Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Happy Halloween to all my readers, and just because you keep coming back, I'm adding a new feature to Sacramento Real Estate Gal: Real Estate Trivia.
Every week, I'll post some little known fact related to real estate.
Hey, no one said this blog had to be boring! Boo!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Welcome to Ask Sacramento Real Estate Gal where you can ask your burning real estate questions and I answer them! So let's get straight to it!
Dear Sacramento Real Estate Gal,
My house has a fence that is rotting and breaking down on the back of the property. I will be selling the home next year and I know that in this market I have to make it the best it can look.
As such, I have tried to talk to my neighbors who share the fence to get them to pay for half. I have only been successful in locating the tenants - the house behind me is a rental. And then last week finally I got the landlord's phone number. I have left him innumberable messages, but he won't get back to me. I'm assuming he doesn't want to pay for half, as he is legally required to do.
I have a good mind to put up just half a fence. Your thoughts? - D.S.
Wow... half a fence?!? :) Seriously though, you don't want to do that, do you? Look, it's obvious that your neighbor doesn't want to pay for half, but that's the only part I agree with you on.
It's common for neighbors to share costs for a common fence, but I'm not sure if it's a legal requirement. Personally, my husband and I have replaced a fence on our own because there was a chain link fence in the backyard and we wanted our privacy. We contacted the owner just like you did and he didn't respond. I would recommend sending him a registered letter, though, just in case.
And then let it go and build the entire fence. Your need for it is higher than his, perhaps. Nevertheless, if you don't build it (or build half a fence, which I really hope you're not serious about!) you will be the one most negatively affected by it in terms of the sale of your home.
Remember this call for submissions for the upcoming e-book for landlords?
Well, the project seems to be getting bigger by the day and so I've decided to dedicate an entire blog to it. Be sure to check out Landlord-Tenant-Advice as well every time you stop by here.
Posted by Purva Brown - Sacramento Real Estate Gal at 2:54 PM
Friday, October 26, 2007
Hi there, NutHound Quincy reporting here. Picture next time, I promise. I've been missing for a while because the orple activity out there has gone down. Here's a good one, though:
"I am having a very hard time finding a broker that I want to work for....I'm looking for a broker who is honest enough, that he tells people that prices are dropping and has put at least 3 people into a rental property in the last year." - Chicken Little 2.0
Uh... no wonder you're having trouble finding a broker to work for. You want to sell houses, but don't want to sell houses?!?!
And... if you're really concerned about your clients and looking out for their best interests, wouldn't you ask them how long they intend to live in the home? If it's a long term investment, wouldn't it make sense for them to buy when the prices are down, so as to be able to save money and get a good bargain?
Sacramento County will have no-burn days beginning December 1, 2007. As of next year, these no-burn days will begin in November and extend through February. On days with heavy pollution, Sacramento county residents will not be able to use their fireplaces (and other wood-burning devices) and will have to depend on other forms of heat - mainly electric.
On less severe pollution days, only those with EPA certified devices or pellet stoves will be allowed to burn.
In general, people with certified devices would not be able to burn them about 11 days a year and those without would not be able to use their fireplaces and wood stoves about 23 days a year.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Sacramento Bee today reported that sales of new homes rose 4.8% in September. The sales are still much worse than they were last year, but in this market any news of flattening is better than the same old, same old.
Wouldn't you say?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Here's a piece of news I missed lately. RealtyTrac Inc. reported that foreclosure filings in September fell 8% under August's foreclosure filings nationwide. These filings include notices of default, bank repossessions and auction sale notices.
39 states saw a drop in foreclosure filings. California saw a drop of 11% over August. But with one foreclosure filing every 253 houses, this is mixed news at best for home sellers in Sacramento.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The Sacramento Bee recently reported that rents in Sacramento are more affordable than most other cities in California. The chart here shows apartments and average rents. The same may not be true for single family residences as I mentioned before in this post about Sacramento area rents.
If you are a landlord or would like to know how much you should ask for your rental, check out Rent-O-Meter.
The entire Sacramento Bee article can be found here.
I managed to catch part on MSNBC's ongoing series where they interview successful people and ask them questions called "The Millionaire Inside." Of course, I have my own preferences amongst them, (I loved Barbara Corcoran) but this time, they changed the name of the show to be "The Billionaire Inside" because Donald Trump made his appearance - all by himself.
Mostly, I thought of the things he said bear repeating here. He said he hadn't been a buyer of real estate for a long time, but he is now. Also, that there is less interest in real estate today because many people have gotten burnt. But, now's the time to jump in and start buying.
When asked about when the market was likely to go back up, he said the market would hit bottom in about six months and then would begin to recover. Of course, there are two concessions that must be made here: 1. We don't know when the show was recorded; and 2. He's talking about the national real estate market, not specifically about Sacramento.
Can I just say it again? Now's the time!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Last Saturday, I stumbled upon a bookstore in downtown Placerville while doing a little search for pellets and was surprised to find the downtown I've always wanted. Now, don't get upset at me, all you Sacramentans out there, I love Old Sacramento and downtown Sacramento as well, but can we please have some used book stores there too?
