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While it may seem as if it is hard to determine what is happening in the downtown San Jose condo real estate market, there are some majors metrics that are quantifiable that can help you see where the market is going. These markers include:


  1.      Sales to list price ratio
  2.      Days on Market
  3.      Months of inventory
  4.      Number of active listings vs number of pending listings.


We can learn something from each of these metrics.


  1.      Sales to list price ratio: When the San Jose condo market is appreciating, the sales price will be higher than the list price. In Jan of 2017 the sales price of Downtown San Jose condos is 101% of the list price. This is obviously very healthy, but in Feb 2015 the sales price on average was 105% of the list price which was a much hotter market.
  2. San Jose Condo market
  3.      Days on market is a very good way to look at how the market is doing. The stronger the market the shorter the days on market. In Feb 2016 the average days on market was 15 and it increased to 28 in Jan 2017. Things are obviously slowing, but the San Jose condo market has not tanked.
  4. San Jose condo market
  5.      Months of inventory: Months of inventory tells you how long it would take to sell all the homes currently on the market at the current pace of sales. When months of inventory goes up it means the market is slowing, most of time.  The months of inventory in downtown San Jose has been less than 2 all through 2016 and into Jan 2017. It has gone up to 7 months in Feb., but there have only been 2 days so we can not count that yet.
  6. San Jose condo market
  7.      Number of active listings vs number of pending listings: this one is my favorite. You look at the number of active sales and compare to pending sales. When inventory is low and sales are brisk there will be more pending sales than active sales. When there are 4 or more times as many pending sales as listings it is a really hot market. When there are more active listings than pending sales it is a buyer’s market, or trending that way. There are currently 21 active listings and 32 pending  sales of downtown San Jose condos.


So how is the market of downtown San Jose condos?


Looking at all the metrics I would say it is good, but slower than in the first part of 2017.


If you have any questions about buying or selling a condo in downtown San Jose please feel free to call me.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty

Specializing in Probate and Trust Sales




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Anyone who has looked for acreage in places like Pescadero, Gilroy, or Morgan Hill has probably come across a situation where a neighbor or friend has horses or goats or cows who graze the property. You ask to see the lease and the response you get is often, “There is no lease, they have an informal agreement that Ms X gets to keep her livestock on the property in exchange for the livestock grazing Mr Y’s land.


Mr Y does not have to pay the high cost of keeping the grasses and weeds cut and Ms X does not have to pay the high cost of boarding and feeding her livestock. It is a win win, and for decades no one has formalized the agreement.


Then, unfortunately Mr Y dies and his heirs need to sell the Probate acreage in Pescadero, or Gilroy, or Morgan Hill. There is no documentation of the agreement and no one is sure what Ms X’x rights are, or what the estate has to do to terminate the relationship. Or maybe the buyer of the Pescadero Probate acreage’s , Mr and Mrs Z’s don’t understand what their  responsibilities are if they want Ms X to continue grazing, but don’t want her to have full tenant’s rights. In other words, Mr and Ms Z still want to use the land, so they do not want to lease out a portion of the Pescadero or Gilroy, or Morgan Hill land. They just don’t want to have to pay someone to mow it.


The answer to this dilemma is for Mr and Mrs Z to grant Ms X a license for Ms X’s horses to graze on a portion of the Pescadero Probate property they are buying. The license can be terminated at any time by the owners of the property. There are no tenant’s rights for exclusive use and Mr and Mrs Z do not need to give any notice or have any cause to terminate the agreement. The right to graze horses is a personal privilege and is not tied to the property in question. The horses do not have any exclusive use and Mr and Mrs Z can use the grazed property any time they want.


If Ms X had a lease then she and her horses would have exclusive right to use the property and Mr and Mrs Z would have to give notice to enter that portion of the property and could not tell Ms X to leave whenever they want.


It is a distinction that is important to preserve the rights of Mr and Mrs Z to use their new Probate property in Pescadero, or Gilory, or Morgan Hill.


I suggest if you are going to do this you consult a lawyer before closing escrow on that gorgeous view property in Pescadero, or Gilroy, or Morgan Hill, or anywhere else you may find it.


If you have any questions about buying or selling property, especially in Probate in San Mateo, Santa Clara, or Alameda County please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty

Specializing in Probate and Trust Sales




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As a realtor who specializes in Probate sales I have recently been involved with a number of families were trying to sell homes they thought they inherited or had title to, but wound up in Probate instead. Since the Probate courts are backed up, this can cause delays, heartache, and tension for the families and were problems that probably could have been avoided.


I want to say firmly, I am not a lawyer. I am a Realtor who specializes in selling homes in Probate and this is not legal advice. If you are going to be involved in intra family title changes PLEASE get the advice of a lawyer. This is complicated stuff.


I just want to give you a few examples so you can see that you should not assume anything when it comes to Probate sales. To see First Example click here


3rd Example:


Mom and Daughter 1 own a home together. Both are on title as Joint Tenants and own it equally. They need cash so Daughter 1 gives her share to Mom and Mom gets reverse morgage.

Mom does not make a will leaving 1/2 the house to Daughter 1 and 1/2 the house to each of the 4 daughters including daughter 1. She plans on doing it, but never gets around to it.


Mom dies unexpectantly, with no will, no trust, and only a verbal agreeement with Daughter 1.


