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10 Ways to Make Your House More Salable

1. Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.

2. Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.

3. Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.

5. Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.

6. Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems, such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet, may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Clean your gutters.

10. Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.

10 Questions to Ask Your Lender

Be sure you find a loan that fits your needs with these comprehensive questions.

1. What are the most popular mortgage loans you offer?

2. Which type of mortgage plan do you think would be best for us? Why?

3. Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable?

4. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it cost and how long will it be required? NOTE: Private Mortgage Insurance usually is required if you make less than a 20 percent down payment, but most lenders will let you discontinue the policy when you’ve acquired a certain amount of equity by paying down the loan.

5. Who will service the loan? Your bank or another company?

6. What escrow requirements do you have?

7. How long is your loan lock-in period (the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if rates drop during this period?

8. How long will the loan approval process take?

9. How long will it take to close the loan?

10. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying the loan?

Time to Lock in Your Mortgage Rate

With inflation rising and some investors in mortgage-backed securities demanding higher rates to purchase bonds, home buyers should work with their lender to lock in a low interest rate. For every half point interest rates increase, the monthly payment on a typical $294,600 mortgage increases by approximately $100. That adds up to a savings of roughly $1,200 annually and $36,000 over the life of a 30-year loan. The calculations are based on the median price of a single-family existing home in California in June of $368,250 and the borrower providing a 20 percent down payment.

To lock in an interest rate, consumers should contact their lender and request the rate in writing. As long as the home buyer has a contract or a binder on the home, this should be a simple request. Rates can be locked in for up to 60 days, by only adding an extra eighth of a point to the rate. If a consumer would like the interest rate to be guaranteed for longer than 60 days, most lenders will request some payment up front.

Locking in interest rates is not without risk. If prevailing interest rates decrease, consumers with a locked rate may have to pay the higher interest rate. Some lenders may offer consumers the lower rate plus an eighth of a point, if the rates drop substantially. That scenario does not seem likely though, based on current economic conditions.

Camarillo Prison Hospital

We are sure that most of you have already heard the news that our government is moving forward on putting a Health Care facility for the criminally insane in Camarillo. If by some weird chance you missed it, here are a few articles at the Ventura County Star to catch you up.

What does this have to do with real estate? Well, unfortunately, this plan will take over 7 BILLION dollars of our tax money to create. This is no small facility. The government plans to accommodate at least 1,500 inmates. As far as real estate is concerned, who wants to have this ginormous, criminally insane facility in their backyard? It goes without saying, prices WILL fall.

What’s worse, here is a map of where the correctional facility is planned on going. You can see that two of Camarillo’s higher end neighborhoods, Sterling Hills and Spanish Hills, almost abut the facility. These neighborhoods will be deeply impacted by a decline in price.

Most of you are thinking… “Well thank goodness, I do not live in Camarillo!” Please do not think that this does not affect everyone in the Ventura County. As REALTORS, we are already seeing disclosure documents being changed. As a seller that lives in the Ventura County, you are and will be required to disclose that a 1,500 inmate, criminally insane, prison, hospital, health care, facility is planned on being developed in Camarillo. You think buyers will mind?

What can you do? A committee has been formed to allow for the community to voice their opinions, donate, etc. The Prison Hospital Action Committee is looking for help. Please check out their website:

Document Checklist for Writing an Offer

Buyer’s must review and complete following documents when submitting an offer:

Agency Disclosure Form – 2 Pages x 2

Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory – 10 Pages

Residential Purchase Agreement – 10 Pages

Homeowner’s Guide to Earthquake Safety Booklet

Mold and Water Intrusion Disclosure Agreement

Disclosure and Consent – 1 Page

Buyer’s must also review and complete the following documents if applicable:

Purchase Agreement Addendum – 2 Pages

Wood Destroying Pest Addendum – 1 Page

Contingency for Sale or Purchase – 1 Page

Counter Offer – 1 Page

Click on the links to view the actual documents.

6. Close Your Escrow – Celebrate!

You’ve made it!

Well, almost… Just before closing escrow, there are a number of closing costs that need to be paid. These are fees for your escrow, your lender, your title company (which is a company that will insure that the title of the property is clear), taxes, insurance, sometimes the first month’s mortgage, etc. Keep in mind, these are fees completely separate from your loan, your deposit and your down payment. These fees must be paid in cash and must be paid now. Depending on your purchase agreement, these fees could be covered by the seller or through special financing.

Congratulations, you’ve made it through the easy part! Now you have to pack, move, decorate, upgrade and bare the benefits of being a home-owner.

You and your agent will set up a meeting time to deliver keys, remotes and appliance documentation. After which you will be on your own…

If we are your agents, we will keep in contact on a monthly basis. Throughout this home buying process our clients eventually become our good friends and it is important to us to know that we have helped changed their lives. It is also fun to see personal touches and upgrades to the homes they have purchased.

<<< Step 5: Opening Escrow and Due Diligence