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Dear Readers,

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A lovely home and a great location! Happy buyers in Union City!

Congrats to the Amarnath family on their lovely home in Union City!
Wishing them all the happiness, good health & success! 🎉 They moved from Michigan and it took them only 3 weeks to find a home..
Thank you for giving my the opportunity to serve you! I appreciate your trust and confidence! It was wonderful working with you!🙏🎉
Need a hard working REALTOR who will find your dream home and negotiate for you! Call me today at 510-501-1916

Ann Gupta REALTOR
www.anngupta.com

 

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How to make your home sell faster

 

I will like to share some tips that will help you sell your home faster and for more money.

  • Price it right from the start. Pricing a home is an art. Work with your your agent on pricing your home. Your agent will do a comparative market analysis (CMA). She will show you comparables for your home and help your price the home right.
  • Fix anything that is obviously broken. A cracked windowpane,  microwave, dishwasher, range, appliances, any broken light fixture.
  • Check the flooring. Replace any bad flooring with engineered or laminate flooring  or carpeting as needed. Refinish the hardwood floors.
  • Update the interior and exterior. Fresh paint, updated landscaping, new light fixtures are all easy and affordable ways to give your home a makeover.
  • Clean and declutter. Remove knick knacks and excess furniture.  Make space. The fewer things in the home, the larger it will look.
  • Hire a Cleaning service to do a deep cleaning, including washing the windows.
  • Depersonalize. Experts suggest removing excessive personal items and family photos.  The focus of the buyer should be the home and its features.  It will make it easier for buyers to envision their family in the house.
  • Enhance your home’s curb appeal. Could mean adding new sod, artificial grass, drought resistance plants. Planting flowers to add color. Trimming and pulling out weeds.  Check the door bell and  mailbox.
  • Stage the home. In today’s market staging is very important. The home should be dressed up and look charming inviting to the buyers.  A staged home will sell for substantially more than a non-staged home. It’s true and I have experienced it.
  • Make the property easy to show. The more flexible you are about visits, the more people will be able to see your home.
  • Go away when the house is shown. Leaving the house also gives them the freedom to discuss its pros and cons honestly with the agent without worrying  about   offending  the seller. The agent can also show them around without any hesitation and have a conversation with clients.

Disclosures

When you buy a home, you want to know about it as much as possible. A buyer comes to know about the home through two things – inspections and disclosures. In my previous blog, I wrote about the inspections. Today I will like to discuss the importance of  disclosures.

As standard of care and business practice we use –  California Association of Realtor (CAR) disclosure forms. Seller needs to fill out these disclosure  forms at the time of selling.  These disclose important information about the home in sale. The purpose of disclosures is to communicate to the buyers about the home and about the sellers experience in the home.

When selling your home, your real estate agent will ask you to fill out various important forms.  About 40-50 pages of forms & documents like  Transfer Disclosure Statement form, Property questionnaire, Supplemental disclosure,  Lead Based Paint Disclosure, Megan’s law disclosure, and Market Conditions Advisory, Water heater  Carbon monoxide and smoke detector and many more. If it is a condominium complex,  we have Home Owner Association (HOA) disclosures. Natural Hazard Disclosure report.

Our state, California, has stringent disclosure requirements that protect the buyer. I have seen that in my past 19 years in business, the number and type of disclosures a seller needs to make, has grown substantially.

One of the main reasons for disclosures is to prevent lawsuits after the property has been sold. So lawmakers keep coming up with more and more disclosure requirements. It is very important for a Realtor to keep on top of these important  documents .

It is critical that the seller should use standard California Association of Realtor (CAR)  forms  and complete these forms as thoroughly and honestly as possible. The buyers should read the disclosures forms as thoroughly as possible. This will prevent headaches, assumptions,  surprises, and lawsuits later on.

I personally review these disclosures  with my buyers when we sit down to make an offer.  So folks make sure that you select an agent who understands the home selling and buying process completely. Who is knowledgeable about the disclosures and other paperwork . An agent who guides you, educates you,  and handholds you throughout the process. Who helps you make the right decisions!

