What needs to be removed from a home before the close of escrow?
Sometimes sellers, in their haste to move out, decide to "gift" to the buyers some of their personal property. And when I say "gift" what I really mean is - they can't fit all of their stuff into the U-Haul, or are too lazy to remove the junk from the garage and make that final dump run, or they think because the house wasn't fully cleared out when they bought it as a bank repo they can just leave it in a sub-par state for the new owners. WRONG. Sellers are contractually obligated to remove all debris and personal property prior to closing.

A seller's "gift" is often a buyer's unwanted crap that they then have to remove, donate or dispose of. I recently had a seller client who left all kinds of stuff in the property despite our conversations that they would remove everything and have the home cleaned and ready to go...escrow closed, buyer got the keys and was really upset. And rightfully so.

The buyer's agent called me to make me aware of the situation. Of course I was horrified. I had to have a pretty blunt conversation with my seller (which candidly, I never want to have to do) to emphasize that what they did was not ok and they needed to take responsibility to correct this situation. Needless to say, they paid someone to come and remove the junk-- and probably paid a lot more to have that done on short notice after the fact than they would have if they had proactively done it before they moved out.

A little planning is the key to an less stressful move-out. And I have a lot of go-to people who can help off-haul junk, clean, or whatever. Ask me for help! It is a hectic time for sure. However, a seller's poor planning is absolutely NOT the buyer's fault. And no matter which side of the transaction I am on, I will do my very best to ensure that the property is turned over to the buyers in the condition it should be.
Measure twice, cut once...or in this case order the right size doors once...
I was showing a really nicely renovated Antelope home to a buyer client the other day, and wanted to take a look inside the fireplace. That's something I routinely do, looking for evidence of cracks inside the firebox area and other things...the doors of the fireplace were open and pushed to either side. When I was done looking inside the fireplace, I went to shut the doors. Ooops! They don't exactly fit this space. Sounds like a request for repairs in the making.
New Listing - 1018 Lochbrae Road, Sacramento, CA 95815
Adorable 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1,220sf Woodlake home! You will love the spacious layout, large living space, fireplace with gas insert, gleaming wood floors throughout, remodeled kitchen with stainless appliances, tile flooring, cherry cabinets, remodeled bathroom with dual sinks, lots of storage space! Energy efficient features such as dual pane windows, whole house fan and central heat and air. Huge backyard with shed. Sewer line was replaced in 2011. Composition roof with 2-year certification. All this and just a 10 minute commute to Downtown Sacramento! Located in the vibrant Woodlake community near parks, schools, and public transportation. Don't wait! Offered at $299,900. For a 3D virtual tour and more information, please visit 1018 Lochbrae Road, Sacramento, CA 95815.
New Listing - 4320 20th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95820
Adorable, well-loved 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 888sf Oak Park home is ready for a new owner and is the perfect blank canvas for your personal touches. You will love the wood floors, spacious living room, cozy fireplace, attached 1-car garage, composition roof, all on a large corner lot. Located near public transportation, parks, schools, and just down the street from a community center. Don't wait! Trust sale. Offered at $185,000. For a 3D virtual tour and more information please visit 4320 20th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95820.
Featured in a KCRA3 story about the federal tax reform proposal...
The new federal tax reform proposal was announced this week, and there are some major ramifications for homeowners if this passes in its current form. I was interviewed by KCRA 3 News specifically regarding the proposed cap on the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID).

Under current tax law, homeowners may write off mortgage interest on mortgages up to $1,000,000. The new tax proposal seeks to reduce this to mortgages up to $500,000. So what's the big deal about this? California is a "high cost" state...While the current median home price for September 2017 in Sacramento County is $348,000, there are plenty of higher priced areas in and around Sacramento, such as Davis, El Dorado Hills, Granite Bay, East Sacramento, Land Park, Arden Park, Sierra Oaks, and others.

Additionally, the median home price for the entire state of California is $555,410. That means that more than half of all home sales in California are more than $555,410. That means that potentially more than half of all home sales in California may be affected by this cap and owners potentially will suffer some reduction of mortgage interest deductibility.

