Maintain Value in Your East Bay Home and Protect Your Driveway

Driveway

Proper home maintenance can go a long way in maintaining your home’s value, and if you have an asphalt driveway, you want to protect and maintain it. Taking the time to patch and seal your driveway can extend the life of it, along with adding to its curb appeal. Now is the time to restore your asphalt driveway before winter arrives. Below are some helpful tips when it comes to maintaining your East Bay home’s driveway.

1. Trouble Spots

Look over all areas of your driveway and look for any cracks, pot holes, oily stains, or crumbling areas. The end of the driveway tends to be a common area where damage occurs.

2. Fix Stains

If you notice oil or grease stains on your driveway, try to remove them by using hot soapy water with a stiff-bristle scrub brush. If this method does not remove the stains, try dissolving the stains by using a degreaser.

3. Treat Cracks

It is common for most driveways to have cracks, and you want to make sure they are repaired before you apply an asphalt sealer. If the cracks are not repaired, they will grow wider over time. There are many products on the market that can be used to fix these cracks.

4. Potholes

If untreated, cracks can lead to potholes in your driveway and they also will need to be repaired before sealing the asphalt. You can purchase a blacktop patch to fix the potholes and crumbling asphalt. Remove any pieces of loose asphalt or substrate before applying the patch.

5. Prep Driveway

The last thing you will need to do before applying your sealer is to prep your driveway. Thoroughly clean the driveway by using a push broom, then hose off the driveway with a hose or a power washer if you have one.

6. Sealing The Driveway

When your driveway is prepped and ready to be sealed, check the package of your sealer to see how long it takes to dry. Some sealers may take up to three days to dry. Check your weather forecast to be sure rain is not in the forecast while the sealer is drying. There are several types of asphalt sealers on the market. Tar-emulsion sealers are the least expensive and usually start out around $12 per five-gallon pail and offer minimum protection. These types of sealers require constant stirring during application. Asphalt-emulsion sealers tend to be the most popular and cost about $20 to $25 per five-gallon pail. This type of sealer typically does not require constant stirring during application and provides stellar resistance to oil stains and water penetration.

If you are ready to sell or buy a home, contact me by email or call me, Brad Gothberg, at (925) 648-5326. I have been a real estate professional for 23 years and my qualifications include the production of over $105 million in sales within the past 5 years.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Reach Another All-Time Low in Alamo CA

Once again, mortgage rates have reached an all-time low here in Alamo CA and across the country. Freddie Mac, who does a weekly survey that tracks mortgage rates nationally, reported that a 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.34 percent with an average .07 point for the week of November 15th. This is the lowest rate ever to be reported by Freddie Mac since they started tracking rates in 1971. During this same time period last year, we saw interest rates average at the 4 percent mark.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages also saw a decrease for the period ending November 15th. The average rate was 2.65 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.69% the week prior. Last year, we saw a rate of 3.31 percent during this period of time.

Many economists are attributing the decrease in rates to higher consumer confidence and lower wholesale prices. Historically low mortgage rates make it the perfect time to buy a new home.

Take advantage of low interest rates and save even more money on your home mortgage. If you are ready to sell or buy a home, contact me by email or call me, Brad Gothberg, at (925) 648-5326. I have been a real estate professional for 23 years and my qualifications include the production of over $105 million in sales within the past 5 years.

Home Prices Continue to Rise

U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent for the month of September when compared to this same period of time last year. This marks the largest year-over-year increase we have seen in six years according to a recent report released by CoreLogic. This is just more evidence that the housing market here in Diablo and across the nation is continuing to improve. The CoreLogic report is based off repeat sales of the same homes, and it tracks their price changes over a period of time.

On a month-to-month basis, home prices from August to September decreased by 0.3 percent. This was the first home price drop we have seen after six consecutive months of gains. CoreLogic believes that the decline can be attributed to the end of the summertime home-buying season.

Several reports recently released show that the housing market is continuing to improve. The Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller 20-city index rose 2 percent in August compared to the same time last year. Some areas of the country experienced a lot higher home price increases over the last year. Home prices in Arizona jumped 18.7 percent over the last year, the highest increase seen. New home prices have also jumped in the last month to their highest annual pace in the last two-and-a-half years.

If you are ready to sell or buy a home, contact me by email or call me, Brad Gothberg, at (925) 648-5326. I have been a real estate professional for 23 years.

How To Cut Mortgage Costs On Your Alamo Home

There are several steps you can take to help cut mortgage costs on your Alamo home. Shopping around for the best rate when it comes to refinancing your current Alamo home mortgage is a great way to send money back into your pocket. Here are some easy things you can do to help save some money.

1.  Shop Around

When it comes to mortgage rates, you want to shop around. Obtain mortgage rates from a few brokers. Shopping around brokers can save you money when it comes to mortgage rates and origination fees.

2.  Is it the Right Time to Refinance?

Historically low mortgage rates have made it the perfect time for many homeowners to refinance their homes. Earlier this month, 30-year fixed- rate mortgage loan rates were as low as 3.49 percent. Refinancing can save you money on your monthly mortgage payment, but keep in mind that there are fees you must also pay when doing this. Before choosing to refinance, be sure to add up all the miscellaneous fees that you will incur by refinancing to ensure that the benefit of refinancing outweighs the costs. Alamo homeowners should be looking for the lowest interest rate they can obtain at the lowest cost when it comes to refinancing.

3.  Avoid Fees

To cut costs on your mortgage when shopping around for lenders, look for those that will not charge application fees. Application costs can range anywhere from $75 to $300, according to a mortgage refinancing guide published by the Federal Reserve System which oversees national monetary policy and the banks.

4.  Compare Lenders

Shopping around for interest rates is the best way to go; however, be sure that when shopping around for rates that you do it on the same day, or within at least 24 hours. Rates change day-to-day, and in order to determine which lender is offering the best rate, it is important to shop those rates around or on the same day.

5.  Monthly Payments vs Home Prices

If you are in the market to buy a new home and are undecided between two homes and the price difference between those homes is the only thing you are comparing, there is more to consider. Property taxes and homeowner’s insurance are also costs that you must consider that are typically added into your monthly home payment. When looking for a home, think beyond the purchase price and take into consideration other things that will be added into your monthly payment.

If you are ready to sell or buy a home, contact me by email or call me, Brad Gothberg, at (925) 648-5326. I have been a real estate professional for 23 years and my qualifications include the production of over $105 million in sales within the past 5 years.