Buying a home is an immense purchase, most likely the largest you will make during your lifetime. Avoid self-sabotaging and ensure your journey to home ownership goes smoothly every step of the way. Here are three things you may want to avoid:

1. For Sale by Owner
Trying to sell your home by yourself is sheer madness. Your real estate agent will have your best interest in mind, gearing you in the right direction. This professional will guide you through the process including the piles of paperwork that can seem extremely overwhelming. Please contact GreenTree Properties and we will represent you all the way home.

2. New Lines of Credit
Your credit score can be a game changer. During contract you do not want to do anything that will impact your credit score. That includes buying a car, boat, or any other large purchase that has to be financed. Along the same lines, your credit score needs to remain stable during the closing process. Opening new lines of credit can make your FICO score drop and send up a red flag to your lender. Avoid doing this at all costs!

And here is a great tip from Realtor.com

3. Saying too much—and undercutting your negotiating power
Be careful what you say when you’re viewing a property at an open house or home showing. For instance, if the listing agent hears you say to your spouse, “I love this house, and it’s way under our budget,” the seller might try to play hardball when you try to negotiate on price. Keep private conversations private.

Questions? We are happy to help. Please get in touch with Greentree Properties at (949) 492-0090 or here.

Celebrate your home by spending some QT (quality time) on it and maximize the return of your sale by completing these top cosmetic updates. The good news is that summer is just around the corner and that means plenty of sunshine to get these projects done.

Here are upgrades ranging from small bathroom remodels to large-scale expansions that often yield high returns.

  • Minor Bathroom Remodel:  Use a softener like CAULK-BE-GONE to get rid of the old caulk. Fill the tub with water after you’re done to stretch caulk while it dries. For damaged walls, you can do a quick coverage by using spray-on texture provides quick coverage. Add illusion of space by replacing old shower doors or remove them all together.
  • Attic Bedroom Conversion: Do you have an attic just sitting there? Consider converting this space into a bedroom. That is if your existing HVAC system can handle the load of another room. If not, factor in the cost of a second unit. A solar-powered attic fan is an efficient way to save on cooling costs. The attic fan exhausts heat from above your home and is powered by a solar cell on the roof.
  • Minor Kitchen Remodel: If your home is worth more than $500,000, go with stone or trendy glass countertops. Cover old vinyl with floor leveler so the pattern doesn’t bleed through. You can’t put a second layer of vinyl on if the subfloor is below-grade concrete. “Brighten up the kitchen by sanding and painting existing cabinets. It’s much less expensive than buying new ones. Add decorator detail without the cost by changing drapes and window molding.” – HGTV
  • Curb Appeal: You know what they say, first impressions count and curb appeal is all types of first impressions. A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property. Roll a sealant on flagstones for a permanent wet look that enhances the color.

Replacing roofs and windows are also high on the list and home offices tend to be lower in return. Remodeling may be a labor of love, but consider this investment that can seriously boost the value of your home. Questions? Please get in touch with Greentree Properties at (949) 492-0090 or here.

 

Summer is around the corner, can you feel it? Before the season heats up, have you considered upgrading your home to a more energy efficient flow? You are in luck as it might just have become less expensive to do so.

For years, California has seen an increase in energy efficient upgrades as homeowners have tied them to property tax bills. Fannie Mae has recently started a HomeStyle Energy Program which is a mortgage option that will “allows borrowers to finance clean energy upgrades equal to up to 15% of the as-completed appraised value of the home” –Green Tech Media. Essentially, in turn for making energy upgrades to your home you will be able to lower your mortgage and save money on energy bills. What’s not to love?

There are a few important details to remember though. The upgrade to your home must be completed within 180 days after you have been issued a mortgage note. In addition, you must provide an energy report which indicates how much the borrower is saving monthly. If you’re willing to file all the paperwork and make your house energy efficient then you can expect to see your monthly costs drop dramatically!

What do you think of this program? Do you think it will encourage more people to make their homes energy efficient? Comment below. If you’re thinking of making your home more energy efficient, let us know, we’d be happy to share our experiences with you.