I would urge you to research the tax plan and ask your congressional representative to reconsider elements of the plan that may adversely affect homeownership. View the news story here.
Why I hire a professional photographer for my listings...
Recently I was with a professional photographer at one of my listings as we were readying it to hit the market, and just for fun I decided to take a couple photos of the house myself just to compare to the professional pics side-by-side. There's no comparison: my photographs are lame. The lighting is inconsistent, there is this bleary quality around the windows, the composition is not ideal, and the rooms totally look small.

The professional photographers I hire to shoot my listings are amazing. It is SO critically important in marketing a home to have amazing photos -- we want a buyer to emotionally connect with a home before they ever set foot inside. Good photos generate excitement, and excitement generates lots of showings, and lots of showings generates offers.
How to blow up your house...
Step one: hook a flexible gas line up to both your water heater and dryer.

Step two: 😖

Sometimes I wonder what goes through people's minds when they do really goofy do-it-yourself home repairs. Like this. I saw this showing property in Fair Oaks. Seriously?
New Listing - 5914 34th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95824
Cute Fruitridge Manor 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1126sf home! You will love the spacious layout, updated kitchen with tile counters and new flooring, updated bathroom, laminate floors, custom fireplace, wood-beamed ceilings, big bonus room could be 3rd bedroom, home office, or den! Composition roof, central heat and air, water heater, and dual pane windows have all been replaced within the last year. Large detached garage. Big backyard is perfect for entertaining, newly landscaped with a fun fire-pit, and plenty of sunny space to garden or play. Don't wait! Offered at $249,900. For more photos and a 3D tour, please visit 5914 34th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95824.
New Listing - 2921 Heron Way, Sacramento, CA 95821
Adorable and lovingly maintained Arden Arcade home is the perfect blank canvas for your personal touches! You will love the spacious layout, large living room with cozy fireplace and built-in shelving, formal dining room, charming kitchen with lots of cabinet space and huge pantry, large bonus room would make for a great den, home office, or 4th bedroom. Covered deck is the perfect place for fun gatherings, large sunny yard has plenty of room to play or garden! Newer HVAC, 2-year roof certification, and central vacuum system. Don't wait! Trust sale. Offered at $239,000. For more photos and a 3D virtual tour, visit 2921 Heron Way, Sacramento, CA 95821.
New Listing - 6304 & 6306 Blackstar Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95621
Excellent investment property opportunity with this well-maintained Citrus Heights duplex. Convenient, high-demand location. 6304 Blackstar Drive is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit with a 1-car garage (rent $1,150/month), and 6306 Blackstar Drive is a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom unit with a 1-car garage (rent $975/month). Spacious units flow nicely with lots of living space, open layouts, big bedrooms, ample storage, and private backyards. Reports, maintenance, and income/expense records available. Located near shopping, public transportation, parks, schools, and I-80. Offered at $338,000. For more photos and additional information, please visit 6304-6306 Blackstar Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95621.
New Listing - 1371 Jonas Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95864
Wonderful 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2,476sf home is ready for a new owner. You will love the remodeled kitchen with white cabinets, granite counters and stainless appliances, spacious living room with cozy fireplace, wood flooring. Backyard is an outdoor oasis with built-in swimming pool and park-like 0.5ac lot with lots of sunny space to garden and play! Huge 3-car detached garage and circular driveway offers plenty of accessory space and parking. Located near parks and K-12 schools, short distance to Sacramento State. Offered at $475,000 subject to lender approval of short sale. For more photos please visit 1371 Jonas Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95864.
Heirs: please do not throw out home maintenance records if you find them...
I listed a Sacramento home recently where the owner passed away earlier this year. The person selling the home is the "successor trustee" of the owner's Living Trust -- the niece of the owner. She came out from Texas to go through the house, clean it out and get it ready for sale.

