Avoiding the deal killers: experience matters

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series focusing on the challenges of buying and selling real estate. If you missed the first, read part 1 online at mtdemocrat.com/business-real-estate/avoiding-the-deal-killers-2.  Not every accepted offer, called a “pending sale,” becomes a documented closed sale. The buyer and seller have agreed upon the purchase price, escrow has been opened and all […]

Avoiding the deal killers

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two part series focusing on the challenges of buying and selling real estate. There will be about 2,500 home sales in El Dorado County this year. Most will be pretty normal. Buyers and sellers will do some negotiating on the price, sellers will end up repairing or replacing […]

All the home’s a stage: Before you buy, check out the hood

The dog barks day and night. Hoodlums sell drugs on the corner. The neighbor plays drums and tuba. The garbage dump is just over your back hill. The flight path to the nearby airport barely clears your chimney and the pasty-faced man across the street is a registered sex offender. The homeowner’s association fines you […]

A bull market or another bubble?

Timing is important when making investment decisions. If we were clairvoyant we would buy when prices were the lowest and sell at their peak. That may apply to equities, precious metals and bonds but even the best prognosticator of the real estate market would find it impossible to always adhere to the money-making rule of […]

Pat Seide scores record sale

EL DORADO HILLS — Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage recently announced that Pat Seide of the Pat Seide Group, an award-winning Realtor with the company’s El Dorado Hills office, has recorded the highest price home sale in El Dorado Hills since 2008 and the highest ever in the exclusive Serrano gated community. Seide was the listing agent for 4381 […]

Nine things to check before buying rural properties

Not everyone wants to live in the suburbs. Despite the conveniences of living in a planned development with their community parks, bike trails and street lights, there are a few hardy souls that are attracted to living in the more rural areas of the county. Since the first of the year, 200 homebuyers have purchased […]

Time is of the essence when buying/selling a home

The closing date of June 1 was agreed to by the buyer and seller back in April when escrow was opened. Since the buyer had already been pre-approved by his lender, 45 days was a reasonable amount of time to perform the property inspections, get the appraisal and finalize the buyer’s loan. A week prior to […]

What are you waiting for?

If you have been thinking about selling your home this year, it doesn’t get much better than this. There will be more homes sold between now and Sept. 1 than during any other quarter this year. Why wait until the Fed raises interest rates? School starts next fall? Or the arrival of El Niño this winter? […]

All the home’s a stage — preparing the shell to sell

We start at the curb with a clear, unclouded eye. My friend DC holds a yellow legal pad and a blue ballpoint poised to take notes about what needs to be done to get his Florida house ready for market and, more specifically, sell fast at a great price. Though I have professionally staged many […]

Rural life not for everyone

This is the time of the year when I feel my 10 acres is 9 too many. While my friends are playing golf, fishing or taking the family on a vacation, I’m up to my elbows clearing grass, weeds and brush. My sole recreational activity over the next few weeks will be weed-whacking. It’s a […]

Putting the humble back in home

Living simply isn’t simple. In fact, it’s complicated. So a recently released book — “Keep It Simple,” (Ryland, Peters & Small, March 2015), which weighs in at 176 pages — reminded me. By definition, the concept of simple shouldn’t need a book, or a monthly magazine for that matter, but it does. That’s because, in our bigger, […]

Buoyed by stronger economy, California housing market accelerates

LOS ANGELES — California’s housing market continued to pick up steam as existing home sales and prices propelled higher, with both posting back-to-back increases in March, the California Association of Realtors recently reported. Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 391,680 units in March, according to information […]

Creating a sleep haven

I have been sleeping around this week. I mean that literally. In the space of seven days, I have bed bounced from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., to San Antonio and back to my own bed in Orlando. Nothing makes me appreciate my own bed — heck, my own bedroom — more than a string of foreign mattresses, […]

Home and life lessons learned in 2014

This is the second of two parts of Marni Jamison’s 2014 wrap up. Perhaps the best part about what I do, besides connecting with my wonderful readers each week, is that I get to learn from folks who know a whole lot more than I do. As I stumble and bumble my way through the […]

Stuck in rural El Dorado County

A fascinating aspect of my real estate practice in rural El Dorado County is in its diversity. I might be showing homes in the gated community of Auburn Lake Trails one day and walking through a Fair Play vineyard the next. I recently closed escrow on an old winery and listed a 50-year-old roadhouse/biker bar. On […]

Where are you on the hoarding spectrum?

