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Blog Archives: August 2013

7 Simple Steps To Finish Your Basement This Holiday Weekend

August 30, 2013
Not only does the Labor Day weekend signal a little time off work, but it also indicates a close to the summer season, which means it’s time to get ready for colder weather. So get in the spirit of the long weekend and put the labor of love into your home by creating a cozy hideaway that your family can retreat to once the outdoors become too chilly. One of the best places to create this snug space is to mimic hibernating animals and go under ground — to the basement. Whether your lowest level needs a facelift or is completely unfinished, ...

Pending Home Sales Indicate That The Housing Recovery Is Progressing

August 29, 2013
The National Association of REALTORS reported Wednesday that pending sales of existing homes fell by 1.30 percent in July. According to the organization’s Pending Home Sales Index, this was the second straight month that pending home sales dropped. July’s Pending Home Sales Index reading was 109.50. Signed Purchase Contracts For Existing Homes Tracked In The U.S. Northeast:  – 6.60 percent Midwest: – 1.00 percent West:        – 4.90 percent South:       + 2.60 percent Pending home sales were 6.70 percent higher year-over-year on a ...

Case Shiller Price Index Shows Home Prices Are Still Increasing

August 28, 2013
Home prices are still rising, but at a slower pace, according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for June.  Home prices for the cities surveyed in the HPI rose by 12.10 percent on an annual basis as compared to May’s reading of 12.20 percent. This is the highest rate of monthly growth for home prices since the peak of the housing bubble in 2006. June’s home prices remained approximately 23 percent lower than peak prices, but economists consider the bubble peak an anomaly and caution against comparing current home prices to the peak ...

Existing Home Sales Report Shows Highest New Home Inventory Since January 2012

August 27, 2013
The National Association of REALTORS reported that existing home sales for July came in at 5.39 million on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. July’s reading exceeded both expectations of 5.21 million existing homes sold and June’s reading of 5.06 million homes sold. This suggests good news for home buyers who’ve been constrained by limited supplies of homes for sale. As home prices continue increasing in many areas, more homeowners are likely to list their homes for sale. Existing home sales for July rose by 6.80 percent year-over-year. ...

Keep Calm and Buy a House

August 26, 2013
Buying a home can and should be fun!  Exploring neighborhoods, discovering new parts of the city, and imagining you and your family living life in a new home are exciting activities! Don’t let predictable, avoidable issues get in the way of getting the most out of the experience.  Keep these tips in mind as you venture out looking for a new place to plant your flag in the ground. 1.  Find a real estate agent who you connect with.  Buying a home requires sharing some pretty personal information about your family and your lifestyle.  Make ...

How to Compare Multiple Offers to Select the Best One

August 26, 2013
As a seller, it’s a great feeling when you receive multiple offers.  And it’s a great position to be in.  Knowing how to select the best one takes experience and skill.  It’s not always as easy as just picking the one with the highest price. Price is absolutely important.  But just as important is the buyer’s likelihood to close.  The highest price offer that may never close doesn’t do anybody any good. Let’s examine some of the other factors to consider: Appraisals In the hot San Francisco market, and particularly right now, prices are ...

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013
Last week brought mixed economic news, but Leading Indicators released Thursday suggest that the U.S. economy is growing at a moderate rate. Mortgage rates for fixed rate loans were higher, but the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged from the prior week. Weekly jobless claims were also higher. The National Association of REALTORS released its Existing Home Sales report for July and reported existing home sales came in at 5.39 million on an annualized basis. This reading surpassed expectations of 5.21 existing ...

Ew! Prevent Clogged Pipes

August 23, 2013
You’re brushing your teeth and you turn on the faucet. It’s not draining and starts to back up. Here’s the dilemma; do you spit and let it sit or run to the kitchen? One thing is for sure; having a clogged drain can be a major annoyance. Clogs not only frustrate a homeowner but they can be hard on your plumbing. The added pressure they create puts stress on your pipes and can shorten their lifespan. So end the issue by following the guidelines below. You’ll learn how to prevent clogging and clear the ones you already have. No Food Down The ...

Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate in San Francisco

August 22, 2013
Here it is folks – everything you ever needed to know about Real Estate in San Francisco. Well, almost. This is the SF Association of Realtor’s Handbook for Buyers and Sellers.  It covers just about EVERYTHING in sufficient detail to leave you with a pretty darn good understanding of how things work, what things mean, and how to get things done. Believe it or not, it’s a required disclosure for all buyers and sellers in the city. So rather than wait until the day you’re supposed to close to read this most amazing document, I would ...

Code of Ethics for REALTORS

August 22, 2013
I take the Realtor code of ethics very seriously. I find it to be inspiring, guiding, and surprisingly practical. The code of ethics is what separates the a Real Estate Agent, from a Realtor (although I find the all caps REALTOR business somewhat irritating). The first line struck a cord with me on my first day as a Realtor, and it still as powerful now as it was then. “Under all is the land” Simple, poignent, powerful.  As Realtors, we are stewards of the land.  Our job is to make sure society uses the land for its highest and best ...

