|My clients and I quoted in a Comstock's Magazine article about millennial home buyers in Sacramento suburbs...|
|Last week Comstock's Magazine ran a little teaser online for their story that appears both in print this month and online -- "The Great Millennial Migration."|
Millennials, if you aren't in the know, were born between roughly 1980 - the mid 1990's.That would put their ages in the mid 20's to mid/late 30's. I work with lots of homebuyers of all ages, including many millennials. Contrary to some common stereotypes that most of them still live in their parents' basements, LOTS of millennials do buy homes. Yes. A lot of them. And their wants and needs aren't all that dissimilar from other Sacramento home buyers I work with. It's a matter of priority. What's important?
For single or partnered (millennials), they frequently value the ability to walk to happy hour and want to be somewhere conducive to that lifestyle...for those who have or want kids, they more frequently ditch happy hour in favor of being able to walk their kids to a good school.
So check out the article...it features quotes and a completely adorable photo of some of my clients, Aaron and Jamie, as well as quotes from clients Jonathan and Suzie.
|New Listing - 7110 Stella Lane, Unit 13, Carmichael, CA 95608|
|Adorable ground level 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,000sf condo unit tucked away in a serene complex in Carmichael. You will love the easy access, spacious floorplan, cozy fireplace, newer carpet and paint, laminate flooring, updated kitchen with newer cabinets and granite counters, updated bathrooms, inside laundry. Big bedrooms, lots of storage space. Master suite has private patio. Nicely manicured setting, homeowners association has private pool and clubhouse. Located minutes from shopping and American River access! Don't wait! Offered at $164,900. HOA dues $335/mo. For more photos and information please visit 7110 Stella Lane #13, Carmichael, CA 95608.|
|Featured in Comstock's Magazine Online Edition today...|
|I was featured in Comstock's Magazine's online edition today...this is a teaser for a couple of articles my buyer clients and I are quoted in that will run later this month. I was asked these two questions -- (1) What is the biggest change in your industry in the past year?, and (2) What do you see as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?|
No, I didn't say anything snarky about the Cubs 2016 World Series victory and how the Giants pitching acquisitions will help them in 2017. To read the piece, click here.
|Scam alert -- do not pay for a copy of your grant deed after you close escrow!|
|One of my recently closed buyer clients texted me this week asking about some mail he received. The mail looked pretty official and claimed for $83 the service would mail the new owner a copy of the newly recorded Grant Deed. It went on to list several reasons having a copy of the deed would be important...but there is a key issue with this letter -- it is a total scam. |
New owners will receive a copy of the recorded Grant Deed directly from the Sacramento County Recorders Office within a month or so of closing at no added expense. Letters like these typically come within a week or so of closing, before the deed is received in the mail.
Buyers and new homeowners -- keep in mind that once you purchase a property, that record of ownership becomes public and your information will be purchased by 3rd parties. New homeowners receive all kinds of solicitations in the mail for things like life insurance, homeowners insurance, refinancing (already!), alarm installation, and other nonsense like this.
My client commented that this offer looked "very official." It does...but thankfully they were suspicious because they read the fine print that said "this offer has not been approved, or endorsed by any government agency." I warn my clients to be on the lookout for stuff like this and let them know they can always contact me with questions. Don't be fooled!
On another note, if one of my clients ever does need a copy of their grant deed and can't find their copy, I can easily obtain a replacement copy at no expense. Or you can request a copy from the Sacramento County Recorders Office by mail and pay a small fee ($13 for the first page, $2 for each additional page).
|How to get an accurate measurement of a home's size and square footage when public records are incorrect...|
|Generally when I list homes for sale, I pull data out of public record to get an idea of the number of bedrooms, bathroom, parcel size, and square footage. Occasionally though, the data in public record is inaccurate. |
Recently, a potential seller client contacted me about listing a home in the Arden area. According to the Sacramento County Tax Assessor's records, the home was 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,440sf. So I reviewed similar comparable recent sales in the neighborhood and then met the seller at the house a few days later. Immediately I could tell that the home was significantly larger than the assessor's records. The home had an addition. This particular addition was not permitted...however sometimes even permitted additions do not get updated in the public records.
