Day 28: How’s the Market?

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Real estate professionals are often asked the question “how’s the market?” In our current economy, the answer is a resounding it depends. As of the date of this post, in the Fresno/Clovis area, there are approximately 1,500 single family homes for sale. On average, a house listed for sale in our county will sell in 40 days.¹ The answer to “how’s the market” is that it depends entirely upon whether you are a buyer or a seller.

What that means in everyday language is that we are currently in a Seller’s Market. Houses are staying on the market fewer days and commanding a higher asking price to boot. This is awesome for anyone selling a house. It is highly likely that a seller would receive multiple offers and possibly even one for higher than the asking price. For buyers, on the other hand, writing an offer that will be accepted can be tricky. As a buyer in a fast moving market, where most sellers will receive competing offers, it is super important to keep in mind a few helpful hints.

If you heed these rules, you can score the house of your dreams…even in a seller’s market!

  • Shop during the week. Open houses are typically held on the weekends. This is also when most offers are made. If you can be flexible with your time and tour houses during the week, you may be able to get an offer in the seller’s hands before anyone else even sees the house.
  • Have a loan pre-approval letter from a local mortgage lender ready to submit with your offer. A seller will usually be more likely to accept an offer if they know you can easily and quickly remove the loan contingency. Working with a local lender means your loan representative can be highly responsive to requests for documentation and will be available in the same time zone.
  • Hand over a higher than normal deposit along with your offer. It shows you have considerable skin in the game and you’ll have to pony up the cash in escrow anyway. Writing a bigger check up front is like dangling a big juicy carrot in the seller’s face.
  • Don’t ask for any extras. It can be tempting to write up an offer that is loaded with wish list items. A portion of the closing costs, repairs-repairs-repairs, that 80″ flat screen tv you saw hanging above the mantle… Forget it. Be prepared to do the repair work on your own and pay for every penny of your closing costs. If a seller has two full price offers to consider, you better believe he will select the one that asks for the least amount of extra items and work.
  • Don’t lowball your offer. Look at houses in your comfortable price range and pay what they are asking. This isn’t the time to shop $30k over your loan pre-approval and submit a lowball offer with fingers crossed. It’s a bad strategy right now. In fact, it could be prudent to shop slightly below your maximum price and offer high!
  • Use a Realtor. Let a professional do the negotiating for you. Things are moving fast right now and your Realtor will be able to submit paperwork in the proper timelines and effectively communicate with the other parties on your behalf. You won’t gain anything but stress by going it alone. We are here to help, so please let us.

Now let’s get down to business and find your dream home! Seller’s market or not, there are tons of awesome houses out there and I know I can find the right one for you.

 

coventry-collage
Coventry Ave

 

“Beautifully maintained 2 story home on a spacious cul de sac lot. One bedroom with a bathroom is isolated downstairs. Loft area as a great bonus room. Spacious kitchen with a breakfast bar and eating area, opens to the family room, with a fireplace. Separate living room, formal dining room. Covered patio, shed, mature landscaping. 3 car garage with storage, shed. Unobstructed mountain views. Too many amenities to mention. Must see to appreciate!”

The house I visited for this post is in Clovis near Barstow and Temperance. It is a larger home with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, loft, formal dining room, and a nice sized backyard. This was an open house, so even though it is still occupied by the owners, I had the opportunity to look around and take some pictures. You’ll see the occupant’s furniture and personal belongings in here, but try to picture it with your own sofa and bedroom set instead. Then let me know if you want to make this gorgeous house your next home.

Cheers!

Erica

¹Source: http://www.realtor.com/local/Fresno_CA

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Day 27: A Stark Comparison

OCT-Transit

A May 2016 survey¹ revealed that nearly 3/4 of Americans are in favor of land use regulations that increase access to public transportation and other non-vehicle transit options. The overwhelming majority of people in favor of these changes are younger than age 50. Given current efforts in and around Fresno to make such changes with high speed rail and bus rapid transit, it seems that Gen Xers and Millennials around here may soon be pleased.

