Perfect Showing Condition for Your Home Sale: Impossible With Children in the Home?

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When selling your home, having it look the best it possibly can is the first task on your mind. Attempting to do so when you have busy children can be hard to start with, let alone to keep it in that pristine condition the whole time your house is waiting to be sold. There are a few easy steps you can do to maintain the house shape even with little ones at home. After all, because you’ll be moving them and their routines will be changed anyway, they don’t need the pressure of having to act like little robots.

Organization is Key
Most children tend to stockpile toys of all varieties. They like variety and tend to have an acquisitive nature. “Mine!” is frequently among a child’s first few words. As a parent you might have gotten used to the appearance of toys tossed around in a mess, but a person who is not used to children can all too easily notice it. The very first thing to do in getting the home ready to show is to organize the children’s belongings so they can easily be put away and mostly out of sight. Get storage that can be used in the room without being too big.

Pick up the Outside as Well
The outside appearance is what provides the first impression to a buyer and so it is very important. Try finding ways to set up, or store, the children’s outdoor playthings and other toys in a neat and tidy way to present the outside of your house as attractively as you can. Toys that cannot be put away in a garage, tool shed or other outdoor storage do not have to be all put away but they must not be what gives the initial impression.

Paring Down Your Excess
The periodic practice of clearing out things that are more than what is needed on a regular basis such as donating to the Salvation Army is just as pertinent to children’s belongings as it is to all the other old treasures. This is a valuable skill whether you are moving. Children as well as adults have to make choices. Handling how to let things go and dealing with change is a vital part of living. That can be a learning opportunity for children, though it will be important to get their participation and not force their decisions. That would only hinder the learning.

Discipline will be necessary to maintain everything in order once you are all organized. Trying to keep everything reasonably tidy once it is all straightened out can be a challenge, but it is not out of the realm of the possible. Once you have appropriate storage, keeping everything in order will be lots easier. Take steps to limit the number of different things your children are playing with while you are in the process of selling your home. One idea is to make the challenge of keeping the house straight a game, or adventure or challenge for the children. They in turn may even remind you to keep the rest of the house in their places as an additional benefit.

There is no need to turn your home into a sterile and overly regimented house where no children can play. Many people in the market for a family home have children themselves, and are happy to see that a house is lived in, and some toys being in evidence is pretty normal. Just be aware that it should be kept on the neater side of normal. Perfection is hardly the norm in an active family home.

If your children are wild with toys you could even buy an extra rug to play on that can be put away when potential buyers come by to see the home. Keeping the finger paints and other messy materials put away and out of sight might be a good idea.

In summary, it’s not too impossible, is it, to allow the children to continue with their normal lives while offering your home and keeping it in the attractive condition in which it needs to be. There is some gain to be experienced for the family, gaining practice in cooperation. A little patience and persistence, along with regular attention to clutter, will make the sale of your home with small children easy to handle.

For more information on this article or San Francisco real estate contact James Aduna 415.901.2797 or

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Your School District Is A Big Factor in Home Value


It is a normal tendency, and an understandable one, for people who are looking for a home not to consider the quality of the school district as an important factor in shopping for a home. This can be the case for a single person not thinking ahead to having children, a young couple buying a starter home, or just as likely an older person. Even in those cases, the desirability of the school district deserves consideration as a factor in your process.

School Quality Influences Home Prices
The school district where a property is situated is the main driver affecting pricing levels of homes in many areas. Though it has not always been the case, with increased sophistication of buyers in recent years it has become more evident that homes in the better school districts sell for significantly higher prices than similar homes in other areas.

Homes that are situated in prestigious school districts will be sold for 20 to 30% more than similar homes in other areas. If you consider an median cost of a residence in the US in the area of $220,000, the price difference is significant.

In previous years, home buyers were more worried about such things as the home’s location with respect to their work, city centers, shopping centers, and possibly aesthetic attributes such as the appearance of the subdivision. Now, buyers are more attuned to negative factors such as being located in school districts that are less desirable, where the per capita spending is dismal and school performance is low. Homes located in these districts can be hard to sell.

