There Is More Equity In Your Home

More money in your pocket
You Have More Equity In Your Home!

More homeowners have gained equity if you own a home on the San Francisco Peninsula, according to a new report released today.

CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, just released an analysis showing that U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63 percent of all homeowners) saw their equity increase by a total of $227 billion in Q3 2016 compared with the previous quarter, an increase of 3.1 percent.

According to Frank Nothaft, the chief economist for Corelogic: “Home equity rose by $12,500 for the average homeowner over the last four quarters. There was wide geographic variation with homeowners in California, Oregon and Washington gaining an average of at least $25,000 in home equity wealth.”

The main cause of equity increase? Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic: “Price appreciation is the main ingredient for home equity wealth creation, and home prices rose 5.8 percent in the year ending September 2016 according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index. Paydown of principal is the second key component of equity building. Many homeowners have refinanced into shorter-term loans, such as a 15-year loan, and  by doing so, they have significantly fewer mortgage payments and are able to build equity wealth faster.”

The metro level, with the cities that have the highest percentage of mortgaged properties with positive equity are:

  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif.: 99.4%
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas: 98.5%
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.: 98.4%
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.: 96.9%

If you would like a copy of CoreLogic’s 3rd Quarter 2016 Equity Report, and/or what this means for you if you are thinking of Selling, send me an email to rafaelcastrojr@gmail.com or give me a call at 650 483-4932.

How To Choose a Real Estate Agent

Picking a Real Estate Agent
How Do I Choose a Real Estate Agent?

How To Choose a Real Estate Agent

Selecting the right agent is the first and most important step in helping you sell your home for the most money, in the least amount of time, with the least inconvenience to you. So, how do you choose a Real Estate Agent? What questions should you be asking them?

The real estate universe is full of people who sell real estate. Some agents are hard working, focused and great communicators, both with their clients, other real estate agents and the public . There are others, unfortunately, that are not. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, here are 8 ways on understanding on how to assess a real estate agent’s abilities to help you achieve your buyer or seller objectives, by looking at the major events in the real estate transaction.

The 8 Major Events in a Real Estate Transaction:

  • Overall Marketing Management. Experience in marketing. Ask the agent their AND their company’s history on what they do. What real estate education or Designations do they have, which will help them help you? What local and worldwide networks do they belong to? What is their local market share? How quickly did their listed homes sell? What is their Expiration Ratio (how many listings resulted in a closed sale)? Can you request and receive the agent’s references and recent clients? Why do they charge the commission they are proposing? (most importantly how do they react to this question? See more in point 8)
  • Exposure to Other Real Estate Agents. What method(s) do they use to communicate with other top agents? Why do they compensate what they do to the other agent? Do they do office tours, agent open houses and agent networking? Can they show you how they have done it with their last clients?
  • Exposure to The Public. What is their marketing plan, strategy and implementation for your particular home? What is their: 1) Mass Market, 2) Local Level , 3) Neighborhood exposure, and 4) In-home  marketing plan? Do they have a single page flyer they can give you on the spot on some top marketing ideas they will be doing?
  • Securing Buyer Prospects. How does the agent respond to prospect inquires? For example, how does the agent convert a phone call into an actual showing of your home? How long does it take to respond to a 1) Phone call or text, 2) an e-mail? What systems are used to capture prospects and to respond to questions on your home? Do they answer their own sign calls?
  • Preparing Your Home For Sale. What guidance takes place to prepare the home to make it most appealing to the maximum amount of buyers without breaking the bank? Does the agent provide insurance and warranties? How will they keep you from potential lawsuits after your home has sold? How will they communicate to you the showings and interest in your home? What if you don’t want a key box safe installed on your front door?
  • Their Negotiating and Closing Skills. This is perhaps the area which is the most misunderstood and least talked about when a homeowner interviews his/her prospective real estate agent. The agents skills will almost always determine what you will get in the end. For example, ask them what are the most common buyer objections, and how they will overcome them? How do they treat low-balling, or a really high offer?  What do they do to get the buyer to a binding contract and stick to it until the selling process is complete? What education do they have for selling your home? Do they have the SRS—Seller Representative Specialist designation, recognized by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)?
  • Getting The Deal Done. Ask how the agent manages the entire closing process. How will they respond to problems, as they are guaranteed to come out during the closing process? How do they handle the closing calendar? Do they have a licensed, experienced assistant that is an expert in doing all the important paperwork? When do they communicate with you, the seller, on what needs to get done, how and why? How and when will they update you?
  • Getting Your Final Equity Payment. Once the above major events are successfully completed, you will receive your hard earned money!! Something to note is the agent should be able to discuss what they charge in commission and why. Also, what they pay for out of their own pocket to get your home sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Call me at 650 483-4932 to give you my detailed marketing management plan and for you to ask me how I will manage these 8 Major Events in selling your home, and possibly helping you with your next purchase.