Reverse mortgage company tells Daughter 1 she needs to sell the house or pay back the reverse mortgage. Daughter 1 can not sell the house or do anything without Probate Court permission because she does not own the house any more and there is no will or trust.


Daughter  1 calls me and give her a referral to a Probate lawyer who will get paid through the sale of the house since there is no cash in the estate.


Daughter one will ask the court to appoint her Admistrator of the estate then ask the other 3 sisters to give up the half of the equity that was supposed to go to Daughter 1.


Hopefully the Probate Court will agree to all of this. It is not guarenteed.


As you can see, these are complicated issue, made more complicated by actions taken by owners and family members before the owners died. 


The moral, just because you think you have the right to sell a house in probate, that does not mean you do. Be sure and consult a Probate Attorney and a Realtor who understand Probate Sales before you proceed.


If you have any questions about selling a home in Probate or need a Probate Realtor in Half Moon Bay or anywhere else in the Bay area please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty

Specializing in Probate and Trust Sales




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As a realtor who specializes in Probate sales I have recently been involved with a number of families were trying to sell homes they thought they inherited or had title to, but wound up in Probate instead. Since the Probate courts are backed up, this can cause delays, heartache, and tension for the families and were problems that probably could have been avoided.


I want to say firmly, I am not a lawyer. I am a Realtor who specializes in selling homes in Probate and this is not legal advice. If you are going to be involved in intra family title changes PLEASE get the advice of a lawyer. This is complicated stuff.


I just want to give you a few examples so you can see that you should not assume anything when it comes to Probate sales. To see First Example click here


Second Example:


Mom owns home in Pacifica in a trust free and clear after Dad passes. She needs money for daily living expenses so she takes out a reverse mortgage.


Eventually she is unable to care for herself. She takes the house out of the trust and gives half to Daughter 1 as joint tenant so daughter has right of survivorship and right to sell house to pay Mom’s assisted living expenses.


Mom’s health gets worse and she needs to be moved to assisted living. Mom and Daughter 1 decide to sell the house to pay for the finest assisted living they can find.


Mom moves to assisted living and 3 days later dies.


Daughter 1 wants to sell the house which has plenty of equity that was not used to take care of Mom, so she plans on splitting it with Daughter 2 and Son 1.


Reverse mortgage company says “Hold Your Horses.” You had no right to change title of house without our knowledge. They claim:


Reverse mortgages are for senior home owners only, not their children. Daughter 1 should not have been on title because she was not given permission by Reverse Mortgage Company.


Joint Tenancy is an equal partnership between all parties. All partied must be equally responsible for any liens/mortgages on the home. Only Mom was on the loan so she should have been the only one on title. 


You can see the problem here.


I suspect this one ends up in Probate Court with Court Confirmation needed instead of a fast, clean easy sale.


Tomorrow I will give you details on other issues that have come up in my Probate sales.


If you have any questions about selling a home in Probate or need a Probate Realtor in Half Moon Bay or anywhere else in the Bay area please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty

Specializing in Probate and Trust Sales




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The unrealized costs of overpricing a home

Sellers, there are more expenses to selling your home than commissions if you're not ready to sell. One of worst things a seller can do is overprice his/her home when it first comes on the market. A small overage is one thing, but when that overage hits 10, 15, 20, 30% and beyond, it's like burning dollars in your furnace to stay warm.

What are the unrealized expenses of overpricing a home? I only say unrealized because it seems that sellers are the last ones to realize the costs of overpricing. Let's assume the house is in good condition, ready to show and is in a good location, but it's priced too high. What are the unrealized costs?

  • The monthly expenses of maintaining a home that could be used in purchasing a new home. (Electricity, water, heating fuel)
  • The other periodic expenses that occur and need to be paid, such as: property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, etc.
  • The expense of keeping the house ready to show. Who wants to keep their house ready to show seven days a week for six months, nine months or a year? You can never really take a day off from living in a museum.
  • The expense of having to pick up and leave the house for showings over and over. That may inspire more dinners out, more shopping trips and of course more inconvenience and more expense.
  • The expense of giving a neighbor an insight into what not to do when she's ready to sell. She watches your unsuccessful attempt to sell your house and then lists hers for 10% less. It sells immediately. You blame it on your lame Realtor, but the truth is it's your price. 
  • The expense of stress on the family. If you have children or pets in your house the above issues also affect them. Kids can't have kids over because they might have to leave at moments notice, dogs and cats end up crated for hours on end and neither can use the house the way they did before it was listed. 

A house that sells quickly is just as likely to sell quickly because it was listed well rather than because it was listed low. When you hire an Realtor to sell your house, make sure your hire one that you have confidence in and then listen to his/her advice and insights into the local market.

A buyer will likely buy another house that is similar if the price is lower. No matter how wonderful your house is, it's in competition with every house on the market. If your house is the most expensive one, it will likely sit longer than similar properties. Think about the unrealized costs of overpricing a home. When you're ready to list your home, give your Cornerstone agent a call for an honest assessment of your home and it's potential for a profitable sale in a reasonable time. 

Check out Beth Atalay's blog: You Are NOT Ready To Sell Your House Yet!! 

