Patti Phillips
Prudential California Realty
6119 La Granada
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Direct toll free: 800-680-9133
Cell: 619-507-2100 Office: 858-481-2020

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Suggestions for Leaving a Vacant Home Ready for Sale

Suggestions and Requests for Leaving Your Home Vacant
While Listed for Sale

Once you move out of your home there are a few requests and suggestions that I have for you to keep your home in great condition for showing, so that it will sell as quickly as possible.

1. Please keep all of the utilities on!

It is important that agents can put on lights to best show the features of your home. Often, agents show vacant homes after dark, especially during shortened winter daylight hours. (I have had to show homes by the light of my cell phone! Doesn’t help a home to make a buyer fall in love with your home!)

It is important that the water be kept on. Often buyers will need to use the restroom after hours of house hunting. There is nothing more unappealing than an unflushed toilet, in a closed up home! YUCK! Talk about first impressions!

2. Please keep a few basics in the home. That way if something needs a little clean up to stay fresh and clean, it can be done by your listing agent!

Items to leave in the home:

Window cleaner
All purpose cleaner
1 or 2 rolls of paper towels
Toilet paper in each bathroom
A toilet bowl brush
A bucket or large plastic bowl
Spray air fresheners

Optional, but helpful items:

Tidy Bowl or other “bluing” agent inside each toilet bowl.
Broom & dustpan
Footmat outside and/or inside the front door.
Room air fresheners or potpourri

None of these items need to be expensive. The 99 cent store carries all of these items, and they are perfectly fine for the few times they will be used after you move.

There are open houses where things can get tracked in. Sitting toilets often form a “ring” which looks unappealing. If items are left to give the toilets a little quick clean up it keeps the home looking fresh. A bit of toilet bowl cleaner helps.

Solid air fresheners keep the home from smelling “stale”. Window cleaner can remove fingerprints on mirrors, doors, etc.

3. Please keep maintenance on your yard and pool active

Remember, you only have 1 chance to make a first impression. Weeds in the yard, straggly grass, dead plants, green scum on your pool all make the WRONG first impression. You want your home to sell for the best possible price. Don’t make it look like a distress sale by saving a few dollars on it’s upkeep!


4. Hang a neutral, new looking set of towels in each bathroom

A nice looking set of towels makes each bathroom look more elegant, finished and homey.

Other suggestions

Talk to me about staging ideas that we could do to make your home look more appealing, homey and like a model home.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bush Signs Mortgage Forgiveness Into Law!

Mortgage Forgiveness Act Signed into Law

Yesterday, President Bush signed H.R. 3648, The Mortgage Forgiveness Act of 2007, into law, sparing homeowners the tax burden associated with canceled mortgage debt.

Prior to this action, forgiven mortgage debt due to foreclosure, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, was considered taxable income. The new law, however, temporarily waives these taxes for debts forgiven (as high as 35%) from the beginning of 2007 to the end of 2009. The bill also extends the tax deduction for mortgage insurance premiums through 2014.

"This is going to make a happy holiday for many homeowners," President Bush said yesterday before signing the bill in to law. During the press conference he added the following:
"When you're worried about making your payments, higher taxes are the last thing you need to worry about. So this bill will create a three-year window for homeowners to refinance their mortgage and pay no taxes on any debt forgiveness that they receive. And it's a really good piece of legislation. The provision will increase the incentive for borrowers and lenders to work together to refinance loans – and it will allow American families to secure lower mortgage payments without facing higher taxes."

"There's more work to be done," Bush added, saying that Congress needs to pass legislation to strengthen Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, to modernize FHA, and to allow the government to issue tax-exempt bonds for refinancing existing home loans.
H.R. 3648 Summary

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our Perspective on the Negative Real Estate Headlines

If you read the same newspapers that I do, all you see is "doom and gloom". Our own San Diego Union Tribune is the biggest proponent of the doom and gloom- on a daily basis. Often the headlines tout "the sky is falling, the sky is falling....", but when you read the article underneath, there really is very little to be negative about!

To share some perspective with you, I thought you might enjoy reading the following article by Prudential California Realty's President and CEO, Steve Rodgers. I think that he puts things very well concerning our real estate market.

"To be newsworthy, a story must be immediate. That’s why the current real estate market is such a hot media topic — and why the long view doesn’t get much ink or airtime. That’s too bad, because that’s where you’ll find the most compelling real estate story of all.

