Archive for July, 2011

Are Home Contract Cancellations on the Rise?

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

I love to read Kenneth Harney columns. He is one of my favorite writers on the real estate market, and always poses poignant questions as he delves deep into real estate-related issues (some that the average journalist won’t tackle). Today he had a new column out discussing the “case of the walking homebuyers.” Apparently the numbers show that large numbers of signed real estate contracts cancelled last month across the country. Why is this, and will it continue?

One of the reasons cited for contracts falling a part is the good old economy. Uncertainty about what is going on with the deficit, unemployment and the housing market may be causing many folks to rethink home purchases. Ironically enough now is the time to buy a home if you are in the position to do so, as prices are low, rates are low, inventory is ripe for negotiations and it is a buyer’s market. Call it a Catch-22, but the savvy buyers (like investors, who have no emotions in the game) are purchasing some great deals.

Short sales are also cited as one of the culprits for purchase contract cancellations. As you are aware, these sales can be long processes and often buyers decide not to wait the process through. I even had one cancel after the lender had approved the short sale, because the lender decided to sell the property at auction…but this is a rare case. For the most part though, my short sales have not had a problem closing (only the annoying time burdens). Most short sale buyers, if counseled correctly by their agents, will understand going into the process that it could be timely.

Lender issues are another potential roadblock with purchase contract cancellations. Often buyers have a hard time obtaining funding for a loan, and this process has become even more difficult due to the possibility of loan limits reductions (see my previous blogs on this topic). For the most part, if buyers are pre-approved and the agents follow up with the lenders on this prior to writing an offer, and then during the contingency period, the majority of the loans go through. The key is communication with the mortgage broker/bank representative, so that they get all the paperwork needed from the buyer(s).

Appraisal issues are also pointed out in the article. Appraisers have been known to blow a sale here and there by valuing properties too low. As Mr. Harney pointed out, if an appraisal comes in too low the buyers may opt to back out if the price is not reduced. But for the most part I have not personally had any appraiser issues (only one a few years back, and he was right on – so the sellers had to reduce the price for my buyer and, although they were unhappy, they would have had to do so for other buyers as well). Oftentimes though the appraisals can be the subject of errors, which can be remedied should the buyer and seller take their agents’ advice and submit an appeal.

No matter what forces may compel buyers to abstain from home purchases, if you are in the position to buy, are qualified, and are working with an agent who is both smart and savvy, there really is no better time. I know I say this often, but that is because it is the truth. If you need more proof just look at all the investors out there buying right now…that says a lot.

 

 

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San Diego August Calendar of Events

Friday, July 29th, 2011
August 6, Annual Clairemont Family Days
This festival offers musical entertainment, a pancake breakfast, arts & crafts, food vendors, pony rides,
a carnival & more. Free admission.
Time:  8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location:  South Clairemont Family Days
For more information visit www.clairemontfamilyday.com

August 6, Smokin’ Q Classic Barbeque Competition
The Smokin’ Q Classic is a California State Championship Barbeque Competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. The public will have an opportunity to sample the championship recipes at $2.00 each. There will also be live music, a beer garden, other food choices, and some arts and crafts. Admission is free.
Time:  11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Downtown Vista, Main St. and E. Broadway
For more information visit www.vvba.org

August 6, Annual Balboa Park 8-Mile & 3-Mile Runs
Choose between an 8-mile run or a shorter 3-mile run. The courses travel through and around
Balboa Park. See website for fees. Courses: 8 mile course: road and trails through Balboa Park – challenging hills and rolling terrain along bridal path. 3 mile course: roadways; flat and fast. Start & finish for both races are in parking lot in front of Aerospace and Railroad Museums.
Time:  7:30 am – 10:00 am
Location:  Balboa Park – East Side, off Park Blvd. & Presidential Way- in front of Aerospace and Railroad Museums.
For more information visit www.sdtc.com

August 6, Annual Kid’s Fish Derby
Fishing Derby for kids ages 6 – 16. Sponsored by the Oceanside Pier Bait Store.
Time:  9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location:  Oceanside Pier Plaza & Oceanside Pier
For more information call 760-722-3936

August 6-7, Annual Philippine Cultural Arts Festival
Experience a festival showcasing the heritage of the Philippines with traditional performing arts, folk dances, songs, music, and costumes. Merchant booths will be open for business and Philippine food will be served.  Free admission.
Time:  11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Balboa Park (lawn area at Park Blvd. & President’s Way)
For more information visit www.samahanphilippinedance.com