“Hardest Working Realtor in SF”

August 22, 2013
“I can only give the highest recommendation to Michael Minson as a Realtor.  As a homeowner living in the complicated and stressful real estate market in the San Francisco Bay Area, I found Michael to be an outstanding guide and trusted advisor during an unpredictable home-selling process. Michael is one of the hardest working people I know, who focused on protecting and maximizing the value of my home investment.  He was always working several steps ahead of the process, anticipating what was needed to achieve the best outcome. Very ...

San Francisco Market Update – July 2013

August 22, 2013
The San Francisco Real Estate Market continues to show positive signs of a strong seller’s market: prices are up, inventory is down. In San Francisco, new Listings were down 5.9 percent for single family homes but increased 8.9 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Pending Sales increased 6.6 percent for single family homes and 10.1 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. San Francisco Median Sales Price was up 15.2 percent to $885,000 for single family homes and 24.6 percent to $860,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Months Supply of ...

Fed Meeting Minutes Reflect Support For Reducing QE Program

August 22, 2013
The minutes of last month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting show significant support for tapering the Fed’s current amount of monthly securities purchases. These purchases, known as quantitative easing (QE), are an effort to maintain lower long-term interest rates including mortgage rates. The Fed has been buying $85 billion per month in Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve and FOMC, has hinted at “tapering” the Fed’s securities purchases by year-end in recent ...

It’s Important To Follow These Specific Steps When Using Gift Funds For Your Down Payment

August 21, 2013
As lenders tighten mortgage guidelines for San Francisco home buyers, minimum downpayment requirements are increasing. Several years ago, you could finance a home with nothing down. Today, most conventional mortgages require at least 5 – 10 percent. Incidentally, these guideline changes have led to an increase in the number of home buyers accepting cash gifts from family. Gifts are allowed in most cases but the problem is, if you don’t accept the gift in a “lender-friendly” way, the mortgage underwriter could reject it, and negate it. ...

Home Builder Confidence Highest Level In Nearly 8 Years

August 20, 2013
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Thursday that its Housing Market Index rose three points to a reading of 59 for August. Confidence among builders is likely growing in connection with stronger housing markets and high demand for homes. These conditions are being driven by short supplies of homes for sale in many markets. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose by three points to a reading of 62, while builder confidence in market conditions within the next six months rose by one point to a reading of ...

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013
Last week wasn’t kind to stock market investors, but weekly jobless claims fell to an unexpected low of 320,000 new jobless claims filed, the lowest level in nearly six years. Here is a review of the major events of the week: Monday The federal budget for July shows an increase in its deficit to -$98 billion, a deficit increase of $28 billion over June’s figure of -$70 billion. The good news is that the deficit for the first 10 months of the fiscal year is $38 billion less than during the same period of the prior fiscal year. Thursday ...

Tips For Helping Your Kids Adjust To A New School

August 16, 2013
August means it’s time to get your children ready for school once more. Picking out backpacks, going clothes shopping and finding all the right school supplies can be hectic enough. However, when you’ve moved and your children have to start all over in a new district, there’s even more to worry about! Summer fun can make the sunny months fly by. It’s easy to forget that with the beginning of school comes excitement and anxiety for your little ones — especially if they’re starting out somewhere new. So help them get adjusted with the ...

Clever Ways To Pay For A Renovation Of Your Home

August 15, 2013
So you want to renovate your home, but you don’t have the cash at the moment for the project and you don’t qualify for a home equity line of credit? What can you do to get the money you need to upgrade your property? Here are a few creative solutions to the problem, so that you can find the money you need to fund your renovations. Take In A Renter If you have a spare bedroom or a basement suite, you can rent out your home for a while to help you save money toward the renovations. Taking in a renter can be a great way to earn extra money, ...

Whatever You Do, Don’t Make These Common Mortgage Mistakes

August 14, 2013
Are you applying for a mortgage on your home? Keep in mind that a mortgage is a major financial decision and choosing one will have a significant impact on the rest of your life. Many people go into this decision without understanding all of the essential mortgage information they need to know. This means that they may not make the best choices which could result in paying much more than they need to. If you want to save yourself from throwing away your hard earned money, here are a few common mistakes to avoid: Trying To Time The Mortgage ...

How To Choose The Right Neighborhood When Buying A Home

August 13, 2013
The old real estate cliche’ about “location, location, location” is true, as the area of the city where your home is located will have an impact on its future value as well as your lifestyle. So what factors should you consider when you are choosing which neighborhoods to house hunt within? Proximity to Your Daily Needs If you work downtown, living out in the suburbs means that you will be adding time for a commute onto your day. While this might be worth the cheaper prices for properties out of the town center, it is something to ...

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