Yikes! Un-permitted Square Footage???

Sadly, it isn’t uncommon to come across properties that, over the years, have work done without proper City or County building permits.   Older homes that have had multiple owners lose the history of what has been done and when, so getting to the “real” facts about additions, changes, etc. becomes very difficult.  And shudder to think, government records aren’t always accurate either!  Even though an owner may think they got their worked signed off by the City or County, the jurisdiction has no record of it!  Common improvements done without permits that we have seen in our years of real estate sales:

  • Decks
  • Garage conversions
  • Garage bathrooms
  • Patio/sun room enclosures
  • Electrical work (both indoor and outdoor)
  • Window installations
  • Hot water heaters
  • Attic access improperly made
  • Kitchenettes
  • Second dwelling units

So, what to do….

HOMEOWNERS:  Please comply with your local building regulations regarding modifications to your home.  If you want to ensure the work is done properly and up to code, hire a licensed contractor who knows what they are doing and acquires the appropriate permits and inspections.  Ensure the permits are “finaled” meaning that they get the final sign off by the appropriate jurisdiction.  Then and only then can you represent to a future buyer that the work was done with permits!   Work done without permits must be disclosed to any potential buyers, and the value of your property can be severely impacted by not having work done to code.  In some cases insurability may be impacted, as well as a property appraisal for a potential buyer’s lender.

Bottom line:  get the necessary permits, use a licensed contractor, and add value to your property, not diminish it.

BUYERS:  So, you see that dream house, with that added family room (used to be the back patio sunroom) and 1/2 bathroom in the garage…but were these building modifications done with permits?  The Seller is required to disclose what they know about a property, but perhaps they bought the property with those “improvements” already there, so they don’t the status of any permits.  We assist our Buyer clients in researching such matters at the appropriate governmental agency.  If work has not been done with the necessary building permits, it may have been done unsafely.  Worse yet, if the work results in some sort of other governmental code violation (such as a garage conversion), a Buyer may later be required to tear out the improvements either permanently or have them redone with permits.  Both of these scenarios can be very expensive.  Finally, a Buyer’s lender may not accept square footage that was added without building permits and where the public record does not reflect the additional square footage in the County Assessor’s tax records.  With square footage excluded from an appraisal, the available loan amount may be severely impacted and the Buyer unable to finance the purchase.

Bottom line:  review thoroughly all disclosures available regarding the property.  If there is ANY discrepancy in the square footage being represented and the County Assessor official records, get to the bottom of it by checking on issued building permits.  Have a general property inspection done to determine the overall safety and quality and condition of the property.  Unfortunately, in this very hot real estate market, there are property investors/flippers that cut corners to get the property back on the market to make top dollar.  Be wary, check the disclosures and the quality of the work that’s been done.  As they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover:  investigate the property thoroughly or risk years of disappointment.

So YIKES…be careful when a property has non-permitted improvements: for your own safety and physical and financial well being!

Patience Is A Virtue

Patience (George Michael album)

We have wonderful clients.  Believe it or not, we have some buyer clients who grow concerned that THEY are wearing US down because they haven’t yet found their dream home.  We gently remind them that until they find a property they are excited about, that they can picture themselves in for years to come, that meets the majority if not all of their requirements in a home, we will be with them every step of the way.

The current market can be very frustrating for buyers, with historically low inventories and multiple, sometimes irrational, offers in competition.  However, buyers who are patient (with patient agents too!) will eventually get into a place to call home.  So, don’t be discouraged…be patient and let the process and market unfold.  Then schedule the housewarming party LOL.

How To Spend Sunday (and Thursday Night and Monday Night)

So, the “He Said” part of this dance card already has his plan for Sunday, and Thursday night and Monday night for the next few months.  A lifelong fan for the NFL, my beautiful bride looks at me in bewilderment as I confidently log my plans onto to our joint Google calendar.  If you are an outsider looking in at an NFL fan, we appear irrational, boring, beer drinking, salty snack loving creatures.  You would be correct.

“She Said” frequently asks throughout a Sunday “when is the game over” and I kindly respond “it’s almost over, but….”  meaning there is another game following that one.  So what’s in it for her?  Free time to spend with Mom…isn’t that a great gift?

See you Sunday (and Thursday night and Monday Night).  Go Seahawks.

 

Monday Night Football came to Gillette Stadium...

 

PS.  Don’t even get me started on my first attempt at Fantasy Football….

