5 Reasons Why You Should Sell Your Diablo Home Now

Many home sellers feel that spring is the best time of year to place their homes up for sale when there is typically an increase in buyer demand. However, fall and winter both have their advantages when it comes to listing a home, as we are now seeing a decrease in homes on the market. Fall would be the perfect time to sell your Diablo home.

1.    Sincere Buyers – During the fall and winter, the home buyers out looking are sincere ones who are serious about buying. The number of homes on the market during this time of year tends to be dwindling. There is no need to wait till spring to list your Diablo home when there are buyers waiting to buy now.

2.    Competition – The housing supply drops this time of year. There is less competition during fall and winter when the housing market slows, and there are fewer homes for sale. Put your home up for sale during this time of year and let your house shine.

3.    Timelier Transition – The length of time it takes for your home to go from contract to close can take awhile. During springtime, banks are being inundated with both mortgage applications and loan refinances which can slow things down. During fall and winter, there are fewer applications making the mortgage process a little quicker.

4.    Moving on Up – If you are looking to buy a home that is larger and more expensive, now is the time to do it. Home prices are projected to be up by over 15% by the year 2016.  Take advantage of the still-low home prices we are seeing in 2012, and sell your home and move up now before home prices jump.

5.    Is It Time for a Change? – Determine why you feel the need to sell your home and purchase a new one. If it is to relocate, then you may not have a chance to wait to sell, but if it is for a change of pace, ask yourself if it is time.

Take advantage of less competition in the housing market and let your house stand out. 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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Danville Home Prices Rise

U.S. single-family home prices rose for the sixth month in a row. The S&P/Case Sheller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas showed an increase of 0.4% in July which is up 4.6 percent over last year. This was the largest home-price increase seen year-after-year since July 2006. According to Trulia, the average listing price of a home for sale in Danville as of October 3rd, 2012 was $1,190,062.This is an increase of 2.5% compared to the week prior. The average price per square foot in Danville is $351 which is an increase of 10.7% over last year.

Nearly six years after the housing collapse, many economists believe that the housing market has finally turned the corner. The sale of previously occupied homes jumped to a high that we have not seen since May of 2010. The number of home re-sales and the breaking of ground on new properties rose for the month of August. David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s, said in a statement, “All in all, we are more optimistic about housing. Upbeat trends continue.” The trend in gains in the housing market is headed in the right direction, but there is still a long ways to go until a full recovery can be considered.

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.

Tips for New Home Buyers in Alamo

Buying a new home in the Alamo area can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Here are a few tips when it comes to buying a new home.

1. Short-Term Mortgages

If you are in the beginning stages of home buying, you may still be shopping for a mortgage loan. If you are able to financially afford a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage over a 30-year fixed-rate, I would highly recommend it. This type of loan would result in you paying off your home in 15 years versus 30. A 15-year loan will also allow you a lower interest rate. Your monthly payment will be a little higher as you will be paying off your home in half the time of most common mortgage loans.

2. Do Away With PMI

If you put less than 20 percent down on your home loan, you can expect to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is a policy that protects the lender from any losses they may incur if you do not pay your monthly payments. The U.S. Federal Reserve System, which oversees national monetary policy and banks, reported in its consumer guide that the cost of PMI can range from $50 to $100 per month. Getting rid of your monthly PMI payment can save you a substantial amount of money.

To do away with PMI, your first option would be to put 20 percent down on your mortgage loan. However, if you are unable to put 20 percent down, there are other ways to do away with PMI. Once you have made enough payments to gain 20 percent equity in your home, send a written request to your lender asking them to cancel your PMI insurance.

3. Shop Around for Your Home Insurance

For many, their home is one of their biggest assets and properly insuring it should be a top priority. Take your time and approach many insurance companies to find the best rate and coverage for your needs. You want to purchase enough insurance to cover the full replacement cost of your home.

4. Is It Time To Hire A Contractor?

If you are looking to make improvements to your new home to make it fit your style, changes that you can do on your own are ideal and will save you money. However, unless you are a contractor, you may not be able to tackle some of the projects you want done around your home. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recommends hiring a contractor when there is an unknown. According to the NARI, “The unknown that is obvious to a professional but is not to the average layperson can cause a lot of problems for people trying to tackle a project themselves.” Things such as painting and small roof repairs are easy projects that many homeowners are capable of doing on their own.

5. Internet, Cable And Phone

After you have purchased your new home in Alamo, consider a monthly plan that will bundle your Internet, cable and phone. If you are planning on using the same company for both your Internet and cable, ask your provider if they offer a bundle plan. Consumer Reports Magazine Senior Editor Jeff Blyskal, says if you do it right, bundling can save you money.

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.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist For Your Alamo Home

The smell of fall is in the air, and winter will be here before we know it. School has begun, and the days are quickly getting shorter. Here are some useful tips on what you can do to prepare your Alamo home for fall.