One transportation option that often gets overlooked is bike commuting. Fresno claims to be a bicycle-friendly city, and it has certainly increased the presence of bike lanes on many city streets, but not nearly enough for bike commuting to be easy around here. Insufficient bike lanes makes bike commuting dangerous if you don’t take proper safety measures. This is particularly true in regions that don’t actively promote such activity because drivers are not accustomed to sharing the road with non-vehicles. I would love to see a major overhaul in Fresno and Clovis that would allow for an increase in the presence of bike and pedestrian trails and lanes to give residents another viable option for their daily commute. The owners of Sunnyside Bicycles in Fresno are also committed to increasing bike riding as sport, exercise, leisure, and commuting. They are so dedicated to the cause that they are hosting a clinic called Bike Commuting 101: Go By Bike later this month.

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What are your thoughts on public transportation and non-vehicle commuting? I’d love to hear from you!

The house I toured today is on the same block and is the same model as one from a few days ago in Quail Lake. At first I was hesitant to profile a house so similar to one I already wrote about. However, my mind was changed when I walked in and realized just how different these two houses are, despite being exactly the same model. It’s incredible how much different design choices can change the aesthetics of a house. Take a look for yourself!

Fcompare1 Collagefcompare2Collage

“Minutes Away, World’s Apart! Quail Lake beauty!Located close to a private community park with Play Equipment,and just around the corner from the resort-like Clubhouse and swimming pool (with expansive Lake view).This well designed Single Story Centex features a formal entry with art niches.Tall windows and a volume ceiling add a light and airy feeling to the generous great Room .A gas only fireplace creates warmth on those cool winter days.The spacious kitchen with a center island is adjacent to the formal dining room.The master bedroom and bath are on one side, and three bedrooms and main bath on the other. the large laundry room is located next to the three car garage.Come and see all that the awesome Quail Lake community offers !”

The photographs on the left of each grid are from the first Fieldstone house, the ones on the right are from the second. They both have the exact same square footage, lot size, and number of rooms, but they look so very different just by adding a variety of finishing touches. Which one do you prefer?

Cheers!

Erica

¹Source:  http://www.hntb.com/Newsroom/News-Releases/Americans-overwhelmingly-favor-changes-in-land-use

Day 26: Where do I start?

I spent time today with a young family trying to purchase their first home. We visited a beautiful home in Sunnyside that would be the perfect starter home for them. It is 100% to be expected that first-time homebuyers have lots of questions about navigating such an enormous purchase. These folks, however, truly did not seem prepared for what to expect. Naturally, that is where a real estate professional steps in to fill in the gaps left by some lenders who may not fully educate their clients, which I did. After much debate, this couple and their eight-week-old baby left to consider whether or not to make an offer on the house. I left as well, but with consideration of a much larger issue on my mind.

It is such a shame that any potential buyer should leave their lender’s office without a crystal clear picture of what they can do and what comes next. There are myriad moving parts in the game of real estate and just as many critical players. The lender, agent, escrow officer, buyer, and seller, to name a few, all have important roles to play to complete the deal. When one of the players does not fulfill his or her respective obligation, everything comes to a screeching halt. The deal I highlighted above stalled out at the lender phase. My buyers thought they understood what they could do, but ended up realizing that some questions had not been answered during the loan pre-approval process.

In an effort to reduce problems of this nature, many agents like to refer clients to a local lender with whom they have a solid professional relationship. I would like to introduce one such lender, Susan Campise of California Home Loans-Fresno. Susan is a seasoned mortgage consultant who consistently goes above and beyond to help Central Valley home buyers reach their real estate goals. If you are about to embark on a house search or if you simply want a local lender who will be responsive to your needs, Susan will go the distance to educate you every step of the way. There are lots of choices in lenders out there, but a referral from your trusted Realtor can ensure you are on the right track from pre-approval through getting the keys to your new home. Tell her I sent you!

Loan Checklist

Loan Document checklist

So, on to the house!

mono Collage

“Clovis Schools!!! Perfect for first time home buyers recently remodeled and priced to sell, this house won’t last. Newer granite countertops and newer floor coverings throughout. This home is centered near shops and easily accessible to freeway. Spacious backyard with crystal clear pool ready for entertaining.”

