Escondido is a mid-sized city surrounded by rocky hills and set within a shallow valley. It's located approximately 30 miles north of San Diego and is also one of the oldest cities in the entire county. While Escondido isn't situated next to a coast, there are three lakes close by, making it easy to go boating or fishing. Both Dixon Lake and Lake Wohlford are consistently stocked with trout and other fish. And Lake Hodges is a picturesque reservoir with its own dam.
Escondido, CA Homes for sale
Is the millennial homebuying surge about finally "growing up" and giving up mom's home-cooked meals and laundry services? Is it about finally having student loans paid off and feeling secure enough to take on the financial burden? Perhaps it's really about getting ready to marry and have kids. Nope. Turns out none of these things could convince millennials to buy homes like their little furry friend could.
Yep, when it comes to millennial homeownership, these are the dog days.
"A third of millennial-aged Americans (ages 18 to 36) who purchased their first home (33%) say the desire to have a better space or yard for a dog influenced their decision to purchase their first home, according to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage. "Dogs ranked among the top three motivators for first-time home purchasers and were cited by more millennials than marriage/upcoming marriage, 25 percent, or the birth/expected birth of a child, 19 percent."
There were only two factors that rated higher than dog ownership: 66 percent cited a desire for more living space, and 36 percent were interested in building equity through homeownership. Presumably, they want to do so with a pup by their side.
"Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home-buying decisions," said Dorinda Smith, SunTrust Mortgage President and CEO of the survey. "For those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle; home ownership takes some of the stress off by providing a better living situation."
The survey also showed how strongly homebuyers that have not yet jumped into the market feel about this issue. Among millennials who have never purchased a home, "42 percent say that their dog - or the desire to have one - is a key factor in their desire to buy a home in the future, suggesting dogs will also influence purchase decisions of potential first-time homebuyers," they said.
Those statistics could have a real impact on multiple aspects of the real estate industry, from the way sellers stage their home; to the types of homes that builders and developers concentrate on in pockets where millennials may be looking; to pet-related homeowners' association bylaws that may be in need of review and revision. Most attached homes don't offer the kind of outdoor space millennials are looking for, but townhomes sometimes do, and they can be more affordable than single-family options; some communities have breed and size restrictions and also cap the number of dogs you can have - important considerations if you happen to be one of those dog-crazy millennial homebuyer types or are an agent who's representing one.
Looking to sell your home and think you have a millennial target in your sights? Perhaps pointing out a good spot for a doggy door, if you don't already have one, and adding a picture of you and your dog (fake it if you need to!), a dog bed, and a basket with dog toys on the fireplace hearth before showings will help.
Pets before kids
Homeownership isn't the only thing millennials have delayed. Marriage and kids - if they're in the cards at all for millennials - are waiting. Pet ownership is not.
Millennials are in age brackets that are commonly associated with the idea of "settling down," said Pet Business. "But, rather than starting families with children, millennials are instead opting for buying or adopting pets to satisfy their caretaking needs."
Pet ownership is up overall, led by millennials. The latest American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey shows that, "Sixty-eight percent of American households now own a pet, accounting for 84.6 million pet-owning households, up from 79.7 million pet-owning households in 2015," said Pet Food Industry. "Gen Y/millennial pet ownership has officially surpassed baby boomer ownership by three percentage points to now account for 35 percent of all pet owners."
WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI
You rely on your chimney being safe. Whether you use your fireplace for wood-burning fires, you have a furnace that vents through your chimney, you utilize a wood stove or gas insert, your chimney needs to be able to handle heat and sparks without allowing damage to your home. Stone or brick chimneys can be made safer with a flue lining that helps to move heat and gases up and out of your home.
Chimney liners are a protective barrier usually made of metal or ceramic. Liners insulate heat moving through the chimney, protecting flammable areas of your home's structure. They also protect flue masonry from cracks or crumbling mortar due to repeated heating and cooling.
Why worry about your chimney liner?
Cracks or damage can lessen the effectiveness of the liner, which make burning anything in your fireplace or wood stove risky. Plus, if your liner is damaged, you may have a hard time passing a home inspection and selling your house until it's repaired or replaced.
In the "olden days," chimneys were completely unlined or only lined with clay tiles, which could crack or break relatively easily. Especially if you have an older home, an excellent first step is to have a masonry or chimney expert examine your chimney and assess its integrity.
Do you burn wood in your fireplace regularly? You should definitely have your chimney liner inspected as part of an overall maintenance plan performed at least once a year. Cleaning is a good idea as well: The products of burning wood, called creosote, can build up in your unlined or improperly lined chimney, and may eventually cause a fire. Cleaning and inspection from a chimney professional, sometimes called a chimney sweep, averages $298 in the US, according to HomeAdvisor's surveys of homeowners.
How do you know if your liner needs to be repaired or replaced?
Because it's hard to see into your chimney, you may be uncomfortable determining whether your chimney professional is accurately assessing your needs. There are two options for confirming a diagnosis of damaged chimney liner:
1. See for yourself. From inside the house, open the flue and look up as far as you can. Next, check the chimney from the roof by removing the cap and doing a visual inspection. Any signs of cracks or rough edges can signify an issue and confirm your chimney professional's assessment.
2. Hire a chimney professional with a camera. Most modern chimney companies run a scope with camera down the length of the chimney as part of their inspection. Upon request, they'll likely be willing to record the video and share it with you, detailing the issues they see.
What if you don't have a chimney liner at all?