I visited the house the other day as they were packing items up to move and getting ready for a huge garage sale, and the niece handed me a box. Looking inside, I discovered the owner retained records for EVERYTHING. And by everything, I mean everything. Every appliance she purchased, service records for maintenance, extended warranty information and more dating back nearly 40 years.

We were able to purge a little of it -- for example the central heat and air system she installed in the 1980s was replaced just a few years ago. And the coffee maker she bought in 1996 was being sold in a garage sale and not coming with the house.

Homes that are sold by the successor trustees of a living trust where the owner has passed away or become incapacitated are exempt from many of the typical disclosures given to buyers during a home sale. Often, successor trustees have never occupied the home and don't know pertinent information about the home. If you are ever in the position to have to sell the home of a deceased person, PLEASE do not throw out these records if you find them while sorting out the affairs of the estate. This sort of cache of information is absolutely invaluable to the new owner.

New Listing - 4720 Custis Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95822
Adorable 2 bedrooms + loft, 1 bathroom, 1,068sf Hollywood Park home on .14ac lot! You will love the classic features paired with modern amenities: wood floors, spacious living room with cozy fireplace, formal dining room, updated kitchen with tile counters, remodeled bathroom, and neat upstairs loft which is a possible 3rd bedroom or the perfect home office! Enclosed sun room area and front patio deck offer more spaces to hang out, and large sunny backyard with pergola is the perfect place to garden or play! Short distance to schools, parks, shopping, public transportation and more. Offered at $324,900. For more information and a 3D tour, please visit 4720 Custis Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95822.
Things that appraisers believe are adverse conditions that must be repaired prior to closing...Part 3...
I met a plumbing contractor today to fix something that absolutely could lead to trouble. Do you notice where the arrow is pointing? That is not a good place to have a sizable gap and a big old hole -- in the wall of a shower where water can easily dribble in behind the wall. This can lead to dryrot or other deterioration. The top image is the appraiser's photo, and the bottom image is after repairs were made.

This was required of an FHA appraiser for a FHA loan...
New Listing - 6308 & 6310 Blackstar Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95621
Excellent real estate investment opportunity with this well-maintained Citrus Heights duplex. Convenient and high-demand location. This property is a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom/1-car garage and a larger 2 bedroom/2 bathroom/1-car garage duplex, each side with long-term tenants. Spacious units flow nicely with lots of living space, open layouts, big bedrooms, ample storage, and private backyards. 6308 have newer flooring. Reports, income/expenses, and maintenance records available. Located near shopping, public transportation, parks, schools, and I-80. Offered at $338,000. For more photos and detail, please visit 6308-6310 Blackstar Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95621.
New Listing - 5333 T Street, Sacramento, CA 95819
Adorable 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, 1,260sf home on Elmhurst's highly sought T Street Parkway! You will love the classic features coupled with the modern amenities. Light and bright floorplan, wood floors, updated kitchen with stainless appliances, dual pane windows, large bedrooms, central heat and air, lots of storage space, detached garage, drought-tolerant front landscape. Huge backyard is the perfect place to entertain with covered outdoor kitchen and fun beer garden area! Close to UCDMC, East Sacramento, parks, restaurants, and more. Don't wait! Offered at $459,900. For more information and a 3D tour, visit 5333 T Street, Sacramento, CA 95819.
New Listing - 2008 Benita Drive, Unit 4, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
This 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 924sf upper-level Rancho Cordova condo is a great investment opportunity! You will love this low-maintenance, cute, clean unit, light and bright open floorplan, updated kitchen with granite counters, updated bathroom with tile tub surround and newer vanity, laminate flooring, and window coverings. Well-manicured gated community. Conveniently located near the American River, parks, public transportation, the new Folsom Lake College campus, Hwy 50, shopping, k-12 schools, and more. Don't wait! HOA dues $267/mo. Offered at $102,500. For more photos and additional detail, visit 2008 Benita Drive #4, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Saw the 'Great American Eclipse' in Salem, Oregon -- in the path of totality...
A year ago my husband asked me if I was doing anything on August 21, 2017...my schedule was free of course. He pitched the idea of visiting Salem, Oregon to see a full solar eclipse in its path of totality. Sure, 'why not' I thought. He and I saw an annular eclipse at its totality in Redding in 2012, which was neat. This would probably also be neat.

