Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at
A will is the most common way to transfer real property upon a person’s death, but this does not avoid probate. Probate can be expensive with attorney fees and court costs and can take up to a year to complete. The way to keep all of your assets out of probate is to set up a trust. Yet for many whose estate consists primarily of the home, the money to establish a trust may be unaffordable.
Californians have an easy remedy to keep their home out of probate with the passage of Assembly Bill 139 which became effective in 2016, creates the Revocable Transfer on Death (TOD) Deed which would transfer to a named beneficiary 1 to 4 unit residential real properties on the death of its owner without a probate proceeding or a living trust.
The Revocable Transfer on Death deed is the most simple and inexpensive transfer mechanism on the market today. Furthermore, it may be the only tool available to unmarried homeowners who wish to leave their property to a lifelong partner, family member, friend, or loved one upon death. .
The deed has no effect until a person dies, and can be revoked at any time. The revocable TOD deed must be signed, dated and acknowledged before a notary public, and must be recorded at the County within 60 days after execution.
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 at
The federal reserve recently raised interest rates, and if you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), it may be a good time to consider refinancing your home. While you may think everyone has refinanced by now, that is not so. I met a lady this week while door knocking and she has two investment properties both with a first and second mortgage and all are adjustable mortgages.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether your should refinance, so here are a few of the main considerations.
How long does your introductory rate last?
Most ARMs have a fixed rate for the beginning of the mortgage. This is an introductory period (usually 3-10 years) when your rate will remain constant before it can be adjusted. If you have several years left in your introductory period, you can monitor interest rates for a while before making a decision. But if the intro rate is ending soon, it’s a great time to explore refinancing at a fixed rate.
How long are you staying?
If you plan to sell your home soon-especially if you’re still on a fixed introductory rate-there’s not much motivation to refinance. But if you’ll be at your home indefinitely, you should consider your refinancing options. You could eliminate the stress of not knowing what your future mortgage rate and payments will be.
What’s your loan balance?
The change in your mortgage payment will of course be determined in part by your remaining balance. If you owe $100,000-$200,000, a new interest rate may not greatly affect your monthly payment. On the other hand, if you owe $500,000, a change in interest rate could lead to a much higher payment.
The previous items are just a few of the factors that should go into a decision about refinancing. Changes in income and your current credit score should also be considered, so be sure to weigh your options and make an educated decision.
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 at
It’s obvious that you want your home looking as good as possible when you’re trying to sell it. You want to give buyers a great first impression, and there’s a long-held belief that professional home staging will lead to buyers paying more for a house.
However, that may not be the case, according to recent research by Michael Seiler, a real estate and finance professor at William and Mary. Seiler studied how 820 different buyers reacted to contrasting stagings of six various homes, and found that there was little effect on what the buyers were willing to pay.
Some buyers were shown a home with neutral beige colors and traditional furniture. Others were shown the same home, but with “ugly” purple paint and wacky furniture, or even no furniture at all. The average price the buyers were willing to pay for each property was roughly the same, regardless of which version of home staging was present.
“We were able to parse out what you consciously believe and subconsciously believe,” Seiler said. “Beforehand, everyone thinks poor staging is going to be a problem. But when we actually did the experiment, we found it doesn’t matter.”
Of course, Seiler’s study only looked at one of the many aspects that affect a home’s value and how fast it will sell. Contact your trusted real estate professional if you’re considering selling your home.
Keep in mind price and condition are the two most important factors to get a home sold. An overpriced home will never sell, no matter how much you spend on staging. Buyer’s are aware of fair market value!
Saturday, April 15th, 2017 at
At an open house or viewing a home, remember that the listing agent works for the seller. Therefore, careful what you say as your comments will be relayed to the seller. Here are a few comments you might keep to yourself.
“This is at the top end of our budget”: Don’t let the listing agent know that a home is at the top of your budget. You want to keep all the bargaining chips you can, and letting the seller know your budget can hurt you when it comes time to negotiate.
“This is the one – we don’t care what it takes or how much we have to pay to get this house”. You probably should only share this with your agent so he/she can offer you the best strategy for making an offer.
“I hate the paint”: Or furniture. Or cabinets. Or any of the decor. No matter how hideous the wallpaper in the kitchen is, take care not to insult the seller’s taste. If they’re considering multiple offers, you don’t want to be the buyer that offended the seller!
“We can’t wait to renovate”: Customization is one of the big perks of homeownership, but it’s best to keep your renovation plans quiet for the moment. The seller may have a lot of memories in the home, and may not appreciate your plans to immediately tear down some walls.
Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 at
Staying on top of the latest trends in home decor isn’t for everyone, but even for traditionalists, it can be fun to incorporate some new ideas. Here are five bathroom decor trends that are appearing in 2017.
1. Geometric Patterns: Many homeowners are selecting bold patterns in geometric shapes, like chevrons, triangles, or hexagons. These patterns can add intrigue and continuity to your tile or shower curtain.
2. Plants: Even the best-designed bathrooms can benefit from some small plants. If you have a windowless bathroom, there are some low-light options that can survive with little maintenance.
3. Dark Colors: This can be tricky to achieve, but it comes with a big pay off. While traditional bathrooms are often painted with brighter whites and greys, opting for darker colors can make a bathroom seem more luxurious and relaxing. Imagine sinking into a deep bath with dim lighting—that might convey the appeal of a darker palette.
4. Brass Hardware: Trends often come back around, and this year, brass fixtures of the ‘70s are popular once again.
5. Minimalism: The massive master bathroom is still great, but there’s also some appeal in smaller bathroom designs. Minimalism allows for smaller spaces to feel more intimate, but still airy and open.