“Last Step First” Idea for Landing Stockton Homes for Sale 

Particularly when the supply of homes for sale falls well below demand, house hunting can take more determination than usual. Since U.S. residential real estate markets have been long mired in exactly that lean-inventory situation—the accompanying publicity could discourage folks who’d otherwise already be in the hunt for Stockton homes for sale.

While it can take some stick-to-it-ness to locate the ideal Stockton home that’s for sale at a price that fits your budget—the truly frustrating thing would be for your offer to be passed over in favor of a competitor’s. If the other party swoops in with an over-the-top offer that would bust your own budget, there’s not much you can do about it. But if a competing offer wins out for other reasons, that’s truly crazy-making. Such a scenario might play out if the other party had prior experience in the process of landing homes for sale. They would have foreseen the value of putting the “last step first.”

The last step first in this connection refers to the steps involved in buying and selling a home. The buyer takes many steps leading up to the closing table. But a knowledgeable buyer also considers the process strategically from the other guy’s standpoint. And when you think about things from the seller’s POV, the last step comes with the weighty decision about whether to accept an offer.

When a seller gets the good news that an offer (or multiple offers) have been submitted, beyond the dollar amount, there are crucial dependability factors. If the buyer can’t actually follow through with the purchase because of credit score problems or some other factor, it means the last step in the seller’s process was a misstep. It can be an expensive one. The seller may have lost qualified buyers while the bank was deciding not to fund. And now the property may be seen as less desirable than other Stockton homes for sale which haven’t lingered unsold for nearly as long…

When the seller’s choice is between one offer from a buyer who has been pre-approved by a lender and another from someone who is just beginning to feverishly gather pay stubs and tax returns, the prudent decision is pretty clear. The first buyer foresaw what the seller’s decision might well hinge upon—and dealt with that last step first.

Part of my value as your agent is in knowing all the steps you as a buyer or seller will encounter, and helping you prepare for each in a timely and wholly stress-free manner. I hope you’ll call me!

Buying a House in Stockton, First Step

Once you’ve settled on the goal of buying your first Stockton house, it’s hard to resist getting out there and getting started immediately! No matter if you know how vital it is to stick to a realistic budget on a purchase that’s this substantial, as soon as you’ve begun to save for that down payment, you’ll be hard-pressed not to at least stop by whenever you see an “Open House” sign. Even if it’s in a neighborhood where you know prices are half again what’s in your price range.

There may be no harm in that—but realistically, only if you are already following a delineated game plan. One that’s reality-based. Hard-headed. Businesslike. If not, it’s a better idea to resist the house hunting (even pre-house hunting) until your plans are charted out and underway. The danger in getting ahead of yourself is that buying your Stockton house is at least partially an emotional undertaking—and falling in love with the wrong house is the last thing you need. What’s at stake is gaining the incomparable feeling that now you control the place where you live (rather than the feeling that it’s the house that is controlling you)!

Drawing up a game plan that sets everything in motion the right way doesn’t take Pulitzer Prize creativity. Financial guru Dave Ramsey has even boiled it down to “7 simple steps” for buying a house. I’d go further: the most pivotal parts can actually be found in his first three:

  1. Save for a down payment
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
  3. Find a real estate agent

The first step takes no more than a sheet of paper, a sharp pencil, and determination to calculate how much you can realistically set aside each month. The second step comes after your savings are nearing the percentage likely to be required for your down payment. I might disagree with Mr. Ramsey that this comes next—teaming with your Stockton real estate agent might be a better Step 2. I know that clients sometimes ask me for information on special home loan programs that support discounted down payment percentages.

Once those qualifying steps are out of the way, the remaining steps can proceed like clockwork: 4. Go house hunting; 5. Submit an offer; 6. Get a home inspection; 7. Close on your house.

Of course, this step-by-step is over-simplified, but laying out an advance strategy for buying a house does keep you in the driver’s seat. It also makes it much more likely that the Stockton house you wind up with will be one that guarantees homeownership will be a joy instead of a burden. When you call me in to help at an early stage, I’ll work hard to make sure that happens!

 

 

Ageless Real Estate Advice Heartens Stockton Homeowners

It seems as if inflation is starting a slow creep back into Stockton supermarkets and gas stations—something that hasn’t happened for quite a while. For families on a tight budget, it’s hard not to notice—especially when it comes to trying to put something extra aside as a long-term investment.