1969: “The goal of owning a home seems to be getting beyond the reach of more and moreAmericans. The typical new house today costs about $28,000.”– Business Week

1977: “The median price of a home today is approaching $50,000. Housing experts predictprice rises in the future won’t be that great.”– National Business1985: (Median home price $152,720.) “The golden-age of risk free run-ups in home prices is gone.”– Money Magazine

1996: (Median home price $194,382. Defense cuts had triggered steep home price declines.)“A home is where the bad investment is.”– San Francisco Examiner

In the three years following that last statement, California home prices rose 19.7%, wiping out the losses of the early ‘90s and ending the decade with a net gain of 9.35%. By 2000, the median home price had hit $273,713.In 2005, it reached $603,927.

The media continues to play up bad economic news, including real problems in the lending marketplace. The truth is, a home remains the most enduring investment most of us will ever make.

That’s because the return goes so very far beyond financial rewards. To own a home is to make a priceless investment in our lives — and a confident affirmation about our future.

We’ve noticed that real estate professionals at the top of their game are actually energized by challenging market cycles.It’s an exciting opportunity to show their clients just what they can do.

Teaming up with an agent like that is no challenge at all.Just look for the Prudential Rock."

I think that Steve says it well!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Seniors- Taking your tax base with you....

When many seniors think about selling their home and "scaling down" or moving to a single story home they are concerned that they will be paying higher taxes, due to our "Prop 13" tax laws in California.

Are you aware of Prop 60/90? It is the tax provision that allows you to keep your tax base- on a one time basis- within California. Basically, this is how it works. Seniors need to buy a home that costs the same or less than the home they sold/ are selling. It works within the same county in most cases- some counties (few) have a reciprocal agreement that allows you to move within different counties and have the same privilege. (Note: San Diego County is the most lenient county in the state, allowing you to move here from ANY county and bring your tax base with you!)

Keep in mind that this is, for the most part, and with only a few exceptions, a one time allowance. You have a time period- I think up to two years to file for the transfer of the tax base. I suggest that my clients wait a while after moving before filing for the allowance. Why? because I have seen clients move from a detached home into a condo- only to find that they HATE condo living after 3 or 4 months. If they have already taken their one time allowance- and they decide to sell and move- they have lost it forever!

As a Senior Real Estate Specialist helping my clients negotiate through situations like this is one of my services.

If you have any further questions, take a look at the link below- or give me a call! I'm happy to help!

Friday, December 7, 2007

ARM Adjustment Relief is on the Horizon!

Adjustable interest loans, foreclosures, short sales, defaults....... What are homeowners to do? Relief may be on the way!

As you may have heard, President Bush announced a plan yesterday to help relieve homeowners who are facing adjustments to their ARM loan rates... The plan intends to reduce the number of future foreclosures and mortgage defaults and improve our housing market. Some critics feel it is too lenient. Others feel it is "too little, too late." In any case, help is much needed, and the bleeding needs to stop!

Following is an excerpt from today's San Diego Union Tribune.
"Who qualifies: People with subprime mortgages who live in the residence covered by the mortgage.... Homeowners who appear unable to refinance their loans would be eligible for the fast track to freeze their interest rates for five years. To qualify, they must have a credit rating below 660, must occupy their home and the reset must increase what they owe by at least 10 percent. Those above 660 could still qualify but must prove that don't make enough money to absorb a mortgage rate increase.

Under the plan, borrowers at risk of losing their homes must discuss their options with their mortgage servicers. These firms include giants that manage about 80 percent of affected mortgages, such as Wells Fargo and Countrywide Financial.

The servicers will attempt to determine which people who have kept up with their payments are likely to be able to refinance their mortgage, perhaps into federally insured FHA loans. That will include those with at least 3 percent equity in their homes.

Time frame: Loans must have been taken out between Jan. 1, 2005, and July 31, 2007, and have interest rates that will reset between Jan. 1, 2008, and July 31, 2010.

The problem: Subprime mortgages, many taken out with rates of 7 percent to 8 percent, are scheduled to reset at rates of up to 11 percent. That increase could add $350 to the typical monthly payment of $1,200.

The freeze: Rates will remain at the lower introductory rate for a period of five years."
If you would like more information, give me a call!
You can also access the entire Union Tribune article here:

I hope this plan is able to provide relief for many of those who so need it!