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The Power of a Comparative Market Analysis When Selling Your Home

Most of the general public has access to various price lists when trying to sell an object. Online automobile databases offer average prices for used cars, auction sites can list recent sale of various electronics and even boats have a value listing guide. However, when selling a home it is better to get a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a local real estate agent or Realtor®. Here are some of the ways a CMA can help you.

photo credit: nikcname via photopin cc

Price Trends

The most obvious benefit is the ability to see current price trends. The CMA report will list out homes that have sold in the past 12 months in your immediate area. By organizing the transactions by date it is possible to see if home prices are on the rise or falling.

Value Placed on Square Footage

Since the homes will be listed with the square footage of each home sold, potential sellers can find out how much their home is worth based on the usable square feet in the property. In addition, if any of the sold properties had a basement or attic that was finished then sellers can also determine how the market values additional square footage. While it is common for basements to have a slightly lower price per square foot some areas may place it higher than others due to demand.

Value of Accessory Items

Most people usually feel that particular features of their home will bring more value to their home than the market will warrant. For example, expensive hardwood floors, custom paint finishes and high end bathroom fixtures may be quite expensive when purchased but their overall impact on the price of a home is not as high. Instead, things that improve usable square footage, more lighting or outdoor items like pools and decks will do more to bring up the price of a home.

Expected Time of Sale

A comparative market analysis will also show when a home was listed for sale and when an offer was made on the property. This gives prospective sellers a realistic expectation for how long it will take before receiving an offer and how long it takes for the home to actually sell once the offer is accepted.

Avoiding Unrealistic Prices

Along with homes that have sold your real estate agent can also provide a list of homes that either withdrew from the market or the listing simply expired. If the home did not sell within a time period that multiple other properties sold then there are a couple of explanations. Obviously, the most common issue is the price was too high for that particular market. Another common problem is the presence of a major repair issue with the home that the seller is unwilling to fix prior to sale. Having this information should help you do a better job of picking a price for your home.

Getting a detailed CMA report from your real estate agent will provide you with the best source of realistic information to help you decide if your can sell your home for your anticipated price and if it might sell in the amount of time you had hoped for.

Original Blog Post: What's a CMA? Comparative Market Analysis

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Preapproval Letters, A Security Measure for Realtors

It’s about 10:30 am and the phone rings, it’s a potential buyer for a property I just listed. He says he has been waiting for a property in this neighborhood to come up on the market and is ready to put down an offer today but, he needs to see the property first. As a faithful, good Realtor, I offer to meet him out at the house in 30 minutes or 11:00 am. He says fine, he will see me there.

I pull up, formally introduce myself, open up the house and start walking him through. He tells me his wife is on her way but, she is running late. We get towards the back of the house and, well….I don’t remember anything else after that.

Sad but, this type of story happens and all too often Realtors are victims of horrible crimes while showings homes to strangers. Unfortunately, too many of us are more concerned about doing the best for our clients that we sometimes put our own health and safety at risk. The story above is inspired by countless true stories of Realtors who have been abducted, raped, robbed or even murdered.

One of the simplest things you can do as a Realtor to mitigate your exposure and risk is to ask buyer that you don’t know for a preapproval letter. It may sound very simple, in fact, you were likely taught in real estate school to never show a home without a preapproval letter because, who do you know they can even afford the home you are showing them but, too many of us don’t do this, we don’t require a preapproval letter.

When a buyer calls into my office and wants to see a home, one of the very first questions I ask are, “Have you been preapproved?”. If they say no, then I inform them, before we schedule a showing through my office, we require a preapproval on file. I do this because when I get my copy of their preapproval letter, I call the lender and ask some simple questions…..

                A: Did the buyer come in, sign and submit his loan application?

                B: Did you verify identity and get a copy of an acceptable picture ID?

                C: Did you verify employment, income, debt, credit and tax records?

I hope that at this point, you understand what I am doing by asking these questions. Sure, I am verifying if the buyer can actually purchase but, I am ensuring that the buyer’s identity has been verified. If I know that the lender has done these things, I can be confident that not only is the buyer able to purchase but, we know who the buyer is in case something doesn’t go as planned.

Finally and maybe the most important piece to my personal security and that is a schedule. So many of us, almost all of us I assume, don’t keep thorough showing schedules. Again, it sounds so simple but, so few of us actually do it. Sure, we may plan out our showing route and sure, we call the appointment desk or the other agent if we are running late or early but, how many of you print a copy of your showing schedule out, with a copy of the buyer’s pre-approval letter and verified contact information, place it on your desk in a file titled, “Today’s Showings”. This additional little process gives investigators a place to look and who to look for in case something goes bad. My staff know that Jesse has his showing schedules and buyer list on his desk in his “Showing Schedule” file so, if they ever need to know where I am and when I am suppose to be there….they just go grab the file. Best of all, it has a copy of my planned route via map quest, the times I expect to be at each property and who I am meeting there. On the outside of my folder are my emergency contact numbers and other vital information about myself.

I know chances are, before the year is out, we are going to hear another story about another Realtor who has been victimized and that breaks my heart. I really hope that more and more of us would do more to take care of ourselves and remember, we can’t be a great Realtor …….. if we aren’t here to be one.

Be safe friends, be smart…..get that preapproval letter.

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What do Real Estate Agents do to Sell a Home?

