Fit to Sell: Why A Home Doesn’t Sell

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Help close the gap between what home buyers are looking for – a home that’s updated and well-maintained – and what’s actually available on the market. By doing so, your home has a better chance of selling quickly and for more money.

Watch the most recent RE/MAX “Fit to Sell” video to learn what three steps are needed to sell your home – and which three major elements can affect its sale.

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UPCOMING LISTINGS!

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via santiago

Corona Condo! Two bedrooms, all remodeled and ready to move in! This first time buyers dream is centrally located in the heart of Corona next to shopping centers and main freeways. New paint, carpet, appliances, granite counter tops and more! Just bring your things and move on it! Pricing will be $169,900. This has not hit the MLS yet, to get your foot in the door, contact one of our team members today!

old Adair listing photo

 

Upcoming Riverside home for sale! A wonderful 3 bedroom home for the first time buyer who needs more space! This charming home in a quiet neighborhood is ideal for any buyer. It as well has not hit the MLS yet either, so if you or anyone you know is interested, now is the time to beat the crowds and inquire about this property! Contact us ASAP so we can chat about it!

We hope you all have a great Wednesday and make it a prosperous week! Again, whatever your real estate needs may be, feel free to contact any member of our team, we would be more than happy to meet up with you and discuss your future plans!

Thanks again,

Candi Choumas- 909-821-7133

Ashley Choumas- 951-818-4168

Chris Choumas- 951-545-6110

 

Pets In The Mix: From Petrifying to Purrfect!

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A beautiful cat or friendly dog might be just the thing for you and your family. As members of the household, pets have a place in your home and your heart. But what about pets and all that go with them when you are buying or selling a home? In the case of a large investment such as buying or selling a property, addressing the topic of pets during this transaction is worthy of some sniffing out.

True animal lovers often have homes that are especially welcoming to animals and people alike. Homes that are set back from roads or traffic, or are close to dog parks or walking trails might have special appeal. Horse-properties are often fenced, have pasture land or barns, and storage for feed. Whether or not you have pets, if you are selling a property with these facets, you might have a winning angle for the right buyer. While real estate agents can promote these features, they want to do so without having to overcome pet odor and damage issues.

Unfortunately, there are also homes where pets “rule the roost” and the home is less appealing to people. When proper care is not taken, or the number of animals in the home outpaces the owner’s ability to adequately care for them, smells and other issues can become serious problems in the selling process.

Evaluating a home with regard to pets unlocks features and flaws in a home. The ability to open windows or gain access through a back door to a fenced yard or to a pet enclosure is not only useful for pets and people, but can be important in examining temperature, traffic, and utility of a potential home. Odors may indicate issues with airflow, potentially giving clues about heating and/or cooling. When allergens are present in the air, air conditioning can help take them out of circulation, making a home with central air conditioning very desirable.

In short, most homes will be primarily evaluated for people, so do the work beforehand to make your home people-friendly and as pet-neutral as possible. Most importantly, the homeowner should minimize the obvious signs of pets: food bowls and toys, scent, fur, feces, scratch-marks, carpet stains, and/or damage from digging or chewing. While it hardly seems fair, significant value may be lost if the home is perceived to be occupied or potentially damaged by animals – pets or wild ones. Not only is it important to rectify any issues that might be in the home presently, but during the duration of the showing and sale of a property; all pet matters must be kept in check. As a general rule, keep in mind that while people often love pets, they don’t always love yours.

Barking dogs, cats that shed excessively, and animals that could cause harm are deterrents to the welcoming feel most people desire when they come to see a property. Additionally, “pet furniture” can detract from a home, or make it memorable in ways that are not conducive to a sale. Instead, remove that well-worn chair or cat tree that presents an “in-your-face” distraction from more positive aspects of the home itself. Consider “doggy daycare” or boarding your pet elsewhere if there is concern that the presence of a pet could detract from the viewing experience.

Always alert the showing agent of the presence of a pet. Ensure that there are arrangements in place for animals that require special attention, and keep up on pet chores that enhance the home’s appeal. While it might be unrealistic to get every hair, work to minimize attention to it by vacuuming often and removing potentially offensive items like well-worn pet beds and blankets during showings. Have your pet bathed and groomed frequently during this time period to reduce pet odors and ensure that all shots, ID tags, and licenses are up-to-date in the event of an accidental release.

