Archive for the 'Real Estate Nuts and Bolts' Category

How to Buy Your First Home in 18 Steps

said on May 4th, 2012 filed under: Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

If you have never bought a home, or if your purchase was a long time ago,  it would help you to look at the typical sequence of events.  I have devised this simple “bullet” list of 18 actions in the order that they usually occur in California:

Buyer Process

Meet with Your Agent to Set Goals and Strategy

Meet with Your Lender  to Get Pre-Approval Letter

Search for Homes

Make an Offer to Purchase

Negotiate the Terms

Accept the offer to Purchase

Deposit the Earnest Money (minimum 1% of Purchase Price)

Order the Appraisal (typically your lender does this on your behalf)

Conduct Inspections

Review all Disclosures from Seller and 3rd Party Agents

Request Repairs if appropriate

Obtain Insurance Commitment

Obtain Mortgage Commitment

Remove Contingencies

Review and Approve Settlement Calculations

Close on Property

Take Possession of Your New Home

Live Happily Ever After

In some states title insurance and escrow are handled in a different manner, in fact, in Southern California, title and escrow are different companies.  In some states lawyers handle matters relating to the transfer of title.  But, the list above is a logical and typical sequence for almost anywhere you buy a home.

If you go back to the top of the list, you see that the first item is to hire a real estate agent to guide you through this process.  There are lots of different opinions about hiring real estate agents.  “How to Hire a Real Estate Agent for Dummies,”  and so on.  Most agents have impressive presentations with lots of bells and whistles.  Whoo Hoo!  But if I had to zero in on one single quality you should look for when hiring an agent it would be this:

Hire a real estate agent who listens to you, really listens to you, deeply, with complete focus and concentration.

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FREE Real Estate Class: Selling Your Home

said on May 2nd, 2012 filed under: Localism, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

Bob Jenkins will be presenting a FREE real estate class at Generations Health Club, 22824 Industrial Place, just off West Hacienda near the Lake of the Pines, California main gate.  The class will feature a 40 minute lecture and a 20 minute Q&A session.

May 9, 2012 from 7-8 PM


Thieves welcome!  You will steal our trade secrets for selling your home at top dollar, quickly and with the least hassle.  Your will gain an insiders know-how for pricing your home, getting it ready, staging, marketing, showing it to best advantage, negotiating the price and terms, navigating escrow, and closing the transaction.  Topics will include:

  • How to NOT hire a real estate agent
  • How to NOT sell your house
  • Accurate pricing
  • Top five ways to prepare your home for less than $1,000
  • Top five ways to prepare your home for less than $5,000

Trade secrets to REALLY sell your house

Whether (or not) you are planning to buy or sell real estate very soon, or sometime far down the line, I bet you know someone who needs this valuable information right now.  Perhaps you need to sell and move closer to friends or loved ones?  Perhaps you have friends or loved ones you would like to move closer to you?  Perhaps it is time for you to buy or sell a second home or an investment property?

Contact us today to reserve your spot at 530-906-1023 or 530-906-4715.



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Cheap Homes in Auburn, California? Gone, Baby, Gone.

said on April 3rd, 2012 filed under: Auburn, Localism, Negotiating, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

If you were hoping to buy a ticket on the Cheap Home Cruise of Auburn, California, you may be left standing on the dock, because, baby, that ship is putting out to sea.

Four days ago, a “nice enough” little house came on the Auburn real estate market.  It was on the smallish side, about 1300 square feet.  The kitchen had to be redone because you couldn’t open the fridge door without it slamming into the range, nor open the back door without it slamming into the sink.  Totally dysfunctional.  Modest neighborhood, nothing special.  About the best you could say about this house was that it was “kind of cute” and “in pretty good condition.”

By the end of the second day, the listing agent had 28 offers.  TWENTY EIGHT offers.  So overwhelmed, the seller (a bank!) ordered him to put the house in “pending” status just to stop the feeding frenzy.  To the 28 hopeful buyers, the listing agent sent those dreaded words, “highest and best offer by 5PM today.”  No second chance.  Do or die.