By way of partially alleviating that concern, it’s worthwhile reviving some elevating insights from past eras. They stem from a chorus of exceptionally qualified voices when it comes to sophistication in investing: namely, economists, millionaires, and billionaires.

These elevating insights can be heartening whenever Stockton householders write a monthly mortgage check that pays down the principal. That only seems like a monthly expense—and hard-earned dollars out the door. In reality, those dollars are on their way to a happier place: the long-term investment column. And there’s been major agreement among history’s titans of finance that it’s a pretty smart destination, too! Here are a few of the many encouraging dictums that appear through the ages:

The major fortunes in America have been made in land.”

That’s investment advice that doesn’t beat around the bush. It’s all the more convincing when you consider its source: the first great American oil baron—John D. Rockefeller.

Land…is by far the greatest of monopolies…and it is the mother of all other forms of monopoly.” –Winston Churchill, statesman.

“Landlords grow rich in their sleep without working, risking, or economizing.”—John Stuart Mill, political economist.

“Ninety percent of all millionaires become so through owning real estate.”—Andrew Carnegie, industrialist.

“The best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”—John Paulson, billionaire hedge fund manager.

Buy real estate when other people want to sell. Hold what you buy!”—John Jacob Astor, first American multi-millionaire.

  • — — — —

If I may, I’d like to add one more timely piece of advice,:

For any and all of your own Stockton real estate matters, just call!”—me, your Stockton Real Estate Broker

Beyond Listing Strategy: One for the Record Books

When it’s time to put your Stockton house up for sale, one of the most important built-in marketing tools at your disposal is the write-up at the top of its Stockton listing.  Ad people call short descriptive essays like this “blurbs.” In Stockton listings, its importance is second only to the curb-appeal of the photo that appears above it.

When the blurb is thoughtfully crafted, it can shape prospects’ expectations by way of highlighting the best features while softening the importance of less desirable details. A huge backyard could be emphasized as “park-like”—while a tiny patio could be “cozy” or even “intimate.”

That’s why, after a lightning-fast sale took place last month in Sunnyvale, California, the agent who’d authored its blurb had to have been more than pleased. Realtor® Doug Larson had been working with a home that was definitely “cozy.” The blurb called it “a charmer”— a carefully-chosen adjective given its size (just 848 square feet of living space) and unremarkable lot size (about 1/8 acre). The blurb diplomatically pointed out a “large backyard patio.”

Now, the fact is that even though the single-story house clearly belonged in the “modest” category, its proximity to leading Silicon Valley campuses like Google and Apple merited a hefty asking price—even though Sunnyvale is a more affordable community than neighboring Cupertino or Palo Alto. At only $1.4 million, the listing price represented a strategic exercise in attracting motivated buyers by setting an asking price below comparables. Larson hoped that offers of $1.6 million or so would be forthcoming eventually.

The listing appeared on a Wednesday, but by Friday, despite a request that offers be withheld until a week had passed, a “persistent” Realtor® submitted her client’s offer.

If you are reading this while standing, please sit down.

“I was blown away by it,” said Larson. The offer was for a flat $2,000,000. That jaw-dropping sum works out to $2,358 for each and every one of the 848 square feet —making it not only the highest square foot price recorded in Sunnyvale; it is the highest price per square foot ever recorded in local MLS history. It generated headlines from coast to coast.

Stockton sellers might be forgiven for regarding this tale from a notoriously super heated market as somewhat irrelevant—but I’d argue that there are real-life Stockton lessons to be learned. For one, this is now the season for the kind of active market you may expect when springtime breaks out after a long, cold winter. For another, strategic under pricing can actually draw motivated buyers in a hurry. This particular example is hyperbolic, to be sure—but the takeaway is authentic.

For more ideas about maximizing your own Stockton listing’s marketing impact, give me a call!

Stockton’s Calendar Delivers 6 Reasons It’s Selling Season! As Stockton’s Spring Selling Season Begins, 6 Factors 6 Factors Shape Spring Selling Season in Stockton

Stockton calendars mark the first day of spring March 19th: the vernal equinox. The onset of astronomical spring doesn’t quite coincide with Stockton’s real estate spring selling season, which most agree should be considered to start 12 days later, at the start of April.