This little gem is tucked away on a quiet street north-east of Kings Canyon Ave. and Fowler Ave. From the outside, it appears to be your average 1990’s tract home, but upon entering, I discovered that it has been completely remodeled and modernized. The kitchen has beautiful granite countertops and upgraded cabinetry. There currently isn’t a dishwasher or range/oven, but brand new ones will be installed prior to the close of escrow. The wood laminate flooring is a lovely knotty maple pattern that coordinates well with the freshly painted walls throughout and plush carpet in the bedrooms. The bathrooms were not forgotten during the upgrades with granite and cabinetry matching the kitchen. Despite being 25 years old, this house has a completely modern feel. The spacious backyard has a pergola patio cover and very clean in-ground swimming pool. There is still lots of yard remaining around the pool as well. Perfect for a family to play and lounge.

mono Collage2

I really hope my sweet little family from today decides to make an offer on this one.  It’s a great location and perfect size for a growing family.  With all of the updating, modern features, and an established backyard, it rivals new home construction in the area at a fraction of the price. I don’t expect this one to be available much longer at all.

Cheers!

Erica

 

Day 25: Wait, there’s more?

So , here’s a story.  Today just happens to be my husband’s and my 10th wedding anniversary.  We decided to spend the day with our kids and go on a light hike in Kings Canyon National Park.  We camp pretty regularly, and that is our park of choice so we are very at home there.  Since its a holiday weekend and also the anniversary of the park, we knew it would be uber crowded, so we planned to hike an area off the main tourist strip.  If you aren’t familiar with the awesomeness of KCNP, first of all…you are majorly missing out on one of the most beautiful areas of the country.  Secondly, you may not realize that the park’s history is filled with massive tree slaughter prior to its classification as a national park.  As a result, there are entire meadows of enormous tree stumps from the ghosts of Sequoias past. Our hike was going to be about 2 miles out and back from a trail head at Stump Meadow to the Boole Tree.  map

Probably 3/4 of a mile in, my eldest son suddenly started screaming. He was stung by what we thought was a bee. This was his first sting, so my mind started racing with thoughts of allergic reactions and anaphylaxis and OH MY GOODNESS WE ARE MILES FROM HELP! Ok, Erica, calm down. Odds are good that he would be fine. We looked around and realized there was a hive full of buzzing, busy bees at the edge of the trail. With the thought in mind that we may need to have photographic evidence of what exactly he was stung by, I leaned in to snap a photo of them. That’s when they attacked. I got stung once…twice…they followed me as we hightailed it out of there…THREE TIMES! More than half a mile away, there was still one following us. My hand, calf, and thigh were on fire with stinging pain. Luckily husband and youngest son did not get stung. When we finally made it home (no anaphylaxis for either of us!), we compared the photograph I took with pictures of insects in a field guide.

yellowjackets Collage

Not bees. Yellowjackets. Which just happen to be in the top ten of insects with the most painful stings. I’m telling you, it’s no joke how bad it hurts. I do not recommend crossing paths with these suckers, ever. The boy is pretty traumatized and I am still in pain, but we will survive this.  Happy anniversary to us.

Luckily, I saw two houses yesterday with one of my clients and her family. This house is in an incredible location near Clovis West High School. Tucked in a cul-de-sac, it has an enormous lot with a pool and basketball court, and has one of the most unique floor plans I’ve seen yet. My client has an affinity for red front doors. This house did not disappoint with its charming, red, double door front entry that opens into a house filled with character.

Prescott Collage 2
Prescott Ave.

“A MUST SEE! STUNNING 5 bedroom, 4 bath custom home in Northeast Fresno! This beautiful and spacious two story home offers it all. This unique and one of a kind property features 2 kitchens, a formal living room, family room, 2 fireplaces, 2 car garage and so much more. The first kitchen features granite counter tops with stainless steel appliances. The floors consist of custom tile and hardwood floors. LED recessed lighting throughout. The spacious master bedroom has a large walk-in closet, with a separate tub and shower. Enjoy your evenings in a relaxing back yard that is resort-like with mature landscape, fruit trees and a pool. Located within the highly acclaimed Clovis Unified School District. This home is a must see to appreciate! Awaiting for its new owners to call it home. See it today!”