Similarly, if you are seeking a property that is especially free of allergens, or inversely, especially good for a certain pet – real estate agents know what to look for. Be sure to check out laundry rooms, basements and garages as these are common places where pets may spend lots of time, and could provide useful clues regarding the successes and failures of a pet’s presence in a home.

There are key chores that must be accomplished by the homeowner prior to selling it, if a pet has been present:

Check for outside damage to landscape, porches, decks and lawn. Ensure that holes are filled, scratched or chewed wood are fixed, fences are in good repair and painted when appropriate, and that plants don’t show evidence of pets. If a pet scratches to come in, repair any marks on the front and back door or screens. Nothing can fix a bad first impression.

Moving indoors, check for scratches, chewing, and paint damage that come from pets walking, rubbing, or otherwise using the home. Paint, clean or repairs items as needed. Removal of furniture that reveals the presence of animals should be considered. Stained carpets should be professionally cleaned or removed, as pet “accidents” can be absorbed into carpet pad and odors remain. Again, check doors, molding or areas where grime, hair, scratching or chewing appears. Consider this “detailing” your home as you would a car.

Clean air ducts and filters in the home’s HVAC system to ensure that odors are not being circulated throughout the home and that it is working properly, free of pet hair. Pet odors are the biggest offense, and must be removed; this might require the replacing of flooring or sheetrock in some cases. Professionally cleaning concrete floors in garages or basements that have housed pets is a great idea to remove odors. In cases where rodents have damaged insulation in crawl spaces, replacement may be necessary.

When pets are in the mix and a home is for sale, it is essential to consider a pet’s happiness, safety, and effect that they might have on people viewing the home. Creative solutions can be difficult to come by. Few people have the luxury of obtaining a new home prior to selling their residence and removing pets entirely from the home that is for sale. If a pet absolutely cannot be removed from the home, consider crate-training, which might also aid in the relocation process in the future, or limiting a pet to a confined space. No question about it – selling or buying a home with pets in mind adds a dimension to the process. Paying attention to these details can seem overwhelming, but the value of a home depends on it. Purrfectly so.

Upcoming Corona Condo Listing!

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via santiago

 

Here it is! View our upcoming listing, a fully rehabbed Corona Condo! As our viewers you get to see it first before it is even listed in the MLS! This ground floor unit with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom is perfect for the first time home buyer who wants to stay local in Corona! Kitchen will have brand new granite, new stainless steel appliances and the rest of the property will have new paint and carpet! Not only is the location very desirable next to a shopping center, but this unit comes with a good sized patio and shed! Not to mention your own private garage. Please spread the word, this will not last once it hits the market! Contact Candi or Ashley for details as soon as possible!

Have a great Tuesday!

Candi Choumas 909-821-7133 or Ashley Choumas 951-818-4168

2014: What You Should Know About All Time Low Interest Rates!

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I’m sure you’ve heard somewhere that, “Interest rates are at an all time low!”, and we hope you’ve heard it from us as well! Because it’s true. Interest rates fluctuate over the years and in relation to what the market and government do. This is a direct correlation. Therefore it is our responsibility to inform you on when it changes, and help you understand what this means and how it effects you. 2014 is starting off strong with still, low interest rates. We have included a video for you to understand why rates are still good and how they compare to higher rates in the past.

The point of this video is for you to see that rates are still at a 50 year low, so take advantage of it! You never know how long certain rates will last since they fluidly change, we’re here to help you take advantage of them NOW!

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The Remax.com Advantage!

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Breaking News: FHA Loan Limits

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breaking news

 

FHA Mortgage Limits List

FHA Mortgage Loan Limits have been lowered for the 2014 year, starting in January the FHA loan limit in Riverside Country will be lowered to $500,000 for a single- family residence. If you are currently in escrow on a home with an FHA loan exceeding this amount, contact your Realtor and Lender to see how this could possibly effect your transaction. If you are looking to purchase a home in the year of 2014 and are thinking of using a FHA loan, message us for further details to see how this could possible effect you! We are always looking out for you and your best interest in the Real Estate world. Have questions or comments? We would love to hear from you on what you think about this news and how it can change things in the Real Estate industry.

Have a prosperous work week!