In some areas with the best school districts, buyers can be willing to bid up the prices. This can account for inflated real estate prices; or, in a slow market can let homes decline more slowly. This affects the listed price of any home in the area available for sale after that sale. Savvy buyers acquire school summaries early in the search for properties, because they know it is an important factor in the value of the property a significant factor in the price for which the home can be sold in the future.

Boundary Line Uncertainty
In a volatile real estate market, any reason that could compel a person to purchase a home in a given neighborhood adds to the value of those homes. Both real estate investors and homebuyers alike must remember that the boundaries of school districts are subject to change, which can increase or decrease the value of the property by a significant amount. In an established district that is near a new subdivision, for example, things could shift seemingly on a whim, on short notice. In the real estate market little is certain.

For more information on this article or San Francisco real estate cotact James Aduna 415.901.2797 or

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Just What Does the Acronym PITI Mean?

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Dealing with the buying or selling of real property, there are many terms that come up. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of these terms and it doesn’t seem reasonable for the average real estate consumer to learn them all. We wouldn’t be entirely facetious in saying that’s one reason why you should hire a real estate agent. With or without an agent working for you, though, there are still some basic terms that you should know for your own benefit and PITI is one. Here is an explanation of the term PITI.

P Is for Principal
The principal is the actual amount that you are borrowing from the lender in order to purchase a home. This figure will be different all the time based on how much money you put down on the home and how much money you actually borrow. The principal is generally the largest part of the PITI figure.

I Is for Interest
As with anytime that you borrow or pay on credit, you have to pay interest. This is what the lender earns in order to loan you the amount you need, based on the cost of keeping money from doing other work. It’s expressed in percentages but shown as a dollar amount on the payment breakdown. Based on the kind of loan you have, the interest rate can remain fixed for the entire life of the loan or it can be variable, meaning it is changed from time to time by published rates and other factors.

T Is for Taxes
Taxes are one of the certainties of life, and we are all well aware of that fact. Taxes on property, though, typically go to governments at the local level to make schools and infrastructure such as local street repair and snow removal possible. When you purchase a home, the associated tax revenues help schools, medical facilities, child care centers and other local facilities serve local residents. The assessments are usually rolled into your monthly mortgage payment prorated. The lender pays the tax on your behalf to the taxing authority.

The Second I Is for Insurance
You don’t want to own a home without enough insurance, and if you buy with someone else’s money the lender will insist that you have it. Your home is your biggest investment and a good homeowners insurance policy is essential for your family’s protection. Depending on the value of your home and where it is located, there are many kinds of insurance policies from which you can choose, which will be the subject of another article. The choices that are available to you will also vary based on how much down payment you make on the home. If you put down of less than 20% percent, lenders will require you to carry a certain kind of policy that assures they will get their money back if something happens to your home or if you go into foreclosure. These payments are usually put together with your monthly mortgage payment as well.

For more information on this article or San Francisco real estate contact James Aduna 415.901.2797 or

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bu-homesales16_p_0499302535(03-19) 11:08 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Area median home prices crossed below the $300,000 threshold for the first time this century, as the one-two punch of foreclosures and tight credit continue to batter the market, according to a February housing report released Thursday.

The region wide figure, however, is becoming less representative of individual markets, as Bay Area real estate trends increasingly diverge and weigh down the statistics with cheap homes. (more info on this article click

For more information on this article or Bay Area homes contact James Aduna 415.901.2796 or


America’s real estate is in unchartered waters: in some areas, existing home prices have dropped considerably, while in other locations prices are holding steady. The stock market is down, unemployment is climbing, and businesses are predicting a long, slow recovery. Yet it is at times like this that we are reminded that some of the best deals are possible right now.

On the national average, sales of existing homes declined in January. Inventories fell to a two-year low. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyers are waiting to see how details of the economic stimulus package will affect them. NAR’s Chief economist Lawrence Yun reports, “The drop in total inventory is an encouraging sign because the number of homes on the market has declined steadily since peaking in July 2008, and inventory is at the lowest level in two years.”