Honestly, the annular eclipse from 2012 was cool to check out, but I was not blown away. During an annular eclipse, the moon is further away from the earth and appears smaller from earth, so while it does cover the sun it never blocks the sun completely. A little ring of sun is still visible around the moon, and you still can't look directly at it without blinding yourself. So it looked like a Cheerio through eclipse glasses. Again neat. A lot of people turned out to view it in Redding.

Ok so I figured this full solar eclipse would be neat too. I agreed to go. My husband made all the arrangements, booking our hotel stay a full year in advance.
All I can say is that this full solar eclipse was so far beyond neat. It was definitely one of the most spectacular things I have EVER seen. I was not expecting to be so amazed by it. It was more than worth the hype! Up until the complete "totality" the eclipse could only be viewed using special eclipse glasses...during the totality, it was visible without glasses and was absolutely beautiful - like a glowing, floating orb I don't think I could ever fully describe.

This video does not do the eclipse justice at all, but perhaps my reaction and the crowd's reaction may indicate just how awesome it was. My husband set up his Nikon and captured some images that are better but still don't do it any justice.

With that, bring on 2024 when there will be another one visible in the United States!

New Listing - 3017 9th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95817
Adorable 2 bedrooms+loft, 2 bathroom, 1,400sf home near Curtis Park! You will love the light and bright spacious, open layout, cute kitchen opens to the dining area and living room, inside laundry, laminate flooring, big bedrooms, master suite opens to backyard, and huge upper loft/possible 3rd bedroom! Deep lot offers lots of sunny spaces to play or garden. Newer central heat and air, newer roof, attached 2-car attached garage. Short distance to Curtis Park, Sac City College, K-12 schools, fun shops and restaurants. Don't wait! Offered at $349,000. For more photos and a 3D virtual tour, visit 3017 9th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95817.
July 2017 Sacramento County Real Estate Statistics...
This summer has pretty much flown by and candidly, I can't believe that the kids are going back to school this week, and that the 90 degree days are a welcome relief from the scorching hot temperatures we had in July. Pleasantries aside, the Sacramento real estate market, just like the weather, seasonally changes a bit this time of year and 2017 seems to be no exception.

Inventory has increased! Thank goodness, because the market sorely needs it. Though by increased, I mean it went from about 1 month of inventory for sale, to 1.4 months of inventory for sale. 1.4 months of inventory is still super low. It is still a seller's market for homes priced correctly...multiple offers abound. A balanced market where neither buyer nor seller have an advantage is between 4-6 months of inventory for sale.

A seasonal increase in inventory is typical. If you compare this to the market dynamics from July 2016, you will see it looks remarkably similar.  I expect things will be much the same this year.

The July 2017 Sacramento County single family median home price climbed to $355,000...if typical trends for this time of year hold true, the median price should bump along for the rest of the year and not change too dramatically.

The market is still far from our peak median home price, which per Trendgraphix was $395,000 from August 2005. Adjusted for inflation to today's dollars, that median value would have to reach $492,653 (using the US Department of Labor Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator) to be equivalent to our previous peak.

I see A LOT of demand for purchasing Sacramento homes. My buyer clients face lots of competition from other buyers, and my sellers enjoy the multiple offers. For one, Sacramento rent prices have increased quite a bit, and with that many renters who can afford to buy are looking to purchase to stabilize their monthly housing expense. Additionally, there are many people looking at Sacramento as a less expensive alternative to the bay area where median home prices are more than double and triple those in Sacramento (my most recent closed sale just last week was for a family relocating to Sacramento from Oakland). And then there is the fact that during the decline, fewer homes were built in the greater Sacramento area - so we did not increase the amount of housing stock to keep up with people creating households in the area. We are seeing some new development in Sacramento though not nearly enough.