August 7, Annual Lemon Festival
This free event features live entertainment on three stages, lemons, hand crafters, lemons, international foods, lemons, contests, and lemons galore!
Time:  10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location:  Downtown Chula Vista, Third Ave. from E to Roosevelt
For more information call 619-422-1982

August 13, Dog Days of Summer Canine Festival & Contest
Come enjoy dog contests, custom pet products, animal adoptions, live music, food, a doggie photo booth, doggie crafts, a silent auction and large ticket item raffle.
Time:  10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location:  Aberdeen Dr. and Newscastle Ave., Cardiff by the Sea
For more information visit www.cardiffdogdaysofsummer.com

August 13-14, Fiesta Del Sol
Annual celebration of the diverse cultures and history of the people of San Diego.  A family-friendly, free event.  There will be food, music, merchandise booths, a youth zone, children’s area, educational area, green economy area, and technology area.
Time:  11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location:  Cesar Chavez Park, 1449 Cesar Chavez Parkway
For more information visit www.fiestadelsolsandiego.org

August 13-14, Snores & Smores Family Campout
Camp outdoors in the safety and convenience of a community park. Activities begin at 5:00 pm. Games, relays, crafts, BBQ dinner and outdoor movie screening. $20 per person, free for ages 3 and under.
Time:  Activities begin at 5 pm on Saturday
Location: Aviara Community Park, 6435 Ambrosia Ln., Carlsbad
For more information call 760-602-7510

August 14, Annual CityFest
This event is a popular art & craft festival featuring over 250 vendors, games, activities, music, food, a beer garden and much more. Patrons can sit at café style seating and watch entertaining street performers while listening to live music. Free event.
Time:  12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location:  Hillcrest – 5th Ave. & University
For more information visit www.hillcrestcityfest.com

August 14, Art in the Village, Arts & Craft Show
Over 200 of the finest arts and crafts vendors in the most beautiful of settings in the Village of Carlsad, just two blocks from the beach.  Live acoustic music, artist demonstations and instruction throughout the event.
Time:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location:  Carlsbad Village
For more information visit www.kennedyfaires.com/carlsbad

August 19-21, Annual Summergrass Bluegrass Music Festival
This family oriented event features tasty food, live music, music workshops by performing artists,
jam sessions, vendors, and activities for kids.  Dry camping available.
Time:  Gates open at 8:00 am
Location:  Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, 2040 N Santa Fe Ave., Vista
For more information visit www.summergrass.net

August 20, Annual Midnight Madness Fun Bicycle Ride
A costumed bike riding event that includes contests, prizes, and entertainment to support community youth programs.  The cycling route is a primarily flat loop course along some of San Diego’s most beautiful waterfront and historic areas.
Time:  8:00 pm – 3:00 am – Ride takes place at midnight
Location:  County Administration Building, Downtown San Diego – parking lot on Pacific Hwy.
For more information visit www.sandiegomidnightmadness.com

August 20, Free to Breathe 5K Fun Run/Walk
This event is to promote awareness about lung cancer and to obtain vital funding for research.
The course is flat with sidewalk or grass options and affords views of downtown San Diego and
the San Diego Bay.
Time:  8:00 am – 11:00 am
Location:  Liberty Station NTC Park, Farragut Rd.
For more information visit www.freetobreathe.com

August 21, America’s Finest City Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk
The Half Marathon starts at the Cabrillo National Monument and continues along San Diego Bay,
then through downtown San Diego, ending in Balboa Park Pan-American Plaza.  The 5K begins at the
Pan American Plaza, and is a fast loop course back to the Plaza.
Time:  7:00 am start
Location:  Cabrillo National Monument and Balboa Park
For more information visit www.afchalf.com

August 26, Annual Taste of Main Street
International Food Festival where you may sample delicious food from downtown restaurants and
enjoy live entertainment.
Time:  6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location:  Downtown Encinitas, Highway 101
For more information visit www.encinitas101.com

August 27, Annual Orfila Grape Stomp
The afternoon event celebrates the start of harvest with tractor rides through the vineyard, grape stomping in a huge five-foot barrel, dancing to a live band, wine tasting and a delicious buffet dinner.  Tickets available on site.
Time:  4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Location:  Orfila Vineyards & Winery, 13455 San Pasqual Rd., Escondido
For more information visit www.orfila.com