Outside of the legal and medical professions, most industries are filled with people that work their tails off without the general public understanding their line of work. This is quite common for people that work in the real estate industry. Here are some of the many things that an agent does to sell a home for a new listing.

Extensive Photos

realtor-pin-1As the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Real estate agents will take lots of pictures to show off the best aspects of the home. When prospective buyers have an opportunity to see multiple pictures of a place before they view the property it helps to get the buyers more familiar with the property. It also reduces the number of people who are certain they will not buy a home based on the presence, or lack of, certain features.

Social Media Announcement

With multiple pictures of the property in hand, an agent can post to the various social media sites and alert all their friends and connections that the home is now available. With the multiple interactions found on most of the social media sites this is a great way to spread the word and let potential buyers know about the home's availability and best selling points. Good agents post to multiple sites like Facebook, Google +, Twitter and even Pinterest.


Many real estate agents connect with their past clients and prospects by sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter. The newsletter can be sent via email or the old fashioned way of postal mail. This gives the agent a chance to pass along helpful information, such as home maintenance tips, energy saving advice as well as all of their new home listings. This is an easy way to reach people that may not be active on social media and still give them a chance to see the home in pictures.


Some agents aggressively market their listings by sending out emails to their prospective buyer base. These email lists are built over time from a multitude of different sources like, previous clients, internet leads and people that have signed up via their website. Since some home buyers can spend many years searching for a home, this large database of previous contacts can be a key component to selling your home.

On top of that, most agents will present any new listings to their own personal buyer clients who might be interested. Since they have in-depth knowledge of the home, it's much easier to explain the benefits. They will also share the new listing with other agents in their office/company in hopes they promote it to their buyer clients.

MLS Listing

One of the most important things an agent can do is list a home with the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). This service is accessible by local real estate agents and to Realtors® across the country via certain home search websites. When a buyer comes to an agent and asks for a list of potential homes, the agent will use the MLS service to find all available homes in the area. Agents pay yearly to have access to this database in order to be ready when either a buyer or seller is in need.


When a potential buyer wishes to see a home the real estate agent is the one that meets them at the home and gives them a tour. This is where the real estate agent can show off the home and brag about the top features of the property. Agents often make themselves available day or night for showing to accommodate the schedules of both the buyers and the sellers.

Open Houses

Agents often hold open houses on the property. These typically occur on the weekends, most commonly on Sunday. Occasionally, open houses are held on weeknights as well. An open house provides a 'no pressure' forum for people to tour the home. Many times the attendees are not actively looking to purchase at that moment and many visitors will actually be neighbors. Either way, getting your home in front of the largest audience is key. Any open house visitor could know someone 'in the market' for a home who they may tell.

An experienced real estate agent will put together a complete marketing plan for any new listing to give their client the best chance of selling the property at the anticipated price. Click the following link to see how Rock Realty can successfully market and sell your house: Rock Realty Home Marketing Plan

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Signs That You are Ready to Be a Home Seller

Selling your HomeMost people easily recognize when the time is right to buy their very first home. They are tired of their current situation and the appeal of getting their own place is too enticing to resist. However, the signs are not quite so easy to notice when it is time to sell the home. Some home owners have a long, drawn out inner debate before coming to the conclusion that they need to sell and move to another place. Here are some ways that you can know the time has come for you to sell your current home.

The Attachment to the Home is Gone

Many people hang on to a home for far too long because they are emotionally connected to the home. The nursery where they brought home their first born, the hallway where a baby took its first steps and other sentimental memories make it tough to part ways with a home. However, if the idea of selling the home brings about a feeling more of relief and not sadness then you are emotionally ready to move on.

A New Plan Has Developed

If you have already picked out another home, or decided what the next home should look like and what features are necessary, then you are ready to move on. Knowing where you wish to live and what the house should look like is a huge step in getting ready to sell your current home and move to a new place. This type of preparation is typically very motivating for most people and helps them to get everything in order for the move.

Your Finances are In Order

Getting ready to purchase that first home is quite an experience for most people. Monitoring credit scores, reducing debt and keeping all payments up to date while saving up a nest egg takes time and discipline. However, once those habits are in place it is easier to maintain a solid credit score. Also, if you have been in the home for any length of time it is likely that there is built up equity which can be used as a down payment on the next home. All of these factors make it simpler to sell a home and be in the right financial position to purchase another home.

It is Time to Move On

Lots of people have come to the realization that they need to change jobs, end a personal relationship or sell some of their long held items. When the thought occurs to you that you would be OK with the idea of getting rid of your house, then the time has come to move on to a new place.

Sell your home for top dollar, by putting it in front of the largest online pool of buyers! Check out the Rock Realty Marketing Plan.

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Who is a REO agent?