Prescott Collage

The second level is rather standard with two smaller bedrooms and a master suite, but the ground floor has a truly unique footprint. It seems, upon entering the home, to be similar to other houses circa 1970-1980, but as you walk down the hallway from the main living area, things get interesting. It just keeps going! There is essentially a guest house attached to the main house, complete with a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a living room with fireplace, and an office. My clients fell in love with the idea of turning this space into a game and entertainment room.

Prescott Collage3

This is no cookie cutter house. It is perfect for a large family or a multigenerational household. You really have to see it in person to fully experience the layout. While additional updating would definitely be needed, this house has some features you most likely won’t find in newer homes.

Cheers!

Erica

Day 24: Oh, What a Yard

Fresno makes national news every once in a while. It’s true! No really…

Fine, I’ll prove it.

America’s 20 Hottest Markets for Real Estate in August 2016 ¹

 

Hottest Markets

Well, how do you like them apples? Fresno is the 15th hottest real estate market IN THE NATION! And, it’s really true.  Moderately priced homes are flying off the market right now.  What does that mean for you?  Well, if you are considering upgrading or upsizing, now may be the perfect time to get started.  Selling your current home will be a snap in the current market and with gorgeous houses out there like the one you’ll see below, it’s inevitable you will find your perfect space with ease.

The clients I met with today are considering just such a move.  Their family has simply outgrown the cozy house they purchased before the little ones entered their lives and now it’s time for more space to nurture their spirits and spread their wings.  I took them to an adorable house near Woodward Park that has exactly that. Don’t you just love those red, double front doors? And the yard…the YARD! Love at first sight.

10th Collage

“The gorgeous 2 story house is on sale now! Move in Ready! With 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, and 10400 plus big estimated lots located in North Fresno at a walking distance to Clovis West! Wood floor throughout in all bedrooms, and an upgraded fireplace in living room. New ceiling fans and fixtures. Kitchen features an electric cooktop, built-in oven and microwave, dishwasher, double sink, walk-in pantry, dining area and lots of counter space. The laundry room comes with utility sink, tile counter and storage cabinets. Exterior brand new stucco painting! The patio in the yard allows a place to sit relax and enjoy! Practice your short game on the putting green, or green thumb it in the raised garden in the spacious side yard. Enjoy the pool with your family during Summer. With Clovis schools nearby and the community of Woodpark make this house an unbelievable find!”

I’d love to hear your feedback on this house.  Does it look like it could be your next home?

Cheers!

Erica

 

¹Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/americas-20-hottest-markets-real-estate-august-2016/

Day 23: Patience, Young Grasshopper, and Bliss You Will Find

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“Grasshoppers can only jump forward….not backward, or sideways. So, when grasshopper shows up he could be reaffirming to you that you are taking the right steps to move forward in your current situation. Or it could be that he is telling you to go ahead and move forward, getting past what is hindering you. This is why grasshopper is the symbol of good luck all over the world. Grasshopper’s ability to connect and understand sound vibrations is why he is also a symbol of your inner voice. He could be telling you to trust yours.” ¹

This grasshopper was just hanging out on the window of FresYes.  I was likely the only one who noticed her presence and of course my first instinct was to take her picture. Isn’t she lovely? Grasshoppers, praying mantises, and dragonflies all have a degree of serenity about them and I prefer to revel in their bliss than be disgusted by their “bugginess”. This particular grasshopper made a cameo in my life on a day when I truly needed a reminder that good luck, good things, and goodness all come from inner peace and patience.  Plus, I’ll take any good luck charm I can get on the day of a Fantasy Football draft!  Thank you, grasshopper, for your subtle yet powerful message that success in life is found within ourselves through patience and perseverance.