Another seller contacted me who owned a home in Natomas that he purchased new directly from the builder. Assessor's records showed the home was 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,519sf. For whatever reason, the builder reported a different floorplan than the one my client had purchased. His home was actually 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and the flyer he had from the builder said the home was 1,805sf.
So what do we do about this? In these situations I hire a professional property appraiser, at no added expense to my clients, to come out and measure the property. Getting an accurate measurement of a home is important, because even a small difference of perhaps 100 square feet may change the value, or change the buyer's perceived value of a home. In addition to having accurate square footage, a floorplan sketch can be a valuable marketing tool as well, since home buyers like to have room measurements.
In these two instances, the Arden home turned out to be 2,243sf, and the Natomas home turned out to be 1,838sf. Clearly those are large differences and those accurate figures definitely helped to properly market the homes and get top dollar. So I say, when in doubt, measure it!
|New Listing - 2701 Bronco Creek Way, Sacramento, CA 95835|
|Stunning, better than new 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 1,838sf Natomas home! You will love the open layout, recessed lighting, tile flooring downstairs, kitchen with cherry cabinets, granite counters, and stainless appliances, formal dining room. Large loft/separate family room area upstairs, large master suite with walk-in closet, separate tub and shower, dual sinks and granite counters. Owned solar lowers utility bills! 2-car garage with epoxy flooring. Low maintenance yard. Adjacent to brand new charter school under construction. Low $60/month HOA dues covers front yard care. Don't wait! Offered at $339,900. For more photos and information please visit 2701 Bronco Creek Way, Sacramento, CA 95835.|
|California Transfer On Death (TOD) Deed -- avoids probate, less expensive, faster...|
|Thanks to California Assembly Bill 139 that passed in 2015, as of January 1, 2016 a real property owner has a new way to avoid the Probate process. AB 139 created the "Transfer On Death" Deed. Why is this significant? Let me explain...|
Generally, if a property owner dies and does not have a Living Trust, any real estate owned must go through the Probate process in order to be sold. This applies even if the property owner has a Will...so don't be fooled into thinking that property named in a Will avoids the Probate process. IT DOES NOT. The Will only serves to specify who the deceased person wants to pass the property along to. Probate is a court process to actually transfer ownership of the property. Probate is expensive, extremely time consuming, and can be highly emotionally charged...trust me, I have helped several clients through the process in order to sell homes of deceased loved ones, and it is not a process I would wish on anyone.
So I am frequently asked -- how can we avoid Probate? Up until this last year, my answer was -- talk to an attorney, form a Living Trust, and do not forget to deed your real estate into the trust. Creating a Living Trust sets up a mechanism that transfers responsibility for real estate to a Successor Trustee, which makes selling a home after death pretty simple. There are two downsides to setting up a Trust though. The first is that forming a Trust is pretty expensive -- an attorney will charge $2,500 - $10,000 depending on how complicated your estate is. The second is that Trusts take time to plan properly -- so it could take a few weeks to a few months to form your Trust and deed your real property into it.
With the passage of AB 139, there is now an inexpensive and faster option -- deed your property into a "Transfer On Death" Deed -- aka, a TOD Deed.
One of my past clients called me in September when her mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Her mom had just weeks to live, had no trust and no will, and owned a home in Carmichael. I immediately thought of the TOD Deed. With a TOD Deed, the owner remains the owner while that person is alive, and it names a beneficiary that the property is transferred to upon the death of the owner. She called an attorney who prepared a TOD Deed for her mom, had it signed and notarized and recorded with Sacramento County. She passed away just days later.
The entire process to prepare, execute, and record a TOD Deed was just days and a few hundred dollars. Once her mom's death certificate was available, an "Affidavit Death of Transferor" had to be prepared and filed with Sacramento County. So within a short period of time, and for a few hundred dollars, daughter had full authority to sell the property. No Probate. No excessive costs. Way less stress.
