Sell NOW, Before the Competition Hits the Market

The real estate market is not only hot, it’s been in full flame for quite some time. But how long will this last?

In their current edition of the Home Price Expectation Survey released last week, Pulsenomics asked this question of the 100+ economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists they surveyed:

“In your opinion, what is the primary driver of recent home value growth in the U.S.?”

Here are the top four reasons given by those surveyed:

Sell NOW Before Competition Hits the Market | Simplifying The Market

As we have stated before, the current lack of inventory in most housing markets has caused home appreciation to increase at greater percentages than historical averages. This means that this is a great time to sell your home as supply is low and demand is high.

However, things may be about to change…

The fortuitous situation sellers see themselves in may soon change for three reasons:

  1. As more homeowners realize their equity situation has dramatically improved over the last four years, they will be more likely to put their homes on the market.
  2. With the residential real estate sector outperforming a sluggish economy, more home builders will be looking to add new construction inventory to a depleted supply of housing stock.
  3. Many banks are just now foreclosing on loans that have been delinquent since the housing bust. These houses will also be coming to market.

According to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, in the Q2 2016 U.S. Residential Property Vacancy and Zombie Foreclosure Report:

“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory.” 

Bottom Line

In most housing markets, don’t wait for this additional competition to hit the market. If you are considering selling your house, now may be the time.

To get started: Click here to find out how much your home is worth in today’s market.

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Rent? Buy? Either Way, You’re Paying a Mortgage!

There are some renters that have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.


As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:Increasing Gap in Family Wealth

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.


Things to Consider when BUYING A HOME
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Buying a home? Beware of the latest scam!

Buying a home is exciting. You saved for the down payment, scheduled the move, and are dreaming of planting new roots. Closing is right around the corner… unless a scammer gets your settlement fees first.

The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors® are warning home buyers about an email and money wiring scam. Hackers have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. After figuring out the closing dates, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes. Often, that’s money the buyer will never see again.

If you’re buying a home and get an email with money-wiring instructions, STOP. Email is not a secure way to send financial information, and your real estate professional or title company should know that. If it’s a phishing email, report it to the FTC.

Here are some ideas to help you avoid phishing scams:

  • Don’t email financial information. It’s not secure.
  • If you’re giving your financial information on the web, make sure the site is secure. Look for a URL that begins with https (the “s” stands for secure). And, instead of clicking a link in an email to go to an organization’s site, look up the real URL and type in the web address yourself.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain malware that can weaken your computer’s security.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and security software up to date.

Learn more about protecting yourself from phishing and what to do if your email is hacked. If you gave your information to a scammer, visit

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Buying a Home? New Rules You Need to Know!

Michael Koenig and Maureen Torretto discuss some new changes to real estate finance law. These new closing rules take effect October 3, 2015.

TRID is the New TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures. The Loan Estimate replaces the initial Truth-in-Lending disclosure and Good Faith Estimate.

Maureen Torretto, Loan Consultant with iMortgage.
Phone: 925-577-8706

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Take Advantage of Market Volatility

Schadenfreude. Ever hear of this term? Basically, it means to take satisfaction or pleasure at the expense of someone else’s misfortune.

Well, that’s basically the opportunity now.

The financial markets are in turmoil, thanks to what is happening in Greece and China. The benefit to you? Look at the chart below. Interest rates are plunging again!
(I just took a screenshot from my Zillow Mortgage app this morning, July 8, 2015.)

Interest Rates Plunging again.


The overall trend of interest rates are definitely going up. Don’t let this second chance pass you by!

Contact me now to learn how to take advantage of the current market trend.

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Stoneridge Drive Extension Finally Opening!



The Stoneridge Drive Extension is finally opening!
Basically, it will allow you to drive straight through from the Livermore Premium Outlet Mall down Stoneridge Drive into Pleasanton. The Ribbon cutting ceremony will be on Friday, November 1st, 2013 at 10am.

  1. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,430 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,048 sqft
    Year built: 2016
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 48
  2. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 2,951 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,000 sqft
    Year built: 2016
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 32
  3. 4 beds, 2 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 3,054 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,451 sqft
    Year built: 2013
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 36
  4. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,658 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,283 sqft
    Year built: 2013
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 14
  5. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,327 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,192 sqft
    Year built: 2016
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 32
  6. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,862 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,541 sqft
    Year built: 2016
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 16
  7. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,862 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,541 sqft
    Year built: 2016
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 78
  8. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,614 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,775 sqft
    Year built: 1998
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 56
  9. 4 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 1,954 sq ft
    Year built: 2016
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 21
  10. 3 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,002 sq ft
    Year built: 2016
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 24

See all Real Estate near the Stoneridge Extension Opening.
(all data current as of 6/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

City of Livermore Featured on Today in America! [Video]


Our own city of Livermore was featured on “Today In America”, a show hosted by Terry Bradshaw.