Fantasy Football and spirit animals aside, I did manage to squeak in a tour of a charming cottage in Clovis. It’s a cozy 1268 sq ft house near Clovis High School that has a lot of potential as a starter or downsize home for the right person.  The backyard is lush with mature trees and there is beautiful wood laminate flooring in the hallway.  It’s located in a quiet and well-maintained block.  You can tell that pride of ownership is alive and well in this neighborhood.

 

Bliss Collage
Bliss Ave.

 Nice and Clean Gamber Home in Clovis. Big back yard. Beautiful Shade tree in front yard. Many nice features in the 3 bedroom 2 bath home. A/C was replaced 1 year ago. New Garage door. Home offers dual pane windows and water softener/purifier. Automatic Sprinklers front and back.”

 

Note — My commentary stated this house has one bathroom, which conflicts with the listing details.  I may have missed the second bathroom, but I’m 99% sure I opened every door and I only saw one.  If you are interested in purchasing this house, we will need to verify the details.

Cheers!

Erica

PS: I’ll take Fantasy Football tips and hints if you’ve got ’em

¹Source: http://www.crystalinks.com/davidcarradine.html

Day 22: Almost Fall, Almost Home

Here it is, the last day of August.  Fall will be upon us in just three short weeks!  Of course, we all know that around here that doesn’t mean a whole lot.  Our trees only see a hint of fall colors and our activities remain firmly “summer” for at least another month.  But it’s coming! And I am totally ready.

Even if the outside temperature stays closer to 90 than 60, we can still embrace the coming of the next season. I plan to “will” fall into existence soon as possible by making small changes to the decor in and around my house. Even if we don’t feel it in the air, we can still see it in our homes! Isn’t this fall-inspired centerpiece just gorgeous?

What will you do to prepare for the Fall Equinox on September 22?

Fall decor
Source: Stoneblog.com via Pinterest

The house I toured today is located in the Quail Lake community, which I also happen to call home. Writing about this house practically feels like cheating because I actually lived in a house on the same block as this one for a time and I’m fairly sure my former home was designed by the same builder as this one. This house is a lovely, single-story, four bedroom house with custom tile and wood floors throughout and a very modern kitchen.

Fieldstone Collage

There are two things I really love about that stand out from the “sameness” of most tract homes: 1) the ceiling fan in the living room is HUGE!  I mean, it practically looks like a helicopter propeller.  It’s quite impressive. 2) I adore the side-by-side double pantry in the kitchen.  It seems so intuitive to have the extra kitchen storage, yet so many houses are designed with skimpy pantry space. There are many other lovely features in the house as well. I saw stylish detail in the master bathroom tile, beautiful plantation shutters on many of the windows, and generally a good use of the square footage.  It feels very open and comfortable.

The backyard is on the smallish side, but my personal expectation is based on my super-active children who demand space to explore their world.  It would be just fine for a family that doesn’t require ample room to roam for a couple of bustling boys. Both the front and back yards are nicely landscaped and have been well maintained  while the house has been on the market.  This is a really nice space to call home.  I would be surprised if it doesn’t get gobbled up in a heartbeat.

Cheers!

Erica

Day 21: That’s a lot of stuff!

Continuing on with my search for the perfect property for an amazing family who raises livestock, I had high hopes for this 2-acre homestead on Herndon and Highland.  The location is prime, no doubt about it! With mature fruit trees and a cross-fenced area for four-legged friends to roam, it has many of the features I hoped to find.

“This 4 Bed 1.75 Bath, has a large lot that is located with an effortless, short commute to the town of Clovis. While still maintaining some privacy. Wonderful view of the Foothills. There is a large Living Room and Family Room that can easily be enjoyed as a terrific bonus Game Room. The carpets have been cleaned. This home includes Laminate, Tile, and Carpet flooring. Central Heat and Air Conditioner. Property is perfect for the animal lover or Gardener. Fenced and cross fenced for livestock with many fruit trees to enjoy. Plenty of room for RV and Boat parking. This home has fresh interior paint and the floors are in great condition. This home is move-in ready. Call today for your private showing.”

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.  A video, therefore, must be worth a mint.  I’m enjoying playing with a variety of media publishing software and have prepared a gem of a movie about this rural home using Apple’s iMovie.  It’s not as glamourous as Magisto, but I like that I can splice clips and pictures together for more control over the storyboard.