Just about everything you need to know about why we expect Stockton’s spring selling season to be as active (some say “frantic”) as ever can be gleaned by a glance at the calendar. After the long winter, it explains why so many homebuyers seem to come out of the woodwork. Here are six of the calendar-based factors that help make spring the peak selling season:

  1. Families with children are captives of the school year calendar. They want to get their sale or purchase out of the way so that moving won’t disrupt next semester’s activities.
  2. Nicer weather moves people to get out to investigate. That may sound like a trivial reason, but when you add in the unarguable appeal of springtime gardens, the atmospherics alone would be enough to quicken sales.
  3. Tax refund checks are headed for 83% of filers. With average amounts in the thousands of dollars, it’s no wonder they give buyers a feeling of well-being. This year, 2018 federal tax reductions have also improved many a paycheck’s bottom line.
  4. Springtime provides a natural rebound from the typical Stockton winter real estate doldrums.
  5. Longer daylight hours provide more time for showings—and in real estate parlance, “brighter” is synonymous with “more appealing.”
  6. This year especially, there’s a ‘tick-tock’ factor: economy-minded homebuyers are incented to lock in Stockton properties before prices and interest rates rise.

There are always reasonable arguments for Stockton buyers and sellers to choose some other season, but over the long haul, the single point that’s hardest to dispute is in the numbers. Nearly 40% of U.S. home sales occur between April and July.

If you’ve been thinking that springtime might be the right time to create your own Stockton selling season, it’s not too late to make it happen! Give me a call to discuss how quickly we can turn that idea into action.

Stockton Homeowners Still Selling Homes During The Coronavirus Outbreak

I am sure all of you are excited to see a post on the topic of selling your house during Coronavirus outbreak. But this is what we are dealing with for the next couple of months.

With so much information flying around, it’s hard to be calm during an unknown time. There is good news though! Interest rates are at an all time low and may continue to get lower in the passing days. Why is this good news? Well it means people are going to take advantage of these rates and buy houses. Here’s how you can prepare your home as a seller and get ready for these buyers!

CLEANLINESS FIRST!!

With what we know about the virus, we want to ensure everyone has safety in mind first and foremost! If you are preparing to sell your home during this time, we want to make sure all parties are protected. This includes getting your home deep cleaned before you list on the market. We want to make sure all solid surfaces are wiped down with a bleach formula as well as all door handles and light switches. If you have carpet in your home, we suggest getting them professionally cleaned and for hardwood floors, using a sanitation cleaner.

WHAT ABOUT SHOWINGS & OPEN HOUSES?

Virtual tours are a real estate agents and homeowners best friends right now. They will be viewed 4 times as much as before the outbreak, so make sure your agent provides this service. Once your home is listed and you started getting showings, make sure you leave your property for all showings. When you return home after showings, wipe down all surfaces that people may have touched. Buyers agents will instruct buyers to not touch anything but it doesn’t hurt to resanitize after each walk through. We suggest leaving hand sanitizer by the front door and a note saying to please use before and after looking at your home. Open houses should not be held during the outbreak time as it could be endangering yourself, your agent and/or attendees. Just to note also, vacant homes are seller 3 times faster and getting many more showings in this market than occupied homes. So if you have the option of selling your home vacant, take this option.

GETTING AN OFFER:

Once you get an offer and all terms are agreed on, we suggest doing all paperwork electronically. This includes sending offers and terms via electronic signing software. This way, no papers have to touch hands at any point. Once you are fully executed, your agent should let all parties know that you only want minimal people in your property during the home inspection period so maybe just the agent and inspector be present.

CLOSING:

Good news is closings can be remote also! You can have the title company email you all paperwork and have a mobile notary come to your house to sign all documents if you don’t feel comfortable being at the closing table. All title companies are going above and beyond to keep pens and table sanitized right now but it’s all about your comfort level. Title companies can wire you your funds once the closing is complete so you don’t have to worry about picking up a check. The point in all of this is to keep facts above fear in this time. If you don’t like the option of people coming through your house during this period, your home will have a difficult time selling, so be creative and take precautions, BUT KEEP SHOWING.