August 27, Annual Chula Vista Rotary Wine & Food Festival
Upscale event where you can sample delicacies from over 20 of Chula Vista’s prominent restaurants.  Also available will be your choice of spirits from local breweries, wineries, and tequilerias.  Tickets: $50.
Time:  6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location:  Otay Ranch Town Center, 2015 Birch Rd., Chula Vista
For more information visit www.mcfarlanepromotions.com

August 28, Annual Bike the Bay
Join a 25-mile fun bike ride that begins and ends at the Embarcadero Marina Park South.  The event is for all levels of riders and for individuals, families and groups.  It concludes with food, entertainment, and a beer garden.
Time:  7:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location:  Embarcadero Marina Park South
For more information visit www.bikethebay.net
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What Every Short Sale Buyer Should Know

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

As many people are aware, short sales are not going away any time soon, and they often present the opportunity to purchase desirable properties at prices below comparables – not such great news for the neighbors, but a blessing for buyers.

If you are a buyer considering purchasing a short sale, or if you know someone who may soon do so, there are a few things to be aware of before you make an offer.

1. Time frames. You probably already know that short sales can take a while to be approved by the lender(s). How long depends on several factors, like how many liens there are (approval time is usually quicker if there is only one), whether you are the firstnbuyer to submit an offer (if there had been a previous buyer and some progress had been made, you may not have as long a wait), the skills of the listing agent or her negotiators, and the alignment of the stars. All in all, the process has gotten quicker than it used to be, so a ballpark in San Diego County is likely 2-4 months (my last 3 short sales closed in about 2-3 months).

2. Acceptance by the seller does not the contract seal. By this I mean that just because you and the seller agreed to the contract terms, the lender can change those terms. It can ask for a higher sales price (and often does when the BPO (Broker Price Opinion – like an appraisal), and change terms (see #3). Be aware that things could change, and that is why it is so important to work with an agent in writing an offer.

3. Write as clean an offer as possible. The best chance at getting an offer accepted is to write a clean offer. Make the escrow period as quick as possible, do not ask for the seller to pay your closing costs unless this is absolutely necessary (most lenders will not). Also, I advise my clients not to ask for a home warranty, as the lenders won’t usually pay for that. Instead, I buy one for my buyers. Oftentimes lenders won’t pay for termite work but will pay for an inspection, but I do ask for the seller to pay any section 1 (typically the seller’s responsibility) items regardless. The lender can choose to say no, but I have had lenders pay for this so I include it. It depends on the lender, the sales price and other factors. Speak with your agent to make sure your offer is as clean as possible.

Short sales seem to be turning into an art. The best advice is to work with an agent who is experienced with these sales, and: don’t be afraid of short sales! It continues to surprise me how many agents refuse to work with them. Unless you need to close escrow quickly it can be a great way to get a good deal on a home; and the time frames, while frustrating, are usually well worth the wait. Happy hunting!

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Should the Government Intervene in the Real Estate Market?

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The government has played an integral role in the real estate market for a very long time. But lately there have been two diametrically opposed views – and many in between – as to whether it should continue to do so. I posed this question to agents and the responses were very interesting.

The pro-government view is that the government has contributed to making the market a better place, mostly for consumers. Programs to help people avoid foreclosure, get better rates on loans and be able to buy homes with little money down (buyers who otherwise would not be able to purchase), keeping buyers, sellers and homeowners safe from scams (like mortgage fraud – although the past has not proven this is 100% possible), and enforcing local and federal laws (zoning, anti-discrimination in housing) to help people and our neighborhoods.

Just as vocal are those who feel that the government has intervened too much (anti-government intervention views), causing the market to be in such a horrible state. They site programs that have failed to do much but cost taxpayers lots of money, bank scams due to lack of regulation, problems within the foreclosure market, as well as the looming possibility of a loan limit reduction, which many believe will decimate the market even further.

One respondent pointed out that the government has to be involved to some extent, as many laws designed to protect us are entwined with the real estate market – zoning laws, building codes and federal anti-discrimination in housing laws come to mind. I agree. The government needs to jump in here to enforce rules that will keep our neighborhoods strong and ownership protected. So maybe the question should be “how much should the government intervene?”

Mark Zandi, the Chief Economist for Moody’s Analytics, recently stated in a post that it may be time for the government to get more involved in housing. He sites three areas that would benefit: “(1) facilitating more refinancing, (2) delaying the impending reduction in conforming loan limits, and (3) supporting principal-reducing loan modifications more aggressively.” He believes the government should require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide more refinancings through the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP).

