Expansion of Home Improvement Tax Credit

Tax credits for making energy efficient Escondido home improvements are now 30% of the cost of the improvements.  The maximum amount you can receive is $1,500.  So for example, if you added qualified improvements to your Escondido house of $4,000 the credit you would receive a tax refund of $1,200 when you file your tax returns. Eligible Escondido home improvements include energy efficient exterior windows and doors,furnaces, heat pumps insulation, central air conditioners and water heaters. Generally, your Escondido home improvement contractor and/or the manufacturer selling the improvements issues a certification that clarifies whether the improvements meet the necessary standards for energy efficiency. Places like the Escondido Home Depot can also help you know what qualifies.  Most newer models of modern windows, furnaces, and air conditioners meet these requirements. If you’ve been of doing any of the improvements that qualify, this spring might be a good time to upgrade your Escondido property.  Watch for the great springs sales, get a good price and then a tax break.  There is also a substantial credit for adding solar panels to you Escondido house.  Before you do so read my post “Solar Panels – Free Energy?”

To get more Escondido real estate information, contact Gary Harmon, your Escondido real estate agent.

Tips to Prevent Mortgage Fraud

Escondido home loan

HomeServices Lending

When you are in the market to buy Escondido real estate, the first thing you should do is to get pre-qualified with a lender.  I recommend HomeServices Lending and Charla Rueda at Bank of America.  During the process of buying your Escondido home and getting a loan here are some  “Don’ts” that can help avoid mortgage fraud.

When getting your Escondido home mortgage:

  • Don’t provide false information about your job, income, credit or bank accounts.
  • Don’t lend your credit info or social security # to anyone so they can take out a loan in your name.
  • Don’t close on any loan on an Escondido house that has any false of misleading information.
  • Don’t use appraisals that have incorrect or inflated values on the Escondido home.
  • Don’t use down payment or earnest money that did not come from you.
  • Don’t pay your good faith deposit to anyone except Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor or directly to the escrow company you are using for the Escondido home purchase.
  • Don’t let anyone sign anything for you during the Escondido real estate purchase.
  • Don’t expect to get “paid” for purchasing a home.  You will need to bring a certified check to escrow prior to closing on your Escondido property.
  • Don’t pay anyone any additional fees or cost for the loan after it closes.  When in doubt, check with Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor.

The Do’s of mortgage fraud prevention tips will be listed in a p0st to follow.  For Escondido real estate information that you can trust, contact Gary Harmon, your top Escondido Realtor.

Pledge to Escondido Home Buyers during Negoiations

Escondido Floral

“Someone accepted the offer on the Escondido house that I wrote, now what?”   This is a question that I get from a lot of Escondido house buyers.   After week of searching, they have found their Escondido dream home.  Not it is time to write an offer and start the negoiations.  But, how much should you offer?  How much will be enough or too much?  Here are some of the things that happen during the negotiation process.  I will strive to provide the following services:

  • Review with my Escondido buyer all the forms and documents involved in buying Escondido real estate.  The purchase documents and supporting documentation on your Escondido home purchase are prepared online in a computer program called ” Winforms.”  These forms are uniform California Association of Realtor (CAR) forms used by all Escondido Realtors.  They can be printed, faxed, e-faxed, or sent to you as pdf attachments.
  • Provide a copy of all documents needed for the lender you have selected for your Escondido home purchase.   HomeServices Lending is one of the Gary Harmon team members and is an excellent choice.
  • Prepare a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) showing comparable Escondido properties currently on the market, in escrow, or recently sold.  This comparison will aid you in making an informed decision on your initial offering price and any counters that are usually necessary.
  • Present your  Escondido real estate purchase offer to the sellers on your behalf.
  • Present your Escondido home purchase offer in a timely manner and in person if you desire.
  • Discuss with Escondido buyers the most comfortable negotiating strategy and work within your parameters based on our current Escondido housing market conditions.
  • Based on the type of Escondido housing offer you choose to write, discuss the best possible strategy to get your offer approved.
  • Inform you immediately of the Escondido sellers response to your offer when presented.
  • Keep you updated daily on the progress be made during the negoiations.  If your offer is on a bank owned property or short sale, will keep you up to date as information becomes available.
  • Deliver to you the final executed purchase documents on your new Escondido real estate.

For more information on what takes place during the purchase of Escondido properties, contact Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor.  See Gary’s eariler post on what takes place during a home search:  http://www.garyharmon.com/buyers/garys-service-pledge-to-escondido-buyers.  Watcht for a new post  that will  describe what happens during the escrow period on your Escondido house.  Gary is proud to recomment Pickford Escrow.

Escondido Homes: To Buy or Rent, Part 2.

Yesterday we looked into good reasons for considering Escondido home ownership.  Today we are going to take a look at what Escondido home ownership means and how it differs from living in an Escondido Rental.

Escondido Home Ownership comes with Responsibilities.

There are many things involved in owning Escondido real estate besides just making the payments and keeping a roof over your head.  Along with your Escondido house, you acquire responsibility for repair and maintenance.  This applies not only to the house itself, but to the surrounding landscaping.  Many homeowners find they actually enjoy the responsibilities and that the benefits far out weigh the efforts required.

Owning Escondido Real Estate has its Benefits.