At Bright Side Real Estate our utmost concern at this time is public safety. We are set up with all of the modern electronic options for signings and closings, Zoom meetings for listing consults, docusign for electronic form signing, the most professional virtual tour platforms and a detailed plan for selling homes during this outbreak. Give us a call today to discuss your strategy!!

6 Factors Shape Spring Selling Season in Stockton

This Thursday, Stockton calendars mark the first day of spring: the vernal equinox. The onset of astronomical spring doesn’t quite coincide with Stockton’s real estate spring selling season, which most agree should be considered to start 12 days later, at the start of April.

Just about everything you need to know about why we expect Stockton’s spring selling season to be as active (some say “frantic”) as ever can be gleaned by a glance at the calendar. After the long winter, it explains why so many homebuyers seem to come out of the woodwork. Here are six of the calendar-based factors that help make spring the peak selling season:

  1. Families with children are captives of the school year calendar. They want to get their sale or purchase out of the way so that moving won’t disrupt next semester’s activities.
  2. Nicer weather moves people to get out to investigate. That may sound like a trivial reason, but when you add in the unarguable appeal of springtime gardens, the atmospherics alone would be enough to quicken sales.
  3. Tax refund checks are headed for 83% of filers. With average amounts in the thousands of dollars, it’s no wonder they give buyers a feeling of well-being. This year, 2018 federal tax reductions have also improved many a paycheck’s bottom line.
  4. Springtime provides a natural rebound from the typical Stockton winter real estate doldrums.
  5. Longer daylight hours provide more time for showings—and in real estate parlance, “brighter” is synonymous with “more appealing.”
  6. This year especially, there’s a ‘tick-tock’ factor: economy-minded homebuyers are incented to lock in Stockton properties before prices and interest rates rise.

There are always reasonable arguments for Stockton buyers and sellers to choose some other season, but over the long haul, the single point that’s hardest to dispute is in the numbers. Nearly 40% of U.S. home sales occur between April and July.

If you’ve been thinking that springtime might be the right time to create your own Stockton selling season, it’s not too late to make it happen! Give me a call to discuss how quickly we can turn that idea into action.

St Patrick’s Day: Perfect Day for Selling a Stockton Home?

Many people don’t fully understand why it is that St. Patrick’s is the perfect day for selling a Stockton home, or for buying one. But if ever there were a right time to explain it, this is it. There is one drawback to any such explanation, though: namely, that it makes so little sense.

That does not seem to make much difference to a lot of real estate industry marketing supply companies. I can bear witness to that fact, in the form of the postcards and various art pieces that are pitched to Realtors en masse ahead of every St. Pat’s. As you might guess, they are green (usually very green), and almost without exception bear some rendition of a four leaf clover. Also rainbows, pots of gold, wee leprechauns wearing green top hats with buckles on them, and sometimes horseshoes (to indicate the Luck O’ the Irish, of course).

What could this have to do with selling a Stockton home, or buying one? That’s very hard to pin down. There is the simple good will postcard, that says, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” with no further connection. That’s a nice thought, certainly, and not risky. Who wouldn’t want to have a happy St. Patrick’s Day? There is one with a good-looking home at the end of a rainbow, with a wee little leprechaun holding a “Welcome Home!” sign—certainly a strong connection between selling a Stockton home and the celebration.

One of the best ones is the poster that features two shades of green, a cartoon three-leaf clover (mistake there, if you ask me) upon which is printed in Celtic-looking letters, “You don’t need to have the ‘Luck of the Irish’ to sell your home.” You have to like that one, because it doesn’t discriminate against people who aren’t Irish (the closer you get to St. Patrick’s Day, the more you run the risk of seeming to snub the non-Irish among us).

There is one postcard with a lady bug crawling over clover leaves emblazoned with a sentimental poem, but the emotionality of the poetry is tempered by the heading, “For all Your Real Estate needs just give me a call!” Balance is important on St. Patrick’s Day…but it’s not clear that the card with the green beer mugs got that message (which is “Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Remember, parade watching is like real estate. Location, location, location.”).

One that also tips the scales in the direction of crass commercialism is the picture of the big pot o’ gold brimming with gold coins. It says, “It takes more than Luck to sell your home.” I’m not sure what the St. Pat’s message is for that one—that selling your Stockton home requires you to go out, find a leprechaun or rainbow, and wangle a pot o’ gold? It’s simply not the case. If you ask me, an experienced Realtor with a great marketing plan and a reasonable price will do the trick better than pots o’ gold or four-leaf clovers. Still, that can’t keep me from wishing you a terrific St. Patrick’s Day, as too!

