Simple Curb Appeal Improvements

Often I will have 4-6 homes to show buyers.  Each time we arrive in front of a prospective home the buyers nearly always comment on what they think the home will be like – based on what they first see from the curb.  And, typically an impressive front of the home opens to a similarly maintained home on the inside.   The opposite is also true.  There have been times when the buyer doesn’t even want to get out of the car, because the front of the house is shabby, overgrown, or in need of paint.

There are several simple and inexpensive things you can do this Spring to make your home very appealing.  Click here for 13 suggestions.  Each of these easy to do tasks also provide the most added value – to – investments you can do to the outside of your home.

Lastly, your neighbors may be a willing source of help if you announce your ‘sprucing up’ plans for the ‘tired’ front appearance of your home.

Executive Home in San Juan Bautista

This VIDEO Tour of a great home feels like you are walking through the home and grounds. 381 Via Vaquero Sur, in San Juan BauFronttista boasts of 3,500 sq. ft., 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 4 car garage and it sits on a 22,000 sq. ft. (.5 ac) lot in the foothills.  As you saw in the VIDEO there are many remarkable appointments and features included in this home.

The location of 381 Via Vaquero Sur could not be more ideal: just 3/4 mi. from Hwy 101 for an easy commute to Monterey or Santa Clara counties.  CalTrain and Gilroy Premium Outlet Center is only 15 min. from here.  The beaches and Monterey – just 30 min. “San Juan Oaks Golf & Country Club” is a short drive down the road. Play tennis on this gated community’s own tennis court.

The Open House for this home is Saturday, 11/22 from 1-4 PM. Why not stop by for your own, personal tour. You will see a remarkable home and, enjoy freshly made chocolate chip cookies.

Let me know what you liked about this house.

What a Great Home! VIDEO Tour.

Fairhaven quartz cntrWatch this VIDEO Tour for an intimate view of the inside of the home and private backyard. 2451 Fairhaven Court in Hollister, CA is a beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 full bath, 3 car garage home with 2,700 sq. ft. in Hollister, CA and shares a private court with just 7 other homes.

It is a casual walk to Cerra Vista Elementary, a neighborhood park and playground, and a short drive delivers you to “Ridgemark Golf and Country Club”. South of here is the famed “Hollister Hills (off road vehicle) State Park”.  “Gilroy Premium Outlets” and “CalTrain” is just 20 min. North of this gorgeous home.

In addition to the features mentioned in the VIDEO Tour there is a whole house, reverse osmosis and soft water system in the spacious 3 car garage.

This is a home you are going to want to see.  The first Open House is scheduled for Sat. 11/1/14 from 1-4 PM.  Check this site for additional dates for an Open House. Or, text, email or call me for your own personal tour of 2451 Fairhaven Ct., Hollister, CA.

What did you think of this VIDEO? Do you have any questions? Feel free to call me.


Home Prices in Our Bay Areas

Here is a quick glance, one page summary of year-over-year values for of our Bay Areas.

The median prices increased slightly in Santa Clara County (up 9%) and Monterey County (up 6%) but dropped 1% in San Benito County.

At the bottom of the summary page we see some indicators which suggest San Benito County values may rise in 2015: Inventory of homes for sale increased 14% 9/13 to 9/14 which is one of the causes of the median price to drop. However, the Days on Market (DOM) dropped a whopping 46%!  Since homes sold significantly faster year-over-year we may see San Benito County single family prices rise next year.

With one eye on these opaque indicators and one on “the holidays” disengagement many get caught up in – a shrewd buyer should buy a home before the year is out. And, with interest rates around 4% for a home loan, you could be one of the few others admire in the future: “You bought at the end 2014?  You really ‘lucked’ out”.

Why not text, email or call me?  With your answers to 4 simple questions I will be able to compute for you how much of a home you can qualify for and provide you with a list of those homes in your price range.

“Happy (Holiday) shopping”.

 

 

Hollister Homes Highest Value Gain

Hollister, CA

Of the 3 cities which make up ‘ South County‘, the City of Hollister, CA single family residences saw the highest appreciation from 1st quarter 2013 to 1st quarter 2014.