But I might need it. But it was expensive. But it was Mom’s. But it still works. But it was a gift. But I might lose weight. But it might be worth something. But it’s irreplaceable. But I don’t have time to deal with it. But, but, but. And so the clutter begins. The piles […]

Ten reasons your house isn’t selling

Last month 230 county homes closed escrow. The median selling price was $348,000 and the homes were listed an average of 45 days before attracting an offer at 98.5 percent of the listing price. Congratulations to the sellers, buyers and their agents who made that happen. This column, however, is written for the benefit of the 600 […]

New lending response to the foreclosure phenomenon

It was a national financial tragedy. Since September 2008 about 5 million homes across the country were lost to foreclosure and another 2.2 million to short sales, according to data from CoreLogic and RealtyTrac. Forced relocation due to a job loss forced another million homeowners to sell their homes, avoiding a default but leaving them […]

When customer service falls in the toilet

When I arrived at my friend’s house, I did not yet know the trouble I’d caused. Jean and her husband Tony graciously squired me to the guest room, where I set my overnight bag. Then they showed me to the bathroom down the hall. “You’ve done such a nice job,” I said, knowing they had […]

Design team promotes ‘gilt by association’

Atlanta architect Bobby McAlpine woke up one morning and saw the light, in the most poetic sense. This never happens to me. “I noticed the light would move through the space, selectively choose objects and illuminate them to the point of bursting,” he told me describing the moment he knew he was onto a new […]

Managing buyer and seller expectations

One of the most difficult challenges for agents when working with buyers or sellers is managing their expectations. Both have unrealistically positive expectations as to the process of buying or selling a home. That’s a normal condition. ‘ No one takes a step forward in life expecting to trip and fall. If we all focused […]

Mid-century modern: What was cool in ’50s and is now hot

Back at the turn of this century, whenever I heard the phrase “mid-century modern,” which was rare, I was puzzled. What’s modern about a style that started before I was born and that came of age alongside “Leave it to Beaver”? But now, when I hear the term, which is almost daily because this style […]

Housing numbers reflect commonality

According to the El Dorado County Association of Realtors, 1,850 homes in El Dorado County have sold since the first of the year. Although every home is different there may be value in looking at what they have in common. El Dorado Hills was the county’s most popular destination for homebuyers. They purchased 573 homes […]

The hunt for refinancing applicants

Last week I had a friend call me about a mailer she received offering to refinance her home. The mailer claimed to have loan programs for those with little or no equity, less than perfect credit OK and previous foreclosures and short sales were overlooked. My friend was interested since she had little equity in a […]

Day of reckoning approaches for HELOC borrowers

Mary’s $70,000 Home Equity Line of Credit, a HELOC loan, had prevented her from selling her home in Cameron Park. Although her home’s value had increased since 2008, she was still under water; her mortgages exceeded her home’s current value. Then she received a letter from her bank that could force her into a short […]

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

Let’s be honest. So many occasions in life are simply not as good as we imagine they will be. Family vacations, road trips and outdoor dining come to mind. I blame movies and magazines for jacking up our expectations. No movie or magazine ever captures the jet lag, the monotony, the bugs or bad weather — […]

Lower prices for longer listings

While previewing properties over the weekend, I was surprised to see a sold sign in front of a home that I recognized as having been listed for sale for more than a year with different agents. Curious about the selling price, when I returned to my office I checked the MLS and discovered, not surprisingly, […]

Expect the unexpected when previewing homes and land

Most of the time, showing homes to buyers is pretty routine but occasionally the unexpected happens when I least expect it. Stuff happens when strangers go wondering around an unfamiliar home or property that’s listed for sale. I was reminded of how freak incidents occur while reviewing a District Court case, Campbell v. Federal Home […]

Another real estate bubble or just a bounce?