4 Tricks the Pros Use for Stockton Open Houses

Since bright, sunny days can’t be counted on for Stockton open houses scheduled in February, the most common recommendations at this time of year deal with light. Everyone points out how doubly important it is to open the drapes and make sure all lamps and overheads are working. Where necessary, it’s also a good idea to brighten dim corners with higher wattage bulbs.

There are also any number of fine points that homeowners planning Stockton open houses might not have heard about. Familiarity is a handicap in that respect. Being able to view a property’s rooms with fresh eyes is one of the advantages open house staging professionals bring to the party.

Beyond maximizing the “light and bright” quality that’s so important at this time of year, here some tricks of the trade that stagers and interior designers talk about:

  1. Unclutter but don’t overdo. That is, never leave a room totally empty—it actually makes a room look smaller. A companion tip is to give every room a purpose. Showing what is presented as a nondescript “bonus room” runs the risk of losing its value: what’s forgettable is usually also unimportant.
  2. Use the golden rule of home staging: The Rule of Three (it could also be called Rule of Five or Seven). Groupings with odd numbers of objects—whether chairs or artwork or accessories—create visually rich spaces that force the eye to explore. An even number of objects imparts a forced, geometric feeling that comes off as less natural. Try experimenting with chairs around a table: you’ll see that it works!
  3. Play up a room’s best attribute by positioning accessories. When a room has a natural focal point (it might be a window with a view or an inviting fireplace), place attractive objects where they will direct attention to that area.
  4. Place furniture People scan things from left to right (even rooms as we enter them)—so experts say that placing the tallest piece of furniture in the far left corner makes a room seem larger. If you can’t predict which will be the entry door, just make sure large pieces aren’t right next to a door—if people enter through that one, it will make the room feel much smaller.

Stockton open houses can be terrific events for building awareness when your home is on the market—but it’s only one of many marketing tools I will bring to your campaign. Call me!

More Stockton Real Estate Features Include Electronics

In Stockton real estate, it’s the steak—not the sizzle—that draws serious offers.

Even so, every year about this time it can be useful (and great fun!) to watch what comes out of Las Vegas’ CES gathering. This year’s edition of the Consumer Electronics Show—the annual trade extravaganza that grabs headlines for its bounty of new electronic product unveilings—unveiled a number of smart home tech debuts. Some were, as commentators noted, “weird and wonderful”—while others were potentially important incremental steps toward what will eventually become everyday household necessities. Among those that caught my eye:

  • Echo Plus-connected gadgetry: Amazon’s ubiquitous wifi-connected digital assistant (aka “Alexa”) is getting its/her artificially intelligent mitts into a vast number of home devices, from TVs to toasters. Disneyland-style homes of the future seem ever closer at hand as more and more household appliances and devices become controllable with just a word to your closest Alexa or Google Assistant outlet.
  • 5G: Get familiar with this term, which denotes the technology which soon will enable home wireless speeds 100 times faster than the current technology Stockton homes use today. In the unlikely event that your own home still lacks wireless connectivity—we should talk!
  • Smart Rooms: too many to detail, smart bathroom appliances include intelligent showers that save water even as they direct temperature-controlled streams your way; smart kitchens featuring ovens clever enough to shut themselves off when dinner’s ready; and smart driveways that clear themselves of debris.
  • Furbo: a treat-tossing camera/speaker that lets owners remotely spoil pets from anywhere in the world.
  • Robots and More Robots: on hand were a laundry-folding robot; a pair of dancing robots; an owl-like children’s companion robot; and LG’s kitchen helper, a recipe-fetching robot (“Cloi”) that repeatedly stalled (possibly from over-excitement).

The consumer show also demonstrated what looks like an iPad perched on a roller-mounted monopod: a real estate agent robot! Said to be capable of leading prospective renters or buyers on home tours, it answered prospects’ questions via long-distance connection with an actual agent who managed the tour via remote control.

For the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be sticking with less creepy, in-person showings. For those or any other of your own Stockton real estate initiatives, please give me a call!