I always suggest getting tax and legal advice before doing something like this, but what I can tell you is that this is a streamlined way to take the expense, time, and stress out of what is already an emotional time. And as a side note, an owner can file a TOD Deed, make changes to the beneficiary during his/her lifetime, sell the property, or deed the property into a trust later. No need to wait until a fatal illness to get one done. In fact I would recommend being proactive.
|Want to list your Sacramento area property on AirBnB or VRBO? Here's what you need to know...|
|"If I buy this downtown condo, can I just list it on AirBnB and rent it to legislators when they visit the Capitol?"... "What if I turn this detached garage into a 'granny unit' and rent it out on AirBnB?" Hmm...good questions.|
I get asked pretty often about transient occupancy and short-term rentals. Just to clarify, a transient occupancy or short-term rental is one that is for a term of less than 30-days. Think of a place that might be rented using AirBnB or VRBO -- probably more commonly thought of as vacation rentals. This type of short term arrangement is becoming more common these days thanks to these websites, and can be a nice alternative for travelers who perhaps want to stay somewhere other than a hotel. (Side note: a rental in excess of 30 days does not fall into this category. A landlord-tenant relationship is created in that case, and an entirely different set of laws apply.)
For example, my family and I stayed in a home for 5 days that we rented on VRBO in Scottsdale when we attended the SF Giants Spring Training a couple years ago. It was a nice place and the convenience of having a home where 6 of us could all comfortably stay, with amenities like a kitchen and laundry facilities were great!
It sounds appealing -- and a nice way to supplement income renting out part of your home, or perhaps you have a rental property and you'd like to offer it as a short-term rental instead of leasing for a longer term...People visit Sacramento, right? But as a property owner, what are the local rules? Well, right now the rules differ all over our Sacramento region.
City of Sacramento: for properties within the city limits, the City requires owners to obtain a Short-Term Vacation Rental Permit and pay a fee of $125. Owners must also collect and remit 12% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). And there is a different set of parameters if you are renting out space in your own primary residence, versus renting out a vacant/non-primary residence (such as a 90 days per year limit).
County of Sacramento: for properties within the unincorporated areas of the county (like Antelope, Arden, Orangevale, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, other non-city Sacramento areas, etc.), the county requires owners to obtain a Vacation Rental Permit and pay a fee of $270.66. Owners must also collect and remit 12% TOT. The county does not allow short-term rental of vacant/non-primary residence property.
City of Galt: it seems there is no specific ordinance regarding short-term rentals within the city limits, however if you own any Galt rental property you are required to get a business license from the city. They also require TOT.
The Cities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Elk Grove, and Rancho Cordova all require collection and remittance of TOT, however it seems they have no specific policies governing short-term rentals right now. You may want to defer to the county's policies here.
Keep in mind that just because the city or county may allow short-term rentals, if your property is located in a Homeowners Association (HOA), the HOA may specifically prohibit short-term rentals. I have started to see this in a number of HOA documents for my transactions. Also, speaking with a local insurance agent, be sure that your property insurance policy covers this sort of activity. Most policies specifically exclude coverage for short-term rentals.
|New Listing - 952 Q Street, Sacramento, CA 95811|
|Elegant updated 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, 1,013sf unit in the Saratoga Townhomes in downtown Sacramento at 9th and Q Streets! You will love the great location and modern amenities; updated kitchen with granite counters and new stainless appliances, new laminate flooring downstairs, new carpet upstairs, freshly painted interior, new light fixtures. Private balcony with awning off upstairs bedroom, private patio off living room downstairs. Attached garage with direct access to unit. Bonus - Zone E parking permit included. Close proximity to all downtown has to offer - The State Capitol, Golden 1 Arena, Roosevelt Park, R Street Corridor, art galleries, great restaurants, and other nightlife! Don't wait! Offered at $339,900. HOA dues $269.44/month. For more photos and information please visit 952 Q Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. |
|Disclosing death on a property....|
|It seems a few times per year, I list property where someone has passed away at the home. Death at a property is one of those things that will not bother some people, and for others it will be a deal breaker when deciding whether to purchase a home. But how should it be disclosed? Where should it be disclosed? And for how long is it relevant to disclose?|
In late 2016, legislation passed clarifying disclosure obligations in California for death on a property.