The real estate market is a very volatile place to conduct your business – and for many of us, it’s an absolute necessity. After all, you need somewhere to live, right? This seems to be the problem for a lot of people, though. Because they feel they “need” a real estate agent, they are less likely to actually take into consideration what is being said, at least fully. One of the “new” breeds of estate agent that has arrived in recent years is an REO Agent.
Various PR issues and a lack of understanding about the world of REOs leaves a lot of people with the opinion that they are only out for themselves – especially REO agents. However, when you can actually see what they are trying to do on the market for you – beyond the sales talk – then it’s far easier to take an REO agent at face value.
So what does an REO Agent actually assist you with?
They are, undoubtedly, one of the most important cogs in a deal which involves an Bank Owned property. They regularly get the best deals, and if an investor is looking to pick up a property for up to a fifth off the asking price they need to be prepared to do a little dealing and this will, at one stage, most likely involve an REO Agent.
While it’s easy to paint an REO Agent as somebody who benefits from the suffering of others, the work that they put in is simply incredible. For example, your traditional real estate agent will be helping sellers keep a home in good shape and offering advice to help sell it as fast as possible, and in return can get anything from 4-6% commission for giving advice, being there to assist and putting you in contact with the right people.
An REO Agent on the other hand will walk into a dilapidated and vacated home with squatting pets and dangerous appliances and get the sleeves rolled up, cover all of the repair and maintenance costs themselves for up to 90 days after the sale, and then turn the house around to make a sale in the end. They may only walk away with about 1.5% commission, by the way.
For all the talk of REO Agent and real estate agents doing dirty deals, teaming up or even just downright ignoring offers along the way for their gain and benefit, the majority of REO Agents get into this line of work because the “traditional” form of real estate agency has not worked out for them or they have been forced out of the market for a variety of reasons.
As long as you get the right Home Inspection team in and the right staff to help out with the process, working with an REO Agent can be much easier and if you are willing to tough out the bad days together you can really make a significant change around the household and get the price that you are really looking for. They can be hard working and they come with a bad name, but with a bit of faith and an understanding that they are not the same as your normal real estate agents, you can go a long way together.
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Buying a Home with Cash

Pros and Cons of Cash Buying

All-cash home purchases hit a record in the first quarter of 2014, reaching 43 percent, according to RealtyTrac, which has been tracking cash-buying trends since 2011. Home-Cash-PurchasesThis latest figure represents a 19 percent rise from last year—a number industry watchers attribute to stricter mortgage qualification standards coupled with high buyer demand and competition. If you're thinking about buying your next home with cash, you might be wondering how this option stacks up against a mortgage—not to mention, how you'll come up with the money.

Why Cash? Pros & Cons

On the pro side, using cash lets you sidestep mortgage loan qualifications and much of the paperwork and administrative fees. This accelerates the buying process and makes you more attractive to sellers who are eager to close. You have better odds of out-competing other buyers and better leverage to negotiate a lower price. Finally, the prospect of not having to pay monthly mortgage obligations and interest is appealing.

On the other hand, the cash you tie up in your house won't be as readily available for emergency spending. This could place you in a position of needing to sell or mortgage your home in the event of an emergency, and convincing lenders to extend a mortgage or equity loan could be difficult if you lack a steady income, a situation many retirees face. One way to address this issue is opening a home-equity line of credit after you buy your home to make sure you have emergency funds available. A reverse mortgage can also help in a pinch.

Another issue is whether the amount you save on mortgage interest might be better invested. Buying a house with cash amounts to investing in a bond with an interest rate equivalent to what you would pay with a mortgage. Compare this interest rate with other investment options to evaluate how buying your home with cash affects your long-term savings.

Finding Funds

If you want to pay for your home with cash but don't have a lump sum handy, how do you find the money? Options include:

  • Realtor suggests a few strategies, including investing in a long-term CD, a method that can be combined with CD laddering if you don't want to lock up all your cash.
  • For current home owners, another option is refinancing your existing mortgage into a larger one, known as "cash-out refinancing." Zillow recommends weighing this option against others, such as home equity loans and lines of credit.
  • If you're receiving regular payments from an annuity or structured settlement, you may be able to sell all or a portion of your future payments to a financial services firm and put the money toward your home purchase.

What About Taxes?

Paying for your home in cash precludes the tax breaks you would get from your mortgage interest payments. Use the calculator at Mortgage101 to estimate the potential tax benefits of a mortgage so you can weigh this against buying with cash.

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Zoning according to Investopedia refers to the municipal laws or local government laws which dictate the use of real properties in some areas. Zoning laws therefore tend to limit the commercial uses of the land area in order to prevent manufacturing business and other kinds of businesses which could begin in residential neighborhoods. But it is vital to note that these laws may be modified to allow for construction of some properties which allow for economic advancement.
Zoning therefore plans out the use of a land through a system of allocation of certain areas and includes restrictions within the different areas. Some of these restrictions may include the buildings height, the density of the area as well as the types of businesses that will be seen in these areas.
A good instance is that of the zoning laws which restricts parks, businesses and homes. The zoning area will therefore include the commercial, industrial, agricultural and school zones. Generally, zoning tends to be confusing to people as it is used to designate areas irrespective of the size of the state. The correct use of zoning allows for the development of cities and countries and impacts the lives of future property buyers, sellers as well as investors. This is due to the fact that zoning will always tell on the value of a property irrespective of it being residential or commercial. The major types of zoning today are basically:
Commercial Zoning – Commercial property basically refers to properties which are not residential and they range widely from small offices to mega shopping malls and night clubs. As a result of this, they are zoned commercially.
Residential Zoning – is basically the opposite zoning to commercial as it is done for individual family and can be manifested in zoning of single family homes, condos, duplexes and various other forms of apartments.
Industrial zoning – This zoning is basically for the operations of the manufacturing sector and for warehouses.
Agricultural zoning – This is usually mentioned in the same breath as the rural zoning as they basically deal with zoning regulations for ranches as well as farms.
Another Zoning type includes Historic zoning, which is used for historic monuments and buildings such as museums. Zoning is however not a totally definite situation in terms of rigidity as the option of using a variance gives the option of an exception. The process is long to acquire a variance, depending on the local government, but can redirect the future of a property in the long term.
Something else to note about types of zoning is that they also have sub-categories and we can take the example of the residential zoning which has the sub-categories of sleeping units which are designed for transient occupants’ e.g. motels and those that are for residents who dwell more permanently such as apartment houses.

