Amanda Williams

Reconsider before making a low ball offer

After previewing an exceptionally nice home in Cameron Park, I wasn’t surprised when my client said, “Let’s make an offer.”  It was a perfect match for John who was already pre-approved by a lender, comfortable with the price range and had long-term ownership plans. We would need to move quickly, however, before another buyer snatched […]

Successful home buying strategies

OK, you want to buy a house. Your job and financial position are stable; you have sufficient savings for the down payment and you have been pre-approved for a loan. You’re the perfect candidate for home ownership. There is just one small problem. You can’t find anything that you really like and when you do […]

Where are all the homes for sale?

There are currently more buyers looking for homes than homes for sale. El Dorado County only has about 425 current active residential listings. A few years ago, it was not unusual for that many homes to be listed in a single month. During the last two months only 200 new listing came on the market. […]

Encroachment conflicts: You be the judge

Mr. Appleseed purchased a two-acre hillside lot in Camino in 2006 where he intended to build his retirement home. In 2009, after retirement, he hired an architect to design his custom home and spent other money in preparation for building. Prior to issuing a building permit, the county required a survey of the property. The […]

What happened to our cat?

Despite using my GPS, finding rural properties can be challenging. My appointment was tucked far back from the road, accessed only by a narrow dirt drive, blocked by a field livestock gate and obscured by trees and brush. I had to stop and exit my car in order to read the faded numbers on the […]

New Year’s game plan for buyers and sellers

Looking back, my New Year’s resolutions have been pretty much a failure. They were well-intended at self-improvement like losing some weight, exercising more, spending more quality time with my wife Vicki and being more organized. But life happens and those good intentions get displaced by the moment. We often fail early at our resolutions because […]

Crunching the year-end numbers

The most unsettling aspects of living through a declining real estate market is the uncertainty as to when the bottom will be reached. If we all knew that property values would bottom out on a certain date, more folks would have held on to their homes and fewer would have walked away from their mortgages. […]

Coming home for Christmas

The news of the passing of jazz music legend Dave Brubeck earlier this month brought back memories of my most eventful journey home for Christmas. My high school years were spent attending a military academy not too far from Knoxville, Tenn. In the 1960s it was not unusual for parents to send their boys off […]

Realtors survey buyers, sellers

This past election was a confirmation once again of the accuracy of political polling. As much as some of us resent the intrusion of strangers surveying our inner feelings, sampling public opinion has become a frequent occurrence on all manner of topics. In the case of the presidential race, the 35 major national pollsters averaged […]

It doesn’t get any better than this

  I hesitate to make a list Of all the countless deals I’ve missed; Bonanzas that were in my grip – I watched them through my fingers slip; The windfalls which I should have bought were lost because I over-thought; I thought of this, I thought of that, I could have sworn I smelled a […]

Divide community group asks for help

A coalition of builders, church pastors, business leaders and homeowners all came together at the Mother Lode Church in Coloma last week to tell county elected leaders they could use some relief from the county’s excessive permit and impact fees. The meeting was sponsored by the Rural Communities Recovery Cooperative, a group of Divide area […]

FHA is a victim of its own success

My first home was financed with a FHA mortgage. I had applied for a conventional loan but was turned down because I didn’t have the required 10 percent down payment.  That’s when my banker suggested we try FHA. Two months later, I was moving into my first home. I kept that house and FHA mortgage […]

Don’t forget about the garage

The most overlooked and an under-appreciated room under our roofs is the garage. Garages are either too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. They are dark and cluttered with all manner of junk. Garages have cobwebs on the ceilings, oil and transmission fluid on the floor, sharp instruments and half-filled liquid […]

Property values bounce up

The $324,000 average selling price for a county home closing escrow during October was 18 percent higher than a year ago. That was the highest average purchase price for October going back to 2008. The year-over-year increase was consistent with increasing property values that have been climbing since they hit bottom in October 2011. This […]

Undecided about marketing a local business

Normally, I can make up my mind about something pretty quick. Yes, no, now, later, red wine or white. Making timely decisions allows me to focus on the future rather than ponder what it might or might not be. Recently, I have been frustrated by my procrastination. I have spent too much mental energy (something […]

Obama tax to take effect next year

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” — President Obama, Sept. 12, 2008 Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, Obamacare imposes a 3.8 […]

Flipping without flopping

At 26 I made my first property flip. Another agent had listed an old vacant three-story Victorian house in a neighborhood that was transitioning from single-family to multi-family. The house was in OK but dated condition. The expensive components, like the roof, siding, HVAC system, electrical and plumbing were all in serviceable condition. An investor […]

Who can you trust to value your home?