If your home is older and you've determined that your home only has the stone or brick of the outer chimney, you need to decide whether a liner is necessary. First, check your city's fire code. This may mandate that you install a liner if you're making any changes to or installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace. If you burn wood in your fireplace or in a wood-burning stove, it's recommended that you have a stainless-steel liner to prevent overheating your chimney and risking a fire. In some locations, your city's fire code may mandate that you install such a liner if you're making any changes to or installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace.
However, if you're not using your fireplace and your chimney acts solely as a vent for your furnace or water heater, you may not need to have a liner installed. Cracked masonry should be addressed from an energy-savings perspective -- a lot of air could be escaping from your home, depending on where the damage to the chimney is located -- but it's not likely to be a fire hazard.
Homeowners with gas or electric inserts most likely do not need a new liner because those types of fuel don't produce enough heat to damage a masonry chimney.
Do you have questions about your chimney and whether it needs a new liner? A chimney professional can answer your questions and schedule an inspection for your home.
WRITTEN BY REALTY TIMES STAFF POSTED ON TUESDAY, 01 AUGUST 2017 20:05
WRITTEN BY BENNY L. KASS POSTED ON TUESDAY, 01 AUGUST 2017
Congress is currently talking tax reform. Two very important real estate benefits are on the so-called "chopping block", either to be completely eliminated or significantly curtailed.
It is doubtful that the home owner exclusion of up to $500,000 (or $250,000 if you file a single tax return) of profit will be impacted; there are too many homeowner voters who will forcefully object. But investors do not have the same strong lobbyist who can make the case for preserving the "like kind" exchange. So if you have an investment property, now might be the time to consider doing an exchange.
Residential homeowners have a number of tax benefits, the most important of which is the exclusion of up to $500,000 (or $250,000 if you file a single tax return) profit made on the sale of your principal residence. But real estate investors -- large and small -- still have to pay capital gains tax when they sell their investments. And since most investors depreciated their properties over a number of years, the capital gains tax can be quite large.
There is a way of deferring payment of this tax, and it is known as a Like-Kind Exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. In my opinion, these exchange provisions are still an important tool for any real estate investor.
The exchange process is not a "tax free" device, although people refer to it as a "tax-free exchange." It is also called a "Starker exchange" or a "deferred exchange." It will not relieve you from the ultimate obligation to pay the capital gains tax. It will, however, allow you to defer paying that tax until you sell your last investment property -- or you die.
The rules are complex, but here is a general overview of the process.
Section 1031 permits a delay (non-recognition) of gain only if the following conditions are met:
First, the property transferred (called by the IRS the "relinquished property") and the exchange property ("replacement property") must be "property held for productive use in trade, in business or for investment." Neither property in this exchange can be your principal residence, unless you have abandoned it as your personal house.
Second, there must be an exchange; the IRS wants to ensure that a transaction called an exchange is not really a sale and a subsequent purchase.
Third, the replacement property must be of "like kind." The courts have given a very broad definition to this concept. As a general rule, all real estate is considered "like kind" with all other real estate. Thus, a condominium unit can be swapped for an office building, a single family home for raw land, or a farm for commercial or industrial property.
Once you meet these tests, it is important that you determine the tax consequences. If you do a like-kind exchange, your profit will be deferred until you sell the replacement property. However, it must be noted that the cost basis of the new property in most cases will be the basis of the old property. Discuss this with your accountant to determine whether the savings by using the like-kind exchange will make up for the lower cost basis on your new property. And discuss also whether you might be better off selling the property, biting the bullet and paying the tax, but not have to be a landlord again.
The traditional, classic exchange (A and B swap properties) rarely works. Not everyone is able to find replacement property before they sell their own property. In a case involving a man named Mr. Starker, the court held that the exchange does not have to be simultaneous.
Congress did not like this open-ended interpretation, and in 1984, two major limitations were imposed on the Starker (non-simultaneous) exchange.
First, the replacement property must be identified before the 45th day after the day on which the original (relinquished) property is transferred.
Second, the replacement property must be purchased no later than 180 days after the taxpayer transfers his original property, or the due date (with any extension) of the taxpayer's return of the tax imposed for the year in which the transfer is made. These are very important time limitations, which should be noted on your calendar when you first enter into a 1031 exchange.
In 1989, Congress added two additional technical restrictions. First, property in the United States cannot be exchanged for property outside the United States.
Second, if property received in a like-kind exchange between related persons is disposed of within two years after the date of the last transfer, the original exchange will not qualify for non-recognition of gain.
In May of 1991, the Internal Revenue Service adopted final regulations which clarified many of the issues.
This column cannot analyze all of these regulations. The following, however, will highlight some of the major issues:
1. Identification of the replacement property within 45 days. According to the IRS, the taxpayer may identify more than one property as replacement property. However, the maximum number of replacement properties that the taxpayer may identify is either three properties of any fair market value, or any larger number as long as their aggregate fair market value does not exceed 200% of the aggregate fair market value of all of the relinquished properties.
Furthermore, the replacement property or properties must be unambiguously described in a written document. According to the IRS, real property must be described by a legal description, street address or distinguishable name (e.g., The Camelot Apartment Building)."
2. Who is the neutral party? Conceptually, the relinquished property is sold, and the sales proceeds are held in escrow by a neutral party, until the replacement property is obtained. Generally, an intermediary or escrow agent is involved in the transaction. In order to make absolutely sure the taxpayer does not have control or access to these funds during this interim period, the IRS requires that this agent cannot be the taxpayer or a related party. The holder of the escrow account can be an attorney or a broker engaged primarily to facilitate the exchange.
3. Interest on the exchange proceeds. One of the underlying concepts of a successful 1031 exchange is the absolute requirement that not one penny of the sales proceeds be available to the seller of the relinquished property under any circumstances unless the transactions do not take place.