Owning Escondido real estate allows you to express yourself.   You are in charge of the landscaping, remodeling, and pet-keeping decisions at a much different level that when you had an Escondido rental.   Escondido home ownership also allows the following:

  • If purchased correctly, your Escondido home can be a good long-term investment.
  • There can be many tax advantages that go along with owning Esconidido real estate.
  • Escondido property ownership allows you to become more involved in the commuinity.

There has never been a better time to purchase an Escondido home, especially if your are a first-time home buyer.  You may be eligible for the first-time home buyer tax credit.  Rates continue to be low.  If Escondido home ownership appeals to you, call Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor and get started today.

Staging: Secret To Selling Your Escondido Home In A Down Market

Escondio Home

Staging for Selling

You have just seen a series of post on how to ready your Escondido property for sale.  Remember the saying, “People buy what they see and not what will be.”  Or,  “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”   We have just discussed approximately 100 ways to get your Escondido home ready for sale.  But, what if you have to move and leave your home vacant.  There is always something a little unappealing and sad about a vacant Escondido house.  That is where staging or showcasing your home comes in.

Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor, can arrange to have a professional company stage your home and keep it ready for sale.  In a recent survey of Realtors, over two-thirds estimated that a staged Escondido home sells for 10 to 20% more and closes 60 to 90 days faster than a vacant Escondido property.  Staging companies (and we recommend Showhomes) help take the stress out of showing and selling your Escondido property by providing a turnkey package including whole-house furnishings, a professional staging and a live-in Home Manager to keep your Escondido home in show-to-sell condition seven days a week.  Staging a home can save you the Escondido homeowner holding  cost such as utility bills, cleaning fees, vacant house insurance premiums,and mortgage interest expense.  The Escondido homeowner savings  combined with a higher sales price, typically far exeed any  staging fees.  Staging companies, like Showhomes, provide commercial liability insurance on each home.

Whether a Escondido buyer, Escondido seller, or Escondido Realtor, the Escondido home selling and purchasing process is fraught with potholes.  In this weak Escondiodo real estate market, everyone involved in the selling process must increase their efforts. In order to sell Escondido homes at top dollar, Escondido houses must be “prepared for sales.” That’s where Staging, sometimes called showcasing,  becomes the secret weapon.   Contact Gary Harmon, your top Esondido Realtor more information on this great selling technique.

Spruce up the Kitchen of your Escondido Home

Kitchens are King

Kitchens are King

Kitchens are King

No other room is more important in selling your Escondido home than the kitchen.   This is the top place to spend your money when getting your Escondido real estate ready for market.  Escondido sellers that do a kitchen remodel usually find they get more than their money back in the selling price of their home.  Whats more, their Escondido home sells faster.  If you are not up to a full kitchen remodel, there are things to do that don’t cost a lot of money.

  • The kitchen in your Escondido property must be absolutely spotless.  Hire someone to professionally clean it.  There must be no odors.
  • Check out the flooring in the kitchen.  If it is vinyl, consider replacing it with new.   If it is tile make sure the grout is clean.  If it is hardwood, make sure it is shined.
  • Take all the extra clutter off the kitchen countertops.   Baskets make a good item to put things in.   Make sure countertop grout is clean.  Replace grout and caulk where necessary.
  • Make sure the kitchen in your Escondido house is lite and bright.  Think of how model homes look.  Have the windows cleaned and be sure to turn on the lights before each showing.
  • Consider replacing all but new faucets.
  • If you have stainless appliances, make sure they shine and are free of any waterspots.

We spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so make sure everything is in top shape for your potential Escondido home buyer.  Need more tips, contact Gary Harmon, your top Escondido Realtor.

Spruce Up the Interior of Your Escondido Home

Spruce Up Interior

Spruce Up Interior

We have concentrated on the outside of your Escondido home and now it is time to go inside and make some changes. Try to look at your Escondido property through the eyes of a potential buyer. Remember, “People buy what they see and not what will be.” Most of the suggestions that follow will help improve any kind of Escondido real estate. Most of these ideas apply to all room in the house.

  • The first thing you probably should notice is the carpet.  Is it clean, is it a good current color, is in worn or in good shape?   I know you are thinking that the Escondido buyer can buy new carpet when they move in, but don’t count on it.  Remember the slogan above and do what needs to be done.  New carpet that updates and cleans up your Escondido home can easily pay for itself.
  • The next large thing your buyers may notice is the walls.  Consider getting rid of any “strong” colors.  Neutralize your Escondido house.  Remember you want the buyer to think of it as their potential home.  Clean all walls where necessary, patch holes, and repaint if needed.  Escondido real estate with new carpet and paint seldom stays on the market for long.  It also lets you get the most money for you Escondido home.
  • Remember our saying, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness?”  That goes double when marketing your home.   Give every room in the house a thorough deep cleaning.  Some buyers need the home move in ready.
  • Almost forgot the most important thing, “Escondido homes that smell are Escondido homes that don’t sell.”  You may have grow a custom to the pet smells in your home, but the potential Escondido buyer will notice them right away.  How do you know if you have pet smells?  You could also ask a friend, neighbor, or your Escondido Realtor if they smell anything.  Problem with this is that people trying to be polite and nice don’t always give you the straight scoop.  Here is the rule.  If you have a dog or cat, you have smells.

Work on the items above,  see the other hints in my earlier post, and contact Gary Harmon, that’s me, to get your Escondido home sold fast.