Do You Want to Buy a Brand New Construction Home?

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Thinking of Buying a New Construction Home from the Builder?

There are some things you should know.

Many people like the idea of purchasing a brand new home. There is the thrill of watching the construction process and choosing the upgrades you like, and something about knowing that you are the first to walk on the plush carpet, use the shiny appliances and take a bath in the jetted tub. This can be a very exciting time, but there are a number of things that you should know that will help you throughout the process. Take a look at this article before you head over to the sales office and put down a deposit on your desired lot.

First of all, although the people at the sales office may be nice, they are not looking out for your best interest as they have been hired by the builder to sell the house. Many buyers think that the process will be easier and that using the builder’s sales agent will result in getting a better deal. This is not the case, as builders generally aren’t very flexible on price and the job of their sales agent is to represent them and maximize their profits on each sale.  You need representation! A real estate agent that works for you will ensure that your interests are voiced and will negotiate on your behalf. If you choose to hire your own agent, they should accompany you on your first visit to the sales office. This will let the builder’s agent know that you are represented and the sales office will register him/her as your agent. Your agent can also insulate you from high-pressure sales tactics that a builder’s agent may practice.  It is best not to even casually go and take a look at the model homes without your agent. Some builders are very strict and will not allow you to hire your own agent if you have set foot in the office previously without your agent.

In addition, many buyers don’t realize that they are NOT responsible for paying a commission. Commissions are paid for by the seller or builder in this case. Builders rely on real estate agents to bring buyers to them. If buyers go to the sales office without an agent and contract directly with the builder, the builder will not credit them the cost of a commission that they would usually pay an agent. If they did, agents would cease to bring in buyers and it would eventually impact the builder’s sales. Really, there is no downside for a buyer to hire independent representation.  A buyer will pay the same cost for the home whether they have hired their own agent or not.

What are some other benefits of hiring an agent?

Representation – Your agent is looking out for YOU! They will advocate on your behalf and see that your voice is heard throughout the process.

Negotiation – While you may be a great negotiator and perhaps have experience doing so, it is always recommended to have someone else negotiate for you. Even the best negotiators follow this practice as an agent will not have the same emotional attachment that may blind a buyer. The agent can look at the deal from a different perspective that not only encompasses the price, but many other factors as well. While a builder may not negotiate on price (as they may have to answer to other buyers that paid more for the same home) an agent usually knows what they will discuss. Depending on the builder and the market, you may be able to get some free upgrades, closing cost credits, extended home warranty and perhaps some back yard landscaping or a patio slab that is larger than 3 x 3. A good agent will know what can be negotiated and how to be creative to make sure you are getting the best bang for your money.

Contract – How many buyers are really that familiar with real estate contracts? Although they aren’t that complex, agents look at them every day and have an understanding of what to look for to ensure sure you are getting a fair deal. I have caught mistakes on builder contracts more than once. Sometimes it is as simple as a math mistake and other times it is terms that were written in that hadn’t been discussed or previously agreed upon. An agent knows the contracts and knows how to make sure your interests are represented. Your agent should review the contract and notify you of any concerns prior to you signing a deal for your brand new home. They will make sure you are aware of contractual deadlines and that the building process stays on track.

Builder Quality and Reputation – Agents generally know most of the builders and will be able to share the information that they have learned over the years. Not all builders build the same quality of home. Some will use inferior materials, some have problems with quality control, some use different construction methods and so on. An experienced agent will know which builders are good about doing warranty work and which aren’t. They will also have seen how the builder’s homes stand up over time. This information can be extremely important and another piece in your decision making.

Financing – Builders usually have their own, preferred financing and will usually offer incentives for closing costs or upgrades if you finance through them. A good agent will be able to help you understand their loan programs and make sure you are able to choose the best for your circumstances. If the builder’s lender doesn’t have a program that works for you, your agent should be able to point you toward other lenders that may be able to help. I have had a couple situations where the builder still allowed the incentives even though the buyer used an outside lender.

Inspections – a builder will have walk-throughs at different points in the construction process. It is important that you have your agent there as they may be able to point things out and ask applicable questions that a regular buyer may not think about. You are also allowed to have an outside inspector look at the home to see if there are any issues you need fixed prior to closing or any other smaller items that can be repaired through the warranty process. Experienced agents will have qualified inspectors that they trust to find insufficiencies and items that a buyer will want repaired or replaced.