The flip side of the coin is that the government, instead of enforcing oversight on government agencies like Fannie and Freddie, needs to back off and let the chips fall as they may. They say that if Fannie and Freddie fail, it could open the doors to privatization – new types of funding where corporations and private parties become lenders in the primary market. These folks believe housing will not recover until such a time. Of course, there are many viewpoints in between as well.

No matter where you stand on government intervention in real estate, there are valid arguments on both sides. The key is getting people in the know to get together and have dialogues, sharing ideas that could reasonably be implemented to make a difference in the market. I love posting heated questions like this to Realtors, because the ideas that spark from them are often good ones, smart ones, and show that a group of people really can come together and find ways to solve problems for the common good – maybe a lesson the federal government can take to heart. What do you think?

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Are You Ready to Find a Home?

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Have you been considering buying a home, maybe for the first time, maybe to move up or down? Have you been waiting for the market to hit bottom, for prices to fall, for loan rates to get lower? Guess what? It is that time. Yes, I am a Realtor, and my telling you this may sound self-serving, but let me tell you why that is not the case:

1.  Rates are still low. They will get higher – that is something I would be money on. There are a few reasons why. One is that they have been historically low for a long time and it is inevitable. Another reason is that there could be some big changes coming up in the loan industry (see below), which will make them rise.

2.  Qualifying for a loan is not going to get any easier. Lenders are still reeling from the housing crash and make it difficult to qualify new borrowers (believe me, I have seen it happen to my own clients). If the new rules pass in September, come October 1 loan limits will decrease, meaning buyers will have to put MORE money down in order to qualify for a loan, and limits will be lower so that means less of a loan (buyers will have to buy smaller homes, or maybe even consider different areas/neighborhoods).

3.  Down payment requirements could rise. If the loan limit rates decline the downpayment amounts will increase. Borrowers will have to pay more money up front to get a loan. This will make buying a home a pipe dream for many Americans.

4.  There are still some great loan products out there. FHA loans require much lower downpayments and better interest rates. If the new limit restrictions pass they will have an effect on these loans.

5.  Selling a home could get much more difficult. If the loan rates change it may effect sellers the most, especially in higher priced areas like San Diego county. Buyers who could qualify for a loan to buy a home may no longer be able to afford that much house, so sellers may have a hard time finding qualified buyers. Many homeowners may not be able to sell their homes, which could lead to more foreclosures. Property values will go down, but who will buy these properties? One theory is that the lenders will simply rent them out rather than try to sell.

6.  It is a great time to negotiate! With the market slower than usual for the time of year, and the many well-priced homes out there that are available (especially short sale and lender owned properties), buyers are in the driver’s seat as far as negotiations are concerned. There are some stubborn sellers out there, but if you encounter that situation you can always find another property that is ripe for negotiation.

7.  Learn from who is buying now. If you look closely, especially in the attached home market, you will see many investor buyers. As I have said before, this is a sign. It is a sign that now is the time to buy. I am personally working with multiple investor clients right now, and they are getting great deals on short sale and lender owned properties.

I get asked all the time what the market is like, how we are faring here in North San Diego. The market is doing much better than in some other areas of the country, but we are still struggling a bit. Prices have come down, and will likely continue to do so. If the new loan limit reductions pass it will create qualification problems for many buyers and for sellers as well. Right now you can still lock in a very low rate (today’s conforming rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage is  4.5% with no points). There is a decent amount of inventory out there.

So, here is my pledge to you: I will do my best to help you find the right property, at the right price – if you don’t there is no pressure at all. Use me as a tool to help you, because that is what I am here for. I will provide all the information you need about any home we find. You don’t need to sign any agreement, I won’t make any demands on you. I offer you honesty and professionalism, and all you have to do is call me. I will be around all weekend. 760-310-9466

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Bring on the Horses!

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Today is opening day at the Del Mar race track – one of the most exciting and best people watching events in San Diego County. Grab your hat and head on over to Del Mar today through September 7. Opening events begin today at 2 p.m. and races are Wednesday through Sunday.

The race track is not only for horse racing fans, and there are all kinds of activities for guests of all ages. Events include Friday summer concert series, food festivals, handicapping seminars, and a host of other fun activities.

Family fun weekends are a great way to share the experience with the entire family. Every Saturday and Sunday children get in free and adults are only $6. Free family events in the infield include obstacle courses, pony rides, magic shows and face painting, as well as games, rides and a playground.

