Stockton Borrowers Shun Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs) Stockton Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs) in the Doldrums Stockton Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs) Lose Luster

If they follow the same path home loan applicants across the nation are choosing, most Stockton mortgage applicants will continue passing up adjustable-rate offerings. As last week’s Real Estate News analysis points out, there are multiple reasons for that phenomenon.

It’s been a decade since the financial meltdown had everyone rethinking the nation’s (and their own) disposition toward the way mortgage products were viewed. The headline may have been worth a chuckle (“ARMs Don’t Have Legs”) but the history that produced it was anything but hilarious—especially for Stockton adjustable-rate mortgage borrowers who fared poorly in the financial meltdown.

Leading up to the crisis, the Mortgage Bankers Association traced a steady gain in popularity for the adjustables. From 1998-2008, the average share of adjustable-rate loans was 20%. With one in five home loan borrowers choosing the mortgages with their featured low initial interest rates, new home buyers and refinance applicants could pencil out budgets that were suddenly workable for properties they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford—workable, that is, until the “adjustable” part came due. Many buyers made the assumption that, even if their own future fortunes didn’t grow at a pace that would allow higher monthly payments, they could always “cash out” on their investment, since real estate values were sure to grow as they had for years.

The double whammy of the mortgage meltdown and its triggering of the real estate slide put thousands of adjustable-rate mortgage holders in an impossible position, resulting in too many foreclosures—which in turn triggered a feedback-loop of even lower real estate valuations that made refinancing all but impossible.

When the dust cleared, mortgage industry regulators and the lenders they governed decided to make qualifying for adjustable home loans much harder—but they weren’t alone. Borrowers were now widely in agreement. By the end of 2008, no longer were one in five borrowers signing up for the variable interest mortgage offerings. Now it was more like 1%.

Flash forward to today, and, surprisingly, the adjustable-rate loan market is still being widely shunned. Borrowers are being offered fixed rate mortgage rates that are, as Real Estate News puts it, “stuck near all-time lows.” That being the case, most borrowers seem to be demonstrating that accepting the risk of an adjustable remains unappealing—all the more so as the Federal Reserve continues nudging rates upward. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some scenarios that legitimately justify an adjustable—just that they are relatively scarce.

The fact that even now, in mid-summer 2019, Stockton mortgage rates remain near the lower end of historical averages is good news for both buyers and sellers. In other words, it remains a great market—and ample reason to give me a call!

Sell Your Stockton House for What it’s Worth Sell Your Stockton House for More Than It’s Worth? Selling Your Stockton House for More Than It’s Worth: Not!

In my capacity as Stockton real estate information-gatherer, I really couldn’t pass up last week’s, “How to Sell Your House for More than It’s Worth.” 

I know; I know: that’s the kind of web clickbait we’ve all learned to avoid—like popups announcing “New Law Cuts Stockton Residents’ Tax Bill in Half!” or “Secret Diet Miracle Food Celebrities Won’t Tell You About.” By now we’ve learned that the “new law” will turn out to be an obscure exception that applies only to some very small group and the “secret miracle diet food” is water. But despite all that, the “Sell Your House” essay turned out to be thought-provoking—although not in the way the authors probably intended.

First, about the article itself: its how-to guidance was organized into subtitles like “Quick Fix” and “Face lift.” The “sell your house for more than its worth” premise hinged on surface maintenance coverups. A final “Important Tip” turned out to be a whole bundle of tips—all of which boiled down to the caution, “selling a house is not easy.” I would add, especially if you ask for more than your house is worth.

But the authors were onto something—which is why their title works to attract readers. It is a fact that most otherwise sensible Stockton homeowners would be all ears if only it was possible to sell their Stockton house for more than it’s worth. Why not? And on first blush, it might actually seem possible—probably because of the free-floating nature of residential real estate price-setting. But there are two ironclad reasons why that’s an illusion.

First, in a free market like Stockton’s, a house is worth what it sells for. When someone actually pays X dollars, the house is worth X dollars. That may seem like a word game—but it is in fact definitory.

More persuasively, just about every one of today’s Stockton home buyers will make their offer contingent on an inspection—and our Stockton home inspectors are extremely talented when it comes to uncovering any of the article’s “quick fixes” and “facelifts.” Those were at the core of the “more than its worth” come-on.

Long story short: it’s more astute to plan on selling your house for what it’s worth. Those who try to sell for more than that will probably find themselves drumming their fingers, waiting for a buyer who agrees.