The provisions in AB73 are pretty simple: any death in or on a property MUST be disclosed if it occurred within 3 years from the date of the purchase contract. After 3 years has passed, the death, and the manner in which someone passed away, will no longer legally be considered "material facts" and disclosure is not required. Additionally, this legislation clarifies that no disclosure is required if an occupant who lived at the property had HIV, or died from HIV-related complications.
As I assist sellers to fill out their property disclosures, when we get to this question in the Seller Property Questionnaire, usually the answer is no and the "no" box is checked accordingly. However when the answer is yes, just checking the "yes" box that there has been a death on the property within the last 3 years, is usually not enough. I would recommend noting, if known, the location within the house where the death occurred and circumstances. Something like "Previous occupant passed away by natural causes in the master bedroom" is appropriate. It's also something I put in the agent comments section in MLS, so that it can be known to buyers before they view a property. If buyers have additional questions about the death, I generally suggest they ask in writing so that the seller can respond appropriately.
I also ask my clients to think about other notable deaths that may have occurred at the property. I recently had a seller who buried a 60-pound dog in the backyard, and after some discussion we agreed was a good idea to disclose that burial. What new owner wants to start landscaping and unexpectedly find buried bones in the backyard? Providing appropriate detail may save everyone from surprises later.
|Verify wiring instructions before you wire funds to escrow...|
|So luckily I have not experienced this first hand with any of my clients, however I know other agents who have clients that have fallen victim to this. Beware...falling victim to this scam can not only derail your home purchase, but also completely derail your life.|
BUYERS: WHEN YOU WIRE YOUR DEPOSIT OR DOWNPAYMENT FUNDS TO ESCROW, BE SURE TO VERIFY THE WIRE INSTRUCTIONS AND ROUTING INFORMATION WITH YOUR AGENT AND ESCROW DIRECTLY.
I can not emphasize this enough. If you receive an email with wiring instructions, call and personally talk to your agent to verify the information is correct and legitimate.
Sadly enough, there is an online email scam that seems to be getting more prevalent. Criminals will hack into a real estate agent's email and just sit back, read the emails, and monitor activity and the progress of transactions...then, when it comes time for a transaction to close, the hacker will use the agent's email and send wiring instructions to the client -- impersonating the agent. The wiring instructions lead to offshore bank accounts, not to escrow. One funds are wired to an offshore bank account, they can not be recovered.
Again, this is not some rumor. I know real people this has happened to. I know an agent whose client wired over $100,000 to Nigeria -- lost and gone forever. Don't let this happen to you! I have recommended to my buyers NOT to wire funds at all, and obtain cashiers checks and deliver them to escrow directly. The California Association of Realtors has a new advisory/disclosure document that addresses this as well. Just be careful.
|Make sure to read inspection reports provided to you...|
|Not long ago, I represented the buyer for the purchase of an investment property in Rancho Cordova. The duplex had previously been in contract with another buyer who ultimately was unable to complete the purchase. That buyer had obtained a few inspections on the property, which were passed along to us as disclosures. They had also negotiated a section one termite clearance with the seller and that repair work had been completed already. Section one work includes remediating things like treating for active termites and repairing deteriorated wood. That's obviously nice!|
However upon reading the original termite inspection that the clearance was based upon, I noticed there was a glaring omission. The sub-area, aka the crawl space under the structure, had not been inspected and was not included in the clearance! That's a big exclusion...often times a home that looks pristine on the exterior can have major issues underneath.