 

A recent study by realtor.com found that in 2017 nearly 52% of buyers will be looking to buy a home for the first time. A large portion of that percentage, in fact 42%*, will be made up by Millennials (ages 18 – 35) and growing. Millennials are starting to reach that critical home buying age and are actively searching for new homes. Many millennials are striving to fulfill the American dream. Similar to past generations, many feel that owning a home is a key part of fulfilling that dream.

Where are millennials home searching?  One would think that living in the city would be the top choice location, however, it turns out that many are pursuing homes in the suburbs. A staggering 47%* of millennials live in the suburbs compared to just 33% who live in the city.  Millennials are looking for larger homes with big yards plus the suburbs offer a safe neighborhood that they desire.

Despite the fact that millennials have grown up in a world surrounded by technology they still value human interaction. Most millennials prefer meeting with real estate agents in person compared to contacting them via email or phone. In addition, if they have a good experience with an agent, over 55%* of millennials are likely to recommend them to a friend and 26%* are likely to write an online review.

Over all, it is important to meet the needs of millennials as they start to enter the housing market.If you are a first-time buyer talk to a GreenTree Properties agent about finding that perfect home. We can help alleviate the stress and make your first home purchase a smooth process. *source: Zillow.com

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind when they’re selling their home is “How long will it take?”  Putting your home on the market leaves a lot of uncertainty and can add some extra stress, especially when you’re trying to plan your next move.  GreenTree agents gather market data and analyze the life of a listing in own your area, but you’ll want to consider these factors when asking how long it will take to sell your home (the last one may surprise you).

In real estate, everything comes down to location, location, location.  Factoring in how long your home may sit on the market is no different than this basic principle.  If your home is located in a sought after area—next to a great school, proximity to entertainment and convenience, or in an up and coming area—you may be in a fast moving sellers market.  You’re GreenTree agent can give you data on the average age of similar listings in your area, as well as the longest listings, and why those listings might not be selling.

Consider price not just in terms of fair market value, but also in visibility.  Homes that are priced properly typically see shorter market time but price can also be used as a marketing tool to attract buyers.  Homes that are priced 10% over market value will typically appeal to 30% of the market, while homes priced at fair market value can attract 60%. However, homes priced 10% under market value have the opportunity to move quicker and field more offers from 70% of the market.

It’s often overlooked, but the quality of photographs used to portray your home could greatly affect it’s time on the market.  Listings with substandard photos don’t drive internet traffic and could be off putting to buyers.  Over 90% of home buyers use the internet to search for homes, so listing photos are crucial for making a good first impression.  DSLR photos that are properly lit and showcase the features of the home without manipulating the house tend to attract more buyers, more offers and sell quicker.

If you’re thinking of selling, talk to your GreenTree agent about a custom strategy to get your home sold in the timeframe you want.  The right combination of location factors, price point and marketing can help ease your stress and put more confidence into selling your home.

The past year has shown us a multitude of trends in the housing market—higher home prices, housing shortages, developer confidence and rising rent prices.  For 2017, we’re thinking three things: locations, appreciation and interest rates.

Urban areas are appreciating much faster than suburban areas, accounting for growth, and small homes have seen much sharper price growth than larger ones.  Nationally, home prices are expected to keep rising by 3.5% according to Moody’s Analytics projections.  If you have a smaller home in, say, a downtown area, your equity is going to take you further.  As home prices rise, more buyers will inevitably move to the suburbs to find affordable housing.

If you’re looking to trade for a larger home, you’re in the market’s sweet spot, and the first part of 2017 is going to be the best time to strike for that.  The equity from your small house will get you more—the average price on a two-bedroom house climbed 59% nationwide, while four-bedroom houses rose by about 41%, according to more of Moody’s Analytics.  Developers have also continued to add new inventory to the market by building new supply in demanded areas with price points between $500,000 and $750,000. So, if you’re selling a smaller home in the first part of 2017 for an upgrade, you’ll want to choose higher priced offers over offers with quicker closing times. The more cash you have to put towards that down payment, the better off you’ll be.

Following the housing market crash, mortgage rates remained at record lows for years.  Rates are expected to rise to more normal levels, levels seen before the market crash.  The Federal Reserve has already indicated that three more increases to its benchmark rate are coming in 2017.  It’s only advantageous to act sooner rather than later if you’re thinking of buying or selling, especially since future housing policies remain unclear.