Right-pricing means getting an analysis of the latest Stockton market returns for homes similar to yours. Give me a call for an up-to-the-moment property analysis!

Stockton 4th of July Waiting-for-Dusk Time Fillers Six Stockton July 4th Time-Fillers for Celebration Pauses Cure for Stockton July 4th Conversation Doldrums

For the most Stockton July 4th celebrants, the period between the last barbecued hot dog and the first firework (even if it’s only on TV) can drag on so long that it threatens the festivities.

Times like these may not quite try men’s (or Moms’) souls, but they do cry out for creative diversions like word games, foam football tosses, or—in extreme cases—trivia. As a public service for those in need of sparking Independence Day trivia, here are Stockton July 4th trivia I present in the form of six quiz questions. Warning: the answers may be stranger than you think:

  1. When was the first July 4th celebration in the White House?
  2. 1776
  3. 1781
  4. 1801
  5. 1866
  6. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on
  7. July 5
  8. a Tuesday
  9. a birchbark canoe frame
  10. a laptop
  11. The percentage of imported U.S. flags that come from China is
  12. 99%
  13. About 50%
  14. Less than 10%
  15. 5%
  16. The Star-Spangled Banner’s “bombs bursting in air” burst in which war?
  17. Boer War
  18. American Revolution
  19. Civil War
  20. War of 1812
  21. The number of people living in the U.S. in 1776 was
  22. 750,000
  23. 6 million
  24. 25 million
  25. 5 million
  26. Two other places which celebrate their country’s liberation on July 4th are
  27. Canada and Mexico
  28. Canada and Mozambique
  29. Canada and Bermuda
  30. Rwanda and the Philippines

 

ANSWERS (don’t peek early):

The answers are all d’s, with the explanation for 2-d) Jefferson drafted the Declaration on a “writing slope”—a foldable wooden writing compartment that fit atop his lap. For less controversial answers to all your Stockton real estate questions, call me!

 

A Greige Tip for Prepping Your Stockton Home for Sale Prep Your Stockton Home Using the Greige Effect To Prep Your Stockton Home Consider Going Greige!

There’s little debate about the psychological importance that color exerts on people—nor on the crucial role it can play in creating an attractive atmosphere. When you decide what tweaks will do the most to prep your Stockton home for market, it follows that choosing the right paint color for rooms that need refreshing should get serious consideration.

The impact of those choices has been studied and found to have a measurable impact on home sale prices. Last week, CBS News’ Marketwatch published a roundup that Stockton homeowners ready to prep their own Stockton homes will want to take into account. It listed specific rooms and the color choices which were found to influence final sale prices—both good and bad.

In the bathroom, for instance, cool light blue tones (periwinkle blue, to be precise) were found to increase final sale prices by $2,786. The precise figures were produced by comparing 135,000 photos from sold homes, white walls versus various alternatives.

Living rooms benefitted from light taupe treatments to the tune of $2,793, on average.

On the other hand, dining rooms with brown walls suffered a loss of -$1,684; bright red kitchens lost $2,310; homes with yellow exteriors lost an average of -$3,408.

These findings confirm what we in the real estate world have long maintained—namely, that quiet, neutral palettes almost always do better with the majority of buyers than do brash, dramatic choices. It’s not just that buyers might not happen to share an affinity for the specific palette. It’s also that when such a choice has been made, it has the effect of forcing the issue. And buyers prefer to have the final say: literally, they want to own it.

Recalling an earlier Zillow study of 32,000 sales, there was one all-time champ when it comes to pleasing buyers. That’s the color that “tended to sell for $3,496 more” than alternatives. That color is greige.

Greige is that shade that falls somewhere between light gray and beige. It’s the very embodiment of the idea of neutral. It’s also a word that looks so strange when you spell it out that you’re sure you’ve got it wrong.

You know greige when you see it (and you’ve seen it a lot around Stockton). It’s a color you’re also likely to find in metropolitan hotel lobbies, vice principal’s offices, dentists’ waiting rooms, etc. Wherever it’s important to calm visitors’ nerves in a pleasant, unobtrusive way, you’re likely to find greige. It’s really quite nice and inoffensive. I feel calmer just writing about it.

If you’re going to prep your own Stockton home for sale anytime soon, you really should consider the value of introducing neutral tones in rooms that need refreshing. Give me call, too, early in the process. I can provide detailed insights into the current Stockton activity.