Generally, the sales proceeds are placed in escrow with a neutral third party. Since these proceeds may not be used for the purchase of the replacement property for up to 180 days, the amount of interest earned can be significant -- or at least it used to be until banks starting paying pennies on our savings accounts.
Surprisingly, the Internal Revenue Service permitted the taxpayer to earn interest -- referred to as "growth factor" -- on these escrowed funds. Any such interest to the taxpayer has to be reported as earned income. Once the replacement property is obtained by the exchanger, the interest can either be used for the purchase of that property, or paid directly to the exchanger.
The rules are quite complex, and you must seek both legal and tax accounting advice before you enter into any like-kind exchange transaction.
WRITTEN BY PATRICIA LEE, HOUZZ CONTRIBUTOR
When the child is the one charged with helping the parents downsize, these guidelines can smooth the process.
Many seniors eventually need to downsize to a smaller space, whether to a retirement community, a nursing facility or a room in a family member's home. Often, the task of decluttering and packing falls to their children.
If you're the person faced with going through an aging parent's belongings, it may be tempting to rent a storage unit and just pack it all away. However, that can be an expensive way to merely delay the inevitable. Instead, I recommend you start the decluttering process as soon as possible. Here are some tips to help you through it.
1. Acknowledge the true magnitude of the task. Moving from a home filled with years of memories can be a very emotional process for your parents. Not only do they have to downsize the physical memories of perhaps as long as a lifetime, but moving may also summon unwanted reminders of their mortality.
For both parent and child, decluttering takes patience. And for the child especially, it can be difficult to stay motivated, since you won't directly reap the rewards of a tidier space. Further, your decluttering standards may be different than those of your parents. What you consider trash may be your parents' treasures, and this can sometimes lead to friction. It's important, though, to involve your parents in the decision-making process rather than taking over completely. Soliciting their input and accommodating their desires is a way to show them you value their decisions and respect their belongings.
So before you get started, mentally prepare yourself for what's to come. Know that some items may be easy to declutter, such as clothing that doesn't fit. Others will take more time, patience and thought.
2. Schedule bite-sized work sessions. Decluttering is time-consuming, and it can be tiring for aging parents. If time permits before the move, space out your sessions so you and your parents can maintain the energy to complete the entire house. I recommend no more than four hours at a time, and perhaps just two to three times per week. This schedule allows for a balance between making efficient use of your time and not exhausting your parents.
3. Understand your parents' lifestyle. Getting a snapshot of how your parents plan to live in their new home will help you narrow down what they keep - with the goal of retaining only what they actually love or need. Even if you think you understand their lifestyle already, it can be helpful to sit down together and sketch out a few details that can serve as guidance as you sort.
For example, if your parents typically launder their clothes once a week, then 10 to 14 sets of clothing for each season would be more than enough to last between washes. If they won't be entertaining at their new location, they may feel confident donating their punch bowls and tablecloths. If formal events are few and far between, then three to four comfortable formal outfits may suffice.
Below are some questions you could use as a starting point for your discussion with your parents. You could even use their answers to guide a first pass at eliminating irrelevant items on your own - leaving fewer decisions for your parents to make.
4. Start with the least sentimental items. As with most things, practice makes perfect. My clients have found that the decision to keep, toss, sell or donate becomes easier the more you practice. Starting your decluttering process with the least sentimental items, such as linens and clothing, and working your way toward the most sentimental, such as photos and letters, can be a helpful way to ease into harder decision-making territory.
5. Declutter by category rather than room. Separating your decluttering into categories is helpful in terms of keeping your parents - and yourself - motivated and focused. It's easier to make decisions when items are grouped, as this helps you see all at once how many belongings you're dealing with. Also, you can all feel a sense of accomplishment with the completion of each category. I recommend separating items into the smallest categories possible. For example, instead of creating a category of tops, separate the items further into short sleeves, long sleeves, sweaters. Accessories can be separated into belts, hats, scarves and handbags.
6. Keep only sentimental items that will be displayed. Many of my clients have a hard time parting with sentimental memorabilia. But the truth is, some of these items have been buried in their houses for decades. I usually encourage them to keep only the items they'll have out. After all, memorabilia can't be enjoyed while hidden away, and disposing of the items doesn't diminish the memories associated with them.
One possible way to ease the permanence of losing sentimental items is to take photographs of them. However, I don't recommend this in cases where the photograph can't be filed away immediately, whether in a digital album or a physical scrapbook. If there is no defined location for the photograph, whether digital or physical, then it becomes clutter. Also, if it's likely that looking at these photographs will bring on feelings of regret for your parents, I also don't recommend this method.
7. Take charge of your childhood items. If your parents have saved all of your childhood memorabilia, they may be willing to turn those items over to you for sorting through. This can be quite helpful for parents who are overwhelmed with culling their own possessions. Now is also the time to remove any of your adult possessions that have been stored in their house.
8. Remove unwanted items from the property. You haven't truly finished decluttering until all the unwanted items are no longer in your parents' house. Consider ordering a dumpster for trash, scheduling a charitable organization to pick up donations and selling items at a consignment store or online. Although it would be wonderful to earn money by selling some items, if you don't have time to list them or your items don't sell quickly, permit yourself to donate instead. It's important to keep unwanted possessions moving as you continue the decluttering process, as storing them in the house may hinder progress.
9. Treasure this quality time with your parents. Decluttering is undoubtedly hard work, and tensions often arise amid differing viewpoints. So try to adjust your perspective when these moments inevitably come. Instead of viewing the task as a chore, consider it a special time spent with your parents. You may even hear some priceless stories about their youth and your childhood - especially if you maintain a patient attitude, and if you take the time to ask.
WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI
Still renting? You must have a good reason. Although, we're not really sure what it is. With rents continuing to rise across the country, interest rates staying around historic levels, and new loans lowering down payment requirements, it just makes sense to take the leap to homeownership. Maybe you've got terrible credit and don't want to take the time to improve it (or don't know about loans that accept lower scores)? Or, maybe you just like giving your money away. If you're still not on board, these 7 reasons might change your mind.
Because owning a home is still less expensive than renting across the country
GOBankingRates' annual survey of "the cost of renting versus owning a home in all 50 states and the District of Columbia" just came out, and, while they "found that the number of places where it's more expensive to own than rent has increased," the number went from 9 to 11. That means that, in 39 states, it still makes more financial sense to buy.
Rates are near historic lows
We're spoiled. Seriously. Anyone who has been paying attention to the market over the last few years and has seen interest rates with a 3 or 4 before that decimal point may just think it'll always be that way. But history has a way of repeating itself, and while we may not see rates in the teens again anytime soon, most industry experts have been predicting rates moving into the 5s sometime this year, with a pattern of rising rates beyond. Buying a home while money is cheap is a smart move.
"A difference of even 1 percent can have a major impact on your total payments over time," said ZACKS. "For instance, a $200,000 mortgage for 30 years at an interest rate of 5 percent would require a monthly payment of $1,073.64. By comparison, the same mortgage at 4 percent interest would result in a payment of $954.83." That might not seem like a big deal every month, but, consider the long-term potential: "Over 30 years, the total difference between the two would be $42,771.60."
FHA loans and the like make it easier to qualify
Don't have an 800 credit score? You don't need to today. FHA requirements are lower than conventional loans, and you may already be where you need to be to qualify. "The average FICO score for buyers who finance FHA loans is 683, according to Ellie Mae. That's considerably lower than the average score of 753 for conventional, non-FHA financing," said Interest.com. "Most lenders have a...minimum of 600."
A little thing called equity
Rising rents may or may not equate to rising property values in your area, but either way, you're not going see any financial benefit from it. When you own your home and your equity rises, that equity is yours. And so is the choice of what to do with it. Whether you decide to let it sit and continue to grow or tap your equity for home improvement projects, the money is yours to decide how to use.
The days of the 20 percent down payment are all but gone
Does 20 percent down make it more likely that you'll qualify for a loan? Sure. Does that mean you have to come up with that huge chunk of money? No. Nor do you have to come up with 10 percent down, which, for some reason, the majority of new buyers seem to believe. "87% of first-time buyers think they need 10% or more down to buy a home," said The Mortgage Reports.
The FHA loan is one of the most popular loans available to first-time buyers because, not only can you qualify with a fair credit score, but the down payment is as low as 3.5 percent, and, "100 percent of the down payment can be a financial gift from a relative or approved non-profit," they said. But, it's not the only option for a low down payment. Fannie Mae's Conventional 97 Mortgage and HomeReady Mortgage require just 3 percent down. The Mortgage Reports also has information on closing cost help and down payment assistance programs.
Rents keep rising
Unless you're in a rent-controlled apartment (and, bless you if you are since there are so few left), your rent is just going to keep going up every year. Apartment List's monthly National Apartment List Rent Report shows that, "Our national rent index is continuing to climb, with month-over-month growth of 0.5 percent for June. Rents grew at a rate of 0.5 percent between May and June, which is generally in line with the monthly growth that we've seen over the course of this year thus far. Year-over-year growth at the national level currently stands at 2.9 percent, surpassing the 2.6 percent rate from this time last year. In addition to the growth on the national level, rents are now increasing in nearly all of the nation's biggest markets."
When you own your home, your payment is your payment is your payment. Unless you take out a home equity loan or refinance to take cash out, your payment's not going to go up.
Here's another bit of fun for renters: nothing you pay comes back to you. I mean, except for that security deposit, but that all depends on what effect your dog and those few parties you threw had on the condition of the home. As a homeowner, you get to write off all kinds of stuff, which lowers your overall costs. "Your biggest tax break is reflected in the house payment you make each month since, for most homeowners, the bulk of that check goes toward interest. And all that interest is deductible," said Bankrate. "Did you pay points to get a better rate on any of your various home loans? They offer a tax break, too. The other major deduction in connection with your home is property taxes."
And think about it this way: Even if your house payment is going to be a little bit higher than what you're currently paying in rent, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. How do those numbers look when you calculate the tax savings?
WRITTEN BY MICHELE LERNER POSTED ON THURSDAY, 13 JULY 2017 19:54
In an environment where lenders are highly regulated and risk-averse, borrowers are rightfully a little nervous when they apply for a mortgage. But with the right preparation, qualifying for a home loan can be a rewarding experience in your journey toward homeownership.
"In a lot of ways, lenders have gone back to the basics, looking at fundamental personal finance criteria to decide who qualifies for a loan," says Rick Sharga, chief marketing officer of Ten-X, an online real estate marketplace in Irvine, California.
At the same time, Sharga says lenders have been more risk-averse than ever since the housing bust.
A.W. Pickel, III, Midwest division president of AmCap Mortgage in Kansas City, Missouri, recommends finding a loan officer you can trust and sticking with that person during your entire homebuying process.
"A good loan officer is like a pilot flying you and your loan from Kansas City to Hawaii," Pickel says. "There are several ways to get there and several things that can happen on the way. A good loan officer has seen the turbulence and knows where the smooth air is."
7 steps toward a loan approval
The back-to-basics approach by lenders means that borrowers can take steps that increase their chances of a mortgage approval.