If you are buying real estate, be sure to determine the type of zoning and restrictions placed on the property.

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Are you not sure how much of a down payment to put down on a home? You would need to consider that the figure will need to be at least 20 percent, if you want to avoid paying any Property Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This insurance covers all home buyers that have not deposited at least 20% as a down-payment on the value of their new home in the event you default on your monthly mortgage payments.
The lenders and banks will introduce this insurance as a way of protecting its own assets should the home buyer fall into financial difficulties and not be able to meet payments due. The lender can dip into the insurance funds and use that money to cover any short fall. In the United States it is possible to get private mortgage insurance or one from the government. The government scheme is handled by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and a number of companies are available for home buyers to use for underwriting private mortgage insurance.
How Much Premium Will I Have To Pay?
This depends on the amount of deposit or down-payment you have managed to raise on your new home. The PMI can vary from as little as 0.3 percent of the total value of the property per year, to as much as 1.15 percent. So, if you pay the smaller amount (0.3%) on a home valued at $200,000 you would look to be paying around $600 premium per year. The upper limit of 1.15% would see homeowners forking out $2,300 per year in PMI fees.
But this does not have to be a payment you would have to make throughout the lifetime of your mortgage; when you reach the stage where the loan-to-value ratio hits 80 percent, tell your bank or lender that it is time to stop PMI premiums as you won't need them at this point.
In fact, its law now that lenders should be telling you when you are likely to reach that 80 percent ratio and federal law insists the premiums must stop when the figure reaches 78 percent. The premiums will automatically be cancelled at this stage and you should not have to chase your lender for this to happen.
However, there are some Federal Hosing Administration loans that insist mortgage insurance premiums be paid for the life of the mortgage.

If you would like more information on Property Mortgage Insurance, be sure to ask your Lender directly.
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I'm sure you may have wondered what the average home buyer in the U.S. looks like today, or not so much what they look like but how old they are, where are they coming from, what sort of job or income are they earning and which region of the United States are they coming from.
It is all interesting information - to some - and in particular those in the business of selling real estate, prospectors, sellers and investors alike. So who are they and what is the market for real estate buying actually like in the flesh?
In the previous four years to 2013 in America the average age of the first-time buyer has been about 38 and an annual income just above $80,000. These are averages of course but in those four years the large majority of first time buyers have managed to put down a 25 percent down on the home they have bought.
So generally speaking, your average American has got a nice job and earns around $80,000 and has managed to save a large deposit to allow a lender to approve a mortgage for their new home, condo or apartment. It is possible to buy a nice condo in Florida for $100,000, so if you can afford the typical 25 percent deposit, your mortgage would be for $75,000. This is the average American today, or at least in the last four year period from 2009 to 2013 but you can rest assured that these typical average examples would not have been the case in the four year period between 2005 and 2009 nor the four-year stretch before that.
The housing market in America took a hefty downturn in 2007 and the car has only just stopped rolling down the interstate bank and coming to a rest but as America recovers. What about foreign investment in real estate properties? Just as Canada has enjoyed recently in affluent cities like West Vancouver, real estate buyers are flocking in to American cities from as far away as China and Vietnam. The Chinese have plenty of dollars since its economy began a boom from the early 21stcentury.

There are also many second home buyers looking to grab property and you will find the average age of these people is 47 and they will earn on average about $90,000. The majority of home buyers are from the south (41 percent) and the affluent north-east sees the lowest percentage (13%) of first time buyers.
You may be close to these averages, but you may not be in a more affordable home buying area. Whether you are buying your first or second home, be sure to contact a real estate professional for assistance.
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A home warranty is an affordable way to cover the costs of unexpected mechanical failure of a major system or appliance in your new home. A home warranty is specifically designed to cover the kinds of repairs that home insurance does not: appliances, plumbing and electrical, air conditioning and furnaces, and pool equipment.

The average annual cost of a home warranty policy is between $250 and $400. Most home warranty companies offer comparable coverage within the same price range. The premium is payable at close of escrow and customarily protects you for one full year. Repairs are typically handled through the home warranty company with a minimal deductible. Often times the cost of the first year premium is offered as an incentive by sellers to solicit the sale of the property.

The age and condition of the home should be a consideration when choosing to purchase a home warranty. A fifteen year-old home with original equipment, versus a two year old home will likely have different financial risks. Your Realtor can help you decide if a home warranty policy is right for you based on your individual circumstances.


Why Should I Consider a Home Warranty?

Homeownership is expensive enough all on its own, without adding the cost of repairs and replacements. When moving into a home where appliances and systems have been previously used, there is always the chance that the general wear and tear, or the way in which they were previously used and maintained, could cause breakdown and/or complete failure. These repairs/replacements can be astronomically costly and often times occur unexpectedly. A home warranty will protect you financially from most of the frequently occurring breakdowns of home system components and appliances.

