buying a home in sacramento
5 lessons competitive rowing taught me about LIFE and MORTGAGES is a very timely blog when thinking about Sacramento real estate loans. Having been in mortgage lending for almost 20 years now, I have seen a few things. Getting a mortgage is not a linear sales process, like ordering a burger and fries at your favorite fast food joint. It can be quick and reasonably easy or a complex layering of documents that require navigating dense and complicated underwriting rules. My job is to mitigate surprises and guide and educate my clients to the best possible result – which is easier said than done at times. As Forrest Gump so eloquently stated, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” Welcome to Real Estate and Mortgages.
I owe much of my success and longevity in lending to my other passion, competitive rowing (also called crew), Which ironically started the same year I began my career in lending and joined a small mortgage bank in Davis, California. I now realize how intertwined these two specialties have been and how much my success on the water has positively impacted my mortgage career and family life at home.
Crew is one of the most physically and mentally taxing sports you can do, and as a result, you learn to deal with adversity quickly and efficiently. And you must accept and internalize those lessons quickly. Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself and your team. So here are the five lessons competitive rowing taught me about life and mortgages:
#1) You Must Commit To Your Actions
In competitive rowing, this is made abundantly clear if eight guys in the boat don’t fully commit to applying full pressure at the catch (that is when we drop our oars in the water) and don’t focus on sustaining that leg drive through the entire stroke. Then the boat gets heavy, and we don’t go fast. When I am in the middle of a race, I can’t hide in the boat by giving less of myself, just as I can’t hide in the middle of a loan transaction. It’s unspoken – my team depends on me to do my part to ensure our client’s success. So if you want to achieve something, commit to it. And commit fully from the start.
#2) Things That Used To Be Hard Will Become Easier
Fear of failure is something I think is innate in all of us (well, most of us). Some of us choose to avoid failing by doing the obvious – nothing! But, with competitive rowing or providing a mortgage loan, we have no choice – we must perform or lose. The more focus I placed on getting better at rowing, the easier it became to go faster. If there is something you find challenging or scary in life, you should push yourself to the extreme of it. It will make the original action seem positively easy in comparison.
#3) Practice and Task Saturation.
There have been times when working on a loan file when a challenge presents itself. Maybe my loan was denied by the underwriter because my borrowers lacked enough reserves, or we missed a decimal in calculating the income correctly. Now our file is crashing and burning. We may have triple-checked the loan file, thinking we were good to go, only to be sideswiped by a small item we missed. Sometimes this is unavoidable and not something we could have predicted, but in many cases, we were so rushed and unorganized in how we packaged the file that we missed the most obvious thing. We didn’t have a system and process in place; we were not up on current guidelines and didn’t practice daily – until we got it right. Perfecting the loan process is the key to making it more natural as we then are more likely not to cut corners and check every contingency as if it’s second nature – this only comes from lots of practice (and discipline).
#4) Quality Over Quantity
Crew is a sport of incredible beauty and pain, of singular effort, combined with perfect teamwork. During a race, your body quickly burns its standard oxygen supply, and then it demands more, but less and less oxygen is available. Your body is still producing high levels of energy, but your muscles pay for it as they make more significant levels of lactic acid. It’s like heaven and hell are fighting as your brain and body try to deal with the chaos – Yet, through all this turmoil, there is this fantastic clarity that is present when the entire crew’s efforts can result in the calmness of complete cooperation. Its nirvana! That one amazing race will have you bouncing off the walls with excitement, and it fuels your passion for another one. This will not happen unless everyone on your team is in sync and on the same page. Quantity means nothing. It is the quality of whatever we do or experience that matters.
#5)You Don’t Need To Be The Best Athlete, Just The Most Informed
Unfortunately, genetics didn’t provide me with the prototypical rowing body, which is tall and lean. I am of average height and weight and never even thought about rowing until I moved to Sacramento and a friend told me about River City Rowing Club. I was moving from Huntington Beach, where my passion had been surfing, so water had to be in the equation.