So, we requested that a smaller inspector come back out to the duplex, one who could fit underneath, and complete the inspection. The supplemental inspection found some rotten floor joists. Obviously that needed to be addressed, and we negotiated that the seller took pay for those repairs.
The moral of the story is -- make sure to read inspection reports that are provided to you.
|From my family to yours....|
|From my family to yours, for whatever you might be celebrating this time of year -- I hope you have a great holiday season and a fantastic new year. Here's to 2017!|
|Water Conserving, Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures are Required in Single Family Homes in California Starting in 2017....|
|Due to legislation passed in California several years ago, starting in just a few weeks on January 1, 2017, ALL single family homes constructed before 1994 in the state must install water conserving plumbing fixtures. Some basic standards are:|
- Toilets: use of no more than 1.6 gallons per flush
- Urinals: use of no more than 1 gallon per flush
- Showers: use of no more than 2.5 gallons per minute
- Internal faucets: use of no more than 2.2 gallons per minute
Generally, if you have replaced these items in your home in your pre-1994 home the last few years and purchased the fixtures in at suppliers in California, what you installed should be appropriate water conserving fixtures.
If you are selling your home, will you be required to upgrade all of your plumbing fixtures? Well, the short answer is no, you are not required to as a condition of closing the transaction. You as seller will have to disclose to the buyer if all of your home's plumbing fixtures are in compliance with the water conservation laws or not. I do suspect that if a seller discloses that fixtures in a home are not water conserving fixtures, then the buyer may be inclined to request that the seller bring the home into compliance with the law and replace all of the non-compliant fixtures.
At this point, I am not sure if or how appraisers will be asked by lenders to determine if a property has water conserving fixtures. Candidly, I am not even sure how one might go about measuring the flow of fixtures, short of turning them on and letting them run for a minute into a large bucket and then measuring the output. That said, I am sure appraisers will figure it out if banks demand it, or home inspectors and plumbers will figure out a way to do this if home buyers demand it...
I have a new listing coming onto the market in January that was built in the 1980's and while the seller was performing some other updates, he proactively went ahead and replaced both toilets, interior faucets, and the shower head to comply with the law. The cost was about $600. So that is not completely cost prohibitive, but as most sellers try to net as much money as possible out of a sale, I am sure it is an expense most sellers would prefer not to absorb.
In 2019, all multi-family and commercial property will also have to comply with these water-conserving plumbing fixture standards.
|Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour - December 2 - 4, 2016|
|It's holiday home tour in East Sacramento again! 2016 marks the 43rd annual Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour through the Fabulous 40's neighborhood. The homes showcase some amazing renovation and style while still preserving historic detail. All of the homes are decked out for the holidays too. Advance tickets can be purchased online or at a number of local stops (like William Glen, Emigh Hardware, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, Pottery World, East Sac Hardware, Parkside Pharmacy, RodWorks, and others) until the Thursday night prior to the tour start for $30. This year's tour is Friday December 2nd from 11am to 8pm, Saturday December 3rd from 10am to 7pm, and Sunday December 4th from 11am to 5pm. Funds raised benefit Sacred Heart School. |
|Meet our second addition - Nugget the mini aussie!|
|I figured with all of the craziness surrounding election day tomorrow, I'd post some lighter stuff. Last year we added a sweet puppy to our family, Citra. Over the summer we decided she needed a sister, so in September we added "Nugget" to our family. Nugget is also named for a variety of hops used in beer brewing, just like Citra.|
They are about as sweet as can be together...but don't let those angelic faces fool you. It's been a nonstop dog party at our house for the last 6 weeks! In fact it was very difficult to get them both to sit still for this photo! And they have both stolen my heart. Citra is 13 months old, and Nugget is 17 weeks old. Looking forward to double the sweet companionship.