A Cool Reception as Stockton Summer Arrives Arrival of Stockton’s Summer Gets a Cool Reception A “Fan” Club for Cooler Stockton Household Summers

 

Thursday officially marks the end Stockton’s spring season, but Mother Nature doesn’t always consult the calendar before she rolls out the week’s weather. In any case, sooner or later we’ll be experiencing what happens when the summer heat hits the “sweltering” mark, at which point Stockton householders will want their premises to be reliable refuges.

Even though last week’s national Energy Information Administration predictions called for only moderate energy cost increases short-term (and lower costs in 2020), when the heat index registers anything less than “heat wave” intensity, Stockton household budget minders have some options to help them keep cool under the collar as well as under the roof. A fair number of them involve fans.

For homes which aren’t situated where cross ventilation happens automatically, the simple addition of a box fan or two can make a world of difference. The trick is to place it or them where they can move air from cooler to warmer areas without creating foot traffic jams—and to be willing to move them from place to place as conditions change.

Window fans can bring significant temperature moderation on shady sides of the house—and the ‘Reverse’ switch can evacuate hot air when the sun makes it necessary.

An attic fan is a more permanent solution. For houses that have sparse shade cover, it can provide enormous amounts of heat relief with moderate energy consumption—especially when the insulation is up to snuff.

Ceiling fans operate with minimal expense. The cooling wind chill effect on skin makes a room feel as much as 8 degrees cooler—while saving up to 40% of what turning on the air conditioning can cost. Springtime weather makes it easy to forget, but in case you haven’t done so yet, it’s high time to reverse the blade motion: summer calls for the counterclockwise direction. It’s set correctly when you are to feel the air move when you stand beneath the fan.

Of course, the real long-term energy-saver is the most ancient and natural one: shade. Strategic placement is the ticket. Now is the time to plant trees and foliage where they will ultimately shade the side of the house where the sun hits the strongest. You can also create shady areas that invite everyone to spend more time enjoying the outside. Adding a creative landscaping feature like a trellis or pergola will create more than just an oasis for deep summer days—it will add significant extra value to your whole property.

Here’s hoping your summer is an enjoyable one. If Stockton real estate questions come up, I’ll be here by the phone, waiting to help!

Inspections Dampen Stockton As-Is Listing Dramas ‘Wet Blanket’ Solution to Stockton As-Is Listing Dramas Unexciting 2nd Act for Dramatic Stockton As-Is Listings

Of all the attention-grabbing terms to be found in Stockton listings, the audacious “as-is” ranks right up there near the top of the deck. Intentional or not, it carries a pronounced dramatic aura. Contractors see Stockton “as-is” listings as calls to action. House flippers’ pulse rates quicken when they come across it. For most typical prospective buyers, on the other hand, the same term triggers furrowed brows and a hasty move onto the next listing.

“As-is” carries shades of meaning with legal implications, but in general, it simply signals to the world that the seller is not interested in improving the offered property. If something needs to be fixed, it’s up to the next owner to handle it. For that reason, Stockton as-is listings are nearly always accompanied by bargain asking prices.

The unique impact of the term isn’t due to what’s stated, but to what’s implied. It’s hard to escape the suspicion that something must be haywire with the place! That is where even more drama can develop—because that’s not necessarily the case. It could signal an all-time genuine world-class homebuying bargain!!!!! That would be the case if, for instance, the seller is simply eager to move on, and figures that the combination of “as-is” plus an appealing asking price will trigger one or more serious offers in a hurry.

But it’s also possible that the seller, having detected telltale signs that could signal major maintenance issues to come, lacks the wherewithal to tackle a worst-case scenario. He may be required to divulge what he knows—but the possible speculations are up to the buyer. The glass could be half full, or…?

The drama of the as-is listing can have a pronouncedly undramatic second act—which will be the case when I am your buyer’s agent. This wet blanket of an approach is known as the home inspection contingency. Even though it removes much of the casino-like excitement from the ensuing action, it’s seriously recommended for even the most optimistic of buyers. The $300-$500 that an experienced Stockton inspector will charge is the best way to detect what, if any, major defects are likely to turn up—allowing for some realistic bottom line calculations. When included as part of any offer (as-is or not), this properly worded contingency provides would-be buyers an economical exit if the resulting calculations reveal a non-bargain.