Imagine my surprise when Placerville also had an Art and Wine Festival! No, I missed it because I was working on my rentals (still!) but the promise of being so close to somewhere I can just go and spend a few afternoons browsing books was pretty exciting.
If you like the idea of a small downtown with art galleries and used book stores, you might want to visit Placerville. And then buy a house there. It's barely 45 minutes from Sacramento and has breathtaking views!
It seems like things have settled down for now anyway. Thanks to a personal loss in the family, visits from relatives and playing writer in Fresno for about two days, I have neglected writing the blogs. But I'm back now and if you promise to read again, I promise to write.
Fresno was fun last week. I spent time with some of my school friends who have reluctantly realized that I sell real estate now, and not just write fiction. One of them however, my dear friend Tanya, suggested that real estate is a great field for fodder for writing. You meet all kinds of people when you're selling real estate. (Hmmm... I wonder how that will make my clients feel? Don't worry, even if I'm writing about you, you'll never know after all the novelistic changes!) But the most interesting part about the trip was reading to a group of people that had atually come there to listen to my published work. What an honor!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Those of you that know me well know this: I am a writer as well as a Realtor - and today I get to play writer all day. One of my stories was published in the revised anthology of "Highway 99" which focuses on writers from the Central Valley. And tonight we have a reading and book signing of the anthology in Fresno! I'm so excited that I've been asked to participate. I also went to school in Fresno so it will be great to see all my friends again.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Most real estate investors swear by this strategy and I thought it was most eloquently written about in this article by Steven Goldberg.
Although he is more into stock investing than real estate, I think the basic strategy is the same. As he puts it in the article in Kiplinger, "bailing out of the market because you or some expert thinks it will fall is folly. What's worse, those who sell are likely to lose out on the big gains the market makes over the long haul. The key to success in long-term investing is time in the market, not timing the market."
So those of you that want to chuck your houses bcause some expert tells you it's doomsday, read the article and look at Sacramento's historical real estate values.
I promised this pictures a while ago and they're finally ready to be shown - my delay, not theirs! Take a look at this fabulous transformation my clients Jake and Zoila Couture have done with the bathroom of a home they bought last year in Sacramento's Curtis Park.
I have been inside the home and it looks wonderful. Jake & Zoila are a rare blend of character and commitment and I'm sure investing in real estate will help them achieve their financial goals.
Consider this a taste of future advertising in case they decide to sell the home sometime in the next few years. I've been promised more pictures, so stay tuned.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
The last two days have been some of the more interesting days of my life. Since I'm playing interviewer for the new e-book with advice for landlords-to-be, I've taken the opportunity to call on some people I've known for a while to share their stories.
It's all very enlightening. Now you should know that I can't share them all with you here because then you won't buy the book (wink, wink!) but one that stuck with me had to do with a mother and daughter-in-law pair that I met yesterday.
I couldn't believe how much fun they were having. They had being a landlord turned into a game which included sleuthing after potentials tenants after they had filled out an application, collecting rent and so on. They enjoyed the process and here I was thinking this was supposed to be boring.
However, they did emphasize one thing - paperwork and logs. No matter how much fun they had, they did record everything they spoke with their tenants about recorded at the end of the day. Read more in the book!
Posted by Purva Brown - Sacramento Real Estate Gal at 1:10 PM
Friday, October 5, 2007
Happy Friday! Today we have a very interesting question by a potential homeowner - let's get right to it!
Dear Sacramento Real Estate Gal,
I will be buying a home soon with my wife and was wondering how we should hold title. I have no idea - I'm assuming everything is held jointly since we're a community property state here in California, right? - A.F.
Right. Since California is a community property state, everything is held jointly between husband and wife.
However, there are a few different options for you two to hold title to your home. You can hold it as "tenancy in common," "joint tenancy," or "community property."
In my opinion, the best way for a husband and wife to hold property is "community property with right of survivorship." This allows equal ownership to both, allows you to avoid probate and gives you a "stepped-up" tax basis when you sell the home.
You should ask your escrow officer to explain the differences to you before you sign.
For more details on community property with right of survivorship, go here.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
September was a disappointing month for sales - about the only silver lining to this otherwise grey month in housing was that the median price didn't fall as sharply as it did in August.
Here are the detailed numbers:
Total number of active listings on the market on or before September 30, 2007: 11457
Total number of homes sold in the month of September: 732
Median price: $311,000 - a small drop from August's median of $314,000.
Days on market have fallen to 61 from 63, but this is little good news.
Perhaps, the most interesting detail to these numbers is the bank-owned and short sale properties. For 1703 active short sales, with an average 113 days on the market, only 17 sold last month for a median price of $296,500.
For bank-owned (REO) properties, 191 homes sold last month for 2107 active listings. Both the average days on the market and the median prices seem encouraging for first-time buyers for REOs - at 67 and $253,000 respectively.
Also see: Last month's market update.
Monday, October 1, 2007
It's that time again! September resale statistics for Sacramento are coming on Wednesday! Check back. Since my statistics for each month come from the Metrolist MLS and Realtors have up to three days to post status changes for their listings, I have to wait until the third of the month.
And also don't miss Ask Sacramento Real Estate Gal coming later this week.