Improving your credit, reducing your debt and gathering your documentation are among the many things you can do long before a loan application to increase the likelihood of getting a "yes" from a lender.
1. Maintain a high credit score. The average FICO score for an approved borrower is around 720 for a conventional loan and close to 700 for an FHA-insured loan, says Sharga. He says borrowers should find out their FICO score before applying for a loan, make sure their credit report is correct and take steps to improve their score if necessary. Pickel says he recently reviewed a loan file with a high debt-to-income ratio of 49 percent but a credit score over 800, which resulted in a loan approval.
Keep a vigilant eye on your credit profile while you wait for your loan to close, too.
"Once the application process has begun, borrowers shouldn't do anything that might negatively impact their credit rating -- no new accounts, no late or missed payments," says Sharga.
2. Save for a bigger down payment. One way to minimize risk for a lender is to make a higher-than-minimum down payment. "The average down payment today is around 10 percent; historically the standard has been 20 percent," says Sharga. "Anything above that lowers the loan-to-value ratio, which is viewed positively."
3. Choose the right loan. If you have less money for a down payment but have good credit, you may qualify for a conventional loan with private mortgage insurance and a down payment requirement of 3 to 5 percent.
You may want to look for a lender who issues FHA loans, which are often available to borrowers with less cash or a lower credit score and require a down payment of 3.5 percent. Keep in mind these loans require a monthly mortgage insurance payment in addition to principal and interest, Sharga says.
4. Manage your debt. Lenders are reluctant to issue loans that fall outside qualified mortgage rules established by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), says Sharga. These loans have a strict cap of a 43 percent debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your gross monthly income that goes toward the minimum payment on all your debt, including your mortgage.
Paying off credit card balances or at least reducing debt before applying for a home loan is helpful.
5. Buy within your means. "Be realistic with your monthly income," Pickel says. "Buy a house with a monthly payment you can afford. Buying a house that needs the income from two or three future raises will only cause stress."
It matters that you can afford your payments and have remaining income after those payments are made, he says.
6. Demonstrate stability. Lenders look for signs of personal and financial stability, such as whether you've saved three to six months' worth of expenses in the bank, whether you have a steady employment record and how often you've moved over the past few years, Sharga says. Your good credit score and a pattern of saving money are both indicators of financial strength.
7. Respond fast to lender requests. The CFPB's ability-to-repay rule requires lenders to verify whether a borrower has the means to handle loan payments, says Sharga. This requires you to have all your financial records in order, including pay stubs, bank records, tax returns and more. Sharga says incomplete documentation is a common reason for loans being declined.
"If the loan officer asks for it, then bring it," says Pickel. "Sometimes people don't want to say they can't find something or they don't want to look for it, but it really helps to have all the information that the loan officer requests. This will help expedite the process."
While it should go without saying, honesty is an essential component of a loan approval.
"No one likes surprises, especially loan underwriters," says Pickel. "Tell the truth, even if it hurts. It will help even if it means that you don't qualify today."
Michele Lerner has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades and contributes articles about mortgages at MoneyGeek.com. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and online at Fox Business News, Forbes BrandVoices, NewHomeSource.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com.
WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, 12 JULY 2017 20:15
You call her Gladys. For the six years you lived in your charming little 1909 Craftsman home on your charming little 1909 street, she appeared in hallways. Open and shut doors. Moved things from one place to another. She was your friendly family ghost, and now you're moving. Can she be your little secret, especially since, while she freaked people out from time to time, for sure, you never felt unsafe?
The answer is: Maybe. It depends on if it's considered a "stigmatizing factor." Beyond the obvious things you would disclose about a home, like any known defects, repairs, and renovations, there are other other important factors that need to be disclosed per the National Association of Realtors, which defines stigmatized property as: "That which has been ‘psychologically impacted by an event, which occurred or was suspected to have occurred on the property, such event being one that has no physical impact of any kind," said HomeGuides. "Examples of stigmatizing factors include murder, suicide and other deaths, serious crime, proximity to registered sex offenders, hauntings and other paranormal activity. According to NAR, only 15 percent of potential homebuyers would pay full market value for a psychologically impacted home. A further 19 percent would expect a 31 to 50 percent discount."
Death in the house
Did someone die in the house while you were living there, or are you aware of a death in the house prior to your moving in? Whether or not you have to disclose this information will depend the state in which you live (different states, different laws) and the "type" of death we're talking about.
"Each state will have slightly different requirements for disclosure," says Jim Olenbush, a Texas real estate broker, on Investopedia. "In Texas, for example, deaths from natural causes, suicides, or accidents unrelated to the property do not have to be disclosed."
A murder in the home would typically have to be disclosed, however. The good news is that, depending on the type of murder and especially if it was especially gruesome or attached to a notorious crime, it might actually be a selling point. "Penny-pinchers are lured by the steep discounts," said Realtor.com. "Entrepreneurs see business opportunities. Some house hunters hope that they can transform the gory karma of these abodes. Others are true crime and haunted house junkies. And some buyers…are simply not perturbed by what happened, no matter how horrific."
Your financial situation
No, you don't need to include your bank balance and retirement accounts in your disclosures. But if someone has placed a lien on the property or if you're involved in bankruptcy proceedings, that information would be necessary.
A neighborhood kid who rides his bike past your house a couple times a day is no big deal (even if it drives you, and your dogs, crazy). One that is stalking your teenage daughter or playing loud music deep into the night, or a neighbor who is harassing you and/or has become outright dangerous, is another story.