Candi Choumas

 

Winter Curb Appeal Video

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Here is a short video on how to get that great attractive curb appeal for your home during the winter months! Just a little something to draw some eyes to your home during the holidays, you never know when you will be thinking of selling your home. Great curb appeal attracts buyers and will increase the value of your home when you are ready to sell.

Hope you all enjoy this short clip! Have a great Holidays!

Candi & Ashley Choumas

The Real Value of a Renovation!

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The Real Value of a Renovation

When evaluating a home that has been renovated one or more times, there are many ways to proceed. Establishing the value placed on a renovation requires some knowledge and looking so that you can understand pricing of a home. In this arena, real estate agents and home inspectors can be incredible assets as they have seen many, many homes and understand the market and condition of a house with a very keen perspective. In some cases, the buyer will be considering a renovation of their own, so understanding what has been done already will be useful in determining the direction and scope of the work at hand.

The price of a home is essentially that which the seller is willing to accept. The value of renovations may or may not affect the offer, but the utility and quality of the renovation could swing a buyer’s preference for the home. One important factor to remember is that the value of the renovation is not only received from the potentially higher sale price, but also in the enjoyment over time of the renovated home. This variable is more difficult to assess, and may be esoteric in nature, but most quality renovations are worth doing as soon as possible so that this additional “enjoyment factor” can increase the true value of the efforts of renovation.

However, renovations can be expensive, time consuming, and inconvenient to the homeowner while they are being achieved. Many people who are not prepared for this suffer undue stress in their lives and relationships, and this cost is impossible to calculate. While the renovation may improve the value and enjoyment of the home, a deeper understanding of the market and a certain degree of luck combine to ensure that the sale price of the home will cover or exceed the cost of the renovation.

The fundamental hope is that the money put into a renovation results in an increase in the sale price. Often renovations are needed to simply bring a home up to the value and standards of other homes in the vicinity. Completing major renovations to put a home on the market may be attractive if the buyer is seeking to “flip the home” – that is buying an under-valued property, repairing it, and selling it at a profit. However, homeowners that are simply improving their own living space frequently run the risk of going over budget and over-valuing the work.

The key to evaluating a renovation is understanding that balancing act behind the end result – what was achieved, how was it achieved, by whom was the work done, and with what materials. The budget, time and inconvenience, and the enjoyment of the renovation – along with understanding the market and the scope of the renovation all become part of the equation in determining its worth.

How far did the renovation go? When all the fixtures and tile in that aging bathroom were replaced, did the owners replace the electrical wiring and water pipes, too? What are the pipes made out of? Copper or PVC, and what was the rationale? Ask the right questions and verify the answers during inspection to ensure that the project was completed as you expect it to be. If the wiring and pipes were in excellent condition and did not require replacement it is just fine to leave things alone. The key is to ensure that what was needed was actually accomplished. Doing too much or too little can cause a project to fail in the ultimate goal: to actually improve the home.

The Best of the Best

Workmanship – a job well done, whether by yourself or a hired professional, shows. Whether the job is cosmetic or a deeper fix, the work should be of high quality.

Design – well thought out and beautiful, with attention to use, style, scale, and materials; a great design can add the most value to the renovation.

Utility – the more something is used and enjoyed, the more the renovation is worth. Improved access, storage, or other everyday needs is among the most valuable work you can have done. When doorways, stairs or other access points get renovated – check for scale and materials that are user-friendly. Ensure that people can pass each other and that furniture can move where it is needed. Renovations that are difficult to use are a failure.

Lighting – lighting fixtures can be expensive and are very subjective. Consult with a lighting designer and use bright lights that are recessed and well-placed. Avoid the expensive, over-the-top dining room chandelier unless the intention is to use it for years.

Electrical/Plumbing – while not a “sexy” renovation, knowing that the two greatest conveniences of modern living are up-to-date and functioning well is a huge benefit to a homeowner. Document all repairs and renovations and keep the information on hand to show the quality of the work, since it is hidden behind walls and more difficult to assess.

Roof/Foundation/Windows – like electrical and plumbing, renovations that include improvements to a roof, windows or a foundation can add a measure of security as well as immediate and tangible value to a home. Preventing water damage and maintaining the structural integrity of the home is of the highest concern. Ensuring that quality work is done with an eye towards the style of the home is paramount in getting the highest return on this investment.