When I started rowing with a novice team, I was surprised that it works your whole body; from your head to your toes. The seat in the boat is rolling, so you engage your legs, your core, your arms, and your brain. It also becomes quickly apparent that the sport is not just about stamina and muscle strength; but technique – perfecting the stroke and slide control to match those rowing with you, keeping your body centered, as not to rock the boat on its keel, while carefully placing the oar in the water at the appropriate angle, so it enters the water to ensure maximum time pushing the boat, to “grab” as much water with every stroke.
With repetition, good coaching, and a drive to keep learning, I quickly realized my lack of genetics was something I could work with and still be a successful oarsman. The problem wasn’t a lack of height or strength; because I was dedicating myself to something I was passionate about. As soon as I figured that out, I started winning more races and beating guys who were, without a doubt, much stronger than me. Again, it wasn’t a sudden gain in muscle mass that caused this improvement in my skills; it was simply that I became better informed about how to perform the task in question.
When I graduated college with a degree in Journalism, I never thought I would do mortgage banking as my career. And, now that I consider myself a true mortgage professional, I can see that competitive rowing has had a lot to do with my success and longevity in this career. I owe so much to rowing and my crew for keeping me strong and focused. You must believe in yourself and your ability to achieve what you set your mind to; otherwise, you don’t stand a chance of succeeding.
Please contact Dan Tharp directly for your mortgage information or to apply for a loan. Dan is a part of the Weintraub & Wallace real estate team as our preferred lender for over a decade. We can’t sing enough praises for Dan’s work our clients love him.
Home values are up can you still afford to buy? This is a monthly post from our preferred lender, Dan Tharp, Enjoy as it’s a good one! Home prices in California are going up and will probably continue to do so. Does that mean they are less affordable?
The news can be misleading and confusing as it recently touted the significant move higher in the median home price, currently up 15% nationally versus last year. And 14.3% in Sacramento County, says the Sacramento Association of Realtors. 15% sounds awfully high. But the median home price does not measure appreciation. Instead, it marks the middle price point of recent home sales.
With a substantial lack of inventory for lower-priced homes, more transactions occur for higher-priced homes, which pushes the median home price higher.
The actual Sacramento home price appreciation rate was about 1.25% for the last quarter, or 5% annualized. And it is forecasted to increase by a similar margin next year. So have you been priced out of the market?
The short answer is no, or at least not yet. California’s affordability factor has improved year over year because mortgage rates are down by almost a full percent, and incomes have gone up (5.7% year over year nationally). Also, remember, only a portion of your income goes towards paying your mortgage. A 5% rise in income can offset a much more significant percentage rise in housing expense.
Let’s assume your monthly earnings did not improve from last year. Consider a buyer’s max purchase price of a new home, based on his/her income and debt was $450,000 last year. Maybe this buyer decided to wait because they were nervous about the market. Now, that home is worth about $472,500.
As a mortgage professional, if I were to use the same income and debt structure I used last year, this buyer would now afford a home for $490,000. This tells us that homes are actually more affordable, even though they have appreciated.
Granted, I am using very simple math here, and this does not get into down payment or cash required to purchase this home but is purely to show you the media doesn’t’ always get it right. Take the time to work through these numbers with a mortgage professional you trust, and don’t give up your dream of homeownership!
If you want to buy or sell a home call Weintraub & Wallace Realtors with RE/MAX Gold Real Estate in Sacramento. We service 7 counties and are top producers with a full-service team. Call us today for a free market analysis or to discuss your goals for homeownership. We can be reached at 916-233-6759.
— Dan Tharp
The February 2020 Sacramento Area Housing Report, everyone is talking about it. Wall Street is in meltdown, toilet paper doesn’t exist at Costco and my friend just in a panic bought three firearms. Whoa! The majority of us are handling this current COVID-19 virus pretty well. Others, are of course being impacted on a variety of levels. There will always be different ranges of reactions. When isolated, it is often challenging to know the reality of the housing market. This blog serves to be a source of information. So let’s talk about interest rates. Yes, they spiked up slightly (still under 4%) a week after they dropped to a record low 3.13%. This is in part to a backlog of loan applications (up 55%) that lenders cannot keep up with.
