Debt: Adios! Dump the Debt

Now that we’re back to work and are seeing the bills from our seasonal shopping we may need to take a nap!  Instead, take charge (oops) of your bills and get rid of them.

Here are a few, easy ways to retire debt.  This video summarizes what I have taught me kids and clients for years:

  1. Select the highest interest rate debt and throw all of the money you can at it’s balance.
  2. Make minimum payments only, on all of the other cards so you can focus on #1.
  3. When #1 is gone tumble down to #2 highest rate and do the same thing. You’ll be able to pay even more on this one because #1 is gone.
  4. Put the cards away!  Only use them once or twice a year – and then, only on something you really NEED.
  5. Remember: those who understand interest, charge it. Those who don’t understand interest, pay it.

Also, make sure to put, say, 10% of your paycheck into savings and don’t touch it.

2016 can be a liberating year. Make it happen.

Men’s Christmas Eve

Okay men, here’s the plan for today:

  1. Make some eggs, extra bacon and orange juice (not hot chocolate).  You’ll need a good breakfast. It’s going to be a long day.
  2. Over your shoulder announce: “got a few chores” as you head for the garage. Balance your breakfast and OJ out to the car. Strapped in? No spills? Good.
  3. Just nod to your buddies at the shopping center. Do not talk about the games etc.. Remember: they’re on a mission too.
  4. Check to see if the store provides wrapping service. If not, buy Scotch tape and wrapping paper.
  5. Reward yourself at the donut store when you’re done.
  6. When your wife says: “Be back in a minute.  Got to get a couple of things”, bring in the remaining donuts. The kids will be distracted for maybe 10 minutes and then off to play.
  7. This is the time to unload your car, head directly to your bedroom and lock the door. When/If a little one bangs on the door say: “I’m changing”, which, is a stretch, but you are making a resolution to shop earlier next Christmas.
  8. Take the wrapped gifts back to the car before your wife gets back.
  9. Wear a ball cap when you start watching the game. This way you can pull it down and take a quick snooze. They’ll all laugh but, hey, it’s part of the plan. You’ll be up until the wee hours.
  10. As soon as the last one is in bed begin the building process. You won’t be done till 2 AM. After all, who needs to look at the instructions

When you collapse into bed you won’t have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head. It’ll be: “Dang, I’ve got to start earlier next year” which, like your New Year’s resolutions, last about as long as the nap you snuck in earlier.

Merry Christmas

Home Buyers: Now’s the Time

I have been in the housing business so long that I’ve been through several outgoing, 2 term presidents, where their party was in control of both houses.  Typically, at the beginning of the election year, interest rates and gas prices begin to rise.  They peak during 3rd. quarter and begin to improve toward the national election in November.  (Watch, as soon as I say this, we’ll see an aberration in 2016.)

However, this article may well be a signal that the trend will repeat itself in the coming months.

Prospective homeowners would be wise to buy their home as soon as they can.  Sales prices in the South County (San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Hollister, San Juan Bautista, CA) begin to rise more rapidly at the end of March and peak in July.  The interest rates will probably inch their way upward during this same time frame.

And look at the impact of a 1.0% rise in interest rates*:  A $400,000 home with 10% down to a new, $360,000 30 yr. fixed rate loan will see a $214 higher monthly principle and interest; a corresponding increase in the qualifying income needed by $642/mth.  The closing costs will also be slightly impacted.

If you are thinking of buying a home, now will be the lease expensive time for South County homes for the next year or more.

*4.0% to 5.0%

Tasty Turkey Preparation

With the approach of Thanksgiving we begin to remember those homey smells from the kitchen.  How nice was it to just sit down and enjoy the meal your mom made.  Now, it’s our turn to make all the fixins.  But where to start?

I found this handy video which demonstrates how to prepare and cook a perfect turkey.  The method made a lot of sense and was easy.  As I watched it I was reminded of Pavlov’s experiments.  I felt like one of his dogs as my mouth began to water.

If you prefer, you can use Sparkling Apple Cider instead of Champaign in that part of the preparation shown in the video.

Do you have a favorite way to prepare a turkey?  Share it and I’ll pass it on.

 

Morgan Hill, CA Home Values

Morgan Hill Ave. SPAs you can see here, the average sales price of single family residences in Morgan Hill CA continued to rise over the last 12 months.

This month’s average sales price (approximately $960,000) is roughly 26% higher than 11/14’s average price of $760,000.

You will also notice that the average price spiked in 9/15 at roughly $1,010,000.

Now is a great time to buy a home in Morgan Hill: the ratio of prospective buyers-to-available homes is a little more balanced; the interest rates are still South of 4.0%; and, the short commute into San Jose is very manageable.

It is also a great time to sell your home: it worth more now than in the last 10 years.

For both prospective buyers and hopeful sellers, a sale NOW will get you settled in before Christmas and for the start of the mid school year.