The average Hollister single family residence (SFR) value rose 23.1% whereas Morgan Hill, CA experienced 21.9% and the City of Gilroy, CA saw their SFR rise by 11.2% from 1Q13 to 1Q14.

However, Hollister’s typical SFR value dropped 43% from 1Q07 (when many say the bubble burst) to 1Q13. Morgan Hill dropped 32.5% and Gilroy 30.6% during this same period.  Hollister’s ave.  SFR value in 1Q07  was $302,383, down to $240,798 in 2013 and up to $274,309 1Q14.

Another indicator of Hollister’s recovery is the time it takes homes to sell.  The average days on the market in 2007’s 1st quarter was a whopping 148 days.  In 1Q13 the time dropped to 124 days on the market.  That is a 69% improvement!  Then, this year we watched the average days on the market drop even further to 24.

Finally, the average Sales to List price ratio was 99.5% in the 1st 3 months this year compared to slightly over 96% in both ‘o7 and ’13 first quarter.  They are selling faster and virtually at their asking price.

What do you think this trend will do?

(data source: MLSListings)

Home Prices in Gilroy, CA

City Gilroy

Gilroy, CA is not only known as the “Garlic Capital of the World” but it is also known for its robust housing market.

Using the first quarter of 2007 (1Q07) as a high point in,  and the beginning of decline of market values, there are some interesting changes which point to a strong recovery:

The average number of days it took for homes to sell in 1Q07 was 141. Then, in 1Q13 it had dropped to just 36 days, and, 1Q14 days on market slipped up to an average of 45 days. Obviously, homes are again, selling much faster but the pace is slowing.

Gilroy CA’s average sales price for single family residences (SFR) in 1Q07 was an amazing $785,763!  By 1Q13 prices dropped to $544,965. In the year since, the average prices continued to increase: 1Q14, the average was $605,845.

Another indicator of a recovered market is the ratio of sales price to listed price. In 1Q07 the average was 97.7%; in the first quarter of 2013 it was 98.7% and in the 1st 3 months of this year it averaged 96.2%.  Again, 2014 is still improving but it seems at a slower pace.

Relatively speaking, Gilroy had the least significant drop in prices of the other South County neighbors: Morgan Hill and Hollister. Gilroy’s drop 1Q07 to 1Q13 was 30.6% while Morgan Hill’s was 32.5% and Hollister saw a 43% drop in that time frame.

So, what do you think values are going to do here in South County in the near future?

(data: MLSListings)

Morgan Hill, Ca Home Price Recovery

City of Morgan HillDon’t you hate the question: “So, you want the good news or the bad news?”

Well, here is the good news and, ‘not-really-that-bad’ news regarding single family residence (SFR) values in Morgan Hill, CA:

Good:  The average number of days homes were on the market dropped from 66 days during 1Q07 down to 43 days for 1Q14.  There was also a drop from 1Q13’s 52 days to this year’s 43 days. They’re selling faster.

Not really that bad: The average closed sales price for Morgan Hill, CA’s SFR dropped from $931,413 during 1Q07 to $629,030 in 1Q13.  That $302,383 drop in average sales price reflects the market’s peak in ’07 down to the recovering level in ’13.

However, the good news is that Morgan Hill, CA homes’ values rose by $137,641 or, 17.7% in the last year.  That is the 3rd straight year where we’ve seen sustained appreciation.

The interesting comparison is the average sales price/list price ratio. There has been little change: in 1Q07 it was 97.6%, first quarter, ’13 averaged 98.6% and this year’s first 3 months saw an average of 96.6% . So, I’m not sure if that is good or ‘not really that bad’ news. Homes are virtually selling at their asking price, due to the low inventory of homes for sale.

We have seen similar values in Gilroy and Hollister, CA.  I’ll post those comparisons soon.

So, what do you think values in the South County are going to do?

