questions for us or are looking to buy a home yourself, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Importance of a Pre-Sale Inspection Before Listing

With a pre-sale inspection, you can avoid a lot of hassle down the road. Instead of having to negotiate when a buyer comes back with a list of repairs from their inspector, you can provide a list of your own up front.

Want to sell your East Bay Home? Get a FREE home value report Want to buy an East Bay Home? Search all homes for sale

The reason I chose this topic is because I’m finding time after time when I go to help buyers purchase a home there are no pre-inspections which is bad for the seller because we will be coming back to renegotiate after inspections are completed.
Without a pre-sale inspection, when the time does come for a buyer to inspect the home, they are going to come back with a list of repairs and we are going to have to end up re-negotiating the offer price midway through the contract, which is really not good for sellers.
With a pre-sale inspection, there is no second negotiation.
We get a property inspection, termite inspection, roof inspection, and sometimes even a sewer inspection for our homes before they go to market. That way, the seller is 100% sure on what repairs will need to be done and all those negotiations are done on the front end as opposed to midway through the contract. That’s crucial because it will give you a better idea of your net up front instead of halfway through the transaction. Pre-sale inspections are vital. That’s the most important thing to know.
If you have any more questions about pre-sale inspections, how they work, or anything else related to real estate, give me a call or send me an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

How to prepare your home for the spring real estate market

Want to sell your East Bay Home? Get a FREE home value report
Want to buy an East Bay Home? Search all homes for sale

When it comes to real estate, spring starts in January.
You might already know spring is the hottest season in terms of home sales.
Home buyers come out in big numbers with a lot of pent up demand from the long winter months.
The numbers bear this out — homes sold in the spring sell 15 days faster and for about 2% more money than the average listing.
However, in order to make the most of the spring real estate rush, you have to start preparing now.
Today, I want to show you how to do that in four easy steps.
The first step is to find out what your home is worth.  
Pricing your home correctly from the start will mean it sells more quickly. And homes that sell more quickly tend to sell for more.
To get an idea of the value of your home, check out the calculator on my site that takes into account recent East Bay sales.
You can also give me a call at (510) 500-5428 and I’ll give you an even more accurate estimate based on the unique characteristics of your home.
The second step is to decide the right time to list.
March through May is the peak season — but this is a very broad range.
A home's listing is viewed five times more on its first day than even one week later, so it’s important to get this exactly right.  
In addition, the East Bay market has some quirks about the best time to list, depending on when you are hoping to close the sale.
If you’re thinking of selling, give me a call and I can give you specific recommendations for the perfect time to list your home.
Third, you'll want to maximize curb appeal.
The reason why is simple: 63% of home buyers will drop by a home they viewed and liked online.
Make sure you give them a good first impression by removing the lingering effects of winter.
Simple projects are often enough — pressure washing the outside, refreshing the landscaping, and cleaning the windows.
Occasionally, upgrades such as a paint job or roof repairs also make sense and can add thousands of dollars to the value of a home.
Finally, you have to prepare for the viewings.
Tidy up the inside of your home, declutter as much as possible, and start packing away non-essential things in anticipation of a sale.
And really, that’s it. By following these simple steps, you’ll be taking full advantage of the spring boom in the real estate market.
And if you need any advice — about pricing your home, about the best time to list, or about small projects that can bump up your sale price by 10% to 15% — just give me a call at (510) 500-5428. I'm here to help.