The only tool the lenders have to slow down the demand for refinancing and purchase loans is to raise their rates. This goes against the way it is supposed to work naturally. I took this past weekend to swim in a tub of coffee, scour housing reports and talk to resources to find out what is happening. These efforts are to provide you with the clearest picture of what is developing in the housing market. The verdict, demand is still very high and mortgage rates should fall back down to an extreme low once lenders get through these files and applications.
High demand for homes is still present. Sacramento is still in as much in demand as it has been over the last several years. This virus has not changed that. The housing market is absolutely on fire, not by opinion, but by the numbers. It was going strong before the COVID-19, but now, prices and demand shown below in the February 2020 Sacramento Housing Market Report are through the roof. The market is always good for someone. It is always prudent to hire the best real estate team and put a plan together whenever possible.
Real estate is historically a safe haven for investment during times of crisis and now even professional investors from abroad are putting money into US real estate to sidestep public markets, that are shedding value. These people watch their money very carefully and it is their daily job to monitor it. I think watching what they are doing is a good indicator of the overall health of the market. It is actually driving our market even harder!
This virus came on fast, and it is understandable that folks would be a little freaked out. But when the dust settles as systems are being put into place to defeat this situation, the humming of the housing market will return to that recognizable “hum.” There is just so much noise right now it may not be as easy to hear it. Based on the numbers, this is not a time to fear buying real estate; but of course, always be sure to have a great real estate team.
Life is not all flowers and banana’s, of course. Many people are suffering right now. Empathy is overflowing from our homes to all of those hurting right now. So many people will be keeping things moving, for the benefit of countless families and industries. We are so lacking in inventory. New listings are down 3.3% from last month and 3.5% from a year ago and sales are down a whopping 41.3%. I imagine some Realtors will be leaving the business this year based on the housing shortage and multiple offers making it a very competitive market. Did I mention we have over 100 years of experience, dozens of awards?
The picture is clear there were 14% more accepted offers in February 2020 over February 2019. This was a 10.8% increase in Median home prices from February 2019 to February 2020 in Sacramento County. That is a 5.3% increase from January to February alone. We don’t even know what the future holds, but owning a home is a part of the American dream for so many. Many first time buyers are choosing to buy instead of rent as it is more affordable in some cases. This is supply and demand, the same story we have been telling for years.
February 2020 is looking at the percentage of what sellers are getting vs what they ask at 99%. The spring market started last month, folks. A well oiled, well-connected machine like the Weintraub & Wallace real estate team is the best tool you can have in your tool belt, this year. When the gloves come off, your nails better look nice.
— Josh Amolsch
Ever wonder what happens if you do not hire a Sacramento Realtor with experience? Well, here is a good example. While reviewing multiple offers on my East Sacramento listing last evening, It got me thinking about some of the sour grapes responses from buyer’s agents who had made offers. One of the agents called a bit upset. Muttering that he had called and texted about his offer, submitted the day before, and had not yet had a seller response. I explained that the seller had no obligation to respond to his offer. Additionally, that the MLS disclosed the seller is out of state so instructions were to give plenty of response time. His offer was a low offer price compared to the pile of top offers we had.
There is a definite benefit if you hire a Sacramento Realtor with experience, especially a team like Weintraub & Wallace, with 80 years of combined experience. Our exclusive Weintraub & Wallace buyer’s agents write offers to win by using a carefully designed strategy. I informed this agent that the MLS agent confidential remarks disclosed that there were multiple offers, and we were multiple-countering the top offers, so in fact, he had previous access to the information. Not a word more was uttered about his offer. He said a swift goodbye and hung up. Some agents will blow up your phone, rather than read. It is sad but true!
When should you hire a Sacramento Realtor with experience? Every step of the way! This agent said if had he known there were so many offers, he would have written a better offer. Well, that’s not an effective strategy, I blurted out, If your buyers wrote their highest and best offer, you could have been in the top offers. This agent acted like I should help him to win the offer process. I guess it slipped his mind that I work for the Seller exclusively.