A real estate bubble can happen for a number of reasons. One example is when there is a rapid increase in property values, not supported by solid economic factors such as rising wages. Eventually prices reach unsustainable levels and then decline, often rapidly. That’s what happened beginning in 2003 when in May the median selling […]

Rural life is not for everyone

This is the time of the year when I feel my 10 acres is 9 too many. While my friends are playing golf, fishing or taking the family on a vacation, I’m up to my elbows clearing grass, weeds and brush. My sole recreational activity over the next few weeks will be weed-whacking. It’s a […]

Cash is king

Real estate transactions have different degrees of difficulty. What makes them so stressful is the uncertainty that something will derail the deal during the escrow. The two most common deal killers are undisclosed property issues discovered during the inspection period and the borrower’s ability to obtain financing. Resolving property issues before a house goes up […]

Keeping El Dorado County rural

Over the last few weeks, I have attended several candidate forums featuring the eight candidates running for District 4 El Dorado County supervisor. At the forums, questions are asked of the candidates about important issues facing the county and District 4, in particular, those that affect portions of El Dorado Hills, Shingle Springs, Cameron Park, […]

A piece of Placerville’s history for sale

A “For Sale” sign posted next to a narrow driveway near the Highway 49/Highway 193 intersection might not attract much attention but those who make the turn will travel down Bennett Valley Lane and back in time. The Larned-Miller House, though to be constructed around 1875 and once owned by the Bennett family, has escaped […]

Helping Millennials with their first home purchase

Last week’s column reviewed why many young Americans were putting off buying a home. Many are burdened with student debt, employment opportunities are tight and living with mom and dad doesn’t have the stigma that it once had. The Millennials, born after 1980, should be taking advantage of owning California real estate at historically affordable […]

Why Millennials are not buying homes

This spring will reveal the direction of the real estate market for the balance of the year. That’s good because January and February sales haven’t been so great. January’s sales were less than a year ago and the median selling price declined 11 percent from December. February’s home sales were off 18 percent from last […]

Every home has a story

Matching up buyers to the right home is a journey of discovery. Every experience in the home-buying process is new and different because every situation is so unique. That’s what makes the process interesting. The first discovery for an agent is finding out who the next buyer will be. Much of a salesperson’s time is […]

Land sales and values not what they used to be

My first real estate purchase wasn’t a home; it a parcel of vacant land. I was 23 at the time and discovered the property while touring country back roads on my Suzuki Trail motorcycle. It was a one-acre parcel with beautiful mountain views. I called the number on real estate sign and with $500 for […]

Looking for answers for weak home sales

January home sales were pretty slow in comparison to the last three years and February sales appear to be about half of what they were last year. You can’t blame the weather. Most of January and February has been sunny and unusually warm. How about faulting interest rates? Mortgage rates are slightly higher. A year […]

Love it or list it

HGTV has a popular reality series called “Love It or List It.” The show features homeowners who can’t decide whether to remodel and stay in their home or sell it and move. Helping them make the decision is a real estate agent, who is in favor of selling the old place and buying another and […]

More difficult times ahead for borrowers

The average homebuyer has encountered countless obstacles while attempting to buy a home over the last few years. Back in 2009 and 2010, when nearly half the listings were short sales or bank REOs, getting an offer accepted was nearly impossible. Banks had no idea how to cope with their huge number of bad loans. […]

Who will be the future homebuyers?

Sales activity is likely to be much slower this year than last. December sales for El Dorado County were off by 24 percent from December 2012. It was the fifth straight month of declining sales. That’s pretty much the same story for the rest of the state. According to DataQuick, Sacramento County home sales were […]

Start early preparing home for sale

The unusually warm weather this winter has eliminated my normal excuses for not undertaking household projects that need to be done around our house. During past winters when it was cold or stormy, I had good reason to stay inside by the fire and watch a football game or read a Tom Clancy novel but […]

Does less mobility hurt the economy?

As a kid growing up, we moved a lot. My father was a career military officer and about every two or three years he was transferred to another military installation. One year we were living in Tampa, Fla., and the next I was in Chicopee, Mass. I attended school in five states from Alaska to […]

Saying goodbye to a great year

Last year was really pretty good for El Dorado County real estate. Traditionally, the January is a time we celebrate new beginnings and look forward to the new year. But while boxing up our Christmas decorations, I felt a little remorse saying goodbye to 2013. It was like saying goodbye to a good friend. There have […]

What a difference a year makes

At the end of last year, the median selling price for a home in our county was $289,000. This December it’s 21 percent higher at $350,000. A year ago the average selling price of a home in El Dorado Hills was $467,000. Today it’s up to $575,000. Cameron Park homes were averaging just less than […]