Determining the value of a property is an art, not an exact science. We all see properties differently as depicted by the old cartoon showing how differently buyers, appraisers, sellers and the tax assessor view our homes. When someone asks me for an opinion as to their home’s value, I must guard against injecting my […]

Getting lucky with a back-up offer

It’s sometimes better to be lucky than good. There are a number of things I have accomplished in my life because I studied, worked hard, saved for a rainy day, heeded the advice of others with greater wisdom and made a good decision. But there are a number of successes I have had simply because […]

What happened to the scary shadow inventory?

After a few weeks of looking at nearly every home in her price range, she told me, “I’m not finding the type of home I’m looking for. Maybe I will hold off buying something until there are more homes to choose from.” That’s a valid complaint I frequently hear from folks shopping for a home. […]

Zillow says region has housing shortage; taxes on the way up

The most frequently asked question of me when I meet folks who are readers of my weekly column is “How do you come up with all those different topics about real estate?” Writing a weekly column can be a little challenging. For instance, newspapers have hard deadlines. In my business, if I am running a […]

Saying good-bye to a great summer

It was a great summer for the real estate market in El Dorado County. The 281 home sales reported in August were 21 percent better than July and 28 percent ahead of August of last year. From June 1 through Aug. 31, the El Dorado County Association of Realtors reported 800 residential sales. Last year during […]

The view is somewhere between the trees and weeds

How much is a view worth? Are lake and river views more valuable than views of the Sierras? What is the difference in value between homes with views from interior rooms and homes with views from exterior decks? While property owners with views generally have an inflated opinion of its value, appraisers and homebuyers are […]

Not always easy turning an offer into a contract

Finding the right home in El Dorado County isn’t getting easier as the number of available homes for sale continues to decline. As an example, if you were in the market to buy a three-bedroom, two-bath home priced less than $350,000, there are only 245 in the whole county to choose from. A year ago […]

Too many cooks can spoil the broth

No matter how smooth a real estate transaction may be going, at some point somebody or something is likely going to try to screw it all up. It’s one of those universal real estate laws when trying to close an escrow. There are just too many parties involved in the whole process, many acting independently […]

Choosing the neighborhood is often about price

“What are we doing in Pollock Pines?” I asked smiling as she adjusted her seat belt. For nearly a month we had been previewing homes between Folsom and Placerville. Finding a home that would qualify in her entry-level price range had been difficult. We had already lost out on three homes despite our full price […]

Rookie mistakes of first time homebuyers

Last week my column offered a few suggestions for sellers looking to take advantage of the best seller’s market in six years. Record low interest rates and a shortage of available homes for sale have contributed to a mini price bubble. About half of all listings are selling at or above the listed price. July’s […]

Most common mistakes sellers make

Home values in El Dorado County are rising. The median selling price of a county home in July was $285,000. That’s 11 percent higher than June and 8 percent higher than July 2011. Of the 230 monthly sales, about half sold in less than 30 days at or above the listed price. With only 650 […]

Clear signs that we’re in a seller’s market

It was love at first sight. While showing homes, some will be OK, most will be discounted from consideration and eventually my clients find one that they really like enough to write an offer. It’s always a pleasant surprise when my clients discover a home that matches their personalities, expectations and price. But this time […]

Negotiating techniques in multiple offer situations

My clients had finally settled on a house. They had been previewing homes on the Internet for four months and in the last three weeks we previewed 30-plus homes scattered from El Dorado Hills to Camino. During this time we had seen some very nice homes and homes that met every specification my clients had […]