Having an experienced Stockton agent on your team is how to remove the drama when you’re buying or selling a home—but it can also mean safety when uncovering true Stockton home buying bargains. Buying or selling, as-is or not, I’m here to help!

 

 

Sense-sational Real Estate: Selling to All the Senses Stockton Real Estate Sales Using the Other Four Senses Real Estate Sales: Don’t Forget the Other 4 Senses!

When we think of traditional Stockton real estate sales scenarios, most of us would initially picture the photos that dominate the MLS listing and the information we read onscreen. Then, if those impressions were positive, the next step would be seeing how well the property presents itself as a prospective buyer approaches (the renowned “curb appeal”).

Notice that every impression up until the next step, positive or negative, had been exclusively visual. In fact, I think most of us think of real estate sales scenarios in exclusively visual terms. That’s not wrong—the majority of what impresses prospective buyers comes to them through their eyes.

But, whoa! Seeing is important (in fact, “seeing is believing”) but sight is only one of the five senses. Stockton homeowners who are preparing their homes for market can also benefit from thinking about using the other four senses to make a winning impression. It may sound like an unusual way to look at Stockton real estate selling, but when you think about it, a useful one!

Examples:

SOUND: when your visitors open the front door, if it squeaks, the quality message is less than satisfactory. Likewise for stair railings that creak, air conditioners that squeal, or windows that rattle in the wind. On the more positive side, when a musical background is present (but not too loud), it can supply a pleasant aura for a showing or open house.

SMELL: kitty boxes—well, you know! Bathrooms, bedrooms, and other living areas benefit from the kind of quality scent enhancement that can be provided by candles or aroma dispensers. And floral bouquets add more than just visual appeal.

TOUCH: back at the beginning, if the prospective buyer opens a front door handle that feels loose and flimsy, that’s a first impression that sends the wrong message. Likewise, if the door feels lightweight, it communicates an entirely different feel than one that’s heavy and substantial. That’s why consumeraffairs.com rates front door replacement among the top two tweaks for ROI (Return on Investment) for sellers. Any feature that would-be buyers might touch—from sticky light switches to obstinate sliding doors—are also worth fixing before visitors arrive.

TASTE: this sense is by far the least relevant. But I’ve seen tired prospects whose energy perks up considerably at the sight of a welcoming plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

When you are selling your Stockton home, it’s not a bad idea to be keenly aware that your home’s next owners will be using all their senses when they visit—even if they aren’t really aware of that. Another sensible idea: for any and all Stockton real estate sales matters, do give me a call!

 

Stockton Virtual Tours Can Use Your Help! Stockton Virtual Tours Prep – Sellers Can Help! Stockton Virtual Tours: A Smart Trick for a Quick Sale

They are  a home seller’s dream come true: a miraculous gateway through which the world’s prospective buyers can tour your property 24 hours a day without your having to sweep the front porch, put flowers in vases, turn on all the lamps or light the fireplace. Here your house is always tidy and gleaming, its best foot forward (if your home had feet; well, you know what I mean!).

Of course, we’re talking about Stockton virtual tours—the 21st century’s most far-reaching and transformative of real estate marketing tools. Whether you’re buying or selling a Stockton home, chances are you’re finding yourself spending more and more online time immersed in virtual tours. If you’re on the buying side: tour away! You’re saving a lot of time and motion as you whittle down the possible in-person visits. If you’re an owner preparing to list, on the other hand, you can contribute greatly to the success of your own Stockton virtual tour. Here’s how:

  • Eliminate Excess. Real estate photographers are experts at knowing how to accentuate the spaciousness of your home by selecting the right angles and lens focal lengths. But you can make the results more impressive yet by ridding every nook and cranny of all clutter—including extraneous furnishings. One wise investment to promote a speedy sale is the renting of storage space to accommodate all that stuff. To showcase the full potential of your home, it’s probably worth the trouble of lugging a few pieces of furniture to temporary storage.
  • Be Ready to Stash. Look around to spot items lying around the house that can be hidden. Find temporary lodgings for items like TV and stereo remotes, books and magazine, etc. Only slightly more troublesome are the kitchen blender and Cuisinart—or all the bathroom counter bric-a-brac. Have a number of smaller cardboard cartons ready to serve as temporary containers—they’ll go out of camera range.
  • Give the Place a Thorough Going-Over. Stockton virtual tours—whether they be motion videos or the more common still photo compilations—can memorialize your home at its sparkling best only when it’s been made dazzling for the occasion. The camera tends to see flaws, and although some can be “fixed” in processing, the best virtual tours result when the property is actually in tip-top shape. Literally camera-ready. To that end, clean the bathrooms, mop the floors, dust, and vacuum – you know the drill! A few places that often get overlooked are baseboards and kitchen cabinet doors.