Recommend upgrades – An agent will know the latest trends, upgrades that are good for resale and how to choose complimenting and contrasting colors.  They will also know what upgrades may cost a lot but not add much value. They also understand which upgrades will be better to have done after-market that should save you money as well as giving you a superior product. Even though you most likely won’t move from your new home in the near future, an agent will look at everything from a “return on investment” standpoint. They can advise you on upgrades, lot choice, exterior elevation choices and other elements that can affect resale in a positive or negative way.

Knowledge of City plans – A good agent that focuses in a certain geographic area will know more than the builder’s sales agent about the city and about what is happening in the area. The builder’s agent usually lives outside the area and has a good knowledge of the homes, products and package choices that the builder offers, but doesn’t always know the details about schools and other upcoming developments like a hometown agent will. This information can be extremely valuable in making your decision.

Final thoughts and how to proceed – As you can see, there are many reasons and potential benefits in hiring an agent to work for and represent you. If you do decide to hire an agent, make sure that they are familiar with new construction and with the area. Have them take you through the models the first time you go to ensure that they are registered as your agent. Not only will your agent make you feel more comfortable in looking by insulating you from high pressure sales tactics, but they will also make sure you aren’t “blinded by the upgrades” and that you know what is included in the base price and what isn’t. They will take the emotion out and help you look at purchasing a home as a good business transaction that should help you increase your wealth over time.

Contact me today if you are thinking about purchasing new construction and I can guide and advise you through the process. The right agent really can make all the difference in the world!

 

Now Available: Luxurious Country Home close to Town

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Spring is here and the trees are blooming! Come take a look at this incredible home while the weather is nice.

Your chance to own an amazing country home only minutes from town! No expense has been spared on this gated, private estate. The open floor plan features fine finishes throughout and eye-catching architectural details. The chef’s kitchen is the hub of the home and is appropriately appointed with custom, white “soft close” cabinets, striking granite counter tops, designer light fixtures and professional appliances including Viking range, SubZero built-in refrigerator, double Bosch dishwashers, pot-filler, farmhouse style sink and double ovens with a warming drawer. The gourmet in the family will appreciate the vast surfaces and prep sink that are perfect for preparing for those family get-togethers. Throughout the home the flooring is top-quality with wood, tumbled travertine, premium carpet and marble. You’ll love the fabulous master suite! The oversized master includes a retreat that is currently being used as a home gym, a fireplace, coffered ceilings with double crown, double walk-ins with organizers, outdoor access and an incredible master bath. The bath includes a large shower with bench and multiple heads, a jetted tub, “his and her” vanities and custom mirrors and fixtures. The handyman will enjoy the huge (almost 1200sf) garage. The park-like yard is a beautiful setting with a variety of trees and shrubs and a fenced-off back yard. The spacious back pasture is level and has tons of possibilities-barn, riding arena, shop, In-law cottage…You choose! Also worthy to note is the high producing well, whole house fans, triple zone HVAC with multiple condensors, batting cage, stream that runs through property and surround sound. This is a perfect home for entertaining!

Act now; call for more information and to request a private showing of this luxurious country home!

CLICK HERE for more pictures and property detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes

This year marks my 16th year in the real estate business in California. Looking back, it has been quite the ride with the cycles we’ve gone through and the many changes in the way that real estate is marketed and transactions are handled. Here are some of the changes that come to mind that some of the newer agents might have a hard time believing:

Paperwork- When I started, we were still doing 1 page contracts. Now, residential contracts are 10 pages and vacant land contracts are 11 pages. The seller disclosures have changed too. We used to only have 3 or 4 forms that were filled out. Our disclosure packets are now commonly in the 45 to 50 page range and that is the bare minimum.