For a list of all Del Mar events, prices and tickets visit the track’s website at http://www.dmtc.com/.  See you at the races!

 

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New Short Sale Law in California Protects Homeowners

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Governor Brown just signed a new law relating to short sales that will protect California homeowners. Senate Bill 458 prevents first and secondary lien holders from being allowed to pursue homeowners for deficiency amounts after short sales. This is great news for homeowners who need to short sell their properties.

The old law prevented primary lien holders from coming after borrowers upon the close of short sale escrow for deficiencies (the difference between the amount the property sold for and the amount owed to the lender), but it did not include subsequent lien holders. If a borrower had two mortgages on the property (many have a second mortgage or line of credit), the short sale could close and the borrower could later be subject to collection efforts from the subsequent lien holder. That is no longer the case, and the law is effective immediately.

The new law should make the short sale process a bit easier and less risky for homeowners, likely leading to more short sales in lieu of foreclosures and bankruptcies.

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How Will Loan Limit Changes Affect the Housing Market?

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

It’s one of the questions of the moment, and one that many real estate agents and mortgage brokers fear most at this time: what will happen to the housing market once the conforming loan limits drop at the end of September? How will buyers and sellers be affected, if at all?

Let’s start at the beginning: conforming loans are those that are eligible for guarantee by the government. Because of this, they tend to have lower interest rates. The cap on the amount that the government can guarantee used to be lower, but in 2008 Congress raised the cap to $729,750 in some markets (typically those with higher priced homes, like in California). This made lenders feel more secure in doling out loans, because they knew they would be covered by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac if the homeowner defaulted on the loan, thus making them less risky.

Also potentially on the chopping block are FHA limits, and lowering them could impact 40 states and hundreds of counties, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Since FHA backed loans are popular right now across a broad spectrum of buyers, this could also be a problem for those seeking to qualify for these types of loans. Many organizations, including NAR, have been making appeals to Congress to not allow limits to be reduced.

Come October 1 these higher limits are set to revert back to the old limits – $625,500 in some markets , such as pricier home markets like San Diego County. Many reports have predicted this will be a huge blow to buyers trying to qualify for loans, and some lenders are already starting to scrutinize current applications in light of the coming changes. How might this affect the borrower?

Interest rate increases: With loan limit decreases higher interest rates are likely. If a borrower needs a loan that exceeds the new caps she will need a jumbo loan, which has a higher rate. This may cause the buyer to look for homes that are smaller and cost less – or simply to hold off on buying. Either way this could effect housing market recovery.

Down payment increases: Buyers will need to make bigger down payments should they need loans that are over the lowered limits, in order to get jumbo loans. Again, this could lead to inventory stagnation in the middle part of the market, with buyers starting to focus on lower-priced homes or just opting to wait.

Price decreases: With the changes in loan limits and thus, buyers being able to qualify, comes the inevitable – sellers may have to reduce home prices to entice buyers to buy (so that they can qualify for a loan without having to get a jumbo loan).

Given the current state of the housing market and economy, this move to reduce loan limits doesn’t seem like a good one…however, there is a ray of hope in the scenario: if you are a buyer you could benefit immensely from prices going down. You may have to adjust your criteria a bit – maybe a smaller home or one that needs a little TLC, but all in all it could have a positive outcome for buyers. Sellers are the ones who will have a more difficult time with the changes.

Buyers still have time to research, find a home and lock in a rate. If you are a seller, you still have time to price your home WELL. This is certainly not the time for overpriced listings, so have a frank discussion with your agent and utilize the comparables to come up with a price that will get those buyers in the door.

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Welcome to Carlsbad’s Newest Stores

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

If you have not visited the Forum Shops in Carlsbad I highly recommend you do so. A beautifully designed outdoor upscale shopping center, the Forum offers some of the best shops, boutiques, home, kitchen, specialty stores and dining in the area. In late June Carlsbad welcomed two new stores to the center: Urban Outfitters and H & M. I had a chance to visit these stores recently and found them to be a perfect addition to the Forum lineup.

Urban Outfitters offers modern, trendy, yet casual clothing that for the most part is a bit pricey (but hey, it’s the Forum). Many of the styles appeal to the younger (20-30 something, as well as teen) crowd, but it is possible to find clothing for any age. The store has a fun collection of knickknacks as well, like bedding, kitchen ware and other goodies. It is spacious and fun, with decent customer service.