Insulate Your Doors and Windows:

Now is the time of year to add weather stripping to your doors and windows. Weather stripping can come in many forms such as: foam, felt, plastic, or metal. It is used to keep the cold and moisture out of your home by sealing gaps. If your home is newer there is a good possibility that your windows are more energy-efficient and have no need for additional weather stripping.

Insulation:

Check the insulation in your home before it gets too cold. Un-backed or loose-fill insulation is available at many local hardware stores and can be easily placed on top of what is already there. If your walls need additional insulation, you can also hire a professional company to install blown-in insulation foam.

Gutters:

This is the time of year to examine your gutters. Clear your gutters before leaves begin to fall.

Mice:

During this time of year, mice are looking for a warm place to call home. Screen all the exterior vents in your home. Mice are able to squeeze through as little as a quarter-inch opening. Take a look at the bottom of your garage doors before the cold weather hits as mice are known to squeeze through under a garage door if there are any gaps.

Dryer Vents:

Every six months you should be cleaning out your dryer vents. To do this–unplug your dryer and move it out and vacuum behind it. Unhook the tube you will find that vents the dryer and remove as much lint as possible from the tube.

Roof and Chimney:

Inspect your roof on a dry day for any damage or missing shingles. Look at the flashing and seals around vent pipes and the chimney to be sure it is intact and not damaged. If you are unable to physically inspect your roof, a professional roofing company can inspect it for you.

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.

Mortgage Rates in Diablo May Increase in the Near Future

Recently the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is the regulatory body for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced that another 10 basis point increase in guarantee fees (g-fee) will go into effect between November 1 and December 1, 2012. The increase in g-fees could lead to mortgage rates for home buyers in Diablo to jump in the near future. This is the second time g-fees have increased this year, with the last being in April.

The g-fee increase will result in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charging lenders more to guarantee loans. The increase will result in about 40 to 50 basis points in price to the lender which, in turn, will be passed on to the home buyer. The increase you will see in interest rates will vary by lender and borrower. We could see rate increases by 0.125 to .5 percent in the very near future.

A .5 percent increase in mortgage rates could have a strong impact on what a borrower would pay on a monthly payment. For instance, if the rate would increase from 3.5 percent to 4.0 percent it would raise the rate on a $200,000 loan by $57 a month.

Take advantage of low interest rates and buy now before the rates go up. 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.

Staging Your Danville Home? Avoid Doing These Things

With the economy struggling, many homeowners are doing what they can to hold onto as much equity in their home as possible. Many homeowners in Danville who are trying to sell their homes have chosen to try to stage it on their own in an effort to save money. If this is something you plan to do, consider these tips.

Living Room: Personal photos need to be kept to a minimum in the living room and throughout the home. Some homeowners have been known to display a frame with the manufacturer’s photo still inside. This is something you do not want to do. You want to remove any family photos, diplomas, or any other similar item. De-personalizing the room is essential. Replace personal items with decorative art.

Bedroom: Many staged homes present a throw across the end of the bed with a tea-for-two setting placed just right on top of the throw. Many experts will tell you that this idea is way overdone, and buyers know that you really do not live this way. Instead, go with a nice bedding set that accentuates the room. Include a long dresser, a chest of drawers, and two night stands at each side of the bed. If the room feels crowded with all the furniture, consider replacing the bed with a smaller one.

Bathroom: Do not over do the accents in this room. There is no need for bubbles in the tub and filled wine glasses sitting on the ledge. Do not decorate your toilet with a ribbon. It may sound silly but it has been done. Instead, buy a few new hand towels, remove any personal items, and replace your shower curtain with a new one.

Kitchen & Dining Room: If you want your home to stand out as being staged then a formal dining room set will do it. Less really is more here. Place a simple vase with flowers in the middle of the dining room table. Make sure your kitchen counters are clear of all clutter.

A home that is staged well will leave potential buyers with a feeling that it was not staged at all. A clean, de-personalized, clutter free home is what you want your home to look like when buyers view your home.

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.

What You Have To Gain By Refinancing Your Danville Home

Interest rates at historically low levels and new loan programs have opened up the doors for many Danville residents to refinance their homes. There are many reasons to consider refinancing your home loan beyond the benefit of lowering your monthly mortgage payment. Here is what you have to gain by refinancing your home mortgage:
Reduce Your Rate and Term ̶ Keep Your Current Payment

If you are in a position to maintain your current monthly mortgage payment at its current rate, consider reducing the term of your loan when you refinance. Rates continue to remain low, and this may provide you with the option of reducing your 30-year mortgage to a 20-year mortgage with the same monthly payment amount.

Extract Your Home Equity

Are you facing big expenses in your future ̶ medical expenses, college tuition, or a major family event? When you are refinancing your loan, consider borrowing a few extra dollars to help meet your future expenses while interest rates are low.

Dump the ARM

If your current loan is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), now is the time to refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage while rates are low.