Marketing and Multiple Listing Service- The MLS was available, but it was very unreliable and outdated even back then. We couldn’t post multiple pictures and entering listings was a real pain compared to how easy it is now. The print outs and screen views looked like some ancient DOS prompt page. As far as marketing, we did property flyers, newspaper ads and newsletters. Color printing was much more expensive and not readily available as it is now. Zillow and other sites were not around and we really didn’t do any internet marketing. The big thing was to have a sign rider that directed people to tune their radio to a certain AM radio station and it gave a property description. I had one of the new VW Bugs wrapped with advertising as one of my marketing tools. Marketing is so much easier now and within minutes numerous people know about a new listing.

Population- Lincoln was still a pretty small town in 2002 with a population of around 19,000. Communities like 12 Bridges and Lincoln Crossing were still dirt and farm land and Sun City was less than a quarter of the size it is now. Our population now is almost 50,000. Grocery shopping could be done at Rainbow Market or Safeway but a trip to Roseville was necessary for other shopping. For home projects you would take a trip down to Tofft’s Hardware store.

Home Prices- In 2002 newer homes were going in the low $200K range. Now, depending on location and upgrades, a new home under 2000 square feet will range in the high $300Ks to close to $500,000.

A lot has changed in the last 16 years, but one constant is that Lincoln is still a great place to live. Although some of the paperwork and ways of marketing have changed, my way of doing business of putting the customer first and exerting every effort to make sure your real estate transaction is smooth and profitable hasn’t changed. I still love what I do and get great satisfaction out of guiding my clients through a purchase or sale of what is usually their largest asset. Contact me, I’d love to put my many years of experience and understanding of Real Estate to work for you.

Also, who thinks I should bring the Bug back??

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Rich History in Lincoln California

In 1859 Lincoln became an official town and many of the original buildings are still downtown. Have you ever been curious about what some of those old buildings used to be? Well, you can visit our local museum and find out about that and much, much, more! The Lincoln Area Archives Museum is a fun place to learn some history about our special city. A few of the volunteers there are actual descendants of some of Lincoln’s early pioneers. When we visited the museum we learned the reason the Zebra is Lincoln High School’s mascot and enjoyed seeing one of the original desks from the school. The items they have on display there range from ancient Native American artifacts to old high school year books. You’ll love looking at photographs and uniforms of the original Potters baseball team. The admission is free and there are “hands-on” displays for the kids to explore.  After your visit you can walk around the corner and grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. It’s truly fascinating to see how much history Lincoln has. So go take a look and increase your knowledge of this great little city.

Lincoln Area Archives Museum

640 5th Street

Lincoln, CA

916-645-3800

Mon-Sat 11-3

Interesting Housing Options

 

 

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Over the last few years we have seen some interesting housing options. The “tiny house” movement started with stick-built homes on trailers that could easily be moved but also set up to hook into water and sewer systems. Many of them had solar for their electricity. We have also seen storage container houses that have been set up as tiny homes. Today as I was looking through some articles about real estate in Asia, I came across a new option for tiny homes that has been created in Hong Kong. This new option, called the “Opod” was created by architect James Law. He has built a “Tube House” from new spare concrete pipe in Hong Kong. The OPod Tube House, is an experimental low cost, micro-living housing unit constructed out of a 2.5 meters diameter concrete water pipe. The architect injected new ideas into Hong Kong’s housing policy. It has good fire prevention, wind protection, noise insulation and heat insulation. In addition, the structure of the water pipe itself is suitable for being buried in the ground so that it can withstand enormous pressure. As I did a little more research about this new option, I wasn’t able to find out how much they cost for purchase, but I did find out that they rent for between $3000 and $5000. We are lucky where we live that a monthly mortgage payment like that can get us into a decent home. Would you consider living in a Tube House? opod3

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Open Saturday 11-2, Best price per square foot in Lincoln!

Okay, someone is going to get a great deal! I haven’t seen a price this low on a home like this in a long time. Whether you are looking for a larger home for yourself or know someone that wants to move into the area, come take a look at this beautiful home. Solar, No Mello Roos and space to spread out!

Beautiful home in Foskett Ranch
Beautiful home in Foskett Ranch

Big & Beautiful! This spacious 5 bed/4 bath home boasts an excellent, open plan & has room to spread out. Quality-built Standard Pacific home with all the right upgrades! Granite counters, gorgeous cabinets, premium plush carpet, surround sound & so much more. You’ll love the generous master suite w/huge walk-in closet, split vanities, oiled bronze fixtures & custom mirrors. The solar allows you to stay cool this summer without worrying about astronomical bills. NEW PRICE and closing cost credits for the buyer! Don’t delay, take a look today.