Inspections

In my last blog  I talked about the importance of checking the condition of the home before buying it. As a buyer, you want to make sure that the home you’re buying is in good condition and is on a firm foundation. You need to make sure that you are not buying a money pit.  Inspections and disclosures are two things that help you determine the condition of a home.  I will like to talk about inspections in more details.

A home is a quite a complicated structure. It has many systems. The key systems in a home are foundation, structure, roof, plumbing, drainage, electrical, heating and ventilation. A home also has many appliances like the water heater, stove, oven, dish washer. Then you can have additions like pool.  Before buying a home, you want to make sure that a good inspector inspects all these systems thoroughly.

Critical inspections are – home inspection, roof inspection, termite inspection, pool inspection, chimney inspection.

Home inspection costs about $500 depending on the size of the home. Roof inspection is about $100. Termite inspection is about $200 -250. Pool inspection is about $100-200. A Chimney inspection costs about $ 150-250. For a typical standard home, inspections cost about $1000  or more depending on the size of the home.

I hire competent inspectors who are certified and have done these inspection thousands of time. I have been working with some of them for almost 18 – 19 years. They are very thorough and stand by their work.

I strongly encourage my buyers to attend the home inspections. It helps them to know what they’re buying and become familiar with the home they are buying. I also make it a point to attend all inspections.

It is equally important for the seller to know the condition of their home. The seller should get the inspections done before putting their home in the market for sale. This helps the seller make any needed repairs before putting the home for sale.

Because, after the property goes in the market, some of these issues can be a big surprise and a deal breaker. The seller should have these inspection reports on hand for the buyers to see. This helps the buyer to be informed and to know the condition of the property before making an offer.  Also, if needed, the buyer can do re-inspections or any further inspections.

Make sure you work with an agent who will help you thoroughly inspect the home you are buying and handhold you through the process.

Importance of checking the Condition of a Home

There are two key factors that determine the value of  a home: location and condition. There are other factors like the floor plan, upgrades,  size  etc. But all else being equal  the key factors are – Location and Condition.

When you buy a home, you need to make sure that it is in very good condition. It is critical that you check the condition of a home thoroughly before you buy it.

A good home will give you a lot of happiness and comfort. On the other hand If you buy a bad home,  it can cause you suffering and pain. You may end up spending a lot of money taking care of it.

The home may have  foundation problem, a bad roof leak,  or a lot of termite  damage. Or may be the home is in bad condition because the owner has not taken good care of it. So it is critical that we check the condition of the home before buying.

We find out about the condition of the home through inspections and disclosures. That is why inspections and disclosures at the time of purchase are very important.

By going through the inspection reports prepared by home inspectors and the disclosures prepared by the seller, you come to know the condition of home and you know what you are buying.

It is like buying a used car. You check the Carfax report to find out the history of the car. And you also get it inspected by a trusted mechanic to make sure it is in good condition. Same thing  with the house.

The disclosures prepared by the seller give you information in writing about the home. Whether there was any deaths in the home, any work done without permits, changes or damage… or other important information about the home.

Inspections tell you about the condition of the home.  Condition of the roof, drainage, foundation, electric work, plumbing, heating and ventilation, air conditioning, appliances safety issues.

Even in this tight market, I encourage my clients to take inspections and disclosures very seriously. I make sure that they are buying a home that is in great condition and that will serve them well for years to come.

Make sure that you have an agent will help you to fully investigate the condition of the home you’re buying.

Importance of Owning a Home

Real estate is a great long-term investment.  Over the long-term, real estate prices and values tend to go up , especially, in a highly desirable area like the Bay Area.

Several of us have grown up in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai. We can see that how much the real estate prices have appreciated over past 10, 20, 30 years.

It provides tax benefit. The interest on the home mortgage is tax-deductible. So it provides a great tax break.

Equity – the money you pay up in rent is just gone. But mortgage payments let you build equity in the house.

Unlike rent, the mortgage payments do not change, especially if you have fixed-rate mortgage. With rent you have no control over your monthly payment, unless you live in a rent controlled area. A lot of people in Bay Area are having a tough time as the rents have gone up so much over the past few years.

Freedom – Your home is yours. You can do pretty much anything with it, especially, If you do not have HOA (Homeowner Association). Even with HOA, you can make any changes to the inside of your home. You can remodel. You can make upgrades. You cannot do that with the rental property.