(data source: MLSListings)

Smart Home Purchase = Good Investment

home's appreciationAfter nearly 8 years Americans are once again considering the purchase of a home as an investment.

As in all good investments you want to “buy low and sell high” with regard to your home.  As this article points out there are 4 key considerations when buying a home with “investment” in mind:  Don’t buy the nicest home in the neighborhood; look for a home which needs a little T.L.C.,; of course location is very important and plan on living in the home at least 5 years,.  10 years is even better.  Regarding location, look for a home in a nearby suburb of a job-rich metropolitan area and, off the main thorough fairs.  Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Hollister, CA for example, are ideal communities near the San Jose and Silicone Valleys.

The other side of the home buying equation is the financing of it.  With the goal of living there at least 5 years it actually pays to buy down the interest rate of your home loan.  If you pay 1.5 to 2.0 points (percent of the loan amount) you should be able to lower your rate by .25% for the term of the loan.   This little tax deductible investment will repay itself within 3 – 4 years through the savings in house payments and will save 10s of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.

Lastly, design your budget to allow an extra payment toward the principle loan amount.  Just an extra $100 or two paid with your regular payment each month will reduce the number of years you will pay on the loan and builds equity much faster.

Buying smart imitates the investment growth and the extra payments on points and principal will quickly grow your equity.  When time comes to move up or, out, you should have a sizable profit from your home’s investment.

What’s your ‘buy low sell high” success story?

 

 

Rent vs. Buy: Cheapest?

We know what the acronym A.S.S.U.M.E. really means, right?  Here is a good example: “Renting is cheaper than buying“. Simply assuming that paying rent costs less than making a house payment is ignoring many factors: the interest portion of the principle & interest and, the property tax portion of a house payment are tax deductible.  Appreciation also needs to be placed in the equation: rent payments will go up; home values (typically) go up while the house payment remains unchanged.

Would you believe this holds true even in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, CA?  As the attached article demonstrates, these and other cities have home purchase costs lower than paying rent.  In San Jose, CA for example, the difference is 9%.

If the rent vs. house payment debate wins in these large, metropolitan cities, we can assume (oops, here we go again) that the more affordable cities like Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Hollister, CA will have an even bigger difference favoring the purchase of a home vs. renting someone else’s.

Why not take a challenge?  Text or email me your city and the amount of rent you pay.  I will give your own comparison.

Drop PMI from Your House Payment


paymentsREDUCE YOUR HOUSE PAYMENT BY $220/mth*

Since home values have risen over the last 18 months we are often asked: “How do I drop that Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) from our house payment?”

So here is the Good News and the Bad News:

Good:  “The Homeowner’s Protection Act of 1998“: home lenders MUST drop the PMI when the loan balance reaches 78% of the original value.

Bad: “78% of ORIGINAL VALUE” means the price you paid for the home, NOT today’s appreciated value. Additionally, most lenders require that you have a 2-5 year payment history with them before they will consider your request.

Additional ‘Bad’: Even if you have paid extra toward your loan balance the lenders look to the original amortization schedule to determine when you reach 78% in order to drop the PMI.   That typically takes 9 – 10 years.

Once you have 80% equity you can ask the lender to cancel your PMI however, there is no guaranty they will.

While the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is not governed by the same law they do have a similar ‘78%’ rule with the added proviso that the payment needs to have been made for at least 5 years or your balance is 78% of the original value – whichever comes later.   FHA’s insurance for loans originated after 7/1/2013 however, is permanent.

Good:  You don’t have to wait for the magical date on your amortization table…you can refinance your current loan.  In the South County (Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Hollister, San Juan Bautista) home values rose over 36% in 2013 from 2012.  With at least 20% (new equity) your new loan will not need PMI.  On a $300,000 purchase where you put originally put 5% down to a $285,000 loan, the PMI would cost roughly $220 every month*. Even if you include the closing costs in your refinance loan you will still have a lower payment due to no PMI; probably a savings of $150 or more per month.

In a 5 minute visit I can tell you what YOUR particular numbers will look like.  Text, email or call me.  Let’s get rid of that PMI before another month rolls by.