See additional pictures, property description and video: HERE

Location, Location, Location!

With all the new innovations out there, there are so many ways to market your home. Whether it’s the more classic route or online, I try and get the best of both worlds. When it comes to getting your home out there, I’m always looking for the best avenues for maximum exposure as well as targeted marketing. With this in mind, I decided to try something new for some of my listings.
The area around these homes is really something that makes them special, so I jumped at the chance to have some drone videography taken. I thought that this would be a perfect way to not only highlight the home itself, but also the beautiful surrounding areas. For the home at 5181 Monteverde Drive, the rolling hills, scenic walking trails and praised Catta Verdera golf course, not to mention the breathtaking sunsets are major reasons why this is such a gorgeous and desirable area to live. At 2200 South Lakewood Drive, the peaceful and serene setting, nestled among the pine and oak trees makes for the perfect hideaway near the lake in Meadow Vista.

 

 

For details on this home, CLICK HERE

For pictures and additional information, CLICK HERE

Call today for a private showing of either of these great listings!

Inexpensive Living within a gated community!

7331 Stratford Place #606
7331 Stratford Place #606

Clean & move-in ready home in the desirable, gated Ridgepoint Community! This is a very private, upstairs unit with an excellent floor plan. You’ll appreciate the finished garage with auto door & the fact that the HOA maintains the condo exterior & pays insurance. Enjoy the quiet neighborhood from your balcony nestled among the redwood trees or take a dip in the sparkling pool after some tennis on the private courts. These homes rarely come available, don’t delay & take a look before it is gone!

For pictures and property detail, CLICK HERE

Fabulous Single Story, 5181 Monteverde Ln, Catta Verdera

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Located in the desirable, gated golf course community of Catta Verdera, this spacious, single-story home has some classy upgrades. As you walk in the front entry, you will immediately notice the gorgeous travertine flooring with tumbled accents, the large picture windows looking out to the yard and the eye-catching architectural details. The kitchen opens to the family room and includes granite countertops, GE Profile appliances, upgraded cabinets and a beautiful back-splash. Great for entertaining, this bright and open floor plan includes a spacious dining and living area. The feeling of space carries into the master bedroom with a large sitting area as well as convenient access to the back yard. The master bath includes custom glass vessel sinks, travertine surrounds at the bath and shower and closet organizers in the walk-in. You’ll enjoy the private, pool-sized yard and expansive patios and plan on spending some time barbequing at the outdoor kitchen and relaxing. The neighborhood includes paved trails that wind through the valley and make you want to get out and enjoy nature. You’ll appreciate the homeowner’s association which provides security patrol and front yard maintenance. Other functional upgrades include a central vacuum, custom ceiling fans and a fire suppression system

 

Act now; call for me to request a private showing of this clean, move-in ready home!

 

For more pictures and home information, CLICK HERE

Favorite Things Friday – Activities in Lincoln, CA

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Rods and Relics in Downtown Lincoln, CA

Okay, it isn’t Friday yet, but I wish it was! One of my favorite things is that I love the fact that there is always something going on in our community. It is fun to go to events and see friends and enjoy one another’s company. Whether it is a Christmas Parade, 4th of July Fireworks, Farmer’s Market or other special event, it seems like there is always a family friendly event to look forward to. Last Saturday, there was the Rods and Relics Car Show in downtown Lincoln. It was extremely well attended and more entries that I have ever seen in a car show downtown. There were various food vendors and some good music to listen to while checking out some of the amazing restorations. It was a good time for a few hours on a Saturday.

This week we have the Lincoln AirFest coming up (June 11th). It promises to be a great event. It seems like every year the air show at our little Lincoln Airport gets better and better. This year they are having a Youth Aerospace Expo, Helicopter and balloon rides and of course, some cool Warbirds. There is a pancake breakfast and then opening ceremonies at 10:00 AM. Under 18 is free and general tickets are $10. Check out their website here: Lincoln Airfest

I hope to see you there!