There’ll be a bonus coming your way afterward, too. In addition to having provided your home’s listing with one of the most appealing Stockton virtual tours in town, after the shoot, your family can enjoy the house at its spectacular camera-ready best (at least for a little while).

The combined efforts of a seasoned professional and motivated homeowner create an unstoppable formula for success. I hope you’ll think of me when it’s time to choose your agent!

 

Some Lucky Stockton Consumers see Credit Score Bumps Surprise Credit Score Rise Affects Lucky Stockton Homebuyers This Month, Stockton Credit Scores May See Surprise Rises

It isn’t exactly Christmas-in-May, but for some Stockton consumers, a valuable present they weren’t expecting will show up this month. The surprise gift will arrive in the form of a boost to their all-important credit score. The newly minted credit scores could be improved by as much as 30 points—enough of a jump that some Stockton recipients could find themselves newly eligible for home loans with lower rates. That will happen if the increase promotes them from one credit score “band” to the next.

The windfall comes as a result of a revision in the way the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—deal with tax records (the negative ones, that is). Up until mid-April, any tax lien that appeared in Stockton consumers’ credit records resulted in significant dings to their credit scores. An overdue tax bill of any kind was scored as a major no-no—and until mid-April, that was a black mark that marred more than 5 ½ million U.S. citizens’ credit scores.

This was true even though the reporting agencies had already removed almost all civil judgment data from consumer records last July—including about half of existing tax liens. The reason then was the same as the reason now: scads of incorrect identifying information. It seems that simple mistakes like same-name cross-ups or bureaucratic updating failures had become so common that the histories could no longer be considered reliable. That put the credit agencies in legal jeopardy—a situation that could only be remedied by striking all of the tax lien records.

For consumers with Stockton credit scores that had been affected, the impact on their home loan prospects will vary. If they are already in a superior rating band, the result will be a ho-hum. But for those with lower scores, the boost might be decisive.

Credit scores are one area where it pays to be vigilant when it comes time to buy and finance a home. Another is in selecting the right experienced Stockton real estate agent. That’s where I come in: I hope you’ll give me the nod!

 

Sell Your Stockton Home by Neutralizing the NuancesTo Sell Your Stockton Home: Go Boring!A Boring Palette Helps Sell Your Stockton Home

It may sound paradoxical, but one proven way to sell your Stockton home is to make it boring…or at least, a little bit more boring.

The principle here stems from buyer psychology—specifically, the difference between a house that would make a great tourist attraction and one whose first impression is more apt to lead to a sale. At first blush, the flashy version might seem to be not only memorable, ­­­but more valuable as well. But that’s not typically true.

A potential buyer can remember your house in two different ways. One memory might be of striking red walls and purple tile that call to mind images from an architectural magazine. That sort of memory will be vivid, but it doesn’t necessarily help to sell your home. A different type of memory could be of a living room that is just the right size for a couch, with a bare spot over the fireplace mantle that would be perfect for…whatever—the specifics will be personal for every potential buyer.

To sell your home, the odds are good that the second impression will sell your Stockton home to more prospects than will the first. The better result is to leave buyers with the mental image of a home they could see themselves living in—rather than one they might admire as a design exhibit.

The difference between these two types of memory is highlighted in an analysis published by Consumer Reports. Their research found that homes painted in neutral colors sell at a premium of up to $5,000 more than similar homes painted in brighter, more distinctive colors. Results came from an analysis of thousands of photographs of homes for sale. Today’s neutrals tend toward greys, taupes, and beiges—but even when fashions change, the underlying wisdom remains. The principal reason these colors help sell a home is that they form unobtrusive backgrounds to buyers’ own imaginations—in other words, “boring” becomes “memorable” when it allows onlookers’ own imaginations to take over. Neutral colors accomplish that by creating a canvas onto which potential buyers can paint their own masterpieces.

First impressions are important for laying the groundwork, but it’s your Stockton real estate agent who makes all the difference when it comes to following through. That’s where I come in. Give me a call!