"In the 1992 Alexander vs. McKnight case, the court held that sellers have to disclose their neighbor's ‘pattern of offensive and noxious activities,' including operation of noisy equipment, late-night basketball games, and a plethora of cars parked on the property, even if the conduct had stopped," said Silicon Valley, CA-based law firm Rossi, Hamerslough, Reischl, & Chuck. "Given the nature of the disclosure forms now required by both the state of California and many real estate groups, including the California Real Estate Association, the seller is required in many instances to be more than forthright with regard to prospective buyers. Full and complete disclosures must be made. If not, the buyer will move in, and one of the first things that will happen is that a neighbor will tell them about all of the problems, and then the buyer will sue the seller for failing to make complete and adequate disclosures. If you want to be rid of your bad neighbor problem, disclose, disclose, disclose!"
Reputable Realtors will generally recommend you disclose any repairs that were done to the home, beyond what may or may not be required on your disclosure sheet. "Be aware that buyers may be able to find out about the repair whether or not you tell them," said Realtor.com. "A home inspector may find evidence of the repair work, but another possibility is that the buyers may request that you provide a CLUE Home Seller's Disclosure report, which reveals all insurance claims on your property. If insurance helped pay for your leak and tub replacement, then that claim will stay on your report for up to seven years."
Hiding work that was done rarely pays off thanks to the sheer amount of available information today. And if problems arise with the home down the line due to issues you failed to disclose, you could be on the line. "Your disclosure can protect you from future disputes with the buyers since they will know about the issue before settlement. If you hide the repair work and the buyers later have an issue with moisture, mold, or another leak, then the buyers could potentially sue you for not disclosing something that could harm them."
You know when you're watching one of those renovation shows and the new owners want to tear down walls but then their contractor finds out there are layers of old lead-based paint underneath and now everyone has to vacate the premises while it's taken care of? That might make for great TV, but, in real life, the existence of lead-based paint absolutely needs to be disclosed.
"Lead paint is a mandatory disclosure in all states," said Maximum Exposure Real Estate. "If you fail to comply with lead paint disclosure requirements, the buyer can sue you for triple the amount of damages suffered. Accuracy on lead paint is one of the most important disclosures for any seller."
Paging Walter White! Good news if you have a Breaking Bad situation going on in your home for sale and you live in certain areas. This is another area where state-by-state disclosure laws vary greatly. According to Realtor.com, "Kansas doesn't require a seller to disclose if the home was previously the site of an illegal meth lab, while Missouri does."
Back to Gladys. The question when it comes to paranormal activity in a house is whether it falls under the umbrella of material facts. "Although the wording may vary state to state, most real estate laws require sellers to disclose ‘material facts' such as structural concerns, the age of the roof and shingles, leaks in the foundation and walls, existing mold and mildew, and total square footage," said LegalZoom. "Material facts can also include other items that affect the house's value such as the amount of property taxes, details about individuals who claim to have an interest in the house, or overlaps on adjacent properties."
Does haunting qualify? "In most areas of the country, a home seller would not need to disclose whether their home is haunted, but laws differ by state or even local ordinances," said Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School Professor Chris Trudeau on RISMedia.
But, that also depends on how "famous" the haunting is.
"In a famous 1991 New York case, a buyer sued the seller and the seller's Realtor for failure to disclose the house's ghostly reputation," said LegalZoom. "Prior to putting the house up for sale, the seller wrote about her bumps in the night for the local paper and Readers' Digest, but the buyers were unaware of the home's reputation. Although the court did not rule nondisclosure of the house's reputation as fraudulent, it did allow the buyer to back out of his contract and get his down payment back."
WRITTEN BY BOB HUNT POSTED ON MONDAY, 10 JULY 2017 18:39
Suppose that the roots from your neighbor's tree have completely ignored property lines and are now well into your backyard and have begun to start cracking your patio. Do you have an absolute right to cut them back to the property line in order to maintain your own property? Not in California.
For guidance, we look to the 1994 case of Booska v. Patel (California First District Court of Appeal, May 20, 1994). In that situation, Steven Booska owned property adjacent to property owned by Ramanbhai Patel. Booska's land contained a thirty-to forty-year-old Monterey pine tree. The roots of the tree extended well into Patel's yard.
In May of 1991, Patel hired a contractor "to excavate along the length of his yard and sever the roots of the tree down to a level of approximately three feet." According to Booska's complaint, "Patel's actions were negligently performed, with the result that the tree became unsafe, a nuisance, unable to support life, and was removed at Booska's expense." The complaint alleged causes of action for negligence, destruction of timber, and nuisance.
Patel moved for summary judgment -- essentially dismissal -- "arguing that he had an ‘absolute right' to sever the roots on his property without regard to any injuries inflicted on Booska's land."
The trial court stated that a previous case,Bonde v. Bishop, "provided for an absolute right to sever any roots that enter an adjoining landowner's property", and granted the motion for summary judgment. Booska appealed.
The appellate court said that the question framed by the pleadings and declarations "is the single legal issue of whether an adjoining landowner may sever roots from a neighbor's tree that have encroached on his property even if the action is done negligently or maliciously and even if no damage was caused by the tree."
The Appellate Court then reasoned as follows: "Patel bases his argument on the common law principle codified in Civil Code section 829 which states that ‘the owner of land has the right to the surface and to everything permanently situated beneath or above it.'" However, the Court said, "Patel apparently does not feel bound by the maxim codified in [Civil Code] section 3514 which states: ‘One must so use his own rights as not to infringe upon the rights of another."