H&M, located right next door, offers a bit more for all age groups – not just the younger crowd. Prices are pretty decent, and the store is very bright and open. There is a second level with children’s clothing and lingerie (interesting combination).  H & M does have a large, eclectic selection of accessories. Although I will miss the Borders book store that used to occupy the space taken over by these two stores, I think they are a fun and popular addition to the center.

The Forum is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon, and there are some delicious lunch places. My favorites are The Counter (custom burgers, and one of the best veggie burgers around) and the more casual Which Wich (scrumptious custom sandwiches), but you can also dine at Buca di Bepo, Panera, Casa de Bandini, or grab a healthy quick lunch at Jimbo’s Market (fantastic salad bar and hot and cold prepared foods that are mouth-watering and healthy). Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Cold Stone Creamery make for great coffee/desert treats while shopping.

The only problem at the Forum is that, with all the fantastic stores parking is getting tight. But that could change with the addition of the Forum II, which has been on the back burner for a while. Plans include a large cinema, which would be a welcome addition to the area, so keep your eye out for that.

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Should You Sell Your Home Now?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I  have had a few clients ask this question lately, and knowing their situations and homes I helped them make the right decision. Whether you should sell your home now or wait depends on many factors, and if you need to sell there are some important things to consider.

How do I know if it’s the right time to sell my home?

It is still very much a buyer’s market, and prices have dropped slightly here in San Diego County. If you have equity in your home you are lucky, but you still likely will have to compete with short sales and foreclosed properties that may come up in the comparables. Unfortunately this may bring down the value of your home, but the KEY is to price your property right. It will not sell if you do not do so; even worse, not pricing your property well at the start could guarantee you a lengthy market time. It is crucial to use the beginning of market time to attract buyers, and that is the best time to do it.

If comparables have brought down your property value, you don’t need to move and you can afford to pay your mortgage, it may be best to wait it out. If you have a job transfer you may consider asking your new employer if it is willing to purchase your home, help with financing on a new home, or you may consider keeping it as income property. If you live in a desireable area, like most areas of San Diego, you might want to consider corporate rentals, which will net much higher income rates. Corporate rental tenants tend to have higher incomes and are carefully screened too.

If you have to sell your home because you can no longer pay the mortgage and have not qualified for a loan modification, the following tips still apply to you. It doesn’t matter whether your home is sold as a traditional sale or a short sale – the goal of course is to attract the most buyers to come view your home.

If I simply must sell my home, what is most important in getting it sold as quickly as possible?

1.  Price. I cannot emphasize enough how important price is, especially now. There are still many sellers out there who, despite the comparables, want to price their homes higher and “see what happens.” Here is the problem: it used to be that buyers would come and look at these overpriced homes and make a lower offer. But in today’s market many agents are finding that is no longer the case. Now, if homes are overpriced many buyers don’t even want to see them – they feel the seller will be impossible to deal with and there are plenty of other homes that are priced well.

Many agents say the first 30 days is critical when it comes to price…I take that a step further and say that the first 14 days are critical. If the home is priced well, shows well, is properly marketed and has no major negatives (big power tower in the yard or next to a noise source like a freeway) you should see interest in those first two weeks. Agent/broker feedback is key. Negative features can be worked with as well, as long as you have a good agent.

2.  Showing condition. While most sellers do not need a professional stager, there are some simple tips to keep in mind when preparing your home for sale. Landscape should be trimmed and tidy (colorful flowers are a plus). The home should be clutter-free and no room should have too much furniture, making it difficult to walk through or view. Windows should be washed and window treatments opened to let in light. Take down personal photos. These are just some basics. I have written more detailed blogs on how to best prepare your home for sale (click on “Home Sale Tips” to the right of my blog for some more ideas).

3.  Marketing. Over 90% of buyers search the internet for homes. Your home needs to stand out. Putting it on the MLS is not enough. Make sure your agent has professional photography completed and a tour…studies have found that if a home does not have beautiful photography viewers will simply move on to the next one. Also, make sure your home is on major sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and others. If your home is on the MLS it will show up on these sites automatically, but your agent may consider upgrading on these sites to have your home really stand out. A separate home website is also a great idea. The idea online is omnipresence.

If you decide to sell your home you should consult with a local Realtor who can advise you on price, showing tactics and an overall plan to get your home sold for the best price possible, in the least amount of time. Being a seller can be advantageous if your home looks great and is priced well, so make a plan and get started. Best of luck!

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