Sacramento Real Estate

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Welcome the Age of the Real Estate Consultant

I recently read a book that really made an impression on me and how I run my business, Daniel H. Pink’s To Sell is Human. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

To Sell Is Human

As a person in the industry, this is such a great tool for understanding the nature and perception of sales (insert Alec Baldwin’s ABC’s from Glengarry Glen Ross). Pink goes into what defines a salesman, how the recent shift in the power dynamic has drastically changed the art of sales. Now consumers hold the information, often having more than the salesman themselves. Don’t believe me, take a trip to an electronics store and see how little most sales people actually know about the product(s) they sell. What I found really interesting was a word cloud (if you’ve read my previous posts you know how much I like fun info-graphics!) on the perception of the salesman. When asked what word comes to mind when one thinks of a salesman, this is what the responses were:

Sales word cloud

The bigger and bolder the word the more often it was used.

So what does a salesman take from this? Well, it made me reflect on my sales practices and strategies, and I found I am not really a salesman by that definition (not sure how many purebred salespeople exist these days). I see myself as more of a consultant. I use the information and experience I have to help educated buyers/sellers make even more educated decisions. I can bring a level of expertise to the table that requires a full-time job, which is why people hire me to assist with their real estate deals.

So my question for you my dear readers, are you in sales? If the answer is no, reflect on your job and most likely you will find some aspect of sales in your daily tasks. Either with co-workers to change shifts, or challenging young minds to learn a particular lesson; sales are there.

Tales from a first-time homebuyer: Our Story

My first guest-blogger just so happens to also be my wife, imagine that good fortune to get such an established blogger over here typing for me! She plans to return with more stories about homeownership and I plan to include more personal touches like these on my blog going forward. 

***

We bought our first home three and a half years ago, the summer before we got married. My husband had just graduated from SF State and I was an economic analyst down in Berkeley. We wanted to move back to Sacramento, our hometown, where for the rent of our 650 square-foot, one bedroom apartment on busy Shattuck Avenue, we could own a whole house with a yard and three bedrooms. We had visions of dogs, lazy backyard barbecues, and maybe even someday, children. I had visions of no more homeless people waking me up in the middle of the night as they yelled at each other down on the street beneath our bedroom window.

However, like any well-intentioned dream, it was a little bumpier getting there than we expected. First, my husband decided to become a real estate agent in Sacramento. He had been successful in many other sales environments, so it was a natural fit. I, on the other hand, was lost in a job that paid me well but I did not enjoy. My husband would return to Sacramento to learn the tricks of the trade from family during the week, then come home to me in Berkeley on the weekends. Because he was then a fledgling entrepreneur, I had to keep that job in the Bay for us to qualify for a home loan.

So, from 90 miles away, we house hunted for months before an offer was actually accepted. Competition was fierce with the falling home prices, and we quickly found that we had to make offers well above asking to even be in the running. At first the disappointments were huge, those adorable or well-located houses going to other people, most often investors.Then we started to make offers from afar, because logistically I just couldn’t make it up to Sacramento every time an attractive home came on the market. If our offer was accepted, we knew we would still be able to view the house before anything was final.

As we lost out on several houses, many going for $30,000 or more over asking, I began to feel desperate. We were at least three months into our house-hunting adventure and it was nothing like what you see on TV. I fell in love with house after house. I was so impatient we offered our full budget for a two-bedroom fixer that needed a ton of work but had the most charming, floor to ceiling front window. Fortunately, we lost out. I don’t think we could have kept up with the amount of work required to live there.

Then, one day, we found the right house. My uncle spotted it the second it came on the market, I happened to be in town, so I actually got to see it. I remember walking the rooms, admiring all the work that went into restoring it, the new carpet, the granite countertops, the gigantic framed mirror in the bathroom. Moving through the empty space, I could imagine us in it. Other friends lived in the same neighborhood. We would finally be in the same city as our families again, no more two hour drives back and forth each weekend for all those different family functions, (although, I didn’t realize at the time I would be trading that drive for four hours on the train each day to commute to Berkeley for work for an entire year, but that’s a different story).

We put in an offer with a quick expiration deadline, claiming another possible contract if we did not hear quickly. Luckily good real estate agents have tricks up their sleeves. We offered $10k over asking in exchange for closing costs paid by the seller. We had to do some fancy footwork because as a flipped home, we could not use FHA, so we had to come up with additional money for a larger downpayment. With creativity and a little help, we made it happen. We were in contract for our first house!

We were so excited. But then came all the scary parts. The parts no one talks about or maybe only anxious 26-year-olds feel. I had to ask my work if they would let me commute and work from home a couple days a week. They said yes. We had to sign over the largest amount of money I had ever parted with in my life. Other costs caught me by surprise, like the annual homeowner insurance premium and the property taxes, both paid in advance. We had to buy a refrigerator, a washer and dryer, a lawnmower. The night before we went to sign our closing papers, I did not sleep.