Every home has a dominate personality

All houses have a personality. There are happy homes and abandoned lonely ones. There are homes where you feel relaxed and comfortable and homes that have an intimidating attitude. Some homes are built around children. They are nurturing and protective while others have been neglected. There are homes nearing the end of their useful life […]

Housing shortage on horizon with no help from traditional sellers

Homebuyers who have been patiently waiting on the sidelines for the real estate market to hit bottom so that they could jump in precisely at the absolute lowest price have likely missed the opportunity. It’s still a great time to buy with prices and mortgage rates at unprecedented lows but county home values have been […]

Expect the unexpected when previewing homes, land

Whenever a seller or their agent open up their home to prospective buyers there is always a chance of unintended consequences. Stuff happens when strangers go wandering around an unfamiliar home or property that’s listed for sale. I was reminded of how freak incidents occur while reviewing a decision by the United States District Court […]

Meeting the needs of a very special group of people

Is listing and sales of homes for seniors any different from any other real estate transaction? But of course. While the mechanics are the same: for sale signs, flyers, MLS, previewing properties and writing offers, there are recognized differences in working with this very special group of people. Paying special attention to the needs of […]

Lawmakers should stop tinkering with housing market

Our Attorney General Kamala D. Harris is a rising Democrat star. She is no stranger to politics, as the former girlfriend of San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and one of President Obama’s top surrogates in California. Harris recently introduced a package of legislative bills she calls the Homeowners Bill of Rights which, according to her […]

May sales and low inventory point to market recovery

There is conclusive sales data showing the county’s housing market is rebounding. After seven years of declining prices and anemic sales, it’s a welcomed change. The median selling price of a county home last month was $285,000. That’s up $30,000 from April’s median of $255,000 and $35,000, or 14 percent, above the median selling price […]

The customer is always right unless they’re wrong

Prior to the 20th century customer service wasn’t all that important to trade and commerce. Today consumer spending accounts for nearly two-thirds of our GNP but it wasn’t always like that. In the 1800s consumers had a limited selection of goods and services. Products and skilled services were so in demand that those who controlled […]

Rural life not for everyone

This is the time of the year when I feel my 10 acres is nine too many. While my friends are playing golf, boating around Folsom Lake or taking the family on a picnic, I’m up to my elbows clearing grass, weeds and brush. My sole recreational activity over the next few weeks will be […]

Welcomed help from friendly neighbor

My clients told me about the home they wanted to buy before it was listed for sale. A friend of theirs knew the owners who needed to sell and relocate out of the area. When I received the information, I called the owners to inquire if they were indeed planning on selling and needed an […]

No celebration for this anniversary

It was six years ago last month that the median selling price of a county home reached the highest point ever recorded at $521,000. It’s been downhill from there. Last month the county’s median selling price was $256,000. Looking back six years ago, most of us in the housing industry knew we were long overdue […]

False expectations led to housing collapse

He was reviewing the terms of his offer, initialing each page of the purchase contract when he abruptly stopped, shoved aside the papers, looked me in the eye and asked, “If we pay the listing price do you expect this home to be worth more five years from now?” What I wanted to say was […]

Lenders fear big increase in walk-aways

Ask any actively engaged real estate professional and they will confirm the county’s real estate market continues to improve. March sales were 20 percent better than March of 2011 and the most active March since 2006. The county’s median selling price of $252,000 was down slightly from a year ago but was higher than both […]

Granny flats and in-law apartments are viable options for seniors

“Where’s mom going to live?” Asked my wife Vicki one evening during dinner. “What do you mean? She’s getting along just fine where she is,” I said. “Besides she loves that old house. She would never want to move.” “She can’t take care of that place. She has health issues and forgets to take her […]

Contract cancellation and its consequences

It’s often more difficult getting out of a contract than getting into one. At one time or another during my real estate career, I have been a party to a number of contract cancellations. Most of them were mutual, some were not but were resolved with time and others required arbitration or litigation. Most everyone […]

The unintended consequences too much regulation

My first land development was pretty easy. Two buddies and I purchased 100 acres of grazing land from an old rancher back in the 70s. We hired a surveyor who divided (paper platted) the property into four equal parcels. Then we filed the new plat map with the Recorder’s Office and received four new parcel […]

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