No matter what policy or Insurer you use be sure to read the details of coverage, ie: the fine print. Many of these companies require that you call them absolutely FIRST when a repair is needed. If you call your neighborhood plumber, hvac or electrician, then the insurance company may not cover the work. So be aware of this detail now, before any emergency repairs are needed.

Discuss your unique needs and concerns with your home warranty representative. If you do not have a trusted home warranty representative, your Realtor can refer you to one.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a Realtor professional or home warranty representative for more information home warranty policies.

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To replace a gas water heater in your home, you need to follow a five-step plan. It is very important, first of all, to consider hiring a licensed and experienced contract to do the job.
The first stage is to get the old gas water heater off the wall or remove it from its current position in the home. Before you even attempt to remove the old water heater, you must shut off the gas using an open end wrench that can be adjusted to fit the valve.
Make sure that no gas is leaking by looking closely at the pilot light. If you have successfully shut the gas off at the valve you will see the pilot light die out (this is a slow process and does not happen instantly). Then smell the area and satisfy yourself that there is no small of gas in the area.
Turn the pilot light switch off and take off the exhaust duct which you'll see at the top of the water heater unit. Next you will need to close off the water valve (often positioned beneath the kitchen sink) then release the water from the heater into a large bucket or bowl. While waiting for this to drain, use a wrench to disconnect the gas from the heater.
Then connect the new parts of the flex pipe for the hot "in" and cold "out" before connecting a new flexible gas line. You will need to secure the gas line connections with strong putty over the fitting. Make sure you get the old fitting removed on the incoming gas supply using a wrench.
The next stage is to connect the new gas water heater to the water supply. Use sand paper or an emery cloth to shear off the ends of the pipes. You have to solder the segments of pipes using a propane torch. Now your new valve unit is ready and you must apply strong tape over the new fitting to allow a clean connection to the cold water flex-pipe. Next, you will need to solder a new connection between the valve assembly and the supply pipe that allows incoming water.
Once you have established the cold water connection, you need to attend to the hot water system. Solder a fitting to the outgoing pipe and then fill the heater with water. Turn the mains water stop cock on and then connect the gas flex pipe. Once the water has filled, open up the gas valve and ignite the pilot light.
From here you can set your desired temperature and begin using your new gas water heater.
It is always recommended that you hire a licensed and experienced contractor to replace your water heater.
At PamsVas.com we are here to support Real Estate agents and their assistant needs
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Buying a new home is quite an undertaking. The stress of buying a mortgage and planning on how you will pay back your lender can be a daunting process. It seems that a mortgage term can take a lifetime. Some mortgage periods last 20 years, most will go on for 25 years but there are 30-year terms available if you want to stretch out your payments over a longer period.


Before you can even start to do any calculations – and we will at a later stage – you will need to get some figures written down first. The significant figure, of course, is the price of the home you are buying. Next, you will need to write down a figure representing any down payment (or deposit); this is assuming there is a deposit, in this example we will work without a deposit sum.


So, how exactly is a real estate mortgage payment amortized? We have the price of your home – let us say you are buying a small condo in South Carolina valued at $100,000. You will have made the offer to the seller (via the real estate agent of course) and then you will need to establish a lender that is prepared to loan you the sum of $100,000 (remember you are not putting down any deposit).


 The lender will offer you an interest rate by which you must pay on top of your $100,000. If you decide to reduce the amount of monthly payments you would normally go for a 30-year term, rather than a shorter period. At 30 years with a fixed rate of 4.5% throughout the life of the mortgage you would have to pay $506.69 a month.


Now, there are 360 months covering the life of your mortgage, so that's 360 x $506.69, which means over the life of your mortgage loan you will pay a total of $182,408. The first thought you will have is that you are paying some $82,400 more than the actual selling price of your South Carolina condo.


Well, it's the way a mortgage payment is amortized, so if you want to drag out the loan over 30 years then any fixed rate is actually a good bargain, despite the US interest rates at an all-time low in the present climate. These low interest rate figures may well go up at some point in the future but it would be unlikely that we will see the historic highs before the housing market collapse pre-2007.

If you are a Real Estate Agent and need our Virtual Assistants, CONTACT US

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(NAPSI)—It may seem surprising to some, but real estate investors can not only do well for themselves, they can do good for the community too.
Here’s How
Back when the housing market went bad, investors got a lot of the blame. They were accused of taking on more properties than they could afford, which resulted in increased foreclosures. Now, however, investors are finding valuable opportunities and earning a more respectable reputation.In several areas that were hit hard by the housing and economic recessions, investors are playing a key role in the turnaround. Many of today’s investors are ordinary people, simply buying a second home in their own neighborhood and turning it into a rental property.
So why the surge in real estate investment? These investors see the “perfect storm” of opportunity: historically low interest rates, attractive home prices and a great selection. The new breed of investor also removes many damaged and vacant properties off the market and makes much-needed repairs to improve the value of their investment and the neighborhood.
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What makes a REO Agent different than your Typical Agent?