As you can see, the house needs some TLC.  The location alone makes this piece of land pretty desirable and the house has some upgraded features such a new flooring in most of the rooms.  For someone who doesn’t mind putting some effort into sprucing up the place, it would be a great buy.  For a family looking for a move-in ready home with modern amenities, I’d say we need to keep the search going.

In closing, here is a little fun to brighten your day.

You’re welcome!

Twix Wiener Dog
A Tootsie-Twix-Kiss Dachshund!  

 

Cheers!

Erica

Day 20: Powers of Persuasion

 

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Powers Ave

Today I toured a house in Northeast Clovis in the Buchanan Estates community.  It sits on a cul de sac street that is very quiet and clean, much like most newer developer-planned communities. This house has lovely curb appeal with tropical trees and shrubs framing the front walkway.  It appears to be well-maintained by the seller while on the market.

A couple observations:

  • CLEAN!  The house is spotless. I had to double check the year it was built because it has the feel of new construction. The while tile and grout are immaculate. The walls are freshly painted. There is no dust on any flat surfaces and the carpets appear to be spot-free.
  • Details: Plantation shutters add charm to the bedroom windows. The living room and master suite have built-in shelving to accommodate decor. The master bath has patterned glass block windows to maintain privacy and style without adding window coverings.
  • IMG_9313
    Muddy Lawn

    The backyard appears to be overwatered. The lawn is muddy and it was soggy under my feet when I walked out to look around. I hope this gets rectified quickly given our severe drought conditions!

  • The price seems high to me. A search of recently sold comparable properties revealed the same model, but with a beautifully landscaped backyard, pool, and solar, sold for much less than the asking price of this one less than six months ago. Additionally, the 20+ houses I’ve looked at in the last couple of weeks have given me a wee bit of perspective on what would be expected in a given price range and this one seems to be priced for location, not amenities. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a beautiful house! Just not beautiful enough to persuade me that it’s priced right.

And without further ado…a video tour.

Cheers!

Erica

 

Day 19: Investor Adventure

Oh, what a day!  It started out in Easton to show a client that cool house I blogged about back on day 1? 2? I can’t remember that far back, lol. No matter. The day started out in the country and it was a very positive showing!

On the drive back to the office to pick up signs for Sunday’s open house, I got a call about an investor coming in from Salinas to look at one of FresYes’ listings. In anticipation of this client wanting to see a variety of choices, I pulled a few comparable listings in the general area and price range of the property she requested to see. She was expected to be in town by about 1pm, so I had a good two hours to finish up my open house activities.

I quickly headed out to Copper River Ranch to put flyers on the golf house neighbors’ doors. Boy-oh-boy was it HOT! Pounding Fresno pavement in August is no joke, especially at high noon. It totally had to be done, though. I have tried several tactics to host a successful open house out there with very little luck, so inviting the neighbors seemed like a good idea at this point.

After placing nearly 50 flyers with neighbors, I headed over to the house I would be showing to the investor to check out the location, as well as the locations of the others I planned to present to her.

Investor Collage
Potential Rental Homes

All of these houses were vacant and a couple of them were foreclosures, so they did not have any staging to speak of.  Of course, the FresYes listing looked lovely inside 🙂

 

To fully narrate the events of the afternoon would be more of a short story than a blog post and no one has time for that these days. Long story short, my investor chose the house in the top left of the collage above as her next rental home and SHE MADE AN OFFER!!!!  Holy smokes, people…my first offer. I doubt this is any kind of record, but I’ve had my real estate license for 45 days.  45 days of hustling, learning, and working my rear-end off.  45 days as a Realtor and 19 days as a blogger and I wrote my first offer — WOO HOO!! Can you tell I’m pretty stoked?

 

offer2
That’s me…with an offer!

 

(Special shout out to my mentor and teacher, Corrie, for getting me through the paperwork.)

So, though the day was long and I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I got home, it was all worth it in the end.  Now cross your fingers for me and my buyer that the offer is accepted!

 

 

 

 

Cheers,

Erica