So with that, the low supply coupled with the high demand and strong underlying economic conditions should keep the Sacramento real estate market on its current trajectory for a while...
New Listing - 3622 Sardinia Island Way, Sacramento / Natomas, CA 95834
Elegant and better-than-new 3 bedroom + den, 3 bathroom, 1,941sf home at Courtyard Westshore Natomas! You will love the light and bright spacious layout, high ceilings, high end custom window coverings, lots of storage, downstairs den/possible 4th bedroom, downstairs full bathroom, kitchen with maple cabinets and granite counters, upstairs loft area with built-in desk area, huge master suite with separate tub and shower, 2-car attached garage, low maintenance backyard. Close to parks, schools, and more! Homeowners Association dues at $92/mo covers common area and front yard maintenance. Offered at $359,000. Don't wait! For more information, photos and a virtual tour visit 3622 Sardinia Island Way, Sacramento, CA 95834.
Proactively avoiding appraisal conditions issues where I can...
I have written in the past about repairs required by appraisers as a condition of funding a loan on a property, and thought I would post this with a slightly different spin: pro-active repairs before the appraiser has the chance to require them!

I keep my eyes open for red flags on properties that I am listing or where I am representing buyers...in this case, on a property one of my buyers is in contract to purchase, I noticed an electrical outlet without a cover plate, and a hole in the wall where some speaker wiring was popping out. These were both in the little alcove where a television would likely be.

So today, prior to the appraisal which should happen next week, I spent $1.28 and went by the property and installed two cover plates.

My buyer is using a FHA loan which comes with a heightened standard for condition of the property, and an appraiser would definitely call this condition out to be repaired. When an appraiser calls out repair items, that also means they have to revisit the property once the repairs have been completed to visually verify the repairs are done. The fee for the 2nd visit is $150. So for $1.28 and an extra trip to the house, I likely saved my client the $150 re-inspection fee.

It's wise if you are a buyer or seller to address these issues up front so they are non-issues later.
New Listing - 5331 11th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95820
Adorable 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 863sf home near Tahoe Park! You will love the modern amenities paired with the original charm - remodeled kitchen with white cabinets, granite counters, stainless appliances and tile flooring, remodeled bathroom with granite counter, tub/shower combo, and tile flooring. Dual pane windows throughout, newer composition roof, newer central heat and air, and more! Low maintenance yard. Short distance to parks, schools, and public transportation. Don't wait! Offered at $309,950. For more information, photos, and a 3D virtual tour, visit 5331 11th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95820.
Bank of America Short Sale Forms Advisor
While short sales in Sacramento are not nearly as common today as they were a few years ago, there are still some of them out there. And thankfully after nearly a decade, Bank of America has made it easy to determine just which forms are necessary to submit to request a short sale.

In order to obtain a complete checklist of documents necessary for a Bank of America short sale, you will need to know a couple of things:
  • What entity owns or insures the loan? It could be Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA, or none of the above;
  • Is there anyone in the household that pays household expenses who is not a borrower on the loan? That should be easy enough -- a non-borrowing spouse, domestic partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, child, roommate, etc.
Bank of America will require income, expenses, asset and hardship documentation from the borrower(s). This usually involves providing recent bank statements, paystubs, tax returns, etc. and possibly consenting to a credit check. Additionally, they now require similar documentation from any non-borrower who contributes to the household expenses.

New Listing - 3026 Swallows Nest Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833
Beautifully updated 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,257sf unit in the highly sought Swallows Nest community! You will love the spacious layout, updated kitchen with granite counters, new laminate flooring, new carpet, dual master bedrooms with updated bathrooms, new central heat and air (2017), attached 2-car garage, private deck, secluded serene setting. Homeowners Association offers a manicured 9-hole NCGA golf course, tennis courts, swimming pools, guarded front gate, and more. Located minutes from the Sacramento River, close proximity to Downtown Sacramento. Don't wait! Offered at $245,000. HOA dues $416/month. For more photos and a 3D virtual tour visit 3026 Swallows Nest Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833.