Posted on January 16th, 2017

Changes to loans and higher interest rates may be in the works-  With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backstopping many loans, interest rates are seen as artificially low compared to a "free-float" purely market-driven system.  Going forward; there is a fork in the road-  On one hand; if Fannie and Freddie are shut down and private lenders take on risk without a government backstop; as is the desire of some in Congress; we could easily see a sizable increase in mortgage rates and maybe even the end of the 30-year loan.  On the other hand, there is a trend to loosen lending standards.  If there are no other changes, this should result in more buyers and a further increase in prices.  With the many moving parts to the industry; 2017 may turn out to be a pivotal year.

Posted on January 16th, 2017

Home sellers are often confronted with a flurry of concerns when selling a house.  There may be pressure to sell quickly to get the money as fast as possible; or maybe there is no budget to do repairs.  Sometimes the sale is contingent on the seller finding another house for themselves first.  Whatever it may be, we can be of help navigating the waters.  However, for the purpose of this article we will focus on the particular selling technique of staging.  Most people are probably at least vaguely familiar with what staging is from watching shows on HGTV or going into model homes.  The costs and results vary; but it is largely true that staging a home (furnishing an empty house to make it look more desirable and help buyers visualize how it could be) results in a higher sales price.  

The first thing about staging is seeing if there is money in the seller's budget for it.  Hopefully there is; because the payoff can be well worth it.  for example; let's take the average single-family home that pretty much looks like other houses on the block.  Now, let's assume two other homes on the street are for sale; of varying quality.  You as the buyer are selling at the same time as these others; so you need a competitive advantage to set you apart.  As you might have deduced by now, I'm going to suggest staging.  Ideally; you are not living in your house when it is on the market; but even if you are still there staging is possible.

 The trick is to tailor the staging to your budget and situation.  It really is a sliding scale- for example, if you are on a limited budget; staging could be comprised of a cleaning of the whole house; then either using your existing furniture and accessories to save money; or just doing what I call a "vignette" staging where large furniture is left out of the equation and just accessories are used; such as an open cookbook in the kitchen or nice towels and soap in the bathrooms.  If budget is no problem; then professional stagers (I know some excellent ones, such as Saskia at ) can come in with some combination of rented furniture mixed with appropriate items you might already have to produce that "wow" factor.

In the end, what does a good staging achieve?  You might have guessed already; it draws buyers in and makes your house memorable; setting it apart from maybe the ten others they looked at the same day.  The more buyers that take an interest in your house; the faster the offers flow in; and the more chance for competitive bids.  That is where stronger prices come in.

A common question people have asked me include whether or not they should stage an "inexpensive" house.  To this I say "YES!".  Even with a tight budget; there is always something that can be done that is cost-effective and still makes your home stand out to buyers.  

If you aren't sure if or how staging could work for your situation; feel free to reach out to me for a no-obligation consult.  I hate to see a missed opportunity for a seller!

Posted on January 16th, 2017

South Bay is experiencing a strong growth phase as development projects ranging from a sizable expansion to the Southwestern College campus to vast housing construction projects in Otay Mesa offer up a bright future.   New amenity-rich condo units and houses near shopping and schools are under development and should see completion by the end of 2017 or earlier.  Jobs are not far away either; with the Millenia Project in Otay Ranch bringing in 2 million sq. ft. of office space.  As part of the master plan of Millenia, there will also be a new library and fire station.

Posted on January 16th, 2017

AS of January 2017; San Diego has only a 6-week supply of housing inventory; well below the 6-month supply considered to be a healthy market.  This means higher prices to some extent; even though they are already historically high.  Affordability will be a problem for many; and so will be selection.

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