My clients came back with an all-cash offer $5,000 above asking price.  We never stood a chance.  The final number won’t be known until escrow closes, but I have been able to learn, through the fine art of real estate espionage, that the winning offer was at least $75,000.  Above asking price.  Yes, you read that right, $75,000 ABOVE ASKING PRICE.

So what did you learn from this fiasco?

The real estate market, at least the market in Auburn, California, is changing rapidly.  No, that’s not quite right, the market has already shifted dramatically.  You are just learning about it now.


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Mold Mold Mold Mold Mold Mold

said on March 13th, 2012 filed under: Lake of the Pines, Localism, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

Mold.   The “M” word.  The four-letter word real estate agents are never to say, because we’re not experts, right?  We don’t really know it’s mold, do we?  There’s so much liability associated with mold, and we need to cover our ass, capiche?

But I’ll tell you about the best $385 I ever spent.  We’ll, my client actually spent it, but I talked him into it.  Here’s the story.

After several months of searching, and two failed offers, we finally found the perfect home for his multi-generational family.  He could afford it, and, most importantly, there was continue reading…

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How to NOT Sell Your Home

said on February 4th, 2012 filed under: Real Estate Nuts and Bolts, Whimsy

Sixteen Ways to Make Sure
Your House Will NOT Sell

16. List it for more than its true value.

15. List it as a 4 bedroom instead of a 3. When the buyers get there… SURPRISE!  Only 3!

14. Put a tenant in it to make sure it has that “lived in look” and to assure that potential buyers feel as uncomfortable as possible when they come for a visit.

13. Make sure every flat surface is cluttered with little things.  If you run out of surface area, stuff the rest of the clutter inside your closets and cabinets.

12. Leave your dog to run loose during showings.

11. Make it as difficult as possible for the buyers’ agent to show the property by requiring an “appointment with the owner” or “48 hours advance notice.”

10. Stay home, follow the buyers around, tell them all the reasons you love living there.

9. Stay home, follow the buyers around, tell them all the reasons you hate living there.

8. Stay home, follow the buyers around, ask them to “please excuse the mess.”  Go on to explain just how hard it is to remove all of the black mold and dry rot, but you’re almost there.

7. Stay home for the showing, put on your helmet made out of tin foil, and sit on the couch and stare at the TV the entire time without moving or blinking.

6. Demonstrate that you are environmentally sensitive and frugal as well.  Turn OFF all the lights, close the blinds, and draw the curtains.  Really dark curtains are best.

5. Do NOT  have your windows cleaned.  Clean, sparkling windows let in too much light.

4. Boil a few dozen eggs so the entire house smells like farts.  Frying fish is an acceptable substitute.  In fact, any strong and obnoxious smell is helpful.  The best smell?  Pet odor.  Make sure your cat’s litter box is in plain sight and never empty it. Do NOT wash your dog.

3. Leave a note on the table that says to be careful in bedroom 3, but don’t leave a reason why.

2. Have your friends or your kids hide in the closets and SCREAM each time a buyer opens the closet door.

1. Draw three chalk outlines of bodies on the living room carpet. Use police crime scene tape to seal off the room.


(Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are jokes.  Also number 7, I hope.  Thanks to the Christiansen Team from Fort Wayne Indiana for the idea and for several of the actual items on this list.)

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LOW Downpayment and NO Downpayment Loans

said on January 19th, 2012 filed under: Real Estate Nuts and Bolts, VA Loans

Do LOW downpayment and NO downpayment loans still exist?


Here are five types of loans, especially useful to (a) first-time buyers and (b) buyers who are planning to occupy the home.  Typically, these loans are not for investors, speculators, and “second home” purchasers.  Let’s base our comparison on a $250,000 purchase at 4% interest on a 30 year fixed rate loan.