It is not ethical to give a buyer’s agent an advantage over another agent. We treat everyone equally as it is written in our National Association of Realtors “Standards of Practice.” When you’re selling East Sacramento real estate, you must understand that it is a very popular place to live. There are several ways a Sacramento real estate agent could win in the offer process
One way to compete and win is to remove the appraisal contingency. This means that if the bank providing the buyer’s loan, doesn’t appraise the property for as much as the offer price, a buyer has to pay the difference between the loan amount and the listing price. An example: if your offer is $ 565,000 and it only appraises for $ 550,000, a buyer would have to pay the $15,000 difference, in addition to their down payment. By the way, the agent who was sour grapes, I also left him a message reminding him he could amend his offer. Another agent did just that amended her offer and now she is one of the top offers.
Just because an agent does not receive a multiple seller counter offer, an agent can always send over a higher offer as it is never over, until an East Sacramento listing is pending. An agent is duty bound to present all offers to the Seller during the listing period. If you want to win the offer process hire the Weintraub & Wallace team because it always pays to hire a Sacramento Realtor with experience.
— JaCi M. Wallace
Are you looking for homebuying tips to buy a home in our fall Sacramento real estate market? As a potential home buyer, you are now in a wonderful position to buy a home. Some of you got too frustrated with the market and gave up. Maybe it’s time to give the market another look? Because our seller’s market is over. O.V.E.R. Except for a small handful of picture-perfect listings, you probably will not encounter multiple offers for a home you want to buy.
I could give you all the reasons why the market has changed, but not everyone is interested in how we got here or the stats. Most buyers just want to know what they need to do buy a home. They want to be aware of the types of benefits can get they out of today’s market.
Of course, if you are already working with the exclusive buyer’s agents on the Elizabeth Weintraub Team, then you’re covered. Your buyer’s agent is already informing you of the choices awaiting your decision. Here are my top 5 homebuying tips that you can confidently put to use when you’re ready to buy.
Homebuying Tips for Sacramento’s Fall Market
- Price. Most listings will contain a bit of room for negotiation. It might not be necessary to offer list price for the home, unless you are madly in love with it. You can probably offer less and still buy the home. Ask your agent to show you comparable sales. This means considering homes in the same condition, square footage, location and comparing the pricing. Look at apples versus apples and not apples versus oranges.
- Closing Costs. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you might be using every dime you have saved up to buy a home. With an FHA loan, your down payment can be 3.5% of the purchase price. We have conventional loans from 3% down. Does that leave you with enough money to pay closing costs? If not, don’t sweat it, as many sellers in this real estate market will agree to pay your closing costs for you, provided the sellers are content with the sales price offered.
- Repairs and Updates. Believe it or not, sellers want to work with you. If the home has no AC, for example, the seller might be willing to install new AC for you. Don’t be put off by carpeting because you can generally work out a way for it to make it vanish. Ask your buyer’s agent for ideas and help. We had a seller recently agree to install new granite counters at closing. Sellers generally will not fix or repair every single defect from a home inspection. But a major repair will most likely get fixed.
- Inspections. It is possible in our fall market that sellers might obtain inspections at their own expense. For example, it is more common now for the seller to pay for a pest report, and most buyers would ask for a completion certificate. This did not happen very often in a seller’s market but now that we are entering a more neutral market, sellers are more agreeable. They don’t want surprises that will blow up a transaction any more than you do.
- Time of Year. With our increased inventory in Sacramento, home buyers have more options now than ever. If you don’t like a particular house, don’t buy it. There will be another right around the corner. As we move toward the holidays, prices will become softer. This is a much better time to buy a home than spring, when you compete with a larger group of buyers. You have little competition now.
With all of these benefits, buyers are finally in a position to feel really good about buying a home. The only question left lingering is whether it’s better to buy now or wait until spring. Apart from the increased competition in spring, you will also see interest rates rise. The Feds have already raised the rates, and they are inching toward 5%. Buy now before you get roped into a higher interest rate mortgage because this much is pretty certain. Interest rates are not coming back down.
To get started, all you have to do is call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.