Latest Hayward Housing Stats–March 2016

Overall, the trend continues that we are seeing incredibly low inventory of available housing for sale in Hayward and surrounding communities.  The average Days on Market dropped to just 23 days from 30 days in February, as the Spring home selling season begins.  The sold price: list price ratio was 103%, indicating buyers are bidding up prices a bit as inventory challenges prompt buyers to be willing to pay a bit of a premium to win the bid and obtain the property.

For the latest housing statistics for Hayward, click below.

Housing Statistics–March 2016

 

Latest Client Testimonial

“Greg Jones is an incredible real estate professional. He was instrumental in making our real estate transaction possible. Even meeting with us pro bono to go through the complexities and options available to us. With our son, we were buying a piece of property held in trust, by a family member. Greg represented both the buyers and seller and, without his expertise and his ability to keep us all informed and on track, our son’s new house might never have become a reality. In addition to representing all parties in this endeavor, he was also the agent for the sale of our son’s present home; which was to be used in part for the down payment. Greg did an amazing job of both selling our son’s home (6 days of the market) and closing in record time; which in turn allowed for the closure of this deal weeks ahead of schedule. We would definitely recommend both Greg and his associates at Realty World Neighbors for your real estate needs.”

-Bruce and Dottress R.

Hayward Housing Stats for June 2015

Wow, the median and average sales price for Hayward homes continues on an upward trajectory.  The median home price in Hayward is now $536,000 and the average is $554,688.  This represents a 43.91% increase and 45.19% increase respectively since June 2013.  Days on market is holding steady at around 20 days, while purchase prices are averaging 103.35% of list price, indicating buyers are still willing to pay more than sellers are asking.

SKMBT_C28015071315000

Make History on Prospect Hill

22272Prospect.frontphotoAvailable soon in the Historic Prospect Hill Neighborhood of Downtown Hayward is a charming 1181 square foot, 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom bungalow at 22272 Prospect Street.  Two bedrooms and a full bath, along with an office area alcove are upstairs from a beautiful downstairs living room, dining room, half-bath and efficient kitchen area.  This historic home has had some major renovation work done by the current owners, including a new furnace and a completely new foundation.  Built in 1905 and full of character and craftsmanship, someone that appreciates history and the character of classic custom construction will fall in love immediately.  Sitting forward on a fairly sized lot, side access affords an easy path to a large back yard, that also includes a large storage shed for those seasonal items and boxed up memories.  This cedar shingle sided home has the benefit of being just a few short blocks from the rejuvenated Downtown Hayward Entertainment District, offering great international restaurants (Thai, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, El Salvadorian, American, California Cuisine, cafe’s, coffee shops and more), movie theaters, live music venues, bars and retail.  The weekly Farmer’s Market is a five minute walk, and a voluntary and active neighborhood association stays vigilant in furthering the neighborhood’s interests with City Hall.  Priced at $424,500, this downtown historic gem will make the lucky buyer very happy to call Hayward home.  Stay tuned from more information, pictures, and maybe a story or two about this beautiful home.

30532 Carroll Avenue Hayward CA

30532 Carroll Blvd, Hayward CA for $429,000

In sought after Fairway Park neighborhood.  3 bed/2 bath/2 car garage needs some TLC, but adventurers will certainly be rewarded with the pride of ownership.

Open House Wednesday, June 10 from 10 am – 1pm.  Offers forwarded to seller as they are received.  Ask your agent for access at other times…

Welcome to Hayward!
carroll.pics.front2

Time to Buy or Too Late To Buy?

The Bay Area real estate market continues its scorching pace as we enter the second quarter of 2015.  Supply is extremely limited, with properties all over the Bay Area attracting multiple offers.  Here in Hayward, a recent listing of ours attracted 14 offers the first few days it was on the market…the numbers are higher in the South Bay and Peninsula.  What is a buyer to do?  Well first, make sure you have a good agent…it is more important than ever to have someone on YOUR side when purchasing a home.  During these competitive markets, price is just one consideration…the terms of the purchase contract are equally if not more important.  Some bidders place ridiculous offers price-wise just to get into contract, knowing the property won’t appraise and they will then be able to negotiate the sales price later.  Not cool.  Don’t work with an agent that plays that game, as a good listing agent won’t bite and will protect the sellers from such manipulation.

Professional ethics are also in danger of being compromised when the competition is so fierce, so be wary.  Hire only a professional, full-time REALTOR that is a member of the National Association of REALTORS, the California Association of REALTORS, and adheres to the NAR professional Code of Ethics.  For more information about the market (a February article that is all the more true today) click on the link below.