Selling a House? Buying a House?

Sell a Home
Selling or Buying a House?

At www.RafaelCastroJr.com you have at your fingertips a wide variety of tools available to help you with your buying or selling questions. You can:

  • Search for Your Dream Home
  • Find out “What is My Home Worth?” How much can I get for my home?
  • Get Pre-qualified with a leading bank. Not sure if you can qualify for a loan? Then find out how to GET STARTED to qualify for a loan—For FREE!
  • At the “Market Insider” you can find Housing Market Trends—Sold vs. Listed, Housing Inventory Trends, Crime, Weather, Restaurant, Pet Store, Shopping, Coffee Shops in your interested area and more.

Of course, Technology helps, but personalized service is what gets you the most for your hard-earned money. Call or text me at 650 483-4932 to set up a one-on-one real estate session.

Why Move Out of California?

Californians moving out of state
                                                                 Moving Out of California??

Why are Californians moving out of the state? CoreLogic, the analytic and financial services company, says that for every home buyer coming into California, another three are selling their homes, and moving out of the state. Separate reports released earlier this year by Beacon Economics, also noted that 625,000 more U.S. residents left California between 2007 and 2014 than moved into the state.

California’s housing market is one of the most expensive in the nation, with a median home price of $428,000 across the state. Selling prices have gone up 71% since 2011. Of the five priciest housing markets in the United States, four are in California, according to the latest data from NAR, the National Association of Realtors. Topping the list is in our own backyard, San Jose, with a median home price of $1 million.

Where are Californians moving to? Many are moving to Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Washington. Favorite Baby Boomer choices are Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Georgia, Texas or North Carolina where home prices are considerably lower. The homes being bought are generally bigger with larger land lots. Other attractions are lower commute times to work, lower utility bills in gas, electricity and garbage collection.

Have you thought of moving out of California? Call me at 650 483-4932 to find out what your choices are: What is my home is worth and can sell for? What can I get in another area? As a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), I can help you find the perfect home and get the most money on the sale of your home.

Can a Kitchen Remodel Bring You More Money?

kitchen remodel
Can a kitchen remodel get you more money?

Can a kitchen remodel bring you more money? For home owners who are putting their house on the market, they may want to take a closer look at their kitchen. It can become a deal-breaker for buyers.

Many buyers want an updated house, including the kitchen, and are not willing to buy and update later. Even for landlords looking to rent out their properties, this may also apply. Renovating the kitchen can make the home more appealing and allow it to command a greater rental price.

How much can a kitchen remodel cost?   Even a minor upgrade could cost upwards to $20,000. However, not all kitchen redesigns have to be expensive. A few strategic kitchen renovations can make your money stretch and still have a big impact, all for under $500.

For example, painting the cabinets white may make for a modern redo. The cost of the paint will be about $150 for the cost of the paint. Add in about $100 more for new cabinet hardware and the kitchen can take on a drastically different look for under $300.

A new backsplash may add more style to the kitchen space too. For example, a mosaic subway tile may add more of a modern twist. One company called SimpleMat can help do it yourselfers install a backsplash without the use of mortar too. The cost is about $170.

The lighting is important as well. Buyers love bright spaces so make sure there is ample light. Also, consider adding an LED undercabinet light to add a glow onto the kitchen cabinets. The cost is about $40.

For a really dated countertop, home owners may be best off spending the money to replace it. Quartz is especially on-trend nowadays. Painting the countertop is also an option. Rustoleum’s Counter Top Coating is about $40 for a tint-base.

Call or email me for many other ideas to get your home ready for sale, and what projects are worth taking on if you would like top dollar for your home. Email: rafaelcastrojr@gmail.com  Call me at (650) 483-4932.

4 Cultural Issues To Consider Before Moving Abroad

Cultural Issues When Moving Abroad
                                                   Cultural Issues When Moving Abroad

You may be considering moving to another country, either by yourself, your significant other, or your entire family. In this article, we will explore 4 cultural issues to consider before moving abroad and what you can do now. This will help you to make the transition to your new home a lot easier to deal with. We will consider other issues in coming articles.