1.   USDA loans.  No money down.  Say what?  No money down!  But there’s a catch.  You knew that didn’t you?  USDA loan are available to purchase properties in “rural” areas.  That works just fine for CJ and me because almost every home in our bucolic Nevada County qualifies for USDA loans.  And get this, the seller can pay continue reading…

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5 Reasons We Don’t Put Flyers Outside Your Home

said on January 17th, 2012 filed under: Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

Actually, we will put flyers outside if you, the sellers, insist.  We don’t want to argue with you.

But . . . in a January, 2012 internet review of this topic by 90 professional realtors from around the country, the overwhelming majority of them discouraged the use
of outside flyers.  Here are the five main reasons:

1.            It’s a waste of paper and resources

2.            Outside flyers never really sell a house

3.            Kids, nosey neighbors, and looky-loos take them

4.            They generate litter

5.            Most important, flyers actually provide a means by which buyers disqualify the home without ever coming inside to see how exceptional your home is, even if it doesn’t exactly fit   their pre-conceived criteria, notions which they might be compelled to change once they saw the beauty of your place.

If we do use outside flyers:

We will advertise our other listings on the reverse side.  If the other listings are similar to your property, that’s even better.  This tactic may sound counter-intuitive, because, at first glance, it seems like we are diverting attention away from your house and toward other houses the potential buyer might like more than yours.  If one of the other houses, however, more closely fits the potential buyer, they are going to disqualify your house anyway.  So what’s the benefit to you?  Those other houses have your house advertised on the reverse side of their flyer!  Your house is being exposed, on different properties, to real buyers looking for a home in your area.

We will use QR codes, 24/7 Hotlines, SMS text links, or URLS to direct potential buyers to the detailed information they need.  What detailed information will they most want
to see?  The price, of course!  It’s not on the flyer.  When they access your information we will also capture their phone number or email address so we can call them back and follow up.

Like magic.

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The 4 Hidden and the 4 Normal Costs of Closing a REAL Estate Transaction

said on November 25th, 2011 filed under: Negotiating, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

When you are trying to complete a real estate transaction, you should anticipate 4 hidden expenses that are not “normal” closing costs. Normal closing costs means the money you actually bring to the closing table in order to conclude your purchase.  The 4 additional hidden expenses are:

  • moving costs
  • fix-up costs
  • pre-paid property taxes
  • pre-paid insurance premiums

One way or another, you are going to have to whip out your checkbook, or call Uncle Bob, one more time, for some extra dough.  These hidden expenses are going to fall on you like continue reading…

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Why You Must Stop Paying Rent and Buy a House Today

said on November 23rd, 2011 filed under: Localism, Market Trends, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts


I believe with all my heart that renters should become home owners, as soon as they possibly can, and that the very best time to do that is right now.  There are three reasons for urgency:

NUMBER ONE.  Loan money is cheap.  Today, you can get a lower mortgage interest rate than at any time in living memory.  This means you can buy continue reading…

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Return on Investment (ROI) for Residential Rentals

said on November 14th, 2011 filed under: Localism, Market Trends, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

There are four reasons you should be buying rentals right now.

  • Money is cheap.  Interest rates, even for investment properties, are at all-time lows.
  • Home prices have fallen, great deals are everywhere.
  • There are plenty of renters (former owners who have lost their homes to foreclosure)
  • The money you have sitting on the side in fading IRAs, money markets, mutual funds, etc. is evaporating right in front of your eyes.

Let’s say that you do have some money tucked away in an unproductive portfolio, and that you have decided that it will generate a larger and safer return in rental properties.  How much cash should you use as down payment? How much should you borrow?

You want to make a maximum Return on Investment (ROI).  Right?

Let’s say you can find decent rental properties from $150,000 to $200,000 (ready to rent total costs–purchase + fixing up + holding costs + etc.).

You will be able to rent these properties for $1200 per month.

  • At 100% cash purchase (ready to rent) you will generate a ROI of 4% to 5%.  Not bad, and better than your money market.
  • At 50% cash and 50% loan (ready to rent) you will generate a ROI of 6% to 9%.  That’s a lot better isn’t it?

If you would like an excel spreadsheet showing how the calculations work, get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to share with you.

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