The Appellate Court wrote that, "The possessor's [of land] right is therefore bounded by principles of reasonableness, so as to cause no unreasonable risks of harm to others in the vicinity." "The proper test to be applied to the liability of the possessor of land … is whether in the management of his property he has acted as a reasonable [person] in view of the probability of injury to others…" "Thus, whatever rights Patel has in the management of his own land, those rights are tempered by his duty to act reasonably."
The Appellate court summed up its discussion by citing a passage from the previously-mentioned Bonde decision: "Apparently this is one of those rows between neighbors in which the defendants are standing on what they erroneously believe to be their strict legal rights to the exclusion of any consideration of the fair, decent, neighborly and legal thing to do."
The summary judgment was reversed and the case remanded for trial.
Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors®. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way. His email address is email@example.com.
Lemon Grove Concerts in the Park Through Aug. 17
Bring your own picnic, have a BBQ, bring a blanket or lawn chair, pets must be on a leash, no alcohol or smoking permitted.
Time/Place: Thursdays 6:30-8pm / Berry Street Park: 7071 Mt. Vernon
Contact: 619-825-3800 / www.lemongrove.ca.gov
2017 Del Mar Racing Season Through Sept. 4
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, where the turf meets the surf. Thoroughbred horse racing from Southern California. Concerts from Violent Femmes, Billy Currington, Ludacris and more. Special events including Food Truck Festival, Burgers and Brews Invitational, Pizza & Beer Festival and more.
Time/Place: See website for schedule. / Del Mar Racetrack
Contact: 858-755-1141 / www.dmtc.com
Clairemont Family Day Aug. 5
There’ll be a variety of entertainment and music, plus food, vendors, games, pony rides, a huge carnival ride zone, and the “Greatest Show on Turf” car show. Bring the whole family and make a day of it!
Time/Place: 8am-4pm / South Clairemont Recreation Center
A Sip of Julian Aug. 5
Eight tasting rooms offering samples of their wine, beer, hard cider or craft cocktails along with a small bite food pairing. $25.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Julian Town Hall
Contact: 760-765-1857 / www.visitjulian.com
Farm to Bay Aug. 5
A unique tasting event fundraiser that supports coastal wildlife, education, and sustainability programs at the Living Coast.
Time/Place: 4-7:30pm / Living Coast Discovery Center, Chula Vista
Lemon Zest & Garlic Fest Aug. 5
Lemon and garlic inspired food tastings, a beer garden, dozens of retail vendors and a free family area.
Time/Place: 12-5pm / San Diego County Waterfront Park
Lake Poway Family Campout Aug. 5-6
Guided night hikes, campfire with s’mores, magic show by Extreme Rahim at 6:30. Kiwanis club will be offering a pancake breakfast. Fees are as follows: Children 10 and under $3, Adults and Children 11 and over $5. Don’t forget your own camping equipment, dinner supplies to barbeque, and grill/charcoal.
Time/Place: 5pm-9am / Lake Poway
Solana Beach Family Camp Out Aug. 5-6
Campfire program - live music, s’mores, campfire songs, Solana Beach Historical Museum tours, dinner and breakfast.
Time/Place: 5pm-9am / La Colonia Park: 715 Valley Avenue
Contact: 858-720-2400 / www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us
Vista Rod Run Aug. 6
350 Domestic and Import Pre-74 vehicles and specialty vehicles. 30 awards, live music, vendors and Village special events.
Time/Place: 9am-2pm / Main Street, Historic Downtown Vista
Contact: 760-390-2932 / www.vistarodrun.com
Chula Vista Lemon Festival Aug. 6
The free family festival is celebrating 21 years in Chula Vista’s original neighborhood. Live bands, lemon pie eating, lemon peeling and largest lemon contests will be held in addition to a Festival Fun Zone for kids and a craft beer garden for adults.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Third Avenue between E and G Streets
Contact: 619-422-1982 / www.thirdavenuevillage.com
North County Health Fair Aug. 10
This event provides an opportunity for local health & wellness related businesses to promote their products and services. The event also features a variety of health related free screenings for community members.
Time/Place: 9am-1pm / Oceanside Civic Center Plaza
Contact: 760-722-1534 / www.oceansidechamber.com
Coronado Movies on the Bay Aug. 11
A FREE, fun activity for the whole family. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Tonight’s movie is “Sing.”
Time/Place: 6:30pm / Coronado Ferry Landing
Nine and Wine Foundation Fundraiser Aug. 11
Proceeds support the San Diego East County Chamber Foundation. Play a fun scramble game of 9 holes followed by wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres at the After Party!
Time/Place: 4-7:30pm / Steele Canyon Golf Club, Jamul
Contact: 619-440-6161 / www.eastcountychamber.org
Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club Contest & Beach Festival Aug. 11-13
Features coalition surf teams from all over California. The event will include a beach festival in the amphitheater with food and merchandise vendors, music and a beer garden.
Time/Place: Junior Seau Pier Amphitheater and North & South Pier Beaches
Contact: 760-519-8384 / www.oceansidelongboardsurfingclub.org
National City Movies in the Park Aug. 12
Food Trucks will be onsite for anyone wanting to grab a snack or dinner before the movie. Tonight’s movie is “Moana.”
Time/Place: 6:30-9:30pm / Kimball Park
National City Automobile Heritage Day Festival & Car Show Aug. 12
Join us for live music, food from a variety of popular eateries, entertainment for children and specialty booths.
Time/Place: 10am-3pm / Kimball Park
Contact: 619-477-9339 / www.automobileheritageday.com
Luau Fundraiser at the VFW Aug. 12
Roast pig dinner and dessert, authentic Hawaiian band, Polynesian dancers, fire dancers, costumer contest, limbo contest, special surprises and raffle. Proceeds directly fund VFW-1924 Post building improvements.