Happy Hunting!

http://www.homebuyinginstitute.com/news/bay-area-good-timing-611/

Logo of the National Association of Realtors.
The mark of a professional REALTOR….look for it!

 

Rent Control The Answer?

Rent control is quite controversial in terms of its effectiveness in controlling rents as well as stifling the development of needed rental property inventory.  A recent article (link below) goes into more detail about the push for rent control as Bay Area rents skyrocket.  Is the answer rent control or more liberal approval of new housing to meet continued strong demand for housing in our area?

http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_27899620/soaring-rents-spark-growing-calls-rent-control

 

English: Apartment buildings in La Malagueta, ...

 

 

Best Colors to Paint Your House

Exterior paint color may be one of the most important factors in enhancing your home’s curb appeal. There are many factors to consider when choosing an exterior paint color, especially when resale is your goal. It is important to understanding neighborhood standards as well as your home’s style, size, construction materials and the color of the roofing.

White

According to a national survey conducted by Sears Weatherbeater Paints, the most popular color for a home’s exterior is white. The survey found that nearly 40 percent of those polled said they would prefer white as the primary color of their homes exterior. The survey concluded that the least favored colors were yellow and red. White paint can make the outside of a home look more expansive and can bring light into a shady yard. You can accentuate trim and other architectural details on a white house by painting them in another subtle, but noticeable, color.  There are many variations of the white paints, from stark white to more cream colors, so there is a lot of flexibility when choosing a paint in this family of colors.

Neutral Colors

If you want to make your home look newer and more modern, take a look at the colors being used on new housing developments in your area. Typically, newer homes are painted in light, neutral shades, including light tones of tan, clay, cream, gray or beige. Shades of white are often used on the trim. You can incorporate a splash of color by painting the door a contrasting shade. For instance, a deep gray-blue door looks stately on a light-gray home with white trim.  Neutrals can be pretty boring, so spice up the palette you select to emphasize and highlight features of your home while still staying consistent with neighboring homes.

Dark Colors

Generally speaking, light colors are the best bet for painting a home for resale; however, if your home is in an older neighborhood, a light color may make it look out of place or less charming than the traditionally painted homes around it. Medium to dark shades of tan, gray, blue and brown may be the most common in established neighborhoods. Homes built from brick or stone often have trim painted in dark red, deep green or Williamsburg blue.

Drive around your neighborhood and community to look at other homes to see what works.  You don’t have to copy someone else’s choices, but you might see something that works really well with your home’s design too.  Finally, paint is relatively inexpensive, so if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

colorwheel

House Smells: Last Night’s Dinner

Lingering odors can affect how much you enjoy your home or how much you might be able to sell it for.

 

stink

 

 

 

 

Whether your family caused the odor in your home or you inherited a smelly room from the previous owner, you can get rid of it using a few proven methods. Avoid making the mistake of spraying an air freshener to cover up a bad smell. While it can take time to eliminate lingering odors from smoke, cooking, pets or mildew, it is possible to deodorize your home and introduce pleasing scents.

  1.  Clean your home thoroughly using a strong cleaning solution and cleaning rags. Pay attention to places you don’t normally clean, such as inside cabinets, under sinks and along window sills. Wipe down the walls, baseboards, doors and counter tops with a 1 to 10 solution of bleach and water.
  2.  Air out each room by opening the windows. Choose a nice day with a breeze to help move air throughout your home. Airing out the rooms will help release odors in curtains, carpets and furniture. Keep the windows open for at least an hour, or longer for particularly heavy odors.
  3.  Pull odors out of the carpet and furniture by sprinkling baking soda onto fabric surfaces. Allow the baking soda to sit on the surfaces for several hours, even overnight if you can. The longer you leave the baking soda on, the greater the absorption. Vacuum the baking soda from the carpet and furniture, using a vacuum cleaner with a new bag.  Scented baking soda products are also available, but use sparingly…they can be overwhelming!
  4.  Fill 2 to 4 shallow bowls with fresh coffee grounds, depending on the size of the room. Shut the windows and the door to the room, then leave the bowls overnight to let the coffee grounds absorb the odor. Throw the coffee grounds away the next day. Repeat one more night with fresh coffee grounds for particularly stubborn odors.

After you think your place is smelling better, invite a friend or two over to have them do an honest sniff test.  Our own noses get used to odors we are around, so get an objective schnozzola to do the test.  Then be sure to bbq your next salmon OUTSIDE, not in the house!