Combine First and Second Mortgages

If you currently have two mortgages that when combined are less than 80% of the value of your home, consider taking a cash-out refinance to pay off your second loan. Keep in mind your monthly mortgage payment will increase as you will be paying more than just interest on the second mortgage. However, if the prime rate goes up in the years to come you will benefit.

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 five years.

How To Shop For Your First East Bay Home

If buying your first home in East Bay is in your future, there are a few things to consider prior to taking the big step of home ownership. Owning a home can be a very rewarding experience and the tax deductions that come along with it are a great perk, but you want to make sure you are ready to make such a large purchase.

1. Know Your Budget
When it comes to buying your new home, the first step is to determine just how much you can afford. You do not want to waste your time looking at homes that are out of your price range. There is nothing more discouraging than finding your perfect dream home–only to find out it is out of your price range.When determining your budget for buying a home, do not forget to include taxes, maintenance, utilities, insurance, and any homeowner association dues that may be needed.

2. How Long Will You Live in the Home?
There are quite a few upfront costs that you will incur when you buy your home. The longer you live in the home, the better your savings will be as you are spreading these upfront costs you paid out over a longer period of time. If you are only looking to live in the home for a few years, you will need to determine if the upfront costs you are paying will cost you more than if you would rent for those few years.

3. Obtain A Loan
Getting preapproved for your East Bay home loan will help make buying your first home an easier and more enjoyable experience. The mortgage lender you choose should be able to provide you with an estimate of how much you will need for closing costs so that they can be figured into your overall loan amount. Your down payment on the home will impact how much your total loan and monthly payments will be after closing. If you are able to put down 20% of the home purchase, it will allow you to not have to pay mortgage insurance. Be sure to shop around for the best loan rate and terms.

4.  Find a Realtor Who Knows the Market
Now that you have determined what you can afford, it is time to find a reliable Realtor® who is familiar with the market in your area. Your Realtor® should be able to provide you with the median home prices in your area.

5. Shop Around
What are your needs? Make a list of all the things you are looking for in your new home. Be realistic in the fact that you may not get everything you are looking for. Provide your Realtor® with your list and begin the process of looking at homes that are on the market.

Now is the perfect time to buy a home in East Bay. 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.

Biweekly Payments on Your Home Will Save You Money

Over the life of the mortgage loan on your home, you will pay an exorbitant amount in interest. Consider taking advantage of biweekly payments on your home, and you will save money. Making biweekly payments on your home will reduce your total interest cost and reduce the term of your loan.

There may be 12 months in a year, but there are 26 total two-week periods. If you are making biweekly payments you are essentially making 13 payments per calendar year. If you are buying a new home in the Alamo area and begin taking advantage of biweekly mortgage payments from the start of your loan, you can reduce a 30-year fixed rate mortgage by nearly five years.

How Much Can You Save?

If you were to take out a $200,000 mortgage at a 5% interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and make biweekly payments, you can save $34,000 in interest payments and reduce the term of your loan by nearly five years.

Many lenders are willing to collect payment from your account on a biweekly basis. If you choose to go that route, be sure to inquire with your lender to see if they charge a one-time setup fee. Be sure to check and see if your lender will allow you to pay off your loan early without incurring any fees. If making a biweekly payment is not an option for you but you are able to save throughout the year, making an extra payment each year will essentially yield you almost the same results.

Take advantage of low interest rates and save even more money on your Alamo 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.

New Rules For Buying Your Alamo Dream Home

The turn in the housing market has affected many aspects of Real Estate, including what buyers must do to secure their desired home. There are far more buyers than sellers, so competition is fierce.

If you’re in the market for a home in Alamo or the surrounding area, here are five new rules that could help you close the deal.

Forget Lowballing – Making an offer far below asking price can often prevent price negotiation and sometimes will kill the deal altogether. Smart sellers know there’s another person right behind you who might present a better offer. You’ll get better results by asking the seller for concessions such as help with closing costs or paying for needed repairs.

Get Pre-Approved – To show sellers you’re a serious buyer, get pre-approved before you look at even one home. This confirms how much house you can actually afford which makes potential sellers more confident that you can secure a mortgage in a tightened lending environment.

Consult an Expert – A qualified real estate agent can educate you on market conditions in your area including how long it takes for a home to sell. Transactions from the last three months will provide a clear idea of how things are and what to expect for your buying situation.

Expect Competition – Today’s market is a lesson in basic economics. The supply of homes is small while demand is large, so lots of buyers are bidding on the same homes, particularly short sales and foreclosures.  If you’re pre-approved you can often create an offer faster than those who are not.

Dig For Information – Find out all you can about that East Bay property before you make an offer.

  • Use a title company to uncover any arrears or liens on your desired home.
  • Make sure your own home inspector checks out the house.
  • Review a recent land survey or have your own done to verify property lines.
  • Ensure all required state disclosures have been made on the home.

Even in a tight housing market, it’s possible to hold the winning offer if you follow these new home buying rules. Every extra minute of work you put in will be worth it when you’re sitting in your dream home.

I will walk with you through every step of the real estate process. 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.