 

4 DIY Ways to Reduce Energy Bills

Ever notice cool air coming in around your doorway, chimney or window?  I’ll give you 3 guesses where your paid-for-heat slips out (1st 2 don’t count).  As winter approaches we want our home to remain warm and keep our heating bill down.

Here are 4 simple ideas you can do yourself to accomplish just that:

Put new weather stripping around each exterior door. Here is a short video showing how easy it is to do.

Next, check the caulking around your window sills. If it has a gap or is missing caulking, refinish that section.  It is easy and inexpensive.  Watch this short video for ideas.

Check the damper in your fireplace.  Make sure it is closed when you are not using the fireplace.  It is surprising how much room heat will go right up that flue.

Now is also a good time to change your air filters for your furnace.  There is usually an intake air vent in a hallway ceiling and one in your furnace.  Here is a DIY video.  The minor cost of these filters will easily be paid for by energy savings when your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.

If you have other ideas on how to keep us cozy this winter let me know.

Gilroy, CA Home Prices

Gilroy, CA single family home prices have followed a fairly typical pattern over the last 12 months although the Gilroy Sales Price 2average sale price for 10/15 is virtually the same as 12 months ago.

I reviewed 548 Gilroy sales of single family residences from 11/14 to 10/15.  We saw a fairly flat market from Nov. last year to Feb. this year.  Then, in March the prices began to rise and spiked in July.  Since July the average sales prices drifted back to the same level as this time last year.

It is important to note that in 2014 Gilroy home values increased roughly 21% from Jan. through Dec.  And, Jan. this year saw average prices roughly 11% higher than 12 months earlier.

So, what does all of this mean?  Well, if you are a buyer and like to play the odds, your best buys will typically be between now and next Feb. or Mar.  If you are a home owner who is thinking of selling you may want to be ready to go on the market in March or April.

Lastly, you may find that next year, being a National Election year where a sitting majority will want to maintain their plurality, will be anyone’s guess as to what home prices are going to do in Gilroy.  Actually, I have a prediction based on the 9 other national election years I have seen while in the housing business.  Text, email or call me for that information.

Thanks to MLSListings for the data.

 

El Nino’s Coming, 3 To-Do Tips

Rainy season is about here.  In Morgan Hill, Gilroy & Hollister Calif. we welcome any rain!  However, there are 3 smart things you can do to protect your home from water damage:

Clean out your rain gutters.  Here is a quick ‘how-to’ video to show you how easy it is.

Make sure your down spouts take the rain water away from your foundation. Here is another, quick video to show how easy this chore is.

Lastly, make sure the earth against your foundation is sloped down hill, away from the home. Here is a short, DIY video.

While these 3 tasks will take some time to do, they are not expensive and they will greatly reduce expensive repairs due to water!  I absolutely recommend that you invest the time now, before the rains come.

Let me know if you have found other, easy tips, to prepare your home.

OPEN HOUSE in San Juan Bautista

butlerOn Saturday, 9/12 from 1-4, we’ll be holding an Open House in San Juan Bautista. Watch this VIDEO Tour and then come see it for yourself.  Tucked back in the foothills but close to everything: 775 Via Vaquero Norte – Wow!

So many features: 2,850 sq.ft. on 1/2 acre, 3 car garage, 12 ft. ceilings, solar heated, custom salt water pool with a waterfall, A/C, granite, 18″ tile, see thru fireplace in the living room & family room, separate ‘granny’ quarters with its own front entry, all on one level, vineyard, storage shed, remarkable privacy and views and, less than a mile to Hwy 101 for an easy commute. Play tennis or basketball in the private courts or golf at the award winning “San Juan Oaks Golf and Country Club” just down the road.

Your GPS will take you to the wrong gate.  Turn LEFT off Rocks Road and follow the signs. Give me a call for the gate code for easy access.

You will be glad you came!

 

Open House – San Juan Bautista!

pool 2Plan it: Saturday, 1-4 PM, San Juan Bautista.

Watch the VIDEO Tour of 775 Via Vaquero Norte.  It will be like walking through this great home.

However, you won’t be able to smell the chocolate chip cookies.  (I’m working on “scent technology” but until we figure out how to share that electronically, you’ll just have to stop by in person).

12′ ceilings, tall windows, private 1/2 acre lot with a custom pool and waterfall, separate living quarters for your ‘just marrieds’ or grandma, single story, 2,850 sq. ft., A/C, granite countertops and 18″ tile floors, fruit trees, vineyard & garden, large tool shed, RV/boat concrete pad behind gates, and many more features make this a comfortable home.

With Hwy 101 less than a mile away: Monterey & the beaches are just 30 min. West and in 15 min. the other direction you’ll be at “Gilroy Premium Outlet” and Caltrain for an easy commute, San Jose Airport in 50 min (off peak) and Disneyland in 5 hrs.

Play tennis and basketball within the private community and golf just down the road at the award wining “San Juan Oaks Golf and Country Club”.

Call me for the gate code to this wonderful, gated community.