Kitchen/Bathroom/Basement/Garage – creating MORE timeless and classic space that is used frequently gets the most return in resale value. Storage is king in any of these spaces, but it should be useful and accessible.

Worse than Bad

Conversely, poorly designed renovations, including poor stylistic or configuration choices, shoddy workmanship or materials can deter a buyer or render your own renovation a failure. Avoid the trap of using the wrong materials: fixtures that are too big, or obviously bought because they were on sale/seconds, using the wrong windows, or inadequate materials for the project that won’t hold up in the locale or manner of use.

Fad renovations often lack long-term usability; that disco playroom or man-cave may look cool, but updating it again in a few years may be impractical. Everyone loves a steam room, sauna, billiard room or workout room, but maintenance and upkeep might make it less attractive. Furthermore, repurposing a bedroom or garage for a renovation of this sort removes spaces that future owners may find vital, so this further jeopardizes return on the investment.

Some renovations don’t go far enough. Redoing the kitchen or a bathroom without updating the wiring is an example of this. Putting in a bedroom, but failing to make it big enough or to follow the building code, is another example. Seek to find renovations that provide a lot of utility for the dollar, while accomplishing all that is actually required. If you really can’t afford to renovate, perhaps waiting is a better idea.

We all know when something is, “Just a little ‘off’.” One of the worst things is a great idea, done well and with fine materials, that just misses the mark; perhaps there is a corner that always gets in the way or that constantly causes someone to get hurt, or maybe it is a cabinet that opens in the wrong direction. Measurements that are off and made right with a work-around, all of these “little things” end up making a good thing into a frustration.

Don’t bash a lot of bedrooms. Converting a little-used bedroom to an office is one thing, but build-ins can diminish the ability to use the room as a bedroom again, potentially limiting the use of the room in the future. Consider carefully before repurposing a bedroom in a manner that limits the future utility of the space. The number of bedrooms in a home greatly influences the home’s value. At the same time, putting an extra bedroom in a basement is often a mediocre idea. Code requires two points of egress – a door and usually a window with very specific requirements, which may be expensive. Additionally, basement bedrooms are often unattractive spaces that require special attention to ensure they are not cold and dark.

Hope this article helped some of you who are thinking of renovating your home. With the Holiday Season in full swing, it’s a great idea to get prepped for the new year approaching us and get your home in ready condition if you are thinking of selling!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Candi & Ashley Choumas

Challenging a Low Appraisal

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You took the leap and listed your home for sale, found a solid buyer, and agreed on an ideal price and terms that make everyone happy. You’re well on your way to the closing table – until one thing threatens to derail the whole transaction: a low appraisal.
If you’ve accepted an offer from a buyer who’s using financing – and most do – then an appraisal is typically part of the lender’s process to determine whether the property’s assessed value is at least equal to the selling price. It’s rare – not to mention risky – for buyers to be approved for a mortgage on a home that’s priced higher than its fair market value. And a licensed appraiser is the only person who can determine that value.

Oftentimes the process goes very smoothly and the appraisal matches or beats the buyer offer. In other cases, the appraisal is lower, which means the buyer might not be able to make good on the initial offer.
That can create an eleventh-hour headache for everyone involved in selling a home.
Don’t panic, though. Your agent can challenge a low appraisal in a couple of ways. For one, your agent can ask the buyer to make up the difference between the offer and the lower appraised value in cash. But that’s not always possible for buyers. If you’re unable to accept a lower price to match the appraisal, then the buyer could choose to walk away from the sale. That means, however, the buyer will have to start the home search all over again and you’ll have to wait for another buyer, so it benefits everyone to negotiate, if possible.
If negotiation isn’t possible, there might be an option to appeal. Buyers who are trying to obtain an FHA or VA loan, which are both backed by the government, can follow the formal appeal process for revising an appraisal. With solid comparable data for recently sold homes in the neighborhood and accurate information about the property in question, your agent and the buyer’s agent have a good shot at successfully appealing the low appraisal and ending up with a higher appraised value.

Communication and quick action is key in this process, so it’s important that your agent and the buyer’s agent work closely together, whatever the course of action, to arrive at a resolution.

If you would like to talk further about this, my door is always open! I have many years of experience in Real Estate, 20 to be exact! I have had my battle with low appraisals, and high appraisals. I would love to share my knowledge with you or anyone else you know who needs it!