Fortunately, it all worked out in the end. I quickly discovered that homeownership was nowhere near as scary as I feared. The surprising costs dwindled away. An insurance policy helped shield us from any unexpected repairs, which popped up here and there in the beginning. We learned how to care for our own lawn. We got two cats and eventually a dog. A year later I was accepted to a teacher training program and placed at a school just two miles from our house. Talk about good luck.

Our first roommates were these two guys-- Henry & Luna. Sadly neither are still with us, but they helped to make our house a home.

Our first roommates were these two characters– Henry & Luna. Sadly neither are still with us, but they helped to make our house a home.

I have an obsession with trees, which is fantastic since Sacramento claims to have more trees per capita than anywhere else in the world.

I have an obsession with trees, which is fantastic because Sacramento claims to have more trees per capita than anywhere else in the world. Here is the view out our front window the fall we moved in.

Our home is now exactly that, our home. While there are things I would change, like maybe an extra bathroom and walk-in closet, I am so grateful we were able to make it happen. I remember lying in bed one Sunday morning back when we first moved in and staring up at the huge branches of all the neighborhood trees, appreciating the quiet of our own space compared to life back in Berkeley.

Buying your first home can feel pretty scary, but then you realize it is comforting to know that you’re in charge– if you want to put a huge planter box in the backyard, no problem! It’s your house and as long as you make the payments, no one is going to ask you to move. I’ll take that over renting any day.

One of our favorite activities is to ride our bikes to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings... Here I am in front of our house complaining that my husband gets the better bike!

One of our favorite activities is to ride our bikes to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings… Here I am in front of our house complaining that my husband gets the better bike. Even as we move on to our next home, this house will always be filled with special memories.

Happy house hunting!
Olivia

Welcome to 29

This week I turned 29, not a noteworthy age, but each birthday I reflect on the previous year and the year to come. 29 will be a good year. I am dedicated to getting in shape. This is something I have been trying to do for half a decade, and while I have made small strides forward, I have not fully succeeded. I am determined to start the decade of my thirties in a much better way.

I asked myself how I could keep the drive I now have for a whole year… My answer, I have decided to train for a half marathon. I realize my answer will be the only easy part of this resolution, but I am excited because the Shamrock half marathon, here in Sacramento, will fall close to my 30th birthday. This will be my first endeavor in running and I am excited to rise to the challenge.

So here’s to the Shamrock 2014 and a decade of health and fitness ahead. While the primary focus of this blog is Sacramento real estate, I look forward to also sharing my journey toward health and fitness with you.

Absolutely agree, talking with the home inspector is also a great way to get some insight on the condition of your new home.

Dan the Planner

Be present for your home inspectionAs a home buyer in Sacramento, you can get a feel for whether a home’s systems and appliances are in working order. However, you won’t know for certain until after the home’s been inspected.

This is why real estate agents recommend that buyers hire a licensed home inspectors immediately after going into contract. It’s the best way to really know the home which you’re buying. 

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Another Fun Info-Graphic!

This one shows the power of low interest rates and why now is a great time to buy.

Dontwaittobuy_carrie.edits_1.9.13

A good agent can make a huge difference in your home buying experience. Here are some great tips on finding the ideal agent for you.

Information you need before buying a house

Okay, you know your credit is good and you have a good idea of how much you can afford if you have completed the first step. Now you have another choice to make. Of course, this choice can have as much impact upon your experience as anything else in this process of finding a home. So, do you pick a real estate agent or not? If you decide that you need a real estate agent, how do you pick a good one? Here are some cues to help you.

Make sure that your agent does not try to hide anything from you. A perfect example of this would be when my husband received a call from a woman. Remember, he is a home inspector. She was purchasing real estate for an investment and was looking a couple of apartment buildings. During the conversation, she mentioned that a couple of the…

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Fun Infographic to celebrate a new month

ShiftingDesiresIG_alex.edits_12-10

It’s old data but still an interesting study.

What do you look for in a new home? Is this graphic accurate to you?

A Brief Explanation of the Housing Inventory

One of the biggest obstacles in buying a home today is patience. With the lack of inventory the search for your new home can take months. This article explains some of the drivers behind the shortage of inventory.

http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2013/01/22/six-reasons-housing-inventory-keeps-declining/

Does this mean it is a good time to sell? What are your opinions?

Sacramento Housing Market Predicted To Be Nation’s Second Hottest For Sellers

Confirms what I am seeing in the field. Great time for sellers!

CBS13 | CBS Sacramento

[worldnow id=8219243 width=385 height=288 type=video]

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Home prices in Sacramento have reached the highest levels in 11 years and are expected to grow faster than nearly every other place in America this year.

Zillow forecasts Sacramento will see the second largest rise in home prices — nearly 12 percent in 2013. In fact, with the exception of Phoenix, California occupies all the top seven spots.

A shortage of houses for sale is driving up prices and making this a hot seller’s market. A home we went to in Natomas sold for $259,000 in just 48 hours to a foreign investment group.

“Any time the value of homes go up, people that own houses are going to benefit,” said real estate investor Rich Crosby.

Sacramento home values started picking up last year and the Zillow estimate of another 12 percent increase will only keep investors in the market. They’re…

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