Time/Place: 4pm / VFW Post #1924: 1175 S. Old Stage Rd., Fallbrook
Bocce Bash Aug. 12
This fundraiser for the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl features round-robin Bocce tournament play, a live DJ, a costume contest and beer provided by Coronado Brewing Company! Bocce equipment provided. Must be 21+.
Time/Place: 9am / Qualcomm Stadium
Red Balloon Awards Aug. 12
This year’s gala theme is “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” inspired by the Dr. Seuss book. It will begin with a cocktail reception and include a silent auction. The event will honor three literacy heroes and benefit the organization’s StoryTent program.
Time/Place: 6-10pm / Hyatt Regency La Jolla
SRCA Movie Night Aug. 12
Bring the kids, blankets, and low-profile chairs and enjoy the movie. Get there early for easy parking and to get a good spot. Tonight’s movie is “The Incredibles.”
Time/Place: 6pm / Scripps Ranch Community Park
Fiesta del Sol San Diego Aug. 12-13
Street festival celebrating the history, diverse cultures, and civic engagement of the people of San Diego. Entertainment stage, a multi-cultural food court, four community pavilions, and over one hundred booths.
Time/Place: 11am-6pm / Main Street, between So Evans St. & Sicard St.
ArtWalk Aug. 12-13
The free, weekend long event offers fine art, food, live entertainment and excitement for all ages. Over 200 international, national and local San Diego artists will be featuring every medium of art.
Time/Place: Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm / Ingram Plaza, Liberty Station
Contact: 619-615-1090 / www.artwalksandiego.org
Cardiff Dog Days of Summer Aug. 13
A free event with over 200 dog related vendors and rescue groups with pet adoptions, live music, beer garden oasis, dog contests, local makers market, food trucks and more!
Time/Place: 11am-6pm / Encinitas Community Park
Contact: 760-436-0431 / www.cardiff101.com
Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair Aug. 13
A huge celebration of community spirit through music, arts, crafts, and food.
Time/Place: Noon-11pm / 5th Ave and University Ave.
Contact: 619-299-3330 / www.fabuloushillcrest.com
Open Cockpit Days Aug. 15-16
Come sit in a plane! Cockpits of select aircraft will be open for visitors of all ages to experience Marine aviation from a pilot’s perspective.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, San Diego
Contact: 858-693-1723 / www.flyingleathernecks.org
Summer Bash - Business Expo Aug. 17
Join members of the business community and view the goods and services they provide and mix and mingle! Attend and be prepared to have fun, taste great food.
Time/Place: 5-8pm / La Mesa Community Center
Contact: 619-465-7700 x2 / www.lamesachamber.net
Best of San Diego Party Aug. 18
More than 2,000 guests and the winners from San Diego Magazine’s Best Restaurants. Taste signature dishes from more than 40 restaurants plus the best local breweries, wineries and spirit companies.
Time/Place: 6:30-9:30pm / Liberty Station NTC Park
¡Latin Food Fest! San Diego Aug. 18-19
Featuring tastings, a celeb chef dinner, parties and workshops. The signature event, Gran Tasting, is an all-inclusive tasting festival.
Time/Place: Fri 5-11pm, Sat 12-11pm / Embarcadero Marina Park North
Transforming Lives Gala Aug. 19
You’re Invited to Join Toward Maximum Independence for An Evening to Benefit Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Music, Casino-Style Gaming, Delicious Food, Magic, Silent & Live Auction, Opportunity Drawing.
Time/Place: 6-10pm / The Lafayette Hotel, San Diego
HarborFest Aug. 19
Check out three stages of live entertainment, engaging educational and interactive exhibits, exciting harbor activities, unique automobiles, beautiful art displays, a Taco and Spirits Revolution, a Craft Beer Uprising and a Wine tasting!
Time/Place: 10am-6pm / Bayside Park, Chula Vista
Contact: 619-233-5008 / www.CVHarborFest.com
Carlsbad Music Festival Aug. 25-27
Features 60+ performances of creative music of all kinds. These include 10 ticketed concerts; FREE outdoor concerts all weekend; FREE New Currents concerts on Saturday and Sunday; and a beer garden, food trucks and artisan market on Saturday and Sunday.
Time/Place: Carlsbad Village
San Marcos Concert in the Garden Aug. 26
Bring beach chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Snacks and beverages available for purchase. No pets (except service animals). The Kings of 88 perform tonight.
Time/Place: 6pm / Wood House Gardens in Woodland Park
Contact: 760-744-9000 x3504 / www.san-marcos.net
Imperial Avenue Street Festival Aug. 26
A multicultural street scene that celebrates the rich history, arts and culture of the Greater Logan Heights community.
Time/Place: 12-9pm / Imperial Ave & 28th, San Diego
Contact: 619-858-0563 / www.imperialavenuestreetfest.com
San Diego Spirits Festival Aug. 26-27
Promises to open your eyes to new and unique cocktails, introduce you to great liquor purveyors, talented mixologists, great chefs so you can savor delicious restaurant offerings to soak up all your favorite libations.
Time/Place: Sat 2-6pm, Sun 2-5pm / Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier
LeucadiART Walk Aug. 27
A revival of the original 80’s art event in historic Leucadia with art, entertainment, a children’s art pavilion and more.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
Contact: 760-436-2320 / www.leucadia101.com
Bike the Bay Aug. 27
Ride the bridge, Bike the Bay! Cruise around the San Diego Bay and enjoy your only opportunity to ride across the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge. Proceeds from the Bike the Bay ride will benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.
Time/Place: 7am / Embarcadero Marine Park South