|Sacramento County Supplemental Tax Bills....triggered by reassessment events and they must be paid...|
|My husband and I bought another house in January of this year, and just finally this week received in the mail our supplemental tax bill from Sacramento County. 10 months later! Wow...when we bought our last house, the supplemental bill came within a month or so.|
What is a supplemental tax bill? Well, one is generated when a property goes through a "reassessment event." Properties are reassessed when there is a change in ownership, significant remodel or addition, etc. A supplemental tax bill reflects the difference between the previous assessment amount and the new reassessed amount...this can be an increase or a decrease depending on the circumstances. Generally, unless we are in a market of significantly declining values, most supplemental tax assessments will be increases, and there will be money owed. (FYI, your house is NOT reassessed by the county if you refinance and the house appraises for a higher amount than your original acquisition value. This tends to confuse people, and it is not a reassessment event.)
In the instance of a change in ownership, the new property tax assessment is based on your acquisition cost. So for example, if you purchased your new home for $300,000, that is your new assessed value. If the previous owner's assessed value was $200,000, then there will be a supplemental tax billing based on the increase of approximately $100,000 in assessed value.
It's not super simple to calculate the amount you owe or when you will owe it though...depending on if the property was purchased during the first or second half of the fiscal year, there may be one or two supplemental tax bills and they may be prorated. Luckily the Sacramento County Assessor's office has an online supplemental tax bill calculator.
In my case, I have a supplemental tax bill for both fiscal years 2015-2016 AND 2016-2017. Boo! But it has to be paid...
For those people who pay property taxes out of an impound account (paid with your monthly mortgage payment), the supplemental tax bill is not paid by your mortgage company. They will not automatically receive a copy of a supplemental tax bill like they do your regular first and second installment payment bills. Sometimes a mortgage company will have collected enough from you during your payments to cover the cost of the supplemental bill -- BUT you must contact your mortgage company, provide them a copy of the supplemental tax bill and find out.
|New Listing - 738 Commons Drive, Sacramento, CA 95825|
|Stunning 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,643sf single level end unit PUD! You will love this Moss & Moss Atrium model floorplan, spacious light and bright layout with amazing windows that really let the outdoors in! Vaulted ceilings, separate living and family room/den area, freshly painted interior, new flooring, dual pane windows, remodeled kitchen with maple cabinets, pantry and dining nook, large formal dining room, dual master suites, remodeled bathroom, newer central heat and air, LOTS of storage space. Close proximity to clubhouse and pools, American River Parkway, shopping and more. Village 1 in Campus Commons. HOA dues are $295/month. Offered at $349,000. Don't wait! For more photos and information please visit 738 Commons Drive, Sacramento, CA 95825.|
|New Listing - 880 Lake Canyon Avenue, Galt, CA 95632|
|Stunning 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,472sf Galt home directly across the street from Lake Canyon Park! You will love the open family room with vaulted ceilings, custom crown moulding, surround sound, huge windows let in lots of natural light, cozy fireplace. Great kitchen has newer appliances, tile counters, nook, and overlooks the backyard. Big bedrooms have built-in shelving, custom mouldings, and ceiling fans. Enviable master suite with custom recessed cabinets, dual sinks, walk-in closet, and access to patio. 2-car garage, tile roof, and Trane HVAC. Located close to shopping, schools, freeways, and more! Don't wait! Offered at $289,000. For more photos and additional detail, please visit 880 Lake Canyon Avenue, Galt, CA 95632.|
|New Listing - 2821 Echo Way, Sacramento, CA 95821|
|Stunning 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 1,780sf home on huge .44ac lot near Del Paso Country Club! You will love the light and bright floorplan, dual pane windows, wood flooring, large living room with fireplace insert, spacious bedrooms -- two of them with ensuite bathrooms -- enviable master retreat has European fireplace, crown moulding, huge closet with organizers, amazing stone shower, dual sinks and sitting area leading to the expansive backyard. Major renovation 3 years ago included a new composition roof, new central heating and air, new water heater, and more! Section 1 & 2 pest clearance just completed and exterior fully repainted this month! Don't wait! Offered at $365,000. For more photos and detail please visit 2821 Echo Way, Sacramento, CA 95821.|