Our Personal Investment in Our Own Education: Most all successful REO agents are highly trained and heavily invested in their education. It’s not uncommon for a successful REO agent to have thousands of dollars every year go towards education or the maintenance of costly designations and certifications. Our clients demand that we make these costly investments to ensure they are entrusting the right kind of person with their portfolio of asset which could result in millions of dollars worth of transactions. Our investment in our education ensures our clients that we know what we are suppose to do.

Our Clients Investment in Our Education: Not only do we personally invest in our education and continuing education, our clients also invest by providing us with weekly white papers, weekly webinars, regular training / procedural updates, new regulation and statutory requirements, updates to local ordinances, etc. When our clients take us on, they expect to create a partnership where knowledge is relayed back and forth, seamlessly, without exception, protecting each other and keeping our mutual goals and interest in the forefront of our daily activity.

Performance Metrics and Standards: Unlike a typical agent, we are held to a higher standard. Our clients use measurable and calculable performance metrics to ensure that we are putting our education to good use.  Our client relationships are just about the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you talk about listing a home or meet a client for the first time. It’s about hard numbers. A REO agent has no choice but to perform and be at the top of their game otherwise, our clients know they can find someone else.

We Don’t Just Compete for a Listing, We Constantly Compete for our Jobs: We are different from other agents in the fact that we don’t just compete with other agents for a 6 month listing agreement on a single home. We are constantly competing to keep our client on every single transaction. Our performance metrics are many times written in stone. That is, we are only as good to our clients as our last closing so, if we aren’t closing the number of properties we are told to or if we aren’t maintaining them the way the clients wants them maintained, we are out. You see, our clients are setting on thousands of applications for our jobs, they have thousands of back up names they can easily just bring on and move our listings over to the “new” guy.  Our clients attend national conferences where they meet thousands of agents who want our jobs and these agents are cut throat and will do whatever it takes to knock us out and put themselves in so, unlike other agents, we are constantly in a state of competition….for our livelihoods.

Experience Like None Other: We are much more than just a listing agent. You see, our clients don’t live or work in the area we service so, we are truly the eyes, ears, hands and will of our clients. So, we can’t just list a property and forget about it till we get an offer. We have to visit the property weekly, walk through it, check for damage, report vandalism, make repairs, document everything and enforce our clients will. We come up with detailed analysis of the home’s value, we isolate marketing problems, we come up with sales strategies, we target potential buyers. We also work with evictions; negotiate relocations work with law enforcement and in some situations, we clear out homes. In essence, we aren’t just listing agents; we are property managers for our clients.

We Experience the Tragedy of Foreclosure Daily: As a REO agent, we are keenly aware that every new assignment allows us the opportunity and privilege, even if for nothing more than the briefest moment, to touch the human tragedy of losing a home to foreclosure. In this key difference, we stand out from most because no other segment of our industry can truly relate to having to talk to a single mother of three kids, all under the age of 12, working two jobs and having to tell her she is no longer able to live in the home her children have only known. In this situation, a piece of us dies every time.

To sum it all up, what makes us different than a typical agent, well….it’s actually really simple and it’s expectation. We are expected to perform at a higher standard than our non-reo counterparts because our clients are educated and experienced themselves and therefore, know what to expect. In this, we are blessed and cursed.

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Low home loan rates

What Kind of Mortgage Fits Your Needs?

No matter the state of the economy, each year the number of new mortgages underwritten reaches millions of homeowners.  Some are buying for the first time while others are downsizing or upsizing.  When rates drop, like they did over the past 2 years, many people seize the opportunity to refinance their home loan.  However, how do people decide on which mortgage to use for their specific need?  An online survey conducted by HSH.com points to some of the factors that influence consumer decisions.

Most Important Factor

It should come as no shock that the most important factor is the interest rate.  Regardless of the type of loan, the size of the loan or the customers home state, everybody is trying to get the best rate for their home loan.  In the survey mentioned above over 45% stated that the rate was the top factor for choosing a loan.

Other items, such as the length of the term and the fees also ranked high in the survey, but none was as vital as the rate.

Deciding How Much to Use for Down Payment

The ability to make a down payment equal to 10%-20% of the home’s price will give the borrower a range of products to choose from.  A large down payment and a solid credit score will usually allow a borrower to qualify for a conventional loan which has the best interest rates.

For borrowers that have a smaller down payment, their options will be limited to FHA, USDA or VA for qualifying veterans.

Choosing the Right Term

With rates at an all-time low many borrowers are actually paying more attention to the term of the mortgage loan as part of the decision process.  While the traditional fixed rate of a 30 year loan remains quite dominant more and more people are looking at different adjustable rate products.  Those borrowers that have refinanced in the past 2 years have often chosen to go down to a 15 or 10 year term in order to drastically cut down on their total interest pay back while also paying off the home sooner.

Brokers Still the Top Choice

When looking for the right mortgage loan a number of people still prefer to use the services of a mortgage broker over a local bank or credit union.  In the survey mentioned earlier over 30% of respondents claimed that they sought the services of a broker rather than another type of lender.  Since brokers typically have access to multiple lenders they can offer any type of mortgage loan and get the best rate too.

Obviously, none of these factors discussed the two biggest items facing a borrower; are they happy with the home and can they afford the mortgage payment?  Beyond those two items, the guidelines mentioned above should help any new borrower pick a loan that is right for their situation.

Additional Mortgage Info:
Home Mortgage Loans

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