The Obama administration has responded to NAR’s call for lowering interest rates, giving buyer incentives, reducing preventable foreclosures and reinstating the higher loan limits for FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With these measures now being implemented, housing values should stabilize and the housing market should begin to strengthen.

For buyers and or sellers, it is important to understand that location has never been more pertinent to pricing. There are buyers ready to move and popular locations are on the top of my list for long-term investments.

If you have questions or concerns contact James Aduna 415.901.2797 or

Moving in After Closing


The papers have been signed for you to move into your new home, you are anxious to move in on the agreed date, and everything is on track to go off smoothly. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. In some cases, though, a seller will ask to stay in the home for a length of time after closing. You have the prerogative to approve or disapprove the buyer’s request, but before you make that decision, here are some important considerations.

Requests for Delay
Sometimes, in the final few days of hurried activity just prior to contract closing, the seller might ask the buyer for time to vacate the home, or to take care of other issues on the move. While the request may seem to be perfectly reasonable, you must proceed carefully. If the buyer concedes to allow the request for extension, they should be made to pay rent for the additional time, and that part of the transaction has to be firmly written in an agreement.

There must be a limit on the time the seller can stay in the property, and it needs to be in writing. An agreement between the seller and buyer containing the specifics of the after-closing possession benefiting the seller can be provided by the attorney.

The seller may attempt to pressure you by giving you no time. If the seller announces at closing that he or she needs to stay longer, it is usually a good idea to put off closing on the home until such time as the seller can move out or acceptable agreement has been drawn up and agreed upon.

Why is Seller Possession Following Closing a Big Deal?
Once you buy a property, that property belongs to you and it is your responsibility. If your tenant starts a fire on the property that burns down the house, it is your problem because you are the owner. The renter/seller will have no accountability for the damage unless it is clearly spelled out in the agreement, and even in that event the seller’s liability is likely be governed by applicable law.

Sellers who retain possession of the real estate after closing have less motivation to clean up the property. When closing on real estate, you accept it in the condition in which it stands at the time of closing.

Anything that occurs after the contract closing is the responsibility of the buyer, not the seller. So if a door gets kicked in or a window gets broken, you are the one that will end up paying for the full cost of the repair.

Another common problem with letting the seller keep possession of the home after the closing date is that items that should remain with the home can disappear between closing and final possession. Even when this happens, and it does all too often, the owner of the property is the one who bears the loss.

When you are the homeowner, you will expect to have full control of your own home. This premise is easy to comprehend when you are deciding whether to answer the doorbell and admit a good friend, and it is no less the case when you are asked to approve delayed possession in those final hectic days of the purchase transaction. You have to stand up for your considerable investment.

If you need more information about the San Francisco Market contact James Aduna 415.901.2797 or

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With all the news and questions regarding to the Stimulus package I thought that I would expaline some highlights below about President Obama’s praposal.

As we are professionals in this industry we need to make sure we have a clear explanation to that question. Out of the 790 billion plan, 75 billion will be aided to help homeowners on the brink of foreclosure to stabilize their mortgage payment to an affordable level (31% of the household income). Most every lender, including us Countrywide/BofA and put a stop to all new foreclosures and look to work out a resolution with as many homeowners as possible.

Another goal of the plan is to help homeowners, who have a loan owner by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, to refinance their mortgage even if the value is not there and they are currently under water. This is expected to help 4 to 5 million homeowners.

One thing I’m expressing to clients is that this will certainly begin to filter out the current inventory of bank owned properties on the market. Less inventory will almost be a start to stabilizing home values and eventually increasing values. So I’m advising clients that have the same we have all heard, “I’m waiting for home prices to fall another 5 to 10%”, that if you wait too long it is already too late. Not only because values have started to rise but because all the good homes have already been purchased. Plus with interest at a very low level and possibly going even lower, NOW is the only time to get moving on something now. (read more about the article

For more information on the San Francisco maket contact James Aduna 415.901.2797 or