In a recent poll commissioned by Barclays International Banking, questions were asked to expats or expatriates on the challenges of living abroad. They mentioned the most important issues measured by percentages on what they believed affected them the most.

The Cost of Living came in first at 28.16% of the vote. Some issues to take into account when looking to move overseas including employment, the cost of property and personal finances. But to these expats, the cost of living was a very important issue. Having sufficient money to live and have a social life is at the top of the list of issues.

What to do? Comparing some aspects of the proposed life in a new country and the present one will undoubtedly be less expensive, some more expensive. There are now many websites that will allow you to compare the cost of living in any two or more countries. Although doing this will not be precise in nature, it will allow you to get a very good idea on the more expensive costs regarding food, fuel and going out to dinner, for example. Let me know if you would like a list of international bank guides to help you with usual and unusual costs.

Loneliness came in second at 26.62%. What can cause loneliness? New surroundings, experiences and the type of employment opportunities can all be factors. Loneliness is true for either individuals or entire families in a new environment.

For example, a family with children moving abroad may experience problems. If there is a stay at home parent, the other parent may take the responsibility of taking care of them. If this is not currently being done, there will be a shock value to this new way of life. If it is difficult now looking after children, then it may become a bigger issue looking after children when moving abroad.

What to do? When expats tread on unfamiliar ground, they tend to stick to what is familiar. Doing so, many expatriates never make the transition from expat to compatriot. However, in order to get the most out of your expat experience, you need to break out of your comfort zone and try to immerse yourself in the local culture.

The process of making the transition from living like an expat to a more local life-style takes time. Loneliness can be dealt with as you get used to your new environment, culture and its embracement.

Cultural Differences were 13.99% an issue. Cultural differences usually include language, religion, political organization, and customs. One of the difficulties that many people have is dealing with the stereotypes of others. That means we have stereotypes of others as they have of us.

What to do? Preparing for life in a new culture starts out by educating yourself about the country you’re moving to. Do research by reading books, view YouTube videos, visit websites, any reputable resource that will help you “read into” the culture and give you insight on the way of life/culture of that country.

Relationship Problems came in as a concern at 10.75%. If you currently are experiencing some type of problem in your relationship, it most likely will not get better with a move, but may become more magnified by all the other “moving” issues you will experience. Leaving behind support friends, family and even professional counselors may strain your relationship even more.

What to Do? To be successful in a move, you will need to be sure that everyone involved is 100% sure that the move is being done for the right reasons and there will be flexibility and understanding by all. There needs to be a plan in place that is currently being worked on, that will continue long after the move to the new country. Don’t leave it to the last minute and then start working on it once you have moved.

In conclusion, we have considered 4 issues (79.52%) that were brought up by expatriates that were of high importance to them, the Cost of Living, Loneliness, Cultural Differences and Relationship Problems. We have briefly dealt with what to do now, to prepare yourself, and to make the transition from an expat to compatriot. Remember why you are even considering a move: a better lifestyle, better experiences for your family, less expensive cost of living. These are good reasons to prepare well now. We will consider other issues and explore other answers to be successful in future articles.

414 Cornish Way Belmont, CA 94002

Wow! The spring Real Estate season is here! Just listed a few days ago and currently Pending.

This gorgeous Sterling Down home had a lot to offer. Check this link, and take a virtual tour: http://property.obeo.com/170484/414-Cornish-Way-Belmont-CA-94002/1094816
Call me or email me today, and let me show you my 25 point marketing plan.

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Record Home Prices!

Why Record Home Prices?

Why, are home prices going through the proverbial roof? Home sales hit their highest pace in eight years and the median sales price has gone way up.

According to Lawrence Yun, cheif economist for the National Asociation of REALTORS, the strong sales activity is due to the improving economy and was also likely driven by
the recent rise in mortgage rates, with buyers hurrying to make deals in order to avoid the prospect of higher borrowing costs in the future.

However, on the affordability side, with the continuing rise in prices, resulting in a tight supply of residential properties for sale, is causing a decline in the
affordability of properties for many buyers.

recordhomepricesThe increase in new construction would help ease prices, however promoting new construction can mean local officials in cities would have to take the steps to do so.

If you have been thinking of selling your home and weighing the options to make your next purchase, please call me at 650 483-4932 or email me at rafaelcastrojr@gmail.com