Above all, remember home is where our sweetest memories are made. This is where the kids make connection to the friends, and you develop relationships with the neighbors, not so much with a rental.

Make sure you have an AGENT who is competent, honest, sincere and ethical.  Who has knowledge, experience and a  great reputation. Who will guide you and handhold you thru out the transaction. Not only will it save you money, stress and headaches. You will be much happier in the long run !!

Roles and Responsibilities of a Good Real Estate Agent

In the last blog, I talked about the real estate agency and why a buyer should have his or her own buyer’s agent.

Today I will talk about roles and responsibilities of a real estate agent, and what a good agent does for you.

A good agent guides and educates you throughout the process. He or she will take the time to learn about your needs, wants, preferences,  budget and lifestyle. The agent will advise you about financing and getting pre-approval with a good lender.

He or  she will  educate you about the local market conditions and neighborhoods.

An agent will help you look for the right home in the right location that meets your budget. The agent will also guide you what to look for in a home. A good agent will stop you from buying a house that is not right for you. For example, a home on a busy street, or one that has bad floor plan. A home that is in bad condition needing too many repairs. A  few weeks ago we were looking at a home. The garage entrance was thru’ one of the bedrooms. That is certainly not very convenient floor plan.

Now that you have found  a Perfect home, your agent will  proactively show you comparables, disclosures and reports.

She will help you make a winning offer. What is a winning offer ?
An offer which is competitive with the right terms and conditions, so you can get the house in this competitive market without missing out.  I usually MAKE A winning offer the very first time or the second time depending on the client readiness and comfort level…

Also, your agent will manage the real estate transaction process, Promptly deal with any problems and issues. She will be proactive in –
Keeping on top of the transactions at all times and planning ahead.
Keeping clients informed.
Keeping communication with not only the clients, but with other agent, loan officer, escrow officer too.

She will ensure that you have a smooth transaction.

Look for a Realtor who is competent, honest and ethical.
Who has a good reputation and is knowledgeable. Not only will you get excellent service, it will save you money, stress, and headaches.  You will be much happier in the long run.

I’ll be very happy to assist you and provide you with a great service.. You can check me out on YELP

Real Estate Agency and Importance of a Buyer’s Agent

When you say I have an agent or I’m your agent…

What does it really mean? Agency is an important concept. Every buyer and seller should understand it. I will also explain why it is important for a buyer to get his or her own buyer agent.

We use the term agency in real estate to determine the legal responsibilities of a real estate agent towards you and the other party in the transaction.

A real estate agent is not simply a sales person, He or she has much greater responsibilities being a licensee and a realtor.

A realtor has a fiduciary duty towards his client.
That means taking utmost care, integrity, honesty, loyalty to the client. It is the Highest duty..   Putting a client’s best interest before the agent’s own interests. Also keeping a client’s information confidential.

The buyer’s agent is hired by the buyer and has fiduciary duty to the buyer.
That means it is his responsibility to get the best price and terms for the buyer, even though the compensation is paid by the seller.

A listing agent or seller’s agent is hired by seller and has a fiduciary duty towards the seller. That means his responsibility to get the best price and terms for the seller and look in his best interest.

Dual Agent:
Sometimes an agent acts as a dual agent.
This means he is representing both buyer and seller.  This normally happens in a situation where buyer goes directly to the seller’s agent and asks the seller’s agent to represent him.
This is also called double ending the deal i.e. seller’s agent double ended the deal. It is perfectly legal in California,  as long as the dual agency is disclosed by the agent to both  the clients.

It can also lead to a conflict of interest.

Now the agent representing the buyer & seller is a dual agent. He has fiduciary duty towards both the seller and  the buyer.  Which is not an easy task, He cannot reveal confidential info of one side to another. So he cannot effectively negotiate for either seller or the buyer.

A dedicated buyer agent has the fiduciary duty and loyalty to the buyer only.

So he is able to protect his buyer’s best interest during the transaction without any conflict of interest.
I always recommend to my clients to get a dedicated buyer agent who can act in their best interest and negotiate on their behalf.