Livermore is no longer up and coming. It’s new and improved and here to stay!

Pretty cool, eh?

Here are some links to places mentioned in the video:

Livermore Premium Outlets – click for website

Wente Vineyards, Concerts – click for website

Livermore Valley Wineries and Events – click for website

Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center – click for website

Livermore 13 Cinemas  – click for website

Livermore Downtown Events – click for website

Home of the World’s Longest Burning Lightbulb – click for website

Annual Livermore Rodeo – click for website

i-Gate Technology initiative – click for website

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – click for website

Sandi National Laboratory in Livermore – click for website

Would you like to make the move to our awesome town? Here are some of the latest homes to hit the market:

  1. 6 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 4,532 sq ft
    Lot size: 18,987 sqft
    Year built: 2005
    Parking spots: 4
    Days on market: 1
  2. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,533 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,855 sqft
    Year built: 2002
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 1
  3. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 1,563 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,043 sqft
    Year built: 1960
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 1
  4. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,445 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,394 sqft
    Year built: 1993
    Parking spots: 3
    Days on market: 1
  5. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,927 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,449 sqft
    Year built: 2015
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 2
  6. 3 beds, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,120 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,089 sqft
    Year built: 1962
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 2
  7. 7 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,336 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,150 sqft
    Year built: 1966
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 3
  8. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,754 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,238 sqft
    Year built: 2012
    Parking spots: 2
    Days on market: 3

See all Real estate in the city of Livermore.
(all data current as of 6/29/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

6 Tax Facts Home Sellers Should Know

  1. If you’ve owned and lived in your home for two of the five years prior to selling it, you can generally excluded up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a join return, in most cases).
  2. You are not eligible for this exclusion if you sold another principal residence within the past two years and excluded the allowable gain from your income.
  3. If you can exclude ALL of the gain from the sale of your primary residence, you don’t need to report the sale on your tax return.
  4. If you have a gain on your principal residence that exceeds the allowable deduction, it is taxable.
  5. You can’t deduct a loss from the sale of your primary residence.
  6. Special rules may apply when you sell a home for which you’ve received the first-time home buyer credit. (See IRS publication 523, “Selling Your Home,” for details.)

If you’re contemplating a short-sale, there are some additional tax implications you should be aware of as well.

Got a question about selling your home?
Would you like to know it’s value?

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Seller vs Buyer vs Appraiser [Infographic]

The infographic says it all! (Thanks

Are We Over the Hump?

There’s been much talk about the housing recovery lately, in that, we may actually be recovering.

The S&P Case-Shiller national home price index, which covers more than 80 percent of the housing market in the United States, climbed 6.9% in the 3 months ended June 30 compared to the first 3 months of 2012. That’s rather remarkable.

But those are just cold, empty sterile statistics.

More importantly, are we getting any warm and fuzzy’s out of this market? Well, that depends on who you ask. If you’re a home-owner/seller, nervously watching the market every day to see if you’re still under water, then you’re feeling VERY warm and fuzzy! (Would you like to know the value of your home? click here)  In most markets here in the bay area, we’ve easily seen a 6-10% jump in prices in just the last 6 months!

If you’re a home buyer, you may have mixed feelings about this. More like cool and prickly. The market has become so heated up, it makes it rather difficult to get an offer accepted. It’s not uncommon to compete against 5-20 other buyers when bidding on a property. What’s causing this rocket-ripping-upward price momentum? I personally think it’s these three things:

  1. Relatively low house prices
  2. Ridiculously low interest rates
  3. Buyer’s perception that they have missed the market bottom and may miss out entirely.

So where do we go from here? Well, excuse me while I whip this out (my crystal ball, that is…):

Now that summer is coming to close, we should see this feverish market begin to cool a bit. Election season is upon us, so I doubt we’ll see any policy changes that will have an profound effect on the market. Many people talk about this huge ‘shadow inventory’ that is going to be dropped on the market, thus dropping home prices. No way Jose. Not gonna happen. I’ve got some good sources (let’s just say, a certain representative from Arizona who serves on the House Banking Committee).

Bottom line: We’re going to remain flat to moderately upward over the next 9 months. Buyers: don’t wait for interest rates to go lower. Money is cheap. Use it and abuse it (if you can). Sellers: With the demand we’re at now, there’s no better time to sell. (Update 12/27/12: it’ll be interesting to see the impact of the impending fiscal cliff on early 2013)

This is one of the rare times where it’s a beneficial time for BOTH Buyers and Sellers. It’s really been a buyers market for the past several years (remember all those REO/Bank-Owned/Auction signs plastered all over the neighborhood?). So we are now finally entering a transition phase of balance.

Stop waiting and debating!

Give me a call at 510-270-2201 or contact me here.